Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Just Another Duck On the Water!

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


Just another Duck on the Water!

(Originally posted September 8, 2014)

Currently, I have been giving a lot of thought to our perceptions of one another. You know those, more often than not, erroneous conceptions that someone we know has it all together. That pedestal was never meant to be, and distances us from the intimacy of real friendship. It also leaves us in a state of always wanting that perceived perfection rather than seeking to examine and appreciating the good in our own lives. So, with that, let me introduce myself as…just another duck on the water.

IMG_0668To borrow one of my favorite lines from the movie The Replacements,

 “Like a duck on the pond. On the surface everything looks calm, but beneath the water those little feet are churning a mile a minute”.

Staying afloat isn’t a result of its feet paddling, though, for that just propels the duck along. Its body itself, in shape and buoyancy, is a gift from God that as intended helps it achieve that course so easily. Yet, without the time spent preparing its feathers, moving oil from tail to front, it wouldn’t be the watertight vessel you see before you. This preparation is needed for us as well not only to weather the waves, but merely to stay afloat. What is it that helps you to remain atop the water line, and to have that sense of peace in gazing upon the horizon before you? For me, quite simply it is time spent with Christ- in prayer, in Word, in song and with others in communion. That’s it, that is my oil on my feathers.

IMG_0671Watching:  Yesterday, just studying on the waves and the tide rolling in, I was overwhelmed by the greatness of our God. IMG_0688Turning to see my husband and boys throwing a football to one another, I was given a glimpse of  that same greatness in the small joys of the moment.  So too, as the small little bank of sand that we were on suddenly began to disappear, we were reminded of God’s perfect timing!

Yum!!

Drinking: The new Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte, and yes, there is such a heavenly creation here on earth! Fall is here, and so are the Pumpkin Lattes..I did say I love coffee right? While, as a mom I am a pro at cutting corners and finding sales, this is such a treat for me. Not to mention, when combined with a great conversation with a friend, it is truly priceless.

Read More..

Coffee Date: Fill my Cup Till..

Linking up with Dearest Love for a Coffee Date and Someday Saints to Embrace the Ordinary !

                                         Getting ready this morning I knew I needed to be there. Sure, there was an essay to write, laundry to be done, emails to send, yet that all would have to wait. Listening within, I felt an inner pull that I was being asked to put aside these things today to pray. Seeking direction, I quickly queried my friends and family to see if they had any special intentions.  So with prayers to carry and filled with purpose I opened the door to my church. Though I had written them down, I realized as I knelt that I had left them in my car. Beautifully, however, they each one by one came as a bright light in the darkness. Every prayer intention had a face, a name and a desire of the heart.

As I lifted each up in prayer there was an inner pause, stillness I have found only in God’s presence. “Be still and know that I am God” .

Yes, you have this all Father, all within your loving hands. There is a great awareness here, a knowing that you still the winds, calm the seas, and yet enkindle our hearts and minds to love and see as you do.

By no coincidence the readings today spoke of an attentiveness needed in fixing our eyes on what God is asking of us. With so many things to occupy our every day, I know I can easily find myself engulfed in the daily demands upon my time.                                         Today, Jesus I heard your voice and what an incredible gift to have been entrusted with these prayers this morning. Whatever else I could possibly do today, I know that this was where I was meant to be.

With the homily, a scene was painted of a sailboat and its captain on the open waters. With an eye on the horizon and hands ready, he notices and adjusts to the change in the direction of the wind. A hasty decision isn’t necessarily needed but an awareness and discernment as to the soundest course to proceed.

Jesus, you are my guiding light, the certain wind to carry me where you need me to be. When I seek you, and trust I am never truly lost. For you are The Way, the path of surest love from the Father to each one of us. And when our focus is on what is behind us, or we think that we can no longer see the path ahead, you light our hearts and call us Father, (farther) onward.

May your cup overflow with peace- goodness, and mercy as you seek God’s presence and direction in your day!

Signature

Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Can You Spare any Change?

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


Can you Spare Any Change?.. 7 Quick Takes!

(Originally posted September 5, 2014)

IMG_3553So often we view change as something to be resisted, avoided, and fought. What if, however we flipped our understanding of change as something to embrace, to advocate and necessary for growth and peace?

  1. “Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

    Today, as the feast day of Mother Teresa, we remember a woman who not only lived this upturned notion of change but inspired countless others to do the same. In her desire to follow Christ, she was a light of love for the unloved and unwanted, a living witness to the embodiment of change in every life she touched.

  2. Change is to be anticipated. My own awareness to the inevitability of change began early on, as the daughter of a single mom who seeking to acquire a better teaching position hoped also to provide a better life. With each move, came a new school, new church, surroundings and thankfully new friends too. My mom had a knack, which she passed on to me, of discovering the treasure that each relocation offered. On the weekends, we would venture out exploring museums, historical sites, little shops and the new “little pond” we found ourselves in. One of my 

    favorite memories was to wake up and simply pack a picnic tote, throw on a swimsuit and head on down to the Mississippi River with a fishing pole in hand. Did you catch anything, you might ask? Rarely, was it ever fish. Instead our eyes caught a glimpse of the horizon, an embrace of a beautiful day, the gift of time well spent, and an acceptance of the chance of rain tomorrow.

Read more…

7 Quick Takes-Moments of Clarity

 1// This week has been a reminder of the glimpses God gives us of his mercy, love and forgiveness.

Those moments whereby we are challenged to move, grow, and reach out to one another in love. The ready invitation to leave our comfort zone and listen, hold,  and  share our hearts and journeys with others.

2// My 7 Quick Takes week began..

by assisting with a women’s retreat on Forgiveness hosted by co-blogger and supervisor Allison Gingras. This as you can see, easily prompted the first of these reflective moments!  “I am thankful for the opportunity to forgive and to be forgiven, one teaches me mercy, the other humility”. (A. Gingras)  What a grace it is to embrace this in our lives! While our hearts must be led by mercy, we need to resist the temptation to see ourselves as blameless without need of forgiveness. How many times have I caused injury, or has someone needed to forgive me recently? I may never know the fullness of this answer, but for those times, Father forgive me.

3// “Forgiveness requires letting go of being right, of justice, evening scores and of an apology.” (Fr. Scott Hurd)

Oh, the thorny brambles we find ourselves in when led by righteousness and the need for validation! Instantly, we begin seeking those conversations and relationships whereby we are the hero and someone else made the villain. In doing so, we cling to the pain and our pride takes hold. Increasingly we find ourselves entangled in its grip. Lord help me to cling to you, the vine rather than the bramble.

4//“Forgiveness is not reconciling, as it takes one person not two”. 

Seeking forgiveness, is about finding peace and while we might wish for reconciliation- that is not guaranteed. Sometimes all that we can offer and hope for is forgiveness. Letting go of the outcome frees us to then move forward in our faith lives to grow in acceptance and give the controls to God. Lord I relinquish all authority to you, may my desire for peace be enough. Lead me because I can’t do this alone.”

5// And my own special sound bite from the retreat, “The Holy Spirit rocks!”

(If ever there was any doubt.) This retreat had an incredible turnout and the feedback extremely positive. The telling moment for me came in tending to the reconciliation line which was continuous and lasted over 2 hours! Within this there were prayerful conversations and moments of conversion of heart. So beautiful! Thank you Father for the gift of your Spirit which seeks to guide, transform and heal our hearts. I just want to praise you!

6// On a more personal note,

however, I received word a few days ago that someone that I am quite close to was diagnosed with inoperable throat cancer. As he comes to terms with the diagnosis and the given chances for survival, he is seeking greater reconciliation and connection in his life. He has been through so many trials in his life, including a stroke and several bouts of double pneumonia. Yet, I can feel that this is quite different, and he is preparing to die. In speaking with him today, he asked if I would call him to chat for a little bit each week. “Yes, of course!”. What a gift you have given me Father in this time with him.  Please, I pray for your voice and heart to guide me. If I can be of any help, I humbly offer my all.

7// So while clarity at times reveals deep hurt, difficulties, or challenges, I have found that God is there also- reaching out with open arms to embrace.

Why wait for a doctor’s call, or a life crisis to seek forgiveness and peace in our lives? Why hold on to pain when we could take hold of Christ’s hand? Jesus you are the voice of truth. You see us, know us, forgive us and love us in spite of all that we do and fail to do. While I can never repay this gift, I will spend a lifetime trying.

Peace in Christ,

Signature

Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Coffee, Communion and Conversation

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


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

With 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!

Signature

Examen: Poetry in Motion

Fast-slow, ebb and flow sensing the pace of life,

Thoughts-prayer I find You there amidst the joy and strife,

 

 

In-out without a doubt my every breath You fill,

Start-rest this beating heart lest, peace escape me still.

 

 

Far-near there is no fear for You come when I call,

Doubt-hope a brilliant strobe-light dispelling all.

 

 


Offer-receive your gift and believe your grace is always there,

Hold-release me to please by trusting in your care.

By: Elizabeth A. Reardon


Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Bringing Forth Our Gifts

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!


Witness to the Miracle: Bringing Forth Our Giftsbread

(originally published on August 4, 2014)

In discussion of the Gospel Reading of the miracle of loaves and fish, I asked the children gathered at mass 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 answered “I would seek to build shelter for the homeless”

Still another profoundly replied,  “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?”

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”.[1] 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”.[2] The contextual situations of poverty, oppression, homelessness, and disease particularly prevalent in the Third World do not allow them to adequately provide for themselves.[3]

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!

Signature

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

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

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

Coffee Date: Quite a Latte Going on!

This week I am linking up with

Dearest Love for “Coffee Date” and 7Quick Takes Conversion Diary.

1. If the title hadn’t given it away already, I would begin by saying how incredibly eventful this week has been… and continues to be!  With something “extra” scheduled every day, I have found myself wanting for another me to complete the monotonous tasks that are important but not necessarily fun. Late nights, prayer and countless cups of coffee have been the norm these last few days. As I write this I am finishing up the last of three loads of laundry, and enjoying this pause in a very busy but blessed week.

Graces and Opportunities//

2. I realize that I can, with the grace of God, take on all my normal commitments and add a few more balls in the air without totally being stressed. As I am nearing the end of my graduate school work, I contemplate life changing once again as I discern my new place in the larger world. My family too has needed to make adjustments in what they contribute to the running of the family household. While change is not always welcomed initially, it is so gratifying it is to see them grow and take on additional responsibilities.

3. With that being said, my middle son Peter now 15 tied his own tie for school today for the first time! Passing by him this morning I offered my services, as is customary, to which he surprisingly replied, “Hold on Mom just a minute, I almost have it! Love it 🙂

Peter before school this morning!

A post shared by Elizabeth Reardon (@theologyisaverb) on

4. On Monday evening I joined in on an existing bible study group and met a fantastic group of ladies. The insight, coffee and conversation flowed so that had we not set an end time, I would not have made it home before 10pm! Thank you to all for a great time!

5.The following night my hubby stepped in to lead Why Catholic for a friend whose husband had surgery. For those unfamiliar with the Why Catholic program, it was created for adults to “foster spiritual renewal, evangelization, catechesis and faith formation through small Christian communities”. What a joy it was to see him prepare and leave to spend that time with others in scripture and prayer.

6. Last night, I attended a seminar on Catechesis and the New Evangelization hosted by Loyola Press and featuring Joe Paprocki author of The Catechist’s Toolbox, and The Bible Blueprint. Paprocki’s books are clear, engaging and filled with humor and parables. In his presentation, he explained that while we as Catholics have seen many leave the Church that there are countless new “opportunities for bringing the Good News” to flourish within hearts and minds. Essential to these opportunities is a new “ardor” or attitude of joy and hope that “things can change”. That change begins with each one of us. We are as a people called to be inviting others into a “transformative” experience of faith. This is accomplished by a living active witness to Christ’s love and mercy in our own lives. Here, Catholic social teaching provide a much needed connection to the realities of our everyday life and the call to “put that faith into action”. If interested in hearing more, this seminar can be accessed in a few days on http://catechistsjourney.loyolapress.com/ .

7. Tomorrow, I am thrilled to attend the Boston Archdiocesan Social Justice Convention at the Pastoral Center in Braintree. The focus this year will be on making social justice a priority within our communities and interfaith outreach to overcome violence. Not to mention there will be numerous exhibitors such as Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, Jesuit Volunteers on hand to provide more information to serving others in our local communities. Exciting stuff! 😀
Peace,Signature

Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Seeking Joy Part 2

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.

When thinking about creating a new link-up opportunity for Wednesday, this idea of sharing a cherished previous post came to mind. For, getting together with friends isn’t always about what’s new in our lives, but often a stroll down memory lane. With that in mind, grab a seat, sit back and join in the conversation!

Seeking Joy1Seeking Joy Part 2

(originally published on 8/19/14)

1. Seeking the joy of God..

necessitates that we recognize our own unique gifts that God has given us rather than envying the gifts that others might possess.

Each of us has been created for a purpose, though the details of which, we might not be aware of it just yet. When we want that which God has given others, then we fail to appreciate God’s gifts to us. Instead, our aim should be to strengthen the gifts that we have been given, whether it be speaking, listening, teaching, or guiding others in the call to holiness and in the mission and life of the Church. So, too, I would add, God grants additional charisms or gifts, when needed, if we remain open to the Holy Spirit and God’s will in our lives.

2. Making space for God means..

identifying that which seeks to steal our joy, and serves to distance us from God and those we love.

When we shed these things, quite profoundly through reconciliation, we open ourselves up to God at work in our everyday. Then we start seeing God too in the little things that we do that also provide countless joy in the lives of others.

3. This is what God wants for us! We were not created to live in sorrow, though we all experience this at some point in our lives. We all know that with Christ’s birth the heavens rejoiced, so too is God’s joy for each one of us. Yet, the things of this world will bring us but temporary happiness, but God’s joy is eternal. When we surrender our hearts, trust, and allow God to take the lead, we will find true joy at last.

“Let this experience imprinted in the Gospel, be imprinted in our hearts and in our lives. Let the joyous wonder of Easter Sunday radiate through our thoughts , looks, attitudes , gestures and words …” Pope Francis (Regina Coeli address, Apr. 22, 2014.)

Inlinkz Linkup opens on Wednesday..See you then! 😉