Monday, July 27, 2009

The Fire of the Holy Spirit

So, recently I have been contemplating the meaning of "righteous anger" - its foundations in the Bible, its use, its purpose, its meaning, etc... It is a confusing topic!! It is something that is not often highlighted about God, because He is all-loving and and all-forgiving, but there is a side to His love that is fiercely protective of His beloved!!!

Take the story of the flight from Egypt that we heard the other day as a reading at Mass. Moses was leading the Israelites out of Egypt, and God led them through the Red Sea - PARTED the Sea for them!! - and KILLED all the Egyptians by causing the Sea to CRASH IN ON THEM! This is a God of strength, conviction, and FIERCE love. This is a God reminiscent of a mother bear, protecting her cubs at ALL costs from their enemies.

We need only to think of the Holy Spirit - the FIRE of God's love - in order to understand this concept more fully. What is fire? It has the potential to be either extremely destructive or extremely helpful. It can be the hearth fire that warms the house, cooks the meals, and sterilizes the water for drinking, or it can be the conflagration that wipes out a forest, that destroys the village, that makes dust and ashes of what was once solid - reduces it back to its very creation!!! That is QUITE the contrast!

Even Mary, meek and mild, God's most beautiful creation, has a professed and dedicated hatred of Satan. Genesis 3:15 declared that there would be "enmity" between "the woman" (Mary, the new Eve) and the snake (Satan), and between her seed (her children) and his seed (his followers). This is a STRONG statement!! The children of Mary, who are the children of God, are to have HATRED for Satan's followers - but what does this mean, and how does it manifest itself? Often, we see the positive side of this relationship, meaning that we experience a closeness to Mary (as illustrated here is amazingly cute detail: :) ), but when we are confronted by Satan, our polar opposite, our professed and hated enemy, what happens?

Well, let's consider the facts. Satan is always depicted as a snake underneath Mary's foot, and Mary is always stepping on him. It always appeared to me as a child that it was a ginger step, that she had control over him and was simply constricting his movement. But Mary's hatred for Satan logically would cause a more dramatic action than a simple step. It is a CRUSHING step, a step of ENMITY. The New International Version of Genesis 3:15 says that "[The woman] will crush your head, and you will strike [the woman's] heel." CRUSH - not maim, not injure, but CRUSH.

Satan will strike at your heel - your achilles' heel, that is. Whatever it may be. Sex, drugs, rock n'roll, whatever. And Mary will forever have enmity for him, she will HATE him enspirited with the passion and fire of the Holy Spirit forever - and we are called to do the same.

It is important to remember, however, is the fact that the REASON why there is such enmity between Mary and Satan is because of her humility, her ultimate dependence on God's Will. It is where her strength is founded, and where Satan falls, because he is pride in its most concentrated form.

So, what does this mean for us? It means, to quote Dylan Thomas, "rage, rage against the dying of the light." Righteous anger is not originated in self, but rather in the Holy Spirit. It is an outrage at offenses against which is good and holy, like Jesus' outburst in the temple where he overturned the tables of the moneychangers (Matthew 21:12-13). It is NOT self-seeking, it is in total accordance with every rule of love set forth in 1 Corinthians 13. Yet, it takes into account that we are IN this world but not OF it, it takes into account that our love of God trumps our love of man and love of this earth EVERY TIME, WITHOUT QUESTION. In essence, Jesus demonstrated the same fierce love of God that God demonstrated with the Israelites - Jesus' destructive love was a love that explained how God could "tear down the temple and rebuild it in three days." It was a love that went beyond the "niceness" typically associated with sugar-sweet love in our culture - the kind you link to candy hearts and saccharine sentiments. It was REAL love, TRUE love, FIERCE love. The love of a mother for her son, the love of a man for Christ, His Savior, and for God, His Creator.

Let us all pray for the Fire of the Holy Spirit, that we might have as fierce a love of God as Jesus, His only Son. Let us pray that we might be instilled with the courage of this Fire and the sword of God's Word as our armaments against Satan, and that we might be protected by the shield of Mary, clothing ourselves in her humility over our own sinful nature!!

Caritas ferus ad Christi per Mariam,
Christina :)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Putting the "Christ" into Cop Culture, or, Rather, Getting the Christ out of Pop Culture!!!

There is hope for the hopeful, folks, it's official: God IS officially located in almost every possible corner, every fragment of this earth that we could EVER possibly seek Him(!!)

While it is a lot EASIER to see Christ at Church, as He is DIRECTLY and FULLY present in the Eucharist, it is also possible to find Him if we look long and hard at the movies, music, artwork, books, and television of our culture. Yes, it's true that a lot of violent, sex-infused, and just plain strange pieces of culture out there, but one also has to remember (I say "has to" because one NEEDS to remember) that our culture is ALSO one that desperately yearns for Christ, and manifests that yearning in ways that are sometimes difficult to understand. But, the important thing is that this yearning EXISTS and is REAL.

Take the movie Pirates of the Caribbean 3, for example. I was sort of watching it the other day while ironing (anyone noticing a theme?? :) ), and kept thinking to myself, "hmmmm, interesting the relationship between Davy Jones and Calypso - he cut out his heart and placed it into a wooden chest, kind of like Jesus gave up His heart - His entire body, for that matter - for the Church." Now, maybe you are sighing right now, thinking, "this girl is crazy - overanalyzing EVERYTHING to represent the Church." But, if it were not an endlessly fascinating and mind-boggling mystery, why would the single most important act in the history of the earth (aside from its creation in the first place) have captivated the hearts and minds of man since it first occurred? (I say first because it is re-created every time that we celebrate the Mass).

So many movies, songs, books, and artwork concern themselves with the subject of sacrificial love. Harry Potter, beloved hero of the famous set of novels with his name, is the PERFECT example of this: Christian values imprinted on a children's (and mature adults', because of the themes) book. His parents died in order to save him, and this love protected him from the "evil one," Voldemort. Without giving anything away, Harry's bravery is completely sacrificial - in order to save the world from the evil one, he uses courage, a "holy daring," if you will, his friends, and knowledge as his tools. We would be well-equipped for our own battles against the Evil One who-shall-not-be-named if we were to carry those same tools with us into the spiritual battles that take place on the very battlegrounds of our souls - courage and faith in God's Will, that we might take heart knowing that the Lord's kindness will follow us wherever His Will leads us, friends who we might love as God loved us, that we might understand, as social human beings, the true love of Jesus Christ, and knowledge, that we might understand the ways of loving, the ways of fighting, the ways of best serving God as He intended for us, to know ourselves and to know God are the best tools against Satan in his never-ending quest to confuse our knowledge of who we are, God's Will for us, and how we are meant to achieve God's Will.

But Harry Potter is not the only Catholic success story. "Secular" artwork and photographs, such as Dorothea Lange's Migrant Mother (I learned about this photo in a class I took on Protest Literature), also bear significant witness to the Virgin Mary in all her sufferings, love, and glory. This image was my desktop background for a long time, before I realized that the reason why I was so equally captivated and inspired by it was because it was representative of Our Dear Mother Mary, representative of the beauty and dignity of her suffering, the humanity of her suffering as a loving mother. Her selflessness, her hope in God, her trust in Him - the list goes on forever.

But, since a picture says a thousand words, here is a link to the photo:

Lange said of the experience of photographing this mother: "I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it."

Talk about appropriate - don't we feel the same way approaching the Virgin Mary?? Don't we feel as though we are attracted to a magnet, this beautiful creature of love and humility? Don't we appreciate the fact that her love, which is a reflection of the very love of God Himself, bears all our faults, carries us through our weakness, mothers us into the very arms of Jesus Christ himself? Allows us the privilege of calling ourselves the brothers and sisters of Christ, raised under the same mother, nurtured by the same "woman" of God's perfect creation?!

So, let us be impassioned by the Holy Spirit through pop culture. Rather than denouncing all that surrounds us as evil, let us LOOK for Christ in the world around us - just as the woman who lost her gold coin searched for it throughout the entire house until she found it (Luke 15:8-10), let us not give up on our culture as a way to see Christ's love and to show others Christ's love!!!

Pope Benedict, in his recent encyclical "Caritas in Veritate," wrote that, "Discernment is needed regarding the contribution of cultures and religions, especially on the part of those who wield political power, if the social community is to be built up in a spirit of respect for the common good. Such discernment has to be based on the criterion of charity and truth. Since the development of persons and peoples is at stake, this discernment will have to take account of the need for emancipation and inclusivity, in the context of a truly universal human community. 'The whole man and all men' is also the criterion for evaluating cultures and religions. Christianity, the religion of the 'God who has a human face,' contains this very criterion within itself." In his writing on the essential nature of human social relationships, we must take to heart the fact that we need to discern our culture as much as we need to discern ourselves, performing a triage, if you will - what can be kept as is, what can be kept but needs alterations, and what needs to be thrown away. But, in order to perform this triage, we first need to find the God in our culture, which sometimes requires a bit of a search!!!

But if, as Catholics, we are down for anything, it is most certainly a search for Jesus Christ - what could be better than knowing Him and loving Him fully?!?!?! :) He is manifested in so many ways all around us - in nature, in culture, in people and places, in the news (which is not always bad news - sometimes it's AMAZING, CHRIST-FILLED news, in fact:,2933,526120,00.html), in everything that is good, true, and beautiful!!

Where can we find Him, then? EVERYWHERE!! :)

Fides, Spes, et Caritas Christi Per Mariam,
Christina :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Spiritual Darkness and Healing Waters...

Long time no post!

Spiritual darkness has been something on my mind recently, over the past few weeks, in terms of its meaning and implications. Many of us have experienced those days where we're just not feeling up to par - we can't focus, or are having trouble doing God's Work, or are having difficulty figuring out what that Work is. BUT, just when we are at our lowest, and have hit rock bottom thinking that we're unable to achieve ANYTHING, God comes in and saves the day (as He ALWAYS does!). :)

While God always walks beside us, and we should always know this and have Faith in His presence, there are times where we cannot FEEL His presence. And those times can be and are very difficult to deal with.

I obviously have a story to go along with this, because everything in this blog comes from a real-life story, so here goes. :)

Today started off okay, and progessed into the realm of uncertainty. Doubts and anxiety were plaguing my mind - doubts regarding what I should do today, how I could best carry out God's Will today, anxieties about why I was loving others in the way that I was today, or why I didn't feel I was loving adequately enough. Yet, an incident this evening, while small, was a quick snap back to the reality of God's love - and I would have missed it very easily had I not been paying attention!

As I was reaching into the bathroom closet to get something, I knocked over a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, and the cap flew off and peroxide came spilling out onto the bathroom floor. Then it HIT me - even when we doubt, even when we make mistakes, even when we are blind and deaf and mute, even when we get lost and don't know where to ask for directions, all we need to remember is that Jesus DIED - he DESCENDED to the dead, and AROSE from death three later - so that He could provide us with the life-giving, healing waters born of His passionate and ardent love of us.

The contents of that dark bottle of peroxide can't be exposed to sunlight, or else the contents lose their healing power! What an analogy! Christ's love is not always manifested in BIG ways - in fact, quite the contrary! God takes pleasure in the small, in the humble - He appeared to Moses as a burning bush, not as a huge mountain, or a giant sea. We cannot during our earthly lives experience the fullness of God's love, because we can never truly comprehend it. It must remain a mystery inside that dark little bottle, or else it loses its healing power!

Back to our story, though. As I cleaned up the peroxide on the floor, I noted how it sank into some of the cuts and cracks along the sides of my fingernails, and it hurt a bit. But, I knew that the peroxide hurt because it was removing bacteria and such from the open cuts by my fingernails, clearing them of the possibility of infection, and I trusted in the effectiveness of that peroxide. So, in the end, what resulted was a pain that gave way to healing, a healing that gave way to a lessening of anxiety about infection. How confident we are in something small like peroxide, yet how hard it is to trust in the ultimate and transformative healing power of Jesus Christ, who is infinitely more powerful than that small bottle!!!

Ultimately, God will ALWAYS love us, and we cannot do anything to either deserve nor remove that love. The tricky part is remembering to trust that His love and mercy follow us every day of our lives! Do we think that the sun will never come out again on a rainy day? Do we trust that our world will still receive the same warmth even though we can't feel sun on our skin? When the sun goes behind the moon, does it cease to exist? NO!

Sometimes, all we need is little cues of God's love. An encounter with an old friend we haven't seen in a while. An unexpected whiff of roses coming from an inner-city garden (or from anywhere for that matter!). A smile exchanged with a stranger for no reason other than the fact that God's love is present in everyone and everything, in every way. There is a deep-seated need for God's love that is built into our systems in such a way that we cannot ignore it, yet we manage to do so.

Today, I got to witness the beautiful trust of a little boy jumping off the side of a pool into his dad's arms. He saw his dad in the pool, squealed a little kid squeal of delight, and jumped (after a running start, nonetheless!) straight into his dad's arms. I was equally fascinated and in love with this scene at the time, and it's only now that I am truly overjoyed by it!! Sometimes, he would pause at the end of the wooden platform above the pool, and try to stick his toe in, to see if his father would come over and pick him up to gently place him in the pool. But his dad kept insisting that he run and jump, so he did. And EVERY TIME, he caught him. :) Sometimes his head went a little down into the water, sometimes he came up sputtering a bit, but he smiled and smiled and kept wanting to dive right back in.

Toward the end of his pool escapades, this little boy jumped into his father's arms and didn't smile. His face remained even, and this struck me - this little boy is supposed to be happy - look, his dad caught him, he's being safely carried back, what's wrong? Maybe the water was too cold, maybe he decided he wasn't going to have fun anymore, maybe he had had enough of this whole "trust" thing. But regardless of this momentary blip of expressionlessness, he reverted right back to his happy jumping into the pool.

That we all might jump so trustingly and lovingly into the arms of our Heavenly Father, that He can heal us in the waters that spring forth from His only Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ!!! He'll dunk us in that pool every time, catch us every time, not allow us to just stick a toe in, but rather insist that we JUMP and submerge ourselves every time, because we don't know how to swim, and He wants us to receive as much of His love as we can!! He will support us and keep us every time!!!

Let us pray to trust in God with our whole hearts through the intercession of Mary, to have faith that will move mountains and encourage us to make that leap into God's arms, to receive well the instruction ("jump into my arms!") and understanding gifted to us by the Holy Spirit through Mary!!! :)

Caritas Christi,
Christina :)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Divinity in the routine...

So, first and foremost, happy 4th of July, everyone!

There are several things this week that have pointed me toward the significance of a routine: I hopped into my car with one of my friends from work and we headed to the Cape Cod area for the day, a welcome break of routine; my Dad had opened the door for my Mom, and I said, "thanks, Dad," to which he replied, "you're welcome;" I'm beginning to feel a strong desire to continue the habits I have acquired in my daily prayer life, and even slight changes tend to negatively affect how I pray; etc. I think it's worth considering when routine affects so many of us every day, by definition. Let's delve a bit deeper into this, shall we?

This concept really strikes me, because, when you think about it, there are so many things we do, especially things we do for other people, and things that other people do for us, that get caught up into the "routine" of the everyday, and so many small things go unnoticed, or unappreciated, or, even worse, detested in a strange way. How many times have we heard people say, "it was so nice to break out of the routine, to do something DIFFERENT for a change!" Our minds get too comfortable with routine to appreciate the infinite graces and blessings that the routine provides, so instead, we prefer a lifestyle of inconstancy, forcing our environment to provide a God 2.0, to SHOW us all the dimensions of who God is rather than to actively SEEK Him, which involves a lot more attention on our part.

Think of the Mass: it is very comfortable, something most Catholics know very very well. Yet, many people (sadly) believe it to be something old-fashioned, outdated, something that is a waste of an hour on a Sunday rather than an amazing font of blessings and graces. People think it needs reform, that we have to change the Mass to reflect who WE are as a changing Catholic community. The routine of the Mass, while familiar, becomes the SCENERY rather than the PLAY ITSELF: scenery is something that falls to the background because you become comfortable in its familiarity, whereas the play itself can be endlessly analyzed, the characters endlessly reconsidered, the meaning endlessly changing according to the viewer.

A few days ago, I received an emailed article about the Vatican coming to visit female religious communities in the United States. These communities had developed their own rules about dress, practice, etc., and the New York Times portrayed these rebellious sisters as courageous individuals, standing up for reform and righteousness! But behind the loudness of these commentaries, behind the anti-love provided from these sources, there is a quiet sister, praying in Adoration in a small chapel, in her habit (her sign of poverty and simplicity), praying for missions abroad, for babies who are murdered while still in the comfort and security of their own mothers' wombs, for men and women who have suffered the hurt of abuse. THAT SISTER is the primary example of the divinity of routine, the quiet strength and holy daring to find God in hidden places! How sweet it is to know God in all of His many little forms, the forms that we understand the best, because we ourselves are too tiny to comprehend even the simplest of God's greater designs!

I suppose it's one thing to want variety in one's life: it makes things more exciting, makes life more interesting. Some people can't even stand the daily routine and feel a need to break free of it! But, if it were up to me, I would wish my life to be one endless routine: the comfort that we feel in the familiarity of a routine allows God to breathe new life into us EVERY DAY! Because we are so comfortable with what's around us, we are able to see new things - in people, in objects, in situations - and we gain new insights, new graces, new blessings each day. Rather than focusing on trying to gain balance in a constantly changing scenario with a number of factors that are unstable, we are blessed with a security that simultaneously is an endless mystery to continue analyzing!

I know that I had written an earlier post touching upon this, but since everything is essentially the continuation of some other idea (look at God!), I figure it can't hurt to expand on this idea. Something as simple as folding the laundry every day becomes prayer the more one meditates on it. It is a beautiful opportunity for love beyond that of creating a nonprofit, or traveling to Africa for foreign aid, or ANYTHING - look at the simplicity in it, the divinity of it!

One need only look to Mary to appreciate the divinity of routine, ESPECIALLY when that routine is humble and hidden. She was a real woman in the most routine sense in addition to the most divine sense, which a lot of us often forget! She did laundry, and cooked for her family, shared funny moments with her son, and did all the things of daily life. Was she not a mother and a wife? Was she not a woman?

In the Homily given on the 150th anniversary of the wedding of Louis and Zelie Martin, the blessed parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Cardinal Saraiva Martins said that, "The Church is not interested in the exceptional but underlines how in their daily lives they were the salt of the earth and the light of the world [Matthew 5:13-14]. The servant of God, Pope John Paul II declared: 'It is necessary that the heroic becomes daily and that the daily becomes heroic.'" This quote has always been a comfort to me, knowing that even the smallest things of our lives are truly blessed by God, because He delights the most in hidden, small things - in Mary, in St. Therese of Lisieux, in her blessed parents!

But, this draws another element to the idea of routine, which is the idea of giving THANKS. It is one thing to find God in all the little ways He appears in our lives, but another thing entirely to actually appreciate and THANK Him. My Dad's service to my Mom earlier today, the simple act of opening the door, was such a routine thing - we often don't think to thank people for things that we have become accustomed to expect because of routine (think of the service industries: waiters, the man at the deli, ANY NUMBER of people that we see everyday!). Our parents are perhaps the best example of this: they do any countless number of things during the day for us, yet we never even bat an eyelash.

Our heavenly parents fit under that analysis, too. God provides us with so much every day, and we can't even see through the monotony of a routine to discover the many DIFFERENT ways God tells us He loves us in the repitition of any single task! Reflection on laundry folding offers almost as much opportunity for spiritual growth as reflection on ANYTHING ELSE deemed to be a better use of time for reflection!

Let us remember today and for the rest of our lives to delight in our routines, and to praise God for every second of blessings and graces that He has given to His little ones! :)

Caritas Christi,
Christina :)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The first of what will most likely be several posts on music (!!!!)

Everyone likes music. It's one of those universal (pun on the meaning of "Catholic" INTENDED. SHAMELESSLY. :) ) things that everyone appreciates. Music has a way of talking beyond words - the notes somehow take on feeling beyond the feeling inherent in the words themselves. All this said, music can be pretty powerful. God is powerful, and glorious, gentle and compassionate, so much so that He sent His only Son to us as a man, so that we could see His love for us. For this reason and many more, I am convinced that music is one of the most powerful signs we have today of God's presence - it's certainly a LOT more common than a burning bush, that's for sure!! :P

I am amazed at the way in which there are some songs that seem to reflect powerful concepts so well, all without intending to. Our unspoken, deepest desires are manifest via other methods, but everything, EVERYTHING, in the deepest part of our soul reaches, crawling and beaten, toward our God, even though we as sinners may not be aware of it at all times, or even at all. Music is the same way – it is, universally, speaking about our relationship to Satan, Mary, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God.

All music reflects the good and evil of our earthly lives analogously. Love songs? About Jesus and Mary. Scorned lover songs? About Satan. Songs about feeling unworthy of another? Take a guess. :) It ALL relates back (and I mean ALL of it!).


I remember in middle school when I went on my first youth group retreat (ahhh, the memories!), and we did this meditation in the chapel. At first, we listened to a tape of “Footprints” – the common modern meditation where you imagine yourself walking alongside Jesus on a beach, and ask Him where He was during your times of trial, when you only saw one set of footprints in the sand, and He replies that He was CARRYING you – but, after that, we listened to Christina Aguilera’s “I Turn to You.” I have been a huge fan of hers since I was a wee little burgeoning singer-ette, so needless to say, I was beyond happy just to hear her lovely voice in a chapel. But, this was a CHURCH retreat, so before we listened to the song, our two female group leaders explained that we were to think about the song as a song to God – and WHOAH did that change my world! I had always seen the song as a love song to another person, but to think of it as praise of God!! WHOAH! But the lyrics, I soon came to find out, made complete and total sense.

Listen to it here:
The lyrics are not only beautiful, but the best description of God’s love that I could ever hope to listen to. “When I’m lost in the rain, in your eyes I know I’ll find the light to light my way…” Off to a good start. “I can do anything, ‘cause your love is SO amazing, ‘cause your love inspires me.” YES! “For a shield from the storm, for a friend, for a love to keep me safe and warm – I turn to you. For the strength to be strong, for THE WILL TO CARRY ON, for everything you do, for everything that’s true, I turn to you.” BEAUTIFUL. I cannot think of a better expression to lift up to God.


So, okay, there exist certain songs in addition to specifically religious music (I’m talkin’ Christian, Church hymns, etc.) that reflects God’s love – but really, to claim that almost ALL music reflects God is a little presumptuous, don’t you think? Ye of little faith!!! :) “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” – and it exists ALL around us, small but mighty!

As I started writing this post, I heard this one song, “Cop Stop” by Gavin DeGraw. It sounded a little funky to me – what was up with this song? BUT, the lyrics reminded me SO much of Mary – and it was totally her method of appearing, too – quiet, unexpected, surprisingly beautiful and humbly present.

Here ‘tis:

The song starts out: “When your feathers are soaked and your eyes are too bloody to see.” I immediately perked up like, “ooooh, what’s this?!?! NOT what I was expecting!” The chorus was incredible: “Wishing wells were made to echo a dime, The consequences are you keep on relying - you become a run and hide refugee – Baby, I’m a cop stop, put up your hand and surrender to me.” WOW. My immediate impression is that Mary IS the perfect creation of God – her purpose was to “echo a dime,” so to speak. She relied fully and perfectly on God. This line also transitions nicely to us, though – we keep relying on Mary once we figure out how beautiful she is and find her more and more as we study Jesus. We are definitely the run-and-hide refugees – we are constantly running away from what’s best for us!!! So, Mary becomes the cop-stop: she wants you to surrender to her, so she can help! As the song later goes, “You’ve been roughed up enough to deserve some relief from your trouble, so I’m coming in.” AMAZING!

But really, ALMOST EVERY SONG?!?!” YES!! AFFIRMATIVE!! SI!! FO SHO!!! Because of the world we live in, God can be mixed into things so that He’s quite hidden, but He’s STILL THERE. VERY MUCH. You just have to keep an eye out! :P

Take a hip hop song. The music of drank, swagga, and spittin’ game. Is this the music of God?!?!? YES.

“Live Your Life” featuring Rihanna and T.I.

Let’s try this one. It is REAL, first off, and by REAL, I mean it counters the stereotypical role of the hip-hop star. The pride reflected in the lyrics speaks to me of how unworthy we all are of Jesus. Crazy as it sounds, minus the human pride element of it, I can picture Jesus talking to us through T.I. Ridic? Maybe. Let me help you try to see it.

“Never mind what haters say, ignore ‘em ‘til they fade away, amazin’ they ungrateful after all the game I gave away.” Yeah. We are SO ungrateful, really. “Consider them my protégé, homage I think they should pay, instead of being gracious they violate in a major way.” Again. “I never been a hater, still I love ‘em in a crazy way.” Uhmmm, YES. We are still well-loved even though we be violatin’ yo.

What most surprised me is the presence of the words “immaculately,” “prayed,” and “gracious.” But there’s MORE. “Allergic to the counterfeit, impartial to the politics... I got love for the game, but ‘ey, I’m not in love with all of it, could do without the fame the rappers nowadays are comedy.” YES. Think of this as an analogy – Jesus was the TRUTH, the real deal – no false witness there. See??!?!? God in a T.I. song.

All this and more in the next blog post!

~Christina :)