Friday, March 8, 2013

Lent check...

"I will heal their defection, says the Lord, I will love them freely; for my wrath is turned away from them."
Hosea 14:5

This really struck me this morning! I especially love the line, "I will love them freely..." Have you felt the love of God lately? Has your Lenten journey given you time to just sit and bask in God's love? It should. That is what Lent is all about, Charlie Brown. The fasting, praying and alms-giving are all to bring us closer to God and the love that God pours out for us. God heals and God loves us! Two such important lessons of Lent! Let's take some time this weekend to ponder our Lenten observances. Are they giving us more free time to spend with God? Check. Are they opening our hearts to God's love for us? Check. Are they leading us to share that love with others? Check. Are they making us look good and holy to those around us? Beep! Wrong answer! Let's spend some serious time this weekend alone with God. Let's experience the freely given love that God wants more than anything to share with us. And then let's see how we can pass that love on to a waiting world. Love, heidi

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Jesus. Alive. Now.

"Christian living makes no sense unless we believe that at this moment, Jesus knows what hurts us."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

The question I pondered after I read this today was, "Is Jesus alive to" That, in essence, has been my spiritual journey, especially the last fifteen years. Jesus. Alive. Now. (There is an interesting bumper sticker!) My journey has been discovering, deeper and deeper, that Jesus is alive and well and riding shot-gun in my car, beside me all the way--no matter where I am going. Gradually, as I have grown in relationship with Jesus, it is apparent that Jesus is my best friend. The more you love someone, the more you want to listen to them and know everything about them. The more you love someone the more time you want to spend with them. The more you love someone the more you value their opinion. All that is so true of my spiritual walk. Jesus is not just an historical figure. Jesus is becoming my life, my love, my other real as my own image in the mirror. It is so worthwhile to just spend some time thinking about who Jesus is. And he asks us to ponder just that, when he asks, "Who do you say that I am?" Love, heidi

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Start with yourself...

"To accept the truth of my own brokenness is unbearable, if not impossible, without turning to Christ."
Brennan Manning, "Reflections for Ragamuffins"

This reading was so powerful today! Brennan Manning talks about how the very things we dislike about ourselves, our seemingly irredeemable traits, are the very things we pick out and dislike in others. True enough, I would say! If we dislike someone because we decide they are judgmental, it is really our own judgmental trait we dislike. If we find fault with someone because we think they gossip, we should check our own behavior for gossiping. This seems so logical to me! Brennan Manning goes on to say that we need to reconcile with ourselves, our own faults and failings, so we can reconcile with others. And that is just too difficult without Jesus! Realizing that Jesus loves us, faults and all, helps us to recognize that we are not perfect and that makes it easier to accept that others aren't perfect either. It doesn't mean that we settle for being judgmental or gossip-y, though! We continually strive to rectify those behaviors. But feeling the love and mercy of God and extending that love and mercy to others could greatly improve our relationships. That seems like a worthwhile task for a Wednesday! Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Rejoice or begin again...

"But with contrite heart and humble spirit let us be received."
Daniel 3:39

Tomorrow marks the mid-way point through Lent. Has it gone fast for you? It is such a good opportunity to go back and review what we wanted to accomplish this Lent. It is all about the change of heart for me, so this scripture was so good for today's reminder! A contrite heart and humble spirit are so much more to God's pleasure than burnt offerings and holocausts, as we so often read. God desires us to grow in our love for God and each other. Realizing that I am, certainly, not always right and that others have good, genuine reasons for what they do and believe is a good beginning. Good and gracious God, please accept my humble and contrite heart today as my Lenten offering to you. Thank you for the model of humility, Jesus, who shows me the way to love others...with compassion, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. Let's take time these mid-way days of Lent to rejoice in our progress or, if need be, to begin again. It's never to late to begin again! Love, heidi

Monday, March 4, 2013

Carve out time for quiet

"It is good to be here."
Luke 9:33

Sitting in Ross Chapel at the end of a gloriously good day at the Motherhouse, I finally got caught up on the day's readings. I was struck by this in The Little Black Book and spent some time reflecting on it. It was so quiet in the chapel. The activities of a busy Friday were over and everyone was on about their Friday night. It was just Jesus and me in the chapel and I couldn't help but agree with Peter..."It is good to be here." So good. It is wonderful how God gifts us with bits of quiet in our busy lives if we just take the time to stop what we are doing and pause. None of us are so important that we cannot sit quietly with God at the end, beginning or throughout our day. Even just a few minutes in peace and quiet can help us recalibrate and recharge our minds and hearts. Jesus tells us, "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) If you haven't already carved out some time for quiet prayer in your day, let's begin today! Love, heidi