Happy first official Sunday of Summer

Below you will see the Glimpse of God for both this week and next week. I am having surgery tomorrow at Fox Chase and I don't know exactly how I will be feeling, so I am providing two weeks of Glimpses for you.

I hope that you find them helpful. Have a safe and happy July 4th.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 23, 2024

“receive”

This week’s Glimpse of God comes from the word “receive” and how Jesus’ love and His Good News of reconciliation, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace, joy, and hope, are received by His listeners both then and now. How His actions of healing, restoration and raising from the dead, His words of being “Blessed” as spoken on the Sermon on the Mount, the many parables that He told, the disciples understanding of all of Jesus’ words, actions, and silence, and how we receive them today.

What does it mean to receive something? How do we respond when we receive something? I would imagine that it all depends on what we receive to how we will respond to it. When someone gives us a gift, we usually receive it with gratitude, and when we are given a raise at work, we usually receive it with joy, yet when we receive a poor evaluation or are given a negative review we tend not to respond positively, but with feelings of hurt or anger.

Now how does the word “receive” represent a Glimpse of God? Let me explain….

When we attend Mass, we receive many gifts from God. The first is when we listen to His Holy Word as proclaimed in Scripture, we receive His words that can speak to our heart, and how we respond to them is up to us. We can have an open mind and heart where the words take root as we seek His direction on how He wants us to build up His Kingdom here on earth, or it falls on rocky ground because our hearts and our mind is closed to the revelations of God as He chooses to reveal Himself. The seed scatters and cannot take root where it can be nurtured.

When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are receiving the real presence of God, the Body and Blood of Jesus Himself. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are then commissioned to be the Body of Christ in all that we say and do, by our actions, through our life choices and in our attitudes, our words, and our prayers.  As members of the Body of Christ we have a responsibility to live as connected members and not disjointed, as people that realize that we need Christ to sustain us on this earthly journey so that we can attain our goal of reaching heaven when our earthly journey has ended. We need the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ; the bread of life, to nourish and sustain our body, mind, soul, and spirit. We need the Blood of Christ to quench the thirsts that arise when our life struggles leave us parched, and we suffer from burnout and need to seek refreshment in the Lord alone.

When we are connected to community, we are not connected to find faults with others but to build them up. We are all sinners striving to become saints and how we receive, welcome, and embrace others as members of the Body of Christ will show them how we truly received the good news of Jesus Christ. Do we use the good news as a tool to build others up through our support, encouragement, forgiveness, compassion, and mercy? Or as a weapon to tear down because we believe God has appointed us as His judge here on earth, so therefor we pass judgement on others, we seek revenge because we have been injured, we justify our anger and jealousy, and we do not feel that we need to try to understand or show empathy towards others.

The same message of love is listened to by all yet how we receive it is different. What makes Catholic Christians stronger receivers of the Word is that we have the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments of the church that we can receive when we are in most need.

The graces that we receive when we partake of the sacraments are innumerable and beyond the understanding in the mind of humans. God is very generous and is always waiting to shower His blessings and graces upon us.

Yet as we participate in the sacraments, we can behold the rite or ritual and the actions that are shown, but we cannot behold the graces that are received because they are not tangible or visible. The graces received and the effect of God’s grace can only be recognized through the eyes of faith, the spirit of trust, and the openness of both heart and mind. The good thing about being on the receivers end with God is that we do not have to be perfect, just humble enough to admit that we are not, we do not earn or pay for His grace, we just need to recognize that as sinners, He died for us once for all and therefor our debt was already paid.

We only need to be open to His grace and allow it to work in our lives so that we can become our best self, the person that he created us to be and have the potential to become.

So, as we walk through this coming week, in anticipation of Independence Day  next week, where we received our freedom as a nation, let us be most mindful of what we receive and if it comes in the form of items, gifts, compliments, criticism, forgiveness, love, grace or silence, that God is with you as you open your hands, heart and mind to receive all of these. What they can call you to is what He wants to give you, an opportunity for personal transformation and growing deeper in love with Him and yourself.

 

SUNDAY – “R” replenishment

How do you need to be replenished? What is lacking or near empty in your life? Is it your ability to be understanding or compassionate? Are you angry or suffering from an injury that you need to be healed of? Is your heart broken over a failed relationship, the death of a loved one, the separation that has come because of distance of your adult children in college, or in the military? The memory of someone near and dear to you? Can you allow God to refill your heart with His grace so that you can forgive, mourn with hope, and love yourself with a greater love, the love that God has for you and wants to fill you with? Can you receive these graces with open hands? These gifts that will renew both your mind and heart, can you receive them with love and humility, peace, and joy?

For today, ask God to replenish you and free you from anything that is depleting your energy and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become. 

MONDAY – “E” encouragement

Can you encouraged to keep going and not get discouraged or disheartened? Are you encouraged by the people around you, your family, and friends, loved ones, your coworkers your community? What does encouragement mean to you? Can you receive encouraging words from another and humbly express your gratitude? Can you receive the words from God that lift you up and inspire you to raise others up?

For today, seek to encourage someone that is down and needs to be raised up.  Encouragement is often about raising others up even when you do not feel like it. When we reach out of our self and seek to raise up another, we too are then being raised up over our discouragement to be more encouraged and stronger than we thought we could be. Encourage another to be their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become because God loves them unconditionally, beyond words or measure.

TUESDAY – “C’ compassion

What does compassion or being compassionate mean to you? Being compassionate means being merciful, kind, caring, kindhearted, loving, sympathetic and empathetic towards others. Being compassionate means loving oneself so that one can share your compassion with others.  It means using the graces that you have received from God, so that you can share them as God reveals the how, when and who. Do you feel that you are not a compassionate person? Is it because of an injury or a hurt that you cannot get over or forgive?

Do you feel that you cannot be compassionate towards another especially one that hurt you? As God has forgiven you and continues to show His compassion toward you are you not strong enough to also do the same.

For today, ask God to show you how you are a compassionate person, but to also free you from anything that is causing you to be and act cold towards others and thus not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become. 

WEDNESDAY – “E’ embrace

God waits to embrace you. You just need to invite Him in and allow Him to embrace you tight so that you can feel His strength and receive His grace so that you can continue to go forward and build His Kingdom here on earth. He loves you unconditionally and there is nothing that you can do or say that will make Him love you less. So, what does God embracing you look like? It could mean a moment or moments of serene peace that envelopes you. It could mean a sense of strength and courage that you feel empowered by. It may mean a feeling of love and joy that only God could have planted in your heart. God embraces you every time that you receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, it is like a spiritual hug given to you by God and no one else can see this loving embrace but you feel it. You are changed, blessed, and now charged to continue to be His Kingdom builder here on earth.

For today, thank God for His loving embrace, and ask Him to free you from anything that is causing you to reject His embrace and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become. 

THURSDAY – “I” inspiration

Who or what inspires you? Do you think that you inspire others? Where does inspiration come from? As you walk through your day today, seek to reflect on what comes forth from you and how those thoughts or actions help others and cause them to be lifted and raised up.  Your inspiration, your creativity, your insight allows others to see themselves, their crosses, their joys, their struggles, their celebrations, their world, their God in a different way, you are a glimpse of God as He chooses to reveal himself though you.

For today, ask God to continue to inspire you so that you can share your inspirations with others, and free you of the weariness that is not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

FRIDAY – “V” value

You are held with great esteem before God. God does not put a price tag on you or a discount tag on you, or a no return ticket on you. He died for all sinners of which you and I are included. God knows your heart better than you do and He knows that you do not want to turn away from Him. You are His greatest creation and His beloved child; He loves you unconditionally and there is no sin that will make Him love you less or cause Him not to what to be in relationship with you.

His love cannot be measured or expressed in words, only in action and that action was His death on the cross. He proved that on the cross. Were you there? Did you never hear those words that came forth from His mouth: Father forgive them for they know not what they do? The “them” was those then, those of us now and those who will follow. He values you and loves you and He wants you to love yourself as He loves you. You are a beautiful creation that enhances the Kingdom of God here on earth.

For today, ask God to show help you to recognize how much He values you and to take way those things or thoughts that make you feel less than a beautiful creation, and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

SATURDAY – “E” enjoyment

This upcoming Thursday we will celebrate July 4th, a middle of the week celebration. As we prepare and make plans as to how we will celebrate July 4th, let us reflect on the many freedoms we are able to enjoy and celebrate. With that I would propose the question; why wait till July 4th to recognize how free we really are and begin to enjoy those freedoms every day, not just once a year. The freedom as a nation, the freedom of being able to see our loved ones and being able to embrace them safely, and the freedom of religion that allows us to celebrate the many graces of freedom that God has bestowed on us. We are free to practice our religion, to give our will over to God and invite God into our heart, mind, soul, and spirit, we are free to live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, we are free to forgive and be forgiven, we are free to be our self and not what others want us to be, we are free to forgive others or hold on to a grudge, and we are free to love our self as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. Or we can conform to what others ask, expect, or control us to believe and not choose Christ who is the way, the truth and the life, our true freedom lies in Jesus who once and for all gave of His life so that we can be free. The question is do you believe that He suffered and died for you or just everyone else?  For today, ask God to free you from anything that is depriving you from enjoying life as He has set it before you, and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 30, 2024

“Spiritual Freedom”

How great a blessing it is that we are able to celebrate our religious freedom and our nations independence on Thursday.

As Catholic Christians, we can begin this day by gathering at the table of the Lord, where we celebrate our first freedom as children of God. As we listen to the proclamation of Sacred Scripture, we hear how God reveals to His people how they can become a free people.

What is our freedom in relationship to our faith? It is not just about being given the right to practice our religion freely without the fear of persecution but is more about us freely choosing to practice our religion and worship our God. It is about freely choosing to worship our God, not out of fear or guilt, but out of love, respect, and reverence. It is through the proclamation of the Sacred Scripture, the living and inspired word of God, that we hear God speak to our heart where He invites us to grow in a deeper relationship with Him. As God reveals Himself through Sacred Scripture, how we freely choose to respond will make us either a freer people or a people bound up in our guilt, ego, and sinfulness. As we listen to the inspired word of God, through His Holy Spirit, we are given the grace and wisdom to make good choices. It is through our good choices that we can avoid sin, but when we do sin, we then can choose to seek the mercy and healing power of God. God created us and instilled in us our free will. It is through that free will we can choose to be obedient or disobedient to God and His will and plan for us. This is not a task that we are given without help. Sacred Scripture, the Sacraments of the church, Worship, and community, are there to assist us our journey of personal and spiritual transformation, conversion and self-discovery.

As Mass continues and we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are then given the Body and Blood of Jesus. Jesus our redeemer, who suffered and died for us, who set us free from eternal damnation and opened the doors for us to eternal life. Jesus set us free and invites us to stay a free people. Our freedom is celebrated each time we receive the Sacraments especially Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. In the sacrament of reconciliation, through confession, absolution, and penance we are set free from our sin. In the Eucharist, and all throughout Mass, we are given the opportunity to reflect on and repent of any wrongdoing and weakness, that does not require going to the sacrament of reconciliation and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. Our spiritual freedom does not mean that we will be free from sin, we are human, but what it can mean is that when we do sin, we recognize our sinfulness and repent, and choose not to fall into self-righteousness, despair, discouragement, or hopelessness. When we can recognize how we have fallen short of God’s desire for us becoming our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become, we are free. That freedom is choosing to see how we have fallen short but with hope in reconciliation and not despair, with courage to go forward and not turn back, emerging as victorious and not victims. Our spiritual freedom is when we choose not to be bound up in Satan’s deceptions.

God is the God all of His beloved sons and daughters. We as Catholics can begin each day by attending daily Mass. But for all of us, God’s beloved sons and daughters, the religious freedom that we can enjoy is when we choose to be in relationship with God as our heavenly creator, His only Son as our redeemer and Savior, and the Holy Spirit as our inspiration and guide to fulfilling the Father’s will so that we can all become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.

This week, let us reflect on what freedom means to us, what is keeping us from being spiritually, physically, or emotionally free, and seek God’s grace to let go so that we can celebrate our freedom in the light of God’s love in and through Christ, with His Holy Spirit. 

SUNDAY – “F” faith vs fear

Having faith is one of the biggest tools in becoming and remaining a free person. With faith, not a perfect faith, but a greater desire to believe in the God who promised to always be with us, that He would never abandon us, that we will never be overcome, and that we never have reason to be afraid. If we believe that then we have chosen to meet our fear face to face and in trust that we will not be defeated. Remember that fear is the devil’s tool to take you away from God by having you believe that there is something that you cannot overcome, that you will be defeated by it, and that you have been abandoned by God.

As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life that you would like to have greater faith so that your fear will dissipate, and you will experience a newfound independence?

MONDAY – “R” reconciled vs regret

When we want to and choose to be free, we are choosing to let go of that which is constraining or binding us to our past choices, weaknesses, sins, and injuries. When we choose to be reconciled to God and others by admitting our mistakes and sins, it is in that reconciliation we are renewed in God’s grace, mercy, and compassion. Being a new creation, we are then able to go forward in that same mercy and compassion that has been shown to us and extend it to others. We then can choose not to look back and hold on to anger, grudges, resentment, and vengeance. It is when we choose not to be reconciled, it is then that we can have regrets. We regret that we have isolated ourselves from others because of injuries that have been inflicted on us or by us, regrets that we are angry about, and it is surging within us and making us more miserable, that our past choices and our need to be in control is controlling us and making us feel defeated, discouraged and despairing. Regrets can be eliminated by one act of reconciliation with God, who then gives us the strength and courage to seek reconciliation with others.

As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like to seek reconciliation with God and others; over a past sin, injury, grudge, so that you can experience a greater sense and reality of true autonomy, healing, and wholeness?

TUESDAY – “E” embrace vs exclude 

As we choose, with the grace of God, to recognize that which is binding us, we can then choose to embrace it or exclude it. What I mean by that is when God invites us to grow in our faith, we are being invited to see ourselves as God sees us; His beloved child who is loved unconditionally, His greatest creation, and that there is nothing that we can say or do that will make Him love us less, He cannot, His love is perfect. It is in those truths that we need to see both the weak and the strong sides of our humanity. If we fail to recognize our sinfulness, our weakness, or our bad choices, but justify them or deny them all together, then we cannot undergo personal or spiritual transformation.

God knows our hearts better than we do so He knows our choices and the reasons behind them, and He is ready and willing to forgive us. I believe that we are all sinners striving to become saints and, in our desire, we fall short and give in to the devil’s temptations.

SO, when we acknowledge our choices or sins in the light of God’s love for us, their power to diminish our belief in God’s love for us as His beloved child is defeated, and we come out living more to our potential to be our best self.

As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like to acknowledge or embrace instead of denying or excluding, so that you can undergo a greater spiritual and personal transformation?

WEDNESDAY – “E” entrust vs endanger

As we seek our spiritual freedom so that we can undergo a greater spiritual and personal transformation, we sometimes put it at risk by not commending or entrusting our will to God. We seek to be in control, we try to fix our problems, we attempt to heal our brokenness and fail to see His presence and His love within us. We endanger our spiritual freedom because we seek to stay bound in control, self-righteousness, fear, ignorance, or self-reliance. Yet we are never out of God’s loving sight, or out of His desire to forgive and extend His mercy and compassion. Entrusting God means surrendering your fears, your will, and your control.  This might be scary, but not impossible.

As a sinner who is seeking to become a saint, a co-builder of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and a beloved child of God, I do not believe that you mean to or want to endanger your spiritual freedom, it sometimes just gets lost in the stresses and crosses of daily life.

So, as you celebrate your spiritual freedom, can you surrender those areas that are calling you away from God and risking the spiritual freedom that God has given you?

THURSDAY – “D” delight vs discourage Have a safe and happy July 4th

God delights in you and adores you. You are His beloved child, loved unconditionally, and His greatest creation. He called you by name when He created you. You are one of a kind, there will never be another you. You are unique and special, you are YOU. You are a sinner striving to become a saint, a builder of His Kingdom here on earth, an instrument to bring others to know, love and serve Him better in this life so that we can all experience His presence in the life to come. Do you believe that, or does that discourage you? Does your sinfulness or weakness discourage you to the point that you cannot believe that God loves you unconditionally? That He delights in you? that you are loved beyond measure? and that Jesus died for you and not just everyone else? When we delight in someone or something we experience a great joy, happiness, and peace. God wants you to believe in His love for you so that you can experience His joy, happiness, and peace.

As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, where or what keeps you from believing that God delights in you, and can you pray for the grace to let go so that you can find delight in yourself?

FRIDAY – “O” open vs obstructed

As we seek our spiritual freedom, we can choose to be open to it and all that it stands for, or we can put obstacles or obstructions in its way so that we cannot experience the freedom we are being invited to receive. Sometimes the idea of being free, forgiven, reconciled, healed or whole can be scary, we do not know how to respond to or live with this new freedom.

For instance, being healed means recognizing where we are broken, see the cause of our brokenness in the light of God’s love, allowing God to fix the brokenness because we cannot so that we can then become a new and whole creation. 

 

Healing occurs when in the past where we have given control over to anger, bitterness, resentment because of our injuries, we now allow love, compassion, empathy, compassion and understanding to permeate our being instead. Being forgiven means that we have to admit that we have caused another harm and that we were wrong and sometimes our ego gets in the way and we justify our actions instead. I believe that the two phrases that are hardest for humanity to speak are “I am sorry” and “I forgive you”. When we say that “I am sorry” we are admitting that we have caused another harm, intentionally or not, we see that we have hurt them, and we feel remorse.

When we say that “I forgive you” we are given the grace to recognize the remorse in another who has caused us harm and we extend God’s mercy to them as He has so often extended it to us. When we are open, God’s grace overflows within us to without us. But when we put obstructions in the way because we would rather stew in our anger, shame, guilt, bitterness, vengeance, or grudge, then God’s grace is left waiting at the door of our mind, heart, spirit, and soul, and we need to open the door for it to make its way in. There is no obstacle or obstruction that cannot be removed and overcome with faith and trust in God, no matter how small we think it is, God can work miracles.

As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like to be more open to God’s grace so that you can overcome the obstacles or obstructions that are keeping you from opening the door of your mind, heart, spirit and soul to His love, mercy, and compassion?

SATURDAY – “M” mercy vs memory

God’s mercy is greater than we can ever imagine or put into words. He doesn’t remember our past sins, but rather our present desire to repent, conform to His will and seek personal and spiritual conversion, and transformation. Yet when we sin or are injured, we often do not want to forget, but choose to dwell on the injury or sin. We continue to allow the shame, guilt, anger, and grudge to fester and take root so that the love, mercy, and compassion of God cannot make it’s dwelling within our heart, mind, spirit, or soul. Our memory serves us well when we choose to remember the good times, the great people of the past and present that have touched our life, and the events and celebrations that have brought us great joy. Our memory also serves as a tool or instrument that reminds of the painful events or injuries that have also formed us and make us who we are today. God is not expecting us to forget those aspects of our formation, but rather what He is inviting us to do is to not allow our memory of the painful experiences to control us, make us feel like a victim and cause us to despair. But rather to remind us of His healing power that will make us a victorious, hopeful, and a resurrection people. As we seek God’s mercy, we are called to share that mercy with those who are in most need. With those who have injured us, or us for us, who have injured another. When we can share that mercy, then the pain and the effect of the memory will fade and grow farther away in the rearview mirror, and we will steer straight ahead to healing and wholeness that God desires for us.

As you celebrate your spiritual freedom, are there areas in your life where you would like your memory of past hurts or injuries lead into seeking God’s mercy so that you can offer it to those in your life who are most in need?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 9, 2024

Flea markets, yard, and garage sales

 

This week’s glimpse comes as I reflect on what it means when we participate in or sponsor a flea market, yard or garage sale. Our parish held its annual flea market last week. I believe that it was very successful . The weather was perfect, and there was a constant flow of folks throughout the day as they came to see what treasures they could find. As I walked around and engaged folks in conversation, I noticed various expressions on their faces. There were expressions of hope as people searched for a new treasure that they could call their own, expressions of determination as they were in search of a specific item, to expressions of surprise as they found something new that brought them a feeling of joy. There were those who were excited to get out on such a beautiful spring and those who came to support the parish because of the positive and good experiences of the flea market that they had in the past.

So back to this glimpse. How can or does a flea market, a garage or yard sale become a glimpse of God? Where is God in the midst of items being sold for so little, where bargains are sought and where the least amount of money can bring a great amount of happiness? Is it possible that one person’s old stuff be another one’s treasure? When we attend or sponsor any of these events, there are usually things that we want to get rid of because they may have lost their sentimental value, we are downsizing or moving, we are decluttering, we need some instant cash, or we hope that we do not leave empty handed but rather we leave with a treasure or two. No matter what the reason, when one either sponsors or attends these types of events, there is an expectation that they come with and there is either a desire, need or purpose that prompts their expectation into a reality.

And where do we find God? With the fleas, in the garage, on the yard? If we are looking for God at these various events, are we hoping to find Him in someone else’s treasure, or our own? Are we looking to see Him in the eyes of others as they scope our treasures, the treasure of others and in their joy of finding something? Do we see God or hear Him as we barter for a bargain? Is He there when people just look over, make comments on, yet do not purchase a gift or treasure? Is God a part of the giving away or selling of our treasure? Do we see God in the treasure that we have lost joy in possessing? Do we think that God is disappointed when we no longer hold onto our treasure, but prefer to just get rid of it for whatever reason?  Is God listening to our heart when we seek to sell something because it brings about painful memories? Or when we purchase something because we experienced an unexpected moment of joyful reminiscence?

God is in all of these moments, whether they be to sell or buy, to barter or to give away, to declutter or to just get rid of, to show we have let go or that we are still holding on.  

God is there and as I try to show what the spirituality of a flea market, yard or garage sale can look like, I hope that as you either attend or sponsor one of these events in the future, you are able to see God more clearly in the items and people that you encounter.

As you walk through this week, take a moment to reflect on how God is being made present to you. As you reflect on the various reasons for selling a personal treasure, or purchasing someone else’s treasure, try to recognize God in the discernment and decision-making process.

 

 

SUNDAY – Decluttering

What does it mean to de-clutter? What is clutter and why would one need to de-clutter? Spiritual clutter can be those life experiences, life’s messiness that we have gathered, stored, and can’t seem to get through, over or around.  Life’s experiences that take up our energy, mind space, heart, and soul where we can’t fit God in. Life’s clutter can come in the form of resentment, anger, loathe, bitterness, and revenge. When we put up items for sale because we are trying to de-clutter, we usually realize that they have taken up some valuable space and we need the space more than we need or want the item. So when it comes to spiritual de-cluttering, what is God calling you to get rid of so that you can open up the space of your mind, heart, spirit and soul, and God can fill it with His grace and blessing? Is it resentment, jealousy, anger, bitterness, hatred, gossip, shame, guilt, where we choose not to forgive, where we choose to hold onto these and justify our reasons, where we choose to think that we are in control, where we choose to believe that God doesn’t love us or this or that would not have happened, where we choose to believe that we can’t be healed, we can’t be forgiven, we can’t be made whole after what we have done or failed to do? The good news is that God is in the midst of your clutter and your desire to de-clutter, you just have to surrender to Him and trust that what He decides needs to go is in your best interest so that you can become your best self, the person that He created you to be and knows that you have the potential to become. Material possessions can possess us just like emotional negativity.

A treasure from God: “There is an appointed time for everything, a time to seek and a time to lose, a time to keep and a time to cast away.” Ecclesiastes 3: 6

 

MONDAY – Downsizing

There are those times that we need to look at where we live, the size of our house and decide if it is just too much house and we need to move into something a little smaller. This decision can come from  a practical viewpoint like we raised our children in this house, but now they have moved out and we do not need five bedrooms for just two of us, or because of health issues that now require that we do not climb stairs, or financial issues, where the rent or mortgage is now too much for us financially and we need to go to what we can better afford. Whatever is the scenario, we need to look at the gathered stuff and decide what we can take with us, or what we need to let go of, sell, or give away. We would like to keep all those items that have meaning, but then we wouldn’t truthfully be downsizing, but rather just re-placing.

So, what does spiritual downsizing look like and when would one spiritually downsize?  I think that spiritual downsizing begins when we seek to let go of all the spiritual fluff. And what is spiritual fluff, you ask? I think that spiritual fluff are those tasks, things, prayers, actions, that have occupied our life and have allowed us to not turn to God in our need, or to deepen our relationship with Him, because we were too busy and always focused on others’ needs.

Where we used, not intentionally misused, our acts of charity so that we can be in control of those less fortunate, our volunteering so that we can be the center of attention, our leadership role so that we can tell others what needs to be done, when and how to do it.

As we have done these things, we have not truly and honestly spoken to God, prayed to Him, sought to develop our relationship with Him, because we were too busy doing what we call “HIS WORK”. God knows our heart better than we do and He knows our intentions.

He is not going to interfere with our decisions because He knows that what we are running from or trying so hard to avoid, we will eventually come face to face with, and He will be there when it does. When we decide that it is time to nurture our spiritual life by prayer, reading Sacred Scripture and being still so that we can hear the gentle whisper of God speak to our heart, then we have begun the act of spiritual downsizing.

A treasure from God: John the Baptist: He must increase while I must decrease.

 

TUESDAY – Moving

I believe that we all have had to move at some point in our life. As children or adults, we know what it is like to go from one house to another, from one groups of friends to another, from one community to another, and it isn’t always fun. Moving requires packing everything, from our personal items, like clothes to dishes, furniture and…. And what do we do with the items that we do not want to take to the next destination? We sell, give away, donate or if a flea market is coming up, we set up a table or just donate the items and we hold a yard or garage sale in the hope of gaining a few extra dollars. And when we pack the items that we are not taking with us, we put a relatively cheap price on them because the goal is not to have to pack them or find a home for them. Moving can be an adventure because the excitement of going to a new location can be a positive experience that can also diminish any negative ones.

So what can a spiritual move look like?  What are we moving to? From? Spiritual moving can be when we go from our childhood faith to an adult faith. A faith that doesn’t take God as a fire and brimstone God ready to abandon us when we sin.  We move from a childhood faith that trusts without question to a faith that questions so that we can gain a deeper trust. We move from an image of a fire and brimstone God to a compassionate, merciful God. We move an image of God who is only “up there” to knowing that our God is within us, about us, and surrounds us. Our spiritual move can be an uplifting but challenging, risky but worth it, life transforming move. Are you ready to move so that you can experience your God in a new and transforming way?

A treasure from God: Move out of your own way so that I can move in and take refuge in your heart.

 

WEDNESDAY - Holding on to

As with any house, the rooms can hold both positive and negative memories, The kitchen can hold a host of positive ones in that the memory of your parent cooking a good meal, the aromas that filled the house and the time spent with family as one broke bread, can bring a tearful, but joyful smile. There can be rooms where abuse happened, anger was displayed, people were hurt, and we can’t seem to forget or let them go. We can also hold onto positive memories from our heart that we want to take with us. Spiritual holding on to takes shape when we are not able to forgive because we want to hold onto the anger as we justify it. Or when we sin, and we want to hold on to the shame, guilt, and self-loathing because we feel unloved and unlovable. We don’t believe that God can love us as we are.

A treasure from God: There is no sin or choice that can make me love you less, my love is perfect.

 

THURSDAY – Letting go of

Letting go of what? And where do we want it to go? Letting go is not an easy task, it takes courage, wisdom, trust, and hope in that as we look at what has harmed us, hurt us in some way, we can now see and say that we are healing from it and hope that as the healing continues, we become more of a wounded healer, a better person and not a bitter person.

Yet there are also experiences that we hold on to, and store in our heart, mind, and spirit and they affect us in a negative way. Let us pack the negative experiences, conversations, events that we experienced in our spiritual home, the home of our heart, and put them in a box so that we can let them go and throw them away. Not taking them with us but throwing them away shows that we have experienced healing and now can let go. Letting go indicates that we have looked at them face on, we see them for what they are, and have, through the grace of God, been able to seek and experience healing of mind, soul, heart, and body.

A treasure from God: Let go, let God.

 

FRIDAY – Bargaining

This is for you. What are you bargaining for with God? More life on this earth, healing, financial ease, or reconciliation with an estranged family on your terms? If you are negotiating with God for something, whatever that might be, are you willing to accept the final answer? You are God’s special creation, loved unconditionally and one of a kind. You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. You are God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and there is nothing that you can say or do that can or will make Him love you less. You can bargain with God and He understands why. In all that you are and mean to Him, if He answers your prayer as you want, you will only continue to bargain, whereas if you accept his answer on his terms, I believe that you will end up the winner with the greatest treasure; that of a deeper, more personal relationship with your God, a greater sense of self, better relationship with others, and a sense of freedom and healing that only He can provide.

A treasure from God: My Father’s house is a house of prayer, you have made it a…..

 

SATURDAY – Valueless

When we donate items to a flea market, garage or yard sale that seem valueless, the question that I have is did it at one time have value? due to how you acquired it; was it a gift, an intended purchase, or a surprising, good find?  There are certain items that at one point in our life seemed to hold value be it personal, emotional or spiritual and now seems more insignificant than significant. When it comes to our faith life, do we hold prayer as the valuable gift that it is, or do we turn to it just when we need something or when we feel desperate? Do we see prayer as a time to speak to God and listen to Him speak to us or do we use it as a tool to scream at God when things do not go our way, when we do not get what we want or prayed for? If we were to put up our prayers for sale at a flea market, yard, or garage sale, would we ask a lot for them because we value them, and realize how blessed we are by how they have helped us to grow in our relationship to God or would we just about give them away because we don’t feel that they were heard or answered?

A treasure from God: “Do not fear, you are worth more than many sparrows” Matthew 10: 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 2, 2024

Summer

As we unofficially enter the season of  summer, let us take the time to reflect on what summer can be for us as we seek spiritual growth, a rejuvenation within our body, soul and heart and spirit, and personal transformation. Let us take the longer days with more light, the warmth of the sun, the coolness of the waters be it in an ocean or backyard pool, the gentle breeze and the cool rains. Let it be a season that you find enjoyable, not complaining about the heat, but reflecting on the warmth of God’s love for you, no complaining about the bugs that creep around, hover over and bite, but seek God’s grace and patience with those who bug you by their words, actions and attitude, not complaining about the crowds around your favorite summer resort, but being thankful that people are getting out, enjoying God’s creation and having fun safely, in a healthy manner and mutual respect for others. Enjoy your summer, don’t let it get away from you without some rest and relaxing moments amid your busy schedule, with your God, your family, friends, and most of all, with yourself. You are your best company, enjoy, relax, and remember that you are God’s beloved child, His greatest creation and loved beyond measure.

WHAT IS SUMMER FOR?

What does summer mean and how does it change me? 

S – Self – Am I taking care of myself and finding the time to rest and relax, so as to replenish my body, mind, spirit so that I can more fully enjoy and be present in my relationships with family and friends?

 

U – Undo – Can I allow Mary, the Un-doer of knots, to undo the stress knots that I have, and allow myself to rest in the presence of God? If I recognize that stress comes from how I handle situations, challenges, and circumstances in my life, can I change how I react so as to live a more whole and healthy life? Can I ask Mary, the recipient of many stressful triggers, to calm my fears, lessen my anxieties, and help me to draw nearer to her Son Jesus?

 

M – Measure – During these summer months, what do I measure? Do I measure and count the moments, hours of my time spent with family and friends, or my time spent in prayer?

Do I look at the time I spend in relaxation as a time of blessing or do I see it as wasting time?

Do I look at and measure the time that I spend at work as a necessary evil or as using the gifts and talents that God has given me to glorify Him?

If God had a measuring stick, and He asked you to mark where you thought His love for you was,

where how would you mark it? Would it be in centimeters, inches, feet, or yards?

Would it be on the low end because of shame, guilt, false humility, or the high end because you realize that His love is unconditional and unfailing?  He gave and continues to give His love freely and without measure, without cost, the cost was paid in full on the very cross that you behold. Do you believe this?

M –Memory  - The season of summer often brings back memories of our youth and the things that we did as a family on summer vacation. If your memories are great and plentiful, continue to live them.  Try to do some of the same things with your family so that they can come to appreciate your past and the love that your family shared on summer vacation.

If your memories are painful, start your own new memories. Create new traditions. Build memories for your children so that they can pass them on to their children.

Good heartfelt memories are very special gifts from God especially created for us.

 

E – Embrace – During these hot summer months, are you open to embracing and being embraced? To allow oneself to be embraced, one has to let down their guard

and open their arms to fully experience the love that comes from a genuine embrace.

Being embraced sometimes involves forgiveness. Can you forgive? Can you ask for forgiveness?

God wants to embrace you and tell you how much He loves you.

He is waiting for you to let down your guard that is hiding the shame, guilt, fears that you might be holding on to. Can you open your heart and arms to God so that He can not only embrace you, but also touch and heal you? Once you let down your guard and take the time to feel the love and embrace the mercy of God, you will also realize that God has had you in His loving embrace since that moment He formed you in the womb. His embrace has been love that surrounds you, the peace that envelopes you and the joy that fills you, despite the challenges that confront you.

 

R – Refreshment – During these summer months, take the time to be refreshed and rejuvenated.

This is the time to rejoice in the longer days filled with sunlight, the warmth of the sun as you relax under its rays,  the brisk cold feeling of the ocean waves as they hit you, the calm of laying on a raft in your pool, and the ability to go on vacation where you can enjoy the great gift of God’s creation and the blessings that surround it such as  faith, family, friends, nature and the joy of  having FUN !!!!

HAVE A HAPPY SUMMER!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR MEMORIAL DAY 2024

As we can finally look at Covid 19 in the rear-view mirror, with all the havoc that it had caused, I believe that we can now say, with greater ease because we have become a wiser people, that we have adjusted and accepted our new normal, and are choosing to regularly follow healthier habits, lifestyles, and practices.

But yet even with the great devastation that Covid19 caused and its aftermath, it still does not compare to what our veterans were faced with in war, or the killing of innocent people due to the gun violence in our communities, state and nation, and the mental illness that many are suffering, that is a contributing factor, leading to violence against others as well as in the rise of suicides. We must continue to pray for an end of the gun violence and the killing of our innocent young children and adults who are only trying to live their life safely, to a greater awareness of mental illness and services to assist those who are suffering, from the most elite and financially secure, to the  downtrodden and the poorest.

Memorial Day is upon us, and the reason for remembering this day in a special way has not changed or lost its meaning, On Memorial Day we remember our Veterans, past and present, who selflessly chose to serve their country so that others could enjoy what it means to be a free people, a people that do not have to live in fear, but in peace. These past 4 years, are days, weeks, and months that people of all ages, all social status, all education levels, all economic and political levels will recall with profound and transforming memories. The impact of these past four years has challenged and effected all ages, from the youngest to the oldest, from the child in daycare to the parent in skilled nursing care, from the infant just born to the parent that just died.

            Our global community is carrying this cross of suffering and death because of the rise of gun violence, opioid addictions, unending mass shootings as well as the murders that occur every day in our neighborhoods, cities, state, and country.  I believe that it has been through that collective cross that we are all carrying, that we have become more united as a world, nation, state, community, neighborhood, church, and family. But as we look into the faces of these various deadly situations, we can choose to open our eyes and face it or close our eyes and complain about it.  We can become a force to be reckoned with or a force that we bow to. We are fighting a war that we need to be prepared for and want to win.  We want to fight for our health and the health and wellbeing of those we love, those we encounter and even the stranger.

We want to rediscover what peace, freedom, and warm embraces are amid our new normal, even with the constant catching covid conversations . So how is rise in gun violence, the mass shootings, suicides, overdoses, and the wars that our veterans have fought, similar?

We are all fighting a war, the war to stay alive, stay healthy and keep our children safe. We are asked to remember and pray for those who have lost their life due to gun violence, opioid addiction, drug overdoses, and suicide. All of this affords us the opportunity to recognize that in the hearts of the men and women who bravely chose to serve our country that their choice was rooted in a deep love for God, country, and their fellow human being. There was and is a presence of selfless, self-emptying, giving and a sacrificial love and heart where God dwells and strengthens them to give all that they have for the safety, good and wellbeing of another, from those they know to the complete stranger. Our doctors, nurses, medical staff, EMTs, fire and police, are those war veterans who are fighting for the health, wellbeing, and safety of others. Theres too is a presence of a selfless, emptying, giving and sacrificial love that goes beyond any ego, selfishness, self-centeredness that could take root. 

They are all facing the unimaginable death and grief as they see those they know and don’t know pass before them, whether it is from illness or from gun violence. God is the one and only author of life and death and yet many have taken that role in their own hands and have taken the life of another as if the other doesn’t matter, or they are insignificant, or because they can’t control their own illness and it gets the best of them in the worst way.

The Veterans, our heroes, that fought and continue to fight for our country, and for the peace and freedom of others in our global community, gave and continue to give of themselves completely and are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe and are fighting for. They have watched their comrades fall and could only hold their hand and speak words of peace, job well done and surrendered them to their God.

They have lifted up those who were wounded from gun and mortar shots and the pain that wrenched through their bodies, and they have had to rescue those who were in the grips of the enemy. In a different way, our front-line heroes are doing the same. They have watched their comrades fall to the opioid and drug overdoses and gun violence, with only their hand to hold as they closed their eyes, Our heroes, both our Veterans and those on the front line, have had to endure the face of death yesterday, today and for many tomorrows to come.

Our Veterans suffered and died for their country. Country is not just a word, but they suffered and died for humanity no matter who they were or where they lived. They deserve our gratitude, our thanks, our recognition, and our prayers. When they came home, they may have come home to a hero’s welcome, but that didn’t take away the pain of their memories and the suffering that they experienced and will continue to experience physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. Our Veterans gave of themselves completely.  They fought and continue to fight for the causes of life, liberty, peace, and security.

If you ask a Veteran if they ever expected to face such a war in their own back yard, in their families, their community, their nation and their world, I will venture to say they would not have. This is a war where men and woman are not just in camouflage searching out the enemy, but also in medical scrubs and masks.

With combat in war, gun violence, opioid and drug overdoses, the effects are all devastating because the bottom and most critical line is that human life is being taken away. People are dying at the hands of others, wars continue out of a need for and to control, the devastating opioid addiction and drug overdoses that continue to take lives, families are broken, fear is paramount as the violence against each other rises, the morale of the people is exceptionally low, and the grief is on a monumental level.

But where do we go from here? We go with our Veterans with a greater determination to fight, live life with gratitude, and seek strength from each other, from our God, and from within especially when life’s cross gets heavy and seemingly unbearable. As our Veterans did and continue to do, we seek the courage to fight when we feel we are without fight, we seek the strength to carry this cross when we feel fed up, we resolve to defeat the enemy and not be defeated by it so that we come out as victors and not victims.

So… as we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us be mindful of how this day came about and let us pray for those who we are called to remember, our military past and present, that selflessly sacrificed and continue to do so for the good of others. Let us close our eyes and see that through their faith, courage, and determination, we are free and know what peace is. Let us pray that they know and believe in their hearts that they have done and continue to do the best that they could to be their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.

If you are looking for Glimpse of God, seek out, talk to a Veteran, an active-duty member, a reservist, and listen to their story, learn from their wisdom and experience, and discover the God that called them, sustained them, and loved them through the most difficult period and time of their life. Their time, their sacrifice, their love for God and others, all formed them to be the selfless and courageous person that they are today. We all need examples of faith, hope and charity. We can find it in those who served and are serving our country, the family members, close friends, neighbors and all other soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who support the home front while their loved ones are deployed far away. Our military, both active duty and reservists, are a Glimpse of God. Family, friends, and supporters are big glimpses of God, so where do you fit in?

Take each day this week to remember and pray for the Veterans who fought for us and those in the military who are fighting for us now. May the week ahead not make us weak in spirit or our desire to fight, may the days ahead not put us into a daze where we choose to ignore our health and well bring and the health and wellbeing of others, may the hours in each day remind us that the day is ours and we can choose to live life to the fullest despite our limitations, may each minute remind us that nothing or no one is minute in the sight of God, and may each second offer us the opportunity to be the breath of God, where each second counts, and not wait to make that our second choice.

Duty, Honor, and Commitment…..We all have the duty to honor our commitment to serve God, be our best self and help others to become their best self. This war is an internal one where the devil seeks to take us away from our duty, our honor and our commitment and bring us to a place where we serve him and not our God or our fellow human being. We become less committed to becoming our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. You can win that war one battle at a time, one prayer and one act of surrender to God, at a time.

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 19, 2024

“To Break” 

To break something seems like a negative action and it usually is unless you experience a Breakthrough in some difficult area of your life, or you break bread and share a meal with another or you break  in, like a new pair of shoes, or you enjoy your breakfast, after a long evenings sleep.  If you break something, be it an object by accidently dropping it, or you break a person’s spirit by sharing gossip or saying cruel words that cannot be taken back, usually out of anger, or jealousy or as an act of revenge, all of these need to be repaired or healed in one way or another.

Objects once broken will either need to be repaired or will need to be discarded. Relationships although much harder to repair or mend, depending on the hurt inflicted, can be repaired, healed, and even be made stronger. In many cases, if one is open to the Holy spirit and truly values the relationship, reconciliation and healing can occur and hopefully the relationship will not be discarded or become estranged. Although with relationships, the healing process may be painful, but the end result will be a new vision, a new experience of the other, and our self,  in light of God’s compassion, love, mercy and peace.

            God wants us to be whole. Once a relationship is broken and in need of healing, His grace is there for us if we desire to make amends and mend that which is broken. What does it take to break an object? A hard blow by accidently dropping it, carelessness, or anger. Once an object is broken, although it may be able to be repaired with glue or something,  it will not look the same as it did when it was new and carefully taken care of. You may be able to see how or where it was repaired, and you will know that something has happened to it. For some objects that have great sentimental value, this can be an emotional experience. With objects where one can see the wounds, if you will, with people, the wounds that are caused are deeper and more damaging. The wounds that are caused by our negative words, abuse, our tearing down, our jealousy, our anger vented, are usually hidden and not as visible as if we were a broken vase of dish. To break one’s spirit by what we say or do to another causes a brokenness that needs to be healed and reconciliation needs to be humbly sought, so that wholeness can occur, and peace can be experienced. We need to recognize that only with God’s grace can these actions of healing, restoration and wholeness take place.

            When we desire to repair relationships that are broken due to our harming of another by our words or actions, or because of the actions of another that have caused us injury, that is a response to God’s grace in our life. When we choose to mend or heal that which is broken, we are choosing to love others as God loves us and this begins with loving our self. When we can recognize that we have not been loving, or that others have not loved us, and we choose to heal that relationship, we see within our self, that we want to become our best self, the person that God created us to be, and that we have the potential to become. This action is not easy and yet, as followers of Christ, we are called to forgive and when we truly follow Him, not just on an occasional trip, but throughout our earthly journey, we are trusting that He will gift us with His grace so that we can be more loving and follow His lead as to how we are called to be the most loving that we can be. Relationships are not meant to be discarded as if they were insignificant or invisible. We are all God’s beloved sons and daughters, and as His children we are called to treat others with the respect and dignity. We are called to love others, we may not like them  and when we realize that we can and should always pray for them and their good. With courage and grace we can genuinely ask God to bless them because only HE knows their heart and ours better than we do our self. When we choose to hate, or not forgive or remain broken, we are choosing not to be healed, this can lead to a self-righteous, ego centered heart and spirit. God will not force His love or His mercy on us, He invites us to receive it and share it.

It is our choice. To break from God, to walk away, to suffer broken relationships, all cause deeper emotional pain, but unlike objects, we as humans cannot fix or repair these relationships. Without God’s grace, when we try to do it on our own, we tend to get frustrated by the lack of a desired response from another. So, we discard the relationship, and we walk away. When we walk away, we are not only walking away from the other, but from God, and we walk further away from living up to our potential to become our best self. When Jesus suffered and died for us, He did so that we can not only love others as we are loved by Him, but also to grow in a greater love of our self as seen through God’s love for us. As Jesus died on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive them for they know not what they do. We all sin, and I believe that we often do not think of the harm that we are causing another or our self.  We act out of our present experience and say or do something that injures another and breaks their spirit.

When we are wounded due to sin, weakness, bad or poor judgment, only God’s grace can bring us healing. Jesus is the divine physician and only He can properly clean out, bandage, and heal our wounds. It can be painful and there will be scars, but they can serve as a reminder of our woundedness and how we have been healed. How can that be? How can we be healed of the most traumatic, painful and sinful wounds that have been inflicted on us or that we have inflicted on another? What if we don’t want to be healed or want to forgive or see another ever again? If we choose to nurture anger, resentment, bitterness and  resentment, we can never properly heal. When it comes to healing of relationships and forgiveness of those who have injured us or that we have injured, Jesus has the spiritual repair kit; it includes the grace to desire mercy and forgiveness, a greater sense of compassion, a desire to be healed and become whole, a prayer for peace for all those who are broken in our lives, reconciliation with those who have caused us to become broken or those who we have caused injury to, and a spirit of gratitude for the graces that He gives us each and every day not to give up or give in to what seems insurmountable.

          Now when we experience a breakthrough, we are experiencing a God given grace to get past whatever has been getting in our way to personal, emotional, psychological, or spiritual growth. Breakthroughs are experiences that we cannot forget or let go of quickly. When we experience a breakthrough, we experience a grace filled freedom, a sense of inner peace, and I would imagine a greater self-worth because whatever has been in the way of our growth has, with God’s grace and our cooperation, has been put aside. The obstacle or experience that has been in our way does not disappear, but it may become smaller and not as intimidating. The fear of it diminishes and we are given a greater courage when God knows we will draw upon it, to conquer and be conquered, to become victorious and not remain a victim.

          To Break bread, to receive the bead of life, to receive the Holy Eucharist at the Celebration of Mass with fellow sinners striving to become saints, is the key and essential action that will lead us to healing and wholeness. Jesus repairs what is broken both through the Holy Eucharist and The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

As we choose to be a resurrection people, a Eucharistic people, we are then becoming a more radiant light and rays of inner joy and peace, hope, healing, wholeness. Breaking bread together is an action that Jesus invites to partake of. We gather as sinners striving to become saints, and we leave as sinners strengthened to be more saintly.

          As you and I walk through another week, let us be mindful and pray for healing for all those who are experiencing brokenness in body, mind or spirit. As we pray for others, let us also pray that if we are experiencing any type of brokenness from the past or present, that we also seek God’s healing and not diminish it or discard the experience as nothing. Let us focus on what we need to do mend the brokenness around us and to recognize with greater clarity what we need to do to avoid breaking down others. Let us forge ahead and break through the barriers that are blocking us from the peace that awaits us. Let us  with fellow sinners striving to become saints with Jesus at that head of the table feeding us that which is nourishing and that which will sustain us.

SUNDAY – T – Thanksgiving for the brokenness that can lead to a greater sense of spiritual growth and maturity, healing, and wholeness. It is not a pleasant experience to be broken or cause another to experience brokenness, but when we seek the grace to become healed, and whole, we can also experience a greater sense of oneness with God and others. 

MONDAY – O - Other centered so that we can become more God centered. When we choose to be selfless and not selfish, we are choosing to act as God did, and not as the devil is tempting us to. To seek forgiveness or to forgive is a selfless act. When we experience brokenness, we are torn, discouraged, and hurt and need to seek God’s peace and healing so that you we can find and experience the gift of His peace and joy. When we choose to recognize that others are also hurt because of our words or actions, and in need of God’s healing, both of us will experience a greater joy in the act of reconciliation and forgiveness.

TUESDAY – B – Believe that God wants what is best for us and that we are meant to be healed and not broken, so if we cannot reconcile with another, ask for the grace to forgive them from your heart and God will take that prayer and turn it into your reality. 

WEDNESDAY – R – Reverence others and yourself as God’s beloved children. When we reverence and respect others as God’s beloved children, we in turn treat them with greater respect, dignity, understanding and patience. That means wanting them to be healed and whole as much as we want to be healed and whole. Healing is a gift and grace from God that He wants for all His children, so if we can do anything on our part to share that gift, as Christ’s followers, we are called and expected to do so. 

THURSDAY – E – Embrace His gift of mercy and spiritual healing. It is there for all of us. Do not turn away from it out of sense of fear or unworthiness. There is nothing that we can say or do that will make God love you less. period!!  Embrace His gifts, allow them to permeate your very being from the top of your head to the toes on your feet. 

FRIDAY – A – Allow yourself to be forgiven and to forgive so that you and the other can experience God’s gift of true and inner peace, happiness, and joy. 

SATURDAY – K – Know that God wants only the best for you and others. As we all walk on this holy Ground of our spiritual journey, we can assist others to becoming their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become, and as we choose to do that, we are choosing to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 12, 2024

Happy Mother’s Day

to all of you who are moms, grand-moms, single moms, God-moms, widows, foster moms, and single women who also exude the qualities that our Blessed Mother possessed and passed on to you: Love for others, compassion, a joyful heart, a giving spirit, and a nurturing woman of faith. Thanks for being that to all of those you have encountered, and may you know that your mother is proud of you as she continues to walk with you here on earth or looks down from heaven.

My glimpse of God comes from a place that I have had to spend a lot of time in, somewhat unexpectedly but all good.  It is in my car.  This past week I have had to do a lot of driving and spent long stretches of time in the car. As I have been spending much more time in my car, I began to look at it differently. Not just as a means to get somewhere, but rather a road map from God as to the best way for me to go in the direction that He knows is best for me. I looked at each aspect of the inside of the car in light of my relationship with God and how I choose to enter into that relationship. Now I know that not everyone has a car and relies on public transportation, but I believe that this glimpse can be imagined by most.

The front window, the gear shifts, the controls, the gas and brake pads, the music and the rear-view mirror all have a way of bringing out God’s presence, His voice, and His direction for my life.  As you read this, you might not agree with my analogy, but I hope that you will look at the various aspects of the car differently in light of faith and how God reveals Himself through them.

As we begin a new week, one that includes honoring our mothers here on earth and as well as in heaven in light of the great love that our Blessed Mother has shown all of us. As we begin a new week in the midst of the wonderful season of spring, rain and all, let us see where we need to be renewed, cleansed, refreshed, so that we can make changes in our life so to better recognize God’s presence.  Let us also pray for a greater desire to grow in an appreciation of the instruments that He uses to reveal His presence to us in our everyday encounters, routines, and experiences. When our cars need to be repaired, we bring them to a mechanic. When aspects of our lives need to be repaired, renewed, or reconciled, we bring them to God and the Church.  A big difference is that when a car reaches a certain number of miles, you know that it will soon need to be replaced and you will need to get another used or new car.  As we age and our bodies falter, God isn’t telling us that we need to be replaced or recycled, but rather that we need to be renewed so that we can continue on our journey of faith in the newness of His life. Although our bodies may ache, with some parts needing to be replaced and others removed, the heart, spirit and soul can only grow and be expanded as they are filled with more empathy, understanding, compassion and peace.

 

 

 

SUNDAY – Front window

As we begin a new week and a new day, let us look at it through the big open front window. Let the big, open, streak free, non-tinted window be how and where we allow God to show us all that lies ahead.  Not looking to the future, but rather looking at the gifts that are right before us and see them in all of their beauty. As we sit in the front seat, we have the opportunity to look ahead and carefully navigate the path that we choose to drive.  God is in the driver’s seat in that He knows where He wants us to go.  The question is are we ready and willing to go in His direction or do we want to veer of course, take a short cut or make a u turn?

For today, as you get into your car or take the time to imagine being in a car, look out your front window. Is your window into the world, that is your relationship with God, fresh, reconciled and renewed so that you can see what lies ahead and the direction God wants you to go? Or Is your window so full of streaks, the streaks of personal weakness and shortcomings, that you can’t see straight as to what direction is the right direction? Or is your window just little cloudy from daily frustrations and life challenges that it makes it difficult for you to see the direction that God is setting before you because you haven’t made the time to pray and ask for His help? Whatever your front window looks like, always remember that the Son will always shine and can always break through even the worst of our dirt, streaks, smudges, and dust.

MONDAY - Steering wheel

Take a hold of the steering wheel and go. We use the steering wheel to keep the car straight on the road so that we can be safe and avoid hitting others.  When we take the steering wheel, we can use both hands with a good grip, or one hand with a loose grip. How we choose to hold the steering wheel can reflect how we relate to God, others and how we see our self. We can choose to use both hands and that is where we choose to keep God close and not want to let go so that we don’t veer off course and hurt others by our words, actions, deeds, and attitudes. We realize and choose to keep God at the center of our journey and in control, where He chooses to use us as the steering wheel so that we can freely choose the direction that we will go. When we choose to use one hand with a loose grip, it can be our way of saying that we are comfortable with the direction of our journey and that God is a part of the journey, but we are taking a risk and are not fully connected or invested in the journey. Driving with one hand involves taking risks. The risk that if we hit a pothole or have to swerve to avoid something, we won’t be able to control the car as well because we don’t have both hands on the wheel.

For today, look at how you choose to hold the steering wheel or walk on your journey of faith. Do you put both hands on the wheel so that you have the control that you need so as to avoid hurting others and yourself? Or do you use one hand thinking that you have everything under control and only when things go seriously wrong do you return to using both hands in prayer?

 

TUESDAY – Gear shifts: Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive, what one are you in?

Park: Do you want to stay in park because life challenges are too hard or seemingly unbearable, and it would be easier to just stay put and not move ahead? Or do you want to stay in park to admire the view? The view of God’s awesome creation? The view of your journey and how grace filled it is?

The view and canvas of God and how He has chosen to reveal Himself: through a sunrise, a sunset, a rainbow, the green grass, the rain fall, the various trees, and bushes in their array of colors that they hold.    

Reverse: Do you want to go back into a special place and time, where a cherished memory lies and a loved one is alive and well.  Do you want to go back to a period of your life where you were happy and felt a genuine inner peace? Do you want to go back to bring up a painful hurt, or a grudge? Do you want to live in the past because it was a happier less stressful time? Living life in reverse is not living at all. We cannot live in the past if we are Christ’s followers.  We must trust In Him so that as we live in the present and choose to go forward, we can take the past, recognize it for what it is and how it has shaped us and use it to form us for the future. We cannot deny our past; good, bad, or indifferent, it has made us who we are today, but we need to, we can choose to forgive so that the person that God wants us to be, the best person that we can be, is what we make of our self for the present and into our future. 

Neutral: Are you stuck in neutral, unable to decide what to do or where to go? Is your spiritual life in neutral? Is God the God of your present, the God of your past or the God not yet known? Being in neutral allows one to stay and be idle, but not indefinitely.  It is not park, but rather a temporary pause.  Life is a long sentence, sometimes we want to put a period where God wants to place a comma because He is not finished with us yet and we are not finished either. There are times and periods in our life that we want to remove or end, yet our growth, our healing in not done or so God places comma instead. The pause is a respite where God allows us to take a deep breath and exhale any negative stresses. When we take a breath and put our spiritual growth back into drive and out of neutral, we are allowing and inviting God to take us on the next step of our faith journey, the journey of healing and wholeness, peace, joy, and happiness as He defines it.

Let’s take a drive. Let it be slow, let it be with purpose, let it be with an open mind and open heart so that you can experience the freedom and the refreshment that comes. As you drive, invite God on the ride. Invite Him to steer, change lanes, change gears, go faster if necessary or slow down if needed, stop, or just take a pause.  In all things, let God tell you the direction that He wants you to go and the best way to get there. Have faith and don’t let the past keep you stuck in reverse or fear keep you in neutral, but allow your trust and courage put you in drive so that you can continue to move forward.

 

 

 

WEDNESDAY – Gas tank icon, how much gas is in the tank?

It’s the middle of the week, how much gas, energy do you have left? Are you running on empty or do you have a full tank? Is your spiritual life being nurtured by the sacraments of the Church, a good spiritual director, and personal prayer time, or is it being taken for granted and you are running on fumes? We all know that if you run out of gas, you are stuck and might even have to push the car to a safe area. In our spiritual life, if we run out of gas, that is we have run out of our own ideas and solutions and we need to ask God for His help to get us back on the road. We need to be filled with God’s graces so that we can keep going and not falter. Both for our cars and our spiritual life, we need to be aware of bad gas which can destroy the cars engine and bad advice that can lead us into temptation and cause us to sin. For today, get the premium gas. Go for the sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation. Give yourself the gift of these graces so that your gas tank will always be full, and your heart and soul will always be ready for the journey.

For today, look at your gas gauge and ask God to fill you with His grace, love, and blessings where you are running low and almost empty or have been running on fumes and are suffering from burn out. His grace is enough for you, and He waits for you so that He can shower His graces upon graces upon you.

 

THURSDAY – gas and brake pads

Life comes at us quickly and there are times when we want to put the brakes on and yet there are other times when we think that things aren’t happening quick enough, and we want to put our foot on the gas. When we are driving, we often get behind someone who is going so much slower than the posted speed limit and we find our self becoming inpatient and frustrated. We think that we need to rush.  We think that there is too much to do, and we are wasting time, so we speed up.

Our spiritual life is similar. We often think that God isn’t doing things quick enough, so we decide that we can do it better and make hasty choices. We don’t take the time in prayer to seek God’s wisdom or insight. When we put our foot on the gas, we go so fast that we miss the present moment and the many graces that God has ready for us. When we speed in a car, we can get into a serious and life-threatening accident. When we choose to omit God in our spiritual life and make hasty choices, we can get into many spiritual accidents where we fall shot, sin, hurt others, hurt our self and leave God in the dust. It is only when we put on the brakes are we able to avoid a serious accident and are better able to listen to God as He gives us direction and the proper speed limit to travel.

For today, ask God to post His speed limit on your heart so that you can absorb, and embrace all that He has to show you so that you won’t miss anything because you were going too fast or too slow.

 

 

 

FRIDAY – Music

When I drive, I usually listen to music.  I choose to listen to Inspirational music as I drive because it keeps me in a prayerful mode, and I remain in a peaceful place.  When I am weary, I listen to the exercise music that I have on my phone so that I can keep my brain from becoming too relaxed.  Whatever the choice, I hear the music of God because when I drive, I know that God is with me and that my driving time is another experience of prayer. When I choose to listen to music, I am not choosing to do so to avoid hearing God.  I don’t turn it on to avoid listening to Him, although I know that some people need the noise to avoid the silence.  I find that in the words and melodies of the songs, I hear many different voices, genres, and decades of God inspired melody that sings to glorify, testify, and magnify His presence.

For today, as you listen to any music, in your car or not, don’t so much focus on the words, but rather the feelings that the music brings up in you.  I love music and that is one source where peace and joy abound for me. Why do you listen to music?  Is it an instrument of peaceful melody? Or is it a clashing of cymbals? Whatever it is, do you want to keep that same station or change the channel, lower the volume, or turn it up? As we walk on our faith journey and encounter various life challenges, crosses, joys, and celebrations, the music of the heart can bring us to our center where God dwells so that we can better cope and not get discouraged or feel defeated. When God is speaking through the music, we can’t make things go away by just turning changing the channel, but we can make God voice heard by turning up the volume.

 

 

SATURDAY- Rear view mirror

If it has been a challenging week, look in your rear-view mirror and be filled with hope in that the challenges, worries, pain, and suffering are now behind you, and you have the opportunity to begin anew.  Use the weekend and take the time to find refreshment. We take our cars to the car wash, take you tired body to a place of rest, relaxation, and refreshment. Your cross may not get lighter or change but your ability to carry it, your outlook of it, your weariness from it, will change as you seek strength and hope from the God who loves you unconditionally, is with you always to remind you that you are His beloved child and His greatest creation.

For today, pamper, pamper, pamper yourself. That can be in whatever way that you need to so that you can reconnect with God and allow His loving embrace to refresh you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 5, 2024

The rainbow of self as seen in the mirror

In a previous Glimpse, I tried to show how friendship is a different type of rainbow, as is the one that God paints across the tapestry of creation after the storms.  Both types of rainbows are instrumental in God’s plan for me of personal transformation and conversion in that they renew my joy, deepen my peace, and strengthen my hope. When I think of a rainbow, I think of the storms that passed through, by, over and how in and through it all, God’s promise is fulfilled, hope is strengthened, light shines, the floods subside, and we can begin io walk on the holy ground once again.  It is in and through our friends that we can walk on this, God’s Holy Ground, after the storm. It is our friends that point out to us where the rainbow is, where God fulfilled His promise and how we have survived the latest and most recent trial or flood waters, and did not drown, or was overcome. After the flood, God promised through the rainbow that He would never abandon His people and that He would always be with us.  The colors of the rainbow are there to show us that even in the midst of the darkest storms, light, peace, hope, and strength prevail.

This week as I met up with one of the Sisters at Assisi House, and she complimented me on this week’s glimpse, I made the comment that I haven’t even began to write up one for this upcoming week. In the busyness and weirdness of this week, I haven’t had the chance to sit with the many and varied revelations of God that I had been privileged to see.  These glimpses range from varied and profound conversations, to seeing my grandniece for the first time, to the varied humorous and deliberate antics of our pets, and other events, mostly positive, but some not so, yet in all, God was and continues to reveal Himself to me.

SO as I think about a glimpse for this week, where as a few hours ago, I had no idea, I am inspired to write on another type of rainbow, this one is the rainbow that is reflected as you and I look in the mirror.  As I see a rainbow in the sky, as I reflect on the promise of God through the rainbow and how it is a symbol of hope and promise, I realized that we as God’s beloved sons and daughters, His greatest creation and loved unconditionally, are His unique and special rainbow; instruments of hope and promise by our faith and trust in His holy will. How are we a rainbow? I believe that we are chosen by God to be His rainbow. Because as His followers, His disciples, His witnesses, His wounded healers, His peace makers, His instruments of hope, beacons of promise and kaleidoscope of presence to others, we symbolize, we radiate what it means to be hopeful, to be His presence in the midst of the storms of our life and the life of those we love, encounter and care for.

God has chosen us to be His rainbow, to be His instruments of hope and presence, but we need to believe that, and we need to hold fast to that call and be open and respond in the unique way that God has chosen for us. A rainbow as a symbol of hope and promise is a very clear and colorful way to remind us that we are never alone, that we will never be abandoned because we are deeply, selflessly, and unconditionally loved. As His followers, we are invited to be His presence, His hope, and His love to all those we encounter; those in our family, community, neighborhood, church, workplace and on the street. We are invited to be His hope to those who feel hopeless and discouraged, to be strength to the weak and fallen and to be His presence to the grieving and inconsolable. We are invited to be the rainbow of hope and presence through the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, because God knows we can be, and He wants us to be.

He hopes that we say Yes and did Mary, the first living tabernacle, and Joseph, the constant light that shined to show Jesus was present in the tabernacle, the womb of Mary.

This week, as we experience various days of scattered showers, and we might be blessed to experience the beauty of a rainbow, let us see how we, through the various weather experiences of life and the crosses we carry and help others to carry, believe that we too as living tabernacles, the Body of Christ,  are God’s rainbow, His sign of hope and His promise of presence in and through it all.

 

SUNDAY “R” - radiating and resounding, As you look in the mirror, do you see how you

radiate the presence of God in and thorough your smile, your willingness to help those in need, your prayers for those who you promised to pray for and those in need of prayers and whereas only God knows their needs, those who seek your presence, prayers, and support because you are an inspiration, and they seek the peace that you radiate and resound with? The rainbow is a sign of hope and presence, do you see yourself as God’s instrument of hope and presence? You are….

MONDAY “A” – abounding and abundant, As you look in the mirror, do you see how God’s compassion, hope and love abound from you? You might have some stressful days where you feel overwhelmed, but yet with others you are compassionate, empathetic, and selfless despite those days? The devil tempts us to be negative, vengeful, and resentful when our crosses are heavy, but you confront him with the weapons of compassion, peace, joy, empathy,

and understanding, and he flees. Satan bite the dust!!!!

 

TUESDAY “I” – intuitive and insightful, As you look in the mirror, do you see how you are

intuitive and insightful to the needs and concerns of others? That you sense that there is something happening that forces another to put up a mask, and you see past the mask that put up so that their cross is hidden? You are able to see the reflection of their cross, the shadow of their cross, and you peer past the mask to be present to them in their need? As you discern the needs of others, you discern how you are called to see past the masks of their storms, and how you reflect the presence, understanding, empathy and peace of because God dwells intimately within you?

 

WEDNESDAY “N” – nice and never ending, As you look in the mirror, do you see how you are so nice and never ending with your humor, joy, love, and care? It is sometimes hard to be nice or kind when you are not feeling well due to chronic health issues or age-related issues, or you are feeling stressed due to family dynamics, and overwhelmed with financial concerns. Yet in and with these heavy on you mind and spirit, you always or mostly come across nice and kind and try not to be a negative person or an unkind and miserable person because you believe and know that you will emerge victorious as you emerge from these tombs.  God has enlightened you with His grace to see past your pain and see the person of Christ within you as He helps you carry your cross and share the joy of your mini resurrection as you emerge from your tombs. Your kindness spreads to others so that they too will emerge from their tomb and experience the joy of their mini resurrection. Do you believe that you will emerge from your tombs so that others will have the hope that you exude to emerge from theirs? I believe for both me and you.

 

 

THURSDAY “B’ – beloved, blessed and broken, As you look in the mirror, do you see how you are so blessed by God as His beloved son or daughter? That you have been chosen by God, Yes, He chose you and continues to choose you to go and bear good fruit, proclaim the Good news, live in the light of His love, and share that love with others? You are so blessed by God because of your YES, your surrender to His holy will, your trust in Him and His rainbow of faithfulness and promise, that His presence, His grace radiates from you in the form of compassion, peace, joy, empathy, love, concern, prayers, mercy, and care for others? You are God’s blessed, beloved and yes, broken child, your brokenness is not meant to be a tool so that you can be a negative, controlling, or egotistical follower, but a humble, heartfelt, and wounded healer for others. Can you see in and through your brokenness, be it as little or as big as it is, that you are so blessed and beloved by God in your healing, wholeness, and mercy? As you look in the mirror, can you hear God whispering His thank you to you for your continued Yes to Him in the blessed and broken times of your life? Pray for the grace to hear the whisper of His gentle, Holy Spirit.

 

FRIDAY “O” – overflowing and outgoing, As you look in the mirror, do you see how you overflow with His love? That you are outgoing in professing and witnessing to His power and presence in your life? As you share your story, as you witness to His awesome graces and gifts and how they have transformed you into the person that you are today, that you have become more outgoing, expansive, and generous with and towards others? Your heart has been expanded and you have not only recognized that, but you have also allowed it to empower you to share the who, how, why and wow of that great action of love in your life with others. WOW what a feeling.

 

SATURDAY “W” – wonderful and wonder and awe filled As you look in the mirror, do you see how being a follower of Christ, His beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally, is such a wonderful and wonder filled gift? I believe that when God calls us and invites us to be His follower without a road map to follow, in our trust that leads to our YES, we are responding out of wonder and awe. One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is wonder and awe. It means that although we might not understand the actions of God, we stand in such reverence and respect of God that we trust and believe that He will fulfill His promise that we will never be alone or abandoned and that hope will never disappoint. What miracle of God that you have been privy to in your life has filled you with wonder and awe that you have been or are speechless and, in this inability, to put words to God’s actions in your life, your silence has inspired others to also recognize the awe filled actions of God in their life?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of April 28, 2024

Our spiritual weather conditions.

As I reflect on this glimpse and how the weather across the nation is and has been unseasonal to say the least,  I realized that, we as God’s greatest creation settled in the very midst of His creation, are like the weather conditions that surround us. We go through the thunderstorms in our life where the thunder and noise of our surroundings get too loud and then the rain of other’s worries, concerns, stresses shower upon us. As God’s instrument of presence, maybe as a parent, spouse, caretaker, we sometimes feel as if we just experienced an avalanche of emotions as we are present to our children, spouses, family members, community members, neighbors and even the stranger, as they experience life and its many challenges. We sometimes are freezing cold because we have been hurt and are very wounded, and at other times we are experiencing a heat wave because we have allowed  and have been embraced by the love and warmth of our God and others, and we at times can feel as if we are in the midst of a hurricane, a whirlwind due to stresses, concerns, things beyond our control and we don’t know how to seek refuge and surrender to God so that He can keep us safe. We cannot escape the weather. We cannot escape God. We cannot escape our self. We can run from these, we can hide, we can cover up or we can stand before God and others as our bare self, but in the end, God sees us as we are and unconditionally loves us as we are. He lovingly and patiently wants us to be our best self, the person He created us to be and have the potential to become, in the midst of His creation, and not apart from it.

The weather that we are in the midst of and cannot run and hide from can be a reflection of our relationship with God, and how we either run towards or run from Him, seek to feel the warmth of His  love or cover our self up with shame, guilt, self-abasement, and doubt. Like the weather, we can be prepared or take our chances, we can prepare our hearts for God in prayer or we can move on as if it doesn’t matter. We have no control over the weather, only how we deal with or respond to it.  It can be harsh at times: thunderstorms, flooding, showers as well as refreshing: the rain and sun helps things to grow, and is refreshing on our face like a summer rain. The sun can be a source of growth and relaxation; summer times at the beach, but it can also be cause of death for those who have trouble breathing during a heat wave.   We can decide that we don’t want to deal with it (snow, sleet, cold, ice) so we move to a warmer climate, or we can decide that we want it more often, so that we can participate in more skiing, ice skating, and sledding. The weather can kill and destroy lives and people’s livelihood like hurricanes, tornados, floods, but it can also bring people together during the aftermath.

The seasons can hold a vast variety of difficult days that can consist of extreme heat, cold, rain and heat waves as well as a great deal of heavy winds and rain with tremendous flooding conditions. Although having air conditioners may help deal better with the heat, it can also make those who are older stay inside more days in a row then they normally would. The heat can make being outside difficult and can cause worry and concern because of the cost to run an air conditioner. The heavy winds, rains, sleet and snow can make it difficult for driving, for those who are employed outside to do their work, and for the electric company, to keep power on.

So… as I begin this glimpse, I ask you, how do you deal with the various weather conditions, their impact on your daily life and where is God as you try to cope? Are you able to hear God’s gentle voice, soft whisper in the winds, through the sunshine, rain, cold and heat? Although the winter didn’t cause too much difficulty for us in this part of the state, can you remember when, after the last challenging winter, or the heat of summers past, your emotional state was on the verge of going bonkers because you didn’t know what to do as you found yourself stuck inside or at a spiritual place that you didn’t want to be? Do you get tired of listening to others complain about the weather as you were trying to maintain a positive attitude? As you reflect on the past winter and these past few new weeks of spring, have you been able to be in communion with God? Do or did you find yourself avoiding time with Him or spending more time with Him?

Were you able to see God in the clutter and noises of the cold winds, rain, sunshine, the complaints, the unexpected and constant presence of others around you? Do you see God in your frustration?

Now that is spring, still reveling in the Easter season, are you able to see and enjoy the beauty of the newness, the colors, the growth that surrounds you? As there is more day light to behold, can you see that  as a sign from God, more day, life giving light to lead and guide you?

Although a few weeks ago we did experience an earthquake, this spring I don’t think we will experience any hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis, typhoons, or wildfires, yet we can experience them in our spiritual life. In this area, during the summer we can experience heat waves and severe thunderstorms in the winter we can  experience snow, sleet, hail, and blizzards, but with our spiritual life we can experience any and all of these at any time. Sometimes we can and are prepared ahead of time and other times we are taken by complete surprise. If we listen to the meteorologist, we can prepare for the rain by carrying an umbrella or if we listen to God, when it comes to the storms in life, we can decide to get wet and allow the waters to cleanse us so that we can be transformed, reformed and conform to His holy will.

Our spiritual life and the weather conditions are very similar. We can experience a thunderstorm outside of ourselves and in our spiritual life, we can feel the storms of life, family, work, community, where we can’t see in front of us and are afraid to go back. The winds and rain can be a source of inspiration if we choose to stop and listen to God’s gentle voice and whisper. With heavy snow, it is difficult to walk in, and with our spiritual life it is similar in that we can go within our self and walk with God as He speaks to our heart, or we can choose not to. With the sun, we can choose to walk in its light or we can hide from its dangers. With the Son of God, we can choose to walk with Him the light and warmth of His love or we can choose to avoid Him and fall into the danger of self-centeredness and control.

As with the weather and as with God, there are some basic truths that we cannot deny or escape from: the weather is what it is, the sun will shine, the rains will come, the winds will present them self, and God is everywhere in His creation. We cannot run, hide or escape from Him. As the sun permeates our being so does the warmth of the Son of God’s love. He is within us, in our hearts, no matter how much we try to avoid him. The winds are his gentle voice and the rain is opportunity and invitation for renewal and reconciliation, cleansing and refreshment. The tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods of our spiritual life are when things are overwhelming, and we get caught up in our life challenges, struggles, and crosses, and they become like wild fires that spread quickly and are beyond our control.

But do we believe that they too will pass? This week let us look at the weather conditions of our spiritual life and see how we can best prepare for them with God.

 

SUNDAY - “W” The Wind

The wind can be refreshing if it is a gentle wind or fearful if it is a wind that can carry you away. With our faith life, if our heart is rooted in Christ, our hands are holding onto God’s, and our feet are walking in His path, there is no wind that can carry us away.  When God speaks to us through a gentle breeze, we can listen to Him or dismiss and ignore Him. Sometimes when we experience life’s winds, I believe that it is when God is speaking louder to us so that can hear, listen and choose to follow His will as He speaks to our heart. He knows our hearts and He knows that we want to do what is right and best, but He also knows our weakness and the challenges of the world and how they pull us away. So when you feel the winds of life pulling you away from the voice of God, choose to hold onto His hand and       keep your feet steady for the ground that you walk on is Holy.

FOR TODAY: Honor the ground that you walk on as holy ground, and those that you walk with as God’s instruments, His hands, holding yours so that you can overcome the winds of the world, and embrace the voice of God as He speaks to you as a gentle whisper or a loud call.

MONDAY - “E” An Earthquake

Not being a meteorologist here, but for simplicity, I will use this definition of an Earthquake as the sudden and violent shaking of the ground, sometimes causing great destruction.

OK now as for our spiritual life, our spiritual earthquakes, my question to you is what sudden or violent upheaval of your foundation has occurred? Is your foundation built on rock, sand or cement? Do you waver in your faith; whereas you feel as if you go from believing wholeheartedly to doubting more, not being in communion with God, to only praying only when you need something? Is your foundation that which your house is built on, the temple where God dwells and has dwelt since your baptism, built on the faith as it has been revealed to you through your parent’s, family, friends, community, the sacraments, Worship, the Holy Spirit? Or is it built on the lies, and deception of the world as it tells you that happiness lies in your possessions, your wealth, your education level, your social status?

A spiritual earthquake is not meant to cause you damage and harm, as much as it may be to open your heart and mind to the truth of God and how only by living in that truth, can your foundation be strengtened and firm and not be like the sand; hard to walk on and get our bearings, or cement; no openness to change or to be changed.

For today, if you have experienced a spiritual earthquake, or are in the midst of one, instead of falling under the sudden destruction of your foundation, ask God to hold your hand and keep your feet steady so that whatever needs to be destroyed, that which is keeping you away from God and his Truths: That you are His beloved child, His greatest creation, loved unconditionally, and that there is nothing that you can ever do or say that will make Him love you less, be destroyed, so that your mind, heart and spirit will be restored in His love, peace, compassion and mercy.

TUESDAY - “A” An Avalanche

Not being a meteorologist here, but for simplicity again, I will use the definition of an Avalanche as an event that occurs when a cohesive slab of snow lying upon a weaker layer of snow fractures and slides down a steep slope.

What is our spiritual steep slope? What are we doing that can and will affect our spiritual life in a very negative way? Is it staying away from the Church, avoiding prayer, holding a grudge, being revenge filled, hating our brother or sister, turning inward and hating our self because we think that God couldn’t or doesn’t love us because of our sins and weaknesses? In any of these, God wants us to know that there is no reason that our slope continues to be steep. He wants us to know that He understands us and knows our hearts better than we do. That He is waiting for us to come back to Him. The slope may be steep and difficult to walk alone, but with God, He will take us by the hand and walk with us to a place where the ground is level and smooth. Smooth not being without challenges, but rather with God so that the challenges do not cause us to trek alone.  Doubts and the world make us weak in spirit so that when other things come along that seem better or a quick fix, we take them. Once the devil knows our weakness, He will never stop tempting us, but the good news is that God knows our hearts and He will never stop loving us.  He will love us through our weaknesses and temptations, and He will bring us through them so that we can look back and see how our better self emerged and that we stand strong on our holy ground.

For today, look at one weakness or sin that you feel is making you walk a steep slope. Seek God’s grace to listen to Him as He tells you that in your weakness and sin, His power, grace, compassion, mercy is reaching perfection in you. In your humility and contrite heart, your weakness is becoming a source of strength because in and through it, you are seeking God’s help so that you don’t fall under the avalanche of self-doubt, or feeling that you are unlovable or unforgivable.

WEDNESDAY - “T” A Thermometer

An instrument used to measure temperature outside. Ok I think that you will figure out where I am going to go with this as it applies to our spiritual life.

We look at the thermometer and that helps us to decide how we will dress: If it is below freezing, we will put on sweaters or heavy coats before we go outside, so that we will not get cold. If the temperature is high, we will wear as much modestly as possible to stay cool and not get overheated. In many cases we decide what activities we will participate in according to the temperature.

So.. what is your spiritual thermometer telling you? Is it reading a high number where you are warm or hot or is reading a low number where you feel cold and chilled? If God had a thermometer in His hand, what do you think the temperature is telling Him about you?

If God had a thermometer in His hand and you are in communion with Him; living the best you can and trying to be your best self and live up to your potential, I believe that temperature would be very high because you are absorbed in the warmth of His great love for you and honors you for your choice to live and witness to that love. You are His greatest creation, loved unconditionally and His beloved child, there is no reason that His thermometer would read any less than the highest it can be.

It is we who think that we are too cold, that we don’t pray enough, that we are the worst sinners, that we don’t deserve His love. We think that we are less than what He expects us to be, thus we are not able to recognize how this goes against His truths for us.  The love that we hold for God, others and self is the love that only God can give us and He has. Love grows from God. It is his grace that allows us to love more, beyond our imaginings, beyond our self, to and for others and God. God’s love is a warmth that covers us and permeates our very being. Look at your love. Look at those you love. Look at how your heart has been expanded in love as you have grown in your relationship with God. Look at you have been able to love when it was or is difficult. Look at the love God has for you and how you have shared that love with so many: your parents as they aged and became more dependent on you, your siblings as you have grown and matured and gone in different directions, your spouse, your children and grandchildren, your religious community members, the stranger and the friends. Love is a warmth, a gift, a grace that God invites us to share with others. Love is not too cold or too hot. It cannot burn you or make you freeze.

Rather is invites you to be open so that as you experience the various weather conditions in your spiritual life, you can receive and embrace the warmth of His unconditional, the selfless gift of His great love.

For today, look in the mirror and ask God to show you that He is not holding a thermometer or taking your temperature or measuring your ability to be loved by Him by what you do or don’t do. Your identity lies in being His beloved child, His creation and not in what you do. Don’t take out a thermometer and tell God that you feel too cold because you haven’t prayed or that you have sinned. HE knows all of that and yet you stand before Him, still.  Be open as He tells you that He not only surrounds you and covers you with His love, but graces you with the ability to love, be loved by others, by Him and that you love yourself as His greatest creation.

THURSDAY - “H” The Heat

The heat can be a source of enjoyment. We go to the beach to sit, relax, read, tan, or swim in the ocean. We open our pools in the summer so that we can enjoy the beauty of the cold water in the privacy of our back yards.  We open our pool so that Clover can have her swim dates with her best buddies and be refreshed from the heat of the summer. The heat can cause some stress as those who suffer from breathing problems must stay inside with an air conditioner running or a fan. In either case many worry about the bill that will come from the necessity of using the air conditioner. The heat can make the season of summer a source of enjoyment and refreshment. How does our spiritual life reflect the heat that comes or the heat waves that we encounter?

The heat in our spiritual life is the warmth of God’s love covering us so that we can feel it through and through from the tip of our toes to the top of our head. The heat is a gift from God to remind us that no matter what storms that we have faced, His love will never die or be diminished, end or be taken from us. Sometimes when we feel a heat wave coming and we think that we will melt, that God can’t love us that much, so we seek a cool place to go, we run, or we try to hide.

For today, when you feel the heat wave of God’s love covering you, stay still and know that it is God protecting you so that you will not get burnt and loving you as only He can do.

FRIDAY - “E” Endurance: patience, staying power, perseverance, and determination.

Endurance and all the various personal choices that we make to stand firm in the various weather conditions that our spiritual life may encounter can make us our best self, the best person that we can be, and have the potential to become. We can choose to give in and bury our self when the storms of life are intertwined with our life, or we can stand up to them with Christ so that we will not be overcome by them.

If you look back on any of the storms that have pounded your heart, mind and spirit, or the avalanches that have caused you to run or move quickly away, or the earthquakes that have shook your, thought to be, strong foundation, can you recognize that you are standing stronger now and are more determined not to be defeated?   Do you see the hand and love of Jesus as the apostles did on the boat? Yes, they were afraid and told Jesus as much, but in their fear, He loved them through to the calming of the sea.

He loves you through your fears, He doesn’t turn away from you because of them.

He admires and loves you for your ability to persevere, your self-determination, your prayers, your patience with others during the difficult times, your resilience, your flexibility, your stamina and your desire to carry your cross despite the storms, and not run away because of them.

For today, thank God for the gift of endurance in all its forms.

SATURDAY - “R” The Rain

Rain comes in many forms; there are rain showers, thunderstorms, scattered showers, rain drops, misty rain and its raining cats and dogs, whatever that means, in all its forms it can symbolize a need for cleansing, renewal and refreshment. Rain can cause major flooding as well as be a source of nourishment for all crops to grow and provide nutrition for everyone.  Rain can help those who garden feel as if they struck gold, and those who own car washes, shutter. In any case it rains and we need to endure the rain in whatever form it comes.

As with our spiritual life, we can have showers that might symbolize our need of cleansing from significant guilt, anger, bitterness, resentment, shame, or low self esteem before God. God sends us showers not to drown us, but rather to cleanse us so that we can walk with our head held high, wet but high. We may experience little rain drops that can symbolize that we need refreshment so that we don’t walk that slippery slope and fall into the need for showers. We can experience a warm summer rain or a cold winter rain.

Our souls, our spirits an be in line with God and the rain drops can remind us that HE is always there to provide refreshment and reconciliation, peace and happiness. When it rains, we tend to be unhappy, yet we can look at it as a time to see God in the drops, call to mind His refreshing love for us and remind us of our baptism and how we were cleansed from sin and began our new life in Him.

For today, if it rains, go out and get wet, not too wet, but wet enough to call to mind how refreshing God’s love is and how we can always start over, one step, one rain drop at a time. If you carry an umbrella, see it as God’s warmth and love protecting you so that you do not get drenched in the worries and stresses of life.

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of April 21, 2024

The rainbow of friendship

This week’s Glimpse of God comes in the form of a different kind if rainbow, the one of the gift of friends and the friendships formed. Merriam Webster defines a friend as “one who attached to another by affection or esteem”, and friendship as “the state of being friends”.

So how do I see the gifts of friends as a rainbow? When we look at a rainbow, we see the many beautiful colors that together create the bow in the horizon. When I look at a rainbow I am always struck with a sense of awe, amazement, and wonder.   When I close my eyes, I am always filled with a spirit of joy, great hope, and a deep abiding sense of peace. Friendship is a different type of rainbow in that it also renews my joy, deepens my peace, and strengthens my hope. When I think of a rainbow, I think of the storms that passed through, by, over and how in and through it all, God’s promise is fulfilled, light shines, the floods subside and we can begin io walk on the holy ground once again.  It is in and through our friends that we can walk on this, God’s Holy Ground, after the storm. It is our friends that point out to us where the rainbow is, where God fulfilled His promise and how we  have survived the latest and most recent trial or flood waters, and did not drown, or was overcome. After the flood, God promised through the rainbow that He would never abandon his people and that He would always be with us.  The colors of the rainbow are there to show us that even in the midst of the darkest storms, light, peace and strength prevail.

It is in friendship where I recognize the promise and presence of God in and through His beloved sons and daughters. I am blessed that I have people that I consider friends and even more blessed that they consider me their friend. I still am mourning the loss of a very good friend Dorothy, yet I celebrate the gift of friendship that I have formed with her sister, Barbara. I will always cherish the gift of friendship with my mentor, God father figure of 46 years and longtime friend Father John, as well as my best friend and best gift of my husband John. I am sure that we can all come up with the name of our best friend or friends. There are some people that believe  that in our lifetime, there will be only a few people that we can truly call friends. I disagree. I see that in God’s promise to always be with us and never forsake us, He gives us friends to remind us that His promise is constantly being fulfilled on a daily basis. It is through our friends that we see the person of Christ and in and through who they are, and this enables us to become a greater reflection of that  presence and friendship with others.

As I reflected on the Franciscan jubilarians last week, John and I consider many of the Sisters of Saint Francis that reside in Assisi House as well as other places, some of our nearest and dearest friends. They are truly friends of Christ and in and through their faith, their example, their  humor, encouragement and prayers, I see Christ, I see God’s promise of always walking with me and I know that with their support and their love for  God, I am given the grace to live up to my potential as God’s beloved daughter.

In and through the many people that God has placed in my life, I see a different kind of rainbow, one of a promise being fulfilled. The presence of friends is always an incarnational sign of the fulfillment of God’s promise that He would always be with me, and that He would never leave or forsake me. I see it in friendship. When I gather with friends be it in prayer at daily Mass, or when I volunteer at Assisi house, as well as when I gather with our faith sharing group of 14 years. I see all as an extension of that very promise as members of the Body of Christ, that we are never alone and that God will never forsake or abandon us.

It is through friends that the promise is fulfilled, and that I am not only the recipient of the gift of the promise but also a humble instrument through whom that promise is fulfilled. As faithful, faith filled individuals, trying to live and be the best people that God has created us to be, and sinners striving to be saints, friends are tangible witnesses of God’s presence in my life. Their presence reminds me that God’s promise is being fulfilled in the many different and varied ways represented in the very unique and extraordinary persons that they are. Friends are signs of hope when things are tough. They are merciful. They are instruments of peace and vessels of joy. They are a sign of strength and courage when they call me to be true myself when I’d rather run and hide from myself and my choices. They are signs of resilience when there are no words to speak amid pain, suffering and woundedness and signs of joy when I am victorious over sin, discouragement and  alienation. They are humble disciples that through their lives and example profess their love for God, others and self. Friends accept us as we are, challenge us when we are not being our best self the person that God created us to be, and celebrate with us when we reach our potential.

The gifts of friendship, the gift of a rainbow, the gift of self, are three of the many signs of God’s love. We are all signs of God’s love for and to each other, but do we know that, and if we know it in our head do we believe it in our heart?

This week, as you think of the rainbow as a sign of promise and of hope, I would like to look at the colors of the rainbow and the meaning in the colors as you look at what friendship means.

 

Sunday (RED) – Love.

The gift of God’s love for you, your love for God, your love for self and your love for others.  Can you let your heart be expanded so that it can be filled with more love? Has your heart been broken that you are afraid to love?   Let God, through your friends, be a source of healing, consolation, and peace. If you allow friends to love you as you truly are, with your flaws and your virtues, then you can humbly stand before God in a spirit of joy, gratitude, and peace. 

For today: Think of a friend that has reminded you of how loved you are and how loving you are, and thank God for their gift of selfless love.

Monday (ORANGE) – Openness

Are you open to the surprises that God has in store for you? Are you ready to receive the many graces that will transform, conform and reform you into a clearer image of God to others? Can you stand before others and humbly accept their honest criticism so as to grow? Is the door of  your heart  open so Christ can enter in and rest in you?

For today: Think of a friend whose gift of friendship was a surprise and thank God for His gift of providential surprises.

Tuesday (YELLOW) - Joy   

Joy is not the denial of pain or suffering, but the trust that in and through it, God is present. Joy comes when you realize that God’s presence is the source of your happiness. Do you want to be a joyful person? Are you surrounded by joyful people? Are your friends joyful people? Is the joy of the Eucharist, the true presence of Christ in your life, your spiritual foundation and the foundation of your friends?

For today: Think of the JOY (love for Jesus, Others and Self) that fills your heart and seek to grow in it. Don’t let the stresses of this world take away your joy.

 

Wednesday (GREEN) - Hope

Do you have hope? Are you a messenger of Hope? Do you, can you allow the love and peace of God transcend your stress, alleviate your suffering, and transform your mind so that you can be a hopeful, hope filled person of faith. What stops you from being a hopeful, hope filled person. For today: Think of a friend who has been your anchor, your hope amid seemingly hopeless situations, circumstance and ask God to give them continued strength, insight and wisdom so they can continue to be His instrument of hope to others.

 

Thursday (BLUE) - Rebirth

Can you close your eyes and allow the feeling of God’s love washing away your sins and making you whole, reminding you of your baptism. We love our friends for who they truly are, from what we see to what we know lies in their heart. As a human being we sin and offend God and those we love the most, are we merciful to those around us?  In and through our baptism we enter into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We are reborn. We receive the light of Christ so that we can walk in that light in our daily journey of faith and spiritual transofmrion. With our friends, are we faithful companions and witnesses of the power of Christ in our lives?

For today: think of a friend who has invited you to believe when in God and in yourself when all else seemed to tempt you to fall into doubt, disbelief and discouragement, and thank God for their gift of a selfless and life giving spirit.

Friday (INDIGO) - Integrity

Are you a person of integrity? Do you have strong moral principles? Do you stand up as a witness to your faith? Do you see in yourself and in your friends: a person of good character, a fair person, a person that is truthful and trustworthy? All these virtues are aspects that make and create a rainbow of friendship. 

For today: Seek to be a person of integrity and thank God for the integrity, authenticity and honesty of friends that has called you to be a better and more authentic person.

 

Saturday (VIOLET) - Peace

Is there someone you need to forgive so that you can be at peace with them?  Is your heart troubled and do you want to experience peace, healing, and reconciliation? Can you allow your friends to help you and bring you the comfort and peace that Christ wants for you? Are you a peacemaker and are the friends you choose peacemakers and instruments of God’s peace, love and mercy?

For today: seek the mercy of God for you and your friends today and always.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of April 14, 2024

The immeasurable treasure, the precious gems of the Sisters of Saint Francis.

As I begin this Glimpse, I want to take a moment to recognize the many graces and the giftedness of so many that the Church of Philadelphia has received, through the open hearts of many men and women who have answered the call to serve as Priests, Consecrated Religious and Permanent Deacons. My glimpse for this week comes from the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia who reside at the Assisi House and will celebrate their Diamond (70 years) Jubilees as well as other Sisters who will celebrate their golden and silver jubilee but live elsewhere. No matter how you look at it or how long they have been professed, they are all gems and precious in the eyes of God and all those they encounter and serve. We consider all the Sisters at Assisi House and OLA genuine gifts from God, friends in the Lord, our second family especially to Clover and those we hold near and dear and can call true friends. As I reflect on the Sisters at Assisi House, I am reminded of the prophet Sirach when he states “a faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. Faithful friends are beyond price, no amount can balance their worth. Faith

 

ful friends are a lifesaving remedy; those who fear God finds. Those who fear God enjoy stable friendship, for as they are so will their neighbor be.” Sirach 6:14-17. At their age, whatever that is, you will not meet any stronger or faithful shelter in the Lord.

This Month, many Sisters of Saint Francis of Assisi of Philadelphia, will celebrate, in an incredibly special way, the diamond, silver and golden jubilee of their first profession. WOW!!! When you see them, you would think at they made their final profession when they were in kindergarten. Not only do they not look their age, whatever that is, but they are the youngest at heart women that I have ever met. Their hair may be white or gray but their smile, but their love for God and neighbor, their humor and joy, is vibrant, luminous and shines with great radiance. It is nowhere close to being just black or white. They see the kaleidoscope of life, people’s experiences, God’s presence and their vocation as a gift. The colors of the rainbow in the brightness of life and the Son shining after the storms of life pass by, the color of the pain and darkness of death, separation, sin, and injury, the gentle colors of consolation and encouragement, the bright colors of reconciliation, the permanent colors of peace, mercy, compassion and joy. They live the simplicity of Saint Francis by being authentic, genuine and real and with that, their reality shines brightly. It is a radiance that is welcoming and inviting and we are honored to call them friends.

The Sisters who are celebrating their Diamond, Golden and Silver jubilee are celebrating when they made their final profession. They professed the vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience, and in a way we all profess these same vows by the way we love, try to serve our God and each other, and remain true to ourselves, our vocation to be faithful and live up to our potential as God invites us to. The vow of poverty that the Sisters take means that they keep nothing to themselves, and that all goes to the community that they belong to. When we seek to live for God and others without possessing the best or the newest or the brightest of what the world has to offer and the devil tempts us to believe that we need, I believe that we too take a silent vow of poverty when we desire not to seek more of what we want than what we need. The vow of chastity they take as they are the bride of Christ and the church and not to the vocation of marriage. As God’s beloved sons and daughters and temples of the Holy Spirit, we too try to love ourselves by respecting, honoring and reverencing our bodies. To be chaste is to faithful to our God and the person that we are as His follower. Obedience is not about submission or a false sense of humility but rather a loving deference to the wisdom of another that will help one be conformed, transformed and reformed into a greater reflection of the Christ.    

To the Sisters at Assisi House who are celebrating their Diamond Jubilee: Sr. Margaret Cunniffe, Sr. Dolores Duffy, Sr. Carmel Gregg, Sr. Isabel Marie Haughey, Sr. Damian Marie Jackson, Sr. Regina McCloskey, Sr. Noelita Marie Rodriguez, and Sr. Virginia Spiegel, At OLA:  Sr. Jean Ustasiewski. Those who live elsewhere celebrating their Diamond Jubilee are Sr. Mary Francis Flood, Sr. Bernadette McGoldrick, and Sr. Dolora Taylor, their Golden are Sr. Margaret Lopez and St. Ronnie Grier and the one Silver jubilarian is Sr. Mary Beth Antonelli. We joyfully and prayerfully celebrate with all those men and women who recently responded, those who continue to discern God’s call, and those who continue to say Yes every day. I imagine that when they looking in the face of  life’s unexpected challenges and God’s surprises, they profess their personal Yes, as did Mary, every moment of every day just by their surrender, trust and openness.

So how did we ever come in contact with such great friends? It was God’s plan, 8 years ago, Clover’s golden personality would make it her first ministry as a therapy dog. We had Clover trained as a therapy dog and found that the Assisi House was open to having a therapy dog come in on a regular basis to meet with the Sisters. So, ever since then John and I have been taking Clover, our Golden Retriever, for pet therapy. Clover was greeted, hugged, given treats, complimented, fussed over, sang to, and given many kisses by the Sisters as well as the staff from the very first time she entered the door. From the moment that she enters the doors of the vestibule to the moment that she walks out, she is the hit of the parade. They make her feel welcomed in their home. As a therapy dog, she is there to serve her purpose and that is to be a silent presence to each person. Although it is about Clover and the calming affect that she has on the Sisters, they always make John and I feel welcomed and a part of their family as well. Clover is the instrument that God uses where we and the Sisters have come to love each other and grow in friendship. The Sisters who do visit, share their stories with us, their challenges, their wisdom and their prayers and they embrace our stories, our challenges, and offer us their prayers, support, and encouragement. They are present to us as even as they spend time with Clover. It was Clover who got her paws in the front door as a therapy dog, which allowed us to walk with her and each sister on this wonderful and blessed journey of true love, support, genuine friendships, deep lasting relationships, and joy. Thank you Sisters for continuing to allow us into your home, we are deeply blessed and grateful.

As I reflect on their jubilee and their vocation as Consecrated Religious, I am inspired, and in awe of these wonderful deep women of faith. These Sisters who are celebrating 70, 50 and 25 years as a Consecrated Religious, as well as every sister who has been there and has moved on to 70 plus years, as well as to the sisters who aren’t there yet. Be it diamond, golden, or silver, each year they continue to shine as a true gem and precious jewel in the hands of their creator and the lives of His beloved children and creation.  All have said YES so long ago, and yet just moments ago as well. Their YES is a daily YES. They live out their YES to God by the life that they live, have lived, and hope to live that of a faithful service with a heart that remains open always ready to be transformed, conformed, and reformed to the heart of Jesus.

They said YES with no treasure map to follow, no guarantee or refunds, no promises or exceptions as the world would ask or expect. Instead they put their trust in God’s wisdom and knowledge of their deepest desire and love for Him, their treasure map was and remains in the Sacraments of the Church, for it is in them they find the direction and path that they need to follow, their promise was eternal life and the guarantee was given to them by Jesus as He was nailed to the cross, and there are no exceptions, we are all included.  All who choose to follow Christ will inherit eternal life.

The Sisters have remained faithful followers despite and amidst any physical limitations, pain, discouragement, and disappointments. In the midst of it all they renew in their heart their YES to Christ as His beloved bride. All the Sisters are not only a Glimpse of God, but a clear picture of God and His wonderful all-encompassing love for all His children. They, like Saint Francis, exude the simplicity, humility and compassion that makes them truly God’s instruments of peace in a world torn by strife, discord, and division.

As we begin a new week, let us take a moment to thank God for all of those individuals; religious, secular and military, who have given us our freedom so that we can practice our religion, have given us religion so that we can pray for freedom, and who have united us as one under God, so that we will not be afraid to be a witness and a sign of  His presence through acts of justice, words of truth, and signs of reconciliation. 

SUNDAY – “J” – JOYFUL - The feelings expressed or a causing of immense pleasure and happiness.

Are you a joyful person? What brings you joy? What takes away your joy? Joy is not a fleeting gift from God, but one that is planted with deep roots. It is up to us; we can choose to cultivate it or ignore it. We can be a joyful person despite the challenges that come our way, or we can allow them to make us bitter and unhappy. For today, take time to look at the various events, people, circumstances that bring or have brought you joy,  as well as when you were the cause of joy for someone and how it made you feel and offer  a prayer of gratitude.  

MONDAY – “U” - UNIQUE - Someone or something that is unlike anything or anyone else and incredibly special.

Do you see yourself as a unique individual? Do you recognize that you have been given extraordinary gifts and talents by God that make you who you are and the special person that you are? God sees you as unique, special and He calls you, His beloved. Can you allow yourself to be loved by God?

It is a gift to be different and not blend in with everyone. God has created you to be you and not anyone else. There will never be another you. There will never be another heart like yours, another spirit like yours another soul like yours. You are created as uniquely as God creates. Do you like who you are, or do you try to be someone else? Can you allow God to love you and show you how special and unique you are and that you are gift? For today, look in the mirror and begin to identify your uniqueness, your giftedness by God, what makes you special, intellectually, physically, or emotionally, what makes you stand out from the crowd, what people notice about you. Honor and reverence who you are and recognize that God created you and wants you to see how special you are to Him and all those in your life.  

TUESDAY – “B” – BOUNTIFUL - Giving generously, unselfishly openhanded.

We all have opportunities to give generously of our selves: by being present to another as we listen and words are not necessary, by offering our prayers to those who are seeking to feel God’s presence, by lending a hand to someone who is need, and by lifting up one who has fallen by our showing of compassion, mercy and understanding. For today, look at how you have been bountiful and how others have been bountiful in your life. Ask God for the grace to continue to extend yourself to those in need, be it spiritual, physical, or emotional and thank Him for those who He has sent to you when you needed them most and, in some cases didn’t realize it.  

WEDNESDAY – “I’ – INTUITIVE - Having the ability to understand things without any proof.

The prayer of Saint Francis can be a prayer of intuitiveness because it is in the prayer where we identify those areas that are “off”, hatred, doubt, despair, darkness, … and we want to make right with God’s love, pardon, faith, hope,…We want to make right what we spiritually intuit to be bringing us away from the Lord. We might not be able to identify the exact moments where we have fallen to hatred or how we have doubted God or the how or why we gave into despair, but we sense deep within that something is not right, and we want to change. Hatred, injury, doubt, despair, discord, darkness, sadness, can permeate our very being, but it is the desire to bring forth love, pardon, faith, hope, truth, light, joy, understanding, and consolation that enables us to act in a positive way toward others before the weakness of sin wins.

For today, slowly pray the Prayer of Saint Francis and pray for the grace to identify one aspect in your life that you want to change, or that needs healing or has been healed. 

THURSDAY – “L” – LOVING - Feeling or showing love or great care.

The Sisters have lived their life showing great love for all those that God has placed in their care. We all have the potential to be loving people, yet there are times when our love is overshadowed by hate, our compassion is overshadowed by rash and harsh judgment, and our mercy is overshadowed by bitterness. Yet in an instant, we can change and be loving and better people. We just need to ask God for His help and His grace. For today, ask for His grace to let go of those dispositions, attitudes, actions, judgments that make you unloving, and ask to be filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit that will make you become the best person that you can be, the person that God created you to be, and have the potential to become.

Your best self is a loving self a giving self, continue to share your gift of self with those whose best self might be overshadowed by self-doubt, sin, shame, or unnecessary guilt. 

FRIDAY – “E” – EFFUSIVE – Expressing a feeling of gratitude pleasure in a heartfelt matter.

The celebration of the Mass is an act of thanksgiving. We come together to give thanks and to celebrate as a community the great love of Jesus as He gives us His Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist. We are the Body of Christ. We are commissioned to be the hands, feet, voice, eyes, and ears of Christ in our families, our church, our neighborhoods, our community, our workplace, with those we know and the stranger, the outcast and the forgotten, the humble and the proud. We are all called to build the Kingdom of God here on earth. When we possess a spirit of gratitude, we can build the Kingdom without being inhibited or restricted, where there are no walls only open spaces. For today, express your gratitude to those who need to hear it. If it is God, pray it, if it is to a family member, say it, but just don’t let it go. 

SATURDAY – “E” – ENDEARING – Inspiring love or affection and sharing it.

Do you inspire love or affection, or do you shy away from it?  God draws us to love; to be love and to share love, just not to hold onto love. For today, as you prepare for the weekend, think of how you have inspired love and how you have shared that love for God, others, and self. Remember to pray for those who have inspired love for the stranger by placing their lives in harm’s way; our military, police, fire, All these individuals give of themselves because they were inspired by the love and selfless actions of another. We might not be called to go out and minister to another who is carrying so great a cross, but the person sitting next to us at home, in the restaurant, on the train or bus, the next person that we welcome in our home, the stranger that we see walking  down the street, we can all give the selfless act of love by sending a prayer to God on their behalf, since only God knows their heart and the cross they carry, our prayer made  in and out of love can make their burden a little lighter. 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for April 7, Divine Mercy Sunday

 

What did Mary Magdalene, The Apostles, Thomas, and The Disciples on the road to Emmaus, have in common after Jesus rose from the dead?  What they had in common was that they were prevented from recognizing Jesus after He rose from the dead. They thought that He was the gardener, a stranger in town, or just another man. What was preventing them? What did Jesus know about each of their hearts that needed to be healed by His presence after He died on the cross and they felt abandoned, left alone to figure out things, led to a darkness that they never felt or expected?

All were prevented, unable to see or recognize the risen Christ. The very Jesus that they broke bread with, ministered together with, experienced His miracles, shared their stories about their brokenness, their joys, their families hopes, their sorrows, and their hopes about the Messiah and how He would change things for the better. Christ raised people from the dead, healed the blind, the deaf, the crippled, he ate with sinners and ministered to the outcasts, and these very apostles, disciples, and women followers were with Him to see it firsthand. They had come to know Jesus and the kind of person He was. They learned of the kind of person that they would need to become if they were going to be His followers and follow His example from His life to and through His death, and to His resurrection.

Yet they were unable to recognize Him after He rose from the dead, Why? Seeing Him after He rose from the dead, frightened them and instead of being jubilant and happy to see Him, they were unable to recognize Him for who He was, and they stood in disbelief. What was preventing them from seeing Him as Jesus and not the gardener or a stranger? Was it their grief at His horrible death, was it their anger at how they followed and believed in Him, and now they had no one to follow and they felt abandoned and left on their own? Was it fear? Was it overwhelming disbelief at all that happened, and they still could not make any sense of it all?

What causes us to not see the resurrected Jesus in our life and in the face and life of others? How have we been prevented from seeing Jesus during the pandemic, the flu outbreak, our daily stresses and concerns? Although we are no longer required to wear masks, do we still hide behind our masks of insecurity, anxiety, shame, guilt, sin, hopelessness, fear, discouragement, or despair and fail to recognize Jesus’ compassion, mercy, hope and love?

Do we allow Jesus to call us by name and have we have we removed our mask so that others can recognize us as we strive to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become? from others, and from God. What are we hiding from that is blinding us from seeing Jesus or allowing others to recognize His presence within us? As we try to walk, run, crawl, and stumble through life challenges and with our crossses in hand or thrown by the wayside, are we able to recognize where Jesus was and is, and how we are blessed by His presence in the unique and new ways that He has revealed Himself?

 

The disciples were prevented from recognizing Jesus for various reasons. We are prevented from recognizing Jesus for many reasons as well. Sometimes when we are afraid, caught off guard, surprised in a painful way, we are not able to open the eyes of our heart, mind, spirit or soul to seeing Christ as He is in these moments. What else prevents us from recognizing Jesus? it the pain or separation that comes from the physical death of a loved one? is it our woundedness where we need to be healed, and made whole? is it the death of a relationship through separation, divorce, disagreement? is it the death of an ideal? of a dream?  is it anger, loneliness, or fear? We are prevented from seeing the risen Jesus in the faces and lives of others when we cannot see past the pain of our cross, our own personal suffering, whether it is spiritual, emotional, or physical.

Mary, Thomas, and the Apostles were in the very presence of Jesus and witnessed to His many miracles but lost clarity of His presence because fear got in the way. We like them, have the very real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist when we become afraid and need to feel His calm and warmth, reassurance, and peace. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it is then that the eyes of our heart and mind are opened and we recognize Him as He is, our Savior and Redeemer. We then are invited to see our self as He sees us; His beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation.

I believe that our anger, our sorrow, our weariness at what we are coping with can prevent us from seeing the Risen Christ and experiencing the resurrections in our life that Jesus has in store. You cannot have a Good Friday without a Resurrection Sunday. They go together.

Jesus' first words to His followers who stood in disbelief were "Peace be with you!" He didn't reprimand them for not recognizing Him because he knew their hearts and how much they loved Him, even when they were filled with so many other emotions.

The resurrection experiences in our life come in the forms of peace, joy, happiness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, understanding and a renewed desire to be the best person that God created us to be despite our crosses and the challenges that they bring. 

It is difficult to experience resurrection if we cannot let go and let God bring us these gifts because of our disbelief that He wants to give them to us, and our fears that we will be called to change and be transformed forever.

When Jesus saw Mary Magdalene, she at first was unable to recognize Him as Her Lord and Teacher. He saw through her fear and instead of causing more pain for her, He touched her heart because He knew the depth of her love for Him. He brought that love forward, past her fear, her pain, her deep sense of loss and much confusion, and it was then that she recognized Him.  He offered her Peace. That is what He offers all His children. He knows that depth of our love for Him even in the midst and the weight of our crosses. When we say Yes to His will, recognize Him as our true teacher, desire to do and be the very best we can and surrender our will to Him each day, then we are experiencing a resurrection.

 

So this week, let us take time to see the resurrected Jesus in our lives and in the faces and lives of others. "Rabboni" which means teacher. Your prayer for the week can be: Teach me your ways O Lord and make known to me the path that I must travel to walk closer to you. 

 

SUNDAY - "T" – Thanksgiving

Are you thankful for the gift of Jesus' passion, death and resurrection that enables you to emerge from your tombs and experience you mini resurrections? Through Jesus' passion, death and resurrection you have someone that knows your pain, your suffering and your confusion and is there to help you as you carry your cross. He blesses you with His peace, joy, and happiness here on earth, so that you can move forward and recognize your resurrections and rejoice in them, and at your final breath can rejoice in the resurrected Jesus’ loving embrace.

 

MONDAY - "E" – Empathy

Are you empathetic, understanding, compassionate towards others who fail to recognize the risen Jesus in their life because of the weight of their crosses and the pain that they are feeling? or do you put them down, judge them, lose patience with them, see yourself as better than them? Empathy requires an open heart, one that is in relationship with God and wants to share His good news of mercy, healing, peace, and love with others, and how they are His beloved children, loved unconditionally, and His greatest creation. You cannot be empathetic if you want to hold others back and think yourself as better than them. Recognizing the risen Christ and the resurrection experiences in your life means that you have the heart of Christ and the desire to expand it so that Jesus can fill it with His presence in the way that He chooses to reveal it. Share that love, allow God to expand your heart, break open your heart and you shall be amazed at the graces that flow from you.

 

TUESDAY - "A" - Amazement

Are you, can you allow our self to be amazed? Can you see, do you see the many signs of resurrection in your life?  Do you recognize your resurrections, the place where you experience the Risen Christ, the Christ of reconciliation, healing and peace in your life? Do you see them in and through the healing that has taken place through reconciliations? Can you recognize the Risen Christ, your resurrections in your joys, your family, your spouse, your children, your neighbors, your church, and your place of employment? All of these can provide signs of resurrection and the peace that Jesus wants for you. Can you see them? Ask for the ability to recognize the Risen Jesus as you encounter others, see circumstances differently, recognize that personal grudges as an unnecessary weight that is holding you back from peace and seek the grace to let go.

 

 

WEDNESDAY - "C" - Charity

Are you charitable in your words, deeds, actions, and attitudes? Do you offer peace, reconciliation, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness to others, especially those who have caused you pain and have made your cross heavy? Jesus offered peace to His disciples even after they denied Him, abandoned Him, and hid in fear. He forgave them because He knew their hearts. He knows your heart and how it wants to be the best in love. He offers you His mercy and peace so that you can be more charitable. He does not want you to hold onto grudges because it is then that you miss out on the hope of reconciliation, renewal, and reconnection.  

 

THURSDAY - "H" - Honor

Do you honor yourself, others, and God by how you treat yourself, others and in your relationship with God? Can you honor others, who are also God's beloved children, who have offended you in some way? Do you recognize that God honors you? Or are you your greatest offender? Do you want to ask God for His grace and love to penetrate your brokenness so that you can recognize not only how He honors you, but loves you beyond any sin or weakness that you have committed? God's love is greater than any sin that you can commit, and He wants that truth to be your resurrection. He wants you to embrace your new life with Him as risen.

 

FRIDAY - "E" - Embrace

Do you go towards Jesus as He holds out His arms to embrace you or do you run from His embrace? What brings you towards Christ so that you can be embraced by Him? Is it your desire to say thank you and talk to Him about what you are experiencing in your life? Is it because you want to be healed and you realize that only he can heal your woundedness in whatever form it is taking? What turns you away from going to Christ? Is it fear, shame guilt, ego or pride? You can't fix what is broken or shattered, only Jesus can. You can become the wounded healer though and that is a great gift, a big resurrection, the recognition of the risen Christ in your life.

 

SATURDAY - "R" - Revelation

What or how has God revealed Himself to you this week that has made you respond with joy and happiness, that brought you a deep sense of peace and gratitude, thanksgiving, and serenity? Was it a reconciliation of a relationship? forgiveness of self for something that you have held on to but now are able to let go of and forgive yourself for? Was it a blessing that you have been praying for and have received and found it to be better than you could have imagined?  What resurrections have you experienced this week? Do you see the Risen Christ because of your resurrections more readily in those around you? How has He revealed Himself to you? How have you revealed Him to others this week? How do you want to reveal Him to others? So go for it, and just do it!

 

 

                   

 

 

 

Glimpse Of God for Holy Week -------March 24, 2024

As we enter Holy Week, my Glimpse of God is not in a single experience that I had this past week or in any special situation that I found myself in, but rather in the anticipation of this Holy Week and what it means to me.

As a source of personal reflection and to discern my motivations, I often ask myself; What is Holy Week and what is it all about to me? Is it about the long passion gospel narratives that I hear on Palm Sunday and Good Friday, or the passing out of palm, or the unusual crowds, or the different liturgy times on Thursday and Friday, or the misunderstanding that people have about lent and the triduum, or the barrenness of the sanctuary and the empty tabernacle on Good Friday, or even the long Easter vigil and how people either avoid it or are attracted to it?

I don’t believe that it is these elements that make the week “holy”; they make it different, but not holy. These elements are necessary to celebrate and remember the specific events of Jesus, but it is not the outward celebration of the events that make them “holy”. I think that it is the spirit in which they are celebrated, and the inner disposition of those who participate in the celebrations, both the celebrants and the congregation, that make them “holy”. “Holy” means sacred, and blessed, as well as consecrated and hallowed.  Liturgy is sacred. We are blessed. The celebration of the Mass is the most sacred and holiest events that we are privileged to attend. It is through the Mass that we encounter Christ in Sacred Scripture and in the reception of the Eucharist.

We were blessed at our baptism as we were immersed in the waters of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection. All that being said, if our hearts are not present to the reality of the liturgy, then we are going through the motions. We miss the true meaning, the “holy”, of the holy week services.

Jesus often criticized the religious leaders for “looking” holy, by saying all the right things but they were not doing the right things. Jesus said that the people could listen to what the religious leaders said because they knew the law, but do not follow their example, for their heart was far from God. I don’t think that Jesus would want us to celebrate His entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, or the Last Supper on Holy Thursday, or His passion and death on Good Friday out of obligation or guilt but rather out of love, desire, and gratitude.

Out of Love for Jesus in that He endured His passion and death for you and me in complete selflessness, unconditional love, mercy, and sacrifice. If we are truly in love with Him and desire to draw nearer to Him and live out our baptismal call to enter more deeply into His passion, death, and resurrection, then we would want to attend the special liturgies. It is in and through them that we encounter the suffering Jesus, the Jesus that although did not and could not sin, endured the death of a hardened criminal out of pure love. We want our hearts to be more like His because His heart is the perfect heart, and we want to strive to love as He loved and be more perfect in our love. He said Yes to His Father and gave of Himself completely so that we may live in eternity with Him, what love, what gift!

He would want us to celebrate with a spirit of gratitude in that we have been redeemed and forgiven and that we are grateful for such a wonderful life changing, transforming, lifelong gift. He would want our hearts to be united with His in His passion, death, and resurrection so that we can truly appreciate and be thankful for the gift of His love and life in ours. We can choose to enter into the liturgies as just a body in the pew, but I think that it would be better if we entered into them with a heart ready to be loved and embraced and a mind open to being truly present at the special events of Jesus’ life.

So, as you enter into Holy Week, my idea is to just take each day and reflect by using your senses as you draw nearer to and enter into the Holy Triduum. And as we begin this new and holy week, as you look in the mirror, take the opportunity and the grace to see within yourself the love of Christ as King: King of your heart, mind, soul, and spirit, and look out the window to see that same presence in others.  When you are not able to recognize His presence as King because you are focused on your weaknesses and sins, shortcomings, and failures, and those of others, look into the mirror only to remind yourself that you are loved by God just as you are because His love is much greater than all of these. Seek His grace so that you can recognize, in a greater way, the presence of His great mercy, compassion, and unconditional love that HE has for you, that He has showered upon you and that you have shared with others.  His death is a reminder that He sees all that you see, but He looks into the depth of your heart to see that which you have not begun to.  

If during this holy week, as lent gradually comes to an end, and you journey into the days of the Sacred Triduum, you find yourself asking, “How have I grown in my relationship to Christ, or how have I been a reflection of His presence in my life to others”? As you look back and recall how you found yourself helping others and giving of your time, talent, and compassion, and mercy, know that your desire is in response to God’s grace, so trust in God and believe that you are closer to Him than you think. We measure our progress and that of others with human expectations and limitations, but God looks into the very heart that He created and sees its width, its depth, its woundedness, its potential and fills it with His compassion, His mercy, His peace, and His grace so that we can be the best loving person that we can be. You are what He wants you to be, for you can be nothing less. What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love, what you become is your gift to God.

This week that we call Holy is an invitation by God the Father to draw nearer to Himself and His Son Jesus. It is through Jesus’ suffering of His passion and death that we are made stronger to suffer our passions and deaths so that we can emerge from our tomb with a renewed hope, sense of self, healed and whole. This week we can all become a little bit more holy, a little bit more open, a little bit more Christ like if we choose to humble ourselves and recognize that not only did Christ endure all that HE did for you and me in and out of love, but that He would do it again. Yet HE does it again, repeatedly, every time we participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments of the Church.

SUNDAY – PALM SUNDAY – As a bystander at the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on a donkey, Are you one that is throwing palm or your personal cloak on the ground to make a path for Jesus? (touch)

As you listen to the crowd, are you also shouting Hosanna to Jesus as He passes by you? (hearing)

Are you so far back in line that you can’t see Him, and you are experiencing so much frustration that you are ready to leave for you home miles away? (sight)

When you hear that Jesus is entering on a donkey, the worse smelling animal, do you just turn away and go home, missing the greater purpose for which He is there? (smell)

When you hear that Jesus is coming and you want to be there because you witnessed His miracles and wanted to see Him again, can you taste the excitement in the air? (taste) 

 

MONDAY OF HOLY WEEK – Using the sense of Awe, do you try and make sense out of Jesus’ actions, or do they leave you in a sense of awe because you cannot explain or understand how He can do what He did out of complete and unselfish Love? That is so hard for us to believe, understand or imagine, but if we are truly His followers, it is not impossible for us to imitate. Do you believe this? Get ready, the Triduum is coming and if you are still trying to understand Jesus, even in these coming days you still might not understand but don’t get discouraged, just get ready, be open and allow Him to speak to your heart. He will stretch it, open it, expand it, embrace it, and return His mark of love on it.

 

TUESDAY OF HOLY WEEK –  Using your sense of mystery, can you recall Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem, and look ahead to Holy Thursday and Good Friday and see such a stark change, and ask yourself where would I have been in these events? Would I have changed from glorifying Jesus to condemning Him? Every time I sin, I am not choosing Jesus, so do I deny Jesus as Peter did, and choose Barabbas to go along with the crowd no matter what the consequences are? or do I stand as an observer, silently and sadly by Jesus as did Mary and the women? 

 

WEDNESDAY OF HOLY WEEK – Using your sense of Wonder, beginning tomorrow we will celebrate how on Holy Thursday, Jesus washed the feet of His disciples. As we look ahead, we are reminded that every day we are called to do the same. Jesus washed the feet to show us that we must serve the needs of others. Serving others is not reserved for one day a year or just on the holidays, but rather every day. How we are called to serve is different for each of us because our motives are as unique as we are and as God calls us. How difficult serving others is sometimes especially when we cannot seem to serve with the empathy or compassion Christ had. Instead, we are judgmental. It is during these moments that we must reflect on the reason that God has called us to serve and seek His grace to serve not only in His name but in and out of love for Him and those we are called to serve.

The feet of another are what carries them and enables them to place one foot in front of the other and not remain stuck or go backwards. When we are called to wash the feet of another, what Christ might be inviting us to do is to walk in the shoes of another with a greater sense of compassion, empathy, mercy, peace and understanding, so that we don’t judge and turn away from them but rather receive and embrace them.  When you find yourself being present to the needs of the poor, the homeless, the forgotten, the unforgivable, the estranged, then you are allowing yourself to be servant, not the judge, but the humble servant being and bringing Christ to them by your words, deeds, attitude, actions, and love.  

HOLY THURSDAY – Using your sense of sight, can you be present and allow yourself to experience the humility of being a servant and serving the needs of others as Jesus did in the Washing of the Feet? Or can you use your sense of taste and perhaps as you receive the Holy Eucharist in the Commemoration of the Last Supper, reflect on how Jesus gave us of Himself to His apostles at the Last Supper and continues to give of His real presence today in every celebration of the Mass? This is Jesus’ real presence, His true Body and Blood, not a symbolic representation, but the real deal. Taste and see the goodness of the Lord….. 

GOOD FRIDAY – Jesus dies on the cross. We hear Him being condemned, crucified, and dying on the cross. We know that He did nothing to deserve such cruel and terrible treatment, but we also know that He willingly, selflessly, and lovingly accepted His fate so that we may live forever in His and His Father’s love. Are you listening? As you venerate the holy cross, are you allowing yourself to be present at the cross to tell Jesus how much you love Him and how sorry you that your sins are the cause for His suffering? Not just do you hear, but also are you listening when He says “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”? He was talking about you and me, not just His persecutors. He forgives us when we say we are sorry, do you listen when He tells you that He forgives and loves you or do you just walk away? 

HOLY SATURDAY – We celebrate the joy of the resurrection. We celebrate all of our senses in that we have the blessing of the fire, the lighting of the paschal candle and the lighting of the congregation’s candles, the proclamation of the Exultet, the Liturgy of the Word, the blessing of the Holy Water to be used at the baptisms of those being received into the Catholic faith that evening, and to be sprinkled on those at Mass reminding them of their baptismal call and promises, the aroma of the sacred chrism and holy oils used for the baptisms and confirmation, the reception of Holy Communion by those entering the faith and the congregation. We are truly a resurrection people. We proclaim the Gloria and the Alleluia again to celebrate this great mystery. Lift you voice and proclaim the great things that the Lord has done, they are marvelous in our eyes. Let us fully be present to this great and glorious gift.

 

 

 

LENT IS A TIME TO:

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 17, 2024

Happy Saint Patty’s Day to all

A continuation on the Lenten reflections…

FORGIVE and not to be bitter.

We are called to forgive ourselves and others, and not hold on to the past of bad choices, deep hurts, and poor decisions. Only in true forgiveness can we experience genuine and lasting freedom so that we can be the beacon of Christ’s mercy, love, and compassion for our self and to others.  "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”.

This week’s Glimpse of God is not one that will consist of a daily reflection, but rather a reflection on the act of forgiveness and how we partake of that act both for ourselves, and others.

Do we allow God to forgive us, do we allow others to forgive us? do we forgive others? but most important do we forgive ourselves? To forgive, to be forgiven, God’s grace and peace is alive and well.

I believe the two hardest phrases to say are “I am Sorry” and “I forgive you”. Both indicate an action by a person to admit to a wrongdoing and how it has caused injury to another and seek their forgiveness, or to forgive another who has caused them injury and then to let it go and never bring it back up. Forgiveness is not an act that one does because it sounds like a good idea at the time or is cool, but because deep inside they realized that they have either caused injury or they have been injured, and there is a humble need to pardon or seek pardon so that the peace, reconciliation, and love can prevail.

To seek forgiveness and to offer forgiveness, is an act of the will, but forgiveness is not yet experienced. The act and desire to forgive and seek forgiveness is a gift from God. That gift and grace that God invites one to receive and be held accountable for is one that sets a person free and allows them to share the gift of true freedom with another. As we seek to forgive or be forgiven, we can pray the words of Jesus on the cross, Father forgive them for they know not what they do. When we sin, we often do not see the choice for what it really was or is. We give into temptation and only afterwards are we able to recognize that the devil duped us, and we got duped. We are like the other person and therefor need to be seen as God sees them and not just how we want to see them; with blinders on, with bitterness, with hatred, or with fury, but perhaps with the eyes of compassion, understanding, love and openness.  

As I reflect on our Lenten journey and how we are deeply immersed in acts of prayer, penance and alms giving, as well as a conscious choice of turning away from sin and being faithful to the Gospel, I hope that you are having a spiritually rewarding Lenten journey, one of personal and spiritual transformation, renewal, and a restoration.

As I reflect on forgiveness and this week’s glimpse, I pose the question: Who is the hardest person to forgive? Is it “God”, “the Other” or “yourself”? Who do you beat up more often over bad choices, deep hurts, poor decisions, or sins of omission? You can beat up others by your choice to ignore them, criticize them, reject them, taunt them, and isolate them, your act of silence can devastate them, and your cruel words can destroy them, yet we can all find ways to point out another’s sin by the way we respond to them.

So how are you and I any different when it comes to forgiving our self?

I believe that like the gift of love, if we do not have it for ourselves, we cannot love another, if we fail to truly forgive our self, we cannot truly forgive another.  

Forgiveness for ourselves is God’s will for us. He wants us to experience the peace and the joy that comes from being reconciled with Him and others, after we recognize our sin and express sorrow for it.

He knows our heart better than we do, and so He knows that our heart’s desire was not to stray or walk away. But we fell short of following our heart’s true desire of making the right choice and following God’s direction, and decided to either take a short cut, walk on the side of the road, head backwards or just stood still.  

He forgives us and we are called to forgive our self so that we can truly forgive another. If we fail to forgive ourselves, we make God a liar, His truth has no room in our heart, and we stand as a hypocrite. Christ died on the cross, but before that, He suffered His cruel and bitter passion. He suffered and died for our sins, all of ours, all of humankind, not just the other persons.

If He chose, and He did, to endure all of that so that we can experience His mercy, love, compassion, and reconciliation, who are we to discount or deny that same love, mercy, compassion, and reconciliation when it comes to our sins? Yet we do….when we say that God can’t or won’t forgive us, or that we are unlovable because of what we said or did, then we close the door of our heart to God and we dwell in  the negativity and falsities that the devil wants us to choose so that we walk away from God and not towards Him.

When we fall short of what we know and feel God is calling us to do so that we can be our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become, we then beat ourselves up. We do not think as God thinks because we are so focused on our short comings that the only thought about God is how disappointed He is or ashamed of us He is. Not how much He loves us despite our sins, or how unconditional that love is despite our sins, or how much He can’t love us less despite our sins. We let our sins take control of the mercy and love of the God who created us, suffered, and died for us, opened the gates of heaven to us, and gives us the sacraments of healing and life.
We have a hard time forgiving another because we cannot forgive ourselves. We struggle to forgive ourselves because we think of the sins that we committed and how big they seem to be and think that we are unforgiveable, unlovable, and unredeemable and yet our sin, already known to God, cancels all three of these false ideas.

As genuine and authentic people, people that not only profess to be followers of Christ, but live as followers of Christ, forgiving others, but we first need to forgive ourselves.

What does forgiving ourselves look like? What words would we use?  How can we experience true peace if we choose not to forgive ourselves? Where is God when it comes to forgiving ourselves?

Can you look at any moment in your life where you fell short of forgiving yourself and the reasons that you used, and ask God for the grace to let go and to see yourself as He sees you? Then be prepared for a great sense of peace to permeate your being because God has been waiting to lift the unnecessary burden off of your shoulders and wants to fill you with His peace, so that you can walk proudly but humbly with your head held high, your eyes focused on the road God has set before you, and your heart ready to love God, yourself, and others with a heart that has been expanded, strengthened and filled with more love that it is overflowing and ready to be shared in the form of forgiveness, compassion, peace, joy, and true happiness.

All of these are gifts and graces that God has in store for all His followers. You are His follower. You are His beloved child. You are His chosen one. You are His. You are His greatest creation. He has called you by name. He loves you unconditionally. There is nothing that you can say or do that can or will make Him love you less, He cannot, His love is perfect and that is impossible. God wants you to be genuinely happy and only His peace can bring you His happiness. I

f there is something that you cannot forgive either in yourself or in another, reflect on the words of Jesus; Father forgive them for them know not what they do…then look in the mirror and listen to Jesus say; Father forgive my beloved child standing before you, for they did not know what they were doing. I know their love for me is great and I want them to realize that and let go of what is the keeping the mirror foggy and not allowing them to see themselves as we see them, beloved, adorable, and precious in our eyes.

Choose not to be bitter…you can choose bitter candy, bitter drinks, and even bitter foods, but don’t choose a bitter heart, because that you can’t spit out, wrap up and throw away, or pour down the drain. You can surrender it to God though and ask Him to exchange it for a more loving and forgiving heart. I can assure you the gift that you receive back is one that you will open with great pleasure.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of March 10, 2024

A continuation of the Lenten reflections:

LOVE ourselves and others, especially those who do not like us, and we really do not like, but we are called to LOVE, and to HATE those things that take us away from God and make us want to be more self-centered and selfish, instead of being more Christ centered and self-less.

 

What does it mean to love yourself unconditionally? Does it mean not seeing your faults because your ego is so inflated that there is nothing that you cannot love about yourself less than totally or absolutely? or could it mean that despite your faults, or in light of your faults and sins, you accept them because you are able to recognize that that God forgives you, knows your love for Him is deeper and that you want to choose to grow it that love despite any bad choices? If we choose not to love our self, we cannot love others or love God. Love comes from within, and it is within our heart that God dwells with His compassion, mercy, joy, happiness, and peace. How we choose to share those gifts is how we choose to love.  

Do you love yourself unconditionally or do you find fault with who you are, do you look at your imperfections, sins, weaknesses, faults, with your eyes wide open, and judge yourself unworthy of being loved by God or others? or can you see yourself as God sees you? HE sees you and loves you totally, without reserve and completely, and that means He sees all and sees past the negative. He sees your heart and what fills it, and all He sees is love:  your love for Him, others, and self, imperfect though it is, it is the love that emerges from your desire to be in a deeper relationship with Him so that you and grow in love with Him, self, and others. What would it look like or mean to love yourself unconditionally, after all God loves you unconditionally and He knows all about you, He knows your heart better than you know it yourself, and cannot love you less than unconditional, eternal, complete, and without exception?

Parents choose to love their children unconditionally. They choose to unconditionally love those that they have been given the grace to conceive, raise, and love into the world, with a complete and unconditional love. The seed of love that only God can and does sow in their minds, hearts, and spirits, and as they share that love, the seed continues to cause growth and the beauty of love flourishes.  

Can you love those who have hurt you, that you do not like or who do not like you? Love conquers all, do you recognize that in the people, events, and situations that have challenged your ability to love and not hate, to forgive and not hold a grudge, to be reconciled and not remain estranged, they have made you the courageous and better person that you are, and that evil has not conquered your love, but has built it up and made it stronger?

What does it mean to you to be selfless and not selfish? To be other centered and not self-centered? Do you feel that you get lost as you focus on others, or do you find a renewed sense of self in love and God, as you walk with others in their moments of pain, experiences of suffering, and joyful celebrations?

This week as we enter another week of lent, a time of prayer, personal conversion, and transformation, as we turn away from sin and choose to be faithful to the Gospel and the God who loves us unconditionally, let us recognize that God calls us in love, and out of love, to seek His will and become our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become.

 

SUNDAY – “T” Trusting

What does it mean to trust as you choose to love? Not looking back on old messages, but on the truth that God loves you unconditionally. Who do you trust to show you the truth of God’s message of unconditional, complete, and absolute love for you? parents, family, church community, leaders of the Church, friends, and co-workers? And who looks up to you to point them in direction of the truth of God’s unconditional love? Choose to seek the truth with the eyes of love and keep them open, so that the eyes of distrust can remain closed.

MONDAY – “O” Other centered

As you choose to love, turn away from sin, and towards God, how other centered are you? Have you been able to look out the window to the see more of the needs and concerns of others, or are you still looking in the mirror at yourself with your faults, sins, flaws, and weaknesses? As we choose to look to the needs and concerns of others, as we become more selfless and less selfish, the love of God is taking root and we are becoming a new creation, growing in the unconditional love of self and acceptance of others. Do you recognize that God is constantly making you a new creation with every beat of your heart that chooses to love and not hate, every word that springs forth as the breath of God that chooses to forgive and not tear down, and every time you choose to walk with another in their shoes, not judging but walking with compassion, love, and acceptance?

TUESDAY – “W” Without reserve

Without reserve or restriction? What does that look like and how can that become a greater aspect of your loving yourself, others, and God? To place no restrictions on your love? How hard is that especially when it is difficult to love someone that does not like you, or that you do not like? Only with God’s grace can we overcome placing restrictions or conditions on our imperfect love. Only with God’s grace can we choose to love despite our desire to hate, hold a grudge or not forgive. Choose to live in the truth and grace of God’s love so that you do not fall into the grave of the devil’s lies.

WEDNESDAY – “A” Accepting

Have you, can you, accept your weaknesses and love yourself unconditionally? Can you accept that God loves you so much because you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally, His greatest creation and that there is absolutely nothing that you can say or do that can make Him love you less? This is the truth of God, believe it, live in it, and it will set you free.

 

THURSDAY – “R” Reverent

In light of your baptism, you have been blessed by God, called by name, and as you were immersed into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus, you burst forth, you emerged as a new creation, one set apart by God to give him glory and honor. You are blessed and therefore you should reverence the very person that you are as God does. What does it mean to reverence yourself? Could it mean that you forgive yourself, not see just bad choices that you made, but seek to recognize the greater good that possesses you and that you possess, can it mean reverencing others, that you forgive others as fellow sinners striving to become saints, and we need each other to build up the Kingdom of God, can you reverence them as God’s beloved child as God does? Go forth in reverence and not backwards in rejection.

FRIDAY – “D” Determined

As we begin our Lenten journey, is lent bringing you a sense of a greater self-determination or less? Is the fear of getting the flu or covid 19.  causing you to fall back on, or driving you to, a greater self determination to change, seek His will and guidance? Are you resolving each and every day to turn away from sin and towards God? If so, that is all He asks of you, so you are on the right track. Do not give up or give in but seek to recognize the graces that have transformed you into the strong person that you are and have become through your self-determination, self-conviction and steadfastness. Demand to be determined and not be determined to be in command.

SATURDAY – “S” Selfless

Choose to be selfless and not selfish and the fruits of your choice will be those of compassion, peace, joy, happiness, forgiveness, love, acceptance, truth, and not the pits of discord, injury, hurt, hatred, darkness, and pain. Be fruitful and multiply, and not fruitless and in a pit.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of March 3, 2024

As I reflect on what Lent can be for each one of us, the last glimpse that I wrote was on what can be for each one of us.. I hope to elaborate on the various paragraphs of that glimpse. Having missed two weeks of glimpses due to being in the hospital, I hope that I do not condense things too much but rather offer enough to spiritual food to chew on, that is not difficult to swallow and easy to digest., but if you find it difficult to digest, that you seek the only GI physician (God’s Intervention) for healing.

Paragraph 1 was SURRENDER those things that keep us from being the person that God has created us to be and keep us from becoming the person that He knows we can be, those things that are standing in the way of our seeing Christ more clearly in our self and in others, in life’s challenges and in our crosses. LENT IS NOT A TIME TO GIVE UP and think that we cannot do what God knows we can and invites us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will.

Paragraph 2 was STRETCH OURSELVES

This week I will reflect on the second paragraph of what Lent is or can become and it begins with STRETCH OURSELVES: our imaginations, our minds, our spiritual comfort zone, and our hearts. We need to stretch so that we can see ourselves accomplishing and overcoming the hardest challenges that face us, but we think will defeat us. We need to allow God to stretch that which is set and confined so that HE can reset, reform, and reshape us into a better reflection of His image.  

So, as we enter a new week of Lent, what does it mean to stretch, be stretched, or undergo stretching? what do we desire or want to be stretched?

According to Marriam Webster: to stretch is to draw up (one’s body) from a cramped, stooped, or relaxed position.” To be stretched can mean that one is broadened, unfolded, expanded, and extended. To undergo the act of stretching involves the action of straightening, widening, and enlarging.

So, as we stretch our spiritual comfort zone, and are stretched beyond our imaginings, has the act of stretching made you a better witness to Christ, are you being transformed by the act of stretching, and do you, can you recognize that as you stretch your spiritual comfort zone, it is an opportunity for you to invite God in so that He can fill you with His many graces and blessings?

As you have been expanded, transformed and reformed into a better reflection of His presence, love, compassion and mercy, are you grateful to be stretched? Or do you want to return to being cramped, in a stooped position and so relaxed that you do not want to grow or experience personal and spiritual transformation?

 

 

During Lent and every day, I believe that God invites us to stretch and be stretched in our spiritual life so that He can fill with His graces and blessings, expand our understanding of how He is calling us to be our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become, and stand up to what we believe and truly desire, and not and not be so relaxed in our life that we ignore the need to grow in our spiritual relationship with God, others and self.

So, my question to you is what does it mean to be stretched out of your comfort zone? What comfort zone needs to be stretched the most? Is it your spiritual life where you recognize that you have been on the lazy side of your personal and community prayer, your time and your communication with God have been less than what you would like, your idea of serving others make you feel exhausted?

Are you afraid of what God may have in store for you and that your fear keeps you still and less open to Him? Is it your love life where your heart is broken due to injuries imposed on it by others? Has a relationship been broken beyond repair? Are you experiencing a hurt that has caused you to become bitter and vengeful instead of forgiving? Is y our heart a vessel with many cracks and you desire to be healed and mended? God can stretch your heart where you can forgive, feel new, whole, and healed. Are you ready to be stretched to experience those graceful and grace filled moments?  Is it your physical wellbeing, where you recognize that you need to take better care of yourself, but are afraid to change your habits and are too tired to initiate any change? God has an excellent spiritual exercise program that can make you feel better and live healthier. It includes prayer pushups where you can place your prayers before God and truly ask that they be answered according to His will and desire, knee bends where you can kneel before the God who loves you and tell Him how much you love Him and desire to serve Him better, walking so that you can place one foot in front of the other at His pace and not yours, Sit ups so that you can take notice of what and how God is acting in your life with a clearer vision and direction and lying flat on your back so that you can allow God to enter into your very being from the top of your head to your tippy toes. Let Him enter through your hands of service that have helped carry the crosses of others, to your heart of love, that has forgiven and sought to heal the brokenness and woundedness around you, to your feet that have walked in another’s shoes, to your senses that have seen, heard, and listened to the stories of those who were hurting and in need of experiencing the presence of God in their life through you. There is nothing that God cannot do if we are open and willing to experience His many forms of surprises that He choose and wants to give us.

Being stretched by God is not meant to be an experience where you think that God is not pleased with you or that you have disappointed Him, but rather an experience where He not only recognizes that you are open to His will and desire, but also that you seek Him so that you can grow and become  your better self, the person that He created you to be, and that He knows you  have the potential to become despite any and all obstacles.

Once you feel that God is stretching you to become a better, healthier, healed, more whole person living in His love and light and being a beacon of that love and light, then you will have come to recognize the graces that not only have enhanced your spiritual life, but also your personal, physical, professional, and psychological life.

This week let us allow God to stretch us as He sees we need to be stretched and let us commit to remaining open and not wanting to return to being closed, left in a cramped position, or stooped in shame, guilt or weakness.

SUNDAY – “S” – be stretched with inner strength.

            Today I seek to be renewed with inner strength because….

MONDAY – “T” – be stretched with trust.

            Today, as I am stretched,  I hope to grow in trust, and less in fear,….

TUESDAY – “R” – be stretched with resolve.

            Today I resolve to be more forgiving, understanding, loving, compassionate…..

WEDNESDAY – “E” – be stretched with empathy.

            Today, as I am stretched,  I will seek to be more empathetic towards….

THURSDAY – ‘T” – be stretched with totality of intention.

            Today I will allow God to stretch me completely and not put limits or restrictions on what He knows I needs to experience…..

FRIDAY – “C” be stretched with compassion.

            Today I will try to be more compassionate with myself and others as I experience the grace of conversion, transformation, and renewal through being stretched as God knows I need to be.

SATURDAY – “H” be stretched with happiness.

Today I choose to be happy in the Lord, and happy with myself and others. I know that we are all being called to be stretched. As Mary and Joseph said Yes to God and allowed themselves to be stretched beyond their imaginings, my surrender to God and being stretched has allowed me to feel freer and more flexible, less confined, and no longer stooped in shame or guilt.

  

 

 

 

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