Thursday, October 22, 2020

Sunday Gospel Reflection, October 22, 2020: You shall love the Lord, your God, and your neighbor as yourself...

What does right relationship look like?

   When, in the Book of Exodus, God establishes his covenant with the people, God mandates social laws that prescribe the compassionate care of those less fortunate.  Widows, orphans, resident aliens, the poor:  all of these live in a state of utter dependence, and the compassion the people should extend to them has its origin in God himself.  If your neighbor cries out to me, I will hear him, for I am compassionate, God tells the people.  The people must live in right relationship with other – with neighbors and alien residents alike – in order to live in right relationship with God.  Moreover, to be in right relationship with God makes life extraordinary because it means that God is involved in our lives, supports us, and blesses us, as Psalm 18 recognizes: I love you, O Lord, my strength, O Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer.  We are to embrace our absolute dependence on God and, in it, our absolute love for God, our foundation in all things, a love that flows out from us to other.

   That love for God and for other is at the center of Jesus’ response to the Pharisees, who challenge him in Matthew’s Gospel to identify the greatest commandment.  His response is the Shema Yisrael:  You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  No aspect of our self is excused from relationship with God; we are to love with the whole of our being.  And that absolute love for God is the context for loving our neighbor as ourselves thanks to that love that overflows abundantly to other.  The Thessalonians were, in this sense, a model for all believers; their embrace of the kingdom, their acceptance of God’s perfect love, allowed them to give witness to that love.  From them the word of the Lord sounded forth as a joyful witness to the blessings to be found in right relationship with God and with other.  May we give similar witness to the power of that love in our lives and the joy it brings to be in right relationship with the Lord.

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

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

You are there (Loyola Institute for Spirituality)

God of Goodness,

   I come into your presence so aware of my human frailty and yet overwhelmed by your love for me.

   I thank you that there is no human experience that I might walk through where your love cannot reach me.

   If I climb the highest mountain you are there and yet if I find myself in the darkest valley of my life, you are there.

   Teach me today to love you more.

   Help me to rest in that love that asks nothing more than the simple trusting heart of a child.

--Author unknown,
shared on Facebook by the Loyola Institute for Spirituality

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Finding God in mosquitoes (Cara Callbeck)

   I think we struggle more to find God in the everyday nuisances like mosquitoes – like children who keep losing things, bad traffic, or an irritating co-worker.  It seems as though the harder life gets or the darker the moment, the more challenging it is to find God within it.

   Why do we tend to put God outside of bad experiences and dark moments, even though that’s where we need God most?  God keeps faith forever, though, so I know He is undoubtedly in those moments, even when we fail to recognise Him.  It’s when we do recognise God in the nuisances and in the darker times that we can find greater comfort and strength to get through those moments.  If we can learn to find God in the not-so-great every day, perhaps it will build our trust that God is with us when things are looking really bleak.

--Cara Callbeck

Monday, October 19, 2020

Did you find God? (Donna Ciangio OP)

  I recently heard a lovely story of a small boy who packs his backpack with Twinkies and juice boxes and goes to leave the house.

  His Mom says, Where are you going?  The boy says, I am going to find God.  So off he goes.

  He ends up in a local park and sits on a bench next to a homeless woman.

  He takes out a Twinkie and a juice box and starts to unwrap them.

  The woman watches and smiles at him and he laughs and offers her a Twinkie and a juice box.  They both eat, talk, laugh, and enjoy each other.

  Soon, the boy says goodbye and sets off for home.  The woman leaves and goes off to find her friends.

  When the boy gets home, his mother asks, Did you find God?

  He says enthusiastically, Yes, and God is a woman!

  The homeless woman meets up with her friends and says, I met God in the park today – and he is a little boy!  […]

We bring Christ wherever we are.

--Donna Ciangio, OP

Sunday, October 18, 2020

To find God (Becky Eldredge)

  There are the thin places that occur in my life that are unique, special places that I do not get to visit very often, but when I do, the felt presence of God is almost overwhelming. Many of mine are places in nature, such as the beach, my grandparents’ farm, and being in the North Georgia Mountains, and they invite me to understand the vastness and creative power of our creator.  As I stand and soak in the beauty of nature these places offer, I also find that I understand that my mere presence in life is but one piece of God’s magnificent, ongoing creative work.

  Over time, I [have begun] to realize that there are some very basic rhythms and routines of my life that allowed me to readily and easily find God:  snuggling with my daughter, Abby, while sipping my morning coffee; sitting down to lunch with my kids after preschool to hear about their day; reading to my kids and our night time ritual of prayer; and savoring the few quieter moments with my hubby after the last door of my kids’ room was closed.  I was surprised to find that the rhythms of my life are spotted with moments that easily allow me to find God.  Without realizing it, these moments are checkpoints to see how the ones I love are doing and even more importantly, still points that allow me to savor the gifts in my life and to deepen my awareness of God in all things.

--Becky Eldredge, Thin Places         

Saturday, October 17, 2020

May the Master reveal His divine presence (St. Elizabeth of the Trinity)

   May the Master reveal to you His divine presence – it is so pleasant and sweet, it gives so much strength to the soul; to believe that God loves us to the point of living in us, to become the Companion of our exile, our Confidant, our Friend at every moment.

--St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Image source:  William Brassey Hole, Jesus and Nicodemus,

Friday, October 16, 2020

God will become known to us (Henri Nouwen)

      Deep silence leads us to realize that prayer is, above all, acceptance.  When we pray, we are standing with our hands open to the world.  We know that God will become known to us in the nature around us, in people we meet, and in situations we run into. We trust that the world holds God’s secret within and we expect that secret to be shown to us.  Prayer creates that openness in which God is given to us.  Indeed, God wants to be admitted into the human heart, received with open hands, and loved with the same love with which we have been created.
--Henri Nouwen