Friday, September 30, 2016

Limitless love inside!

"Love is just like prayer; it is not so much an action that we do, but a dialogue that already flows through us."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 9/30/16

I so often call myself up short because I don't feel I am loving well or just not loving others at all.  Between my harsh judgments and snarky thoughts running through my head (and sometimes they tumble out of my mouth, unfortunately), I just know I could love others better. So what if I think about love as a limitless pool deep, deep inside me? I can access that deep pool of love anytime I want...that is prayer.  The love is already there, I just need to dip down and grasp it, pull it up in a bucket like water from a well. After grasping it, it is very available for me to share with others; friends, family, strangers, people who bug me.  Love isn't something I can work on or attain, but love is something already there I just need to tap into, scoop up and pass along.  This is such good stuff to ponder!  As we end our September and turn ourselves deeper into fall, let's carve out some time to sit and pray and access the deep love God has put in our hearts already...not because we are good, but because God is good! (Thanks, Richard Rohr!) Blessings on your autumn weekend, love, heidi

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Leaving it behind!

"As Jesus and his disciples were proceeding on their journey, someone said to him, 'I will follow you wherever you go.'"
Luke 9:57

Pray-As-You-Go invites us to pray and ponder what it looks like to leave everything and follow Jesus.  Is it necessary to actually really leave everything? The apostles surely left their fishing boats, relatives and tax collecting booth to, literally, follow Jesus from village to village. What about us? Can we, even briefly, leave our nests and worldly responsibilities to spend some time with Jesus? Could we spend a day, an afternoon or even an hour unplugged? Can we make a conscious effort to turn off the ringers, the computer, the TV, the car radio? Letting go of those seems to me to be the modern day equivalent of "leaving it all behind" and following Jesus. Jesus can give us so much if we can just let go of the ringers and vibrations of our daily lives, if even for a short period of time. And through that time, maybe we can ask Jesus to help us shed other hindrances we are so tied to, like our judgments, prejudices, worries, unloving thoughts. Leaving all that behind would make any sacrifice of time so fruitful!  Let's make plans for carving out some quiet time with Jesus...our nests and duties will survive while we're away! Love, heidi

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Just like Job...

"Job opened his mouth and cursed his day. Job spoke out and said, 'Perish the day on which I was born...'"
Job 3:1

As the mass readings reveal the Book of Job in the fall, I always think back to my freshman year of college, attending the nightly 10:00 mass in a small chapel in one of the dorms. The fact that I was attending mass each night should tell you a bit of how that first semester was for me! I was miserable and identified with Job myself. Sad, now that I think of it, that I was too young to really see how God was nudging me. But, I was so young and the fact that I turned to God in my misery was much more God reaching out than me.  Job is going through a terrible time and even rails against God, and you know what? That is wonderful.  God doesn't mind.  God can take it. It means that even in his sorry state, Job still believes in God enough to rail against God. You can't shake your fist and fight against Someone you don't believe in, can you? It's a sign of relationship to fight back. It's the sign of a two-way street there, and that is exactly what God wants from us...relationship.  We can question God, get angry with God, shake our fist at God and God can shoulder all of that.  And God recognizes that, even in our sorrow or anger, we believe. We acknowledge God and have a relationship with God.  And God joins us in our sorrows and cries with us. God rejoices with us in our good times, too. And God can be one with our anger and understands everything we feel.  So we are safe going to God with our full range of emotions. Just as Jesus did, we can go to God and ask, "If there is any way this cup could pass me by..." Love, heidi

Monday, September 26, 2016

Watch for Lazarus...

"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

And so begins the cringe-worthy Gospel of the rich man and Lazarus. Both men die and Lazarus can be seen resting at the bosom of Abraham by the rich man, suffering in torment. And what does this teach us today? Obviously, it teaches that we, the rich, are to do what we can to help Lazarus at our door. Oh, we may not be dressed in fine purple linen and we may not exactly be dining sumptuously, but we are certainly the rich in this story. And why are we to help Lazarus? Because he deserves it? He was a hard-working guy who fell on hard times? Not necessarily. Maybe Lazarus was a recalcitrant son who squandered his father's money, living it up! And we are still called upon to care about him and help him...why? Because he is there. He is there and he is beloved of God, just as all humans are beloved of God. We are not called to judge the Lazarus-folks at our doors, we are called to love and help them. All humans share the dignity of being God's beloved, regardless of what we may see in them. We are not capable of judging them justly, that is solely up to God. But we are called to love and serve.  So, as we embark on an autumn Monday, let's keep our eyes open for the Lazarus(es) among us this day and let us love and serve.  Love, heidi

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Far from just vanity...

"Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth..all things are vanity! ...There is no remembrance of the men of old; nor of those to come will there be any remembrance among those who come after them."
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 11

I will admit it. I have a tote in the crawl space filled with photo albums of people I don't know. They are ancient relatives of my mother's and the tote has followed me house to house to townhouse for most of my adult life. And I still don't know who the people are behind the grainy, serious stares. My mom probably told me who they were at one point, but I can't keep them straight now.  So what's the deal with Qoheleth, in today's reading? Why so grumpy? So hopeless? It's easy to see that we can get caught up in the hamster wheel of everyday life and yes, it can see like rather useless toil. I feel a bit sad that one day I will be a nameless face in a photo in a future generation's crawl space. I get that, but I also get something bigger.  Each one of us and each person in photographs is the beloved of God.  I may not know who they are, but God certainly knows them, inside and out. And God purposefully and carefully chose them to be my ancestors and their DNA flows through me today and my children, too.  And, far from being useless vanity, that seems quite stunning to me.  Today, let's thank God for all who have gone before us and realize that their lives led to our lives. They are the beloved of God and so are we! Sounds like a party to me...love, heidi