Friday, October 23, 2015

Look in the mirror--love what you see

"For I do not do the good I want, but I do the evil I do not want."
Romans 7:19
I wonder if St. Paul was at the hermitage when he wrote this.  Because, while at the hermitage, one gets so much better at listening, you hear every tiny thing. The sounds  of silence can be deafening.  One can be completely honest with God; there is no hiding behind anything like work, play or busyness.  Since it is just you and God, you can really get to know each other.  Simplicity like this puts a mirror in front of us--a full length, three dimensional mirror that shows the real us.  Sometimes we don't like what we see.  The good thing is, just like Paul concludes at the end of this beating-himself-up, that we have hope in Jesus.  Whoever we are, whatever we do, we have hope because Jesus is in our corner, pulling for us. We are not perfect, but we have hope and assurance, through Jesus, that God loves us just the way we are. Just realizing that love helps us to want to do better down here on earth, doesn't it? So, that is an awesome thought as we praise God for an autumn weekend!  Love, heidi

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Early morning lesson, Day Two

Yesterday I told you the little story about the Sunday school teacher, who changed into his overalls before he took a new little lad (who was also in overalls) to the Sunday school class.  That was my Lesson #1 for that early morning at the hermitage. I realized how far away I am from where I would like to be and where God knows I can be. (My thought was to take the kid out and buy him church clothes--eek!)  Anyway, as I became so aware of my not-there-yet condition, it moved me to tears and I started just uncontrollably crying there in mass.  I had no tissues with me and I glanced around looking for something (a curtain, anything!) to mop up with.  I noticed that Sister had one solitary Kleenex in her little lair in the back, but I sure didn't want to take her last one.  And the idea of leaving the tiny chapel in the middle of mass wasn't appealing either.  I just tried, really hard, to stop crying and hoped I'd dry up by the sign of peace.  That worked okay.  After mass I got up to leave and slipped on my sweatshirt.  There, in the pocket, was a clean paper napkin I'd put in there the day before.  The lesson was: "You already have all you need, heidi-dear, just trust me." So, before the crack of dawn that morning, I'd learned two lessons.  One, I have a ways to go before I fully follow Jesus' example and love people just the way they are. Two, I have all I need to be the person God is growing me to be, I just need to trust God...the slow work of God. So, possibly, my lessons are your lessons, too?  Love, heidi

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Lesson before dawn...

During early morning mass at the hermitage last week, Fr. Casey told an amazing story. He'd read it in a magazine when he was just a lad and it stuck with him all these years.  It was a story about a Sunday school director in a small church in a rural area.  There was one particular poor family living in the community, but they didn't attend the church.  The Sunday school director, who knew the family well, asked if it would be OK if he picked up their young son for Sunday school on Sunday morning.  The family agreed and the man arrived in his best Sunday suit to collect the boy.  The boy came out of his house in his overalls with a clean white shirt.  The gentleman told the boy he needed to stop at his home quickly as he'd forgotten something he needed for Sunday school.  When he came out of the house, he, too, was wearing overalls and a clean white shirt.  He didn't want the young boy to feel uncomfortable at Sunday school, dressed as he was.  This little story moved me greatly, teaching me such a valuable lesson.  We don't change others into what we want them to be, we change ourselves to appreciate them just how they are.  This was one of two awesome lessons I learned that morning, even before the sun came up...tomorrow, I will share the second lesson!  Let's think today how we can love and appreciate those we encounter today--just the way they are! Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Already ready

"Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival."
Luke 12:37
This always reminds me of the funny bumper sticker: "Jesus is coming! Look busy!"  Jesus reminds us in this Gospel, that we may not have the luxury of time to get it right down here on earth.  I rarely walk out of a funeral that I don't think, "Wow...good thing I have time left! I better get busy!" But we don't know when our time ends.  On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, they had a great suggestion.  What if we get ready for God coming by recognizing that God is already here? If we can look for signs of God's presence in our everyday lives we can live in a state of "already readiness" because we aren't waiting for anyone.  God is already here. Let's look around us all day today and note the presence of God; maybe in nature, or in the beautiful smiling face of the grocery store cashier or in the eyes of a child. Jesus isn't "coming." Jesus is already here!  Love, heidi

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Lessons and blessings

“I’ll praise you in this storm…”
Casting Crowns, “Praise You in This Storm”
Last week didn't turn out the way it was supposed to. We were to have our second-to-the-last Spiritual Direction class, and we started Wednesday evening with a beautiful opening session. Thursday morning, on their way to the retreat center for class, our instructors were in a car accident and all were injured. In the shock of all that, we students turned to prayer and each other…and we wandered around in a bit of a daze, so concerned, sad and broken open. God whispered to me to look for the lessons and blessings within this difficult situation and that surely helps. The main thing is that we all feel so cradled by love and care. One of our instructors described it beautifully, “a cocoon of love.” So, we praise you in this storm, Lord. We know that this dreadful thing wasn't your will but that you will give us comfort and gift us through it. We know your love and goodness will continue to be found in the days and weeks to come. Dear Friends, please remember our instructors in your prayers as they heal from their injuries. And please, please be careful out there! Love, heidi