Every Please -STOP -Listen Up

Don't Label My Kid! (Or Me!) Coaching-Counseling- Consulting

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TJ-Don’t Label My Kid!- Message to my crew. These Little Ladies Are Mine. Boys are up and out. When I look at them I thank God I even get to hold them. It should not be.

This post is about giving many others a chance to watch their babies grow up. Not many would have made it through what I did, and I believe the purpose for this was to make some changes so others could not suffer through certain things that can kill. So please take this to heart and lets do this thing. I don’t get to make the plans or set dates, but I am pretty sure this is an appointment we all need to be at. Thanks for taking a few out to read and do what you can. .. You may make it possible for a guy like me to be smiling down at his…

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Guilt — Why won’t it go away?

guiltWho hasn’t done something that they believe they should not have done? Kicked the cat? Stolen stationary from the office? Disclosed what a friend confided? Or whatever? Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes, and do something wrong. And so from time to time you are likely to experience a feeling of guilt.

It may not have been such a terrible thing you did. But what if you feel bad and it keeps playing on your conscience? Why won’t the feeling of guilt go away?

As a child Catherine got ticked off a lot by strict parents. And as an adult she tended to dwell on the judgments about her of others. Sadly, she became one of those people who are quick to feel guilt over the smallest thing they do wrong if it goes against the expectations of other people. A sensitive conscience can easily become overburdened at times. What I call phoney guilt seems to come about from the assumption that what you feel must be true: so if you feel guilty, then you must be guilty!

“True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be.” (R. D. Laing)

I would distinguish Catherine’s false guilt with a true guilt arising from a healthy conscience of someone whose guilt feelings arise from an awareness of having acted against their own principles. Much beneficial counselling has been conducted with the Catherine’s of this world, helping such clients to stop taking to heart unfair criticism. But what use is that approach with those of us who are facing reasonable censure and who can easily distinguish successfully between appropriate and inappropriate guilt? What if you have actually done something wrong and can’t forget it because you know in your heart you have gone against your own rules?

I would like to suggest a few reasons why you might not be able to rid yourself of realistic guilt.

Making a glib acknowledgment of guilt

You may come to realise that there are some people you do not respect and some close relationships you have not cherished. Perhaps you were rude or neglectful on one or two occasions. Apologising for mistakes like this can easily trip off the tongue.

You may have felt badly at the time, but if you haven’t accepted in your heart the need to change, it is only too easy to forget you had previously glibly acknowledged the error. But then something or someone later will likely remind you of your fault.

Using escapism from guilt

If you have done something seriously wrong, and do not deal with this then to escape from emotional pain you may have fallen into some kind of addiction, escapism or other risk taking behaviour. Unfortunately, such action can cause you more guilty feelings if as a result you do harm to others for example hurting your loved ones by excessive alcohol consumption or obliging them to rescue you from difficult circumstances you have created for yourself.

Using excuses for guilt

It is comfortable to rely on such excuses as `I didn’t mean it’, `It was an accident’, `I couldn’t help it’, and `I followed an irresistible impulse’.

For one kind of person a tempting way to respond to guilt is to blame the victim. “She caused my sexual aggression by making herself too attractive.” “Of course I’m going to nick his things if he can’t be bothered to lock them up properly.” Naturally, this doesn’t work either, as sooner or latter, the wrong-doer will be reminded of the misdeed when common sense prevails.

Confessing guilt to an unsympathetic person

Many alcoholics can only confess the mess they are in to fellow problem drinkers: such people will be in the same boat and can be expected to be sympathetic. People with emotional problems find it easier to confess weaknesses and failings to a counsellor they feel is showing unconditional warmth.

On the contrary, try talking about things you feel guilty about to someone who is unsympathetic and you won’t get very far. And even if you do persevere you are likely to take on board their judgmental attitude towards yourself.

Sometimes people yearn for God’s forgiveness but cannot experience this because they believe in a judgmental God. Unless your idea of God is one of love and compassion, I believe you are not going to feel any sense of forgiveness if you were to risk confessional prayer. In fact, if you pray to a harsh idea of God you may even end up beating yourself up even more as a “sinner who deserves punishment.”

Conclusion

“Hard though it may be to accept, remember that guilt is sometimes a friendly internal voice reminding you that you’re messing up.” (Marge Kennedy)

The way I see it is the emotional discomfort of guilt is like the physical pain of a flame. The pain will soon go away after you remove your hand from the flame.  Guilt likewise serves to teach us where we are going wrong. I don’t think guilt is meant to last. Once it has served its friendly purpose it is no longer needed.

Surely, those religious people are mistaken who happen to believe that you just need to ask for forgiveness and you are forgiven? No, something more is needed. Only, when you have a genuine remorse for your misdeed, a desire not to repeat it, and an interest in making amends, only then do I believe that it is possible for your guilt to set aside by a compassionate God.

Copyright 2014 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of  Heart, Head & Hands  Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

I can’t help how I feel — can I?

How I feel
Nicholas Parsons

Do you ever say to yourself  “I can’t help how I feel.”

Part of the humour of the long running radio show Just a Minute is the mocking of its chairman Nicholas Parsons. When panellist Graham Norton was given the topic ‘Freudian slips’ he talked about ‘man love’ revealing his ‘gruntaffilic attraction to Parsons’ and saying ‘I can’t help those feelings.’ In other words “I can’t help how I feel.” Whereupon Paul Merton gets a big laugh by buzzing and shouting ‘Try!’ In other words try to feel differently. But can one really change how one feels?

Norton’s sentiment reminded me of the Hey Stephen song:

“Cause I can’t help it if you look like an angel
Can’t help it if I wanna kiss you in the rain so
Come feel this magic I’ve been feeling since I met you
Can’t help it if there’s no one else
Mmm, I can’t help myself ”
(Taylor Swift)

It got me thinking about my own feelings. Is it possible for me to feel differently about certain things, people, situations? Emotions I take for granted seem to be naturally part of me and always will be. But do I have to feel so irritated by certain people who cause me discomfort? Do I have to feel so attached to my favourite food? Or feel so lazy when obliged to go somewhere.

Is it possible to alter our feelings, in the sense of making ourselves stop feeling negative or stop enjoying those things we believe to be unhelpful or even just down-right wrong?

Assuming our feelings are inevitable

You might be thinking ‘Of course my feelings are part of me — feeling angry, happy, displeased, turned on, sad whatever.  I need to be myself and that means keeping in touch with what I like and not being afraid to express these feelings. Isn’t that what honest living is all about?’

“Never apologize for showing your feelings. When you do, you are apologizing for the truth.” (José N. Harris)

Well okay I can buy into authenticity and being a real person in your own right and not just a conformist. But what if some of your desires are bad? What if some of your emotions are harmful? Have you no capability of changing how you are to become a better person? No ability to change what you like and want?

Don’t we learn to appreciate and enjoy things which at first are daunting and unattractive. Which beer drinkers enjoyed their very first glass of bitter? Is it not an acquired taste?

My thought can affect how I feel

You might suppose that it would be only natural to feel angry if insulted, hurt if injured, or despair if all hope is removed.  However one Nazi concentration camp inmate refused to accept that feelings were automatically determined by his situation and instead tried to change the way he felt.

“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” (Viktor Frankl)

Psychological therapists work with intractable patients trying to make them stop loving the socially awkward things they love. The basis of cognitive therapy is the idea that harmony is the normal state of consciousness; that the mind is inclined towards congruity between thinking and emotion. We defend what we enjoy with all sorts of justifications. We find reasons for what we want to believe. The mind seems to be built that way. When feeling and thinking are no longer in harmony, we suffer discomfort, and anxiety.

So therapists challenge people’s mistaken ways of thinking to encourage the development of sensible thoughts because they have found that new feelings emerge that match the new thoughts. For example realising when there is no real danger in a specific situation, the client starts to feel calm rather than afraid: appreciating that there is no evidence of a partner’s infidelity, the client feels less uptight rather than seething with jealousy.

Awareness of social ideals

Spiritually aware people tend also to want to promote change. They want to encourage a feeling of protectiveness towards the environment, sympathy towards third world suffering, a feeling of togetherness to overcome the challenge of multicultural tension. Understanding the ideals could mean feeling a new frustration and anger with the current state of things, finding new hopes and gaining new excitement and delight in progress made. Then one could find that the old feelings of cynical resignation, negativity and disinterest were never inevitable feelings.

Awareness of personal responsibility for how I feel

Likewise gaining an understanding of the ideal self can lead to personal change. New feelings can develop whilst pursuing self-improvement. It is one thing to face in a new direction but another to set off with a will. This idea of personal choice is quite contentious because of the many factors scientists have discovered that seem to reduce our freedom: one’s individual genetic constitution, the effects of family upbringing, social pressures towards cultural norms, lack of economic opportunities etc. However, I do believe that whatever one’s situation it is possible to find the necessary courage and determination to refuse to allow setbacks to put you down, and that by examining one’s attitude one can start to feel differently about life’s frustrations.

I would suggest that to change the way you feel means first challenging the habits of thought which maintained the old feelings. For example if angry you might believe you have lost your temper. An alternative attitude is that temper isn’t something you lose: it’s something you decide to throw away.

In other words you might stop blaming things that you suppose make you feel you do — stress, tiredness, external events, natural urges and instead you could focus on your inner vision and responsibility for how you are in yourself.

I would say that you don’t have to spend time stewing in your sense of hurt or feeling hard done by. Those feelings will never go away unless you turn your back on them.

Copyright 2013 Stephen Russell-Lacy
Author of Heart, Head & Hands Swedenborg’s perspective on emotional problems

 

The Flight into Egypt

 

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Toronto – December 29, 2013

When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt (HOS. 11:1)

  1. During the Christmas season we’ve been looking at the main elements of the story, assembling elements from Matthew and Luke into a chronological order.
    1. An angel visits Zacharias to announce the birth of John the Baptist
    2. An angel visits Mary to invite her to become the mother of the Messiah.
    3. An angel visits Joseph to reassure him that Mary has not taken up with another man, but that the child she is carrying is “of the Holy Spirit.” A better man than most, he accepts this explanation and protects Mary and the child.
    4. Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem, where the child is born in a stable.
    5. An angel announces the birth to the shepherds, who rush to find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.
    6. At 8 days of age He was taken to Jerusalem and presented in the temple – as was described in the children’s talk.
    7. Mary and Joseph find a house. Perhaps they intended to stay in Bethlehem permanently, or perhaps they intended to stay only until the baby was old enough to travel. In either case, this is where the wise men, guided by an angel that appeared to them as a star, found the family and gave Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
    8. An angel appears to the wise men and warns them to avoid Herod, so they go home “another way.”
    9. An angel warns Mary and Joseph of Herod’s anger, so they take the baby and flee into Egypt – setting the stage for the fulfilment of the prophesy in Hosea which is our text.
      1. (Mat 2:13-23) Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” {14} When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, {15} and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.”
    10. Herod, in an effort to remove what he perceives as a rival, orders all the male children in Bethlehem under 2 years of age murdered, fulfilling yet another prophecy.
      1. {16} Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry;
    11. Herod shows his murderous intent
      1. and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. {17} Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: {18} “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.”
      2. The destruction of innocence. When the love of self becomes so strong that it cannot tolerate even the idea of following the Lord’s leading.
    12. Finally, an angel tells Mary and Joseph that it is safe for them to return to Israel, and the prophecy that the Lord would be “called out of Egypt” is fulfilled as they travel back to Nazareth.
      1. {19} But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, {20} saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” {21} Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel.
    13. The final time Joseph is warned by “God”! This results in him turning aside from wherever he was planning on going to Nazareth. Maybe they had talked about using this trip as a chance to move away from Nazareth? After all, Mary’s reputation was in question, and it was known to be a rough part of the country. Maybe they were heading back to Bethlehem? All this is speculation, based on the following where it says they were “turned aside” and ended up in Nazareth – which just happens to fulfil the prophecies.
      1. {22} But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. {23} And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.”
    14. Nothing more is recorded of their activities until they travel to Jerusalem when Jesus is twelve years old.
  2. Now that we’ve looked at the big picture, let’s focus on the flight to Egypt.
    1. Ancient Egypt has captured our imagination as a special place throughout recorded history.
      1. The Pyramid of Giza, the oldest and largest of the three great pyramids, is a huge technical achievement and as such represents both academic knowledge and technical knowledge, as well as the wealth to support these kind of endeavours.
      2. The Pyramids were already 500 years old when Abraham visited Egypt.
      3. The Pyramids were 1000 years old when Joseph ruled Egypt.
      4. When the Lord was in Egypt, they were 2500 years old.
      5. Then there are things like the Hieroglyphics and the Library in Alexandria.
      6. Put these things all together and you should get a sense of a place where there has been a high level of culture and learning for a long time, a place that is a living symbol of the sum total of human knowledge.
    2. Because people have associated Egypt with knowledge for so long, in the Word it represents the sum total of natural knowledge.
      1. In Genesis, Abraham represents the Lord. The internal sense of Abraham’s journeys tells us about the succession of states as the mind of the infant Jesus developed. And that’s why Abraham travelled to Egypt – to represent that part of the Lord’s life where He was learning natural truths about the world around Him.
      2. The travels of Isaac, Jacob, and the sons of Jacob to Egypt also represent aspects of this central truth: The Lord Himself, and each one of us, needs to go to “Egypt” as a part of our development. We need to acquire natural truths from studying the world around us, and use them to build a foundation upon which the rational and spiritual degrees of the mind can eventually be built.
    3. But we have to be careful. “Egypt” can be a very attractive place. We can become so fond of the truths of the natural world, and the power that mastery of them can bring, that we get stuck there.
      1. This can affect us in a variety of ways.
        1. An academic who gets so involved with the minutia of his subject that he views everything in terms of his narrow view (and yes, this can affect theologians).
        2. Commercial media. Newspapers, magazines, television, the Internet – all these things are presenting information with the intent of getting your attention, giving you what you want, and drawing you in so you will see the ads that pay the bills. If it were food, it would be sugary snacks instead of a balanced diet.
        3. A person who is fearful about the whole idea of death and the afterlife, and who instead clings to the natural world as if not thinking about it will make it all just go away.
    4. Just as the sons of Israel were eventually made slaves in Egypt, we can get so caught up in the truths of the natural world that we don’t ever raise our thoughts to things higher, to the meaning and purpose behind all these things.
      1. The children of Israel were stuck in Egypt for 400 years, and would have stayed there forever had not the Lord sent Moses (representing the Word) to lead them out.
      2. That they were slaves for 400 years is important, because it tells us that to get out of this state will be difficult. It will be a test or trial or temptation (signified by 40) multiplied by 10.
  3. Moses led the great Exodus from Egypt at the Lord’s command. Moses didn’t want to do it. He tried to argue his way out of it. Even when he was successful in getting them out of Egypt, the next 40 years were full of battles, hardships, and complaining. But, he did it because the Lord asked him to do it, and in the long run it led to the greater good for the whole nation.
    1. Mary and Joseph probably could have settled there in safety and peace. Joseph could prosper as a carpenter anywhere. But God Himself spoke to Joseph and told him to take Mary and the child and go back to Israel, to get out of Egypt.
    2. The lesson should be clear that the Lord wants us to hear the same message.
      1. Everyone of us needs to spend some time in Egypt. We need to spend time in school studying the things that the natural world can teach us.
      2. But as much fun as it is, we are not to overstay our time in Egypt. The Lord calls to us from the Word with higher truths that can rest securely on the natural truths and take us to new heights of understanding and usefulness.
      3. And, like the children of Israel following Moses, we are allowed to “borrow” from the Egyptians. There are many things that are useful to know, that support our spiritual goals, and we can bring those along without harm.
    3. Let us then step back and look at the course of our lives from this perspective.
      1. Look for the useful things learned from the natural world and borrow them so that they can serve as a support for higher things.
      2. Along the way, there will be temptations and battles. The evil spirits and your own hereditary inclinations will try to get you to turn back, to return to the “flesh pots” of Egypt. A life without risk, but of slavery. We need to fight those enemies of our spiritual life until they are dead, and we are free to travel to out true spiritual home.

MAT 2{19} But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, {20} saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” {21} Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. Amen.

First Lesson: Mat 2:13-23

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.” {14} When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, {15} and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” {16} Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men. {17} Then was fulfilled what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying: {18} “A voice was heard in Ramah, Lamentation, weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, Refusing to be comforted, Because they are no more.” {19} But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, {20} saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the young Child’s life are dead.” {21} Then he arose, took the young Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. {22} But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. And being warned by God in a dream, he turned aside into the region of Galilee. {23} And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, “He shall be called a Nazarene.” Amen

Second Lesson: AC 1462:6

That the Lord when an infant was brought into Egypt, signified the same that is here signified by Abram; and it took place for the additional reason that He might fulfil all the things that had been represented concerning Him. In the inmost sense the migration of Jacob and his sons into Egypt represented the first instruction of the Lord in knowledges from the Word, as is also manifest from the following passages. It is said of the Lord in Matthew:

An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and His mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I tell thee. And he arose and took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My son (Matt. 2:13-15, 19-21);

concerning which it is said in Hosea:

When Israel was a child then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt (HOS. 11:1). Amen.

 

“Primogeniture”

Path of Integrity week 7

A Sermon by the Rev. James P. Cooper

Toronto – Nov. 4, 2012

  1. We are now coming to the end of our series on Joseph.
    1. We have followed Joseph’s life story from the time he was the youth who was regarded with jealousy by his 10 older brothers because he was so obviously favoured by their father through his time as a slave in the house of Potiphar and his time as a prisoner, until he rose to be second in power in Egypt only to Pharaoh himself.
    2. We have followed the story of his family through the grief of separation, to the initial tentative contacts, to a full revelation and reconciliation.
    3. As one would expect, at the end of the story, when people have completed their journey of life, and done so with integrity, it is reasonable to expect that there will be spiritual blessings.
    4. Up until this point in the historical narrative, the main focus has been on the relationship between Joseph and his 10 older brothers. Benjamin says nothing in all this, even though the story revolves around whether he is with his father, the 10 brothers, or Joseph. Now that the issue of who gets Benjamin has been resolved – since the family is together, everyone has him for the moment – we can look at the concluding message.
    5. When the 10 brothers return at the end of their second trip to Egypt with the news that not only is Benjamin safe, but Joseph has been found alive, Jacob is overcome with shock and joy. Further, he learns that he and the whole family has been invited to move to Egypt where there is safety and food.
    6. Once in Egypt, Jacob discovers that not only is Joseph not dead, but he has produced grandsons that he can bless!
      1. Jacob is old and blind, so Joseph brings his two sons to Jacob and arranges them so that the Manasseh, the elder son will be touched by Jacob’s right hand.
      2. Jacob crosses his hands, conferring the blessing of the firstborn on the younger son, Ephraim.
      3. Joseph, probably thinking that his elderly father is confused, tries to correct what he considers to be a mistake, and is reprimanded by Jacob. Manasseh will indeed have an important place and be a blessing, but the greater role has been reserved for Ephraim.
  2. So what’s going on here?
    1. This story is the Lord’s way of giving an answer to a question that people have been debating in the church for thousands of years – which comes first, faith or charity?
    2. It may not seem to be an important question, yet it comes up over and over again in the stories of the Word.
      1. AC 367 That charity is the “brother” of faith is evident to everyone from the nature or essence of faith. This brotherhood was represented by Esau and Jacob, and was the ground of their dispute about the birthright and the consequent dominion. It was also represented by Pharez and Zarah, the sons of Tamar by Judah (Gen. 38:28, 29, 30); and by Ephraim and Manasseh (Gen. 48:13, 14); and in both of these, as well as in other similar cases, there is a dispute about the primogeniture and the consequent dominion.
        1. Cain and Abel
        2. Esau and Jacob
            1. Jacob himself received the blessing of the firstborn although he was the 2nd.
        3. Tamar’s twins Pharez and Zarah
            1. Culturally, the issue of who was so important that the firstborn that the midwife was prepared with red thread to mark the first born child when twins were expected!
        4. Final plague in Egypt, the death of the firstborn
          1. Here, because it was a spiritual church where faith was in the first place, and it was a fallen church so it was actually falsity that was in the first place, it was judged – or brought to an end – by having those falsities removed.
        5. Manasseh and Ephraim
    3. There is a progression in our own lives, and in a parallel way in the development of the Lord’s church over the generations. When we (and the church) are young, we see things in terms of truth – because we as yet have very little in the way of true charity.
      1. It’s only later, as we gain experience and begin to bring our lives into order and put the truth into life and become forms of charity that we begin to see the importance of charity.
      2. So the appearance is that faith is the firstborn, and that charity only comes later.
        1. So, the child that represents faith is born first. In the Joseph story, that is Manasseh.
        2. But when it comes time for the blessing, it is the child that represent charity that gets the blessing of the firstborn.
    4. Or another way to put it is that charity is first in end, not in time.
      1. When we think about it from the natural mind which is in time and space, we see what come first in time.
      2. When we think about it from the mind that is uplifted into spiritual things by doing what is good, we think apart from time and space and rather see it in terms of ends – and so Charity is seen to be first in importance.
  3. AC 4925:7 points out that the Lord alone is the firstborn, because He is the source of all good, and all truth is derived from that good.
    1. It all starts with the Lord.
      1. He wants us to live in charity like the angels, so when we are born He gives everyone the ability to be affected by truth.
        1. Or, what we call “an affection for truth” which is a kind of love, or good.
      2. Because of that affection for truth, we can then acquire facts about the world and heaven. We look at them, and fit them into the puzzle of our lives in different ways using our rational minds to weigh the consequences, and eventually come up with a faith that works for us.
      3. As that faith is growing, if we are doing it right, we are learning by doing, see which of those truths of faith give us delight when we live them – and in the process we become forms of charity (angels).
      4. These new delights then give us new insights in how to do things even better, and we acquire new truths of faith.
      5. Which lead to new forms of charity and the delights that accompany them.
      6. Which lead to new forms of faith.
      7. And so on to eternity. Amen.

First Lesson: GEN 48:15-22

15 And he blessed Joseph, and said: “ God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac walked, The God who has fed me all my life long to this day,

16 The Angel who has redeemed me from all evil, Bless the lads; Let my name be named upon them, And the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; And let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.”

17 Now when Joseph saw that his father laid his right hand on the head of Ephraim, it displeased him; so he took hold of his father’s hand to remove it from Ephraim’s head to Manasseh’s head.

18 And Joseph said to his father, “Not so, my father, for this one is the firstborn; put your right hand on his head.”

19 But his father refused and said, “I know, my son, I know. He also shall become a people, and he also shall be great; but truly his younger brother shall be greater than he, and his descendants shall become a multitude of nations.”

20 So he blessed them that day, saying, “By you Israel will bless, saying, ‘May God make you as Ephraim and as Manasseh!’ “ And thus he set Ephraim before Manasseh.

21 Then Israel said to Joseph, “Behold, I am dying, but God will be with you and bring you back to the land of your fathers.

22 Moreover I have given to you one portion above your brothers, which I took from the hand of the Amorite with my sword and my bow.”

Second Lesson: TCR 336

From the wisdom of the ancients came forth this tenet, that the universe and each and all things therein relate to good and truth; and thus that all things pertaining to the church relate to love or charity and faith, since everything that flows forth from love or charity is called good, and everything that flows forth from faith is called true. Since then charity and faith are distinguishably two, and yet make one in man, that he may be a man of the church, that is, that the church may be in him, it was a matter of controversy and dispute among the ancients, which one of the two should be first, and which therefore is by right to be called the firstborn. Some of them said that truth is first and consequently faith; and some good, and consequently charity. For they saw that immediately after birth man learns to talk and think, and is thereby perfected in understanding, which is done by means of knowledges, and by this means he learns and understands what is true; and afterwards by means of this he learns and understands what is good; consequently, that he first learns what faith is, and afterward what charity is. Those who so comprehended this subject, supposed that the truth of faith was the firstborn, and that good of charity was born afterwards; for which reason they gave to faith the eminence and prerogative of primogeniture. But those who so reasoned overwhelmed their own understandings with such a multitude of arguments in favor of faith, as not to see that faith is not faith unless it is conjoined with charity, and that charity is not charity unless conjoined with faith, and thus that they make one, and if not so conjoined, neither of them is anything in the church. That they do completely make one, will be shown in what follows.

[2] But in these prefatory remarks I will show briefly how or in what respect they make one; for this is important as throwing some light on what follows. Faith, by which is also meant truth, is first in time; while charity, by which is also meant good, is first in end; and that which is first in end, is actually first, because it is primary, therefore also it is the firstborn, while that which is first in time, is not actually first, but only apparently so. But to make this understood, it shall be illustrated by comparisons with the building of a temple, and of a house, the laying out of a garden, and the preparation of a field. In the building of a temple, the first thing in time is to lay the foundation, erect the walls and put on the roof; then to put in the altar and rear the pulpit; while the first thing in end is the worship of God therein, for the sake of which the preceding work is done. In the building of a house, the first thing in time is to build its outside parts, and also to furnish it with various articles of necessity; while the first thing in end is a suitable dwelling for the man and the others who are to constitute his household. In the laying out of a garden, the first thing in time is to level the ground, prepare the soil, and plant trees in it and sow in it the seeds of such things as will be of use; while the first thing in end is the use of its products. In the preparation of a field, the first thing in time is to smooth, plough and harrow it, and then to sow it; while the first thing in end is the crop; thus again, use. From these comparisons anyone may conclude what is essentially first. Does not everyone who wishes to build a temple or a house, or to lay out a garden, or cultivate a field, first intend some use? And does he not continually keep this in his mind and meditate upon it while he is procuring the means to it? We therefore conclude that the truth of faith is first in time, but that the good of charity is first in end; and that this latter, because it is primary, is actually the firstborn in the mind.