May 9, 2022
by Cindy Costanzo
Creighton University's College of Nursing
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 279

Acts 11:1-18
Psalm 42:2-3; 43:3, 4
John 10:1-10

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Do Not Let Your Hearts Be Troubled

In today’s readings John 10: 1-10 Jesus message centers on a parable of a shepherds' life.  The parable’s message focuses on how important it is for the shepherd and their flock to spend time together. Their time together is invaluable and provides an opportunity for the human/animal bond to strengthen and grow.  This time enhances the shepherd and sheep’s ability to communicate with each other.  Their understanding of each other's quiet movements, pace, mannerisms, and sounds increases. There is an energy of communal engagement in which the bond and trust of both the shepherd and sheep deepens and strengthens.  

Applying this to my own life.  How do I choose to spend time with my Shepherd, Jesus? Do I listen, really listen? Do I consciously turn off the iPhone, the TV, the music, and just listen? Do I recognize Jesus' voice, the spirit speaking to me? How do I change the pace in my life, slow down and find a space where myself and Jesus can be alone?  If I listened and followed Jesus' voice, what has changed and what would change in my life? 

I would like to answer these questions and share my experiences.  

How do I choose to spend time with my Shepherd Jesus?  In the morning upon arising, I read today’s reading in Sacred Space, 2022. I have my journal available in case I am moved to write and reflect.  I do the EXAMEN (daily).  I have it on my calendar as a reminder.  Before any meetings I quietly say a prayer to be present and available for what is most needed during this time.

Do I listen, really listen?  I try to arise early when the house is quiet. I have two designated places in the house, my prayer room or my conversation room.  There is no T.V. or anything portable that can be distracting in these spaces. There is a window in which I can look out upon nature.  However, I find myself distracted a lot.  I call it my ‘monkey brain’ which includes a “to do” list forming when I arise. My phone and computer are very distracting with the pop ups from email, news, twitter, and social media ongoing. I do better at managing the distractions if I silent my phone or put it on ‘airplane mode’. However, when I am successful at creating the quiet space and when I listen, really listen it is golden and so calming.  I yearn for that time every morning.  

Do I consciously turn off the IPhone, the TV, the music and just listen?  Yes, I have learned how important this is to my prayer life. 

Do I recognize Jesus' voice, the spirit speaking to me?  Yes, I hear, feel and sense Jesus. Sometimes I see something that I am sure is a sign from the Holy Spirit.  Does this occur 100% of the time? No, but I do believe Jesus is always there with me in my space, in nature and all around me.  So, the grace of creating that quiet time and space is always rewarded in some way. 

How do I change the pace in my life, slow down, and find a space where myself and Jesus can be alone?  Awareness is key. I have found taking time to be part of prayer groups,  have conversations within community, take classes, find a spiritual director, go on Ignatian retreats has been important to increase my awareness of my wholeness and spiritual dimension. So, I value slowing down, finding space for Jesus and to sit quietly together. 

If I listened and followed Jesus' voice, what has changed and what would change in my life? 
Everything.  My education, career, the person I chose to marry (and stay married), my children, my choice of home and community, where I work and a multitude of other things in my life have been impacted, on whether I listened or did not?  Currently in my life I know how important it is to ask Jesus for guidance in my life’s decisions.  

So, in this 4th week of Easter, I remember Christ has Risen! Jesus knows us by name and has carved out a space for me and you for a purpose.  I pray to continue to receive the grace of the Spirit to take the time to listen, connect and hear the call of Jesus. 

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