Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Be awake!

"Love never fails..."
1 Corinthians 13:8

I had what I think was quite a mystical encounter yesterday that I will tell you, without going into details, brought me to tears. It showed me that we are all in this together--all of us. People come and go in our lives and we may not give them a passing thought. Until, that is, we look back and see Jesus in the encounter. Often I can see Jesus present in people I encounter, especially the little kids at school who holler to me from their school bus as it drives away, "Bye, Ms. G!" It's so easy to see Jesus in those little faces! But yesterday's encounter was different. I looked back and saw Jesus in me, myself. Whoa, that, right? I was able to respond and react so unlike myself and yet so needed for the moment that I could only recognize it was Jesus acting and not me. We need to be awake to these occurrences, because I think they can happen frequently if we are tuned into the Holy Spirit and do what we feel God calling us to do. Because tuning into the Spirit and hearing God's call invites Jesus to act through us. And the world needs so much of that just now. So the most passing encounter you have today may be just what Jesus needs to do in the world. Be awake! Pay attention! Love, heidi

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Daily Examen

"More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us."
-IgnationSpirituality.com

So, my insurance company sent me one of those Right Track devices that plug into the car and monitor my driving. I was leery at first, but I think it is making me a more careful driver. It monitors bursts of rapid acceleration and sudden braking, as well as total miles driven and car use during the wee hours of the morning. It all makes sense to me and it makes me sort of wish I could get such a device for my whole life. Is there such a device that would monitor how closely I walk with Jesus through the day?  Actually, the Daily Examen prayer serves to give us a little check of how we respond to God throughout our days. We can pray with the Examen and ask ourselves if we excellerated too fast into harsh judgements or hit the brake too fast on living generously. We can think back and see where we felt closer to God during the day and if there were times we may have missed seeing God around each corner. There are several good Examen prayers online. Pray-As-You-Go has a nice one at the link below and Fr. James Martin has a nice podcast Examen, also link below. I access both of them from my phone, through podcasts or the Soundcloud app.  If you need to change up your prayer life and haven't tried the Daily Examen prayer, think of it as a little Right Track for your spiritual walk. It's encouraging and helpful for seeing Jesus in your day. Love from the treehouse, heidi
Pray-As-You-Go Examen
Fr. James Martin Examen

Thursday, September 13, 2018

No enemies?

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'To you who hear I say, love your enemies...'"
Luke 6:27

I have certainly run the gamut of figuring out this reading over the years. Pondering it all, from who are my enemies to how to show love to those who bug me.  But this morning I wonder if I hit on something new. I'm thinking it could be easier to love our enemies if we just didn't have any. Really. What if we stop thinking of people as our enemies and just think of them as friends we may not agree with? I'm not saying this will be easy, not by a long shot! But having enemies is so much work! There's all that energy we spend watching what they do so we can judge it and criticize it. There's the mental work of chastising them in our heads, scooping their associates up and adding them to our enemy list as well. What if we just let them escape from our judging minds and wish them well on their way? What if we just allow God to sort it all out? This is hard for me because people I struggle with take up so much room in my head that I won't know what to do with all the empty space!  (If that's all I have to worry about today, I'm in pretty good shape.) So, today, as Jesus gives us this most difficult command to love our enemies, let's make it easier for ourselves by just not having any. Those we struggle with we can take from our heads to our hearts and allow God to tend them there.  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blessed are the poor...

"Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of heaven is yours."
Luke 6:20

I admit I didn't get much further than this first sentence in today's Gospel. I sat and prayed about what it means. I wonder if the poor feel blessed? In our culture being poor is scorned and feared. The poor are seen as less-than, lazy, unproductive. Jesus continues by saying, "But woe to you who are rich..." (v. 24). How upside down is this compared to the culture of our country! Since it seems so upside down I wondered, what is it about the poor that renders them blessed? I wondered if they may grow more dependent on God. Their own resources have come up short, so they are more reliant on God for the little they have. Because of that, they are grateful for what they have and that gratitude leads them to share what they have with others. It is sometimes easier to share what we receive as gift than when we think we "earned" something on our own. So, a greater dependence on God leads to gratitude which leads to generosity. So, definitely, that chain reaction renders the poor very blessed indeed. It is worthwhile to think and pray about how we in our oh-so comfortable lives can follow the same chain. Our awareness of all we have as gift can lead us to gratitude and generosity as well. Living more simply allows us to live more generously. I like the expression "Live simply so others can simply live." Today, let's pray with that and see how it looks in our own lives. Love from the treehouse, heidi

Monday, September 10, 2018

Prayer of the Heart

"Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Prayer of the Heart," 9/8/18 Daily Meditation

One thing I know I need in the faith department is for my faith to work; that is, be practically alive for me in my everyday life. I remember a good lesson, many years ago, when I was fretting about something and a wise friend said to me, "Heidi, I know you have a strong faith, why don't you pull it out and use it?" Great advice! So, I read this wonderful Heart Prayer suggestion (link below to the whole article) and I thought of a way I could apply this to my life. I have struggled lately with things so far out of my control (national and church issues), and I feel angry and helpless. I thought of a ritual that will help me to put these negative thoughts and feelings somewhere more constructive--my heart. There, as Fr. Richard Rohr says, they will be surrounded by silence and the warmth and love of God and God will take care of them. Whenever I feel a negative thought or judgment bubble up into my mind, I will, prayerfully, cup my hands in front of me to collect it. Then I will cover my heart with my hands, depositing it into my heart space. That simple physical gesture may help me remember that ruminating or venting about what I think is wrong doesn't do any good at all. As I put those feelings into my heart, I trust God will guide me to what I can do that will be constructive and life-giving. Please read the Prayer of the Heart at the end of the summary on Fr. Rohr's column. Love from the treehouse, heidi
Prayer of the Heart

Friday, September 7, 2018

New wineskins...

"Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins."
Luke 5:38

I'm sure I've confessed my bewilderment at this reading before. I never felt I had a grip on it until I attended a closing mass for a men's Cursillo a million years ago. I watched the men come in, disheveled and tired, looking rather like the "undesirable" prize in a Mystery Date game. But there was something unmistakably wonderful about them, too. They were in new wineskins! They sure didn't look new but what had occurred over the weekend for them made them new creations, beautiful to behold even in their exhausted state. So, I got the new wineskins thing a bit better after that. Today, when I heard the reading, this sentence caught my eye, "Rather, new wine must be poured into new wineskins." I likened my move to Boise and complete new way of life to a new wineskin...it is so different than what I was doing and where I was living. My life has completely changed. I'm in a different stretch of water and a brand new wineskin, both metaphors for the new life God has been preparing me for and preparing for me for the last several years. The new wine God is making in my life had to have a new wineskin, a new container, if you will. My life had to be pared down to be much simpler, with much less stuff and much more time for God. I must say this new wine is delicious, too! What about you? Has God been fermenting a new batch of wine for your life? Do you need a new wineskin to put it in? Good food for thought to ponder and pray with this September weekend! Blessings and love from the treehouse, heidi