Thursday, December 4, 2014

Built on rock

"Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock."
Matthew 7:24
As I sat and prayed with this reading today, I immediately thought of my dad.  He was as rock-solid a Catholic as you could ever hope to find, and yet, when he made his Cursillo at age 65, his faith changed markedly.  Previously, he was all about the ritual--Sunday mass, daily mass during Lent, mass on the Holy Days (he called them the "Wild Cards").  But, after Cursillo, he began volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul.  He began serving the poor, meeting with other fellows in a 4th day and his faith became more about loving and serving others. It was such a stunning change.  I can honestly say that Cursillo taught me how to flesh out my faith, too.  Thankfully, I didn't wait until age sixty-five!  Cursillo teaches us how to put legs on our faith.  Jesus says in this Gospel we must do the will of our Father in heaven and Jesus spells that out as loving each other and caring for the poor.  It couldn't be clearer. It couldn't be harder.  Lord, please help us to carry out the true work of our Father by loving those here on earth with us.  Help us to build our faith on the solid foundation of loving you and loving others. Love, heidi

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Enjoy the darkness...

"Even though I walk in the dark valley I fear no evil; for you are at my side..."
Psalm 23:4
The days are so short now it seems like it's always dark.  It's barely light when I go to work and dark when I get home.  These days of darkness can be so hard!  I think we need to try and make friends with the darkness by deeply considering all the good that can happen while this darkness prevails.  What good, exactly?  Well, it gives us a chance to rest.  It's much easier to go to bed earlier now and get some much-needed extra shut-eye.  Forcing myself out into the darkness to walk the dog at night, I see how truly beautiful it can be outside on a winter night.  Last night there was a mysterious fog over the neighborhood and it was really lovely.  Winter darkness can hold a beauty we miss if we don't venture out.  Also, it may help to consider all the trees and perennials resting up for their future glory in the spring.  They may look bare and dead, but deep inside, they are just waiting to burst forth!  There is beauty in every season and each season holds special gifts for us.  For me, it is harder to perceive this beauty in the winter, but it is certainly there.  Lord, help me to see and appreciate this season of short, short days!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Leave the judging to God...

"Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted."
Isaiah 11:3-4
The question on Pray-As-You-Go this morning asks "How are you being called to help bring about a less violent world?" Our homily Sunday mentioned violence as one of the "sleeping pills" the world uses to keep us from being alert and watchful for Jesus.  What am I to do about the violence in the world? It's not like I'm in any position of power or have any influence, do I?  I abhor violence, but what can I do to stop it? We may not be the folks who go around shooting people, but the violence takes a more subtle form.  I was considering how gossip and judging others are forms of violence that we seem to be able to justify.  We can tear down a person's good name and reputation verbally, even if we wouldn't think of doing physical harm to them.  Isaiah tells us that the Savior will judge with justice.  That means WE shouldn't be judging at all. The judging will be done by the qualified; and that's not us.  Today, let's be aware of the areas that we feel free to inflict verbal violence.  And let's leave the judging to God.  Love, heidi

Monday, December 1, 2014

Be with me where I am poor...

"Come, Lord Jesus, and be with me where I feel poorest."
Henri J.M. Nouwen, "Living with Christ"
I sat down and pondered this today and my first question was, where do I feel the poorest? Where am I asking Jesus to enter? I feel so wealthy in so many ways--friends, family, fulfilling work, a nourished spiritual life. Where do I feel poor? I think I feel poorest with the actual poor, oddly enough. I'm very weak when it comes to helping the poor.  I'm not sure how to react when I see a man sitting on the street corner with a sign, like I did in Boise last week. I know I come up way short in how to help. Jesus tells us to feed the poor and I'm so much more comfortable writing a check and mailing it, without having to actually deal with the poor. It's easier for me to have someone else do the dealing.  Lord Jesus, come and be with me in the area of my own poverty. Help me to love the poor and treat them the way you treated them.  Love, heidi