Thursday, March 23, 2017

A conversation with God...

"Because you are in love with God, you can relate to him as you would relate to a friend. You can talk to God in order to find out what he thinks. You want to do as he suggests. Listen to him, then, that you may know. God speaks quietly, very quietly, but he does speak, and he will make known to you what he wants you to do."
Catherine de Hueck Doherty, as quoted in Give Us This Day

Yep. What she said.  I think we grow up thinking we are only communicating with God if we are praying the formulated prayers we grew up with.  The idea of talking to God as we would talk to a friend seems uncomfortable, forced, or even weird. But, the older I get and the more, could I say, familiar I get with God, the more honest I feel I can be. Even to the point of looking up and praying the simple prayer of the surprised, "Seriously, God?"  We have been asked to "Pray always" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It's hard to do that if we stick to only rote prayers.  But we can keep a running conversation going with God if we are familiar enough to talk with God as a friend. Let's try something today: Let's make a Sign of the Cross first thing in the morning, and let the whole day be our prayer. Then we can close our prayer at the end of the day. Our whole day is a prayer, a conversation, with God.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alone with the Alone...

"In solitude when we are least alone..."
Lord Byron, "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage"

I had a long drive yesterday and realized too-late-to-go-back-for-it that I'd left the Talking Book player at the office. Rats, that, I thought. Long drive made even longer by no book to enjoy. I did have a prayerful music CD. That, and perhaps some time of silence, would be the order of the day.  The mountains are still snow-covered and breathtaking. God felt as close as in the passenger seat beside me. Prayers prayed and felt. Tears flowed. It was a trip to church.  Why are we so afraid of silence? Why do our hours need to be filled up with noise and activity? To keep our minds off stuff? Maybe. But also the silence can amplify the sound of our own heart beating; our own "who-ness" as Fr. Richard Rohr often says.  And that can be intimidating.  Today and maybe for the remainder of Lent, let's put ourselves in positions of solitude and silence. On purpose. Let's not be afraid to be alone with the Alone, as Marymount advertises on its webpage. It's very safe and lovely with the Alone.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Forgive and let go...

"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?'"
Matthew 18:21

Forgiveness is one of the hardest things we humans have to wrap our minds around. And one of the most difficult aspects of that is the act of forgiving ourselves.  We can be so good at guilt that we can mire ourselves in it for years, thinking ourselves unworthy of God's forgiveness. If we cannot imagine God is merciful enough to forgive us, how can we picture our little human selves able to forgive others? A couple of lessons from "The Shack" really stood out to me in the forgiveness realm.  First, God tells Mack that the healing of forgiveness affects the forgiver. Mack's anger was harming him, much more than the offender. God wanted Mack to forgive to free him, Mack, thus releasing the offender to God. "I'm just asking that you let go of his throat," God pleads. God assured Mack that he could forgive with God's help and he wasn't alone in his efforts. That is reassuring. And finally, it takes time and even practice--the act of forgiving. Just saying the words are a beginning, eventually the heart will follow. Lent is such a good time to revisit any grudges or ill will we may harbor towards others, and to let it go. Release it to God, who knows what to do with it. Love, heidi

Monday, March 20, 2017

Hear and recognize...

"Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said..."
Matthew 1:20

Pray-As-You-Go this morning asked the question have you ever been compelled to do something in a dream...did you do it? I'm sure there are many times I have been influenced by dreams, but one time in particular I was iffy about a situation and then received clarity in a dream. I acted on the clear message I'd received and it was the right thing to do.  A while back I heard a homily about St. Joseph which emphasized that St. Joseph KNEW God's voice because he was so familiar with God. It's harder to hear and recognize God when you aren't necessarily close to God in relationship. It's a lot easier to hear a friend's voice if you've heard it before and speak together often. The more time we spend with God, the easier it will be to hear and recognize God's voice, whether we hear it in a dream or while out hiking or while in silence, listening for the whisper.  Love, heidi

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Open the door...

"Jesus said to the Pharisees, 'There was a rich man who dressed in purple garments and fine linen and dined sumptuously each day. And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus..."
Luke 16:19-20

As I pondered this reading this morning, I wondered to myself (that's what happens when you live alone) who are the Lazaruses (Lazari?) at my door? I know there are people I step over each day to go about my everyday life.  It pains me to recognize this, but it also is the point of Jesus' story to the Pharisees. There are people in our lives who have much to teach us, but we ignore them. They may seem difficult to us, or they make us uncomfortable.  The guy on the corner by Walmart with the sign. The relative we never contact. Jesus is reminding us that we don't need to look far to find the people who have the most to teach us. We don't need to go to a far off land to help far off strangers, admirable as that may be. All we need do is look outside our own door, in our own little lives and the lesson is right there.  All this makes me so ill at ease. I like being in my cozy little world with me inside and Lazarus outside.  The idea of inviting Lazarus in is unsettling.  Blessedly, I don't have to do it alone.  Lord, please help me to see Lazarus, invite him in and show him hospitality.  He is You...Love, heidi