Be Still My Soul

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I was sitting on the beach watching the waves violently crash against the shore.  The blue tranquil appearance of yesterday was but a peaceful memory. Today gray swells of varying degrees broke down, curling white, then collapsing in a rumble of turbulent foam.  There was a storm approaching us from the sea, and it was as if it was reaching out to prepare us for its power,  but still yet on the horizon.  My head phones were lauding me with gentle tones, calling me to a spirit of calm, contradicting what my eyes could see and ears still heard…the impact of each wave.  Even so the mantra, “Be still my soul” was providing me with peace

It made me think of St Peter on the boat, when Jesus came to him on the water. When Peter went, and noticed the rough water, he began to sink.

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” 

 Jesus is certainly capable of calming the seas, whether a body of water, or life’s circumstances.  When we see God’s will for us, and the water is turbulent, it can get scary. Even when I ask Jesus to call me, to His will on the water, I can lose faith, when the water gets choppy. I think today, I just need to challenge myself to call out to Jesus, when I begin to falter, so He can calm the seas.DSC_0862_2

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

 

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

Be still my soul….in Your will Lord…be still my soul

Whom Shall I Fear?

 

He was sitting alone in the night. No friends or family, they were all very faraway.  The illuminated images in front of him were bright and vivid, because the night was an intense darkness.  In the distance he could hear rapid gunfire, evidence of the war around him in Vietnam. Yet, none of these remnants of war were frightening him.  What was terrifying him this night was the Hollywood portrayal of satanic possession and exorcism on a movie screen. One may think, how could a fictional production cause more intense fear than war? 

Maybe because we know, in reality, death is temporal, and possession can be eternal. He knew that the movie was a different kind of battle, but every bit as real, as the distant sound of machine guns, and as close as an invitation from evil.

AAF933F5-5F8B-4811-8D00-0289875965D9So many people seem to really like Halloween.  I can appreciate the fun of dressing up, and having neighbors handing you candy, at the shout of “trick or treat”.  I think though, we have to be careful, where our thoughts go, and especially what our children are exposed to and learn; from our celebration of the macabre that can be elevated in movies, costumes and images.  There is an epic war happening in our midst, this war between what is holy and what is evil.

I think we need to pray for  wisdom, in our Halloween activities, and be careful what ideas we are exposing these little ones to. What are we teaching them about life after death, and do they understand Who the Victor is…He who has the power to give life, and take it away, for eternity.

 

Groanings

E0C2762B-992E-45E1-A29E-1C425314FC5EI was driving a preschool boy, Michael. one day, and we passed an empty overgrown lot.  He said to me, “My mother lives there.”  I replied, “Oh sweetie your mother doesn’t live there.  There isn’t even a house or anything.”  He looked at me, and said, “I know, but you understand don’t you?”  Michael needed to think his mother was somewhere.  His mother had abandoned him. His need for his mother, generated a child’s solution, for where she was, and why she wasn’t with him.  I could see his pain, and it was breaking my heart.  So, I talked with him a little bit about his mother.

I wonder if this same thing occurs to us.  We know we have a need, but we’re incapable of coming up with the right solution.  We petition God, for what we perceive as our need. He alone knows what our souls require. “The Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groaning.”  The Spirit expresses our hearts and souls in a way that we can’t articulate, or possibly aren’t even conscious of.  It can seem that God isn’t responding to our prayers.  He won’t give us a bandaid, like I wouldn’t let Michael think his mother was in an empty lot.  He wants instead to heal our soul.  He wants to address the need that our limitations can’t remedy. Our Savior wants us restored for eternity.

In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings

And the one who searches hearts knows what is the intention of the Spirit, because it intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.

Rm 8:26-27

Family Ties

When a baby is born, one of the first things we like to do, is determine who the child looks like.  He/she has mom’s nose, grandpa’s chin or Aunt Rose’s curly hair.  There are “looks” that identify a whole family or nationality…Irish freckles, red hair, mediterranean complexion.  We want to see similarities, and claim them as part of our own.  It is endearing to see a part of ourself or family, in our offspring.  

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The irrevocable bond between Yahweh and the Jews is designated with circumcision.  I am your God you are my people, and this circumcision represents their Covenant.  God promised Abraham that his descendants would number the stars, thus this family of the circumcised. 

In circumcision the Hebrews made the mark.  In Baptism, our Father creates a mark, with His own hand and of His choosing. We are reborn, and once again made in His image; however now we carry the family seal, from the Father.  It is as if in Baptism, the Creator signs His work, with His indelible pen, and says, these are Mine, let no one forget that.

The seal that makes us one in Christ Jesus is a seal of refuge that protects us from satan.  The Sign of the Cross, our expression of our Baptism, causes satan to flee.  How could something so powerful, capable of thwarting evil, go unnoticed, by we who carry it.  Maybe we just have to turn inward, and ask God to reveal it to us, make it perceivable, to show us our internal freckles that say we are His. I wonder, what will we find there in the signature of the Omnipotent?  …and will finding it change us?

 

Little Things

I remember as a child, I knew the spot where it would happen. I would get excited, as we approach the location. Dad would speed up a bit, we would crest the hill, then it felt like my stomach would rise and fall quickly. It was such a thrill, and I loved it.  I did the same with my kids, and they loved it too.  Something so simple can bring us a thrill. Small children excel at getting excited over simple things…a baby with a blade of grass, kids on a bumpy road.

6A411041-BA6F-4EF6-9CEB-A86305DB3528Today I am celebrating the simple gifts… laughter,…smiles…tears of joy, crying when sad…arms to hug and lips to kiss…our taste buds…ears that hear a trickling creek…eyes that can see color…words that express…guardian angels…companionship… and the list goes on.

I am going to indulge and pause, at least once, in becoming delighted in something very simple…and feel gratitude.  Our Creator gave us the gift of delight, but it requires our participation….maybe I’ll take a drive, and find that hill.