A mother in today’s Gospel for the feast of St. James asks Jesus to let her two sons, James and John, sit by his side in the Kingdom. Jesus responds with a question to the two sons: “Can you drink the cup that I am to drink?” We can imagine the two men affirming that they can, perhaps with a show of bravado. And perhaps the mother added some proofs of her sons’ loyalty and strength.
Switch to another mother, the mother of Jesus. When it was time for Jesus to leave home and begin his mission, did Mary say to him, “Jesus, my son, can you drink the cup?” Jesus didn’t need to respond with words. Their eyes met, and both knew that they would both experience the cup of suffering. And you and me? Can we drink of the cup?
“Ugh! Another bad hair day!” was my thought as I looked into the mirror. Then I tossed back my unmanageable locks and said to myself, “Well, certainly you can find something good in the mirror.”
What if I would write along the perimeter of my mirror, “Looking like Christ”? Or what if I would draw an outline of Christ’s face in the middle of the mirror? I would ask, “How much am I resembling Christ?” The Incarnation of Christ means that Jesus Christ is the perfect realization of what is potentially embedded in human nature, that is, union with the divine. Whatever bears the imprint of the Trinity—that’s us!—also is united with the divine. Now that’s a great look-alike even on a bad hair day!
The following conversation was part of our migrant ministry this past week:
Tutor: What is this vocabulary word?
Tutor: And what does “bless” mean?
Student: It’s when someone puts God in your heart.
What wisdom we can glean from children! Who has blessed you recently? How will you bless another in the coming week?
The Son (Sun) of God shines upon us and through us. The evidence that God is shining upon us is our shadow. We would have no shadow without God’s radiating benevolence. “Shadow” is not used here as a Jungian term, the repressed side of us. No, “shadow” is the residue of God, the stuff of God that “happens” when we are at one with God. Just as Jesus’ shadow fell upon the sick, we cannot prevent our shadows from falling upon the ground on a sunny day. And who would want to prevent our spiritual shadows from falling upon the ground when God is shining upon us?
I’m never so full that I can’t enjoy blueberry pie, coconut candy, lemon meringue, berries and ice cream, or anything else that’s sweet. While some have a sweet tooth, I boast a whole mouthful of sweet teeth. There’s always room for dessert.
In my life of prayer, too, I long for the sweets, and God may set before me dainties. For example, the time of prayer goes quickly, I am moved by a religious song, I feel very loved by God, and I may even hear the voice of God. These mystical experiences are the desserts in our Christian diet. Such spiritual “highs” are God’s way of drawing us closer. Once we experience them, we want more. There’s always room for such spiritual “desserts.”
This morning at Mass, I had one of those “These Scripture readings were chosen just for me” moments. The Gospel from Matthew reminds us:
“Do not worry about how to speak or what to say; what you are to say will be given to you when the time comes; because it isnot you who will be speaking; the Spirit of your Father will be speaking in you.”
As we begin our three days of Province meetings today, I’m hoping I can keep this counsel in mind. How different all of our conversations would be each day if I would only trust God to speak in and through me AND trust that God is speaking in and through everyone else.
How will you allow God to speak in you today?
Today we celebrate St. Benedict. He reformed the way monks–and we–pray the Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office). He chose the “Lite Psalter” method of fewer psalms and shorter hours (prayers prayed periodically throughout the day). Before his reform some monks would claim “One for the strong!” meaning they would allow themselves only one hour of sleep, giving 23 hours to prayer. In this way they felt they followed Jesus’ dictum to “pray always.” To stay awake they prayed 150 psalms, the whole Psalter.
Another interpretation of “pray always” is to punctuate our day with prayer. I’d much rather do that! Today be like Benedict. Pray fewer prayers, but fully engage in prayer. Also try saying a short prayer before beginning the next activity, or use down times like waiting on the computer or emptying the dishwasher as times of prayer.
17 Sisters of Notre Dame … 955 years of service to God’s people … one tremendous celebration of God’s faithful love and our Sisters’ faith-filled response! If anyone would ask me what is my favorite day in community life, I would have to say it is definitely community jubilee day. Generosity abounds in the preparations. Joy is contagious; laughter echoes everywhere. It’s a day to give thanks for the gift of one another in our community. When I was a young Sister, I was awed by the many years my Sisters had spent in serving God. I wondered if I would ever arrive at such a day. Now that I’m years beyond my silver jubilee, I am even more awed by God’s faithful love. When we renew our vows, we trust in Our Lady’s help and the prayers and support of our Sisters to sustain us. Today we celebrate that gift in 17 wonderful women of God. Thank you, Sisters, for blessing us with your lives! Bring on the celebration!
We had a great time yesterday with many of our Sisters coming together for our annual Fourth of July picnic at Lial. While the heat kept most people indoors (except for those who couldn’t resist the pool!), a few did venture out to do the grilling for our evening meal. We’re grateful they were willing to “take the heat” for our benefit!
I sometimes wonder about how much I take for granted when it comes to freedom and democracy, standard of living, and the many blessings that I experience each day. Even in the midst of the aftermath of the storms this past week, I was blessed to have a home, electricity, food and a place to cool off in the excessive heat. Days like this when we celebrate these many gifts call me to a twofold action: 1) I, like Mary, acknowledge that all I have received is because of God’s goodness and love, and 2) I renew my commitment to prayer and action for those who are subject to the effects of poverty and injustice.
A Happy and Grateful Fourth of July to all!