Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Place for Jesus

“Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The teacher says, My appointed time draws near; in your house I shall celebrate the Passover with my disciples.”‘“
I've been goofin' around with what to do with the Gospel passage today and as I finally get a chance to listen to the words, all I can think is, "Thank You" for calling on a man to have the Passover celebration in his house on such short notice. Not all, but many of the men I know would be all over the idea without a second thought as to whether the laundry was put away or the kids had their baths or if we had enough matching place settings.
My question for myself is would I ever be ready for Jesus to show up for a meal? Are my kids well-behaved at the table? Is my laundry ever put away? Do we even have napkins or just paper towels? Front door or back door? And then I have to think, does Jesus really care about all my hangups? He just wants a place to have a meal with His friends, just like He comes to me every day for a place to dwell. At my table? In my heart? Am I prepared? Probably good He knew this certain man who just got right to the business of the meal. But for me, as of today, I'm lucky He continues to come to me despite my unpreparedness.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Those Apostles

As Jesus speaks with His Apostles today, I am just dying to ask, "Where have you guys been all this time?" They act and talk like they have no idea what's going on and they don't have any idea what's about to happen. All a part of the plan of course. We couldn't exactly have these guys try to alter history but they could pay a little bit more attention. Anyway, my point is that I have to remember that Jesus speaks to us sometimes directly and sometimes in what seems circles. Scripture scholars everywhere are constantly interpreting what Jesus is saying and many have very different opinions. The best reminder for me today is for me to hang around Him and spend time with Him and listen to Him and interpret for myself what He is saying to me. Whether through Scripture or through prayer or through meditation, He may say something to me that means something totally different for someone else. And, isn't that all a part of the plan? What I don't want is to have someone wonder, "Where have you been all this time? You act and talk like you have no idea what's going on." So as an Apostle wanna be, I'm working on paying attention and listening and spending time and hanging around Him and His friends. Today is my reminder to be aware of my part in His plan.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Lazarus

"And the chief priests plotted to kill Lazarus too, because many of the Jews were turning away and believing in Jesus because of him."
I have a very good friend who was considered ready to die and yet came back for one more go at this world. If you've ever had the chance to talk to someone like this, most have stories of being "sent" back. You know, like on a mission. Like God has more for them to do in this world and they have to spend the rest of their lives figuring out what that "mission", that "more" is. We often joke with this guy when we want something and tell him he was sent back to take care of our needs. But today, I get the feeling that he was just sent back because he brings others to believe in Jesus. Could be. Could be that his path in life has been so similar to the classic path of wild man to good Christian example that he's meant just for that, an example. Hours and hours in the chapel and daily Mass and prayer could be his mission. Personally, I'm glad he's back because he's a good friend who keeps me laughing and helps me to stay grounded. He reminds me where I came from and keeps my life in perspective. He's a wise man and a wise a. And like Martha and Mary, I'm just glad he's around. There are tons of books about people like him and yet I don't need another story. Life is precious and we could all work a little harder at bringing others to believe in Jesus. Like Lazarus, like my friend, like Martha, like Mary, He has something in mind for each of us.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

Riding home from Mass this morning, my 8 year old flicked my 12 year old in the ear with her palm branch and my daughter screamed out in pain. Yes, the freshly blessed palm branch. Yes, screamed in pain. I reminded the younger that it was blessed and it did hurt while I reminded the older that it was just a palm branch. "And, by the way, did you say you were sorry?" AND, it all reminded me of the scourging that Jesus underwent for us and the line today that says if this is what happens when the wood is green, think of when the wood is dry. If the scream is what happens when it's a palm, how much more so the hurt that occurs with thorns and metal and iron grates peeling flesh? And the bad reputation when I talk about another. And the mental stress when I yell at a child's wrongdoing. And the loss of someone's good day because I cut them off in traffic. Raised voices. Raised fists. Hatred. Death. What is this world coming to? The flick of a palm branch. The piercing of thorns. "Father, forgive us." Is this the way when the wood is still green? This Holy Week, right here at the very beginning. May I just say? I am sorry.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Blessed Didacus

Now here's a guy today, Blessed Didacus, who was kept from entering the Franciscan Order because he struggled in the classroom but was finally allowed into the Capuchins. Ordained a priest, he quickly found his niche, his arena, his calling. He was considered "unlearned" and yet his preaching was considered "to touch the minds and hearts of young and old, rich and poor, students and professors."
Today I am reminded of the importance to pray for my children to find their true calling. No matter how much they may struggle in the classroom or on the field or in the social arena, I'm reminded that God has a definite plan for them and my prayer is that His plan is realized. What we want for our own lives is oftentimes the very things that get us into trouble and cause us to stumble or struggle. What He wants for us is the very thing that brings happiness, not just to us but to those around us.
I was positive that I would someday be an awesome coach and teacher. (And in six small ways, I work at that daily). I knew I could never work at my mom's Catholic Bookstore and be satisfied; yet, every day is a new challenge and every day is a different kind of reward. I know my parents prayed that each of us would find our way, God's plan for us and today I'm reminded of the importance to do the same for my children and for all our children. Just as Blessed Didacus found happiness and satisfaction in his calling, so too may all our children find their way in this world that brings them to the love and peace of Jesus Christ.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Feast of the Annunciation

The Greatest "Yes" in history. We have this figurine of the Annunciation in the store where the Angel is behind Mary and she is turned in fright. I love the show of emotion in this figurine because we know from the Scripture passage that Mary was frightened by this sudden appearance. She was surprised by the voice. I think the scene was much more dramatic than could ever be pictured. And yet, most importantly, Mary still answered calmly and correctly, "Be it done unto me." Some holiness! Some woman! One we can relate to as human. One we can try to emulate. One who fights for us as our Mother. One we should pray to daily in intercession. The Rosary is one of the most powerful prayers of the Church. Oftentimes, I am surprised by the power and yet, the more I read and learn about Mary's different appearances, the more I realize just how often she goes to battle for her children. Just as she was surprised by the Messenger, so too she sends the messages of prayer and fasting and repentance over and over. True words. Messages we can hear and may be surprised by and still follow. She does not come to frighten us. She comes for us to answer "Yes" and to focus our lives on Her Son. Mary's entire life points to Her Son. Her answer on this Feast of the Annunciation points to Her Son. Her messages point to Her Son. So, today, do not be afraid to answer "Yes" to Her Son.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

St. Catherine of Genoa

"Life with God in heaven is a continuation and perfection of the life with God begun on earth."
St. Catherine reminds me to stop worrying about my not-so-perfect prayer life and my faulty mothering skills and my imperfect relationships. Work but don't worry. Live but don't stress. In this temporary pause, in this journey, "Jesus in your heart! Eternity in your mind! The will of God in all your actions! But above all, love, God’s love, entire love!"

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Do You Read the Word?

A long time customer came in the store yesterday and I asked him if he'd found a place to start his ministry. He said the grand baby's in the car, I'm working at the new Indigo Hotel downtown and no I haven't found a place yet but I'm prayin'. "I thought you were working at the Kia dealer?" "Well, I had to quit there and take care of the grand baby so I needed a night job. Someone mentioned the hotel to me and I went down, wore a coat and tie and evidently made an impression. It's a great job and the people are great. I'm really happy. Started a website for my ministry but don't have a place yet." Since he's been coming in, the 30 years I've been at the store, we've always just referred to him as Reverend Dawson. He's had a funeral home with his ministry and a church and just always wanted to have a community and be a preacher. Down here, there are many "made up" churches but of course the same God. I often get more than I give to these guys. He says, "The other night I met one of the Titan players and we got to talkin'. He's a really nice guy and I said, 'Kenny, do you read the Word?' He said, 'No, but I sure need to. Come on up to my room and we'll read together.' 'I can't come up to your room and leave work but we'll get together on this.' He was so nice and we talked some more and we planned to get together because I figured we were brought together for a reason and he can help me and I can help him. Gotta read the Word." I had to think. I never just blurt out to anyone, "Do you read the Word?" This man who has been coming in for years knows that if we aren't blunt, we may lose the very opportunity God placed in front of us. I walked out to the car and kissed that sleeping grand baby just like I used to hug his mother when she and her sister came in with their father years ago. A hard working man that Reverend Dawson. Always straight forward, jumping on opportunities and working on bringing others to read the Word.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Basketball

Well I certainly relaxed yesterday and watched the basketball tournament almost all day. The girls games were exciting and yet I felt awful for Middle Tennessee to lose in the final seconds after being ahead the entire game. I have to say that I am proud of all the SEC teams who made in to the next round. Of course, my Alma Mater, Vanderbilt, had to make things a little exciting going into overtime. I am actually tired starting this week because of all the games I've been staying up late to watch but I just love the game. (And by the way, this is definitely a hand-me-down. I'm sure my dad, sister and brothers are watching too. Family basketball games were always a big part of our family gatherings.) Coming off Spring Break hasn't helped either but today it's back to the grindstone. Children back to school and us to work. I'd rather watch basketball but I know, I know, reality. For anyone staying home this week, if you want to shoot me the scores... Guess I can wait for the highlights. Ugh.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Singing Bowls

When I leave the house on Saturday morning, I think, "I love staying home with my kids." And, it never fails at the end of my day when I leave the bookstore, I think, "I love my job." Since I'm focused on encounters, I must share my favorite from yesterday. Trust me, on Saturdays there are many possibilities but this is my favorite. Near the end of the day, a long time customer walked into the store ahead of me and I greeted him as he entered. He turned around surprised to see me come in the front. (I had just been outside talking with an intoxicated Nigerian man who towered above me complaining of hunger. A different story.) My customer announced that he had come for a large statue. Luckily, we had just received Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart 32" statues and we had several 24" statues also. We spoke for only a few minutes before he asked me to lift the Immaculate Heart so he could feel the weight himself. He slightly raised her and said, "She is the one." He paid and I walked Mary to the car and put her on the back seat amongst the dog blankets. (His dog was very sweet and hung out in the parking lot while we talked.) He stood behind me as I turned and said randomly, "I have the largest collection of Singing Bowls of anyone in the U.S. I don't tell you that to brag but it is significant." (I'm thinking and why?) "I love Thomas Merton and the ways of the monks. Have spent a lot of time in monasteries and retreats and in meditation. The Singing Bowls are used by the Buddhists to bring the monks to their center. Just a slight tap from the striker and the tone lasts for quite some time." As he drew his hand back and forth, imitating striking the bowl, I could almost hear the sound. It was the weirdest feeling but it brought me in to focus on his words. He spoke about previous Catholic priests that we both knew and he spoke about Buddhism and Catholicism and the Eucharist and monks and meditation and again he strikes the Singing Bowl and again I could hear the tone, feel the vibration. Now call me crazy, but I felt called to pay attention to this encounter. I even had to google Singing Bowls to see what it was I was hearing. As we parted, I thought of the moment as odd but my heart was happy and my spirit light. Hmmm. I wonder how long this tone in my head will last and how long it will keep me in focus. Ringing bells during the Consecration; striking Singing Bowls; encountering old friends and old ways that bring us into our center. Hearing the different tones in the voices of my children to bring me to focus on each one separately. Paying attention. As I drove home from work and into my driveway I thought, "I love my work but I love to be home." My own little singing bowls started when I opened the back door, as if tapped with the striker.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Encounters to Remember

As I've said a million times, I'm lucky to have a job where it is normal, somewhat expected, to share my faith with my customers. On my 14 hour drive back from Naples Thursday, I thought it would been neat to start writing down all the incredible encounters I experience. I used to be really good about keeping a journal of my days at the bookstore, but in the past several years I have lapsed. Yesterday was my first day back to the store and I made specific eye to eye contact with the customers and William, our street guy and took time with them. Not that I wasn't doing that before, but I took the time with the idea in mind that I would remember how I felt during each encounter. I have to say, it took more time than it usually does but I felt better at the end of my day. Then, last night as I sat to journal about my day, I could recap easily. I could see the faces and hear the stories of the new Catholic and the women looking for a book for a friend taking care of a terminally ill mother and the man buying a rosary for a woman coming into the church and the friend calling to say he didn't get the job he expected and on and on. Each voice, each face, each story was significant if not to me, to them. I have to remember that God sends these people for a reason; whether for them to receive or for me to receive, the encounter between us is on purpose. Each day I choose to persist and pray to remember the encounters and the purpose.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St. Joseph

Today is a day of celebration for the hard-working Saint Joseph. Not to be taken lightly, this man works day in and day out. I know this because I run the local Catholic bookstore and we have Protestants and Catholics alike come in for "the guy who can help sell their house". We have trained every employee to make sure that every customer understands that it's not the burying of a small statue that will sell their house but the prayer. This not only opens the door to great conversations about prayer but also about the power of prayer. We have heard sooooo many stories about houses that have been on the market for years and then sell after the family prayers to St. Joseph. We have heard sooooo many stories about people buying that little statue and waiting for a sale only to receive a contract after finding and praying the novena. A Jewish man began his request by saying, "Don't tell anyone, but I'm Jewish. Is it okay to be in here?" The best thing about prayer is that it works for all denominations. This man who was asked to get up in the middle of the night and take Mary and find a new home; this man who had to stop and ask for a place to rest; this man who stands behind every father and all who work; this man now has thousands and thousands understanding and believing in the power of prayer. Today, we celebrate a true man. Today, we celebrate a provider, a protector, a believer. Good St. Joseph, intercede for us and bless our families.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

“Christ shield me this day:
Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every
person who thinks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me”
(from “The Breastplate of St. Patrick”).

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fear

"while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me"
I am the best with excuses that keep me from being all God made me to be. I put everything and everyone in front of the full use of the gifts God gives. And for me, it all comes down to fear. I fear what my friends and my family and my co-workers might think or say. I fear being laughed at instead of laughed with. I fear failure and cannot risk the possibility. I fear stirring the pot and being called a hypocrite. And why when I know in my heart the only opinion that really matters is the one given by God? Wouldn't it be nice to truly live not caring what anyone thinks but God? I try to get there day after day but while I am on my way, something gets in front of me. Something in life is always blocking the Way. Ahhh, but each day, thank You God, is a new possibility. Each day we begin again. And, each day I can look up and He will say, “Rise, take up your mat, and walk.” All my fear will disappear and I will try to use the gifts God gives to their full potential. I can hear Him say again, "Rise, pick up all that holds you back, and walk." Today, one more time, I begin again. Fearless.

Monday, March 15, 2010

New Earth

"Lo, I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. No longer shall there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not round out his full lifetime;"

If we read this passage as if it might happen tomorrow, it gives great consolation. Of course, I am down in Naples, FL right now with my younger four children and my parents, so in a small sense I have already tasted the new earth. Man it's a different world on Spring Break. Anyway, the erasing of my past sins and struggles, the end to abortion, infant death and death at all makes me want to sign up. Makes me want to be in the perfect world now. I read slowly as the Lord says, "I am about to" and I think, "Come on, come on". My mind immediately goes to my little brother Frank Gerard who was only home for a few days before he died from complications of a hole in his heart. I could never remember those few days because I was too young but for some reason as I got old enough, this brother, I always wondered about. What he would be like? If we would be close and if his friends would bug my friends or want to date them? Who he would look like? What sports he would play? I pray for him at every Mass and know he prays for me. And, the best part about our reading today, is that someday all of this will be wiped away. The experience of loss will be no more and my feeling of being on Spring Break in Naples will be forever. I can hardly wait.

Friday, March 12, 2010

It's Still Lent

Now seriously, what was I thinking yesterday? My husband says, "I'm walking down to the market for a drink. Do you want anything?" "Oh, please bring me a coke. Well, and if you happen to see a snickers, I could probably eat that." Customers come through, time passes and presto! a coke and a snickers. AND, his stock is in Pepsi. Such a nice husband. I set the coke and double long snickers on the outside of the staircase to my office and wait on the remaining customers. A Dominican sister comes through and I get her book off the hold shelf and as she is walking out (always my teachers), she asks, "Julie, is that your snickers and coke on the staircase?" "Yes sister, would you like to share?" "I'd love to if it weren't Lent. Have a nice day!" I didn't think much about the reminder or comment, whichever it was supposed to be. I gladly ate and drank right in the middle of my day and I enjoyed.
As I sit in my quiet space this morning, I realize that she was reminding me that it's still Lent. There's that pop on my forehead. That V-8 moment. I wasn't supposed to be snacking in the middle of the day and I surely should not have been displaying my activity on the stairs of the local Catholic bookstore. I wasn't thinking and I have to say, it's not guilt that brings me to this story. It is purely the fact that God gives us one another to help keep us on that "straight path". I love it. I love that my customers' comments and my children's reminders and my parents prodding help to keep me close to the path. We're all in this together and today, it's still Lent.
"Straight are the paths of the LORD, in them the just walk"

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Are you mad?

I think it's rather funny that the first thing I think when I read Jeremiah today is, "I think He's mad." As kids, we would look into the den and see our mom or our dad sitting in the chair after some confrontation and look at one another and say, "Man, I think she's (he's) mad. What did you do?" And of course, with eight kids, it could have been something in the neighborhood or at school or in the house or it could not have anything at all to do with us but we still guessed that one of us were guilty. Usually, they were just tired of saying the same thing over and over and over. Usually, one of us could enter and crawl up next to them and say, "Are you mad?" and the normal response was a smile and "I'm not mad. Just disappointed." Pierce our hearts.
Today I get the same feeling from the readings. I crawl right up next to Jesus and find out that He's not mad, He's disappointed. He sends me all I need, He gives me every opportunity, He loves me unconditionally and still, I can't seem to follow Him, to love another unconditionally, to take a chance. He's not mad but He knows I have so much more potential. He wants me to give Him my all. This world is a hard place but He says, "harden not your hearts."
Today, crawl up right next to Jesus and listen. Don't be afraid. He's not mad.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ten Commandments

Today we hear in the Old Testament that we are to teach the Commandments, the law, to our children and our grandchildren. Also, in the New Testament, we hear that whoever obeys and teaches the Commandments will be called greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Let's get right to the root of the message. Command. When I was in grade school, I learned that a command was to tell, to demand. In this time of tiptoeing through life worrying about who will sue whom and what others think, we tend to be a society of cautious speakers and teachers. But, today we are reminded that God gave us laws to speak and to teach and to pass on. He did not give us the Ten Suggestions or the Ten Options so that we might gain Heaven. He gave us the law, the Commandments. He is to be first. We are to love one another and honor our parents and not kill or steal, and that includes others' reputations. We are not to commit adultery or covet what others have. We are to keep holy the Sabbath and we are to pass this on to our children and our grandchildren. And, I believe God gave the children to all of us and so through word and through action we pass it on to all. The root of the message is command. Tell everyone.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

St. Maria Goretti

As we read the Words today we are reminded to follow God unreservedly, as in fully and without restriction, and to forgive from our hearts. One in the same to me. To forgive and to follow both without restriction.
I know today is not her feast day but this reminds me of St. Maria Goretti. Lying on her deathbed, she told the priest that she forgave Alessandro. Now can we even fathom forgiving the man who just ended our life? Then, she goes one step further and because he is not sorry, visits him in a dream and changes him forever. She worries about the soul of her attacker. He then goes and asks forgiveness from Maria's mother and she too forgives him. Now we're talkin' unreserved! From the heart! Following our God to the letter.
Today, we are reminded to forgive from the heart and in that forgiveness we follow God unreservedly. Short and sweet. Forgive - follow. Follow - forgive. No restrictions.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St. John of God


St. John of God is the patron of booksellers and therefore our patron at St. Mary's Bookstore. One of my favorite saints because he realized his vocation late in life and pursed it to the point that John of Avila had to tell him to tone it down a bit. He "advised him to be more actively involved in tending to the needs of others rather than in enduring personal hardships". Adding to the Book of Saints by Daniel Lord, I wrote several of the biographies for the new book, including the one on John of God. The stories are perfect for young children around 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. Below is a sample:
St. John of God
John left home at a young age and worked as a shepherd. The man he worked for wanted him to marry his daughter but John wanted to find his way in the religious life.
John went through many tough times before he found what God wanted him to do. He was a soldier in the Spanish army. He worked loading ships and later selling books and holy pictures. He even opened his own bookstore for a while. But John began spending more and more time with the sick and the poor.
He was put in a hospital himself for a time and while he was there he helped others who were sick like him. When he got out of the hospital, he decided to keep helping the sick and the poor. He first worked helping the poor people living in the streets and later opened a house for the sick and the poor. He begged on the streets for beds and medicine and food.
One night the hospital in the city caught on fire and he went and rescued all the patients who could not save themselves. He passed through the flames without getting burned. This is why John of God is one of the patron saints of firefighters as well as booksellers, hospitals and the sick.
His Feast day is March 8th.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Living Water

“My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work."
Today Jesus invites us to leave all we have at His feet, at the well, and to go and help bring others to Him. He tells us clearly that the opportunities are right in front of us and the time is now. As I sat at a Highest Call Men's Conference yesterday and watched and listened as over 400 men took the opportunity to gather and listen to Steve Ray, Jim Burnham and Fr. Bill Casey, I was moved by the excitement and the enthusiasm of the men who worked to bring the conference together and those who left quenched and ready to go out and tell all the world the Good News. Missions and retreats and renewals and conference get us all pumped up to do the work of Jesus, on ourselves and in our homes and out into the world. These men journeyed to the well and were filled. We all know that we do not have to wait for a huge event in our area to be filled by Jesus Christ, although they do help our momentum. He calls us each and every day to His table, a huge event in itself, and He asks us to take what we are given and to share it with the world. Together we journey, together we are called and together we are filled so that we can go and do the will of the one who sends us and finish His work.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Favorite Child

In our family of eight, each of us would swear we are the favorite child of our father but truth to all, it's me. There is no doubt dad likes me best and Mike especially knows it. (They all do.) It's no wonder I didn't get sold or given to another family while we were growing up. (It would have been tough getting any real money for the likes of me).
Seriously, don't we all like to think we are the favorite? Don't we all like to think that someday our Father will clothe us in the finest garments? Don't we all hope that we will join him in the Kingdom? Just as in our families here on earth, we'd all like to be the favorite. Somehow, my parents managed to make us each feel like we were their favorites. I think that is a testament to their parenting skills as well as their spiritual lives. But, we are all favorite sons and daughters of Jesus Christ. How fortunate we are to believe, to have Faith! Consider yourself clothed today in the finest of His Love and wear it well.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Salvation at Our Feet

Trust in the Lord and take care of one another or be left a shriveled up old bush suffering the fires of hell. Wow! That's the message I got today from the Readings. But there's so much more in those passages that Jesus is trying to tell me. So many times I look all over and read stories about others who go on these mission trips all over the world and make huge differences to hundreds of people and I think to myself, "I could never do that." Their stories are awesome and so is the work they do. But time constraints, family, work, fear, whatever the reason, it's just not there for me. Today, I believe Jesus is telling me that each of us has our tasks and our callings. Many are called to take care of others elsewhere and many are called to take care of those right under our feet. There is great merit in both if we trust in the Lord and follow His ways. The Old message is as good as the New message.
I have "street people" who I get tired of dealing with day after day, who scare our customers and make it difficult to get work done. And I'm reminded day after day that THEY ARE OUR WORK. If I can't take care of the tired one in the lot, what makes me think I can feed the one that comes inside? And a few employees, day after day the same things over and over. Can't everyone just play nice and do their job? It makes me tired and yet I'm reminded, THEY ARE OUR WORK. How can I serve the Diocese if I can't take care of my own small community? And my kids, asking all the time and I do, but what is my attitude? I'm tired. I've worked all day. And I'm reminded, THEY ARE OUR WORK. How can I expect to serve at work with the right attitude if I can't even serve my family? We're all called for different tasks and to different places and for many, our callings and the measure of our reward are lying right at our feet.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Practice What We Preach

"Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice."
Need we say more? In Isaiah we're offered a new day, a do-over and in Matthew we hear Jesus say to humble ourselves, to serve others and by all means to practice what we preach. We are simply reminded to be a good example. So, I hear Him. "Start over. Even if you have to start over each day. I'll help You out. In humility and in service, be a good example because your children are paying attention and your customers are paying attention and the people in your community are paying attention." All eyes on the Christian! Especially the Catholics! Check out the media. No kidding. Each new day, take the do-over and practice each and every lesson. We never know whose life we may turn toward God by our simple service and honest practices. And believe me, I hear myself loud and clear.

Monday, March 1, 2010

A Good Measure

"a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”
This definitely reminds me of my grandmothers and my mom. Ask any of them for recipes and suddenly it's "I'm not sure about how much. I add to taste or a pinch of this and a touch of that. And, oh, it needs something else but I've never written it down." Yet, homemade pies, icing, fruitcake, casseroles, soups, etc. were always the best. With my parents and my grandparents, just as with our God, what comes from what's given is overflowing with goodness. There are no specific measurements. It's all done naturally and it's mixed together and it's awesome. Me, I tend to measure out every little ingredient and try to get the same result but it's just not quite as good because I nit pick the mix. They may never add the same ingredients and yet the flavors, what's packed together, what overflows, amazes. Shake things up a little. Add a little extra. Pour it all out into their laps. Let it overflow naturally.