This week I read all of Solomon's songs. While the Song of Solomon is the favorite book of a young priest friend, I found little there that resonated with my life. So, I continued on until I reached Isaiah, one of my favorite books. I stopped on the very first chapter. Now that one did speak to my life. The theme? Rebellion.
In Isaiah 1, God tells the people of Israel that He does not care about their burnt offerings and their sacrifices. "Come, let us reason," He says. He wants them to straighten up and follow Him. If they do, He will forgive them. Here are the words that touched me most deeply:
16 Wash and make yourselves clean.Reading: Isaiah 1.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.
17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.
18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the LORD.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
Meditation: As a teenager I rebelled against the church life that my physically, sexually, and emotionally abusive family forced upon my siblings and me. The story is long, and so I will post it on Mahlou Musings. You can get to it through this link: Expelled. In reality I was not rebelling against God because at that time I did not believe that God existed. I was rebelling against the whole universe: the parents and grandfather who abused me, the secular society that failed to protect me, and the church membership that smugly supported my parents against me. All of that fueled my naturally rebellious spirit. I read somewhere in the Bible -- don't quite remember where now -- that God forgives the misbehavior of those who are ignorant of His existence.
I have never transgressed secular law, but I certainly have transgressed God's law, especially in my atheist days. Given decades of rebellion, learning to be obedient now that I have come to faith has been a monumental undertaking of the type "two steps forward, one step back." At least, I am inching forward with that one step (after one step after one step).
Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to repent the remnants of my rebellious spirit, evidence of which occurs too frequently, to praise God for His great mercy, to thank God for His willingness to keep on forgiving even when forgiveness is not deserved, and to ask God to help me become just a little bit less rebellious today and a little less than that tomorrow and so on. Then I will move on to contemplation, my favorite part of the day, letting God take over the direction in which my relationship with Him moves.
I will leave you now to your prayer and contemplation. First, though, I would like to bring to your attention a Monday morning prayer post that you might enjoy:
Fr. Austin Fleming, priest of the Archdiocese of Boston and pastor in Concord, Massachusetts, posts a prayer each Monday morning that he calls "Monday Morning Offering." I enjoy his prayers very much. I think you also will find them inspirational. He has graciously given me permission to include a link to his blog on my Monday Morning Meditation posts. (During the week, he also posts great homilies and other thoughtful discussions. I enjoy reading those, too, as do readers of this blog who have taken the stroll over to his blog.)
For additional inspiration throughout the week, I would point out two sets of blogs: (1) the list of devotional blogs on my sidebar and (2) my blogroll, where I am following a number of inspirational priests and writers about spiritual matters. I learn so very much from all these people. I highly recommend them to you.