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paths 12Easter Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Matthew 13:1-11

So Many Paths – Part II

How many ways are there to live a life? How many paths of wisdom lead to God? How many times are we called to modify, change or persevere in our chosen journey? Only a close and intimate conversation with God will bring us the answers we seek.

Some journeys look impossible. They are full of traps, and barren of sustenance. We become exhausted just thinking of how we might prepare to travel such a pathway. The heights are dizzying. The precipices terrifying. We begin our journey with downcast eyes and laden heart. We are too frightened to think about the future. When this happens, let us consider that the stony way may be more difficult but that Christ will be all the more present for God knows the treacheries that lurk along the way. The Spirit knows full well that we will tire, that we will seek refuge in a hostile land. And let us consider that when we journey with God, there are always tools available – although we may not see them.

Some seed fell on rocky ground where it had little soil . . . it withered for lack of roots.

path 14Some of us travel with blessings abundant. We have few fears, light hearts, and a song in our soul. Yet there is a danger hiding here that we begin to think that we alone are responsible for our good fortune. When this happens, let us be certain to spend time with God each day. Let us give thanks for the abundance of God’s grace. And let us celebrate and share the blessings God has bestowed on us.

Some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.

paths 7

Sometimes our journey is a déjà vu of experiences. We know the subtle changes before they take place. We anticipate the loops and curls and we struggle to untangle a series of events that feel all too familiar. We fight to orient ourselves. We wonder how we might move forward rather than spend endless time moving back and forth. When this happens, let us remember to turn to Christ with our questions and fears. Let us consider that God always provides refuge in any storm. And let us celebrate the goodness and love of God.

The disciples approached him and said, “Why do you speak to us in parables?”

 

paths 10

Some journeys are shrouded in mystery; we find it impossible to see ahead. Even when we plan well, when we spend time with God, when we do all that God asks of us . . . nothing seems to work until . . . we finally realize that trust is the only necessary commodity we need take on our journey. When this happens, we understand how and where to find peace. We begin to understand that serenity cannot be earned. We see the wisdom of allowing ourselves to fall into Christ’s arms rather than flail against our journey for a lifetime.

Jesus said to them in reply, “Because knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted”.

And so we pray: Good and gracious God, we trust you with all that we have and all that we are.

Kind and gentle Jesus, we follow you when we cannot see and cannot hear.

Abiding and faithful Spirit, we lean on you, we rely on you, we look to you for all that we need. Amen.


Tomorrow, So Many Paths – Part III

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

 

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Tuesday, March 16, 2021

John 14:26-27

holy-spirit-dove[1]Prayer for Understanding

But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.  Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.  (John 14:26-27)

We crave to be heard and understood yet all the while God’s counsel is before us. As we continue our Lenten journey with the prophet Amos, let us listen for the wisdom sent to us on the wings of the Spirit.

First Word: Put away black-and-white thinking. May we learn to see both sides of every story, listen to both hearts in every argument. Holy Spirit, bring us your counsel.

Second Word: Step away from corruption and nepotism. May we have the courage grapple with dishonesty in ourselves and others. Holy Spirit, bring us your fortitude.

images[9]Third Word: Be open to transformation and redemption. May we be open to the healing presence of God. Holy Spirit, nurture in us a loving awe of the Lord.

First Woe: Be wary of the ease with which violence creeps into our lives. May we grow to understand how violence insinuates itself into our lives. Holy Spirit, send us deep and lasting wisdom.

Second Woe: Be prepared for deep mourning that threatens to drag us into darkness. May we grow in faithfulness and devotion to God. Holy Spirit, instill in us fidelity and piety.

Third Woe: Turn away from your worship of little gods and turn toward the Living God. May we grow in our awareness of false teachers and preachers. Holy Spirit, engender in us deep knowledge of God’s ways.

holy spirit image[1]We crave to be heard and understood; let us listen for God’s Word . . . and let us ask for understanding of the world’s Woes. Let us give thanks to God’s prophet Amos who speaks to us today.  As we continue our Lenten journey, let us pause to listen . . . to reflect . . . and to pray, in Jesus’s name, and in unity with the Holy Spirit.  Amen.


For more information and images of the Holy Spirit, click on the images above.

For more on the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, including a link to a more in-depth discussion, go to: http://catholicism.about.com/od/beliefsteachings/f/FAQ_Gifts_HS.htm  

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Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Cows of Bashan and Mount Hermon

Amos 4

Second Word

Amos delivers God’s word to the priests in Bethel for a year and when he is rejected he returns to his shepherding work. He speaks to the Israel nation about their lack of fidelity. And he reminds us of how we can turn back to God and the covenant once we discover that we have again fallen under the spell of the pagan gods of fame, money, influence and power. Amos reminds us that there is always redemption. Restoration is always possible.

God says: In this time of Lent I call you to examine your conscience and you perform this scrutiny well. You are aware of all that you do when you allow yourself to be honest. You know where and how to return to me when you allow yourself a bit of quiet and a dose of truth. So put your worries and fears aside for your renovation already lies within you. Your recovery from all that plagues you is already in your body, mind and soul. All that needs happen is that you note what you do, that you put aside your pagan gods, and that you turn and return to me. Uprightness lives in you through me. Do what you must to nourish the integrity that dwells in you. This is the Second Word that comes from me through my prophet Amos.

In our modern society we are not much different from our ancient ancestors despite our science and technology; the very real temptation to become Cows of Bashan is as keen and alluring today as it was millennia ago; yet we know that life is more than we see before us.  And so we still yearn for union.  We still seek wisdom and peace.  We are still vessels of the Spirit that creates us. God still dwells within . . . waiting to transform and rescue us.

Tomorrow, Third Word.


For information about Bashan, click on the image above or go to: http://www.bibleplaces.com/golanheights.htm

For another Noontime reflection on Amos 4:1-2, enter the words The Cows of Bashan into the blog search bar and explore.

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Second Sunday in Lent, February 28, 2021

Psalm 94psalm-94-18-19[1]

Our Interior Law – Part IV

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We ask for wisdom so that we might discern your law that lives within each of us.

Blessed the one whom you instruct, O Lord, whom by your law you teach, giving them rest from evil days. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for peace in our turbulent days so that we must rest with you as we move through our days.

For the Lord will not cast off God’s people, nor abandon God’s inheritance; but judgment will be with justice, and all the upright of heart will follow it. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for integrity and uprightness so that we might live out the Gospel as Jesus teaches us.

When I say, “My foot is slipping,” your mercy, O Lord, sustains me; when cares abound within me, your comfort gladdens my soul. Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We look for compassion and forgiveness so that we might live the love the Spirit inspires in each of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

We tap into our interior law, knowing that it always leads us in the best direction, understanding that it flourishes at the best of God’s time, and believing that it nourishes and sustains each of us and all of us.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.

Jesus says, “Do you not yet understand or comprehend?  Are your hearts hardened? Do you have eyes and not see, ears and not hear? And do you not remember, when I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many wicker baskets full of fragments you picked up?” They answered him, “Twelve.” “When I broke the seven loaves for the four thousand, how many full baskets of fragments did you pick up?”  They answered him, “Seven.” He said to them, “Do you still not understand?”  (Mark 8:17-21)

God’s love is far greater than we can imagine and far more durable than we can believe.  And this is God’s law of love.  There is always love in abundance . . . forever. Blessed are those who see and hear. Blessed are those who allow God to soften hearts. Blessed are those who believe that God’s law lives within.

Blessed the one you instruct, O Lord.


Image from: http://shareaverse.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/comfort-3/psalm-94-18-19/ 

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Ash Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Projectjanetsuecarole 008[1]Sirach 39:13-16

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for All of God’s Works

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Lord, for bringing me the strength to re-think my words before I said something foolish.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, God, for sending me wisdom to avoid offending someone with my opinion.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Jesus, for encouraging me when I received terrible news the other day.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Holy Spirit, for pulling me up when I was at the end of my resources.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you, Mary, Mother of God, for your gentle, nurturing presence in my life.

The works of God are all of them good.

imagesCAU5R5A8Let me thank you, Lord, for world in which I find myself, for the people in my life, and for the many times you have protected and lead me on my journey.

The works of God are all of them good.

Let me thank you for your gifts of salvation and redemption, for your Word of promise that I treasure and share.

Let me put down roots, let me open up my petals, let me praise you, let me bless you . . . let me thank you, Lord.  


Images from: http://carolesegalsartblog.blogspot.com/2008/07/passion-for-painting-in-garden.html and http://www.flickr.com/photos/ukgardenphotos/5431771702/

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Saturday, February 6, 2021

sparks of fireWisdom 3:1-9

Fallen Sparks

But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. For if before people, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself. In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever. Those who trust in God shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and God’s care is with the elect.

As we near the end of Psalm 119 and drink in the message, we begin to understand the wisdom brought to us in sacred Scripture; we experience more fully God’s grace and mercy; and we begin to understand God’s deep and abiding love for even the smallest of the fallen sparks of life.

Nun: The Messiah – Jesus comes to serve as light in an unforgiving darkness and so are we called to bring that same light to a world that waits and watches.  This is God’s promise: Christ will always rescue us.

Samekh: The Endless Cycle – Like this circular letter, Christ is beginning and end, Alpha and Omega, source and summit for all.  We are called by the Spirit to join in all of creation’s response to God’s call.

Ayin: God’s Providence – We are always in God’s hands although we may not feel it.

Pe: Communication, Revelation of God’s Word – God is constantly revealing the Word to us although we may not comprehend it.

Sadhe: Faith – God’s fidelity saves us although we may not believe it.

Tomorrow, A Prayer for God’s grace and mercy . . . a Prayer for Fallen Sparks.


For an understanding of why this reading is often heard at funerals, go to: http://catholicsensibility.wordpress.com/2012/02/25/funeral-lectionary-wisdom-31-9/

Image from: http://www.torange.us/Fashion-and-beauty/fireworks/sparks-of-fire-25690.html

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Sunday, January 31, 2021

Bible and glassesPsalm 119

A Prayer to Hear God’s Message, Promise and Call

The arrogant have dug pits for me; defying your teaching . . . They have almost ended my life on earth, but I do not forsake your precepts.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and we too, have a strong sense of this guiding Spirit within.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and we realize that we have never felt this strong, protective companion.

Others speak of hearing God’s voice and remembering the time in our lives when we too, felt accompanied by this loving presence, we wait for this comforting experience to return.

No matter our circumstance, no matter the moment in our life’s journey, Christ is present to and in each of us, even when we may not feel his presence. The psalmist tells us that when we do not experience a sense of God in our lives we are always welcome to ask God to touch us in a tangible way; and when we do feel God’s presence, we must turn to help those who do not. And we must celebrate.

Good and far-seeing God, you have given each of us the power to actualize our own potential. Help us to see you in our lives and to bring you to others who need to see your hand in their own lives.

Good and loving God, you encourage us to read your word, to practice your law and to aspire to the potential for divinity we each possess. Help us to find you in scripture and to open scripture for others so that they also find you in your Law of Love.

Good and insightful God, you are a fountain of wisdom. Nourish us with your truth and bring us your understanding, counsel and guidance. Remind us of your promise to always be present to and in us.

Good and saving God, you come to us as a child, as a light in the overpowering night. Help us to act as the Messiah does, reading your word, growing in wisdom, listening for your voice, and sacrificing self to bring light to the unforgiving darkness.

Good and eternal God, you are beginning and end, Alpha and Omega, source and summit for all. Speak to each of us in such a way that we might clearly hear your message, that we might eagerly believe in your promise, and that we might joyfully reply to your call.

We ask this in Jesus’ name, in unity with your sacred Spirit. Amen.

Tomorrow, Ayin.


If you are looking for an open and easy way to begin a daily dedication to scripture, choose any psalm and read it in segments prayerfully, pausing for reflection. Or turn to The Acts of the Apostles and begin to read the story of the Spirit among us.

For information about beginning a Bible reading plan, click on the image above or go to: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/27/a-bible-reading-plan-for-readers/

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Saturday, January 30, 2021

imagesCASJ62CEPsalm 119

Message, Promise and Call

How I love your teaching, Lord! I study it all day long.

Last week we reflected on our portion as children of God.  As we examine stanzas nine through thirteen of Psalm 119, we find God’s gift to us: God’s message, promise and call.

Teth: Inversion, the Concealed Good – God’s plan is one of ideas and lives turned on their heads.  Do we see the good concealed in all harm?

Yodh: The Infinite Good – A small suspended point signifies God’s infinite goodness. Can we see this limitless good in the smallest of people and in the smallest places of creation?

Kaph: The Power to Actualize Potential – We are made in God’s image and so we have the potential to embody God’s Word.  This is our message: we are constantly called to fulfill the potential planted in us at our inception.

Lamedh: Aspiration, Contemplation of the Heart – Scholars suggest that this letter serves as a symbol of a loving student who seeks to gain wisdom from the sage or teacher and so we too, contemplate the goodness of God’s own heart.  This is our message: we are constantly drawn to God’s goodness and insight.

Mem: Fountain of Wisdom – All true wisdom that nourishes and lasts is found in God and so we rely on this wisdom as source and foundation of understanding, counsel and guidance.  This is God’s promise: Christ will always be present to us.

When we study God’s word, we encounter God’s message . . . Christ, God Among Us.

When we study God’s word, we are gifted with God’s promise . . . the Spirit, God’s Wisdom Within Us.

When we study God’s word, we give thanks for God’s goodness . . . The Creator, God’s Call to Each of Us.

Tomorrow, A Prayer to Hear God’s Message, Promise and Call.  


For a Bible reading plan, click on the image above or go to: http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/12/27/a-bible-reading-plan-for-readers/

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Friday, January 29, 2021

MemPsalm 119:97-104

Mem

Your command makes me wiser than my foes, for it is always with me . . . I have more understanding than all my teachers, because I ponder your decrees . . . I have more insight than my elders, because I observe your precepts . . . From your edicts I do not turn, for you have taught them to me . . . How sweet to my tongue is your promise . . . through your precepts I gain insight.

God’s commands, decrees, precepts and edicts are often seen as roadblocks because they are too often presented to us by those who think in an either-or, black-white, dual way. In reality God’s law is the Law of Love bringing us wisdom, understanding, insight, sweetness and promise.

God says: If you worship with others who see me full of wrath and revenge, remember that they and I are in a conversation in which I am bringing them to my Law of Love. If you worship with others who see me as a passive force of kindness only, have patience with them as well and remember that they are afraid to see the injustices that surround them. If you find yourself impatient with my plan and its timing, remember that you and I are also in conversation and that you see only a small portion of the universe.  In the end, I make my promise to each of you, I live in union with all of you even when you turn away. Remember that I love you dearly and well. Remember my promise to you. Remember . . .

How do we struggle against our foes? How do we gain wisdom greater than our teachers and insights greater than our elders? How do we taste the sweetness of God’s promise? We rest in God daily, turn to God in every hour, live in God each moment. We read and ponder God’s Word, reflect and meditate on God’s message, enact and carry out God’s Law of Love.

The Lord’s Law of Love is pure, enduring forever.  The statutes of the law are true; all of them just; more desirable than gold, sweeter also than honey or drippings from the comb.  (Psalm 19:10-11)

Tomorrow, Nun.


To learn more about the letter Mem as a fountain of wisdom, go to: http://www.inner.org/hebleter/mem.htm

 

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