Saturday, June 25, 2016

What is freedom?

"For freedom Christ sets us free...for you were called for freedom."
Galatians 5:1,13

This reading got me thinking about freedom. What is this freedom St. Paul is talking about, that Christ gives to us? These last few years I've noticed some things about freedom that seem new and fresh to me. First, the less you actually possess the freer you are. Stuff, even stuff we like and work hard to obtain, can be burdensome. So, there is freedom in owning less. Along with that, the less shacked we are, even by our own opinions, the freer we can be. The less dualistic (us vs. them, good guys vs. bad) we are, the freer we are. If I let go of my strong sense of rightness and opinion that I'm right and you're wrong, I am freer to love you, even if we disagree. We are no longer opponents, even if we don't see eye to eye. I love you better when I'm not opposing you. So, this is the type of freedom I think Paul is talking about here...freedom to love. And that is worth celebrating! Love, heidi

Friday, June 24, 2016

In Honor of Friday...

Fall in Love

"Nothing is more practical than
finding God, than
falling in Love
in a quite absolute, final way.
What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide
what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read, whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in Love, stay in love,
and it will decide everything."

Attributed to Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Rock solid!

"The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock."
Matthew 7:25

Pray-As-You-Go invited us to think about what kind of foundation our "house" is built upon...sand or rock? When I think on the foundation of my faith I immediately think back on my childhood and attending mass every week with my Dad and grandmother. Talk about a rock solid foundation! I cut my teeth on rosary beads, truly! So upon that rock solid foundation of faith my little "house" (or townhouse) is built.  That certainly doesn't mean that I automatically do everything right or that I have a perfectly unshakeable faith.  But it does mean that eventually God comes into focus when I'm hanging out there struggling.  God is and always has been my solid touchstone, that is a fact, but sometimes, I flounder around first, trying to do it myself.  It's much like the image of the child climbing the stairs, one huge step at a time, with God lovingly watching.  Finally, God just races down the stairs and scoops her up, carrying her the rest of the way.  Isn't that a wonderful image? Love, heidi

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Of fruits and promises...

"By their fruits you will know them."
Matthew 7:16

It's so funny that I can have a fabulous, wonderfully productive day after which I fall into bed exhausted, yet fulfilled.  And then, the very next day is frustrated by fiscal year-ending shenanigans and canceled appointments, water turned off in our office building, and precious time spent waiting for the cable guy.  Just like that, it feels like the good fruit has turned sour! But good fruit can't change just like that. Good fruit is just may have difficult days and those are the days we are called to just pick up the cross and move forward.  God is just as lively in the mundane, difficult days as in the richest days of retreat, it just may take some imagination to find God. Good trees produce good fruit, but there will be days those fruit-heavy branches may be tossed about by wind and iffy situations.  But hang on!  The next day is a new one...with promises ripe for the picking! Love, heidi

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Gospel of dirty hands...

"Enter through the narrow gate..."
Matthew 7:13

It's hard for me to see how a "Prosperity Gospel" could ever flourish when Jesus seems to spell out, so clearly, just the opposite.  How can churches promote the notion that believing in Jesus can result in riches and wealth, when that seems not to be the case when we read what Jesus actually said? Could it be the difference in believing in Jesus and following Jesus? These are two completely difference things, I think. Believing in Jesus is relatively easy compared to following Jesus.  See, if we follow Jesus we end up in the trenches, working and helping people who may not be able to help us back or even appreciate what we're doing.  Believing in Jesus may mean saying prayers, going to church on Sunday, throwing a ten-spot in the collection to help those far-away people we never hope to meet. But following Jesus means getting our hands dirty, rolling up our sleeves, sticking our neck out.  That could be why the narrow gate is so...narrow.  And that could be why there isn't a rush to get to it.  Jesus never preached a Gospel of Prosperity. His words clearly tell us that we don't need stuff, we don't need words alone. We are to leave the luggage and empty words behind and come through the gate with just the clothes on our back and hands willing to help.  Love, heidi

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Prepare, plan, save...and then be surprised!

"Prepare, yes, but be open to surprise.
Plan, yes, but be flexible.
Save, yes, but always be generous to those in need, trusting that God will somehow bless our giving."
Sr. Melannie Svoboda, "Living in Christ"

Such great advice for how we should hold the future! I'm such a planner of the future, which can seem a bit contrary to going with the flow of God's will. If I plan and then remember to be flexible to the flowing of the Spirit, it's ok. Gracious God of surprises, surprise me! Help me to be flexible and fluid, moving with your Spirit through my day. I can save and prepare for the future, but open my eyes to how my resources can serve others in the world this very day. Clothe me as the flowers of the field who don't run to Kohl's the minute they get a 30% off coupon in the mail! Help me to trust that my needs will be met and my wants, well, they may need to stay "wants" for a while. Love, heidi