Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Are We Fertile Ground?

Today's first reading from 1JER 14:17-22 is appropriate as we digest the day's current events.

Let my eyes stream with tears
day and night, without rest,
Over the great destruction which overwhelms
the virgin daughter of my people,
over her incurable wound.
If I walk out into the field,
look! those slain by the sword;
If I enter the city,
look! those consumed by hunger.
Even the prophet and the priest
forage in a land they know not.

Just a passing glimpse at the news of any given day garners a fear, deep in the recesses of our minds. For example, one of the first headlines that met my sleepy eyes this morning stated, ‘Islamic State’ Chanting Attackers ‘Behead’ Priest During Morning Mass In France. What are we to make of a world where such headlines are more and more common? A world where the powerful and immoral forces rule while the faithful are downtrodden or forgotten or worse? 

The answer lies not in our own actions. It does not lie with the promise of a political candidate or the rising up of any human effort. The solution to the 'terror of the night' lies in hearing and heeding the Word of God. It starts with the conversion of one - yourself.

Hearing the Word of God involves more than just the function of the sense of our ears. It means petitioning, 'come Holy Spirit, come' and then waiting and listening. In the silence, our solution will come. It may not be what we expect or even what we think we want, but it will be the voice of our Creator. He will guide us.

Pray always and listen carefully. His answer will come in the whisper of a breeze. Will we be ready when the Bridegroom approaches or will we have left our Eternal preparation up until the last minute?

If we set out purposefully to morally address this life, we will be well on our journey to Eternal Life. That is the only way to find true comfort and solace. Our comfort and joy will come from walking the right path and being the good seeds sown by God - being fertile ground that reflects the goodness of Our Lord.

How fortunate we are, to have an Almighty and Gracious God! Today's Responsorial Psalm speaks our cry of hope and knowledge of the infinite power of our Savior. He, alone, can rescue us. He, alone, can condemn us.

PS 79:8, 9, 11 AND 13R. (9) For the glory of your name, O Lord, deliver us.
Our choices, however, are up to us. God has given us Free Will. How we discern His Will amidst the turmoil we face will reveal the strength of our faith and the obedience we practice. We can be the good seed, sown by God, or the bad seed sown by Satan. And as the last line of the Gospel according to Matthew sums up the readings today, " Whoever has ears ought to hear.” MT 13

When we hear His message are we listening?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Create a Clean Heart in Me, O Lord

Every day – that’s how often we are given a chance to create ourselves anew. Truthfully, there is little chance of accomplishing this on our own. Yes, we have been gifted with Free Will, but the grace to accomplish the impossible comes from God alone. As always, the creature needs the Creator to do anything of worth. After all, He gave us everything we have.

What He gave us is every tool we need to become saints. We have our bodies – temples of the Holy Spirit. Our minds help us to think and reason and discern right from wrong. His Word is there, too, for our use as a tool to know exactly what he wants.

The living tool of His Word gives us what we need at any given moment – all we have to do is ask and listen. How many times have we read or heard the same scripture passage but on some given day, the meaning becomes clearly relevant to exactly what we need in that moment?

Create a clean heart in me, O Lord, so that I can live as You wish me to live. Create me anew so that I can live with You in Eternity. Create a clean heart in me, so that I can love my enemies and display your love through my actions. Help me become a new soul, clean as the purest spring water and white as the driven snow. Create me, Creator, I owe all I have to You!



Here we are again, joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday #fmf - a fun way to participate in timed free writing with other bloggers.

Today's #fmf prompt is 'create'. Follow the link to check out some truly inspirational entries.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Never Forget That Every Little Effort Counts

Recently, my friend, Kelly, posted a Facebook invitation of sorts to one hundred of her closest, local friends. She knew we were all active in the pro-life movement in some way or another and felt called to ask us to write a Letter to the Editor of our local newspaper. Many of us had written in the past. Some still do, while others (like me) have been discouraged with too many rejections and a feeling Like a Voice Crying out in the Wilderness.

Her Facebook post garnered a lively discussion that went on at length. We vented our frustrations and common concerns but, in the long run, many decided to accept the challenge and try again. The topic of our discussion was the Supreme Court ruling against a Texas law that protects women by requiring abortion clinics to follow basic sanitary guidelines, as is mandatory for other medical facilities as well as providing doctors with admitting privileges in case of a post-abortion emergency.

In the past, my letters to said hometown newspaper have hovered between pleading, sermon-like, and dripping with sarcasm. Having finally found my gentler side – at least when publicly pleading the case for protection of women and their unborn babies – my most recent attempts had toned down considerably. In this instance I decided to go one step further. I would take a more neutral tone and rely on common ground. The letter I submitted follows:

Sanitary Conditions and Properly Licensed Doctors Should Be a Woman’s Right

No matter where one stands on the issue of abortion, basic medical precautions should represent common ground – the well-being and safety of women. Laws providing for sanitary conditions and the necessity of doctors licensed to provide emergency medical treatment should be a basic right of any patient. While we see this ideal reflected in myriad laws throughout our country, from immediate care clinics to physician’s offices, the abortion industry has somehow evaded these basic necessities.   
That anyone, who purports to have the rights of women in mind, would fiercely battle against such basic healthcare is as alarming as it is duplicitous. Yet that is exactly what just happened in the great state of Texas. A state law that protects women’s health by requiring both clinic sanitation and admitting privileges for the doctors who perform surgical abortions, was struck down by the US Supreme Court. 
Federal usurping of the sovereignty of state law is treading on dangerous ground and flies in the face of how our government properly functions. Unfortunately, the pawns in this injustice are the women who are exposed to unregulated, unsanitary conditions and doctors who are not licensed to care for them should a post-surgical emergency arise. Sanitary clinic conditions and properly licensed doctors should be any woman’s right – no matter the surgical procedure.
Birgit Jones

After turning to my daughter for a second opinion, I submitted my letter online. Imagine my surprise when the following response acknowledged my submission.

Welcome back. Haven't heard from you in a long while.
Thanks for writing. We will publish your letter as soon as possible.

Isn’t life funny? We have so many preconceived ideas that deter us from doing things. Maybe we think we will be rejected or that our little effort won’t make any difference. Yet God teaches us in these small ways. By proving that it’s the effort that counts, and not the result we demand, we are reminded that we should continue to try – try to live life according to His Will and His example. Through our small works we are even called to become saints!

As our little group proceeds with our plan to inundate the local newspaper with letters of concern for this unjust SCOTUS ruling, I’d like to invite you to do the same. Don’t worry about the reception you may receive from your local paper. Simply make this little effort and ask your like-minded friends to join you.

Even if just one heart is touched – maybe even from an editorial staff member reading your thoughts – you have accomplished a great thing. You have put yourself out to scrutiny in an effort to proclaim the Gospel!

In what way can your little efforts make a difference? Share your thoughts and inspire us to join you.

Update: Several of us have now submitted our letters and mine was published today. I will be sharing some of the others as they go live.