Thursday, October 29, 2015

What shall we become?

I've prayed a lot with the Beatitudes lately, and recalled some really important funerals, my friend, my Dad, where this was the reading chosen as the Gospel. It gives me comfort and hope, and for that I am most grateful.

Today I am caught by Paul's words in the second reading..."We are God's children now, what we shall be has not yet been revealed."  It makes me wonder what plans God may still have in store for me. As the winter darkness approaches, as days get shorter and colder and my whole being wants to hide under the covers until it's warm again...I wonder...could there be new dreams still in store for me? Does God have more still for me to do? How will I know what path I should travel next?

These two quotes by amazing women were shared with me last week:

You have created me. What do you want me to do?   Teresa of Avila

I am not afraid. I was made for this.    Joan of Arc

I must admit, even typing that quote from Joan frightens me...I am not that brave, at least I don't think I when I ask God what does He want me to is with a bit of trepidation...because, I live a pretty simple life and I'm not sure I'm courageous enough for something big and different.

But, Paul says, 'what we shall be has yet to be revealed' maybe there is more in me than I know.

As we head into November and a cold winter...I give myself over to the hope that God knows what he is doing in my life...I just have to trust and listen to his call.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Do we REALLY want to see?

This past week in our Monday Religious Education program, the youngsters spent some time 'breaking open' the Sunday scriptures. At the end of the session, I asked the children to tell me something they had learned, or something they hoped was wonderful to listen to them tell me what they had learned about the 'blind man' and how Jesus helped him. It was even more amazing to watch their catechists face shine with pride and happiness as she realized that she had helped the Gospel become real for these children. It was a great way to end a Monday afternoon.

As I look at the story of the blind man this afternoon, I am caught as I often am, by the question and answer exchange between Bartimaeus and Jesus. Why would Jesus ask, "what do you want me to do for you"? Wouldn't it be obvious that a blind person would want to see? What else could he possible desire? And so his answer reflects that..."I want to see"!!

I wonder, now that he CAN see...WHAT does he see? What is he looking for? Is he glad he can see? Is he disturbed by what he sees?

What about us? If we are men and women who take the words of Jesus to heart, how do we see the world around us? Do we see God's love and care evidenced in nature and relationships and sunrises and warm embraces? Do we see God's challenge to us in the homeless and the poor and the forgotten? What do we see when another police officer is shot and killed? What do we see when another house burns down in a poor neighborhood?  Maybe more importantly...what do we DO, with what we see? Are we moved to prayer? To action? To the desire to work for change in an unjust world?

Sometimes I have to we really want to see or would we rather be blind to the issues that haunt us and challenge us? What do you think?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

No Regrets

I usually take this time to reflect a bit on the readings for the upcoming weekend, but, today I digress a bit.

First, my compliments to our music director on HIS music blog! He was the one who showed me how to start this whole blog thing, and my goodness, his blog is quite inspiring! Thanks Jim for the uplifting words and thoughts this week on discipleship. We all need to be encouraged to go outside ourselves and be men and women of faith and action.

Secondly, I am glad to notice that I am more excited and less nervous about our upcoming Religious Education classes this weekend. Our kick off weekend was really terrific and it's been great meeting and getting to know all our families new and old. I really hope to invite many families to make the ministries of the parish their own: music, hospitality, serving...the parish really does need and want all members to find a place where they are happy to serve. I hope together we can make St Francis more vibrant and vital in our neighborhood.

I find myself in quiet and stillness remembering the life of a very special woman who passed away this week. Anne was an amazing, honorable woman who I was graced to know for the last 15 years. She was fun, loving, kind, thoughtful, virtuous, and so many other things...and she was my friend. She's been sick for a long time, never complained about her illness or fell into the 'why me'? trap...She bore her suffering with dignity.

When time was getting short I asked her if there was anything else she would like to do while she still could...? Was there anything left undone or any place she wanted to see or go? Her answer humbled me...there was nothing left that she needed to do or see, no loose ends, no regrets...she was content with her life and at this point wanted nothing more than to have dinner with her friends.

I am in awe of the idea that she could get to the end of her life and have no regrets, have everything settled. She was at peace with her God and with the world.

So, my reflection this weekend is quite simple, I wish the same for myself and for all of you. That we find the wisdom to live our lives, each day until the end with no regrets.

Pray for us Anne!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's about relationship.

I think it's always about relationship. In the beginning we long for relationship, in the end, that's all that matters...'did you love?' I hope is the question God asks us when we come before Him.

The Gospel today mentions marriage and divorce...and we know how messy that can all be. I know God wants us to be people who love. People in relationship..with HIM first of all, and then with each other.

So today we begin another year in Religious Education at St Francis de Sales. I'm excited and nervous too. I want it all to go well! I want everyone, children and parents to feel comfortable and welcome. As always, my hope for the year is that we help our children learn to grow more in their relationship with the God who loves them. I imagine that if we help them develop a real relationship with God, with Jesus, that they will be able to weather whatever storms lie ahead for them in life. I want them to know they have a person to turn to when things are hard.

Life isn't perfect. Stuff happens. I believe God is always there, waiting to console us, celebrate with us, comfort us, cheer us on. That's what I want our kids to learn. I want their parents to learn this too.

So, if you have a spare moment this weekend, pray for us on Sunday...that all will go well, that children and adults will hear the message God wants them to hear, and that all will go home happy, ready to spread the Good News to others.