Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Nathanael

Not a whole lot to say here about good ole Nathanael. Philip tells him to "Come and see" and he does. Jesus says he's a "true child" and he has no "duplicity". Makes me believe that he was not one way and then another. He was pure in his beliefs. Jesus simply says that He saw him under the fig tree and Nathanael immediately believes Him to be "Rabbi", "the Son of God", "the King of Israel". Today, like Nathanael, we are all called to simplicity. "Come and see". Yes, Lord. "Be true. Don't be wishy washy." Yes, Lord. "I see you and I am calling you specifically." Yes, Lord. "I will show you great things." Yes, Lord, I am here. I believe.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dem Bones

"Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones...dem bones gonna walk around."
I don't know! The reading from Ezekiel today reminded me of this old folk song and I haven't been able to get it out of my head. But as I finished the reading, I heard the words of Jesus refreshing my spirit and breathing life into my old dried up spiritual self. That's exactly what seems to happen to me. I get all dried up in my spiritual life. Stagnant. Boring. Often I need the breathe of His Spirit to blow through my dried up bones and get them walking around. Tying this into our Saint of the Day, St. Bernard who had 5 brothers, 2 uncles and about 30 friends follow him into the monastery and breathe life back into monastic life. How appropriate! Today, I'm led creaking and crackling to contemplate how to allow the Spirit to refresh my prayer life, my parenting life, my bookstore life. I need this renewal and I wouldn't mind dragging the brothers, uncles and friends along with me. Work dem bones.

Breathe in us, O Lord, and renew Your Spirit in us. Raise us up, that we may more fully do Your will.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

St. Joan of the Cross

I have not heard the story of St. Joan of the Cross and yet I was raised by one who could be her sister. Oh how we all think my mom is wasting all she has giving her money each morning to the street people who recognize her car at the bookstore. I couldn't believe that Joan (Jean) owned (owns) her own family business and took (takes) care of the homeless and the poor. They are rare these Joans. They seem to be able to make eye contact, hold hands with, pray for and pass on a little Jesus to the worst looking, worst smelling humans I've ever come across. She talks to them like they are her own and like they are listening. My excuse is always that I have no money but I think she puts money aside to take care of them. This St. Joan today has really made me stop and think about my attitude towards these children of God. And the matching Gospel reading makes me rethink my basic response also. "Again I say to you,it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
"The downtown areas of most major cities hold a population of “street people.” Well-dressed folks usually avoid making eye contact, probably for fear of being asked for a handout. That was Joan’s attitude until the day one of them touched her heart. Most people thought the old woman was crazy, but she put Joan on the road to sainthood. Who knows what the next beggar we meet might do for us?" from the Saint for the Day, St. Anthony Messenger

Saturday, August 14, 2010

St. Maximilian Mary Kolbe

What an amazing short life story in St. Maximilian Kolbe! Today I have to take a moment to think outside the story of this great man to figure out how to learn from his life and his death. I am realistic to think that God is not going to call me to martyrdom. I could be wrong but I can't see Him asking me to die in place of someone in order to share eternal life with Him. Or does Him? As I sit and think about this Saint's life, I realize that every day, God does ask me to die to self. He asks me to take the place of all that distracts me, of all that tempts me, of all that seems to give me anything better in life than to do for and spend time with Him. Like this incredible Saint, we are offered a crown of white and a crown of red, to be pure and to die (to self). Like this Saint, we can sing of the goodness of God in the face of daily trials and sufferings. We can simply do our day to day tasks with love. We can offer ourselves to others and remain nameless. We can perform acts of charity without recognition. (I tend to like to tell the world when I do something for others). We can be an example to others of what it means to truly follow Christ in His life, His passion and His death. We may think it's no big deal but following our call in life with a song in our heart and with a positive attitude and following all the way through each day is what He wants of us. God help me to persevere and like St. Maximilian, help me to do so with love.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dorothy, We're Not in Kansas Anymore

For some reason yesterday, I decided to venture out with two of my daughters to get new school uniforms. I was totally opposed because we have several that fit okay but our shirts are extremely faded (my nieces who wore them previously are now 25 and 27) so off we went. As we cruised down to get on the interstate, a huge storm blew up all around us. It was scary. I had to pull off down a side street because limbs from trees were flying all around and the winds were causing the rain to pelt water against the car making it difficult to see. "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!" I pulled into a small condominium parking lot and found it impossible to park without being near a tree. We were close to my parents place so I told the girls we would go there. As the rain slowed, I pulled from the driveway back onto the main road and found that one block up, the road was blocked by a huge tree that had fallen. As I turned to round the block, another tree and branches. We moved along slowly, talking about God's protection and the timing of having turned into that lot when we did. We stayed with my parents for less than an hour, then ventured back out to go home to my boys. Back on the main street, we noticed that a tree had fallen right behind where we had turned into that lot. We rounded the corner and huge trees were down all over the back streets and neighborhoods. Had a tornado touched down? Thank You God for Your protection. My girls and I were petrified and as we turned to You, You brought us to safety. You stretched out Your hand. You calmed the storm. In You we found refuge. I love that my children immediately start peeling off Our Fathers and Hail Marys in times trouble. Forget new uniforms. We have hand-me-downs that work just fine, whether in the form of clothing or faith. Thank You God.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In Our Midst

"For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” This is just the right verse for me this week as I prepare my children to return to school. Four different schools means four different schedules so things around here are a little hectic. And, as the schedule changes here at the house so also for our bookstore. The school moms will be returning as the college kids leave and the transition is never quite as smooth as I wish it to be. But, I am fortunate to have all the craziness and I know it. Amidst the juggling of schedules, I feel the presence of God in our midst. Granted, when I'm tired I wish I could be holding onto that altar not allowing anyone to pull me back into the world as we read about St. Clare this morning. I long for some solitude and some quiet time but I know that will come and I will long to be back in the craziness of my life. Besides, who would truly wish the rough life of St. Clare upon themselves. She suffered greatly for Our Lord and she worked hard to bring the poor and the sick to Him. St. Clare, help us to remember that He is in our midst through all the scheduling and gathering and trials and worries. Teach us to bring it all to the altar and not to cling to the ways of this world. Watch over our children and help them to know that He is in their midst.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

God is Speaking

"Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book." I find this a very interesting request from God to Jeremiah. I try to constantly stay tuned into words in Scripture that come directly from God. Well, don't we all. These words were repeated to us Tuesday and I can't seem to get them off my mind. As if they were meant for me, and I believe they all are, I have wondered what I should be writing down and who is my audience. But the more I ponder, the more I realize that God does not say a thing about what or who, He just says to write all the words. I so often allow this world to crawl into that little space between me and God (what's the rule) and mess things up. The rules are so simple in His one liners but first I have to let loose of all that clogs my ability to hear Him. He's speaking to me. He says so right here and He wants me to write all the words in a book. As a writer wanna be, this is truly a gift from above. I want to do a shout out to every writer out there and say, "Hey guys, there's no such thing as writer's block. Listen. God has the answer. God is the answer. Write it down." All I have to do, literally, is to listen and to write. Maybe it's for this blog. Maybe it's for a book to be published. Maybe it's a simple prayer. Maybe it's for many or maybe it's just for a few. All these things I put in the way are all about me. The few things that He requests make life and words flow much easier. Listen to Him. He speaks.