Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Last Day of August

How beautiful it is to do nothing
and then rest afterwards.

This Spanish proverb has been my gracious guide through one of the most glorious summers that I can remember.  The picture is of the lake on this last morning of August.  I am blessed to have been alive for another summer.   Hot and sunny.  Water temperature perfect for swimming.  I have been out in the boat much more than in past years.  Some days out walking I feel like my feet are not touching the ground.  My life flows on.
(I first saw the proverb on Cards By Anne)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Take Up Your Cross

The other night a tree blew down along the road which I walk in the mornings.  Through such violence nature renews itself.  Without violence there is no evolution.
In a TV episode I saw recently a neighbor convinced the two main characters to help her kill herself.  In trying to talk her out of it they came up with various arguments, but no one talked about the meaning of suffering.  Jesus says, "No one who does not carry his cross and come after me can be my disciple." (Luke 14:27)   By his passion and death Jesus gave meaning to suffering.  His death brought him and the whole world into new life.  Doesn't that mean that undeserved suffering is redemptive, not just for the person suffering but for the cosmos? 

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Desiring God

Probably the main thing Carey Walsh stresses in her book about the Song of Songs is that it is about desiring the loved one.  This desire is based on the lovers' previous experience of one another.  It helps me think about how, once I get a glimpse of God in the world around me, I want more. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Humble Exalted

Tiniest toad I've ever seen.
Finally a commentary that makes spiritual sense of taking the highest and lowest places at the banquet (Luke 14:7-11.)  Michael F. Patella in the New Collegeville Bible Commentary on Luke's Gospel says that taking the highest place is like thinking we can get into the Kingdom without any help from God.  Those who take the lowest place "know their unworthiness and depend on God's love and grace for everything."  True humility recognizes how utterly dependent we are on God to draw us into an ever deeper relationship with the Divine.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Meet in Heaven

Since the Vatican Council opened the door to better relations with other great world religions we have come to see their intrinsic spiritual and salvific value.  They have something positive to teach us, not only about themselves and their own non-Christian beliefs, but also about God and about life and how to live it.  In these days we are challenged to better understand Jews and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists and to love them with the love of Christ and to know that we will meet them in heaven.

Friday, August 19, 2016

For All

"God our Savior wants everyone to be saved
and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 
For there is only one God,
and there is only one mediator
between God and humanity,
himself a human being, Christ Jesus." 
(1 Timothy 2:4-5)

"We have put our trust in the living God
and he is the Savior of the whole human race
but particularly of all believers.
(1 Timothy 4:10)

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Let Them Come

From new moon to new moon,
from Sabbath to Sabbath,
let everything that breathes
come to worship Me.
      ---says the Lord.

In Isaiah 66:18 God says, "I am coming to gather every nation and every language."  There follows hopeful verses that promise universal salvation -- until we come to verse 24 which sounds a terrible note of warning.  Rather than end Isaiah on such a dire note, it was the custom in the synagogue to back up and repeat verse 23 quoted above.  I love the custom!  God wants to gather into his warm embrace "everything that breathes."

Friday, August 12, 2016

Nothing Mundane

You have ravished my heart
with a glance of your eyes.
      (Song of Songs 4:9)

How beautiful are your feet in sandals!

My relationship with God was fed so well by Carey Walsh in her very accessible book, Chasing Mystery, that I decided to read Exquisite Desire, which she wrote 12 years earlier on the Old Testament book, Song of Songs.  She is very insistent that this short book is a poem spoken by two human lovers.  We must take it seriously as a poem of human desire before we use it as a metaphor for our relationship with God.
With that caution, I used some verses this morning for my scripture meditation.  The two verses above helped me to appreciate that I am undone by the simplest ways that God reveals Godself to me.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fleeting Feelings

A colorful sunset.  I ran outside and took several pictures.  Not until I transferred them to my computer did I notice the face.  I'm not one for seeing omens in the sky, but it did come at a time of intense prayer. 
No feeling is your permanent reality,
no matter how intense it is.
    --Flannery O'Connor

Quote is from the calendar published by The Ministry of the Arts

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Not Peace But Division

This now-uncared-for patch of a neighbor's yard produces an abundant variety of flowers from spring to fall, a lovely tribute to the caring lady who used to live there.   This was yesterday's offering
Jesus said, "Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?  No, I tell you, but rather division." (Luke 12:51) 
Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador said that as long as he helped the poor he was called a saint, but when he challenged the political and economic structures that kept them poor he was called a communist.  While celebrating Mass he was killed by government assassins.

Friday, August 5, 2016

In God's Way

"Spirituality is not immediate gratification.  It is more the ardor of patience, a willingness to put oneself in God's way in case he shows." 
                    (Exquisite Desire by Carey Walsh)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Ready for What?

Getting prepared for the Future Coming of Christ doesn't excite me.  Getting prepared for Christ's Coming at Any Moment Into My Life does make me want to be ready.  An old Irish word:

"Often, often, often,
  goes the Christ
  in the guise of  the stranger."

Spending some regular time contemplating Christ living in me and in others prepares my eyes to recognize him when he comes to me in another's sadness or joy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016


I'm getting a lot of pleasure out of watching this kite dipping and darting in the wind.
When St. John Bosco was a young boy he was playing one day with some friends.  They got to talking about what they would do if they found out that the final coming of Christ was going to happen that day.  Some said that they would go into a church and pray, some that they would go home and say goodbye to their family.  John said that he would keep right on playing because that's what God wanted him to be doing at that time. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Like a Thief in the Night

"If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into." (Luke 12;34)  The Greek verb means "digging through a mud wall."  Our old world was going about business-as-usual.  Jesus came like a thief in the night and broke through those "that's the way we've always done it" walls.  A successful break-in!