Heart moves feet

Oh poor rich man!  You follow the commandments but ask for more.  You want to please God and grow closer but your many possessions stand in the way.  What stands in my way to growing closer to Christ?  Matthew 19:16-22IMG_5982

O Lord, let me count the ways.  Do I sigh when someone asks a favor or rise to meet it?  Do I extend my hand to those in need or count my bank balance?  Do I share the food in my pantry by bringing someone in need a meal or close the door and walk away?  You asked us to obey the commandments and we make excuses.  What is stealing?  What about times of taking advantage of loopholes in business contracts?  Not giving you honor by defending another because it could cause division?  What is killing?  Murder, yes of course, but also abortion and cutting another down with insults, abuse and gossip. And how do I love my neighbor as myself? Big sigh.

I say my heart is soft and loving but does it move my feet?  Do I avoid, walk away or give less than I can? Is my heart capable of loving like Christ does or is it by what I deem important and right?  Some would say I am being scrupulous – that I am a holy person and too hard on myself.  Really?

I think the proof is in my feet.  I need to recognize and adjust to where they are leading me throughout my day.  I can’t step on the scale once a month and expect it to be where I want it when IScreen Shot 2019-02-14 at 8.39.32 PM don’t monitor my food and exercise intake.  I can’t expect God to say welcome, good and faithful servant on the day I leave this earth if I’ve only checked in with him when it was convenient.  Turn on the lights for me God.  I’m trying – I have a reminder at noon, three and eight on my phone – which I often ignore – but it is an attempt to check in with you.  To check in with prayer.  To bring you into every part of my day and not just the hour or two first thing in the morning. 

Perhaps that is why the rich man was so unhappy walking away when Christ told him to sell all he had and to follow him.  He had his check boxes checked off; he was on autopilot for charity and was expecting praise.  Jesus didn’t refute what he had given; he just asked him to keep moving forward.  Feet must move towards him – that’s why life is a journey.  If we only spend the time lifting our feet in the same place of our comforts we will never progress.

It’s a never ending battle with sin – anyone who says differently isn’t truthful.  But I have found that evil will wait for my weakness and then pounce on me; taking me off guard and I falter.  But Christ, who I have asked to walk with me; allows me to see both him and the temptation and then to choose one.  He doesn’t correct my steps; he shows me the way.  He shows me how my heart must move my feet.

So is my heart cold or warm? A giving one or sleeping one?  How does the blood from my heart move my feet?  Are they getting frostbitten and choose to just stand and stomp?  Do they run to those in need or to the church in praise, worship and adoration for all I have been given?  Do I give freely or expect something in return?

Oh Lord, help me to see my failings quicker and come before you with a sorrowful and repentant heart.  Help me to IMG_1554move with compassion and love to others and not count the cost.  I want to follow you.  I desire your love, and choose faithfulness and trust in your ways.  Please help me to move my possessions and things that stand between us out of the way so that I may have feet that run to you, thank you, and offer myself to you.  I know you are saddened when I fail, but you always find a way to pick me up to become better than I was before.  Thank you for your love, for your words to help me adjust my heart and feet to be in step with yours.  Watch over us Lord, guide us always.  We need you even when we don’t realize it. 

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Women of great faith

madonnaYesterday was the feast of the Assumption of Mary, Mother of God.  Now we read about a woman of great faith who persistently sought out Jesus to heal her daughter.  What a great weekend of Scripture!

Mary believed the impossible.  The Canaanite woman sought healing for her daughter but was put off since she was not from the house of Israel.

Both women powered through with prayer and great faith.  Both were rewarded.  How many women of great faith do I know who power through with prayer and hope?  How many sacrifice their own needs and desires for a son, daughter or other family member?  How many take up their cross without complaint or blame?  These women give over and over – their strength to persevere for another is great.  I am blessed to know many.

IMG_3905A great example of persistence is the Saints – Therese, Theresa, Elizabeth, Bridgett, Anne, Catherine, Faustina, Margaret, oh the list could go on and on.  There are also those who I personally know – my mother, sisters, aunts, daughters and friends.  New faces and familiar ones.  Reminds me of a poem I used to have taped to my wall growing up:

Make new friends, but keep the old,
one is silver and the other gold.

I would guess it to be true that many women didn’t have great faith at some point in their life.  They may have thought it came from their own abilities to be strong, intelligent and resourceful.  But it is God’s gift to them.  Jesus reminds us of this in his not granting her request immediately.  He asks us to show how strongly we believe in him and his healing power.  He wants us to have hope, to trust with true humility.  I believe our heavenly Father wants all people to have great faith, but waits to answer them as they persevere; petitioning him and asking others to pray in intercessory prayer.  Do I pray his answer will be according to what I want or what he wants?   Do I persevere in prayer even when it gets hard, or silent; when distractions and temptations pull at me to be elsewhere?  If I fail yet go to him in reconciliation and start again, it is in faithfulness I know his love will grant me even more faith that will pour forth and grow like the mustard seed.

MOTHER TERESAWASHINGTON, DC JUNE 10, 1995

MOTHER TERESA WASHINGTON, DC JUNE 10, 1995

Lord, take me to your will always, wanting what you want.  Help me to order my day to be filled not only with the moments of this life, but to also be scattered with prayer so that I may also step into the heavenly realm of what life with you one will be like.  Heal all my infirmities so that I may be fully present to you, physically and spiritually.  Heighten my conscience so that sin pricks me immediately and I become most aware of how I have hurt you.  Help me to be a woman of great faith and to live, light and lead others in this journey to you.  Mary, Mother of God, pray for us. 

By Kingkongphoto & http://www.celebrity-photos.com from Laurel Maryland, USA – Mother Teresa best © copyright 2010, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74493804
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Sowing and reaping

farm binsWhoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. If I choose to give little then I will receive little.  If I choose to give in abundance, I will be returned an abundance.  (2 Corinthians 9:6-10).

What is St. Paul saying to the Corinthians?  He goes on.  Each must do as already determined.  It sounds like I need to give and gifts will be returned to me – and God has already determined what I need to give.  Yesterday’s post on the spiritual gifts points in the right direction.  Sometimes these spiritual gifts that we are to give away may come with difficulty.  But now it sounds like St. Paul is saying hey, Corinthians, suck it up.  So I guess I need to as well.  It doesn’t do me any good to be sad or compulsive about giving.  God loves a cheerful giver!

I do take comfort from Paul’s words that God makes every grace abundant, giving me always what I need for the work of my hands. God gave me life, a spiritual gift, and is expecting me to spread his words of eternal life for all who come to him.  So am I?

Psalm 112 says Blessed the man who is gracious and lends to thpurpleose in need. Today it’s hard to know the difference between need and want; between waste and frugality.  Right now I sit with both need and want – I have no electrical power because a large storm just passed through my area.  Do I need electric?  It’s pretty hard to live without it for very long.  Our world has come to totally rely on it for most every function of our lives.  Yes, I need it.  Some people need money because they don’t know how to save but  spend every dime they earn.  Others lose jobs, have illnesses or family situations that leave them with very few funds.  Which are the poor?  St. Dominic sold everything he had to give to the poor.  Makes me think of the wise virgins who waited for the bridegroom with extra oil for their lamps and those who missed him because they left to get more.  They planned, prepared and had what they needed.  Too many do not know how to set money aside for the tough times.  They have a hard time managing it for everyday use.  I struggle in knowing when to be gracious and lend to those in need – because how do I know their need is real – do I help or let them find their way?  Should I care?  The gospel takes me to the answer.

(John 12-24-26) Jesus says if a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it produces much fruit.  I can understand this; it reminds me of a quote from St. Faustina “Love is the flower, mercy is the fruit.” The rose must open to be beautiful but once it does it is done and gives the growth away to the next flower in the making.  The fruit trees flowering bud gives way to a tiny fruit that will grow and nourish the one who picks it from the tree.  Christ’s words “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life.”  Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be.  The Father will honor whoever serves me.” 

It’s not in the thinking, it’s in the giving from the heart. It’s knowing by being part of the struggle that I will already know what to do.  If that’s not happening, then I am being more self-concerned than desiring to give.  If I am calculating whether they are poor, then I am not dying to myself to know them and their needs.

Now we move to Jesus talking about how the little children will enter the kingdom of God;  “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of heaven.  Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.  And whoever receives one child such as this in my naIMG_6112(1)me receives me.” (Matthew 18) 

It all leads me to words I can hear Christ saying to me… but witnessed on the face of a very beautiful child’s eyes and smile that speak volumes….

Love me.  Just love me.  Give me yourself, all of it.  I will bless you abundantly in your giving, sacrificing and dying.  Give yourself unconditionally to me – separated from everything that keeps you from me.  Just come to me.  For you are mine.  Always.  Forever.

 

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Spiritual gifts

Missa_tridentina_002I went to a Latin Mass today.  I am coming to love attending more often as I find the quietness and distinct movements with specific purpose draws me in to what is really occurring …. the sacrifice of Christ, the perfect Victim, offering himself for us to his Father.

Today’s reading of the Epistle (1 Corinthians 12: 2-11) (an exert) struck me….

Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit; and there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord; and there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who works in all. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit. To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom; and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit; to another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, divers kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches. But all these things one and the same Spirit works, dividing to every one according as He will. Continue reading

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Spiritually Directed

directingI know many of my followers are aware that I am in training to become a certified spiritual director.  Today’s Gospel (Matthew 17:14-20) hit me with what that would look like if I did not have faith the size of a mustard seed.

Continue reading

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Amazing Grace

IMG_6177Driving home yesterday from a short visit with family in Tennessee, we (a granddaughter, her husband and three children 2, 4 and 7 years old) stopped in Metropolis Illinois for a short break. Of course we had to go see Superman, the huge statue in their town square which boasts Superman’s hometown. 

I can’t help but think of the supreme Superman; the Son of God who transfigured into glory before Peter, James and John on a high mountain. Superman said “I’m here to fight for truth and justice” and Jesus said “For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:37 and “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17  You can read even more reasons why Christ came here.

We also stopped by the Metropolis Police Station to catch a glimpse of a crime fighter’s car… they were very nice to us… gave us gifts too.

IMG_6176God the Father gave us the gift of his powerful words “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Do I listen to him?  Do I do my own thing? Today I read in scripture all about the Saints – Martyrs – of Pope Sixtus II and his companions – whose heads were chopped off in standing up for what they believed to be the truth – justice and in the Son of God.  Wow.  What am I willing to stand up against for another… for all that Christ did for me… and all God the Father allowed to occur to his Son?  Lord make us all crime stoppers – holding out our hands as Superman did – fighting evil to save lives by sharing your word, doing acts of kindness and dying to ourselves.  May your love pour forth in all we say, think and do.  Thank you for your light to show us the way to you and your Father and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

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A Gathering

papichicoOn a little vacation with many of my family….. and as I read today’s responsorial Psalm 102 tonight after a long day, I couldn’t help but think of how delighted the Lord must have been for us to be gathered together.

The children of your servants shall abide,
and their posterity shall continue in your presence,
That the name of the LORD may be declared on Zion;
and his praise, in Jerusalem,
When the peoples gather together
and the kingdoms, to serve the LORD.

R. The Lord will build up Zion again, and appear in all his glory.

 

 

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When fear strikes

belief bible book business

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Probably one of the most known passages in Scripture is in today’s Gospel (Matthew 14:22-36).  During the fourth watch of the night, he came toward them, walking on the sea.  When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified.  “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear.  At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.” 

Fear strikes at the heart of all of us; it can make us freeze, take flight or be frightened.  It can become debilitating; often rendering the loss of common sense.  I’ve had great fear – I can’t imagine there isn’t anyone who hasn’t at some time in their life.  Your adrenaline begins to rise and heart beats at a rapid pace, flashing thoughts of everything negative occur.

The faith Peter had to get out of the boat was phenomenal but Continue reading

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