Thursday, February 23, 2017

Live Godfully!

"Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone's face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions."
Henri Nouwen, as quoted by Brother Silas Henderson in "Give Us This Day"

This is a wonderful little Examen we can pray at the end of every day! As well as looking back through our day and seeing the God tracks, we can pray with these questions and ask ourselves, how did we do? I don't know about you, but I have so many opportunities each day to smile at strangers, comfort those who are struggling, and, certainly, curb my resentment as I rant and rave in the car. I have chances everyday to live more Godfully, with the mind and heart of Christ. Maybe if I know there will be a quiz at the end of the day, I will be more aware throughout the day!  Love, heidi

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Looking for God, in all the right places...

"The coming and going of our moments of awakening begin to graze our hearts with longing."
James Finley, Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation for 2/22/2017

James Finley is describing meditation as a form of prayer and, during this week of exploring it, I find it resonates with what goes on during silent retreats for me. Finley describes meditation as moments of awareness which transcend what we are actually prayerfully observing. He shares that Jesus taught us that we are "drenched through and through with God's love." Meditation can give us glimpses of that and leave us longing for more...a kind of homesickness for heaven.  And this is exactly why I'm trying to wiggle several silent retreats into my calendar this year! I can sit on the porch of St. Helen's hermitage at Marymount and just gaze at the draw and ridge in front of me and it just shouts of God's glory.  I can observe all the little critters and creatures there and it seems like I'm looking into God's own eyes.  These moments of awakening leave me wanting more and more of them, because they affirm God's presence and glory all around me.  I feel very tiny under the immense star-studded sky, but I also feel important enough that God wants to show it to me, personally.  And, just recently, I've learned I don't have to go too far away to experience the awakening that comes with just sitting in silence, with God. I sat on my own front porch last fall and looked at my very own bushes and noticed these tiny little orange berries on them. I marveled at them and recognized what I had missed even though they are in my own front garden. We just need to take the time to sit in silence and prayerfully observe the many gifts of God all around us.  The more we do that, the easier to see God all around us! Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Upside down order...

"But they remained silent. For they had been discussing among themselves on the way who was the greatest."
Mark 9:34

How human of the disciples! How very human of us when we do the exact same thing! It's human nature to jockey for position, isn't it? It feels like there's a hierarchy--an order of people, and we humans like that order. We appreciate having everyone in a predictable, logical order. But Jesus turned all that upside down when he put a small child on his lap and said, "Whoever welcomes this child welcomes me..." (v. 37) Children, at that time, we not highly valued in society, so Jesus' action was surprising.  What if we turned the world upside down in our time and put those who seem to be de-valued on top? Pope Francis does that all the time when he speaks of the plight of immigrants and refugees. Jesus is reaching through 2000 years of human hierarchy and telling us our "order" of people is all wrong. Welcoming those who struggle the most in this life and putting their welfare before the powerful, before kings and queens and presidents, is the true order of the Kingdom of God. And what does that look like on our Feels-Like-a-Monday Tuesday?   Love, heidi

Friday, February 17, 2017

A believer or a follower be...

"Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me."
Mark 8:34

What does this look like on our 21st century winter Friday?  Jesus calls us to follow him, not merely believe in him.  These are two completely different actions. Believing in Jesus just means you accept that he existed.  You may even acknowledge that he died for you and he is your Lord-and-Savior.  Relatively easy compare to being a follower of Jesus.  That's where the rubber means the road and it's much, much harder. If we are truly followers of Jesus we do what Jesus did. Jesus forgave people who were condemned in his culture. Jesus washed the feet of his friends AND those he knew would later do him harm. Jesus mingled with those he wasn't supposed to mingle with and made positive examples of foreigners and those cast out by his culture. Jesus welcomed strangers, ate with them and healed them. And how difficult in our day to do even one of these! I received a letter from one of our state senators, responding to my letter of disagreement with the Administration's recent travel ban and immigration policy. While I applauded the senator for responding (no one else did), I disagreed with his comment that the most important thing is to protect our country. No, sir, respectfully, the most important thing we are to do is follow Jesus. And that means denying oneself, welcoming and compassionately caring for the stranger.   For the complete list for how to be a follower of Jesus read Matthew 25:31-40.  It's a sobering list and we can only do it with Jesus' help! Love, heidi

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Not the end...

"He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer greatly and be rejected by the elders...and be killed, and rise again after three days."
Mark 8:31

Jesus foretells the end; how he must suffer and die.  What a shock for the disciples to hear that all they had worked for would end in Jesus' death (they probably didn't even hear the "rise again" part). No wonder Peter rebuked him! And what about us? How would we react if we sat down and had a conversation with Jesus about the end of our lives? Would we protest and say to Jesus, "Oh not that, Jesus! Not that way!" We wouldn't even hear the "rise again" part either. Death is not the end. The rainbow in Genesis (today's first reading, Genesis 9:1-13) should tell us that.  Death is not the end, especially our relationship with God. Death will mark a change for us, like moving into the next room, but it is not the end.  Jesus shocks the disciples when he talks about his death, but we know something they didn't at the time. We know he will be risen on the third day.  And, just as death wasn't the end for Jesus, it won't be the end for us either.  Love, heidi