A dear friend of mine posted an amazing blog about Trump, expressing much more eloquently than I could, why I cannot support Trump. Please follow the link below if you’re interested.
A dear friend of mine posted an amazing blog about Trump, expressing much more eloquently than I could, why I cannot support Trump. Please follow the link below if you’re interested.
That awkward moment when you realize the person treating you like crap is your “neighbor” and you’ve sort of got to treat him with mercy and love. That happened to me recently. I was working with someone on a project (a board game I’m preparing to Kickstart) and I didn’t effectively communicate with him to make my dream a reality. He didn’t take it well, to say the least. I tried my best to apologize and make amends but he ignored all that and in my heart I passed judgment on him.
It seems like such a small thing, passing judgment on someone who rubs us the wrong way, it seems such a small thing, a harmless thing, a justified thing at times to judge and speak ill of those who offend us. “They deserve it,” “That person is rotten to the core,” “She is just getting what she deserves,” “I’m only speaking the truth about him so it’s not really gossip.” But in reality, it’s a big problem. I’m not claiming it’s easy, to show mercy and forgiveness, in fact I fail at it myself so often, but it’s worth saying and being reminded of. After all, St. Therese said, “You cannot be half a saint. You must be a whole saint or no saint at all.” And it’s precisely in these little things where we fail to be a whole saint.
Today’s Gospel strikes to the heart of the matter: Luke 10:25-37. In this passage Jesus is questioned by a scholar as to how to inherit eternal life. Is this not the crux of sanctity… uniting ourselves for eternity with God?! Jesus turns the question around on the scholar and asks him to sum up the Law (which in the Jewish understanding meant “teaching”). The scholar responds by stating the “Greatest Commandment”: to love God with your whole self and to love your neighbor as yourself. “Do this and you shall live,” Jesus responds. Easy, right?
The scholar, perceiving exactly how difficult this would be immediately wishes to justify himself by asking, “Who is my neighbor?” This the way of things, isn’t it? “But Lord, my neighbor s a jerk!” “I’m just trying to teach him a lesson!” “He deserves it!” “He doesn’t deserve my love, he’s a sinner!” “He’s disgusting, his lifestyle is so obviously wrong that I just can’t love him.” “What would others think of me?”
To our limited vision, according to worldly wisdom our justifications make sense. But our ways are not the Lord’s ways. How does Jesus respond to the “justified” scholar? By telling him the story of the Good Samaritan. You know the story, the priest and scholar ignored the dying man on the road but the Samaritan (the one who was considered lower than a dog, to Jews) saw the man’s wounds and had merciful love on him. And that is how we’re called to act to all we meet along this road of life; it’s not easy.
Most people we meet along our road are not literally lying in the street bloodied and dying. As always, when reading Scripture we must probe deeper than the surface of things. Most people look normal and healthy, as you and I do. But that’s only because most wounds are not visible to our senses. Each of us is broken and dying on the inside. Most of us harbor deep wounds that cause us to love like half saints, or even less than that. The robbers who left the man for dead are all those that wound us throughout our lives, who hurt us, abandon us and leave us for dead; those who rob us of our dignity through bullying; those who rob us of our ability to have healthy relationships through abuse and neglect; those who rob us of so much more, often times because of their own wounds.
So that person who “deserves” our justified judgment is wounded just as we are and thus, in God’s eyes demands our mercy and love! It is up to us to enter into the person’s woundedness, even if that simply means forgiving them in your heart and not judging them. A transgression forgiven heals the victim and the transgressor, for “where sin abounds grace abounds all the more”.
But, if possible, more is demanded of us. To love our neighbor as ourselves requires sacrifice and accompaniment. We are called, not simply to have pity on our neighbor but mercy. And mercy doesn’t simply pour some ointment on the wound and walk away. The Samaritan didn’t just pour some wine and oil on the man’s wounds and go on his merry way. No, he lifted him onto his own donkey and carried him to an inn and paid for his care and promised his return.
Do you see that accompaniment?! The Samaritan accompanied this man to safety, to deep healing; he loved him as a brother, a man who likely would have treated the Samaritan as a dog if they’d met under different circumstances. Recall, this is a story directly out of Jesus’ mouth, not just a nice thought of some pious theologian living in a comfy monastery. This is the demands of love, of the Law of eternal salvation. To be a whole saint means to have merciful love on all those we meet, on each and every one of our neighbors, no matter how beautiful or disfigured (inside or out) they may be. We are not called to save them; we are called to love them; just as we are not called to save ourselves but to be faithful to the One who loves us onto eternal life.
That awkward moment when you realize that for the last three years you’ve been attacked by a life-sucking monster and had no idea.
* The below post is an article published in “Family Foundations” a Natural Family Planning magazine published by the Couple to Couple League (www.ccli.org). It is republished here with permission and some modifications by the author.
It happened about two months ago, the day our whole world fell apart. It seemed rather sudden, but looking back I can see that life-sucking monster growing in the shadows for months, years even. It grew unnoticed or unchecked and even when the monster did start to reveal itself, we ignored it, pushed it back down and made excuses for it. But the monster of Depression wasn’t going anywhere without a direct fight. Looking back, we see that it was sometime after our 2nd child was born when Maria started feeling the effects of Postpartum Depression. She journaled that her joy was slowly slipping away as she felt overwhelmed more and more each day and life became a burden, but she soldiered on like a “good wife and mother”. I didn’t notice anything at all; she put on a good front and despite all those communication blessings that flow from using NFP, we never really discussed it.
I was consumed in my work doing youth ministry, working 3-4 nights a week… 4-5 nights a week. Maria took on a part time job and then another to help make ends meet while trying to home school our three children and slowly the monster grew. It slowly sucked away her joy, her patience, her hope. She stopped listening to music; she dropped her hobbies and kept trudging along, washing and folding clothes, working on work, feeding and clothing our kids, etc., etc., etc. It was a long day, every day. And I slowly grew accustomed to a joyless wife and began detaching from her as she detached from life. And slowly my joy slipped away too.
After 2 ½ years, she began to cry out in desperation, meekly asking for help. I noticed and tried to accommodate, offering to help, asking what I could do. But we didn’t really sit down and discuss it; neither wanted to burden the other. She started seeing a therapist who suggested depression and possibly medication. We resisted. I resisted. But finally it was too much.
If you want to know what it’s like, then pick up a glass of water and hold it straight out for a minute. It’s not too difficult but keep holding it out for 10 minutes, for an hour, for a day. Eventually, your arm becomes numb and paralyzed and it all comes crashing down. That’s what happened, or almost happened. But my beautiful bride cried out and I finally had ears to listen and we sought help, and are now slowly healing and finding our way back to good. I’d forgotten what it was like to hear her laugh, to see her smile. It’s beautiful.
Hindsight is 20/20. I wish I’d probed deeper into her feelings. I wish I’d done more than just ask what she needed. I wish I’d left work earlier. I wish.
I wish I’d used the lessons I learned in NFP and applied them to my life. NFP teaches us to check our wife’s temperature every morning, to record her signs and to reflect on our status; and when one of us is struggling, the other can pick up the slack because we’re a team. And this truth applies to more than just fertility awareness. It applies to all of our marriage… asking not just how I could help, but seeking to understand what is going on inside of her, emotionally, spiritually and physically.
Let’s be honest, most of us men don’t like to do that (stereotypes exist for a reason). We’re often exhausted at the end of our day of work and make excuses as to why I need to “veg” out in front of the TV for 3 hours rather than spend 15, 30 or 60 minutes talking to the woman whom I’ve committed my life to, the mother of my children, my best friend and most trusted confidant. She’s my wife after all, she’ll be there tomorrow when I need her… but when will I be there for her? She needed me then and I’m struggling with the guilt of not doing more when I could have. It’s something I need to come to terms with. Both of us made mistakes. Both of us are in the process of healing. It’s long road, a hard road, but a road worth going the distance on (if you find yourself on it). We lost sight of who God was calling us to be. We let our immediate desires take the place of our deepest needs. God allowed us to travel on this road and He is is trustworthy; he is good.
God is good… if not predictable in his incessant imaging of himself in his creation. Natural Family Planning doesn’t just help us plan our families. It mirrors life. Theology of the Body is the study of who we are and who God is through our created selves. All of life is a mirror, a reflection of God and our destiny. When we lose sight of that, we lose sight of ourselves. When we lose ourselves, we slowly slip away. The constant daily checkups in NFP are a reminder of a deeper checkup… am I living as God intended, am I being the person he intended me to be?
Maria & I lost sight of these truths over the last few months… years. We lost sight of ourselves as reflected in Christ. But through his grace, we’re finding his vision again, in a greater clarity than we ever had before.
That moment when you’re scrolling through Facebook and realize that all the perfect lives you see in front of you aren’t all that perfect, or that moment as you sit at a long stop light and watch the faces of people as they drive by and you wonder what kind of hidden burdens, crushing grief or soul sucking crap they’re dealing with; because let’s be honest… a great majority of us are struggling with something, whether for a brief period or a long haul that we hide behind a polite smile and a joke.
If we’re really being honest, life’s pretty hard, for some it really just kind of sucks sometimes. I don’t know if anyone has ever said this, but I’m sure there’s some sort of quote by some famous person that basically says, “All of life is one big struggle to pull yourself out of suffering and then you die.” I’m pretty sure that’s how the majority of people feel, at least some of the time.
So then, we have two basic choices when it comes to faith…
If the first option is true then read Ecclesiastes. It’ll do you some good. The point of that most profound of books… there is no purpose, life is one endless chase after the wind and you might as well chase after the “good life” and then die. If this is what you believe then you should stop reading this and go chase after the wind; after all, what you’re reading then really has no meaning, no purpose and no point.
If the second option exists then well, you have some real thinking to do. You’re most likely currently carrying a heavy load of skubala** (the Greek word St. Paul used to describe everything that is not God… shit). How do I know you’re carrying a heavy load of shit? That’s simple, we all are. Every. Single. One. Of. Us has some load of skubala. Now then, does God care or doesn’t he?
We have so many pretty songs of hope. Listen to Christian music for just a few hours and you’ll realize that every song basically says the same thing… trust in God’s mercy. Read the Bible for more than a couple of days and you’ll realize that almost every passage says the same thing… trust in God’s mercy. Hope. Hope in God’s love. Hope in God’s mercy. Let go and let God.
Here’s the problem, letting God doesn’t necessarily resolve your skubala, does it? “Letting God” doesn’t really solve anything, other than passing the buck from you to God. Pass the buck all you want but at the end of the day you’ve still gotta deal with the skubala. And sometimes, that load of skubala is just too much to carry. Sometimes, it’s just too much. Can you imagine drowning in a bottomless pit of skubala ? I think you can, most of us can, most of us have felt that way at some point in our lives. In those moments, where is this merciful God we claim to trust in?
He’s standing at the bottom of the bottomless pit and raising his hands up high in order to catch your feet and hold you up high enough to keep you nose above water / skubala . That’s where he is. He’s a the bottom of the pit. Do you think he descended into hell for nothing? Sure our theology tells us he descended into hell to bring all those souls like Abrahama, Isaac and Jacob up to heaven. But I’ll tell you another reason he descended into hell, so that you wouldn’t have to be alone at the bottom of hole of shit, so that you wouldn’t have to suffer in your pile of skubala by yourself, while all your friends slept peacefully just a short distance away.
I’ve been told that “Your god doesn’t care.” My response? My God cares, he cares so much that he didn’t just look on and hold my hand while I was suffering, he became suffering! He descended into hell for me! St. Teresa of Avila was once granted the “grace” of visiting hell. When she returned she taught that it was worth spending your entire life just to save one single soul from hell. Think about that. Hell is so bad that it would be worth wasting every breathe you are granted just to prevent one single soul from it. For perspective, I wouldn’t spend a day preventing someone from watching Episode 1 of Star Wars.
And here our God went to hell and back for me. And so I go to hell and back for you. That’s why I suffer, for you. I let go and let God. Letting God doesn’t mean I let him simply take my place or that I let him remove my suffering.
It means I let God take my suffering, that I offer for you, to himself and let him suffer that hell with me… for you. Does that make sense? Through my suffering he continues to stand at the bottom of the bottomless pit of skubala and hold us up. I stand on his hands and you stand on mine and I stand on yours and we manage not to drown in this skubala … this shit.
I’m sure that C.S. Lewis and G. K Chesterton say this all much more eloquently than I do, but if we’re being honest, you’re much more likely to keep scrolling through Facebook than you are to read Lewis or Chesterton***. So I leave you with this: that suffering of yours, that hell on earth, that skubala, isn’t for nothing. It’s for me. I need you. Your life is mine and my life is yours; you’re suffering for me, I’m suffering for you; all for one and one for all. Your suffering has meaning, it’s helping to save my life. My suffering has meaning and purpose because it makes up for what is lacking in the suffering of Christ. It helps to save your soul and that gives me hope, it gives my suffering meaning. And trust me, when you feel like you’re drowning in a pit of skubala every little bit of hope helps.
* Don’t worry, if God is really a good and just God and the God of mercy, then me calling him an “asshole” isn’t really a big deal. I think he prefers honesty over false piety.
** Philippians 3:8
*** If you are interested in reading more eloquent verse on this type of topic I strongly recommend you check out the following sources:
That moment you park your car, step out and look up at the night sky and see all the stars twinkling and a cloud slowly drifts past the moon and you realize that those mountainous stressful struggles you’re dealing with are really ant hills in comparison. Then you realize that they’re actually crosses given as a gift.
What is it you’re living for? What is it that consumes the majority of your thought and time? For me it’s a countless list of things that are a mix of important moments and trivial details. My wife and kids, the teens in my youth program, that dumb driver in front of me and the lack of success of my garden, to name a few. But does that really answer the first question? What am I living for? It often seems to me like I’m stuck in the moment, trying to finish a list of tasks so that I can get to my real goal… relaxing, taking it easy, zoning out. Each night I get home and think to myself, what has to be done so that I can relax? That seems to be my primary goal, the easy life… retirement.
Is that the goal of my life, retirement? The good life? I hope not, I pray it’s more than that. I pray that the goal of my life is resurrection… eternal life, because how I live my life affects not just my eternity but the eternity of others. But it’s so difficult to really live that one out, isn’t it? It’s so much easier to simply live to relax or to have fun; the resurrection is so far out there, a long way off and it’s so easy to forget about and to get lost in all the little details, pleasures and stresses in life. But I also think it’s so difficult to live for the Resurrection when I don’t really know what that is. I mean yes, we have our general answers of paradise, the eternal wedding banquet, perfect joy, etc. But if we’re being honest, those things are really quite vague and it’s hard to live life for something so vague and distant. It’s hard to contemplate it; to focus on something that is out of focus.
We need to contemplate it, don’t we? After all, how we live our lives today affects us both tomorrow and for eternity. Every action has a consequence; our lives are a sum total of how we have loved and surprisingly even the smallest of choices play a part in how we love. And in contemplating the Resurrection we can gain perspective on our lives today, we gain direction and motivation for those choices. I recently heard a priest state that the capacity by which we love here on earth is the capacity we will have in heaven to be filled with God’s love. Think about that! If I stretch my heart to the size of a thimble then I will be eternally satisfied with a thimble-full of God’s love! While I will praise God for eternity for him filling me, I don’t want just a thimble-full of God’s love, I want an ocean-full! I want my wife and children to have an ocean-full! I need to focus on the unfocused.
St. Theresa of Avila once said, after having been granted the “grace” of visiting hell that it is worth spending your entire life saving just one soul from hell. How many people do we casually let slip into hell because (fill in the blank with some lame excuse)? How we live our lives affects the lives of others and their eternal life. I need to focus on the unfocused!
But I have so many other things weighing me down, so many burdens and stresses and responsibilities! I can’t be responsible for someone else’s salvation! I’m just trying to survive the day!
I hear that excuse a lot… I say that excuse a lot; I probably think something like it at least once or twenty times a day. But the beauty of focusing on the Resurrection helps me to carry the crosses I’ve been blessed with. The Resurrection gives our lives meaning and direction; otherwise I’m just carrying my cross in circles, getting nowhere. Without the Resurrection, Christ was just carrying his Cross through Jerusalem in a never-ending maze of uselessness!
The Resurrection of Christ puts everything we do and everything we believe into focus and opens up the potential that even our worst and most meaningless sufferings take on a glorious purpose. The Resurrection wasn’t just a renewal of this life of endless suffering broken with moments of relaxation and pleasure. The Resurrection of Christ is an entirely new life! The Resurrection opens up our lives onto an eternity of meaning, an eternity of hope, and an eternity of love, so vast that these words, “meaning, hope, love” are but straw to a fire (as St. Thomas said after having been granted the grace of visiting heaven). Or, as it says in 1 Cor. 2:9 “Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it even so much as dawned upon man, what God has in store for those who love him.”
Eternity is not far off into the future, or even far off into this brief flicker of a life. It is right next to me. Eternity isn’t out there, somewhere in the future. I’m not walking towards eternity. I’m walking next to it. It’s right there just a step away to my right and my left, behind and before me.
Perhaps my resurrection is so out of focus because it’s too close? Perhaps it’s not my resurrection I need to focus on but my neighbors? Perhaps, instead of focusing on my own crosses I need to focus on lifting my neighbors? Then suddenly, I hope, I’ll be able to comprehend a bit of the incomprehensible that awaits each of us and that is worth spending my entire life just to help one other get there?
That awkward moment when you’re driving down the road and suddenly realize that you forgot how old you are… “I’m 38,” you say to yourself. “No, wait, I’m 39. Wait, did I turn 38 or 39 last month? Oh shoot, I can’t remember. I think it was 39, but I’m not a year away from 40, am I? No, it has to be 38.” Then you have to start from 1977 and count forwards on your fingers until you realize with great despair and sorrow that you are in fact 39.
Fortunately, nobody was around to witness this torturous moment of self-awareness. Yes, I am 39 years old, one year away from 40 and I’m no closer to being a saint than I was at 28, sometimes I feel even further away. Ugh. Think of it this way, my life is perhaps half over and the seemingly “best years”, the ones in which I’m supposed to be fired by passion and hopeful zeal for change have slipped away. It’s funny, I used to think I’d be dead by the time I was 40, it seemed like I would have accomplished all I needed to by then. But now, the deadline looms large and I look back and realize that I let slip by so many of the best years of my life. So many of the saints were saints by now or well on their way. But where am I; still dawdling at the starting line, distracted by things that are really nothing.
This connects to what dawned on me just the other day in my favorite place to meditate, the shower… I’m not sure I really want to be a saint. I mean, sure I want to be a saint, but do I really WANT to be a saint? I don’t know. I want to go to heaven, of course; I love God and I love His Church, its teachings Traditions, doctrines, and pretty much the entire beautiful mess that makes up the Body of Christ. But I don’t think I want to give up my video games, sleeping in, binge watching Netflix, superhero movies, driving too fast and everything else I waste time doing.
Now, if you’ve been reading my blog for some time (there aren’t very many of you, so thanks) you’re probably expecting some deep insight or profound encouragement, but I honestly don’t have it. If I’m being honest, I’m content in my contentedness; I’m content to keep chipping away with tiny little chisel blows at the colossal boulder that sits in place of my heart when I know I need a sledge hammer. (Maybe this means God is going to be swinging that sledge hammer with or without my permission soon enough and he’s trying to get me ready for it… in that case I can only cry, cringe and hope for the best I suppose. – Romans 8:28.)
Why am I being so honest? Because I’m convinced that a majority of people feel the same way and it doesn’t do us any good to pretend otherwise. I’m not saying that I’m giving up, nor am I satisfied with my reality. Of course I’m still going to try to love God, my wife, my kids and my neighbor as best I can. But I need to be honest because I can’t get to my destination if I lie about where I am. If I somehow convince my Waze GPS program that I’m somewhere I’m not, no matter how accurate the program is, I will never reach my destination… to see the Face of God.
But how can I see if I am blind? Am I blind? I feel as if I have a split personality at times, as if half of me were like the man born blind in John 9, who once he was healed believed in God and worshipped him; and the other half of me is like the Pharisees who knew the truths of God but are unable to see… unable to believe and be healed. “Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, “We see,” so your sin remains.” (John 9:41)
Please God, let me see my blindness! Let me see the Truth of my sin, my weakness, my false reality (i.e. those things that distract me from you). Heal the brokenness within me and without. Give me the grace to change. I give you permission to change that which I lack the strength to change myself.
That awkward moment I was bounding up the main stairs of the Catholic high school just as all the teens were being dismissed and filing out into the halls and parking lot, and my foot missed the next step and I face-plant in front of all of them… not a good way to make a first impression.
One of the most profoundly important scenes in the Gospel is one that is often overlooked or treated as a nice story but left behind quickly as it is a bit confusing… the Transfiguration. The Transfiguration is contained in all three synoptic Gospels, with a brief reference in John; in each instance the Transfiguration is a turning point, the fulcrum to the whole story of our redemption.
To see the face of God… to see God, Face to face… it is the destiny, the dream of every human heart because it is the fulfillment of every human desire. Yet, to see God’s face is death; that is, we cannot see God’s face until we have faces with which to see him. (Peter Kreeft).
What do the above two points have to do with each other? What do they have to do with Good Friday and Easter? Why write about his today? I’m so glad you asked.
The Transfiguration is the fulcrum to the entire Gospel and yet is so often misunderstood or glossed over because there is simply so much going on. Prior to the Transfiguration Christ had spent his entire ministry in Galilee, healing, teaching and doing miracles. After the Transfiguration he sets his face towards Jerusalem and to his ultimate glory. The story is a Theophany in that it reveals God. It is a mountain top experience, a foreshadowing of our destiny in heaven. And it is a Christophany in that it reveals the true nature of Christ, the summation of the Law and the Prophets (Moses and Elijah), but not just a summation for Christ goes beyond them, becoming the lasting fullness of God’s revelation… the revelation of the Face of God.
As Jesus is praying his face was changed and his clothes became dazzling white. This is a vision of the heavenly glory that awaits each of us, but more importantly, it is a vision of the Face of Christ unveiled for our human eyes to see. In this glimpse we see the glory of God, but it is just a glimpse. One of the most important lessons I have learned from this passage is that in order to obtain the beatific vision in its fullness, like Christ we must first pass through the valley of the cross.
I love the reaction of the Apostles because it shows clearly that even they didn’t get it. They were as thick-headed as I am. Just a few days prior Jesus had told them that “if any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Then, in the Transfiguration, he discusses his exodus, i.e. his Passion, with Moses and Elijah; Peter, John and James, completely miss the point! They want to make three tents, three chapels where they can keep that encounter alive. They want to stay on the mountain. Can you really blame them?
To the ancient Jewish mind (and the modern mind too), suffering meant that God had abandoned you, that you had somehow caused God to leave you to wallow in your misery. That’s what Job’s three friends accused Job of when he suffered more grief and loss in one day than most people suffer in a lifetime. And Peter, John and James didn’t want to descend into the valley, to leave behind this mountaintop experience. They wanted to stay there, where it was safe and comfortable and “heavenly”. Who can blame them?
But a cloud comes down upon the three disciples and the voice of God booms, “This is my beloved Son, listen to him!” I love this! It reminds me of the countless times I’ve bent down to my four year old who is blessed with an active imagination, so much so that he rarely hears what others are saying to him or asking of him. I repeatedly bend down and call out his name, “Dominic! Listen with your ears!” The apostles, like us, needed to learn to listen to Jesus, who had just commanded them to take up their crosses, to descend into the valley of the cross and suffer like Christ.
Why? Why must we suffer? Simply this… to find our faces. What’s the point of suffering, of Good Friday? What’s so good about it anyway?! As Peter Kreeft describes, our hearts are like granite blocks in the hands of a master sculptor who must chisel away the stone until our true image appears.
I remember hearing once that a master sculptor, when he obtains a new block of granite, doesn’t just start chipping away but rather listens to the stone, spends time with it and studies it in order to find it’s true nature. I like to imagine the Father does the same with us, he sees the true nature, our real faces inside the deep recesses of the stone. And the blow of the hammer against the chisel, our suffering, is what brings our true nature out.
That’s what’s so good about Good Friday… the true nature of Christ is revealed in his face, the most beautiful face of love, the suffering Christ, the Holy Face, the scourged face, the crucified face of Christ. And in that most horrible moment, in the suffering that broke the world, Christ took upon himself the suffering of the world and transformed it into the most beautiful, powerful, death destroying love. That is a good Friday! That is the beauty of our suffering… it enables us to find our faces so as to meet Him face to Face.
The mountaintop experience gives us hope and strength to endure the valley of the cross. We cannot stay on the mountain any more than we can stay in heaven… until we have found our faces. And so like Christ, having encountered his glory on the mountaintop (the retreat or prayer experience) we must set our faces towards Jerusalem… our own individual exodus’ by taking up those little crosses of daily life and follow him. And as we walk through this valley of the shadow of death we find that each thorn, each whip, even the nails piercing our hands and feet become as beautiful roses, a garden of joy and peace… because like Job, we find our own faces and are able to meet God, Face to face and be satisfied.