Friday, February 24, 2012

Thoughts from the woodshed

"The garbage in most of our lives is the relentless anxiety and agitation created by the fear that we will not get enough of the world's goodies to feel safe, secure, and turned on."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

Oh. My. Goodness. We're being taken to the woodshed here, this first Friday of Lent. And you know what? Brennan Manning is right. How much of the rhetoric do we hear is so much about what we should get, what we deserve, what is due us? How much less is about what we should be doing for others? Lent is a time for us to concentrate on helping others, not what we should get ourselves. If we sacrifice somewhere in our lives, that sacrifice should show up in another person's cupboard. In today's first reading, God takes the Israelites to the woodshed, too, saying through the prophet Isaiah, "This, rather is the fasting I wish...sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless..." (Isaiah 58:6,7) We need to let go of the "what's in it for me?" attitude and direct our focus to serving others. In turning a phrase from JFK, "Ask not what others can do for you, ask what you can do for others." Love, heidi

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The gate is open...

"Today the iron gate of the Lenten labyrinth swings open. The creaking sound of its hinges can make you aware that before you lies a long journey of forty days and nights."
Ed Hays, "The Lenten Labyrinth"

Lent is such a journey! Not just passing time and crossing off days until Easter, but a journey of penance, forgiveness, sharing, praying, the whole bit. Lent and its journey are like a microcosm of our lives as a whole. One can fit a whole life of growth into Lent. Wow--that is daunting, you say! And true, it is! But the wonderful thing about the labyrinth is that it is one step at a time. Praying in the labyrinth teaches us that we just have to look to the next step and that is easy. Looking at the whole thing may be perplexing and complicated, but taking just one step further is relatively easy. So, let's take this Lenten journey one step at a time. Today, only, is our focus. The gate is open. We are inside! Let's go! Love, heidi

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Three questions...

"A while ago, I read a wise adage that urged everyone who speaks about another to first ask three questions: 'Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?' Only if the response is yes to all three should the person continue speaking."
Sr. Joyce Rupp, "Living Faith"

Lent begins tomorrow (I know, right? So soon?) And it is such a wonderful chance for us to change, not only our hearts, but our habits. When we read this at 4th day last week it rang out as such a concrete way to change our gossiping habits. It is so easy to chime into the gossip and get caught up in others' foibles and failures. That could be OUR biggest, most glaring failure! So, today is a good time to think about how we plan to draw closer to God during this Lent. How can we free ourselves up a bit, so that there is room for God in our minds, in our hearts, in our days. Can we free our tongues from the grip of the devil and ask these three questions before saying something about another? I'm sure hoping I can! Love and enjoy your Shrove Tuesday! heidi