Friday, February 22, 2013

Who do you say that I am?

"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'"
Matthew 16:13

Great question! Simon Peter got the right answer to this $64,000 question when he answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." (v. 16) But what about us? Lent is a great time to ponder things like this. Who is Jesus to us? What has God revealed about Jesus to us in our day? Does our image of Jesus change as we journey with him? I have noticed it does change as I grow in faith. During this past Cursillo, we had continuous Adoration in our little chapel. Those of us on Prayer team even took turns sleeping in there. Awake, asleep, in was beautiful to share such a peaceful space with Jesus! We noticed after spending so much time in there, we grew more and more comfortable with the Presence. By Day Three, we were sprawled out, relaxed and comfortable--still reverent, but with a more relaxed reverence. Jesus is here. Isn't it grand? Jesus became such a comfortable Friend. I think that represents the change I notice in my relationship with Jesus as I grow spiritually. Jesus is an ever-present, loving, comfortable Friend. "But who do you say that I am?" Blessings on your Lenten weekend! Love, heidi

Thursday, February 21, 2013

One down, five to go...

"The Lord is saying, 'I don't want your profound thoughts, the magnanimous acts of love that slide so easily off your tongue, your burnt offerings, and holocausts; I want your heart.'"
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

I love this, but ponder its meaning. What does giving my heart to God look like in my daily life? It probably means not avoiding people I don't want to talk to. It probably means being warm and genuine with strangers. It probably means putting myself in the hard-worn shoes of others. Giving God my heart means that I will act more from the heart than from my head. I will use my heart more in reaction to others by being more compassionate and less judgmental. That all seems difficult, but well-worth the effort and definitely what God asks of me. And now, we take a brief break from this Lent to bring you a vision of Easter! Fr. Sparks told a cute story of his asking grade-school children what they think Jesus said, just after rising from the dead and emerging from the tomb. One little boy answered, "I think Jesus came out and said, 'Ta Da!!'" We have completed one week of Lent. Let's keep on with our Lenten practices, but never lose sight of the "Ta Da!!!" to come...Love, heidi

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From the inside out...

"My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn."
Psalm 51:19

Lent, as a season, has such power to transport me back to my childhood! The early-morning mass with my pajamas on under my winter coat. The Psalms..."Let me not be put to shame" (Psalm 25:2) and "Don't let me fall into the pit" (Psalm 143:7) still linger in my memory. The sacrifice of giving up candy every single year (the Sundays were murky, then--could you eat what you had given up on Sundays, since they weren't counted in Lent?) It was so much more an exercise in sacrifice and deprivation. And a little of that didn't hurt me a bit. But, now it seems to be so much more about changing from the inside out. It is the contrite and humbled heart I am working on, not necessarily a habit or practice I will resume once Lent is over. I am so grateful for my long personal Lenten history! I am so glad it was such a rich part of my upbringing and culture! But I am also glad the season has evolved into more changing from within, drawing me deeper into relationship with God.
Love, heidi (PS: the Parish Mission has been splendid! It continues today--9:00 AM at Holy Rosary and 7:00 PM tonight at Christ the King)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jesus is there!

"The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; and those who are crushed in spirit he saves."
Psalm 34:19

Jesus never promised us being his follower would be easy. But he did promise that he would be with us. There is a big difference! Followers of Jesus have been persecuted for centuries, why would we think following Jesus would be a cakewalk? Jesus even told us that following him means picking up our crosses and following him--he didn't say, "Pick up a bouquet of roses and follow me in a conga line." The apostles were being tossed around in a boat on the rough sea and Jesus was asleep in the boat. The waves still ravaged them, but Jesus was there. And that, is the promise. Jesus will always be with us through our trials and struggles. That doesn't mean they won't occur, just that Jesus is with us, holding our hands, cheering us on. Jesus is close to us! What an amazing promised fulfilled! Love, heidi
PS: The parish mission was wonderful yesterday and it continues today: 9:00 AM at Holy Rosary or 7:00 PM at Christ the King.