Thursday, October 30, 2014

Before I say it...

"Relieve the anguish of my heart, and set me free from my distress.
See my lowliness and suffering, and take away all my sins.
May integrity and virtue protect me, for I have hoped in you, O Lord."
Psalm 25:17-18, 21
One of the things I struggle with is looking back on past conversations and regretting what I have said.  It's like I'll replay the tape in my head and wallow around in, "Why did I say that? That could have been hurtful." And, surely, it's true that I say off-handed things, to be funny and they end up being unkind or hurtful.  I'm so hyper aware of this that it drives me crazy.   Scrupulously combing through what I said is so self-centered and, obviously, the time to think about what I say is BEFORE I say it!  The time to relieve my distress about what I say is before the words actually tumble out of my mouth, not the day after.  Lord, you know my weaknesses, so much better than I do!  Please help me think about what I say before I say it, then I won't be so troubled after!  Love, heidi

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Narrow ourselves...

"The gate narrows when we strive to give ourselves away to others, spending our time, talent, and treasure to make the world a better place."
Allen Gustafson, "Give Us This Day"
Jesus tells us in today's Gospel (Luke 13:22-30) to "Strive to enter through the narrow gate..." (v. 24) I really like Mr. Gustafson's interpretation of the narrow gate above, but I also feel that the narrow gate may look different for each of us.  One person's narrow gate may be caring for an ill loved one.  Another may be serving food in a soup kitchen. Still another may be serving as a teacher, doctor or Peace Corps volunteer. Regardless of what vocation we are called to do, we are all called to love and serve each other. And, to do that better, we need to let go of ourselves.  By letting go of ourselves, we let go of our agendas, our trappings, our high maintenance tendencies and, in a sense, make ourselves more "narrow."  The more we can also let go of "stuff;" physical stuff as well as emotional stuff, the easier we will slide through that narrow gate.  What can we let go of this autumn Wednesday?  Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Voice through the fog...

"Lost in thick layers of gloominess
I call out, 'Where are you?'
'I'm here,' you whisper back.
As I strain to hear your voice.
'Are you really here?' I echo.
'Trust me,' comes the response.
'But I can't see,' I complain.
'Why do you need to see?'
You reply through the heavy fog,
'Is it not enough that I am here?'"
Sr. Joyce Rupp, "Fragments of Your Ancient Name"
I love this because it shows that Sr. Joyce has the same kind of conversations with Jesus that I have and have had through many years! Are you there? Yes. Where? Here. Are you sure? Jesus must get weary from constantly encouraging me!  But yet, Jesus continues to encourage.  This past weekend, while at the Monastery of St. Gertrude, we had a morning of heavy, heavy fog.  We couldn't see the Spirit Center across the road, it was so thick and dense.  But we knew it was there.  There are times when the fog we experience in life seems thick and soupy and we need to convince ourselves that things will work out.  Somehow. Are you going through a soupy time right now? Jesus says to us, "I'm here."  Love, heidi

Monday, October 27, 2014

Jesus looks into our eyes...

"When Jesus saw her, he called to her and said, 'Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.' He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood erect."
Luke 13:12-13
As I prayed with this Gospel this morning, I had a beautiful visual image.  I could see the woman, bent over, there in the synagogue.  And Jesus was there, with his hand on her bent-over back.  And Jesus was bent over too, so he could look into her eyes.  Jesus had to really bend to see into her eyes, which had been cast down due to her infirmity. But Jesus wanted to connect with her, eye-to-eye, heart to heart.  Jesus wanted that relationship with this unknown woman because that's the way Jesus was and is, even now.  Jesus will bend to look into our eyes too.  Whatever concerns we have, whatever keeps us bent over and bound, Jesus wants to connect with us and heal us. Today, let's think and pray for all who are bent over with any kind of illness or pain.  It could be an emotional illness that keeps them cast down and unable to stand to their full potential.  And let's realize that Jesus also wants that bond and relationship with us; that he looks into our eyes and really sees who we are--and loves who we are, too!  Happy Monday! Love, heidi