Friday, January 2, 2015

Name that tune...

"Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done wondrous deeds..."
Psalm 98:1
New year, new song! Have you thought about what your new song will be for 2015? I sent a reflection paper into my Spiritual Direction instructor and she sent me back her thoughts.  One thing she mentioned has really stuck with me this week and that is the "essential truth" of surrender.  Realizing that "God knows more and better than we do."  I have to admit, I don't use the term "surrender" too often.  It's right there next to "obedience," I'm afraid.  I have to really hunt for those words in my vocabulary--I rarely dust them off and use them.  But I have thought about surrender these past several days.  And I thought about what I'd like to surrender to God; the new song I'd like to sing this year.  What about you? Have you a new song to sing this brand new year? Blessings and prayers for your 2015...Love, heidi

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

...In with the new year

"For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you for I am...wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works."
With all the talk of self-improvement for the new year, we cannot forget how wonderfully and miraculously made we all are by God. Faults and failings aside, God made us and loves us just exactly the way we are.  There is no self-improvement we can undertake that will cause God to love us any more than right now. But, it is good for us to grow and stretch ourselves and try to be the people God knows us to be.  As my dad used to say when I asked if I behaved well enough in mass to warrant a treat after mass: "There's always room for improvement!" We can do better.  And God loves that we want to do better.  It was Thomas Merton who said, "I believe that the desire to please God, pleases God." It's about accepting who we are as beloved children of God. But also striving to be more like Jesus, who gives us an awesome example of how to live a loving, selfless life in the world.  So, today, as we bid goodbye to one year and get ready to embrace another, let's thank God for who we are and how wonderfully made works of God we are!  Happy, happy New Year...see you in '15!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Out with the old year...

"Jesus, give me the grace to live as you lived--selflessly."
Sr. Melannie Svoboda, "Living Faith"
As we creep along to the end of 2014 and a fresh new beginning, that is 2015, it's a good time to think about what we would like to do differently.  I don't like the term "New Year's Resolution," but I do like to find a couple of things I'd like to improve in the new year.  Let's call them New Year's projects or commitments instead of resolutions.  One of them fits well with this prayer from Living Faith.  The other goes along with the Christmas homily we had touching on the movie "It's a Wonderful Life."  I'd like to live more positively--seeing things in a positive light, looking for the presence and grace of God in all people and circumstances.  I want to live in Bedford Falls, not Pottersville! (Actually, I'd like to live somewhere warmer this morning, it's -4 right now).  Living more positively and selflessly is an ambitious goal, but I pray, just like Sr. Melannie, that Jesus will help me change these aspects of myself.  The old year is tired.  We want and need to move forward.  What changes can we make to begin fresh again?  Love, heidi

Monday, December 29, 2014

Stable. Cross. Empty tomb.

"How do both the stable and the empty tomb speak to you today?"
Sr. Melannie Svoboda, "Living With Christ"
This was the reflection on Saturday, when the Gospel was about St. John racing to the empty tomb.  It was the feast of St. John, and yet, it seemed so odd to be talking about Jesus' tomb when we just celebrated his birth on Thursday!  So, the do both the stable and the empty tomb speak to us? I contemplated this for quite a while, as our Idaho Falls community lost a very dear friend over the weekend. Just after the joy of Jesus' birth, Keener Earle suddenly and unexpectedly passed away early Sunday morning.  Stable. Cross. Empty tomb.  Keener went straight through the cross and to the empty tomb stage while we were still in shock that he'd suffered a stroke.  Too fast.  Too soon. Jesus' journey from stable to cross to empty tomb gives us such hope that all is well with Keener and he is safely with God.  But what about his family and those who will miss him so terribly as days go on?  We take comfort in the fact that Jesus knew this kind of grief himself.  He wept when his friend Lazarus died.  He felt sorrow and sadness just as we all do when we lose a loved one.  And, if we feel a wave of comfort and peace at any time we can be sure that Jesus is tenderly ministering to us.  Also God gives us each other to comfort one another.  It is such a sad and difficult time, but there is hope in the empty tomb and the promise of new life.  One more thing I'm learning in this: never leave an "I love you" left unsaid.  Ever.  Love, heidi