Last Day of May – Good News for May 31

31 05 2010

Luke 1:39-56

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, “Most blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.”

And Mary said, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.”

Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

The Daily Path: In the 16th century, Catholics in Italy began to hold devotions to Mary, the Blessed Mother of Jesus, during the month of May. I learned of this as a first grader attending St. Joseph’s Elementary School. Each day in May we would bring flowers from our gardens for placement around a statue of Mary. This seemed very appropriate as who among us would not wish to honor our mother? Especially young children not that far removed from their own mother’s womb.

Some of the flowers would be ornate arrangements and carefully wrapped in tissue paper, while others looked to be picked on the way to school and hastily packaged in crinkled aluminum foil. The amazing thing was that regardless of the presentation or state of these little offerings, great pride was evident on the faces of all my classmates. This was a very big deal for us. The intent was so pure. From the toughest kid to the wimpiest. Rich or poor. It didn’t matter. We all wanted to honor Mary.

I wonder how many of us still recall those days? And how many still hold the desire to honor the Blessed Mother of the Christ?





Timing – Good News for May 30

30 05 2010

John 16:12-15

Jesus said to his disciples, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.

He will glorify me, because he will take from what is mine and declare it to you. Everything that the Father has is mine; for this reason I told you that he will take from what is mine and declare it to you.”

The Daily Path: “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth.”

Have you given any thought the to the timeframe associated with your spiritual journey?

If your own path has been anything like mine then you’ve experienced a gradual spiritual awakening over time. Several years ago I would not have believed that I could feel the presence of God in my life the way I do today. It’s very likely that I would have rejected the notion outright had it been presented to me. In those days I would not have been able to bear all of what God has since opened my mind and heart to. It would have been wasted, just as if He revealed the “much more” to me on this 30th day of May, 2010. But a year from today, I will understand more than I do right now. In the days ahead the Spirit will help me to access more of the grace within.

Today is Sunday. Where will you look for the Spirit?





By What Authority? – Good News for May 29

29 05 2010

Mark 11:27-33

Jesus and his disciples returned once more to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple area, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders approached him and said to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? Or who gave you this authority to do them?”

Jesus said to them, “I shall ask you one question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. Was John’s baptism of heavenly or of human origin? Answer me.”

They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But shall we say, ‘Of human origin’?”– they feared the crowd, for they all thought John really was a prophet. So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.”

Then Jesus said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.”

The Daily Path: To whom do you give authority in your life?





HELPLINE – Good News for May 27

27 05 2010

Mark 10:46-52

As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd, Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus, sat by the roadside begging. On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.”

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.” He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.

Jesus said to him in reply, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied to him, “Master, I want to see.” Jesus told him, “Go your way; your faith has saved you.”
Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.

The Daily Path: Join me in reflecting on these two questions: What is my first response when I need help? Where is my helpline?

Room to Chat: Lord, I want to see.





Perennials – Good News for May 26

26 05 2010

Peter 1:23-25

You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God, for:

“All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the field; the grass withers, and the flower wilts; but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.

The Daily Path: During the past few years there has been one constant in my life: the Good News. In that period I have been born and reborn several times. It’s very much like the life cycle for some of the wild flowers that surround my home. Each spring new sprouts emerge from the ground, blossom, wither, and die, only to re-emerge again the following spring. Although they have a relatively short life above ground, their roots remain in place in the soil. Many of those systems expand leading to even more flowers in subsequent years.

The word of the Lord – in the form of daily readings – has been the soil for my roots. It has led me to even deeper awareness of God in my life. Like wild flowers, each new awareness is replaced by another, followed by yet another. And so it goes. The Good News has enabled my roots to expand as I come in contact with other travelers who have embraced God in their journey.

I know that St. Peter speaks the truth. No matter what my life cycle may bring, the word of the Lord remains forever.

Take “the cycle” for a test drive and see for yourself.





Giving Up – Good News for May 25

25 05 2010

Mark 10:28-31

Peter began to say to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.”

Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands for my sake and for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age: houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come. But many that are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

The Daily Path: I have been blessed with the company of many fellow travelers on my spiritual journey home. A good number of them are right here in my parish comprised of two spirituality groups I participate in. We gather together on a regular basis to openly share what we are experiencing along the way. Some of our discussion focuses on the challenges we all face in living the teaching of Christ and following his example.

Some of the most poignant moments in our gatherings relate to “giving up” the false self to embrace or enable the true self. We live in a fairly affluent area and are surrounded by the trappings of wealth and material success. With that comes some heavy baggage and pressure to uphold a certain image. Despite outward appearances many in this community are deeply wounded inside. Part of the fellowship the men in our spirituality groups share is based on allowing ourselves to give up the facade and expose our wounds to each other. I believe this is also part of what Jesus is explaining to us in today’s Gospel when he talks about giving up.

Yesterday, when I chose to openly share with GNTG readers the fact that I suffer from a disease, I was giving up the pretense of invulnerability. By giving up the lie – that I was in control – I was freed from a great burden. I started to feel lighter as I accepted my weakness and saw how others accepted my woundedness. I grew stronger as I received amazing signs of support throughout the day. The death of one thing brought new life to something else. My story is just one tiny example of how “giving up” the false self brings us closer to the one truth – God.

As Christians we uphold the ultimate symbol of woundedness – Jesus on the cross. After his death, when Jesus returned to his friends, did he say “Hey, look at me! I’m the almighty Son of God who can overcome everything, including death!”?

No.

The first thing Jesus did was to draw them close, open his robe and reveal his wounds.

Giving up draws us closer.

Room to Chat: Father, thank you for inspiring so many to live your commandment of love. The outpouring of genuine support I’ve experienced in the past week has been nothing short of miraculous. Though sometimes we walk in valley of the shadow, we are never alone. Truly, all things are possible through you.





Risky Business – Good News for May 24

24 05 2010

Mark 10:17-27

As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness; you shall not defraud; honor your father and your mother.”

He replied and said to him, “Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”

Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”

At that statement, his face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the Kingdom of God!”

The disciples were amazed at his words. So Jesus again said to them in reply, “Children, how hard it is to enter the Kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”

They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves, “Then who can be saved?”

Jesus looked at them and said, “For men it is impossible, but not for God. All things are possible for God.”

The Daily Path: When you assume a public voice, you also take on vulnerability. I’ve opened my spiritual journey to the world trying to share what I’m experiencing so that others may open their minds and hearts to God. This does not come without risk. By even proclaiming God in my life some will walk away. It’s not easy to accept this at first because we all desire to be loved – to gain the approval of others. Losing a friend or opening ourselves to criticism is hard. But… and this is a BIG BUT… if I truly want to follow the path home, this too, is just part of the terrain. Granted, I have not mastered the process, yet I have come to accept this. It is liberating.

Today, I am going to share another risky insight to my life. Risky because some may walk. Revealing this in public may also make the path towards what I hope to achieve more difficult. But I accept this. It’s part of God’s plan.

Friends, last week I came to understand that the “mild” depression I’ve experienced for well over a year just can’t be dealt with on my own. It’s more than mild and I need professional help.

The  dark epiphany I experienced scared me to death because I had a major shut down. I won’t go into the detail here, but will offer that going through that horrible experience enabled me to more fully understood what so many people already know… depression can be debilitating. Some of the smallest things you take for granted become a struggle. It’s as if you suddenly had parts of your brain locked up preventing you from accessing your energy, strengths, and skills. I even chose to hide from God for a bit.

As frightening as recent days have been, they have also liberated me on several levels. I can now pursue a plan that will lead me out of this “valley of shadow” and restore my complete health. As I move through treatment for my depression, I will also undertake serious exploration of how God wants me to use the skills given me. I’ve also come to realize that many of the old ways no longer work. That’s scary because some of the old ways are also what I currently depend on to care for my family. But again, I accept this because it’s not my plan.

In today’s Gospel, the man who approached Jesus learned what he must do to achieve eternal life… then he went away, sad. Sometimes the message we receive isn’t what we had hoped or expected. Sometimes we go away saddened. But I always wonder what the man did after he had a chance to think about Jesus’ message. Did he eventually do what Jesus asked?

God is asking me to do something. And, once again in His unique way, I’m being shown the direction so that I can fulfill His request. It’s not what I expected. But truly, all things are possible when we open our minds and hearts to God.

There is no real risk in what I have shared today because quite simply: I am in God’s hands and He loves me! That’s all that really matters.