Why were you looking for me–Reflection on the Holy Family.

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - The Heavenly and E...

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo – The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (The Pedroso Murillo) (1675-82) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Why were you looking for me?

 

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Luke tells the familiar story of the Holy Family of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in particular Joseph and Mary looking all over the place for Jesus who was found in the temple.  In looking at the story and celebration of this Feast of the Holy Family, this question “Why were you looking for me?” struck a chord with me.

 

The original intent of this blog was to look at issues of my faith that I hand on to my son during this year of faith, which brought me back to this question “Why were you looking for me?”  Here this question presumes that the person is on a journey and that we are looking for Him is part of the relationship with Him.  The desire to look for God becomes in itself part of the journey toward God.  In the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the period of desolation is helped with the movement of being in desolation to “seeing oneself in desolation” thus giving space to from the moment to seeing one in the moment as an opportunity to allow something/someone else to help transform the situation.

 

Being in the moment of looking for someone, to seeing yourself looking for someone gives that same opportunity for the someone to appear and speak to us.  How do we get lost in a moment is one thing, but to return and reflect on that moment is something all together another part of the conversion experience. So “Why were you looking for me?” becomes a place where God intervenes and takes us out of the moment to give us some space to recognize that we were already in relationship even though we might not find God in the usual places where we seek Him.

 

Finding God in the ordinariness of the day, in the routine and mundane becomes a reminder that we are continuing the relationship with God.  Our faithfulness to doing the ordinary things extraordinarily well, becomes the opportunity to provide that same space of recognition.  So again the question, why do we look for Him–on this Feast of the Holy Family, I propose that we look for Him not only for ourselves, but also for those who we live and and share life with so that we can have life more abundantly.

 

The image of the Holy Family is one that is tough for the normal family to live up to, however, revealed in this question, shows to us that we all share the same Human desires and connection of family life–to seek and to be united–and that no matter the message, this journey is never done in a solitary state, but done in community.

 

May the Blessing the Holy Family bless you and yours!

 

Pax!

 

 

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Christmas Blessing

Christmas 2003: The Nativity

Christmas 2003: The Nativity (Photo credit: DUCKMARX)

 

For this Christmas Season, I leave you with this Christmas blessing–Merry Christmas!

 

Christmas Blessing

 

May the love of the newborn Christ surround you,

 

and release in you compassion and care for others;

 

May the joy of the Holy Family enrich you

 

in your traveling through life,

 

and in your discoveries;

 

May the hope of the baby of Bethlehem direct you in your birthing,

 

and in your departing;

 

May the insight of the Carpenter from Nazareth challenge you in your struggles,

 

and in your complacency;

 

And may the Peace of the risen Christ empower you in your hearts, in your homes, and in all of your longings;

 

And the Blessing of God Almighty,

 

The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,

 

be among you and remain with you, your families and all in the family of God’s creation, Now, throughout this Christmastime, and forevermore.  Amen

 

 ——Edgar Ruddock

England

 

 

 

The Fourth Sunday of Advent–an Ordinary Glimpse

Advent 4 candleToday’s Gospel reading reminds us of the powerful imagery of the Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth.  The profound hearing of Mary’s greeting causes the baby in Elizabeth’s womb to leap for joy?  How often do we leap for joy when we hear a greeting?

Each day we are all faced with various greetings, the greetings of our spouses, siblings, children, co-workers, customers and even our pets.  Genuine greetings speak to us at our deepest level, opens us up to the transformation that can come from the encounter of the other person.  How do we greet another?  How do we open ourselves up to be greeted?

Do we walk by someone and not even make eye-contact or greet them?  We all have moments in which we can do better with our greetings of each other.  When we are genuine in our greeting it moves strangers to friends.  Each one of us has the power to transform our relationships and how we greet one another? Including who we greet each day?

It is significant that during this time of year when we celebrate the birth of Christ, the light of the world, we celebrate it during some of our darkest days of the year.  Our greetings can shine a new light on our relationships and brighten the day of someone who has been marginalized or even offer a moment of transformation for ourselves.

Are greetings are opportunities for us to share in the life of Christ and to be like Mary and to give birth to Christ in our time and place.

“We are all meant to be mothers of God. What good is it to me if this eternal birth of the divine Son takes place unceasingly, but does not take place within myself? And, what good is it to me if Mary is full of grace if I am not also full of grace? What good is it to me for the Creator to give birth to his Son if I do not also give birth to him in my time and my culture? This, then, is the fullness of time: When the Son of Man is begotten in us.” —Meister Eckhart, 1260-1328, German Dominican mystic

Rejoice–Gaudete Sunday!! An Ordinary Glimpse.

Third Sunday: Gaudete!

Third Sunday: Gaudete! (Photo credit: mattjlc)

 

Rejoice—just in case you didn’t notice I will write it again—REJOICE!!  The second reading in Liturgy for the 3rd Sunday of Advent calls us to Rejoice and the First reading tells us to “Shout for Joy!” In some circles this is called Gaudete Sunday and it is recognized with the liturgical color of Rose.

 

The first reading turns our minds and hearts to “shout for joy.”  Paul calls us in the second reading, to rejoice in the Lord always so to be at peace.  In the Gospel of Luke we hear John call us to be honest and not abuse one another.  John also calls us to recognize the One who is greater than we are and who will come to fill us with complete joy.

 

For me, this becomes a great reminder to take on a spirit of gratitude.  It is tough to continue to be thankful in light of the recent tragedies in our country, how can one rejoice and shout for joy with such senseless violence.  In other parts of our country people are still busily wrapped up with, errands to run, projects to finish, meals to cook, dishes to wash, parties to throw, but it is because of the opportunity that I have to experience these things and create connection to my family, friends and faith that I should always be in a place of gratitude for this gift.  Even in light of such tragedy, such events like these cause us to reorient, re-evaluate and in some cases re-member our connection to others and the real interconnectedness of the human family.

 

So what is it for you that is cause for you to Rejoice?  Do you rejoice because the consumerism of Christmas is almost over?  Do you rejoice because you get to share time with family and friends?  Do you rejoice in those less fortunate than you today?  Do you rejoice because you were able to give or that you received?  Today, we mark the season of Advent as almost over, but there is still time for us to joyfully await the coming of our Lord and continue to rejoice in the continual recognition of Christ in our midst.  As we continue to look to make sense of the many things that continue to go on in our world, Advent becomes a time of hopeful expectation that Christ is about to be born again in our midst.  How can we look for times to rejoice this Advent season? How can we bring joy to and rejoice with others in this season?  However it is done this year, I say, Rejoice in the Lord always, I say again, REJOICE!!

 

 

 

What is your obstacle?–Ordinary Glimpse for the Second Sunday of Advent

adventsecondThis week’s readings lead my musings toward the question: “What is my obstacle?”  Take a look at the Gospel reading for the 2nd Sunday of Advent.

+ A Reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea,
and Herod was tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region
of Ituraea and Trachonitis,
and Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene,
during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,
the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the desert.
John went throughout the whole region of the Jordan,
proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins,
as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah:
A voice of one crying out in the desert:
“Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.
Every valley shall be filled
and every mountain and hill shall be made low.
The winding roads shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth,
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”–Luke 3:1-6

The simplicity of this season, okay this is probably not the simplest of season’s, with all of the Christmas shopping, parties, letter writing and Christmas cards–this is probably not a quiet time.  So it is during this time that it makes it harder to hear that voice crying out in the desert. That voice that is showing us the way to “prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths.”  With all of the clouds of confusion and noise, how can anyone maintain a simple path that is prepared to receive our Lord.  So it led me to think of what are the obstacles that are in the way that allow me to smooth my rough ways?

This week we continue to watch our son grow and change, sometimes it seems right before our very eyes.  That voice that is crying out is the voice of our little one saying that he is hungry, needs changing or is bored and wants to be picked up.  It is His voice that is smoothing out the rough edges of our own selfishness and desires to do what we would previously do during the weekend, or even sleep in the evening hours.  When all of the crying in the middle of the night or early morning becomes such a loud voice that you cannot ignore or it wakes you from your sound slumber, it is same voice inviting you to recall your commitment to “come follow me.”  This voice helps prepare the way for the Lord, because it is in these moments that I realize the dependence on God the most, especially when you feel most helpless.

This sounds all nice and sweet for a reflection, however, the obstacle is that in the moment of hearing the voice and the smoothing out of rough ways, is the moment of tension. You see the ways are made smooth by friction, something pressing against the old self.  So the obstacle really becomes my old self, it is the part of me that still hangs onto the my selfish ways, i.e., the desire for sleep, reading, etc.  The friction and smoothing process is necessary for all stones to become polished and become a bright shining place for all to see their own reflection.  So through the voice of my little one, the reflection that is being polished is none other than that of the One who’s way we are both preparing to receive and see in each other.  So this week, notice your obstacle–and take a look at whose image is beginning to be seen in the reflection from the edges being made smooth.

+In what ways are we being invited to embrace a particular change in our life?

+What is the obstacle that is leaving us closed to hearing the voice of God each day?

Awake–First Sunday of Advent, an ordinary glimpse!

advent-1So we begin the season of Advent, a season of hopeful expectation and waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the here and now and in the Kingdom still to come.  In this season, we celebrate the three “comings” of Christ. Some writers focus only on two comings of Christ, however, I generally add a third.  One, in his original coming as a Child in Bethlehem. The second, in our awareness of His presence in our daily lives and the third, His final return to redeem humanity.

The readings from this weekend’s Eucharistic Liturgy point to being awake and watchful for his final return, yet, this awakened state is just as necessary to see hints of the Kingdom in the here and now.  The Gospel of Luke point to being made aware of the signs that point to His final return.

In these past few days since the birth of my first born son, staying awake and awareness have been a constant conversation with those I work and live with each day.  With the feeding schedule and his sleep-wake cycles, it really throws a challenge into each day’s wakefulness.  To be awake has several meanings, the first is to cease from sleeping.  In these days, that is the easiest.  However, another meaning of awake is what the Gospel writers are referring to, that is, to become conscious or aware of something.  Yet, these two definitions of awake are intimately joined, for our awareness is sometimes effected–for good and for bad– by the amount or lack of sleep.  Yet, because of my lack of sleep, there is a new heightened awareness.  In the moments of both my lack of sleep and heightened awareness, you begin to notice things differently and priorities of your life begin to change, right before your very eyes.

In the daily liturgy of the domestic church, the new awareness is in the 2am feeding and diaper change, the visit of family and friends who assist with a major life change, the daily faithfulness to support each other and to continue to be people of integrity faithful to the struggle to not only look for an experience of God in those great in-breaking moments, but also to see everyday life as the invitation to see the world anew a filled with, as Gerard Manley Hopkins says, “the grandeur of God.”

Advent becomes a great time to light a candle and shed some light on another reality in our daily lives, so that we might be light St. Paul says to the people at Thessalonica in today’s second reading. 

Brothers and sisters:
May the Lord make you increase and abound in love
for one another and for all,
just as we have for you,
so as to strengthen your hearts,
to be blameless in holiness before our God and Father
at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his holy ones. Amen.