Friday, April 22, 2011

The "Good" in this Friday leads to Easter!

The Lenten days are over and now we are caught up in the middle of the beautiful, holy day of the Triduum. I taught elementary school for many years and Good Friday was always a day I loved being in the classroom. Usually we only went a half day... For many years we made it a "whisper day" in the school to set the day apart and help the students to understand the significance of the day. It gave me the chance to plan quiet activities that helped my class know better what the day was about. Of course the students would often wonder why today is called "Good" Friday when it is the day that Jesus died on the cross. Part of my simple explanation was/is that we have to remember that THAT was not the end of the story ~ we only need to look to Easter to know more.
Today on my walk I was reflecting on that myself and had a few other thoughts. The events of Jesus' passion and death were horrific, but ... Jesus taught us about love and preseverance in his suffering and dying ~that is good. There were people who were faithful to him and stood with him to the bitter end~that is good. Jesus did not think of himself when he comforted the women of Jerusalem; a lesson for us~that is good. Jesus showed us how to forgive and also to befriend the one next to him~that is good. And greatest of all, Jesus gave us an example of total trust and letting go into God ..."Abba, into your hands ..."~ and that is good.
Hopefully today...tomorrow (and other tomorrows too) you have and/or can spend some time in quiet and prayer pondering the mystery of this holy time. The words of St. Clare of Assisi come to my mind. "Place your mind before the mirror of eternity! Place your soul in the brilliance of glory! And transform your entire being into the image of the Godhead Itself through contemplation." and
"Gaze upon Christ, consider Christ, contemplate Christ, as you desire to imitate Him."
Gaze ...Consider...Contemplate...Imitate
I suggest that we might need to do just that over these holy days ... gaze, consider, contemplate so that we can imitate Jesus ...Imitate ~ live bold, live with passion as Jesus did so that we may turn the world upside down and others will know that Jesus is Alive ~ Alleluia! Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Finding Treasures in the Gutter

It has been a good three weeks since I last wrote and that is way too long! My days have been full and involved with several trips to the Tacoma/Seattle area, visits to schools and a week in Spokane, WA at my alma mater, Gonzaga University, where I was helping with a Busy Person (Student) Retreat on campus ... a great week! The life of a vocation director ~ never a dull moment! Here the season of Lent is almost over and I feel like it has just begun because of so much activity and not enough reflection time ............................... I do find snippets of time and graced God moments along the way in my days though which I cherish and for which I am grateful. The whispers of God's voice come not only during my personal prayer time, but also in the miles of driving, often without the radio or CDs playing and almost always during my regular walks. So, this week the debris along the curbs in the gutter spoke to me and gave me fodder for reflection. There are not many sidewalks in my neighborhood so I usually walk in the street along the side. Lately, with so many rainy days the gutter along the curb can be kind of muddy and messy with leaves, sticks, candy wrappers, cigarette butts and tree cones (in the northwest they are usually fir cones). Every now and then though, ahh ha, I find a penny, a nickel, a quarter, or a pretty little flower growing! Treasures in the muck! I always stop and pick up the money, even the pennies with the reminder that, "In God We Trust". So, where did my reflection on my Monday walk take me? With this being Lent, the debris in the gutter reminds me of the "messyness" of my life sometimes ... how cluttered things can get ... It is important to take time (like this Lenten time) to get the broom out, or take the hose to clean things up a bit so there is a newness or freshness that will allow God to flow in and through me. In the process I might discover a treasure that was hiding under the clutter or in negativity... an insight, a new ability, a calmed fear about a project, an understnading to a problem ... What is a treasure that desires to be revealed to you as we move towards the end of Lent into the glorious season of Easter? The earth is getting ready for Easter, newness is all around. I pray that is happening in your life and mine as well!