#Cathy

Not Putting Away Christmas

I walk around my home this week after Epiphany and say to myself “Well, time to put away Christmas.” I pause and think, no I am never putting away Christmas. Maybe physically, take down the lights, tuck away the Nativity set and pack up all the decorations. But the true meaning of Christmas, that God chose to send his son into my life and your life, will never be packed up, taken down or tucked away except into a special place in my heart. This New Year will bring us a challenge once again to bring the light and love of Christmas into each and every day.  Can we add this resolution, to be receptive to encounter everyday epiphanies and see the sacred in everything? That will truly be a gift for 2018!  “Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.” John Milton

by Cathy

Peace-Filled Gifts

I have had the blessings of soaking in many wonderful books, songs and media resources over the years. Many years ago on my own personal faith journey, I realized what I take in is what I give out. What I allow to come over the bow of my ship effects everything I do and say. There are so many wonderful ways to take in peace for our hearts and souls. It is not about more information, it is all about transformation. As Fr. Richard Rohr writes, “transformed people, transform people.” We allow that to happen when we open our hearts to the many gifts offered us by others. Gifts of good music, inspired writing, uplifting podcasts (see below), they all have the capacity to transform our souls.

by Cathy

Podcasts/daily devotionals – https://www.wordonfire.org/

App for phone daily prayer – https://www.pray-as-you-go.org/home/

Piano Guys Christmas- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyVEKsNFDjw

 

Practicing Peacemaking

This Christmas season I am always reminded of the many needs of our community and our world. We have the poor, homeless, neglected and the marginalized living among us. I recently shared with some friends about our family’s Christmas giving idea. Each year we all choose one of our favorite philanthropies. We tell each other via a family email and when someone wants to give us a Christmas gift we ask them to donate to that philanthropy. It is a gesture of bringing peace and dignity to another human being. When we gather on Christmas Day, we each share why we chose that philanthropy and possibly a story relating to serving in that philanthropy from the past year. It is a very powerful time when the focus is not about ripping off wrapping paper but all about wrapping up others with our love.

by Cathy

Full of Grace

Today we turn our thoughts to Mary, the Mother of Jesus and our spiritual mother, a woman whose life was all about grace. From the moment of her conception, she accepted the gift of grace freely given to her. It is the same grace offered to us each day as well. Mary’s life is not just dogmas of our church; she was a real person that is still very much present in our lives today. She never got ahead of God’s grace; she cooperated with it, knowing there would be sufficient amounts given for each day. This is the miracle and mystery of grace: we will always have all that we need. That simple thought fills me with peace. So now like Mary, we wait and ponder and ask the simple question, how will we birth the holy in our life this Advent season?

By Cathy

Soul-Tending

As Advent approaches, I feel my soul needing some tending to. I am thankful for this “sacred pause” that our church invites us to enter into. It’s a time for making sacred space so God can enter into our lives in a new and mysterious way. There is no special formula for how to do Advent. It is all Spirit-led if we allow the Spirit to help us in our waiting and fill us with a deep joy that no one can ever take away from us. This quote says it best, “To soul tend does not mean we do the work. Our souls are the work of the Gardener. But I believe we have to connect to the Holy to do that. We have to let the Gardener dig around our roots.. throw out the stones and twigs and clogs of clay; to fertilize with sacred time, and thoughts, and community.” So I will look for ways this Advent to allow the Gardener to tend to my soul so that I may better tend to the soul of others.

by Cathy

Broken and Glorious

“As I walked down the avenue, the late afternoon sun was turning the lovely and dying sycamore leaves into fragments of brilliant stained glass, and I said to myself, “This alone is worth the price of admission to our broken and glorious world.” Linda Larrson

Reading this quote today a few things resonated deeply within me. This author is living in a place of gratitude, being able to see the beauty around her while not denying the brokenness that is present in this world on many levels. It is so easy to fall into stagnant puddles of cynicism, judgment, and apathy. But no, we have Hope with a capital H in the person of Jesus. It challenged me to continue to go forward knowing not all will ever be perfect but there is glory, God’s glory, if we look for it and be part of sharing that hopeful message with the world.

by Cathy

Even the Sparrows

Out hiking, I noticed from a distance this birdhouse someone had placed in the canyon. Knowing that yes, even the birds need a place to call home, a place to rest from the elements. The scripture Matthew 6:26 came to mind: “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” A synonym for valuable is precious, something of great value. Do you often think of how precious you are to God? If our God can care for these tiniest of creatures, we can be thankful that this great love extends to us as well. Driving home that day these song lyrics played on my radio,”If He can hold the world He can hold this moment. Not a field or flower escapes His notice, Oh even the sparrow knows He holds tomorrow.” Coincidence? I don’t think so.

by Cathy

You Are Loved

I was out hiking the other day and I came upon this message hanging from a pine tree. I am always amazed when another pilgrim on this road of life takes the time and intentionally leaves a message of encouragement and hope, someone that comes out of his or her own little world or existence to expand the love of a bigger world. Love means simply to will the good of another. I am grateful this day that I am loved deeply by a very personal God so I send this message to all of you to never forget how much you are loved as well. “To show great love for God and our neighbor we need not do great things. It is how much love we put into doing that makes our offering something beautiful for God.” St. Teresa of Calcutta

by Cathy