Action required

27913280_10213826914360740_4929589845878718805_oIt seems that Lent, my schedule, current events, and such have not contributed to good blogging. I saw this graphic on Facebook, posted by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondolet and it struck me.

27858651_1644153752342396_207629616003888568_nThoughts and prayers are fine, but as St. James reminds us “faith without works is dead.” We must ask God to change our hearts and then respond to God’s urging. Our anger, our outrage, our sadness and tears all must be transformed – along with our hearts – into action. Doing otherwise is no longer an option.

How is it that in this so-called civilized nation, in which so many people fancy themselves as Christian cannot feed, clothe, and house its poor, especially children? Apparently it is OK to strip people with disabilities of their rights now. How is it that we can not find humane solutions for Dreamers? Not to mention other immigrants, many who were legal who are being systematically dispatched to countries they really do not know at all. Why, why, why have we seen so many shootings, so often in schools? Along with that, if now is not the acceptable time to speak about shootings, when would that time be? If we can speak of walls and travel bans at the drop of a Mexican or Muslim hat, so to speak, why can’t we speak about the shootings? Who will the wall protect when so much terror and death come from the inside?

27798214_10159957632880207_6445639966539676638_oThoughts and prayers mean nothing without action. Here is a list of actions to consider. We can’t all do them all, pick one or two and stick with them.

  1. Make a regular practice of calling your elected officials at every level.
  2. Make a regular practice of learning your reps voting history – quote from it when calling their office. Staff members who answer are typically willing to listen.
  3. Support through donations and actions, candidates who support causes that align with your own. Political campaign work can be so hard, but it is necessary and worth it.
  4. Make sure your local party is finding and putting forth new candidates for office.
  5. Take a stand – do not be afraid to share your opinion. Do take the time to understand what you believe and why.

Otherwise we are left with empty thoughts and prayers, We can do more. We will do more.

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Looking at Lent, continuing the Camino

First Yellow Arrow St Jean.jpgLent begins this week. Each year many of us make an effort to begin Lent and to stick with whatever we have chosen to give up or take on.

Perhaps last year was too close to the completion of my Camino for me to see this as clearly, but this year I am profoundly aware of the magnetic pull of my Camino as I pray about entering Lent. The two journeys parallel paths are ever closer together, one journey completed, another about to begin. That Camino and Lent are related is not unusual; what is different is how I am experiencing it this year. It is more of an invitation or call, it is less of an idea. It is from deep within, thus so much harder to ignore.

All is know as I prepare to depart is this… my expectations for what will happen and what will happen are likely to be markedly different. This year, may I surrender ever more easily to where theflechas amarillas (or yellow arrow way markers of camino) lead me to, rather than my own dogged persistence about where I “think” or “feel” I should go. Head and heart are required during any spiritual sojourn, but trusting God to lead is the challenge.

How do you imagine your Lenten journey as it approaches?

Endless mercy

EDIT CalzadillaThe day we walked to #calzadilladeloshermanillos was one of the toughest in #spain🇪🇸 The #challenge of walking the #meseta got me, more mentally than physically. The #caminodesantiago was no game. God have mercy, I cried! How #bleak things seemed. Today’s 1st reading from #daniel expresses my #prayer that day, & my prayer today. The #gospel from #matthew reminds us however that the #mercy of #god is present. There is a price… we are to offer our mercy to others, full stop. There’s the toughest #camino challenge- how to do this. The road may seem barren, bleak, endless, but is not. Refreshment is ours when we open ourselves to receive the #love of #christ and then lavish it upon others. Especially to those who are the hardest to #forgive . Do that however and the #fountains of mercy that #jesus offers flow perpetually. #lessons of #lent

(This is a copy of today’s version of my daily Instagram posts of Lent.  I’m enjoying doing this, and I’m grateful for the good feedback that I have received. Today please be merciful to someone you would prefer not to show mercy to. This is what is asked from us, and it is so challenging to respond to God in this way.)

Personal desert

EDIT Somewhere between Logrono and Najera Sep 2016I’m enjoying being off of Facebook for Lent, and spending my time on Instagram with one post per day; a photo and a mini-reflection. You will have to head over to my Instagram feed, or to my Facebook page (where my Instagram auto posts) to read my reflection for today. Essentially, I am thinking about Jesus instructing us to love our enemies.

Hardest. Thing. Ever.

I’ll gladly take a long walk with a heavy cross on my back than to do this. Yet, I try to constantly push myself to do so. I suck at it, by the way. Big time.

It occurs to me that part of the problem is my own lack of willingness to look at the enemy within. Of course I am well aware of that enemy, but my inner looking often results in things like my own defensiveness about myself, my shame, and my superhuman strength at avoiding and denial. I’m great at that stuff. Big time.

All of this is an invitation to me, a good deal of which is more clear this Lent because I am spending less time “talking” via Facebook. Painful is my awareness this Lent that the driest and most arid desert is often found deep within my own heart. Thus, the gifts of death and new life are made clear, but only if I am willing to keep going.

What does your inner search Please be assured of my prayers as we ply our way through deserts of our own making. God offers us so much more, but even for those of us who say we will follow, do we really?

Who is poor?

jerrash-jordan-ruins

Roman ruins, Jerrash, Jordan  2006

Today’s readings address holiness and poverty. My daily post is up over on Instagram and Facebook. Here is a snippet… And why this image? You’ll have to read the post to learn that, but it is connected. Who is poor? Maybe the person without money is not the most impoverished; a soul without light is a tragedy. All the money and power in the world cannot change that fact, can it?

Monday, 1st week of #lent . Today’s reading address #holiness &doinpagesg right to those in need. #jesus has strong words in #matthew25 . Two thoughts… why do we think being #holy is something we “do?” It’s not task oriented, but perhaps more to do with how we are in #community ?

Hope you will read the rest at one of my other pages, and offer your own commentary either here or there!

Bread line, Lent 1 short

bread-spain-bw

Seen in Spain, during Camino.

“I gotta put bread on the table!” How often has that line, or something like it been used to justify doing things? Doing things that go against what we know is right. Whether it is not honoring the Sabbath, completing a work assignment that has moral implications, missing time spent with family or loved one… you fill in the blank. We’ve all done it. We all do it.

Today’s Gospel is from Matthew show us Jesus is in the desert being tempted. It has to be hot, challenging, and lonely. He must be exhausted, hungry and thirsty. It would be easy to give in, it would be reasonable even. Right?

But is anything about a life of faith, a life following Christ, ever reasonable in the material sense? Think about that and you have your answer. This does not mean some intense over-scrupulosity that turns self-induced sacrifice into some kind of holy-making exercise. Instead, we are asked to keep God first in our sights and choose accordingly. It means trusting God when the last shred is about to tear away. It is that simple, which indeed that difficult. And it does not always work out in the way we wish for. There’s the rub.

How often do we do what we should not? What else can we do…  we don’t want to end up on the breadline, do we?

(I’m off of social media for Lent. What I am doing is posting a photo a day on Instagram, with a short reflection. Each one posts to Facebook automatically. If you are on Instagram, check it out.)

Mixed messages

pietro_di_giovanni_dambrogio__entry_into_jerusalem__1435-40__pinacoteca_stuard_parmaPalm Sunday is here and once again we hear the familiar story of The Passion retold; we will hear it again on Friday. Today we also hear of Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, with cries of “Hosanna! Hosanna!” It won’t be long Continue reading