Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Jesus tells us that the mercy we show to those who need us is really shown to himself. He is not speaking figuratively. As we grow in our awareness that Jesus is really living in us and loving us, we can't help but grow in awareness that he is living in everyone else. He says that his real presence in those in need is the motivation to show mercy to them. This doesn't take effort. The love of Jesus living in us flows out to the need of Jesus living in them. All we do is surrender to that flow.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Near the end of Matthew's Gospel Jesus lists the actions on which we will be judged. He lifted them right out of the Baltimore Catechism's "Corporal Works of Mercy"!! Show care for the hungry, thirsty, naked, imprisoned, sick. Jesus changed the catechism's "homeless" to "stranger" or "alien." And he left out the "dead."
"Mercy" is the name of the whole list. It's also the byword of Francis' papacy. If we want to know where he is leading the Church, it is toward mercy. It's also, Jesus says, the basis on which we will be judged.
Sunday, November 16, 2014
A wonderful article in America about the shared vision of Rabbi Heschel and Pope Francis quotes the Rabbi, "It is customary to blame secular science and anti-religious philosophy for the eclipse of religion in modern society. It would be more honest to blame religion for its own defeats. Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid. When faith is completely replaced by creed, worship by discipline, love by habit; when the crisis of today is ignored because of the splendor of the past; when faith becomes an heirloom rather than a living fountain; when religion speaks only in the name of authority rather than with the voice of compassion--its message becomes meaningless."
Saturday, November 15, 2014
More of yesterday's swans. Looking back two years ago, I find that there were 53 swans on the lake around Thanksgiving that year. Not such a rare event after all. So much for my memory. They did stay longer this time and I got much better pictures.
As such Beauty God initiates encounter.
Friday, November 14, 2014
When I got up this morning there were 72 swans huddled together on the lake in front of me. A rare sight for us here. I heard them in the middle of the night. Maybe they were forced down by the snow. Any port in a storm.
I spent almost an hour watching them and taking pictures. Their beauty was magnified by the white snow along the shore. And there was still snow falling. I was completely caught up in Wonder. Just by luck I caught them taking off. Of the 65 pictures I took this was not the clearest, but it's my favorite.
I am deeply grateful to God for letting me live in such a marvelous place.
(Please click on picture to enlarge it)
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
These small buffleheads stop by here every fall and spring, often in flocks of a hundred or more. After almost a hundred years this man-made lake has become a reliable rest stop for migrating birds. It always gets me singing:
Across the morning sky all the birds are leaving
Ah, how can they know it's time for them to go.
But I will still be here; I have not thought of leaving
I do not count the time.
Who knows where the time goes?
(Clicking on the picture enlarges it)
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
What a thought provoking combination- today's feast and today's "holiday." Martin lived in the 4th century. His father was a pagan army officer. Martin was inducted into the army at age 15. In his early 20's he came across a poorly dressed beggar in the freezing cold. Martin cut his cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. That night he had a vision of Christ clad in his half cloak. He became a Christian and refused to fight. He was discharged soon after.
What would happen if every soldier recognized God in "the enemy?"