Everyday Spirituality

Posts tagged ‘Valentine’s Day’

I Am with You Always

For some time I have had a picture of Jesus embracing a child in a hug. In this picture, however I see the woman receiving comfort in this embrace. The muted colors reflect tenderness to me. Even moments of tenderness can carry a huge impact on your soul. I tend to close my eyes attempting to block the outside world from interfering with my feelings. The arms of Jesus are supporting the child and drawing her close into his love. Jesus also has his eyes closed so he is also focused on this moment in time. Jesus even seems to be using his head to further extend his love to this child.

I can remember holding my children close to me in much this same pose. Looking back at the child her right hand seems to be clutching to Jesus’ shoulder.

I am describing this picture with such care because it closely represents much of what I was gifted with this weekend during a guided meditation. We were initially led into a church with large heavy doors.

I was at first in a church we had visited while in Barcelona a few months ago. I could easily picture the massive doors. The exterior surface was covered with cut out raised words. You could easily trace the letter of each word with your fingers. The name of Jesus was highlighted in gold and could easily be read.

As the meditation progressed I found myself in another European church with the typical smaller altars lining both sides of the inside walls. I am kneeling there to pray for my friend, which I had actually done, when I began to feel this warmness.

My friend was embracing me; our hearts were merging and the tears were beginning to well up in my eyes. I remember thinking I wanted to wipe them aside, but I did not want to move for fear of spoiling the moment. I remained still letting this embrace be enough to fill my heart with her love.

I think God used this special time to let me know that she would be with me during the rest of the weekend. Towards the end of the meditation time we were asked to touch the place on our body where we experienced God’s glory, I think, anyway I could only touch my heart. I felt her embracing my heart much as I had felt her hugging me physically many times before.

I did not want to let the moment pass, but I knew it was not meant to last. This picture above is a wonderful snapshot of a moment frozen in eternity.

I felt her presence with me at other times during the weekend too. She was beside me during many conversations I had with the other women. She knew most of the women present. She never met a person she did not remember on subsequent occasions.

If she met you she cared about you it was that simple. So she would not have missed the opportunity this weekend to be with those she knew.

So in spite of not really wanting to be on this retreat I know now it was a blessing of peace. It was a blessing of reassurance of her presence. I know Jesus said he would be with us until the end of time.

So if my dearest friend is with him in heaven, which I have no doubt she is, then it seems reasonable to me that she would also be with me until the end of time. Without the hindrance of her physical body she can now be with many at the same time, family and friends.

The beauty of the ‘spirit’ of a person is that there are no boundaries, but only a thin separation as some call the ‘veil of death’. Shortly before my friend became ill my sister was inspired to paint her in an embrace with Jesus similar to this image.

This week as celebrate Valentine’s Day my heart is rejoicing at the friendship and love we shared for so many years. Sending my valentine wishes via thoughts and prayers sprinkled with joy for all the times we shared together.

I invite you to pause tomorrow and think about those who have been a part of your life and touched your soul in a special way. They are with you if only in your heart.

“And behold, I am with you always,

until the end of the age.”

(Matthew 28:20)

~ To LOVE Tenderly ~

We are called
to love tenderly…
to serve one another…
to walk humbly with God!

You may be familiar with the ‘MacDonald’s’ Breakfast email. A woman has accepted the challenge from her Sunday school teacher to spread the love of Christ by smiling to at least three strangers.

While at breakfast with her family she encounters two homeless gentlemen whom she greets and finally buys them breakfast too.

Through her small act of smiling at these two strangers she is drawn in to something greater. She is filled with God’s grace to be more…to do more…to give more…to walk humbly with him. In return she is emotionally blessed to her own surprise.

Last night during the Grammy’s we watched a new show starring Kathy Bates on NBC. She plays an attorney who leaves her six figure patent attorney practice to set up her new practice in the inner city.

Harrie, as she’s called, begins defending people no one else would even talk to much less represent in court. It was a very inspiring show drawing attention to how serving the forgotten people with tender loving care can have a positive outcome.

Today is Valentine’s Day. I challenge you to befriend in some small way, through smile or kind gesture, a stranger.

We are all called to love tenderly.

To walk humbly with God serving others is to love tenderly.

Ps. Hope you have written that love letter or poem! If not you still have time…it only need take a moment of your time to express your love.

 

Pen and Ink: Love Letters

Love can be expressed in so many different ways, but the most timeless and most treasured will always remain the classic “love letter”. I am sure Hallmark would not even object to a hand written love letter because you can always tuck it neatly inside of a pretty card. The art of the handwritten letter has so often today been replaced with a type written email or text. Snail mail seems to take forever…we are instant, got to have it now, people.

I am going to hand write a love letter to my husband this Valentine’s Day. I invite you to join me; hand write a letter to a loved one…spouse…child…parent…friend…grandchild…sister…brother…

Think back for a moment to the time when setting before you was a pen and its accompanying bottle of ink…now to me that is so romantic. I love gazing at old pen and ink writings. I love how the ink is wispy and delicate on the paper…just the thought of dipping the tip of the pen in the ink and carefully stroking the paper with expressive words to your loved one. This is so heart warming and tender to me. If you still have one of those old ink pens from years ago I invite you to take it out and write something anything even just your name. Let the ink flow onto the paper.

When my husband was in basic training I would write him a letter every day…no internet or Skype back then…I think he still has those letters carefully packed away in a box. One day, perhaps after we are both gone, our sons will find those letters and get an idea of just how much we were in love with one another.

I have a kept a letter written to me by my father when I was in my 20’s. It still brings a smile to my face since he is no longer living. There is something special knowing that he touched the paper…a part of him has been absorbed into the paper. Cherish that thought for a moment with me.

Of course as long as I am writing about love letters I am reminded of the wonderful movie “Message in a Bottle”. What a beautiful creative novel written by Nicholas Sparks.

If you would like to give a personal gift of love from your heart; try writing a poem. There is no right or wrong way to write a poem just express your feelings for the other person.

Give it a try…here are a few guidelines to help you get started…reasons why you love the person…specific qualities you love about the person like their blue eyes…what and or how they have provided for or supported you…special names you have for each other…the ultimate message you are trying to convey with your poem, for example ‘you are the one who always believes in me’…decide the tone of your poem either humorous or sentimental.

Remember this poem is a personal gift from your heart!

This month I invite you to write the ultimate love letter or poem…to Jesus. Valentine’s is a wonderful time to stop and actually write to Jesus and tell him how much you love him…what you love about him…what he means to you…how he has supported you in all ways throughout your life. Seal it, bring it with you to Mass or adoration…hold it in your hands and read/pray it to Jesus with a loving heart. Tell Jesus how much you love him…using visual imagery reach out your arms allowing Jesus to embrace you within his loving arms…pressing you tenderly to his own heart…pierced through with love for you. There is no greater love…How truly blessed we are to be loved by Jesus. His love… given to us so that we may have love in our hearts to give to others.

May you continue to write letters…