Thursday, July 21, 2016

The parables of our lives...

"But blessed are your eyes, because they see, and blessed are your ears, because they hear."
Matthew 13:16

Sometimes this Gospel seems murky to me.  Why is Jesus making his teaching even harder to understand and grasp by speaking in parables? What if, by speaking in parables, Jesus was making it actually easier to understand? In "Jesus--A Pilgrimage," Fr. James Martin SJ helps us to see that Jesus' use of parables was illustrative to the people. He spoke using images the people could easily relate to in their daily lives. They understood seed-sowing. They could relate to a man being beaten up on the side of the road. Perhaps they had a wayward son who didn't appreciate the family farm.  What about us? Can we see the blessings in the parables of our lives? Pray-As-You-Go today invites us to look at our own lives and see the blessings right in front of us that may not actually feel like blessings.  Often, blessings are more easily identified in retrospect.  At the time we are going through something it may not feel like a blessing at all. But, later, when a lesson has been learned or we have grown through the difficulty, we can see the blessing in it. Let's take some time and look around what's happening in our lives right now.  It may be difficult to see, but we have eyes to see the blessings if we look carefully and trust that God is working, even in the mess we may find ourselves in.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Put your words in my mouth, Lord!

"Then the Lord extended his hand and touched my mouth saying, 'See, I place my words in your mouth.'"
Jeremiah 1:9-10

Isn't that a beautiful image? Haven't we all experienced times when we've felt God has given us just the right thing to say? Haven't we all experienced the opposite when we wished God could have clamped our mouths shut, thus avoiding the shame of our ill-chosen words hanging over our heads in a bubble? If we give God half a chance God will provide our words...more carefully than when we choose them ourselves.  Especially now, when emotions are running so hot and everyone seems ready to combust. How can we turn our words and reactions over to God? Can we allow God to filter what we say so that we can bring peace--God's peace--to our high fire danger world? Today, let's remember these words from the prophet Jeremiah. God can say it to us, too, if only we surrender our words to God.  Gracious and peace-sowing God, please put your words in my mouth today, so I can only say kind, compassionate, truthful and loving words to your people. Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Letting God love us...

"Gospel holiness has little to do with moral achievements or the elimination of defects (that is an ego need). It is almost entirely about receiving God's free gift of compassion, mercy, and forgiveness."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 7/19/16

There is something so deeply ingrained in us that we get what we deserve. If we are good we are rewarded; if we are bad, we are punished.  But a deep look at the Gospels show us that Jesus turned much of that upside down. He even told the people that tax collectors and prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of heaven before the pious and holy and how could that even be? It's because, hopefully through God's grace, we will realize that we cannot save ourselves through our actions, prayers, and words. Eventually we accept our human state and, in fact, rejoice in it. We recognize that we are made in the image and likeness of God and God loves us, faults and all.  Our sanctity, as St. Therese of Lisieux says, is God within us. "Oh my God--to be Yourself my Sanctity!" If we think we need to please God from afar we are wasting precious time that could be spent enjoying God's love, forgiveness, and mercy.  Let's think about this today and revel in the beauty of it!  Love, heidi

Monday, July 18, 2016

What can we do?

"Only to act justly, to love tenderly, and to walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

In these perilous times, sometimes it is good to have simple, clear instructions to follow. We can wring our hands, get in over our heads mentally about all that is wrong in the world, but simple instructions can help us focus on what we can actually do to help the situations gone amok. What can we do in our small circle of influence in our own time and place? Peace must begin in our own hearts, first, then extend to family and friends, neighborhoods and towns. It isn't likely we will be asked to speak to the UN about peace, but we sure are asked to cultivate peace where we are, today, now. God gives us a peace, God's own peace, even as the world seems chaotic around us. That peace is instilled in our hearts, but it is up to us to spread it out to our environments. So, to review:
                                                            --Live justly
                                                            --Love tenderly
                                                            --Walk humbly with God
Let's make all three part of our summer Monday!  Love, heidi