Monthly Archives: March 2014

Grace is Everywhere

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“Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, you are very great! You are clothed with splendor and majesty, covering yourself with light as with a garment, stretching out the heavens like a tent. He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind; he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire. He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved ” Psalm 104: 1-5

This past weekend I went up to Concord, New Hampshire for a Catholic Literature Conference at Christ the King Parish. The speakers and their talks on Walker Percy, CS Lewis, Gerard Manley Hopkins and JRR Tolkien were brilliant and quite frankly blew my mind in a wonderful way. It made me want to write poetry again. Though I sometimes dabble in it from time to time I really haven’t been serious about it in years.

But what I really treasured from the conference was a memory it dredged up. And the memory made me realize that God was working ever so subtly in my life back when I wanted to have nothing to do with God or church. The three poems of Gerard Manely Hopkins that we reviewed opened this door to my memory. The lines “Glory to God for dappled things…”  and “The world is charged with the grandeur of God…. because the Holy Ghost over the bent world broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.” These odes to God’s beautiful world made me think about the time back in the mid 1990’s when I was walking on Malibu Beach in Dorchester, Massachusetts (Savin Hill, near the gas tanks). I was walking my American Bulldog Daisy along the shore and the tide was low. It must have been fall because the sea grass, if that is what it is called, and other vegetation on the beach were muted autumn rustic colors: reds, tans, yellows, oranges. I remember thinking that it was beautiful and I remembering thinking at the time that I didn’t normally think mundane things like this were “beautiful.” That small, insignificant memory stuck in my head… a very normal everyday happening…nothing wild or wonderful or unusual… just another ordinary boring day. But it stuck in my head. I now know I was seeing the world through God’s eyes… He was showing me something beautiful in the ordinary. How His world is amazing and filled with wonders and that “Grace is everywhere” (a line that was said more than once during the convention).  He was there, back when I was far from Him… he was nudging me …showing me… what a wonderful world it is … because back then I was the moody, obnoxious foul-mouth b*tch who almost saw nothing good in the world… It was nice to know that He was there… speaking to me…

Inspired… today I wrote a poem~

God Speaks/ So Subtle/ do we hear?/when down a leaf/floats/falls/flutters/as/the wind sighs/moans/barely utters/secrets of a simple smile/warmth of a quiet hush/rush by/do we stop brake breathe and beat the riot/or do we spittle and bicker and banter and bother?/the sunlight motes so full of Him/watch them dance laugh twirl and spin/eyes tastes smells sees feels the pull/of nothing sweet nothing pregnant lull swells/He breathes us in/deep and full/and smiles us out/a day/ a moment/a firefly shout.

I would like to give credit and thanks to Mary Lynch for her beautiful picture (up top).

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Go Transfigure

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“Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them; his face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light.” Matthew 17: 1-2

The Transfiguration of Christ has got to be one of my favorite passages from the bible. To have been there and to have seen Jesus GLOW before your eyes… showing his divinity… seeing Moses and Elijah with him (I once asked someone how they knew who they were and he replied, “Name tags” LOL) and the the cloud and the voice of God! Wow… actually wow does not capture this moment… it is one of those moments where the true meaning of AWE and awesome come into play. It must have been awe-inspiring and mind-blowingly awesome!

Though when I think of the scene … picture it in my head~ you know me, the visual learner, who has to SEE every thing in my mind to truly grasp and comprehend it … I don’t see Jesus floating. No… I don’t… too fantastical (though, of course, he could have) … to me he can glow but I don’t see him floating above the ground, sorry.  I see Jesus reaching the summit of Mount Tabor with his friends and after that long hike with his buds … which I imagine they climbed the mountain early morning and as they reached the summit it was becoming day… I see Jesus, so overjoyed to have reached the very top that he turns, holds out his arms to greet the day and as the sun rises over the horizon I see him start to glow…  and the more he glows, the bigger his smile gets… and then when he is in full blown luminosity he begins to laugh. Yes, laugh. I see him laughing… so filled with joy that he cannot contain himself …. And he is so bright that you can hardly see him…

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Yeah. Like that. Of course Moses and Elijan were glowing too…

ImageThat’s a good painting too….

To try to capture how freaked out Peter, James and John were upon seeing this….  can you imagine?… How would you have reacted? I probably would have sunk to my knees with my jaw hanging open, eyes bulging, dumb-founded.  What I have always found peculiar was Peter’s reaction.  I love St. Peter, he always seems to say something wrong… he likes to put his foot in his mouth and make a buffoon out of himself (I love him because I can relate, can’t we all?) … why did he want to erect tents?… Maybe he wanted to be helpful… or maybe …Image hahahaha….  sorry had to throw a meme in there…

So… why do we hear this Gospel passage during Lent?  Because we too need to be transfigured… we too need to change and become holy… we need to glow~ SHINE!~ the love of Christ from our faces. Have you ever been so overwhelmed/overcome by a Holy Spirit moment that you felt like you were glowing? I have. Some moments felt more pronounced than others… sometimes, during those amazing moments, I can literally feel myself glowing (You Glow GIRL!) … other times it is just a nice warm peace glowing inside. I have been overcome with this during different times… but every time was after spending time with God: After reading certain books, watching certain movies, spending time in Adoration, after Mass, after praying the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet, after morning prayer (which is why I pray in the early morning… to carry that peace with me throughout the day) and even hiking in the woods….  This can happen any time you spend time with God …

So this Lent how about we take more time to climb that mountain with him… wake up earlier. Turn off the TV. Sit and be still and be quiet …and just BE with God.

“For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to bring to light the knowledge of the glory of God on the face of [Jesus] Christ” 2 Corinthians 4:6

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Trust in God

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“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine. … I will be with you … For I am the Lord, your God, … your savior … you are precious in my eyes and glorious … I love you …. Fear not for I am with you … I will gather you … Bring back my sons from afar, and my daughters from the ends of the earth: Everyone who is named as mine, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-7

Recently I have realized that the only one I can truly trust in is God. It really hit me this past weekend. It seems that people (friends actually) like to give me unsolicited advice… they seem to feel the need to correct me when they think I have said or done something they consider wrong. Or they like to tell me what I should be doing … (ugh)  when they do not know the circumstances behind why I did or said what I did and said.

Within the past two weeks I have thought about why I am the way I am…. a defensive little mother bear warrior woman… HA! How have people  treated me over the years and why? Being the youngest, and the only girl in the family, I was never really taken seriously. I was just the silly little girl who didn’t know better. Being small and having that baby face didn’t help me as I grew up and went out into the world, I still felt I was not taken seriously… I even felt that people didn’t think I was intelligent enough to do things (things that I was actually doing) or they thought I was just some silly girl… in the immortal words of Rodney Dangerfield ~I don’t get no respect. The respect I deserve. Really.

It’s frustrating, to say the least, when people question what I do and say… and knowing “defensive” me I have to defend myself…  I feel I have to because he or she doesn’t know the background of the situation or the information I know.  I know he/she are well meaning and are looking out for my best interest, but what it really comes down to… what really upsets me… is it tells me that he/she doesn’t think I can make good choices on my own.  Wow. Yeah…. that hurts.

But…

And then I remember …. There’s God. He is there for me. He does not tear me down. He is the God who prepared my room for me (in the last blog). He knows me better than I know myself. He loves me utterly and unconditionally. He will give me what I need. He will protect me. He is my savior. My rock. My shield. No one else can be this, no one else compares. He is my all in all. Trust in God alone. … oh heck… let me quote Psalm 62… one of my Lectio Divina scripture quotes I have been praying with:

“My soul, be at rest in God alone, from whom comes my hope.God alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not fall.My deliverance and honor are with God,my strong rock; my refuge is with God.Trust God at all times, my people! Pour out your hearts to God our refuge!” Ps. 62: 6-9

Hey… I am not perfect … I am a sinner and know I have probably given people unsolicited advice too. This just seems to have hit me this week… and yeah I’m venting…

This Lent I am trying to be positive, loving, caring, giving …and non-argumentative (yeah! right! haha good luck on the last one!)… I know I shouldn’t worry… I need to be humble and listen to others quietly and patiently … and not let what they say bother me … (that’s hard… very hard)…. I need to only remember that I have God, He is there for me and He will always let me rest in His arms.

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…I think I will go spend some time with the Lord in that room He prepared for me.

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Jesus Decorating My room

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Recently I have been practicing Lectio Divina. …The art of Lectio Divina? … ah… a slow contemplative praying of scripture. To become closer to God. To sit in silence and listen with the ear of your heart to what God is saying to you through scripture.

My priest gave a me a list of scripture readings (specifically asking for the Grace for a deeper trust in the Father’s care for me) … I am to pray with them for three consecutive days. Really mull over each one. Really savor lines, phrases, words…  dig deep and find meaning… wow…. it is really quite beautiful … each day I do find something new in each scripture verse, something I did not see the day before. It’s wonderfully wild and eye opening.

Since I am a very visual person I SEE each scene I am reading…. then I place myself IN that scene… I LIVE the scripture. I interact with God and/or Jesus in the scene… I ask Him questions and see what he says and does. Pretty cool, huh?

Last week I climbed into chapter 14 of John’s gospel. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be” John 14:1-3. It took me until day 3 of praying this to really step into Jesus’ Father’s house. I really dwelled on the phrase “I am going to prepare a place for you.” Okay… stop and think about that for a minute. Jesus preparing a place… for you.  Think about Jesus preparing YOUR room in God’s house.  Jesus knows what you like, right? … so he will decorate your room how you like it. Imagine him preparing… what does that look like? Jesus cleaning your room: yes seriously… Jesus sweeping the floor. Painting the walls. Making the bed. Hanging pictures on the walls of family, friends, saints. Stacking books on your book shelves…. Jesus organizing your room….picture it….

I see my room in warm bright colors…. cranberry red, tangerine orange, lemon yellows… flowers painted on the walls…. a purplish blue ceiling filled with stars and the moon, which glow in the dark.  I see a sleigh bed, a quilt with a flower pattern, pillows… a night stand with a statue of Mary, a lamp, a pile of books … a roll top desk in the corner with paper, pens, pencils, cards, stationary, notebooks…. Book shelves… oh yes, book shelves filled with books (JOY!).  And a comfortable window seat overlooking the backyard…. look out into the the yard… a garden, a patio, a pond, flowers, trees…. a gathering place to read, talk, laugh, sing, dance… enjoy each others company….

Wow… the peace that I felt as I imagined all this…

And the more I think about it the more I add to this scene…. and then I think about sitting with Jesus and the saints in my room, in the garden in God’s house…. the conversations we would have….

think about it…. What would your room look like?

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 Practicing Lectio Divina has added an amazing dimension to my prayer life … maybe it is something you would like to add to your prayer life this Lent?

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