Curiosity and contempt

Camino Edith Wharton QuoteIt has been a little while since I have blogged. I’ve been either too tired, too busy, or too uninspired.  Anyway, I was reminded of this quotation from Edith Wharton today, always a favorite one of mine, so I made a meme out of it.  That got me thinking about how often my own desire and willingness to live as Wharton’s words suggest.

With the reminder that when I write, I’m talking to myself allow me to begin. Right up front we are reminded that being unafraid of change is step one.  Change?! Unafraid of change?! Oh sure, many of us will say we are fine with it… that’s generally the case as long as it is a change of our own choosing. Any change that chooses us? Not quite so easy to like that kind of change. That goes for change that comes forth as challenge in both large ways and small, as well as the less obvious invitations to grow. You know, like the promptings of the Holy Spirit? Those kinds of changes… are they so welcomed? Not always.

Having said all of that, I have long believed the words of a little wallet card that came into my possession in the mid-90’s. It read said, “Change always comes bearing gifts.” The moment I read those words, I immediately hated them. Yet, something in them caught my attention, the slightest little tug Continue reading

#Why not? A New Year’s reflection

obesitysoappg-verticalWhile watching TV (something I hope to do less of in 2015) I have observed the content of advertising shift from “if-you-love-fill-in-the-blank-you-will-buy-them-a-Lexus-or-a-colored-diamond” mode, straight into “diet-quit-smoking-make-smoothies-join-the-gym-and-exercise” mode. Who needs clocks, calendars, or personal coaches when we have this cacophony of commercials?!

Sharon Osborne tells me that I can be on the You Know What Diet, famous for its no-carb content, and still eat “greek yohgurt” (I love how British people say yogurt, OK?!), bread, and even candy – and STILL lose weight. Oh how I feel the intoxicating pull of desire. “Hmmmm, will this work?” Then I snap back to reality, imagining all the money I’ve thrown down the drain over the years, falling for such quick fixes.

new-year-resolutionAs I bemoaned this flurry of ads to my husband Mark, he simply said, “new year’s resolutions.”  And I said – how true.

Resolutions Continue reading

Unexpected and unwanted gifts

price-pritchett-quoteMy time on retreat touched my heart so deeply. Here I am, days later, and I continue to experience many riches from those 2 days. I feel more convinced than ever that if we all had some quiet time, disconnect time, be with God and nature time, we might find a better way. Some of us live with the sin of being too busy to find such peace – and most of the time this sin is not intentional, but it remains a sin.  Or I think about those who live with the consequences of low-paid labor,  or no work – who cannot find any better way.

I keep thinking of what I read in Bishop’s Ed Scharfenberger’s column in last Thursday’s Evangelist. He said:

Are you ready for a change? Is it time to let go of that habit, that attitude, that relationship that is causing so much unhappiness and frustration? Jesus stands waiting, knocking gently at our door. All He needs from us is a heart open to His outstretched hand.

Are we ready for change? If not, peace will not come – nor much else. If we think about this one day we must just take the leap of change. It sounds so promising – and awful, too. AT least to me! Here is the gift and virtue of community, I can ask for your help, you can ask for mine, and we can all ask God to help us. That may be Continue reading

Is Refusal to Grow A Sin? Thoughts on the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time January 16, 2011

While the Christmas season is behind us and the Lenten season is weeks and weeks away, thanks to the way the calendar goes this year, we are in Ordinary Time for awhile. I always think that there is nothing ordinary about it!

The title of this post asks the question – it is a sin to refuse to change or grow? St. Gregory of Nyssa did refer to it this way: sin as “the refusal to keep growing.”

In any event, today we encounter three readings that offer us some direction about who God is and who we are as well. It is important to consider that both elements are essential to living our faith. We spend a lot of time in general figuring out who God is but who we are and how we are holy matters. It matters a lot!

The first reading from Isaiah reminds us that not only is Isaiah prophesying Jesus but reminding us all that we are to be a light to the nations. Yes – we. You and me, us – the whole lot of humanity, if we but respond.

The responsorial psalm points us to what is required for all of this to happen, “here I am Lord, I come to do your will.” Oh that is easier said than done!

And then St. Paul in the beginning of his first letter to the Corinthians. What does Paul say? The Corinthians then – and us today – are to be holy. Holy is often thought of as pious, but what about holy as growing in Christ? What about holy as people becoming more and more who God loved into being?

John addresses us in the Gospel by reminding us how he recognized God in his midst in the person of Jesus. In some way John had to realize that Jesus was “the Lamb of God.” And he did so. It makes me wonder if I would be so open-eyed and open-minded to see God in my midst?

You see, recognizing God as God also requires some recognition of ourselves as the light. We are each the light of the nations. I was talking to someone yesterday about how this reminds me of many little candlelights coming together as one large bright vision. That would be something we would see at the Eater Vigil.

Seeing ourselves and each other as elements of God is hard, but it is true and it is who and what we are called to.

Which leads me at last back to St. Gregory of Nyssa and his words… If we refuse to keep growing, how can we grow closer to God and to one another? How can we be a light to the nations? If Isaiah, if St. Paul and if St. John all refused to grow, I guess we would not be having this conversation today, would we?

I don’t know but I do know how often I resist change and growth. And I do know that today I am invited into it anew, as I am each day by Christ our Lord.

What Do These Videos Have in Common? An Advent Rant of Sorts.

Typically I am busy writing about all things spiritual, especially at this time of year. However, due to over-busy-ness, not feeling well and assorted other things, I am just not posting as much. It is hard to step back but I am learning something about my limits. This is a good thing, but a challenge.

Today I found these two videos. Well, I watched one of them the other day. At first glance, they do not seem related at all. One is haunting and the other is funny. However, I think that both are actually haunting in the end.

The first video is from Bjork and called Prayer of the Heart.

I found it on the Facebook page of Janine Economides, who blogs at Daily Exegesis. Janine says that this is in Greek, Coptic and English. I could work out the Greek and of course the English, glad to know about the Coptic. I am reminded of the unity in diversity that is at the heart of the Trinity.

Somehow, for me today, crying out “O Adonai!” and crying out “God have mercy” are the sounds of my longing. The light is coming as we end this 3rd week of Advent and head into the final week. Come Lord Jesus, please and have mercy upon me.

This other video switches gears – a pretty Jesus-y thing if you ask me. It was on Facebook and elsewhere last week.  Lindy on Facebook and Brother Dan at Dating God, among others, posted it. Jesus was always turning things on their end and using what he had at hand to do so. It is from Stephen Colbert and I have to tell you, initially the title of it had turned me off a bit. This is why being judgmental is a problem – what might we keep out?

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jesus Is a Liberal Democrat
www.colbertnation.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:368914
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog March to Keep Fear Alive

You see, I really truly find it loathsome when Jesus is identified with any political party. Momentarily I forgot the irony factor, I guess and did not watch the video. Well that and I was busy. In any case, Colbert is not saying that Jesus is truly a liberal Dem, but he says some really important things. These things are also a prayer of the heart.

Stephen Colbert appears to know more theology than most people. He, ever in the role of court jester,  sharing challenging truth through humor, says so many things in this piece. I think he makes his point well.

Of course it feels good to people both on the left and on the right to claim Jesus for their camp. However, even just a little analysis shows the flaws in that; Jesus was not here to mediate politics but rather to redeem humanity. Which he did, politics aside. He catered not to the Romans or to the established religious hierarchy of his time.

That said, Jesus was very clear about the essence of unqualified and unconditional love and charity and that does sort of trump all other matters. And it would make him more like a Democ… well, you know.

I read a quote the other day, from John Kenneth Galbraith, who said, “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” 

Isn’t that what we all try to do? Get busy on the proof?

However, what are we called to do is change. Whoever we are, whatever our stand. Christianity, change, transformation. What proof?

The act of change in and of itself is the proof. That might be why so few of us are capable of it. I know I have a record of epic (to use a word my stepdaughter coined) fail-ization.

That is the prayer of the heart, to cry out to God for mercy. That is the point of giving without limit. To change.

It is that simple.

Change. Transformation. Hope.

Be born in us this coming season. Please. Again and again and again.