Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Optimus Prime - The Most Noble and Great One

Well, I'm no Latin scholar.  In fact, I passed Latin with a C average. It was an extremely helpful (though difficult) class and now I can read Latin things... for the most part... kind of...

You may be familiar with the Transformers movie series.  I've been on a kick with them lately.  I really like that Optimus Prime guy.  I did a little research into what his Latin name translates to (even though, being the C student that I was in Latin, I already had a pretty good idea thank you very much.)  Judging from Optimus Prime's character from the movie's I'd like to propose that his name means, "The Most Noble and Great One." 

Now, don't get me wrong.  I'm not a Transformers aficionado... But I kind of want to be now.  After seeing a few of these movies I realize what it is that pulls me towards them - It's Optimus. 

Sure, "Optimus" primarily (no pun intended) translates as "Best" while "Most Noble" is only a secondary (even tertiary) rendering of the word - but I think "Best" is too bland; it doesn't describe Optimus' at his core.  "Noble," however, absolutely does.   Optimus is so appealing because he embodies (or rather, enmetals) what it means to be noble.  That is to say Optimus Prime stands tall morally and follows his conscience towards what is true, good, and worth living and dying for.

Are you noble?  One quick way to find out is to ask yourself, "Would others describe me as noble?" If not then you may have some work to do.  Nobility stands out. Nobility gets noticed.  It's not plain to see because it wants to be seen but because it is the only thing worth seeing in a world looking for anything that catches its eye.  Nobility, however, doesn't just catch your eye.  It catches your heart.  It makes you want to be better.  

The Saints were noble.  Great leaders (i.e. anyone who leads others closer to the truth) are noble.  Do you want to be noble?  Deep down we all do.  The difficulty comes in when we don't act according to the core of who we are; according to our true identities.  We're Princes and Princesses; nobility and children of the Most Noble and Great One - God our Father.  While Optimus Prime may stand as a fictional icon of the Angelic order sent to protect us we, through a gift of our Father, have infinitely more nobility than we can stand at times.  That's why we often choose to fall short of our high calling to holiness - it is hard to stand tall when the river of the culture crushes against you to sweep you off your feet and into hell.  Not all wooing is worthy of our hearts yet we too often give in to the siren call of sin, don't we?  

So let us pray to recognize our nobility.  Let us pray that we would see in us what God has placed there - His Divine Spark.  If we knew who we were - truly knew and fully believed it - we'd stand up like royalty and fight for the world.  So if you find yourself sitting or laying down these days and aren't sure what you're really supposed to be doing in life then take heart.  Let the nobleness of God's choosing you and calling you to rise embolden you.  Take His hand and be raised to new life.  Be raised to new life daily; to a higher life; to a greater life; to the most noble life there is.  Pure Life.  Let Life transform you into who you really are.  A child of the Most Noble and Great One.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Christmas with a Twist

I hope you got everything you wanted for Christmas.  Really.  I just wish you knew what it was that you truly wanted.

The same goes for me, too, of course.  Often we are unaware of our more authentic desires especially around Christmas time.  They tend to get swallowed up by the more immediate, material trimmings of the season.  Now Christmas, as we all know, isn’t about the presents and decorations (though these things have their significance and value.)  The gifts remind us of the Gift that God gave us in Christ.  The decorations can remind us of the way the Lord’s grace adorns our soul through the redemption He won for us. We even get to have time with friends and family and gorge ourselves (avoiding gluttony of course) with our favorite holiday treats.  
But wait, there’s more!

It’s the Christmas music, right?  Maybe it’s the snow (for us midwesterners at least)?  The time off of school/work?  The cute Christmas outfits (for the ladies)? The Muppet Christmas Carol (arguable the best Christmas movie ever made)?  
What else could we possibly desire?

I will pray that you discover your restlessness this Christmas.  You’re welcome.  It really is a gift to know how much we long for peace and joy.  To desire something one does not possess is called “hope” and I *hope* that this Christmas you let yourself notice your own spiritual poverty; your own lack of inner rest (to whatever extent it may exist for you.)  Have you been away from God? From Church?  Please come back.  We love you here in the Catholic Church.  You are wanted.  
Your presence (and absence!) makes a difference to our community in ways we may only understand in Heaven.  
Part of our restlessness is because we can separate ourselves from God and His family (the Church.)  
A peaceful conscience and the life of God in your heart is just a confessional visit away.  

May your restlessness never let you rest; never let you settle.  For us Americans (as opposed to those in #Aleppo, Syria or any other war torn region) it’s easy to be deceived into think we couldn’t possibly want anything more; and, if we did want it, we would just need to save up or ask for it for Christmas.  However, as 2016 draws to a close I sincerely pray that you become more and more aware of the One that we are too often unaware of - Jesus.  He is real.  He does love you.  He really is God become man, born in a backwater town, placed in a feeding trough in a stable only to grow up to become our heart’s food; the Bread of Life in Holy Communion.  Jesus desires to satisfy our hungry hearts.  The greatest gift we can offer Him for His birthday is to allow Him to give Himself to us.  Strange isn’t it?  It is better to give than to receive.  So let us give Jesus what He wants.  He wants to take all of our sin and replace it with all of His love.  Perhaps this Christmas you can discover the greatness of your hunger for God encountering the 
greatness of His hunger to fill you; to love you.  

Let Him love you this Christmas.  The Christ-child isn’t the only one that needs to be held during this Silent Night.