Worth Revisiting: We Drink From Our Own Wells

Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People. 20th Anniversary Edition. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2003.

In the foreword, Henri Nouwen beautifully articulates that the premises within Gutiérrez’s book grow out of the “lived experience” (xiii b) of God’s presence in history as understood by “men and women who have devoted themselves to pastoral ministry in Latin America.” As each one of us seeks to live out our faith, we too are part of a concrete experience of God at work in the world around us. In caring for and pastorally ministering to others in our communities, we are given a glimpse of a diverse and yet unique spiritual journey.

On Spirituality

“Spirituality, Gustavo writes, is like living water that springs up in the very depths of the experience of faith” (xvi)

It is a personal encounter with God breaking into the very essence of our lives, meeting us where we are spiritually,  creating ineffable moments of transformation and continual conversion.  An understanding of spirituality, therefore, which is sourced in God’s love produces not only comfort but is itself an abundant stream of joy and blessings. This is a very important to consider, I believe, as it is quite easy to focus on the struggle and neglect to understand that there are also the experiences from the Lord of  “joy and gratitude, friendship and generosity, humility and mutual care”.(xv)

This brings me to Gutiérrez’s discussion of St. Paul’s “walking according to the Spirit, who is life and enables us to live in freedom”.(3) That while we are engaged in the journey of life in the Spirit, we do not know the bends and twists in the path ahead, but is established in the very going” of our discipleship. It is a journey that we do not travel alone, for the Spirit guides, and we travel together as an “entire people” in search of freedom and the experience of the fullness of life .In doing so we also find joy and fellowship with one another. Pope Francis speaks very eloquently to this also in encouraging us to recognize that discipleship is a journey together, and we need to reach out to one another as we engage in our call to discipleship and mission. In time and ministry with the elderly, I recognize fully the call to bring Christ and the presence of community.  The freedom we seek-from loneliness, pain, and the unknowing as we journey from this life to life eternal with God, is there. As well as the joy of holding the hand of another along the way!

Accompanying the Poor

A point that Gutiérrez makes quite clear in his writings, however is that in accompanying the poor and oppressed we cannot just tend to the spiritual needs but must actively address their material needs as well. If others are to truly “see and know Christ in and through us” then I believe we must also be attentive to feeding, clothing and caring for those “least” among us. As Gutiérrez notes there must be “unity and connection between prayer and action” and a desire to live our Christian spiritual life within the historical reality of the world (17).  Of course it may very well challenge us to examine our own consumption habits and shake us from our comfort level in the underlying structures which support inequality and injustice. Yet, we cannot fall back on the assumption that the poor will always be with us, but instead tend to the poor in front of us.Remembering  that Christ did not choose to solely dine with those considered most like him, but radically reached across the table to those whom others wanted nothing to do with.

Prayer and Action

This movement of prayer and action can take several different directions, depending on God’s guidance and your own charisms. Perhaps you are able to provide resources, or to advocate and enlist the participation of others. A close friend of mine, for instance, gathers food and needed household items for the homeless when make the transition into temporary housing. In my community alone,there are a number of organizations which seek to serve the poor- St. Vincent’s de Paul, Matthew’s Kitchen, and an Interfaith Food pantry. Homeless and families, many of which arrive at least an hour ahead of distribution, often leave expressing a renewed hope for the day ahead. Conversely, those who serve are given a profound and humble appreciation of the gift of being present to this graced moment.

God is so amazing- he constantly trumps in gift giving! Take time today for both prayer and action, embracing the Christ before you!

Peace,

Signature

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Book Review:We Drink from Our Own Wells

Gustavo Gutiérrez, We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People. 20th Anniversary Edition. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2003.

In the foreword, Henri Nouwen beautifully articulates that the premises within Gutiérrez’s book grow out of the “lived experience” (xiii b) of God’s presence in history as understood by “men and women who have devoted themselves to pastoral ministry in Latin America.” As each one of us seeks to live out our faith, we too are part of a concrete experience of God at work in the world around us. In caring for and pastorally ministering to others in our communities, we are given a glimpse of a diverse and yet unique spiritual journey.

“Spirituality, Gustavo writes, is like living water that springs up in the very depths of the experience of faith” (xvi) It is a personal encounter with God breaking into the very essence of our lives, meeting us where we are spiritually,  creating ineffable moments of transformation and continual conversion.  An understanding of spirituality, therefore, which is sourced in God’s love produces not only comfort but is itself an abundant stream of joy and blessings. This is a very important to consider, I believe, as it is quite easy to focus on the struggle and neglect to understand that there are also the experiences from the Lord of  “joy and gratitude, friendship and generosity, humility and mutual care”.(xv)

This brings me to Gutiérrez’s discussion of St. Paul’s “walking according to the Spirit, who is life and enables us to live in freedom”.(3) That while we are engaged in the journey of life in the Spirit, we do not know the bends and twists in the path ahead, but is “established in the very going” of our discipleship. It is a journey that we do not travel alone, for the Spirit guides, and we travel together as an “entire people” in search of freedom and the experience of the fullness of life .In doing so we also find joy and fellowship with one another. Pope Francis speaks very eloquently to this also in encouraging us to recognize that discipleship is a journey together, and we need to reach out to one another as we engage in our call to discipleship and mission. In time and ministry with the elderly, I recognize fully the call to bring Christ and the presence of community.  The freedom we seek-from loneliness, pain, and the unknowing as we journey from this life to life eternal with God, is there. As well as the joy of holding the hand of another along the way!

A point that Gutiérrez makes quite clear in his writings, however is that in accompanying the poor and oppressed we cannot just tend to the spiritual needs but must actively address their material needs as well. If others are to truly “see and know Christ in and through us” then I believe we must also be attentive to feeding, clothing and caring for those “least” among us. As Gutiérrez notes there must be “unity and connection between prayer and action” and a desire to live our Christian spiritual life within the historical reality of the world (17).  Of course it may very well challenge us to examine our own consumption habits and shake us from our comfort level in the underlying structures which support inequality and injustice. Yet, we cannot fall back on the assumption that the poor will always be with us, but instead tend to the poor in front of us.Remembering  that Christ did not choose to solely dine with those considered most like him, but radically reached across the table to those whom others wanted nothing to do with.

This movement of prayer and action can take several different directions, depending on God’s guidance and your own charisms. Perhaps you are able to provide resources, or to advocate and enlist the participation of others. A close friend of mine, for instance, gathers food and needed household items for the homeless when make the transition into temporary housing. In my community alone,there are a number of organizations which seek to serve the poor- St. Vincent’s de Paul, Matthew’s Kitchen, and an Interfaith Food pantry. Homeless and families, many of which arrive at least an hour ahead of distribution, often leave expressing a renewed hope for the day ahead. Conversely, those who serve are given a profound and humble appreciation of the gift of being present to this graced moment.

God is so amazing- he constantly trumps in gift giving! Take time today for both prayer and action, embracing the Christ before you!

Peace,

Signature

Worth Revisiting:The Case for Asceticism

Today humanity has  “enjoyed such an abundance of wealth, resources and economic power, and yet a huge proportion of the worlds citizens are still tormented by hunger and poverty, while countless numbers suffer from total illiteracy. Never before has man had so keen an understanding of freedom, yet at the same time new forms of social and psychological slavery make their appearance. Although the world of today has a very vivid awareness of its unity and of how one man depends on another in needful solidarity, it is most grievously torn into opposing camps by conflicting forces. (Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes)

This begs the question, could there be a modern role for the practice of the spiritual discipline of asceticism found through fasting, prayer, spiritual direction, almsgiving, corporal and spiritual works of mercy in our lives today?

To this I would answer yes, most definitely!  The traditional practices of asceticism are relevant for our time, especially when taken out of a monastic framework and considered within the broader context of our everyday life. While most of us perhaps are not disposed to a total life of self denial, there is immense merit in seeking order, centeredness, and being open to God’s presence in our lives. In a world that often strives, or so it seems, to ascribe the attributes of beauty, intelligence, position, and wealth, or lack thereof -what a gift it is for our souls to discover who we really are! That is to shed all opinions and titles other than how God might call us as his own beloved children. In this way, we are both humbled in all of our preconceived notions of self, and yet raised to see how wonderful it is to be made in the image of God!

It is here that we recognize the importance of prayer, for this is how we come to be familiar with the voice of our Abba, and to know that whatever the world perceives of us that each of us have been divinely special, and loved dearly. God’s opinion, and concerns then can be seen more clearly and put in the right order as first and centermost in our lives. I believe, therefore that this practice of asceticism, of prayer, perhaps helps us to understand how to go about and truly practice the other disciplines. It is true, that the place of prayer is important because, at least initially, it must be one that encourages us to limit some of the outside distractions of life. I find that daily mass or morning reflection provides this time for me to center myself in God. Oh, how often I have found myself actually rushing in the mornings to find that time with God, and heard myself let out an audible sigh of thankfulness! Taking time to experience a retreat even further allows for the opportunity to tune out the noise and discover a way to live a more conscious spiritual life.

As for fasting, and abstinence they too are important when we consider the “why” or the purpose for this practice in our own lives. Too often, I believe that we as a church could do a better job at teaching and emphasizing the deeper intentions. Without this, the “Rice Bowl” or almsgiving box simply becomes a collection device during Lent for all the times we break our renewed intention to God. On the contrary, I believe it is important to ask ourselves each time,

Why am I fasting or abstaining? Is it to be in solidarity and to understand if for but a day what others in poverty feel every day? Or is it for an intention that I hold in my heart and desire for God to know its importance in my life and request for help?

This brings us to the immense value of works of love, mercy and justice when they are sourced in Christ, and practiced in community. This is not to say that other faiths cannot and have not practiced similar works of mercy. Rather, as a Christian community they are essential, in changing our perspective from that of the world to recognizing Christ in others, and actually in being Christ in the world.

These athletic exercises or practices are our warm-up so to speak for the real thing- that is working for the kingdom of God.

How can we say, “Put me in Coach!”  if we haven’t even shown up for practice?

Peace,Signature


¹Definition of asceticism taken from The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company

Worth Revisiting: Quite A Latte Going On!

Sometimes when we are overly busy, overwhelmed, wondering how we will ever get through all the demands upon time and self..remembering that we have been there before is such a consolation! What were the graces then and how did I experience God’s faithful presence? Perhaps through prayer, readings, a song, a conversation or the support of a spouse or a friend?
Where is God waiting to be discovered in the busyness of my day today?  Don’t forget now through July 31st you can share your thoughts, and pictures on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Vine)  using #FindIggy through Loyola Press.


 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: 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.

In better discerning where we are meant to be and what we are being called to do, there is usually the internal assessment of those gifts we have to offer. Many times we might feel that we have nothing of value to bring, and thereby discount all that we have been given that God seeks to use. Yet there is courage found in recognizing that God perfects all that is lacking within and is more than ready to fit each of us for the task.  Can we step forward today, and do as the small boy from the Gospels has done..can we offer our gifts from the heart?


Witness to the Miracle: Bringing Forth Our Gifts

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 the gift, 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.

Worth Revisiting: With Open Mind, Eyes and Heart

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.

Though written originally for Advent, the call to reexamine our focus as we seek to live out our discipleship is our continuous invitation to conversion. This past Saturday my son and I spent the morning with our local homeless community through Matthew’s Kitchen. I am reminded that while so many have so little..God’s love and mercy for the least of these is so great!


With Open Mind, Eyes and Heart

(Originally posted December 11, 2014)

This Advent season, I find myself disenchanted with the stores, and the constant promotion of items to be bought in order to win smiles and love. Some years are like that we say to ourselves, and yet I know that there is something much profound at work. Searching, I recognize that while society hasn’t necessarily changed, I have.

The other day, I took a moment with a local homeless man just to talk. As he stood there, leaning uncomfortably against my church, I could not pass him by. That is, without sharing a smile and asking him how he was doing. Even from a distance, I noticed that the cold weather had left his skin and lips weathered, and reddened.  I suddenly realized that I had come prepared. For, inside my car were a new pair of tube socks with lotion, wipes, chap stick, toothbrush and toothpaste enclosed. Gladly, but a bit surprised, he accepted the gift.

Examples of items to include in a care kit..

This morning on my way to take my son to school again I saw him, with a huge smile on his face walking with a couple of other men. What a gift he had given me to see him enjoying a bit of happiness and company. The homeless life can be so very isolating, for mental illness and addictions have often served to distance them from relationships and even recognition. In our hurry and perhaps even fearful, we are accustomed to look straight ahead towards our destination.

Where are our eyes focused ? Upwards toward heaven, forward in completing the day’s events, or all around seeking God in everything? Are we, as Mother Teresa observed, “seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor”?  [1] Times have been difficult in my suburban community, and many more families are either finding themselves cutting back, overextended, or without.  Yet, while we can’t do or be everything to everyone we can greet, love, and support one another in whatever way we can. Today, an invitation was extended for more volunteers at our parish food pantry in order to serve more people, and provide rest for regular helpers. Maybe an hour this Advent season is a gift you too can give.

How are our hearts? If we are serious about preparing for Christ’s coming, it’s time now to think about the condition of our hearts. Are we hardened by our own circumstances, and the pitfalls we have found ourselves in? Where are my thoughts? Trusting the path and journey we are on isn’t easy to do alone, for the temptation is to seek control.

Prayer and the Eucharist– are for me the most transforming corrections for my squinted vision, stiffening heart,  and human tendencies to control my world.  In quiet prayer, I can silence the noise and hear Jesus’ voice once again. All my pretences fall away, as I stand like a child at his feet. Feeling his embrace, my heart melts and I long to stay with him. His smile reminds me who and whose I am. Created and loved I am asked to see as he does. His daughter, I am called to be ever close to him. This intimacy of the Eucharist draws me not inward but outward.

 I am called to be more than I could have ever imagined, and all that you know I can be.  “Let faith arise..open my eyes!” 

[1] Mother TeresaIn the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

The Case for Asceticism

Today humanity has  “enjoyed such an abundance of wealth, resources and economic power, and yet a huge proportion of the worlds citizens are still tormented by hunger and poverty, while countless numbers suffer from total illiteracy. Never before has man had so keen an understanding of freedom, yet at the same time new forms of social and psychological slavery make their appearance. Although the world of today has a very vivid awareness of its unity and of how one man depends on another in needful solidarity, it is most grievously torn into opposing camps by conflicting forces. (Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes)

This begs the question, could there be a modern role for the practice of the spiritual discipline of asceticism found through fasting, prayer, spiritual direction, almsgiving, corporal and spiritual works of mercy in our lives today?

To this I would answer yes, most definitely!  The traditional practices of asceticism are relevant for our time, especially when taken out of a monastic framework and considered within the broader context of our everyday life. While most of us perhaps are not disposed to a total life of self denial, there is immense merit in seeking order, centeredness, and being open to God’s presence in our lives. In a world that often strives, or so it seems, to ascribe the attributes of beauty, intelligence, position, and wealth, or lack thereof -what a gift it is for our souls to discover who we really are! That is to shed all opinions and titles other than how God might call us as his own beloved children. In this way, we are both humbled in all of our preconceived notions of self, and yet raised to see how wonderful it is to be made in the image of God!

It is here that we recognize the importance of prayer, for this is how we come to be familiar with the voice of our Abba, and to know that whatever the world perceives of us that each of us have been divinely special, and loved dearly. God’s opinion, and concerns then can be seen more clearly and put in the right order as first and centermost in our lives. I believe, therefore that this practice of asceticism, of prayer, perhaps helps us to understand how to go about and truly practice the other disciplines. It is true, that the place of prayer is important because, at least initially, it must be one that encourages us to limit some of the outside distractions of life. I find that daily mass or morning reflection provides this time for me to center myself in God. Oh, how often I have found myself actually rushing in the mornings to find that time with God, and heard myself let out an audible sigh of thankfulness! Taking time to experience a retreat even further allows for the opportunity to tune out the noise and discover a way to live a more conscious spiritual life.

As for fasting, and abstinence they too are important when we consider the “why” or the purpose for this practice in our own lives. Too often, I believe that we as a church could do a better job at teaching and emphasizing the deeper intentions. Without this, the “Rice Bowl” or almsgiving box simply becomes a collection device during Lent for all the times we break our renewed intention to God. On the contrary, I believe it is important to ask ourselves each time,

Why am I fasting or abstaining? Is it to be in solidarity and to understand if for but a day what others in poverty feel every day? Or is it for an intention that I hold in my heart and desire for God to know its importance in my life and request for help?

This brings us to the immense value of works of love, mercy and justice when they are sourced in Christ, and practiced in community. This is not to say that other faiths cannot and have not practiced similar works of mercy. Rather, as a Christian community they are essential, in changing our perspective from that of the world to recognizing Christ in others, and actually in being Christ in the world.

These athletic exercises or practices are our warm-up so to speak for the real thing- that is working for the kingdom of God.

How can we say, “Put me in Coach!”  if we haven’t even shown up for practice?

Peace,

Signature


¹Definition of asceticism taken from The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company

Embracing Advent with Open Mind, Heart and Eyes

Linking up with Laura at Day by Day In Our World for 40 Days of Seeking Him!

This Advent season, I find myself disenchanted with the stores, and the constant promotion of items to be bought in order to win smiles and love. Some years are like that we say to ourselves, and yet I know that there is something much profound at work. Searching, I recognize that while society hasn’t necessarily changed, I have.

The other day, I took a moment with a local homeless man just to talk. As he stood there, leaning uncomfortably against my church, I could not pass him by. That is, without sharing a smile and asking him how he was doing. Even from a distance, I noticed that the cold weather had left his skin and lips weathered, and reddened.  I suddenly realized that I had come prepared. For, inside my car were a new pair of tube socks with lotion, wipes, chap stick, toothbrush and toothpaste enclosed. Gladly, but a bit surprised, he accepted the gift.

Examples of items to include in a care kit..

This morning on my way to take my son to school again I saw him, with a huge smile on his face walking with a couple of other men. What a gift he had given me to see him enjoying a bit of happiness and company. The homeless life can be so very isolating, for mental illness and addictions have often served to distance them from relationships and even recognition. In our hurry and perhaps even fearful, we are accustomed to look straight ahead towards our destination.

Where are our eyes focused this Advent? Upwards toward heaven, forward in completing the day’s events, or all around seeking God in everything? Are we, as Mother Teresa observed, “seeing and adoring the presence of Jesus, especially in the lowly appearance of bread, and in the distressing disguise of the poor”?  [1] Times have been difficult in my suburban community, and many more families are either finding themselves cutting back, overextended, or without.  Yet, while we can’t do or be everything to everyone we can greet, love, and support one another in whatever way we can. Today, an invitation was extended for more volunteers at our parish food pantry in order to serve more people, and provide rest for regular helpers. Maybe an hour this Advent season is a gift you too can give.

How are our hearts this Advent? If we are serious about preparing for Christ’s coming, it’s time now to think about the condition of our hearts. Are we hardened by our own circumstances, and the pitfalls we have found ourselves in? Where are my thoughts this Advent? Trusting the path and journey we are on isn’t easy to do alone, for the temptation is to seek control.

Prayer and the Eucharist– are for me the most transforming corrections for my squinted vision, stiffening heart,  and human tendencies to control my world.  In quiet prayer, I can silence the noise and hear Jesus’ voice once again. All my pretences fall away, as I stand like a child at his feet. Feeling his embrace, my heart melts and I long to stay with him. His smile reminds me who and whose I am. Created and loved I am asked to see as he does. His daughter, I am called to be ever close to him. This intimacy of the Eucharist draws me not inward but outward.

 I am called to be more than I could have ever imagined, and all that you know I can be.  “Let faith arise..open my eyes!” 

[1] Mother TeresaIn the Heart of the World: Thoughts, Stories and Prayers

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!

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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] 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