Thursday, September 21, 2017

Welcome, Autumn!

Autumn Prayers
In the Fading Summer Sun

In the fading of the summer sun,
the shortening of days, cooling breeze,
swallows' flight and moonlight rays
we see the Creator’s hand
In the browning of leaves once green,
morning mists, autumn chill,
fruit that falls frost's first kiss
we see the Creator’s hand
- Author Unknown

Autumn Prayer
O God of Creation, you have blessed us with the changing of the seasons.
As we embrace these autumn months,
May the earlier setting of the sun
Remind us to take time to rest.
May the crunch of the leaves beneath our feet
Remind us of the brevity of this earthly life.
May the steam of our breath in the cool air remind us that it is you who give us your breath of life.
May the scurrying of the squirrels and the migration of the birds
Remind us that you call us to follow your will.
We praise you for your goodness forever and ever.                                                                                                                       
 - Author Unknown


Wednesday, September 20, 2017

God of all seasons . . .


God of the seasons, there is a time for everything; there is a time for dying and a time for rising. We need courage to enter into the transformation process.

God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been. We, too, have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk. Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns. As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of misty days and harvest moon nights, there is always the dimension of mystery and wonder in our lives. We always need to recognize your power-filled presence. May we gain strength from this.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts of growth lie within the season of our surrender. We must wait for harvest in faith and hope. Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future. We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.

God of life, you believe in us, you enrich us, you entrust us with the freedom to choose life.  For all this, we are grateful. (From: May I Have This Dance?)

• How are you being invited to enter into transformation?
• To what are you saying “goodbye” and entering a time of surrender, insecurity, and risk?
• How are you aware of the patterns of growth that have been part of your life's journey? What have you learned from them?
• Are you aware of God’s power-filled presence in your times of walking in mystery and wonder?
• What does patience look like in your life?  Feel like? May you be blessed by its teaching.
• Have you ever had to leave something behind while at the same time move into a “holy newness” of the future? What insights and visions did you embrace?
• Ask the God of the seasons to keep your heart from growing cold in the empty seasons.
• God of life, we live, and move and have our being in you. We are grateful!

Autumnrifically happy!

Quotes of Autumn:
Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than all the other seasons. ~Jim Bishop
Winter is dead; spring is crazy; summer is cheerful and autumn is wise!   ~ Mehmet Murat ildan

In autumn, don't go to jewelers to see gold; go to the parks! ~ Mehmet Murat ildan
O' pumpkin pie, your time has come 'round again and I am autumnrifically happy! ~Terri Guillemets
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower. ~Albert Camus
I loved autumn, the one season of the year that God seemed to have put there just for the beauty of it.  ~Lee Maynard
Autumn is the hush before winter. ~French Proverb

In Praise of Autumn . . .

In the stillness of an autumn afternoon
we sit in quiet communion. Before us,
hills and valleys yawn, spreading wide
their yellow and green, ochre and gold
harvest of hay, beans and corn.

All summer long these fields drank
daily offerings of dew and sunlight.
We listen to the hush of hills, a hawk
above us riding thermal winds,
the drying corn nearby whispering
Praise! Praise! Praise!, the grass
beneath our squeaking swing
chanting, sotto voce, Thank you, God.

Everything around us whispers shhh.
And when we do, we hear the holy
breath of God bringing forth the world.

 Poem by: Sister Irene Zimmerman, SSSF


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

"Autumn-tired" . . .

A Leaf Treader 

 "I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn-tired.
 God knows all the color and forms of leaves I have trodden on and mired. 

 Perhaps I have put forth too much strength and been too fierce from fear.
 I have safely trodden underfoot the leaves of another year. 

 All summer long they were overhead more lifted up than I;
 To come to their final place in earth they had to pass me by.
 All summer long I thought I heard them threatening under their breath,
 And when they came it seemed with a will to carry me with them to death. 

 They spoke to the fugitive in my heart as if it were leaves to leaf;
 They tapped at my eyelids and touched my lips with an invitation to grief. 

 But it was no reason I had to go because they had to go.
 Now up, my knee, to keep on top of another year of snow."
 -Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Abundance of Autumn!

O sacred season of Autumn, be my teacher, for I wish to learn the virtue of contentment.  As I gaze upon your full-colored beauty, I sense all about you an at-homeness with your amber riches.

You are the season of retirement, of full barns and harvested fields. The cycle of growth has ceased, and the busy work of giving life is now completed. I sense in you no regrets; you've lived a full life.

I live in a society that is ever-restless, always eager for more mountains to climb, seeking happiness through more and more possessions.  As a child of my culture, I am seldom truly at peace with what I have.

Teach me to take stock of what I have given and received; may I know that it’s enough, that my striving can cease in the abundance of God’s grace.

May I know the contentment that allows the totality of my energies to come to full flower. May I know that like you I am rich beyond measure.

As you, O Autumn, take pleasure in your great bounty, let me also take delight in the abundance of the simple things of life which are the true source of joy. With golden glow of peaceful contentment may I truly appreciate this autumn day.                       

(Ed Hays, Prayers for a Planetary Pilgrim)

An Autumn God!

A Song of Praise to Our Autumn God 

O God of Autumn loveliness, we thank you for the many colors of our lives. We thank you for the rich hues of red, the promising hope of greens, the depth of the golds, and the well-worn browns.

We praise you for all of the life you have given us, the life we celebrate at this harvest time each year. Like the leaves of the trees, we ourselves have been blown around, toasted in the sun, and whipped by rain and storms. Yet, we stand as a testament to life well lived.

Your trees, O God, remind us of our letting go, our need to trust transformation so that new life can come. Yet, like them, we resist the tearing, wrenching, pulling, and tugging.  We cling earnestly to our color and our home!

Release us, God of the Autumn, and free us so that the wind of your Spirit can fling us to the places we most need to go.  Bury us deep in places where we will find warmth.  Help us to find ourselves grounded in You.

As we look around in this harvest time, we celebrate the bounty all around us and deep within us. May we be forever grateful for the plentitude!  May we be forever generous with all that is ours.  May we be forever willing to give of ourselves!

And as we journey towards this winter time, help us to always carry the spirit of springtime deep within us as a sign of hope!  We believe, O God of Transformation, that all of life is your belief and hope in us!  Ready our hearts, steady our hearts that we can respond fully in faith and love!
(Author Unknown)

Friday, September 8, 2017

Marvelous Light . . .

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt --- marvelous error! ---
that a spring was breaking
out in my heart.
I said: Along which secret aqueduct,
Oh water, are you coming to me,
water of a new life
that I have never drunk?

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt --- marvelous error! ---
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.

Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt --- marvelous error! ---
that a fiery sun was giving
light inside my heart.
It was fiery because I felt
warmth as from a hearth,
and sun because it gave light
and brought tears to my eyes.

Last night as I slept,
I dreamt --- marvelous error! ---
that it was God I had
here inside my heart.

By: Antonio Machado (Version by Robert Bly)

Struggle Within . . .

Unknown author . . .

Monday, September 4, 2017

Starting again and again and again . . .

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, August 31, 2017

A Prayer for Tired Spirits . . .

O God, help us to feel you; Help us to know how precious we are to you, that we might become at least half so precious to ourselves. 

Move with us, according to your desire. Ease our hearts, melt our harsh edges so that we might sense how intimate you truly are.

Guide us, God in an ever more complete embrace of you, that we might bear more of your endless embrace of us, and thereby embrace ourselves.

Keep alive within us, O God, your most precious gift to us which is our burning, longing, wordless yearning for you. Grant to us the courage and the vulnerability and the dignity to claim our hunger for you in every moment, celebrating, in each instant the pain and delight of our longing.

Touch us beneath our will, opening us where we cannot open ourselves, healing us where we cannot heal ourselves.

And, in the vibrant mystery of your Spirit within us, accept our eternal gratitude for every act of goodness that comes to us from another, for every nourishing way that souls may touch each other, for every bit of love we share, and for the wonder, the tender laughing touching calling beautiful wonder.

Gerald May
Photos courtesy of Sister Doris Klein, CSA

Labor Day Litany of Gratitude!

Litany of Labor:

Leader: Let us pray to the God of all creation, from whom comes life, work and purpose. Almighty God, when you lovingly formed us out of the dust of the earth, you breathed into us the breath of life and gave us work and purpose for living. We give you thanks, O God.

• For those who plow the field; for farmers and farm workers, for those who work with their hands and those who move the earth, for all who provide food for others.
• For those who tend the sick and those who seek new cures; for doctors and nurses, for scientists and technicians; for all who work to care for the sick.
• For those who design and create; for inventors and explorers, for artists and musicians; for those who write books and those who entertain; for all who open windows on their world through art and music.
• For those who work in offices and those who work in warehouses; for secretaries and receptionists, for stockers and bookkeepers; for those who market products and for those who move them; for all who serve others through administration.
• For those who inspire our minds and those who motivate us; for teachers and preachers, for public servants and religious servants; those who help the poor and those who work with our children; for all who encourage us to learn.
• For those whose labor is tidiness and cleanliness; for janitors and sanitary workers, for drycleaners and maids; for those who produce cleaning products and those who use them; for all those who add beauty and cleanliness to your world.
• For those who sail the waves and those who fly the skies; for captains and attendants, for astronauts and deep sea divers; for those who chart and those who navigate.
• For those who serve in the armed forces; for soldiers and airmen and women; sailors and marines; for all those who put themselves in harms way to protect others.
• You bless us all with skills and gifts for labor. You provide us opportunities to use them, for the benefit of others as well as ourselves and the growth of your Kingdom on earth. Guard and protect those who labor in the world.
• Send your special favor on the unemployed, the under-employed and the disabled, that they may find work that enriches their lives and provides for their families.
• Give health to the sick, hope to the bereaved.
• Keep us from laboring for ourselves alone.
• Make us loving and responsible in all that we do.

(Adapted from: Author: Carolyn Moomaw Chilton)

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A Prayer for All in the Hurricane Disaster

In Times of Natural Disasters

God, be with the rescue workers and keep them safe as they make heroic efforts in dangerous situations to rescue those in trouble.

Be with everyone waiting to be rescued, keep them safe, and bring help to them soon.

God, bless each and every person affected by this storm and surround them with Your love, protection, and resiliency.

Let them know there are millions of us out here praying for them and their loved ones.

We give You  praise and glory, and know that even in the darkest hours, You are always with us.

- Adapted from "Prayer for the Victims of Hurricane Katrina"

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Women's Equality Day . . .August 26

Women’s Equality Day

“And what shall we say of the obstacles which in so many parts of the world still keep women from being fully integrated into social, political and economic life? ...As far as personal rights are concerned, there is an urgent need to achieve real equality in every area: equal pay for equal work; protection for working mothers, fairness in career advancements, equality of spouses with regard to family rights, and the recognition of everything that is part of the rights and duties of citizens in a democratic state.” ~John Paul II, “Letter to Women, 1995"

On 26 August 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was certified granting women the right to vote. National Women’s Equality Day commemorates that day, both celebrating the achievements of women, and standing as a symbol of the ongoing struggle for equal rights.
 Women continue to earn less than men across all professions. This wage gap negatively affects the economic security of women and their families. In Economic Justice for All, the U.S. bishops note that wage discrimination is a major factor underlying high poverty rates for women and their families. They conclude that this discrimination is immoral.

Originally posted in Capuchin Newsletter . . .


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

For the Gift of Today . . .

Gracious God,
thank you for the gift of today.
Refresh me . . . Invite me . . .
to discover Your Presence in each person
that I meet, and every event encountered.

Teach me when to speak and when to listen,
when to ponder and when to share.
In moments of challenge and decision attune my
heart to the whisperings of Your Wisdom.

As I undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks,
gift me with simple Joy.
When my day goes well, may I rejoice!
When it grows difficult
surprise me with new possibilities.

When life is overwhelming
call me to Sabbath moments
to restore Your Peace and Harmony.
May my living today
reveal your goodness.
(Author Unknown)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Preparing for prayer . . .

Gracious and Holy God
give us wisdom
to perceive you,
diligence to seek you,
patience to wait for you,
eyes to behold you,

a heart to meditate on you,
and a life to proclaim you;
through the power
of the Spirit
of Jesus Christ.

A prayer of St. Benedict

Humming with Hope!

Humming In The Darkness

Hope means to keep living
amid desperation
and to keep humming
in the darkness.

Hoping is knowing that there is love,
it is trust in tomorrow
it is falling asleep
and waking again
when the sun rises.

In the midst of a gale at sea,
it is to discover land.

In the eyes of another
it is to see that you are understood . . .
As long as there is still hope
There will also be prayer . . .
And you will be held
in God’s hands.   
Henri Nouwen ~ With Open Hands


Gratitude . . .

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity....  It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Breaths of Life . . .

Life is not measured by the
number of breaths we take,
but by the number of moments
that take our breath away.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A Candle of HOPE!

The Story of the 4 Candles 

The Four Candles burned slowly. Their ambiance was so soft you could hear them speak...
The first candle said, “I Am Peace, but these days, nobody wants to keep me lit."
Then Peace's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

The second candle said, "I Am Faith, but these days, I am no longer indispensable."
Then Faith's flame slowly diminished and went out completely.

Sadly the third candle spoke,
"I Am Love and I haven't the strength to stay lit any longer.
People put me aside and don't understand my importance.              

They even forget to love those who are nearest to them."
And waiting no longer, Love went out completely.

Suddenly ... A child entered the room and saw the three candles no longer burning. The child began to cry, "Why are you not burning? You are supposed to stay lit until the end."

Then the Fourth Candle spoke gently to the little boy, "Don't be afraid, for I Am Hope, and while I still burn, we can re-light the other candles." With shining eyes,
the child took the Candle of Hope and lit the other three candles.

Never let the Flame of Hope go out. With Hope in your life, no matter how bad things may be, Peace, Faith and Love may shine brightly once again.
(~ Author Unknown)

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Mary's Uplifting! August 15th Feast . . .

The Wise Woman’s Stone
A wise woman who was traveling in the mountains found a precious stone in a stream. The next day she met another traveler who was hungry, and the wise woman opened her bag to share her food.  The hungry traveler saw the precious stone and asked the woman to give it to him. She did so without any hesitation.

The traveler left rejoicing in his good fortune. He knew the stone was worth enough to give him security for a full lifetime. But, a few days later, he came back to return the stone to the wise woman. “I’ve been thinking,” he said. “I know how valuable this stone is, but I give it back in the hope that you can give me something even more precious. Give me what you have within you that enabled you to give me the stone.”

Today, we gather to celebrate, to remember and to affirm our belief once again in the passing of Mary into God’s embrace body and soul. We gather to celebrate all that she had within her that enabled her to trust in Mystery, to walk in the holy darkness of questions; to ponder her experiences in the light of faith; to hope in God’s love amidst her joys and sorrows; losses and findings and the deaths and risings she encountered; and to live with courage as she responded moment by moment to the challenges and surprises that resulted from her “Yes, let it be done”.

The Assumption of Mary into heaven is one of the oldest feasts of Mary.  It is easily traced back to at least the 5th century and some historians say it was even celebrated as far back at the 3rd century. The event is not found in Scripture, and there were no witnesses – the feast came before its definition – it came from the belief of the people, the heart of the people. It is written, that in 1946 Pope Pius XII sent an encyclical letter to all the bishops of the world and asked them to confer with their people about the mystery of the Assumption becoming a dogma of the Church. On the strength of their response and the testimony of history he declared the Assumption dogma in 1950. Isn’t this a great model for our Church!

Most of what we know about Mary in Scripture comes from the Gospels of Luke and John. As a young Jewish girl, she grew into womanhood with an extraordinary faith. Oftentimes she did not understand what God was asking of her, but she believed with all her heart that it could and would be done, and she acted accordingly. It was enough for her to be called to move within holy mystery and gently hold the tension of all that was being asked of her. She did not seek answers, clarity or quick results - we are told that “she held all these things in her heart” and treasured them until their meaning was revealed a grace at a time!

In our Gospel today, Mary, a young pregnant woman went with haste about 70 miles south to the hills of Judea to visit her older pregnant cousin, Elizabeth, who has lived the past six months, no longer barren, with a quieted husband. Mary remains there for at least 3 months to be of help and to share the joy of expectation that most mothers-to-be experience. They both embody God’s mercy while sharing their fears, finding courage through one another, expressing their hopes, and learning practical wisdom of body, mind, and spirit together. The mystery of the Incarnation is set in a familiar context – the friendship between pregnant women who await the birth of their children. Luke summarizes for us the deep relationship between Mary and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and is the first person to recognize Mary’s child, Jesus, as the long-awaited one.

Elizabeth’s loud cry is translated with the same words used to describe the loud cry of the Hebrews before the Ark of God’s presence when it was brought into their midst.  Mary is now the living Ark of God and the promise to God’s people has begun to be fulfilled in her.

In response to Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary proclaims a song of liberation for all people; one in which ideals are reversed and the household of God will be peopled by the poor, the hungry, and the ones with no power. Hers is the first proclamation of justice in the New Testament.  Her song is revolutionary – she speaks of a political revolution in which God has shown strength and brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly.  She speaks of a social revolution in which God has filled the hungry with good things; and she sings of an economic revolution, in which God has sent the rich away empty, and the poor are filled with good things.

Her message is so subversive that even in our time, it is written that “for a period during the 1980’s the Government of a Latin American country banned its public recitation.”  Her song of courage invites us to identify with the poor, the oppressed and marginalized of our day, to be in solidarity with them, and to dare to engage with God in the liberation of these people, believing, like Mary that this can be done so that we too can build up the kingdom with love and justice.

These women, who stand pregnant in an embrace of joy, laughter, and praise for God’s marvels, will give birth to children of the Magnificat. These children in turn will one day stand together and sing a new song that would be revolutionary as well. John will sing his song of Repentance and ring out the Good News that the Messiah is here. Jesus, will sing his song of Beatitude that will break through to the hearts of the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized and beyond the strict laws of purification.

No doubt that after Jesus' Ascension, Mary grew in age, grace and wisdom as well.  She, too, was filled with the Pentecost fire of the Spirit and would have received the same energy and power of the Spirit as the disciples. Legend puts her in Ephesus residing at the home of John the apostle. However, some scholars tend to think that Mary stayed in Jerusalem, the birthplace of the first Christian community. If so, then Mary’s mission was to reach out and speak to Jewish women and to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.  Her ministry was to build up the young community and make known this new faith to other women believers.

So how can this feast speak to us?  How can it encourage us on our journey?  How can it become part of our story?  Mary not only witnesses to the action of God in her life, but she is a woman who was fully human, gifted with grace, truth, mercy, compassion, faithfulness, on fire with the Spirit, generous in ministry, and centered in God.  These are a few of the treasures that she had deep within her that enabled her to be woman, wife, mother, sister, cousin, friend, disciple, prophet, and witness.  Finally, we ask boldly for all that she had within her that enabled her to be authentic, faithful, and trusting, so that we, too, will sing our prophetic song of faithfulness and proclaim that “God has done great things for us!”

I close with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley,
who reflects on this Gospel . . . .

“Affirmed, loved and comforted,
 You stayed with Elizabeth,
 Absorbing the experience and the wisdom
  of the older woman,
 deepening in your own resolve
 to nurture, hold
 and mother God.
 Your journey has blessed ours, Mary.
 Your Yes dares us
 to believe in the impossible,
to embrace the unknown,
 and to expect the breaking through of mystery
 onto our bleak and level horizons.
 The words you heard, Mary,
 we will forever remember.
 We will not be afraid,
 for the life that you birthed
 will not be extinguished
 in our souls.
 And the journey
 you took in faithfulness,
 we also take.
 We the people, women and men, the midwives,
 and the healers will also,
 like you Mary, our soul sister,
 Give birth to God
 for our world.”

Previously posted: August 2012

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

An Amazing Presence . . .

 I am touched to the core
  with a presence I can not explain
  A loving plan enfolds me
  Someone is always believing in me
  calling me forth, calling me on
  I am standing in grace
  filled with mystery
  touched with the eternal
  I cannot get away from goodness
  I think we name you God.
  You surround me like a gentle breeze
  My idols live on in my life
  My inconsistent values stay
  My immaturity walks besides me
  My sin is ever before me
  Your love for me stays the same
  I tremble in the face of such graciousness
  Your reverence for me astounds me
  You breathe out hope
  and I catch on …

  Macrina Wiederkehr
Seasons of Your Heart
  Photo by Doris Klein, CSA

The Mystery of Presence . . .

For Presence
Awaken to the mystery of being here and
enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
Have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
Receive encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
Respond to the call of your gift and the courage to
follow its path.

Let the flame of anger free you of all falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame.

May anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.

Take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek
no attention.
Be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven
around the heart of wonder.

~ John O'Donohue ~

(To Bless the Space Between Us)

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Story of the Seed by Francis Kong

A successful business man was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, 'It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. 'The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued. 'I am going to give each one of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.'

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.

Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have a plant and he felt like a failure. Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot...

But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the boardroom. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful -- in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.

Jim just tried to hide in the back. 'My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,' said the CEO. 'Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!'
All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, 'The CEO knows I'm a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!'

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed - Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, 'Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!
His name is Jim!' Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow his seed.
'How could he be the new CEO?' the others said.

Then the CEO said, 'One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!'
(Previously posted 2014)

Saturday, July 29, 2017

God ever comes!

 Silent Steps

Rabindranath Tagore
Have you not heard God’s silent steps?
God comes, comes, ever comes.

Every moment and every age,
Every day and every night
God comes, comes, ever comes.
Many a song I sung in many a mood of mind,
but all their notes have always proclaimed,
‘God comes, comes, ever comes.’
 In the fragrant days of sunny April through the forest path
God comes, comes, ever comes.
In the rainy gloom of July nights on the
thundering chariot of clouds
God comes, comes, ever comes.
In sorrow after sorrow
it is God’s steps that press upon my heart,
and it is the golden touch of God’s feet
that makes my joy to shine.

+++Photos taken at Franciscan motherhouse in La Crosse, WI.  Reflections of the Adoration Chapel in the nearby puddle. . .

Sunday, July 23, 2017

God's Dream . . .

And God said:
I myself will dream a dream
within you.
Good dreams come from me
you know.

My dreams seem impossible,
Not too practical,
Not for the cautious   
woman or man,
A little risky sometimes,
A trifle brash perhaps.

Some of my friends prefer
To rest more comfortably,
In sounder sleep,
With visionless eyes.

But for those who share my dreams,
I ask a little patience,
A little humor,

Some small courage,
And a listening heart.
I will do the rest.

Then they will risk,
And wonder at their daring
Run, and marvel at their speed;
Build, and stand in awe at the beauty
of their building.

You will meet me often as you work:
In your companions,
who share your risk;
In your friends,
who believe in you enough
to lend their own dreams,
Their own hands, 
Their own hearts,
To your building;

In the people who will find
your doorway,
Stay awhile, and walk away
Knowing they, too, can find a dream . . .

There will be sun-filled days,
And sometimes it will rain.
A little variety!
Both come from me.

So come now,
Be content.
It is my dream you dream:
My house you build;
My caring you witness;
My love you share;
And this is
the heart of the matter.  

sc ~ rgs

Aloned . . .with God!

Alone with God
All-one with God
Being alone with God
Being all-one with God

It is a terrible grace.
An awesome gift,
but terrifying all the same.
There is no way to get there
except to lose yourself,
to lose what you know of yourself.
And then, the battle is over.
There will be nothing left but God.

Being alone, all-one, with God
is a terrible and beautiful grace.
Terrible, because
the only way there
is to lose yourself.
Beautiful, because
when you lose yourself
there is no one left but God.

You are all-one
Alone with God!

It happened to Jesus
It can happen to you
If you stay with Jesus
it will happen to you.
Alone with God
All-one with God.

Now I understand
why Jesus went out
to the desert hills so often
alone . . .

A Tree Full of Angels
Macrina Wiederkehr

One inch at a time . . .

A Spiritual Journey

And the world cannot be discovered
by a journey of miles,
no matter how long,
but only by a spiritual journey,
a journey of one inch,
very arduous and humbling and joyful,
by which we arrive at the ground at our feet,
and learn to be at home.

~ Wendell Berry ~

(Collected Poems)

Stories to ponder. . .

The story of a blind girl

There was a blind girl who hated herself just because she was blind. She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend. He was always there for her. She said that if she could only see the world, she would marry her boyfriend.

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her and then she could see everything, including her boyfriend. Her boyfriend asked her, “Now that you can see the world, will you marry me?”

The girl was shocked when she saw that her boyfriend was blind too, and refused to marry him. Her boyfriend walked away in tears, and later wrote a letter to her saying:
“Just take care of my eyes dear.”

A glass of Milk, paid in Full

One day, a poor boy who was selling goods from door to door to pay his way through school, found he had only one thin dime left, and he was hungry. He decided he would ask for a meal at the next house. However, he lost his nerve when a lovely young woman opened the door.

Instead of a meal he asked for a drink of water. She thought he looked hungry so brought him a large glass of milk.
He drank it slowly, and then asked, “How much do I owe you?”
“You don’t owe me anything,” she replied. “Mother has taught us never to accept pay for a kindness.”

He said, “Then I thank you from my heart.”

As Howard Kelly left that house, he not only felt stronger physically, but his faith in God and man was strong also. He had been ready to give up and quit.

Years later that young woman became critically ill. The local doctors were baffled. They finally sent her to the big city, where they called in specialists to study her rare disease.

Dr. Howard Kelly was called in for the consultation. When he heard the name of the town she came from, a strange light filled his eyes. Immediately he rose and went down the hall of the hospital to her room.

Dressed in his doctor’s gown he went in to see her. He recognized her at once. He went back to the consultation room determined to do his best to save her life. From that day he gave special attention to the case.

After a long struggle, the battle was won. Dr. Kelly requested the business office to pass the final bill to him for approval. He looked at it, then wrote something on the edge and the bill was sent to her room.

She feared to open it, for she was sure it would take the rest of her life to pay for it all. Finally she looked, and something caught her attention on the side of the bill. She began to read the following words:
“Paid in full with one glass of milk.
Signed, Dr. Howard Kelly.”

Author Unknown

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mary Magdalene ~ Faith-filled Friend . . .

Feast of Mary Magdalene ~ July 22
(Posted by Ron Rolheiser, OMI)

I never suspected
                        and to be so painful
                        to leave me weeping
With Joy
            to have met you, alive and smiling, outside an empty tomb
With Regret
            not because I’ve lost you
            but because I’ve lost you in how I had you –
                        in understandable, touchable, kissable, clingable flesh
                        not as fully Lord, but as graspably human.

I want to cling, despite your protest
            cling to your body
            cling to your, and my, clingable humanity
            cling to what we had, our past.

But I know that…if I cling
            you cannot ascend and
            I will be left clinging to your former self
            …unable to receive your present spirit.