Thursday, October 27, 2011

Growing, changing, singing, dancing...

"Love, true love, constantly renews itself--more than that, it is never satisfied, but will always surpass itself. It creates ever new expressions and finds ever new ways to communicate."
Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, "This is the Day the Lord Has Made"

Last week, I set out to take a little walk on a beautiful autumn day. I was listening to a song called "Rise," by Shawn McDonald:

"For He, who is within me, is greater than I will ever be and I will rise!"

I absolutely was filled to the brim. In fact, I felt I would just burst with the love of God swelling up inside me. It's very hard to describe, but I felt completely surrounded and filled with the Holy Spirit as I took in the beauty of the day around me. I realized, when I read this today, that my prayer life is constantly changing and growing. For a long time, my daily rosary was my safe harbor and refuge at the end of every day. Now, I am growing more contemplative and quiet in my prayer, except for times like this when I am walking, singing, and literally bursting, inside! This reading today helps me realize I am not just a spiritual flake, but that my prayer changes, grows and evolves as my relationship with God changes and grows. It is constantly renewing itself and cannot be contained in just one prayer form. What about you? Love, heidi

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Come, Holy Spirit

..."stillness can be the prayer that transforms us."
Sue Monk Kidd, "When the Heart Waits"

I attended a silent prayer session last week and this quote brought it to mind this morning. The service began with one song, "Veni, Sante Spiritus." Throughout the silence that followed, those words continued in my head, Veni, Sante Spiritus...Come, Holy Spirit. It was stunning to me that the silence was so filled with the Holy Spirit. I was very still, physically, but also still mentally, trying very hard not to chase bunnies in my head. Today's first reading, Romans 8:26-30, says, "The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought." (Romans 8:26) I felt the Spirit so powerfully present as I sat, very still, in silence. We do not know how to pray as we ought. Sometimes we just need to be still. Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sit and wait...

"But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait with endurance."
Romans 8:25

I've never been a patient "wait-er." I've never been really patient at anything, but waiting is hard for me. My mom used to get me an Advent calendar each year prior to Christmas, so I could wait for the holiday with a little something to do each day. Waiting, just waiting, can be so hard. This scripture coincides with the book I'm reading called "When the Heart Waits," by Sue Monk Kidd, and she talks about this very scripture in the chapter, "Sitting While Jesus Prays." She talks about Jesus asking the disciples to sit and wait while he prays at Gethsemane (Mark 14:32). We all remember how the disciples fell asleep and Jesus was so disappointed they could not wait with him during this painful time. He didn't even ask them to pray...only to wait while he prayed. Waiting can be a gifted time, as I am learning in this book, but it is difficult to wait with endurance. We have a tendency to think just sitting and waiting is a waste of time. There are often lists of things to do while you wait so you use that waiting time to be productive. Just sitting and waiting has a bad rap of being wasteful. Today, let's think about how we spend our waiting time. Let's try to be more patient and use the time more productively--by just sitting with Jesus. Love, heidi

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Give thanks...

"In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:18

The other morning, I was having breakfast at the SCL Motherhouse in Kansas and an elderly sister approached me and asked if I was Heidi Gainan. She explained that she was the chaplain at the hospital when my dad died, twenty-eight years ago. She also had ministered to my mom when she'd had a heart attack, earlier that year. She talked so dearly of both my brought me to tears. I realized that, for almost ninety years, the lives of my family have been intertwined with the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth. You see, they taught my dad in elementary school in the early 1920's, my mom in nurses' training in the 1930's, me in high school in the seventies, and, as this sister reminds me; they ministered to my parents as their lives edged toward Easter. The sisters have been teachers, mentors, and dear, dear friends to me. I strolled through their cemetery on the campus of the Motherhouse and walked among the simple tombstones, thanking the sisters. There were sisters I knew, most I did not know personally. But I know that they served the people of God and so many have helped the Gainans over the years. We all have people in our lives who have ministered to us. Take some time today and thank them...they will hear you. Love, heidi