“Hitler didn’t steal power. His people voted for him and then he destroyed his people. That is the risk.” Pope Francis I have always believed in the power of our daily meditations to provoke thought and something to think about as we go about our daily lives. As a former Catholic I have been impressed with Pope Francis and his messages. I try not to be political in my opinions but I confess that I am so concerned with the lack of morality and empathy we are surrounded with in the leadership we have today. Where has respect and and tolerance gone? Since when has immorality become acceptable? I think we had better pay attention. History is known to repeat itself. I end this with a prayer: Dear God we need your help and understanding, and more than ever we pray for your guidance. Roger Fortier Sexton
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"Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion." - Thích Nhất Hạnh
Praying Seasonally I try to pray daily, and as I do so, I try to remember to include some small prayer that ties in with the liturgical season. So right now, between Easter and Pentecost, I pray, “Lord, fill us with your new life in this holy season of the resurrection.” In this way, I seek to connect my personal prayer life to the spiritual journey of the whole church, traveling together through the liturgical year. And this, in turn, connects me to the Great Story that is represented by the changing liturgical seasons, the story of sin and redemption, of death and birth to new life in the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s good to be reminded that each of us is part of the whole church, that each of us is part of the Great Story. How will you connect to the Great Story today? Paul Peterson
The words below are taken from "Bread for the Journey" written by theologian Henri Nouwen, a book of meditations for each day of the year. As I read this one, a picture appeared in my mind of a place I know very well, one that I see each week, usually on Sunday. As you read Henri's words, what picture do you visualize? The Mosaic that shows us the face of God A mosaic consists of thousands of little stones. Some are blue, some are green, some are yellow, some are gold. When we bring our faces close to the mosaic, we can admire the beauty of each stone. But as we step back from it, we can see that all these little stones reveal to us a beautiful picture, telling a story none of these stones can tell by itself. That is what our life in community is about. Each of us is like a little stone, but together we reveal the face of God to the world. Nobody can say "I make God visible." But others who see us together can say, "They make God visible." Community is where humility and glory touch. What picture came into your mind of a community that makes God visible? Barbara Carbonneau: Outreach member, St. Matthew's (reprinted from May 2014)
"A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing" - Martin Luther (words and music) Whenever we sing this hymn in church, I feel the words and music echo through me back to when I was a young boy growing up in the Midwest. As I sing it, I get a deep reminder of piling into the station wagon and attending mass with my parents and siblings. God gave us five senses and we use all of them as we go to church. Which sensory experience takes you back to your youth: the melody of a hymn, the smell of incense, the squares of colored light on the back of the pews as sunlight shines through stained glass? I wonder what aspects of our little church will resonate with my children when they are older. -Leo Steffens (reprinted from May 2014)
"All of life becomes a liturgy” Count Nicolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf I remember reading somewhere that each moment of our lives can help us connect to God’s presence in us: Our awakening in the morning begins our life that day, it is our birth in Christ; our morning shower brings us to our baptism and the washing away of our sin; we break our fast and connect with the wonders that God has made; we work and remember that God has given us the gifts and talents that we use each day. You get the idea. Zinzendorf left his home in what is now Germany and eventually came to Pennsylvania. His focus on a personal relationship and the connection of all Christians had ruffled feathers wherever he went. Yet he has left a lasting imprint on the Moravian Church that he helped found and on our understanding of what it means to live our lives “in Christ.” As you go through your life today, take a moment to consider how your actions connect with your life of faith. Linnae Peterson, M.Div.
Becoming ~ What do you want to become this day? I have a heartfelt desire to reach a state of loving acceptance of those around me, to live a Godly life so that my actions and sharing can be a healing balm to those that I meet each day. Barbara Mace, Parishioner (reprinted from May 2015)
Dame Julian of Norwich Like many a medieval saint, Julian of Norwich led a life that sounds exceedingly odd to modern ears. She received a series of strange and other-worldly visions when she was around thirty years old; afterwards, she largely withdrew from the world, living as an anchorite (essentially a hermit) in a hut near the Church of St. Julian in Norwich, England, until her death around 1416. Dame Julian was not widely known in her day, and the record that she wrote of her visions appears to have been all but forgotten until modern English editions of it began to appear in the late nineteenth century. Her “Revelations of Divine Love” has since become a spiritual classic, and I number myself among the many who treasure this work. What speaks to me most about Julian’s “Revelations” is her sweeping vision of the all-encompassing, unstoppable love of God in Christ. Of her many quotable quotes, my favorite is this unconditional promise given to her in a vision of the Lord, a final word, if you will, on the vast sweep of human history: “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” Can you embrace that assurance today? Paul Peterson
Wherever you are is the perfect place to awaken. This moment is the exact place to practice compassion and loving awareness. You have all the ingredients to breathe and find freedom just where you are. Jack Kornfield (Author, Buddhist Practitioner and one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West.)
The office calendar next to my desk has the religious feast days on it. I wondered about the one yesterday - 'Monnica, Mother of Augustine of Hippo, 387'. Any time, the religious institution seeks to praise a woman and a mother, I get curious. So here's a little history for you all on one of the many important women in Christian history... From Holy Women, Holy Men Monnica’s life story is enshrined in the spiritual autobiography of her eldest son, in The Confessions of Saint Augustine. Born in North Africa about 331, of Berber parents, Monnica was married to a Latinized provincial of Tagaste named Patricius, whom she won to the Christian faith before his death. In her earlier years she was not without worldly ambitions and tastes. She grew in Christian maturity and spiritual insight through an ever-deepening life of prayer. Her ambition for her gifted son was transformed into a passionate desire for his conversion to Christ. After his baptism in Milan in 387, by Bishop Ambrose, Augustine and his mother, together with a younger brother, planned to return home to Africa. While awaiting ship at Ostia, the port of Rome, Monnica fell ill. Augustine writes, “One day during her illness she had a fainting spell and lost consciousness for a short time. We hurried to her bedside, but she soon regained consciousness and looked up at my brother and me as we stood beside her. With a puzzled look, she asked, ‘Where was I?’ Then, watching us closely as we stood there speechless with grief, she said, ‘You will bury your mother here.’ ” Augustine’s brother expressed sorrow, for her sake, that she would die so far from her own country. She said to the two brothers, “It does not matter where you bury my body. Do not let that worry you. All I ask of you is that, wherever you may be, you should remember me at the altar of the Lord.” To the question, whether she was not afraid at the thought of leaving her body in an alien land, she replied, “Nothing is far from God, and I need have no fear that he will not know where to find me, when he comes to raise me to life at the end of the world.” Recent excavations at Ostia have uncovered her original tomb. Her mortal remains, however, were transferred in 1430 to the Church of St. Augustine in Rome.