On the PBS show "Downton Abbey," the Dowager Countess said once of parenting, "It's the on and on of it that is so difficult." The 'on and on' of it! Isn't that the truth? And, when I read this from Sr. Joyce Rupp and think of the spiritual journey, that is what pops into my mind about our walk with God. It's the "on and on" of it. The spiritual journey never stops or starts. It may seem to ebb and flow at times. We may be more aware of it at times in our lives. But no matter how close we draw to God, at one time or another, there is still always more to learn and more ways to grow; more ways to draw closer. When we turn upward to receive, we yearn for more. And God reaches out to give us more. And, a while later, we lean in for more and God feeds us...more. It's the on and on of it. These next few days, let's try to take quiet time to ponder the on and on of our spiritual journey with God. God "pesters" us to keep on growing and yearning and gives us all the tools to do just that. Blessings on your weekend! (The Dowager Countess also asked, quite pointedly, "What is a weekend?") Ha! We all know! Love, heidi
"He instructed them to take nothing for the journey but a walking stick--no food, no sack, no money in their belts."
This morning, the reflection on this reading on Pray-As-You-Go said, "When I'm working for God the Lord will provide what I need." Why is that such a hard lesson for me to learn? It all fits together so nicely with the simple goals I have set for this year, though, and just this past Monday I prayed, "Make me teachable!" So, the lessons come and I balk..."no, not THAT lesson!" This Gospel, again, reminds us that walking the way of Jesus is a simple, uncluttered life. It is only complicated by our need to cling to stuff--like that second tunic. The less you have, the less you have to encumber yourself. Lord, please help me to trust in your providence and live the simple life you desire for me! You know what's best for me and what I really need to do your will. Help me to remember your Grace is enough! Love, heidi
"When the Sabbath came he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished..."
So, basically, the hometown folks rejected Jesus; his teachings seemed too astonishing from the Nazareth lad they knew from his youth. He seemed a bit too big for his britches, as my mom used to say (not about Jesus, but about others who seem above themselves). The people of Nazareth didn't believe in Jesus so they missed the message or the lesson he was teaching. The same thing happens to us when we encounter a difficulty and miss the "lesson-ness" of it. We may writhe and buck against the lesson, thinking it's unfair, when it just may be there to teach us something. Jesus' most valuable lessons may be so hard to see as lessons and just may be perceived as problems. Next time we run up against a difficulty, let's stop and think: What am I to learn from this? Can I turn this difficulty into a lesson or learning experience for me or others? Let's try to recognize the lesson, no matter how obscure it may seem! Love, heidi
"She said, 'If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured.' Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed."
No matter how many times we hear this Gospel it still holds something new for us, doesn't it? What inside us needs Jesus' healing? Can we just touch his clothes and be healed of anger? Bitterness? Lack of patience? Loss of faith? Stubbornness? Greed? Insensitivity? Our inner lives can be healed by Jesus, if we just approach him, reach out to him, and desire the healing--just like the woman with the hemorrhage. What within us needs to be healed today? Love, heidi
"But the king replied, 'What business is it of mine or of yours, sons of Zeruiah, that he curses? Suppose the Lord told him to curse David...'"
2 Samuel 16:10
For all his difficulties and indiscretions, David sure teaches us a powerful lesson about humility here, doesn't he? He also teaches us about redemption. David must have felt some comfort in God's mercy; he prayed for it so beautifully in Psalm 51. He must have felt that the merciful God would accept his repentance and forgive him. So much so that, even as this fellow, Shimei, is cursing him and raving about how horrid David is, David allows him to rant. David accepts what he knows should be coming to him. He was wrong, he did wrong, others have a right to spurn him. But, deep down, David trusted in God's mercy...the only mercy that really matters. And that mercy kept him on his path back to God. Today, let's learn from David the many lessons he can teach us--to accept that we do the wrong thing at times, to pray for God's forgiveness and mercy, and to accept any consequences that may come our way due to our failures. For the bottom line is that God loves us, forgives us, and lovingly sends us back on our way. Love, heidi