Friday, May 24, 2013

Hollar!!!!!! 5/6/13

A shout heard round the world!!!

That's a phrase around here used for a guy with the last name of Favaloro who denounces the Cleveland hospital for claiming a bunch of things. He was apparently a doctor raised in Argentina who invented the heart bypass surgery. There's a really big memorial to him here...

But anyway...

My shout for the week is that: "TIME IS GOING TOO FAST"

Mother's day is only a week away!!!!!!! :D / D:

double emotions on that one. I'm trying to avoid becoming trunky, and every time I think about the slowly decreasing amount of time I have left in Argentina, I have a big mix of butterflies and anxiety, and maybe even a few crocodile and water buffalo fights, that go on inside.

Crocodiles are very astute creatures. They lie in wait, motionless or almost so, as the prey gets closer. The last possible second, they attack, opening and slamming shut their powerful jaws, utterly refusing to let go until the prey either dies from loss of blood or drowns. Then, snake like, the crocodile slowly swallows the creature.

It made me think of the story shared by Elder Packer several years ago that has become a very widely known story and even a seminary video. It's too long of a story to put in, nor would I do it justice if I tried, so I'll leave you to look it up if you don't know it, but he compares Satan to crocodiles.

Spiritual crocodiles lie in wait all the time, waiting just long enough for us to wander a little too close to the water's edge. If we aren't careful or cautious enough, we can quickly and suddenly be caught in the crocodiles powerful and relentless jaws, and without divine help, those jaws will never release.

The Atonement, which was prepared and planned from before the foundation of the world, has been effected by a loving and every merciful Saviour, through whose grace we can become clean and perfected. We have no power, once in the jaws of a crocodile, to release ourselves. But there is a way that another can open those jaws and provide us an escape. The hands of the Master and Healer of Souls can open the jaws of hell enough for us to escape it's grasp, but on certain conditions.

For many people today, they don't even realize that they are in the grasp of the crocodile's jaws, and are slowly bleeding or drowning to spiritual death. But once we are brought to a realization of our trapped and helpless condition, we can immediately cry for help. The Protector will only be able to come to our aid if we call for Him. After all, He has put in place more warning signs than one sees for roadwork and blasting zones (after all, at the last one, we lost Billy...) It is obvious when there is roadwork taking place, with easily visible, in both light and darkness, bright orange cones and barrels. Everyone's favorite color... We are given the signs and many times we choose to ignore them and we boldly and brazenly walk right into the crocodile's mouth.

When we cry for help, we can receive it, but once we escape those sharp and deadly teeth, more is needed. That Master Healer gives us the opportunity to be healed and at our further plea offers and applies the healing balm of Gilead, dressing the wounds and anointing them with oil. But even after the healing process is complete, there will be ugly pink and red scars that may not fade for a very long time. Those scars serve as an everlasting reminder to us that we must avoid those crocodiles and the memory of those events is permitted to remain so that ever we may distance ourselves from the gaping jaws that hang open wide.

I have many scars, and some have reopened from time to time, due to my lack of watchfulness. As the healing process continues, I look to my Saviour and His teachings, through which I can even find teatment for those scars to hasten their fade. In the books of Mosiah and Alma, we find example after example after example of persons or cities or nations who realize their perril and cry out for help. The wounds of some are larger than others. Alma, the sons of Mosiah, Lamoni and his people, his father and seven Lamanite lands, even several of the Zoramites and later generations of Lamanites all find refuge in the arms of His matchless love and receive treatment from His healing hands.

I am currently reading the Book of Mormon in both English and Spanish. In one, I just reached the book of Alma, and in the other have made it halfway through Alma 5. From King Benjamin to now in these parts of the Book of Mormon, we find many evidences of the mercy of God in liberating His people from physical and spiritual dangers and bondage. In Alma 5, we read the question that this morning made me pause and think a lot.

"If ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?" (Alma 5:26)

I imagine that the oldest people among the audience at this time of widespread pride among the members of the church were some of those youngest souls who heard the words of King Benjamin and felt that redeeming love as they received a forgiveness of their sins. They received in that time, so long ago, a remission of their sins and had the Holy Spirit poured out upon them as they faced the holy Temple. In this moment, I imagine that those older men and women remembered that moment of inexpressable joy and reflected on the answer to the question in their hearts.

"Can ye feel so now?" How profound! We often feel the affects of the atonement in our lives, and then, due to our human state, are quick to forget those experiences. Asking that question to ourselves can keep the remembrance of our Redeemer in our minds always.

"Can I feel so now?" I have asked myself that question several times. Sometimes I am ashamed of my answer, and at other times less so. A few times I do feel that way. I am beginning now to keep that phrase, that priceless question, in my mind always.

I know that God loves me and that He sent His Beloved Son to die for me that through Him I might be made free and find refuge from the storms of the world. I know that in these days, even if we cannot hear the very voice of God or talk to Him face to face, we can feel of His endless love and perceive the voice of His Spirit, comforting and uplifting us. I know it is true.

That was a long story that I had not intended to write, and many times I think that I get here intending to write one thing and then the keys just start to press themselves as my thoughts are released. Mentioning a crocodile at the beginning was just an expression, but it has become more than that. I know that we can be a forever family, if we all strive our best throughout the entire length of our lives to live the Gospel of Repentance.

This is God's church and His gospel. This is His will. I know it, I live it, and I love it!

I love you all and will speak with you on Sunday!



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