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Posts Tagged ‘trust God’


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

Wednesday, February 8, 2023Luke-5_10

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

The Gospel story 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.

We approach the Lenten season when for forty days we will spend time with scripture that gives us the opportunity to open our hearts, un-stiffen our necks; and which allows us to put out into the deep to fish the waters we think are empty.

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

Tomorrow, taking care.


Image from: https://www.dlshsi.edu.ph/daily-lasallian-reflection-prayer/luke-51-11 

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Genesis 23 & Tobit 3: God’s Yardstick – Sarah

Strength in Reliance

Jan Provoost: Abraham, Sarah and an Angel

Jan Provoost: Abraham, Sarah and an Angel

Saturday, January 7, 2023

In these opening days of a new year, we look for ways to better see God’s yardstick in our lives, and for ways to leave the world’s yardstick behind.

Two women named Sarah figure in scriptures and today as we remember their stories we better understand that God’s promise is so often delivered through surprise. Choose one of these stories – or both if there is time – and look for God’s yardstick.

Genesis Chapters 12-23 tell us the story of Sarah, wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. Although we know this story well, it is likely that we have not spent time beyond the basic facts that are obvious to us. She traveled with her husband and his family from Ur to Haran and was barren for much of her married life. She was so beautiful that her husband asked her to pose as his sister to avoid creating jealousy among Egyptian leaders and endangering his life. She suggested that her husband take her slave Hagar to his bed so that he might engender an heir with her; then later asked him to banish the slave and child when the younger woman took on a disparaging attitude. Sarah prepared a meal for strangers and then laughed when they told her that she would conceive at the age of 90. She was buried in Machpelah Cave near Hebron. When we focus on even a portion of her story, we find that Sarah shows humor, resiliency, and openness to God’s presence in her life.

Jan Steen: Tobias and Sarah on their Wedding Night

Jan Steen: Tobias and Sarah on their Wedding Night

Tobit 3 introduces us to Sarah who prays for death to come to her quickly. In Chapters 6-12 we follow Tobias and Sarah as the angel Raphael ushers them through danger. We may know this about the Sarah who marries Tobias: she is married to seven men who die on their wedding night, she and Tobit pray for death at the same moment and God hears them both, she travels from Ecbatana to Nineveh and back to Ecbatana with Tobias who – with help from the angel Raphael – routs the demon who has plagued her. When we explore her story, we find that Sarah withstands false accusations that mount against her by relying on God to solve problems that appear to have no solution.

Strength that flows from reliance on God and belief that with God all things are possible. This is the yardstick with which these two women measure their lives.


Images from: http://catholicsaints.info/sarah-the-matriarch/ and http://thislamp.com/posts/2012/2/14/for-valentines-day-a-love-story-from-the-book-of-tobit.html

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Matthew 11:25-30: Drawing Us Gently

Saturday, December 10, 2022outstretche-hand

In my mother’s Bible which I read when I am home at Noontime, the Douay version of these well-known verses has a nostalgic ring. At that time, Jesus spoke and said, “I praise thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and prudent, and didst reveal them to the little ones.  For such was thy good pleasure”.  And later those famous lines: Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light”.

And you will find rest for your souls . . .

Is this not what we all seek?  Rest for the soul?  Are we not troubled as we wend our way through our day, as we hear the morning and evening news?  Whether we struggle with or for family, friends or strangers, does not the weight of the day so often feel ponderous by nightfall?

For I am meek and humble of heart . . .

Here is Jesus, the very expression of God to us, saying that he who is mighty and all-powerful and all-knowing and all-creating values most, meekness and humility, not power and glory. Do we not so often get this wrong? Do we not look for news of those who have million dollar sports or screen contracts? Do we not look for news of those who battle for political and social prominence?

find_rest_in_my_soul_aloneFor my yoke is heavy and my burden is light.

If we might only truly believe these words we would be less anxious, less worried, less controlling, less self-seeking. We have the power to act our belief. We are given the free will to choose to follow the wide road with its many deceits and traps or the narrow road of meekness and humility. The irony is that when we choose what looks like the easy road we become more burdened; and meanwhile the choice of the apparent difficult road frees us more than we can ever imagine possible. With God, all things are possible and all things work by inversion. When we think we are winning we are actually losing; and when we think we are losing we are actually winning.

Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened . . .

Can we not hear our Lord calling? Can we not see the smiling face and feel the outstretched hands? Are we too wise and too prudent to experience Christ’s presence? Or can we become his little ones? For this is the pleasure of God, that we become as little children who trust. It is through our child-like expectation that all good things are possible through God that God chooses to reveal himself to us, his children and it is in this way God draws all of us to himself.

And you will find rest for your souls.


A favorite from November 30, 2007.

Image from: https://lmw.org/he-cares-about-your-anxiety/ and https://www.amazon.ca/Find-Rest-Soul-Alone-Psalm/dp/B00JZC5AEK

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Mark 14:1-2: The Plot

Bama da Siena: The Pact of Judas

Barna da Siena: The Pact of Judas

Thursday, September 1, 2022

And they plotted to do away with Jesus . . .

We have spent time thinking about what it must have taken to plot against a man who showed such compassion for the ill that he put his own life in jeopardy to heal them on the Sabbath. We have meditated on what it must be like to live in such fear that we annihilate one another in our attempt to survive, even to the point of wiping out the innocent. Today we turn again to a familiar refrain . . . the plot against Jesus . . . they were seeking a way to arrest him by treachery and put him to death . . .

Some of the verses in the MAGNIFICAT Morning Psalm remind us of how we can allow ourselves to be twisted by evil when we stray too far from God.

Sin speaks to the sinner

In the depths of the heart.

There is no fear of the God

Before his eyes.

 

He so flatters himself in his mind

That he knows not his guilt.

In his mouth are mischief and deceit.

All wisdom is gone.

 

He plots the defeat of goodness

As he lies on his bed.

He has set his foot on evil ways,

He clings to what is evil.

Psalm 36

If we do not want to become one who connives with others to bring about the end of those we distrust, we must first trust God – and then ourselves.

If we do not want to become one who conspires with others to bring about the end of those we dislike, we must first love God – and then ourselves.

If we do not want to become one who becomes lost forever in the plot we ourselves weave, we must first turn to God and willingly give up the tools of deceit and darkness – and then to ourselves . . . to step into the newness we are offered.


Image from: https://www.raydowning.com/blog/2020/3/19/holy-week-in-art-jesus-plots-to-betray-jesus

Cameron, Peter John. “Prayer for the Morning.” MAGNIFICAT.10.9 (2010). Print.  

A favorite from September 10, 2010.

 

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Mark 8:11-13: The Demand for a Sign1765_Jesus-Man-of-Sorrows-628x416

Saturday, August 27, 2022

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

I am certain that Jesus sighs deeply in his spirit many times in a human day. And I am equally convinced that he smiles with our many little triumphs over self. His humanness wants to celebrate with us. His divinity wants to heal us. Despite all of the evidence we have before us of God’s constancy and love, we still do not trust God. We still ask for signs.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

Luke 3:10-18 is a story of an encounter which John the Baptist had with the Jewish and pagan world.  He cautions the Jews that they must share what they have rather than hoard it for themselves.  He asks the tax collectors to cease cheating people.  And he reminds the soldiers that they ought to be content with the power they have and cease their grumbling. As Bishop Robert Morneau tells us in Daily Reflections for ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2009-2010 when he writes about this episode: Joy lies in perpetual gratitude.   The more we practice gratitude, the easier it is to live in trust and faith.  The more we live in trust and faith, the less need we have to ask for signs.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

In Matthew 21:23-27, Jesus is asked by the chief priests and elders by whose authority he speaks. Jesus replies with a question – as he does frequently when he knows he is being baited. He asks who gave his cousin, John, the authority to baptize.  He wants to know: Was it of heavenly or human origin?  When they refuse to commit themselves, Jesus declines to answer their question. They had not really been looking for an answer. Are we always asking for an answer when we question or are we trying to control God in our lives?

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

We humans question God continually. We want to know our next steps. We want to know the reasons, the origins, the causes and the effects. We are a bit afraid, or a bit too proud, to allow our sophisticated selves to experience wonder or mystery; and yet it is through the mystery of Christ’s presence in our lives each day that we are stirred to ask questions, to delve deep within, to step outside of ourselves.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit . . .

We imagine that Christ sighs a great deal as he accompanies us in our journey toward him. We also imagine that he smiles a great deal as we learn to capitulate ourselves into the safety of his hands.


Image from: http://biblefeet.blogspot.com/2009/03/and-did-those-feetthe-meaning-of-feet.html

Adapted from a reflection written on December 14, 2009.

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John 19: Glory, Part X – Fans and Followers

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Carl Henrich Bloch: Christ on the Cross

Carl Henrich Bloch: Crucifixion

Today’s lesson on Glory: It is the quiet follower who lives in union with the shepherd while the boisterous fan will not hear the shepherd’s voice when it is crowded out by the jeering crowd. Yet, the loving shepherd continues to invite us all.

There is a difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower.  While we may find it easy to cheerlead a message we long to communicate, it is something else entirely to live the message with great love. We like to gather with those of like minds to celebrate meaningful occasions but we shrink from sharing time and space with our enemies or even those with whom we may not agree on important issues. We listen to new stories that reinforce our already-formed ideas and turn away from information that will ask us to re-think or re-group. When Christ extends his offer of celebration we may find that our attendance requires work on our part – before, during and after the event. It requires that we trust God. It requires that we carry the Spirit so she may be easily identified. It may even require our willingness to take up a new cross that leads to crucifixion.

Fans appear for a special occasion and may even show up through a season but true followers are always present, willing to suffer persecution, slander, and even crucifixion. Fans hide when kangaroo courts form, put their hands out money appears and sidle up to cameras when fame is offered. Followers are not influenced by wealth or power; they are not turned by bribes or corruption. Followers continue in solidarity for strength and in prayer with God.

Carl Heinrich Bloch: In a Roam Osteria

Carl Heinrich Bloch: In a Roman Osteria

In John 19 we read that Jesus is mocked, beaten, humiliated, taunted, and made to carry the instrument which will help people to kill him.  In bowing to God’s plan and by suffering through this act of self-gift, Jesus offers us the opportunity to collaborate with him in our own redemption. Jesus invites us to spend time with him so that we will know the shepherd’s voice, hear the master’s footstep, and rejoice at the lover’s touch. Fans struggle to maintain their connection to this lover once the party turns into the passion of the crucifixion.  Fans slink away into the darkness when the lover calls to them and asks for their witness.  Fans go home once the party turns into something they do not control or do not like; they do not stay to pick up the leavings or to gather remnants into baskets for the poor. Fans have no way of experiencing the lasting joy of union because they have been practicing the art of separation; and yet despite all of this . . . Jesus continues to invite these fans to join him as followers. And for this we are grateful.

When we sit quietly for a few moments today to read this description of Christ’s passion and ultimate descent from the cross, we have the opportunity to ask ourselves these questions: Where and how do we see ourselves in the life of Christ? And how do we imitate this one who deserves not our overt fanaticism . . . but our quiet, persistent, and faithful following?


Carl Heinrich Bloch: Woman at the Well

Carl Heinrich Bloch: Woman at the Well

Use a search engine to find more images of the work of Danish painter Carl Heinrich Bloch as we reflect on the fans and followers of Jesus, or visit the slide show at: http://www.carlbloch.org/slideshow.html 

Adapted from a reflection written on June 5 and 6, 2008.

Images from: http://www.carlbloch.org/Woman-at-the-Well.html

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2 Corinthians 12:6-10: Power Made Perfect in Weakness

girl power...it was rolling down the hill, she stopped it, I grabbed the camera, what can I say?

Friday, July 15, 2022

Here today we see the words which are so familiar to us that perhaps they cease to penetrate our consciousness. Yes, yes, we say as we nod and read, I know what this means because I have heard this before. But here it is anew for us to examine again.

What perfection does God ask of us? God asks for our persistence and our willingness to become weak in Christ.

Reading the footnotes helps us to understand that our full potential is realized through suffering and that the transformation which Jesus models for us is both individual and apostolic. It is the potential which God has planted in us. It is the fullness the Spirit expects of us. This transformation will take place when we strive for it, and will occur in others all the more quickly when we take this redemptive message to them through our action in Christ.

As we struggle to become ever better and ever more faithful servants, this transformation becomes visible and even audible in all of creation that surrounds us. As we open ourselves to the will of God, we become weak so that the strength of Christ may enter into us.  By becoming small in our ego, we make room for Christ to become one with us.  By giving over our petty worldly power to an unending, perfect and intimate union and communion with God, we become one with the Spirit.  How easy all this all is, if we only trust God.


Adapted from a reflection written on August 10, 2007.

For a better understanding of how we become strong in our weakness, visit the Mystery of Wisdom reflections posted in The Noontimes by using the blog search bar. 

Image from: http://25inchange.org/is-showing-weakness-strength-or-weakness-itself/

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Isaiah 42:16: The Mystery of Wisdom – Part IIIheart-path

Thursday, July 7, 2022

I will lead the blind by a way they do not know . . .

God says: Never doubt that I am with you.

In paths they do not know I will guide them . . .

God says: I know that anxiety and fear too often govern you.

I will make darkness into light before them . . .

God says: Believe it or not, I love you and will not let you go astray.

And rugged places into plains . . .

God says: What look like insurmountable obstacles are opportunities to draw close to me.

These are the things I will do . . .

God says: I always keep my promises. This trust I ask of you may at first seem foolish, but in the eternity of my wisdom it is prudent and wise.

 And I will not leave them undone . . .

God says: Of this you can be certain. This is the mystery of wisdom. Trust it, and you will flourish.

Tomorrow, wisdom from Jesus.


Use the scripture link to explore this verse in other versions of the Bible. Or enter the words God’s promises or trust into the blog search bar and reflect on the mystery of wisdom and promises.

Click on the image above for another reflection on Isaiah 42:16

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Matthew 6:16-18: True Fasting . . . True Hopewhats-the-point-of-fasting

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

The prophet Isaiah (58) describes the hope that arrives when we practice fasting as Jesus describes it.  When we fast, our physical hunger not only unites us with those who are marginalized, it will also – if we so allow – remind us of the hunger we feel as we seek God, immortality, serenity, joy and peace.  These are the gifts we are already given by God yet we so often do not see them.  We feel alone as so beautifully expressed in verse 3: Why do we fast and you do not see it?  Afflict ourselves and you take no note of it?  Why this aloneness?  Because we have forgotten to turn and return. God is present and waiting, it is we who forget to turn to God.  We have forgotten the simple law of love brought to us by the Christ.  Isaiah himself explains our estrangement in chapter 59: we have erected barriers, isolated ourselves, made little groups and cliques of exclusion. The peace we eagerly seek can be found only in unity, in remaining open rather than closed, in remaining ready for union rather than separation, in remaining ready for the broad and all-encompassing hope of Christ rather than our own small dreams.

We cannot know or understand God’s plan but we can trust God’s wisdom and love. We cannot calculate the complication of ways in which God’s plan will be fulfilled with or without our participation, but we can believe that God’s plan will arrive as best for all.  The problem with God’s apparent silence is not God.  It is ourselves. The Lord has called diverse people to himself, and in the approach we shuffle and bump against one another.  Sometimes we find ourselves walking alongside people who do not share our views or our understanding of The Word, and in our crowded lives we think we are alone. Yet, God is always abiding.  We have only to open our eyes and ears.  We have only to seek intercession for those who obstruct our way.  We have only to trust.  We have only to reflect, to meditate, to fast and to pray.  We have only to open ourselves to the newness of life, to new possibilities for more Easter miracles, to the acceptance of gifts already given.  We have only to empty self and receive this knowing, this sublime gift, this Jesus Christ. As we make our hearts ready to receive the gift of resurrection and redemption offered by Christ, let us acknowledge that in Christ, the time of fulfillment of dreams is here. The time for outrageous hope is already upon us. The time for newness is now.

Tomorrow, our treasure, our hearts, our God.


Image from: http://cureeczemaslowly.com/3-day-water-fasting-experiment-journal/

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