Wednesday, January 26, 2011

All Things Begin With "Yes"

"Dear children! Also today I am with you and I am looking at you and blessing you, and I am not losing hope that this world will change for the good and that peace will reign in the hearts of men. Joy will begin to reign in the world because you have opened yourselves to my call and to God’s love. The Holy Spirit is changing a multitude of those who have said ‘yes’. Therefore I desire to say to you: thank you for having responded to my call." BVM, January 25, 2011 Message to Marija

True, maximum freedom does not mean saying No. It means saying yes, opening up and conforming one’s will to that of God. 1

All beginnings start with yes and there are as many opportunities to start over as there are new days in our lives. Each day Jesus calls us to follow him just like he called Simon Peter, Andrew and the other disciples. He calls us, ordinary people, to do extraordinary things in his name. He calls us to bring hope to a world that has little hope and love to those that have little love.

By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35

Adam, who stands in for humanity, “thought that No was the top of freedom; only someone who says No is truly free, and so says No to God.”2

Mary on the other hand said “let it be done to me according to your word.” She said yes!

God of all people, help us to live this day in joyful hope. Grant us the grace to see it as a gift from you to be shared with those you send our way. Thank you for Mother Mary, the lodestar of this new day, clothed with the sun and the moon at her feet. Her “yes” to You continues to lead and guide us to her Son.

1,2 Pope Benedict XVI, Saying 'Yes' to God Brings True Freedom

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Do Your Part and Trust Him To Do The Rest

In the days of the beautiful Esther

You saved Israel by the hand of a woman.
In graceful obedience the young Hadassah came before Ahasuerus, mighty king. 1

Something in his eyes told me he was troubled, that he might be hurting. Yet, something in his demeanor told me that he wasn’t ready to talk about it; not right now. However, a woman knows her own very well and long after he had said goodbye I could still see the look in his eyes.

Heal within him all that is wounded, was my prayer for him.

Later that day, while driving home, the prompting of the Spirit stirred within my heart. “Bring your burdens to me and I will give you rest”, was my invitation from the Lord.

So I went to a nearby church and found the Lord waiting for me, exposed in the most Blessed Sacrament. Kneeling before Him, He welcomed me with the gift of peace. Gratefully, I unburdened my heart  on his behalf and the prayer of Esther came to my mind.

“My Lord, my king, you alone are God. Help me, who am alone and have no help but you” Esther, Chapter C;14

The image of Queen Esther and the thought of her graceful obedience filled my thoughts. Through fasting and prayer she interceded for the salvation of her people Israel. And God in his great mercy heard her cry for help and answered her plea.

As I meditated on this image, I knew the Lord was telling me to go and do the same. Be obedient, do my part and trust him to take care of the rest. I thanked Him for the answer he gave, and prayed for the grace to do His will.

As Esther sought solace for her fear,
So do I seek comfort in these terrible times.
As Esther heard the death-cries of her people,
So do I hear the cries in my own days.
As Esther would have given her life for her people, so would I give mine.
As Esther’s actions empowered her people in their struggle, so would I act………. 2

My God, my rock, my all,
My trust is in you alone.

1,2   Miryam of Nazareth, Woman of Strength &  Wisdom, by Ann Johnson 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Second Chances

"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” Matthew 7-21

It was nearing the end of a busy work day when I saw him walk through the door and toward my desk. He wore a blue and white bandanna tied round his shoulder length hair, his jeans were ripped at the knees and his arms were full of grease. He looked pretty scruffy, but it was the spider web tattoos on his arms and neck that made me a little uneasy.

I set my pen aside as he came closer. “Can I help you?” I asked. “I’ve run out of gas”, he said. “Do you have any gas or a gas can that I could use?” “No, I’m sorry I don’t”, I replied, hoping that he would leave. He smiled humbly, as if he knew that I would say no. He thanked me, turned around and left.

It was in that moment, when he smiled and turned away, that I remembered my morning prayer, “Father, help me to see your face in everyone I meet this day and use me as you will”.

My heart sunk. The Lord had answered my prayer and I had just blown it big time because I was frightened by someone's appearance!

I got up and looked out the window to see if I could see the man whom I had just sent away. He was nowhere to be found, but I did see a beat up old truck loaded down with cardboard. You see, my office is down the street from a recycle center and many hard working folks bring their findings up and down our street all day just hoping to earn enough money to make ends meet. This man had almost made it there when his truck had run out of gas.

I quickly went out to our warehouse and managed to find a gas can. As I walked out the door he mysteriously reappeared. And when we saw each other, I am not sure which one of us was happier, him or me! He thanked me for helping him; I apologized for not giving him the time he deserved. Continuing  to smile, he  took the gas can and went about his business.

A little while later I heard his truck start up. God had given me a second chance and I was so grateful!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Sweet Surrender

O, that I might prepare for you an agreeable dwelling place in my heart.

Jesus, Almighty Savior, come to my aid.
~St. John Neumann

The dawn of the New Year brought heavy rains to coastal California. Our windshield wipers danced quickly, working hard to maintain visibility while we made our way back home after a few days of visiting dear friends.

As I looked out the car window at the rain soaked hillsides, I thought to myself how appropriate this scene was, the old year was being washed away and the earth’s rough exterior was being softened, preparing for something new. In  the quiet of that moment the falling rain seemed to speak to my heart, “prepare yourself for something new”.

Thoughts of mother Mary came to my mind, “Be it done to me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38). Divine will ruled her life. Humble obedience was her gift to God and she lived out her daily life simply taking care of the task at hand and faithfully accomplishing it.

Amazing grace was hers, and the spirit of the Lord that came upon her remained with her forever.

Her sweet surrender is a daunting thought.

 I began to think of resolutions for the New Year,something I have never been good at. But the thought of Mary grew within me while I prayed to the Lord, “Thy will be done”. Then I heard a gentle whisper say, “ Live in the present moment, be attentive to those around you and complete each task given you faithfully. The rest will follow.”

God's plan for us is so simple. Why do we always try to make it more complicated?

May God be with you all in this New Year.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

In October of 1981, the Blessed Virgin gave the following message:

 I am the Mother of God and the Queen of Peace.. BVM, Medjugorje October 12, 1981

And on New Year's Day in 1987, she said:

"Dear children, today, the first day of the New Year, I invite all of you to live the messages which I give you. You know, dear children, that because of you, I have stayed here this long in order to teach you to walk on the road to holiness.

Therefore, dear children, pray constantly, and live all the messages which I give you. I do it with a great love for God- and for you. BVM, Medjugorje, January 1, 1987                                  

Living anew the messages during the New Year speaks of fresh beginnings. From Paul's letter to the Colossians :

You have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator   (Col 3:9-10).

And from 2 Corinthians: So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new (2 Cor 5:17).

It's appropriate that on this New Year's Day, Our Lady calls us to live her messages anew, for she knows they are the key to the spiritual gifts we so desire - an abiding peace and happiness, a sprit of love.

Living the messages of prayer, peace, penance, and fasting means, as St. Paul says today, to be formed anew in the image of the Creator overtime. It means a new perspective, a new attitude toward life and death, where, as Revelation says, "He shall wipe every tear from their eyes," and make all things new.

On this feast of Mary, the Mother of God, let us recommit ourselves to her messages and her plan of salvation, which she is giving us, as she says today, with great love toward God. 1

               Richard J. Beyer, Medjugorje Day by Day