Thursday, September 15, 2016

Free to live and love...

"...and you, yourself, shall be  pierced with a sword--so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare."
Luke 2:35

Not exactly what a new mother wants to hear, but I believe that if the small sword-piercings of motherhood were clearly explained in advance, no one would ever sign up to be a mother! Of course, Simeon the prophet is speaking to Mary here, at the time of Jesus' Presentation in the temple.  Couldn't Simeon think of something more encouraging to say? Really! Anyway, yes, we mothers know the small little swords that pierce our hearts through the lives of our children and you know what? We wouldn't have it any other way. Because of our deep and loving investment in our kids, we are "laid bare" and ripe for the joys as well as the pain of launching a new life into the world. We give our kids roots and wings. The roots in the day after day of it all; school year after school year, science project after science project.  The wings are a bit harder; watching them back out of the driveway for the first time, or waiting for them to call the first week of college.  Or what about when they bring a fellow home for the first time and you just know he's "the One," when she turns to do the Sign of Peace with him first at mass? But, with that little piercing, you know she is free--free to love and live in this world, even without you, when the time comes.  And that is why God gives us kids in the first place...for us to let them go.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

God among us...

"Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death..."
Philippians 2:7-8

I have always loved this reading, but each time I read it, I see something more.  I've also been reading Fr. Richard Rohr's daily meditations, and he is sharing how God is relational; participatory in our lives, not just watching us from afar.  This is exactly played out in Jesus becoming human and sharing our humanity with us...relationally with us.  Jesus came among us, in very humble, human form. Jesus wasn't born in a palace, regally.  Jesus came, taking the form of a slave, the humblest of humans.  This is especially startling as we look around and see who we, as a culture, admire. Yikes! The people we make our heroes and heroines often do not pass the humility test...some do, but many do not.  Our heroes need to be the humble among us, who live and work as Jesus demonstrated to us--with love and compassion for all. Our loving God is relational, not some distant deity judging us from the sidelines. Our God came to live and work among us, washing our feet and loving the most vulnerable in our midst.  Our most vulnerable are our most valuable.  Let's never forget that! Love, heidi

Monday, September 12, 2016

Lost and Found...

"Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost."
Luke 15:8-9

I've been waiting for this Gospel to come around so I can share my Lost and Found story! See, I've had this ring for ten years. It has Jesus fish all around it and is inscribed with the scripture 1 Corinthians 7:34. It's very special to me because it represents a commitment I've made and I'm reminded of that commitment each time I see it on my finger. Carelessly, I've lost this ring more than once. It even had to be sent back to me from Kansas one time! About a month ago, I lost it for good. Or so I thought. I was devastated. I just didn't feel complete without it on my finger. There was something missing in me and I was heartsick. When I heard this reading yesterday, I flashed back to how sad I felt with my ring missing and realized that there is something missing in God's world when we are not connected to God. So, it's not just that God rejoices when one of us is found and back in the fold, but God feels the tremendous ache of loss when we wander away.  I turned the house upside down, just like this gal in the Gospel, to search for my ring. At one point, I peered under the couch with a flashlight and caught a glimpse of something shiny, way in the back. Apparently, it had fallen through the couch cushions to the floor. I rejoiced and vowed to be more careful. But in that Lost and Found, I'd caught a glimpse of how treasured we are by God, who seeks us when we are lost, too. Love, heidi

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Never Forget or Always Remember...

I bristle when I see posts that say "Never Forget" the events of 9/11. I prayerfully explored why earlier today as I sat in silence, remembering the day.  I realized I tend to equate Never Forget with "Never forget what they did to us." We learn that our compassionate and loving God forgives AND forgets our sins...shouldn't we try to forget as well as forgive those who harm us? What I choose to remember about the events of 9/11 aren't  the bad things that happened, but I choose to remember the good things. I choose to remember the heroes and heroines of the day and months that followed. I choose to remember the strangers reaching out to each other, united in tragedy. I choose to remember the helpers, the first responders, the selfless acts of courage from that day and days since.  I choose to remember the good and decent people who were lost to their families, but also to those of us who didn't have the chance to know them. So, instead of saying Never Forget when it comes to 9/11, I'm going to say "Always Remember" instead. Always remember the helpers and the good.  Always remember that God loves us and can bring good from every tragedy. And always remember that we are to love each other, too.  Love, heidi