Bidden or Not

115_BZ-vocatusA video reflection about feeling joy and sorrow in this season of Easter, especially this year when sorrow may seem to take the lead. Here are links to the books and the quote I mention:
Carl Jung
The Prophet
Make Me An Instrument of Your Peace
The Closeness of God

Easter dawns

Sunrise October 2016 leaving Villar de Mazerife

Dawn breaking over Villar de Mazerife, Spain, October 2016

How often do many of use the old adage “it is always darkest before the dawn” without thinking about it? Very often, that is the answer. When I was on Camino de Santiago in September and October 2016, I learned the truth of the saying. While walking on the portion of the Camino known as “the meseta,” the flat northern plains in Spain, we would leave our albergues in the dark. Walking in darkness, it would actually get a bit colder and a bit darker as sunrise approached. At that time the sun was not coming up until after 8am, so it was not even that early. But it was that cold and that dark.

Then each day would offer us a gift if we turned around, we would see the faintest hint of light on the horizon behind us. Dawn would soon break, dispelling the darkness and the cold. Soon, the sun would blaze overhead and the temperatures would rise. We would walk on, donning hats and sunglasses, adding sunscreen to arms newly bared as we peeled away layers of clothing.

Every day felt new when this moment happened, as if we had not witnessed it the day before. Every day was joy.

Today as I consider that it is Easter, but that it feels like anything but, I am reminded to focus on the cold and dark for a moment before I recognize what it happening… Each day we rise again and again and again.

This Easter may be the coldest and darkest pre-dawn moment that many of us will ever know, but hold this thought in your mind, grasp it as tightly as you do when you cling to Christ… Dawn will break, the darkness will be eradicated and flooded with light, the cold will turn to warmth.

Rejoice in the Alleluia that signifies the Risen Christ! No matter how cold and dark it feels, and often we must remain in that place for longer than we wish, may we all know the hope of belief in the Living God.

May your Easter be blessed in these unusual times. Darkness is dispelled, Jesus has destroyed death forever! New life springs forth! Easter dawns and Christ is risen! Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!

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Good Friday

On this Good Friday, I think that this expresses how I feel right now. I found it on my Facebook the other day, from years ago. I cannot recall the context of why I posted it, but I can clearly see its point right now.

At this moment in time we may feel imprisoned in our isolation, but may we always feel a sense of hope.

May you and yours be blessed as we move through this Triduum in ways we could not have imagined.

Lent in the time of COVID-19

Last Thursday I offered a video reflection at the parish where I work; I will do the same on Holy Thursday. Here is last week’s video. Even if you are not on Facebook, you can watch the video by clicking the link. At the parish where I worship, I was asked to record a reflection, if they decide to use it, I will post when available.

May your Holy Week, be blessed in these unusual times. I am grateful for you all and please know I hold you in prayer.

Video link is here.

Put love

tumblr_o8y3h820oa1qaowvro1_500In addition to remember that we are not to be afraid, right now might be a good time to remember to be kind. It does not take much… wait a minute, it does take a lot. Especially at times of stress and uncertainty, which is where we are right now.

Help one another, thank people who continue to do their jobs, such as first responders, doctors, nurses, all medical personnel, grocery store employees, garbage collectors, postal carriers, UPS and other delivery drivers, pharmacists and drug store employees, local and federal government workers, many behind the scenes, working to make sense of this new reality, restaurant workers and food delivery people. Remember ministers, priests, and others who are on the front lines physically or virtually, tending to the souls of those who are troubled or ill. Who are those souls? All of us.

Think of how everyone’s personal economy will be impacted in ways large and small. Share what you have. Donate to a food pantry, even if it is just one can of soup. If everyone did that, there would be a lot of food. Offer to pick things up for a more vulnerable neighbor and then leave it at the door. If you can, tell them not to worry about the money.

Share your friendship and love with others, especially those hardest to share it with. Remember to smile, something you can do online as well. Offer a greeting. Be patient. Try not to lose hope. Encourage others and allow yourself to be encouraged.

These are strange and trying days, let us be kind to one another. The words of St. John of the Cross remain in my heart in a special way right now. May we all follow this and remember that love is action, decision, commitment, not romance or just a feeling. Love is your life, be it always. It is hard. Will you help me? I will help you. May we all put love where there is little or none, each and every day.

Do not be afraid

Just a short post at a busy time. While I understand the impulse, and have to manage my own desire for it, I am praying about the panic buying in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Our focus should always be on some kind of life oriented to others, not ourselves. During Lent, the need to practice this way of living becomes even more clear. What does it mean if we give up chocolate, social media, or alcohol, but buy a case of toilet paper? Whatever our Lenten practice is, how does panic buying bring us closer to God? I’m not asking about the desire to panic buy, but rather the act itself. The desire is no surprise, the act is where we encounter something deeper. And if we have done the panic buying, how will we proceed with both the material goods and the internal spiritual journey?

My panic buying Continue reading

Even now

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God. -Joel 2:12-13Desert Heart

Even now… what a beginning. Even now… No matter what, even now, return to me. That is pretty clear, isn’t it? God seeks our return now – even now.

We cannot fix ourselves, we cannot be transformed without God and without one another. Even now, it is never too late, return by journeying through the desert. We are to rend our hearts and not our garments, a task that is so much harder. It is easy to rip one’s own garment than it is to open our prickly hearts, yet our prickly hearts with all their flaws is what God wants. God already knows our hearts, so there is nothing to fear.
Let us journey together into the desert with Jesus and see what transpires and transforms.

May your Ash Wednesday and your Lent be blessed. May we journey well together, stumbling through the desert with our desert hearts exposed and ready for healing, even now.