Perfectly Loved: Three Ways in One

Mirror Trinity

 

We bought this mirror at a local garage sale. I pass it every day in my home.  But one day recently, I stopped, and saw my reflection in a new way.

It is hard to love yourself when you look in the mirror.  What we see taps into our body issues and inability to love ourselves as a “work in progress”.  It takes effort to see all the scars, wounds, and imperfections, and still say,

“I am good.  I am loved.”

And this time my tri-reflected countenance required me to do it 3 times over!

Really?

But then I began to think of the many times I have heard that a human person is made in God’s image and is meant to reflect that image to the world.

Somehow we literally have a “stamp” of God in our bodies.

Who is this God we reflect?  He is a Trinity of Three Persons:  Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

How can I, as one person, reflect all three?  It has to do with what those three Persons do.  They live in eternal union and in perfect love relationship with each other.

And that is what I’m created to do.  Love in a way that brings oneness and new life.

Of course this mirror analogy will fall short as all analogies do that try to explain the mystery of God.  I will just attempt to say what I thought about as I saw myself in this reflection.

First, I saw the Father’s love for me in my reflected image.  I’ve got a Daddy who loves me as His own.  He wants me to belong to His family as a daughter.

Then, I saw the Christ Jesus the Son’s love for me in my.  He loves me unto death.  He teaches me how to love in my relationships- to sacrifice for the good of others, and to know that my own wounds united to His, are redeemed.  He offers His Sacred Heart to me as a refuge, and as a place to learn love.

And finally,  I saw the Spirit’s love for me in my reflected image.  He sets my heart on fire. As I let the Father and the Son dwell within me, they produce this love.  It is active, gives me gifts  like wisdom and courage and fruits like self-control and joy.  He wants to possess me fully in a ministry so God’s kingdom can come.

 In getting ready to post the picture of this mirror, I realized the reflection would be the front door of my home.  It’s window contains hearts, and it’s center is a cross.

Our imaging God the Trinity as a reflection of love just waits for us to be opened. To let people be free to live and move and have their being in God.

The way will be the cross, and the reward will be knowledge of the love in God’s own heart that is given to us for our joy,

and for the ministry of bringing others into that same heart of God.

When you peer into the heart of God’s love for you this Trinity Sunday I hope you feel as you should:  perfectly loved in three ways that are one.

And I’m ready with you to be open to breathe the fresh air of freedom from that grace, and to GET MOVING in His Spirit!

We’re children, saved and free,

who are filled with the gifts that we will need to reflect Perfect Love!

Dead But Suffering

 

christ-in-tomb-1

This day is eerily silent.

 Nothing thwarted God’s plan to deliver us

from death, by death…

the death of His Beloved Son.

The crying out to His Father

in abandonment is over.  

The torture and agony done.

But is the suffering truly over yet for our dear Savior Jesus this day?

The definition of death is the separation of soul and body.

Christ’s body did become die and become lifeless.

Jesus “tasted death”. He was laid in the tomb.

But it is perhaps a little known truth that the grace of union of Jesus’ humanity

to the Divine Person of the Son in the Trinity

(a mystery called the hypostatic union),

was never separated or ever will be separated.

What does this mean for Jesus in the tomb?

It means that God in His humanity experienced death in a particularly intense way – because He truly experienced what it was like to be a soul separated from the body and what it was like to be a body without life.

When we die, our conscience will go with our soul.  We will not have a bodily awareness anymore.

When Christ died, He was still one with His Divine Conscience.  

HE WAS AWARE OF HIS DEAD BODY.

What a horrible privation He suffered!  

Because He was God, we can count this among the many sufferings He endured, that were more intense that any human could ever suffer.

May we console the suffering Jesus in the silent tomb today…with our prayers of praise, thanksgiving, and contrition for our sins—

as we await His victory tomorrow…

Tell Everyone: A Reflection on Today’s Mass Readings

Acts 5: 17-26            Psalm 34          John 3: 16-21

God SO LOVED the world.  

The whole world?  How can that be?  

How can LOVE be so all encompassing?

Our world:  Filled with domination that lays hands on…

Judgments that would silence our love…

Our world:  Filled with jealousy and jails….

The God who SO LOVED– hears the cry of the poor.

I sought the God who SO LOVED– and He answered me…

Delivered me from all my fears.

When the poor one called out the God who SO LOVED– answered me….

and from all my distress He saved me.

Small hearts, broken hearts, tethered hearts,

sword-pierced hearts- conditional love in our hearts

Lead to sin, prisons, preferred darkness and death

 

BUT GOD SO LOVED THIS WORLD- NO CONDITIONS- FULL SENDING

HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON WAS GIVEN!

 

Now all worldly hearts cease to blush with shame

And faces are radiant with JOY!

Let us go then to the temple of this world,

and “tell everyone about this life”!

Knowing Nathanael

One way to stay faithful in relationship to God is to read the Scriptures daily.  

As a Catholic, I love that there are readings given to me each day like spiritual food.  They always give me the particular morsel I need.  When I pray over them, God causes certain words or phrases to leap off the page.

These Words are His Word.  And His Word, is Him.

It’s really unfathomable how much God loves us:

that He would give us Words in order to give us Himself.

After I “catch” the Words He sends to my heart, I usually write a few words of my own in response.

I like God to know that I’ve heard, and that His gift has made a difference in my day.  

I try to remember these special Words throughout that day.  I try to stop in between all the crazy activity and let them affect me again. Some days I forget ( just so we all know how very human my response can be).

So today, I’m sharing my “leaping Words”, the Gift of Christ to me,

and how He moved me to respond.

Thank you Jesus, for touching my heart today.

First Reading from  1 John 3:11 -21:  My “leaping Word”:

“God is greater than our hearts and understands everything”

Gospel from John 1:43-51:  My “leaping Word”:

“Nathanael said to him, ‘How do you know me?’

     “Jesus answered him and said, …’I saw you under the fig tree..'”

KNOWING NATHANAEL

O God who is greater than my heart

I want you to come and see

See this sinner who hides under trees

See who she longs to be

 

O God who is greater than my heart

Before I came, you saw me

Help me to let go of duplicity in life

And before You, stay down on one knee

 

O God who is greater than my heart

I want to know HOW you know me

“MY HEART IS MY GAZE AND CREATION OF YOU

GAZE BACK, AND YOUR HEART WILL BE FREE.”

Jesus’ Zeal For You

Daily Mass Readings Reflection:  November 9, 2017

The Dedication of the Lateran Basilica 

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God?” 1 Cor 3: 16

“Zeal for you house will consume Me.” John 2: 17

St Paul tells the Corinthians

that they are temples of God and that the Spirit dwells within them.

 Knowledge of that privilege and grace should give us pause.  Poor self image cannot stand alongside this truth.  And healing comes when we accept these words coming from God’s Heart- that we are beloved enough to have Him desire to come dwell in us.

This corresponds to our gospel today.  Jesus finds the temple full of the idols -noisy moneychanging.  It is animalistic- oxen, sheep and doves.  Bargaining and cheating hearts seek to fill the pockets of the self indulgent.  Clinking coins fill the tables where peaceful stillness once was.

Is this how Jesus is finding my temple?  The temple of my soul and my body?

What noisy voices of the world have taken over in my head?  What  idols are being exchanged within this temple?

I’m not good, I can’t do it, I have lost all my hope.  You should worry and  grasp what you need now. Don’t wait for the Lord to provide, because you must do it yourself.  Press in on others and demand what you want.  Lack mercy, lack patience, lack love.

Am I reduced to what is less than human? Less than my dignity deserves?

Sin coins are filling the places where I had peace.

Noisy, clinking sounds disturb my prayer.

But Jesus loves me too much.  He sees the state that I’m in.  He’s coming into this temple! He fashions a cord out of bands of His love.  Zeal for this house, this temple that I am, consumes Him.  And He’s ready to cleanse me.

Overturning the tables in me He comes with His power and His grace.  He is ridding me of excessive noise.  The idols I filled the temple of my house, have been whipped away by His love.  What remains is a place where prayer can begin again.

Lord, you are consumed with zeal for me, and I believe in the intensity of that love.  You will not let your temple be filled with all that distracts and destroys it.  Come with your whip of cords and cleanse this temple.  Let it be for you a house of worship and prayer.  Come Holy Spirit and dwell within me.  Bring me stillness and peace and joy.

Staying Faithful to the Small Picture

Has anyone ever told you to

“Remember the Big Picture?”

It’s great advice!  But I think there needs to be a “subtitle”:

“But Stay Faithful to the Small Picture”.

What’s the small picture?  It’s the present moment.  And remembering the big picture while staying faithful to the small one, is quite the balancing act.

The two- big and small pictures- are played out in the mind.  

First, it’s consoling to remember that “all things work unto good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28)

When life brings twists and turns, we can learn to trust that

God has a big plan for our salvation!

But then the mind must come to focus upon the practical work! Each day we get up and move through each hour.  Each moment we have an opportunity to stay faithful to what is right in front of us.

To whom are we speaking?  What do we chose next?

 How can we turn this experience into prayer?

 Each and every moment and encounter:  these are the small picture.  

What picture are you thinking about right now?  Each, big and small, are important to ponder.  See God loving you all the way to salvation.  The big plan has a glorious ending!  Remember the picture is one He’s creating- He’s writing the big story called life!

But also stay faithful to each little “instagram” moments…  to all the ways to say yes to His love.  Each moment God’s inviting us to turn our eyes toward His gaze.  Each moment He’s reminding us He’s with us every step of the way.

Staying faithful to the small picture of every detail in life,

helps us remember that it’s a really big plan:  unending Love in Eternity!

 

When Love Comes…

Have you ever felt swept away?

 Maybe by the crash of a real ocean wave…Or maybe by a tide

of overwhelming obligations.

Maybe by a beautiful sunset that left you literally speechless.

 

sunset st joseph drive

 

 

 Or maybe by someone with whom you’ve fallen madly in love with…

The feeling can lift us or it can wash us away….

depending on what’s causing the “wave”.

Recently, I have felt swept away by a decision to move after over 30 years.  In union with my husband and in union with God in prayer, we boxed up our world, and let the Love of the Holy Spirit move us.

And when Love comes to sweep you away, you don’t ask where He is taking you.

You just go.

And of course these major decisions and movements of the Spirit, come with many lessons to learn.  One must be humble under the guidance of the Spirit, and listen to the whisperings… gently given… in the heart.

“U-Haul.”

 

U Haul

 Of course we must participate, but a crucial lesson has been to let Him haul.

 Yes, YOU haul us Lord!  We can’t do this on our own!

 Whenever I took over, and tried to haul the burden of packing,  cleaning, worrying about outcomes, and saying all the many goodbyes, I broke down.

It was too much for me alone.

Whenever I let the Holy Spirit take over, and “haul” all my concerns for me, each day began with trials, but ended with gratitude in my heart

for all HE had accomplished through me.

Each day, He’d send just the right person, or note, or kindness or inspiration in prayer.  Each day He’s send just enough manpower or financial support

or glimpse of the future full of hope.

A movement of grace has swept over us.  The Sacred Heart of Jesus has opened.  The Holy Spirit has come to sweep us away, and we trust Him to provide all we need.

Don’t ask, just go.  It is Love who has come to sweep you away!

 

The Folds of Mary’s Mantle

 

“Are you not in the folds of my mantle?

Tucked away in the night?”

“No, rather darkness and fear enfold me.

They make me shiver with fright”

“Shhh now- a Mother has been given to you

I stand at the root of the tree,

See the crossing I make with my arms

This is where I want you to be.

Nurse from the constant graces that flow

Find your place close to me

Search the ebb and the flow of the waves

My mantle provides now for thee”

I looked at the waves, the flow, and the veil

I looked for the comfort I sought

And there, amid all my chaos and screams

I saw end to the fears I had fought

There within the curve of her dress

A fold in the mantle made for me

A place to enter, to rest, and be blessed

Where darkness could no longer be.

Don’t wait too long to search the whole tide

For she waits to give you this place

Seek not the foolish things of the world

When the Mantle is where you’ll find grace.

Know that there is a fold just for you

Just for where you are now

Darkness and fear must flee in the fold–

Her Mantle wraps you in His power.

Sentinel Type Waiting

 

“I trust in the Lord

My soul trusts in His word

My soul waits for the Lord

More than sentinels wait for the dawn” (Psalm 130:6)

Docility, St Thomas Aquinas tells us, is one of the integral parts in the discerning task of prudence (deciding the right thing to do).  It means knowing how to listen, so that we can be teachable.

Sentinels needed to be docile and ready- ready to listen. Yes for every stir or sound

’round the place of their guard. 

And night shift sentinels had an added challenge.  Darkness surrounded them.  They needed to be still to hear the slightest sounds.  They had to be prepared to receive the circumstances around them.

And as the night wore on, they tired as they waited.  They longed for those first rays of light on the horizon.  The promise that they might see and might be able to find some rest.

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Are you awaiting the dawn?  Is it hard to be still and to listen with docility?  You want to discern the right thing.  You shiver until the sun brings some warmth.

How to be like the sentinel?  How to stay still in the dark? Do you wait for a reconciliation?  A healing,  or a place to work and to live? Do you wait to know your vocation?  And what God is calling you to do?

Especially when God’s seems to be silent.  You wait for the dawn of answered prayer. You stay awake so you’re ready to hear.

And creation tells us the story.  We’ve listened to it day after day :  

Night time is always over.  

And time moves us into the light.

Tested in long times of suffering, we are born children of the day.

 He makes all things new.

God bless all you sentinels out there waiting.  I join my heart prayers to yours.  

I choose to trust in His promises of day.  My soul will await the dawn.

From Mist to Midst

“Now no shrub of the field was yet in the earth, and no plant of the field had yet sprouted, for the LORD God had not sent rain upon the earth, and there was no man to cultivate the ground.

But a mist used to rise from the earth and water the whole surface of the ground. Then… God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being… God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed.” (Genesis 2:5-8)

From a place where mist used to rise, in a garden,

God created the first human person.

Mists are mysterious.  They mystify.  Scripture says that we’re born into a beautiful garden, shrouded in the mysteries of life.

Salvation history began at this moment, and continues on to today.  But today, we celebrate the Easter season, and our Savior is risen and in our midst.

How did we get from mist to midst?

Our walk with God has been a complicated one.  With freedom, we’ve fallen from grace.  We’ve toiled and worked in the gardens of our lives, and struggled through sin, suffering, loss and even death.

Death.  That’s the “d” that splits the word mist.

These things, especially the finality of death, remain mysterious and dreadful realities, unless we truly rejoice in what we’re celebrating these days.

Does Jesus’ death split the mist in your life?  

Can His Presence in your midst make sense of all your suffering?

Mary Magdalene’s in a “mist”- a mist of tears and of confusion.  She’s in the mist of the early morning hours after being up all night weeping.

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”  (John 20:15)

Here we are back in a garden. It’s not until the “Gardener” calls her name, that all the mist evaporates.

 He’s in our midst.

 And His death has separated all the confusion. His death has breathed life back into the human person.

“Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26)

Notice He doesn’t take the “d” word away.  In fact it seems to be the only way!

If we do not know the necessity of dying with Christ as the mysterious reality of a life of faith, we can never really know the beauty of His Presence, risen and in our midst.

Let His death defy the MIST-ery.

Let His death make all things clear.  Our Savior rises in glory and He lives, so we can too.

The Gardener calls your name in your MIDST.