GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 24, 2021
This week’s Glimpse of God on “Walking” comes from my husband John. As he presented the challenge to me, it came after a very long and casual walk with Clover, our golden retriever. After he said it, may thoughts came to my mind like, why do we walk, what do we walk towards or away from. If we define walking as placing one foot in front of the other and this sounds so simple, what do we allow to deter us from placing one foot in front of the other each day? Who or what motivates us to place one foot in front of the other? What trips us up, makes us go backward, causes us to walk quickly or even stand still? Who or what sets our walking pace?
Is it joy, happiness, love, fear, anxiety stress or pain, and when these factors set the pace, do we think that we are in control, or do we allow God to be in control? Where is God in our walking? Is He there as we place one foot in front of the other or even when we keep our feet still, firmly planted? Are we walking with God when we choose to sit down, standstill, or fail to go forward and regress to spiritually walking backwards? Are we walking with God when we need assistance because our bodies cannot walk any longer and we are restricted to being in a wheelchair or having to use a walker or a cane?
If we are healthy and can walk on our own yet we walk with a grudge, bitterness, or anger, are we walking with God or have we left Him and chose to walk alone? If we choose to carry bitterness and hatred, jealousy, and worry, are we really walking or are we limping along on our spiritual journey? As we walk, the very decision to walk involves making a choice and following it with an action. When we place one foot in front of the other, we do so that we can get to our destination, so that we can move forward.
Many times, as we place one foot in front of the other, we are not even aware of our action. We were taught to walk as babies and we have been doing it ever since. When we were just babies and learning to walk, we probably smiled and laughed with our parents because we had just take our very first steps by our self. We may have fallen a few times, but we got right back up and kept going. Today, as we get older, walking may be more difficult or challenging. The physical action of walking may be painful or leave us unsteady, yet each time we decide to place one foot in front of the other, despite the challenge we are facing, we progress forward to our destination.
Walking in our spiritual life is no different. When we choose to walk with our Lord, we may at times place one foot in front of the other with confidence, faith, and trust and yet there are other times as we think about placing one foot in front of the other, we become afraid and spiritually unsteady. As God’s beloved children, we need Him to lead and guide us on our spiritual life journey. When we choose to walk without Him, it is like we are walking in the dark and our steps falter. Although we think and even try to walk alone because we want to be in control or feel that God has abandoned us because of our sinfulness, we are never alone and even when we fall short of being our best self, God lifts us up, and helps us to become steady again.
Like our parents who were proud of us as we took our first steps, our God is always proud of us as we choose to take each step with Him. He smiles as we place one foot in front of the other despite the weight of our cross or the stress of life challenges. There may be times when we need the assistance of others to walk so that we don’t fall, or of a wheelchair because our limbs can’t carry our weight, or a cane so that we do not lose our balance, yet all of these are not tools that God gives us to punish or embarrass us, but rather to assist us as we choose to walk with Him as He sees best. The choice to walk with Him is in response to the graces received at our baptism. We choose to walk with Christ on our earthly journey so that we can reach our final destination of being reunited with Him in heaven when our earthly journey has ended.
As with our physical health and the need to use the instruments or tools of a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, or walker, arises to help us walk and not be injured, it is similar in our spiritual life. The need to utilize the graces given to us through the of the Sacraments of the Church especially Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, enable us to walk with God and others.
Developing and nurturing a prayer relationship with God, spiritual support and guidance and community all are graces that empower us to walk with our Lord and each other so that we can become our best self, the person that God created us to be, and we have the potential to become. As children, tweens, young adults, and older adults, we may be able to physically walk without the assistance of a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, or walker. There are times as God’s beloved children, that we may think we are spiritually strong enough and in control, independent and self-supporting, and do not recognize the need for spiritual assistance, yet it is those very times that the devil is tempting us and pulling us away from God. He is making us believe that we do not need God or others on this earthly journey and that we can achieve eternal salvation on our own. It is those very times that we need the graces and the gifts of the sacraments, prayer, and others so that we do not fall and fail to get up, go backwards and not recognize that things are just wrong.
As we begin a new week during this beautiful season of autumn, let us choose to walk with God and others with a renewed sense of joy and happiness. Let our choice and our action to place one foot in front of the other remind us that Christ made that choice in our place and gave up His life freely, selflessly and without a grudge. Let us walk with each other with compassion and mercy. Let us look at our steps backwards not with regret, shame, or guilt, but rather as transformative graces and gifts from God trusting that He knows our heart and our desire to do His will and when we fail to go forward, He has our back and uses the experience to help us so that we can become our best self, the person that HE created us to be and have the potential to become.
SUNDAY – “W” Walking alone or with others.
When we walk with others, do we see them as instruments of God’s peace in our life? When we walk by our self, are we able to recognize that we are instruments of God’s peace in the lives of others? When we walk alone or with others, do we look at our steps or just take them for granted? Each step on our spiritual journey is a step towards holiness as we all are sinners striving to become saints. Each step of mercy, compassion, forgiveness, love, reconciliation is a step towards us becoming our best self and helping others to become their best self in the light of God’s love. As builders of God’s kingdom here on earth, we can only build His kingdom one step, one prayer, one act of kindness, one act of mercy at a time.
For today: as you choose to walk alone or with others, look at each step you take as one step closer to seeing Christ in yourself and in them. As you seek to recognize Christ in all those you encounter, as well as when you look in the mirror, offer a prayer of gratitude to God for bringing you one step closer to seeing Him more clearly, loving Him more dearly and following Him more nearly each day.
MONDAY – “A” Assistance while you walk: cane, walker, walking stick, dog or another’s hand.
The moment that we enter into being, the moment that we take our first breath, we can find our self needing the assistance of another, whether it be for a short time or an extended period of time. God places others like our parents, extended family members, friends and sometimes strangers to help us as we walk on our earthly journey. There are also times that we need the assistance of tools or instruments to help us walk. People can be there to offer us support and encouragement, yet there are times when God places His instruments to aid us as we walk.
These are not meant to deter from wanting to walk or taking the first steps, but rather to encourage us to take each step with courage and trust. When we are unsteady or unable to walk on our own, we have the gift of a wheelchair, cane, walking stick, or walker. These can be seen as gifts because they allow us to live with a quality of life that is better than remaining in bed or sedentary. These gifts allow us to get around, be mobile, walk with God and others and not be defeated or discouraged by our limitations. Although we may not be able to put one foot in front of the other without assistance, this does not diminish our self-worth or God’s love for us.
In our spiritual life, God places instruments in our life to help us walk with a more steady pace. These instruments can look like the cane of courage, the walker of unwavering faith and dedication, the wheelchair of motivation and determination, the hand of humility and the feet of faithfulness. It is in and through these instruments that God’s presence, His love, and His healing is occurring. As we seek to be open to God’s presence through these instruments and our surrender to God’s will in our life, we are being healed, not of the physical or spiritual limitations that requires us to use them, but rather the doubt, discouragement or frustrations of needing to ask for help. Jesus accepted help; how can we not?
For today: look at the many instruments that you use to assist you as you walk on your spiritual journey; others, humility, obedience, patience, acceptance, and openness, and as you walk, seek to recognize them as God’s instruments of love, for your healing and becoming whole.
TUESDAY – “K” kickstarting – what gets you going, makes you walk: energy, others, nature.
How do you begin your walk? Stressed out, weary, determined? Spiritually, how do you begin or what makes you walk with God or away from God? When we are happy, things are going well, we feel good, we can walk with joy in our step and with a quicker pace. We may walk as if the weight of our burdens or stresses, has been taken away or lessened, and it shows. What makes you walk with God? Your heart full of gratitude, your spirit overflowing with thanksgiving, your body being energized by the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit that have been showered upon you. What makes you walk away from God? Shame, weakness, sin, or guilt? As we choose to place one foot in front of the other, there are those things that can weigh our foot down so that we cannot walk right, we stumble and fall. The devil places that weight upon us because he knows that if our feet are stuck, we will also be stuck. If we allow our self to be afraid or ashamed of God because of our sin, guilt, weaknesses, or shortcomings, then the devil becomes the Kickstarter and we become the kicked. On our spiritual journey, as we discover or recognize those things that keep us from going forward, God gives us His grace and that is enough. He knows what we need and when, and that is when He places His grace in our life to motivate us to walk with Him and others.
For today: kickstart: Help another who is stuck and unable to get going, to go forward. Be their kickstarter, their reason to turn over and begin anew, their instrument of peace.
WEDNESDAY – “L” levels of walking: speed walking, amble or unsteady due to injury or illness
As you spend some quiet God time walking, do you have an idea of the spiritual pace that you are walking? Is your pace quick, so that you can just go to the next thing on your check list? You gave God some time, now you have move on. Is your pace more like a meander pace where you want to be still with God, yet not completely still so that you have to listen more, where you might hear Him tell you how much He loves you, adores you and wants the best for you, and this might make you want to run and not walk? Is your pace unsteady due to the spiritual injuries that you have suffered at the hands of others or that you have caused? Is your pace unsteady due to dis -ease where you need to, desire to, experience the healing graces of God in the sacrament of reconciliation?
For today: Look at your pace and ask God to help you walk at a pace that will allow you to grow closer to Him, and others. A pace that will bring forth a greater spirit of humility so that you do not choose to walk ahead of others because of pride or self-righteousness.
A pace that will allow you to walk with compassion and accompany those who are behind you. Not because of their education level, their addiction, or their status, but because of the weight of their cross is slowing them down. A pace that will invoke mercy from you as you want to pass them by, where you want to leave them on the road so that you can get ahead and leave them in their sin, their bad choice, and their weakness. A pace that will help you to stop and see yourself as God sees you, His beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation.
For today: Pace yourself.
THURSDAY – “I” what is your incentive to walk: better health, lose weight, quiet time.
As you decide to take a walk, what is your incentive, who or what is behind you wanting to put one foot in front of the other? There are probably days when we have woken up and getting out of bed was more of a challenge than it needed to be. We might have been weary from not getting enough sleep, pure exhaustion set in as we looked at what needed to be done that day, we may not have been feeling well physically, the weather may have been dreary or whatever reason, I think we can all say that we have experienced those kinds of days. It is on those types of days where we had to make a conscious choice to get out of bed, place one foot in front of the other and go forward, verses putting the covers over our head, pressing the snooze button, and hoping none caught on. So, as we can all recall those kinds of days, what motivated you to get out of bed, place one foot in front of the other and walk with God, others or for yourself? Was it your commitment to get healthy, stay healthy or to lose weight? Was it to honor and reverence your quiet time with God? Was it to bond with your dog and embrace their unconditional love, support, and affection?
For today: as you recognize what your incentive is that makes you want to walk with God, others and for yourself, be encouraged by it, cherish it, pray for it, and share its fruit with others.
FRIDAY – “N” nature walking; to observe, appreciate and be in awe of God’s creation.
Walking in nature is a like walking in grace because in and through all of God’s creatures and creation, He is alive and well, present and bursting with light and love. God is everywhere especially in His creation that shines through the windows of our home and our heart. God’s love shines through the window of our heart, that place where love dwells and there is no room for darkness. God’s love dwells in and through the windows of our homes, where the beauty, the color, the radiating joy bursts forth, where we can behold God through his creatures that hover above or crawl below. What an awesome walk.
For today: as you walk in nature or observe nature from inside, take a moment to recognize the many gifts of creation; birds and bugs, animals, and trees, that you are being given the gift to behold and thank God for each of them. As we strive to recognize the many gifts that are before us, may we open the eyes of our heart, mind, and spirit to recognize the gift that we are before God and others.
SATURDAY – “G” God time walking where your walk is your prayer.
How do you pray when you walk? Is your God time, the quiet time that you choose to reverence Him and your relationship with Him, either inside or outside, a time that allows you the opportunity to grow in your relationship with Him? Is your walk with God focused on the steps that you take going forward where you want to grow in your relationship with Him? Is your walk focused on the steps where you have gone backwards due to sin, weakness or shame and you truly desire to go forward and be reconciled? Or is your God time a time where you have stopped walking or felt that you could not walk any further? You only want to rest in the Lord? Our spiritual journey walk is one of greatness in that God can accomplish great things through us if we allow Him. When we realize that we do not have the energy or desire to walk one more step, it does not mean that we chose to stop walking with the Lord. It is in those times where and when God chooses to carry us so that we can be renewed, healed and whole.
For today: Allow God to carry you without complaining or condemning yourself. God knows our heart, our needs, and our limitations. When He chooses to carry us, it is not because He wants us to think that we have failed, so when we want to judge our self harshly as being too weak or incapable, let us be reminded that even Jesus accepted help in carrying His cross, and as His followers we are called to be Simon of Cyrene to others and allow others to be Simon to us.