Friday, September 14, 2012

Who do you say that I am?

My bougainvillea aglow with morning light.  I tried to grow one once before and failed.  This one has flourished.  The first winter I brought it in, it was full of blossoms.  Last winter not so much.  It has gotten so big it almost demands its own room.  I like the way this picture seems to hint at an inner light.
So I thought it might be appropriate to help me pray about Mark 8:27-30 in which Jesus asks his disciples, "Who do you say that I am?"  They don't see him glowing with Divinity.  Jesus looks like a merely human being to his disciples, though there is something about him that attracts them.  In Mark's Gospel they never quite understand him.  In this passage Jesus forces the issue by asking them what they think of him.
I have often taken this question very personally.  I can get caught up in the whole Catholic religion thing and the politics of the institution and lose track of who is at the heart of it.  Hearing Jesus ask me, "Who do you say that I am?" pushes me to look once more at what he means to me.  Completely
human and completely divine.  I guess my simplest answer is "Everything! You mean everything to me."

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Morning Glory

Sunday morning I awoke to a pink-orange light in my room.  I hurried outside with my camera to find Glory filling the eastern sky and spilling into the lake.  (The picture can be enlarged by clicking on it)
The Lake in the summer is too good to leave.  I plan now to go away for a while.  I don't expect to experience elsewhere a sunrise like this.  As I swim in the mornings, I think of how few days I have left to do that.  Today's weather was like a return to summer. 
I had a hectic day.  I came home and jumped in the lake and let the water lull away the stress.  I found myself wondering whether I'll have pool available after a busy day of sight-seeing.  I always experience these little tugs on my heart when I am getting ready to go on vacation. 
Yet I am very excited about seeing new places and having new experiences.  Travel really does broaden me.  New ideas.  New foods. It makes room in my heart for new people.  Variety is a spice.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Last Wednesday around the middle of the day I was sitting in my favorite chair on the front deck.  I had just read something about how to pray the psalms.  When I put the book down, I noticed the stillness.  There were no sounds anywhere.  No boats moving on the Lake.  No bird song even.
I became aware of God in the stillness and in the bright beauty before me.  I took this picture.  Then there was not much thought.  Just a Presence.  Maybe a feeling of complete contentment.  It lasted almost an hour.  I think this must be what Rahner meant when he said we all must become mystics, "everyday mystics."
Then the sound of a lawn mower in the distance broke the silence.  Way off a dog barked.  A bass boat sped into view. 
"God of the love that never runs out."  (Gordon Jackson, The Lincoln Psalter, Psalm 85)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pure Religion

I haven't been able to post on my blog for a couple of weeks.  I don't know what happened.  It left a kind of hole in my routine.
When I stopped on my morning walk several days ago to take a picture of this butterfly, it was almost like it posed for me in the slanting morning sun.  I think it's called a swallowtail.
Three weeks ago I used chapter 1 of the Letter of James for prayer.  If someone were to tell me that a certain movie or novel was immoral, I would immediately think that they were talking about sex.  That may be because of our country's Puritan background and our celibate clergy's prepoccupation with sex.
Upon reflection, though, I realized that the most popular immorality in much of our world is greed.  It's hard to notice it in myself because it is so much a part of our culture.  So when St. James tells me to keep myself from being corrupted by the culture around me, it helps me to think of greed.
In verse 27 St. James says that pure religion is caring for orphans and widows and making sure we are not corrupted by our society.  I recalled Jesus' parable in Matthew's Gospel in which Jesus tells us that we are going to be judged by whether or not we cared for the hungry and thirsty and sick and homeless and those without clothes or in prison.  I've always been struck by the fact that he says nothing about sex or church or temple.