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Meditations and conversations from my heart to help you live in the dawn of God’s tender kindness flowing into your broken places.

September 8, 2022

Jesus says: “I am the one you are looking for” (Horizons of the Heart 4)

The grace we are asking of God: To have confidence in the way God accepts us even in our sin, to believe in his path for us that weaves its way through forgiveness and mercy, and to have the courage to turn to the One who alone can give us all we need instead of trying to fix ourselves.   

Horizons of the Heart: Horizons of the Heart is a weekly retreat-in-life inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, Donec Formetur by Blessed James Alberione, and my own notes from my thirty-day Ignatian retreat in 2022.

There is a mysterious passage in the book of Jeremiah:

“My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water” (2:13).

Jesus, the spring of Living Water, watches us as we so often dig our own cisterns, our own wells, from which we hope to draw water that will satisfy our thirst, make us happy, give us life, at least a tolerable life on this earth. In the Gospel of John, we meet the woman in Samaria who was just such a woman. To tell you the truth, so am I.

June 8, 2022

How to know for sure God loves you (Horizons of the Heart 3)

The grace we are asking of God: A deep confidence and a consistent trust in God’s care for us and his nearness to us in every moment, even in the events of our life that are our undoing.

Horizons of the Heart: Horizons of the Heart is a weekly retreat-in-life inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, Donec Formetur by Blessed James Alberione, and my own notes from my thirty-day Ignatian retreat in 2022.

I love to pray Psalm 103, particularly with the translation of the New Jerusalem Bible:

Bless Yahweh, my soul,
from the depths of my being, his holy name;
bless Yahweh, my soul,
never forget all his acts of kindness.
….Yahweh is tenderness and pity,
slow to anger and rich in faithful love;
his indignation does not last for ever,
nor his resentment remain for all time;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve,
nor repay us as befits our offences.
As the height of heaven above earth,
so strong is his faithful love for those who fear him.
…As tenderly as a father treats his children,
so Yahweh treats those who fear him;
he knows of what we are made,
he remembers that we are dust” (vv. 1-2, 6-11, 13-14).

The day I meditated on this passage of Scripture at the beginning of my retreat, my soul was bleeding to know, truly know, that God cared for me, loved me, was near to me.

Did you ever ask yourself: What would it look like if God were caring for me? How can I know for sure?

June 1, 2022

The Amazing Promise of New Beginnings (Horizons of the Heart 2)

Horizons of the Heart: Horizons of the Heart is a weekly retreat-in-life inspired by the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius, Donec Formetus by Blessed James Alberione, and my own notes from my thirty-day Ignatian retreat in 2022.

Beginnings are more important than endings. In fact, beginnings are already woven into every ending. The ending of the life the caterpillar has always known is already integrated into the process of the butterfly’s new beginning. The seeming ending of the Master’s life on Calvary was mysteriously taken up, and gently, in the Father’s hands, it became the stage for the mystery of resurrection beginnings that would be lived again and again and again in Jesus’ disciples' lives.

“Why would you look for the living One in a tomb?” said the angels in white, angels of the resurrection whose radiance washed away the black sorrow of the ending of the Lord’s life on Calvary (Luke 24:5 TPT). The women who had come to seek the Lord buried in the tomb, locked behind a giant stone, dead, whom they feared they would see no more, these women faced the darkness of the sepulcher now lit with almost blinding brilliance. “He is not here. He is risen.”

“There’s no reason to be afraid” (Mt. 28:5). Pause a moment and think of an ending in your life that was particularly sudden, seemingly absolute. Or an ending you are living through now: termination, loss, failure. Any ending. One as great as the breaking of a relationship or losing a pet, or moving, or retiring. Or one as beautiful as the wedding of a child or the turning of a new leaf in life. Any ending.

Don’t endings bring on feelings of fear?

“There’s no reason to be afraid,” said the angel to the women. I’m not so sure that the command to not be afraid actually shifted their fear into trust. Nevertheless, it is helpful to remember that amid all our dread, struggle, the anticipation of an uncertain future, the uncertainty about what is happening, there is something permanent that is the reason why we needn’t fear…needn’t fear deep down, needn’t believe the absolute worst, needn’t believe that the ending is, well, an absolute and final and irrevocable end.

“I know you’re here looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here—he has risen victoriously, just as he said! Come inside the tomb and see the place where our Lord was lying” (Matthew 28:5-6 TPT).

May 27, 2022

Say a Strong YES to Your Existence (Horizons of the Heart 1)

he most difficult thing about being a follower of Jesus Christ is not climbing mountains of virtue or even walking through the valleys of incomprehensible sorrow. No. As difficult as these things may be, there is one thing more difficult still. Strangely, it is something even a child can do. Something we were created to do. Yet we, caught in the complex web of adulthood, we, more sophisticated Christians so far from the simple childlike faith that pleases so much the heart of God, we find this one thing, I dare say, almost impossible. We can talk about it, pray about it, preach about it, encourage others to do it. However, to totally and completely do this ourselves is the most difficult. Though it is the deepest desire of the most Sacred Heart of Jesus to see this in us, we’d rather do everything else but this.

The first thing to which we are invited—nay rather pushed to risk everything we have in order to do—is this: to trust.

To trust that God knows my name. That God cares about me. That Jesus is speaking the truth when he says, “I love a single soul as much as I love all souls together.” To trust that God reveals himself to me daily, even in each moment, in every situation without exception. That I am loved as I am. This love that flows to us from God’s heart is the most basic and secure fact of my life....

January 18, 2022

How to sustain prayerful strength in the face of tribulations

Friends, if you are struggling with being still in the arms of the God who walks with you through every event in your life, let these words of Psalm 46 and the example of Blessed Benedetta lead you into the arms of Love.

 

Music used by permission: https://www.fesliyanstudios.com/

January 3, 2022

2022: Like Mary and Joseph Let Yourself Be Swept Up Into God’s Purposes

You are an indispensable instrument of God’s plan and in perfectly surrendering to the divine flow of love, as mysterious and incomprehensible as it sometimes appears, you will find your happiness.

New Year's Resolutions often target weaknesses in order to increase strengths so we can be who we want to be. Mystery and divine providence often relies specifically on our weaknesses to be the places where the glory of God shines through as we play our part in the drama of the mysterious plan of salvation.

In the end, life is Mystery:  not perplexing confusion, but the Wisdom that is larger than our strategies, the Future that is greater than our projects, the Love that will encompass all of our potential.

Mystery means God has a plan for you that is perfect in every way, a plan that can encompass and save even suffering and disappointment.

Mystery means God will use you just as you are for a plan that has existed since before the foundation of the world and will exist into the unending future of the eternal kingdom.

December 13, 2021

At Christmas, it‘s okay to feel just the way you do…

I've been missing for 6 months because I've been home caregiving for my parents. What a gift, what a wealth of healing and mercy it has been.

Today I share a story from a young mother whom I observed yesterday that was also a moment of healing and grace.

As we gather near Jesus this Christmas season, we all have moments of tears, wistful memories of what could have been, empty places in our hearts and at our tables…. We sometimes shed tears, and are unable to explain exactly what they mean or what it is we need. God, like a good mother, says to you, “It’s okay to cry.”

God wraps his arms around you, kneels down to look you right in the eye, and whispers, “It’s okay to feel the way you do.” In a season where we are told we should be happy and nostalgic and romantic and excitedly anticipating sleigh rides “over the mountains and through the woods to grandmother’s house we go….”, it’s more than okay if your heart also carries a weight that is tearing open the veil to eternity from whence comes “the Dawn from on High.”

 

Music from ashamaluevmusic "Heaven"

June 4, 2021

Meditation for Corpus Christi: The Inexhaustible Mystery of the Eucharist

O Eucharistic heart of Jesus,

In you I find hope and freedom, truth and belonging, forgiveness and healing, friendship and mercy and life!

In your Eucharistic heart, O Jesus Christ, I experience the greatest love. You make me worthy of love, you make me capable of loving others as you have loved me.

O Jesus, in the Eucharist you rescue me from despair by attaching me to yourself, the Source of all Life. Without you I can do nothing (John 15:5).

May 4, 2021

How the stillness of God can help us be still….

The stillness of humility...

Be still. Comforting words that we find in Psalm 46. “Be still and know that I am God.” 

For me, these words conjure up quiet moments in a sacred space or beautiful place in nature. To do “be still” I could imagine calming myself down and enjoying a heart at peace, a world at peace, relationships at peace… 

Which they are not. 

Our world is anything but in peace. Being a fallen human being not every one of my relationships is at peace. And when I try to be quiet my heart struggles to find inner rest, and my mind takes off like wild stallions. 

Be still. Our hearts are rocked at times with reactive emotions and deep storms of fear and resentment. Our minds filled with useless, cynical, and angry thoughts that like gnats destroy our peace. I can hold my Father’s hand and bow to what I cannot change, determined nonetheless to care compassionately and see others with God’s eyes, confident that I need not prove, finish, or amount to anything to be his beloved daughter. 

April 28, 2021

When You Wonder How the Pieces Fit Together: A Midlife Reflection

In his unpublished manuscript The Wound of Existence, James Moran talks about the game we adults play, the game of “happy ever endings,” overcoming every challenge, “blasting” through every obstacle. We find our consolations in the crutches of ego, predictable order and reliable control, measurements, outcomes, neat and tidy boxes where we label everything to keep it safe.

We are all in this game that is stretched out on the surface of reality and only by remaining on the surface, contrary to every heart’s call to the deep, can we stay in the game.

But life’s purpose isn’t fulfilled by games of child’s play. It is that uncontrollable twist of our life’s story that brings shipwreck to the games, casts our hearts into the nothingness of a future that we cannot control, and ultimately puts us into the arms of God. These twists and turns of our life can be dramatic or simple, but they are there to free us from illusion and deepen our joy in life.....