Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
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May 15, 2019
Today, in Mercy, Jesus calls himself the Light.
Surely he came to bring us out of darkness which is light’s polar opposite. Most of us receive that deliverance with gratitude, understanding it to be our redemption from sin and separation from God.
As we grow deeper in our spiritual life, we may realize that there are many degrees of opposition to the Light. We may not find ourselves in the deep darkness of habitual sin, but rather on those tantalizing edges of spiritual laziness that can halt our soul’s growth:
- the fog of faithless religious practice
- the clouds of unresolved hurts and failures in forgiveness
- the shadows of our religious prejudices
- the dusk of our early energy for charity and community
- the eclipse of hope and confidence in God
May God give us the grace to see that Light, too, comes in many forms, beaming through the smallest openings in our spirit. Every act, every choice, every silent prayer made for the sake of Love allows that Light to grow. You may like to pray with that thought while appreciating this poem of Denise Levertov:
Bearing the Light
Rain-diamonds, this winter morning,
embellish the tangle of unpruned pear-tree twigs;
each solitaire, placed, it appears, with considered judgement,
bears the light beneath the rifted clouds –
the indivisible shared out in endless abundance.
Music: some beautiful instrumental music from Kathryn Kaye for your prayer time.
Thursday, April 4, 2019
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Today, in Mercy, the Gospel gives us Jesus claiming his throne. He is setting his disciples straight before he is no longer with them. He drives home each of the pillars of his Messiahship, like so many stakes in the ground:
- I have testimony greater than John’s.
- The works that the Father gave me to accomplish,these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me.
- The Father has testified on my behalf.
- I came in the name of my Father.
Jesus is saying these things to his persecutors, but he says them for the benefit of his surrounding disciples. He wants them to remember these things to sustain them in the dark times to come.
In this passage, Jesus also pays a glorious compliment to John the Baptist:
He was a burning and shining lamp.
Now Jesus wants his followers, fired by their faith, to burn with an even greater light. He wants us to do the same, to burn with a flame steadied by Christ’s assurances, by the stunning testimony of his Passion, Death and Resurrection.
Music: But Who May Abide the Day of His Coming – Handel
But who may abide the day of His coming, and who shall stand when He appeareth? For He is like a refiner’s fire.
Thursday, December 13, 2018:
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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, patroness of the blind. Lucy was a brave young woman, martyred during the persecutions.
Her name meaning “Light”, she has been venerated for millennia as one who can bring clarity and insight to places of darkness.
Today’s first reading shows us what our Radiant God can do for those who live in darkness, destitution and fear.
As the year moves closer to its time of deepest darkness, may we know God’s brightness in our hearts. May we sense God lighting, once again, the dark places in our lives and in our world.
We all have painful situations, unanswered hopes, lingering fears. Let us bring them out of the shadows today with the help of St. Lucy and our Brilliant God who made the stars to give us hope.
Music: Hail, Gladdening Light – Etcetera: the Civil Service Choir
Friday, June 22, 2018
Today, in Mercy, Jesus continues to teach us how to live a truly Gospel life. He does it with two small sermons and closes each with a blockbuster statement.
Have you ever sat in church, suffering through a rambling sermon that never got to the point? Then you can understand the beauty and effectiveness of these statements of Jesus:
Where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.
If the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.
The first statement leaves us to ponder what really matters to us. Where do we spend our time, talent and treasure? If we say we love God and God’s vulnerable ones, do our “investments” prove it?
The second statement challenges us to be profoundly honest, to stop naming as “good” only that which is self-serving. We see blatant examples of this in our political life: policies and tactics tied to greedy, prejudiced outcomes – outcomes fed by the suffering and oppression of vulnerable human beings. These tactics challenge us to look at our own heart and test what we proclaim as “light”.
Tuesday, June 12, 2018
Today, in Mercy, we read the wonderful story of Elijah and the Widow. Both were in “drought and darkness” situations, but they did not lose hope. Trusting in the Lord, they chose to live out of their abundance rather than their scarcity. And their small, shared abundance sustained them.
In Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus encourages us to live from and to share our abundance, whatever that might be. Sometimes we may feel that we don’t have much to offer to the world. Our personal difficulties may thwart our spiritual energy. But we are children of God, filled with Divine potential. Life will always break through if we live with faith, hope and love. It just may look different from what we had planned or expected.
There is a modern school of “abundance vs. scarcity” thinking, a self-improvement practice presented by the late Steven Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Whether or not he intended it, Mr. Covey delivers scriptural truths in secular language:
“ An abundance mentality springs from internal security, not from external rankings, comparisons, opinions, possessions, or associations.”
“ People with a scarcity mentality tend to see everything in terms of win-lose. There is only so much; and if someone else has it, that means there will be less for me. The more principle-centered we become, the more we develop an abundance mentality, the more we are genuinely happy for the successes, well-being, achievements, recognition, and good fortune of other people. We believe their success adds to…rather than detracts from…our lives.”
Bottom line from 1 Kings, Matthew 5, Covey? Trust, and live generously. Be light. Be salt. Doing so will open the space for God’s abundance.
Music: A New Age piece that may be helpful if some negativity is blocking our Light.
I Am Light ~ India Arie