"Jesus said to his disciples: 'To you who hear I say, love your enemies...'"
One time, when I was deep in prayer at the Hermitage, I prayed to Jesus that my heart was bursting with love for him and I wanted to show him that love. Jesus told me to "Love others." The way for me to show my love for Jesus is to love others. OK, so I pressed further and said, "Even the hard ones?" Jesus responded, "Especially the hard ones!" And Jesus is telling the disciples the exact same thing in today's Gospel: Love the hard ones. Who are the "hard ones?" Well, people are hard to love when they don't love us back. They are hard ones to love. And Jesus asks us to love them especially. There are people we encounter every day who don't love us, understand us, maybe even really dislike us. And Jesus says, "It's OK. I love you enough for you to share with those who may not love you." Today, let's remember that Jesus wants us to love the hard ones. Whoever they may be. And we can do that, because Jesus loves us first. Love, heidi
"Raising his eyes toward his disciples Jesus said, 'Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours..."
Today, hand-in-hand with this Gospel, I read parts of "Jesus: A Pilgrimage," by Fr. James Martin. There was so much wisdom in this chapter ("Happy," is the chapter, if you have the book) that I could only read part of it and then had to choose what to concentrate on today. I chose (with God's help) the part on being "A Person of the Beatitudes," as Fr. Martin describes a fellow Jesuit. I thought about what being a Person of Beatitudes would look like in my life each day. Being a person who is "humble, merciful, gentle, peacemaking, seeking justice for others," is a challenge for all of us, even as we are Jesus people! In my work, every day, I must realize I don't have all the answers or know everything. I sometimes pull against the fact that others are more skilled in areas (like Technology!) and I need to ask for their help. I need to show mercy to everyone, trying to understand that they are doing the best they can. I need to avoid gossip and judgments of others and be an example of peacefully working together. And finally, I need to go to bat for those who struggle and do my best for those who I encounter in my work. It is worthwhile to sit with Jesus and consider how becoming "A Person of the Beatitudes" would look in our own lives. Love, heidi
"(Jesus) called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named Apostles."
After a full night of prayer, Jesus chose his closest Apostles. He didn't choose the brightest, the holiest, or those without faults. He chose normal, real, honest-to-goodness people. Jesus chose us! Jesus had faith in us and hoped that, in spending quality time with us, we could be transformed. Jesus knew we didn't have all we needed, yet, to be our best selves. But Jesus knew that a close proximity to him would help us to grow in love and compassion. Thank you, Jesus, for having such faith in us by choosing us to be your Apostles. We will constantly strive to stay close to you and never let you down! Love, heidi
"We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose."
One thing I'm learning, slowly, as I progress along on my journey, is that when God calls us to do something, God also gives us what we need to do it. We may feel a tug to do something out of our comfort zone. We may be asked to do something we've never done before and may not be within our skill set. Or, like me, we may daily be faced with a calendar of appointments and each one is a challenge! And, just like Mary, we can answer the call, tug, and face the calendar with faith and trust that God will help us meet the challenge. I think the first thing we need to do is admit that we actually need God's help. And then we need to be open to watching God work. God may not do things exactly as we do, so things may play out differently than we expect. Later, we can look back and be amazed at what God has accomplished through our unwitting selves! Today, let's step out in faith, ready to watch God work through our day. Love, heidi