Monday, June 26, 2017

Judge not!

"Can we free ourselves from the need to judge others? Yes...by claiming for ourselves the truth that we are the beloved daughters and sons of God."
Henri Nouwen, "Here and Now: Living in the Spirit," as quoted in Give Us This Day

Every time I read today's Gospel (Matthew 7:1-5) I resolve to stop judging as Jesus commands. So much easier resolved than done, I'm afraid. We humans are wired to judge. We spend our lives jockeying for position by comparing ourselves to others. It's in our every cell that makes us human. So how can Jesus expect us NOT to judge? The answer here is so beautiful via Henri Nouwen.  We can stop judging by understanding and appreciating who we really are.  We are not people who have to prove our worth to improve our standing with God. We are people who are already so loved by God and nothing we do can ever change that. None of our jockeying for position can change how God feels about us--not one little bit. In fact, our elbowing our way through others to look better is what Jesus is cautioning us against. So, today, as we go about our summer Monday, any time a judgmental thought crosses our minds, let's shake it out with the grateful knowledge that God loves us and God loves the other person we are mistakenly judging. We can love others, because God has first loved us.  Love, heidi

Friday, June 23, 2017

'Tis a gift to be simple!

"At that time Jesus exclaimed, 'I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the little ones.'"
Matthew 11:25

On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, they ask, What could the message be that God has revealed to the child-like and not the learned? I thought about it and came up with Simplicity. Think about little kids, especially on these warm summer days. They play and play all day, sleeping when they're tired, eating just for sustenance, they're (for the most part) joyful, busy, and simple. Their lives are purposeful--to learn and grow, but also to have fun. They are only really aware of the fun part, though! The simple life is so attractive to me and it has been my mission for several years now to simplify everything from the amount of stuff that I have, to what I choose to do with my time and resources. Even though I know I'm still learning and on the journey, it just feels so right and more the life Jesus invites us all to live. So, if you get a chance this summer Friday, watch some kids playing. Think about how purposeful, yet simple, their lives are and wonder what that could look like in our grown-up, yet complicated lives. Are there changes we can make to live life more simply? Blessings on this first weekend of summer!  Love, heidi

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happiness is...

"Doing anything and everything solely for God is certainly the most purifying plan for happiness I can imagine."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 6/22

Oh wow, this feels huge to me this morning. Huge!  I used to think my responsibility to God was to say my daily prayers and go to mass on Sunday. That was it, unless I became a nun, in which case I'd be giving my life to God. There was such a distinction between the two different lives. But now I see that there isn't such a manifest difference. We can still give our lives to God and live our lives for God no matter what our vocation may be. Many of you know that I considered the religious life, though briefly; it was the fork in the road I pondered but did not choose. Instead, I followed the deepest desire of my heart and chose marriage and family and for that, I'm eternally grateful! But I'm also grateful that either way, I can live my life for God. If doing everything, even the mundane tasks of my little life, are done for the glory of God, that can make me very happy. Very happy indeed. My relationship with God has gone from checking in each day and visiting on Sunday, to every breath I take being with God, taking in God, enveloped by God. So as we celebrate this early summer day, in all its glory, let's think about everything we do being for the glory of God and with the deep love of God.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The enemy within...

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."
Matthew 5:43-44

I usually begin my pondering of this reading by wondering just who my enemies are, exactly. I try to get along with others, though am certainly not perfect at it. But, when I think of loving my enemies, I sort of want names and lists of those I am to love. In reality, my so-called enemies may be more within.  Maybe I need to get on speaking terms with my own faults and foibles. Maybe I need to recognize the enemy within and know it better. By knowing and "loving" the enemy within, I can work with it more effectively. Pray-As-You-Go suggested that we may be our own worst enemy and that surely could be true. Instead of denying or repressing our enemies within, what if we sit down and metaphorically hash things out together.  Let's face it, we are going to struggle with being perfect as our God is perfect (v. 48). That just may not happen this side of Glory and we may need to come to grips with that fact. But, if we learn to love the enemy within we can tame that adversary and be able to focus ourselves and our energy outward, toward others.  Love, heidi

Monday, June 19, 2017

Live generously...

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him.'"
Matthew 5:38-39

This is one of many verses that point out to us how much easier it is to simply believe in Jesus than it is to actually follow Jesus.  How are we supposed to turn the other cheek? It's downright un-American! If we just believe in Jesus we can rationalize this scripture away and think, "Well, Jesus didn't mean THAT certainly! Jesus wouldn't want us sitting there while someone else pummels us!" But if we look at what Jesus actually did when faced with being pummeled himself, I think we can see what he really meant. This is so hard as to seem impossible, isn't it? Jesus understands that, too.  On Pray-As-You-Go the prayer they gave at the end of this reading was, "Ask God for the strength to grow in generosity toward others." And that is the key right there. Only God can help us follow Jesus in the loving, non-violent way that Jesus lived and wants us to live too.  Only God can help us to live generously with others.  Love, heidi