Daily Reflection
September 19th, 2003
Cathy Pedersen
Campus Ministry 
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1 Timothy 6:2-12
Psalm 49:6-7, 8-10, 17-18, 19-20
Luke 8:1-3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God!
(Responsorial refrain for 9/19/2003)

If only, it was as easy to live these words, as to proclaim them…

This past weekend I spent too many hours caring for the machines in my life  (car, clothes dryer and home computer).  I felt like the gremlins of modern life were ganging up on me as I struggled to make arrangements to get repairs scheduled for these things in my life. 

I would like to believe that things in my life are of no consequence…that I can ‘take or leave’ them.  Modern conveniences are present to assist me in my daily tasks, but my idea of being ‘poor in spirit’ is that none of these things in life will dominate my attention and time.  Unfortunately, this was far from the truth these past days.  I spent hours arranging for the brakes to be fixed on my car, waited a few days for the repair man to fix my dryer, and literally filled days attempting to conquer the effects of a world-wide virus which attacked and ran amuck in my computer.

In today’s scriptures, Timothy urges us to ‘pursue righteousness, devotion, faith, love, patience and gentleness…Lay hold of eternal life.’  I’m sure that my thoughts, attention and focus were not centered on these virtues.  Rather, I was a woman with a mission…to fix what was broken, so that I could continue on with my life’s ‘to do’s.
  I wonder if I am any better than those whom Timothy admonishes for ‘supposing religion to be a means of gain?’  It is too easy to judge others who seem consumed in their attempt to use their status or position in life (and/or in religion) to obtain personal gain and power.  However, on a day to day basis, it is often too easy to slide into being consumed by the ‘have to do’s on one’s list, or allowing the less important things to assume too large of an importance.  I could have simply ‘let go’ of the need to conquer the inconveniences in my life and to take the time to enjoy the wonderful late summer days which are gifting us in the Midwest.   I did not take time with my God to celebrate the produce from our backyard garden or bask in the memory of a wonderful Labor Day weekend with friends and family celebrating my daughter and son-in-law’s marriage.

The psalmist reminds us that, ‘no one can redeem oneself, or alone pay ransom to God;  too high is the price to redeem one’s life.  It is necessary to open oneself to God’s presence so as to not become consumed with the material goods, possessions and responsibilities of the day.

I don’t believe that the beatitude’s invitation to ‘be poor in spirit’ necessarily means to shun the things in our lives.  But the real question is how do I use those ‘things’ - the material goods, resources and time, not only for myself, but to empower others to become more fully who they might be?  In Luke’s Gospel today, we are reminded that the women who traveled with Jesus (Mary of Magdala, Joanna and Susanna, etc.) provided for Jesus and those who traveled with him out of their own resources.   Their wealth and material resources were not a stumbling block in their connecting to the God present in their midst.  Rather in sharing the ‘things’ of their life with others, they offered a means for God’s presence in Jesus to be more fully experienced by the people. 

As I unwind from an intense effort to ‘fix’ the things in my life, I invite my God into my frustration and impatience with myself and others.  I pray for a spirit of ‘letting go’ so that I am not as dominated by what I own, but rather attempt to live with the conveniences and inconveniences which they bring.  I am reminded of a line from Matthew’s gospel (Mt. 6:21): “For where your treasure (time/effort/focus/attention/etc.) is, there also will your heart be.”

I pray that God will gently help me to ‘let go’ of the necessity to always be in charge of my life (and the things in it), so that my heart can more deeply celebrate God’s presence with/in me and with/in others.


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