Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘Jesus’

Soul Stirrings: Joy within Sorrow

 

Nestled within our penitential season of Lent is the wonderful solemnity of the Annunciation. As I was trying to absorb the depth of Mary’s ‘yes’ I was struck by the church’s timing. Here we are well into Lent, a time of renewal… A time of repentance for our inability to love as we should… A time for true change. And what does the church give us, but the joyful Annunciation. What an example of renewal, love, and change. The Annunciation during lent to me represents joy within trials and sorrow. When the angel revealed to Mary, a young girl, that God had chosen her to be the mother of the messiah, she had to renew her commitment; willing to do the will of God. She was blessed with abundant grace and the capacity to love beyond measure. Little did she know then how much this love she felt in her soul would be pierced with immense sorrow. That blessed day Mary’s life changed forever and her body truly became the temple of the living God, Jesus.

My mind is flooded with images of the Passion. My heart is saddened by Mary’s sorrow as she must stand by and witness unspeakable assaults on her precious son. I see the exquisite image of the Pieta…Mary tenderly holding the lifeless body of her beloved Son. Mary’s joy at the angel’s announcement is somehow entombed within this season of lent. But yet we often hear of the many joys that can be found within pain and sorrow. Some even consider these gifts.

Reflecting on the Annunciation during Lent is a reminder to always be mindful of the joys in our life.

Celebrating the Annunciation during Lent is a reminder that even when we are struggling with life and draped in purple cloth joy can still be found.

 

Every year during Lent; we have the opportunity to renew our commitment, love more, and change our heart. Mary had one moment in time when she embraced the ultimate commitment to love more and she was forever changed for us.

Where have you missed the joy in your life?

Has sorrow instead overshadowed the joy in your life?

 

Soul Stirrings: Transfigured

Recently while browsing on another blog I was fascinated by the tag cloud. As you rolled the cursor over the list of tag words each one seemed to pop up from the screen and enlarge. Well today that is how I felt as I attentively listened to the proclamation of the Transfiguration. Here are the words that popped out to me: 

 I was filled with how these words created for me a thread of meaning.

Here is my personal message summary.

 

High upon a mountain appeared

a bright white light

covered by a cloud

casting a shadow

imbued with the name

“Beloved”

from the one who was pleased

 The others falling prostrate

afraid  touched

by the vision of Jesus.

My dear, Lord, transfigure me to become brilliant with your holiness.

Change my heart to be filled with the light of your unconditional love.

 

Manna from Heaven

For years I taught first grade. December was the happiest time of the school year. We would make Gingerbread men, sing holiday songs, read stories about Santa and how other people celebrated Christmas.

I remember the ‘Reindeer Food’ that my excited six-year olds carried home before the Christmas break. A snack baggie for each child filled with regular oatmeal and just a sprinkle of glitter; that made it a little magical.

The directions were to scatter the ‘reindeer food’ over the lawn on Christmas Eve before going to bed. This food was meant to help sustain the hungry flying reindeer for their long Christmas Eve deliveries.

After all Santa gets milk and cookies.

It may be a little strange but, in the book of Exodus God mysteriously provided manna each morning for the Israelites while on their long journey with Moses. If it was not collected right away each morning it melted. The Sabbath was the only day they had no manna so they were allowed to collect enough the day before to eat the next day.

While these two events are not connected I began reflecting about how Jesus is our ‘hidden’ Manna. Jesus the true hidden Manna…Hidden under his humanness.

Jesus contains the hidden manna of salvation for all of mankind. Hidden within him was everything we needed for our own journey to holiness.

Hidden within this tiny baby was the manna offered to save us. The birth of Jesus was the visible manna of love. Love from God the Father…Love from his mother Mary…Love from his earthly father, Joseph.

We too have this manna hidden within our heart. It is this manna of love that we sometimes discover has become hidden within our own hearts. Situations in life can result in love becoming hidden within our soul. Sometimes we even intentionally bury this love as a defense mechanism. Sometimes it gets so shrouded that we can no longer grasp it’s beauty.

Christmas is a time to create a heart transparent so as to see more clearly any hidden manna of love lost in the crevices of our hearts. It is up to you to look to the Lord for new sight.

Christmas is the ultimate gift of love. Who can honestly say that when gazing on a tiny newborn anything but love swells up within your being?

Christmas is a reminder each year of new life and the hope of new beginnings. Believe in your heart that God desires to bring about new life in you. Believe that God wants to do wondrous things through you. You too contain ‘hidden manna’.

 

Manna has become the symbol for the divine goodness of spiritual food, and hence of the Eucharist. (Jn. 6:31-35. 49) “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (Jn. 6:51)

Christmas is needed as a yearly reminder that Jesus is always with us and will be until the end of time.This ‘hidden manna’ will make all things new. Allow Jesus to come into your heart in a new way. This year don’t take Christmas for granted look for the ‘hidden manna’. Ask God to show you that which is ‘hidden manna’ for you. What is it that would satisfy your heart’s desire to grow deeper in love with the Lord?

Let this Advent captivate your heart. Draw near and experience the taste of this ‘Manna from Heaven’ every time you receive Eucharist. Manna from Heaven given to us as food for the journey…living bread.

Of course I do not believe in flying reindeer and we are not on a quest across the desert with Moses, but I do believe in the manna from heaven given to us because of LOVE.

May your Advent be filled with LOVE!

What are you WAITING for?

Advent Reflections Week 1:  

We have been waiting from the moment we were conceived. Who knows maybe we were even waiting to be conceived to just the right parents. Once we were conceived gestational waiting was only about nine months. While waiting we were a bundle of activity; our tiny bodies were developing at a remarkable rate.

Even while waiting much inner activity can be occurring; activity not seen externally. Waiting is not a time to fall asleep but a time to watch and keep vigil. A time to prepare for what will be after the waiting period ends.

Little children know the frustration of waiting for Christmas or their next birthday. Children eagerly wait to lose their first tooth…to start school…and later to go out on a first date…drive…get a job. So many things to wait for.

Sadly some are waiting for their next warm meal…a warm place to sleep…or a job.

Some are waiting for a test result hoping for a clean bill of health.

Some are waiting for a loved one to return home from military service.

The truth is we are all waiting for something.

The beauty of advent is that every year we are reminded that for Jesus to become flesh he too had to enter into the human gestational waiting period. He had to wait in the darkness of the womb of Mary.

Mary too had to wait amidst much joy and anxiety for this period of waiting to be completed. Mary and Jesus had to wait before their first physical embrace. Mary had to wait before she could gently caress Jesus and cradle him in her arms…lovingly gaze into his eyes…give him a butterfly kiss on the cheek.

Jesus had to wait before he could be about his father’s business. Jesus had to wait before his appointed time to fully embrace his divinity within his humanity. Jesus had to wait to choose his followers from varied walks of life. Jesus had to wait for his disciples to recognize and acknowledge who he was. Jesus had to wait for his Ressurection from the tomb.

As a pregnant mother waits she is also getting in touch with how her body is changing. She is bonding and growing to love this new life within. Advent is a time for us to get in touch with God, the Father, a time to bond our heart and soul to him. Advent is a time to consider our personal relationship with Jesus, the Son. Advent is a time to allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow us with unconditional Divine Love.

As you light the Advent candle of this first week, pray for the gifts that only waiting can bring. Gifts of patience and surrender for what is to come.

We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us, says Joseph Campbell.

There is so much inside of us waiting to be discovered, nurtured. Now is the time to truly let go and let God. The ‘day is at hand’ let us not miss what we are waiting for.

Darkness is waiting for light…Hatred for love…War for peace…Cold for warmth…Poverty for wealth…Broken for healing…Noise for silence…Winter for Spring…

Advent is a time to honor all that we are waiting for.

So I ask, “What are you waiting for?”   God is waiting for YOU!

May you be Blessed in all of your waiting.

We eagerly wait for your comments.