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Hot tea with honey

by davesandel on December 10th, 2020

Thursday, December 10, 2020           (today’s lectionary)

Hot tea with honey

Perfect love casts out fear. If that’s true (and it is) then when I’m afraid I want to receive perfect love. But is there an action plan for that? What do I do? Simply believing that “perfect love casts out fear” doesn’t move the fear much.

I am the Lord who grasps your right hand. It is I who say to you, “Fear not, I will help you.”

I talked with my friend Sheryl about this. We thought about what happens when we’re hungry. We eat. And as we eat, perfect food casts out the hunger. Eventually we are satisfied, and the hunger has disappeared. It’s been cast out. But after the first moment of realization, we don’t focus on the hunger, we focus on the food.

It’s best when the food is well-balanced and healthy. Does perfect love work the same way? When I love myself the food is usually too sugary and ich, and I eat sporadically. When God loves me, the food comes straight from the garden and it’s cooked, if at all, to perfection. So what is the food God gives me?

The Lord is good to all and compassionate toward all his works. Your Kingdom is a Kingdom for all ages, and your dominion endures through all generations.

My friend Cathy asked me a question, “In the two days before your heart cath (which is Friday morning at 8), how do you stay calm?” Well, actually, this morning I don’t feel calm. I feel like I’m on those proverbial tenterhooks, waiting desperately for an outcome. Rather than simply being in the moment I’m given now, I’m waiting for a moment sometime Friday morning. And that sets the fear demons running amok all over me. Sometimes I can almost feel them on my forehead and in my hair.

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the Kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent are taking it by force.

When I’m attacked like this, Ignatius tells me to do more of what I’ve been doing all along. Rather than focusing on my hunger, focus on my food. Read, write, listen, pray. Memorize a Bible verse. Talk to God, and listen to him as he talks back with me. And drink some hot tea with honey.

One of the Bible’s most persistent phrases is “Do not be afraid.” Of course, that’s because everyone since the Garden of Eden has turned away from God. Then, when they find themselves lost, they are afraid. How do we get back home?

So today, over and over as I feel afraid, I turn back to God. Read a psalm, read Galatians, read something in the Bible. Turn my body around and look at God. Turn my mind around, remember and repeat verses I know (like “perfect love casts out fear!”), tell God just how I feel, and receive his comforting words back to me, which don’t promise me a rose garden but smell even sweeter.

I will extol you, O my God and King, and I will bless your name forever.

“I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Jesus comforted his disciples at the end of Matthew, even as he told them to walk ahead into a maelstrom that would end in violent death for most of them.

This is the day that the Lord has made. Sit in it, and drink some hot tea with honey.

(Isaiah 41, Psalm 145, Isaiah 45, Matthew 11)

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One Comment
  1. Mary Lou Menches permalink

    I imagine that perfect love must cast out fear, but it seems to me that we’ve not yet learned to love perfectly. At least I haven’t, not yet. So when I fear, I remember that our Father does truly love me (perfectly),that he has carried me through some very difficult, fearful, scary times. And I abandon myself to his loving care, surrendering myself “without measure and with confidence beyond all questioning” (words that have become a part of me, provided by Fr. Charles de Foucauld). Fr. Joe Hogan’s words at the end of every Mass–“Remember that God loves you very much”–have also stayed with me. What father would give his child a stone when he’s asking for bread? Not our Father!

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