Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Be Glad!

Be Glad . . .
God is soaked
in our world.
God’s Spirit
lives and breathes
in and through
all that is.
We are lost
only when we
do not understand
that God
is already with
and in
each one of us.
Our task is
recognition of
God’s initiative
to be at home in us –
of God-With-Us.
Then we cannot but
be glad.  
Edwina Gateley

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Prophets and Witnesses . . .

God of the Great Gaze,
We humans prefer satisfying un-truth
to the Truth that is usually unsatisfying.
Truth is always too big for us,
And we are so small and afraid.
So you send us prophets and truth speakers
to open our eyes and ears to your Big Picture.
Show us how to hear them, how to support them,
and how to interpret their wisdom.
Help us to trust that your prophetic voice
may also be communicated through our words and actions.       

May we practice a spirit of discernment
and a stance of humility,
so that your Truth be spoken, not our own.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Prophet,
for we desire to share in your Great Gaze, Amen. (Author Unknown)

Lord, make us your witnesses.
In this world of darkness, let our light shine.
In this world of lies, let us speak the good news of truth.
In this world of hate and fear, let us radiate your love.
In this world of despair, let us spread hope.
In this world of systemic injustice and institutionalized evil, let us
   promote justice and goodness.
In this world of sadness and sorrow, let us bring joy.
In this world of cruelty and condemnation, let us show your       
In this world of vengeance and retaliation, let us offer your mercy
   and reconciliation.
In this world of war, let  us serve your gift of peace.

Author: John Dear

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Mystery within our deepest Self. . .

In our souls everything
moves guided by a mysterious hand.
We know nothing of our own souls
that are ununderstandable and say nothing.

The deepest words
of the wise person teach us
the same as the whistle of the wind when it blows
or the sound of the water when it is flowing.

~ Antonio Machado ~

(Translation by Robert Bly, in The Enlightened Heart, edited by Stephen Mitchell)

Love after Love

The time will come
when, with elation,
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror,
and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here.  Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine.  Give bread.  Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit.  Feast on your life.

~ Derek Walcott ~

(Sea Grapes, 1976)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Serenity of Change!


A New Serenity Prayer
By James Martin, sj

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the people I cannot change,
which is pretty much everyone,
since I’m clearly not you, God.
At least not the last time I checked.

And while you’re at it, God,
please give me the courage
to change what I need to change about myself,
which is frankly a lot, since, once again,
I’m not you, which means I’m not perfect.
It’s better for me to focus on changing myself
than to worry about changing other people,
who, as you’ll no doubt remember me saying,
I can’t change anyway.

Finally, give me the wisdom to just shut up
whenever I think that I’m clearly smarter
than everyone else in the room,
that no one knows what they’re talking about except me,
or that I alone have all the answers.

Basically, God,
grant me the wisdom
to remember that I’m
not you.



Monday, July 21, 2014

A Blessing . . .

Blessing This Day 
I only want to see the day ahead,
My attention will not go     
 backward into my history,
And my attention will not go forward
 into my future.

I am committed to staying only in
 the present time,
To remaining grounded in my world,
To feeling a bond with each person
 I meet,
To respecting my own integrity
 and my own honor,
To living within the energy of love
 and compassion this day,
And returning to that energy when
 I don’t feel it,
To making wise and blessed choices
 with my will, 
To maintaining perceptions of                  
wisdom and non-judgment,
To release the need to know why things happen the way they do,
And to not project expectations over how
I want this day to be ___
And how I want others to be.
And finally, my last prayer to trust the Divine.
With that I bless my day with gratitude and love.

    Caroline Myss
    Art by Doris Klein, CSA

A Prayer of God's Names . . .

Litany of God's Names by Joseph Sobb, S.J.

O God of silence and quietness, you call us to be still and know you -
O God of steadfast love, your Spirit is poured into our hearts –
O God of compassion, your Word is our light and hope –
O God of faithfulness, you fill our hearts with joy –
O God of life and truth, from you we receive every gift –
O God of healing and peace, you open us to divine grace –
O God of all creation, our beginning and our end –
O God of salvation, you reconcile all things in Jesus, -
O God of Jesus, conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit –
O God of Jesus, who invites us, “Come and see” –
O God of Jesus, who was tempted as we all are –
O God of Jesus, who is your pledge of saving love –
O God of Sarah and Abraham, from whom came  Jesus -
O God of Anna and Simeon, who recognized Jesus, your Son,
 as Messiah –
O God of Mary, who bore Jesus, -   
O God of Joseph, to whose fatherly care was entrusted Jesus, -
O God of all generations, of all times and seasons and peoples –
O God of our mothers and fathers, of all who have loved us –
O God of our past; O God of our future –
O God of our present, O God in our present -

Friday, July 18, 2014

July 22 - Feast of Mary Magdalene


Allow me to begin with a short excerpt from a poem entitled, Turning Points.
Taking us
Where we would not choose to go.
Suddenly we pass a point
We will never pass again.
Turning points interrupt us . . .

On this feast of St. Mary Magdalene, this gospel is a turning point in the post resurrection stories of Jesus.  As a result of this moment of mystery, the disciples will no longer hide in upper rooms, for one day soon their new WAY will change the course of  history  –  life will be turned upside down and inside out – all because Mary Magdalene has seen the Lord . . . and proclaims to all, Jesus is alive!

In this version of an “empty tomb” story that under girds Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus, it is difficult to miss the special importance John assigns to Mary Magdalene.  Only John reports that Mary Magdalene came alone, unaccompanied by other women.  From a cultural perspective, this is very unusual behavior for in the culture of Jesus, a woman alone outdoors in an anomaly.  Theologians believe that this is John’s way of highlighting Mary’s special importance. 

Mary came to the tomb in great distress.  The huge stone had been moved away and the tomb itself is empty.  This caused Mary to think that Jesus’ body had been stolen. In her great love for Jesus, she lingered outside the tomb.  However, our gospel continues to tell us that Mary looks in the tomb a second time and is greeted by two angels.  She seems to not notice the angels speaking to her for she is totally absorbed in one thing, and that was missing.

Now another turning point occurs. 
After her interchange with the angels, Mary turns and encounters the Risen Jesus, but she does not know him.   She mistakes him for the gardener, and asks him where he has placed Jesus’ body so that she can take it away.  The scene and interchange at this point are full of irony.  Here she is, confronted by Jesus, the focus of her longing, but she does not recognize him, precisely because she is looking for the corpse of the Jesus whom she knew.  Such is the paradox of longing; while it fuels our searching and focuses our attention, it also can limit what we see and so we can miss what we long for most deeply.

Then Jesus simply calls her name, “Mary!”  Jesus spoke her name. Only he could say her name in that way.  Now she turns again and instantly, with the whole of her being, she recognized him and in that moment knew that he had risen from the dead.This second turning is the center of this gospel story.  For in turning and recognizing Jesus when he calls her by name, Mary also turns or comes to herself.   In the instant of call and response Mary’s longing is transformed and fulfilled and she and her world are irrevocably changed.  In this poignant moment, Mary feels at once fully known and fully loved.  She also is fully seen and she knows that the eyes that see her are the eyes of forgiveness, mercy, love, and unconditional acceptance.

In the scriptures, to be called by name has a special significance.  To call someone or something by name is to identify who or what it is.   Adam, in the garden, named each beast and flower according to its essence. God often changed the names of prophets to fit their roles. 

By calling her by name Jesus manifests his knowledge of everything in her life and his total acceptance of all that she is.  This is the moment in which Mary realizes Jesus loved her with unconditional love.  When Mary listens to the voice of the risen Jesus, her perspective on the events in the garden changes.  She no longer understands the empty tomb as a manifestation of death, but a testimony to the power and possibilities of life. 

Mary may have attempted to embrace Jesus after she recognized him – (like any of us would do after having lost a dear friend to death) – But Jesus says to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not ascended to the Father.”  When he speaks these words, he teaches Mary that he cannot be controlled or held captive to preconceived standards and expectations of who he should be – The teaching he speaks to Mary is one that says – “Do not hold on to me, but let me be free so that I can give you the fullness of what I have to offer.”

And then a final turning point is presented in the Scripture.  Jesus instructs her to turn once again and he commissions her to go to the disciples, still hidden in fear, and to let them know that he is alive - he is risen from the dead.

This encounter with Jesus is made real for us, too.  We experience turning points of faith as we are called into the transformative process of discipleship.  We sometimes fail to recognize the gentle hand of God in our unfolding story of walking in faith.  God often calls us by name in the depths of our sacred selves – where we are truly known in our essence and loved in our brokenness. 

God gazes upon us eternally with unconditional love – here, like Mary, we are fully seen, fully known, fully accepted, and fully loved.

Turning points interrupt us . . .
Looking back we see them for what they are:
Bittersweet raw reality
Breakthrough to beatitude
Bedrock that gives us courage
to give ourselves away.
For the less we struggle with turning points
The greater the strength
To return
And turn again.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

An In-Beween Prayer for an In-Between Time!

We sometimes live in an "in-between" time . . .so why not pray through it!

Faithful Companion and Sacred Mystery, in this time of in-between, we pray:
Response:  God, surprise us again.
 When we miss the beauty and joy of earth’s goodness . . .
 When we grow too accustomed to life’s busyness . . .
 When the goodness of others gets lost in the rush . . .
 When the hope in our heart fades away . . .
 When the ache of the world wears our compassion thin . . .

Response:  Walk closely with us, God.
 As we strive to live our lives well . . .
 As we journey into the unknown territory of  in-between time . . .
 As we open our hearts to the messengers you send us . . .
 As we keep searching for truth . . .
 As we continue to grow in our awareness and response to the least, the last, and the lost . . .
 As we continue to learn to accept both the challenges and gifts of our lives . . .

Let us pray:
God of the Seasons, God of in-between time, we are walking into mystery.  We face the future, not knowing what the days and months will bring to us or how we will respond.  Be courage and compassion in us as we journey.  May we welcome all who come our way.  We thank you for the gift of being able to rise each day with the assurance of your walking through the day with us. 
So may there always be a little light in our darkness. 
May there always be a little faith in our doubt.
May there always be a little joy in our sorrow.
May there always be a little life in our dying.
May there always be a little hope in our sadness.
May there always be a little courage in our fear.
And may there always be a little slow in our hurry.
God of the Seasons, God of in-between time, deepen our faith to see all of life through your eyes and we praise you now and forever. 

this amazing day . . .

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any-lifted from the no
of all nothing-human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

~ e.e. cummings ~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

For Slow-ing!

Writer Charles Swindoll once found himself with too many commitments in too few days. He shares “I distinctly remember after supper one evening, the words of our younger daughter, Colleen. She wanted to tell me something important that had happened to her at school that day. She began hurriedly, ‘Daddy, I wanna tell you something, and I’ll tell you really fast.’”

“Suddenly realizing her frustration, I answered, ‘Honey, you can tell me – and you don’t have to tell me really fast. Say it slowly.”

“I’ll never forget her answer. ‘Then listen slowly.’”

in the potter’s skillful hands,
our clay takes form.
At times
we’re pulled
and stretched
in ways
that make us
“Aren’t you finished yet?”
But the potter replies,
“Be patient.
Yield to My touch.
For I am making you
A thing of BEAUTY
in My sight.”

Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 14 - Feast of Kateri Tekakwitha - First Native American Saint

1656 - 1680
In April 1656, a baby was born in an Iroquois village situated along the banks of the Mohawk River in upstate New York. Her mother was a Christian and wanted her to be baptized, but her father was chief of a tribe who opposed the French Jesuit priests. "Little Sunshine" was a ray of joy to family and friends, but joy and love in the family didn't last long. When she was four years old, smallpox swept through the village. Her father, mother, and baby brother died, leaving Sunshine pock-marked and almost blind. Her uncle adopted her and she was renamed Tekakwitha ("she who pushes with her hands") due to her having to feel her way around as a blind person.

As her childhood passed, her eyesight improved. She became very skilled in Indian embroidery, beading, and wood carving. She worked hard, but in her free time she liked to walk in the woods or stroll along the river, where she could be alone and think about God. As her new family was not Christian, she was not to pray or talk with the missionaries who worked among the Indians. When she was eighteen, she announced that she wanted to become a Christian. Her family was furious.

She attended lessons at the mission and on Easter Sunday, 1676, she was baptized with the name Kateri (Katherine). After this she was treated cruelly by her family, but she never showed her misery. Eventually, two kind Christian Indians helped her escape across the St. Lawrence River to a Christian community in Canada, where she received her First Holy Communion on Christmas Day, 1677. There she carried water, cooked, sewed, and attended every Mass. She spent all her free time in the love and service of the Lord.

On a trip to Montreal to sell Native American handicrafts, Kateri met a religious order of nuns and realized her calling. On March 25, The Feast of the Annunciation, Kateri privately pronounced her vows. From then on, she devoted her life completely to God.

Her private penances and hard work left her often ill. She suffered greatly during the winter of 1680 and on April 17, 1680, at the age of 24, Kateri died. Almost immediately her face turned beautiful and shining. All the pockmarks from her disease disappeared. A smile appeared on her lips. Everyone was astonished. The wonderful transformation remained until burial the next day on Holy Thursday.

The Lily of the Mohawk was beatified in 1980 by Pope John Paul II. Her feast day is celebrated on July 14.

Kateri Tekakwitha is the first Native American to be declared a Saint. She is the patroness of the environment and ecology, as is St. Francis of Assisi. On October 21, 2012, Kateri Tekakwitha was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI.  The miracle attributed to Kateri's canonization is the story of Jake Finkbonner. Jake was so close to death after flesh-eating bacteria infected him through a cut on his lip that his parents had last rites performed and were discussing donating the 5-year-old's tiny organs. His cure in 2006 from the infection was deemed medically inexplicable by the Vatican, and became the "miracle" needed to propel a 17th century Native American, Kateri Tekakwitha, on to sainthood. Jake is fully convinced, as is the Catholic Church, that the prayers his family and community offered to God through Kateri's intercession, including the placement of a Kateri relic on Jake's leg, were responsible for his survival. Jake, now 13 and an avid basketball player and cross-country runner, was present at the canonization; along with hundreds of members of his own Lummi tribe from northwest Washington State and indigenous communities across the U.S. and Canada.

Statue at Cathedral Basilica ~ Santa Fe, NM





Unfoldment is the gentle whisper
of Infinite God guiding you -
It is the silent knowingness of how to act, what to do.

The action comes from the message
far and deep within,
Only you can recognize it if you are mindful as you go in.

The tendency to direct your own course and make a human choice,
Disregards the essence of unfoldment delivered from the inner voice.

The difference from intellectual reasoning and unfolding deep inside, 
Is the security of conditioned thought
not the trust of your inner guide.

I know it may seem difficult to make sense of this at first,
Free your mind of conditioned patterns, allow yourself to thirst.

Open yourself up freely to the meaning of all that you are,
Feel yourself; indulge in the moment’s brilliance,
you will reach far.

Do not be afraid of the gloriousness
that is a part of you -
Allow yourself to experience the present,
a vision clear and new.

It is trust and patience in the unfolding process here on earth,
Guided through the ethereal heavens planted in your soul at birth.

Yes, you can acknowledge the grandness
of all you truly are,
Believe, have faith, release the doubt,
reveal YOUR radiant star.

When it is unfolded unto you,
follow the lead of the Light,
You will be humbly awakened,
embracing inner peace and inner sight.

(View from the Mountaintop – by Lee Ann Fagan Dzelzkalns

Friday, July 11, 2014


A man found a cocoon of a butterfly. One day a small opening appeared, he sat and watched the butterfly for several hours as it struggled to force its body through that little hole.

Then it seemed to stop making any progress. It appeared as if it had gotten as far as it could and it could go no farther.

Then the man decided to help the butterfly, so he took a pair of scissors and snipped off the remaining bit of the cocoon. The butterfly emerged easily. But it had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch the butterfly because he expected that, at any moment, the wings would enlarge and expand to be able to support the body, which would contract in time.

Neither happened! In fact, the butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness and haste did not understand was that the restricting cocoon and the struggle required for the butterfly to get through the tiny opening were God’s way of forcing fluid from the body of the butterfly into its wings so that it would be ready for flight once it achieved its freedom from the cocoon. (Author Unknown)

“Does the chrysalis dream of flying?
The wing folded within
Waiting to burst forth . . .
Does the larvae become a butterfly at birth?
Or when it finally winds its way
Through the long canal it traverses as a butterfly,
Does it paint its own wings?
So you, child, while making your way
Know that you wings are waiting you,
Full of as much potential
Must go through all the phases." (Kevin F.)

Prayer of the Emerging Self
Marvelous Creator
Of the butterfly,
Set loose in me the energy
Of the new creation.
Move me out of self,
Out of self, out of self,
Out of self
Into chrysalis and
Seed my imagination.
Lift my wings.
Drawn by unknown scents
And different destines, let
Me rise, rise, rise
Out of the depths of
Chrysalis crisis.
Even out of death in all its forms.
(William Fitzgerald ~ “One Hundred Cranes”)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

God's Creativity!

A little girl was sitting on her grandfather’s lap as he read her a bedtime story. From time to time, she would take her eyes off the book and reach up to touch his wrinkled cheek. She was alternately stroking her own cheek, then his again.

Finally, she spoke up, “Grandpa, did God make you?”  “Yes, sweetheart,” he answered, “God made me a long time ago.”

“Oh,” she paused, “Grandpa, did God make me too?”  “Yes, indeed honey,” he said, “God made you just a little while ago.”

Feeling their respective faces again, she observed,
“Ya know Grandpa, I think God is getting better at it.”
(Author Unknown)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014


Just before giving a lavish party at his estate, a tycoon had his swimming pool filled with poisonous snakes. He called the guests together and announced, “to anyone brave enough to swim across this pool, I will give the choice of a thousand acres of my oil fields, 10,000 heads of cattle, or my daughter’s hand in marriage.”

No sooner were his words spoken than a young man plunged in, swam across the pool and climbed out-unscathed but breathless. “Congratulations!” The tycoon greeted him, “do you want my oil fields?” “No!” gasped the guest. “The 10,000 head of cattle?” “No!” the young man shouted. “Well, how about my daughter’s hand in marriage?” “No!” “You must want something, said the puzzled host." “I just want to know the name of the guy who pushed me in!”         

(H.L. Reader’s Digest)

We all need a push sometime!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A Story: Leave the Rest to Me

As a man was climbing the stairs of the lighthouse, he carried a small candle. On the man’s way up to the top, the candle spoke up. “Where are we going?”

“We’re going to the top of this lighthouse and to signals to the big ships on the ocean.” The man answered. “What? How could it be possible for me with my small light to give signals to those big ships?”

“They will never be able to see my light,” bemoaned the candle.  “That’s your part. If your light is small, let it be. All you have to do is keep burning and leave the rest to me,” said the man. A little later, they arrived at the top of the lighthouse where there was a big lamp with a loop behind it. The man lit the lamp with the light of the candle and instantly, the place shone so brightly that the ships on the ocean could see its light.

A Prayer of Opening One's Heart!

Prayer: Meister Eckhart

You need not seek God here or there, for God is no further than the door of your heart; there God stands patiently awaiting whoever is ready to open up and let God in. No need to call to God from afar: God can hardly wait for you to open up, God longs for you a thousand times more than you long for God.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Door of Your Life!

“When a moment knocks on the door of your life, it is often no louder than the beating of your heart, and it is very easy to miss it.”   
(Boris Pasternak)
God, Divine Guide, you wait with me in the silence.  You are my faith-filled eyes in the dark.  Slow me down when I want to hurry.  Draw me close to you when I try to run.  Teach me how to be patient and wise when I wait on the threshold of growth.  I open the door of my heart to you. I open the door. 
(Joyce Rupp/Open the Door)

Gardeners of the Spirit

“Help us to be always hopeful
Gardeners of the Spirit
Who know that without darkness
Nothing comes to birth
As without light
Nothing flowers.”
- Mary Sarton

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Little Frog Medicine!

This weekend there was a chorus of “ribet” songs coming from the pond behind our motherhouse.  I’ve posted a picture of one of the very large frogs inhabiting the pond.  Maybe this bright green frog inhabiting the pond was a great image for all of us who need to “hang out” in the back pond and relax and take leave of some of the distractions in our lives. . . This pond dweller made me remember the following reflection. 

A Reflection on Frog – through a Native American portal.  
(Authors: Jamie Sam & David Carson)

If Frog hopped into your life today, “its ‘ribet’ may be calling in the cleansing you need.  If you were to look at where you are today, would you use any of the following words to describe your condition: tired, overloaded, harried, frustrated, guilty, itchy, nervous, at a loss, empty, or weakened?

If so, take a break and allow yourself to bathe in the waters of Frog medicine.  This could mean a long, relaxing bath, disconnecting the phone, yelling ‘stop,’ or taking in deep, cleansing breaths.

The key thought is to find a way to rid yourself of distractions and to replace the mud with clear energy. Then replenish your parched spirit, body, and mind. . .

Frog speaks of new life and harmony through its rain song. The deep tones of Frog’s ‘ribet’ are said to be a call to the Thunder Beings: lightning, and rain. The ‘ribet’ is the heartbeat that comes into harmony with Father Sky and calls for the replenishment needed. Call to Frog and find peace in the joy of taking time to give to yourself.  A part of this giving is cleansing yourself of any person, place or thing that does not contribute to your new state of serenity and replenishment.”


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Slowing Down - A Prayer Exercise!

Poem: "Slow Me Down, God" by Wilfred Arlan Peterson
Slow me down, God.
Ease the pounding of my heart by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace.
Give me, amidst the day's confusion
the calmness of the everlasting hills.
Break the tension of my nerves and muscles
with the soothing music of singing streams
that live in my memory.
Help me to know the magical, restoring power of sleep.
Teach me the art
of taking minute vacations....
slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend,
to read a few lines from a good book.
Remind me
of the fable of the hare and the tortoise;
that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than measuring its speed.
Let me look up at the branches of the towering oak
and know that ... it grew slowly ... and well.
Inspire me
to send my own roots down deep...
into the soil of life's endearing values...
That I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.
Slow me down, God.

Your Longing for God is God's Longing for You!

Poem: "Longing" by John O'Donohue
 from To Bless the Space Between Us

Blessed be the longing that brought you here and quickens your soul with wonder.
May you have the courage to listen to the voice of desire that disturbs you when you have settled for something safe.
May you have the wisdom to enter generously into your own unease to discover the new direction your longing wants you to take.
May the forms of your belonging – in love, creativity, & friendship be equal to the grandeur and the call of your soul.
May the one you long for long for you. May your dreams gradually reveal the destination of your desire.
May a secret providence guide your thought and nurture your feeling.
May your mind inhabit your life with the sureness with which your body inhabits the world.
May your heart never be haunted by ghost structures of old damage.
May you come to accept your longing as divine urgency.
May you know the urgency with which God longs for you.

Happy Interdependence Day!

Prayer — A Litany of Generosity
(Response to each: Gracious God, give us generous hearts.)

— to share whatever gift it is that you have given to us. . .
— to acknowledge you as the giver of all good gifts. . .
— to give without counting the cost. . .
— to share without expecting something in return. . .
— to be wise in the way of caring for ourselves and others. . .
— to hold all of our treasures and values with open hands. . .
— to have gospel priorities and to align our life, love and time in their light. . .
— to be gracious and unbegrudging in our giving. . .
— to recognize the abundance of blessings in each passing day. . .
— to know the freedom that comes with true generosity. . .
— to experience the heart of the widow giving her mite. . .
— to accept our talents, whether many or few, and to use them in service of the Kingdom. . .
— to grow in giving thanks for everything. . .
— to be happy with having what we need and to be wise enough to know what it is that we want and do not need. . .
— to fall more deeply in love with the God of all generosity so that our hearts are strong enough to give away freely whatever is asked. . .

O gracious God, who so generously lavishes our lives with goodness, create in our hearts a deep center of gratitude, a center that grows so strong in its thanksgiving that that sharing freely of our treasures becomes the norm and the pattern of our existence. Remind us often of how much you cherish us, of how abundantly you have offered gifts to us, especially in the hours of our greatest need. May we always be grateful for your reaching into our lives with surprises of joy, growth, and unearned love. Amen.
(Joyce Rupp)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Independence Day ~ Interdependence Day!


In the words of David Barton, he reminds us of what the celebration of Independence Day – July 4th – is all about.
 “On July 2, 1776, Congress voted to approve a complete separation from Great Britain. Two days afterwards – July 4th – the early draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed, albeit by only two individuals at that time: John Hancock, President of Congress, and Charles Thompson, Secretary of Congress. Four days later, on July 8, members of Congress took that document and read it aloud from the steps of Independence Hall, proclaiming it to the city of Philadelphia, after which the Liberty Bell was rung. The inscription around the top of that bell, Leviticus 25:10, was most appropriate for the occasion: ‘Proclaim liberty throughout the land and to all the inhabitants thereof.’”   

However, I’d like to also declare an Interdependence Day.  Even though we celebrate our separation from the Crown of England, we must come to the awareness that we really do not live as “separate peoples” of this planet.  It is to be shared by all – for we are interdependent with all of life on this earth and beyond!

I recently returned from directing a retreat and I often would walk the grounds of the    center and quietly observe the trees reflected in the surrounding lake, watch the Sandhill Cranes fly over the near-by pier, and study the puffy, luminous clouds that looked as if they fell into the lake as they were reflected there along with the trees. I will post pictures to give a visual of what I experienced.

As I pondered my surroundings, I was amazed how this environment truly was an ecosystem happening right in front of me: fish, plants, trees, flowers, bees, birds, raccoons, deer, turtles, and more all in the dance of the ecosystem waltz! Everything working, living, sharing, moving, breathing together in one movement of life in this small circle of the earth.  Nothing separated – nothing independent – everything interdependent.

I thought, too, of my life as a woman religious in my community. Some would consider me pretty independent – guess I learned that as I was growing up – and yet as a committed member, I am interdependent with all those in my community.  We pray with and for one another; we minister with and for one another, we celebrate with and for one another, - however, we share who we are and what we have with all in our ministries and way of life.  As a wise old mentor once told me, “As celibate women, we belong to everyone and no-one.” 

So on this weekend of Independence Day and the celebration of separation, I pray for all who walk this earth as we are interdependent in our way of life on this planet and that we grow in our actions, attitudes, and way of being that we acknowledge we are here as a people sharing the gift of life in the beauty of God’s creation on this small planet in the universe.  Let us dance together the interdependent waltz!


One day a little boy asked his parents, ‘How do wars break out? How are they declared?’ So the father, who was very learned in economic matters, started talking about wheat, oil, an all the things t gat divide the world. But the mother thought the little boy was far too small to understand such things, and she said, ‘Let me explain it.’ The mother began to explain, and the father grew angry, and a great argument developed. The little boy was very frightened indeed, and held up his hands and cried, ‘Stop, stop! Now I know how wars begin.’ (Irene Laure)

The late Albert Einstein, during his declining years, granted a press conference to a number of newspaper reporters.
After they had plied him with questions on many subjects, one reporter asked: ‘Mr. Einstein, would you care to make a prediction as to the kind of weapons that will be used in the third world war?’ Modestly he shook his head and said: ‘No, I would not venture a prediction.’ After the briefest hesitation he added, ‘But I’ll tell you what will be the chief weapon in the fourth world war.’ The reporters were all ears and every pencil was poised in anticipation of the old man’s prediction. What would be the chief weapon in the fourth world war?

With an air of finality, the old man gave a one-word reply – clubs? It took a moment or two for the aged scientist’s reply to register, but as it did, a grim silence settled over the assembled group. (Anonymous)

“We can either emphasize those aspects of our traditions, religious or secular, that speak of hatred, exclusion, and suspicion or work with those that stress the interdependence and equality of all human beings. The choice is yours. (22)”
― Karen Armstrong, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life

“We are all in the same boat, in a stormy sea, and we owe each other a terrible loyalty.”
― G.K. Chesterton

“None of us can ever save himself; we are the instruments of one another’s salvation, and only by the hope that we give to others do we lift ourselves out of the darkness into light.”
― Dean Koontz

“Our culture values independence and isolation far too much, it seems to me--we have a hard time making ourselves part of things, of making ourselves responsible to others, and trusting others to be there for us. Sure, there's pain involved if we get hurt, but there's far more pain in isolation. I love community because God gave us other people to live with, not to pull away from, and I learn so much from others that I can't imagine my life without the learning I've gained from getting to know other people.”
-Tom Walsh