Tag Archive for: Dreams

Fear – Lent Day 25

Lenten Recipe

Recipe 25: Curry Butternut Squash

Lenten Journey Day 25 – Fear

By this 25th day of the Lenten Journey we realize many things have changed in our lives. It may seem as if our surroundings have changed when actually we are now perceiving things differently. We have a broader understanding of our prayer life. We communicate with God and with our self. We understand our fasting as a means of discipline, and of course, our giving – reaching out to others with compassion – as an articulation of faith. On this 25th day of Lent, we understand that beyond these 40 days, there is the journey of life. What we gain from Lent, we will carry for the rest of our life.

These past few days we have studied the story of the Dishonest Steward and contemplated on the theme of stewardship, that is, being entrusted by another to look over assets. We are entrusted by God to look over His greatest gift to us: the life that we live. We are managers of that life.

Remember that in the story of the Dishonest Steward, we find a person who is commended for his shrewdness. Shrewdness is one man’s talent, while others may shy away from such expressions because of fear. That fear, in turn, prevents us from maximizing our potential. The fear of the unknown is high on the list of fears, along with the fear of the self, the fear of being put down. There are so many dimensions to fear, and whatever they may be, we realize that fear prevents us from maximizing our potential.  Fear is the hurdle to overcome. The obstacles to win the race of life are many. Overcoming fear is our first step.  Think about it in your life – all the dreams that you have, all of them are attainable, so what prevents you from reaching those goals if not fear?

In our churches we cover the altar during the Lenten season. That curtain symbolizes sin, the separation between us and God due to sin. Because of our imperfection, we sin. And yet, perhaps that curtain can best be described as fear, as the fear that really prevents us from seeing the beauty that is all around us. Seeing the potential we have within us.

Beyond the parable of the Dishonest Steward, Jesus uses other parables to explain stewardship to us. Among them he speaks of stewards who are fearful; that is, people who are entrusted with life but fear to explore it. One such parable speaks of three men who are entrusted with different amounts of money. To the first, $10,000 dollars is given; to the second, $5,000; and to the third, $1,000. When an accounting is required – “What did you do with the money that I gave you? – the first one says, “I took the $10,000 and I invested it. And I took some risks with it, but here it is. I have produced an additional $10,000.” The second man did the same thing. He took the $5,000 and he multiplied it and gave back $10,000 – “Here’s $5,000, and here’s $5,000 more that I invested and am giving back to you!” But the third of these stewards was fearful. To him was given $1,000. And he was scared. He was scared of humiliation. He was fearful that he might be condemned if anything happened to that money. Rather than understanding that money as a tool, he took it and kept it in his pocket, as if it had intrinsic worth in itself. When asked for an accounting of his stewardship, he reached into his pocket and gave back the $1,000. Nothing was lost! Not a penny! But he was condemned. He was condemned because what was given to him was kept and not utilized. He was scared to use it. He had that fear that each and every one of us possess: the fear of succeeding.

The reasons for those fears are many. They go back to our childhood and to our relationships with people who have demanded of us. Some of them are because of physical inabilities, handicaps or illnesses. They are all the same, and each of them accordingly prevent us from realizing our dreams, from reaching the goals that we set for ourselves and more importantly, from reaching the goals that God wants us to set for ourselves.

Each of the stewards in this story are given different amounts to remind us that life deals out different hands to different people. Some may have more, and others may have less, but in each case we have a responsibility to take what is given to you and maximize it. I invite you today to really think about that stewardship that God has entrusted us with – the life that you have – to end the fears that prevent you from really fulfilling the dreams are inside of your heart. There are so many beautiful things all around you, and I invite you to look beyond the material gains. This is not an exercise in prosperity but an exercise in fulfilling the dreams of your heart and of reaching the potential that you have.

During this Lenten Journey we realize that the curtains in front of us need to be drawn, and that we do want to see the beauty in life. Because we want it, we know that God has placed that desire in our hearts. Let us seek the beauty that God has set up all around us and know that with His help those potentials can be realized and actualized.

We now pray the prayer of St. Nerses Shnorhali
Protector of your Creatures, by the sign of your holy cross, keep my soul and body from the allurement of sin, from the temptation of the devil and unjust people, and from all perils of soul and body. Have mercy upon all your creatures, and upon me, a great sinner. Amen. (I Confess with Faith, 14/24)

Image by Anemone123 from Pixabay

Balancing our Dreams, Faith and Works: Lent Day 13

Day 13: Balancing our Dreams, Faith and Works

Lenten Recipe

Recipe 13: Stir -Fried Asparagus 

 The Apostle James writes that faith without works is useless. Many times, we are challenged to really put our faith into action. At those moments we realize that only by virtue of our actions does our faith have meaning. That is, our faith has value and structure because of our actions. Conversely, works without faith leads to a confusing mixture of ideas, motives and goals.
This balancing act between faith and works is usually defined in logical terms. When we think and act according to the principles set forth in our brain, we are acting by reason, based on the wisdom that we have acquired through life. While this is very important in practical terms, the Christian needs to excel in the area of dreaming – to dream of the impossible dreams.
When you think and act according to your heart, then and there, you understand that your movements and actions are based on the passions you have inside of you. This is the faith that can move mountains. Think with your heart and not with your brain when it comes to doing the impossible.
At his Crucifixion, Jesus did the impossible. He forgave of people who had betrayed and handed Him over to death. He forgave the people who were nailing Him to the tree. He forgave the generations of people that had ignored the pleas for peace, disregarded the expressions of love and were paying back love with hatred. Jesus did the impossible. He forgave with His Heart. Likewise, when we think of all the actions that are demanded of us as Christians, rise to the higher occasion. Push yourself, particularly during this Lenten Season, to look for those opportunities to find the truth that is beyond reason.  Pay back everyone with love. To offer kindness to those who are kind to you, is only human. To pay back evil and hatred with kindness and love is surely divine. In this state, we come to find that our actions are built on a solid and strong foundation namely, on Jesus Christ, that is Love incarnate. When faith is based on love, we have the ability to open our heart to impossible possibilities. They are all around us.
God is calling you during this Lenten Season to do the impossible and build your actions on Christ. Pay back hatred with kindness and evil with love. If you think about it, whatever your goals may be you can reach those goals – you can make impossible goals possible – when you put love as the center piece of your heart, your life and all of the actions that you take.
Let us now offer a prayer from St. Nerses Shnorhali:(Dedicated to the Holy Spirit)
Spirit of God, true God, who descended into the Jordan and into the upper chamber and who enlightened me by baptism in the Holy font, I have sinned before Heaven and before You. Cleanse me with Your Divine Fire as You purified the Holy Apostle with fiery tongues. Have mercy upon me and a great sinner. Amen.
Image by Gidon Pico from Pixabay

Dreams of the Heart

Armodoxy for Today: Dreams of the Heart

The song played over the car radio speakers, and I reminisced about the first time I heard this tune. It was a song about reminiscing from a time when I had no need for such sentimental thoughts. But today, I was right in the grove: “Those were the Days” performed by Mary Hopkin. The song deals with reminiscence of both youth and romantic idealism: “Oh, my friend, we’re older but no wiser, for in our hearts the dreams are still the same… Those were the Days…”she sings.

There is much to reminisce on this 11th day of September, especially when we remember our world, pre-9/11. Yes, those were the days: I recall a naïve world of sorts. But even more, I ponder why we continue to make the same mistakes over and over again. Is it because we’ve grown older and yet no wiser? Is it really because our dreams have stayed the same?

Albert Einstein brought it down to a definition of insanity. He said doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results was insane. Yes, that is “getting older but no wiser” to the nth degree. It is insanity. But we continue to opt for the same-old-same-old. We believe politicians, put our trust on material wealth, feel secure with weapons of destruction and believe in superstitious notions of lucky charms and pre-planned destiny. Why? Why have we grown older but no wiser? Is it because our dreams have stayed the same?

Jesus says “No one puts a piece from a new garment on an old one; otherwise the new makes a tear, and also the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine will burst the wineskins and be spilled, and the wineskins will be ruined.  But new wine must be put into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Luke 5:36-38)

The Christian message is a radical departure from anything else. Why else do we call the entrance into the Christian life, as a new birth? We are born anew from the womb of the Church – the Holy Font of Baptism – and thus enter a new life. Our new life cannot be put into the old holding tank. New life demands that we assess our dreams and evaluate them in the context of our new life. There will be cases where the dreams may be different and at times our dreams may remain the same. However, what does change when we encounter Christ, is a change of heart. Within that changed heart, the place of our dreams will guide us to seek solutions not without, but within. After all, we all know that the first step to actualize a dream is to wake up.

9/11 was a terror attack on the United States. It wasn’t the first and it won’t be the last. Terror is the means by which humans are controlled in places such as Artsakh, as well as in the Congo, Sudan, Central America, and even on the streets of America.

Let us pray the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
Where there is offence, let me bring pardon.
Where there is discord, let me bring union.
Where there is error, let me bring truth.
Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
O Master, let me not seek as much
to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that one receives,
it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.

Bee Dreams

Next Step #738: Bees in a dream and a voice from beyond: Miracle or not and the message that comes through. Reveal party for the Epostle.net reviewed. Passing of Uncle Peter: Part of the universe he studied. Podcast and book recommendation.
International Conference of Armenian Clergy
Corrigan Interview with Anthony Ray Hinton
Kelly Corrigan podcast
Nancy Cartwright, “My life as a 10 year old boy
Gor Mkhitarian
Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for InHisShoes.org
Listen via Stitcher Radio on demand!
Listen on Apple Podcasts

Potential to Reality: Ascension to Pentecost

Next Step #51 – May 27, 2009

Caught between the 40th and 50th days after Easter, a look at dreams turning into life. What is life without dreams? When hope is gone, can there even be a glimmer of life? This next step examines the tragedy of children being tried as adults. Community, or CHURCH, becomes a means to maximizing our potention to love.
Poet William Archila reads from the “Art of Exile”
Song: “Vijag” by Zulal

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