Friday, December 16, 2016

Simple. Not easy, but simple

"The Word of God is telling us very clearly that if you do not do it, you, in fact, do not believe it and have not heard it."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr"

Fr. Rohr makes it really clear that we don't just believe in Jesus...we KNOW Jesus and the only way that is manifested is by us doing the work of Jesus. It's not mysterious or ponderous.  It is Matthew 25:31-46, spelled out as clearly and unmistakably as possible. That's not to say it's easy, by any means, but it is clear. We are to do what Jesus did, for the people Jesus hung out with (the poor, the people on the fringe) and we are to do it with love and compassion.  We could wrangle and wonder all our lives what God wants us to do and we make many decisions every day, hoping to "get it right." But the bottom line is, what we do for others, with love and compassion, we do the same way to Jesus. How we treat others, we treat Jesus the same way.  Simple. Not easy, but simple.  Blessings on your last weekend of Advent! Love, heidi

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Joy in the morning

"Sing praise to the Lord, you his faithful ones, and give thanks to his holy name.
For his anger lasts but a moment; a lifetime his goodwill.
At nightfall, weeping enters in, but with the dawn, rejoicing."
Psalm 30:5-6

Scripture can seem like just words on a page unless we can trace back through our lives and see the times we have lived the words.  I remember, about a million years ago, when life was difficult and there was  a song we sang at the youth masses called "Yes, Lord." It had a refrain that included this line, "the night is dark but joy comes in the morning."  I remember taking such comfort in that line that I would tear up while singing it. Scripture, indeed, comes alive, my Friends.  And the joy, indeed, comes in the morning.  The hard part, though, is getting through the long, dark night.  It seems so dark and so long and God may seem very far away.  This time of year exemplifies the long, dark night for us, physically as well as metaphorically.  As early as the end of next week, there will be .03 more minutes of daylight, the day after the winter solstice! That tiny little glimmer of light is just how our Gracious God comes to us...a small infant, a wee glimmer of light.  Today, let's pray especially for those who struggle this time of year, those who suffer in that long, dark night.  Families of loved ones who are ill and dying, families who are separated by anger and bitterness. People who are on the fringe of the happy lives we depict in our Christmas cards.  Those who feel they don't belong in our fragile little accepted society.  Pray their joyful dawn will come and that we may be able to help them until it does...Love, heidi

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Change of head, change of heart...

"Every change of mind is first of all a change of heart, and if the heart does not change, new ideas do not last long."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Preparing for Christmas with Richard Rohr"

In pondering this, this early winter morning, I had a real Eureka! moment. It is God, working deeply within us, that eventually gets our heads and hearts on the same page.  God may give us an idea or notion, then gently works on our hearts to give us the desire to do whatever is needed. I can know a path to take that would probably be safer and better for me in the long run, but unless my heart comes onboard and agrees, it is an empty, useless thought.  Ah, but if my heart can agree, if God puts that very desire into my heart and I feel it as a desire, then the head and heart are in alignment and I can go forth and do whatever-it-is.  God puts the deep desires into our hearts.  God urges us to follow our deep desires, that is where God's will for us is, in fact. I can look back through the choices I have made with my head and see my heart's desire line up and vice versa.  I can also see the burning desire of my heart come to fruition through decisions and plans made and followed through. It is sure easier to see looking back than it is looking ahead, isn't it?  But, looking back, when we can clearly see God's tracks in our lives, we can be less anxious about the future.  Love, heidi

Monday, December 12, 2016

Surrender to the miracle

Dear Friends,
On this Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I am re-sharing a post from three years ago.  The lesson is still just as fresh to me, hopefully to you as well...

"Am I not here, your mother?"
Our Lady of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, The Text of the Nican Mopohua

A few years ago, I had a wonderful opportunity to study and learn about Our Lady of Guadalupe during a silent retreat in Boise.  There were many things that impressed me about the history, the symbolism and the impact of the events of 1531 near Mexico City, but one thing absolutely jumped out at me.  Juan Diego, the Christian Indian who witnessed the "brown skinned woman" on the hillside and carried her image on his tilma to the bishop, completely surrendered himself to the miracle.  That, to me, was symbolized in one action.  When Juan Diego opened his tilma and the roses tumbled out at the bishop's feet, they stared, in awe, at the image of Our Lady left on the tilma.  That was the miracle that showed the bishop that Juan was telling the truth, Our Lady was on the hillside, the miracle was real!  And then Juan Diego surrendered his tilma; just took it off and gave it to the bishop as proof of the miracle.  Juan was a poor man with few possessions, but he literally gave the shirt off his back to the bishop.  It was more to him than simply a garment, it was a miracle.  It was more than simply a shield from the December chill, it was the Mother of the Poor reaching out to help her children.  It was precious to him, and yet, he realized the need to give it up.  And the tilma still belongs to the people, is still on display in the Basilica in Mexico City. The lesson for us is that God is still creating miracles in our lives today, everyday we encounter God reaching into our lives.  We need to follow the example of Juan Diego:  share the miracles with others, surrender ourselves to what our miracles are telling us.  And change our immediate world around us by getting ourselves out of the way and letting God be God!  Love, heidi