Thursday, September 27, 2012

St. Vincent's Day!

"We must be full reservoirs in order to let our water spill out without becoming empty, and we must possess the spirit with which we want them to be animated, for no one can give what he does not have."
St Vincent de Paul

Happy St. Vincent de Paul feast day! How handy that these wise words from St. Vincent piggyback on what we read yesterday! It absolutely makes sense that we must be filled spiritually before we can be poured out for others. We must treat ourselves kindly and compassionately in order to have more to offer others. It just wouldn't work to beat ourselves up and then go out and try to treat others well. How do we treat ourselves well, in this busy, hectic, dog-eat-dog world? First, we need to spend time with God. We need to spend time in silence with God, preferably with no other distractions (especially for those of us so easily distracted!) That time fuels us and gives us the nourishment we need to extend ourselves to others. Second, we need to treat our bodies well. We need to exercise and eat healthfully and care for our bodies. Our bodies are miracles in themselves and we can show our appreciation by treating them well! Third, we need to surround ourselves with community. We need the wisdom and nourishment of other people on our journey. Jesus had his disciples, we need our peeps, too. And finally, we need to reach out. We, who have been given so much, need to share. And in that, God is glorified. Blessings on your St. Vincent's day! Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Compassion begins at home!

"Before I am asked to show compassion to my brothers and sisters in their suffering, I am asked to accept the compassion of Jesus in my own life, to be transformed by it, and to become caring and compassion toward myself in my own failure and hurt, in my own suffering and need."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

Wow, that is a mouthful, but what an amazing truth! We have all heard that we can't give to others what we do not have ourselves and it is interesting to think of compassion that way. But, really, how can we know what compassion looks and feels like in our world if we do not practice it within ourselves? We learn how to give compassion by seeing and reveling in Jesus' compassion toward us. Knowing first-hand how Jesus shares our own sorrows helps us compassionately relate to others. All we have to do to recognize Jesus' compassion is to look at the cross. All of our pain, all of our suffering is right there with Jesus on the cross. We can certainly all be our own worst enemy. But, in order to give compassion out to others, we really must begin with ourselves and give ourselves a compassionate break. Love on this autumn Wednesday, heidi

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Live gently...

"Face it: there are some people you just don't like. Their chemistry and yours are a volatile mix. Christianity does not require that you elope with them: only that you live with them gently, do them no harm, wish them well--and go your own way."
Joan Chittister, "The Psalms"

Oh, if there was ever a bit of practical advice we can all use, there it is. I especially like the advice about living with others "gently." St. Paul used it too (see Colossians 3:12). Living gently means that your words are kind. Living gently means that you reign in the grudge. Living gently means that you understand that God loves them just as much as God loves you! The "do them no harm" part should be taken that you do not talk about them behind their back, not just that you refrain from decking them! And wishing them well...that is so Jesus, isn't it? Jesus told us to love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us...we don't have to elope with them! We just may not click with everyone, that is a given. But we certainly need to live gently, do no harm and wish them all well! Love, heidi

Monday, September 24, 2012

Stretch yourself!

"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light."
Luke 8:16

It's amazing what one can get away with if one claims no skill in a particular area. For instance, I got out of many cooking-type tasks or ministries due to the fact that I am not a good cook (I have other gifts, as the nuns say). So, cleverly, I could wiggle out of anything that required food preparation. It was a convenient out for me and I used it eagerly. But here lately, I am realizing the error of my ways and have begun to branch out a bit. We are not asked to be perfect in ministry, only faithful. We are not asked to be the best, but we are asked to try. I don't have to have the best funeral potatoes on the table, but it sure is helpful if I bring something. Light your lamps! Shine your light! Bake a cake! Stretch yourself beyond what you think you can do or think you want to do. Oh, and happy Autumn Monday! Love, heidi