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Showing posts from July, 2017

For the Love of God

After I read Practicing the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence in 1996, I wanted to be like him.  I wanted the spiritual life he described.  I wanted to become so consumed by the love of God that every action I took was about my relationship with God.  The book is an easy read and a Christian classic that I believe every Christian should read.  This simple kitchen worker with a limp, an un-cloistered monk who worked in the kitchen, not even a priest but he spiritually influenced Cardinals during his life.  Not to mention that no one can count how many Christians he has influenced over the centuries after his death.  He never wrote a book, but his letters and notes from conversations have been complied into a little book that has a simple message about our complex spiritual lives.               For the first time, I am teaching his book week by week to a class.  Most in the class are new to his writings.  I can see that they, too, want to be like Brother Lawrence.  They…

Moving Forward

It’s been half a decade since my husband of 27.5 years died suddenly of a brain bleed.  My life turned upside down that weekend, and nothing will ever be the same.  Someone commented to me that I had moved-on.  It was meant to be a compliment, and I totally get the affirmation that was intended.  The truth is I have not moved-on, nor do I ever expect that I will.  I love this quote sent to me in a sympathy card and have shared it over and over with others.  St Bernard of Clairvaux wrote: I can never lose one whom I have loved unto the end; one to whom my soul cleaves so firmly that it can never be separated does not go away but only goes before.               Grief should have a beginning, middle and end; that is true.  That first year or two I would have done anything to diminish my pain.  I was in so much pain that I wasn’t even a person.  It’s hard to believe that we humans will naturally grow more comfortable existing in our pit of despair of grief than to let it go…

The Troubled Christian Life

When I surrendered my vocation to God back when I was seventeen-years-old, He called me to a life of walking through the most broken realities that people face in a first-world country.  The verse that led me to this life was 2 Corinthians 1:3-4.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  I began counseling others at the ripe age of 23.  I looked like I could have still been in high school, and the patients given to me rightly had their doubts.  I had my doubts too.  I knew that I didn’t have the wisdom to counseling people double my age.  I didn’t have a lot of experience of deep wounds either so I couldn’t talk to them from my own experiences of deep brokenness.  I was only helpful to them because I relied totally on the word of God and the presence of the Holy Spirit in me…

Slowing

The last day of the 10-day Silent retreat I attended our leaders gave us some sage advice.  They told us that we cannot perceive it but our bodies, minds and souls have slowed down since we have been on the retreat.  They told us our senses are off a bit and they advised us to be careful and not move too fast, or expect to re-enter the world at the same pace we left.  A result of our silence was that we had slowed down, but the world had not.  It helped explain my inability to remember where I put things.  I began to notice this in myself as I had such a hard time packing, even though I had brought very little with me.  I couldn’t remember where I had placed things I had not needed during the retreat.  After our last session, we broke our silence dinner and then enjoyed an ice cream party.  After so much talking so much I found it hard to get to sleep.               I had a long, slow trip home and arrived in time for a two-day weekend before I went back to work.  All o…

Strong Daughters

I had the privilege of spending the last week with my daughter and her seven-month-old daughter (my granddaughter).  There is nothing better than to witness the love, sacrifice and instinctual wisdom of a new mom.  My admiration for a strong daughter was heightened because during her visit a friend from college passed away.  His death was sudden and very much unexpected.  His wife was so faithful to keep us up to date on his injury and the ways we could pray.  He himself left many video messages that will comfort the family in the years to come.  However, at the point when disaster struck, the one who had to be strong—though she was facing her own shock, fear, denial, anguish—was his one and only daughter, a strong daughter like the one I have.               I don’t know his widow, but I have journeyed the path that she is forced to take.  No one willingly walks down the valley of the shadow of death.  She will be strong in her own way.  I can tell that by the daughter …