Thursday, March 14, 2019

Our deepest desires...

"God seems to plant within us the desire to pray for what God already wants to give us, and even better, God has already begun to give it to us!"
Richard Rohr, "Wondrous Encounters--Scripture for Lent"

I'm rereading this little Lent book again this year and it's always fun to see what I highlighted in years past. This sentence was highlighted and then highlighted a second time. This has been such an important realization for me through the last several years. The realization that God plants deep into my heart, as desire, what God wills for me. God makes it seem like my idea, when, really, it was God's idea all along! I first encountered this concept when I went to a "Come and See" weekend with the Sisters of Charity and Mercy, back in early 1981. I'd asked the sisters what this mysterious "call" from God looked like for mere mortals and they assured me the call from God was actually the deepest desire of my heart. Say what? I couldn't imagine that God would want me to do what I really wanted to do, what about all those saints who toiled, sacrificed and suffered their way to sainthood? But now, so many years later, I can see that rascal God has done just that all through my life. And look at the fabulous time it has been! This Lent, let's take extra time praying with the deepest desires of our heart. Are they doable for us? Is there a path to the desire? If not clear now, pray for clarity of path. If the desire is there, it may be exactly what God wants us to do! Love, heidi

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Forgiveness! Now?

"Real forgiveness is often a long process sometimes requiring a search for justice, an expression of anger or hurt, or an acknowledgement of a sin which has been committed."
Pray-As-You-Go, 3/12/19

Forgiveness, real forgiveness, may not happen overnight. Sometimes we may think we've forgiven and then we're reminded of the old wound and it rears up again. That wave of bitterness and anger comes back...we go there, again. I like this from Pray-As-You-Go because it recognizes that there may be steps to forgiveness. It's not unreasonable to expect that someone deeply hurt may need to seek justice and an acknowledgment of the sin. We may want an apology, too, but what if that never comes? That is when we prayerfully remember the times that we have done wrong and need forgiveness ourselves. We can recall the words of Jesus in today's Gospel, "If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you." (Matthew 6:14)
Seeking forgiveness and forgiving are beautiful threads weaving through the fabric of Lent for me this year. We are on both sides of the equation, certainly, and need to act from both sides. But we also need to realize it may not happen as instantly as we'd like. The desire deep within us to want to forgive and be forgiven is a huge start. Love, heidi

Monday, March 11, 2019

Fuel for the desert...

"Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan River and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days to be tempted by the devil."
Luke 4:1-2

And...we're off! Lent is fully underway now--now that we've heard about Jesus' temptation in the desert. It reminds us every Lent that we'll be tempted and tried these forty days, too. How will we do? Our Pastor yesterday reminded us how Jesus held off the temptations of the devil during the temptations in the desert. First, he was filled with the Holy Spirit. He'd just been baptized in the Jordan and it was the Spirit that led him out to solitude and silence. He was walking with the Holy Spirit. Also, he was able to withstand the temptations because Jesus knew his story. He knew who he was...a beloved child of God. He'd been raised with the scriptures and deep knowledge of the history of his people. Jesus knew his story. And his story was enough to wrestle with the devil and win. We all have our own stories, too. We, too, are filled with the Holy Spirit, since our own baptism. We, too, have a history that includes our Jesus story--when and how we came to love Jesus and desired to follow him. Our faith journeys remind us of how we have experienced God's presence in our lives and how we have overcome all kinds of stuff. Our faith journeys, our stories, will be with us no matter what we have to face. We can go through any trial because we know, first and foremost, we are beloved children of God. Love, heidi