Praying for Wisdom – Wisdom leads to action!

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Wisdom is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.   Although it is a gift it is something to strive to reach a higher level.   Even Jesus who was conceived by the Holy Spirit had to wait to start His public ministry as He returned with His parents to Nazareth and there advanced in wisdom. (Luke 2)

In wisdom God’s timing is everything.

Today’s reading was about the wise and foolish virgins. (Matthew 25)  As they await the arrival of the bridegroom I am reminded that Christ is the bridegroom and the church His bride.   Maybe the foolish didn’t have patience to wait for God’s timing, thinking this is the plan & where is this groom.  This morning’s homily pointed out everyone slept, because the bridegroom was really late, but it was the wise virgins who were prepared in case of a late arrival.  Maybe they understood God’s timing wasn’t what was in their plan.  Salvation history would have told them something, 40 years in the desert, 400 years of slavery in Egypt…. just saying God isn’t always on our clock.

This scripture asks me to stay awake because I don’t know the day or the hour.   Had the foolish been awake there may have been time to run and get more oil.  In my life it may be when I need retreat or a prayer meeting.   I have been both foolish and wise.

Scripture doesn’t mentioned why the bridegroom was late.  In my human thinking I wonder – Was he sick and had to recover?  Was there a flood or fire and needed to take an alternate route?  Did he have some additional discernment to do before taking the leap of faith?  Or maybe he overslept?

But I know God knows the right time, so not late but on time.

God gives us lots of time to get prepared, as the next parable in Matthew tells us.  The parable of the talents, we are all given gifts according to our abilities and we have the time to work to multiply the gifts.  Invest our spiritual gifts, deposit the gifts where it can gain interest.  We can always have more wisdom, more grace, more of God’s gifts.

And the last part of Matthew 25 tells us that there will be a judgment on being prepared, being awake, and using our gifts.  Wisdom leads to feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked,  visiting the ill and those in prison.  Wisdom leads to multiplying the gifts by enabling other to receive and give gifts.

Of course God’s timing is always perfect but in my life I often wonder if I am prepared to face Jesus.  Everyday I face Jesus, in the people I meet and in the opportunities He gives to me to serve.  I met him in prayer I meet Him in the quiet of my heart and I met Him in the challenges of life.  Have I multiplied the gifts, have I grown in wisdom?  I wonder when I met the day will people see Jesus in me and does my attitude, behavior, gratitude be ready for judgment?

As always more reflection and more action needed. –

The Boy Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:41-52)
Each year his (Jesus) parents went to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, and when he was twelve years old, they went up according to festival custom. After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions, and all who heard him were astounded at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them.

He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced [in] wisdom and age and favor before God and man.

 

The Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long-delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’

 Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.

The Beauty of Dying

I was looking at all the colors of the fall in St. Louis this year. Brilliant reds, yellows and oranges brighten the hillsides as I was driving home today.  

The thought that came to mind was how beautiful dying looks.  I am called to die with Christ in order to bare fruit.

John 12:24. “Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”

In life I have had those moments of dying and detaching myself from my will so that I could grow in God’s will.   By going through the seasons in my life I could grow and be rejuvenated.    

And as I age I can see the beauty in the crosses much better than I could as a younger person.   As I detach from this world to focus on the kingdom of God.   The kingdom is lived starting now when I see God’s purpose.   

I started thinking about the wisdom of my friend who says it is easier to evangelize as she gets older. There are more years behind her than years ahead is her logic.   No time to be politically correct, no time to worry what others will think only time to live the truth.  Only time to live in the kingdom now.  Made me think how beautiful aging is, very colorful and brilliant.  

The photos are from my front yard.  It don’t really capture the real beauty.  

My reflections always takes me to new places.  Grateful for all the opportunities God has given me to die to self.  Grateful for the unique colors in my life.  Grateful to know there is a resurrection. 

Trading Places

I remember my neighbor Miss Viola when I was growing up. She was the sweetest, funniest, most caring person I knew.   I remember when she was diagnosed with cancer, I never told anyone but in secret I prayed that God would let me trade places with her.   God didn’t answer that prayer.  I miss her lots.

I still find myself doing that today, especially when I hear of a young mom or dad facing serious illnesses.  It obviously isn’t God’s will that I trade but I believe He takes the prayers to heart.  God knows that I am passionate about the people in my life.   God knows we all need prayer to get us through or to the next place in our lives.

I always thought I was odd to have this trading places prayer but then I met St. Maximilian Kolbe.   The love of God and neighbor made him unafraid to trade places.  God allowed the trade in his story so that a husband and father would live to be with his children.

Today I am praying that St. Maximilian intercedes for all those I am praying for – especially those fighting to survive to be with their spouses and their children.

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The Church celebrates the Memorial of Saint Maximilian Mary Kolbe, Priest and Martyr on August 14th.

In 1939, Maximilian was arrested by the Nazis who had taken over Poland and sent to Auschwitz. Two years later, in July of 1941, at Block Fourteen, where Saint Maximilian was being kept, revealed that a prisoner had escaped. The policy was to assemble all the prisoners from the block in the yard where they would stand at attention the whole day. If, by the end of the day, the escapee had not been recovered, ten others would be chosen at random to die in his place.

By three o’clock the prisoner was still not found. One of the ten chosen to die was Francis Gajowniczek. Mr. Gajowniczek cried out, “My poor wife, my poor children! What will happen to my family!” That is when Fr. Kolbe came forward, asked to exchange places with Gajowniczek and took the place of the condemned man.

Father Kolbe was sent to the starvation bunker. He led those with him in prayer. After two weeks, he was still alive. On the morning of August 14, 1941 a lethal dose of carbolic acid was injected into him.

Click here for a Novena

Called?!

1/1/2017
Making a resolution to be a better me or to reach goals for health or wealth is the tradition of welcoming the New Year.

I don’t know what today will bring or the year will bring.  My question today to myself (and to God) is —  What am I called to do today?  Where do you want me God?  How do I continue the journey to You?

My first call is to give God the honor and glory for calling me into His light!  Called to be grateful that He came to save me, a sinner.  And with the knowledge of being a child of God go out into into His service, called to treat others as children of God (yes, even the mean people).  Forgiveness and love is the message of each day as God, Himself forgave and loved each person.  No one is excluded in God’s call to be with Him.  God loves me and God loves you!

Today in the Church we celebrate, Mary, the Mother of Jesus and I can take from her example to always be willing to answer God, “Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”[Luke 1:38]


The reading that I woke up to this morning was 1 Timothy 1:12-17 – St. Paul reminding me that God sees beyond my sins and has faith in me, in return I should make today a day for God, a Day for service to God and a Day to keep God in my sight.

May the New Year give me the confidence that God is believing in me and counting on me then each day will be a day of strength and growth and well-being.  And may I have the strength to face each day knowing God judges me faithful so that I will service Him!

A year for reflection one day at a time.

 

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Happy Holiday! Merry X-Mas!

img_1596Sometimes I am sadden by the reaction of those who think Happy Holiday or Merry Xmas are disrespectful.  Not that I don’t agree with keeping Christ in Christmas, because I do!

X is Greek from the letter “Chi”, which is the letter(s) in the Greek spelling of Christ, itself whose origins are Greek. X-Mas is very Christian.   Holiday means Holy Day, Christmas is a Holy Day.

Most important to me, as a Christian, I believe I need to be kind and respectful and yes, even forgiving to EVERYONE.  Yes, I am called to teach and preach the gospel. But I don’t do it by yelling MERRY CHRISTMAS, I do it by prayer, love and forgiving.  (Yes I am a sinner and not perfect at being Christmas to others).  But I am reminded daily that Jesus taught by example, actions and by stating the truth. God gave me all a free will, so choosing Christ is every day.

And those who know me know I am still teachable, so my opinion may be wrong, that is why I continue to pray to the Holy Spirit and listen carefully.

Maybe Linus is best to remind me — Peace on Earth, Good Will to men!

Charlie Brown: “Isn’t there anyone, who knows what Christmas is all about?!”

Linus: “Sure Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about. Lights please?

And there were in the same country shepherds, abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them! And they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold, I bring you tidings o great joy, which shall be to all my people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ, the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the Heavenly Host praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on Earth peace, and good will toward men.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

And as a side note -day after day I have to ask myself, “Do I want to stay with Jesus or do I want to Leave?”  Prayer always gives me the strength to stay, and to learn!  I have no clue what tomorrow will bring.  I take life a day at a time.  Day after day I choose to see the good in everyone. Day after day I forgive.  Day after day I work on being kind.  Jesus died for everyone and so I must live for everyone God puts in my path.  I am not always successful and excited to know that Jesus is merciful.  The mercy I receive is available to everyone.

May those who are the farthest away this Christmas come to know Jesus because of the Love and Kindness of Christians everywhere.  That is the goal to one day share heaven, and heaven begins on earth.  Peace..  [hint: when I find someone really difficult I pretend God will have us as neighbors in Heaven]

John 6:66-69
As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.  Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?” Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.”

Spending the day with Jesus, so more reflection is needed.

Removing Layers. Prayer as a conversation.

Sometimes I have a dream that makes me wake up talking to God as though the conversation was continuing from the dream.

Recently I dreamt I was to pray for a friend’s son. This isn’t a really close friend and I have never talked to her son, I have seen him in Church. I know nothing about his life or his needs or wants.   The temptation was to know what is going on in his life. And I found myself asking God what was the purpose of the prayer.  But in my conversation with God realize I don’t need the information, I need to be obedient and pray.

This morning layers is the word that woke me up. And immediately I thought about my first house. It was old and dirty. It needed painting. Some paint on the woodwork had layers and layers of paint. Before painting I needed to scrape and sand. I even used one of those torch things that melts the paint for easier scraping.   Each layer was a different color; there was pink, blue, and gray. Can’t help but wonder the style of day it was painted or the mood.   Some of the wood underneath the paint was beautiful and made me wonder why it was ever painted.

In one of my little sharing groups. We talked about the need to take down walls and the need to make changes in our life to live peacefully in our relationships.  And it is the same with my relationship with God.  I sometimes need to peel the layers that make me tough.  I have to surrender to God’s will and not my plan.

Wouldn’t it be great if we can remove the color of hate and change that color to love? If we only painted ourselves as God intended us to be – colors of peace and joy and leave behind the drama colors, or colors of shame.

The Vatican II documents define true freedom as not doing what we want to do but in being who God created us to be.

Personally I am still in process of removing layers and fixing my image as God intended. Always in process. Some change came with meeting my Jesus friends and sharing faith journeys.  God Himself has stepped in many times to guide and direct and gives me the grace to change. Reading Scared Scripture has helped my to hear God’s word and what He says about me.

As always there is more reflection needed, and as I live out my day may I continue to seek mercy, give mercy, love, offer up the pains and celebrate the joys.

Favorite Scripture – Hebrews 11

This scripture reading has always been a place of strength.   Listing those who lived by faith.  Abraham packed up everything and started walking.  Maybe because I left my home to move to St. Louis I identified with his faith

Hebrews 11:8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed the call to set out for a country that was the inheritance given to him and his descendants, and that he set out without knowing where he was going.

It is only with faith that I can do the things God ask, not because of results seen but because God promised it.

Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, before receiving any of the things that had been promised, but they saw them in the far distance and welcomed them, recognising that they were only strangers and nomads on earth.

In faith I know God is always walking with me and the promised land is Heaven.  The road is sometimes smooth and other times rough.

I think not only of the faith of those listed in Hebrews, but of all the Saints and of my own ancestors who sacrificed so that I had my faith given to me as a gift — at baptism.

Walking in faith for me has included blessings and sacrifices.  Faith meant letting go of things I felt previous. The hardest was moving in 1986 to St Louis. My niece who I adore was 4 years old. I missed her terribly. But I believed God called me away.

Faith also meant forgiving and saying I am sorry. My mind wanted to do the logical thing and wanted to do what seemed fair. But God is in charge of fair and mercy. He directs me to show mercy. So in faith I go to reconciliation (confession) and in faith have forgiven those who hurt me. In faith saying sorry to those I hurt.

Faith.   It came from reading scripture, going to church, having friends who are believers, reading the stories of the saints and practicing.  Just doing what God asked, whether it seemed fair or just or possible.

Yes I have messed up but the goal is the promised land. So if I get side tracked I head back to the right path.  If I fall off the path all the knowledge of faith brings me back.

That is my reflection as I sit waiting for my car today.

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