You, yes YOU, are God’s choice (Horizons of the Heart 8)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-pc9w7-12d40ac

The most important truth to be convinced of is not that God loves you. As broken, wounded, wandering as we each may be, as desperately yearning to know that we matter and that we are worth someone’s attention, contrary to what we might think, we do not need most to know how much God loves us.

I almost cringe as I write these words. For almost 40 years this has been both my mantra and my misery, my hope against hope, the alphabet of my feelings of spiritual failure. I had not realized that I was seeking for something that was only half-true, a shabby imitation of the fierce and passionate, surprisingly disconcerting way of divine love.

In the first week of the spiritual exercises, St Ignatius draws the retreatant into love through the very narrow and demanding path of coming to grips with what is not loving in one’s life. The retreatant comes to Jesus in prayer, again and again, begging for the grace to acknowledge the mystery of iniquity which spins a web of deceit around them. Repeatedly I came before Jesus begging for the grace to become deeply aware of my personal sin history and my hidden disorders. I begged Jesus and Mary for interior knowledge of my sins, an awareness of the disorder of my actions, that I might hate them and allow God to bring order once again to my life.

The way of truth is the only foundation for the confidence of love. But ah! how hard is this truth!

How to keep love alive in violent times

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-nmzzk-12d3dd5

Lord, remember not only men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all the suffering they inflicted on us. Remember the fruits we have borne thanks to this suffering: our comradeship, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart which has grown out of this; and when they come to judgment let all the fruits that we have borne be their forgiveness.”

~ Written on a piece of wrapping paper found near the body of a dead child in Ravensbruck, the second largest concentration camp for women in the German Reich, where 92,000 women and children died in the Holocaust.

How, O my God, could a woman in this death camp write these words?

How did she find the courage to keep her heart open? To care about the eternal salvation of those at whose hands she suffered and very likely died?

Friends, today we also are living through turbulent and violent times. As we watch the social fabric of our nation disintegrate with mass shootings and watch with horrified anger at what Russia is inflicting on the Ukrainian people and the world, we may find our hearts closing. It could be that our hearts are hardening in fear or anger without our even realizing it. Whatever we are feeling, it is okay. We might feel overwhelmed at the prospect of the future for our children and grandchildren. It is okay. We might feel lost in the midst of everything that is going on around us. It is all okay.

How difficult are you finding it to love and believe in the power of love in these days?

The news cycle overwhelms and incites the fires of anger and fear and hatred in our minds and hearts. It all can feel so righteous, so right. After all, there is a clear bad guy in these incidents, and our hearts immediately take the side of the innocent victims. Today only the bravest can keep lit in their hearts the flame of charity. 

2022: Like Mary and Joseph Let Yourself Be Swept Up Into God’s Purposes

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-qur2q-116c334

You are an indispensable instrument of God’s plan and in perfectly surrendering to the divine flow of love, as mysterious and incomprehensible as it sometimes appears, you will find your happiness.

New Year’s Resolutions often target weaknesses in order to increase strengths so we can be who we want to be. Mystery and divine providence often relies specifically on our weaknesses to be the places where the glory of God shines through as we play our part in the drama of the mysterious plan of salvation.

In the end, life is Mystery:  not perplexing confusion, but the Wisdom that is larger than our strategies, the Future that is greater than our projects, the Love that will encompass all of our potential.

Mystery means God has a plan for you that is perfect in every way, a plan that can encompass and save even suffering and disappointment.

Mystery means God will use you just as you are for a plan that has existed since before the foundation of the world and will exist into the unending future of the eternal kingdom.

Let Jesus break open your heart: An Easter meditation

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-h76zx-1015f1c

There are times when we have to deal with big questions. And then there are times when big questions sear deeply into our identity, shake our consciousness, tear our hearts with guilt. They toss us about with fear, doubt, and loneliness. The big questions seem to be dealing with us. We might stay up at night wondering where we fit in God’s plan. Questions haunt us: Who am I? What is the purpose of my life? How will I go on from here?

When we’re haunted by these big questions, we are like the apostles after Calvary’s sorrow and the collapse of their hope, when rumors suddenly swirled around that some of them had seen Jesus alive. How they must have longed to see once again the face of their Beloved Master, and yet also perhaps felt their hearts shrink in the uncertainty of what his eyes would say to them.

The forty days of Easter before the Ascension are like an educative process. After the resurrection, Jesus doesn’t engage the apostles on the level of emotion. He becomes their guide through the complexities of their hearts and the events that left them fearing what God’s plan might be. To them, Jesus asserts the authority and gentle power of his presence: Do not be afraid. It is I.

Song of Quiet Trust: A Midlife Meditation

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-irjn8-f93696

These past two weeks I have spent from 3 to 5 hours most evenings or early mornings sitting beside a dear sister-friend who was making her last great ascent. That final walk. The ultimate journey. The loving return.

Each breath of hers was precious and on that last night before she died God helped me to realize that in the end, really, that is all we have…our breath…our current breath. We are not promised our next breath. We already have kissed the last breath goodbye. We cannot cling to it, as we cannot hold onto the past.

And even that breath is a gift. A gift of total gratuitously glorious love from a divine Lover who is supporting us in his arms even as we breath.

On that last ascent, it will not matter what we have created or achieved or known or acquired. The fact that I have written a book, or started a company, or sold an astounding number of widgets, or even loved will not be mine as a monument to me..

I will have only this breath that is a gift to me right now at this moment.

How To Bless Your Christmas Tears: Podcast

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-xz2hb-f5f745

This year’s Christmas season is not laden with the expectations of extended family celebrations, festive Christmas meals, and open doors to visitors come to share the joy of the days of rest and peace that fill the Christmas season.

Pandemic loss and grief weigh upon these Christmas days and bring shadows to our hearts.

Maybe we feel empty. Like the world has stopped. Worry for the future seeps into the celebration of God-with-us who was born among us…. And…where is he for me? Now?

Your heart’s cry, whatever it may be, let it blend with the wail of the Infant King that midnight at his birth.

Photo Credit: Image by RitaLaura; Cathopic

God’s Promise: “I am acting” (Podcast)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-n7mwi-e4e324

Jeannette and I talk today about an experience at prayer and selection of my journal:

Iam acting:
within what breaks, I am vast Abyss
within the falling, I am depthless Depth
in the emptying, I am the Silence

Stop
Shed your mind’s unconscious gossip and still your Heart
Touch your forehead to the earth
   …My carpet
       a floral carpet Crimson Red
       on which you bumble and tumble

in My Glory.

___

“Who could have thought my shrivel’d heart
Could have recover’d greennesse?
George Herbert, The Flower

Image Credit: Il Ragazzo; Cathopic

How not to become an “injustice collector” (Podcast)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-huk8q-e2f9ba

I’m almost 57. Fifty seven years of people, situations, issues, reaction, desires, disappointment, dreams, loves…. 

This year on my birthday, I’m making the resolution to “not look back.” 

To not look back at disappointment.

To not look back at rejection.

To not look back at loss. 

Of course, looking back is important to do at times. I actually began to rediscover parts of my life during the imposed solitude of the pandemic that I hadn’t taken the time to integrate precisely because I hadn’t looked back. I needed to take the time to “connect the psychological-emotional-spiritual dots” between what I had experienced and lived through and what I was still carrying today in my heart and mind. 

Making the connections is important. By making connections we can surrender to God what he has helped us recognize. We can let it go. We can understand it more deeply, even recognize where we may have been mistaken in our perception of what happened….

How good it is to be marooned on “unsure ground” (Podcast)

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-embb9-e2f99a

The seismic shifts that are underway in every aspect of our culture these days are nothing compared to the seismic shifts God is calling me to personally, perhaps calling all of us too if there is to be any resolution that will promote the human advancement of us all.

We can no longer face anything the same way we did five months ago. It seems like such a breath of time, and yet a centuries-wide chasm has been broken open by the processes and changes that are fracturing and reshaping the world as we have known it.

We collectively stare into a widening canyon of uncertainty as life spins into unexpected directions. Uncertainty: where will all this end? What will happen to me? Will I be able to keep what I have? Am I somehow also responsible for this? Am I all that God has put me on this earth to be and to do?

Yet a window of possibility is emerging…
The possibility that we might feel with courage…
That we might decide with love…
That we might listen with neutrality…
That we might be willing to lose something that another might have,
to die that another might live…

The Quiet Eye of the Heart – Reflection after the death of Mr George Floyd

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-uixiq-dfbbf7

Hi there. I’m Sr Kathryn Hermes and thank you for joining me as we explore the Love that is the heart of the world and the work of the Heart that helps us become this Love and to discover it in the world so that all the world becomes to us like the miraculous burning bush. We have been invisibly stamped with the signature, the seal of the God who bends over us with such tenderness.

In these days I have felt helplessness, disbelief, horror that one human being could do to another what we all witnessed in the last 9 minutes of Mr George Floyd’s life. Dismay that one person could do this to his brother, yes to his brother and mine, for we all, as sons and daughters of one Creator are brothers and sisters to each other, members of one another. How can we allow this to happen to our brothers and our sisters who have struggled for centuries under the intolerable burden of racism. I go back to that Gaze, the Gaze of Jesus that moment when he said to keep the quiet eye of my heart focused on him.

Quotes from the podcast:

Sometimes I just want to bury my face in my hands as a kneel before Jesus. Quiet. Rest. Serenity. Wisdom. Love. I need it all to bring a shattered heart back into one. Particularly in times of civil unrest, periodically shielding my heart from the opinions and actions of others gives me a chance to breathe. To breathe in the Spirit. To gaze at the world with the eyes of Christ.

It is the Gaze by which Jesus makes me his sister, his friend, his beloved. We communicate our hearts and our heart’s love or hate through our eyes. In the Gaze of Jesus I see the eyes of every single person in this country who at this time is trying to grapple with this. When I raise my eyes of Jesus in the Eucharist, I see their faces incorporated in his risen Body.

 

Somewhere deep inside me there is that flowing river of love that can hold in itself every brother and sister no matter how broken…

Look into yourself and see God within you.

Fasten your eyes on your heart and God, rising out of your heart, will shine on your soul.

Royalty free music from https://www.fesliyanstudios.com 

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