limpse of God for the week of July 7, 2019
Christmas in July. This is not a glimpse encouraging you to begin your Christmas shopping or to write out your Christmas cards, so please put the keys down, the lists away and keep the stamps and address books in the drawer.
What is Christmas in July? In our commercial and consumer world, it is where retailers have Christmas decorations and all the necessary items out for sale so that the consumer can get a jump start and shop ahead. July is in the middle of summer where it can also be the hottest time of the year, so that when we talk about Christmas, there can be a sudden feeling of refreshment and cooling off.
But on a deeper and a more spiritual level, why is or should July be different than any other month? Why don’t we celebrate Christmas every day and not just the one day a year? On December 25th, we as Catholic Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus, where God chose Mary the young virgin to be the Mother of God and Joseph to be His foster father here on earth. Beginning the day after Thanksgiving, we know that it is the Christmas season because it is officially Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. How do you know it is Christmas? You can’t miss the various and many clues; decorations and advertisements abound everywhere; in the Malls, on houses, in stores and on televisions, Christmas cards are sent out, Santa Claus appears everywhere either in his PJ’s or in his full red suit, people celebrate with parties, the poor, hungry and homeless are remembered through various food collections, special dinners, coat and clothes drives , the sick children are thought of in a special way through toys for tots, people are kinder, gifts are exchanged and children send their Christmas lists to Santa at the North pole early so that they can get everything they want.
Christmas is not just about the bright and positive, it is also about the cross of Christ experienced first by Mary and Joseph. Christmas is also a time where many people grieve the loss of their loved one and would rather cry than celebrate or smile, families are broken, wounds are renewed, lives are lost through war, homicide, suicide, and addictions and all of these lives are gifts that have been taken away, the poor are still poor, many of the homeless are still without a home, the hungry are still hungry and peace on earth is still our hope and prayer. There is still more darkness than daylight and the weather can lead to cabin fever.
My Glimpse of God for this week is not to eliminate Christmas in July, but rather that we make the meaning of Christmas our daily mindset; a mindset focused on a greater and deeper sense of faith, hope, love, compassion, service, mercy, peace, joy, authenticity, presence and trust. As we begin a new week during this month of July, let us focus on some of the aspects of our faith and discipleship and seek to live it out as if it was Christmas every day.
SUNDAY – Spirit of Christmas
The spirit and gift of Christmas is a state of mind and one that we are blessed with every day. We are called to be a selfless, and not a selfish, people. We are all God’s beloved sons and daughters, and when we share the gift of our love and beloved-ness with others, it helps them recognize with greater clarity how unconditionally loved they are by God and other. The Spirit of Christmas is a spirit of self-emptying love, surrender, trust, hope and joy that penetrates our very being and dwells within our hearts if we are open to God’s Holy Spirit and His plan for us.
We are and can always try to give of our self. If someone is grieving and is in need of comfort, be God’s instrument of consolation and support. If someone is ill and needs a good listener, be the ears of Christ and listen in silence. If someone is alone and in need of a visitor, be the visitor of compassion, support and empathy. If someone has hurt you, be merciful, listen and forgive as God has forgiven you. If someone is joyful, be joyful with them and don’t let your life crosses, struggles and challenges overshadow their joy, God loves a cheerful giver.
Today, if you are carrying a heavy cross, don’t try to carry it alone, remember Jesus accepted help, so let others help. If you find that you are not your best self, remember that what you see is only a partial view where God sees the whole picture. That picture is one of love, compassion, healing, and wholeness, so rejoice that your better self is emerging, just move out of your way so that you can see it more clearly.
If you find that you are being tough on you self because of mistakes, weaknesses or sins, there are two words that God knows are in your heart, that He wants to hear so that He can take action to heal, forgive and make you whole. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE. Embrace it, extend it, receive it.
MONDAY – The Senses of Prayer for you today
May Jesus open your eyes so that you can see the wonderful gift of His presence in those that surround you: your family, your friends, your neighbors, your coworkers and yes even the stranger.
May Jesus open your ears so that you can hear the laughter and listen to the stories of those around you and respond with the empathy, compassion, joy, mercy and love of Jesus. May you hear and listen as you open your heart to His message. May Jesus touch your nose so that you can smell the various aromas of the foods that are being prepared for your table; the breakfast table, the fast food table, the dinner table, the snack table. As you enjoy the aromas, may that prompt a prayer of thanksgiving for those who are preparing your meal. Remember each meal, beginning with Holy Eucharist, is a gift given by God to nurture and sustain you spiritually and physically, so that you can be a stronger witness as a Member of the Body of Christ to all. May Jesus touch your sense of taste and allow you to enjoy all that you partake of weather at the table, or on the run. Taste and see the Goodness of the Lord.
May Jesus touch your mind, body, spirit and soul with His grace. May you reach out and touch someone today that needs comfort, consolation, healing, empathy, compassion, peace, joy, love and laughter.
TUESDAY – The Greetings of Christ
When we greet each other with a smile, words or a friendly gesture, it is the recognition of the presence of another that spreads love, mutual respect, understanding, peace, mercy, compassion and builds up the Kingdom of God here on earth. When the Christmas season approaches, respectful of the other holidays that are also being celebrated in and around the same time, you often hear various greetings from Merry Christmas, happy holidays to Happy Hanukah.
I believe that these greeting are one’s attempt to be respectful of the many religious holidays and to acknowledge a person’s celebration. Why wait till the season to greet others? A smile, handshake or a simple hello are ways to acknowledge another’s presence without causing any political or religious debate or offense. Christ didn’t preach just at Passover. He didn’t perform miracles just at parties, He glorified the Father all the time without fear or hesitation.
Today or the next time that you want to greet another but hesitate because of fear, the uncertainty of their response, or because you don’t know what to say, offer a smile and say a prayer for them. When Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, the first words from His mouth were Peace Be with You!! Let these words echo in your heart as He speaks them to you, and as He wishes them for all His children through you.
WEDNESDAY – The Presence/Presents of Christmas
Christ comes to us and gives us the greatest gift that we could ever ask for or imagine receiving; the gift of His real presence in the Holy Eucharist, and His healing presence in the Sacraments of the Reconciliation and Anointing. His gift of Self to us was a selfless, unconditional self-emptying gift that we could never earn or deserve, yet knowing that, He came to earth as an infant through the virgin Mary, suffered His passion, died on the cross and rose from the dead, to show us, not only how unconditionally loved we are , but that there is no sin that could ever diminish or take that love from us. Do we believe that and can we live that faith?
We are the Body of Christ and we are called to be the Body of Christ to others. Being present to others and giving of our self is not always easy, but like Mary and Joseph, if we trust in God and follow the star of His grace that guides us, we know that He will always protect us, guide us, and lead us to those who need to experience His gifts of love, mercy and peace through us. There are so many ways that Christ is calling us to be His beacon of light, love and compassion, we just need to listen, look and respond the best way we can.
Merry Christmas today. Enjoy the presence and gift of Jesus in those that surround you. Keep the spirit and meaning Christmas alive by your words, deeds, attitudes and prayers and don’t give the secular world the credit for your witness and love for God through Jesus.
Today be mindful that the gift of Jesus that is given to you each time you attend and participate in the celebration of Holy Mass. You are the Body of Christ, so as you encounter your family, friends, coworkers, and neighbors, remember that the presence of Jesus is in each of them. Seek Him and you will find Him.
THURSDAY – Serve in the name of the Lord
As the festive season approaches, we often and always hear of the many organizations and ministries that reach out to the military, the poor, the homeless, the addicted, the sick children and the homebound. We as a community, neighborhood, city, town, state and country, amazingly and generously respond to the needs of those less fortunate and need help. When the season is over, it seems that the requests for these same people are silent or muted. We don’t hear as much about them. Yet their situation hasn’t changed and they still need help. Wouldn’t it be nice if we reached out in the same way all year?
I am not saying that they are forgotten the rest of the year. I know that there are many agencies and organizations that assist these very same groups, and many more, throughout the year, but it seems that Christmas brings their needs to the forefront so that people can respond with their Christmas hearts more generously.
Today, if there was a group that you were generous towards for Christmas, think about and pray for them. With your Christmas heart, reach out to them in whatever way you feel called. You don’t need to give them a gift, but remember them in a special way throughout the day, the week, the month and the year.
FRIDAY - The peace of Christmas
We hear this song throughout the season but not much during the rest of the year. If we prayed for peace more often, but more importantly, if we believed that we are instrumental in bringing about peace in our home, community, church and world, peace would abound in ways that we can’t even imagine. Peace is like the ripple in the ocean, one little prayer, selfless action, random act of kindness, can bring about peace so that it ripples and grows further out from us to those who need it most. If you are like me, once a little song enters my mind, it stays, so with that, pray these words, sing these words, post them, but always remember YOU are God’s instrument of His Peace here on earth.
Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Let there be peace on earth the peace that was meant to be. With God as our Father and family all are, we, let us walk with each other, in perfect harmony. Let peace begin with me, let this be the moment now, with every step I take, let this be my solemn vow: to take each moment and live each moment in peace eternally, let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
HOW???? Listen to the Prayer of Saint Francis
Lord make me an instrument of your peace, where there is hatred, let me sow love, injury…. pardon. doubt…faith, despair….hope, darkness…light, sadness…joy, Oh Divine Master, grant that I might not seek to be consoled as to console, to be understood as to understand, to be loved as to love, for it is giving that we receive, it is in pardoning that we are pardoned and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
SATURDAY – Joy to the World
The angel announced with great joy that the savior was born. As you move through another weekend, another part of the hot and rainy month, find your joy and share it with others. Is your joy in Christ? Proclaim it by your smile and your love. Is your joy in that you are His beloved? Look in the mirror and say thank you. Pray for your mom who accepted the seed of faith of your presence, and where God formed you in her womb and gave you your name. Pray for your dad who loved you the nine you remained hidden and loved you to the new physical life that you took on. Is your joy in your vocation: married, single, cleric, religious? God has called you and you have generously responded to His call to be His witness and Kingdom builder to those entrusted to your care, love and concern. If married to your spouse, children, extended family and grandchildren. If a religious; to your community, your past and present students, your employees, your elderly sisters, your caretakers, your family, your nieces and nephews. If single; to your friends, family, extended family and community. Is you joy in your accomplishments? God has given you the talents and gifts that have allowed you to become accomplished, but your identity does not lie in what you do, but rather in who you are: His beloved child, loved unconditionally and without measure. Look at what you think means a lot: your degree, your job, your successes and seek to see the hand of God and His Holy Spirit in your life.
Today, all of those that you have touched, and have touched you have been a source of joy to you and for you. They, and well as you, are a joy to the world and in the world. Our world needs more joy. Can you spread the joy by speaking of those who have given you joy in the past, or give you joy in the present? God is waiting to hear from you. The angels proclaimed it from the roof top, how will you proclaim it? From your knees, from your lips, in your greeting
Glimpse of God for the week of June 30, 2019
The various Ladders in our life
Ladders? What are they and how are they used? There are various types of ladders; folding, extension, step, that we see and can place where they need to be. These ladders are used for home repairs, painting or to get something that is out of our reach. In any case, if we choose to skip a rung on the ladder, we can cause our physical harm.
There are fire ladders that are used to put out fires, and to rescue and save people. These are used by professional fire people and they are trained how to properly ascend and descend on them with their hoses and with people on their shoulders.
There are ladders of success that although they cannot be seen, are more important to individuals then the reputations, concerns, and lives of others, but more so at their expense. Theses professional ladders: education, economic, corporate are ascended sometimes without any spiritual discernment or love for others, but rather out of selfishness and the need to get rise higher than others to be the best, the most important, the richest, the most educated, the…..
There is the ladder of our faith life, one that we don’t climb to be better than the next person, but rather a symbolic ladder that we use to better recognize how we have grown from our childlike/childhood faith to the adult faith that we have come to grasp and understand, practice and profess, live and love.
How are they a glimpse of God? They are a glimpse because in and through them we can see how God places various steps for us to take so that we can become our best self; physically, emotionally and spiritually. The rungs are necessary if we expect to follow and learn, grow and be strengthened by God and His grace. We are called to rise above our self, see the needs and concerns of others, love others, be God’s, compassion, mercy and hope to those whose ladders are broken and in disrepair, and to see the rungs as graces so that we can do this with a genuine and authentic heart. It can be difficult and challenging but never impossible, and when we feel that the challenges and crosses of life are difficult, He gives us the view of the bird cage ladder so that we can strive to be our best self as the birds are their best birdself.
SUNDAY – The Birdcage ladder
As one looks at the birdcage ladder, the reason for the ladder in the cage is not so that the birds can ascend to the top where their toys or food are, but rather to descend to the bottom where their ferris wheels are. They spend all their time at the top and middle of the cage where their perches, toys, food, baths, and water are. The Sisters thought that if they place the ladder to the bottom where their ferris wheels are, they would descend and play. The birds are not looking at the ladder as a tool or instrument to gauge their success or climb on to bigger goals and other’s expectations, but rather to go from one play area or toy to another. Their ladder is simply a tool for pleasure as they live in their habitat, happy and simply as God created them to so that they can be their best birdself.
For today, as you look at the bird’s ladder, think and pray for the grace to see the many tools and instruments that God has given you so that you can live simply, without any great expectation or goal other that for you become and reflect your best self.
MONDAY – Rungs of a ladder
The rungs of any ladder are there so that those who climb the ladder can do so safely. We can try to skip a rung or two, but that can only lead to slipping, falling and suffering serious injury. If our ladder is the ladder of professional success, educational success, vocational success, spiritual growth or just used for fixing or repairs, the rungs are there to assist us, not or deter or discourage us. If we choose to skip a rung by walking on others to gain a spot of power or prestige in work or society, if we skip a rung to get to the roof or repair, if we skip a rung and think that we are better or more spiritually mature, then we are skipping an important tool or instrument that God has placed and planned for us to use so that we can ascend properly physically, spiritually and emotionally and become a more healthy and whole individual.
For today, as you reflect on some of the rungs of our spiritual ladder: Personal Prayer, The Sacraments, Mass, Sacred Scripture, the Commandments, the Beatitudes, and Community, seek the grace to recognize the rungs that you may try to skip because of stressed, lack of time, spiritual dryness and as God for His grace to replace that rung on your spiritual ladder.
TUESDAY - Ladder of success
The ladder of one’s professional success has many rungs all of which are significant and crucial if one is to ascend carefully and safely. One’s professional success; employment, education, relationship, or economic, or is a gift that God carefully chooses for each one of us. God has a plan for each of us, with rungs or steps that He carefully places before us. When we choose to skip His choices or steps and do it our self, we then get our self in trouble; we hurt our self, others, and our relationship with God suffers because we
cause dissension, pain and we are not being our best self.
For today, reflect on the various rugs on your ladders and see where they were helpful as you sought to become your best self. Also seek to recognize where you skipped a rung and how that caused you to feel less than your best self before God, others and self.
WEDNESDAY – Firetruck Ladder
The ladder on a firetruck is used to put out fires where the fire people cannot reach; on roofs, in adjacent buildings, in high rises, it is also used to rescue people who cannot reach safety without the use of the ladder. The fire people put their lives at risk to save others as they minister and place their bodies over alongside of, and under others to bring them to safety. The firemen and women would not skip a rung because even though it is a life and death situation, skipping a rung could cause greater harm. In our spiritual life, God is often putting fire ladders up to our hearts, spirits and minds so that we can get to safety. Safety from the fires of our weaknesses and sin, safety from the temptations to climb other ladders without properly discerning the right path, safety from the fires of ego, self-defeat and discouragement, feeling unloved and unimportant in the eyes of God, and safety from the fires of being burnt by others and seeking revenge. God places us on His shoulders and brings us to safety. God wants us to live in love and know that His love for us is this is what will bring us to safety and not place our self in harm’s way of sin.
For today, look at the fire ladders that have been used to save you and bring you to safety; the fire ladders of love, mercy, compassion, reconciliation, forgiveness, love, joy, peace and healing and offer a prayer of thanksgiving.
THURSDAY – Ladder of independence
Today as you celebrate our independence as a nation, let us remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be a free and independent nation, society and Church. Let us thank God for the gift of our freedom that affords us the opportunity to worship Him and serve Him as His beloved sons and daughters.
Our ladder of independence is that which we celebrate today. We celebrate those who climbed from childish fear and selfishness to young adult courage, determination and selflessness so that we can be a free nation. We celebrate the ladder of freedom that gives us the ability to worship freely, serve God freely and be His Body of Christ freely. We celebrate the ladder of life today; we pray and remember all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can be who and where we are today: Proud citizens of the United States of America. Those who climbed the ladder of ultimate selflessness that had the rungs of darkness, fear, uncertainty, courage, conviction, determination, trust, peace, and death.
For today, pray for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we may be a free and independent nation; for those of us who feel bound and unfree, and for our nations that we never forget that we are free and independent and not to take these gifts for granted.
FRIDAY – Ladder of faith, hope and love
The ladder of faith, hope and love is a ladder that we climb daily, but do we recognize that we are climbing it or what it looks like? The greatest gifts in our life are those of our faith, hope and love. We grow as mature Christian followers of Christ as our faith deepens and strengthens through the Sacraments of the Church, Mass, Prayer, Scripture, Church and Community. As we grow to adult hood we begin to let go of our childlike faith. We begin to grasp onto and seek to understand our faith as adults. As this occurs, our ability to see hope in all things and love beyond our self also penetrates our core and desires. As adults we learn that love conquers all things and when we lose sight of hope and love, all we need to do is look at he cross, Jesus gave of His life out of complete, selfless and unconditional love so that we can inherit eternal life and live with Him forever. When we choose to stay on the ground and not use the rungs of our spiritual ladder so that we may gain a greater self-awareness of what God is calling us to and how we can grow in faith, hope and love, then we are missing out on the ability to see how we have grown in spiritual and personal knowledge, understanding and transformation.
For today, seek to recognize how you have grown from your childlike understanding of what faith, hope and love is and how you have put that understanding into action at home, at work, in your church, and with your community.
SATURDAY – Jacob’s ladder
Jacob had a dream where he saw God’s angels ascending and descending from heaven. It was a dream but his dream has great significance and meaning for us God’s followers and builders of His kingdom. This is not meant to be a theological discussion, but a personal observation.
God gave the ladder to Jacob; he didn’t build it. The ladder extends from heaven to earth. Since God built the ladder, it is perfect in strength, size and width. It is a tool, or an instrument that reaches from heaven to earth, but it is just that, an instrument. What is our Jacob’s ladder? I believe that it is Jesus on the cross. Jesus came down from heaven, God didn’t force Him to, He chose to. God gave us Jesus who showed us the that He is the way, the truth and the life, and if we choose to follow Him, we will reach out eternal goal; that of being reunited with Him in heaven when our earthly journey is ended. Jesus knows our hearts and what our potential is so that when He calls us to serve and follow Him, our call is perfect. It isn’t beyond our strength, our abilities, our heart, it isn’t the call of another because we are individually His beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and created uniquely as one.
God’s angels, I believe are present at each mass when the priest changes the bread and wine into Jesus body and blood. They bring that sacrifice to God and He returns with His grace so that we can be the Body of, Christ in and through our actions, attitudes, deeds and prayers.
For today, the next time that you receive Jesus it the Blessed Sacrament, see Him as He comes to you touching your heart and mind, body and spirit. Listen to Him inviting you to be touched and healed so that you can continue to be His instruments of His new life here on earth.
Glimpse of God for the week of June 23, 2019
Last weekend John and I spent the weekend at the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was sunny and warm, the people were very friendly and there was a lot to see both in the Harbor as well as at Camden Yards where we took in a baseball game. We were surrounded by Boston Red Sox fans with a few Phillies fans mixed in. We also had the opportunity to visit the Baltimore Aquarium. It was such a great experience and seeing the many young families there was refreshing especially early on a Saturday morning. Everyone seemed to be engaged in the experience of seeing the various creatures as they existed in their habitat, happy and arrayed in many colors of beauty and splendor. As we walked from one exhibit to another, we were able to see the many varieties of fish; both big, little and everything in between. The various types of water creatures not only had a great habitat to exist in, but they were very visible to those who sought to see them in natural habitat coexisting with each other.
My Glimpse of God comes as I looked intently at the various water creatures and was able to correlate how we sometimes we might see our self as a big fish in a little pond, or as a small fish in a big pond. Yet as we visited the Aquarium, both the big and little fish all seemed to coexist in the one pond; the one body of water, where they were carefully placed, found to thrive and were free to be themselves for all to see.
There were many thoughts that came to my mind, but the one that kept coming back is how I believe that we are all called to coexist together as God’s children. God did not call us to hurt each other because we think we have the right or that another deserves it, but rather to love another through those times when we don’t even like them. The fish, unlike humanity, don’t hold grudges or get even; they exist to the best of their ability with those that were placed in their one habitat. They seemed to go with the flow and as easy as that sounds, if human beings were to try that and not get bitter, angry or selfish, we would learn more about each other and how we can best thrive as God’s beloved children. We are all placed on this holy ground to walk with each other as Kingdom builders and to build the kingdom we need SEALS ( I am borrowing this from the military/Navy): S: those who can swim and go with the flow; those who keep us calm and help us not to get over stressed or suffer from burn out. E: those who are down to earth and do not seek the things of this world, but rather the Kingdom of God and call us, challenge us to do the same. A: those who are the breath of God, and the air that they breathe and expel is the air of God’s Spirit abiding within them and shared with those that they encounter. We are blessed to breathe this fresh air. L; those whose love for God, others and self is not only reflected in and through their person, but freely, selflessly and unconditionally given through their mercy, compassion, and concern for others.
S: Sinners who strive to become saints, those in our life who acknowledge their sinfulness but don’t get stuck in the grip of embarrassment, shame or guilt that it can hold, but rather see themselves forgiven by God and accept His love and mercy, and don’t reject it. They call us to become our best self as God knows we can and have the potential to become; the sinner transformed to the saintly in heart, mind, and spirit and by our actions.
So this week, ask God for the grace to humbly recognize where you have been a SEAL to others and ask for His pardon where you have fallen short..
Our habitat, God’s gift to us of our home, our community, our church, our neighborhood, our world, is that which He has given us, not to be alone in, but to be with others. Although we as humans have been at odds with each other since the beginning of creation because of jealousy, ego and entitlement, it is not God’s intention that we think or believe that this is what is to be or has to be, but that it can be better. It was made better forever with one person, one act of mercy, one act of unconditional and selfless love. This person, Jesus Christ, came to show us that love is what is required from us so that we can become our best self and empower others to be their best self as well. Our habitat is one that can be and should be, filled with love, self-respect, respect for others and mutual understanding.
So, in your habitat, with your family, community members, relatives, do you sometimes feel like the big fish in the small pond or the small fish in the big pond? What does that mean? What does it or can it look like? In our world, being made to feel like a small fish in a big pond comes when others are made to feel as if they were or are insignificant and invisible and what they do doesn’t really matter. In our big world there is enough room for people to grow and learn from each other. We have a responsibility to help those that dwell within our habitat. When we choose not to or to ignore them, then we are diminishing their self- worth, and self- esteem. I believe that our world is filled with those who are made to feel like small fish. There are those who because of lack of self-respect or self-esteem, are unable to love themselves because they feel that they are unloved by others, but more importantly by God.
So this week, take some time to pray for those who feel like the small fish and are contemplating suicide, turning to addictions, or hurting others. Also pray for those who do not or are unable to love themselves.
This is not God’s desire. In our spiritual life, when we are placed as small fish in a big pond; because we are the youngest, the newest, the inexperienced, it is because God wants us to learn from one another and so that we can grow. He places us where we can best thrive and become the person that He created us to be. No one of us should ever feel like the small fish because our self- esteem has been diminished and our self- worth has been measured by others and is lacking, and we have no hope.
The small fish learns how to swim well with the others and goes freely in his or her habitat. When we love one another and build each other up, we too can learn and enjoy swimming freely in our habitat.
What does a big fish in a small pond look like? In our world, this can take on the appearance of ones ego or authority going out of whack. When one tramples on another because they think they can or have the right to since they are bigger; bigger because of their wealth, authority, social status, or education level. When the big fish uses power instead of love and concern for others as their priority that is when the big fish in a small pond creates a toxic habitat. This toxicity does not allow for the inhabitants to swim freely and happily. No matter how big or small our habitat is, we should never seek to hurt those who also dwell within it.
So this week, pray for those in authority and have the responsibility to care for and teach others: Teachers, Church leaders, parents, bosses, and older siblings. Pray that they empower those entrusted to their care to grow and thrive in their habitat; that of their home, school, church, neighborhood, and world. Ask God to transform the hearts of those who use their authority, ego or power as weapons of destruction and not instruments of love.
In our spiritual life, being a big fish in a small pond is where God places us so that we can teach others the gospel of Jesus Christ in and through our love for them, and by our actions towards them. Our heads should never get too big where our hats don’t fit, and our hearts should never get so small that love cannot be found within. God wants us to build up is kingdom here on earth. How do we handle being the big fish in a small pond for the Kingdom? When we spread the Good News, live as Jesus calls us to, forgive one another, love one another, but most importantly by loving our self that is how we can best serve as the big fish in the small pond. When we recognize this responsibility as God gives it to us, we can best help others also recognize with greater clarity that they too are His beloved son or daughter, that they are His greatest creation and that He loves them unconditionally, selflessly and freely.
So…this week, Pray that the Spirit of God guide your actions and fill you with His grace so that you can humbly receive the gift of being a big fish in the Kingdom pond.
WHAT IS SUMMER FOR?
What does summer mean and how can it change me?
S – Self – Am I taking care of my self
and finding the time to rest and relax
so as to replenish my body, mind, and spirit
so that I can more fully enjoy
and be present in my relationships with God, 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, a
nd 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, inchs, 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,
or share them memories with those who surround you,
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, grandchildren, nieces, nephews,
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 one self to be embraced, one has to let down their guard
and open their hearts and 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, renewed 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,
as you sit outside or even look out the window,
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,
and the joy of having FUN !!!!
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER
Glimpse of God for the week of June 9, 2019
My Glimpse of God for this week comes as I prepare for eye cataract surgery both tomorrow and next Monday. I realize that many of you either have had cataract surgery, or know someone who has, so you will be able relate to the frustration that comes when you just can’t seem to see things clearly, and that the progression of good eyesight declines as the cataracts worsen.
A cataract is defined as a medical condition in which the lens of the eye becomes progressively opaque, resulting in blurred vision. It is also something that facilitates and influences perception, comprehension or evaluation. How is this a Glimpse of God? If you don’t suffer from cataracts, how is this Glimpse going to help you recognize God in the various people, events or circumstances that you encounter this week?
This is my own idea as are all my glimpses of God. I propose that we rethink “cataract” in a different light, not of the eye but of our heart and spirit. The symptoms of eye cataracts can be correlated to symptoms of cataracts of the heart and how we are unable to see and recognize God clearly in our self, others and in His great and awesome mercy. The symptoms that I will take for each day can not only be from eye cataracts that can be corrected with surgery, they also can be applied to our heart and this can only be corrected through the sacraments of the Church, our personal prayer life, and a good Spiritual Counselor or Spiritual Director. It is through these avenues that God can heal that which is leading to the spiritual blurriness, double vision, the inability to see at night, and the sensitivity to light, among other symptoms.
Jesus is the healer and it is through His Holy Spirit that we all received at Baptism, and we celebrate this Pentecost Sunday, that we can ask for the graces to be healed, so that we may see more clearly His will for us, His presence in and in our life experiences. We can seek to follow Him more nearly as we walk with others who also seek to see Him more clearly and, and love Him more dearly each day.
As we begin a new week striving to follow God and build up His kingdom here on earth, let us reflect n what a cataract of the heart looks like. If we have any of the following symptoms, let us humbly ask God for the grace of healing. If we don’t have any of the symptoms, can we ask for the grace of gratitude?
SUNDAY - “BLURRED VISION”
Do we see God clearly in others? In our life experiences? In our relationship with Him? Or is our vision blurry? Is it because the eyes of our heart are unable to see Him as He is because of bitterness, hatred, resentment, past hurts, family estrangements? When these things get in the way of seeing God as He is, the eyes of our heart are not open and cannot focus on Him because these very distractions are there not only to distort seeing God as He is, but they also can cause us to turn away from him out of shame, embarrassment, self-abasement, or despair. Our hearts are unable to love as they should because these distractions take us away from love. Love cannot dwell fully where there is hatred, bitterness or other distorted ideals, or attitudes.
How do we deal with the blurry vision that extends from our heart?
For today, ask God for the grace to see more clearly the cause and root of the blurry vision, so that you can become healed, reconciled and made whole and experience the happiness, joy and peace that God wants for you.
MONDAY - “DOUBLE VISION”
How is double vision different from blurry vision? What is spiritual double vision of the heart? It is easy to define it of the eye; it is like where one sees the same thing twice or together. Is spiritual double vision of the heart where one sees God twice or together? I think it is where we see those things that we make gods; our possessions, our wealth, our ego, our social status, our level of education, those things that we replace God with, or make false gods, because we convince our self and believe that they are what give us happiness and make us feel complete, at the expense of others dignity and self-respect. Double vision of the heart is where God stands by us, and behind those things that we temporarily replace Him with; the false gods that appeal to us and promise true happiness, yet only God can promise and can fulfill His promise of true happiness for us. He stands with us and behind the false gods when we fall into their clutches and we turn away from Him. God is always there for us because He loves us and knows our hearts better than we do. He is always there for us to welcome us back when we sin or fall into our greatest weakness. His love is greater than our worst sin or biggest weakness. He will never abandon us or forsake us, He can’t and He proved that when He sent Jesus who suffered His passion, experienced His death and rose from the dead so that we can experience the joy of eternal life, peace and happiness with Him forever.
For today ask God for the grace to recognize any false god that is causing you to have spiritual double vision, and seek to dispel them from your heart.
TUESDAY - “LOSS OF NIGHT VISION”
What does spiritual loss of night vision look like? What is loss of night vision of the heart and how does it occur and how can it be healed?
Loss of night vision of the heart can occur when we choose to be afraid and not act when we are facing our darkest moments: the death of a loved one, terminal illness, the loss of a child, the loss of a relationship, financial instability, the uncertainty of our future, and spiritual dryness or desolation. When we fail to trust God in these, our darkest moments, then we have loss of night vision of the heart. He is the light that always shines. That light is His grace, love, peace, joy, and compassion during the dark and painful periods of our life. How does one see better in the night?
For today, ask God for the grace to face your fears so that you can overcome them. Seek His light so that in and through your darkens moments, you will be able to take the necessary steps to overcome any despair or feelings of being overwhelmed. Try to recognize that it is has been through the darkest moments of your past that you have been made as stronger person, one that you never thought you could be, and that it is through your self-determination and courage that you will be made stronger yet so that you an be His beacon of light and hope to others who are also afraid and trying to get through their loss of night vision of the heart.
WEDNESDAY – “CONSTANT CHANGES IN PRESCRIPTIONS”
There is nothing more frustrating about cataracts then when you realize that your current prescription is useless and in effective because your vision has declined so drastically. It is more frustrating when you realize that you need stronger prescriptions on a weekly basis.
Through the eyes of faith, through the lens of our heart, the constant change is prescription comes when we try to fix things on our own and not surrender to God that which only, He can fix, heal and make whole.
We can deceive our self by thinking that if we only get stronger lenses, our heart will be fixed of any disheartening issues, woundedness or brokenness. When we are hurt or sin or cause pain on others, we use stronger lenses so that we can’t recognize our responsibility, hold our self accountable, or forgive those who have caused us harm. We choose to believe that we are right, that we had the right to say or do what we did, that others were wrong. We focus on the negative, like a hamster on the wheel that continues to go in circles. He eventually needs to stop and get off.
We are no different when we choose to get stronger lenses to cover up our heart’s brokenness and the choices that we make in response to our brokenness, woundedness or sin. If one seeks to fix things and see things as the world does, you will always miss out on the brightness and clarity of love that God has for you and this can lead to a greater and spiritual sense of frustration and discouragement.
For today, ask God for the grace to get off the wheel, see yourself as He sees you; through His lens and in the light of His unconditional love, mercy and compassion. Pray for the grace to see the positive in yourself and others so that you don’t need to get a stronger prescription, so that you can expand your heart to love more.
THURSDAY – “CHANGE IN THE WAY WE SEE COLOR”
Things are not just black and white until your eyes and the eyes of your heart are influenced in a negative way. When you see a limited view of others and not see them as a child of God, of yourself as not His beloved son or daughter and of your life experiences as punishment and not as a source of strength. When we are hurt and when we hurt others, our story is told in black and white and the color is removed, hidden or glossed over. When our story is black and white, out truth is not at the forefront, there is no real room for hope or change. When we limit our view, we also limit the ability for God’s grace to work in our life and through the various experiences and stories. We can miss out on the rainbows of our life and the colors that God has so graciously painted on the canvas of our heart
For today, ask for the grace to recognize the various rainbows of your life. The rainbows, the rays of joy that come when you forgive and when you are forgiven, when you love those difficult to love, when the vision of your heart becomes clearer and less blurry or double. When you realize the depth of love that God has for you and how you truly are His beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation, and when you decide to share that love with others.
FRIDAY – “SENSITIVITY TO LIGHT”
The lens of our heart has a sensitivity to God’s light when sin has entered in and we close our hearts and choose not to allow God’s mercy or compassion in to heal and reconcile us. We become ashamed, self-abased, stuck and we turn inward and this causes us to focus on our failure and not on God’s light and grace. God offers His light through the sacraments of the Church, through our personal prayer life and each other as we all strive to walk on this holy ground that God our creator has given us, seeking to remain in light or return to the light and get out of the darkness that the world and sin call us to.
For today, seek the grace from God to keep the eyes of your heart open and to choose to reverence His light and not be afraid of it no matter what.
SATURDAY – “HALOS”
I have saved this for the end of the week. Although with eye cataracts, halos can be quite annoying, I would like to reflect on the halos of those who have helped us see in a new spiritual light so that we can be more a more loving individual; the person that God created us to be and that we have the potential to become.
Who has been God’s angel in your life? Who has helped in your desire to see God more clearly? Who has been a glimpse of God to you and has helped you want to be His glimpse to others? On famous artwork the artists often paint halos on Jesus, Mary and the saints. This is a symbolic halo, one that symbolizes majesty and glory. Who in your life has been such an inspiration that you truly recognize that god has placed them in your life for a reason; parents, siblings, friends, community members, colleagues, spiritual leaders? Although we are all sinners striving to become saints, there are those who exude God’s presence, light, hope, love, compassion, understanding, empathy and peace in such a unique way that we see them as special messengers or instruments from God. For today, say a prayer for your special angels or messengers, those who you might place a halo on, not as a sign of perfection, but as a sign of gratitude
Glimpse of God for the week of June 2, 2019
A CALENDAR…. Whne you look at your calendar, what do you look at first? Do you look at the present day and what it has in store for you? Or the week ahead to gain a sense of the amount of time that will be spent on various activities, appointments and other “to do” things? Or the month as a whole to see not only what you have already done, but what you still need to do, people that you will see and activities that will occupy your time, energy and physical presence? As you look at your calendar, do you look at it to gain a sense of pride, personal fulfilment, or purpose, or disappointment, exhaustion or discouragement?
When you look at your calendar;
do you look at your various appontments, activities or freet ime, and equate it to your self worth and self image?.... My life has meaning when I am busy and poductive vs when I have free time and appear to do nothing…\
do you experience a sense of exhaustion because you are overwhelmed at all that you need to do, appointments that you have, and places that you need to go and wish that you had more personal time for yourself? More free time to just be?
do you find yourself turning the pages quickly ahead because you want to get past all that still needs to be done and you just what it over with, or because there is a great event that is ahead and you are counting the day s until it arrives?
do you turn the pages slowly back because you want to recollect an experience, person or event that you had that gives you peace, joy, happiness or solace, or because you are stuck in the past and can’t seem to go ahead?
do you glance at your calendar and pick it up or leave it? Does it give you a sense of structure or of stress?
do you thank God for blessing you with your gifts, talents and abilities that enable you to do and be all that you can be for His greater glory?
do you recognize your free time as a gift from God so that you can relax, take care of yourself and spend more time with Him?
Where is God in your calendar? If you were to look at your calendar, do you see your time with God as a daily, weekly or monthly appointment that you would like to keep and not cancel, or an event that you want to attend every day, rain or shine, or a personal encounter that you are open to having and willing to be surprised with? If God were to ask for your time, would you tell him that you have none or that you are free? God doesn’t keep a calendar with us. He has all the time in the world for us and is never too busy. We have allowed our schedule to become our identity. Our identity does not lie in what we do, or who we see or how busy we are, it lies in that reality and fact that we are God’s beloved sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. There is nothing that we can do, good or bad, that will make God love us less or more. He loves us as only God can; perfectly, unconditionally and freely.
He is the one who blesses us with our gifts, talents and abilities that enable us to do our work, be present to others in need, volunteer with our free time and find our quiet time. God’s time is not our time so when we are looking to get past something overwhelming and painful, He is there to remind us that it is in that experience where He invites us to grow and become a wounded healer. When we can’t wait for something and we turn the pages ahead, God is there to remind us that we need to appreciate the present because we can’t get it back and it is the present moments that make up our future memories.
As you begin this new week and a new month, instead of seeing your calendar as an instrument of busyness or stress, see it as a source and instrument of self-emptying. Pray for the grace each day to see how you can empty yourself; your will, your exhaustion, your stress, your feelings of discouragement, fear, woundedness and ask God to fill you with His graces so that each day can be a day of renewal, restoration, and refreshment in light of your calendar not in spite of it. May God fill you with His grace so that you can offer your heartfelt prayers for those who are in need.
SUNDAY, pray for the grace to see your calendar as a gift and the many people listed on your calendar as God’s gift to you. Pray for those that you will encounter this day; family, friends, doctors, community members, and strangers and ask God to bless them with His graces and to hear and answer their prayers as He sees best.
MONDAY, pray for those who have no one; the lonely, the elderly, the homeless, the addicted, the estranged, the outcasts, the forgotten. For many of these individuals, their calendar is blank, their days are empty, their past is painful and their future is unknown. These individuals will have no one to share their day with, their heartaches with, their pain or sufferings with, or their happiness and joys with. Many will die alone and forgotten, yet they are never alone and with our prayers, they will never be forgotten. No one is forgotten in God’s eyes. We are all His beloved children and we are called to be compassionate and merciful. As God is merciful and compassionate to us, may we, in and through our prayers, be a source of mercy and compassion to those in need.
TUESDAY, pray for those who are presently spending time in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, who are recuperating from surgeries, illnesses, and accidents. May God heal their wounds, strengthen their bones, and restore their minds so that they can return to their homes and rebuild their lives with a sense of wholeness and restored health again.
WEDNESDAY, pray for those who are in hospice and are preparing to meet their God face to face. May God give them the courage, grace and strength to receive His hand as He leads them to their heavenly reward.
THURSDAY, pray for those who are in jails, penitentiaries and prisons, may they open their hearts to the God who loves them and wants to bring them healing, conversion and inner freedom.
FRIDAY, pray for those who are suffering from addictions. May the God who desires all His children to be whole and healed, give them the courage to seek His hand as He leads them to depend on Him and those He places in their care. May they seek God’s grace and recognize their own strength to turn away from their addiction and towards a life of freedom and independence. Pray that those who falsely believe that their addiction is their salvation, come to realize that salvation came when Christ died on the cross for them, and that as He continues to die for them as they die from within, their resurrection awaits them.
SATURDAY, pray for those in your family, community, neighborhood, schools and church. May the God who blesses us all with our abilities, talents and gifts, may continue to shower His graces upon those we love so that we can all continue to build up His kingdom here on earth, one prayer, one act of kindness, one kind word at a time.
Glimpse of God for the week of May 26, 2019
This week's Glimpse of God was one that was very clear, lasting and profound. I had the opportunity to be at the “Walk for the Wounded” last week. Many people came out on such a beautiful day to support the wounded warriors, the many military support organizations, and the many speakers who not only told their stories but also shared their love for their country, their fellow men and women warriors, and most importantly their God and how He had blessed them.
They felt honored serve their country and although many of them returned home wounded, they were able to come back home to their families filled with a spirit of humility, pride and gratitude. This special day was initiated ten years ago to honor all our military who have paid the ultimate sacrifice and have died as a result of War. It is an event filled with many opportunities to recognize the depth of personal conviction and selflessness of each person called to serve displayed and continues to exude.
It is an opportunity to honor all the families that are left with the emptiness and the pain that losing a loved because of war brings. It is an opportunity to honor all those who have been wounded and coming home to a new normal. This is an opportunity for the community to do the Warriors 5K run or the 10K walk for the wounded.. It is also an opportunity for all who attend to recognize that in the hearts of the men and women who choose to serve their country, there is a deep love for God. In each man and woman that chooses to serve, there is the presence of the selfless, emptying, giving, sacrificial heart where God dwells, strengthens, encourages and calls them to give all they have for another especially the stranger.
It also is an opportunity to raise awareness to the reality that our military members are coming home wounded physically, emotionally, spiritually and in need of our help, prayers, encouragement and support. We need to support our military. They are losing their lives so that others may be free to live life and not be afraid of it. Freedom may be a gift that we have received, but there are many others who are still searching and hoping to become free and not be afraid; to live their lives in light of God’s love and not in light of bombs, guns, rape, abuse, hunger, homelessness, or death. There were many military veterans, active duty members, supporters, family members and organizations that were there to show their support to those who serve and for the families of those who have lost loved ones because of war. There were stories read of those who died because they chose the path that they hoped would bring about peace and freedom to others, the path set by God. There were stories of those who have survived but changed because of injury, death of their fallen comrades and the guilt of "why them and not me?.
Our military are one of our greatest Glimpses of God that He can send us. Those in the military are those who desire to be God's peacemakers in a world that has lost the meaning and the sense of peace. They went as peacemakers and sought to bring about the peace and freedom that God wants for all of His children.
In our society today, it seems that we are doing all that we can to take God out of everything. Yet, it is our military members, our Veterans that are not afraid to praise God, thank Him for the gift of life and for bringing them home safely, to echo His name in prayer and blessings, and entrust their fallen comrades and critically injured service members to His tender love, care and mercy.
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us be mindful of how this day came about and let us pray for those whom we are called to remember, our military past and present, that selflessly sacrificed and continue to do so for the good of others. Let us close our eyes and see that through their faith, courage and determination, we are free and know what peace is.
If you are looking for Glimpse of God, seek out, talk to a Veteran, an active duty member or a reservist, and listen to their story, learn from their wisdom and discover the God that called them, sustained them and loved them through the most difficult period and time of their life. Their time, their sacrifice, their love for God and others, all formed them to be the selfless and courageous person that they are today. We all need examples of faith, hope and charity. We can find it in those who served and are serving our country, the family members, close friends, neighbors and all others of soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who support the home front while their loved ones are deployed far away.
Our military, both active duty and reservists are a Glimpse of God. Family, friends and supporters are big glimpses of God, so where do you fit in?
As you celebrate the weekend, take each day to pause, pray and remember how and why this day came about. Don't just make this Memorial Day a day off or all about parties, car sales and picnics, but rather see it as a Glimpse of God in and through our memory and those who have created our memories: our Veterans.
Duty, Honor and Country; Honor, Courage, Commitment; Semper Paratus, Semper Fi.
One Nation Under God
With liberty and justice
This week, instead of taking each day to reflect on one aspect, let us take each day to see the whole picture and reflect on how blessed we are and how our blessings blend in and create the life that we have today. Let us never forget, but choose to be grateful for and remember, the many gifts and blessings that we have been given because of our military.
Have a safe and healthy weekend.
HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND!!!
Glimpse of God for the week of May 19, 2019
My Glimpse of God for this week comes in the form of a jigsaw puzzle. How is a jigsaw puzzle a Glimpse of God? What does it take to make the big picture come into perfect focus?
When we first look at a jigsaw puzzle, we are usually looking at the many pieces that make up the puzzle and complete the scene that is on the box. We then take all the pieces out of the box and separate the pieces that make up the border from those that go within the border. Then we fit the pieces together that make up the border and then we begin sort out the others pieces that fill the puzzle in.
Everyday that I go into Assisi House, you can see the Sisters working on jigsaw puzzles all over the house. These puzzles are far beyond the 500 pieces that I do, but they meet the challenge of the 1000+ piece puzzles. I am always amazed at how they not only sit there and piece together the puzzle, but they do so with great patience, focus and determination. I often think that they use their puzzle time as a time of prayer as they patiently focus on the pieces with their various colors and shapes, find the pieces that fit together, and then placing them where they go, one piece at a time. There is a sense of accomplishment, gratitude and joy because the big picture is slowly coming together with greater clarity and focus. I believe that this time of prayer is inspired by the Holy Spirit and reflected in how the Sisters live on a daily basis.
How are we, as God’s beloved and His greatest creation, a reminder of a jigsaw picture? God is our creator and He knows and sees what the big picture of our life is and can be. His plan for us to be happy with and in Him. He knows what is best for us and carefully guides us to that we can be the best person that we can be and have the potential to become.
We, on the other hand, don’t always wait on God to show us what we need to do or what is best for us, we try to do things on our own. We think we know everything, where everything goes, who fits in with whom and who doesn’t, we even go so far as to judge another. We push them aside; those who we think don’t fit in because of their social status, or personal choices and convince them that they will never belong, and they walk away feeling less than the person that God created them to be.
God has a plan for each of us and He knows who and what is best for us. He sees the relationships that we are born into and those we choose to enter. He sees that when we fit in as He designed us to, we are at peace and genuinely happy. It is when we try to fit in with those who are not a part of the picture of our life that God has designed, He is saddened. When we truly cooperate and strive to build the Kingdom of God here on earth, and we seek to conform to God’s will, it is then that we find inner peace and harmony with God, self and others. We find that we fit in with our surroundings, those who we encounter, those we know and even the stranger, but more importantly our relationship with God grows as we strive to recognize, with greater clarity what He desires for us and how we fit it to His plan each day.
Every part of our being; body, mind, heart and spirit complete a part of the big picture, and it is then that we are conforming to God’s will and not ours. You can’t just put the pieces anywhere and expect them to fit in as they should. You can force them in, but that doesn’t make the puzzle complete, but rather a distorted mess because if one piece is in the wrong place, the other pieces will not fit in where they are supposed to, and this affects the whole puzzle; the big picture and not just a part of it. When we try to fit in, or when we sin, and think that it only affects us, that is where we are so wrong, it affects not only us but our relationship with God and others.
When we sin or give into weakness, we often separate our self out of shame, guilt, embarrassment and then we feel unlovable or unloved. This is not God’s desire for us. His desire is that we seek to be reconciled so that we can become healed and whole again, so that we can place e piece or part of our life in the puzzle and see how it completes the puzzle. No part or piece of our life; past or present, no matter how big or small, is useless or in vain, all is significant because it has made us who we are today.
When we try to fit in and seek to conform to others’ expectations and wishes, when we seek to please others and not be true to our self or God, when we try to ignore a part or piece of our life, it is like we are taking a piece of the puzzle and tossing it on the side. When we do this, we are ignoring who we really are and where we truly belong for temporary pleasure, fulfillment or satisfaction. And once again, one piece missing leaves a big hole in the big picture, a big gap and a deep void. Our life, our spiritual life is missing God, and when we choose to please the world there is a gap and void that only God’s grace and healing can fill so that we can become whole once again.
So…. as we begin a new week, take the time to look at the various pieces of your life’s puzzle and seek to recognize the hand of God as He placed them and continues to them in your life. The various pieces of your life’s jigsaw puzzle have made you who you are today. If you were to take out, or ignore even just one piece, God’s big picture for you would be incomplete. As you look at the various pieces take the time to: give thanks for the joyful ones, offer forgiveness for the painful ones, seek strength for the challenging ones and offer an act of trust and hope for those yet unknown.
Sunday – Your Childhood
The piece or years of your childhood are big. They consist of what you remember and what others have told you that you were too young to remember. These memories can be joyful and painful, happy and sad, but they are your memories and have made you who you are today. As you reflect on the many memories of your childhood, before your tween years, what comes to mind? Growing up in a big or small family and he many gatherings that you celebrated? Your siblings and how you all got along or didn’t? if you are an only child, how you were able to entertain yourself; your self-discipline? Is your first memory a good one or a painful one?
For today, take one memory that you recall and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God. If it is a good and heartwarming memory, or a challenging one, you are now a stronger, more compassionate and loving person, the best person that God has called you to be because you have chosen to live in light of God’s love for you with all of your memories. With joy and gratitude, you can place that piece in the big picture of your life as you strive to be truly happy, healed and whole.
Monday – Growing up as a young adult
This piece can have many memories; challenging, painful, full of growth, self-discipline, independence and many acts of tough love. Your parents tried to give you the tool that you needed to become your best self despite what society threw at you to become what they wanted you to be. You learned that growing older required greater maturity, both emotional and spiritual. You probably went through high school fit in in or wanting to fit in, attended dances and proms or chose not to, you learned to drive or realized that you weren’t ready to drive and take on that responsibility. As you continued high school, you were consciously or unconsciously, discerning what direction you wanted your life to go.
For today, in all your young adult memories and recollections, can you look at the one that mostly formed who you are today, and offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God? That piece of the puzzle of your life is a big piece because it fits in with not only your childhood, but also the pieces of independence and vocation that will follow and the significant individuals who have helped you stay the course and not turn back.
Tuesday – Gaining your Independence
Your pieces of independence. These can vary depending of your family situation and dynamics. What is independence? (self-sufficiency self-reliance, freedom, autonomy) When do you first gain a sense of independence and how did it feel? Entering high school, learning to drive, taking care of an ill parent where you were able to freely give of yourself for their wellbeing, your first job, or choosing to go to college and entering college close to or away from home. In all these aspects of your life, there was a sense of independence and that not only made you stronger, it helped you, hopefully, appreciate those who have given you to the tools to be an independent and valuable member of the community.
For today, as you look back on those moments, choose one that helped you realize how you have grown and matured more than you thought. Think of those who showed you great trust and let you go so that could grow and become a better person.as you look at that piece, remember those who helped shape you and pray a prayer of gratitude to God for them.
Wednesday – Discerning your Vocation
What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you remember the various professions that you thought of and that appealed to you, and those that others thought you would be good at? Was it a helping profession, a profession of service, a trade, marriage, remaining single, becoming a priest brother or a religious sister?
God calls us to our vocation and only with Him can we truly decide what is best for us. We discern over time where we belong and how we can best serve Him with the various gifts and talents that He has blessed us with and we have chosen to nurture through prayer, education, guidance and the support and encouragement of significant others. Your vocation today is what God has chosen for you. It may be different than when you first started out or from one that you originally thought and expected of yourself, but as you have discerned God has revealed. Is your vocation one that enables you to flourish and be your best self before God and others? Are you at peace and do you find it a place where you are growing and maturing spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically?
For today, as you look at the vocation that you have chosen, take that piece and place it in the big picture of your life. As you do that, give thanks to God for those who have helped and encouraged you to make that choice. Can you also offer a prayer of thanksgiving for those who may have discouraged you but unknowingly strengthened you in your decision because of your self-conviction, determination and faith?
Thursday – Your family and how they helped you to become who you are
God gives you your family but you can choose your friends. How do you react to that statement? Are you grateful for your family or resentful and angry about those who you must call family? Was your family dysfunctional and abusive or caring and loving? Where is your heart now? Are you in communication with your family members? And if not why? Time, distance, obligations. Have you forgiven anyone in your family that has caused you harm? Do you pray for those who you love? Parents, grandparents, siblings, distant relatives…Growing up in our family may have been a good experience or a painful one, but in any case, your family knowingly or unknowingly, has made you the person that you are today.
For today, seek to recognize who you are and dispel who you are not. Try to recognize that you are a caring, loving person because of the positive and despite any negative family influences. Ask God to enlighten you and make you an instrument of healing where you feel injured, hope where you feel discouraged, love where you feel hatred, compassion where you feel indifference, and joy where you feel saddened. If your family was a family filled with love and shared that love so generously with you, offer a prayer of gratitude to God for opening their heart and responding to His call to love, nurture, guide, challenge, and forgive. Thank them for giving you the space that enabled you to make your own decisions, learn from your mistakes and change so that you could and have become the person that God created you to be.
Friday -The health challenges that you have faced
What has it been like, or what is it like to face difficult health challenges and make certain decision in a hurry? How have you coped? Has your faith, your family, your friends, your church, your community been involved in your ability to overcome any of the stresses, fears, and concerns that you have had or have? If you haven’t faced any significant health challenges, what about any of your family members? sspecially parents or siblings? Can you see the presence of God in the challenges? Can you take that piece of your life puzzle and see how it has changed you?
For today, continue to seek and pray for healing as God wants to heal you.
Saturday – The surprises in your life that helped create your big picture.
God is full of surprises. What are some of the surprises that God has showered on you? What has the surprises looked like? Were they moments of pure astonishments and wonder or shock and more wonder?
God surprises us more than we think. He often places in our life signs of His presence that we wouldn’t necessarily look for, but when we discover them, we are left in awe and wonder. For instance, when I describe the various and many Glimpses of God, I am describing how He chooses to reveal Himself to us in ways that make us see and think outside the box. When we see Him more clearly in others or in pets or in situations that we possibly took for granted, we act differently and we are changed. It is in these surprising changes that we become a better person; one act, one prayer, or one word at a time. When we see others differently or how we view another person, God’s creation or a life situation with new eyes and an expanded heart, it is then that we can say that those surprising moments have helped create and make the big picture of our life.
For today, can you take the various pieces of surprise and allow them to be placed in the big picture of your life? Can you view that picture as it is and see that God loves you unconditionally, that you are God’s beloved child, that nothing that happens in your life is in vain, and all has the ability to make you a better person, a more loving person, a wounded healer, and a fellow builder of the Kingdom of God here on earth.
The inner glimpse from within came in several ways: when I encountered Him in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and healing. Through the sacrament, I felt a freedom from my weaknesses and the spiritual challenges that were weighing me down. I felt the embrace of God that made me feel stronger, peaceful and unconditionally loved.
Another strong glimpse came as I looked back with a sense of peace, calm and trust, at the recent health challenge that caused me to be an inpatient at Fox Chase Cancer Center, and accepting the reality that it could occur again.
And lastly, as I walk daily with Christ and Mary to Calvary, I experience an outpouring of God’s grace that allows me to carry my cross knowing that I am never alone, and that they strengthen me to face life challenges with serenity, not stress. In all the glimpses that have come from “within”, God has chosen to reveal Himself as peace, serenity, forgiveness, healing, acceptance, determination, companionship, and strength.
The glimpse that has come from “with out”, where God has chosen to reveal Himself is different, yet profound. It is when we were informed of the need for the reconstruction of a new and safe sunroom. Recently and providentially, we were informed that the contractor that built the sunroom, did so without providing proper support, that it was structurally unsafe, that the glass windows were loose, the floor was shaky and the room could collapse if we got a heavy rain or strong winds. So now we have a great contractor that is rebuilding the sunroom and making it an all-season sunroom.
As progress is made with the construction of the new room, I can’t help but think and reflect on how we sometimes build our foundations on shaky ground, and not with Christ or on Christ’s teachings; how the windows that we look out of are streaky and not securely locked, how the ground that we walk on, although is holy, we allow it to become cracked, and shaky. We think that we don’t need Jesus and we try to live life, find happiness, solve our problems, and heal our emotional, physical and psychological wounds on our own. We don’t see clearly how the world/society has influenced us, and how we see only what it offers and convinces us that we need to be a success. We fail to see what God desires and offers us so that we can be the best person that we can be, the person that He has created us to be and have the potential to become.
We lose sight of Christ’s will because our feet are not planted securely on the ground. We are not sure of our direction or our desires. The strong foundation that was begun at our baptism has become a little insecure. We through sin and weakness, have allowed what the world offers us to replace what God wants to offer us. God offers us what is right and best for us so that we can become our best and true self; to know, love and serve Him in this life, to grow in relationship with Jesus His Son and by living the Good News.
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, our foundation is strengthened and nurtured. Without Him, we are lifeless and our branches will not produce any leaves, they will just be bare and unproductive.
As I look out from our sunroom, I am in awe at the wonders that God has made. And although the sunroom is not yet completed, God’s gift of creation not only surrounds our sunroom, it embraces it. Let us seek to be the presence and love of God to the Sonroms, the hearts of those we encounter, beginning in our own heart.
As we begin this week, let us be mindful of how we are all called to be the branches that extend God’s peace, love, compassion and mercy to those we encounter. Let us also be open to extend to the branches of others as they extend peace, reconciliation, consolation and love to us.
SUNDAY “S” SCENIC–
The scenic, picturesque view that the trees give.
Look at the many trees that surround you, take a moment to reflect on how that tree provides not only a beautiful and scenic view to behold, but it also provides shade in the heat and protection in the rain. There are many and various sizes and types of trees planted in God’s garden of creation and all are beautiful, and majestic and provide a splendid picture on the canvas of beauty that God has created. All trees started as a little seed and with the love and care have become a great and regal tree. God plants the seeds of faith in our hearts and we are given the choice to sow and let the seed take root in our heart and grow into a marvelous tree where our branches, our faith, is a beacon to others or not.
As you begin this day, choose to grow in your faith and in relationship with God, others and self. Let yourself be the tree of life that shows the beauty of God’s love for you through your actions, in your words and by your prayers.
MONDAY – “U” UNIQUE
The branch. Each branch on a tree is unique and different. We are all created uniquely and different. Although the branches may look the same, each one has a different aspect to it, yet as a branch, as a follower of Christ, we are created to reach out with compassion, mercy, and love to others as we grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. The Son allows us to grow as the tree grows and we have the choice to extend of our self or to break off and do our own thing. the choice is ours.
Today, choose to extend yourself and be the hand that reaches out and the ear that takes time to listen. Choose to be the feet that walk in another’s shoes instead of judging another, and the heart that shows compassion, reconciliation and mercy to others.
As a branch cannot survive away from the vine, take a moment to thank God for keeping you close to Him, for sustaining your body, mind and soul through the sacraments of the Church, and for choosing you to be the hands and feet of Christ that has served others faithfully.
TUESDAY – “N” NATURAL
A bush is a gift that. Look at the many types, variety and sizes of bushes that surround you, try to recognize that they all serve to create a beautiful landscape. In the story of creation, God saw that all that He made was good. All was created by Him; all was created to glorify Him. Humanity is given the blessing of the beauty of nature to enjoy and protect. You are a part of God’s beautiful creation. Planted and sustained to glorify Him.
Sometimes we see weeds come out from the bush and we just want to pull them out. They appear as a natural part of the bush yet we want to pull them out.
Pulling them out is a temporary fix, but getting to their root is a more lasting fix. Sometimes we see the weeds of our weaknesses and sin as a natural part of us; we come up with excuses like we have been doing this for so long, we can’t help our self, it’s not our fault. We don’t want to pull the weeds because then it would mean that we must change.
If we see the weeds as our sins and weaknesses and desire to get rid of them, we can choose to just pull them out, or we can choose to get to the root of their growth and seek God’s grace, through reconciliation, to overcome their control and power.
As a bush is created to give beauty and weeds are a temporary interference to their view, take a moment to thank God for the weeds that have been a source of your personal and spiritual transformation and conversion, a sign of your inner strength, personal conviction and courage and reminder of the unconditional love and mercy of God.
WEDNESDAY – “R” A RAY OF SONSHINE –
During your busyness, stress, pains and other various crosses that you may be carrying, choose to be a ray of God’s light, consolation, peace, joy, happiness to another. Sometimes in our darkest moments, it only takes a word or a helping hand of another for us to see the light and have hope. When we offer hope, we are in turn blessed with hope. For one cannot offer what one does not have.
Take a moment today to thank God for the many rays of sunshine in your life that have gotten you through difficult, painful and stressful times. Take time to thank God for the people, events and situations that have dispelled the darkness that your crosses have caused, and have been the catalyst for greater hope and trust in Him.
THURSDAY – “O” OMNIPRESENT
Take time to listen to the gentle breeze, the all present sound, gentle whisper, voice of God. Take time to listen to the small child, or the elderly parent or grandparent, the bored child, or the sick spouse. Loud voices are always entering our mind, body and spirit, and robbing us of the peace that God wants us to feel and experience. These loud voices can be those of complaining, negativity, gossip or foul language. When we hear them, we can choose to cover our ears or we can choose to participate with them.
God is asking us to be still and know that He is God. The only way to really experience that presence is by listening with our heart and allowing our self to hear His gentle voice. God doesn't yell at us, He calls, beckons us to come to Him. He wants us to be with Him.
Today, take time to be silent and listen to the gentle voice of God and how he chooses to speak to your heart. The voice of God will speak to you. He might choose to speak in the form of a gentle breeze, a soft whisper, a quiet voice, or if you don’t quiet yourself, He might come like a voice crying in the wilderness, please listen to me, I love you and want to walk with you, so be still and allow yourself to listen to Him, and be open to the refreshment that He brings.
FRIDAY – “O” ONCE AGAIN, GOD KNOWS..
I enjoy rocking chairs because I usually can’t sit still. This can be a distraction to some, but not to me. The movement of the rocking chair brings me to a sense of peace and comfort and a relaxed spirit. I usually fall asleep rocking in a chair. God knows that sleeping is difficult and prayer is important to me, the rocking chair is a gift from Him. It is a gift that tells me, once again, that He knows my every need and the desires of my heart, that He hears my prayers.
Take time today to thank God for the rocking chairs of your prayer life. Thank Him for the instruments that He has placed in your life that have been instrumental to your prayer life, answers to your prayers and a source of peaceful relaxation in His presence.
SATURDAY –“M” MEMORABLE MOMENTS -
Take time to thank God for the many moments, memories and events that have been, and are a source of refreshment for you.
Our pool will be opened in two weeks. Clover loves to swim and enjoys having pool play dates with her friends. I look forward to seeing them have fun as they jump in and out of the pool,
play catch with the ball, swim in circles and then roll in the grass and run in the yard. As I watch them enjoying themselves as God intends, I am happy and feel a sense of joy, renewal and refreshment.
Refreshing and joyful moments for the body, mind, spirit and soul come in many and varied ways, and they are not always what you might expect or can anticipate. God knows your heart and your every need and provides refreshment for you in many unexpected and surprising ways. For me it is in and through the antics of Clover who is very deliberate, and Cannoli who is nuts, (but a good nut).
You may not have a dog or a cat, or a sunroom to look out from to see God’s beautiful creation, but you can always close your eyes and bring to the forefront your favorite memory of creation: the ocean, the forest, a mountain, the valleys, the sky, and allow that memory, for a moment to refresh you and bring you peace.
In the spiritual reality, refreshment comes when you can be in the quiet presence of God. Take another moment to remember how it feels when God forgives you, encourages you, heals you, fills you with His joy and gives you His grace especially when you weren’t expected it or it came in a surprising new way.
Today allow Him to soak you, shower you, and embrace you with His grace, unconditional love, mercy, peace, happiness and again. These are His gifts to you because He knows that you not only need them but you truly and deeply desire them from Him.
GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF MAY 5, 2019
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from another one of God’s creatures:
The parakeet or bungie.
At Assisi House there are two parakeets; Francis and Clare, (go figure) that are the center of many of the Sister’s focus as well as staff and visitors. You might ask why? There are probably as many reasons as there are Sisters, staff and visitors, some being that they are a beauty to behold, a stroke of amazing colors on God’s canvas of creation, relaxing to look at and observe, and they can learn to repeat what they are told on a repetitive basis. The Sisters, staff and visitors can be found talking to the birds, quietly admiring them, playing with them or just enjoying conversation with others in the bird’s presence, and in many cases the birds respond with various levels and sounds of chirps, words and noises.
Why or how are the birds a Glimpse of God? Think about it for a moment. Birds are in a cage yet they are free to fly and be who and what God created them to be. We are free; free to be who we want to be and or what we want to do, we have a free will that God will not interfere with, yet we are bound or unfree for a variety of reasons ranging from sin to shame, resentment to revenge and the opinion of others that conflicts with God’s message of love, reconciliation and peace.
These types of birds ae called Bungies The bungies communicate with each other with various sounds, they communicate with the Sisters with certain words, kisses, pecks and great trust. They swing on their swings, take baths, admire their view in the mirror, sleep and even bicker, yet afterwards they can be seen kissing each other.
Their little bodies, feathers, beaks and bottoms, are a canvas of color, beauty and an exquisite creation made with love. We admire their colors because no two birds are the same, no two humans are the same. God designed each of us individually, as well as the birds, so that they too have their own personality or in this case, birdsonality.
These creatures are God’s gift to us, but what does God expect us to do with them? Beyond the obvious, love, respect and care for them, but more importantly the unobvious, and that is to be open to learn from them and take the lesson to heart.
As we begin a new week, let us strive to recognize in the simplicity of the bungie, how to be the free person that God created us to be by believing in His message of love for our self, Him, and others , by dismissing the negative words, actions and attitudes that contradict His message, and by extending our self so that we can help others to be free and not unnecessarily bound or unfree.
SUNDAY – ‘B’ – you are Beloved, Blessed and Beautiful
We are God’s beloved, blessed, and beautiful sons and daughters, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. God has created us each with complete and unconditional love, compassion, happiness and joy. Do we believe that? Many of us hesitate to. We think of the opposites; we are unlovable and missed out on blessings because of our sins, bad choices or crosses. We see only the blemishes, scars and wounds instead of seeing the beauty of God that shines through us despite the stumbling blocks or obstructions that we have placed before Him.
For today, strive to see the true beauty that you possess, the beauty that comes from within. The beauty that shines in and through your compassion, your love for God, others and self, your joy for life, how you extend mercy, seek peace and witness to Christ and give thanks to God for revealing this to you.
MONDAY – ‘U’ you are a Unique child of God, with an Undivided heart
God, as our creator, knows our hearts better than we do. He knows that although we sin, our heart, our deepest desire is to remain faithful to Him, witness to his love in and through our lives, actions, words, deeds, attitudes and prayers, and be His disciple as we together build up the kingdom of God here on earth. This is what we want to hold onto and not lose sight of or let go of. Sin separates us from God as we let go of, a little bit at a time, the hand of God as he tries to lead us and show us the way, the truth and the light. At the sound of remorse, sorrow, contrition, he mends our hearts again, makes us whole so that we can move forward, and be the best person that we can be and have the potential to become; our unique and undivided hearted follower, a sinner striving to be a saint.
For today, strive to seek wholeness and ask for the grace to let go of that which is keeping your heart divided; illness, estranged or broken relationship, revenge, bitterness, resentment, frustration, stress, shame or sin.
TUESDAY – ‘N’ –you are a New creation and Renewed in the Holy Spirit
We are all a new creation in God and Jesus His son. What does that mean? That God made a mistake and had to do us over? No. I believe that it means we are new in and through our baptism and faith in Jesus Christ. He suffered and died for our sins and calls us to live in the light of that final act of reconciliation and not in the death of sin or shame, disgrace or fear. We are renewed every time that we let go of the old way of life that has taken us away from God or others, that has caused us to sell our soul to the devil at any cost, that has made us believe that we are unlovable and that we have to earn God’s love to be loved. You are a new creation; how does it feel? Are you invigorated? Excited? Awake? Refreshed? God’s Holy Spirit dwells within you and has all your life, do you recognize Him?
For today, strive to recognize how the Holy Spirit has renewed you and made you whole. Seek to tap into that holy energy and share it with another who might also be running on empty and needs to be made new.
WEDNESDAY –‘G’ you are Gifted and Graced by God
You are a gift from God to others. You are gifted with many talents that are as unique as you are. We might possess the same talents, but how we use them to glorify God, share them with others and grow from them, is our gift to God. God’s grace is abundant. In many cases we think of that passage when we are struggling, stressed and need to be affirmed that we will not be overcome or defeated.
Yet, it is also true when we need to use our gifts, especially when we are tempted by others to diminish them, dismiss, them, forget them or misuse them. What could or would that look like? If you have the gift of prayer where your prayers are answered for others, but people make you feel bad or make fun of your faith, where as you decide to deny or not talk about your relationship with God, or if you have the gift of being musically , sports, or intellectually talented and others are jealous and talk about you so that you don’t want to excel but rather would just like to hide. SEE TOP OF NEXT PAGE FOR MORE
God’s grace is plentiful and will help you overcome the negative squashing of your gifts so that you can use them to the best of your ability, and not allow others to make you feel as if you can’t, shouldn’t or will be judged negatively if you do.
For today, reverence, honor and thank God for your many talents and gifts that make you the special person that you are.
THURSDAY - ‘I’ – Individual, who is Inspired and Imaginative.
You are an individual, you are you, there is no one like you nor will there ever be anyone like you again, you are one of a kind, you are the one and only you. you are an imaginative creation and you are an inspired follower of Jesus Christ. There is a lot of you to be grateful for? Do you think others are grateful for the person that you are? Are you grateful for the people that have inspired you to be the person that you are?
Can you imagine yourself being different? Sometimes we wish that we were someone else because of their wealth, smarts, social status, athletic ability, and when we do that, we are dismissing our own uniqueness and giftedness from God. This is not what God wants of others and this isn’t what God intends for us. It is nice to admire others, but to be jealous or to covet what others have, is to turn away from what God has so graciously given to us.
For today, thank God for those who have inspired you to be the faithful witness to His good news that you are.
FRIDAY –‘E’ – You are Exceptional because of your Empathy and Energy
Being empathetic is no easy task especially when your energy level is low, you stress is high and your ability to be patient is gone. When others need us to be present to them in the midst of their pain or struggle, and we feel as if we can’t be, that causes us more angst because we feel that we should always be present and listen to those who are suffering and need to be consoled. God see through us and HE would not want us to pretend to listen, but rather be honest when we don’t feel as if we can truly be present to them. God doesn’t demand that of us, we demand that of our self. All God asks of us is that we do the best that we can, that we be the best person that we can be. We would do more harm and it would be a greater injustice if we faked empathy or pretended to be present to another especially one who is in great pain. Others can see through our pretension. We are called to serve and help others who are in need, but we can’t be or give what we are not and don’t have. It takes an exceptional person to recognize the need to be empathetic and share their presence with others, and are unable to do that.
For today, try to be more understanding and compassionate with those who challenge your patience, zap you of your energy and diminish your self esteem; rebellious children, idle coworkers, elderly parents, siblings, estranged family members, or community members. Do unto others as God has done unto you.
SATURDAY –‘S’ –you freely give of your Selfless love and choose not to be Selfish
God’s giving of Jesus to us was an act of selfless love, Mary’s YES to God was an act of selfless love, and Jesus’ death on the cross was the ultimate act of selfless love. Where does that leave us? We are not prophets, martyrs, or saints, we are ordinary people trying to live our Catholic Christian faith in an extraordinary way. What makes it extraordinary? When we encounter the living God and choose to follow, serve and spread the good news about Him by the way we live our lives. We go from ordinary to extraordinary because once we encounter our living God, we are changed and cannot remain as we were. We go from selfish to selfless, from self-centered to God centered, from closed minded and hard of heart to open minded with an expanded heart, from looking into the mirror where we can only see our needs, wants and desires to looking out the window where we are blessed to see the needs, wants and desires of others as well as God’ great creation which is bigger than we could have ever imagined
For today, do a random act of selfless love to someone that you find difficult to love
Glimpse of God for the week of April 26, 2019
Jesus said; “Come follow me” Who was He referring to? All of God’s creatures or just the humans” Are you “too chicken” to heed His call or will you have the courage to follow? The above picture was taken when John and I went out to the chicken coop on the Amish farm that we stayed at this week. Once the chickens saw us coming, they formed a group and followed the leader to come and meet us.
With that, I had to research chickens so that I could learn about their behavior. This is what I found out.
I hope that some of these surprising facts about chickens will make this Glimpse unique, but relational, God inspired and thought provoking, and Sister MT approved.
A little background……John and I are staying on an Amish working farm in Lancaster this week for vacation, and this is just one of the many Glimpses of God that came through this week. “Come follow Me” this week and look at how much you have in common with the chicken, but how much more God has given you to rise above the chicken.
SUNDAY – Chickens can distinguish among more than 100 faces of people and species.
We humans can distinguish so much. We can choose to separate what we see or bring things together. When we differentiate or separate people, events or situations, we can do so out of love, compassion, caution or bitterness. When we choose to separate people, events or situations we do so to protect others or our self, or distance our self from others so that we do not get hurt. When we see a man coming that has a gun and we go the other way, we do so for self-protection. We also see a man that is homeless and we also go the other way. Why? It is usually out of fear or ignorance, judgement or ego.
When Christ calls us to follow Him, He calls us to be like Him and not choose the human weaknesses of holding grudges, being afraid, our own personal ego, or holding onto bitterness and resentment, but rather being a person of compassion, love, empathy and understanding. Unlike chickens who only differentiate people and species, we have the capability of build walls and not break them down, bringing the diversity of what we see together so that we can learn from each other and grow in love as God’s beloved children, all created in His image, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. We all are equal walking on the same holy ground that we call earth.
For today, walk with the chickens and strive not to judge others, but rather accept all others as God’s gift to you so that you can stretch your heart and expand your horizons.
MONDAY - Chickens have full color vision just like we do.
Having full color vision is such a gift that God eagerly waits for us to use, why? because things are not just black and white. When we fail to see things in the kaleidoscope of color that God provides, we are limiting our self, not only in the experience, but also God’s invitation to us to see as He sees When we choose to have tunnel vision or only see things as we think they are or should be, then we are missing out on a great, colorful and enriching experience. Chickens have the gift of full color vision and they use it, and they are God’s chickens, but what can they teach us?
As Jesus calls us to come and follow Him, He calls us to see things with an open mind, heart and spirit. When we choose to see things such as personal life experiences, people, and other events, as He does, we don’t just see them in black and white, but we see them intertwined with the colors of life, joy, peace, harmony, compassion, mercy and reconciliation. What are those colors?
Red can be for the heart that beats, blue can be for the cleansing waters of baptism, green can be for the hope that lies within, yellow can be for the sunrise and the sunsets of our life that bring us to each new and exciting day, purple can be for the reconciliations that occur in our life, and white can be for the newness of life that God has in store for each one of His children. The page is new, ready and open for God to write his love story about us, on. So…. can you see that chickens have the gift and can teach us that things are not just black and white, but are rich in color and beauty?
For today, open your eyes to see the kaleidoscope of the colors of your life that God has ready to show you.
TUESDAY- Chickens have pain receptors that enable them to feel pain and distress.
Chickens like humans have pain receptors and can feel pain as we do, yet many people don’t realize that as these little creatures that are used to produce food for our table, how we treat them to obtain what we want, is a second thought. BUT they hurt, they feel pain and can’t take pain medicine.
We as humans inflict pain on others when we want something, or feel the need to get even, or need to make another feel less than God has created them to feel. We cause pain, we are killing each other over some very needless, idiotic, selfish reasons. We hurt one another because we feel that we have been disrespected, or wronged in some way. We, as a society, are not seeking peace through dialogue, but rather revenge through taking another’s life. We are causing pain for others by the way we talk about others, the way we gossip, the way we make others feel less than human, the way we judge another, the way we look down because of another’s social status, and in all of these ways of destruction, those on whom we inflict pain, are not able to relieve their pain by taking a pain pill, because the pain is a deeper pain, a pain that infects not only the body, but the mind, heart, spirit and soul, and it is a pain that only God and an open heart of humanity, can heal.
For today, pray for those who are in pain; physical, emotional spiritual or psychological pain, because of anything that you have said or done, consciously or unconsciously, that God may use you as His instrument of healing, reconciliation, love, compassion, acceptance, empathy and love so that they can live with a renewed sense of life and love.
WEDNESDAY- Chickens dream like we do and they love to play and run, jump and sunbathe when they have the chance.
What is it to dream? To be asleep and have different scenes enter your mind and very being for the short time that you are in a deep sleep. I often say that dreams are God’s way of communicating with us because it is the only time that our mouths stay shut and we can’t argue with Him, but we can only listen and maybe recall when we awake. We can also dream about what we would like to be doing or places that we like to go. When we dream with a vision it is a gift that enables us to hold onto hope and think beyond what is.
Chickens can remind us of how to have fun and be a big kid without worrying about what others think. God has a sense of humor, why don’t most of us? We take life so seriously that we fail to have fun, experience joy and let the inner child that lies within, come out. When we fail to see the joy and beauty in life, then we fail to see the big picture that God has created for us. Our big picture is different then the next persons, even if the next person is our parent, sibling, friend or a stranger. God has a plan for each of us and it is as individual as each person. If you feel the desire to run and jump and lay on the grass in the sunlight, then instead of denying the desire, acknowledge it and be grateful for it. We can’t all go around laying on the grass, or jumping up and down, but we can allow the desire and the joy that brings forth that desire to penetrate to the core of our being and rejoice with God that you can dream, dance and celebrate life.
For today, even if you can’t run and jump or lay in the grass, acknowledge the desire, and relish the reality that God has blessed you with a deep join that comes forth from within.
THURSDAY Chickens know whose boss; they form social orders known as “pecking orders” and all chickens know their place on the ladder.
As we grow and mature, we learn who is the boss and where we stand: at home, at school and at work.
We hopefully realize that the boss deserves our respect and cooperation. Chickens know this and within their pecking order, they don’t overstep their bounds or get out of order. If we as humans ere to take our cue off of the chickens, children would be more respectful and obedient of their parents,
siblings would get along and not be in bitter rivalry with each other, colleagues would not be seeking to walk over each other but rather work with each other to build up each other, we would be in dialogue with the stranger and not judgment because of our differences, love would win over hate and peace would triumph over war.
The pecking order of the followers of Christ is simple; there is none. What is required of us is that we love one another and show that love in all that we say and do, in and through our actions, prayers and attitudes. We are all God’s beloved children, all equal and all walking on God’s holy ground.
There is only one boss or voice that we should follow and that is Jesus’. He has given us Church leaders to guide us, but we in all conscience, must follow the one whose voice speaks the truth, gives us light and shows us the way to eternal life.
For today, listen to whose voice you follow and decide if it is of Jesus, our one true shepherd or is it of one who has taken his place. If it is not the Lord, pray to turn your ears to Him and turn away from the temporary replacement.
FRIDAY -They can navigate using the sun, which helps then find food and water and even know what time it is.
We can learn from the chickens, our sun, our light, is Jesus, the Son of God. Jesus Christ gives our life direction, is our moral compass and shows us the way that we should go. Christ feeds us with His very own Body and Blood, in the real presence every time we participate at Mass. His body sustains, nurtures and feeds us, His blood satisfies our thirst to be the body of Christ in all that we do, and hydrates our spirit so that we don’t suffer burnout or spiritual dryness. The chickens can teach us a lot especially when we feel empty or dry, because it is then that we know it is time to turn to Him so that He can fill us with His grace and satisfy our deepest longings.
For today, ask God to satisfy your hunger for a greater love, more patience and compassion and quench or smother any thirst that you have toward being bitter or holding onto a grudge, turning to sin and not seeking the grace to overcome the temptation to sin.
SATURDAY- Chickens are adorable.
Although chickens might be adorable, we humans, God’s greatest creation are not only adorable, but affectionally cherished and adored by God. As God’s beloved sons and daughters, we are unconditionally loved, adored and cherished by Him. Are the chickens adored by God? I believe that God adores and cherishes all of His creation because as our creator and God, He saw that all He created was very good, The difference between us and the chickens, and in deed all of the creatures that fly, crawl and hover, is that they don’t have a free will and can’t choose to follow God and live the good news.
Jesus gave us the commandments of love, and as His followers, we are called to live in love, it is our choice to do so or not. God always loves us and will always be there for us when we walk with Him and when we choose not to. He is there to lift us up, brush us off, bring us back, embrace us, dry our tears, raise us up, encourage and support us and forgive us when we fail or fall short. He cherishes us when we choose to say yes, and he cherishes us even when we say no. God has great respect for us and for the choices that we make. He will never go against our free will but will also never abandon us when our will and His don’t necessarily meet. It is in all this that He is devoted to us and finds us most adorable or able to be adored
How can God not adore you. HE respects you, loves you unconditionally, created you in His likeness and image, has called you by name. and even knit you in your mother’s womb (psalm 139)
There is no other person like you nor will there be another you. You are one of a kind. There is no heart like yours, no soul like yours, no mind that works like yours. God created you individually and uniquely out of complete love. God creates only good and only out of love.
For today, look at how adored you are by God, and utter a prayer of thanks that the chickens reminded you of that great and awesome truth.
Glimpse of God for the week of April 26, 2019
Jesus said; “Come follow me” Who was He referring to? All of God’s creatures or just the humans” Are you “too chicken” to heed His call or will you have the courage to follow? The above picture was taken when John and I went out to the chicken coop on the Amish farm that we stayed at this week. Once the chickens saw us coming, they formed a group and followed the leader to come and meet us.
With that, I had to research chickens so that I could learn about their behavior. This is what I found out.
I hope that some of these surprising facts about chickens will make this Glimpse unique, but relational, God inspired and thought provoking, and Sister MT approved.
A little background……John and I are staying on an Amish working farm in Lancaster this week for vacation, and this is just one of the many Glimpses of God that came through this week. “Come follow Me” this week and look at how much you have in common with the chicken, but how much more God has given you to rise above the chicken.
SUNDAY – Chickens can distinguish among more than 100 faces of people and species.
We humans can distinguish so much. We can choose to separate what we see or bring things together. When we differentiate or separate people, events or situations, we can do so out of love, compassion, caution or bitterness. When we choose to separate people, events or situations we do so to protect others or our self, or distance our self from others so that we do not get hurt. When we see a man coming that has a gun and we go the other way, we do so for self-protection. We also see a man that is homeless and we also go the other way. Why? It is usually out of fear or ignorance, judgement or ego.
When Christ calls us to follow Him, He calls us to be like Him and not choose the human weaknesses of holding grudges, being afraid, our own personal ego, or holding onto bitterness and resentment, but rather being a person of compassion, love, empathy and understanding. Unlike chickens who only differentiate people and species, we have the capability of build walls and not break them down, bringing the diversity of what we see together so that we can learn from each other and grow in love as God’s beloved children, all created in His image, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. We all are equal walking on the same holy ground that we call earth.
Glimpse of God for the week of April 20, 2019
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 broke bread with them, performed miracles in their presence, ministered together with, were standing by his side as He taught the people and healed their woundedness and illnesses. Jesus knew their hopes, their sorrows, their joys and their desires. They shared their stories about their brokenness, their joys, and how they had hope in 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 couldn't 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?
Is it the pain or separation that comes from the physical death of a loved one? is it in our woundedness where we need to 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 can't see past the pain of our own cross, our own personal suffering; whether it is spiritual, emotional or physical.
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 can't 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, but how they were filled with so many other emotions. The resurrections in our life come in the form 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 fear 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 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 the depth of our love for Him even in the midst and the weight of our crosses. When we say Yes to His will, and 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 gives you your personal resurrections? Through Jesus' passion, death and resurrection you have someone that knows your pain, your suffering and your confusion and can 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.
For today, this Easter Sunday, take a moment to reflect on and give thanks for, your resurrections; when you were able to come forth from the tomb of physical, emotional, or spiritual suffering and experience the light of Christ and the warmth of his love, renewal and strength.
MONDAY - "E" - Empathy
Are you empathetic, understanding, and 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 can't be empathetic if you want to hold others back and think yourself as better than them. Recognizing the risen Christ and the resurrections 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.
For today, reflect on, and give thanks for, someone who has been empathetic with you during a difficult time, and how they encouraged and inspired you to keep going and not give up or feel defeated.
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 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?
For today, reflect on and give thanks 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 your desire for the grace to let go.
WEDNESDAY - "C" – Charity
Are you charitable in your words, deeds, actions, attitudes and prayers? 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 possibility of reconciliation, renewal and reconnection.
For today, reflect on and give thanks for, the gift of charity and love, and how you have been a blessing of charity and love to others and how others have been a blessing of charity and love to you
THURSDAY - "H" - Honor
Do you honor yourself, others and God by how you treat yourself, and others? Do you honor God by being in relationship with Him or do you keep Him at a distance? Can you honor those “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?
For today, reflect on and give thanks for, how God's love is greater than any sin that you committed and how He wants that to be your resurrection. He wants you to embrace your new life with the Risen Christ. Will you allow Him to embrace you or are you far from embracing?
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? 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.
For today, reflect on and give thanks for, the gift of healing and how you have been healed in body, mind and spirit. Take the time to recall the action of God in your life and how He has chosen to reveal himself in the healing that you have experienced, and the people that have been instrumental in the healing process.
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?.
For today, reflect on and give thanks for, the gift of life, faith, family, friends, community and church. In and through all of these, God chooses to reveal Himself so that you can experience His presence in the form of the love, mercy, compassion, empathy, sincerity, genuineness, peace, and joy of others. God continues to reveal Himself to you, are you ready and willing to reveal His presence in your life to others?
Glimpse of God for the week of March 31, 2019
As I reflect on the many glimpses of God that I have had the privilege to see in these past two days I am filled with joy and wonder, hope and consolation.
On Saturday, as I lead the Lenten retreat on the three falls of Christ and how, through His three falls on the way to Calvary, HE can relate to us when we fall because of physical, emotional and spiritual exhaustion. The many glimpses came through our presenters: in the depth and sincerity of the sharing that our retreatants offered, in the diversity of the backgrounds of those that attended: there were Religious, homeless, retired, employed, terminally ill and stressed out, yet all were present because they desired to grow in a deeper relationship with Christ. The retreatants represented a facet of God by their openness, love, peace, authenticity and compassion.
As I came home to decompress from the retreat and continued to do so on Sunday, (that is why this glimpse is late, I apologize) I did so with a grateful heart and Clover, our golden retriever that greeted me a wagging tail and a big smile. You could say that she was a closing glimpse of the retreat experience.
So? where or what is the glimpse exactly? As I think of lent and the 40 days where we are encouraged to focus on prayer, almsgiving and service to the poor, I can’t help but look back at how the Advent/Christmas, and Lent/ Easter seasons are so critically connected. I look at how we journey through lent, but if we forget what the gifts of Jesus (love), Mary (hope), and Joseph(trust) gave us, then lent can be more of an empty experience, not a self-emptying one. But how can we experience self-emptying if we do not allow our self to experience being filled with God’s great love, peace, joy, happiness, and salvation that He gave us when He came sent His Son Jesus into the world as a little baby?
We can’t experience the true meaning of Easter if we didn’t experience the true meaning of Christmas. I don’t believe that we can truly understand what self-emptying is if we do not listen to, and seek to understand Mary’s story and take to heart, her YES to God. We can’t grow in our prayer life if we do not accept God’s great and unconditional love for us given to us through Jesus at Christmas. Jesus came into the world in complete poverty and in selflessness. He was born in the world, but He never was of the world. Being poor in the eyes of the world can lead to being rich in God’s Kingdom. Are we willing to become poor so that we can become rich? To be stripped of our worldly stuff so that we can bear the Body of Christ as servant, witness and Kingdom builder?
The Christmas message then and now, is one of peace, redemption, joy, gratitude, giftedness, unconditional and selfless love and all was given to us freely and without cost, while we were sinners. The message that God loves us so much and gives of Himself every day; selflessly, freely and without cost, hasn’t changed. It is a message that we should choose to listen to everyday so that we can become more like Jesus in our words, deeds, attitude and actions.
This week as we continue our Lenten journey to Easter, let the message of Christmas: the gift of God’s great love, peace, joy and the gift of Jesus, be our guiding force as we seek to love more, be peacemakers, and grow nearer to Jesus as we walk with Him to Calvary.
SUNDAY – UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
God loves us unconditionally and He showed us this by giving us the gift of His Son Jesus while we were in the depth of our sinfulness and in need of redemption. He puts no conditions on His love and He does not force it on us. He invites us to be in a loving relationship with Him because He wants to be in relationship with us; His beloved sons and daughters and His greatest creation.
Our pets don’t put conditions on their love for us. They are there, wagging their tails and smiling, despite any neglect to feed them because we ran out the door too quickly or, when we raised our voice in frustration and that scared them. They return to us to make us happy and to make our lives better because they can.
We can’t compare God’s love to our pets, but we can be reminded that we have the potential to be more loving and less stressed, if we look to our pets for their examples of complete trust and care in us, and how we can and should have complete trust in care in God with all our concerns and prayers.
For today, pray for the grace to have greater trust in God and in His unconditional love for you, and seek to live in that grace just for today, tomorrow is another prayer.
MONDAY – UNDERSTANDING
God understands us better than we understand our self. He created us and knows our hearts better than we will ever know them. God gets it when we give into temptation and slip away. He knows what our weaknesses are and that we cannot overcome them by our self, we need His help. I believe that when we strive to be the best persons that we can be, and that He wants us to be, we are being our best self. It is when we are stressed; when we allow that pressures and expectations of our self, families, jobs and world to overcome the truth of God, it is then that our will to do right and good is weakened, and we fall into sin, and our worst self emerges.
There are many ways that God can choose to show us that He understands us. It can be through our pets, friends, family, nature, and silence that God shows us that He understands what is happening and wants us to de-stress and find the center of our joy and love again.
How stressed can one be when there is a dog or cat or any pet, that sits there with their smile, wags their tail, rolls over in complete submissiveness, or sits in your lap and falls asleep. They feel your frustration and although they can’t tell you not to worry, they try to show you that you don’t have to. God gets your frustration and He does tell you not to worry, but to place all your cares on Him.
For today, can you place your deepest care on Him, one that you are trying to carry all by yourself? His understanding is not limited or restricted to just knowing your stresses and weaknesses, He invites you to receive the gift of healing, the gift of a lighter heart, the gift of laughter, the question is are you ready to accept that gift from Him in the way that He is offering it to you?
TUESDAY – HUMOR
I believe that God laughs when we try to do things on our own, when we think we know what is best, when we try to fix things, all of which we cannot do without God. He laughs at our plans because He knows us, and knows that we will come to Him when we are completely frustrated with our self and in need of His help. When we realize that it is His divine intervention that will save us from becoming completely unbearable and stressed out.
I believe that our pets do the same. They laugh when we get stressed and go bonkers when they are there to help us lessen our stress. They say that therapy dogs can lessen one’s blood pressure, stress and anger just by petting. I believe that they intuitively know that.
For today, find it in your heart to laugh at yourself. Laughter is good medicine and allows one not to take one self so seriously. God doesn’t want us to beat our self up when we fall short, give into our weaknesses and sin. He only asks that we come back to Him with our whole heart so that we can start anew. When we fall short and become too serious with our self, it is good to find a sense of humor and learn to laugh. Laughter is a deep joy that comes from within and is a grace given to us by God so that we live healthier lives and live in better communion with others. God laughs, we laugh, our pets laugh, all is good.
WEDNESDAY – PEACE
God wants us to be at peace. He offers His peace to us in many ways: through the sacrament of Reconciliation, at Mass and through each other. We can always seek God's mercy and that of others if we are willing and ready to face the reason that we are not at peace. When Jesus rose from the dead, His first words to His disciples were “Peace be with you”. He forgave them for abandoning Him because He understood them and their hearts, and knew that they wanted to follow Him and bring His good news to the world. He offered them peace as He offers us peace. He doesn't want us to be in angst or suffer worry.
It is we who choose to dwell in non-peace situations because we are afraid or don't feel that we can ever move on from the situation that causes us to worry. Worry destroys peace and is without Christ. Concern includes Christ and it is our concerns that we bring to prayer with Christ.
What are you holding on to that is taking away the peace that Jesus offers you? what does being at peace mean to you and how important is it to you? Do you dwell in non-peace because it is comfortable? Does being at peace, feeling the love of God scare you?
For today, look at what is taking away your peace and ask for the grace to seek the peace and love of God as He wants to offer it to you. Finding Christ in the sacraments, offering peace to someone that has hurt you, seeking forgiveness from someone that you have offended, or forgiving yourself for something that God has long forgiven you from.
Seek peace, be peace, offer peace and I can tell you that the very same words of Christ to His disciples you will also hear: Peace be with you, my peace I give you. Go and be at peace.
THURSDAY – JOY
Joy, the season of joy is always upon us, even as we journey through lent. What is the source for your joyfulness? What brings out joy from within you? Can you call it God?
We should always have joy and hope in our hearts, especially as we meditate on the unconditional and merciful love of God. That great love that was shown to us as He gave us Jesus His son, born in a manger, in poverty, to bring us true and immeasurable joy, peace, healing and redemption, and when we recall the great love that Jesus showed when He endured his passion and death. Our joy can only be in Christ. Even in the midst of the crosses that we carry, they are not meant to diminish our joy, but rather are cause to deepen and expand it. Can you be joyful as you carry your cross? Yes you can.
For today, ask for the grace to find joy as you carry your cross and peace amidst your anxiety as you bear the weight, and uncertainty, of your cross. Pray for the grace to recognize that although your cross may not go away or get lighter right now, your desire to walk in the footsteps of Christ is a cause for joyfulness and gratitude
FRIDAY – DELIGHT
God delights in you. Do you believe this? I do?
Look at the God who created you and sees that you are good. Seek to see yourself with His eyes so that you an experience His delight in you as He fixes His eyes on you.
Pets give us pleasure, delight, joy; and they know how to make us happy. We give them pleasure, yet they are pets, not God. God loves you so much more, delights in you, laughs with you and sees the best in you.
For today, see the best in yourself. Look in the mirror and ask God for the grace and the humility to see that which He sees in you that gives Him pleasure. Listen to Him and thank Him.
SATURDAY – GENUINE
God is a genuine God that does not lie to us, misguide us or give us more than we can carry. Our crosses, I believe are made to fit, those that He knows that we want to carry to show our love for Him and others.
Our pets are as genuine as they can be since they cannot choose otherwise. What you see by the way they were trained, is what you get. Clover is the most genuine, deliberate and intuitive golden retriever of all the ones that we have had.
For today, pray for the grace to be more genuine, especially with those you have felt the need to put up masks with. Pray to be yourself so that others may see the good person that you are and give glory to God for the gift that you are.
Glimpse of God for the week of March 24, 2019
What comes to mind when you hear the word diamond? For me there are many words that describe a diamond: authentic, a great jewel, valuable, shiny, a girl’s best friend, clarity, karats, the hope diamond, many sizes and shapes, rare, and of course baseball. Why am I reflecting on a jewel?
On Saturday, John and I had the privilege to be invited to attend the diamond jubilee of a dear friend and Sister of Saint Francis, Sister Mary Teresa. She joyously celebrated 70 years of being a professed Sister of Saint Francis. Sister MT, along with the members of her Franciscan community, her family and many friends, celebrated her gift of self to God and His Church. It was a great day in all respects. As I reflect on the giftedness and life of Sister MT and the wonderful glimpse of God that she is, I realize that not only does she reflect the many facets of God, but she does so in her unique, authentic and God gifted way.
When one looks at a diamond, no matter what angle you look at it from, the shine, the radiance, the reflection and the gleam that comes from the diamond is brilliant. They say that a diamond is a girl’s best friend. Many would say that Sister MT is a great friend and confidante, brilliant yet humble, a mirror of God’s presence and a window that is always open to receiving His grace. She is person that people like to be around and even in her wisdom and humility, she enables others to shine as a facet and presence of God. The brilliance of the valuable jewel of human life cannot be measured. We cannot take a ruler to see how long one will be patient or compassionate, or measure in inches, the character of an individual. God’s love is beyond measure. Jesus suffered and died for us out of complete and selfless love. God doesn’t use a ruler with us. He does not measure our worth or value, but rather He points us to the cross to remind us that our worth and value lies in being His follower, and not a follower of what the world has to offer. Sister MT is God’s invaluable gift to all those she encounters. She radiates, like a diamond, the many facets of God in and through her love and acceptance of others, her joy for life, her inner peace and serenity, her compassion and mercy, her presence in her silence and in her words, and in her humor. As a diamond does so well, she shines and radiates the many facets of God and even as she carries her daily crosses, her spirit will not be broken.
And yes, the baseball diamond. Life gives us curve balls and we can choose to hit the ball and run, get hit by the ball and walk, or we can strike out. The curve balls in life can be our blessings, challenges or crosses. In any case, weather we choose to hit, get hit or strike out, we always start and return to home plate. At Sister’s baptism, she started at the home plate of faith and has continued to do so through her love for God, self and others, her personal prayer life and the sacraments of the Church.
How are we all called to be like diamonds? As followers of Christ and builders of His Kingdom here on earth, we all can radiate the many facets and presence of God in our daily life. By extending His compassion, mercy, peace, joy and love to others, they will see that it is God who values them, loves them unconditionally and is always with them. This week as we celebrate the first full week of spring, with a spirit of gratitude, let us thank God for the many diamonds in our life: the diamond of our faith, our friends, and our family.
SUNDAY – “D” Devoted
What are you devoted to? What do you devote your time and energy to?
Who are the diamonds in your life and do you recognize the presence and devotion of God in and trough them?
Our God is and has always been faithful to us. He shows His faithfulness and devotion to us in so many ways,
all we need to do is think of how He is present to us each day. He is alive and well at Mass, in the sacraments and especially in each other. I believe that there are many diamonds in our life: those people that exude the love and devotion of God through their love for us and for their God. These diamonds or gems in our life are those individuals that keep us going through the challenging and joyful times, when they are present to us and listen to us when we are heavily burdened, sad or stressed, when they gently challenge us so that we can be our best self; the person that God created us to be and knows that we can become. Who are your diamonds and whose diamond are you?
MONDAY – “I” Instrumental
Do you see yourself as an instrumental in bringing about the Kingdom of God here on earth?
The Prayer of Saint Francis begins with “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace” ……
God is the master builder and He invites us to be His instruments in the building of His kingdom here on earth.
How do you do that? One prayer, one good deed, one kind word at a time. When you seek to bring about peace in and through your words and actions instead of conflict, when you choose to love and not give into hatred or resentment, when you choose reconciliation and not hold onto a grudge or seek revenge, when you choose to believe when all seems bleak and you are discouraged, when you choose to reflect the light of Christ in a world, community, church, family that is in the darkness and depth of pain and suffering, and when you choose to look in the mirror and see the presence of God, and thank Him for His great love for you and for calling and choosing you to be His instrument in His world
For lent today, ask for the grace to recognize when you have chosen not to be a builder of God’s Kingdom here on earth. When you have put aside the instruments that God has given you; peace, pardon, love, joy, compassion, mercy, strength, in place of your own; bitterness, resentment, injury, discord, complaints, revenge, anger, and ask for His help to pick up His instruments again and leave yours behind.
TUESDAY – “A” Appreciative
Do you appreciate the many gifts, graces, and blessings that God has bestowed upon you?
God isn’t demanding that we appreciate or acknowledge His gifts or blessings. People might do that, but our God does not. He hopes that we recognize that He, as the giver of all good gifts, and that includes the gift of self, each other, our faith, friends, family, church, our talents and abilities, and our open hearts, minds and spirits, that we would want to thank Him, and seek His strength so that we can be the gift of His presence to others.
As you begin a new day, what are you grateful for? As a parent, sibling, boss, grandparent, Religious, child, do you feel appreciated? Ask God to show you how much He appreciates, respects, values, and loves you, and when He does don’t run away in disbelief, but believe because you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation.
For lent today, accept without dismissing, God’s words of appreciation, love, adoration, for you.
WEDNESDAY – “M” Merciful
Are you one that extends mercy quickly or over a long period of time? Do you honor and recognize the gift or diamond of mercy of God in your life?
Who do you need to extend mercy to? Who needs to extend mercy to you? As you reflect on what mercy means and how it is so graciously extended to you by God, how easy or difficult is it for you to extend mercy and receive mercy? During this Lenten season, take a moment to reflect on how God’s great mercy has been, or can be, a source of personal and spiritual transformation, conversion and renewal.
As you are reminded that there are those in your life that need God’s mercy, and are seeking to extend mercy, ask for the grace to expand your heart so that the diamond, a facet of God’s great love in and through His mercy, can be your gift given and received.
For lent today, As you pray, bring one person that you know that has offended you in some way before God, and ask God for the desire and the grace to forgive them.
THURSDAY – “O” Open
Are you an open window where God can shine through you or an open vessel where He can fill you with His grace and blessings?
What does it mean to be open? To have an open mind, heart or spirit? Does it mean that anything can be put in? or does it mean that you can choose what goes in and what stays out?
When you open a window, you can breathe in the fresh air, smell the various scents and feel the cold, warmth, rain or snow on your face. When you open the door to your heart, mind, and spirit, you allow God to enter in and fill you with His presence as he showers you with His graces and blessings. An open heart allows for forgiveness, compassion, mercy, peace and joy to take root. An open mind allows for understanding, tolerance, empathy and acceptance to take root. An open spirit allows for healing, wholeness and inner peace to take root.
With all those seeds taking root, why would you want to be closed or close those windows or doors?
For lent today, Ask for the grace to be more open to what God has in store for you, especially where you know that you have closed a door to His love because of past hurts, rejection, woundedness and pain. Be prepared to be amazed.
FRIDAY – “N” Nurturing
Do you think that you are a nurturing type of person? What does that mean or look like?
To nurture or not to nurture that is the question, but there is only one answer. Do you try to encourage, support, foster the good in others? Do you seek to build up others and not tear them down? Then you are more nurturing than you think. Being a nurturing, supportive, encouraging, caring, person is a gift. You are a gift from God for others. You don’t receive a gift or a diamond from God and throw it away. You might not appreciate it or understand it at first, but you try to in time.
For lent today, seek the grace to be nurturing to a person that you find difficult to be around. We don’t know what others are going through, but we can reflect the diamond of love that God has for us to them.
SATURDAY – “D” Durable
How strong do you think you are? In other words, do you, can you recognize how resilient you have been in and through the many and various crosses, life challenges and stresses that have been placed before you?
Simon of Cyrene helped Jesus carry His cross. Simon helped carry the weight of the cross, but he couldn’t’ take it from Jesus. We all carry crosses, some seem heavier than others, but they are our crosses and no one else’s, and we can’t take them away, only lighten them, maybe. There are also many Simon’s out there, those individuals who have so graciously offered to be there for us as we struggled through a difficult time. And we have been Simon to others.
I believe that Simon’s life changed at that very moment. I believe that we are all called to carry our cross and to assist others whose cross seems to be heavy for them. It is when we reach out, in whatever form that takes, that we are not only being like Simon, but also being the strength that together, enables and empowers one to carry their cross. It seems that when we are weak it is then that we seek the help of others, and others seek ours. Spiritual strength, durability, toughness isn’t about being able to lift heavy weights or move mountains, but rather, being humble enough to seek the aid of others so that our crosses, our life challenges, don’t lose the perspective that God intends. Spiritual strength is a gift, another facet of God’s diamond of love.
For lent today, As you reflect on the stations of the cross and you come to the fifth one where Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry His cross, place your name in place of Simon, and ask God to give you the grace to recognize where you have been Simon to others, who has been Simon to you, and how you are being called to be Simon today.
What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love, what you become is your gift to God
Glimpse of God for the week of March 17, 2019
This is another challenge by my friend Sister MTC. The challenge is on the words:” It is what it is”
As I have often said, a Glimpse of God is not limited to what one can see, but also what one hears, touches, smells, speaks, senses and understands as God chooses to reveal Himself.
The saying “it is what it is” is something that I always say, especially when I realize that I have no control over a specific situation or circumstances, and I don’t want to get caught up in what I cannot change. BUT now as I reflect on the words that I use so very often, I find myself realizing that in my desire to dismiss and not get caught up in any drama or frustration, I am diminishing the” it” and taking my God and His goodness and graces for granted.
For instance, having a feeding tube and having to face the many complications and challenges that it causes, can be frustrating to say the least. I often say that “it is what it is” because I realize that I can’t change what is happening, I trust the doctors that I am in the care of, and to get frustrated is useless. The tubes are a part of me, and I have embraced them as a friend and not an enemy. With, in their many malfunctions and my body rejecting them, they have impacted my ability to receive the proper nutrition. “It is what it is” and that is true, but where is God in “it”? Am I including Him as the tubes fail me and I can’t use them to eat? Do I realize that He is my strength, and that my main source of nutrition comes in the Holy Eucharist that He allows me to receive every day? and if it weren’t for the Holy Eucharist, I would not be alive? Am I taking God for granted when I don’t tell Him how hard it is to tolerate the tubes and the many complications? Am I treating Him as my Lord and Savior, or am I trying to handle things on my own by diminishing and dismissing them every time I say the words “It is what it is? Is it grace that allows me to trust that things won’t defeat me, and that I can go with the flow, or is it impatience and just wanting to get past things?
These are questions that this challenge has brought me to ask myself. I believe that I need to think harder about life challenges and when I say “it is what it is” Am I saying it together with God or independently from God? The latter is a slippery slope, in that if I don’t acknowledge God’s presence and help in the “it” I am not surrendering or trusting God completely, but rather ignoring, diminishing and dismissing “It”. As I have reflected on the glimpse for this week, I have come to recognize and trust that God has brought me to where I am today. When I say “it is what it is”, I believe that I am saying it with a desire to completely trust God and His continued graces to get me through the” its” of my life.
So, as we begin a new week on this happy Saint Patrick’s Day, I pose the questions for daily reflection; What are the “its” of your life, and how do you pray with them? Is the “it is what it is”:
SUNDAY – “FAITH”- “Faith is what faith is”
What is your faith to you? Is it important enough to nurture and grow in, or is it a token gift from God that you turn to when things get rough and you need help? When you say” It is what it is” and you are referring to your faith, are you saying that because you feel that what you learned, grew up believing and hold on to, is significant, transforming and life changing? Or do you say that because you think that faith is something insignificant, unhelpful and more like a crutch, and that you have managed all this time without using it anything as a crutch?
What is your faith to you? Today, look at how you think about your faith and how it impacts and changes your daily life. Our faith “is what it is” but Jesus makes “it” more than stagnant, He invites us to make it an opportunity to grow, learn and experience life changing transformation. Are you ready to make your “it” life changing?
MONDAY- “LIFE” “Life is what Life is”
What does life mean to you? If life is what it is, what does that mean to you? As you look back at your life and everything, both positive and negative, are you seeing God in the picture and if so, where, and if not, why? When you say “it is what it is”, and you are looking back at certain situations and life challenges are you trying to dismiss the impact that the challenges have made because of fears, pain, hurt and dismissing them with the phrase is easier? When you look back on your life and you say “it is what it is” are you seeing everything and blanketing it all with a statement that doesn’t recognize where God is or was? Or when you look at your life and you say “it is what it is” you are recognizing that what God has designed is His design, and all that has occurred has been a part to His design, and has made you who you are today? It is not stagnant but rather an invitation for life changing, transforming and renewing experience?
What is life to you? Today, as you look at your life and how you have gotten to be where you are, and who you are today, are you able to recognize that God has been an integral part of your life and has been you silent, joyful, steady partner through all of life challenges, obstacles, and victories?
TUESDAY – “DEATH” “Death is what death is”
Death is a subject or topic that many folks do not like to discuss, yet it is the one act that will affect every person on this earth. Why are people afraid to talk about death? Is it death that frightens them or is it the not knowing the way in which they will pass from this life to the next? As faithful followers of Christ, we have the promise of eternal life and the assurance not only that we will see God face to face, but that we will also be reunited with our loved ones who have gone before us in faith. Death is our final act on the stage of life. I believe that we go through our life living as the best person that we can, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. As we prepare to return home, either via a long illness, accident, or age, we begin to look at our life and take stock in it. Our God doesn’t want to meet us face to face with regrets but rather peace. He knows our sins and forgives them, and we need to let them go so that our journey to heaven is a journey of freedom and not burdened by carrying our past life of poor choices, mistakes, weaknesses or sins.
We need to look at our life and ask for mercy, seek to extend mercy and trust in the all loving God who gave Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice so that we can get to heaven. Do you believe this?
Death is what death is. No one can escape it, it can be painful and painfilled, it can also be a journey of peace and transformation as well as one of anticipation. Death is not the end but a new and eternal beginning, and it is in that beginning where we see that our life was not lived in vain, but with purpose and conviction.
The worst death is not the physical one, but rather the spiritual death that occurs while we are still here on earth, where we allow our spiritual relationship with God to die because we choose not to nourish it with the Sacraments of the Church, being in the presence of a community of believers, or by developing a personal prayer life. But like the final act of death, when we choose to reconnect with our God, He is right there to give us new life, right there to resurrect our hope, joy, and peace with His mercy, reconciliation, compassion and understanding.
Are you facing a type of death today? How can you experience that peace that Christ wants for you amid the thoughts of death: either the fear of it, the spiritual aspect or the immediate reality of you preparing to meet God face to face? In any case, if you are preparing to meet your God face to face, or you are experiencing the death of how your body is reacting to age or circumstances: aches, pains, limitations, arthritis, cancers, Alzheimer’s, or any other disease where your youth, your abilities are no longer what they were, turn to the God who calls you His beloved child and is waiting to embrace you here and now. His embrace will bring peace instead of fear, calm instead of turbulence, love instead of hate and surrender instead of regret.
Only in death can we experience new life. Take this lent to look at your mini deaths, the experiences that keep you in the tomb and seek to come out so that you can revel in the new life that Christ died for.
WEDNESDAY – “AGING” “Aging is what aging is”
Aging is a process that when we are younger we can’t wait to be older, when we are growing older, we wish that we can return to the days of our youth, and when we reach certain age milestones, we are gently, or not so gently, reminded that the hill is steep, and the road down can be more challenging than we grew up thinking it could or would be.
Aging is what aging is and exactly what is it? For me, it is a gift from God to learn, grow, change, acknowledge and let go. As I have gotten older, and have faced many health and life challenges on the way, I have been given the grace to see God in them. It is in my spiritual maturity, where I was able to surrender to God and seek the wisdom that comes from Him, so that I could make the right choice and grow in a greater understanding of how I was being called to grow from my lived experience.
Aging can be a gift of freedom to celebrate or a burden to lament. I don’t think that only older people get sick or face major health challenges, it just seems that the older one gets, they choose to be empowered by complaining and making their illnesses a part of their daily litany. That is where it is seen as more of a burden and not a blessing or an opportunity to be more selfless and live as a person of peace, joy and happiness.
As we all age, let us be mindful that it is an opportunity not only to appreciate the many gifts that come with aging, but also to take the opportunity to surrender those things that make the journey burdensome.
Today, look at the many gifts that you have at your age. The gift of your life long faith, family, community, grandchildren, grand dogs, retirement, health, church, community and most of all, a grateful heart, one that has been expanded throughout the years and now is ready and open to receive God’s love as He chooses to share it.
THURSDAY – “SUFFERING” “Suffering is what suffering is”
Suffering is a part of life, as well as death, we suffer within our families, because of our families, through the aging process and because of sin. Yet that is not the end. As Christians, we were baptized into the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He knows suffering. He suffered most of all for you and me.
Suffering takes many forms: pain, anguish, sorrow, or torment. It is in the moments that we suffer we can choose to see Christ with us, or away from us. Jesus understands us when we feel abandoned, even though we are never abandoned. He understands and can handle our anger, frustration, fury, self-pity, as well as our surrender, peace and calm. Suffering is what it is, but it has a purpose and it is in the purpose that we can grow out of our self, see others who are also suffering and seek to walk with them. When we suffer, we tend to think that we won’t or can’t make it through. We think that we are not strong enough or have the courage or determination, yet as we look back, we see those as non-truths and see more clearly how we were strong, had the courage and the determination to overcome the obstacles, and that our suffering has made us the strong and resilient person we are today.
Today, look back at the crosses that you have carried or are carrying and ask for the grace to see how you have grown from them and how they have made you a stronger, more resilient person that you are today.
FRIDAY---- “FAMILY” “Family is what family is”
Family is what it is, that can be a positive statement that invokes good memories, or negative ones. Family can be the immediate members, or extended members, members of religious community, or foster families. The gift of family and each of its members is meant to be treated with dignity, respect and honor because each individual is God’s beloved son or daughter. As family is a gift, but like every gift, the recipients can nurture the gift, appreciate the gift, bless the gift or abuse, neglect or turn away from the gift. When we grow, we see the flaws of family members and have the choice to love or reject them.
I am not going to delve into the dysfunctional family or the functional family, but rather how we respond in faith to our family situations.
Family is what it is. What does that mean and how does that statement affect you today? If you come from a dysfunctional family, are you still bearing the wounds or the scars? Have you accepted the grace from God to not only see the members of your family as human beings that are weak and sinful, but also want to forgive them? You are the only one carrying the pain, so why continue to give them the control over you experiencing the true joy, peace and happiness that God wants for you.
If you come from a loving family, are you able to thank God for them or have you taken their love for granted? We don’t say thank you enough for the good things that we have been blessed with
Our family, whether it be dysfunctional or functional, is where God placed us to take root and grow. There is a bond, a DNA that keeps us as one, no matter where we are in the world. I believe that that bond is what can bring reconciliation, love, mercy to each member with the grace and help of God
Although this may not be possible in all family situations, we still have the grace of God to pray for it and to sincerely desire it.
Today, pray for your family. Pray for those that have caused you harm and pray for those that helped you heal, pray for those far away and those near and dear, and remember that as you pray for various members, that they are also God’s beloved sons and daughters and where your love is lacking, God’s love is overflowing.
SATURDAY – “SIN” “Sin is what sin is”
“Sin is what it is” When we choose to sin, it is an instrument, a tool, a wedge, that the devil uses to tear us away from God and make us think or believe that we are unloved, unlovable, unredeemable because of our sin. The devil is the greatest liar. There is no sin that can make God love us less. We are His beloved children, called by name and His greatest creation. God so loved us that He sent His only Son to suffer and die for us. Sin is a choice of the free will, but so is the love and mercy of God and the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. Forgiveness by God is always there for us. As we receive God’s mercy because of His unconditional love and compassion, we are called to extend it to others.
Sin is our weaknesses at their strongest moment. When we are so weak, due to weariness, temptations, physical, emotional or spiritual exhaustion, we give in to the weakness because we don’t think that we can fight or resist, yet it is those weakest moments, where God is waiting and wants to remind us that it is weakness that His power is greatest.
We cannot dismiss sin just by saying “it is what it is”, because then it seems like an excuse to keep sinning, because one thinks that they have no control. YET we have the most control over sin because God gave us free will and when we sin, He gives us the sacrament of reconciliation, the desire for conversion, to make amends and try harder. I believe that we are sinners striving to become saints. Saints are those who did ordinary things in an extraordinary way. SO for today, look at sin, look at yourself and see the extraordinary person that you are, the person that God sees and pray to overcome the weaknesses that cause you to sin, and begin with the reality, the truth, that there is no sin that can make God love you less.
Glimpse of God for the week of March 10, 2019
My glimpse of God for this week comes as I reflect on the season of lent and how I am called to live in light of God’s great unconditional love and mercy
In the barrenness of lent, in the depths of the darkness of sin, in the grips of worry, with the weight of our heavy crosses bringing us down and our suffering, we have Jesus Christ who has already walked in our shoes, taken on our burdens and then nailed them to the cross.
But before He died He gave us three gifts":
The gift of mercy "Father forgive them for they not what they do", The gift of Hope: This day you will be with me in paradise, and the gift of Motherly love: Mother behold your Son, Son behold your mother.
These gifts given to us from Jesus out of love, in love and for love. He wants us to love, forgive and be at peace with others so that we can be at peace with Him and our self.
He wants us to know that there is always hope and that we should never despair.
He has also given us Mary, His Mother and ours, to help us on our way to become closer to Him.
She is a great intercessor as many mothers here on earth are. She presents our needs to Her Son and He takes them, looks at us and answers them with a true and unconditional love, as He knows they would serve us best.
Lent is a time to reflect on the gift of life and love.
Life, the gift of His life that we are given in the Holy Eucharist and the gifts and graces that are found in the Sacraments of the Church. Life, our very life and breath is God's gift to us. Every breath is His gift to us and we should strive to be His breath of life to all those that we encounter.
The Gift of Love. He gave of Himself, He suffered and died in and out of complete love for us.
Would we do the same for Him or another?
Lent can be a great season to grow in our faith life and in our love for God, others and self. We must be open to His graces and the invitation to stretch our spiritual comfort zone. We should trust that whatever He calls us to do, be, leave behind or embrace, will make us a greater reflection, beacon and instrument of His presence in our world. Are we ready? are we open?
Just a reflection for this week,
take each topic and each day and seek to grow to a better understanding
of how you may be called to grow in holiness…….
LENT IS A TIME TO:
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 and have the potential to become. We are called to surrender 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 can’t do what God knows we can and invites us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will.
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 renew us so that we are a more clear and visible sign of His presence here on earth.
LOVE ourselves and others, especially those who don’t like us, 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. We are called to love, not merely put up with, but love one another as they are called to love us. Love is greater than like. Love is nothing less than giving your heart to God and allowing Him to expand it to include and embrace those who we don’t like, get along with, or are estranged from. When we can give our hearts to God trusting that however He chooses to expand it, then we are also trusting Him to grace us so that we can love our self more deeply and authentically.
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. "Forgive them for they know not what they do”
BE STILL so that you can feel the gentle breeze of God’s Spirit as He touches your heart and opens it to His healing love and deep abiding peace. AND KNOW THAT HE IS GOD
NOT BE BUSY just for the sake of being busy or to run from anything. Lent is a time to listen as God tells you that there is only one thing that matters to Him. That you know and believe with all your heart that you are His greatest creation, His beloved son or daughter, that He loves you just as you are, and that His love for you is free, unconditional and everlasting.
LOOK OUT THE WINDOW and see and appreciate His presence in all of His creation; the sun, the moon, the stars, the grass, the creatures that crawl about and those that hover over, the people that we know and the stranger that we pass by, the beauty of the day, the beauty in the hearts of those that care about us and the beauty of a God who cares even more for you.
TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR BUT NOT IF you are looking to point out your sins, your flaws, your weaknesses or your shortcomings, but only if you are looking to remind yourself that you are loved by God just as you are because His love is much greater than all of these. 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.
AS LENT GRADUALLY comes to an end, and 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, 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
Glimpse of God for the week of March 3, 2019
The Doorknob is my glimpse of God for this week. Sister MTC at the Assisi House challenged me to write on the doorknob with daily reflections. So here it is.
The Sisters at the Assisi House have been under quarantine for the past two-weeks due to the flu. This meant that they had to stay in their rooms and were not able to leave their rooms for any reason. Their doors remained shut, they could not leave and only the medical staff were able to enter. The Sisters, as ones who are compliant, chose to follow the rules and keep their doors closed, not locked, for their health and well-being as well as the health and well-being of the others.
Although the doors were closed, Christ entered their rooms, the rooms of their heart, mind, and spirit many years ago, and as they chose to stay behind closed doors, Christ chose to dwell in their silence, in their boredom, in their weariness, in their frustration and in their surrender, and as He dwelt among them, they were able to withstand not being able to leave their rooms. They probably looked at the door and wanted to turn the knob and leave many times, but chose to stay still. The doors that lead to others, had to remain closed.
Although most of us are not under quarantine, we sometimes choose to leave doors closed. We choose not to turn the knob so that the door to our heart, mind and spirit is open. Sometimes this is due to injuries that have been inflicted upon us by others, or it is because we are feeling the effect of our own weakness and sin and out of shame, choose to hind behind closed doors. There are times when we choose not to open the door, but rather keep it ajar so that we can see what is happening and be prepared. If we like what we see, we choose to open the door more, and if we are afraid, we slam the
door quickly. In either case, we are trying to control the situation and not allow God to show us what we need to see so that we can truly open the door and allow Him in.
We all have doors that we choose to keep open or shut, with these doors we hold onto the knob so tight that it can hurt. When we do this, we are not welcoming God in or those He sends us to show us how to be open to His healing. Christ is at the door of our heart, mind and spirit all the time and He understands us when we are afraid and ashamed and when we choose to lock the door and He eagerly waits for us to unlock it. He rejoices when we come to unlock the door and He is very merciful and patient when we want to keep it ajar or locked.
This week as you reflect on the doorknob and how you choose to grasp it, look at the doors to your heart, mind and spirit and pray to recognize why you open some doors and close others. If you realize that some doors are locked, ask for the grace to unlock them trusting that Christ will help you overcome your fears and hurts. If the doors are ajar and waiting for you to open them completely, ask for the grace to allow God to surprise you instead of you needing to be in control. If the doors are open, thank God for the graces that have enabled you to turn the knob so that the doors remain open.
SUNDAY – “THE DOOR”
We are familiar with the picture where Christ is at the door waiting. There is no doorknob because HE is waiting for us to open the door to our heart, mind and spirit, and invite Him in. He has His head bowed a little as if He is listening to us and wanting us to open the door so that He can speak to us directly without any thing in the way.
What do we put in the way? What is keeping the door to our heart, mind and spirit closed, or locked? As Christ listens to your heart, mind and spirit, how do you want Him to respond? If He wants to unlock the doors are you ready to give Him the key? If He wants to open the doors just a little bit more, are you ready to trust Him? If the doors are wide open and you are feeling blessed, are you ready to thank Him and those who have helped you to open the doors and not hide behind them?
MONDAY – “IN REACH”
The doorknob on most doors is reachable and easy to grasp. For adults, it is not usually too high or too low so that you cannot turn it. With the doors to our heart, mind and spirit, Christ puts the knob where we can reach it, it is very visible and easy to turn. The knob is usually round, to me this symbolizes the eternal love, hope and presence of Christ in our life. He has no beginning or end. No matter where we are on our spiritual earthly journey, the doorknob is always on our side so that we always have the option to open the door to Christ.
What are you reaching for? Is it something that will allow you to open the doors to your heart, mind and spirit wider, like God’s compassion, peace, reconciliation, or healing? Or are you reaching for something that will help you close the doors so that you can hide, like anger, bitterness, resentment or shame? Christ is reaching out and wants to touch you, allow Him and you will feel the healing touch of His great love for you.
TUESDAY – “LOCKED”
Is your doorknob locked because you have been hurt and are afraid of being hurt again? Is your door locked to deter another from entering the room of your heart, mind and spirit because you feel that you would be judged and seen as less than?....Do you feel safer behind closed and locked doors?
Christ gets it and understands when and why we choose to not grasp that doorknob to open the door. BUT He also doesn’t want us to hide because of our fears, misunderstandings, insecurities or sinfulness. When we choose to keep the doors locked and stay away from them so that the door can remain closed, we are choosing to dwell in darkness and not choose to live in the light. Christ is our light and our salvation, whom shall we fear? We lock many doors throughout our life, but we can always unlock them with God’s help and grace. The difficulty in unlocking doors is that we don’t know what is waiting on the other side of the door, or who will be holding the doorknob as we turn it from our side. Are you willing to take that leap of faith and trust that God will be on the other side with His graces and His love.
WEDNESDAY – “UNLOCKED”
Congratulations on the unlocked doors of your heart, mind and spirit. Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the Lenten season. As you reflect on what spiritual sacrifices you will make, how you desire to experience personal transformation and conversion, and how you will serve the poor, pray that as you walk these forty days, that the doors to your heart, mind and spirit will be more open more so that others will see the presence of Christ in and through your prayers, deeds, actions, and attitudes. Let this lent not be about giving up candy or things, but rather giving up those things or aspects of your life that keep you from being the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become. Let this lent be about unlocking the doors that are keeping Christ out and locking the doors to keep the devil and his temptations at a distance.
THURSDAY – “THE TUMBLER”
The tumbler is what keeps the doorknobs on the door perfectly aligned so that they turn, lock and unlock properly. The tumbler is what connects the doorknobs on both sides of the door. If it isn’t properly aligned, the doorknobs won’t turn, lock unlock but rather they will get stuck and cause one to be locked in, unable to get out without help.
What do you hold onto to keep connected to Christ? What keeps you aligned with His will for you and you following Him? Is it your prayer life? The Sacraments? Your community? Your family? Your church? How do you stay connected without
getting frustrated and discouraged when things seem unaligned or out of order? Without a tumbler, the doorknobs would not stay on the door. Without Christ, we cannot stay the course and see our way to eternal life when our earthly journey is ended.
As you look to what keeps you connected to Christ: try to be a “tumbler” to another who is struggling to keep their life aligned with Christ. For some, you may be the only source of grace, inspiration, hope and healing that they have and if you reach out to them and seek to connect them with Christ, they will have the opportunity to be connected again and regain their spiritual alignment.
FRIDAY – “THE KEY”
The key to the doorknob allows one to open it so that the door can be open or remain locked. The key in our faith life is our free will. Christ gives us the key or our free will so that we can choose to be in relationship with Him and not be forced into a relationship with Him. The key that unlocks the door to our hearts, spirit and mind is Christ. As followers of Christ; baptized into his passion death and resurrection, we have been given the gift of eternal life. The key that will unlock the door to eternal life, the key that will gain us true happiness and peace is our faith in Christ and desire to follow In His footsteps.
What key do you hold? If you were to lose the key, would your spiritual life be in danger? What would you need to do to
unlock the doors so that you can be in relationship with Christ? Our free will can bring us close to Christ or keep us away from Him. When we choose to use the key to keep the doors of our heart, mind and spirit unlocked and open, they we are choosing to trust Him and follow His will and not our own.
SATURDAY – YOUR HANDS
As one looks to unlocking the door, getting out the door, escaping the quarantine, one needs to use your hands. Your hands are the very instruments that God gave you to lift up another, to reach out in peace and mercy to another, and in friendship with another. Our hands are hands that come together in prayer, are raised in praise and clap in joy. As the Sisters rejoice in the ending of the quarantine, I am sure that their hands came together in a prayer of thanksgiving and continued healing for those who are still suffering from the flu. I am sure that they came together in praise to God for keeping them healthy and respectful of the rules when it was most difficult and challenging. I am sure that they wanted to clap as they went to their door, turned the knob and found that they were able to walk into the hall way once again.
As you reflect on your hands, how have they been used to unlock doors this week? Lift up others? Help another? In prayer? As you look at the many doorknobs that you have turned, have more been to doors that have been unlocked or locked? As you have brought your hands together in prayer, have your prayers been to unlock the door to your heart, mind and spirit, so that Christ can enter in more freely? As you reflect on opening your hands in prayer, have you tried to surrender your free will to God, so that He can replace your will with His divine and holy will? Only when our hands are open, are we able to receive what God has in store for us and wants to freely give us. Are you open to receive that gift?
Glimpse of God for the week of February 24, 2019
My Glimpse of God for this week comes from things that are placed in your lap, maybe not by you or that you would invite, but by the grace of God are placed there for a reason that He believes you need to recognize. When you hold something on your lap, it requires that you keep both hands on it, that you don’t get up too quickly and that you don’t ignore it. God places many blessings on our lap, and yet we don’t always recognize them as a blessing but more as a burden.
The Sisters at Assisi House have been under the weather with the flu bug.
The house has been under quarantine where the Sisters have had to stay in their rooms and have not been allowed to have any visitors, not even Clover. Although it is for their own good, how often do we not see things as “for our own good”? More so, how has “for their own good” affected the healthy sisters. Some people would just do what they wanted and not care about others who are sick or spreading the germs that might cause another to also get the flu.
But the Sisters are different. They realize that as a resident of Assisi House, they are more vulnerable and they need to take care of themselves as best they can. How does this become a blessing in their lap? I don’t think that many would think it is, especially if they are sick.
When we are healthy, we want to do what we can while we can. We want to make the best of each day and not let any moment be wasted. We try to do it all. AND when our all is challenged unexpectedly, by illness, worries, stresses or loss, we don’t handle it well. The flu is one of the unexpected challenges that strikes the entire family weather it be a family with parents and children or a religious community, all members are affected and it is in the spirit of family love that the blessing on their lap is then recognized.
How? Because when we realize that others are suffering, those who don’t necessarily have the strength to cope, our first thought is to pray to God to give them what He knows they need to overcome their suffering and carry their cross. The blessing in their lap is their compassion and love. When the healthy ones seem to have to endure isolation, and other restrictions, this can be difficult, yet the blessing in their lap is their desire to stay healthy and follow the rules so that they can remain healthy even though they would rather not face any restrictions.
The blessing in the lap of the Sisters is their deep faith life and in the challenges that they face, they realize that God is with them and as He abides in them, He isn’t requiring them to do more than they can. They might not be able to focus on their prayers or be in silence all day and that is okay. They might feel anxious, frustrated or tired of being sick and tired, and that is okay too because God is feeling anxious, frustrated and tired with them. God knows our limitations and as our creator who loves us unconditionally, He sees all that He created as good, so we too must do the same. The blessing in our lap is to see God as the one who is cradling us, embracing us and loving us in and during our limitations, frustrations and weariness. One Sister said that she can’t pray all day. I don’t think that she isn’t praying all day, I think that her prayer is different and the blessing in her lap from God is to recognize how her compassion, concern, compliance, respect for her family and her humility is God’s response to her prayers.
As you begin this week, try to see with the eyes of God, and recognize the blessings that are being placed in your lap, be it through or with something that seems ordinary, or an unexpected challenge, or in someone that you are close to or estranged from. God sees through and to the heart, not just the surface, and since we are all God’s children we can and are called to do the same.
Sunday – (in the Mass)
The Eucharist is our greatest gift; it is our spiritual nourishment that can give us spiritual, physical and emotional strength if we are open. The next time you are at Mass, where you think it is the same thing week after week, try to listen to the readings with your heart and hear the message of the good news that Jesus is trying to tell you directly. As you receive the Body and Blood of Jesus, don’t just return to your pew and think of what you are going to do today, but try to see the special gift of the Eucharist as Jesus giving you a spiritual hug and allow yourself to be embraced by Him. Hugs are great to receive, one from Jesus is the best and you deserve the best.
Monday – (in your closest family member)
Do you really appreciate your family members? Do you take them for granted? They may be the same people that you see every day and maybe you don’t see anything special about them, but they are special. Today take a moment to see with the eyes of your heart, a unique and special aspect of them; a special talent or gift that they have been blessed with, the way that they treat you, their smile or their sense of humor, or their ability to make you feel better. Whatever you can find in them, take a moment to say thank you.
Tuesday - (in the person you are physically or emotionally distant from)
There may be those in your life that have caused you harm and you are now estranged from.
Yet, if we are being honest with our self and God, we all have caused others harm. We are all guilty of saying or doing something that has hurt another, just maybe not to the same extent that we feel we have been hurt. As part of the year of mercy, but more importantly, as part of your healing process, pray for that person. Sincerely pray for that person. Pray for whatever is best for them as only God knows. Pray for your strength that you may reach out to them in a spirit of reconciliation, healing and peace. God hears and will answer your prayer.
Wednesday – (in the experience that occupies most of your day)
In your routine and ordinary day, try to see God and His blessings that are being presented to you through the ordinary and routine. In the ordinary and daily commute, routine schedule, work load, conversations, try and see God peeking through and speaking to you by the gift of employment, the quiet time of commuting, the work that you perform, the conversations that you are a part of. Blessings can fall right in our lap and yet we don’t look that close to see them. We tend to look outside or away from, yet our daily life is in our lap. The bodies lap is where God chooses to place Himself. The lap is where others can sit and give us a hug. It is where parents can place their children to talk to them and comfort them. It is the place where we place our arms when we pray as a sign of openness. It is a place where we put things so that we can look at them better. It is a place where you can’t miss if anything is on it. God places His blessings on our lap to remind us that He is so close even when we think He is so far.
Thursday – (in your neighbor)
Your neighbors, do you know them? Do you just see them as they are coming and going? Do you have a chance to converse with them? They are what make up your neighborhood community. Today, whether you see them from a distance or have a good relationship with them, try to see the important role they play in making your neighborhood community the safe, close, pleasant atmosphere that it is. As you do this, can you recognize that they are God’s beloved sons and daughters, and in being His beloved they are joined with you as part of His spiritual family? In a spirit of gratitude, how would you like God to bless them? What would you like to see occur to those who make your community what it is? Pray for this.
Friday – (in your best talent)
Can you and do you see that your talents and gifts are from God? Do you see that they are blessings that are unique to you? Whether you have been acknowledging your talents and gifts from a very young age or as you grew up, or are they something that you have just gotten used to? Do you see them as anything special, just something that you grew up with or grew up doing?
They have been in your lap for a long time and God continues to bless you with them so that you can share them with others. How do you share your gifts and talents with others?
Can you identify them with a sense of humility, pride and gratitude? Or does an ego slip in there and you find yourself saying how great and good you are and it becomes all about you? I would say with the latter, that they may have fallen off your lap and you need to pick them up, dust them off and reverently place them back on your lap with a prayer that you never let them fall off again. Your gifts and talents are God’s gift to you that as you share them, others see that they also have a gift to share. If one is selfish the other will not have the grace filled glimpse from you to see that God has also blessed them. God’s gift to you are your special gifts and talents, how you use them to glorify God is your gift to God.
Saturday – (in the person of YOU)
YOU are an extraordinary person that acts in ordinary ways. You probably don’t see that anything you say or do is anything special or different than the next person, BUT you are wrong. You are a blessing from God for and to others. You are God’s beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. There is nothing ordinary about you. To God, you are a gift and a blessing. You are a glimpse, and you are love. Do you believe this? Do you hear God speaking to your heart and telling this to you? When He speaks to you do you listen or turn the channel? Hello! God never stops loving us or speaking to us. It is we who stop listening to Him. So today allow His message of love to penetrate and permeate your very being and see yourself as the blessing and gift that you are.
It is your lap that God is sitting on, hugging you and placing His blessings on every day; so just don’t stand up too quickly!
Have a blessed week!
Glimpse of God for the week of February 17, 2019.
Have you ever experienced the sense of awe and wonder? Do you remember when you were left speechless and could not put into words what you were feeling? Can you remember the last time you were caught by surprise?
This week’s Glimpse of God comes from what we probably perceive as "ordinary", but is actually
Whether you live a life full of chaos, fun and excitement or one that seems mundane, boring and simple, the main character in your life is YOU.
You are the main character in your life and others are your supporting cast. The life that you have is God's gift to you, to be lived to the best of your ability and potential, and one that promotes and builds up the Kingdom of God here on earth. Everyone is different and everyone's life is different. Although there may be others with the same first and last name as you, you are one of a kind, there is no one like you nor will there be anyone like you to come. (I am not supporting selfishness or self-centeredness, but rather calling us to recognize our uniqueness as God does.)
As you focus on your life, begin by looking at your body, not whether you think it is too big or too small, too fat or too thin, too short or too tall, but more importantly that God has chosen to dwell within you and that you are His holy temple. God's temple is never too....., only.....or just...., but rather perfect in His eyes.
As you look at your body, then reflect on all that it can do, not what it can't, and honor those activities. Whether you can put your hands to work or together to pray, or you can use your legs to drive, or walk in the shoes of one who is less fortunate, or you can use your voice to call a friend or family member or whisper words of mercy and healing to one who has injured you, these activities are not "ordinary" but "extraordinary" because they are done in and out of love, both God for you, and you for God and others. When we can begin to see and honor the "ordinary" it is then that we see more clearly how "extraordinary" it can be and really is.
The bridge that makes our life "extraordinary" vs "ordinary" is where we encounter God and desire to be in relationship with Him. When we meet God where we are, and decide that we want Him to take us where He wants us to be, then we begin to be and act in extraordinary ways. We act as one who has not only encountered the living God, but who has seen him face to face. When we choose to be with God, it is then that we change and become God centered. It is in that encounter where God chose again to dwell in our heart and it is in that encounter where our lives go from ordinary to extraordinary.
How often do these encounters take place? These encounters take place as often as one recognizes God and desires to grow in relationship with Him. Only you can recognize, decide and answer!
So as you look at yourself, try not to be critical, but rather honor and reverence yourself. Honor your body, your mind, your spirit, your whole being, because it is the instrument that God uses as He chooses to encounter you on your journey of life, faith and personal transformation.
As you answer the questions that I stated above, try to imagine that God is looking at you in awe and wonder, that He is speechless when you choose Him over the other 'gods' society has placed before Him, and that He is happy to be surprised when one of His sons or daughters returns after a long journey. Our God is not a God who lives in heaven, but rather dwells in our hearts and is reflected by how we open the doors of our hearts so that He can be seen.
As you begin a new week, REFOCUS and TRY to see yourself as the extraordinary and gifted son or daughter of God that you are. Once you see yourself as the special person that you are, it is then that you crossed over from “ordinary” to “extraordinary”, God has entered your heart and you have allowed God to make Himself known. Our God is the God of the extraordinary and surprising not of the routine and ordinary. Our free will, our surrender and trust in God can prompt surprises and calls us out of our comfort zone, our normal routine and habits
SUNDAY – “R” REFLECT
Take time to reflect on the person that you are; the beloved son or daughter of God, His most cherished child, loved unconditionally and beyond belief.
As you reflect and look in the mirror to see the wonderful person that God has created, seek to see at least one aspect of your person that you would like to change, and ask for the grace to change. For instance, pray for the grace to be thankful for your God given gifts and talents and take compliments because of them, instead of dismissing or diminishing them, or your reluctance to forgive or seek forgiveness.
For Today Reflect on what God is calling you to do so that you can better recognize His presence within yourself and how He has called you to be His beacon to others.
MONDAY – “E” EMBRACE
Embrace your giftedness and don’t push it away. Your giftedness is God’s gift to you and how you honor reverence it is a sign of your love for God.
You have many gifts and talents because you are deeply blessed, but as humans we don’t want to be too proud so we diminish any compliments about our gifts and talents to “it’s nothing, anyone can do that…..” So not true. A gift is a great something, and not anyone can use your gift as God wants you to. Your gift from God is especially chosen and created for you so be grateful humble and happy
For Today –Ask for the grace to recognize at least five of your gifts and talents, but also how you may better use them to show the glory of God in your life
TUESDAY – “F” FOCUS
Focus on the positive and see any negative as an opportunity for personal and spiritual transformation and growth.
Focus on your positive attributes, there are many. For instance: Your ability to be present to others, your desire to help those in need, your knack to lift up the spirits of someone who is experiencing the weight of a heavy cross, your selflessness to lift in prayer those who have entrusted their needs to you. BUT as you do this, God may reveal to you how you can be better, more patient with yourself perhaps, more forgiving of yourself and others, don’t take this as a punishment or a reason to be down on yourself, but more of God revealing to you what He knows you can be and have the potential to become. Rejoice He believes in you as others also do.
For today Ask for the grace to realize your potential as God sees it.
WEDNESDAY – “O” OPEN
Open the doors of your heart so that His mercy, compassion, peace, joy, happiness and love can enter in. Open the doors to invite people in and not shut them out.
Sometimes we close the doors of our hearts because we are afraid to trust others due to negative experiences in the past or even in the present. God understands our reluctance, but God does not want us to have to doors of our hearts closed to others, because when we do, we are closing them to Him and failing to see His presence in others,
For today Ask for the grace to open the doors that are closed and seek help to let others in.
THURSDAY – “C” CLOSE
Close your eyes when you can only see the negative about yourself and not anything positive. Close your mind to the tapes that play from your past that continue to squash your self-esteem,
diminish your self-worth, and destroy your inner goodness and outer greatness. Closing these aspects will not allow the negative to continue to enter in and take control. Instead seek to be more open so that you can allow God to take control and show you that which He knows will bring you closer and nearer to Him.
For Today Ask for the grace to know when to close your eyes and when to be open, when to let go of what you see, and when to embrace what you see. What you see is only one aspect, but God sees, loves and embrace the big picture of YOU.
FRIDAY – “U” UNLOCK
Unlock the doors that keep others out and keep you isolated, clean the mirrors that keep you from seeing yourself as God truly sees you, and unlock the windows that keep you from looking out and seeing the beautiful creation that God has made.
We have mirrors, we have windows and we have doors. Mirrors can allow us to see our self as God sees us, windows can allow us to see the God in others and in His creation, and doors can allow others in , BUT to see as God sees either in the mirror or out the window, or through the door, we need to clean the mirror off, open the doors and windows, to have them unlocked, if you will, and want to see with eyes of God and not the eyes of society. We are influenced by society and we allow our identity to be that of the world. Our identity is that we are God’s beloved children, in the world but not of the world, what we do does not impact our indelible baptismal identity as God children. How we live and love is what others see and calls us to be our true and authentic self.
For Today Ask for the grace to ask for the key to unlock the doors and windows and lean the mirrors that are keeping you from seeing yourself and others as God’s beloved children, unconditionally loved and forgiven.
SATURDAY – “S” SOFTEN
Soften the hardness of heart, mind and spirit that is keeping you from experiencing the gentle touch and the soft whisper of God.
Sometimes our hearts are like hard butter, you need to let it stay out so that it spread easier and not make things crumble. If we approach our weaknesses or those of others with a hard heart and response, we are not spreading God’s love but rather offering it in messy bits and pieces. ’
For today Ask for the grace to hold back from saying anything that will hurt another, make their hearts hardened or cause them to want to run from you instead of seeking the God that is in you. Soften your approach to how you deal with your impatience, anger, frustration, stress or exhaustion.
Glimpse of God for the week of February 10, 2019
My glimpse of God for this week comes from a seemingly unlikely source. As I think of a Glimpse of God and how He chooses to reveal Himself, I have come to realize it is not just in the how but also in the what. I think of not only how He chooses to reveal Himself and the message in that revelation, but also what does He use to show Himself and His message. He created all things and creatures, so He can choose to reveal His message, His presence, His love, in any way that humanity can behold it. For this week, I see His glimpse in the beauty of a big fish tank that stands in the lobby of the Assisi House, in the Clare unit as well as the one in Sister MTC’s room.
The beauty of the fish tank lies not only in the various types and sizes of fish, but also in the colorful decorations inside the tank, the beautiful crystal-clear water and the greenery that reaches up and stretches out with the water to help keep its shape.
How is a beautiful fish tank a glimpse of God? Besides in the calming effects that it holds for those who behold it, and the kaleidoscope of colorful fish that swim in it, it also tells a love story; the love of God for all His creation and the love of the Sisters for his creation.
The fish tank is a window to the world, their window to the human world and our window to their world. Living in a fish tank might seem constricting, perhaps controlled, but only if you are looking for it to be. The beauty of a fish tank filled with fish and other creatures can open one’s eyes to how God would like us to strive and imitate what we are beholding. As we go through another week, let us =begin it with a new set of eyes and seek to behold God’s beauty in the least of His creatures.
SUNDAY “THE GLASS FISH TANK”
The tank, the four walls if you will, that make a home for the many and varied fish and other creatures that live within it. How is a glass fish tank a Glimpse of God, or how can we see God by looking in it? The tank is the window to the world of the inhabitants. There is an automatic transparency. Nothing is hidden, no creature that is within its glass walls can really hide without being seen, yet all are safe. Isn’t that a good way to be? A life of transparency, a life with no barriers, obstructions or walls to hide behind, or keep others away. As a follower of Christ, we should be authentic, consistent and transparent, and not a hypocrite. The gospel of love, the gospel that Jesus preached is the one that we should strive to follow and live by. Our life should reflect a genuineness and authenticity from the inside out. We cannot lie to, deceive or run from God. God knows all and there is nothing hidden that He is not aware of. He doesn’t use His knowledge of our sinfulness against us, but rather He embraces our hearts with His hope, consolation, peace and compassion. He knows our hearts better that we do and when our heart, the home that He abides in, is broken, He wants to bring healing upon it and make it whole again. God seeks us out especially when we try to hide because we are ashamed, or embarrassed. We can choose to remain in the muddy waters of sin or bad choices, but His desire for us is that we come to Him, not run away. That we choose to be transparent, trusting that we can and will exude and reflect His love and mercy, peace and compassion because we want to be the best person that we can be and have the potential to become.
For today, seek to be more transparent because in your transparency, others will see your heart the heart of love, your love for God and others and God’s love for you.
MONDAY – THE WATER THAT FILLS THE FISH TANK
God gives us home here on earth, it may not be filled with water, but it is the waters of baptism that will being us to our heavenly home when our earthly journey has ended. The waters of new life, of renewal, of purification, are ours. Every time we bless our self with holy water, we are recalling our baptism with a prayer and the sign of the cross. The waters of baptism invite us to enter into the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is the passion and death where we encounter the devil’s temptations to resist Christ and be true to the gospel, but it is the same waters that remind us that Jesus is and will always be with us so that we can remain faithful. It is the waters of baptism that, although we may not be feeling the refreshing and cleansing experience that water brings, we are always living in the light and effects that our baptism forever gives us. The effects of our baptism enable us to live in union and love with each other. Notwithstanding our differences but in honor of them. Like the fish we can freely be our self, be true to our self and honor those we encounter as they too try to live and be true to them self as children of God.
For today, as you bless your self with holy water, recall the gift and cleansing power that it holds and seek to accept it, not reject it or dismiss it. You are blessed and a blessing, reverence your gift of self and that of others.
TUESDAY – THE FILTER
The filter in the fish tank is there to keep the water clean, to remove excess food and decaying organic matter, free floating stuff and the waste from the fish.
What is our filter? What do we, as Catholics, have to get rid of our waste those things that cause us to feel less than our better self, the best person that God created us to be? What does it look like? What keeps our souls clean our hearts open and our minds focused? The Church gives us the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist as our filters in union with our personal prayer life. God provides these filters so that we can stay focused on Christ. They allow us, or invite us, to be strengthened in body, mind and spirit so that we can be true to Him and to our self. They allow us to keep and open mind and open our hearts to Him and His great love for us so that we can share that love with each other, even those we do not know, but will encounter.
For today, say a prayer of gratitude for the gifts of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist, and remind your self that the graces received go a long way and are the filters that keep the wasteful things: revenge, anger, bitterness, resentment at a distance and bring the good: mercy, compassion, forgiveness, peace and joy, closer.
WEDNESDAY – THE STONES THAT CREATE THE FOUNDATION
Every stone in the tank exudes the beauty of God that each person on the in this case, fish, possesses. We are all unique in the eyes of God. We are all His beloved children, loved unconditionally and are His greatest creation. We are loved for who we are and not for what we do. Although the stones may all look alike, some are the same color and the same size, each one is different, no two stones are the same. We as humans are all different, there are no two humans that are the same. We all have the love of God in our heart that calls us to love and respond to love in our unique and individual way. The stones represent how we as humans can sometimes be: hard of heart, resisting of change, not wanting to be transformed, but rather stay just as we are. The stone, although entrenched in water, does not break down. We, if we choose not to recall our baptism or the filters that God gives us, cannot experience transformation or conversion, and we remain hard of heart. BUT if we allow the graces and filters of God to truly affect us, then like the stones, we add to the beauty of creation by being the loving, caring and giving people that God created us to be, and knows that we want to be. God knows that although we can sometimes be hard headed and hard of heart, we also have the potential to change and seek to be formed, reformed and transformed into the image and likeness of the true Body of Christ. If you removed any one of the stones, there would be a void, something would be missing. How much more would there be a void if one of us would be removed or worse yet, if we were to remove our self from interaction with others because of shame, sin or weakness? There would be a void, we would be missed. We all are called to build the Kingdom here on earth and we all add to the beauty of the Kingdom so when we pluck out or leave from our mission of co creating God’s kingdom here on earth, we then create a empty space that makes the big picture incomplete. When God calls us home, our hope is that whoever replaces or fills in for us so that the kingdom can continue to be built, it is by someone that we were witness to and will choose to follow Christ and b His witness as we tried to be.
For today, pray for those who have gone before you, and recall one aspect that they passed on to you that has inspired you to continue to be a co-creator in God’s kingdom here on earth.
THURSDAY - THE FISH
As one gazes into the fish tanks, the first and most beautiful sight is the movement of the many types of and varied sized fish that swim next to, underneath, around each other, without attacking each other. They, unlike humanity at times, all seem to get along despite their differences. There is not blatant killing of a small fish by a big fish, or the frog eating the small fish, if there were, the tank would be empty. Their habitat is a safe habitat because they have been carefully chosen and placed there, and the beauty that one beholds is how they an coexist with each other.
As members of the body of Christ, as His greatest creation, shouldn’t we, can’t we learn from the fish and try to get along with each other, especially those who are different and those who challenge us? We are called to be builders of God’s kingdom here on earth and as builders, we are going to work with those who are different: in race, religion, culture, yet desire to bring God’s love to the world as they understand it. We are called, not to judge, but to show mutual respect, and understanding and to live in unity with each other and our differences.
For today, let us strive to behold the beauty in another, especially in someone that you do not always get along with or see eye to eye with. Say a prayer of gratitude for them and the differences that they possess.
FRIDAY – THE FROG
The fish that swim and the frog that leaps up and down in the water, speak of our uniqueness and how we all blessed with different talents, and gifts that add to God’s big picture and beautiful creation. The frog is unique in that as a water frog he is content and happy living in the water. He can be seen though, swimming to the top to get air and then returning to the bottom when he has had enough.
I can’t help but imagine that we too as humans do the same thing. We run around, are busy about many things, that we don’t take the time to come up for air. We allow our self to get run down physically, emotionally and spiritually, and it isn’t until we realize that we cannot continue to keep going this way, that we feel that we are going to sink, we come up for air? What does that mean or look like? What is the air that we come up for? As believers the air that we seek to breathe is the Spirit and breath of God. It is the gentle whisper and voice that gives us direction and guides us on our earthly journey. We need God in our world, our community, our church, our family and our self to be our moral and spiritual compass so that we can stay the course and not be led to sink, but rather to swim and seek that air that refreshes us and gives us life. As God gives us air, our very next breath, we can choose to be the breath of life or the breath of death. We can build up another or we can tear down just in and by our words. The frog comes up for air on a regular basis, do we? Do we seek the fresh air of God or do we hold our breath, or are we short of breath?
For today, focus on your breathing and seek to be the breath of God in your words, both those you speak and those you pray.
SATURDAY – THE BIG PICTURE
God dwells in all His creatures. We as humans have been given the responsibility to carefully and lovingly take care of those less fortunate, the vulnerable and the helpless. The fish and the frog in the tank are symbolic of the kaleidoscope of the many facets and forms of creation. The fish, the frog, the greenery, the props, the stones, the water, all are needed and desired to make the inhabitants happy so that they can coexist with each other.
The fish that can swim about freely, happily and without heavy burdens to carry or crosses that weigh them down. Isn’t that what God wants for you? To be free and cast your worries on Him?
The frog that can leap happily in the water and yet is able to come up for air, not out of desperation or exhaustion, but rather energy so that he can continue to live happily and freely in the water with the fish? Isn’t that what God wants for us? Not to come to Him so much out of desperation and exhaustion but more so out of love and the desire to be life giving and truly happy?
The stones that lay a beautiful foundation. We are God’s beautiful foundation, all with different gifts and talents that make the kingdom a beautiful kaleidoscope of love to behold.
And my favorite the greenery…You can’t over water it and that is my favorite type of plant.
Glimpse of God for the week for February 3, 2019
There is a theme here….
Midwinter day of reflection …”It’s a snowday t ime to build a snowbody” See webiste page Morning of Reflection
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 or SNOWWOMAN or SNOWCHILD.
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, and even one snow dog, but we lack a snow cat . 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, although without snow according to the weather people, 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. 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. 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 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 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 . We experience a refreshing spirit that not only is uplifting, but also transforming. As I look at the many snowwomen, snowmen and snowchildren 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 breathren you do unto me."
Glimpse of God for the week of January 27, 2019
My glimpse of God for this week comes from a good friend of ours who happens to be an excellent photographer with his own business. Bob B. who owns his own studio, took the photos of our wedding anniversary vow renewal. John and I went to his studio to place the order for the photos that we had chosen and while we were there, we were given the grand tour of his studio and all that goes into his photography business I do have to say that until that tour, I had many misconceptions about, and of what professional photographers went through, and how they developed and processed what they saw through the lens of their camera. An amazing, complicated, intricate, huge, and fantastic business. Bob owns his own studio, does a lot of work both in the community, county and other cities. He takes his business seriously, not for financial reasons, but more importantly because he feels called by God to this ministry and he is very good at it.
John and I have known Bob and his wife for many years. We consider them good friends and a great blessing in our lives. They are both very sincere, genuine, authentic and faith filled individuals who believe and live out their Christian calling and vocation of building God’s kingdom here one earth.
In Bob’s case it is one smile, one pose, one sitting, one event, one picture at a time.
As I reflect on the ministry of being a photographer, I think of what it takes to be a good one. A photographer wants to bring out the best in the people that they are taking a picture of. For this to occur, he or she needs to be personable, be a beacon of ease and comfort, humor and flexibility. When one is taking a picture of someone, that person may not be experiencing joy or happiness, peace or calm, but rather grief, stress, pain, and possibility the weight of a heavy cross, and yet they are asked to smile for the camera. Does that mean that the photographer is void of people’s suffering and tells them to smile for the camera so that he can say that he is doing his job?
I don’t believe so. A good photographer is able to bring out the best in people despite what they may be experiencing in their own personal life. He is able to, by this personable approach, take the occasion, the bond of friendship between the guests and the hosts, the love that is deeper and resilient in the midst of pain or stresses, and enables those to be photographed to think beyond themselves for a brief second and bring out the smile that is not one of denial, but of hope and expectation. Bob was able to do that for us and the pictures that we chose will be given to some who were experiencing severe illness, recent death of a husband and father, stroke, cancer, family estrangements, and the challenges of growing older. The photos that these individuals will see of themselves, will remind them of the love that they were surrounded by, in embraced in by us but more importantly by their God.
As we begin a new week, let us look at what types of pictures we take and what they could mean in a deeper more profound way.
SUNDAY – “Panoramic”
A long, beautiful view of God’s creation either of the outdoors, family members, or special events. A panoramic view covers more so that nothing, or no one important, is cut off and where the whole is included and there is no need to do a second shot. God takes a panoramic view shot of us each and every day. From the moment of our conception, He saw the big picture: our parents, how we would be a blessing in their life, and how our life would unfold with His graces and blessings. He didn’t just give us live and leave us alone, but rather gave us live both physical and spiritual and has allowed the panoramic view to be filled with and completed by those who have been His instruments to growing His life and love: Family, friends, mentors, church, community, neighbors, colleagues and most importantly us, the focus of the picture.
For today, let us pray for those who have been carefully placed in the panoramic view of our life and ask that God continue to use them as His instruments to bringing life, love and joy to those they encounter.
MONDAY -“Still shot”
As you spend time with others today either in conversation or physical presence, make a choice to not enter into the conversation or visit feeling rushed or leave as if you had enough, but rather seek to make the person that you are speaking with or visiting, as if they are the only person that matters at that time, that they are you only focus, and be still.
For today, as you live the day and encounter others, try to hold onto a specific place, person or instance where you felt the presence of God and want to hold onto it before going on and perhaps losing it. As you are in the presence of another, seek to be more aware and strive to be truly singularly present to them and not feel as if you have to rush. Be still and know and let them know, that God is there in their presence.
TUESDAY - “Video”
When we take a video, it is because we want to capture the entire event both in voice, and activity, and not miss any details. If God is taking a video of you today, what would you want it to be of? Your time with family and friends, of your time at work, of your time in prayer? What moment, event, situation, do you want to capture and revisit so that you don’t lose the feeling that might or you expect to accompany it? Whose voice do you want to rehear? If you turn up the volume, will you hear God’s voice and see His activity in your life as the video unfolds?
For today, think of your video and imagine how beautiful it will be when God reveals to you through action, voice and activity, how you are and always will be His beloved child that not action, step, word or breath that you take is ever forgotten, only remembered fondly and in love.
WEDNESDAY – “Slide”
A slide show. Slides are made because we want to share a significant and important event with others. It is a time to capture the attention of those present and explain what the slide means to us.
For today, as you recall various life experiences, events and people that have captured your attention, stay with them, don’t diminish their significance, or run from their effects. Appreciate the show.
THURSDAY – “Flash” – We use a flash when we take pictures in the dark and we want to see them clearly. In the midst of darkness, discouragement, despair or the daily stresses of life, do you need a flash or are you the glimmer of light and hope amid the darkness that surrounds and envelopes you or others? God is and always will be the light that shines through the darkness. Christ died so that we may never see things as hopeless.
For today, try to bring to the surface the underlying message of hope, encouragement or solace to another who is walking in the darkness of physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual darkness. The flash of encouragement, care, compassion and support can fill the painful picture of life with wholeness and hope, healing and true happiness.
FRIDAY – “Crop” – We crop out of photos those things or effects that we don’t like and don’t want to see. As a survivor of many traumatic and life changing things, (read my book: Shopping for a Lighter Cross, available on Amazon), there are many events and situations, that I would like to crop out of the big picture, but I know that it is those very things that have made me and many other the strong, faith filled, individuals that we are and without them, we would not be. Our crosses are not meant to define us, whether they be of illness, cancer, financial woes, unemployment, homelessness, or whatever, they not meant to define us, they are not our identity, they are the crosses that will, if we are open to it, enable us to grow and become the best person that God knows we can be and have the potential to become. If we let any cross or illness define us, then we miss seeing the truly beautiful and loved person that we are in God’s eyes and the one that God created us to be.
For today if you encounter a person, experience or situation that you want to crop out, try to recognize the beauty that lies within and see it in context to the big picture. Remember that which we might crop out, either person, event or situation, will make our picture incomplete thus possibly eliminating a true source of healing, mercy, compassion for us from them.
SATURDAY – “Selfie”
Jesus Christ was not about himself, he was about others. He was not about ego, but He is about empathy, compassion, understanding, mercy, love and peace. He was not about being the hero, but he is about healing and helping others. He is not about criticism but he is about compassion. He was about leading others to know and love His heavenly Father, and being in a relationship that was one of heart to heart.
For today, the next time you take a selfie would it be as you appear in a mirror where the only focus is on you, or would it be as you looked out the window and saw God’s reflection in and through His Kingdom here on earth, with you building up His kingdom one prayer, one action, one picture at a time?.
Glimpse of God for the week of January 20, 2019
Happy Snow!!!!! The snow laying on the trees and lawn creates a beautiful, peaceful scenic picture, but I realize that for some the snow is not a cause for peace, celebration, elation or joy. For others, like children; more often than not, it is a cause for joy that school is canceled, and that there is free time to either go sledding, build snowmen, build snow angels or snow children, go snowboarding or go skiing.
For adults it can be headache. There are those who have to drive in it, wait for public transportation, arrange for daycare, miss work, and these are not times of joy, celebration or elation, but rather pure aggravation.
My Glimpse of God comes in how we see snow in relation to our lives. Snow in and of itself is a beautiful sight. Each and every snowflake is different, there are no two flakes
the same. Each holds a unique and exquisite beauty. Aren’t we also unique? There are no two people the same. We are beautiful because we are God’s sons and daughters made in His likeness and image. We touch this earth, we are created with a purpose and no matter what God’s purpose is for us, it builds upon our internal and external beauty, it doesn’t take away from it.
It is our thinking, our life experiences, the expectations that we place on our self that make us believe that we are not beautiful and our self-worth is seen in a negative way. God doesn’t think or want that of us. He wants us to see our self as He sees us.
The snow causes panic because we recognize that there is ice underneath it and how dangerous it will be to walk or drive in.
We panic when we have to shovel the snow and we don’t have the physical capabilities to do such, so we have to pay someone to do it for us. We know that it is cold outside and some people don’t like the cold. There are many reasons that we can fail to see the beauty of the snow because we see ahead and the other factors that will impact our day or days.
Life is like the snow. Because of life challenges, crosses or obstacles, we sometimes fail to see the true beauty that lies before us. There are situations that make us fearful of taking steps towards reconciliation, healing, freedom, and wholeness. We are snowed in and until we ask for the courage to take the steps that are needed, to take the shovel or the snow blower, and get whatever binds us, out of our way, we will remain snowed in.
God wants us to be free so that we can enjoy the snow even if we just look at it from inside. It is not about going outside and building or creating a snowman, it is about having the courage and overcoming the fear so that we want to. One never knows, perhaps you can build your own snow creation this week!
SUNDAY – Just take the time to see and admire the beauty of the snow. How it covers the trees and the bushes and how it creates such a clean view (before the slush), and thank God for the gift of its unique beauty. Then go one step more and see yourself as a unique creation and how you also spread God’s presence and beauty by being the best person that you can be each and every day. That is all God asks.
At this time imagine this as taking some snow and packing it in your hands. You can physically do this or use crayon, paper, or any type of medium (indoors!) that you choose to build snow creations that reflect your God given gifts and graces!
MONDAY – Just take the time to recognize one other person in your life that has offended you. Reflect on that person or situation that made you feel bad; by diminishing your self-esteem through their actions, words or attitude toward you. Ask God to help you see them as He sees them.
At this time imagine that you have the snow that you packed in your hands from yesterday and see the person that has offended you. Take a good look at the snow in your hand and see the relationship you had before the offense. Was it good? Did you enjoy their company? Were you happy when you were with them? Can you see them as God sees them and forgive them? Take the snow and form it, pack it more (don’t throw it!), make it firm, perhaps it can be the foundation snowball for your soon to be snow creation.
TUESDAY – Just take time to be careful in the snow. Be sure to make clear your pathway so that you don’t slip or fall. Can you realize that just as you are careful and don’t want to hurt yourself or want others to get hurt, God wants the same for you. He doesn’t like it when we hurt others, get hurt by others or hurt our self. He wants us to be His instrument of peace, joy, reconciliation, and compassion.
Try to imagine taking another handful of snow and forming it into a snowball that reflects your desire to forgive. This step can be difficult. Make a snowball that can withstand any change of heart that holds God’s grace and courage to want to be a forgiving person.
WEDNESDAY – Just take time see the snow as a child does. A child does not have to worry about driving in it or shoveling it, but rather enjoys the consequences of it: a day off, snowmen, skiing, or snow boarding. Can you remember when you were a child and had the day to play in the snow? Did it feel good to go out and play as long as you wanted to? Do you remember dressing up the snowman with a hat, carrots for a nose, whatever for a mouth and ears? You made a unique creation from scratch. What a feeling of accomplishment, of completion. God created you from scratch. Imagine His joy for and in you.
Imagine now that you are in the final steps of building your own snow creation. How big is your snow creation now? You want to build on your courage, so go for it. Make another pack of snow and let it represent your courage, compassion and reconciliation to God, others and self.
THURSDAY – Just take the time to feel the goodness of God and how He has blessed you. How is your relationship is with Him? If you desire that it be stronger, just pray that it continues to grow and be strengthened.
Today take a good look at your snow creation and how it reflects your spiritual growth and the graces that God has filled you with. Pray for your relationships, the good and the weak and ask that God help you as you try to be His peace and truth in them. This is an opportunity to make the head of your snow creation.
What do you think your head should look like? Is it a big head, a small head, or a head that is properly proportioned to the body that has been created? God’s creation is perfect; we humans have changed what He has originally created. Our heads can become too big when we think that the world revolves around us and our ego is inflated. Our heads can become too small when others make us feel, or we make others feel, less than the person that God has created us to be. Our heads our perfect when we use our brain, senses and our mouth to be God’s reflection and beacon in our family, community and world.
If you decided to forgive, if you took the steps towards healing, reconciliation and peace, I think your head will be just right.
FRIDAY – Just take time to see your snow creation and see your life as building upon God’s graces. He molds us and forms us to be the best person that we can be. Can you recognize the times where you were changed and saw things in a new light? Do you see how you have spiritually matured and how your relationship with God has also grown and matured? Look at your snow creation, does it represent the better you, the changed you, the person that perhaps sees things, situations, people in a new and blessed light?
Now is the time to place the eyes on your snow creation. Let the eyes be those of God where you will strive to see people, circumstances, and situations as He does, where you will try to not place judgment, but rather show compassion and mercy.
SATURDAY – Just take the time to recognize where you complimented on something that you wore or how you looked or your hairstyle. How did you feel when someone said something nice to you or when you complimented someone else? The words that we speak need and should be words that are life giving. God looked at His creation and when He saw the man and the woman that HE created, His final words were they were GOOD.
He compliments you often! Do you hear Him? Do you hear Him when He tells you that He loves you that He cares for you more than any human can? Do you hear Him when He tells you that HE is pleased and happy that you are His beloved son or daughter?
God speaks to our hearts and we speak to others hearts. Now is the time to place the mouth and ears on your snow creation as a symbol of God’s life-giving words to you and from you and the ears that are open to hear them.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR CREATION. A BEAUTIFUL CREATION IT IS.
GOD SEES YOU AS EVEN MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU CAN BELIEVE OR IMAGINE.
LET IT SNOW!!! LET IT SNOW!!!! LET IT SNOW
Glimpse of God for the week of January 13, 2019
This week’s Glimpse of God comes in the form of a different kind if rainbow, the one of friendship. 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 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. 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.
In all of the conversations and laughter of this week: at Assisi House with the Sisters and Clover, at Saint John’s Hospice, with the homeless men for our monthly faith sharing, and with parishioners that attend dally mass, I was witness to a different kind of rainbow; a promise being fulfilled. The meeting up with friends is 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 saw it in the many friendships that I have been blessed to have, especially with the Sisters at Assisi house, the men at SJH and parishioners that attend daily Mass. They all remind me that we share a bond of faith in Christ and compassion, peace and presence.
The friends that were gathered were the extension of that promise as Members of the Body of Christ. As faithful, faith filled individuals, trying to live and be the best people that God has created them to be, and sinners striving to be saints, they 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. They are signs of hope when things are tough. They are merciful and joy filled. They are instruments of peace and vessels of hope. They are humble disciples that through their lives profess their love for God, others and self.
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, do we believe it?
This week, especially in the barrenness of winter with the snow on the ground, and the cold temperatures, take a moment to be refreshed and filled with hope as you think of the rainbow as a sign of promise, new life 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 stand before God in a spirit of humility, and peace.
May your prayer today be that of a better and more God centered understanding of love, and how much He loves you and how loved you are by others.
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, abide in you?
May your prayer today be that you open your mind and heart to the presence of Christ and how He chooses to reveal Himself.
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?
May your prayer today be one that seeks to stand in the light of your cross and its truth, with a spirit of humility, courage, joy and gratitude.
Wednesday (GREEN) - Hope
Do you have hope? Are you a messenger of hope?
May your prayer today be one that allows 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.
Thursday (BLUE) - Rebirth
Do you remember the promises that were made for you at baptism by your parents and Godparents? Can you close your eyes and allow the feeling of God’s love washing away your sins and making you whole? 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. Do we embrace our mission as His disciples or do we run from it?
May your prayer today be that of a greater courage and strength so that you may embrace your call as God’s disciple, carry your cross with a greater self-conviction and determination, and choose to witness to His presence in your life, so that you may be His beacon to those you encounter: family, friends, neighbor and stranger,
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.
May your prayer today be that to grow in the integrity of God and be able to recognize it in others.
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?
May your prayer today be to be a peacemaker, open to God’s call, and an instrument of His peace, integrity, joy, love, hope, and mercy
Glimpse of God for the week of January 6, 2019
My glimpse of God for this week is being left to you, don’t be surprised, you are a Glimpse of God and therefor you have the ability to see God in so many and varied ways. BUT…in recognizing the many and varied ways that God chooses to reveal Himself, one is also called to recognize that it is not only in what one sees, but in also what one speaks, hears, touches, and senses.
As I reflect on recognizing the presence of God in and through people, events, surroundings and various situations, I must first realize that I need to be open to God and how He chooses to reveal Himself, not how I choose to see Him. I can choose to have tunnel vision where I only want to see Him in the good, the pretty, the easy things and the niceties of life, or I can choose to ask for the grace to recognize Him in the bad, the ugly, the tough, the forgotten, the rough and the lost.
Being a Glimpse of God is a gift that enables one to be His instrument, His beacon, His light, His mercy, His compassion, His love and His presence to others, but most importantly to one self. We radiate who we are and not just what we are. If we recognize that we are God’s beloved, we radiate a sense of being loved beyond our sinfulness. Our identity lies in being God’s children and as God’s children, we have the knowledge that He loves us to death and that we can never lose that love.
So how do you and I live in light of that knowledge and love? Each day we are all given the grace to exude God’s presence to those we encounter. We can choose to reject that grace and not be His witness in our world, or we can choose to accept that grace and be the best witness to His presence that we can be and that we are called to be.
This week take time to recognize with a sprit of humility how God has been and continues to call you to be His instrument, His glimpse to those you encounter each and every day. But first take the time to see why He has chosen you. It wasn’t a random choice, or a draw of the cards, or in a lottery, but rather He formed you in the womb, breathed in you the breath of life, and continues to give you life through the Sacraments of the Church, and the presence of others to nurture, sustain and strengthen you on your faith journey.
SUNDAY - with the eyes of our heart to see as God sees and not as we choose to see sometimes with our self-righteous blinders on. To see reconciliation instead of being angry or holding a grudge, to see peace when the war of words or revenge are brewing, and to see embracing instead of keeping one at a distance.
How are the eyes of your heart revealing the presence and love of God in your life today so that others may also experience it? Let us count the ways……….
MONDAY – with our voice as we give a voice to the voiceless: the unborn, the elderly, the forgotten, all those in our community and Church whose voice has been silenced, smothered or suffer from a bad sore throat from having to yell to be heard or listened to.
How will you let your voice be the breath of God and the whisper of love of love to those you encounter today that need to hear from God?
Let us count the ways……….
TUESDAY – with our hands as we reach out to lift up those who are bowed down because of heavy burdens. Sometimes our hands are crippled with arthritis and they don’t have the freedom of movement that we wish they did. Can you imagine when another’s heart, soul. the very core of their being, is crippled with arthritis, and the ability to be flexible and free to experience hope, joy or peace is painful because of a heavy cross or burden? We can choose to lift up those who are heavily burdened by folding our hands in prayer, where not even arthritis can debilitate our relationship with God.
How will your hands, heart and soul defeat being arthritic today? Through prayer, through a handshake, through a gentle touch, through mercy through a clap?
Let us count the ways……….
WEDNESDAY - with our feet as we walk with another on their journey of pain, struggles, heavy crosses, celebrations and joys.
The reality is that we can’t stand without our feet, they give us the strength and balance to stand up and take our steps. Sometimes our feet, our legs, hamper us from being able to stand and we need to stay seated in a wheel chair or lay in a bed. But he the reality is that we can still use our feet to be a Glimpse of God to those we encounter. How…by wanting and praying for a spirit of empathy and understanding, courage and conviction. We pray for these graces so that as we encounter those whose crosses are heavy and they can’t seem to find the hope, strength or reason to take the next step, we can offer them our prayers, share our hope, and promise them our love as they seek to move on one step, one prayer at a time.
How many steps will you take today that will enable and empower another to move forward on their journey of faith and self-discovery?
Let us count the ways……….
THURSDAY – with our sense of smell so that we can honor those who prepare and serve meals to those who are hungry: family, friends, community, homeless, unemployed, aged and ill. The aromas that surround a meal are endless and, in many cases, enjoyable, but there are aromas that make us want to turn away, run away, and even hold our noses. We are a Glimpse of God when we recognize and honor those who prepare our meals, and not take them for granted: our parents, our siblings, and members of our community. But God also provides us with other opportunities, not so enjoyable, to be His Glimpse in the midst of various aromas. To be His Glimpse of compassion, acceptance, love and mercy instead of rejection, revulsion, disgust and annoyance. How do you respond to a person who exudes a very strong body odor that wreaks, or you see a picture of a homeless person who hasn’t showered recently? What thoughts go through your mind? Where is God directing those thoughts? When we pass judgment on what we see or smell, hear or imagine, we overshadow God’s Glimpse with judgement ant that just stinks.
So how will your sense of smell be a pleasing aroma to God in your prayer? Will it be through the redirected prayer for acceptance and not rejection and judgment of another? Will it be in gratitude for those who prepare your meals and or provide the ingredients for the meals that you partake of?
Let us count the ways……….
FRIDAY – with our sense of hearing. What we choose to hear or listen to is our choice. We can have selective hearing and only take in those voices, words that make us feel good, are pleasing or make us the center of attention. We can hear everything but it is what we choose to listen to that is crucial. I believe that we hear with our ears, but listen with our hearts. We can choose to tune out those who go against us as well as we can choose to listen to gossip and those things that are foul, not life giving but destroy life. When there is one who needs a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen to them and we consider them a burden and make excuses to avoid them, we are deafening God’s Glimpse and making an unpleasing noise. After all, God listens to our prayers, our woes, our anger, our excuses, our joy, our pains, and He never turns away from us, instead gathers us closer to Himself so that we can feel His loving, listening embrace. Shouldn’t we try to do the same for another? Some of us might not be able to hear as well as we used to and might need hearing aids, but in the spiritual sense, hearing aids are God’s gift that enables us to hear and listen past the noises of our society culture and clamor, and listen instead to the heart of God’s beloved children.
Will your ability to listen to the needs and concerns of another bring them to hear God’s voice and listen as He calls them His beloved son or daughter? Will you be the instrument that allows one to hear and listen to God’s message of love, acceptance, and peace? How will you lend your ears today to be His Glimpse?
Let us count the ways……….
Your senses have been busy this week. You have been a Glimpse of God in so many new and varied ways. Now take the time, take today as you begin the weekend, to see how others have been a Glimpse of God to you by how they have used their senses to radiate His presence in your life. As you reflect on the gift of your senses, take a moment to pray for those who have lost their senses.
Pray for those who are blind, that although they may not be able to behold the beauty that surrounds them, that they embrace and behold the beauty that is within them.
For the deaf, that although they may not be able to hear the sounds that are around them, that they listen to the voice of God that speaks to their hearts,
For those who feel spiritually isolated and alone, that although they may feel the weight of their burdens and think that they can’t take another step, that the love, compassion, empathy and prayers of others, bring them peace, strength, and courage to face their journey one , one prayer at a time.
For those who have lost their sense of humor, that the joy that God wants and has in store for them bring them to smile just a little bit more and laugh even harder.