My Glimpse of God for the week of February 4, 2024

“Conversations”

 

My Glimpse of God came through in the many and various conversations that I have had on the telephone this week. 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, 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.

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 I think about conversations that we will probably have with others; those we know, love and care about, as well as those who we are not so familiar with and show up on caller id as spam, I believe that the most important conversation that we will have and are invited to participate in, is with our God, I call it prayer.  

As we begin a new week, this 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.

Next week, as we prepare to begin or Lenten journey, I will write about the spirituality of the various responses to God’s invitation to converse with Him and how we can improve our phone line reception so that it is  sounds clearer, nearer and with less static. I think that there are several ways that we can respond to God’s invitation to converse with Him, we can answer the call or walk away from the call, or our prayer line can be busy,  off the hook, without power, or disconnected, or we can send it to voice mail. Stay tuned…

 

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.

MONDAY – 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. 

TUESDAY – 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, especially for grandparents whose grandchildren are not close by yet through face time they are right there.

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. 

WEDNESDAY – 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.

THURSDAY – 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.

FRIDAY – Sticky note

I know that this sounds strange, but hear me out…. When I write something on a sticky note, and by the way, they come in many shapes, forms, sizes, and colors, just like us, I write only that which is important, that I need to remember, that will fit on the somewhat small piece of paper, and that the reason for writing it is clear. I sometimes leave a sticky note in my husband’s lunch, that might say have great day, that I love him, a message from the; pawsome crew, or just a smiley face. For me, these few words convey a great deal to him from me. He doesn’t expect it so it is a surprise, and if it makes him smile in the midst of a difficult day at work, then I rejoice in the God’s grace present on that little piece of paper. It is  unique, short also can be very deep, transforming and grace filled conversation.  The message sticks.

For today: think about sticky notes and how they can convey  your love in the sweetest way, most caring and surprising ways.  

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 and out of love and service.

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 28, 2024

Speak Lord, your servant is listening!

This week’s Glimpse of God comes as I look around and see the many people, events and situations that have been a source of inspiration and peace to me. I believe that as a resurrection people, we are called to live in hope and be a sign of that hope to all we encounter. It is through our conversations, our activities, our deeds, and our attitudes, amid and through our fears and anxieties, that we can choose to exude the presence and light of Christ or diminish it.

As one reading this Glimpse of God, I believe that you and I have been inspired by others, and we have inspired others, through various conversations and by their example and ours, to continue to live as a resurrected people, living in faith, trust, and hope. There are also events and situations that are a source of inspiration, but for this glimpse, I am choosing to focus on those people that we know who have inspired us. I believe that as you and I live each day, there have been special people, events and situations in our life that have inspired us to continue to put one foot in front of the other, not knowing where the path may lead, but trusting that we are not walking alone.

For me, there are many who inspire me to become my best self, the person that God created me to be, and that I have the potential to become. By their presence they exude the warmth, love, and compassion of God, and in their faith and through their silence, they invite me to hear and listen to His voice, so that I can respond to Him as He calls me. They inspire or connect with the Spirit dwelling within both of us to be God’s messenger to others. And because they inspire me, I can freely say to my Lord and God, as did Samuel, Speak Lord for your servant is listening. SO

At our baptism God breathed into the us the breath of life, hence, as God’s beloved sons and daughters, we are the breath of God, we are His voice. The words that come forth from our mouth should be words that build up others, extend compassion and mercy, offer peace, share joy, give hope, and impart healing.

As you continue to walk on your journey of faith with the many challenges that life brings, can you take a moment of more to reflect on those who have been a source of inspiration to you; spouse, mentor, parents, children, siblings, friends, religious, coworkers, parishioners, and how they have invited you to become your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you know that you have the potential to become.

Being an inspiration is about speaking, exuding, and sharing God’s word and presence in our life, so that we can build up, encourage, console, support, and forgive others so that they have a greater desire to become their best and better self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.

We are all capable of being an inspiration to others since we all possess the breath of God. It is how we choose to use that breath that will either inspire others or bore them. You are a source of God’s inspired word; how will you choose to inspire others this week? 

SUNDAY – “I” intellect (a high IQ is not required to hear the voice of God)

Having a high IQ, a doctorate, a large bank account or the latest iPhone, is not a prerequisite for being an inspiration to others. Although they may influence you to inspire others who are seeking to attain certain aspirations and achieve specific goals, God’s voice is not a reward for one’s personal achievements. God’s breath of life, His voice was given to us at our baptism, and whether we choose to be His voice is our choice. God does not force us to be His instruments or to do His will. He invites us because He will never go against our free will. He wants us to choose Him. Being an inspiration is not something new to us, or that we need to go to class to learn about because when we are compassionate, generous, humorous, joyful, and merciful we are unconsciously inspiring others because they are seeing God’s action in the flesh of humanity as we do the will of God. His presence, His Holy Spirit is within us, and when we ask for the grace to respond to the Holy Spirit, God will show us how we can do that so that He is glorified.

For today: pray for those who inspire you not because of what they possess, but rather what they do not possess: self serving ego, power, control, and how the spirit of simplicity enables and empowers them to be a humble servant of God.

MONDAY – “N” noise (noise prevents one from hearing inspiration)

The noises of the outside world can inhibit one from hearing the voice of God from within. Sometimes those noises cannot be controlled and therefor need to be heard, while there are other times when we allow the noise to enter our heart, mind, and spirit so that we cannot hear what is truly going on in within our self and what or how God is trying to connect with us. Inspiration is not noise, but rather silence with words and sometimes without words. We are silent and God speaks through us with His inspired word. Inspiration is not about what we want to say to set a person straight, to prove them wrong, or make them feel bad, it is not a ticket for us to judge another. Being an inspiration is about speaking, exuding, or sharing God’s word, His presence in our life, so that we can build up, encourage, console, support, and forgive others so that they have a greater desire to become their best and better self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.

For today: Take a few minutes to reflect on how you use noise to avoid the silence and ask God to give you the grace to be still so that you can know that He is God and is always there and is speaking to your mind and heart.

 

TUESDAY – “S” silence (silence brings forth the ability to hear the inspiration)

Some say silence is golden. I would or could imagine that the some could be new parents of an infant, a home with many children, those who live near a train station or an airport, to name a few. Silence is a gift of tremendous value, one that the recipient can either take for granted or appreciate.  When one needs to search for a place of silence, it can be like a treasure hunt or easy as opening a gift, you either know where to go or you have to search extensively to find it.

It is not that difficult if one truly seeks to hear and listen to God’s voice from within. Amid the busyness or the noise that each day brings, if one seeks silence, one can be refreshed by even a minute of silence, of hearing God’s voice in the silent time and going forth renewed and inspired. Hearing and listening to the voice of God is about the desire to lift one’s mind and heart to God so that He can speak to you, and you can respond as He invites you to. God knows your heart and your desire, and He answer it as He knows best, so be ready for surprises

For today: Thank God for the gift of silence and ask for the grace to invite that gift more into your daily life. 

 

WEDNESDAY – “P” peace (inner peace arising from inspiration)

When one seeks peace in and through God, one finds peace, without God there can be no peace. If one has an open heart and a humble spirit, and truly seeks to inspire others by being their best self so that others desire to be their best self, God will answer that desire with the gift of His peace.  A peace that will not take away the cross or lessen life challenges, but rather will strengthen one so that one can carry the cross knowing that they are not alone, that they will not be defeated, and they will conquer and overcome the temptations that want to get the better of them. As God speaks to one’s heart, one might feel the need to share that message with others. If it was a message of hope, one might share it with those who are struggling as they are, if it was a message of consolation, one might share it with those who grieving, if it was a message of courage, one might share it with those who are afraid to carry their cross. In all these messages, God offers His peace to those who hear the message, share the message  and allow it to take root.

For today: Pray the prayer of Saint Francis when you feel non-peace, agitated, frustrated, or discouraged. Pray it again with gratitude when you experience the gift of God’s peace.

 

 

 

 

THURSDAY – “I” inter-dependent (dependent upon one another)

We need each other. We are not on this earthly journey to travel alone. Jesus did not minister alone, He chose the twelve apostles, twelve men who were sinners and new to the ways of Jesus. Jesus knew their hearts and their weaknesses, yet He chose them to be His witnesses and His closest friends. He sent them in two by two, never one, to go and share His good news, for He knew too that they could not do it alone nor did he want them to. We cannot think that we can go life’s journey by ourselves.  We are a people created to be with others, to walk with each other and to help build up the Kingdom of God with each other. As we walk on our earthly journey, we will encounter others who are spiritually ahead of us, behind us, off the beat and path, and in the shadow, yet we are all walking towards our heavenly reward, eternity with Jesus. If we choose to be alone, to exclude others, to deny others entrance into our heart, we are not allowing the life and breath of God to take root, we are not allowing our heart to be expanded and we are not allowing others to be our Simons of Cyrene or our Veronicas. For today: Who has been a Simon of Cyrene or a Veronica to you, and who have you been a Simon of Cyrene and Veronica to? As much as it may have been difficult for you to reach out to them or just to accept their act of kindness and help, can you see how God inspired them to reach out to you? Do you see how you were also inspired to accept their help instead of rejecting it? Pray a humble prayer of gratitude.

FRIDAY – “R” reverence (reverence one who inspires as well as oneself)

Being reverent is an inward sign of love and humility that emerges with respect and openness to being God’s open and humble instrument as He chooses us to be. We must first respect and reverence our self if we are to respect and reverence God or others.   At our baptism we are blessed with the Holy Water that makes us a holy and blessed creation, one that should always be treated with reverence and respect. Yet we often do not reverence or respect our self because of sin, shame, guilt, and despair. Being an inspiration is about acknowledging our failures before God, and others if we choose, and choosing to grow from them, be transformed by them, and seeking the grace of God to overcome them. It requires a reverence for our self and others that even with our faults and failings, we are and will always be God’s beloved children, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. We are called to reverence that which is holy, where God resides and as the Body of Christ, Jesus dwells within each one of us and therefore should be treated with great respect and reverence. For today: Bless yourself with the sign of the cross and at each sign take a minute to recall how loved, blessed, chosen, and reverenced you are by God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In the name of the Father, you are created and beloved. In the name of the Son, you are called, and chosen, in the name of the Holy Spirit, you are inspired and gifted. In the Amen you are united with the Blessed Trinity, and seek to trust in the mystery and grow in faith. 

SATURDAY – “E” embrace (embrace the voice and action of God)

You are God’s gift. You are God’s inspiration to others and others are an inspiration to.

Others know that you seek to live as God’s witness, with a spirit of humility, simplicity, and joyfulness, and it is by your life example, that others are inspired. You also recognize in others the action and presence of God and you are inspired by their example. Inspiration requires a spirit of humility and humility expands one’s heart to love greater. It is in that spirit of humility that God graces us with the ability to love self and others more. When one inspires us or we inspire others, we are inspiring sinners who strive to become saints. God’s voice can and does come through the greatest sinners as they experience personal conversion, transformation, and forgiveness, and the saints among us. It can come through any person, of any faith, and in many and varied circumstances. One can be inspired by a stranger’s random act of kindness, to words of consolation and support, by a smile in the midst of a difficult time, or a handshake of reconciliation that brought about a deep and lasting peace. Asl God’s beloved children, He speaks through all of us to each other. We should not close our heart, mind and eyes to those who are different or the stranger because it may be through them that God chooses to speak.

For today: embrace the action and voice of God’s inspiration however and by whomever it may come.

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week for January 21, 2024

Winter day of reflection …” It’s time to build a snowbody

 

My glimpse of God comes from a source that brings me a deep sense of joy, makes me smile when my eyes behold it, reminds me that even in the midst of the severe cold of winter, the snow that accumulates, the frost on the windows, the lack of daylight and the lack of desire to be outside because I get cold too easily, he or she is still a picture of joy with a great smile to go with it. What is this glimpse? This glimpse is that of SNOWMAN,  SNOWWOMAN, SNOWCHILD, SNOWDOG, SNOWCAT AND NOW SNOWBUNNIES.

When I was a child, the first thing that I did when it snowed and the snow was good for packing, was to go out and make a snowman. My snowman was as unique as I was. It would have a variety of things that could be found around the house to be used as his ears, eyes, nose, mouth, hands and shirt buttons. Then the topper would be his hat, hopefully like the one that Frosty wore, but in my case, any hat that I could find around the house would do. My snowman, depending on the cold and the packing of the snow, would have two or three big balls of snow. The biggest on the bottom, the next smallest would be his belly and the smaller would be his head. If it was too cold or the snow wasn’t packing snow, he would have a big belly and a small head. When I was done, I would look at he finished product and smile.

How can it bring me to see God more clearly? Does God work through such “made up” characters? I believe that God works through and with all His creation and creatures. We are His greatest creation and when we seek to see His joy, in the small and big ways, and desire to bring it to others, then we are working in unison with Him in bringing about and building His Kingdom here on earth. We are all called to use the gifts that God has given us. Snow is a gift. We can complain about it, tolerate it, ignore it or use it to bring joy to children and the big kid in all of us.

I still smile today when I see children creating a snowman. I don’t think that the fun that I experienced making or building a snowman can be compared to anything else.

So if you come to our house during the winter months, your eyes will behold the many sizes and shapes of various snowmen, snowwomen, snow children, snowdog, snowcat, and now snow bunnies. I am surrounded by various snow creatures that make me smile and remind me that even with the simplest gift, that of snow, God invites, allows, and waits for me to be attentive and creative. I also believe that as people enter our home and smile, they are remembering something that brings them joy. I don’t ask why they are smiling, I can only imagine that it may be for the same reasons that I do.

So as we enter a new week of winter, and the first full month of winter, let us think of ways that we can bring a smile to another and strive to accomplish that task.

 

 

 

SUNDAY - “S” - Sincere

In all of interactions with others, our first thought is that we need to be sincere genuine and authentic as Children of God, followers of Christ. We cannot, should not interact with others, attempting to make them smile or bring them a sense of peace, happiness or joy, if we are not sincere in our reason and desire to help them. We cannot bring happiness to others if our message is just words and not from the heart. People who are suffering or unhappy for whatever reason, are not always looking to hear the right words, as much as they are looking for someone to be honest, sincere, and humble as they interact with them. People see through our deception, our false image, our need to make our self feel good at their expense, and our ego that thinks we are succeeding and fooling them. We don’t have to pretend that we are perfect, but we do have to be sincere when we meet another imperfect human being, just as we are, and seek to raise them up.

 

MONDAY – “N”- Not me

When we seek to help another to make them happy, it should not be about us. God will reward us, will show us that in our spirit of humility and selflessness, that we are being taken care of, that we are loved, and in our being loved, we are able to love others. As you go to help others today, go with the attitude that it is about them and that God will give you the words to speak or the ability to listen to the sounds of silence. He will show you how to be present and to that person. He will also show you how, it is about you and how you responded to His invitation to build another up, and not tear them down or ignore their plight.

 

TUESDAY – “O”- Open minded

When you reach out to others today, keep an open mind. One never knows what another is thinking or feeling, yet what they say can shock, surprise, or hurt you. Keeping an open mind will allow you to see things better from their perspective, experience, or circumstances. You will grow in the grace of understanding, empathy and humility. As you reach out to others in an attempt to help them, remember that they are in a need and in that need, they are vulnerable, and when one is vulnerable, they tend to say or do things that they would not normally do or say.

 

WEDNESDAY - “W” -Wise

Being wise or having wisdom is not something that one can fall upon; it must be gained by prayer and relationship with the Holy Spirit, personal experience and the ability to see things from another perspective. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is wisdom. Wisdom is a gift that allows us to make the right decision, as God would want us to do. When we strive to make another happy or help raise them up, then we are using the gift of wisdom. Wisdom differentiates the right motives from the wrong, and enables us to make a decision that goes in accord with the will of God and not our own. They say that wisdom comes with age. I believe that as we mature the desire to make the right decision no matter what it may be.

As you seek to help another today, pray for the gift of wisdom so that you can see more clearly where and what God is calling you to say or do.

 

THURSDAY – “M” -Merciful

We are all called show mercy, just as God has been and continues to be merciful with us, we are called to share that gift with others. When you seek to make another happy, you are seeing beyond any weakness and looking to the heart. Being merciful is not something that we can take lightly. As we are weak, so too is our brother and sisters in Christ. When we seek to help others, we are seeing their need, not their weakness.

Today when you go to help another, remember that they might feel vulnerable, needy, and possibly stressed to the point of being angry. See past this and look to their heart.

 

FRIDAY – “A” – Awesome ……………God is awesome!!!!

His gifts are not only special, but awesome because they have been chosen just for us.

People have been placed in our life to show us that we are all God's chosen beloved children and that we are here to help support each other on our earthly journey. 

For today as you recall the many memories that bring you joy, like the beauty of the snow and building snowmen do for me, offer a prayer of thanks to God for those memories. As you are placed in the lives of others and you want to help them recognize the awesomeness of God, don't just use words but let your heart speak. Let your heart speak of the love that it is filled with and that you want to share. Others will see the power, presence of the awesome God more clearly and with greater clarity. 

 

SATURDAY - “N” - Newness

When we attempt to lift others up, we often find our self more lifted than the person that we hoped to help. God works with the hearts of His faithful and when our hearts are in the right place, He can work wonders. We experience a newness of spirit, heart mind and body  We experience a refreshing spirit that not only is uplifting, but also transforming. As I look at the many snowwomen, snowmen and snowchildren and snowpets in my home, I experience a refreshing spirit of joy and happiness. No matter what the day had or has in store, I believe that in and through the gifts that God showers upon me: His grace, His mercy, His peace, His unconditional love, these gifts transform me and invite me to transform the lives of others. So when I seek to help others, it is not my idea, but rather God speaking.

So today when you extend a helping hand to lift another up, remind yourself that it is God extending His hand to you and lifting you up so that you can do likewise. "For what you do to the least of my brethren you do unto me."

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 14, 2024

Your “Sonroom”

My glimpse of God for this week came to me as I sat in our sunroom looking out to the beautiful scenery of the barren, but standing tall and proud trees and bushes that embrace our yard, and the sun breaking through the clouds and shining on them.  The sky in all of its beauty reminded me that in the stillness of life and its busyness, God speaks through His creation and creatures. As I returned home from Mass, I realized that I was at a still and peaceful place in my heart, mind and body and after this week, it was a very special and welcome place to be.          

I realize that there are many individuals who are unable to experience peace due to the various life changing events that have been occurring in our communities, city, nation and world. My hope and prayer is that we allow the peace of God to enter into our minds, hearts and spirits so that we can live up to our potential as God intends. In light of these events, I am choosing to focus om the positive events and situations, and not any negative things that can cause us to lose sight of the many blessings that God places in our life. As we live each day, and rise from slumber, let us enter into it with the light of the Son as our guide. Let us be open to recognize how we are called to walk in that light as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally, and called to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. Let us enjoy the beauty and the gift that God had provided of a landscape with His writing on it. 

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. 

The trees and the bushes reminded me of a greater gift and that is the gift of faith and how it is represented in the tall trees as well as the smaller trees and bushes. The trees are firmly rooted. The roots spread throughout and are hidden under ground. As we are unable to see the roots, our faith is also like the roots. We are not called to live our faith just so people will see us, and we will be the center of attention, but rather we all called to live it in a spirit of humility, reverence and love. We are all called to practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to aid those in need and not to bring the focus on our self. We have to remember that God knows our hearts and that when we choose to follow Him we are choosing to live as members of the Body of Christ. Being the body of Christ is a calling to be Christ like. This means that He must be our motivation and our desire, not our need to be the center of attention. God will place us where we can be the best instruments for Him. Our roots are in God and grow as we grow in our relationship with God. As the trees stand in the midst of God’s creation, they stand alone as they display their beauty, both when they are barren and when they are full of color.  Amid the forces of Mother Nature, the trees stand naked and are at the mercy of Mother Nature and all that she can send down upon them. We always stand naked before God. We cannot hide but we can stand in humility, love and openness so that He can dress us with His grace and blessing.

The branches are spread out and at this time there are very few leaves clinging to the branches. There are times  after carrying a heavy cross that we begin to feel desperate, it tis then that we cling to God; we tie a bigger knot, so that we don’t fall away. We cling to God out of love, sometimes out of fear and other times out of a desire to grow nearer to Him.

All are good. As the branches spread out, we too spread the good news of Jesus Christ by our lives, our actions, our attitudes, and our words. As God’s children, and as a people that need to live the resurrection, we need to and will also lose our leaves. We will experience times when we die to self, so as to live for God and others. We will experience Christ’s passion through our crosses so that we can rise with him in our healing, personal transformation, and spiritual restoration.

As we enter more deeply into the winter months, let us take notice of the shorter days, the colder weather, the kaleidoscope of barrenness, the green  colored bushes, the brown branches,  and the blue sky in the landscape of God’s creation. As we  look back at covid19, the flu, the various strands and viruses that remain in our midst, let us be mindful that as we perform certain tasks so that we can remain physically healthy and safe, there are things spiritual tasks that we can do so that we can  remain spiritually healthy and safe. If we are sincere in our commitment to follow Christ, we too must undergo change, transformation and conversion, if we are to become the best persons that God has created us to be and have the potential to become. 

As the beauty of God’s creation surround us, we are called to reverence it, enjoy it, honor and appreciate it. Creation is a gift to behold. The trees, the bushes, the grass, the sky, the forces of nature, the sun, the moon, the birds that fly freely and the crawling creatures that we get frightened by; all are a part of the one canvas that God has created.

When we look outside and behold God’s creation that embraces us, try to imagine how carefully God planted and placed it in our lives and how it can be an instrument of spiritual growth and transformation. Look at the trees and bushes in light of your faith and how you are also firmly rooted, how you spread the good news and how you are a resurrection believer.

This week take each day, observe, honor and reverence God’s beautiful gift of nature in the “Son Room” of your heart where Christ dwells.

 

SUNDAY – The leaves: how are you changing, evolving, growing, letting go?

What do you need to let go of so that you can grasp, with greater strength, God’s blessings, graces, and gifts? How have you changed and become a better more spiritually mature person? Do you see how you have evolved and continue to do so?

 

MONDAY – The green grass: without water, the grass can become brown and burnt. Only God can satisfy our hunger and quench our thirst. Do you allow God to satisfy your thirst or do you suffer from spiritual dryness and burn out?

 

TUESDAY - The tall trees: How do you stand before God?

Do you hold your head high and stand tall in humility or are you bowed down in shame? Can you, do you allow God’s grace to lift you up?

 

WEDNESDAY – The blue sky: Can you see the all-encompassing, enveloping, beauty of the sky as you look up or are there so many distractions that you can’t see in front of you? God wants us to see His beauty in the midst of life’s challenges, so the sky is the opportunity to do that. It might bring forth rain, sleet, hail, sun, and clouds, but through them all, God is letting us know that He is watching over us and that we are not alone.

 

THURSDAY - What is your sky filled with? Can you recognize God’s hand in the sky of your life and give God thanks for your sky?

Is it always cloudy because you can’t seem let go of those things that are blinding you from seeing God’s light in and through His love for you ? Are the clouds in your life people, life circumstances, events, grudges, anger, discouragement or bitterness that block the love, compassion and healing power of God from entering into your heart, mind, soul and spirit?

Is it rain, because of the storms of life? Are the storms of your life robbing you from experiencing the gentle rain, the moisture that removes the spiritual dryness? Can you allow the rain to soak in and become an instrument to spiritual growth?

Is it sun, because in and through life’s storms, you have held onto, and continue to do so, the reality that you are a resurrection person and the sun will always return with its healing rays?

Is it snow, because you are God’s beloved son or daughter, unconditionally loved, filled with His grace and unique as each snowflake that falls from the sky?

Is it filled with birds, because as God’s greatest creation, you can fly high above all else and soar freely because you are God’s beloved son or daughter?

Is it darkness because you feel isolated and alone? Can you allow God to take you by the hand and guide your steps trusting that He will not allow you to fall or stumble? 

 

FRIDAY - The big bushes: The bushes are big, round and pruned. How have you been pruned and made into a better person despite the pain and the humility that pruning involves? Do you miss that which God has removed because God saw that it wasn’t necessary for your spiritual health and well-being?

 

SATURDAY - God’s many creatures: birds, deer, rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, ….

All God’s creatures great and small give God praise because He made them all. Can you praise them even as they eat your vegetables, leave droppings on your deck, knock over your bird feeders, or dig holes in your lawn?

Next time think of them like this: They know to eat what is good for them so they eat the vegetables that you so carefully planted, do you always eat what is good for you? Do you believe that you are the Body of Christ and that you are strength for others? Is it easier for you to reach out for the junk food: tv, phones, computers, overworking than to feed on the word of God, the Sacraments, or personal prayer time?

They leave droppings on your deck, the place where you gather. When you gather with family or friends, are your conversations always positive or are they sometimes filled with “bad droppings”: gossip, negativity, anger, about others? We all need to clean up, God gives us remorse, contrition, forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation, and the humble words “I am sorry” and “I forgive you”

The knocking over of the bird feeders: God graciously gives us Himself in the Holy Eucharist yet there are times when we choose to turn away, in anger, have a fit, or in pain, ignore Him and try to solve things our own way. The bird feeder can always be refilled because God takes it from the top. He doesn’t look back but allows us to begin again. Sometimes He has to knock us over for us to realize that we cannot find fulfillment from any other source but Him.

The digging of holes: groundhogs dig many holes and leave our nice lawns looking like golf courses. Yet how often do we dig a hole for our self that we can’t get out of? We try to impress with colorful accomplishments that we cannot justify, we misspeak because we are afraid of the truth, we hide because we don’t believe in our self or our abilities? God hid in the hole in the ground for three days, the grave that seemed at first to defeat Him became the tool for our redemption. No matter how much we hide, cover our self, or burrow, God sees us, gently brings us to the light, dusts us off and places us on our two feet to start anew.

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 7, 2024

Do you believe in miracles? What is miracle? The Oxford Dictionary defines a miracle as: an extraordinary and welcome event that is not explicable by natural or scientific laws and is therefore attributed to a divine agency”.

I think in simpler words, a miracle is an act of God that remains a mystery to the mind, yet provides an invitation by God’s Holy Spirit for a personal transformation of the heart. 

When I think of a miracle, I first think of the Holy Family. The Immaculate Conception of Mary, chosen by God at her conception to be the mother of His Son, our Savior.  Joseph, the miracle and his gift of faith as He fell in disbelief at the announcement, to trust and courage as an angel visited him. Jesus how He was able to undergo His passion, death and resurrection. All of which these three individuals would never been able to respond to without faith, trust, and courage and the desire to surrender to God’s will, which allowed them to be His instruments for the salvation of souls today, yesterday and all our tomorrows.

Miracles happen every day?  God’s divine intervention occurs every time our heart is involved and our minds need to make changes, or be changed so that we can be our best self before God, others and in the mirror. Do you recognize them?  A miracle requires as least two things; an openness to God’s working in

your life so that you can recognize His action, and a willingness to accept the miracle as meant for you and not everyone else.

A miracle to me can only be an act of God.  The first miracle that I would like to focus on is the breath from God that keeps us alive.  Humans are not plugged into an electrical outlet to get their power supply or energy.  No God created humanity in His image and likeness so that we would depend on Him to receive our spiritual and physical energy, nourishment and power. Power to do what?  To choose love over hate, pardon over injury, peace over division, compassion over judgment, understanding over differences and acceptance over hatred. God gives us our very breath and live so that we can honor Him, serve Him and build up His kingdom here on earth.

Another miracle occurs when a baby is born. Think of how a baby grows in the womb for the nine months, and then is ready to be born into a new world, from the warmth of the womb to the warmth of a parent’s loving embrace. Only God can form a child in the womb, although the mother feeds the new life that is growing and provides the nourishment that is needed, only God can be credited for the wonderful, amazing gift of life that comes forth. To me that is a mini miracle. New life is a gift to the parents and how they respond to it is there gift in return to God.  All children are God’s beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation, and it is up to the parents to acknowledge, reverence and love that child into that reality.  I pray that God will transform the hearts of parents who are unable to do that, and I thank God for all the parents who through the various and many struggles that go with child rearing and raising, seek to do that.

Another miracle is the miracle of death. It is a grace filled moment to be in the presence of someone who is preparing to meet their God face to face, and to know that God is actively bringing them back home to Himself. To witness their last breath on this earthly journey and how it will become their first breath into their eternal reward, is a moment and grace from God. God creates and calls us into life as an infant, and then brings us back home to Himself when He feels that our time, our mission here on earth is complete, and Jesus says to us: Come ye, blessed of my Father, and possess the kingdom which was prepared for you from the beginning, where thou reign with the Son and the Holy Spirit, and where  we hope to reign with Thee, world without end.

Life is God’s gift to us and what and how we choose to live that life is our gift to God.  Are we able to recognize the many miracles that occur every day? From the moment we awake to the moment we sleep and the many moments in between? And when we do, are we grateful or afraid or unaccepting of such a gift?

 

Do we allow our self to recognize the miraculous powers that our family, friends, and community hold? When they can love us in our lowest and most vulnerable times, when they forgive us of our most hurtful actions or words directed toward them, when they see our best self when we can only see our worst self as it emerges.  That is God, that is God’s divine intervention at work.  We can’t deny the presence of the Almighty when we see our weakest self-emerge, and others seek to see our best self even as it is hidden, but they know can and will come forward. Do we see others as God’s instruments of peace, joy, healing, pardon, or do we try to find a logical secular reason for events that occur that we didn’t expect and or surprised us?

For someone to be canonized in the Church to sainthood, 2 verifiable postmortem miracles need to be attributed to the candidate saint.  Saints are ordinary people who lived life and did things in an extraordinary way.  I believe that we are all sinners striving to be saints as we live and not after we die. We might not be recognized by the Church for our good deeds, or our acts of kindness, or our great love shown, but God knows our heart and all that is in it, He has seen it expand and sometimes shrink.  He sees our heart and He wants us to know that when it comes to matters of the heart, only His grace and intervention can lead us to become our best self and live up to our potential, so that we can not only recognize His power within us, but that we can bring about his miracles, both mini and major, to others. Miracles are a surprise to many and a revelation to others.  We are or can be surprised when we think of miracles happening in our life. We don’t expect them, and we don’t necessarily pray for them, but if we think about it long enough, we can see more clearly God’s intervention as we reflect on difficult situations, people, or events that we found our self-choosing love, being loving and allowing the grace of mercy overflow from the core of our being.

So, as we begin this new week with a new year tucked in, let us strive to see more clearly the many mini and major miracles that occur. May we not be afraid to embrace them, acknowledge them or share them with others. Let us seek to recognize the many miracles that will embrace, surround and transform us to be a better person, a Eucharistic person, and Incarnational person knowing that Christ dwells within us and all about us.

 

SUNDAY - “M” The Mundane

In the mundane, the routine of work, raising a family, providing for your family and the demands on your energy, sometimes make you feel as if you are going around in circles and not producing any good.  We sometimes look at our daily routines and get discouraged because we can’t or are unable to see progress, or we feel underappreciated and taken for granted.  We can feel as if we are not living up to our potential and this makes us feel as if we are disappointing God. Being bored, underappreciated, physical and spiritual weariness, can lead us to thinking that we are not doing our very best, but then the miracle occurs. When we take a moment to reflect on what we see as mundane, God sees as gift, when we feel underappreciated, He wants us to know that He not only appreciates our efforts but rewards them with His love, peace, joy and calm. When we look at the hard work it takes in raising and providing for a family, and we find that we do it out of and in love for them, God and our self, we begin to see things differently. The mundane becomes an avenue for miraculous. God’s grace opens our minds, hearts and spirit to see His action so that we don’t feel as if we are in the mundane alone. He allows us to see the love that binds us to our families, to Him and to others, and that love is what motivates us to endure what seems to be mundane, but, is a transformative avenue, agent or power to share.

For today, look at your mundane and see the face and presence of God in you as you plow through it and refuse to be mastered or defeated by it.

 

 

 

MONDAY - “I” Invitation God invites you to draw nearer to Him

God can be selfish.  Yes, He can. He wants us to be in relationship with Him, to honor Him as the one true and only God and to place all our cares, concerns and worries on His shoulders so that He can work with us to use them as sources of strength and not weakness or worry.  He wants to be in relationship with you and He gives you so many ways to enter in that relationship with Him. He created  you so He knows your weakness and strengths, sins and celebrations, He is not waiting for you to become perfect but rather for you to take  your imperfections to Him so that His miraculous power  can transform them from imperfections to invitations to seek personal and spiritual transformation, renewal and conversion. I would say that God wants you all to Himself, and that He will get that when He calls you back home to Himself. But during this earthly journey, he is being selfless because He wants you to spread His love and message of Good News to all those you encounter.  He fills you with His love so that you can share it, spread it and come back to Him for refills.

For today, invite Jesus into your heart, mind and spirit so that you can be His instrument of miracles that He intends you to be.

 

TUESDAY - “R” Making it through the rough patches

God knows that you feel as I you need a miracle to get through the rough patches, heavy crosses that life presents. Whether the rough patch be the death of a spouse or a close family member or friend, unemployment, financial worries or concerns, broken or estranged relationships or health issues, they can leave us drained and unable to see or recognize God in their midst. We need a miracle or divine intervention if we are to carry the cross and make it through the rough patches. Yet in the worst situations and heaviest crosses, miracles surround us. When we lose a loved one, the miracle of many heartfelt memories overflow from within us, and the consolation, support and encouragement of friends and family lift us up.  When darkness abounds, when we feel the pain of separation, divorce or a broken relationship, we feel broken, betrayed and deeply wounded. Our free will gives us the choice to choose His grace so that we can seek the healing that only God can provide, or we can choose to turn away from His grace and choose to selfheal or medicate to escape the pain.  God wants us to know that even in the darkest moments, hours or days of brokenness, He is there with us, walking with us through our darkness so that we can enter the light of healing wholeness, conversion and transformation together. The miracle is that you desire the grace to forgive and not seek revenge, to let go and not hold onto grudges or bitterness or anger, and you want to move on and wish no harm on those who have hurt you. The miracle is in forgiveness. It is a humble and selfless act that requires the presence and miraculous power of God’s grace so that it is genuine and lasting. We cannot forgive on our own. We as a sinful people, sometimes guided by the secularism of the world and the ‘me’ mentality, seek to get revenge, and get even with those who have hurt us at whatever cost.  Yet the miracle lies in the presence support and prayers of those who know you and the kind of person that you are and how you want to be your best self. They pray for that and God hears and answers their prayer for you. When you find yourself forgiving or seeking forgiveness, when you find your self ready to bury the past and begin anew, when you find your self at peace and happy in the Lord, the miracle of healing has occurred and the rough patch has no more power over you. When you find yourself doing the very thing that you didn’t want to do, or didn’t think you could do, God action in your life is powerful and at work. You can pray that others experience healing in their life as well, but your healing, wholeness, becoming your best self and reaching the potential that God knows you can, does not depend on others choices only your own.

For today, thank God for the rough patches that have made you the strong person that you are today. Thank Him for calling you from the darkness and heavy weight of your cross to His marvelous and miraculous light that has allowed you to move towards becoming your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.

WEDNESDAY – “A” Admiration of your hero, mentor, spiritual guide

When we admire someone of hold them in high esteem it is usually because of how they have guided us and brought us to see the goodness and love of God for us and in others. God places people in our life as His instruments to bring us to a greater knowledge of His love, His presence and His desire to draw closer to us. Our heroes, our mentors, our spiritual guides are and have been chosen by God for us.

We look up to some people differently because they have brought us through some rough patches and have led us to learn about what true love is; the gift, work and presence of God. For many their heroes are their parents. Because as they reflect on when they were children and the heartaches, worries and stresses that they caused them, the challenges that they presented, their parents loved them through all of that and didn’t give up on because of them.  They taught them what true love was in forgiving and seeking forgiveness, in compassion and empathy instead of judgment and self-condemnation, in acceptance of their responsibility and not self-justification of their actions. When a couple exchanges wedding vows, they do so not just for themselves, but for the family, the children that they hope to raise. I will love you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer until death when we part.  Their vows extend to their children. Parents vow to be there for and love their children through all times; the times that their children experience growing pains, identity struggles, independence fights, financial battles, curfews, driving privileges, and wanting to be on their own because they thought that they knew better and could do better without their rules and responsibilities. Parents are there for their children when they are sick and when they return to good health, when they struggle in school and when they improve and excel, when they move out and begin a new life of their own with their own family, when they are burdened financially and unable to support them self because of  unemployment or unexpected health issues.  The miracle of admiration be it of a parent, friend, mentor or spiritual guide, is that it is due to God’s grace and how He has enabled you to see His presence in them because you needed to see it more in yourself.

For today, think of those you admire and why, and take a moment to thank them personally or in prayer. And then take a moment to thank God for the gift of His grace that has enabled you to recognize with greater clarity those qualities that you admire in others you also possess.

                     

THURSDAY - “C” Your compassion, care and concern or others

In the compassion, care and concern that you show, we all know and realize that it is difficult to show when one is weary or stressed out.  It can be difficult to be present to another who is in need when you are needy and aren’t sure how your own needs will be fulfilled or can be fulfilled, your energy levels are low and what you do have left is minimal. Face it, it’s not a sin or weakness but rather a human limitation and reality. 

When one is suffering, ill, carrying a heavy cross, you are always there to help them by listening, consoling, offering whatever assistance you are able to offer.  God knows that you thought you would not be able to be present to another, yet He also knows that if you are called upon you would be an instrument of His presence as He reveals it.  The time that you take to be compassionate and caring in your most depleted moments is God himself in a miracle moment.  The recipient needed to hear from God and since only God knows our hearts, He called on you to be what they needed.  God doesn’t say Hey, it’s me, or give me credit, but rather He invites us to recognize His presence in the soft whisper, the gentle calming voice of others like you. He sends you and you choose to enter into that covenant of love with Him and with those who are in need and seeking to see a glimpse of God as He chooses to reveal himself and asks us to do the same for others. God’s grace and His miracle is when we choose to be patient so that as we extend our care, concern and compassion we do it in and out of love and not obligation.

For today, pray for tall those who have been instruments of love by how they have extended their compassion, care and concern to you and for you in your most difficult and trying times.

 

 

FRIDAY – “L” the miracle of Love

He miracle of love can build bridges, climb mountains, heal broken hearts, bind wounds, bring lives together and bring about new life from the tomb and frit e womb. Love supports, sustains and challenges our hearts so that we can be and become our best self, but most of all, love reminds us that in our weakest moments and most sinful times, Christ redeemed us out of complete, unselfish, selfless and unconditional love. We were redeemed in and out of love when Christ chose to die for our sins and open the gates to heaven for us so that we will one day be reunited with God our creator, Christ our redeemer, and the Holy Spirit our advocate. In love and out of love, Christ comes to us every time we receive Him in the Sacraments of the Church. In the Sacrament of Baptism, we are not only forgiven of original sin, but we are also called by name and given the light of Christ so that as we enter His passion and death here on earth, we are led with His light to continually seek resurrection. In the Sacraments of  Reconciliation and Anointing, we receive His healing and merciful touch, in the Holy Eucharist, we are spiritually nourished and sustained,  in the vocation covenant of Holy Orders and Marriage, we are strengthened to remain in a covenant relationship with our spouse and the Church, we receive His strength and are nourished and in the last rites before we enter into the loving embrace of God, we are forgiven, nourished, and called to trust and not be afraid for God is with us and calling us back home to be with Him where there is no more suffering or pain, only eternal joy, happiness and peace. The Sacraments of the Church are God’s miracles given to us out of and in love so that we can grow in love with Him and others, and learn to love our self as His beloved children. When we love beyond our imaginings, we are responding to God’s presence and intervention. When we choose not to love, we are closing our heart, mind and spirit to love which is God.

For today, reflect on your miracles of love and thank God. Thank God for them and those who have been His instruments.

 

SATURDAY - “E” God’s loving embrace

We all know the pain of grief when we lose a loved one in our family or in our circle of friends. Yet we believe, maybe not right away, that they truly are in peace and in the loving embrace of God. God calls us back home to be with Him, and when we look back a the lives of those who have touched us and have been called back home, we remember the many mini miracles that they were a part of; the many times, instances, circumstances and events that they showed great love in the midst of contradiction and turmoil, congratulations and celebrations.  They were instruments of God’s presence and intervention and when they touched our life, God invited us to go and do the same. We will all called to come home. The last major miracle that we will witness to is when we are called back home by God where there is no more pain or suffering, sin or sadness.  We are now at our final destination and resting place where we will see Jesus who loved us to death, Mary who loved us to life with Her Son by her Yes to God, and to our loving God and father who created us  and loved us to  life both here on earth and heaven.

For today, pray to those and for those who have gone before you in faith and thank them for their ability to bring about God’s many mini miracles to you from Him. What a gift!

 

 

 

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Glimpse of God for the New Year 2024

The Spirituality a Christmas Tree, from Cookie

As we celebrate the New Year, some begin to think about taking down the Christmas decorations, and yes, even the Christmas tree. Not us, John and I have a Winter Wonderland that will remain up until spring and that includes our Christmas tree that will become a winter wonderland tree. Our winter wonderland consists of Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Frosty and company, penguins, and other winter figures.

Anyway... this Glimpse of God comes in the form of the spirituality of decorating or undecorating your Christmas Tree and what the various decorations might mean spiritually.

Every part of the tree can have a deeper spiritual meaning, one that means more than just putting a Christmas ball or a string of lights or a star on it, but rather one that speaks the message of God’s love to your heart, and through the many and different decorations that you place on the tree, you are remembering the various and many people that have been and remain God’s presence and love in your life.

As you look at your tree, look at it with the eyes of faith and begin to see how the tree, from the trunk to the branches, with the various colored balls, lights, ornaments and the star or the angel at top, speak God’s message of love: love of others for you and you for them, God’s love and presence in your life and in those you love, and how you are commissioned and called to reach out, like the branches on the tree, and spread the good news of that great love to all those you encounter.

Trees come in various sizes, shapes, types, and shades of green. They are short, tall, wide, and thin, just as we are. We are all different and unique, created by God, and chosen as His beloved to be His witnesses to the world. Just as a tree radiates its beauty, the beauty that the decorations have brought out, we also radiate the beauty of God: the beauty of love, compassion, mercy, peace, joy, and hope and we bring that out in others. The tree, just as we, do not need decorations to be a light to the world or to radiate the beauty of God, it is inherent. God allows us to decorate our tree of faith so that we can remember how blessed we are and have been, and it can be a sign of hope amid life’s challenges.

As you reflect on this glimpse, take time to see what part of the tree decorations are speaking to you, and how God is calling you to a greater recognition of His love for you through it.

SUNDAY - The tree trunk. The outer bark protects the tree from the outside world, and it is continually renewed from within.  It helps keep out the moisture in the rain and prevents the tree from losing moisture when the air is dry. It insulates against cold and heat and wards off insect enemies. The trunk could not stand if its roots are not deep. Jesus is the true and only source of life.

If we allow Him to nourish us, protect us from harm, insulate us from the evil one, and keep us from spiritual burnout and dehydration, our tree will grow much taller and stronger than we can ever imagine. The trunk is Christ, in that He is the source and strength, the root of our life in faith. We can choose to hold onto the trunk, see it for its strength and trust that we are deeply rooted. Jesus is our nourishment. We can choose to be fed and nourished by Him in and through the sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If we choose to go it on our own and become dried out or over watered, Jesus is there to nourish us, forgive us, strengthen us, and lead us to grow stronger and with a greater self-determination and resolve. Who has Jesus sent into your life that has been that true source of strength, courage, stability, and determination that has reminded you of who and what you are rooted in, and has grown from that trunk to be God’s branch of love and life?

MONDAY – The branches. The branches grow out of the tree trunk and serve as support structures for the various fruits, flowers, and leaves.  The branches are those in our life that we have reached out to or have reached out to us in a like minded faith and spirit that has allowed us to grow in our faith and relationship with God and His Son Jesus. The branches are those who have embraced and supported us in our good times and challenging times, who have held us up when we faltered, fell down, or felt discouraged and hopeless. The branches are those who, as they held us up, did so out of love for us, God, and themself. The branches hold the lights, the ornaments, and the balls that remind us of the various and many ways that God shows His great love to us. We too are the branches that have held others up when they have been torn down or broken down because of another’s words, actions, or attitudes towards them. Who has been a branch of life to you, who has raised you up, held you up, or reminded you that Jesus is still your center even during life’s challenges? To whom have you been a branch of life?

TUESDAY – The solid or colored lights. The lights light up and call attention to the branches. They shimmer and intensify the beauty of each branch that they are carefully laid on. The lights can serve as reminder of the many people present or in the past that have been the light of faith to us. By their shining light have made our light grow brighter and more vivid; the light that has helped us recognize with greater clarity the gifts of God’s joy, friendship, blessings, miracles, and love in others, and in our self. The lights come in varied colors and sizes. Our light bulbs are sometimes small with a little light, or a big glowing light, either way, we are shining the true light of Christ to others. We accentuate the branches in our life, those people who have reached out and embraced us, those who have been God’s strength and courage for us, and those who have called us to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. The solid or colored lights in our life have drawn us closer to our true source of life, Jesus.

Who has been your light and to whom have you been a light of Christ? Is your light a solid color symbolizing forgiveness, reconciliation, peace, or trust that bring hope to others, or are your lights colored symbolizing the varied colors of new and renewed life; love; peace, joy,  hope, and healing?

 

 

WEDNESDAY – The sentimental ornaments. These ornaments can bring back memories of individuals, events, or milestones in one’s life and in the lives of those we love. As we place the ornament on the tree, we usually place it in front or in dominant place so that others can see it, remember the who or the why, and instinctively offer a prayer of gratitude to God. Who or what ornament brings back sentimental and heartfelt memories? Can you vision the person that created the memory and thank God for the gift of their life, their support, their faith?

THURSDAY – The various colored balls. The various colors and sizes of Christmas balls represent the fragility of life. The glass balls represent that fragility of all people and how we are called to handle all with the care, dignity, and respect that God intended. We are called to handle life with its many challenges with tender love and care. The very tender love and care that Jesus has for us, we are called to have for others. When we feel fragile due to life challenges: unemployment, ill health, the death of a loved one, addiction, divorce, separation or the estrangement of family members, the colored and fragile balls remind us not only our fragility and challenges, but also how others have held us up, embraced us and allowed us to stay whole and not break under the stresses that enfolded us.

We can mishandle people by our words, our anger, our grudges, our gossip, and we can break them; we can break their spirit and we can damage their self-worth. None of which is God’s intention, or a part of His plan for His children. As you look at the various colors and sizes of the Christmas balls that you will place on your tree, can you reflect on the fragility that each ball, each person represents, and pray that God heal, make whole and strengthen them? Who do you know that is fragile, due to life challenges, and needs your prayers, support, and encouragement? Can you offer that in the form of a phone call, a zoom gathering, an email, text, or prayer?

FRIDAY – The Angel. As we complete our tree decorating, we can place an Angel on the top that could represent our hope and desire to be God’s Angel of mercy, compassion, hope, love, joy, and peace to those we are privileged to encounter. As the Angel announced the plan of God to Mary, she said Yes. As the Angel announced God’ plan of protection and trust to Joseph, He said yes. As an Angel announced the miracle of birth to a barren Elizabeth, she said yes. We are reminded that we too can and do announce God’s message of love, peace, miracle, hope, trust to others and as we place the Angel on top of our tree. We often are God’s Angels in disguise where we choose to be His messengers without the ego, or need to be the center of attention, or be recognized?  We are saying yes to God’s message spoken to our heart and seek to be reminded of our call to be God’s messenger.

Who is or has been an Angel that has revealed God’s message to you? To whom have you been an Angel? As you awake to a new day and new year, what message do you want to proclaim and what do you need to hear? Is it a message of hope or healing trust and strength? Ask the Angels to help you be more like them in that you will proclaim God’s message as it is revealed to you.

SATURDAY – The Star. The beams of the star represent how we are a part of the light that shines forth and are called to be that light that lead others to Christ. We are the beams that lead others to the Christ child and the miracle of His great love for each of us. The star guides us and others to the real presence of Christ. As we place the star on top of the tree, we can be reminded of the many people that have been the beams of light that have called us to a greater and deeper relationship with Christ. They have been the spark through the stubble and the clouds.

Who is or are your shining stars? Is it your children, your spouse, your mentor, your friends, your church community, your neighbors, or your coworkers? Do you recognize the presence of Christ in their light and how they have made your light shine and brought you closer to Christ? 

Other decorations or items that support our Christmas tree and all of its beauty.

The hooks that secure the decorations on the branches of the tree. The hooks on a tree are a necessity if you do not want the decoration to fall off the branches and break or become damaged. The hooks could represent the people in our lives that are hooked on Christ. They are those people who remain in the background and do not seek to be recognized or become the center of attention, but they seek only to keep us connected to Christ and each other. The hooks support the fragile in and of our life. Without the hooks we take the risk of breaking that which is precious and valuable like heartfelt memories, and treasured relationships.

Who is your hook? Who has kept you connected so that you would not fall and break away, but rather remain strong and steadfast? The hooks in our life are those who are strongly connected to both Christ and us and will not let us fall. Who have you been a hook for? 

The trees skirt is laid down to protect the trees water supply and provide a beautiful rest spot so that the manger can be placed on it.

The trees skirt is laid down over the water supply at the base of the tree. It hides and protects the base of the tree where the water is and where the tree was cut.  The tree skirt can remind us of the great love Christ had when He laid down His life for us and was crucified.  The base of the tree where the water is can remind us of the last words of Christ: I thirst as well as the waters of baptism and how they flow from Christ.  The tree needs water to thrive. We thrive only when or thirst is quenched with and through Christ and not with what the world offers. As Jesus suffered and died on the cross, He thirsted. When we choose to hide our only source of life, we thirst, and that thirst cannot be quenched. As we cover the base of the tree with the tree skirt, let us see that act, not of one where we are choosing to hide from Christ, our only source of nourishment, but rather it is Christ protecting us from suffering from spiritual burn out by keeping our water supply, the grace where the waters of baptism flow, safe and unpolluted by the world. It is then that we place the Manger scene on the tree skirt. We lay down that which will accentuate the true reason for the season: Jesus Christ coming as our Messiah in the form of a baby child so that He can be born in our hearts.

Who have you laid down your life for so that the child Jesus can be born in their hearts? Who has laid down their life or prostrated themself before God so that you would be protected from yourself and getting in your own way of spiritual growth and development, healing, and wholeness?

 

 

GLIMPSES OF GOD FOR 2024

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© Cookie A Magee