Glimpse of God for the week of December 25, 2017
Merry Christmas….and Yes, let us keep Christ in Christmas!
Today let us be mindful that the gift of Jeus that is given to us each time we attend and participate in the celebration of Holy Mass. We are all the Body of Christ, so as you encounter your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, remember that the presence of Jesus is in each of them. Seek Him and you will find Him.
The spirit and gift of Christmas is a state of mind. We are called to be a selfless and not a selfish people. We are and can always try to give of our self. If someone is grieving and is in need of comfort, be there. If someone is ill and is in need of a good listener, be there. If someone is alone and in need of a visitor, be a visitor.
Merry Christmas to all....this is my prayer for you on this Christmas day.
May Jesus open your eyes so that you can see the wonderful gift of His presence in those that surround you: your family, your friends, your neighbors and yes even the stranger.
May Jesus open your ears so that you can hear the laughter and listen to the stories of those around you and respond with the empathy, compassion, joy and love of Jesus. May you hear and listen as you open your heart to His message.
May Jesus touch your nose so that you can smell the various aromas of the food that is being prepared for your table. As you enjoy the aromas, may that prompt a prayer of thanksgiving for those who are preparing the Christmas dinner.
May Jesus touch your sense of taste and allow you to enjoy all that you partake of. Taste and see the Goodness of the Lord.
May Jesus touch your mind, body, spirit and soul with His grace. May you reach out and touch someone today that is in need of comfort, consolation, healing, empathy, compassion, peace, joy, love and laughter.
Being and giving might not always be easy, but like Mary and Joseph, if we trust in God and follow the star of His grace that guides us, we know that He will always protect us and show us the right path to follow. There are so many ways that Christ is calling us to be His beacon of light, love and compassion, we just need to listen, look and respond the best way we can.
Merry Christmas. Happy Christmas. Enjoy the presence of Jesus in those that surround you.
Keep Christ in Christmas by your words, deeds and attitudes, Don't give the secular world the credit for Christmas.
Jesus is the reason for the season, so wish people a Merry Christmas!
Enjoy your time with family and friends. Don't let the stress find you saying I can"t wait till this is over.
Christmas comes one time a year and for some, family members can only make it to see you one time a year, so enjoy their presence and recognize the gift of this day.
Find time to spend with someone who can not seem to find the joy of Christmas in their heart.The peace, joy and happiness that the Baby Jesus wants for each of us is a far deeper than the peace, joy and happiness the world offers or wants you to believe in. As we carry the crosses of life, and they get very heavy and sseemingly unbearable, but we as Christ's followers are called to let others know that even in the midst of heavy crosses, Jesus is with us and loves us unconditionally and we will get through all of life's crosses with His help.
Peace be with you and all those you love,near and far. For our military, we pray for their safety and the comfort of the military families.
PEACE TO ALL
Have a great day since that is what God created and intended
Glimpse of God for the week of December 17th
My Glimpse of God for this week comes as I reflect on what my birthday means to me. As I honor the day that God’s breath of life entered into my very being and I was born into this world, I also celebrate how His love has been my strength, given me courage and seen me through the darker days of life that I have lived through. His grace has been my salvation as I have grown in love with Him and I have seen how much He is in love with me.
As I look in the mirror, I ask myself on this the anniversary of my birth, what do I hold as important and how has that challenged me or caused me to change to be more God like? Being a glimpse, a reflection of God and His love to others, is important to me and how can my glimpse become brighter, clearer and more lasting for people to see? Do I try to be, or have I been, an instrument to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth so that others may see God in all that I say and do?
Yesterday was my birthday. I received many great birthday greetings, prayers, texts and gifts from my husband, our kids Cannoli and Clover, my family and many good friends. The thoughts and prayers behind all the wishes and gifts were and always will be appreciated.
But what is a birthday? For me it is a day to give thanks to God for the gift of life: the very breath that I take today, and the very first breath that I took 56 years ago. God continues to give me each breath that I take so that I can be His breath of life in all that I say and all that I do, through my actions, in my attitude, and by my prayers.
The very first breath that I took two months early and weighing in at only 1.5 pounds, was God’s gift and call to live in His love and grace. God had a plan then and has a plan today for me. As He gifts me with another birthday, He is actually giving me the time to come to know Him better so that I can be a better and brighter Glimpse of His love in the world. Birth is new life. Although there are many bumps or little deaths, there are also many new births on the road to eternity. It is through the new life that only Christ offers us, that we can overcome the bumps and see the straight and level road that is ahead.
I had a very nice day. I had a very happy birthday, because every day is a great day and an opportunity to recall and celebrate my life in the light of God’s love for me. I humbly celebrate the gift of life that God has given me, and the life of those whom I love and love me in return. I am blessed and as we approach the birth of Christ, I am drawn to see that coming into the world as a baby allows God to form us and create us to be the best person that we can be and become. Birth allows us to grow in love with God and He with us. Our birthday is the day where we can selflessly and humbly thank God for who we are and how loved we are by Him. It is a day to look into the mirror and see that we are beautiful in His eyes and that His love for us is beyond measure.
As you begin this week and as you might be feeling the frenzy of Christmas being right around the corner, and you realize that you have last minute gifts to buy, and things to decorate, take a moment to remember that it is the birth of the Christ child that is the reason for Christmas and that all other things are only ornaments. Take time to breathe and celebrate the giftedness of your person and how the hand of God is very busy in your life .
Instead of offering daily reflections, this week, I offer you the challenge to take each day and see the hand of God in the gift of your being.
SUNDAY - The hand of God as seen through your compassion...
MONDAY - The hand of God as seen through your joy for life....
TUESDAY - The hand of God as seen through your mercy and understanding....
WEDNESDAY - The hand of God as seen through your smile and laughter......
THURSDAY - The hand of God as seen through your outreach to others......
FRIDAY - The hand of God as seen through your patience and perseverence....
SATURDAY - The hand of God as seen through your humility.......
The hand of God is always reaching out to us, lifting us up, carrying us, and holding our hand. What do we do to His hand as He offers it out to us? grasp it, shake it, hold it, grab on to it or refuse it? It doens't matter really bacause in all that we do, He did the only thing that true love could do: He outstretched His hands in love, through death to new life.
Glimpse of God for the week of December 10, 2017
My Glimpse of God comes from two loving, open hearted and centered on God creatures that He has created: the first being a very special Sister of Saint Francis, Sister Francis S. and from our golden retriever,Clover. Clover has been a
therapy dog at Assisi House,the retirement home for the Sisters of Saint Francis, for over a year now and during that year she has touched the lives and hearts of many of the retired sisters that reside there. There are a few that not only look forward to seeing her every week, but also are very disappointed if they don’t. It is not an understatement to say that she is truly the center of their attention on Sunday afternoon, like a magnet she draws all to herself. We,my husband and I, are the owners who are blessed to hold the leash and the water bottle, and to have such a golden creature in our care.
Last week was Clover’s birthday and we had mentioned this to Sister Francis as well as others during our visit. Imagine our surprise when we retrieved a message on our phone that was of Sister Francis singing the full Happy Birthday song and the May the Good Lord Bless you song as well as a note of love and thanksgiving to Clover for touching her life and making the lives of the Sisters so happy because of her visits. Our dog gets songs sung to her! Boy does she rank and that is great because I believe that in the eyes of God all of His creatures have a purpose and Clover has found hers.
The love and the excitement that Sister has for Clover and that Clover has for Sister is such a blessing to behold. I believe that God created our pets to remind us of how we can be and have the potential to become if we keep our eyes focused on Him. He reminds us through both Sister Francis, who, to us, is a very dedicated, faithful, faith-filled, authentic and genuine servant, and Clover who only returns that love in her best wet nose way and the Golden Retriever tail wag, we are all called and can grow in holiness together. Clover represents, as many pets, especially dogs do, the unconditional love of God, His mercy, His humor, His peace, His joy, His pleasure in us and His desire for us.
We call Sister Francis, Sister Pez, (the candy dispenser) because when Clover gets to her room, not only does she have permission to get on her bed, Sister feeds her treats on the bed so that Clover doesn’t have to get out of bed. (a tad spoiled) Clover comes running to Sister’s room and immediately goes to Sister for her greeting of love and fondness. Sister’s face lights up when she arrives.
As you can see by the pictures, love is shared. The birthday cake, ice cream of course, a special treat for Clover and apparently many of the Sisters, was gratefully shared amongst all.
This week, as we journey closer to the Birth of Our Lord and Mary wrapping the first Christmas present, let us be mindful of the many ways that God shares and shows His love in and around us.
God loves us unconditionally and He showed us this by giving us the gift of His Son Jesus while we were in the depth of our sinfulness and in need of redemption. He puts no conditions on His love and He does not force it on us. He invites us to be in a loving relationship with Him because He wants to be in relationship with us, His beloved sons and daughters and His greatest creation.
Our pets don’t put conditions on their love for us. They are there, wagging their tails and smiling, despite any neglect to feed them because we ran out the door too quickly or, when we raised our voice in other frustration and that scared them. They return to us to make us happy and to make our lives better because they can.
We can’t compare God’s love to our pets, but we can be reminded that we have the potential to be more loving and less stressed, if we look to our pets for their examples of complete trust and care in us, and how we can and should have complete trust in care in God with all of our concerns and prayers.
For today, pray for the grace to have greater trust in God and in His unconditional love for you, and seek to live in that grace just for today, tomorrow is another prayer.
God understands us better than we understand our self. He created us and knows our hearts better than we will ever know them. God gets it when we give into temptation and slip away. He knows what our weaknesses are and that we cannot overcome them by our self, we need His help. I believe that when we strive to be the best persons that we can be and that He wants us to be, it is when we are stressed; when we allow that pressures and expectations of our self, families, jobs and world to overcome the truth of God, it is then that our will to do right and good is weakened, and we fall into sin.
It can be through our pets that God shows us that He understands what is happening and wants us to distress and find the center of our joy and love again. How stressed can one be when there is a dog or cat or any pet, that sits there with their smile, wags their tail or rolls over in complete submissiveness, or sits in your lap and falls asleep. They feel your frustration and although they can’t tell you not to worry, they try to show you that you don’t have to.
God gets your frustration and He does tell you not to worry, but to place all of your cares on Him. For today, can you place your deepest care on Him, one that you are trying to carry all by yourself? His understanding is not limited or restricted to just knowing your stresses and weaknesses, He invites you to receive the gift of healing, the gift of a lighter heart, the question is are you ready to accept that gift from Him in the way that He is offering it to you?
TUESDAY – HUMOR
I believe that God laughs when we try to do things on our own, when we think we know what is best, when we try to fix things, all of which we cannot do without God. He laughs at our plans because He knows us, and knows that we will come to Him when we are completely frustrated with our self and in need of His divine intervention that will save us from becoming completely unbearable and stressed out.
I believe that our pets do the same. They laugh when we get stressed and go bonkers when they are there to help us lessen our stress. They say that therapy dogs have the ability to lessen one’s blood pressure, stress and anger just by petting. I believe that they intuitively know that. Many of the Sisters and staff have also testified to this.
For today, find it in your heart to laugh at yourself. Laugher is a good medicine and allows one not to take oneself so seriously. Laughter is a deep joy that comes from within and is a grace to us by God so that we live healthier lives and live in better communion with others. God laughs, we laugh, our pets laugh, all good…
WEDNESDAY – PEACE
God wants us to be at peace. He offers His peace to us in many ways: through the sacraments of Reconciliation, Anointing, at Mass. We can always seek God's mercy and that of others if we are willing and ready to face the reason that we are not at peace. When Jesus rose from the dead, His first words to His disciples were Peace be with you. HE forgave them for abandoning Him because He understood them and their hearts, and knew that they wanted to follow Him and bring His good news to the world. He offered them peace as He offers us peace. He doesn't want us to be in angst or suffer worry.
It is we who choose to dwell in non peace situations because we are afraid or don't feel that we can ever move on from the situation that causes us to worry. Worry destroys peace and is without Christ. Concern includes Christ and it is our concerns that we bring to prayer with Christ.
What are you holding on to that is taking away the peace that Jesus offers you? what does being at peace mean to you and how important is it to you? Do you dwell in non peace because it is comfortable? Does being at peace, feeling the love of God scare you?
For today, look at what is taking away your peace and ask for the grace to seek the peace and love of God as He wants to offer it to you. Finding Christ in the sacraments, offering peace to someone that has hurt you, seeking forgiveness from someone that you have offended, or forgiving yourself for something that God has long forgiven you from.
Seek peace, be peace, offer peace and I can tell you that the very same words of Christ to His disciples you will also hear: Peace be with you, my peace I give you. Go and be at peace.
THURSDAY – JOY
Joy, the season of joy is upon us. What makes you or is the source for your joyfulness? What brings out joy from within you? Can you call it God?
We are in the season of joy and hope as we meditate on the unconditional and merciful love of God shown to us as He gave us Jesus His son, born in a manger, in poverty, to bring us true and immeasurable joy, peace, healing and redemption.
Our joy can only be in Christ. Even in the midst of the crosses that we carry, they are not meant to diminish our joy, but rather are cause to deepen and expand it. Can you be joyful as you carry your cross? Yes you can.
For today, ask for the grace to find joy in the midst of your cross and peace amidst your anxiety as you carry your cross. Pray for the grace to recognize that although your cross may not go away or get lighter right now, your desire to walk in the footsteps of Christ is a cause for joyfulness and gratitude.
FRIDAY – PLEASURE
God finds great pleasure in you. Do you believe this? I do?
Look at the God who created you and sees that you are good. Seek to see yourself with His eyes so that you an experience His pleasure as He fixes His eyes on you.
Pets give us pleasure; we give them pleasure, yet they are pets, not God. God loves you so much more, finds pleasure in you, laughs with you and sees the best in you.
For today, see the best in yourself. Look in the mirror and ask God for the grace and the humility to see that which He sees in you that gives Him pleasure. Listen to Him and thank Him.
SATURDAY – GENUINE
The Sisters of Saint Francis are a very genuine and authentic group of women religious. They live in the simplicity and love of their founder Saint Francis that is rooted in the love God has for them and they for God. There is no guile or falseness presented.
God is a genuine God that does not lie to us, misguide us or give us more than we can carry. Our crosses, I believe are made to fit, those that He knows that we want to carry to show our love for Him and others.
Our pets are as genuine as they can be since they cannot choose otherwise. What you see by the way they were trained, is what you get. Clover is the most genuine, deliberate and intuitive golden retriever of all the ones that we have had. During my recent surgery and recovery, she had been the best medicine for my healing and gift from God, as well as Cannoli our cat, that I could have asked for.
For today, pray for the grace to be more genuine, especially with those you have felt the need to put up masks with. Pray to be yourself so that others may see the good person that you are and give glory to God for the gift that you are.
Glimpse of God for the week of Devember 3, 2017
This is where my Glimpse of God comes from for this week.
HAPPY ADVENT! CHRIST IS COMING!!!!
Yesterday, I along with a great team, directed an Advent Day of Reflection titled: “The Day Chrst Was Born”, a reflection on the event as seen throough the eyes and hearts of Mary, Joseph and the Shepherds.
I have a wonderful retreat team consisting of 2 priests, Father John Jagodzinski. and Father John Mokluk, OSFS, our parish Deacon Dan Bingnear. and his wife Barb,Dorothy O’Brien., and Theresa McGoldrick, but most importantly my great husband, John. As a team we work together to hopefully bring a spiritually fulfilling experience to all those who attend the retreats.
As a continuation of the dialogue with the men at Saint John’s Hospice, I invited the men at the Hospice to attend the retreat yesterday (at no cost). Not knowing how many ever attended a retreat, or would want to attend, I waited and hoped for their response. We had 15 men that registered to come on the retreat. WOW!
WOW doesn’t even begin to describe the retreat experience with the men. I cannot put into words the effect or the impression that these men made on my life and on the lives and spirits of the others who attended the retreat. God’s glimpse came through the men in so many ways: In and through their love for God, and their desire to be God’s light in the midst of their struggles and challenges, how they had an instinctive and deeply genuine joy and sense of humor that came through them as light comes through the window, how they were truly engaged in the retreat experience, how they interacted with their fellow retreatants as if they were long time friends and how in a spirit of reverence they attended the Catholic Mass, although unfamiliar and new. They connected with the message, the retreatants and their God, and at the end of the day they were smiling and wanting to come back for another experience.
We also had five of the Sisters of Saint Francis from Assisi house atttend. They were such a compliment to the retreat. They are genuine, authentic and personable women and deep women of faith.
We had those who have never been on a retreat before and those who have. It was such a great mixture and my only hope is that they were able to take away what God wanted them to see, hear and hold dear ot their hearts.
As I reviewed all of the retreat evaluations, everyone of them commented on how spiritually fulfilling, and what a grace filled experience it was to have the men from Saint John Hospice with us, and can they come back. We hope so!
Today, I would like to thank the men that came and I hope to learn from their example not only how God dwells in all of His children, but how we are called and can all learn from each other about God’s great love and mercy.
As we continue on our Advent journey, may Christ be born in our hearts every day as we approach the Savior’s birth on Christmas day. May we have a greater awareness of our throughts and how they are reflected in our attitudes and actions towards others. And may we always strive to see the face of God in them as they strive to see the face of God in us.
SUNDAY – Shepherds -Today let your words be sincere and heartfelt. Let them be a source of strength to build another up and not of a source to tear another down. Think, and take the time to quietly pray for, those who are the outcasts of our society and the let the words of your prayers be for their continued strength, courage and perseverance.
MONDAY – Mary our Mother – Today seek to show mercy to someone who may have not been merciful to you. Ask for the grace to be a stronger, better person and extend mercy instead of holding onto a grudge. As we think of those who live lives being bitter and resentful, let us pray that God shed not only His mercy upon them, but also His compassion, peace, healing and joy. Ask Mary to help you overcome those temptations that want you to give in to bitterness and seek her strength and compassion to forgive.
TUESDAY – Thoughtful – Today, reach out to someone who could use your words of encouragement or consolation. Let them know that you truly care about them and that they are in your thoughts and prayers. Let us pray for those who are alone and have no one to be with them, that they experience the presence of God in and through the compassion, care and concern of others. As Mary and Joseph traveled and were away from home, and at times, felt alone. We know that we are never alone and that God dwells in our hearts if we invite Him. Pray to open you heart to Him, and pray that others open their hearts to the God who loves them and is waiting to embrace them.
WEDNESDAY – Wholesome – Behold the face and love of God .
Today, be refreshed, renewed and rejuvenated in God’s love for you and your love for God. May the love of God be a source of healing, wholeness and happiness as you continue your faith journey of personal self -discovery, conversion and transformation into the presence and love of God for others.
Let us pray for those who are wounded in body, mind or spirit, that they discover and embrace the depth of God’s desire for them to be healed and whole and that they may come to know His peace. Jesus came to bring peace and joy to all.
THURSDAY – Thankful – Today, have you expressed your gratitude to God for the gift of life, faith, family, friends, health, home, happiness? Can you recognize that God is the source of all your blessings and that you are a recipient, not the creator? Do you know someone who is not able to recognize how blessed and loved they truly are because of the weight of their crosses and suffering? Let us pray that God touch the lives of all those hearts who are hardened with His gentle, healing and merciful love.
FRIDAY – Faithful – Are you faithful to God, others and self? Are others faithful to you? Pray for all of those who seem to lose their focus and the importance of being faithful and ask that God help them to seek mercy and pardon.
For today, try to rid yourself of the chaos and the clutter that is robbing you from seeing the fave of God in the mirror and in the lives and faces of others. Keep it Simple. God loves you and comes to you frrely and without cost. He you’re your beauty and wants you to see it to too, but when you allow the self doubt, shame, fear to cloud yur vision, God will not interfere, so clean the mirror and invite God to come before you and He will show you the true and beautiful person that you are and how you are the face of God in His Kingdom here on earth.
Glimpse of God for the week of November 26, 2017
As I reflect on the holidays and the amount of busy-ness and chaos that surround them, I thought that I would take a few of the holidays and look at them from the lens of God’s love. I believe that the holidays have taken on a very secular and individualistic perspective. I believe that since every day is God’s gift to us, and how we choose to look at it, embrace it, and live it, is our gift to God. I am choosing to look at the holidays with a view that begins with the eyes of our heart focusing on God and how He calls us to see our selves in through His light and in His love.
SUNDAY - New Year’s Day – A chain of new days and new beginnings that make a year. New Year’s day is a day where many people makes new resolutions and promises, and unfortunately for many, by the first week, they have forgotten what they were.
As I reflect on being a Glimpse of God, I would like to look at how we can take each day and make it a day of new resolve, new beginnings, and new hope. Each day the Lord Jesus gives us the gift of life and invites us to walk with Him on our journey. When we slip up and fall into weakness or sin, we have the opportunity to get up, seek His mercy and resolve, with His grace, not to fall again. We begin anew and we walk the journey with the hope that we will stand strong in our daily resolution to walk closer to Him. This is a day that we celebrate everyday so that when New Year’s day approaches, we can truly say that we have made good on our resolutions and have tried to be the best people that God has created us to be this past year.
MONDAY - Valentine’s Day – A day where we celebrate the gift of love. When we think of Valentine’s Day we think of the exchange of gifts between married couples, those in love or engaged to be married, children to their parents, parents to their children and siblings to each other. Love is not limited or restricted; but rather it is a sign of God’s presence in one’s heart and how He wishes to have it overflow to another. On Valentine’s Day, we try hard to find the right card that expresses our true feelings for the ones that we wish to share them with.
My thought is that although we search so hard for the right card or gift to share on Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, we can forget or overlook the true author of love. God is love, love is of God, and love comes from God and should return to God. Because God is in love with us, He created us out of that love so that we can love Him and others in return. God’s love knows no bounds, is unconditional and free, is not restricted or restrictive, is meant to be shared, it is not meant to be stored on a shelf or selfishly held onto and it is a cause for great joy. Although we don’t deserve it or are worthy of it, we also can’t earn it, or lose it. It is a GIFT. Look at the cross: It is the true, unselfish, selfless, unconditional, sacrificial love of Christ. Perhaps for the next Valentine’s Day, think about telling Christ how much you love Him, not by the writing of words in a card, but rather by your love for self, others and God and in your actions.
TUESDAY - Easter – Resurrection…A day where we remember Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, but also our daily resurrections and how we have died to self to live for God and others. We all have crosses to carry and to another, ours may seem lighter or heavier than theirs, but the reality is that the cross that we carry is the one that is perfect for us.
We are all called to die to self: parents die to self for their children, spouses die to self for each other, children die to self for their elderly parents. Dying to self is where we recognize that the needs of another are greater than ours, and that we freely choose to sacrifice our wants or needs for the good of another. When we die to self we are choosing to live for God. Death to self is an experience of Good Friday because it is then that we are united with Christ and Mary as we say not my will but God’s will be done.
WEDNESDAY - Veteran’s Day – A day where we not only recall how many men and women have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our peace, freedom, and safety, but how they chose to serve with integrity, allegiance and courage. Duty, Honor and Country are not mere words but words which generations before us have lived and embraced. We as a nation owe a debt of gratitude for our service members and their families for their sacrifices. We owe God gratitude because it is He who not only placed within their hearts the selflessness and courage to fight, but also the perseverance and determination not to quit.
Every day have the opportunity to celebrate our free will and the freedom that it affords us. God has given us a free will so that we will freely choose Him and His desire for us instead of the world’s desires. We can choose to do evil or good, we can choose right from wrong, we can choose to be bitter or to forgive, we can choose to retaliate or forgive, and we can choose to love or hate, but in all of these choices, they are ours. God knows that when we choose the things of this world, we only reap what the world can offer and its temporary satisfaction. We can never be truly happy if we embrace the world’s idea of good and lasting. When we embrace God’s idea of good and lasting, we are embracing His unconditional love, mercy and compassion for us, and that we know, the world cannot offer. God does not force His will upon us. God does not force us to do anything, not to love Him or leave Him, He only waits for us to come to Him so that He can show us how much He loves us and wants only the best for us.
THURSDAY - Labor Day – A day where we remember the gift of work and how we have all been gifted with certain talents and gifts unique of whom we are and have been called to use them for the greater glory of God and to the service of others. We can choose to ignore the gifts that we have been given or we can choose to use the gifts that we have been given. God has freely chosen to provide us with the talents that we have, but when we choose to ignore them, we are choosing to dishonor the God who has so graciously blessed us and wants us to flourish and be better people.
Labor Day is a day where we can choose to labor in love by honoring God by honoring the whole person that we are and that He has created us to be, or we can choose to labor in laziness by ignoring the gifts and talents that we have as well as ignoring their creator, which is God.
FRIDAY - Thanksgiving Day – A day where we gather to give thanks to God for the many gifts and blessings that He has bestowed upon us. It is about being grateful for the gift of others and how, through their example, they have exuded the presence and love of God to us.It is a day where we are challenged and asked to remember and unselfishly thank God for those around us for how they have blessed our life by their presence.
SATURDAY - Christmas Day – Everyday is Christmas if we remember the true meaning of Christmas. It is not about shopping or giving the most expensive or popular gift, but rather giving the gift of self in and through your love, compassion, mercy and concern for others. It is about recognizing the gift of Jesus’ life for us, and how He chose to live and die out of complete selfless love. It is about recognizing the precious gift that we are in the sight of God and the gift of God’s love that unites us all as one. Jesus came into our world as a baby out of complete and unconditional love. The gift of His life given to us by the Father in union with Mary is a gift that we can receive daily by receiving Holy Eucharist. Jesus is alive and well and comes to us in every breath we take, in every thought that we have and in every prayer we utter if we unite ourselves with Him. Christmas is about the gift of Jesus and the love that is in that gift. How we choose to share that gift can make our gifts to others more special.
As we look at the various holidays that we celebrate throughout the year, let us try to begin to look at them in the light of God’s love.
Each day begins with God tapping us and inviting us to participate in another day, one that He has created and wants us to be a part of. As we arise and begin each day and we look into the mirror, let us resolve to be the best person that we can be, let us remind our self that we are loved by God unconditionally and without reserve, and let us ask for the grace to live in the light of His love and be His presence to all those we encounter
Glimpse of God for the week of November 19, 2017
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from a different place. It is a place that after many deep and painful conversations this week, I began to realize that many people are visiting it; but some want to stay and learn more about it, and others want to deny it exists and run away.
I like to say that this place is one that I believe we are all familiar with but sometimes don’t want to visit, it is a place that we are aware of but yet sometimes choose to ignore, and it is a place that can be an instrument of healing or a source of constant pain. It is where God dwells, where He calls us to grow, where can choose to be transformed and we can intimately stand with humility, grace and courage. What or where is this place? The place is where our brokenness lies. It is in our brokenness where we can choose to run away, yet we realize that God is calling us to run towards; it is in our brokenness that we become aware of our limitations, yet we realize that with God there is no limitations, it is in our brokenness that we can invite God to transform us, or we can choose to remain broken and become bitter.
What is brokenness? It is when we recognize that we realize that we are wounded and in need of God’s healing and that we cannot heal ourselves. We can become broken in many ways: physically, emotionally or spiritually. It is when we recognize that we are broken; it is then that we can see more clearly how God wants to heal us and is calling us to be the whole person that He knows we can become and that He created us to be.
This week as we celebrate Thanksgiving Day and are reminded of our many blessings, take the time to pray for those you know who are broken and in need of healing. Take the time to pray for those who because of their brokenness don’t feel that they are loved by God or anyone else, and before the week is up, take time to say a prayer of thanks for the brokenness that has brought you to seek healing and has opened your heart to the love, compassion, mercy and peace of God.
SUNDAY - For today, as you return from your Sunday worship service, reflect on how it makes you feel and the thoughts that go through your mind. Does your time spent with God, Community, and self in prayer and worship make you feel fulfilled and at peace, but when you went to Sunday Worship you were feeling hungry and discouraged? Do you feel as if a burden has been lifted even though circumstances many not have changed, but when you went to Sunday Worship you were feeling that the weight of the world was on your shoulders and you didn’t know how you were going to deal with it? Do you believe that God heard you and will answer your prayer as He sees best, but when you went to Sunday Worship you were thinking that God was deaf and you were only going out of guilt? Where is your heart now?
MONDAY – For today, as you begin a new week, think of the people that you work with, those in your neighborhood, and those you are acquainted with that are broken. Say a prayer that God heal them the way that He sees best, and ask Him if He is calling you to be an instrument of His healing to them. How can you be an instrument? By listening, by showing true and genuine care and concern, compassion and kindness, by your presence and in your silence. Others often share their pain with us, not to dump on us, but because they see that we can be trusted with their story. Trust in another is a step towards healing, but it also brings with it great responsibility. Once someone trusts us with his or her story we cannot betray that trust. God expects us to honor it so that the healing that has begun will not be hindered. Who do you trust on your healing journey and who trusts you?
TUESDAY – for today, as you think of trust and brokenness, think of whom you have trusted in your brokenness, how they have honored your trust, and how they helped you in your healing process?
How has your relationship with them grown? Can you recognize the presence of God in that trust and in the person? How has your life changed, spiritually, emotionally or physically since you were able to share with that person and know that what you shared was going to be held in confidence, not betrayal? As thanksgiving approaches, can you say a prayer of thanksgiving to God for them if you can’t tell them directly?
WEDNESDAY – for today, as you prepare for thanksgiving weather that means traveling to see family or having family come to your home, you doing the cooking or having someone else prepare the meal, you cleaning the house so that it looks immaculate or figuring out that people aren’t going to care because that is not why they are coming, try not to let the stress enter in and take over. Think of this: when Martha and Mary had the honor of Jesus being at their home, remember that Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and listened to his every word, while Martha was preparing the meal and doing all the hospitality work. Martha complained to Jesus that Mary help her. Jesus kindly said to Martha that she was worried about many things but Mary has chosen the better part for herself…..
I believe that what is important is that we listen to Jesus, as Mary did, so that we can do what Jesus asks of us, as Martha did. Jesus was not disciplining Martha but rather showing her that we need to listen well if we expect to do what is necessary as followers of Jesus. Sometimes it is normal to want to complain especially when things are stressful and we feel under appreciated. As you prepare for the day of thanks, remember that God understands and He does appreciate you, and give time to sitting and listening as well as doing the household chores.
THURSDAY – HAPPY THANKSGIVING
I am grateful for my many blessings, especially …………
FRIDAY - Black Friday
I want to go shopping to prepare for Christmas so that I can truly appreciate Jesus’ coming.
I want to learn what it means to be poor in spirit, and not to not seek the riches of this world, but rather the riches of heaven, so I will visit or pray for the many religious Sisters and Priests who have joyfully given their life to poverty, chastity and obedience to serve the Church. I want to learn what it means to behold the face of God, so I will look for the face of Christ in the poor, the prisoner to addictions, the homeless and the outcasts. I want to learn what it means to be still and not get caught up in the materialism of the season, so I will go and sit with a parent whose child is dying of cancer, or sit with a child whose parent is dying from Alzheimer’s disease. I want to learn what it means to give from the heart and not from the wallet, so I will close my eyes and try to remember the many drawings, cards and hand made pictures that I gave my parents growing up, or the ones that my children gave me. Priceless…they were and are.
SATURDAY – for today, take the time to rest and remember the joy of the Thanksgiving holiday. It is the weekend, one that may include recuperating from the big meal that seems endless: turkey soup, turkey salad, turkey stew, turkey sandwiches, cold turkey, hot turkey, its still turkey everywhere, decorating for Christmas, going Christmas shopping, making trips to the airport as loved ones return home, or returning home. Don’t forget that being thankful isn’t reserved for just one day, but rather it is an attitude, a spiritual disposition that God has planted in our hearts, one that He nurtures every time we attend Mass and receive Holy Communion.
Eucharist means thanksgiving. We are what we receive.
Glimpse of God for the week of November 12, 2017
This week's Glimpse of God comes from OUR VETERANS: those who selflessly gave the ultimate sacrifice of their life for our country and those who survived in the midst of great suffering, death and despair, those who returned home with a great welcome, and those who returned with no fanfare at all, those who returned to their families who were there and supported them as they fought for our freedom and peace and those who came back to an empty house, all of these men and women Veterans are and will always be a Glimpse of God to me because no matter what war they fought or how it turned out, they said YES to God and their country and gave of themselves for others.
We celebrate Veterans Day this weekend, the day where we are called to remember those who said YES when asked to serve their country, who were called to return home to their God as they fought for our freedom and peace and to thank those who survived the great trial of war and are left with the memories of their fallen comrades, their injuries, their islolation and the darkness that comes from war, death and their conscience. Some of the Veterans who lived through great destruction, death and darkness will never speak of their experiences. They have placed them in a compartment of their soul that will not be brought out because of the imapct, the devastation and the sadness that they hold.
There are some Veterans who have selflessly fought the fight that our country called them to, but upon their return, their country did not recognize their battle, their cause or their sufferinga, and they are left feeling forgotten and alone. Whether the Veteran be that of WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam. Iraq, Afghanistan and other fronts in which our Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard members have deployed and sacrificed, we owe a great debt of gratitude for their selflesss sacrifice for our country and our freedoms.
As we begin a new week, let us try to imitate the sacrifice, selflessness and the love for God and others by our actions, in our attitudes and through our prayers.
SUNDAY – “V” –voice
Our Veterans have a voice. They were called to use it to proclaim the freedom and the peace of God to those who were bound, unfree and living in fear. They used their voice as one of command with the troops, as well as one of reverence and respect as they pledged allegiance to the flag. Their voice carried as they shouted words of warning as well as when they shouted words of victory. They used their God given voice to serve God, country and others. They were not ashamed, embarrassed or afraid and neither shoud we be. Duty was not shirked but embraced!
For today have a voice, don’t swallow yor thoughts, opinions or perspectives out of fear, shame or embarrassment. God gave you a voice, a personal way of looking at things, a unique perspective so that you can share them with others. When you use your voice to serve God it is not a voice of control but more of humility, it is not a voice that belittles, but rather builds up, it is not a voice of condemnation but rather of compassion. Do you realize that God uses your voice to build up His kingdom here on earth?
MONDAY – “E” – empathy
To walk in another’s shoes and to attempt to see through the eyes of one another. Who among us has seen and heard what our veterans have done and how it has impacted the concepts of life and liberty for our nation? We have much to appreciate for the sacrifices of our veterns and their love of God and country!
For today, seek to be empathetic to someone that has served or is serving our country and listen to their story. Listen with an open heart and seek to understand what they are saying. Allow them to tell their story and allow their story to transform you and expand your heart.
TUESDAY – “T” – thankfulness
Most of our Veterans are thankful that they could serve their country. It wasn’t easy, but it was a job that needed to be done and they were there to do it. We are all called to do things that are not easy but God has chosen us to do them because He knows us best amd our hearts desire andfeels we are the best for the job. Being thankful is a choice that you make. Although we can make people say thanks you,we can’t make someone feel thankful.
For today, be genuine in your thankfulness and your expression of gratitude. Let it come from deep down and not just in lip service. Start with God and end with yourself. God deserves your gratitude for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon you expecially the gift and love of Jesus His son, but He is also grateful to you for who you are, the person that He created you to be, and for your undivided heart that seeks to serve Him faithfully .
WEDNESDAY – “E” – embrace
Our Veterans were far from embracing. They did not have the blessing of a hug from their family or friends. When they were far away from home, they did not get to experience the joy of embracing their baby, their children or their spouse, but they did have the grace to recognize that God is always embracing them and holding them deeply close to Himself.
For today, embrace someone that needs to feel the love and compassion of God through you.
There are many reasons for an embrace, it could be an embrace to offer reconciliation, extend peace, or share joy. We all need to be embraced. God wants to and is always there to embrace us spiritually, and asks that we be there to extend His embrace to His sons and daughters who are in need of hope and feeling loved.
THURSDAY - “R”- resurrection
Our Veterans were men and women who had hope and did not let the circumstances that surrouded them defeat them. They were resurrection men and women. They lived through many good fridays, but they stayed the course because they knew that easter sunday would follow, that there would be a resurrection and death would not have the final word.
Can you think of something that is causing you to keep looking in at the empty tomb and not believing that Jesus has risen and that death does not have the final word? In what part of your life are you lacking in hope and choosing to stay in discouragement, or despair?
For today, be a resurrection people and choose to have hope and send the devil of despair away for good.
FRIDAY - “A” – anonymous
Our Veterans did not serve to become famous. They did not serve so that their names would be written everywhere, or that they would get extra benefits. They selflessly served, not selfishly, and they chose and continue to choose, to remain anonymous becaue they know that the glory and honor goes only to God not humans. They are heroes, heroines, but by choosing to be anonymous it allows them to grow in holiness, and humility so that they can serve God better.
For today, can you choose to be anonymouus epecially when choosing not to be, will afford you notoriety, fame and fortune. You are a resurrection people, let people know that and let them see that in your words,deeds, and actions.
SATURDAY – “N” – Never. Don’t say never when asked to spend time with a Veteran.
The word never has a finality to it. Reach out to our service members ---- they are a part of our nation’s heritage and history whose lessons need to be passed on to future generations. The Greatest generation’s numbers are dwindling everyday. So too our Korean vets and Vietnam vets numbers are also growing smaller. Thank them, honor them and please keep them and their families in your prayers.
For today, as you recall the words that Freedom is not free but is earned and must be treasured and respected each and every day, live them out by your support for veterans and your respect for what they have given you
Glimpse of God for the week of November 4, 2017
As I continue to recuperate from surgery, I find myself seeing God in many ways, in both the big; our dog Clover and in the small; our cat Cannoli, in phone conversations with like minded friends, in the silence as the day goes on, and in one very special individual, my visiting home nurse Edie B. Edie has been my home nurse before after previous surgeries. She 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 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 once again, as I recuperate and try to heal from another surgery. She represents His understanding when I say that I pushed myself possibly too far too quick. She understands my humor and how I use it with the medical issues that I have, but she also challenges me when I am stuck. She laughs with me and has genuine care and concern for my well being, my health 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 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 Edie, God is there to listen, offer His words of healing and remind me that this too will get better as it has in the past. What more can anyone ask for? I am blessed to have such great medical care both at Fox Chase and in Edie.
As we look forward to this week, let us be mindful that when we visit others, 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.
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 of they are ill or carrying another 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 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 can not 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, weather it be family, friends, neighbors, trust is sought from the very beginning of the visit. Can I trust you with my self? 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 rather 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 drivers 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.
October 29, 2017
My glimpse for this week wasn’t hard to recognize. Last week I had surgery at Fox Chase Cancer Center and now I am at home coping with the pain and trying to heal. All is well. My glimpse this week comes from my surgeon Dr. Allison A. at FCCC and Dana, Jen, Karen, Vonetta and Dorcas, the nurses on the 3rd floor surgical oncology unit.
When I first met Dr. A. I was automatically calmed by her presence as she listened, came with a game plan, and gave me a sense of hope as we went forward. Her smile exuded a spirit of joy that I feel can only come when one not only believes in them self, their talents and abilities but also recognizes that they have been gifted so as to serve others. At FCCC she serves the needs of others as a breast surgeon in the midst of some very painful and difficult circumstances. I feel that God invited her to be His instrument of healing and she responding by saying yes.
The surgery was a success and I am healing at home. There have been a few bumps in the healing process, but nothing that is overwhelming. As I look back and see how she listened and responded to each of my needs and concerns, I see clearly that she is God’s Glimpse of compassion, care and concern as well as His instrument of healing and wholeness. As I was in the hospital overnight and on the 3rd floor surgical oncology unit, I saw that God’s Glimpse continued to shine through the care and genuineness of the nurses on the unit. They were truly called to the ministry of nursing and taking care of others. They treated me and the other patients with the greatest amount of patience, compassion, concern, dignity and respect. I was truly blessed to be on that unit. I have seen that those who recognize that they are called to be in the ministry of healing, minister with a greater sense of personal peace and inner joy than those who are in it as a job. For the past 18 years, I have been a recipient of this peace and joy at FCCC with the many doctors, nurses and staff at FCCC.
As we begin a new week, let us be mindful of how we are all called to be a people of compassion and concern towards and for others. Although we may not be doctors or nurses or in need of physical healing, I do believe that we need to recognize with greater clarity God’s healing presence in those He places in our life. His healing can come through someone’s smile, a kind word, a thoughtful gesture, a random act of kindness, or mercy being shared. We all have the ability to bring about a sense of hope by our presence and care for others.
SUNDAY – “S” - sincerity
As we begin this week, look at how you may be called to give of your sincere self to another who is in need, not out of pity, but out of true concern and love for neighbor. Take a look at how you see yourself and your attributes. Do you see yourself as a person that is always or mostly willing to help those in need?
Do you recognize this selfless act as a character trait that God imprinted on your heart, mind and depth of your soul, a trait that is meant to shine so that others may come to see the goodness of God in and through your sincerity and selflessness?
For today, let that character trait shine as you offer the gift of hope in and through your words, actions, prayers and deeds, to someone in need.
MONDAY - “U” – unafraid
Do you see yourself as courageous, not afraid of most things and ready to face life challenges with personal conviction, confidence, determination and trust? As a doctor, I am sure that there is a certain fear as one operates on another, but yet in the midst of the fear, there is a greater trust that all will go well. As a nurse or any medical professional, there is a pause as one gives medicine, administers infusion or offers medical advise because one doesn’t know how the patient may react. There is an uncertainty that can make a daily routine task a task rather of trust, courage and confidence in one’s ability and knowledge, but it is a task that must be undertaken.
You may not be a medical professional and you don’t administer any life threatening advise, but you are a child of God that has been called to be a daughter, son, mother, father, grand parent, spouse, or sibling and your presence, your love is what has given hope to the discouraged, strength to the weak, trust to the fearful and healing to the broken.
For today, as you encounter others on the journey; those who are afraid, those who are seeking a God that they have heard about but don’t know, those who are immersed in their own pride and ego, those who are at peace and radiate that peace, those who are living each day without hope and those who live with great hope, pray for them that God bless them with the courage so that they continue to be His presence in the world. Humanity is broken. Each person offers a glimpse of the brokenness of humanity and God presents a greater glimpse into His healing in and through us.
TUESDAY - “R” – respect
Respect can be a funny thing. It is obvious when one doesn’t have respect for one self, others, or authority. Respect sows love, reaps compassion and generates inner peace. If personal respect is lacking then it is hard for one to respect others. Self-respect is a special kind of love and it is a love that God has planted in each of His child’s hearts, but through human weakness, choices and decisions, it gets lost.
As you look in the mirror and all you are willing to see is self-doubt, lack of self-esteem, little self-respect or trust, then your eyes are not open to seeing the person that God sees. God sees only good. God sees our brokenness in the light of being made whole, pain in the light of healing and poor self-image or esteem in the light of transformation and conversion. We are weak and in need of healing. Some of us are called to be God’s wounded healers, but we can’t be His instruments if we do not respect our self or others.
For today, forgive your self if your eyes have been closed to the person that God sees and knows to be His loving, compassionate child. Forgive those who have been disrespectful towards you: spouse, child, neighbor, sibling, parent and pray that God open their eyes and hearts to His peace and healing, mercy and forgiveness.
WEDNESDAY – “G”- grateful
Do you have a grateful heart? Do you remember to thank for the many blessings that He has bestowed upon you? Do you live with and within a spirit of gratitude or a spirit of entitlement? It is hump day, the middle of the week? What are you grateful for today? How have you been pleasantly surprised? How has your heart been expanded or lessened? Can you be grateful for the crosses that you carry so that you can experience the joy of your resurrection that will come as God promised? God is grateful for you and to you! Do you believe that? God wants to thank you for being His instrument of peace, love, mercy, compassion, empathy, and healing. You have much to be grateful for and much to thank God for, but it takes a humble heart to recognize that. Humility is a gift, where is it in you life; packed away, right in front, in another room, hidden or is it part of the fabric of your life that God as the weaver has created?
For today, count your blessings, use your fingers, use your toes, but be open to the many that God has given you and with a humble heart say thanks.
THURSDAY - “E” - empathy
When you have empathy, one can tell that you are serious, sincere and concerned about them and their well-being, and that you are trying to walk in their shoes to the best of your ability. As you come to the conclusion of another workweek and look forward to the weekend, are you able to recognize where you have shown great empathy, understanding and concern? Can you remember when someone needed to speak to you in confidence, when you said a prayer as you witnessed great suffering due to the many natural disasters and sinful human choices, when you were sought out to listen and offer advice, when God said thank you to you for being compassionate and not rending judgment, when you forgave and didn’t hold a grudge, when you asked for mercy and didn’t allow self righteousness to blind you from the truth?
For today, take a look inside and see how God has blessed your heart and expanded it with His compassion, empathy, peace and joy and thank Him. God knows your heart, your abilities, and your desires and He hears your prayers. He has answered them by giving you a bigger heart, a stronger heart, a heart more loving so that you can embrace His people, whoever, wherever they may be, in prayer, in love and in peace.
FRIDAY – “R” – restore
To restore is to rebuild. God has plans for us and when we are in need for personal transformation, conversion and restoration, we are in a greater need for healing and wholeness. We think that we want to go back to the way we were, but that may not be what God sees as best for us.
Doctors restore us and bring us back to health through medicines, therapy, surgery and other alternative ways. They use the knowledge and the tools that they have to help their patients become healthier and better than they are at that present moment. The medical professionals restore the physical while God restores the spiritual, yet we are all called to help those who call out to us and are seeking the right path. We can assist them on their journey by directing them to those who can help them, but we cannot ignore them.
For today, be the restorative power to another. Help someone to rebuild their confidence, their sense of self, their belief in an unconditionally loving God, their belief in the compassion and love of others. You can do this in prayer and in action, through conversation and in personal relationships. God is the God of restoration and personal transformation, but He needs us to help. Are you willing to help another who is need of healing, personal transformation, restoration and conversion?
SATURDAY – “Y” Yes
As we end another week, one filled with childlike fun and energy at Halloween, joy and hope on the feast of All Saints, and peace and consolation on the feast of All Souls, take a look at how you have said Yes to God to the needs of others. As a parent, spouse, grandparent, coworker, child, or sibling, are you able to recognize the times where God called you to be present to someone else despite your own plans or agenda?
As you look at this week, can you see how you were the face, joy and hope God to another? Remember the times that your smile and comforting words brought peace to another, the times where you reached out to another to help them and gave them a renewed sense in humanity, the days that you were mindful of your own needs and decided to care of yourself physically by getting a enough rest, more exercise, and a better diet? When you ended your day in prayer and realized that your desire to be a more Christ like, and God answered your prayer by opening your heart by your many acts of love and kindness, did you see God in you? These were all ways that you said Yes to God and sought to serve Him faithfully, as did our Blessed Mother Mary.
Glimpse of God for the weeks of October 15th and 22nd, 2017
This is a Glimpse of God for two weeks. Sorry I am late.
I am having major surgery on Wednesday and I am not sure how I will be feeling by the weekend
but I wanted to give you enough to pray about, so….. The daily reflections are extensive, not to overload or overwhelm you in the one week, but rather to give you enough prayer material so that you can return to the daily reflections next week and hopefully find something new to reflect and pray about.
This week’s Glimpse of God comes from the homeless men that reside at Saint John’s Hospice in Philadelphia. Every 2nd Thursday, I go and facilitate a group faith sharing experience. This request came after the Lenten retreat that I directed which was attended by a number of men from St John’s. Their participation and engagement was amazing and it left so much of an impression on the group of retreatants that they requested for the men to return on future retreats. The men in response to the retreat asked that I come and hold an open faith sharing experience. So, on the 2nd Thursday I go and for an hour we talk about the topic that they suggested the month prior.
This month’s topic was on mercy and grace. They identified how they understood their meaning, and what grace and mercy means to them. Do they think that they go together or can they be separated? What do they, grace and mercy, mean in their relationship to and with God and how He is calling them extend His mercy and grace to others, especially those they live with? Although the men come from various religious backgrounds and beliefs; they are Muslims, Pentecostals, Protestants, Agnostics, and non-believers, they all recognize that God loves them and has not abandoned them. It was an amazing hour where I learned more about them and from them than I could have ever imagined. I learned more about their faith experience and relationship with God, how they feel called to extend God’s grace and mercy to those they encounter even when it is not extended to them and how they learned to see the good in each other. They are a wonderful faith filled group of diverse men in a difficult situation but not seeking pity or sympathy. They only wish to be treated with respect, dignity and compassion.
I learned and also shared that although one can be in a homeless shelter, they are not without a home, rather they are in a “houseless” shelter because within the walls of Saint John’s these men try to treat each other with respect, compassion, mercy, dignity and love. It is not a perfect home, but it is a place where they feel that they are not invisible, but present and a part of something greater and stable. That is what makes a home. The men at Saint John’s strive to make the hospice a home. It sometimes can be difficult because they are a diverse group of men that come from different backgrounds but they don’t find it impossible. They see that this is a temporary step to finding a house where they can make it a home.
As we begin a new week, let us reflect on what makes a house a home and what deprives a house from becoming a home.
It only takes four walls and a roof to make a house. How big or small that house is can make it a home where love abounds and can be found in every room or a place where love is absent and the house is a building that needs to be maintained.
Love for self, others and God makes a home. It is not going to be a perfect home since the love extended by those who reside there is imperfect, but it can be a home where love is practiced by the forgiveness, understanding, mercy, mutual respect and compassion that is lived and extended.
Do you live in a house or a home? What is preventing your house from becoming a home or what makes your house a home and how does that feel? There are families that strive to make the love in their hearts a lived out love towards those they live with. This love comes from and is a gift from God that without His grace and help cannot grow from within or be extended outwards.
Do you live on your own? Do you feel that you are living in a home or a house? Do you recognize or accept how much God loves you and how much He wants you to rejoice in the beauty that you possess from within as His beloved child? Do you have the love for self that God wants you to have as His beloved child or do you see your self as unloved? Even living alone can make one feel lonely, but one never is alone. What do you think about that? What do you go to? a house or a home?
MONDAY – Clutter vs. Space
As we reflect on what makes a house a home, let us look on what prevents one from becoming the other. Clutter! Clutter in our hearts makes our hearts less open to becoming a home where God can dwell and where we can learn and live out the graces of His love. This can make it very difficult for one to extend the very love, compassion, forgiveness, healing and mercy of God to others especially those one lives with. In place of these can be control, dominance, self-centeredness, and selfishness.
What is the clutter that keeps your heart from being a place where God can freely dwell and make His home within you? Sometimes it is a lack of forgiveness for self or others, and holding on to this takes up all the space in your heart so that God’s grace and forgiveness, His peace and joy struggle to make it through the walls where there clutter is stored within.
God wants to dwell within your heart but by invitation only not by force. He wants you to believe in yourself and in His forgiveness of your sins, shortcomings, weaknesses or past offenses that are keeping you from letting go, letting Him in, and allowing your heart to be an open space where He not only chooses to dwell, but also chooses to leave His mercy, compassion, joy, peace, love, understanding, happiness and healing. Can you make space for Him today? Your heart is very big and has room to expand, but you cannot be afraid, but trusting and open.
TUESDAY – Self-centered vs. Selfless
Self-centeredness is rooted in a lack of love. It does not have or take root in love. We are all called to look at the needs of others and try to help them. We are called to trust and believe that God does and answers our prayers and supplies our needs. There will be times that we are focused on our self and our needs but those times are short lived. When we choose to always focus on our self and turn away from others and their needs, we are turning away from the presence of God in others by not being the Body of Christ to them. When we choose to reach out and lift another up, when we choose to build up and not tear down, when we choose to forgive and not hold a grudge, when we chose to speak words of peace and consolation and not empty words, when we try to recognize and walk in the shoes of those who are suffering, and not let our egos get in the way it is then that we are being the Body of Christ to others, it is then that we are living as witnesses to the Gospel. It is in those times when we can say and see that we are selfless and not selfish, other centered and not self-centered. It is then that we can see the face of Christ or the presence of God in the mirror as well as out the window.
Where are you looking and what do you see, in the mirror at yourself or out the window at others? Where do you see God? Hopefully in the mirror as He reminds you in every moment that He loves you, that you are His greatest creation and that your sin can never be greater than His mercy and forgiveness for you. He has called you to extend that very love to those who don’t know it or refuse to feel it. That is selfless love, which is the love that Jesus lived and died for. That is the love that God, as many of us understand Him, calls us to live, extend and share. Can you share a portion of that love today with someone that is missing it and needs to know more about it? Go for it, you will never be left empty or holding the bag but rather filled up with more love to carry.
WEDNESDAY – Vulnerable vs. Unbeatable
Feeling and being vulnerable is a very difficult place to be physically, emotionally and psychologically. Being vulnerable means that one can feel helpless, exposed and weak. In our society the weak and vulnerable are left alone and judged harshly by others. Yet, I would venture to say that there have been times in our life where we have all felt a tinge of vulnerability because of life’s circumstances, situations or challenges. It can leave us down and defeated by life’s challenges or it can give us the courage and the conviction to get up and give it our best to not be defeated by those very challenges. The men at Saint John’s have an unbeatable attitude that will get them over this hump, up the steps and out the door to a new home and a place that they can find God’s peace and strength.
Are you feeling vulnerable or do you believe that you are unbeatable? Can you see that no matter what your challenges are you are not alone and that God is there with you? He sometimes chooses to walk along side of you so that you can lean on Him when you need His shoulder to cry on, He chooses to walk in front of you so that He can guide you amid the darkness and uncertainty, He chooses to walk behind you to catch you if you fall and need Help to continue and He often will carry you when you are weak and tired by the journey. Do you recognize Him in those He has chosen to walk with you today? Do you recognize that He has chosen you to walk with others?
How is God walking with you today?
THURSDAY – Hopeful vs. Pessimistic
Sometimes it is hard to feel hopeful when things keep going wrong and you feel disheartened and discouraged. I think that if there were any group of people or any individual that could choose to be pessimistic about things it could be a homeless person. Not having a home, not having their own shelter or a place to reside with family, not having the freedom to come and go but having to live with strangers, this could make one feel hopeless and have a pessimistic attitude and outlook toward life and others. The men at Saint John’s are a hopeful and determined group of men that do not share pessimism with each other but rather support and encouragement. I also realize that I am not with them 24/7, but when I am, I see the positive in them and it is this positive and hopeful attitude that shows me that they are not only men of faith but also men of hope and determination.
So are you a person with a hopeful attitude and are able to see the good that will be because that is what God promised, or are you a person that has a hopeless and pessimistic attitude that brings others down? When things go wrong are you able to see that this isn’t permanent but rather a stumbling block on your journey to personal and spiritual discovery and transformation?
For today look at the times that things went so wrong and you did not think that you could or would survive and see where you are now, a person of great strength and courage, wiser and more spiritually rooted. God has a plan for each of us no matter how we think things should be or are going. God is in control if we surrender to Him and allow Him to show us the way. Are you ready to let Him lead and guide you to a place of hope surrounded by joy and filled with His peace? He is waiting.
FRIDAY – Caring vs. Hardhearted
How do we show that we care about someone? What does it take to care for someone? Can you care for someone that you do not know? I believe that we all have the capability to care about or show concern about others; our families, our friends, our coworkers, and our neighbors.
We have a variety of ways to show that we care and are concerned for people and it is in those ways that we also show or extend God’s love and care to them. To care about someone means that we have opened our hearts and have allowed the love that God has shown us to be extended to others. When we care we are concerned about others; their well being, and want to do what we can to assist them if needed. I think that it is easier to care for those we know than for the stranger. If one had to help a family member it might be easier than if one had to help the stranger on the street.
The men show care and concern for the stranger because their hearts that have been wounded are being healed and are more expanded and open.
How do you care about others? Does it come from your wounded ness or from your healing? Does your care for others seek a return or is it at no cost? If it is from your wounded ness, is it to help them in theirs or is it to make their heart as hard as yours? If it is from your healing, are you extending it out of love and compassion? When you are not able to care about others, it may be a period where you don’t seem to care about your self because of being wounded in body, mind or spirit. Being a caring person or being a person hard of heart is a choice. In either case, God is there to increase the care or soften the hardness of your heart. Today is the day to ask for a greater care and concern for self and others. If you don’t care about your self and your well being you will not be able to care about others. God cares about you and wants you to care about yourself so that the love and the genuine concern that you want to share you can and will.
SATURDAY – Empathetic vs. Insensitive
Do you want to or try to empathize with others or do you run out of patience? Is your heart open to empathy or is it easier to carry an insensitive attitude as a source of personal protection? When we try to empathize or understand another, it requires us to be open to the wounded-ness, the pain of another so that we can be an instrument of consolation, encouragement, healing, mercy and compassion. When others are struggling and can’t seem to get in a better place, we can tend to lose patience and appear to show a lack of concern or understanding. When this occurs, we can ask God for the grace to see beyond our fears, insecurities or egos so that we can better understand the other and seek to help them. I don’t think that we ever want to be insensitive but there are times that we are. There are times when others are insensitive towards us and dismiss our situations as minor. This hurts and may cause us to want to be insensitive and less empathetic in the future, but that is not God and that is not the person that God created you to be or wants you to become.Where is your heart? Are you wounded and finding yourself insensitive and not really concerned for others? Is your heart in the process of healing and you want to try to be more empathetic and understanding of those around you? Empathy is a grace and a sign of an expanded, open heart, one that has compassion and love, while insensitivity can be sign of a heart that is broken and wants to be invisible. But to God no one is invisible or alone. God knows your heart and wants to touch it and make it whole. Are you there yet?
My glimpse came to me as John and I were on our way to Gettysburg for the Columbus Day weekend. We have been looking forward to this weekend for sometime since it was an extended weekend where John would have off on Monday, we would have the chance to quietly celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary and John’s 60th birthday, and we would not have to rush back on Sunday. We had our 2 bases covered: Clover and Cannoli are in great hands since they have their best buddy Kevin staying with them so they probably won’t even notice that we are gone. After we went to Mass at Assisi House we put everything in the car and began our trek to Gettysburg.
As we were driving here, the unseasonable weather was warm and refreshing, the sun was shining and the view of the landscape was amazing. The leaves were brilliantly colored, the grass was green, the sky was a brilliant shade of blue with cotton ball clouds mixed in and the traffic was light. The route that GPS had us coming was a little different than the one that we took the last time we came. As we were driving we found ourselves behind a very serious accident that we had witnessed as it unfolded. A tractor trailer had cut off a car and the car became a tennis ball as it was pushed from one side of the highway to the other and back again. As the car stopped, John went over to help and as he got the passenger door open, the mother who was on the passenger side, and the father who was driving, got out of the car, opened the back door and started throwing everything in the back seat on the road. They were trying to reach their 2-year-old daughter who was on the driver’s side in her car seat. They were able to get her out of her seat and calm her down. John talked to the father, a disabled veteran, and I tried to calm mom and baby down. The mom had a head injury, the father was too concerned about his family to know if he had any injury, and the baby was uninjured. I even got to hold her and give her some oreo cookies to distract her. Considering the severity of the accident, I am surprised that the injuries were not fatal or life threatening especially since the car seemed to be more like a tennis ball and less like a 5ton piece of metal.
God was truly watching over them as was Mary on this her feast day of the most Holy Rosary. I called 911 and as we waited with the parents, two FDNY firemen had stopped to see if they could help. Once the police and the ambulance arrived and we gave them the information, we left. As we drove away we were very grateful to God for sparing them serious harm and injury. We were also saddened that no one else who saw the accident stopped. Once again we realized that there was a reason for our leaving home a little later than we planned, for stopping to eat when we did, and for driving the route that we did. God was watching over all of us and it was providential not coincidental.
This obviously was more than a Glimpse of God; this was God acting clearly, mercifully and compassionately. A family was spared the loss of life; a child any older would have been traumatized, whereas this little girl has no idea of what happened but because of her parents composure and the sacrificial love that they demonstrated, she was able to laugh and see mom and dad laugh with her, despite the injuries they may have sustained.
As I reflect on this event and look forward to the week ahead, I can only pray that each day I not only appreciate the gift of each day, but the people that I share that gift with.
I think that we can all tend to take things, people, and events for granted. It is when we lose or miss them that we realize how significant and special they were. Let this week be a week where you look at the many gifts that God has given you, seek to re-appreciate them and let Him know that you are grateful. As you reflect on this glimpse, think about the reality if you were in the driver’s seat and in a serious accident with a passenger the back seat, whom would you desperately try to save, as you put your own injuries aside, if they were injured and what would you say to them, if it were:
For today, think of the great love that you have for your spouse and how he or she demonstrates their great love for you. If their life were in danger, what would you want them to know as you see them injured and unsure of the harm that they have sustained?
The last words you spoke to them? The last disagreement that you had? The last time you told them how much you loved them? What do you want them to know? Tell them today.
For today, as you think about your child or children, your nieces or nephews, and they were in the back seat, what would want them to know?
Don’t be afraid I am with you, I love you and I forgive you for….., You didn’t cause the accident so don’t blame yourself, Tell them today what you want them to know because you want to affirm their giftedness in your life and how much you love them.
For today, reflect on the gift of friendship and how your life has been changed because of the friends who have touched your life. If it were your best friend in the back seat, what would you want them to know?
We have been though thick and thin, we will make it through this together, you are my best friend, you will be fine because I need you to be there for me, We have to see each other thru more of our major decisions like marriage, children, school, work…, you have changed me and made me a better person, I don’t know if I could have made it without your encouragement, support, honesty and love. Tell them today.
For today, as you think of your parent and all the ups and downs that you have experienced together, do they know that you love them more because of the person that you have become? That you care about them and never meant to disrespect them during or in the heat of arguments that you had. That you love them and are grateful to God for giving you such good parents, not flawless, but open to His grace to say they were sorry and to forgive you when you said that you were sorry. Tell them today.
For today, think of your sibling or someone that you think of as a big or little sister or brother, and what would you tell them or how would you want to comfort them as they cling to life uncertain of the severity of their injuries.
That you are sorry for the fights that you had and the harmful words that were exchanged, for the times that you wanted to be far from them and not embrace them, for the times when they listened as you cried and poured our your heart to them. For the great gift of siblings and how you will always have their back no matter what, Tell them today.
FRIDAY – Your neighbor
For today, as you think of your neighbor as they try to cling to life and not fear death,
think of the many times that you have watched each others homes when one was away to be sure that everything was ok, for the times where you were able to talk and share what was what was happening in the family, for the times when you may have watched each others children, for the times when you gathered to just relax, for the times when you offered to make a meal or do anything that was necessary so that they could grieve over the loss of their parent or you over the loss of yours, how grateful you are to them for everything and there are no other neighbors that you would want to have. Tell them today.
SATURDAY – Yourself
For today, think of how you have lived and the legacy that you want to leave behind. As you cling to life, what thoughts are you also clinging to? That God loves you unconditionally and is with you now and always has been and that you are not afraid, that you don’t want to leave your loved ones because they need you and you want to be there for them, that you did your best and that there is no reason for regret, for the times when you failed at doing your best, that you are sorry and ask for forgiveness
, that you are grateful to God for the gift of life and the many blessings that He has imparted on you and that you are God’s beloved. Tell yourself today for God tells you everyday that you are His beloved and wants to hear from you. Don’t wait until a critical event occurs to let others know that you love them, to remind your self that you are loved unconditionally by God with all you virtues and vices, and to let God know that you love Him and will always try to do better.
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 on a daily basis 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.
This week’s Glimpse is definitely not a disappointment but rather a confirmation of how God works and how by the openness and love of one’s heart, He is seen, heard and becomes alive.
Where have I been? Well, with the retired sisters of Saint Francis at the Assisi House in Aston.
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 the their care, comfort, healing and spiritual life such as the woman who is in charge of the volunteers, the staff and volunteers that work in Physical Therapy, 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 nurses and aides who see Clover as a good therapist and a cure for high blood pressure, the various 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.
They all show me an aspect of God that I am not expecting to see, but more so are given as a surprise from God so that I can see Him in more diverse and beautiful ways, as diverse as each person that He shines through.
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.
Last week I was talking to MR 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 and a new month, take a look at your job. Are you happy, unhappy, content, or frustrated, do you or can you have fun at your job, or is too stressful and serious, can you see that God has placed you in your job because He knows that your specific talents and expertise are best utilized there, or are you working at something just to bring in a paycheck? No matter what your answers may be, you can choose to change your outlook and only you can choose to make working a good or a better experience.
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, 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?
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. There is one Sister, Sister H, who I am touched by because of her gentle acts of love for her Sister who cannot physically speak, but speaks through her hands and her eyes. Sister H is so gentle, caring and loving, and such an inspiration for those who witness her presence with this Sister. To some the Sister appears to be older who just lays in a chair, but Sister H knows that she is and does so much more. It is a heart to heart encounter.
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, 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
There have been several occasions where 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.
Happy feast day 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 I am always greeted with a smile and conversation. I often see the receptionists engaging the Sisters in conversation. There is always a smile on their faces and if there is a question about something, they do their best to find an answer. 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 desk in the lobby 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.
This past summer I had the opportunity to volunteer 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 have been there, I have 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 treats 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 has the ability to help each Sister take their therapy and healing one step at a time. The staff and the volunteers help bring a sense of healing, wholeness and hope to the Sisters. While they are there in therapy there is personal surrender and a recognition that God is in control and that healing will occur as He sees best.
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 it 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. 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 is it that by your presence and your compassion others find comfort and encouragement? Do you see that you are also a messenger of God’s healing and mercy? God has chosen you to be His peace, to be His healing, to be His 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 when you lift someone up who has been knocked down and dragged around, 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 it is in being an instrument of healing that you also are healed. 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 has given you the ability and the grace to be what He wants and needs you to be.
Glimpse of God for the week of September 24, 2017
My Glimpse of God for this week came in and through many people, events and situations. As I look back on the painful events of the beginning of the week I probably would not have opened the door and invited them in, but now as I slowly heal, I realize that I would not want to close the door to keep them out. The events were spiritually transforming. I found myself in unexpected situations that were very painful and where I found myself clinging to God’s grace, strength and peace just to make it through.
My first Glimpse……God’s glimpses on Monday and Wednesday were when I unexpectedly had to endure two procedures that were very painful but through the compassion, care, empathy and concern of the doctors, nurses, the staff in the IR at FCCC, and John, I was able to endure the pain and discomfort with peace and strength. God’s glimpses were bright, lasting and comforting and I was given the grace to recognize them in the midst of the stuff that was going on.
On Friday, I had the privilege to be in the presence of the Delaware County Police Chaplains, as we were sworn in on the County level. These men and women are all dedicated to serving God and His people in crisis situations and at a moments notice. As we go out to the wounded to offer spiritual support, encouragement and consolation, we come back to be renewed in and through each other. We gathered as one group with one purpose, yet in the one, there were many parts of the Body of Christ represented. It is through these parts that the whole is strengthened, supported and healed. There were many diverse Glimpses of God present. His glimpse came in the persons and faiths of the various Protestant chaplains, the Jewish Chaplain, the Imam, the Pentecostal Chaplains, hopefully through me (the only Roman Catholic Chaplain), the very spiritual and uplifting DA Whalen and many police chiefs. God was alive! His name was praised! He confirmed us as His instruments to serve in this special ministry.
On Saturday, John and I had the privilege to have dinner with a very good friend. Maggie is a dear friend that I have known for many years. I got to know her, her husband Joe, and their dog Gracie while I was employed at my previous parish. Maggie is a very genuine, warm, and caring woman of faith. She is a person that exudes a deep peace and joy for life that is very contagious. Even when Joe passed away, I believe that it was her love for life and her joy for living that enabled her to grieve with a deep sense of peace and consolation. She is funny and I love her dearly. God the Son is her center, and the rays from the Son; her joy, love, peace, humor, friendship, authenticity and genuineness, are the gifts that He has placed in her heart to touch others, bring warmth and light to others and to connect others to Him.
I had a very glimpse filled week. How about you?
This week as we get through the autumn heat wave without complaining, let us continue to pray for those who are still suffering from Mother Nature’s fury of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria, and the earthquakes in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Although we may not be able to walk in the shoes of those who are suffering, we can have empathy and pray to God to better understand, and not judge, as they begin to rebuild their homes, strengthen their relationships, and lives their lives with their “new normal”.
Empathy is the ability to take of one’s shoes, either literally or spiritually, and begin to walk in the shoes of another who is suffering, whether near or far. Empathy involves forgetting one self; your aches and pains, your crosses, and your concerns for the moment, taking off one’s shoes, even with your blisters, sore feet, and the appearance of them being worn out from the journey, and allowing God to heal your soles and heart. As we seek to help and serve others, God in response heals our brokenness of heart and the pain in our soles, so that we may continue walk and touch others as His wounded healer.
SUNDAY -- “E” – for today, strive to be more empathetic and extend your compassion to someone you know that could use an ear to listen, a hand to build up, a heart to forgive or a word of comfort or consolation to ease grief? Is there someone that you know or don’t really know that you could reach out to? Someone that is alone, ill, hurting, grieving, estranged, or sad and possibly by your call or visit, card or gift will lift their spirit and give them hope? We all need to have hope; it gives us a reason to continue on the journey that perhaps is very difficult.
Did you ever feel hopeless? What gave or renewed your hope? Is God asking you to be His instrument of Hope to someone in need? What will your answer be?
MONDAY – “M” – for today, use your memory to build relationships. We all have memories, both good and bad, but they are both woven in the fabric of our life, our heart and our soul. We can choose to dwell on the bad and become bitter. We can also choose to look at the good and cherish them, speak about them, pray for those in them and be grateful to God for them. People come and go in our lives and place their memories in our heart.
Who in you life has expanded your heart? Healed your heart? Loved you beyond your imaginings? Who do you remember most? Who do you try to forget? Pray to God for all of them and seek His grace to remember fondly, forgive sincerely or cherish whole-heartedly.
TUESDAY – “P” – for today, allow yourself to find pleasure and delight in who you are, the beautiful person that God has created you to be, and the good that you do. You are God’s beloved son or daughter and He loves you unconditionally. You are His greatest creation, and He wants you not only to believe that but He wants you to live it out. You are God’s delight and He finds great pleasure in you.
As you pray, listen to Him and He will speak to your heart these joyful words.
WEDNESDAY – “A” for today, look for the awesome in and around you. Can you recognize it in creation, the sun rise and the sun set, the beautiful trees and landscaping that is carefully created and planted to bring joy and peace to those who place their eyes upon it? Do you see awesome in the mirror, and out the window? In your family, friends and other relationships?
Are you inspired and struck with awe when you attend Sunday worship, and experience with others the great and unconditional love of Jesus who gave up His life for you and comes to nourish you in the Eucharist?
How awesome is that?
THURSDAY – “T” for today, pray for a spirit of thanksgiving. Sometimes in life, when we bear heavy crosses or our life is very busy, we can forget to say thank you to God, others or even our self. We can fail to be thankful for the many gifts and graces that God that has given us that we experience through others and our life experiences.
Who or what are you thankful for? Do you tell them or God how blessed you are because of them? Do you tell God how your life has been changed because of His many graces and blessings, and that you are thankful? He rejoices in our thankful hearts, rejoice in your thankful heart. Amen
FRIDAY “H” for today, don’t worry, be happy. Happiness is a choice. We can choose to be happy in the midst of life and its circumstances, or not. God wants us to be happy, rejoice in His love, and share that joy and happiness with others. Happiness is not denial. Happiness reflects an inner strength and personal conviction. Happiness is humility because when one can choose to delight in life as one carries various crosses, one can begin to experience true happiness. Humility in the midst of pain or suffering is not ego or pride, but rather a recognition of God's presence and grace to see both the positive and negative in the light of His love, guidance and strength,
Are you happy or miserable? Can you recognize what you can be happy about, or are you blind because of your crosses? Worry does not bring peace or make one happy, but when we surrender and seek God’s grace as we live with our crosses, we can find true happiness and peace.
What are you searching for? Worried about? What is keeping you from feeling happy and delighting in the person that you are? Ask God for the grace to want to be happy and rejoice in the blessedness that surrounds you.
SATURDAY - “Y” for today, Can you yield to or surrender to God those worries, concerns, estranged relationships, pains that you are holding on to? God wants to heal you, bring you wholeness and lighten your cross, but you need to ask Him. If you feel free and are not holding onto anything, do you know someone that is heavily burdened and cannot seem to surrender to God and seek His grace to be free?
Yielding allows you to not only experience spiritual and personal freedom, but it also opens one’s eyes and heart to those gifts, blessing and graces that God always has ready for you. As you yield to God, do you feel freer and can you allow Him to embrace you now that your hands are open and your burden lighter?
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from someone that I have known for about 12 years. In those 12 years she has been a beacon of God’s light as a parent, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. She also is my hairstylist. Christine is a very giving person that I admire a great deal. She is always going out of her way to help others without looking for any praise or recognition. As I have gotten to know her, I have found that I can talk to her about anything and that she is able to discuss any topic with knowledge and insight. I see her as a glimpse of God because she lives the gospel as we are all called to; she is non-judgmental, merciful, understanding and loving. As a hair stylist, she is great at what she does and unlike many other professions, when one goes to her, they place their trust in her that she not only knows what she is doing, but that she does it very well. She helps people with their self-esteem by giving them a look that compliments them and makes them feel good both inside and out. I trust her completely and when I say that I want a style completely different and to do whatever she thinks is best, she knocks it out of the park. I think we can all agree that a bad haircut is not good. You can’t just make it better quickly, but with Christine, I have never had that experience and that is because as she gets to know her clients she sees what they like and what would look best on them.
We may not be hairstylists but we can all try to look at others and see the good in them and not the negative. We can strive to be more understanding and not judgmental.
Just like a bad haircut, when we say something harmful or hurtful, we cannot take it back or make it go away, we need to work on correcting it. There are some days where we might have a bad hair day and we are not happy, but it is those times where we need to practice patience and compassion so that we can be the good and genuine person that God created us to be.
This week, as we enter into the season of autumn, let us strive to let go of any negative thoughts, attitudes or emotions. Let the radiance and brilliance of mercy, compassion, love, understanding and selflessness be what people see in us as we try to be the tree that not only bears good fruit and whose leaves never fade, but genuinely looks good as well. We may not all be hairstylists, but we can all try to help others feel good by truly caring about them, listening to them, and being sincere as we are present to them.
For today, let us be sincere in what we say to others. It is nice to compliment others, but if we are not sincere, we are lying and misleading them. Sincerity comes from a heart that loves and is caring, not selfish or self centered. Can you see that God has given you a sincere heart, one that loves and does not count the cost or hold onto grudges?
Do you see that in your sincere words and actions, you have helped another recognize that they are God’s beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally and without limits?
For today, let us strive to be more thoughtful with and towards others. Being thoughtful requires being other centered and knowledgeable. When we take the time to get to know others, we get to know the true person and not the image or the façade that they try to present. Being thoughtful means seeing past the points or aspects of someone that we may not agree with or like, but seeing the good and the Christ like in them.
How thoughtful are you? How thoughtful are people towards you? Can you remember how you touched someone’s heart by your acts or words of thoughtfulness? Keep looking, God knows that you are thoughtful and He wants you to know it to.
For today, let us try to be more open to God’s wonders. Being young at heart is a gift. It means that we try not to get stuck in an attitude or disposition that is “old”, one that has no room for growth, openness, self-awareness or transformation. No matter what our number age is we can be old at heart at 21 or young at heart at 99. Being young at heart can make living life like a great adventure whereas being old at heart can make living life like a tedious challenge.
Are you ready for a great adventure? Can you prepare for the adventure, the journey, that Jesus has ready for you? The journey that promises that no matter what may come, you will not be overcome but will overcome, that your heart will not shrink but will be expanded?
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.
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 listen with our hearts and minds to God’s inspiration. Spiritual inspiration is when we are given the gift of God’s Holy Spirit that allows us to speak or write His words. Inspiration involves a personal surrender of our own words in speech or writing so that God’s words may be revealed through us.
When we feel inspired, we feel blessed that God has given us the words to speak perhaps at a difficult time or a time when we had no idea what we were going to say, but trusted that God would provide the words that needed to be said. Inspiration is when we choose to use His words and not ours, when we choose to trust in Him and not in what we think we need to say or write.
When was the last time that you felt inspired? Can you listen to the words of consolation, understanding, and empathy that you offered another and see that you were truly inspired?
FRIDAY - “S” = selfless
For today, when tempted to be selfish choose to be selfless, not with a grudge but with a smile. Being selfless or selfish, what do you want to be? Being selfless is about giving of one self for the good of others. To be selfless is a challenge because it goes against the devil’s desire for us to be selfish and self centered. When we seek to know about others for their good, to be sincere, to be learned, it is an act of selflessness. When we focus on our self and the desire to use the knowledge about others as a tool of power and control, that is selfishness. Being selfless is not easy, being selfish is.
Do you see that you are selfless and not selfish? What would others say? In your prayer, do you hear and listen as God gently speaks to you in gratitude for your acts of selflessness and thanks you for not choosing to be selfish instead? And…. even if you realize that you were selfish, can you listen as Christ speaks lovingly to you as HE did from the cross, Father forgive them for they know not what they do?
SATURDAY - “T’= trustworthy
When we can trust another and when someone trusts us, it is a gift. When someone betrays our trust, it hurts beyond any physical pain that we may endure. When we find someone that is trustworthy we know that we can open our hearts to them and be received with tender love and care, as well as with tough love, honesty and truth.
As you think of being trustworthy, can you think of a time where you were betrayed and how it felt? Can you remember if and when you betrayed another, maybe unintentionally or not, but in any case someone was hurt very deeply. Can you also think of how it feels to be trusted by another and how that feels? Jesus was trustworthy yet He was betrayed. As His followers we can expect to experience the same thing. Are you ready to forgive or seek forgiveness? Do you have an attitude of gratitude to God for those who He has placed on your path so that through your trustworthiness, they have come to see a glimpse of God in and through you?
My weekly Glimpse of God for this week comes as I glimpse on the forces of Mother Nature and not only how she wreaks havoc on people, but more importantly, how people come forth stronger and more determined to overcome her devastation with a greater love, compassion and concern for thier fellow man or woman, the orphaned child, the lost, the homeless, the elederly and the confused. We saw this with Harvey and now Irma is taking aim at Florida. John and I spent this past week in Orlando for vacation. Since John is retired Navy, we stay at the Shades of Green military hotel. It is awesome and ready for anything. As we became more aware of Hurricane Irma, we began to see how people go into hurricane protection mode and take all the necessary actions to protect everyone. They were great and well prepared.
They, as well as everyone at the airport was beyond helpful and generous, professional and prepared. They did all with a smile and helped all of us remain calm and focused, from the youngest to the elderly, from the stressed out parent to the physically challenged. All were treated with respect and not rushed. God's glimpses were in the midst of all: The parent with four young boys, to the parents with infants; all were patient, calm and ready to move forward where they and their children were safe and out of the danger and the threat of destruction..
Irma had already caused great devastation in the islands and was quickly making her way to Florida.
BUT as I reflect on the dangers and the damage that Mother Nature causes, I can not forget the damage, destruction and pain that human beings cause as we approach the 16th anniversary of 9/11, and the many people that lost their lives: the emergency personnel,
the fire and police, the unnamed heroes, the passengers on Flight 93 that gallantly fought back, the innocent victims in the towers, at the Pentagon and on the planes in New York, and Washington DC. There were 2997 people that were killed, over 6000 injured and so many whose lives were changed forever. Let us always thank God for our military who continue to fight for our safety and peace. May we never forget to pray for their safety and that they continue to fight with courage, determination and conviction. As they continue to offer the ultimate sacrifice of their life so that we can live in the freedom that our country was founded on, we can and should offer a daily prayer for them.We must never forget!
As we begin the new week with our continued prayers for the many victims of Harvey and now Irma, let us also continue to pray for the victims for 9/11 and how all of their lives were changed forever. All were victims and all lost loved ones. These loved ones were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, someones child, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends, There physical presence has been removed. They all will be missed and the grief will be painful and lasting. For all the deceased, the widows, the orphans, those lost forever in pain, grief, homelessness and unending fear, they all need our continued prayers, support and encouragment as we are beacons of God's hope and healing.They will need prayers and people to walk with them and help them rebuild their life one day at a time.
MONDAY - 9/11 - For today, let us pray for the gift of healing
Let us pray for all of those who were victims of 9/11 and lost their lives, Let us also remember those who witnessed the attacks and now live with the images and memories. They willl never go away. We are a strong nation. We will not be overcome or defeated by those who seek to use terror attacks to make their presence known. We are one. In the midst of the many candle light services, let us take a personal moment of silence to pray to God that he heal the broken and bring them to wholeness, comfort and peace especially to the widows and orphans as they rebuild their lives on the foundation of the love for those they lost Let us remember and pray for the the many emergency personnel that lost colleagues and have to continue to serve and protect without them having their back. Let us pray for our self that although we were not there, we are also victims in that our country was attacked and our sense of protection and safety was forever threatened. We cannnot take our physical or spiritual life for granted.
We must be smart and observant about our surroundings so that we can be safe.
We must be vigilant spiritually so that if we are called home we can approach God with peace and not be afraid.
TUESDAY - For today,let us thank God for the gift of peace
Let us pray to be God's instruments of peace to those who are seeking peace amid their inner turmoil and confusion. Let us offer peace through our words of consolation and understanding, forgiveness and truth. We are all in need of peace when we are confused and worried. Worry overtakes so many, instead of Concern. Worry is without Christ, Concern is with Christ. As you try to overvocme some of your worries, make them concerns, bring them to Jesus and others will see in you the peace that comes. Even Jesus needed help. We can not carry our cross alone or solve our problems. we only make them worst. Are you trying to solve your own problems, or overcome your guilt? Ask Jesus for His help and He will give you His peace in return. Don't forget to just say thanks.
WEDNESDAY - For today, let us thank God for the gift of love
Do you love yourself? Do you believe God loves you unconditionally? Do you believe that you are His greatest creation? You are, You are. You are loved beyond human measure. Look into the mirror and see the beauty that God created when He created you. You are loved and when you see that love within yourself, you can begin, or continue to be, that love through your mercy, joy, peace, and compassion for others. Thank God for His great unconditional, unending and merciful love for you.
THURSDAY - For today, let us thank God for the gift of joy
What are you joyful about? what brings you joy? Is it the beauty of a sunrise or suset? a flowerful garden, a child's smile, a finished project, a good health report, a day without pain, or an answer from God that surprised and excited you? How do you share your joy with others? Let them in to what brings you joy so that they may also have the opportunity to experience it in and through you. Thank God for His gift of joy that He gives you.
FRIDAY - For today, let us thank God for the gift of gratitude
Gratitude is fleeting. God gives us our very next breath. Do we realize that? God gave us Jesus, His only Son, who suffered and died for our sins. Do we thank Him in prayer? Do we receive the sacraments that He gave us to draw and keep us close to Him? Do you have a grateful or bitter heart?Seek God's mercy to let go of the bitterness so that you can see and better recognize the many gifts that He gives you so that you can experience true joy, peace, mercy and gratitude.
Thank God for the gift of yourself and the many joys and blessings that you are and bring to others. You are Gift.
SATURDAY - For today, let us thank God for the gift of hope
Are you hopeful? Do you believe that whatever is troubling you will get better? Do you believe that God offers hope and peace to bring you through the troubled times so that you can better recognize His presence and realize that you are not alone. Jesus walked and walks the journey, carries your cross and is there when you experience your good fridays, so that He can bring you to your Easter Sunday. Do you believe this? Thank God for the gift of Hope that will not only bring you through the difficult times, but will also allow you to help others through theirs
Glimpse of God for the week of September 3, 2017.
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from the strength and character of the people of Texas in light of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.
As I begin my glimpse of God for this week, I would like to offer my prayerful support and condolences to those who are the direct victims of Hurricane Harvey. I pray for those who are still waiting to be rescued and seeking shelter, that as they patiently and painfully wait, they not give up hope but rather grasp it with all of their might, power and strength for help will come.
I pray for those who are still searching for family members, friends, neighbors, that as they search and inquire frantically, that they rejoice and give thanks as they are told that their loved ones are safe and ok. For those who are given the devastating news that their loved ones are missing and presumed dead, that they find comfort and consolation in and through the people surrounding them and in God’s love for their loved ones as they see them resting in His loving embrace.
I pray for everyone who has been affected, both directly and indirectly, that as they try to understand and grasp the severity of this life changing act of mother nature, they are able to adjust to their new normal and what that will mean for them in these upcoming days, months and possibly years ahead.
I hope and pray for those in our area who have family members that have been affected. I pray that as they are either mourning the loss of their loved one’s life, worrying about their well being, or waiting to find out if they are ok and where they are, that they hold fast to prayer, that they cling to hope, and that they allow their faith to be their strength, courage and consolation through the difficult times ahead.
As I think about seeing a Glimpse of God, I see it not only in the people of Texas who have been devastated by Harvey yet not defeated, but in the many, many, many heroes assisting with the rescue efforts: victims helping victims, the First response teams: police, fire and EMTs, from all over the country to aid their fellow colleagues in the path of Harvey, FEMA, the ASPCA and various animal shelters, the National Guard, the American Red Cross, regular working people from across the country who desire to help and volunteer by donating their time, talent, and treasure to aid the victims in whatever way they can, the many worship communities that are praying for and donating their collections to the victims of Harvey and the relief efforts, the Sirius radio that is hosting an all channel on air donation program to the Red Cross, Catholic Charities, The Mennonite Disaster Relief Services, the Salvation Army, the Walmart stores who have raised over 25 million, and 6abc news that raised over 9 million in one day.
This is only a list of those that I have heard about, but I know that there are many others who desire to go unrecognized and desire only to do as they would have done to them.
I think that we can all agree that when a disaster occurs, our country and its residents see beyond color, race, creed, social, economic or political status and reach out to those in need with the utmost compassion, concern, and love. We come together to raise up those who have been beaten down, or so it seems, so that they can raise their heads high and believe that they will overcome and not be overcome or defeated by their new circumstances.
We are the United States of America. We stand for unity amidst diversity, disaster and dis-ease. To the people of Texas, we want you to know that we will walk together. We walk in front of you to show you to the light and keep all stumbling blocks out of your path, along side of you to help bear your burden, and behind you to keep you going forward and not give up. We are united in the suffering of the people in Texas, we are united in our resolution to help them recover and we come together to offer all that we have to those who have lost all that they had.
We try to be a glimmer of hope and sign of peace. We offer our gift of silence so that we can listen to their pain. We offer a shoulder to cry on when holding it all in is not an option. We offer our financial assistance not just for the long term, but also for the present moment. We donate whatever belongings we have that can help all those affected, men, women, children, babies, and the elderly. We try to witness to the gospel message, as we understand it; to be the Body of Christ, to do unto others, as we would have them do unto us. We grieve with them and we rejoice with them. We pray that God expand our hearts so that the traumatized can open theirs and we conclude the day with silence to remember those who did not survive, those still missing and those presumed dead but unable to be located.
May eternal life be granted to them and may God’s perpetual light shine upon them.
O Lord, although Harvey is a big force to be reckoned with, You are a greater force that will bring hope, healing and wholeness to those who Harvey has touched, seemingly destroyed, deeply devastated and changed forever. Harvey cannot and will not diminish the people of Texas’ hope, crush their spirits or break their silence as the voice in the wilderness that cries out; prepare for our rebuilding, our renewal, our rebirth and our transformation as a neighborhood, community, city, town, state and people. As we look into the eyes of Harvey, may we recognize how you have given your people the greatest instruments to overcome such devastation, the instruments of love, compassion, empathy, hope, healing and promise.
We are HARVEY in that with the people of Texas we will be the beacons of:
H – HOPE - we are a people of hope and not despair; we are a people that will not be defeated or allow others to think or believe that they are.
A – ADMIRATION – We are a people that admire those in Texas for your strength, fortitude, conviction and determination. We admire you and hope to reflect your strength and courage in our life when faced with such deep devastation.
R – RESILIENT - we are a people that are resilient in that we will not only bounce back from this devastation, but we will have a bigger and better bounce in our step.
V – VOICE – we all have a voice, we have a voice that will not be buried or our sounds muted.
E – EARS – we are the ears to hear and listen with compassion to the cries of the poor and devastated: the lost children, the orphans, the widows, the lonely, the confused and the forgotten. Our ears are open and ready to listen.
Y – YOU - we are your creation Almighty God. Thank you for creating us and allowing us to see a glimpse of your goodness in the many acts of compassion, heroism, assistance, and love of the people near and far from the path of Harvey. You are the foundation of the many wonderful, profound, simple and humble acts of kindness that have been and will continue to be extended to help the people of Texas. Thank you Lord for all the people who have responded to the voice of your Holy Spirit and have come to the financial, medical, physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological aid of those in need.
Harvey destroyed but we will all come together and rebuild, renew, and restore the hope and spirit of the people of Texas
Eastern State Penitentiary is my Glimpse of God for this week.
Let me explain how I come to my Glimpse of God each week. That way this week’s may make some sense.
Each week when I prepare to write my weekly Glimpse of God, I have to reflect on where God has revealed Himself during the week, and what is the message that He calling me to share with my readers. I believe that God is everywhere and that He reveals Himself in the ordinary situations and circumstances of our life so that we can and are able to recognize Him more clearly. A glimpse can be fleeting, but it still gives us a peek at the presence of God revealed in people, places, events circumstances and situations in our life.
Eastern State Penitentiary located at 2027 Fairmount Avenue in Philadelphia. PA, was the world’s first true penitentiary, which held criminals such as Al Capone and Willie Sutton. Cells were for 1 person with a narrow skylight and the only reading material was a Bible. Eastern State Penitentiary opened in 1829 and closed in 1971. It is open today for public tours.
So how is Eastern State Penitentiary a Glimpse of God? How will you be able to relate it to, or pray with, this coming week? I am not really sure, but here is what I know and have been inspired to share with you.
Without getting into the complete history of the Penitentiary, I want to point out its purpose and how it impacted the life of the prisoners. The Penitentiary was built to inspire true penitence or regret in the hearts of the prisoners. It was not about punishment bur rather personal reform. The cells were made of concrete with a single glass skylight representing the “Eye of God”. This was to remind the prisoners that God was always watching them and that they could not hide from Him. The only book that they were given was the Bible and prisoners were encouraged to attend religious services.
As I reflect on the idea of penitentiary, I cannot help but think of our spiritual life here on earth and how we are called to be penitent, believing that God loves us unconditionally, that He is always with us no matter what we have done, that His Word is all we need to live by and that we cannot hide from Him.
Eastern State Penitentiary was created for prisoners so that they can see the error of their ways, repent and reenter society as reformed individuals. They were there because they got caught and found guilty of a crime. They were not there to be punished but rather to recognize their sins, be sorry, and reform. It was about spiritual and personal conversion and transformation.
We as humans are sinners and at times we are our own judge and jury. We realize that we have sinned, and instead of asking God for His forgiveness, and trusting that He will forgive us, we carry a vast load of false guilt. We convince our self that we are unworthy, unforgivable and therefore not worth His time.
Our life here on earth can be likened to the penitentiary in that we recognize that we are sinners but more importantly, we recognize that God doesn’t want to punish us for our sins. He wants us to see the error of our ways, feel remorse, seek to change and recognize above all else, that He loves us unconditionally and there is no sin that will make Him love us less, that there is no sin greater than His mercy. God is watching over us and never takes His eyes off of us. When we sin, it is very hard for God because He knows what is best for us, but yet we choose to go against His will and choose what we want. He cannot interfere because He gave us a free will and it is up to us to freely give our will to Him and live, as He wants us to.
There are many times that we become prisoners of our sin, and in and through guilt, shame, pride, and ego we find our selves locked up, unable to free our self so that we can live as God’s beloved children. We allow others, society, and culture to dictate our actions and thoughts so that we become soldiers in a war against God and not for Him.
Our penitentiary can be the wall that we build in our homes, our work, schools or communities. We can build walls that will keep others away, or we can tear them down and allow others in through the power of love and reconciliation. God knows our hearts and it is in that knowledge that He patiently waits for us to see His light and come to a true sense of remorse so that we can seek His mercy.
This week let us see how repentance is God’s gift to us so that we can experience His healing and mercy.
SUNDAY - “P” - Peace
True peace can only come from God. When you seek to be a peacemaker, you become His instrument, not only of peace, but also of truth, joy, love, pardon, faith, hope, and light. When you are sorry or when others apologize, you have the opportunity to allow God’s deep peace to enter not only your heart, but also the heart of others. Can you allow God’s Holy Spirit to penetrate your heart so that that He can erase any guilt and replace it with His deep abiding peace? Can you extend His peace to those who are burdened?
MONDAY -“E” – Embrace
To be embraced, one needs to let down their guard and let others get close. An embrace can be an expression of love, peace, forgiveness, reconciliation, or joy. To allow oneself to be embraced is the moment when you recognize that no matter what you have done, God is there ready to embrace you and fill you with His love. Can you open your arms and allow the God of all embraces to fully embrace you?
TUESDAY - “N” – Nothing
There is nothing that can or will keep God’s love away from you. There is no sin that is greater than God’s love for you. There is nothing that God won’t forgive if you are sincere in your remorse, penance and desire to change. Is there anything that stands in the way of your experiencing the deep and lasting peace that God wants for you? Let nothing stand in the way of allowing God to touch your heart and expand it so that you can love Him more deeply and share His love with others.
WEDNESDAY - “A” – Allow
Can you allow yourself to experience peace and joy? Can you allow others in your life, your heart, so that the walls you may have set up to protect yourself can be slowly broken down so that trust, mercy and compassion can be built up? Can you allow yourself to experience the peace that comes from contrition, reconciliation and remorse and not allow guilt, shame or pride stand in the way?
THURSDAY - “N” –Newness
Forgiveness, peace, mercy, compassion, reconciliation, and freedom, bring us to experience a newness of life in our body, mind and spirit. Penance is a gift. Peace is a gift. Prayer is a gift. The gift of God’s life within us in and through the sacraments, especially Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation, allows us to be renewed so that we can experience His gift of a new start in His direction. Are you ready to take that walk and see all things new?
FRIDAY - “C” – Compassion
You were created in the image and likeness of God. You are His beloved son or daughter. God loves you unconditionally. Compassion rejects hatred, judgment, prejudice, gossip, self- centeredness, selfishness, and pride. Compassion allows love to penetrate the deepest place of our being where darkness and sin reside. Christ extended His compassion to the sinner. He saw trough their pain and weakness to their heart and touched them in a way that transformed them. Compassion is the catalyst that allows love to reign over hatred, peace over injury, and reconciliation over division. Where in your life is compassion needed and how are you being called to fill that need?
SATURDAY -“E” – Empathy
When you are empathetic, you share your gift of understanding and compassion. When you are called to be empathetic,you are called to be selfless and not selfish. To extend empathy to another is to extend an open heart and mind as you listen to their story and circumstances. Your empathy allows one to enter in so that you can better understand their journey and follow in their footsteps and walk in their shoes. Do you think that you are empathetic? As a sinner and as person who has been wronged, can you be sympathetic and empathetic to those who have wronged you and extend the olive branch of peace, kindness and forgiveness
My Glimpse of God comes from a very obvious but not so obvious situation and location, the service department at Murphy Ford and Chris the Service Advisor. As you might remember from my Glimpse of God from last week, my car had a few issues and had stopped working twice while we were in Lancaster, but due to the generosity and kindness of strangers, we were able to get home safely.
Once Monday had come, I contacted an automobile towing service to come and tow the car to Murphy Ford so that it could be repaired. I had contacted Chris at Murphy Ford to let him know that the car would be getting towed to Ford that day. As the car had died twice, and the battery was just replaced in the past year by the same auto towing company that I just called, I did not think that it was the battery. The gentleman came from the towing service and as soon as he looked at the situation, he said that he knew what the problem was, appeared to fix it and left. I thought wow, a quick fix, where I thought that it was going to be a costly one. The quick fix was no fix. As he appeared to fix the problem, he told me that all I needed to do is let the car run for 1.5 hours and all would be fine. Once I turned the car off, it was dead all over again.
I contacted the towing service to let them know what happened, that I needed it to be towed to Murphy Ford, and could they send another tow truck. I contacted Chris at Murphy Ford and he told me that they were completely booked but that he would try to have the car looked at just for an initial diagnosis, but it was too tight to have it repaired. We had to rent a car so that we could leave the car at the dealer.
Anyway…where is the Glimpse of God in the midst of all this?
Chris, in service, was and has always been very helpful and even as the saga about the car battery unfolded, he seemed to want to go the extra mile to fix the problem. He exudes many qualities of what someone who is truly service and people oriented possess. It is no coincidence that he works in service because he is always ready to help the customer see that they get the best job done. He does not force any unnecessary costs upon you, but suggests what he thinks is best so that you can extend the life of your vehicle. The way that he listened to me talk about the towing experience, and did his best to fit me in the busy schedule showed that he does care about the customer and that it is not just a job. Throughout the day and the following days, he showed his concern by his professionalism, knowledge and sense of humor.
As we begin this week, let us reflect on what it means to be service oriented. We are all called to be service oriented as followers of Jesus and children of God. Being service oriented, helping others, is a gift that God gives us. When we come out of our self, we are able to see the needs of others and not just our own. We become selfless and not selfish. Our jobs can help us to become more service oriented, but our faith is the greatest way to recognize this.
Sunday – “S” – Selfless
No matter how busy Chris is, he always seems to make the time to listen and help. He never makes me feel like a burden or a problem.
Today, as you rest on the Sabbath, take time to reach out to someone who needs to be lifted up. As you find yourself feeling down or challenged, make a greater attempt to serve another who is need by praying for them, visiting them or calling them.
Monday – “E” – Enthusiastic
Chris, as well as those at Murphy Ford, is always enthusiastic. They all appear to enjoy their job and communicating with their customers.
Each day, we have the opportunity to share our enthusiasm. I am not talking about over the top giddiness, but rather a humble recognition of the joy that is rooted within and that we want to share with others. Our enthusiasm can stem from the realization of the great love that God has for us and that we have for Him, the love of spouse, family, friends, community, the gift of our children, grandchildren, pets, job or in the beauty of nature. The enthusiasm that we share can be the spark through the stubble of another’s pain, loneliness, ill health, and can lead them to a greater sense of hope and peace.
What makes you enthusiastic? Who can you share your enthusiasm with? Whose life will be blessed with some of God’s love, grace, and joy when you share your enthusiasm for His life within you and that surrounds you?
Tuesday – “R” – Repair
When something is broken and is in need of repair, whom do you go to? Usually a professional whose expertise will remedy the situation, fix the problem and allow you to move forward with very little worry or concern. We can go to the car dealer to have our car fixed because we know that thy have the expertise and ability to fix the problem. We are able to recognize that we do not have the knowledge that they have and they are better equipped and trained.
Who do you go to when your souls or spirit seem broken and in need of repair? I believe that we all have experienced some type of brokenness, betrayal, hurt or isolation. In your spiritual life, when your spiritual life, your prayer life is hurt and in need of healing, you go to God in prayer. Prayer is the remedy that will allow you to become the wounded healer so that you can reach out and help others. God is waiting for you to come to Him in and through your extension of peace, reconciliation, mercy, compassion, love and prayer. What in your life needs to be repaired? It is a relationship, possession, or a personal problem? Where will you go, who can fix it?
Wednesday – “V” – Vigilant
As I endured the car battery saga, I was reminded that it is in and through the help others gave that I was able to see a glimpse of God where I might have missed it. I choose to take care of my car and keep it in good condition because it is a gift that I have been entrusted with. God gives us many gifts, but they are not to replace or come before Him. Our spiritual life, our prayer life with God that it witnessed by our service and sacrifice to and for others shows how we keep vigilant over the temptation to chose others before God.
Are you vigilant in your spiritual life? Do you care about your spiritual life here on earth as much as you care about cars, houses, or job? Do you invest in prayer to protect you and keep you from choosing things that will take you away from God and His will for you? What do you guard as most important? Does it bring you closer to God or take you away?
Thursday - “I” - Industrious
Those at the car dealer are very hard working and industrious individuals. They take their job very seriously and perform them with a courteous and professionalism that is tops.
How industrious are you when it comes to building up and strengthening your spiritual relationship with God, others and self? It can take a lot of work to keep your relationship with God as a top priority. There never seems to be enough time to pray or reach out in service to organizations or people that need help. Your spiritual life, how you look at God will first depend how you look at your self. Do you see your self as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally, and called by name?
You are His greatest creation and because of that your spiritual foundation has been put down and now you need to cultivate it and help it grow. How will your garden grow?
Friday – “C” – Courteous
I think sometimes people forget what it means to be courteous to others and to treat others with respect. I have not experienced that at Murphy Ford.
I have found all to b very courteous and respectful. That comes from within them.
How hard for you is it to be courteous all of the time? Especially when you are stressed, tired, angry or frustrated? When we take out our negative moods on others, we are being very disrespectful of them and this can cause great hurt and injury to your relationship with them.
Is it your plan to hurt another or just find release from your frustration? Reach out of your self and seek someone that exudes God’s courteousness and you will receive it back a hundredfold.
Saturday – “E” – Experienced
We all have been gifts that require different experience, knowledge and expertise. We seek out others who are professionals to fix our problems. We seek God to help us resolve our problems, and situations most likely after we realized that we couldn’t fix them our self.
Where is your experience in? What has God blessed you with that will help you be His glimpse, beacon, light to others? Is it you compassion, mercy, empathy? Is your job a place where you can keep God alive or is He dead? Do others come to you for help and leave you with a sense of satisfaction? You are experienced, knowledgeable about many things; do you know what they are?
How have you helped others? There is your answer.
My glimpse of God came through very clearly today in Lancaster as my car just stopped running and people were very quick and caring to help us get back on the road. It was amazing in one sense but not surprising in another. John and I were going to Lancaster to see the show “Ryan and Friends”. We had seen him perform a few times in the past, and noticed that he was back in the area, so we were going to see one of his shows at Hershey Farms. We would strongly recommend seeing his show if you are in need of a good, healthy, blessed laugh with other like-minded individuals.
It was a beautiful sunny day. We were going to not only see a show, but also to stop at a few of our favorite places in Lancaster along the way. We arrived at our first place in “Paradise”, and all was well. When we went to leave and proceed to the next stop the car just was done, dead, not willing to even turn over. There was nothing, no lights, no sounds, and no power.
Since we did not know what was wrong, we started with the battery. We had asked an older gentleman that was at the store complex if he could help us. We thought that it was the battery; we had cables, so hopefully this would be the quick solution. It was amazing, because the way we were parked in the lot and how he needed to get his truck over to our car was going to be challenge. He needed to move around other cars and pull up to our car in a way that at first, he thought would not work. But then he said since he was the owner he could do what he wanted, so he asked a car to move so that he could pull his car next ours, and they were gracious and happy to. He jumped our car; it turned over and with a grateful heart and words of gratitude and blessing we left.
We proceeded to Hershey Farms where the show was being held. Once again just as we stopped and turned off the ignition, it died again. At that point we figured we would get something to eat, see the show and then seek out help to get us on the road again. We saw the show and once we got to the car and opened the hood, two individuals came over and asked if we needed help. We did, they were quick to give us a jump, we said thank you and left again.
The care, concern and graciousness of strangers to assist us in our need was shown so vividly and was very genuine. God was in the two men that helped us get back on the road, in those who graciously moved their cars so that we could get the battery jumped, in Ryan of the “Ryan and Friends Show” as he performed, in the clerks that we met at Sight and Sound Theater, and talked about how dogs are the main focus in life, in those who attended the show by their genuine care and concern for each other, and in all the others we encountered on the way. There was a deep sense of peace, joy and happiness in everyone we met on our journey today.
God gave us another beautiful day to be together and enjoy the gift of His creation. Some people may have gotten angry or frustrated, but we saw it as a great day with a challenge to conquer. The forecast for rain didn’t come to fruition. The sun was shining, we saw a great show, we met some very nice people, we enjoyed the beauty of Lancaster, and we arrived to our destinations safely. It was a great day.
As we begin a new week, and are faced with some heavy duty or light weight challenges, let us try to see them as blessings to grow with and share and not as obstacles that cannot be overcome.
SUNDAY -The car simply stopped running…
Sometimes we feel like our spiritual journey is too difficult, we can’t seem to pray, we think that we are not worthy of asking God for what we need or want, we think that God isn’t listening to us, so we just stop praying. We need to be revived, renewed, and refreshed, but how? When a car stops running a mechanic repairs it, and this can be very costly financially.
When our spiritual life stops growing and we are suffering from burnt out, we cannot run to a human mechanic, but rather we need to turn to God, the Divine Healer and Mechanic.
We need to turn to prayer and not to our own human capabilities. Personal prayer, the Eucharist, the Sacraments of the Church, Spiritual Guidance or Direction is what keeps our spiritual life in great condition. Without these, our life, our relationship to God, self and others, is empty and powerless. Personal prayer keeps us running to God and it allows us to feel His loving embrace in the midst of our struggles and crosses.
Thought for today: Take a moment to thank God for the gift of faith that allows you to grow closer to Him and to each other. God will fill you with His graces and blessings as you live this day in His love. Do you believe that?
MONDAY – Thought it was the battery, so we had it jumped…
Sometimes in our spiritual life, we think that we have everything under control and we don’t need God’s help. We try to do, fix, or solve our problems, dilemmas or differences on our own and leave God at a distance. When we think that we know what we are doing, we then proceed on our terms, with our resolutions and our solutions.
The problem with that is only God knows our hearts and what is best for us, so when we try to fix things on our own, it is like charging the battery, the battery is not the problem, it may work temporarily, but the main source of the problem still exists.
In our faith life, when we leave God at a distance and try things our way first, it can often be our pride, shame, sinfulness, lack of understanding about God’s love and mercy, or guilt, whatever it is that keeps us from seeking His help. God never leaves us, He happily and anxiously waits for us to come to Him and ask for His help. When we leave God out of our life and try to live it alone, we can feel empty and spiritually lethargic.
Thought for today: Reflect on God and your personal relationship with Him through your prayer life. What is keeping it from being fully charged and powerful? What are you holding on to that is taking your physical, emotional, and spiritual energy and leaving you in need of a jump or charge?
God isn’t a temporary fix like a band-aid, but the Divine Physician. He will reveal to you what you need to know to grow closer to Him, to experience His healing and to become whole.
TUESDAY - We thought that it would be best not to make any other stops but go directly to where the show was being held……
In light of the situation, we realized that it would be best not to take any chances with unnecessary driving, so we went directly to the show.
How often does God answer your prayers and reveal to you the path that He wants you to take? Do you follow His path or take unnecessary routes to get or accomplish what you want instead?
Thought for today: Look at the direction that you are choosing to take and ask God if that is the path He wants you to go or ask for the grace to take the right path even if it not the one that you want to take? Just remember it is never too late to turn back.
WEDNESDAY – As we were driving, the car was sputtering and making little noises….
Our faith life is like the sputtering of the car; we are not always going full strength. We find our self taking little baby steps with big decisions, we take our time and try to be careful. God gives us the strength, grace and the energy to carry our cross, to take the path and the risk to do the right thing, but sometimes the sputtering is the enemy trying to divert us or take us off track. We can chose at our lowest time to quit or give up, but God wants us not to only continue, but also to recognize that the negative voices are not from Him so that we can stand stronger and more self determined as we seek to do His will.
Thought for today: What is the enemy’s voices sound like that wants you to, tries to, divert you from doing God’s will and not your own? How does the enemy reveal himself to you? Guilt? Shame? Failure? Weakness? Brokenness?
Only through God’s Holy Spirit, will you hear His voice and will direct you to the right path and bring you true peace, joy, happiness and truth. The enemy appeals to our ego, the Holy Spirit appeals to our heart. What holds greater importance to you, the expansion of your ego or the stretching of your heart? Where does God find a resting place?
THURSDAY - It died again, once we turned the engine off…
Sometimes even after we had a strong start and we feel we can accomplish anything. It is those times, when we omit God, turn away from Him who is our power and strength, and fall into sin and can’t seem to get up again. That is when the enemy tries to keep us down.
If we allow our sinfulness and weakness to keep us down, no matter how much we try, we will not be able to get up and go forward. God’s grace, love, mercy, compassion received through the sacrament of reconciliation, is the charge that we need to get up and go forward without looking back.
Faith, God, and Prayer are not momentary things. They have to be at the very core of our being.
The temptation for us as humans is that once we see that we are going forward and things are working in our favor, we turn inward and take the credit, thus creating a big ego where there is little room for God.
Thought for today:Where is God’s hand in your life today? Is He is with you as you fall, reaching out His hand to lift you up again? Is He is with you as you travel, walking hand in hand? Is He with you as a stranger, reaching out His hand to help another stranger? Is He with you as an instrument of healing and reconciliation reaching out His hand to offer peace and mercy?
Where are your hands? In His, at your side, hidden, clasped, or behind your back? Are they open or closed?
FRIDAY - Once again, the kindness of strangers got us off and running…..
Glimpses of God come in and through His children. His beloved sons and daughters are His greatest glimpse in a world where many have their hearts and eyes closed to God and His presence in their life. When strangers assisted us, we were assisted by Christ as He chose to reveal Himself.
In our world today, we run from strangers, we tell children not to talk to strangers, we fear strangers and we judge strangers. Why, because we don’t know them, where they came from or where they may be going. Yet in reality, we are all strangers to one another until we wish to reveal our self to them. When a stranger reaches out to another stranger, it is the person of Christ reaching out and calling us to trust and accept His hand when he extends it to us.
A stranger called compassion reached out to us and we, a stranger called trust and gratitude, accepted His hand.
Thought for today: Is compassion, faith, trust, God, love, mercy, and truth, strangers or friends?
Take a look at what you call a stranger or friend. Do you know any strangers that you want to invite in invite back, like compassion, truth and mercy or are they your friends? Where is God? Is He a God that you know and communicate with on a regular basis or are you in a long distance relationship?
Adapt! Be flexible, if you learn to live without something, when you do receive it you will appreciate it more. All is gift. Appreciate the many gifts that God has given you: faith, family, friends, home, health, employment, and be grateful.
Thought for today: If any of your gifts are not in their best condition, if some are broken down, others are ill, some are estranged, pray for the grace to see the gift that they still are to you and for you, and in your flexibility and openness, you will come to know and see God more clearly.
FYI. the car is dead as it can be. It needs a really good mechanic, but I have to say that the day was great, the presence of God, the many glimpses of God, were seen in surprising and wonderful ways. The trip was very rewarding, relaxing and quite entertaining. God revealed Himself in nature, in others, in our marriage and in the peaceful drive to and from Lancaste
My Glimpse of God for the week of August 6. 2017
This week’s Glimpse of God comes in various conversations that I have had on the telephone. The presence of God within the telephone conversations automatically came out when others reached out to talk to me. There was a trust and courage present that enabled one to pick up the phone knowing that it would be a difficult conversation. The glimpse was in the actual conversation that took place, in the words that were exchanged between two people that care about each other, and in the visualization that took place as I spoke to the other.
God’s Glimpse can be seen not only in the various elite forms of communication such as Facetime, Skype, Email, Voice mail, and Text messaging, but also in the simple form of a telephone conversation. The Glimpse is in the conversation that takes place and the method or instrument that God chooses for us to use is an added gift.
What is conversation? Whether it be in person or on a telephone, I believe that it is the shared thoughts, feelings, ideas, life experiences and events that are spoken between two people; privately, openly and without fear and with great trust. There are many other types of phone conversations, like job interviews, sales calls, and scheduling of appointments, but the more important ones are those where personal interest and well being are discussed, feelings are shared and a sense of care, concern and love are the basis for the dialogue. A good conversation is when you can hear the pitch; tone and volume of the voice on the other end, and with your heart listen to where they are coming from and where you might help them get to.
The conversations that are on my mind, and I hold fondly to, are the ones that I had with various family members, good friends, acquaintances and supportive medical personnel. In all of the conversations that I took part in, I found myself listening to a variety of emotional levels. There were high levels of stress, personal frustration, fear, professional frustration, and anxiety, but there were also high levels of acceptance, faith, trust, compassion, mercy and love. As I talked with many this past week I was able to hear in their voice, where they were coming from and could envision their facial expression as well as their body language. The conversations were healing, touching, and gifts from God. God showed Himself not only in the presence of the person on the other end, but also in the inspiration and the guidance that came through the words that were shared.
As we begin a new week, I would like to focus on the various methods or tools that are used in conversation and how they can all be instruments where God not only reveals Himself through the words expressed, but more importantly in and through the people that are exchanging them.
SUNDAY – Prayer
The best form of conversation comes in and through our prayer time. When we take the time to pray, we are placing ourselves in the presence of our Creator, Lord and Redeemer with open hands and trusting heart. Our prayer time is a time where God speaks to our hearts and gives us the graces we need so that we can continue to see Him more clearly, love Him more dearly and follow Him more nearly each and every day. It is a time where we can express our deepest feelings, concerns, fears, weaknesses, prayers of gratitude, and blessings and know that not only does God hear us, but He listens with a forgiving, compassionate and loving heart. It is the most blessed and strengthening conversation that we can have and it is by no mistake that we begin each week in Prayer and Worship. Each day God gives us the opportunity to be at prayer: It can be memorized prayer, rote prayer, simple prayers or prayers from the heart. God is pleased and happy to hear prayers in whatever forms they take because when we pray and lift up our minds and hearts to Him, we are choosing to converse with our God and creator, reverencing Him and putting Him first whereas many choose not to.
For today, ask God to bless all of the conversations that you will have. May He bless your words and the words of those you are speaking with, so that in and through them, you both may come to know, hear and listen to God’s voice speaking through you.
TUESDAY – Text Messaging
Text messaging is important and necessary for us to keep up with people especially when we are not able to speak with them directly. As we text, we are conveying what we feel is necessary for the recipient of the text to know. As you text someone, try to see them as they read your text and how they will respond. Why do you text? Are you texting to purposely avoid talking to them because of your or their situation, experiences or circumstances? Do you text because is it not a good time to talk? Do you text because it is easier than conversation? Is there a need to be reconciled or to forgive or to ask for forgiveness and words would be difficult to speak or hear so texting seems easier?
For today, if you are about to text someone, first think if it would be more beneficial to you and him or her, if you were to have a conversation with him or her. If it would, then make a resolve to reach out to them in and with a personal conversation.
WEDNESDAY – Face Time
Face time is great because you can see the person; their body language and their facial expression, you can hear the tone and volume of their voices, as well as their level of joy or anxiety, peace or frustration. Face time is a double blessing.
For today, when and if you face time, make it a prayer face time. As you look at the person on the other end of the phone, take a moment to thank God for the gift of their life in yours. When we can see each other face to face, we are looking into the depths of their soul through their eyes, in their voice, by their expressions and their trust as they speak with us.
Imagine you are face timing with God, what does that look like? What is His expression as you speak to Him? Is He smiling at you? Laughing with you? Crying with you? Can you see Him wanting to embrace you and touch you? Allow your prayer face time to be a time where you see God’s face. Listen to Him as He talks to you in love because you are His beloved child, His greatest creation and He wants to remind you of how special you are to Him.
THURSDAY – Voice mail
Voice mail is something that we use when we cannot seem to catch up with someone on the phone. We end up having to leave a voicemail message about why we called and needed or wanted to talk.
When we leave a voice mail, we are missing an important aspect of personal interaction and communication. We are not given the opportunity to see or hear the person that we are trying to reach or that is trying to reach us. This creates a void as to how the person is doing, what is going on in their life and in ours. Voice mail can let someone know that you are trying to reach him or her and that you want to talk with him or her. With voice mail you are given the opportunity to hear the other person’s voice or they get to hear yours.
For today, if you should have to leave a voice mail or receive one, think of the person on the other end. Say a prayer, that as you listen to their voice or they listen to yours, that the Spirit of God speak through them as they continue to be the breath and life of God through their voice, in their words and by their actions.
FRIDAY – Email
Email is an essential aspect to living today. We are emailing people near and far. Email is great to let someone know what is going on in your life when you do not or cannot actually speak to him or her. We use email to let loved ones and friends know what is going on in our life when we are not able to call them. Email has been a salvation to many grandparents whose grandchildren are away and are not able to call, but are able to send an email keeping them up with current events in their life. When we email, we are sending information to another where they cannot see us, or our facial expression or our body language. When we receive an email we are receiving words. It is up to the recipient to connect those words with the person who is sending them and read into what is happening in their life.
For today, if you are going to send an email to a loved one or friend, think of what you are trying to convey through your email and the person to whom you are sending it. Pray that God speaks to their heart the words and the experience that you need them to know.
SATURDAY – Phone conversation
Phone conversation is what started this glimpse and what I will use to complete it. It is through phone conversation and personal dialogue that we get to know what is happening in the lives of those we love and care for. Although we cannot talk to everyone that we love and care for, all those on our contact list, we can pray for them. Phone conversation allows one not only to hear our voice but we can hear theirs. God gives us a voice to speak His words and spread His message. It is through our voice that others learn of, become more familiar with, get closer to, the God that not only created them but also loves them unconditionally.
For today, when you are talking on the phone with a loved one or friend, imagine God is the connection that brought you together, that allows you to speak openly and honestly with each other, and allows you to be His instrument of empathy, healing, forgiveness, mercy, compassion, understanding, peace, joy, happiness, hope,love and laughter. As you talk on the phone, remind yourself that it is not a call in vain, but a call in love and service.
This week’s Glimpse of God comes from what I often look at yet do not always stop to recall their meaning or their story. I quickly take a glance at them and then move on. I remember the people, pets and the events yet I don’t stop long enough to mindfully celebrate them. I believe that in most of them, there is often more than a glimpse of God, but rather a bigger picture of God: His love, His presence, His peace, His grace, His humor and His compassion. I see God in and through the various people, pets, events and celebrations that sit still before me in the pictures that I have placed all throughout our home.
Up until I met John, I didn’t have many pictures that I could look at and celebrate. I had a few, but not of family members only dear friends. Due to my upbringing, I had destroyed any childhood photos because they represented the many lies and deception that I had grown up with. (You can read about my life in my book: Shopping for Lighter Cross)
When I met John, we had begun to build up memories and we celebrated them with pictures. Wherever we went with John’s mom or dad, we took many photos, whenever we took the dogs to visit mom or attend various walks/runs, we took pictures, and whenever we hit milestones in our relationship we took pictures. You can say that we were and still do enjoy taking pictures because the people, events and celebrations are important and we don’t want to forget exactly what things looked like. Once I met John I began to realize how important pictures were, and how they held onto good memories and allowed us to remember and recall them instantly in our mind or in conversation with anyone who asked or inquired. I believe that in all the pictures that we hold onto, we hold some dearer than others because of whom we have captured in the photograph and the significance of their relationship to us.
For me, the one picture that I often look at and smile is of our wedding where Father John is walking both John and me up the aisle. I had asked Father John to give me away since he had been a father figure to me for over 25 years at the time of our wedding. When I look at that photo, I see not only the two men who have truly taught me the meaning of what love is through their presence, compassion, friendship, and care, I see how God brought us all together. We were united in married love by the presence and love of one for his holy priesthood. Father John’s love for Christ and being called to serve the Church as a priest has been the healing presence for me for over forty years.
This week as you look at the many or few photographs that you have placed in your home, take time to look at and remember the person, event, and significance of their relationship to you.
If it is a wedding picture or a picture of your spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings, or parents, take a moment to see God in the picture. Take a moment to look beyond the photo and see the hand of God in, through and behind the person or event. See how much of a better person you are because of your parents, siblings, friends, spouse, children, or grandchildren. Take a moment to imagine how different you would be if that person never entered your life.
God chooses to place people in our life not to harm us, but to help us grow into the best person that we can and have the potential to become. We don’t usually have pictures of the painful moments, only the still ones that we hold onto in our minds. We may have memories that cause us pain to recall, but God can heal us if we ask and truly desire healing.
As you enter your place of Worship, I believe that you will see a crucifix or cross in a prominent place in the sanctuary. The Crucifix reminds us of the great love that Jesus has for us when He chose to die on the cross for our sins. He freely chose to suffer and die so that we may have life eternal with Him when our earthly journey has ended. None of us were there when Jesus walked this earth or when He walked to Calvary. We are given the crucifix to remind us that He did walk on this earth, that He did choose to suffer His passion, and that He freely chose to die on the cross for us. The cross is not something that we should just glance at as we pass by it, but rather it is an eternal reminder etched on our hearts of the love that God has for us. God is present, God is real, God created us to know, love and serve Him and the best way that we can do this is to remember and walk in the way of the cross knowing that Jesus is always with us.
A collage is a gathering of many photographs that we hold to be important. Today when you think of a collage, think of it as a canvas of blessings. Take a moment to think of the many blessings that God has bestowed on you that you are grateful for and prayerfully place then on your canvas of blessings. When you feel that you have completed creating your collage of blessings, hold it up so that you can see how God has blessed you and continues to bless you in and through your treasured and cherished memories.
Sometimes we try to see more than just what our eyes can capture in one still glance. We want to embrace the view from one end to another. What we are looking at has captured our minds, hearts and attention so much so that we try to extend its memory, we want to make it last. In our attempt to capture more fully the memory, we decide to make a video so that we don’t miss any sounds, effects or actions that have caught our attention. A video captures our experience and allows us to see it over and over again just as it happened.
Today as you think of what a video can do for keeping memories alive, try to recall a time in your life where you were surrounded by, and experienced a great sense of love, inner peace, and true happiness and create your own video of the heart. Allow yourself to relive that experience and as the video begins, lovingly see the memory unfold. As each person enters and each sound is reheard, and the experience is captured, listen to how God’s Holy Spirit is in the experience and wants to continue to bless you through your senses and the gift of memory.
WEDNESDAY – A SELFIE
Although I don’t get the concept of selfie exactly, I think that when it comes to creating lasting memories, ones self is important. Taking a selfie is not a selfish thing. When we live out our faith to the best of our ability that cannot be a selfish thing either. When we create memories from our pictures, there is an expectation that we will be in the experience or event. Creating a selfie is a way to place our self in the experience that we want to remember. As you think back and remember your many life experiences and the impact that they have had in your life, see how and where you fit in to make them possible.
Today, as you think of a selfie and want to place yourself in a specific experience, place yourself in God’s experience of your creation and how He is holding you in the palm of His hand. With the language of love, listen to Him telling you how much He loves you, cherishes you, cares for you, is proud of you, celebrates you and wants you to be happy in Him.
THURSDAY – SPECIAL PERSON
There is someone in our life that we hold near and dear to us. That could be a parent, grandparent, sibling, relative or a friend. When we look at pictures of those that we hold dear, we often think of what makes them so special and how blessed we are to have them in our life.
Today as you look at a photo of someone you hold near and dear, look beyond their appearance and see the face of God in them. See how it is God that has made you as special as you are to them, and how He has brought that special person into your life. As you look at the face of God in them, see that in that face God is smiling upon you and rejoices in you.
FRIDAY – SPECIAL EVENT
There are events in our life that we often find ourselves thinking about and reliving. This could be a wedding, the birth of a child, a graduation, a significant milestone in our life, but in all of these we have a positive and lasting memory of the experience. Events are given to us as God’s way of telling us congratulations and job well done.
Today as you recall a positive and wonderful event that has had a lasting impact in and on your life, hear and listen to God through the event as He speaks through the people gathered for the event and see that in each personal celebration, God is celebrating you as His beloved son or daughter, one that He loves unconditionally and one that He has been rejoicing in since the moment of your conception.
SATURDAY – SPECIAL PLACE
There are places that we can recall that bring us back to a great memory. As a child if you went to a certain shore, or as a family went to a specific place for vacation or where your husband proposed to you. Our special place can bring back a positive memory and can be linked to the building up of many more happy and positive experiences and memories.
Today as you think of your special place and why it is so special, think of how it is only through God’s intervention, this place has become as special to you as it is to God. I would imagine that it is at this special place where you had, and possibly continue to have, the experience of peace, joy, relaxation, excitement and happiness. As you revisit and remember your special place, see where God is waiting at the door of your heart and inviting you to return to this place so that He can remind you of His presence and love in every special place that you treasure.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 23, 2017
Once again my Glimpse of God comes from a variety of individuals and circumstances. As I journeyed through this week I was touched by many individuals who, because of various circumstances, I was placed in their presence.
I was touched by the warmth, personableness and support of my dermatology physician, Doctor M. Dr M is a man, who not only listens, but spends time to learn about his patients. He tries to get the big picture of the health issues that surround his expertise. He is a man who truly believes that being present to his patients is most important. He exemplifiess what care, concern, empathy and compassion means. This week when I saw him, I shared other health issues I was facing. We spoke, he listened, made some good suggestions and made me feel more equipped to go forward. God revealed Himself through or conversation but also in His sense of humor and honesty. This was an unexpected visit that due to a cancellation, he was able to see me sooner than a few weeks. This was an unexpected glimpse that God saw to bless me with.
I was in conversation with my cousin who is coping with her dad who is terminal and she needed someone to talk to. As I listened to her, what I heard from her frustration and fear was her deep level of trust in God, her surrender to God and her desire to do His will. She was not being selfish in her prayer, but rather very selfless.
She was not stuck in self-pity but rather was asking God for His strength, courage, compassion, and understanding so that she could assist her dad as best she could in these difficult times.
The glimpse that God revealed was one where I found myself listening but also responding as He inspired me. My inspiration was to my cousin, but it is one that I think we all need to hear and listen to. It seems easy to say, but harder to do and that is to be honest with God. He knows our every thought and desire and waits for us to talk to Him about them. When we hold back, we are not allowing Him to take them from us and do what He knows is best. It is great to pray for the needs of others and this is a great act of selflessness not selfishness. When we do not pray for our own needs, because we feel that we are being selfish, we are missing the great opportunity to have our burdens lifted and to hear how God is already blessing us with what we need but are afraid to ask for.
I am throwing the first pitch at the Wilmington Blue rocks game tomorrow, Monday. This was a wonderful birthday gift from my John that we have had to reschedule three times due to rain day cancellations. The best thing about the game is the monkey rodeo is scheduled to perform and they are just so cute and awesome. Now where is the glimpse??? If you know me, the one thing about me is that in whatever I do, I do well and refuse to make a fool of myself. I played baseball over forty years ago, but I never pitched. We were practicing and I was throwing as if I were in trying to get the ball to home plate. Needless to say, John and Clover had to chase the balls as they went in every direction but his. He gave me a suggestion on how to throw more accurately and this helped me so much. I am trying to do it right and I believe that if I keep practicing with his suggestion I will not make a complete fool of myself, maybe just semi complete. I asked how he knew to pitch so well, his simple response is that he watched a lot of baseball games. An unexpected glimpse and tool from God to help me have more confidence and not back away from the challenge.
These are different glimpses but I believe that God reveals himself in the time, circumstances and situations that we find our self in. My doctor who knows what it means to be a good doctor who has chosen to be an instrument of healing, compassion and empathy. My cousin who such a blessing and is so blessed by God, but struggles to see how God is truly touching her because she is undergoing so much personal weariness that is only born out of love for her dad.
My husband who shares one thought that God knows I needed to hear so that I will face my challenge and not make a fool of myself in front of 1000 folks or so.
This week as we enter into the hot weather of July, let us be mindful that even in the hottest and humid moments, God has a glimpse for us to see. Whether you are in a doctor’s office or in a conversation or listening to a suggestion, God’ reveals Himself in ways that will help us to recognize that He dwells in us and in our deepest fears, anxieties and stresses. The glimpse is a gift of peace of mind and spirit so that we can continue to see where we are already a Glimpse of His presence to others. But God does not want us to stop there; we should always strive to be a greater reflection and beacon of His love and presence to others no matter what.
SUNDAY – Humor-Humor helps us get through some difficult times. It gives our bodies an opportunity to laugh things off and release the tightness, stress and feelings of being bound up. When is the last time that you had a truly good laugh? How did you feel afterwards? Was there a sense of freedom? God wants His children to be and feel free. He doesn’t want you or me to feel bound up by sin, bad choices, the stresses in our life or situations that are not life giving to us.
Today, have a good laugh, a really good deep and lasting laugh. Allow yourself to experience the freedom that comes when you can see things with humor and not take everything so seriously. Christ comes when we have concerns worry is without Christ. Hold on to Christ, laugh with Him, talk to Him, let Him hold you and tell you how you are His beloved child, that you are not alone that He loves you unconditionally, and that HE knows and is with you in everything you are going through.
MONDAY – Honesty – Honesty is something that we hope to see in others, but sometimes we are disappointed when it is not exhibited. My question is how can one be honest with others if one is not honest with one self? If we were to think of how we feel about our self, we would probably come up with one thing that we hide, fun from or embarrassed about and do not share with others.
Today, share with God how you are truly and deeply feeling about everything. Do not hide things from Him because He already knows anyway. Do not hide our of fear or shame or embarrassment but trust in Him that He wants to heal you, that He hears your prayers, and that He knows your struggles and wants to lighten the burden that you carry. God wants the best for His children, as does any parent, but when we hold back and do not share what our desires and prayers are, we are not affording God the chance to touch our hearts with His healing love. Let us surrender our free will and let God be God. He is better and more equipped to be Himself then anyone of us. That is the honest and hard truth.
TUESAY – Selflessness - Being selfless is a gift that is when it is genuine, is a glimpse of God’s unconditional, true and courageous love. When we are selfless, we are not acting out of our own interests, but that of others. When we can place the needs of others before our own, then we are being like Jesus. When we place the needs and prayers of others before our own, we are giving our precious prayer and God time to them first. We are asking God to help them and then us. A WOW moment,
When was the last time you placed the needs of others before your own?
Was prayer and discernment the core of that decision? ? Did it put you in an awkward or difficult situation? Selfless love is God’s glimpse of your personal and spiritual growth given to others so that they can begin to better recognize His presence in their life. You are His selfless love and I would imagine that your decisions are more selfless than selfish.
Today, think of how is feels when you make true and genuine selfless decisions in the midst of the many crosses and burdens that you are carrying. Find your many WOW moments and thank God for the gift of His selfless unconditionally loving Son Jesus.
WEDNESDAY – Selfishness - Being selfish is something we all face. There are things, objects, experiences that we just do not want to share with others. We hold onto them and just can’t seem to loosen the grasp that we have on them. If you think back to when you were a child and you had a toy you shared and it broke or was destroyed, how did you feel? You probably were convinced that you were not going to share your toys with anyone again.
God understands us when we feel the need to hold on and not let go. He knows, feels and understands our struggles and insecurities. As our loving Father, He wants us to realize that when we are selfish, we are only focusing on our self and not on Him or others. This can make us so self absorbed and self centered that we lose sight of the people, needs and love that surrounds us.
Today, when you feel challenged and want to hold on to something and not share it, think back to the selfless choices that you made and seek to reverse your reasoning from “it’s mine” to “I want you to have this. I will share it with you.”
THURSDAY – A gift – a gift is given out of love. Jesus gave us the gift of His life out of pure selfless and unconditional love. If we are honest with our self, there are probably a few gifts that we would have liked to give back, but we didn’t because we did not want to hurt the giver’s feelings. The saying that it is the thought that counts, is not only a challenge for us to believe, but a God given opportunity to see into that heart of the giver. Seeing into another’s heart? Are we willing to take that step and see God in them as He reveals Himself?
Some gifts are different and very planned and surprising. There are the gifts that we love and we talk about all the time. When we look into the heart of the giver we have the opportunity to see God and how He has chosen the giver and the gift to show us what love is, and not what we always expect it to be. So the next time your receive a gift, whether you like it or not, if it is a surprise or unexpected, think of the giver, think of yourself and then think of the heart of God in the giver and offer a genuine thank you .God will transform your EEEEK moment to a WOW moment. That will be your gift!
Today, look within and see how you are a gift to others and how God dwells in you; your thoughts, your actions, your decisions and your deeds and thank Him for choosing you to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.
FRIDAY – A challenge – We all have challenges to face. I never have a bad day just a day that may be more challenging than others. God doesn’t create anything bad so how did you have a bad day? When we create a 24-hour bad day, we can often miss the many wonderful and gracious blessings of graces that God showers upon us.
Today, try to see the challenges that are yours and face them with His courage, trust and openness. You will not be defeated by them but you will overcome them with His help, the support of others and faith in yourself. I hope that I will pitch the ball in the general vicinity of the catcher, but even if I don’t I know that I will face the challenge with the love, strong will and determination that comes from the giver of the gift and his love for me. I can’t miss!
SATURDAY – A suggestion – People often offer suggestions to help us, we offer suggestions to help others. We give people the benefit of the doubt and want to believe that their suggestions are often made out of love and are not meant to cause any us any harm or be overbearing, but helpful. We hope that they do the same with us. Some suggestions are short while others seem like dissertations. In any case if they are given to us we can choose what to do with them. We are not bound to follow them, just respectfully listen to them.
Today, as you find yourself offering a suggestion, think of why and for what purpose. If you find that you are trying to help and be life giving, offer your suggestion with that in mind. If you find that you are trying to be in control, think of the effect that your suggestion could have on the person. Suggestions that are necessary and those that are offered freely should always be offered in a spirit of love, care, concern and respect for the recipient. Suggestions are not meant to put our guards up, but rather, to pace them down so that we can do what will make us better people and a greater glimpse of God to other.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 16, 2017
I believe that experiencing a Glimpse of God can come in any way that God wishes to reveal Himself. A glimpse can be a short, quick peek at a facet of God; like a rainbow, or a stare at the magnificence of God as seen through a sunrise or a sunset, or an AHA moment that can be experienced through our senses like when we hear the good news that our cancer has not spread or when we can reach out to another that has been struggling and pray with them or listen to them.
A glimpse of God comes when we are open to experience the compassion, mercy, reconciliation, and goodness of God as seen and experienced through others as they witness to the love and presence of God in their lives. When we show our concern and care for another, we are being a glimpse of God. When we choose to be humble and God’s instrument of peace in a broken world, then God is choosing us to reveal His love and presence. We are His instruments and He uses us to share and spread the Gospel message of His unconditional and merciful love with others. Sometimes we are directly a part the glimpse and sometimes we are given the grace to be a bystander. In either case, we are experiencing the action and presence of God’s desire to make Him known so that we can truly recognize that He is alive and well in our life and in the lives of those we encounter on a daily basis.
As we begin this week, let us begin with a prayer of gratitude for the many blessings that we have and will receive. Let us try to recognize where we have been given the gift of being a bystander in the glimpses of others lives and how God has blessed them, and us.
SUNDAY – This is the day that they Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad. What are we glad for? Thankful for? Do we live with a spirit of gladness and gratitude or do we get stuck in the stresses of our life and the weight of our crosses? Jesus has risen. He is our hope. Let us live this day, not tomorrow for it is not here yet, or yesterday since it is gone, but let us try to live today in a true spirit of hope that all will be well, and seek to see His hopeful presence in all that surrounds us.
Instead of drawing out of the following experiences where I have found hope and seen a truly magnificent glimpse of God, I ask you to not only recognize where hope abounds, but also to pray for those who may find themselves in similar situations and are without hope.
MONDAY – A good friend, who is a threefold cancer survivor, is told that her lung nodules have remained stable and have not grown, and that she will not need surgery.
TUESDAY – My uncle, who has been told that his cancer has spread, that there is nothing more that they can do for him. Today he was told that four more lesions have grown in his brain, but that he can choose to go through a procedure to remove them, which will give him some more time here on earth to spend with his family and friends.
WEDNESDAY – I reflected on the past two days and how I was able to be present with my friend and my uncle. I realized that in and through my presence, they were able to see God because they were not alone to bear the news. A humble glimpse of God.
THURSDAY – I have been meeting for faith sharing with the men from Saint John’s Hospice for the past four months. We gather to talk about a specific topic, and it affords me the opportunity to listen to their perspectives as they share without judgment or reserve, but openly and honestly.
This week the sharing was on hope and resilience. The men who are “homeless” do not see their situation as hopeless, but rather they see it as a life experience where they gain greater sense of hope, inner healing and personal strength of conviction. They were able to see that they are blessed and that God loves them and is with them in the midst of their struggles.
FRIDAY – I met with a good friend after daily mass for coffee and we had the opportunity to catch up. We talked about some of the challenges that we are facing and how we have found them to be instruments of spiritual growth and not sources of defeat. These challenges ranged from health issues and set backs to work stresses and family matters. But in and through all of these challenges, we were able to recognize that God is alive and present and He will make all things work for those who love Him.
SATURDAY – We bring Clover to visit with the Sister’s at Assisi House. She is the magnet that brings them a smile, peace, healing, happiness, and joy. It is said that she is better than any medicine, easier to take and more fun to be around.
This week's Glimpse of God, July 9
My glimpse of God for this week came to me as I sat in our sunroom looking out to the beautiful scenery of a clear blue sky, the pool filled with beautiful blue water, the towering tall trees and bushes that embrace our yard, and the bright sun shining on them. The sky in all of its beauty reminded me that in the still moments, whether they be peaceful or stormy, God remains there to keep me safe and He never takes His eyes off me. The sunroom is a happy place, a place where I can allow my heart to be stretched, my mind to be open and my soul to be refreshed after a challenging day.
As I looked out into the yard, I saw the pool filled with clear blue water and realized that Clover enjoys the refreshment that being in the pool brings as much as she enjoys rolling in the grass afterwards. She has her swim dates that often include her best buddies Sadie and Piper, and our neighbor’s dogs Storm and Iris. The joy and fun that they have is a reminder and a big glimpse of the joy God has in, and wants for, all of His creation.
We all know or at least are aware of the gospel of the vine and the branches and how we as the branches, cannot survive if we choose to separate ourselves from the vine. Christ is the vine. He is our source of life, through whom we take root and our faith is strengthened and nurtured. Without Him, we are lifeless and our branches will not produce any leaves, they will just be bare and unproductive.
As we begin this week, let us be mindful of how we are all called to be the branches that extend God’s peace, love, compassion and mercy to those we encounter.
SUNDAY – A TREE – today, as you look at the many trees that suround you, take a moment to reflect on how that tree provides not only beauty, but shade in the heat and protection in the rain. God plants the seesds of faith in our hearts and we are given the choice to sow and let the seed take root in our heart and grow into a marvelous tree or not.
As we enter into this day, let us choose to grow in our faith and in relationhsip with God, others and self. Let us be the trees of life that shows the beauty of God’s love for us through our action, in our words and by our prayers.
MONDAY – A BRANCH. Today, choose to extend your self and be the hand that reaches out and the ear that takes time to listen. Choose to be the feet that walk in anothers shoes instead of judging another, and the heart that shows compassion, reconciliation and mercy to others.
As a banch cannot survive away from the vine, take a moment to thank God for keeping you close to Him because He loves you, for sustaining your body, mind and soul through the sacraments of the Church, and for being the hands and feet of Christ that serve others.
TUESDAY – A BUSH. Today, as you see that many types, variety and sizes of bushes that surrround you,try to recognize that they all serve to create a beautiful landscape. In the story of creation, God saw that all that He made was good. All was created by Him, all was created to glorify Him. Humanity is given the blessing of the beauty of nature to enjoy and protect.You are a part of God’s beauttful creation. Planted and sustained to glorify Him.
Sometimes we see weeds come out from the bush and we just want to pull them out. Pulling them out is a temporary fix, but getting to their root is a more lasting fix. If we see the weeds as our sins and weakensses and desire to get rid of them, we can choose to just pull them out or we can choose to get to the root of their growth and seek God’s grace, through reconciliation, to overcome their control and power.
As a bush is created to give beauty and weeds are a temporary interference to their view, take a moment to thank God for the weeds that have been a source of your personal and spiritual transformtion and conversion, a sign of your inner strength, personal conviction and courage and reminder of the uncondional love and mercy of God.
WEDNESDAY – A RAY OF SUNSHINE - Today, in the midst of your busyness, stress, pains and other various crosses that you may be carrying, choose to be a ray of God’s light, consolation, peace, joy, happiness to another. Sometimes in our darkest moments, in only takes a word or a helping hand of another for us to see the light and have hope. When we offer hope we are in turn blessed with hope. For one can not offer what one does not have.
Take a moment today to thank God for the many rays of sunshine in your life that have gotten you through difficult and stressful times. Take time to thank God for the people, events and situations that have dispelled the darkness that your crosses have caused and have been the catalyst for a greter hope and trust in Him.
THURSDAY – A GENTLE BREEZE - Today, take time to listen to the gentle breeze. Take time to listen to the small child, or the elderly parent or grandparent, the bored child, or the sick spouse. Loud voices are always entering into our mind, body and spirit, and robbing us of the peace that God wants us to feel and experience. These loud voices can be those of complaining, negativity, gossip or foul language. When we hear them, we can choose to cover our ears or we can choose to participate with them.
God is asking us to be still and know that He is God. The only way to really experience that presence is by listening with our heart and allowing our self to hear His gentle voice. God doesn't yell at us, He calls, becons us to come to Him. He wants us to be with Him. The voice of God will come over you like a gentle breeze, so be still and allow your self to feel the breeze and be open to the refreshment that it brings.
FRIDAY – A ROCKING CHAIR – I enjoy rocking chairs becasuse I usually can’t sit still. This can be a distraction to some, but not to me. The movement of the rocking chair brings me to a sense of peace and comfort and a relaxed spirit. I usually fall asleep rocking in a chair. God knows that sleeping is diffciult and prayer is important to me, the rocking chair is a gift from Him. It is a gift that tells me, once again, that He knows my every need and the desires of my heart, that he hears my prayers.
Take time today to thank God for the rocking chairs of your prayer life. Thank Him for the instruments that He has placed in your life that have been instrumental to your prayer life, answers to your prayers and a source of peaceful relaxation in His presence.
SATURDAY – A POOL - Today, take time to thank God for the moments and events that have been,and are a source of refreshment for you. Our dog loves to swim and enjoys the pool with her friends. It is refreshing for me to watch them, a to rest on my float along side of them in the pool.
Refreshing moments for the body, mind and soul come in many and varied ways,a nd they are not always what we expect. God knows your heart and your every need and provides for you.
You may not have a pool to go in, or an ocean to swim in, or an air conditioned room to relax in, but in the spiritual reality, refreshment comes when we can be in the quiet presence of God and allow Him to soak us, shower us, embrace us, with His grace, unconditional love, mercy, peace and joy and we allow Him to guide us as we continue our journey hand in hand with Him.
Glimpse of God for the week of July 2, 2017
My Glimpse of God from this week is from Father Francis who is a Franciscan priest and the chaplain for the retired Sisters of St. Francis at the Assisi house. I see Father Francis as a holy man, a humble man, a man that is very grounded in his faith, has a great sense of humor, but more importantly he knows how to share his faith with the people in a way that they can relate to and take with them. Father lives out his vocation as a Franciscan in such a deep and profound way that once you listen to him via homily or conversation, you know immediately that God has chosen him to be his witness in the world. You will recognize in and by his words, through his presence and simplicity, and in his love for God, why God has chosen him to reach out to his followers so that they want to enter into a deeper relationship with Jesus His son.
Sister or layperson, young or old, we all need to delve into a deeper desire and to grow in our relationship with Jesus and be embraced by His unconditional love, compassion and mercy, and Father helps us recognize that desire that lies in our hearts.
He is a glimpse that I only get to see once a week at Saturday morning Mass at the Assisi house, or occasionally as he fills in at our parish, but in that glimpse I am given a bigger picture of how I am invited to grow and be transformed into the loving person that I have the potential to become and the better person that God has created me to be.
This week as we prepare for the July 4th holiday, in a true spirit of gratitude and the in the spirit of Saint Francis, let us take time to thank God for our many graces and blessings. Let us thank God for our country and all those who fought and died to bring us freedom and independence; for the gift of our faith, our religious freedom, and how we are free to practice it not be afraid or have to hide it from others; for our families, they may be dysfunctional or highly functional, fractured or whole, natural, foster, adopted or blended, in any case God chose us to enter into their life when we did and only God knows for what purpose, and for our friends, not only did we choose them but they chose us. They are the like-minded individuals that are and have been our sturdy shelter, a priceless treasure, a gift from God that helps us to see Him more clearly by the love, honesty and mercy that we share with each other.
SUNDAY – "F" Faithful - For today, let us grow in a deeper relationship with Jesus by taking up our crosses and not complain about them or be resentful because of them, but rather invite Jesus on the journey and allow our selves to receive help as Jesus did.
Being faithful is a choice and every time you choose Jesus over any negative or hurtful action or emotion, by the grace of God and an open heart, your desire to be faithful is renewed, strengthened, and deepened. Your crosses may be heavy or light, but no matter what the weight is, do not wait to seek God and see God in and through your burdens and crosses.
MONDAY – "R" Reconciling – For today, let us try to reconcile with one person that we have been either estranged from or keep our 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.
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. 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 and that He has created you 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.
TUESDAY – "A" Authentic - For today, let us truly be the person that God created us to be.
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. Have a Happy, Safe and Healthy Holiday.
WEDNESDAY – "N" Non judgmental - For today, resolve not to pass judgment on others. We can judge actions but not people. God is the only judge, because He created us and only He knows our hearts and why we don what we do, good or bad. We are all sinners, but God still loves us unconditionally and He showed us how much by giving His Son Jesus who freely suffered and died on the cross for our sinfulness. Only God knows our hearts and the hearts of others who do some really crazy and hurtful things.
God knows your heart and why you do things better than you do. Sometimes it is easy to judge others, but that doesn’t make it right. You wouldn’t and don’t like it when others judge you, accuse you falsely, or don’t ask your side of the story or situation. Instead of being judgmental, choose to pray for those who you see differently and ask God to speak to their heart and open it to His transformative and healing love.
THURSDAY – "C" Compassionate – For today, let us strive to be more compassionate and merciful to others. Being compassionate can be difficult, yet we are called to extend compassion to another, as we would want another to extend it to us. To be compassionate is to show that we care, that we can be empathetic and that we love by seeing past the pain or challenges that we have encountered into the heart of another.
In being compassionate you are acting and responding the Gospel message of Jesus to love one another and He has loved you. You won’t have to die on the cross, but you will have to die to self so as to live for Jesus. When you choose to love instead of hate, to be merciful instead of judgmental, to forgive instead of being resentful, to stand for truth instead of falling for lies and deception, and to build peace instead of bridges, then you are dying to self and living for Jesus.
FRIDAY – "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 tonly 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 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. You cannot give what you do not have. 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 heat 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 – "S" Selfless – For today, may we try to be more selfless and not selfish. Let us seek to give of our selves more freely and generously when we are called upon to do so, or when we are not but recognize that we can.
So if today someone needs you to listen to him or her and be a silent presence for him or her, or if someone needs to be consoled or need your guidance, choose him or her over the latest TV show, texting, tweeting, or watching the latest video. Being selfless is not being a martyr, but rather a living selfless witness to the presence of Jesus in your life and how you want to radiate that presence and not hide it
Glimpse of God for the week if June 25.
My Glimpse of God comes in the form of summer recreation for our pets. As you can see, all three dogs are standing on the side of the pool looking into the water. They seem ready to jump in and be cooled off, after all it was a 90 degree day and although they all have short hair, they too realized that they wanted to be refreshed. Clover often has swim dates. Sadie and Piper are two of her buddies that we invite, with their owner, to come over and go swimming,
How is this a Glimpse of God?
I believe God speaks to us through our pets beause they represent an innocence, joy and trust that allows us to be open to not only hear God but listen to His message. The pets are the instruments that enable us to listen better because of their unconditional love for us, their sole purpose to make us happy and thier ability to bring us joy in the midst of life's challenges. My glimpse for the week is not on the pets necessarily, but in their response to the pool water, how they all took a different approach to getting into the pool, and how we approach the challenges in our life. These challenges are whatever we hold onto that keep us from trusting in God and believing that we are His beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and created to be whole, healed and free. What we tend to hold onto causes us to feel embarrassed, intimidated, ashamed and sometimes unlovable, all of which are not of God.
The lesson inspired from Clover, Sadie and Piper is Fear not, Don't be afraid to trust God and others, and now is the time to enter into the darkest challenge so that you can be renewed, refreshed and healed.
The fears and challenges that we keep hidden and keep us from allowing God's love to embrace us, free us, cleanse us, bring us His peace and trust in is mercy, are the fears and challenges that I would like the message of the dogs to help us overcome one step or paw at a time. These fears can look like the fear of being loved, being forgiven, being free, being healed, being whole again, being reconciled, being joyful, being one with our self, God and another, te fear of getting off the decks of life and entering into our fears so that we can let them go and be the best person that God wants us to be.
Getting off the decks of fear and entering into the waters of new life is God's invitaton to His grace of a rebirth, healing, strength, courage that we will receive if we trust in Him and in those He sends us. We can choose to stand on the decks of fear and anxiety or we can choose to trust Him and step into the water, one foot at a time, one step at a time, and experience His healing. It's our choice, not an easy one, but it is our choice and as Jesus chose to suffer and die for us, this is an opportunity for us to die to self so that we can truly live in His resurrection peace; that very peace He offered to His apostles when He rose from the dead.
SUNDAY – I apologize for the late posting of this week’s Glimpse of God. Due to both unexpected and unusual circumstances as well as technical difficulties, I was unable to have the glimpse formulated for Sunday. I hope that this does not occur again and I promise not to be tardy in the future. I always hope to have the Glimpse complete and posted by noon, but no later than 6pm, on Sundays.
MONDAY- THE POOL FILLED WITH WATER
For today, as you look at the pool of water and you see how the three dogs are standing on the deck looking into the water, but yet have not jumped in, try to see yourself doing the same thing with your fears or greatest life challenges. We can all stand on the side and not delve into the waters of healing or wholeness, but like the dags, we can miss out on being refreshed and renewed. Conquering our fears is not an easy task or a quick one, but if one looks at how it can be calming and bring calm, one can desire to let go and step into the water with a greater zeal and conviction. God will do the rest.
TUESDAY - THE DEEP AND THE SHALLOW END
You can see that there is a shallow and a deep end. As with our fear, there are those that we have become deeply meshed with and there are those that are not rooted as deep. One can decide to dive into the deep end and surrender all at once, or one can step into the shallow end and take little steps, allowing one to feel the cold refreshing water from the feet to the head. Fear can embrace our whole being and stifle us not to want to move. Stepping or diving in is your way of taking back your life and control of the fear and starting the healing process.
WEDNESDAY – CLOVER - the Golden Retriever
Clover’s process for entering into the water is one that is methodical. She gets on the steps of the shallow end, bites the water to cause bubbles and then as she creates more bubbles, she decides to jump in. Once she jumps in, she swims in a little circle, comes out of the pool, rolls on the grass and then does it again.
Letting go of our fears can be similar to Clover’s methodical process. We test the waters of our faith and our trust by getting on the steps. After we do that, we then move our feet around to get more comfortable with the temperature of the water and the feeling of it on our feet. After that we decide to walk in the shallow part and slowly allow our body to become soaked. As with our fear, this is an opportunity to see that the fears of the waters of new life are not overcoming us, but we are overcoming our fear. Then we swim around, just a little, get out and see with joy that we have taken the first step. Do we do it again? I think so because we realized and felt that it was good and that we did not drown and that we have a renewed sense of joy and accomplishment. One lap at a time. Clover says go for it!
THURSDAY – SADIE – The Wheaton Terrier
Sadie approaches the water differently than Clover. Sadie just goes for it and jumps in. She will jump in the deep or shallow end as soon as she arrives. She is not afraid, but when it is time to get out, she doesn’t always know how to and so she needs her mom to pick her out of the water, or she just goes and lays on the first step enjoying the cool water on her little body.
As with our fears, we can just go for it and jump in or we can take it slow. It is not how we approach the water, but that we approach the water and truly desire to be free. As with fear, there are those that are more accepted; like fear of the dark, of creatures that crawl on the ground or fly in the air. Yet there are those that we don’t talk about, like fearing certain people or situations, of people seeing us as we truly are, or what we can become. Being free and healed is a cause of fear because it is new experience, unfamiliar and a stretching of our comfort zone. We have grown comfortable with the way we work, live and associate with people, yet it is hard work because we are always on guard. We think that if we were to see our self differently, as we truly are and allow others to see us as we are, we fear that they might not like us.
Sadie says don’t worry. We are called to be our genuine, authentic self. What others think and feel about us is not as important as how God feels about us. He loves us as we are. He is not waiting for us to become what others want us to be. Letting go of a fear, as best you can, one step at a time is all God is asking.
FRIDAY – PIPER – The Staffordshire bull terrier
As you can see by the picture, Piper does not jump in, but rather stands on the deck watching Clover and Sadie. She has not had the opportunity to be in the water as often as the other two, so she does not really know how to approach it. What she does do, though, is closely watch Sadie and Clover and follow their every move. She is a very strong and solid dog, she is the protector. Like us, we are stronger and more solid in our faith than we give our self credit for. When we choose not to go into the water, it is not a defeat as long as fear is not cause for not gettin in. Letting go of fear can be done in many ways. Although Piper did not get into the water, she did not run away but stayed the course, looked out for the other two and was there when they got out of the water. God does the same with us. He does not take His eye off of us, He watches and knows our every move, He is our protector and He is there for us when we get out of the water, weather we are on the decks of life or in the waters of risk, He is there to take our hand when we reach out to Him.
SATURDAY – THE END RESULT AFTER MUCH DELIBERATION
Clover and Sadie were comfortable, cool and enjoying themself. Piper remained hot, but took the role of protector seriously and stood there watching the other two the entire time that they remained in the water. The moral of the story is that when it is 90 degrees outside go swimming. If you choose not to get cooled off, you will remain hot and uncomfortable, but if you choose to take the risk and get into the water, you will feel refreshed and renewed, even if you only stay in for a few minutes. Dealing with life challenges and fears can be difficult, but after you begin the process, you will feel different, better, lighter, refreshed, renewed and satisfied. You will never know if you don't take the risk and try, ONE STEP OR PAW AT A TIME SAYS CLOVER, SADIE AND PIPER.
Glimpse of God for the week of June 18th
My Glimpse of God comes in the form of a broken outdoor flowerpot. As you can see by the picture, there is a large flowerpot, unbroken and flourishing with beautiful and varied flowers, and another flowerpot that is broken. The broken vessel, with the insides strewn and the vessel's pieces on top of each other, appears somewhat useless because it is broken, unpresentable because its parts; the flowers, the dirt, and the clay pieces are scattere 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 it and its location, one can guess with great accuracy that a vehicle attempting to park in the parking lot probably hit it. 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 creates all things. God can use anything to bring His glory to those who cast their eyes upon it. God uses various items, people, and events, to teach us about us. This teaching is not done to shame us, but rather to open our eyes and hearts to His presence in an unfamiliar but surprisingly new way. 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 waters us, feeds us and keeps us whole. 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, through our faith, that foundation, 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 we won’t always choose to live in His light but rather we will choose to live in darkness. 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 this week, try to focus on the beauty of the broken flowerpot in light of yourself. I know it is more difficult to do, because one can see all that is wrong with it and one self, but God doesn't do that with you and He doesn't want you to see yourself that way either. Brokenenss can be God's inviation to seek and become healed, whole and a wounded healer if we 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, human, deserving of dignity and respect and lovable.
SUNDAY - HAPPY FATHER'S DAY To all those who are dads, Granddads, Foster dads, Single dads, Uncles, and Brothers. For all of our dads who have gone before us, May God's eternal light shine on them and may they rest in the peace of His loving embrace.
Let us thank our HEAVENLY FATHER for the gift of His Fatherly love in the giving of His only Son, Jesus. Let us pray for our Holy Father and all priests, that they continue to serve God faithfully through the reception of the sacraments, the support of their fellow priests and the prayerful encouragement of the faithful.
Let us pray that God will continue to bless those dads who are striving to be the best dads that they can be in the light of His strength, courage, grace and love.
May their faith and the support of their spouses, children and families help them to flourish and grow as an instrument of God's peace, healing, mercy, compassion and love for them and all those they encounter.
Let us pray that God will be merciful to those dads, living and deceased, who have been instruments of harm, pain and estrangement to their spouses and children, and may He open their hearts to seek forgiveness and conversion.
Let us pray that we seek God's grace as well, for the times that we have been hurt by our fathers so that we can shine as His instrument of mercy and compassion and live in His peace, joy and healing.
MONDAY - THE FLOWERPOT OR PLANTER - A flower pot 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, our families, communities, Church and society, all can be seen like the planter or flowerpot. God's hands in that He 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 and 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 our human weakness, sin, and poor vision , that we become broken, frail and in various fragmented pieces that where we need God's healing touch.
TUESDAY - FOOD - Our faith, the Sacraments of the Church, Sacred Scripture, are our spiritual food, that which sustains and nurtures 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 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 into 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 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 come to the realization that we need God and others to help us be a better person, that we are not the most mature or grown up person that we think we are. In time, we grow and mature to see ourself 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 growth, protected, cared for and talked to, it is a plant that even with our best work, can still 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 atmsophere 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 DARKNESS - God's creation consisted of darkness and light. He knew from the beeginning 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 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 they don't try to hide in the darkness of fear. We need both light and dark to grow best as healthy human beings. 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 beautful plant, a wondeful flower, or possibly an awesome terrarium, in any case you are a reflection of the love, care and presence of God in your world. Go and stand out, bloom where you are planted, 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 JUNE 11
This week's Glimpse of God was one that was very clear, lasting and profound. I had another opportunity, through the Honor Flight Program, to be in the presence of, talk with and listen to, our WWII and Korean War Veterans, the motor cycle escoorts, as well as our present active duty military and reservists. This program brings Veterans from all over the United States together on one day to go to Washington DC to visit the various Memorials and not only to see them, but to collectively experience for the first time, how how they are recognized and honored in our history. It is these very Veterans that sacrificed their time with families to fight for liberty, freedom and peace in foreign places and for those they knew not. They went willingly to fight knowing that they might not return home and if they did, they would return a different person physically, emotionally and spiritually. They went as peacemakers and sought to bring about the peace and the freedom that God wants for all of His children.
As part of the Honor Flight Day, there are hundreds of men and women motorcyclists, many who are also Veterans, that escort the busses at the end of the day back to Saint Kevin's, where there are lots of people waiting with flags and signs to welcome the veterans back home again. It is such an awe inspiring occasion to witness these men and women come in on their cycles to salute, and suppport the veterans as well as to volunteer and imitate Jesus as they served the veterans, as well as all the guardians and others in attendance, their dinner.
Our military, the motorcyclslists, the many volunteers that helped make 2017 Honor Flight a success, are all God's Glimpses in our world today. Those in the military are those who desire to be God's peacemakers, by their personal conviction, strength, courage and perseverence, in a world that has lost the meaning and the sense of peace.
The men and women motorcyclists are those who desire to be God's instruments of peace, personal witness and discipleship, a witness that can not be ignored. It is a vocation, witness and discipleship that breaks through the ignorance of prejudice, racism, and sexism. They are a group that trusts and has faith enough to ride on two wheels when many of os are afraid to let go of our insecurity to do the same. They, as well as our Veterans, maintain a balance in their life that enables them to take risks, be themself, be loud when one needs to be loud and at the end of the day, conclude with service and not selfishness. They are men and women who at the beginning and the end of the Honor FLight Program, said thank you to each other: words of gratitude, humility and selfishness.
In our society today, it seems that we are doing everything that we can to take God out of everything. Yet, it is our Veterans that are not afraid to praise God, thank Him for the gift of life and for bringing them home safely, to echo His name in prayer and blessings end entrust their fallen comrades and critically injured service members to His tender love, care and mercy.As we enter into another week, let us be mindful of how our veterans, selflessly served and sacrificed for others and how we are all called to do the same in our chosen vocation and ministry.
As you journey through the warm sunny days ahead and the signs of summer, take the time to just reflect on the following questions. They are not meant to raise guilt or shame. I present them so that you can see yourself, weaknesses and strengths, in the light of God's love, and walk with a greater sense of inner strength, lasting peace and personal conviction. These attributes are a reflection of the presence and graces of God. You are a reflection of the presence and grace of God.
SUNDAY - SELFLESS - How are you selfless? How do you give of yourself without counting the cost? When you do count the cost, do you come out in debt or with change? How do you feel in the light of God's love? forgiven? redeemed? loved? humbled? As a parent, spouse, sibling, coworker, grandparent, friend, do you feel that you are selfless or selfish? Do you find your life experiences or circumstances a cause for being selfish or selfless? If you look back to a 24 hour period, do you think that you can identify the times that you performed random acts of selflessness? are you able to see how selfless you were and how it is a cause for rejoicing in the Lord?
MONDAY - SACRIFICE - Christ sacrificed His life for you, do you believe that? How do you show your belief?
How would a stranger know that you were a believer in Christ? Would he hear it in your words? see it in your actions? feel it in your emotions? would he know it by how you live your life or would he see it as another mystery and wonder?
TUESDAY - SERVICE - Christ served others. Who have you served recently? Have you served another who was suffering by being present, and offering them your consolation and support? Have you shared with another your compassion, mercy and forgiveness when it would have been easier to hold on and walk away? Have you washed another's feet or bound up their wounds by not passing judgment on them, talking about them or walking away from them? Christian Service is a an act of the will, not forced upon an individual, but chosen. Do you remember when you were compelled/inspired to serve another during a difficult time in your life? How did you feel afterwards? Imagine how Simon of Cyrene felt after being compelled to help Jesus carry the cross. We are all the Body of Christ and we are called to see Christ in others, How do you think Simon felt, write the ending to that station of the cross?
WEDNESDAY - UNDIVIDED HEART - Our heart was created to know, love and serve God alone. When we give our heart to God, He gives us His grace and fills our hearts with His love so that we can love Him more and show our love for Him by how we love others and our self. Do you love yourself? Do you take care of the one and only body that you have by getting the necessary rest, exercise and nutrition so that you can function properly?.Do you forgive yourself when you recognize how you may have missed the mark and failed to be the best person that God created you to be? Do you put conditions on your love for others? Do you make it impossible for another to feel loved by you or God? Has your heart been broken? Do you seek and need healing? God knows us and our hearts better than we know our self. He knows that we want to be single minded with an undivided heart so that our only focus is on Him. When you feel that your heart is divided, close your eyes and imagine God taking the peices of your heart and mending them together, to form an undivided heart; seemless and perfect, whole and healed.
THURSDAY - OPEN HANDS - When we pray, if our hands are closed out of fear, hurt or shame, they cannot be filled with God's grace, healing and joy. When our hands are closed and gripped so tight that we need a crow bar to pry them loose, God cries. God cries because He doesn't want us to be so afraid that we cannot trust Him . God cries because when our hands are closed we are not able to receive the many gifts and graces that He wants to give us; they fall by or off or out of our hands and we miss them.
When our hands are open, it doesn't mean that we are not afraid, but we are more trusting, it doens't mean that we know it all, but that we trust Him with what we do not know. When our hands are open, it doens't mean that we get everything that God sends us, but that we can reach out more and miss less. Open hands, as Christ's were on the cross, are a sign of surrender, not defeat. When we pray, trusting that God has a plan for us and we are His beloved, our hands will not only remain open, but it will be a natural pose for prayer, not a forced one.
FRIDAY - STRONG LIMBS - Are your limbs strong? Do you feel that you can walk with another in their shoes? Do you think or try to reach out and touch another with your joy for life, compassion, peace, healing and courage? Are your hands open for others in prayer? Do you find yourself recieving God's many graces and blessings and expressing gratitude? God is the vine and we are the branches. Our hearts, our minds, our very being is God's creation and a temple of the Holy Spirit. All that comes from us has the opportunity to be life giving and a great glimpse of God. If we do not exercise our limbs and we stay in the same position, we become stiff. We do not want to be stiff, but rather flexible, vibrant and an extension of strength to and for others. So even if your limbs are weak, when the knees and hips don't want to work and the arthritis has damaged your hands, remember that it is what comes from within, comes from the heart, that makes the difference, that makes one pure.
SATURDAY - RESTING IN GOD'S PEACE HERE ON EARTH- The day is just beginning, the weekend is here, tomorrow is Father's day. As God's beloved son or daughter, rejoice in His unconditional love for you. Give thanks to God fo the gift of life and His presence in your life. Be grateful for the gift of His life and love that is within you and how you are a beacon of Him to others. Pray for your earthly father, weather it be a prayer in gratitude, for forgiveness, in mercy, or with compassion. Please pray for all fathers, grand fathers, step fathers, foster fathers, for all those who are a role model by their example and their love. Pray for the women who are fulfilling dual roles. Pray fpr our Holy Father, Pope Francis, Pray for all priests, and those who are our spiritual father figures.
We all need prayers, we are all sinners and we all need to help others grow closer to God. We have the opportuntity to be more Christ like by the compassion and mercy that we extend to others. If your father or other family members have caused you harm, seek that grace that only the one and true Father can offer and with hands open receive it so that you can forgive, be healed, become whole and love with a heart that has been expanded. If your heart has been expanded and you have been healed, give thanks.
Glimpse of God for the week of June 4, 2017
My glimpse of God comes from a very good friend who is also a funeral director. Jim is someone that I got to know through my work in the parish bereavement ministry. Although I am no longer employed at the parish, I still try to keep in touch wth Jim and his family. I came to see instantly that Jim is a person of great compassion and concern for those who he ministers to. He is a man that not only shows great concern, compassion and respect for the deceased, but he also shows that same concern and compassion to the family members that come to him who are grieving and seeking comfort and consolation. He is very professional and great at his job and through his professionalism he shows that He is called by God to minister in this very deep and profound way.
I see a glimpse of God in the compassion, concern and care that he shows not only at work, but in all that he does. He is God’s instrument of healing, consolation, peace and resurrection joy. He sees ministering to the deceased as God’s opportunity to listen to their story through the words, stories and memories of their loved one's. I believe that as he prepares the bodies of the deceased he does it with a deep and profound dignity and great respect for all human life.
As I think of Jim as a funeral director, I see how we are all called to respect and care for the dying and honor those who have gone before us. Death is a part of life; it is a transition from one's earthly journey to their final destination of seeing God face to face in the company of the rejoicing angels and saints. Death is God's invitation to not only see Him face to face, but to be reunited with those who have gone before us in faith. Death is the end of darkness and the beginning of light. It is a new day dawning, another season in the stages of life, an opportunity to dance and sing, rejoice and celebrate God's great love in its final culmination.
As we begin this week, let us be mindful of how we think of death and seek to see it as not something to be feared, but rather something to embrace, not causing it before it is due, but rather to embrace what it means and how we will be changed once it occurs. Our time on earth is a mere fraction of the time that will be spent in eternity. When we get to heaven, we not only will suffer no more, but we will see all those who God has called before us.
I get excited when I think that I will see Mary and Joseph, the Apostles, all of our Old and New Testament leaders, the Saints and Martyrs, and our pets, I beleive that we should prepare for death by the way we live our life. If we live our life to the best of our ability in the light of God’s love, then we have nothing to fear.
SUNDAY - Grief and Mourning - Death is a time where we realize that we will not physically see our loved one's here on earth again. This is a painful reality that does not just go away in a day, but it can take weeks, months and even years. People grieve differently; people grieve to the extent of their relationship or lack of, with their loved one. Grief should not be denied. Grief can take many forms: anger, love, loss, joy, relief, and it is good to deal and process the feelings that grief brings up so that one can truly experience God’s healing touch.
Have you lost a loved one and never allowed yourself to grieve? Have you lost a part of yourself as the loved one has gone before you and you can’t seem to find it or fill the void that has occurred? The emptiness that comes from death can remain an emptiness or one can allow God to fill the void with His love, peace and healing, so that you can recall and cherish the fond and many memories that your loved one has left you.
If it is a void from a painful death, a strained relationship, a loss that you can only count as loss, ask God for the grace that will bring you His peace. This grace can come in the form of mercy, forgiveness, peace or healing of the other and or of yourself. As you recall the pain that comes from this strained relationship, ask for the grace to pray for someone you know who is also going through a similar experience. Ask God to bless them with His healing so that they can experience the long awaited peace that awaits those who trust and believe in His infinite mercy, love and compassion. God knows your heart and will bless you as well with what you need to expand your heart, heal the wounded ness and be the wounded healer to another.
MONDAY – Funeral Arrangements
When we remember a loved one that has passed, can we see them resting in the loving arms of God? Are we able to, do we ask for the grace to, forgive them for any wrong that they have done to us, so that they can enjoy heaven and being in the presence of Almighty God? Isn’t that what we would want others to do and pray for us?
Today, let us take the time to pray for those whom we have loved and have gone before us; those who will die and have no one to pray for them, and those who will die alone. May we ask God to grant them His peace and bring them to their eternal reward so that they can rest in His loving embrace.
TUESDAY – A Loved One's Story
When we lose a loved one, we sometimes get tied up in the details of the arrangements that we don’t take the time to talk about,and share the stories of our loved one. Memories are left in our hearts to share, not to keep silent. If you want to share your loved one’s story, do it. Talking about them throughout your life can bring you a deep and renewed sense of joy, peace, and comfort. If they died yesterday, last year or a few years ago, they didn’t die to be forgotten, but rather to be remembered and their legacy to be continued.
Just a thought…. Do you want to leave this world and have no one remember who you were, how you lived and loved or that you lived? Do you want your loved one to be forgotten as if they never walked on this earth? How they lived, and how we live today, will determine the memories that are created for their and our tomorrows. Make them count.
WEDNESDAY – The Celebration of Life – Whether you have a Religious Prayer service, a Catholic Mass, or a Funeral Home Visitation, take the time to commemorate, honor and reverence the life of your loved one as a blessing from God. Commemoration can take the form of stories, pictures, shared memories, a favorite sentimental item, a time of silence. But in whatever form it takes, re-membering is an opportunity to reconnect to you loved ones with and through your senses. Through your eyes of your mind you can see them doing the things, performing their hobbies, playing the games that they enjoyed. Through the ears of your heart, you can hear them saying certain things, their favorite expressions, and their favorite clichés. Through the touch of your hands you can recall how they reached out and touched you and others by their compassion, care and concern. Through you sense of smell, you recall and can seem to smell the many aromas of their perfume or aftershave, the smell of their cooking in the kitchen or the painting outside. The aromas never leave. The sense of taste brings about the many memories of the good cooking or the taste of their or your favorite food made out of love. Take the time to be more aware of your senses and how they reconnect you to your loved one’s presence> Doing this can bring you a renewed and deserving experience of inner peace, greater strength and consolation.
THURSDAY – The Burial
Although we bury the physical body, the shell of our loved, one, we do not bury the love they shared or the cherished memories of them. We can choose to bury the painful and negative memories and experiences so that we can experience God’s peace or we can choose to dwell on them. The choices that we make when a loved one dies can determine how we will live from that time on.
The death of someone can make the affects of their life on us a cause for inner and true healing or continued bitterness, resentment and anger. No human person is perfect. When we recognize that, we can see in the light of our humanity the humanity of another and this can bring about a desire to forgive so that peace can be experienced. As one reflects on the burial of a loved one, this can be an opportunity to reflect on what is actually being buried. Is it the body of the person that was wracked with pain, disease, remorse and regret, or was it the body of a person who was at peace, filled with laughter and a joy to be around? In either case their spirit lives on and can be heard if one allows it to be. It can be the spirit of consolation and peace as well as the spirit of reconciliation and mercy, What do you want to bury?
FRIDAY – The Luncheon
People gather after the services to break bread, share stories and support the family of the deceased. Although this can seem like an expense at the time, it is an opportunity to unwind and relax with those who are supportive and caring. The luncheon is an opportunity to talk to those who live far away that don’t get a chance to visit or who are older and unable to get around as often and as well as they used to.
Jesus broke bread with the apostles after His resurrection. He offered them His peace after the desolation and confusion of his death. The luncheon is an opportunity to experience His peace as He offers it through the presence, stories, memories and the company of others.
SATURDAY – The Return Home
Jesus sent His Holy Spirit upon the Apostles after He ascended to the Father. Jesus sends His peace and His Spirit to those who mourn, to those who suffer and to those who seek healing that comes from death. As one returns home alone and the reality of their loved one's absence sets in, that is where God’s peace and Holy Spirit rests. The body of the loved one now rests in God’s loving embrace filled with eternal joy, peace and happiness. They are alive, a new life has been given to them, one that cannot be taken away or suffer corruption or disease. God’s peace is for the living, not the dead. He wants all of us to be at peace trusting our loved one to His care.
Can you give yourself permission to ask for that peace so that you can live in light of His love for you?
Jesus says to ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.
He is waiting for you. Don't keep Him waiing too
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND.
THANKS TO ALL OF OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMEN, BOTH PRESENT AND PAST,
TO OUR VETERANS WHO HAVE GIVEN THEIR LIVES FOR OUR FREEDOM,
AND TO THE FAMILIES, PARENTS AND SIBLINGS,
THAT HAVE LET GO OF THEIR LOVED TO THE ARMED FORCES OF
THE ARMY, NAVY, MARINES, COAST GUARD AND AIR FORCE,
SO THAT THEY CAN BE THE SELFLESS, GIVING AND COURAGEOUS
MEN AND WOMEN THAT THEY HAVE BEEN RAISED TO BE.
My glimpse of God comes from a very God like place, a place where we see unconditional love, acceptance, forgiveness and healing, a place where the patients are one glimpse of God and the caretakers are another glimpse of God that comes in the form of healing, love, respect and compassion.
This place is our local veterinarian hospital located in Upper Conchester, PA where we have been taking our four legged kids for the past 15 years. The Veterinarians: Dr. H, Dr. L, Dr. H and Dr. T along with their vet assistants and the staff have been and continue to be the true presence of God by their compassion, joy, empathy, understanding, care, concern, and love for their patients and for their owners.
When we bring Clover to the vet, she is the hospitality minister. She goes to the counter and allows everyone who is present to pet her and fuss over her and the staff does a wonderful job at that. She is never afraid to go to the vet because they treat her so well and love her so much.
The doctors there are phenomenal. They are and have been a true instrument of healing, understanding, compassion and love for our kids. They explain things so that we understand, they treat the kids as their own and they never say or do anything without asking us first. As they minister to the many patients that come to them, they treat them with the respect, dignity and compassion that is of God. They see those in their care as a responsibility that is not to be taken lightly. The care and the empathy that they exude when our kids have had to be put to sleep, the tears that they shed, and the concern for us that they shared, has always left a mark on my soul and a sense of peace in my heart. We have left the very painful and heart breaking experience knowing that our dogs; Lady, Shamrock, and Spirit, and our cats; Pumpkin, Graygray and Duchess are happier now because they are not suffering anymore and they have crossed the rainbow bridge.
The vet assistants and staff are as caring and professional as they can be. When we arrive, they are prompt to acknowledge us and check us in. They are friendly, joyful, caring and attentive to our needs and the needs of those in their care.
I believe that the weak, innocent, and vulnerable patient, be it a dog, cat, rabbit or any of the many animals that are placed in their care are the very ones who are God’s glimpse of unconditional love, happiness, joy, forgiveness, they never hold a grudge and are always happy to see you.
Although they cannot speak and tell you what is wrong with them, the staff listens and is attentive to what the owners say so that they can minister to them correctly. There is no rush or any feeling of being dismissed, rather the staff choose to treat their patients with the tender love and care that makes them so good at being God’s instruments of healing and compassion, mercy and love.
As we begin this week let us be mindful and grateful for the gift of our four legged kids and how they have blessed our life and made us the better people that we are.
If you don’t have any four legged kids, take this opportunity to remember those dogs, cats, and rabbits that serve as therapy pets to the ill, infirmed and elderly, the dogs that serve in our police departments and in the military, and the many pets that are service animals for those whose life depends on them to survive.
SUNDAY - “wag the tail” – Dogs wag their tails, as a greeting, to show that they are happy. How do you greet others? Are you happy and look them in the eye or are you unhappy and pass them by? Does your happiness depend on material things or do you recognize that happiness comes from within and God is the source of all happiness? Dogs wag their tail, some people clap their hands, and what do you do to show that you are happy? Do you smile, are you able to laugh, do you radiate that inner happiness by your attitude towards and with others, or do you dwell on your stresses? In the midst of life’s pains, challenges, and crosses, we can learn from our pets that we will not be defeated. Pets have owners that are entrusted to take care of them; we have a loving God who takes care of us. We are all God’s creation and He takes care of all of us. We have a lot to wag our tails and be happy about.
MONDAY – “give the paw” - Dogs are good at giving their paw on command. I see it as a gift. They want to make us happy so they listen and follow the command. Their paw is apart of them that they lift up for one to take and shake.
Do we give our hand to another to take and shake, or do we raise it against another as a sign of power? Do we give of our self to make another happy, or do we isolate our self? Are we selfless or selfish? We don’t need commands to do the right thing. We know in the depth of our heart what is right and what is wrong, yet there are times when we know better but we still choose the wrong. When we do this, we can say that we are sorry; we can reach to another and either extend peace and mercy or ask for it. God wants to take our hand and extend His peace, mercy and love so that we can be happy and share His peace and happiness with others. Can you reach out today and touch someone or ask to be touched by the God of all mercy and love?
TUESDAY – “roll over” - Our dog and cat roll over mainly because they want their belly rubbed. In this position they are vulnerable and submissive, but also trusting and content. God doesn’t ask us to roll over, and just accept what we are asked to do as a robot would. But rather He wants us to be in relationship with Him, and through prayer, discover what it is that He has in store for us so that we can be more trusting and content. He asks us to trust Him and know that He will not hurt us or take advantage of us. We have pets that trust us and we have friends and family that we trust and also trust us. In our relationships, when we feel vulnerable and afraid, we are not expected to just rollover and accept whatever we are told, but rather we are called to love our self enough to stand up for our self and be true to our self because that is what God has created us to do.
WEDNESDAY – “purr” Our cat purrs when she is happy. It is a sound and sign that she is comfortable, happy, and her belly is full. You can hear her even if she is not right next to you.
When you are still, does your body resonate with stress, tension or peace? Are the sounds that come from you sounds of disgust, anger, frustration, or do you resound with happiness, peace, love and joy? Do you treat your body as a temple of God’s Holy Spirit? Do you get enough rest; do you try to eat right, and what about exercise? Do you take care of your body, as you know you should? Do you work or are you always so busy that you don’t have time to truly relax with family, friends, or others? Our body is the only one that we will be given so it is up to us to take care of it as best we can. Progress leads to Purrfection.
THURSDAY – “cuddle” - Our pets Clover and Cannoli cuddle when they want to be close to us. They come to us to cuddle and sleep. It is nice to know that we are useful. Anyway, to cuddle involves a comfort level that comes from within, one that calls us to let our defenses down and just be in the presence of another.
Do we feel the need to have our defenses up with others or do we trust others? We may not cuddle with our friends, but we are called to be open and not have our defenses up all the time. Are you comfortable with others where you can be yourself without feeling the need to make yourself something that you are not out of fear or insecurity? Do you hide behind a mask so that others do not see the real you, but rather the person that you think they want to see or you think that they rather see? Do you recognize that God loves you just as you are and that He wants to cuddle, embrace and hold on to you because of His great love for you?
FRIDAY - "Stay" - We ask Clover to "stay" because we don't want her to go ahead and possibly get hurt.When we walk and are ready to cross the street or go a different route, the "stay" command is what she will hear and obeys.
What are we being called to "stay" with? What do we need to be with, to honor, to process, to discern, to acknowledge? There are times in our life that we want to just get through and not deal or feel that we expect will come. Yet in those times, we can experience great peace, healing, joy, comfort, consolation and solace, if we are willing to stay and not just run ahead. It is in those “stay” moments that God fills us with His grace so that we can make it through the difficult times without running away. God doesn’t tell us to stay, but rather He invites us to stay and be still and know that He is God, He is in control and that He will never abandon or forsake us.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,…
We also come to Jesus when we want something; that something can be peace, joy, forgiveness, love, presence, companionship, a spiritual hug, and a loving embrace. Jesus invites us to come to Him, He wants us to come to Him, and He waits for us to come to Him. He rejoices when we come to Him. When we come we are responding to the words of encouragement, support and healing that Jesus expressed, are you ready to come?
Glimpse of God for the week of May 21st.
This week's Glimpse of God was one that was very clear, lasting and profound. I had the opportunity to be at the “Walk for the Wounded” at Rose Tree Park this past Saturday. This Walk was organized ten years ago to honor all of our military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and have died as a result of War. It is an event filled with many oportunities to recognize the depth of personal conviction and selflessness.
.It is an opportunity to honor all of the families that are left with the emptiness and the pain that losing a loved because of war brings. It is an opportunity to honor all those who have been wounded and coming home to a new normal. This is an opportunity for the communtiy to do the Warriors 5K run or the 10K walk for the wounded. It is an opportunity for all who attend to recognize that in the hearts of the men and women who choose to serve their cournty, there is God. In each man and woman that chooses to serve, there is the presence of the selfless, emptying, giving, sacrificial heart where God dwells, strengthens, encourages and calls them to give all they have for another.
It also is an opportunity to raise awareness to the reality that our military members are coming home wounded physically, physcologically, emotionally, spiritually and in need of our help, prayers and support. We need to support our military. They are losing their lives to help others be free. Freedom may be a gift that we have received, but there are many others who are still searching and hoping to become free and not be afraid; to live their lives in light of God’s love and not in light of bombs and guns . There were many military veterans, active duty members, supporters, family members and organizations like "Bikers for Christ"that were there to show their support to those who serve and for the families of those who have lost loved ones because of war. There were stories read of those who died because they chose the chose the path that they hoped would bring about peace and freedom to others, the path set by God. There were stories of those who have survived but changed bacause of injury.
Our military are one of our greatest Glimpses of God that He can send us. Those in the military are those who desire to be God's peacemakers in a world that has lost the meaning and the sense of peace. They went as peaemakers and sought to bring about the peace and freedom that God wants for all of His children.
In our society today, it seems that we are doing everything that we can to take God out of everything. Yet, it is our military members, our Veterans that are not afraid to praise God, thank Him for the gift of life and for bringing them home safely, to echo His name in prayer and blessings end entrust their fallen comrades and critically injured service members to His tender love, care and mercy.
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us be mindful of how this day came about and let us pray for those whom 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.
If you are looking for Glimpse of God, seek out, talk to a Veteran, an active duty member or a reservist, and listen to their story, learn from their wisdom 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 others of 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?
As you prepare for the weekend, take each day to pause, pray and remember how and why this day came about . Don't just make this Memorial Day a day off or all about parties, car sales and picnics, but rather see it as a Glimpse of God in and through our memory and those who have created our memories: our Veterans.
Duty, Honor and Country; Honor, Courage, Commitment; Semper Paratus, Semper Fi.
One Nation Under God
With liberty and justice
This week, instead of taking each day to reflect on one aspect, let us take each day to see the whole picture and reflect on how blessed we are and how our blessings blend in and create the life that we have today. Let us never forget, but choose to be grateful for, the many gifts and blessings that we have been given because of our military.
Have a safe and healthy weekend.
My Glimpse of for this week comes from one of my doctors at Fox Chase Cancer Center . Dr. K has been my pulmonologist for the past 15 years and during those years I have come to love, appreciate, care for, and respect him a great deal. Dr. K has been one of those doctors that not only has gone the extra mile for me, but he has done so with compassion, concern and care that has always brought me a greater sense of peace, healing and hope.
In my weekly Glimpse of God, I try to write about how I was able to see the presence of God in a quick glimpse and how in and through that glimpse, I am given the grace to better recognize the ripple effect of God’s action in my life through my glimpse of God for the week. I try to focus on the person, circumstance or experience where I was able to see my glimpse of God and pray through the week to try to better understand how that glimpse was a gift and presence of God for and to me.
As I think of Dr. K, I see him not just as a glimpse, but as a big picture and presence of God.
Dr. K has always been the presence and beacon of God’s compassion, care, concern and love. I believe that he is that beacon because He chooses to be in relationship with his God and God chooses to reveal himself in and through the person of Dr. K.
I don’t know anything about the faith of Dr. K and we never talked about it, but I do know by the example that he leads, and the humility that he possesses, that it has to be God that dwells in him and that he chooses to serve. He is not a man about ego but more about service, healing, humility and respect. He has been gifted and called to be an instrument of God’s healing and hope to his patients and their families, and has done so with the utmost respect, empathy and dignity.
For the past 15 years, I never wanted to think about the time when he wouldn’t be my doctor anymore. I know that I am one of many patients that will miss him, as well as the staff and his colleagues at the center. I also know that words can never express my gratitude to him for all that he has done for me. He is an exceptional person, a wonderful and caring human being but more importantly, he is God’s beloved son who lives his life as a reflection of God his Father. What a gift, what a blessing.
I am a better and more whole person because of Dr. K. I know that the doctors at FCCC are all excellent and I have been extremely blessed to be associated with the center and the many doctors, nurses and staff over the past 18 years that I have been a patient there. In those 18 years, I have come to appreciate and respect everyone not only for the work that they do, but also because of the compassion and concern that they exhibit for each patient that is in their care.
As we begin new week and celebrate the gift of Mothers, let us be mindful of how others give us the big picture of who God is, how much He loves us and how we are called to go and do the same.
SUNDAY – “Panoramic” – Happy Mother’s day; Mom, grandmom, foster mom, adopted mom, expectant mom, single mom, aunt, sister, niece, dual role dad, blended family mom ….
Let us thank our moms, and all those, both men and women, who have been like a mom to us, for the gift of the broad view, understanding and presence and love of God in our life. As a mom is called and chosen to be the first to nurture, teach and lead us to know God and how much He loves us, let us thank God for the gift of all those women and men who have stepped up and accepted that responsibility and have fulfilled it to the best of their ability. Let us pray for all moms who have returned home to God and are looking down on us and guiding us from their place in heaven; for those who are expecting a child; for those who have lost a child; for those who feel burdened by their children; and for those who can not have a child, that God may bless them with His peace and His love so that they may seek to be the nurturing, loving caring women that He has created them to be.
MONDAY -“ Still shot” – As Dr. K would spend time with his patients, he never came and left rushed or made me feel that I was not important, but rather he made me feel as though I was his only focus for the minutes that he was present. For today, as you live the day and encounter others, try to hold onto a specific place, person or instance where you felt the presence of God and want to hold onto it before going on and perhaps losing it. As you are in the presence of another, seek to be more aware and strive to be truly singularly present to them and not feel as if you have to rush. Be still and know and let them know, that God is there in their presence.
TUESDAY - “Video” - When we take a video, it is because we want to capture the entire event and not miss any details. Dr. K did not miss any details, he is a very thorough and detail oriented doctor that did not take anything for granted. For today, take time to stop and see, that which is before you. Weather it be a sunrise, sunset, children playing, work being done, the beauty of nature or the forces of Mother Nature, try to appreciate the gift that you are looking at and not take it for granted. All is gift even when we don’t understand it or like it. People and events are gifts that we sometimes take for granted, but we can change our perception when we see with the eyes of love and not with tunnel vision.
WEDNESDAY – “Slide” – A slide show. Slides are made because we want to share a significant and important event with others. It is a time to capture the attention of those present and explain what the slide means to us. When I think of Dr. K, I think of the many, many appointments and how he would explain my test results as we looked at them on the computer. He always made sure that I understood what he was saying and asked if I had any questions. I never felt stupid or rushed. His patience helped me to understand my health more and grow in appreciation of the empowerment that I had in my health care and plan of action. For today, as you recall various life experiences, events and people that have captured your attention, stay with them, don’t diminish their significance, or run from their effects. Appreciate the show.
Week 5 Glimpse of God, May 7th
My glimpse of God this is inspired by my Uncle Basil. It is in and through his love for his late wife, his children, his siblings, his friends, his neighbors, his extended family and strangers that I have come to see the face of God and the many facets that His face beholds.
My uncle celebrated his 85th birthday this weekend and many people gathered to celebrate the gift of his life with him. People came together out of love. Love for a man that has touched them deeply, and I believe, has left them a better person. Uncle Basil has been a reflection of the presence of God and each person can say that they see God differently now, clearer now, than before because of him.
As we think about birthdays and people coming together to celebrate, we often think about family. For many people, the mention of family can bring about a warm and fuzzy feeling, a feeling of joy, and a place where love is present, shared and exchanged. For others, it can bring one to cringe out of fear, anger, frustration and dismay because of various dysfunctional behaviors, abuses and selfishness. It is in how one deals with the dysfunctional family; how they learn to cope, forgive, and reconcile their feelings and their experiences with the person who has caused them harm, is the measure of how they experience peace amid their own suffering and mortality. It is also how one embraces others that are not blood family, with and in a deep respectful and abiding love.
My uncle has been hurt. He and my aunt experienced some situations in their life by members of their family that has left some deep, painful wounds and scars. My uncle does not dwell on these but rather chooses to move on with his life, love those who surround him, and embrace those who seek his wisdom, encouragement and courage.
I know that God doesn’t show favorites, but I also know that He does give us what we need and desire most. As His followers and in our desire to be the best person that we can be, family and friends are His gifts to us so that we can both reflect his presence and grow in His love together. When our families are able to help us grow and be the best person that we can be, then we can say that we have grown in a true love for God, others and self. This love is a love that will be able to withstand any wind, storm or flood that attacks it. This love will shine forth from us and will surround us so that others will be drawn to it.
When our family members aren’t able to help us be the best person that God knows we can be, or when they attempt to squash the message of love that God has for us and instead tells us that we are unlovable, then God sends us friends. Our friends pick up the slack so that we become a stronger, better and clearer reflection of God’s love, peace and compassion amid our own suffering. People can come to us knowing that we will share with them the mercy, courage and strength of God that they need, but it will be given freely, without reserve and with compassion.
As we begin a new week in the beauty of spring, let us reflect on God’s many gifts, but specifically on the gift of family and friends and how they have shaped us as we have grown to being and becoming the person that God created us to be.
Let us pray for the grace and gift of reconciliation, mercy, healing, and strength if we need them to draw nearer to God, and let us offer prayers of thanksgiving as we receive these graces.
SUNDAY – Spouse. You chose your spouse. Have you thanked God for this great choice? Have you showed your gratitude to your spouse for his/her love, support and encouragement as you have both lived your vows, in the good times and the difficult times, during the peaks and in the valleys?
They are in your corner, they have your back, they see you as no one else does and loves you anyway. Only God plants that kind of unselfish and selfless love.
MONDAY – Siblings. You grew up together. You probably blamed each other for things, took the blame for the other, rejoiced with them, cried with them and now as an adult you need to see them as God’s children. As His children, you might need to forgive them as well as seek their forgiveness, but most importantly when all seems overwhelming and the pains are deep, you must entrust them to God and surrender them to His mercy, judgment and care. Only then will the compassion, unconditional love and peace of God shine through you.
TUESDAY - Children. They were given to you to raise. You gave them the tools they needed to become the best person that you wanted them to be. You taught them both from your experiences and your mistakes, from the lessons that you learned and the ones that you had wished you learned. In any case you helped form them to the person that they are today. Your children are God’s gift to you. How you form them, the values and virtues you instill in them, the lessons that you share with them, and the love that you show them will help them become the person that God created them to be. They will be your gift to God.
Have you told your children that they are a special gift, one that you cherish and thank God for? Do you pray that God will continue to be with and guide your children especially when you are not able to?
WEDNESDAY – Neighbors. They are neither chosen nor inherited, but rather placed. You can choose to know your neighbor or just live along side of them. Your neighbors see you from a distance, what do you want them to see? How do you want them to think about you? What do you want them to know about you? When our neighbors see things from a distance, they miss the inner workings, the details that make up the image that they see coming and going. We also miss this in our neighbors. Neighbors are God’s gift given to us on a blank slate. How we choose to use the slate, or what we write on the slate, is a choice that can be made from our encounter and experience with, the neighbor and them with us. Is your slate blank, full or in process? Are we open and ready to experience God’s surprises as we encounter our neighbor and they encounter us?
THURSDAY – Extended family members. As you reflect on the many members that create your family, pause to pray for those who have been kept at a distance and those who are very near and dear to you. At a family reunion they can make up the majority while at other times, their absence can create a void. As you reflect on the few or the many extended family members that you have, take a moment and ask for the grace to recognize the blessing that extended family members are. They are an extension of the love that was and is present in your family and if for some reason it is absent in some family members, the extended family offer an opportunity to rediscover it.
FRIDAY – Estranged family members. Families are made of human beings that are weak, sinful and in some cases, very difficult to be in relationship with. If you or someone you know is estranged from their family, pray for them. Being alone, cut off, bitter or isolated is not God’s plan for any of His children. You may be His instrument of healing or you may be used to build bridges, He may be asking you to forgive or seek forgiveness, you may be angry, hurt or downtrodden, but God is the God of the injured, the lost and the forsaken, for He brings them all back to Himself, to wholeness and healing.
SATURDAY – Friends. Thank God for your friends. “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter, He who finds one finds a treasure, a faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds, for he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend shall be like himself.”(Sirach 6:14-17).
Glimpse of God for April 30, 2017 (week 53)
This week’s Glimpse of God comes from our week away in Honeybrook, Pennsylvania. My husband and I went to Lancaster for vacation this past week, and had the privilege to stay on an Amish/Mennonite working farm. The family that welcomed us was Sonia and Dave Stoltzfus and their 5 children. We stayed in the apartment attached to their house and were afforded the beauty, awe, wonder and gift of the scenic mountain view and landscape, the various cows, horses, new born calves, dogs, chickens and cats, the fresh aroma of manure, and the unending space and quiet that comes when one visits Lancaster. God’s many glimpses came not only came in the form of His many creatures, but also in the welcome, hospitality and beauty of the Stoltfuz family.
The privilege of living on a farm for one week was a priceless gift. We awakened every day to the beauty of the sunrise, the gift of the peace that surrounded us as we began the day and the gift of being able to attend daily Mass at the near by parish. Since we did not have any access to a Television or computer, we felt that we were on a mini retreat. God blessed us with quiet time in the midst of leaving a very stressful time. He gifted us with the simplicity of Amish living to teach us that our life is only as complicated as we make it. He showed us the joy in that we could still discover things about each other even after 18 years of being married. We learned that when stressful situations arise, trusting in God’s inspiration and our desire to do the most loving thing will always prevail over any negative emotions or response. As each day presented itself and we attended to the various things that we wanted to do, we were able to see with a greater clarity the presence of God through the quiet, stillness and peace that embraced us.
As we begin a new week, let us try to lessen the noise and focus on the gentle voice that speaks to us in and through our daily events, encounters and circumstances.
SUNDAY – “Son” rise – This is the day we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Every Sunday we are given the opportunity to recall and celebrate this great gift of love. As you begin a new day, ask God for the grace to recognize the unconditional and selfless love for which His Son Jesus suffered, died and rose for YOU. Ask for the grace and gift to embrace that love and celebrate it with others.
MONDAY – Mountains – Sometimes life presents challenges and crosses that seem more like mountains than molehills or valleys. We feel discouraged and deflated as we look at the task that lies ahead because we think that we can’t make it up or over the mountain. The good news is that life’s challenges are not where we are called to walk up mountains, but rather we are walking toward heaven, closer to God because God is walking with us, not away from us. Life challenges are God’s invitation for us to always keep our heads humbly held high trusting that we walk together, where as if we walk with our heads lowered, we can miss the beauty of what lies in front of us on the journey. If we truly desire to do the will of God in our life, even the mountains will be made low and we will walk the path that will bring us a greater freedom and peace that can only come from God.
TUESDAY – Discover – Take time to discover something new today. As you journey through your day, be open to self-discovery. Allow yourself the humility, readiness and acceptance to see something in you that you did not know or recognize before. God will only reveal to you, that which will bring you to a deeper knowledge and love of Him, so as He shows you something new and different, allow the gift of the discovery be the gift of spiritual and personal transformation.
WEDNESDAY – Welcome – I welcome you, you are welcome, welcome in. How often do you hear these words? Are they addressed to you or are you addressing then to another. Are they God centered or self- centered? To welcome someone in the name of God, is to welcome God. To be open to welcome God is to be open to welcome the stranger. To welcome in, is to invite God, the stranger, into one’s home, heart, sorrows, and joys. Do you welcome others in? Is God welcome in? Out of fear do you hold back your welcome? Is your heart afraid to be touched by the welcoming peace, healing and love of God? Is that what you need to welcome in? For today, welcome in what God has in store for you, it may enter as a stranger but it will leave as a friend.
THURSDAY – Time – Our time on earth is God’s gift to us, It is a precious gift, a priceless gift, a valued gift, a gift that can be taken away suddenly, a gift that is surprisingly extended, a gift that can be taken for granted, a gift that is greatly appreciated, a gift that is refused by another or we refuse to invite, a gift that we recognize as gift or see as a burden. Time can be the most precious of all gifts because we can look at the times past and appreciate the gift of the memories we behold; we can look at the present time and use it to become the best person that God created us to be and knows we can become; and we can look at the times ahead and seek the courage to embrace those aspects of the precious gift that will fill us with a greater knowledge of God so that we can love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly and see Him more clearly day by day, for each day brings us closer to being reunited with Him in His glory.
FRIDAY – Friends –“A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter, He who finds one finds a treasure, a faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a life saving remedy, such as he who fears God finds, for he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friend shall be like himself.”(Sirach 6:14-17).
Mary and Randy came up to Lancaster to spend the day with us "antiquing" . I am blessed to be able to call them friends and am thankful to God for such a great gift.
Pray for, be grateful for and honor those you consider your friends and those who consider you their friend. Thank God for the times that you have found shelter in the love, trust, and welcome of a friend. God knows us better than we know our self. Just when we think that we are alone or unloved, He brings someone in our life that we can share our thoughts and dreams, wishes and hopes with. This person can be a spouse, but a new friendship can be formed when it is cultivated in the maturity and growth that comes between siblings, parents, and grandparents. Friends are those who are likeminded, but also honest and true. They welcome you and you welcome them.
SATURDAY – Silence - as a gift of prayer and a reflection on time, take a moment of silence to remember those who have silently gone from this life to God ‘s loving embrace. Ask God to bless and console their family members as they mourn their loss weather it was from illness, homicide, suicide or accident.
…..as a gift of prayer and a reflection on time, take a moment of silence to remember the times in your week that caused you to be speechless; a joyful event, the glory and wonder of God’s action in your life, a sunset, a sunrise, a sad event, or a surprise, and thank God for the gift of silence that allowed you to more fully grasp the event and its meaning, and that is was not cluttered with words or other distractions.
…….as a gift of prayer and a reflection on time, take a moment of silence to pray for those who spend their time listening with their heart. Those who silently listen to those who need to speak as they seek words or actions of consolation, healing, encouragement, peace, reconciliation, mercy, hope, or healing.