Friday, January 11, 2013

God's a shot glass?

"I could more easily contain the Gulf of Mexico in a shot glass than I can comprehend the wild, uncontainable love of God."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

Now, there is a fun thought to take us through the weekend! It seems so important to us humans to figure God out. We say "God does this," or "God will do that," with odd certainty. If Jesus did anything while he was on earth, he showed us that God is full of surprises. In fact, Jesus was such a surprising Savior that many didn't even believe him. At some point on our faith journey we recognize that we can't possibly figure God out. We cannot contain God into something we understand. And God's love is so far beyond anything we can relate. And so here we are, trying to contain the Gulf of Mexico in a shot glass...what do we do with this overwhelming realization? We celebrate it! We rejoice in the fact that we don't have to figure God out! God is the Father who races down the road to greet us when we turn that corner and head home. God scoops us up in loving arms and swings us around in utter joy. Take that into your weekend and relish it! Love, heidi

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The first glimmer of love...

"Beloved, we love God because God first loved us."
1 John 4:19

Wow, one could sit ponder upon and write about this sentence for a long time! What struck me this morning while reading and re-reading it, is that we humans would be completely incapable of loving if God had not breathed love into us from our very beginning. When we think back to our first experiences of love, we go as far back into our childhoods as we can remember. We recall the love and security of our parents, family, other loved ones. We remember how it felt to be lovingly tucked in at night, read to on our daddy's lap, dragged to 6:30 AM weekday mass in our pajamas (Truly an expression of love!) But, if we think of all those manifestations of love, we can ponder how they all originated in God's love first. Our parents experienced love, and they passed that love onto us. We take our experience of love and pass that onto our kids. But the origin of that love, the glimmering ember of that love, came from God first loving us. An amazing thing to think about on a snowy, winter Thursday! Love, heidi

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

God is right here, right now

"Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us and his love is brought to perfection in us."
1 John 4:7

The love we see manifest in the world is actually the love of God. When people do good things, that is God's love. When people forgive and welcome each other back, that is God's love. When strangers comfort each other, that is God's love. When people share what they have with those who have less, that is God's love. When people rally around and help each other build a barn or clean up from a storm or put on a funeral luncheon, that is God's love. God isn't so mysterious and far away if we humans act with love in our daily doings. The love we muster up and share is really God in action in our world. God isn't far away...God is right here! And we can see God if we just look for the good. Love, heidi

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The daily epiphanies

"An epiphany is any moment in time that leads us to a new insight about life in general."
Sr. Joan Chittister, "The Psalms"

So, The Epiphany is over, but An Epiphany can happen to us any day of the year, maybe even multiple times per day. During the visit of the Wise Men, we see smart people seeking something greater. We see grown men humbled before an infant. We see people giving gifts to someone they do not know personally, but somehow, admire. These can all be elements of our own little epiphanies, too. We are gifted with intelligence and education...and yet, we know, deep down, we don't have all the answers. We seek what we do not know or may never fully understand. We KNOW there is stuff we don't know and we seek the answers. We grownups instinctively are drawn to the beauty and innocence of a newborn baby. If there is one thing that can melt our hearts, it is the magnificence of new life. And, finally, deep inside, we have the desire to give and make others happy. This Christmas I found such a special joy in giving a small gift to someone I barely know...the young woman I see everyday at my favorite coffee stop. It was so fun to surprise her with a tiny token of my appreciation for her friendliness each day. So, our daily epiphanies mirror the great Epiphany of the Wise Men in Bethlehem. May we always continue to seek what we do not know, what we recognize is so much greater than us! Love, heidi

Monday, January 7, 2013

Gifts that really give...

"They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother..."
Matthew 2:10-11

There are so many beautiful, symbolic elements to the Epiphany story of yesterday's Gospel. Mainly, there are the seekers, the star, the gifts. I remember hearing a homily many years ago from Fr. Mike, when he said that at different times in our lives, we are the seekers and at other times, we are the star. At times we are the ones searching, and, at other times we may guide others to Jesus. Last night's homily talked about what gifts we could possibly give to the Christ Child and that was definitely worth pondering. What can we possibly give to God? The greatest gift we can give to God, and the gift that keeps on giving, of course, is our love. And how do we demonstrate that love for God to God? By our love for others. And how do we demonstrate that? Can we stop a gossipy or snarky comment from actually coming out of our mouths? Can we share the abundance of what we have with those who have little? Can we think of the other guy and what he or she may be going through before snapping to judgment? Can we think kindly of those who may irritate us? Let's think of all of these actions as little gifts, tied up with ribbons and presented to the Infant Jesus. O Come let us adore him, and give him our gifts of being kind to others! Love, heidi