Wednesday, December 20, 2017

All the way to Heaven...

"All the way to Heaven is heaven..."
St. Catherine of Siena

I think it was Sr. Mary Beverly from Marymount Hermitage that said this to me first. I was rejoicing in being there and loving each and every minute of my retreat. It totally fit that she should proclaim it "heaven" because it sure felt like heaven! In yesterday's Daily Meditation, Fr. Richard Rohr credits St. Catherine for this and also says that Dorothy Day often said it too. It seems that there are others who, like me, are too impatient to wait to experience heaven only after we die. Some of us want to experience heaven here! And why not? Jesus said the Kingdom of heaven is The Kingdom lives within us, among us.  We needn't await the Kingdom. But it doesn't feel like what we have grown to think heaven being--what with hard things happening all around us. Things were as bad when Jesus came into the world. In fact, times were terrible when and where Jesus was born but that didn't stop Jesus from coming. And that shouldn't stop us from celebrating the Kingdom-Heaven, all the way to heaven. God resides in our world within our very own hearts. God is here and God just asks that we open our eyes to see. Dear Friends, I will be away for a few days so will take this chance to wish you so many blessings of the season!  See you after Christmas...Love, heidi

Monday, December 18, 2017

Recognizing God...

"When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife into his home."
Matthew 1:24

How did Joseph just get up and follow his dream; seemingly knowing what to do? I can't even remember my dreams, let alone do what they suggest. But here is Joseph; he must have felt so wounded finding out that Mary was "with child," and yet, he mercifully decides to let her go quietly. And then, his dream. How did Joseph recognize God in the dream? I heard a wonderful homily years ago that explained that Joseph was so close to God and knew God so well that he could recognize God's guidance in even a crazy situation like this! Joseph was a faithful Jewish man who was able to recognize the God of Surprises. The God of Yikes (!)  Awesome, right? Do we know God so well that we can readily see God's footprints in our lives? Can we see God in situations that may not easily be identified as God-ish? Can we see God in people who may be outside the box? We certainly cannot know all of God, but the closer we grow toward God the more often we can see God's presence in our lives. And that is the gift that Joseph had, allowing him to follow his dreams. Let's look for the God in our hearts today! Love, heidi

Everyone's gift...

Dear Friends,
Yesterday was the annual viewing of my favorite nativity movie, "The Nativity Story." No matter how often I see this beautiful offering, I am so moved by this part--the old, shaky shepherd, reaching out to touch the baby Jesus; so, from last year...

"There the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel."
Isaiah 7:14

Last night I had my annual viewing of the movie, "The Nativity Story." It is my favorite because of how beautiful and real it is. Each year I seem to glean a little more gold from it and last night was no exception! There is a scene when Mary and Joseph are nearing Bethlehem and an old shepherd invites them to warm by his fire. Mary thanks him for his kindness and the shepherd tells her that his father used to say that everyone is given a gift. Hers is the child she carries in her womb. "What is your gift?" Mary asks the shepherd. He tells her he is still waiting to find it. After the birth of Jesus, the shepherds begin to come to the cave to see what the angels have proclaimed to them and the old shepherd is among them. Mary sees him and he tenderly, yet hesitantly, reaches out to touch the tiny baby in her arms.  His hand is dirty and shaky as he reaches out for the baby. Just when you think Mary would pull the new baby closer to her, away from the dirty hand, Mary extends the baby toward the shepherd and says "He is for all people...Everyone is given a gift." It reminded me of Jesus' ministry, extending himself to the poor and the lowly, just as his mother extended him for the poor shepherd to touch with his shaking, dirty hand.  It makes me tear up just typing this, Friends. Our God came as one of us to reach out to the poor...let's ponder that today. Love, heidi