Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Saints Are Those Who Find Joy in the Messiness of Life!

+I share with you stories that speak to us about saints.

Several years ago, a Presbyterian minister challenged his congregation to open its doors and its heart more fully to the poor. The congregation initially responded with enthusiasm, and a number of programs were introduced that actively invited people from the less-privileged economic areas of the city, including a number of street-people, to come their church. Unfortunately, the romance soon died as coffee cups and other loose items began to disappear, some purses were stolen, and the church and meeting space were often left messy and soiled. A number of the congregation began to complain and demand an end to the experiment: "This isn't what we expected! Our church isn't clean and safe anymore!  We wanted to reach out to these people and this is what we get! This is too messy to continue!"

However, the minister held his ground, pointing out that their expectations were naive  that what they were experiencing was precisely part of the cost of reaching out to the poor, and that Jesus assures us that loving is unsafe and messy, not just in reaching out to the poor, but also in reaching out to anyone.


Wisdom of Charles Schultz:
After Charlie Brown's team lost another baseball game, he went to Lucy and paid five cents for her psychiatric help. She said: "Adversity builds character. Without adversity a person would never mature and be able to face up to all the things that will come later in life." Charlie asked, "What things?" She replied, "More adversity."

+ + +

Since the early centuries, the church has set aside one day to honor, collectively, all saints, both those officially recognized and those known only to God.  Today, we celebrate all those known and unknown women, men, and even children who lived their lives with transparency, and who were grounded in their personal integrity.  They radiated God’s compassion and were willing to reach out beyond race, creed, gender, ideology, and differences of every kind – no matter the cost, no matter how messy life became when they reached beyond themselves - frequently embracing adversity and more adversity!

Sometimes we tend to think of saints as pious people, at times, irrelevant to our experience and often shown in pictures with halos and ecstatic gazes. But today, saints are women and men like us who live regular lives and struggle with the ordinary and the extraordinary problems of life.  What makes them saints is their clear and unwavering focus on God, the Gospel, and God’s people.  Each one, in his or her own inimitable way, rolled up their sleeves, put on an apron, and in bending, were eager to wash the feet of all whom they met, no matter how messy the conditions or how unwelcoming the environment. They were willing to face up to all the adversities they encountered – from their own culture, their government, the church, or even their own families or communities!

On the feast of all saints, we are not only celebrating those who have died –we are celebrating all who have experienced the Gospel message and know that God dwells with them now.  Death is not the criteria required for sainthood, nor is perfection.  It is in our very participation in life knowing that we have God’s grace and power within us that we can reach beyond ourselves, no matter the cost – no matter the adversity. The saints we celebrate today are the people we know and who lived their faith.  Today, we honor all who have gone before us – and what we can simply say about them is that they tried; they believed.  They lived as best they could; they persevered in their trust in God; they lived the Beatitudes – perhaps without even knowing it.

• And so in our age, when there is renewed awareness of the suffering of innocent people though human trafficking, or through the exploitation of third world countries, or through the tragic systematic death of peoples by means of torture, famine, and genocide, then we can be sure that the saints are there tirelessly spending their lives to alleviate the suffering of humankind – in all its messiness and adversity.

• In an age when there is a clash between human dignity of all and the restrictive power of a few over all, we can be sure that the saints will be there to name the injustice and call it social sin.

• In an age when Christians are often confronted to choose between life and death for the sake of the Gospel, we can be sure the saints will be there with a holy resiliency, boldly standing in the mess and muck of it all - choosing life - and willing to stare death in the face for the sake of God’s reign.

•  In an age when there is an ecclesial restriction of gifts of the Spirit to some groups, we can be sure that the saints will be there and will witness to the freedom of the Spirit regardless of restrictive laws about the use of those gifts.
• In an age when discrimination, elitism, and oppression operates in society, in governments, or in churches, we can be sure the saints will be there to again proclaim the reign of God and be voice and heart, call and sign of the God whose design for this world is justice and mercy for all. 

The nature of sainthood is an incarnational reality, the shape and form of holiness may change from age to age and culture to culture.  But, the Spirit of the Holy will continue to call people like all of us who are present here and those beyond this faith community – for it is God’s caring that we witness and it is God’s love that we share – no matter the cost, no matter the messiness of it all – let us be willing to face up to all things that will come now and later as adversity and more adversity, for it truly builds character.

So, I close with the words of Tagore – who speaks to us about what being a saint truly is:
-I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
 I awoke and saw that life was service.
 I acted and behold, service was joy.
- Rabindranath Tagore

Pondering Halloween . . .

They just had a contest for scariest mask,
And I was the wild and daring one
Who won the contest for scariest mask-
And (sob) I'm not even wearing one.
 by shel silverstein

According to the statistics, the USA spends approximately 9 billion dollars on Halloween candy, costumes, and decorations.  Even our pets are fully costumed along with accessories to the tune of 3-4 million dollars.  This is an eve to celebrate “All Hallows Eve," the day before All Saints Day.

Background: Halloween has its roots in the ancient Celtic tribes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany. On October 31, the tribes would celebrate the festival of Samhain. During this festival, Celts believed the souls of the dead -- including ghosts, goblins, and witches -- returned to mingle with the living. In order to scare away the evil spirits, people would wear masks and light bonfires.

Also, the current custom of going door-to-door to collect treats actually started in Ireland hundreds of years ago. Groups of farmers would go door-to-door collecting food and materials for a village feast and bonfire. Those who gave were promised prosperity; those who did not received threats of bad luck. When an influx of Irish Catholic immigrants came to the United States in the 1800s, the custom of trick-or-treating came with them.

So what is the Good News for us at Halloween?
Let us ponder . . .
• Do we ever put on masks to hide our true selves?
• Do we ever wear masks to present a particular identity or image?
• Often Halloween is a time for children and adults to dress up like a character they’d like to be. Who would you like to be if you had a chance to take on the persona of someone else?
• All of these “fun ‘n games” are grounded in our faith needs - that is, to scare away evil, and have the courage to stand tall and let our true inner selves come forward without fear, and to call upon all the saints – women, men, and children who have been witnesses of lives lived with integrity, mercy, faith, and forgiveness - to be our companions on our faith journey.

Faith Is . . .
Faith is risking what is for what is yet to be.
It is taking small steps knowing they lead to bigger ones.
Faith is holding on when you want to let go.
It is letting go when you want to hold on.
Faith is saying YES when everything else says NO.
It is believing all things are possible in the midst of impossibilities.
Faith is looking beyond what is  and trusting for what will be.
It is the presence of light in darkness, the presence of God in all.
Ellen M. Cuomo

Sunday, October 26, 2014


Kindred Spirit
I want someone to love me just as I am,
someone who calls me when I need calling,
hugs me when I need hugging,
cries with me when I am crying,
laughs with me when I am laughing,
someone who dances with me
and matches my walk stride for stride.
I want a companion who sits companionably,
watching the world go by with me,
happy to be quiet or silly or thoughtful
as the moods chase us together.
Whether they live near or far,
I know they are with me in heart,
my bosom buddy, my kindred spirit.

God of great gifts,
grant that I may not so much seek to have kindred spirits
as to be a kindred spirit.
Give me ears to hear the needs of those around me,
arms to hold them when they need holding,
eyes to see their pain or their joy,
and a heart to feel it.


God grant that I may not so much seek
to be comforted as to comfort,
to be loved as to love,
to be enjoyed as to enjoy,
to be thought of, as to think of others.
And most of all help me know
that You are the Kindred Spirit
whose love we can count on,
time in and time out, time after time.

Carol Penner - A Mennonite Voice

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Time to Worry - a time to not . . .

This leads me to reflect on the symbol of the Worry Basket in the Native American cultures. It is known that in some Native American cultures, you were not allowed to bring your worries into the household of another person.  It was considered improper to enter with negativity within your spirit.  So many homes had “worry baskets” outside their homes and you would place your worries in the basket to rest before you entered the home.

Some Native Americans had Burden Baskets which hung by a strap across their foreheads and down their backs. The baskets were in cone shape – probably a prototype to the first backpack! Again, after collecting items of foods, etc., for her family, the woman would hang the basket by the entrance of their home.  Then if visitors came,  they waited outside for an invitation to come in; if they were not invited in, they left not offended, but understanding that it was not a good time for a visit.  If they were invited in, they were expected to deposit their troubles in the basket so the visit would be pleasant and the conversation would not be mixed with bad feelings.

There are also Worry Dolls from Guatemala.  It is said that if children could not sleep because they held worries or fears, then they were given Worry Dolls to tell their worries to and then the dolls were put under their pillows.  The dolls would hold their worries and carry them away.  Sometimes the parents would come and remove the dolls - to which the child upon rising the next morning would be refreshed because the dolls had taken their worries away.

This is a time of great worry in our world, in our families, and deep within our Selves – unrest in politics, governments, serious issues from our planet, such as, global warming, lack of resources for peoples because of droughts, famines, fires, floods - poverty, scarcity of food and water, drug wars, violence, and so much more – to name only a few of the uncertainties, anxieties and fears that cause many of us to be “wobbly” within because of worry.

Recently I heard someone speak about God’s sacred heart.  Maybe this is God’s burden basket that is offered moment by moment to all of us to place our worries, fears, and concerns within for God to hold for us – And while they are held within God’s loving heart, they are transformed. We just have to keep learning how to let go of the control and grow in our trust, hope, mercy, and love

Two Days We Should Not Worry  (Author Unknown)

There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension. One of these days is Yesterday with all its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday.  We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a single word we said.  Yesterday is gone forever.

The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow with all its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and its poor performance; Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds, but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet to be born.

This leaves only one day, Today.  Any person can fight the battle of just one day.  It is when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities Yesterday and Tomorrow that we break down.
It is not the experience of Today that drives a person mad, it is the remorse or bitterness of something which happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, live but one day at a time.
The Worry Tree!

The Carpenter I hired to help me restore and old farmhouse had just finished a rough first day on the job. A flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric saw quit, and now his ancient pickup truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence.

On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family. As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss.
Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.

"Oh, that's my trouble tree", he replied. "I know I can't help having troubles on the job, but one thing for sure, troubles don't belong in the house with my wife and the children. So I just hang them on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again."

"Funny thing is", he smiled, "when I come out in the morning to pick 'em up, there ain't nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before."
Author unknown 

Previously posted 2013

Monday, October 20, 2014

No taking sides prayer

God of our side, and God of our enemies’ side,
hear our prayer:
we need your help here on planet earth.
With heavy hearts we confess
the brokenness of our beautiful blue planet
which is spinning out of control.

Hear the sound of gunfire,
see the bomb craters,
taste the bitterness of people hating people,
smell the fear that permeates our lives,
touch the hearts of the wounded.

Hear the sound of children being hurt,
see people running away from their homes,
taste the hopelessness of shattered communities,
smell the despair of refugee camps,
touch the inconsolable on both sides.

Feel our pain as we spin through space.
Touch the pulse of the earth as it beats wildly.
God of our side, and God of our enemies’ side,
you are the God of no sides at all.

You call us to a new place,
to step with faith outside this world of taking sides.
You lead us to an inside out world,
an upside down kingdom,
where our enemy is our brother,
where our foe can be our  fondest friend.

You call us from the sidelines,
to centre stage,
to be a community of global resurrection,
firm believers in love that cannot die,
love that cannot be killed,
love that never lets us go.

You call us to be firm believers
in the one who crossed heaven and earth
to show us that even between God and human beings
there are no sides.

It is in the name of Jesus Christ,
whose arms embrace us all,
that we pray for peace today.

Carol Penner - A Mennonite Voice

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ebola . . . Prayers for all involved . . .

God of Mercy, be with those who are suffering and dying from Ebola, a deadly hemorrhagic disease caused by a virus. Comfort those in mourning and bring peace to those in caught up in panic.

Wise and Faithful Guide, watch over and protect others in West Africa and elsewhere from catching this deadly disease. Strengthen those who are risking their own lives to care for their very sick patients. May the greatest care be given to isolate those who afflicted, and caution be taken by the authorities to stem the spread of Ebola. May we be filled with compassion for all those who are suffering. (Author Unknown)

+ + + (Previously posted  ~ August 11, 2014)

God of our anguish, we cry to you
For all who wrestle with Ebola.
Grant we pray, peace to the afraid,
Your welcome to the dying and
Your comfort to those living with loss.
And, merciful God,
bless those many loving hands
That bravely offer care and hope.

God of healing,
Jesus healed those who were brought to him.
Hear our prayer for the peoples of West Africa
suffering from the Ebola outbreak.
Inspire and enable people who are ministering in this area
to be a source of healing, comfort and hope to those affected,
and agents for the education
and equipping of communities
to stop the spread of this disease.
In the name of Jesus Christ, we lift our prayer. Amen
(Adapted from writings of Fr. Stephen Smuts)

Healing Prayer . . .Kiss Us into Wholeness!


The pain and the wounds
go too deep
for us to heal
Only God,
only a
far Greater Power
can penetrate
such depth
of pain,
and gently, gently,
and kiss us into
It is too much
for us,
all of it has to be
given over
to God.
All of it.

 Edwina Gateley

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Journey!

A journey continues until it stops
A journey that stops is no longer a journey
A journey loses things on its way
A journey passes through things, things pass through it
When a journey is over, it loses itself to a place
When a journey remembers, it begins a journal
Which is a new journey about an old journey
A journey over time is different from a journey into time
An actual journey is into the future
A reflective journey is into the past

A journey always begins in a place called Here
Pack your bags and imagine your journey
Unpack your bags and imagine your journey is done

If you're afraid of a journey, don't buy shoes

~ Mark Strand ~

(Chicken, Shadow, Moon & More)

Monday, October 13, 2014

Teresa of Avila ~ Feast day October 15

St. Teresa of Avila by François Gérard

As she founded and visited convents, Teresa often traveled the rugged roads of Spain. One time her saddle slipped, and she found herself head down under the belly of a donkey as she crossed a stream. Complaining to the Lord of her treatment, she heard him reply, “Teresa, whom the Lord loves, he chastises. This is how I treat all my friends.” She replied tartly, “No wonder you have so few!”

Crucifix at Jesuit Retreat Center ~ Oshkosh, WI

“Christ has no body now, but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth, but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ looks compassion into the world.
Yours are the feet
with which Christ walks to do good.
Yours are the hands
with which Christ blesses the world.”

Stained glass window detail of St. Teresa of Avila photographed in Summit, NJ

“Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
One who possesses God lacks nothing:
God alone suffices.”

Saturday, October 11, 2014

When the signs of age . . . By Teilhard De Chardin

 “When the signs of age begin to mark my body
(And still more when they touch my mind);
When the ill that is to diminish me
Or carry me off strikes from without
Or is born within me;
When the painful moment comes in which I
Suddenly waken
To the fact that I am ill or growing old;
And above all at the last moment
When I feel I am losing hold of myself
And am absolutely passive in the hands
Of the great unknown forces that have formed me;
In all those dark moments, O God,
Grant that I may understand that it is you
(Provided only my faith is strong enough)
Who are painfully parting the fibers of my being
In order to penetrate to the very marrow
Of my substance
And bear me away within yourself.”

God is my enough!

When there is
nothing left
but God –
you become aware
that God is

Rest in God!

God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need.  Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace.  And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone. . . just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with God.  Then you will be able to rest in God ~ really rest ~ and start the next day as a new life.

St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross (Edith Stein)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Feast of Pope John XXIII - Saint and Prophet!

Not long after being elected to the papacy, Pope John took up residence in the papal apartments. These private apartments are hidden well inside Vatican City. John felt a little like a prisoner there, unable to come and go as he pleased and, more important to him, unable to invite friends to daily meals. It had become a custom for the pope to dine alone.

Pope John confided to his secretary, Monsignor Loris Capovilla, that he was unable to sleep through the night anymore. He felt lonely, and this kept him awake. He needed more conversation and more social stimulation to help him lose this feeling of being deserted . . .

Pope John simply could not accustom himself to the habit of eating all by himself, a practice which Pius XII had always maintained. In a very short time Capovilla was invited to join him at the table. The Pope’s appetite improved immediately. Shortly afterward he invited the cardinals of the Curia to be his table companions, one after the other. Little by little, bishops from all over the world, when they made their ad limina visits to Rome, were invited to join him for lunch or dinner. (Klinger, p. 29)

+  +  +

Once a distinguished luncheon companion ventured to remind John of the solitary eating habits of Pius XII. “Well and good,” John replied. “I value tradition and I grant that my predecessors did, too.  I must confess, however, that I have never found any place in the Bible which suggests that the Pope should eat alone." (Klinger, p. 29)

(Above selections from: Praying with Pope John XXIII by Bill Huebsch)

Quotes from John XXIII

• “It often happens that I wake up at night and begin to think about a serious problem and decide I must tell the Pope about it. Then I wake up completely and remember that I am the Pope.”

• “Italians come to ruin most generally in three ways, women, gambling, and farming. My family chose the slowest one.”

• “Anybody can be Pope; the proof of this is that I have become one.”

• “The feelings of my smallness and my nothingness always kept me good company.”

• “To have accepted with simplicity the honour and the burden of the pontificate, with the joy of being able to say that I did nothing to obtain it, absolutely nothing; indeed I was most careful and conscientious to avoid anything that might direct attention to myself. As the voting in Conclave wavered to and fro, I rejoiced when I saw the chances of my being elected diminishing and the likelihood of others, in my opinion truly most worthy and venerable persons, being chosen.”

• "See everything, overlook a great deal, correct a little.”

• “Here I am at the end of the road and at the top of the heap.”

• ”Prayer is the raising of the mind to God.
We must always remember this.
The actual words matter less.”

• “Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Who is my neighbor?

In the liturgical calendar for October 6, 2014, the Gospel reading was that of The Good Samaritan.  I recalled that I had once written a reflection on this Scripture from the Inn Keeper’s point of view.  I post it here for your reflection.  I invite you to consider “stepping into the parable” and writing your own reflection.  Blessings!

Shalom to you!

I am the owner and manager of this establishment which some would like to call an inn. It seems to be the only place on this rugged stretch of road between Jerusalem and Jericho.  I see a lot of strange happenings along these heavily traveled paths, for it is a major trade route.  One has to be vigilant on these roads, especially when the band of robbers surprise unsuspecting victims.

 I am often fortunate to encounter a number of travelers who are merchants, pilgrims, temple elders, and foreigners from nearby provinces who are looking for work.  I know that some are not of my faith, but my wife says I need to be open and offer hospitality to anyone who seeks refuge from the desert sun, or needs rest from walking the dirt roads, and who may be on pilgrimage for atonement of sins long ago.  I have a young new family and the extra money is essential for me so I can feed and clothe my family, besides paying taxes to the governor!  

I learned a lot from my father when he was an innkeeper in Bethlehem.  When I was a child, he often told me stories of the people who came to his establishment.  He always enjoyed telling one story in particular of a young pregnant woman, who traveled with a man with strong hands and an anxious heart.   Since this was the time of the census, they sought a place to stay with their relatives, but no one would make room for this unwed mother to be.  It was my father who gave them a place to stay.

So I now encounter this Samaritan man – I can tell by his accent and the way he is dressed.  He is carrying someone on his donkey and is heading here to my desk.  We are a simple establishment. No magnetic swipe, cards, no room service (unless there is money to accompany the request) and no extra sets of clean towels.  This tall, quite burly Samaritan says that he found this Jew along the roadside, beaten and left half dead.  Apparently this man encountered those robbers that I spoke of earlier.  The Samaritan requested a room for him to care for this injured man. I accommodated and even gave him those extra towels with no charge – my wife said that would be the compassionate thing to do.  Early the next morning, the Samaritan hands me money, two days wages, and wants me to give the injured man further care with a bed, food, and healing oils.  I agree to do so immediately.  I guess it was his eyes, his gentle voice, and his deep concern for this traveler.  He didn’t even know his name.  He said that he would return in a few days and pay me with more money if what he had given me was not enough.  

He then turned, started to walk out the door, but turned and spoke a blessing to me and my family.  I wondered if he was a follower of the man from Galilee whom they call Jesus.  This Samaritan man was so compassionate toward this traveler, a Jew.   When he returns, I will ask him where I can find this Jesus.  

~ Based on the Parable of the Good Samaritan ~ Luke 10:25-37

Monday, October 6, 2014

Look Closer! (A true story.)

Leonardo Da Vinci


Leonardo Da Vinci, who painted the Last Super, devoted seven years to this masterpiece. The life-model for the painting of the figure of Jesus was chosen first. For six months Da Vinci worked on the production of this leading character of his famous painting.

During the next six years Da Vinci continued his labors on this sublime work of art. One by one fitting persons were chosen to represent each of the eleven Apostles; space being left for the painting of the figure representing Judas Iscariot as the final task of this masterpiece.

After many discouraging experiences in searching for the type of person required to represent Judas, word came to Da Vinci that a man whose appearance fully met his requirements had been found in a dungeon in Rome, sentenced to die for a life of crime and murder. By special permission from the kind, this prisoner was carried to Milan where the picture was being painted.

For months he sat before Da Vinci at appointed hours each day as the gifted artist diligently continued his task of transmitting to his painting this base character representing the traitor and betrayer of our Savior. As he finished his last stroke, he turned to the guards and said, “I have finished. You may take the prisoner away.”

As the guards were leading their prisoner away, he suddenly broke loose from their control and rushed up to Da Vinci, crying as he did so, “O, Da Vinci, look at me! Do you not know who I am?” “No, I have never seen you in my life until you were brought before me out of the dungeon in Rome.”

Then, lifting his eyes toward heaven, the prisoner said, “Oh, God, have I fallen so low?” Then turning his face to the painter he cried, “Leonardo Da Vinci! Look at me again for I am the same man you painted just seven years ago as the figure of Christ.” (Author Unknown)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Gift of the Present!

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.
The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn't hear the band - he could see it in his mind's eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, "Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you."

Epilogue. . . .There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations. Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled. If you want to feel rich, just count all of the things you have that money can't buy. "Today is a gift, that's why it is called the present."
Author Unknown

Alert to God's NOW!

In the aeons of time
there came a moment
when God said: "NOW!"
Light sprang from darkness,
order from chaos,
and where there was no life before
life teemed.
God saw that it was - GOOD!

So every once in a while
God does it again
God's "NOW" breaks planets open,
bursts stars apart,
shifts the continental plates,
moves mountains and valleys,
melts the ice-caps,
sends forth a Sun.

It is incredibly disturbing -
adjusting, adapting,
stroking the fires of passion
for God's endless possibilities,
But a Word keeps calling:
"LIFE!" Be in it with me,
any moment, every moment,
alert for God's "NOW!"

Raphael Consedine PBVM