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Made in the Image of God

Made in the Image of God

Today, I was invited to present a talk on Morality at a Confirmation Retreat for a local parish. Though the students were still trying to *grasp* the idea of Confirmation (those were the days!), I think one of the biggest gifts came for me personally, where I got to prepare my talk. Through my preparation, I reflected greatly on what morality means to me and what morality calls us to.

I asked one of my mentors how I should even begin preparing, and he said, “just talk about your beautiful life!” And so, that’s what I chose to do.

It’s amazing to me how when I sold coupons back in the day, I had to prepare my “sales pitch” word for word, line by line, so as not to forget any of the oh so important details and key phrases that will get the sale. Nowadays, when I share about faith or justice, it seems the opposite happens. I can’t seem to shut up and will go on and on, wherever the voice from my heart takes me! And for that, I am grateful.

I saw God today in the youth who were preparing for Confirmation. There are lots of questions, some uncertainty, and yet at least some teensy bit of openness. As long as there is faith the size of a mustard seed, I trust that God will take care of the rest!

Please say a prepare for the youth preparing for Confirmation this year. Holy Spirit, Come!

RCIA…on her way!

RCIA…on her way!

Today I saw God in my hangout time with one of my friends. We talked about the usual stuff – family, friends, work…and then she shared with me that she decided she was going to go through the RCIA program in the next year.

As soon as she shared that with me, my eyes watered up and I really should have thrown myself at her and given her a huge hug, and instead, I hugged myself, out of pure joy at what she had just shared with me. There was a also a large table between us, so that was kind of difficult to maneuver.

We eventually talked more about faith and what led her to the decision of wanting to become a Catholic, and it was such a wonderful afternoon! Friends of mine who have gone through RCIA have shared with me what that experience was like for them, and most was positive, other than some meetings being boring, etc. But I am so happy for my friend and I promised her that I would start praying for her starting yesterday. 🙂 Please pray for her too!

This will be a long journey, but I know it will be worth it. I’m so glad God placed people in my life where I am able to talk freely about faith and justice. That in itself is a gift!

 

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Let It Be Done Unto Me…

Above: One of my favorite pictures of the Annunciation entitled: The Annunciation, (1898), Henry Ossawa Tanner. (Courtesy the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1899)

On this Feast of the Annunciation, here is a beautiful reflection on our “YES!” and the struggle that comes with it too.

Here is a song by Danielle Rose, Let It Be Done Unto Me, that always comes to mind on this special feast day:

The Lord sent me to Mary
As she was praying in the sun.
I said, “Hail Mary, favored one,
The Lord is with you. Mary it is true.”
She did not understand.
She said, “Shall I touch the sky
With these small hands?”
A peasant girl from Galilee
Destined to become the Queen of Peace.

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

“Mary, do not be afraid.
Behold, you will conceive a son
Through whom the world is saved.
Humility will be your throne,
And in your womb our God,
Our God will find a home.”
“O Lord, how can this be?
I have not given any man my body’s purity!”
“The Spirit will come down,
Like once-barren Elizabeth
Can now with child be found!”

[Pre-chorus]
And all the heavens and the earth
Stand still in silence,
Waiting for her soul to reply.
She is free to choose:
God will never abuse
The sacred Yes she cannot be denied.

[Chorus]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

She said Yes to the Father,
Yes to the unknown,
Yes with all her strength,
Yes to God alone.
The first Holy Communion
Took place that blessed day.
Christ came into her body
When Mary chose to say
When Mary chose to say…

[Chorus (x2)]
“Let it be done unto me!
With one small yes the world will be redeemed.
What was impossible is now a possibility.
Let it be done unto me!”

Let it be done unto me [x3]

The Future Awaits!

The Future Awaits!

Students are in the midst of discerning their college decisions. Some have already heard from their “dream” schools – some got accepted, some did not…and some are still waiting.

I remember what it was like, many, many years ago…waiting to hear back from schools, then after I heard back, then I was waiting to hear back from the Financial Aid offices, and then after I heard back, waiting to hear back from housing, to freshman programming, to course offerings, and the list goes on…waiting – lots of waiting! Such a stressful, yet exciting time!

Today, I reflected on many of the holy meetings I had with students so far who have stopped in to share some of the latest news they had with regards to college acceptances/non-acceptances. Today, please pray for the seniors who are discerning next steps after graduation. Some are even thinking about waiting a year or so until they hear back from a school where they want to go, instead of settling for a third or fourth choice. Lots of beautiful things ahead! Keep the prayers coming. The future generation needs them!

From Living Water

From Living Water

Today we read one of my favorite Gospels…did you miss it? Here it is for you:

Gospel of the Day: John 4:5-42

“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” – John 4:10

Check out Brother Mickey McGrath’s print HERE

Reflection:

The Samaritan woman at the well is no angel. Mixed up with a wrong crowd, this poor woman from Samaria has quite a reputation. She had been married five times and was living in sin with a man who wasn’t her husband.

Through her story comes the lesson that people shouldn’t live by carnal pleasure. The story also shows that a well of grace is ready to refresh the soul parched by sin and suffering and that Jesus comes to save the sick and to serve those who still need both physical and spiritual healing — not only the converted.

Her story is also relevant because it becomes an antecedent of Christian practices — that one may seek God’s forgiveness for wrongdoing.

In some Christian religions, including Catholicism and Orthodox, seeking forgiveness is the basis for the sacrament of Reconciliation (confession). Every faith has a teaching and belief that God forgives sin and that repentance is always possible. The Jewish feast of Yom Kippur and Islam’s Ramadan are also examples of seeking forgiveness and showing atonement for sin.

The woman at the well had her sins “washed away” by Jesus. The story shows that Jesus offers divine mercy in the living water of grace, which washes away sins and cleanses souls. The woman went to the well to get a jug of water. Instead, she got much more, including a cleansed and refreshed spiritual life.

Going to the well

Because of her lowly status, the Samaritan woman goes to the well during the hottest point of the day to avoid the wagging tongues of her fellow townspeople. Most other people were taking siestas at this time; nobody in his or her right mind is out in the noonday sun. The woman of Samaria knows this and seizes the opportunity to get water for her home without being bothered.

Jews didn’t normally travel on a Samaritan road, but Jesus chose to walk this way anyway. He comes upon the well, where he meets the Samaritan woman and asks her for a drink of water. The woman, who understands her low social status in the eyes of a Jew, is astonished that this pious Jew requests water from her.
Experiencing renewed spirit

Jesus uses the water as a metaphor to teach this woman. He speaks about the living water, which gives eternal life, divine grace, or God’s life within the soul. The woman craves this type of water, because she wants to have eternal life. But first Jesus has a lengthy but candid dialogue with her. He makes her understand that she needs to confess her sins and change her life before she can obtain this life-giving water — grace. Jesus shows her that he already knows she is living with a man who is not her husband.

Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come back.” The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’; for you have had five husbands, and the one you have now is not your husband. What you have said is true!”

John 4:16–18

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). “When he comes, he will proclaim all things to us.” Jesus said to her, “I am he, the one who is speaking to you.”

John 4:25–26

The Samaritan woman’s spirit is enlightened, accelerated, and illuminated by Jesus. She now realizes what it means to take freely of the water of life, which is the spiritual refreshment that comes into her soul after her encounter and confession with Jesus. Not only was she impressed that Jesus knew all her sins, but she was also given the opportunity to have those sins forgiven. She believes he is truly the Messiah, the Anointed One. She repents of her past misdeeds and goes back to tell her family, friends, and neighbors how she met Jesus and how he revealed his knowledge of her sins and his offer of live-giving water, which brings eternal life. She went on to lead many conversions in this area through her zeal and love for God (John 4:39–42).

The Samaritan woman doesn’t appear again in scripture, but for centuries afterward, numerous spiritual writers, theologians, and scholars retold and pondered her encounter with Jesus. Augustine (AD 354–430), for instance, uses the example of the woman at the well to describe the spiritual thirst the human heart has for goodness and truth and that thirst is never quenched until people are in the presence of God forever (after they die and leave this earth).

AMEN!