Thursday, January 29, 2009

Healing our Memories

Forgiving does not mean forgetting. When we forgive a person, the memory of the wound might stay with us for a long time, even throughout our lives. Sometimes we carry the memory in our bodies as a visible sign. But forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. When we forgive our parents for their divorce, our children for their lack of attention, our friends for their unfaithfulness in crisis, our doctors for their ill advice, we no longer have to experience ourselves as the victims of events we had no control over.

Forgiveness allows us to claim our own power and not let these events destroy us; it enables them to become events that deepen the wisdom of our hearts. Forgiveness indeed heals memories.

Henri Nouwen

Open Hearts

It takes courage and great faith to have an "open" heart. This life gives us much joy, love and light, but it also shows us a fair amount of pain, sadness and suffering. When our hearts are open, we take everything into ourselves and are deeply affected by what we see and do. We don't hold ourselves separate from the pain of others. In addition, our own personal disappointments may begin to take their toll. At times we may feel small, alone and overwhelmed and that we are not up to the task of living with open hearts. We may react by closing down, little by little, so we can get through the day without feeling too much.

To open our hearts to another person's suffering is a revolutionary act. The desire to feel what they feel and help them along the path is not without cost. Jesus gives us the example. When He opened His heart to all...freely and willingly giving of Himself until there was nothing left. May He give us the strength to follow His example.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sanctity of Human Life

I'm a day late posting this...

National Sanctity of Human Life Day, 2009
A Proclamation by the President of the United States of America

en EspaƱol

All human life is a gift from our Creator that is sacred, unique, and worthy of protection. On National Sanctity of Human Life Day, our country recognizes that each person, including every person waiting to be born, has a special place and purpose in this world. We also underscore our dedication to heeding this message of conscience by speaking up for the weak and voiceless among us.

The most basic duty of government is to protect the life of the innocent. My Administration has been committed to building a culture of life by vigorously promoting adoption and parental notification laws, opposing Federal funding for abortions overseas, encouraging teen abstinence, and funding crisis pregnancy programs. In 2002, I was honored to sign into law the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which extends legal protection to children who survive an abortion attempt. I signed legislation in 2003 to ban the cruel practice of partial-birth abortion, and that law represents our commitment to building a culture of life in America. Also, I was proud to sign the Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2004, which allows authorities to charge a person who causes death or injury to a child in the womb with a separate offense in addition to any charges relating to the mother.

America is a caring Nation, and our values should guide us as we harness the gifts of science. In our zeal for new treatments and cures, we must never abandon our fundamental morals. We can achieve the great breakthroughs we all seek with reverence for the gift of life.

The sanctity of life is written in the hearts of all men and women. On this day and throughout the year, we aspire to build a society in which every child is welcome in life and protected in law. We also encourage more of our fellow Americans to join our just and noble cause. History tells us that with a cause rooted in our deepest principles and appealing to the best instincts of our citizens, we will prevail.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim January 18, 2009, as National Sanctity of Human Life Day. I call upon all Americans to recognize this day with appropriate ceremonies and to underscore our commitment to respecting and protecting the life and dignity of every human being.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.



Have you ever noticed that our minds are always active? We analyze, reflect, daydream or dream. There is not a moment during day or night when we aren't thinking. You might say our thinking is "unceasing". Don't know about you but sometimes I wish I could stop thinking for a while; I believe it would save me from many hours of worry, guilt and fear.

The ability to think and reason are our greatest gifts but often time they're also the source of our greatest pain. Do we have to remain victims of our unceasing thoughts? How different would life be if we change them to unceasing prayer? If we were to take our inner dialogue and change it into a continuing dialogue with God...

God dwells in the center of our beings and wants to listen with love to all that occupies and preoccupies our minds. If we but make the effort to turn to Him.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Living with Hope

Optimism and hope are radically different attitudes. Optimism is the expectation that things-the weather, human relationships, the economy, the political situation, and so on-will get better. Hope is the trust that God will fulfill God's promises to us in a way that leads us to true freedom. The optimist speaks about concrete changes in the future. The person of hope lives in the moment with the knowledge and trust that all of life is in good hands.

All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let's live with hope.

Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life apart

I have always marvelled at those who leave the world as we know it and live their life in solitude. Whether it be a monk or nun in a convent or an anchorite living alone. We can all learn from their example of faith.

Take a few minutes and watch...listen to the wisdom!

I read The Anchoress Online often, she found this first...

Monday, January 12, 2009


All sounds, from a whisper to a classical symphony, arise out of silence and disappear into silence. But silence is always there beneath sound and is the space where sound exists. We tend to think of silence as the absence of sound, but silence has its own weight and quality. When you listen to silence, you can feel its depth and power. Taking time to "be silent" calms the mind and can rejuvenate the body. If we stop to experience silence, we hear the many sounds we often ignore...the sounds of everyday life.

Time spent in silence can also be time spent with God. If we focus on not moving or speaking, on blocking out all the everyday sounds, it allows our mind and heart to open to experience our Creator. Given time, we may be able to hear "the still, small voice of God". He is ready to meet you in the silence, are you ready to go there?


It's January and I'm struggling...not because of New Year's resolutions that I've already broken but with a discomfort in the certain areas of my life. I've got a full plate (between home, husband, caring for a small child, full time job, part time job) but then again, so do most people. I don't want to rob those I love and who are closest to me of time spent together but how do we give them the time we and they need while still accomplishing goals?

I work with the youth of our church (part time) and love that I have the opportunity. Is it hectic and frustrating at times? Yes, but in the end it is well worth it! Do you struggle with putting enough of yourself in doing the things that you love? While I prepare for meetings, I pull much of what I teach from other resources without taking the time to make them my own. You may have noticed that many times I pull from others for postings on this blog. While that is not essentially a bad thing, shouldn't most things we do come from our heart? Can they do so if we don't spend enough time with them to get our heads all the way around the concepts and create our own vision?

This is a rambling post, just looking for feedback...

Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Training of Braves

The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves. On the night of a boy's thirteenth birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path. Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.

Sometimes it may feel like God is far away from us in a cold, dark world. We may feel that danger surrounds us and we are utterly helpless...not true! He is as close as a whisper...if it feels like God is far away, He hasn't moved, you have. He is ever ready to help, guide and protect us.

Growing beyond Self-Rejection

One of the greatest dangers in the spiritual life is self-rejection. When we say, "If people really knew me, they wouldn't love me," we choose the road toward darkness. Often we are made to believe that self-deprecation is a virtue, called humility. But humility is in reality the opposite of self-deprecation. It is the grateful recognition that we are precious in God's eyes and that all we are is pure gift. To grow beyond self-rejection we must have the courage to listen to the voice calling us God's beloved sons and daughters, and the determination always to live our lives according to this truth. Henri Nouwen

Thursday, January 8, 2009


John 11:35 "Jesus wept."

This is the shortest verse in the Bible and it tells us much more than you might think at first. It shows that when Jesus became a man and came to redeem us from our sins, He poured out His power and became a shell of what he really was. Jesus felt the same emotions, faced the same temptations and had the same kind of problems that we do. He knows how difficult it is sometimes to maintain self-control.

Jesus came to earth as the ultimate sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven. Even if we get angry and lose control, Jesus forgives and forgets. If you think about it, you realize that this is the kindest thing anyone can do for another. Always remember to forgive just as Jesus has forgiven you and recognize when you should apologize and ask others to forgive you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Today is the traditional date for Epiphany. J.B.S. Haldan once said: "The world will not perish for want of wonders, but for want of wonder."

On January 6th, we remember that the Wise Men stepped forth with wonder. They didn't know where the journey would lead nor how long it would take. Tradition tells us they felt the star foretold an important event. It's obvious they felt something wonderful would be at the end, otherwise, why take such expensive gifts? But even they, wise as they were, could not have known Who they would see.

Webster defines epiphany as an "illuminating discovery." The Magi followed the illumination of the star to behold the "Light of the world", the Christ. I would pray that we all feel the wonder of the journey that leads to a deeper relationship with Christ and that we have the courage to take the first step.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Something to remember...

Faithful Christians will be persecuted. There are no two ways about it...if we're not offending some people, we're likely not loving people as Christ would love them. This does not mean to antagonize others just because you can. It means to stand firm in your faith, be steadfast in your calling and have the courage to live your convictions. We have an example to follow and even though we will always fall short of His standard, it is not an excuse to be anything other than what we are called to be...the children of God and the brothers and sisters of Christ.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Vulnerable, Like a Bird

Life is precious. Not because it is unchangeable, like a diamond, but because it is vulnerable, like a little bird. To love life means to love its vulnerability, asking for care, attention, guidance, and support. Life and death are connected by vulnerability. The newborn child and the dying elder both remind us of the preciousness of our lives. Let's not forget the preciousness and vulnerability of life during the times we are powerful, successful, and popular.

A meditation by Henri Nouwen

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Sometimes it's really hard to be happy. From time to time bad things do happen to us and to those we love. Often we don't understand why and in those times the only thing we can lean on are the promises of God. Many would say that this sounds cliche but that's a word that should never be associated with truth.

Somehow, some way, God will come through. Our sorrow and our mourning will be turned to gladness...How? However God is His hand that turns bad things into good, water into wine, tragedy into triumph. The promise is there. Accept it, receive it, believe it and Rejoice!!!