Friday, December 7, 2018

Waiting, for what?

"If we believe with all our hearts that we are infused with the presence of our liberator God, why do we cry out to be set free?"
Fr. Ed Hays, "Meeting Christ at Broadway and Bethlehem"

Fr. Ed has a great point. "Has Christ come, or are we still waiting?" (same book) Indeed. What are we waiting for, really? Do we believe that the risen Christ resides within us or are we waiting for something new to happen? Advent doesn't beckon us to welcome a baby...that's too easy. I think Advent calls us to look deep inside and see that we already have what we think we seek. Jesus is already there. We just may need the quiet darkness of Advent to look inside. In reading back on old journals, I can see a pattern in my journaling. I get really fed up with the waiting of Advent around the end of Week Two. And now, perhaps, I can see why--the conundrum of seemingly waiting for what I already have. Jesus, who patiently waits with me as I impatiently wait...for what I have already. There's a little something to ponder this weekend! Love, heidi

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Faith in practice...

"The (Christian) whose practice is really sufficient for the Kingdom of heaven has to practice not only in Church but also in life...The Lord is still walking among his people and cannot but be astonished at how little faith he finds."
Karl Rahner, "Everyday Faith" (as quoted in Give Us This Day)

I wonder how we got so church-dependent for our salvation, when Jesus spelled out so carefully for us that all we really need to do is love each other. Jesus didn't tell us to go to church, Jesus told us to feed the poor. It's so much easier just to go to church, though, isn't it? But how and why do we think that suffices? Fr. Richard Rohr often laments that the most frequently confessed sin is missing mass. Missing mass, like Jesus said, "Never miss mass!" Instead, Jesus told us exactly what we are to do as his followers (Matthew 25:31-46). We go to mass to receive the fuel and courage to go out into the world and actually "do" Matthew 25:31-46, but going to mass, in itself, isn't all we are to do. Our first reading from Isaiah (26:1-6) tells us that God will trample the proud city with its protective high walls and ramparts...trample it with the footsteps of the needy and poor.  Yikes, that! No wonder Jesus walks among us astonished at the little faith he finds! Love, heidi

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Enter in...

"But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted."
Isaiah 11:4

If we believe these words of Isaiah are foretelling the coming of Jesus it's interesting to check the Gospels for how this actually played out. Seeing how Jesus judged the poor with justice and decided aright for the land's afflicted, we have all the answers we need. Jesus took special interest in the poor and afflicted. Those were the people he looked for--people on the fringe, people others had already written off. And then, in Matthew 25:35-40, we hear Jesus say, "For I was hungry and you gave me food..." Jesus not only sought out and ministered to the poor and afflicted, but Jesus identifies himself with them! So Jesus judges and decides aright for the poor by becoming poor and afflicted himself. Phew, that's a lot to take in! What does it tell us how we are to behave and live our lives? For me, it seems to make it harder to serve God's people from an ivory tower. We need to identify and become one with who we are to serve. It means living more simply and generously, rolling up our sleeves to help whomever, whenever we can. Providing monetary support is one way, but maybe we are to enter in more fully than just writing a check. That seems to be the lesson for me this sunny, yet frosty Boise morning! Love, heidi

Monday, December 3, 2018

Teach me, O Tree...

"...guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior, and for you I wait all the day."
Psalm 25:5

Even though I now gaze at my tree from the warmth of a comfy rocking chair instead of from the balcony, the tree continues to teach me. There are many leaves still clinging to the branches, pale green and reluctant to fall to the earth. No wonder they're reluctant to fall, who knows what awaits them down below? I wonder if I'm like the clingy leaves, reluctant to let go and embrace the season of winter. I am more of a fair-weather fan and winter has always sort of scared me. Some of my fear may be realistic, but most is just silly. I look at the lingering, clinging leaves and they seem to say to me, "This is nuts, we should just let go and fall already!" As should I. I should let go and embrace the mystery of creation as it enters into the beauty of winter. Love, heidi


Thursday, November 29, 2018

To the root of the problem...

"(The angel) cried out in a loud voice, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great...'"
Revelation 18:1

I can't begin to figure out all the symbolism of the Book of Revelation, but this first part of today's reading reminds me of Jesus saying in Luke, "“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida!" (Luke 10:13) Jesus is calling out whole cities and communities for the wrong being done within their boundaries. It speaks to me of how we are not just responsible for our own individual deeds, but as a system and as groups, we can be in terrible error. And it sure feels that way in our world now, doesn't it? We, as communities,  states, countries need to be more aware of how our systems are unjust. We can try to put band-aids on the problems, but the problems will still be there if we don't address the issues underneath the problems. Today is the anniversary of the death of Dorothy Day, co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement. She was a rascal and an agitator, several times being jailed for her beliefs that the system needs to be changed, all the while providing for the poor at her houses of hospitality.  I feel privileged to be able to volunteer at such a place here in Boise. But it is just scratching the surface of the systemic problem. These dismal readings at the end of our liturgical year are a call to action for all of us. How can our faith lead us into action? Let's think and pray about it as we inch toward Advent...Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Beginner's Mind...

 "You have to learn how imperfect you are. Eastern religions call this 'beginner's mind.' The more mature you grow, the more you discover that you are still a beginner; you still don’t know anything."
Richard Rohr, Daily Meditation, July 25, 2016

One of the things I've learned in the last five months since I changed my whole life is this: I don't know much at all. The new work I'm doing at the school is sometimes baffling. I have to ask the first grader how he got the answer to the math problem because I sure can't figure it out! I am new, new, new and it is ever apparent to me. Especially in my volunteer work at the day shelter I am so often over my head I essentially "lose it." I did yesterday and it haunted me all evening until I rested with it in prayer and realized something important. I am learning. I need to ask more questions than making statements. I need the "beginner's mind" that Fr. Rohr talks about and be in a learning mode instead of in a "fix it" mode I used to be in. I was at least able to feign competence in my old career, but here I can't cover up what I don't know as easily! It's right out there. So, even as we grow older and think we may know stuff, we don't know it all and it is easier just to admit that. So here goes...I don't know stuff! I am eager to learn and would like to know more! Please be patient with me while I learn!  Love, heidi

Monday, November 26, 2018

We can all give...

"Jesus said, 'I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest...'"
Luke 21:3

Pray-As-You-Go had a beautiful reflection on this reading today, inviting listeners to imagine one person they have seen giving selflessly through this last month. We were to pray with the image of that person and even imagine Jesus speaking of that person as he did of the poor widow in today's Gospel. It was a lovely time of imaging for me, but what I took away from it is that Jesus sees all of our efforts to live selflessly and with compassion for others. Jesus sees all of the "widows" out there, doing the smallest of giving things--allowing someone ahead of us in line, holding the door open for a stranger, rolling up our sleeves at a soup kitchen. Jesus sees our tiniest act of giving and is so appreciative! Today, as we go about our pre-Advent Monday, let's be especially aware of watching for the selfless acts of charity others are doing all around us. And let that inspire us to give lovingly of ourselves, too. Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Just as they are...

"So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus..."
Luke 19:4

Today's Gospel about Zacchaeus climbing a tree to get a better look at Jesus is so similar to yesterday's story of the blind man who shouts out to Jesus. I noticed in both cases there seemed to be no concern for embarrassment or how the guys came across to others. In the case of the blind guy, others tried to shut him up and he didn't care, he shouted on. In Zacchaeus' case, the people were tsk-tsking him, grumbling about his dirty dealing and ill gotten gains. Jesus would have none of it. When Jesus encounters someone, no matter who they are or what they've done, they are changed. What about us? Is it only first century folks changed by Jesus? Certainly not! We are changed and transformed by Jesus just as vividly if our eyes are open and our hearts are beating with God. Sometimes, we look back on our encounters and wish we had responded differently. But, if we are reading this, we  are alive and have a whole new opportunity today to see Jesus in the people and situations around us. While reading both of these stories, let's also take notice that Jesus beckons the fellows to him even before they apologize for any wrongdoing or announce they will change their ways. Jesus accepts them just as they are--needy, seeking and broken. Just as we are. Love, heidi

Monday, November 19, 2018

Shout out?

"He shouted, 'Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'"
Luke 18:38

So often when I hear this reading, I zero in on the healing of the blind man from Jericho.  But, today I was caught up in the asking, the shouting for Jesus. Pray-As-You-Go invites us to think about anything that may be keeping us from reaching out to Jesus, shouting by the roadside, as this fellow did. He had nothing to lose, really, but do we? Are we concerned what others will think if we rely on Jesus? Is there anything that is keeping us from shouting out? In my own life, I am less and less concerned what others think (I hope), but I am so easily distracted by things of this world that I spend too much time "there." Yesterday afternoon, I'd finally had enough of documentaries on TV and just shut the whole world out. I sat and gazed at my tree, listened to some wonderful music daughter Jeni Rose sent me from Israel, ate a small dinner in silence and then had a fire in my fireplace (first one!) I found it enchanting to be tuned into God and not the TV. So, if I had to answer what is keeping me from reaching out to Jesus? I would have to say my own distracted-ness. I get mesmerized by the computer, TV and the connections of the world. Once I decide to unplug from those, I can rest and relax, reaching out to Jesus. What about you? Love, heidi

                                                                             

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Like a child...

"For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you."
Luke 17:21

"Did your hair used to be all black and now it's turning white?" We have a new kid in second grade and he needed to clear up the question of my hair color before we could get to the spelling words.  There are so many times I feel like I'm on a TV sit com and cannot possibly say, out loud, the funny things the writers are giving me to say. But the whole experience of this job is showing me the Kingdom of God, right here, right now. It's not always hilariously funny. Some of the kids' comments are maddening. Like the kid who was angry with me and looked down at my Mary Jane shoes and said scathingly, "You don't even know how to tie your shoes." (At the time that was maddening, but now it's funny. Sort of.) I think we tend to romanticize the Kingdom of God, but in reality, Jesus is telling us the Kingdom of God may be challenging. The Kingdom of God may test our mettle. If the Kingdom is among us now it is difficult, filled with life and death, rejoicing and suffering, mourning and dancing. What makes it the Kingdom of God is the presence of God among us and I think that is what Jesus is giving us with this passage. The Kingdom of God is among us because God is among us...right in the middle of the mess. God is surrounding us with revealing situations and people who show us, sometimes more clearly than others, God's presence in the midst of this life.  It's may be easier to see the presence of God in second graders, that is why Jesus set a child in the middle of the disciples and told them to be more like children. Let's look closely at our lives today and see the Kingdom of God right here right now, no matter who it is revealing God to us. Love, heidi

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Seeking God's will...

"My chief care should not be to find pleasure or success, health or life or money or rest or even things like virtue and wisdom...But in all that happens, my one desire and my one joy should be to know: 'Here is the thing that God willed for me. In this God's love is found, and in accepting this I can give back God's love to God...'"
Thomas Merton, "New Seeds of Contemplation"

Whoa...does this sound like a gamer-changer to anyone? All this time we thought we were striving for success, even success in holiness. And all along if we just seek to find God's will for us, God will meet us right there! If you have been reading some of the same spiritual sources I have these last several years, we've learned that God's will for us can be found by searching our own deep desires. Wow. Fabulous, isn't it? We can find God's grace and presence all over our lives as we seek our deepest desires. God will be there, bolster us up, cheer us on, send others to help us. Days that we struggle to get a head of steam for what we are to accomplish just need to be lifted up. We will be helped from the inside, but also those around us can be shining lights for us, too. As we are going about our daily doings, we are loving God with God's own gift of Love to us. Brilliant, really. Let's spend some time with this in prayer and see where it takes us! Love, heidi

Friday, November 9, 2018

Ms. Not Me...

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you?"
1 Corinthians 3:16

Pray-As-You-Go asked this morning if we are aware of this presence of God within us? Can we ever sense that there is a light within we can identify as God? I thought about it and realized that there are so many times when "Not Me" does or says stuff that sure isn't me! Ms. Not Me surprises me with a reserve reservoir of patience just when I need it. Not Me says much kinder things than I usually do or that my mind may be thinking. Not Me seems to take more positive action than I could ever think to take, for others. I'm pretty sure Not Me is God's indwelling Spirit within me. All of us are graced with the dwelling of God within us. That is why it is so important that we treat each other as lovingly as we can! God dwells in me as well as in you, and you, and you! Realizing that, we can rely on the spirit of God to influence us to be the best we can be. We also realize that everyone has this indwelling, not just the people we like or who are like us. So, Ms. Not Me really IS me, just a little nicer version of me, with God's pulse beating within me. Today, this autumn Friday and all weekend, let's make a special attempt to treat each other like special containers of God's Spirit. And let's rely on that very Spirit within us to do it with love. Love, heidi

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

The heaviest purse of all...

"In the same way, everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple."
Luke 14:33

Yesterday, in my first grade reading group, we had the word "eek!" in a story. Good thing, because I can use it effectively today. Eek! I say, Jesus. This seems a bit harsh, especially to someone like me who has done quite a bit of renouncing possessions in the last couple of years. So I sit and ask myself, what is there left to renounce? It comes to me easily from a book I read last year on retreat. According to St. Francis, we must set down the "purse of our own opinions." Another excellent opportunity to use the word Eek! That is the heaviest purse I own, truly. But what if my opinions are right? Do I still need to set them down? I think we need to hold them very lightly. Have a gentle, loose grip on our own opinions and try not to shove them down anyone else's throat. Don't think just because we are so right that everyone who disagrees with us is wrong. It's a good lesson to have the day after an election, don't you think? The lessons I am learning from St. Francis are to live our opinions instead of just carrying them around in a footlocker. If we live our lives in the manner of our Gospel beliefs, we won't have to say a word, much less preaching our opinions to others or hitting people over the head with them. So, today, let's think about how we can actually live what we believe as followers of Jesus. Let's consider setting down the heavy purse of our own right-ness and just go about our day, living Matthew 25:31-46. Love, heidi

Monday, November 5, 2018

Hello Dearest...

"Hello Dearest, I'm so glad it's you!"
Anne Lamott, "Almost Everything"

Author Anne Lamott has a friend who always answers the phone, "Hello Dearest, I'm so glad it's you!" Anne says she thinks that is how God responds when she prays, even at her "least attractive." I read this book while on retreat and the minute I read that line (and  it's early--page 6) I heard God saying that to me too. I don't know how any of us survived with any kind of spirituality when we were raised with the idea that God was still mad at us for the sin of Adam. Really? We were taught to do this and that to appease God and this was to be a lifelong pursuit. I still shudder when I remember nervously entering the confessional to tell all my most heinous sins (I was 8) to an invisible man behind a screen. Gratefully, things changed, and were a bit more user-friendly, by the time our kids went through the process, but still. What if we had been taught that whenever we pray God is tickled to death to hear from us and says joyfully, "Hello Dearest! I'm so glad it's YOU!" God loves us. Even at our most unattractive or disagreeable. We need to accept and get used to that fact. Maybe it would help us if we could imagine God so delighted to hear from us, each time we reach out. "Hello Dearest! I'm so glad it's YOU!" Let's bask in that beautiful image this autumn Monday! Love, heidi

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Our Divine heritage...

"Beloved: See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called the children of God. Yet so we are."
1 John 3:1

One of the classes I help with at school is learning about genotypes and phenotypes. As I am finding I need to do often, I asked a kid what they were all about and he explained it to me. Naturally, when I read this, this morning, I thought of the fact that God created us in God's image, we are God's children, so therefore, God's traits and qualities are already wired into us. God is love, therefore we have that in us too. We are made to love and made to reflect the qualities of God, just as a blue-eyed person carries that trait of a parent. We have a divine heritage, not a sinful one. We may not always act out of our divine heritage, but we are also human beings who sometimes act solely out of our own self interest and not always from our true selves. Our true selves are who we are in God. God's own little progeny; and we need to remember that! Whether we have hazel eyes from our mother, or brown curly hair from our father, we know that we have a nature of love within us from our Divine Parent. Once we tap into that love and share it with everyone, the world will be a better place! Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Share the leaven...

"It is like the yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened."
Luke 13:21

This struck me this morning...that the presence of God, within all who love God and desire to share God with the world, is like the yeast. The yeast doesn't just change part of the flour mixture, right? The yeast mixed in with the dough changes the entire batch, not just part of it. There isn't one part of the dough that rises and the rest does not. Likewise, the love of God, mixed into the dough of this world doesn't just affect part of the world. All of the world is changed by the presence. We carry the love of God into all of our environments, not just our Sunday environment, and in that, all of our environments are touched and changed by the love of God. Today, as we go out to all of our activities in God's world, let's remember that we carry the ultimate leaven, the love of God. Let's make sure we share it will all we meet! Love, heidi

Monday, October 29, 2018

See beyond the rules!

"'Woman, you are set free of your infirmity.' He laid his hands on her, and she at once stood up straight and glorified God."
Luke 13:12-13

Jesus is challenging the synagogue authorities (again) in this reading when he heals the woman bent over. He "sets her free" from her bent-overness and the authoirities tsk-tsk that he should have done this on a Tuesday, for example, instead of the Sabbath. But Jesus likens the healing of the woman to caring for a loved one, as she most certainly is, as a "daughter of Zion." He challenges the authorities to look beyond the rules and see the real human beings suffering among them. Don't let the rules get in the way of you helping them! Jesus points out that they care for their animals on the Sabbath, why not care for human beings, our sisters and brothers? When I read this, I think of our mission to care for all of God's children among us, not just those who believe what we believe or look as we look. Maybe we are to look beyond the "rules" and help those fleeing persecution and looking to us for help. Maybe the immigration and refugee "rules" are keeping us from seeing God's children who need us, because all we see are the rules? Food for thought this Monday morning! Blessings and love, heidi

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Time to retreat...

"The woman herself fled into the desert where she had a place prepared by God..."
Revelation 12:6

While I don't feel so much as I'm "fleeing" like I used to, this weekend at Marymount will be such a joy and welcome respite for me! I can't wait to get into the silence, peace and prayer of it all. I'm eager to see the earth in its nearly-winter state, since this is the latest in the year I've gone on retreat. I feel so gifted already, as this was the moon this morning as I walked the dog...


Blessings and love to all! You're all in my prayers at Marymount! Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Success and frutifulness

"The divine love of God reveals to us that fruitfulness is more important than success, that the love of God is more important than the praise of people..."
Fr. Henri J.M. Nouwen, "Sabbatical Journey" (as quoted in Give Us This Day)

It seems we spend much of our lives aiming for success, doesn't it? That was drilled into me by my Depression-era parents, who learned it the hard way. We must succeed! Success equals happiness! Now that I'm climbing down the success ladder, I see that fruitfulness IS more important. What I do in a day may only make a difference to one first or third grader, but if it is done sincerely, with a loving heart, it is more important than anything counting for "success" in my life. Another important aspect of this is that we may never actually learn the "fruit" of our fruitfulness. We may be long gone by the time a person we have impacted realizes that they were impacted. We may just need to trust God that, being in the right situation and with an ability to help someone, the result is fruitful. We may not see or feel we have made a difference, but we trust that God puts us where we are needed and a difference can be made. Yesterday was such an unusual day. I started with my volunteer job at a day shelter and ended at a lovely Boise restaurant. In between I read Winnie the Pooh to first graders. As I reflected on the day, I realized that I desire to be real in all environments. I desire to be fully present to all I encounter. I desire to love everyone. That is of God. That will be fruitful. Love, heidi

Thursday, October 18, 2018

God's efficient system...

"Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals..."
Luke 10:4

Jesus is telling his crew to travel light--no U-Hauls, no luggage racks with many tunics hanging on them, no camels carrying their stuff. They were to rely on God to provide for their needs. Unlike their ancestors in the desert, however, God didn't just send manna down from heaven. God provided for their needs through the hands of human beings. They were to receive "payment" of food and lodging from those they visited along the way. Human beings were to provide for the needs of other human beings. God thought that was an efficient system, apparently, because we see if again when Jesus multiplies the loaves and fish. Jesus provided for the needs of the multitude through the hands of the apostles, who passed out the food. It just didn't magically appear on the lawn! What we learn from this is:  Those who have been blessed with means should help those who have less. If we ask, God will provide us with generous hearts so we can turn around and provide for those who have little. It is an efficient system unless we allow greed to get in the way. If we cling and clutch what we have been given, the system breaks down and people suffer. Today, let's ask God to give us the generous hearts we need to share what we have with others. We don't need to judge them or put them through any worthiness criterion, but we just need to see a need and do what we can to meet it. That's the efficient system God has devised, let's run with it! Love, heidi

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Simple life = prayerful life

"I've saved the best for now. Simplicity is a natural preparation for prayer. Simplicity will lead you to prayer. It creates an inner awareness of gratitude for the material and spiritual gifts you have. It creates time and space for prayer."
Sr. Jose Hobday, "Simple Living--The Path to Joy and Freedom"

This little book is like a How-to manual for simple living. I re-read it once a year. Sr. Jose was a Seneca elder and also a Franciscan sister so she incorporates Franciscan spirituality with Native spirituality and the result is awesome--sign me up! When I first read this book the idea of having more time for prayer due to a simple life was a pipe dream; now it is more of a reality, thanks be to God. Having an easier, less stressful, less daily-grind life certainly offers me more time for quiet and prayer, but I still need to make room for it. Other distractions are definitely still there and try to lure me in! I am realizing that having and doing less leads to more--time. Having a tiny apartment means less time keeping it up (I can vacuum the whole place from one outlet!) Having fewer possessions means less time looking for stuff and taking care of stuff. Of course, when I had a dinner party I used nearly every dish I have, but it was fine! Having a half-time job instead of a full time plus a side business means I actually get a full night's sleep--what a concept! All of that leads me to prayer--prayer of thanksgiving, prayer of desire to share all this fabulousness with others. Today, our autumn Wednesday, let's look around and see if there are ways we can simplify our lives. Even if it is just carving out an hour for quiet prayer in an otherwise busy day. Love, heidi

Monday, October 15, 2018

Help us to pray...

"In the same way, the Spirit too, comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes with inexpressible groanings."
Romans 8: 26-28

The UK readings for yesterday included this reading and it was the one featured on Pray-As-You-Go weekend edition. I listened to it in the early morning, in the midst of a fabulously fun weekend with a dear friend and family. As I listened, I realized that the feelings of gratitude I felt were so much bigger than anything I could say to God. "Thank You," just doesn't cut it when when your heart is that full. Our little English language words cannot begin to express what I was feeling just then. So I was so glad to be able to listen to this reading and know that the Spirit within me would take my feeble words and magnify them. The Spirit could say what I could not in my human weakness. This is good for us to remember whenever we try to pray and just cannot get the words to match our feelings. Maybe we are sad and weary. Our prayer of "Help me, Lord," can be magnified by the Spirit so that its full entirety reaches God's heart, which is right there within our own heart. Whatever our prayers this day, let's rejoice that the Spirit gives our feelings the depth we really feel as we pray, when our own language falls short. Love, heidi

Thursday, October 11, 2018

God, surprise me!

"In petitionary prayer we do not wager on changing God's mind, but we open ourselves to God's holy unpredictability."
Fr. Edward Foley, "Give Us This Day"

There it is. In one sentence that explains prayer to me. I wrestled with the idea that I have to pray to ward off anything bad happening to my loved ones, to find a lost object or to get through a difficult day. I still pray for those intentions, but instead of praying that God will manipulate events to go my way, I'm praying that God will give me whatever I need to get through whatever happens. We don't pray to change God, we pray to change ourselves. Right now, daughter Jeni Rose is moving to Colorado, and then right away, heading off to Israel and India to work prior to settling down. This whole thing could drive me crazy if I felt that her safety was dependent on my prayers. Oh, I'm praying, certainly, but my prayers are more to give me something positive to do until I hear the "All's well!" from her. My prayers keep me connected to the Source of my own peace. My prayers open me to God's unpredictability and keep me tethered to the deep peace God gives me within. Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Need to escape?

"Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from."
Seth Godin, Becoming Minimalist (link below)

I was wondering why I didn't have an aching in my heart to get out of town! I'm headed up to Marymount Hermitage later this month and am so excited to get there and just BE there. But I haven't noticed the sense of urgency I used to have prior to my twice-annually retreat. I think it's maybe about this quote--I have a life I no longer need to escape from. I love my much smaller life and don't feel the urgent need to get away from it like I did before. While there were lovely times in my former life, there were aspects of it that I regularly needed to retreat from. There were signs I needed a change, such as the looming dread I would start to feel late Sunday afternoons, anticipating the seemingly endless Monday. I no longer feel those feelings. I no longer need to escape from my life and that is a fabulous feeling! I think God gives us desires, deep inside our hearts, that lead us to doing God's will for us. I also believe that God allows us to feel discontent to spurn us into making the changes we may need. We need to spend time in the still silence to listen to both. Is our job feeling constrictive and less-than-satisfactory? Take the Sunday afternoon test! Is our house feeling too big, too much work, too filled with stuff? Can we do something to set up a life that we don't pine to get away from? Burning questions for an autumn Tuesday!  Love, heidi
Becoming Minimalist

Monday, October 8, 2018

Good Samaritan

"'And who is my neighbor?'...
'Which one of these three was the neighbor to the robber's victim?'"
Luke 10: 29, 36

Pray-As-You-Go pointed out an interesting detail about today's Gospel of the Good Samaritan. The man asked Jesus one question and Jesus answers it with another question, but a little differently. The man asks who is neighbor IS, implying more of a state of being. Jesus answers with more of an action, Who acted more neighborly? It is similar with Christianity, I feel. We can say we are Christian, which implies a state of being. But Christianity is much less a state of being and much more an action. We DO Christianity and if we don't, we aren't really Christian. Jesus makes that so clear in his parable about the sheep and the goats being divvied up at the end of time. Also, when Jesus says there will be people who will call out, "Lord, Lord!" And the just judge will say, "Hey I don't know you...you just claimed to be Christian, you didn't actually DO Christianity." The Good Samaritan story tells us exactly what we need to do--care for others, others we don't know, others who are different than we are, others who may not be able to pay us back. The Good Samaritan didn't know if the victim was a good guy or not, he didn't drug test him or hold up a worthiness criteria to decide if he was good enough to be helped. The victim was a stranger and the Good Samaritan helped him anyway. Let that be a lesson for us, Modern Day Christians! We are not to judge who is worthy or deserving of our love and concern. Let's get out there, this autumn Monday and DO what we believe-- serve all God's children! Love, heidi

Thursday, October 4, 2018

St. Francis Day!

"Attracting followers, (Francis) launched a new order, the Friars Minor, who, in their strict faithfulness to the Gospel--seeking out the poor, the sick, the marginalized, embracing poverty and nonviolence--turned the values of their society upside down."
Give Us This Day

If St. Francis walked among us in our day he would certainly turn the values of our society upside down, too, wouldn't he? How did we get so far afield with our lust for consumerism, our treatment of the poor, our reverence of wealth? We put statues of St. Francis in our yards, but could we live more faithfully to the Gospel to honor him instead? It would be one thing if Francis had been born poor and just did well for himself, but the interesting piece of his story is that he was born rich--a Rich Young Man, in fact, who did exactly what Jesus told the RYM in the Gospel. Francis was a little more dramatic, perhaps, as he stripped naked and gave his fine clothes back to his father to the shock and horror of all gathered in the town square. From then on he lived the true Gospel: not the Prosperity Gospel of "Do well for yourselves," but Jesus' Gospel of taking care of each other, loving each other, and providing for each other. Today we honor the man who brought Jesus to the thirteenth century. How can we emulate him and bring Jesus to the twenty-first century? Let's do one thing today that we can picture St Francis doing--one act of giving, sharing, embracing, including and, most important of all, let's do it joyfully! Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Speak life!

"My strong angels, be with me wherever I go...Stand at the first gate with your sword in your right hand. Keep this entrance closed to proud, lazy words. When they want to leave my mouth, don't let them."
St. Umilta of Faenza, "Sermons," as quoted in Give Us This Day

Wow, this must have been when women were still allowed to give sermons! And such a vivid image St. Umilta portrays! Angels stationed at our mouth to keep us from saying stupid stuff. My angels have obviously not been beckoned enough to this particular duty...I'll work on that today!  It's interesting to think of the mouth as the "first gate," isn't it? Jesus points out that it isn't what goes into our bodies that causes us to sin, but what comes out via the "first gate." Words cannot be shoved back down the throat like they never came out, even though we'd like them to. No, we have to stop the offending words from coming out of our mouths in the first place and I like the image of the angels standing guard. I like the image of a clutch on the mouth that must be engaged before saying something, too. Either way, our words can bring life and positivity or they can be hurtful and destroy. Today, let's make an effort to bring forth goodness from our "first gate!" Love, heidi


Monday, October 1, 2018

Teaching moments

"An argument arose among the disciples about which one of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side..."
Luke 9:46-47

Jesus sees the ambition and competition among the disciples and wants to teach it out of them, via his lesson with the young child. I was thinking what lesson would Jesus want to teach me this autumn Monday? What unattractive trait would Jesus want to teach out of me? Well, probably my tendency to judge quickly and harshly, for one! For example,  I have some new neighbors and they make take a little getting used to. That doesn't mean they are bad, but they have been giving me someone to snap to judgment on! Ugh, that. Notice how kindly Jesus uses this moment with the disciples to teach them? He doesn't scold them or speak harshly to them, but he places a child by his side and says, Be like this kid and you may be great...I know Jesus speaks kindly to all of us when we realize, to our chagrin, what about ourselves needs changing. Recognizing that, let's be open and honest with Jesus about what we can do better. Today. Love, heidi

Friday, September 28, 2018

Everything has a season...

"God has made everything appropriate to its time, and has put the timeless into their hearts, without man's ever discovering, from beginning to end, the work which God has done."
Ecclesiastes 3:11

The more widely known part of the verse, "There is an appointed time for everything," in other words the song from The Byrds, is more popular; but this part hit me this morning. I was thinking how fast time goes and things seem to come around full circle. When we were newly married and living in Billings, my mom and I used to go shopping or "prowling," as she called it. I always did the driving, as she was beginning to feel less confident behind the wheel and I was young and fearless. Now, however, many years later, whenever Sam and I do some prowling around, she always does the driving, since I am so much less confident...yada, yada. Criminy, I even wear my mom's old blue jacket! The seasons turn round and round and before I could even catch on to the work God has done, I'm the elder, the old lady in the blue jacket, letting my daughter drive me around like Miss Daisy!  It is sneaky, though. You may not even realize it's happening until this reading from Ecclesiastes or The Byrds' song comes on the oldies station. It's sneaky and fast, but also has a right and good sense about it, too. "To everything, turn, turn, turn, there is a season, turn, turn, turn. And a time for every purpose under heaven." Love, heidi Oh and enjoy a trip back to the sixties with The Byrds below:
Turn, Turn, Turn The Byrds

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Something new...

"What profit has man from all the labor which he toils at under the sun? One generation passess and another comes, but the world stays forever...Nothing is new under the sun."
Ecclesiastes 1:3-4, 9

This poor grumpy Gus could have been me a few years ago, I'm sad to admit. My advice to him would be to get rid of all he has, move across the state and get a job working with little kids. But, really...these difficult times we are experiencing now in our world do give us pause to wonder, What is it all for? What reason do we have for getting up each morning and doing it all again? We need to find that out for ourselves, but for me, it has been about letting go, seeking what God desires for my life and, essentially, climbing down the success ladder. It's not about what we achieve or how well we do or the fancy stuff we accumulate. It's about how we can serve God and our fellow creatures on the planet, and the planet itself. When I heard this reading this morning, I shuddered with understanding. What can we hope for long after we are gone? That some day some future relative will delight in finding us on ancestory.com? We'll be a leaf in someone's family tree? Maybe. But, for me, I delight in wanting to help out right here, right where I am. God has graciously given me a new pond, a new wineskin and I'm loving every minute of being here. There CAN be something new under the sun if we just look for it! Love, heidi

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Hear and act!

"(Jesus) said to them in reply, 'My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.'"
Luke 8:21

An interesting little caveat to this is that God is actually doing the work through those who hear and answer. That may help us get over the hump of thinking we are responsible for it all on our own. Thinking that will just get us spiritually proud and ew, who wants to be that? If we hear and act on God's nudgings in our lives, it is God who picks up the banner and waves it, not us. Knowing that may help us overcome any shyness or discomfort wading into waters with a faster current. It will help us thinking how wonderful we are for doing something charitable. It will help us give God the glory, where the glory belongs. We can be instruments and helpers of God, but God is really behind any good that we do. Does that make it easier for us to do good stuff? Love from the treehouse, heidi

Friday, September 21, 2018

Leave it behind...

"Jesus said to (Matthew), 'Follow me.' And he got up and followed him."
Matthew 9:9

I was thinking about Matthew as I exercised in the little gym at my apartment complex (I know--I'm getting weirder by the day). He was scorned by his own people for being a tax collector for the Romans. On one hand, a guy's got to make a living, right? But on the other hand, he must have seen in Jesus' invitation something better. He must have seen a way of life that was better than just making a living and being the object of ridicule from his own folks. Pray-As-You-Go pointed out that he changed his whole life, just like that. He just got up, left his former life behind and followed Jesus into new life. He became a new wineskin; he found a new pool of water, to pull out our previous metaphors. And what about us? Are we being called to change something in our lives that could make our lives a closer walk with Jesus? Tomorrow, autumn begins. It's such a good time for renewal and leaving behind what is holding us back. There's more to life than just making a living. I admire Matthew for recognizing that and just getting up and following Jesus! Love, heidi

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Be awake!

"Love never fails..."
1 Corinthians 13:8

I had what I think was quite a mystical encounter yesterday that I will tell you, without going into details, brought me to tears. It showed me that we are all in this together--all of us. People come and go in our lives and we may not give them a passing thought. Until, that is, we look back and see Jesus in the encounter. Often I can see Jesus present in people I encounter, especially the little kids at school who holler to me from their school bus as it drives away, "Bye, Ms. G!" It's so easy to see Jesus in those little faces! But yesterday's encounter was different. I looked back and saw Jesus in me, myself. Whoa, that, right? I was able to respond and react so unlike myself and yet so needed for the moment that I could only recognize it was Jesus acting and not me. We need to be awake to these occurrences, because I think they can happen frequently if we are tuned into the Holy Spirit and do what we feel God calling us to do. Because tuning into the Spirit and hearing God's call invites Jesus to act through us. And the world needs so much of that just now. So the most passing encounter you have today may be just what Jesus needs to do in the world. Be awake! Pay attention! Love, heidi

Monday, September 17, 2018

The Daily Examen

"More than 400 years ago St. Ignatius Loyola encouraged prayer-filled mindfulness by proposing what has been called the Daily Examen. The Examen is a technique of prayerful reflection on the events of the day in order to detect God’s presence and to discern his direction for us."
-IgnationSpirituality.com

So, my insurance company sent me one of those Right Track devices that plug into the car and monitor my driving. I was leery at first, but I think it is making me a more careful driver. It monitors bursts of rapid acceleration and sudden braking, as well as total miles driven and car use during the wee hours of the morning. It all makes sense to me and it makes me sort of wish I could get such a device for my whole life. Is there such a device that would monitor how closely I walk with Jesus through the day?  Actually, the Daily Examen prayer serves to give us a little check of how we respond to God throughout our days. We can pray with the Examen and ask ourselves if we excellerated too fast into harsh judgements or hit the brake too fast on living generously. We can think back and see where we felt closer to God during the day and if there were times we may have missed seeing God around each corner. There are several good Examen prayers online. Pray-As-You-Go has a nice one at the link below and Fr. James Martin has a nice podcast Examen, also link below. I access both of them from my phone, through podcasts or the Soundcloud app.  If you need to change up your prayer life and haven't tried the Daily Examen prayer, think of it as a little Right Track for your spiritual walk. It's encouraging and helpful for seeing Jesus in your day. Love from the treehouse, heidi
Pray-As-You-Go Examen
Fr. James Martin Examen

Thursday, September 13, 2018

No enemies?

"Jesus said to his disciples, 'To you who hear I say, love your enemies...'"
Luke 6:27

I have certainly run the gamut of figuring out this reading over the years. Pondering it all, from who are my enemies to how to show love to those who bug me.  But this morning I wonder if I hit on something new. I'm thinking it could be easier to love our enemies if we just didn't have any. Really. What if we stop thinking of people as our enemies and just think of them as friends we may not agree with? I'm not saying this will be easy, not by a long shot! But having enemies is so much work! There's all that energy we spend watching what they do so we can judge it and criticize it. There's the mental work of chastising them in our heads, scooping their associates up and adding them to our enemy list as well. What if we just let them escape from our judging minds and wish them well on their way? What if we just allow God to sort it all out? This is hard for me because people I struggle with take up so much room in my head that I won't know what to do with all the empty space!  (If that's all I have to worry about today, I'm in pretty good shape.) So, today, as Jesus gives us this most difficult command to love our enemies, let's make it easier for ourselves by just not having any. Those we struggle with we can take from our heads to our hearts and allow God to tend them there.  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Blessed are the poor...

"Blessed are you who are poor, for the Kingdom of heaven is yours."
Luke 6:20

I admit I didn't get much further than this first sentence in today's Gospel. I sat and prayed about what it means. I wonder if the poor feel blessed? In our culture being poor is scorned and feared. The poor are seen as less-than, lazy, unproductive. Jesus continues by saying, "But woe to you who are rich..." (v. 24). How upside down is this compared to the culture of our country! Since it seems so upside down I wondered, what is it about the poor that renders them blessed? I wondered if they may grow more dependent on God. Their own resources have come up short, so they are more reliant on God for the little they have. Because of that, they are grateful for what they have and that gratitude leads them to share what they have with others. It is sometimes easier to share what we receive as gift than when we think we "earned" something on our own. So, a greater dependence on God leads to gratitude which leads to generosity. So, definitely, that chain reaction renders the poor very blessed indeed. It is worthwhile to think and pray about how we in our oh-so comfortable lives can follow the same chain. Our awareness of all we have as gift can lead us to gratitude and generosity as well. Living more simply allows us to live more generously. I like the expression "Live simply so others can simply live." Today, let's pray with that and see how it looks in our own lives. Love from the treehouse, heidi

Monday, September 10, 2018

Prayer of the Heart

"Next time a resentment, negativity, or irritation comes into your mind, and you want to play it out or attach to it, move that thought or person literally into your heart space."
Fr. Richard Rohr, "Prayer of the Heart," 9/8/18 Daily Meditation

One thing I know I need in the faith department is for my faith to work; that is, be practically alive for me in my everyday life. I remember a good lesson, many years ago, when I was fretting about something and a wise friend said to me, "Heidi, I know you have a strong faith, why don't you pull it out and use it?" Great advice! So, I read this wonderful Heart Prayer suggestion (link below to the whole article) and I thought of a way I could apply this to my life. I have struggled lately with things so far out of my control (national and church issues), and I feel angry and helpless. I thought of a ritual that will help me to put these negative thoughts and feelings somewhere more constructive--my heart. There, as Fr. Richard Rohr says, they will be surrounded by silence and the warmth and love of God and God will take care of them. Whenever I feel a negative thought or judgment bubble up into my mind, I will, prayerfully, cup my hands in front of me to collect it. Then I will cover my heart with my hands, depositing it into my heart space. That simple physical gesture may help me remember that ruminating or venting about what I think is wrong doesn't do any good at all. As I put those feelings into my heart, I trust God will guide me to what I can do that will be constructive and life-giving. Please read the Prayer of the Heart at the end of the summary on Fr. Rohr's column. Love from the treehouse, heidi
Prayer of the Heart

Friday, September 7, 2018

New wineskins...

"Rather, new wine must be poured into fresh wineskins."
Luke 5:38

I'm sure I've confessed my bewilderment at this reading before. I never felt I had a grip on it until I attended a closing mass for a men's Cursillo a million years ago. I watched the men come in, disheveled and tired, looking rather like the "undesirable" prize in a Mystery Date game. But there was something unmistakably wonderful about them, too. They were in new wineskins! They sure didn't look new but what had occurred over the weekend for them made them new creations, beautiful to behold even in their exhausted state. So, I got the new wineskins thing a bit better after that. Today, when I heard the reading, this sentence caught my eye, "Rather, new wine must be poured into new wineskins." I likened my move to Boise and complete new way of life to a new wineskin...it is so different than what I was doing and where I was living. My life has completely changed. I'm in a different stretch of water and a brand new wineskin, both metaphors for the new life God has been preparing me for and preparing for me for the last several years. The new wine God is making in my life had to have a new wineskin, a new container, if you will. My life had to be pared down to be much simpler, with much less stuff and much more time for God. I must say this new wine is delicious, too! What about you? Has God been fermenting a new batch of wine for your life? Do you need a new wineskin to put it in? Good food for thought to ponder and pray with this September weekend! Blessings and love from the treehouse, heidi

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Different water...

"Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch."
Luke 5:4

Have you ever felt asked to fish in a different sea, so to speak? The fishermen had worked all night to no avail and they were done, done, done. Jesus comes along and suggests a different stretch of water and they are rewarded mightily with a huge catch of fish. Sometimes we just need new water, a new venue, or a new place to do our thing. Maybe we even need a new "thing" altogether. I'm at a place where everything seems new to me but the other day I was asked to switch from working mornings at school to working afternoons...a bit different water. I was torn, but thankfully was able to remember the Margaret Rizza song, "You Are the Center Of My Life" and turned to God, there at the center. "Do what they ask you to do," the Center said to me. I'll admit I was fussing and fighting a bit on the end of the line, but I knew what I had to do. It's another stretch of water, another learning curve. Many more kids and names to learn, but I know it will be fine in the end. So the next time we are beckoned to a different bit of water, or even dry land, let's remember Who-it-is doing the beckoning and let's acquiesce as eagerly as Peter, who said, "Hey, we've been fishing all night and caught nothing, but if you say so" (v. 5). Love from the treehouse, heidi

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

You are the center...of my life

"You are the center of my life!"
Margaret Rizza, "You Are the Centre," Fountain of Life

The opening song on Pray-As-You-Go this morning was this beautiful song by Margaret Rizza. I'm afraid my meditation didn't get much further than that! I thought about what my day would look like if I really lived with God as the center of my life? What would that look like in my Tuesday-that-feels-like-Monday? Well, I'm sure I would be more loving toward everyone I encounter if I operate out of my center, God. I could look at people with God's eyes, seeing how beautiful and magical they are, with all their gifts and talents. I would generally feel more at peace about stuff with God as the center of my life, knowing that God freely works within the hearts of people to heal and make whole the things that we see as broken and messed up. Maybe I could feel less desperate and troubled about the world just knowing that? I think living with God as the center of my life I would be able to do my job to the very best of my ability--realizing that I'm not perfect and that perfection isn't realistic or expected. I only need to show up at my school with willing hands and a loving heart for everyone. (In other words, I don't need to be an expert in sixth grade math! Hooray for that!) And finally, living with God as the center of my life, I will speak words of Truth, Life and Love. I will speak encouraging and positive words, but also the truth that God is beckoning me to say from God's place in my heart. So, today, this first Tuesday in September, with a wee chill in the early morning air, I will live today with God as the center of my life! And it will be a fabulous day! Love from the treehouse, heidi

Thursday, August 30, 2018

God in the hard places...

 "Jesus said to his disciples, 'Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come!"
Matthew 24:42

Pray-As-You-Go had a good suggestion for praying with this reading today. Imagine what a surprise encounter with Jesus could look like. It's a surprise, you don't know you are going to encounter Jesus. So how does it play out? The thing that first came to my mind is that it would be a more difficult encounter--one of the harder moments of my day. Not because I don't want to encounter Jesus, but because Jesus is so often in the hard situations and the more difficult people. If we think back to the hardest situations we have encountered in the last week or so, right smack dab in the middle of them is God. Sometimes we have a harder time seeing God in those times, except when we look back reflectively. Then, hopefully, we can see God helping us. I certainly encounter Jesus is in the joyful times, as well. That's easy. But whatever we go through that really challenges us and tweaks us to our very core; that is where God is hardest at work in us.  Let's try to meet God right there... Love from the treehouse, heidi

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Do what's right!

"The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word to her."
Mark 6:26

Despite having mild flashbacks to the gruesome picture of the head of John the Baptist on a platter in my Children's Bible (really? In a children's bible?) this reading brings up an important point for our lives today. Pray-As-You-Go points out that King Herod went against what he knew to be right and did what he knew to be wrong to please his dinner guests. He'd admired John the Baptist, it was Herod's wife that had a beef with him. Because he had promised his daughter anything after she danced for his guests at dinner, he had John the Baptist beheaded. Certainly our little white lies and minor maleficence won't have such horrible results...but should we still say or do them? We know what is right and what is wrong. God's law is written on our hearts and it should pop up on our mental "screens" all through the day. Do we listen to it or get swept along with the crowd? It's so much easier to follow the crowd into gossip or negative talk. It's easy to join the chorus belittling others, be they whole races or groups or individuals. It's much easier to try to please the dinner guests than it is to stand out and stand up for what we know to be right and true. Today, shake loose that image of John the Baptist's head on a plate (if you had the same bible I did) and look more at his life. He said and did the hard stuff, because the hard stuff was the right thing to do. Love from the chilly treehouse, heidi

Monday, August 27, 2018

Sorrow and shame. And anger.

"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' 
Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? 
You have the words of eternal life. '"

John 6:68

This is a very hard post for me to write, Friends. I have been struggling with the latest news of the abuse scandal in several dioceses in Pennsylvania--aren't we all struggling with this? Thanks be to God I heard a wonderful homily yesterday addressing the elephant in the room. Fr. Radmar Jao, SJ was the celebrant at Risen Christ in Boise and tackled it head-on. He validated the feelings of so many: anger, angst, betrayal, lack of trust. He gave us three ways to channel our feelings into positive action. I truly believe we need to be able to DO something or we will just marinade in the evil brew of it, throw in the towel on the church or turn our backs on God altogether. First, Fr. Radmar suggested praying...for the victims, the church, and for all involved in sexual abuse of any kind. Second, he urged us to be proactive in our efforts against any kind of abuse--everywhere, in all of our environments. Be vigilant and speak up! And finally, he said, as followers of Jesus we need to be strong witnesses for Jesus in the world. We need to remember our own personal encounters with Jesus, the very encounters that put us on the path of life with Jesus in the first place.  We need to share these stories and bring Jesus to the world that needs to know Jesus. We need to stay and lead the church, not give up and leave the church. Thank you, Fr. Radmar...
Just as when Jesus overturns the tables in the temple, his anger is righteous and justified.  So is ours when we feel so crushed by the actions of these priests and bishops on the innocent.  But we have hope in our own personal relationships with Jesus and the need for the world to hear about Jesus. Gracious God, have mercy on us all. Love, heidi

Friday, August 24, 2018

I'll follow...

"The path that I've chosen is calling me, and I'll follow."
"Journey, " Salt of the Sound

The opening song on Pray-As-You-Go this morning says everything we need to know about finding God's will for us in one sentence! It beautifully weaves together the truth that God plants into our hearts God's plan for us. We need to look no further than our own deep desires to find out what God wants us to do. How can it be so simple? Shouldn't our mission be harder to find? Shouldn't we have to sacrifice and suffer to please God? Certainly not! God wants us to joyfully go about serving each other. If we're crabby and suffer through our service, how could that possibly please God? But could it really be so easy? Well, it isn't necessarily easy if we insist on making it difficult ourselves. If we run around chasing earthly rewards and pay offs, simply serving our brothers and sisters can seem contradictory. We need to spend time, considerable time, in quiet, contemplative prayer, giving God a chance to speak to our hearts. We also need to give ourselves quiet time to listen. This isn't accomplished in just giving God a few minutes of our time once a week. Spending deep quiet time with God gives us a chance to find that path the song describes. The path that we choose that calls us, and we follow. Blessings and love from the treehouse, heidi

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Find a robe!

"In the improperly clothed wedding guest, we recognize the many occasions when we follow Jesus in only the most superficial ways. We show up for the feast, anticipating our share in the goodness of God's kingdom, yet we neglect a vital part of God's invitation: the summons to repentance and reform."
Jessica Coblentz, "Give Us This Day"

This is such a great explanation for a passage that has always gotten under my skin. In fact, Pray-As-You-Go invited us to talk to Jesus about how this reading (Matthew 22:10-14) makes us feel. I sort of unloaded on Jesus, wondering why the guy gets thrown out of the wedding feast for not having a wedding robe.  "I thought you wanted us all, Jesus, why should something as insignificant as a robe come between us being with you in the banquet?" No sooner were those words written in my journal, I read Ms. Coblentz's excellent interpretation. Jesus made it clear what our wedding robe was: feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the imprisoned, welcoming the stranger. Those tasks hang on a clothing rack as wedding robes for us to put on and wear.  Our decisions to bypass the rack and think of getting to heaven just on our good looks alone (i.e. without a wedding garment) will lead to our disappointment. Typical me though, I imagine the king showing the guest to the outer room where many wedding robes are hanging. "Pick one out and put it on," says the king, "and come on back in!" If we woke up this morning, and most of us did, we have a chance to put on our wedding robes. Let's get out there and find the need in our world that Jesus puts us in the position to fill. Love from the treehouse, heidi

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

What's in it for us?

"Then Peter said to him in reply, 'We have given up everything to follow you. What will there be for us?'"
Matthew 19:27

Peter has the knack for saying what the rest of them were probably thinking but didn't have the nerve to say. St. Peter, the Patron Saint of the Cringe-Worthy. But how often do we think or even say out loud, "What's in it for us?" Some people spend their whole lives working diligently to get to heaven. I wonder if they'll be disappointed when they get there? I think I'd rather spend my time working for a better Here than just aiming for There. I'm sure heaven will be wonderful but Here can be pretty fabulous,  too, really. And we are desperately needed by God to make Here a better world for everyone. My first day with the kids yesterday was absolutely splendid! Such imaginations and built-in wit and wisdom! I have every desire to help their Here to be the best it can be.  My reward for anything I do is just the warm comfort of knowing God has placed me where I need to be, doing what I can to help Here to be a good place. Heaven for me, right now, is basking in Here. That is plenty for me! Love from the treehouse, heidi

Monday, August 20, 2018

Traveling light

"Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.'"
Matthew 19:21

The Rich Young Man (or RYM, as I refer to him in my journals) and I go way back. I  heard the haunting words of Jesus to him, as if for the first time, while on my first retreat at Marymount exactly five years ago. I shook in my sandals. Here Jesus was extending a fabulous invitation to the RYM and it was just too hard for him to sell all his stuff and follow Jesus. I remember praying that I wouldn't do the same thing. I wanted to do what Jesus asked of me, but selling all my possessions seemed a little extreme for me, too. I was so afraid I would go away, sad, like the RYM from Jesus' invitation. Fast forward from that retreat to now and I write from my wonderful treehouse, with considerably fewer possessions (Jesus said I could keep a few things!) Today is the first day of school and the first day of my new life as a Title I tutor at Hawthorne Elementary. I feel, so deeply, that I am following Jesus in this that I could barely sleep and am itching to get to school already! If this is a dream I don't want to wake up.  What Jesus asks of us, Jesus puts into our hearts as desire. The RYM may have come around, in fact, I love to think of him coming to his senses and realizing what Jesus was offering him. He got rid of his stuff and met up with Jesus in the next town. To travel with Jesus, we must travel light. Not just fewer possessions, but fewer prejudices, judgments, hang ups about others. You never see the disciples pictured walking along with Jesus with camels carrying their stuff and the mental stuff? Seems like they left it all on the road as they walked. Today, let's all think about how we can travel lighter with Jesus. What can we discard so that our journey is freeing and nourishing? Love from the treehouse, heidi

Friday, August 17, 2018

Rescue the lost!

"I call to you, Lord, all day long; to you I stretch out my hands."
Psalm 88

As exciting and wonderful this new beginning has been for me, there is humility lurking within every new situation. My first trip to the library, I accidentally walked into the men's restroom, freaking out a poor gentleman who was, thanks be to God, just washing his hands. I have been on job interviews with ponderous questions, trying to sell myself to people. I have attended a couple of meetings where I didn't know one single soul and I felt so awkward as others joyfully reunited after the summer. Having been in the same place and job for so long I hadn't felt the awkwardness of being so new and uncomfortable. Feeling it so vividly now will make me more aware of how I can help others who are new when (hopefully soon!) I am an old hand. It is incredible how God draws us toward the lessons we need to learn. I needed to step out of the boat, out of my comfort zone, and into a brand new life. It is exactly what I wanted to do and I'm thrilled with the lessons I'm learning.  I appreciate so much when someone  reaches out, greets me and shows me kindness. This is a fabulous lesson for all of us today, Friends! As school begins all around, let's make a special effort to reach out to someone new. Does anyone look lost and unfamiliar? Does anyone look like they're headed into the wrong restroom? Let's rescue them!  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

My soul proclaims!

"And Mary said, 'My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...'"
Luke 1:46-47

I feel like I could sing Mary's Magnificat myself this morning, from the treehouse, for all to hear how happy I am this day! I can see the footprints of God all over my life and it's grand and wonderful. But what about when it isn't? It's so much harder to proclaim the greatness of the Lord when hail pelts our roof, or people mistreat people, or it feels like the wheels are coming off our country. Can our spirit rejoice in God our Savior then? I am reminded of a scene in the movie, "The Shack," when Mack is wracked with anguish in the boat. It is crumbling around him and scary black ink seems to be filling it. He is writhing in fear. Jesus holds out his hand to Mack, beckoning him to just look into his eyes. "Look at me," Jesus says as he holds out his hand. "Don't be afraid."  Knowing that God is always with us, and being convicted of that, helps us through those inky dark times so we can still proclaim the greatness of the Lord. And not just after the storm passes either, but even in the midst of the storm. So, today, no matter what is going on around us or in our lives, let's sing with Mary, her great words of faith, "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." Love from the treehouse, heidi

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

The greatest in the Kingdom...

"The disciples approached Jesus and said, 'Who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven?' He called a child over, placed it in their midst, and said, 'Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.'"
Matthew 18:1-3

On my last day of working with my mobility kids last spring, I had a lesson with the dearest little lad and was sad to say good-bye to him. Especially since I knew I was retiring and moving and that little portion of my life was ending. I walked out of the school teary, sniffling past the gym where there were angelic voices of kindergarteners, practicing for an end-of-the-year shindig. As I walked, I realized that I really wanted to continue working with kids, somehow. Well, after spending some good, quality time in God's employment office (noon mass). I am happy and grateful to report that I'm heading off to an orientation meeting this morning--at a school!  I've been hired as a part time Title I para professional at Hawthorne Elementary!  I have such a sense of being called to this, both by my desire to contribute and also to serve the "greatest in the Kingdom of heaven," the kids.  It's a dream come true for me and I'm so excited! I have two meetings this week and school begins Monday. I was thinking about how dreams really can come true and then it hit me...the dream I had was put right into my heart by God. God gave me the desire to do this kind of thing in the first place. God's work in our lives is an inside job. We just need to pay attention!  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Friday, August 10, 2018

We reap what we sow...

"Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully."
2 Corinthians 9:6

Simple enough--we reap what we sow, right? But Pray-As-You-Go adds another ponderous spin to this reading today by asking what areas of our lives do we sow sparingly and what do we sow bountifully? There are probably a few of each in our lives and the areas we sow sparingly may be worth taking a look at to see if we can bump up our sowing. PAYG also asks what areas of our lives do we see God's generosity poured out to us and what are we doing with those gifts? Personally, I think God gifts me with such a powerful presence. I can sense God all around me, in people, in creation and nature, even just in sitting still and feeling a calm wash over me. It's hard to explain but unmistakable to me. And what do I do with that great gift? Do I share that or clutch it tightly to myself? Some days I'm definitely more clutch-y. This weekend, let's spend some time praying with these questions...are we sparingly sowing the gifts God has given us or are we freely giving what we have been given? Can we recognize God's gifts in our lives? Can we see the world through the more loving eyes of God? Seeing others with loving, compassionate eyes may help us sow more lavishly to others.  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Weather the storm...

"After they had gotten into the boat, the wind died down. Those who were in the boat did him homage, saying, 'Truly, you are the Son of God.'"
Matthew 14:32-33

This was yesterday's Gospel, but something I heard on Pray-As-You-Go about it whirled around in my head through the day yesterday.  PAYG invited us to sit with Jesus in the boat after the storm had calmed down. After everyone was safely back in the boat (like you, Peter) and they were just stunned by all that had happened (they had also watched Jesus walk toward them on the sea) it hit them. Jesus was the Son of God. I sat with Jesus in my own little boat (the treehouse) and felt much the same way. Through all the "storm" of the last several months, the move, retiring, hail storm, selling my house, all of the storminess of that, I sat in the metaphorical boat with Jesus and just said, "Wow, you're awesome! Look how it's all worked out!" But just because that storm is behind me, every single day I need to recognize Jesus in my day because Jesus is always accompanying me. And I need to share with others how Jesus was a life-line for me during times of uncertainty. Jesus didn't just wave his arm and beam me into Boise, but Jesus gave me all I needed to weather the "storm," and forge ahead. Jesus gave me friends, family and even strangers who helped me, too. Now, Jesus will put me in the path of others who are weathering storms, far more scary and difficult than the the one I just came through. My desire is to listen to Jesus and do all I can to help them through their storms.  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Wisdom from Dorothy Day...

"So she (Dorothy Day) thought each one of us, with our particular gifts and interests, was good. It's not that we need to change to be holy; we need to live what we are in the consciousness of God."
Judith Gregory, as quoted in "Dorothy Day: Portraits By Those Who Knew Her" by Rosalie G. Riegle

So, I am on a Dorothy Day kick right now and am just fascinated about all I'm learning about her. I sat in the treehouse and pondered the idea of living what we are in the consciousness of God. What does that look like in our everyday lives? Dorothy Day loved music, opera, specifically, and listened to it as much as she could. She didn't restrict her music to Gregorian chants or hymns. She loved opera, and while that isn't my cup of tea, I love that she loved it in all its secular-ness. I think that living what we are in the consciousness of God means that we live our lives, uncovering our True Selves; who we are when we aren't trying to impress anyone or get ahead or make people like us. We are who we are, and God made us that way. As we can appreciate that and be fully aware and present to that means we are living in the consciousness of God. Awareness of God threading through all of our decisions and choices, attitudes and actions means we are living in the consciousness of God. I invite you to pray with the phrase, "we need to live what we are in the consciousness of God." Maybe journal with it or just sit with it for a bit. What does God say to your heart? Love from the treehouse, heidi

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Transfiguration in the iPhone age...

"As they were coming down from the mountain, (Jesus) charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead."
Mark 9:9

If we ever have wondered why Jesus came into the world at the time in history he came, today's Gospel gives us a clue. Can you imagine if Jesus waited until our time to come into the world? Peter, James and John would have had their phones out filming the Transfiguration and it would have been posted on Facebook within seconds. There would be no waiting to share until the Son of Man was risen from the dead! But, even more importantly, I think, the three disciples would have missed the impact of the whole event in the effort to capture it all on their phones. There's no personal interaction when there is a phone filming the event. There was a wonderful video of Paul McCartney on James Cordon's show doing Carpool Karaoke a while back. When Paul and James emerged from Paul's old apartment in Liverpool, many people had gathered on the street to catch a glimpse of Paul. But all Paul could see was a wall of cell phones, filming the event. There were no faces to see and greet, just phones. What if today, our August Monday, we have a chance to be present at an exciting and uplifting event? What if we have a chance to meet someone who touches our hearts? Can we be fully present to the moment and leave our phones tucked away? If we really live the moment fully, we won't need a little film of the event, it will be forever present in our minds and hearts.  Love from the treehouse, heidi

Friday, August 3, 2018

Faith or lack of it...

"And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith."
Matthew 13:58

As I heard this reading this morning, this line jumped out and me and I realized, again, that faith was such an important piece of Jesus' healing ministry. He didn't impose anything on anyone or just go sweeping through the crowd healing all he walked past. The essential elements for healing seem to be the presence of Jesus, someones faith (not even the person being healed, but their friend or relative) and some type of affliction or ailment, whether physical, mental, or emotional. The faith sometimes shows up even before Jesus is aware of the person, such as the woman with the hemorrhage. And the person needing healing may not even be aware of Jesus' involvement, such as the cases where a concerned person sought Jesus out to come or even "only say the words." So, that tells me that we, and our faith, have a huge part to play in the the miracles of God. May we have faith and eyes to see these miracles happening all around us, every day! Blessings on your weekend and watch for the miracles! Love, heidi

Thursday, August 2, 2018

The Potter's caress...

"Indeed, like the clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel."
Jeremiah 18:6

On Pray-As-You-Go they ask, "Perhaps you'd rather be more free? To shape things your own way?" Good point, right? But, as I am getting older and more spiritually inclined, I'm more than happy to let God, the Potter, shape me.  I worked so hard to shape myself back in my youth. I had plans and ideas and goals, and that was great...then. Now, God knows better than to give me too many choices! I like clear choices or no choice at all--just tell me what to do, please! I can look back and see the tender, loving hand of God gently shaping me into the person I always have been in God's eyes, but not always recognizable to myself.  Today, let's pray and ponder how we feel in the gentle hands of Our Potter, who art in heaven (sorry, couldn't resist!) Do we see ourselves trying to wiggle free from the shaping of the Potter? Or can we just relax and melt into the Potter's caress? Good food for thought on a warm summer day!  Love, heidi

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Let go to gain...

"The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
Matthew 13:44

In pondering this reading, sitting in the treehouse, I'm wondering if I just didn't do that very thing. Find a treasure and sell all that I have to get it, I mean.  I felt very led to let go of so much to move here...my career, my home, my stuff (Lord knows how much!) And what I have found here is, truly, every bit the treasure I desired. Thanks be to God! This reading can carry us through many times of our lives, if we think about it. Years ago, I knew that the treasure I was "selling all" to attain was the Spiritual Direction program I attended. It was a sacrifice of time, resources and energy, and  worth every bit (and more) of what I put into it. It was truly a pearl of great price! Let's ask ourselves, as we turn the calendar to a new month today, what treasure are we seeking at this time in our lives? Is it something we may be asked to sacrifice to gain? That would make it all the more valuable, wouldn't it? Love, heidi

Monday, July 30, 2018

Bigger tables...

"Jesus’ most consistent social action was eating in new ways and with new people, encountering those who were oppressed or excluded from the system. He didn’t please anybody, it seems, always breaking the rules and making a bigger table."
Fr. Richard Rohr, Weekly meditations summary, 7/28/18

I have long struggled with the Catholic church's "requirements" for participation in the Eucharist. Early on, I read Jesus' words at the Last Supper and didn't see any such requirements at all. Jesus just said, "Take and eat..." There were no worthiness qualifiers because no one is truly worthy of the gift of Jesus. That is why it is called a gift; freely and widely given. Jesus offered a table big enough for everyone and the gift of his body and blood should be shared inclusively, with everyone who shows up at the table. The Eucharist is not a reward for the well behaved, but a gift to the hungry, and aren't we all hungry? How can we take this lesson and apply it to our lives? It's easy to point fingers and see others who aren't as inclusive, but are we? Can we be more inclusive in our lives? Can we make our tables bigger? Let's put many "leaves" in our tables and set the table for many! Love, heidi

Friday, July 27, 2018

Hearing God's word...

"But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."
Matthew 13:23

On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, the question is asked, "How do you hear the word of God?" Usually the question accompanying this Gospel is, which kind of soil are you, rocky, rootless or rich? But today's question was easy for me to answer. As I was listening to the podcast, my little squirrel neighbor was just getting up (we've both been sleeping in lately). I hear her before I see her, and this morning, on hearing the rustle of her presence in the tree, I looked for her. (Disclaimer: Sister Beverly is certain my squirrel is a "she," because it's the females who build the nests and actually "nest." I agreed, noting that one who works as hard as this little critter is probably a "she.") Anyway, I am hearing God's word in nature as I sit here. Observing this beautiful tree and its inhabitants teaches me about God's tender and loving care for creation. The tiniest little creature is beloved by God. God cares about the coming and going of this squirrel more than I do and I've been riveted by her for a couple weeks now! So I am hearing God's word gently spoken to me by nature. What about you, this deep summer Friday? How are you hearing God's word? Love, heidi

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Blessed are our eyes and ears...

"Blessed are your eyes, because they see, and your ears, because they hear."
Matthew 13:16

See and hear what? I asked myself in the treehouse this morning.  Well, first, I thought, see the good in all. See what God is doing behind the scenes, see how God is working through people to make good things happen. Sometimes, when things seem so far out of whack, this is hard to do, but not impossible. "Look for the helpers," Fred Rogers said. We need to see those doing good and do it ourselves. I also think we need to open our eyes and ears to the suffering around us. Some people do a good job of covering up their suffering and we may have to look deeply into their eyes to see what they need. We need to see them and hear the words they say and maybe peer under the words they say for how we can help them. Finally, (I love lessons in threes!) we need to open our eyes and ears to how we can help. We may feel completely helpless in healing situations that feel way too difficult to fix. That's when we sit down in silence and just show up to God for ideas. Here I am, what should I do? And, as we trust that all will be revealed exactly when we need it to be, we go out of our way to be kind to everyone we meet, we pick up trash when we see it, and we look for the good in all that is all around us. And that is plenty for a summer Thursday! Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Here I am...

"And in one of the most grace-filled moments of a life full of grace, Dorothy finds herself praying to the Blessed Mother. 'Here I am--what would you have me do?' Isn't this that liminal space cherished by the Irish, that mysterious time of waiting and wandering? Isn't it about hearing the call?"
Kate Hennessy, "Dorothy Day--The World Will Be Saved By Beauty"

Thanks be to God for this liminal time of waiting I am enjoying right now, giving me the time to read this fabulous book! Dorothy Day's youngest granddaughter has written this intimate portrait of her "Granny," as she calls Dorothy Day, and it's wonderful. Before Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin establish Catholic Worker, Dorothy is in process, growing in faith and conviction, growing in love with God. All this growing had to happen first. Yesterday, as I sat in God's employment office (noon mass), I prayed this same prayer...
Here I am, Lord, show me what I'm to do. I feel I'm waiting for your call to serve, too. I pray to be eager and ready to serve you by serving yours!
Meanwhile, I'm relishing this time of rest and beauty, hanging out in the treehouse, knowing that God will call when the time is right. I pray to be able to leap up and jump in!  Love, heidi

Monday, July 23, 2018

Justly, tenderly, humbly...

"Act justly, love tenderly, walk humbly with your God."
Micah 6:8

God was having the prophet Micah tell the people he (God was a "he" back then!) was no longer interested in the blood sacrifices and previous methods they were using to worship. The burnt offerings, gallons of oil, critters of all kinds sacrificed on penitential altars were no longer what God asked of the people. I had to wonder myself, was God trying to make it easier for the people? Was God essentially lowering the bar to make him happy? Because I think not. Isn't it easier to go in, sacrifice an animal and then just go out and do what you want? It's messier, surely, but it's easier to do this ritual and then go out and treat people every which way. You can be as crabby and disagreeable as you want because, hey, you performed this ritual for God. God is calling it exactly right here. Treat each other better, love each other tenderly, and don't act like a big shot; that's all God really wants. And that is so much harder than just going in and performing a ritual. What can we do today to act justly, love tenderly and walk humbly with God? What does that look like on our summer Monday? We probably attended our church ritual yesterday, but our desire to please God doesn't end there, with that! Love, heidi

Friday, July 20, 2018

No enemies...

"I say to you something greater than the temple is here..."
Matthew 12:6

This is the Gospel where Jesus confronts the Pharisees when they complain about his disciples picking the heads of grain and eating it on the sabbath. Jesus points out that they may be missing the forest for the trees, too caught up on the immediate rules and regs and missing the bigger picture. And aren't we still doing that? Pray-As-You-Go asks us to consider how we feel about the Pharisees through this reading. Do we think they are nit-picky and ridiculous? Or could they just be earnest and doing what they think is right? It got me thinking, why do we tend to demonize those with whom we disagree? It's so easy to make them the enemy and wrong, isn't it? What if they are just being earnest and believing what they think is right? Especially in our polarized society, what if we took steps today to consider those we disagree with to be friends-who-disagree instead of enemies? I'm one who always thinks of the Pharisees as the "villains" in the Gospel, but what if they are just friends-who-disagree? Good food for thought this summer Friday! Blessings on your weekend! (I'm retired. In the immortal words of the Dowager Countess of Grantham, "What is a weekend?" Ha!) Love, heidi

Thursday, July 19, 2018

God's peace...

"Lord, you mete out peace to us, for it is you who have accomplished all we have done."
Isaiah 26:12

This part  of today's first reading jumped out at me as I sat in the treehouse listening on Pray-As-You-Go. Do we receive the peace the Lord is giving to us? Sometimes I wonder as I don't feel it myself. I trust that God is giving us peace, but God's peace is very different than what we consider peace to be. I've grown up thinking peace is merely the absence of war. I think God gives us a peace that transcends what the world gives us and that we find it deep inside of our hearts, not in our news feed. The peace that God gives does not allow us to sit idly by, either, but God's peace is more a call to action. God's peace gets us up off the couch or camp chair and gives us something to do. God's peace calls us to roll up our sleeves and help and that, in itself, can be peace-inducing. God's peace is not passive, but active--people with God's peace are out there loving and serving. People with God's peace know that the peace is placed in their hearts by God for them to share it with others. We can plug in and find that peace through quiet contemplation and prayer.  And then, just as mystically as we receive it, we are to share it actively with others.  Today, our summer Thursday, let's spend some time quietly soaking in God's peace.  And then, how can we share it? Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The childlike and the learned...

..."for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike."
Matthew 11:25

On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, they ask which camp we think we may be in--the learned and wise or the childlike? And what does it even mean to be childlike? Or learned? In thinking about it, I believe being childlike is more about faith and being learned is more about knowledge. Both can help us find God, but faith seems the more powerful. Look how often Jesus tells those healed, "Your faith has healed you." He laments that mighty deeds cannot be done in places where faith is slim. The childlike faith of those who have reached the end of themselves and reach out eagerly for help gives Jesus the go-ahead to work miracles. On the other hand, we can study and learn about God from here until the end of time and still not have an experience of God--the kind of experience that leads us to true faith. The faith that can lead us, when things get dicey, to just exhale deeply and remember that God is with us, loving us--and that is all we really need.  (Oh, and for those following the squirrel-in-the-tree story, he came back and is working feverishly. Stay tuned!)  Love, heidi

Monday, July 16, 2018

Of squirrels and liturgies...

"And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple--Amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward."
Matthew 10:42

It's a beautifully dawning morning in the treehouse! Yesterday, there was this crazy squirrel, dashing about, taking twigs and leaves to one central location. He did this for a long time, to the point where I Googled "Do squirrels build nests in trees?" The answer was "Yes, squirrels do!" So Tebow and I watched the squirrel for a while and then, suddenly, he left. Maybe he decided the rent was too high. Maybe he couldn't live with the 34 page lease (Yes, 34 pages! I haven't lived so regulated since Catholic grade school!) So, back to this Gospel... Jesus is so clear and I feel we are still missing it. God doesn't care how deeply we genuflect. Period. God doesn't care about our rituals, ceremonies and La-Te-Da that we do in order to please God. (Read today's first reading,--Isaiah 1:10-17 for even more clarification). That stuff is easy and may make us feel good about ourselves, but God doesn't need it or even particularly want it. God wants us to love and take care of each other.  That's it! And that is so much harder for us to do than gathering once a week to liturgize. That doesn't mean we shouldn't gather and pray together, it just means that should launch us forth into giving cold drinks to the "little ones," whoever they may be. Love, heidi


Thursday, July 12, 2018

Tending the vines...

"Once again, O Lord of hosts,
look down from heaven and see:
Take care of this vine, and protect what your right hand has planted..."
Psalm 80:15-16

So, before I moved, son Blaine trimmed my many plants to make them travel easier. Now, he did this, not with the tender green thumb of a Gainan, but with rather wild abandon. They looked dreadful (but did travel easier--what was left of them!) I placed two of them in the treehouse and really didn't think they would survive. Each day I looked at them and wondered if they will come back. Just yesterday, I noticed several new little shoots of new growth on them! Eureka! I wondered if it isn't a bit like all of us. We go through a big change and things may seem weird at first, maybe we feel out of place, uncomfortable. But, gradually we notice new little shoots of growth in us. Change, even difficult change, can surely bring about new growth! Just like my plants, I see new shoots of growth and opportunity in me and it's lovely.  Today, as we go about our deep summer Thursday, let's be extra aware of the areas of our lives God is beckoning us to step out and grow.  Just like my funny, old philodendrons, God is tending the vines of our lives. What does that look like?  Love, heidi

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

God's employment office...

"The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest."
Matthew 9:38

This was yesterday's Gospel, but I pondered a bit more after I heard it at mass (there's a daily mass at noon here--now, there's a time I can get to!) Anyway, regarding the need for laborers and all...I heard the call for laborers and sort of feel like I'm at God's employment office, waiting to find out what my job will be. God is giving me a bit of a break right now, knowing that I certainly need and want to do something, but God is letting me rest a bit between innings. I left a full time job, plus a little side job. Now, I'm looking for something part time, VERY part time! When I heard the Gospel proclaimed I prayed that God would show me clearly, without me having to read tea leaves, what my job will be as a laborer in the harvest. So, here I sit...in God's employment office (my treehouse).  What about you? Are you hearing the call of the harvest? The call isn't just for clergy like we used to think. The call is for all of us...let's open our ears!  Love, heidi

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

No more "idols"...

"With their silver and gold they made idols for themselves, to their own destruction."
Hosea 8:5

At the risk of being a bit of a Debbie-Downer, I gotta wonder out loud if this isn't what we have done in our world today. I mean, we worship at the altar of wealth, prestige and power, don't we? We tend to admire people dripping with money, reveling in power and yet, people in our country are suffering terrible injustices, children even. Will our, so called, "civilized" society end up being our downfall? I'm too much of an optimist for that, rest assured! There are many more good, solid people who see injustice and try to right it. If anything, this challenging time in our history is bringing out the better angels of our nature, borrowing a phrase from Abraham Lincoln. The better angels in us must move us to action, mobilized into doing and being the good we seek. Amy Kuebelbeck says it well in Give Us This Day today...action is more than just posting something on social media so others can see where we stand. That's a bit too easy. But what can we do in our circles of influence? It may be as simple as extending kindness to those around us or cleaning up litter, as Anne Lamott often suggests. Is there someone we can reach out to, smile at, hold the door for? I met a nice fellow at mass yesterday who showed me around and his kindness meant the world to me. Is there a small way we can tidy up our environments and make a difference that way? I live in a large apartment complex now, and there are many ways I can make small differences here and there. I just need to keep my eyes open for them! Meanwhile, let's be very careful what we worship. Love, heidi