October 20, 2018
by Nancy Shirley
Creighton University's School of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Saturday of the Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 472

Ephesians 1:15-23
Psalms 8:2-3ab, 4-5, 6-7
Luke 12:8-12

Praying Ordinary Time

Today’s readings provoked me to reflect on how we witness our faith and how we support others in their witnessing and love.  In the first reading, St. Paul gives thanks for the faithful.  His heart felt prayers are genuine and supportive.  He speaks of a spirit of wisdom and revelation resulting in knowledge of Him. That seems a perfect prayer for those we love.  As a parent and grandparent, I want nothing more than for my children to know Him.  Their expressions or patterns do not have to be the same as mine.  My deepest desire is that they have a relationship with God.  At this stage in my life I am well aware that any relationship takes work and attention – relationships do not suddenly appear and stay strong without some attention.  While I do recognize sometimes the subtlety of some relationships – they can start as a tiny seed and grow slowly.  Even as a beautiful wild flower may start in my yard seemingly on its own, it needs some attention and care to be able to flourish.   Our relationship with God needs our attention.  We need to be aware and nurture it from the beginning no matter what age we are when it commences.  Another wonderful plea from St Paul is May the eyes of your hearts be enlightened, that you may know what is the hope that belongs to his call.  The concept of the hope is certainly one to embrace.  It is so easy (certainly for me) to lose track of what the main purpose of my life needs to me.  I can be so bogged down with the day to day tasks that I forget it is about that hope.  The promises that are possible far exceed the rewards from my day to day tasks yet I do not always keep the right perspective.

I was blessed this past weekend to share this journey toward the promises and hope with a group of women at a retreat.  A true blessing in my life is being part of the Ignatian Spirituality Project and providing retreats for homeless women in recovery.  The basis of the retreat is to interface the 12 steps recovery principles with Ignatian Spirituality.  Their commonalities are many and the surrender to God’s will foundational to both.  A great joy is watching the ladies as they arrive on Saturday morning – perhaps skeptical, yet trusting enough to be there, and then their departure on Sunday afternoon with a light shining brightly from them.  The movements or exercises throughout the weekend progress from establishing respect and trust to turning away from fear in the morning.  We find the consistent presence of God in our lives as we share our stories in the afternoon and feel His love as we heal memories from our past.  These weekends prove to me that miracles are possible.  The healing power of God is greater than anything we can imagine. Our lives can be witness to our faith.  The “stuff” of life becomes the “small stuff” when we let go and let God. 

The gospel message is quite direct as Jesus says  . . . everyone who acknowledges me before others the son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God.  We clearly know the drill, we know the recipe or any other image you want to create.  So . . .  why is it so hard for us?  I think this acknowledgement goes way beyond words.  The real test is how we acknowledge Jesus with our lives.  Words may be easy to say, actions that exemplify those words are not always as easy.  I love the paraphrase from St. Francis: Preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.  It should be clear to all around us that we are beloved children of God – our actions should give us away.

I’m thinking of so many songs I want to share to exemplify my insufficient words.  Tenth Avenue North has two songs that fit so well with these messages,  I have this Hope and Control , illustrating the hope that belongs to his call and the act of relinquishing control.  But perhaps Matthew West’s  All In says it best with his last line of reaching Heaven and hearing Welcome home my child, well done!!

Open your hearts and Enjoy!!

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