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

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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. 

As you read on the flyer, the denial of Jesus is focused on how we experience the denial

of Jesus in our world, society, community and self. I believe that what we experience outside, in and through others, affects how we respond.  When we experience great negativity all around us, we can either choose to be negative alongside everyone else, or choose to be positive apart from everyone.  

We can go from denial of Jesus within our very own self, yet we know that we really don’t want to, we just fall short of our best self and the weaker self emerges. Jesus knew that Peter loved him. Jesus also knew Peter’s weaknesses and fears and in them, Jesus knew what Peter would do, not out of hatred, but rather out of fear.

During this season of Lent, Jesus knows that we love him and that we are always striving to walk with Him, yet it is our sinful choices, our weaknesses that get in the way of the our footsteps going forward and instead they slip and slide back and forth.  It is during this season of lent and every day of our lives, that we have the chance to go from denying Christ to confessing Him as Lord and redeemer. We also have the opportunity to invite others to come to know Christ as their Lord and redeemer so that they can embrace Him and not run from Him.

(Session I) The denial of Jesus by Peter   Mark 14: 66-72 ..I do not know that man….(This occurred after Jesus was arrested)

So how do we experience denial of Jesus in our world, society, and in our self? Materialism: There are many ways that we experience the world around us deny Christ, we also find our self-doing the same things. The devil tempts us with those things that are appealing thus we give in. The devil knows what he is doing. He subtly throws things out to us that will take us from Christ. This usually occurs slowly so that we don’t see him as he really is: a deceiver. The devil does not tempt us with things that we don’t like, but rather things that appeal to us so that we can justify wanting them. As we do that, he watches us go from merely wanting them to believing that we need them.  It is ok to want to look good and have nice things, but when we think that we are nothing without them or that they diminish our self-worth or make us feel empty without them, then we are denying Christ and God as our creator.

Secularism: when we make it a point to take religion or God out of everything. When we choose to abandon religion because it is politically uncomfortable or incorrect and we go along with it. We’ve taken God out of so much and look what is happening in our world. People can’t even say God bless you when one sneezes or Merry Christmas.

Yet if we were to think about our existence and how God created us to be, when we react out of fear or just to please others, our hearts are empty, and we miss the love that Christ came with at Christmas. And although our hearts don’t stop at a sneeze, many believe that it does, so asking for God’s blessing is a prayer for the other, yet that is not correct to do anymore.

My definition of individualism

When we think that we are the end all be all and those around us are not as important or that we are better then they, we are falling into a selfish self-centered person and when we are focused only on our self and building our egos up at the cost of putting others down, then we are experiencing the denial of Jesus and his call to love others. Individualism focuses on us and us alone and leaves Christ out. As members of the Body of Christ, when we diminish, disrespect or deny others dignity, we are denying Christ. When we choose to put others down with our words and actions, we are in turn, putting Jesus down. The worst part of it is when we  think that we are justified or when we rationalize our behavior and continue to believe that others do not deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, we are not living out of the Gospel of Good news.

How do we deny Christ personally?

When we look not the mirror and can’t seem to forgive our self for our sinful choices and actions. We do not know Christ because if we did,  we would hear Him say I forgive you go in peace.When we seek to hold onto a grudge, seek revenge, grasp onto bitterness, act out of fear or distrust, we are denying Christ because if we knew Him we would seek His grace to let go of bitterness, anger, hatred so that we can forgive.

We would seek His strength so that we can open our hands and heart to let in His compassion, mercy and peace, instead of dwelling on our weakness and believing that we can’t change. We would want t0 be our best self and live up to our potential.

When we are afraid of standing up for our faith, beliefs or convictions, When we choose to be silent and not be the voice for those whose voices have been silenced, then we do not know Christ, because if we knew Him, we would use every breath to speak and bring about His peace, mercy, compassion and message of love to those who don’t get to hear it.

When we choose not to believe that we are forgiven by God, loved unconditionally by God or that Jesus died for us on the cross and not just for everybody else, then we are denying the presence of Christ in or life. We deny our redeemer, we deny our salvation because we think that God can’t forgive us or that we are not worthy. No one is worthy. Jesus didn’t die for the worthy, but for sinners. There is no sin that God can’t or won’t forgive, there is no sin that is greater than his love for us. 

(Session 2) The confession of Jesus by Peter   Mark 8: 27-30  You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (this occurred before Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection)

Others deny Christ, call him all things, but what do you call Him? Apparently, some people missed the boat as to who Jesus was. They couldn’t see Him for who He was but rather who they thought he was; John the Baptist, Elijah…. They saw the surface. Peter saw beneath the surface. As we confess that Jesus is Lord, we might use words as healer, consoler, peacemaker, and all would be accurate if what you confess with your lips is rooted and dwell from and in your heart. Jesus is all, yet each day through our lived experiences, we call him that which drew us to know Him better.

How do we strengthen our conviction and confession of Jesus as Lord?

By our prayer life as we strive to deepen our relationship with God. Through the love and support of others who are like minded. Through the sacraments of the Church. But mostly as being one with the Lord, believing that you are God’s beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. That even during sinfulness, you are striving to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become. If we believe what Jesus lived and died to tell us, then we are on our way to a stronger conviction and confession.

Peter loved Jesus very much. But he was weak and after seeing Jesus arrested, he became afraid of what could happen to him. He didn’t deny Jesus out of hatred, but rather out of fear. We all do the same thing. our world, our Church, our communities and even our families act out of fear. What are we afraid of? If we accept Jesus into our lives, our hearts and minds then we are accepting his invitation to be transformed, to be changed forever. We are called to surrender our control and allow Him to be in control. When we are afraid, we are afraid of others being in control of us and that is scary, yet with Christ, His being in control puts our life in order and not the chaos that we create.

It is a matter of the head. Our heads calculate and estimate losses, damages and clean up, and once we determine that it is not worth it, we choose to go away from Christ, and this is our greatest loss. When we deny Christ, we will see that what we lose is our ability to love, and be loved by others, Accepting Christ empowers us so that we will not be defeated no matter what. The damages that are incurred are many when we deny Christ, but the greatest loss and damage to our spiritual life is that of our failed relationships with others and God. We isolate our self and become self-centered mirror folks instead of selfless, lookout the window folks. Clean up, well we can try to clean up our messes, but if we continue to deny Christ the mess only gets bigger. Our pride, our ego, our selfishness, our complacency expands and heart shrinks, If we ask and pray for  Christ to help in our clean up, then our heart expands with compassion, mercy, and peace, we undergo a personal and spiritual transformation that permeates to the core of our being and we begin the process of a deeper personal conversion and self-discovery. 

How do we confess Christ in our daily life? Our confession is not in our words as much as it is in our actions.  We can say that we believe in Christ and that we are His followers, but if we don’t follow through by our actions, our attitudes, our deeds or our prayers, then other’s will not see a congruency, but rather a contradiction. When we can love others by forgiving them, by showing compassion and mercy, then we are confessing Christ. When we can teach our children that we too are not perfect, but that we are trying to be our best self so that they can learn from us how to love and be their best self., then we are confessing Christ.  When we can become humbled in the eyes of one that we have hurt by saying that we are sorry, and not embarrassed to a point that hurting others is acceptable,

then we are confessing Christ, When we can forgive those who have hurt us badly without revenge or holding a grudge, then we are confessing Christ.

Jesus said forgive them for they know not what they do…..Do we always know what we are doing? When we sin, are we really intending to hurt others and God? If we are striving to be our best self each and every day, our sin, our denial creates or impels in us our desire to make amends and our contrition leads us to our confession, because it is through God’s grace that we have been transformed, experienced His healing, had a change of heart and desire to do better. Peter confessed “Truly you are the Christ”. How do I know that Jesus is the Lord and Redeemer of my Life? I know this because of how He has blessed me with a great faith, a good family, treasury of friends, good or bearable health, a sense of peace amid life’s struggles, a  desire to be in relationship with Him, and knowing and believing that Jesus want to be in relationship with me. I believe that I am your beloved child, your greatest creation, loved unconditionally and filled with your grace so that I can be my best self, the person that you created me to be and that I have the potential to become.

Without Christ I am just a shell without life within me. He gives me the breath of life and His Holy Spirit is poured out in me so that I can be His breath of life to others in what I say and how I am present to another.  It is through Christ, through receiving the sacraments of the Church and living them out, that I am His witness in the world, a builder of His kingdom here on earth. How do you confess Jesus as Lord in your life? What has brought those words to life within you?

As Peter denied Jesus out of fear, fear of being arrested, being killed…He wept when he realized what he had done. Jesus knew his heart and allowed Peter to experience his compassion when he asked him three times, Do you love me and for the three denials he answered yes, and Jesus entrusted him with the care of his flock here on earth. That is us. We are in the care of  our earthly shepherds those who are human, yet weak but still called by Christ to lead His Church to Him , to be their best self, not worthy self, but their best self so that we, the flock, can become our best self.

(Session 3) Peter’s declaration of Love

After His resurrection, Jesus askes Peter and He asks us: Do you love me?

Do you love me more than these: secularism, individualism, materialism, what would you say? Is having the latest, the biggest, being a person of power and prestige, high on the social ladder, but losing your soul and heart  in the process, more important than being poor in spirit, happy in the Lord, at peace with yourself and others and not seeking the goods of the world at the cost of your relationship with God?  Is selling your soul to the devil for a fleeting moment of pleasure more important than entering into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in this life so that you can enjoy eternal peace, joy and happiness with Him in the next? I believe that Jesus hears you say, Lord you know that I love you more than these. Lord, please help me to love you more dearly, serve you more sincerely, see you more clearly in myself and others, and follow you more nearly one step at a time. AMEN

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

 

L

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:

(Sunday)

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. 

(Monday) 

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.  

 

(Tuesday) 

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.

 

(Wednesday)

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”

 

 

(Thursday)

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.

(Friday)

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.

 

(Saturday) 

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 .

 

 

 

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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!!

 

 

 

Glimpses of God for 2022

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© Cookie A Magee