THE DAY CHRIST WAS BORN – ADVENT DAY OF REFLECTION, DECEMBER 3, 2022
My own reflections
Mary had faith in God in God and his promises Joseph held on to hope that things would work as God wanted them to the shepherd’s great love for God and his message and they gave up all in search of the Savior. My presentation is in response to reading the book by Jim Bishop, The Day Christ was Born. I would recommend reading it because I feel as if he unconsciously places the reader in the story as if you were there. He builds up the story with factual information and makes it as if you were present at the events with the various players. There is no daily reflection but rather just my thoughts.
Mary visited by the Angel Gabriel and was told that she was chosen by God to be the mother of our savior, the Messiah.
She knew about the promise of a Messiah, as she was a very learned Jewish girl. She grew up in the temple and later with the stories the visitations constantly told by her parents and Anne and Joachim.
In her question of How can this be? She was not to asking for a sign or seek proof, but rather to come to a greater understanding of what he was saying. She could not fully grasp what the angel was telling her and in her heart she thought, why me? can this be true?
How often when things happen to us and we find ourselves saying, why me? could this be true? how am I to respond?
Mary said to the Angel not seeking a sign or proof out of doubt like Zachariah, but to come to a greater understanding of the angel’s message. The angel told her that the Holy Spirit will overshadow her and she would conceive a child and he shall be called Jesus, the savior, our Redeemer.
Often when we live through some very painful and unexpected situations, we then start with the why's, could this be true, am I being punished? Or when we are blessed beyond our imaginings, we even question why. How can this be, how come I am so fortunate, and others are not? there are so many others who are suffering how come or can I be so blessed? Whatever message God has given us, what are we being invited to do that will build up His kingdom here on earth? If we are called to carry a heavy cross, we are given the strength and grace by God to carry it knowing that we are never alone.
Mary believed this and trusted in God and in that trust, she said Yes, she gave her Fiat that began our salvation. Mary was overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, and she conceived the child.
I believe that we can, if we try to, recognize how in our life experiences where and when we were overshadowed or embraced by the Holy Spirit and received new life. The new life that was conceived within us were his gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, piety, and fear of the Lord. How do we know that we received his gifts? It is by the way we share his fruits of joy, charity, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, gentleness, faithfulness, chastity, modesty, and self-control, with others.
We receive these gifts from the Holy Spirit who is alive and well in our life. I believe that what we desire is to be a greater reflection of these gifts and fruits as was Mary.
Through Mary's intercession, as we imagine being overshadowed by the Holy Spirit, what we can see within, it's what we give life to it is our better self, our stronger self, our deeply rooted self in Christ. No matter what we are called to do, or cross we are called to carry, we are invited to ask for Mary's help, her never-ending intercession, knowing that it's always available. Mary said yes, we say yes not just once but every day when we recognize how God has chosen us to be his witnesses in the world beginning in our home, in our community, and on our world.
Mary was the first living Tabernacle. She bore the savior and not only gave Him life but gave us all new life in Christ. As members of the body of Christ, each time we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are also a living Tabernacle. Christ dwells in our heart and we are enlivened with His grace so that we are not an empty vessel but a but a living Tabernacle filled with God's grace to be his living witnesses to all those we encounter.
Mary's eyes and heart were open to God and his message that the Angel delivered. The angel delivered God's message to his servant Mary, and she accepted it, and lived it out. We sometimes have our eyes and hearts closed due to fear, anxiety, and stresses of daily life yet God knows our hearts and understands and recognizes our weaknesses. So as we think about closing our eyes and heart because we are afraid, take a moment to remember that in the darkness, God's light shines even brighter so when you open your eyes and heart His light will be the beacon that leads you and others to the Christ child.
Joseph was visited by an Angel
After Joseph decided to divorce Mary or put her away to avoid her from being stoned to death an Angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife.) At first, I am sure that he was not only startled, but more confused and probably thought that he was going nuts, but once he realized the Angel was from, although he still did not understand his role in this miracle, he trusted that God would show him what he needed to do, he was happy and at peace.
Joseph, prior to the dream, was content and sure that he could provide for Mary, as a Carpenter and his work had and would be their livelihood. He was concerned because he knew that Sacred Scriptures said that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but they lived in Nazareth, and up to that point had no intention to travel that far.
But then the census came out from Caesar Augustus. Everyone, no matter what, even the blind, lame and even pregnant women had to return the city of their fathers and there be counted. Joseph prepared for the long journey and tried to console Mary by telling her that the ancient prophecy was being fulfilled, in spite of their wishes, was coming true. So, at this news and obligation, Mary and Joseph prepared to leave for Bethlehem, which was 50-mile journey that would take at least five days. The physical journey of Mary who was about to give birth and traveling to a land not known, and Joseph who was afraid that about the safety of the baby began. The spiritual journey of faith, trust and hope continued.
After the journey was completed and they arrived in Bethlehem, they were faced with the reality that all the inns and everything living space was filled with folks and there was no place for Mary and Joseph to go to have the baby. But they were offered a cave that they could have the baby, it was where the animals were kept warm. That was all that Joseph had. As the husband he felt that he disappointed and failed both Mary and Jesus, he wanted the best for her and the baby, but he accepted what was placed before him trusting that God placed it there and all was going to be well.
How often do our thoughts and ideas go off track? we think we know how it should be? we think we know what's best for us, but then we see that God’s plan is what worked and through it we learned and became stronger person. With God’s grace and through it all we are able to recognize how we became our best self the person that God crated us to be and have the potential to become.
Like Joseph, sometimes when we are called by God to do His will in our life and we think that it will be clear and easy, we often encounter many obstacles, roadblocks, and mountains. We begin to feel that we didn’t hear Him right or failed and even disappointed God and others. It’s not what we thought it would be. If God wanted me to do this, it should be clear and easy. When the angel appeared to Mary and Joseph, he didn’t say it would be easy, he said fear not. In other words, do not be afraid of me, an angel of God, or of what God is calling you to. Yet we know as do the martyrs and saints, that God’s will isn’t meant to be easy, but He would never ask anything of us that we could not fulfill without His grace. Following Christ’s footsteps is what makes it a straight and clear path.
How often do we think that we failed God and others and are so deeply disappointed in ourselves because of our mistakes and bad choices? Although we make mistakes, the consequences and repercussions don't define us, what defines us is that we are God's beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and are His greatest creation. Joseph maintained his hope with his faith and trust of Mary and hoped that all would work as God wanted it to
The Shepherds were visited by an angel
The shepherds were outcasts, wanderers, they had no roots, seldom married, they were looked down upon and having sheep that didn't smell all that great didn't help. But God’s angel appeared to them in their lowliness and humility and proclaimed that both the savior and Lord was born and that they wanted to go worship him. God knew their hearts and knew that they would want to go in search of Him. They left all behind, their livelihood which lied in being a shepherd and in their sheep, in search for the savior and they found him.
We have our Holy Father, the Shepherd of all Catholics, our bishops, priests, and deacons, who are our ordained shepherds.
So as a group, although we are not shepherds or in a foreign land, or are ordained, we are shepherds in that we are called to bring others to know Christ. We are called to guide, lead. and show others how to know Christ through our example so as to show them how they are instrumental in building up the kingdom of God here on earth. The angel appeared to the shepherds, and they gave up all to seek the Christ child. We don’t have to leave home to find the Christ child. Like the shepherds, as they beheld the child in a Manger and emerged with great joy and proclaimed his birth to all they encounter, don’t we, or shouldn’t we do this when we behold the child Jesus in the Eucharist? When Jesus enters our being in the Eucharist, we are filled with great joy, and it is that joy that we are to share with all those we encounter. It is then that we are shepherds, helping all of God’s sheep, both the lost and the found, to come and know Him better and that He came for them and not just for everybody else, we all have reason to proclaim Joy to the world.
The shepherds were outcasts, yet they knew about God and Sacred Scripture. How do we look at the outcasts of our society? The homeless, the addicted, the poor…..
Do we, are we willing to see the face of God in their face, or do we turn away, make judgments, and leave being indifferent? Do we try to be in relationship with them as a brother or a sister in the Lord, or do we keep them at a distance as a stranger?
The shepherds possessed the faith and trust, the hope and joy of Mary and Joseph and as humble shepherds were chosen by God to behold the face of God in the baby Jesus. They heard the message and beheld the miracle. So as a seeker and follower of the Christ
child, although we are not shepherds herding sheep in a foreign land, everyday if we open our hearts and minds to God’s voice, we will hear his message and be given the opportunity to behold a miracle. The miracle of life, every breath that we take, the gift of reconciliation, of mercy being extended, injuries being healed, us becoming whole, these are all actions of God and His grace within us. The shepherds beheld the miracle and emerged with great joy and exultation. When we receive Eucharist, so we emerge with great joy and exultation,
Most or do we just go away feeling no different, or not allowing us to feel different? The Eucharist, Jesus changed Mary, Joseph, the Shepherd and even the wise men, how can we not be changed after we receive the Holy Eucharist, after we have the opportunity to behold Jesus in our very heart, mind, spirit, and soul? And if we are changed, does that not affect how we see others? aren’t we able to see past appearances and see the heart of the person? Do we seek to see past the hurt to the healing?
A Reflection on All the Saints that walk with us, on this our mutual holy ground,
All the Souls that have walked with us on their journey of faith to their final reward:
Eternal rest, peace, and happiness in the loving embrace of God.
As we begin a new week, we enter tomorrow by looking at Halloween, Tuesday we honor All Saints Day and Wednesday we commemorate All Souls Day. Two of these days encompass that which we strive to be here one earth, sinners striving to be saints so that when we enter our eternal reward, we can join all those beloved souls of who have gone before us in faith. Halloween is God’s gift so that we can satisfy our sweet tooth and be a kid for a day.
To me, All Saints day is not just about those who have been officially declared saints by the Church and through their example and love for God, inspire us to seek a greater holiness. To me it means more than that. For me it is about those who walk on this mutual holy ground with us on our faith journey every day. It is about those who we are blessed to walk with, our beloved family members, friends, coworkers, community members, neighbors, parishioners and even the stranger.
As we walk with each other, the saints are those who endure our impatience, our weaknesses, have been the recipient of our sinful choices, tolerate our moodiness and our inability to be compassionate, pray for us as we are merciless and selfish, instead of being merciful and selfless, and see us at our worst and not our best and choose not to judge us or condemn us. They choose to remain with us because they know that that is what God would want them to do, and they also realize that is what God does for them as well. They, those saints in our lives; our parents, our family members, our spouse, our community members, our friends, fellow parishioners, choose to love us through and in all of that.
You might think of them as martyrs, but the difference is that they are not dying for their faith in us, but they are dying to their very self as they invite us to be a better person, the best person that God created us to be, and they know we have the potential to become. They call us to a greater, deeper, and better knowledge of God through their life and their example. They invite us, by God’s design, to grow in relationship with Him. Those saints in our life choose to die to themselves, their desires for themselves while they are walking with us, so that they can show us what God truly desires for us and how we can best reach that. They are allowing God to make them His instrument as they walk with us on our mutual holy ground. Our parents, our spouse, our children and even those whom we do not know well are gifts from God, His instruments of love.
Like many gifts, we don’t always recognize their beauty or significance, purpose, or reason. As we live each day as sinful human beings, we are given the gift and presence of others who are also sinners striving to become saints, to help us see our self as God sees us; His beloved children, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation.
As we walk with each other on our faith journey here on earth, on this our mutual holy ground of God’s great creation, we walk together one with each other, one with Christ, so that we stay focused on the direction that will lead us to our eternal reward, that true and lasting holy ground.
Who is your faith journey saint? Who are you walking with that is inviting you to become your best self and at the same time, challenges and does not condemn you, when you are your worst self? When you are in their presence, can you admit, that you see a something greater than just a Glimpse of God, but maybe a bigger picture of who God is? Does you saint inspire you? Lead you to a deeper sense of holiness and a spirit of humility? Is at peace with their God as they look in the mirror? And they can recognize themselves as a sinner, but more importantly they know and believe that in their sinfulness, God’s loves them unconditionally because they are His beloved child, His greatest creation?
Has God called your saint back home to Himself? As you remember their saintliness, can you pray to them now as they stand before God in the company of Mary and the communion of saints? Can you ask them to pray for you as you continue to be a sinner who also strives to be a saint here on earth?
All Saints Day and All Souls day should bring us a sense of peace as we think about the saints here on earth that we will walk with today, have walked with us in our yesterdays, and will walk with us in our tomorrows. Their souls, the souls of the just, are now resting in God’s loving embrace, but their memory, their love, their presence, will always remain in our hearts, and we should never forget them or think them to be gone forever.
Although we miss their physical presence, their presence and impression, their impact and their love will remain in our mind, within our heart and a part of our spirit, as long as we choose to remember them and not forget them.
As you enter a new week, take each day to remember those saints that walk with you and your saints that have walked before you to their final journey. Think of the virtues, qualities, gifts, and graces that God has bestowed on them that makes them saintly. As you admire these virtues and qualities in another one of God’s beloved children, ask him to help you nurture your own special gifts, qualities, charisms, virtues so that you can grow closer to Him. Ask for the grace to recognize those qualities, virtues, gifts, and charisms within yourself, those that will help you become your best self, the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become and will make you a living saint here on earth.
God has many gifts in store for you to help you as you seek to grow in holiness. Allow God’s goodness, His love, His invitation to grow with Him, His peace, His mercy, His dying example of selflessness and His loving embrace, be the glimpse, the big picture that keeps you focused on being the best person that you can be and want to be.
reflect on the saints that have journeyed with you and the souls that have gone before you, thank God for them, and in and in a spirit of humility, thank God for calling you to be a saint in their
lives and on the faith journey of others. For the souls who have gone before you in faith, pray to them and for them as they find eternal rest, peace, and happiness in the loving embrace of God. If
they have harmed you, or if you have caused them harm during their earthly journey, seek greater saintliness by forgiving them and seeking their forgiveness.
SUNDAY – “G” God’s goodness
God is good and gracious. He provides all that we need to grow in relationship with Him. What glimpses or gifts has God placed in your life that have allowed you to grow in a deeper relationship with Him? Have you been given the gift of quiet time in the midst of your busy day? Have you been gifted with a better understanding of prayer and how God wants you to speak from your heart, honestly and without fear? Can you recognize the goodness of others that surround you and how they have helped you grow in love with your God and in a deeper relationship with Him? Your parents, grandparents, siblings, teachers, friends, co-workers, community members, neighbors? Thank God for being so good to you.
MONDAY – “L” God’s love
God’s love is eternal. His love for you will never die, grow short, end or be restricted. He loves you unconditionally. There is nothing that you can say or do that will make God love you less. Do you believe that? On your journey toward holiness, who is a beacon of the unconditional love of God? To whom have you been a beacon to of the unconditional love of God?
TUESDAY – “I” God’s invitation
God’s invitation is not a trick but a treat. He invites us to be in relationship with Him. He invites us to be in communion with Him each and every day. This communion will be a communion of transformation, conversion, renewal, and refreshment. It is an invitation that comes not because we have earned it, or won it, or deserve it. It is free but it comes with a commission and mission. It is an invitation for us to unite our will to God’s so that we can be our best self, the person that He has created us to be, the person that others want us to be, and the person that we can face in the mirror and not run away from. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to extend the invitation to others and be ready and willing to talk about the good news with them. Have you opened your invitation? Is it still sitting on your desk, unopened? Opened but still in the envelope?
Right out front ready to reread again and again? Is it in a prominent spot that reminds you of how much God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you?
Say your own RSVP. No regrets.
WEDNESDAY – “M” God’s mercy
God’s mercy is such a gift. It requires grace to share it, grace to receive it and grace to extend it. Can you recognize how God’s grace has opened your heart to receive His mercy and can you see how you have extended it to others? How has mercy been extended to you?
Blessed are the merciful they shall be shown mercy….
THURSDAY – “P” God’s peace
We can’t experience true peace without God. In the midst of life, where we can get stressed out and anxious, the peace that God longs for us to have and hold onto is overshadowed by many other things. Being at peace doesn’t mean that there will not be times of stress, but rather it can mean that in the midst of the stress, when we can turn over our concerns to God trusting in His infinite wisdom, we trust that we will not feel overwhelmed, alone or anxious. In the midst of life, when we invite God to walk with us through it all, His presence brings about the peace that we need so that we can keep putting one foot in front of the other and not turn back. The prayer of Saint Francis, the prayer for peace, is a foundational prayer that when one prays it, one begins to experience what true peace is and can be. As we pray for peace with Saint Francis, we begin to see as a co-worker in the vineyard of God, building His kingdom one brick, one act of mercy, one prayer at a time.
What is you level of peace? is it at the brim flowing over and abounding? Is it in the middle, half of peace yet still the other half filled with worry, concern, and anxiety? Is it on empty, because your worries, anxieties, weaknesses have sucked up all your peace and left you deflated, discouraged, or defeated? Good news!!! God’s peace flows like a river, it will never run dry, it will never leave you empty, and it will never be denied.
Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall experience peace…
FRIDAY – “S” God’s selflessness and selfishness
God calls us to be selfless not selfish. Jesus’ death was a selfless act of unconditional love and surrender. He chose to die for us so that we can experience eternal peace, joy, and happiness with Him when our earthly journey is ended. How are you called to be selfless? How hard is it to selfless and not selfish? How do others encourage you to be selfless? Who has been a selfless model for you to follow? When you are tempted to be selfish instead of selfless, what changes your mind?
Only God can be selfish and when He is it is for our own good. God is selfish in that He wants us for Himself. He loves us so much that He wants us to be in relationship with Him while here on earth so that we can see Him face to face when our earthly journey has ended. He wants us to give our time to Him and not spend so much on the computer, playing video games, texting, partying, over working, self-medicating because only when we give our time to Him in prayer can we recognize and receive the graces that we need to grow to be our best self. God is selfish in that HE is the only God, and He doesn’t want us to be deceived by the devil in believing that the world and all that it allures us with, is a god. Only God forms us in our Mother’s womb, gives us life, nurtures us throughout our earthly life with the sacraments of the church, gives us His grace so that we can live and be the best person that we can be, and promises us eternal life.
There is no god but God. Who or what is your god: consumerism, social status, power, prestige, laziness, self-centeredness, ego? have you been deceived by your god? Do you allow the only one true God into your heart and mind so that He can steer you clear of the false gods that are ready to claim you as their own?
SATURDAY – “E” God’s embrace
It is the embrace of God, the love of God, the spiritual hug from God that makes one stronger, healthier, healed, whole, at one with God. How far are you from God’s embrace? What does the embrace look like? Is it in the face of compassion, mercy, forgiveness, healing, rest, enjoyment, fun, laughter, or in the form of pets, creation, the sunrise, or the sunset? God’s embraces here on earth are as many and as often as one opens their heart and mind to seeing and experiencing them. Our greatest spiritual embrace is the Holy Eucharist, but yet we, as the body of Christ, are called to be embracers, to embrace others. How have you been God’s embrace to others? How have others been God’s embrace to you? As you walk with those saintly people in your life, how have their embraces lessened your fear, calmed your spirit, healed your soul, and awakened your hope?
Glimpse of God for the week of October 23, 2022
This week’s glimpse comes as I reflected on the high prices of gasoline, the various levels of gasoline, and how the prices significantly vary depending on what gas station you go to. Then I thought, when I want to save money, I go with the less expensive prices even if it means going a little further in distance to purchase it, and where the drive does not cancel out the discount. Then of course then I reflected a little bit more and asked myself, if gasoline is what keeps my car running well and with the three levels of gasoline, I can be assured that my car engine will remain in optimal shape with the possibility of bad performance or an engine failure being minimal. I think you can figure where God is leading me with this glimpse…..
First let me explain the levels of gasoline and their effect on the car engine as I understand it and how I use it for this glimpse. As I understand them, the various levels of octane in gasoline, regular, midgrade and premium, represent how it will prevent knocking in the engine, give the engine more power and keep it from failing. Octane is the measure of the fuel’s ability to resist “knock”. Knocking or pinging are the loud noises that occur when the air fuel mixture is incorrect. The higher the level of octane, the better it is for your car, but the lower level does not mean that it is bad, it just isn’t the best. If the quality of fuel is not good and your engine reacts to it, some of the reactions can be knocking, increased exhaust, decreased performance, rough idle, low oil, the check engine light will go on, and engine failure. All of these can lead to expensive repairs, and or not having an automobile.
With that, you may be asking why am I writing about gasoline, octane, and the effects on a car? What if one doesn’t drive, but walks or takes public transportation? My only response to you is look how much money you’re saving.
SO, if the levels of octane can determine how well your car will run and how it can avoid engine failure, how much more will the octane of God, that is, His grace in overflowing measures, prevent spiritual engine failure and the symptoms that precede it? How would one describe the impact of God’s grace in overflowing measures and how can it prevent spiritual engine failure?
I would say that the first opportunity to receive His grace in overflowing measure and would prevent spiritual engine failure would be the reception of the sacraments of the church especially the Holy Eucharist received at Mass, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In and through the sacraments, especially the real presence of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and His mercy and healing power in the sacrament of Reconciliation, will assist in keeping one’s spiritual engine running smoothly with little chance of failure.
There are two other avenues where God continues to provide an opportunity to receive His grace in overflowing measure. The first would be when one reflects on Sacred Scripture, that is the inspired word God, and the second would be in and through one’s personal prayer life. As one reads Sacred Scripture and communicates with God in prayer, the richness of the graces received are uplifting and, in that experience, one is least likely to experience spiritual failure and exhaustion. This does not mean that even in the most painful life experiences, one will always feel uplifted, what I am trying to relay is that even in the midst of pain, trauma and hurt, God does not abandon us, but rather provides us with His grace so that we can stay the course, and not give up or lose hope.
I believe that the engine of one’s being is one’s heart where all things are laid bare before God, and where love, compassion, empathy, and understanding flow. But if we allow it, anger, hatred, greed, and shame can also take root in our heart and harden it.
I think that the gas tank could be our mind where we allow all things to enter, we are absorbed by them and we allow them to permeate our being as well as where we can keep an open mind and allow in that which keeps us centered on Christ, or it can be filled with clutter and thus not allowing the Holy Spirit and His gifts to penetrate our very being.
As I attempt to provide a daily reflection on how the graces of God can prevent our spiritual engines to go into failure, please know that this is my own perspective.
SUNDAY – Knocking
Knocking in a car it is the loud noises that occurs when the air and fuel mixture is incorrect.
Spiritual knocking can be when the balance between/of prayer and action is missing. Spiritual knocking can be as one seeks to be busy about many things yet in the process forgets to stop and pray, fails to ask for God’s help, and seeks to solve one’s problems alone. It is during these periods that things just get more chaotic, messy and the noises one hears are those of confusion, fear, anxiety, and worry. These sounds come from within and can take the form of anger, frustration, self-loathing, and painful silence There is an imbalance when this occurs. But you can ask to hear another knocking and that is when God knocks at the door of your heart so that HE can enter and put things back in spiritual balance and order. For today, take a look at the scales of your spiritual life, is there a balance between your activity time and time spent with God or is there a complete imbalance due to family obligations, work stresses, community demands, financial concerns, or ill health.
Ask God to rebalance your life so that you are able to better incorporate your prayer life into your active life.
MONDAY -Increased exhaustion
As one experiences spiritual knocking, one can also experience spiritual exhaustion in that our mind, spirit, and heart are working against each other and not in union with each other. This can occur in the midst of much busyness, family and/or financial stress, ill health, and as we feel burdened with the cross that we are carrying, it is in those times when our hearts are heavy, we are unable to keep an open mind and our spirit suffers from spiritual fatigue. When we seek to do it all, solve our own problems, carry our crosses alone, we are setting ourselves up for complete spiritual, emotional and physical exhaustion, and failure. We can find ourselves unable to focus or pray, we find ourselves short on patience with others, we seek to be the center of attention and fail to pay attention the those in need around us, we can become self-serving, and in our weariness, we seek to justify our actions or inaction and blame others. When we suffer this type of exhaustion, we are snuffing out the very breath of God that we possess and that others also possess. It can be very exhausting to seek perfection both in ourselves and in others. When we seek to be perfect or that others be perfect, we can miss the flaws that can transform us. God knows that we are sinners and all He asks of us is to be our best self, the person that HE created us to be and that we have the potential to become. For today, acknowledge your spiritual exhaustion don’t ignore it, but claim it and then use it in a prayer to God and pray to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.
TUESDAY – Decreased performance
As one suffers or undergoes spiritual exhaustion, one’s performance, one’s witness to Christ, one’s ability or desire to be compassionate, understanding, empathetic is minimal and it is easier to just sit back, judge and not seek to make things better, make ourselves better. We suffer burnout, we become complacent, lazy and in those times, we just don’t have the energy or the desire to get going. It can be during these times where we ask God to just get us to the next step, help us take the next step and help us not to lose heart or hope.
For today: look at the steps you’ve taken and see where God was there in and though your exhaustion so that you didn’t stop, but with one prayer, one step at a time, you went forward.
WEDNESDAY – Rough idle
A spiritual rough idle can be when you sit still, you cannot focus or pray, yet when you are out and about, you still manage to serve others, perform the corporal works of mercy and witness to Christ as He invites you to. It is like you know what you need to do, you’ve been doing it all your life, but you can’t sit still and pray about how your actions, activities and desires can be spiritually transformative and lead to a greater and more mature spiritual motivation. A spiritual idle that needs to be addressed involves risk and probably some fear because you are seeking to be transformed to become more like Christ. All the works that we do, all the prayers that we pray have the ability to transform, reform and conform us into a better, clearer reflection of Christ. If we do not seek to be transformed, then we are choosing to stay where we are on our spiritual journey, that we don’t want to be or get better and we close our minds and hearts to hearing and listening to God. Our actions are empty, and we miss God’s grace filled moments to have them filled and more effective in our life. For today, seek to sit still and allow yourself to listen to God as He speaks to you in a gentle whisper.
THURSDAY – Low oil - In a car, driving without enough oil would make your engine seize up and stop functioning. Motor oil is responsible for making your car run as smoothly as possible.
For Catholic Christians, the oil that would enable us as God’s beloved sons and daughters to live more fully is faith in God, and a desire to grow in relationship with Him through our prayer life, the reception of the sacraments and each other. When we are missing or low on any or all of these components, we don’t run, serve, or live as God wants us to. Only with and in and through God’s grace can we serve Him as our best self.
We can try to run on empty but in the end, we realize we can’t go on. Spiritual low oil light can shine when one has spent little or no time in prayer, in deepening one’s relationship with God. Or it has been a long period of time since one received the sacrament of reconciliation, where God waits to shower you with His compassion, mercy, and healing power. Where attending Mass has not been a priority and keeping up with community to share and grow together has been amiss.
For today: reconnect with one or all of those factors that have the ability to dim the low oil light and increase the light of Christ to shine forth in and from.
FRIDAY – Check engine light goes on
In our spiritual life, the check engine light would be God’s way of letting us know that we need His grace to keep going and that we need to stop doing things without Him, His help or those that He sends us. When we sin, the sacrament of reconciliation is our check engine light to turn back to God and not away from Him. He loves us unconditionally and wants to be in relationship with Him and not to run away from Him out of shame, guilt, or a sense of unworthiness. If one fails to recognize that the spiritual low oil light is on and fails to address its causes, one can be assured that the check engine light will soon shine too.
SATURDAY – Engine failure
The difference between a car and a follower of Christ, is that a car engine can and will fail, and stop running after a certain amount of time and miles. Even if it is maintained, there comes a time when the car has to be replaced. It is not like that with us as followers of Christ. He doesn’t replace us or put us in the junk yard or take out our parts and sell them to someone else because we get too old, we don’t shine or run like we used to, or we don’t look as beautiful as new. No, His unconditional love and mercy can and is always available to us so that our spiritual life can flourish, and become a great source of strength courage, joy, peace, hope and love. God’s unconditional love for us as His beloved children remains strong, unconditional, selfless, and free no matter what we look like, how we run or how our appearance has changed. God looks into our heart and sees past the superficial appearances that others look to and judge by. If we allow God to be God and not seek to be God, then we will not run the risk of having complete engine failure. Now if one looks to heaven as a place where we will rest in eternal peace, joy, and happiness, and not a junkyard where the old, ill, and the not as pretty end up, then one can look at the earthly journey as where God constantly maintained our spiritual engines so that the light of new life would shine ever so brightly and eternally upon us.
For today: thank God that He is God and that you are not and apologize for the times when you tried to take His place and failed miserably. He has a sense of humor and it then that you can laugh together. Pray for those you think have had spiritual engine failure and ask God to bless them with a greater hope and trust in His love for them as His beloved child.
Glimpse of God for the week of October 16, 2022
This week’s Glimpse of God came to me in signs that I have seen more of and everywhere. the signs are “House for sale” and “Open House”. These signs we see all the time: in every neighborhood, the rich and the poor, for big houses and small, for old houses and new, for those that are in the beginning stages of construction, as well as those that are in the poorest of conditions, we see these signs during every season throughout the year and seem to survive any of the weather conditions that hit against it. Yet we know that in Florida and other areas that hurricanes and other forces of nature hit, many of the houses do not survive, they are flattened and destroyed. Yet, although the house may be destroyed, the builders of the home that was built on love come out stronger and more determined to rebuild and not be permanently flattened.
What is in a sign and how is it a Glimpse of God?
What is a house? It is a building with a solid foundation and is constructed of strong walls that are supposed to protect its inhabitants from the various and difficult weather conditions that mother nature can cause. It is place that is heated in the winter to keep one warm and cool in the summer to keep one comfortable. It is a building that is a dwelling for an individual or a family. It provides one with an address so that one can belong to a community and develop a sense of belonging. A house is a place where one can return after a long day’s work and relax. Owning a house is big responsibility and one that is taken on by those who feel that they are mature and can accept the responsibility and all that goes with it. What if you do not own a house, but pay rent for an apartment or you live in community, or even if you are going from place to place with no place to call your home? how can this glimpse be meaningful?
How is this a Glimpse of God? A house is four walls, a home is built on love, in love and out of love. Whether you own or rent or find yourself without a home to call your own, the love that possesses you, the unconditional love that comes for God your creator, is what gives you the safety, the warmth, the protection from all the outside forces that seek to destroy the home of your heart, where love dwells. The devil seeks to break through the foundation of love that your heart is built on and strengthened by. He seeks to build up walls of anger, hatred, bitterness, and resentment so that love has not entry point. He then takes shame, guilt, faithlessness and and self-righteousness and makes them separate rooms so that one can dwell in them and not see God’s mercy, compassion, healing and peace. He makes no room for windows so that the light of Christ can shine through only darkness. And to top it all off, his roof is made of straw so that destruction can continue the vicious cycle of ressentiment, anger……The devil does not want us to have a home, just a house so that he can have more room to enter and destroy, one brick of hatred, one pillar of anger, one nail of pride and one wall of bitterness at a time.
A house is just a building, but if it built with love, maintained in love, and perseveres in love, the love of God as it shines forth from His sons and daughters, it becomes a HOME.
A house becomes a different type of dwelling when one chooses to dwell with God. When one chooses to dwell with God, their heart becomes God’s home. When I see a sign “house for sale”, I often wonder what took place in the house and what is being left behind as the house is put up for sale. When I see the sign “open house” I wonder what is being left open for others to see and what doors have been closed so that no one can see through or past them.
As Catholic Christians, as God’s sons and daughters, God’s home should be our heart. Our heart is what we open to God so that He can enter in and help us to become the best loving sons and daughters that we can be. God chose us before we came into existence. He created us and knows us better than we know our self. He chose to dwell in our hearts and our very soul when we were conceived, and He called us by name when we were baptized. Our being, our very existence is not like a house that provides the temporal safety or the warmth or coolness or the sense of relaxation. Our presence in this world is a choice by God and only when we choose Him can we truly feel the peace, the warmth, the comfort, the safety, and the sense of belonging that He alone can provide.
The sign “house for sale” is all about a building. I wonder at times what events, memories, celebrations, positive or negative, took place in that house and how are they being remembered, cherished, or forgotten. How has that house changed the persons that dwelt in it?
The sign “open house” is about showing the house and the condition in which it is left. This often includes upgrades as well as additions since the house was first purchased. If we were to open our heart, our home to God, what would that look like? What has been upgraded in our life? Our sense of God? Our morals and values? What have we added? Religion? Prayer? Community? What aspects, areas of our life are we keeping closed? What areas or aspects, memories or circumstances are we shutting out and not allowing God to enter in and heal? Have we opened the doors of our heart to God completely? Partially? Not at all? Is the door to our heart left ajar, so that we can peek out but then quickly shut it if we don’t like what we see? What areas, memories, aspects, and situations are we opening our heart to and allowing God to touch with complete faith, surrender and hope? How has our heart, changed, become more open, been more loving since we invited God to dwell there?
This week, let us reflect on our heart, the home that is God’s dwelling place. Let us remember how He chose to dwell in the various memories that pervade our heart, our very being.
SUNDAY - today, let us remember the many birthdays, anniversaries, celebratory events that took place in our life and opened our hearts to rejoice, feel joy and happiness and let us be grateful. Enter the room of your heart and offer a prayer of gratitude to God and perhaps one person that was a part of your joy filled moments.
MONDAY – today, let us remember the events that broke our hearts, the loss of loved ones that created emptiness and void because of their absence: the death of a parent, spouse, child, or pet. Let us ask God for the healing and the grace to see that they are at peace and that through the memories we can find consolation, be filled with peace, and know the hope that Christ promised through His resurrection. Enter the room of your heart and offer a prayer for eternal peace for those who have gone before you in faith.
TUESDAY – today, let us remember, with the grace of God, the painful memories, the times that we were not respected or respectful of another, the times when our heart was broken due to the sinfulness of another. In these memories, let us seek to forgive and become healed and whole so that our hearts can truly love again as God intends. Enter the room of your heart and offer a prayer of mercy and forgiveness for those who have caused you harm and those you have caused harm to.
WEDNESDAY – today, let us remember the times when our hearts were made bigger,
when they were expanded beyond our comprehension. For the times when we first said, “I love you”, to a parent, or a sibling, and when we were told that we were loved. Let us be grateful for the times when we were able to forgive another and receive forgiveness from another. In the silence of our hearts, let us love those who have loved us with the words that only the love in our hearts can form. Enter the room of your heart and listen to the very special words from God: I Love YOU, YES YOU, I really do
THURSDAY – today, let us remember when we were the healing touch and presence to another whose heart was broken. When we were the wounded healer. For the persons whose relationships ended, or one whose love was not received or was rejected. For the parent, sibling, friend whose heart was broken because it was promised love and a sense of belonging; through addictions, power, prestige, money, and found that these were all empty promises. Let us ask God to continue to open their hearts and heal them of the pain that comes from the deception the world offers. Enter the room of your heart and pray for healing for those whose heart seems to unrepairingly broken due to divorce, abuse, betrayal.
FRIDAY – today, let us remember the events that caused us to see our inner strength and realize that we were growing up and becoming the person that God called us to become. Our reception of the Sacraments, when we got our driver’s license, when we graduated high school, and college, when we became engaged or became parents. In all of these events, God was present in our life and that we were responding to His invitation to grow into the mature, loving children that He knows that we have the potential to become.
Let us look back with a sense of humility, pride and thanksgiving recognizing that He entrusted us with these decisions to draw us closer to Himself and we said yes to Him.
Enter the room of your heart and offer a prayer of desire; the desire to continue to become your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.
SATURDAY – today, let us remember, that God is always knocking at the doors of our heart and is always ready for us to open them to Him. The doorknob is on our side. God will never force Himself on us or in our life; He gave us free will so that we can choose Him out of love and not out of fear or obligation. He invites us to be with Him and no matter what our sin is, that invitation is always open to us. God waits for us patiently, lovingly, compassionately, joyfully, and mercifully. He waits for us with the unconditional love that only He as our Creator can have for us and chose to give us by the death of His Son Jesus our Lord. Enter the room of your heart and keep it open, God is always there ready to enter and dwell.
Do not let your heart be troubled…find peace in God and know that He loves you and will always love you no matter what!!!!!!!!
GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 9,2022
As I reflect on the feast of the beloved Saint Francis that we celebrated this past week, I have to share that it is very meaningful to both John and I because it is our wedding anniversary as well as the feast day for the Franciscans, especially the family of Sisters at Assisi House, that we love, consider as members of our family and our chosen-best friends. This past week they have not only celebrated the feast of their founder, but they also mourn the loss of two of their beloved sisters, members of their beloved community and best friends. Sister Anita and Sister Saint Joseph. They have been called back home to their Lord and Savior, and now we as those who have been touched by them and mourn their physical loss, we are consoled by the many heartfelt memories as well as their love and care for others, their founder Saint Francis, and their God.
As we pray the Prayer for Peace that we contribute to Saint Francis, especially as we continue to navigate the Corona Virus and the loss of those we love, I can only imagine how many distractions we all face as we reflect on and pray the prayer for peace and how the distractions take us away from obtaining a moment of peace during the difficult times. As a daily reflection, I propose that we think about what is required to bring about true peace and what we allow to disrupt or deny us experiencing peace and allowing God to touch our life with His gift of harmony, lasting joy, and deeper love. I invite us all to recognize how we sometimes allow distractions to interfere with what God wants to give us, what we pray for, or ask to have granted us. As we reflect on the prayer and conclude with the Amen, let us allow our desire and faith, our AMEN, to permeate our being so that we can truly be builders of God’s Kingdom here on earth and God’s instrument of peace in our families, workplace, neighborhoods, communities, church, society, and world.
SUNDAY - Oh Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console,
What distractions keep us from consoling another? Is it pride, ego or our need to be the center of others attention and focus? Is the momentary distraction that of a lack of trust since we find it difficult offering consolation because we feel as if we will say or do the wrong thing? It is okay to seek consolation when we are distressed, sorrowful or grieving, God is not going to deny us that grace or gift or the people to offer it to us. But when we find our self seeking to be consoled knowing that there is another who is suffering and in need of consolation, that can be a momentary distraction of selfishness. When we thoughtlessly turn the attention to our self, then the devil is placing a distraction before us. It is then that we need to recognize that it is only with and by the grace of God that we will be able to put it aside. What distraction is being placed before you that you find that you are more often selfishly seeking to be consoled rather than selflessly offering consolation to another?
Prayer for today: Lord, grant me the grace so that I may seek more to offer consolation than to be consoled.
MONDAY - To be understood as to understand
WOW, that short prayer says so much. How many times or how often do we find ourselves saying that someone did not understand us? What does that mean or look like? How do you feel after the comment emerged? Angry, frustrated, discouraged, confused? When we seek to be understood, we are usually looking for someone to identify or empathize with us and in our needs. We share with others that we trust, our concerns during times of stress, worry, illness, or family or work struggles. In our trust of those we open ourselves up to, we hope and expect that they will understand us and extend some form of encouragement and support. Unfortunately, when that understanding or support is not met or we feel as if our concerns were dismissed, that hurts. We can be the recipient of that hurt as it occurs with family members, friends, and coworkers, those we least expect it from. We can also become the source of that hurt, because even though we strive to be God’s instruments of understanding, the cross we carry, the concerns that weigh on us, form a cloud and being more understanding is not as clear to us as it could be. Yet we are called to forgive and not seek to get even by ignoring the other, or dismissing their concerns when they come to us.
When we seek to better understand another we are acting through, with and in Christ. Those that Jesus walked with, healed, touched, and ministered to, despite His unconditional love for them, did not accept His message and chose to walk in the other direction.
The devil placed before them ignorance and fear, so that they could not surrender to and accept their need for personal and spiritual conversion and transformation. Their understanding for spiritual fulfillment and their hunger being satisfied was misguided by the devils lie that he understood their needs better than Jesus, and that he could fulfill them without any spiritual conversion or transformation, since these were not necessary.
In our life today, the devil is still misleading God’s people to believe the same thing. That he understands us better than God, and that we do not need to understand others, since he’s got that. We should seek and strive to understand others and we seek others to understand us, because we cannot do it ourselves. God places others in our life and us in other’s life so that we can mutually be empathetic, sympathetic, compassionate, kind and be selfless when life challenges and cross experiences are shared and a genuine need to know God’s will is desired. What distractions keep you from understanding others and not always seeking their sympathy, compassion, or support? Prayer for today: Lord, grant me the grace so that I may seek more to be understanding than to be understood
TUESDAY - To be loved as to love, (that is God)
Being loved. A prayer and need that we all have and desire. To be loved, to be cared for, to be needed, all of these are essential or part of the weaving of our human nature. These needs or desires, among many other needs and desires, all gifts from God, enable and empower us to want to grow to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. So why is the prayer a stress as to love? Easy but challenging answer. To me, when we are loved, we are called to share that love with a genuine and authentic heart, and not superficially. God consoles us, understands us, and loves us unconditionally and it is that very gift of consolation, understanding and love that we are called to share with others. Although our consolation, understanding and love are imperfect, our wanting to share these gifts is a sign of our love for God, others and self, and God knowing our heart makes up for what is lacking in us as we seek to be His instrument of peace, love, compassion, and mercy to others. Do you love yourself and what does that mean? How do we love others if we do not feel loved or love our self? God loves you and me unconditionally and He showed His love for you and me when He chose Mary to be the Mother of His Son, a woman, our Blessed Mother who could understand all that we experience and can guide us toward Her Son. He showed the depth of His love when His only Son, Jesus Christ, who chose to endure His passion, suffer, and die on the cross, and rise from the dead. You were in His heart when He did this, He did this for you. You were not exempt for these acts of love. You are God’s beloved son or daughter, His greatest creation oved unconditionally and without reserve or cost. When we love our self, others, and God, it is then that we reflect the love that God has planted in our heart because it has permeated our very being. It is then that we respond the prayer as to love. For today. Love yourself, be good to yourself, forgive yourself, pamper yourself, be kind to yourself.
WEDNESDAY - For it is giving that we receive,
What are we giving away, giving up, giving into, and what will we receive, get back, hold onto? We can give of our self by giving our gift of presence to those in need of an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on, a hand to raise up. Presence is a gift that is meant to be given to those in need. We might not know what to say at a given time, but the Holy spirit will fill our mind and heart when the time is right and if words are meant to spoken or silence is meant to be reverenced. What we receive back is the grace to be God’s presence, His instrument of peace to those He places on our spiritual and earthly journey. So, back to the first questions. What are we giving away? Perhaps our time for others whose time is being occupied by daily stresses, worries, concerns, illness and our time with them brings them a sense of belonging, peace, comfort and encouragement. What are we giving up, perhaps selfishness? We can think of so many things that we need to do, to check off of our list, and yet when another who is need calls upon us, that check list becomes secondary and being present to another becomes our primary concern. What will we receive, get back or hold onto? The gift and consolation, courage, inspiration, encouragement, and strength knowing that the grace of God was given to us so that we can be His instrument when another needed to hear from Him through us. Prayer for today: look at what you have been given or received and seek to let go of those things that these gifts replaced.
THURSDAY - It is pardoning that we are pardoned,
Only when we pardon another can we seek pardon from God. I often say that we can get to heaven with cancer, but not with holding a grudge, being resentful or unforgiving. When we seek to forgive another, we are seeking to bring about peace, to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth, and to be God’s instrument of mercy and compassion. If we seek to hold onto a grudge, and choose not to forgive another or our self, we are not allowing the love of God to enter into our being. By these actions we are choosing to be self-centered and self-righteous, and greater than God. As Jesus died on the cross, He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Who was He referring to, who was the Them? Those who crucified Him, those who betrayed Him, those who rejected Him, those who denied Him, those who abandoned Him. If they were the ones He was referring to, then we can consider ourselves in that same company of sinners. Don’t we abandon, reject, deny, betray Him when we abandon Him by casting aside the needs of those abandoned by society, when we judge them as less than human. Don’t we reject Him when we discard or reject those who are less fortunate, prisoners to addiction, less educated, poor, homeless, yet we all are God’s children. Even with that knowledge, we still find justification when we reject their needs to fulfill our own need of feeling or being superior or stronger and not weak?
Don’t’ we crucify Him by placing the nails of prejudice, hatred, bias, intolerance and injustice in the hands and feet of those who are different, whose life choices are not ours, who we deem as sinners, and we do not seek to understand or accept them for their choices or differences? Forgive them for they know not what they do…..When we seek to not pardon another, do we really know what we are doing and how it will affect our spiritual journey now and in the life to come? For today: seek pardon from someone you have injured and pardon one who has injured you so that you can forgive yourself, and God can renew your hope, shower you with His gift of peace, fill you with His love and mercy so that you can share it joyfully.
FRIDAY - It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
As we live and walk our earthly journey we are not being promised tomorrow. We are given the grace of each day, each moment so that we can give glory to God in and through our life. To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life so that we can be happy with Him in the life to come. Sound familiar? Yet it is a short summary that tells the whole story. We are not given each day to live selfishly, but rather to die to self so to live for God. How does dying to self unfold in our life? That answer comes in and through your prayer as God reveals what dying to self means for you at that time. We die to self every time we are selfless and place the needs of others before our own. We die to self when we accept our cross without complaining and when we can unite our suffering to Christ and seek His strength so that we do not quit. We die to self when we surrender to His will, let go of the things of this world that we have allowed to possess us and choose instead to possess the attributes, attitudes and characteristics that are Christ like. We die to self when we realize that we are in the world but not of the world. So, as we live each day dying to self and living for Christ, so that we can inherit eternal life, what is holding you back from being more in the world and not of the world? For today: seek to let go of one thing that you are holding on to that is keeping you from dying to self and being more selfless.
SATURDAY – AMEN
I believe, after this week of reflecting on the distractions that keep us from truly being or becoming instruments of God’s peace, I hope that have you been able to recognize that the momentary distractions have helped you to focus more and with a greater intensity and steadfast spirit what God is calling you to, and how you are being and living as His instrument of peace. Do you believe that? I do, and so can you, after all God knows your heart better than you do, and He knows that you want to be your best self, the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become. You are living up to your potential as you continue to strive to be His instrument of peace amid the distractions that come right in the middle of your prayer, and you have put them aside and stayed the course.
My Glimpse of God for the week of October 2, 2022
The gift of friends and their friendship
My Glimpse of God for this week is a reflection on the gift of friends and friendship. In and through those that I consider friends, I am a witness to the presence and manifestation of God as He reveals Himself. It has been through my encounters with these very special individuals, and their ability to touch my heart in unexpected ways, that I have seen a kaleidoscope of glimpses of God’s care, love, compassion, peace, concern, humor, and presence. The gift of friendship creates a bond between people. It is a bond that through thick and thin, doesn’t get broken, but rather grows stronger. I think of a friend as the bond between me and God. It is in and through a friend that God’s presence is brought nearer to me, and I draw nearer to Him. Jesus is the best friend and bond that not only connects me to God, but also me to other followers and builders of the Kingdom of God here on earth. As I think about the friends that I have been blessed with, I am reminded of how much God loves me and shows His love through the gift of my friends. Friends can be God’s instrument of personal and spiritual transformation, conversion, and healing. They can be messengers from God for us as well as recipients of God’s message from us. We choose our friends, and they choose us. God created us and chose us in the womb, and we chose Him at our baptism. When others choose us as a friend and when we choose our friends, it is in Christ’s name we are choosing to nurture, reverence and honor those individuals as gifts from God.
As reflect on the gift of friendship, I think of the many ways that God invites us to recognize how relationships can change or be transformed into a deep and lasting friendship. People can grow from being acquaintances, strangers, and enemies to becoming friends. In all of these relationships, we are given the gift and the grace to see the treasure that they are by the love that they share. For some, friends are not as numerous as the stars in the sky, but rather few and far between. True friends, be family members, acquaintances, colleagues, neighbors, or even a past enemy, with and by the grace of God, call us to our truth and to be true to ourselves, to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. When we look into a mirror, we can see the reflection of a friend, who by their love for us and us for them, allow us to see the face and the person of Christ.
Some of my friends are the kind of people that are there in the weirdest, most humorous, most unexpected circumstances and are able to make things better by their humor, sense of calm and peaceful nature. A glimpse of God that comes through from them is that of what the book of Sirach says: “a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a lifesaving remedy, such as he who fears God finds, for he who fears God behaves accordingly and his friend will be like himself”. I hope that I can be for them what they are to me.
This week God graced me with many glimpses of Himself. It was and remains in the individuals that I encounter that truly exude the peace and happiness that can only come from God. My glimpse of friendship comes from those who are suffering as well as with those who rejoice in their time of healing, joy and happiness. It has come from those who feel as if they can’t go on and hold onto the last thread of hope that they can, as well as with those who have reached out and want to be an instrument of hope. It has come from those who I rarely see to those who I see very often, and from those that in and through their pain have reached out to me as well as to those I have reached out to.
As you enter into a new week and a new month, take the time to reflect on how you have been a glimpse of God to others by your presence, understanding, and friendship.
When you think of friendship, and what it truly means, think of how the book of Sirach is reflected in those who you consider friends, and with those who have befriended you. Can you recognize the treasure that has been given to you? Can you imagine your life without your best friend? Your close friends? Your childhood friends? Do you think that they can imagine their life without you? Is Jesus on your list of friends? Do you see how He has chosen you to be BFF Best Friend forever?
SUNDAY – “F” – faithful
As a friend, with a friend, what does it mean to be faithful? How have you been a faithful friend? In choosing your friends or keeping friendships alive, how is being faithful a gift and a grace in friendship? When someone is not faithful, how can it be a test in friendship which, at a later time, can also be seen as a grace and a gift? Can you forgive, or ask forgiveness, when you or someone you cherished as a friend, was not faithful?
How have you witnessed fidelity in your friendships?
MONDAY – “R” – respectful
A friend is one who treats us with respect. In a friendship there should be mutual respect and understanding. Do you think that respect is earned? Should one respect another is they demand respect from another? Do we respect only those people that hold certain positions, social status, or control, or are we called to respect all people because we are all created in the likeness and image of God, and we are all His beloved children no matter what we do?
Who do you respect and why?
TUESDAY – “I” – integrity
How do you hold integrity in the light of friendship? If a friend is not truthful, honest, or reliable, how do you or can you maintain a friendship? Friendships of God need to be built on the foundation of truth, honesty, mutual respect and understanding. Do you agree? If not, how do you or can you maintain the friendship?
As you reflect on the gift of friendship and how you have also been chosen as a friend, think of how you have treated your friends with integrity and how your friendship has grown to be healthy, strong and life giving. Who do you honor and do you honor yourself?
WEDNESDAY – “E” – empathetic
Being empathetic is a gift, it is not a quality that you can steal, borrow, or forge, but rather it is a disposition of the heart that invites and embraces the story of another with understanding, compassion, kindness, care and gentleness.
Into being empathetic is an opportunity to grow into the person that God knows that we can be and have the potential to become, but it is not always easy.
In your friendships, with your friends, are you able to recognize how you express your empathy and how it is received? Are your friends empathetic when you need them to be? How does it feel when your friends don’t seem to recognize your need for their concern or support? How do you feel when you miss the mark in their life?
THURSDAY – “N” – natural
A friend is one who sees us just as we are and loves us anyway. With friends, we do not need to, or feel that we have to, put on a façade. True friends accept each other just as they are, for who they are: God’s beloved child, and not for what they do.
Our friends should not be expecting something from us that we cannot give, or that would go against who we are and what we stand for. When we choose friends, we choose that person that not only is likeminded, but also themselves. Friendship is an opportunity to take the courage that God offers and allow oneself to be vulnerable and weak so that in and through the friendship, another can see to the heart and touch it with their compassion, empathy, and support.
As you think of your friends, can you see how they are people that are their natural self and not trying to be someone or something that they are not. How do you see yourself as a friend? Are you your natural self or do you try to be someone or something that you are not?
FRIDAY – “D” - devoted
Most friends are committed to keeping their friendships alive, loving, and healthy. How much energy do you place in keeping your friendships alive, loving, and healthy? Do you feel that you are the only person trying to maintain a friendship, or do you feel that both of you are striving to maintain a good relationship, one that is strong, has weathered the storms and can withstand others? As a friend, do you see yourself as devoted? Are you able to recognize the difference in how you relate to a friend vs an acquaintance, and how the relationship has called you to become your better self?
SATURDAY – “S” – selfless
Friends are selfless most of the time. Many times, we befriend others because they are just like us, and we see a similar aspect of their personality that we also see in our self. We accept our friends just as they are, we know that we can’t change them, and although they are not perfect, we know that they are trying to be the best person that they can be, just as we are.
Being selfless in friendship is truly a gain in love. How have your friendships expanded your heart to love more, forgive more and see God more clearly in them?
For today, and as you enter into the weekend and as you reflect on the various aspects of friendship, think of those you consider friends and thank God for the gift of their faithfulness, resourcefulness, integrity, empathy, naturalness, devotion, and selflessness which has enabled your friendship to grow and become stronger.
Glimpse of God for the week September 11, 2022
Since this is a lengthy Glimpse of God, I think that it might be better to use it for two weeks.
this is pne of my favorite glimpes I tweeked it and am offeringit again. It will be one of the first glimpses in my upcoming book: Glimpses of God:Seeing God in Everyday Life
This Glimpse of God comes as we arrived home from vacation at Disney World in Orlando, Florida. As usual, we stayed at the Shades of Green which is the Military hotel right in center of the many Disney resorts. Still dealing with Covid, the parks are still on ticket with a reservation system. Which means you could have park hopper tickets, but without a reservation your park hopping became park stopping. We made reservations with our park hopper tickets, we were able to get a good price on flights, we were able to reserve a car and the hotel had rooms available. WOW a bundle of God’s goodness revealed, and it is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Disney World, so cool. We eagerly awaited the good weather, the fun shine, the time to GROW DOWN and let the little kid within us to come out. I don’t believe that anyone can really be an adult in Disney, it takes the little kid inside all of us to recognize and appreciate all the joy and happiness that one will behold in Disney. God invites us, in his unique and surprising ways, to let the little child from within come out so that we can allow our self to truly embrace the beauty and fun that surrounds us.
At the same time, we can also appreciate the vision that Walt Disney had when he created a place where dreams come true, and happiness is an experience that is not out of anyone’s grasp. For us, I am reminded of how for the past 50 years, Disney has been and continues to be a gift from God to remind us that no matter what is going on in life, there is a time and place to be still and know that God is God, that we will emerge as victor, and we all are invited to be childlike. Walt Disney took that invitation very seriously and not just for himself. As a to visionary, he provided the tools to all those who pass through the gates that say Welcome to Disney World where dreams come true, to become more childlike so that dreams can and will come true. Disney is place, and experience, an encounter with God, that invites us to remember what it means to have fun, to put away the masks that we use to hide behind so that others don’t or won’t get to know who we really are, and to allow our hearts to expand as we embrace and love the child that emerges.
It is a place where we can easily break down that walls that keep our true self from emerging and keep others from getting close to us. Disney is a Glimpse of the God who created all things, and provides for us, His children, those things in life that will allow us to grow and become the best person that we can be, the person that He created us to be and we have the potential to become. Disney calls us to grow down and be more childlike so that we can grow and rekindle the trust, love, joy, respect, and mutual understanding in each other. God invites us to be a kid at heart, to laugh, to smile more often, to sometimes say the dumbest or weirdest thing and not feel embarrassed or beat our self up over.
God wants us to be childlike in that He wants us to live without the fear, anxiety, stress, worry or discouragement that has taken over the adult body that we live in. He is in control and wants us to be more open to new things and the changes that can heal us and make us more whole, and an inner realization that when we take life too seriously, we can miss the moments of joy, laughter, and peace that God provides.
There are many characters in Disney World that bring make me smile and remind me that God is behind their character and within their heart. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Daisy, and Donald Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Pooh, and the many others, but for this week’s daily reflection, I have chosen the 7 dwarfs (a revised reflection) of and how they call us to emerge from our serious self to our fun and true self, OUR CHILD LIKE SELF.
There are times when we are bashful and can’t be as outgoing as others are. That is who we are. God didn’t create us to all be the same, that would be boring. It is through our differences, our varied talents and abilities, our gifts, and our hearts that brings to life the picture that God has created on His canvas of His creation. God doesn’t want His children to feel inadequate or less than human. When we shrink into our self and fail to be God’s voice or action because we are bashful, then we fail to act as His follower.
A curse: Is being bashful or shy a mask that you hide behind so that others cannot approach you, or is it a wall that allows you to hide behind your own emptiness, weaknesses, or feelings of inadequacy? When you are bashful, is it because you don’t have the self-confidence or self-esteem that would bring you out of yourself to speak and be with others?
A blessing: Being bashful can be a blessing as well. When we are bashful, we are allowing others to step out of themselves and be the center of attention. We are allowing others to speak, clown around, have fun and we don’t have to be in the center of it all. Being bashful can be an act of selflessness in that we step back so that others can step forward.
For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.
What’s up Doc? Do we associate Doc with Doctor? What feelings does that suggest? If we think of a Doctor, we might think of the men and women that are God’s instruments of healing and compassion as we, or those that we love, carry their crosses of physical, emotional, and psychological illnesses. The Doc is the one that gives direction, shares wisdom, listens attentively, and has your best interest at heart. God is the divine physician that we turn to when our bodies, heart, mind, or spirit, are drained and in need of healing, replenishment, renewal, and transformation.
A curse: There are times when we, or those we know, fall into the litany of illnesses and ailments. The first thing that they choose to talk about is what is wrong and aching, and not what is right and good. There are those who try to doctor their illnesses and avoid seeking professional help. There are those who must see Doctors frequently. Only God knows what is ailing us and how we need to be healed. We can try to be our own doc by going online and reading up on a certain condition, or help diagnose others, but the reality is that only God knows what truly needs to be healed and how it can best be done. Although we have a great deal of information at our disposal, we cannot cure our diseases or properly diagnose them alone. We need the help of professionals.
A blessing: As you reflect on your medical conditions or those of someone close to you, seek to see God’s healing in the attitude that you possess. The attitude of gratitude will enable you to be free and open to God’s healing power as He chooses to reveal it to you. As you feel the aches and pains that your body has become too familiar with, remember that healing isn’t always going to occur the way you expect it to. I also believe that living or dying with cancer is not an obstacle to getting into heaven as much as being bitter, resentful, unforgiving, angry, or holding a grudge. Your ailment may just be God’s grace to gain true healing and peace.
For Today, ……….
Sneezing…can be many things, but the one aspect of sneezing at I will focus on is how it is a call to prayer and a cause for blessing. When we hear someone sneeze, we naturally say God Bless You. We don’t know if they ae believers or not, and yet we still invoke that blessing and prayer. We don’t do that to cause any tension with the person that sneezed, but rather we realize what a sneeze signifies, and for that brief period we ask God to watch over them.
A curse: Sneezing can be due to allergies, a cold, or the flu. In any case, sneezing can be annoying and very frustrating. Ask God to heal your cold or flu or at least to make sure that you don’t spread your germs to the next person.
A blessing: The next time you hear someone sneeze, say God Bless You. Don’t abbreviate it by just saying bless you. When we sneeze, our heart stops briefly and asking God’s blessing is a selfless prayer. Don’t let society or what is politically correct or incorrect dictate how you pray or express your concern for others.
God rested on the 7th day. He created our bodies to get rest. He knows our needs. He knows that for us to best serve Him we need the proper amount of rest, nutrition, and relaxation. Jesus ate and relaxed with friends. Jesus rested
A curse: When we are tired or sleepy because we work too much or are so busy that getting the proper amount of rest doesn’t happen, then our bodies suffer. We can be sleepy all the time. If we are, then not only will our bodies suffer, but our heart, mind and spirit will also suffer. Sleep deprivation can be traumatic to our body and can cause us to make some horrific mistakes. Parents are the heroes that when it comes to sleep deprivation, they know it best. But even the best parents will admit that not getting enough sleep makes them grumpy and not their best self before God, their families and them self.
A blessing: Pray for those who are suffering from sleep deprivation due to being new parents, illness, sleep apnea, physical pain, worry, and ask that God give rest to their bodies, refreshment to their souls and peace in their heart.
Being Grumpy or being around someone who is grumpy is no fun. The lack of joy can bring down one’s spirit quickly. When someone is being Grumpy, there is a spirit of joy that is lacking due to stress, weariness, worry, discouragement probably because of life’s demands and challenges. One can choose to be grumpy or not. One can choose to share their misery with others or keep it between themselves and God. Being Grumpy also shows others that things are not right. It shows others that one is stressed whereas one would not choose to talk about their hidden stresses or concerns.
Being Grumpy, although not pleasant to experience, is a sign that one needs to seek the consolation of Christ and not the carry the worries of the world without Him.
A curse: We can make excuses for being Grumpy, but in the end, no one deserves our bad attitude. We can try to carry the world; its problems, sins, and struggles, on our shoulders and complain when it gets too heavy, but the reality is that only God can carry his creation on His shoulders, and He does not ask anyone of us to do it for Him.
Jesus did that once for all on the cross. We may want to act as a martyr and when no one recognizes that we are acting as one, we get mad because our efforts go unnoticed. We become grumpier and less desirable to be around. If we stop to think about how we are acting and why, we then can recognize that we have no reason to be Grumpy. The martyrs and the saints did not walk around Grumpy, but rather happy in the Lord, and they rejoiced in their suffering because they knew that they were not alone, and that God was with them.
A blessing: As you feel the weight of the physical, emotional, and psychological demands of your life, your family’s well-being, your employment demands and the personal health issues that are your cross to carry, take a moment to reflect on the cross. Pray and ask to see how Christ responded to those who threatened His inner peace and strength and seek His grace to do the same.
Only in, with and through God can true and lasting happiness be experienced. We can try to find happiness in the things of the world, but it is an elusive happiness, one that does not last, and one that can take us away from God and not towards Him. What does it mean to be happy? Does it mean winning the lottery, or being without aches or pains, or having the biggest and the best of everything? Only God knows what can make each one of us truly happy, but we need to seek that answer from Him and not from the world. There are those who pretend to be happy by pasting a smile on so that others don’t know their pain or suffering. There are also those who don’t know how to be happy, who choose not to want to be happy. I believe that true happiness comes when we realize that God is with us, that He loves us unconditionally, that we are His greatest creation and that there is nothing that we can say or do that will make Him love us less. We don’t have to wear a mask, or paste on a smile, but rather accept the challenges of life with a surrender and trust that enables us to see through the darkness moments to God’s amazing light.
A curse: When we fake happiness to make another feel good, we are not being true to our self. We can say that we are happy, yet we are really confused, miserable and discontented. When we strive to make others happy at our own expense, we can diminish our own self-worth. Being happy isn’t something that we should fake, but rather we should be honest about. God knows our hearts and knows when life stresses disrupt or challenge our happiness. God does not want us to lie and say that we are happy if we are not. When we do this, we deny that which is robbing us of happiness.
Instead, God would like us to be honest and say why we can’t feel or experience happiness so that He can help us rediscover the deep and true happiness that only He can provide and that lies within.
A blessing: Pray for someone who is grasping for the elusive happiness of the world and not of God. Pray that they may experience the true happiness that only God can provide.
Happiness isn’t fleeting, we can be happy during our struggles as well as in our joys, we can smile and share our happiness with others. Others can recognize when you are truly happy. If you are truly happy, wouldn’t you want others to also have that experience? God wants you to share the wealth of joy and happiness. Pass it on.
We can all recognize times in our life that we were dopey or just not with it, where we may have said or done something that was completely out of our character. We can look back and laugh now, but probably couldn’t or didn’t then. Sometimes we can claim to be dopey, simple, or ignorant of something just to get out of our responsibilities or to use it as an excuse. Yet, being dopey or simple can be a time where we choose to learn and not act as if we know it all. We can take our Dopey moments to seek wisdom from another so that we can share it with others.
A curse: We can falsely claim to be simple, dopey, or ignorant, but if we are only doing so to get out of something or to ridicule those who are physically, emotionally, or psychologically slow, then we are disrespecting God and doing others a great injustice. We cannot and will not always be the brightest bulb in the pack, but if we are true to our self, God and others, our light, though dim at times, will be the beacon that draws others to see, know and love God more and want to know Him better.
A blessing: Thank God for the spirit of simplicity. The gift of a simple mind is not one that is to be ridiculed but respected. It is a mind that has learned or is learning how not to complicate things, to appreciate all of God’s gifts and not to take them so much for granted. As you look back on some of your Dopey moments, take another moment to see how it has been in and through them that you have grown to better appreciate and respect the gift of wisdom, silence, compassion, and mutual understanding…….
Glimpse of God for the week of August 28, 2022
This glimpse of God comes to me a little differently. As I thought about the heart, I realized that because of life experiences, it goes through many emotions, both positive and negative.
With these life experiences, our heart can be expanded, or it can shrink, it can be made whole, or it can be broken, it can be filled with love or empty because of hate, it can be a source of joy and happiness, or it can be an instrument where betrayal and injury take root. Our heart is where God chooses to dwell and when He does, He invites us to take our life experiences and with them, allow Him to shape our heart so that we grow in a greater love for Him, others, and ourselves. Our heart is like a rainbow in that it reflects God, His promise and our hope. So, what color is your heart is a reflection on how you recognize your heart’s response to life experiences and how you choose to love despite them or because of them.
WHAT IS THE COLOR OF YOUR HEART? now? earlier?
Now, at this very moment? Can you remember what it was when you woke up this morning? What do you want it to be when you lay down to rest? Is your heart a rainbow? Is it a watercolor? Is it a sketch? Do you see the many colors that it can be, has probably been, and could change to in the breath of a prayer?
All of these colors are good because as a reflection of God’s presence through your compassion, mercy, love, and joy, in the midst of injury, daily concerns and stresses, and heavy crosses, your heart has been expanded when sin tried to diminish it, it has been healed when others have injured it, and it has been made whole when others have broken it. Because you have the heart of God as His beloved child, your heart although may experience many emotions, will always be the place where you have opened the doors and God chose to enter and to make His dwelling among you. How can that be you might ask? Because you were created in God’s image, you are His beloved child, You are His greatest creation, you are loved unconditionally and you are the Body of Christ, His Son, to all those you encounter. So as long as you seek to serve Him with an undivided heart, your heart will always reflect love: Love for God, others, and self.
SUNDAY - RED - Is your heart filled with passion? do you give of yourself and all of your energy to the people and situations that you encounter on a daily basis? or is your passion tamed by laziness, contentment, weariness, pain or just disinterest? If you were to look in a mirror into your heart, what color is it now? if it is red, can you identify your passion and feed it to help those around you to grow and become the best people that they can be: spouses, children, friends, neighbors, co-workers? Is your passion, the love that you hold for your spouse, a positive strength that empowers you to live a healthy marriage, one that builds each other up so that you can both become the best people that God has created you to be?
Is your passion an affection that is shared with a sense of care and respect? What does passion mean to you and how do you live it in your life? Is it a destructive force or a constructive energy?
MONDAY - WHITE - Is the color of your heart white? Is it pure, not sinless, but a heart that strives to be a saint in the midst of one's own sin and weakness? one that seeks and receives the graces of God to live in love and peace? one that seeks to extend that love and peace to others? If your heart is white, do you give God permission to write on it whatever He wants you to know and take with you today? or is it filled with clutter, white out, erasure marks, with no space for God's writing, instruction, mercy or counsel? If you look and see that your heart is white, does it remind you of your baptism and how God chose you, called you by name and made you His very own out of pure unconditional love?
TUESDAY - YELLOW - Is the color of your heart yellow? Are you a source of light to others? can others see the presence and light of Christ in and through your prayers, attitude, actions, and deeds? If the color of your heart is yellow, are you able to recognize that you are the light of Christ that burns brightly in your family, neighborhood, community, church and world? can you recognize that you are the light of Christ, no matter how dim you think your light is, in the midst of the darkness of the world and all of its forces that want to put the light out?
WEDNESDAY - PURPLE - Is the color of your heart purple? are you feeling a sense of remorse, or guilt, or is there a desire to make amends for the sins of the world against the God of love and compassion? We connect purple to the liturgical seasons of advent and lent. The color reminds us of our need to repent of our sins and seek the mercy of God and others that we have offended. Is that where your heart is today? How can you make amends today so that you do not carry the burden until advent or lent? Or is your heart purple because you recognize the sins of our world, and how they have killed, maimed, destroyed, the gift of humanity, the very humanity that Jesus Christ died for? Christ died for us sinners, yet we don't all recognize that we were included in His passion, death, and resurrection. In our sins and weaknesses, we fail to see how God eagerly waits for us to come to Him and seek His mercy, compassion, and healing. We see ourselves as the worst and we fulfill that image in and through our actions towards our self, others, and God.
Do you see that self-destruction in someone you know and love by their addictions and bad behavior? Is your heart purple because you regret their actions and feel remorse for the self that is lost in the midst of a false self? Is your heart purple because you see where you may have unintentionally participated in the formation of negativity, false ideals, hopes, or expectations? Can you speak with God about your contrition and seek His guidance to find true healing, and peace so that you can pray for it for those who need it most?
THURSDAY - BLUE - Is your heart blue? do you feel the refreshing life cleansing waters upon your heart that you were washed in at your baptism? Have you been forgiven by God? someone that you offended but reached out to seeking forgiveness? have you forgiven yourself and laid down your burden of guilt and self-condemnation? Where is your peace from? To whom can you extend your peace? Who can you pray for to receive the peace that God had given you and you would like them to experience? Who in your circle of friends, family or community would you like to see experience this great peace that only God can give and is always ready to shower on those who ask? Can you say a prayer for peace for them so that their heart can become blue and be the blue that represents the peace and calm of the waters of baptism?
FRIDAY - GREEN - Is the color of your heart green? For what do you hope? What does hope mean to you and how do you exude hope to others? There is so much green that surrounds us: trees, leaves, grass, yet in the natural course of nature, there is a time when we don't see the green as much.
It is the same with the human heart. there are times when we are blind to seeing the green of hope because of injury, hurt, and pain, and instead we see despair, discouragement, and we become disenchanted and disillusioned. This occurs through human sins and how they affect us personally. Sin can eliminate hope or make it stronger; it can bring us down or help raise us up to seek the love and mercy of God, sin can cause us to stay face down with fear, but hope makes us want to get up and face our fear.
Is the color of your heart green today? What hope have you been given? extended? Has the God of all consolation and love filled you with hope? is it overflowing, and you need to share it? or is it just enough for you to embrace, feel comforted by and rest in?
SATURDAY - ORANGE – Is the color of your heart orange? Do you feel the warmth and joy of God’s love, His embrace, and His desire for you? Is your heart orange because the warmth of His love has melted the coldness of life experiences? Where the words and expression of encouragement and support have conquered the voices of discouragement and isolation? The color orange symbolizes joy. The angels proclaimed Joy to the World at the Saviors birth. They proclaimed joy knowing that the passion was to occur. God is filled with great joy when we choose to return to him after a short or long detour, when we are His witnesses in the world, when we seek to serve Him by being selfless and not selfish, and when we allow ourselves to experience joy even as we carry our cross.
J – Jesus, O – others Y – yourself. You have great reason to be filled with joy and orange you glad you are? (sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun)
Glimpse of God for the week of August 14, 2022
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from our golden retriever Clover, and Jimmy, our pool maintenance man. Jimmy has been taking care of our pool for over 15 years and he and his workers are very caring conscientious workers, but more importantly very personable. Jim loves Clover and Clover loves Jimmy. Every week when he comes to clean the pool, Clover has to be the first to greet him with her song and dance. Jim fusses over Clover as if she were the only thing that mattered. Clover is the center of his attention when he first arrives, and it is not because Clover makes a nuisance of herself, but rather because Jimmy is a very caring person, one who sees the joy and energy that Clover exudes and honors and recognizes it very affectionately. I believe that they both are a source of renewal and joy to each other.
Last week in the heat, when Clover was at the side of the pool making bubbles, both Jimmy and I realized that she needed to get cooled off. So, Jimmy carefully put Clover in the pool. Clover swam her little lap, came out oof the pool, frolicked in the grass and returned to her best buddy Jim. Clover loves to go swimming, but since she is getting older, she doesn’t go in without someone else being in the pool with her. In the midst of Jim doing a good job on the pool, he could have ignored Clover so that he could get the job done and go home or to the next job, but he didn’t. It was hot out, so spending any more time in the heat than necessary wasn’t what I expected of him to do, but he did so very willingly and compassionately. He saw that she was hot and did all that he could to make her feel better and to cool off.
This was a big Glimpse of God because in that action I saw how God not only sees that all of His creatures are taken care of, but He opens our hearts so that we can see the needs of His creation beyond our own. The care, love and concern that Jimmy has for Clover is very touching and inspiring. This might seem like a small thing, but to me, it meant a lot because it showed the genuineness and caring aspect of Jimmy’s character as well as his ability to be both a lover of animals especially to Clover, and a conscientious worker. Jim gets his work done and he does it very well and I think that in a small way, Clover helps because she is a reminder of how to balance all that we enjoy and love doing without resisting or ignoring the other.
As we begin a new week, heat waves and all, let us be mindful that God affords us many opportunities to be a source of cool refreshment and renewal for others. As we greet each other on life’s journey, whether it is those we work with, or that work for us, or those who serve alongside of us, we are all God’s children walking on His holy, and no one of us is better than the other. As we walk with each other and are able to see each other eye to eye, it is in the eye-to-eye contact where refreshment, truth, integrity, authenticity love, and peace are seen. It is in and through others that God affords us the graces to remember how they have been a source of renewal, restoration, refreshment, and reconciliation to and for us, and how, by their presence we have been able to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.
SUNDAY – Rejoice - This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad. Are you able to rejoice and celebrate the love that God has for you, and the love that you have for God? He has created you; He loves you; you are His beloved and He with His angels is rejoicing over you. Do you believe this? For today, celebrate and rejoice in His love and share that love with those you encounter. Rejoicing is another source of renewal. As you rejoice, allow yourself to feel the joy that comes from the depth and recesses of your being, and smile.
MONDAY - Remember – As you begin a new work week, try to not dwell on the stresses of the past week, but remember them, surrender them, and leave them behind. This week, allow yourself to remember the promise that for those who seek, they shall find, for those who knock the door will be opened, and for those who ask it will be given. What is it that you truly seek from God? What do you want God to do for you? What are you looking for that you want God to provide? What doors are closed that need to be opened, and what doors are still ajar that need to be closed? In the process of remembering, strive to focus on the positive and seek the grace to let go of the negative.
TUESDAY - Renewal – For today, just take and pray for one aspect of your life that you would like to be renewed. Is it your faith; would you like to deepen your prayer life and grow in a deeper relationship with God? Is it family; do you feel that as a family you are not able spend quality time together because everyone is always on the go? Has the busy ness of life taken away your time together?
Is it relationships; do you feel that you are taken for granted or that you take another for granted? Are there people that you would like to appreciate more or that you would like to be more appreciated by?
In these areas, are you in a “rut” where you find yourself and others doing the same thing and there is no quality time being spent or nurtured? Are you seeking to be renewed or are you happy with the way things are? Ask God to renew those areas, those relationships that He knows are not the best that they can be.
WEDNESDAY – Restoration - What in your life do you feel needs to be restored? Ask God to restore those things, those areas, those relationships, that once restored will bring you to a greater recognition and appreciation of His presence, His grace, His healing, in the restoration. God brings back, or returns something, someone, to you, when He feels and believes that you are ready to receive it. As you seek restoration, seek wisdom so that you will see with clarity the change and the newness that you are being blessed with.
THURSDAY – Relaxation – take time to relax and use your senses to bring your body, mind and spirit to a deeper awareness of God’s gift of serenity, peace and calm. Use your eyes to see God resting on the 7th day, after the creation of man and woman, His greatest creation. Use your ears to hear Him say IT IS GOOD, after He was finished with the creation of man and woman. Listen to Him tell you that you are Good and that He is happy with you and loves you very much. Use your nose to smell the aromas that surround you, those of the spring flowers, coffee brewing, meals cooking, fresh cut grass. Appreciate the ability to smell and breathe in the story behind the aroma. Use your hands to reach out and feel the presence of God in and through everything that He has created. When you reach out and touch someone or something, you are touching a part of creation given to you to cultivate, appreciate, reverence, and tend to. As you touch someone who is grieving, rejoicing, carrying a heavy cross, you are reaching out in the name of Jesus and offering His love, compassion, and mercy to them.
FRIDAY – Resist – For today try to resist the temptation to talk about another, hold a grudge, remain angry, carry a hurt another day, but instead, seek to forgive and be forgiven. God’s grace is there to grasp as you strive to be His witness in the world. The devil tempts us with those things that we like and are drawn towards. If we like being angry, holding a grudge and talking about others, then we will not be able to resist the temptation to continue, but if we recognize that these are not healthy spiritual practices, then God will give us the grace to say no, and seek ways to build up others and His kingdom here on earth.
SATURDAY – Reconcile – Is there anyone that you would like to be reconciled to? Are you estranged from God, from others? Are you punishing yourself for a choice or choices that you made and feel that you can’t be forgiven? The grace of reconciliation is always there. As you seek to be reconciled, know that you will be called to forgive, seek forgiveness from another, and experience the joy that comes from the healing. Sometimes we hold on to things because we are afraid to experience true happiness; God’s happiness for us. God wants us to experience His happiness for us, not the world’s idea of happiness. As you seek to live as God’s beloved, allow yourself to be loved. You are loveable and loved. God rejoices when we are reconciled to Him and each other.
Glimpse of God for the week of August 7. 2022
Spirituality of a Coat
As I reflected on what a glimpse of God is and how God chooses to reveal Himself to us, I realized that even when we least expect Him to show Himself or make His will clear to us so that we can follow it, He does. It is in the least expected ways or avenues that He chooses, that seem to resonate even more with us. I guess you can say that God continues to surprise us all the time, and when we think that we can confine or limit His revelations to what our human mind can comprehend, He shows us otherwise.
So, what is the Glimpse of God that I am referring to? It is on a Coat and how various coats can have a deeper, more significant spiritual meaning in them. The idea of the spirituality of a coat is not just in how we wear certain coats, but also how we identify with others. I believe that as we identify with them, we are allowing God to speak to our heart, and listen to His invitation to be transformed and renewed into a new person. As I think of a coat, I think of that garment that we wear when it is cold, rainy, and windy or when we are preparing for bed. There are overcoats, raincoats, dress coats, suitcoats, windbreakers, jackets, …..These are some of the familiar coats that we often wear and can find in our closet. Some coats can protect us from the elements of nature by keeping our bodies dry and warm, while others just make us feel more comfortable and relaxed. A coat for all seasons….But I also offer some new aspects, purposes or meanings to the word coat. As we begin a new week and reflect on how a coat can challenge us to be transformed, we can chose to apply it to our spiritual life and see how God is calling us to a deeper relationship with Him, and away from the devil’s trickery. What are these other coats? A coat of paint, a second coat, a turncoat, sugarcoat, and a coat of arms.
So, as I reflect on seven types of coats this week, I offer you a different viewpoint and hope that you can find it helpful.
SUNDAY – A HOUSECOAT – a loose garment for informal wear around the house.
A housecoat/robe is worn as we prepare to go to bed or after we have risen from sleep. It is a garment that we wear over our night clothes. It is usually a loose garment, one that makes us move freely and without feeling restricted. Housecoats/robes come in many different materials, with pockets and although many are at least knee length, some come ankle length as well. So where is God in our housecoat? As we think about our day and how we ministered in God’s name at work, with our family, with our friends, or at school, our uniform or clothes for the day represent our work status. For those in law enforcement, health professions, retail, or other types of employment, a uniform is required. As parents and grandparents raising their children/grandchildren full time, there is no uniform to be worn, but rather clothes that symbolize their ability to be for and with the children without restrictions. A housecoat is God’s gift to us that allows us to take off our uniform or day clothes that all see and put on those clothes that allow us to be and feel free, that allows God spirit to breathe and flow freely though us.
When we wear a housecoat, although it is a garment, we usually wear something underneath it, the housecoat is protecting what is underneath.
The clothes underneath, our comfy clothes, can be God’s garments that dress us to meet Him in our sleep. Our comfy clothes allow us to relax and release the stresses that bind us, so that He can enter into our soul, spirit, mind and body as we sleep and can speak to us. The gift of night, the gift of darkness, invite us to trust that God is with us, that we will wake up and that we will be given a new day to meet and greet with Him. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and a housecoat protects that temple. What is your housecoat or robe protecting your temple from? What from your day is knocking at the door of your temple and you do not want to let in? The anger or frustration of the day that you want to let go of? Poor health decisions that you don’t want to continue to make? Poor self-image after making mistakes and falling into weakness? Although a housecoat is a loose garment, God’s love is wrapped around you tighter than you can imagine and even when you try to loosen its grip by your disbelief, doubt, or discouragement, God never let’s go.
For today, as you prepare for bed and place your housecoat or robe on, ask God to help you to experience the freedom that He has in store for you so that you can wake up renewed, and not restricted, free and not bound by the tricks that the devil is leaving at the door of your temple.
MONDAY – A SECOND COAT – a coat of paint that fills in the thin spots, eliminates the streaks and make it smooth.
The devil is always trying to present us with his second coat, that which will wipe away all the flaws, the decisions that we made against our better judgment, with his false ideals, gifts, and promises, that we think will make us perfect, yet only make things worse. The promise of wealth, and social status, material gain all to make us think that we are doing God’s will that He would want us to have these things, His second coat is watered down, and not water based. The devil does not want us to think about what He is saying, so he promises a quick response, a quick cure, a quick resolution. When we sell our soul to the devil, all the paint in the world cannot make things smooth, they only get rougher and more rigid.
God’s second coat, that which will make things smooth is real, and water based. The gift of the sacrament of reconciliation, the healing that it offers, is baptismal water based and is free. God erases the stain from sin, firms out the streaks, covers the flaws, and makes our soul, our heart, our mind, and our spirit, free, reconciled, and stronger. God’s grace, His second coat, eliminates the sins, whereas the devil’s only fades away.
For today, allow God to give you a second coat to take away any doubts, fears, discouragement, or weaknesses that you are holding onto. Reconciliation, a second coat can happen in the room of your heart with a few words like I am sorry, I trust you, Lord.
TUESDAY - A RAINCOAT – a long coat that is made from water resistant material to keep one’s body dry.
What does a spiritual rainstorm look like? And how do we protect ourselves? Sometimes the clouds of doubt, fear, anxiety, discouragement, and stress open up on us and we get soaked by all the effects that these conditions can cause.
During these times we can feel overwhelmed, get soaked, feel all washed up and want to just quit, or we can go and get dry, put on some new clothes and bring an umbrella.
Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit that have been washed in the waters of baptism, and are strengthened by the sacraments of the Church, Sacred Scripture, and each other. What is our spiritual raincoat? If a raincoat is water resistant, what does that mean for those of us who are cleansed in the waters of baptism? We don’t want our spiritual raincoat to be water resistant, do we? If we are experiencing a spiritual rainstorm, I think that our raincoat could be one of trust to protect us from doubt, courage to protect us from fear, peace to protect us from discord, love to protect us from hatred, and pardon to protect us from injury. This raincoat protects our entire body and allows us to be a more free and whole person. The waters of baptism permeate our entire being; mind, heart, soul and spirit and having a water resistant raincoat can mean that we, by the grace of God, are safe from having the effects of baptism disappear as if they never happened. The grace, love and the presence of God remain forever within our being, and nothing can take God away from us, for no sin is greater than His love for us.
For today, pray with Saint Francis that your raincoat be made of strong materials so that you can walk this earthly journey protected and safe in your baptismal call to follow and witness to Christ.
WEDNESDAY –AN OVERCOAT – an outer garment worn in the winter to keep one warm and dry.
During the cold periods, desolation, and silence, of your spiritual life, what has kept you hopeful in the warmth of God’s love? During these periods what has enabled you to persevere and determined to not give up? An overcoat in our spiritual life, can be our prayer time, the sacraments of the church, sacred scripture, each other, and performing the corporal and spiritual works of mercy when they are most difficult. When we choose to follow Christ even though we cannot see or figure out what it is that He wants us to do, the overcoat can be as simple as having faith, living with trust, and going forth with the courage that only He can give. The storms of life, the cold, wet and tumultuous times can be overwhelming, yet we are not living through them alone. God gives us the garment of the cross to cover us, encourage us, teach us, and guide us to the calm, restful rainbow of hope and promise.
For today; Find your rainbow, be it a person, event, memory or situation that gave you hope and was like the overcoat that protected you from the harshness of the cold and wet times.
THURSDAY – A TURNCOAT – a traitor, Judas
Who has been Judas in your life? Who has betrayed you and caused you great pain, hurt and sadness? Who have you betrayed? Has reconciliation occurred? God knows your heart and is ready to heal you and make you whole, are you ready to turn to Him?
In and through our sin, we give in to the devil’s temptation and turn away from God.
Although we never want to identify with Judas, the reality is that throughout our life we have either been betrayed or betrayed another as did Judas. Sin creeps in and takes us away to the devil’s side, we give in to his plan, his deception, his false promises and sell our soul for a momentary pleasure. Judas could have been forgiven but he lost hope.
Being a turncoat does not have to be a permanent title, it can be a momentary title that once we realize our choices and seek the mercy of God and seek to be reconciled to Him, we then become a turncoat toward God and not away from him. A turncoat for Christ.
For today, seek to forgive and ask forgiveness for the times that you have been betrayed or have betrayed another.
FRIDAY – A COAT OF ARMS - a distinctive heraldic bearing the shield of a family
What would your coat of arms look like? What would be on it for all to see? Would you be proud of it or want to hide it? God is proud of you, you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. How would you make a coat of arms to reflect these truths? Would your coat have a symbol of your healing, where you were made whole, a picture of someone that has inspired you, mentored you, of your family, your friends, a symbol of your faith. God has called you by name, would your name be on it? Or the cross to represent your following Jesus and choosing to be His witness in the world? Would you as a living tabernacle of Christ, witness to His good news, wear a coat of arms to symbolize your faith and your choice to follow Him? Or would you be ashamed? As the Body of Christ, how you live, what you do and say, is your spiritual coat of arms. You can choose to bear it proudly trusting in God and His presence within you or hide it.
For today, create your spiritual coat of arms and seek to bear it with Christ for all to see by all that you do, your acts of kindness and mercy and the peace that you offer to others.
SATURDAY – SUGARCOAT – make superficially attractive, to make things look real or be true until they are examined more closely.
The devil sugarcoats everything to make it more appealing, so that we will give in and not think about it. Temptation is the devils sugarcoat and when we give in, we are ultimately agreeing with him in that what we see from a distance is what we want and need. We say yes to what looks good, never examining it to see if it is good. God does not sugarcoat His will or His plan for us. The cross was not sugar coated and neither is our cross. At our baptism, we entered into Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, and not a land of sugar plums and fairy tales. As followers of Christ, we will always face temptations that are made to look good so that we give in. As we recognize that the devil is helping us to make bad choices and sin, we also must realize that though our relationship with God is most important, we need to overcome our false need for perfection so that we can let him enter in.
For today, ask God for the grace to recognize where the devil has sugarcoated something and seek the grace to overcome his temptations.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 31, 2022
Does it take being away from home, seeing an open house sign, being too busy to notice or going to an estate sale, for us to realize and recognize the presence of God in the midst of the ordinary, daily activities that take place in our home? What would it take for us to see God in our home the moment we open the door and enter in to when we leave? Can we see God in the gift of our home and the many rooms that we enter as we go through it? Can we see God in and through the daily ordinary and extraordinary events or routines that take place in each room, those we enter each day, those we enter sparingly, and those we close the doors to? Can we see God on the pet beds, in the doghouse and on the window perch? Do we bring God with us wherever we go? Do we believe He is everywhere, even in the bathrooms, basements, attics, and crawlspaces of our homes?
John and I have been going to estate sales. An estate sale is where a homeowner or the family member of the owner, allows a professional company to sell all that is still within the house before it goes up for sale. We have learned that in many cases, the owner has passed away and the family does not have the time or energy to disperse the belongings of their loved one, so they allow an estate sale to occur. When the estate sale is posted, it invites people to come and purchase whatever is tagged, which in many cases is everything. Ranging from the furniture to the dishes, from the appliances to the seasonal decorations, from the clothes in the closet to the tools outside in the shed. The goal of an estate sale is to sell everything, so they are always ready to compromise on the price of any item.
Now with an estate sale, you can see through the placement, age, and condition of various items, if someone was a hoarder, a neat person, or an antique collector. Their home is open for all to see, and in a way, it can form a picture of them. In each room there is a story to see and hear about. One can learn about the family of the owner, his or her successes and accomplishments, their hobbies, as well as behold their treats and treasures. I think where the owner thought that they lived an ordinary life, where to the observer, it was extraordinary. The various pictures taken in the home, on the surface reveal what their life was like.
The question that I pose, is if you had designated the home of your heart, mind, soul, and spirit, that is where God chooses to dwell, to be an open house, what would we see?
Would you be filled with the clutter of the world, that is material wealth, so much so that we could not see the true you, the place where God dwells but has been overcrowded with stuff? Would we see the beyond neat freak in you that believes God expects you to be perfect and only then will, can, He love you? A place where you feel that God is waiting for perfection and there could never be a thing out of place and all things need to look perfect to portray the perfection that you falsely strive for?
Would certain doors be closed and locked because of deep hurts, pains, and betrayals?
Or would the windows and doors be open to allow the healing breath and life of God to continue to permeate you? Would your home look a little lived in where humanity dwells, laundry needed to be washed and reconciliation has occurred, things may not look perfect; a little dusty, not matched up, but all that is within your home is treasured?
Would your home be enhanced with acts of mercy, compassion, and kindness?
Instead of a diploma on the wall or the stub of a large check on the counter, would we see a religious picture hanging up or God’s check list of all that you’ve done in His name? or loose change that is going towards feeding the hungry and helping the poor.
Would the home of your heart, mind, spirit, and soul have open doors to welcome God and others in? Only God knows our hearts, and HE knows them better than we do. He does not expect perfection only that we strive to be our best self.
We can use distractions to avoid listening to God, we can use the clutter of this world to fill our emptiness, that in reality, only He can fill, we can choose to believe in the false ideas of who or what God expects from us, because that is the devil’s way to turn us away from God, and towards ourselves so that we can become a selfish people and not a selfless people. Yet in all of our choices, God is ready to have an open house for us so that we can see the big picture, a kaleidoscope of who and what we are in His eyes, that He sees and not with just our limited perception, scope or vision. He is ready to remind us that our home, although may not be the perfect home because we are sinners striving to become saints, it is built on faith, hope, and love. He sees how our foundation is built on the love that He has for us as His beloved children and how, in that love, we strive to be faithful followers and witnesses to the Good News of Jesus. The four walls that are built to hold up our home are not meant to keep others away but to protect and strengthen those that reside within. They are that the Catholic Church is one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. The bricks and cement that build these walls are acts of kindness, mercy, and compassion, mixed with labors of love, and flow from receiving the sacraments, personal prayer, and Sacred Scripture. The rooftop is the Holy Spirit and how He always covers us and protects us from the spiritual storms that the devil sends our way.
I believe that if we can recognize how God chooses to dwell in the home of our mind, heart, spirit, and soul, then we will be able to see more clearly how and why the innumerable people, events, and circumstances, have entered our home. We will be able to recognize Him more clearly in the extraordinary, that beyond our imaginings, be it in the people, places or events that have been placed there. BUT If we are unable to see God clearly in our home due to our weaknesses, sins, false expectations, life crosses, what do we need to do to be renewed? Ask God and He will tell you.
This week as we strive to seek to be renewed and look at the home of our heart, mind, spirit, and soul with the eyes of God, let us take the opportunity each day to see Him in the people, places and events that enter our doors each day. As you begin your day, try to see God in your home and the rooms you enter. What do they symbolize or represent?
Sunday: The Vestibule – The entrance to your home. Your smile is the vestibule to your heart. As people enter your home, do they feel welcome? Is there a sense of peace or tension? Can you ask God to bring peace where there may be discord? Can you seek to open the doors of your heart, mind, soul, and spirit to others as they enter into your home, the place where you dwell with family and you welcome friends?
Monday – Your Bedroom – a room where you rest, your belongings are kept, a room that is private. Do you thank God for the gift of rest? Are you grateful that you have a place that you can recourse to if you need a break and want to be alone?
Your clothes…Can you see God in the gift of clothing and how it covers the body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, a temple that should be reverenced, honored, and protected. You are the Body of Christ, you were created in the likeness and image of God, so instead of being critical and judgmental of your body, choose to rejoice in and with it and be glad.
Tuesday – The Bathroom - The bathroom is a room of cleansing of the body, what do you want to be cleansed of? Can you ask God to cleanse your mind and heart of anything that is impure and blocking your path to becoming the saint that you strive to be? Have you taken advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation recently? God is waiting and invites you to share your story so that He can cleanse and heal you and make you whole.
Wednesday – The Living Room – The room where one watches TV as a family, where family gathers to talk, laugh, cry, share stories, and just relax. Can you thank God for the many living room experiences that you had that have brought you closer to those you live with, with those who you welcome into your home? In your living room life stories are shared and honored so that each person can grow in a greater appreciation for their life experiences as well as another. Can you recognize at least one other’s life experience that you have grown to appreciate where you initially took it for granted?
Thursday - The Dining Room – The place where you gather around the table, a place of presence, a place to be nourished and where bread is broken and shared. The dining room is the place where hard work produces food and nourishment for the body. Can you thank God for not only the gift of food, but for the ability to prepare it and for those who partake of it? As you enter the dining room try to see those you love enjoying the time together over the meal that you have prepared and rejoice.
Friday – The Kitchen - The area where meals are prepared, a place where conversations abound, and quick greetings are shared as one goes off to work, school or meetings. As you prepare your meals in the kitchen, can you recognize that our greatest meal, our spiritual nourishment is in the Holy Eucharist? You are invited to take and eat of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. As you enter into your kitchen, close your eyes and vision when you receive Jesus in the Eucharist and share a prayer of gratitude.
Saturday – The Basement – The basement is a place where many things occur, and is often used as an exercise room, a playroom, or a place where things are stored, and as humans on a journey, it can be finished or unfinished. The basement is not on the same level as the other rooms for one has to descend into the basement.
Where in your life have you fallen or descended instead of rising above and standing up for your faith, a loved one, or yourself? As you walk on your faith journey, and descend to your basement, is your basement finished at this time because you have been reconciled, found peace and are truly happy in the Lord, or is it unfinished because you still recognize your need for healing and your desire to be made whole? NO matter how far we descend, whether we think our basement is finished or not, God is never finished with us, and spiritual transformation is always unfinished.
Today, can you ask for the grace to stand up, stand tall in humility and not let others or false guilt bring you down so that you feel unloved or that God has abandoned you? God’s mercy is far greater than any sin that we commit, so stand tall and allow God to embrace you.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 24, 2022
Seminarian Dominic has been at our parish for the past month or so. In that short period of time, he has been a witness to the love of God by accepting His call to become a priest. An invitation and commitment that has been accepted and I believe, renewed every day. It is an invitation that does not have an rsvp or send regrets only, but rather one that is extended when God feels the person is ready to receive it. Like Mary, he is willing to say Yes with the uncertainty that it entails, and a trust that prevails amid any doubt, uncertainty or worldly pressures that are thrown his way. Preparation for the priesthood is a journey that one takes in total trust, surrender and openness to God and His plan for each man that is preparing, as well as for any woman preparing for consecrated life, to serve God in His Church, to build up His Kingdom here on earth, and be a servant to all. God speaks to the heart of each man and invites him to walk a journey that isn’t paved with gold, doesn’t have the perks that world offers, isn’t about status or education, but rather a desire to serve God, and build his kingdom here on earth as a shepherd of souls and humble servant. God doesn’t promise a seminarian a special party, or riches or recognition for saying yes, but rather, a journey that will be filled with the graces necessary to answer the call each and every day with a renewed sense of dedication and commitment. The dinner or banquet ready for each seminarian as for all of us, is the celebration of Mass, where we receive the Holy Eucharist, the real presence of Jesus in the form of His Body and Blood. Dominic is joyfully invited to attend this special banquet on a daily basis because he realizes that one day, he will preside over it and be able to feed his flock, as a humble servant and shepherd leader. There will be a great party as he celebrates his ordination. Not so much a party to celebrate his ordination, yes that is most important, but more so the party is to celebrate how God chose him to be his humble servant and shepherd, through spiritual, practical and educational preparation, and how through all the seconds, hours, days, months and years of preparation in the seminary as well as the devils deception to take him away from the Good Shepherd, Dominic renewed His commitment to His Yes, as did Mary, and stayed the course with great self-determination to believe in the good news and how it is meant for him, and to bring the good news to others. His conviction is in God’s promise that God would lead him all through and to His way, which means going through the worldly wrong ways, so as to lead with a greater empathy, understanding, compassion and love for His people.
Dominic is God’s beloved son who has been sent to our parish, he exudes God’s great love, with his sense of humor, his prayerful spirit, humility, and his love for God’s people.
Dominic as well as other seminarians, permanent deacons, woman religious, and missionaries, those who have dedicated their life to serve the Church, could have chosen to ignore God’s call, block God’s call, hang up on the call, disconnect from the caller, take the receiver off the hook; that is to turn off the ears and eyes of their heart. But instead, they choose to listen to the caller and respond to His invitation to fulfill His plan for them as He sees and knows best.
As seminarians, woman religious, married, and single individuals, we are all called by God to fulfill His plan for us as He invites us to. Unfortunately, in our world today, answering the call, the invitation to serve God in His Church as builders of His kingdom here on earth, as ordained, consecrated religious, married, and single, is often met with fear, doubt, worry and these interfere with accepting the invitation with our whole mind, heart, spirit and soul and therefore so many turn away from the caller, who is God, and submit to the worldly lures and deceptions that come from the devil. The choice to commit to priesthood, the ordained life, religious life, married life, or single holy life, is not one that can be once and be done. It requires a daily commitment, renewal and promise to do our best, become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become in whatever our state of life is. This can only be done with the tools that God provides: a personal relationship with God that grows in our prayer time with God, Sunday Worship with community, receiving Holy Eucharist, the sacrament of Reconciliation, the study of Sacred Scripture, and a humility that in and through all that God calls us to, we may never place our call over being in relationship with Him who has called us. The work of busyness cannot overcome our work of reflective listening. As we respond to our call to serve God as He invites us to, seminarians, religious, married, single, we are all God’s beloved children, sons and daughters that in and through what we do, our first and primary identification is who we are; God’s beloved children, loved unconditionally, HIS greatest creation and that there is nothing that we can say or do that will make God love us less, He can’t, His love is perfect. So even when you or I think that we rejected His call, He doesn’t stop knocking to the door of our heart, all we must do is open it and He will personally invite us to walk with Him in peace, joy, mercy, and love. And if we turn away from God because of materialism, secularism, or worldly desires, God is there to guide us back and show us the way. As we turn back to God, these temptations will make us better people because we can grow in greater compassion, empathy and understanding with those who are experiencing the same temptations from the devil. Just how we have overcome them we can walk with others who also seek to answer God’s call and overcome them too. Our seminarians are learning this each and every day just as all of us are.
God’s invitation to become our best self is a gift that God freely gives us, a gift that is accompanied with His grace. It is a gift that as we seek to become our best self, and we walk with others to help them also to become their best self, especially when they feel that their worst self emerges more than they want it to, our gift and the gift of self in others is what is building God’s Kingdom here on earth. Every act of kindness, mercy, reconciliation, understanding, help, every deed done in love, every word spoken to build up another and not tear them down, is what builds up the Kingdom here on earth so that we can walk in peace and not division, love and not hatred, hope and not despair. For we are all walking on holy ground, God’s ground, His path is there to raise us to holiness and nothing less.
As we all strive to live out our vocation as ordained servants of God, seminarians in preparation to become servant leaders, women consecrated religious, married, single, we all should strive through and with each other, not only to become our best self, but to invite and empower those we walk with on our earthly journey to want and recognize their best self before God, self and each other. To our families, our parish, our work environment, our schools, our homes, and even with the stranger, there is never a moment to lose when we can choose to recognize Christ in those we encounter, those who are also trying to answer God’s invitation to grow in love with Him through their chosen state of life. The caller wants to expand our heart with a deeper and more genuine love, widen the boundaries of our soul so that we can include Him in all things, penetrate our mind with the gifts and fruits of His Holy Spirit, and our entire being to be the Body of Christ in all and to all.
So, as we begin a new week in the warmth of His great love, my questions to you are: How have you responded to God’s invitation to grow in His love in your chosen state of life? How has His invitation, His call to you, in the past, the present, transformed you to want to become your better self in light of the fears and stresses that you have formed over what He has called you to do and become? God has called you by name at your baptism, but before that He formed you in the womb in love and knows you, and the depth of your heart, better than you know yourself, and when we failed to be God’s children in love, He sent His only Son Jesus, to suffer and die for you and me in and out of love. Do you believe in that great gift of love that only God has for you? If you see where in the past you ignored, blocked, hung up on His call, strive today to at least pick up the line and listen to His gentle whisper to you. He doesn’t scream, ridicule, condemn or ignore, He gently invites and receives you back on the line. God has called you, is calling you, and will continue to call on you.
SUNDAY – “C” We CHOOSE to ignore the call. We do this by pretending that we are very busy and choose not to hear the call. Our work, our education, our busyness cannot take precedence over the God who gifts us with our work, our talents and gifts, our educational accomplishments, our abilities. When we do this, we are depriving ourselves of the graces necessary to become our best self in our state of life whether we are ordained, religious, married, or single.
For today: choose to pick up the line and listen to what God is calling you to, it is nothing that He doesn’t feel you are up to.
MONDAY – “A” We can choose to AVOID ANSWERING the call by going farther and farther away from the sound that knocking at the doors of our heart, penetrating our soul, tapping at windows into our spirit, and echoing in our mind. When we do this, we choose to go about doing things that overwhelm these sounds and keep us going in circles. We choose to avoid the caller because we are hurt, angry, bitter, resentful, and don’t believe that the caller can heal us, or worst, we don’t want to be healed.
For today: don’t’ avoid the call, but abandon yourself to the caller and He will show you how you can be healed and made whole.
TUESDAY – “L” We can choose to LESSEN the noise that we hear from the caller by turning a deaf ear, pretending not to hear anything, creating noise of disbelief, doubt, fear, anxiety, all the devils workings, because you don’t want to believe that God is calling you because you are a sinner, been away from Church, haven’t prayed a lot lately…..
For today: lessen the fear, strengthen the trust, and hold on to the hope that God is calling you and all you have to do is turn down the volume of the world’s noises, so that you can hear Him speak to your heart in love, mercy, compassion and understanding.
WEDNESDAY – “L” We can choose to LOOSEN the grip of the receiver and our desire take it off the hook because we are angry, hurt, bitter or whatever has its grip on us and away from God.
For today: instead of taking the receiver off the hook, the receiver being you mind, heart, soul, and spirit, choose to get hooked on Christ and His selfless love for you, which He showed you by enduring His passion and death on the cross.
THURSDAY – “I” We can choose to ACCEPT THE INVITATION, to answer the call. We can do this by asking the caller to grant us His courage so that we can listen and respond to His invitation as He sees best for us.
For today: pray for the courage to pick up the receiver and listen to the caller. What you hear Him express to you will surprise you.
FRIDAY - “N” We can choose to experience NEWNESS in the invitation if we are open to let go of the oldness: the old ways of thinking and believing, our doubts, fears, anxieties, and allowing the newness: the reconciliation, the peace, the joy and the love of the caller to penetrate your entire being from the top of your head to the toes on your feet.
For today: as you listen and choose to become a new creation in Christ, let your response be: Here I am Lord, I want to do your will, choose me.
SATURDAY – “G” We can choose to be GOD CENTERED
For today: Choose to do the right, love goodness, and walk humbly with your God. You are God’s good and faithful servant, believe that, live it, and know that God has called you, He has invited you to become your best self and the choices you make with God will allow you to reach your potential and be the best person that you can be before God, others and self.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 17, 2022
Last week, I wrote about Christmas in July and how Christmas should be a state of mind all year long and not just one day a year. I thought that Christmas in July would be a refreshing break amid the heat and rain that this summer has brought us thus far. With my focus being on celebrating Christmas in July, my idea of celebrating is not about the parties we attend, or the dinners we partake of or the various gifts that we exchange. What I mean by celebrating is more about how we, as followers of Christ, are called to celebrate and rejoice in our calling to serve one another in the name of Christ. When we serve in Christ’s name, we give Glory to our God and King of our hearts. When we celebrate the birth of Christ, we not only celebrate in His coming to us though Mary, but also His coming to us through baptism, the sacraments of the Church, Sacred Scripture, and each other. These are all great gifts and graces given to us by God so that we can see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly each and every day. As we strive to make Christmas a daily mindset; a mindset focused on a greater and deeper sense of faith, hope, love, peace, and joy, let us do so rejoicing and not lamenting, offering gratitude to God for all our blessings, and not complaining about what is wrong, but focus on what is right.
So how can we do that, consciously or unconsciously, but differently and with a smile? We celebrate with music. As we talk about Christmas in July, one of the first things that comes to my mind are the Christmas songs that we play, hear everywhere, and can hum because we don’t remember the words, or don’t want to scare people away, but can recall the melody. So here are some Christmas songs to not only hum or sing or play but also to pray with so that you can draw nearer to Christ our Savior, Redeemer, and Lord, today and every day. When we sing or hum or not, we do so with the hope of glorifying God whether our music or voice rises to the sky or sinks to the shore.
SUNDAY: A Child Is Born unto Us.
Verse 1 A child is born, a Son is given unto us. His light has shone on those in darkness.
Now that we have much of the pandemic in our rear view mirror, have you been able to see the light in the midst of the darkness from the pandemic? Through the past 27 months, do you feel that you have been walking in the darkness where you have had to surrender and trust completely in God and those He has placed in and on your path to lead you through? Do you see, can you recognize the light of Christ, the child that was born unto us, within your heart and deep within your soul, the bright and radiating light but sometimes it seemed more like a flickering light. You have radiated and exuded the presence of the baby Jesus that you have received in your baptism as you have tried to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become. A child has been born unto you.
MONDAY: Away in a Manger
Verse 3 Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray; Bless all the dear children in thy tender care and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.
Jesus was born in a manger, away from home, away from Mary and Joseph’s family and friends. He was born in poverty and the Holy Family trusted in the protection of God, His plan and the kindness and love of strangers.
These past 2 years, I imagine that we all have prayed to God to stay close to us as we navigated Covid19, the variants, other health challenges and the daily crosses that we carry that have possibly become heavier.
Where is Jesus and where is the manger? Jesus is alive and well within the manger of your heart. Although the pandemic has caused us to adapt a new normal and accept the changes that have occurred, we have all been challenged to accept His call to a spiritual poverty where we have had to surrender and trust in His plan for us and our loved ones, as did Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, the birth of Christ, this new life that came down from heaven, that was born to us, wasn’t just of that moment, a moment to remember as part of our salvation history, or to look back on with no real connection, but to look into, into our hearts, into our spirit and recognize the gift and presence of a lifetime of love to nourish, cherish and reverence, so that we are renewed, refreshed, and revitalized each and every day.
TUESDAY: Go Tell it on the Mountain
Refrain: Go tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.
What do we want to tell on the mountain, or proclaim from the rooftop? Is it that we made it through the Pandemic the most challenging time of our life, that we and our loved ones have been vaccinated and boostered, or that we have found a new connection with close family a great gift, or that we have undergone a personal and spiritual transformation that, at first, we did not want to embrace, but now we embrace it with great strength, gratitude, and appreciation? Is it that we are grateful to be alive and have been healed of COVID or other spiritual or physical dis-eases that were in the need of healing; the dis-ease of bitterness, estrangement, anger, resentment, discouragement, or despair?
What is your it” that you want to tell from the highest mountain, from the rooftop, or even from your valley? Remember that God knows your heart and your “it” and is waiting for you to proclaim “it” for all to hear. “It’ is your gift to share with others. Don’t leave “it” behind or forget about “it”, but rather take “it” with you, embrace “it” and love “it” for “it” has made you want to become your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.
WEDNESDAY: Joy to the World
Verse 3: He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.
Joy to the World. Joy is a gift that we can choose to accept or deny. We can choose to live in misery, discouragement, self-pity, frustration, or sadness. We can choose to avoid enjoying life and embrace those things that help us deny that there is any reason to be joyful. We can close the eyes and ears of our soul, heart, mind, and spirit to the joy to of Christmas that came not as the end but the beginning. The joy of Christmas to the world is that Jesus came not to just be born, but rather to suffer and die so that we can live with Him forever and be born anew in heaven with our Loving God.
The joy is that Jesus is with us each moment of each and every day to help us through the times where we are not able to recognize the light of joy, or the reason to be joyful because our crosses have either dimmed or temporarily snuffed out that light. Remember that the cross is not a denial of joy but an embrace of joy. Joy for and in the love of Christ and how He chose to love you and be more like Him through your cross. I believe that we all have many reasons to be joyful….what are some of yours?
THURSDAY: O Come All Ye Faithful
Verse 3: Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, Jesus, to thee be all glory given Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.
O come all ye faithful, that is you and that is me. We are invited to come and give praise to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Will you come? Where will you go, who will you go with and who will you invite to come with you? It is a new morning. It is a new day. This is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us adore Him. Let us come with those who we are grateful for, those He has placed in our life that have allowed us, invited us, waited for us, and called us to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become, and let us come hand in hand with our enemy, that vey person that we area called to forgive as God has forgiven us. Now we all His faithful are walking with another as we choose to be our best self, a faithful fallower and disciple of Jesus Christ this Christmas day in July and always.
FRIDAY: Night of Silence
Verse 2: Voice in the distance, call in the night, on wind you enfold us, you speak of the light, Gentle on the ear, You whisper softly, Rumors of a dawn so embracing, Breathless love awaits darkened souls, Soon will we know of the morning.
We do know of the morning. We have opened our eyes to a new and glorious day, this day God awaits our response to His gift of light, newness, peace, joy, and the presence of loved ones. Our eyes have been closed in the darkness of night, the stress of financial and family concerns, health challenges, the death of a loved one, estrangement of family members and discouragement, but the soft whisper of God calls us to believe in the newness that awaits us with our new normal, healing, reconciliation, peace, and compassion; the newness that comes weather we choose it or not, it is God’s promise, and He never goes back on His word. His word is greater than any sin or short walk-in darkness that we may have taken. He loves us, has loved us through the shadow of darkness that our cross has caused and is loving us now through this new day. Christ endured the greatest night of darkness and rose from the tomb. Are we ready, and willing to emerge from our tomb? To let God help us carry our cross so that we can emerge from the tomb and walk in the newness of life, to seek healing so that we can become whole?
Can you identify the ways that He is loving you today? Or how He has shown His great love these past days, months, or year? Christmas in July…there’s an answer. Even if you are not able to recognize His love right now, His act of love 2000 years ago can still be your final answer and be a correct one. No jeopardy here.
SATURDAY: Let There Be Peace on Earth
Verse 1: …..Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now. With every step I take, let this be my solemn vow: to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally. Le there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Can you allow these words to permeate your very being from the top of your head to the toes on your feet? It is not a peace that we can or should postpone, but rather embrace and share right now. If your step needs to be a step towards physical, emotional or psychological healing, so that you can experience a greater peace, love, sense of compassion and the grace and gift of reconciliation, then be gentle with yourself and take one step at a time, don’t run, or leap, or even skip right now, but just walk humbly and tenderly with your God as He draws you nearer to Himself. Let each step draw you nearer to your God and be a step toward your own personal journey of healing and wholeness. Let your step of peace be an olive branch to those who have injured you or that you have injured. Let your step be into the new normal, not looking back with regret but with gratitude, not with anger that takes deep root and destroys your foundation, but rather with mercy, compassion and love. Christmas is a state of mind. One that we should seek to focus on and not lose sight of. Remember that a journey begins with placing one foot in front of the other, not jumping, or running, but walking with God and with those whose hand He places in yours in to walk with, talk with and grow with in peace eternally.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 10, 2022
Christmas in July. Considering all that is going on in our world, you might be asking how I can even think about Christmas in July. With Covid19 beginning to be in our rear-view mirror, I would say that we can celebrate with joy and hope that we are on the right path to healing and wholeness, but we should not take the right path for granted. We still need to be vigilant with our safety procedures so that we can avoid a resurgence of Covid19 and the variants. I believe that if we adhere to our new normal guidelines, we will continue to emerge as a physically, emotionally, and healthier people. This is a reason to proclaim Joy to the World.
Last year at this time, we could hardly think about Christmas because Covid 19 was still a mighty force that had to be reckoned with. The shining star was there to guide those who were seeking to come to know the Savior through the pandemic, the star continues to shine upon us to enlighten us as to where God is now as we live our new normal, and to recognize the good that came out of the pandemic and how it has changed and transformed each one of us.
This is not a glimpse encouraging you to begin your Christmas shopping or to write out your Christmas cards, so please put the keys down, the lists away and keep the stamps and address books in the drawer. What is Christmas in July? In our commercial and consumer world, it is where retailers have Christmas decorations and all the necessary items out for sale so that the consumer can get a jump start and shop ahead. July is in the middle of summer where it can also be the hottest time of the year, so that when we talk about Christmas, there can be a sudden feeling of refreshment and cooling off.
But on a deeper and a more spiritual level, why is or should July be different than any other month? Why don’t we celebrate Christmas every day and not just the one day a year? On December 25th, we as Catholic Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, where God chose Mary, a young virgin to be the Mother of God and Joseph to be His foster father here on earth. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, we know that it is the Christmas season because it is officially Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. How do you know it is Christmas? You can’t miss the various and many clues; decorations and advertisements abound everywhere; in the Malls, on houses, in stores and on televisions, Christmas cards are sent out, Santa Claus appears everywhere either in his PJ’s or in his full red suit, people celebrate with parties, the poor, hungry and homeless are remembered through various food collections, special dinners, coat and clothes drives, the sick children are thought of in a special way through toys for tots, people are kinder, gifts are exchanged and children send their Christmas lists to Santa at the North pole early so that they can get everything they want.
Christmas is not just about the bright and positive, it is also about the cross of Christ experienced first by Mary and Joseph. Christmas is also a time where many people grieve the loss of their loved one and would rather cry than celebrate or smile, families are broken, wounds are renewed, lives are lost through war, homicide, suicide, and addictions and all of these lives are gifts that have been taken away, the poor are still poor, many of the homeless are still without a home, the hungry are still hungry and peace on earth is still our hope and prayer. There is still more darkness than daylight and the weather can lead to cabin fever.
My Glimpse of God for this week is not to eliminate Christmas in July, but that we make the meaning of Christmas our daily mindset; a mindset focused on a greater and deeper sense of faith, hope, love, compassion, service, mercy, peace, joy, authenticity, presence, and trust. As we begin a new week during this month of July, let us focus on some of the aspects of our faith and discipleship and seek to live it out as if it were Christmas every day.
SUNDAY – Spirit of Christmas
The spirit and gift of Christmas is a state of mind and one that we are blessed with every day. We are called to be a selfless, and not a selfish, people. We are all God’s beloved sons and daughters, and when we share the gift of our love and beloved-ness with others, it helps them recognize with greater clarity how unconditionally loved they are by God and others. The Spirit of Christmas is a spirit of self-emptying love, surrender, trust, hope, and joy that permeates and penetrates our very being and dwells within our hearts if we are open to God’s Holy Spirit and His plan for us.
We are and can always try to give of our self. If someone is grieving and needs comfort, be God’s instrument of consolation and support. If someone is ill and needs a good listener, be the ears of Christ and listen in silence. If someone is alone and in need of a visitor, be the visitor of compassion, support, and empathy. If someone has hurt you, be merciful, listen and forgive as God has forgiven you. If someone is joyful, be joyful with them and do not let your life crosses, struggles and challenges overshadow their joy. God loves a cheerful giver.
Today, if you are carrying a heavy cross, do not try to carry it alone, remember Jesus accepted help, so let others help. If you find that you are not your best self, remember that what you see is only a partial view where God sees the whole picture. That picture is one of love, compassion, healing, and wholeness, so rejoice that your better self is emerging, just move out of your way so that you can see it more clearly. If you find that you are being tough on yourself because of mistakes, weaknesses, or sins, remember that God knows what is in your heart and that you are sorry, in humility admit your wrongs and seek His mercy so that He can take action to heal, forgive and make you whole.
MONDAY – The Senses of Prayer for you today
May Jesus open your eyes so that you can see the wonderful gift of His presence in those that surround you: your family, your friends, your community, your neighbors, your coworkers and yes, even the stranger. May Jesus open your ears so that you can hear the laughter and listen to the stories of those around you and respond with the empathy, compassion, joy, mercy, and love of Jesus. May you hear and listen as you open your heart to His message. May Jesus touch your nose so that you can smell the various aromas of the foods that are being prepared for your table, the breakfast table, the fast-food table, the dinner table, the bar-b-q, the snack table. As you enjoy the aromas, may that prompt a prayer of thanksgiving for those who are preparing your meal. Remember each meal, beginning with Holy Eucharist, is a gift given by God to nurture and sustain you spiritually and physically, so that you can be a stronger witness as a member of the Body of Christ to all. May Jesus touch your sense of taste and allow you to enjoy all that you partake of weather at the table, or on the run. Taste and see the Goodness of the Lord.
Today: May Jesus touch your mind, body, spirit, and soul with His grace. May you reach out and touch someone today that needs comfort, consolation, healing, empathy, compassion, peace, joy, love, and laughter.
TUESDAY – The Greetings of Christ
When we greet each other with a smile, kind words or a friendly gesture, it is the recognition of the presence of another that spreads love, mutual respect, understanding, peace, mercy, compassion and builds up the Kingdom of God here on earth. When the Christmas season approaches, respectful of the other holidays that are also being celebrated in and around the same time, you often hear various greetings from Merry Christmas, happy holidays to Happy Hanukah.
I believe that these greeting are one’s attempt to be respectful of the many religious holidays and to acknowledge a person’s celebration. Why wait till the season to greet others? Normally a smile, handshake or a simple hello are ways to acknowledge another’s presence without causing any political or religious debate or offense.
What is the meaning of our greeting and how do we glorify God as Christ’s followers and builders of the Kingdom here on earth? By offering peace through our prayer, words of encouragement and perseverance during fears and doubt, and persistence amid challenges and feelings of being stressed out, overflowing with worry, and overwhelmed with life’s daily challenges. We encourage each other, support each other, and call each other to be their best self despite what contradicts that goal. Jesus glorified the Father all the time without fear or hesitation. We are called to do the same. Sometimes it is easier to give praise and thanks to God when things are going well, but when things are difficult, it is a special gift and grace form God to be able to offer Him thanks and praise.
Today or the next time that you want to greet another but hesitate because of fear, the uncertainty of their response, or because you do not know what to say, offer a nod and say a prayer for them. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, the first words from His mouth were Peace Be with You!! Let these words echo in your heart as He speaks to you, and as He wishes them for all His children through you.
WEDNESDAY – The Presence/Presents of Christmas
Christ comes to us and gives us the greatest gift that we could ever ask for or imagine receiving, the gift of His real presence in the Holy Eucharist, and His healing presence in the Sacraments of the Reconciliation and Anointing. His gift of Self to us was a selfless, unconditional self-emptying gift that we could never earn or deserve. Knowing that, He came to earth as an infant through the virgin Mary, suffered His passion, died on the cross and rose from the dead, to show us, not only how unconditionally loved we are, but that there is no sin that could ever diminish or take that love from us. Do we believe that, and can we live in and with faith that empowers us to rise above our weakness and trust in His mercy?
We are the Body of Christ, and we are called to be the Body of Christ to others. Being present to others and giving of our self is not always easy, but like Mary and Joseph, if we trust in God and follow the star of His grace that guides us, we know that He will always protect us, guide us, and lead us to those who need to experience His gifts of love, mercy, and peace through us.
There are so many ways that Christ is calling us to be His beacon of light, love, and compassion, we just need to listen, look, and respond the best way we can. Merry Christmas today. Enjoy the presence and gift of Jesus in those that surround you. Keep the spirit and meaning Christmas alive by your words, deeds, attitudes, and prayers and do not give the secular world the credit for your witness and love for God through Jesus. If the eyes of your heart, spirit and mind are open, you will see so many gifts from Jesus, gifts like; the smile of a friend, the words of consolation, the embrace of a loved one, the joy of seeing another’s facial expressions, the jokes that raise our laughter level, the person in line ahead of us that invites us to go ahead of them because they have more, the person who defers to you in traffic, the child that embraces you after a hard day at work, and the opportunity to gather with others.
Today be mindful that the gift of Jesus that is given to you each time you attend and participate in the celebration of Holy Mass. You are the Body of Christ, so as you encounter your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, remember that the presence of Jesus is in each of them. Seek Him and you will find Him.
THURSDAY – The peace of Christmas
We hear this song throughout the season but not much during the rest of the year. If we prayed for peace more often, but more importantly, if we believed that we are instrumental in bringing about peace in our home, community, church and world, peace would abound in ways that we cannot even imagine. Peace is like the ripple in the ocean, one little prayer, selfless action, random act of kindness, can bring about peace so that it ripples and grows further out from us to those who need it most.
If you are like me, once a little song enters my mind, it stays, so with that, pray these words, sing these words, post them, but always remember YOU are God’s instrument of His Peace here on earth.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father and family all are we, let us walk with each other, in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now, with every step I take, let this be my solemn vow: to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
HOW???? Listen to the Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love, injury…. pardon. doubt…faith, despair…. hope, darkness…light, sadness…joy, Oh Divine Master, grant that I might not seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned, and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
FRIDAY- Serve in the name of the Lord
When Christmas begins to ascend and advent is near, we often and always hear of the many service organizations and ministries that reach out to the military, the poor, the homeless, the addicted, the sick children and the homebound. We as a community, neighborhood, city, town, state, and country, generously respond to the needs of those less fortunate and need help. When the season is over, it seems that the requests for these same people are silent or muted. We do not hear as much about them. Yet their situation has not changed, and they still need help. Wouldn’t it be nice if we reached out in the same way all year? Christmas brings their needs to the forefront so that people can respond with their Christmas hearts more generously. Shouldn’t we have a Christmas heart all year long, a heart that serves others, gives freely, forgives readily and allows God to expand it so that we can love more generously those we encounter on a daily basis? If we choose to live with a Christmas heart and believe that it is Christmas every day, then we would or could be more open to God’s invitation to help others, give of our self instead of being selfish, seek to raise up those who are bowed down, be reconciled to those who have become estranged, and to love others as God loves us.
Today, let us remember that those who were homeless are still homeless, the poor are still among us, the addicted are still suffering, and with death rates, due to gun violence, war, and suicide, continuing to rise, many are mourning the sudden and tragic loss of their loved ones. There is never a time to stop being or seeing Christ in others who are carrying these burdensome crosses and praying for their strength, consolation, and courage. We can be and bring the Christmas message of hope and good news to those who are suffering when our hearts are open, and not hardened, when we choose to be understanding and not judgmental and we see the face of Christ amid their tears, anger, hurt, fear, pain, doubt, frustration and sadness,
SATURDAY – Joy to the World
The angel announced with great joy that the Savior was born. As you move through another weekend, another part of the hot, humid, and rainy month, find your joy and share it with others. Is your joy in Christ? Proclaim it by your smile and your love. Is your joy in that you are His beloved? Look in the mirror and say thank you. Pray for your mom who accepted the seed of faith of your presence, and where God formed you in her womb and gave you your name. Pray for your dad who loved you the nine months that you remained hidden and loved you to the new physical life that you took on. Is your joy in your vocation: married, single, cleric, religious? God has called you and you have generously responded to His call to be His witness and Kingdom builder to those entrusted to your care, love, and concern. If married to your spouse, children, extended family, and grandchildren. If a religious; to your community, your past and present students, your employees, your elderly religious sisters, your caretakers, your family, your nieces, and nephews. If single; to your friends, family, extended family, and community.
Is your joy in your accomplishments? God has given you the talents and gifts that have allowed you to become accomplished, but your identity does not lie in what you do, but rather in who you are: His beloved child loved unconditionally and without measure. Look at what you think means a lot: your degree, your job, your successes and seek to see the hand of God and His Holy Spirit in your life.
Today, all of those that you have touched, and have touched you have been a source of joy to you and for you. They, and well as you, are a joy to the world and in the world. Our world needs more joy. Can you spread the joy by speaking of those who have given you joy in the past, or give you joy in the present? God is waiting to hear from you. The angels proclaimed it from the roof top, how will you proclaim it? From your knees, from your lips, in your greeting, by a nod?
Glimpse of God for the week of July 5, 2022
How great a blessing that we are able to celebrate our newfound religious freedom and our nations independence tomorrow. After the past two years, the pandemic has caused us to feel quite constrained on many levels and instead of being or feeling independent, we were dependent on so many people and things: the concern of others that they took the necessary precautions to avoid getting Covid19 and passing it on, the pharmaceutical companies to provide the vaccine so that our bodies could adequately fight the virus, the inventory in the stores that we used so that we could obtain our groceries, medicines, and household items and the prayers and support of others so that we could all navigate the pandemic together with hope and strength, courage and conviction.
As Catholic Christians, we can begin this day by gathering at the table of the Lord, where we celebrate our first freedom as children of God. As we listen to the proclamation of Sacred Scripture, we hear how God reveals to His people, how they can become a free people.
What is our freedom in relationship to our faith? It is not just about being given the right to practice our religion freely without the fear of persecution, but is more about us choosing to practice our religion and worship our God. It is about freely choosing to worship our God, not out of fear or guilt, but out of love, respect, and reverence. It is through the proclamation of the Sacred Scripture, the living word of God, that we hear God speak to our heart where He invites us to grow in a deeper relationship with Him. As God reveals Himself through Sacred Scripture, how we choose to respond will make us either a freer people or a people bound up in our guilt and sinfulness. As we listen to the inspired word of God, through His Holy Spirit, we are given the grace and wisdom to make good choices. It is through our good choices that we can avoid sin, but when we do sin, we then can choose to seek the mercy and healing power of God. God created us and instilled in us our free will. It is through that free will we can choose to be obedient or disobedient to God and His will and plan for us. This is not a task that we are given without help. Sacred Scripture, which is the inspired word of God, is there to assist us our spiritual journey.
As Mass continues and we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are then given the Body and Blood of Jesus. Jesus our redeemer, who suffered and died for us, who set us free from eternal damnation and opened the doors for us to eternal life, set us free and invites us to stay a free people. Our freedom is celebrated each time we receive the Sacraments especially Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. In the sacrament of reconciliation, through confession, absolution, and penance we are set free from our sin. In the Eucharist, but all throughout Mass, we are given the opportunity to repent of any wrongdoing and weakness, that does not require going to the sacrament of reconciliation and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. Our spiritual freedom does not mean that we will be free from sin, we are human, but what it can mean is that when we do sin, we recognize our sinfulness and repent, and choose not to fall into self-righteousness, despair, discouragement, or hopelessness. When we can recognize how we have fallen short of God’s desire for us becoming our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become, we are free. That freedom is choosing to see how we have fallen short but with hope in reconciliation and not despair, with courage to go forward and not turn back, emerging as victorious and not victims. Our spiritual freedom is when we choose not to be bound up in Satan’s deceptions.
SUNDAY – “F” faith vs fear
Having faith is one of the biggest tools in becoming and remaining a free person. With faith, not a perfect faith, but a greater desire to believe in the God who promised to always be with us, that He would never abandon us, that you will never be overcome, and that we never have reason to be afraid. If we believe that then we have chosen to meet our fear face to face and in trust that we will not be defeated. Remember that fear is the devil’s tool to take you away from God by having you believe that there is something that you cannot overcome, that you will be defeated by it, and that you have been abandoned by God.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life that you would like to have greater faith so that your fear will dissipate, and you will experience a newfound independence?
MONDAY – “R” reconcile vs regret
When we want to and choose to be free, we are choosing to let go of that which is constraining or binding us to our past choices, weaknesses, sins, and injuries. When we choose to be reconciled to God and others by admitting our mistakes and sins, it is in that reconciliation we are renewed in God’s grace, mercy, and compassion. Being a new creation, we are then able to go forward in that same mercy and compassion that has been shown to us and extend it to others. We then can choose not to look back and hold on to anger, grudges, resentment, and vengeance. It is when we do not choose to be reconciled, that we can have regrets. We regret that we have isolated ourselves from others because of injuries that have been inflicted on us or by us, regrets that we are angry about, and it is surging within us and making us more miserable, that our past choices and our need to be in control is controlling us and making us feel defeated, discouraged and despairing. Regrets can be eliminated by one act of reconciliation with God, who then gives us the strength and courage to seek reconciliation with others.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like to seek reconciliation with God and others; over a past sin, injury, grudge, so that you can experience a greater sense and reality of true autonomy, healing, and wholeness?
TUESDAY – “E” embrace vs exclude
As we choose, with the grace of God, to recognize that which is binding us, we can then choose to embrace it or exclude it. What I mean by that is when God invites us to grow in our faith, we are being invited to see ourselves as God sees us; His beloved child who is loved unconditionally, His greatest creation, and that there is nothing that we can say or do that will make Him love us less, He cannot, His love is perfect. It is in those truths that we need to see both the weak and the strong sides of our humanity. If we fail to recognize our sinfulness, our weakness, or our bad choices, but justify them or deny them all together, then we cannot undergo personal or spiritual transformation. God knows our hearts better than we do so He knows our choices and the reasons behind them, and He is ready and willing to forgive us. I believe that we are all sinners striving to become saints and, in our desire, we fall short and give in to the devil’s temptations. SO, when we acknowledge our choices or sins in the light of God’s love for us, their power to diminish our belief in God’s love for us as His beloved child is defeated, and we come out living more to our potential to be our best self.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like to acknowledge or embrace instead of denying or excluding, so that you can undergo a greater spiritual and personal transformation?
WEDNESDAY – “E” entrust vs endanger
As we seek our spiritual freedom so that we can undergo a greater spiritual and personal transformation, we sometimes put it at risk by not commending or entrusting our will to God. We seek to be in control, we try to fix our problems, we attempt to heal our brokenness and fail to see His presence and His love within us. We endanger our spiritual freedom because we seek to stay bound in control, self-righteousness, fear, ignorance, or self-reliance. Yet we are never out of God’s loving sight, or out of His desire to forgive and extend His mercy and compassion. Entrusting God means surrendering your fears, your will, and your control. This might be scary, but not impossible. As a sinner who is seeking to become a saint, a co-builder of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and a beloved child of God, I do not believe that you mean to or want to endanger your spiritual freedom, it sometimes just gets lost in the stresses and crosses of daily life.
So, as you celebrate your spiritual freedom, can you surrender those areas that are calling you away from God and risking the spiritual freedom that God has given you?
THURSDAY – “D” delight vs discourage
God delights in you and adores you. You are His beloved child, loved unconditionally, and His greatest creation. He called you by name when He created you. You are one of a kind, there will never be another you. You are unique and special, you are YOU. You are a sinner striving to become a saint, a builder of His Kingdom here on earth, an instrument to bring others to know, love and serve Him better in this life so that we can all experience His presence in the life to come. Do you believe that, or does that discourage you? Does your sinfulness or weakness discourage you to the point that you cannot believe that God loves you unconditionally? That He delights in you? that you are loved beyond measure? and that Jesus died for you and not just everyone else? When we delight in someone or something we experience a great joy, happiness, and peace. God wants you to believe in His love for you so that you can experience His joy, happiness, and peace.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, where or what keeps you from believing that God delights in you, and can you pray for the grace to let go so that you can find delight in yourself?
FRIDAY – “O” open vs obstructed
As we seek our spiritual freedom, we can choose to be open to it and all that it stands for, or we can put obstacles or obstructions in its way so that we cannot experience the freedom we are being invited to receive. Sometimes the idea of being free, forgiven, healed or whole can be scary, we do not know how to respond or live with this new freedom. For instance, being healed means recognizing where we are broken and then allowing God to fix the brokenness because we cannot. Being forgiven means that we have to admit that we have caused another harm and that we were wrong and sometimes our ego gets in the way and we justify our actions instead. I believe that the two phrases that are hardest for humanity to speak are “I am sorry” and “I forgive you”. When we say that “I am sorry” we are admitting that we have caused another harm, intentionally or not, we see that we have hurt them, and we feel remorse.
When we say that “I forgive you” we are given the grace to recognize the remorse in another who has caused us harm and we extend God’s mercy to them as He has so often extended it to us. When we are open, God’s grace overflows within us to without us. But when we put obstructions in the way because we would rather stew in our anger, shame, guilt, bitterness, vengeance, or grudge, then God’s grace is left waiting at the door of our mind, heart spirit and soul, and we need to open the door for it to make its way in. There is no obstacle or obstruction that cannot be removed and overcome with faith and trust in God.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like to be more open to God’s grace so that you can overcome the obstacles or obstructions that are keeping you from opening the door of your mind, heart, spirit and soul to His love, mercy, and compassion?
SATURDAY – “M” mercy vs memory
God’s mercy is greater than we can ever imagine or put into words. He doesn’t remember our past sins, but rather our present desire to repent, conform to His will and seek personal and spiritual conversion, and transformation. Yet when we sin or are injured, we often do not want to forget, but choose to dwell on the injury or sin. We continue to allow the shame, guilt, anger, and grudge to fester and take root so that the love, mercy, and compassion of God cannot make it’s dwelling within our heart, mind, spirit or soul. Our memory serves us well when we choose to remember the good times, the great people past and present that have touched our life, and the events and celebrations that have brought us great joy. Our memory also serves as a tool or instrument that reminds of the painful events or injuries that have also formed us and make us who we are today. God is not expecting us to forget those aspects of our formation, but what I think He is inviting us to do is to not allow our memory of the painful experiences to control us, make us feel like a victim and cause us to despair. But rather to remind us of His healing power that will make us a victorious, hopeful, and a resurrection people. As we seek God’s mercy, we are called to share that mercy with those who are in most need. With those who have injured us, or us for us, who have injured another. When we can share that mercy, then the pain and the effect of the memory will fade and grow farther away in the rearview mirror, and we will steer straight ahead to healing and wholeness that God desires for us.
As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like your memory of past hurts or injuries lead into seeking God’s mercy so that you can offer it to those in your life who are most in need?
Glimpse of God for the week of June 26, 2022
Angels in disguise.
So, as a follow up on last week’s Glimpse; Angels of God, I wanted to reflect further on how we are not only Angels of God, but through humility, Angels in disguise, messengers of God, instruments of His presence and how He chooses to reveal it through us. When I think of Angels in disguise, I do not mean to indicate anything deceptive on anyone’s part, but rather one who desires to bring God’s message to others with a hidden humility, it is a disguise that is worn by one who is selfless, other centered and loving. Although God’s Angels are perfect, I believe that we, sinners striving to become saints, although not perfect, are pleasing to God, chosen, and called by God to spread the good news of His eternal, unconditional and selfless love as we experienced it in and through His Son Jesus Christ and through our baptism, as we were immersed into His passion, death, and resurrection. In light of Jesus’ love for us and through our personal encounters with Him through our prayer life, in the Sacraments of the Church and each other, we continually strive to become better people as we exude the presence, light, and love of Christ to all those we encounter.
When I think of a disguise, I usually think of something that is worn to conceal one’s identity. I believe that people wear disguises for many reasons, but for the purpose of this glimpse, the disguise is to bring about God’s message to another in a spirit of selfless humility and love, and not out of ego, self-centeredness, or selfishness.
As we have navigated through the worse of the pandemic, I believe that there were and still are, many people who are Angels in disguise or God’s messengers to us and we to others; messenger of what you might ask? Messengers of hope, peace, joy, mercy, compassion, understanding, empathy, and perseverance. These Angels appear to us in many forms, as many forms as there are people in my life and in your life.
Over the past two years, the pandemic has caused a lot of stress, fear, anxiety, and trepidation for many people. As a collective group of people, the pandemic has caused us to examine and re-examine everything we do, who we interact with, how we go about our daily routines, and how we take care of our self and our loved ones. In the past two years, in the height of the pandemic, many have suffered from anxiety, depression, fear, discouragement, and hopelessness. At this time, twenty-seven months later, I believe that we are turning the corner and living our new normal with greater care, caution, and courage so that is not controlling every aspect of our life as it had been.
BUT if we continue to think and allow new fears such as the new variants, carelessness, or misguided information to control our life, and we make them the end all and be all to our existence, then we are failing to trust in the God who created us and knows exactly what we are able to handle. Throughout our life, whether we are living through a pandemic, a terminal illness, a broken relationship, financial stresses, unemployment, aging or family discord, it is during those times, whether they be short or long, that God has sent and continues to send, His Angels in disguise.
These Angels are His messengers, and they are sent to us to remind us that He is always with us, that He loves and adores us, that we are His beloved children, that we are never alone, and that that we are conquerors and will not be conquered, victors and not victims.
When I think of Angels in disguise, I think of all those people in my life that have managed to keep hopelessness, discouragement, and despair at a distance, have placed faith over fear and have always been the light of Christ by their genuineness, authenticity, and selflessness. They are my husband and members of my family, good friends, people I encounter every day at daily Mass, the volunteers, staff and Sisters at Assisi house, my neighbors, and even the stranger at the store who shares a smile and a kind word. Knowingly or unknowingly, they are Angels in disguise because they continue to be God’s messengers of hope, peace, joy, courage, perseverance, trust, understanding, reconciliation, and support.
These wonderful people do not bring God’s message with an ego or an ID badge, but rather with a hidden humility. A humility that speaks from the heart. It is this humility that allows them to serve one another as God invites them to. One might be an angel in disguise and on a given day are called to serve as compassion, another day as empathy, another as understanding. I think that we can all identify our Angels in disguise, those who have lifted us up when we have fallen, those who have reached out to us when we have caused them injury and those who have invited us to walk with them in silence, and consolation.
We are always being challenged to emerge from our tombs so that we can experience new life. As we strive to live our new normal each day, to step outside the tomb of fear, anxiety, and worry, we do so in faith, trust, and courage, not just for ourselves, but for those we love and encounter each day. Our new life can be in the form of healing and reconciliation, or a renewed sense of courage and hope, or an abiding peace and a sense of true happiness, whatever our new life is, I believe that it brings us to a wholeness that God intends for us and that we have opened our mind, heart, spirit, and soul to receive. Consciously or unconsciously, we have been and continue to be; Angels in disguise. Parents have been Angels to their children as well as children to their parents, Church leaders to their congregations as well as the congregations to their leaders, teachers to their students, and students to their teachers, siblings, friends, and neighbors to each other. We have been and continue to encourage and support each other, but we cannot do that if we are not inspired by God to do so. As God’s messengers, our angel’s in disguise may come in the form of words, actions, prayers, or silence, and in all of those disguises, God’s message is not just brought to the recipient, it has taken root in the messenger as well.
If you are wondering who your Angel is or has been, look to where, when, and how you have managed to take each step into a new day, hopeful, trusting, surrendering, and believing that God is guiding you, and pray to recognize your source of inspiration and then thank God. The Angel is God’s messenger, and you are His messenger, the Angel’s wings are your hands in prayer, and the message is the one of hope in the resurrection. We are all living our Good Friday experience as we carry our cross and enter our tomb of illness, unemployment, broken relationships, family discord, aging, or whatever is trying to take our peace from us, but we can emerge from our tomb a renewed people, a transformed people, a resurrection people, if we choose to. Spiritual and personal transformation awaits us as we seek to see the good during the difficult and challenging.
This week as you walk with your Angel in disguise, listen to God’s message of love. Love for you that has given you your inner strength, courage, self-determination, and perseverance. Love that speaks volumes as He reminds you that you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally, and His best creation, and nothing, can ever take that identity away. As you reflect on your Angels in disguise and who you have been an angel in disguise to, seek God’s grace to continue to seek His Angels and message and to be His angel and messenger. For a daily reflection, look at who have been your messengers, your Angels in disguise, how you have become a better person because of them, and how you have helped them become a better person.
As you reflect on your Angels in disguise, can you say a prayer of gratitude for them as you realize that as they walk with you on this holy ground, they make it less rocky and more smooth by taking each step with you? steps that are walked together as they grasp your hand in theirs to calm any fears and remind you that you are not alone, steps taken behind you as they have your back and will be there if you begin to waver, fall, or run away, and steps taken ahead of you to calmly lead you in the uncharted territory that lies ahead, all in Jesus’ name.
SUNDAY – “M” Who has been your Angel in disguise of mercy, mentorship, mystery (mystery - although we don’t understand, we trust)?
Who have you been an Angel of mercy, mentorship, mystery to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize with greater clarity, trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of mercy, mentorship, and mystery to others.
Monday – “E” Who has been your Angel in disguise of empathy, endurance, encouragement?
Who have you been an Angel of empathy, endurance, or encouragement to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize with greater clarity, trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of empathy, endurance, and encouragement to others.
TUESDAY – “S” Who has been your Angel in disguise of sympathy, selflessness, sacrificial love?
Who have you been an Angel of sympathy, selflessness, or sacrificial love to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize with greater clarity, trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of sympathy, selflessness and sacrificial love to others.
WEDNESDAY – “S” Who has been your Angel in disguise of support, strength, self-determination?
Who have you been an Angel of support, strength, self-determination to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize with greater clarity, trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of support, strength and self-determination to others.
THURSDAY – “A” Who has been your Angel in disguise of appreciation, authenticity, acceptance?
Who have you been an Angel of appreciation, authenticity, acceptance to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize with greater clarity, trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of appreciation, authenticity, and acceptance to others.
FRIDAY – “G” Who has been your Angel in disguise of Godliness, genuineness, goodness?
Who have you been an Angel of, Godliness, genuineness, goodness to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize, with greater clarity trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of Godliness, genuineness, and goodness to others.
SATURDAY – “E’ Who has been your Angel in disguise of empowerment, edification, energy?
Who have you been an Angel of empowerment, edification, energy to today, and were your wings spread out (easy to be an Angel to), or drawn by your side (challenging to be an Angel to but you were anyway)? Thank God for His Angels and their message and ask Him for the grace to recognize with greater clarity, trust and courage, your call to be His Angel of empowerment, edification, and energy to others.
Glimpse of God for the week of June 19, 2022
Angels of God
This week’s Glimpse of God is about the Archangel Gabriel and how I believe that God often sends angels into our lives. Although Merriam Webster defines an angel as one who is a spiritual being serving as a divine messenger, another definition is one who is very good, kind, or beautiful. Now we probably cannot say that the Archangel Gabriel appeared to us to let us know that we are going to conceive the Messiah (Mary) or his cousin (Zechariah), or when to leave our home so that we would not be killed (Joseph), or to follow the star and be the first to behold the savior (The Shepherds). Gabriel delivered God’s message to those for whom it was intended, those that God chosen beforehand to fulfill their role in salvation history. In Sacred Scripture, God used His angels to bring His message directly to the recipient. Today, He uses us to do the same. (now you might not consider yourself or your neighbor to be an angel, but I believe that we all have been and continue to be angels of mercy, compassion, understanding, reconciliation, and peace to others. Every time that we choose to be God’s messenger of peace and proclaim love in place of hatred, pardon in the face of injury, faith in the existence of doubt, hope in the depth of despair, and understanding in the misery of judgment, we are an angel. Even though our message might not be as earth shattering as Gabriel’s was to Zechariah, Mary, or Joseph, it is none the less a message from God to a specific person for a specific reason. His message is not useless or in vain but serves a purpose in fulfilling His plan and building His kingdom here on earth.
Now we could all agree that having an angel appear to us would be an unforgettable, life changing experience, but even as they faced the real presence of God’s messenger, Gabriel had the same problem that we have today, and that is God’s message wasn’t accepted immediately, at first Zechariah doubted but came to believe in faith, Mary questioned but surrendered in love, and Joseph feared but walked in hope. The Archangel was sent to three faith-filled, faithful, pious, God loving and fearing believers, to deliver the message of God and each response to the message was received differently. God knew the heart of each person and in His great love for them and theirs for Him, chose to reveal Himself in and through Gabriel’s message and their response. Gabriel’s message and God plan for them allowed them to be open, genuine, and honest which allowed them to be their best self, the person that He created them to be so that they could live up to their potential.
God knows that even when He invites us to be proclaim His message of love, truth, peace, and compassion in a world that contradicts His message, or to act in a better way or when He calls us to our truth to turn away from our sin, we often respond out of fear, uncertainty, doubt, anger, and sometimes despair. Even in our weakest moments and bad choices, He knows our heart better than we do. He knows that our love for Him is real, deep, and undivided. He wasn’t angry, He did not turn away or change His mind then, and He won’t do that with us either now.
So as we begin a new week, remember that you are called to be God’s messenger and that He has entrusted you, a sinner striving to become a saint, with His message. Today you might be called to be an angel of mercy, tomorrow an angel of peace, only God knows what He wants you to do and be, so be open and allow the honesty of Zechariah to fill you with hope, the YES of Mary to inspire you, and the courage of Joseph to strengthen you. Look to the Archangel Gabriel to be your light.
SUNDAY – “G” God centered
As I believe that you and I are very God centered in our best times and a little off center during our worse times. I have learned that in the midst of life and the “stuff” it throws at you, being God centered is not easy, yet with God’s grace it is very possible. Sometimes when life surrounds you with “stuff” not all good and not all bad, we can lose sight of God and get stuck in the midst of the thick, challenging, not God centered “stuff”.
I believe that It is in and during those times that we are given a Glimpse of God through another, and in our self, as we recognize our ability to overcome the difficult, face the challenge and stand with our head held high knowing that we are not alone. God’s offers His glimpse through His gifts of affirmation, inner peace, a sense of joy, renewed strength, and spiritual transformation.
For today, look in the mirror and seek to see how God centered you are and how God has gifted you with the grace to stay focused and centered during the “stuff” that you’ve had to cope with.
MONDAY – “A” authentic
Don’t look at others as better than you or desire to be someone else because of their wealth, power, friendships, or social status. God created you as the special person that you are. God formed you in the womb and called you by name. You are blessed with special talents and gifts that the next person may not have, and they are also blessed with talents and gifts that you may not have, but together we all create a canvas of unique, diverse, and colorful facets of God’s presence that can help us see Him more clearly in each other.
For today, acknowledge with humility your authenticity and genuineness and thank God for them. In a world where it seems more of a cross to be and stay God centered and authentic, God says that the cross is what draws us together, makes us stronger, gives us inner strength and conviction, makes us a better glimpse and reflection of His presence, and allows us to be true to our self, so as to be able to rest with a clear conscience. The cross comes to us in varied and many forms, but I believe that the greatest cross that we carry, that which will transfigure us so that we will become a greater reflection of God’s presence to others, is the one that calls us to be transformed from within. The cross of confession, conversion, and transformation is the one that we carry within and is only known to our God and not for others to see. Illness, physical challenges, unemployment, and other crosses can draw attention to our self, but when we truly seek to be God centered, our cross is the one that we hold within and at the core of our center; that is our heart, mind, and soul.
TUESDAY – “B” breath of life
You are the life and breath of God in and through your words, prayers, and attitudes. What does that mean to you? Are your words uplifting and encouraging or discouraging and disheartening? Do others hear God through your conversations or are your words filled with gossip and swords? Is the power of God’s word your strength and do you share your strength with others?
Your prayers, your words of consolation, encouragement, strength, are of God and given to you to speak, share and spread.
For today, listen to your words; those spoken silently in prayer, those spoken silently about others, those spoken verbally for all to hear, and those you regret saying, and ask for the grace of God so that you may be His breath of life by your humility, by your personal and spiritual transformation, and in and through your words.
WEDNESDAY – "R" Reconciling
The Church offers us the Sacrament of Reconciliation when we need to clear our heart, mind, souls and spirit of actions of omission and commission that have harmed our relationship with God and others. The gift of God’s gift of peace is available to all those who seek it. God wants all people to experience HIs healing touch, His freedom, His strength, and His peace, so that they can live in the light of His love for them and His desire for their genuine and true happiness. I believe that this is what all priests want to offer to those who approach the sacrament. Not just mere words, but through their lived experience. They desire to extend what they, as weak, sinful instruments of God, have experienced, yet we are all capable and able to extend God’s peace to others, and we do not need to be ordained to do that. Although the Sacrament of Reconciliation is the best way to experience God’s healing if you are carrying the heavy burden of wounded ness and hurt. God wants you to be healed and whole, but it is also through each other, as His followers, that we can experience God’s healing and wholeness. If you are struggling and want to grow in your faith, trust, and hope, open your hands and heart and God will fill you with what you need to be the best person that you can be, person that He has created you to be and have the potential to become. Always remember that God’s love is unconditional, His compassion is unending, our sins can never be greater than His love for us, and that we are His beloved sons and daughters, His greatest creation.
For today, try to reconcile with one person that you have been either estranged from or keep your distance from because of a past injury or deep hurt. If you find it too difficult to reach out to that person or if they are deceased, pray to God for the grace to forgive in your heart, and that grace will lead you to a profound experience of peace, reconciliation, healing, and wholeness, throughout your body, mind, soul, and spirit.
THURSDAY – "I" Instrumental
For today let us look at and pray with a deeper fervor the prayer of Saint Francis. Let us strive each day to be more of God’s instrument of peace and be His peacemakers in a world that does not seem to know, desire, or seek true and lasting peace, which can only be experienced in and through God, His beloved Son Jesus, His Holy Spirit, and Mary our Blessed Mother.
So where and when there is hatred may you sow love, where there is injury may you extend pardon, where there is doubt may you be a seed of faith, even when you think you have only the faith the size of a mustard seed, where there is despair, may you represent hope, where there is darkness, may you be God’s ray of light and warmth, and where there is sadness, may you bring joy.
May you not seek consolation but choose to console another, may you not want so hard to be understood but may you humbly choose to understand another, and may you not look for love but offer your love to those who do not know love. God is love and when you choose to offer it to another, then you already have what you seek.
FRIDAY – “E” embracing
As we conclude the prayer of Saint Francis, embrace the final words and allow them to penetrate the very core of your being. You cannot give what you do not have. God supplies where you feel that you fall short. When you truly desire to give, God meets your desire and gives in plenty. When you offer consolation, understanding and love, it is not that God doesn’t want you to have these gifts, He is telling you that you already possess them and that with His grace and through your prayer life, they will continue to grow.
As the prayer of Saint Francis concludes, this is the promise that God made through Jesus His Son. May you know as you give from the heart, you will receive, as you pardon from your heart and not in lip service, you will be pardoned. and in your dying, as a child of God and follower of Jesus, you will receive everlasting life.
SATURDAY - “L” = learned
Being learned as a Christian is about knowing the will of God and how we can live that out in our life. Being learned in life is not only about book knowledge, but the knowledge and language of the heart and how we can reach out to others and build them up and not tear them down.
How learned are you? Do you recognize how God has given you the desire to learn about His will for you, how you are living it out and how you are being His light to others? Do you need to have a Bachelors, Masters, or a Doctorate degree from a University to be considered learned about the will of God?
No, what you need and already have is a blank page so that God can write His plan and His will for you, where the only book you need is the Bible, the only writing tool you need is your free will, and the only test is the one where you challenge yourself to be more Christ centered today than you were yesterday.
For today, let us take an extra step in love to learn more about someone else. It takes a lot to want to become learned and to gain knowledge of a broad variety of topics and issues. When someone is learned they have taken the time to gain knowledge of a variety of topics so that they can share their knowledge with others and relate to more people. Go and be the best Scholar God knows you can be!!!
GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR JUNE 12, 2022
The immeasurable treasures at Assisi House
As I begin this Glimpse, I want to take a moment to recognize the many graces and the giftedness of so many that the Church of Philadelphia has received, through the open hearts of many men and women who have answered the call to serve as Priests, Consecrated Religious and Permanent Deacons. In the past several weeks, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia celebrated the ordination of men to the priesthood and permanent deaconate.
This weekend, many Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi of Philadelphia, will celebrate, in an incredibly special way, the diamond and golden jubilee of their first profession. WOW!!! What an honor to be in the presence of those who so willingly, graciously, and happily chose and continue to choose to serve Christ, live Christ and be Christ to all those they encounter. Thank you, Diamond Jubilarians,: Sister Joan D., Maria G., Gloria K., Genoveva M., Catherine M., Margaret O., Francis R., Mary T., Mary W., and Thank You, Golden Jubilarians; Grace J., and Kate M. As God continues to call men and women to serve Him by serving His Church, we joyfully and prayerfully celebrate with those who recently responded, those who continue to discern God’s call, and those who continue to say Yes as they celebrate many years of faithful service.
My glimpse for this week comes from the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia who reside at the Assisi House and will celebrate their Diamond (70 years) and their Golden (50 years) Jubilees. All are gems and precious in the eyes of God and all those they encounter and serve. We consider all the Sisters at Assisi House and OLA genuine gifts from God, friends in the Lord, and our second family especially to Clover. As I reflect on the Sisters at Assisi House, I am reminded of the prophet Sirach when he states “a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth. Faithful friends are a lifesaving remedy; those who fear God finds. Those who fear God enjoy stable friendship, for as they are so will their neighbor be.” Sirach 6:14-17
So how did we ever come in contact with such great friends? It was God’s plan, 6.5 years ago, Clover’s golden personality would make it her first ministry as a therapy dog.
We had Clover trained as a therapy dog and found that the Assisi House was open to having a therapy dog come in on a regular basis to meet with the Sisters. So, ever since then John and I have been taking Clover, our Golden Retriever, for pet therapy. Clover is greeted, hugged, given treats, complimented, fussed over, sang to, and given many kisses by the Sisters as well as the staff. From the moment that she enters the doors of the vestibule to the moment that she walks out, she is the hit of the parade. They make her feel welcomed in their home. As a therapy dog, she is there to serve her purpose and that is to a silent presence to each person. Being respectful of their privacy, we would ask if the Sister wanted Clover to come in their room. This allowed a personal one on one visit with the best therapy dog in Aston (sorry I am biased). Although it is about Clover and the calming affect that she has on the Sisters, they always make John and I feel welcomed and a part of their family as well. It has been through these one-on-one visits where we and the Sisters have come to love each other and grow in friendship. They share their stories with us, their challenges, their wisdom and their prayers and they embrace our stories, our challenges, and offer us their prayers, support, and encouragement. They are present to us as even they spend time with Clover. It was Clover who got her paws in the front door as a therapy dog, which allowed us to walk with her and each sister on this wonderful and blessed journey of true love, support, genuine friendships, deep lasting relationships, and joy. Thank you Sisters for continuing to allow us into your home, we are deeply blessed and grateful.
As I reflect on their jubilee and their vocation as Consecrated Religious, I am inspired, and in awe of these wonderful deep women of faith. These Sisters who are celebrating 70 and 50 years as a Consecrated Religious said YES so long ago, and yet just moments ago as well. Their YES is a daily YES. They live out their YES to God by the life that they live, have lived, and hope to live that of a faithful service with a heart that remains open always ready to be transformed, conformed and reformed to the heart of Jesus.
They said YES with no treasure map to follow, no guarantee or refunds, no promises or exceptions as the world would ask or expect. Instead they put their trust in God’s wisdom and knowledge of their deepest desire and love for Him, their treasure map was and remains in the Sacraments of the Church, for it is in them they find the direction and path that they need to follow, their promise was eternal life and the guarantee was given to them by Jesus as He was nailed to the cross, and there are no exceptions, we are all included. All who choose to follow Christ will inherit eternal life. The Sisters have remained faithful followers despite and amidst any physical limitations, pain, discouragement, and disappointments. In the midst of it all they renew in their heart their YES to Christ as His beloved bride. All the Sisters are not only a Glimpse of God, but a clear picture of God and His wonderful all-encompassing love for all His children. They, like Saint Francis, exude the simplicity, humility and compassion that makes them truly God’s instruments of peace in a world torn by strife, discord, and division.
As we begin a new week, let us take a moment to thank God for all of those individuals; religious, secular and military, who have given us our freedom so that we can practice our religion, have given us religion so that we can pray for freedom, and who have united us as one under God, so that we will not be afraid to be a witness and a sign of His presence through acts of justice, words of truth, and signs of reconciliation. As I write the daily reflections, I have included the definitions from Marian Webster because they truly reflect the Sisters of Saint Francis at the Assisi House and how they continue to live out their YES.
SUNDAY – “J” – JOYFUL - The feelings expressed or a causing of immense pleasure and happiness.
Are you a joyful person? What brings you joy? What takes away your joy? Joy is not a fleeting gift from God, but one that is planted with deep roots. It is up to us; we can choose to cultivate it or ignore it. We can be a joyful person despite the challenges that come our way, or we can allow them to make us bitter and unhappy.
For today, take time to look at the various events, people, circumstances that bring or have brought you joy and offer a prayer of gratitude. Then take a moment to think of when you were the cause of joy for someone and how it made you feel and offer a prayer of gratitude.
MONDAY – “U” - UNIQUE - Someone or something that is unlike anything or anyone else, incredibly special, or unusual.
Do you see yourself as a unique individual? Do you recognize that you have been given extraordinary gifts and talents by God that make you who you are and the special person that you are? God sees you as unique, special and He calls you His beloved. Can you allow yourself to be loved by God? It is a gift to be different and not blend in with everyone. God has created you to be you and not anyone else. Do you like who you are, or do you try to be someone else? Can you allow God to love you and show you how special and unique you are and that you are gift?
For today, look in the mirror and begin to identify your uniqueness, your giftedness by God, what makes you special, intellectually, physically, or emotionally, what makes you stand out from the crowd, what people notice about you. Honor who you are, reverence who you are, and recognize that God created you and wants you to see how unique and special you are to Him and all those in your life.
TUESDAY – “B” – BOUNTIFUL - Giving generously, unselfishly openhanded.
We all have opportunities to give generously of our selves: by being present to another as we listen and words are not necessary, by offering our prayers to those who are seeking to feel God’s presence, by lending a hand to someone who is need, and by lifting up one who has fallen by our showing of compassion, mercy and understanding.
For today, look at how you have been bountiful and how others have been bountiful in your life. Ask God for the grace to continue to extend yourself to those in need, be it spiritual, physical, or emotional and thank Him for those who He has sent to you when you needed them most and, in some cases didn’t realize it.
WEDNESDAY – “I’ – INTUITIVE - Having the ability to understand things without any proof.
The prayer of Saint Francis can be a prayer of intuitiveness because it is in the prayer where we identify those areas that are “off”, hatred, doubt, despair, darkness, … and we want to make right with God’s love, pardon, faith, hope,…We want to make right what we spiritually intuit to be bringing us away from the Lord. We might not be able to identify the exact moments where we have fallen to hatred or how we have doubted God or the how or why we gave into despair, but we sense deep within that something is not right, and we want to change. Hatred, injury, doubt, despair, discord, darkness, sadness, can permeate our very being, but it is the desire to bring forth love, pardon, faith, hope, truth, light, joy, understanding, and consolation that enables us to act in a positive way toward others before the weakness of sin wins.
For today, slowly pray the Prayer of Saint Francis and pray for the grace to identify one aspect in your life that you want to change, or that needs healing or has been healed.
THURSDAY – “L” – LOVING - Feeling or showing love or great care.
The Sisters have lived their life showing great love for all those that God has placed in their care. We all have the potential to be loving people, yet there are times when our love is overshadowed by hate, our compassion is overshadowed by rash and harsh judgment,
and our mercy is overshadowed by bitterness. Yet in an instant, we can change and be loving and better people. We just need to ask God for His help and His grace.
For today, ask for His grace to let go of those dispositions, attitudes, actions, judgments that make you unloving, and ask to be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that will make you become the best person that you can be, the person that God created you to be, and have the potential to become. Your best self is a loving self a giving self, continue to share your gift of self with those whose best self might be overshadowed by self-doubt, sin, shame, or unnecessary guilt.
FRIDAY – “E” – EFFUSIVE – Expressing a feeling of gratitude pleasure in a heartfelt matter.
The celebration of the Mass is an act of thanksgiving. We come together to give thanks and to celebrate as a community the great love of Jesus as He gives us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. We are the Body of Christ. We are commissioned to be the hands, feet, voice, eyes, and ears of Christ in our families, our church, our neighborhoods, our community, our workplace, with those we know and the stranger, the outcast and the forgotten, the humble and the proud. We are all called to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. When we possess a spirit of gratitude, we can build the Kingdom without being inhibited or restricted, where there are no walls only open spaces.
For today, express your gratitude to those who need to hear it. If it is God, pray it, if it is to a family member, say it, but just don’t let it go.
SATURDAY – “E” – ENDEARING – Inspiring love or affection and sharing it.
Do you inspire love or affection or do you shy away from it? God draws us to love; to be love and to share love, just not to hold onto love.
For today, as you prepare for the weekend, think of how you have inspired love and how you have shared that love for God, others, and self. Remember to pray for those who have inspired love for the stranger by placing their lives in harm’s way; our military, police, fire, and emergency medical personnel, and all the people they served and continue to do so, here and abroad, with Covid19 and its devastating effects. Volunteers who give of their time and talent to assist those whose lives are shattered because of death, devastation, and destruction due to weather, violence, drugs, and the ongoing emotional, financial, and psychological effects of the pandemic. All these individuals give of themselves because they were inspired by the love and selfless actions of another. We might not be called to go out and minister to another who is carrying so great a cross, but the person sitting next to us at home, in the restaurant, on the train or bus, the next person that we welcome in our home, the stranger that we see walking down the street, we can all give the selfless act of love by sending a prayer to God on their behalf, since only God knows their heart and the cross they carry, our prayer made in and out of love can make their burden a little lighter.
Glimpse of God for the week of June 5, 2022
My Glimpse of God for this week is on Colleen E., my infusion nurse that I have had coming to the house for the past 18 months. Colleen spends about 3 hours here as she infuses my medication for CVID, a condition where I have no ability to fight infection, and any infection can kill me. With the infusions being very painful, I am usually premedicated with pain medicine, ready for the side effects and unable to do much. But since I am infused every other week. I live with the hope and trust in God that I will avoid getting any infections. This is a lifelong condition with no cure, so my infusions will continue for the rest of my life. And since only God knows how short or long it might be, with faith, friends, caring medical professionals and good medicines, I remain hopeful that my body will fight as long as it can to remain strong and healthy.
Colleen is a very genuine, personable and authentic person, which makes her a great and compassionate nurse and an instrument of God’s healing presence to all those she ministers to. She is and has been not only a Glimpse of God, but also even more than that, she has been His presence to me through her presence both in the silence and in our conversations, her compassionate care as she administers my infusion, through her ability to be real as she faces many long days, and as I am being infused and not really able to get up, Clover takes full advantage of her kindness and continues to want to go out and come back in, so in a word, Colleen is Clover’s doorkeeper. Colleen recognizes that, and without a word, gets up often to let Clover in and out since Clover feels safe to leave my side and go out then Collen is here. You see, when it is just me at home, Clover, being my shadow and protector, will not even go out to do her business unless I go with her, she doesn’t leave my side, but as soon as Colleen comes in the house, she knows that I am safe and that she can go out.
Colleen understands my humor and how I use it with the medical issues that I have. She laughs with me and has genuine care and concern for my health and well being, and my healing. I enjoy her visits because I know that when she comes, she is not here to merely check off a box that says she came. When she arrives, she performs the necessary tasks, we discuss how things are going or not going, she asks if there is anything that she can do and she contacts my doctor’s office if there is a problem. As a Glimpse of God’s understanding, compassion, and care, I see that even in the midst of pain and discomfort, that through Colleen, God is there to listen, offer His words of healing and remind me that this too will be a challenge that I will conquer and not be defeated by.
As we look forward to this week, let us be mindful that when we visit others, for whatever reason be it medical, friendship, obligatory, or during one’s final days, we have the opportunity to be a Glimpse of God to them by the way we are present to them, and how we bring God’s presence to them by our understanding, compassion, empathy, authenticity and genuine care and concern for them. God visited His people, Mary visited Elizabeth and Jesus visits with us. How do you visit another and who or what will they see in you? the unconditional love and mercy of God, the concern and goodwill of Mary, or the compassion and peace of Jesus?
SUNDAY – “V” - visitor - As you begin this week, can you think of someone that can benefit from a visit from you? Who needs a word of consolation, friendship, healing, laughter or just the silence in your presence? When we visit another, we are entering into their space, that can be a space of joy, pain, suffering, peace, or calm, but we enter into it not to change it but rather be a part of it for as long as the visit lasts. As a visitor you have the opportunity to make a difference in the life of the person you are visiting, especially if they are ill or carrying a heavy cross. Your visit shows that you care and are taking the time to show them that you care. As a visitor, you have the opportunity to be an instrument of God’s healing and peace, joy and mercy, reconciliation and hope. Who do you know that needs to be filled with hope because their heart is heavy and seems empty? Who do you know that needs to see a glimpse of peace because they are tied up in life stresses and worry? Who do you know that needs to be filled with a sense of God’s healing because their body is filled with pain, and they can’t seem to cope as well as they like to?
MONDAY – “I” – interested – When you visit with someone, you need to show that you are interested in them first and then in what their experience is and how it is affecting them. This is a selfless act, one that causes you to place your needs, your crosses outside for the period of time that you are visiting. God knows the needs of your heart and I can promise you that once you are able to place your needs second to the needs of another, you will see how your own prayers are answered and your needs met through the visit.
I know that sometimes being interested isn’t the first thing that crosses your mind when you are going to visit someone. The visit usually comes out of a specific need, circumstance, or situation that you find someone in, and you decide to visit him or her and see if you can help, be present to, or guide him or her. It is like you are ready to “do” first and not “be” first. If there is a problem, you probably want to fix it, instead of listening to how it may be seriously affecting your friend. But no matter what the reason is for the visit, it is not the reason but more importantly the person that you are showing interest in. Even if it is a visit with a friend, and there is nothing wrong, but just a time to catch up and perhaps go to lunch or something, when you show interest in the person and allow them to speak their heart, then you will have given them a renewed sense of joy in your friendship and the gift that you are to them.
Who do you want to show your support for so that they know that you are truly interested in them and their well being? A friend, a family member, an elderly person, a neighbor, a co-worker?
TUESDAY – “S”- sensitive - Sensitive doesn’t mean mushy person, but rather a more empathetic and compassionate person. When you are sensitive to the needs of another, you are acting or responding with a perceptive presence to what is being expressed by the person you are visiting. When you visit with someone and when someone visits with you, when you find that they are aware and can offer insight, then you feel as if they are listening to you and trying to understand where you are coming from. Isn’t that the gift you want to leave with the person you are visiting?
You may not understand, you may not be able to offer insight, you may not even be able to respond as they were hoping you would, but when you are truly present and show that you are sensitive to their situation, it doesn’t matter if you solved their problem or not, as much as it does that you showed them that you cared.
WEDNESDAY – “I”- involved – being involved or concerned about your visit is when you are able to see the many facets to the visit, and how you may best be able to minister or serve the person you are visiting. It means having an understanding that will allow you to be present to, listen to, and assist the person that you are visiting, but also being able to remove yourself when the visit is over. Being involved means setting boundaries so that you are not drawn into a situation that you cannot solve and where one is becoming dependent on you. If you love helping people, then being involved is a natural for you, but is can also be a magnet for those who may be lonely or have a need that they think you can meet, but you are not able to. Do you know someone that draws you in and wants you to become more involved than you are able to? Keep your balance and visit with them but know your limitations and respond to them when they are met.
THURSDAY – “T”- trustful - being trustful is so important. If you visit with someone and they feel that they cannot trust you, then the visit is futile. Just as if the person you are visiting cannot be trusted, then your visit can seem more like going through the motions rather than being truly present to them. When we visit with others, whether it be family, friends, neighbors, trust is sought from the very beginning of the visit. Can I trust you with myself? My pain? My secret? My crosses? Can I speak openly and not worry about what I say being discussed with anyone that I do not want it known to? When you visit with a person, do you trust yourself enough to listen and respond, as God would want you to and not how you would want to? God trusts you in that visit and with that visit that is why you are there. He is asking you to be His eyes, His ears, and His voice so that the person you are visiting experiences the God of all hope and peace, joy, and trust through you.
FRIDAY – “O”- open – Being open to the person that you are visiting means allowing yourself to be filled with their pains, their joys, their uncertainty, their doubts, during that visit. It doesn’t mean being overwhelmed by them, but rather sharing in them so that the burden is lessened. We are all God’s vessels, called to be open so that He can fill us with His graces and blessings. We are also called to share those graces and blessings when the opportunity presents itself. Is God using your visit as an opportunity that is presenting itself to share? Is your visit going to be the light amid the darkness or the lamp of the stand that will give hope and ease the possible burden that is being carried? Let your light shine and God will show you how far it extended.
SATURDAY – “R”- relaxed – When you visit with someone, relax. If it is a good visit, a catching up visit, or a visit where there is a heavy burden that is being carried, if you are not relaxed but stressed, you will not be able to accomplish what God has intended. When you visit with someone, do it when you feel called and able, not when you are stressed, overly busy, ill, or weary. As I mentioned for this week’s daily reflection, if you are not able to be truly present to the needs of another in a visit, then that may be God’s way of telling you that it is not your time to visit, and that is okay. You can’t be all for everyone at every moment, God doesn’t ask that of any of His children. You need to accept that and not feel guilty about it. If you cannot visit, make a phone call and let the person know that you are not able to come at this time, that you are keeping them in prayer, that you have not forgotten about them and that you will see them as soon as you can. Can you take the time to take care of yourself so that you can help others when you are better? Or are you driven so much so that you come second, and your health suffers in the meantime? Newsflash…do you realize that you are not in the driver’s seat, God is? You are the passenger and believe it or not, when you can’t keep going, He will let you know it is time to get out, go inside and rest, He’ll be back for you soon again.
the Glimpse for this week is on this page below this one for Memorial Day
GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR MEMORIAL DAY 2022
In the past 27 months I will say that our life has been overshadowed by the Corona Virus pandemic. Many aspects of our daily living have changed, and now we are returning to a new normal. How we gather with family and friends, how we celebrate special events, how we spend our free time, all have taken on a new appearance, and I hope for all, it is a safer, more healthy reality. During these past 2+years, joyful celebrations like graduations, weddings, holiday gatherings, parades, as well as funerals, sacraments, and any social gatherings that were placed on a back burner are now being celebrated and with a greater joy, a deeper sense of gratitude and a more realistic attitude. I believe, even with the variants and uptick in covid19 cases, there is a deeper sense of hope, a need for renewal and a desire for a more lasting peace.
But in the midst of Covid 19 and all that has entailed, there is nothing more deadly than the killing of innocent people due to the gun violence in our communities, state and nation, and the mental illness that many are suffering, that is a contributing factor, leading to violence against others as well as in the rise of suicides. We must continue to pray for an end of the gun violence and the killing of our innocent young children and adults who are only trying to live their life safely.
Although this Memorial Day will be celebrated perhaps a little differently, the reason for remembering this day in a special way has not changed or lost its meaning, On Memorial Day we remember our Veterans, past and present, who selflessly chose to serve their country so that others could enjoy what it means to be a free people, a people that do not have to live in fear, but peace. As we grow farther away from the fear of getting covid 19 because we and our loved ones have received the vaccine, and its booster shots. These past 27 months are days, weeks, and months that people of all ages, all social status, all education levels, all economic and political levels will recall with profound and transforming memories. The impact of Covid19 has challenged and effected all ages, from the youngest to the oldest, from the child in daycare to the parent in skilled nursing care, from the infant just born to the parent that just died.
This is a painful period in all our lives no matter where we live, our social status or our educational level, we all are and should be affected at the tremendous loss of life we hear about and witnessing to. Our global community is carrying this cross of suffering and death not just because of covid19 but also the rise of gun violence and the mass shootings as well as the murders that occur every day in our cities, state, and country. I believe that it has been through that collective cross that we are all carrying, that we have become more united as a world, nation, state, community, neighborhood, church, and family.
In the face of this pandemic, as well as gun violence, we can choose to open our eyes and face it or close our eyes and complain about it. We can become a force to be reckoned with or a force that we bow to. We are fighting a war that we need to be prepared for and want to win. We want to fight for our health and the health and wellbeing of those we love, those we encounter and even the stranger.
We want to rediscover what peace, freedom, and warm embraces are amid our new normal. So how is this pandemic, the mass shootings and the wars that our veterans have fought similar?
We are all fighting a war, the war to stay alive, stay healthy and keep our children safe. We are asked to remember and pray for those who have lost their battle to Covid19, and gun violence, with covid19, those who are still fighting it, and those who have been exposed to it and are self-quarantined, with the rise in gun violence, those who have died, those who are mourning, those who are recovering and those who are survivors. All of this affords us the opportunity to recognize that in the hearts of the men and women who bravely chose to serve our country that their choice was rooted in a deep love for God, country, and their fellow human being. There was and is a presence of selfless, emptying, giving and a sacrificial love and heart where God dwells and strengthens them to give all that they have for the safety, good and wellbeing of another, from those they know to the complete stranger. Our doctors, nurses, medical staff, EMTs, fire and police, are those war veterans who are fighting for the health, wellbeing, and safety of others. There too is a presence of a selfless, emptying, giving and sacrificial love that goes beyond any ego, selfishness, self-centeredness that could take root. They are all facing the unimaginable death and grief as they see those they know and don’t know pass before them, whether it is from a virus or from gun violence. God is the one and only author of life and death and yet many have taken that role in their own hands and have taken the life of another as if the other doesn’t matter, or they are insignificant, or because they can’t control their own illness and it gets the best of them in the worst way.
The Veterans, our heroes, that fought and continue to fight for our country, and for the peace and freedom of others in our global community, give of themselves completely and are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe and are fighting for. They have watched their comrades fall and could only hold their hand and speak words of peace and job well done.
They have lifted up those who were wounded from gun and mortar shots and the pain that wrenched through their bodies, and they have had to rescue those who were in the grips of the enemy. In a different way, our front-line heroes are doing the same. They have watched their comrades fall to the virus and gun violence, with only their hand to hold as they closed their eyes, they have lifted up those who contracted the virus and suffered through the pain and suffering that the virus unleashed on their bodies, they have had to test, quarantine, and isolate those who may have been exposed to the virus for their safety, health, and wellbeing and for the safety, health, and wellbeing of others. Our heroes, both our Veterans and those on the front line, have had to endure the face of death yesterday, today and for many tomorrows to come.
Our Veterans suffered and died for their country. Country is not just a word, but they suffered and died for humanity no matter who they were or where they lived. They deserve our gratitude, our thanks, our recognition, and our prayers.
When they came home, they may have come home to a hero’s welcome, but that didn’t take away the pain of their memories and the suffering that they experienced and will continue to experience physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our Veterans gave of themselves completely. They fought and continue to fight for the causes of life, liberty, peace, and security.
If you ask a Veteran if they ever expected to face such a war in their own back yard, in their families, their community, their nation and their world, I will venture to say they would not have. This is a war where men and woman are not just in camouflage searching out the enemy, but also medical scrubs and masks, that rifles and guns are needing to be used to kill the enemy, as well as proactive testing, social distancing, proper sanitizing procedures, facial covering and vaccines, bullet proof vests, SWAT gear, a race against time, and where we are not just hearing about it in the media, but living out in our everyday lives.
With combat in war, gun violence and covid19, the effects are all devastating because the bottom and most critical line is that human life is being taken away. People are dying at the hands of others, wars are continuing out of a need for control and an inflated ego, a devastating virus continues to take lives, families are broken, fear is paramount as the violence against each other rises, the morale of the people is exceptionally low, and the grief is on a monumental level.
But where do we go from here? We go with our Veterans with a greater determination to fight, live life with gratitude, and seek strength from each other, from our God, and from within especially when life’s cross gets heavy and seemingly unbearable.
As our Veterans did and continue to do, we seek the courage to fight when we feel we are without fight, we seek the strength to carry this cross when we feel fed up, we resolve to defeat the enemy and not be defeated by it so that we come out as victors and not victims.
So… as we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us be mindful of how this day came about and let us pray for those who we are called to remember, our military past and present, that selflessly sacrificed and continue to do so for the good of others. Let us close our eyes and see that through their faith, courage, and determination, we are free and know what peace is. Let us pray that they know and believe in their hearts that they have done and continue to do the best that they could to be their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.
If you are looking for Glimpse of God, seek out, talk to a Veteran, an active-duty member, a reservist, and listen to their story, learn from their wisdom, and experience, and discover the God that called them, sustained them, and loved them through the most difficult period and time of their life. Their time, their sacrifice, their love for God and others, all formed them to be the selfless and courageous person that they are today. We all need examples of faith, hope and charity. We can find it in those who served and are serving our country, the family members, close friends, neighbors and all other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who support the home front while their loved ones are deployed far away. Our military, both active duty and reservists, are a Glimpse of God. Family, friends, and supporters are big glimpses of God, so where do you fit in?
Take each day this week to remember and pray for the Veterans who fought for us and for the front-line workers who are also fighting for us. As we continue to adjust to our new normal, may the week ahead not make us weak in spirit, or our desire to fight, may the days ahead not put us into a daze where we choose to ignore our health and well bring and the health and wellbeing of others, may the hours in each day remind us that the day is ours and we can choose to live life to the fullest despite our limitations, may each minute remind us that nothing or no one is minute in the sight of God, and may each second offer us the opportunity to be the breath of God, where each second counts, and not wait to make that our second choice.
Glimpse of God for the week of May 22, 2022
THE BREATH OF LIFE
As John and I have just returned from Gettysburg, I can truly say that there were many instances where my breath was taken away, where I was left in awe, wonder and a deep sense of gratitude to God, his saints, and his soldiers. We had the chance to visit the Shrine and Basilica of Saint Ann Seton and the battlefields of Gettysburg. In both places the presence of God was so palpable as one looked and heard the stories of the many soldiers that fought the battle of Gettysburg and courageously gave their lives, as well as the courage of Saint Ann Seton as she began her new life here and formed a community of sisters that also gave their lives in selflessness to those they ministered to. My breath was in gratitude to God and those He chose to follow Him in a different direction yet with one focus. They lived many years ago, but yet their breath, their voice can still be heard each time their story is retold. How about you? Do you believe that you are breath taking and that your story is one that God tells and wants others to hear?
Why? Because you are a breath of life: God’s life to others. God called you by name and loves you unconditionally as His beloved son or daughter. Your very breath is God's gift to you given out of complete, selfless, and unconditional love. No one person, no sin, no action, or thought can change or lessen God's great love for you. You are the breath of God's life to others. So, this week, don't hold your breath, try not to get short of breath, don't breathe too quickly, but let the awesome presence of God, in others, in creation, in yourself, take your breath away. Take a deep breath and reverence it because your breath is God's Holy Spirit.
Continue to remind yourself that you are the breath of life to others, that you possess that life-giving breath within yourself, and that you received that breath from God and remember to say thank you.
As you begin a new week; start by taking a moment, just 60 seconds, to stop and focus on your breathing. As you do that, become aware of what is going on in your life at that moment. With whatever is going on, positive or negative, calm yourself so that you can see with the eyes of God, His presence in that moment. Be it in that person, that circumstance, that choice, that situation, that joy, that sorrow, that regret, and see Him embracing you, calming you, celebrating you, forgiving you, and loving you. Then as you inhale and exhale your next breath, think of it as spiritual CPR; Christ's Power being Renewed in you.
SUNDAY – “B” – Believe that you are the breath of God
Do you believe in the love that God has for you, that this love is unconditional and that there is nothing you can do to earn or lose that love? God gives it freely. As God’s beloved child, do you see yourself as lovable?
Today in your prayer, as you take your next breath, think about the love of God: that which you have for God, and the love that He has for you. Breath in God’s gift of peace and exhale your sense of gratitude.
If you find yourself short of breath, pray that whatever is causing your breathing struggles: stress, heat, weariness, ill health…., and ask God to make your breath a breath of peace, a breath that speaks words of love, life, joy, and desire.
If you find that you lose a breath, pray in gratitude for that which is taking your breath away: the love of your life, your children, your pets, your grandchildren, God’s awesome creation, the recognition of God’s great love for you. God’s gift to you of His Holy Spirit, a spirit that not only permeates your very being and dwells within you, is making His way out by the words of mercy, compassion, peace, reconciliation, and joy that you speak and enters in through a gentle whisper, a smile, or a deep abiding presence of peace.
MONDAY – “R” – Rejoice in the memories
Memories, some may be painful, some may be pleasant. When you were growing up, do you remember what you were taught about God? What do you remember from your early days about God? Was He a God of vengeance, punishment, fire, and brimstone, or was He a God of love, mercy, compassion, and gentleness? What aspect or picture of God do you hold on to and cherish, and what part have you learned to let go of because it is not the God that you have experienced or are in relationship with?
Rejoice in the memories that have brought you to where you are today. The memory of the God of love and compassion that you turned to as you were deeply wounded and felt alone, the memory of the God of mercy as you reflected on, and was sorry for, the sins that damaged your relationship with others and with God, the memory of the God of peace as you felt inconsolable at the loss of your parent, child, sibling, or best friend, the memory of the God of joy as you celebrated the gift of your marriage, the birth of your child, your grandchildren, your accomplishments, your profession as a consecrated religious, or your jubilee as a religious.
Today in your prayer, reflect on the relationship with the God that you have come to desire, the person that have strived to become, your best self, the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become. God rejoices in you, loves you and is happy that you have chosen to follow Him.
TUESDAY – “E” – Enjoy the moment
Try not to look so far ahead that you miss the present moment. As a society we are always looking toward the future. In retail, they bring out the Christmas decorations by late summer, in December they bring our Valentine’s day decorations. On TV, they begin to show end of year car deals in the fall, we see and hear by engaged couples that they can’t wait till the Wedding day. Now there is nothing wrong with looking ahead, but when we fail to see the present moment, when we are so focused on the future that we neglect our present, then we can miss out on a lot of God’s Glimpses that He is waiting to show us. When we wait or anticipate some event, like a wedding or a birth, we are excited about the end result and most likely stressed out about the journey getting there. Every day is a gift that can be filled with many blessings and surprises in disguise, and it is in those hidden surprises and disguises, we can find God.
If we always seek to go to the next thing, we can truly miss out on a lot. Couples planning a wedding hate the many details, yet in those details they have an opportunity to become closer and get to know each other better. As a woman is preparing to give birth, she might be sick and uncomfortable, but during those nine months, she can experience the greatest mystery of knowing that a child is growing within her very body and is being nurtured, loved and sustained by her. We might hate winter and want the spring to come now, but then we can miss the beauty of the trees as they wait to display their spring greatness through their winter barrenness, or the beauty of the snow blankets that God uses to cover His upcoming spring garden, or the hours of light that God hides so that we can seek Him in the darkness.
Today in your prayer, seek to enjoy the present moment and the people, pets, and encounters that fill it.
WEDNESDAY – “A”- Adore the adorable
Adorable. Do you believe that God thinks that you are adorable? How can God not adore you. HE respects you, loves you unconditionally, created you in His likeness and image, has called you by name. and even knit you in your mother’s womb (psalm 139)
There is no other person like you, nor will there be another you. You are one of a kind. There is no heart like yours, no soul like yours, no mind that works like yours. God created you individually and uniquely out of complete love. God creates only good and only out of love.
God has great respect for you and for the choices that you make. He will never go against your free will but will also never abandon you when your will and His don’t necessarily meet. It is in all of this that He is devoted to you and finds you most adorable or able to be adored.
Today in your prayer, imagine God adoring you and listen to Him as He speaks His words of adoration for you. You are adorable……. He sees His very self in and through you and He wants you to know that He adores you for that.
THURSDAY – “T” – Trust in God to heal and make whole
Trust is difficult especially when you have been hurt or betrayed. Imagine how hard it must have been for Jesus to trust anyone, except Mary His Mother, after he had been betrayed, denied, condemned, and executed by those who were his friends, those He healed, and those who didn’t even know him. As weak and sinful human begins, when we are hurt, we want to get back at, or seek revenge on the person or persons who hurt us. Our very breath of life can become the breath of darkness because it speaks words of anger, revenge, insult, and even death. We feel as though we cannot trust the person or anyone because we don’t want to get hurt again. As followers of Christ, we are called not only to forgive, but to begin anew, and not hold onto a grudge. With God’s grace and an open heart, we can and will trust another again.
Today in your prayer, although this might be painful, trust me in that God will be with you. Take a moment to recall an instance where you were betrayed and hurt deeply. Don’t dwell on the hurt, but seek God’s grace to forgive, again, seek healing so that you can become whole, again, and pray for the person or persons that hurt you, again. You will not be disappointed because God’s knows your heart and wants to heal you, just ask Him to.
FRIDAY – “H” – Honor your Creator and His creation
God not only loves you unconditionally, but He respects you deeply and has blessed you abundantly. Are you able to recognize this? We often think that only God deserves to be hallowed or revered, and we, out of love and respect, should revere our God. The question I pose is this: If we believe that God created us in His likeness and image, shouldn’t we show great respect and reverence to our self and others? As temples of God’s Holy Spirit and the Body of Christ, shouldn’t we honor each other as if we were honoring God Himself?
As followers of Christ we are called to see the face of Christ in those we encounter: those in our family, our neighbor, the stranger, the homeless, the estranged and even our enemy.
Today in your prayer, see the face of God in those you pray for, those who have asked for your prayers, those you promised to pray for and those who are in need.
SATURDAY – “E” – Enlighten others by your love
Our every breath is God’s gift and how we use it, is our gift to God. We can choose to be the breath of life and speak words of healing, compassion, mercy, humor, or peace. Or we can choose to be the breath of darkness and speak words of gossip, anger, hatred, insult, or judgment. How we choose to be the breath of life and speak God’s words and spread His good news will influence others so they may want to desire and know God better. When we choose to follow Christ, we are choosing life. As we choose life, we are setting an example for others.
Today in your prayer, take a moment to reflect on the words: “They will know we are Christians by our love”, and ask to see how you are the one who shows the Christian example by your love: love for God, others, and self. Your love for God will enlighten others, it will clarify what it means to be true authentic follower, and not a hypocrite who talks a good talk, but doesn’t walk the walk.
Glimpse of God for the week of May 15, 2022
This week's Glimpse of God comes in a word, "CANCER", and how it causes a dis-ease of our body, mind, spirit, soul, and heart. We are all too familiar with the many and various types of cancer such as breast, prostate, brain, colon, blood cancers, bone cancers, and if we are diagnosed with anyone of these types of cancer, we begin to learn how to navigate our body in a different direction than the one that we anticipate or planned.
We hear the word, and we think the worst. We think quickly of death and that our time is up or the time of a loved one here on earth is going to end sooner than later. When one hears that they have cancer or that a loved one has cancer, they think that life isn't fair or that they did something to get this disease. Often there is no reason or cause for the disease, it is just our bodies telling us that a terrible agent has entered it, and that it is going to be a great challenge to get rid of the agent and its effects. How one chooses to get rid of the disease can range from surgery to chemo to radiation to natural remedies. In any case the body is telling us that it has been invaded and we need to get rid of the invading source or the enemy.
When dealing with cancer, as I have done two times, it is more often the outlook of the person on the disease than the disease itself that brings forth healing and wholeness. Does healing mean that one's cancer goes away never to return, or can it mean that how we deal with it brings us to a daily appreciation and recognition of the presence of God in our fight to get better and beat the disease and its effects? Only God knows how we need to be healed and He chooses, with our cooperation, the best tool or source for healing.
For me, knowing that I had the disease and am a survivor, tells me that although my body chooses not to cooperate at times, I feel that every day is a great day, but some days can be more challenging than others. This outlook for me is a gift from God that tells me He is present in the midst of my physical pain and suffering and that He is enduring the very same things with me and that I am not alone.
Cancer is not a death sentence, but rather a life choice. Cancer is not the period at the end of one’s life, but rather the comma that says life is ongoing. Cancer invites us to fight and affords us the opportunity to put our trust, faith and hope in Him and those in the medical profession that He chooses to use as His instruments of healing and wholeness, hope and trust. It is with and through the journey of healing that one can begin or continue to see God and how He is present to them. It is a choice to live life and not choose death. It is an opportunity to look at life and live it with a greater zeal, energy, self-determination, perseverance, and desire to win. One can fight even to the end and die knowing that God
has been with them and that their final breath is one of new life, peace, and joy as they prepare to meet Him face to face. Death is the beginning of a new journey with God, one that will not include any pain or suffering, but rather eternal peace, joy and happiness that He promised to those who loved Him.
But what about the other types of dis-ease that our bodies experience that can be worse than cancer? What if you never had to deal with cancer and the effects that it has on the body? Does this glimpse mean anything to you? Can it?
I offer this glimpse to those who have been blessed with good health but might be struggling with another form of cancer, one that takes the face of anger, or bitterness, or resentment and even false pride and invades our whole being, causes great dis-ease and can cause us to feel great despair and discouragement. These facets are a type of cancer, one that invades and takes over our spirit, our mind, our soul, and our heart, our relationship with others and more importantly our relationship with God. I believe that one can enter heaven with cancer, but it is harder to enter with a grudge, bitterness, anger. resentment or hatred.
These facets take over our relationships with family, friends and most importantly our God. We hold on to things and give them control. The grudges, bitterness, anger and resentment that we hold so tightly onto, takes over our minds and emotions and this leaves us at odds with people, unhappy with our self and we run away from God instead of to Him. These vary facets of our emotions, permeate, and pervade the very core of our being, and at times, we don’t even recognize who we are because of our behavior.
When one faces cancer of the body, one begins to look at their own mortality and how they need to prepare for what could be their spiritual transition from this life to the next which includes much uncertainty and fear. Death is not the end of life and the beginning of darkness but rather the end of darkness and beginning of new life and light. When one allows these spiritual types of cancer to take root and spread, one can begin to justify, rationalize, and excuse their behavior and not seek God’s or the mercy of others. It is only when one desires to seek the truth and ask for God’s grace to live it, that they open their heart and mind and seek God’s mercy, seek reconciliation, and choose to offer it to others. God’s mercy is the spiritual chemo that can rid one of the dis-ease so that they can begin to heal and become whole.
Whether one has a terminal disease of the body or one of the heart, there are a few insights that I will offer to help get rid of whatever enemy has invaded your being.
The big 'C", cancer, can be a disease of the body, or heart, mind, and spirit. It can be an invasion and a takeover of one's physical, spiritual, and emotional wellbeing. This can be remedied in many ways or not, but in any case, one must learn how to fight so that they will not be defeated, live as a victor and not a victim. For this week, look within yourself and see where you can be a source of healing or become more whole and healed so you can be God’s wounded healer.
SUNDAY - The big C of COURAGE - for today look at the courage you have to be willing to fight and be healed. If you are fighting cancer of the body, look at your life and try to see where, in the past, you faced your fears and were not overcome by them. Look at how you chose and continue to choose to live life and not live in the darkness of regret. Courage is a gift that God gives to those who choose to live life with Him and not live in fear. With courage one can face their fears of the body and or of the spirit, whether they are of having cancer, getting Covid, extending an olive branch to someone that has offended you and you haven’t spoken to and overcoming the fear of rejection. Admitting guilt and allowing God to forgive you takes courage. If one is angry and resentful and lives life in the darkness that these emotions hold, then one needs to ask for courage to forgive, seek mercy and be reconciled. SEEK COURAGE.
MONDAY - The big C of CHAINS OF CAPTIVITY, for today look at what holds you captive and how this is keeping you from becoming whole and healed. Is it the fear of the treatments for cancer and its effects, or is it the fear of facing the person that has caused you harm and the memory and the anger are holding you captive and not allowing you to be free? Seek not be held captive but rather hold captive those things that want to invade your heart and soul and keep them far away. BREAK AWAY FROM THE CHAINS OF CAPTIVITY ONE LINK AT A TIME.
TUESDAY - The big C of COMPANION - for today who will you choose to walk this journey with? Who will you companion with as you go through the medical maze of treatments, surgery, tests, doctor appointments and the many other things that you will face? Who will you trust with your weariness, anger, your spiritual dryness and darkness, your negative emotions, your pain and frustrations? You cannot walk this journey alone. God is your steady companion and knows your heart better than you know it. He is walking with you and will place others in your life to be companioned with.
There are those in your life that probably want to help and will feel helpless, allow them to know what they can do that will not require any heavy lifting, except that of their hearts to God for your healing as He sees best. What will help you as you journey through the medical maze of healing or the spiritual maze of healing; Prayer is the answer that gets God's attention. Prayer is the most selfless act any person can do because it places the needs of another before one's own. You can and will become the wounded healer and help those who are suffering as you had. COMPANION ANOTHER ON YOUR JOURNEY OF HEALING AND WHOLENESS.
WEDNESDAY - The big C of COMPASS - for today, look at the direction that you are going? What direction is it? Are you going toward healing and wholeness or rather towards anger, bitterness, resentment, pride and selfishness? Who is guiding you on your journey and how are they helping you grow towards healing? Is it your God that knows best what your needs are or is it your emotions and pride that will not allow you to seek mercy or extend it to another? God is the compass, He is our direction, He knows what lies ahead if we place our trust in Him and seek to know His will. God doesn't cause cancer, but He is there to help you find healing and peace. SEEK HIS DIRECTION AND YOU WILL NEVER GET LOST.
THURSDAY - The big C of CRUNCH TIME - for today how are you dealing with the decisions that need to be made? If you are dealing with the terminal illness and time is short, how are you preparing yourself? Are you at peace? If you are dealing with a spiritual illness and time is short because you finally want to be free and healed, whole and renewed, how are you preparing for this great transformation? During this crunch time, be it physical or spiritual, do you believe that God loves you, that you are His beloved son or daughter and that He will embrace you as you go to Him in eternal life or in the sacrament of reconciliation? He created you and no sin that you committed will ever cause Him to love you less or not be proud of His beloved creation. During this time, crunch, step on, get rid of those things that block your direction and seek to cause you stress and anxiety. USE YOUR CRUNCH TIME TO SEE HOW CLOSE YOU ARE TO HEALING, WHOLNESS AND BECOMING FREE.
FRIDAY - The big C of CONQUER - for today, look at what you need to conquer and go for it! This is your day to conquer any fears, anxiety or regrets that are keeping you from the healing that God intends. Look back at your life and see the times that you conquered the enemy, whether it was a physical, emotional, or spiritual one. You faced it, you conquered it, and you lived to talk about it. Any type of cancer can be conquered if we believe that we, with God, are in the fight together. The healing of the terminal illness of cancer might not be possible, but the deep-rooted feelings and experience of peace, love, inner joy, and contentment that one has can be more freeing than the physical healing of the disease. CONQUER YOUR FEARS AND TELL ALL ABOUT IT!
SATURDAY - The big C of CHANGE, for today look at how you have crafted your life. How have you designed it and how has God been a part of the design? Has cancer changed your design or enhanced it? Do you see yourself and your life differently since cancer has come into the picture? If you suffer an emotional or spiritual cancer, has your heart been changed? More open? Healed? Have you been able to let go and let God deal with the memory that has bound you and held you captive? Is God your designer or have you taken on the job yourself? God has a plan for each of His children, we just must have our minds, hearts and will open to see and receive His plan for our life. This can be difficult to do, but when we hand over the design to Him, He will then give us in return the big picture of our life as His son or daughter and how it can be. Allow your cancer, whether it is one of body, mind, or spirit, to be placed into the picture of your life and see how it has the power to change you and make you a better, not bitter person.
CHANGE FOR CANCER ISN’T PENNIES OR NICKELS, DIMES, OR QUARTERS BUT RATHER OPEN HEARTS, MENDED RELATIONSHIPS AND SPIRITUAL HEALING.
This week let us pray for healing for all those who are facing the terminal illness of cancer.
Let us pray for the companions and caregivers that they companion those who suffer with cancer with patience, understanding and compassion.
Let us pray for all the medical professionals that they continue to be instruments of healing, empathy, and compassion for their patients.
Let us pray for all those
who struggle with the other cancers that have invaded their hearts and souls, that they come to a peace and healing so that they can be free and whole again.
Let us pray in gratitude for those who have entered or life and have gone before us in faith and hope to the place prepared for them by God; their loving creator.
Glimpse of God for the week of May 8, 2022
Happy Mother’s Day to all
To all: Mothers: Grandmothers, God Mothers, Foster Mothers. Mothers through Adoption, Blended Family Mothers, Aunts, Fathers who serve the dual role of Mother and Father, Consecrated Religious Women and Men who exude the love of the Blessed Mother in all that they do and those they encounter, and woman who are preparing to give birth.
As we set aside this day to celebrate the gift of motherhood, we also want to recognize that every day, every second of each day, we should celebrate those who have been like a mother to us. We should, and want to remember, in a special way those who have gone before us, our mothers, grandmothers, and others who have exuded the charism and qualities of Mary, our Mother to us so that we can become our best self, the person that God created us to be so that we can be a radiant reflection of Her Son Jesus to others.
I am sure that as we all have prayed the Hail Mary, we often envisioned the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth. As Elizabeth approached Mary, she uttered the words that bless God through Mary, the Hail Mary. As you honor Mary on this Mother’s Day, have you ever thought of how she honors you through the Hail Mary?
Here is how I think she honors you, you as mother, grandmother, God mother, foster mother, blended family mother, aunt, adoptive family mother, father fulfilling both roles, siblings that take on the responsibility of raising their siblings due to an absent mother, and those who choose religious life and radiate the love of Mary and their love for Mary to all they encounter.
I hope that this reflection brings you to a deeper relationship with Mary and a better understanding of how you echo her YES by your surrender, trust and love for God and her Son Jesus. Mary loves, honors, and hails you as you follow Jesus Her Son, walk with Her, and love God with your whole heart, mind, spirit, and soul.
Hail Mary: We honor Mary as we approach her in prayer. How does she honor us? As we recite these two noticeably short words, we are honoring, recognizing, and blessing God’s action through her. She in turns honors and recognizes God’s action through us. She sees and wants to let us know that she is present in our prayer to her, but also, she recognizes in our actions how we try to reflect her Yes in our Yes, to radiate the presence of Her Son as we strive to be His body, His witness, His love to others.
Full of Grace: we are full of the grace of God. That grace we received at our baptism and continue to receive through the Sacraments of the Church. Mary wants to remind us that we never are empty of God’s grace, that He is always ready to shower us with His grace whenever we approach Him and ask for it. Full of Grace, means that we are not half empty although there are times when we think we are, God doesn’t do anything halfway.
We might think that we are short on grace, but God’s graces are abounding and overflowing, we just need to open the eyes of our heart and mind, spirit, and soul so that we can recognize them as God chooses to reveal them to us.
The Lord is with you: Although Mary was the first living tabernacle, the tabernacle where the Son of God chose to dwell, the living Christ, we as members of the Body of Christ, who choose to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, are also living tabernacles for Christ and where He chooses to dwell. Christ dwells within us. As we receive Him as we partake of the Body of Christ, we are consuming His very being into our very being, into the very core of who we are. Our identity as Christ’s followers, as God’s beloved sons and daughters, as builders of the Kingdom of God here one earth, as Mary’s children entrusted by Christ to her care and love, is recognized, strengthened, and blessed as we choose to witness to that presence within us to those outside of us.
Blessed are you among women; Mary was blessed beyond any other woman that God has brought forth from the womb. She was conceived without sin, chosen to be the Mother of our Divine Savior and endured the sorrow of His passion and death. She was blessed with the grace of God to endure, persevere, and overcome the challenges that the devil presented. These challenges or temptations could have taken the form of doubt, despair, discouragement, bitterness, resentment, and indifference, but she chose to believe in her God and His promise that He would never forsake or abandon her. She chose to live her Yes in complete love, surrender and trust.
Many of us, both mothers and fathers, recognize the presence and blessings of God in our lives. Mary wants us to know that we too are blessed by God. He hears our prayers and gives us the answers that we need to hear when we need to hear them, they may not be the answers that we want to hear, but they are what is best for us. Mary was chosen to be the Mother of our Savior when God saw the time as best. Although we have not been chosen to be the mother or father of the Son of God, by our baptism, we have been chosen and commissioned to bear witness to the Son of God in and through our lives. We are invited to share our knowledge of Christ with others, to stand up for what we believe especially when it is difficult, and to carry our crosses and face our life’s struggles and challenges, and to help others carry theirs. It is an invitation by God to fulfill our baptismal promises to enter into His passion death and resurrection, so that we can become our best self. As we face the many temptations of the devil that may come in the form of despair, discouragement, revenge, bitterness, indifference, we can overcome them by remembering that our yes and Mary’s Yes were made in trust knowing that God will never abandon us or forsake us.
And blessed is the fruit of your Womb, Jesus: Mary gave birth to Jesus and blessed was she. The womb of Mary, the place where God chose to dwell in Mary. A woman’s womb is a place, a home, where God chooses to dwell each time she conceives a child. Many women do not conceive. What we conceive in the womb is what God calls the gift of life. Yet we are all called to be life giving, to be the breath of life, to share the life of Christ with others. We are all called to respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Mary’s womb was the first to bring forth the Savior, yet His birth through her, allows us to give birth to His presence to others by how we live, the example we lead by, the love that we show for and share with others, and the love we show for ourselves.
Holy Mary, Mother of God: Mary’s love, dwells within each of us. She is our Mother, and her love is unconditional, eternal and a sign of Jesus’ presence as she cares for us, intercedes for us, prays for us, and brings us closer to her Son as she knows we want to be. Mary is the Mother of God, and as her children, we are also called to be Mother to those in whose face we are called to see God; the poor, the homeless, the forgotten, the estranged, the addicted, the alien, the refugee, those we dislike and those who even may hate us.
Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Mary is always praying for us and with us. We can and are called to pray for others as well. We are all sinners striving to become saints. Christ died for all. You and I are not exempt from His mercy, grace, peace, reconciliation, and compassion. Mary wants us to realize that as she intercedes for us to Jesus, we are asked to pray for her intercession for others. Praying for others is a selfless act. As we lift others up in prayer, we are placing their needs first. Mary was selfless and as we pray for others, we too are following her example of selflessness and love. As we walk with others in and out of love, who are approaching the doors of heaven, we want to pray that the doors of God’s mercy be open so that they can walk into His loving and warm embrace. As we approach Mary to be with us and our loved ones at the hour of death, we too can ask for her to be with those who may not have anyone to pray for them, who may die alone, who may die at the hands of others, who will suffer to death, who we might not like but are called to love, who may have caused us harm or injury, or who have made us feel like we were dead, invisible or unloved.
AMEN: I believe. I profess and believe in the love and power of God as witnessed by Mary. I want to recognize, with greater clarity, how I am being called to witness His presence in my life each day.
Glimpse of God for the week of May 1, 2022
My glimpse of God comes from when I think of how the human body thrives, is sustained, endures, and prevails without being plugged into an electrical outlet or given a battery pack to receive its charge. To me the body is nothing short of a miracle of God, it is a living sign and presence of God. As I see it, the body functions completely by the grace and giftedness of God. In and through every breath that God grants it, every ailment that God heals and every pain that God feels, is the living and active presence God and how He chooses to reveal Himself to others through us. In and through our body; our senses, our mind, heart, spirit and soul, the living God is revealed.
He is alive and we live in the light of His unconditional love and the gift of freedom that we are given to choose Him. He is the one and only source of true power that can sustain us through many of life’s power outages; those of ill health, the death of a loved one or a relationship, unemployment, financial stresses and burdens, and the past two years of the pandemic. All of these drain us of our desire to want to put one foot in front of the other and go forward. Electrical outlets provide what is needed for the certain item to run, and a battery pack provides a temporary charge, but when it comes to the human body, heart, mind, soul, and spirit, only God can provide what we need to go on and function as our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become. The grace that we receive at our baptism is God’s gift of true power, energy, strength, determination, compassion, mercy, and love that is inherent because it is from Him, and it is Him. I AM. The presence of God in our being that allows us to function and live as His beloved children, witnesses, followers, and builders of His kingdom here on earth. When we are tempted to go backwards and return to negative choices, or a feeling of defeat, despair, and discouragement, we possess the grace that enables us to seek His help so that we can go forward. When we are tempted to go backwards, it is then that we can momentarily lose sight of His light and make choices out of weakness and sin. He never blows out that light or diminishes it so that we fall, but rather makes it brighter so that we can find our way back to Him. We can freely choose to live on with His power and life to be our best person, the person that He created us to be and have potential to become. We can choose to be sustained in and through Him or we can choose what the world offers as false sense of sustainability like power, control, ego, or manipulation to survive falsely think that we are being sustained physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The human body is an amazing, remarkable, and surprisingly strong force in the face of the many threats that it encounters daily. The threats come in the form of environmental, societal, physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual warfare.
We encounter threats to our human body the minute we wake to the moment we sleep, and even in our attempts to sleep, the human body is battling bad dreams, nightmares, insomnia, and stress related uneasiness. And yet, we as humans experience the miracle to endure, overcome, heal, and become whole despite the various forms of warfare that our bodies encounter. That warfare comes from with-in and with-out. But and only with God, with faith, with others can these amazing miracles occur from with-in and with-out. God wants the best for us and gives us what we need to be our best. As we strive to be our best we have the sacraments of the Church, the presence of others, the gift of Sacred Scripture, the gift of prayer, the gift of silence so that we can listen with the ears of our heart, mind, spirit, and soul and the gift of a voice to speak and be the breath of God. We cannot heal, overcome, conquer, and become whole without faith, friends, family, pets, and even the stranger as they walk with us, and we walk with them on our earthly journey.
As we begin a new week, let us strive to be a glimpse of God that connects others to Him so that they can realize and recognize how they are unconditionally loved as His beloved child, that they are His greatest creation, and that no sin is greater than His mercy. Let us honor the miracle of our body and reverence it as an avenue that God uses to reveal himself to others so that we can all experience the other miracles of healing, wholeness, victory, and peace.
SUNDAY – “B” – BETTER SELF
Do we strive to be our better self, the self that God knows that we can be, and have the potential to become? Do we try to get beyond our negative emotions so that our better, more loving and forgiving self can emerge? Do we encourage and identify the better self in others so that they can also be the best person that God knows they can be and have the potential to become?
For today, identify your better self: the more compassionate, merciful, and caring self and strive to appreciate and embrace it, and then help another to see and identify their best self especially if they struggle to believe in them self or their abilities.
MONDAY – “R” – REFRESHING
When we are connected in our faith life, there is a sense of being spiritually refreshed even when things might not be going the way that we would like them to. Our refreshment comes in the graces given by God to overcome our difficulties and believe that we can and that we will not be defeated. How often do you feel refreshed? Do you need to be refreshed still? Where or from whom do you seek refreshment? Our faith is a source of true spiritual refreshment whereas other sources are only a temporary source of refreshment. Are you a source of spiritual refreshment to others by your compassion, concern, and care for them?
For today, seek true refreshment from your God, and then extend it to another. God can and will refresh you with a deep peace, a sense of joy, a feeling of being healed, but more importantly a greater belief that you are His beloved child, and the refreshment that you can extend can be in the form of a prayer for someone who is suffering, the words” I forgive you”, a warm embrace, a phone call, and even a sincere email.
TUESDAY – “A” – ATTENTIVE
Are we attentive to the needs of others or are we focused on only what we want or need? Do we recognize that there are those in need and that we may have been called to be an answer to their needs by our presence and our care for them?
Do we recognize our need for God and for others, or do we try to solve our own problems, seek our own solutions and be our own savior?
For today, try to be more attentive to your needs and present them to God, not as a last resort, but the first one. Once you can do that, then seek to pay attention to how God is attentive to you and how He reveals His attentiveness every day.
WEDNESDAY – “N” – NURTURING
What does it mean to be nurturing? To nurture? Who nurtures you? To whom have you been a nurturing source? Where does God fit in? Is He the source of your nurturing and strength or is He to blame when you are not a nurturing person?
For today, reflect and pray about how you nurture others and how they have nurtured you. Being a nurturing person requires a sense of another centeredness and God centeredness. Parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, colleagues, and peers are called and placed in our lives to nurture us so that we can develop and be the best person that we can be. It is when they fail that we can become less than our best self and exhibit non-nurturing behavior. Who do you credit for your nurturing personality? Thank God for them.
THURSDAY – “D” – DETERMINED
Are we determined? Determined to compete a task, to be the best person that we can be, to overcome a weakness, to reach a peaceful solution, or do we give up and let someone else do what needs to be done? Does our self-determination encourage and inspire others to be more determined and resolute in their daily endeavors, or do we use it as a threat and a source of control?
For today, thank God for the gift of self-determination and seek to help others realize and recognize their gifts of inner strength and determination.
FRIDAY – “O” – OPEN
Are we open, ready and willing to see things differently? Open to listen to what others have to tell us even if it is different than what we think or believe? Are we open to new possibilities, adventures, perspectives so that we can learn more about our self and others? Are we open to God’s will for us, trusting that He knows what is best for us?
For today, think about how open you are or are not. Is your heart and mind open to new ideas, solutions, perspectives or are they closed, refusing to see things in a new light with a new understanding? Are you an open vessel that God can pour His graces, blessings, and life into, are you a broken vessel needing His mercy, healing, and wholeness, or are you a closed vessel, sealed tight with no room for growth, healing, life, joy, newness, or peace to enter in? God created you and knows exactly what you are and there is nothing that will keep Him away from you, but you, so open your eyes, and ears so that you will see and hear how God loves you. You are an open book and God is the author who chooses to write with His invisible ink (God’s surprises yet to come), maybe even a highlighter (God’s recognition of your joint successes) and definitely a permanent marker (God’s has called you by name, you are His). But more importantly, a pencil with a big eraser so that He can erase the sins and mistakes of the past and give you a new page to begin anew with every request and desire.
SATURDAY – “N” – NEWNESS
A sense of newness. What does that mean? How would we know that things are new? Is it because they are not old? Or used? Or broken? Or could it be when we see them in a different light? Do we look at those who are older as insignificant and unimportant or do we try to see them in the light of a new insight and wisdom? Do we look at those things that we own, old fashioned and possibly out of style thought they may be, as used and seek to have the next better toy, car, computer, cell phone, instead of seeing the used item in the light of our memories and how they have given us joy and happiness in the past?
For today, reflect on what newness means to you. As you reflect, take the time to listen to what God tells you. You are a new creation, His follower, one who is a sinner striving to become a saint, redeemed by the blood of Jesus, walking on the path of compassion and truth, peace and mercy, and unconditionally loved as His beloved child. Does hearing this erase the old tapes of how unworthy, sinful, unforgivable, you thought you were in God’s eyes? Does it renew your sense of self before God?
Glimpse of God for the week of April 24, 2022
What did Mary Magdalene, The Apostles, Thomas, and The Disciples on the road to Emmaus, have in common after Jesus rose from the dead? What they had in common was that they were prevented from recognizing Jesus after He rose from the dead. They thought that He was the gardener, a stranger in town, or just another man. What was preventing them? What did Jesus know about each of their hearts that needed to be healed by His presence after He died on the cross and they felt abandoned, left alone to figure out things, led to a darkness that they never felt or expected?
All were prevented, unable to see or recognize the risen Christ. The very Jesus that they broke bread with, ministered together with, experienced His miracles, shared their stories about their brokenness, their joys, their families hopes, their sorrows, and their hopes about the Messiah and how He would change things for the better. Christ raised people from the dead, healed the blind, the deaf, the crippled, he ate with sinners and ministered to the outcasts, and these very apostles, disciples, and women followers were with Him to see it firsthand. They had come to know Jesus and the kind of person He was. They learned of the kind of person that they would need to become if they were going to be His followers and follow His example from His life to and through His death, and to His resurrection.
Yet they were unable to recognize Him after He rose from the dead, Why? Seeing Him after He rose from the dead, frightened them and instead of being jubilant and happy to see Him, they were unable to recognize Him for who He was, and they stood in disbelief. What was preventing them from seeing Him as Jesus and not the gardener or a stranger? Was it their grief at His horrible death, was it their anger at how they followed and believed in Him, and now they had no one to follow and they felt abandoned and left on their own? Was it fear? Was it overwhelming disbelief at all that happened, and they still could not make any sense of it all?
What causes us to not see the resurrected Jesus in our life and in the face and life of others especially during these past two years of the pandemic? How have we been prevented from seeing Jesus during the seemingly nonstop pandemic, and the new fear of getting sick from one of the variants? As we are no longer required to wear masks if we have been vaccinated, do we still hide behind our masks of insecurity, anxiety, shame, guilt, sin, hopelessness, discouragement, or despair and fail to recognize Jesus’ compassion, mercy, hope and love?
Do we allow Jesus to call us by name and have we have we removed our mask so that others can recognize us as we strive to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become? from others, and from God. What are we hiding from that is blinding us from seeing Jesus or allowing others to recognize His presence within us? As we have walked, tried to run, crawled, and stumbled through these last 26 months, are we able to recognize where Jesus was and is, and how we are blessed by His presence in the unique and new ways that He has revealed Himself?
The disciples were prevented from recognizing Jesus for various reasons. We are prevented from recognizing Jesus for many reasons as well. Sometimes when we are afraid, caught off guard, surprised in a painful way, we are not able to open the eyes of our heart and mind to seeing Christ as He is in these moments. What else prevents us from recognizing Jesus? it the pain or separation that comes from the physical death of a loved one? is it our woundedness where we need to be healed, and made whole? is it the death of a relationship through separation, divorce, disagreement? is it the death of an ideal? of a dream? is it anger, loneliness, or fear? We are prevented from seeing the risen Jesus in the faces and lives of others when we cannot see past the pain of our cross, our own personal suffering, whether it is spiritual, emotional, or physical.
Mary, Thomas, and the Apostles were in the very presence of Jesus and witnessed to his many miracles but lost clarity of His presence because fear got in the way. We like them, have the very real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist when we become afraid and need to feel His calm and warmth, reassurance, and peace. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it is then that the eyes of our heart and mind are opened and we recognize Him as He is, our Savior and Redeemer. We then are invited to see our self as He sees us; His beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation.
I believe that our anger, our sorrow, our weariness at what we are coping with can prevent us from seeing the Risen Christ and experiencing the resurrections in our life that Jesus has in store. You cannot have a Good Friday without a Resurrection Sunday. They go together.
Jesus' first words to His followers who stood in disbelief were "Peace be with you!" He didn't reprimand them for not recognizing Him because he knew their hearts and how much they loved Him, even when they were filled with so many other emotions.
The resurrection experiences in our life come in the forms of peace, joy, happiness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, understanding and a renewed desire to be the best person that God created us to be despite our crosses and the challenges that they bring.
It is difficult to experience resurrection if we cannot let go and let God bring us these gifts because of our disbelief that He wants to give them to us, and our fears that we will be called to change and be transformed forever.
When Jesus saw Mary Magdalene, she at first was unable to recognize Him as Her Lord and Teacher. He saw through her fear and instead of causing more pain for her, He touched her heart because He knew the depth of her love for Him. He brought that love forward, past her fear, her pain, her deep sense of loss and much confusion, and it was then that she recognized Him. He offered her Peace. That is what He offers all His children. He knows that depth of our love for Him even in the midst and the weight of our crosses. When we say Yes to His will, recognize Him as our true teacher, desire to do and be the very best we can and surrender our will to Him each day, then we are experiencing a resurrection.
So this week, let us take time to see the resurrected Jesus in our lives and in the faces and lives of others. "Rabboni" which means teacher. Your prayer for the week can be: Teach me your ways O Lord and make known to me the path that I must travel to walk closer to you.
SUNDAY - "T" – Thanksgiving
Are you thankful for the gift of Jesus' passion, death and resurrection that gives you your personal resurrections? Through Jesus' passion, death and resurrection you have someone that knows your pain, your suffering and your confusion and can help you as you carry your cross. He blesses you with His peace, joy, and happiness here on earth, so that you can move forward and recognize your resurrections and rejoice in them.
MONDAY - "E" – Empathy
Are you empathetic, understanding, compassionate towards others who fail to recognize the risen Jesus in their life because of the weight of their crosses and the pain that they are feeling? or do you put them down, judge them, lose patience with them, see yourself as better than them? Empathy requires an open heart, one that is in relationship with God and wants to share His good news of mercy, healing, peace, love with others, and how they are His beloved children, loved unconditionally, and His greatest creation. You cannot be empathetic if you want to hold others back and think yourself as better than them. Recognizing the risen Christ and the resurrection experiences in your life means that you have the heart of Christ and the desire to expand it so that Jesus can fill it with His presence in the way that He chooses to reveal it.
TUESDAY - "A" - Amazement
Are you, can you allow our self to be amazed? Can you see, do you see the many signs of resurrection in your life? Do you recognize your resurrections, the place where you experience the Risen Christ in your life? Do you see them in and through the healing that has taken place through reconciliations? Can you recognize the Risen Christ, your resurrections in your joys, your family, your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your church, and your place of employment? All of these can provide signs of resurrection and the peace that Jesus wants for you. Can you see them? Ask for the ability to recognize the Risen Jesus as you encounter others, see circumstances differently, recognize that personal grudges as an unnecessary weight that is holding you back from peace and seek the grace to let go.
WEDNESDAY - "C" - Charity
Are you charitable in your words, deeds, actions, and attitudes? Do you offer peace, reconciliation, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to others, especially those who have caused you pain and have made your cross heavy? Jesus offered peace to His disciples even after they denied Him, abandoned Him, and hid in fear. He forgave them because He knew their hearts. He knows your heart and how it wants to be the best in love. He offers you His mercy and peace so that you can be more charitable. He does not want you to hold onto grudges because it is then that you miss out on the hope of reconciliation, renewal, and reconnection.
THURSDAY - "H" - Honor
Do you honor yourself, others, and God by how you treat yourself, others and in your relationship with God? Can you honor others, who are also God's beloved children, who have offended you in some way? Do you recognize that God honors you? Or are you your greatest offender? Do you want to ask God for His grace and love to penetrate your brokenness so that you can recognize not only how He honors you, but loves you beyond any sin or weakness that you have committed? God's love is greater than any sin that you can commit, and He wants that truth to be your resurrection. He wants you to embrace your new life with Him as risen.
FRIDAY - "E" - Embrace
Do you go towards Jesus as He holds out His arms to embrace you or do you run from His embrace? What brings you towards Christ so that you can be embraced by Him? Is it your desire to say thank you and talk to Him about what you are experiencing in your life? Is it because you want to be healed and you realize that only he can heal your woundedness in whatever form it is taking?
You can't fix what is broken or shattered, only Jesus can. You can become the wounded healer though and that is a great gift, a big resurrection, the recognition of the risen Christ in your life.
SATURDAY - "R" - Revelation
What or how has God revealed Himself to you this week that has made you respond with joy and happiness, that brought you a deep sense of peace and gratitude, thanksgiving, and serenity? Was it a reconciliation of a relationship? forgiveness of self for something that you have held on to but now are able to let go of and forgive yourself for? Was it a blessing that you have been praying for and have received and found it to be better than you could have imagined? What resurrections have you experienced this week? Do you see the Risen Christ because of your resurrections more readily in those around you? How has He revealed Himself to you? How have you revealed Him to others this week? How do you want to reveal Him to others?OK
Glimpse of God for the week of April 17, 2022
The Spirituality of the Easter Basket
Happy Easter Sunday!!! Christ has risen from the tomb and He invites us to rise from our tombs as well. The Easter season has begun, and we have 50 days until the Feast of Pentecost Sunday to relish in the joy, peace, and amazement of the great promise of Christ’s resurrection, and if we are still enough, in our mini resurrections as well. Pentecost Sunday: the birth of the Church as the risen Jesus filled Mary and the Disciples with His Holy Spirit.
As we continue to move through each day of our spiritual and physical journey amid some anxiety with the spread of the new variants and still covid19 fears and the uptick of cases, we must remember that we are an Easter resurrection people, people who believe that new life is always promised after we carry our cross and enter the tomb of every Good Friday that we endure. Our Good Fridays don’t always mean experiences as much as they could mean the fears, anxieties, negative emotions that arise from within as we think about what is going on around us. It can be emotions as well as life experiences that keep us in our tomb and hinder our emerging from them to the mini resurrections that await us.
I realize that many people may not have had the experience of receiving an Easter basket, or even making one up for those they love, so I hope that this Glimpse of God brings you a sense of new joy in what I describe as the Spirituality of the Easter basket. I hope that you can better recognize how God has called you to know Him and yourself better as you relate to Him and others through the Easter basket. This is my inspiration and I hope that it helps you to look at the Easter basket with new eyes.
As you look into the makeshift Easter basket, and the daily reflections, think of what you have in it, what you would like to see more of, what you dislike that was placed in it, what you intend to consume first, and lastly what comes to mind as you look at the basket half empty. Do you see God’s actions and presence in the Easter basket?
He is your basket, He is always embracing you, filling you with His grace as He knows you need it most, and is always loving you and protecting you. It is never empty because His love is never void or missing. You might feel empty at times, but that is only so He can fill you with the necessary graces during those times, yet even in those times, He is speaking to your heart and calling you to listen to your heart very closely. Those candies in your Easter basket that you consumed first and enjoyed, were His gifts to remind you that you are His beloved child, that He sees the sweetness of your heart where love dwells: love for Him, others, and self, and He genuinely enjoys you and your invitation to Him to be a part of your life. He laughs with you, He cries with you, He is silently present to you as He whispers to your heart, and He is loud as He calls you by name wherever you are. He is there to console you, lift you up, forgive you, and shower His blessing upon you. Always!!
What does your Easter basket and what fills it say about your spirituality and relationship with God? Does what you place in your Easter basket mean anything deeper than just what the items look like? The basket with a handle or not, the grass, the jellybeans, the dyed Easter eggs, the candy filled Easter eggs, chocolate Easter bunny, and of course the traditional little chick “peeps”. Did you ever wonder what the various colors that were used to dye Easter eggs meant? What is or was your favorite color when you dyed your Easter eggs? And why?
Did you create designs on them or leave them as they were? Does your Easter basket have a handle or did it at one point? Do you carry it carefully?
I will attempt to describe the Spirituality of the Easter basket as I have been inspired to. This is my own idea, and my prayer is that you recognize God’s presence and your response to that presence in your Easter basket.
SUNDAY – THE EASTER BASKET WITH A HANDLE AND SEEMINGLY WITHOUT A HANDLE
The basket represents how God carries us through the good times and the challenging times, and that He will never let us go. He has a grip on our life and all that it includes, and He sees the beauty in us that enables us to shine with hope like the grass and be the rainbow of color as in the Easter eggs. Amid our sufferings and the crosses that we call carry, the Easter basket comes, not to be source of denial of our crosses and pain, but a reminder of the strength that we possess as we carry our crosses, and the strength of our character that reinforces our faith in that God is carrying us.
As followers of Christ, even as we strive to be our best, sometimes our weak side emerges. When that occurs, we try to handle our crosses, our troubles, our pain with our own ideas, our own solutions, our own self, and we think that we are in control. When this happens, our Easter basket handle seems to be missing, it may have been loosened or even fell off. When we think that we are the only ones that can carry us through our challenging times, and we do not ask for God to step in and help, we are in a way taking the handle off our Easter basket. We are not allowing God to carry us because we are trying to carry our self. We are not allowing the loving embrace of God to warm us, assist us or comfort us. God understands this because He knows our hearts better than we do. He knows that we love Him so much and that we can sometimes get overwhelmed in worry and anxiety and we are feel too ashamed to turn to Him and we get in our own way to healing and seeking His help. We instead turn into our self and away from Him.
As your basket is filled with God’s love in so many and varied ways, it can get heavy if you try to carry it alone. When we emerge from our tombs, we see Him and our self in a new light, the light of love and hope, healing, and peace. If you carry it alone, you might miss the sweetness of God grace. You try to carry it but at but at some point, you realize that you need God, and you ask Him to help you. It is at that very moment you are given the grace to see the handle and you realize that it had not fallen off or even got loose, but that it was just tucked under the basket. You just could not see it because life had blinded you for a moment.
So… as you look at your Easter basket remember that Jesus accepted help. If you come to a time where you want to walk away from your basket, know that God is going to take the basket. He takes the basket; He takes and embraces you in all your beauty and picks you back up and brings you through to the next step. The step that brings you closer to the entrance of your tomb so that His light may shine brighter on you, and that you may see that you are not alone. He loves you and is always there to embrace and carry you.
MONDAY - THE GRASS THAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR BASKET
The grass is a source of protection so that the strong person that you are, when faced with trials that make you feel fragile, or joys that make you put your guard down, you are protected and will be safe in God’s arms. The grass represents our salvation in Christ. Without the grass to protect the basket, or Christ to protect us from the evil one, we would be helpless and hopeless.
Without Christ or the grass of our Easter basket, we lose sight of our unique giftedness and gifts, they go unprotected and we can feel broken or lost. The grass protects the fragile contents of our basket and Christ protects us who can be at times very fragile. And there are times when the grass seems to cover or hide what is in the basket. I believe that this grass is God’s way of showing us that He has covered our sins by Christ’s death and that we do not need to bring them back but let them go. Although our goodness seems to have been temporarily covered by sin, God wants us to rediscover within ourselves the goodness and giftedness that we are because of His mercy and love.
What does your foundation of your Easter basket look like? Is there a lot of grass and does it cover the treats? Do you eagerly wait to see what is underneath the grass? Or are you afraid to look? In faith, what does your foundation consist of? Is your prayer life a significant part of your foundation? Is your relationship with God important to you that you nourish it on a regular basis? Are the present life experiences that you are living through strengthening your foundation or weakening it? Can you wait with eager expectation to see what God has hidden and waiting for you? God is God of surprises, are you ready to see what they are for you?
TUESDAY - THE EASTER EGG
The Egg represents the tomb and once opened, represents the resurrection. As we color the eggs different colors, I believe that the colors that we choose represent our unique personality that has developed as we have endured crosses, tombs, and resurrections of our life experiences. The eggs are a reminder of our baptism and how we were immersed into Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection. We are all called by name at our baptism, and it is through our unique calling that we develop a favorite color of egg, or we lean towards a color or colors that make our personality shine.
WEDNESDAY – THE TRADITIONAL CHICK “PEEPS”
Those chewy, sweet Easter chick peeps. Today they come in many forms and types of animals, shapes, and characters, but they are still chewy, sweet peeps. The chick represents the resurrection. Since chicks come from eggs, they represent the resurrection as they break forth from the shell or the tomb and walk freely away from darkness into the light. How many chicks are in your Easter basket? How many resurrection experiences do you recall as you look at the peeps in your basket? Are your resurrection experiences a sweet memory for you that you can take a whole peep and enjoy it? Or are they bittersweet that you can only take a bite at a time of your peep? When you recall your resurrection experiences, do you recall hearing Jesus call you forth from your tomb to His light so that you can experience the sweetness of His love and healing?
THURSDAY – THE CANDY FILLED EASTER EGGS
As we come forth from our tombs, we come forth our better self, our sweet side emerges. The sweetness of compassion, mercy, love, peace, joy, understanding, empathy emerges where previously perhaps, bitterness, anger, helplessness, discouragement, and revenge dwelt. Our sweet side makes us better people, and not bitter people. The candy in the Easter eggs is a gift from God to remind us that we must endure our Good Friday so that we can experience our Easter Sunday. He reminds us that we will come out better, that His love for us as His beloved children doesn’t change, but rather grows, and He shows us this by placing the varied colored, and candy filled eggs so that we can be not only be reminded of His great love but also of the sweetness of our inner and outer beauty.
FRIDAY – THE VARIED COLORED JELLYBEANS
The jellybeans are usually one’s favorite candy in the Easter basket. They are not only sweet, but they are also small, and many can be consumed quickly. They are easy to pick up and pocket so that they can be enjoyed at various times.
But they do have a spiritual meaning, they represent a relationship with Christ and can be used as a source and instrument of prayer. So, the next time you are about to consume a jellybean, think of its spiritual meaning and take a moment to reflect on how Christ brings you closer to Himself when you least expect to.
THE BLACK JELLYBEAN – represents sin and how we are drawn to sin when we seek to do our will and not God’s.
THE RED JELLYBEAN – represents Jesus’ blood and how selflessly He shed it for our sins so that we can be reconciled to Him and inherit eternal life.
THE WHITE JELLYBEAN – represents being cleansed at our baptism and every time we approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation and attend Mass.
THE YELLOW JELLYBEAN – represents heaven and how where we hope to meet God face to face when our earthy journey has ended.
THE GREEN JELLYBEAN – represents growth and how we grow in our relationship with God and each other in the light of God’s unconditional love for us as His beloved children. The growth is when we strive to be our better self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.
THE PURPLE JELLYBEAN – represents the royalty of Christ. Christ is our King and as our King, He invites us to build His kingdom here on earth, one prayer, one act of kindness, one act of mercy, one step at a time.
THE PINK JELLYBEAN – represents gratitude or Thank you. That which we should be praying to God daily since we have been blessed with so much. If we count our blessings and not just our challenges, we will see how our blessings have gotten us through our challenges, how our blessings of faith, family, friends have helped us carry our crosses and face our challenges without giving up or giving in.
THE ORANGE JELLYBEAN – represents the Lord, Orange(aren’t) you glad that you know Him in a deep and personal way?
SATURDAY – THE EMPTY EASTER EGG
As you look at your Easter basket you see many delectable items are still there, and many gone, but they were good, I hope. The candy, the beans, the eggs that are left either because you didn’t want to lose sight of what they remind you of: the good times, the happy times, the times that God touched you with His healing and new life (candy filled eggs) or because you didn’t or haven’t been able to let go of what they remind you of: past hurts, pain that was inflicted upon you, or your own weaknesses and sins. (empty egg)
Remember that even amid your pain and hurts, the heavy weight of your cross, the egg, although empty, is God’s gentle way of telling you that there is so much room that He wants to fill you with His healing and that He want to make you whole. In your emptiness, He wants to fill you completely with His graces of reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, love, peace, and joy as and when you need them most.
Emptiness is a gift, an anticipation of God greater gifts. Can you open yourself, trusting in God and surrendering to Him your cares, concerns, worries, and stresses so that He can fill you with His love and graces? Can you keep the empty egg in sight to remind yourself that even when you feel empty inside you are becoming a vessel for God to fill you and heal you in ways that you could never imagine or believe?
Glimpse Of God for Holy Week
April 10, 2022
As we enter Holy Week, my Glimpse of God is not in a single experience that I had this past week or in any special situation that I found myself in, but rather in the anticipation of this Holy Week and what it means to me.
As a source of personal reflection and to discern my motivations, I often ask myself; What is Holy Week and what is it all about to me? Is it about the long passion gospel narratives that I hear on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, or the passing out of palm, or the unusual crowds, or the different liturgy times on Thursday and Friday, or the misunderstanding that people have about lent and the triduum, or the barrenness of the sanctuary and the empty tabernacle on Good Friday, or even the long Easter vigil and how people either avoid it or are attracted to it?
I don’t believe that it is these elements that make the week “holy”; they make it different, but not holy. These elements are necessary to celebrate and remember the specific events of Jesus, but it is not the outward celebration of the events that make them “holy”. I think that it is the spirit in which they are celebrated, and the inner disposition of those who participate in the celebrations, both the celebrants and the congregation, that make them “holy”. “Holy” means sacred, and blessed, as well as consecrated and hallowed. Liturgy is sacred. We are blessed. The celebration of the Mass is the most sacred and holiest events that we are privileged to attend. It is through the Mass that we encounter Christ in Sacred Scripture and in the reception of the Eucharist.
We were blessed at our baptism as we were immersed in the waters of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. All that being said, if our hearts are not present to the reality of the liturgy, then we are going through the motions. We miss the true meaning, the “holy”, of the holy week services.
Jesus often criticized the religious leaders for “looking” holy, by saying all the right things but they were not doing the right things. Jesus said that the people could listen to what the religious leaders said because they knew the law, but do not follow their example, for their heart was far from God. I don’t think that Jesus would want us to celebrate His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, or the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, or His passion and death on Good Friday out of obligation or guilt but rather out of love, desire, and gratitude.
Out of Love for Jesus in that He endured His passion and death for you and me in complete selflessness, unconditional love, mercy, and sacrifice. If we are truly in love with Him and desire to draw nearer to Him and live out our baptismal call to enter more deeply into His passion, death, and resurrection, then we would want to attend the special liturgies. It is in and through them that we encounter the suffering Jesus, the Jesus that although did not and could not sin, endured the death of a hardened criminal out of pure love. We want our hearts to be more like His because His heart is the perfect heart, and we want to strive to love as He loved and be more perfect in our love. He said Yes to His Father and gave of Himself completely so that we may live in eternity with Him, what love, what gift.
He would want us to celebrate with a spirit of gratitude in that we have been redeemed and forgiven and that we are grateful for such a wonderful life changing, lifelong gift. He would want our hearts to be united with His in His passion, death, and resurrection so that we can truly appreciate and be thankful for the gift of His love and life in ours. We can choose to enter into the liturgies as just a body in the pew, but I think that it would be better if we entered into them with a heart ready to be loved and embraced and a mind open to being truly present at the special events of Jesus’ life.
So, as you enter into Holy Week, my idea is to just take each day and reflect by using your senses as you draw nearer to and enter into the Holy Triduum.
As we begin this new and holy week, as you look in the mirror, take the opportunity and the grace to see within yourself the love of Christ as King: King of your heart, mind, soul, and spirit, and look out the window to see that same presence in others. When you are not able to recognize His presence as King because you are focused on your weaknesses and sins, shortcomings, and failures, and those of others, look into the mirror only to remind yourself that you are loved by God just as you are because His love is much greater than all of these. Seek His grace so that you can recognize, in a greater way, the presence of His great mercy, compassion, and unconditional love that HE has for you, that He has showered upon you and that you have shared with others. His death is a reminder that He sees all that you see, but He looks into the depth of your heart to see that which you have not begun to.
If during this holy week, as lent gradually comes to an end, and you journey into the days of the Sacred Triduum, you find yourself asking, “How have I grown in my relationship to Christ, or how have I been a reflection of His presence in my life to others”? As you look back and recall how you found yourself helping others and giving of your time, talent, and compassion, and mercy, know that your desire is in response to God’s grace, so trust in God and believe that you are closer to Him than you think.
We measure our progress and that of others with human expectations and limitations, but God looks into the very heart that He created and sees its width, its depth, its woundedness, its potential and fills it with His compassion, His mercy, His peace and His grace so that we can be the best loving person that we can be. You are what He wants you to be, for you can be nothing less. What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love, what you become is your gift to God.
This week that we call Holy is an invitation by God the Father to draw nearer to Himself and His Son Jesus. It is through Jesus’ suffering of His passion and death that we are made stronger to suffer our passions and deaths so that we can emerge from our tomb with a renewed hope, sense of self, healed and whole. This week we can all become a little bit more holy, a little bit more open, a little bit more Christ like if we choose to humble ourselves and recognize that not only did Christ endure all that HE did for you and me in and out of love, but that He would do it again. Yet HE does it again, repeatedly, every time we participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments of the Church.
SUNDAY – PALM SUNDAY – As a bystander at the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey,
Are you one that is throwing palm or your personal cloak on the ground to make a path for Jesus? (touch)
As you listen to the crowd, are you also shouting Hosanna to Jesus as He passes by you? (hearing)
Are you so far back in line that you can’t see Him, and you are experiencing so much frustration that you are ready to leave for you home miles away? (sight)
When you hear that Jesus is entering on a donkey, the worse smelling animal, do you just turn away and go home, missing the greater purpose for which He is there? (smell)
When you hear that Jesus is coming and you want to be there because you witnessed His miracles and wanted to see Him again, can you taste the excitement in the air? (taste)
MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK - Using your sense of mystery, can you recall Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem yesterday, and look ahead to Holy Thursday and Good Friday and see such a stark change, and ask yourself where would I have been in these events? Would I have changed from glorifying Jesus to condemning Him? Every time I sin, I am not choosing Jesus, so do I deny Jesus as Peter did, and choose Barabbas to go along with the crowd no matter what the consequences are? or do I stand as an observer, silently and sadly by Jesus as did Mary and the women?
TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK – Using your sense of Wonder, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples and calls us to do the same. Jesus washed the feet to show us that we must serve the needs of others. How difficult that is for us, yet as followers of Jesus we must. The feet of another are what carries them and enables them to place one foot in front of the other and not remain stuck or go backwards. When we are called to wash the feet of another, what Christ might be inviting us to do is to walk in the shoes of another with a greater sense of compassion, empathy, mercy, peace and understanding, so that we don’t judge and turn away from them but rather receive and embrace them. When you find yourself being present to the needs of the poor, the homeless, the forgotten, the unforgivable, the estranged, then you are allowing yourself to be servant, not the judge, but the humble servant being and bringing Christ to them by your words, deeds, attitude, actions, and love.
WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK – Using the sense of Awe, do you try and make sense out of Jesus’ actions, or do they leave you in a sense of awe because you cannot explain or understand how He can do what He did out of complete and unselfish Love? That is so hard for us to believe, understand or imagine, but if we are truly His followers, it is not impossible for us to imitate. Do you believe this? Get ready, the Triduum is coming and if you are still trying to understand Jesus, even in these coming days you still might not understand but don’t get discouraged, just get ready, be open and allow Him to speak to your heart. He will stretch it, open it, embrace it, and return His mark of love on it.
HOLY THURSDAY – Using your sense of sight, can you be present and allow yourself to experience the humility of being a servant and serving the needs of others as Jesus did in the Washing of the Feet? Or can you use your sense of taste and perhaps as you receive the Holy Eucharist in the Commemoration of the Last Supper, reflect on how Jesus gave us of Himself to His apostles at the Last Supper and continues to give of His real presence today in every celebration of the Mass? This is Jesus’ real presence, His true Body and Blood, not a symbolic representation, but the real deal. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord…..
GOOD FRIDAY – Jesus dies on the cross. We hear Him being condemned, crucified, and dying on the cross. We know that He did nothing to deserve such cruel and terrible treatment, but we also know that He willingly, selflessly, and lovingly accepted His fate so that we may live forever in His and His Father’s love. Are you listening? As you venerate the holy cross, are you allowing yourself to be present at the cross to tell Jesus how much you love Him and how sorry you that your sins are the cause for His suffering? Not just do you hear, but also are you listening when He says “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”? He was talking about you and me, not just His persecutors. He forgives us when we say we are sorry, do you listen when He tells you that He forgives and loves you or do you just walk away?
HOLY SATURDAY – We celebrate the joy of the resurrection. We celebrate all of our senses in that we have the blessing of the fire, the lighting of the paschal candle and the lighting of the congregation’s candles, the proclamation of the Exultet, the Liturgy of the Word, the blessing of the Holy Water to be used at the baptisms of those being received into the Catholic faith that evening, and to be sprinkled on those at Mass reminding them of their baptismal call and promises, the aroma of the sacred chrism and holy oils used for the baptisms and confirmation, the reception of Holy Communion by those entering the faith and the congregation. We are truly a resurrection people. We proclaim the Gloria and the Alleluia again to celebrate this great mystery. Lift you voice and proclaim the great things that the Lord has done, they are marvelous in our eyes. Let us fully be present to this great and glorious gift.
Glimpse of God for the week of April 3, 2022
The Celebration of the Cross
As we continue our Lenten journey of prayer, sacrifice, and selflessness, I know that we do so with joyful expectation of celebrating Easter and being renewed as a resurrection people. I know that we cannot celebrate our Easter Resurrection if we are unwilling to celebrate our Good Friday. If we fail to celebrate our crosses, we will miss the greater reality of how we rose above them and walked forth from the tomb to be where we are today. We can complain about our crosses, we can look downtrodden because of them, and we can be angry at God or others for causing them, but the reality is that we are called to carry them and if we do so in faith, trust and hope, our cross can become the stone that we roll away so that we can truly experience our mini resurrections.
At our baptism as followers of Jesus, we were immersed into His passion, death, and resurrection, and it is in the light of that reality that we go forth each and every day to bear our cross with Him, so that we too can rise with Him, and additionally help others to also experience their mini resurrections. Our cross is a sign of hope for us to embrace, and others to see. Our cross is a sign of love, unity, hope, and peace with Christ.
This gives me reason to want to call my cross a cause of celebration, because in and through it, I know that I am in God’s good company, that I am never alone or abandoned and that I am strengthened by His grace. My cross with its sorrows, challenges, joys, and struggles make me who I am today and reminds me of how I became my best self through it all. As I think about the crosses that I have carried and continue to carry, I am blessed to see the faces of those people that God has placed in my life to help me, my Simon’s of Cyrene. It is through the many faces, shoulders, hands, feet, hearts, minds, and spirits of those Simon’s of Cyrene, that have empowered me to continue to bear my cross and be a victor not a victim, and through self-determination and perseverance, not to quit or give in to defeat, weakness, sin, or temptation. How about you?
Can you look at your crosses and see them as a cause for joy and not sorrow, peace and not turmoil, compassion and not revenge, mercy and not bitterness, love and not hatred and truth and not deception. This week as you continue your Lenten journey, look at your cross and seek the grace to recognize it for the gift that it is, and how it has made you your better self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.
SUNDAY – “C” - COMPASSION vs COMPLAINT
As you look at the cross you carry, can you recognize where you have shown more compassion than complaint? Do you see the hand of God in your ability to accept your cross and share your compassion with others, rather than complain about things and bring both yourself and others down?
For today, see your cross and an instrument of compassion and empathy to share, and seek to grow in God’s grace so that when you are tempted to complain and not see it for the good that it is and that it can bring you, His grace will strengthen you to see this truth more clearly.
MONDAY – “R” - RESPECT vs REJECTION
When you look at the various crosses that you have carried in your life and still do today, can you respect them as a gift, the presence of God in your life? As you unite your suffering with Christ, your cross is that gift which enables you to surrender to His will so that you can be united in His passion and death and experience the resurrection.
If you reject your cross, you will not be able to recognize how Christ has heard your prayer to be united with Him and thus you will not be able to see how closely He is walking with you carrying your cross and calling you to become nearer to Him.
For today, look at what you want to reject in your cross; a person, an illness, financial stresses and worries, estranged family members, and ask God for the grace to see beyond that rejection. Ask him to help you see what your life would be like if this splinter of the true cross were missing, and you missed out on the opportunity to forgive, grow, experience personal and spiritual transformation, have your heart expanded, trust more, worry less, and be at peace.
for the grace to reach out to them especially when it is difficult as you carry our cross.
TUESDAY – “S” - SELFLESS vs SELFISH
Being selfish; It is one of the devil’s greatest temptations and acts of deceit. He tempts us and leads us to believe that we are most important, and that it is all about what we need or want that should be our focus. He leads us to believe that it is ok to get all that we desire no matter how we attain or acquire it, that it is ok to hurt others if it means that we will come out on top, it is ok to tear others down because we believe that they are inferior to us.
When we think that we are the end all and be all of God’s creation, we can become so absorbed and selfish that we are unable to see the needs of others or recognize what it means to be selfless. Being selfless is a gift and an invitation to be a better reflection of Christ and His call to follow and serve. In God’s eyes as His beloved children, He wants us to be our best self. This isn’t accomplished by being selfish, but only when we can see the needs of others first, pray for them, assist them in whatever way we can, and trust that our needs and prayers will be met by our very caring and loving God. It is when we surrender to this great truth that we begin to walk the selflessness journey and off the selfishness path.
For today, seek to recognize the temptation to be selfish and towards whom, and ask for the grace to see their face and respond to that grace with the action that God inspires.
WEDNESDAY – “O’ - OTHER-CENTERED vs SELF-CENTERED
Sometimes when our cross seems too heavy to bear and we think that we can’t go on, we can become very self-centered and absorbed. When this occurs, we are not able to see others in need or hear the words of those who want to lift us up, comfort us, console us or call us out of our self because they see that we are getting in our own way of healing and losing our self under the weight of the cross. Christ did not get lost under the weight of His cross, He accepted help to carry it even though He would be the only one crucified on it. He allowed others to comfort him, He did not refuse even the most insignificant gesture of compassion.
If we choose to become self-centered because of our crosses and its afflictions, challenges, worries or stresses, we are not living up to our potential, to be our best self, the person that God created us to be. Christ didn’t call us to whisper the good news to our self or others, but proclaim it from the roof tops. We cannot proclaim the good news of healing, freedom, wholeness, mercy, compassion if we fail to recognize it because we are busy being self-centered and not other centered.
For today, reflect on one person that you know, but that you keep your distance from, that could use your prayers, support, and encouragement to help them carry their cross. Ask God.
THURSDAY – “S” - SELF-CONFIDENT vs SELF-DEFEATED
For many having self-confidence is a challenge. It takes balance to be self-confident without having an inflated ego. God has blessed each one of us with our very own unique gifts and talents. He has blessed us so that we can share those gifts with others to the best of our ability. It is when we think that we don’t have any gifts or talents or that others are better because they are economically superior, better educated or of privileged class, it is then that we become more self-defeating and let go of the grace to share the gifts that we have with others. Being self-confident is an oxymoron. It is not about being confident in our self as if we came up with our gifts all by our self, or that our special talents developed because of our work and practice. No, self-confidence is about recognizing the presence of God as the giver of our gifts and talents because He knows that we can develop them and use them to glorify Him. We need to believe with a humble heart, that we have been chosen and not give in to thinking or believing that others are always better than we are.
For today, ask for the grace to recognize your unique giftedness and how you can share that with others. Think to about at least one gift or talent that you have been blessed with and try to honor it today.
FRIDAY – “E” - EMBRACE vs ELUDE
We can embrace our cross or turn away from it, we can deny our cross or recognize it in all its challenges as gift, we can elude the cross or face it. We all have a cross to carry and if we are blessed not to have a heavy cross, then we should take a moment and look at our weaknesses and sin as the cross that will always call us to Christ and His mercy and compassion. (my book Shopping for Lighter Cross is an example of accepting our cross as gift. Available on Amazon)
A cross Is an invitation to personal and spiritual conversion and transformation. It is through our crosses that we can not only learn how strong we are but how much Christ like we have become. If we elude the cross or think that others have it better because their cross doesn’t seem to be as heavy as ours, we are not only deceiving our self but denying Christ’s wisdom and understanding. God knows our heart better than we know it our self. He knows what we need before we ask, and He also will not let anything befall us if we trust in Him.
For today, think about one aspect of your cross that you really want to elude or run from very quickly and ask for the grace to stop, look at it squarely in the eyes and accept it as a call to recognize your inner strength, courage, fortitude, and hope. Let God embrace you with your cross because it is then that you will see that He is carrying it on His shoulders with you.
SATURDAY – “S” - STILL vs STUCK
For today’s reflection, you fill in the blanks…..
With my cross of……….. I have listened to God’s invitation to be still and know that He is God.
Because of the weight of the cross of…….., I have gotten stuck and chosen not to go forward.
For today, I will strive to be more still so that I can truly listen to God’s voice as He tells me that I am His beloved child, loved unconditionally and called to be my best self, the person that HE created me to be and have the potential to become.
I will see where I am stuck and ask for His grace to move forward and accept His grace in whatever form it takes.
GOD BLESS YOU AS YOU CONTINUE TO EXPERIENCE HIS GREAT LOVE DURING YOUR LENTEN JOURNEY
Glimpse of God for the week of March 27, 2022
This Glimpse is the retreat sessions from my Lenten retreat that was held yesterday. The topic was Walking with Saint Peter on his journey of
Personal Conversion and Self-Discovery.
Mark 14: 66-72 ..I do not know that man….(This occurred after Jesus was arrested)
Glimpse of God for the week of March 20, 2022
This week’s Glimpse of God comes from Clover, our Golden Retriever, who has just undergone a procedure to alleviate the pain and discomfort from glaucoma in her right eye. As she went to the veterinary hospital yesterday to undergo the procedure, she had already been given pain medication and as we drove to the vet, she was quite wiped out, which is not normal for her because when she goes for a ride, she is normally very excited and happy.
I believe dogs are God’s gift to us to remind us of how unconditional loving He is, how forgiving He is and how He is always happy to see and hear from us no matter what we have done or not done, said, or not said, and how we are called to be the same. Dogs don’t hold a grudge or turn away from us, they only come to us to make us happy. They are selfless, not selfish. As Jesus was selfless when HE chose to undergo his passion and endure His death on the cross, we are called to also be selfless and seek that which will build up His kingdom here on earth. If we choose to be shortsighted and selfish and see only what we want, then we will miss out on the kaleidoscope of blessings that God has waiting for us.
As you may already know, Clover is a certified therapy dog, and she gives her therapy time to the retired Franciscan Sisters at the Assisi house in Aston every Sunday. As we prepare to get in the car, she knows where she is going, and she gets in the car with all the excitement, energy, and enthusiasm that she can gather because the Sisters are her best friends, and she loves spending a few hours with them as well as the staff each week.
So as she gets older, she has had to cope with a golden retriever eye disease that led into glaucoma. She has been getting drops in both eyes for several years now and has tolerated them quite well. Until recently when the doctor let us know that the vision in her right eye is minimal and that we should think about an injection to relieve the pressure in her eye or removal of the eye. We opted for the injection at this time so to lessen any discomfort that she might be experiencing, before going the drastic route of eye removal. Although she will not regain vison in the right eye, she will be more comfortable and have a better quality of life.
So where is a glimpse of God in Clover’s eye procedure? If Clover were human and offering up her suffering for lent, where would her hope lie?
As I think about the loss of vision in her right eye, I cannot help but think about how we sometimes lose our vision, our imagination, our hope, and our foresight because of our life experiences, stresses, and concerns. Our vision can become blurry, out of focus and we become temporarily blinded. What in our spiritual life is causing us to lose our vision, our hope, and our need to seek God’s help during life’s blinding experiences?
What in our life, be it ill health, family stresses, financial concerns, anxiety, the pandemic, unemployment, or a broken relationship is causing us to lose our vision, our need for God, our desire to look ahead in hope and not despair or discouragement? Have we become too near sighted where we only live one step at time and not forge ahead in hope, where we might be stuck in our tomb and not willing to emerge from it?
Or are we so far sighted that we are not willing to see that which is right in front of us: God’s grace, His blessings, and those who love and support us? As we continue our Lenten journey, let us seek to recognize where our vision is so near sighted that we choose not to look to the resurrection or so far sighted where we choose not to see God’s action right in front of us.
SUNDAY - INITIAL DISTORTED VISION
As you navigate through a difficult life experience and you can’t seem to wrap your head around it or meet its expectations, your vision becomes distorted. You can’t see ahead as to what resolutions will come and you can’t seem to stop looking behind to what you knew and was familiar with. Life has thrown you a curve ball, the question is can you see it coming and get ready to catch it or are you so thrown off kilter that you miss it completely? Is the curve ball a blessing or a curse? Some of our greatest blessings are the ones that we don’t recognize at first, it is only after we receive it that we are able to recognize with greater clarity how it helps us to become our best self before God and others. The initial distortion of vision can be temporary or permanent but, in the end, does it really matter? It is more about how God invites us to see Him more clearly in and through life experiences. When we choose to see Him in and through life experiences, our initial distortion is no longer important. Our spiritual life, our spiritual vision, is always in need of tweaking if we truly desire to see God more clearly in the varied ways and people, He chooses to reveal Himself.
A thought for today: what is causing your vision to be distorted and can you see clearly enough to ask God for clarity so that you can better understand what you are being invited to do?
MONDAY - EYE DROPS
Clover’s eye drops have helped her avoid infection and the spread of the eye disease as well as relieve the pressure in her right eye. What in your life is infecting your relationship with God, self and others and what pressures are you undergoing that is causing you to see things one way and not God’s way? Eye drops are not usually painful but are most helpful. Is there something in your life that God is giving you eye drops for so as to avoid or deter the spread of any spiritual diseases like bitterness, resentment, despair? Can you see that His eye drops are that of mercy, forgiveness, compassion, peace, and love? The trick is that you have to open your eyes so they can go in completely and not drip all over your face. God would like His eye drops to make it into your heart, mind, and spirit but He also realizes that out of fear you unwittingly try to close the eyes of your heart, mind and spirit. But even when you do that, God knows your heart better than you do and He knows that even with faith, the size of a mustard seed, that His eye drops will work and bring you to have a clearer vison without the unnecessary pressures that are placed on you by yourself and others. Clover takes her eye drops four times a day with a lot of TLC from us and she doesn’t mind.
A thought for today: God wants to give you eyedrops to help deter the spread of any spiritual dis-ease that you are enduring, with His TLC of adoration, joy, and love for you, can you open the eyes of your mind, spirit and heart, can you place your trust in Him so that they go in completely?
TUESDAY – STABILITY
Clover’s eye disease remained stable, unchanged for a long time, during that time she wasn’t experiencing any discomfort and her pressure numbers remined good.
Can you recognize spiritual stability in your life? What does it or did it look like? If your spiritual life has been stable or unchanged, is the lack of change the effect of God’s grace or in response to the fear of change and the unexpected or uncertainty that change can bring about?
A thought for today: Seek God’s grace to invite change, then allow yourself to be amazed at what and how change can be a positive experience.
WEDNESDAY – DECLINE
Is your spiritual life, your time with God and your desire to grow in relationship with Him through your prayer life, the sacraments of the church, and being in community with others, on the decline, that these aspects are no longer important to you? Did the eye drops of mercy, love, compassion, forgiveness and peace from God fall to the wayside when you were confronted and been the victim of abuse, betrayal, neglect, broken relationship or gossip? Are you afraid to open the eyes of your mind, heart and spirit so that God can place His eyedrops within you so that you can avoid spiritual decline and burn out, discouragement and despair?
A thought for today: Saint John the Baptist said that he must decrease so that Jesus can increase. What does that mean for you and to you as your journey towards Calvary?
THURSDAY - EYE INJECTION
One and done for Clover. Her quality of life has improved very quickly. Little pain and discomfort and the size of her right eye has decreased where it looks normal like the left eye. Is there one aspect of your spiritual life that just needs a boost, where you need the proverbial one time only shot in the arm so that you can be lifted up and help lift others up? There are times when our spiritual insight and vision is temporarily out of focus, not because of any major life event or trauma, but more so out of the daily stresses or expectations placed on us at work, in our home, within the community, with extended family concerns and the weariness that one can experience from these outside experiences and expectations.
A thought for today: No matter who we are, what we do or what we don’t do, that our identity is not measured by our social status, economic or education level, no, our greatest identity is that of being created in God’s image, that we are His beloved child, that He loves us freely and unconditionally, that we are His greatest creation and that His love for us is perfect.
We all need a shot in the arm when it comes to believing and accepting those truths for ourselves, so as you walk with another; family member, friend, neighbor, coworker or even the stranger on their earthly journey, try to give them a shot in the arm by reminding them of the love that God has for them and that you have for them.
FRIDAY - EYE REMOVAL
We did not see the need for the drastic step of removing Clover’s eye. In our spiritual life, there may be times that we think we would be better if God would just remove the obstacle that is keeping us from seeing Him more clearly. If the person that keeps hurting us were to go away or the anniversary of a painful event were not remembered. If God would just take the event out of our life, we think we would be better off, but would we? I believe that whatever painful event or memory that we have endured has made us who we are today and without it, we would not be who we are. God knows what we have endured and has granted us the ability to overcome the obstacle with His grace, courage, strength, and determination. Through the pain and the wounds, with visible and the invisible scars, we have become a wounded healer and have been made whole. The removal of the eye was not necessary for Clover, and I believe that as long as we are open to recognizing what stands in our way of seeing God more clearly in our self and others, God doesn’t want to totally remove anything that He has created within us, since we are His greatest creation, and He loves us just as we are and is not waiting for us to become something else.
A thought for today: Can you be gentle on yourself with your weaknesses and sins, your vulnerability, your frailty, trusting that God forgives you and wants only the best for you? Don’t go drastic, but continue your Lenten journey one step, one prayer, one act of mercy and one act of love at a time.
SATURDAY – HEALING
After a week of spiritual blurry and distorted vision, spiritual eye drops, some spiritual stability with a little decline, God’s shot in the eyes of your mind, heart, soul, and spirit, and all that God tried to bring you to a clearer recognition of His presence in your life, can you see where you were healed and made whole? Are you able to see recognize how you have been following Him more nearly, seeing Him more clearly and loving Him more dearly each and every day? God sees your heart, knows your mind, has touched your spirit, and permeated your soul with His love, His adoration, His peace so that You can experience true, deep abiding happiness. Clover’s quality of life has improved with the eye injection. The quality of your life is always improving as your prayer life, your time with God and others, increases. As we seek to see God more clearly, I believe that we must first be able to recognize His presence within our self and others, as we look in the mirror and out the window.
A thought for today: As you look in the mirror or out the window, can you see with greater clarity the rainbow of God’s love as vivid as they are in the colors of friendships, reconciliations, mended bridges, extended olive branches, reconciliation, celebratory events and joyous occasions.
Glimpse of God for the week of March 13, 2022
This Glimpse of God focuses on the gift of time and how we embrace it, neglect it, fill it, run out of it, enjoy it, waste it, celebrate it, focus on it, sit silent in it, overbook it, and thank God for it. Time is a precious gift. What is time? It can be seen in seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, year, etc. We often find our self-looking at our watch or clocks to see what time it is so that we know when something is either going to begin or end, or where we need to go and be. There are times in our life that we celebrate and there are those that we mourn, there are times that we are fearful of and times that we face with all the courage and conviction that we can muster. Time is an experience where we not only see where it has passed and realize that we cannot get it back, but also where we can see ahead and not know how it will unfold. We are given time here on earth to live and become the best person that God has created us to be.
This also comes from the fact that as you read this glimpse, you sprang forward and set your clocks ahead and offered up that extra hour of sleep. When I think of daylight savings time in the light of my faith, I come with a few similarities. For instance, when we are in the previous mode, we are usually journeying through the winter season, where it is darker longer. This isn’t a bad darkness but a period where God is planting and preparing for things to flourish and grow. It is a necessary time if creation is going to be what God wants it to be. It is the same for us. Although it is difficult and challenging, we need to accept those dark, barren times in our life so that we can recognize the light and the newness that will soon become ours. Hope prevails as we realize that spring is one day closer, our newness is right around the corner and soon the many colors of God’s rainbow will soon burst forth. Everything becomes a matter of perspective and balance with the darkness, light and many shades of gray.
From the beginning of time God has been continually showing Himself to His people, revealing to His people His presence and calling them to take their time and use it to Worship and adore Him alone. God’s time is not our time. We sometimes waste time or overbook our time. We watch time pass us by and then we get bored and wish time would hurry up. I would say that many of us do not take the time to appreciate God in the experiences of our life and the lives of those that we encounter and surround us.
What do we gain by setting our clocks ahead one hour? Certainly not more sleep or energy when we wake up, but rather more sunlight for the days ahead.
As we begin the second week of lent and hopefully you are going strong in honoring your Lenten resolutions, but if you are struggling to keep your resolutions for what ever reason, take some time to prayerfully reflect on the why and the what. Why are you struggling and what is God trying to teach you through your struggling? Since time is a gift, God doesn’t want you to waste your time with needless guilt over broken promises or resolutions, but He wants to draw nearer to you as you desire to turn back to Him, and be faithful to the Gospel. Take this time of lent as a time to take each step forward in love, humility, peace, surrender, contrition, compassion, and joy. As you take each step, look at what it invokes from within and if it is good, resolve to maintain it, if it is negative, resolve and seek to abandon it. YOU can do this.
Lent is not a time to give up things if they do not draw you closer to Christ, enable you to become your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become. If you truly want to resolve to become your best self, seek that which is from above, that which God is showing you, that which He knows is best for you.
The glimpse of God is how we recognize, reverence, and honor the gift of time that God has given us. No one is promised tomorrow so carpe diem (those that know Latin!) and for the rest of us “Seize the day”!
Reflections of time…….
Sunday - Today honor, reverence and appreciate your time with God. During this Lenten season, seek God’s wisdom to discern how you can grow in a greater and deeper relationship with Him, and be a greater reflection of His presence to others. As you attend worship services, attend with your whole heart; humbled and open, and not out of guilt or obligation or for your place in a pew.
Monday – Today, honor, reverence and appreciate your time with family and friends. Time goes quickly, children grow, and friends move, appreciate all of these many blessings today for only God knows their destiny of tomorrow. No one knows when their time on this earth will run out so before regrets settle in, bless all of those whom God has placed in your life. Forgive those who have offended you, seek forgiveness from all you have offended. Ask for God’s healing and peace in those areas of your life where you are broken so that you may become whole.
Tuesday – Today, honor, reverence and appreciate your time spent with yourself, you are your best company, you are God’s greatest creation, loved unconditionally and His beloved child. One is never alone, but at times may feel lonely. Today honor your alone time as a gift from God to be in communion with Him, His Son Jesus, and our Blessed Mother Mary. Don’t run away or be afraid of the quiet but invite it, embrace it allow it to transform you as you listen to the gentle whisper of God speaking to your heart.
Wednesday – Today, honor, reverence and appreciate your time in and with God’s creation. Go out into the world and see it in all of its beauty, magnificence and splendor. God has given us His creation to take care of so that it may flourish. We are all called to build up His kingdom here on earth. As we learn to appreciate and honor all of God’s creatures in His creation, let us remember that we are all created to work together to be God’s presence in the world.
Thursday – Today, honor, reverence and appreciate your time as you work. Work satisfies us, compliments us, and allows us to use the talents and gifts that God has given us. Today, look at your work as an instrument that God has given you to help be His beacon of light, love, compassion, gratitude and understanding to those around you, and allow it to be a source of humility, peace and joy.
Friday – Today, honor, reverence and appreciate your time with Christ on the cross. He suffered and died for you on the cross, spend time in quiet gratitude with Him. We are all called to carry our crosses, yet we think that we need to carry them alone. We are never alone. Christ walks with us and just as Christ accepted help from Simon of Cyrene, we too are called to accept help when the cross seems too heavy. Surrender and acceptance are characteristic of a true follower of Jesus. We must surrender our will as Jesus did so that God can do what is best in and through us and we can openly accept the many graces and blessings that God wants to share with us.
Saturday – Today, honor, reverence and appreciate your time in prayer for all of those who have entrusted their needs, desires, prayers, hurts, and pains to you. When we can take our personal prayer time with God and offer it up for others, we are acting in a very humble, selfless and compassionate way. When others entrust their needs and prayer to you they see in you the presence and spirit of God that enables them to ask you for prayers. This may seem easy, but when one truly feels the needs, pains and prayers of others, their empathy draws them in a closer union with Mary our Mother
Glimpse of God for the week of March 6, 2022
My Glimpse of God comes in the form of a broken outdoor flowerpot located in front of Saint John Fisher Church. This past week, someone drove into, over but not around this flowerpot, hence it is now a cracked pot. As you can see by the picture, there now is a large flowerpot that was once unbroken and flourishing with beautiful and varied flowers, but now is cracked, smashed, and broken beyond repair. This broken vessel, with the insides strewn all over, the dirt and the vessel's pieces on top of each other, appears to be useless because it is broken and seemingly unpresentable. Its parts: the flowers, the greens, the dirt, and the clay pieces are scattered and will probably be replaced because it is not doing what it is expected to do; add to the beautification of the property.
How this accident came to be is unknown. Considering the size of the pot and its location, one can guess with great accuracy that a vehicle attempting to park in the parking lot hit, ran over, ran into it, but just couldn’t avoid coming in contact with the flower pot. I hope the vehicle and the driver are ok.
Where is God in this? Where are we in this? Where is the Glimpse of God in such an inanimate and unpresentable object?
God is in all things. God is the creator of all things. God can use any and all of His creation to bring His glory to those who cast their eyes upon it. God uses various items, people, and events, to teach us more about us. This teaching is not done to shame us, but rather to open our minds, eyes and hearts to His presence in an unfamiliar but surprisingly new way.
SO lets get back to the flowerpots..
God is the potter. We are the clay. God is the gardener, and we are the seed that is planted. God provides us with the right amount of food, water, light, and darkness so that we can grow to be our best self, the person that He created us to be, and He knows we have the potential to become. We only need to be open and respond to His care and love for us. God is mercy, we are sinners, God is the healer, and we are the broken. God is our creator. We are His beautiful masterpieces: all individually unique, special, and beautiful to behold in the His eyes. God is our foundation and through our faith, we are given every opportunity to flourish, grow and become the best, strongest and most genuine witness to His great love acting in our life. God has the green thumb; He knows exactly what we need to flourish, and He knows that even though we won’t always choose to live in His light but rather choose to live in darkness, He is always ready to provide light to the areas of darkness in our life so that we can become healed and whole, He wants to water those areas where we are suffering from spiritual burn out,
He wants to feed us with His Body and Blood so that our spiritual hunger and thirst are satisfied. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus, we don’t have to worry or fear that we aren’t right because we are sinners, but rather we need only to trust that since we are His creation, when we sin, we only need to seek to be cleansed and healed through the presence, power, love, and strength of His Son, Jesus.
So, as you journey through the first full week of lent, try to focus on the beauty of the broken flowerpot in light of yourself. I know it is more difficult to do, because one tends to choose to see all that is wrong with oneself. God doesn't do that with you, and He doesn't want you to see yourself that way either. Brokenness can be God's invitation to seek and become healed, whole and a wounded healer if you are open. Sometimes it is easier to just get rid of, criticize and discard the "broken", "different" and seemingly "unbeautiful" members of our society and our world, but all people, those who appear whole and those who don't, are still and will always be God's beloved son or daughter, a member of the human family, deserving of dignity and respect and lovable.
SUNDAY – THE SEED
Scripture says that the mustard seed is the smallest of seeds yet produces the largest plant. Although God does not see us as the smallest of His creatures, He allows us to start from the beginning, that of a seed of faith, so that we can see our faith grow and want to desire to participate in its growth. He offers us the waters of baptism, to take root at the very beginning, the planting of the seed of life, the spiritual nourishment of the sacraments, the Son light of Christ, the soil of life experiences where we entered into the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus, and yet there are times when He allows us to overwater the plant so that our sins, our guilt and our shame can be completely washed away, with no residue left behind. And there are times when our plant is too dry and its leaves become brown and drop off, it is these times where we are suffering from burn out, we extended ourselves too far, we held onto our sin, bitterness, anger, guilt, and shame, we failed to take care of our spiritual, physical, and emotional well being. When God sees this and He knows that we want to do better, He then prunes and cultivates us. He removes that brown, dead, and unhealthy, so that we can be a healthy, whole, and colorful plant in His Kingdom here on earth.
MONDAY - THE FLOWERPOT OR PLANTER - A flowerpot or planter comes in many forms, shapes, colors, and sizes, but all with one main purpose and that is to hold the beauty of that which is planted, safely and securely. God's hands created, shaped, and formed us to be the person that we are and have the greatest potential to become. We are all unique individuals, no duplicates. He then entrusts us to the care of our families, our communities, and our Churches to help nurture the seed that He planted so that we can grow to become the best and most beautiful person that will shine and witness to His love in our life. He plants us and places us in the care of those He designates as safe and nurturing, but it is because of human weakness, sin, and poor decisions, that we become broken, frail, and fragmented, and in need of God's healing touch.
TUESDAY - FOOD - Our faith, the Sacraments of the Church, Sacred Scripture, Prayer, and each other feed, sustain, and nurture us on our spiritual journey. Unlike Miracle Grow that you can purchase, God's Miracle Grow is the grace, love, and presence of Jesus in our life, that is given to us at no cost.
Christ paid the ultimate price so that we can experience true love and grow in that love as God's beloved sons and daughters.
WEDNESDAY -WATER - The waters of baptism that we were washed in removed and cleansed us of original sin. Every time we bless our self with Holy Water, we are being reminded that God is showering us with His cleansing power and new life. The waters of new life that we received at baptism is a reminder that we entered the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time we confess our sins, He is washing us clean again and again. As the plant needs water to grow, we need God's grace to grow. The water that helps the seed to grow also helps it from becoming dry, burnt and dying. God's grace is being showered upon us so much because He does not want us to become burnt out, spiritually dead and non life giving to those around us.
THURSDAY -TIME - God's time is not our time. There are times that we think we are grown up, mature, able to be on our own and don't need God or anyone else to tell us what we need to be doing or that we have fallen short of being a better person. There are times, more often than we like to admit, that we recognize we need God and others to help us be a better person, and that we are not the most mature or grown-up person that we think we are. In time, we grow and mature to see ourselves as God sees us, but not without His love to guide us. He does not call us to our truth to hurt or shame us He only wants the best for us and only He knows when we are most open to receive His truth for us. As a seed is planted, nurtured, watered, put in the proper area for best potential for growth, protected, cared for and talked to, it is a plant that even with our best work, still may not survive. BUT, it is not that way with God. Even in the midst of our brokenness, woundedness, and sin, God never stops nurturing us, giving us the waters of new life, protecting us, placing us in the best atmosphere for our growth and maturity, and talking to us in and through our prayer life. We are invited to embrace all that God gives us so that we can grow and become that best person that we can be, no matter what our outward appearance may be, or our flaws may be, or our shortcomings may be, He absolutely loves us ANYWAY, UNCONDITIONALLY AND WITHOUT RESERVATION.
FRIDAY - ELEMENTS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS - God's creation consisted of darkness and light. He knew from the beginning of time that His creation; man, beast, and nature would need both darkness and light. This is so true for the human being that He created. If we humans were given 24 hours of just light, we might decide to constantly keep going and not give our bodies the rest that it needs, causing our spiritual and physical decay sooner than necessary. Darkness invites us to a greater trust. Trust in God, trust in others, trust in our self. We, as children, fear the dark because we do not know what is hidden in its midst. It is in those times of fear that we call on parents to calm our fears and show us that there is nothing in the dark to worry about. Fear of the dark should not follow us into adulthood, yet it does. We grow fearing what is hidden; hidden in the deep recesses of our mind, heart and memories. We fear what people will say if they see us as we truly are, that we try so hard to keep hidden in the dark.
Taking care of a plant is somewhat easier because plants can’t hide in the darkness of fear. We need both light and dark to grow best as our best and healthy human beings. Trust and embrace the darkness that keeps you from sharing, shining, and showing yourself as a beautiful child of the Light. Remember that Jesus was in the darkness of the earth for three days as He prepared for His resurrection. The resurrection was His rising from the death and darkness of sin to new life and light of pure love and reconciliation. Darkness leads to light, death leads to new life, fear leads to trust and God leads us to Himself: the true and only light of the world.
SATURDAY - BEAUTY PERSONIFIED - You are God's greatest creation. You are a beautiful plant, a wonderful flower, vivid in color, or even an awesome terrarium with many colors and creations within, in any case you are a reflection of the love, care and presence of God in your life and in your world. You have chosen to grow where you were planted. You didn’t wait, deny, or turn away from God’s invitation to trust in Him and allow Him to show you where and how you can grow up and bloom where you are planted. So, let your stem be strong, your flowers be colorful, your soil be life giving, and your flowerpot or planter be a reflection of your inner strengths, talents and gifts for all to see.
GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 27, 2022
I wanted to get this to my readers so that you can prepare for the wonderful season of Lent.
(Last week's Glimpse is at the end of this one)
This week as we celebrate the gift of Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of lent, let us be mindful that it is a season to return to the Lord with our whole heart and repent of our sinfulness, so that as we die to self, we can truly be a resurrection people and emerge from our tomb on Easter Sunday.
LENT IS A TIME TO:
SURRENDER those things that keep us from being the person that God has created us to be and keep us from becoming the person that He knows we can be, and have the potential to become; those things that are standing in the way of our seeing Christ more clearly in our self and in others,
in life’s challenges and in our crosses.
LENT IS NOT A TIME TO GIVE UP and think that we can’t do what God knows we can
and invites us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will.
STRETCH OURSELVES: our imaginations, our minds, our spiritual comfort zone, and our hearts.
We need to stretch so that we can see ourselves accomplishing and overcoming
the hardest challenges that face us, but we think will defeat us.
We need to allow God to stretch that which is set and confined
so that HE can reset, reform, and renew us in His image.
LOVE ourselves and others, especially those who don’t like us,
and to HATE those things that take us away from God
and make us want to be more self-centered and selfish
instead of being more Christ centered and selfless.
FORGIVE and not to be bitter.
We are called to forgive ourselves and others,
and not hold on to the past of bad choices, deep hurts,
and poor decisions.
Only in true forgiveness can we experience
genuine and lasting freedom so that we can be the beacon of
Christ’s mercy, love, and compassion for our self and to others.
"Forgive them for they know not what they do”
BE STILL so that you can feel the gentle breeze of God’s Spirit
as He touches your heart and opens it to His healing love
and deep abiding peace.
NOT BE BUSY just for the sake of being busy
or to run from anything.
Lent is a time to listen as God tells you
that there is only one thing that matters to Him.
That you know and believe with all your heart
that you are His greatest creation, His beloved son or daughter, that He loves you just as you are, and that His love for you is free, unconditional, and everlasting.
LOOK OUT THE WINDOW
and see and appreciate His presence in all His creation.
the sun, the moon, the stars, the grass, the creatures that crawl about and those that hover over,
the people that we know and the stranger that we pass by,
the beauty of the day, and the serenity of the night,
the gift of rain as it falls on our head,
we walk in its puddles,
and we shield ourselves from its coldness and soaking effects. It is still gift!
The gift of wind, calm, and sunshine,
since they can remind us of how we weather our spiritual, physical, and emotional storms.
The beauty in the hearts of those that care about us,
and those we care about,
those who challenge us to become a better person,
and those who stand as an obstacle
on our journey of spiritual and personal transformation,
may we see love in the hearts of all as God sees love in ours.
BUT LENT IS NOT A TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR
if you are looking to point out your sins, your flaws,
your weaknesses or your shortcomings,
but only if you are looking to remind yourself that you are loved by God just as you are
because His love is much greater than all of these.
His death is a reminder that He sees all that you see,
but He looks into the depth of your heart
to see that which you have not begun to.
As your journey of LENT
begins, continues, and gradually comes to an end,
and you find yourself asking, “How have I grown in my relationship to Christ,
or how have I been a beacon of His presence to others”?
try to look back and recall how you found yourself helping others
and giving of your presence, time, talent, and compassion,
and seek to recognize that your desire is in response to God’s grace,
so, trust in God and believe that you are closer to Him than you think.
We measure our progress
and that of others with human expectations and limitations,
but God looks into the very heart that He created
and sees its width, its depth, its woundedness, its potential
and fills it with His compassion, His mercy, His peace, and His grace,
so that we all can be the best loving person that we can be.
You are what He wants you to be, for you can be nothing less.
What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love,
what you become is your gift to God.
THE SEASON OF LENT CAN BE A SEASON OF GIFT GIVING:
The gifts of spiritual and personal transformation, conversion, growth, mercy,
and reconciliation are yours.
If you are open to these gifts,
God is offering them to you. Not only to receive, but also to share.
You have 40 days to respond.
R – Return to the Lord with your whole heart.
S – Surrender your will to His so that you can become your best self.
V – Celebrate the victory over sin with Christ as our victor
P – Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
the blessings of peace, joy, compassion, selflessness, forgiveness, healing, and repentance.
WITH GOD IT IS NEVER TOO LATE
TO OPEN YOUR MIND, HEART, SOUL, SPIRIT AND HANDS
TO RECEIVE HIM AS HE CHOOSES TO GIFT YOU.
Glimpse of God for the week of February 20, 2022
This week’s Glimpse of God will hopefully resonate with you. If you have ever experienced woundedness in the physical, emotional, or spiritual nature, my hope is that you will be able to relate to what I share. This is not the glimpse that I had originally expected to share, that one was going to be the spirituality of vegetables, but after spending 10 days in the hospital, I thought this was a more appropriate and Holy Spirit inspired glimpse of not only God, but more so, of His awesome presence in the form of healing.
Healing occurs on at least three levels: physical, emotional, and spiritual. One can be healed from major surgery to a bad case of shingles, from a sore throat to knee replacement, from cancer to the flu, but in all these cases healing is taking place and afterwards one feels sense of renewed energy, a sense of a new person emerging, and new life-giving energy in their step. The human body is amazing and fascinating in that it takes the most serious illnesses and finds ways to cope, heal and renew itself.
The human heart is more fascinating when it finds the need to heal. It finds healing through the conscious choice of its owner, comingled with assistance of God’s instruments of healing as found in the health professionals along with the grace and power of God. The heart is often in need of healing from various wounds and hurts; death of loved ones, broken relationships and trust, betrayal, misuse of power, and self-abasement. The heart, once broken, wounded, or hurt can become a vessel where forgiveness, mercy, and compassion flow over and take root so that anger, resentment, and bitterness can’t. The human heart can expand, stretch, and become stronger to love in ways only known to God and unimaginable to us. To forgive where one could not think possible, offering mercy in the face of betrayal, being compassionate when the passion to hold on and be bitter takes hold of us instead of the other way around. The heart, unlike any other organ, can expand with the grace of God so that in the face of woundedness and brokenness, healing can begin and take an everlasting root.
Within the human Spirit is also a place where healing can occur. One’s Spirit, the inner abode where God dwells or not, depending upon us, can also become a source of woundedness. One’s Spirit, one’s relationship with God, can change and become stronger because of life’s hurts and crosses.
When one chooses to allow God to abide within, then the crosses, the pain, the hurts can become instruments of personal transformation and spiritual growth and not the cause of further pain and alienation.
Through spiritual, physical, or emotional hurts, no matter how deep, big, or insignificant they may seem, we as humans can walk with God and face them, or away from God and become absorbed by them. We can hold onto anger, resentment, a godless life, and blame God for everything that is wrong, or we can take the wrong and give it its proper place; the Altar of God so that we can learn by it and become a better person. Only we can make that choice and God understands and is waiting for us when we fall short of choosing what is best for our well-being, and out of weakness choose what is easier.
God can handle whatever we choose to give Him, call Him, hold back from Him, or surrender to Him. He created us and knows our heart better than we know it ourself. His greatest desire is that we become our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become, that we recognize, without a doubt, that we are His beloved child and that there is nothing that we can say or do, or not do, that will ever make Him love us less, that we are His greatest creation and that His love is unconditional and free.
We as humans, try to fix things before we surrender them to God, and God is there waiting for us, with a smile, to give Him our brokenness so that He does not just fix, but heal it. His healing is ours for the asking. It is only with God that we can truly experience healing from our physical, emotional, or spiritual wounds and hurts. When we pray for healing, we must first surrender our idea of what is in need of healing and seek to be healed in a way God knows is best, the healing that will benefit our earthly journey so that we can truly be embraced by Him when it is over, and we enter into our heavenly reward.
I believe that when we choose to be His instrument here on earth, that our healing and our journey towards wholeness begins. When we choose to be His instrument of peace, joy, love, hope, compassion, pardon, light, faith, it is then that we have experienced God’s healing touch. I believe that we all know that to be His instruments here on earth, the healing that we need to be seeking is the deep and long lasting. The healing is that which will bring us closer to Him and remove the roadblocks that can get in the way.
For this week, as you reflect on healing; that which you know you need, think that you need, and are not ready to admit to, ask God to shower His grace on you so that your healing will be a true source of personal and spiritual strength, conversion, conviction, and transformation.
SUNDAY – “H’ - be HAPPY
What in your life is keeping you from experiencing true happiness? What does it mean to be happy? I don’t think that it means that you always walk around with a smile or being giddy, but rather that you are able to recognize in the midst of your woundedness and pains, that you are loved by God, that He is with you always, that there is nothing in this world that can make Him go away, that He dwells in your pain, that He cries with you, that He forgives with you, that He smiles on you, that He wants you to be healed, and it is all out of and in His love for you.
Can you ask Him to help you give yourself permission to experience happiness as He wants you to?
MONDAY – “E” - EMBRACE the seemingly unembraceable
If you recognize one aspect of your woundedness: physical, emotional, or spiritual, that is keeping you from healing and you could choose to embrace it, what would it be? We sometimes give your hurt and pain, the power that it doesn’t deserve. We choose to allow it to overpower us so that we feel overwhelmed and unable to overcome it. What do you really want to be healed from? Once you realize what your wounds are, that is the moment your healing begins. I believe that our deepest hurt, be it physical emotional or spiritual can make us the best instruments and light for others to see and seek healing. The inner strength and fight of cancer survivors, the desire of abuse victims to help others who are abused, those in a 12-step program who choose to sponsor others, those who have experienced all forms of poverty reaching out to those who are presently experiencing it, those who because of bad choices, have left their Church, family, community and offering hope to those who are thinking about doing the same. They have and you can also, embrace the unembraceable or pray for those who are also afraid of embracing the unembraceable.
Can you ask God to show you what He would like you to embrace and not think that it is unembraceable?
TUESDAY – “A” - God ADORES you
God adores you. God adores you in your woundedness, your embraceable moments, your unembraceable moments, your healing, your happy times, your sad times, the times when you seek Him last and the times when you seek Him first. You are His greatest creation and as your creator, He isn’t going to choose only to love and adore you when you are good or make the best choices, but out of His unconditional love, He is there to love and adore you always. He only wants you to come to Him and trust Him to doing what is best for you.
Do you believe that God adores you? What does that mean? what does it look like? If you don’t believe that you are, ask God to show you.
In all your woundedness, God loves you more and more. He cries, is angry, is merciful and extends compassion with you, and understands when you are unable to do so. Your wounds, weather self-inflicted or caused by others, can be avenues for God to bring us closer to Him and others, and to bring us healing so that we can become whole. His love is absolute. He offers it with no conditions, no expiration date, no return, and no refunds.
Can you ask God to show you what that truly means from His perspective and not from your human perspective? Can you ask God to show you what He would like you to embrace and not think that it is unembraceable?
WEDNESDAY – “L” God LOVES you just as you are, not the person you think you need to become
That is the hardest truth for people to believe. We as humans think that we need to become something for God to love us, yet it is just the opposite, He loves us just as we are. Do you love yourself?
What do you think that you need to be or become for God to love you? What holds you back from believing that you are loved as the sinner you are and not the saint you think you need to become? God formed you in the womb, He knows you, He loves you and He wants you to believe that? If you can’t or don’t, ask His help to remove any obstacle or non-truth that is preventing you from believing that. Can you ask God to show you how lovable you are in your weakest moments so that you can heal from your shame and self-loathing?
THURSDAY – “I” - you are a vessel of God’s INSPIRATION
You are an inspiration to others. You possess the ability and the grace to inspire others. You exude the light of Christ by your words, deeds, humility, truth, and love so that they too will choose to know, love, and serve God. Who has been an inspiration to you? How and Why? What have they inspired you to do?
To whom have you been an inspiration? (you are an inspiration, so you should have an answer to that last question) As God’s beloved child, a sinner striving to be a saint, you inspire others not as a pious person, but rather by your honesty, your ability to carry your cross despite its heaviness and pain, your love for those who have been unloving, your desire to seek God when you feel blind and not certain of the next step to take. You are God’s vessel not only of inspiration, but also of love, compassion, mercy, peace, joy, happiness, and perseverance. Can you ask God to fill you where you feel you are lacking? Then ask Hm to show you where you are a vessel that is overflowing. Get ready! Open your hands! He wants to fill them with the overflow!!!
FRIDAY – “N” - you are a NEW creation
When one experiences healing there is a renewed sense of hope. You are a new creation. Can you take a moment to recognize one area of your life that has been touched by God’s healing power and how you have responded to that healing? Was there one person that you were angry with, and you find that you are now at peace with? Is there one area of your life that has been an obstacle to God and now is an avenue to God?
Is there one person in your life that you did not want to forgive but wanted to hold a grudge towards and now find that the anger and pain no longer has control over you? You are a new creation. Can you identify one aspect of your life that you have experienced God’s healing touch, if you can, then you are a new creation. If you can’t, ask God to help you.
SATURDAY – “G”- Healing is a sign of GOD’S GOODNESS and GRACE
It has been a long week, we are approaching the last weekend of the shortest month, new beginnings are right around the corner. We are preparing to begin the transformative season of lent; the season of where healing, spiritual growth and transformation can occur, spring is not far off and we will go from seeing snowmen and penguins to chicks and bunnies. Your prayers and being an instrument of God’s, healing and recipient of His healing are many, so as you prepare for the weekend, I offer you one last prayer as you celebrate God’s healing touch in your life.
Can you take a moment to recognize one area of your life where you have experienced God’s healing touch and pray to be able to recognize with greater clarity the presence of God’s grace and goodness in and through your healing
Glimpse of God for the week of February 6 13, 2022
As I think about glimpses of God and how he chooses to reveal himself I would not have come up with, or through fruit. This is a challenge from Sister Elizabeth Novak at the Assisi house, She challenged me to write a glimpse of God on various fruits, and their spirituality. The fruits that have been chosen for this challenge are Apples, Bananas, Coconuts, Grapes, Kiwi, Strawberries and Watermelon As I reflected on this glimpse and the challenge that it is, I asked myself a few questions such as How does God reveal himself in the various fruits that we eat? How do they give us a glimpse of the great love that God has for us? How does eating a piece of fruit show us how God is calling us to be our best self, the person He created us to be and have the potential to become? If this glimpse doesn't exactly answer these questions, I hope you will at least grow for a greater appreciation for the fruit you eat and a deeper recognition of how it can be instrumental in improving your overall spiritual, emotional, and physical health.
In regard to eating healthy, it is much easier and better to reach out for a piece of fruit than a fast food sandwich, a candy bar or a bag of chips. How is our spiritual journey similar to picking a piece of fruit or a bag of chips? Is it fast or fruit? Where is God in the choice? As we grow in our spiritual life, our physical life, and our emotional life, we tend to want to take the easy way out verses the painstaking way. It is easier to run through the day without praying saying that we did not have the time and yet when things go wrong, we blame God for not being with us. But God has given us other types of fruit to aid us on our earthly journey, they are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. With these fruits we are more able to make good decisions, ones that will give us an overall and better physical, emotional, and spiritual health. The fruits that we eat, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit enable us to fight off diseases, be in better health and overcome the body’s weaknesses.
As I looked into and researched the seven fruits there are several common denominators in all of them. They all improve our overall physical health well being, they assist our bodies in fighting various diseases, they build up or strengthen our immune system and they're easy to eat on the run. Some of the diseases that eating good fruits fight off are diabetes, cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, digestive issues, and psychological disturbances. As we partake in eating fruits on a regular basis, with minimal effort, we are attempting to combat these various diseases and not allow them to take over our body. As our body fights these diseases, it is also fighting the diseases that affect our mind, spirit, and soul so that we can be physically, spiritually, and emotionally healthy. As I thought about seeing God in the fruits that we eat, I thought about the fruits that permeate our being, the fruits that He freely gives us to assist us on our journey and our fight against the spiritual diseases that can cripple us. They are the fruits of His Holy Spirit, love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. I believe that as we strive to eat healthy and become our best self the Holy Spirit is right in the midst of that decision. If we love ourselves by eating healthy then our heart expands, God’s joy abounds within us, and His peace permeates our total self.
Our desire to be faithful guides us as we commit each day to eating healthy. We become more patient with ourselves and others, and we gain more self-control even when we slip back into a junk food mentality. God is gentle and forgiving with us, and we need to be gentle with ourselves.
Since we are of one mind, body, soul, and spirit, what we partake of, what we digest permeates our entire being and this allows us to be better prepared to fight the various physical and spiritual diseases. So, as we walk into another week, let us pray that the fruits of God’s Spirit and the ones that we purchase and pick to eat, enable us to become our best self, the person that He created us to be and have potential to become.
SUNDAY - Apples; they are good for our overall physical health, they assist us if we are trying to lose weight, they lower the risk of getting diabetes, they help prevent certain cancers and they promote good gut balance. Since they assist in weight loss, if we choose to eat an apple because it is good for weight loss, can it be an opportunity for us to lose the extra weight of sin in our life and the shame, guilt, or discouragement we are carrying? Is God calling us to lose the weight by seeking his mercy and letting go what is weighing us down? What are we partaking of that is causing us to have extra weight that we cannot carry? If partaking of an apple is God's way of saying of the extra weight, lose it, let it go it's not healthy, are we willing to take the first bite?
MONDAY- Bananas; also have many health benefits, such as they are a high source of potassium, plant compounds, they support overall health, contain nutrients to help moderate blood sugar levels, they improve digestive health, heart health and aid in weight loss. As they improve your digestive health can eating a banana be God's way of opening up the human mind and body to what we are struggling to swallow or digest? Is it a truth about yourself, or a loved one, or a friend that you are having a tough time swallowing because it's too difficult to accept or recognize? To digest something, you first must place it in your mouth, chew it and then swallow it. Is there truth about your faith or God that you cannot accept or digest? Do you believe in His unconditional love for you, that you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally and that He gave up his life on the cross for you? What about these truths is hard to digest? How can God help you digest these truths so that you can live life more freely, with greater peace and sense of love? Can you accept these truths so that they don't get stuck in your spiritual digestive system, but rather pass through and permeate your entire being? Can you partake of them completely and allow the refreshing and renewing power of God’s love run through your spiritual digestive system?
TUESDAY – Coconuts, also come with many good health benefits such as they promote heart health, contain nutrients, promote healthy blood sugar levels, enhance healthy teeth and bones as well as weight loss, and improve skin health. One of the main benefits of eating a coconut is that it's improves your skin health. As we age dark spots and other various blemishes appear. When we were younger, it was chicken pox, measles and acne that left blemishes or scars, but after a period of time they soon lightened or completely disappeared. Although they go away in a reasonable amount of time, the waiting can be painful for some, embarrassing for others, and a source of anxiety for many.
God knows our battles and the scars or blemishes that have been left behind, but sometimes our greatest and most difficult battles don't leave scars or blemishes. They are the ones that are not visible but internal, ones like abuse, self defeat, despair, secrets that have destroyed relationships, you are reminded that although your skin can be clear the internal blemish is still there. How can eating a coconut help you with your spiritual blemish or skin care? What is spiritually getting under your skin that the spiritual coconut cannot improve? God wants to improve your skin health from inside. He wants to offer you the warmth of his healing and wholeness by having you look at the scars and blemishes, realizing that you have defeated them, and they haven't defeated you.
WEDNESDAY - grapes are good in that they prevent certain types of cancer, they protect and restore damaged cells and they lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease. One major benefit of eating grapes is that they are high in the antioxidants that help maintain good eye health by reducing the oxidative stress and damage to the retina that occurs as we age. As we age there are periods where we see things sometimes clearly, and sometimes blurry. The eyes to our heart, the lens that we look at things with can sometimes be noticeably clear because of our love for God, others and self is strong and this enables us to stay focused on what God is calling us to do and become.
There are other times the eyes of our heart do not or cannot see clearly due to past hurts, sins, or weaknesses that we suffer or that have been inflicted upon us. We are unable to see God's presence because we are blinded by our experiences. God wants the eyes of our heart, mind, and spirit to see Him clearly in and through our life experiences. As we age, we can become a better person or a more bitter person, we can become compassionate or merciless, we can come selfless or selfish. If we seek God’s grace to see Him more clearly, then we can look at the spiritual significance of eating grapes as God’s invitation to undergo spiritual and personal transformation. If we choose to keep our eyes closed and not strive to recognize the blurriness or the blindness that we are experiencing, then we will not be able to recognize Him in our self, others, or our life experiences, and this will blind us further.
THURSDAY - Kiwi induces sleep and improves sleep quality as well as protects your eyes and regulates your digestive system. To maintain overall good physical spiritual and emotional health, one needs a good night's sleep. Getting the proper amount of sleep, along with some physical exercise, eating Kiwi is known to induce sleep thus enabling one's body to rest peacefully. Today, as so many people are busy about work, family, and community obligations, getting enough sleep is not seen as a priority. Yet God wants us to be able to perform our duties, live our life. fulfill our vocations as parent, spouse, sibling, child, religious, or single person, as best we can and that requires the proper amount of rest. We can say we're too busy or don’t have the time to just rest, but who suffers from our lack of sleep? Who is the recipient of our bad mood, our impatience, and our being short with others? Jesus went away to find rest and He required that of his followers.
Physical exhaustion isn't enough to put you to sleep but eating a piece of spiritual Kiwi, that of prayer, surrender to God, reconciliation, and the support of others will help you rest in God as He replenishes your body, mind, heart, soul and spirit.
FRIDAY – Strawberries, have many health benefits as do most fruits, such as they enhance cognitive functions, protect the heart, reduce hypertension, prevent allergies, asthma, and arthritis. The spiritual significance of strawberries is that they help prevent arthritis as well as help reduce the damage to our joints that occur as we age. Arthritis can be very crippling as it can keep us from being able to do simple things such as getting dressed, buttoning a shirt, opening jars, lifting, and walking upright, It affects our joints and muscles to a point that they seem stuck or slow in mobility.
Arthritis of our spiritual life can be very crippling, our spirit can be crippled by bitterness, anger, hatred, pain from relationships that have been in estranged, resentment, and revenge. In these experiences our spiritual life is crippled, we can't stand up right before God because we are ashamed and as we carry the guilt of our choices, it weighs us down, and we can't open our hands to God in prayer because we have them tightly closed. When we hold onto anger, revenge, shame, despair, discouragement, or guilt, we are slow to walk forward with our heads held high because we don't want to let go or be free, that scares us, we have to forgive or seek forgiveness, we have to trust that we will not be overcome. As we eat a strawberry, let us think of the spiritual arthritis that we are suffering from, and ask God help to mend our joints and muscles, repair the damage to our bodies and allow us to walk upright with joy, trust, hope and peace in each step
SATURDAY - watermelon helps our immune system by giving us the ability to fight diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, macular degeneration, and muscle soreness. As watermelon strengthens our body’s immune system so we can fight disease, partaking of a watermelon is a very tasty and plentiful gift.
What in our spiritual life would a spiritual watermelon help heal? What battles of our heart, soul, mind, and spirit do we need to fight? What is the significance of a spiritual watermelon in our lives that assist us in our fight of both physical and spiritual diseases? I believe that prayer, our desire to deepen our relationship with God, the sacraments - asking for God's grace is to permeate our being so that we can be healed and made whole, and others to support, encourage and lift us up so we don't give in to despair, self-centeredness or weakness, but rather we become conquerors in Christ name, are our spiritual watermelon to assist us in our fight against the spiritual dis-eases that can plague us .
Glimpse of God for the week of January 30, 2022
The Spirituality of Snow
This glimpse is that of the spirituality that snow can represent. It’s snowing and has been for several hours. As I look out our sunroom windows, I am being give the gift to behold the beautiful blanket of snow that is covering our yard, along with the trees, bushes, pool, and outdoor winter decorations. I like the beauty of the snow. I think snow is a gift that God gives us during the winter months to refresh our spirit and open our mind. We can complain about it, tolerate it, ignore it, use it to pray with, or allow it to bring out the joy from within us as we remember our childhood and playing in the snow. How do we or how can we pray with snow?
What is the spirituality of snow or how can snow be a Glimpse of God? Let me throw out a few of my insights: Although we can use snow to bring joy and fun to others, as in building a snowperson together or having a friendly snowball fight, we can also use it to control another, as in shoveling our snow into someone else’s way to hinder them from getting around, or not shoveling for someone who is unable to do it for them self and thus isolating them even further. So, for some snow can be a gift that is received with gratitude, or it can be seen as a burden and heavy cross to be carried. The gift can be the beauty of snow or more importantly the unconditional love that God has for each of us and how He wants us to recognize that love despite any cross or sin that we are experiencing.
I believe that as each snowflake is unique and all are different from each other, so are we as God’s greatest creation. There is only one you. Your fingerprint, your footprint, your heart, and soul are God’s unique gift created to shine and reflect His great love. I believe that just as a snowflake is whole and pure as it falls from the sky, God also created us, or sent us into this world as a pure creation. But because original sin entered into our life and sin still is a part of life, we become pure and whole again through our baptism and the regular reception of the sacrament of reconciliation. God knows our heart and our weaknesses and has given us the gift of reconciliation so when we choose to sin and want to be reconciled and made whole, we can be.
Just as snow is often shoveled so that we are able to walk or drive more safely, we have the ability to shovel or move that which tempts us into sin and places us on the path that is not safe for us as we walk on our spiritual journey. When we surrender our will to God or when we pray to avoid sin, we are given the grace to symbolically shovel, or use a snow blower, the temptation out of our way and make a path that clear and safe. The path will not always be smooth, there may be some rocky or pebbly parts to it, but just as snow can continue to fall, so too does temptation and even when it falls on our path, it is with faith, hope and trust in Christ, that He will make the path safe and clear. We measure snow in inches and feet. When we hear about how much will fall, we then begin to become rattled and panic. We hear about the numbers and how we can go from a large snowfall to a blizzard. When we hear these things and become rattled, do we ever think about our spiritual life? Have we at some point gone from a spiritual snowfall to a blizzard? What did that look like? Did it occur after we were given some challenging health news, where we thought that we had everything; our emotions, our outlook, our plan, under control to becoming out of control because of fear, anxiety or depression and we felt overwhelmed? We talk about the impact that the snow has or will have on our commute to work on school closings, businesses being open, or appointments being kept. Do we panic when we think of how much sin affects us and our relationship with God and others? Do we ever talk about the impact that sin has on us, or how the graces of God affect our relationship with God, others, and our self? How the impact of sin or grace helps us to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become? I believe that snow, even when it is a burden to bear or a grace to behold, can be a glimpse of God and an instrument to recognize how even when it becomes slushy and messy, it still, like us due to sin, is a gift from God and no sin or slush is ever going to make God regret or love us less.
As we begin new week covered with snow, until Wednesday when it melts, let us look at snow with the eyes of our heart, mind, soul, and spirit, and seek to recognize that even in the midst of its accumulation, impact, beauty or burden, it is, as we are, a gift from God given so that we can recognize His presence in new and surprising ways.
SUNDAY – Every snowflake is unique and different.
You are unique, different, chosen by God, created in His image, His greatest creation, His beloved child, and unconditionally loved. There will never be or has there ever been another you. Do you, are you able to recognize how special and beloved you are to God and others? by your unique perspective, the way you see to the heart of another, by your ability to see the face of Christ in another and not judge them, by your presence in silence, compassion, and mercy? God has given you these gifts so that as others recognize them in you and through your example, they see that it is God dwelling within you, and His Holy Spirit shing through you. You invoke a desire from within them to be more God like, more Christ like and thus becoming their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.
MONDAY – A snowflake falls as a whole and pure creation.
God doesn’t create anything unclean or impure. It is humanity that makes things impure or tainted. It was at our baptism when we were immersed into the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ, that we were healed and made whole again. Original sin was removed and replenished with the unconditional, eternal, and selfless love of Christ. It is through that love that we are given the ability to be reconciled and made pure again on this earthly journey. Christ did not place a task on us that we cannot fulfill. Reconciliation, mercy, healing, and wholeness is available to us if we choose to take advantage of it, through the loving gift of the sacrament of reconciliation. Although sin entered the world through Adam and Eve, mercy fills the world through Christ and the sacraments of the Church. As the snow gently covers creation in white, and hides that which may be unsightly, it can remind us of how God covers our sins as with a blanket, with the warmth of His love, mercy, peace and joy.
TUESDAY – Snow is shoveled to make a path that is safe and clear to walk on.
We can try to shovel the snow, but the reality is that when it is too heavy or wet, we need more than a shovel, we need a snow blower. As with snow, we can shovel it to move it so that we can walk a straight, clean, and safe path, with sin it is not that easy. If we think that we can fix our problems, justify our sins, blame others for our choices, then we have past the spiritual shovel stage and gone to a snow blower. When we can recognize our sinfulness and seek forgiveness, when we ask God to help make our path straight, clean, and safe again, He does. It is when we seek to do things on our own, our sins only grow, as does our ego, pride, self-centeredness, and blindness. As these increase, and our humility decreases and we find that we are unable to ask for God’s help to make our path straight, clean and safe, we need God’s mercy more than ever. God can never love us less because of our sinfulness. He gave us His Son Jesus and Jesus proved this by dying on the cross. He died for you and me, we are not exempt from His redeeming act of selfless love. So even when you think it is time to bring out the spiritual snowblower because the snow, or your sin is too heavy, remember that Jesus took away the need for the snowblower. He gave us the cross instead and it is through the cross that we can see the direction or path that He wants us to walk.
WEDNESDAY - Snow is measured as it accumulates beginning in inches and then feet.
We measure snow in inches and feet. When we hear about how much will fall, we then begin to become rattled and panic. Do we become rattled when we cannot experience peace, harmony, or joy or when we become more afraid, self-centered, ashamed or guilt ridden? Do we think that we can measure the graces from God in inches of feet or are we able to recognize how God does not measure our worth according to our weaknesses or sin but in and out of love?
THURSDAY – The impact that the snow has on our life
We talk about the impact that the snow has or will have on our commute to work on school closings, businesses being open, or appointments being kept. Do we panic when we think of how much sin affects us and our relationship with God and others? Do we ever talk about the impact that sin has on us, or how the graces of God affect our relationship with God, others, and our self? How the impact of sin or grace helps us to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become?
FRIDAY – Having fun in the snow.
If you can’t build a snowman, snowwoman, snowchild or snow pet, try to remember what it was like when you were a child and how you built a snowman as soon as you could no matter how cold it was outside. How much fun you had, what your snowperson ended up looking like, who helped you, what you used for his eyes, nose, ears, hands, and outfit. Snow is a gift that is a beauty to behold, and you don’t have to be outside to enjoy it or be annoyed by it. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and if we are willing to and open to recognizing the beauty of snow, we are then willing and open to recognizing God’s presence in the snow.
SATURDAY- The 6 points of a snowflake remind us of the story of creation.
The story of creation tells us that God rested on the 7th day after He creation had been completed and it was good. As with the story of Creation, God created Adam and then Eve so that one would not be alone, and then God rested. The snowflake has 6 points. I would like to see each point as a day of creation. With each point one can use each day in the story of creation as a reflection on, how through
creation, God did not make any mistakes, or do things haphazardly, but rather all was planned and when completed He saw that all was good. We are a part of “all was planned, all was good.” No matter what we have done or do or will do, God does not regret creating us nor does He want us to regret being created. We are where He wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do. Although the path or the view may not be clear, in and through His grace, we will see more clearly His will for us, one step, one prayer, one act of love, mercy, and kindness at a time. There is a Zen proverb that states” a snowflake never falls in the wrong place” What does that mean to you
Glimpse of God for the week of January 23, 2022
At first when I reflected on the topic for this week’s glimpse, I thought that I knew what it was going to be on and that it was going flow easily. Originally the glimpse was going to be on “Returning”. Why, because John. Clover and I can return to volunteering at Assisi house after being unable to for the past several weeks. The idea that we are allowed to go back, as of tomorrow, makes us all very happy. We are returning to our home away from home because it is at Assisi house where we are accepted, loved, and treated as family. So a glimpse on returning was going to be more about going back to something or someone that is important and missed.
As I have prayed about and continued to reflect on what it means “to return”, or “returning something”, my thoughts began to go in a different direction. I went from what it means to return, to something or someone like returning to our normal way of life with a twist of “new” added to it, or being able to visit and volunteer with the sisters, to focusing on what do we invest in, place our energy, love, time, and whole self into and what is the return that we are looking forward to or expect? What do we return, return from, or get a return on? We can return a phone call, to a former way of life, or to a sender when the mail is unable to be received by the addressee, and we can return from a long journey or from college or a honeymoon. We get a return on an investment after we have given all that we had or could to make the investment grow with interest.
As I thought about what we invest our self, time, talent, energy, love, and spirit into, I also thought about what it means to invest in something verses just doing (something). I think that one of the big differences between investing in something or just doing something. I think that we invest in what we care about very much, and when we do something, we do it because it needs to be done. In the doing, there can be a lot of care and love placed in the action, but when we invest in something or someone, it is the care and concern that we have for the person, concept or reality that compels us to invest, take seriously and pray that the return reflects the efforts we placed in our investment. As I sought to develop this idea a little more, I thought of seven concepts that I believe we invest with the hope that we will recognize God’s blessing in the return. The 7 are; Faith life: how we nurture our relationship with God through prayer, reception of the sacraments, Sacred Scripture and each other. Family: how we are present, forgiving, supportive to family members and is the example that we set a sign of the presence and love of Jesus? Do we invest in our children by being present to them with our time, our love, our support and understanding or do we push them aside? Friendships: how we are drawn to others who are likeminded and a reflection of our self. Do we invest in our friendships with understanding acceptance and mercy, or do we expect them to do and be what we want them to be and dismiss them when they fail to meet our needs? Community: how do we invest in our community? Do we accept and build up members for who they are, God’s beloved children, or do we tear them down because do not meet our social, educational or spiritual expectations? Education: how do we invest in knowledge? Do we use it as an instrument so that it may transform us, or do we turn it into a weapon of control, power, and abuse? Knowledge can be an instrument of love or a power tool, only we can decide how we will hold it; hands wide open or fists clenched. Environment, how do we invest in our environment? Do we seek to improve it by eliminating that which would destroy it and all the creatures that depend on it to sustain their life, or do we take it for granted. Self, how we invest in our self, it the body that God has given us and the sprit that dwells within us? Do we take care of our self with a proper diet, rest, and exercise? Do we strive to develop a deeper relationship with God, by accepting the support of others as we carry our crosses? And by helping others to carry their cross?
It is through prayer, the reception of the sacraments, reflecting on Sacred Scripture, supporting each other, being a beacon of His love, compassion, and mercy to others, and fulfilling His will for us to the best of our ability, that we are investing the best of us with the hope of a great return. You can say that God gave it ahead of time. As we invest our time, love, care, and concern to nurture our faith life, the reality is that only God knows the heart and what the best return could be. But I believe that as we truly give of our self to God and others, the peace, the surrender, the joy in giving is returned to us by God so that we can keep on giving. As we live each day striving to live in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are given the grace to follow Him and serve Him. As we seek to be more selfless and not selfish, to love instead of hate, to forgive instead of holding a grudge, being bitter or resentful, our investment of compassion brings us a return of inner peace, joy, and happiness. These gifts although unseen, are visible and reflective in and through our actions, attitudes, deeds, and prayers. Aa God gives us the grace to invest in His gifts, He will also see that our return is rewarded when our earthly journey has ended and we return to Him our creator and await to hear the words, come and receive your reward, good and faithful servant.
With these 7 realties, I believe that our return is that which will enable us, and empower us to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. I believe that with these 7 realities, a return can be visible, tangible, palpable, and transformative.
All of the above investments make us who we are and create the whole picture of our very self. We cannot separate the various parts or dismiss them. Our body, mind, spirit, and soul are God’s gifts to us so that we can become and develop into the faithful follower of Christ that He invites us to be. We are not an island where we can survive and thrive on our own and where we do not need others. As we invest in our spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth, we do that with the support, encouragement, and love of those in our families, our friends, in our community, and church. BUT even with all the support of others, we cannot experience personal or spiritual transformation if we are not open to God’s grace and allowing it to work in us.
SO as we begin a new week, let us look at what we invest in; what we feel is important, where we give of our self, our time, love, concern and care, and pray to God for a great return.
SUNDAY – Faith
Do I nurture my relationship with God through prayer, reception of the sacraments, Sacred Scripture and the love and support of others? Am I investing in my relationship with God, or have I stopped because I have lost interest due to stress, sin, ill health, financial concerns, family struggles, or unemployment?
For today: Lord, I want to grow closer to you. Please help me to recognize your grace as you so graciously fill me so that through my investment I can be transformed into my best self, the person that you created me to be and have the potential to become.
MONDAY – Family
How we are present, forgiving, supportive to family members and is the example that we set a sign of the presence and love of Jesus? Do we invest in our children by being present to them with our time, our love, our support and understanding or do we push them aside?
For today: Lord, I want to grow closer to you and I want us as a family to come to love you more dearly, follow you more nearly, and see you more clearly each and every day. Please help me to recognize your grace within each of us so that as we invest in each other, we can be transformed into our best selves, the persons that you created us to be and have the potential to become.
TUESDAY – Friendship
How we are drawn to others who are likeminded and a reflection of our self. Do we invest in our friendships with understanding acceptance and mercy, or do we expect them to do and be what we want them to be and dismiss them when they fail to meet our needs?
For today: Lord, please help me to recognize that good friends are a treasure beyond worth and that with their love, encouragement, and support, we can mutually be transformed into our best selves, the persons that you created us to be and have the potential to become.
WEDNESDAY – Community
How do we invest in our community? Do we accept and build up members for who they are, God’s beloved children, or do we tear them down because do not meet our social, educational, or spiritual expectations?
For today: Lord, my community is a sign of your presence in and through the many faces that complete it. May the time invested in and with community be a time for building your Kingdom here on earth one prayer, one expression of love, one act of mercy, one kind word at a time. As I see the many faces that make up my community, may we all reflect your love, mercy, compassion, acceptance, understanding, and peace so that we can be transformed into our best selves, the persons that you created us to be and have the potential to become.
THURSDAY – Education
How do we invest in knowledge? Do we use it as an instrument so that it may transform us, or do we turn it into a weapon of control, power, and abuse? Knowledge can be an instrument of love or a power tool, only we can decide how we will hold it; hands wide open or fists clenched.
For today: Lord, it is with your gift of wisdom that I seek to gain greater knowledge. May my love of neighbor be greater than the love for and of power and may my love for you guide me as I seek to share your wisdom with others. May the desire to do your will continue to enlighten me so that as I invest myself in learning and gaining more knowledge, I can be transformed into my best self, the person that you created me to be and have the potential to become.
FRIDAY – Environment
how do we invest in our environment? Do we seek to improve it by eliminating that which would destroy it and all the creatures that depend on it to sustain their life, or do we take it for granted?
For today: Lord, may the environment and all that it holds, be an instrument of healing and peace. As I look to invest more time in tending it with greater love, care and concern, may it be for me a reminder that all of your creation is blessed and should be treated with great reverence and respect. May my love for your creation be transformative so that I can become my best self, the person that you created me to be and have the potential to become.
SATURDAY - Self
How we invest in our self, the body that God has given us and the sprit that dwells within us? Do we take care of our self with a proper diet, rest, and exercise, by developing a deeper relationship with God, by accepting the support of others as we carry our crosses?
For today: Lord, may I invest in myself as your greatest creation, your beloved child, and loved unconditionally. May all that I do reflect your presence in my life as my creator and redeemer. As I live each day, help me to recognize that your graces abound and enable me to become my best self, the person that you created me to be and have the potential to become
GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 16, 2022
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from an obvious place if you are looking for God and expect to find Him, but also from individuals who not only reflect God’s presence in and by their words, actions, love for God and concern for others, but also by the deep abiding joy that they possess. When I think about Glimpses of God, I think of those people, events, circumstances, and situations that we encounter daily where we aren’t looking or seeking God, yet we recognize Him and by this recognition, we are or have the ability to be spiritually transformed. There are also those daily encounters with others, when or where we expect to see God and when we don’t, we feel disappointed or let down.
When I think of spiritual or personal transformation and how we are changed through the transformative process, I think of the Sisters of Saint Francis who reside at the Assisi house. Through this pandemic, they have had to accept and abide by the many restrictions and that have been placed on them so that they can stay safe and healthy. These restrictions are not made as a means of control, but out of love, and the Sisters realize this. It is through love that they are able to accept and live the difference without complaining.
With the restrictions and no visitors allowed, Clover has not been able to visit them as she usually does every Sunday for several hours. These visits not only make her shine with her 11-year-old puppy nature and her intuitiveness, but it also makes the Sisters’ day as she visits them in their rooms and they feed her, pet her and tell her how beautiful, gorgeous and lovely she is. They see her coming down the hall and say simultaneously “Clover’s here”. This glimpse encompasses not only the Sisters who reside at Assisi house, but also the Sisters who visit from the motherhouse and other convents, and the many staff members who minister to the Sisters.
This week’s Glimpse is a confirmation of how God works and how by the openness and love of one’s heart, He is seen, heard and becomes alive. This week’s glimpse also comes from the absence of being in their presence and how through the absence, God’s presence is still felt from deep within.
I see God in and through the Sisters of Saint Francis who reside at the Assisi House and also in the lives and hearts of those who assist in their care, comfort, healing and spiritual life. From Sister Theresa, the congregational minister to Sister Kate, the Director of Assisi House, these two women embody what it means to serve in love and be with their Sisters in love as they all navigate the restrictions and limitations that the pandemic has placed on them.
As you experience a Glimpse of God each time you behold the Sisters, the volunteers, the staff of nurses and aides, the cooks and those who work in the dining area, the Sisters who come from the Motherhouse to be with the retired and ailing Sisters, the receptionists that greet you as you enter the house and always do so with a smile and a kind word, and the many other employees, all the glimpses create a bigger picture of God and how He is present in so many ways and through so many people.,
This week as we think there can be no surprises in our day, let us strive to look beyond the obvious. Let us look with new eyes so that we can not only be surprised by God as He chooses to reveal Himself in a new and different way, but also touched as we see the avenues that He chooses as gifts to us for our faith journey of self-discovery and transformation.
SUNDAY - God dwells within you
As we go another week without being able to visit the Siters at the Assisi House, I have been trying to keep up with Maryann who is the volunteer coordinator. Maryanne is a woman who not only exudes a deep love for God and His creation, but also for her position at the Assisi House. She is very compassionate, empathetic, and caring and it is these qualities that draw others to want to serve as a volunteer at the Assisi House. She truly enjoys her work and it is in this joy that God’s presence is truly evident.
For today, as you begin a new week, take a look at what you do with much of your time, either at work, in retirement, volunteering or babysitting. Are you happy, unhappy, content, or frustrated, do you or can you have fun at your job, or in retirement, watching the grandchildren, volunteering, or is it too stressful and serious, can you see that God has placed you where you are because He knows that your specific talents, gifts and expertise are best utilized there? If you are employed, are you working at something just to bring in a paycheck, or do you truly like what you do or consider it a ministry and not a job?
God dwells within you. He has chosen you to be His instrument in His world. Right now, you may not be happy at your place of employment, or by being unemployed, in retirement or watching the grandchildren, but that doesn’t change that He dwells in you and wants you to be His instrument in His world. How can you do this? By choosing joy over anger, peace over frustration, concern over worry, acceptance over denial, love for self over self-defeat, and hope over despair. Every day is God’s gift to you and what you do with it is your gift to God. If Jesus could
choose to make the best out of His journey to Calvary, is it too much to ask that we all make the best out of our journeys and crosses and be willing to wait for our Easter resurrection?
MONDAY – Heart to heart encounters
I am always touched by the many Sisters who come from the Motherhouse to visit and be present to the Sisters at Assisi, as well as the Sisters that also reside at Assisi but who are not as confined as some the of the elderly Sisters. They come and have tea, talk, do puzzles, read and just are there as Franciscan Sisters in the same community who have a deep and genuine love for their fellow Sisters who may not be feeling up to par. These are heart to heart encounters, whether one speaks or is silent, the hearts are connected.
For today, can you think of a heart to heart encounter that you have had? What did or does it feel like? It is with your spouse, your child, your parent, fellow community members, your God? Who do you give your heart to? Who gives you their heart? When you give your heart to another, you are giving them all of you; your best, your worst, your good and your bad, but in all of the giving you trust that it will be received gently, with tender love, and with great care. It requires trust and involves vulnerability, and with that, it can involve being betrayed. True love, deep love, and the love that I see exhibited every time I am at the Assisi House, is a love that is deeply rooted in Christ, strengthened by Christ, and lived out for Christ. It is this love that thrives and survives.
Is your love deeply rooted and do you find strength and joy in it? Do you, can you recognize that God has planted this love within your heart so that you can thrive in love as His beloved son or daughter, and where you can truly recognize what it means to be His beloved?
Your heart is a heart that has been broken and wounded, grown, and been expanded, but as a follower of Christ, it is in the brokenness and wounded ness that you are healed and in the expansion that you are filled with His grace so that you can love more in His name. Be-loved my friend.
TUESDAY – Service to another with respect
During the pandemic I have had the opportunity to volunteer in the dining area helping the staff serve the Sisters their meal. The staff that works in the kitchen do such a wonderful job preparing, cooking, and serving the meal as well as meeting the dietary needs of each Sister present. As I have had the opportunity to witness their encounter with the Sisters, I am once again touched by the warmth, respect, and concern that they show as they serve each of the Sisters. There is never an attitude of disrespect, but rather a level of care and compassion.
It may be their job, but it comes across more as a ministry because it is centered and rooted in love.
For today, as you think of service, what comes to your mind? How or who do you serve? Christ was the servant, and you are His follower, what does that expectation mean and how are you fulfilling it today? To serve means to humble yourself, see the needs of others before your own and without ego, help try to meet their needs. In whatever way you can serve another today, do it in the name of Christ. It does not need to be an overt act, but rather a humble one. God knows your heart and how to best answer its need to grow. Don’t look for glory or recognition, but rather the joy and peace that God has ready for you. Remember that those you serve are those in need of your love, your generosity, your compassion, not someone else’s, and that God has placed you in their path for a reason, it is not by chance.
WEDNESDAY – Hospitality in the spirit of Saint Francis
I am sure that we have read or heard the prayer of Saint Francis. It is
in this prayer that I believe that the Sisters get their strength, inspiration, and courage to be a true and authentic instrument to God’s peace. It is in the message of Saint Francis where love,
peace, pardon, faith, hope, light, and truth are desired and where hospitality of the heart resides.
As I enter the Assisi house, although I cannot see through the mask, I know that as I am welcomed, it is with a smile. Hospitality involves openness and humility so that as one is greeted or allowed entrance, one does not feel like an inconvenience, bother or burden. The receptionists that sit at the front desk are the instruments that God uses to invite, welcome, and encourage others to the Assisi house where the spirit of Saint Francis resides and is very much alive and well. For today, slowly pray the prayer of Saint Francis and ask him to assist you as you strive to be an instrument of peace for God here on earth.
THURSDAY – Small steps to healing and wholeness
When I first started volunteering at the Assisi House, I volunteered in PT department. It was, and continues to be, a place where God’s healing takes place in a variety of ways. In the short time that I was there, I observed the gentleness and compassion of the staff for the Sisters that enable the Sisters to feel God’s warmth and healing as they participate in their therapy. The staff and volunteers treat each Sister’s needs as their own, there is no generic regimen for the Sisters, but rather a personalized regimen designed to help each Sister in a very personal way. The staff help bring a sense of healing, wholeness and hope to the Sisters, one step at a time.
For today, as you feel your bodies aches and pains and the frustration of how they are getting in the way of your daily activity, try to focus on how each part of your body works. Look at how you treat your body and how it tries to meet your demands and expectations even when you may push it too hard. The aches and pains may be God’s way of letting you know that you need to step back and take it easy. Our bodies are ours and ours alone. We only have one, it is ours for our lifetime, we can’t trade it in, we are responsible for its maintenance, and we are expected to listen to it when it begins to falter. If that is true, where are you and your body at odds? Where are you on the same page? Are your eating habits healthy? Are you a fan or an enemy of exercise? God has given you the body that you have because He knows and believes that only you can take care of it the way that He wants it to be taken care of. For today, take one step at a time towards healing and allow yourself to relax so that you can listen to your body and respond to its needs.
FRIDAY – instruments of healing, messengers of mercy
As I walk through the halls and witness the nurses and aides working and ministering to the Sisters, I see that they do so with great care and dedication. The professionalism that is demonstrated by the medical professionals in the Assisi house is admirable. As medical professionals they are instruments of God’s healing. As a diverse group of professionals with different religious backgrounds and beliefs, they are the canvas that God chooses to use to bring His healing and compassion. To the Sisters they are seen as more than nurses or aids, but rather as people that not only take care of them, but also take stock in them and want them to be the best they can be physically, emotionally and spiritually.
For today, think about how God has chosen you to be His peace, healing, and joy in His creation. You may not think that you are any instrument of healing, but when you bring a smile to someone who is down or you lift someone up who has been knocked down, when you reach out and forgive and not let bitterness or anger, guilt or self righteousness rule, then you are an instrument of healing and a wounded healer. Like the staff at the Assisi house and the Sisters entrusted to their care, there is a spirit of new life and resurrection joy even in the midst of pain and suffering. It is not because of denial but rather because of a deep faith that will not let pain or suffering defeat them. How about you? will your aches and pains defeat you or make you stronger?
SATURDAY – Resident Sisters at Assisi House - a Hoot!
They are the best. They are the most authentic and gracious members of the Body of Christ that I have had the privilege to encounter.
For today, as you encounter a variety of people in a variety of circumstances, try to see them in a new light, the light of joy, humor, and as companions on your journey of faith. You have been placed on this earth not as an island, but as a companion on the journey. You are called to walk with others and to assist others get to their final destination, which is heaven. You may encounter many stumbling blocks on the way, and you may be a stumbling block, but as you walk on your faith journey, you should try to remember that we are all God’s children who even in our weakest moments, God loves us more than we can ever imagine and all He asks is that we do the same with each other. Life is too short, so don’t take yourself too seriously or let yourself be taken in by the expectations of the world around you. God knows your desire to be His witness in the world and hasgiven you the ability and the grace to be what He wants and needs you to be.
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!!