Examen-ing my day: God’s Reset Button

God's Reset Button

A few years ago, a good friend of mine made a comment about how thankful he was that God had given him a reset button that morning after a very trying day. Well, that image and my appreciation of it hasn’t left me since. We all have those days, mine was just yesterday, where very little is going as planned, no one is on our timeline, and our patience is slim to none. Honestly, I could not even get out of my own way! So, that Jesuit training came into play once again last night as I sat down to Examen where it all went wrong, as well as, how to get back on track.

 file3031348651890First, I had started my day by placing my own priorities ahead of my time with God. I know, “say it ain’t so”, but yes that was me. Seemingly too busy for mass, prayer or reflection- I plunged into the day’s events headfirst.  In doing so, I realize that I had let the events of the day control me, allowing them to dictate where and what I was to do next. Moreover, this was creating within me a growing exasperation,
at my ineptitude at getting anything done much less doing it correctly.

weather oddity MGD©Instead of giving God the space to meet these frustrations, as only God can, I was multiplying my mistakes and laying the path of destruction far and wide. Perhaps, this is a tad harsh but if you need a visual… just picture a funnel cloud.

-Father, help me!-

 

“Father, I need you!” Spoken, around 4pm, this prayer was the first good decision that I had made all day. “I need your help and guidance for I don’t want to do it alone anymore.” Yes! Finally, after having spun my wheels and stuck in the muck, I reached out for my lifeline.  God had heard me, and almost immediately I began to feel God drawing near to me. I say feel because God was there all along, simply waiting for the invitation to be a part of my day

“Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you. Created SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAthings kept me from you; yet if they had not been in you they would have not been at all. You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness.. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.” -from The Confessions of Augustine

And just like that, I had begun my Examen…1. Become aware of God’s presence. 

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  1. Review the day with gratitude. Certainly something that I could not have done adequately earlier, I could now meet God with a grateful heart. Initially, just simply grateful that God came so quickly, and my inner peace restored. Yet, I was grateful also to have been given this time for reflection and a new perspective.
  2. Pay attention to your emotions. Ahh, peace. Yet, just a few hours earlier I was anything but at peace. While these feelings aren’t what we wish to recall or dwell on, they are an important part of our spiritual growth. Merely glossing over them, or worse, avoidance, doesn’t allow for us the time to learn from our mistakes.
  3. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it. Thank you, Father, for taking my frustrations and meeting them with peace. Thank you for not holding a grudge or saying I told you so – but hurrying to meet me when I called. While I slipped, you never let me fall. Your love is ever so faithful!
  4. God's Reset ButtonLook toward tomorrow. God’s great, big, awesome reset button – Oh, how I welcomed you today!Signature

Currently, Vol.1: All Things

Currently, I am a mom of a senior, a freshman, and a 4th grader, and a wife of 20 years. Likewise, I am passionate about cooperating with God’s will in the impromptu petitions of lay ministry work, saying yes more often than not, to what is being asked . And if that wasn’t madcap enough, I am finishing up my last two semesters of my Master’s Degree at Loyola, with my field education this fall and my thesis in the spring. So, I guess that it would appear  (only wish I could properly convey the irony) that I thrive on chaos!

All Things

Thinking about, more and more the necessity for dynamic women’s ministry. Often placing ourselves last on the family totem pole, there is such an overwhelming need for us as women of faith to practice self care spiritually, as well as, physically. It is something that we need to seek to provide in our parish, and what we need to seek for ourselves. Whether it be a retreat, daily mass, adoration, mom-and-me mornings, or outings/pilgrimages as a group it is essential to nourish ourselves within.

Reading, The Church and the New Media by Brandon Vogt.  Can I simply say how very thankful that I placed this as a part of my learning syllabus?! Clear, concise, and truly entertaining it is a must read as Catholics in this age of social media. We have been given new tools in our tool belt to equip us to help draw our communities together, while also reaching out to those new to the faith.  It’s as easy as a Spirit led tweet, retweet, or Facebook message, picture or song. Will you join me?

Working on, a new compilation of contemporary Christian music that can be used for sacramental retreats, in addition to the standards that we used in the past. Yet, another resource available to us now, contemporary music has the ability to speak to countless new generations of believers. Currently taking suggestions, so if you know of particular song that would fit well with a sacrament, (baptism, reconciliation, communion, confirmation, or marriage) please leave a comment below.

Praying For:  persecuted Christians in Iraq, and throughout our world. That God moves the hearts of all to feel compassion, to pray for justice, and to work for peace. In our own nation, I pray also for the essential right, respect, and support for our children to express their faith appropriately.

IMG_0619Thankful for this summer, for the cool mornings, bright sunnydays, and the evening ocean breeze that floats through my house. Thankful also for the down time that God has given, to stop and enjoy some much needed time together as a family. Just this past Thursday, my family and I went to the Marshfield fair, complete with carnival rides, bloomin’ onions, fried dough, and farm animals. It is a tradition that, looking back at the pictures, reminds us how incredibly special this time is together.

Enjoying, the gifts of in season produce from Haymarket famers in Boston. Oh, how I will miss the freshness of the zucchini, summer squash, Portobello mushrooms, and eggplant!


Excitedly looking forward to: the start of this new school year, and where God will lead our Church in another blessed year with Pope Francis! 

Peace and Blessings,Signature

Coffee, Communion, and Conversation-Essentials for this Catholic Mom

Small Success Thursday with  

 

Back to School 2013With cheers and tears, I have begun thinking about the back-to-school essentials for my children who are, by the way, returning next week. Likewise, as with any good Jesuit student, it has been a cue for me to reflect on my own much needed necessities at this time in my life as well.  While there are of course countless others that could be included in this list, these chosen three are the ones that leapt to the forefront of my mind!

1. Coffee- (Substitute tea, juice or a smoothie for those that find those more preferable.)

Strong, and certainly caffeinated, the inviting aroma beckons me to take seriously the day’s events ahead. This is my time for morning reflection, and perhaps one of the few times during the day that I will sit still without a project, paper, or errand to complete. It is quite literally the reminder for me to re-fill my cup- to empty myself and the events of the day prior so that I can be able to accept and embrace God’s gift of self in my every moment. Not the least of which are the many requests upon my own time.

Father, you ask us to be still and know that You are God, that you are always with us at the break of each new day, and that with you we will not be shaken. (Ps.46:6-11)Fill me with your love, grace, and compassion for those who might need you most today.

  2. Communion (daily if at all possible!)

Several years ago, after having made my Cusillo retreat, I consciously resolved to attend daily mass whenever the time allowed. Yet, initially, this commitment was but a new curiosity, filled with an unknowing of whether I could continue, or how I would be affected in my own spiritual growth. One morning in particular, in that first week, I noticed a woman about my own age, and felt the Holy Spirit guiding me to speak with her after mass. Having seen her before on Sunday mornings with her family, I remarked how happy I was to have another mom with small children there that day. Smiling, and with all earnestness she said something that moved me profoundly.

“I’m here because this is where I need to be as a mom, it is my time to regroup, talk to God, and gain the strength to be the mom that God wants me to be”.

Her words were meant for me, and found a dwelling place deep within my heart. God wants to do something great for me in giving me the tools and the space to break into my ordinary with the extraordinary experience of this intimate closeness with Christ. I think of this moment often these days as I slide into the pew, kneel before Christ, and let out the biggest sigh, a breath of relief that I actually made it there. No matter how I arrive- rushed, anxious, or frustrated, I leave transformed in heart, mind and spirit. As I think about the future after graduate school, I have already begun thinking about daily mass times in the area that might allow me to continue this now essential time with God in my day.

IMG_06163. Conversation (Lots, with those that uplift and draw you closer to Christ)

As you may have noticed my precursor to this one, conversation just for conversations sake isn’t essential at all. In fact, the wrong conversations are draining, disruptive, and detrimental to both you and all those in your life. We have all, at some point found ourselves in these instances, whereby the conversation turns gossipy, argumentative, or judgmental towards others. Yet, as a mom of school aged children whose time is limited anyway, I can honestly say I leave these conversations feeling unsatisfied. The question I keep returning to is whether this is healthy for me even if I am not participating.

Conversely, the right conversations lead us and others nearer to where God wants us to be, and leave us knowing our time was well spent. They inspire, nourish, enlighten, support, and buoy us up when we need to feel God’s love most. They remind us to listen deeply and speak when needed. These are moments of awareness to the Holy Spirit’s presence  guiding and filling us with peace and joy.

One of the best assignments I have been given in my graduate ministry work, in lieu of reading, was to take time to pursue that which uplifts us. Here, I was given a week set aside to reconnect, to decompress, and renew. Not surprisingly, I made sure that I met with those also in ministry to give them that much needed break as well. So essential is this for me, that I do this now on a regular basis!

With much gratitude to my advisor, friend (and creator of the above assignment), Eileen Daily for helping me to see that self-care is not selfish but vital if I am to be of help to myself much less anyone else!

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Conversion Confessions: Assuming Mary

“When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home” John 19:26-27 NAB

Like all good movies, there will most definitely be a prequel and subsequent sequels to this conversational confession of my conversion to Catholicism. Yet, with the Church’s celebration of Mary’s Assumption today, I could not bear to let this day pass without sharing my own journey of rediscovery of Mary. Not having grown up in the Catholic faith, I knew of Mary, but did not truly know her. For, while well acquainted with biblical stories, I still never fully reflected on God’s choosing, her response, or her role in the life of the Church. Beginning with an initial inquisitiveness, this path has led me through faith, scripture and onto a pursuit of heart and mind to understand who Mary is and truly wants to be, in my life today.

My confirmation day in the faith was the equivalent of suddenly finding out that you have family- all over the world, spanning centuries of belief , that are joining in on the celebration. That not only are you part this timeless, vast community, but they are to be a part of you as well, and in the struggles, hopes and joys that are to be encountered.  This is such an incredible immeasurable gift that quite honestly I feel I have been unwrapping it ever since that day! So too has been the journey of getting to know our mother Mary. No longer is she resting still in the shadows of the nativity scene, just one of the many characters of a beloved story but an indelible part of my own story as a woman of faith.mary&babyJesus

Paramount to this animation of faith, is that in considering her as God’s chosen, I am compelled to also recognize Mary’s beautiful choice to add her “Yes” to God. In doing so, she modeled a faith so pure and trusting, expressive of her love of God and desire for service, that in this moment she became the very first disciple.  At the tender age of probably 14 or 15, she possessed an awareness of the situation before her, expressed deep acceptance and commitment, and spent a lifetime of learning and growing in faith and understanding. Isn’t this what we too desire in our own lives as Christian daughters, sisters, and mothers? Do we not want to be known by our love, dedicated lives of service with hands and feet that lead others to Jesus? Following Mary’s guidance, over the last few years, I began recommitting myself to God at the start of each new day. Before my eyes even open, and despite my inclination to stay in bed,

  I simply say “Thank you God for the gift of this new day”. Then quite deliberately before my feet hit the floor I say “Yes!”. To what you might ask? It is my yes to what God has in store for me, in the ability to accept the unknown as opportunities of grace and the choice to be a part of God’s loving plan in my life.

So too has it been in my life as a mom. With each of my three children, I have prayed, “Lord please grant me a healthy child that is loved, nurtured and is to flourish within. May I be worthy of this gift of life, and may you continue to guide me in guiding him or her in the light of your love”. (Lk. 1:39-56) For me, Mary has been a part of God’s promise to do just that- to become a constant guiding light for my children. Equally as true, she has comforted me when I have been at wits end, seeking more patience than that day had allowed. In keeping with this very thought, one of my favorite scriptures as a parent has been the finding of Jesus at the temple (Lk 2:41-52). Tangibly, I can sense the very real frustration, and “anxiety” of Mary and Joseph as they, having searched for 3 days, finally discover him teaching all present including themselves.  It is said that Mary, not fully understanding, took her Son’s words and “kept all this in her heart”.

Yes Lord, when I have failed to understand the why I too need to keep your words in my heart.

This is no more fully witnessed than at the foot of the cross. Oh, the profound sorrow that she as a mom felt at the loss of her Son, and the love poured out for a rejecting world! Yet, here too Mary was asked to meet this both with an open acceptance, and allow God to transform the pain into the hope of salvation. Even in Mary’s life, there is transformation, for in the simplicity of Jesus’ presentation of the gift of Mary to John we begin to grasp the importance of the larger family. We are never alone, but part of an immense communion of believers. Thank you God for the hopeful promise that we like Mary will enjoy an eternity with you one day. Until then,

“Father, please use my humble hands, feet, voice, and heart to serve you as you will.”

  In Christ Always,

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My Brother: A Portrait of Suicide & Glimpses of Grace

Yesterday’s news on the untimely death of Robin Williams hit many of us hard.  Here was a man that we thought we knew well, at least we knew all of the characters that he played, and the many talents he possessed.  He was quick witted, funny, gifted, and seen quite habitually smiling. Yet, depression is an illness that is so often hidden, that is until it can no longer be. Suicide, then becomes a final expression of a state of no longer wanting to hide, no longer wanting to hurt, and no longer wanting to be. So too, was the story of my brother Paxton, his name meaning “peace”,  and his life cut short at the all-to-soon age of 40.

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My brother Paxton
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My sister Paula, Mom, Pax & Me (as a baby)

Smart, funny, loving, a practical joker, an incredible hugger, Pax would do anything to help someone he loved. At 14 years older (yes I was the “surprise” child), he was in many ways a father figure to me. He taught me how to float on Lake Norfork, to play penny ante blackjack, to work hard and how to laugh at myself when I took the demands of life too seriously. Listening attentively when I would ask for his advice, he would smile and ask me what I thought I should do. This was to be one of my first lessons in pastoral ministry. He was present with me.

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Years later, summer of my Freshman year in college

In wake of his death, this is what I felt the most, an overwhelming sudden absence and a longing for him to be present with me again. Mixed in also was a whole list of regrets, things I wish I would have said in that unknown last conversation that night, and times I wondered if I had appreciated fully. Questions as to why he didn’t know how much he was truly loved, or the extent of the devastation his death left us all feeling. Yet, what I discovered was that God was there too, breaking into my sorrow with glimpses of grace, mercy, and unconditional love.

At this time, in the rural South, suicide was a topic of non-discussion and I knew of no one personally who had experienced what our family had or was willing to talk about it. Those that did choose to comment, oh how I wish sometimes that they hadn’t. One of the most hurtful things spoken was that “suicide is an unforgivable sin, I’m truly sorry that your brother is going to hell”. Yes, that was said, and all in the pretense of being a person of faith.  Those words rung in my ears, and I could not reconcile them with the all loving God that I knew so well. Reeling from the sting, and recognizing others I knew shared this understanding,  I reached out to my pastor in Massachusetts, and in doing so God reached out to me.

            “Elizabeth, tell me, how are you doing?” was the kind Irish voice on the other end of the line. As I began to relate the events of Paxton’s death, I stopped, there was a point I couldn’t go any further. “Father, tell me why would someone say this to me? Tell me, please is this really what our church teaches, and our faith holds, is there really no room for God’s loving forgiveness?” As tears flowed and my heart pounded, I heard these words. “God loves Paxton. Only our loving Father knows the heart and the moments of death which allow for great grace of reconciliation.”  Hearing his words were grace for me as well, for while I knew of the state that depression and alcoholism had created, I also knew of Paxton’s quiet love of the Father and Son as a baptized Christian. Then God gave me another gift- a conversation shared by an elderly neighbor of his in the month before his passing. That evening she had walked out of her apartment to see him sitting and looking at the stars, and seeing him so happy she couldn’t resist joining him. Gazing upwards he said, “All those countless stars..He made them all..one day I will be a part of that, and with Him too.” She said that while the conversation surprised her it was the happiest that she had seen him in quite awhile. This chance meeting with her was yet another grace.

Over the course of the next few years, I slowly discovered that in speaking of my loss, of the painful rupture that suicide creates in the lives of those who they leave behind I had found the grace that only God can provide. Not alone, I had found peace in the listening support of family, friends, my faith community, and in the voices of those who too had lost a loved one to suicide. I also recognized that throughout this God was strengthening me, step by step, day by day to be of help to others- to be present- in their sorrow and their joy. This is today how I remember my brother,  best honor his life and continually glimpse God’s grace in the gift of ministry.

In God’s Peace and Love,

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If you are considering suicide, or know of someone who is please take the time to speak to someone who knows where you are and can cast a lifeline of hope: National Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

For those directly or indirectly affected by the painful loss of suicide, this is what our Catholic tradition actually says in this matter[1]:

That, we are to be responsible stewards of the gift of life given to us, it is not for our disposal. (2280) Further, it is detrimental in cutting the connections to family, friends, and community, and therefore in opposition to our expression of our love of God. (2281) However, there are several conditions in which one’s degree of responsibility is considered affected. (2282) Finally, “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance”. (2283)


 

[1]Catechism of the Catholic Church, Pt. 3, Sect. 2, Ch.2, art.5 http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

7 Advantageous Reasons to Wait Upon the Lord

                   First, let’s admit that very few of us, including myself, ever truly want to wait for anything. We search desperately for the shortest line at the store, GPS the quickest route to our destination, and watch with noses pressed against the oven for the cupcakes to be ready. Oh, who am I kidding , we drive by the nearest bakery or donut shop and wha-la it’s ready! While our patience for waiting has various limits, there is usually a point to where we cry out, (paraphrasing here), “You have got to be kidding me!” Yet, God has given us so many numerous, and advantageous reasons why we should do just that…wait…and trust upon the Lord.

Here are my top 7 that highlighted the week! 

1. “The LORD is good to those who trust in him, to the one that seeks him” Lamentations 3:25

 While my mornings begin in seeking God through prayer, and reflection..there are ample detours and the need to trust God throadworkroughout the day. Not the least of which are in actuality, real roadblocks, that this summer lead me away from the way home through a busy touristy area. This adds an unpredictability to the completion of my errands and, as I was discovering, a heaping tablespoon of frustration. Prompting me to ask myself, what could I be doing instead? TRUST. Be aware that God is there too, in my impatience, in this busy world around me. Now, as I close my eyes I can see the smile given by the young couple in beaconing them across the street, and feel the breeze off the ocean. I can hear the questioning voices of the kids on summer vacation with their parents..and God telling me that this too is a part of the day He has for me.

2. “Guide me by your fidelity and teach me, for you are God my savior, for you I wait all the day long.” Psalm 25:5

God never fails to teach us these things if we allow ourselves to be open to learning something new, and listening for that faithful voice. So often after leading children’s liturgy, I am reminded how much that they have taught me, with an open heart and a faith that is dependent, loving and trusting. Lord, with this faith of a child let me wait for you knowing that you will always provide.

3. “So that you are not lacking in any spiritual gift as you wait for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:7

As many of us know, who write about or serve in a ministry capacity, we are asked to be fully reliant on the Holy Spirit for guidance and revelation.  Therefore when the invitation came recently to submit for a ministry journal, I took the time needed to pray for direction not just what to say, but whether or not it needed to be said at all. With gratitude Lord, your words, your will, and your heart always.

 4. “Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated.” 1 Corinthians 13:4 

So, we have truly come to the heart of the matter. Waiting has much to do with Love. Patience is waiting with love, it is accepting that there is a timeline other than our own, and loving the other as God moves in each of our lives.  Having said this yesterday was not my best example of modeling patience as we are nearing the end of time left for summer reading and Khan Academy work. At day’s end, I realized that even as my day was rearranged to fit my son’s, that is where I was meant to be. Could I have been more kind about the sacrifice? Absolutely. Especially when I think of all the times that God and others have waited (patiently) on me, I then better recognize what God is asking.

5. “They that hope in the LORD will renew their strength, they will soar on eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.” Isaiah 40:31

Arroyos

Though this is a typical reading for the end of life, personally I feel that it is even more appropriate for the living out of our daily lives. Summer it seems, offering a plethora of sunshine and warm weather, presents ample opportunity for family time, and a chance to reconnect with friends. Not to be outdone, so has this summer proven to be. This past week, ours was sprinkled with a graduation party, our sons’ friends, a get together with several families, my in-laws who winter in Florida and mass. Father, thank you for strengthening us during the “winter” times in our lives, when the world around us lays seemingly bare. Thank you also for this time to renew our souls in the joy and fellowship of friends and family. Kristen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6.“You open wide your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing” Psalm 145:16IMG_0582

Lord I am in awe of you! The beautiful story of waiting here, is one that spans a total of six years. During this time, I waited, and waited for this vine to bloom, only receiving lush greenery filling my arch. So many times I was tempted to give up, and plant something else in this spot. Yet, with pruners in hand, I tended it faithfully..until one morning I walked out to meet my surprise. It had a desire and a purpose to bloom, but in God’s timing. I could not rush it, or wish it to be only God could do that.  What amazing creativity and beauty you give us Lord when we trust in your promise.

7. “This is the LORD to whom we looked; let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!” Isaiah 25:9 and “Behold, I make all things new.” Revelation 25:5 

Seeking Joy1Waiting also allows for preparation and celebration. A week from tomorrow, I will be assisting with a women’s Seeking Joy! Retreat to be held at Holy Family Parish in Taunton, MA. It is a day of prayer, reflection, laughter, music and yes…shopping! Whether you are able to make this retreat or one like it, the time spent together with other women of faith, is an invaluable gift of joy.

May God lead you this week to ponder and embrace the opportunity to wait upon the Lord!

 

For other stories of Quick Takes, visit Jen at ConversionDiary.Com.

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Witness to the Miracle: Bringing Forth Our Gifts

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Today, in discussion of the Gospel Reading of the miracle of loaves and fish, I asked the children gathered what should we do with the gifts that God has given us? What if what we have is thought to be little? Conversely,  if we have acquired much, and have leftovers, what would we do with it? While,  I thought that I was leading them to provide typical answers of the things that they would buy or do with the new wealth they, much like the boy in the Gospel, truly offered gifts of the heart.   The first little girl said, “I would give ten percent to the church”, another boy said “I would seek to build shelter for the homeless”, and still another said,  “I would keep only very little, enough for my family to be able to live and eat”. Oh, out of the mouths of babes! I had to smile, as I then asked, “Do you know that this is exactly what Jesus has entrusted us to do as followers, in caring for the needs of our community?”

Re-imagining the Scene: Blessed and Broken (A beautiful invitation to reflection)

           If we look at the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, given to the multitude, it is bread given as an act of grace and an entrance into our present understanding that “all who eat the one broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body in him”[1]. From this encounter of Christ, we are then called to love and to be a sign of Christ made present in the world.  That our gifts, like that of the boy, though seemingly meager, can be multiplied through God’s grace and used to care for the material and spiritual needs of our community.

Still, in recognizing the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, can we truly attest to this continual miracle of Christ’s grace and presence multiplied in our lives, in our church and in our world today? Absolutely! Yet, just as in Jesus’ time, we also are faced with challenges to a deeper profession of that faith and witness to the miracle. For, intimately connected to this experience is a conversion of heart and transformation of self.  It is a call not to “follow human logic rather than God’s logic” and in doing so fail to understand the message of the miracle that is to occur.[3]  Rather, through “faith and prayer…we may share the little we have”, find that God has made it “suffice for everyone”, multiplied in fruits of “faith, service and love”.[4] I believe that Pope Francis is speaking clearly to our responsibility as disciples to answer Jesus’ question in offering our resources and trusting “without reserve…knowing everything is possible” through God.[5]   While this is our mission as disciples, we are still learning and growing in understanding, as did the apostles, in placing our trust fully in Christ.

As a church, and individually as disciples we need to ask ourselves if we are committed fully both to evangelization and service. This is a demanding call to imitate Christ’s love for humanity both in word and deed, in the tasks of “pastoral mission, communion and participation”.[6] While Vatican II reemphasized these, it was Evangelii Nuntiandi that so clearly issued the challenge for us today as a Church. Here, the Christian ‘life of prayer, the Word, teaching, charity’, and “sharing of bread…only acquires its full meaning when it becomes a witness, when it evokes admiration and conversion, and when it becomes the preaching and proclamation of the Good News”.[7] The contextual situations of poverty, oppression, homelessness, and disease particularly prevalent in the Third World do not allow them to adequately provide for themselves.[8]

Today we too are to answer the directive posed to us by Christ.  First, following the model of Christ, we are called to a greater awareness of the material and spiritual need of those within our local and global communities. In order to do so, requires that we are truly transformed by, and a witness to our encounter with Christ present in the Eucharist. Then, bringing our gifts and resources with confidence, we offer them to God to be blessed, multiplied and shared, turning none away. Finally, we are reminded of our task as disciples to gather our surplus, to allocate it appropriately so that none is lost and that all are filled.

May God bless you in your gift of self, service, and love!

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How fitting is the naming and mission of this Massachusetts food pantry..  http://www.loavesfishespantry.org/  Now, do you know of one in your area? 🙂 St. Vincent de Paul


[1] CCC, 1329

[2] Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth, 32

[3] Francis, Angelus, St. Peter’s Square, June 2, 2013

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Francis, Journey to Rio de Janeiro on the Occasion of the XXVIII World Youth Day. July 28, 2013.

[7] Paul VI, Exhortation Evangelii nuntiandi. “From Christ to the Church’s Evangelizing”. I (15)

[8] Manus, “John 6:1-15 and its Synoptic Parallels”, 69.