“Beyond Gold” Friday

Friday, November 23, 2018

Readings: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/112318.cfm

Today in Mercy,  we continue in the mood of thanksgiving. 

Do you  have a computer calendar that pops up reminders for you — appointments, due dates, anniversaries, etc.?

TGVNG cal

On this date, I am reminded of two very happy events:

  • the birth of one of my precious grand-nephews three years ago – a gift of beauty, love and hope to our family
  • the jubilant wedding of two dear friends six years ago – a covenant and sign of love, fidelity and courage in today’s unloving world

As we get older (as I have been blessed to do), our calendar blocks become more crowded with memories – with the years’ accumulation of joys and blessings. “Thanksgiving Friday” is a good day to mentally page through the gift of years, remembering, thanking, praying for all that has brought love, hope and encouragement to our hearts.

Every life we love copy

It’s a good strategy to resist the commercial lure of “Black Friday” and to keep our focus on what truly counts as GIFT – those treasures that are beyond gold in our life’s story.

Hopefully, God’s goodness came to us yesterday, and comes to us daily, in abundance and joy – of family, friends and blessings shared. 

But for some, God draws us closer through loneliness, loss or sadness shared. The great grace is that God abides with us in every season, and reveals Mercy’s loving face in both our sorrows and our joys. 

May we praise God and know the Comforting Presence in whatever the season of our hearts. Let us pray this for one another.

Music:  10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman

Reflection for Thanksgiving

TY print

Emma, skewered by indecision, stared into her mother ‘s jewelry box. She had always loved those silver earrings, a gift to her mother from her grandmother—an heirloom now, a treasure beyond price. She wanted so to wear them on this special date, but they were “hands off” and she knew it. Still, her mother at work and unaware of her desire, Emma had succumbed to temptation.

The dance had been wonderful, a whirlwind of such delight that Emma had not noticed when her left earring had brushed against her partner’s shoulder, tumbling hopelessly under the dancers’ trampling feet. Only at evening’s end, approaching her front door exhausted and dreamy, had she reached up to unclip the precious gems.

Her mother sat waiting for her in the soft lamplight, having already noticed the earrings missing from her dresser. Awaiting retribution, Emma knelt beside her mother and confessed the further sacrilege of loss. But her mother simply cupped Emma’s tearful face in her hands, whispering, “You are my jewel. Of course, I forgive you.” Though accustomed to her mother’s kindness, this act of compassion astonished Emma, filling her with an indescribable, transformative gratitude.

Surely it was a gratitude like this that brought Mary to the feet of Jesus in Luke’s Gospel. It was a similar loving gratitude that Mary poured out from her treasured alabaster jar—every drop carrying her thanks for life, for faith restored, for forgiveness, for hope renewed.

We come to this Thanksgiving season with our own stories, with our own alabaster jars. Perhaps there is a great forgiveness we are thankful for, or just the small kindnesses that allow us to rise each morning with joy and hope. Perhaps there is a memory of compassion, like Emma’s or Mary’s, that we treasure—one that in turn has made us kinder and more honest.

God is our Mother waiting in the lamplight of this Thanksgiving to cup our face with love, to receive our joyful thanks for divine mercies. Like Emma, we may be astonished at the graciousness that has been given to us. Like Mary, we may respond by pouring out our thanks to God in a silent act of prayer.

Indeed, the deepest thanksgiving is wordless. It is the bowing of the spirit before God—who is Presence; who is Grace; who is Lavish Mercy. As we celebrate the season of harvest and thanksgiving, we sit quietly with our loving, generous God. We rejoice in the awareness of our many blessings: the gift of life, the beauty of Creation, the people who have loved us, the ability to choose, to love, to hope, to believe. We pour out to God our humble, grateful hearts. We listen for God’s own heart beating gently in the lamplight of our prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving, dear friends. May God bless you and your loved ones with every reason for gratitude and joy.

( I published this early in case you’re using workplace computers to access the site. I wanted you all to have it for Thanksgiving. 🙏)

Thank You for My Life

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Click here for readings

Thank U for my life

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This feast memorializes a story not present in Scripture. We know of it only from apocryphal writings, those considered of unsubstantiated origin. It tells of Mary’s dedication in the Temple at the age of three. Some versions say she remained there until the age of twelve, thus giving her life fully to God even from youth.

On the day of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, “we celebrate that dedication of herself which Mary made to God from her very childhood under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit who filled her with grace … .” (Liturgy of the Hours)

As we move deeper into the final weeks of Ordinary Time, our readings continue to offer us stories about what it will be like at the end of time.  Today’s Gospel about the talents reminds us that we each have been given particular gifts with which to build up God’s Creation. Like the watchful Master, God expects – and needs- us to use these gifts, and to increase their value by sharing them with our sisters and brothers. Sometimes we think we have no real gifts to give. But the witness of a simple, faithful, generous life is beyond price.

During this Thanksgiving week, we will want to spend some prayer time reflecting on the many gifts we have been given – by God and by those who love us. Calling on Mary, let us pray too about how we choose to  “pay it forward” in gratitude.

Music: We Have Gifts to Share – Susan Kay Wyatts

This is a childlike song, but the point is profound. For those with young children and Grands, you might like to share this song with them.