The Fullness of Spirit

Such wisdom in this post…I felt moved to share it. Thank you Bernadette!

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For a few years now I have been feeling something that I could not put my finger on, or explain to myself or anyone else.  Experiencing my mom’s last few days with her, before her death, intensified that mystical feeling within me.  Those days with my mother, truly a blessing, could only be described as overwhelming, intense love; a fullness in the physical space around me, spilling over into the interior of my heart and spirit.

That is the word to describe the feeling…fullness.  Since I have become closer to Jesus, and filled with the Holy Spirit, my being feels more dimensional and “full.”  No matter what is happening in the world, or around me in my personal life, that fullness inside me helps to keep me grounded in The Truth.  It helps me to look past whatever the physical or material reality is, and try to look at things…

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Focus on Love

As we begin our final march toward Calvary, I pray each of you have enjoyed a fruitful Lent. I began reading the Word Among Us earlier in the year. It provides the daily readings and accompanying meditations for U.S. Catholic Mass.

One meditation instructed that we should ‘focus on Jesus on the cross and imagine the LOVE that put Him there.’

As I read this, I realized that I always focus on all the sin that put Him on the cross, and maybe most especially, on my sin that added to His pain and suffering.

It feels entirely different to consider too the love — His love — with which He sacrificed Himself and forgave us.

Meditating on His love builds to my sense of sorrow and penitence, adding an even stronger sense of humility. I found with that humility I experienced a growing desire to allow His love to fill me so full that through His grace it will just spill over and pour out upon all I meet.

Blessings on you and yours this Easter. I pray that your journey brings you closer to Him and His peace.

Reclining at table

Jesus, we’re told, often “reclined at table,” with his disciples and with others. I wonder, do I ever ‘recline’ in the fullness of what this word might mean applied to Christ?

When I imagine Christ reclining, I see Him vulnerable, open, receptive, comfortable, resting. His feet are not under Him bearing the weight of His body, but outstretched. They are not ready to run or prepared to fight, but up and resting.

Similarly, His arms are not flexed and ready for action. He might be lying back on one or the other of them, using it for support.

How much more calm and prepared would our bodies be to receive nourishment, if we could recline, as our Lord did, trusting, relaxed, at peace, not only in our surroundings, but in our humanity.

Pray we are able to recline in peace knowing that our sins have been recognized and forgiven; our souls washed clean by His Blood.

Reclining at table

Jesus, we’re told, often “reclined at table,” with his disciples and with others. I wonder, do I ever ‘recline’ in the fullness of what this word might mean applied to Christ?

When I imagine Christ reclining, I see Him vulnerable, open, receptive, comfortable, resting. His feet are not under Him bearing the weight of His body, but outstretched. They are not ready to run or prepared to fight, but up and resting.

Similarly, His arms are not flexed and ready for action. He might be lying back on one or the other of them, using it for support.

How much more calm and prepared would our bodies be to receive nourishment, if we could recline, as our Lord did, trusting, relaxed, at peace, not only in our surroundings, but in our humanity.

Pray we are able to recline in peace knowing that our sins have been recognized and forgiven; our souls washed clean by His Blood.

What you have to offer others is enough

Do you ever hold back from giving or including others because you feel what you have to offer is not enough, not nice enough?

Here’s how Fr. James Martin, SJ suggested we view this common insecurity it in his excellent book, Jesus: A Pilgrimage.

All we need to do is bring what little we have, generously and unashamedly. At Tabgha, the disciples seemed embarrassed that there was not enough for the crowd and were about to send everyone away hungry. But Jesus knew that whatever there is, God can make more of it. But first we are asked to offer our loaves and fishes, no matter how inadequate they may seem. Only then can God accomplish the kind of true miracle that occurred at Tabgha.

 

 

Focus on love

I pray this finds each of you enjoying a happy and fruitful Lent. I have begun to read the Word Among Us, which  provides the daily readings and accompanying meditation for U.S. Catholic Mass.

The meditation last Wednesday (February 17, 2016) instructed that we should ‘focus on Jesus on the cross and imagine the LOVE that put Him there.’

As I read this, I realized that I always focus on all the sin that put Him on the cross, and maybe most especially, on my sin that added to His pain and suffering.

It feels entirely different to consider too the love — His love — with which He sacrificed Himself and forgave us.

Meditating on His love adds to my sense of sorrow and penitence an even stronger sense of humility. I found with that humility I experienced a growing desire to allow His love to fill me so full that through His grace it will just spill over and pour out upon all I meet.

Blessings on you and yours this Lent. I pray that your journey brings you closer to Him and His peace.

Think small

We’ve been told throughout my life. Think big. Live your dreams. We taught our children to ‘follow their passions.’

On this day I don’t want to disparage those sentiments (although they may, in the end, be at the root of much of our current malaise), but to reflect on an almost opposite perspective that has been drawing me increasingly to its position.

Instead of big thoughts, think small. Focus your energies. Narrow your perspective. Revel in each moment.

What is this moment like? Peaceful. Contemplative. Filled with promise and potential. Healthy. Strong. Welcoming this day and recognizing that it is already blessed; a gift from a loving God.

Already my small, narrowly focused thoughts have enlarged my perspective and my sense of purpose.

Think small. I’ve just prepared the mushroom soup for our traditional green bean casserole. Our daughter made sweet potato cheesecake last night. Our family will be with us today. We’ll enjoy an unusually full meal and watch football together. Simple, joyful, fulfilling and fulfilled acts of love and happiness.

Give thanks. Just outside this moment, just outside this place, there may be heartache, peril, physical or emotional threat. But right in this moment I am filled with joy. In this moment I can feel His presence around and within me. In this moment there is certainty that I am fully protected in His loving care. And if now, then so too tomorrow and the day after and one after that…all in God’s time.

Relocating our spiritual center

When Joseph and Mary finally found Jesus in the Temple, how relieved and filled with joy they must have been. Losing my child in the midst of a crowd was always a great fear for me, when I would take our daughter anywhere. I can only imagine the emptiness and anxiety and dread that any parent must feel in such a situation.

Similar, too, I believe might be the anxiety and the helplessness we feel, when we lose sight of Christ in our own lives…when we lose our way, or when we feel as though we have. This story of Mary and Joseph retracing their steps to Jerusalem to find their lost son provides a guide for us during these times when He seems lost to us.

When we lose sight of our spiritual center, we too need to retrace our steps. Jesus asked Mary, when she finally found Him in the Temple, “But why did you need to search? Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?”

When we are searching for the Jesus, the Word Incarnate, I need to remember that He is close at hand. I need in these times to return to my intentional reading of The Word, my Bible. He’s there, just waiting for me, as He goes about Our Father’s business.

Abiding with our children

When our children – no matter their ages – are in pain, we feel all of it and more. Their hurt, their helplessness, their humiliation, their soul searching all become ours, along with a sense of guilt and remorse. What could I have done better to shield them from, prepare them for this struggle? What can I do now to help them carry this burden? What should I do?

As our children grow into their adulthood, while we parents grow increasingly comfortable in our nearing retirement, money and things are often the easy way to avert a current crisis. Money, though, is often not what is needed most. More difficult, is arriving at that time in our children’s lives, when we find that their burden — their cross — is something heavier, which they have to bear, as we stand by — with little ability to exercise any control or influence — and watch.

As I was praying the Rosary this morning, we were meditating on the Sorrowful Mysteries. They all seemed to pertain to my current concern for our daughter. The 4th mystery in which Jesus is carrying His cross made this lesson particularly vivid.

We know that Jesus’s mother, Mary, was nearby, as He carried His cross to Calvary. She was likely moving with Him along His path feeling each step of Jesus’s way as an arrow piercing her heart. Yet, she could do little more than watch and mourn for Him and His pain. She was helpless to do more than to be there at the last to receive Him in His brokenness and wait for our Father’s work to be completed in Him…for His resurrection into new life.

Gratitude

Prayer Corner3 PC Crucifix

I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude yesterday, as I first knelt at church in preparation for our weekly Mass — that place our Lord has made for us to gather together to worship Him.

Our church is a magnificent structure; the oldest in our town. You can almost feel the history of love and reverence that has blessed the place.

My gratitude quickly extended to the place in a small corner of our spare bedroom, which we have recently dedicated to prayer and time with our Lord. It’s a place where my husband and I can now go anytime and enter into silence and solitude with our Lord in prayer.

I had no idea at the outset that I was planning something special. I bought a room divider off the web that I’d seen and liked. Later, I saw an old mirrored window and thought it would fit in somewhere for something. Over a period of months the vision of fashioning a private space in a little 4′ x 6′ corner of an oddly shaped spare room in our home began to take a fuzzy form.

My husband one day shared with me that he was often moved to want to kneel to pray, but had not felt there to be an appropriate place to do that in our home. At once, the fuzziness of my thinking about this little corner began to take form.

I began to search for a kneeling rail we could afford. When I finally learned the correct name for them – prie dieu – I found just the right one. It is an old, used (the more used, the more loved, I like to believe), silvered Art Deco vintage kneeler. It can even be expanded to accommodate two people at prayer together, if we want to at some point.

After finding a little shelf and learning how to hang the relatively heavy mirror/window on to wallboard, all we needed was a standing crucifix to complete our little prayer corner. We traveled to several antique shops, Catholic gift shops, and to various websites over the next several weeks. There were lots of possibilities, but none that seemed just right.

One day, I finally I logged onto Ebay and there it was – the perfectly sized, most beautiful standing crucifix I may have ever seen. It is bronze (I think) and blue from age. It had apparently been buried for some unknown time somewhere in Hawaii and there it was, just waiting for me to claim it for our special place.

I had no real appreciation at the outset of this project for how special the time would be that I would spend in this space or the gratitude I would feel, knowing how He guided each step of my way to its creation. Now, I look forward each morning to beginning my day here with our Lord.

Like our old magnificent church down the street, this special place is filling up with love and reverence.