Thursday, November 3, 2016

All good gifts are to be shared

"No, we do not truly comprehend any spiritual thing until we ourselves give it away. Spiritual gifts increase only by 'using' them, whereas material gifts normally decrease by usage."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps"

This is one of the most important lessons I feel God is trying to teach me.  I say "trying" because I am a rather hard sell in this area.  I love going off alone on retreat and just letting God love me so much! But God has made it clear to me that retreat time is only me filling up to give to others.  I could soak in God's love for days and days, just taking, taking it in. But God is clear that my receiving is for giving to others later. Anything I glean on retreat must be shared or the true gift is lost. We can pray with this message by first looking, gratefully, at the spiritual gifts God has given us.  Once identified, we can ask God for avenues to share them with others, since that is what God had in mind when we were given them!  All good gifts are meant to be can we do that today? Love, heidi

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Peace in the journey

"The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction. But they are in peace."
Wisdom 3:1-2

This reading, on the Feast of All Souls, never ceases to comfort me.  Losing loved ones and friends is terribly hard and you don't reach this age without experiencing it.  But actually being with someone as they pass from one life to the next can be illuminating. The passage can be so gentle; just the difference between one breath and the absence of another one...peace-filled and gentle.  Seeing that certainly can give us a peaceful image of death, but it isn't always the case, unfortunately.  My dad, for example, struggled so as he inched toward death, it was too difficult for my mom and I to watch.  Dying isn't always peaceful, but death is.  Today, as we remember our dear loved ones who are rejoicing on the other side, let's remember those who struggle in dying as well as those who struggle in life.  Peace, the peace of God, is what we all long for and, ultimately, will rejoice in. For all of us on the journey, let us pray...Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Communion with the saints...

"Today's festival (All Saints Day) reminds us that the communion of saints is not some elite club...Rather it is a gaggle of the gifted and the not so gifted who choose to practice holiness together."
Fr. Edward Foley, "Give Us This Day"

This and other things I read this morning remind me that Christianity isn't an exclusive club. It isn't elite, made up of perfect people, or even successful, really. Remember our leader was put to death! Jesus and the saints we celebrate today were rascals in their time. They didn't conform to their own cultures necessarily. They may have stood out because they were different. Jesus certainly did. Much of what he did ran against the grain of his Jewish society. I was thinking about the saints and had this idea for a little prayer exercise. What if we pick a few saints we would like to gather in a booth at Denny's or Dixie's or wherever we gather to sit, drink coffee and share. What saints would we choose? I'm thinking of St. Ann, my name patron who tradition believes is Jesus' grandmother. I imagine she has some stories! I'm thinking St. Jude who helped our kids get through school. I'd love to buy him a cup of coffee and thank him! I'm thinking St. Francis who inspires me to live a more simple life.  I'm thinking of St. Teresa of Calcutta, too, wouldn't it be neat to sit and chat with her? The saints were real human beings who simply grew so close to God they began to look like Jesus in the world. What if we could do a faith sharing group with a handful of saints...who would you pick? What would you ask them?   Love, heidi

Monday, October 31, 2016

Thy Kingdom come...thy will be done

"In short, prayer is not about changing God, but being willing to let God change us, or as Step 11 says, 'praying only for the knowledge of God's will.'"
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps"

Whoa, and all these years I have prayed to get God onboard with what I want and think I need!  This makes so much sense to me now, though. Jesus invites us to pray and our prayers will be answered (Matthew 7:7) and we all have had the experience of saying, "Really? I didn't get what I prayed for! I prayed for this to happen and it didn't. That happened instead, so I guess prayer doesn't really work." But when we pray for certain outcomes to occur we aren't necessarily praying with the mind of Christ or for a greater good or for the Bigger Picture.  We are praying for what we think is best on any given day, and our prayers may be naively short-sighted.  Today let's think about praying more for God's will than our own.  Our prayer isn't to change God's mind...but to change our own minds to align better with God's.  Love, heidi