Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Harriet Tubman--mystic

"T'wasn't me, 'twas the Lord! I always told Him, 'I trust you, I don't know where to go or what to do, but I expect you to lead me,' and He always did."
Harriet Tubman

I had planned on doing all the Usual Subject mystics for my Lent mini-course on the mystics, but when I went to the movie "Harriet" I realized she was a mystic. And wouldn't it be interesting to explore that a bit? Harriet Tubman had "spells" where she would catch a glimpse of the future or practical direction in her life at the moment. She had been hit in the head by a counter-weight as a thirteen year old girl, and after that, had spells or seizures. She said they served to let her hear God's voice more clearly. After traveling north to her own freedom she made around twenty more trips to the south to lead other slaves to the north via the Underground Railroad. She heard the voice of God, responded to that voice and changed the lives of so many. She realized that freedom wasn't just for her or even for a few, but for all her people. If you're looking for something worthwhile to do during this time of self-isolation, I would invite you to stream the movie "Harriet," and marvel how her mysticism changed the lives of others. What may the voice of God be saying to us today?  Can the mysticism of Harriet Tubman comfort and guide us through this time? Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

From the mystics...

"What do you need to hear from Jesus today?"
Pray-As-You-Go, 3/31/20

Way last September, which seems like a lifetime ago, I offered to do a little mini-course on the Christian mystics for Lent for our church.  A dear friend and I had done a similar thing years ago and it was interesting.  Little did I know, that in researching the mystics for this go around, I would find such comfort in what they said and cling to their words like a life preserver! The mystics were real people, living very real lives on this planet, and yet, they heard the voice of God and lived what they heard. As a result, they changed lives around them and can impact all of us who live after them. I thought I'd share some of the words of God, spoken through the Christian mystics, these next few days. Maybe what they say will give us all hope and comfort as we live the "lenty-est lent" ever!

From Hildegard von Bingen: All human beings and creatures of the cosmos are emanations of the love of God. (Let's remember that as we struggle with our fellow cosmos-dwellers!)
From Julian of Norwich: "All shall be well and all manner of things shall be well." 
More tomorrow...Stay home, stay well! Love, heidi

Friday, March 27, 2020

Love School

"The truth is that we must pray for the strength to do what we are meant to do. We must pray for the courage to meet the challenges of life. We must pray for the endurance it will take to go on even when nothing changes. We must pray that the spirit of God is with us as we do what must be done, whether we succeed in the process or not."
Sr. Joan Chittister, "The Breath of the Soul" (as quoted in Give Us This Day)

I have long had a bug-a-boo about praying for specific outcomes. Maybe it was a lack of faith that made me leery of praying that "this" will happen, or "that," on Tuesday between the hours of four and six. I've never been good at it, really. I pray for people all the time, but just not that specific things will or won't happen. God only knows what would be best for that person, what outcome would be best in the long run, or in the Big Picture. What if my idea was not big enough or the outcome I desired would end up being harmful? I always like the example of Jesus' mother at the Wedding Feast at Cana.  She just identified her concern and left it at that. "They have no wine," she said. Then, presumably, she let go of the situation and let Jesus take it from there. (And we all know what HE did!) So especially now in these trying times, I like the idea of praying for strength to do what we are supposed to do. (And, God knows, I need really clear directions!) I think we all need to pray for courage and endurance and also the wisdom to learn from this valuable time. Despite the closing of all the schools, we ARE in school, folks. Think of it as being in Love School. How can we learn the lessons of love through a difficult time such as this? The Spirit of God is with us and the lessons are right in front of us. What are we learning at this Wisdom School? Blessings and love, heidi

Monday, March 23, 2020

Calm the storm!

"(Jesus) got into a boat and the disciples followed him. Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so the boat was being swamped by waves; but Jesus was asleep. They came and woke him saying, 'Lord! Save us, we are perishing!'...
Then he got up, rebuked the winds and the sea and there was a great calm..."
Matthew 8:23-25, 26

I watched a nice interview with Fr. James Martin, SJ in my newsfeed this morning. He was asked (from six feet away) what scripture can help us during this time of fear. He immediately said the calming of the storm Gospel. This is certainly a wild storm, isn't it? We all feel tossed about, hanging on for dear life as we swirl and bounce along in the boat. We wonder how in the world Jesus can sleep through this storm, right? But, as Fr. Martin suggests, we can wake Jesus up and ask him to calm our inner storms and fears. This is a major storm for all, but it can also be a fierce inner storm, deep within, and fear can grip us tightly. Let's read this passage from Matthew and spend some quiet time with Jesus in our own little boats. What storms within would we ask him to calm? Can he give us ideas of who we can help or how we can calm storms for others who may be suffering even worse? I'm thinking the food banks are being taxed to the max right now...could we send them a donation? Is there someone we can check up on? Goodness knows we have time now to spend quiet time with Jesus...what do we ask him? Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A time to rest...

"Indeed, we live frantic existences. But it's not wrong to rest in the labyrinth, to find a bench or a chair to rest.."
Edward Hays, "The Lenten Labyrinth"

Fr. Ed Hays wrote this book, "The Lenten Labyrinth," in 1994. I picture him pausing whatever he's doing in heaven and noting his advice for the Third Tuesday in Lent tells us to pull up a bench and rest. That's about ALL we can do in the midst of this virus! It feels like Lent is happening to us this year, instead of us choosing to "do" Lent. How can we use this time for the best possible good for everyone? How can we allow this time to heal us, even as we face the uncertainty of becoming sick? How can we let this time grow us up a bit, so we can emerge from it a little wiser, more compassionate, more loving, more like Jesus? This time gives us an excellent chance to think of others first. Pray for those who are ill and who will become ill. We can do the best thing by staying a safe distance from others and not over-buying stuff at the stores. We can call and check on loved ones and support efforts in the community to keep kids fed and occupied. We can seek out reliable information and avoid sharing hyped-up misinformation. We can think of this time as sacred and holy--a time to rest in the labyrinth. We are being asked to slow down, stop the frantic wheels of our usual lives from spinning. Someday, we will look back on this difficult time and remember its craziness. How we view it in the rear view mirror depends on how we live it now. Do we see it as a troublesome burden or as a possibly unique gift? Live this time well. Love others well. Rest in the labyrinth... Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

It is good to be here...

"'Holy Faith, All the Way.' 'Lord, it is good to be here.' It will be your holy faith which tells you that wherever 'here' is at this moment in your life is a gift from God since the purpose of each 'here' is to transform us."
Edward Hays, "The Lenten Labyrinth"

I sure needed this as dawn arrives this morning! This "here" right now seems so troubled, so full on uncertainty. The virus, the election, the state of our world right now seems like such a difficult "here," doesn't it? I think it points to a couple of things...first our vulnerability. We humans think we are so powerful and in control, don't we? This "here" is a wake-up call to how fragile we human beings can be. Also, our illusion that we are in control is worth questioning in this uncertain time, isn't it? And what are we to do with this time of difficulty? The labyrinth is such a wonderful tool for dealing with times like these for me! The maze overall looks so complicated and how can I get from here to the center? But, actually, it is very simple. All I really have to do is the very next step...which is right there, next to me. All I can do is the next, quite obvious step. I'll work my way to the center in God's time. I have kids flying all around the world doing scary things right now (Blaine tried flying a helicopter yesterday--yikes!). Believe me, I could so easily freak out (and still probably will!) But, as I read about this tricky "here" happening for so many people, all I can do is look at the very next step on the labyrinth. What can I actually do? I can go work at school to the best of my ability. I seek others and help them as they need. I can pray for all who are going through this collective time of difficulty--my fellow travelers on the labyrinth--some who may be suffering and sick. And I can allow this difficulty to wash over me and transform me. I can learn from this time, gain strength and wisdom from this time. And I can trust that God holds this very uncertain "here" time for all of us. Love, heidi