GLIMPSES OF GOD FOR 2021

 

 

The weekly Glimpses of God are opportunities to recognize, with greater clarity,the presence of God in the various places, people, events, situations and circumstances of your daily life. I offer them to you as an opportunity to reflect on howmuch God, as you understand Him, is a part of your life,how He chooses to use you and how you have chosen Him.They are glimpses because we can miss them if we are not paying attention. But if we open our heart to His love, if we open our ears to hear His gentle voice, if we open our eyes to see His light, if we open our hands to feel His hand in ours, and if we are open to share these gifts with others,then we too are being a Glimpse of God to those 

in our family, church, community,neighborhood, society and world.

Glimpse of God for the week of October 17,2021

SInce we will be away overnight this Saturday, I knew that I would not will not be able to use my computer, so I composed the Glimpse for next week and am giving it to you early.

Please continue refelcting on this current week's glimpse on teh Prayer of Saint Francis

and then take a look at this one on the 7 Dwarfs for next week.

This Glimpse of God comes as we arrived home from vacation at Disney World in Orlando, Florida

We normally go during Labor Day week, but in April of this year when we decided to get away, so we went to Orlando. As usual, we stayed at the Shades of Green which is the Military hotel right in center of the many Disney resorts. BUT what we did not know in April was because of COVID, the parks were on ticket with a reservation system. Which means you could have park hopper tickets, but without a reservation your park hopping became park stopping. When we purchased the 3-day park hopper tickets, we could only get into Epcot, since the parks were fully booked. The good news is that the park hopper tickets are good until December 31st of this year, the not so good news is that we would just have to return to Disney. What a shame. When would be good to return? That was a no brainer. Our anniversary is October 4th and John’s birthday is October 5th, so we booked a quick trip from October 4th thru the7th. We made reservations with our park hopper tickets, we were able to get a good price on flights, we were able to reserve a car and the hotel had rooms available. WOW a bundle of God’s goodness revealed, and it is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Disney World, so cool.

We eagerly awaited the good weather, the fun shine, the time to GROW DOWN and let the little kid within us to come out. I don’t believe that anyone can really be an adult in Disney, it takes the little kid inside all of us to recognize and appreciate all the joy and happiness that one will behold in Disney. God invites us, in his unique and surprising ways, to let the little child from within come out so that we can allow our self to truly embrace the beauty and fun that surrounds us.

At the same time, we can also appreciate the vision that Walt Disney had when he created a place where dreams come true, and happiness is an experience that is not out of anyone’s grasp. For us, I am reminded of how for the past 50 years, Disney has been and continues to be an a gift from God to remind us that no matter what is going on in life, there is a time and place to be still and know that God is God, that we will emerge as victor and we all are invited to be childlike. Walt Disney took that invitation very seriously and not just for himself. As a to visionary, he provided the tools to all those who pass through the gates that say Welcome to Disney World where dreams come true, to become more childlike so that dreams can and will come true. Disney is place, and experience, an encounter with God, that invites us to remember what it means to have fun, to put away the masks that we use to hide behind so that others don’t or won’t get to know who we really are, and to allow our hearts to expand as we embrace and love the child that emerges.  It is a place where we can easily break down that walls that keep our true self from emerging and keep others from getting close to us.

Disney is a Glimpse of the God who created all things, and provides for us, His children, those things in life that will allow us to grow and become the best person that we can be.  Disney calls us to grow down and be more childlike so that we can grow and rekindle the trust, love, joy, respect, and mutual understanding in each other. God invites us to be a kid at heart, to laugh, to smile more often, to sometimes say the dumbest or weirdest thing and not feel embarrassed or beat our self up over. God wants us to be childlike in that He wants us to live without the fear, anxiety, stress, worry or discouragement that has taken over the adult body that we live in. He is in control and wants us to be more open to new things and the changes that can heal us and make us more whole, and an inner realization that when we take life too seriously, we can miss the moments of joy, laughter, and peace that God provides.

There are many characters in Disney World that bring make me smile and remind me that God is behind their character and within their heart. Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Daisy and Donald Duck, Pluto, Dumbo, Pooh and the many others, but for this week’s daily reflection, I have chosen the 7 dwarfs (a revised reflection) of and how they call us to emerge from our serious self to our fun and true self, OUR CHILD LIKE SELF.

 

Sunday “BASHFUL”

There are times when we are bashful and can’t be as outgoing as others are. That is who we are. God didn’t create us to all be the same, that would be boring. It is through our differences, our varied talents and abilities, our gifts, and our hearts that brings to life the picture that God has created on His canvas of His creation. God doesn’t want His children to feel inadequate or less than human. When we shrink into our self and fail to be God’s voice or action because we are bashful, then we fail to act as His follower.

A curse: Is being bashful or shy a mask that you hide behind so that others cannot approach you, or is it a wall that allows you to hide behind your own emptiness, weaknesses, or feelings of inadequacy? When you are bashful, is it because you don’t have the self-confidence or self-esteem that would bring you out of yourself to speak and be with others?

A blessing: Being bashful can be a blessing as well. When we are bashful, we are allowing others to step out of themselves and be the center of attention. We are allowing others to speak, clown around, have fun and we don’t have to be in the center of it all. Being bashful can be an act of selflessness in that we step back so that others can step forward.

For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

 

Monday “DOC”

What’s up Doc? Do we associate Doc with Doctor? What feelings does that suggest?

If we think of a Doctor, we might think of the men and women that are God’s instruments of healing and compassion as we, or those that we love, carry their crosses of physical, emotional, and psychological illnesses. The Doc is the one that gives direction, shares wisdom, listens attentively, and has your best interest at heart.  God is the divine physician that we turn to when our bodies, heart, mind, or spirit, are drained and in need of healing, replenishment, renewal, and transformation.

A curse: There are times when we, or those we know, fall into the litany of illnesses and ailments. The first thing that they choose to talk about is what is wrong and aching, and not what is right and good. There are those who try to doctor their illnesses and avoid seeking professional help. There are those who must see Doctors frequently. Only God knows what is ailing us and how we need to be healed. We can try to be our own doc by going online and reading up on a certain condition, or help diagnose others, but the reality is that only God knows what truly needs to be healed and how it can best be done. Although we have a great deal of information at our disposal, we cannot cure our diseases or properly diagnose them alone. We need the help of professionals.

 

 

A blessing: As you reflect on your medical conditions or those of someone close to you, seek to see God’s healing in the attitude that you possess. The attitude of gratitude will enable you to be free and open to God’s healing power as He chooses to reveal it to you. As you feel the aches and pains that your body has become too familiar with, remember that healing isn’t always going to occur the way you expect it to. I also believe that living or dying with cancer is not an obstacle to getting into heaven as much as being bitter, resentful, unforgiving, angry or holding a grudge. Your ailment may just be God’s grace to gain true healing and peace.

For Today… Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

Tuesday “SNEEZY”

Sneezing…can be many things, but the one aspect of sneezing at I will focus on is how it is a call to prayer and a cause for blessing. When we hear someone sneeze, we naturally say God Bless You. We don’t know if they ae believers or not, and yet we still invoke that blessing and prayer. We don’t do that to cause any tension with the person that sneezed, but rather we realize what a sneeze signifies, and for that brief period we ask God to watch over them.

A curse: Sneezing can be due to allergies, a cold, or the flu. In any case, sneezing can be annoying and very frustrating. Ask God to heal your cold or flu or at least to make sure that you don’t spread your germs to the next person.

A blessing: The next time you hear someone sneeze, say God Bless You. Don’t abbreviate it by just saying bless you. When we sneeze, our heart stops briefly and asking God’s blessing is a selfless prayer. Don’t let society or what is politically correct or incorrect dictate how you pray or express your concern for others.  

For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

Wednesday “GRUMPY”

Being Grumpy or being around someone who is grumpy is no fun. The lack of joy can bring down one’s spirit quickly. When someone is being Grumpy, there is a spirit of joy that is lacking due to stress, weariness, worry, discouragement probably because of life’s demands and challenges. One can choose to be grumpy or not. One can choose to share their misery with others or keep it between themselves and God.  Being Grumpy also shows others that things are not right. It shows others that one is stressed whereas one would not choose to talk about their hidden stresses or concerns.

Being Grumpy, although not pleasant to experience, is a sign that one needs to seek the consolation of Christ and not the carry the worries of the world without Him.

A curse: We can make excuses for being Grumpy, but in the end, no one deserves our bad attitude. We can try to carry the world; its problems, sins, and struggles, on our shoulders and complain when it gets too heavy, but the reality is that only God can carry his creation on His shoulders, and He does not ask anyone of us to do it for Him. Jesus did that once for all on the cross. We may want to act as a martyr and when no one recognizes that we are acting as one, we get mad because our efforts go unnoticed. We become grumpier and less desirable to be around. If we stop to think about how we are acting and why, we then can recognize that we have no reason to be Grumpy. The martyrs and the saints did not walk around Grumpy, but rather happy in the Lord, and they rejoiced in their suffering because they knew that they were not alone, and that God was with them.

A blessing: As you feel the weight of the physical, emotional, and psychological demands of your life, your family’s well-being, your employment demands and the personal health issues that are your cross to carry, take a moment to reflect on the cross. Pray and ask to see how Christ responded to those who threatened His inner peace and strength and seek His grace to do the same.

For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

Thursday “HAPPY”

Only in, with and through God can true and lasting happiness be experienced.  We can try to find happiness in the things of the world, but it is an elusive happiness, one that does not last, and one that can take us away from God and not towards Him. What does it mean to be happy? Does it mean winning the lottery, or being without aches or pains, or having the biggest and the best of everything? Only God knows what can make each one of us truly happy, but we need to seek that answer from Him and not from the world.  There are those who pretend to be happy by pasting a smile on so that others don’t know their pain or suffering. There are also those who don’t know how to be happy, who choose not to want to be happy. I believe that true happiness comes when we realize that God is with us, that He loves us unconditionally, that we are His greatest creation and that there is nothing that we can say or do that will make Him love us less. We don’t have to wear a mask, or paste on a smile, but rather accept the challenges of life with a surrender and trust that enables us to see through the darkness moments to God’s amazing light.

A curse: When we fake happiness to make another feel good, we are not being true to our self. We can say that we are happy, yet we are really confused, miserable and discontented. When we strive to make others happy at our own expense, we can diminish our own self-worth. Being happy isn’t something that we should fake, but rather we should be honest about. God knows our hearts and knows when life stresses disrupt or challenge our happiness. God does not want us to lie and say that we are happy if we are not. When we do this, we deny that which is robbing us of happiness.

Instead, God would like us to be honest and say why we can’t feel or experience happiness so that He can help us rediscover the deep and true happiness that only He can provide and that lies within.

A blessing: Pray for someone who is grasping for the elusive happiness of the world and not of God. Pray that they may experience the true happiness that only God can provide.  Happiness isn’t fleeting, we can be happy during our struggles as well as in our joys, we can smile and share our happiness with others. Others can recognize when you are truly happy. If you are truly happy, wouldn’t you want others to also have that experience? God wants you to share the wealth of joy and happiness. Pass it on.

For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

 

Friday “SLEEPY”

God rested on the 7th day. He created our bodies to get rest. He knows our needs. He knows that for us to best serve Him we need the proper amount of rest, nutrition, and relaxation. Jesus ate and relaxed with friends. Jesus rested

A curse: When we are tired or sleepy because we work too much or are so busy that getting the proper amount of rest doesn’t happen, then our bodies suffer. We can be sleepy all the time. If we are, then not only will our bodies suffer, but our heart, mind and spirit will also suffer. Sleep deprivation can be traumatic to our body and can cause us to make some horrific mistakes. Parents are the heroes that when it comes to sleep deprivation, they know it best. But even the best parents will admit that not getting enough sleep makes them grumpy and not their best self before God, their families and them self.

A blessing: Pray for those who are suffering from sleep deprivation due to being new parents, illness, sleep apnea, physical pain, worry, and ask that God give rest to their bodies, refreshment to their souls and peace in their heart.

For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

 

Saturday “DOPEY”

We can all recognize times in our life that we were dopey or just not with it, where we may have said or done something that was completely out of our character. We can look back and laugh now, but probably couldn’t  or didn’t then. Sometimes we can claim to be dopey, simple, or ignorant of something just to get out of our responsibilities or to use it as an excuse. Yet, being dopey or simple can be a time where we choose to learn and not act as if we know it all. We can take our Dopey moments to seek wisdom from another so that we can share it with others.

A curse: We can falsely claim to be simple, dopey, or ignorant, but if we are only doing so to get out of something or to ridicule those who are physically, emotionally, or psychologically slow, then we are disrespecting God and doing others a great injustice. We cannot and will not always be the brightest bulb in the pack, but if we are true to our self, God and others, our light, though dim at times, will be the beacon that draws others to see, know  and love God more and want to know Him better.

A blessing: Thank God for the spirit of simplicity. The gift of a simple mind is not one that is to be ridiculed but respected. It is a mind that has learned or is learning how not to complicate things, to appreciate all of God’s gifts and not to take them so much for granted. As you look back on some of your Dopey moments, take another moment to see how it has been in and through them that you have grown to better appreciate and respect the gift of wisdom, silence, compassion, and mutual understanding.

For Today…God has placed before you a blessing and a curse. Choose that which will allow you to grow into the best person that you can be, that God has created you to be and have the potential to become.

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF OCTOBER 10, 2021

As I reflect on Saint Francis and the Prayer for Peace, I can only imagine how many distractions we all face as we reflect on and pray the prayer for peace and how the distractions take us away from obtaining a moment of peace. This past week, as a daily reflection I proposed that we think about what is required to bring about true peace and what we allow to disrupt or deny us experiencing peace and allowing God to touch our life with His gift of harmony, lasting joy, and deeper love. (see last week's Glimpse beneath this one for a reference to the beginning of the Prayer fro Peace)

For this week’s Glimpse of God, I will continue with the prayer of Saint Francis and how we sometimes allow distractions to interfere with what God wants to give us, what we pray for, or ask to have granted us. As we reflect on the prayer and conclude with the Amen, let us allow our desire and faith, our AMEN, to permeate our being so that we can truly be builders of God’s Kingdom here on earth and God’s instrument of peace in our families, workplace, neighborhoods, communities, church, society, and world.

 

SUNDAY - Oh Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

What distractions keep us from consoling another? Is it pride, ego or our need to be the center of others attention and focus? Is the momentary distraction that of a lack of trust since we find it difficult offering consolation because we feel as if we will say or do the wrong thing? It is okay to seek consolation when we are distressed, sorrowful or grieving, God is not going to deny us that grace or gift or the people to offer it to us. But when we find our self seeking to be consoled knowing that there is another who is suffering and in need of consolation, that can be a momentary distraction of selfishness. When we thoughtlessly turn the attention to our self, then the devil is placing a distraction before us. It is then that we need to recognize that it is only with and by the grace of God that we will be able to put it aside. What distraction is being placed before you that you find that you are more often selfishly seeking to be consoled rather than selflessly offering consolation to another?

Prayer for today: Lord, grant me the grace so that I may seek more to offer consolation than to be consoled.

 

MONDAY - To be understood as to understand and

WOW, that short prayer says so much. How many times or how often do we find ourselves saying that someone did not understand us? What does that mean or look like? How do you feel after the comment emerged? Angry, frustrated, discouraged, confused? When we seek to be understood, we are usually looking for someone to identify or empathize with us and in our needs. We share with others that we trust, our concerns during times of stress, worry, illness, or family or work struggles. In our trust of those we open ourselves up to, we hope and expect that they will understand us and extend some form of encouragement and support. AND when that understanding or support is not met or we feel as if our concerns were dismissed, that hurts. Yet we are called to forgive and not seek to get even by ignoring the other or dismissing their concerns when they come to us.

When we seek to better understand another we are acting through, with and in Christ. Those that Jesus walked with, healed, touched, and ministered to, despite His unconditional love for them, did not accept His message and chose to walk in the other direction.

The devil placed before them ignorance and fear, so that they could not surrender to and accept their need for conversion and transformation.  Their understanding for spiritual fulfillment and their hunger being satisfied was misguided by the devils lie that he understood their needs better than Jesus and that he could fulfill them without any spiritual conversion or transformation, since these were not necessary.

In our life today, the devil is still misleading God’s people to believe the same thing. That he understands us better than God, and that we do not need to understand others, since he’s got that. We seek to understand others and we seek others to understand us, because we cannot do it ourselves. God places others in our life and us in other’s life so that we can mutually be empathetic, sympathetic, compassionate, kind and be selfless when life challenges and cross experiences are shared and a genuine need to know God’s will is desired. What distractions keep you from understanding others and not always seeking their sympathy, compassion, or support?

Prayer for today: Lord, grant me the grace so that I may seek more to be understanding than to be understood

 

TUESDAY - To be loved as to love,

Being loved. A prayer and need that we all have and desire. To be loved, to be cared for, to be needed, all of these are essential or part of the weaving of our human nature. These needs or desires, among many other needs and desires, all gifts from God, enable and empower us to want to grow to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. So why is the prayer stress as to love? Easy but challenging answer. To me, when we are loved, we are called to share that love with a genuine and authentic heart, and not superficially. God consoles us, understands us, and loves us unconditionally and it is that very gift of consolation, understanding and love that we are called to share with others. Although our consolation, understanding and love are imperfect, our wanting to share these gifts is a sign of our love for God, others and self, and God knowing our heart makes up for what is lacking in us as we seek to be His instrument of peace, love, compassion, and mercy to others. Do you love yourself and what does that mean? How do we love others if we do not feel loved or love our self? God loves you and me unconditionally and He showed His love for you and me when He chose Mary to be the Mother of His Son, a woman, our Blessed Mother who could understand all that we experience and can guide us toward Her Son. He showed the depth of His love when His only Son, Jesus Christ, who chose to endure His passion, suffer and die on the cross, and rise from the dead. You were in His heart when He did this, He did this for you. You were not exempt for these acts of love. You are God’s beloved son or daughter, His greatest creation oved unconditionally and without reserve or cost. When we love our self, others, and God, it is then that we reflect the love that God has planted in our heart because it has permeated our very being.  It is then that we respond the prayer as to love.

For today. Love yourself, be good to yourself, forgive yourself, pamper yourself, be kind to

yourself. That is God.

 

WEDNESDAY - For it is giving that we receive,

What are we giving away, giving up, giving into, and what will we receive, get back, hold onto? We can give of our self by giving our gift of presence to those in need of an ear to listen, a

shoulder to cry on, a hand to raise up. Presence is a gift that is meant to be given to those in need. We might not know what to say at a given time, but the Holy spirit will fill our mind and heart when the time is right and if words are meant to spoken or silence is meant to be reverenced.  

What we receive back is the grace to be God’s presence, His instrument of peace to those He places on our spiritual and earthly journey. So, back to the first questions. What are we giving away? Perhaps our time for others whose time is being occupied by daily stresses, worries, concerns, illness and our time with them brings them a sense of belonging, peace, comfort and encouragement. What are we giving up, perhaps selfishness? We can think of so many things that we need to do, to check off of our list, and yet when another who is need calls upon us, that check list becomes secondary and being present to another becomes our primary concern.

What will we receive, get back or hold onto? The gift and consolation, courage, inspiration, encouragement, and strength knowing that the grace of God was given to us so that we can be His instrument when another needed to hear from Him through us.

Prayer for today: look at what you have been given or received and seek to let go of those things that these gifts replaced.

 

THURSDAY - It is pardoning that we are pardoned,

Only when we pardon another can we seek pardon from God. I often say that we can get to heaven with cancer, but not with holding a grudge, being resentful or unforgiving. When we seek to forgive another, we are seeking to bring about peace, to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth and to be God’s instrument of mercy and compassion. If we seek to hold onto a grudge, and choose not to forgive another or our self, we are not allowing the love of God to enter into our being. By these actions we are choosing to be self-centered and self-righteous, and greater than God. As Jesus died on the cross, He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” Who was He referring to, who was the Them? Those who crucified Him, those who betrayed Him, those who rejected Him, those who denied Him, those who abandoned Him? If they were the ones He was referring to, then we can consider us in that same company of sinners. Don’t we abandon, reject, deny, betray Him when we abandon Him by casting aside the needs of those abandoned by society, when we judge them as less than human. Don’t we reject Him when we discard or reject those who are less fortunate, prisoners to addiction, less educated, poor, homeless, yet we all are God’s children. Even with that knowledge, we still find justification when we reject their needs to fulfill our own need of feeling or being superior or stronger and not weak?

Don’t’ we crucify Him by placing the nails of prejudice, hatred, bias, intolerance and injustice in the hands and feet of those who are different, whose life choices are not ours, who we deem as sinners, and we do not seek to understand or accept them for their choices or differences? Forgive them for they know not what they do…..When we seek to not pardon another, do we really know what we are doing and how it will affect our spiritual journey now and in the life to come?

For today: seek pardon from someone you have injured and pardon one who has injured you so that you can forgive yourself, and God can renew your hope, shower you with His gift of peace, fill you with His love and mercy so that you can share it joyfully.

 

FRIDAY - It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

As we live and walk our earthly journey we are not being promised tomorrow. We are given the grace of each day, each moment so that we can give glory to God in and through our life. To know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this life so that we can be happy with Him in the life to come. Sound familiar? Yet it is a short summary that tells the whole story. We are not given each day to live selfishly, but rather to die to self so to live for God. How does dying to self unfold in our life? That answer comes in and through your prayer as God reveals what dying to self means for you at that time. We die to self every time we are selfless and place the needs of others before our own. We die to self when we accept our cross without complaining and when we can unite our suffering to Christ and seek His strength so that we do not quit. We die to self when we surrender to His will, let go of the things of this world that we have allowed to possess us and choose instead to possess the attributes, attitudes and characteristics that are Christ like. We die to self when we realize that we are in the world but not of the world.

So, as we live each day dying to self and living for Christ, so that we can inherit eternal life, what is holding you back from being more in the world and not of the world?

For today: seek to let go of one thing that you are holding on to that is keeping you from dying to self and being more selfless.

 

SATURDAY – AMEN

I believe, after this week of reflecting on the distractions that keep us from truly being or becoming instruments of God’s peace, I hope that have you been able to recognize that the momentary distractions have helped you to focus more and with a greater intensity and steadfast spirit what God is calling you to, and how you are being and living as His instrument of peace. Do you believe that? I do, and so can you, after all God knows your heart better than you do, and He knows that you want to be your best self, the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become. You are living up to your potential as you continue to strive to be His instrument of peace amid the distractions that come right in the middle of your prayer, and you have put them aside and stayed the course.

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of October 3, 2021

This week's glimpse of God is focused on one word;"Distractions"

Distractions as defined by Marriam Webster is “An object that directs one’s attention away from something else”

We can look at distractions as little or big annoyances that take us away from what we are doing or had planned to do. Distractions can remove us from our commitment to a certain task, promise, job, or train of thought and cause us to stop and rethink what we were doing and how it will be accomplished. For instance, when we are studying or working and a child comes and asks for our attention, or a phone call comes and we need to stop what we are doing to listen and be present, or we are trying to accomplish all the things on our "To do" list, and we suddenly don't feel well and need to rest. These are all distractions that take us away from what we had planned to do, to doing what was unexpected. We can be annoyed with the distractions because we have the type of personality that needs to complete the tasks that we had set to do, or we can accept the distractions and incorporate them into our prayer life. Sometimes distractions can keep us from fulfilling our commitments and other times they can help us to fulfill that commitment with a greater zeal and hope because we know that through it all, we can return to our plan and accomplish the tasks that we had originally set out to do.

Where is God amid the distractions? He can be in the distractions if we are willing to recognize Him there. When we are called off course, sometimes I think it is God's way of telling us that we need to refocus our minds so that we can fulfill our commitments with the distractions as a tool. When we are committed to our vocation as a spouse, a lay person, a religious, a young adult, we are all trying to fulfill God's will in our life, we seek to focus on what God wants and how we can do His will in our daily life.

In our spiritual life, we can look at the distractions as the devil’s way of taking us away from God. We then become frustrated and distressed and feel that we have failed or sinned because we could not keep our complete focus on God as we think we should have. I believe that instead of seeing it as the devil’s way, since we did not intentionally submit to his will or seek to turn away from God, that we see it more like our mind unconsciously shifted from what we had hoped to be our time alone with God to us opening up to God about what is going on in our life and how it is taking up our emotional and spiritual energy.  Sometimes what we think God's will is, is really what we want it to be, and it can be in the distractions that God is tweeking our understanding of His will, so that we have a greater determination to fulfill it and allow it to make us a more whole person.

Some distractions can just be annoying, like a telemarketer calling during the dinner hour. How do we deal with that? Can it be a glimpse of God? When we are annoyed, let us begin to think about what or who is at the other end of the phone call. It is a person trying to do their job. They have a hard job because I am sure many people hang up on them which can be very frustrating.  The next time you get an annoying call, remember that one of God's children is on the other end and treat them with the respect that they deserve as they are only trying to fulfill His will in their life by doing a difficult job. Pray for them.

Distractions can come in the form of a phone call, a child wanting to play, an illness or a person that just needs someone to listen to them. All of these can be avenues to a greater prayer life and a stronger connection to God through His children.

I believe God uses distractions so that when we are called off course, we can reevaluate to see if our commitment to the course, to doing His will, is strong or can it be made stronger? The distractions, although they take us off our course, do we return to the course? When we do, I see those times are when God strengthens our commitment, our promise and fills our minds and hearts with a greater appreciation of His presence in the least expected things. It is a time to see if our commitment is truly set on doing His will. Distractions can be used as occasions of sin or avenues to wholeness, healing, and mercy. Children, phone calls or whatever you identify as your distractions, can be and invitation to healing, a deeper prayer experience and a greater sense of humility, honesty, openness and mercy. Instead of getting annoyed or angry, think and pray for the person or event that distracted you and pray to see how God wants you to respond. When we pray for another, that is a gift that we give to that person and God hears that prayer of humility and petition. When we focus on another and not on our self, that is a time to see that we can be selfless and not selfish.

Where is the glimpse of God? It is in the next distraction that sets you off course. Remember that distractions are things that interfere with our commitment yet can strengthen our commitment as we walk on our journey of faith. The journey is an opportunity to see more of God's presence in the surroundings, people and events that merge into our daily life activities.

We don't need to look for distractions, they always seem to find us first. When they do, welcome them as you do a stranger and allow them to teach you, help you and enable you to fulfill your commitment as God's child seeking to live and do His will so that you can be the best person you can be that God has created you to be and have the potential to become. One can look at distractions as being the devil’s way of making us turn aside from God, or it can be the fact that we are stressed out with so many concerns that we are unable to completely focus on God as we want. The good news is that God gets it and since He knows our hearts better that we do, He realizes that the distractions were not intended, but unavoidable. A momentary distraction is just that momentary, but God’s grace and love are eternal. When we feel like we unintentionally went off course all we need to do is ask for the grace to return and put one foot in front of the other and go forward. Distractions are the devil’s victory when we choose to believe that because of them we are unloved, unforgiven and fail to see our self as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His best creation.  Will you let a momentary distraction derail you from the truth of God?

Tomorrow, October 4th, is the feast day of Saint Francis as well as our 23rd wedding anniversary.  HAPPY FEAST DAY TO ALL THE FRANCISCAN SISTERS, PRIESTS, LAY VOLUNTEERS AND STAFF who strive to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis and exude his spirit of simplicity, humility, authenticity, and peace in their daily life.

As I reflect on Saint Francis and the Prayer for Peace, I can only imagine how many distractions we all face as we reflect on and pray his prayer for peace and how the distractions take us away from obtaining a moment of peace. This week, as a daily reflection I propose that we think about what is required to bring about true peace and what we allow to disrupt or deny us experiencing peace and allowing God to touch our life with true peace, lasting joy, and deeper love.

 

 

 

We all know that prayer but to help along, I will begin with Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,

SUNDAY - Where there is Hatred, let me sow love

We all want to be a loving, compassionate, and caring person. BUT we all have been injured in some way or have injured another. As we live each day and strive to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become, there can be distractions that want to hate and keep us from being a more loving person. 

What is the distraction that keeps you from being more loving? Other’s opinion of your experience and how you should respond to it? The unpopular view on loving your enemy but getting even instead. The color of one’s skin, their religious views, their educational or social status, jealousy? The devil only wins when we allow these views to dominate our attention so that we can form a greater and more deeper hatred and then justify it. When we truly strive to be our best self as God knows we want to be, the distraction comes more like a thorn in the side that only when we seek His grace, can it be removed.

MONDAY - Where there is Injury……pardon

When we pray to be merciful and truly desire to be, yet we are distracted by our hurt or the pain that it caused, our humanity dwells on the hurt and we get lost in it. We are not intentionally turning away from God or love, but rather, we get stuck in the hurt and are distracted from the course or pardon, reconciliation, and mercy that we originally started on.

What are the distractions that keep us away from following through with pardoning another or seeking pardon after an injury? Is it a momentary sense of pride, big ego or sense of discouragement or despair? What is your injury and how do you see it being healed? Who has caused you injury or who have you injured and what does pardon look like? A phone call, a personal visit, a letter? When we pardon another or seek pardon from another, we can only then begin to recognize what God is trying to show us in them and in our self: P – The present or gift they are to us and we are to others, A – The admiration that we have for them and they have for us, R- How we are called to Reverence them and our self as God’s beloved child, D – How we strive to become more determined and resolute in our desire to be Christ like, and how we can better recognize that same quality in others and through our distractions, gain a greater strength to overcome the temptation to give in or give up. O- How we are called to have an open mind and heart so that we can recognize the love that shines forth in our desire to pardon, and seek pardon from, another, N- Being nice is a natural attribute that helps us be the authentic person that we have been created to be, makes people want to be around us and we choose to be around.  

TUESDAY - Where there is Discord……unity

Where is there discord in your life and how disjointed do you feel because of it? Discord or conflict seems to make our worse self emerge and our best self remains hidden. Most people do not like conflict and do whatever it takes to avoid it, while others thrive on causing conflict and find happiness when others do not feel united or at peace. As God’s beloved sons and daughters, we are called to walk with each other and not place a stumbling block on their path. We are called to build each other up and not tear each other down.  There are times when we find our self in the midst of a conflict, or a disagreement with loved ones, like a family member, a spouse, a child, a neighbor, a member of our religious community, or even a stranger, and it is during those times when God calls us out of our self, and our will and seek to know better what His will is for us during these times of conflict. We cannot live when we are dis-united or separated from each other. No one is an island. God created us to be in relationship with Him, others, and our self. We are all God’s beloved sons and daughters.  Jesus died for all of us, He overcame death: yet as He lived, he loved those who tried to diminish compassion, deny love, cause dissension, create discord, deny truth and He loves them and us anyway.

WEDNESDAY - Where there is Doubt……faith

It is easy to doubt when things are not clear to us. When we feel as if we are traveling a road or journey with more questions than answers, more uncertainty than certainty, we sometimes doubt the direction and purpose that we are going.  It is in and during those times when our faith can be our greatest strength and our hope strongest reason to place one foot in front of the other. With faith there cannot be fear. Faith overcomes fear and makes us better and stronger people. This has never been more obvious as we have journeyed through this pandemic. I have witnessed firsthand how many people have placed a greater faith in their God, have returned to the spiritual practices of prayer, worship and serving others, and have overcome the fear that the pandemic has provided. Through the pandemic people have chosen to love others, serve others and be present to others because they recognize how difficult things are for so many others and how they feel called to reach out beyond their world to help, in any small way, to make better the world of those suffering more. So what do you doubt and how can God address  your doubts?  You have a great faith that is being challenged, yet without the challenge your faith can not grow stronger. Even Jesus called out to His Father on the cross, “My God, My GodWhy have your abandoned me? He doubted yet HE trusted and believed that God, His Father, was with Him and had not abandoned Him. Can we say the same, Do we want to?

THURSDAY - Where there is Despair..…hope

There is a saying that despair or misery likes company. We sometimes want our pain to become the pain of others, or we want to be the center of attention by sharing and dwelling on our pain so that we can gain the sympathy of others.  We allow or choose to let sympathy be the distraction and joy to remain on the outskirts. We are afraid to allow joy to enter in and permeate our being. This can be a momentary or temporary experience or one that requires professional help. When it is a temporary experience, the distraction that enters in is sometimes shame, guilt, or self-loathing where we choose not to allow God to touch our heart, and in that choice, we lose sight or let go of hope and any form of healing or wholeness. Healing requires trust and an openness to what God has in store for us, it will being us a newness of life, give us hope, and that can sometimes makes us afraid where we go backwards and not forward.

Are you or someone you know experiencing a temporary sense of despair due to life stresses, a heavy cross and difficult challenges? Can you allow the hope that God offers you to enter into your being and change you, bring you out of the despair that you feel into a true sense of joy and a renewed hope?

If you are experiencing a lasting sense of despair and hopelessness, what is causing you to be in despair? Why do you feel hopeless? Have you sought help and guidance or are you to ashamed to? God wants to offer you his healing so that you can become whole again. Can you let Him? Trust Him? Walk with Him into the uncertainty of what healing, and hope will look like?

 

 

 

FRIDAY - Where there is Darkness…….light

When things appear dark or are dark, we can become frightened and unable to move. Darkness can be seen as a reason to be afraid and not take any steps towards light. When we enter a dark room the first thing we reach for is the light switch, when the lights go out we look for candles and flashlights, these are mini quick fixes that calm our fears and allow us to move forward. But in our spiritual life, there doesn’t seem to be a quick fix hen we are in the spirit of desolation and darkness. The spiritual sense of darkness has a deeper meaning and significance. When we are experiencing spiritual darkness, we tend to feel as if God has abandoned us due to our sinfulness How far from the truth is that conclusion. God never abandons His children, it is us who abandon Him because of our shame, anger, injury, betrayal, or self-loathing. We choose to walk in the darkness of fear and false conclusions. It is then that God is right there waiting to show us the light of His love in and through the passion, death, and resurrection of His Son Jesus. Jesus is the way, the truth, the light, and the life. Without Him we walk in the darkness of sin and get lost in despair, discouragement, and defeat. When He is our light, we seek to be reconciled to Him and others so that we can become a greater reflection of His light in our world. A world that is filled with so much darkness and fear. The world needs the light of Christ to shine more brightly. Are you willing to be that light? Even if right now you feel as if you can only be a flicker, God can make your flicker become a bright and shining star. Be that star. You rays will reach out and touch more people, to all sides of you and bring healing to so many.

SATURDAY - Where there is Sadness……joy

Sometimes when we are sad, we cannot or are unable to recognize the joy that God has in store and is waiting to share with us.  When we lose a loved one, or experience the death of a relationship, or the financial burdens outweigh the financial blessings, we can become sad and not allow any joy to penetrate our being. This is not what God wants for us. Joy to the World is a song that we sing during the Christmas season, yet when Christ died for us, He gave us true and lasting joy not just to sing about but to realize is ours as He opened the gates to paradise and the promise of eternal life for all who believe. Joy doesn’t deny the sadness but rather gives us hope that the sadness will not defeat us or overwhelm us if we believe that it is a temporary experience that will make us stronger, whole and healed builders of His Kingdom here on earth.  What is taking away your joy and being able to be joyful and joy filled? Whose joy have you spoiled by your own stress, jealousy, anger, or frustration? How can you restore your joy or that of another? Do you think that you can you do it on your own? Remember, with God, His Son our Savior Jesus Christ and the intercession of Our Blessed Mother Mary, all things are possible even finding and restoring joy.

Next week’s Glimpse of God will continue with                    

SUNDAY - Oh Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek

to be consoled as to console,

MONDAY - To be understood as to understand and

TUESDAY - To be loved as to love,

WEDNESDAY - For it is giving that we receive,

THURSDAY - It is pardoning that we are pardoned and

FRIDAY - It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

SATURDAY - AMEN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of SEPTEMBER 26, 2021

Thank you, God for the refreshment of Summer,

and let us celebrate with you, the newness in your tapestry of Autumn.

This past week, we entered the season of autumn. As we begin the wonderful and colorful season of autumn, let us look at season of summer and reflect on what it has offered: the many more hours of sun light, the beautiful and colorful flowers, full trees, green grass, the rain, the storms, the winds, and the variety of miscalculated weather conditions, let us seek to see all of this in the light of God’s love. The many hours of God’s Son, Jesus, light in our life and how strived to walk in that light, the warmth of His love, the fullness of His love when we fall short and seem only to be able to offer a quick prayer for help or a moment of thanksgiving, the abundant showers of His blessings and graces, and the gentle whispers as heard in the wind.

As for the miscalculated weather conditions, let us humbly seek His forgiveness as we have sought to know His will without asking Him, and then doing our own thing, as we thought best, without seeking His direction. Doing our own thing failed because we did not know the whole story, nor could we see the whole picture. They were the times perhaps when we experienced the storms of life, the uncertainty, the fears, the personal frustrations that became overwhelming to our spirits and overflowed in prayer life, our words, through our actions. BUT in all this His love was overwhelming and present through us because there is nothing that we can say or do that will make Him love us less. HE CAN’T. HIS LOVE IS PERFECT EVEN WHEN OUR LOVE IS NOT.

Although summer is officially over, school has begun, the pools have been covered and the cookouts, well might have lessened, the time at the shore has not come to an end but people are wanting to go to the shores to rest, relax and enjoy the peace and quiet now that the crowds are gone. It is still the time of light, wearing white, light, or bright colors, and a light heartedness that can still abound from you. So don’t let the cookouts end, as long as there are family and friends to gather with, and still wear light, white or bright colors to symbolize the refreshing spirit that should still abound from within you.

As this was the first summer since the pandemic hit that we could actually go out and gather with friends and family at the beaches, for BBQs, for swim dates, take the time to look back the many valued memories that you have collected this summer and share them, don’t just put them away for next year or never. This was a year where you had the opportunity to choose to enjoy the season of summer despite still having to wear a mask and keep social distance, I hope that you were able to enjoy the gifts and the graces that summer afforded you because God’s beauty cannot be stifled or diminished by any circumstance,  not even a pandemic can cover up or destroy the beauty of God’s creation as He revealed it this summer and continues to reveal it through the beauty of and the changes that autumn brings.

Autumn is a season of color and change. As we witness to the changes in creation, can you recognize the autumn of your life? What part or aspect of your life: be it spiritual, physical, or emotional, do you recognize that requires change and are you ready to change so that you can become your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become?

 

 

Spiritual transformation and conversion occur when we can recognize, with the grace of God, where we are falling short of being our best self, and where we seek God’s continued grace to take the steps necessary to change so that we can better serve Him as our genuine and authentic self. The season of autumn in our advent to a renewed sense of self, a renewed sense of the God incarnate within us and a renewed sense of joy.

The autumn of our life can be seen as time to experience a spiritual advent one that can better prepare us for any of the cold or desolate life experiences that we will face with the sure uncertainty that even when things seem barren God is with us and has not abandoned us.

As you be season of begin your journey through the season of autumn, strive to let go of any negative thoughts, attitudes, or emotions, let them fall away from your desire to be your true self. Let the radiance and brilliance of mercy, empathy, compassion, love, understanding, and selflessness be what people see in you as you try to be the tree that not only bears good fruit and whose leaves never fade, but genuinely looks good as well.

Let the glory and awe of the tapestry of color that is before you remind us of the awe and love that God has for you. The love and awe that He has because you are His beloved child, touched and filled with His grace as you desire to change, and be transformed so that you can become your best self, the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become. Allow the CHANGES in your life to become a source of continued spiritual transformation, encouragement, hope and conversion as you build His Kingdom here on earth, one step, one prayer, one word of encouragement at a time.

 

SUNDAY - “C”- Caring

For today, let us strive to be more thoughtful and caring with and towards others. Being a caring person requires being other centered and knowledgeable and not judgmental or ego centered. When we take the time to get to know others and let them know that we care about them and for them, we get to know the true person and not the image or the façade that they try to present. Being caring requires a selfless humble attitude and disposition so that we can see past the points or aspects of someone that we may not agree with or like, but seeing the good and the face of Christ in them. When we are not truly genuine or thoughtful, we can be like the leaf that is falling off the branch, it has no root or growth, but it has become colorless and lifeless.

How thoughtful are you? How thoughtful are people towards you? Can you remember how you touched someone’s heart by your acts of care and concern? or words of thoughtfulness, sincerity, and genuineness? Can you recognize the many colors of your caring, thoughtfulness, genuineness, sincerity, and joy for life in your new leaf of life in Christ? Keep looking, God knows that you are thoughtful, genuine, caring, and sincere, and that others have experienced your new life and leaf in Christ and God wants you to know it to. You have taken the time to see the face of Christ in those you encounter and have encountered, as you look in the mirror do you see His face? If not, why? What hold you back from seeing Him in you? As you see the face of Christ in yourself, do you thank him?

 

MONDAY – “H” Hopeful

When we can trust another and when someone trusts us, it is a gift. When someone betrays our trust, it hurts beyond any physical pain that we may endure. When we find someone that is trustworthy, we know that we can open our hearts to them and be received with tender love and care, as well as with tough love, honesty, and truth. This trust offers us hope and diminishes our discouragement and sinking into to hopelessness or despair

As you think of being trustworthy, can you think of a time where you were betrayed and how it felt? Can you remember when you betrayed another, unintentionally or not, but in any case, someone was hurt very deeply. Can you also think of how it feels to be trusted by another, and how it feels to finally trust others? Can you remember where hope came in and how? Was it in and through a loved one, a friend, through your prayer, through the silence, in the noise of children playing, the presence of a beloved family member? Hope came and the sense of betrayal’s control and manipulation deceased. Hope does not deny the experience, but it brings us out of it to a brighter and less disappointing experience. As God’s Son, Jesus had hope, lived hope, was hope and is hope, yet He was betrayed. As His followers we can expect to experience the same thing. Are you ready to forgive or seek forgiveness? Do you have an attitude of gratitude to God for those who He has placed on your path so that through your hopefulness and ability to be trusted, they have come to see a glimpse of God in and through you? The past hurts and betrayals are the old leaves that are falling to the ground and your ability to forgive are the new and colorful leaves of mercy, compassion, hope and trust, and fullness of love in and through your expanded heart of love that God has given you and you have accepted.

 

TUESDAY - “A” = Living God’s Great ADVENTURE

For today, let us try to be more open to God’s wonders. Being young at heart is a gift. It means that we try not to get stuck in an attitude or disposition that is “old”, one that has no room for growth, openness, self-awareness, or transformation. No matter what our number age is we can be old at heart at 21 or young at heart at 105. Being young at heart can make living life like a great adventure whereas being old at heart can make living life like a tedious challenge. 

Are you ready for a great adventure? Can you prepare for the adventure, the journey, that Jesus has ready for you? The journey that promises that no matter what may come, you will not be overcome or defeated but that you will overcome, that your heart will not shrink but will be expanded?

WEDNESDAY - “N” Newness - We can all learn something New

For today, let us take an extra step in love to learn more about someone else. It takes a lot to want to become learned and to gain knowledge of a broad variety of topics and issues. When someone is learned they have taken the time to gain knowledge of a variety of topics, experiences, but most importantly the lessons taught by Jesus in the Gospels.  People become learned so that they can share their knowledge with others and relate to more people. Becoming learned as a Christian is about knowing the will of God and how we can live that out in our life. Becoming learned in life is not only about book knowledge, but the knowledge and language of the heart and how we can reach out to others and build them up and not tear them down. We become learned in the will of God, an experience that is ongoing because it is an ongoing movement of spiritual growth and is not stagnant.

How learned are you? Do you recognize how God has given you the desire to learn about His will for you, how you are living it out and how you are being His light to others? Do you need to have a Bachelors, Masters, or a Doctorate degree from a University to become a learned individual about the will of God? They are given as tools to help but should not be seen as the final tool to seek and know the will of God.

No, what you need and already have is a blank page so that God can write His plan and His will for you, where the only book you need is the Bible, the only writing tool you need is your free will, and the only test is the one where you challenge yourself to be more Christ centered today than you were yesterday. 

THURSDAY -“G” Giving

For today, when tempted to be selfish, choose to be a more giving and selfless person, not with a grudge but with a smile. Being selfless or selfish, what do you want to be?  Being selfless is about giving of oneself for the good of others. To be selfless and giving is a challenge because it goes against the devil’s desire for us to be selfish and self-centered. The devil does not want us to be giving or to extend our self to another. He would rather that we take from another; take away their pride, diminish their self-respect, and lie about their true identity as God’s beloved child. The devil would prefer that we be a more selfish person so that others cannot and would not come to know God or His Son and the great love they have for us. When we seek to know about others for their good, to be sincere, to become learned about others and their experiences, it is an act of selflessness. When we focus on our self and the desire to use the knowledge about others as a tool of power and control, that is selfishness. Being selfless is not easy, being selfish is. As we look at the fullness of autumn, imagine that your acts of selflessness are the new colors that ware emerging before you in the trees and the leaves, the fullness that they show and the brightness that they exude.

Do you see that you are selfless and not selfish?  What would others say? In your prayer, do you hear and listen as God gently speaks to you in gratitude for your acts of selflessness and thanks you for not choosing to be selfish instead? And…. even if you realize that you were selfish, can you listen as Christ speaks lovingly to you as He did from the cross, Father forgive them for they know not what they do?

FRIDAY “E” Encouragement

For today, let us listen with our hearts and minds to God as He encourages us to be His servant, His witnesses in the world. Spiritual inspiration and encouragement are what spark us to act and speak. Spiritual encouragement, that is true encouragement without a false motive, is when we are given the gift of God’s Holy Spirit that allows us to speak his gentle whisper to others or a challenging word, to write His words for others to read or for us to reflect on, to help others to carry their cross or to ask others to help us carry ours.  Our response involves a personal surrender of our own words in speech or writing or actions so that God’s words, desire, or invitation may be revealed through us.

When we feel motivated or encouraged, we feel blessed that God has given us the words to speak at a difficult time or a time when we had no idea what we were going to say but trusted that God would provide the words that needed to be said. When we are motivated and encouraged by God’s Holy Spirit, it is then that we choose to use His words and not ours, when we choose to trust in Him and not in what we think we need to say or write.

God’s encouragement is what allows us to help others, especially when we had no idea that they were struggling, or when we humbly sought the aid of others when our cross seemed too heavy to bear alone. Your words of encouragement to others was your autumn of color in their life when perhaps their leaves, their color seemed all too black and white and they were seeking to see God’s tapestry of color that they knew was there. As we enter into the season of autumn and we look at the tapestry of color that is before us in the tress, leaves and all of God’s creation, seek to recognize that the fullness that brings the tapestry to life is your openness and encouragement to God’s will and empowering others to recognize His will in their life.  Be open to the reality that you are the fullness and the new life that others are seeking because of the encouragement and hope that had they chance to experience through you.

SATURDAY - “S” = Sincerity

For today, let us be sincere in what we say to others. It is nice to compliment others, but if we are not sincere, we are lying and misleading them. Sincerity comes from a heart that loves and is caring, selfless and not selfish or self-centered. Can you see that God has given you a sincere heart, one that loves and has been filled with His grace that invites you to not count the cost or hold onto grudges?

As you behold the beauty of the autumn leaves and the splendid color that they behold, can you see how splendid you are and how much color you bring by your sincerity, care and love for others, and by your selflessness and compassion? Do you see that in your sincere words and actions, you have helped another recognize that they are God’s beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally and without limits?

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 19, 2021

The gazebo of your heart

The spirituality of a gazebo. Is there such a thing? Absolutely! Does God speak to our hearts when we enter a gazebo even if we have nothing to say, when we feel discouraged, lost, or abandoned by others, when we are weary and just need to rest in the quiet? Can we recognize how God, through the gazebo, embraces, protects, and surrounds us? In this Glimpse of God, I hope to clarify the spirituality of a gazebo, so please be patient since it is through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that I write this.

This past year, we donated a gazebo to the Sister’s at the Assisi House, the retirement home for the Sisters of Saint Francis. (It is located outside, in between St. Francis Hall and Portiuncula Convent) The gazebo was given in memory of John’s parents and my mother. In the decision to have the gazebo placed on the grounds of the Assisi House, we wanted to offer the sister’s a place to go to relax, pray, be present to their God and to each other. Knowing that we wanted the sisters to be able to enjoy their time outside without being stung or scared by any of God’s hovering bugs, we made sure that the gazebo came with a mesh screen that would protect them from both the weather and the bugs, and the roof that would provide shade and protect them from direct sunlight.

In thinking about the gazebo and having it in memory of our parents, we were maintaining the connection that we have with the Sisters. It is not just a gazebo, but it represents how we have grown in God’s love for the Sisters. The Sisters took care of John’s parents while they were residents of Immaculate Mary Nursing Home in Northeast Philadelphia. Ann was a resident for 15 years and Leo for 6 weeks, but in those 15 years, we came to know and appreciate the work that the Sisters did in their ministry of caring for the fragile, sometimes forgotten, elderly men and women. We formed a friendship with the Sisters then and continue to do so now. There is a life-giving connection that continues to grow stronger as we get to know the wonderful group of women known as the Franciscan Sisters of Philadelphia.

Leo and Ann loved them while at IMH and through the gazebo, continue to love them. My mother Josephine exuded the spirit of Saint Francis by her simplicity, humility, and graciousness as she prepared to meet her God face to face. As one enters the gazebo, their name on the bench keeps their memory alive. One may not have ever met Ann, Leo or Josephine, but as they read their names, I believe God is gracing them and us with His peace, a peace that Ann, Leo and Josephine exuded so well.

A gazebo is a structure that provides shade, protection, and comfort while out amid God’s creation. It is an open structure so that one can be filled with awe and wonder as they sit in the presence of their God, and not feel claustrophobic. A gazebo is built on a concrete foundation so that it does not fall and cause harm to those who are within its structure.

So where is God in the gazebo of your heart? Can you recognize that although the foundation of your gazebo is strong, it can always grow stronger through prayer, the sacraments of the Church, and each other so that you can continue to face the storms of life, carry your heavy crosses, and not be discouraged or defeated by the stresses of daily living? When you enter the gazebo of your heart, are you able to recognize the all-encompassing love of God that surrounds you, is embracing you, and protecting you, yet giving you the air that you need so that you can breathe in His Spirit and be the breath of His life to all those you encounter? Are you open to the promptings of God’s Holy Spirit as He invites you to become your best self, the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become?

Are you able to recognize that the gazebo of your heart, the structure that God has created, comes with protection from the direct effects of the storms of life, from heat exhaustion, burnt out or being completely soaked? Although the physical structure of a gazebo can protect you from various bugs, the gazebo of your heart is often challenged by the various people that bug you and you need to entrust them to God and forgive them from your heart.

As you journey through this week and enter the gazebo of your heart, take the time to reflect on what a gazebo represents and how God is speaking to you through it.

SUNDAY - Shelter, “The beloved of the Lord, he abides in safety beside him; He shelters him all day long; the beloved abides at his breast.” Deuteronomy 33:12

You are God’s beloved child, and He is your shelter. The gazebo of your heart is where He chooses to dwell. In that gazebo is where He provides the warmth of His love so that you do not grow cold of heart or spirit, He provides you protection from the various weather conditions so that you do not suffer burnt out, frigidness, heat stroke or drowning. You can always come to Him and seek His help as you come from the worldly ways to seek better the knowledge of His ways, and His will.

MONDAY - Strength, “My God, my fortress, my deliverer, my God, my rock of refuge! My shield, my saving horn, my stronghold, my refuge, my savior, from violence you keep me safe.” 2 Samuel

God has been and continues to be your source of strength. Can you look back on the times when you felt weak and unable to accomplish a task, face an obstacle, overcome a weakness, forgive one that has injured you, sought forgiveness from one that you injured, and yet you were able to do what you never thought possible due to God’s grace working within you? Can you recognize that it was God’s grace working in you providing you with strength courage, fortitude, and self determination to go forward and becoming a conqueror, and not going backward and feeling conquered?

TUESDAY - Protection, “For the Lord God goes before you, and your rear guard is the God of Israel” Isaiah 52:12

Do you allow yourself to feel the all-encompassing love of God as HE protects you from harm, from your worst self-emerging, from doubt, fear, despair, and hopelessness? He is your security and constantly on guard to keep you safe, and fills you with the warmth of His love, mercy, and compassion when you are feeling unlovable due to sin. He fortifies you so that you don’t give into the temptations to quit, get discouraged, lose your self-worth to the worldly lures, lies and deceptions.

WEDNESDAY - Openness, Mary said, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Luke 1:38

Mary was open to the will of God in her life, the will that she was to become the first living tabernacle by bearing for the Savior of the world in her womb through the power of the Holy Spirit. Mary did not understand the message of the Angel, yet she fully embraced it, trusting in her God and in His messenger.  Mary was an open vessel. One that she allowed to be filled by God with His graces and His Holy Spirit so that she can then take what she was given freely sharing it with the world. Are you an open vessel or a closed container? Are your hands open in prayer or clenched? Is your heart open to peace, joy, reconciliation or does it hold grudges, resentment, or bitterness? God will not force us to become an open vessel. He invites us to the peace that comes when we are open to His will for us and where HE can take that which is hardening our heart so that we have a more open and soft heart for and where He can dwell. The gazebo of our heart is an open structure is we do not lock the door. If you have the door locked, where is the key? Is it in your pocket ready to unlock the door to healing, peace and joy that only God can give? Or did you lose it so that you can never open the door to being hurt or scarred again?

 

THURSDAY - Relaxation, God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work He had done in creation” Genesis 2:3

For all those of you who want to take better care of yourself by getting more exercise, eating better, and getting more rest, God congratulates you. God who is your creator, knows what you need, and desire better than you do yourself. He realizes that you work hard as a parent, an employee, a student, a caretaker, a grandparent, a volunteer, or a retired worker. He knows that you are striving to be your best self in all that you do, yet you still feel that you must go beyond your physical, emotional, or spiritual capabilities and work till you drop or feel thoroughly exhausted. Whether you are physically busy for hours on end where you end up feeling completely exhausted which makes you unable to be present to those you love, be it your family, friends, or community. Or you are emotionally spent due to being present to those who are bearing a lot of emotional battle scars, and wounds and you are unable to separate yourself before suffer feel burnt out and are less effective. Or you are suffering from spiritual exhaustion as you carry on your shoulder the prayers, needs, sufferings, and deaths of those who have entrusted their cares to you to so that you can selflessly offer them in prayer to God on their behalf, with them and for them. Guess what…God rested on the 7th day, so what makes you think that you do not need to rest, deserve to rest, or require rest? We can not serve God or others effectively if we do not take care of our physical, emotional, or spiritual health.

SO, if you are exhausted from all the work that you are selflessly and not selfishly undertaking, take the HINT from God, REST! REST! REST! You will be a better person, more able to live up to your potential and help those live up to theirs. Mary was still and able to listen to the Angel, Joseph slept long enough to dream, Jesus accepted help, and God rested and you think you don’t need to do the same?????

 

FRIDAY - Encounter, For you welcomed him with goodly blessings…; Psalm 21

As you enter and rest in the gazebo of your heart, as you lift in prayer those who are in need, prayers of those who have been entrusted to you and your own needs, encounter them with and in love. For those who have injured you, envision them encountering their God and being embraced in love, mercy, and compassion so that you can do the same. As you reflect on those who are ill or preparing to meet their God face to face, envision them encountering God’s healing or loving embrace and offer a prayer of gratitude for their encounter.

For those you see on a regular basis, allow them to encounter you with a smile and not a frown, for those who have injured you or that you have injured, encounter them with mercy and not a grudge, and as you encounter Jesus in Holy Eucharist, or your Worship experience, encounter Him with trust and faith and not fear or shame.

 

SATURDAY – Peace“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27

PEACE, PEACE, PEACE!!! MAY THE LOVE AND PEACE OF CHRIST DWELL WITHIN YOU SO THAT THE GAZEBO OF YOUR HEART CAN OVERFLOW AND TOUCH THOSE YOU ENCOUNTER AND WHO ARE IN NEED OF A GREATER SENSE OF PEACE, A DEEPER LOVE AND A MORE PERMEATING JOY IN THEIR LIFE.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of September 12, 2021

 

Prayer for Transfiguration, Transformation and Renewal

In light of the many mass shootings, suicide bombings, continued terror victimization

and the uncontrollable human rage.

Lord, you invite all who are heavily burdened

to come to you and you will refresh them.

America, comes to you Lord

for healing, courage, restoration, renewal, and transfiguration.

We come to you as we remember the

terror attacks that occurred in our country 20 years ago,

the continued ambush of police officers throughout our country

who give the ultimate sacrifice

while protecting the citizens that they promise to protect and serve,

our military who give of their lives to live to provide safety and freedom

to those who are bound, voiceless and living in fear,

and the unending random shootings deaths in the communities that we live.

We come to you as we remember and pray for the many victims, survivors, and bystanders of all the violence in our country, our community, and our world.

We grieve with those who have suffered the greatest loss,

the loss of a loved one that has been taken from them:

their fathers, sons, uncles, grandfathers,

mothers, sisters, aunts, and grandmothers and even the stranger.

We come to you in the midst of death, anger, pain and weakness,

and ask that you transfigure all of us.

Transfigure our anger and hatred into your mercy and forgiveness.

Transfigure our grief and mourning into a deeper faith, a greater hope, and a lasting peace.

Transfigure our fear into a stronger courage,

greater determination and an undaunting strength.

Transfigure our desire for revenge into a greater trust in your justice.

May your gentle hand wipe away our tears,

raise our heads high and lead us to a place of healing.

Make new those who are now standing at the gates of paradise,

and renew those who struggle to go on.

May your breath of life bring us out of ourselves

and into a deeper love, service, and compassion for our neighbor, near and far.

Finally, Lord, transfigure our confusion, dismay, and discouragement

into a wonder and awe as we stand before you:

united, resilient, victorious, strong and in one accord,

because you are the God who has overcome evil, conquered death and has blessed America

through the power of the cross.

We ask this in unity with the Holy Spirit and in the name of Christ our Lord. AMEN

 

THE CROSS OF DEATH IS THE CROSS OF HOPE

 

The TRUE Cross is

H a sign of HOPE

to be EMBRACED

 

Christ selflessly gave up of His life so that all may live and inherit eternal life

Remember that you were included in that great promise

Open you mind, heart and spirit so that this final act is your hope

So that you can share His message of love, healing, and hope with others

Selflessly, sympathetically and without reserve.

 

As you remember the reason for the cross,

and how it remains a sign of love and source of hope,

through your presence, listening and compassion,

with those whose burdens and crosses are heavy,

you are selflessly helping others carry theirs

so that no one feels alone, abandoned and without hope.

 

May we never forget to embrace and not exclude,

reconcile and not retaliate,

receive and not reject,

So that we can become God’s instruments of peace

as we build his Kingdom here on earth.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of September 6, 2021

Happy Labor Day Weekend. May it be a safe, happy, relaxing, and celebratory as you gather with all those you love and hold near and dear to you, via zoom or in person, phone call or face time. During such an unexpected and challenging year, cherish those times that you celebrate with family and friends and be mindful of all the labors of love that you have participated in, been the recipient of and have freely performed. May all your conversations, and shared heartfelt wishes, be a glimpse of God’s never-failing love, grace, hope and presence. May it be an opportunity to recognize of the many hidden blessings that come out of hiding, graces that expound, joy that refreshes and peace that permeates the core of your very being, from your head to your toes, and brings you refreshment, renewal, and strength.  May the memories of the quality time spent in the presence and company of your family and friends as you celebrate the ending of summer and the upcoming of autumn, be a source of energy, encouragement, renewal, strength, hope and support. May the end of summer remind you of how blessed you are and how much of a gift you are to others and they are to you.  In your celebration of Labor Day 2021, try not to focus on feeling of discouragement that you may have felt, or may be feeling, because of the continued restrictions, rules and changes attributed to Covid19, but celebrate the beginnings of our new normal and the freedom that it brings. All have been enforced for our wellbeing and safety, and although that may be hard to recognize, especially since it has been 18 months and we seem to be returning to more restrictions again, instead of less, I pray that you are safe and have managed to stay free from the danger and death that Covid19 wreaked on so many. 

My prayer for you this Labor Day 2021 is that you are able to recognize and recall the numerous labors of love this past year that came forth from the isolation, restrictions, and social distancing, such as the many random acts of kindness, extensions of love, compassion, forgiveness, quality family time, and the growth of genuine concern and caring for the stranger that have emerged from Covid19 have imposed on us all.

As you reflect on the significance of this weekend and the gift of labor, take a moment to thank God for the many graces that He has bestowed upon you as you labored in the light of His love: in the light of your hard work as a parent, on the graces received as you raised your family and gave of yourself, your energy, though probably often depleted yet never selfishly held onto, your attention, your discipline, your wisdom, your insight, your tough love and your tender love and care. In the light of your hard work as an employee, coworker, mentor and how you were blessed with so many gifts and talents especially of your attention and reliability, look at how you gave of yourself out of selfless love for the good and growth of others so that they could grow up and become their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become. As you live and love as a consecrated religious, member of the clergy, single, married, or retired, can you recognize that it is in your many labors of love that have allowed you to grow and become the mature person that you are today. In the light of your love as you offered your talents and gifts to your family, children, siblings, grandchildren, employers, coworkers, friends, member of your religious community, neighbors, church members and even the stranger, can you see God’s presence, His graces, and blessings?

Let the memories of those who have gone before you, the gift of their hard work and their work ethic be a source of strength for you as you take a break to celebrate the gift of your labor. 

Labor Day means so much more than labor or work.  It is how we labor or work that makes this day so much more meaningful.  How we labor in love, with love, in love and out of love, for our God, self and others is what makes Labor Day a day to celebrate and remember verses just thinking that it is just another holiday that makes for a long weekend. As we cautiously celebrate this Labor Day with picnics, going to the shore, or BBQ’s at home, amongst family, friends, or neighbors, it doesn’t really matter what we do or where we go or who we celebrate with, what matters is what are we celebrating and why is it important?  For many the gift of Labor is about the job that they do so that they can provide for themselves and their family.  The gift of labor is truly a gift especially as we reflect on the pandemic, the unemployment rate and how many people are struggling as they try to find work.  Labor is truly a gift provides the ability for one to support themselves and their family. Yet as with many gifts, we fail to recognize the giver as God, and we misunderstand the significance of the gift. We sometimes think that our identity lies in what we do, our labor or work, and not who we are, God’s beloved children.  So, when one is unemployed, one can develop a sense of low self-worth and discouragement because they feel that they are insignificant since they are not financially contributing or supporting themselves or their family. Some people think that they alone are responsible for their work, and they fail to see that their gifts and talents are from God and that their identity does not lie in their work, but rather in their status as and God’s beloved children, loved unconditionally and beyond measure.  

Our labor, our giving of self, our recognition of the work and talent of others is what can make their Labor Day weekend and everyday a memorable gift, a glimpse of God to celebrate, rejoice in and thank God for. Do we labor out of obligation, or to gain attention and accolades or just to get a paycheck? Could it be that there is a deeper reason, one that speaks of service, giving of self for the good of others, out of gratitude to God so that we can be our best self by sharing the gifts and talents that we have been so blessed with? So, as you reflect on Labor Day 2021, will you take time to celebrate the gift of your life and the love of those you love and have been a coworker with you as you strive to build up the kingdom of God here on earth?  Isn’t that the best labor of love that you can participate in here on earth? One brick, one step, one prayer, one act of kindness, one word of mercy, one word of contrition, at a time…

Yes, students return to school via in person, virtual or a combination of both, the crazy and hazy rainy days of summer will soon be behind us, but as you look in the rearview mirror at the summer of 2021 can you see, do you recognize, how you have been participating in the great labor of love? It is because of your compassion, selflessness, extending of yourself to help make the days of time spent all about quality time. It is because of your presence before your God and with those that surrounded you, all of God’s beloved sons and daughters, that they are able to recognize how they too are reflections of His presence and beacons of His love.  It is because of your faith that you can be an instrument of God’s peace in a world that is divided and in discord.

Do you see how you have labored in love by the way that you cared for an elderly parent, visited a widowed neighbor, encouraged a lonely friend, called someone who may have been feeling discouraged and depressed due to being isolated and not being able to have visitors, forgave an estranged sibling or family member, how you helped raise your grandchildren, remained in contact and encouraged your nieces and nephews, were present to the member of your religious community and parish community? 

Do you see your labor of love by the time spent time in prayer placing the needs of others before your own, your sincere and humble contrition before your God and your extension of mercy and peace where there is injury and hurt?

Your labors of love are the very blessings that have come back to you.  As you have labored in the love of mercy, you have become merciful; as you have labored in the love of empathy, you have become more compassionate; as you have labored in the love of healing, you have become more whole and a wounded healer; as you have labored in the love of offering peace,

you have become a peacemaker; as you have labored in the love of silence, you have become a lover of humility; as you have labored in the love of tough love, you have become more understanding; as you have labored in the love of thoughtfulness, you have become more selfless; and as you have labored in the love of prayer, you have become a better and deeper pray-er; and as you have labored in the love of spreading the Gospel, you have become a visible witness of your faith and the presence of Christ in your life.

May your Labor Day weekend remind you that it is not the work or lack of work that makes this Labor Day special, or a cause to celebrate, as much as it is the measure of love that you use as you strive to be your best self, live up to your potential as God’s beloved child, and help others to do the same.

LABOR DAY 2021 PRAYER:

Make each day your prayer of gratitude as you recognize God’s great love for you.

May you

(Sunday) L - Live with joy, Love always, and Laugh often

(Monday) Because God A - Adores you, Abides, within you and Abounds from you.

(Tuesday) B – Believe that you are Blessed, Brave and __?___

(Wednesday) That you are beautiful in God’s eyes, though broken or discouraged at times,  

NEVER

(Thursday) 0 – Overcome by despair, destroyed by diversity or defeated by self-doubt.

BUT

(Friday) R – Renewed and replenished in the grace and by the strength of GOD. 

SO

(Saturday) D - Decide today that you want to and will LABOR IN LOVE!!!

      A - Always trusting that when love is not shown

      Y - You will never repay hate with hate.

 

2 – You and God always walking together

0 – where you are never alone

2 – when it comes to it, you and God are a great pair.

God walks hand in hand with you in this life so that He can gently take your hand as He walks you through the pearly gates to His heavenly kingdom.

1 – When Christ chose to suffer and die for you, no one was exempt or will ever be exempt from His dying, unconditional, selfless, compassionate, and merciful love. One savior, One Lord, One God who suffered and died for the one and only you.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of August 29, 2021

WAITING: THE GIFT

Waiting? How well do you wait? What do you wait for? We wait with joy and anticipation for special occasions: the birth of a child, the graduation of a child or your own, the right job to come, your wedding day, the end of chemo where your hope has prevailed with healing and wholeness, the end of Covid and the beginning of a new normal, or the day of one’s ordination or religious profession. With a certain eagerness and concern we wait for to hear good news about a medical condition, or to hear from someone that we haven’t heard from, or for an apology. In need and vulnerability, we wait for a repair person to come with the widest window and the widest amount of time where you can’t get a lot done. In some anticipation and or frustration we wait for the seasons to change so that we can be more comfortable and away from the too cold or too hot days.

During these past few weeks, I have excitingly waited for John to return from Kenya, and for the past three weeks, I have to patiently wait for both the Verizon TV and refrigerator repairmen to come, and I am still waiting. In some instances, waiting is a gift because as I have waited, I realized that what I have been waiting for I have grown fonder of, like my husband John’s return and Clover’s end of being depressed because John was absent. Like Mary we await the birth of Christ so that we can be renewed and transformed in and through His life within us. Like Jesus we wait for people to come to believe in God His Father, so that they can experience true happiness and peace. Like God, we wait for people to recognize that they are truly God’s beloved child and that there is nothing that they can do to that will make God love them less.

BUT how do we wait for death? Do we wait for death, or do we think that it won’t come too soon so just keep putting it aside? Death is the one of the most uncertain events that we face. Not uncertain as to how we will die, but rather what lies beyond this life and wondering if we be held in God’s loving embrace, or will that embrace be delayed as we wait in purgatory? As you think about death are you fearful, joyful or fear filled? Where is God during your fear or uncertainty? If He is in your joy, do you thank Him? Death is not the end of life but the beginning of new life, it is not the end of us following the light of Christ here on earth, but the beginning of us being surrounded by the new and eternal light of God’s love, presence and peace.

Do you realize that God is always waiting for you? God waits for you every moment of every day. He waits to hear from you as you approach your prayer time. He waits for you to honestly tell Him your concerns and stresses and all that lies heavy on your heart as well as your joys. He waits for you to come back home after a long and painful journey of self-discovery and conversion. He waits for you to surrender your will to His so that He can help you become your best self, the person that He created you to be, and have the potential to become. He waits for you to listen to Him as He tells you that He loves you unconditionally and that you are His beloved. He waits for you to tell Him that you love Him.

I believe that we all know loved ones that have waited for death to come, due to a long and painful illness, a terminal illness or old age where they have outlived their loved ones. In any case, we have watched and prayerfully waited with them. I believe that during this time, God waits with great joy and expectation, the question is how do we wait? How do we help others wait?

The reason for this glimpse if because I am reflecting on the presence and the absence of John’s dad, my father-in-law Leo Magee, and how it has been 20 years this week of his going home to the Lord. I like to think of it as his anniversary of his birthday into new life. He was a great man, a gentle giant, a man of great and deep faith and an even greater and deeper love for God and others. He lived each day in faith and shared his faith and his love for God by his example, his humor, his love for the Eucharist and his strong-willed way. Even as he was sick and limited to a certain diet, he didn’t hesitate to ask me to sneak him in a cheesesteak or a hot dog. He was always upbeat and funny. And I am blessed because John is just like his dad.

As I look back, I can honestly say that Dad never expressed that he was afraid of death but faced the reality with true peace and surrender. As I look at his portrait and I see his smile, I am reminded that his  palpitating and permeating presence is real and his spirit remains alive and well. Although his physical presence is very much missed, his gentle spirit and deep faith and trust in God will always be remembered and serve as a reminder that when we need an angel of courage to touch our heart, he is there.

God was waiting for Leo and although he had been ready and waiting to return home to God, God knew that He needed to touch the hearts and spirits of those who he encountered daily, so that we could wait with expectation and anticipation and not fear. I believe that God waited to bring him home not because He wanted him to continue to suffer, or that there was no room in the inn, but rather He was waiting for us, his family and friends, to learn something from him about waiting for death and take it to heart with hope and not fear. He recognized God’s presence and love for him and how he was His beloved son. He exuded that love by his gentle smile, his trust, his courage, his hope, his sense of humor, and his love for others. He waited in great expectation and eagerness to meet his God face to face. He waited for his cross of suffering to be transformed into the cross of resurrection and exultation, his brokenness into healing and wholeness, and his sinfulness into forgiveness and reconciliation. While he waited to return home, others waited with him during a very grace filled time. In the face of dying and death, they waited with him in peace despite the grief, in trust despite the uncertainty, in hope despite the unknown, in love to honor his God, in silence to honor his spirit, in hope to reverence his God and in joy to honor His promise. As he breathed his last breath here on earth, it was his first breath in eternity. Don’t we all know or remember our loved ones in this same way?

Leo Magee loved his God, his family, his police community, his friends, the staff at Immaculate Mary Nursing Home, and himself, as all beloved daughters and sons of God.

As we enter a new week, let us enter with a courage and spirit of trust as we wait. If you find yourself waiting for a phone call about medical challenges, the death of a loved one, a repair person to arrive, an joyful occasion to come, the weather to change, medicine to kick in, or if you are waiting to become your better self with your prayer for more patience, a greater trust, more self-confidence or forgiveness of yourself or from another to be answered, wait with God knowing that He is waiting with you and for you. What is God waiting for us to do? Not for us as His children to get our act together, because even in His time that could take forever. I believe that He waits for us as to discern His will and choose to follow it. He knows our hearts better than we do, and He knows that we want to serve Him as best we can.

 

SUNDAY - “W” - Watchful

As you find yourself waiting, are you watchful and vigilant at the expense of other things? Are you waiting in fear or worry or are you trusting in God that all will work out as He intends? If you don’t find yourself waiting for anything, take a moment to think about death and reflect on your feelings and response to it? Do you think that you will live as if you are dying, or will you live as if death has no power over God’s promise of eternal life to those who love Him? Death is not the end of light and the beginning of darkness; no, it is end of darkness and the beginning of light. Do you believe that? Physical death, spiritual death or the death of a relationship all involve a dying to self so that resurrection can occur. The pain and effects of personal sin, human choices, hurts and alienations bring about darkness, but Christ light overcomes the darkness. Remember that you are a child of the light and not of darkness.

For today: Lord help me to wait in the light trust, patience, and peace and not in the darkness of impatience, worry or fear.

 

 

MONDAY - “A” - Authentic

As a trustworthy and faithful witness for God, do you find that when you are waiting on things, people or yourself, that you are not the patient person that you like to be? Mary waited as a woman of faith in the face of her challenges and crosses. Mary waited for nine months for the birth of Christ and I believe that it was a very challenging and painful nine month period: after the Annunciation she then had to then tell Joseph and he at first didn’t believe that it was by God that she was with child, she waited as the Angel of God appeared to him to reassure him that it was by God’s power that the child was conceived. She had to leave her home and give birth in a manger and did not have the help or support of her parents, family or friends. She waited for three days to find Jesus. She waited at the foot of the cross as Jesus suffered and died. She waited for three days for His resurrection. In all her waiting from the beginning of Jesus’ life to the end, she did so with trust in God and His will. She knew that whatever He asked, she could do, but not on her own, only with His spirit and help.

For today: Dear Mother Mary, please help me to wait more patiently and trust more deeply that in all things God is at the end of what I am waiting for and He will give me the grace and strength to receive it.

 

TUESDAY - “I” - Invincible

In the face of life challenges and crosses a good chant to remember is that you are invincible and that you will not be defeated. In all of life challenges and crosses, God wants you to know and believe that you will not be defeated or overcome by life’s crosses, but rather that He is and will always be with you. It is hard not to become discouraged or stressed out when life continues to incorporate various crosses in your life and you automatically must go a different direction or adopt a different mindset to overcome them. But in all of that, you are invincible because the spirit of God dwells in you and you are the Body of Christ.

For today: Lord help me to remember that in all my waiting with the crosses of my life, that the crosses that I carry will never defeat me but only strengthen me to be a better person. Please help me to recognize that my strength, courage, and determination are your gifts, your Simon of Cyrene, that remind me that I can accept help, that I am never alone and that you are always with me.

 

WEDNESDAY - “T” - Timeless

God’s love is everlasting and eternal. When God calls us back home, it is to a home that lasts forever, a home where there is no more pain or suffering, death, dying or darkness, only eternal joy, happiness, peace and life. Aa we live our life here on earth, we wait on many things, people, and events, yet with God, He is waiting only on us to know, love and witness to Him in this life so that we can be with Him in the next life.

How do you use your time? Do you feel that you waste time, or do you feel you use it wisely? Is time with God a priority or an afterthought? God’s time is not your time but that doesn’t mean that you can forget Him or ignore His many signs that He is waiting for you to come and be with Him. Love is eternal. God is eternal. Our time here on earth is short and limited. Our time in heaven is eternal.

For Today: Help me to wait with an unchanging heart to the sound of your voice and the stillness of your spirit as I discern your will and choose to follow it.

 

THURSDAY - “I”- Indomitable

Determined to live in the face of death, that was Leo. In life, we can choose to live despite our crosses or we can choose to be dead in the face of our crosses. No one knows when God will call us back home. When someone is in hospice, the know that their time will come sooner than they thought. Even in the face of death, we can choose to live in the light of God’s love, carry our cross in faith and determination, and trust the Christ will take us by the hand to walk us to our eternal reward.

Do you have any regrets? Are you living in fear or discouragement? Do you feel as if God doesn’t love you and that you are unlovable by anyone else? Choose life. Choose reconciliation over anger and resentment. Choose to listen to God, and not run away from Him as He tells you how much He loves you, is in love with you and that you are His beloved child. Listen as He tells you that you are His greatest creation, loved unconditionally, beyond measure and the cost was His son Jesus’ death on the cross.  Let go of the heavy baggage that keeps you bound so that your burdens will be lighter and your journey a delight.

For today: Lord help me to remain steadfast in my commitment to follow you and serve you to the best of my ability today. Let me not give into discouragement in the face of my trials, but rather seek with a determined heart and spirit to face them knowing that you are always with me as my strength, courage and hope. Help me to wait in hope and trust as I live with my cross and to choose life despite it.

 

FRIDAY - “N” - Nurturing

You are a nurturing person. You give of yourself, your presence, to those in need, you pray for those who entrust their cares and concerns to you, you visit those who are ill and you try to spend time with those who have no one to spend time with.

Only God can allow you to be all of that and to do all of that. We can choose to do good and follow His will and that is what He waits for. He waits for us in life and in death. He waits for us to honor Him by our lives as we witness to His presence and build up His kingdom here on earth.

As you build up His kingdom here on earth, are you able to recognize the source of your strength and determination, nutrition and sustenance? The Eucharist and the Sacraments of the Church are Jesus’ gift to us to help us on our earthly journey so that we don’t go hungry or ever thirst again. The graces that we receive from these gifts enable us to journey on earth to our heavenly reward, so that when we get to heaven and are in God’s loving embrace, our hunger and thirst will have all been fulfilled.

For today: Lord as you come to me in the Eucharist, let me wait and listen to you as you tell me again, how much you love me and how I am called to share that love today.

 

SATURDAY - “G” – Graceful

Being graceful as one waits is sometimes hard. As you wait for a phone call, do you become impatient, more concerned or even fretful? As you wait for a special occasion to come, do you become stressed over details, as you wait for another to apologize so that you can mend bridges, do you become more resentful, angry and frustrated? As you wait, do you lose that cool demeanor and your other self emerges. (not your best graceful self)? God gets it! He understands how difficult waiting can be, after all He created you and knows you better than you know yourself. As one faces death, one can lose that gracefulness or choose to grasp it tighter. That doesn’t mean that fear won’t creep in and choose to stay, but it can mean that in the face of fear, one chooses to trust God that the fear will not overcome the grace.

Leo and so many of our loved ones lived and died with dignity. He lived and chose to leave this world with the gracefulness and beauty that God instilled in his heart and spirit, and soul at his baptism, in his marriage to his wonderful wife Anne, and strengthened by the Sacraments of the Church.

For today: Lord help me to live and face all of life challenges with the grace, dignity, and strength that you possess and have instilled in me at my baptism. May I wait in silence, hope and trust, and when I get tired of waiting, help me to use the waiting time as a time for personal growth, spiritual transformation, and renewal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of August 22, 2021

Happy Birthday

My Glimpse of God for this week comes as I reflect on what Happy Birthday means and how we celebrate birthdays. (It’s not my birthday, but a few food friends recently celebrated theirs) We say Happy birthday to someone when we know that their birthday, the anniversary of their birth, draws near or is upon us. When I think of celebrating a birthday, there is so much that comes to mind than just the giving of a present, the blowing out of candles on a cake or a card being sent in the mail or via email. When I think of a birthday, I think of that person and how they are a gift from God to me; a gift that I want to honor, reverence, and express my gratitude for. That gift could be in the special form of a spouse, an immediate or extended family member, a close friend, a neighbor, or a colleague. When I think of a birthday, I think of how special that person’s presence is in my life, how precious a gift that person is to me, and I want to remember them on their day. I realize that when we give a gift to a person who is celebrating their birthday, there is no gift comparable than the gift, the life, the presence of that person.

So, why then do we give or attempt to give gifts to a person who is celebrating their birthday? I would think because it makes us happy to do something for them, to say thank you by giving them something that they like or will enjoy, or to make them feel good just for being themselves.

Is there a Glimpse of God in your Happy Birthday? Absolutely!

God created you as unique and special. There is no one like you nor will there ever be another you. God created you and called you by name in the womb. He called you and loved you into life, and He celebrates and rejoices on the day of your birth, the day that you breathed your first breath, the day that you entered His world as His beloved son or daughter. He entrusted you into the tender love and care of your parents and later family members, friends, neighbors, and colleagues. Every day, we can live a Happy Birthday as we remember that each day we are invited to rejoice and be glad for this is the day that the Lord has made. As you continue to live life and celebrate the anniversary of your birthday, you continue to honor God your creator. God loved you into life then and everyday offers you the opportunity to return that love and share it with others. Our identity does not lie in what we do but in who we are: God’s beloved son or daughter. Every life is important, significant, and necessary and should be treated with dignity and respect, no matter how young or old, challenged or not. Although there are people who refuse to celebrate their birthday,(for whatever reason) in an unconscious way, they are refusing to honor the God who gifted them with life and gifted us with their presence in this world.

But what is a birthday? We are loved into life each day so in a way every day is a Happy Birthday. We are renewed, reconciled, and given the opportunity to start over after we have fallen short. It is a day to give thanks to God for the gift of life: the very breath that you take today, and the very first breath that you took many years ago. God continues to give you each breath that you take so that you can be His breath of life in all that you say and all that you do, through your actions, in your attitude, and by your prayers. The very first breath that you took was God’s gift and call to live in His love and grace. God had a plan for you then and has a plan for you today. As He gifts you with another birthday, He is giving you the time to come to know Him better so that you can be a better and brighter Glimpse of His love in the world., so that you can become your best self the person that He created you to be and have the potential to become.  New life, new birth in Christ abounds every day and so when we talk about Happy Birthdays, we can say that every day is a Happy Birthday. Although there are many bumps or little deaths, there are also many new births on the road to eternity. It is through the new life that only Christ offers us, that we can overcome the bumps and see the straight and level road that is ahead.

It is a day to look into the mirror and see that you are beautiful in His eyes and that His love for you is beyond measure.

What can Happy Birthday mean? A you honor the day that God’s breath of life entered the very core of your being, and you were born into this world, you can also celebrate how His love has been your strength, given you the courage to overcome the many seemingly unsurmountable challenges that you have, the conviction that  you will not be defeated and the grace to trust as you journeyed through the many dark and fearful days of your life. His grace has been your salvation as you have grown in love with Him, and you have seen how much He is in love with you. You have every reason to be happy.

As you look in the mirror, ask yourself not just on the anniversary of your birth, but every day, what do I hold as important and how has that challenged me or caused me to change to be more God like?  Being a glimpse, a reflection of God and His love to others, is important to me and how can my glimpse become brighter, clearer, and more lasting for people to see? Do I try to be, or have I been, an instrument to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth so that others may see God in all that I say and do? As you reflect on these questions, you will hear the whisper of God tell you that not only is your day a happy birthday, but you have made so many others days happy birthdays as well as you have reflected the light of Christ by  your compassion, mercy, joy, and love for them and have lifted them up, consoled them, and befriended them in the name of Christ.

It is a day to look into the mirror and see that you are beautiful in His eyes and that His love for you is beyond measure. Although today may not be the official anniversary of your birth, it is an unofficial Happy Birthday since in only in Christ are you born into new life and only though, with and in Him can true happiness be found.

As you begin this week, you might be feeling the frenzy of shopping for back to school, in person, the ending of the summer season, and new covid19 regulations, you carefully approach all of this with caution. As you do, take time to breathe and celebrate the giftedness of your person and how the hand of God is very busy in your life. 

Instead of offering daily reflections, this week, I offer you the challenge to take each day and see the hand of God in the gift of your being. 

 

SUNDAY - The hand of God as seen through your compassion...

MONDAY - The hand of God as seen through your joy for life....

TUESDAY - The hand of God as seen through your mercy and understanding....

WEDNESDAY - The hand of God as seen through your smile and laughter......

THURSDAY - The hand of God as seen through your outreach to others......

FRIDAY - The hand of God as seen through your patience and perseverance....

SATURDAY - The hand of God as seen through your humility.......

The hand of God is always reaching out to us, lifting us up, carrying us, and holding our hand. What do we do to His hand as He offers it out to us? grasp it, shake it, hold it, grab on to it or refuse it? It doesn’t matter really because in all that we do, He did the only thing that true love could do: He outstretched His hands in love, through death to new life.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of August 15, 2021

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

I believe that we all have heard that phrase before. I am guessing that when we heard it spoken to either us or someone else, it was referring to a person that was being missed by a loved one because they were, or had been away from home for a short or long period of time. They were sad because their absence created a void, yet in the midst of that void or period of absence their heart was growing ever more in love, or fonder for that person.

This phrase is a phrase of endearment since when one acknowledges the absence of the person, their heart is expanded, and the absence of the person causes one to grow more in love for them verses the proverbial out of sight out of mind.

For my Glimpse of God this week, I would like to focus on the one main absence in my life. John my husband who is in Kenya for two weeks and due to a recent hospitalization, my absence from my Daily Mass community.

Although I talk with John every day, I miss him tremendously.  I look at his photo and smile because I realize how God has blessed me by giving me such a great husband and best friend. Although I miss him and cannot wait for him to come home, I also recognize, how amazingly, even Clover feels the absence in her own way and eagerly waits for his return as well.  As a very happily married wife, I unconsciously underestimate the power and love of God. Just when I think that I cannot love more, He shows me that I can love even more than I ever thought possible. It is through this awesome married love that my heart has been expanded and has grown fonder of John, the work that he is doing, and how much his absence is so deeply felt, both with me and the pets.

I believe that the expansion of my heart for John during His absence, resounds from my desire and longing for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist and how much I missed not being able to be present with the daily mass community. God’s love expands and permeates our entire being, whether we are married, single, or a religious, God does not limit His love for us or our ability to love others. If we choose to love others and our self as He loves us, our heart will continue to grow fonder of those qualities that make us our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become.

Last week I was in the hospital for 6 days and unable to go to mass. As grateful as I am for my good friends that brought me the Holy Eucharist, I was feeling my heart grow fonder for the entire celebration of Mass and the parishioners that form the daily Mass community.

Receiving Jesus is most important to me and being able to receive him daily at Mass is such a gift and a blessing that there are no words to accurately describe how I feel. Yet as I was in the hospital, I realized even more that my heart is drawn to community and is expanded by the community. As members of the Body of Christ I believe that we call each other to grow in love with our Lord, and how we do that is what makes us unique instruments of God. At Mass, we are given the gift to hear God’s Holy Word proclaimed and expanded upon as well as to receive His real presence in the Holy Eucharist. I believe that the spiritual absence that makes the heart grow fonder is where one feels the presence of God through what appears to be His being absent. Although I was able to receive Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, when I could not, the desire to accept His invitation to enter into my heart just grew and spoke louder than a whisper,

but it didn’t scream, it tapped on the door of my heart, but didn’t break it open. It was not an invitation initiated by force but of free will.

It did not lead to discouragement or despair but gratitude. So even though I was absent from the community, the like mindedness and the connection remained strong, and it is in that strength that I found His presence in the present. God was present in my desire to listen to Him, to receive Him and to be able to share His love with others.

So my question for this glimpse is If absence makes that heart grow fonder, what is absent from your life that your heart is yearning for, desires to grow fonder for? When someone is absent from our life, we miss them and usually can’t wait for their return, yet their return is in their control. When there is something that is absent in our life; faith in God, the love of family, the gift of friendships, lasting peace, greater love, reconciliation, and true happiness, only we can invite it back and do our best to keep it. When we let go of certain things and do not seek to recapture them, we lose sight of what God is calling us to and we settle for less.

For this Glimpse of God, I will focus on the above 7 gifts and graces from God, that I feel when they are absent from our life, we are not able to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. These are just a few, but there are more.

 

SUNDAY - Faith in God

Faith in God, a relationship with God, love for God, love for others and love for self. All of these are essential ingredients, if you will, for us to grow in and on our spiritual journey in this life so that we can be embraced by God when our earthly journey has ended. So, if there is a void or a seeming absence of God, or a spirit of desolation that you are experiencing, but at the same time,

you are feeling a greater need and desire for God, and your heart is growing fonder in love for God, rejoice and give thanks. If you feel that there is something missing in your spiritual life, seek it from God for He will grant you your heart’s desire.

Reflection for Today: What part of my spiritual life; prayer, service, community, worship, do I feel I am more absent from and desire to have it return? If any of these, in the midst of their absence, makes my heart grow fonder, can I recognize the presence and grace of God during their absence and in their presence?

 

MONDAY - Love of Family

The love of family, now this can be a painful point for some and a source of joy for others. Yet my prayer is that as we recognize that all human love is imperfect, we are then able to recognize that despite the hurts that we may have caused or those that have been inflicted upon us, love of family is a permeating love, a love that invites us, even in our woundedness, to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. The phrase that we can choose our friends, but we cannot choose our family seems quite selfish and ungodly. I would prefer to think of it as we can choose our friends, those people that are like minded and a presence of God in their unique way, but with family whose expression of love sometimes pierces more like a sword than a feather, we are given the gift and grace to be a person of compassion and mercy, peace, and reconciliation to use and grow in strength with.

I believe that in the end, as we reflect on the day and the various expressions of family love, we realize that we are stronger than we ever thought we could be, and that the presence of Jesus stands before us to protect, heal, and strengthen us so that we can become a wounded healer on our journey towards wholeness.

Reflection for Today: As we reflect on the absence of family love, what is stirred up within you? Is that absence hindering or promoting you from becoming your best self, that person that God created you to be and have the potential to become? If you are not experiencing the absence of family love, can you lift in prayer someone you know that is? If they are experiencing that absence and estrangement of family members due to injury, divorce or separation, can you ask God to bring them healing and wholeness so that they too can experience the freedom that comes from true love; the love of God for them and His unimaginable healing power?

 

TUESDAY - Friendships

The gift of friends is such a great gift. Friends are the glue that sometimes keeps us together when we think that we are falling apart due to the everyday stresses and crosses that we carry. But where or what is that glue made of? It is a gift and grace from God to mend our brokenness, heal our woundedness and help make us whole. Friends are the presence of God in their unique way. God chose them for us, He invites us to receive them into our life and He waits for us to see His face in theirs, His hands that lift us up when we are feeling down, His feet that walk with us when we feel that we are unable to put one foot in front of the other, His heart that loves us with compassion, mercy, reconciliation and peace, His ears that listen to us when we are quiet and have no words to speak, when we are left speechless , his voice when we speak up for those who cannot; the suffering, the outcasts, the wounded. He is present in them for us. Our friends may be long time childhood friends, our fiancé, our spouse, our aged parents, parishioners, or neighbors. Whoever we consider friends, can we remember that they

is a gift from God given out of love to help us on our journey? When we have a great friend, a best friend, and their presence is missing and we feel lost without them, can we recognize that they may be missing us as well and that in and through God’s grace they will return. Not as glue to keep us together because we may not feel broken, but rather as the warmth of God’s love, healing and renewal.

Reflection for Today; “Nothing can be compared to a faithful friend, and no weight of gold or silver is able to counterweight the goodness of his fidelity. A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter, he who finds one finds a treasure, a loyal friend is like a medicine that keeps you in good health. Only those who fear the Lord can find such a friend.  A person who fears the Lord can make real friendships, because he will treat his friends as he does himself.” Sirach 6

A faithful friend scripture passage from Sirach resounds when we reflect on those people God has given us that are more like us than we ever imagined. In and through their presence in our life, help us to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. When they are absent, our heart grows and expands in gratitude for not only the gift of us befriending others as a friend, but others befriending us as a friend. We also find that they have and are the catalyst in our growth of love for God, self, and others. Can you give God the glory for His gift of friendships in your life?

 

WEDNESDAY – Lasting Peace

What do I mean by lasting peace? Peace comes when we choose to allow the presence, love, reconciliation, and healing power of God to touch our heart, spirit, mind, and soul. It is more than a fleeting moment or emotion, it is the calm that assures us that no matter what our cross is, the heavy weight of it, or the feeling that we have been abandoned because of it, God is present and just as Jesus calmed the storm, He will fill us with His peace and calm as well. Lasting peace does not deny our cross or our everyday stresses, it lifts them up so that we can look them in the eye and see ourselves not being defeated or discouraged by them because we are conquerors in the name of the Lord. God’s love which is eternal can never be outdone or overrun by the false lures of the devil or his lies and mistruths, but in and through His peace, we can run the devil out and slam the door behind him.

Reflection for Today: Are you missing the lasting peace of God in your life? Who or what has robbed you of that gift? Can you seek God’s grace to bring you peace so that you can then take the steps to maintain it? Where the lasting peace of God is absent in your life, your heart grows fonder of what was. The gifts of the Church; Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist are God’s main instruments of His for us to regain lasting peace and serenity. Think about praying the prayer of Saint Francis so that you can regain God’s true desire for you as a fellow builder of His kingdom here on earth.

 

THURSDAY - Greater Love

No greater love than one has than to lie down His life for His friends. Jesus had and has that greater love for us and there is nothing that we can say or do that will ever diminish that love. It is unconditional, free, and always present. When we seek to become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become, love for God self and others is what we seek to grow in and for. As we live and grow as followers of Christ, we live not for ourselves, we grow from selfish to selfless, and we seek to see the face of Christ in others. True love is so expansive. God’s love is unconditional, real, deep, and lasting. God is not deceptive, fraudulent, or power hungry. He loved us first and all He asks of us is to love Him in return. How each one of us does that or responds to that command between us and God. If at the end of the day we can say that we are loved and that we have loved another, love is not absent, but present and growing.

I believe that if we are able to recognize that we are God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation, despite our sinfulness or weaknesses, love abounds. If we deny that truth and choose to deny or destroy it for others, then greater love is absent.

Reflection for Today: Are you in greater love for God, self and others or do you want to love less due to injury, pain, sin, discouragement, or shame? If you are seeking to become your best self the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become, but you feel that greater love is absent, ask for God’s for the grace to recognize that His love abounds in you, but a small cloud is covering it so that you cannot recognize its presence.

 

FRIDAY – Reconciliation

When the grace of reconciliation is made available to us and we accept it, our heart is ever bigger and more embracing. When we humbly seek to be reconciled to a person that we have caused injury to or that has caused us injury, the we are responding to God’s grace and invitation to do unto others as He has done unto us. If we seek to be bitter, remain estranged, hold a grudge, self-justify our actions, when we let our ego stand in the way of peace and reconciliation, then or hearts are not able to grow fonder of peace or reconciliation because we do not desire it for ourselves or for the other. The absence of reconciliation makes way for the loss of being in relationship with God and others. We become an island where we stand in self justification, self-righteousness and we have let our ego prevail. That is not God’s will or desire for us. Trough the Sacrament of Reconciliation we are given the grace and opportunity to mend, heal and restore the broken relationships and build up the Kingdom of God here on earth. As we stretch out the olive branch to those we have offended or have offended us, the absence of reconciliation no longer prevails, but the presence of a heart that has expanded and grown fonder of the peace, joy and true happiness that comes when we have been reconciled to both God and others.

Reflection for Today; Do you need to be reconciled to someone that has injured you or that you have caused injury to? Is the absence of that relationship making your heart grow fonder for peace and having then back in your life? Thank God. If God were not working in your heart at this moment, hatred could abound, bitterness could prevail, despair could win and his victory over you would be the devil’s trophy. You are victorious follower of Christ and not another victim that the devil can proclaim victory over.

 

SATURDAY - True Happiness

As we have journeyed through this week, we have touched upon gifts and graces that when absent from our life can make us feel less than the person that God wants us to be. When these absences make our heart grow fonder, than we are responding to God’s grace and invitation to continue to seek to be our best self, the person that He created us to be and knows we have the potential to become. As we seek to be our best self, then true happiness not only abounds but flourishes. True happiness does not lie in our possessions, our education, the size of our bank account, or our social status, but rather in our identity as Gods’ beloved child and living in the light of that great truth. It lies in trusting and knowing that we are and will always be in His sight, that we will never be abandoned and that no matter what our bad choices are, our sins may be or the weaknesses that we suffer, God will and can never love us less. The world may try to dispel and deny these truths, but Jesus was born, suffered, and died to disprove the world, the devil, and his mistruths. Jesus defeated death, not just physical death but spiritual death as well. His passion, death and resurrection show us that even in the darkness of our absences, mini death experiences and tomb experiences, we can emerge renewed and stronger than we ever thought possible.

Reflection for Today: Are you experiencing true happiness? Where or in what does your happiness lie? Is your happiness in the cross that you carry knowing that you are not alone and that you carrying an instrument which is allowing you to become your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of July 25, 2021

Christmas in July. Last week(see below if you need to be reminded of the Glimpse) I encouraged you to hang various pandemic items that symbolized your spiritual growth and personal transformation, on your Christmas tree. As we approach, stand before, and look ahead to, we see a new normal emerging and our Christmas tree becoming and remaining a beacon of hope, life, joy, happiness, peace, and gratitude.

As you decorate your tree, you might find yourself singing some of your favorite Christmas songs or having them play in the background. This week I have taken some of the favorite and well-known songs as well as a few, not so well-known songs, to reflect on. I believe within the words lies a deep and profound message, not just for Christmas, but every day, that we are meant to hear. Take these verses and apply them to your personal and spiritual journey of transformation that you have undergone. Listen to God as He speaks to your heart the message of Christmas: His gift of Love, His present of peace, His grace of an open mind and heart, and the presence of a gentle spirit. Listen as He reveals His presence in and through the Holy Eucharist, the Sacraments of the Church, your faith journey, the words of music, the pandemic, through silence and in being silent, and in the presence of others.

SUNDAY: A Child Is Born unto Us.

Verse 1 A child is born, a Son is given unto us. His light has shone on those in darkness.

Now that we have approached the beginning to the end of the pandemic, the beginning of our new normal, and now can let go of the many and various restrictions that we have been bound to follow and adhere to, can you, do you see the light in the midst of the darkness? Through the past 16 months, do you feel that you have been walking in the darkness where you have had to surrender and trust completely in God and those He has placed in and on your path to lead you through? Do you see, can you recognize the light of Christ, the child that was born unto us, within your heart and deep within your soul, the bright and radiating light but sometimes it seemed more like a flickering light. You have radiated and exuded the presence of the baby Jesus that you have received in your baptism as you have tried to be your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become. A child has been born unto you.

 

 

 

 

MONDAY: Away in a Manger

Verse 3 Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay Close by me forever, and love me, I pray; Bless all the dear children in thy tender care and fit us for heaven to live with thee there.

Jesus was born in a manger, away from home, away from Mary and Joseph’s family and friends. He was born in poverty and the Holy Family trusted in the protection of God, His plan and the kindness and love of strangers. This past year, I imagine that we all have prayed to God to stay close to us as we navigated the pandemic and its many challenges.

Where is Jesus and where is the manger? Jesus is alive and well within the manger of your heart. He has called you to a spiritual poverty where you have had to surrender and trust in His plan for you and your loved ones. He has called you away from those you love, and you have had to turn to the new world of virtual, touchless, and zoom to meet with others and converse with them. BUT like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, this birth, this new life that was born to us, wasn’t just of that moment a moment to remember as part of our salvation history, or to look back on with no real connection, but to look into, into our hearts, into our spirit and recognize the gift and presence of a lifetime of love to nourish, cherish and reverence, so that we are renewed, refreshed, and revitalized each and every day.

TUESDAY: Go Tell it on the Mountain

Refrain: Go tell it on the mountain, Over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountain that Jesus Christ is born.

What do we want to tell on the mountain, or proclaim from the rooftop? Is it that we made it through the Pandemic, the most challenging time of our life, or that we have found a new connection with close family a great gift, or that we have undergone a personal and spiritual transformation that, at first, we did not want to embrace, but now we embrace it with great strength, gratitude, and appreciation? Is it that we are grateful to be alive and have been healed of COVID or other spiritual or physical dis-eases that were in the need of healing; the dis-ease of bitterness, estrangement, anger, resentment, discouragement, or despair?

What is your it” that you want to tell from the highest mountain, from the rooftop, or even from your valley? Remember that God knows your heart and your “it” and is waiting for you to proclaim “it” for all to hear. “It’ is your gift to share with others. Don’t leave “it” behind or forget about “it”, but rather take “it” with you, embrace “it” and love “it” for “it” has made you want to become your best self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become.

WEDNESDAY: Joy to the World

Verse 3: He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.

Joy to the World. Joy is a gift that we can choose to accept or deny. We can choose to live in misery, discouragement, self-pity, frustration, or sadness. We can choose to avoid enjoying life and embrace those things that help us deny that there is any reason to be joyful. We can close the eyes and ears of our hearts, minds, and spirit to the joy to of Christmas that came not as the end but the beginning. The joy of Christmas to the world is that Jesus came not to just be born, but rather to suffer and die so that we can live with Him forever and be born anew in heaven with our Loving God. The joy is that Jesus is with us each moment of each and every day to help us through the times where we are not able to recognize the light of joy, or the reason to be joyful because our crosses have dimmed that light. Remember that the cross is not a denial of joy but an embrace of joy. Joy for and in the love of Christ and how He chose to love you. I believe that we all have many reasons to be joyful….what are some of yours?

 

THURSDAY: O Come All Ye Faithful

Verse 3: Yea, Lord, we greet thee, born this happy morning, Jesus, to thee be all glory given Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. O come, let us adore Him, O come, let us adore Him, O Come, let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.

O come all ye faithful that is you and that is me. We are invited to come and give praise to God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Will you come? Where will you go, who will you go with and who will you invite to come with you? It is a new morning. It is a new day. This is the day that the Lord has made let us rejoice and be glad in it. Let us adore Him. Let us come with those who we are grateful for, those He has placed in our life that have allowed us, invited us, waited for us, and called us to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become. So, we are all walking with another as we choose to be our best self, a faithful fallower and disciple of Jesus Christ this Christmas day in July and always.

FRIDAY: Night of Silence

Verse 2: Voice in the distance, call in the night, on wind you enfold us, you speak of the light, Gentle on the ear, You whisper softly, Rumors of a dawn so embracing, Breathless love awaits darkened souls, Soon will we know of the morning.

We do know of the morning. We have opened our eyes to a new and glorious day, this day God awaits our response to His gift of light, newness, peace, joy, and the presence of loved ones. Our eyes have been closed in the darkness of uncertainty, unemployment, fear, anxiety, stress, financial despair, ill health, death, isolation, and anger, but the soft whisper of God calls us to believe in the newness that awaits us with our new normal; the newness that comes weather we choose it or not, it is God’s promise, and He never goes back on His word. His word is greater than any sin or short walk-in darkness that we may have taken. He loves us, has loved us through the darkness of the pandemic and is loving us now through this new day.

Can you identify the ways that He is loving you today? Or how He has shown His great love these past days, months, or year? Christmas in July…there’s an answer. Even if you are not able to recognize His love right now, His act of love 2000 years ago can still be your final answer and be a correct one. No jeopardy here.

 

SATURDAY: Let There Be Peace on Earth

Verse 1: …..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. Le there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.

Can you allow these words to permeate your very being from the top of your head to the toes on your feet? It is not a peace that we can or should postpone, but rather embrace and share right now. If your step needs to be a step towards physical, emotional or psychological healing, so that you can experience a greater peace, love, sense of compassion and the grace and gift of reconciliation, then be gentle with yourself and take one step at a time, don’t run, or leap, or even skip right now, but just walk humbly and tenderly with your God as He draws you  nearer to Himself. Let each step draw you nearer to your God and be a step toward your own personal journey of healing and wholeness. Let your step of peace be an olive branch to those who have injured you or that you have injured. Let your step be into the new normal, not looking back with regret but with gratitude, not with anger that takes deep root and destroys your foundation, but rather with mercy, compassion and love. Christmas is a state of mind. One that we should seek to focus on and not lose sight of. Remember that a journey begins with placing one foot in front of the other, not jumping, or running, but walking with God and with those whose hand He places in yours in to walk with, talk with and grow with in peace eternally.

 

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF JULY 18TH

Last week I wrote about Christmas in July despite the pandemic and how we can find joy and hope amid such a continuously challenging time. This week I am going to focus on the various pandemic items or procedures that dominated our life then and continue to semi-dominate our life today. Now that we have a vaccine and most people have been vaccinated, we can begin to live our new normal and experience a newfound freedom from the chains of Covid 19. Chains such as getting Covid19, spreading it to others, isolation, anxiety, discouragement, despair, depression, unemployment, and zoom meetings vs meeting in person. But now that many restrictions have been lifted, several vaccines that are readily available for people to get, fewer deaths are occurring, and fewer people are getting sick from the Corona virus, I would say that we can celebrate with joy and hope that we are on the right path to healing and wholeness, but we should not take the right path for granted or let our guard down. The required safety items or procedures that were initiated were not of our choice but dictated to us as a way for us to remain healthy and avoid getting sick. Where we had to follow the directives because they were seen as the best way for us to maintain good health and avoid getting covid19 and spreading the virus, we are now given the choice. If we are fully vaccinated, we do not need to wear a mask, except in medical institutions, we can gather in groups, give hugs, and sit next to each other. We are still afforded the opportunity to use hand sanitizer since it is everywhere. We still need to be vigilant with our safety procedures so that we can avoid a resurgence of Covid19, but I believe that if we adhere to our new normal guidelines, we will continue to emerge as a physically, emotionally, and healthier people.  This is a reason to proclaim Joy to the World.

Last year at this time, we could hardly think about Christmas because the isolation and anxiety over unemployment, getting sick from Covid, and not being able to see loved ones, was weighing many people down. Stores are still trying to recover from being closed and unemployment is still high, yet many businesses are hiring, which is a sign of hope. The shining star is there to guide those who are seeking to come to know the Savior through the pandemic, the star is there to enlighten us as to where God was and is during these pandemic days, to see the good that came out of it, and to see how it has changed and transformed each one of us.

As I reflect on certain items or procedures that have dominated our life for the past 16 months, I do so with the lens of recognizing their specific and unique spirituality. I can say that I had not thought about the spirituality of the mask, or soap and water, hand sanitizer, a thermometer, surgical gloves, or those 6ft social distance signs, but I believe that in all that we say and do, observe, and think, has a certain spiritual meaning because we process it with, and in regard, to our faith and seeing God’s action in our life. A lot of good has evolved from the pandemic if we are open to recognizing it.

 

SUNDAY “- A MASK” – what do we hide behind and how does removing it make us vulnerable? Did wearing a mask make you feel more secure because people could not see your facial expressions? Your stress, worry, concerns, joys, anger…?

As you have undergone personal and spiritual transformation, can you hang your mask on the tree and remind yourself that you do not need to hide from others or deny what you are experiencing? A mask provides us with a sense of security and protection, yet in the sight of God, we need only to turn to Him for He is the true source of security and protection. In our relationship with Him, wearing a mask is like wearing false pride and not allowing our insecurities and vulnerabilities to be healed. God would like us to be honest with Him and if we choose to run from honesty, then we are not being our authentic, genuine, and best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become.

 

MONDAY – “GLOVES “(surgical) - We wear gloves for several reasons: to keep from spreading infection and to keep our hands from harm. When we place gloves on our hands, we are unable to feel the softness of one’s skin, or the texture and material of what we are handling. We are safe from any abrasive substances as well as infectious ones. So, in our spiritual life, for what or why do we wear gloves? Are we trying to avoid someone that we feel has an abrasive personality or is too controlling, or one that can infect us with false ideas, temptations? Have you been able to see the person of Christ in them and can you hang the gloves on your tree?

 

TUESDAY - “HAND SANITIZER” - to sanitize (disinfect, sterilize, decontaminate) our hands from any germs or infections that may have been transferred. What do you want to or need to sterilize or decontaminate in your spiritual life? What infection is spreading throughout your entire being, through to your heart, spirit and mind that is causing you to feel less than your best self and needs to be cleaned out?

What infection is causing you to stay down and not rise to the call of discipleship? Is it gossip, worry, sin, addiction, ego? What has been your spiritual sanitizer that has enabled you to be free of your infection?

Can you hang your hand sanitizer on the tree to remind you that you are free of infection, that you have been cleansed and decontaminated through your prayer life, your relationship with God, the sacraments of the Church and your relationship with others?

 

WEDNESDAY – “HAND SOAP AND WATER” – soap and water can clean off dirt off very quickly because it is not very deep or grounded in. With our spiritual life, what weakness do we struggle with that need the soap and water of the sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist so that the weakness will not become deep and grounded, where the graces of the sacrament will strengthen us to stay clean and become stronger? What can you put on the tree that represents your cleansing? What type of soap best signifies your cleansing?

Is it a bar of scented soap one that cleans seep and leaves a fresh scent to remind you that you are clean, is it liquid body soap where you can pour it on your being and spread it slowly, meticulously and with desire to clean even the areas that are hardest to reach where a bar can fall out of your hands?

 

THURSDAY – “A THERMOMETER” – it takes your temperature. What is your spiritual temperature? Are you running a fever because you have an infection? One that comes from the mistruths of the devil or the temptations of the world that are permeating your whole being? Is your temperature high because you are worn out by the journey and cannot seem to get your mind and heart on fire about your faith, or God or prayer? Various worldly temptations and detours and spiritual infections have caused you to expel your energy and have permeated your being What can you do to rid yourself of the infection so that your temperature goes down? To normal? What is normal when it comes to our spiritual life and the right temperature? Sometimes when our spiritual temperature is high, we are invited to recognize where we have diverted from the course that God has placed before us and have listened or embraced a short cut or another road. When our temperature is too low, we are invited to see how we are making it through each day but without any effort, the same things without any extra effort.

We can be spiritually anemic where our blood flow our energy is depleted and only with God can we regain that energy and increase our spiritual blood flow, that which will permeate our being and give us new life, In and through the blood of Christ in the Eucharist. Spiritually we can make it through each day with some prayer, some acts of kindness and mercy, yet our actions are not wholehearted. Can you hang a thermometer on the tree to help you recognize that you have risen above the challenges and have resumed your walk with Christ as a stronger and more determined follower?

 

FRIDAY – “6FT DISTANCE FLOOR/WALL SIGNS”

We have had to keep social distance so to avoid spreading or catching another’s germs that could lead us to getting the corona virus. 6 feet was designated as the safest distance when it came to being contagious and spreading the infection to those around you. You see the signs on the floors and walls of stores, eating establishments, they were posted at ballparks when we were allowed to re-enter them, they are still posted in some stores, yet many people fail to follow the sign and are right behind the person with no social distance. Spiritually how do we keep socially distant from another? Is it because of our ego and having to be the center of attention and not allow another who is suffering to speak, share or be consoled? Do we ignore the plight of others because we are so focused on our cross that we fail to want to help another to carry theirs? As you choose to hang a 6ft social distance sign on your tree, are you able to recognize where you have gone the extra prayer, act of kindness, acts of mercy, to become a stronger builder of God’s kingdom here on earth, and to do that you and I need to be spiritually close, not distant, to our God and each other?

 

SATURDAY – “YOUR OWN SIGN OF HOPE”.

What do you have that you often looked at, held, observed that has kept you sane this past year? What was your symbol of hope that kept you from despair, your sign of healing that kept you from dwelling and getting stuck in bitterness, anger, and discouragement? What or who has been there for you to talk to, someone you could trust and vent with, seek encouragement from and likewise console? As you look back, are you able to recognize that your strength, determination, and perseverance, has been how you made it through? Can and do you recognize the hand of God through your pandemic days? If you have received the vaccine, do you feel, have you experienced a new freedom? You have emerged from the darkness of the tomb into the light of healing and wholeness. How do you feel? What symbol or symbols will you hang on your tree that represents God’s gift of hope and healing, wholeness, and happiness?

What will you use as a tree topper that will being attention to your tree, to your ability to be resilient, to be hopeful and not hopeless? How will your tree topper bring the light of healing and love, the healing and love of Christ to others? The star, an angel, a significant symbol, these all bring the focus to the tree and what hangs on it. Don’t you want others to see how you have survived the pandemic, that way they can be inspired and in return inspire you as they share their story, their symbols?

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of July 11, 2021

 

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. But now that many restrictions have been lifted, fewer deaths have occurred and fewer people have gotten sick from Corona, I would say that we can celebrate with joy and hope that we are on the right path to healing and wholeness, but we should not take the right path for granted. We still need to be vigilant with our safety procedures so that we can avoid a resurgence of Covid19. I believe that if we adhere to our new normal guidelines, we will continue to emerge as a physically, emotionally, and healthier people.  This is a reason to proclaim Joy to the World.

Last year at this time, we could hardly think about Christmas because the isolation and anxiety over unemployment, getting sick from Covid, and not being able to see loved ones, was weighing many people down. Stores are still trying to recover from being closed and unemployment is still high, yet many businesses are hiring, which is a sign of hope. The shining star is there to guide those who are seeking to come to know the Savior through the pandemic, the star is there to enlighten us as to where God was and is during the pandemic, to see the good that came out of it and to see how it has changed and transformed each one of us.

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, a 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 others.  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 yourself because of mistakes, weaknesses, or sins, remember that God knows what is in our heart and that you are sorry, in humility admit your wrongs and seek His mercy so that He can take action to heal, forgive and make you whole.  

 

 

 

 

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 community, 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 fastfood 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, kind 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 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 in and with faith that empowers us to rise above our weakness and trust in His mercy?

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. The gift of Jesus is in all those that surround you. If the eyes of your heart , spirit and mind are open, you will see so many gifts from Jesus, gifts like; the smile of a friend, the words of consolation, the long awaited embrace after covid, the joy in being able to see another’s facial expressions, the jokes that raise our laughter level, the person in line ahead of us that invites us to go ahead of them because they have more, the person who defers to you in traffic, the child that embrace you after a hard day at work, and the opportunity to gather with others. 

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 – 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.

 

FRIDAY- 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 Christmas brings their needs to the forefront so that people can respond with their Christmas hearts more generously. People’s generosity and care during the covid19 crisis this past year 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.

 

Now that we can gather with others because many restrictions have been lifted, and masks are optional for those who have been vaccinated, let us remember that those who were homeless are still homeless, the poor are still among us, the addicted are still suffering  and the unemployed are still seeking employment to feed and support their families, there is never a time to stop being or seeing Christ in others who are carrying heavy and burdensome 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.

 

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, humid 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 religious 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?

 

As you draw nearer to the weekend and make plans on how you will enjoy it, my Glimpse of God for this upcoming week will continue with the Christmas theme. but will focus on the signs of hope that brought you through the pandemic and made you a stronger person.

As I reflect on Christmas in July, I cannot eliminate or ignore the spirituality of the Christmas tree and the decorations that are placed it.

SO…..next week the daily reflections will be on the various aspects of COVID19 that, willingly or not, we embraced. What is their spirituality and how does reflecting on it now, remind you of your inner strength, courage, your ability to persevere and stand strong?

 

A MASK,

SURGICAL GLOVES,

THERMOMETER,

HAND SOAP,

HAND SANITIZER,

6FT DISTANCE GROUND SIGNS,

AND YOUR OWN SIGN OF HOPE.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of July 4, 2021

“Spiritual Freedom”

How appropriate that we celebrate our newfound religious freedom and our nations independence, July 4th on a Sunday. After the pandemic has caused us to feel quite unfree and independent, and with little ways to celebrate any occasion safely, this year we are invited to gather to celebrate our nations freedom at the Eucharistic Table. As we gather at the table of the Lord, we celebrate our first freedom as children of God as we listen to the Word of God as it proclaimed in Sacred Scripture. It is the Scripture where God reveals to His people, how they can become a free people.

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

As Mass continues and we celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we are then given the Body and Blood of Jesus. Jesus our redeemer, who suffered and died for us, who set us free from eternal damnation and opened the doors for us to eternal life, set us free and invites us to stay a free people. Our freedom is celebrated each time we receive the Sacraments especially Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist. In the sacrament of reconciliation, through confession, absolution, and penance we are set free from our sin. In the Eucharist, but all throughout Mass, we are given the opportunity to repent of any wrongdoing and weakness, that does not require going to the sacrament of reconciliation, and receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. Our spiritual freedom does not mean that we will be free from sin, we are human, but what it can mean is that when we do sin,

we recognize our sinfulness and repent, and choose not to fall into self-righteousness, despair, discouragement, or hopelessness. When we can recognize how we have fallen short of God’s desire for us becoming our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become, we are free. That freedom is choosing to see how we have fallen short but with hope in reconciliation and not despair, with courage to go forward and not turn back, emerging as victorious and not victims. Our spiritual freedom is when we choose not to be bound up in Satan’s deceptions.

SUNDAY – “F” faith vs fear

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

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

MONDAY – “R” reconcile vs regret

When we want to and choose to be free, we are choosing to let go of that which is constraining or binding us to our past choices, weaknesses, sins, and injuries. When we choose to be reconciled to God and others by admitting our mistakes and sins, it is in that reconciliation we are renewed in God’s grace, mercy, and compassion. Being a new creation, we are then able to go forward in that same mercy and compassion that has been shown to us and extend it to others. We then can choose not to look back and hold on to anger, grudges, resentment, and vengeance.

It is when we do not choose to be reconciled, that we can have regrets. We regret that we have isolated ourselves from others because of injuries that have been inflicted on us or by us, regrets that we are angry about, and it is surging within us and making us more miserable, that our past choices and our need to be in control is controlling us and making us feel defeated, discouraged and despairing. Regrets can be eliminated by one act of reconciliation with God, who then gives us the strength and courage to seek reconciliation with others.

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

TUESDAY – “E” embrace vs exclude

As we choose, with the grace of God, to recognize that which is binding us, we can then choose to embrace it or exclude it. What I mean by that is when God invites us to grow in our faith, we are being invited to see ourselves as God sees us; His beloved child who is loved unconditionally His greatest creation, and that there is nothing that we can say or do that will make Him love us less, He cannot, His love is perfect. In those truths that we need to see both the weak and the strong sides of our humanity. If we fail to recognize our sinfulness, our weakness, or our bad choices, but justify them or deny them all together, then we cannot undergo personal or spiritual transformation. God knows our hearts better than we do so He knows our choices and the reasons behind them, and He is ready and willing to forgive us. I believe that we are not bad people, but rather that we are all sinners striving to become saints and, in our desire, we fall short and give in to the devil’s temptations. SO, when we acknowledge our choices or sins in the light of God’s love for us, their power to diminish our belief in God’s love for us as His beloved child is defeated and we come out living more to our potential to be our best self.

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

WEDNESDAY – “E” entrust vs endanger

As we seek our spiritual freedom so that we can undergo a greater spiritual and personal transformation, we sometimes put it at risk by not commending or entrusting our will to God. We seek to be in control, we try to fix our problems, we attempt to heal our brokenness and fail to see His presence and His love within us. We endanger our spiritual freedom because we seek to stay bound in control, self-righteousness, fear, ignorance, or self-reliance. Yet we are never out of God’s loving sight, or out of His desire to forgive and extend His mercy and compassion. Entrusting God means surrendering your fears, your will, and your control.  This might be scary, but not impossible. As a sinner who is seeking to become a saint, a co-builder of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and a beloved child of God, I do not believe that you mean to or want to endanger your spiritual freedom, it sometimes just gets lost in the stresses and crosses of daily life.

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

THURSDAY – “D” delight vs discourage

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

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

FRIDAY – “O” open vs obstructed

As we seek our spiritual freedom, we can choose to be open to it and all that it stands for, or we can put obstacles or obstructions in its way so that we cannot experience the freedom we are being invited to receive. Sometimes the idea of being free, forgiven, healed or whole can be scary, we do not know how to respond or live with this new freedom. For instance, being healed means recognizing where we are broken and then allowing God to fix the brokenness because we cannot. Being forgiven means that we have to admit that we have caused another harm and that we were wrong and sometimes our ego gets in the way and we justify our actions instead. I believe that the two phrases that are hardest for humanity to speak are “I am sorry” and “I forgive you”. When we say that “I am sorry” we are admitting that we have caused another harm, intentionally or not, we see that we have hurt them, and we feel remorse.

 

When we say that “I forgive you” we are given the grace to recognize the remorse in another who has caused us harm and we extend God’s mercy to them as He has so often extended it to us.

When we are open God’s grace overflows within us to without us. But when we put obstructions in the way because we would rather stew in our anger, shame, guilt, bitterness, vengeance, or grudge, then God’s grace is left waiting at the door of our heart and mind and we need to open the door for it to make its way in. There is not obstacle or obstruction that cannot be removed and overcome with faith and trust in God.

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

SATURDAY – “M” mercy vs memory

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

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

The Declaration of Independence was officially adopted on July 4th and marked by the ringing of the Liberty Bell at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Let us remember all who have fought for our freedom.

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 26, 2021

“receive”

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

What does it mean to receive something? How do we respond when we receive something?

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

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

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

When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are receiving the real presence of God, the Body and Blood of Jesus Himself. When we receive the Holy Eucharist, we are then commissioned to be the Body of Christ in all that we say and do, by our actions, through our life choices and in our attitudes, our words, and our prayers.  As members of the Body of Christ we have a responsibility to live as connected members and not disjointed, as people that realize that we need Christ to sustain us on this earthly journey so that we can attain our goal of reaching heaven when our earthly journey has ended. We need the Holy Eucharist, the Body of Christ; the bread of life, to nourish and sustain our body, mind, soul, and spirit. We need the Blood of Christ to quench the thirsts that arise when our life struggles leave us parched, and we suffer from burnout and need to seek refreshment in the Lord alone. When we are connected to community, we are not connected to find faults with others but to build them up. We are all sinners striving to become saints and how we receive, welcome, and embrace others as members of the Body of Christ will show them how we truly received the good news of Jesus Christ. Do we use the good news as a tool to build others up through our support, encouragement, forgiveness, compassion, and mercy? Or as a weapon to tear down because we believe God appointed us as His judge here on earth, so therefor we pass judgement on others, we seek revenge because we have been injured, we justify our anger and jealousy, and we do not feel that we need to try to understand or show empathy towards others.

The same message of love is listened to by all yet how we receive it is different. What makes Catholic Christians stronger receivers of the Word is that we have the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments of the church that we can receive when we are in most need. The graces that we receive when we partake of the sacraments are innumerable and beyond the understanding in the mind of humans. God is very generous and is always waiting to shower His blessings and graces upon us.

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

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

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

 

SUNDAY – “R” replenishment

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

For today as we approach the celebration of our nations Independence Day, ask God to replenish you and free you from anything that is depleting your energy and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

 

MONDAY – “E” encouragement

Can you encouraged to keep going and not get discouraged or disheartened? Are you encouraged by the people around you, your family, and friends, loved ones, your community? What does encouragement mean to you? Can you receive encouraging words from another and humbly express your gratitude? Can you receive the words from God that lift you up and inspire you to raise others up? Today seek to encourage someone that is down and needs to be raised up.  Encouragement is often about raising others up even when you do not feel like it. When we reach out of our self and seek to raise up another, we too are then being raised up over our discouragement to be more encouraged and stronger than we thought we could be.

For today as we approach the celebration of our nations Independence Day, ask God to encourage, inspire and free you from anything that is discouraging you and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

 

TUESDAY – “C’ compassion

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

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

 

WEDNESDAY – “E’ embrace

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

For today as we approach the celebration of our nations Independence Day, thank God for His loving embrace, and ask Him to free you from anything that is causing you to reject His embrace and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

 

THURSDAY – “I” inspiration

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

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

FRIDAY – “V” value

You are held with great esteem before God. God does not put a price tag on you or a discount tag on you, or a no return ticket on you. He died for all sinners of which you and I are included. God knows your heart better than you do and He knows that you do not want to turn away from Him. You are His greatest creation and His beloved child; He loves you unconditionally and there is no sin that will make Him love you less or cause Him not to what to be in relationship with you. His love cannot be measured or expressed in words, only in action and that action was His death on the cross. He proved that on the cross. Were you there? Did you never hear those words that came forth from His mouth: Father forgive them for they know not what they do? The “them” was those then, those of us now and those who will follow. He values you and loves you and He wants you to love yourself as He loves you. You are a beautiful creation that enhances the Kingdom of God here on earth.

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

SATURDAY – “E” enjoyment

It is July 4th weekend and there are many freedoms to celebrate. The freedom as a nation, the freedom from wearing masks, the freedom of being able to see our loved ones and being able to embrace them safely, and the freedom of religion that allows us to celebrate the many graces of freedom that God has bestowed on us. We are free to practice our religion, to give our will over to God and invite God into our heart, mind, soul, and spirit, we are free to live our lives as followers of Jesus Christ, we are free to forgive and be forgiven, we are free to be our self and not what others want us to be, we are free to forgive others or hold on to a grudge, and we are free to love our self as God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation. Or we can conform to what others ask, expect, or control us to believe and not choose Christ who is the way, the truth and the life, our true freedom lies in Jesus who once and for all gave of His life so that we can be free. The question is do you believe that He suffered and died for you or just everyone else?  

For today as we approach the celebration of our nations Independence Day, ask God to free you from anything that is depriving you from enjoying life as He has set it before you, and not allowing you to be your best self, the person that God created you to be, and you have the potential to become.

Glimpse of God for the week of June 20, 2021

Let me begin by saying Happy Father’s Day to all those men who are Fathers, Fathers, Foster Fathers, Fathers by adoption, Blended family Fathers, God Fathers, Grand Fathers, and father figures. Let us remember all our Fathers, especially those who are deceased, and entrust them to the loving embrace of God. If we were estranged or hurt by our fathers, let us seek the grace from God to forgive them so that we can entrust them to the eternal and loving embrace of God. 

Let me offer praise and gratitude to all the Priests that we call Fathers who lead us closer to our Heavenly Father by their love for God, the administration of the Sacraments and their love for the flock that God has placed in their care. Let us remember women who are single parents due to divorce, death and separation, and as they fulfill both roles of father and mother and seek to protect and provide for their family. Let us encourage and support them as they try to raise their children with all their strength courage, trust, and faith in God and in those are present as support and encouragement.

This year is the year designated by Pope Francis as the year of Saint Joseph. Joseph is the foster father of Jesus and the husband of Mary. He is the patron saint of workers and Patron of the Universal Church.

Joseph is the man in the shadows of Mary and Jesus, yet he played a crucial role in protecting Mary and Jesus from harm and death. Joseph was a man that listened to God, followed His command given to him through an angel and with courage, commitment, and love, and trusted as He was led to the unknown and uncertain. Joseph was the protector and provider of the Holy Family and he taught Jesus the skill of being a good carpenter and a good son. He is seldom mentioned in the Scripture, yet He played a very crucial and significant role in our salvation history.

How are you and I followers of Saint Joseph, how do we show our love for Saint Joseph in our daily life? What qualities of Saint Joseph do we exude as we strive to follow Jesus and become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become? What do we see in Saint Joseph that we want to possess?

As followers of Christ and imitators of Him, we know that the person Jesus became was due to the upbringing that Mary and Joseph provided.  Joseph exuded the qualities that a good Jewish boy becoming man and a believer in God would want to possess; love, mercy, compassion, understanding, patience, faith, courage, perseverance, humility, trust, hope, and joy.  It is in and through those qualities, that Jesus learned as he was growing up, how to be His best self and share that self with others.

As a follower of Jesus and lover of Saint Joseph, how do I want to be more like Him? Although Joseph was a father, any person that desires to possess his qualities and His faith is one with him. In several dreams the angel appeared to Joseph and told him what he needed to do to so that he, Mary, and Jesus would be safe. Although Joseph did not understand, he listened and did as he was commanded. He trusted and followed blindly if you will, because he knew that that message that was spoken was from God. In his fear, anxiety, and the uncertainty of the direction that he was to go, he submitted His will to God and went forward.

Today, we all have been facing fears, anxiety, uncertainty during the pandemic and wondering what direction we were and are to go in to remain healthy and stay safe.  We, like Joseph, have had to surrender our will to the God who knows all and sees all, and trust that we will emerge from the tomb of covid19 to a new life, one that has been transformed and renewed through the power of and love of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We are being called to go forward and live in the light of God’s love with the eyes of our heart and spirit focused on him and not on what the world has to offer.

 

For all Fathers who are striving to be the best father that they can be, I hope and pray that they seek the guidance of Saint Joseph as they seek to be their best self, the person that God created them to be and have the potential to become with their children, their spouse, their siblings, their God. As a Man and a Father, as a Grandfather, God Father, Uncle, Brother, these men have chosen to follow the example of Saint Joseph as they provide for their family and build up their family with the building blocks of love, patience, peace, joy, faith, humility, hope, trust, fidelity, respect, harmony, compassion and understanding. 

Saint Joseph leads us to Mary and Jesus. He protected, provided for, and embraced the love of God that he experienced through the love of Mary and Jesus.  We might not hear the message of God through the voice of an angel, and we might feel inadequate to do what He asks of us, but the reality is that He knows what we are capable of and He calls us to trust in His knowledge and direction that he chooses for us to go. I believe that Joseph may have felt inadequate to take on the responsibility to raise the Savior, the Son of God, the Holy One, yet he trusted in the God who called Him, and He went forward each time with that same trust.

As we reflect on Father’s Day, I composed rosary consisting of the events in Joseph’s life that made Him the man that God created Him to be and the example of true faith, trust, and hope that we all desire. I hope it helps as you desire to follow on the road that Saint Joseph walked, one that consisted of trust, faith, hope, understanding, inner peace and love, joy, and humility. He walked with Jesus, he carried Jesus, he raised Jesus. He was able to do so because he possessed selfless, unconditional, and eternal love for God, Mary, Jesus, and himself.

THE HOLY ROSARY

ACCORDING TO THE LIFE EVENTS OF

SAINT JOSEPH


 

  1. On the crucifix, make the sign of the cross and then pray the Apostles’ Creed.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven, and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified; died, and was buried. He descended into Hell; the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into Heaven, sits at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from thence He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

 

  1. On the next large bead, say the Our Father.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, Amen.

 

  1. On the following three small beads, pray three Hail Mary’s.

Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

 

  1. On the chain, pray the Glory Be.

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

 

  1. On the large beads, meditate on the mystery of Saint Joseph and pray the Our Father.

THE FIRST MYSTERY (the first large bead)

          The angel appears to Joseph and tells him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife. Pray for courage to follow God’s will in the face of difficulty.

Dear Saint Joseph, please help me to have courage and trust in God when the decisions that I need to make are difficult and contrary to what others expect of me. Please help me to believe and remain hopeful even when I do not understand the situation that I am facing, when all seems impossible to comprehend, and I need to surrender my will to God completely as you did. Saint Joseph, I know that you do understand and can help me. Thank you

.

THE SECOND MYSTERY (the second large bead)

          The angel appears again to Joseph and tells him to take Mary and flee to Bethlehem where she would give birth to Jesus. Pray to trust God as you go forward on your journey that may be filled with some uncertainty, doubt, or disbelief.

          Dear Saint Joseph, please help me to always be open to God’s will for me even if it means beginning anew so that I can better see God more clearly, follow God more nearly and love God more dearly. As you followed the angel’s command, you and Mary left the comforts of home, family, and friends and gave birth to Jesus in a foreign land, away from home and in the midst of strangers. In your obedience to God, you and Mary realized and lived out your trust in that you were not being abandoned but guided and protected. Help me to recognize and remember that even when I feel alone and cannot be with family or friends, that I have not been abandoned and that God is always with me.

 

THE THIRD MYSTERY (the third large bead)

          The angel appears to Joseph to tell him to leave Bethlehem and flee to Egypt to escape Herod who was trying to kill Jesus. Pray that God protect all life from conception to natural death.

          Dear Saint Joseph, please help me to see as God sees and not be afraid when life challenges get painfully difficult, hard decisions need to be made, and I become afraid, discouraged, and anxious. May I seek to recognize God’s action in my life and trust that in whatever way He calls me to follow Him, that I trust as you and Mary did in God’s divine providence and love as you courageously went forward to the unknown and uncertain.

 

THE FOURTH MYSTERY (the fourth large bead)

          The angel appears to Joseph and Mary and tells them that they can return to the Holy Land because Herod has died. Pray for the grace to have an attitude of gratitude especially when God’s action in your life is so evident and lifesaving.

Dear Saint Joseph, God’s plan for us is often different than what we planned, thought, or expected. Even when we do not understand, as His plan unfolds, we can see more clearly how He was guiding and protecting us.

          Help me to surrender my will to His as you and Mary did. As you listened and followed the Lord’s angel, may I listen and follow Him as the Holy Spirit and my guardian angel lead me, knowing that He will safely guide me to where it is that He wants me to be.

 

THE FIFTH MYSTERY (the fifth large bead)

          Joseph, Mary, and Jesus settle in Nazareth and Joseph teaches Jesus about the carpentry trade. Seek to better acknowledge and share the gifts and talents that God has uniquely blessed you with, and not hide them or diminish them.

          Dear Saint Joseph, help me to always be grateful and to show my gratitude to God for the many ways that He has blessed me and has made me a better person in light and in spite of life’s challenges, crisis, and distractions. God’s gift to me is being His beloved child and possessing eternal life with Him when my earthly journey is over. As I live and grow in my relationship to God, what I do, how I use my talents and gifts is my gift to God.  As Jesus’ foster father, you showed Jesus the gift and talent of being a good carpenter. You chose to share your gifts and talents and not hide them. May I learn from you that as I discover the talents and gifts that God has blessed me with, that are meant to be shared and not hidden, that make me become and want to be my best self, that I am cooperating with God’s plan love others and help them discover their best self as well.

At the conclusion of the five mysteries:

Recite the Prayer to Saint Joseph by Pope Francis

Saint Joseph, Hail Guardian of the Redeemer, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, to you God entrusted His only Son; in you Mary placed her trust, with you Christ became man.  Blessed Saint Joseph, to us too, show yourself, a father, and guide us in the path of life. Amen.

Recite the Hail Holy Queen

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of mercy, our life, our sweetness, and our hope. To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve, to thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us; and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus, O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.

Pray for us, O holy Mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

           O God, whose only begotten Son, by His life, death, and resurrection, has purchased for us the rewards of eternal life; grant we beseech Thee, that meditating upon these mysteries of the most holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph, we may imitate what they contain and obtain what they promise. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Glimpse of God for the week of June 13

Taking care of “self” during the summer.

 

Last week’s Glimpse was about summer and how we can best enjoy the season with much more enthusiasm, encouragement, and energy than last summer. Covid19/the pandemic has caused us to reexamine much of what we do, who we meet with and how we perform normal activities. This summer will be one that we can celebrate our independence from wearing the mask, minimal or no gathering with others, and many other restrictions. We will be able to gather with loved ones; we will be able to see people smile and we can go to various places knowing that we and others are vaccinated and a bit safer than we were this time last year. This summer, with the wisdom of God as our guide, we can look at the new normal and choose to adhere to it so that we can make our world a little safer and healthier. Although this summer will be different than any other, as we adapt to our new normal, it is in and through that difference that we can learn, grow, and be renewed as children of God, co-builders of His Kingdom and sojourners to our heavenly reward.

 

As we have walked through the pandemic these past 15 months, and are still walking in its midst today, the questions that I pose for personal reflection are not to be answered as if you were taking a test or writing an essay, but rather ones that make you think and want to explore deeper into their meaning for you and how that meaning may have changed or become clearer thee past 15 months. God is not looking for fancy words, a theological discussion or worst a dissertation, but rather your honesty as to how your brokenness has led you to healing, discouragement has been replaced with encouragement and support, injury has been replaced with reconciliation, and hope has triumphed over despair. God understands and listens to our silence, so do not be intimidated or afraid of the silent times. It is in the silence that you will hear the tiny whisper of His Spirit comforting, consoling, encouraging, healing and strengthening you.

 

Are we ready to emerge from our tomb and allow God to touch our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits with the refreshment of summer and all that it can include? Are we willing and able to walk with others who are just emerging from their tomb, waiting at the tomb, stuck in the tomb? Can we walk with them and be present to them as God invites them to live as a resurrection people too? Summer is for all. We all need to find rest in the Lord and with each other. Share your summer….Live your summer…..Enjoy your summer…

 

This week, as part of the last week glimpse, I am going to focus on each day’s reflection that I provided and expand on it. This week, we are looking at SELF. Reflect on just 3 questions. I pose many but not all for one time. Ask for that grace to recognize the questions that will allow you to delve deeper into your relationship with God so to come out your better self, the person that God created you to be and have the potential to become. As you answer those questions, you will see how the answers will enhance your relationship with God and others.

 

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?

 

During the pandemic this past year, how have I grown spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally? What does my personal and spiritual transformation look like? Can I identify it? And how has it changed me? Can I recognize the presence of God, the positive experiences that have risen from the tomb of the pandemic/Covid19? How has faith conquered my fears? And when have I allowed my fears to overshadow my faith? And finally, if the pandemic had not occurred, would I have been open to the transformation that I experienced, or would I have been reluctant, and closed minded?

 

As we reflect on summer and how it affords us the opportunity to enjoy life, family, and friends in new and different ways, let us reflect on hos God is inviting us to see him through the eyes of summer: bright and shining in our life, the warmth and penetrating presence of the Son, the rays of His warmth permeating to the very core of our being. The many faces of Christ that we see in all those we gather with, celebrate with, pray with, shop with, and even the stranger that we pass on the road, the sidewalk, in the store and on the shore.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of June 6, 2021

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 graduation parties, cookouts, and various other 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, unlike last year, we will finally be able to gather with our loved ones, celebrate joyful occasions and re-gathering with those we have not been able to see or hug, embrace, or visit with during the pandemic.  This summer we will have the opportunity to see the faces and smiles of those we love who have been vaccinated.  We will be able to see their expressions, those of peace, joy, happiness, stress, worry, anxiety, and pain.  By our ability to see their faces completely, we will be able to be more present to them and not just depend on what they say behind their mask, or instant message, tweet, text, or email. We will be able to see how the pandemic has been affecting them to this day.  We will be able to be present to others and others will want to be present to us. We have walked the pandemic road and now we come to a fork in the road. We can choose to live our new normal and accept the measures that will continue to keep us and our loved ones safe and healthy, or we can choose to return to the old ways that were not as safe or healthy and could lead us to getting sick or causing others to become sick. I choose to accept and live our new normal because that is what I believe God is calling me to do and in choosing to live a safe and healthier life, my hope is that others will choose to do the same. People can still be vaccinated; the vaccine is out there and available so that no one is without.

I want to be renewed and revitalized as I continue to grow in love with life and walk with those who want to choose to do the same. We will walk this road to our resurrection from the depths of the pandemic. We will rise from the many deaths to self that we have experienced and together we will be healed, strengthened, and renewed, to a new and whole self. If we need some hope, a reason to smile, courage to continue, a boost of energy so that we can place one foot in front of the other, we will have each other to remind us of where we have been, where we are now and where we want to go. God has your back! We got this!!!

Although this summer is the beginning of us collectively living our new normal, it is a new normal and one that we need to accept, adapt to, and live out. It is our new way of living that will make us a healthier people. It is a new normal that will keep us safe, healthy, and hopefully a wiser people.

So how do we enter this summer season? A summer that people have been anxiously waiting for, anticipating and excited about. What will your summer include? How will you celebrate the end of wearing a mask? Seeing your loved ones for the first time? Hugging your grandchildren again? Returning to work in person?  Shopping? Going to the beach? Attending weddings? Barbeques? Summer is a time to relax, settle into a different schedule, routine, or location. We can appreciate the gift that summer is and the gifts that God gives us through the season of summer.

The following reflection may have more meaning and significance than ever before. I believe that we need to look within and see God and how He has blessed, transformed, and strengthened us through these days and months of the pandemic. We need to have a grateful heart despite the challenges, struggles and difficulties that we have endured these past months because we have emerged from the tomb, we have endured the many forms of the pandemic passion and deaths. God invites us to renew our resolve to follow Him more nearly, love Him more dearly, and see Him more clearly each and every day, from this day forward.

We are a resurrection people. We have emerged from the trials and tribulations that Covid19 has placed before us. The Covid19 tomb has enveloped many with pain, anxiety, worry, fear, and yet as a resurrection people we can and will emerge with a renewed joy, enthusiasm for life, greater sense of appreciation for family, friends, personal encounters, hugs, embraces and smiles. We will also remember and lift up to God the many lives that have been cut short because of Covid19.  With the many little deaths that we have endured we will walk with others who are also emerging from their tomb.

Are we ready to emerge from our tomb and allow God to touch our hearts, minds, souls, and spirits with the refreshment of summer and all that it can include? Are we willing and able to walk with others who are just emerging from their tomb, waiting at the tomb, stuck in the tomb? Can we walk with them and be present to them as Gid invites them to live as a resurrection people too? Summer is for all. We all need to find rest in the Lord and with each other. Share your summer….Live your summer…..Enjoy your summer…

 

 

 

 

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 !!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR MEMORIAL DAY 2021

I would say that during these past 15 months, months overshadowed by the Corona Virus pandemic, many aspects of our daily living have changed. How we gather with family and friends, how we celebrate special events, how we spend our free time, all have taken on a new appearance.  During this past year, joyful celebrations like graduations, weddings, holiday gatherings, parades, as well as funerals, sacraments, and any social gatherings were placed on a back burner, postponed indefinitely, or cancelled, but now as we return to a new normal, some of these events are occurring and people can attend in person. I believe that there is a new hope. Since the pandemic began, many changes have taken place. A major effect of the pandemic was and continues to be time spent with others. Due to isolation or fear of getting sick, people have had to spend more time with those in their immediate household and have had to stay away from gathering with those outside their household. I have been told that the quality time that folks have spent together has brought them closer as a family, as a couple, as friends, as roommates. This gives me and many others a renewed hope, a renewed sense of going forward and a renewed desire and reason to stay healthy by accepting the new normal and making healthy and safe choices.

Although this Memorial Day will be celebrated a little differently than usual, the reason for remembering this day in a special way has not changed or lost its meaning, On Memorial Day we remember our Veterans, past and present who selflessly chose to serve their country so that others could enjoy what it means to be a free people, a people that do not have to live in fear but peace. As we grow farther away from the fear of getting covid 19 because we and our loved ones have received the vaccine, this Memorial Day will still be one that we will celebrate differently than the way we had hoped.  These past 15 months are days, weeks, and months that people of all ages, all social status, all education levels, all economic and political levels will remember with profound and transforming memories. The impact of Covid19 has challenged and effected all ages, from the youngest to the oldest, from the child in daycare to the parent in skilled nursing care, from the infant just born to the parent that just died.

            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 effects 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. There is HOPE.

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 health 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,

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

If you ask a Veteran if they ever expected to face such a war in their own back yard, in their families, their community, their nation and their world, I will venture to say they would not have. This is a war where men and woman 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 everyday lives.

With both combat and covid, 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 our Veterans with a greater determination to fight, live life with gratitude, and seek strength from each other, from our God, and from within especially when life’s cross gets heavy and seemingly unbearable.

As our Veterans did and continue to do, we seek the courage to fight when we feel we are without fight, we seek the strength to carry this cross when we feel fed up, we resolve to defeat the enemy and not be defeated by it so that we come out as victors and not victims.

 

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

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

Take each day this week to remember and pray for the Veterans who fought for us and for the front-line workers who are also fighting for us. As we begin to live our new normal, 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.

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 16, 2021

“To Break”

 

To break something seems like a negative action and it usually is unless you experience a Break Through in some difficult area of your life, or you Break Bread or share a meal with another. To break something, be it an object by accidently dropping it, or you break a person’s spirit by sharing gossip or saying cruel words that cannot be taken back, usually out of anger, or jealousy or as an act of revenge, all need to be repaired or healed in one way or another.

Objects once broken will either need to be repaired or will need to be discarded. Relationships can be repaired or healed, reconciliation can occur and hopefully the relationship will not be discarded or become estranged.

            God wants us to be whole. Once a relationship is broken and in need of healing, His grace is there for us if we desire to make amends and mend that which is broken.

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

            When we desire to repair relationships that are broken due to our harming of another by our words or actions, or because of the actions of another that have caused us injury, that is a response to God’s grace in our life. When we choose to mend or heal that which is broken, we are choosing to love others as God loves us and this begins with loving our self. When we can recognize that we have not been loving, or that others have not loved us, and we choose to heal that relationship, we see within our self, that we want to become our best self, the person that God created us to be, and that we have the potential to become.

This action is not easy and yet, as followers of Christ, we are called to forgive and when we truly follow Him, not just on an occasional trip, but throughout our earthly journey, we are trusting that He will grace us with His gifts so that we can be more loving and follow His lead as to how we are called to be the most loving that we can be. Relationships are not meant to be discarded as if they were insignificant or invisible. We are all God’s beloved sons and daughters, and as His children we are called to treat others with the respect and dignity. We are called to love others, we may not like them and when we realize that we can and should always pray for them and their good, and that God bless them because only HE knows their heart and ours better than we do our self. When we choose to hate, or not forgive or remain broken, we are choosing not to be healed but remain bitter and broken and this leads to a self-righteous, ego centered heart and spirit. God will not force His love or His mercy on us, He invites us to receive it and share it.

It is our choice. To break from God, to walk away, to suffer broken relationships, all cause deeper emotional pain, but unlike objects, we as humans cannot fix or repair these relationships. Without God’s grace, when we try to do it on our own, we tend to get frustrated by the lack of a desired response from another. So, we discard the relationship, and we walk away. When we walk away, we are not only walking away from the other, but from God, and we walk further away from living up to our potential to become our best self. When Jesus suffered and died for us, He did so that we can not only love others as we are loved by Him, but also to grow in a greater love of our self as seen though God’s love for us. As Jesus died on the cross, He asked His Father to forgive them for they know not what they do. We all sin, and I believe that we often do not think of the harm that we are causing another or our self.  We act out of our present experience and say or do something that injures another and breaks their spirit. Jesus has the spiritual repair kit; it includes the grace to desire mercy and forgiveness, a greater sense of compassion, a desire to be healed and become whole, a prayer for peace for all those who are broken in our lives, reconciliation with those who have caused us to become broken or those who we have caused injury to, and a spirit of gratitude for the graces that He gives us each and every day not to give up or give in to what seems insurmountable.

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

          To Break bread, to receive the Holy Eucharist at The Celebration of Mass, is the key and essential action that will lead us to healing and wholeness. Jesus repairs what is broken both through the Holy Eucharist and The Sacrament of Reconciliation. As we choose to be a resurrection people, a Eucharistic people, we are then becoming a more radiant light and rays of inner joy and peace, hope, healing, wholeness. Breaking bread together is an action that Jesus invites to partake of. We gather as sinners striving to become saints, and we leave as sinners strengthened to be more saintly.

          As you and I walk through another week, let us be mindful and pray for healing for all those who are experiencing brokenness in body, mind or spirit. As we pray for others, let us also pray that if we are experiencing any type of brokenness from the past or present, that we also seek God’s healing and not diminish it or discard the experience as nothing. Let us focus on what we need to do mend the brokenness around us and to recognize with greater clarity what we need to do to avoid breaking down others.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Glimpse of God for the week of May 9, 2021

Happy Mother’s Day to all

To all: Mothers: Grandmothers, God Mothers, Foster Mothers.  Mothers through Adoption, Blended Family Mothers, Fathers who serve the dual role of Mother and Father, Consecrated Religious Women and Men who exude the love of the Blessed Mother in all that they do and those they encounter, and woman who are preparing to give birth.

As we set aside this day to celebrate the gift of motherhood, we also want to recognize that every day, every second of each day, we should celebrate those who have been like a mother to us. We should, and want to remember, in a special way those who have gone before us, our mothers, grandmothers, and others who have exuded the charism and qualities of Mary, our Mother, to us so that we can become our best self, the person that God created us to be so that we can be a radiant reflection of Her Son Jesus to others.

I am sure that as we all have prayed the Hail Mary, we often envisioned the encounter of Mary and Elizabeth. As Elizabeth approached Mary, she uttered the words that bless God through Mary, the Hail Mary.

As you honor Mary on this Mother’s Day, have you ever thought of how she honors you through the Hail Mary?

Here is how I think she honors you, you as mother, grandmother, God mother, foster mother, blended family mother, adoptive family mother, father fulfilling both roles, siblings that take on the responsibility of raising their siblings due to an absent mother, and those who choose religious life and radiate the love of Mary and their love for Mary to all they encounter.

I hope that this reflection brings you to a deeper relationship with Mary and a better understanding of how you echo her YES by your surrender, trust and love for God and her Son Jesus. Mary loves, honors, and hails you as you follow Jesus Her Son, walk with Her, and love God with your whole heart, mind, spirit, and soul.

 

Hail Mary: We honor Mary as we approach her in prayer. How does she honor us? As we recite these two noticeably short words, we are honoring, recognizing, and blessing God’s action through her. She in turns honors and recognizes God’s action through us. She sees and wants to let us know that she is present in our prayer to her, but also, she recognizes in our actions how we try to reflect her Yes in our Yes, to radiate the presence of Her Son as we strive to be His body, His witness, His love to others.

 

Full of Grace: we are full of the grace of God. That grace we received at our baptism and continue to receive through the Sacraments of the Church.  Mary wants to remind us that we never are empty of God’s grace, that He is always ready to shower us with His grace whenever we approach Him and ask for it. Full of Grace, means that we are not half empty although there are times when we think we are, God doesn’t do anything halfway. We might think that we are short on grace, but God’s graces are abounding and overflowing, we just need to open the eyes of our heart and mind, spirit, and soul so that we can recognize them as God chooses to reveal them to us.

 

 

The Lord is with you: Although Mary was the first living tabernacle, the tabernacle where the Son of God chose to dwell, the living Christ, we as members of the Body of Christ, who choose to receive Him in the Holy Eucharist, are also living tabernacles for Christ and where He chooses to dwell. Christ dwells within us. As we receive Him as we partake of the Body of Christ, we are consuming His very being into our very being, into the very core of who we are.

Our identity as Christ’s followers, as God’s beloved sons and daughters, as builders of the Kingdom of God here one earth, as Mary’s children entrusted by Christ to her care and love,

is recognized, strengthened, and blessed as we choose to witness to that presence within us to those outside of us.

 

Blessed are you among women; Mary was blessed beyond any other woman that God has brought forth from the womb. She was conceived without sin, chosen to be the Mother of our Divine Savior and endured the sorrow of his passion and death. She was blessed with the grace of God to endure, persevere, and overcome the challenges that they devil presented. These challenges or temptations could have taken the form of doubt, despair, discouragement, bitterness, resentment, and indifference, but she chose to believe in her God and His promise that He would never forsake her or abandon her and live her Yes in complete surrender and trust.

Many of us, both mothers and fathers, recognize the presence and blessings of God in our lives. Mary wants us to know that we too are blessed by God. He hears our prayers and gives us the answers that we need to hear when we need to hear them, they may not be the answers that we want to hear, but they are what is best for us. Mary was chosen to be the Mother of our Savior when God saw the time as best. We are not being called to be the mother or father of the Son of God, but we are called to bear witness to the Son of God in and through our lives, we are called to share our knowledge of Christ with others, we are called to stand up for what we believe especially when it is difficult, and we try to carry our crosses and face our life’s struggles and challenges. As we face the many temptations of the devil that may come in the form of despair, discouragement, revenge, bitterness, indifference, we can overcome them by remembering that our yes and Mary’s Yes were made in trust knowing that God will never abandon us or forsake us.

 

And blessed is the fruit of your Womb, Jesus: Mary gave birth to Jesus and blessed was she. The womb of Mary, the place where God chose to dwell in Mary. A woman’s womb is a place, a home, where God chooses to dwell each time she conceives a child. Many women do not conceive. What we conceive in the womb is what God calls the gift of life. Yet we are all called to be life giving, to be the breath of life, to share the life of Christ with others. We are all called to respect the dignity of human life from conception to natural death. Mary’s womb was the first to bring forth the Savior, yet His birth through her, allows us to give birth to His presence to others by how we live, the example we lead by, and the love that we show for and share with others.

 

 

 

Holy Mary, Mother of God: Mary’s love, dwells within each of us. She is our Mother, and her love is unconditional, eternal and a sign of Jesus’ presence as she cares for us, intercedes for us, prays for us, and brings us closer to her Son as she knows we want to be. Mary is the Mother of God, but we are all called to be Mother to those in whose face we are called to see God; the poor, the homeless, the forgotten, the addicted, the estranged, those we dislike and those who may hate us.

 

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Mary is always praying for us and with us. We can and are called to pray for others as well. We are all sinners striving to become saints. Christ died for all. You and I are not exempt from His mercy, grace, peace, reconciliation, and compassion. Mary wants us to realize that as she intercedes for us to Jesus, we are asked to pray for her intercession for others. Praying for others is a selfless act. As we lift others up in prayer, we are placing our prayer and needs after theirs. Mary was selfless and as we pray for others, we too are following her example of selflessness and love. As we walk with others in and out of love, who are approaching the doors of heaven, we should want to pray for them that the doors of God’s mercy are open, and they can walk into His loving and warm embrace. As we approach Mary to be with us and our loved ones at the hour of death, we too can ask for her to be with those who may not have anyone to pray for them, who may die alone, who may die at the hands of others, who will suffer to death,  who we might not like but are called to love, who may have caused us harm or injury, or who have made us feel like we were dead, invisible or unloved.

 

AMEN: I believe. I profess and believe in the love and power of God as witnessed by Mary. I want to recognize, with greater clarity, how I am being called to witness His presence in my life each day.

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of April 25, 2021

The spirituality of “a bag”

This week’s Glimpse of God comes as a suggestion from Sister Elizabeth Novak, OSF a Sister at Assisi House, the retirement home for the Sisters of Saint Francis. She suggested that I write on “bags” and the various types of bags that we use.  So, we came up with 7 types of bags and I will attempt to describe the spirituality of each bag,(as I have been inspired to do because I haven’t studied bags to know any more than you probably do), and how God draws us closer to Himself through by the various types of bags that we use, and by what we place in our bags or choose to take out of our bags. Wish me luck... The 7 types of bags that we chose are: handbag, trash bag, cosmetic bag, tool bag, shopping bag, carryon bag, and lunch bag.

Before I begin this glimpse, I thought that I would provide the definition of bag according to Marriam Webster, and it is “A container made of flexible material with an opening at the top, used for carrying things” so how is a bag a Glimpse of God? Why would God use a bag to reveal Himself? And can a bag become an instrument for us to recognize, with greater clarity, how God is choosing to reveal Himself by what we put in our bags or leave out of our bags?

So, as I think of the definition of a bag, I try to think of myself as a vessel and not a container. Our Blessed Mother bears the title Spiritual Vessel and for me to emulate her means that I am to be spiritually minded which in short means to see things with faith and to live by faith. As a vessel, I also think of myself as an instrument that God has created so that HE can fill me with His graces and as I am filled, I then choose to share those graces by being a person of compassion, mercy, love, peace, joy and understanding towards others. As a vessel, and an instrument of God’s in building up His Kingdom here on earth, I hope to flexible and open at the top (an open mind) as I choose to undergo personal transformation and conversion so that I can be my best self, the person that God created me to be, and I have the potential to become. Being flexible means not having a closed heart or mind, but one that is open to receive His graces and so that they can expand and allow me to do His will and be a more loving person. And as God’s vessel, wanting to be more flexible and open at the top, I realize that this involves both carrying my cross and helping other to carry theirs.

God uses our ability and desire to embrace His will and not discard it. As we enter another week let us try to imagine what our day would be if we went bagless and chose not to have our bags filled by God, or we chose to walk around with an empty bag or with a bag with a hole in it.

 

SUNDAY – “B” handbag

A handbag; hand - means that we choose to carry it and bag - which means those things that women choose to carry must have some significance or importance to them. A handbag for some women can hold everything from their cosmetics to the proverbial kitchen sink. I think that the only restriction that women have when they fill their handbag, is that they must be able to carry it or they will need to start taking things out before it is damaged. I believe what women place in their handbag are those items that they feel are important and that they need throughout the day whether at work, running errands, at school or just our and about. This can range from their cell phone, their cosmetic bag, their glasses, their keys, tissues, a brush or comb, a pen and paper, and other significant items. (Since I do not carry a handbag, I can’t quite fill in the blanks as to what the items may be…sorry…) If I were to begin to fill a handbag, and as a Glimpse of God, I would ask myself how is a handbag a Glimpse of God, what would God want me to place in my handbag and what would He want me to leave out? Are what we think as important and necessary the same or different?

If I think about a handbag in the spiritual sense and what it is used for, the first question is; are the items that I think are important and what I want to carry with me going to enable me to grow closer to God on my spiritual journey or prevent me from walking closer with God on my journey? If I were to ask God what He would want me to place in my handbag, remembering that He would not ask me to carry anything that was too heavy or that I could not handle properly, would I be open to His suggestions or reluctant?

What are some of the items that a woman of faith; a sinner striving to become a saint, a person that wants to be her best self, a person that wants to exude her colors of love? One item might be her cell phone because that keeps her in touch with others (especially during this pandemic where isolation and personal touch is limited) who are isolated and anxious and where a phone call shows that someone cares and the voice on the other end confirms that they are not alone. Keys to her home and car would be in the bag so that she is not locked out from the home where love dwells and the car that allows her to run errands of mercy and love, a friendly visit, volunteering, or work to support her family. God never wants us to feel that we are locked out from His love, mercy, or compassion. Because of His deep and unconditional love for us, we can never say or do anything that will make Him love us less or lock us out and away from His presence. If we have the keys to our home, the keys of faith, trust, respect, hope, love, compassion, and surrender, we can never lock our self out or be locked out because with those keys, the lock can never be jammed stuck. The keys to our car allow us to drive and perform acts of love and mercy, support, and necessity so that we can continue to do our work as His followers and be Kingdom builders here on earth. A hairbrush or comb, with God’s sense of humor He knows that most women would not be happy if we got out of the car or the house and our hair was a mess or one hair was out of place, so to laugh with us, a brush or comb would be included. Tissues would be a good item for the moments that we share with others who are grieving and need a tissue to wipe the tears, or when we are caught up in a sad or joyful memory of a loved one who has gone before us in faith, or when we have had a stressful day and crying is  the only good relief that we can think of, or when we suffer from allergies or a cold and do not want to look gross after we sneeze because our nose is running and we can’t catch it. God never wants us to be ashamed of what we have no control over, so when we have a cold or suffer from allergies, tissues would be his gift so that we can continue to do our work and not feel so embarrassed that we lose our self-confidence and want to run and hide. Another item would be reading or prescription glasses. We need to have a good view of the road before us, ahead of us, behind us, as well as the surroundings all around us. Glasses help us to have a clear vision of what we are surrounded by: people, roads, books, steps, and other things that we encounter as we place one foot in front of the other. Now as we wear glasses, either prescription because our vision is not that great or reading because we cannot see the words clearly, we choose to wear them because we want to see better and not get hurt when we fail to recognize what is ahead of us, be it the road, the steps, or the person. God chooses to have us put glasses in our handbag so that we can see Him more clearly in our self and in others. When we are able to recognize His presence in others and in our self, we can see better how He, as our loving creator, has called us and loved us into becoming a clear and brighter reflection of His presence to all those we encounter as well as they are to us.

Although glasses are placed on our eyes to help our vision, the glasses that God places on the eyes of our heart and mind are those that improve our vision and expand our thoughts; compassion, mercy, love, peace, joy, and understanding. They also assist us in our personal and spiritual transformation as they help us see our self better as we move forward on our journey from  where we were to where God has brought us today.

So, I have listed some of the items that I think God would want us to include in our handbag. The question to those who carry a handbag is, are they any different than what you carry now? Can you see them in a different, spiritual light as you choose to carry them in your handbag?

 

MONDAY – “A” shopping bag

A shopping bag, either plastic or paper, is one that we fill when we go shopping of essential items at the grocery store. For some shoppers, there is often the desire to get a lot and then try to carry it in the least number of bags possible. For instance, when we shop at the grocery store, with our mental or physical list in hand or head, we usually go for the food items first, fresh or frozen, the items that we need to prepare meals, put in the school lunches, snack on, the healthy or the not so healthy, then we proceed to the personal care items, and then the other items such as pet supplies, cleaning supplies, and the like. We know what we need, and we think that we can get it all at once. So, we go from aisle to the aisle placing them in the cart and when we think that we have everything on our list, we go to the checkout.

When we get to the check out and are ready to pay, we are either expecting the amount or surprised at the amount. The question is; as we look at the spirituality of the shopping bag and if God were to look inside our bag, would we be ready to put things back if He asked us to or not? Are the items in our bag going to make us a healthier person? A healthier family member? And make healthier family members? As we look with God, into our bag, would He be surprised at what He sees, not that He does not know everything even what we shop for, but would we see the look of surprise in His eyes as He peered into the shopping bag? As we shop and want to grow spiritually, God is wondering if our items are going to make us a better person physically so that we can become a spiritually healthy person as well? Will they help us maintain a healthy weight so that we can continue to walk with Him and others and keep one foot in front of the other vs having to stay seated and look from the sidelines? Are the foods that we chose to put in our shopping bag junk foods where we send our body into a flux where we cannot concentrate because our sugar, sodium and other levels are all askew, and thus making prayer, speaking to and listening to God speak to us, more difficult? Are they going to help us as we seek the strength to undergo spiritual and personal transformation and need to surrender those things that are keeping us from becoming our best self?

 

TUESDAY – “G” cosmetic bag

This bag may consist of those items to make a women’s facial presentation look healthy, brighter and a show a welcoming face vs one that looks sickly or drawn. Cosmetics allow women to dress up their face so that they feel good about how they look and can go forward with a better self-esteem and worth. In their bag there might be make up for the eyes, lips, and cheeks as well as other stuff.

Let us begin to uncover the spiritual making of eye makeup. I am not a makeup artist, so this is my best inspiration for this reflection. As a woman, I believe that what we put on our eyes for people to see, comes from our heart that only God sees. How we feel, how we choose to love, represents the beauty of our heart and the gift of God’s grace within. When women place eye shadow or liner on their eyes, they are placing the color of love of their eyes that is inspired from their heart. As they use bright or non-bright colors, it can be an attempt to show how they are feeling or how they want to best express themselves. As they see with the eyes of their heart, with the eyes of God, how they desire to show the love, mercy, and the compassion of God to others, they show it on their eyes that others do see. Lip stick or gloss can be how women want the breath of life that they speak to be with color, and with the shining radiance of the Son of God. As disciples of Christ, do we not want our words to be heard, and our message to be listened to? As Christ’s disciples, should not the words that come forth from our lips be words that build up others? As builders of the Kingdom of God, do we not want to and are we not able to articulate His message with joy and the joyful colors that are at our disposal? Cheeks, the color of our cheeks can show that we are healthy and happy. They can be pale or red, drawn, or full, yet no matter what they look like, in or out of our control, we can still choose to place some color on them and be God’s messenger with humility, and without reserve. SO, what if you do not wear any makeup, does that mean that you are not God’s messenger? No. I think that it means God has chosen you in your present state or situation to face the world naturally and take the grace that He has given you from within and bring it forth with the colors of love that you want so much to share. The colors of love that you possess that come forth from you naturally is all that God needs and desires from you to proclaim His kingdom here on earth. Make up allows one to bring that which might be reserved or uncertain to come forth with a greater certainty and hope.

 

WEDNESDAY – “L” tool bag

A tool bag, a bag that would consist of tools that most men would need as they worked to either repair something or make something. I like to think of a tool bag as the bag that parents create for their children as they grow that is filled with the essential tools they need to become caring, loving, respectful, faithful, law abiding adults in society. Tools that will enable them to become their best self, the person that God created them to be, and have the potential to become.  For this reflection, I would like to combine both the tools given by a parent, as listed above, to their children as well as what a person might put in a tool bag.

Some tools in a tool bag might be a hammer, screwdriver, tape measure, pencil, wrench, nails, and screws. What is the spirituality of a hammer? Just as a parent wants their child to grow and become their best self, I believe that some parents felt as if they had to hammer their values, morals, rules, and directions into their child’s head just so that they wouldn’t or couldn’t forget them. And at some other point, they realized that this process was not the best way to instill the truth, significance and importance of their values or morals, rules, or directions. Children accepted them though out of love, and ignorance and did not want to feel guilty if they did not. Is that what God wants us to do? Should we hammer away at someone to get them to accept what we say or think, out of fear or guilt, or pound away at how unworthy we are of God’s love and totally missing the gift of the unconditional love of Christ as HE died on the cross for us and for our salvation? God does not do that with us, nor does He want us to do that with others. We cannot pound our ideas or faith into another’s head or heart, they must be open to receive them. We can gently speak them, but not force them upon another.

A screwdriver helps to loosen or tighten screws so that something does not fall apart. What are our spiritual screws?  What does God give us so that we do not fall apart, where we do not have a screw lose or a too tight? I believe that our screw drivers are the Sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist, Reconciliation, and Anointing of the Sick. These Sacraments help us when we fall into sin and are unable to get a grip on our choices so that we can stop. They also help us to be reconciled to God when we choose to acknowledge our sinfulness before Him and want to change and start over. The screwdriver is a tool that God can use that allows us to be tightened in our resolve to be our best self, and to be loosened when we fall into guilt, shame, low self-worth, discouragement, despair, or self-pity. When we fall into so much negativity, it is because we have allowed our thoughts, our judgment of our self, and our understanding and love of God, to go all over. In that distraction or deception, we are not able to ground our self. We flounder and go whatever direction the wind leads and not the direction that God lead us.

God’s does not use a tape measure to measure the amount of our mistakes, or our sins or the times that we have failed to be our best self or treat others as we want to be treated. God’s tape measure would be used to show us the endless amount of mercy and compassion that He has for us, the unconditional love that He not only has for us but has shown us through the death of Jesus on the cross. He would use it to show and remind us of the love that we have demonstrated for Him by the love that we have shown for others, especially those who have hurt or injured us. God’s tape measure does not have numbers on it, but it is marked in the increments and the acts of love, peace, joy, happiness, mercy, compassion, understanding, reconciliation, and truth, that you have performed with humility and trust in Him. There is no end……

 

THURSDAY – “E” carryon bag

The carryon bag, that which we bring with us when we travel and need to have when we get to our destination. In that bag there could be items like our daily medications, cell phone, computer, important documents, clothing, work items, or a music player. These items we place on the carryon bag because we know that there is a possibility that the luggage can get lost.

As aggravating and as much of a hassle that could be, we feel that the items that we place in our carryon are those things that we cannot afford to lose or be separated from. A sense of security, personal worth, and our emotional and physical energy level would all be diminished if we had to go through the stress and frustration of having our carryon bag lost or stolen. So, what is the spirituality of the carryon bag? Let me ask that in another way…if you were boarding a plane knowing that this could be your last flight, what would God want you to have with you as you prepared for your earthly journey to end, and your heavenly journey was just about to begin? What items would He think you would need to carry on in preparation of seeing Him face to face?

I think that God would put a cell phone on your bag so that you could call your loved ones and with the peace and courage that possess you and let them know that you are not afraid but ready to meet Him face to face. The Word of God in the form of a letter that  and one has given you reminding you of their love, the Word of God that you carry in the form of spiritual reading, the voice of God that you listen to in your choice of reflective and meditative music, the comfy clothing that you wear as you sit in His company in prayer at home, photos of  your loved ones that have touched your life and whose life you have been an integral part of, and rosaries to unite yourself with our Blessed Mother as she walks with you on your journey to meet her Son.

I do not think that hotel reservations or itineraries are necessary since God has your reservation to Hotel Heaven, and your itinerary is in His hands.

 

FRIDAY – “S” lunch bag

Take a break. It is time for lunch. What is in your lunch bag? Lunch is the meal that one partakes of in the middle of the day while at work, school, home, or away. It is an essential meal if one is to keep up their strength throughout the day until they get home for the dinner meal. As one takes a lunch bag, this is usually not a big bag, but one that can be used to place essential items like a sandwich, a drink, a snack, a piece of fruit and maybe a piece of candy. What could God want to do with a lunch bag, what could the spirituality of a lunch bag look like? Lunch is an essential meal that one partakes of to maintain energy and strength until the next meal. If that is the case then, what we place in our lunch bag should be nutritious and good for our health. Our spiritual lunch bag is that bag that we fill when we need to be strengthened during the day so that we can keep going. Strengthened as we face the daily stresses of raising a family, working, ill health of parent or self, loved ones or spouse, financial worries, broken relationships, or other forces that rob us of our energy and our spiritual focus. What does God want to give us so that we can maintain our spiritual focus and live a healthy life? We have Jesus as our bread of Life so when we need to be energized, strengthened, and renewed, the Holy Eucharist is our bread of life and His precious blood is our spiritual drink. Our snack is that which we can partake of as a treat to remind us that we are not lost in the stresses of life, just possibly sidetracked and our snack will again renew us to that we can go forward or make a

u-turn back to God. What is our snack? Personal prayer, random acts of love and kindness as shown by our words and deeds, a smile to another who is struggling to carry their cross, a word of mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation, or a request for mercy, and to be reconciled. These snacks are not easy to digest, they may be sour or hard to swallow, but once they permeate our being, they are sweet to our souls.

 

SATURDAY _ “S” trash bag

It has been along week and we have focused on various bags a lot. The trash bag, a bag that we use to dispose of those things that we think or believe are trash and we do not need or want to recycle. In our spiritual journey and after our weekly reflections, there are probably some thoughts, ideas, personal views, or understandings, that we might need to discard of if we are sincere about spiritual and personal transformation, and our desire to grow nearer to our Lord and God. Are any of those items, ideas, thoughts, personal views or judgements rising from what we place or placed in our handbag, shopping bag, cosmetic bag, tool bag, carryon bag, or lunch bag? Can you ask God to go through your various bags and remove those items that He knows that you do not need and are not best for you, and place them in the trash bag? As you do, do so with respect, care, and reverence because although you might not need them now, they have been an essential part of you spiritual and personal growth and maturity, and although not necessary anymore, they were important to you at some point. God will discard them in the best what that He can.

Glimpse of God for the week of April 18, 2021

 

For many of us coming to Disney World in Orlando has been and continues to be an opportunity to grow down, be a big kid and enjoy oneself.  As you know from many of my previous glimpses, John and I like to visit Orlando on a regular basis.

We have just returned from Orlando and this experience was quite different than any other. As like previous visits, we stayed at the Shades of Green, the military hotel right in the center of Orlando. At the Shades of Green hotel, there is not a need that goes unmet, and it is a place that we are treated as royalty. (I believe that since those who stay there have all sacrificed: service people, spouses, and families they deserve to be treated as royalty.)  We began our day by attending daily Mass at Corpus Christ Church in Celebration Florida, and then we would go about our day with whatever activity we had planned. In our past visits and stays in Orlando, as we would go about the day either driving, walking in the parks, or just walking around the hotel, there were always lots of folks walking around and Disney buses to take one from one park to the other. When we would visit the parks, the crowds were unbelievable and many. The monorail would be filled with tourists wanting to go from one park to the other. The lines to the ticket windows, the transportation center, the safety stops, and various rides or attractions were always exceptionally long.  On the highway there would always be as many as twenty buses passing us as we would travel to our destination. 

The pandemic has changed Orlando and the people who visit it. Many things have been eliminated or temporarily put on hold.  You need reservations to get into the parks, even with tickets, you cannot just show up at the park without a reservation. Only two of the monorails were being used, the buses were running on a minimal and revised schedule, the hotels were not at full capacity, and some had closed, in our hotel, cleaning the rooms was only done by request, we had to clean the rest room and sitting area. Amid all the changes, we

were able to make reservations for Epcot. And as Disney does all things thoroughly, from the time we entered the park to the time we left, we felt as if was the safest place to be. The crowds were amazing yet cooperative as temps were taken, masks were being worn and folks did their best to stay socially distant from each other.

SO… how is this a Glimpse of God? Where is God amid Orlando’s pandemic experience? As I recognized how Disney went from having more to having less, it parallels how when we are called to spiritual transformation, we are being called to go from having more to having less.

From a humanity sense of wealth to a spiritual poverty. I believe that spiritual and personal transformation occurs when we accept God’s invitation to let go and surrender to Him those things: objects, past hurts, needless baggage, unnecessary cares and worries, and the guilt that emerges from our sinfulness, trusting in Him to fill our hearts and hands with what He knows we need for our spiritual health and wellbeing, so that healing and wholeness can occur. Spiritual and personal Transformation is an invitation to rid ourselves of what is binding us and inhibiting us from being free: free to love Him more dearly, follow Him more nearly, see Him more clearly and serve Him more sincerely.

Orlando is where dreams come true. It is another way to see how it is the place where God’s dream for us can come true. Our dream and God ‘s dream for us is to be united where our will be His will and that we surrender those things that keep our wills apart. As we let go or leave behind the unnecessary, we can take on the necessary because we are able to recognize what we need to be our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.  When we take on all the unnecessary stuff, we lose sight of what is really required that which God wants us to have so that we can unite our will to His. Growing down is an invitation to become more childlike and not childish.

A big Glimpse of God was seen in all the measures that were taken from the moment that we stepped in the hotel hallway, the time spent in the park, our returning on the bus, and the folks that we passed as walked around Orlando.  God was coming through by and in the selfless and humble examples set by parents, staff, and visitors.

A more clear and radiant Glimpse of God came in and through the priests and parishioners at Corpus Christi parish in Celebration Florida where we attended daily Mass. Corpus Christi, which means Body of Christ, parish in Celebration is no coincidence.  As followers of Christ during this easter season, we should want to celebrate being the Body of Christ as did the early Christians even amid persecution. At Mass we receive what we are: The Body of Christ and we are called to be the Body of Christ in all that we say and do, in our thoughts and attitudes, by our actions and in our prayers. We are called to serve as Christ did, from those close to us in our family, community, church, the elderly, sick, and addicted to the those farther off: the poor, the homeless, the forgotten. Corpus Christ parish is a parish where they take this call, this mission to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth, very seriously.

 

In this parish, we had the joy of attending Mass celebrated by Father Tom Waldon.  From the moment that Father entered the Church to the time he left after Mass was over, he exuded a what seemed to be a deep and genuine joy for his vocation, his call to servanthood and celebrating Mass. When he celebrated Mass, he prayed the Mass and did not just go through the words. His smile was not a fake smile, but one that indicated a deep and genuine joy from within of being a priest, a servant of God. I believe that it also came from his personal faith life and relationship with God that confirms his identity as God’s beloved son, loved unconditionally, His greatest creation, and confirmation that he is striving be his best self, the person that God created him to be and has the potential to become.

When we serve Christ yet as members of the Body of Christ, we serve each other. What does that look like? Do we put on an apron, grab a pen and paper, and take orders? Do we want the order to be simple and quick so that we can go about our business? For some the answer may be yes, but for others, those who are experiencing transformation, the answer might be “not today”. It may have been “Yes” yesterday when life challenges and my cross was heavy, but today, I want to be a true servant and meet God through others as He invites me to. I want to delve deeper into my relationship with God and learn where I need to let go so that I can be filled with His graces to carry out my call to serve and be the Body of Christ. As we allow God to work within us, our call to servanthood will be a call to humility and not recognition.  We might not put on an apron, unless we are serving meals to the poor and homeless, we might not need a pad and pen, unless we are writing down the prayers and needs  of those we encounter, it might not be drive thru but walk in as we pray and are present to those who are mourning, suffering or addicted and need to be listened to, it may not carry out with a quick answer so that we can move on to the next person, but rather a dine in as one chooses to  come in and make the decision to follow yet a decision that is  made with uncertainty and they are looking for affirmation, encouragement and support.

We are all called to be servant to be the Body of Christ. from the young child who assists around the house and helps their parents, to the sibling that helps the younger children with their homework as they struggle to understand it, to the young adult who realizes that one is being bullied by peers, to the grandparent who shares their story with their grandchildren to that they gain a bigger sense of their family’s identity.

We are all called and can be servants as we all strive to be build up God’s kingdom here on earth. For me, as a member of the Body of Christ, servant does not mean slave but a devoted and helpful follower.

So as we all begin a new week, let us seek to recognize how we have been called to serve and in our service how we have been transformed to a greater image and reflection of God’s presence here on earth.

 

SUNDAY - “S” SELFLESS Vs SELFISH

When you serve others, do you give of yourself without cost or do you serve to get something in return. Being selfless means allowing God to work through you to those He places on your path trusting in Him with the encounter. It means being true to yourself and to God and being open and willing to give what God asks knowing and trusting that He will give you the graces that you need to give what is necessary. Being selfish means wanting more for yourself and giving less to God and those you encounter.

A prayer for today: Lord, please help me to be more selfless and less selfish.

 

MONDAY - “E” EMBRACE Vs ESTRANGE

Being a servant before God, being the Body of Christ can often mean encountering someone that has caused us harm by their words, deeds, or actions. When we are given these moments, we can choose to embrace them with the grace of God and be merciful and compassionate, or we can choose to be bitter and hold a grudge. Remembering that how we choose to treat others is how we will be treated. Do you choose to embrace the lost and forgive them or do you choose to turn away from them, tear them down and estrange them from others?

A prayer for today: Lord, help me to embrace those who have hurt me so that there are less wounded people in the world where I may not be one.

 

TUESDAY - “R” REVERENCE Vs RESENTMENT

As a servant and as follower of Christ, we are called to treat all people with respect and dignity, because we all God’s beloved children, created in His image and likeness. So as servant you will encounter those who seem to have it all and where you want some of what they have. Can you, do you, reverence who you are as God’s beloved son or daughter, loved unconditionally, His greatest creation, knowing that it does not depend on your physical looks, the amount of wealth that you have acquired or your education level? That your success and social status mean nothing before God who sees all of His children with the eyes of compassion, mercy and love and not through the eyes of humanity that sees the amount of one’s possessions, education level and wealth as a gauge of success?

A prayer for today: Lord, help me to better recognize and reverence you in myself and not resent others.

 

WEDNESDAY - “V” VICTORY Vs VICTIM

We are all victorious as a resurrection people, as easter people, as believers and followers of Christ. We have emerged from our Good Friday tomb to the light and radiance of the risen Christ. As a servant do we want to emerge from our tomb as victors over bitterness, anger, envy, sin, jealousy, or do we want to stay in our tomb so that we can remain bitter, hold a grudge, be unforgiving and not seek God’s light guiding us to a newness of life? Will we stay as victim to whatever binds us, or do we want to emerge and be free so that we can walk humbly before God, renewed, reconciled, and rejuvenated? As followers of Christ and as His servants, there are times when we have been a victim and felt defeated, yet there are also times when we have chosen to conquer and not be defeated.

A prayer for today: Lord, help me to recognize and celebrate my victories, our victories.

 

THURSDAY - “A” AFFIRM Vs AFFRONT

As a servant we encounter many people that we affirm while there are others that we turn away from and find fault with. As servants we are called to love others. It is easy to affirm those we like, those that like us, and those we know well. How easy is it to affirm someone that thinks differently than we do, or is mor educated than we are or whose social status is higher than ours, after all what affirmation do they need? What can we say or do to affirm them? When it all said and done, we can have all the possessions that money can buy and be the most popular person but if we do not believe that our true identity lies in being God’s beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation, all the other fluff means nothing. We can lose, forfeit, and be robbed of the fluff, but we can never lose, forfeit or be robbed of God’s love for us.

A prayer for today: Lord, help me to affirm others today and not affront them.

 

FRIDAY - “N” NECESSARY Vs NEEDLESS

As a servant and follower of Christ, there are times when we take on the unnecessary out of fear and insecurity. There are times when we do not trust God’s Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us, so we fill our encounters with words and more words that are unnecessary and empty.  Saint Francis said to proclaim the gospel and if necessary, use words. They will know we are Christians by our love…we all know or remember hearing that song, but do we take it to heart? Being a servant, undergoing spiritual transformation, involves ridding ourselves of the needless so that we can embrace the necessary. Only each person can determine what is necessary as to what is needless.

A prayer for today: Lord, help me to shed the needless so that I can better recognize what you know to be necessary for my personal and spiritual health and wellbeing.

 

SATURDAY - “T” TRUSTING Vs TIMIDITY

It has been a long week where personal and spiritual transformation has been occurring. Can you approach Sunday worship, receiving Jesus in Word and Sacrament, trusting in His love and mercy, knowing that you have done your best and that you are sorry for the times that you have fallen short of your best? God invites you to come before Him so that He can grace you with His presence so that you can go forth and continue to be His follower and humble servant.

A prayer for today: Lord, give me the courage to say Yes to your will and do not let me remain in any way timid or afraid.

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of April 11, 2021

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

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

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

What causes us to not see the resurrected Jesus in our life and in the face and life of others especially during this last year of the pandemic? How have we been preventing from seeing Jesus during the isolation, frustration, anxiety, and uncertainty that the pandemic has caused within us? As we have walked, tried to run, crawled, and stumbled through these last 13 months, are we able to recognize where Jesus was and is, and how we are blessed by His presence in the unique and new ways that He has revealed Himself? The disciples were prevented from recognizing Jesus for various reasons. We are prevented from recognizing Jesus for many reasons as well. Sometimes when we are afraid, caught off guard, surprised in a painful way, we are not able to open the eyes of our heart and mind to seeing Christ as He is in these moments. What else prevents us from recognizing Jesus? it the pain or separation that comes from the physical death of a loved one? is it our woundedness where we need to be healed, and made whole? is it the death of a relationship through separation, divorce, disagreement? is it the death of an ideal? of a dream?  is it anger, loneliness, or fear? We are prevented from seeing the risen Jesus in the faces and lives of others when we cannot see past the pain of our cross, our own personal suffering, whether it is spiritual, emotiona,l or physical.

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

I believe that our anger, our sorrow, our weariness at what we are coping with can prevent us from seeing the Risen Christ and experiencing the resurrections in our life that Jesus has in store. You cannot have a Good Friday without a Resurrection Sunday. They go together. Jesus' first words to His followers who stood in disbelief were "Peace be with you!" He didn't reprimand them for not recognizing Him because he knew their hearts and how much they loved Him, but yet how they were filled with so many other emotions. The resurrection experiences in our life come in the forms of peace, joy, happiness, reconciliation, healing, compassion, mercy, understanding and a renewed desire to be the best person that God created us to be despite our crosses and the challenges that they bring. 

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

When Jesus saw Mary Magdalene, she at first was unable to recognize Him as Her Lord and Teacher. He saw through her fear and instead of causing more pain for her, He touched her heart because He knew the depth of her love for Him. He brought that 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 to you.

 

SUNDAY - "T" – Thanksgiving

Are you thankful for the gift of Jesus' passion, death and resurrection that gives you your personal resurrections? Through Jesus' passion, death and resurrection you have someone that knows your pain, your suffering and your confusion and can help you as you carry your cross. He blesses you with His peace, joy, and happiness here on earth, so that you can move forward and recognize your resurrections and rejoice in them.

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 cannot be empathetic if you want to hold others back and think yourself as better than them. Recognizing the risen Christ and the resurrection experiences in your life means that you have the heart of Christ and the desire to expand it so that Jesus can fill it with His presence in the way that He chooses to reveal it.

 

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 hope of reconciliation, renewal, and reconnection.  

THURSDAY - "H" - Honor

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

FRIDAY - "E" - Embrace

Do you go towards Jesus as He holds out His arms to embrace you or do you run from His embrace? What brings you towards Christ so that you can be embraced by Him? Is it your desire to say thank you and talk to Him about what you are experiencing in your life? Is it because you want to be healed and you realize that only he can heal your woundedness in whatever form it is taking? 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?

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of April 4, 2021

The Spirituality of the Easter Basket

 

Happy Easter Sunday!!! Christ has risen from the tomb and He invites us to rise from our tombs as well. The Easter season has begun, and we have 50 days until the Feast of Pentecost Sunday to relish in the joy, peace, and amazement of the great promise of Christ’s resurrection, and if we are still enough, in our mini resurrections as well. Pentecost Sunday: the birth of the Church as the risen Jesus filled Mary and the Disciples with His Holy Spirit.  This Easter season we will continue to celebrate our new birth especially as more people receive the Covid 19 vaccine, more restrictions due to the Virus are 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 some 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.

I realize that many people may not have had the experience of receiving an Easter basket, or even making one up for those they love, so 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. This is my inspiration and I hope that it helps you to look at the Easter basket with new eyes.

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, and is always 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 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 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 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 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 brings 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 and healing?

 

THURSDAY – THE CANDY FILLED EASTER EGGS

As we come forth 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 He 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 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 amid 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 that He wants 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 becoming a vessel for God to fill you and heal you in ways that you could never imagine or believe?

                   

 

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 28, 2021

A continuation of the Lenten reflections:

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.

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

If during this holy week, as lent gradually comes to an end, and you journey into the days of the Sacred Triduum, you find yourself asking, “How have I grown in my relationship to Christ, or how have I been a reflection of His presence in my life to others”? As you look back and recall how you found yourself helping others and giving of your time, talent, and compassion, and mercy, know that your desire is in response to God’s grace, so trust in God and believe that you are closer to Him than you think.

We measure our progress and that of others with human expectations and limitations, but God looks into the very heart that He created and sees its width, its depth, its woundedness, its potential and fills it with His compassion, His mercy, His peace and His grace so that we can be the best loving person that we can be. You are what He wants you to be, for you can be nothing less. What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love, what you become is your gift to God.

This week that we call Holy is an invitation by God the Father to draw nearer to Himself and His Son Jesus. It is through Jesus’ suffering of His passion and death that we are made stronger to suffer our passions and deaths so that we can emerge from our tomb with a renewed hope, sense of self, healed and whole. This week we can all become a little bit more holy, a little bit more open, a little bit more Christ like if we choose to humble ourselves and recognize that not only did Christ endure all that HE did for you and me in and out of love, but that He would do it again. Yet HE does it again, repeatedly, every time we participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacraments of the Church. Through these great gifts and in His great love He continually comes to us to feed us, heal us, strengthen us, make us whole and remind us that we are His beloved children and that HE died for us. He died not because we are saints, but that we are sinners striving to become saints. That we are sinners who are striving to be the best person that we can be, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become. As He reassures, affirms, confirms, and validates that gift of unconditional and eternal love in and though these special gifts, these special invitations, these special graces, He beckons us to come to receive them so that we can emerge from our tombs with a renewed sense of self, hope and wholeness.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of March 21, 2021

A continuation of the Lenten reflections.

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.

Don’t be busy just for the sake of being busy, or to run from anything.

Lent is a time to listen as God tells you what is most important to Him,

and that He wants you to know, believe and trust in.

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,

that there is nothing that you can say or do, no sin, that will make Him love you less,

and that His love for you is free, unconditional, and everlasting.

 

As we enter a new week; a new week of our Lenten journey, the first week of spring, the week of vaccines given to many in need and still many in want, the vaccine that is bringing forth a renewed hope as we look to life and living in our new normal, new life as we look outside to flowers in bloom, trees with leaves, birds in the air, beautiful blue sky, more day light and sun shine, but most importantly the beauty and the love of the Son of God’s love shining over us and filling us with His hope, peace, joy, and courage as we choose to carry our cross and live each day trusting and surrendering to Him.

So, as I offer this week’s reflection, I place them in your hands and in your prayer. Take each day and choose to be still and listen to God and not be busy just for the sake of being busy. Listen intently as God tells you how loved and beloved you are to Him and what that means. His message is as individual and unique as you are, and although He loves us all unconditionally as His greatest creation, how He wants to show you His love, how He wants to confirm and affirm your response to His love, and how He wants to strengthen you in His love, is His message to you and to you alone. He wants to speak to your heart and mind like no other so be ready for the great message and surprise that He has in store for you.

 

SUNDAY – ‘‘B’’ Believe

Do you believe that you are God’s beloved son or daughter and that He loves you unconditionally, freely, without measure, and without cost? If so, do you are you able to share that message with others especially those who do not believe or know God’s love in their life?

If not, why not? What holds you back from wanting to proclaim this good news? Fear, uncertainty, lack of trust or knowledge, confrontation, laziness, weariness, if any of these are prohibiting you from letting others know that they are God’s beloved as much as you and I are, look to the cross and seek the graces from Christ who had all of your fears, weaknesses, lack ofs…., nailed to the cross because He knows your heart better than you do yourself.

Ask to go beyond and outside of yourself to proclaim His message of love in a time where so many need to hear it most.

If you do not believe in the love that God has for you, can you take this time during these remaining days in lent to be still so that you can listen with your heart to exactly what God is trying to tell you, and just maybe, you are now ready to receive and embrace the message because your heart and mind are more open to Him?

It takes one to be SILENT to LISTEN.

MONDAY – ‘‘E’’ Embrace

Embrace your cross and do not flee from it…easy to say but not so easy to do, right? As we face our crosses each day and attempt to carry them with all our strength and courage, they sometimes get the best of us, and we want to just leave them alone, avoid looking at them, deny that they are what they are, and even getting angry that they are exactly what they are: too heavy, too unbearable, and too hard to imagine carrying. YET Christ could have done the same thing and if He chose to deny, look away or abandon His cross, where would we be today? LOST, ALONE, WITHOUT HOPE, THE SACRAMENTS OF THE CHURCH AND THE PROMISE OF ETERNAL LIFE.

My first book, Shopping for a Lighter Cross(available on Amazon or by me), looks at life and how through the good and challenging times, I was given, as we all are, the graces to overcome the negative events, situation, people, or circumstances, and choose not to be defeated by them, but to become conquerors and resolve not to allow anyone or anything to them defeat our mind, heart, or spirit again. We are all given crosses to carry, and this pandemic has given many a heavier cross than they had prior to, the cross of isolation, fear, anxiety, depression, discouragement, doubt, and despair, but in all these new emotions, God wants us to embrace them and not run from them. He knows our hearts and what exactly is filling them, and He needs us to be honest with Him so that He can touch and heal us, give us hope, and courage and strengthen us so that we can move forward and not stay stuck, or go backward.

What part of God’s message do you embrace and what are you far from embracing?

The cross that you run from is the cross for which you will eventually run towards.

 

TUESDAY – ‘’S’’ Stimulate

As you reflected on believing on Monday, God wants to go one step further with you.

Believe what you profess and profess what you believe. If you believe that God loves you as His beloved, and greatest creation and you allow that truth to permeate your very being from the top of your head to the tip of your toes, how would anyone know?

As you choose to listen more intently to God and His message of love for you, look to see if it arouses you, stirs in you an excitement, a renewed sense of self, a sense of new life, new beginning and if it does, are you motivated to share that new life with those you encounter?

They will know we are Christians by our love…..we all know that song, but do we live it?

Love is meant to be shared, not boxed, and if we are recipients of God’s great love, which we are, then we are called, commissioned an expected to share it. If you and I are stirred in the graces and love of Christ’s love for us as shown from the cross, then it should flow from us to others. How do we share it? Ask God. He will tell you how He wants you to share it in correlation to how blessed you are with it and who needs to experience it most from you. If could be a family member, a friend, someone living in fear and isolation due to the pandemic, a coworker who is financially struggling, a sick relative, an estranged family member, a stranger. God will reveal to you how you can be a great instrument of His peace, love, and hope to another. Look at it as a stimulus check……

 

WEDNESDAY – ‘’T’’ Trust

To trust, what does that mean to us and once we define it, how do we show that trust in God, others, or ourselves? If trust means to believe, confide in, hope in, and depend on, then in one way there are many that we say we trust. As children we are called to trust in our parents, siblings, family members and other adults. As we grow into adults, we learn to trust in spouses, coworkers, the Church, peers, friends, and community members.

Yet we all know, or unfortunately have experienced, a betrayal in trust from those we placed our trust in, and that has been and can be a very painful eye awakening life experience. YET there is a God whose trust has never been broken, whose promises have always been kept and whose love is always there to heal and bring about wholeness when humanity has betrayed our trust.

So, as you continue to walk on your Lenten journey, as hard as this may be for you to do, think about one person that has betrayed your trust, or whose trust you have betrayed, and seek God’s grace so that you can also seek mercy for them and from them.

Our Lenten journey can be a great journey of personal and spiritual transformation, conversion, and renewal if we allow it to be. With that, there is a great need for trust, surrender and courage to face those things that hinder us from truly experiencing God’s mercy so that we can be transformed and renewed. As we recognize that we are hindered, we also often recognize the source of that hindrance, be it a person, event, or circumstance.

So today, seek to be unhindered…seek to let go and be free. Seek to trust in God that now is the time to be merciful and seek mercy, trust and not be afraid, and choose to live life not hide from it. It takes courage to not be afraid and it takes trust to believe in your courage.

 

THURSDAY – ‘‘I’’ Inspire

To inspire: (my definition) to bring about the love, light and gift of God’s Holy Spirit as it is revealed to you to another by your presence, words, example, silence, attitude, mercy, compassion, peace, deep abiding sense of happiness and joy, and your wonderful gift of self.

This is a simple yet most difficult question for your reflection today. Who do you inspire and who inspires you? Who has been a source of inspiration to you throughout your life, in the good and challenging times, when you felt alone and without a sense of purpose, when you just needed to hear from another? Who looks to you for inspiration, and there are those that do, and what have you offered them that they continue to seek it from you?

God calls one to a spirit of humility to realize that they are inspired, and He inspires one to recognize true humility.

 

FRIDAY – ‘‘L’’ – Listen (A previous reflection that I think works well for today)

SILENT

Both of these words use the exact same letters, but in different order.....

It takes the silent to hear and listen to the voice of God in the depths of your heart.

Is your heart able to be silent so as to listen to God's gentle voice, or is your heart filled with the noises around you that you can neither listen or be silent?

Perhaps today you can be silent so that you can listen to what God wants so much to tell you...

that He loves you and even amid the noises He still knows your heart and hears your prayers.

LISTEN

SATURDAY – ‘’L’’ – Learn

We call learn from many different sources: from our life experiences, our mistakes, our sins, each other, children can learn from their parents and guardians, and parents can learn from their children, spouses and siblings can learn from each other, students can learn from their teachers and teachers can learn from their students, we can all learn from each other if we are open to and choose to. It requires humility to listen and learn. We can think that we know it all and are in control, but it doesn’t take long for us to realize the deception that those untruths lead to, pride, big ego, selfishness, self-centeredness, and loneliness. That is not what God wants for us so knowing our hearts as only He does, God places in our life those that can plant a message or seed of knowledge that can help us to grow and become our best self, the person that God created us to be and have the potential to become.

So, as you have come to the end another week in preparation for Holy Week, I have one simple prayer reflection: God has given you a packet of seeds, seeds of knowledge, humility, selflessness, peace, mutual respect, trust, belief, stimulation, encouragement, inspiration, silence, and freedom, who would you give seeds to and what seeds would you keep? Remember that both serve as a reminder of God’s desire for you to grow into your best self, and how you have helped others to also grow into their best self. What seeds do you want to grow more with and in and who might need a seed of hope in the form of encouragement….

A seed planted in great love grows greater love.

 

 

 

 

LENT IS A TIME TO:

GLIMPSE OF GOD FOR THE WEEK OF MARCH 14, 2021

A continuation on the Lenten reflections…

FORGIVE and not to be bitter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He forgives us and we are called to forgive our self so that we can truly forgive another. If we fail to forgive ourselves, we make God a liar, His truth has no room in our heart, and we stand as a hypocrite. Christ died on the cross, but before that, He suffered His cruel and bitter passion. He suffered and died for our sins, all of ours, all of humankind, not just the other persons. If He chose, and He did, to endure all of that so that we can experience His mercy, love, compassion, and reconciliation, who are we to discount or deny that same love, mercy, compassion, and reconciliation when it comes to our sins? Yet we do….when we say that God can’t or won’t forgive us, or that we are unlovable because of what we said or did, then we close the door of our heart to God and we dwell in  the negativity and falsities that the devil wants us to choose so that we walk away from God and not towards Him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

A continuation of the Lenten reflections:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SUNDAY – “T” Trusting

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

 

MONDAY – “O” Other centered

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

 

TUESDAY – “W” Without reserve

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

 

WEDNESDAY – “A” Accepting

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

 

THURSDAY – “R” Reverent

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

 

FRIDAY – “D” Determined

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

 

SATURDAY – “S” Selfless

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

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week fo February 28, 2021

 

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

this week

STRETCH OURSELVES: our imaginations, our minds, our spiritual comfort zone, and our hearts. We need to stretch so that we can see ourselves accomplishing and overcoming the hardest challenges that face us, but we think will defeat us. We need to allow God to stretch that which is set and confined so that HE can reset, reform, and reshape us into His image.

 

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

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

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

So, as we stretch our spiritual comfort zone, and are stretched beyond our imaginings, has the act of stretching made you a better witness to Christ, are you being transformed by the act of stretching, and do you, can you recognize that as you stretch your spiritual comfort zone, it is an opportunity for you to invite God in so that He can fill you with His many graces and blessings? As you have been expanded, transformed and reformed into a better reflection of His presence, love, compassion and mercy, are you grateful to be stretched? Or do you want to return to being cramped, in a stooped position and so relaxed that you do not want to grow or experience personal and spiritual transformation?

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

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

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

Is it your psychological life where you feel drained from the pandemic and its restrictions? Has isolation, depression, discouragement, lack of hope, fear, and anxiety permeated the core of your being and you do not know how to properly cope so that you can move forward?

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

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

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

SUNDAY – “S” – be stretched with inner strength

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

MONDAY – “T” – be stretched with trust

            Today I hope to grow in trust as I am stretched….

TUESDAY – “R” – be stretched with resolve

            Today I resolve to be…..

WEDNESDAY – “E” – be stretched with empathy

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

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

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

FRIDAY – “C” be stretched with compassion

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

SATURDAY – “H” be stretched with happiness

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

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of February 21, 2021

Happy first weekend of lent. This week, for many, has been a week filled with challenges, tragedies, and tribulations as well as triumphs, accomplishments, and rejoicings. As we entered another week of the pandemic, many people were able to receive the vaccine, and many are scheduled to receive it, yet there are still many that have not been able to be scheduled and we need to pray that they get it as soon as possible, so that our new normal can lead us to be a safer and healthier people.

Lent is a time to look to Christ as we carry our cross. He carried it first and although we may think ours is too heavy, too much, and too difficult, I believe that as we look to Him for His gift of grace, guidance, and gratitude, we will not only carry our cross, but we will see how much stronger a person we can become and have become because of it and be thankful that we did not quit and was not defeated by it.

 

Last week’s glimpse was titled Lent is a Time to and I listed several concepts or ideas that I thought Lent could be more about. I tried to expand on how we can grow in our relationship with God and others as we strived to become our better self, the person that God created us to be and that we have the potential to become.

This week and through lent, the glimpses will expand on those concepts with the reflection coming from you. I hope they help as you grow in your relationship with God through acts prayer, penance, and self-denial, so that your heart can become more like Jesus’.

Acts of prayer which can include prayers for peace, pardon, and hope, (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,….), acts of penance which invite us to be more  humble, merciful and reconciled, (….forgive me my trespasses as I have forgiven those who have trespassed against me….) acts of self- denial, Lent is a fitting time for self-denial; we would do well to ask ourselves what we can give up in order to help and enrich others by our own poverty. so that our heart can be more like Christ. Make our hearts like yours (Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus). In this way we will receive a heart which is strong, compassionate, and merciful, one that focuses on the good and seeks not to destroy, dismantle, or discourage another who walks with us on our earthly journey as a brother or sister, a sinner striving to become a saint. We will gain a heart which is not closed, but expanded and open to the transformative love and graces of God.

LENT IS A TIME TO:

SURRENDER those things that keep us from being the person that God has created us to be, and keep us from becoming the person that He knows we can be, those things that are standing in the way of our seeing Christ more clearly in our self and in others, in life’s challenges and in our crosses.

LENT IS NOT A TIME TO GIVE UP and think that we cannot do what God knows we can and invites us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will.

SUNDAY – In the spiritual sense, what does it mean to you to surrender? Does it mean having a gun of guilt pointed at you, or a wielding knife of fear that you surrender or throw your hands up and give up to that which is making you so afraid?  When God asks us to surrender to Him, he is not asking that of us to control us or make us frightened of Him, but to give of ourselves; our will, our desires and our sins so that we can experience personal and spiritual transformation. To give of our weaknesses, our need to control, our ego, our sins, so that HE can transform us into a better and more vivid reflection of His love, presence, and peace to all those we encounter. When we surrender, we do not throw up our hands in defeat we open our hands in prayer and petition, pardon and peace. We open our hands so that He can fill them with his graces and blessings and then with hands wide open, we can then share those graces and blessings with others.

 

MONDAY – What are you being called to surrender to God so that you can become your best self, your better self? Is it a personal grudge? News of a physical illness? Death of a relationship? Broken dreams? Self-centeredness? What do you think your life would be like if you were to surrender these? Have you become so comfortable in your grief, self-righteous anger, justification of hate or bitterness, that if you were to surrender, God would leave you empty? Or rather, could you imagine that He would and is waiting to fill you with the graces of peace, pardon, love, compassion, mercy, so that you can experience true inner peace and freedom? More importantly God wants you to recognize the truth that you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally, that you are His greatest creation and that there is nothing that you can say or do that can make Him love you less. His love is perfect.

 

TUESDAY - Does surrender mean becoming a more authentic and genuine person? What are your dreams for your self before God? To be your best self? More authentic, less worldly? If you were to ask God for the grace to recognize one aspect that is keeping you from becoming a more authentic self, what do you think He would show you? If you can place that aspect before Him in prayer now, can you recognize that He is already transforming you and inviting you to become your better and more authentic self?

 

WEDNESDAY – Is surrendering to God like surrendering to humanity? Who has your best interest at heart? Can you surrender to both and be in accord with God’s will and desire for you? Think back when you were called to surrender your will for the will of another, what did it feel like? Have you grown from that experience? Did you surrender to your parents? Parents to your children? Religious superior? The Church? Your spouse? Your employment desires? Your relationships? Your friends? In any of these relationships, were you called to give up your will or need to be in control, say the last word, not be the center of attention, let another shine, listen to another who was grieving? To forgive one who has harmed you instead of returning bitterness for bitterness?  Was compassionate to one who had vengeance in store?

Surrendering our will is not about giving up on our self or shrinking to the point that we feel invisible, but rather seeking to not only becoming our best self but helping others to become their best self so that together we can continue to build up the Kingdom of God here on earth one prayer, one act of mercy, one act of kindness at a time.

 

THURSDAY - Lent is not a time to give up. Does giving up mean you have been defeated? Conquered? Non victorious in your fight to avoid despair, discouragement, and sin? During lent you might find yourself saying that you are going to give up chocolate, sweets, cursing…. If these resolutions are going to bring you closer to God and to His Son, if they are going to unite you to the passion and death of Jesus, if you can recognize that Christ died for you and if you were going to give up something, it should draw you closer to that reality and that it your reality not just everyone else’s, then this is something worth giving up.

If what you give up is not drawing you to a deeper invitation to conversion, personal transformation, and spiritual renewal, then what good is it?

 

FRIDAY – Fridays during Lent we are invited to recall Jesus’ road to Calvary as we meditate on the Stations of the Cross. As you reflect on the stations of the cross, look at one station that reflects your faith journey this week and pray with it. For instance, you may have experienced feeling condemned falsely by another who was jealous and angry at you, or you may have been a Simon of Cyrene as you helped another carry their heavy cross and choosing not to talk about yours, or you may have been there with Mary in sorrow and yet not without hope, or with Jesus as He fell not once but three times, recalling how you had a weak week and prayed for the grace to be stronger. Each station invites us to relate to the event so that we can draw strength, not discouragement, from Christ as we journey our road to Calvary. Invite Mary and the many other cast of characters to be with you as you recall how they comforted, consoled, wept over Jesus and how when you weep over your sins you are uniting their experience with yours out of and in love for Christ.

 

SATURDAY - LENT IS NOT A TIME TO GIVE UP and think that we cannot do what God knows we can and invites us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will. Do you believe this?  How has this come to fruition this week for you? When you look in the mirror, do you see a more authentic and genuine self? If you do not please take comfort and strength in the reality and truth that not only does God see your better self-emerging, but He has, and continues to, love you through that transformation and eagerly awaits a new day with you for it to continue. 

 

 

 

 

FALLING IN LOVE:  A REFLECTION FOR VALENTINE’S DAY

The unexpected act of falling.....in love?

LORD

When did we fall in love with you?

Was it at our birth when we fell/came forth from the womb

into the arms of the doctor and nurse

and then was embraced by mom and dad?

The gift of life, the gift of love was, is precious,

 more precious than we ever expected or imagined,

it was a miracle.

Our first vision of our falling IN love was when you gave us our first breath of life,

it was your love given in and through life.

 

Was it when we were growing up and fell at the cross,

where the pain of our sinfulness

met the glance of your unconditional love, compassion, and mercy?

Where and when we fell in sorrow for the recognition of not just our sinfulness

but for the first time we realized beyond words, your great love and awesome care for us.

 

It is now Lord as we lay down our burdens, our stresses, our pain, our pandemic anxieties,

our anger and the ache of alienation.

Have we fallen in LOVE with you?

YES! we have.

We have unexpectedly been brought low, drawn down so that we can only look up

and be lifted by you and each other.

And that is not all bad because as we recognize we have fallen,

we know that it is in LOVE...

LOVE FOR YOU LORD, OUR GOD AND REDEEMER, LOVE FOR OUR FAITH, LOVE FOR EACH OTHER,

LOVE FOR OUR SELF, LOVE FOR OUR VOCATION,

LOVE FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST AS SEEN AND SOMETIMES UNSEEN IIN OTHERS,

LOVE FOR OUR PERSON OF SELF: PRIEST, BROTHER, DEACON, FATHER, MOTHER,

WIFE, SISTER, FRIEND, GRANDPARENT, UNCLE AND THE STRANGER.

Love for being considered your disciple and being counted among the persecuted,

and the blessed.

LORD...FALLING IN LOVE..

The gift, not the disgrace, of seeing the place where we all walk as Holy ground

and being so close that we can only raise our eyes,

take your hand and be raised with you to the new an unexpected vision you have in store for us.

 

LORD, have we, Have I, fallen in LOVE with you? Again?

I hope so, and I pray that I continue to fall in love,

and not fall into the temptation to hold onto anger, impatience, bitterness, or frustration.

because it is in the falling in love

that I know you will lift me up and walk with me. again....

 LENT IS A TIME TO:

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

 

STRETCH OURSELVES: our imaginations, our minds, our spiritual comfort zone, and our hearts. We need to stretch so that we can see ourselves accomplishing and overcoming the hardest challenges that face us, but we think will defeat us. We need to allow God to stretch that which is set and confined so that HE can reset, reform, and reshape us into His image.  

 

LOVE ourselves and others, especially those who do not like us,

and we really do not like, but we are called to LOVE

and to HATE those things that take us away from God and make us want to be more self-centered and selfish instead of being more Christ centered and self-less.

 

FORGIVE and not to be bitter. We are called to forgive ourselves and others, and not hold on to the past of bad choices, deep hurts, and poor decisions. Only in true forgiveness can we experience genuine and lasting freedom so that we can be the beacon of Christ’s mercy, love, and compassion,

for our self and to others. "Forgive them for they know not what they do”.

 

BE STILL so that you can feel the gentle breeze of God’s Spirit as He touches your heart,

and opens it to His healing love, peace, 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.

 

LOOK OUT THE WINDOW and see and appreciate His presence in all 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.

 

BUT IT 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. 

 

AND AS YOUR LENTEN JOURNEY CONTINUES, 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 31, 2021 and February 7th

This week’s Glimpse of God comes as a challenge from Sister Elizabeth Novak, OSF, a retired Sister of Saint Francis, that resides at Assisi House in Aston. She suggested that I write on

Transportation, and the various modes that we use to get from one place to another. I then realized that I had to ask the questions of how are our modes of transportation a Glimpse of God, and what is the spirituality of transportation, is there one? I believe that there is, and it can be clear to some and a cloudy for others. This is not a bad thing. The spirituality comes when we can recognize the presence of God the various and many ways that He can and does choose to reveal Himself. These revelations can be quite surprising and awesome.

The seven types that we decided to expand on are: Feet, Bus, Bike (2-wheeler not motor), Plane, (747 not puddle jumper), Boat (sailboat), Train and Car.

Since there is so much spirituality in the Car, I have made a separate week of reflections for next week.  

This is one of my hardest Glimpses to translate into a spirituality, or to show how God reveals Himself to us as we use these various modes of transportation to go from one place to another, from one destination to another. I hope and pray that what I share is sufficient for you to see how you are responding to His grace as you move forward on and in your spiritual journey. As you walk on God’s holy ground, that which we call earth, to your eternal reward in heaven, whether that destination be in feet, on the road, on the waters or in the sky, on two wheels or four, or on tracks, God travels with you and when you are in a jam or need roadside assistance, God calls on His AAA service (Army of Angelic Assistance).

Yet, as I reflect on this idea, it comes to me that when we place one foot in front of the other, I believe that we are already responding to God’s grace to go forward and not get stuck, to move onward and not go backward, to risk and trust and not be afraid. Even if we are called to use a form of assistance such as a cane, a walker, or a wheelchair, we still choose to place our feet on the ground and go froward. As we have taken and continue to take these various modes of transportation that have been made available to us, our time spent on them can and will continue to be a time to encounter God as He reveals Himself.  

Be open, enjoy the ride or walk, and allow God to speak to you heart as He travels with, alongside, ahead and behind you, He has got you covered. God calls, draws, and invites us to a deeper relationship with Him in through the instruments of His creation that can be very surprising and transformative. These instruments of revelation can be through others, the animals, creatures, and landscape that make up the canvas of His creation, circumstances, situations, objects, and even words.   All of these are God’s channels of grace, and He invites us to use them so that we can encounter Him in a different and deeper way. As we travel God calls us to expand our horizons and be open to the new and glorious.

As God knows our heart better than we know it our self, He knows what we truly need and what will sustain us as we walk on our journey of faith and self-discovery. As God revealed Himself to Mary and Joseph through the Angel, to trust and walk-in faith, He calls us to do the same.  How we move, slow or fast, balanced, or unbalanced, with assistance or alone, in the air or on the water, on the tracks or on the open road, does not matter to God, He just wants to be open and allow Him to speak to our hearts and draw us closer to Himself.

 

So, as you begin a new week, one that may have a big canvas of snow to behold, (although a sled is not one of the instruments that I am including here), just take a moment to remember when you took the open hills with your sled or have watched others sledding, how God spoke to your heart and the freeing experience that sledding provides.  

 

SUNDAY – “OUR TWO FEET” - where we can arrive at our destination at our own pace. We can take big or little strides and as we do, we can absorb the beauty that we are given the grace to behold. We walk by faith and not by sight.

When we first awake in the morning or as we go through our day, we often find ourselves getting up on our feet and walking: whether it be going to the restroom, to our desk, to another room in the house or outside, we get there by placing one foot in front of the other and preferably at our own pace and not at the pace set by another person. There are also those of us who need assistance of a cane, walker, or wheelchair with our walking, but that does not diminish who we are or invitation to walk in the direction that God is pointing out to us.

God speaks to our heart and when we listen and respond, we are in union with Him as we strive to do His will. When we awake and place one foot in front of the other, we are placing our trust in Him in that the pace we set is His pace, and the places that we go are directed by Him for His purpose and to glorify Him. As we get up throughout the day, we rise to move towards something or someone, some event or situation.  I believe that as we move towards these, we move inspired to do so, we do not aimlessly walk around in circles.

As you are called to visit someone, go to work, make a phone call, or whatever draws you to place one foot in front of the other, ask God to guide your footsteps so that you do not stumble into sin or weakness by stepping on another by your words, actions, or attitude, or running (figuratively) past another to embarrass or diminish their self-worth,  that you do not stop and go backwards out of fear of laziness, that you do not judge yourself to be lazy because you have to use a form of assistance, but rather see that form of assistance as God’s gift to you so that you can continue to be his witness to those you encounter in their weakness and fragility. Use your footsteps as a channel of God’s peace in that you walk in mercy and extend compassion as you encounter another who is stuck, wanting to go backwards, go off the beat and path or just give up. Choose to walk with those whose journey and cross is heavy so that they experience the presence of God with them in you and through your patience, love, empathy and sincerity, know and recognize that they too are walking in the direction that God is pointing out to them.

 

MONDAY – A BUS – a channel of transportation where we are called to wait and are at the mercy of its schedule, traffic jams, bad weather and canceled routes.

Being on a bus affords us the opportunity to encounter others as we travel to our destination with them. Amid Covid19, there is not a lot of conversations with or being able to see the facial expressions of those on the bus, but this does not eliminate the possibility to recognize the gift of God’s grace in the riding experience. Waiting for a bus, in all types of weather, puts us at the mercy of the bus driver, the other commuters, cancellations and schedule changes.

As with our spiritual life, God is the driver and there are times when He changes our schedule to show us that where we think we need to be and where we truly need to be are different. He shows us how and when we need to be present to another, this can become an unexpected schedule change but a spiritually fulfilling one.

God gets us out of our spiritual traffic jams when He sees that we are trying to fulfill and accomplish much, but it is our will and not His. When our spiritual life, our prayer, our desire to be in union with Him gets jammed up, we become frustrated and fall into spiritual dryness or burnout. This is a jam, and by His grace He has us get off the bus so that we can get a better picture of what lies ahead. Being on a bus reminds us of the great mercy, patience, and compassion that God has for us in that we are called to travel with others who are, or might be, experiencing the same spiritual dilemmas or joys that we are. He can choose to place us on the seat next to them or to stand by them, in any case we are placed where God can bring us to see His presence in and through the ride.

 

TUESDAY – 2-WHEELER BIKE – a channel of transportation that provides a sense of freedom yet one must abide by the rules of the road, a sense of independence and a healthy choice to go from one destination to another.

We can remember our first bicycle, it was probably a four-wheeler and when we were ready, our parents took off the training wheels and we went off riding the two wheels, with great pride and a sense of growth and accomplishment. Our parents had to let go and allow us to ride ahead, with the possibility and reality that we could fall but with great hope that we would choose to get right back up and go forward. Our parents showed us how to ride a bike safely, the safety material that we were to wear, and how we were to share the road and respect those on the sidewalks and roads.

God chose our 2-wheeler when He saw how we had matured in our faith and relationship with Him. The two-wheels could be faith and self-discovery or conversion and transformation, where you have built up strength and they would drive your desire to grow and mature in your faith. The training wheels could have been trust, courage, patience, perseverance, or whatever it took you to finally feel as if you could move forward in His will, His plan for you and your desire to serve Him, that you believed that HE has called you and that you are His beloved child. He has been training us and guiding us, but He has let go and knows that we desire to choose His will as we ride the road of life, He has given us a free will and this allows us to make our choices and trust that we will go forward with Him having our back, and if we fall, He would be there to pick us up and get us back on the road without giving up. Riding the road with God on the two-wheeler gives us a freedom and sense of individuality. We are God’s beloved children created in His likeness and image and all unique. God has called us to be our best self, the person that He created us to be and have the potential to become. Riding the bike shows us that we choose Him freely and without constraint. We know He is always with us, but in our freedom to choose Him and His will, we choose to show that we are His followers, trusting in Him that HE has our back and that when we fall, He will lift us up and give us the push that we need to go forward.

 

WEDNESDAY – A PLANE – a channel of transportation that one takes with a great deal of faith: faith in its safety, the smart and healthy choices of others, and your ability to overcome the fear of the air yet traveling on a plane can provide a sense of comfort, solitude, support, and good company.

When we get on a plane after all the security measures have been taken, we often find ourselves exhausted and we think as we get into our seat, we can finally rest,

yet for many that is not the case. Often people get on a plane afraid, insecure, alone, and anxious and these feelings can arise for many reasons.

Often people board planes to go on vacation, to see family, for work, for joyful celebrations like weddings and for a brief escape because of a good flight deal, but in all of these scenarios, once one boards a plane, a certain amount of trust and courage has to offset any fear, and an inner peace has to offset the outside discord. When people on a plane are going to a family or loved one’s funeral, they either don’t want to talk to anyone because they want to be in their grief, or they want to talk about their loved one and share their great memories with a stranger so that the person is remembered in another way by someone else. When one is going on a vacation,

they talk about where they are going and how they are anticipating their time away to relax, rejuvenate and be renewed. In many cases people are hidden behind their technology and avoid eye or speech contact with anyone. BUT in all of these scenarios, God is there amid the feelings of pain, joy, grief, anxiety, fear, or loneliness that accompanies every person on the plane. God is in the air, on the ground, next to and along side of you as you go from one spot to the other, as you place one foot in front of the other, and as you seek to be the presence of God to another. The prayer that I often think is meant for folks on a plane is the prayer of Saint Francis because it embraces al that is within us as we go on a plane, the feelings that we board with, that we anticipate and that we want to let go of:  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, discord…unity, Let me not seek to be consoled as to console, understood as to understand  loved as to love for it is giving that we receive, pardoning that we are pardoned and dying  that we are born to eternal life.

 

THURSDAY – A TRAIN- an avenue of transportation that God provides as an opportunity to soak in the beauty of the journey that is found via the other commuters, the sights outside, conversations on the train, our anticipation as we await to arrive to where we are going or coming from.

Whether we are on our way to work, a family visit, vacation, school or other required places, God is there sitting or standing with us as we travel and behold all that encompasses the ride.

A train ride can offer us the opportunity to soak in what surrounds us: the scenery, the people, conversations and the silence, the various stops that the train makes and the hustle and bustle that occurs as people get on and off the train.

So where is God on the train? He is standing next to you as you observe the beauty in the scenery, and He hears you offer up to Him a prayer of praise and gratitude. I give you thanks dear Lord for the many blessings that surround me…. He is in the conversation that one imparts on you as they unburden themselves about what is going on in their life and how much they are struggling. the support given through silence is greater than the support given through empty words. He is with you as you review your schedule and list of chores that will accompany you this day and you seek His guidance as to what needs to be done and what can wait…. your kingdom come; your will be done…. He is with you as you give up your seat so that another who is elderly, fragile, or worn out, can sit for the remainder of the ride: do unto others as you would have them do unto you….

 

FRIDAY – A SAILBOAT – a channel that offers God’s gift of peace, serenity, wonder and awe, as we surrender and place our trust in the elements of nature and their effect on the direction of our journey.

A sailboat is a gift that God gives us to either gently ride on the waters trusting in the sail to guide us to our destination, but there are times when the waters, the winds take us on a journey that is rough, and we become afraid. It is then that we must surrender to Jesus and ask Him to calm the waters as HE did on the sea with the apostles. The winds determine the sail and the direction that it will go. The winds of our faith life, the storms, the gentle times, all steer us in the direction that God is calling us to go. God is there in the sail and will not allow us to get stuck in the storms or get thrown overboard.  

Although we might not have the opportunity to be on a sailboat, we can imagine how the winds and storms of our life take us off course or cause us to become afraid. We begin the day trusting and believing that things will go as normal and as usual as they have been, but then comes a sudden change: we find out that we are ill, or that someone we love is ill, that someone has passed on to eternal life, that we have lost our job, that our marriage has failed, that our children have chosen to go their own way and leave us, that one has become estranged from the family, from us and from God. These can be sudden changes that effect our sail and the direction that we thought that we would be going. But with God as the captain of the boat, HE will not allow us to sink, but to ride out the storm so that we can see how strong we really are and how the winds, the rain, the storms of life will not defeat us but call us to conquer our fear in faith and trust, self-conviction and determination.

 

SATURDAY - A CAR – a modern and necessary avenue of transportation especially for those who do not live near public transportation and desire the independence that a car offers. Even if you choose not to drive, imagine being in a car and what the car’s spirituality can be.

There are many aspects of a car that I felt drawn to write about each one and how God can speak to us through their use. You can take this reflection into next week and as you do, even if you do not drive anymore or take another form of transportation, take this as an opportunity to pray for those you love who do drive, that they can recognize the presence of God in their car and how He is calling them to a greater relationship with Him each time they get into their car.

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

As you get into your car or take the time to imagine being in a car, look out your front window. Is your window into the world, that is your relationship with God, fresh, reconciled and renewed so that you can see what lies ahead and the direction God wants you to go? Or Is your window so full of streaks, the streaks of personal weakness and shortcomings, that you cannot see straight as to what direction is the right direction?

Or is your window just little cloudy from daily frustrations and life challenges that it makes it difficult for you to see the direction that God is setting before you because you have not made the time to pray and ask for His help? Whatever your front window looks like, always remember that the Son will always shine and can always break through even the worst of our dirt, streaks, smudges, and dust.

Steering wheel

Take a hold of the steering wheel and go. We use the steering wheel to keep the car straight on the road so that we can be safe and avoid hitting others.  When we take the steering wheel, we can use both hands with a good grip, or one hand with a loose grip. How we choose to hold the steering wheel can reflect how we relate to God, others and how we see our self.

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

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

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

Park: Do you want to stay in park because life challenges are too hard or unbearable, and it would be easier to just stay put and not move ahead? Or do you want to stay in park to admire the view? The view of God’s awesome creation? The view of your journey and how grace filled it is? The view and canvas of God and how He has chosen to reveal Himself: through a sunrise, a sunset, a rainbow, the green grass, the rain fall, the various trees and bushes in their array of colors that they hold.   

Reverse: Do you want to go back into a special place and time, where a cherished memory lies and a loved one is alive and well.  Do you want to go back to a period of your life where you were happy and felt a genuine inner peace? Do you want to go back to bring up a painful hurt, or a grudge? Do you want to live in the past because it was a happier less stressful time? Living life in reverse is not living at all.

We cannot live in the past if we are Christ’s followers.  We must trust In Him so that as we live in the present and choose to go forward, we can take the past, recognize it for what it is and how it has shaped us and use it to form us for the future. We cannot deny our past; good, bad or indifferent, it has made us who we are today, but we need to, we can choose to forgive so that the person that God wants us to be, the best person that we can be, is what we make of our self for the present and into our future.

Neutral: Are you stuck in neutral, unable to decide what to do or where to go? Is your spiritual life in neutral? Is God the God of your present, the God of your past or the God not yet known? Being in neutral allows one to stay and be idle, but not indefinitely. 

It is not park, but a temporary pause.  Life is a long sentence, sometimes we want to put a period where God wants to place a comma because He is not finished with us yet and we are not finished either. There are times and periods in our life that we want to remove or end, yet our growth, our healing in not done or so God places comma instead. The pause is a respite where God allows us to take a deep breath and exhale any negative stresses. When we take a breath and put our spiritual growth back into drive and out of neutral, we are allowing and inviting God to take us on the next step of our faith journey, the journey of healing and wholeness, peace, joy and happiness as He defines it.

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

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

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

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

Gas and brake pads

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

Our spiritual life is similar. We often think that God is not doing things quick enough, so we decide that we can do it better and make hasty choices. We do not take the time in prayer to seek God’s wisdom or insight. When we put our foot on the gas, we go so fast that we miss the present moment and the many graces that God has ready for us. When we speed in a car, we can get into a serious and life-threatening accident.

When we choose to omit God in our spiritual life and make hasty choices, we can get into many spiritual accidents where we fall shot, sin, hurt others, hurt our self and leave God in the dust. It is only when we put on the brakes that we can avoid a serious accident and are better able to listen to God as He gives us direction and the proper speed limit to travel.

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

Rear view mirror

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 24, 2021

There is a theme here….

John and I were in Adamstown, North of Lancaster yesterday, and we found this Snow Buddies hidden in a back room, in the corner for no one to find, but it was calling our name. You see, we were married in 1998 and although you cannot recognize the writing on it, we placed our Wedding date, which is October 4th, the Feast of Saint Francis, the time we were married which was at 2:30pm and the Church that Father John was Pastor of which was Saint Katharine of Siena in Wayne, PA.

This week’s Glimpse of God gives me great joy, not only because we found the Snow Buddies Snowman, but also because I like snow, building snow families and enjoying the picture that they create when completed. Beholding the beauty of snow brings me a deep sense of joy, makes me smile when my eyes can look upon it, reminds me that even in the midst of the severe cold of winter, the snow that accumulates, the frost on the windows, the lack of daylight and the lack of desire to be outside because I get cold too easily, building snowmen, snowwomen,

snowchildren and snowpets, creates a picture of joy with a great smile to go with it.

What is this glimpse?

This glimpse is that of THE BUILDING OF THE ACUTUAL, OR KINDLY RECALLING THE MEMORIES OF SNOWMAN, SNOWWOMAN, SNOWCHILDREN AND SNOWPETS.

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

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

I still smile today when I see children creating a snowman, snowwoman, snowchild and even a snowpet. I do not think that the fun that I experienced making or building a snowman can be compared to anything else, but today I include the snowwoman, snowchildren, and snowpets, as well.

So, if you come to our house during the winter months, inside our house your eyes will behold the many sizes and shapes of various snowmen, snowwomen, snowchildren, one snowdog, and yes even a snowcat, along with various penguins, and reindeer. Inside I am surrounded by various snow creatures that make me smile and remind me that even with the simplest gift, that of snow, God invites, allows, and waits for me to be attentive and creative, both inside and outside. I also believe that as people enter our home and smile, they are remembering something that brings them joy. I do not ask why they are smiling; I can only imagine that it may be for the same reasons that I do.

So, as we enter a new week of winter, although without a great accumulation of snow, but some snow none the less on Tuesday, according to the weather people, let us think of ways that we can bring a smile to another and strive to accomplish that task. This week’s reflection is on “SNOWMAN” as in Frosty the Snowman, and watching his shows always did, and continues to bring me great joy.

SUNDAY - “S” - Sincere

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

MONDAY – “N”- Not me

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

TUESDAY – “O”- Open minded

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

WEDNESDAY - “W” -Wise

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

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

THURSDAY – “M” -Merciful

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

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

FRIDAY – “A” - Awesome

God is awesome!!!!

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

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

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

SATURDAY - “N” - Newness

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

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

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the week of January 17, 2021

This week’s Glimpse of God comes from thinking about my sister recently moving to this area and all the packing and unpacking that she had to do, and a couple who had to pack up the belongings of their dear friend who recently passed away. Packing is not an easy task and for me, not one that I enjoy doing.  

Anyway…. what does packing have to do with, or how is it, a Glimpse of God? The question I pose is, does it take the task of packing for us to realize and recognize God amid our daily life, activities, rooms, and objects in our home? Do we, or can, we recognize the presence of God in and through the many objects that we handle, some with great sentimental meaning and some with very heartfelt memories? When we pack to move or just to put things in storage, do we see the gift that the object is? As we go from room to room, or just pack up one room, is God with you as you pack? Do you ask Him for the grace to pack that which is necessary and leave behind that which is extra? On our earthly journey, we do not need extra things that can weigh us down and keep us from moving forward. The same goes for our spiritual journey, when things or stuff get in the middle or in the way of our spiritual life, then we need to let go of them. For instance, how much modern technology things do we need and how many things are too much? When we use them to heighten our prayer life, out time with God, then we are using them for our spiritual growth and development, but when they interfere and seem to be the center of our life and we cannot let them out of our sight, then we are missing out on spiritual growth and development. God wants our heart, and we want to give to give it to Him, completely not partially. So when one is packing or imagine packing, one has the opportunity to give a part of their heart to God through the objects that one holds, remembers and chooses to pack or not

What would it take for us to see God in our home the moment we open the door and enter in? Can we recognize that the rooms in our home can reflect our spiritual life in that God is present to us in those rooms in an incredibly unique and beautiful way. As we enter each room and begin to pack the items that are in that room, how do we place them in the box, or what thoughts cross our mind as we place them in the box? Does that specific room bring about good memories or sad ones, painful or joyful, calm, or chaotic?

Can we see God in the gift of our home and the many rooms that we enter as we go through it, the ordinary events, or routines that we enter each day, the pets that love us unconditionally? Do we bring God with us wherever we go?

Do we believe He is everywhere, even in the bathrooms and basements of our homes, of our lives?

We all know what it is like to have to pack our belongings, whether it is to move into another home because of downsizing, or moving after getting married, relocating for a new job, or moving into a dorm for college, it is something that some of us enjoy, and others not so much. Whether we have helped another to pack their stuff or had to pack for our own stuff, it is a tedious and time-consuming job. Depending upon the reason for the packing, like the death of a loved one, it can also be a painful experience. As one is left with the task of packing their loved one’s belongings, and in many cases finding a home for many of those belongings, this can bring about painful memories.

Packing can be likened to one entering their spiritual tomb where there seems to be a darkness that pervades. Whether one is packing to move, or one can take the time to remember when they packed to declutter or make more space, they enter the spiritual tomb as they let go, and trust that they will not be left empty, but will leave the empty tomb. The tomb can indicate where one is moving on from the present to the future and moving out of one’s comfort zone to be clutter free.

 Isn’t that what we do when we pray for others and their concerns and needs? We place them before God with the hope and trust the He will hear and answer our prayer for them Although we do not see them as possessions, they can be likened to fragile items that once broken need to be mended and repaired. When we hurt another or we are hurt, we can liken our apology as the gift that God gives as we place the hurt in the box with the trust and hope that we are forgiven. With trust we enter our spiritual tomb and we come forth renewed.

I believe that if we can see God in the ordinary, we will be able to recognize Him more clearly in the extraordinary, be it in the people, places, or events. As you begin your day, try to see God in your home and the rooms you enter. What do they symbolize or represent? If you had to pack the objects in that room, how difficult would it be, what objects would you take, and what items would you want to leave behind. Can you see that the room represents your spirituality where God is present with each memory?  If you ever have packed to move or helped someone move, do you remember the way rooms and the various objects were packed? What room was first and what room was last? Were some objects skillfully packed with great care, while others were just placed in the box with little significance or concern.

 

Sunday: The Vestibule – The entrance to your home. Your smile is the vestibule to your heart. As people enter your home, do they feel welcome? Can you seek to open your heart to others as they enter your home, the place where you dwell with family and you welcome friends? What objects in your vestibule bring a smile? The shoes of your children or spouse in a pile by the door, the coats on the chair because one was in a rush to sit at the dinner table for the meal? A mirror showing the reflection of those you love as they enter and leave your home?

For today: Think about if you had to pack those objects in the vestibule, What would you pack first? If your smile is the vestibule to your heart, what would you pack so as to keep your smile, so that you can continue to feel the joy and happiness of the Lord? Would you leave behind that which keeps you from experiencing the joy that God has instore and ready for you?

 

Monday – Your Bedroom – a room where you rest, your belongings are kept, a room that is private. Do you thank God for the gift of rest? Are you grateful that you have a place that you can recourse to if you need a break and want to be alone? Your clothes…Can you see God in the gift of clothing and how it covers the body, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, a temple that should be reverenced, honored, and protected. You are the Body of Christ, you were created in the likeness and image of God, so instead of being critical and judgmental, choose to rejoice and be glad.

For today, think about if you had to pack those objects in the bedroom, what would you pack so that you can continue to get the necessary rest that your body needs? And keep your personal time with the Lord in prayer?

Would you leave behind that which keeps you from accepting that you are a temple of the Holy Spirit, the Body of Christ? A beacon of His love and a reflection of His presence?

 

Tuesday – The Bathroom - The bathroom is a room of cleansing of the body, what do you want to be cleansed of? Can you ask God to cleanse your mind and heart of anything that is impure and blocking your path to becoming the saint that we all strive to be? Have you taken advantage of the Sacrament of Reconciliation recently? God is waiting and invites you to share your story so that He can cleanse and heal you and make you whole.

For today, think about if you had to pack those objects in the bathroom, what would you pack so that you could continue to cleanse your body and soul of those things that steer you into the direction of disbelief that you are beautiful in God’s eyes and that you are His beloved child, loved unconditionally and His greatest creation? Would you leave behind the voices in the mirror that convinced you that God doesn’t love you and that you were less than human because of your sinfulness. Those sins or weaknesses that you have overcome with and by the grace of God and the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist? God has forgiven and forgotten so must you.

 

Wednesday – The Living Room – The room where one watches TV as a family, plays games, where family gathers to talk, laugh, cry, share stories, and just relax. Can you thank God for the many living room experiences that you had that have brought you closer to those you live with, with those who you welcome into your home?

For today, think about if you had to pack those objects in the living room, what would you pack so that you could always be ready and wanting others to relax with, share stories and humor with, to grow in love together? Where quality time has strengthened your relationships with those whom you love. Would you leave behind those that interfered with the quality time that you wanted to spend with family and friends?

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Thursday - The Dining Room – The place where you gather around the table, a place of presence, a place to be nourished and where bread is broken and shared. The dining room is the place where hard work produces food and nourishment for the body. Can you thank God for not only the gift of food, but for the ability to prepare it and for those who partake of it?

For today; As you enter the dining room try to see those you love enjoying the time together over the meal that you have prepared and rejoice. What would you pack so that you could continue to be present to those who gathered around your table for a meal, conversation, presence? Would you leave behind those that distracted you from wanting to gather around the table, that keep you from preparing a meal, that keep you away from those you love? Weariness, discouragement, isolation, ….

 

Friday – The Basement – The basement is a place where many things occur, and is often used as an exercise room, a playroom, and a place where things are stored. The basement is not on the same level as the other rooms for one has to go down into the basement. Where in our lives have we fallen or descended instead of standing up for our faith, a loved one, or ourselves?

For today, can we ask for the grace to stand up, stand tall in humility and not let others or false guilt bring us down so that we feel unloved or that God has abandoned us? God’s mercy is far greater than any sin that we commit, so stand tall and allow God to embrace you.

What would you pack? Those objects events or people that picked you up and raised your spirits. Those who enabled and encouraged you to stand up for yourself and for your beliefs.

Would you leave behind those events or people that lowered your confidence and brought you down to the level of indifference. Those events where no one had your back and you lowered yourself to the temptation’s that assailed you.  

 

Saturday – The Kitchen - The area where meals are prepared, a place where conversations abound, and quick greetings are shared as one goes off to work, school or meetings. As you prepare your meals in the kitchen, can you recognize that our greatest meal, our spiritual nourishment is in the Holy Eucharist? You are invited to take and eat of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. As you enter your kitchen, close your eyes and vision when you receive Jesus in the Eucharist and share a prayer of gratitude.

For today: think about what it takes to prepare a meal: the ingredients, the time, the patience, the desire, and the energy and as you see what you need more of and what is overflowing, ask for the grace to receive that which is lacking and to share from what is overflowing.  

What would you pack? Those ingredients that helped you prepare a meal with great love: patience, peace, joy, happiness, understanding, respect, and peace. Would you leave behind those objects or people that took away your peace and caused you to be inpatient, short, and judgmental with those in your home, community, and neighborhood?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glimpse of God for the New Year 2021

The Spirituality of decorating a Christmas Tree, from Cookie

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

Anyway... this Glimpse of God comes in the form of the spirituality of decorating your Christmas Tree and what the various decorations might mean spiritually. This is an inspiration and nothing that I would have thought about without the grace and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I hope that it helps as you with begin to either undecorate your tree or look at your tree with different eyes; the eyes of faith,  hope and thanksgiving.

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

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

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

This is a different type of Glimpse, you can take parts of it and reflect on them each day of the week, or you can pray to see what part of the tree decorations are speaking to you, and how God is calling you to a greater recognition of His love for you through it.

The Christmas tree beholds great hope, and the source of hope is the everlasting love of Jesus. The pandemic is the advent to the vaccine, a new normal and a greater hope for healing and wholeness.

 

SUNDAY - The tree trunk. The outer bark protects the tree from the outside world, and it is continually renewed from within.  It helps keep out the moisture in the rain and prevents the tree from losing moisture when the air is dry. It insulates against cold and heat and wards off insect enemies. The trunk could not stand if its roots are not deep. Jesus is the true and only source of life. If we allow Him to nourish us, protect us from harm, insulate us from the evil one, and keep us from spiritual burnout and dehydration, our tree will grow much taller and stronger than we can ever imagine. The trunk is Christ. in that He is the source and strength, the root of our life in faith. We can choose to hold onto the trunk, see it for its strength and trust that we are deeply rooted. We place it in water to keep it from drying out and losing all its beauty. Jesus is our nourishment. We can choose to be fed and nourished by Him in and through the sacraments of the Church, especially the Holy Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If we choose to go it on our own and become dried out or over watered, Jesus is there to nourish us, forgive us, strengthen us, and lead us to grow stronger and with a greater self-determination and resolve.

Who has Jesus sent into your life that has been that true source of strength, courage, stability, and determination that has reminded you of who and what you are rooted in, and has grown from that trunk to be God’s branch of love and life?

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

Who has been a branch of life to you, who has raised you up, held you up, or reminded you that Jesus is still your center even in the midst of life’s challenges? Who have you been a branch of life to?

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

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

Weather you have solid or colored lights, they can serve as a reminder of how we are called every day to be God’s instrument and light to those in need in whatever way or avenue that He chooses?

WEDNESDAY – The sentimental ornaments. These ornaments can bring back memories of individuals, events, or milestones in one’s life and in the lives of those we love. As we place the ornament on the tree, we usually place it in front or in dominant place so that others can see it, remember the who or the why, and instinctively offer a prayer of gratitude to God.

Who or what ornament brings back sentimental and heartfelt memories? Can you vision the person that created the memory and thank God for the gift of their life, their support, their example, and their faith?

THURSDAY – The various colored balls. The various colors and sizes of Christmas balls represent the fragility of life. The glass balls represent that fragility of all people and how we are called to handle all with the care, dignity, and respect that God intended.

We are called to handle life with its many challenges with tender love and care. The very tender love and care that Jesus has for us, we are called to have for others.

When we feel fragile due to life challenges: unemployment, ill health, the death of a loved one, addiction, divorce, separation or the estrangement of family members, the colored and fragile balls remind us not only our fragility and challenges, but also how others have held us up, embraced us and allowed us to stay whole and not break under the stresses that enfolded us.

We can mishandle people by our words, our anger, our grudges, our gossip, and we can break them; we can break their spirit and we can damage their self-worth. None of which is God’s intention, or a part of His plan for His children.

As you look at the various colors and sizes of the Christmas balls that you will place on your tree, can you reflect on the fragility that each ball, each person represents, and pray that God heal, make whole and strengthen them? Can you pray that God hear and answer your desire to hang around a little longer so that your color, your strength, your choice to live life be granted.

Who do you know that is fragile, due to life challenges, and needs your prayers, support, and encouragement? Can you offer that in the form of a phone call, a zoom gathering, an email, text or prayer?

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

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

SATURDAY – The Star. The beams of the star represent how we are a part of the light that shines forth and are called to be that light that lead others to Christ. We are the beams that lead others to the Christ child and the miracle of His great love for each of us. The star guides us and others to the real presence of Christ. As we place the star on top of the tree,

we can be reminded of the many people that have been the beams of light that have called us to a greater and deeper relationship with Christ. They have been the spark through the stubble and the clouds.

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

 

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

The hooks that secure the decorations on the branches of the tree

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

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

 

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

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

Messiah in the form of a baby child so that He can be born in our hearts.

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

 

 

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© Cookie A Magee