Glimpse of God for the week of July 26, 2020

Last week my Glimpse of God was on friends and how they are chosen by God to help us grow in love together for Him, our self, and others.  The prophet Sirach so beautifully describes Friends as a sturdy shelter, a treasure where no sum can balance his worth, but most importantly a friend is like himself. Only God knows or hearts so that it is only God who can place friends in our life if they are going to be like our self.  Friendship is a blessing, a grace, and an instrument that we can use to know God, our self, and others better. As we look into the eyes, heart and spirit of our friends, we see a reflection of who we are and can become; our best self, the person that  God created us to be and have the potential to  become. We can see the best of our self when our worse or weakest self emerges.

So as we reflect on the gift of our friends, can we reflect on the gift, yes, the gift of our enemies? What lessons of love can our enemies teach us? And what are our enemies and how do we encounter them on a regular basis?

When you think of enemies, you are mostly thinking about individuals, those you may have formed a great dislike for. Your enemy may be someone who has hurt you beyond repair, or one that has chosen not to be an instrument to of love, but rather hatred, division, discord, and dis-ease in your life. The enemies that I am referring to are those vices or characteristics that we choose over what God has placed before us.

In the parable of the good Samaritan, the man was beaten up and left for dead. Three men passed him by, three men who were supposed to be his neighbor. But in his suffering, the man beaten up was ignored by his neighbors and taken care of by a stranger; a foreigner, someone that did not get along with his people. Jesus asked then; Who is our neighbor? The one that shows love. The supposed enemy of the man showed him great love. We are called to do the same.

So what is an enemy?  Merriam-Webster defines an enemy as one who is antagonistic to another one seeking to injure, overthrow or confound another.

For this glimpse of God, I would like to bring out of hiding the enemies that confront us and our desire to be healed and whole and take us away from God.  These enemies challenge and tempt our whole self so that we will not to be our best self. They injure our relationship with God and are incompatible with the gospel message. They are the enemies that attack our body, mind, soul, and spirit and lead us away from personal and spiritual transformation. We are called to love our enemies. I believe that if we choose to look at these enemies with God’s eyes, and not close our own, we  will be given the grace to see them not as an enemy, but rather an instrument that God chose to use to bring us closer to Himself. They remain the enemy if we fail to see them as they really are and choose not to recognize how they sometimes take root in our lives.

What are the enemies that I am choosing to focus on? There are many, but those that I feel challenge us on a daily basis are the vices or characteristics that we choose over love. Love of our self, our neighbor, and our God. The following enemies are just a few, but I believe are the most recognizable and most harmful to our spiritual, physical, and emotional lives. The seven deadly enemies or vices of humanity are Pride, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Sloth, Gluttony and Lust

 

 

SUNDAY – pride – the inordinate love of self- a super confidence and high esteem in our own abilities. We are invited to love the enemy with a spirit of humility and modesty.

Our progress in our spiritual life and development is most important and the devil knows that.  He is always presenting things; vices, objects, ideals that seem good to us and make us want to reach out for them because they seem harmless. The devil does not tempt us with things that we do not like if he did it would not be a source of temptation and cause for spiritual decline.

Pride is a big temptation for all of us.  When we are presented with an opportunity to become too proud conceited and self-elated at what we have or have accomplished, we have succumbed to being too proud. Pride is not an enemy unless it becomes a weapon. It becomes a weapon when we feel a need to dangle it over others to make them feel inferior and make us feel superior. We become conceited about our riches, our social status, the esteem we receive from others, our educational achievements or our job position and its salary. All that we have and have accomplished is a gift from God and we should not think that we did it all by our self.  Our gifts, our talents, our accomplishments are gifts that God has graced us with so that we can become better people, live up to our potential, help others and build up His kingdom here on earth. The enemy tapped into that which we feel good about and has made us take all the credit instead of giving God the credit for all that we have accomplished and received.

For today: can you recognize the enemy of pride in your life. Can you stand humbly before God and ask for the grace to recognize His actions in your life, and the forgiveness for the times that you have chosen to ignore His presence, and have taken the credit for all that you received and accomplished?

MONDAY – envy – resenting another person’s good fortune or joy. We are invited to love of the enemy with a spirit of acceptance and being satisfied.

In our eyes, there will always be people who are smarter, more beautiful, thinner, healthier, better off financially, and …..(you fill in your blanks) We are all God’s children. Created in His image, all unique and one of a kind.  We have been endowed with unique gifts and talents that make us who we are. We are not all created to have the same looks, gifts, talents, or accomplishments. Just like we all do not have the same crosses to carry. If we were, I think that it would make life boring. Sometimes we look at others whose crosses seem lighter and we become jealous and think that it is not fair. We begin to think that we are alone, and we do not understand why other’s crosses are not as heavy. When we think our self as inferior to another and we become jealous, then we are refusing to believe and accept our identity before God, and the enemy of envy has entered in. What is our identity before God? That we are all created in His image, loved unconditionally, created to be our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become. We are His beloved child. Each of us individually. When we seek to be like another to the point that we turn away, deny our very identity, and lose our self because we want so much to have or be what another has or is, then we have allowed the enemy of envy to take over. We all have felt envious at one time or another and God gets it.  We are human. He understands our hearts and is always there to show us how loved we as His child are before Him.

 think of them as God’s child and offer a prayer of gratitude that they were blessed by Him with special gifts, talents, and accomplishments.  Now ask God to help you recognize how blessed you were to have them on your faith journey, and how they have helped you come to greater knowledge of your identity before God as His beloved child, empowered with your own gifts, talents, accomplishments and abilities.

TUESDAY – greed – The inordinate love of and desire for earthly possessions. We are invited to love the enemy with a spirit of selflessness and generosity.

Greed can seem subtle when all we want is nice clothes, a little more money so that we can buy things or a newer car. We want things that will make us feel better or that we think will make us feel better. Greed is when we place our wants before our needs and think that what we have is not enough or that what we have is not as good as what others have, and we want more. Greed is the center of many loves because there is always the temptation and fallacy that what we want will be easy to attain or acquire. The reality is that if we are meant to have something, something that will make us better people, then God will afford us the opportunity to acquire it. God knows what is best for us and what we need to become our best self. Having a bigger house, or a nicer car or a more complete and newer wardrobe is

not going to make us become our best self.  What it does do is make us want for more at a cost that weakens our relationship with God and makes us constantly seek what others have or what we think we should have. Greed interferes with us listening to God as to what He wants us to have and when we refuse to listen to Him then we are listening to the voices that tell us that it is ok to want more, to not be in need, and to  build up our riches here on earth. It is those same voices that tell us not to stop when it comes to acquiring these riches even if it is at the cost of hurting others.

For today: Think of the one item that you truly desire to have and why.  Now ask God if it will help you grow in your relationship to Him and others and if He says no, can you let it go? Can you become generous in your desire to grow in your faith and relationship with God by praying for those who truly have less and asking that they be blessed with those things that will help them grow and be more self-sustaining? A car that works, clothes that are not torn or a home instead of being homeless.

WEDNESDAY – wrath – a strong vengeful anger that is rooted in a desire for revenge. We are invited to love the enemy with a spirit of peace and reconciliation.

Who are you angry with? Who have you not been able to forgive? Who do you seek revenge on?

Do you remember what happened and why you are so angry? Was it a hurt through words, actions directed to you, or false gossip that was spread about you? It is an estranged family member that through the years has continued to hurt you by their actions, deeds, words, and attitudes that you just could not take it anymore? What is your idea of revenge? Hurting them back by an action that you cannot even talk about or words that you will speak that will cause them irreparable hurt and damage?

Do you think that you will be able to live with yourself after you exact your revenge? If you do think that you will then the enemy of anger has won. The enemy of anger or wrath wins when it pervades your being and you see it as ok. then Let me ask you…Has God not forgiven you for all your sins? Has He not extended His mercy and unconditional love to you when you thought that HE should not, could not or would not? Remember that there is no sin or weakness greater than His love for us. We are called to extend His mercy to others, especially those who have hurt us beyond words. Love in action is reconciliation offered, peace extended, and revenge dismissed.

For today: think of one who has hurt you and that you wanted to hurt back. Ask God to help you love more and love greater than the hurt and offer reconciliation and mercy to them. In your heart where God’s compassion lies, seek to forgive so that you and they can be at peace. If the person is deceased, prayer for them and ask God to tell them again how much you love them and forgive them.

THURSDAY – sloth –spiritual apathy. To rest and relax with no desire of making a sacrifice or doing something for another. We are invited to love the enemy with a spirit of service and prayer.

Sloth is very detrimental to our spiritual life and causes us to become more self-centered and selfish. When we invite the enemy of sloth and seek to comfort it, then we are playing with the devil and the consequences of that play can be very painful. When we choose not to pray, do good for others, seek to become our best self, then we are not going to become the best person that we can be, that God created us to be and have the potential to become.

When we fail to be in communion with God through prayer, then we fail to hear His voice and follow His commands. We become lazy, we choose other activities, we choose to turn away from that which will make us happy because we do not want to spend the energy and go deeper within our heart and soul. Our hearts can not expand if we do not allow god to show us how that can occur.

Spiritual apathy takes us away from listening to God and instead we listen to the various voices around us, voices placed in our life by the devil, voices that seem to be more appealing than praying and more rewarding than spiritual growth. When we listen to the enemy, we choose not to help others because then we would be called to extend our self.

For today: choose to pray when it is most difficult.

FRIDAY – Gluttony – excessive indulgence. We are invited to love the enemy with a spirit of abstinence and self-control.

Gluttony is dangerous especially when it affects our physical, spiritual, and emotional health. We can overeat, over drink, over exercise, and when we do our bodies become prone to major physical illnesses and damage. For instance, we know that overeating can lead to health issues like diabetes, over drinking can lead to liver problems and over exercising can lead to or be the source of an eating disorder. All gluttony, weather physical, emotional or spiritual, has a root cause, and inviting the enemy of gluttony in can cover up the cause, justify the action and lead to denying the major issue. The enemy of gluttony fails to succeed if we choose to have more self-control and practice more self-denial. It is hard. We cannot deny food into our body or exercise because they both help us live a healthier lifestyle. It is when we choose to over eat because we are not dealing with a deeper issue, or over exercise to satisfy our false view of how we can be then the enemy has won and we are not living as our best self or to our potential as God created us to. If we choose to eat healthy and exercise, then we become more aware of how God is calling us to live as our best self.

For today: think of how the enemy of gluttony is trying to pervade your being and ask God for the grace to develop more self-control.

SATURDAY – lust – looking at, imagining, and treating others as sex objects to serve your own needs rather than as individuals made in the image and likeness of God. We are invited to love the enemy with a spirit of respect and reverence for the other.

To lust after another for our own sexual gratification and satisfaction is not something that many of us would or could relate to. People who have marital affairs may be able to se this enemy more clearly than the rest of us, but does that take the rest of us off the hook? Try this… when we look at another and fail to see them or reverence them as God’s creation, when we judge them as nothing or see them as lower creatures because of their social status, perhaps the homeless, or the unemployed, or where they live, aren’t we treating them  or lusting after them because we are seeking to make our self feel better and more superior.  Lust is not just a sexual desire that manifests itself in marital affairs or sexual freedom. I believe that it can also be when we fail to reverence another person that is created in God’s image and is God’s child as God’s beloved creation. And we seek to make them feel more like an object and not a child of God.

For today: pray for those who are treated as less than God’s beloved due to sexual lust, or personal attainment lust.

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of July 19, 2020


This week's glimpse of God probably would seem obvious, but then again…..

When we talk about glimpses of God, I am referring to how we see facets or aspects of God in a very quick view. Glimpses are not long stares or still photos, but quick peeks at the awesome, beautiful, surprising presence of God. God chooses to reveal these glimpses in the people, places, events, circumstances and even objects that we encounter in our daily life. To see a glimpse of God in the many ways that He chooses to be revealed, one must have the eyes of their hearts open so as His presence is revealed, one has the ability and humility to recognize Him.

This week’s Glimpse of God is on the gift of friends.

When I think of friends, I think of the passage from Sirach: 6:14- “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure. A faithful friend is beyond price, no sum can balance his worth. A faithful friend is a lifesaving remedy, such as he who fear God finds; For he who fears God behaves accordingly, and his friends will be like himself.”

The gift of friendship is one of the greatest gifts that we can receive and that we can give. The gift of a friend is a gift that we cannot imagine finding on our own.  God places friends in our life because He knows them, and He knows us, and He feels that we would grow together as friends.  A friend is there for us when we are at our best and at our worse, in our good times and our bad. A friend is there when we fall to pick us back up and when we feel sorrow, they are there to forgive.  They love us as we are and not as they want us to be.  A good friend accepts us just as we are as we do them. They are honest with us and tell us the truth and not just we want to hear.  When we need tough love, they are there to offer it.  A good friend walks with us and calls us to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. The best part of friendship is that is goes both ways. God places friends in our life so that as we walk the journey of faith, we can help each other grow to be our best self. Our greatest and best friend is our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus tells us all the time that we are His faithful friends and that He is always there for us; in our good times and bad, at our best and our worst, when we want to talk to Him and when we choose to be silent. As our best friend, He showed us the value of our friendship when He chose to freely die on the cross out of complete, selfless, and unconditional love.  Although we are imperfect and probably will not choose to physically die for our friends, we can feely choose to die to self so that the needs of our friends will be placed first before our own. As a married person, my greatest friend here on earth is my spouse. Like Christ, our spouse accepts us as we are and vowed to help us become our best self together with each other as God as our center.

Good friendship in Christ consist of compassion, mercy, peace, love, joy, honesty, happiness, empathy, respect and understanding to start.  When we can share these gifts with our friends, then we are acting like Christ and recognizing that our friend is like our self and there is no control involved. When we can see the good of their heart when they seem to disappoint us or hurt us, then we are acting like Christ. Remember friendship is a two-way relationship; we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. When our friends accomplish great milestones or our struggling through some serious health, financial or family issues as friends we are called to support them, be present to them in silence or in words, and to pray for them since prayer is the greatest[cajm1]  and most selfless gift we can offer for another.

I have been thinking and praying for a dear friend who is facing the spread of cancer once again, another friend whose 3 year old rescue dog  has cancer, another friend who is beginning a new chapter in her life after retirement, and our special friends the Sisters at Assisi House, who are trying to cope with being isolated because of the pandemic. I pray that they remain encouraged and not discouraged, at peace within and not fearful.  

To ask if my friends are a glimpse of God, without hesitation, I would say YES. How are they a glimpse of God? My friends are a glimpse of God by their faith and trust, their love for God, their love for others and their desire to be present to those in need. These are just a few of the many glimpses of God that I have been privileged to see these past several years.

It seems that for friends, we can immediately recognize how they are glimpses of God. It is the way they do this or that, how they listen, how they are compassionate and how they managed to put up with us during the times that we could not put up with our self. Whether we have known them for years or months, we are able to recognize how God is reflected in and through them. Friendship is not measured in quantity but rather quality.

            Have we, do we, support that glimpse of God in our friendship? Do we encourage them by our love, our compassion, and our honesty so that they continue to reflect God? Have we ever told them that they were and are a glimpse of God to us, and if we have, what was their response?

            Being a glimpse of God means that God the Father and God the Son dwells in a person and God has chosen them to be His instrument to us and others. In and through our life challenges, they have they remained that glimpse of God to us. Have we continued to recognize God in and through them or have we let our life experiences let that glimpse fade? Do we continue to seek God in others because we desire to know Him in the many ways that He chooses to reveal Himself, or do we close our eyes hoping that we won’t be called to be His witness? To recognize friends and others as being a glimpse of God, it takes one to be open to seeing God in some expected and unexpected ways, people, events, and circumstances. One’s eyes, but mostly one’s heart, must be in connection with God to recognize Him.

            So my question to you is, if you are able to recognize that your friends are glimpses of God to you, do you think that you are a glimpse of God to them? Do you believe that God has chosen you to be His instrument and witness or is that just for everyone else? It takes one to know one. Do you think that God has chosen you to be His light and a reflection of His love, despite your sinfulness and weaknesses, to those you encounter?

            Being a glimpse of God does not mean being on your knees, or being in church, or being a pious person necessarily, but rather living and trying to be the best person you can be by your example of being a loving, compassionate, merciful, caring person. Your daily living out of these characteristics is seen quickly by some and this is what a glimpse of the God is. Life is busy, life is quick, what we see in a glimpse has the capacity to change us and transform us. With God’s grace, you have that capacity.

            So……….as you spend time with your friends, think of how they have brought you to see God and remember to say thank you. If they are humbled by your sharing, remind them that humility is not only a glimpse of God, but an encounter with a living, loving, personal God. This God dwells in each of His beloved son’s and daughter’s hearts, and you both are His beloved.

As His beloved, celebrate and continue to let His love shine through you. Peace!

SUNDAY - “F” faithful, forgiving, frank

Friends are faithful to each other. What does it mean to be faithful to a friend? As you reflect on your friendships, listen to Proverbs 27:6 “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, profuse are the kisses of an enemy” Being faithful to truth can sometimes cause pain and hurt, yet in the true spirit of friendship, one does not cause the wounds to hurt, but rather to protect and teach. Can you remember if or when you have experienced the wounds of a friend or have had to cause the wounds to a friend? Did the wounds heal or are they still open? Are you able to forgive?

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: If there are wounds that still need to be healed, ask Christ to give you the grace to forgive or seek forgiveness. If there are not, can you think of anyone who is suffering the hurt from the wounds of a friend and ask God to grace them with His healing and mercy.

MONDAY - “R” reliable, respectful, reassuring

As you begin a new work week, think about your friends and how they are doing with work. Are they unemployed, underemployed, retired, on disability, or waiting to hear about a job? If you had to give a reference for your friends what would you say? If God were hiring for angels to proclaim His message of hope, healing, and love, and he asked you about your friend and wanted to know if you thought that they would be a good angel, what would you say?

Are they reliable enough to be there for His people when they need Him most and need to hear His message of hope and healing? Would they be willing to go out and proclaim His message in the cold of night or the heat of the desert? Would they be able to visit His people without passing judgment on the least of them? If what you say about them is what they have said about you, can you believe that God wants you as His messenger, His angel here on earth?

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: A good friend can see the positive in another person, even when they are faced with the temptation to see the negative. God knows our hearts and if we can be selfless instead of selfish, I believe that it is then that God blesses us with that which we were willing to give away for the sake of another. The treasure of friendship is the gift that both are treasures and as a friend in Christ, the treasure is the grace and gift of the friendship that God has placed in our life.

TUESDAY - “I” inspiring, independent, illuminating

In Sirach 6:17, he says that those who fear God behave accordingly and his friends will be like Himself.

As you reflect on your friendships and how they have grown, how is Sirach as source of inspiration to you? Have you become more independent, self-confident, because of your friends?

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: …..his friends will belike himself……what is your first reaction to that passage? Having someone like you as a friend, is that a comfort or a challenge? We choose our friends because they are like minded and we see things in a similar way, yet we can agree to disagree if we do not see things the same way. Have you grown personally and spiritually because of this reality?

WEDNESDAY - “E” encouraging, empathetic, easy-going

After Jesus rose from the dead, He offered peace to his disciples because He knew they were afraid.  They knew and were ashamed that they had abandoned Him, but He did not hold that against them. In one of the resurrection accounts, Jesus was by the water where they were fishing and He asked them to bring a fish so that He could place it over the fire and prove to them that He was real and not a ghost. He did not hold a grudge, but rather encouraged them in the mission for which they had been chosen.

As a friend to another, do you feel that encouraging one another is important? As friends, we can choose to be empathetic or judgmental. We can choose to walk in the shoes of another or pass judgment because of their shoes. As you think of your friendships, can you reflect on the times where you have been shown empathy in a difficult situation?

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: As we grow in love with our God through our friends, we can see God in their loving support, encouragement, and understanding even as we may have been hurting. They say that love hurts, I say that love heals and makes us whole. We cannot have our Easter Sunday without our Good Friday.  Our Good Fridays remind us that we are weak and sinful, yet we remain steadfast in our desire to live as sinners striving to become saints despite our weak and sinful nature. Our Easter Sundays offer us the hope and encouragement that we will not be defeated or conquered, but rather we will be conquerors with Christ.

THURSDAY- “N” non-judgmental, natural, necessary

A good friend makes us feel confident about who we are as God beloved child and does not make us feel less than a person because we disagree with them. A good friend listens and is empathetic to us and does their best to put themselves in our shoes, even if they disagree with us. Sometimes when we make bad choices and consequences follow, it would be easy for our friends to judge us and condemn us for our actions and decisions, but a friend does neither.  A good friend speaks the truth and helps us to see the truth with the eyes and heart of God so that we can learn from our mistakes and choose to grow from them. A good friend is a natural person and not someone who puts on airs to look good to seem important, but rather is humble enough to risk them being seen as they are so that they too can grow from your friendship with them.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: As you reflect on the gift of friendship, can you think of a time where you or your friends have judged each other wrongly and have been hurt because of that judgment?

Can you also think of time where you were most vulnerable and afraid, and your friends stood by and with you in your fears so that you were not overwhelmed and anxious? As we reflect on what our friends have done to and for us, we are called to remember in mercy and with gratitude. Mercy allows us to forgive and seek forgiveness and gratitude allows us to see our growth in grace and love for God, self, and others.

FRIDAY - “D” dependable, discerning, determined

We are drawn to others because they are dependable, person that you can rely on and that will not let you down.   A good friend is discerning in that they see things and reflect on things before jumping into them or making a rash decision. A friend is there when you need them and even when you do not think you do. Amid everyday life and its stresses, a friend is determined to help you overcome them and not be defeated by them and to help you see your best and strongest self.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY: When you first met your best friend, did you hit it off right away or did it take some time? Did you focus on their positive attributes or their negative ones? Considering everything that you were experiencing at the time, what drew you to become friends? And what do you think drew them to become your friend? As you think back on that day, do you feel that you have drawn closer to God because of them and their gift of friendship, and could they say that about you?

SATURDAY- “S” selfless, sincere, steadfast

As we come to an end of another week and the beginning of a new week, I offer this passage to reflect on.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 

If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But if one falls alone, they are in real trouble.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY (write down the thoughts that come from this reality, truth, and gift)

 

 

 

 

Glimpse pf God for the week of July 12, 2020

 

Christmas in July. Considering all that is going on in our world, you might be asking how I can even think about Christmas in July. With Corona Virus still rampant with its self-quarantines, face coverings, and social distancing, talking about or even thinking about Christmas seems to be the last thing people have on their mind. How can we think about Christmas when we feel so isolated and apart from those we love and care for? Stores are still trying to recover from being closed, unemployment is still high due to Covid 19, this is not what Christmas is supposed to be like. Is it?

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 were 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 permeates and 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 needs 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 do not let your life crosses, struggles and challenges overshadow their joy, God loves a cheerful giver.

Today, if you are carrying a heavy cross, do not 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.

Today: 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? Normally a smile, handshake or a simple hello are ways to acknowledge another’s presence without causing any political or religious debate or offense.  With Covid19 and facial coverings, the practice of social distancing, and hidden smiles that can’t be seen, the handshakes that can’t be extended, and hugs that can’t be embraced,  how do we greet others as Christ’s followers as builders of the Kingdom here on earth? By offering peace through prayer, perseverance during fears and doubt, and persistence amid challenges and feelings of being overwhelmed. We encourage each other, support each other, and call each other to be their best self despite what contradicts that goal. Christ did not preach just at Passover. He did not perform miracles just at parties, He glorified the Father all the time without fear or hesitation. We are d to do the same.  Sometimes it is easier to give praise and thanks to God when things are going well, but when things are difficult, it is a special gift and grace form God to be able to offer Him thanks and praise.  

Today or the next time that you want to greet another but hesitate because of fear, the uncertainty of their response, or because you do not know what to say, offer a nod 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. 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 do not 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 do not hear as much about them.  Yet their situation has not changed, and they still need help. Wouldn’t it be nice if we reached out in the same way all year?

With Covid 19 many of these same groups have been the recipients of the generosity and support of various agencies and individuals.  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. People’s generosity and care during this crisis have brought out the reality that it is Christmas every day and that we are called to help others, give of our self instead of being selfish and seek to raise up those who are bowed down because of their crosses.

Today, if there was a group that you were generous towards for Christmas or during this pandemic, think about them and pray for them.  With your Christmas heart, reach out to them in whatever way you feel called. You do not need to give them a gift but remember them in a prayerful 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 cannot 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 your 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, in a nod?

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 8, 2020

My glimpse of God for this week came to me as I sat in our sunroom looking out to the beautiful scenery of a clear blue sky, the beautiful tall trees and bushes that embrace our yard, and the sun shining on them.  The sky in all of its beauty reminded me that in the stillness that I was experiencing this morning especially after returning home from Mass,  I realized that I was at a still and peaceful place in heart, mind and body.  

I realize that there are many individuals who are unable to experience peace due to the various life changing events that have been occurring throughout the nation. My hope and prayer is that we allow the peace of God to enter into our minds, hearts and spirits so that we can live up to our potential as God intends. In light of these events, I am choosing to focus om the positive events and situations, and not any negative things that can cause us to lose sight of the many blessings that God places in our life. As we enter the yellow phase which allows us to attend Mass once again and go out more as we continue to practice social distance and proper hand sanitizing procedures, let us enter into it with the light of the Son as our guide. Let us be open to recognize how we are called to walk in that light as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and called to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. Let us enjoy the beauty and the gift that God had provided of a landscape with His writing on it.

 

We all know or at least are aware of the gospel of the vine and the branches and how we as the branches, cannot survive if we choose to separate ourselves from the vine. Christ is the vine. He is our source of life, through whom we take root and our faith is strengthened and nurtured. Without Him, we are lifeless, and our branches will not produce any leaves, they will just be bare and unproductive.

 

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

 

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

As we enter more deeply into the summer months, let us take notice of the longer days, the warmer weather, the brightness that surrounds us, the refreshing waters and the kaleidoscope of color in the landscape of God’s creation. As we enter into the next stage of our new normal, let us be mindful that as we perform certain tasks so that we can remain physically healthy and safe, there are things spiritual tasks that we can do so that we can  remain spiritually healthy and safe. Although some changes are difficult to accept, if we are sincere in our commitment to follow Christ, we too also must undergo change, transformation and conversion, if we are to become the best persons that God has created us to be and have the potential to become.

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Glimpse of God for the week of June 1, 2020

just a reminder for you

WHAT IS SUMMER FOR?

What does summer mean and how can it change me?

Does anyone really know that unofficially summer is here, and officially it is quickly approaching? Summer usually begins with various graduation parties, cookouts, and celebrations. We try to get out to the pool or beach as soon as we are able so that we can enjoy the sun and the company of others. This summer, just as this spring was, will be different, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be a negative difference.  Summer is a time to relax, settle into a different schedule, routine or location. Although we must remain socially distant and not gather with a large group of people, we can still appreciate the gift that summer is and the gifts that God gives us through the season of summer.

The following reflection probably has more meaning and significance than ever before. I believe that we need to look within and see God and how He is blessing, transforming and strengthening us through the pandemic and how we are choosing to live life despite the pandemic. 

 

S – Self – Am I taking care of myself 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, and help me to draw nearer to her Son Jesus?

 

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 incredibly special gifts from God especially created for us.

M – Measure – During these summer months, what do I measure? 

Do I measure and count the moments, hours of my time spent with family and friends, or my time spent in prayer? Do I look at the time I spend in relaxation as a time of blessing or do I see it as wasting time? Do I look at and measure the time that I spend at work as a necessary evil or as using the gifts and talents that God has given me to glorify Him? If God had a measuring stick, and He asked you to mark where you thought His love for you was, where how would you mark it? Would it be in centimeters, inches, feet, or yards? Would it be on the low end because of shame, guilt, false humility, or the high end because you realize that His love is unconditional and unfailing?

He gave and continues to give His love freely and without measure, without cost, the cost was paid in full on the very cross that you behold. Do you believe this?

  

E – Embrace – During these hot summer months, are you open to embracing and being embraced? To allow oneself to be embraced, one must 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, family, friends, nature and the joy of having FUN !!!!

 

YOU CAN CHOOSE TO ENJOY YOUR SUMMER

MAKE A POSITIVE CHOICE DESPITE THE LIMITATIONS

Glimpse of God for the week of May 24, 2020

Does anyone know that it is Memorial Day weekend? Does anyone realize it?

I would say that during the Corona Virus pandemic, many things, special events, and normally joyful celebrations have been placed on a back burner, postponed indefinitely, or cancelled. This will probably be the most memorable Memorial Day weekend that we have experienced or hope to ever experience again.  It is one that people of all ages, all social status, all education levels, all economic and political levels will remember with profound and transforming memories.  From the youngest to the oldest, from the child in daycare to the parent in skilled nursing care, from the infant just born to the parent that just died, from the empty churches and pews to the suspended services, postponed weddings, funerals, and baptisms. We cannot be present with those who are mourning, dying, sick and afraid. We cannot gather to celebrate the birth of a baby or the child who has graduated. We are unable to gather to unite, bury or joyfully celebrate milestone occasions such as weddings, graduations, showers, baptisms, or birthdays. There can be no Memorial Day parades, graduation processions with pomp and circumstance, or end of school, beginning of summer parties. And although we can virtually view those we love and who are preparing to celebrate these occasions, it is not the same as seeing, touching or embracing them; those members of our family and our friends who have patiently, perseveringly and lovingly walked with us to these milestone occasions and events.

            This is a painful period in all our lives no matter where we live. Our global community is carrying this cross of suffering and death. I believe that it has been through that collective cross that we are all carrying, that we have become more united as a world, nation, state, community, neighborhood, church, and family. The restrictions that we have been called to enforce for the safety and health and well being not only of our self, but of those we love and encounter, have tested our patience, and our ability to endure. This pandemic and its affects of isolation has led us to be afraid, anxious, discouraged, angry and disheartened, yet we know, and we resolve that we will not to be defeated.

In the face of this pandemic, we can choose to open our eyes and face it or close our eyes and complain about it.  We can become a force to be reckoned with or a force that we bow to. We are fighting a war that we need to be prepared for and want to win.  We want to fight for our health and the healthy and wellbeing of those we love; we encounter and the stranger. We want to rediscover peace, freedom, and warm embraces amid our new normal.

So how is this pandemic and the wars that our veterans have fought similar?

We are all fighting a war; the Corona19 war. We are asked to remember and pray for those who have lost their battle to Corona19, those who are still fighting it, and those who have been exposed to it and are self-quarantined.  It is an opportunity to recognize that in the hearts of the men and women who bravely chose to serve our country that their choice was rooted in a deep love for God, country, and their fellow human being.  There was and is a presence of selfless, emptying, giving and a sacrificial love and heart where God dwells and strengthens them to give all that they have for the safety, good and wellbeing of another, from those they know to the complete stranger. Our doctors, nurses, medical staff, EMTs, fire and police, are those war veterans who are fighting for the health, wellbeing, and safety of others. There too is a presence of a selfless, emptying, giving and sacrificial love that goes beyond any ego, selfishness, self-centeredness that could take root. 

The Veterans, our heroes, that fought and continue to fight for our country, and for the peace and freedom of others in our global community, give of themselves completely and are willing to offer the ultimate sacrifice for what they believe and are fighting for. They have watched their comrades fall and could only hold their hand and speak words of peace and job well done,  they have lifted up those who were wounded from gun and mortar shots and the pain that wrenched through their bodies, and they have had to rescue those who were in the grips of the enemy. In a different way, our front-line heroes are doing the same. They have watched their comrades fall to the virus with only their hand to hold as they closed their eyes, they have lifted up those who contracted the virus and suffered through the pain and suffering that the virus unleashed on their bodies, they have had to test, quarantine, and isolate those who may have been exposed to the virus for their safety, health, and wellbeing and for the safety, health, and wellbeing of others. Our heroes, both our Veterans and those on the front line, I believe all of us, want to move past this phase, enter our new normal and begin to live again. Our Veterans suffered and died for their country. Country is not just a word, but they suffered and died for humanity no matter who they were or where they lived. They deserve our gratitude, our thanks, our recognition, and our prayers. When they came home, they may have come home to a hero’s welcome, but that didn’t take away the pain of their memories and the suffering that they experienced and will continue to experience physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually. Those who are fighting this pandemic on the front line may come home to a hero’s welcome, especially from their family, but that doesn’t take away the pain that they experienced on the front line that day, the days past and the days that lie ahead.

Our Veterans gave of themselves completely, our front-line workers are giving of themselves completely. They both fought and continue to fight for the causes of life, liberty and wholeness, healing and happiness, peace, and security.

If you ask a Veteran if they ever expected to face such a war in their own back yard, in their families, their community, their nation and their world, I will venture to say they would not have. This is a war where men and woman aren’t in camouflage searching out the enemy, but rather medical scrubs and masks, that rifles aren’t used to kill the enemy, but rather proactive testing, social distancing, proper sanitizing procedures, facial covering and vaccines, and where we are just hearing about it on the media, but living out in our every day lives. The war affects are as devastating because people are dying, families are torn apart, there are more homeless, the economy is weaker, and the morale of the people is exceptionally low.

But where do we go from here? We go with a greater determination to fight, stay healthy, seek strength from each other, from our God, and from within. We seek the courage to fight when we feel we are without fight, we seek the strength to carry this cross when we feel fed up and want to do our own thing despite the cost, we resolve to defeat the enemy and not be defeated by it so that we come out as victors and not victims.

So… as we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day, let us be mindful of how this day came about and let us pray for those 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.

 

 

 Let us remember our Veterans and those on the front line and offer a prayer God for their protection and strength. May they know and believe in their hearts that they have done and continue to do the best that they could to be their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become.

If you are looking for Glimpse of God, seek out, talk to a Veteran, an active duty member  a reservist, a front line worker, 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 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 and our front-line workers are a Glimpse of God. Family, friends, and supporters are big glimpses of God, so where do you fit in?

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

 

GOD BLESS OUR VETERANS AND FRONT LINE WORKERS                

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 17, 2020

The cross of the pandemic

As we enter another week of the pandemic, we also are entering various phases of hope. In some areas certain restrictions are being lifted, some businesses can open up, people are venturing outdoors more due to the nicer weather, the numbers of covid19 cases are declining and there are less Covid19 deaths. These are signs that offer hope and people are looking for these signs so that they can stay hopeful or become hopeful versus falling into despair.

I believe that our economy will bounce back, but it will take a little more time. Why do I think that? Because we as a people, will not  give into defeat or to the devastation that Covid 19  has caused, but we will stand up to it and show that we are stronger, more determined to fight and win, to not bow down and be defeated. Those who have gone before us because of Covid19 would want us to do that. They would want us to fight for a cure, a vaccine, ourselves and those that they also loved and left behind, so that their life was not in vain and is not lost in the virus, but rather found in the determination and fight of their loved ones; family, friends, community and even the stranger.

But where do we go for hope, who do we turn to, how can we grow from this experience? I believe that our spiritual leaders from and within all religious denominations, can be our best example and witnesses of hope, compassion, empathy, faith, and strength as they too endure the cross of this pandemic.  Since I come from the Roman Catholic tradition, I would like to describe what I see through the Roman Catholic priests as they carry the cross of the pandemic upon their shoulders, a cross that is unseen, yet very visible to in the eyes, heart and spirit of each priest and individual they lead. They carry on their shoulder the weight of their congregations, each and every one  their parishioners from the youngest to the eldest, the poor and the wealthy, the worker and the unemployed, the frail and the strong, the dying and the souls and the spirits of those who  have died. Do they recognize the weight of their cross? They are our spiritual leaders, shepherds, sinners, men, human, beloved sons of God, created in His image and likeness. They said YES to the call to be the best they can be and have the potential to become. To be selfless, to be in union with those who they journey with on this Holy Ground, to be a servant; to be a priest.

As they discerned their vocation and chose to become a priest, did they ever imagine that they would be celebrating Mass without  congregation, that they would be unable to communicate with their congregation except by mail, phone or computer, that the public celebration of Mass would be suspended, that schools would be closed, that the celebration of the sacraments would be postponed? I doubt it. What makes them continue to choose to carry this cross instead of running from it or denying it?I would like to share one insight that I have.

During the Rite of Ordination, the Bishop asks them four questions that they respond to with the words “I Will.” There is one question that I feel reaffirms their faith in their vocation, and consciously or not, gives them the strength to carry this cross. It is, “Are you  resolved to consecrate your life to God for the salvation of His people, and unite yourself more closely every day to Christ, the High Priest, who offered himself for us to the Father as a perfect sacrifice.”

The men respond individually; “I am with the help of God.”

 

During these days, as well as days past, they have united themselves to the suffering Christ through the physical, spiritual and emotional suffering of others, the abandonment of the faith of those who choose not to believe in Christ, the sins of their brother priests, and today, to the innocents of those affected and  utter devastation of the pandemic. They are living out the passion of Christ as they celebrate private Mass without their congregation, carry the frustration, anxiety and fears of those who have been directly affected by Covid19,  wondering when things will change, and not being able to offer spiritual programs in the parish. I am sure that they too are praying to God the Father, let this cup pass me by, but not my will but thine be done. And they accept His will. They carry the cross of the pandemic with the prayers, needs and intentions of their flock. They do not carry it alone, but with the Lord who called them to lead as servant and witness.

We also carry it with them. We as the Body of Christ are called to be like Simon of Cyrene today and every day, who can help our priests carry this cross so that they can better feel that they are experiencing being united with the people of God. How can we be Simon? By offering our prayers for their intention as they do for ours as they celebrate private Mass, by checking in with them via a phone call, email, or a personal note or card, for thanking them for saying Yes to God to become  a priest especially as the anniversary of their ordination is probably someday this week, by watching the Mass on TV and taking the time to thank God for choosing their priest to serve Him.

How will they know that their example and witness made a difference? I believe there are at least two ways that stand out the most; by being the Body of Christ with our hands and our feet as we make sandwiches for the homeless, deliver meals to hungry, by praying more for all those affected by the pandemic, by getting out in God’s creation to be refreshed and renewed. They can see that we possess the heart of Christ as we try to walk in the shoes of the children, the unemployed, the isolated, those who are alone, by not judging them or forgetting them, but by how we find our self being more empathetic, compassionate, merciful and understanding.

They are the only persons that can bring us the Holy Eucharist, the Bread of life, the real presence of Jesus in the Mass. As they celebrate private Mass, they consume what they are; the Body of Christ, but they do not partake of it just for themselves, but for all of those who are the Body of Christ, their congregation. During this time of isolation, yet during the Mass, they are surrounded by all those they shepherd, surrounded by their thoughts, their love, their prayers, their joys, their sorrows, their uncertainty, their fears, their faith and their hope. They are being the stronger and silent Body of Christ for us. They are carrying the cross of this pandemic as Jesus carried His cross; silently, without complaining and in complete trust in God.  They walk their journey to Calvary as Jesus did. I believe that  they are intuitive to the frustration of the angry, the hopelessness of those unemployed, the pain of those who have died alone,  as well as the Simon of Cyrene (s), the Veronica(s), the women, men, and children who are  there for them, as well as the intercession and consolation of the Blessed Mother.

As they celebrate the anniversary of their ordination, I hope that they can honestly say and believe that they have united themselves with Christ and His people as a living beacon of faith, hope, love, and trust.

As we begin this week, let us pray for our priests and all spiritual leaders.  Let us be mindful and grateful for the times that they have carried with us our burdens and joys, our celebratory moments, and our sorrowing moments. As they selflessly carry this cross of the pandemic, they are leading us by example how we can choose to also carry our crosses.

SUNDAY – “P” – Prayerful

How has the example, the leadership, the witness of my priests, or my spiritual leader, helped me to become a more prayerful person?  Do I see where I have grown in my spiritual relationship with God, self, and others because I have learned what prayer is? When I listen to Mass, pray my prayers, recite the rosary, or stand in silence, do I recognize where God is drawing me closer to Himself even amid being isolated and  facing so many restrictions, alone with my fears and anxieties?

For today: Thank God for the gift of prayer, and for the priests or spiritual leaders, who have prayed with you, for you, over you, and have done so with humility, understanding, and peace.

MONDAY – “R” – Reverent

Have I learned to be more reverent with and towards God, myself, and others? What does being reverent mean to me? Being reverent is an inward sign of love and humility that emerges with respect and openness to being God’s open and humble instrument as He chooses us to be. We must first respect and reverence our self if we are to respect and reverence God or others.   At our baptism we are blessed with the Holy Water that makes us a holy and blessed creation, one that should always be treated with respect. Yet we often do not respect our self because of sin, shame, guilt, and despair. When we treat others badly, hurt others by our words and actions, and when we fail to be in prayer to our loving God and creator, we are not reverencing them, but instead diminishing their love and life and seeing the face of Christ in them.

For today: reverence and respect yourself as God’s beloved child. If sin is keeping your from doing this, ask for God’s pardon and peace so that you can reverence and respect Him and yourself more.

TUESDAY – “I” – Intuitive

Being intuitive is a special gift that God blesses many with.  God chooses leaders that can be instinctive and perceptive to His people. This gift may not be recognized at first in some of His leaders, but it grows as they truly, authentically, and sincerely strive to serve God as His instrument and not for their own ego boost. Have you received a special insight or understanding from your priest or spiritual leader, one that has allowed you empowered you to grow and go forward in your spiritual journey? Can you be grateful for the gift of insight that came from your priest or leader, invited in by you or one of God’s surprises?

For today: Seek to recognize that insight from without that is responding to the desire from within to see and hear what God is saying to you. It can be a gentle whisper or a loud cry, but in all cases, it is meant for you to hear when God knows that you are most open to receive it. Since God is the only one that knows our heart and sees us completely. His insight into you is what He sees, loves, and adores and wants you to see, love and adore it as well.

WEDNESDAY – “E” – Empathetic

Being empathetic, being compassionate, being present to another, what a gift and grace to behold. Many of our priests, our spiritual leaders, possess that gift and share it willingly and without reserve.  Being empathetic as the Body of Christ is what we are all called to be and become each day. It involves a spiritual transformation from self-centeredness and unfeeling to being kind, caring and gentle. As a priest or a spiritual leader, one cannot focus in on oneself if they are truly striving to be an imitator of Christ, the suffering servant, the Good Shepherd. Even as Christ endured His cross and walked to Calvary, He showed gratitude, compassion, and consolation to those He encountered on the way.  Even with the great pain and agony that His body was in, He did not succumb to bitterness, revenge, or hatred, but rather forgiveness, consolation, encouragement, and mercy. Aren’t we called to do the same as His followers?

For today: Forgive one who has wronged you and ask forgiveness from one you have wronged or hurt. When you have the opportunity, go to the sacrament of reconciliation, to be forgiven to be renewed, to be refreshed, to be raised up,  to be free, and thank God for His great mercy, His unconditional live and His peace.

THURSDAY – “S” - Steadfast        

As our priests, our spiritual leaders, carry the cross of this pandemic upon their shoulders, they do so with great resolve, commitment, and dedication. They carry it with Christ. Even as it seems to get very heavy, or even too heavy at times, they do not abandon it. I believe that it is in and during those times, that they recommit themselves to their promise to be united with Him and HIs people as a servant, as a priest, as a man chosen by God because He knows what they can do and desire to do.

For today: Think of when you committed yourself to do something and what made you want to do it? Return to school, get married, start a family, change jobs, start a new career. What made you choose this specific task or undertaking? Was it a life commitment or a life changing event or both? In whatever your choice was or is, do you remember when it became exceedingly difficult to remain steadfast and unwavering, but rather it seemed easier to bail and leave it behind undone, unfinished, but more importantly a result unknown?

FRIDAY – “T” – Truthful

The phrase truth hurts can be hard to acknowledge when it is our truth that hurts us,  yet we are called to our truth, we are called to hear and listen to it so that we can choose to grow and be transformed by it. It may hurt to hear what our truth is because it is a sign of what our weaknesses are. When we live in truth, when we seek spiritual guidance, our priest, our spiritual leader, is called to speak the truth in a spirit of compassion and empathy and not judgment.

For today: Ask God to give it to you straight. Ask for the grace to listen to the truth, not so that you can feel diminished or less than the person that God has created you to be and knows that you have the potential to become, but rather so that you can reach your potential and become the best person that you can be in light of His love, truth and peace.

SATURDAY – “S” – Selfless

How has the selfless example of Christ shown through the priests or my spiritual leader, that I encounter? Do I see how they have chosen to be selfless instead of selfish, where they count the needs of their flock as more important than their own? Is being a servant and not being served a lesson that I can take from them and grow in? How have I changed, been transformed or experienced spiritual conversion from being self-centered and selfish, to other centered and selfless, and can I recognize that God’s grace is at work?

For today: Ask God for His continuing grace to become a more selfless and not a selfish person. Pray for your priests, your spiritual leader, that as they carry this cross, they seek the grace of God as well so that they too remain selfless as they live being a suffering servant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 10, 2020

Happy Mother’s  Day to all of you who are moms, grand moms, foster moms, single moms, moms of blended families, single dads playing dual roles, single women, widows,  and religious who emulate the qualities of our Blessed Mother to those you embrace as God’s children. You not only exude the qualities that our Blessed Mother possessed and passed on to you, they have permeated your very being from your head to your heart, in your soul, and through your senses. You selflessly, unknowingly, and humbly, possess a spirit of love and compassion with a joyful heart and a giving spirit.  You are a nurturing woman of faith with and to all you encounter from your family to your friends, in your community and in your world.

May you find peace in knowing that our Blessed Mother is proud of you as you walk with her and Her Son.

 

This week’s Glimpse of God comes in three words BE NOT AFRAID. I find these words very comforting. Today, I believe that there are many people who also find them consoling and strengthening as we live during this pandemic and face great isolation, anxiety, frustration, and justifiable fears. But it is not only the pandemic that causes fearful feelings to erupt from within.  It is the daily life questions, concerns, struggles, that can cause fear.  We can be afraid if we are awaiting test results for a health condition, we can become afraid as we realize that our financial situation isn’t going to make ends meet, we can become afraid as we think of our elderly parents health and well being and realize that they are frail and won’t be around forever. We can become fearful when we realize that divorce is impending and that we are going to be a single parent. There are many daily circumstances that can bring fear to the forefront and cause us to want to run and hide, but we don’t . We stand firm in our resolve to face our fear and stand firm in faith that God is with us no matter what we are afraid of because He knows that our love for him is stronger than the fear that stands before us.

 

Mary was greeted by the angel and his words to her were, “Do not be afraid, Mary for you have found favor with God” She accepted his message and believed that God would see her through what she was being called to do and gave her Yes to. When Jesus faced the apostles after He rose from the dead, they thought that  He was a ghost and were afraid, and the first words that He uttered to them were, “Do not be afraid it is I, be at peace.” So, if we are afraid, we are in great company. There is nothing wrong with being afraid, it is when we let fear control us and cause us to choose not to live, then we then need to examine what and where our fears are and where they are coming from. We must also remember that we too have found favor with God.

Christ offers us peace when He knows that we are scared, He offers us His peace so that we can face, get through, and overcome our fears. He knows that we are not robots, and that we will not accomplish this instantaneously, but with our faith and thrust in Him, we will get where He wants us to be.

There are questions about how many times do these or similar words appear in Sacred Scripture and some say 365 to cover every day, but I do not think that how many times in Scripture matters. Sacred Scripture is God’s Holy and Inspired Word. We, as His beloved Children, are created in His image, loved unconditionally, and His greatest creation. We are the Living Word. We are inspired by Sacred Scripture on how to live as Jesus followers.

We are called to be His breath of Life where the Holy Spirit not only permeates our being but flows from us freely and selflessly if we let it. As the Living Word of God, every day we can hear Jesus telling us; Be not afraid, Fear not, be at peace, for I am with you always. Every day that we awake and breath and move, we are given the gifts of God’s Holy Spirt to listen to, follow and grow in the knowledge of.  We can hear His words 365 times in one day or maybe just once or twice. We, as God’s beloved are loved into life. We are loved through our struggles, joys, celebrations, fears, and crosses. God, through His beloved Son Jesus, reminds us of the great reality of His selfless and unconditional love each and every time we receive Him in the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation, through our acts of forgiveness, compassion and mercy, in our prayer and through our contrition.

As we live each day, amid this pandemic and our fears, anxiety, frustration, and isolation go another day, remember that we are 1 day closer to the end and living our new normal.  As so many live unemployed, homeless, without food for themselves and their children, with elderly parents that they cannot see or visit, with family members who are terminally ill and alone, with those who are suffering from the Corona Virus and facing death, and for those who have lost loved ones due to the virus or other illnesses. For those who are grieving alone and are not able to gather with family to be consoled, bring closure, or bury their dead.

For all those who are working and standing between us and the Virus, we want to lift selflessly and prayerfully each one up to God for His grace to keep them steadfast so that they can persevere as they carry their cross one day at a time.

We all need to listen to Jesus as He offers us His peace and lovingly and gently tells us not to be afraid. There are some who can instantly say what their fears are, and there are those who are unable to identify them exactly, yet they long and welcome His peace.

We are a people of faith; strong yet challenged, weak yet present. We all are facing the unknown and confusing, and so did the Apostles. They experienced Jesus’ passion, yet fell asleep, then out of fear, ran from his persecutors because they were afraid of being killed if they were recognized as being associated with Him. After his death they felt abandoned, they too faced the unknown and confusing. One could say that they probably had much to be afraid of; the fear of how they were going to resume their life after giving up everything to follow Him for three years, fear of being killed for proclaiming His good news and living as He taught them to, fear that they were deceived by Him since they watched him die such a cruel death, and they did not yet know what His promise of rising from the dead meant.  And when Jesus did rise from the dead and appear to them, they did not recognize Him immediately because their fears blinded them from seeing Him as He was. It was not until he offered His peace and broke bread with them that their eyes were opened, and they saw that it was the Lord. Jesus saw through their fears and read their hearts, and He knew that their love for Him was undivided and genuine, and He it was when He called to their heart that they were able to recognize Him.

The Lord knows our hearts better than we do. He knows that we love Him and are doing our best to be faithful and not afraid. He understands our fears and He does not condemn us for them, but He gently draws away from them to Himself and His promise that He is and always has been with us and that we need not be afraid.

This week take each day and look at what makes us not to be afraid as we stand firm in faith, hope and love.

 

SUNDAY – “F”                         FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDS

During your fear filled times, take a moment to reflect on how your faith sees you through them. What is your motivation to move forward?  Do you hear the gentle voice, the gentle invitation by Christ to come to Him and be not afraid? Do you hear that voice through the various people in your life, your family members, your friends, your coworkers? What does it sound like? Is it a stern message, a reprimand, a gentle whisper?  In whatever it is, has it or does it calm you down and empower you to move forward less afraid, less intimidated?

For today: Can you thank God for speaking through the various people that love you and want the best for you?

MONDAY – “E”                       EMBRACE, ENCOURAGE, EMULATE

This is a difficult question, but can you embrace your fears? Can you get a grip on them so that you can look at them directly and see that they have no control over you unless you give it to them? If you do that, can you imagine that this can be a source of encouragement as you decide that you will not give your control over to them? We can not run from our fears for they will only follow us, but what we can do and are called to do is face them with the trust in God that says that they will not overcome us, but that we will overcome them and walk away a freer and stronger person.

For today: try to tap into the faith, courage and trust that God has instilled in you, and ask the Blessed Mother to help you emulate her courage, trust and surrender amid the fears that you face.

TUESDAY – “A”                       ADORE, ADMIRE, AMEND

God adores you always and forever. You are His greatest creation. He admires your strength, your courage, your surrender, your compassion, and your willingness to face and carry your crosses.  He believes in you and is grateful for and to you for being His witness in the world, for building up His kingdom here on earth, and inviting Him into your heart, mind, and soul, to the very core of your being. As you face your fears, you also face the reality that you may have offended others by not allowing them in and pushing them away, for using your need to control and hide your fears, that you have sought to control others in harmful and painful ways.

For today: If you have used other forms of control: silence, gossip, addiction, self-righteousness, or anger to run from your fears, can you make amends to those you have hurt and seek forgiveness. Anyone could and would understand how we react to fear and it take one who has also been afraid to have the mercy and compassion to forgive.

WEDNESDAY – “R”                 REVERENCE, RESPECT, REMEMBER

Do you reverence and respect yourself, and what does that mean? We are blessed and God’s beloved children. When we reverence our self, we are reverencing the person that God created, and we are truly reverencing the presence of God within. Even amid the fearful and fear filled times, God is still within us, gently reminding us that we are not alone, and He will love us through the tough and challenging times.

For today: Can you look back and remember when you were afraid and how God called you to stand firm in your courage, steadfastness, and conviction to face your fears?

How did you feel when you found yourself facing what had control over you to where you now have control over? Can you sand in awe at your courage and thank God for that great gift?

 

 

THURSDAY – “N”                    NURTURE, NICE, NEWNESS

You are a nurturing person, you strive to help others, give of yourself freely and without a return. You strive to be selfless and not selfish. You seek to be nice when it is challenging and difficult, yet you know is the right thing to be. But why are you like this and why do you choose to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become?

I would say because it gives you a deep feeling of goodness and happiness that can only come from God, you see a newness in life, and you want others to see and experience that newness as well. This newness is a resurrection experience that Jesus has in store for all of us. He wants us to experience this newness that can only come from Him and being in relationship with Him. Being in relationship with Him brings us a newness that can be a result of mercy and compassion being extended, and peace, joy, happiness being shared.

For today: Can you recognize these experiences as gifts and graces from God? And thank Him for the newness, the renewal of your spirit, the joy for life, that they have given you.

FRIDAY – “O”                          OPEN, ORIENTED, OBSERVING

With everything that is happening within and without of your life, can you be open to God’s surprises? Every breath that you take, every time you look at His creation, every time you encounter another person on their journey of life and faith, you are orienting them to God as He reveals Himself. For those who do not now Christ or want to know Him better, you are familiarizing them to His love, His presence, and His peace by your example, your patience, your mercy, and your selflessness. You are being a Glimpse of God and seeing His glimpse in others.

For today: Can you take a close look at and observe what makes you choose to be more open to what God is calling you to do? Is it a person that encourages you, that you have deep respect for? Is it your past experiences that affirm your faith and trust in God, that being open is the only choice because when you are open, when you open your heart, mind and spirit, you remember that it is then that God has filled you with His graces and blessings to overcome what you perhaps were afraid of or needed to let go of.

SATURDAY – “T”                     TRANSFORM, TEST, THANK

It has been a great week. You have sought to overcome your fear or at least faced one. It is a difficult choice, but you have made it and have walked with God to live it out. Can you see the transformation that has come over you as you have turned your control over to God? How do you know that you have surrendered, that you have overcome your fear or at least faced it? Test yourself. Look back at what you were most afraid of or are most afraid of. Does it, your fear, have as much control over you that it had before? Or do you have a little bit more control over it and its affects over you? Do you see a difference in yourself? Can you recognize your inner courage and determination?

For today: Can you thank God for where you are today? For where you are is where God wants you to be. You are blessed, you are His beloved, you are loved unconditionally,  you are special in His eyes and in the eyes of so many people, you are His breath of life, and love.

Have a great week. Stay healthy, stay safe and stay hopeful.

Cookie

We all miss you. Love Clover, Cannoli,  John and Cookie

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 3, 2020

The Spirituality of the Easter Basket

 

So even as Easter Sunday has come and past, the Easter season in very much anew, and we still has many more weeks to go until we celebrate Pentecost Sunday; the birth of the Church as the risen Jesus filled Mary and the Disciples with His Holy Spirit, the end of the liturgical season of Easter, and hopefully we will celebrate our new birth especially as the restrictions due to the Virus are somewhat lifted, and we can again communicate with personal visits with the great joy of seeing each other face to face.

As we continue to move through each day of our spiritual and physical journey amid restrictions anxiety, and isolation, we must remember that we are an Easter resurrection people, people who believe that new life is always promised after we carry our cross and enter the tomb of every Good Friday that we endure.

Now I know that many people did not have the experience of receiving an Easter basket, or even making one up for those they love. I hope that this Glimpse of God brings you a sense of new joy in what I describe as the Spirituality of the Easter basket. I hope that you can better recognize how God has called you to know Him and yourself better as you relate to Him and others through the Easter basket.

As you look into the makeshift Easter basket, and the daily reflections, think of what you have in it, what you would like to see more of, what you dislike that was placed in it, what you intend to consume first, and lastly what comes to mind as you look at the basket half empty. Do you see God’s actions and presence in the Easter basket?

He is your basket, He is always embracing you, filling you with His grace as He knows you need it most, He is loving you and protecting you. It is never empty because His love is never void or missing. You might feel empty at times, but that is only so He can fill you with the necessary graces during those times, yet even in those times, He is speaking to your heart and calling you to listen to your heart very closely. Those candies in your Easter basket that you consumed first and enjoyed, were His gifts to remind you that you are His beloved child, that He sees the sweetness of your heart where love dwells: love for Him, others and self, and He genuinely enjoys you and your invitation to Him to be a part of your life. He laughs with you, He cries with you, He is silently is present to you as He whispers to your heart, and He is loud as He calls you by name wherever you are. He is there to console you, lift you up forgive you, and shower His blessing upon you. Always!!  

What does your Easter basket and what fills it say about your spirituality and relationship with God? Does what you place in your Easter basket mean anything deeper than just what the items look like? The basket with a handle or not, the grass, the jellybeans, the dyed Easter eggs, the candy filled Easter eggs, chocolate Easter bunny, and of course the traditional little chick “peeps”. Did you ever wonder what the various colors that were used to dye Easter eggs meant? What is or was your favorite color when you dyed your Easter eggs? And why?  Did you create designs on them or leave them as they were? Does your Easter basket have a handle or did it at one point? Do you carry it carefully?

I will attempt to describe the Spirituality of the Easter basket as I have been inspired to. This is my own idea and my prayer is that you recognize God’s presence and your response to that presence in your Easter basket.

SUNDAY – THE EASTER BASKET WITH A HANDLE AND SEEMINGLY WITHOUT A HANDLE

The basket represents how God carries us through the good times and the challenging times, He will never let us go. He has a grip on our life and all that it includes, and He sees the beauty in us that enables us to shine with hope like the grass and be the rainbow of color as in the Easter eggs. Amid our sufferings and the crosses that we call carry, the Easter basket comes, not to be source of denial of our crosses and pain, but rather a reminder of the strength that we possess as we carry our crosses, and the strength of our character that reinforces our faith in that God is carrying us.

As followers of Christ, even as we strive to be our best, sometimes our weak side emerges.  When that occurs, we try to handle our crosses, our troubles, our pain with our own ideas, our own solutions, our own self, and we think that we are in control. When this happens, our Easter basket handle seems to be missing, it may have been loosened or even fell off.  When we think that we are the only ones that can carry us through our challenging times, and we do not ask for God to step in and help, we are in a way taking the handle off of our Easter basket. We are not allowing God to carry us because we are trying to carry our self. We are not allowing the loving embrace of God to warm us, assist us or comfort us. God understands this because He knows our hearts better than we do. He knows that we love Him so much and that we can sometimes get overwhelmed in worry and anxiety that we are too ashamed to turn to Him.

We instead turn into our self and away from Him.

As your basket is filled with God’s love in so many and varied ways, it can get heavy if you try to carry it alone. When we emerge from our tombs, we see Him and our self in a new light, the light of love and hope, healing and peace.  If you carry it alone, you might miss the sweetness of God grace. You try to carry it but at but at some point, you realize that you need God and you ask Him to help you. It is at that very moment you are given the grace to see the handle and you realize that it had not fallen off or even got loose, but rather that it was just tucked under the basket. You just could not see it because life had blinded you for a moment.

So… as you look at your Easter basket remember that Jesus accepted help. If you come to a time where you want to walk away from your basket, know that God is going to take the basket. He takes the basket; He takes and embraces you in all your beauty and picks you back up and brings you through to the next step. The step that bring you closer to the entrance of your tomb so that His light may shine brighter on you, and that you may see that you are not alone. He loves you and is always there to embrace and carry you.

 

MONDAY - THE GRASS THAT IS THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR BASKET

The grass is a source of protection so that the strong person that you are, when faced with trials that make you feel fragile or joys that make you put your guard down, you are protected and will be safe in God’s arms. The grass represents our salvation in Christ.  Without the grass to protect the basket, or Christ to protect us from the evil one, we would be helpless and hopeless. Without Christ or the grass of our Easter basket, we lose sight of our unique giftedness and gifts, they go unprotected and we can feel broken or lost. The grass protects the fragile contents of our basket and Christ protects us who can be at times very fragile.

What does your foundation of your Easter basket look like? Is there a lot of grass and does it cover the treats? Do you eagerly wait to see what is underneath the grass?

In faith, what does your foundation consist of? Is your prayer life a significant part of your foundation? Is your relationship with God important to you that you nourish it on a regular basis? Are the present life experiences that you are living through strengthening your foundation or weakening it? Can you wait with eager expectation to see what God has hidden and waiting for you? God is God of surprises, are you ready to see what they are for you?

 

TUESDAY - THE EASTER EGG

The Egg represents the tomb and once opened, represents the resurrection. As we color the eggs different colors, I believe that the colors that we choose represent our unique personality that has developed as we have endured crosses, tombs and resurrections of our life experiences. The eggs are a reminder of our baptism and how we were immersed into Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. We are all called by name at our baptism and it is through our unique calling that we develop a favorite color of egg, or we lean towards a color or colors that make our personality shine.

 

WEDNESDAY – THE TRADITIONAL CHICK “PEEPS”

Those chewy, sweet Easter chick peeps. Today they come in many forms and types of animals, shapes, and characters, but they are still chewy, sweet peeps. The chick represents the resurrection. Since chicks come from eggs, they represent the resurrection as they break forth from the shell or the tomb and walk freely away from darkness into the light. How many chicks are in your Easter basket? How many resurrection experiences do you recall as you look at the peeps in your basket? Are your resurrection experiences a sweet memory for you that you can take a whole peep and enjoy it? Or are they bittersweet that you can only take a bite at a time of your peep? When you recall your resurrection experiences, do you recall hearing Jesus call you forth from your tomb to His light so that you can experience the sweetness of His love an healing?

 

THURSDAY – THE CANDY FILLED EASTER EGGS

As we come froth from our tombs, we come forth our better self, our sweet side emerges. The sweetness of compassion, mercy, love, peace, joy, understanding, empathy emerges where previously perhaps, bitterness, anger, helplessness, discouragement and revenge dwelt.  Our sweet side makes us better people, and not bitter people. The candy in the Easter eggs is a gift from God to remind us that we must endure our Good Friday so that we can experience our Easter Sunday. He reminds us that we will come out better, that His love for us as His beloved children doesn’t change, but rather grows, and He shows us this by placing the varied colored, and candy filled eggs so that we can be not only be reminded of His great love but also of the sweetness of our inner and outer beauty.

 

FRIDAY – THE VARIED COLORED JELLYBEANS

The jellybeans are usually one’s favorite candy in the Easter basket. They are not only sweet, but they are also small, and many can be consumed quickly. They are easy to pick up and pocket so that they can be enjoyed at various times.

But they do have a spiritual meaning, they represent a relationship with Christ and can be used as a source and instrument of prayer. So, the next time you are about to consume a jellybean, think of its spiritual meaning and take a moment to reflect on how Christ brings you closer to Himself when you least expect to.

THE BLACK JELLYBEAN – represents sin and how we are drawn to sin when we seek to do our will and not God’s.

THE RED JELLYBEAN – represents Jesus’ blood and how selflessly shed it for our sins so that we can be reconciled to Him and inherit eternal life.

THE WHITE JELLYBEAN – represents being cleansed at our baptism and every time we approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation and attend The Mass.

THE YELLOW JELLYBEAN – represents heaven and how where we hope to meet God face to face when our earthy journey has ended.

THE GREEN JELLYBEAN – represents growth and how we grow in our relationship with God and each other in the light of God’s unconditional love for us as His beloved children. The growth is when we strive to be our better self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.

THE PURPLE JELLYBEAN – represents the royalty of Christ. Christ is our King and as our King, He invites us to build His kingdom here on earth, one prayer, one act of kindness, one act of mercy, one step at a time.

THE PINK JELLYBEAN – represents gratitude or Thank you. That which we should be praying to God daily since we have been blessed with so much. If we count our blessings and not just our challenges, we will see how our blessings have gotten us through our challenges, how our blessings of faith, family , friends have helped us carry our crosses and face our challenges without giving up or giving in.

THE ORANGE JELLYBEAN – represents the Lord, Orange(aren’t) you glad that you know Him in a deep and personal way?

 

SATURDAY – THE EMPTY EASTER EGG

As you look at your Easter basket you see many delectable items are still there, and many gone, but they were good, I hope. The candy, the beans, the eggs that are left either because you didn’t want to lose sight of what they remind you of: the good times, the happy times, the times that God touched you with His healing and new life (candy filled eggs) or because you didn’t or haven’t been able to let go of what they remind you of: past hurts, pain that was inflicted upon you, or your own weaknesses and sins. (empty egg)

Remember that even in the midst of your pain and hurts, the heavy weight of your cross, the  egg, although empty, is God’s gently way of telling you that there is so much room to fill you with His healing and that He want to make you whole.  In your emptiness, He wants to fill you completely with His graces of reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, love, peace and joy as and when you need them most.

Emptiness is a gift, an anticipation of God greater gifts. Can you open yourself, trusting in God and surrendering to Him your cares, concerns, worries and stresses so that He can fill you with His love and graces? Can you keep the empty egg in sight to remind yourself that even when you feel empty inside you are actually becoming a vessel for God to fill you and heal you in ways that you could never imagine or believe?

e week of April 26, 2020

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?

As they all were prevented from recognizing Jesus after He rose from the dead, how are we today, during the Corona Virus pandemic, prevented from recognizing Jesus?  What is blinding us from seeing His action, His presence, His love, His grace in our lives and the lives of those we love, in our community and in our world? Jesus knows that we truly and deeply love Him and want to be our best self, the person that we were created to be and have the potential to become. He knows our hearts better than we do our self, as He did with Mary Magdalene, The Apostles, Thomas, and the Disciples. They  followed Jesus, ministered with Him, shared their stories, their fears, their hopes, and yet, they could not see Him for who he really was after the cruel death that he endured, and being absent from them for three days.

Are we any different today in the midst of this pandemic? We are Christ’s followers. We too follow Jesus, minister as members of the Body of Christ in His name, share our stories of faith and witness with others so that they too can come to know Christ in  deep and lasting way, we share our fears with Him in trust and express our hopes and desire to come to know Him better. We have been immersed into His passion, death and resurrection, yet today, many can’t see past the passion, death and the tombs of this pandemic. We are afraid, stressed, worried and anxious about many things and rightly so, but faith and fear can’t coexist well together. We must trust in God who is our creator, that He will see us through this because of His great and unconditional love that will always be there no matter what.

All were prevented, unable to see or recognize the risen Christ. The very Jesus that they broke bread with, ministered together with, experienced His miracles, and probably shared their stories about their brokenness, their joys, their hopes, their sorrows, and their hopes about the Messiah and how He would change things for the better. Christ raised people from the dead, healed the blind, the deaf, the crippled, he ate with sinners and ministered to the outcasts, and these very apostles, disciples, and women followers were with Him to see it first hand. 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 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 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. Yet even in His great love for them, so many other emotions filled their heart and clouded their vision. The resurrections in our life comes in the forms of peace, joy, happiness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, understanding and a renewed desire to be the best person that God created us to be despite our crosses and the challenges that they bring. It is difficult to experience resurrection if we cannot let go and let God bring us these gifts because of our disbelief that He wants to give them to us and our fears that we will be called to change and be transformed forever.

When Jesus saw Mary Magdelene, 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 of His children.

He knows that depth of our love for Him even in the midst and the weight of our crosses. When we say Yes to His will, 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 with you, and safely with others. Yes we can travel the road to peace safely and with great excitement. As we acknowledge the present situation and all that it brings, we can also choose to be hopeful, choose to stay healthy and choose to see the action and presence of God.

Each day as you feel drawn in by all the news, fears, or suffering that surrounds you.

Think of some responses that may come forth from you and thank God.

You may feel as if you are in the Garden with Jesus asking that this cup pass by you, and in faith and trust you find your prayer response being; not my will but yours be done.

You may find yourself in the midst of betrayal, not that of others, but of your own body.

You may not be feeling well, you may have the virus or the flu or some terminal disease or chronic illness. You may feel alone yet your prayer is Lord help me to allow you to carry me during these difficult times. Help me to surrender to you this betrayal, my need to be in control, so that I can be healed as you choose to heal me. My body is limited but your love, your healing, your compassion is not.

You may feel as if you are stuck in the tomb of fear, anxiety, stress and panic. Yet you ask God to help you move the stone so that you an emerge the strong, trusting person that you want to be and realize that you cannot be without His grace and help.

You may feel that even though you have emerged from your tomb, you are in the garden and you can’t see Christ clearly. Yet you want to, so you ask Him to help you hold onto the hope and promise that He is with you always and will never abandon you.

You may feel very hopeful, courageous, and trusting in God that He is and will always be with you during this turbulent time. You know that He has been and will always be with you in all of your turbulent times, happy times, joyful times, celebratory times, and sad times, and your prayer is Thank You Lord.

As you walk through this week, try not to be consumed by the news and negativity. See the positive in yourself and others, in the events, circumstances, situations, changes, and the new normal. Choose to stand up to the negative, worrisome, anxious moments and events with the strong willed, determination, self-reliance and resilience that says loud and clear that you will not be defeated or fall into despair, but rather you will defeat and conquer this pandemic and its effects with the grace and help of God and others. Allow Christ to teach 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.

 

MONDAY - "E" - Empathy

Are you empathetic, understanding, compassionate towards others who fail to recognize the risen Jesus in their life because of the weight of their crosses and the pain that they are feeling? or do you put them down, judge them, lose patience with them, see yourself as better than them? Empathy requires an open heart, one that is in relationship with God and wants to share His good news of mercy, healing, peace, 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.

 

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? Ask for the ability to recognize the Risen Jesus as you encounter others, see circumstances differently, recognize that personal grudges as an unnecessary weight that is holding you back from peace and seek the grace to let go.

WEDNESDAY - "C" - Charity

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

 

THURSDAY - "H" - Honor

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

 

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.

 

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?

 

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Glimpse of God for this week of April 13, 2020

I believe that this Glimpse on the Corona Virus, can contiuue to serve as a reminder that we are stronger than we think and that we will overcome this pandemic with faith and trust in our loving God and in each other. Aa we face the pandemic and the effects that it has had on us, let us remember that it is in and through the faith, love and presence of God that we are able to face this head on, without shrinking but rather standing strong.As we stand in the light of Christ's resurrection, let us remember that it was  His selfless and uncondtional love that brings us to stand in the light, and not remain in  the tomb. As we struggle each and every day to remain safe, protect our loved ones and stay connected to them, keep our minds, hearts and bodies healthy and grow in our relationship with God so that our YES can be strengthend, affirmed and renewed each and every day.

I wrote this reflection on The POWER of LOVE and  I offer it as a source of hope and encouragement, support and  strength to all.

 

THE POWER OF LOVE

Glimpse of God for this week of April 13, 2020

I believe that this Glimpse can continue to serve as a reminder that we are stronger than we think and that we will overcome this with faith and trust in our loving God and in each other. Aa we face the pandemic and the effects that it has had on us, let us remember that it is in and through the faith, love and presence of God that we are able to face this head on, without shrinking but rather standing strong. As we stand in the light of Christ's resurrection, let us remember that it was His selfless and unconditional love that brings us to stand in the light and not remain in the tomb.

As we struggle each and every day to remain safe, protect our loved ones and stay connected to them, keep our minds, hearts and bodies healthy and grow in our relationship with God so that our YES can be strengthened, affirmed and renewed each and every day. I wrote this reflection on The POWER of LOVE and I offer it as a source of hope and encouragement, support and strength to all.

 

THE POWER OF LOVE

What does power mean? How is love powerful?

Do you feel empowered by love?

Can the power of love move mountains?

Do you believe that if we have LOVE, we are the most powerful of all human beings?

         if so, do you love enough to move the mountains of strained family relationships, addiction, abuse, calm the storms of bitterness, envy, hatred and revenge,

hear the whisper of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and reconciliation?

Can the power of love open hearts, split the red seas in your life, heal deep wounds?

         if so, why is your heart closed to God's healing touch?

How is that your life is in turmoil and you can't seem to separate the good from the bad,

the healthy from the non-healthy, the needs from the wants?

Can the power of love change you?

Do you want to be changed? Do you see a need to change? What is change?

         If love can change you, how is it that you find yourself doing the same harmful things repeatedly? How is that you don't feel lovable or

that you think that God doesn't love you unconditionally?

Love is transformative, is your confession a source of transformation?

There is only one love that can change us, transform us,

make us powerful in a very God like way.

That is the love of God that He chose to give us in His only Son Jesus Christ

and how Jesus chose to show us love as He suffered and died on the cross.

TRUE, UNCONDITIONAL, EVERLASTING LOVE

CHANGES US, TRANSFORMS US,

MAKES US BETTER NOT BITTER PEOPLE.

IT CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS,

SPLIT THE RED SEAS OF OUR LIFE, 

AND HEAL OUR WOUNDEDNESS.

TRUE LOVE

SENT AN ANGEL TO EARTH,

APPEARED TO MARY, SHE SAID "YES"

APPEARED TO JOSEPH IN A DREAM,

TOOK MARY AND THE CHILD TO BE TO A PLACE OF SAFETY,

WAS BORN IN A MANGER,

HAD MANY VISITORS TO HONOR AND ADORE HIM,

RAISED JESUS AS A BOY,

FOUND JESUS IN THE TEMPLE,

RETURNED HOME AND WAS OBEDIENT,

TOOK 12 MEN AS HIS CLOSEST FRIENDS AND SHARED WITH THEM THE KINGDOM,

BROKE BREAD WITH HIS BETRAYER,

 SUFFERED AND DIED ON THE CROSS,

GAVE US MARY AS OUR MOTHER,

FORGAVE THE REPENTANT THIEF,

ROSE FROM THE DEAD,

RACED TO THE TOMB,

APPEARED TO THOSE WHO BETRAYED, DENIED, RAN AWAY FROM HIM

AND OFFERED THEM PEACE,

ASCENDED TO THE FATHER AND SENT THE HOLY SPIRIT,

FEEDS US HIS BODY AND BLOOD IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST,

CONTINUES TO OFFER US PEACE TODAY THROUGH THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION,

GIVES US FAMILY TO FORM US, SHAPE US, LOVE US,

TRANSFORM US, FORGIVE US,

GIVES US FRIENDS TO SEE US AS WE ARE,

LOVE US AS WE ARE, AND CHOOSES US AS A FRIEND,

GIVES US A MIRROR TO SEE US AS GOD SEES US,

HIS BELOVED CHILDREN,

LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY, AND HIS GREATEST CREATION.

GIVES US WINDOWS TO SEE THE PEOPLE AND

THE WORLD AROUND US TO NURTURE,

TO CHERISH, TO SHARE GOD'S LOVE, ABIDING PEACE AND ABOUNDING MERCY,

TO RESPECT AND TO REVERENCE AS AN EXTENSION OF GOD,

GOD GIVES US A TASTE OF JOY, PEACE,

HAPPINESS IN THIS LIFE

SO THAT WE MAY KNOW, BELIEVE AND HOPE

IN WHAT LIES AHEAD IN HEAVEN.

 

GOD HAS GIFTED US WITH.

THE BREATH OF LIFE TO BUILD UP ANOTHER, AND NOT TEAR THEM DOWN,

THE EARS TO HEAR THE CRIES OF THE POOR AND THE JOYS OF THE EXULTANT,

THE NOSE TO SMELL THE AROMAS OF THE LIFE OF HARD WORK AROUND US,

THE FEET TO WALK A MILE IN THE SHOES OF ANOTHER,

THE HANDS TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE,

OUR BODIES TO HONOR, REVERENCE, AND RESPECT

AS WE SEE GOD IN THEM

AND RECOGNIZE THAT WE ARE

HIS INSTRUMENTS NEEDED TO BUILD UP HIS KINGDOM HERE ON EARTH,

ONE PRAYER, ONE ACT OF MERCY, ONE ACT OF KINDNESS, ONE STEP AT A TIME.

 

THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE, LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.....

Happy Easter, yes there is cause to be happy….

Can you see it, do you hear it, are you touched by it?

 

In our great world, in our nation, in our state and in our communities, the Corona Virus has directly impacted us with no bias, prejudice or favoritism. The virus has directly touched both the rich and the poor, those who live in big homes and the homeless, the medical professionals, EMS and Police who are only trying to serve, protect and heal, and the innocent shopper who is exposed to it from an unknown carrier. The virus has directly  affected many, especially those who have died from the virus and their loved ones who are mourning and unable to bury their deceased loved one, those have gotten sick with the virus, those who have been exposed to the virus and have had to self-quarantine. It has indirectly affected many like those whose employment has ended, the many stores and non-essential businesses that have had to close,  those who have had to stay home and not work because their children are home from school, and those whose faith and weekly attendance of Worship has been suspended. The economic crisis is one that will last for a long time and that is where we are all affected.

We as followers of Christ, believers in and of God and those who desire to know God better and be in relationship with Him, are all being challenged in our faith and called to trust and not lose hope. During this holy season of Lent, we as baptized Catholic Christians, have entered into the passion and death of our Lord, and are carrying our cross as we walk with Him on our journey to Calvary. As we walk with Christ and YES, He is walking with us helping us carry this cross, we cannot fall into hopelessness or despair or allow fear to conquer our faith. We have entered into his passion and death and cannot lose sight of the resurrection that will occur. Jesus promises us that we will rise and come forth from our tombs, we just must believe and go forward and not get stuck.

This virus and its affects have called us to look deep within. Our hearts are torn and troubled, our spirits might seem crushed and our emotions are low, as followers of Christ, we trust and know that we will be healed and made whole again. Lent is an opportunity to invite Christ in and ask Him how we can grow closer to Him with and in our present circumstances. This is a collective cross that we all carry. There is nothing that occurs that is not useful for personal and spiritual growth and development

During this Lenten season, acts of penance and self-denial are all around us.  Our lack of control, the bans that keep us at home, the fear of contracting the virus, the words “until further notice”, “indefinitely” and “beyond our control”, can either make us feel defeated or make us conquerors. We can choose to look within to the courage that we possess that will enable us to stand strong and steadfast. We can ask for the grace to recognize how we can grow spiritually and seek personal transformation and conversion, instead of complaining, becoming complacent or giving up.

The prayer that I composed is to help us so that we will not be defeated, but will defeat that which is seeking to lead us away from God and His infinite love for us and trust in Hm.

 

 

LOVING GOD, CREATOR AND REDEEMER,

The Corona Virus is a force to be reckoned with. You are a greater force that will bring healing, hope and wholeness to those who have been touched, seemingly destroyed, deeply devastated and changed forever.  The Corona Virus cannot diminish your global community: your beloved sons and daughters, created in your image and loved unconditionally, from becoming their best self in the face of fear and anxiety, the person that you created them to be and have the potential to become. The Corona Virus will not defeat your sons and daughters, crush their spirits, or keep them silent, but rather they will be the voice in the wilderness that cries out prepare for our vaccine, our healing, our renewal and rebirth and our transformation as we start to live a new normal, and we will choose life and not death, hope and not despair, community and companionship and not isolation. As we look into the eyes of this deadly and highly contagious virus, may we recognize how you have given your people the greatest instruments to overcome this deadly devastation: faith, love, companionship, compassion, understanding, tough love, empathy, hope, healing, and promise.

 

C - We are COURAGEOUS

We have the courage to face anything especially our fears. We will not be defeated, discouraged maybe, but not defeated. We will not let this virus kill our beliefs, values, dreams, hopes and joys, make us become uncaring and selfish people instead of people that care and are concerned for others. We will be courageous when we are faced with the task of self-isolation, unemployment, lack of control over having to stay at home. We will not let these conditions control our thoughts, actions or attitudes, but rather we will embrace new thoughts, attitudes, and actions, ones that will expand our hearts, minds and spirits. We will pray and ask God to reveal them to us because we know and believe that they will help us to become our better self, our best self, the person that God created us to be, and have the potential to become, no matter what we face.

 

O - We are ONE

We are one creation, one family, one of the many members of the Body of Christ. We are all God’s beloved sons and daughters. We will continue to stand up to this deadly virus as one: one world, one nation, one state, one community, one family, one person at a time. As the world lives amid such a crisis, we live as one. No one is exempt from the bans, limitations, or restrictions, as well as catching the virus, spreading the virus or being exposed to the virus. As one, we stand with those who have been directly affected: the loved ones of those who have died, the sick and isolated, the medical, law enforcement, and EMS personnel, we stand besides those whose lives have been shattered financially due to closing of businesses, layoffs, and staying at home due to schools closing. We stand behind and have the backs of those who are alone and have no one, the outcast, the homeless, the elderly, the homebound and those in hospitals.

We are all under God’s rainbow and we will see the end to this crisis if we stand as one with hope, courage, trust, faith and steadfastness.

 

R- We are RESILIENT

We are tough and we will never be less than our toughest self. Our desire to fight and be healthy, to love and live and not choose death; either the death of our spirit or the death of our souls, is what makes us a resilient people.  We know adversity and we know how to conquer it and not be defeated by it.  The ability to see past the danger of this virus is what gives us hope and strength.  The virus is deadly, and it can end there, but even amid physical death, we know and believe that we will rise with Christ. This is our Good Friday, this is our passion, this is our journey to Calvary. As we experience the tombs of life; the self-isolation, the limitations, the restrictions, we know that we will also experience the resurrection, the renewal of our body, mind and spirit and the expansion of our heart. Life after the virus will be our new life, a life that clearly shows that we did not allow ourselves to be conquered, but that we are conquerors.

 

O - GOD is OMNIPOTENT

God is an omnipotent, all knowing, all loving God. He sees through to the heart when we can only see the surface.  He knows our every thought and prayer and realizes that amid the crisis’ that enter our lives, our prayers might be less, or out of anger or fear, but He knows that we truly strive to be His best followers and that we want to be a faithful, trusting and hopeful people. This crisis is one that has entered everyone’s life from all ends of the globe.  This virus has challenged us to see God as the one who is in control and that we don’t have control over the situation.  We can self-isolate, keep social distance, hope for a vaccine, but these do not place us in control, they give us the freedom to choose to be healthy and it shows our concern for ourselves and others. Only God sees where and when this virus will end.  As we walk this journey to Calvary, He allows us to stop and encounter others who are carrying a heavy cross, those who want to help us despite their cross, those who want to be instruments of consolation and support, and those who want to draw us closer to Mary our Mother. These encounters make us better people and allow us to grow.  As we encounter others on this journey, we are joined in faith that we will all make it to the resurrection. God knows that is what we want, and He will give it to us.

All-powerful, we too can be invincible and powerful if our power is a power of love, peace, hope, trust, compassion, mercy, empathy and understanding. These are all God’s gifts to us, and we have the power to use them to give glory to Him and build His kingdom here on earth.

 

N - We will experience NEWNESS

In and through this crisis, we will experience a newness that will surprise us, for God is a God of surprises.  As we continue our Lenten journey, we are journeying closer to Christ’s Calvary and will soon recall His passion and death.  We will meditate and reflect on His great and unconditional love for the Father and for us. We will be reminded of His great love that He showed as He endured great suffering through His passion in the desert, His condemnation, scourging, crowning with thorns, falling under the weight of the cross of our sins, and his crucifixion, and He said not a word. Jesus knew that this wasn’t the end, but a new and eternal beginning would follow. He knew that He would rise in three days and gain for us eternal life, where there is no pain or suffering, only peace, joy and happiness. That is His promise, but we don’t have to wait until we die to see it come to fruition.

He promises new life to all those who believe in Him and seek to follow Him. As we endure the darkness of the virus, we believe that we will again see the light of His healing and that it will bring us to a newness of life, a newness in spirit and a newness in our relationship with Him and others. We will experience a newness and wholeness that will remind us again that we are stronger than we think.

 

A - GOD ADORES us

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.

God has great respect for you and for the choices that you make. He will never go against your free will but will also never abandon you when your will and His don’t necessarily meet. It is in all this that He is devoted to you and finds you most adorable or able to be adored.

It is because He adores you and me that we can stand united, yet individuals, one in love with Him and each other.  We are adored by our loving creator and God.  Being adored and loved reminds us that we can stand up to anything and fall for nothing, if we believe that His adoration of us is what gives us the strength to fight, stand firm, not lose heart and continue to be strong in the face of this virus that wants to infect everyone. As with any infection, the body is weakened and when we, as the Body of Christ, are infected with doubt, self-defeat, despair and discouragement, we feel it collectively. We will fight, we will win, and God will continue to renew us with His unconditional love, adoration and abiding peace, and unending joy.

 

V - We have VALOR

We are brave, we are courageous, we are fearless, we are resilient, we are followers of Christ and we will not allow anything, or anyone diminish our strengths and capabilities. We are God’s children and weather we are working or unemployed, sick or healthy, young or old, we are first and foremost God’s children and that is our identity. We are followers of Christ and the Corona Virus cannot rob us of our identity. There are many heroes in the fight against this pandemic: the military, the medical professionals, the police and fire, the EMS, the mothers and fathers, the grandparents, the children, the professors, the religious, the clergy, the poor and the homeless. We are all heroes if we believe in each other, if we seek to alleviate the pain and suffering of others, if we encourage each other during the difficult times and if we seek to lift each other up and not tear each other down when we are hurting, frustrated, angry, and sad.

 

I - We are IRREPRESSIBLE

We are irrepressible, we are uncontainable because we will not sit by and let this virus take over our lives and our will to live a normal life. In the face of this virus we cannot afford to be mild and meek, but we need to be strong, somewhat willful if our will is to stay safe and healthy and we want others to do and be the same.  Right now, the virus seems uncontainable and because of that so many are sick and dying and many more are exposed to it and unconsciously exposing others.

We are right in the face of an uncontrollable force, so we need to reflect an even greater force of faith and love in action. We will not be controlled by this virus, but we will use all our power and might to contain it. We can choose to be willful if that means telling others to keep at a distance, to wear a mask or gloves, to refrain from sneezing and coughing in public, and not to travel. God’s will be done. As a fellow builder of His kingdom here on earth, we are all called to build it with each other with all of our will, soul, spirit and heart.

 

R - We are RESOLUTE

As a beloved child of God, we are a tenacious and determined people. When we are faced with a situation that we have no control over and one that we can’t change, we will not just cave in, we will not wilt like a flower but rather will stand firm like an oak tree. When we are faced with a crisis and need to make decisions or have decisions made for us, we stand firm in what we know is the right thing to do and how we can do it.  We resolve not to be defeated

 

U - We possess UNDERSTANDING

We try so hard to understand what is occurring in our world because of the Corona Virus.  We want to know how this virus started, how so many people are infected with it and have been exposed to it, how easy it is to get, and how so many people ignore it thinking that they will not get it. We want insight as to how to best deal with it so that we don’t fall into despair or discouragement, but rather develop a greater sense of empathy and compassion for those whose lives have been changed forever. We have a little understanding, but we will never fully understand this situation or crisis on our own. We need to pray for insight as to how God wants us to respond, so that we, and those who we know and love, can stay healthy and bring about an end the devastation it is causing.

 

S - We are SELFLESS

We are not a selfish people when it comes to those who are suffering and in need, rather our better self emerges, and we become very selfless and will do what we can for another.  During this crisis, we might think that there is nothing that we can do for others since we can’t leave our homes, but that is so not true. We can first and foremost, pray for those we love and care for, we can lift up in prayer our nation and its leaders, our neighbors, our community, our Church, those who are stricken with the virus and those who have died.

We can call those who are elderly and alone, those who feel isolated, those who are single and alone, those who are ill and suffering alone. We can write to those who live a distance from us, who are carrying this cross away from family and friends. There is still so much that we can do and needs to be done. By Jesus’ passion and death, He acted out of complete selflessness. As His followers, we can choose to be a selfless person, but not without His help and grace

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of March 22, 2020

This week’s Glimpse of God comes as we experience the pandemic crisis and how it is randomly and without bias, affecting each person, young and old, rich and poor, healthy and the non-healthy, and from all corners of the globe. This corona virus isn’t a virus that only affects the elite or the poor, but rather it is affecting everyone and anyone. Although children may have not gotten the virus directly, with the economic hardships that it is causing for the adults, the children are being affected indirectly and possibly more seriously.

The virus has called every one of us to look more deeply at how we live each day and how we take so many things for granted.  I believe that with all the restrictions and bans, especially from attending religious Worship services, we have been forced to look deep within our self and examine the strength of our foundation and what it is built on. If we are founded in faith in Jesus Christ, then our foundation, no matter how challenged it is, will not fall or be demolished, it may get sustain a few cracks, craters or holes, but it will never crumble. As we are restricted from where we can go or what we can do, we are then forced to look what is truly important to us and what we can live without or with less of, reminding our self that all the measures are for our continued good health and wellbeing.

So where is my Glimpse of God amid the pandemic Corona Virus? How has God revealed himself in our struggle to cope and come to grips with the devastating effects, restrictions and bans resulting from the virus, remembering that they are for our own good so that we can remain healthy?

As a volunteer at the Assisi House, John, Clover and I have come to love the Sisters and I truly enjoy volunteering there. Although there are restrictions, one being no dogs, on who can enter Assisi House, volunteers are still permitted to volunteer with the Sisters. With the fear of the coronavirus spreading, Sister Peggy the Administrator of Assisi House, has been gently but lovingly enforcing all the restrictions to ensure the continued good health and wellbeing of the Sisters of Assisi House.  Although having the restriction of no visitors to the house and being self-quarantined is difficult for the sisters to accept, they have done so in a spirit of obedience and love. Sister Peggy has enforced the restrictions as head of the house not as a matter of control, but rather out of love for her fellow sisters and deep concern for the health and well-being.

I believe that the Sisters see this challenge as a call to continued conversion and personal transformation.  They can choose to see the restrictions as a negative experience and complain about them, but instead, they choose to see them as an opportunity to draw closer to Christ as He reveals Himself to them uniquely, intimately and face to face. In their self-quarantine, they can choose to see Christ face to face, they can choose to see Him speaking embracing and loving them so intimately and uniquely as they face the challenges and not be defeated by them. Jesus is their primary visitor who chooses to abide with them in and through the celebration of the Mass and their community recitation of prayer.

As Sister Peggy serves as the Administrator, she first serves as a Sister of Saint Francis and member of the Body of Christ. She is called to balance being the “boss” with being a fellow Franciscan Sister to those who reside in Assisi House. Although she has had to institute many rules and restrictions, she does not do so out of a need for control, but out of love and compassion, she doesn’t do so from a lofty ladder but rather from within the murky waters. These rules that the Sisters have to abide by are for their own good and continued good health and well-being which is Sister Peggy’s first concern.  When rules are given to follow, as with Moses, we can choose to follow them so that we can grow to become our best self, the person that God created us to be, and have the potential to become or we can choose to ignore them.  I believe that the Sisters choose to obey, not so much out of their vow of obedience, but rather out of a spirit of love, cooperation and compassion for Sister Peggy and each other.

The Assisi House is a home where the Sisters reside and God dwells both within them, in their love for each other even when they don’t see eye to eye, and in their love for the staff and volunteers that serve them. In their differences they choose to see to the heart of each other with the eyes of Christ where they know they will find love and not division. Assisi House is a place of refuge, where there is a sense of security, and where peace, mercy, trust, compassion, companionship and understanding are found.

As we enter a new week on our Lenten journey and are faced with the overwhelming effects from the corona virus, may we not lose heart or hope. Let us pray that our hearts expand in compassion and mercy and that our hope spring eternal like a spark through stubble. Let us seek the shelter of the Lord, as he reveals it to us, from the storms of doubt, fear, anxiety, discouragement, despair or hopelessness. Does your place or refuge or your shelter have these building blocks as part of your foundation? Can you imagine your shelter being built with these gifts that God has so graciously given you and wants you to share and use to build His kingdom here on earth?

 

SUNDAY – “S” – Security

Do you feel safe and secure from all the evil that surrounds you? Is the home of your heart, the place where Jesus dwells, built on solid ground or sand? In the midst of chaos, uncertainty, fears and limitations, do you feel secure, do you believe that Jesus is with you and that you have nothing to fear, or do you allow yourself to be overwhelmed with  anger, anxiety and angst? As with any household, feeling safe is a big concern. Do you make those in your household or family feel safe by exhibiting trust, openness, hugs, family time, checking in with each other, an open-door policy? With social distancing, do we make others feel safe with a smile, prayers, words of encouragement, understanding, compassion, patience, and mercy.

For today’s reflection: As you seek a shelter with a sense of security, what are you looking for and what does the Lord’s shelter with a sense of security look like to you?

 

MONDAY - “H” Healing

I believe that we are all in need of some form of healing, whether emotional, physical or psychological. With all that is occurring on our world this day, and will be for many days ahead, we need to be healed where the fear and anxiety have creeped in and taken over. The wounds that come from fear can be as deep as anger and as wide as selfishness, both of which isolate us and take us away from God and others. These wounds, although not visible, can cause greater harm to our spiritual and emotional wellbeing. As we are faced with many restrictions and bans, out of anger and fear, we unconsciously seek to regain control by lashing out on others. We hurt others, we hurt our self and we hurt God, and we need to be healed, collectively and as individuals.

As we seek shelter in the Lord, we need to recognize our brokenness and woundedness and seek God’s grace to be healed and made new. As we continue our Lenten journey, we are called to trust and not fear our invitation to continued conversion and personal transformation and wholeness. What is your greatest area of brokenness or woundedness that you would like Christ to touch and make new, so that the foundation of your shelter is made stronger?

For today’s reflection: As you seek shelter and healing, what are you looking for and what does the healing touch of the Lord look like to you?

 

TUESDAY – “E” Entrust

Entrust and surrender your cares, worries, and concerns to the Lord. Sounds easy, but it is most difficult. Surrendering our will is a challenge yet it is necessary if we are to experience personal conversion and transformation. Jesus entrusted His will to His Father and we are called to do the same. How do we do that? In and through our lived experiences, we are often challenged to entrust our concerns, cares, crosses, and challenges, to the Lord. We are invited to let go and let God fix that which is shattered, mend that which needs torn and tattered, and repair that which is broken, both in our relationships and life experiences. We are called to trust in God who created us and knows our hearts better than we do our self.

For today’s reflection: As you seek shelter and entrusting your cares to the Lord, what are you looking for and what does entrusting your cares to the Lord look like to you?

 

WEDNESDAY – “L” Love

That is the hardest truth for people to believe. We as humans think that we need to become something for God to love us, yet it is just the opposite, He loves us just as we are. Do you love yourself?

God loves you and that is an undeniable truth, confirmed on the cross and celebrated in the resurrection.  He loves you just as you are; a sinner, and is not waiting for you to become what you are not; perfect. He waits only for you to come to Him so that He can tell you again of His great love and remind you that it is unconditional, selfless and without cost. His love is an everlasting love, one that will bring you from this earthly life and temporary shelter to our eternal shelter.  What do you think that you need to be or become for God to love you? What holds you back from believing that you are loved as the sinner you are and not the saint you think you need to become? God formed you in the womb, He knows you, He loves you and He wants you to believe that. As you seek shelter in the Lord and strive to build a strong foundation, love for God, self and others is critical and necessary, without love, your foundation will crumble.

For today’s reflection: As you seek shelter and the love of the Lord, what are you looking for and what does the God’s love for you look like to you?

 

THURSDAY – “T” Truth

Try to be the eyes of truth by looking at those who you live with, work with, live near and even the stranger, and seeing the good in them. Remind them that they are God’s beloved child, that God unconditionally loves them, and that they are His greatest creation.  See past their fears and flaws and see the face of Christ in them. See the GOD who loves them and has chosen you to love them in return.  Choose to open the eyes of your heart, mind and spirit to their goodness as God’s beloved child, and close them when your heart, mind or spirit is tempted to tear down, judge, or see only their shortcomings. The good you see in others is probably the good they see in you.

For today’s reflection: As you seek shelter and the being the eyes of truth in the Lord more, what are you looking for and what does being the eyes of truth in the Lord look like to you?

 

FRIDAY – “E” Empathy

Being empathetic is a gift, it is not a quality that you can steal, borrow or forge, but rather it is a disposition of the heart that invites and embraces the story of another with understanding, compassion, kindness, care and gentleness. Into Being empathetic is an opportunity to grow into the person that God knows that we can be and have the potential to become, but it is not always easy. In a world where understanding of individuals, ideals, choices, and change is minimal and judgment, condemnation and hatred are chosen first, we need to reevaluate our decision-making process and the foundation from which we make those decisions. If we claim to be followers of Christ, but we choose to pass judgment on another, then we need to ask our self who is guiltier, them or us? When we choose to turn away from the wounded, the outcast, the afflicted and yet claim to be people of compassion, we need to ask our self what does compassion mean? When we choose to close the doors of our heart to mercy, peace, and love, we need to ask our self how we will live if the doors to Christ remain closed?

For today’s reflection: As you seek shelter and a greater sense of empathy for others in the Lord, what are you looking for and what does a sense of empathy for others in the Lord look like?

 

SATURDAY – “R” Reverence

Do you reverence yourself? Do you have self-respect? Do you see yourself as Blessed? By God? Special and chosen by God? Do you respect the body that He has given you? Do you stand in awe and wonder at the creation that is YOU? Look at all that is in you: your beauty that lies within, your talents and gifts, your creativity, your virtue, your genuine goodness, your love, your openness,…and reverence YOU,  do not discard YOU as not important or not talented….God has no room for nots. Reverence yourself as Blessed by God at your baptism and deserving a respect by all. No one should be made to feel less than a person no matter what. We are all created in God’s image and thus deserving to be treated as the members of the Body of Christ. When we were baptized, we were blessed with Holy water and at that moment on our life, we were chosen by God as His own, His greatest creation, unique and special, one to be reverenced and treated as his child.

For today’s reflection: As you seek shelter and a greater reverence for yourself as God’s beloved child, what are you looking for and what does having a greater reverence for yourself as God’s beloved child look like to you

 

 

Glimpse of God fro tje week of March 15, 2020

The Celebration of the Cross

As we continue our Lenten journey of prayer, sacrifice and selflessness, I know that we do so with joyful expectation of celebrating Easter and being renewed as a resurrection people. I know that we cannot celebrate our Easter Resurrection if we are unwilling to celebrate our Good Friday. If we fail to celebrate our crosses, we will miss the greater reality of how we rose above them and walked forth from the tomb to be where we are today. We can complain about our crosses, we can look downtrodden because of them, and we can be angry at God or others for causing them, but the reality is that we are called to carry them and if we do so in faith, trust and hope, our cross can become the stone that we roll away so that we can truly experience our mini resurrection.

At our baptism as followers of Jesus, we were immersed into His passion, death and resurrection, and it is in light of that reality that we go forth each and every day to bear our cross with Him, so that we too can rise with Him, and additionally help others to also experience their mini resurrections. Our cross is a sign of hope for us to embrace, and others to see. Our cross is a sign of love, unity, hope, and peace with Christ. 

This gives me reason to want to call my cross a cause of celebration, because in and through it, I know that I am in God’s good company, that I am never alone or abandoned and that I am strengthened by His grace. My cross with its sorrows, challenges, joys and struggles make me who I am today and reminds me of how I became my best self through it all.  As I think about the crosses that I have carried and continue to carry, I am blessed to see the faces of those people that God has placed in my life to help me, my Simon’s of Cyrene. It is through the many faces, shoulders, hands, feet, hearts, minds and spirits of those Simon’s of Cyrene, that have empowered me to continue to bear my cross, not quit or give in to defeat, weakness, sin or temptation. How about you?

Can you look at your crosses and see them as a cause for joy and not sorrow, peace and not turmoil, compassion and not revenge, mercy and not bitterness, love and not hatred and truth and not deception. This week as you continue your Lenten journey,  look at your cross and seek the grace to recognize it for the gift that it is, and how it has made you your better self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.

 

 

SUNDAY – “C” COMPASSION vs COMPLAINT

As you look at the cross you carry, can you recognize where you have shown more compassion than complaint? Do you see the hand of God in your ability to accept your cross and share your compassion with others, rather than complain about things and bring both yourself and others down?

For today, see your cross and an instrument of compassion and empathy to share, and seek to grow in God’s grace so that when you are tempted to complain and not see it for the good that it is and that it can bring you, His grace will strengthen you to see this truth more clearly.

MONDAY – “R” RESPECT vs REJECTION

When you look at the various crosses that you have carried in your life and still do today, can you respect them as a gift, the presence of God in your life? As you unite your suffering with Christ, your cross is that gift which enables you to surrender to His will so that you can be united in His passion and death and experience the resurrection.

If you reject your cross, you will not be able to recognize how Christ has heard your prayer to be united with Him and thus you will not be able to see how closely He is walking with you carrying your cross and calling  you to himself.

For today, look at what you want to reject in your cross; a person, an illness, financial stresses and worries, estranged family members, and ask God for the grace to see beyond that rejection. Ask him to help you see what your life would be like if this splinter of the true cross were missing, and you missed out on the opportunity to forgive, grow, have your heart expanded, trust more, worry less, and be at peace.

TUESDAY – “O’ OTHER-CENTERED vs SELF-CENTERED

Sometimes when our cross seems too heavy to bear and we think that we can’t go on, we can become very self-centered and absorbed.  When this occurs, we are not able to see others in need or hear the words of those who want to lift us up, comfort us, console us or call us out of our self because they see that we are getting on our own way of healing and losing our self under the weight of the cross. Christ did not get lost under the weight of His cross, He accepted help to carry it even though He would be the only one crucified on it. He allowed others to comfort him, He did not refuse even the most insignificant gesture of compassion.

If we choose to become self-centered because of our crosses and its afflictions, challenges, worries or stresses, we are not living up to our potential, to be our best self, the person that God created us to be. Christ didn’t call us to whisper the good news to our self, but rather proclaim it from the roof tops. We cannot proclaim the good news of healing, freedom, wholeness, mercy, compassion if we fail to recognize it because we are busy being self-centered and not other centered.

For today, reflect on one person that you know, but that you keep your distance from, that could use your prayers, support and encouragement to help them carry their cross. Ask God for the grace to reach out to them especially when it is difficult as you carry our cross.

WEDNESDAY – “S” SELFLESS vs SELFISH

Being selfish; It is one of the devil’s greatest temptations and acts of deceit. He tempts us and leads us to believe that we are most important, and that it is all about what we need or want that should be our focus. He leads us to believe that it is ok to get all that we desire no matter how we attain or acquire it, that it is ok to hurt others if it means that we will come out on top, it is ok to tear others down because we believe that they are inferior to us.

When we think that we are the end all and be all of God’s creation, we can become so absorbed and selfish that we are unable to see the needs of others or recognize what it means to be selfless. Being selfless is a gift and an invitation to be a better reflection of Christ and His call to follow and serve.

In God’s eyes as His beloved children, He wants us to be our best self. This isn’t accomplished by being selfish, but rather when we can see the needs of others first, pray for them, assist them in whatever way we can, and trust that our needs and prayers will be met by our very caring and loving God. It is when we surrender to this great truth that we begin to walk the selflessness journey and off the selfishness path.

For today, seek to recognize the temptation to be selfish and towards whom, and ask for the grace to see their face and respond to that grace with the action that God inspires.

THURSDAY – “S” SELF-CONFIDENT vs SELF-DEFEATED

For many having self-confidence is a challenge. It takes balance to be self-confident without having an inflated ego. God has blessed each one of us with our very own unique gifts and talents. He has blessed us so that we can share those gifts with others to the best of our ability.  It is when we think that  we don’t have any gifts or talents  or that others are better because they are economically superior, better educated or of privileged class, it is then that we become more self-defeating and let go of the grace to share the gifts that we have with others.

Being self-confident is an oxymoron. It is not about being confident in our self as if we came up with our gifts all by our self, or that our special talents developed because of our work and practice. No, self-confidence is about recognizing the presence of God as the giver of our gifts and talents because He knows that we can develop them and use them to glorify Him. We need to believe with a humble heart, that we have been chosen and not give in to thinking or believing that others are always better than we are.

For today, ask for the grace to recognize your unique giftedness and how you can share that with others. Think to about at least one gift or talent that you have been blessed with and try to honor it today.

FRIDAY – “E” EMBRACE vs ELUDE

We an embrace our cross or turn away from it, we can deny our cross or recognize it in all its challenges as gift, we can elude the cross or face it. We all have a cross to carry and if we are blessed not to have a heavy cross, then we should take a moment and look at our weaknesses and sin as the cross that will always call us to Christ and His mercy and compassion.

A cross Is an invitation to personal and spiritual conversion and transformation. It is through our crosses that we can not only learn how strong we are but how much Christ like we have become. If we elude the cross or think that others have it better because their cross doesn’t seem to be as heavy as ours, we are not only deceiving our self but denying Christ’s wisdom and understanding. God knows our heart better than we know it our self. He knows what we need before we ask, and He also will not let anything befall us if we trust in Him.

For today, think about one aspect of your cross that you really want to elude or run from very quickly and ask for the grace to stop, look at it squarely in the eyes and accept it as a call to recognize your inner strength, courage, fortitude and hope. Let God embrace you with your cross because it is then that you will see that He is carrying it on His shoulders with you.

SATURDAY – “S” STILL vs STUCK

For today’s reflection, you fill in the blanks…..

With my cross of……….. I have listened to God’s invitation to be still and know that He is God.

Because of the weight of the cross of…….., I have gotten stuck and chosen not to go forward.

For today, I will strive to be more still so that I can truly listen to God’s voice as He tells me that I am His beloved child, loved unconditionally and called to be my best self, the person that HE created me to be and have the potential to become.

I will see where I am stuck and ask for His grace to move forward and accept His grace in whatever form it takes.

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of February 8, 2020

This Glimpse is the retreat sessions from my Lenten retreat that was held yesterday. The topic was Walking with Saint Peter on his journey of Personal Conversion and Self-Discovery.

 

As you read on the flyer, the denial of Jesus is focused on how we experience the denial

of Jesus in our world, society, community and self. I believe that what we experience outside, in and through others, affects how we respond.  When we experience great negativity all around us, we can either choose to be negative alongside everyone else, or choose to be positive apart from everyone.  

We can go from denial of Jesus within our very own self, yet we know that we really don’t want to, we just fall short of our best self and the weaker self emerges. Jesus knew that Peter loved him. Jesus also knew Peter’s weaknesses and fears and in them, Jesus knew what Peter would do, not out of hatred, but rather out of fear.

During this season of Lent, Jesus knows that we love him and that we are always striving to walk with Him, yet it is our sinful choices, our weaknesses that get in the way of the our footsteps going forward and instead they slip and slide back and forth.  It is during this season of lent and every day of our lives, that we have the chance to go from denying Christ to confessing Him as Lord and redeemer. We also have the opportunity to invite others to come to know Christ as their Lord and redeemer so that they can embrace Him and not run from Him.

(Session I) The denial of Jesus by Peter   Mark 14: 66-72 ..I do not know that man….(This occurred after Jesus was arrested)

So how do we experience denial of Jesus in our world, society, and in our self? Materialism: There are many ways that we experience the world around us deny Christ, we also find our self-doing the same things. The devil tempts us with those things that are appealing thus we give in. The devil knows what he is doing. He subtly throws things out to us that will take us from Christ. This usually occurs slowly so that we don’t see him as he really is: a deceiver. The devil does not tempt us with things that we don’t like, but rather things that appeal to us so that we can justify wanting them. As we do that, he watches us go from merely wanting them to believing that we need them.  It is ok to want to look good and have nice things, but when we think that we are nothing without them or that they diminish our self-worth or make us feel empty without them, then we are denying Christ and God as our creator.

Secularism: when we make it a point to take religion or God out of everything. When we choose to abandon religion because it is politically uncomfortable or incorrect and we go along with it. We’ve taken God out of so much and look what is happening in our world. People can’t even say God bless you when one sneezes or Merry Christmas.

Yet if we were to think about our existence and how God created us to be, when we react out of fear or just to please others, our hearts are empty, and we miss the love that Christ came with at Christmas. And although our hearts don’t stop at a sneeze, many believe that it does, so asking for God’s blessing is a prayer for the other, yet that is not correct to do anymore.

My definition of individualism

When we think that we are the end all be all and those around us are not as important or that we are better then they, we are falling into a selfish self-centered person and when we are focused only on our self and building our egos up at the cost of putting others down, then we are experiencing the denial of Jesus and his call to love others. Individualism focuses on us and us alone and leaves Christ out. As members of the Body of Christ, when we diminish, disrespect or deny others dignity, we are denying Christ. When we choose to put others down with our words and actions, we are in turn, putting Jesus down. The worst part of it is when we  think that we are justified or when we rationalize our behavior and continue to believe that others do not deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, we are not living out of the Gospel of Good news.

How do we deny Christ personally?

When we look not the mirror and can’t seem to forgive our self for our sinful choices and actions. We do not know Christ because if we did,  we would hear Him say I forgive you go in peace.

When we seek to hold onto a grudge, seek revenge, grasp onto bitterness, act out of fear or distrust, we are denying Christ because if we knew Him we would seek His grace to let go of bitterness, anger, hatred so that we can forgive.

We would seek His strength so that we can open our hands and heart to let in His compassion, mercy and peace, instead of dwelling on our weakness and believing that we can’t change. We would want t0 be our best self and live up to our potential.

When we are afraid of standing up for our faith, beliefs or convictions, When we choose to be silent and not be the voice for those whose voices have been silenced, then we do not know Christ, because if we knew Him, we would use every breath to speak and bring about His peace, mercy, compassion and message of love to those who don’t get to hear it.

When we choose not to believe that we are forgiven by God, loved unconditionally by God or that Jesus died for us on the cross and not just for everybody else, then we are denying the presence of Christ in or life. We deny our redeemer, we deny our salvation because we think that God can’t forgive us or that we are not worthy. No one is worthy. Jesus didn’t die for the worthy, but for sinners. There is no sin that God can’t or won’t forgive, there is no sin that is greater than his love for us.

 

 

(Session 2) The confession of Jesus by Peter   Mark 8: 27-30  You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. (this occurred before Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection)

Others deny Christ, call him all things, but what do you call Him? Apparently, some people missed the boat as to who Jesus was. They couldn’t see Him for who He was but rather who they thought he was; John the Baptist, Elijah…. They saw the surface. Peter saw beneath the surface. As we confess that Jesus is Lord, we might use words as healer, consoler, peacemaker, and all would be accurate if what you confess with your lips is rooted and dwell from and in your heart. Jesus is all, yet each day through our lived experiences, we call him that which drew us to know Him better.

How do we strengthen our conviction and confession of Jesus as Lord?

By our prayer life as we strive to deepen our relationship with God. Through the love and support of others who are like minded. Through the sacraments of the Church. But mostly as being one with the Lord, believing that you are God’s beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. That even during sinfulness, you are striving to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become. If we believe what Jesus lived and died to tell us, then we are on our way to a stronger conviction and confession.

Peter loved Jesus very much. But he was weak and after seeing Jesus arrested, he became afraid of what could happen to him. He didn’t deny Jesus out of hatred, but rather out of fear. We all do the same thing. our world, our Church, our communities and even our families act out of fear. What are we afraid of? If we accept Jesus into our lives, our hearts and minds then we are accepting his invitation to be transformed, to be changed forever. We are called to surrender our control and allow Him to be in control. When we are afraid, we are afraid of others being in control of us and that is scary, yet with Christ, His being in control puts our life in order and not the chaos that we create.

It is a matter of the head. Our heads calculate and estimate losses, damages and clean up, and once we determine that it is not worth it, we choose to go away from Christ, and this is our greatest loss. When we deny Christ, we will see that what we lose is our ability to love, and be loved by others, Accepting Christ empowers us so that we will not be defeated no matter what. The damages that are incurred are many when we deny Christ, but the greatest loss and damage to our spiritual life is that of our failed relationships with others and God. We isolate our self and become self-centered mirror folks instead of selfless, lookout the window folks. Clean up, well we can try to clean up our messes, but if we continue to deny Christ the mess only gets bigger. Our pride, our ego, our selfishness, our complacency expands and heart shrinks, If we ask and pray for  Christ to help in our clean up, then our heart expands with compassion, mercy, and peace, we undergo a personal and spiritual transformation that permeates to the core of our being and we begin the process of a deeper personal conversion and self-discovery.

 

How do we confess Christ in our daily life? Our confession is not in our words as much as it is in our actions.  We can say that we believe in Christ and that we are His followers, but if we don’t follow through by our actions, our attitudes, our deeds or our prayers, then other’s will not see a congruency, but rather a contradiction. When we can love others by forgiving them, by showing compassion and mercy, then we are confessing Christ. When we can teach our children that we too are not perfect, but that we are trying to be our best self so that they can learn from us how to love and be their best self., then we are confessing Christ.  When we can become humbled in the eyes of one that we have hurt by saying that  we are sorry, and not embarrassed to a point that hurting others is acceptable, then we are confessing Christ, When we can forgive those who have hurt us badly without revenge or holding a grudge, then we are confessing Christ.

Jesus said forgive them for they know not what they do…..Do we always know what we are doing? When we sin, are we really intending to hurt others and God? If we are striving to be our best self each and every day, our sin, our denial creates or impels in us our desire to make amends and our contrition leads us to our confession, because it is through God’s grace that we have been transformed, experienced His healing, had a change of heart and desire to do better.

Peter confessed “Truly you are the Christ”. How do I know that Jesus is the Lord and Redeemer of my Life? I know this because of how He has blessed me with a great faith, a good family, treasury of friends,  good or bearable health, a sense of peace amid life’s struggles, a  desire to be in relationship with Him, and knowing and believing that Jesus want to be in relationship with me. I believe that I am your beloved child, your greatest creation, loved unconditionally and filled with your grace so that I can be my best self, the person that you created me to be and that I have the potential to become.

Without Christ I am just a shell without life within me. He gives me the breath of life and His Holy Spirit is poured out in me so that I can be His breath of life to others in what I say and how I am present to another.  It is through Christ, through receiving the sacraments of the Church and living them out, that I am His witness in the world, a builder of His kingdom here on earth.

How do you confess Jesus as Lord in your life? What has brought those words to life within you?

(session 3)

As Peter denied Jesus out of fear, fear of being arrested, being killed…He wept when he realized what he had done. Jesus knew his heart and allowed Peter to experience his compassion when he asked him three times, Do you love me and for the three denials he answered yes, and Jesus entrusted him with the care of his flock here on earth. That is us. We are in the care of  our earthly shepherds those who are human, yet weak but still called by Christ to lead His Church to Him , to be their best self, not worthy self, but their best self so that we, the flock, can become our best self.

(Session 3) Peter’s declaration of Love

After His resurrection, Jesus askes Peter and He asks us: Do you love me?

Do you love me more than these: secularism, individualism, materialism, what would you say? Is having the latest, the biggest, being a person of power and prestige, high on the social ladder, but losing your soul and heart  in the process, more important than being poor in spirit, happy in the Lord, at peace with yourself and others and not seeking the goods of the world at the cost of your relationship with God?  Is selling your soul to the devil for a fleeting moment of pleasure more important than entering into the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus in this life so that you can enjoy eternal peace, joy and happiness with Him in the next?

I believe that Jesus hears you say, Lord you know that I love you more than these.

Lord, please help me to love you more dearly, serve you more sincerely, see you more clearly in myself and others, and follow you more nearly one step at a time. AMEN.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of March 1, 2020

My Glimpse of God for this week comes from Dr John Gallagher, My ENT for the past 30 years.  Dr. G. is not only my Glimpse of God for this week but has been a big glimpse of God since I first became his patient back in 1991.

Dr. G, when you first meet him, is a very unassuming, genuine and personable man.  When he first enters the room, he extends his hand out to shake yours and then begins with conversation. He always makes me feel comfortable and at ease, and as he begins the conversation, I know that is fully abreast of my total health situation and the issues at hand. He is prepared with his ideas and suggestions, and ready to listen to my responses as well as with any questions I may have. He comes across as a doctor who is ready to walk with me on this part of my journey to the best of his ability of what that walk can or will be like as he understands it. He understands my apprehension, and frustration, and is willing to go there with me, and I bet with all his patients. He doesn’t run away from his patients as they express their frustrations and fears but chooses to respond to them as best he could.

Once the procedure is scheduled, I feel at peace because I know that not only is God present in and through the healing hands of Dr. G, but also because I believe that the compassion and care that Dr. G continues to extend to his patients is in response to God’s invitation to be more like Him in and through his ministry of healing.

Being a Glimpse of God is a gift, being the healing presence of God is a special gift and grace from God. I believe that Dr. G recognizes his giftedness by his humility, openness, care and compassion and how he shares that with his patients.  As I recuperate from another Sinus surgery, I know that Dr. G has done what is best and His best for me. As for another challenging week, I know that I am in the best care and am blessed with Dr. G and all those at his office who also exude the compassion, understanding and patience of God. It is through their presence and calm work that allow me and others to experience healing and live with a better quality of life.

 

As an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor/surgeon, I see that his skills and expertise are as much spiritual gifts as well as learned gifts.  How do we walk with an ENT doctor on our faith journey?

Start with our ears; what we choose to hear and listen to. We can choose to hear and listen to God’s will in our life, we can choose to listen to Him as He speaks to our heart and tells us how much we are loved by Him, that we are His greatest creation and that He hears our prayers. BUT if our ears are blocked with the messages of the world, messages that take us away from God by telling us untruths, myths, gossip, then our ears are not able to hear God’s good news and then we turn away.  God is the ENT that pulls out the yuk, that blocks us from hearing His voice either in a gentle whisper or a loud cry.

Our nose is a gift that allows us to smell the various aromas that surround us. Some of these aromas can stink, others can have a very calming effect, some can be very strong and others very subtle, but in all, our noses know and cause us to react on one way or another.

If we suffer from our nose being congested because of a cold, infection, or an allergy, our noses get clogged, we can’t breathe well, and we talk funny. When we have a spiritual nose infection or congestion, we can be infected with those things or aromas that we just struggle to breathe in. They challenge us because of our faith, yet we can’t avoid them. These aromas or infections that want to enter our body through our nose, can be of materialism, power, ego, consumerism, self-centeredness, selfishness, retaliation, revenge or bitterness. All of these are not God centered but rather self-centered. God in HIs infinite wisdom knows that they will harm us, so He makes it difficult for us to breathe them in, but rather helps us blow them out.

Our throats, we can have a good voice or we can suffer from laryngitis. Our throats are the avenue that take us from what we put in our mouth or inhale through our nose, down our throat to the lungs…..When we choose to be the voice for others, we can sometimes develop a sore throat because we need to raise our voices for those whose voices have been silenced. Our throats get sore, red and then we can lose our voice.

As followers of Jesus, if we raise our voice for the kingdom and others, a sore throat is a low cost to pay, but if we raise our voice to harm others and put them down, as a source of control or manipulation, a sore throat may be a gift from God so that one can’t cause any more harm. Only God knows how we can best serve him with our voice. Our throat is what an bring out the best in us by the words that we say, the consolation hat we offer, the encouragement that we give or the song that we sing. On our journey of faith, an ENT is God’s instrument that can help treat or remove the various aspects that we can use to make our voice a negative sound and that gives us a sore throat, or he can treat those aspects that will heal the voice so that it can continue to be a voice of peace, healing, mercy, compassion and love.

 

 

As we begin this week, let us think of what an ENT/surgeon does and how they remind us that when there is something that is endangering our body and causing us problems then it needs to be removed. Let us think of how we encounter those things, people or circumstances that endanger our spiritual life, our physical life or our emotional life and cause us not to be our best self and seek God’s grace to remove them or put them in their proper place.

 

SUNDAY – “S” -SURROUNDS

God surrounds us with His love. A surgeon looks at that which is unhealthy, and surrounding the healthy; be it tissue, tumors, organs or limbs, and seeks to remove it so that the healthy can thrive, we can be healed and move on with a better quality of life.

For today, look at who or what is keeping you from being healed and whole physically, emotionally or spiritually and ask God, the true healer, to surround you with trust, courage, strength and self-determination so that you will believe in yourself enough to face that which is holding you back from being healed and whole.

MONDAY – “U” – UNCOVERS

A surgeon uncovers that which is covered up or that we are unaware of so that we can see the whole picture and see how it affects our whole being and not just a part of it.  God uses surgeons to show His children what the body is fighting against with as much wisdom and knowledge that we can gain so that we can fight our best fight and not fight with our eyes closed.

For today, open your eyes and allow God to uncover your fears and speak to your heart His message of healing, trust and courage. Let Him show you how to uncover your fears and face them so that you can leave them in your past and live in the gift of the present, not looking back with regret but rather looking forward with peace.

TUESDAY – “R” – RENEWS

One surgery takes place, and healing begins, one can begin to feel renewed, rejuvenated and refreshed because something has been done to bring about wholeness and better health to the body. 

For today, look at how you have been renewed, healed, made whole and take a moment to thank God for this gift and those who have made it possible.

 

WEDNESDAY – “G” – GENTLE

My doctors and all those entrusted with my care have always had a gentle and caring approach with me. I know that not all patients can say that about their medical care, but I can and I consider myself very blessed. Being gentle as a doctor is not a sign of weakness but rather of strength, compassion, humility and true concern for their patients. Gentleness exudes a peace from within and one that is graciously shared.

Look at how you respond to your own needs and how gentle or rough you are. When you are weary and your body is aching, do you push ahead when perhaps God is asking you to steady and slow down? Do you ignore the signs that your body is speaking to you because you are afraid? What would you tell a loved one who was perhaps doing the same thing? Do you believe that you need to be rough because being gentle means being weak?

For today, try to see yourself as the God, who loves you unconditionally because you are His beloved child, sees you: a gentle, loving, caring person that He has called by name, and that you are His special gift to those He has placed in your life. Be gentle, God centered and see yourself as gift and God will do the rest.

 

THURSDAY – “E” – EMBRACES

God’s embrace is greater than any other. He embraces us each day as He calls us to life and invites us to walk with Him each day.  Sometimes we don’t recognize that embrace because of what we are experiencing in life:  ill health, financial stress, family obligations, estrangement in the family, our own weaknesses yet in all of these God is right there with His arms around us to surround us and show us that we are never far from His embrace or His love.

For today, if you know and experience that loving embrace of God, thank Him. If you know someone who is not able or willing to allow themselves to feel the loving embrace of God, or the warmth of His love and the peace of His healing and forgiveness, pray for them. Is it a spouse who feels overworked, or a child who feels burdened or a neighbor who is unemployed or a friend feels alone and unloved? How can a gentle handshake, hug, expressed words of concern help them or make them feel the love and presence of God?  

It is through your actions that they can begin to see how they are loved and not alone and that they will not be defeated but will defeat that which is trying to bring them down.

 

 

FRIDAY – “O” – OPENS UP

A surgeon opens up, looks in and removes that which is problematic to and within our bodies.  God opens up our hearts, expands them and fills them with the graces we need: the graces of healing, peace, joy, mercy, reconciliation, compassion, humility, and thanksgiving.  God is always ready to fill us with what we ask for and for what He knows we need, when we are ready.

For today, look at how you may be closing your mind and heart to the many gifts that God has for you and His presence and how He is trying to reveal it to you. What are you still afraid of, covering up or running away from that keep you from believing in God’s great love for you and how He is revealing that love to you. Ask for the grace to open yourself to His healing, strength, and courage so that you can be more open to receive them and be the wounded healer with others who are also struggling.  When your hands are open you can receive the gifts easier than when your hands are clasped because then they just fall out. The same with our prayer. When our minds and hearts are open, our prayer stems from love and is humbler and more honest, when our minds and hearts are closed, our prayer stems from self-righteousness and strays from reconciliation, peace and joy. Are your mind and heart open and ready to be filled or closed and waiting to be empty?

 

SATURDAY – “N” – NURTURES

God nurtures us and is our strength. Our body gets our spiritual nurturing from God. It is through our faith, family, friends, surgeons, colleagues, or specific life experiences that also have the ability to nurture our spiritual life, so that our physical life is also strengthened and sustained. All of these have the ability to nurture us so that we can be the best person that God has created us to be and knows that we can become.

For today, look at the things that nurture you, that give you strength, that sustain you, that keep you going, that raise you up and lift your spirits. If you are experiencing ill health, take a moment to see how your doctors are a nurturing source, if you are experiencing family struggles, look at how the love that binds you as family has been a source of strength in the past and seek to find it again, if you are unemployed and struggling to believe in your own self-worth, remember that your worth does not come from what you do, but rather who you are, and that is God’s beloved child, whose worth is never  measured with a ruler, only shown with by the cross.

You have been nurtured in many ways, look at how nurturing you are to others. Take the time to recognize that gift within yourself and how others have grown and become their best self because of you. You are nurturing, selfless and caring and that is because God has created you that way. Don’t let anything come in between who you are and the person God wants you to become

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 23, 2020

As you prepare for Lent, here is a daily reflection to begin with.

LENT IS A TIME TO:

(Sunday)

SURRENDER those things that keep us from being the person that God has created us to be

and keep us from becoming the person that He knows we can be,

those things that are standing in the way of our seeing Christ more clearly in our self and in others,

 in life’s challenges and in our crosses.

 LENT IS NOT A TIME TO GIVE UP and think that we can’t do what God knows we can and invites

us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will.

 

(Monday) 

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 into His image.  

 

(Tuesday) 

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.

 

(Wednesday)

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”

 

(Thursday)

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.

 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.

 

 

(Friday)

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.

 

(Saturday) 

BUT LENT IS NOT A TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR

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 your journey of LENT begins, continues and 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.

What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love,

 what you become is your gift to God.

 

 

 

THE SEASON OF LENT CAN

BE A SEASON OF GIFT GIVING:

THE GIFTS OF

SPIRITUAL AND

PERSONAL TRANSFORMATION,

CONVERSION,

GROWTH

AND RECONCILIATION ARE YOURS.

IF YOU ARE OPEN TO THESE GIFTS,

GOD IS OFFERING THEM TO YOU,

NOT ONLY TO RECEIVE, BUT ALSO TO SHARE.

YOU HAVE 40 DAYS TO RESPOND,

WITH GOD IT IS NEVER TOO LATE

TO OPEN YOUR MIND, HEART, SPIRIT AND HANDS

TO RECEIVE HIM AS HE CHOOSES TO GIFT YOU.

Glimpse of God for the week of February 16, 2020

Last week’s Glimpse of God began with the question If God were to invite you to write a book about your life, what type of book would it be? I then listed 7 types of books: A Recipe book, An Encyclopedia, a Comic book, A “Did It Myself” book, An Inspirational book, a Mystery, or a Pamphlet.

This week, I am offering you another perspective to look at. This perspective is related to another 7 types of books/puzzles/fun activities that can describe your spiritual outlook or personality and how you approach God in prayer and in life experiences. Although this is not meant to draw any spiritual conclusions, I hope that it offers you an insight as to how you approach God when life experiences or dilemmas are challenging, and how through those same experiences, you see yourself. The question after each reflection is do you see yourself in the light of God’s unconditional love, as God sees you; the beloved and cherished child that you are, not perfect, but rather a sinner striving to become a saint.

With these 7 types of books/puzzles/fun activities, the focus should not be on “they are childish, or I don’t have the time to waste on them, but rather; How do I see my spiritually reflected in them? How do I relate to God, others and myself with them?

No matter what type of book that I relate to, it can initiate personal conversion, transformation and growth, if I am open to it. Do I believe that?

SUNDAY – A coloring book

How do you approach coloring a page in a coloring book? Do you look at the big picture, and then carefully choose the colors that you will use, or do you just randomly pick out colors and begin to color in the various aspects of the big picture? Do you outline the picture first then fill in the colors, making sure that you stay in the lines and color in the same direction?

When we think of our relationship with God and how we approach a coloring page in a book, either a big picture or an intricate adult coloring book, what we do first a be an indicator of how we approach our relationship with God.

Do we think that we need to be perfect before we can approach God? Is that what we think God is wanting and waiting for? Do we think that God wants us to look perfect as we carry our crosses and face the concerns and stresses of life? Do we think that we cannot approach Him if our life imploded due to anger, stress, worries, frustrations or the like?

When we approach a coloring book, do we begin by outlining the picture and then filling in the colors? Can we recognize that as God sees the big picture, He begins by outlining our life with those things that will keep us safe and protect us from any physical, emotional or spiritual harm? The outline that He creates is one that is of a protector. He fills the picture with colors that last and won’t fade. He chooses to use colors that are solid, some dark, some light, but all used to create the big picture of life and love that He sees in you.

So, as you approach coloring, can you allow God to begin where He wants to? He knows your heart and if he wants to make a pulsating red heart, will you deny Him that gift so that He can show you how loving and loved you are? He isn’t waiting or expecting you to be perfect and to always color in the lines, what He is waiting for is for you to be honest and allow yourself to color outside the lines, with whatever colors that truly represent how you are  feeling so that He can heal, make whole, transform and restore you.

MONDAY – A crossword puzzle

The goal of a crossword puzzle is to fil in the white squares with letter that form words by solving clues which lead to answers.  Some puzzles have themes, some do not.

So how can our approach to solving a crossword puzzle reflect our spirituality or our approach to God? When we pray, we place our intentions before God and hope that they will be answered as we want them to be.  Our theme may be one of gratitude, frustration, stress, appreciation or even desolation.  Sometimes we want the answers to be either black or white, clear and uncomplicated and other times we want to see the grey, where there is room for discussion. When we pray, we want answers now and not later, we don’t look kindly on God saying no or not yet and we will go back again as an arbitrator when we think that God gave us a bad deal.

As with a crossword puzzle, all our experiences, emotions and feelings blend in and can’t be separated.   Stress can lead to illness, anger can lead to an ulcer or depression, all can affect our physical, emotional and spiritual health and wellbeing. When God is looking at the crossword puzzle of our life, He not only gives us the clues, but He also knows the answers and where they are best served.  God’s love, mercy, compassion and greatest desire for our happiness, has many facets and are always available even when we might not be experiencing them.  We might start by putting in words like stress, sorry, pain, fear or anxiety thinking that they  are the proper answer or response to our present life experience, but God is there to show us that He can take those same experiences and with His grace transform them into words like calm, peace, happiness, serenity, truth, and respect.

God is not waiting for perfection, but rather patience so that our words are His words , that our answer is from our deep desire to serve and follow Him, that we might stay focused and allow His answer of NO or NOT YET be our answer as well.

TUESDAY – Seek and Find
Is God more like a seek and find? Do you approach Him only when you need something? Your desire to seek God is in response to His grace to be in relationship with Him. Does that make sense to you? Do you approach seek and find with the question Where are you God? or I need you, I can’t feel your presence, or why have you abandoned me?

With seek and find puzzles, the words that you need to find can be found either forward, backward, diagonal, up or down. 

As you look for words, you need to carefully look for all the letters before circling them because they can sometimes be a letter off. Many of the letters are used for more than one word.

God’s word or desires for our life come from His knowing, as our Creator, our mind, spirit and heart better than we know our self.  As we search for peace or mercy, they are not isolated gifts or graces, but rather connected.  God’s love, His desire for us, His plan is all connected. With mercy there is the cross, with the cross there is forgiveness, with forgiveness there is Christ and with Christ there is hope. 

When we seek to find God occasionally, we might miss how well all our life experiences are connected and how they have made us to be the person that we are today.  We see only one thing and we can’t look ahead in hope, but rather we look back with regret. Yet if we seek to see God in our life experiences, both the positive and the negative, we then are given the  ability to look in the direction that God points out so that we can be healed, made whole and restored or find happiness and gratitude amid the stresses that we face.

WEDNESDAY – Connect the dots

Do you allow God to connect the dots or do you? Are the various dots that create the big picture of your life, those of hurtful and painful experiences, or joyful and happy experiences, or a balanced combination of both? As you connect the dots are you excited to see a big, more complete picture emerge? or… when you look at the painful, perhaps, hurtful experiences, do you tell God that you can’t forgive or that you don’t want to? In those experiences, do you see where God isn’t able to connect the dots? All our present and past life experiences, good, challenging or indifferent, make us who we are today.  They gave us the strength and courage to move on, go forward and not be defeated. If we choose not to allow God to connect the dots out of fear or resentment, the big picture, the complete picture will remain incomplete and a skew.

As you ask God to connect the dots, all of them, don’t be afraid of where the connections take place. Look with excitement as He connects those life experiences that you once were afraid of and now you see as a source of where your strength, determination, selflessness and courage emerged.

THURSDAY – Find the differences

In find the differences, there are usually two pictures that although look identically the same, they are not due to a few subtle differences. In our spiritual life, find the differences can be the subtle acts of transformation and conversion, or the devils alluring temptations. As you look at the pictures of what appears to be the same, they subtle differences don’t stand out, they blend in.

With God, our transformation or conversion experiences can be as subtle as an act of mercy or as brilliant as falling off a horse. God is waiting for us no matter how big or small our transformation is. He isn’t waiting for us to fall off a horse, but rather for us to get down on our knees in humility and trust. He isn’t waiting or expecting what drastic changes but rather subtle sincere changes that can lead to a greater spiritual and personal transformation and conversion. 

These changes can lead to a better recognition of His great love for us and how we are called to love one another and not see that which is different, but rather that which unites us: That we are His beloved children, loved unconditionally and HIs greatest creation.

FRIDAY – A cryptogram

A cryptogram consists of a short piece of encrypted text that needs to be deciphered to make sense. The letters that you first see do not make a word as they appear, but only after you figure out what each letter stands for and how they make up the phrase. As you begin to figure out the code then you begin to form real words that eventually complete the phrase.

Do you sometimes find life more like a code that needs to be deciphered or a mystery that needs to be solved? Where things just don’t make sense on the surface? Do you approach God as if He is writing your life in code and you have no idea of what the code means or how to solve it? Do you approach God as if He were trying to manipulate and control you because of the confusion, crosses or stresses in your life?

Life is not always clear or neat and tidy.  It gets messy, we don’t always understand the how’s or the whys to life experiences. God knows the how’s and the whys.

He doesn’t present our life as a cryptogram to be solved, but rather He invites us to open our mind and heart to the various people, places and events that made our life experiences what they are, and how they complete us, really do make sense and don’t isolate or defeat us.

SATURDAY – A maze

In a maze, you enter in one way but there is only one way to exit.  As you seek to exit the maze, you are faced with many false leads, shortcuts, seemingly way outs.  As you encounter these you find yourself going back and forth until you find the only way out.

Does your approach to God, your prayer to God sometimes sound like this? Help me Lord, I can’t figure this out, I am lost, I need your direction, please get me out of this mess.

Only God can show you the true way out since He is the way, the truth and the life. Only God can show you the path of love, peace, joy, reconciliation and happiness.  Our life journey may have many winding roads, tempting short cuts, dead ends, false paths, but with God and His grace, they can all be paths that lead to personal transformation, conversion and restoration.

At first a maze can be interesting because you approach it with a sense of confidence that you will find the exit in a reasonable amount of time.  You look at the page and begin to pencil the path that you think will work and lead you out, but then you see that it leads to a dead end, false path. So, then you begin again. Life is a path that we take and due to weakness and sin are placed in a spot where we can choose to begin anew or to keep going in the wrong direction. God’s grace, mercy and reconciliation are amazing part of our life that allow us to go in the right direction and find our way out into the amazing and warmth of God’s love and healing.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of February 9, 2020

If you were approached and invited to write a book about your life, what type of book would it be?  Would it be a comic book, an encyclopedia, a self-help or Did It Yourself book, a recipe book, an inspirational reading book, a suspense novel or a quick read pamphlet?

If God wanted you to write a book about your life and the message that HE wants you to share so that you can help, inspire and encourage others, would you choose to or refuse to? If you accepted His invitation, would God be the main author, co-author, a critic or an anonymous source?

Your life is a gift from God, a gift that HE gives you so that you can be gift to others, to those He places on your life journey. Your life is a gift from God from the moment of your conception to this present day.  All the seconds, moments, hours, days, weeks, months and years that you have experienced are a sign of God’s great and unconditional love, deep abiding presence and an overflowing of His graces. All of the time that you have been given here on earth has been filled with many stories, both happy and sad, jubilations, celebrations, crosses and tombs. In all of these, God has chosen to write your story so that you can not only read it with a greater perspective and appreciation, but also with hope that you can be His beacon to others. No life is lived in vain. The love of family, friends, community, church and even the stranger has enriched your life.

Each chapter would not only tell about a specific aspect of your life, it would also show your growth and transformation as a beloved child of God, seeking to become your best self, the person that HE created you to be and have the potential to become.

As you write your book, would there be things or details that would want to include as well as exclude? Are there times in your life that you wished had never occurred because of the pain and trauma associated with them? Are there times in your life that you would want others to know about? that you are willing to shout from the rooftops?

God has been writing your book since He loved you into existence. He knows each chapter and He also knows that not one can be omitted or embellished if you want to be true to yourself, God and others.

You have a lot to write. With the type of book that you are writing and the periods of your life and reflect on the following questions: Can you recognize in the midst of any pain suffering or sorrow, the presence of God’s love, mercy and compassion? What are you grateful for? What are you sorry about?  What do you want to thank God for? Who or what do you want to lift up in prayer? What do you want to let go of so that you can grow and be transformed?

As you reflect on the various types of books that you can write, remember that when it comes to the word and presence of God in your life, no matter what type of book that you choose, your life story and how it is unfolding in the light of God’s love, is what will shine and become the message for others.

SUNDAY – A recipe book

A book that includes all the necessary ingredients for a great product to emerge.  In the light of God’s love and presence, some of the ingredients were trust, faith, courage, mercy, compassion, love, truth, honesty, respect and humility.  In your life story, you sought as His follower, and continue to seek to combine, envelope and embrace all of these graces and many others, so that your life is a beacon, a sign of God’s love for all to see.

What other ingredients would you use? What ingredients do you desire to improve and use more of?

MONDAY – An encyclopedia

Just the facts…If you were to write your life story, would it be a cold writing of words, facts and details void of any emotion? Would your life story be a complete encyclopedia or maybe just a portion of it? God is an emotional God, a God of love, peace, joy, healing and happiness and as his child, He does not want us to live without feeling these emotions since they are His gift to us.

What facts bring about pain and can you ask for the grace to forgive or be forgiven? In the midst of all the facts, are you able to recognize moments of joy, laughter, peace, happiness and encouragement offered and experienced by you and others in your life story?

TUESDAY – A comic book

Was it the gift of humor that has gotten you through life’s challenges, crosses and joys? Were you the one with your good sense of humor that was able to bring others through their difficult times?  Amid humor, are you able to recognize the cross or do you seek to deny it? The ability to laugh and bring others to laugh is a very healthy gift, use it wisely and you will see more smiles and less frowns on the faces of those you love and those who seek to find God in humor.

WEDNESDAY – A “I Did It Myself’ book

This is how I got to where I am today. I didn’t get help from anyone nor did I ask for it. I didn’t nor do I depend on anyone to do things for me, to get me out of trouble or to fulfill my needs, I am a survivor.

As a survivor, are you able to recognize the many curve balls that God threw in to help you survive so that you became the strong person that you are today? You may think that you did it yourself, but the reality is that God brought you through so that you can help and bring healing to others. Can you take that which you survived: abuse, broken relationship, betrayal, ….and ask God for the grace of healing, wholeness and courage to help others who are surviving as well.

THURSDAY – An inspirational book

A story about the presence of God in your life. The presence as it shined through others, life experiences, circumstances and situations. A story of truth, although ugly at times, it is the truth that you choose to live by, accept and proclaim.

As you write your life story as an inspirational message, what would be the one message that you want to share? Is it a message of hope, healing, God’s awesome presence in the aha moments, His deep abiding peace, His unconditional love and forgiveness?  What message inspires you to want to write?

FRIDAY – A mystery book

A book that draws to no conclusion. Is your life truly a mystery? What is unknown to you is known only to God. You heart, your motives, your inspirations, are always known to God. He knows you better than you know yourself. There may have been times in your life where you had no clue of what was to come, there was great uncertainty and anxiety, but as you look back can you see that what was hidden from you was known to God and He chose to reveal it when you were ready to receive it?

As mystery to you is an opportunity from God for revelation.  A revelation of your great strength, courage, love; a revelation of the truth that you are God’s greatest creation, His beloved child, loved unconditionally and without end. That is no mystery, that is The truth.

SATURDAY – A quick read pamphlet

Sorry, there is no quick read pamphlet. Your life is full of many details, joys, celebrations, crosses, exultations. These are all gifts from God to be shared, not excluded, to be celebrated and not extinguished, to be remembered and not forgotten.

God doesn’t want any of His children to think or feel that their life is not important or a reason to celebrate. We have the gift of a birthday, not only remember that we are alive, but also that we are His gift to others, and we celebrate that gift each year. Each day, each year, we grow, our story also grows. Our story is a sign of His action in our life and  His action is not a quick and passing action, but rather an action of love through time and growth, conversion and transformation.

Can you make you quick read pamphlet a short story with the intention of it becoming a novel or even a psalm of praise to God?

 

Glimpse of God for the week of February 1, 2020

My glimpse of God came to me as I drove on I-95 several times this week. The Glimpse that I received came as I looked at the various life experiences that come from the inside of a car in motion, as well a when my journey was over and I got out of the car and looked around.

God speaks to us in various ways. He chooses the instruments that He feels we will respond to; ones that can penetrate our consciousness, our mind, our spirit and our heart; the very core of our being. If you are a person that enjoys the freedom of getting into a car and being able to come and go freely without depending on public transportation, of if you are a person that commutes to work and is often faced with a long ride due to unexpected circumstances, or if you enjoy taking long walks in the midst and beauty of God’s creation, I believe that God speaks to you in your car and on your feet through the various situations you see and encounter.

No matter how we get from one place to another, we cannot move forward if we do not put one foot in front of the other.  Even if we are in a wheel chair and are unable to stand or walk, it is in our desire to go and grow forward in our spiritual life, that is the one foot in front of the other. It is through our will and our desire to do and be our best before God, others and self, that we go forward in love and trust and not fear or worry.

God can use these various situations to show us many things about our self. He invites us to see how we need slow down so that we can recognize His presence in our life more clearly and how we need to get up and move forward and do what we are called to do and have the potential to complete. He gives us an opportunity to recognize His blessings in our life when things are going well, and He invites us to use these times as opportunities to be more empathetic towards others.

It is in these times when God speaks directly to our hearts and asks us to listen just a little bit more and with a greater attentiveness and an openness to change the direction we are presently going, to a safer and better route that He has carefully planned out for us.

 

As you begin this week, whether you drive or not, walk, are driven by someone else, or take public transportation, try to see your experiences as you go to and from one place to another, in the light of God’s love and through His instrument of a highway, an automobile, public transportation or your two feet. Try to keep an open heart and mind, so that you can recognize Glimpses of God in the seemingly most ordinary and mundane ways. And when you encounter a road that is winding and not straight, or a journey that is dark and uncertain, proceed with some caution, a greater trust, a sense of adventure and a faith that allows you to go forward with God as your compass.

 

SUNDAY – A day where the weather was sunny and clear day and you were able to travel with no traffic problems.

Can you recognize that God is and has blessed you abundantly and that He allows His light to shine on you so that you can share His light and be His beacon to others?

Can you reflect on how your faith journey is going well because you are open to listening to God’s Holy Spirit in your life? Does that mean that everything is perfect? No, but what it can mean is that as you walk each day with the Lord, the light of His love will be your guiding force and there will be no darkness or detours.

 

MONDAY – A day where the weather is bad, it’s raining, it’s foggy and people are driving dangerously.

If your life is filled with challenges and you cannot see clearly what God wants of you, then this is an opportunity to slow down and pray for a greater openness to God’s Holy Spirit acting in you and through you.

Sometimes we enter into life’s challenges and try to carry our crosses alone. It is when we don’t seek God’s guidance or help that things continue to be foggy and unclear. As the fog lays over you, ask that God shed His light on the issue or situation where things are not clear so that you can seek His will and wisdom in the light of His grace and compassion.

As you journey on the highway of life, and you encounter others who seem to be living dangerously, it is in those time where you are called to pray that others may see life as an invitation from God to take care of one self and live in the light of His love, and not take life risking actions.

 

TUESDAY – A day where you found yourself speeding because you were in a rush to get somewhere and you were pulled over for a speeding ticket.

There are times when you are in a rush to get through something so you choose not to deal with it properly.  It could be a hurt that someone has caused you, or that you have caused another, it could be dwelling on a mistake that you have made, it could be something that happened to you as a child, in any case if you choose to run away, you will never experience the healing and wholeness that God has in store for you.

A spiritual speeding ticket is a reminder that God is watching over and loving you and that He sees the direction you are going and wants you to stop so that you can reevaluate and redirect yourself in the light of His direction. Getting pulled over for a speeding ticket may be God’s way of telling you to slow down and take a look at what is happening so that you can change your coping strategies before you hurt yourself.

 

WEDNESDAY - A day where you were stuck because of construction and could not get around it.

We are all under God’s construction; we are all in process to become the best person that we can be, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. There are times when we are not happy with the way things are going. We don’t like the way we look, how tall or short we are, how thin or heavy we are, our noses, our hair, our bodies, we want to change what God has created. We want to change our outside appearance because we feel that we would be happier and more accepted by others.

If you are feeling that there is something about you that you want to change because of what others have said, then I suggest that you ask yourself; is this what God wants me to do? God is your creator and He knows what is best for you. If there is something that you want to change about yourself, can you do it the light of God’s grace and blessing?

If you are experiencing health challenges that frighten you, can you allow God to show you how these challenges can make you stronger?  Health challenges often cause us to stop in our tracks. This can be an invitation to be a more reflective person, a person, like Mary who sits at the feet of Jesus and listens attentively to His words.

 

 

THURSDAY –A day where you got a little lost or really lost.

Today is a day where you just couldn’t concentrate and made a wrong turn and got lost.

We all make wrong turns and get lost, both physically and spiritually. It is the times when we turn away from God and make wrong choices that He eagerly awaits our return. There is no bad choice that we cannot learn from. It is in our bad choices that we can get a little off and lost or we can become really lost and off course. It is in recognizing that you are lost, that is when God is slowly bringing you back home to His love, compassion and mercy. 

If you have a sense of direction and you make a wrong turn, this can sometimes be seen more as an adventure to be taken, and not an obstacle to be afraid of. It is during those times where you have an opportunity to travel the roads less traveled and find new routes, short cuts and back roads. It can also be seen as a spiritual source of enlightenment because it can be seen as new way home. We can travel through our mistakes, our wrong choices, and our sins and see the impact and the repercussions and this can make us want to strive even harder to get back on the right track. Trust in God and He will always bring you back home safely and unharmed

 

FRIDAY – A day where you hit from behind. A fender bender that has now become an inconvenience and a delay.

It is during these times when we get the kick in the butt so that we can move forward.

Often in life, due to circumstances or situations, we fail to move forward. We choose to stay still because it is easier and we can be lazy. It is those times when God might be saying get going, go forward, there are things that I want you to see, experience, live and if you choose to stand still you will miss out. A fender bender is a little kick, a little nudge, a little push or nod to go ahead, not to be afraid, to trust and have courage, to not look behind but look ahead to your future in God’s eyes.

Is there something that you are afraid of and all you need is a little nudge, a little push to go forward? Seek God’s grace and there will be someone that is willing to give you the little push in love to get you to live and go ahead of the fear and the anxiety that might be holding you back from truly living the life that God wants for you. Fender benders come when you least expect them and they are unsettling, but in our spiritual life they can be the best nudge that God can give because they can avert opportunities to become complacent. They can call us to a greater vision of God’s will for us by allowing us to stop, evaluate, fix and go on more whole, healed and healthy.

 

SATURDAY – A day that you were cut off and nearly got into an accident.

There are days in life where we feel that we were cut off. Those times where we were innocent victims of gossip or hurtful words. We can all recall situations when someone said something about us that was not true, or that they did not have all the information and judgment was passed on us. In those times we feel cut off, made to feel less than the person that we are. We were made to feel inadequate or inferior and it hurt.

If you are experiencing being cut off or you feel inferior because of what others have said or done to you, take this opportunity to seek God’s mercy so that you can share it with others. Grace and mercy are with God’s holy ones and His care is with His elect. You are God’s elect and He wants the best for you so that you don’t get into an accident, but rather you reach out and help those who are stuck on the side of the road of anger, isolation, pride, gossip, revenge and pettiness.

Glimpse of God for the week of January 26, 2020

You’ll need surgery. How many of us have heard those words in regards to our self or a loved one?

They are difficult to hear. Those words can bring up many emotions and make us feel very vulnerable. It is our vulnerability that we need to trust that God is guiding the surgeon, be at peace with our self and remain hopeful with the outcome.

Needing surgery can invoke many mixed emotions from within us. It can produce a lot of anxiety, fear, anger, worry, concern, but also and possibly some peace and even relief. Yet even when one hears these words, it is an indication that something is wrong with our body and it needs to betaken care of quickly.

Surgery is performed for many reasons: to remove the diseased, to mend the broken, to create better vision, to restore new life to the dying, to clear the way from an obstruction, to replace the worn and torn, and to give a voice.  In all of these, our focus is to improve our quality of life so that we can continue doing all that we want to: work, raise a family, volunteer, …

When we or someone we love is about to undergo surgery, there is a lot to do to prepare.  For those who can take advantage of the sacraments one gets Anointed and receives Holy Communion. Depending upon the type of surgery that is going to be performed, one might have to plan on going to physical rehabilitation. There could be a significant period where one would have to rest and refrain from physical activity. There could be a temporary change of location for recuperation. At this point, we may have to accept help from others, as Jesus did, where we are used to helping others, and finally we must come to grips with the diagnosis and prognosis.

Although we are created in the likeness and image of God, our bodies are not invincible.  As we age, our environment, genetics and other factors, cause our body to undergo many changes. As we change our body tells us either subtly or not that there is something wrong. Sometimes there are obvious signs and symptoms that there is something wrong, but other times there is no sign or symptom. Our body is the only one we have and it is up to us to take care of it because we are all the Temple of God’s Holy Spirit and as a temple, we must reverence our body, treat it with the utmost care and respect and love it as the gift that it is from God.

Now as we think about surgery on our physical body, I would like to look at our spiritual life and address the areas that need to undergo spiritual surgery so that we can experience healing and wholeness and be restored to good health and happiness.  God is the divine physician, we are His children and His only desire is that we do our best to be our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become.  His love is unconditional and selfless. Although there are probably many areas of our life that need to be healed, God heals us the way that He sees best. We may have a terminal illness and pray for healing, yet at the same time we are bitter and are holding grudges against others. I believe that we can enter Heaven’s gates with cancer, but not with a hardened heart filled with revenge, bitterness, and a lack of forgiveness for those who have hurt us.

If God were to tell you that you needed spiritual surgery, how would you respond? Would you be surprised, angry, fearful, confused or happy? What does spiritual surgery look like? Are there signs and symptoms that something is wrong in our spiritual life that needs to be operated on so that we can become a healthier, whole and healed individual? Although spiritual surgery can take many aspects, I am choosing to focus on the following. As you begin each day and reflect on these aspects, remind yourself that God is the divine physician and if you can recognize that spiritual surgery is needed, fear not, but trust in Him as He seeks only your healing and wholeness.

 

SUNDAY - Cataracts/seeing God more clearly

How is your vision? Are the eyes of your heart, mind and spirit focused on Christ? Do you, are you able to recognize the person and presence Christ in yourself and others? Sometimes our spiritual vision gets cloudy. This can be due to stress, pressures from both inside and outside of our self, disappointments or sin. We are not able to recognize the presence of Christ in our daily life with its crosses and challenges, celebrations and jubilations. We fail to see Christ within our self because we think that He can’t love us or care for us because of our weaknesses and sins. When we fail to see Christ within our self and others, our vision continues to deteriorate, and we are blinded to the truth.  The truth is that God loves you and me unconditionally, that we are His greatest creation, and He proved this truth as He hung and died on the cross. There is nothing that we can say or do that will make God love us less, He can’t. If He is indicating that you need vision surgery, He is doing so because He doesn’t want you to be blind or have blurry vision. He wants to remove the fog so that you can see clearly how much He loves, adores and cherishes you. He wants you to look in the mirror so that you can behold the beauty from within and without, the beautiful person that are, created in His image and a reflection of His love. When we are unable to see God from within, we also fail to see His presence in others. We are the Body of Christ, and thus we are called not to judge another, but rather see them as God’s sees them; His beloved child, and leave all judgment to Him. For today: close your eyes and pray for the grace to see as God sees: How He sees you and how He calls you to see Him in others.

 

MONDAY – lung transplant/breath of God

What does it take for the body to need a lung transplant? The lungs are not able to work at their best and this causes great breathing difficulty.  When the lungs can’t improve, the medical professionals decide that a transplant is necessary. A transplant would not only improve one’s quality of life, but also prevent death from occurring so early in one’s life.

What is a spiritual lung transplant? What comes forth from our mouth begins with our lungs. When we are the breath of God and the Holy Spirit is alive and well within us, our lungs are clear and functioning 100 percent capacity. When we speak words of love, lifting others up and not tearing them down, when we speak words of contrition and forgiveness, when we speak words of encouragement and consolation and not words of judgment or condemnation, then our lungs are being life giving not only to us but to those we encounter.

When we speak words of gossip, judgment, anger, resentment, unforgiveness, and distrust, it is then that God might be telling us that we need a spiritual lung transplant.  These come from deep within. God gives us His grace to be life giving, we can either reject that grace or accept it, it is our choice. If we choose to reject it and decide that we would rather be destructive with and towards others, then we are not being the breath of God, but rather the voice of the evil one. As with any of our bad choices, if we choose to and want to change, be transformed and start over, God is ready and willing to forgive us and fill us with His grace to stat anew. 

For today: take a deep breath and think of the words that you are about to speak. Are they words that will build up or tear down? Ask God for the grace to swallow the words that will cause harm and breathe in the words that will build up.  

 

TUESDAY - Cancer/dis-ease with God

If you have not been directly affected by cancer, I am sure you know someone that is or has been.  Although cancer can be a terminal disease, it is not a death sentence. For me, I believe it gives the person a head start to live life to the fullest and yet make plans for their life’s end; God invites the person to take the opportunity to make changes, correct any wrong and make right the path to the Lord, come to a deeper peace and surrender so that one can truly enter into God’s Kingdom without fear, but rather great expectation and joy. No one is promised tomorrow. We should not take any time that God gives us for granted, thinking that we will live so many more years. God wants us to appreciate and honor every moment of each day, as His gift to us. When we assume that there will be many tomorrows, we can sometimes take the days that we have for granted; we can complain about the little things and miss the big picture.

So, what part of your spiritual life has a form of spiritual cancer? How would you respond if you heard God inviting you to a spiritual surgery that would change and transform your life forever? Would your reactions be the same or different? Would you find peace amid the unknown and uncertain, the deep and the surface illness or wounds? What part of your spiritual life is at dis ease with God? It can be a lump or in your blood stream. A lump can be an unforgiven hurt, one that continues to haunt and affect you. That lump can be the tears that you shed over the hurt or the anger that you hold because of it. If it is your blood stream it can be your woundedness, deep long hurts, or your inability to recognize how beloved you are before God. When you think of your woundedness or your low self-worth, God wants to give you a blood transfusion so that it does not continue to permeate your entire life and that you can become more at peace with Him and see Him more clearly within yourself and others. Spiritual cancer is far worst than any other.  If one does not address the cancer, it too will spread and overshadow the goodness, compassion, mercy, peace, joy or happiness that one possesses and that God has in abundance for you.

For today: take a moment and reflect on your spiritual cancer, what is it, and how can it be treated so that it does not spread. Make your spiritual cancer and your treatment method a source and catalyst of your prayer. As you desire to grow in a deeper relationship with God, His treatment will be His grace so that you can follow through with acts of kindness, forgiveness, mercy, compassion and peace.

 

WEDNESDAY - Cast/ heal the brokenness.

Have you ever broken your wrist leg or foot and found yourself in a cast or a boot? Do you remember the discomfort, the limitations, and the awkwardness that you found yourself in? Yet once the bone was healed and the cast or boot was removed and healing had occurred, you felt like a new person and you were able to return to doing what you liked doing.

Now how would you like God to heal your brokenness? Would you like Him to put a cast on your heart so that it could not be expanded, be filled with compassion, mercy or forgiveness? I doubt it. I believe that amid brokenness and woundedness, you would prefer to be healed, to be able to forgive, be reconciled and be made whole.  God would not use a cast that would create limitations, but rather He would shower you with His grace so that your heart and ability to love could expand and grow. His grace would give you the ability to do more than you ever could imagine or believe.  

To be healed of a deep seeded hurt or wound takes courage, trust and surrender. We need to ask God for His courage, and then trust and surrender into His hands that which we hold on to.  Forgiveness and reconciliation are not easy, and they do not depend on the other person. If we are wounded and ask God for the grace to be healed, it is our heart that God is working on.

We can pray for the grace to enter the hearts of those who have hurt us, but only God knows each person’s heart and what it needs most. Leave the other to God and seek your own healing.

For today: seek to forgive one person that has hurt you, and ask God to mend the brokenness and make you whole.

 

THURSDAY – open heart surgery/ open heart

Is your heart open or is it hardened and closed? Have life experiences, stresses, disappointments and defeats closed your heart to any hope that things will get better and that God has you in His loving embrace?

Do you find yourself not willing to love another out of fear that hurt lurks around the corner?

God does not want his children to be afraid to love, but rather to be open to love so that we can discover our potential and the potential of others to change us and make us our best self.

God loves us through life; in its disappointments, its challenges, its hurts, it joys, and its celebrations. He only invites us, and asks us to trust in Him and to love. We must first love our self, if we are to love others.

We must first see the presence and love of God within, our self if we expect to see the presence and love of God in others. Spiritual open-heart surgery is an invitation from God to open our heart and expand it and its ability to love, be compassionate, merciful, forgiving and a peacemaker. As God opens our heart so that it can be expanded, He also takes out the dis-ease that makes us want to hold onto to the various events, people, hurts, disappointments, and sin that have caused our heart to become closed and hardened.

For today: accept God’s invitation to open your heart and remove anything that has hardened it and would prevent it from expanding.

 

FRIDAY -tonsils/God’s messenger

If you or your child have had tonsillitis, you know firsthand how sore the throat was and how difficult it was to talk. A simple surgery to remove the tonsils and the recuperation was short. If you were a child when you had your tonsils removed you probably remember how much ice cream you were able to have per doctor’s orders, it wasn’t all bad…

What does spiritual tonsillitis look like? Being the voice of God when your throat hurts because your voice has been muffled, you have felt the need to raise your voice to be heard, you have had to repeat God’s message to those who chose not to hear it or listen to it.

The spiritual tonsillitis occurs when you give up and choose not be the voice of God but rather to be silent. When you choose not to be the voice for the vulnerable, forgotten, suffering or abandoned. When you choose to blame others for their affliction instead of sharing God’s compassion, mercy and understanding. When you choose silence with another who has hurt you instead of expressing words of forgiveness or sorrow. That is when spiritual tonsillitis occurs, when you choose out of complacency, weariness, frustration, judgment or condemnation not to be God’s voice any longer.

For today: Is your throat sore from being God’s voice? Do you have any symptom of spiritual tonsillitis? If you have any symptom of spiritual tonsillitis, ask God for the grace to swallow any pride that is causing it so that you can return to being His voice in your family, community, church, with and toward the stranger, and all those you encounter.

 

SATURDAY – Stitches/moments of weakness

It has been a long week and we have undergone many transformative spiritual procedures. Yet, as prayerful, faithful followers of Christ, we need to be aware of our spiritual life and our relationship with God. If our relationship with God is not a priority, and we do not try to nourish it through prayer, worship and the sacraments of the Church, then spiritual transformation needs to occur.

I believe that we are all sinners striving to become saints. We are doing the best we can and trying to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. It is in our daily life that we may encounter the small cuts and wounds that don’t require surgery but rather a few stitches. These small cuts or wounds can be the angry words that ushered from our mouth in a moment of weakness due to frustration and stress, words that we regret because they caused hurt to another. The cut can be when we feel ignored and others don’t seem to care about how we are doing or how are day is going. We feel insulted and this hurts our self-esteem and ego. We can feel these minor cuts at home with our spouse or children, in our community, in religious life, at work and yes even at Church. These cuts are due to others and our own weaknesses and not meant to cause us great harm or woundedness. Yet they still hurt.

God’s spiritual stitches are the times where we find our self, in all humility, saying that I am sorry and that I forgive you.  If we fail to recognize the need to say these words, then the wounds will deepen and could require surgery. The words that we express are the spiritual stitches that can prevent us from developing a deeper wound that could cause a greater spiritual infection and would require more spiritual surgery.

For today: thank God for the spiritual stitches that have healed quickly, mended relationships and made you your better self as you lived up to your potential as God's beloved child.

 

 WILL BE DONE.

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 19, 2020

This week’s Glimpse of God comes from my recent hospitalization in Fox Chase Cancer Center. I have been an ongoing cancer patient at Fox Chase for over 20 years. In those 20 years, I have received the best care from all my doctors, the nurses, and the various staff members. Everyone has always treated me with compassion, care and concern. I am a person and not a number. So, what brings me to this Glimpse? I have been roommates to many and for the most part, most have been positive experiences. This time around I was roomed with someone who was not coping well with their hospitalization stay, their illness or their negativity, thus making my hospitalization stay more challenging then it needed to be. The needless noises, too many visitors, thinking that we were in the Hilton where one should be able to sleep all day, and the false expectation that the nurses should jump when called and yelling when they didn’t. We were right next to the nurse’s station and they were always there promptly.

Now my view of being a patient is a bit different, yet it comes from a sense of peace with God’s abiding presence as my foundation. The nurses and doctors would look at my situation with a sense of sadness, empathy and wonder, because of the severe pain and complications that are involved, as well as a feeling of frustration that it has not resolved. They would ask me how I can have such a positive outlook and perspective.

Let me first saying that I do not, nor never hope to, recite the litany of aches and ailments. There are too many positive blessings in my life. I am truly happy and that is God gift to me because that happiness brings me a deeper sense of joy amid what seemingly appears to overwhelming life situations. I am filled with joy because I have a loving God and Savior that stands by me and I know that has experienced everything that I am, before me. I know that I have never been alone nor will I ever be left alone to carry my light weight crosses. God has thrown in many unexpected curve balls; not bad things but rather those experiences or blessings that have gotten me through the negative or painful life experiences. Some of these curve balls are that I am married to wonderful man, I live in a great home, have two great kids; Clover our golden retriever and Cannoli our cat, great friends, a loving sister, a supportive parish community, a great lifelong mentor, a deep faith, a will that will never be defeated, and a deep desire to be Christ’s witness in the world in whatever way He chooses. All I can say to God is; keep sending me your curve balls and I’ll try to recognize and catch as many as I can.

I choose not to focus on any negative aspects, but rather on the many positive aspects or God’s unexpected curve balls that got me through, and continue to get me through, the negative experiences, that are present.  

I don’t believe nor will you ever hear me say that I am having a bad day because God doesn’t create anything bad so how could it be that I would have a bad day? I believe that every day is a great day, but some more challenging than others. Being a patient in the hospital for over week again was a challenge, but a good one. I was in the best care as they sought to find a resolution to the situation, the nurses and all of the support staff were great,  I received Holy Communion every day, my husband came every day after working all day then driving an hour to the hospital, we had a friend who went to our house during the day to let Clover out and give her some play time. I never felt as if this medical issue would defeat me or crush my spirit, only that it would challenge me to stand firm in faith. Faith, trust and surrender that God was providing me with His patience as a patient even when the pain was severe and the frustration as to how to deal with it, although equally shared, but unable to be resolved at this time.

I choose not to complain because to me to complain over those things that I have no control over is a useless use of words and mental energy. I feel and believe that God invites me to recognize the positive aspects of any situation so that I can be strengthened in faith and

my healing process.

At my baptism I entered fully into Christ’s passion, death and resurrection. Each time I am presented with what seems to be a heavy cross, and I reflect on my past (If you read my book; Shopping for Lighter Cross, which is available on Amazon or I have copies, you will have some idea of what I am referring to) and realize that Christ is and has always been there to help me carry all my crosses, they don’t seem or feel heavy.

As a follower of Christ, I am called to help others find hope as I offer them consolation, compassion and understanding, and I truly take that call to heart with all openness, seriousness, sincerity and humility.

All of life experiences are an opportunity of prayer, not a prayer of perfection but rather of honesty, humility and trust. God knows my heart and can only transform it if I am honest with Him about how I am feeling. I often need to be humbled from my independent self to accepting help, and I need to trust that God hears and answers my prayers, those unformed, those mixed up due to medication and those that come from the child who only asks for a hug.

 

My daily reflection is a little bit different than what you are used to seeing, but I hope it helps.

 

From Complaint to Prayer

Your Kingdom Come, Your will be done

SUNDAY: Lord, When I want to complain about something; the weather, how I am feeling, how others are rude, mean or disrespectful toward and to me, who said what to me....

Help me to transform my words, and thoughts into transformative actions and prayer.

 

MONDAY: Lord, When I am complaining about the cold, the rain, the snow or the heat;

Help me to pray for those who are suffering the loss of life, home, or security, because of the cold, the rain, the snow or the heat. Let my prayer be that you give them the courage, the consolation and the strength, to face another day not knowing what to expect, but trusting that You will bring them through, and believing that they are now stronger than they were yesterday and able to face the day with a greater faith, a deeper trust, more hope and abounding courage.

 

TUESDAY: Lord, When I am ready to complain about my aches, pains, my chronic or terminal illness, aging, financial or family stresses, just so that others know and I can gain sympathy or use it as an excuse for any negative choices that I make,

Help me to offer up my suffering for those whose aches, pains, chronic or terminal illness, aging, financial or family stresses are spiritually and physically life threatening and where they have no one to be with them to listen, lend a helping  hand, or to offer a shoulder to cry on as they endure and carry their heavy cross.

 

WEDNESDAY: Lord, When I fail to remember those You have called back home to be with you, who have gone before me in faith, sin and weakness, and I don’t want to believe that they are or will be resting in your loving embrace because of the hurt that they inflicted on me,

Help me to pray for them in truth, mercy, compassion and forgiveness because they too are your beloved child, created in Your image, loved unconditionally and whose heart is known only to You, and recognizing that their greatest penance is being in purgatory as they wait for the time where they will be able to see You face to face.

 

THURSDAY: Lord, When I am ready to complain about another human being: Spouse, child, family member, friend, neighbor, coworker, community member, the stranger or the outcast,

Help me to remember that we are all created in Your loving and sacred image, and that we are your greatest creation, all of us even in the midst of our sinfulness, bad habits, weaknesses and bad choices are also uniquely blessed with various and many talents, gifts and strengths.

 

FRIDAY: Lord, When I am ready to beat myself up and not be my best self because of my weaknesses, sins and shortcomings. When I choose not to remember that I am your beloved child, loved unconditionally, and your greatest creation,

Help me to recognize that you are a God of mercy, unconditional love and compassion, and choose to be my best self, the person that you created me to be, and have the potential to become.

 

SATURDAY: Lord, When I am ready to blame You for all the wrong in the world; war, homicides, homelessness, addiction, suicides, child abuse, animal cruelty, domestic violence, human trafficking….,

please help me to remember that the world is good because You can't create anything evil or bad,

but it is our choices as human beings that are evil and bad. May my thoughts and frustrations be transformed into surrender and trust so that I can build Your Kingdom here on earth and make Your vision a reality.

 

YOUR KINGDOM COME; YOUR WILL BE DONE.


 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF JANUARY 12TH 

 

DUE TO BEING IN THE HOSPITAL WITHOUT

MY COMPUTER OR ABILITY TO FOCUS 

I AM UNABLE TO PROVIDE A GLIMPSE FOR YOU .

AS YOU BEGIN A NEW WEEK

TAKE LAST WEEK'S GLIMPSE

KEEPING CHRISTMAS AS A DAILY MINDSET

AND MAKING DAILY RESOLUTIONS'

TAKE EACH DAY AND

REFLECT ON 

THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE

FOR ME TO:

SUNDAY: HOW CAN I BETTER LOVE MYSELF

MONDAY: HOW CAN I BETTER TAKE CARE OF MYSELF

TUESDAY: HOW CAN I BE MORE FORGIVING OF MYSELF

WEDNESDAY: WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO FORGIVE OTHERS

INSTEAD OF HOLDING A GRUDGE

 

EACH DAY IS GOD'S GIFT TO ME,

HOW CAN I LOVE HIM MORE TODAY 

THURSDAY: BY MY ACTIONS?

FRIDAY: IN MY WORDS

SATURDAY: IN MY RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 5, 2020

Happy New Year.  I hope and pray that this new year of 2020 brings you a greater sense of joy, peace and true happiness that only our Lord can provide.  As each day approaches may you see Him more clearly in yourself and others, love Him more dearly through your prayers, acts of love and acts of mercy, and follow Him more nearly as you take each step of your earthly journey one step at a time, not looking back with regret, but looking forward with and in hope.

As this new year enters its first week, is anything different for you? Have you made your New Year’s, resolution and you see how it has made a difference or have you forgotten what your resolution was?

People with all their sincerity, personal conviction and self-determination make New Year’s resolutions.

The ones that I have heard range from going on a diet, exercising more, praying more, eating better, refraining from foul language especially around their children, calling family members that live far, reconciling with an estranged family member or friend, and getting more rest. All are great resolves to make, and in the end can make one a better person; a healthier person, a more spiritually connected person to God, and a person that knows what true peace is. With all the good intentions, I imagine that by this 5th day of January, many people have already forgotten their resolution or haven’t had the time to put it into practice.

This year when people say I resolve to…. It sounds good and the resolution is made with great conviction, hope and a sincere desire to accomplish what they desire to change or improve in their life. The question that I present is WHY? Why do people wait to make until the new year to make a resolution? I believe that if one is seeking to change, improve something about themselves; their physical well-being, their behavior or their spiritual relationship, why wait? If the resolution is that important, why would you want to wait, why not begin today?

Today is the only day that we have, yesterday is in our history book, and tomorrow is not here, nor are we promised it. Today is the day that the Lord has made. Made for what? We are God’s greatest creation, His beloved children and loved unconditionally, and what we can give Him is our gift of love each day by seeking to know and love and serve God to the best of our ability. How can we know, love and serve God if we do not know or love our self?

Each and every time we  pray the act of Contrition, we make a resolution “ I firmly resolve with your help and your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin” or some forms say “I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life, Amen” with means I believe. What do you believe when you pray that prayer? That God will forgive you and that you will do your best to keep your resolution that says you will sin no more, avoid the near occasion of sin, to confess your sins and to amend your life. How important is that to you? If it is that important, why would you want wait to make it, wouldn’t you rather  start right now to sin no more, avoid those things, people or situations that cause you to want to sin, go to  confession so that you experience the healing presence of God as you sins are forgiven, and amend your life? These are such crucial acts and ones that can bring about personal, and spiritual transformation.  

If you say that prayer on a regular basis your resolution will bring you great strength and you will see a difference in your spiritual life that will overflow into your personal life and in your actions, the words that you speak and in your deeds.

I don’t make a New Year’s resolution? Why because I would probably forget it by the first week, but more importantly and seriously, I think that whatever I would resolve would be important to me and I wouldn’t want to wait until another day or year begins. My prayer and resolve on January 1st, is the same every day after that. My prayer and resolution each day is to be the best person that I can be, that God has created me to be and that I have the potential to become.

And unfortunately, when I find myself not being my best self before God and others, and I see my worst self emerge, I find myself praying the Act of Contrition so that I can start again with God’s grace and do better.

 

The gift of each day is the most important gift that we receive from God, and since we are not promised tomorrow and yesterday is on our history book, why wouldn’t we want to make this day our best day and our gift to God? If our resolve is to eat healthy and get healthier, to refrain from foul language, to refrain from any negative behavior, contact loved ones more frequently, forgive or seek forgiveness from one that you hurt but also miss in your life, why wait until tomorrow or next week or next year, today is the day!!! Today is the day to begin to make the changes that will make you a better, healthier person physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, a person that will be able to look in the mirror and recognize that you did your best to know, love and serve God and see Him in others and in yourself.

If you want to be your best and true self, if you want to be a better person, then today is the day. I believe that we all want to see God more clearly in our desires and in our life, and we want to make a resolution to recognize Him and make the changes that are blocking our view. When we seek to follow God’s will in our life, we become a person who is at peace and others can see that peace in us. When we seek to personal or spiritual transformation, our loving God who knows our heart and our deepest desires better than we do, will answer our prayers in His way and in His time. If our resolutions have transformative powers, why wait to experience them?

A new year has begun. We can look back at the year that has passed and offer prayers of gratitude and contrition, and we can look ahead with hope and great expectation for God’s continuing surprises. We are we hopeful for and waiting for with great expectation? Only you can answer that question. Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, where the three kings presented their gifts to the Child Jesus. If we answer those questions considering both the Nativity and Epiphany, our hope could be that we also present to Jesus the gift of our heart so that it can be a vessel where His love, compassion and mercy can be poured in and overflow, and our expectation is that we recognize God doing that for us.

Our hope is that the spirit of Christmas become a daily frame of mind or mind set, and that we recognize with greater clarity, in this year of 2020, that Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world completely out of unconditional and selfless love, for you and me. He wants you to know that believe that and live in the light of that love.

 

This week to help us to make Christmas a constant mindset, I suggest we revisit what the corporal works of mercy are and how we can fulfill them every day and not just at Christmas. If we are trying to become  a better person, to know, love and serve God, to see Him more clearly in our life and in the life of others, then the corporal works of mercy will invite, enable, and empower us to accomplish our resolution , one day a t a time. Look at what you can do and are comfortable doing. Remember helping those in need should not be done out of guilt, ego, control or obligation, but rather out of selfless love, compassion, concern and care for others less fortunate.

 

SUNDAY FEED THE HUNGRY

If you know of a food bank, community center, or Church that serves and feeds the hungry, see if you could volunteer there. Pass out granola bars to those in need that you see at stoplights. Pick up leftover at a local grocery store, bakery or restaurant and deliver them to a food bank or homeless shelter.

If you are unable to help at a food bank, there are many parishes that have the Saint John’s Hospice Casserole program. This program asks volunteers to make a casserole, recipes are provided, or you can use your own, and bring them back to the church, where they are then delivered to the men at Saint John’s hospice. Saint John’s Hospice is an outreach ministry that serves and assists the poor and homeless men in the community. SJH serves over 400 hundred homeless men every day for lunch, and feeds and houses 50 homeless men all throughout the year.

For today, pray for the hundreds of men, women and children that will go to bed hungry and do not know where their next meal is going to come from. God will give you the words of your prayer.

 

MONDAY – GIVE DRINK TO THE THIRSTY

Giving drink to the thirsty seems a bit of a challenge, either because we don’t understand what that means or who is thirsty and what they are thirsting for. If we know of someone who is thirsty due to the hot weather or their bodily need for water, we can and should give them a something to drink. Pass out water bottles to the homeless, give water to those who working in the heat or in difficult situations, donate baby formula to a new mother or family that you know can’t afford it, o ra local pregnancy help center.

If we recognize that someone is thirsting or desiring someone to listen to them then be that presence to them. We are all thirsting for the life-giving waters of Christ, and we all have an opportunity to provide them to others by our presence to and with them, either in silence or in sharing the Good news of the Gospel.

For today, if someone is thirsting or pining to be wanted, and not feel as if they are an outcast or on the fringes of family, community or society. Give them a drink of the life-giving waters of faith, love and compassion by being present to them and letting them know of the great love that God has for them, that they are His greatest creation and that they are His beloved child.

 

TUESDAY – CLOTHE THE NAKED

Do you have clothes in your closet, your spouse’s closet or children’s closet that you or they have not worn, that don’t fit and are in good condition? Consider donating them to a shelter or a charity that collects clothing for the poor. There are many shelters, community centers, group homes that collect clothing for the homeless, poor, or those who because of their financial situation cannot shop for clothing, and they don’t have the clothing that will properly get them through the harsh weather of winter.

For today, if you know or see an elderly person or a family that does not have the proper clothing for the weather, ask them if her is anything that you can do for them. If you are uncomfortable doing that and you would prefer to give them an anonymous gift of a hat, gloves, coat, or shoes that are in good condition, then do it. Pray and ask God to show you haw you can best help them.  

 

WEDNESDAY SHELTER THE HOMELESS

You might not be able to or comfortable bringing a homeless person into your home. God understands that and accepts it not as an act of selfishness but of discernment. But He offers you ways to help shelter the homeless. If you know of a homeless shelter or a place that brings in the homeless, see if you can help with any of their daily needs. If you want to offer your time and presence to them, see what they need volunteers for.

 If you are able to volunteer, yet you would like to make a financial donation, find out what area your donation could be best used or is in most need; it could be for the food they give to the homeless or the blankets they use for each person, or the toiletries the person needs. You can also send a care package with special treats to a local orphanage. Support the efforts and ministry of your local homeless boys and girls shelters.

For today, pray for those who are homeless and in need of shelter especially as the harsh winter weather hits. Pray for those who have a home but are spiritually, emotionally and psychologically homeless because it lacks love, presence, support, encouragement, understanding, and forgiveness and if filled with physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, bitterness, control, manipulation, and silence. Pray for those who are trying to adopt or become foster parents, and for the children who are abandoned, left alone or taken away from their parents and families.

 

THURSDAY VISIT THE SICK

Visit those who you know are sick, but if you are unable to visit them, take a moment to make a phone call, send an email, or send a card. In whatever way you can, let them know that you are praying for them, that you care about them, that you want them to recover and heal so that they can return to their homes. If they are in hospice, let their family members or the hospice care team know that you would like to visit the sick person or give them a call. If this is not possible, see if you could send a card so that it could be read to the person and they know you care about them and that you are thinking and praying for them.

For today, pray for those who are sick that God provide healing, strength and courage as they carry their heavy cross. Physically: suffering from a chronic illness, terminal illness or sudden illness, psychologically; suffering from mental illness, depression, anxiety, or spiritually; suffering from a lack of faith, deep seeded anger, resentment, and bitterness, or sin that is eating away a person’s soul and spirit and causes them to reject God.

 

FRIDAY VISIT THE IMPRISONED

If you are comfortable and can visit those imprisoned at a local jail or prison, see what the requirements are to be a visitor. I know that they also need volunteers for the many different programs that are set up for the prisoners or residents. If you have a family member in prison or jail, take time to visit them or call them.

If you visit or call, let them know that they are loved by God and you, that you care for and about them, and that they are not forgotten. Be sincere and do not pass judgment on them. Only God is the judge.

If they have hurt you, you are called to forgive and be reconciled and not to pass judgment on them.

If you know of someone that is in prison and their family are unable to visit them, see if they are comfortable is you were to visit their loved one.

For today, pray for the imprisoned and feel as if they are unloved, despised and unforgivable. Pray that they open their hearts to God so that they can recognize the unconditional love that God has for them, that He abides within them and that He forgives them.  Pray for the grace so that you do not judge them, but accept them as a fellow sinner who needs your prayers and support.

 

SATURDAY BURY THE DEAD

Unless you are a funeral director, burying the dead might be a challenge. If that is so, how can we fulfill this corporal work of mercy?

Burying the dead, if you have lost a loved one, either a friend or family member, and their final wishes have  been expressed, you can see that they are followed and  honored. If you know of a family that has lost a loved one and preparing to bury their dead, you can console the grieving by visiting them, providing  meals to get them through the immediately difficult times, offer to be with them as they make the funeral arrangements, or help with the funeral luncheon if they need help. Be present to them after the dead are buried, family members have gone back to their home and they left alone, and they might need help writing the sympathy thank you cards. As time passes, they will need help with their loved one’s belongings and what they want to do with them. Help a widower or widow who is now alone with no family to assist them, offer to help them with chores around their house, if they are older and can’t get around so easily, see if they need help shopping, other errands, or going to appointments.

For today, pray for the many babies that will be aborted and for those who perform the abortion. Pray for those who will die in war, homicide, terrorist attacks and natural disasters, and whose bodies will not be discovered or given proper burials. Pray for those on death row who are or will be executed. Pray that those who take the lives of others have a conversion of heart and realize that life is sacred and should be treated with dignity, respect and love and that GOD is the author of life and death.

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Glimpse of God for the week of January 5, 2020

Happy New Year.  I hope and pray that this new year of 2020 brings you a greater sense of joy, peace and true happiness that only our Lord can provide.  As each day approaches may you see Him more clearly in yourself and others, love Him more dearly through your prayers, acts of love and acts of mercy, and follow Him more nearly as you take each step of your earthly journey one step at a time, not looking back with regret, but looking forward with and in hope.

As this new year enters its first week, is anything different for you? Have you made your New Year’s, resolution and you see how it has made a difference or have you forgotten what your resolution was?

People with all their sincerity, personal conviction and self-determination make New Year’s resolutions.

The ones that I have heard range from going on a diet, exercising more, praying more, eating better, refraining from foul language especially around their children, calling family members that live far, reconciling with an estranged family member or friend, and getting more rest. All are great resolves to make, and in the end can make one a better person; a healthier person, a more spiritually connected person to God, and a person that knows what true peace is. With all the good intentions, I imagine that by this 5th day of January, many people have already forgotten their resolution or haven’t had the time to put it into practice.

This year when people say I resolve to…. It sounds good and the resolution is made with great conviction, hope and a sincere desire to accomplish what they desire to change or improve in their life. The question that I present is WHY? Why do people wait to make until the new year to make a resolution? I believe that if one is seeking to change, improve something about themselves; their physical well-being, their behavior or their spiritual relationship, why wait? If the resolution is that important, why would you want to wait, why not begin today?

Today is the only day that we have, yesterday is in our history book, and tomorrow is not here, nor are we promised it. Today is the day that the Lord has made. Made for what? We are God’s greatest creation, His beloved children and loved unconditionally, and what we can give Him is our gift of love each day by seeking to know and love and serve God to the best of our ability. How can we know, love and serve God if we do not know or love our self?

Each and every time we  pray the act of Contrition, we make a resolution “ I firmly resolve with your help and your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin” or some forms say “I firmly resolve with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life, Amen” with means I believe. What do you believe when you pray that prayer? That God will forgive you and that you will do your best to keep your resolution that says you will sin no more, avoid the near occasion of sin, to confess your sins and to amend your life. How important is that to you? If it is that important, why would you want wait to make it, wouldn’t you rather  start right now to sin no more, avoid those things, people or situations that cause you to want to sin, go to  confession so that you experience the healing presence of God as you sins are forgiven, and amend your life? These are such crucial acts and ones that can bring about personal, and spiritual transformation.  

If you say that prayer on a regular basis your resolution will bring you great strength and you will see a difference in your spiritual life that will overflow into your personal life and in your actions, the words that you speak and in your deeds.

I don’t make a New Year’s resolution? Why because I would probably forget it by the first week, but more importantly and seriously, I think that whatever I would resolve would be important to me and I wouldn’t want to wait until another day or year begins. My prayer and resolve on January 1st, is the same every day after that. My prayer and resolution each day is to be the best person that I can be, that God has created me to be and that I have the potential to become.

And unfortunately, when I find myself not being my best self before God and others, and I see my worst self emerge, I find myself praying the Act of Contrition so that I can start again with God’s grace and do better.

 

The gift of each day is the most important gift that we receive from God, and since we are not promised tomorrow and yesterday is on our history book, why wouldn’t we want to make this day our best day and our gift to God? If our resolve is to eat healthy and get healthier, to refrain from foul language, to refrain from any negative behavior, contact loved ones more frequently, forgive or seek forgiveness from one that you hurt but also miss in your life, why wait until tomorrow or next week or next year, today is the day!!! Today is the day to begin to make the changes that will make you a better, healthier person physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, a person that will be able to look in the mirror and recognize that you did your best to know, love and serve God and see Him in others and in yourself.

If you want to be your best and true self, if you want to be a better person, then today is the day. I believe that we all want to see God more clearly in our desires and in our life, and we want to make a resolution to recognize Him and make the changes that are blocking our view. When we seek to follow God’s will in our life, we become a person who is at peace and others can see that peace in us. When we seek to personal or spiritual transformation, our loving God who knows our heart and our deepest desires better than we do, will answer our prayers in His way and in His time. If our resolutions have transformative powers, why wait to experience them?

A new year has begun. We can look back at the year that has passed and offer prayers of gratitude and contrition, and we can look ahead with hope and great expectation for God’s continuing surprises. We are we hopeful for and waiting for with great expectation? Only you can answer that question. Today we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany, where the three kings presented their gifts to the Child Jesus. If we answer those questions considering both the Nativity and Epiphany, our hope could be that we also present to Jesus the gift of our heart so that it can be a vessel where His love, compassion and mercy can be poured in and overflow, and our expectation is that we recognize God doing that for us.

Our hope is that the spirit of Christmas become a daily frame of mind or mind set, and that we recognize with greater clarity, in this year of 2020, that Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world completely out of unconditional and selfless love, for you and me. He wants you to know that believe that and live in the light of that love.

 

This week to help us to make Christmas a constant mindset, I suggest we revisit what the corporal works of mercy are and how we can fulfill them every day and not just at Christmas. If we are trying to become  a better person, to know, love and serve God, to see Him more clearly in our life and in the life of others, then the corporal works of mercy will invite, enable, and empower us to accomplish our resolution , one day a t a time. Look at what you can do and are comfortable doing. Remember helping those in need should not be done out of guilt, ego, control or obligation, but rather out of selfless love, compassion, concern and care for others less fortunate.

 

SUNDAY FEED THE HUNGRY

If you know of a food bank, community center, or Church that serves and feeds the hungry, see if you could volunteer there. Pass out granola bars to those in need that you see at stoplights. Pick up leftover at a local grocery store, bakery or restaurant and deliver them to a food bank or homeless shelter.

If you are unable to help at a food bank, there are many parishes that have the Saint John’s Hospice Casserole program. This program asks volunteers to make a casserole, recipes are provided, or you can use your own, and bring them back to the church, where they are then delivered to the men at Saint John’s hospice. Saint John’s Hospice is an outreach ministry that serves and assists the poor and homeless men in the community. SJH serves over 400 hundred homeless men every day for lunch, and feeds and houses 50 homeless men all throughout the year.

For today, pray for the hundreds of men, women and children that will go to bed hungry and do not know where their next meal is going to come from. God will give you the words of your prayer.

 

MONDAY – GIVE DRINK TO THE THIRSTY

Giving drink to the thirsty seems a bit of a challenge, either because we don’t understand what that means or who is thirsty and what they are thirsting for. If we know of someone who is thirsty due to the hot weather or their bodily need for water, we can and should give them a something to drink. Pass out water bottles to the homeless, give water to those who working in the heat or in difficult situations, donate baby formula to a new mother or family that you know can’t afford it, o ra local pregnancy help center.

If we recognize that someone is thirsting or desiring someone to listen to them then be that presence to them. We are all thirsting for the life-giving waters of Christ, and we all have an opportunity to provide them to others by our presence to and with them, either in silence or in sharing the Good news of the Gospel.

For today, if someone is thirsting or pining to be wanted, and not feel as if they are an outcast or on the fringes of family, community or society. Give them a drink of the life-giving waters of faith, love and compassion by being present to them and letting them know of the great love that God has for them, that they are His greatest creation and that they are His beloved child.

 

TUESDAY – CLOTHE THE NAKED

Do you have clothes in your closet, your spouse’s closet or children’s closet that you or they have not worn, that don’t fit and are in good condition? Consider donating them to a shelter or a charity that collects clothing for the poor. There are many shelters, community centers, group homes that collect clothing for the homeless, poor, or those who because of their financial situation cannot shop for clothing, and they don’t have the clothing that will properly get them through the harsh weather of winter.

For today, if you know or see an elderly person or a family that does not have the proper clothing for the weather, ask them if her is anything that you can do for them. If you are uncomfortable doing that and you would prefer to give them an anonymous gift of a hat, gloves, coat, or shoes that are in good condition, then do it. Pray and ask God to show you haw you can best help them.  

 

WEDNESDAY SHELTER THE HOMELESS

You might not be able to or comfortable bringing a homeless person into your home. God understands that and accepts it not as an act of selfishness but of discernment. But He offers you ways to help shelter the homeless. If you know of a homeless shelter or a place that brings in the homeless, see if you can help with any of their daily needs. If you want to offer your time and presence to them, see what they need volunteers for.

 

 If you are able to volunteer, yet you would like to make a financial donation, find out what area your donation could be best used or is in most need; it could be for the food they give to the homeless or the blankets they use for each person, or the toiletries the person needs. You can also send a care package with special treats to a local orphanage. Support the efforts and ministry of your local homeless boys and girls shelters.

For today, pray for those who are homeless and in need of shelter especially as the harsh winter weather hits. Pray for those who have a home but are spiritually, emotionally and psychologically homeless because it lacks love, presence, support, encouragement, understanding, and forgiveness and if filled with physical, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, bitterness, control, manipulation, and silence. Pray for those who are trying to adopt or become foster parents, and for the children who are abandoned, left alone or taken away from their parents and families.

 

THURSDAY VISIT THE SICK

Visit those who you know are sick, but if you are unable to visit them, take a moment to make a phone call, send an email, or send a card. In whatever way you can, let them know that you are praying for them, that you care about them, that you want them to recover and heal so that they can return to their homes. If they are in hospice, let their family members or the hospice care team know that you would like to visit the sick person or give them a call. If this is not possible, see if you could send a card so that it could be read to the person and they know you care about them and that you are thinking and praying for them.

For today, pray for those who are sick that God provide healing, strength and courage as they carry their heavy cross. Physically: suffering from a chronic illness, terminal illness or sudden illness, psychologically; suffering from mental illness, depression, anxiety, or spiritually; suffering from a lack of faith, deep seeded anger, resentment, and bitterness, or sin that is eating away a person’s soul and spirit and causes them to reject God.

 

FRIDAY VISIT THE IMPRISONED

If you are comfortable and can visit those imprisoned at a local jail or prison, see what the requirements are to be a visitor. I know that they also need volunteers for the many different programs that are set up for the prisoners or residents. If you have a family member in prison or jail, take time to visit them or call them.

If you visit or call, let them know that they are loved by God and you, that you care for and about them, and that they are not forgotten. Be sincere and do not pass judgment on them. Only God is the judge.

If they have hurt you, you are called to forgive and be reconciled and not to pass judgment on them.

If you know of someone that is in prison and their family are unable to visit them, see if they are comfortable is you were to visit their loved one.

For today, pray for the imprisoned and feel as if they are unloved, despised and unforgivable. Pray that they open their hearts to God so that they can recognize the unconditional love that God has for them, that He abides within them and that He forgives them.  Pray for the grace so that you do not judge them, but accept them as a fellow sinner who needs your prayers and support.

 

SATURDAY BURY THE DEAD

Unless you are a funeral director, burying the dead might be a challenge. If that is so, how can we fulfill this corporal work of mercy?

Burying the dead, if you have lost a loved one, either a friend or family member, and their final wishes have  been expressed, you can see that they are followed and  honored. If you know of a family that has lost a loved one and preparing to bury their dead, you can console the grieving by visiting them, providing  meals to get them through the immediately difficult times, offer to be with them as they make the funeral arrangements, or help with the funeral luncheon if they need help. Be present to them after the dead are buried, family members have gone back to their home and they left alone, and they might need help writing the sympathy thank you cards. As time passes, they will need help with their loved one’s belongings and what they want to do with them. Help a widower or widow who is now alone with no family to assist them, offer to help them with chores around their house, if they are older and can’t get around so easily, see if they need help shopping, other errands, or going to appointments.

For today, pray for the many babies that will be aborted and for those who perform the abortion. Pray for those who will die in war, homicide, terrorist attacks and natural disasters, and whose bodies will not be discovered or given proper burials. Pray for those on death row who are or will be executed. Pray that those who take the lives of others have a conversion of heart and realize that life is sacred and should be treated with dignity, respect and love and that GOD is the author of life and death.

GLIMPSES OF GOD FOR 2020

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© Cookie A Magee