Tuesday, April 30, 2013

More gratitude

(This was written last fall but was lost in the shuffle, it still has something to say)

The people who built our house cut the driveway so it would make a "V". Since there was empty space in the middle, my husband's grandmother asked that a flower bed be made there. Bless her, this flower bed always had the worst dirt on the farm. We've spent years tilling and adding mulch and have gradually managed to make it a great place for flowers. Except, that it sees full sun...all day long. So even though the dirt is in great shape, because of the extreme exposure, we have been limited to marigolds and zinnias and such. 

I do love these flowers as they are colorful, require little tending, and make pretty arrangements. But this year, we wanted something different. So grandson and I planted only sunflowers. We chose different colors (from bright yellow to a beautiful rust) and different heights and the results were truly a testament to God's glory.

Not only were we able to enjoy the different sizes and colors throughout the summer, they also bloomed at different times. As a result of the seeds (and the hummingbird feeder at one end), we've also been blessed with a multitude of birds! I can't tell you how many times I have made my way (with dragging footsteps) to work early in the morning only to behold a newly opened flower or a beautiful bird. Stopping for just a moment to behold them in all their glory has lifted my spirits and changed my attitude more than once. 

The blooms are all sagging now under the weight of hundreds of seeds but even in this stage, they are a wonder to behold. I have no way of knowing how many birds (and now small animals since the seeds are falling to the ground) have benefited from our sunflowers (and hummingbird juice) but I am daily drawn to say a word of thanks to our Father for allowing me a little slice of His beauty!

Monday, April 29, 2013


Psalm 107: 2-3
 2 Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story—
   those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
3 those he gathered from the lands,
   from east and west, from north and south. 

The author of  Psalm 107 remembers what the people of the Exodus—like us—sometimes forgot: that the antidoteto grumbling is gratefulness. Offering thanks to God doesn’t mean ignoring or glossing over the presence of difficultyor suffering around us or within us. But cultivating a practice of gratitude sharpens our ability to perceive the presenceof God in the midst of it. Thankfulness for what God has done for us—out of nothing but His sheer and steadfastlove for us—helps dispose us toward recognizing what God is seeking to do even now, and it opens us to participatein what God is working to bring about in our lives and in the world.

This day, this moment, for what do you give thanks?

Sunday, April 28, 2013


Only Wonder Understands...is an excellent, open, thought provoking blog written by Jay Voorhees (and not just for members of the UM Church). It's well worth visiting from time to time. Today's article talks of our UM Bishops and their need for dialogue in a trusting environment. Although there are no pat answers, I can see the issue and do not envy their position...

In the face of that, I’m not surprised at the call for a private meeting without a press presence. But that need points to the fact that our faith is broken for we fail to acknowledge, recognize and celebrate that power and strength in God’s Kingdom is found in our weakness rather in our strength. While I understand the need for a safe space for open and honest conversation, what a witness it would be for our bishops to acknowledge that they too have not yet reached Christian perfection, that they too struggle with the same issues each one of us struggles with, and that they too often have moments of uncertainty about God’s call for them and for our church. What would it mean for our active bishops to share openly about the elephant in the room — that the world has changed dramatically in a very short time and the experiences of many of our retired bishops have little connection with the realities they face today? Are we really willing to let the bishops say openly what they want to say — that they can see the problem with the future of the church and that problem is us — a church that has equated membership with discipleship and is bearing the fruit of failing to develop disciples for the future.

I’m all about openness and transparency, but we are a part of the equation as well. Openness and transparency is a factor in bringing forth trust, but so is acceptance and grace. Are we really willing to have the grace, gentleness, kindness, acceptance, and the desire for connection to allow our bishops to say what’s on their mind?

Apparently, given their decision, they think not.

It is hard for our leaders because, as Jay mentions, so many of us don't want to see them as human with weaknesses just like us. Taking away these weaknesses would be detrimental to us all, for without them they cease to be human. It's not easy situation but it's not impossible either. We (the congregations) must learn to give our leaders a voice...to speak their minds and not respond with anger or hurt. We expect them to hear us without judgement...why can't they expect the same?

Saturday, April 27, 2013


We live in world full of labels...with one to five words, people will presume to tell you everything there is to know about any subject or person.

Most labels are harmful and divisive and do not come from a place of love...especially when they are a knee jerk responses or are used to explain something as complex as a person or a denomination...I mean, after all, you know the:
Church of Christ will tell you...
Evangelicals feel that...
Catholics are...
United Methodists simply will not...
Baptists believe that...

Another way of thinking of it, how many people are there in your world that you will absolutely believe their opinion without question? Without thought? What they tell you, you take it as gospel just because they say so? Believe it as gospel. And yet, we listen to sound bites from news programs, from talk show hosts, from radio programs and claim it as truth. Without question, without research...really? Do you know these people? Do you know their motivations? Do you completely understand their belief system? Does come anywhere close to aligning with yours?

Even better, are your thoughts and opinions so absolute that you will share with someone and expect them to step right in line with you? Is there no room for error in your thinking? Are there no past experiences that color what you believe? I know my thoughts are not. My Youth will tell you that I often preface a teaching with..."This is what I believe. I expect you to take the time, at some point in your life, to decide what YOU believe."

Shouldn't we try to open our hearts and minds and be willing just to listen? Will you take what you're told and hold it to the prism of what you KNOW to be truth? And even if you feel it's flawed, will you discuss it with others? Study it for it's validity or what it can teach you?

God did not create us using cookie cutters, else wise we would all be just alike and would all agree on every topic. Even the people He created from the dirt, with His own breath were not told exactly how to think or behave. They were complex beings, capable of a range of emotions. And He gave them only one command...don't eat of this tree. And when they did, even then He didn't stop loving them. He certainly changed their environment but He still continued to love. He allowed them and every other person who has come after to learn, grow, stumble, fall, make mistakes, feel remorse, turn back, plead for forgiveness, receive His grace, learn some more.

How can we be so shallow as to think that anything God has had a hand in creating can be described in just a few words?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Writing and balance

In the course of maintaining this blog, I wonder just how much to post...of my own writings that is...

I put an article in our congregational newsletter each week, so those who receive it know my thoughts on many subjects. Because some also read my postings here, I rarely post the same article in both places. But even then, I'm concerned that people may tire of reading what I write.

It's similar to the Youth Group...I love each and every one of them but between a weekly Youth Meeting on Sunday evening and a weekly Bible Study (during the school year) on Wednesday's...I feel they hear me enough. This is why I have tried to NOT teach their Sunday School class. But, things being what they are, I recently returned to the SS room on a weekly basis. Poor children!

Don't get me wrong, God is good and gives me words to say and lessons to teach...I do love what I do. But I truly feel they need to hear from other adults within our congregation. To spend time with, see a different point of view, to learn to laugh with and trust other people who have their interests at heart. But, as that is not to be at this time, I spend more time in prayer. That my words may be fresh, that we not get into some kind of rut, that I don't teach the same way ALL the time, that He will continue to give me the words they need to hear.

I say all this to explain why I link to articles from other writers. Not only so you won't tire of me but also because there are many wonderful writers and thinkers on the internet! Speaking of such, there's one I've been reading for a very long time...She posts under the title The Anchoress Online and a recent post called
"God in the Balance"  really got me to thinking (as she regularly does) about the balance in my own life:

I do not pray my offices anywhere near enough, or regularly enough. As I have said, I am a bad Benedictine. But I will testify that praying the Hours, even just one or two of them, makes a huge difference in the balance of a day; how I wear it, and how it wears me. Heightened senses are tempered, indeed. As with Rabia’s forehead, things become grounded.

Take a few moments and visit her blog if you get the chance, I think you'll find much of what she say to be profound! And if you feel the nudge to do so, lift up the thousands of  busy Youth Workers who wants so desperately to reach young people and show them God's love.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


It is impossible to go through life unscathed. Nor should you want to. By the hurts we accumulate, we measure both our follies and our accomplishments.  Arya, Inheritance

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Church is good for you!

A recent article talks about the insights gathered from an anthropological study of people who attend church. I'm glad to say, I'm not surprised by what she found...

ONE of the most striking scientific discoveries about religion in recent years is that going to church weekly is good for you. Religious attendance — at least, religiosity — boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. It may add as much as two to three years to your life. The reason for this is not entirely clear. 

...Healthy behavior is no doubt another part. Certainly many churchgoers struggle with behaviors they would like to change, but on average, regular church attendees drink less, smoke less, use fewer recreational drugs and are less sexually promiscuous than others. 

Read the entire article here... 

When we are no longer dominated by fear, and have experienced the first love of God, we no longer need to know moment to moment what is going to happen. We can trust that good things will happen if we remain rooted in that love. All true education, formation and healing are ways to let the fruits of love grow and develop to full maturity. All ministry is caring attentiveness to vulnerable lives, and a grateful receiving of the variety of fruits by which they manifest their beauty.   Henri Nouwen

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Ordering our desires....

Desire is often talked about as something we ought to overcome.  Still, being is desiring:  our bodies, our minds, our hearts, and our souls are full of desires.  Some are unruly, turbulent, and very distracting; some make us think deep thoughts and see great visions; some teach us how to love; and some keep us searching for God.   Our desire for God is the desire that should guide all other desires.  Otherwise our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls become one another's enemies and our inner lives become chaotic, leading us to despair and self-destruction.

Spiritual disciplines are not ways to eradicate all our desires but ways to order them so that they can serve one another and together serve God.
Henri Nouwen

Friday, April 19, 2013

Social Media...

One can follow a whole line of "tweets" detailing events as police are trying to aprehend the Boston Marathon suspects...

The best place to follow the news as it unfolded: Twitter. Several reporters as well as residents were sending a stream of updates and pictures live from the scene. Herewith, in chronological order, shorn of all speculation and unconfirmed reports, is a curated selection of tweets that helped piece the story together.

Our prayers go out to all who have been and are being affected by this horrific event. So many are caught up in wondering "why?"...is there truly any valid reason for actions such as these...whatever those involved believe or say?


Tuesday, April 16, 2013


 A Facebook friend posted this article...it wouldn't be a bad idea for all church "regulars" to read it!


Let’s listen in:
“Of course I want to reach lost people,”
… but I’m not going to see us change the music
… but I’m not going to lead a capital campaign to raise the money.
… but I’m not going to park far away.
… but I’m not going to risk stirring things up right now in the church.
… but I’m not going to attend a different service time.
… but I’m not going to start a new church.
… but I’m not going to stand for the pastor dressing casually.
… but I’m not going to give money to launch a new site or relocate.
… but I’m not going to watch someone on a video.
… but I’m not going to let them start playing drums.
… but I’m not going to give up my favorite seat.
… but I’m not going to turn things over to a bunch of 20-somethings.
… but I’m not going to attend on Saturday night.
… but I’m not going to …
You fill in the rest of the blanks.

Are you an insider? 
Read the whole piece and see...

Monday, April 15, 2013

April 15

...one of our favorite days of the year....NOT!

Better / Richer

The world would be better off if people tried to become better. And people would become better if they stopped trying to become better off. For when everybody tries to become better off, nobody is better off. But when everybody tries to become better, everybody is better off.

Everybody would be rich if nobody tried to become richer. And nobody would be poor if everybody tried to be the poorest. And everybody would be what he ought to be if everybody tried to be what he wants the other fellow to be.

 Peter Maurin

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Somewhere I heard a story about Michelangelo pushing a huge piece of rock down a street. A curious neighbor sitting lazily on the porch of his house called to him and inquired why he labored so over an old piece of stone. 

Michelangelo is reported to have answered, "Because there is an angel in that rock that wants to come out." 

Every person has the task of releasing angels by shaping and transfiguring the raw materials that lie about [us].... 

How we do this...is determined by the discovery and the use of our gifts.


Saturday, April 13, 2013



...often leave us feeling drained and confused. And even though we may have no clue as to what prompted the other persons anger, it is extremely hard not to take such attacks personally. 

What we don't often stop to consider is that we may not have "done" or "said" anything to bring on the attack. It may simply be a way for that person redirect their feelings away from themselves. People who are overcome with emotions like hurt or anguish may well lash out at others...as a means of protection (in their eyes) or simply to make themselves feel better. 

Whatever the reason behind the attack, it is difficult  to remain detached. There are some who are able to shield themselves and even feel compassion, but this is not the normal reaction. But, if we cannot hold ourselves in check we may respond in kind with anger and hurt of our own and create a vicious circle or a never ending battle.

Even though it's not easy or even fair to have to bear the brunt of another's anger or pain, we should do all we can to keep it from affecting our response. If we work to keep an open heart, instead of responding negatively we may well be able to help them let go of their defensiveness and yield to our compassion and openness. 

Friday, April 12, 2013


Ok...I feel better now!

Amiable indifference

We all know that person (or persons). Those you would call charming and amiable. They are popular because they give no offense. They cause no problems, speak softly, never step out of line. They work their jobs, pay their taxes, obey the speed limit and raise their children to be just like them. The do not question the “status quo”, they follow their parents faith and are content with all things just as they are. To society, they are the perfect image of a good and peaceful person. Actually, because they care so deeply about doing nothing wrong, they are not necessarily good, they are simply indifferent.

Is this a life we should try to emulate? Is it a life Christ call us to lead?

It is a great mistake to present Christ and Christianity as something charming and popular giving no offense. Jesus was, at times, gentle, meek and mild. But He was also so stiff in his opinions and so inflammatory in his language that he was thrown out of church, stoned, hunted from place to place, and finally gibbeted as a firebrand and a public danger. 

Whatever His peace was, it was not the peace of amiable indifference.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Renaissance in the streets!

On a recent Sunday afternoon, 17 people with sheet music gathered in a semicircle in the Graybar Passage at Grand Central Terminal. People streamed by. After a brief warm-up, the group’s conductor, John Hetland, dressed in dark jeans and a green plaid shirt, lifted his hands and the chorus began its a cappella rendition of a polyphonic hymn, “Kyrie,” by the 15th-century German composer Heinrich Finck.

Founded in 1973, the Renaissance Street Singers are one of approximately 350 groups with public performance permits granted by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. 

The hallway filled with sound, the baritones roiling like cumulonimbus clouds, the altos and sopranos shooting through like light, the melodies intertwining. The voices carried down the hall and were faintly audible in the Main Concourse. A crowd gathered to listen, but no one gave money, because there was nowhere to put it. When the song was over, Mr. Hetland turned around to face the small audience. 

“We’re the Renaissance Street Singers,” he said, “singing the music that we love to sing and to share.” 

Founded in 1973, the singers are one of approximately 350 groups with public performance permits granted by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority as part of the Music Under New York program, but they are perhaps the only one that does not accept donations. “I’ve been known to run after someone to give them back their $5,” said Mr. Hetland, the group’s founder. “We want to make it clear that the performances are free. We love to sing this music, and we enjoy it even more if someone else is listening.” 

And so, two or three Sundays a month, the group performs 15th- and 16th-century hymns, magnificats, psalms, motets and other sacred music in a variety of public spaces in New York; the Graybar Passage is one of its usual winter spots. “Grand Central has pretty good acoustics,” Mr. Hetland said. “This music was made to be sung in a church with resonance, and this has that resonance.” 

In years past, the group performed a mixture of sacred and secular music, until Mr. Hetland realized that all of his favorite pieces were religious. He decided to focus on sacred music instead. “The composers, in my opinion, really put their best efforts into it,” he said. “They believed there was a purpose to the music — that they were glorifying God.”
Read the entire piece....

If you'd like to hear them, http://nyti.ms/10mrbVB click this link...sorry, no embedding allowed!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Which came first?

The Easter season does not necessarily end on Easter Sunday...Busted Halo has some interesting information...

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Dietrich Bonhoeffer


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a Lutheran pastor and key leader of the German Confessing Church, which opposed and encouraged resistance to Adolph Hitler's Nazi policies. Bonhoeffer was born in Germany in 1906, educated in Tubingen and Berlin, then did post-graduate studies at Union Theological Seminary in New York. He returned to Germany in 1931 and was soon a respected theologian and author.

Bonhoeffer spearheaded the Barmen Declaration, a statement by Confessing Church members that they would not cooperate with Nazi policies. He led an illegal seminary for pastors who wanted to be part of the Confessing Church, but Hitler shut that down in 1937. American friends asked him to return to Union Seminary in 1939 as a visiting professor but soon after his arrival in New York, the theologian minister decided he needed to be in his country involved in active resistance. He joined a group of soldiers in the German Military Intelligence who wanted to overthrow Hitler and was arrested in 1943 when the plot was discovered.

Bonhoeffer was sent to a series of concentration camps and on April 9, 1944 he was hanged with five others in the resistance group, including his brother and two brothers-in-law. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was thirty-nine years old.

 Central to Bonhoeffer's theology is Christ, in whom God and the world are reconciled. Bonhoeffer's God is a suffering God, whose manifestation is found in this-worldliness. Bonhoeffer believed that the Incarnation of God in flesh made it unacceptable to speak of God and the world "in terms of two spheres". Bonhoeffer stressed personal and collective piety and revived the idea of imitation of Christ. He argued that Christians should not retreat from the world but act within it. He believed that two elements were constitutive of faith: the implementation of justice and the acceptance of divine suffering. Bonhoeffer insisted that the church, like the Christians, "had to share in the sufferings of God at the hands of a godless world" if it were to be a true church of Christ.

If you have not read any of his works, I would suggest starting with The Cost of Discipleship.

Monday, April 8, 2013

What if...

Excellent article in Esquire Magazine called, "What if Jesus meant all that Stuff"?

...The more I have read the Bible and studied the life of Jesus, the more I have become convinced that Christianity spreads best not through force but through fascination. But over the past few decades our Christianity, at least here in the United States, has become less and less fascinating. We have given the atheists less and less to disbelieve. And the sort of Christianity many of us have seen on TV and heard on the radio looks less and less like Jesus. 

At one point Gandhi was asked if he was a Christian, and he said, essentially, "I sure love Jesus, but the Christians seem so unlike their Christ." A recent study showed that the top three perceptions of Christians in the U. S. among young non-Christians are that Christians are 1) antigay, 2) judgmental, and 3) hypocritical. So what we have here is a bit of an image crisis, and much of that reputation is well deserved. That's the ugly stuff. And that's why I begin by saying that I'm sorry.

Now for the good news.

I want to invite you to consider that maybe the televangelists and street preachers are wrong — and that God really is love. Maybe the fruits of the Spirit really are beautiful things like peace, patience, kindness, joy, love, goodness, and not the ugly things that have come to characterize religion, or politics, for that matter. (If there is anything I have learned from liberals and conservatives, it's that you can have great answers and still be mean... and that just as important as being right is being nice.)...

Read the whole post in the link above, it's worth the time.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

God is....

Courage for the great sorrows of life, and patience for the small ones, and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace.

God is awake.

Victor Hugo

Saturday, April 6, 2013


It's no secret that church attendance is on the decline. It has been for years now. What has been a secret is one of the major reasons for this downward spiral:

There were few Easter Christians, individuals who show up for worship one or two days a year, among the earliest followers of the faith.

Facing penalties "like hanging -- that tends to clear the head," the Rev. Aidan Kavanagh, the late liturgy professor at Yale Divinity School, dryly observed.

Christians in the United States no longer need fear persecution for missing services. Demanding schedules, many of which revolve around youth sports, are the new competition for congregations.
Fichter surveyed 341 Catholics in one congregation who reported attending only on Easter and Christmas. He said he thought many people would cite disagreement with church teachings or negative experiences. But only 7 percent of respondents gave either of those reasons.

More than two-thirds said the reason they attend only twice a year was that they were too busy with other commitments. Sixteen percent admitted they were lazy. Fichter reported the findings at the joint annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion and the Religious Research Association.

The 2008 Faith Communities Today survey looked at obstacles to regular participation in church, including driving distance, fear of crime and work schedule conflicts. But school- and sports-related activities -- true for urban, suburban and rural congregations -- were the biggest challenges. More than a third of congregations said it was somewhat or quite a bit of an issue.

 I'm not sure how the church is supposed to combat this influence. It's not that sports are a bad thing, growing up both of my children were involved with all manner of school sports and travel teams and competitions. But during the time they were involved, the sports world still respected Sunday's and Wednesday's.To get a better idea of how this has changed, read the entire article...

The testimony of women...


Pope Francis has "hit the ground running", so to speak. In a text concerning the historical verification of the  Resurrection, he had the following observation:

Looking out over the tens of thousands present, Pope Francis returned to the catechises on the Year of Faith and in particular the Creed. He spoke of how the in the professions of faith of the New Testament, only men are remembered as witnesses of the Resurrection, the Apostles, but not the women. “This is because, according to the Jewish Law of the time, women and children were not considered reliable, credible witnesses. In the Gospels, however, women have a primary, fundamental role. Here we can see an argument in favor of the historicity of the Resurrection: if it were a invented, in the context of that time it would not have been linked to the testimony of women. Instead, the evangelists simply narrate what happened: the women were the first witnesses. This tells us that God does not choose according to human criteria: the first witnesses of the birth of Jesus are the shepherds, simple and humble people, the first witnesses of the Resurrection are women. This is beautiful, and this is the mission of women, of mothers and women, to give witness to their children and grandchildren that Christ is Risen! Mothers go forward with this witness! What matters to God is our heart, if we are open to Him, if we are like trusting children. But this also leads us to reflect on how in the Church and in the journey of faith, women have had and still have a special role in opening doors to the Lord, in following him and communicating his face, because the eyes of faith always need the simple and profound look of love. The Apostles and disciples find it harder to believe in the Risen Christ, not the women however! Peter runs to the tomb, but stops before the empty tomb; Thomas has to touch the wounds of the body of Jesus with his hands. In our journey of faith it is important to know and feel that God loves us, do not be afraid to love: faith is professed with the mouth and heart, with the word and love”.

A copy of the complete transcript is here...

Friday, April 5, 2013

It works!

I hope, at some point, you've noticed the "Compassion" banner on the blog...
My family has sponsored a young lady in Haiti for 10 years through Compassion International and it has been a blessed experience to watch her grow and see how she has matured through the letters we receive. In addition to our correspondence, we are able (but not required) to send gifts for her birthday and Christmas. Compassion staff pick out gifts that mean something to her...and we have the knowledge that she knows there is another family in this world who love her.

One telling incident during our time as a sponsor: We received continuous email updates after the devastating earthquake in January, 2010 until "our" girl was located and they were able to give us the wonderful news that she and her family had escaped without injury. Compassion International lives up to their name.

But should you remain a little skeptical, here is some further proof in USA Today that sponsorship is worth it!

In case you're interested:
How to Sponsor a child
How your sponsorship helps
Compassion's financial integrity
FAQ's about sponsorship

I know times are tough but it's worth doing without one cup of coffee or a soft drink each day in the knowledge that "as you have done this for the least of these my children, you have done this for Me".

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Beauty of Shyness

There is something beautiful about shyness, even though in our culture shyness is not considered a virtue.  On the contrary, we are encouraged to be direct, look people straight in the eyes, tell them what is on our minds, and share our stories without a blush.

But this unflinching soul-baring, confessional attitude quickly becomes boring.  It is like trees without shadows.  Shy people have long shadows, where they keep much of their beauty hidden from intruders' eyes.  Shy people remind us of the mystery of life that cannot be simply explained or expressed.  They invite us to reverent and respectful friendships and to a wordless being together in love.

Henri Nouwen

I have a couple of very important people in my life that could be called "shy" by this definition. Although they are steadfast in their beliefs, they don't feel the need to share their life story with everyone. The longer I know them, the more I realize we have just barely dipped into the "well" that is their story and it is beautiful to behold! I am blessed that they choose to share with me...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The gates to Hell...

Here you have it folks...the gates of Hell!

 Don't believe me? Well, according to Discovery News, this is the real deal from ancient scribes.

Scribes like Cicero and the Greek geographer Strabo mentioned the gate to hell as located at the ancient site in Turkey, noted Discovery, but nobody had been able to find it until now.

“Pluto’s Gate” has been documented in the Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites, which noted in its description of ancient Hierapolis, “Adjoining the temple on the SE is the Plutoneion, which constituted the city's chief claim to fame. It was described by Strabo as an orifice in a ridge of the hillside, in front of which was a fenced enclosure filled with thick mist immediately fatal to any who entered.”

Strabo (64 B.C.- 24 B.C.) wrote, “This space is full of a vapor so misty and dense that one can scarcely see the ground. Any animal that passes inside meets instant death. I threw in sparrows and they immediately breathed their last and fell.”

(Be sure and check out the links above!)


Excellent thought for the day...especially if you have children in your life (they don't even have to belong to you):

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mother's Love


I have often mentioned the "Sacred Space" website. The Irish Jesuits have created it to allow us to spend a few moments in prayer during out hectic schedules. Today's posting shows the story below:

Something to think and pray about this week

Imagine John, a boy of 12, who has been abused by his father all his life. I ask myself: “How does God see this young man?” Surely our God of compassion must have a special place in his heart for him, for what he has suffered as an innocent child. 

Now imagine Joe, a 22 year old who is out robbing to feed his drug habit. He is breaking into peoples’ homes, robbing their valuables. An old woman, lying in bed at night, hears the downstairs window breaking and is frightened to death. She feels so insecure now that she wants to leave her home, but can’t. I ask myself: “How does a God of compassion see Joe?” I imagine that God must want justice for the old woman and the hundred others whom Joe has frightened. But as for Joe? I don’t know. 

Lastly, imagine Gerry. He’s 18 and he robs defenceless people to feed a drug habit. Why? Because the only way he can cope with having been sexually abused as a child is to take drugs. How does a God of compassion see Gerry? I don’t pretend to know. I doubt there is some tidy solution somewhere. But love does strange things. 

A mother once came to me and said: “Father, I don’t know what to do. My son is a drug user. He has often come into the house demanding money, and if I didn’t have it to give him, he’d smash all the windows in the room. Sometimes he has even beaten me, because I didn’t have the money for his drugs. I don’t know what to do.” “Where is he now?” I asked. “Declan’s in jail, Father, and now I have my first bit of peace in five years.” “And do you ever go to visit him?” I asked. “Ah, Father, I go up to see him every Saturday afternoon without fail. Sure, isn’t he still my son?” 

Declan had never said sorry to her, but she could still say: “Sure, isn’t he still my son?” I learnt a lot from her about love, and about God, and about how I should love. What should I have said to her? 

Visit and ponder how he should have responded, how would God have him respond?