Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’


Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Gray-Red-Broken-heart-broken-hearts-21417978-300-300[1]Psalms 19:15

Words and Thoughts

Let the words of my mouth meet with your favor, keep the thoughts of my heart before you, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer.

We speak an immeasurable number of words in our lifetimes yet how many of these words are exchanged with God? We ponder infinite chains of ideas; yet how many of these thoughts are intertwined with the word of God? With God as our source and God as our daily sustenance, all that we think and all that we do will spring from God’s goodness.

God says: I understand how easy it is to be caught up in gossip and in the minutiae of life; and this is why I ask you to begin and end each day with me. When we share time together the small and petty problems melt away. I also understand that complicated and overwhelming issues crowd your television screens, fill newspapers and leap out of radios to frighten you; and that is why I ask you to pause during each day even if only for a moment to let me know your worries and anxieties. I want to give you strength. I want to carry you above the danger. I want to give you peace of heart and mind and soul. Let us begin with simple words exchanged between us. Your worries come to me; my peace comes to you.

We cannot resolve all of the huge and complex problems of our world . . . but we can raise our petitions to God. We cannot fix the many niggling worries that plague us . . . but we can bring these troubles to God. We cannot reconcile all damaged relationships . . . but we can ask God to mend our broken ways and broken hearts. We cannot ease all troubled minds . . . but we can make our distress known to God.

Let us call on God’s mercy and goodness. Let us keep our words and thoughts focused on God. And let us keep our hearts and minds centered in God. For in God lies our strength and our redemption.

Tomorrow, we begin a journey with Wisdom.


A re-post from August 26, 2013.

Read Full Post »


Sunday, July 5, 2020

God-is-Love[1]1 John 4:16-19

God is Love

We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.  God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.  In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world.  There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 

We have the idea that “love” means we have no doubts or fears, that we are constantly positive and fulfilled.  We also believe that “perfection” means that we must never err, never waver, never give in to our desire to control.  John tells us that God’s love does not punish but rather drives out fear . . . and in this there is perfection.

God says: I know that the world is a distressing place but you need not fear for your eternal life.  I want to calm all the big and little anxieties that beset you.  I want to heal all the big and little ways in which you reject me.  I know that you strive for perfection in that you try to always “be good” and this is not what I ask of you.  What I ask is this: Love me as I love you; love others rather than hate them; and in this you will find perfection.  I do not ask that you do not err.  What I ask is this: When you err, come to me; when others err, forgive them and pray for them. In this way you will rest peacefully.  In this way you will come to know my perfection.

In our interconnected world when all that goes wrong floats to the top of the headlines, we frighten ourselves and build walls to keep ourselves safe and “others” out.   In this we fail to see that the “others” are also God’s children.  In our rush to be “perfect” we try to manipulate our circumstances and to control others.  In this we fail to see that true perfection comes from filtering all we say and do through the Gospel and in loving those who harm us.  In our desire to be “good” we create and follow rules that apply to all of humanity in the name of the common good.  In this we fail to see that each of us in created in God’s image . . . and that God is Love.

Enter the phrase God is Love in the blog search bar and continue to reflect on the meaning of God’s Love.


Image from: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/god/who-is-god/god-is-love/

Read Full Post »


Wednesday, July 1, 2020

The Word of God

The Word of God

1 John 1:1-4

The Word of Life

What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked upon and touched with our hands concerns the Word of Life – for the life was made visible; we have seen it and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life that was with the Father and was made visible to us – what we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too many have fellowship with us; for our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. We are writing this so that our joy may be complete.

We are a visual, tactile people.  We look for data. We rely on evidence.  We want facts.  We seek reason over emotion and the Apostle John understands this – as does God.

God says: I know that you want cold, hard proof that I am with you and yet you have it each day at your rising to a new sun and a new beginning.  Did I not awaken you this morning? I understand that you rest on science and law and that you measure your life with scientific and legal standards.  Do I not show you my justice and mercy every minute of every hour each day as you go through your work and play? I comprehend that you have fears and anxieties that rattle you and shake your confidence.  Will I abandon you when you lay your head to rest this night to gather strength for a new day?  You can rely on the testimony of the Beloved Apostle who recounts his experiences to you.  Learn to trust his word . . . for it is mine. 

When doubt assails us we waver.  When obstacles obstruct our path we stumble.  When opposing arguments clatter around us we shrink and hesitate.  John tells us today that these doubts, obstacles and arguments are as nothing before the profound truth that supports and protects us. John speaks to us with passion so that we too might believe.  When we spend time with John 1:1-5, we explore our fears and joys about the message we hear.


A re-post from July 1, 2013.

Image from: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/en/view-image.php?image=156989&picture=smoke-13

Read Full Post »


Monday, January 20, 2013

Psalm 91: Clinging to God – Part II

boy%20clinging%20to%20mother[1]When we hear the thoughts and emotions shared by the participants in NPR’s Losing Our Religion discussions referenced in yesterday’s Noontime, we recognize that while not all humans cling to God, they cling to a search of some kind.  Perhaps we are genetically wired for this universal pilgrimage. If we take an honest look at the responses to the many petitions we have laid before God we will recognize certain truths.

God usually gives us options.  God always opens doors we do not see.  God cannot turn away or turn us down.   God always acts in love.  God wants to fulfill our dreams and plans.  God places hope in us and asks us to live up to that potential.  God instills faith in us according to some measure we cannot understand.  God is always moving toward us, calling us to intimacy, promising protection, assuring us of love.  God is always clinging to us.

Whoever clings to me I will deliver . . . The amazing story of God is that God wants to save even those of us who do not cling to him.

Whoever knows my name I will set on high . . . We call on God for freedom from our fears and God replies in ways we may not fully comprehend.

All who call upon me I will answer . . . God’s answer to us is more complex than the simple response we humans expect; we do not entirely understand the journey we are on. 

I will be with them in distress . . . We may choose to ignore God’s presence but we cannot completely barricade ourselves against God.

I will deliver them and give them honor . . . We may negate God in all our thoughts and actions yet God somehow finds a way to abide with us.

With length of days I will satisfy them and show them my saving power . . .  Although we struggle with our doubts, anger, fears and anxiety, we cannot shut God out of our existence . . . for God is always present to us . . . clinging to us . . . abiding with us . . . loving us.

As we spend some quiet time today . . . let us at least consider an initial, authentic response.


To hear the interviews conducted in the NPR Morning Edition broadcasts or to read the news stories, go to: http://www.npr.org/series/169065270/losing-our-religion

To find out how to help families who are clinging to life, click on the image above or go to: http://sosbabyhelp.org/Burma%20Disaster.html

A re-post from January 20, 2013.

Read Full Post »


2 Corinthians 8:1-15: Equality in Generosity

Saturday, December 7, 2019

For in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part.  (Verse 2)

In the “feel good” society in which we live, we are conditioned to regard affliction as something to be avoided, something to move past and beyond quickly.  Somewhere on the Damascus Road St. Paul met Christ who brought him the message that one who follows the Messiah sees the inverse of this concept.  We find our wealth in our poverty, we find joy in pain, we find living water in the desert, we find life through death.

I say this not by way of command, but to test the genuineness of your love by your concern for others.  (Verse 8)

We ought not to seek affliction.  This is not healthy.  Anyway, affliction has a way of landing on the doorstep of every human being.  We may choose to step over this affliction each morning as we set off for work and prayer and play.  We may choose to allow Christ’s compassion to move us in healing the afflictions of others – and in so doing, become healed.

For if your eagerness is there, it is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have; . . .  (Verse 12)

We ought not to meddle in the affairs of others or to be distraught about an affliction which only God can heal.  This is forgetting our proper place in our social and spiritual worlds.  The God who has made us knows our promise and potential.  Our God expects us to rise to this potential planted in us.  This is how we bloom

. . . not that others should have relief while you are burdened, but that as a matter of equality your surplus at the present time should supply their needs, so that their surplus may also supply your needs, that there may be equality.  (Verse 13)

The mystery of God is this . . . that in giving we receive . . . in sharing our wealth overflows . . . in putting aside anxiety for ourselves we are better able to share compassion with others.  Paul reminds us of how when the Hebrews gathered manna in the desert, all were fed.  None starved.

As it is written: “Whoever had much did not have more, and whoever had little did not have less”.  (Verse 15)

Our concern for the poor and marginalized in the world is easily handled by sending aid to those who have less.  Are we as quick to serve one who suffers from depression or anxiety?  Do we allow God to work through us when we meet those who have left the practice of prayer behind and are casting about looking for some firm place to stand?  Do we witness for Christ when we meet poverty in all its forms?  Do we step forward eagerly to give . . . so that others may have . . . so that all may increase in Jesus’ name?

As members of the Mystical Body we receive by giving, we live by dying.  Anxiety, fear, poverty of any kind does not exist . . . because we all know how to give . . . in fearless expectation of equality.


Written on October 26, 2008 and posted today as a Favorite.

Image from: http://www.bluewolf.com/blog/what-are-your-5-packets-generosity

Read Full Post »


Galatians 2:15-21God’s Mercy

Monday, October 22, 2018

Paul’s argument in this letter is that a man does not have to submit himself to circumcision in order to follow Christ; Christ is the fulfillment of the old law and is therefore not subject to it. Christ is, in fact, its full human embodiment.  How silly we are, Paul says, to believe that The Law is more important than Christ – God’s presence among us, as one of us.  In Paul’s view the Galatians have missed the big picture.  We are saved by Christ . . . and not the Law.

We have spent time reflecting on this in a number of our Noontimes, thinking about how we are frequently caught up in following the letter of the law and completely missing its intended purpose.  Neglecting the spirit of the law in order to adhere to the permutations we have created with it is a stumbling block to living a life of justification or salvationIn short, we are missing the forest by focusing on the trees.

We worry about the future and fret over the past.  We are anxious about people and plans in the weeks and months to come; we harbor anger and guilt about offenses we or others have committed long years ago.  We carry all of this weighty negativity with us and stagger through the present – missing the joy that God has posted along the way for us.  We seem intent on suffering, and doing it badly.

In a letter to Titus, Paul writes: When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy, he saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the holy Spirit, who he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.  (Titus 3:4-7)

With the letter of the law, we can become hyper-vigilant, struggling to maintain a safe distance from even the suggestion that we may break an order.

With the spirit of the law, we are free to explore new ways of serving God, free to express our emotions and to dialog with our creator.

With the Law, there is an immutable permanence and state of stasis that can deaden the soul.

With the Spirit, there is limitless compassion that heals, soothes, restores and replenishes the soul.

When we are intent on following the rules there is a paring down that takes place, a closing off of possibility, a temptation to finagle and maneuver.

When we are intent on following God, there is an opening up, a flourishing, a limitless opportunity for new beginnings.

With rules, we count our near occasions of sin and the number of times we have failed.

With God, we look for occasions to serve and opportunities to follow Jesus.

When we find ourselves looking for loopholes and excuses, we know we have strayed too far from Christ.  When we hear ourselves walking fine lines and arguing small points, we know we have wandered too far from the creator.  When we see ourselves safely hidden in our comfort zone fortresses rather than stepping into the unknown to witness and build up the Kingdom, we know that we have somehow forgotten that we are well-loved and ever-protected.

Paul speaks to the Galatians and he speaks to us, encouraging each of us to step into our lives with full confidence and gentle fearlessness.  He urges us to be led by the Spirit rather than be stifled by the law.  And he reminds us that God welcomes the sinner eagerly . . . for God has endless and abundant mercy.


A re-post from September 19, 2011.

Images from: http://www.biblechef.com/Indexes/Artifacts/JewishTorahSheet.html

Read Full Post »


Genesis 43The Second Journey

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Bacchiacca: Joseph receives his brothers

Just when we think we have reached a plateau in our journey where we might walk along the flatland rather than clamber up and skitter down the mountain sides . . . we find that we have to go back to repeat a leg of our passage.  Just when we have begun to relax at the oasis where we have filled our water sacks and rested in the shade from the heat of the day . . . we are told that we must move on.  Just when we are beginning to become comfortable in the little fortress where we are hiding from our foes . . . we hear the voice that calls us to make a second journey.

Today we find ourselves in the Joseph story at the point where the brothers have returned home to Jacob to tell him that they must go back to Egypt . . . and this time they must take the favored son Benjamin with them.  Just when Jacob thought his problem of famine had been resolved . . . he is told that he must relinquish the last person who brings him comfort.  Despite his age and the litany of difficulties he has undergone, Jacob must trust God and allow himself to suffer again.  The brothers who had sold Joseph into slavery know that they must make a return trip to Egypt.  Little do they know that well-hidden secrets are about to be revealed, questions will be asked and answered, truths will be spoken.  They plan to go to Egypt to purchase food for their families.  They do not plan to encounter the brother they have delivered to slavery and death.  They do not know they are about to make a further journey.  We do not hear from Benjamin, the young boy whose full brother wields power second only to Pharaoh, but we can imagine that he feels both anxiety and excitement.  Everyone in this story will suffer.  Everyone in this story will be rewarded beyond their wildest imaginings.

I am reading a book by Richard Rohr which a friend gave to me.  In FALLING UPWARD, Rohr posits that in life each of us is given the gift of a second or further journey. “[I]n my opinion, this first-half of life task is no more than finding the starting gate.  It is merely the warm-up act, not the full journey.  It is the raft but not the shore . . . There is much evidence on several levels that there are at least two major tasks to human life.  The first task is to build a strong ‘container’ or identity; the second is to find the contents that the container was meant to hold.  The first task we take for granted as the very purpose of life, which does not mean that we do it well.  The second task, I am told, is more encountered than sought; few arrive at it with much preplanning, purpose, or passion”.   (Rohr viii and xiii)

Rohr cites W. H. Auden:  We would rather be ruined than changed.  We would rather die in our dread than climb the cross of the present and let our illusions die.  (Rohr 65)  And on page 73 we find this from Matthew 16:25-26: Anyone who wants to save his life must lose it.  Anyone who loses her life will find it.  What gain is there if you win the whole world and lose your very self?  What can you offer in exchange for your one life?”

Jacob believed that his sons were going to Egypt to purchase food that would save the family.  He did not know that his lost son Joseph would be their savior.  Joseph’s brothers thought they were purchasing food to save their lives . . . they did not know that they would also redeem their souls.

Just when we believe that we have convinced everyone of the reality of our illusions . . . we are given the opportunity to leave our comfort zone and enter the second half of our lives.  We are blessed with the gift of seeing clearly that we are created to love honestly and suffer well.  We are created to take the second journey of our lives . . . the journey that promises far more than suffering . . . the further journey that brings us more reward than we can ever imagine.


Rohr, Richard. FALLING UPWARD: A SPIRITUALITY FOR THE TWO HALVES OF LIFE. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

The painting above is housed at the UK National Gallery.  To see more detail, click on the image and follow the link.  A spy glass on the museum site will allow you to see detail by zeroing in.   You will also find a link to other scenes from the life of Joseph which may interest you. 

A re-post from August 16, 2011.

Read Full Post »



Luke 5:17-26: Seek Consolation – Paralysis

Monday, December 18, 2017

Carl Bloch: Jesus Heals the Paralytic at the Pool of Bethzatha (Bethesda)

When fear paralyzes us, how do we react? Do we listen for the words whispered in our ears? Get up and start walking.

When worry saps our strength, why do we shoulder blame that is not ours? Do we turn to the one who can handle all our apprehension? Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.

When fear paralyzes us, how do we react? Do we believe the healing words of Christ who says: Get up and start walking.

When anxiety steals our serenity, who among us turns to the Creator for help? Who better to do the impossible? Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.

When darkness overcomes us, what light do we find? Who else but Jesus the Christ? Get up and start walking. Get up. Take your bedroll and go home.

When trouble assails us and shatters our calm, do we have the faith to rise, to take up the circumstances that have held us away from God, and to go home.

When we compare varying versions of these verses, we find healing for all that paralyzes us.

Read Full Post »


Psalm 18:22-23: Cornerstone – Part II

Thursday, March 2, 2017shall-become-the-cornerstone

When we fear that our world is too ugly, too violent, too deceitful and cruel, we must remember the inversion the ancients understood.

The stone which the builders rejected as worthless
    turned out to be the most important of all.

This was done by the Lord;
    what a wonderful sight it is! (GNT)

When we are defeated, turned away, rejected or abandoned, we must remember to rely on the Creator for sustaining the life we have been gifted.

The very rock that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone!

This has come from Adonai,
and in our eyes it is amazing. (CJB)

When we lose hope, feel lifeless, have no energy to struggle back from loss, we must remember to trust the Holy Spirit who heals, guides and abides.

Thank you for responding to me;
    you’ve truly become my salvation!
The stone the masons discarded as flawed
    is now the capstone!
This is God’s work. (MSG)

When frustration overcomes us, anxiety freezes us, or fear seizes us when we see cataclysm looming, we must remember to call on God, the Creator of all.

When we reflect on Psalm 118 we find a prayer for thanksgiving in victory; and we discover that our defeats are the cornerstones of new life. 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: