Friday, September 22, 2017

The root of all evil!

"For the love of money is the root of all evil, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the path and have pierced themselves with many pains."
1 Timothy 6:10

Is it Providence this reading should fall on a pay day? I think so. Reading this today, I wondered how those teaching the "prosperity" gospel can sell it? It seems pretty clear here that we are not supposed to sell our souls to be materially rich.  But it goes beyond just pointing our judging fingers at those who sure look like they're doing it wrong! What in my own life do I chase after more than I seek God? What do I spend more time doing than spending time with God? I consider all living things to be infused with God, so spending time alone in nature or with other people, working, laughing, sharing, celebrating is time with God to me. I probably spend too much time mindlessly transfixed in front of either a computer or TV, so that is one thing to consider. And where will today's paycheck go? Will it bring life to others as well as myself and my old dog who loves his rawhide treats? It is one thing to read these wise scripture passages but how do they transform our everyday lives? They certainly should! That is a question to be pondered this autumn weekend, Friends!  Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

God is working!

"Bring us back, O God; let your face shine forth..."
Psalm 80:4

Recently, I was called upon to find a phone that an elderly gentleman could use. I took over one that I thought would do the trick, crawled around in the ancient corners of the netherworld to get it hooked up and, lo and behold, it didn't work. I tried all I knew to do, with interested bystanders "helping" me to the point of distraction. In terrible frustration, I took it back to my office to study it in peace. I was so disappointed in myself, not for my inability to get the phone to work, but in my irritation with the people and situation. I made arrangements to go back the next day, armed with the tweaked phone and, more importantly, a tweaked attitude. I prayed all the way there for God to help me; again, not just hooking up the phone, but to love the people. That was ultimately what I was called to do, what I was there for. The phone was just the excuse.  Well, the next day, the situation was exactly the same--the same cobwebs were in the corners, the people were still "helping" and the phone still didn't work. The difference was, as I drove away, I knew God had helped me. I was so different than the day before. I was able to love better.  Today, as we go about our Windy Wednesday, let's think about how God works in our lives.  The phone may still not work. But God is working feverishly in our hearts! Love, heidi

Monday, September 18, 2017

Seven times?

"Peter approached Jesus and asked him, 'Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?'"
Matthew 18:21

I wonder if Peter was thinking that forgiving someone seven times was plenty? Or a lot? Was Peter thinking himself magnanimous going for seven? If so, Jesus blew him out of the water when he replied that, no, you must forgive seventy-seven times! I remember reading that when we humans forgive, it is always through grace given to us. It isn't so much our own doing, but a gift of grace that we receive from God that allows us to forgive. I totally believe that, since forgiveness seems so often out of reach for me. And we can and should pray for the gift of a universal forgiveness just for the way things are. Fr. Richard Rohr says that the Spirit within us gives us a desire and a longing for reconciliation and forgiveness (Daily Meditation, 8/28/17). That's the only true way we can move forward in our lives--to let go of the hope for a better past. So, today. as we breathe in the wee bit of fall in the air, let's pray for the grace we need to let go of anything we need to forgive, including within ourselves. Maybe we can picture a gust of wind blowing it away...love, heidi

Friday, September 15, 2017

Another mother...

"'Woman, behold your son'. Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold your mother.'"
John 19:26-27

What does it mean to us that Jesus "gave" us his own mother as he was dying on the cross? I thought about what my mother did for me; I thought about what I try to do for my now-adult kids. My mom was my cheerleader, my second biggest fan (my dad was my Number One fan). But my mom was there for me until it was time for me to be there for her. My mother was a confidant, I could tell her anything and she would try to understand my point of view, while pointing out that there may be another way to look at it. She was a practical guide for me growing up, and later her advice was invaluable. She loved me as no one else possibly could, as the person who nourished my tiny self in her own body, under her own heart. This gift of mother is one Jesus gives us from the cross, too. Another mother, who cheers us on, nourishes us, sits with us when we need her and comforts us when we're struggling. No one can ever love us quite like our mother can, so the gift of another mother is a treasure...and we have that in our mother, Mary. This weekend, let's pause and thank Jesus for this beautiful gift of sharing his mother with us.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Woe to...us?

"But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. But woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry..."
Luke 6:24-25

Deacon Mac from Bronco Catholic had an inspiring, if a bit blistering, homily this past Sunday and I will post the link to it below if you would like to be challenged by the Gospel. Why would we want to be challenged by the Gospel? Aren't we supposed to go to church, pay our tithe and walk out of church feeling good about ourselves? I think not. Living the Gospel is way different than just reading, listening or even believing in it. If just saying we are Christian, and listening to the Gospel on Sunday was enough, we'd be all set. We seem to be able to do that much. But it's not enough. Woe to us, if we think it is. Jesus challenges us to go beyond ourselves and live for others, love others, care for others. THAT is the Gospel. In the verse shortly after this one, Jesus says, "Love your enemies." (v. 27). If that doesn't challenge us then we aren't reading it correctly. Or maybe we are just reading it and not trying to live it. These are challenging times, calling for challenging messages. How can we follow Jesus and actually live the Gospel? Especially since we are the rich and the well-fed? Love, heidi
Deacon Mac's Homily

Monday, September 11, 2017

Remember with service

"Lord, take me
where you want me
to go;
Let me meet
who you want me
to meet;
Tell me
what you want me
to say, and
Keep me out
of your way."

--Mychal Judge, O.F.M., Chaplain
New York Fire Department
 
As we remember the terrifying day sixteen years ago, let us especially remember the Saint of 9/11, Fr. Mychal Judge, chaplain of the NYFD. Fr. Judge was one of the first casualties of the WTC as he went in to minister to his men that morning. Jesus told us that greater love has no man than to lay down his life for another, and that is what Fr. Judge did that day. What can we do this day for another person? Can we honor those who were lost on 9/11 by helping someone else today? Let's channel our remembrance, not through bitterness or anger but through service for others. Love, heidi

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Answer the call...

"When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus."
Luke 5:11

I was thinking about this and wondered about the times I have felt called to do something. Did I leap up and rush to do it? Have I ever followed as eagerly as Peter, James and John in this reading? The "calls" I have received haven't been quite so obvious and vivid as Jesus calling the fishermen on the shore. And he did have to work a fabulous miracle before they left it all behind. The calls I feel I receive start out as a stirring within my heart. An idea about doing something turns into a desire to do it. That desire leads me to investigate the possibility of doing it and then that can lead me to begin doing it. I can't say that I rush into it, leaving everything behind. But I look back and see there have been calls answered, desires tackled and met, even things left behind. All of this is God working within, which is how I believe God works in our lives, from within.  Today, as we go about a short-week Thursday, let's think about the calls we have answered in the past and pray about answering the calls we may be receiving right now in our lives. Eagerly jumping up, leaving whatever else behind and answering the call is us exercising our faith muscle! Can we do it? Jesus is calling! Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

We must go with him!

"The crowds went looking for him, and when they came to him, they tried to prevent him from leaving them."
Luke 4:42

Is it me? Did I wake up on the wrong side of the bed and, reading this, see the people of Capernaum in a negative light? I see them as trying to keep Jesus for themselves, as their own miracle worker, healing their sick and working miracles in their town, but reluctant to let him go to others. Do we still tend to do that? Claiming Jesus for ourselves, wanting Jesus on our side? If Jesus is on our side, then our side must be the right side and other sides must, therefore, be wrong...right? Argh, that! Throughout history we see groups claiming Jesus who have no real adherence to Jesus' teachings. Jesus, for his part, went far out to the edges, to the fringe, and scooped up those were cast out of the "group." Jesus went out of his way to include those society spurned. If Jesus is on our side, or if we are on Jesus' side, we must do the same and reach far and wide to include others...ALL others. This Jesus "club" of ours is expansive in its width and breadth. It includes rather than excludes. Not only must we let Jesus go out to others, but we must go with him! Love, heidi

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

A season of new...

"Anticipate all the blessings that take place each day rather than dreading things that may never happen...A positive attitude can assist us in shaping our days."
Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, "Abide" (as quoted in Give Us This Day)

This is just perfect for the day after a holiday weekend, isn't it? One could feel some drudgery headed back after a lovely respite. One could feel a bit of sadness that summer is winding down. One could have difficulty settling into a new season routine (I need to get to the gym!) Or, one could look at today with excited anticipation and think, What wonderful new adventure awaits me today? OK, I'm not exactly THERE either. But I do appreciate the fact that going into today with a positive attitude would be much better than thinking the worst. My attitude shapes my behavior and my behavior certainly can affect others and their reactions to me. So chin up! Deep cleansing breath! Out we go to discover what wonder God has in store for this nearly-Autumn day...And thanks be to God for walking through it with us.  Love, heidi

Friday, September 1, 2017

The Fullness of Time

The Fullness of Time

by James Stephens

On a rusty iron throne,
Past the furthest star of space,
I saw Satan sit alone,
Old and haggard was his face;
For his work was done, and he
Rested in eternity.
 
And to him from out the sun
Came his father and his friend
Saying,—Now the work is done,
Enmity is at an end—
And He guided Satan to
Paradises that He knew.
 
Gabriel, without a frown;
Uriel, without a spear;
Raphael, came singing down,
Welcoming their ancient peer;
And they seated him beside
One who had been crucified!
 
I invite you to sit and pray with this poem for while. How does it feel to you? I was stunned when I first heard it and each time I read it now, I get teary. It just sounds so much like God to me, and God's infinite mercy brings me to tears. Blessings on your weekend, love, heidi
 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Reach out through the ordinary...

"...may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all..."
1 Thessalonians 3:12

I was thinking, as I went about the tasks of my ordinary Thursday...let the dog out, feed the dog, make coffee, yada, yada...about how the ordinary days stack up--one after another. Not long after, I thought about those who would love to have an ordinary day, but whose days are upside down after the hurricane. People who are waking up on a cot in a shelter would love to have an ordinary day. People who are on Day Three or Four of no sleep at all, who are helping with rescue and recovery. People who are battling terrible fires in other areas and for whom rain may seem like a relief. Many people are waking up to difficult days and our ordinary days are what they dream about. Today, let's thank God if our day is full of routine tasks and responsibilities. Let's also think about how we can help those who are having difficult or trying days. Even in our non-flooded or not-on-fire communities there are ways to help others. As we thank God for the ordinary, let us reach out to those who suffer through extra-ordinary. Love, heidi

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Called to forgiveness

"Forgiveness becomes central to Jesus' teaching, because to receive reality is always to 'bear it,' to bear with reality for not meeting all of our needs."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 8/30/17

I remember hearing that Forgiveness is giving up all hope for a better past. Interesting, right? People being human, situations being what they are, mistakes are made. Reality is what it is. And if we grow to be forgiving of ourselves and others, we also grow to be more patient and humble (Rohr). My favorite part is that God is always eager to help us to forgive others and ourselves. We struggle with forgiving on our own, but God's mercy and love can course through us and open our hearts to forgive. God is so happy to help us lift the burdens of shame and guilt through forgiveness! We also need to remember God wants us to forgive ourselves...maybe that is where we need to begin, Friends. Today, as our week-before-a-holiday inches along, let's ponder where we are called to forgive this day. We are called to forgive others, ourselves, and we are called to ask for forgiveness from others, too. A tall order of forgiveness all around, but God is there and eager to help.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Prayer of silence

Let Your God Love You
by Edwina Gateley
 
Be silent.
Be still.
Alone.
Empty
Before your God.
Say nothing.
Ask nothing.
Be silent.
Be still.
Let your God look upon you.
That is all.
God knows.
God understands.
God loves you
With an enormous love,
And only wants
To look upon you
With that love.
Quiet.
Still.
Be.
Let your God—Love you.
~Edwina Gateley (www.edwinagateley.com)
 
We prayed this each morning, before our time of silent prayer, when I stayed with sisters in Kansas. It is a beautiful way to begin the day! Blessings on your Tuesday, love, heidi

Friday, August 25, 2017

Celebrating our Ruths!

"But Ruth said, 'Do not ask me to abandon or forsake you! For wherever you go, I will go, wherever you lodge I will lodge, your people shall be my people, and your God my God.'"
Ruth 1:16

Interestingly, I woke up thinking about this reading one night earlier this week. I wondered why God woke me up with this story of loyalty and friendship, but it is surely worth a ponder! Pray-As-You-Go asked the question, Who do you cling to when times are difficult? I thought back this morning and remembered the friend who brought me lunch at the vet's office, while I waited through a difficult dog diagnosis. I thought of the friends that raced right over to see me when my mom passed away and the friends who kept vigil with me when my friend Helen struggled through those last hours. I remember the friend who picked me up after a medical procedure and helped me once I got home. These are the "Ruths" in our lives, Friends, and, thankfully, they are the ones we cling to when times get rocky. As we think about and thank our Ruths, let's also keep our eyes, ears and hearts open for opportunities to do the same for others! Our summer is waning...let's get out there and enjoy the weekend! Love, heidi

Thursday, August 24, 2017

It's good to be back!

"Nathaniel's response was, 'Can anything good come out of Nazareth?'"
John 1:46

Is it just a human, knee-jerk response to look down our noses at someone from another town, culture, country? Looks like it's been going on for centuries. I get it, though. It is easy hanging out with like-minded folks. It's easy spending time with people who agree with us, share our hometown or history. It's easy for me to go to the SCL Mother House; number one, because everyone is so kind and nice to me. Often, they taught me or my kin in school in Billings and they are forgiving in their recollections of us! Thanks Be to God! Also, I'm among very like-minded folks. We are all unique, certainly, but we may be inspired by similar things, maybe we tune into the Holy Spirit on the same channel. Whatever it is, it is lovely on top of that mountain and it feels daunting to climb back down and resume life-as-usual. That's today for me. After such a rich and wonderful experience, it's time to share that richness with others as we are all called to do.  So, today, this late August Thursday, let's be aware of any time in our day we are tempted to look down our noses at someone from another town, creed or culture. That's definitely not what Jesus calls us to do, but in this difficult time of divisiveness, it's all too easy to say, "Can anything good come out of ______?" Love, heidi

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Where two or three...

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
Matthew 18:20

There is such comfort in that promise from Jesus, but there is also a great responsibility! Where two or three gather there is sometimes a tendency to gossip or say unkind thing about others, isn't there? It just dawned on me for the first time after so many readings of this Gospel, that, just as Jesus accompanies us as we gather in prayer, Jesus also accompanies us as we gather to share. So, what are we sharing?  Let's do a little self-check to make sure we're comfortable with Jesus hearing what we say to each other! And, speaking of gathering with two or three others, I am headed off to the SCL Mother House for an exciting gathering--a Teilhard de Chardin retreat culminating in the solar eclipse on Monday. I know, I can hardly believe it myself! I will get a chance to see dear friends, visit sacred spaces there at the Mother House in Kansas, and learn about the mysticism of Teilhard de Chardin...all fabulous gifts! I will return next week with newly gleaned wisdom (I hope and pray!)  Be careful watching the eclipse, Friends, I love you as friends and readers, but don't want you as clients! Love, heidi

Monday, August 14, 2017

Befriend the stranger...

"So you too must befriend the alien, for you were once aliens yourselves in the land of Egypt."
Deuteronomy 10: 19

Moses reminds his people to love those in their midst who are strangers in their land. He reminds us, too. We are to love them as God loves them, and show that by feeding and clothing them (v. 18). We are not to throw rocks at them, kick them out, disparage them or make them feel unwelcome in any way. Why do we need reminders of this in the 21st century? Jesus was drawn to the outsider, the despised, those on the fringe. Jesus made them the heroes and heroines of his stories, to show us that we are all glorious in the eyes of God. So who are we to divide and align? Our saint today, St. Maximillian Kolbe, gave his life in love for others at Auschwitz. The lives he touched by giving of himself were likely not people of his own religion, country of origin, or culture. They were more than likely strangers to him before they were all imprisoned together. St. Maximillian served people who started out as strangers to him, and yet he sacrificed for them; in one case, he gave his own life for another. That is what Jesus said is the greatest sacrifice ever. Today, as we think about St. Maximillian Kolbe, what can we do to sacrifice for another? Let them cut into line in front of us?  Pay for someone's coffee or lunch behind us? Hold our tongue from gossip or unkind speech? Speak positive words of life to encourage others and lift them up? Let's go out of our way, today, Friends to be beacons of God's love to others...ALL others! Love, heidi

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Bring our best!

"Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work."
2 Corinthians 9:8

Boy, that's a relief! There are times I really feel inadequate for the task at hand.  Even though I have done this kind of work (Blind Rehabilitation) for a long time, there are constantly new challenges and difficulties that just stump me. It's not a perfect learning curve where you get better at it the longer you do it. It sometimes seems the more I do it the less I know!  Anyway, faced with a powerful feeling of falling short, this reading reassures me that whatever I bring to the task, God multiplies. I don't have all the answers or perfect methods, but God can complete and fill in the gaps to help me serve others.  What I can bring is a heart for helping and desire to serve. God appreciates that and can pick up the ball from there.  Today, if we are challenged with a difficult task, let's not forget to call in our best resource! And let's not be daunted by what we feel we can't do or don't know. Let's bring our best to the job for God to multiply. Love, heidi

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Love bigger

"The fierceness of love invites, even insists, that we abandon any smallness of vision and embrace the new--the new idea or understanding, and most especially, the new person."
Sr. Pat Kozak, Give Us This Day

In her reflection on today's Gospel of Jesus and the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:21-28), Sr. Pat reminds us that love always grows out, bigger, more inclusive. Love doesn't grow smaller, extended to fewer people. Love does not exclude. The Kingdom of God isn't an exclusive country club where just a few participate. Jesus seemed a bit taken aback by the Canaanite woman who insisted he reach beyond those he thought he came to serve. The faith of the woman stretched Jesus further, beyond just those of the Jewish faith. Can we stretch further today? Can we reach beyond our own comfort zones, extending our love further than just the folks we already love? Can we love further and further out from ourselves and our own little groups? Love is bigger than what we think. Love includes the new person, the new idea, the new understanding. Jesus recognized the woman's faith and praised it, "O woman, great is your faith!" (v. 28) Can we be open to God nudging us to love bigger?  Love, heidi

Monday, August 7, 2017

Jesus bending toward us

"But Jesus came and touched them, saying, 'Rise, and do not be afraid.'"
Matthew 17:7

I was touched when I pictured Jesus reaching down and touching the disciples during yesterday's Gospel, for remember they had fallen "prostrate and were very much afraid." (v. 6) It just goes to show us that Jesus meets us exactly where we are, whether it is flat on our faces, or upright but running away. Jesus tenderly and lovingly beckons us, reassures us and lifts us up to new heights. In today's Gospel on Pray-As-You-Go (they had a different one than here in the US), Jesus reassures the shivering disciples in the boat, "Be not afraid!" (Matthew 14:27) He meets the fearful fellows tossed around at sea and beckons them to relax, fear not, "It is I." Today as we go about our August Monday, there may be situations that send us reeling in fear. Or we may just have a normal Monday (which would be preferable to the folks "reeling from fear"!). However our day unfolds, let's remember Jesus who bends down to meet us, wherever we are, and touches us gently. "Be not afraid   It is I."  Love, heidi

Friday, August 4, 2017

Faith that moves mountains...

"He didn't work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith."
Matthew 13:58

One of the things that struck me this morning as I read this, is that, if they had so little faith, why wouldn't Jesus want to work miracles and "prove" himself to them? Interesting, that. Jesus wasn't so much about proving himself as engaging with the people, urging their faith to complete the miracle, thus empowering them in their own healing. Jesus comments often after someone is healed that it is their faith that has accomplished the healing, deflecting the miracle away from his own power and pointing to their faith. Ah, but what about those who are healed from afar, whose relatives or friends come to ask Jesus for healing on their behalf? Well, if we think about it, human faith is still a big part of that--the faith of the relative or friend--human faith still plays a part, collaborating with Jesus to bring the miracle about. Today, as we charge into our first August weekend, let's marvel in the power of faith--our little mustard seed size faith and recognize that Jesus makes miracles happen with what we bring to the party.  Love, heidi

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Do you get it?

"Do you understand all these things?"
Matthew 13:51

Jesus had just used metaphors to describe the Kingdom of heaven to his disciples...it is like seed thrown onto various kinds of soil, it is like a mustard seed, it is like yeast in dough, it is a treasure in a farmer's field, it is like a valuable pearl.  And then, after all of these rich images, Jesus asks, "Do you get it?" Do we? Some days I can see it more clearly than others, that's for sure. Jesus knew and I am finding out that it takes a whole lifetime to understand. We grow in our faith and inch along on our journeys; some days we get it, others it's too mysterious. At some times, our faith seems stretched to the limit, trying situations that we can't imagine are happening to us. Where is God? Then things settle down and we coast for a while, our faith safely resting in our back pockets. Hopefully, we remember where it is when we need it again and we pull it out and use it. These early days of August, let's sit quietly and pray with the ebbs and flows of our faith journey. Can we plug some of Jesus' metaphors into our own experiences? Can we just sit and thank God for the treasure that is our walk with God? Love, heidi

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Our prayer tents...

"The tent, which was called the meeting tent, Moses used to pitch at some distance away, outside the camp. Anyone who wished to consult the Lord would go to this meeting tent outside the camp."
Exodus 33:1

A couple of things bubbled up in my head when I read this today. First, the advantage of having a prayer corner or prayer chair set aside in our homes as a form of "meeting tent." I just have a comfy chair surrounded by my readings, a candle, my singing bowl, pictures, pens and a journal. Dear Sister Mechtilde sat there once when she came to dinner and exclaimed, "I feel edified just sitting here!" Setting aside a little place to pray is lovely, but...
The second thing that I thought of with this reading today is the fact that we DON'T need to only go to a certain place to find and chat with God. While it is nice to have set aside time and space, it isn't necessary for us to meet God anywhere but in our own hearts. God is always there, waiting and eager to meet with us--in the tent of our own hearts.  Sorry for the wee bit of paradox, today...but there it is! Welcome Bountiful August!  Love, heidi

Monday, July 31, 2017

An understanding heart...

"Give to your servant, therefore, an understanding heart to judge your people and to distinguish right from wrong."
1 Kings 3:9

When this reading was read at mass over the weekend, I knew I wanted it to be my prayer too.  An understanding heart bridges the gap between Us and Them. An understanding heart helps us reach out to people with whom we may not agree. An understanding heart helps us love when we don't see eye to eye with someone. King Solomon could have asked God for anything and he asked for an understanding heart so he could be a fair and just king. An understanding heart can help us live as followers of Jesus, reaching out to those on the fringe or in the margins. We are called, not just hang out with those who like us and agree with us but with those who can teach us the hard lessons. We are called to love like Jesus and for that we need Jesus. "Give to your servant an understanding heart."  And, the best part is God was pleased with King Solomon at this request (v. 10) It was asked and granted.  Love, heidi

Friday, July 28, 2017

Which seed?

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Hear the parable of the sower...'"
Matthew 13:18

I accepted the invitation on Pray-As-You-Go this morning and sat with the question, "Which seed are you? Seed that falls on rocky soil? Or rich?"  I've heard this reading often enough to go somewhere completely new in my head this time. I decided I'm the seed burrowed into rich, lovely soil. True enough I have had such vivid spiritual experiences and a wonderful heritage of religiosity. So I'm a seed just burrowed in this fragrant soil. But the problem is, I'm content to just stay here and not feel the need to burst up and grow. If I grow up through the soil, what could happen to me? A weed-eater could come by and zip me right up, couldn't it? I see this as a reluctance to use my gifts for others, and this is a real stunting of growth because of some silly fear. Maybe a fear of not being good enough or a fear of being rejected. Both can be realistic fears but certainly could be overcome by faith in God, who is inviting me to grow.  Today, let's not be afraid to explore how we are hearing God's word in our lives and responding. Are we growing as strong and healthy little shoots that can one day serve others? Or are we too comfy burrowed into our own little worlds?  Let's spend some of this last weekend in July quietly with God, praying with these deep questions.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Grumbling for change...

"Present yourselves before the Lord, for he has heard your grumbling."
Exodus 16:9

I was afraid of that...that the Lord has actually heard my grumbling.  I wonder if it gets tiresome? I would imagine so; I remember about this time every summer the kids would be bored and the grumbling seemed endless. How does God put up with our grumbling? When I think about it, grumbling often precedes a change. The old has to get grumble-worthy before we are ready to delve into something new. At this point, the lazy summer days and hot nights may feel grumblesome to kids and adults.  If we find ourselves grumbling this day, let's ask, Are we on the threshold of change? Is there something new around the corner, up ahead? Can we embrace what is to come without too much grumbling, knowing that God holds us and our change in love? Can we remember and pray with gratitude for times God has answered our grumbling with change?  Love, heidi

Monday, July 24, 2017

Weeds and Wheat...

"No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until the harvest."
Matthew 13:29-30

I was thinking about this reading and marveling at the non-dualism of it. The weeds are allowed to grow along with the wheat because it's not up to us humans to determine who is wheat and who are weeds. In fact, some of us who fancy ourselves wheat can be quite weedy if the truth is told, can't we? Our weed/wheat status is not finally determined until the very end. And the One who knows hearts will do the separating then, not mere mortals.  I wonder why we think we have to play gardener and do the separating ourselves, based on our very limited knowledge? When I worked at a Girl Scout camp in the 70's, we all had camp names.  My name was Weed, because "A Weed is a Flower in Disguise." Many plants we may consider weeds here on earth are actually lovely flowers, we just can't really see them.  I am grateful to be able to grow with weeds and wheat and VERY grateful that God is the True Gardener. Love, heidi

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Come to the Great Healer

"Jesus said: 'Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.'"
Matthew 11:28

Today in Fr. Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation he describes faith as:
"foundational confidence or trust that God cares about what is happening right now."
Those go together so well it seems. And then, Pray-As-You-Go asks what burdens are we carrying this day? What concerns lay heavy on our minds and hearts? So, if we pray with all three of these we can spend time recognizing that the people and concerns we are carrying right now, this summer day, are of great concern to God too. And God's response is to invite us into the comfort and rest of Jesus' company. Isn't that awesome, Friends? Today, let's make time to sit and ponder these words of Jesus. Then consider the concerns of our hearts, and, in doing that, realize that God cares deeply and lovingly about those same concerns and invites us to rest with Jesus, the Great Healer. Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Repent!

"Jesus began to reproach the towns where most of his mighty deeds had been done, since they had not repented..."
Matthew 11:20

This would be the type of reading that I would tend to avoid spending much time pondering--the kind where Jesus seems irritated and cross.  Where is my cuddly, loving Jesus in this reading?  Jesus is, in fact, very real here, cautioning the people to listen to what he is saying, watch what he is doing and change their lives as a result. Don't we want to change our lives as a result of our encounters with Jesus? Jesus isn't just the subject of a beautiful picture in our home of a shepherd with a lamb on his shoulders! Our encounters with Jesus, the ones we will have this very day in fact, must change our lives.  Our daily relationship with Jesus should push the love in our hearts outward, toward others, who desperately need it. Pray-As-You-Go described our unwillingness to change or "repent," as the Gospel says, is hardness of heart.  It's worth a ponder to pray about what our particular hardness of heart looks like in our own lives and ask Jesus to help us change it. Do we have hardness toward an individual or group? Do we have a hardness toward ourselves and find it hard to forgive and get over our past? Let's pray with this and ask Jesus for help and guidance so his mighty deeds produce good fruit in us! Love, heidi

Monday, July 17, 2017

Sounds of silence...

"Thus says the Lord, 'Just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful...so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth...'"
Isaiah 55:10

Yesterday, as I was driving home from a weekend trip, I decided to set aside a period of time for silence. Usually I'm listening to music, singing along, or listening to an audiobook. But, for this chunk of time I turned everything off and just had silence. At the beginning of the time I asked God to speak to my heart, in that still, small voice. I asked no more than that, acknowledging that I may not really even know what God says to my heart, only that it may show up, somehow, in some way as fruitful for others. As I drove along, it began to rain; first the gentle tapping of raindrops, and later a vigorous downpour, quite loudly pounding on my car.  It was like God's percussion in the symphony of silence I was enjoying.  It was lovely driving in silence and I heartily recommend it, especially if you have a long journey--some of it can be well-spent in silence.  God will make God's presence known in some way or another and it will be fruitful, in one way or another. Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Pulling our own 'chute

"I had to pull my own 'chute."
Blaine Larsen

Now, before you go Google other profound tidbits from philosopher Blaine Larsen, he is my son. And this may have been the most profound thing he has ever said. He said it while telling me he had completed his fifth skydiving lesson and the one where he goes solo--jumps out of an airplane at 8000 feet with no one assisting in any way. When he said this sentence, all I could think of was the metaphorical image. Maybe it was just too stressful, as his mom, to think of the reality! I think if we all look back we can imagine a time when we pulled our own 'chute for the first time. Maybe it was the first time we lived away from home or walked down the aisle. Maybe it was a hard time when we received a difficult diagnosis or pink slip. Whatever it was, we recognized in that moment, that we were being handed the keys to our lives. It is comforting to us to realize that, even as we may feel empowered and energized by our independence pulling our own 'chute, we do have an incredible back-up 'chute that will deploy if we run into trouble. As I pictured Blaine floating to the ground during his solo skydive, I pictured outstretched hands of God underneath him, ready to catch him as the safety net, the backup 'chute.  That's the only way I could keep from freaking out. Today, let's think about how God has both encouraged us to pull our own 'chutes, and also how we have been supported as we did so. Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Gazing toward God

"Paradoxically, personal fulfillment means abandoning ourselves and putting others first. It means moving beyond wanting to be loved and moving into becoming lovers. It means growing past our need for things and discovering happiness in giving things away--even giving ourselves away, as Jesus did."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation 7/11/17

These few sentences sum up so perfectly my desired journey right now.  I'm on the journey, nowhere near reaching these goals, but only at the point of appreciating this is where I want to be.  I think it is a wonderful prayer to sit with these lines and pray about how this may look in our own lives. What does it mean in our lives to give ourselves away to others? What does it look like to move beyond wanting to be loved and becoming a lover of others? This could be an eye-and-heart opening prayer for us, Friends. It must be noted that contemplation is the walking stick for this journey, too. It is the only way we can move beyond ourselves. If we can be silent and alone, gazing toward God, our healing can begin. Silent and alone. Gazing toward God. Love, heidi

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Courage...

"Courage is more exhilarating than fear."
Eleanor Roosevelt, "The Roosevelts--An Intimate History"

I've watched this Ken Burns series a few times. I never tire of the fire of Teddy Roosevelt and I'm mesmerized by FDR and Eleanor.  Always, at the end of the seventh and final part, as they are describing Eleanor's last days, I get tears in my eyes.  Since I work with a population of people who lived during the terms of FDR, I often ask how they felt about him. Much more often than not, they loved him and credited him for helping their families. What's the spiritual message of this? Well, for me it is something that was said about Winston Churchill, in this documentary, by one of the historians interviewed. He said that it's amazing how just the right person comes into power at just the right time.  History, for me, is much easier to take than the present. Historical figures are easier to admire than the people slogging it out now. If we don't learn important lessons from history, we are doomed to repeat the mistakes. All I know for sure is, just after I've seen beloved family and friends in heaven, I'm going to search for Eleanor Roosevelt.  She'll be there, probably helping someone in some way; wanting to assure heaven is fabulous for everyone.  I'll thank her for saying this about courage...it's just what I need to hear! Love, heidi

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dinner with Jesus...

"While (Jesus) was at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples. The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, 'Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?'"
Matthew 9:10-11

Why indeed?  Pray-As-You-Go had a fabulous little imagery exercise to go with this passage today. Imagine yourself sitting at a table with Jesus and the people in your life with whom you struggle the most.  Lately, I feel that, rather than a small booth at Denny's, I would have to rent a banquet room to fit in all those with whom I struggle, but I'm just getting old and crabby.  Anyway, imagine how you feel sharing a table with Jesus and your "strugglees." What is the conversation like? What I can vividly picture is that I'm focusing all my attention on Jesus and ignoring the others.  I'm listening intently to Jesus, staring at Jesus, drinking in everything Jesus is saying. But, realistically, I'm ignoring Jesus at the same time, because I'm ignoring the others. The others ARE Jesus. And in tuning them out, I am missing the beautiful message of Jesus. I never really read this passage with that bubbling up before.  Good thing I have the weekend to pray with that!  Dearest Jesus, by ignoring others, I ignore you and that is the last thing I want to do! Please help me to see you in others, this day and every day!  Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

The devil you know...

"The demons pleaded with him, 'If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.'"
Matthew 8:31

This Gospel always conjures up the most disagreeable images for me...seems so wasteful, even if one doesn't fancy eating pork!  But, Pray-As-You-Go today offered up an interesting question which I'd like to pass on. Assuming we all have a little demoniac about us, what are our little demons we would like to send over the cliff?  What parts of ourselves would we like to exorcize and be rid of?  That's easy for me to nail down, but the harder part is letting go of them. It seems like I can get just to the edge of the cliff, the little demon is headed over the cliff and I'm holding onto its tail. Argh, that! Why can't I just give it that final shove over? Because there is something about that negative behavior or attitude that seems to serve me somehow. There is some reason I hang onto that unsavory element about myself.  Saying good-bye to the little demon means saying goodbye to something that I'm familiar with and has been a companion (although not a good one!) Remember that old saying "The devil you know is better than the devil you don't!" I guess I'm reluctant to actually let go of that old familiar devil and send him over the cliff once and for all.  Jesus and I will work on that!  Blessings on your 5th! Love, heidi

Friday, June 30, 2017

The last laugh...

"Abraham prostrated himself and laughed..."
Genesis 17:17

Well I guess that'll teach him...Abraham under-estimated the power and ability of God to completely change his life.  I think we know who got the last laugh in this story, right? So often things seem impossible to us. Because they are. But that doesn't mean God isn't working within human hearts to change things.  God provided many heirs to a couple well beyond the age of bearing heirs, and while it may not seem that God is working that dramatically in our day, God still is working dramatically.  Today, whenever we may feel tempted to laugh at the idea of God working in a difficult situation, let's instead be grateful. God is working, through people just like you and I. God is working to heal the world!  Blessings on your summer weekend!  Love, heidi

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Give us hope...

"If all you see is present reality, you do not see at all. If you are blind to the mystical dimension of the human scene, you might as well be physically blind for all the good it does you. We need and are nourished by the depths of faith..."
Fr. Matthew Kelty, Give Us This Day

I need to chew on this today.  Present reality seems daunting to me, frankly. I need to go deeper, to draw from a pool of faith deep within, to realize that God is working in the hearts of all of us; working for our good. I watched a documentary one time that showed events of history and how those events influenced what happened later. This event produced this result, eventually. It seemed at the time that the original event was tragic and horrible, but, threading back through history, it was apparent good things occurred. In most cases, no one could have predicted the good result from the bad situation, but there it was--right there in history.  It takes eyes of deep faith to believe that good is happening when things around us feel quite dismal.  But the mystical dimension, uncovered in silence and contemplation, can take us there, and give us hope.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Go to school!

"By their fruit you will know them."
Matthew 7:16

Certainly. Let's think about the fruit we are producing in our own lives. In my work, there are some days I feel fairly good about the fruit I'm producing, but other days...not so much.  One thing I've learned though, even the difficult days can yield fruit if we learn the lessons they have to teach us.  If we can learn from our mistakes and change our approach, tomorrow may give us a better batch of fruit. If we dig in our heels and become bitter, we lose the opportunity to improve our yield.  God uses even the hard and difficult times if we just keep our eyes open and are pliable to the lesson. Some of the most valuable lessons have been learned from my biggest mistakes. Isn't it just like our gracious God to use even our mistakes to help us yield sweeter fruit? So today, if we feel ineffective (and this last week of our agency's fiscal year, that can happen!) let's try to be open to the lessons we can learn from the more difficult situations. God is beckoning us to learn and grow during these times, let's wake up and go to school!  Love, heidi

Monday, June 26, 2017

Judge not!

"Can we free ourselves from the need to judge others? Yes...by claiming for ourselves the truth that we are the beloved daughters and sons of God."
Henri Nouwen, "Here and Now: Living in the Spirit," as quoted in Give Us This Day

Every time I read today's Gospel (Matthew 7:1-5) I resolve to stop judging as Jesus commands. So much easier resolved than done, I'm afraid. We humans are wired to judge. We spend our lives jockeying for position by comparing ourselves to others. It's in our every cell that makes us human. So how can Jesus expect us NOT to judge? The answer here is so beautiful via Henri Nouwen.  We can stop judging by understanding and appreciating who we really are.  We are not people who have to prove our worth to improve our standing with God. We are people who are already so loved by God and nothing we do can ever change that. None of our jockeying for position can change how God feels about us--not one little bit. In fact, our elbowing our way through others to look better is what Jesus is cautioning us against. So, today, as we go about our summer Monday, any time a judgmental thought crosses our minds, let's shake it out with the grateful knowledge that God loves us and God loves the other person we are mistakenly judging. We can love others, because God has first loved us.  Love, heidi

Friday, June 23, 2017

'Tis a gift to be simple!

"At that time Jesus exclaimed, 'I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the little ones.'"
Matthew 11:25

On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, they ask, What could the message be that God has revealed to the child-like and not the learned? I thought about it and came up with Simplicity. Think about little kids, especially on these warm summer days. They play and play all day, sleeping when they're tired, eating just for sustenance, they're (for the most part) joyful, busy, and simple. Their lives are purposeful--to learn and grow, but also to have fun. They are only really aware of the fun part, though! The simple life is so attractive to me and it has been my mission for several years now to simplify everything from the amount of stuff that I have, to what I choose to do with my time and resources. Even though I know I'm still learning and on the journey, it just feels so right and more the life Jesus invites us all to live. So, if you get a chance this summer Friday, watch some kids playing. Think about how purposeful, yet simple, their lives are and wonder what that could look like in our grown-up, yet complicated lives. Are there changes we can make to live life more simply? Blessings on this first weekend of summer!  Love, heidi

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happiness is...

"Doing anything and everything solely for God is certainly the most purifying plan for happiness I can imagine."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 6/22

Oh wow, this feels huge to me this morning. Huge!  I used to think my responsibility to God was to say my daily prayers and go to mass on Sunday. That was it, unless I became a nun, in which case I'd be giving my life to God. There was such a distinction between the two different lives. But now I see that there isn't such a manifest difference. We can still give our lives to God and live our lives for God no matter what our vocation may be. Many of you know that I considered the religious life, though briefly; it was the fork in the road I pondered but did not choose. Instead, I followed the deepest desire of my heart and chose marriage and family and for that, I'm eternally grateful! But I'm also grateful that either way, I can live my life for God. If doing everything, even the mundane tasks of my little life, are done for the glory of God, that can make me very happy. Very happy indeed. My relationship with God has gone from checking in each day and visiting on Sunday, to every breath I take being with God, taking in God, enveloped by God. So as we celebrate this early summer day, in all its glory, let's think about everything we do being for the glory of God and with the deep love of God.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The enemy within...

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you..."
Matthew 5:43-44

I usually begin my pondering of this reading by wondering just who my enemies are, exactly. I try to get along with others, though am certainly not perfect at it. But, when I think of loving my enemies, I sort of want names and lists of those I am to love. In reality, my so-called enemies may be more within.  Maybe I need to get on speaking terms with my own faults and foibles. Maybe I need to recognize the enemy within and know it better. By knowing and "loving" the enemy within, I can work with it more effectively. Pray-As-You-Go suggested that we may be our own worst enemy and that surely could be true. Instead of denying or repressing our enemies within, what if we sit down and metaphorically hash things out together.  Let's face it, we are going to struggle with being perfect as our God is perfect (v. 48). That just may not happen this side of Glory and we may need to come to grips with that fact. But, if we learn to love the enemy within we can tame that adversary and be able to focus ourselves and our energy outward, toward others.  Love, heidi

Monday, June 19, 2017

Live generously...

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, offer no resistance to one who is evil. When someone strikes you on your right cheek, turn the other one to him.'"
Matthew 5:38-39

This is one of many verses that point out to us how much easier it is to simply believe in Jesus than it is to actually follow Jesus.  How are we supposed to turn the other cheek? It's downright un-American! If we just believe in Jesus we can rationalize this scripture away and think, "Well, Jesus didn't mean THAT certainly! Jesus wouldn't want us sitting there while someone else pummels us!" But if we look at what Jesus actually did when faced with being pummeled himself, I think we can see what he really meant. This is so hard as to seem impossible, isn't it? Jesus understands that, too.  On Pray-As-You-Go the prayer they gave at the end of this reading was, "Ask God for the strength to grow in generosity toward others." And that is the key right there. Only God can help us follow Jesus in the loving, non-violent way that Jesus lived and wants us to live too.  Only God can help us to live generously with others.  Love, heidi

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Be the good...

"Once we can accept that God is in all situations, and that God can and will use even bad situations for good, then everything and everywhere becomes an occasion for good and an encounter with God."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, 6/15/17

It's especially important to revisit this when things seem to be heading down the wrong path. We (well, I'll say "I" here) can really get spun out and sad when I see goings-on in the world. Things just seem so wrong. But then I can go here with Fr. Rohr and recognize that God can and does use the bad even for good. God can do that and our job is to trust that it happens.  Our job is also to BE the good we want to see around us--to roll up our sleeves and help, not just sit on the outside and throw rocks (another powerful image that Fr. Rohr uses).  We may never actually see the good that God brings from the bad situations we are fretting about now, but we can trust that the good is there. And we are a necessary part of bringing about that good.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Love is the Spirit

"...a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter brings death, but the Spirit gives life."
2 Corinthians 3:3

One time when I had a minor fender bender, I tried to convince the policeman that I was obeying the Spirit of the Law, if not the letter. I thought I'd used my turn signal! I knew I should, but wasn't quite sure I actually had. The policeman was kind, but looked up from his ticket book like I was seriously daft. "Well, Ma'am," he said, "I'm concerned with the letter of the law here. And you broke it." Yea, well.  The Spirit puts the love into our obedience to the letter of the law. Someone can go along and obey all the commandments and say they obey the letter of the law. But while Jesus walked the earth he showed us the compassion and love that the Spirit uses to fuel the law. Going around NOT killing people is simply not enough. We must love them. The Spirit calls us to love, which seems to be much harder than just towing the line. Let's think today, of the Spirit infusing our adherence to the law with love. Love, heidi

Monday, June 12, 2017

Give as you have been given...

"Blessed be the God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all encouragement, who encourages us in our every affliction, so that we may be able to encourage those who are in any affliction with the encouragement with which we ourselves are encouraged by God."
2 Corinthians 1:3-4

Whoa, that's a mouthful of encouragement there! But, if we break it down, it means that God encourages us in difficult times and thus, we can go out and encourage others. It's chain of encouragement; those who receive turn around and give. And that's a beautiful thing, isn't it? Pray-As-You-Go offered a good question for pondering, "What's it like when a friend consoles (encourages) you?" Having just experienced that, I could relate immediately.  It feels wonderful! I felt very loved and supported. So having just gone through that, I'm called to encourage others who may be going through something difficult. God encourages us, we encourage others. St. Paul makes it a mouthful, but in reality, it's quite simple. Let's go out there and share what we've been given, Friends! On a Monday!  Love, heidi

Friday, June 9, 2017

Time to head Home...

"Anna sat watching the road by which her son was to come."
Tobit 11:5

We parents do a good deal of "watching the road" by which our kids come home, don't we? Listening for their call, watching the driveway, listening for the car door to shut.  We spend a good deal of time waiting for the kids.  Is that how God waits for us? I think so. The father in the Prodigal Son story sees his son coming from a far-off distance, because he is out there, watching the road.  And he runs to greet his son the minute he recognizes that familiar figure.  Our God is just as happy and eager to welcome us coming up the metaphoric road towards Home, too.  Today, as we wind up another week, let's head towards Home.  Let's try to spend a bit of time sitting in silence with God, not necessarily saying anything, but just a bit of time in quiet, listening. When we make special time to just be with God, God sees us coming up the road, heading Home.  And God hurries to meet us.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Let God be God...

"Blessed are you, O Lord, merciful God, and blessed is your holy and honorable name. Blessed are you in all your works forever!"
Tobit 3:11

Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn't pray more generally, like this beautiful prayer from Sarah in the book of Tobit. We can get fairly specific in our prayers, praying for this to happen, then that;  for things to work out this way or that. I wonder if we are so wrapped up in telling God what needs to happen that we aren't leaving ourselves open to a better way. This prayer of Sarah, who was suffering terribly when she prayed it, just heaves a sigh of release of the pain and lets God be God. She gets a little more specific later on in her prayer but this first part, where she praises God in the storm, is truly beautiful. I wonder if that wouldn't be a nice way to pray...just inviting God to bring about what God thinks may be best.  Today, despite knowing how we would like things to turn out when we pray, let's let God know we'd be open to whatever.  We may be awed to discover the gifts down the road once we let God be God.  Just as Sarah did when her suffering turned to joy as God answered her prayer. Love, heidi

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Like St. Francis...

"So Jesus said to them, 'Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.' They were utterly amazed at him."
Mark 12:17

I think Jesus showed a lot of common sense in his response. But perhaps then, as now, common sense isn't at all common. We may need the same type of practical common sense to get along in our crazy world in our day, too. We need to function within the world's laws and boundaries, don't we? One thing that has struck me about St. Francis in reading Fr. Richard Rohr's meditations about him is that Francis operated just at the edge of inside his culture.  He didn't break laws or sit on the outside and "throw rocks" at those in the center. His lifestyle was counter-cultural but not so much that they could remove him from the culture. Therefore, he could still influence it--for good.   Fr. Rohr shared that one of the Core Principles of the Center for Action and Contemplation is this: "The best criticism of the bad is practice of the better." If we are dissatisfied with the way things are, we can do them better in our own lives. Like St. Francis, we can live mindfully, contemplatively, lovingly with our fellow humans and all other creatures. We can care for our earthly home to the best of our ability and, in our quietly "doing it better" we can influence others, also like St. Francis.  So today, let's pay our taxes (if we haven't already!) but also live as gently and carefully within the world as we possibly can, loving all others. Love, heidi

Monday, June 5, 2017

Fear of the Lord...

"Blessed the man who fears the Lord, who greatly delights in his commands..."
Psalm 112:1

Just yesterday, on my relatively-silent-Sunday, I finished the remarkable book, "By Way of Grace" by Paula Huston.  In the chapter on the virtue Hope, she describes the life of St. Therese of Lisieux and the Old Testament referring to the "fear of the Lord." I tended to think of fear of the Lord as awe of the Lord, not quivering in a corner, afraid of God's wrath. Well, Ms. Huston describes the fear of the Lord as a fear of separation from God--on our end. We certainly have the choice to choose God, and, if so, we have the choice to turn away from God, too. What if situations in our lives get so dicey that we just cannot imagine God involved anymore? St. Therese was suffering terribly from tuberculosis and along with the physical suffering, she was going through a crisis of faith as well. She writes of her "nothingness" and how she wants to believe, but she "feels no joy" in singing of heaven. After such a life of faithfulness and longing for God, she felt little of that as she lay dying. She even advised her caregivers not to leave anything near her that she could use to kill herself. The "fear of the Lord" was a great and real fear, that when the going got tough, Therese could turn away from God, whom she loved with all her heart.  And we can go there, too, Friends.  If things seem so dismal that we wonder, where is God? So, today, this breezy June Monday, let's pray that we may have fear of the Lord, not as one who fears retribution or punishment, but that we may be people who continually choose God. God always chooses us, but that we will always have the desire to choose God back! Love, heidi

Friday, June 2, 2017

God's indwelling...

"For St. Francis, nature itself was a mirror for the soul, for self, and for God."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, June 2, 2017

One thing that is so clear to me on retreat, is the indwelling presence of God in all around me.  Every creature (yes, even the snake!) spoke of God to me, from the deer to the teeny, tiny little gnat that landed on the page of my book.  God is present in the big and the little, the gorgeous to observe and the scary. And I certainly didn't leave God at the hermitage. Just as I sit and type this I hear the birds outside and the wind is rustling the lilac bushes in my backyard.  That is the presence of God to me.  Fr. Richard Rohr refers to creation as the "First Bible," and I totally see how and why.  Nature shows us the indwelling of the spirit of God in each living thing. Let's keep our eyes and ears open this June weekend and recognize God in every living thing...including our neighbor! Love, heidi

Thursday, June 1, 2017

A much needed Re-boot

"I set the Lord ever before me;
With him at my right hand I shall never be disturbed.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices, my body, too,
abides in confidence."
Psalm 16:8-9

"Disturbed" is a nice way of putting it.  I have been "disturbed" for six months and it's put me in a real funk. I haven't been myself; usually quite optimistic and cheerful., I found myself feeling dour and hopeless.  I needed a reboot and the hermitage was just the place!  I saw a brand new fawn on its birthday.  I watched an iris flower show me the Pascal Mystery on one stem...life, death and resurrection.  I saw wary little bunnies, who weren't quite sure of me, but weren't terrified either.  And, perhaps the greatest lesson of all, I was scared to death by a bull snake, who wanted to teach me to let go of fear and embrace what is. Creation around the hermitage is lesson enough, but I also read two wonderful books: "Forgiveness--Following Jesus into Radical Love," by Paula Huston, and another also by Paula, "By Way of Grace--Moving From Faithfulness to Holiness." I love how generous Paula Huston is, sharing her own foibles and how she learns and grows through them.  I was telling son Blaine that going on retreat at the hermitage is much like going to The Shack...the company is fabulous, although I did have to do my own cooking!  If you would like more information on Marymount Hermitage, click the link...Love, heidi
Marymount Hermitage

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Little While

"So they said, 'What is this 'little while' of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.'"
John 16:18

On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, they reflected on this reading (which I notice we didn't have as our Gospel here in the US). But, they pointed out the redundancy of the phrase "a little while." Have you ever had to wait for something? Or wait through a difficult passage of time? Oh man, I feel like all I'm doing is waiting for the Next Thing. But that is so silly, really. I need to live Now and let the Next Thing happen when it happens.  Maybe it will be in a "little while" or maybe it won't happen at all, but whatever happens, I'm losing the Present Joy now by just living in the wait.  In the spirit of Providential timing, I'm headed out on retreat at Marymount for the next several days, Friends, so will give this a good ponder on the porch there. Please, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend safely. Enjoy the Now that is this time in our lives. Enjoy the gift of whatever you do.  Peace out! Love, heidi

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Groping for God...

"...so that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for him and find him, though he is not far away from any one of us,"
Acts 17:27

Yesterday was a "groping for God" day for me. There was a tragic, deadly car accident in town, world and national situations pressed in on my heart, one of the school districts I work with heard a rumor I was leaving and asked about my replacement (I'm not leaving!) Things just piled up like cordwood through the day. I groped for God.  We do, don't we? We wonder what God is up to, where God is in these sad or irritating situations. There is so much suffering...we grope for God. God reached out to me through reassuring conversations with loved ones, the beautiful smell of lilacs, and finally the joy of dancing at a Zumba class.  All of it spoke God's comfort to me. God wasn't far away at all. God is right here, right now, working for our good in situations that may feel overwhelming. We grope and God grasps our hand in the dark (see Isaiah 42:6). Gracious God, help us to feel your touch! Love, heidi

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

God in the mess...

"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth..."
Psalm 138:1

It never ceases to amaze me to see God working vividly in our lives.  We may not see it at the time as clearly, but, eventually, we look back and wonder, Wow, how did all that work out? How indeed. God continually works in our lives for good. God continually works for growth to come from difficult situations. God is continually in the midst of our messes, building us up from the inside, giving us exactly what we need right then. Maybe what we need are people to talk to. Maybe what we need is quiet time to think. Maybe what we need is the ability to surrender and let go of the heavy burden we are lugging around needlessly. So, today, as we pray with all the world, for all that troubles us, let's thank God, too. For even as we pray with our struggles, God is working through those very struggles to give us comfort and grow us from the inside.  Love, heidi

Monday, May 22, 2017

Jesus comes to us...

"I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you."
John 14:18

It was one of the Jesus movies out not too long ago, which gave me a vivid picture of what this scripture says. The scene is after Jesus' death and resurrection and one of the disciples was alone in a house. Jesus appeared in the doorway. It had such an impact on me, for some reason, to the point where I can still picture Jesus in the doorway. The movie is one thing, but personally, I've experienced such vivid encounters that it's very personal when Jesus says, "I will come to you." It's not even that I need to go to Jesus, but that Jesus will come to me. Can and has. Early yesterday morning, I threw on some sweats and had my coffee outside. The neighborhood was quiet, with only birdsong breaking the silence. The sky was a vibrant blue and the sun already warm. All I could pray was "Good morning, Darling God..." We don't have to go to Jesus...Jesus comes to us! Love, heidi

Friday, May 19, 2017

Love to share

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'This is my commandment: love one another as I love you.'"
John 15:12

Pray-As-You-Go this morning offered a good question, How have you experienced God's love in your life?  Good one, right? I sat and thought about it and the one answer that jumped out at me is People. I have experienced God's love through People. What people? Well, certainly the people who have loved me throughout my life; I have experienced God's love through them. But, also, I experience the love of God through other People. People I may not even know, really. People across the world or the country who challenge me to love better--with the love of Jesus. The poor, the marginalized, those on death row, those who have lost their way in the world, those who struggle, those I too-often judge harshly, the addicted, refugees, those who I can never imagine how difficult their lives are because mine is so cushy in comparison. The love of God challenges and compels me to love more deeply, more convincingly, more genuinely. And not just the people who love me back. Loving Jesus, you shower me with love, but not to cling to and hoard just for myself. You know that your love can only come to life and bear fruit when I share it with others. And that's harder for me to do! Please help me to love better...to love like you. Love, heidi

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Abide, Stay, Remain...in love

"Abide in my love..."
John 15:9

Today is a good time to ponder and pray what that means, exactly. I think it means to be in love, to stay in love, to let love influence all we do in a day. We consider each person we encounter is a child of God. We see our work as God's work, done with our human hands. No matter what we do, if we do it with love, we do it abiding in God. This may sound simple, but we cannot do God all by ourselves. We can only love with God's loving us first.  God is love and abiding in God means abiding in love.  Today, as we go about our mid-ish May Thursday, let's think about God's love extending out to our world through us! Love, heidi
If you'd like a little more on this, click here for my last Gospel Reflection on Catholic Moms for this year:
Gospel Reflection

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Prune away fear...

"...everyone that does (bear fruit) he prunes so that it bears more fruit."
John 15:2

About the only plant I can reliably grow is a philodendron. They must thrive on neglect because I can grow them living up to the name "Gainan." (visit http://www.gainans.com/) The window sill in my office has a row of philodendron plants and they seem to grow overnight, winding all around each other and filling up the whole space, taking it over, like in a B movie. During a particularly profound pruning phase, I trimmed them all back and they burst forth from their centers, creating even bigger plants than before. Ah! The lesson of pruning on my very window sill! Sometimes, we need to cut back in order to grow forth. Sometimes, we need to let go before we can truly strengthen. Sometimes, there is more of us if there is actually less of us.  Less is more. Yada, yada. Let's think and pray a bit about what this can look like in our lives, this Windy Wednesday. I find this lesson building on the one from yesterday, about realizing what I can and cannot change; letting go of what I cannot change to concentrate on what I can. I need to allow God to prune away from me the anxiety and fear of what I cannot influence to allow me to burst forth with what I can. Love, heidi

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

What can I do?

"In the second half of life, one has less and less need or interest in eliminating the negative or fearful, making rash judgments, holding on to old hurts or feeling any need to punish other people...You learn to ignore and withdraw your energy from evil or stupid things rather than fight them directly."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "A Spring Within Us"

When I read this last night, just after reading a troubling news article, it hit me.  I'm not called to fight THAT big fight. I'm called to operate within my own circle of influence and do what I can to help people in my own life. The world is just not mine to fix. I have a mission but it is much smaller than the whole world, and that should comfort and reassure me.  I am still called to pray for the world, surely. But as far as what I can do, I am to just serve God's people in my job, my neighborhood, family and the strangers I meet each day.  I am called to care for God's creation, by simplifying and recycling all I can. I am called to love those who are easy to love and also those who seem hard. All of that should keep me busy for all my days! If I can withdraw my energy from all I cannot change, I can channel it to what I can.  Love, heidi

Friday, May 12, 2017

Do not let your hearts...

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'Do not let your hearts be troubled...'"
John 14:1

I should start every day with this quote...seriously! There are so many things that trouble us, aren't there? All the way from a weird ailment my dog has struggled with recently to the pain and suffering of human beings, to much larger fears nation and world-wide. It can all seriously beat us into despair. And then we are reassured by our Jesus, who has walked and traveled our very earth with many of the same or similar troubles. The way of Jesus' cross is very much our way of our individual troubles, too. We fall, we struggle to get up, we fall again, others step in to help us, we mourn what we see in each others' eyes. Jesus shows us how to traverse it all with dignity and with our heads high, because God has us through it all. Today, as we go about our May Friday, let's pray for those who feel the weight of their crosses. Can we step in and help carry? Can we pray for those who may be far away and struggling? Can we celebrate the fact that God holds and cherishes us, through it all? Do not let our hearts be troubled this day...but let's trust that God's got us and holds us securely. Love, heidi

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Set apart...for the work

"While they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them...'"
Acts 13:2

So, if we received our vocations that obviously, we would think about our hum drum days a little differently, wouldn't we? How often do we trudge off to work thinking we have been called as vividly as Barnabas and Saul? Especially if our jobs seem quite secular! But, I learned a very rich lesson while on a retreat years ago, and that is that any work that is done with love and for the glory of God is a spiritual vocation.  If we do what we do honestly, with concern for the other guy, to help and to serve the people of God, God honors that.  Some professions are a bit easier to see as an extension of God's work, but whatever we do in our day to help someone else and to serve God, we are being "set apart," even as the Holy Spirit called Barnabas and Saul. Today, as we leave our homes to get our there and do what we do, let's think of ourselves as being especially called forth, this May Wednesday, to do something special for God and God's people. It may seem small to us, but to God, it's big...and needs doing!  Love, heidi

Monday, May 8, 2017

Just and merciful judge...

"If then God gave them the same gift he gave to us when we came to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to be able to hinder God?"
Acts 11:17

Who indeed? Who are we to hinder God by thinking we have all the answers about who is "in" and who is "out?" Or who God approves of and who God doesn't approve of? Certainly we can appreciate that God loves everyone, right? I find myself looking to Jesus, who went far out of his way to reach out to the folks on the fringes of his culture...those who would not be welcomed in the temple, those who people weren't supposed to touch. Those are the very people Jesus gathered and with whom he mingled. So, who are we to make those hefty decisions about who God includes? God's love is so much more inclusive and bigger than anything we can imagine, really.  We should relax and rest assured that we will never have to judge the people of the world--that will never be our job. Let's just trust that God is the only just judge of anyone, and merciful as well. Love, heidi

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Let nothing disturb you!

"Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing distress you,
While all things fade away,
God is unchanging.

Be patient for with God in your heart
nothing is lacking,
God is enough."
Margaret Rizza, Prayer of St. Teresa, from "Chants for Prayer"

Well, that seems completely enough to say on a beautifully dawning spring Thursday! If you would like to pray with this beautiful chant, here is the video...sorry if there is an ad:
Prayer of St. Teresa

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ask. Then trust...

"If you ask anything of me in my name, I will do it."
John 14:14

This is reassuring and wonderful...but, how do we know it's happening? I mean, we pray for something and it turns out differently than we think it should. Does that mean the prayer didn't "work?" Did Jesus not come through? I think this scripture urges us to trust that Jesus is doing his part, whether the outcome is what we prayed for or not. God can work much good through the messes we create and we need to trust that. We also need to pay attention and try to learn from our mistakes, that's a fact too. But the outcome we receive has Jesus written all over it, regardless of our judgment of it. So, Jesus encourages us to ask in his name and then we need to trust the outcome. It may not look like what we asked for...praise God, it may be much better!  That is a ponderous thought for a dawning Wednesday, but let's ponder it!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Drop the stones!

"But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him (Stephen) together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him."
Acts 7:57-58

The mob who stones Stephen, because of his hard-to-hear yet truthful words, covered their ears to avoid hearing his testimony. Did they know, on some level, that they were wrong about him, but just couldn't admit it? He wasn't violent toward them, but yet, they murdered him. They may have thought they were acting justly in their killing of him, that it was the right thing to do. How often, throughout history, have people killed others thinking they were doing the right thing? Will we ever really learn Jesus' way of forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration? Sadly, there has been a mad dash to kill inmates on death row before the killing drugs are no longer available. People are killing each other in the streets all the while we may think of this martyrdom of Stephen so far away from our own culture. It is not. We are murdering Stephens everyday. It's been two thousand years since Jesus taught us about life and love. What have we learned? Today, as we pray and ponder with the first martyr, Stephen, let's ask ourselves how we are still killing others, with our words, our dualistic, self righteous attitudes, and our indifference to suffering of others. Let those stones fall from our hands!  Love, heidi

Monday, May 1, 2017

Do we have what we seek?

"When the crowd saw that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they themselves got into boats and came to Capernaum looking for Jesus."
John 6:24

Pray-as-You-Go had a wonderful little reflection on this today which really gave me pause. Why are we looking for Jesus? Presumably we are, since we are spending time reading the Gospel, listening to PAYG or even reading this daily Heidi-gram. Why ARE we looking for Jesus this May Day? And, once we find Jesus, what would we say to him? I remember having such a powerful encounter with Jesus many years ago and the first thing I could think of to say was "Please stay with me!" I didn't want the moment to end; I wanted to feel that Presence all the time.  I still feel that way now, many years later. Saturday night, we had a wonderful homily, sharing about the Road to Emmaus when the two disciples did not recognize Jesus as he walked along with them.  We learned that Jesus is always walking along with us, but we just don't always recognize him. How can we see him? We can rely on Jesus being present in the face of the poor, in the compassion of others and, certainly, in the Eucharist--in the breaking of the bread. We just need to keep our eyes open!  So, today, let's spend some time pondering...why are we looking for Jesus? Do we already have what it is we seek? Do we just need to open our eyes and recognize it? Blessings on your May Day! Love, heidi

Friday, April 28, 2017

Wait and enjoy!

"I tell you, have nothing to do with these men, and let them go..."
Acts 5:38

I always love this reading where the wise Pharisee, Gamaliel, advises the other Pharisees to let the disciples go. If their movement is of human origin it will dissolve naturally, if it is of God, there is no way they can stop it.  Sr. Melannie Svoboda, in her reflection in Living Faith, calls it the "Wait and see" approach and it applies to our lives too.  We all have things we are "waiting to see" in our lives, don't we? Sometimes, I feel like I'm always in "Wait and see" mode! But I would like to add a word to the "Wait and see" approach. I would like to add "Wait, enjoy, and see."  As we are waiting, we need to appreciate the Now, the liminal space, the time of waiting.  There is so much here in the "waiting room" to teach us and for us to enjoy. Today, as we get ready to weekend, let's see, appreciate and enjoy exactly where we are right now.  Let's settle in and enjoy this day. It has much to teach us and much for us to soak up, wring out, and relish.  Love, heidi

Thursday, April 27, 2017

A law for all of creation

"But Peter and the Apostles said in reply, 'We must obey God rather than men...'"
Acts 5:29

I sit here, this morning, musing about how God's law is actually different than the law of men.  I came up with a few differences, but I'm sure there are more. God's law is definitely kinder and more forgiving than the that of men. Our justice system is far more punitive than it is restorative and God's law is all about restoring relationship. God's law is much more life-giving and life-sustaining, too, asking that we give to the poor and not kill each other.  God's law invites us to live simply and share what we have with others. Man's law tends to drive us toward accumulation and storing all extra into barns for ourselves...someday. On this day, when we're reminded that we are here to obey God, what can we do to follow and promote God's law, even as it may be contrary to our own culture? We can trust that God's law is for the ultimate good of all creation, from a loving, compassionate, and merciful God. Love, heidi

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lead me, Lord!

"Jesus said to all, 'Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.'"
Luke 9:23

The folks on Pray-As-You-Go had a different Gospel this morning and it spoke to me quite loudly. All the time I spend pondering the future seems to be so wasteful, really. I made the decision, years ago, to follow Jesus wherever I am led, but I also feel like a fish on the end of a line, battling it out for my own agenda.  When I was just a kid of eighteen, I offered my life to God--to do whatever God led me to do, which, as it happens, led to a fabulous ride! So why do I feel I need to over-think it all now? Good question! Yesterday, as I drove back from Montana listening to a book on the life of St. Francis, I was awed by the way Francis made his decisions based on God's will for him. Whatever God wanted of him, that was his choice. I hope to do the same, but it sure seems hard to get beyond my own little plans. Loving and giving God, you led me into the work I do and I have enjoyed it all these many years. Please give me the faith I need to trust You to lead me out of it, when You think the time is right.  Love, heidi

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Touch me and see...

"Look at my hands and feet, that is I myself. Touch me and see..."
Luke 24:39

Jesus appears to the Eleven in this passage and sees their shock and fear. He offers them proof that, yes, it is him and no, he is not a ghost. He offers them physical, indisputable proof. Do we have such proof in our lives that Jesus is with us? Pray-as-you-Go offered that ponderous question this morning. What is our evidence that Jesus is alive and in the world today? There are so many, but, if I really am honest, it's a calm stillness I can find, deep within, whenever I let myself go there. I think I first learned it while learning Centering Prayer many years ago. I can just go still, for lack of a better description. It's hard to explain, but whenever I start to pray, begin a walk, settle into church (well before it starts) or set out in the car, I can just turn to heart center. A calm comes over me and I feel a tangible Presence in there.  I can also find indisputable evidence of the Presence by seeing the little critters at the Hermitage, or even a plump robin on my walk with the dog. I can see the Presence of God in people helping each other, caring about each other. Whether it's a peace deep inside, or in creation or in the love and compassion of my fellow travelers on this journey, Jesus is alive and well for me.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

We had hoped...

"We had hoped..."
Luke 24:21

In "Jesus: A Pilgrimage," Fr. James Martin says this could be one of the saddest sentences in the New Testament. Said as two disciples of Jesus recount the activities surrounding Jesus' crucifixion and death to a mysterious stranger who walks with them on the road to Emmaus. It is a sentence that we have often probably had on our lips as we go through the ups and downs of our lives. We had hoped _______. You can fill in the blank with anything that you had hoped would turn out differently; a relationship, a job, a move, an election. The disciples are described as "looking sad" at the beginning of their encounter with Jesus, but by the end of the passage, having walked, talked and broken bread with Jesus, their hearts were burning (v. 32). They finally recognized him in the breaking of the bread.  We, too, can encounter Jesus, especially through the "we had hoped" times of our lives.  Through the times of loss, trial, and sadness that seem to entomb us in sorrow, we can encounter the risen Lord.  We can experience Jesus, through our prayer, through meeting and helping others, or maybe through silence and awareness of creation. Our encounters can lift us back on the road. Today, let's pray for all who are going through "we had hoped..." times of life. They may need to encounter Jesus and that could possibly happen through us.  Love, heidi

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Cut to the heart...

"Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and they asked Peter, 'What are we to do, my Brothers?'"
Acts 2:37

"Cut to the heart." Isn't that descriptive? True enough there are times I've felt cut to the heart. Yesterday, in fact.  I was in a hurry to get out of town to see a client (that's my excuse, anyway) and a guy in an adjoining parking lot to our office building flagged me down. His van needed a jump. I mumbled something about being late for an appointment, my apologies, etc. As I turned out of the parking lot, it hit me. I spun back around and went back to the where the guy had been, but didn't see him. Soon he came back with another guy who was available to help him. A guy who'd actually recognized Jesus, and didn't think he was the gardener (today's Gospel, John 20:11-18).  As I drove off I asked forgiveness a hundred times. I missed it. I didn't recognize Jesus and help when I was asked. I felt cut to the heart. Jesus gently reassured me, "Next time, you'll know. You'll recognize me."  Love, heidi

Friday, April 14, 2017

Die to yourself, before you die yourself...

"And, bowing his head, he handed over the spirit."
John 19:30

I was struck this morning, while reading this, how Jesus willfully handed over his life.  No one took his life from him. No one wrestled his life away from Jesus...he gave it up as a conscious act of surrender. In the little bit I've studied and learned about the act of dying, it is certainly a letting go. People may fight it to the end, but it is, ultimately, a surrender.  It can be much easier if we are able to surrender a bit sooner, in that we recognize our lives belong to God and we are returning to God and we needn't cling to the things of this earth. Some people have such a hard time letting go of things...
Today, as we walk up the difficult road to Calvary with our Jesus, let's think about ways we can surrender to God prior to that last bit of letting go at our own death. Can we adopt an attitude of unimportance of material things of the world? Can we embrace others as our companions on the journey and realize that helping them is part of our true purpose for being on this planet? Can we get to a point where it's not about us after all?  Blessings on your weekend that promises New Life! Love, heidi

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Holy and Whole

"Peter said to him, 'You will never wash my feet.'"
John 13:8

Peter just couldn't handle looking down and seeing Jesus washing his feet. It was just too much for him. I can hardly blame him.  The couple of times I have had my feet washed during this beautiful ritual, on Holy Thursday, have pushed me way out of my comfort zone. Where do you look? Do you say anything? What if I start crying? Hold it together, try to just hold it together.  Let's put ourselves in Peter's sandals. We have traveled this three year journey with this guy who we really think is going to be the King of Israel. Like a King-in-power-type King. But sometimes he says and does the oddest things.  He says he has to die and be raised again on the third day. He gets down on his hands and knees to wash our feet like a common servant.  We just don't understand it. It's too hard for us to understand. So Peter just draws the line. "You will never wash my feet!" Aren't we all just like Peter? Tonight marks the end of Lent and the beginning of the most stunningly holy time of the whole year. Holy and whole. Life, death and resurrection.  Let's not miss a bit of it! Love, heidi

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spy Wednesday

"One of the Twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, 'What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?'"
Matthew 26:14

I sincerely hope that one of the first people I meet in heaven is Judas Iscariot. Because Jesus is forgiving like that. I like to think Judas was the first redeemed by Jesus; a friend for many years who took a wrong path, but was redeemed through Jesus' unfailing love. Jesus modeled this redemption with Peter, who also failed him that fateful night. I imagine that, during the time both Jesus and Judas were dead, Judas after hanging himself and Jesus after his death on the cross, that it went down something like this:
Jesus: "Judas, did you love me when we were both alive and together?"
Judas: "Jesus, I did and I still do. I don't know what went wrong, but I'm so sorry. Please forgive me."
And then, they were together again, brothers in Paradise. Because Jesus is like that.  We hope in that. We relish that. There are no enemies in these events, only human beings acting like human beings.  We all make mistakes and all we need do is ask Jesus for forgiveness.  Let's think about that this "Spy Wednesday." Love, heidi

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

At the edge of our seats...

"You will look for me, and as I told the Jews, 'You cannot come,' so now I say it to you."
 John 13:33

Imagine how befuddled the disciples must have felt hearing this from Jesus as they shared their last meal together!  Here they had walked away from their own lives to follow him, stuck with him for three years and now he was saying he was moving on and they can't come? They must have felt flummoxed. Maybe rejected. Certainly confused. Was all of this going to just end? Was all they had worked for and sacrificed for just going to dwindle away as Jesus headed off on his own? "But the crowds were so excited to see you when we got to town!" Our Gospel starts out today saying, "Reclining at table with his disciples, Jesus was deeply troubled..." (v. 21) So, no one was actually comfortable at this gathering, beginning with Jesus.  This was looking like a dark cloud coming quickly.  Think of all the emotions experienced by everyone at the table...fear, excitement, angst, anticipation, uncertainty, confusion, wonder, bewilderment, all circling back to fear.  What was going to happen? We imagine these same emotions with the disciples and Jesus as we sit at the table, at the edge of our seats.  Love, heidi

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Journey to Calvary...

"Jesus, then, gentle-hearted as a grandmother, as dignified as a king, could ride serenely up to his death because he knew he was returning to his source."
Fr. Ed Hays, "The Lenten Labyrinth"

Fr. Ed Hays offers some pondering questions in the Palm Sunday entry in the Labyrinth.  Jesus rode into Jerusalem, knowing that the end of his journey was near. And yet, he was serene, allowing the people to laud him as king.  What about us, Fr. Ed asks. Are we OK with our own death--the hows and whens of it?  Definitely some rich food-for-thought on a Relatively Silent Sunday. I had to admit, now that my Will is complete, I'm much more at ease about dying! It isn't the actual death that scares me as much as the passage toward death-the walk to my own, personal Calvary. The physical/mental diminishment, the dependency on others, the lack of capacity myself scares the dickens out of me. I'm so independent and self-contained that the idea of depending on others scares me much more than the thought of taking that last breath. I'd choose to die peacefully in my sleep--causing minimal fuss and trouble for anyone. But that may not be the cross I am dealt.  Jesus asks me to accompany him to Calvary with whatever cross I am meant to carry--that is part of what being a follower of Jesus looks like. I can journey with Jesus this difficult week to his Calvary and I can rest assured that Jesus will walk with me to my Calvary, whenever and however that comes to pass.  This Holy Week, let's be especially aware of journeying with Jesus as he shows us how it's done.  Love, heidi

Friday, April 7, 2017

Ponder-worthy...

"We are not stoning you for a good work but for blasphemy. You, a man, are making yourself God."
John 10:33

This reminds me of one of my favorite stories about St. Edith Stein.  Remember her? She was the Jewish woman who was a philosophy scholar in Germany, pre-WWII.  As a result of her studies (of St. Teresa of Avila) and the influence of Catholic friends, she became a Catholic and later a Carmelite nun. She was killed at Auschwitz in 1942, at age 50.  My favorite story is when she finally told her Jewish mother that she was joining the Carmelite order. She had just been living with the sisters while teaching at their school. She told her mother that she was actually going to join the order and be a Carmelite nun. Her mother was quoted saying, "Why did you have to get to know him (Jesus)? He was a good man--I'm not saying anything against him. But why did he go and make himself God?" ("Edith Stein--A Biography," by Waltraud Herbstrith). Isn't that fascinating? We have  two thousand years of history and the deep faith to know that Jesus is God. The people of his time and even Jewish people throughout history see it so differently.  So ponder-worthy, this last weekend before Holy Week. And as we ponder and pray, let us remember that the Jewish people are, and always have been, so richly and completely loved by God. They are our brothers and sisters under our father Abraham. Love, heidi

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Praiseworthy!

"Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever..."
Daniel 3:52

Pray-as-You-Go had a lovely little exercise surrounding this today...inviting us to think about what we would praise God for on this day.  That's easy for me, having just spent a fabulous weekend with three out of four of my kids! I was thinking how funny it is: I did a good deal of pondering and nourishing my relationship with God in my early twenties. Then busy family life began and I was caught up in a whirlwind of all of that for thirty years. Now, here I am again, on my own pondering and nourishing my relationship with God. These God-times are like bookends of my life--times of awareness, while the years in between are somewhat of a blur to me.  I spend time this late-Lenten Wednesday praising God for it all.  I relish each phase, each period of life, as I look back.  I see how God was there through it all, even as I was so caught up living a busy life.  The constant through it all is God...who is definitely praiseworthy and exalted forever!  Let's all ask ourselves today...what do we praise God for this very day? Love, heidi