Monday, May 28, 2018

God's Gift of Freedom and Protection

Today's Entrance Antiphon reminds each one of us that  "the Lord became [our] protector. He brought [us] out to a place of freedom; he saved [us] because he delighted in us."   We could rewrite that as a personal message, the Lord saying to each one of us:  "I  am YOUR protector. I bring YOU out to a place of freedom; I save YOU because I delight in YOU." We might recall the many times that the Lord has protected us from disasters on the highway, from serious illnesses that attacked others and took their lives, from job losses suffered by co-workers, from abusive marriages, from mental illnesses, from suicidal thoughts or actions, from making disastrous mistakes in choosing a partner in life. Or, we may think of the times that God brought us out to places "of freedom": out of serious depressions, out of thoughts of suicide or debilitating anxiety, out of disasters from which we thought we'd never recover.

On the other hand, we might simply ponder deeply the phrase "I delight in YOU." The God of the Universe delights in us.  The Creator of all humankind delights in you and me personally. The God who created the galaxies, the sun and the moon, the stars, the earth with its oceans and landscapes, its trees and wildlife, its seasons, night and day delights in you and me personally! God so delights in you and me that the Almighty, the Holy One, has taken up residence in each one of us! With His Presence, God anoints us as His Beloved. With His Presence God strengthens us, purifies us, makes us holy, sustains us and reconciles us to Himself when we fall into Satan's trap, as did Adam and Eve before us.  Our God is a God of relationships, drawing us into an intimate relationship with Himself and with one another, showing us the way of Love!

God be praised and glorified by our lives of love and unity!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

What Hannah Teaches Us!

In today's first reading, 1 Sam 1: 9-20,  Hannah enters the Temple and "presented herself before the Lord."  She does not use a book to pray traditional Jewish prayers. No, she presents herself. She pours out her heart to the Lord. She is filled with sorrow at being barren and shares that sadness with the Lord, "weeping copiously".  "In her bitterness she prayed to the Lord, weeping copiously, and she made a vow, promising: 'O Lord of hosts, if you look with pity on the misery of your handmaid, if you remember me and do not forget me, if you give your handmaid a male child, I will give him to the Lord for as long as he lives'....When Elkanah had relations with his wife Hannah, the Lord remembered her. She conceived, and at the end of her term bore a son whom she called Samuel since she had asked the Lord for him.."  

Hannah teaches us the importance of 1) taking our problems to the Lord, 2) being honest with the Lord in prayer and 3) expressing our needs--telling the Lord what it is that we would like from Him. We need to be real with the Lord, as a small child is real with its parents! However, if we are neither truthful with ourselves nor with a trusted other about our feelings and our needs, it is unlikely that we will share our truth with the Lord in prayerful encounters!  How often do we not go into prayer as dry a desert and come out the same way! How often than not do our relationships reflect the same barrenness--nothing of significance happens between us because nothing of significance nor of the truth about ourselves is honestly shared, that is, we hide our vulnerabilities. Hannah did nothing of that sort!

Lord, help me be humble enough to be vulnerable in my relationship with myself and trusted others and honest with you in prayer!  It's not the right prayer that I need but an open heart that I am willing to speak my truth to you.  May I keep no secrets from you, Lord!