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