October 30, 2018
What simple task can you do today?
To do lists! Vibrations, ringtones, message pings all vying for our attention; reminders of tasks we should or need to attend to. We move hastily from one assignment to another “checking off” what we’ve accomplished. But, in our quest to complete, what have we missed along the way?
What if we looked at all these “assignments” as opportunities; as moments to encounter the Divine, enter the Mystery, or perhaps to put ourselves in “direct contact with God”. What if we viewed each encounter as an opportunity to make our difference in the kingdom?
Today in my reading I was introduced to St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, S.J., a saint who lived from 1533 – 1617, and as a lay brother spent 45 years serving as a doorkeeper at a Jesuit school. His story went on to say that he “exerted great influence on Jesuits and lay people who came to know him.” 1. This just struck me. A simple task of minding the door became an opportunity for this man to extend hospitality and welcome, to all whom he encountered. This image of doorkeeper has prompted me to ponder more, the metaphor of “doorkeeper” and how well do I open the door of hospitality and care to all that I encounter?
There are no tasks too small or unimportant. I think the key to understanding these tasks begins with gratitude. Gratitude for all that we embody and possess, and the action of bringing this to our homes, families, communities and workplaces. Once we are able to reflect and accept our gifts, we then begin to understand how these gifts and actions have a way of becoming instruments of God’s peace, mercy, joy and courage in our own little corners of the world.
So for today and the rest of this week especially, how will the pings and vibrations of your phone and mine offer us the chance to encounter God?
Maybe today, it means being grateful for the barista who offers you your favorite coffee drink handing to you the much needed gift of comfort after being up most of the night with a sick child.
Give thanks for the mechanic who keeps your car running allowing you for today to be with a friend experiencing her last chemo treatment.
Being ever-so-mindful in my moment of hunger and wonder (what will I fix for dinner tonight?) of those who may not have food to eat this night and the ability and resources I have to prepare a warm dinner for my family.
Receive with warmth, the smile shared with me, from the stranger who passes by on the street. Making me aware that in that brief encounter, of our connectedness and the simple and yet profound ways we offer Christ’s love and compassion each and every day.
“The more we are able to celebrate the small miracles of daily life, the more we realize the very personal action of God in our daily living.” 2.
(An Ignatian Book of Days)
( Eucharistic Adoration, Reflections in the Franciscan Tradition)
September 10, 2018
Recently I sat down to pray in one of my favorite spots at my home. As I settled myself, wrapped in a shawl, with my selected devotional books in tow, my cat Vinnie decided too it was time to jump into my waiting lap, and circle and settle too.
Sitting in this sunny, quiet space of my home and lulled by the contented purring of Vinnie, I quieted myself to enter into prayer. A thought arose in me as I sat there in this moment, This must be what God desires from us, that we come and place ourselves in the “lap” of His love and just delight in being there together.
It seems so simple, really. As I sat there and worked to clear my mind of thoughts and well – rehearsed words, putting aside the books I’d thought I needed for this prayer time, I was blanketed in the overwhelming, encompassing gift of peace. I was being held in the grip of God’s love.
Daily, I work to let go of how to pray and just show up to pray; and as I do so it helps me to become increasingly aware of the presence of God in my life.
Our role in all of this is rather easy, just show up. Carve out a little time during your day to sit and be with God and in doing so, trust that God will make this time purr-fect.
July 13, 2018
The Ordinary time of summer
Summer for some means a time to slow down…for others it’s a “gearing up”; especially those who make a living working at resorts, golf courses, lawn care service and road construction to name just a few. For others it’s a time to pull back from routine and walk through daily life a bit less frazzled. Summer for me becomes a time to soak up as much vitamin D and porch time as I can.
Within our church year we are right now in the midst of ordinary time – green is the church color and we are also surrounded with the lush hues of green blanketing our landscapes. The season of ordinary time can and often does present us with some pretty extraordinary moments.
Opportunities for encountering the Divine Creator, can grace us in the moments of songs of praise that ring out each morning as the chick-a-Dees, cardinals, robins, blue jays and occasional high pitched screech of a pileated woodpecker landing on the suet, gather their songs greeting the day.
The swirling sound of leaves, as the wind blows first through the tops of the trees and then reaching the ground, can offer the cool, refreshing touch of morning air, as one sips the first drink from the cup of morning coffee.
Summer for me is a time to step out of routine to give myself permission to enter each day slowing down just a little. However ritual and routine sometimes become hard patterns to break and it does require some gentle effort.
Recently I came across an article entitled: Sacred Sauntering and Holy Lollygagging, by Genevieve Glen. In this article she states “we are a society driven by time management and the force to be productive – be useful”. We are coerced into doing instead of being. She goes on to say in the article “It’s summer!” Do yourself a favor and if you can shorten your “to do” list, live a bit more “untied” to your day planner and enter into a mini vacation then do so”. Reading further, I was surprised to learn that the word vacation comes from the Latin “vacare” meaning to empty out; be idle.
As I finished this article it affirmed for me the necessity of allowing myself to be idle. I am now enticed to mosey more graciously into the ordinary time of summer and would invite you to consider the same.
So take off your shoes and let the waters of mud puddles and area beaches baptize you; let the grass tickle your toes. Taste the sweetness of fresh picked strawberries and blueberries still warm from the kiss of the sun. Linger in a hammock with a good book or a squirrely child or grandchild, anticipating a nap or but more likely an afternoon of wiggles and giggles. Enjoy the fellowship of a gathering of friends and family for an evening picnic and s’mores over a crackling fire.
Know that whatever you choose, our God, our divine author and creator is there among us. For as the words of Brother Francis of Assisi echo in the Canticle of the Sun: “The Heavens are telling the glory of God and all creation is shouting for Joy”.
May 29, 2018
Then Moses said, “Please let me see your glory!” The Lord answered: I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will proclaim my name, “Lord,” before you.” ~Exodus 33:18 -23
This scripture passage came alive to me about 3 years ago on a silent retreat. As I entered this time of silence, I wanted so badly to experience the “fullness of God”. In a time of prayer during this retreat, Psalm 33 came to mind; “The earth is full of the goodness of God”. That moment began for me a new way of seeing. No longer do I just see, but I try to taste and feel and hear and smell (although for me my sense of smell is not keen) the goodness of God. I now practice awareness.
Our encounters with God are not chance, nor do they happen infrequently. They are not just for a few chosen, but for all of us. We have opportunities to encounter God’s presence every day. Sometimes these moments of intimacy happen when we’re in nature, with someone we love, with a stranger or in moments of struggle. They can come in times of great joy or a time of great pain and unknowing. Sometimes summer can loosen our rigid schedules and free us to enter a bit slower into life. I’d invite you to embrace this relinquishing and allow yourself to heighten your senses to the “fullness of God” all around us.
In Exodus 33:29 when Moses encountered God on Mount Sinai, it states “he did not know that the skin of his face had become radiant, while he spoke with the Lord”. While there may not be any outward sign for us, trust of the inward power of God’s love to transform.
In the intersection of frustration and flat out denial, we meet.
In the laughter and lively conversation between friends over coffee, we meet.
In the smells of freshly cut grass, an approaching rain and Grandma’s fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, we meet.
In the faint light of morning, and the dim light of night, where the robin’s song signals the start of a new day the last song at night, we meet.
In the sometimes restless space of my heart, we meet.
In the exuberant hug of a grandchild, we meet.
On the holy ground, that produces the taste of vine-ripened, sun-warmed blueberries and strawberries, we meet.
In the chaos of addiction, which ends in shattered dreams and broken promises, we meet.
In the last breath of a dying parent, we meet.
In the pages of a good book or in the melody of music, we meet
In the unexplainable joy of holding once again, the daughter whom was birthed in and placed from my womb, to the arms of another woman to love and raise, we meet.
In the sterile environment of an exam room when a diagnosis of uncertainty is given, we meet.
When I walk with my hand clasped in the hand of the man I committed to love honor and cherish, we meet.
In the simplicity of my screened in porch, serenaded by the purr of my cat asleep on my lap, we meet.
In the inner turmoil and courage it takes to come out to your family and friends, facing the fear of ridicule and rejection, from a society that sometimes is unwilling to accept, we meet.
In the building called church
where strangers gather together to become
the Body of Christ,