Friday, July 22, 2016

St. Mary Magdalene

I finally got my side view mirror fixed! I can change lanes without turning my entire body around and my children will once again ride in the car with me. Life is almost back to normal (whatever that is).

When my father was sick in the hospital for weeks, I sort of took it for granted that I could move in and out of the parking garage without thinking much about what I was doing. One night as I was leaving, I whacked my mirror on one of the poles. Man. Like the situation was not upsetting enough in itself!

My dad died in November last year and I just now took the time to replace the mirror. As I got in the car and headed for home, I heard(?), I imagined(?), I understood my dad to send me a message. "Now, stop straining to always be looking in the rear view, in the past. Live for today. Do not worry about yesterday.  Move forward."

Today, as we celebrate the feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we hear Jesus say, "Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, 'I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God." Hmm. This message made me think about the message from my dad (so to speak). I think, he wants me to move forward, to live my life without worrying about the past. Maybe even to let him move on...but I know that's a stretch to believe that I would get that kind of message. But, thank God for the faith to even believe that a Scripture passage could give us such comfort about the one we love who has gone before us. Thank God for the faith to believe that as I drove home and could not control my emotions that maybe my dad was trying to tell me to let go of the past. Even if the message for us today is to stop hanging on to "things", to go to confession and relieve ourselves of our problems so that we can move forward. Even if the message from Mary Magdalene today is to share with others the Risen Christ, to go to our brothers and tell them that it is all real, He has Risen and He dwells among us. Even if the message is merely to believe. Even if all of these things...we should be grateful for the moment, for the opportunity, for the truth, for our faith. On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, we hear Jesus ask, "Whom are you looking for?" Let's face it. Everyone is looking for a Savior whether they realize it or not. Stop looking in the past. See clearly without straining. Live fully this day. He is right here in our midst. Believe and live.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Pennies from Heaven

He came in a little before 5, as we were about to close, saying that he had found a penny on the ground, looked up and saw our Pennies from Heaven sign. Then, as if from nowhere, he mentions that his mom died and we extend the traditional, "So sorry." But he continues to tell us that as he found the penny and read the sign he could feel her presence and understood that she wanted him to come into the store and buy something. The girls and I were moved. He kept wandering through the sale asking what it could be that she wanted him to purchase. He was from out of town and had limited time to shop. We didn't mind waiting. We too wanted him to find his answer.

Here's the thing. This morning, as I contemplate the encounter, I realize that what matters, what we learn from gifts like this that God obviously has a hand in, is not what the man was sent to purchase but that the man was sent to witness to the fact that we should all be aware of the signs He sends. We should all be open to the idea that nothing happens by chance. Everything and everyone we encounter has a purpose. All is grace. All is gift. That man at that moment experienced a close moment with his deceased mother and shared that moment with the young girls in the store and they in turn experienced the truth that there is so much more to life after life. That man at that moment shared the faith of his mother and the rewards of a life well lived for Christ. That man at that moment turned a simple sign, a penny (what some people consider worthless), into a Godincidence. His message seems clear. Stay awake. Be aware. He dwells among us and He has gifts to give that make a difference to us and to those we encounter. It may seem like something minor, something simple, just a penny, but it can turn into something worth so much more. Maybe riches...of the Kingdom.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Day after Day

Are we tired of the same routine day after day? Do we even realize that we may be in a rut? Are we really living or are we just following the path of least resistance? One of the most difficult challenges in life is to go against what everyone else is doing. It's so much easier to just "go with the flow". Relax. Enjoy the ride. We may be shocked at the number of times we say when we are younger and we hear when we are older "come on, everyone's going, everyone's doing it". And yet, we hear today, "how narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few." Have we found that narrow gate, that constricted road? Are we truly living? Is what we do every day living the life that God has chosen for us? Let's think about our day. Are we living a purposeful life? At this point, do we even know? Is this what Jesus means? Have we even scraped the surface? As we pray throughout the day, as we make simple decisions, maybe even at this point just automatic choices, let's really consider, Is This Choice Taking Me Down the Path That Truly Leads to Life? Is this really what is intended for me? Today, maybe we should mix it up. Contemplate making decisions that go against the grain of this life and lead to new life. Do something different. Surprise our family and our co-workers and our kids. Journey the road less traveled and live. It's not as simple as it sounds but the end result seems like it may be worth the effort.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Perfection, Alpha and Omega, Beginning and End, Faith

When the rising sun hits the outside wall of the church Chapel just perfectly, the beautiful stain glass window is projected through the Chapel doors onto the wall behind the altar. As we can see, the image clearly tells the story of life and death, the beginning and the end, and yet it tells so much more. Mary and her Son are sectioned off from the angels and yet their lives are fully supported and heralded by the Holy Spirit and the angels. Jesus' left arm seems to disappear into His Mother's garment. They are in perfect communion, in sinc. Their lives are as one from the beginning to the end, guided by the Holy Spirit as they follow the will of the Father. "Yes Lord." "Thy will be done." The perfect answers. The perfect examples. Plastered on the front wall because of perfect timing. 

In our weakness, they are our strength. Their love holds us up during our times of crisis. They want us to be in sinc with them as they give their entire lives in obedience to the Father. "By the will of the Father and the work of the Holy Spirit", they give us light so that we can see goodness and can in turn do good. This image, projected by the light of the sun, gives us hope, tells our story and leaves us to trust as Our Lady trusted, to have faith, to believe that there is more. As the sun rises and hits the window at the perfect moment, so too does Her Son rise in glory and perfection.

What do you see? The images of the men? Our reflection in the story?