Friday, January 13, 2017

A gaze of pure love...

"After they had broken through (the roof), they let down the mat on which the paralytic was lying..."
Mark 2:4

We have all heard this Gospel many times, so imagine my surprise when I "heard" something sort of new this morning! On Pray-as-You-Go, they suggested visualizing the scene in our minds.  Picturing the guys lowering the mat into the home, at Jesus' feet. Then they suggested picturing Jesus' face, looking at the guy on the mat.  What is the expression on his face? I prayed with that for a minute and the expression, as pictured in my own mind, was pure love. Jesus looked at the guy with genuine love and compassion, and was totally able to relay that through his gaze. I wondered if the expression alone would have been the true healing for the guy...the physical healing merely icing on the cake. Jesus' gaze would heal the guy from the inside, as I have noticed so often Jesus healing in our day.  As we embark on a winter weekend, what better time to sit in silence and just picture the expression on Jesus' face as we make special time to sit with him. There is nothing better to imagine in the whole world!  Love, heidi

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Pray all ways...

"Rising very early before dawn, Jesus left and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed."
Mark 1:35

One other version I have of this scripture says Jesus "was absorbed in prayer." I love that! Years ago, if someone would have suggested to me to rise early, before dawn, to pray I would have thought them crazy! At that point, rising early would have seemed more taxing than restorative to me. I wasn't in the frame of mind that praying and spending time with God in silence and solitude was helpful in getting through the rest of my busy day. I assumed sleep was what I needed to fuel me for the day ahead. But the more time I spend in silence and prayer, I more I see its restorative qualities.  I can get through the busy week much better after a Silent Sunday.  I need to touch base with the Source of all I need to do what I do.  Our ways of praying may be different though. One person may find it prayerful to be out in nature, another may feel rejuvenated sitting in Adoration for a spell. I was surprised to find shoveling somewhat contemplative and prayerful last weekend. It was quiet outside and the rhythm of shoveling seemed to sort of carry my mind away in prayer and contemplation. Spending time with God is prayer, no matter what the exact activity may be. Jesus shows us how doing just that can give us what we need to live our lives more peacefully. We are to pray always and pray all ways, as Fr. Ed Hays used to say.  Let's think about that today! Love, heidi 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Practice what we preach?

"The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."
Mark 1:27

Just as the people in Jesus' time, we are fascinated by Jesus' authority too! Pray-as-You-Go offered this morning what that authority may have looked like to the people in the synagogue that day. Jesus spoke and then healed the man possessed by the unclean spirit.  In other words, Jesus backed up his words with actions. We can only imagine what that was like to witness! Words can be very powerful, but in themselves they are still merely words...words in a bubble over the speaker's head, like in a cartoon.  But words accompanied by actions--healing, loving, embracing actions--now that really IS something to make you sit up and take notice. Today, as we go about our Tuesday, let's pay close attention to how our actions accompany our words. Do we practice what we preach? Or are our good words just sitting there, over our heads in a bubble?  Love, heidi

Monday, January 9, 2017

Love people...

"Do you wish to have love? If you wish to have love, then you must leave love."
Mechtild of Magdeburg, as quoted in "Christian Mystics" by Matthew Fox

The paradox of this sentence is startling. Leave love to find love? Leave home to find home, like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz? Matthew Fox reflects on this quote by likening it to letting go...the art of letting go.  I have had some very powerful lessons in letting go, both from my mom and later from my Helen. We must let go of this life to embrace the other, the next. The more we accumulate in this life, the harder that may be. The more attached we are to this life, the harder letting go of Here will be and we may struggle mightily to stay. What does it mean to let go of love, though, to gain love? Maybe it means to let go of false and fake love to find Real Love? Maybe it is letting go of superficial love to find genuine love? We throw the word love around so often--I love my car, I love spinach, I love watching documentaries on Netflix.  But that isn't love, really. We cannot really love an inanimate object.  Our God-given gift of Love is for people, for life-living creatures. I think it was The Minimalists who said, "Love people, use things, not the other way around." Today, as we embark on a winter Monday, let's think about our relationship with things...and our relationships with people.  We are called to love the latter, even if that means letting go of the former. Love, heidi

Friday, January 6, 2017

Humble and loving service...

"We could, for example, keep ourselves from examining our neighbor's conscience..."
St. Andre Bessette, as quoted in "Living With Christ"

I love this guy.  Brother Andre Bessette was a humble doorman at a college in Montreal. From very humble beginnings, he served God faithfully in simple and concrete ways, visiting the sick and opening the door for visitors. He shows us that any job or ministry is holy if done for the glory of God and with great love. No matter what our job, the way we do what we do makes it holy, not how far up the ladder we climb or how big our name is on the marquee. My favorite story about St. Andre is this: Whenever there was a knock on the door he would hurry to open it, saying, "I'm coming Lord!" It seemed, to him, each visitor was Jesus, himself. Let's think about that this wintery Friday.  Each person we encounter is Jesus and how hospitable are we? Are we hurrying to answer the door? Are we doing our most mundane tasks with love and for the glory of God? And, as St. Andre suggests, the only conscience we need to examine is our own, right? St. Andre, pray for us! Love, heidi