GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 9, 2022
This Glimpse of God comes as a challenge from Sister Damian, OSF. She asked me to write on “soul seers” since she is currently reading a book with that title. Since I do not want to infringe on the authors work or ideas, and after reflecting on what I believe a soul seer is, I decided to title this glimpse “Visions of the Soul”.
I believe that a “vision of the soul”, is where one’s soul experiences a Divine Encounter with God and from that Encounter with the graces received, is given the gift to see into the soul of another. I hope that once I write on this Glimpse, you will understand why I decided to name it “visions of the soul” and how I came to that title.
My first realization is that when I talk about the soul, I am referring to the deepest part of our being, deeper than the heart, mind, spirit, and body. It is the place, that I believe, where one completely abandons oneself to God, a place where a Divine Encounter occurs and from that Encounter, the fruits of God’s Spirit emerge from the human heart, mind, and spirit. It is in that Encounter where God speaks to us directly, where we listen undistracted and from that Encounter we then choose to act. I also believe that after our soul’s Divine Encounter with God occurs, it then made manifest in our heart. It is from our heart that words, actions, attitudes, and deeds stem. As we are strengthened by God through the soul’s Encounter, He gives us the grace to respond with our heart. Only from the deepest and most intimate Divine Encounters of the soul with God, can our hearts learn and respond.
As sinners striving to become saints, how do we experience visions of the soul, or see to the soul of another? I think that it is from both what and how our hearts respond to the Divine Encounter, but more importantly, the importance and priority that we place on our relationship with God and our Divine Encounters of the soul. I also must mention that these Encounters are invitations from God to be embraced by Him in an undistracted and totally selfish way. Unlike our prayer time when we approach God with our needs, our soul’s Divine Encounter with God is God’s selfish way to be with us alone, in an undistracted and unviolated way. Total gift of self. As we learn and respond to our soul’s Divine Encounters with God, and we recognize that the choices of the heart are in union with God and His will and teaching, we then are given the grace to see that same like mindedness, gospel witness, and presence of Christ in others.
What does the soul say or speak to the heart? I believe the soul is the voice of love, compassion, mercy, peace, joy, hope, understanding, and reconciliation, and it speaks or directs the heart to receive these gifts and share them with others, and as we do others can recognize the presence of God in us and we are able to recognize His presence in others. We then can recognize another’s Divine Encounter with God as they also seek to hear His voice and respond to His grace.
Our emotions, our desire to forgive or hold a grudge, to be joyful or miserable, to be merciful or bitter, to build up or tear down, all come from either a soft and open heart or a heart that is hardened and closed. Our hearts are created to love. God created us to love, He didn’t create us to seek revenge, but to forgive, to not be estranged but reconciled, to not be hard of heart but rather open. Since God is complete and unconditional love, we as His followers are called to be the same. God fills our heart with an abundance of love. He gives us the grace to share that love by loving our self, others, and Him. As we are called to love, we are called to make up our minds not to be judgmental or critical but understanding, empathetic, merciful, and consoling. Our minds trick us to think we are justified when we are self-righteous and self-centered. It is in those times of deception that the impact of our soul’s Divine Encounter with God is lost amid the worldly enticements to be front and center, before God, others and in the mirror.
As we celebrate the baptism of our Lord and enter into this week of Ordinary time, let us remember that there is nothing ordinary in our soul’s Divine Encounter with God, or our heart and minds response.
As you live each day, reflect on how your soul’s Divine Encounter with God is enabling you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become, and how, by your response, are inviting others to be their best self.
SUNDAY – Visions of the soul from my heart. How do I love?
As followers of Christ, as God’s greatest creation, made in His likeness and image, we are created with an inherent desire to be loved and to love. As soul seers or those who reflect visions of the soul, we can only recognize the depth
and power of love if we choose to see it and respond to it in others. If we choose to see past appearances, social status, or our own ego, only then can we truly recognize the soul of another as where God also abides, and a Divine Encounter occurs. When we can see past another’s weaknesses and shortcomings, so that they can experience true love as it is offered by way of compassion, mercy, peace, understanding and empathy, we then are reflecting the graces experienced in our soul’s Divine Encounter with God. God’s life, His Encounter is being manifested through us to others.
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God, I will open my heart to love greater so that others may experience the depth of God’s unconditional love for them through me.
MONDAY – Visions of the soul from my mind.
How is my present mindset enabling me to recognize God’s presence in the soul of another? Our soul’s Divine Encounter with God empowers us so that we can have the mind of God and not the mind of the world. The mind of the world consists of judging others, finding fault with others, blaming, and tearing down others all so that we can feel superior and make others feel insecure and inferior. When we make up our minds, we can either move mountains to make a path or make mountains so to create an obstacle. If we put on the mind of Christ, we become a more authentic people and live a life of honesty, integrity, truth, unity, openness, mercy and understanding. As we put on the mind of Christ and live out or souls Divine Encounter with God, others will see through us to God, and they will invite us to see through them to their God as well.
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God, I will open my mind to be more open, less judgmental, and less critical so that others may experience the depth of God’s unconditional love and acceptance for them through me.
TUESDAY – Visions of the soul through my senses.
Our senses, what we see, taste, hear, smell and touch can bring us to a greater awareness of the presence of God. As we Encounter Him in the deep recesses of our soul and how that Encounter is reflected in and through our senses, can be an amazing and enlightening experience. For instance, if we open our eyes to behold the beloved-ness of another and see past their physical disability or their emotional challenges, or their social status, then we recognize them as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation beyond any disability. We then see to their soul. If we speak words that encourage and not judge, words that forgive and not resent, then we are speaking to their soul, if we listen to their cries and not turn a deaf ear because of our own fears, anxieties, or ego, then we are hearing the voice of their soul, if we lift another up and not choose to push them down, then we are experiencing the touch of God upon their soul.
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God, I will prayerfully use my senses to encourage, strengthen and build up those around me so that they can better recognize the presence of God in what they see, the words they speak, the aromas the surround them, hearing God’s voice in the whisper and what they reach out to touch.
WEDNESDAY – Visions of the soul as a builder of the Kingdom of God.
As a builder of the Kingdom of God, I am called to work in unity with others and not to selfishly try and build it on my own. The Kingdom of God is not an island where one can hide or become isolated, but rather it is unity in community. The Kingdom of God is built not with humungous machinery or a slew of engineers, but rather people who seek to reflect their soul’s Divine Encounter with God and bring about the compassion, peace, mercy, happiness, joy, understanding, empathy that Jesus preached, and we are called to extend. As we respond to our soul’s Divine Encounter with God, every brick of prayer, good works, kind words, acts of mercy, reconciliation, unity and truth reflect the presence of God and allow one to see into the souls of their fellow builders.
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God as a fellow builder of His kingdom, I will strive to work together and in Divine unity with others as we build His Kingdom here on earth one step, one prayer, one act of mercy, one act of kindness, and one act of love at a time.
THURSDAY – Visions of the soul reflected in my prayer life.
Only you can identify your soul’s Divine Encounter with God and how that has become part of your prayer life. As one enters into a relationship with God in prayer after their soul’s Divine Encounter with God, can one truly see within themselves God’s presence and desire for them and how they are being called to reach other to others in prayer. Is your soul’s Divine Encounter with God calling you to pray in adoration to the God whom you have encountered, or for those who are in need that are suffering and discouraged, or those who are dying and preparing to meet their God face to face, or in thanksgiving for your many blessings, or in contrition for your weakness and sins? Your prayer experiences can enable you to see to the soul of another as you selflessly present their needs to God and place their needs before your own. Can you be open to seeing them stand before God grateful to you for pleading on their behalf?
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God, I will seek to reflect, nurture, and grow from my prayer experience so that I can become my best self, the person that God created me to be and have the potential to become.
FRIDAY – Visions of the soul in my tomb experiences.
What are my tomb experiences and how are they keeping me from walking
toward the light and walking with others in the light? Is a broken relationship, past hurts, betrayal, sin, gossip, the loss of a loved one, financial stress, family concerns or illness darkening my soul’s Divine encounter with God, so that I am unable to hear His voice or follow His direction? Am I so bent on being my own savior that when a Simon of Cyrene comes and asks to help, I deny my need for help and refuse his offer? If I am acting out of fear and the need for control, then I am unable to see through the soul of another because I am blinded myself. IF I truly want to walk with others, I must accept that the walk will not always be in the light, but rather in the darkness of pain and brokenness. Can I, will I take another by the hand in the dark so that they can walk towards the light and not remain stuck? If yes, then I will walk with the soul of another, hand in hand.
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God in my tomb experiences, I will seek to encourage others who are buried in their tombs, to come forth to be healed, made whole and renewed.
SATURDAY – Visions of the soul in my resurrections.
He is risen!!!! And so have I. I have emerged from my tomb and have experienced new life in Him who is my God and creator, the lover of my soul, the Divine Encounter that enriches, sustains, and strengthens me. May I be the light for others who are stuck in their tomb, or afraid to take another step from their tomb or want to turn and go back in their tomb. My light can be the light of empathy, patience, understanding or silence, it can be a big fire or a little spark, as long as it is a light to guide and encourage and not to make one stumble and fall.
For today, as I reflect on my soul’s Divine Encounter with God in my resurrection experiences, I will live my life in light of the resurrection and newness of life, and not succumb to defeat, despair or discouragement.
Glimpse of God for the week of January 2, 2022
The Feast of the Epiphany
Do you believe in miracles? What is miracle? The Oxford Dictionary defines a miracle as: an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency”.
I think in simpler words, a miracle is an act of God that remains a mystery to the mind yet provides an invitation by God’s Holy Spirit for a personal transformation of the heart.
When I think of a miracle, I first think of the Holy Family. The Immaculate Conception of Mary, chosen by God at her conception to be the mother of His Son, our Savior. Joseph, the miracle, and his gift of faith as He fell in disbelief at the announcement, to trust and courage as an angel visited him. Jesus how He was able to undergo His passion, death, and resurrection. All of which these three individuals would never been able to respond to without faith, trust, and courage and the desire to surrender to God’s will, which allowed them to be His instruments for the salvation of souls today, yesterday and all our tomorrows.
Miracles happen every day. God’s divine intervention occurs every time our heart is involved, and our minds need to make changes, or be changed so that we can be our best self before God, others and in the mirror. Do you recognize them? A miracle requires as least two things; an openness to God’s working in your life so that you can recognize His action, and a willingness to accept the miracle as meant for you and not everyone else.
A miracle to me can only be an act of God. The first miracle that I would like to focus on is the breath from God that keeps us alive. Humans are not plugged into an electrical outlet to get their power supply or energy. No God created humanity in His image and likeness so that we would depend on Him to receive our spiritual and physical energy, nourishment, and power. Power to do what? To choose love over hate, pardon over injury, peace over division, compassion over judgment, understanding over differences and acceptance over hatred. God gives us our very breath and live so that we can honor Him, serve Him, and build up His kingdom here on earth.
Life is God’s gift to us and what and how we choose to live that life is our gift to God. Are we able to recognize the many miracles that occur every day? From the moment we awake to the moment we sleep and the many moments in between? And when we do, are we grateful or afraid or unaccepting of such a gift?
Do we allow our self to recognize the miraculous powers that our family, friends, and community hold? When they can love us in our lowest and most vulnerable times, when they forgive us of our most hurtful actions or words directed toward them, when they see our best self when we can only see our worst self as it emerges. That is God, that is God’s divine intervention at work. We can’t deny the presence of the Almighty when we see our weakest self-emerge, and others seek to see our best self even as it is hidden, but they know can and will come forward. Do we see others as God’s instruments of peace, joy, healing, pardon, or do we try to find a logical secular reason for events that occur that we didn’t expect and or surprised us?
For someone to be canonized in the Church to sainthood, 2 verifiable postmortem miracles need to be attributed to the candidate saint. Saints are ordinary people who lived life and did things in an extraordinary way. I believe that we are all sinners striving to be saints as we live and not just after we die. We might not be recognized by the Church for our good deeds, or our acts of kindness, or our great love shown, but God knows our heart and all that is in it, He has seen it expand and sometimes shrink. He sees into our heart, He wants us to know that when it comes to matters of the heart, only His grace and intervention can lead us to become our best self and live up to our potential, so that we can not only recognize His power within us, but that we can bring about his miracles, both mini and major, to others. Miracles are a surprise to many and a revelation to others. We are or can be surprised when we think of miracles happening in our life. We don’t expect them, and we don’t necessarily pray for them, but if we think about it long enough, we can see more clearly God’s intervention as we reflect on difficult situations, people, or events that we found our self choosing love, being loving and allowing the grace of mercy overflow from the core of our being.
So, as we begin this new week with the new year just a day old, let us strive to see more clearly the many mini and major miracles that occur. May we not be afraid to embrace them, acknowledge them or share them with others. Let us seek to recognize the many miracles that will embrace, surround, and transform us to be a better person, a Eucharistic person, and Incarnational person knowing that Christ dwells within us and all about us.
SUNDAY - “M” The Mundane
In the mundane, the routine of work, raising a family, providing for your family and the demands on your energy, sometimes make you feel as if you are going around in circles and not producing any good. We sometimes look at our daily routines and get discouraged because we can’t or are unable to see progress, or we feel underappreciated and taken for granted. We can feel as if we are not living up to our potential and this makes us feel as if we are disappointing God. Being bored, underappreciated, physical and spiritual weariness, can lead us to thinking that we are not doing our very best, but then the miracle occurs. When we take a moment to reflect on what we see as mundane, God sees as gift, when we feel underappreciated, He wants us to know that He not only appreciates our efforts but rewards them with His love, peace, joy, and calm. When we look at the hard work it takes in raising and providing for a family, and we find that we do it out of and in love for them, God, and our self, we begin to see things differently. The mundane becomes an avenue for miraculous. God’s grace opens our minds, hearts, and spirit to see His action so that we don’t feel as if we are in the mundane alone. He allows us to see the love that binds us to our families, to Him and to others, and that love is what motivates us to endure what seems to be mundane, but is a transformative avenue, agent or power to share.
For today, look at your mundane and see the face and presence of God in you as you plow through it and refuse to be mastered or defeated by it.
MONDAY - “I” Invitation God invites you to draw nearer to Him
God can be selfish. Yes, He can. He wants us to be in relationship with Him, to honor Him as the one true and only God and to place all our cares, concerns and worries on His shoulders so that He can work with us to use them as sources of strength and not weakness or worry. He wants to be in relationship with you and He gives you so many ways to enter in that relationship with Him. He created you so He knows your weakness and strengths, sins and celebrations, He is not waiting for you to become perfect but rather for you to take your imperfections to Him so that His miraculous power can transform them from imperfections to invitations to seek personal and spiritual transformation, renewal and conversion. I would say that God wants you all to Himself, and that He will get that when He calls you back home to Himself. But during this earthly journey, He is being selfless because He wants you to spread His love and message of Good News to all those you encounter. He fills you with His love so that you can share it, spread it, and come back to Him for refills.
For today, invite Jesus into your heart, mind, and spirit so that you can be His instrument of miracles that He intends you to be.
TUESDAY - “R” Making it through the rough patches
God knows that you feel as I you need a miracle to get through the rough patches, heavy crosses that life presents. Whether the rough patch be the death of a spouse or a close family member or friend, unemployment, financial worries, or concerns, broken or estranged relationships or serious health issues, they can leave us drained and unable to see or recognize God in their midst. We need a miracle or divine intervention if we are to carry the cross and make it through the rough patches. Yet in the worst situations and heaviest crosses, miracles surround us. When we lose a loved one, the miracle of many heartfelt memories overflow from within us, and the consolation, support and encouragement of friends and family lift us up. When darkness abounds, when we feel the pain of a broken relationship, we feel broken, betrayed and deeply wounded. Our free will gives us the choice to choose His grace so that we can seek the healing that only God can provide, or we can choose to turn away from His grace and choose to selfheal or medicate to escape the pain. God wants us to know that even in the darkest experience of brokenness, He is there with us, walking with us through our darkness so that we can enter the light of healing wholeness, conversion and transformation together. The miracle is that you desire the grace to forgive and not seek revenge, to let go and not hold onto grudges or bitterness or anger, and you want to move on and wish no harm on those who have hurt you. The miracle is in forgiveness. It is a humble and selfless act that requires the presence and miraculous power of God’s grace so that it is genuine and lasting. We cannot forgive on our own. We as a sinful people, sometimes guided by the secularism of the world and the ‘me’ mentality, seek to get revenge, and get even with those who have hurt us at whatever cost.
Yet the miracle lies in the presence support and prayers of those who know you and the kind of person that you are and how you want to be your best self.
They pray for that, and God hears and answers their prayer for you. When you find yourself forgiving or seeking forgiveness, when you find yourself ready to bury the past and begin anew, when you find yourself at peace and happy in the Lord, the miracle of healing has occurred, and the rough patch has no more power over you. When you find yourself doing the very thing that you didn’t want to do, or didn’t think you could do, God action in your life is powerful and at work. You can pray that others experience healing in their life as well, but your healing, wholeness, becoming your best self and reaching the potential that God knows you can, does not depend on other’s choices only your own.
For today, thank God for the rough patches that have made you the strong person that you are today. Thank Him for calling you from the darkness and heavy weight of your cross to His marvelous and miraculous light that has allowed you to move towards becoming your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.
WEDNESDAY – “A” Admiration of your hero, mentor, spiritual guide
When we admire someone of hold them in high esteem it is usually because of how they have guided us and brought us to see the goodness and love of God for us and in others. God places people in our life as His instruments to bring us to a greater knowledge of His love, His presence, and His desire to draw closer to us. Our heroes, our mentors, our spiritual guides are and have been chosen by God for us.
We look up to some people differently because they have brought us through some rough patches and have led us to learn about what true love is: the gift, work and presence of God. For many their heroes are their parents. Because as they reflect on when they were children and the heartaches, worries and stresses that they caused them, the challenges that they presented, their parents loved them through all of that and didn’t give up on because of them. They taught them what true love was in forgiving and seeking forgiveness, in compassion and empathy instead of judgment and self-condemnation, in acceptance of their responsibility and not self-justification of their actions. When a couple exchanges wedding vows, they do so not just for themselves, but for the family, the children that they hope to raise. I will love you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer until death when we part. Their vows extend to their children. Parents vow to be there for and love their children through all times; the times that their children experience growing pains, identity struggles, independence fights, financial battles, curfews, driving privileges, and wanting to be on their own because they thought that they knew better and could do better without their rules and responsibilities. Parents are there for their children when they are sick and when they return to good health, when they struggle in school and when they improve and excel, when they move out and begin a new life of their own with their own family, when they are burdened financially and unable to support them self because of unemployment or unexpected health issues.
The miracle of admiration be it of a parent, friend, mentor, or spiritual guide, is that it is due to God’s grace and how He has enabled you to see His presence in them because you needed to see it more in yourself.
For today, think of those you admire and why, and take a moment to thank them personally or in prayer. And then take a moment to thank God for the gift of His grace that has enabled you to recognize with greater clarity those qualities that you admire in others you also possess.
THURSDAY - “C” Your compassion, care and concern or others
In the compassion, care, and concern that you show, we all know and realize that it is difficult to show when one is weary or stressed out. It can be difficult to be present to another who is in need when you are needy and aren’t sure how your own needs will be fulfilled or can be fulfilled, your energy levels are low and what you do have left is minimal. Face it, it’s not a sin or weakness but rather a human limitation and reality.
When one is suffering, ill, carrying a heavy cross, you are always there to help them by listening, consoling, offering whatever assistance you can offer. The time that you take to be compassionate and caring in your most depleted moments is God himself in a miracle moment. The recipient needed to hear from God and since only God knows our hearts, He called on you to be what they needed. God doesn’t say Hey, it’s me, or give me credit, but rather He invites us to recognize His presence in the soft whisper, the gentle calming voice of others like you. He sends you and you choose to enter into that covenant of love with Him and with those who are in need and seeking to see a glimpse of God as He chooses to reveal himself and asks us to do the same for others. God’s grace and His miracle is when we choose to be patient so that as we extend our care, concern and compassion we do it in and out of love and not obligation.
For today, pray for tall those who have been instruments of love by how they have extended their compassion, care, and concern to you and for you in your most difficult and trying times.
FRIDAY – “L” the miracle of Love
He miracle of love can build bridges, climb mountains, heal broken hearts, bind wounds, bring lives together and bring about new life from the tomb to the tomb. Love supports, sustains, and challenges our hearts so that we can be and become our best self, but most of all, love reminds us that in our weakest moments and most sinful times, Christ redeemed us out of complete, selfless, and unconditional love. We were redeemed in and out of love when Christ chose to die for our sins and open the gates to heaven for us so that we will one day be reunited with God our creator, Christ our redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our advocate. In love and out of love, Christ comes to us every time we receive Him in the Sacraments of the Church.
In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are not only forgiven of original sin, but we are also called by name and given the light of Christ so that as we enter His passion and death here on earth, we are led with His light to continually seek resurrection.
In the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Anointing, we receive His healing and merciful touch, in the Holy Eucharist, we are spiritually nourished and sustained, in the vocation covenant of Holy Orders and Marriage, we are strengthened to remain in a covenant relationship with our spouse and the Church, we receive His strength and are nourished and in the last rites before we enter into the loving embrace of God, we are forgiven, nourished, and called to trust and not be afraid for God is with us and calling us back home to be with Him where there is no more suffering or pain, only eternal joy, happiness and peace. The Sacraments of the Church are God’s miracles given to us out of and in love so that we can grow in love with Him and others and learn to love our self as His beloved children. When we love beyond our imaginings, we are responding to God’s presence and intervention. When we choose not to love, we are closing our heart, mind, and spirit to love which is God.
For today, reflect on your miracles of love and thank God. Thank God for them and those who have been His instruments.
SATURDAY - “E” God’s loving embrace
We all know the pain of grief when we lose a loved one in our family or in our circle of friends. Yet we believe, maybe not right away, that they truly are in peace and in the loving embrace of God. God calls us back home to be with Him, and when we look back at the lives of those who have touched us and have been called back home, we remember the many mini miracles that they were a part of; the many times, instances, circumstances and events that they showed great love amid contradiction and turmoil, congratulations and celebrations. They were instruments of God’s presence and intervention and when they touched our life, and when God invited us to go and do the same. We will all be called to come home. The last major miracle that we will witness to is when we are called back home by God where there is no more pain or suffering, sin, or sadness. We are now at our destination, and resting place where we will see Jesus who loved us to death, Mary who loved us to life with Her Son by her Yes to God, and to our loving God and father who created us and loved us to life both here on earth and heaven.
For today, pray to those and for those who have gone before you in faith and thank them for their ability to bring about God’s many mini miracles to you from Him. What a gift! HAPPY EPIPHANY!!