IT’S A MATTER OF INCHES!

1st Sunday Lent 2013

My friends we have a challenge before us…..

It is a challenge of about twelve inches…

Probably the longest foot we will ever encounter in the Spiritual Life….

It is the average distance between the human heart and the human mind….

A dear friend of mine shared a little book with me a few years back….a book that had a tremendous impact in my life and in my spiritual journey.

The book is entitled:  You don’t need a title to be a leader….written by Mark Sanborn

In that book he says:  The measure of a person’s character and integrity is revealed in the distance between our lips and our lives.

Between what we say and what we do….as I put forth in the homily of Ash Wed….it is the distance between who we are which is good, loving, holy and how we are….which may or may not match the who….

There was a linguist at Ash Wed. and he came up to me after and said….Fr. Marty that was brilliant…and not only that but it is true.    Who and How are some type of linguistic manuevering….of which I had no idea…but I do know and believe one thing, that words have and carry much power and much meaning.

You see my friends we don’t talk or speak alot about Sin here at Spirit of Hope….not because I or the other leaders don’t believe it, but because more often than not I have not found it helpful to focus on or speak at great length about negative things.  I would prefer that we spend our time and our lives living into our holiness than focusing our time and energy trying not to live out of our sinfulness.

There is one interesting reality though that one of my Spiritual Directors helped me to understand….and that is this:  Sin/Evil rarely presents itself as sinful or evil, but almost always presents itself in our lives as an alternative good!

Something wrong, rarely looks wrong or if it did we would be able to resist and be repulsed by it.

An example:  I am called to the hospital for some pastoral emergency…someone is in need of my presence….now I would never think of driving 50 mi/hr in a residential neighborhood….that would be absurd, reckless, the risk so great that I would not even consider it.  Now add in the fact that someone is at the hospital and in desperate need, and the likelyhood that I would put my foot into that gas pedal is probably pretty high….always an alternative good….it may even be a split second rationalization, but it happens!

How is it in your life?  I can’t tell, that is one thing about Sin and Grace, they are unique experiences of the individual….I don’t encounter sin the same way that you do and you don’t experience grace the same way that I do….but make no mistake we experience them both.

The question is, in those experiences, is the gap between our heart and our head being closed or is it being widened….is our foot shrinking or is it growing?

This is a season of Grace….one that I hope and pray that we can experience God’s amazing presence in our lives….in those 12 inches between our heart and our head…

As we step forth this week, as grace and sin both unfold in our lives, we can simply be a bit more mindful…..a bit more aware….is our who matching our how?  Is our foot growing or shrinking?  It’s only a matter of inches from hell to heaven!

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