Friday, September 20, 2019

Marisa Vertrees Preaches for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Look-it-ing up!


There was a small boy who when walking down the street one day found a bright copper penny. He was so excited that he found money and it didn’t cost him anything. This experience led him to spend the rest of his days walking with his head down; eyes wide open, looking for treasure.

During his lifetime he found 296 pennies, 48 nickels, 19 dimes, 16 quarters, 2 half dollars and one crinkled dollar bill ~ for a total of $13.96.

He got money for nothing. Except that he missed the breathless beauty of 31,369 sunsets, the colorful splendor of 157 rainbows, the fiery beauty of hundreds of maples nipped by autumn’s frost. He never saw white clouds drifting across blue skies, shifting into various wondrous formations. Birds flying, sun shining, and the smiles of a thousand passing people are not a part of his memory. (Author unknown)

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Only Today . . .

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

Courage Work . . .!

“The longest journey
is the journey inwards.”
Dag Hammarskjöld


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Why knot?

"Knot in your life"!

O God,
please untie the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart, and my life.

Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.

Erase the will nots,
may nots, might nots
that find a home in my heart.

Release me from the could nots,
would nots, and should nots
that obstruct my life.

And most of all, God,
I ask that you remove from my mind
my heart and my life all of the ‘am nots'
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough. Amen.

Author Unknown . . .

A "too muching" prayer . . .

Sometimes, Lord,
it just seems to be too much:
    too much violence, too much fear;
    too much of demands and problems;
    too much of broken dreams and broken lives;
    too much of war and slums and dying;
    too much of greed and squishy fatness
        and the sounds of people
            devouring each other
                and the earth;
too much of stale routines and quarrels,
    unpaid bills and dead ends;
too much of words lobbed in to explode
    and leaving shredded hearts and lacerated souls;
too much turned-away backs and yellow silence,
    red rage and bitter taste of ashes in my mouth
Sometimes the very air seems scorched
    by threats and rejection and decay
        until there is nothing
        but to inhale pain
            and exhale confusion.
Too much of darkness, Lord,          
    too much of cruelty
        and selfishness
            and indifference…
Too much, Lord,
    too much,
        too bloody,
                brain-washing much.
 Or is it too little,
    too little of compassion,
    too little of courage,
        of daring,
        of persistence,
        of sacrifice;
    too little of music
        and laughter
            and celebration?
O God,
make of me some nourishment
    for these starved times,
        some food for my brothers and sisters
    who are hungry for gladness and hope,
        that, being bread for them,
    I may also be fed
        And be full.
Ted Loder, Guerrillas of Grace

Thursday, September 5, 2019

God of transforming seasons . . .

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)

Fall - ing Time!

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


Seasons of Life. . .

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 dream for us.
We praise you for your goodness forever and ever.
 - Author Unknown

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Pray for inner quieting . . .


Dear God,

Speak gently in my silence.

When the loud outer noises of my surroundings

and the loud inner noises of my fears

keep pulling me away from you,

help me to trust that you are still there

even when I am unable to hear you.


Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:

"Come to me, you who are overburdened,

and I will give you rest . . .

for I am gentle and humble of heart."

Let that loving voice be my guide. Amen. 

- Henri Nouwen

Three is Key . . .

The 3 Hurdles

A disciple arrives at Socrates’ house very agitated and starts speaking to him and saying:

-Master!  I want to tell you how a friend of yours was talking about you not in a very nice way . . .

Socrates interrupted him by saying:

-Wait!  Have you passed what you are going to tell me through the test of 3 Hurdles?

-The 3 Hurdles???

-Yes, replied Socrates, the first is TRUTH.

-Have you examined carefully if what you want to tell me is true in all its points?

-No . . . I heard the neighbors saying . . .

-But at least you must have passed it by the second hurdle, which is KINDNESS.  What you want to tell me is at least good?

-No, not really, on the contrary . . .

-Ah!  interrupted Socrates – then let’s go to the last hurdle.  Is it NECESSARY that you tell me this?

-To be honest, no . . . it’s not necessary.

It's the spirit that matters . . .

"The spirit we have,
not the work we do,
is what makes us
important to the people
around us."
(Author Unknown)

Make a difference . . .

The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable,
to be compassionate,
and to have it make some difference
that you have lived and lived well.
(Attributed to Emerson)

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Summer Stories for Our Souls . . .

A friend of mine took his small son with him to town one day to run some errands. When lunch time arrived, the two of them went to a familiar diner for a sandwich. The father sat down on one of the stools at the counter and lifted the boy up to the seat beside him. They ordered lunch, and when the waiter brought the food, the father said, "Son, we'll just have a silent prayer." Dad got through praying first and waited for the boy to finish his prayer, but he just sat with his head bowed for an unusually long time. When he finally looked up, his father asked him, "What in the world were you praying about all that time?" With the innocence and honesty of a child, he replied, "How do I know? It was a silent prayer."  (Author Unknown)

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)

The Chicken and the Pig were passing a church on a country road, where they saw a sign reading “Charity meals for the poor, please contribute.” Says the Chicken to the Pig “Sounds like a worthy cause, let’s contribute a ham-and-egg breakfast.” Responds the Pig, thoughtfully, “Madam, for you that would be contribution, for me a total commitment.” (Author Unknown)

With Christmas coming, Grandma was out shopping for gifts for her grandchildren.  While she was at the toy store going through her list and carefully selecting gifts, she noticed a small homerless girl outside wistfully looking into the store.  Grandma’s heart went out to this little girl.  She invited her into the store and asked her to pick out a gift for herself.  As they walked out of the store, the little girl held Grandma’s hand and looked into her kind eyes and asked, “Are you God?”

Grandma, somewhat embarrassed and somewhat touched, said, “No, my dear, I am not God.”  “Then who are you?” continued the little girl.  Grandma thought for a moment and said, “I am a child of God.” 

The little girl, fully satisfied and smiling, said, “I knew there was a connection.”
(Author Unknown)

Monday, August 12, 2019

Carolyn Osiek, RSCJ Preaches for the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary

A Woman of the Song!!

First Beginning:
Author Wayne Dyer writes that one of the secrets to inner peace is this teaching: “Don’t die with your song still inside you.”

Second Beginning is a story:
The Song

When a woman in a certain African tribe knows she is pregnant, she goes out into the wilderness with a few friends and together they pray and meditate until they hear the song of the child. They recognize that every soul has its own vibration that expresses its unique flavor and purpose. When the women attune to the song, they sing it out loud. Then they return to the tribe and teach it to everyone else. When the child is born, the community gathers and sings the child's song to him or her.

Later, when the child enters education, the village gathers and chants the child's song. When the child passes through the initiation to adulthood, the people again come together and sing. At the time of marriage, the person hears his or her song. Finally, when the soul is about to pass from this world, the family and friends gather at the person's bed, just as they did at their birth, and they sing the person to the next life. (Internet)

Today, our Gospel of Luke so fittingly presents to us the Women of the Song. Their meeting is a prototype of a liturgy of Word and Bread. There is meeting, greeting, blessing, and sharing of the nourishment of their wisdom, wonder, and awe of what God has done for them.

Mary goes with haste and enters the house of Zachariah and greets Elizabeth. Elizabeth, no longer barren, is filled with a child who dances with joy at the recognition of the Word enfleshed within Mary. Elizabeth is bursting with a sense of the holy and sings a song of blessing upon Mary.

Her loud cry of blessing 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 as well.

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 their new song that would be revolutionary as well.  John will sing his song of justice and repentance, daring the people to prepare the way for the Messiah.  His voice will ring out like "thunder in the desert."

Jesus, son of Mary, will hear his song in the desert as well. He will claim his purpose to be Mission, Messiah, and Beloved. He will be Bread for the hungry, Shepherd for the marginalized, and Liberator for the oppressed. His song of the Beatitudes will break through to the hearts of the “least, the last, and the lost.”

Mary was very much like the majority of women in the world today; she was a peasant from a village of about 1600 people. She was poor, exploited by the rich; she had to pay taxes to Caesar, to Herod, and to the Temple.  She was persecuted. She was like many people in our world today, especially women in Asia, Africa, and Latin America who live in tiny villages and work 10 or more hours a day doing domestic chores – fetching water, gathering wood for fires, and preparing meals.

Oftentimes, Mary is presented as meek and mild, passive and submissive.  The problem with this view is that it is impossible to reconcile it with the ten stories we have of Mary in the New Testament: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity, the Presentation, the flight into Egypt, losing Jesus in the Temple, going to bring Jesus home from his public ministry, the wedding feast at Cana, being at the foot of the cross, and Pentecost. No doubt, mindful of her song within, she pondered and treasured each experience of these joyful and sorrowful mysteries.

Certainly, the faith, trust, courage, and strength of Mary’s witness is most especially captured in her song of praise, the Magnificat – of which we just heard in the Gospel.

Truly, the NT does not present a meek, fragile woman, lacking creativity and initiative.  It reveals a strong, upright woman who put her free will at the disposal of God’s dream for her. This is what the feast of the Assumption celebrates; that because God will never be outdone in fidelity and generosity, God remained utterly faithful to Mary through death, as she was unreservedly faithful to God in life.

So today, as we gather around this table to continue to sing Mary’s song for all generations . . .  we ask, how can this feast speak to us?

I have chosen to respond to this question with a selection from Soul Sisters by Edwina Gateley,
Who reflects upon this Gospel . . . and so she writes:
“Blessed Mary! Blessed are you!
Bearer of hope for the world.
Co-creator . . .....graced by divine mystery . . .
Ah, Mary! How your soul sang with fullness and gratitude. . .
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.”

My Second Ending:
And may we all be blessed to have lived long enough to hear our song within, and to sing it to our world so as to have made a difference with our lives . . .

Friday, August 9, 2019

The Gift and Challenge in a day . . .

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)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Always a choice . . .

An Old Cherokee Tale of Two Wolves

One evening an old Cherokee Indian told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one you feed.’

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Amen, Amen!

Come, Holy Spirit ~
Replace the tension within me with a holy relaxation,
Replace the turbulence within me with a sacred calm,
Replace the anxiety within me with a quiet confidence,
Replace the fear within me with a strong faith,
Replace the bitterness within me with the sweetness of grace,
Replace the darkness within me with a gentle light,
Replace the coldness within me with a loving warmth,
Replace the night within me with Your day,
Replace the winter within me with Your spring,

Straighten my crookedness, fill my emptiness,
Dull the edge of my pride, sharpen the edge of my humility,
Light the fires of my love, quench within me the flames of envy,
Let me see myself as You see me,                                                                 that I may see You as You have promised ~
And be fortunate according to Your word, “Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God

Gentle grasping . . .

We cannot grasp the water,
Water is to be cupped with held fingers –
Gently, preciously.

We cannot grasp the water,
Water is to be held with open palms –
Gently, preciously.

The same is true for both
the heart of the water
and the heart of the person.
(Author Unknown)

Having vision . . .

If you see what needs to be repaired
and how to repair it,
then you have found a piece of the world
that God has left for you to complete.

But if you only see what is wrong
and how ugly it is,
then it is yourself that needs repair.
Rabbi Tzvi Freeman

Monday, July 29, 2019

A challenge and gift . . .

To acknowledge and cross a new threshold is always a challenge. It demands courage and also a sense of trust in whatever is emerging. This becomes essential when a threshold opens suddenly in front of you, one for which you had no preparation. This could be illness, suffering or loss.
Because we are so engaged with the world, we usually forget how fragile life can be and how vulnerable we always are. It takes only a couple of seconds for a life to change irreversibly. Suddenly you stand on completely strange ground and a new course of life has to be embraced.
Especially at such times we desperately need blessing and protection. You look back at the life you have lived up to a few hours before, and it suddenly seems so far away. Think for a moment how, across the world, someone’s life has just changed – irrevocably, permanently, and not necessarily for the better – and everything that was once so steady, so reliable, must now find a new way of unfolding. (Author Unknown)


Futuring . . .

Into the Future
by Rita Cammack, OSF from Denver, CO

“Oh how gently You nudge me into the future, O God!
You nudge me beyond my fears, beyond my hesitations, beyond my questions. You nudge me…lovingly, tenderly, persistently to open my eyes and look with You into the possibilities.

Other times, You push me, O God! You push me past my stout reinforcements, past my frozen expectations, past my solidified way of thinking.

You push me…encouragingly, simply, intentionally to push past the confines of what I know and let myself be led into the unknown.

Other times, O God, You seem to carry me into the future! You carry me past my entombed pain, past my erroneous misunderstandings, past my clouded vision of others.

You carry me…then draw me…respectfully, forgivingly, and sometimes tearfully to accept myself and others and let love be the healing core.

And then, O God, You are forever beckoning me. You beckon me to move through the darkness into the light, through doubt into confidence, through denial into acceptance.

You beckon me…patiently, joyfully, reassuringly to trust that You are in the future and to let Your grace be enough for THIS moment!” Amen.

Prayer of Gratitude . . .

O God,
I ain’t what I want to be;
I ain’t what I ought to be;
I ain’t what I’m gonna be,
 but, thank God,
I ain’t what I used to be.
Author Unknown

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Resting 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)


Monday, July 22, 2019

Mary Magdalene - Blessed Turning!

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, “care-fronted” 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 fulcrum 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.

(Author Unknown)

Friday, July 19, 2019

Lupita Vital Cruz Preaches for the Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Get ready. Get set. SLOW!!!

 "Slow Me Down, God" by Wilfred Arlan Peterson (1900-1995)

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.


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Blessed . . .Fully Rely On God!


Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves; they will always have entertainment.
Blessed are those who can distinguish between a mountain and a molehill; they will save themselves a lot of trouble.
Blessed are those who can rest and sleep without looking for excuses; they will become wise.
Blessed are those who are intelligent enough not to take themselves too seriously; they will be appreciated.
Blessed are you if you can look seriously at small things and peacefully at serious things; you will go far in life.
Blessed are you if you can admire a smile and forget a scowl; your path will be sunlit.
Blessed are you if you can always interpret the attitudes of others with good will, even when appearances are to the contrary; you may seem naive, but that is the price of charity.
Blessed are those who think before acting and who laugh before thinking; they will avoid foolish mistakes.
Blessed are you if you know how to be silent and smile, even when you are interrupted, contradicted or walked on; the gospel is beginning to take root in your heart.
Blessed are you especially if you know how to recognize God in all those you meet; you have found the true light, true wisdom.
- Fr Joseph Folliet
 - Original Source Unknown

Friday, July 12, 2019

Another point of view . . .

In this liturgical calendar year, the Gospel reading for the Fifteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time is that of The Good Samaritan.  I once had 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, or 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 set 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 handed me money, two days wages, and wanted 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

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