Monday, December 28, 2009

YOUR face in a child

Today is the Feast of Holy Innocence. It is also the anniversary date of the Professed Vows of Sister Marie Helen, CT. Sister, or “Aunt Leila” to my brother and me, was our father’s Governess. Our father was the son of an Episcopal Priest. Daddy’s mother died in pregnancy when he was three years old, so Aunt Leila was responsible for his care. She loved our father very much, as well as she loved his mother and referred to her as a “saint.” On the back of “Sister’s” profession photograph, she wrote these words, “Professed Dec. 28—1945. Holy Innocents Day—gave my life to and for little children.”

Today is also the anniversary date of my own baptism into the life of Christ. Sister Marie Helen was one of the sponsors.

Today, I spent time with my nine year old granddaughter. To see her face come alive with glowing joy at the simplest, most ordinary thing was a sight I will always keep with me.

I am thankful for the lives of the Saints who have gone before us. I am thankful that there are Saints today whose vocation on earth is to care for the well being of children. I am thankful that I have been blessed today in bringing full circle the vows of one professed Sister.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

He came into the world,

And with Him we knew Love.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

YOUR presence in the night

I closed the office door and looked up at the night sky. Clear as glass with only the moon and one bright star. I wanted to just stand there staring up at that clear sky. I wanted to stand there and talk to the One who made all that. But, it was quite cold and I was very tired so I walked home. I cannot see the sky from the windows of my cell. I am surrounded by walls and rooftops. I wonder what I missed walking away from this God-given gift. That vision of clarity haunts me even now. Perhaps it is not the vision itself but what it represents that haunts me. I long for clarity at this time. Clarity about my vocation. Clarity about life, health and family, too. But just like the certainty of God’s hand in that beautiful night sky, I know that God is here, now and when it is time, God will reveal what needs to be revealed.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

YOU are beauty

Three days to go. The church is all decorated, and the icon of The Blessed Mother is on the high altar. Greeting cards that I’ve received also have variations of Mary and the infant Jesus. Last year, I noticed that postage stamps also portrayed this touching scene. Even in my own little cell, the icon that was written by someone dear to me watches with a knowing gaze. So many different portrayals of our Blessed Mother. Such richness of color, uniqueness of style, intensity of prayer.

I am truly thankful for God’s gift to the artists of this world. I am thankful that those who have been called to a ministry of art have said their “Yes” and allowed God to work through them.

Monday, December 21, 2009

YOU are prayer

I am SO thankful for prayer! When everything around seems to be pulling you in another direction than the one you want to go; when your loved ones lives seem to be ripping apart; when you feel like screaming because, “This isn’t what I expected”, then PRAY!

This is one thing I know with utmost certainty. God Listens. GOD LISTENS! It doesn’t matter how big or how small your prayer is. There is no such thing as an insignificant prayer in God’s love for you. It doesn’t even matter if you voice your prayer as long as your heart is centered in prayer. God always listens. Even more, God walks with you in whatever difficulty you are facing; and God allows you to place those burdens at the foot of the Cross. Just remember to leave them there and not pick them up again.

“Into your hands, O God, I commend…”

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Knowing YOU through Mary

Mary’s “Yes” has been resonating in my heart for some many years and it seems to speak even louder now than ever. I had felt Mary close to me when I was very young and often speak with sadness at the feeling of having lost her somewhere along the way to adulthood. The last few months as I have been studying the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, I have felt that closeness again. There have been many graces that I feel Mary has blessed me with during this time and as we draw so close to the day of Christ’s birth, I hold onto that bond that has been rekindled.

When I heard the hymn of Gabriel’s Message this morning, it brought tears to my eyes. Those tears were not just because I love this particular hymn. Those tears were because I reverence the power behind Mary’s “Yes”. The love, courage and strength behind that three-letter word means so much to me and is the prayer I hold for my own vocation in following Christ, “Most Holy Mary, teach me how to follow your Son.”

“Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
“To me be as it pleaseth God,” – she said,
“my soul shall laud and magnify his holy Name.”
Most highly favored lady, Gloria!”

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ember Saturday

Today I give thanks for God’s guidance in my life and for the vocation He has blessed me with. I give thanks and pray for this Diocese, our Bishop and Assistant Bishop, clergy, deacons and all lay leaders in our parishes. I continue to pray for the ministries of each parish and I give thanks that we have a safe place to worship, the freedom to worship as we choose and for all the faithful throughout the world. I give thanks for those who faithfully pray without ceasing. I continue to pray that God builds His army strong in the world that we overcome darkness and know True Light in our lives.

Friday, December 18, 2009

YOUR fullness

YOU were everywhere today. There was so much going on at work today that it was hard not to realize YOUR presence. There was “+” and “++” who dropped off presents for the soup kitchen. There was “+++” who meticulously cleaned the sanctuary so that no dust would be present on Sunday. “++++” was there too, preparing and practicing music for the various services to come next week and beyond. “+++++” came in early to make sure all the checks and balances were in order. “++++++” stopped by with a friend and shared some happiness. “+++++++” was in and out, working very hard to see to the needs of the parish and meeting deadlines. There was one stranger that came to the door who was deaf and mute. I could do nothing to help him other than to say a heart-felt prayer when he left. There were deliveries and many phone calls too.

It was a full day of work and a full day of seeing YOUR face.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Manger and the Cross

Christ’s life began by being born in a manger. Christ’s death saw Him being nailed to the cross. Both manger and cross can be seen as symbols of strength in Christ’s life. Both made of wood, the manger held and supported his tiny body as the cross bore his adult body. Yet neither of these symbols of strength could compare to the love that God has given to us through His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. In God’s love, He became human for us through the birth of Jesus. In God’s love, Christ broke the bonds of death to free us from sin. How can there be any greater love?

Every day during this Advent season, I have intentionally looked for Christ in the people and events that surround me. Every day I know God’s love is still very much alive. Soon we will pass through Advent and rejoice together as we remember God’s love for us. It started in a manger, and it continues beyond the cross.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

YOUR Beloved Servants

We had our staff and volunteer luncheon at work today which began with gathering for Holy Eucharist. A celebration for each person who so lovingly and unselfishly gives of his/her time and talents. There are no words of gratitude that would be sufficient to describe what these beautiful souls bring into the every day workings of parish ministry. I can neither imagine nor do I want to imagine what “we” as a team would do without them. Each has their own unique personality as well as gifts that they willingly and openly share. I am truly blessed and humbled to know and be served by them.

Thanks be to God!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Waiting for YOU

It must be the season. People seem to be cheerier than usual. People are getting involved. Things are getting done. There is the sense of newness in the air. Even the decorations on homes that I’ve seen somehow seem brighter, more radiant, as if they are expecting something…someone. There is definitely a different feel to this Advent than what I’ve known in the past. It is a good feeling. One that seems to be held in a certain kind of light. A light that washes over darkness with assurance of something better to come. I rejoice at this new light and continue wait for the arrival of the One who is to bring it.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Remembering YOUR friendship

Making out Christmas Cards, my heart swells as I think of each person I’ve known over the years. Some friends I’ve not seen in many years and wonder, where did the years go? Each person has brought a special piece of their life into my own. Each heart and soul intertwined with my own. I have been truly blessed with many relationships and the sharing of many journeys. I wonder if I have been as true a friend to some as they have been to me. I carry each person in my heart and in my prayers, but I commend them all to the grace and love of our Beloved Lord.

May God keep you all and bless you with joy and grace, laughter and light, peace and good health through all your days. Amen.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Today, I was blessed with the discovery of a new word. A word I had never heard before, “Guadete”. I suppose most Christians recognize this word for rejoicing in the Third Sunday of Advent which is ritually symbolized by lighting a rose colored candle. That explains the candle for me. I don’t really know why I never questioned why there was a pink candle in the Advent Wreath. Just something that is done on the third Sunday. I giggle to myself as I think of how this simple minded, middle-aged woman is learning new and wonderful things at this time of life. I wonder that if I had been more educated when I was younger, would I have appreciated these new findings later in life as I do now? There is much more to this word than I am writing and encourage you to research its history. Perhaps we can REJOICE together in the discovery of CHRIST in our journey during this Advent.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

YOU are inspiration

I felt the warmth of the sun today and I was inspired to smile.

I saw many birds in flight today and I was inspired to wonder.

I walked with crowds of people today and I was inspired to pray.

I got lost in a parking garage today and I was inspired to laugh.

I heard a song today and I was inspired to sing.

I had a beautiful day today and I am inspired to give YOU thanks.

And I do.

Friday, December 11, 2009

YOUR warmth in the cold

As I headed out the door to work today I was reminded just how cold and brutal winter is. I am instantly concerned for those who are without shelter and without warmth, be it the homeless, the elderly, those who cannot afford heat, animals or those who must work in this bitter cold. I am instantly put to prayer. I feel unworthy that I have all that I need. I feel blessed that I have all that I need. I cannot do anything about the cold and wind, but I can pray. And, my prayer is this: Most Holy One, you have provided for my every need. Remember your children who are without basic necessities, especially in this bitter, cold weather. Open the hearts of those who govern us here to demand equality for all God’s people. Protect those who suffer from the cold of winter and bring them to places of safety and warmth; wrap them in your loving arms so they will feel your comforting, warm, presence with them. Amen.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

YOU are Grace

Yesterday evening I received some unsettling, unexpected family news. The news, while shattering to some in my family, was not without Grace.

Today I received some expected news, but news I was dreading just the same. This, too, was news that was not without Grace.

Did Mary feel this Grace as she accepted the news of an unexpected child? Did Mary know Grace as she waited for what was to come? I believe she did.

Whatever the news here refers to is unimportant. What is important is that Grace, our Savior, is with each of us in every detail of our lives.

Grace is the gift I will accept. Burden is the gift that I lay at the foot of the cross. I am thankful that I can do both.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Your voice in the words of others

Our postal carrier, “+”, always has a positive attitude. He’s very helpful and usually shares a wise comment that makes you go, “Ahhh.” So, today when “+” came in this afternoon, I asked what his word for the day was. He thought for a while and told me all he was thankful for today. Then he stopped and said, “Appreciative is the word”.

While I greeted the workday with a headache, feeling tired, grumpy and wanting to be home, someone else was greeting the day with appreciation. Had I listened to my own inner voice and stayed away today, I would not have heard YOUR voice. I, too, am appreciative now.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I knew you in faith

I knew you in faith today as those around me asked for prayer. I heard some ask for prayer on behalf of others and some ask for themselves. I knew in each prayer request a trust in YOUR healing grace.

It never ceases to amaze me how each of the prayer requests that come my way are so beautifully stated. It is YOU they seek and it is YOU that these faith-holders know will comfort them. If they only believed how perfect their own prayer is! I tell them this, but they are humble and what they need is to be heard. They are heard. Not just by me, but by the ONE who knows their every want. It is this people of faith, whose strength I find nourishing to my own soul.

Monday, December 7, 2009

YOU are not hidden

At noon, I put on my coat, grabbed my keys and headed over to the church as I do every day for prayers. It was very cold today and there is no heat scheduled to come on at that time of day except for the Wednesday Eucharist. That’s okay. It’s just me. I faced the altar, bowed and walked up the chancel steps to the chairs. I gathered the prayer list, prayer book, and the book of Lesser Feasts & Fasts. I found a seat and got settled. I took a few moments to catch my breath and I looked around at all the sheets and coverings over everything. There’s been a lot of dust produced because of the on-going construction and it became necessary to protect everything by covering them. Even the tabernacle is covered. I found myself thinking, “Are you in there, Lord?” As I prayed, I began to feel YOU close and with the prayers, I looked up at the reredos where your likeness stands. I began to address each prayer to YOU by looking up at YOUR likeness. This brought me some comfort during this time of prayer. But, YOU are not in the images around the church; not in any man made object or symbolic way. YOU are not hiding beneath the sheets on the altar. Still, I know YOUR closeness.

How fitting that today was the feast of St. Ambrose and the psalm for the day was one of my very favorites beginning at verse 5 and ending with verse 11: “One thing have I asked of the Lord; one thing I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life; to behold the fair beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.” And, “You speak in my heart and say, “Seek my face. Your face, Lord, will I seek.”

I will always seek your face, Lord. And I know that I will always find you in my seeking.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A gift of rest

I am tired today and not at my best. My energy bottomed out sometime early this afternoon. I thought about yesterday and how YOU filled me with such an energetic kind of joy. I should like to have that same energy now, but I don’t. Today, while the joy is there, it is a quiet, still kind of joy. A type of present that I am content to just hold for a while and do nothing more than to know its existence. You are with me in this stillness and provide for me rest, which is what I need most just now. I always give YOU thanks when I have the stamina to do what needs to be done just as I give YOU thanks for the time I have to rest. In these two simple prayers, I am stating that I know it is YOU that provides for my every need, big or small. It is YOU that opens my heart to know YOUR presence with me in all manner of things.

Today, I know YOU as the ONE who holds me while I take my rest in YOU.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The face of Christmas

Typically I loathe this time of year. Really. I detest the commercialism that has gorged itself on a sacred event. I can’t wait for Christmas Eve so that I can truly worship what is Holy and Good. I try my best not to listen to Christmas songs until it becomes absolutely necessary. Not that I have anything against Christmas music. In fact, I love Christmas music. Just not an entire month of it, twenty four hours a day!

Today was no exception. I knew I had to go out into the world and do the “normal” thing that people do this time of year. Here I am, intentionally set apart from the world, yet surrounded by the very thing that may bring me separation from my vocation; separation from Christ. If, I let it. So I arm myself with prayer as I always do before leaving my cell.

And then it happened. An old favorite Christmas song dances across the airwaves and takes hold of my soul against my will. Caught again. I start humming along and I can’t help but feel my heart lift with each note in joyful comfort. God is near. There was just no getting away from it. I was transformed. I couldn’t help but give thanks. It even began to “look a lot like Christmas” with the snow covering everything in a clean blanket of white. I spent the day with someone close to my heart. We laughed as we strolled in and out of stores. We smiled at the children’s faces that looked with wonder and awe at all things “Christmas”. The people around us were friendly and happy. And I could not help but know that Christ was in the midst of all of us. I saw His face everywhere. I knew His presence in all that surrounded me. That love, warmth and fellowship was meant for me today. My fear of being separated from the Love of Christ was foolish. It’s Christmas time. I am His.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The face of good will

For some reason, this morning as I was passing the landlord’s office on my way out of the building, it hit me that I didn’t remember putting the rent check in “+’s” mail slot. I remember writing the check and I remember bringing it downstairs…with the other outgoing mail. NO! Panic strikes! Could I have put the rent check in the outgoing mail basket? Even though it was in an envelope, it only had the landlord’s name on it—no address. What would happen to it? Would the post office open it and send it back? Would they just throw it away? Of course this took place on Tuesday and today is the fourth of the month! Would I have to do a stop-payment on the check? Could I risk writing another one without doing a stop-payment? Would I get a letter from the landlord with late fees?

I called the landlord several times with no answer. Finally, my nerves settled down enough for me to think clearly. The next time I called, I left a message. (Duh.) “+” returned my call and reassured me that the check had been turned in. It seems that “++” went to mail something and saw my unaddressed envelope in the basket. “++” took the envelope and gave it to “+”, my landlord. I was so thankful! “++” had saved the day!

“++” never said a word or pointed out the good deed. A quiet, simple gesture of good will, so very appreciated.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Your face is light.

As I was leaving my building this morning, I noticed a beautiful golden light. It was coming from one of the four Trinity windows in the church tower. I’ve never seen this light before and it was awesome. My thoughts took me to baptism. “Receive the light of Christ” keeps echoing in my mind. I stopped and wondered if there was a light in the tower that I was not aware of. I checked with the church sexton later and he didn’t know of any. I could have stood there staring at that glow all day. But, it didn’t last. The sun went away and clouds quickly moved in.

I stopped to look at the tower this evening as I was going home. No light in the tower. But the phrase, “Receive the light of Christ” was still with me. It was YOU wasn’t it? And I did receive the Light of Christ indeed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Squeaky Presence

As we gathered for worship this afternoon, I chuckled to myself as I realized that almost all of us had “squeaky” shoes today. In the squeak of footsteps, I knew your presence as your servants moved into position. In the squeak of footsteps, I knew your presence as your servants made the usual preparations. In the squeak of footsteps, I knew your presence as we gathered together around the altar to receive you completely. In the squeak of footsteps, I witnessed an eagerness for your presence in our souls.

We walked away from worship today knowing that we were all well fed. I walked away from worship today, those squeaky shoes reminding me of YOU, carrying the burden of our souls for us.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The face of pain.

I saw your face on the news this morning. “+” was recalling his brother’s life. What was and what would have been. I recalled my children playing with “++”, his brothers and his sisters. I recalled a dear friend and mother.

I saw your face change. “+++” was the one responsible for this tragedy. I wondered at the pain “+++” must have been in to have caused him to do such a horrible act.

Both “++” and “+++” are gone now. May their souls both rest in the arms of Love.

Monday, November 30, 2009

I heard your voice today.

I heard your voice this morning when I awoke. Birdsong! You made it sound like spring time! It’s cold outside, but that didn’t stop you from greeting me. I’m so thankful I heard you.

You spoke to me again as I was walking to work. You approached me and wanted to discuss the latest [fill in the blank.] I smiled and listened. I finally ended our conversation with, “Well, there are more important things to worry about.” You said, “Yes, you’re right” and we went our separate ways. Did you just need to vent, I wondered? I’m glad I was able to listen.

I heard your voice in the fullness of the day. There were times when your voice sounded weary. Mostly, you sounded gentle and kind. I wondered, was I only half-listening?

I saw you as I was leaving work today. You were a little girl holding your mother’s hand and joyfully going down the street. You heard me close the door and you turned around and said in a loud voice, “Hello!” It was as if you wanted to make sure I heard you. I said hello back. I thought your voice sounded beautiful.

I heard you this evening in the voice of an old friend. I was sorry I hadn’t listened more.

Thank you for speaking to me through those around me today. I continue to listen for your voice and watch for your presence.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I saw you twice today.

I saw you as a new visitor today. Sitting alone, but enthusiastic about being in church. You smiled at me as I walked past, and I stopped and greeted you. You told me you were "thinking about joining the choir." I said, "Wonderful! Tell me your name." You replied, "+" and I said, "Welcome!"

Later as I was returning to my pew, I saw you sitting in the back. I recognized you at once and I smiled and waved to you. You waved back. After the service you came up to me inquiring about some children's Advent material at the back of the church. I explained that you would need the small booklet with the stickers as well. I was thankful to see "++" again, as I hadn't seen him in a while. "++" is very special. Sometimes "++" likes to sit with me in church. I show him the bulletin and what page we are on. "++" doesn't say much, but whenever the hymns are being sung, "++" sings loud and with pride!

Both of these gentle-men are what folks call "mentally challenged." Today, I have seen them as the Face of Christ and I am the one who is blessed.

When did I see YOU?

Today, I was inspired to start a "blog" about seeing Christ. Because today is the First Sunday of Advent, I wonder that my watching for Christ is taking on new meaning. My intention is to recognize Christ every day and write about seeing Him. When I see Christ, the person, I will refer to that person as “+”. I not only look for Christ in human form, but also in the form of God’s creation.

May all of us be open to looking for and seeing Christ in our every day lives.

A Blessed Advent journey to all!

Note: The photo displayed on this blog is courtesy of Nikki Boyer. I chose it because it reminded me of the game of "peek-a-boo". You may view her artwork at