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Posts Tagged ‘journey’


Easter Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Matthew 13:1-9

So Many Paths – Part I

Amos has called us to consider what path we take as we live and work and play and pray throughout our life journey. As we reflect on our celebration of Easter resurrection and joy, let us consider the parable Jesus tells those who follow him. But let us begin with an examination of the journey we ourselves are making.

paths 1Some journeys offer too many choices. We become confused and anxious. We make excuses for never stepping into the world. We shrink from taking responsibility for ourselves. We refuse to see that we have a purpose, or we decide that we do not want to use the gift planted in us. When this happens, let us consider the number of times we have been saved by an unknown force in an extraordinary way. Let us take into account the fact that God knows every detail about us – even details we have not discovered ourselves. And let us determine to trust the force that loves us more than any other that has ever – or will ever – exist.

On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea. 

paths 2Some journeys terrify us and we shrink from leaving our comfortable place in which have insured that we will never run any risk that endangers anything we stand for. When this happens, let us consider that Amos calls us to step away from a life in which we cling to power and wealth. Jesus shows us that we are not always shunned when we live a life that is out of the ordinary.

Such crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat down, and the whole crowd stood along the shore.

paths 3Some paths are familiar and famous.  They look pleasant and easy. They lure us into a false sense of safety and sometimes pride. When this happens we are tempted to forget who made us and why we are here in this time and space. Jesus tells us that he comes from the Father who created us to unite us with him as precious Children of Light.

And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow”.

paths 4Some journeys are undulating and seem as though they never end. They look penned-in and boring. We think of them as predictable and un-exciting. When this happens, we must consider that we have no way of understanding the plan God has in mind for us. We forget that God has placed a potential and a hope in each of us that will heal the woes of the world. We do not remember that we carry God’s word and that no matter the path, God is with us to guide and protect us. What looks like a long and uneventful road may become instead an unforgettable journey.

“As he sowed, some seed fell on the path and birds came and ate it up”.


Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part II

Images from: https://www.joe-ks.com/2012/amazing-paths

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Friday, January 15, 2021

Psalm 119:17-24

images[4]Gimel

I am a sojourner in the land; do not hide your commands from me.

Traveling, wandering, seeking, searching, always on the move.

We look for signs and indicators. We ask for affirmation and assurance.

God says: You are always asking for clarity and this is fine but I also want you to trust me. I know that my prophet Jeremiah gives you words with which to rebuke me: “You duped me, O Lord, and I let myself be duped”. (Jeremiah 20:7) But I never trick you; rather, I call. I do not deceive you; I ask that you trust me. I do not steer you wrongly; although at times you fear that I do. I hide nothing from you and I love you more than you imagine. You want a map of all that is to come and all that is to take place but this information is not as useful as you might believe. Rather than ask me for details, dates, times and places . . . ask me to accompany you. This I do out of sheer love for you. There is nothing we cannot do together. Of this you may be assured. In this you may be affirmed. This you may trust. Rely on me always.

We too often allow our fear of life’s enormity to overshadow our reliance on God’s love. We take ourselves too seriously and believe ourselves omnipotent and all-knowing. As we journey through life we need none of the artificial safety nets we scramble to assemble. All we need is an ear well-tuned to God.

Today we reflect on the third lesson in Psalm 119. It is God’s simple invitation to cease our search for life’s roadmap and to instead trust God’s providence and care. Tomorrow, Daleth.

How long, Lord?  Will you utterly forget me? (Psalm 13:1)

And God replies: I am here beside you where I have always been. 


To learn more about the importance of the third Hebrew letter Gimel, click on the word or the image above, or go to: http://houseofjoseph.net/alef-bet_download_page.htm and http://www.hebrewtoday.com/content/hebrew-alphabet-letter-gimel-%D7%92

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Sunday, August 30, 2020

pathways[1]Proverbs 2:9-11

Wisdom’s Companions

Then you will understand rectitude and justice, honesty, every good path; for wisdom will enter your heart, knowledge will please your soul, discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you . . .

We somehow believe that Wisdom travels alone or that she resides in some remote, ivory tower when in fact she journeys with friends and lives with her companions. The names of those in her cohort will not surprise us: Rectitude . . . Honesty . . . Justice . . . Knowledge of the Lord . . . Discretion . . . and Understanding. Can we say that we have the came companions?

pathways-report_img_9[1]God says: There are many good paths you might follow that will bring you to me and while they vary, they all have something in common.These paths are best found when you first put on honesty, discretion, understanding, rectitude, justice, and knowledge of your God. The path that nurtures these qualities will also nourish Wisdom for she eats and drinks of these values. And where you find Wisdom, there also will you find me.

We somehow believe that there is one true path to God’s Wisdom or that there is only one way to know God and yet our experiences tell us that this is not so.  There are many varied passages we humans make as we journey with and to God.  Spend a bit of time today reflecting on the nature of your own journey.  Think about how and where and when you find these companions of Wisdom.  And if this image of your journey and the names of these Wisdom Companions elude you, consider how and where and when you might best encounter them.


The images above from: http://craigspoems.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/pathways/

For a variety of beautiful journey images, click on the image below or go to: http://blog.zeemp.com/wonders-of-nature-enchanted-pathways/  Also see the Journeys of Transformation tab on this blog.

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Fifth Sunday of Easter, May 10, 2020

2Thess3Proof[1]2 Thessalonians 3

Steadfastness

We continue to remain in the Risen Christ as we shelter in place to meet the threat of a pandemic virus. Some may feel that we live in”end times.” Others believe that the stress caused by a world-wide virus calls us to work with one another, persisting through strife rather than crumbling beneath it.

In waiting for “the end times”, some early Christians decide to abandon their work and devote themselves to keeping up with gossip; they do not make their own living but live from the toil of others.  Paul speaks directly to those who place the burden of living on their community, and he is clear in his thinking.  He urges personal responsibility, faith in God, and imitating the steadfastness of Christ.  It is this unswerving following that prepares us for the life we are called to live . . . a life in Christ.

From today’s MAGNIFICAT Meditation by Fr. Henri-Dominique Lacordaire, the founder of the Order of Preachers in France after their revolution: All holy souls – all souls, that is to say, which are enlightened by truth and guided by charity, are in communion.  Even here below, without knowing it, they are linked to one another, they are members of a society of which God is the center, the life, the light, the beauty, and the bliss.  They help one another by their prayers and good works; they suffer for one another’s sake; they are like the stones of which a church is built, which are hidden from one another, yet support one another from the foundation to the roof . . . Our meetings on earth are by comparison mere vain and fruitless advances.

God creates us and wants us to know that we are God’s children, connected to one another and to God by the bond of Christ.  We are to love one another, especially our enemies, as best we can . . . but we are to love.

Christ walks among us to show us that we are important to him and to one another, even though we may not hear, see or feel this importance.   We are to do for one another as best we can . . . but we are to act.

St. Paul reminds the Thessalonians – and us – that we ought not take advantage of others in this bond that we share with one other.  We are to give as best we can, according to the blessings and gifts God bestows on us . . . but we are to give.

Fr. Lacordaire reminds us that there are invisible bonds that hold us together.  We are to remember these bonds and work with them rather than against them. We are to persist in our journey toward truth and light and even though we do not see the end of the journey, even though we do not care to be with some of our fellow travelers, we are to persist and remain steadfast . . . otherwise, our meetings on earth may be mere vain and fruitless advances.

Paul calls us to steadfastness and persistence in Christ.  Christ walks among us to reveal the Father’s promise and the Spirit’s abiding presence.  Through our diligence in following Christ, our fidelity to God’s vision, and our love in the Spirit, we hone our skill at being steadfast.  We increase our stamina and nurture our persistence.  All of these are gifts honestly earned and freely bestowed.  They are the blossoming fruit of discipleship.


Cameron, Peter John. “Meditation of the Day.” MAGNIFICAT. 2.11 (2010). Print.  

Image from: http://s449.photobucket.com/user/conniecriqui/media/2Thess3Proof.jpg.html

Adapted from the November 2, 2010 Noontime.

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Luke 10:1-24: Serpents and Scorpions

Sunday, October 27, 2019

In the past few days at daily Mass we have been reading from the tenth Chapter of Luke’s Gospel; we have witnessed the sending forth of disciples by Jesus, and we have heard his words of counsel to these followers of The Way.  These words are not only for those who accompanied Christ in his journey; they are words for Christ’s twenty-first century followers.  They are words for us.

“I rely on you,” Jesus says to them . . . and to us: The harvest is abundant but the workers are few . . .

“The work will be dangerous,” Jesus tells them . . . and us: I am sending you like lambs among wolves . . .

“My followers must rely on the message of freedom and hope that I have given them to carry into the world,” Jesus reminds them . . . and us:  Carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals . . .

“You must not be deterred,” he says . . . and neither must we: Greet no one along the way . . .

“It is imperative to always operate from a perspective of peace,” Jesus reminds them . . . and us: Into whatever house you enter, first say, “Peace to this household”.

“You are to remain focused on your work,” he says to them . . . and to us: Do not move around from one house to another . . .

“You will not be able to convert all who hear the message of salvation which you carry,” . . . and neither will we: Whatever town you enter and they do not receive you, go out into the streets and say, “The dust of your town that clings to our feet, even that we shale off against you”.

Jesus warns his followers, “The rejection you will surely experience is your badge of honor,” . . . and it is to be ours: Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.

Jesus tells them, “You carry the Living Word with you” . . . and Jesus tells us: Whoever listens to you listens to me.

Jesus reminds his disciples, “I will protect you as you move about in this most dangerous of worlds,” . . . and Jesus also reminds us: Behold I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon the full force of the enemy and nothing will harm you.

We humans worry about our physical safety more than we do our spiritual welfare.  We have this backwards.

We creatures of God spend great amounts of time and talent and energy amassing power and wealth rather than storing up treasures that are impervious to rot and decay.  We have this upside down.

We children of God turn to false, exterior gods too often rather than to the Living God who has given us life and who dwells within. We have this inside out.

As we read the work that Jesus has outlined we see that it is not a complicated plan he has in mind; but it is the reversal of that we have come to understand as powerful and lasting.  It is the inversion of the world as we experience it. And it is the only way to live cheek by jowl with the evil that we know exists.  Jesus does not promise to remove all obstacles from our path; rather he promises that our journey is the one that leads to honest happiness. He does not swear that he will make the way easy and smooth; rather, he swears that he will accompany us through the narrow gates of our passage.  Christ does not guarantee that we will find peace once we complete a prescribed checklist of tasks; rather, he guarantees that when we follow him we will experience a serenity that is everlasting.

We must not fear the snakes and scorpions we encounter as we step into our journey; rather, we must trust God’s message that even snakes and scorpions are subject to our will . . . when we follow this simple plan.


A re-post from October 6, 2012.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Isaiah 42:16I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight.  These things I do for them, and I will not forsake them.

God says: I remind you constantly that you are precious to me.  I tell you daily that I turn all harm to good.  I place my hope in you continually.  Why do you think I might abandon you?  There is nothing you can do – or not do – that will cause me to disown or desert you. I abide with you endlessly.  You are my life.  

We doubt God because we doubt ourselves.  We become anxious when we stumble into unknown places; we panic when we cannot see around the next corner in our life journey.  We look for straight ways and find crooked paths.  Yet despite all our fear, throughout our stumbling, we are well-loved.  If only we might rise to God’s best hope for us.  Let us act as though we believe that we are not forsaken.


A re-post from August 20, 2012.

To reflect more on overcoming our fear of the unknown, visit The Jesus Bridge reflection on this blog; or spend some time taking a Journey of Transformation to discover your own blind journey.

To learn more about life coaching , click on the image above or go to: http://www.pathwaysnaturally.com/lifecoaching.htm

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Baruch 4:30-5:9: Captivity Ended

Monday, April 29, 2019

We continue with the theme of Captivity today – but here we see the epiphany of understanding.  We experience the surprise which always springs upon the faithful when they are low.  We live the promise of our God who loves us relentlessly, persistently yet gently.  God loves us to the extent that he is willing to wait and abide infinitely . . . while we find our way to his mercy, justice and joy.

5:7 –  God makes all things level.  He straightens all paths.  He awaits us at every turning of the road.

5:2 – God creates us, names us, calls us his own.  He yearns for the intimacy he has foreseen with us.

5:5 – God sends out the universal call.  He will not leave a single sheep unbidden.

5:7 – God has in mind for us a place of beauty.  He has brought forth life from the desert.  He also brings forth life from the desert of our lives.

Look to the east, Jerusalem!  Behold the joy that comes to you from God.

God has not forgotten a single hair on our heads.

God has felt each agonizing and joyful step of our journey.

And when we arrive . . . it is God who welcomes us home.

Even with its times of Captivity . . . the journey is joy.  The journey is our most intimate encounter with God.

May Christ’s presence and peace dwell within you.

May God’s Spirit and love abide with you forever.

And may you continue to celebrate your return from Captivity as one of God’s own, as one of God’s called, as one of God’s well-loved Easter Children.

Amen.


A re-post from April 14, 2012.

Image from: http://kneverkneverland.com/tag/destruction/

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Sirach 31:1-11: Wealth

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

From the notes in the New American Bible: Solicitude for acquiring wealth and anxiety over preserving it disturb repose and easily lead to sin and ruin.  See Matthew 6:26-34.  A rich man who has not sinned or been seduced by wealth is worthy of praise (8-11).

At first glance we will read this advice from Jesus ben Sirach along with this story from the Book of Matthew and we will check it off as one of the ways we are confident that we do not allow ourselves to become separate from God.  We have kept money in its proper place in life.  We are careful to render both to Caesar and to God.  But now I go a step further.  Where in my life do I amass wealth . . . and do I let it color my decisions in any way?

Lent, as we have been observing over the past weeks, is the perfect time to take an interior pilgrimage to examine dusty corners and cabinets full of things we have forgotten.  As I unlock files of memories I thought were well-sorted and archived, I discover some old injuries and wounds.  Perhaps I have hoarded these, thinking that by keeping them from the light I have prevented them from maintaining safe harbor in my dreams.  Have they taken on a life which seduces me?  Do I spend time keeping watch over them to keep them from escaping my control, or do I trust God enough to release them into the present winds?

Anything which we store up is where our heart lies (Luke 12:34) so this causes me to wonder . . . Where have I put my energies and talents?  What do I lose sleep over?  What do I protect from moths and thieves?  What do I take to the granary to keep?  What do I measure out with care?

If when we open the storehouse doors we find the silos are full of petitions answered and hopes fulfilled, this is a sign of God’s blessing on us and this is good news indeed.  If the stores are meager, that is fine . . . we only need to begin today to bring the harvest of our lives.  God is so loving that he pays all workers in the vineyard equally . . . no matter the number of hours spent at the vines.

And once we begin to see the balance sheet rise to numbers higher than we might have imagined, what do we do then?  Do we seal up the bins and vats to put them away for another quick glance on another day?  Do we cover over the chinks to keep every grain inside the tower . . . or do we fling open the doors as our father does with his own bounty, to share what has been given?  What kind of harvester is he or she who has much but who is not seduced?

Who is he that we may praise him?  He, of all his kindred, has done wonders, for he has been tested by gold and come off safe, and this remains his glory; he could have sinned but did not, could have done evil but would not, so that his possessions are secure, and the assembly recounts his praises.

The wealth we store is the wealth we have to share.  What we have been freely given, we must freely give (Matthew 10:8).

When we go to the storeroom today . . . what will we find . . . and what will we share?


A re-post written on March 19, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Image from: http://www.nri.org/projects/wrs/publications.htm

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Wisdom 15:1-6God’s Wrath

Thursday, December 27, 2018

But you, our God, are good and true, slow to anger, and governing with all mercy.

It is easy to believe that God is full of wrath when we read the Old Testament; the New Testament tells us that this is not so.   Yesterday’s Mass and MAGNIFICAT readings and prayers all tell us that we have much to be grateful for in God.  They tell us that we have much to be happy about with God.  They tell us that we have much to love through God.

God is our constant shepherd – even when we do not feel God’s presence, God is with us.

From the MAGNIFICAT Morning Prayer: The angel of God, who had been leading Israel’s camp, now moved and went around behind them. (Exodus 14:19)

The angel of the Lord . . . stood between the fleeing Israelites and their Egyptian pursuers during the exodus, and hid them from sight.  God goes with us, guards us and guides us today with the same protective love. 

The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst.  No longer will your Teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher.  While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: “This is the way; walk in it,” when you would turn to the right and to the left.  (Isaiah 30:20-21)

Yesterday’s first reading was from Daniel 5 in which King Belshazzar asks advice of Daniel, the Jewish exile in whom the spirit of God rests.  Daniel interprets “the writing on the wall” and brings God’s wisdom to those who would worship idols rather than the living God.

Yesterday’s Gospel from Luke 21:12-19: Jesus said to the crowd: “They will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name.  It will lead to your giving testimony.  Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to refute.  You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death.  You will b heated because of my name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed.  By your perseverance you will secure your lives.

We may find all of this frightening . . . yet this is the work of Christ’s disciples.

We may find all of this exhausting . . . yet we draw strength from Christ.

We may find all of this overwhelming . . . yet we as disciples persist through Christ.

If we find all of this too confusing and too difficult, we will want to remember that Christ is God among us who comes to live as one of us . . . who brings us wisdom and strength.

If we find all of this too baffling and too crushing, we will want to remember that our perfection lies in our persistence . . . and that this is all that God asks of us.

If we find that all of this causes anger to rise within, we will want to remember that what we see as God’s wrath is God’s love.

And so we pray . . .

Dear God, From time to time our sight is blurred and our hearing dimmed and we must retreat for a time to take a journey inward, to ask your counsel, and to seek your wisdom.  Bring us your comfort and strength.  Set us on the right path.  Teach us to put aside our anger and our ridiculous idols.  Teach us to listen for you.  Teach us to trust in you alone.  Call us home to you.  Amen.


A re-blog from November 24, 2011.

Image from: http://cldefelice.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html

If we come to this hectic holiday season with too much anger, we may want to take a journey inward to examine who we are and how we behave.  To take a journey in which we examine our own use of anger go to the Journey of Transformation page on this blog. 

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT. 23.11 (2011): 317-318. Print.  

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