Friday, November 18, 2016

Care for Creation...

"We Christians, together with the other monotheistic religions, believe that the universe is the fruit of a loving decision by the Creator, who permits man respectfully to use creation for the good of his fellow men and for the glory of the Creator; he is not authorized to abuse it, much less to destroy it. In all religions, the environment is a fundamental good."
Pope Francis to the United Nations Assembly, September, 2015

This is an area where I'm feeling overwhelmed by the thought of What can I do? The problem is much bigger than one person and it seems out of reach to make any kind of impact at all.  Over the years, I have made subtle changes and those subtle changes can add up.  If everyone makes changes, they can all add up.  We are fortunate, here in Idaho Falls, to have a very good recycling program that makes it so easy to recycle most everything.  We had a enlightening program several years ago at the Motherhouse that urged me to make simple changes like never leaving water running when I brush my teeth or any other water-using activity.  Every drop of water is precious! Here lately, I've taken to bringing a garbage bag whenever I walk the dog and I pick up trash along the route. I am always dismayed by how much stuff people just throw out their car windows! Really? The earth is ours to gently use, Friends. We are stewards and we need to be aware, every minute, of how we are treating our precious planet.  Can we spend some time this weekend thinking of small changes we can make in our day to tenderly care for our home?  Love, heidi

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Climbing a tree in fear?

"Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd..."
Luke 19:2-3

Does anyone mind if we revisit Zacchaeus from Tuesday's Gospel? I must admit the Revelation readings baffle me...they seem science-fiction-y and I like more concrete stuff, like a guy climbing a tree to see Jesus!  Our Deacon had a wonderful thought about Zacchaeus that I have been thinking about since he preached on this Gospel a while back.  It says in the reading that Zacchaeus had to run ahead and climb a tree to get a better look at Jesus. Deacon Chris explained that Zacchaeus, being a wealthy tax collector, would have been hated by the crowd.  It would have been hard for him to walk through the crowd because of their distain for him.  The Gospel saying he ran ahead and climbed a tree because he was short was, perhaps, just a nice way of explaining his actions. The real reason was that the crowd may have roughed him up.  I have thought about this long and hard in light of our divided state as a nation.  It pains me to think of the negativity in our country today.  Zacchaeus' encounter with Jesus completely changes him from that day on.  Encounters with Jesus do that for people.  Let's pray for each other today! Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The most splendid cathedral!

'Daily cosmic events in the sky and on the earth are the Reality above our heads and beneath our feet every minute of our lives: a continuous sacrament."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Reflection, 11/15

Fr. Rohr is talking about Creation being the "primary cathedral" for both St. Francis and also Jesus, who used stories of nature and natural human observations to teach his lessons.  Nature can teach us if we are open and observant to its lessons.  The past couple of nights there has been a tremendous Super Moon, so large and beautiful to behold! I was grateful to take lovely walks observing it and it was very spiritual for me. Also, I spent some time, on a lovely Sunday afternoon, observing the burning bushes in my front garden.  The vibrant red leaves have given way to bright orange berries, which I had never really noticed before.  Observing these gifts of nature is prayer, appreciating them is sacramental. Both teach me of the circle of life, the rising and shining of the moon one day, the only-visible part of the moon the next.  We can't see the good all the time, but seeing it occasionally reassures us that it is always really there.  The leaves giving way to berries mirrors our very lives, helping us realize that life is cyclic, sometimes it is filled with the splendor of vibrant red leaves, other times, it's just the berries! In any case, observing creation is prayer. Creation is God in action in our lives and we are missing a fabulous sacramental service if we can't take the time to pray in nature's cathedral.  Love, heidi

Monday, November 14, 2016

A gift of Hope

"Seen through the eyes of faith this is a desolate landscape but it remains God's world for which Jesus died and over which the Spirit broods."
Sr. Ruth Burrows, "Love Unknown" (as quoted in Give Us This Day)

This past Saturday I helped out at an Alternative Gift Fair. I thought that I would volunteer an afternoon, do my part, you know...But, in reality, God gave me some wonderful gifts that afternoon, the most splendid one being a gift of Hope.  I enjoyed visiting with wonderful people, but there were two young women I met who passed God's gift of Hope along to me. One was a young counselor of very young mothers in difficult situations and the other an intern in Probation and Parole. Both young women were filled with love and compassion for the people they serve. Both serve a population whom others may find difficult to embrace. Both showed me that enthusiasm and zeal can go a long way to fan the fire of Good (and God) in the world.  I'll admit, both reminded me a tiny bit of an idealistic young Heidi Gainan eons ago, who sincerely desired to make the world better.  Is it too late for me and my generation? Are we too jaded or burned out to make a difference anymore? Certainly not! Not when God shows us Hope through young people taking up the banner of serving humanity today. I was taught a vivid lesson that the young people of today are rolling up their sleeves and doing good things in the world.  And that gives me tremendous Hope, for them and for us. Thanks be to God. Love, heidi