On "Pray-as-you-go" this morning, they read today's Gospel (John 14:1-6), then asked us to pick out the words or phrase that has the most impact on us. I didn't get any further than the very first sentence, "Do not let your hearts be troubled..." Yesterday, I wasted so much time and mental energy on a silly issue that happened early and robbed me of peace all day. Why do I do that? The Lord only knows, but it makes me crazy when I do. Today, peace restored, I'm going to keep this sentence at the top of my mind and say it again and again to myself. Things that come up and bug me will not stand a chance when I pull Jesus' own words out! I encourage you to read all of John 14:1-6 and find the words of comfort that restore your peace today. That passage is a treasure trove of comfort! Love, heidi
"Amen, amen I say to you, whoever receives the one I send receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me."
We may wonder, as we read this, who exactly Jesus is "sending" to us? Jesus may certainly be sending us life-long friends, beautiful grandchildren, co-workers who help us do our best. But couldn't Jesus also be sending us the immigrant? The death-row inmate? The alcoholic who can't hold a job? Piggy-backing on yesterday's reading from Edith Stein about no one being a stranger to the Christian, those who we find difficult are, in fact, gifts from Jesus too. How we receive these gifts is how we receive Jesus, and God who sent him. Not too long ago, I had a message in prayer. "I am the most difficult person in your day," Jesus told me. We are to receive these most difficult peeps with open arms and loving hearts. I see this modeled for me whenever I go to the Sisters of Charity Motherhouse. Open arms and loving hearts. Let's use that little phrase as a reminder today of how we are to treat others. Even the hard ones. Love, heidi
"For the Christian, there is no 'strange human being.' He is in every instance the 'neighbor' whom we have with us and who is in most need of us."
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)
So the guy who pulled out in front of me on John Adams Parkway yesterday wasn't a "strange human being?" Because I called him that...worse, even. This is a great reminder that when Jesus tells us, in today's Gospel, to "love one another" (John 15:12) he doesn't just mean for us to love the easy-to-love people. No one is beyond our reach to love, according to St. Teresa Benedicta. All are put on earth for us to love, just as Jesus loves us. That is a tall order! Hard! And who can help us with the hard stuff? Today, let us consider how we are to love everyone we meet and not just the easy ones. How can we make neighbors of the "strange human beings" we encounter? Love, heidi
"Even till I am old and gray-headed, do not forsake me, O God."
That may be a little too close for comfort, but I can't worry about that today! On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, there was an interesting exercise. They said to picture Jesus in the most difficult or mundane part of your day. What does he look like? What is he doing? What does he say to you? I had the most hilarious mental image of walking into my office and seeing Jesus, in a long white robe, spinning around in my office chair. "What's on the docket today, Heidi-dear?" He continues as he spins around, "Whatever it is, can I come along?" You bet! I need someone to ride shotgun as I go from client to client today. I frequently imagine Jesus with me as I go through the day and I keep up a regular conversation with him during the quiet times. That is what following the Good Shepherd looks like for me. I encourage you to picture Jesus in your day, today. What does he look like? What does he say to you? Love, heidi
"Only goodness and kindness follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come."
Years ago, Coca Cola had an ad that said, "Things go better with Coke!" Remember that? I was sitting in mass yesterday and had a powerful thought. This certainly isn't a new revelation or anything, but I realized right then that, with God as the center and focus of my life, everything else just seems to work out. That doesn't mean everything is perfect, but everything has its place surrounding God as my priority. Living our lives for God and with God allows God to work through us and in us. When things don't work out, God is there to give us all we need to cope. Seeking God, first and foremost, leads to more genuine relationships, deeper love, and better coping skills. Everything just seems to make more sense with God as the center focus of our lives. So, to borrow from the old ad: Things go better with God! Today, as we begin our May Monday, let's realize that, with God as the center of our lives, we have all we need to live and thrive here on this planet. All we need is God and God is all we need. Love, heidi