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Posts Tagged ‘wisdom’


Jeremiah 17:5-10: In Every Season

Thursday, March 23, 2017

We are blessed with a God-given identity and we take our concerns to God the Creator. With gratitude, we trust in God.

I will bless the person
who puts his trust in me.
He is like a tree growing near a stream
and sending out roots to the water.
It is not afraid when hot weather comes,
because its leaves stay green;
it has no worries when there is no rain;
it keeps on bearing fruit. (GNT)

We are accompanied by our brother Jesus and we follow the clearly marked Way our brother Christ sets out for us. In hope, we follow the signs of Christ’s love.

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord,
    whose trust is the Lord.
They shall be like a tree planted by water,
    sending out its roots by the stream.
It shall not fear when heat comes,
    and its leaves shall stay green;
in the year of drought it is not anxious,
    and it does not cease to bear fruit. (NRSV)

We are consoled by the Spirit who lives within us and we allow the presence of God to mend all that is broken. With love, we rest in this Spirit.

Blessed is the man who trusts in Adonai;
Adonai will be his security.
He will be like a tree planted near water;
it spreads out its roots by the river;
it does not notice when heat comes;
and its foliage is luxuriant;
it is not anxious in a year of drought
but keeps on yielding fruit. (CJB)

Can we imagine a life when all that we say and all we do is measured in the loving ways of God? Can we envision a kingdom in which the poor take precedence and the marginalized rise up? Can we foresee the effects of God’s compassion, power and tenderness?

After a long drought, the desert blooms in Arizona, U.S.A.

Blessed is the man who trusts me, God,
    the woman who sticks with God.
They’re like trees replanted in Eden,
    putting down roots near the rivers—
Never a worry through the hottest of summers,
    never dropping a leaf,
Serene and calm through droughts,
    bearing fresh fruit every season. (MSG)

Can we believe that we are part of God’s great plan? Can we rely on God’s wisdom, grace and peace? Can we be certain that we are loved and behave as if we accept this truth?

When we compare various translations of these verses, we begin to discover that we are blessed, that we are loved, and that we are created to bear fruit in every season – even in the deserts of our lives.

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Tobit 3:24-25: The Favor of Providence

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Tobias_cura_a_cegueira_de_seu_pai_-_Domingos_Sequeira

Domingos Sequeira: Tobias Heals the Blindness of his father Tobit

As a Noontime companion, you will know that this book is a favorite. This story is full of fidelity, promise, hope, healing, courage, desperation, prayers answered and the mystery of how we gain most in ourselves by trusting God. The story tells us of the importance of the mystery of trust.  We see God move not only through the disguise of the archangel Rafael, but also through people who respond to God’s call . . . even when it places them in danger.

Today’s excerpt is brief but we gain much if we spend some of our time with these verses. They are a wonderful antidote for a dispirited day.  The story reminds us of all the Old Testament foretells, all the prophets predict, all the wisdom books proclaim, and all that Jesus comes to fulfill. We have valuable lessons here. On this second weekend of Lent, we serve ourselves well by reflecting with these verses and taking in their lessons.

First: Tobit shows us that God is good, and we are good. It also shows us that although life is brutal and unpredictable, it is good because it brings us to God.

Second: The faithful need not fight, they only need to stand and refuse to do anything that causes them to abandon their God. We need to kill people with kindness, we need to make our hearts open and vulnerable to God, we must become Christ’s hands and feet, head and heart through the act of healing one another, and through the act of interceding for one another, even our enemies. 

Tomorrow, we discover how these lessons teach us the importance of the mystery of wisdom and trust. If we take an hour or so to read more than these verses this weekend, we will not regret our decision to use our time in this way.

Adapted from a reflection written on March 10, 2008.

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Mark 7:31-37: Healing Deafness

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Bartholomeus Breenbergh: Jesus Healing a Deaf-mute

Bartholomeus Breenbergh: Jesus Healing a Deaf-Mute

John the Baptist was imprisoned and when he got wind of what Jesus was doing, he sent his own disciples to ask, “Are you the One we’ve been expecting, or are we still waiting?” (MSG) This week we are given an opportunity to give our own testimony.

Just like that . . . we are told, it happened. The man’s hearing was clear and his speech was plain – just like that”.

Despite the impossibility of this cure, it takes place. Despite the audacity of the miracle, this average man is healed. Despite the doubts and raised eyebrows, we too might have our speech and hearing made crystal clear.

Some people brought a man who could neither hear nor speak . . .

We might also bring a neighbor or friend, a loved one or even an enemy to Jesus so that sound and speech might be pure and distinct.

They asked Jesus to lay a healing hand on him . . .

We might go ourselves to Christ for the clarity we so urgently need both in what we hear and what we say. In our age of instant communication and false news, we must be wise about what we hear. We must consider the words we will use and when we are to speak.

They said, “He’s done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless.”

Road rage versus kindness. Anger versus fear. Hatred versus love.

How do we hear the words that seem to engulf us? How do we respond to the needs of those around us and to our own needs? Where do we go for help when fear of speaking paralyzes us? How do we still our hearts and minds so that we might perceive the wisdom of Jesus? So that our ears are open and our words are wise?

When we explore varying translations of these verses from THE MESSAGE, we discover that our hearing and speech can always use the compassion and wisdom of Christ.

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1 Corinthians 3: Becoming God’s Fool

Friday, December 9, 2016build-on-christ

This week we explore how to put our love on the line just as the Creator does by abiding with us, just as Jesus does as he shows us The Way, and just as the Spirit does as she comforts and remains in us.

Paul tells the people of Corinth – and he tells us – that we are not separate islands looking out for our own interests; rather, we are all interconnected and dependent on one another.

You are God’s house. Using the gift God gave [us], . . . let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. (MSG)

Paul tells the people of Corinth – and he tells us – that we are all holy members of God’s sacred temple, standing on Christ and rising in the Spirit.

Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive – but just barely. (MSG)

Paul tells the people of Corinth – and he tells us – that we are all held to account by a loving and compassionate parent. We are all asked to change. We are all asked to live on the margins. We are all asked to love as Jesus loves.

Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times. Be God’s fool – that’s the path to true wisdom. What the world calls smart, God calls stupid. (MSG)

Paul tells the people of Corinth – and he tells us – that inversion takes control in God’s plan. When we want to be wise, we must put aside our own ego, empty our hearts and minds, and allow the Spirit to dwell within. And it is in this special way that we might more easily learn to put our love on the line for the Architect, the Builder, and the Artist.

When we explore various translations of these verses, we discover that becoming God’s fool gives us the perfect strategy to put our love on the line.

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Luke 21:14-15: Remember

Wednesday, November 30, 2016getty_rm_photo_of_finger_with_string

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 resist or refute. (NABRE)

This advice goes against the grain of modern society. Smartphones bring an Internet of knowledge to our fingertips; they also bring false reports and charlatans.

Make up your mind right now not to worry about it. I’ll give you the words and wisdom that will reduce all your accusers to stammers and stutters. (MSG)

Our egos want to depend on data provided by polls and surveys; and these data may lead to inaccurate conclusions and foolish decisions.

Make up your minds ahead of time not to worry about how you will defend yourselves, because I will give you such words and wisdom that none of your enemies will be able to refute or contradict what you say. (GNT)

Power and fame, accolades and wealth bring false confidence; and none of these protect us as does the wisdom of Jesus. None of these can save as does the Living God.

So make up your minds not to worry, rehearsing your defense beforehand; for I myself will give you an eloquence and a wisdom that no adversary will be able to resist or refute. (CJB)

Anxiety brings us false worry. Faith in the wisdom of the Spirit brings us hope. Anger affirms false power. Love brings us the eternal peace of Christ.

When we use the scripture link and drop-down menus to explore varying translations of these verses, we find new reason to reason to remember the wisdom and promise of Christ.

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Proverbs 28: Virtues

Saturday, November 5, 2016proverbs-28

A Favorite from October 31, 2009.

Surety, Prudence, Integrity, Wisdom, Generosity, Truth, Justice

The wicked man flees although no one pursues him; but the just man, like a lion, feels sure of himself.

When we create monsters out of nothing we give in to our human fears.

If a land is rebellious, its princes will be many; but with a prudent man it knows security. 

Our rashness can divide us more than it unites us.

Better a poor man who walks in integrity than he who is crooked in his ways and rich.

Power and treasure appear to be safe havens; yet they crumble to corruption and cannot withstand the simplicity of truth and honesty.

He who rebukes a man gets more thanks in the end than one with a flattering tongue.

The truth always comes out in the end . . . and is precious.

virtueHappy the man who is always on his guard; but he who hardens his heart will fall into evil.

Prudence is necessary; hardness is our downfall.

The greedy man stirs up disputes, but he who trusts in the Lord will prosper.

Generosity is a sign of a trusting heart.

He who trusts in himself is a fool, but he who walks in wisdom is safe.

Patience and stillness bring their just rewards.

When the wicked gain pre-eminence, other men hide; but at their fall the just flourish. 

In the end, God alone is enough . . .

Words to live by; virtues to cherish; axioms to settle the mind; and maxims to sooth the heart.

When we compare translations of these verses, we allow God’s wisdom to enter our hearts. 

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John 12:44-50: Light

Sunday, October 16, 2016

the starry night

We are made in God’s image in a glorious diversity of structure and personality. Today we hear the words of Jesus describing himself as Light to the WorldIn God’s image, we are called into life both individually and collectively to be that light as well.  We have our instruction, it seems, and they are simple.  We are made to be planted beside one another, warts and all, to agree on the Gospel story, to allow God to hone the rough edges from our exterior, and to open our hearts to the possibility of being Light and Hope and Love.  There is no greater calling.

In our familiar creation story we are told of the gift of life itself. Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.” Genesis 1:26

The prophet Isaiah reminds us that we are named, loved and called.  For the sake of Jacob, my servant, of Israel my chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew me not.  I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides me.  It is I who arm you, though you know me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun men may know that there is none besides me.  I am the Lord, there is no other.  I form the light and create the darkness, I make well-being and create we; I, the Lord, do all these things.  Isaiah 45:4-7

Paul writes to the Colossians and he writes to us. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us. Colossians 1:12-18 Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its Creator, is constantly renewing in his own image, in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself. Colossians 3:9-10

Christ himself calls us to set the world ablaze with our fervor for our mission in him.  Jesus said to his disciples [to us], “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!” Luke 12:49

And as we reflect, we pray.

lightinthedarkness_mediaplayerimageWe are created in light to bring light to the world. Let us never doubt the Creator’s strength and wisdom, and let us call on God for help when we feel the darkness too close around us.

We are made in God’s own image as sisters and brothers of Christ. Let us always rely on Jesus’ love and compassion when we are overcome by the worries of the world.

We are made in love to bring love to the world. Let us forever depend on the healing presence of the Spirit when we are wounded or betrayed.

May Jesus Christ be always our way, our truth, our life and our light.  Amen.  

When we use the scripture links to explore other translations of these verses, we encounter the wisdom and life, the truth and light we seek.

Adapted from a Favorite written on October 23, 2008. 

For another reflection on the meaning of Christ’s light in the world’s darkness, click on the image of the universe above or visit: http://cribandcross.org/the-light-in-the-darkness/

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George Frederick Watts: The Magdalene at the Foot of the Cross

George Frederick Watts: The Magdalene at the Foot of the Cross

Luke 8:1-3: Ministering Women – Part I

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

A Favorite from September 6, 2008.

As the sparrow finds a home and the swallow a nest to settle her young, my home is by your altars, Lord of hosts, my king and my God.  Psalm 84:4

This is the image – I believe – that God has for the women of the Church.  They are not to be servants of men, but servants with men . . . all servants of God.  In today’s reflection, we see women serve Jesus described as equal to men as they can be in the context of the ancient Jewish world of Jesus.  When we read the Gospel story we always see that Jesus shows no difference in his treatment of men and women; and he does, in fact, show great deference and respect to his mother and his other women companions.

In the Old Testament, Wisdom is always described with feminine pronouns.  Happy the one who finds wisdom, the one who gains understanding!  For her profit is better than profit in silver, and better than gold is her revenue; she is more precious than corals, and none of your possessions can compare with her.  Long life is in her right hand, in her left are riches and honor; her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace; she is s tree of life to those who grasp her, and one is happy who holds her fast.  Proverbs 3:13-18

The part of women in the world is an old argument, one to be constantly revisited.  Certainly in the current political and social turmoil of a run-up to a major election, we pause to re-think our views on a great number of topics; the role of women being thrust to center stage just recently.  This brings an opportunity to re-visit our philosophy, to re-pray our intentions, and to re-enact our value set of what we believe to be the place of women in the tribes of God’s people.

Tomorrow, women versus men?

Click on the image above for a reflection. Who were the women at the foot of the cross? or visit: https://vocationnetwork.org/blog/questions_catholics_ask/2016/08/who_were_the_women_at_the_cross 

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2 Kings 6:8-24Ambusharamean-horsemen

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A Favorite from September 5, 2009.

The King of Aram cannot win against the God of Israel who speaks to the faithful through their prophet Elisha.  As I read this story I too, wish that I had such a direct route to wisdom . . . and then I realize that I do.  Today’s story of ambush is tempered with God’s pity for the Arameans, something we do not see often in the Old Testament.  It is also a reminder that God abides with those who seek him in humility and trust, that when the faithful follow in fidelity, they too will benefit from a voice that advises them as if it has heard conversations in secret places that are meant to outwit God.  Today we remember that God is everywhere, hearing everything, seeing everyone, knowing every thought.  At first this can be unsettling – we realize that there is no part of us that we can hold separate from God.  Later it is comforting – we realize that we do not want to be without this supreme intelligence and infinite mercy.  We come to see that God’s presence – and our attentive ear tuned to God’s voice – is the only force which saves us from the ambushes plotted in secret places.  We begin to comprehend the depth of God’s love for us.

When an ambush is sprung upon us, we might want to turn to Psalm 143 to intone its verses:  My spirit faints within me; my heart within me is desolate. 

When we feel as though all our own forces have been spent in enduring the onslaught, we say:  I spread out my hands to you; my soul grasps to you like a thirsty land. 

When we feel ourselves about to faint from the fear or anxiety which strangles us, we pray: O Lord, make haste to answer me; my spirit fails me; do not hide your face from me or I shall be like those who go down to the Pit. 

We remember the times in the past when we have survived ambush by calling on God for help:  I remember the time past; I muse upon your deeds; I consider the works of your hands. 

We ask for God’s assistance: Revive me, O Lord, for your Name’s sake; for your righteousness’ sake, bring me out of trouble.

When we take ourselves away from the panic and pain, we come to see that we too benefit from miracles brought to us through the words and actions of our own holy women and men.  When we rely on the voice of God rather than the voices of society, we too become transformed by miracles that arrive as gifts from our loving God.  And when we show mercy for those who have listened to their own advice rather than words from God, we too will see that no more raiders will come into our land.

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