Sunday, November 24, 2013

Monday Morning Meditation #96: On Being Good Caretakers

I am very, very happy to be back home from Madrid. While I had good job-related accomplishments there and enjoyed seeing three different cities -- Madrid, Toleda, and Alcala, stolen credit card numbers (not sure from which merchant because that information is held confidential) plagued me. Fortunately, Master Card International was on top of it all, and only one of the numbers had been used; that was a purchase that the card company declined because they had the card being used in Texas and Madrid on the same day! Smart card company -- although they thought Madrid was the fraudulent use when it really was Texas.

Well, back to the task at hand, I have continued on in Ezekiel, but not far. The verse that caught my eye, Ezekiel 36:5, is probably one that seems odd and not very full of meaning. However, if you put it into a larger context, there is considerable meaning. Here is the verse:
"This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In my burning zeal I have spoken against the rest of the nations, and against all Edom, for with glee and with malice in their hearts they made my land their own possession so that they might plunder its pastureland."
Reading: Ezekial 36:5
Meditation: It seems to me that the message that can be gleaned from this passage is so simple as to be profound. The land we live on is not ours; it is God's for the giving and the taking. If we live on it, we should take care of it, and we should share it.

Last February, we bought a house. it seemed to fall into our hands. We had not planned to buy a house, but our landlord decided to sell the one we were living in and asked us if we wanted to buy it. We learned the price, and while fair, our thought was that if we were going to buy a house, we should look for one a little larger. The rental was a two-bedroom in a historic district. Since Donnie used one bedroom for an office, guests had to sleep on our couch. If we bought this particular house, we could not modify it because it was historic. So, we looked for 3-bedroom houses in the same price range.

That is when in our very first gander at Internet listings, we saw the house we bought. In fact, it was the only house we looked at. It had five (!) bedroooms, sat on top of a hill overlooking town and yet within walking distance of the mission and downtown, and had been recently remodeled -- all for the same price as the two-bedroom house we had been renting. Not planning to buy, we had not saved up a down payment. No problem. I had a 30-year-old VA loan that had never been used, and those do not require down payments. Further, when I looked in the files, which have been moved from hither to yon over the last 30 years, the eligibility certificate was right on top! It seemed that this house was to be ours.

I have been very aware since moving here that this house is God's as much as mine, and the doors are always open to all. We have had been events here, beginning with the house blessing which was open to all in town. At that event, someone told me that this used to be a million-dollar house (I can see that), and that no one was invited to visit. Well, we have changed all that. We have a guest room for out of towners, prayer group movie nights meet here, and others who want to come, just do so. We are not owners; we are just God's caretakers for the time that we are allowed to be here.

Contemplation: That is far as I can go with you this Monday morning. I now retire to private prayer to praise God His great kindness in giving us, His tenants, a great land to live on. I will thank God for the latitude we are given to take care of His property. I will ask God to remind me of my "proper" role should I ever think that I, not God, am the owner of anything. 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.

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