Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Is it pain or renewal?

God calls the end times the “renewal of all things” in Mathew 19:28
“Repent then and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out, that time of refreshing may come from the Lord.” Acts 3:19

What appears to be pain and sorrow has frequently in my life been the predecessor of intimacy with God. The Gospel even calls the end times a renewal. What can I endure with the knowledge of God’s presence within me and his protection surrounding me?

Don’t we get excited when we know we’ve bought or made the perfect gift for someone? We wrap it carefully and well, decorating our emotional wish to please a loved one. We present it with a smile being that sure the recipient will be pleased. If it really is as perfect the gift we thought it to be, that mutual happiness of the moment adds joy and intimacy to the relationship. Wasn’t that the purpose of the gift in the first place?

God’s packages to us aren’t always pleasantly wrapped. His gifts aren’t always fun. But gifts they are. Pain, be it emotional, physical or spiritual can sometimes be a gift depending on the way we see and appreciate it. We must accept gifts gracefully and acknowledge the Giver. Simply being a participant on this globe, of course, can impose pain. Even that pain though, is a gift and can be transformed.

So God gifts us or allows us to experience sorrow. Is it to test us? To prove us? Or like many gifts does it depend on our spirit of understanding and acceptance? Do we rebel asking such questions as “why me?” citing our honest attempts to live a decent life? Reading the lives of the saints helps me in this area the most.

St Joan of Arc
Blessed Mary of Australia
St. Louis Marie De Montfort

They were misunderstood, judged to be insane and persecuted for their Godly lives. What made them saints is their heroic degree of virtue. And Joan, Mary and St. Louis Marie De Montfort were simple human beings like us. Their prayer life, i.e. their intimacy with God in the face of trial gave them strength and courage.

Renewal of all things.
Times of refreshing from the Lord.
It does require time spent in the Lord’s presence to be able to translate pain and sorrow into renewal and refreshing. It’s barely human to be able to do that at all. Spiritual intimacy with the one who was persecuted for our sins is the only way for me.

Prayer: Jesus you know how much I really mean that. I come to you be to repaired and made whole. Re-paired that is, to be paired up with you again. Your example and your love is my strength. Thank you for ALWAYS being there.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Waiting is Hard...

In the Old Testament the people waited for a Messiah. They ended up with Someone not like what they expected.
They wanted a king.
They got a pauper.
They wanted someone to reign over them.
They got someone who was killed.
They wanted Israel to become a world power.
That country has ben in political distress for centuries.
They wanted to be rescued.
Instead they were saved.

I have the same problem. It's not that I expect sunny days and smiling faces everywhere I go. But I honestly did not expect betrayal by friends and family, illness, drug overdoses, extreme poverty and work instability.
I didn't expect to have the wind knocked out of me so that I was powerless and unable to cope -more or less fix- any of this that all happened in the past 14 months.
I'm looking for a Messiah, Jesus. You understand I'm anxious and upset. You understand how hard this has all been. You have been beside me during every minute of that. I don't doubt that at all. I return to be in your daily presence in prayer seeking direction, advice, comfort.

So I know how they felt, those desert wanderers in the Old Testament. It would be easy to get distracted and start looking at the scenery or each other rather than keep our focus on you. And they waited and longed for you for generations! They couldn't read the rest of The Book and see how it all turned out. They deserve respect and admiration for hanging in there - waiting.

There's something self-emptying about all this waiting....
I have a lot to learn from those Old Testament folks.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A casket and a manger

My 30 yr old nephew Tony is being buried today
Fri 12/12/08.
A casket and a manger look kind of alike.
Each one contained a person.
A box that holds a loved one.
One wrapped in swaddling clothes, the other covered with a blanket.
Both are lying there for a short while, surrounded by family and angels.
One makes sense of the other.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A message for those suffering

Broken Christians hurt but they don't quit, even tho they may feel empty. They must do that because there is no one else who can sing their song. That's the song God put in that individual's heart to sing for Him. And they do that because they witness to the grace God offers, His faithfulness and His unconditional love.
Thank you Lord that I haven't been completely crushed by the heaviness in my heart or by the pounding of the surf on me, your broken shell. Thank you for the courage to live with my pain and the strength to remain faithful, a gift given to me through your grace. Amen!

(read the book: My Beautiful, Broken Shell by Carol Hambler Adams)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Blood of Christ on the ground...

St Therese of Liseaux talked about the Blood of Christ that dripped onto the ground as Jesus hung and died on the Cross. People scramble to receive relics - supposed splinters from the Cross, tiny squares of cloth worn by a saint- are first class relics. In the past a holy person's possessions and even body parts were distributed within the Church. But the blood of Jesus Christ poured out of His body and was absorbed into the ground on the day He died. St Therese thought it irreverent that no one captured that blessed liquid. The blood by which our everlasting salvation was won was soaked up by the dirt it fell upon. No one did anything about it. The soldiers didn’t care. Jesus’ Blessed Mother was absorbed by what was happening to her Son or surely she would have realized it. I imagine she wiped away the blood from the crown of thorns with her own cloak. She’d want to clearly see his face again before they wrapped and buried his body. Her cloak was stained because of that and because she cradled his dead body.

This is not a reflection of the morbid but of the precious, of the sacred and holy. It is that same blood we consume at Mass. Mass is our opportunity to show God our gratitude for the blood His Son shed out of love for us. When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, our attentiveness to that act will indicate our respect. It’s not the time to look at other people, though the devil would surely love that we be distracted by doing that! The reception of Eucharist is our chance to make amends for the mockery of the soldiers. Jesus’ sacred blood was physically on their hands but they wiped it away. His blood freely fell to the ground – drops of salvation soaked into the dirt. As we walk up the aisle during Mass these are thoughts we can contemplate. When the minister holds the cup before us and says, “Blood of Christ” we can respectfully consume the transformed wine and imagine ourselves being covered by the blood of salvation, the blood of our Savior as we stand under the Cross.

In the dirt is not where Jesus’ blood should be. It should be in me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

When God Popped a Shirt Button With Pride

When Jesus chose to be baptized by John I'm sure Jesus' Abba and he had discussed the idea ahead of time in prayer. They jointly decided it was the right thing to do. I can't imagine that God the Father's voice peeking out of the clouds was part of that plan. I think God saw his son walking thru the River toward John and could almost not contain his joy. He saw it as the beginning of his Son's public life. He knew that the world would be hearing their message of unconditional love. He wanted to burst with pride over his son. His only son, Jesus was to set the wheels in motion. Ashe saw Jesus take the step toward accomplishing their design God could contain Himself no more. Like a new father who walks out of the delivery room to shout, "It's a boy!" God the Father said, "This is my Beloved Son".

Oops, did you hear that? It was a button popping off God the Father's shirt!

That's how Jesus looks at me, too. Just because it's hard for me to imagine doesn't mean it isn't true. God loves me completely and unconditionally- warts and all. He thinks I'm beautiful (its uncomfortable to type that). He appreciates that I've tried as much as I have. He's long ago forgotten anything I did wrong because of is generous mercy. It's not about me tho- this is all about our faithful, generous and almighty God. Praise Him!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Deliver Us From Evil (Not the movie)

Wherever we go, God is there to take our hand and guide us. Even in danger, God will help us to know what to do. The last petition to God the Father is also included in Jesus' prayer: "I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one." The Lord who has taken away our sins and pardons our faults also protects us and keeps us from evil. The person who entrusts her or himself to God does not dread the devil. "If God is for us, who is against us?"

When we ask to be delivered from the Evil One, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, present, past, and future. With the world in the situation that it is in right now, not just financially but also morally, let us all pray this petition to God, our Father with confidence.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And Lead Us Not Into Temptation

You surely know what it’s like to be tempted so you know what you’re praying about here! Your own personal experience let you know we need to pray this prayer. When you had not eaten in 40 days the devil offered you bread. He does that to me all the time. When I’m on my last thread of energy and overwhelming crises occurs. Maybe it’s not a crisis; maybe it’s just an acquaintance who is terribly annoying. Maybe I’ve decided to fast and my co-workers go out to lunch that day or my girlfriends want to go out to eat. Maybe my prayer that day was full of good intentions and shortly afterwards I get impatient and angry with someone. It could even be that I go to my prayer space and do everything else but communicate with you Lord. That’s a regular one. The evil one seems to like to distract me from you. Well, of course he does. The potential is great for him. Without your strength I’m nothing. Without food from you I’ll stay hungry. Without your grace I’m empty. He’d like that- and so I pray:
Help me in those situations Lord God, please. I don’t want to ruin this. I honestly do want to do the right thing by you. I sincerely with to be used by you for your purpose, not mine. A wasted life for me would be serving my own needs and wants.
I have only one lifetime in which to love you. I really do want to love you through it all...through the everyday of it. So please, Lord, share with me the strength you had in the desert when the devil offered you bread and you resisted. Lead me not into temptation. Lead us all to you!

Monday, October 06, 2008

As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us

After 10 years of friendship I was betrayed, misunderstood and cut off. I was eliminated from my former friend’s life overnight. Although it occurred almost 1 year ago I still do not understand what happened at all.
Then a family member became hostile and aggressive.
Then a co-worker practically destroyed our program that was designed to help others.
All this happened at the same time. I was devastated. I am hurt. I didn’t initiate any of these situations but I was feeling their effect.
But when I pray this phrase - as we forgive those who trespass against us- I’m asking Jesus to forgive my own sins in proportion to the way I forgive others. I’m having trouble with this. I KNOW I’ve sinned and need forgiveness and God doesn’t deserve to be treated the way I’ve treated him. It breaks my heart to think I’ve treated Him poorly after all He has done for me. No friend deserves to be treated that way, but Jesus deserves much more.
But my former friend treated me poorly. My family member did worse that that. The co-worker’s actions made my daily job miserable for 10 months and it’s still difficult. All this happened at the same time. Surely Jesus doesn’t expect me to forgive them while I’m in such pain…and when they were intentionally hurtful…but so was I. I was intentionally self-willed when I sinned. Sin is a deliberate choice, by definition. That’s what I do when I’m demanding, angry or impatient. God will forgive me when I forgive them.
WOW. You strike a hard bargain Jesus. Sometimes you have to pretend you feel something and act that way until you feel it. And sometimes you have to pray for the forgiveness of others and believe it happened though you may not yet feel it. It has been said that your emotions eventually catch up with your actions. So today, my Lord, I forgive my angry friend because you asked me to. For the same reason I forgive (with the help of your grace) my family member and co-worker. That doesn’t mean I can be in their presence tomorrow as though all is well. I’m just doing what you asked me to do and hoping you’ll allow my heart to catch up soon. I do want to follow your will! I know I’m feeding into the devil’s plan if I don’t forgive and I don’t ever want to be the cause of that. I’ll accept whatever graces you give me in this regard Jesus! Forgive my sins to the degree that my forgiveness of others is sincere.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

And Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Yes Lord, we know we’ve sinned. That’s not a question. It’s obvious. We are –all of us- selfish proud sinners. Once in a while our sinfulness brings us to our knees and shames us. We walk past a beautiful big green lawn that has a ‘do not trespass’ sign on it and we intentionally stomp across that lawn. We play touch football on that lawn. We ride our bikes around the sign. We don’t care about the lawn or the sign or the owner of the property. We want what we want when we want it.
How do you bear with us Lord? You gave us everything we need and asked us only to obey 10 Commandments. In return we intentionally ignore your request. Periodically we ask –or you tell us- how we are doing. You give us a glimpse of our own sinfulness. It’s just plain ugly Jesus! In the face of your generosity there are no other words to describe our willfulness. So we beg you Lord, please forgive us our trespasses. Show us your mercy though we do not deserve it. We act like we know it all and we don’t. We think we’re in charge and we’re not. We are willful and obstinate while you are nothing but merciful and patient. Please have mercy on us Lord.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

…Because I can’t buy it or barter for it and I don’t have it. Out of your generosity please give it to us all because we live in spiritual emptiness. Our daily bread – that which we need to live. Give us only what will sustain us. Don’t give us the desert or an appetizer but don’t let us stay hungry and weak. With your grace, help us to be stronger.
Today’s bread may be the gift of joy or new hope. If I need correction today that may be the bread you give me Lord. I know I’m spiritually hungry and weak. Nothing on this earth can sustain me. I’m not asking for complete satisfaction of all my needs, only for enough grace for today.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

As It Is In Heaven

Before Adam and Eve’s sin earth was like heaven. Your will was done in both. But we have continued along their path. The more we sin the more dissimilar earth and heaven become. This prayer asks that we, your people, return to our original state of grace Lord. That we –like Adam and Eve- appreciate our garden and thank you for it. That we renew our sense of wonder and of being in the moment. This phrase symbolizes our return to humility, simplicity and innocence. If we did that, as your obedient children, your will would be done. Earth would look more like heaven.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thy Will Be Done on earth

…But we preferred our own will to ours. The design was altered during our implementation of the plan. My sinfulness, willfulness, selfishness caused the alterations. Now that things have gone so far awry it’s almost hard to remember the original intent. I get very preoccupied with my own needs in this life and I forget my role in your Big Picture. When I pray for your will to be done on earth, I’m praying that you work in me, through me, around me to make this earth conform to your original design. I’m praying that you teach me how to make you priority #1 so that my actions and thought are more like yours. Whatever it takes Lord, your will be done. Your will be done on earth means I want you to ignore my preferences, my requests and demands. Just ignore them. I will embrace a stance of nothingness. I’ll have no preferences, no disappointments, and no plans. That’s not an easy prayer Lord! And yet how often have I prayed it? Only with your grace Lord, may I get to the point at which self indulgence is not in my thoughts.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Thy Kingdom Come

If we each and all did the ‘right thing’ our world would look different. Earth would be more heaven-like. It would be the way you envisioned it, Jesus. Your design would become a true creation

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hallowed Be Thy Name

Even your name should be held holy…like everything else about you. You should be completely adored, praised and appreciated. Because of how patient you are with us- because of your mercy on us –because of your unconditional love for us. The degree of all these things is something only a God can do. Why do you keep doing it despite our lack of response? Our lack of gratitude? It’s beyond my ability to fathom. Only God could love us despite our sinfulness. And so I praise you God for this extreme generosity! I wish more people could appreciate you better – including myself. You are holy. You are sacred. Your mother on earth was born sinless. Your foster father was a quiet, humble, obedient and faithful man. The relationship between your true Father and you evokes a Holy Spirit making an unrepeatable Trinity. You heal the sick, forgive sins, taught us through the Scriptures and gave us your very own Body and Blood as spiritual food. Yes Lord, You are holy!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

OUR Father...

A parent who teaches, guides, directs, instructs, disciplines, loves, plays with and protects his children. Our Father wants his siblings to get along. Do we need a crises to do that?
If I believed my mailman and the super market check out person were my siblings they’d no longer be strangers or mere acquaintances. We’d have a connection. I’d look at them differently and treat them with more understanding and appreciation. We have the same Parent who is God.
Wouldn’t our Father be happy about that?

All of ours; meaning rapists, thieves, murderers, people who physically, financially or emotionally hurt others; people who sell drugs or give AIDS to others intentionally. It also means saints, the Blessed Mother, Jesus, the people I see in church, priests, nuns, co-workers...We all have the same Parent and He is God.
If we all have the same Father then we are all siblings. My dentist - although he's Jewish, my neighbor - who is a non church going former something-or-other, the parking lot attendant who barely speaks English. God connects us all even if they aren't aware of it. We are all siblings. True, siblings battle each other. But if there was a crisis they'd defend each other. As Americans we have a tendency to rally 'round a cause. If the parking lot attendant's 3 yr old daughter had cancer, for example, I'd be very kind to him, speak words of encouragement, contribute to a collection, offer him my prayers....If I knew. In this sibling situation however, I might never know. But it still may be true that his daughter is sick. We all walk around like that - never knowing what our siblings may be enduring.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Let Go

“A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day the seed sprouts and grows tho he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain.” Mark 4:28
The growth of the Kingdom is ultimately in God’s hands.

If I thought that by buying or planting the seed I owned the seed and I could force it to make what I wanted it to make I’d certainly be wrong. All I did was put God’s creation in a certain place. All by itself the seed does what it does. In this case, all the man did was to scatter the seed on the ground and collect what it grew. He probably presumed he grew the resulting fruit.
This says to me….Let Go. Do what you’re supposed to do and step back. Don’t take credit for the fruit produced. Its God’s creation. Relax. The growth is ultimately in God’s hands. Whether we’re talking about zucchini, relationships or the kingdom of God on earth that will still be true~

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Assumption is God saying...

Mary's body was assumed into heaven. Her body is not on earth and it did not decay. Our souls go to heaven after death for judgement, but our bodies decay in the earth. Jesus did not want that for his mother. She was special, holy, sacred. It is not fitting that her body would decay. She deserved something more, better than the rest of us. Jesus wanted her with him and so she is - whole and entire. It was not a wish of Mary's nor her request. Neither was her pregnancy with Jesus nor watching her Son be tortured and killed. Mary's whole "thing" was about allowing God to have his will done thru her - even to the manner of her final resting place. She turned her will over to him. She allowed God to be in control. Doing that reaped an eternal reward for her and blessed us all.
The Assumption is God saying_
I couldn't wait another moment to have you here with me, Mary!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

on Padre Pio

I read a biographical story about Padre Pio and really wanted to share some of that with you. It's amazing stuff! The piece was written by John McCaffery and edited by John J. Delaney in his book entitled Saints Are Now.

Different people may give varying interpretations of the phenomena which took place in that little monastery to make it a world beacon; but about the phenomena themselves there can be no doubt, for they were witnessed, sifted, and experienced in their effects by large numbers of intelligent persons. ...The Church authorities were so reluctant to accept their authenticity that for ten entire years, in the fear that they were manifestations of autosuggestion, hysteria, deliberate deception or even diabolical possession, Padre Pio was cut off from outside contact, even by letter, and he was not allowed to confess penitents or to say Mass in public.

An eminent Roman physician, last of those entrusted with a medical examination of Padre Pio's stigmata, had begun as a contemptuous unbeliever in the seriousness of what he had been asked to investigate. But in more than 200 pages covering a 2 year period he gave a detailed account of his experiments to find a humanly explicable cause for those stigmata, and ended with a confession of failure and the conclusion that their origin and continuance could be described only to benignly preternatural intervention. He became a devoted disciple of the man whose wounds and whose psychology he had coldly, methodically, and often most harshly probed.

My own conversion came only when I reluctantly consented to go down to San Giovanni with an old friend and meet the man himself. It was the nearest thing I could imagine to meeting Christ; and in his presence all the reluctance and quasi-hostility fell away, and all the incredible phenomena became easily and even logically acceptable.

After Padre Pio joined the monastery he was found unconscious one day before the crucifix in the church gallery, where the friars conducted their community prayers and where he himself went often to pray and meditate. To his intense embarrassment, he and the friar who helped him to his cell discovered that his hands an feet were completely transfixed and bleeding. And these wounds, as well as another in his side leading to the heart, bled continuously and freshly as though newly inflicted for all of 50 years, disappearing gradually only some few weeks before his death.

For 50 years he bore the sufferings described, walking around on pierced feet and using those pierced and agonizing hands, he ate as much daily as would sustain a bird - generally a forkful of vegetables or pasta - and this because he was constrained by obedience to join the other friars at the noon meal. His drinking too was absolutely minimal; and I think it would be fair to say that the strongest of ordinary men would have died of exhaustion, malnutrition, anaemia and dehydration within a matter of months.

Most of all he spent long and strenuous hours every day, every week, every month, every year, without break or relaxation, in the confessional.

He built a hospital and at its inauguration, which I attended was scheduled an international cardiological conference. None of the famous attendees was a Catholic but all of them were deeply and sincerely impressed at the saintly man behind it all. Paul White, most courteous of men, was so moved that on greeting Padre Pio with the rest of his colleagues I remember he finished his little congratulatory speech with the uncharacteristically gauche phrase..."and congratulations Father, on your wounds." !

Miracles poured out from San Giovanni which is to say those worked through his intercession upon other people. They were innumerable; and as well as having been myself healed of serious cardiac and circulatory ills, I saw a number of the more striking miracles at close quarters.

Padre Pio had appeared to a man at his home near Florence and reprimanded him severely for his drunken ill treatment of his wife. Incredulous the man stubbornly drove all the way down to the little monastery in a spirit of disbelief and challenge, and had soon found himself upon his knees in Padre Pio's confessional. He left it one of Padre Pio's most loyal and constant devotees.

Another ex-communist I met at San Giovanni was former editor of the newspaper. To him Padre Pio had appeared when he was in the act of committing suicide and taking his little daughter with him. After that the man said " what binds me to Padre Pio is his tremendous Christ likeness."

Fr. Dominic also lived at San Giovanni. Not only had Padre Pio cured him of cancer; he had assisted Father Dominic's father in bi location on his deathbed in Milwaukee.

One man had been born blind with eyes so eaten by disease that they looked like shrivelled dried peas in his head. Those same eyes, perfectly reformed by Padre Pio, were now regarding me across the desk. But there was an interesting insert to his story.

When he implored Padre Pio to pray that his sight might be restored he had added "even if it be only from one eye." When he returned 3 weeks later, weeping with joy and to thank his benefactor for the incredible transformation, he was asked, "And so you now see again perfectly?" "Yes," he replied, "from this eye, not from the other one." Padre Pio shook his head reproachfully. "Let that be a lesson for you," he said. "Never put limitations on God. Always ask for the big grace."

There were, too, happenings which seemed at first so outlandish that, even with all the evidence of the miraculous which I had witnessed or experienced, they appeared to me to be pure legend. I am thinking especially of the story of Padre Pio's appearing in the sky during the last war and turning back an American bombing mission due to drop its bombs near San Giovanni's rotundo. I took this story to be herioc folklore in the making - until the day I met the leader of the squadron personally. It was no legend; it was just another of these facts of which I have now been attempting to convince other people, and he recounted it to Lord Eldon, lord in waiting to Queen Elizabeth, when they met in a rail compartment on their journey from Rome to San Giovanni.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, 'My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, forgiveness, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.'
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: 'Which wolf wins?'
The old Cherokee simply replied, 'The one you feed.'

Saturday, June 28, 2008

2 Desperate Women

A woman and a sick woman at that. A real outcast at that time. She’d gone everywhere to get help. It had been 12 years and that’s an eternity if you’re hemorrhaging. She’s lucky she lived that long. Today she might have been hospitalized, put on IV to replenish her fluids and eventually she’d have a hysterectomy. But then she was avoided and she just continued to get weaker. Every year she deteriorated more. She must have known she could not do this much longer. She’d been to see whoever she could see about it. There was nothing anyone else could do.
Maybe she’d been desperate for months. Maybe she felt herself get physically weaker. She might have begun to give up until she heard about Jesus. She heard how he had raised the widow’s son to life and how he had cured the centurion’s daughter. The widow and the daughter were both females. “Surely someone who could raise a person back to life would help me.” That’s the day she determined to find him. She heard the stories from the town’s people and she kept track of his travels. Large crowds were following him so the tracking was easy. Following was a bit harder in her weakened condition but her need drove her onward. She felt a great excitement on the day when she finally caught a glimpse of him through the crowd. Silently she argued with herself. How would she get through the dense gathering of people clamoring for his attention? What would she say when she finally got to that point where she could address him? This was a determined woman. After all those years of illness all that struggle to finally catch up to him, nothing was going to deter her now. Her desperation was that great and her belief that Jesus would be the one to help her was that strong.
She dug in and nudged her way through. Shoulder to shoulder, one person at a time. She overheard conversations as she went. The widow’s son, a sermon he had given, who his apostles were. “Do you think he’s really a Son of God?” some asked. She could see him now. Her heart rate went up. Just a few more rows of people to go. She knew she was doing the right thing. She knew she’d never get to speak to him but she reasoned it wasn’t even necessary. All she’d have to do is….
And she touched the fringe on his cloak. For a few short seconds she held on to it. He didn’t even see her because she was behind him. That’s OK.

12 years
No help
No where else to go
Her last hope

She felt the fabric of his fringe.
That was all she needed.

For me it’s not been 12 years Jesus- not even 12 months. My stress started on 9-16-07. And I need you, too. My head has been doing a lot of work to reason out the problems. My heart has found a way to protect itself from pain by avoiding stressors. So I manage until my heart is forced to deal with an issue for some reason. I’m weak. I need to depend on you, reach out to you, and feel your presence. I want my heart to feel you nearby. I feel like I’m walking through the crowd to get to touch you. In this case it’s a crowd of thoughts and activities though. I need my heart and my mind to be very still and willing to feel. I avoid that in a self protective kind of way. (I’m actually the opposite of the woman with the hemorrhage. I’m emotionally cold and all closed up.) But Jesus, I am hurting. I’m in emotional pain and need you beside me. I’ll deal with it. I’m OK if this is your plan for me right now. I’m not asking you to take it away. I only want to occasionally feel you beside me. Problem is, if I feel you then I can feel everything and that leads me to depression. I comfort myself in knowing that you know what I’m experiencing and that I am doing your will. It’s a knowledge, not a feeling though. It suffices. I guess I’m looking to you for a comfort connection.
Oddly the woman with the hemorrhage wants to feel too – to touch you so she could be healed. She did reach out and “immediately her bleeding stopped. “ Luke 8:44
Jesus’ response was “Who touched me? I know that power has gone out from me.” Verses 45 and 46.
I’m reaching out too Jesus. Not many people know what I’m going through. I’ve sought help from professionals like the woman did. The situation just keeps evolving. There’s no where else for me to turn for emotional strength. I’m reaching for you through the crowd. Reaching out to you for emotional support and for the strength to endure. Life remains busy all around me. I need to get through it in order to reach you, to touch the fringe of your cloak.
When I reach you emotionally – one day when I can- I want to hear the same sentence, “Who touched me? I know power has gone out from me.”
For now I move toward you and hope that my frozen heart melts one day so I can feel your touch again. Your will be done.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Self Confidence: A Delicate Balance

"St Paul had confidence in the message he preached because it was the message of the person Jesus Christ. 2Tim 1:12 His confidence, like ours, should not be in ourselves but in the person we believe in. This makes us humble but confident servants. If we find ourselves saying, "I" too much, we may be lacking the humility of a servant of Jesus. If we found ourselves doubting His care for us or doubting the truth of His teaching we may be lacking in confidence. It's a delicate balance.
We find our strength in the person of Jesus and our prayer relationship with him. "
Words of Wisdom from Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia PA written in the Catholic Standard and Times June 5, 2008.

my p.s. : a little humility every now and then doesn't hurt

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Is This My Home?

1 Peter 1:17 “Live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.” If I live as a stranger on this earth I can expect to feel different from everyone who considers this their home. They’d be comfortable and I would not be. To the degree that I feel welcomed I am not a stranger. My home is not here, but I am on a journey toward it. I should expect to be misunderstood and misjudged. If I, an American female in NJ, suddenly moved to India everything would be different for me. Basics like food and climate would be readily observed. But other things like government processes, cultural norms, status of females, work styles and economy would be vastly different, too.
If in this life I am a stranger, then many accepted customs should seem foreign to me. Drug use, crime, lack of respect for life, competition, definition of success are examples of such. None of these would be easily understood, more or less accepted in my personal life. If I “live my life as a stranger in reverent fear” then I live counter culturally. I don’t incorporate myself into those norms but rebel against them. My rebellion would take the form of life in an opposite style.
Remember the prayer of St. Francis? Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is hatred, love. I wonder about how much of a stranger I am perceived to be. If my life evidences counter cultural practices I am living in reverent fear and I can expect to feel unwelcome.

I am on a journey only.
My Home is not here.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Where Is God When You Need Him?

Do you know the legend of the Cherokee Indian youth's rite of passage? His father takes him into the forest, blindfolds him and leaves him alone. He is required to sit on a stump the whole night and not remove the blindfold until the rays of the morning sun shine through it. He cannot cry out for help to anyone. Once he survives the night, he is a MAN.
He cannot tell the other boys of this experience because each lad must come into manhood on his own. The boy is naturally terrified. He can hear all kinds of noises. Wild beasts must surely be all around him. Maybe even some human might do him harm. The wind blew the grass and earth, and shook his stump, but he sat stoically, never removing the blindfold. It would be the only way he could become a man! Finally, after a horrific night, the sun appeared and he removed his blindfold. It was then that he discovered his father sitting on the stump next to him. He had been at watch the entire night, protecting his son from harm.
We, too, are never alone. Even when we don't know it, our Heavenly Father is watching over us, sitting on the stump beside us. When trouble comes, all we have to do is reach out to Him. If you liked this story, pass it on. If not, perhaps you took off your blindfold before dawn.
Moral of the Story: Just because you can't see God, doesn't mean He is not there.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

On Accepting Myself

Here' what I'm learning these days. It's about letting go. I do my best and let it go. I do what I can and let it go. It actually sounds logical and fairly simple. You can only do what you can do, right? You wouldn't expect a cow to sing. You wouldn't expect a tree to fly. They each have limitations and so do I. Humility is being able to accept my own weaknesses. I must "bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to myself." To St. Therese that's the definition of holiness. To me it's been the definition of failure. With God's grace I'm moving from defining it as a failure to defining it as holiness...or at least humility. I'm learning slowly how to accept my own limitations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Being Jesus' Twin


I need to look and act more like you, Jesus. Show me just for today how I can make better choices so people see you instead of me. It's about looking at one person and seeing another. When you look at Susie you don't see Joey. When you look at twins Donny and Johnny you might mistake one for the other. So I have to become your twin on earth. We do have the same Father, after all. I have to learn how to finish your thoughts, enjoy the same things you enjoy (sorry, but we're not going to dress alike. I don't do togas and robes!) I have to feel like you though and not just look like you or sound like you. You forgave the soldiers on Calvery. I have to forgive a friend who betrayed me causing me pain and tears. You preached about your Father, about prayer, and about heaven. I need to be willing and eager to evangelize - not a traditional passtime for Catholics.

If I am to be your twin I really need to read your inspiried Biography - the Bible. I need to soak in every word, delve deep into each passage that describes you and imagine each scenario. Then I can put myself somewhere in the middle of each scene with you. If I'm comfortable doing that I can move onto the next step - replacing you and your words in each scene with myself and my own words. That might be feasible while we're looking at Bible scenes, Jesus. But what about today's work scenarios? Today if Maggie doesn't do her job thoroughly then I won't be able to finish my part of the report and my boss won't get it in time.

So if you were me what would you do Jesus?

This twin thing could be hard. Anyone got ideas?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Let's not give satan hope...

For me, sin is feeling tired and being short with people. It’s being impatient with lots of questions. It’s resentment toward drivers who are too slow or who cut in front of me. It’s about allowing my own schedule, To Do List, fears or problems distract me from giving attention to others.

Sin is a choice. A preference for being angry over being like Jesus. I make a clear decision to be more like satan than like Jesus. Every time I make that choice satan grows. His hope gets brighter. I don’t have to turn my whole life over to him – just one minute of the day at a time. One action at a time. One person at a time. Satan is that sneaky and he knows its that simple. He knows I won’t make a blatant choice to become a devil worshipper or to murder anyone. So he works on my last nerve to try to sway me.
But I know every moment of every day offers me a choice. The sum of all those choices is my life.

Jesus, I only have one lifetime in which to love you. Help me make right choices today.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Sin Is A Choice

Me over Jesus
Darkness over Light
Evil over Good
Selfishness over generosity
My feelings over the feelings of others

Sin is a choice
Now instead of forever
Immediate gratification instead of eternal reward
The easy way instead of the better way
Pleasing self instead of thinking of others

Sin is decision to fuel satan’s power, giving him my approval to keep up his pursuit of me. It gives him hope that one day I may fall. Fall down to him. Fall to honor him.

Jesus, help me please!

Friday, May 02, 2008

visual holiness 3

Seraphin Gallery

visual holiness 2


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

visual holiness


050417Holycrossmaryin rocks

Using another sense to praise God and His Creation~ join me!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Power over satan!

Walking along the path of life doing my thing. It’s a very simple thing. Feels like it’s not of great consequences in the Big Scheme of Things. (Is that the first attack?) I trip over my doubt and get distracted by the trip. Then I move on.

Walking along I resume use of my talents. While doing so I make a public mistake. It’s one that might cause others to question my aptitude to be a good example to others. I get concerned about my ability to do this well. Eventually I accept God’s grace and can move forward on the path again.

While on the path I get distracted by the pretty colors of the flowers and stop to pick one to keep for myself. After all, I’ve been on the path a while. I deserve some enjoyment, don’t I? So I sit down, rest from my journey and look around to see what else might be here for me to take. Some fruit? Maybe some colorful feathers birds have discarded. I could fill up my extra water jug. All these things are pleasant in themselves, but when I concentrate on them and not The Plan, satan wins.

Once as I was following God’s plan for the path of my life I was attacked. It was a physical attack and I was hurt. My pain replaced my plan. I could not move forward and I became sad. My physical attack was compounded by an emotional one. As I cried I wondered why God would abandon me like this.

The devil rejoiced. The ultimate success was a spiritual attack. That’s exactly where I was. My friends encouraged me. I barely listened. I thought my struggle was too big for any human to fix. I turned to Scripture. Speak to me, God! Help me, Jesus! Please.

Luke 10: 19
Romans 8:37

Jesus, do you mean that all along I had the power? Power over distractions and doubt? Power over pain and self pity? It was with me the whole time?
I kept re reading the passages from Jesus. I can trample serpents. They should be afraid of me and not vice versa. I have more power than the devil himself! He can’t MAKE me get distracted or feel powerless. HE can’t MAKE me feel self pity or loneliness. I am more than a conqueror over him and all his ways. It’s not just a win, it’s an easy win. Score 1,000 to 0. Not a chance. And I don’t have to write a letter or make a phone call to ask for help. It’s within me. Power and authority from God himself is what I’ve got in me.

I don’t have to concentrate on kicking the devil to the curb, tho I could if I wanted. All I have to do is ignore him. Don’t give him the attention he needs and craves. It’s food for him. Well he’s not getting it from me. I’ll not feed into his plan. It will shrivel away from starvation and neglect.

My strength is in the Lord. It’s in his word. It’s in his Food- the Bread of Life. That’s my mantra. The name of the munchkin in the red suit isn’t mentioned. Like the car keys I was looking for that were in my pocket all along. The eyeglasses I searched for were right on top of my head. I’ve had power and authority from the Lord all the time. I can either use it or let it atrophy like an unused muscle.

Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority and power.” I just need to believe it to be victorious.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What I Can Do!

“I’ve heard God’s voice. It is the never interrupted voice of love speaking from eternity and giving life and love whenever it is heard. When I hear that voice I know that I am home with God and have nothing to fear. As the Beloved of my heavenly Father I can ‘walk in the valley of darkness; no evil would I fear’. As the Beloved, I can ‘cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils’. Having ‘received without charge’ I can ‘give without charge.’ As the Beloved I can confront, console, admonish and encourage without fear of rejection or need for affirmation. As the Beloved I can suffer persecution without desire for revenge and receive praise without using it as proof of my goodness. As the Beloved I can be tortured and killed without ever having to doubt that the love that is given to me is stronger than death. As the Beloved I am free to live and give life, free also to die while giving life. “
From The Return of the Prodigal Son by Henri Nouwen.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Always Have Hope

That’s what children do. They believe and hope despite indications to the contrary. Jesus said, “Unless you become like little children you cannot enter heaven.” So instead of noticing problems I will act like I’m God’s child. He’ll take care of it. I’m not going to worry about it. He knows I don’t know how to fix it anyway. “Do you think Bill Gates’ daughter worries when her computer doesn’t work?” (Max Lucado) I’ve always be spoiled by God in the past. I’ve never had to walk on water. Jesus always did that for me. I’ve never had to know all the answers. My Father is the teacher so when the questions come up I just need to go to Him. I can say UNCLE or I can say JESUS – either way I have to just surrender. I need to remain innocent and uncomplicated. No plotting or planning. No crying or whining.

It’s really very freeing to be an innocent child. All I have to do is stay close to my Father!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

I WAS Dead.

Jesus, did you just sort of “wake up” lying in that tomb?

Your eyes flutter open but your face is covered. To move that covering your hands have to reach up. But your fingers and your nose tell you other things cover your body. Instinctively you try to move your hand up toward your face to move the cloth. Now you smell the myrrh – a smell your life began with 33 years ago. Your hand moves the cloth and fragrances away from your eyes and mouth. As you do that your hand feels tightness to it and to open your palm fully requires a stretching motion. Finally you’ve cleared your face with the help of your second hand. That hand too required that you stretch your fingertips wide to relieve the tautness of the spread.

It’s dark inside the tomb so you don’t see the scars on your palms but as you begin to awaken you also begin to remember. You remember the smell of those same fragrances from your visit to Lazarus’ tomb. Your now outstretched hand brings the scene back. The darkness that covers you confirms the memory. I was dead.

As you lie there you try to collect your thoughts.

I was dead.

The nails went through these same hands. I remember the hammer coming toward my hands and feet. The memories are all rushing back now.

The spear went through my side, Jesus recalled. Instinctively he reached to touch it. A healed scar replaced the torn flesh. And as he tried to lift his head, a smile began to grow ever so slightly on one side of his mouth. I was dead.

No crown of thorns on his head now as Jesus tries to hoist his upper body into a seated position. Buds, plants and flowers all trickle and fall away and Jesus removes the cloth that had once covered his face and body.

Seated upright his eyes try to focus and he turns his head to see where they placed his once lifeless body. The tiny smile begins to broaden into a grin. “Oh Father!” He had been buried and placed in someone’s tomb. It was someone else’s tomb because Jesus never had on for himself. Did he think he’d never need one? But he didn’t have his own house, either. “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:57-58)

“Father” Only one word. After all the experiences of the past three days the only word Jesus could bring himself to speak was “Father”. In that word alone was the full realization of what happened. The union of the two in that one word was like a meteor hitting the earth. The Father, who had been watching his Son’s body return to life as closely as he watched him be scourged, crucified and die, spoke his son’s name. “Jesus!” The strength of their love for one another was spoken in those single words. It was as though a huge surprise party was about to take place and only they knew about it. Jesus’ heart began to pound. He was suddenly anxious to remove himself from the tomb entirely. (Did Lazarus feel like this?”) He place two scarred but strong feet on the ground and reached his head and arms to heaven. He couldn’t wait to meet his beloved Father. He wanted to hug him, give his Abba a big, hearty pat on the back and say, “We did it! It’s done!” Instinctively he knew that would have to wait.
He looked for the entrance to the place where he had lain. Feeling around the walls which surrounded him, Jesus came upon the big stone that stood in the way between him and The Revelation. He would not have it. He could not have a stone between himself and his disciples, his mother, redemption, his Father. No stone would do that. No simple earthly stone was going to stand in his way.
Facing the stone Jesus looked up to heaven and repeated the same word, “Father!” He places his two scarred hands on the boulder blocking Jesus’ entrance into new life and it moved, slowly at first, out of his way.

No stone.
No nails.
No devil.
No death.
Nothing could stop him.
Nothing did.

As the stone rolled away so did the night. The stone was gone, darkness and sin were gone, evil and death were gone. Day broke through and with it Light, Salvation and Redemption. It was a moment of celebration for Father and Son. The grin on Jesus’ face was replaced with a huge smile. The smile erupted into a hearty laugh. “We did it. It’s done!” Jesus tilts back his head and laughs into the sky. “Father, we’ve won! Heaven has come. The doors are open wide so all can join us! Yeah!”

Jesus catches his breath, his heart pounding with excitement. He looks around one last time before he begins the final phase of his journey. Not too far away he sees the image of three empty crosses. Although it was a sobering view, his gaze then turned to the empty tomb behind him. Empty. Cloth on the ground. Stone rolled away. Empty.

Jesus then begins to walk toward his future and ours.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Be Joyful, Christian!

Enneagram #7 I just found out that I’m a #7. I guess that’s why the following phrase strikes me.

I do not deny the darkness. I choose not to live in it.”
-Henri Nouwen

My life as a Christian should be joyful. I am perfectly loved. I have been forgiven everything I’ve done wrong. I have a ticket to heaven eventually. I was created by a Master Artist so my inner design is inherently beautiful. I have a confidant available at my beck and call 24/7 so I never need to feel alone. I have a role model and mentor who wrote down how He handled every situation in life so I’d know how to handle mine. My Beloved is so attentive that He leaves me reminders of His presence in everyone and everything around me. I just have to make sure to be attentive to these graces. His Father and Mother are equally available and giving.
So if my strength turns to weakness or my vision gets blurry or if I become anxious, all I have to do is run to Him and surrender all that. Like the prodigal son [Luke 15” 11-32] I have a Father who is anticipating my return and ready to celebrate it in a big way.

Jesus I am grateful for your gifts and your love. I pray for all those who live with blurred vision- including myself at times. I praise you God! Alleluia!

Friday, March 21, 2008

He Is Risen!

By He Qi, China
Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Palm Sunday


I used to hate Palm Sunday because I thought the Bible story described people who'd become hypocrites. They were throwing palm branches and praising God one day and shouting for his death the next. But that wasn't hypocrisy that was just humanity being fickle. Like me those people were unpredictable. They praised the Lord on Sunday, denied Him on Thursday and begged for His murder on Friday. They are influenced by their peers while in the crowd facing Pilate. They feared for their own safety. They were happy when they were healed and got their own needs met. Palm Sunday is the date that humanity's weakness is recognized; its unpredictability and its flightiness. And when I say humanity I mean myself.

A true disciple is faithful and constant and willing to die to self. A true disciple will trust that God has a plan and that His Big Picture is a beautiful scene. I need to decide whether I want to be a member of the crowd, a casual observer or a true disciple.

I used to hate Palm Sunday because I thought the Bible story described people who'd become hypocrites. They were throwing palm branches and praising God one day and shouting for his death the next. But that wasn't hypocrisy that was just humanity being fickle. Like me those people were unpredictable. They praised the Lord on Sunday, denied Him on Thursday and begged for His murder on Friday. They are influenced by their peers while in the crowd facing Pilate. They feared for their own safety. They were happy when they were healed and got their own needs met. Palm Sunday is the date that humanity's weakness is recognized; its unpredictability and its flightiness. And when I say humanity I mean myself. A true disciple is faithful and constant and willing to die to self. A true disciple will trust that God has a plan and that His Big Picture is a beautiful scene. I need to decide whether I want to be a member of the crowd, a casual observer or a true disciple

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Always Have Hope

That’s what children do. They believe and hope despite indications to the contrary. Jesus said, “Unless you become like little children you cannot enter heaven.” So instead of noticing problems I will act like I’m God’s child. He’ll take care of it. I’m not going to worry about it. He knows I don’t know how to fix it anyway. “Do you think Bill Gates’ daughter worries when her computer doesn’t work?” (Max Lucado) I’ve always be spoiled by God in the past. I’ve never had to walk on water. Jesus always did that for me. I’ve never had to know all the answers. My Father is the teacher so when the questions come up I just need to go to Him. I can say UNCLE or I can say JESUS – either way I have to just surrender. I need to remain innocent and uncomplicated. No plotting or planning. No crying or whining.
It’s really very freeing to be an innocent child. All I have to do is stay close to my Father!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Litany of the Dust

For those who have betrayed us...Father, forgive them.
for those who have let us down...(Repeat: Father, forgive them.)
for those who have been indifferent to us...
for those who have tried to cripple our lives...
for those who have doubted us...
for those who have accused us...
for those who have preferred others to us...
for family members who have hurt us...
for friends who have denied us...
for those who have walked away from us...

For my own self pity...Father, forgive me.
for my lukewarmness...(Repeat: Father, forgive me.)
for my times of despair and distrust...
for my refusals to be hugged...
for my disbelief in your love...
for my searchings everywhere but in your heart...
for apologies frozen on my lips...
for my words of love unspoken...
for my kisses and embraces ungiven...
for compliments never offered...
for a heart closed in self-centeredness...
for my own unforgiving postures...
for not believing in your forgiveness...

O Jesus, you who offered forgiveness to so many---to Mary, theCrippled Man, the Good Thief---who said that you came to give life and shed your blood "for the forgiveness of sins," forgive us our sins. Not only the obvious ones, but especially the unnoticed ones of pride, righteousness, self-hate and the refusal to be loved.Take our very selves and wash them in that unconditional love of yours, for you are a God of mercy and compassion, you who live and love forever and ever. Amen

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Body and Blood

You teach us how to be at peace by trusting in you. You gave the example in Gethsemane. “Your will be done, Father.” After that surrendering prayer you remained calm. You didn’t struggle or resist. You allowed those whom you created to torture you because you needed to show us how much you love us. There is so much to learn from the example you gave us. The world cannot contain your goodness. We humans do a poor job of being your reflection. I thank you for your Word, which instructs us, and to which we can always turn for guidance. So generous of you to leave us with something we can pour over and reflect on.

I thank you too my very giving Lord for allowing us to connect with you so intimately by consuming your very Body and Blood. How much closer could you allow us to be? So simple these gifts are but so immensely profound an act – to eat your Body and Blood in bread and wine; thereby becoming one with you. Divinity and humanity co-mingling. Is that allowed? Can it be done? Do Kings share their lives with paupers? Only in You, my God. You are glorious and worthy of all praise and thanks.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Prodigal Son

I've been reading the book by Henri Nouwen called: The Return of the Prodigal Son. The Father loved both the younger and older son equally and unconditionally. His love was not dependent on their behavior. Somedays I act like the younger son and search for happiness someplace other than my Father's house. Somedays I'm the older self-righteous son who follows all the rules and expects special attention because of that. But its not about me at all. Obviously, I need to shed this schizophrenic response to my redemption and get it together. But if I do or don't, God still loves me and would "kill the fatted calf" for me. He celebrates me - whether it be upon my repentence of sin and reconciliation or on a day of pure obedience and self denial. God loves me completely.

Somedays I can receive that love with certainty and it fills me to the marrow with confidence and praise. But other days my schizophrenic spirituality continues and the Father's love for me is just too much to believe more or less accept.

Thank you Lord for giving us the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15: 11-32. Thank you Lord for Henri Nouwen's book on the topic. Thank you God for Rembrandt's painting called Return of the Prodigal Son. Thank you for giving us all these opportunities to get the message about your unconditional love. It's just another example of your generosity and your relentless attempts to offer us your grace.

Praise and thanks to You, my Lord and my God!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Best Gift I Could Give You

My primary interest in the previous story (Chapter 9 “Give Them an Impression of Who I Am” from the book Bread That is Broken by van Breemen S.J.) is the issue of getting to know Jesus. “You must waste time in prayer” the author writes. To spend time with Jesus is the only way to get to know him.

Hang out with Jesus. Watch him. Watch how me moves, what he says, how he acts. You can examine him in the New Testament or in you own life. You can try to imagine what Jesus did during the hidden years of his life, those non recorded years. You can look at Jesus’ actions in the church. I like to contemplate his face. I probe into his relationship with his mother and his father. The more time you spend with anyone, the better you get to know them.

2 Cor 3:18 How can we reflect what isn’t seen?
Phil 3:7 Why would we want to miss out on a supreme advantage?

I pray Ephesians 1:17 for you. It’s the best gift you can give someone, so…

I ask God to give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation to you may know him better.”

Friday, February 08, 2008

Let Me Tell You a Story...

In chapter 9 of Bread That Is Broken, a book written by Peter B. von Breemen, S.J. there is a story called “Give Them an Impression of Who I Am”. It is the story of a king who summons a boy – not yet born – and gives him a job. The boy is to give the inhabitants of the town an impression of the king. When the young man arrives 25 years later the king gives him a crown, a scepter and a robe before sending him off to fulfill his duty.

The man is quite perplexed as he doesn’t know anything about the king. “Why me?” he questions, and “how am I supposed to make a living?” The young man’s questions are answered by a wise man. “Why NOT you? The king chose you before you were born.

And if you want to know about the king examine how he called you and the gifts he gave you. As far as how you are to make a living just do what you know how to do. You’ve been a farmer. Keep doing that.” So that’s what the young man did.

So, what is the point?
The question of giving people an impression of who Christ is is essential to our calling.
Phil 3:7 “Nothing can outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.”
2 Cor 3:18 “We reflect like mirrors the brightness of the Lord as we turn into the image we reflect.”
In prayer we turn into the image we reflect. Van Breemen writes “This is indeed the work of the Lord who is spirit. The process is a long one. It takes time – time wasted in prayer. There is no other way to know Christ. ”

Examine the gifts. In this case the gifts describe the giver.
The crown – his crown of thorns.
The scepter – was in the form of the cross.
The robe – mocked and gambled for by the soldiers
We are given the gifts we need to accept a life which involves suffering and ridicule.

How do I make a living?
No one can take your place in this area. You can only do what you know how to do. Accept your limitations humbly and do joyfully that which you know how to do.
(part 2 is called TheBestGift)

Friday, February 01, 2008

You Remind Me Of Someone...

Mirror by Misspiepie

Jesus, some people say couples begin to look alike after many years together. I can only hope we reach that point. Amy Grant sang a great song in the 70’s called “My Father’s Eyes”. She wanted people to say she had her Father’s eyes meaning that she saw things as God did. If I had my Father’s hands and feet I’d do what he did. Lots of kids follow in their parents’ profession. Lots of couples venture into business together.

It’s sometimes said, “Those two are always together. You never see one without the other.” Could they say that about you and me Jesus? Would my friends and family ever think that? Do I know you well enough and intimately enough that I could imagine what you’d do or say in any situation? Do I love you enough to want to daily please you or to be told I remind people of you?
When people look at me would they ever say, “You remind me of someone…”?

1 Eph 17. “I pray that you may know Him better.”

Saturday, January 26, 2008

TEAM means....


= The Cross and ME

Cross is from Jumonville
Retreat Center in PA

Sunday, January 20, 2008

God's "Occupied"

“Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on the little flower as tho it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied with each soul as tho there were no others like it.” St. Therese

I do not want my whole life on this earth to go by and not have fully lived out Jesus’ request to follow Him. If God is “occupied with my soul” then maybe we can do it t o g e t h e r. I can fulfill God’s mission for me on this earth knowing he lives in my soul. He occupies it. He has taken residence there.


Jesus calmly and gently explains to me that it is not about what gifts I give him or what I do or don’t do, it’s about US time. I should listen, listen and then listen some more. I need to be honest with him and spend time with him. That’s what doing it t o g e t h e r will mean for us.
How will you and Jesus be occupied with each other?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What Makes Me Think I'm Spoiled

* Jesus’ birth, death and Resurrection
* I don’t have to be able to do or be anyone great.
* I’m surrounded by supportive friends.
* Jesus gifts me with change of seasons, of moods, of desires, of jobs, of needs.
* Jesus forgives me personally and sacramentally.
* Jesus gives himself to me in Eucharist and His Word.
* We communicate thru prayer daily, anytime and anywhere we want.
* He’s never left my side.
­* I’ve seen evidence of Jesus’ saving presence when I reflect back on life circumstances which give me trust in the future.
* In addition to himself Jesus give me the opportunity to have a relationship with his mother, his father and the saints.
* I have an eternal home. I am not lost. My life has a purpose.
* Jesus and I have been thru a lot together during these years on earth. All those years, months, days and minutes together have created a spiritual intimacy.
* He gets me! It’s really nice to be fully understood, appreciated, encouraged, challenged, forgiven = loved.
* I have an indisputable role model for every situation in life.
* Jesus allowed me to be part of a church, i.e. a group which formalizes our relationship and provides spiritual experiences, rituals, sacraments and fellowship
* I was blessed with 5 senses thru which the physical world becomes alive to me. I smell a fireplace. I hear children singing their ABCs. I see sun rays. I taste chocolate. I touch when I hug. All these bring joy and the lack of any single sense would be surely missed.
* It’s a real blessing to be able to go to someone who always has time to listen and who really listens and understands.
* It is also a real blessing to know someone who loves you enough to correct you and challenge you honestly to reach your potential.
Have you got anything to add?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

A Spoiled Child of God looks like this

I can look back over my life and see You were always there, Lord God. When I thought you were absent or busy taking care of someone or something else, You were really preparing something for me that was bigger and better than I could have imagined. And to this day it never stops. How loved can one soul be?

How attentive you’ve been to my needs.
How sensitive you’ve been to my feelings.
How tender you’ve been with your love.
How gracious you’ve been with your mercy.
How patient you’ve been with my response to your love.
Your faithfulness ASTOUNDS me.
Your generosity has been limitless.

I mean to make it my mission that people know of your goodness.
I will sing about you, write about you, and speak about your forgiving and loving heart.

I am indeed your spoiled, unworthy child. The most important word in that description is Your child. Because of that I’ve been blessed undeservedly – not because of anything I did, can or will do. All because of You, my Lord and my God. Thank you.