Read: Leviticus 19:1-2, 17-18

The Lord leads us into the wilderness so that we can meet him. This wilderness can come in any form of dryness or spiritual desolation. Why were God’s people lead into the desert of Sinai? It was to teach them. What can the desert teach? The desert is dry land thirsty for a drop of water. It is like our parched souls seeking and needing a drop of God. The desert is barren and desolate. Only with the lack of something can we truly recognize the desire of our souls when it is given us. Also we must come from a place of nothing so that God can fill us. It is hot to remind us that God is fire and he can also bring coolness and refreshment after coming into contact with the intensity. It is a long day of brilliance and a cool night of refreshment. We work hard and labor for the day but with the evening comes rest to rejuvenate and make us whole. We are purged and purified by the desert heat. We are brought to a place of loving acceptance. In humility we are laid bare before Him. We have a new level of holiness (hopefully it has worked to draw us close to Christ and not away for that is what He intends).

But then what happens next? And mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire. The Lord comes to meet us in all of His awesome grandeur. Just like Moses, sometimes he uses an instrument to stand in the gap. He comes and reveals Himself to us. Only after the dryness of the desert can we actually truly know the consolation of His presence. I am not saying that all desolation is this experience. Sometimes the Evil One tries to separate us from the Love of God by desolation. Sometimes it is through our own choice of turning away that brings dryness and sometimes it is the action of God to catch our attention to turn toward him and help us to grow in self-knowledge and awareness; to make the movement towards Him of our own volition.

Read: 1 Corinthians 3:16-23

God comes to us physically and stays with us at times and yet at the same time He dwells in us. Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? This brings us back to the beginning. Remember when He created Adam and Eve? He said Let us make man in our own image. Male and Female he created them. He called them good and filled them with His breath and His blessings. God lived through them and in them. The only difference now is that we do not have the original innocence. Yet God desires to restore us and build us up in His body. If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are. We are holy. Set apart. Anytime the temple is talked about we should think of God’s house with the Holy of Holies where God’s Spirit dwelt in the Shecania glory cloud. Yet God is saying and that temple you are.

No matter what difficulty or trial we must remember this most holy truth. It will, if we let it, carry us through. Does that make the suffering any less hard? Not all the time. But the knowledge should at least remind us that God’s presence is with us. He gives us everything. And you are Christ’s and Christ is God’s. Being in someone’s possession brings security. You are no longer alone and don’t have to worry about making everything work. It is God’s business now. This yokes us to Christ. He carries us along and makes the weight of responsibility less. It makes the yoke easy and the burden light. Our journey is made better in the company of another. Two is better than one. Does that mean there will not be pain? No. Does it make the suffering diminish? No but it does raise us to a higher level of holiness above the human plain. It indeed raises our dignity. Only when we turn to the world does the pain increase and make us less than we really are.

Read: Matthew 5:38-48

Be Perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect. Webster’s Dictionary says that perfect means without any mistakes or flaws. Does that mean that God is the master of things being just so and straying any little bit makes you damned? No. That’s being a perfectionist caught up in the doing when I feel it needs to be right versus the making of an act of faith despite feelings and striving for holiness at all times. Through human weakness if we fail it leaves room for God to make perfect. It leaves room for Him to be God and work everything out for our salvation. What God is asking for is the action of moving toward him. In all this talk of loving your enemies and doing good to those who hate you, loving is the key ingredient to all men. What good is it if we love only our friends? Do not the Godless do the same? What sets us apart is our love for each individual no matter how difficult.

God loves with a specific love and we are called to mirror that to each of our brothers and sisters. Does this make individual loves less perfect? No. When we vow to love a spouse we are consenting to a particular kind of love that we show no one else. It is the same with monks, brothers, priests, and nuns except their love is to God and the community within which they live in an exclusive love of God. Just as the husband exclusively loves his wife and the wife exclusively loves her husband. Does that mean it is tough love for anyone else that comes into our lives? No. There is filial love as there is singular love. God’s love for each of us is particular and because of that we are to love everyone. Because we are all in God’s image. Love is a choice and a decision to act no matter what one feels. Feelings come and go but love is eternal and transcends everything.

There is just different types and levels of love. Their is Eros which is flesh love that is more focused on the human affection and passions. Their is filial love of the family as brother and sister and the highest form of love agape which is the love of putting the other as higher than yourself and sacrificing everything for the good of the other. Of course in relation to God there is latria, singular adoration, worship and devotion as Creator and maker of all things and dulia which is honor and veneration of what is due to persons of excellence. Faith is the mother of love and hope is the unwavering trust that the promise is attainable. Love cannot go without these two on earth but the highest fulfillment is in heaven where we will see God and not just trust in his presence and believe that He exists.

But again there is the focus of the feeling of how right something is and the act. These are two different things. One is solely on doing something right for the sake of it and the other is transforming the littlest action into one of love and to please God. God does not stand over us the condemning you do this and watch out but the one who loves us truly and desires to pour his mercy and love over us.


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