Friday, January 15, 2016

Take an honest look...

"They were all astounded and glorified God saying, 'We have never seen anything like this before!'"
Mark 2:12

Pray-As-You-Go had an interesting take on this Gospel today--the Gospel of Jesus healing the paralytic, whose friends lower him through the roof of the crowded house.  There are so many nuggets of gold to mine in this reading, but the new little twist made me really think.  PAYG explained that people in Jesus' time automatically believed  disease and disability were punishment from God for sins--either the individual's sin or his parents' sin.  Hopefully, we shudder at that notion, but it wasn't that long ago, (think--the beginning of the AIDS epidemic), that people actually spoke that way.  PAYG asks if there are still groups we may feel "deserve" the malady that befalls them.  Yikes, that!  But, honestly, do we believe the unemployed are lazy? Do we believe the poor deserve to be poor? Do we believe those on death row are reaping as they sowed? Ultimately, in the words of Pope Francis, who are we to judge? It is not up to us to determine the worth and value of each person, but it is up to us to love each person like Jesus loved.  Let's take an honest look at our own prejudices and pray we can value each life God has created.  Love, heidi
PS: I will be away a few days, so blessings and all good to everyone!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Can you hear me now?

"Samuel answered, 'Speak, for your servant is listening.'"
1 Samuel 3:10
On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, they say that God speaks to us, too, just like to Samuel.  Samuel needed Eli's help to recognize God's voice and we may need some help as well.  When I think back to times I really felt I heard God speaking, there were some things I had to discern to know, for sure, it was God. 
First, am I familiar enough with God to recognize words that really just sound like God? Has God said something similar in scripture or to someone else, like one of the mystics or saints?  God's words are life-giving, loving, sustaining.  Am I close enough in relationship with God so God's words are familiar, recognizable? Second, it seems like I hear God better if I am off on my own--on retreat, or on a Quiet Day, or driving in silence.  It's not that God doesn't call at other times, maybe it's just easier to hear when I'm quiet! Third, God says stuff I know, deep down, but still may be difficult to hear.  Like "You can do better at this." It may be hard to hear at the time, but I certainly know God is right on.  And finally, I have always felt the most loving kindness and affection in God's words.  Even while hearing the hard stuff, I feel completely embraced by love while hearing it.  I never feel scolded (even though I deserve to be), but I feel cradled in love and gently encouraged to try harder.  So, let's pay close attention to the words we hear this they sound like God? Are we listening? Love, heidi

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

With "authority"

"The people were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes."
Mark 1:22
This is so interesting to me today.  As I prayed with it, I wondered what that "authority" looked like.  I read back a few days in Richard Rohr and he says that Jesus specifically taught with scriptures that were inclusive, emphasizing mercy and honesty.  That was a marked change from the scribes as they taught more exclusively and in a more "you're in, you're out" way.  Jesus was reaching out to those on the fringe and scooping them in.  The man with the unclean spirit in this Gospel would have been shunned and avoided by those in charge, ushered to the door and bid never to return. But Jesus  reaches out, heals him and restores him.  On Pray-As-You-Go, they point out that Jesus backs up his teaching with actions, which is another way of showing authority.  Not just empty words come from Jesus, but words AND a demonstration of how it's done.  So what about us on our winter Tuesday? Are our words inclusive? Do we speak with mercy, honesty and reach out to all? Are our words supported by our actions? Do we walk the talk? Let's ask for the grace to say yes!  Love, heidi

Monday, January 11, 2016

Accept our "present"...

  "Why should we need to awaken our deepest and most profound selves? And how do we do it? By praying and meditating? By more silence, solitude, and sacraments? Yes to all of the above, but the most important way is to live and fully accept our present reality."
Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, "Journey to the Center"
I spent some time yesterday catching up on Fr. Richard Rohr's Daily Reflections and this particular one just rang my bell! "To live and fully accept our present reality..."  That is the way to awaken our deepest selves? Incredible, that.  I'm the type of person to live, very fully, in my imagination. Especially now, as I feel I'm on a precipice with life changes looming.  I tend to live more there, in the future, than here, in the present.  But I can see how that doesn't work.  I had a powerful moment at the Hermitage years ago, as I'm waxing to Jesus about my future and Jesus gently suggests I try to do "now" better.  As I prayed with this yesterday, I thought, how can I better live and accept my present reality, right here, right now? Can I eagerly look forward to heading to work this morning after a wonderful weekend? Can I look at the beginning of this week as many opportunities to love God and show that love through my interactions with all the folks in my Monday? I prayed that I can receive the grace to do just that.  And so, here I go!  Love, heidi