To have vision

“Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained,
But happy is he who keeps the law.”
Proverbs 29:18 (NASB)

“True mystics are not necessarily those who have visions, but rather those who have vision. They see the extraordinary, the mystical, in everyday events. If we desire such vision, we will have to give our brains a bath! Our minds must be cleansed of prejudgments about what God looks like. We will have to take a brush and scrub away all those grade school pictures of God and erase all the statements made by saints about their experience of the Divine Mystery. Only then can we begin to see the true picture.” ~From In Pursuit of the Great White Rabbit by Edward Hays

Heavenly Father, give me the vision this day to see the extraordinary in the everyday moments of my life. Help me to see this world and You as You truly would have me see. Amen.

Called

Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. ~John 12:20-26 (CEB)

“What has your attention at this very moment? This readying? Perhaps, but we all know that we can give modest attention to several things at once. We eat, read, and listen for the phone all at the same time. When our search for something consumes all our energy and all our faculties, everything else fades away and disappears. Even a ringing phone goes unanswered when we are seeking to give answer to another call deep within. What are you searching for that consumes all your energy and attention? The quest for God is a search worthy of such all-consuming passion and energy. The biblical record indicates that such a search is always generously rewarded.

Jesus asked two of John’s disciples (John 1:38) what they were looking for and invited them to come and see where and how he lived. The desire to know and be near to God has been placed within as an invitation to a lifelong quest for companionship with the divine. And yet, from personal experience we know that sometimes we look in all the wrong places. These disciples of Jesus were invited to continue their search where Jesus was and not where he was not. Our directions are certainly as plain as theirs are.

What are you looking for today and where will your search be successful? The quest for God is always successful when carried out where God is to be found. Where shall we begin our search? The deep inner rooms of our own soul, sacred scriptures, the book of history, current events, the lives of the saints, the poor and oppressed seeking our compassion, and the creation itself offer places where God has been most readily found in the past. Today pay attention to what has your undivided attention and follow the clues to a closer walk with God.” ~Rueben P. Job, A Guide to All Who Seek God

Almighty God, grant that in my worship of You this day that I may present my body as a living sacrifice, holy, and acceptable to You. By the power of Your holy spirit make me strong to follow Your will this day. In the name of Christ. Amen.

Enslaved

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romas 12:2 (ESV)

“The action of those whose lives are given to the Spirit has in it something of the leisure of Eternity; and because of this, they achieve far more than those whose lives are enslaved by the rush and hurry, the unceasing tick-tick of the world. In the spiritual life it is very important to get our timing right. Otherwise we tend to forget the God, Who is greater than our heart, is greater than our job too. It is only when we have learnt all that this means that we possess the key to the Kingdom of Heaven.” ~From The Spiritual Life by Evelyn Underhill

Almighty God, sometimes I get so busy with the things that need to get done that I forget what is most important in life. You. You are bigger than all my worries, You are bigger than all my troubles. You know my heart. Guide me in the direction that I need to go this day to connect more fully with You. Amen.

Acceptance and delight

After looking at the way things are on this earth, here’s what I’ve decided is the best way to live: Take care of yourself, have a good time, and make the most of whatever job you have for as long as God gives you life. And that’s about it. That’s the human lot. Yes, we should make the most of what God gives, both the bounty and the capacity to enjoy it, accepting what’s given and delighting in the work. It’s God’s gift! God deals out joy in the present, the now. It’s useless to brood over how long we might live. ~Ecc. 5:18-20 (MSG)

“If I am not at home with myself I won’t feel at home anywhere else. It is such a delight to come home to myself, to become my own friend. I experienced this kind of homecoming once when I was living alone. Under the guise of ministering to others I had become alienated from myself. In my everyday maddening ministerial rush I suddenly discovered myself eating on the run- grabbing a sandwich and eating it while standing up or going out to the door. The violence of this great irreverence to myself suddenly occurred to me. I was not at home with myself. It took a while to slow down, but I was finally able to make a decision to spend time with myself. I began to experience the joy of being with me. I put a flower on the table, lit a candle, turned on soft music, ate slowly. I learned the joy of simply being with myself without rushing. It was like taking myself out to dinner. It was a kind of coming home to myself. When you can lovingly be present to yourself, your presence to others takes on a deeper quality also.” ~From A Tree Full of Angels by Macrina Wiederkehr

Heavenly Father, help me to slow down today. Help me to take care of myself, to take time to laugh and to do my best whatever task I may be about. Help me this day to make the most of what You give me and the ability to fully enjoy it. Amen.

Finding the time

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~Phil. 4:13

“How often people today cry out in exasperation or despair, ‘I just don’t have enough time!’ There is so much to do: earn a living, fulfill a vocation, nurture relationships, car for dependents, exercise, clean the house. Moreover, we hope to maintain sanity while doing all this, and to keep growing faithful and loving people at the same time. We are finite, and the demands seem too great, the time too short. . . .

Puritan Sabbath keepers agreed that ‘good Sabbaths make good Christians.’ They meant that regular, disciplined attention to the spiritual life was the foundation of faithfulness. Another dimension of the saying opens up if we imagine a worshiping community helping one another step off the treadmill of work-and-spend and into the circle of glad gratitude for the gifts of God. Taken this way, good Sabbaths make good Christians by regularly reminding us of God’s creative, liberation, and redeeming presence, not only in words but also through a practice we do together in response to that presence. ~From “Keeping Sabbath” by Dorothy C. Bass in Practicing Our Faith

Help me this day O Lord, to be faithful to You in all I do. Help me to step off the treadmill of life so that I may be grateful for the gifts You have placed in my life. Amen.

Finding time

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.”

The Lord answered, ” Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.” ~Luke 10:38-42

“When the Master invited the Governor to practice meditation and the Governor said he was too busy, this is the reply he got: ‘You put me in mind of a man walking blindfolded into the jungle- and being too busy to take the blindfold off.’

When the Governor pleaded lack of time, the Master said, ‘It is a mistake to think that meditation cannot be practiced for lack of time. The real reason is agitation of the mind.’ ~From Taking Flight by Anthony de Mello

Heavenly Father, Help me to not be overly busy this day. Help me to make time for You for I know when I make time for You, so much more of my day falls into place. Amen.

Dark night

My God! My God,

why have you left me all alone?

Why are you so far from saving me—

so far from my anguished groans?

My God, I cry out during the day,

but you don’t answer;

even at nighttime I don’t stop.

~Psalm 22:1-2 (CEB)

“We may say that there are three reasons for which this journey made by the soul to union with God is called night. The first has to do with the point from which the soul goes forth, for it has gradually to deprive itself of desire for all the worldly tings which it possessed by denying them to itself; the which denial and deprivation are, as it were, night to all the senses of man. The second reason has to do with the mean, or the road along which the soul must travel to this union- that is, faith, which is likewise as dark as night to understanding. The third has to do with the point to which it travels- namely, God, Who, equally, is dark night to the soul in this life. These three nights must pass through the soul- or, rather, the soul must pass through them- in order that it may come to Divine union with God.” ~From Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross

Heavenly Father, when I find myself adrift and alone, guide me back into Your light. May all my travels find me closer to Divine union with You. Amen.

In this moment

“Therefore, I say to you, don’t worry about your life, what you’ll eat or what you’ll drink, or about your body, what you’ll wear. Isn’t life more than food and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds in the sky. They don’t sow seed or harvest grain or gather crops into barns. Yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth much more than they are? Who among you by worrying can add a single moment to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? Notice how the lilies in the field grow. They don’t wear themselves out with work, and they don’t spin cloth. But I say to you that even Solomon in all of his splendor wasn’t dressed like one of these. If God dresses grass in the field so beautifully, even though it’s alive today and tomorrow it’s thrown into the furnace, won’t God do much more for you, you people of weak faith? Therefore, don’t worry and say, ‘What are we going to eat?’ or ‘What are we going to drink?’ or ‘What are we going to wear?’ Gentiles long for all these things. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them. Instead, desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore, stop worrying about tomorrow, because tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~Matt. 6:25-34 (CEB)

“As we grow older, we tend to become  control freaks. We need to control everybody and everything, moment by moment, to be happy. If the now has never been full or sufficient, we will always be grasping, even addictive or obsessive. If you’re pushing yourself and others around, you have not yet found the secret of happiness. It’s okay as it is. This moment is as perfect as it can be. The saints called it the ‘sacrament of the present moment.'”~From Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

Heavenly Father, Help me to live in this moment. Help me not to be in a rush for tomorrow to come or blinded by my past regrets. Help me to see the beauty and joy that You have sent my way for this day. Amen.

Friend to my soul

When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over. “So he went in to stay with them. After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”

They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread. ~Luke 24:28-35 (CEB)

“I didn’t want it to happen but it did. Before I knew it, anxiety found its way into my restless heart and robbed me of the peace promised to all who place their trust in God. Ah, so that is the reason for my anxious heart: I forgot to trust in God!

Many demands upon our time and many opportunities waiting to be explored often fill our lives too full with activities and distractions. When this happens it is not surprising that we grow anxious and lose out sense of peace and tranquility. Today remember that God and God alone is able to care for all that exists; we can trust our smallest and largest concern to the wisdom and love of God. Peace, hope calm, and joy are the fruits of placing our confidence in God. May these gifts be yours in abundance.” ~Rueben P. Job, A Guide to Prayer for All Who Seek God

Almighty God, You who are the source of my life, strength, and ministry. In Your presence alone I find help, hope, and life. Send me out as a healing reminder of Your love to all whose lives I touch this day. I offer this prayer in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

To see Christ in the world

Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus:

Though he was in the form of God,

he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.

But he emptied himself

by taking the form of a slave

and by becoming like human beings.

When he found himself in the form of a human,

he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,

even death on a cross.

Therefore, God highly honored him

and gave him a name above all names,

so that at the name of Jesus everyone

in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow

and every tongue confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ~Phil. 2:5-11 (CEB)

“For many of us . . . the great and poignant challenge is precisely to see God on earth. . . . We labor to discern meaning in the mess of hectic days, to find God in the torque of stressful work, demanding family life, and complicated friendships. And when the days of travail are upon us, when suffering consumes our energy and despair spreads its unwelcome scent around us, how can we live faithfully before God in the chaos of God’s apparent absence? Paul’s image is apt: We see God on earth as if through a glass mirror, but darkly (1Cor. 13:12). It is not simply that what we are able to see is a mere reflection of the real thing. This reflection is also distorted, obscure, maddeningly enigmatic.

Jesus lived to its fullest our pained bewilderment. A terrible longing to see God surges through those shattering words the crucified Messiah recalled from the Psalter: ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ (Matt. 27:46; Ps. 22:1). This cry of desolation, unthinkable from him who so intimately knew God as ‘Abba,’ reveals how completely Jesus is one with us in our need to see God nearby when the mists of the incomprehensible or intolerable overtake us. But more is revealed in Jesus’ anguish than his solidarity with suffering humanity. His darkening passage into death illumines with the intensity of a lightning bolt God’s pledge to be unconditionally present for us. In that molten moment, the cross of God’s most intense presence, the birthplace of a new creation. In this new creation, the One who chose to become one with us establishes the astonishing possibility of our becoming one with the risen Christ. By grace through faith, we may even share the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16; Phil 2:5) and therefore also begin to see life with the vision of Christ. As we experience a deepening participation in the mind of Christ, our capacity to see God on earth is expanded, although not without continued struggle.” ~From “Editor’s Introduction” by John S. Mogabgab in Weavings March/April 1998

Lord Jesus, You demonstrated faithfulness in all of life, even to death on the cross. Grant unto me grace and strength to follow you faithfully all the days of my life. Amen.

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