I LOVE PIE!

My favorite dessert is pie. I love pie! Of all the different varieties of pie, I Camp Pie1prefer some type of berry although there was a time when you couldn’t pull me off of a piece of chocolate pie! However too much pie, in general, is not a healthy staple for my diet but it is certainly acceptable as an occasional treat!

 
Nevertheless, there is one kind of pie that is very healthy but I rarely consume it even though I recognize that a large and frequent helping of this dessert would increase my health and even improve my social behavior! The only drawback is that this type of pie has a bitter taste and it is very messy!

 
This healthy pie is known by its name, Humble Pie. Most folks are like me and don’t seek it and they are more than satisfied with overlooking that bitter flavor on the menu! A piece of humble pie takes some work to digest and doesn’t melt in my mouth like a berry pie. No matter how much sugar you add, humble pie does not attract folks and it is not a popular choice.

 
Now I am usually a much focused man. That is partly so I can accomplish many things even when my mind tends to wonder, and now as I struggle with Some-Timers Disease, my centered focus even helps me complete a task before I forget what I was supposed to be doing! I tend to shun distractions to stay on task. I usually do not have time for a piece of humble pie!

 
In our Gospel reading today, our Lord says: “I say to you, this one went down to his house having been justified rather than that one; for everyone who exalteth himself shall be humbled, and the one who humbleth himself shall be exalted.” [Lk. 18:14] If I continue in life loving my tasty desserts and myself and ignoring my surroundings and actions, I will be rejecting Christ! And by rejecting Christ and not loving my neighbor I will continue to add pounds of unhealthy weight to my stressful body that is supposed to be a temple and not a storehouse of gluttony, selfishness and denial!

 
How can we improve our health and humility? As we start our day, we must all admit that we are sinners in need of a Savior! We must seek God in all our daily choices! As our Father told the prophet Isaiah, “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.” (Isaiah 66:2)

 
Perhaps Humble Pie should not be left to be last as a dessert but moved to our appetizer selections in our daily choices in life. And although Humble Pie may taste bitter at first, I know the aftertaste is divine and quite a life-saver!

 
Fr. Gabriel Weller 2/21/16

 

 

Attracted To Distraction

It’s fourth and ten with a minute to go and you’re down by seven. The very next play, the next snap of the ball will determine if your year was a success or a failure. Yes, it is time for the Super Bowl. If only life were a game and a great big pay check awaited us despite the outcome of our next decision, win or lose.

 
After church today, Super Bowl 50 is expected to generate some 620 million dollars in revenue. And according to the American Gaming Association, people will gamble away 4.2 billion dollars on Super Bowl wagers. That’s a lot of dough for entertainment!

 
The events held in the coliseums offer us a fresh bouquet of life in the midst of our grey day to day struggles with health, wealth, happiness and purpose. And let us not forget the advertisements that tempt us and seduce us into wanting things we don’t need and can really live without!

 
We are all attracted to distraction. And as for me, even when I’m not beDistracteding entertained by sports, my mind often leaves reality behind in pursuit of dream weaving. I find myself struggling throughout the day reflecting upon my woundedness rather than counting my blessings, or I use my vivid imagination entertaining myself in the land of “what ifs”.

 
All of our senses gather information from our surroundings and send that information to our brain for processing. This information can be vital for our survival and makes us want to seek out new information or makes us attracted to distraction and new surroundings. And it seems these days with our new electronic gadgets; we are allowing ourselves to be seduced more and more away from reality and away from God.

 
And then there is my prayer time when my need to center myself on God is interrupted with an attack of distraction. As long as my brain is healthy, it will continue to generate thoughts and ideas and it will seek out distractions. But I can dismiss them by turning my attention back to my prayer offering and making the sign of the cross from the top of my brain to the bottom of my heart to reapply my attention.

 
When most folks go to sleep they turn off the light and turn off the distractions. We need a time of quiet and peace. We need a time to turn off the world! To continually allow ourselves to be distracted is choosing to separate ourselves from God. Saint Gennadius of Constantinople wrote: “Do not forsake prayer, for just as the body becomes weak when it is deprived of food, so also the soul when it is deprived of prayer draws nigh to weakness and noetic death.” (St. Gennadius of Constantinople, The Golden Chain, 44)

 
Before the age of the Super Bowl, Facebook and the internet, Saint Paul’s warns the folks in a letter to Corinth: “And this I say for your own profit, not that I might cast a noose upon you, but for that which is seemly, and for constant waiting on the Lord without distraction.” [1 Cor. 7:35] And we hear from the words of our Lord: “Without Me you can’t do anything.”(John 15:5) I pray in this New Year we can all seek out the Kingdom of God firstly and be less attracted to distractions in our hot pursuit of the Kingdom of God.
Glory to Thee!

Fr. Gabriel Weller 2/7/16