Thursday, March 6, 2014

All the Time, Right?

Here's what caught me today from Luke's Gospel, out of the Jerusalem Bible.  "Anyone who follows me should renounce himself and pick up his cross daily."  It is the word daily that grabbed me.  Daily, as in every day, as in full time occupation, daily as in not just the times when I feel "holy."   It is this phrase I will carry around with me today.

We all have the crosses, in all shapes and sizes.  They are the things we have done and the things that have been done to us.  Personally, I have a good sized list of both.  They are not easy to carry.  But if we renounce and follow and bring them, the Cross becomes our cross and the load begins to lighten.  It is a way of survival.  It's not a walk in the park, but it is a walk for life.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lent (again)

There was a time when I used to greet Ash Wednesday and the days to follow with great enthusiasm. Eagerly, I would lay out my Lenten agenda, fired up with the love of The Lord, and set about my way only to crash and burn within a week.  Within two weeks I would be drifting back to my "same old used to be."  

In those days I was simply full of myself.  I thought I would do all these things for God and he would be impressed and He would be there if I needed him.  Stand back, Lord, I've got this covered.  I'll call you if I need you.   Well, I needed Him and was too embarrassed to call.

Times have changed.  I go into Lent quietly, with no expectations other than putting my sinfulness before God and seeking his healing, fully acknowledging that I am helpless and unable to clear these blockages by myself.  Some of them have been clearing nicely, others take more work, and some are like cancer, in remission only to flare up from time to time.   So how I fast, what I abstain from and how I give alms focuses around what vice needs to be cleared and what virtue needs to fill the void.  What those virtues are I'm leaving to The Lord to show me.

In the reading in the Vigils this morning, Isaiah is clear that The Lord needs another superficial sacrifice like I need another six inches of snow.  What he'd prefer instead are acts and thoughts that will clear our hearts for love.  He doesn't want us to be kiss-ups.  He wants us to be lovers.  Works for me.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter

More snow is on the way.  This has been a real winter, unlike any we've had in the quarter century that we have lived here.  Don't know where I can put any more snow keeping the driveway clear, yet another six to ten inches are on the way.   It has caused havoc with just about every aspect of work, and the poor school teachers!  What a challenge they're faced with as this winter onslaught continues.

It has been a real winter, indeed.  And it has also been a beautiful winter.  There is nothing as beautiful to me as a clear, cold winter day, or night, with a thick covering of snow bathed in the winter sun or winter moon.

A storm took out a huge tree two doors down from us about two years ago.  I miss that tree in the winter.  In early mornings of a full moon, I could stand in the dark and look out the kitchen window at the full winter moon through the bare branches of that tree.

So once again we make alternative plans and make sure there's gas in the car.  But we also have another chance to admire the beauty of creation.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Morning Prayer

Reflecting on 1 Macabees  2:15-29 leads to a morning prayer.  Is it really your will I am doing Lord, or is it my will disguised as yours?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Coins

When I was a radio DJ years ago, playing the little records with the big holes, we did a lot of  broadcasts from car dealerships and furniture stores urging people to come out for great savings and free stuff.  At one of my first such broadcasts, my program director told me to introduce myself to ten people.
"They will then go and tell ten others that they 'know' you."  Sure enough.  After awhile you would hear from people who thought you were their close friend simply because they met you once long ago at one of the remote broadcasts.

This all comes to mind after reading Luke today (19:11-27.)  We are all given the gift of God's love (the coin.)   If we actually use that gift we will come to know and love God even more.  We will be living the gospel.  

There are a lot of us, however...and I confess to having been this way myself for a long time...that feel that just because we know of God, it is enough and that our life will be rewarded.  That's knowing God in much the same way the radio listeners thought they knew me.  They didn't and I didn't and that's not enough.  We cannot coast through life in this casual knowing.  The more we live in the love of God, the more we know him, love him and serve him, the greater the reward.  

It's all about that relationship with God.  Casual ones don't quite make it.  There's nothing casual about real love.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's Your Limb?

Zaccheus goes out on a limb to catch sight of Jesus.  He cannot see him on his own, so he needs to find a way to get a glimpse of Christ.  An act of faith and a response of faith.  What's our limb?  What do we do to put ourselves in a place to see Christ once we realize...like Zaccheus...that we are unable to do so on our own.   And when we catch that glimpse, how does it change our lives?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Morning Contemplation

In the quiet of the morning, silent and breathing, coming to a place that is still.  Forgiveness fills the empty place vacated by anger.   In the stillness, pain creeps out and peace filters in.  Prayer has been the guide to this place, silence has been the path and stillness is what is found.  In the stillness come the whispers, comes the peace, and it is as if all else has suddenly slipped away.   Pride and anger were within, but departed when they saw what was going on.  It indeed is peace that took their place, peace that can only come from love, love that can only come from God.  It  was like being held and hugged by your Mom.