“In a culture often dominated by technology, sadness and loneliness appear to be on the rise, not least among young people. The future seems prey to an uncertainty that does not make for stability. This often gives rise to depression, sadness and boredom, which can gradually lead to despair. We need witnesses to hope and true joy if we are to dispel the illusions that promise quick and easy happiness through artificial paradises. The profound sense of emptiness felt by so many people can be overcome by the hope we bear in our hearts and by the joy that it gives. We need to acknowledge the joy that rises up in a heart touched by mercy. Let us keep in mind, then, the words of the Apostle: ‘Rejoice in the Lord always’. (Pope Francis)
“God comes to us not where we should have been if we had made all the right choices in life; not where we could have been if we had taken every opportunity that God has offered us; not where we wish we were if we didn’t have to be in the place where we find ourselves; not where we think we are because our minds are out of sync with our hearts; not where other people think we are or think we ought to be when they are attending to their own agendas. God meets us where we really are.”
Originally posted here.
The Divine Hours
I give You my future
the fear that lives inside
take my tomorrow
the unknown in my life
I need a Sabbath Soul
a heart of fertile soil
translate my time
make a liturgy of my life
I give You my past
The world that lives inside
Take my yesterday
The memory of my life
I give You my present
the only world I live
transfigure this moment
it’s all I know to give
“We can hope in God because He already hope in us more.” (Dr. Anthony Lilles)
On a recent morning, I awoke to an unusual fog that canvased the country landscape. It felt eerie and ominous, considering the violence we are seeing in our nation and throughout the world. I paused as the clouds wisped past my garden beds, concealing the perennials in all of their vibrant glory. For a moment, I was reminded of the sobering fact that life is fleeting, fragile, and finite. God whispers these truths to us in creation, though we seldom listen.
For some reason, our daughters are afraid of weather patterns; they are still young and aren’t sure why the sun isn’t shining every day or the flowers wither without rain. That morning, my oldest, squealed in horror, “Look, Mama, there’s fog! We can’t see anything!”
I responded calmly, almost nonchalantly, “The fog will lift, sweetheart.”
And I tell her this in varying forms on a near-daily basis: “The sun will rise again.” “The rain will stop.” While she takes these statements at face value, we all know therein lies profound spiritual truth, especially in times like these.
All things pass. Everything cycles through good and bad, light and dark, growth and loss. We tend to clutch the moments of grandeur, because happiness makes us feel good. But when loss occurs, we are jarred awake, perhaps for the first time, as we remember the precious gift of now.
When a person dies through violence, somehow our first response is fear, much like my darling daughter reacting to the fog. “But we can’t see! We’re in danger!” It’s true that we cannot gloss over the reality that we could die – anytime, anywhere, by any means – but God wants us to dwell on the fact that, one day, the fog will lift. One day, whether on earth or in heaven, we will discover our eternal reward, provided we are faithful to Him.
In times like these, when violent tensions mount on the wings of evil, we can tell ourselves, like children, that the rain is God’s tears blanketing and cleansing the earth; the sun warms not only our bodies, but also our souls and bears light where the darkness would rather dwell.
As tempting as it is, we mustn’t get bogged down in the fearful rhetoric plaguing the internet and social media. When we do, we fall prey to the same anger that incites violence, segregation, and hatred. But we were not given a spirit of fear or division. We are given a spirit of truth, and we must dwell within that truth, even and especially when senseless tragedy befalls us.
Driving through the fog reminded me how much I need God, how desperately I must depend on Him. The weakness of human sin felt almost palpable to me, then, yet I clung to Scripture and prayed. We are all capable of heinous acts. Hope reminds me, however, that we are all capable of greatness and heroism, too.
Life cannot be exclusively felt or experienced in the hazy fog that makes a lingering, translucent barricade around our hearts. When people die through violence, we must purposefully pray that the haze will be unveiled, so that we can see people again – see their inherent dignity and respect life so much that we long to protect and honor, rather than end, it.
In fog, after a while the ethereal clouds dissipate, burned off by the sun, just as the Son illuminates and clarifies everything that the enemy attempts to steal from us – our joy, our hope, our faith. To the children and adults everywhere who fear the fog, I pray that God will whisper to them, “The fog will lift,” and also, “the Son will shine…”
[In] releasing those bound unjustly,
untying the thongs of the yoke;
Setting free the oppressed,
breaking off every yoke?
Is it not sharing your bread with the hungry,
bringing the afflicted and the homeless into your house;
Clothing the naked when you see them,
and not turning your back on your own flesh?
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: “Here I am!”
If you remove the yoke from among you,
the accusing finger, and malicious speech …