Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Communion of Saints

It occurs to me that even when our bodies die our spirits somehow remain connected to the people we've left behind. I think maybe we can still work together to resolve issues that are unresolved. I'm guessing that's what the Church calls the 'communion of saints'.

Of course, I don't understand it the way a great theologian does - but I think I get the gist of it. I think we can still pray for each other to work healing in each other's lives.

I think!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Generous Heart

Does a person LEARN to be a generous giver? Or, does she LEARN to be grateful and the gratitude naturally gives birth to generosity? Gratitude should come natural. I think it does with some people. Some people are SO generous and giving that I think it MUST be a gift from God. It doesn't come natural to me. It's something I have to work at.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Purpose of Prayer

The purpose of prayer is not to bend God to MY will - but to open myself up to God's Will - allowing Him the opportunity to transform me and shape me in His image and likeness.

Sometimes I forget that when I pray.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

My Purpose in Life

God does not exist to serve me. He is NOT a genie in a bottle just waiting around for me to say a prayer so He can grant my every wish.

No, He is my Creator - and truth be known, it is I who exist to serve Him. He created me for a purpose. The Baltimore Catechism said it best. 'God created man to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this life and to be happy with Him in the next.'

I do not fully understand my purpose as My Creator does. I DO understand that if I trust my life to God that He will be able to complete the work for which He created me.

How do I trust God? I trust the wisdom that I find in Scripture.

I forgive - even when the wound is unforgivable which most of the time, it's not. But even when it is, I forgive. Even if I can't forgive immediately, I work towards that goal and ask God to help me reach it. For Jesus said, 'Forgive others as the Heavenly Father forgives you.' It goes against human nature, I think - but that is the wisdom of God. I trust God.

I pray 'Thy will be done.' and mean it. I understand that MY will is based on my limited vision. MY will is based on what I believe will relieve my stress level and my fears. MY will is that other people change to fit the standard I deem acceptable. But God's vision is bigger than mine and He didn't create the world for my personal happiness. He gave me life and placed me in this place at this time to give me the opportunity to grow in His likeness. He did not create my trials but He uses them to help me grow in patience, in humility, in compassion and love. It is tempting to ask God to take my trials from me - and sometimes I DO ask - but I always follow that prayer by acknowledging that His wisdom surpasses all human understanding and I trust that wisdom. I trust God. 'Thy will be done'.

God is MY Creator! May I never forget that or misunderstand. I do NOT know better than God. I might not understand His ways - but that does not mean His ways are wrong. It simply means I do not understand the ways of a being who is perfect in every way. Praise be to God forever and always. Amen!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Changing my Heart

I've been thinking about some of the times God has spoken to me through Scripture. We really do have a God who takes the time to involve Himself personally in our lives and teach us - if we just allow Him the opportunity. I think often times we're so concerned about what's wrong with other people that we miss the opportunity to allow God to help us to grow personally.

I've read or heard read many times the story of the woman caught in adultery -the one who the Pharisees were about to stone until Jesus stepped in. I used to hear that story and feel so angry with those Pharisees. How could they be so judgmental and unforgiving as to stone a lady to death? Then one time I was reading that story and suddenly the woman had a name. She became someone I knew personally. She had broken up the marriage of a good friend of mine. I had witnessed the destruction of a family and the felt the hurt of many innocent people. I blamed this woman.

Suddenly, I experienced this story from Scripture with a new perspective. I was standing with the Pharisees holding a rock in my hand ready to hurl it at this lady. And right next to me was a whole bucket of rocks. I had no mercy. I could see myself angrily throwing stones until this person was dead. At that moment, I did not have the heart of Jesus but the heart of a Pharisee.

Through Scripture, God helped me to recognize an opportunity for personal growth. I knew I had to change my heart - but it was - and is - SO HARD to change. Where was I to start? It became clear I could not do it on my own. I began to pray about it. At first, I prayed for HER - but that did not change MY heart! Then I began to pray for ME and I think it might be working. I don't want to throw stones at her anymore!! But, I don't want to go up to her and embrace her or become her best friend either. I find that I still want to keep my distance. So, I guess I'm still judging her. I guess I still have some work to do! Somehow, I just have to figure out how to get out of the way and let God do His work in me!

Reading Scripture

It seems like we should read Scripture with the intent of letting it transform our own lives and attitudes. I don't think God intended for us to hurl the words at others with the intent of changing them into someone we approve of. How can we expect others to be transformed if we don't first allow ourselves to be transformed?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Forwarding E-mail

I'm not a theologian - but I really don't think God cares if I forward particular e-mails. It doesn't mean I'm not acknowledging God. It just means I'm not acknowledging a particular e-mail.

And while I'm at it. I don't think God is going to hand me a miracle tomorrow because I do forward a particular e-mail (to 10 different people!) Somehow - I just don't think God is keeping track!

Of course, this is just my opinion. But just for the record - I forward very few e-mails!

Just being Me

I think that God did not create me to be a great saint such as the likes of Mother Teresa or St. Therese. I think I will never have a huge impact on the world as a whole and likely when my life is over, I will be forgotten by all except those closest to me. But when THEY pass on, I suspect that I will not be remembered at all.

I am just me - a wife, a mother, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a co-worker, a parishioner. My world is not very large and the people who live in it are not very many. I think that even though I might not be able to make a difference to the world as a whole, I CAN make a difference to the world I know.

I can be a positive, grateful and encouraging voice to the people I encounter on my life journey. God has graced me with their presence and I will be grateful for what each has to offer to my spiritual development and I in turn will offer them encouragement on their own journey.

I can SMILE and say 'hi' to the store clerk, the stranger I pass on the street and anyone else who may never pass my way again. God has placed us together in this moment at this time - and I will make it count - if only for the moment.

I can forgive the person who has hurt me and I can pray for the person who makes my life miserable. It is not easy - but it is worth it - because this is what God has called me to do and what I can't do for myself or my neighbor, I can do for Him.

I can be honest.

I can treat other people the way I want to be treated - even if it means I have to be nice to someone who isn't nice to me. After all, Jesus did say "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". He did NOT say "Do unto others as they have DONE unto you." (Only Jesus would think of that!)

I do not have to do one, big spectacular thing to make a difference in this world. But if I can do all the small things with the love of God, if I can just say 'yes' to the little things that God has called me to do, then I will have allowed Him to accomplish the work He intended to complete through me - this very small, very insignificant part of the Body of Christ. The world may not notice what God has done through me - but it occurs to me that it MIGHT notice what has gone undone. Therefore, every day, I will give my best to God - and I will leave the results to Him.