Monday, April 20, 2009
Yesterday two opportunities for grace converged: our monthly day at the monastery and Divine Mercy Sunday. The latter has a special place in my heart: our dear Papa, Pope John Paul II, died on its vigil (which is quite appropriate, considering it was he who canonized St. Faustina, from whom the devotion to the Divine Mercy comes). He was devoted to her message and designated the Sunday following Easter in this way.
I made a confession at the monastery (something that is encouraged on Divine Mercy Sunday) and, miraculously, that allowed me to become detached from a sin that has plagued me. Surely His mercy has been poured out upon me. Repentance is the true makeover.
Today has been one of Holy Spirit tutelage. My spirit unchained, I am able to see things in a new way. Miraculously, my will cooperates and feelings follow. Restless, I look forward to wearing these changes as garments.
I have learned, painfully, that I haven't respected myself as a human creature and child of God. Pursuit of holiness, especially in light of my Carmelite journey, must be taken more seriously than my own needs... or the need to please.
The "Holy Spirit Shop" is the best place to buy new clothes. I have found something that fits well; gratitude is deep.
Thank you, Lord, for your Divine Mercy!
Saturday, April 18, 2009
To their surprise, I welcomed them. As recognition dawned in the man that expected judgment was not forthcoming, he relaxed and spoke a bit. I was friendly for one reason: they are beloved children of God. I am shocked by what happened and deeply grieved by the pain caused, but I know that God loves them beyond, more than and despite the choices they've made. Why should I do any less? I myself have been forgiven much.
Before my husband and I were married, he took a job 8 hours away from me. It was difficult to be apart, so we did what seemed natural at the time: I pulled up stakes, got a job there and moved in with him. We were going to be married within the year, so it didn't seem like a big deal to us.* During this time, I was shunned by some members of his family; however, I will never forget the love and acceptance poured upon both of us by his Mormon aunt and uncle. I knew enough about their beliefs to understand that they did not condone our situation; yet they welcomed us into their fold. To this day, I am deeply grateful; in fact, if I didn't disagree with the tenets of their faith, I would have become Mormon all those years ago.
Yesterday as I looked into the faces of those two in the pharmacy line, I could see their struggle with shame. How I long for them to understand the depth of God's love and His sweet, gentle touch! I pray their shame will not keep them from such a loving Father. He scans the horizon for their return.
*Now my understanding is different; I think marriages function much better if they don't start out like that. God's pure way is logical, beautiful and always best.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tonight I opened a can of tomato paste with love and did my best to chop an onion with it, too. This might sound crazy if not for the example of Brother Lawrence, whose words about his journey of love are written in "The Practice of the Presence of God." He was a 17th century lay Carmelite brother who worked at simple tasks in the monastery kitchen. He said, "We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."
A white rose, dewy fresh, to show that Heaven cares...
The scent of Christ to all who doubt and need to know He's there...
The foamy sea that rushes in as an answer to a prayer.
Surely God uses each of us at times in different ways
To teach and guide, laugh and cry, messengers that day
A smile, word, or kindly deed means more than you may know
to those we find along the way to whom Christ's face we show
Sometimes we're the giver, and sometimes we receive
The more we give along the way, the greater our belief
that Christ will meet our own felt needs at the perfect time
With another pilgrim on the way willing to be kind
Sunday, April 12, 2009
As I fawned over the setting sun, my son said to me, "Mom, I wish I could experience the sunset like you." Though he appreciates nature, he isn't moved by such changes in the evening sky. I began to wonder whether the way my cells resonate at the perfect green of a springtime forest is a bit unusual. Or the way I want to jump out of my skin with joy at the sight of the moon when it's orange (orange!) and so big it looks like I could touch it. Or the way my heart wants to burst when the late afternoon sun shines on the distant creek as it winds its way through fields below us. I'm not sure, but I'm thankful for others who share this joy.
One of my favorite hymns was originally written for children as a way to teach them about the glory of God in creation. It's called This Is My Father's World. Click here to read the stanzas and take a listen.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Dear Lord Jesus,
I am so grateful that you think of us as fine pearls; it makes me feel very loved. That you - You! - were willing to "sell everything" on our behalf is beyond amazing. I can't help but think of the lovely canticle in Philippians 2 about this sacrifice:
"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death— even death on a cross!
I cannot think of a greater gift than God - the creator himself - seeking, finding and selling all for a group of humble stones that He calls pearls.
Does any lustre or shine emanate from me? If so, let it be because of you. May all my "pearly" qualities be a mirror to reflect you - and You alone.