The privilege of the Dudley family

Listening to a sermon yesterday about the privileges that are afforded to me because of my position as a son of God, and taking in picture after picture of a family that is trying to model their lives after the Savior, I felt something deep in my soul. It was so deep I wept (thank God the lights were down - no one needs to see that!). I realized something maybe for the first time or maybe for the hundredth time: being a member of the Dudley family has it privileges.

I am not talking about the one I currently head, but the one I came from. You see, that one, the one I spent over 24 years of my life most intimately tied to, found me in a most excellent state. That place, that home, was built by nothing more than my parents' humble submission to God. It was marked by flaws (like my family is), but those imperfections drove them not further from me, but closer to me through their reliance on God. At a young age they introduced me to the Savior and made sure that I intersected with peop…

My wandering spirit

The lamp is burning, the table prepared,
For the wayfaring son's coming home.
O holy Father, come dwell in this place,
Or my wandering spirit will roam. - AD, Wandering Spirit

What a remarkable God I serve. Rather than relegate me to the corner of his house, of which I do not even deserve to occupy, he burns the lamp, sets the table, and welcomes me home. My traveling in this world will be over at some point and I pray that I will have served him well. When I finally know as I am known and see God the way he wishes me to I will find the finest food and a most comfortable light awaiting me. Yet what of my wondering spirit now? What does he offer to me as I repent and make my way back home over, and over, and over, and over again.

Nothing less than the same lamp, the same food. The house that welcomes me to even now is but a small glimmer of a foretaste of where I will live with him forever. Why does he set the table so carefully and feed me again? Why doesn't he turn his back and ha…

Except for the Lord

I was blessed that I had parents that loved (and still love) God. Through the sacrifices they made to send me to authentic Catholic schools from K-12 and their insistence on me going with them to Mass every single week (and don't even get me started on Holy Week - I regularly blow my boys' minds with stories about that!) I was introduced to and began to love God like they did. He has been my rock these many years and they made sure he was at the forefront of my mind and heart.

I have been stressed lately in so many areas and this morning I was reminded of a hymn we sang when I was a boy called Come to the Water and it resonated with me in a deep way. I was thankful I was alone because no one wants to see me when God reminds me of how needy I am and how rich he is:

O let all who thirst; Let them come to the water
And let all who have nothing; Let them come to the Lord:
Without money, without price; Why should you pay the price
Except for the Lord?

And let all who seek; Let them come …

Calling hours

Last week we attended calling hours to comfort a friend whose father had passed away. Everyone stood around talking about the deceased like they were not even there.

That's because they weren't. They were somewhere else.

12 boys and a coach

Like many of you I watched the news out of Thailand with great anticipation as the boys and their soccer coach were rescued when the cave they were exploring was unexpectedly flooded. Not to be overly pedantic, but the events that surrounded their finding and subsequent rescue was not, in the strictest sense, miraculous. It was, however, a a reminder of the goodness and providence of God. There is no reason other than the divine grace and mercy of God that these boys and their coach should be alive. He is good. But that is not why I am writing today.

As I watched the rescue operation kick into full gear I couldn't help but notice the amount of people involved in rescuing these boys and their coach. I am sure there were more people than what has been reported helping with the operation, but many estimates put close to 200 people on the scene planning, swimming, putting themselves in danger, and one even dying, to save the Wild Boars. That, to me, is absolutely incredible. That, to m…

The gain of forgiveness

I am trying to process this a bit, so please bear with me. I firmly believe that, even though I lose something, I gain more from forgiveness than I do holding onto the debt that others have toward me. I feel that in my soul. But my mind can't help but wander into the communicable attributes that God has, that I can participate in. One of them, of course, is that God is forgiving. There is some tension here and I am not quite sure what to make of it. Made in the image of God I see that I gain more than I lose by forgiving. But, what did God gain? This wholly other God, what would he have lost if he did not forgive?

Now I cannot even fathom to think that one iota of his glory and power would be diminished in any way had he just sent Adam and Eve into the hell that they deserved. I mean, really, who could instruct God that the wrath incurred by offense that he inherited through their disobedience would not have been perfectly displayed through their banishment from his presence foreve…

More, not less

"I thought I'd hate you more," I admitted shivering slightly as his grotesque visage gave way to the small glimmer of light. "The more I saw you seeking my loved ones, or even me I knew I would find you at least more bitter. I never thought you would be sweet."
"Who but I can take you to him?" Death asked blinking rapidly as if trying to stay awake. "I'm dying too you know." In a sense he was. In a sense he was being sifted like wheat. My heart began to reach for what began to remain. He sensed what I desired from him. "Go ahead, touch me," he offered. I was more curious but less willing to reach for him in the same manner of his reaching for me during his awful lessons. But he was now more light than wrinkles as his dry, crinkle flesh seemed to puff out smooth. "You remember these hands, don't you?" he asked holding them up in some means of admiration. How could I have not? They reminded me on the ones I had when …