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Day 7 It’s All About Us

I loved both of the posts I chose for today and couldn’t decide which one to send. So, there are two posts today. Enjoy.

We who have seen the light of Christ are obliged,

by the greatness of the grace that has been given us,

to make known the presence of the Savior to the ends of the earth…

not only by preaching the glad tidings of His coming;

but above all by revealing Him in our lives…

Every day of our mortal lives must be His manifestation,

His divine Epiphany, in the world which He has created and redeemed.

Thomas Merton

Day 7 — It’s All About Us

Epiphany is the season of the manifestation of Christ to the world,
the season for seeing Christ’s glory by focusing on his life and mission
while simultaneously being a time for making that glory known to those around us.
The one who shows himself to us, asks us to make him Known to others.
The one who declares, “I am the light of the world,” says to us,
“You are the light of the world.”

Bobby Gross
(Emerging Scholars Network)

God Lives Under the Bed

This post is from Hap Cronin who wanted to post on the blog:

GOD LIVES UNDER THE BED
I envy Kevin. My brother, Kevin, thinks God lives under his bed. At least that’s what I heard him say one night.
He was praying out loud in his dark bedroom, and I stopped to listen, ‘Are you there, God?’ he said. ‘Where are you? Oh, I see. Under the bed….’
I giggled softly and tiptoed off to my own room. Kevin’s unique perspectives are often a source of amusement. But that night something else lingered long after the humor. I realized for the first time the very different world Kevin lives in.
He was born 30 years ago, mentally disabled as a result of difficulties during labor. Apart from his size (he’s 6-foot-2), there are few ways in which he is an adult.
He reasons and communicates with the capabilities of a 7-year-old, and he always will. He will probably always believe that God lives under his bed, that Santa Claus is the one who fills the space under our tree every Christmas and that airpl anes stay up in the sky because angels carry them.
I remember wondering if Kevin realizes he is different. Is he ever dissatisfied with his monotonous life?
Up before dawn each day, off to work at a workshop for the disabled, home to walk our cocker spaniel, return to eat his favorite macaroni-and-cheese for dinner, and later to bed.
The only variation in the entire scheme is laundry, when he hovers excitedly over the washing machine like a mother with her newborn child.
He does not seem dissatisfied.
He lopes out to the bus every morning at 7:05, eager for a day of simple work.
He wrings his hands excitedly while the water boils on the stove before dinner, and he stays up late twice a week to gather our dirty laundry for his next day’s laundry chores.
And Saturdays – oh, the bliss of Saturdays! That’s the day my Dad takes Kevin to the airport to have a soft drink, watch the planes land, and speculate loudly on the destination of each passenger inside. ‘That one’s goin’ to Chi-car-go! ‘ Kevin shouts as he claps his hands.
His anticipation is so great he can hardly sleep on Friday nights.
And so goes his world of daily rituals and weekend field trips.
He doesn’t know what it means to be discontent.
His life is simple.
He will never know the entanglements of wealth or power, and he does not care what brand of clothing he wears or what kind of food he eats. His needs have always been met, and he never worries that one day they may not be.
His hands are diligent. Kevin is never so happy as when he is working. When he unloads the dishwasher or vacuums the carpet, his heart is completely in it.
He does not shrink from a j ob when it is begun, and he does not leave a job until it is finished. But when his tasks are done, Kevin knows how to relax.
He is not obsessed with his work or the work of others. His heart is pure.
He still believes everyone tells the truth, promises must be kept, and when you are wrong, you apologize instead of argue.
Free from pride and unconcerned with appearances, Kevin is not afraid to cry when he is hurt, angry or sorry. He is always transparent, always sincere. And he trusts God.
Not confined by intellectual reasoning, when he comes to Christ, he comes as a child. Kevin seems to know God – to really be friends with Him in a way that is difficult for an ‘educated’ person to grasp. God seems like his closest companion.
In my moments of doubt and frustrations with my Christianity, I envy the security Kevin has in his simple faith.
It is then that I am most willing to admit that he has some divine knowledge that rises above my mortal questions.
It is then I realize that perhaps he is not the one with the handicap. I am. My obligations, my fear, my pride, my circumstances – they all become disabilities when I do not trust them to God’s care.
Who knows if Kevin comprehends things I can never learn? After all, he has spent his whole life in that kind of innocence, praying after dark and soaking up the goodness and love of God.
And one day, when the mysteries of heaven are opened, and we are all amazed at how close God really is to our hearts, I’ll realize that God heard the simple prayers of a boy who believed that God lived under his bed.
Kevin won’t be surprised at all !
When you receive this, say a prayer. That’s all you have to do. There is nothing attached. This is powerful.
Just send this to four people and do not break this, please. Prayer is one of the best free gifts we receive. There is no cost, but a lot of rewards.

For February 1, Day 6 — From an Old-Handed Woman (written in 2010)

Today I saw a photograph of my hand, and I wanted to look away as fast as I could. Instead of noticing the beauty in the personalized artwork of my fingernails, done especially for me by my friend LaSandra, I saw the thousand wrinkles and spots and veins of an ugly old hand. Barbara Brown Taylor asks us to tak the time to look at our hand, and see it with reverence.

Did I make that hand? Did I make those spots? Did I cause the wrinkles that come with the joy of old age? I didn’t, of course. God made those things for Love. It is up to me to revere them. I worked hard to get to this part of my life; I partnered with God, one way or another. I didn’t make my hand, but I can revere it as the amazingly complex thing that it is.

1,000 bones? Or fewer? But many. Skin and hardness in my nails, a wonder as they cover new skin. Wrinkles on my knuckles that look like smushed and lopsided faces. A map of rings that I can make smooth with motion, revealing the very blood lines that course through my hand and keep me alive. Skin so loose it reminds me of a young baby who has not grown into her skin yet.

Not yet – this old hand. It’s not old enough yet. If God is in everything, and everything is in God, then God is in my hand, is my wrinkled skin, is the history of my spots.

Rather than distain how my hand looks, rather than run away from how I look as an old handed woman, I want to pay attention and remember that I did not create this hand. A marvel in how long it has lasted, how much it can do, how it is connected to my heart. How my hand is not alone in my body, but a living symbol of what God creates and what is possible.

An Ocean of God’s Grace – January 31 Day 5

Parker Palmer said: “We float in a whole ocean of grace. Sometimes we start flailing because we forget that the ocean is buoyant and will hold us up just as the salt water is capable of doing.”

Remember those days when you were learning to swim? Or even to float? (It was a big deal for me to get that far!!). Once I relaxed, I was held up as if I were surrounded by gentleness.

I believe that God is absolutely delighted that you have chosen to spend time with God in this Epiphany Retreat.

Day 4: Praying with God – Becoming Light

The Golden Lampstand

The Golden Lampstand*

Becoming Light
by Thomas Hoffman

We are God’s creative works in process. God alone knows what we shall become. What might God have in store in the fullness of our time? In the beginning, God created Light. In Mary, God became flesh. What will God become in us? Is there room in us for God’s seed to take root and grow? God has visited us with grace and favor. Are we ready to become Light?
Source: A Child in Winter

+++++

One of the most wonderful things that I’ve gained from reading the work of St. Ignatius is that he believed that “your deepest desire is God’s deepest desire for you.” Again: Your deepest desire is God’s deepest desire for you. Read that sentence one more time, close your eyes, and see how you feel. I absolutely love that concept!

I’ve also come to realize that one way we can search and name our deepest desire is through prayer. I encourage you to ask God for the graces to better understand what your deepest desire is. Rather than looking at just The Huge Stuff beyond your control, I encourage you to keep your thought process grounded in possibilities and joys nearby to where you already stand. Remember, God meet you where you are.

My dear sister’s deepest desire is to be the mother that she is. My friend Mary is a shepherd of the poor. One of my desires is to be able to share the love of God with others.  Louise does that every day.

 

 

*THE GOLDEN LAMPSTAND The golden lampstand, or candlestick, stands to the left as one enters through the door of the tabernacle. It is made of pure gold, from one piece of metal, has no joints, and is carved with buds and flowers under each branch of it. It stands on a square base on the floor of the tabernacle, with six branches, three on the one side and three on the other. The seven lamps are level at the top.

The candlestick represents ONENESS WITH THE HOLY GHOST.