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Friday, October 9, 2015

Image result for joshua crossing the jordanJoshua, Chapter 4, Verse 23-24

23 For the LORD, your God, dried up the waters of the Jordan in front of you until you crossed over, just as the LORD, your God, had done at the Red Sea, drying it up in front of us until we crossed over, 24 in order that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, and that you may fear the LORD, your God, forever.”

Often times we are afraid of shadows but when are eyes are fixed on the promise of God we are filled with optimism.

When Joshua crossed the Jordan he had a representative from each tribe take up a stone from the river to immortalize the day God stopped the Jordan to recall the day Israel received the promise of God. So today being within the harvest season it would be a good time to reflect what harvests that we have had since last year; to focus ourselves on the light rather than the shadows.

So what are the 12 harvests of memorial stones of your life for the last year? Some areas you may want to review for success are:

1.      Emotional: How have I grown in love?
2.      Mental: Have I developed any new paradigms?
3.      Physical: Have I overcome a physical weakness?
4.      Spiritual: Have I developed Holy Fear and walked with the Lord? Have I developed any new virtues?
5.      Career: Have I progressed in my career or aided someone in theirs?
6.      Family: Have I had family successes and been open to new life?
7.      Financial: Have I made progress in stewardship of the resources that God has given me?
8.      Learning: Has my mind been open to the Lord and new learning?
9.      Community: Has there been success in areas where I work with my local community?
10.  Church: Has there been growth in my participation with my parish?
11.  Environment: Have I done my part to be environmentally responsible?
12.  Companionship: Have I listened, been nurturing, and positive?

Remember when you finish reflecting to thank the Lord for your successes and have a grateful heart.

To find what is beautiful in our own lives takes some degree of discernment and discernment the next characteristic of John McCain’s framework of being a person of destiny is to develop within ourselves the ability to have discernment. Discernment is the ability to judge well or perception in the absence of judgment with a view to obtaining spiritual direction. McCain points out to us that Leonardo da Vinci is the person who best portraits the trait of discernment. John says of da Vinci[1]:

He was a scientist who painted masterpieces as part of his grand ambition to see all that was visible in nature. He could see more than others could see, because he looked more intently and inquisitively than others looked, because he knew how to see. He would never need to rely on others’ experience. The rules of experience are all that is needed to discern the true from the false; experience is what helps all men to look temperately for the possible, rather than cloaking oneself in ignorance.” His education had not bred him to revere the classic artworks of the Greek and Roman age as the achievements of the highest aesthetic, the aesthetic rediscovered, reborn, in the Renaissance. He would draw, paint, and sculpt life as he observed it, as much of life as was visible to the human eye, without compromising his observations by imposing on them or his art the standards of expression of a past age. His ambition was all-encompassing. He intended to observe, comprehend, and explain nature with drawings, painting, and sculpture—not some of nature, such as the workings of the human body, for example, but all of it. He wanted to understand everything that his penetrating eye, his extraordinarily disciplined observation, could discern. He would lament later in life, “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.” He was a scientist of every discipline, an artist of every medium. He was anatomist, botanist, biologist, physicist, aerologist, astrologist, paleontologist, mechanic, painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, mapmaker, designer of pageants, and more. All these creations of his hyperactive mind were conceived in service to an endeavor—war—that he loathed. In later years, he would draw a design for a submarine (like his tank, centuries before the first prototype was constructed) but would keep the plan secret lest anyone actually use it to harm another. He was, after all, a vegetarian who couldn’t bear to destroy a living creature to feed his appetite. I think it can be accurately said that Leonardo, whether or not he would agree, was a philosopher before he was an artist, scientist, or engineer. Central to his genius was his conception of a theory of knowledge that employed both science and art, to see, comprehend, and reveal the way nature worked. Leonardo was well read and sought to know how things moved, and why, which was an intense lifelong interest. Nothing, he thought, could be fully learned from books. Trying to acquire a complete understanding of a subject from a musty Latin text was a fool’s errand to him. “Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence,” he argued. “He is just using his memory.” Experience, seeing the thing for yourself, and taking pains to make sure you see it clearly was the only sure way to acquire knowledge. “Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this proceed to investigate the reason.”

[1] McCain, John and Salter, Mark. (2005) Character is destiny. Random House, New York

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