Friday, October 30, 2009


I forget from year to year just how much I enjoy fall...the panorama of color, the falling temps and blustery winds, the collage of leaves shellacked by the frequent rain.

Today I felt a familiar thanksgiving as I walked through a carpet of vibrantly yellow ginko leaves. Their fanlike shapes never fail to amuse me, but their branch structure is even more hilarious with its randomness.

I'm grateful today because I got through yesterday and so far I'm getting through today. And like the ginko with its odd quirkiness, my life is full of the unexpected: unanticipated urgent needs from my family experiencing sickness and other trials, concern about my son's welfare when he's studying half a world away.

So I take time right now to thank the Lord for his grace that sustains me, for his word that lights my path, and for all the wonderful gifts he lavishes on us, including ginkos.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Why blog?

We blog to hear ourselves thinking as much as to share our thoughts. When I look back at what I've written, it's like revisiting that moment, relearning the lesson, remembering...

I've been helping one of my children to work through some sensitive family relationships. It's been painful for both of us to assess what needs to be said, or not said, but mostly for my son to work through that situation.

Today the Mass readings were about Elijah being renewed by God, fortified with food and water to journey on to Horeb and continue God's work with the Israelites.

When the consecration took place a few minutes after this reading, the elevation of the sacred bread reminded me of the hearth cake that Elijah was given to eat. How blessed we are that Christ makes himself available in the Eucharist to us every day...sustenance for our journey.

Elijah was given water to drink. Why then do we receive wine, Christ's blood? To remind us of God's mercy in offering his life for us.

We, too, are fortified for the day's journey but it doesn't end there because we are called to feed and have mercy on those present in our lives.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday mornings do this to me...

I had a good talk with my husband yesterday evening and while I was sitting in church today some more thoughts came to mind. Our large congregation includes many young families. Most Sundays my attention to the service is interspersed with noticing the children's antics and parents doing their best to love and care for them.

In our backyard I have had a flower garden for many years. There are a few annuals and many perennials, including an area of nameless (because I've forgotten what they're called) "volunteer" plants which have seeded themselves year after year. At this stage of the summer they produce small flowers that are pumpkin-shaped and vivid orange.

Yesterday as I was deadheading some of my flowers, I broke off one of the little jack o'lanterns just to enjoy its shape and texture. It has a papery skin and when you break through it, there is empty space with a small globe inside. The globe is moist and full of seeds. I was struck by the beauty of its design and simplicity of its life cycle.

As I moved through my garden, cutting some things back for fall, I noticed that many of the flower varieties that have finished blooming are now drying out and looking dead. What's not apparent is that they are hard at work producing seeds for next year's growth. Nature overcompensates in this regard. Many more seeds are produced than ever grow into plants.

Human life parallels plant life in this respect; abundant seed in both man and woman produces a relatively small number of new human beings.

My husband and I had been talking about human life and the Father's infinitesimal knowledge of and deep personal love for each of us...even those of us who never taste life on earth.

The readings today were about being sustained by God's generous gifts--manna, loaves and fishes, sacrificial giving. The abundance evident in nature and human life is reflective of God's generosity, who not only gave us life but also walks with us as companion through our days.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

What if we were born with a personal GPS system, a kind of spiritual guidance mechanism, to warn us throughout our lives when we’re heading in the wrong direction?

“Danger--Poor choice, dead end, unpleasant consequences ahead. Turn left 180 degrees and increase speed...” or something like that? That’s what Paul Doyle asked us to consider today.

Very helpful for those of us who don’t pay attention to movements of grace or the lack of its presence in our lives.

Despite our best intentions, our attention wanders mercilessly, till we’re going through the motions of living instead of listening/looking for opportunities of grace. One reason prayer is so important is because it forces us to stop, allows us to ponder what we wouldn’t even notice otherwise.

So today I will stop myself again and try to feel it blowing, to be lifted up beyond what I see/how I see with my landlocked eyes/mind.

Thursday, May 7, 2009


It’s only 12:02! Darting out of the meeting, grabbing keys and heading for the door. Slogging round the detours, passing by the guard house, going round the golf course, Grotto, parking, climbing up then going down the stairs to the crypt. Everybody’s standing. Made it.

Beckoning call that I listen for. Solace to my soul. Unabashedly drawn to...

the Mass. Grace builds upon grace. Hollow longing when I miss it. Shhhh--calm myself to hear the word. Shaking off the cares that weigh me. You satisfy the hungry... finest Wheat.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"No creature can content itself"

In looking for models to imitate in trying to live Christian life day-by-day, I've always admired the saints who had a "more with less" approach, that is, they chose to leave behind stability, comfort, physical or emotional support, so that they could have more of the Lord in their lives. My thinking was that even if I could only make small, insignificant offerings to God, it would reduce some of the crowding inside of me and create more room for God's presence.

But with stress in my life growing and Lent over, this week I gave myself a bit of a reprieve, just to cope, I thought.

Then I read Friday's commentary on the readings in Magnificat:

"No creature can content itself. Our only hope of genuine fulfillment is for us to take that risk and recognize that our joy is outside ourselves. And that is to hunger." It goes on to say that the emptiness that comes from poverty and meekness teaches us to long for what we ultimately desire...and it teaches us how to wait.

So if we can empty ourselves in our search for God, He will increase our desire for Him infinitely, stretching our lives to the limit.