The weekly Glimpses of God are opportunities to recognize, with greater clarity,the presence of God in the various places, people, events, situations and circumstances of your daily life. I offer them to you as an opportunity to reflect on howmuch God, as you understand Him, is a part of your life,how He chooses to use you and how you have chosen Him.They are glimpses because we can miss them if we are not paying attention. But if we open our heart to His love, if we open our ears to hear His gentle voice, if we open our eyes to see His light, if we open our hands to feel His hand in ours, and if we are open to share these gifts with others, then we too are being a Glimpse of God to those in our family, church, community,neighborhood, society and world.
Glimpse of God for the weeks of October 25 & November 1, 2020
(I think that there is a lot to digest here
so I suggest that one use these reflections over the next two weeks.)
As I write this, I realize that many people do not have the opportunity to go shopping at a Supermarket, so my suggestion is that if you do not have the opportunity to go shopping, you still know what you like, so try one try to either remember when you did shop or imagine what you would buy today if you were to shopping at a Supermarket.
The Supermarket can be a Glimpse of God, and an instrument to growing a healthier spiritual life. As we look back these past few years, you can probably recall when a trip to the grocery store was meant to purchase those items that you needed to make dinner that night, or lunches for the week, and probably to pick up other items that would be consumed within the next few days. Many of these stores were corner stores run by families that lived in your neighborhood, whose children you knew and who also knew your parents. They were small grocery stores, yet they carried exactly what you needed and were looking for, and they had the best candy aisles for kids and adult kids to choose from. You could trust them, the quality of their merchandise and their sales, and they could trust you to return with payment especially if your finances were tight, you could take the goods home and come back with payment when you had the money, Everyone was like family and they were not too big for themselves. Often times, a book was kept, and payment was made when it was possible, Imagine that today!!! For me that was a good memory, one that I carry to this day.
Today we have Supermarkets that have not only food, clothing, but also a pharmacy, a bank, tobacco products and in some cases wine and spirits. You can truly do one stop shopping at your typical supermarket. This is a good thing if we look at it as a gift, one that keeps us from going to various places to get what we need, a gift where we can safe gas, our energy, money and time.
So how can a Supermarket be a Glimpse of God? Is it? Or is this a far-fetched idea? You decide!? My Glimpse is my way of looking at some of the aisles that we face when we enter the Supermarket and travel down to purchase the items that we want, need and desire. The Supermarket trip, whether we do curb side pick-up, go in it our self, or have the items delivered. It is the one place where so many needs, desires, or preferences are acquired. It is there that we reflect on what our bodies need to maintain good physical health.
Yet is the same place where we can choose the not so healthy or proper foods to quench our not healthy cravings and desires. It is a trip or deed that we either like or dislike to do, yet in any case we still go to it out of necessity.
As I compose this Glimpse I prayed to become aware of the 7 aisles that we might walk down more often than not, and how they can reflect our spiritual life with some of its cravings and how they can best be met. The 7 aisles or areas that I am choosing to focus on are: The fruits and vegetables area, The refrigerated aisle, The freezer aisle, The delicatessen area, The bakery area, The beverage aisle, and the final checkout.
I hope that this makes sense to you and is a good source that will aide you in your prayer life these next two weeks.
SUNDAY - The fruits and vegetables area
The fruits and vegetable area in my local supermarket is the very first area that one sees as one enters the market. It think that the managers know that the consumer really wants to shop and choose healthy, so they provide that choice from the start and then if we need to, we can justify our not so healthy choices as we shop.
The fruits and vegetables are healthy choices, ones that have good nutritional value, are good for whatever diet that we are being called to adhere to. My question is when you enter the fruit and vegetable aisle, do you quickly pass through it or do you take your time and look for the items that you want and need to purchase? Some vegetables and fruits are good for those who are on the run because they don’t all need to be cooked before they are consumed, they can be eaten cold and they can be a good alternative to other not so healthy choices.
In our spiritual life, what are the fruits and vegetables that we possess, or desire, to help us grow closer to God and others, and that nurture our prayer life so that we can be our best self, the person that God created us to be, and have the potential to become?
The fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit are from God that we already possess and can easily and readily turn to as we desire to grow closer to God and others and mature in our spiritual life. They are from the Holy Spirit of God, given to us at our baptism and strengthened at our Confirmation, so that we can remain close to God. They are the tools or instruments that empower us to be the best that we can be both physically and spiritually.
For this Glimpse, I will list the fruits first, no to diminish the gifts, but to make more sense of them hopefully. When we think of fruits and vegetables,
we usually think that the vegetables accompany the main meal, and fruits are usually eaten at a separate time. When I think of our spiritual life and the trip the grocery store, I think that that fruits are seen as more appealing and the vegetables maybe not as appealing. The fruits of the Holy Spirit are those that we consume in our heart as we receive Holy Eucharist so that we can exude them in our daily life.
They are Love, Patience, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Goodness, Gentleness, Faithfulness and Self- Control. It is these fruits that we desire and possess. They may be hard to swallow at times especially if we have been hurt, but they are always there when we need to consume them to become a better and more of a Resurrection people.
The gifts of the Holy Spirit or the vegetables are the market, are not seen as extras to be placed on the side of our main meal, but rather as essential part of the main meal, essential to our health and well-being so that we can better appreciate the main meal that of the Holy Eucharist trusting that we have used the gifts and fruits to better grow and mature as followers of Christ.
The gifts are: Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgment, Courage, Knowledge, Reverence, Wonder and Awe
MONDAY – The refrigerated aisle
The refrigerator aisle where we can get a variety of dairy items, and such that can be consume immediately if need be, and yet need to be refrigerated immediately so that they do not go bad and one does not get sick. Some items in the refrigerated section can satisfy our hunger immediately without a need to be defrosted or cooked first.
So what can the refrigerated aisle say about our spiritual life? Can we allow God to take the coldness of our hearts and warm them with His love so that we can better serve others? Are our hearts cold due to past hurts or offenses?
Do we let the warmth of God’s love permeate the very core of our being so that the coldness can dissipate and the choices that we make will be healthier both spiritually and physically? Do we, can we recognize the warmth of God’s love as that which we want to satisfy our hunger and thirst for Him alone? Although we can look in the refrigerator aisle or our own refrigerator for a quick meal or drink, is that meal or drink nutritionally best for our body and what wilk lead us to a healthier spiritual life?
What is your refrigerator filled with? What do you want to keep in it and what do you think you should replace?
TUESDAY – The freezer aisle
It is the freezer aisle that we can choose the main meal or the ingredients that will make up the main meal that we will serve that evening or one evening that week. You can choose that which you know how to prepare and that you and others will like.
As we gather for the our main meal at Sunday Eucharist, our most sustaining meal, what we choose in the freezer section can strengthen us as we choose to be the Body of Christ in all that we say and do, in our actions and through our prayers. As we are nurtured in the reception of the Body of Christ, and the main course is love, the side dishes can be a greater sense of compassion and mercy, along with peace and joy.as one sets the table and it looks nice, we remember too that as our plate may be full, others have no plate, no food, no chance to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, and no one to gather with to give thanks. The frozen food section can remind us that if we are able to, we can set aside a meal or the ingredients where we can make a meal, for the less fortunate so that they too can partake of a healthy meal, and not go hungry with an empty plate facing them.
WEDNESDAY – The Delicatessen area
The deli area is a great window into the shopper’s world of choices. There are so many choices of meats, cheeses, side dishes, that can make up a great sandwich or a quick meal. The choices are of good quality, prepared at the time you choose them, and can go with each other as much or as little as you want them to.
So, what is a deli spirituality? In our spiritual life, we can see our deli spirituality as an opportunity to take a little bit of everything to make one good thing, be it sandwich or a quick meal. In our spiritual life that can be reflected as we choose to participate in various prayer groups, Scripture studies, virtual meetings, so that we can learn and grow and hear from a variety of speakers and their perspectives. What needs to occur in the deli spirituality is a balance, one that does not take us from the source of our spiritual foundation; that being God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. God invites us to experience that variety of spiritual tools so that we can draw nearer to Him but are not meant to replace Him. We must incorporate our deli experience, our quick meal maker, with our main meal celebration of Holy Mass where we receive the bread of Life, the Body and Blood of Jesus in Sunday Worship, our personal prayer life and our experience in community and not isolation. Sometime our deli experience prepares us as we enter the frozen food aisle.
It is in the frozen food aisle where we either find our main meal, or the ingredients that will make up the sustaining and substantial meal, that we will partake of that evening.
THURSDAY – The bakery area
Perhaps for some the best area to shop, why because the aromas draw us there and the newly baked items are just waiting for us to buy them. The freshly baked breads, cakes, cookies and pies all smell so good and their aroma permeates the entire store. All taste good but may not be good for those whoa re diabetic or on special diets. Yet God does not want us to be deprived of our sweets, just be in control of them and to keep a balance with the many other foods that we must consume. In our life, I believe that we all experience those bittersweet moments that can transform us and can make us better and not bitter people. The sweet moments can be moments that diminish the pain of the bitter moments.
Mercy can diminish the moments of sin or weakness, Compassion can diminish moments where we almost choose to pass judgement, consolation can diminish moments of sorrow, love can diminish moments where we are victims of hatred, pardon can diminish moments where we feel injury, faith can diminish moments of doubt, hope can diminish moments where we feel despair, light can diminish moments of the darkness of the soul and spirit, and joy can diminish moments of sadness.
As we travel through the bakery aisle, remember what Jesus preached about the leaven of the church leaders of His time, and remove the leaven of your hearts, remove hypocrisy and arrogance, remove that inflated self-ego, the selfishness, the need to be in control that keeps you blinded to the true love, mercy and compassion of God.
Friday – The beverage aisle
When we shop, we look at the beverages and those that will help quench our various thirsts. We see the many and various flavored waters, the soda, the various juices, the exercise drinks, and children’s juice boxes. Most beverages we can take wherever we go. Cold or hot, they can satisfy our thirst. There are various juices that are high in vitamins, and exercise drinks that replenish our bodies after a high energy workout, flavored waters that just tase better than plain water and are low to no calories and there is soda that probably has no nutritional value but tastes good.
What is our spiritual thirst or what are we thirsting for in our spiritual life that only God can quench? We hunger and thirst for God and the waters of New life that He offers us not only penetrate our body, they refresh us spiritually and hydrate us so that we can go ahead stronger, filed with His energy and renewed in His love. So what do beverages say about our spiritual life and how can they be a Glimpse of God or a way that God reveals Himself?
Only God knows our body and our heart better than we do our self. He knows what we truly need to be sustained spiritually and physically. He knows that which will expand our heart, strengthen our resolve to follow Him and heal our body.
Water – is what our body needs to avoid dehydration. At our baptism, we were cleansed in the waters of New life, and although we did not literally drink the water, our heart and soul did. We consumed it as we were immersed and have been renewed and replenished through that immersion since that day through the sacraments of the Church especially Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, and the Anointing of the sick. Each day, the waters of our Baptism, the waters of New Life, can wash away and desire to be bitter, angry, revengeful, self-loathing, or judgmental.
Vitamin juices especially those filled with Vitamin C (Vitamin Christ) that which keeps us from getting a cold, can be a tool or an instrument that can keep us from developing a cold heart.
Vitamin B12 (those first 12 believing brothers) can keep us from becoming lethargic. It can renew us and restore our energy so that we can remain faithful followers of Jesus.
Iced tea can help us remember those warm, lazy, easy type days of summer!!!.
And the decaffeinated drinks that will enable us to et a goodnights rest in the Lord.
SATURDAY – The final checkout
At the end of our shopping trip, we get into the check out line, or the self-checkout line to calculate the cost of our purchases. Is that cost a heathy charge of more proper nutritional choices where we will grow in better physical and spiritual health because we choose to take care of our body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit? or a debt that will be paid off with negative diet results, more unhealthy eating habits, and a physical and spiritual sluggishness that can result from poor nutrition? You now must pay, what will you pay with?
A better, healthier body that can better serve God and others, or a nutritionally lacking body that you see as unlovable?
Just remember, that no matter how you pay, you are, and always will be, God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. You can never make a choice that will make God love you less, He cannot. His love is perfect, and His only desire is that you be your best self, the person that He created you to be, and have the potential to become. When you get home or when you unpack the grocery bags, try to look at your choices as your progress in the spiritual life: we will make choices, some healthy and some not so healthy, but in the end God knows that we are progressing in our spiritual life and that any choices that we make can be teachable moments. Allow God to teach and take the time to listen to Him and then listen to His blessed Mother, our Mother too, who said to the servants at the Wedding at Cana: Do whatever He tells you.