https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-rej27-a6f5a5 It takes so little to bring joy to another…
I have many inner struggles around the work I do. Some of the things I have been asked to do in mission required long hours. Sometimes I have gotten angry about the amount of work expected of me; other times I know I could give more but am holding back. On the one hand, I feel like I need to always be available; on the other hand, I can use work as an escape. I look at others working more, working less, and in both cases I feel guilty. I want what I do to flow from who I am, and the integration — when it happens — feels wonderful! How complicated is the human heart!
Reflecting on my own experience, over the past months I have identified three guides that help me in unraveling the motivations of my heart; to connect my “doing” with my “being” so that my work flows not from workaholism but from something deeper.
Sr Germana and I have known each other for many years, and I’m really grateful for her sharing her expertise as a spiritual guide and counselor with us.
We all face surprises, pressures and difficult situations. The good news is that by making a few small changes to the way we work through them, we can shift from angry assumptions to intentional love.
In this podcast I offer a three-step tool I use when I’m angry or frustrated may be helpful.
This is our last conversation, Jeannette and I, on the book Reclaim Regret… I’m sharing some of my experiences and dreams which were part of my healing and I pray will be part of yours. It has been a blessing to share these conversations with you.
A week before Christmas I stopped. Or rather I was stopped, called up short, forced to face some facts I would have preferred to ignore. In my anything-but-quiet heart, I began to connect the dots over the past few months, beginning with a couple unexpected changes I hadn’t seen coming, health issues I had overlooked, and a disappointment that seemed to have come from nowhere. As I stewed in the mess that now seemed so obvious, passions tugged at my mind and heart till they seemed to be nothing more than punching bags. Layer after layer of painful memories surfaced, hurts ignored, forgiveness never offered, losses never acknowledged.
It was time to stop and breathe.
At the end of a year, the events of the past twelve months can tug at the edges of memory with a demand for our awareness. If they are too painful, we are too busy, or issues are too complex, these situations and events will settle down uneasily, but they will never go away. Facing them gently, as we are able, or when the Holy Spirit raises them to our awareness, brings peace. This gentle encounter with truth can help us relax, release our anxiety, settle our passionate demands, and let us hear the voice of our King and Savior Jesus.
I’m breathing in the New Year 2019, so I can hand over to Jesus all the ways I’ve disappointed myself and others and calmly settle every unmet expectation.
Beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, Jesus leads you into this newness. He walks beside you, he holds you in his arms, he welcomes with the kiss bestowed by the Father on his Prodigal Son. Take a deep breath. Believe.
As the hours wane on this past year, allow all your worries and pains to sift slowly into his Heart. There they will be lost forever in the fires of his Mercy.
And there begin 2019 with a heart made new by his Love.
God as potter is deeply invested in what he creates. The image of potter is often portrayed as an image of power: God chooses how to shape the clay. For me the image of potter is intimately one with the image of God pouring himself into his creation. It is an image of love. I can hear God listening closely to everything we say as he shapes our lives. The shaping of the vessel is part of an ongoing conversation of love between potter and clay. On a particularly busy day, I (the clay) may tell God (the potter) that I am tired. I need help. It is characteristic of God to bend over the little vessel he is loving into being and care for me. Listen closely, God, to the whisper of my heart. Bend over your creature, here, and let me know your ever tender love.
From the book Cherished by the Lord
Cherished by the Lord
“See how they love one another!” From the origin of Christianity, people were so attracted by the joy they saw in the followers of Jesus that they eventually felt they no longer could tenably hold to their viewpoints and prior beliefs. This joy and this love then spills over into legal and social action, ministries of justice, and service to the most vulnerable.
Pope Benedict XVI stated in his book Christianity and the Crisis of Cultures: “Our greatest need in the present historical moment is people who make God credible in this world by means of the enlightened faith they live. … We need men who keep their eyes fixed on God, learning from him what true humanity means … so their hearts can open the hearts of others”
So here are some suggestions for this Christmas and holiday season.
The end of the liturgical year, the anything-but-quiet waiting weeks of Advent filled with the tug between the contemplative and commercial, the awesome birth of Christ in hearts anew on Christmas night, the first day of the brand new year and the World Day of Peace. . . . There has always been something almost magical about the turn of the year. Children with their excited hope for what Christmas morn will bring and cloistered nuns with their contemplative immersion in the mystery of all Christmas is — and everyone in between — are swept up by something fresh and exciting and innocent in these weeks.
I’ve been thinking about how much we need this gift particularly at this time, this year. Our hearts have been so beaten and tainted by the mainstreaming of aggressive and violent language. It has infiltrated our hearts and minds through social and news media on our computers and television screens. Then like an unwanted blot of dark ink it has soaked into our conversations and relationships and thoughts and desires and dreams….
How can I keep a deep spiritual sensitivity of mind and heart so that I live as a citizen of heaven while yet on this Earth? (Philippians 3:20) The ancient practice of cleansing our thoughts holds a key. This is how I’ve started practicing this watchfulness in these end-of-year weeks.
There are so many good things we could do; how do we know which specific deeds God desires most of us? This passage from the Letter to the Ephesians is full of clues. Words such as “rich in faithful love,” “through the great love with which he loved us,” and “it is through grace that you have been saved” tip us off. God has planned a tremendous work of art for humanity and civilization. This artistic creation is a direct reflection of God’s love and life. It is that simple. The Father, from all eternity, loved the Son. The Son turned around and, instead of holding on to this love which he had received, gave it away. He emptied himself, became a man, walked among us, lived our life, and died our death, so that, as the Father had done, he could pour himself out in love for us who needed salvation. It is by grace that we are saved. The deeds God desires of us are self-emptying acts of service of others, love to the point of giving our lives for one another.
Jesus, make my life a work of art. May I love others with a faithful love that seeks their good before my own.
From the book Cherished by the Lord
Big questions. Is God reliable? Is life reliable? It makes me think of when I was 21 and had a stroke. How can God be trusted when something goes wrong in life: an illness, a failure, a betrayal. How do we recover from these situations? Does God really love us?