on being a violet

Since writing this post, I have been receiving lots of support, advice, and encouragement. This trend is continuing with today’s daily meditation from Richard Rohr.  A quote:

Thérèse of Lisieux (1873-1897), an unschooled French girl who died at age 24, intuited the path of descent and called it her “Little Way.” She said (and I summarize), “I looked at the flowers in God’s garden and I saw great big lilies and beautiful roses, and I knew I could never be one of those. But I looked over in the corner and there was a little violet that nobody would notice. That’s me. That’s what God wants me to be.” [1] Thérèse knew that all we can give to God is simply who we really are; or even better, “To do very little things with great love,” which was her motto. [2] That’s all God wants from any of us. It’s not the perfection of the gift that matters to God; it’s the desire to give the gift that pleases God.

I love violets…

SoCS: heartbreaking news

I am writing this on Friday as we await news on a former pastor, Father James.

He is in a coma in ICU and expected to die soon.

The news is heartbreaking.

I am not heartbroken for him, as he will be released from suffering and dwelling in God who is Eternal Love.

I am heartbroken for his family and friends and all his former parishioners who will miss his care, concern, sense of humor, and gentleness. Although he was retired, he said Mass at local parishes. Just in the last few weeks, I attended a couple of Masses at which he presided.

He was the pastor of a church I attended for over twenty years. He was the pastor for both of my daughters’ baptisms and first communions, as well as my elder daughter’s confirmation. I served on liturgy committee for him for many years, as well as participating in music ministry with my daughters.

After he retired, our parish, which I had known as a welcoming home, ran into major difficulties and eventually disintegrated. That is still heartbreaking.

It is also heartbreaking that the church building that we had renovated under his leadership is no longer a Catholic church. After being damaged in a second major flood, it was closed and, years later, sold to a nearby Christian college. They have recently re-opened it as their chapel, but it is no longer the place we built together. Even the stained glass windows had been removed.

We will lay him to rest from his boyhood church, though, which is fitting. That church is also the mother church in our area, meaning it is the oldest congregation.

One of his favorite Bible verses was from Micah 6:8:   “And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

And he showed us how to do that.

Another passage is also coming to mind for me, from Matthew 25:21:  “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

I am also thinking of a setting of the final commendation, which is a prayer at the end of Catholic funerals, that we used to sing in Resurrection Choir when Father James would be presiding at parish funerals. The setting was done by Ernest Sands and used this refrain:  “May the choirs of angels come to greet you. May they speed you to paradise. May the Lord enfold you in His mercy. May you find eternal life.”

Amen.
*****
Linda’s prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday this week is “break/brake.” Join us! Find out how here: https://lindaghill.com/2016/05/20/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-may-2116/ .

SoCS badge 2015

 

What Is Truly Jihad?

Many people think that the word jihad means terrorism, violence, and killing, but that is a not its true meaning to Islam. Please read this excellent post from Amra Ismail to discover what jihad means and how it is lived daily by Muslims around the world.

Perfect-The-Days

Crushing Stereotypes #2

There has been a lot of misconception on the doctrine of Jihad which made me write this post. First and foremost the concept of Jihad is NOT what terrorist groups make it seem like.

Jihad literally means ‘to struggle’. This struggle is always for the sake of Allah but it in turn profits humanity, or yourself in the sense that you get closer to God. When I asked a friend of mine for her opinion on Jihad, she said that she performs it everyday when waking up to perform the morning prayer.

Jihad is also performed when you give up your desires for the sake of God. For instance, Islam prohibits the consumption of alcohol and if you give up drinking alcohol for the sake of God, then you have performed Jihad. Jihad is one of the greatest merits a person could achieve and you do not…

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#Blesstival on Love

My friend Jamie of Sophia’s Children has begun a blessing wave for 2016. It is called a Blessing Sadhana or Blesstival and this post is my contribution to the wave.  Everyone is invited to join in! You can read more about it here:  http://sophias-children.com/2015/12/23/blog-blesstival-add-your-blessing-to-start-the-new-year/

The blessing that I would like to share is Love.

Love with a capital L encompasses all that we love but extends beyond those we know to those we don’t know, to those who came before and those who will come after us, to all creatures, to the earth itself, to the universe.

From my religious tradition, I name this Love “Divine Love” or “God” but other cultures and traditions name Love in other ways, such as Great Spirit or the Universal. Secularists or scientists may speak of the Unified Field or Energy or simply the Universe.

Fans of Douglas Adams may know Love as the real answer to “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” Forty-two was just shorthand.

It is a profound sense of connection and unity that has been expressed by religious thinkers, philosophers, and scientists over the centuries.

One of the spiritual authors I have read in recent years is Richard Rohr. He writes an online series of daily meditations and his theme for 2016 is Love.  Here is an example of a recent daily meditation by Richard Rohr on Love.

As I have been contemplating writing this blessing post, I have been noticing Love everywhere, including this piece from Ilia Delio, another favorite spiritual writer.

I have been thinking about the universality of Love more often since attending a conference on Interspirituality, where I was privileged to meet Jamie in person. Whether one comes to it from a spiritual, philosophical, scientific, or secular viewpoint, our connection to one another and to Creation as a whole is profound.

I wish everyone the blessing of Love for 2016 and beyond.

Signing off with Jamie’s usual closing,

Big Love,
Joanne
*****
I want to spread the Blesstival as far as possible, so this post is also part of Linda’s Just Jot It January. You can find out more here:  http://lindaghill.com/2016/01/26/just-jot-it-january-26th-oneness/

Olive’s Vision of God | National Catholic Reporter

Source: Olive’s Vision of God | National Catholic Reporter

I loved this article about Olive and images of God. I’ve been dealing with issues of gendered language in the church for decades and caught flack for setting a text in which God, portrayed as Wisdom, is feminine, even though the text was biblical.

Here, wisdom comes from the mouths – and crayons – of babes.

An ancient call for peace

In my church, today is the Second Sunday of Lent, and, in the current cycle of readings, the Hebrew Scripture passage is from Genesis 22 about Abraham planning to but then not sacrificing his son Isaac.

The deacon who preached this morning pointed out that the Canaanites among whom Abraham lived practiced human sacrifice, specifically of children, so that, by telling Abraham not to kill Isaac, God was highlighting a difference between God and other gods that were of the contemporary culture.

He continued explaining that the prospect of the call to sacrifice Isaac is so disturbing that modern scholars decided to see how the ancient Jewish scholars interpreted the passage.  The ancient understanding of this passage was that God did not want any killing in the name of God. Not just sacrificial killing, or killing of children, or killing of those of one’s own religious tradition, but any killing at all.

It is humbling and horrifying that the Abrahamic faiths did not heed this call over the millennia and into the present day. So many millions of lives lost “in the name of God” with more being added each day.

My prayer today is for the mercy of God and the universal recognition that we are called to peace, love, and respect for one another, not killing.

2015: The Year of Love | Global Sisters Report

2015: The Year of Love | Global Sisters Report.

I had to share this beautiful and insightful post from Sister Ilia Delio on the centrality of love in our lives and the universe. Although anchored in the Christian tradition, it can also be read from a philosophical viewpoint apart from any sense of divinity.

Along with Sister Ilia, I wish for 2015 to be a Year of Love.