Monday, August 3, 2020
I am still frustrated with the Update for this blog. I may even be thinking of taking a vacation. In the meantime, I find myself going back to the readings of the Sunday Mass yesterday. God loves us so much and tells us to come to the water and drink, come and eat, and do not worry because He loves each of us unconditionally.
Sunday, August 2, 2020
Jesus feeds the crowd who have been with him all day.
To look first at the Collect, we ask, "Draw near to your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, for those who glory in you as their Creator
and guide, you may restore what you have created and keep safe what you have restored...."
The first reading is from Isaiah 55: 1-3 "Thus says the Lord, All you who are thirsty, come to the water!
....Come to me heedfully, listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant."
Saturday, August 1, 2020
I want to share some thoughts from the Book of Joy before I return it to our spiritual library. I like the idea that our joy is enhanced when we make someone else happy. Archbishop Tutti reminds us that "it is in giving that we receive...It is when we grow in a self-forgetfulness--in a remarkable way I mean we discover that we are filled with joy."
"When we practice a generosity of spirit, we are in many ways practicing all the other pillars of joy. In generosity, there is a wider perspective in which we see our connections to all the others. There is a humility that recognizes our place in the world and acknowledges that at another time we could be the one in need, whether that need is material, emotional, or spiritual. There is a sense of humor and an ability to laugh at ourselves so that we do not take ourselves too seriously. There is an acceptance of life, in which we do not force life to be other than what it is. There is a forgiveness of others and a release of what might otherwise have been. There is a gratitude for all that we have been given. Finally, we see others with a deep compassion and a desire to help those who are in need. And from this comes a generosity that is 'wise selfish,' a generosity that recognizes helping others as helping ourselves. As the Dalai Lama put it, 'In fact, taking care of others, helping others, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life.'"
(The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World, Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams, p.275)
Friday, July 31, 2020
Today I am sharing a few of Ignatian Prayer Practices just to remind us of what treasures we have from Ignatian Spirituality. This brief overview of Ignatian prayer practices is from The Inner Chapel by Becky Eldredge:
Reviewing prayer and experience - to better understand God's work in our lives
The Examen - helps us to pray our life
Praying with Scripture - Lectio Divina and Imaginative Prayer Contemplation
The Colloquy - intimate conversations with Mary, Jesus, God...
Principles of Discernment - to know and respond to God's invitations
Thursday, July 30, 2020
Wednesday, July 29, 2020
I was given a wonderful gift of a gratitude box! It is a white wooden box with a decorated top that says "Gratitude Box" and inside the lid in gold is "Gratitude unlocks the beauty of your life". Then there are these lovely cards that say at the top: "Today I am thankful for..." Now isn't that a perfect gift to keep me full of joy during this time of so much illness and death?
I am not yet sure how I will use my gratitude box, but love the idea of writing the one thing that I am most thankful for each day. It will be hard to decide as I often have a whole list in my daily journal. I suggest everyone needs to keep a gratitude box!
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
I want to go back to the idea of mental immunity that the Dalai Lama spoke about in the Book of Joy. "Mental immunity is just learning to avoid the destructive emotions and to develop the positive ones." To do that, we need to understand that we all have different states of mind as we go through our day: some of our thoughts and emotions are healthy and healing; others are harmful. Mental immunity helps us create a healthy disposition of mind so that it will be less susceptible to negative thoughts and feelings. I think that cultivating gratitude is the best way for me to both seek mental immunity and to experience joy.
Monday, July 27, 2020
I believe I have mentioned that I am now using Becky Eldredge's The Inner Chapel: Embracing the Promises of God for prayer or at least I read a bit each day. I am finding it helpful. Becky is a spiritual director steeped in Ignatian spirituality. It is an easy book to use and I think it would be helpful to all. I love the idea of going into our inner chapel each day and Becky has some great reflection questions and some of my favorite passages of scripture suggested for further prayer. The book was published by Loyola Press, 2020.
I had a great thought from our prayer this morning. It comes from the Jesuit meditation that we have been using since we do not have Mass.
"We are in relationship. God's love flows only from the love that we receive from God first. And then only can it flow to everyone we encounter. It cannot be contained."
Before that we heard that the challenge of a loving relationship is to allow yourself to be loved.
Sunday, July 26, 2020
Today's Liturgy has a great deal to pray over. I shall begin by saying that in the Collect we ask God to bestow His mercy on us in abundance. We also ask that with His guidance, we may "use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast..." I guess we all need God to bestow His mercy on us at this time when the entire world is in such need of prayer.
In the second reading, Paul tells us that "all things work for good for those who love God..."
In the Gospel, Matthew13:44-52) Jesus tells His disciples that the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, "which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. when he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it...."
Saturday, July 25, 2020
Here we go again. I am still trying to write under this picture. Today is my niece's birthday! She is still, as head of St. Vincent del Paul, feeding about 150 each day and sheltering more at night to keep them off the streets in Oakland. My brother-in-law is also celebrating a birthday this week end in Scottsdale.
St. James was the brother of John, the sons of Zebedee who left their boats and the miraculous catch of fish to follow Jesus. James, John, and Peter are the three friends that Jesus would both take up the mountain to pray with Him and witness His Transfiguration and also these three were invited to pray with Jesus when He was in the garden in agony before being betrayed and taken away; then all His apostles fled. James, however, later was among the first of the apostles to follow Jesus in death. He was beheaded by Herod.
We are now required to wear masks when together in the house as well as outside. Since I depend on lipreading, I will need to carry my phone with "Live Transcribe" in order to hear. So many are dying in so many places and we are being taken good care of and locked down until, I think, many weeks more.
Friday, July 24, 2020
Today I just offer a scene of beauty. We are living in a time of stress. People are getting sick and many are dying. We are staying home and praying for all. We also need to think beautiful thoughts and be peaceful. While we are sheltering in place, let us build balance into our lives. Let us both pray and play. I am reading, others here are watching television, going to the operas and ballet being shown about five days each week, or maybe just sitting in our patio and playing games on their phones or I-pads. What are you doing to relax?
Thursday, July 23, 2020
I love looking at this picture, even if I cannot write under it.
As you know by now, and picture with water is very helpful for me to enter prayer. Today I am sharing one of the Daily Prayers for an end to Hunger published by "Bread for the World".
"O God, I pray for all those around the world who struggle with hunger and suffer from malnutrition. Grant them strength and courage as they work to create a better life for themselves and their communities. May conflicts cease, crops flourish, and good governance grow. In the name of Jesus, who is the Bread of Life for the world. Amen."