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Rev. Dr. Henry Lee Bates - Archived Messages

RevBates.tv Global - Weekly Message To The Masses for June 15, 2008 

               A few years back I gave a "Father's Day" message in a church in West Los Angeles and after I finished speaking a minister came up to me and said that his relationship with his father was nothing like the "Leave It To Beaver" characterization that I had had with my father.  He said what I had said just did not ring as true for him as his relationship with his father was one of abuse and negativity.  I explained to him that what we remember from the past is a choice and that we can choose to bring to our mind past experiences that negate our Good, that rekindle negative emotions within our mind ... or we can choose past experiences that affirm the Good-ness and Joy of Life.  In my talk, I chose to affirm the Good that I experienced with my father rather than speak to the negative, although at this time in my life I realize that what "seemed" to be negative, was in fact ... Good.

      All things work to the Good for those who love the Good and the following piece of history illustrates this point:      
           

                 
He spent some days in prayer, and then went bravely to see his father. He was now so thin and ill-clad that boys in the streets pelted him and called him mad. The exasperated Bernadone beat Francis, fettered his feet, and locked him up. A little later his mother set him free and Francis returned to St. Damian's. His father pursued him there and angrily declared that he must either return home or renounce his share in his inheritance-and pay the purchase price of the horse and the goods he had taken as well. Francis made no objection to being disinherited, but protested that the other money now belonged to God and the poor. Bernadone had him summoned for trial before Guido, the bishop of Assisi, who heard the story and told the young man to restore the money and trust in God. "He does not wish," the bishop said, "to have His church profit by goods which may have been unjustly acquired." Francis not only gave back the money but went even further. "My clothing is also his," he said, and stripped off his garments. "Hither to I have called Peter Bernadone father.... From now on I say only, 'Our Father, who art in Heaven." Bernadone left the court in sorrow and rage, while the bishop covered the young man with his own cloak until a gardener's smock was brought. Francis marked a cross on the shoulder of the garment with chalk, and put it on."
- from the life story of Saint Francis Of Assisi

     Although this "moment" in the life of St. Francis seems very negative, it is good.  I believe that his father was in fact the impetus for St. Francis to move into his life's purpose.  And for many of us who have experienced conflict with our fathers, we can reflect back on these experiences and realize that they were indeed very important to our development and growth as individuals.  Having fathers that support us wholeheartedly in our life choices is a good thing ... but having opposition from our fathers can sometimes make us stronger and more determined.  It gives us the conviction to move through whatever we must move through in order to realize our goals.

     Spirit within us is "liberty" ... and this means that we must be free to express whatever it is that we are to express in our lives.  We inherit this "independent spirit" from our Source, or as St. Francis stated, "Our Father, who art in Heaven."  This "Heaven" being the freedom to choose to be, to have, and to live according to our own personal highest ideals that we have discovered within ourselves.  Metaphysically we know that this "Father" resides in our consciousness ... it is our "Provider" ... bringing into our experience that which we are convinced is ours to experience. 


     We can know that St. Francis was compelled by something greater than himself to endure what he did in order to pursue his purpose.  This Power responds to our "recognition" of Its' Power and Presence in our lives.  It is personal to us even though Its Presence is infinite.  Father's Day offers us the perfect opportunity to begin a daily practice of "recognizing the Father within" ... and in so doing, God moves with us through our every life experience.  Judge Troward explained so clearly that the Spirit is within us all, but it is up to us to "stir up the Spirit within."  And as we do, we affirm our true relationship to Life Itself.


AND SO IT IS!

Keep the faith!
Rev. Dr. Henry Lee Bates

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"I have been all things unholy.  If God can work through me, He can work
through anyone." 
-
St. Francis of Assisi