"And out of the gloom and darkness, the eyes of the blind shall see."
So frequently, as I am talking with a new visually impaired client, and I ask how they would like our agency to help them. They respond, "Can you give me new eyes?" Justifiably, they don't want to learn new techniques or get a talking clock...they want to be able to see the way they used to see. And that's that. I, usually, give the same response, "Oh how I wish I could! I'd be very happy to put myself out of business!" Gradually, though, people do respond to learning new ways of doing things and accept the neat gadgets that help them in their daily lives. Out of that gloom and darkness, they learn new things, change and move forward. As we near the shortest, darkest days of our year, we all are dealing with gloom and darkness, aren't we? We encounter literal darkness as well as figurative. Today, and this weekend, let's spend some quiet time contemplating this darkness, however we are experiencing it in our own lives. And let's realize that others, too, may be feeling the darkness. How can we reach out to them and give them a hand? Love, heidi
"It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man.
It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
I think we need constant reminders of this because we think that someone we can see and hear is more trustworthy than God, whom we cannot see, hear or touch. There, I said it. The "princes" we see around us may seem as though they can do more to help us, don't they? But, what is "help" exactly? There is physical help, but then there is a building up of the inside of us...a fortification of our inner strength--and that is where the Real Help comes in. We need to trust that God is constantly fortifying us from the inside. This will give us the grace, courage and strength to tackle anything that occurs to us in our lives. And that is the most valuable help of all. The so-called princes of this world may be able to do some heavy lifting, but that only lasts an instant. Our God works miracles within us and that lasts for eternity! Love, heidi
"Then (Jesus) took the seven loaves and the fish, gave thanks, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds."
I may have missed something in previous readings of this Gospel, but today it jumped out at me...Jesus chose to involve the disciples in making the miracle! Jesus could have had the bread rain down from heaven or magically appear in the peoples' pockets or satchels. But, Jesus chose to have the disciples distribute the bread and fish to the crowd as a precursor to his followers participating in making the miracles to come. God is still using human hands to make miracles in our world today. God is using OUR hands to feed the crowd, heal the sick, comfort the lonely. God is using our hands just as vividly as Jesus used the disciples to distribute the bread and fish to the people in the Gospel. Jesus, please use my hands today! I offer you the little bit that I have to share and willing hands to distribute it! Please multiply my efforts and make a miracle today in my little corner of the world. Love, heidi
"Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide."
Last night, I had a special prayer time via an Advent retreat from the site "Pray-As-You-Go." (Link below). It was a wonderful way to spend quiet time with Jesus, as a lightly guided time of prayer and reflection. It starts by having us ask Jesus for what we would like and I asked to draw closer to Jesus, as is my quest this Advent. What Jesus conveyed to me is worth sharing...
Jesus asked me to try to be more understanding of others. I am so quick to snap to judgments, but Jesus said to try and understand that others have a history that leads to where they are now. "Try to understand that others may not have felt the love you felt in their lives. They are wounded and their actions may speak of how they were treated. Try to understand and seek the good in them. Try to see them the way I see them." Wow, right? Such a powerful message for our Advent journey. Today, let us not judge others as we see them, but try to understand and see them the way Jesus sees them. Love, heidi
What does this mean to me this year? Especially since I have such a powerful sense that Jesus is already here? Jesus never leaves my side, so what, exactly, am I praying for during Advent? I answered my own question, while praying about this yesterday. I came to the realization that, no matter how close Jesus seems, I always want more. Jesus is like potato chips. I can never get enough; I am always longing for more. I have a harder time relating to the centurion in today's gospel who tells Jesus, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof..." (Matthew 8:8) My plea is more like, "Jesus, come! Make yourself at home, and please, don't ever leave!" So, I guess my theme for Advent this year is more like, "Come closer, Lord Jesus!" Or even "Stay, Lord Jesus!" As my Dad used to say about my behavior in mass, "There is always room for improvement!" There is always room for a closer walk with Jesus...that is my quest this Advent...prayers for you and your quests, too! Love, heidi