Saturday, October 21, 2017

A giving heart (Victor Hugo)

 The spirit is enriched by what it receives, the heart by what it gives.

  L’esprit s’enrichit de ce qu’il reçoit,
le cœur de ce qu’il donne.

--Victor Hugo

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 22, 2017: Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God...

Do we give the best of ourselves to God? 

   When, in Matthew’s Gospel the Herodians and Pharisees gang up on Jesus, asking him, Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar, or not?, Jesus knows that their question is meant to trip him up.  It is also profoundly misguided.  In actuality, the Pharisees and Herodians have themselves invested in the Roman empire, the very empire they seek a messiah to save them from; in so doing, they have lost sight of the essential question, which is, what does God ask of you?  Repay to God what belongs to God, Jesus says.  In other words, make of your life a blessing; do no malicious acts.  Make your life itself a tribute to God before all else.  Coins are of little interest when compared with God’s currency, a currency the men confronting Jesus simply do not understand.

   We are made by God to be stewards of the gifts God gives us.  Even the foreign king Cyrus, in the Book of Isaiah, allows God to work through him, God’s anointed, sending the Israelites home so that they might rebuild the temple where they can pray to God on Cyrus’ behalf.  Our bodies, our very lives, are God’s gifts; Psalm 96 reminds us that we must return those gifts, transformed, back to God:  Bring gifts, and enter his courts.  We must therefore ask ourselves daily, What gifts has God invested me with, that I might best serve him?  Yet service to God is not without cost:  the Thessalonians have engaged in a true work of faith and labor of love to maintain their Christian community, and Paul commends them on their endurance and persistent hope.  They have put their gifts to the service of God; they have invested their entire lives in proclaiming God’s kingdom.

   Our treasure is not money; our treasure is our very selves.  If our lives are God’s gift to us, then our goal must be to take that gift and put it to service, proclaiming the kingdom of God.  These are our first fruits, the best we have to give – to return to the generous, awesome and wondrous God who gifts us with life. 

This post is based on Fr. Pat’s Scripture class.
Image source:  Wordle

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pray as though... (St. Augustine)

Pray as though everything depended on God. 
Work as though everything depended on you. 

--St. Augustine                         

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other (JJ Grey)

 He never missed a day of work, always had a kind word 
Four buttons on a worn out shirt, but neatly cleaned and pressed 
He couldn’t read or write,  
but never failed to see a sight or hear a sound, 
A triumph in this life to watch it all go by – with a smile. 
All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other 
His son died young, his daughter as deaf as stone 
His castle a shotgun house, an easy chair his throne 
He’d work from day to night  
and in the evening he’d feel its bite of pain 
But every sunrise he’d greet it all with open arms and love – 
for all that is. 

All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other  
Many thought him simple, but so few see the truth 
So loud we live that we can’t feel the glory anymore 
And then I heard he died but all I could feel was the joy, oh the joy 
All that is, all that has been, all we have is each other 
All that is, all that will be, all we have is each other 

You know it’s not a shame, no, it’s not a shame 
To be loved in this life, and to love in this life… 

To hear The Ballad of Larry Webb performed by JJ Grey, click on the video below:

Monday, October 16, 2017

The grace of God (Eugene O'Neill)

 Man is born broken.  
 He lives by mending.  
 The grace of God is the glue.

 --Eugene O’Neill 
(born October 16, 1888) 

 Image source :  A bowl repaired using the Japanese art of kintsugi, whereby cracks are filled with gold --  the object is more valuable because it has been broken.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Kindness (Naomi Shibab Nye)

  Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know  
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

--Naomi Shihab Nye            

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fear and faith (Mitch Albom)

 What we give 
to fear, 
we take away 
from faith. 

 --Mitch Albom 

Quotation source:  
Busted Halo, 7/6/2017