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My Cup Runneth Over Blog

Feuding with Martha and Mary

April 03, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Feuding with Mary and Martha

This social distancing and Safer at home have conjured up in me an internal feud.  I know this is what has to be, but it’s tough at times.

What am I supposed to be doing now?  Believe it or not there was a time when I longed to be more like Mary, just having some time to rest at the feet of Jesus.  I was even involved in a book study several years ago titled, “Having a Mary heart in a Martha world”.  Well now it seems I’ve found myself in a Mary world wondering, “What should Martha be doing?” 

I pulled out my Bible, so I could read this passage of Mary and Martha again, to see if I could gain any clear insights as to what it was I might be wrestling with.  There it was in vs 40 “Martha was distracted with much”.  I don’t think it matters if we are a Martha or Mary, distraction plays its part in what we are called to do and what we actually end up doing.  At least for me it does.  And especially now.   So when Jesus responds to Martha with “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled with many things, one thing is needful and Mary has chosen the good portion.”   I want to believe that what he meant was “Know your purpose”.  What are you being called to at this moment in time?

So what is “my portion”?  For me I think that it is this:  awareness, combined with compassion which can equal a call to action.  Compassion wells up in me when I watch the news and see both the sadness, and the good that is flooding the airways due to this recent health crisis.  I am moved to tears with the pain and kindness shown by people all over our nation.  Also, when I hear of friends and family losing jobs and struggling to keep small businesses open, my heart aches because we’ve experienced that too.   I realize it’s okay to be Mary for a bit, sitting at the feet of Jesus, but then I need to get moving and become Martha; moving outside myself to do something. 

So now when I pray, I ask God for direction into where He might need to use me today and then I work to be attuned to the people and needs that show up in my day instead of the agenda I’ve prepared for my day.    I suppose it’s a somewhat safe prayer for me now, given what I can do is limited, however I have had opportunities to reach out; as well as opportunities to say thank you to those essential workers providing us with mail delivery, food and healthcare.   I’ve been connected with family and friends through Z00M, FACETIME and strangers, with a wave or smile.  So I guess for me at this place in time, I find myself praying these words:  Jesus, take away the distraction that I may lean more closely into you like Mary so, the Martha in me will know what to do. 

I can only hope that Jesus will respond and say, “Jodie you have chosen the good portion”. 

Taste and See

March 26, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer

Taste and See the Goodness of our God

You know how sometimes you wake up and you’ve got stuff already swirling in your mind and head.  Well today the words and music of Psalm 34 were playing on rewind in mine.   “Taste and see the goodness of our God the goodness of our God.”  I even found myself saying under my breath “God please, I haven’t even had my coffee yet”.  And then it hit me.  “Taste and see the goodness of God”.  I HAVE coffee this morning.  Thank you, God.  Looking outside, I could see the light of the morning and the song of a robin… Thank you, God.  Later on, at one point I entered our kitchen and noticed immediately the “spotlight of sunshine” overtaking the centerpiece on our table… Thank you, God.  This was what God was calling me to and reminding me of this morning; to be grateful in the midst of this uncertainty.   I know we are smack dab in the middle of restrictions and struggles and stresses we have never before experienced, and yet God reminded me that God is God and always with us. 

Commuting up the stairs to my home office space I pulled out one of my “go to” books for reflection, opened it and was drawn in to this invitation of prayer and I’d like to share it with you; perhaps you might want to use on your own, or with your family. 

Praying with the Five Senses, adapted from Joyce Rupp, Out of the Ordinary
Smell, Taste, See, Hear, Touch
To understand the world knowledge is not enough;
you must see it, touch it, live in its presence and drink
the vital heat of existence in the very heart of reality.
~Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Go for a walk.  Give yourself the gift of breathing.  Notice your breath; celebrate the fact that you are alive.  Be aware of breathing in life and breathing out what is not life-giving.  (and might I offer to say a quick prayer for those who are now struggling to breathe)
As you eat your meals today, savor every bite.  Take time to enjoy all the different flavors.  Chew slowly.  Be grateful for the gift of nourishment on all levels of your life.  (Pray for those who continue to serve us through curbside pick-up and for those not working due to this time of shutting down)
Find something in nature.  Look long at it.  Befriend it.  See all of its details (size, shape, color, texture, etc.) 
Sit very, very quietly.  Be still.  Listen to all the sounds surrounding you.  Listen to all the sounds that are within you and after, your time of listening note what you have heard. 
Spend time with your hands.  Touch the texture of your skin; notice the ridges, contours; feel the shape and size of your hands.  Close your eyes and touch your hands again.  Imagine God holding your hands.  (Be grateful for your hands and those that care for the loved ones we might be separated from at this time)
Sensual Life-giver, you have created me wonderfully.  Awaken me through my five senses.  Surprise me, entice me!  Draw me into gratitude and awe!  Thank you for these gifts of my body and for all they teach me about you.

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Living Lent: How will I refocus my life on God this Lent?

February 20, 2020
By Jodie Rubenzer, Spiritual Growth and Discipleship
Living Lent:  How will I re-focus my life on God this Lent?
We take time to prepare for things in our lives.  During Lent, we prepare for the greatest celebration of the church year – Easter.
Every day, we are formed by our decisions.  Situations, jobs, fears and desires shape us.  Conversations, mundane daily tasks, our vocations as married, single, religious and the relationships we have because of these choices form us day in and day out. 
We are all however given opportunities to include choices and influences that draw us closer to God and to becoming the person God intended us to be.  We have the opportunity to choose daily to pray, to enter conversations that encourage, to serve others and the greater community and to allow positive instead of negative influences in our lives. 
Lent is a wonderful time to re-set; to ask ourselves these questions:
What do I need to be happy?
How do I spend my time, energy and money?  What does this say about my priorities?
Do I have unhealthy habits that pull me away from God?
Here at St. Bridget we have many opportunities to draw closer to Jesus during Lent.  There are the ARISE together in Christ small groups that meet one time per week for 6 weeks, there are the Stations of the Cross, Weekly Centering Prayer, daily Mass or Scripture Communion, to name a few.  However, if this doesn’t call out to you I am inviting you to consider the following two opportunities that can be done individually or with your family – the domestic Church. 
Unplug During Lent
Consider these questions.  Does social media have the potential to lead us closer to God or will the constant companionship of devices drive a wedge between families and our communities?  How much time do I spend with my devices? (Lent Unplugged, Michael T. Best)
As we enter into Lent maybe we could consider one or all of the following:
Set the standard to turn off the TV during your family mealtime; add computers to this list and keep phones off and away from the table.
Instead of video games or TV, embrace the outdoors, immersing yourself in God’s creation by taking a hike, looking for birds, enjoying a sunset.
There are 960 hours in Lent if unplugging totally is not possible, how about an hour a day for 40 days.
 Keep a log of the activities you’ve tried instead of technology.  How has it changed you or your relationships?
The 1% Challenge
This is a challenge that was shared with me.  It is a tool to invite people to encounter Jesus in the Scriptures through prayer.  The 1% Challenge is a registered trademark of the Evangelical Catholic (EC). 
There is a difference between knowing about Jesus vs. knowing Jesus.
 Strive to spend 1% of each day alone with God.  This amounts to 15 minutes a day in quiet prayer.  How would this look?  Here are 3 possible tips:
Talk to God like you would a friend.
There is no right or wrong way to talk to God.  Share with God your struggles and joys.   Keep it real; even asking God to help you to pray, is a prayer.  A great outline for prayer is to start by thanking God, then seeking forgiveness and then asking God for what you need. 
Listening to God
St. John of the Cross said “Silence is God’s first language”.  Use “The little Black Book” made available to us here at St. B’s, or the readings of the day (these can be found listed in the bulletin or on the USCCB website) and read a small part of each day’s message.  Listen for words that bring comfort or challenge, healing or joy and sit in the silence with God receiving whatever message God might be sharing with you.
Being with God
Just simply start and end each prayer time with a minute of silence.   Maybe you will have the luxury of sitting in the silence of your own home waiting for your household to wake up.  Smell the coffee, hear the cat purr…. whatever it is simply rest in God and lean into Him.
Fifteen minutes over 40 days’ amount to 600 minutes of prayer time.  Isn’t that awesome!
A few important footnotes:
Try to be intentional about your time.  Try not to pray while driving.  Strive to give God your full attention.  Do what works best for you.
If possible avoid devotions such as the rosary; even though this is good, let this time be more of an intentional time of conversation or silence with God.
Name a particular time of day to pray if possible.  This helps to develop a habit of prayer. 
Make note of changes you notice within yourself. 
Our Lenten practices help us to grow closer to Jesus and respond “yes” when he calls out to us.  This Lent how will we respond? 
1 % Challenge - Evangelical Catholic. (n.d.).
Lent Unplugged, Michael T. Best. (n.d.). Liguorian.

Did you Get it?

October 29, 2019
By Jodie Rubenzer, Spiritual Director

Ignatian spirituality is constantly calling out to me to notice the presence of God in everything and to seek the face of Jesus in each person I meet. I am able to begin my day in this mode and as the day progresses it can be a waning thought.   Today I opened a notebook where I jot down things I want to remember (if I can remember where I placed the notebook) and low and behold I find that I’d written that “presence” is defined as all three centers awake at the same time: heart open, mind receptive and body aware.  How absolutely true.  But sometimes I’m not firing in all three centers. 

So just how “awake” am I?  Awake enough to know that in the last 2 days I’ve been bombarded with the following questions:  “Where did you find Christ today, Where did you hear Christ’s call, How will you respond? “  And if that wasn’t enough there was Monday’s gospel of the calling of the 12 Disciples.  Okay, I think I’m supposed to learn something. 

Reading Monday’s gospel revealed a couple of thoughts I’ve continued to ponder.  First Jesus went away to pray.  Good for Jesus!   I have a “to do list” of things to accomplish, but then I guess so did Jesus.  After all there were people to heal and forgive and miracles to perform.  So what does Jesus reveal to us in this act of taking time to pray?  It’s his need as well as ours to remain connected to God.  Where does our ability come from?  Okay point taken.

Then there is the calling of the 12 disciples.  This was a rather motley crew to say the least.  The number 12 can represent the whole church when it is used in scripture.  So Jesus isn’t just calling a selected few, he’s calling all of us.  However, he didn’t wait to call them until they had their acts together he “called” them with their faults and failings and unchecked to do lists.   He called these people from their boats, their fishing nets, their tax booths. So it is with us. What might Jesus be calling us from - to do?  Their formation and transformation began because they lived “with” Jesus.  They learned what it meant to live in love and service to and with one another.  They learned what it meant to trust God and rely on God instead of just knowing about God.   He’s vying for our attention now.  Maybe they were searching or restless or were finally firing in all three centers.  Whatever the case, they listened, heard and responded.  Can we?   

Coming together in community reveals Christ present in our midst and helps us to live with Jesus instead of just learning about Jesus.    I hear wonderful examples through the ARISE Together in Christ small groups, of members from our parish becoming Christ present to one another by sharing hope when another expresses doubt; of compassion being shared when hurts are revealed.  Recently when I was struggling to pray, a young man simply reminded me to invite God to this space and then invited me to pray aloud with him “Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world without end”.  Wow!…such a wonderful reminder.   And, gathering together this past weekend with couples from our parish to honor and enrich our marriages blessed me in knowing that we are united in our joys and struggles and strengthened in our relationships with one another. 

So as it says in Ephesians,

 “Awake O Sleeper”….. And we might add, “that I might fire in all three centers”. 

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