Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Last week I was asked to partake in a prayer service at a local assisted living facility. As I gazed at the eyes upon me, I noticed a room full of people with canes,with walkers, all gathered to hear what I had to say.
I felt so small and insignificant at that time! I thought of what it must have been like during Jesus' time as well, of those who assembled to listen to what He had to say. How would it affect them? More important, did they take His message and then apply it to their own lives?
I was thinking then about the works of mercy, both spiritual as well as corporal. Being Catholic, we had those drilled into us as a part of our Catechism, however, it can apply to all of us.
What are the works of mercy, you ask? They are: feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting those imprisoned, burying the dead and caring for creation. Those are the corporal works. Then there are: instructing the ignorant, counsel the doubtful, admonish the sinner, bearing patiently those who wrong us, forgive offenses, comfort the afflicted, pray for the living and the dead and to contemplate God's creation. (this is what I do at 3 a.m. when I cannot fall back to sleep!)
Whew, quite the list, eh?
Look it over. This is where I wish we did not have the division in "religion," for we are all God's children. One cannot look this over and claim that because they are Methodist or Lutheran, that it doesn't apply to them, as it is a "Catholic" rule. Really though? Feeding the hungry? Forgiving others? That goes across the spectrum and I truly believe that if we had more of that, there would be less hurt and hate in our world. Our WORLD! From a distance, our world is a beautiful place, but up close, we do have our work cut out for us!
Lately, there has been so much division, all due to political beliefs. There again, we go back to what Jesus instructed, of how He is NOT of this world. I take refuge in that. "Thy Kingdom come," THY Kingdom, not some political leader who, at this point, is in it for the power and control and NOT because they truly want to see peace in their land. God's Kingdom, the God who loves us unconditionally, who is ever present, the Alpha and the Omega. "I am the Way...and the Truth...and the Life."
Today (and everyday) take one work of mercy and try it out! Even if it is just to offer a prayer for another, you have done something wondrous! You have chosen to take that step to make your corner of the world beautiful. To offer forgiveness, to comfort those who need comfort. To visit someone who literally is "imprisoned" in a nursing home due to the physical limitations that they have...the list grows, it is endless! You won't be bored, this I assure you, if you just pick one particular mercy and follow through with it daily. And if all of us would do that? Every corner would truly be a wonderful place indeed!
Wednesday, July 11, 2018
I have a song going through me head lately, a line says, "love your curves and all your edges, love your perfect imperfections..."
It is so beautiful and it made me think of those who are, to me, perfect. In fact, how can they be imperfect if, to me, I see nothing but beauty?
Something to think about indeed! In today's society, where people diet themselves sick because they see nothing but fat, where women feel tied to a make-up bag and mirror, where "selfies" rule social media, God forbid if we have any blemishes! Let's hide those flaws we think make us unworthy to be around other people, right?
When I was in school, I always sought out those who were by themselves. It didn't take long for me to wonder why they weren't liked by others, as to me, they were perfect! Caring, supportive and more, we had fun and shared many happy times.
So what exactly is the definition of "perfect?" Is it those clothes, that car you drive? How about working your life away just to have that "something" that makes you seem better than others in the eyes of all whom you may meet?
When I first met my husband, he had nothing. An old beater of a pickup truck, no job due to the economy, but was trying every day to find one, few possessions but a heart as big as anything! I fell in love almost immediately. He had nothing to impress me with materially and that was OK by me! I had met so many others who arrogantly showed off their possessions. What they lacked was a sincere joy in just being who they were. To hold up anything else as a measure of your worth only lasts as long as that job, that car, the huge house or bank account will allow.
As Scripture says, "rust and moth" will soon take over, rendering that prize useless. You can't take "it" with you, whatever that "it" may be. But your character? Now there is a treasure that you should maintain. That is your ticket to heaven. As the saying goes, "it does not matter how big your house was, what car you drove, what job you had or the size of your bank account. What mattered is who you were to a child (or to anyone, actually!)
The rest of that song says, "all of me, I give my all to you..." MY all...everything I have is yours, the good and the bad. Will you love another unconditionally, as the song says? How do you perceive others?
"Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ in me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ on my right,
Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down,
Christ when I sit down,
Christ when I arise,
Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me."
A prayer from St. Patrick
How wonderful it would be if we all lived this prayer! The news is so full of sadness and sorrow, it is almost as if it is an agenda to keep that pot stirred up. Instead of stories of hope and inspiration, we are filled with every form of vile. Then we wonder why the sadness in the world continues.
Today, be the one who shows compassion towards another. Be the reason someone smiles today. Reach out and offer kindness to those who need that step up. You never know, but you may have entertained angels unaware!