Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Lent’ Category



Titus 3:4-7:In Partnership with God

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Michelangelo: Creation of Eve

From the Letter of Paul to Titus: It wasn’t so long ago that we ourselves were stupid and stubborn, dupes of sin, ordered every which way by our glands, going around with a chip on our shoulder, hated and hating back. (MSG)

Father Alfred Delp, S.. was hanged for high treason against Hitler’s Nazi Reich just a few months before the end of WW II. Hitler hoped to erase Delp from history by ordering that his body be cremated and his ashes scattered; but despite this effort, Delp and his words are remembered today. We might take them in as part of our Lenten journey. From Prison Writings,

Toil, heat, and grief express fundamental conditions of human nature which always make themselves felt as long as one is on one’s journey through life. They are not always so abnormally prevalent as they are today but they are nevertheless an indispensable part of our existence. And only when we fail to go through life in partnership with God do these things get the upper hand, bursting all bounds and overwhelming us with trouble of all kinds.

Can we imagine ourselves in partnership with God? What is it like to have an intimate relationship with one who is capable of great authority and great love?

Paul to Titus: But when God, our kind and loving Savior God, stepped in, God saved us from all that. It was all God’s doing; we had nothing to do with it. God gave us a good bath, and we came out of it new people, washed inside and out by the Holy Spirit.

How might we use these verses in our Lenten journey toward Easter peace?

Michelangelo: Creation of Adam – Detail

More from Delp: I am not concerned here with the material needs of humankind but with our own degeneration, our blunted faculties and spiritual poverty – all the burdens in fact which the kind of existence one leads have introduced into one’s life and which have now become characteristic of one’s nature. Just as there are virtues that can be acquired so also there are faults that result from repetition such as habitual unawareness of individuality, perpetual relinquishment of powers of decision, permanent weakening of the sense of reality, and so on. Faced with these shortcomings we find ourselves under a terrible strain and utterly helpless.

Do we see Delp’s description of his society reflected in our own? Are there any parallels to discern or lessons to learn? What do we do when we feel helpless or under great strain? Whose counsel do we seek? What transformation do we hope to experience?

Delp: One must accept responsibility for the misuse of one’s free will. Being prone to such errors of judgment the only thing one can do is to turn again and again to God praying earnestly that the Holy Spirit may take pity on one’s failings and let the healing current flow freely through one’s life.

Where do we turn when we are overwhelmed by our own shortcomings or those of others? What are the prayers we offer to God? How often do we allow the Spirit’s healing current to flow freely through our lives?

Both Delp and Paul remind us of the great partnership we are offered, and the consequences of this gift.

Paul to Titus: God’s gift has restored our relationship with him and given us back our lives. And there’s more life to come—an eternity of life! You can count on this.

Partnership with God is the eternal transformation we seek. It is the gift we already hold. We are even now beloved children in God’s kingdom of mercy, forgiveness, redemption and love. Let us move forward in our Lenten journey, and forward into the world, transformed in this belief. Let us behave as if we hold these truths in our hearts. And let us be eager to share with others the promise and goodness of God’s love.

Delp, Alfred. Prison Writings. Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY, 2004. To learn more about Delp, visit: http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/642/article/martyr-nazis  

For more on Michelangelo, the Italian Renaissance, and his paintings in the Sistine Chapel, click: http://www.italianrenaissance.org/a-closer-look-michelangelos-painting-of-the-sistine-chapel-ceiling/ 

Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 17.3 (2017): 260-261. Print.  

Read Full Post »


Psalm 118: God Saves Those in Distress

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

A Favorite from March 13, 2008.

We can never hear this too often, especially during the Lenten tide.  If you have the opportunity, make a space of time to pray this psalm today.  It will fill your empty spaces to overflowing. It will make sense of all hardship. It will remind us that life is good, that God is mercy, that God and we are one.

Whoever is wise will ponder these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the Lord.

We wander the path of this life yearning for something that will move us, stir us, create a fire within us; yet not consume us. We can so often lose our way in this search for the fire that does not consume.

Some had lost their way in a barren desert . . .

We have wandered so far, looking for constancy, fidelity, healing. Our lives feel so like a desert. We hunger. We thirst. We feel as though we have lost ourselves, as though something is missing.

They were hungry and thirsty; their life was ebbing away . . .

We have longed for peace, for happiness, for calm, for serenity. Our lives can feel so useless when the search seems futile.

Some lived in darkness and gloom . . .

We hold so many secrets, think of our sins as private errors, separate ourselves from all that is holy. Our lives need compassion rather than anger and despair, love rather than indifference.

In their distress they cried to the Lord . . . who saved them in their peril . . .

We think that we can handle things so much better than you, God because we are here and so often we feel as though you are so distant . . . yet we are not alone. You are always with us. You save us in our distress. You humble us with hardship. You call us to turn and return to you.

Let them thank the Lord for such kindness, such wondrous deeds for mere mortals.  Let them offer a sacrifice in thanks, declare his works with shouts of joy.

When we pause to breathe, when we still the frenzy. We feel you with us. We feel that fire that does not consume. We see the miracles you bring forth through us. We believe that you are mercy. We see the wonder of all you have created. We know that there is no greater God than you.

Whoever is wise will ponder these things, will ponder the merciful deeds of the Lord.

Amen.

Read Full Post »


Luke 16:19-31: The Rich Man and Lazarus

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hendrick ter Brugghen: The Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus

Hendrick ter Brugghen: The Rich Man and the Poor Lazarus

The Lazarus in scripture whom we perhaps know well is the brother of Martha and Mary whom Jesus’ raises from the tomb in a prefiguring of his own resurrection. Today’s Lazarus is not this friend of Jesus but rather a poor man named covered with sores, [who] had been dumped on [a rich man’s] doorstep. All he lived for was to get a meal from scraps off the rich man’s table. His best friends were the dogs who came and licked his sores.

In death we see the reversal of their stations; the rich man suffers in hell while Lazarus finds himself in the lap of the patriarch Abraham. This inversion of status is one we might easily predict if we only read the Gospel with care. Jesus is constantly reminding us that the first will be last and the last first. And yet we easily – and frequently happily – ignore this teaching.

We make our Lenten journey to our Easter home and today’s words from Luke ask us to consider our station in the eternal world with more care than we examine our position and status in this world. In the hubbub and noise of modern society we are easily caught up in gaining, storing, achieving and making a mark. Yet here we see that we are wise to focus instead on nurturing, tending, healing and transforming ourselves and – with the gift of the Spirit – making Christ visible in a greedy and foggy world.

As we think about our status in God’s eternal kingdom, let us examine more closely how we bring this Gospel message into our temporal lives and how we share this message with others. Let us be more attentive to the little ordinary moments in each day that we ignore and so easily bypass. And rather than work so hard at ignoring the people and events that bring us discomfort, let us work instead to bring the beauty of God’s kingdom into fullness today.

We remember our Lenten practice. Rather than thinking: “Let us make three tents to contain the joy of God’s wisdom,” let us think instead, “Let us share the joy of God’s great gift of love”.

Tomorrow, rejecting the cornerstone.

 

Read Full Post »

Matthew 25:31-46: When . . .


Matthew 25:31-46: When . . .

Monday, February 15, 2017sheep-and-goats

Jesus’ followers want to better understand the kingdom he is calling them to build. We may not understand this kingdom any better today. His apostles ask, “When did we see you hungry and naked?” We ask this same question today. When?

In our dualistic world we want to have neat formulas and clear lines. We see dichotomies like good versus bad, light versus dark and up versus down; but with Jesus there is always inversion and fuzziness. Up is usually down. Light penetrates the deepest darkness. Goodness and badness inhabit us in the same moment and yet, Jesus calls us to the simplest of principles. The world is a gray amalgamation of black and white; the kingdom is a place of mercy, goodness and understanding.

When did we see you  . . . ?

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.

If we cannot serve food in a soup kitchen or make casseroles for the homeless we can work at changing attitudes about how and why the poor are poor. In the kingdom we not only notice that some of us are worse off than others of us, we also work to change structures that starve, limit, divide and abuse. In the kingdom we not only invite others to serve the marginalized with us, we also abide with the lonely, sick and those imprisoned in physical, emotional or spiritual walls. In the kingdom we speak the same language of love that Jesus speaks.

I was hungry and you fed me . . .

In this Lenten season we put aside the distinction of sheep and goats since we cannot fully comprehend how Jesus makes sheep of us all and how he becomes the great shepherd for everyone. In this Lenten season we continue to practice transformative thinking that has the power to convert all hearts. Today we read these verses and remember . . .

Rather than thinking: “I am misunderstood,” I will think instead, “God is so understanding”.

Tomorrow, babbling.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


Luke 5:1-11: Putting Out into the Deep

Ash Wednesday, February 10, 2016Luke-5_10

Jesus: Push out into deep water and let your nets out for a catch.

Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that when we hug the shoreline, we have little room for growth. During this Lenten season we encourage one another to take stock of where and who we are so that we can move away from the safety of the shallows, so that we can trust God and venture into the frightening but rewarding depths of kingdom-building.

Simon Peter: Master, we’ve been fishing hard all night and haven’t caught even a minnow. But if you say so, I’ll let out the nets.

Peter reminds us that the waters, boat and nets all belong to the Lord and that the Lord knows far more than we can hope to know. Peter shows us why we can trust God. Jesus shows us that there is bounty where we have found nothing of value.

ASH-WEDNESDAYDuring the next forty days we will spend time with scripture that gives us the opportunity to open our hearts, un-stiffen our necks . . . and to put out into the deep to fish the waters we think are empty.

Let this be our Lenten practice for the next several days: Rather than think, “This will not work,” let us say instead, “If you say so, Lord”.

For a reflection on today’s Noontime, click on the image above or visithttp://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2016/02/06/readings-reflections-with-cardinal-tagles-video-fifth-sunday-in-ordinary-time-c-st-colette-february-72016/ 

Tomorrow, taking care.

Read Full Post »


Luke 6:24-26: Trouble Aheadrough-road-ahead

Good Friday, April 3, 2015

From Luke’s account of Jesus’ Sermon on the Plain . . .

But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way. (New American Standard Bible)

Jesus is quite clear. The content and happy must tend to the poor and broken-hearted. Those who rejoice must shepherd those who mourn. Humility is far more valuable than pride.

But woe to you that are rich: for you have your consolation. Woe to you that are filled: for you shall hunger. Woe to you that now laugh: for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. (Douay Rheims 1899 American)

Jesus makes no mistake. The full and sated must share food and drink. Those who rejoice must accompany those who mourn. Self-knowledge is far more important than denial.

Woe to you when men shall bless you: for according to these things did their fathers to the false prophets. But it’s trouble ahead if you think you have it made. What you have is all you’ll ever get. And it’s trouble ahead if you’re satisfied with yourself. Your self will not satisfy you for long. And it’s trouble ahead if you think life’s all fun and games. There’s suffering to be met, and you’re going to meet it. There’s trouble ahead when you live only for the approval of others, saying what flatters them, doing what indulges them. Popularity contests are not truth contests—look how many scoundrel preachers were approved by your ancestors! Your task is to be true, not popular. (The Message)

jesus-on-the-crossJesus calls to each of us, warning of trouble ahead. Trouble that lies not in deprivation and disaster . . . but in our hubris, our narcissism and our corruption. When we spend time reading and comparing various versions of these verses, we receive the gifts of clarity, truth and grace. Reflect on these words, or use the scripture link to choose other versions. On this day when all seems bleak and dark, and the cross dominates our thinking, let us remember that after the cross, resurrection is not far behind. There may be trouble ahead, but we need not fear. Christ is among us . . . now. Christ is in us now . . . and forever.

Tomorrow, the kingdom.

 

Read Full Post »


Matthew 5:12 and Luke 6:23: Heavendressmakerkhair-hc-c_custom-04a264c841961e0a604539154daf878633162c96-s200-c85

Holy Thursday, April 2, 2015

Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: You have heard it said that your reward is great in heaven, and today I have more good news for you . . . Heaven is now. First, you must open your heart and mind to me alone. Then consider these questions. Can you see each sorrowful experience as an invitation to allow my faith to abide in you? Can you allow each betrayal to become an opportunity for alliance with my son? Can you open your heart and mind to my healing, serene Spirit? If so, your reward is now. Heaven is now. Ultimately, my plan encompasses all sorrow and converts it to joy. All suffering becomes celebration when you live in my love. Do not be afraid; I am with you. Do not shrink; I am your guide. Take heart; I am your strength. Take heart; I am your fire of love.

Today we remember and re-live the last meal Jesus shared with his followers. In his discourse after this meal, he reminded the apostles that although they might not understand his need to be away from them a little while, they need not fear. As we celebrate this Last Supper moment in our own lives, let us heed these words. Let us allow the fire of God’s love to transform all that troubles us. And let us remind ourselves and others that Heaven is with us even now.

kamila sidiqi npr

Kamila Sidiqi in the foreground

Read about Kamila Sidiqi, the dressmaker of Kabul, or listen to the NPR podcast by clicking the images in this post. What heaven on earth has she encountered and share with others?

Tomorrow, Luke’s woes.

 

Read Full Post »


Matthew 5:6 and Luke 6:21: Hunger and Thirstfood for the poor

Holy Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

ACCESS TO WATER AND SANITATION IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIESGod says: Food and water are essential to sustain human life. It is for this reason that I sent manna to the desert and poured forth water from a rock in the dry and difficult journey my children made to the Promised Land. It is for this reason that I open human minds to possibility through scientific discoveries. It is for this reason that I call those of you who have plenty to be good stewards of my gifts and to share them. When have you seen me naked and alone, hungry and thirsty? When you have seen the least of my children you have seen me. When you satisfy these need, you discover my righteousness. When you share what you have . . . you receive far more that you give.

protectcleanwater_concernedcitizenforslideshowAs we continue our Beatitudes thanksgiving, we might consider giving alms to an organization whose mission is to secure clean water for God’s miraculous creation. We might sponsor a child or her family in a third-world culture to assure she has enough to eat. We might also join our voices in solidarity with others to raise public awareness of food and water shortages on our planet. We might sign a petition, write to a legislative representative, or begin a blog. We might pray for both those who live on the margins of human society and those who marginalize the powerless. In any case, we will want to do as the Gospel encourages us to do, stand as one with those who hunger and thirst.

11-March-2015-FAOClick on the images for local and global information and opportunities. For news about the United Nations Zero Hunger Challengeclick the image to the left or visit: http://www.un.org/en/zerohunger/#&panel1-1

Tomorrow, rejoice and be glad!

Read Full Post »


Matthew 5:4 and Luke 6:21: Mourningmourning angel

Holy Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount)

Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. (Luke’s account of the Sermon on the Plain)

God says: When you sink into deepest grief, remember me – for I am with you. When you believe you will never smile again, remain in me – for I live in you. When the darkness is so dense that the light of hope struggles to pierce it, call on me – for I am that light that no darkness can hold back. The prophets foretold and my son retells you that your mourning will become dancing. The psalmist reminds you that those who go out weeping as they carry seed to sow will also return with triumphant sheaves of joy.

As part of our Beatitudes thanksgiving, let us consider how we might bring the gift of presence to someone who mourns the loss of a person, employment, or a lifestyle.

nilmdts_logo1Find out more about the NILMDTS (Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep) organization, a group of photographers whose mission is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. Visit: https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/

Tomorrow, hunger and thirst.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: