Recalling these truths have made my day! Thank you, Lord!
Too often I forget about the unconditional love of God. This line from today's reading from Isaiah puts it front and center for me. Unconditional is a powerful word. No strings attached. No price to pay. No grudges. God does not deal with us the way most humans relate tot others. God looks at our present. and love us. God promises to be with us always, to help us on our way. Nothing you or I can do will every separate us from God's love. God is love. God can only love. God's loving me does not depend upon my loving in return. I may give up on the love of a person who just doesn't want anything to do with me. God never gives up on me. God lovingly waits for me.
Recalling these truths have made my day! Thank you, Lord!
". . . The Lord looks into the heart."
I am changing our style tonight, since today the President of the United States met Pope Francis for the first time. The news report is that the POTUS' report of the meeting was very different from the report of the Vatican about the two leaders. Now, at this point in history, who would you believe? Hmmmmm.
I am tired of the spinning of the political leaders which just take us away from the true peace Christ came to give. I wonder if that is what the conversation was like in Rome today? I would hope so.
Jesus knew all about her. He waited for her by the well so that he could speak with her and help her. It is as simple as that. This well-know story from the Gospels gives me much to pray about. I put myself in her place. I have a "history." I have something I thirst for and need every day of my life. Like the woman at the well, I carry my jug with me, hoping that I will be able to come home with it filled. Sometimes my jug contains security, sometimes understanding, sometimes the desires that motivate me to be what God has called me to be. Still, I need to set all this aside and let Jesus sit with me. I need to let Jesus understand me more than I understand myself. I need to let go of my control of life. I need to let go of my searching for security, understanding and all of my deep desires. I have been searching for them in all the wrong places. No matter what I do, I continue to thirst greatly.
I need to set the jug down and go to the real SOURCE of all I truly desire: Christ Jesus, Himself. Just as Jesus knew all about her, he knows all about me. He waits for me each day, each night. Thank you, Jesus. Please fill my bucket. You are the only bucket list I need.
This week has been a busy and a challenging week, as far as listening to God is concerned. The graces pouring forth from Sacred Scripture accounts of Joseph and his brothers, Lazarus the beggar at the rich man's gate, Jesus and his consistent predictions of his coming Passion ------ all connected with me in some way.
I saw myself being called from judging others to forgiving others. I was reminded that I am called to live my life to the fullest, trying to miss fewer and fewer opportunities of God's grace. I wonder how many times Jesus has called me to follow him as a disciple, carrying my own cross and somehow, like his followers, missed the point that Christ was trying to make with me.
I pray that I will be more open to these graces in my life. I thank God for the patience poured out upon me while God waits for me to "get it." I would rather live the resurrection moments of "Aha! I did it! I got it! I welcomed this costly grace from God!" It is at time of wishing and hoping and dwelling upon my "should-a, could-a, would-as" that I hope to remember that these learning curves are part of the dying I need to do as I work on my selfishness and other faults.
I love this image of Liz Lemon Swindle's work Drink and Never Thirst. It is such a beautiful meditative interpretation of the meeting of Jesus with the Woman at the Well. The expression on the woman's face speaks of grace, love, compassion and the finality of knowing that she has just met someone who would change her life forever. The assuring hand clasp and the bent posture of Jesus, speaks of the gentleness and goodness he showered upon her.
I hope to sit a while today to let the Lord touch me, knowing everything about me, as he did of the woman at the well. Still, he loves me, he searches me out and he offers me a drink too. This drink is spiritual --- satisfying my longing for fulfillment and unconditional love. Once I meet Christ and let him become the center of my life, I will never thirst for false fulfillment and satisfaction. I will never be thirsty for these things again.
The trouble is that I know this and often forget what Christ is trying to tell me here. I fall away from my resolutions and go thirsting after other things, forgetting what the Gospel teaches me.
I pray for the grace to do better this Lent. I ask the unnamed woman at the well, to intercede for me.
Lent is going very well this first Friday of the season. I smile to myself as I write this, because it is always easier to kick off Lent than to stay focused and loyal to the things God is asking me to change about myself during this time. But God is so very good. I just had a conversation with a young man who lives in real poverty, relying on people for most of his needs. He is a modern day Prodigal Child. As we talked, I could not help but think of the unconditional love that Christ told us about in the parable of the Prodigal Child and the self-emptying unconditional love of Jesus on the Cross. I pray that his person will be able to reap from the graces of God's love for him. I am sure that you, dear reader, know others like him, who are discouraged and burdened by life. Let us pray and fast today, not only for the first Friday in Lent, but for all who bear a very heavy Cross in life. May the graces flowing from Christ's Passion be their help and peace.
Today we have accepted the blessed ashes on our foreheads to remind us of the journey we commit ourselves to make for the next 46 days. Let us pray that these ashes may take us deeper into our relationship with Christ. When they are washed off and no longer visible to others, may we internalize what we have witnessed to when we accepted them today. A blessed Lent!
The empty tomb signifies the truly awesome reality that we always have hope because the Lord, Jesus is alive after becoming incarnate, living on this earth, suffering, experiencing torture and dying in one of the most inhumane ways possible. HE IS ALIVE!
I know that Lent begins on Wednesday. I am preparing to enter into Lent grateful for the gift of the Resurrection, for without this great gift, we would not have Lent, or even a Christmas for that matter. We celebrate and enter into these very important days because he is RISEN. That is why he came. That is why he took on our human nature and suffered. That's why he allowed himself to die on the cross. He redeemed us by going through the cross and death to Resurrection and glory. No one made God decide to do this. God simply loved each of us, just as we are. He put terms on his dying and rising. He did not say "Okay, if you live perfectly and love me consistently in your life, I will redeem you." No, he redeemed each of us --- all of us.
So Lent for me is something I simply want to live out of love too. I go beyond the "have to" things of Lent, such as fasting and abstinence, to the why I choose to do these things. I see them as symbols of repentance for the times I have not consistently loved God, even though I know how much God loves me. I see them as invitations to go deeper into this Lenten Season, to live more fully this year, the invitation God extended to me in Jesus more than 2,000 years ago. I find this invitation expressed in various ways in the Christian Scriptures: "Go, sell what you have, give to the poor and come, follow me," "Love one another as I have loved you," and " Do good to those who hate you . . ." I see Christ speaking to me through the Church today too, as I am called to live the Gospel without getting caught up the politics of our age. I wish everyone who reads this, a beautiful Lenten Season. Let us pray for each other.
The movie The Son of God opened in our area the other day, just in time for the beginning of Lent 2014. How important it is for us to keep the life, suffering and death of Jesus before our eyes. I hope this Lent will be a rewarding one for all who read this. Rewarding? Yes, in a way that brings each of you and myself closer to Christ who came, lived, suffered, died and rose from the dead, so that we would live eternally. If Lent does not bring me closer to Christ, what good is it? I hope I don't treat this Lent like shopping days before Christmas . . . the great countdown to Easter with not much else to invest in. God is giving me the grace. May I be spiritually conscious, and willing to take that grace and run with it.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.