Monday, August 23, 2010

Providential Joy

The Sacredness of God's Handiwork

How do we live in creation?  Do we relate to it as a place full of "things" we can use for whatever need we want to fulfill and whatever goal we wish to accomplish?  Or do we see creation first of all as a sacramental reality, a sacred space where God reveals to us the immense beauty of the Divine? 

As long as we only use creation, we cannot recognize its sacredness because we are approaching it as if we were its owners.  But when we relate to all that surrounds us as created by the same God who created us and as the place where God appears to us and calls us to worship and adoration, then we are able to recognize the sacredness of all God's handiwork.
Henri J. M. Nouwen
Bread For the Journey

As I read these words of Henri Nouwen and listened to the words sung by Michael Card I was reminded how much I take this glorious world for granted.  Instead of expecting the roses to bloom and spread their beautiful petals, I should be in awe of the beauty!!!  It's the glory of God in our midst!  I should be jubilant in this garden.  I should be singing joyfully!!!  And so I will!!!

Thanks be to God!

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Posted by Picasa

When I hear the phrase, “Jesus saves,” I think of poorly lettered billboards on many a country road. I also remember an unpleasant incident when I was buttonholed by a street evangelist who asked: “Are you saved, brother?” But these unhappy experiences of insensitivity cannot change what is central for me, as for every Christian: Jesus does save. (Francis McNutt, The Word Among Us)

This article, Savior and Healer, is wonderful and I ask you all to visit The Word Among Us and read it.  I can personally attest the work of healing in my own family, spiritual and physical. 

The most dramatic case of physical healing came after Ron suffered from severe back pain for 18 months.  During that time he also underwent two upper endoscopy procedures, one to diagnose an ulcer and to rule out pancreatic cancer, the other to check the healing process of the ulcer.  It was finally determined that he should undergo a discectomy to remove the cause of the nerve impingement caused by the bulging disc.  For months friends and family had prayed for Ron.  After Mass the morning of the surgery,  Fr. Joe administered the Anointing of the Sick to Ron, while friends, Margaret and Bill, and I  laid hand on him.  That in itself is a moving and spiritual experience.

 While preparations were being made to begin the surgery, the surgeon came in to do the obligatory history and physical.  During the physical the Dr. tried to elicit pain from Ron.  He did all the neurological testing.  When all was done he said. "I can't do the surgery."  (I thought that was a poor joke to say to someone about to have major surgery!)  He indeed was serious!  He told us that since he couldn't cause Ron to have pain he couldn't in good conscience do the surgery because he could do more harm that good, should he have the surgery anyway.  He told Ron to call again when he was having the pain and he would reschedule the surgery.

To date, 3 years later, Ron as had no more pain or even slight discomfort.  Needless to say there was jubilation and exultation among family and friends as well as Ron himself.  There is healing!!!  It is here everyday and everywhere!!!

Thanks be to God!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Vanity of Vanities

Posted by Picasa

If you reflected at all on this reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes it had to have been and eyeopening event.  I have listened to this reading, as you have, for  many years, yet today is the day of wonder for me.  I was taught as a child that vanity is a sin.  In fact it is listed as one of the Seven Deadly Sins along with gluttony, covetousness, lust, anger, envy, and sloth.  A good explanation of vanity can be found at Catholic Culture. org.

Most of all I was struck by these words, "For what profit comes to man from all the toils and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?  All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest.  This also is vanity." (Ecclesiastes 2: 22-23)

Our world is full of vanity.  Why else would we be in a constant state of anxious labor?  Vanity tells us we can do it on our own.  So instead of trusting in Providence we lose sleep at night.  We over compensate, worry and find our only satisfaction in successes that are short lived, instead of relying on the source of all creation.  Yes, vanity!!!!  There this is the word for it and today I came to realize it.  Yes, and something else.  "[C]hrist is all and in all (Colossians 3: 11)! 

Thanks be to God!