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Leaf by Leaf by Leaf

Falling leaves2

The Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks, of which I am a fortunate and blessed member, asked us recently to reflect upon “letting go”.  This brings me immediately how repetitive an act that is in my life and how each time, though well-practiced, still meets with infinite resistance and a monumental amount of getting in my own way.

It also brings to my mind and heart Joyce Rupp’s exquisite poem on the act of letting go from her book, “A Star In My Heart”, at the top of my list of favorite books.  I see her poem in action during this beautiful fall season and a frequent reminder for me to let go of just one more leaf from my heart which is also in its autumn season.

By Joyce Rupp

Leaf by leaf by leaf
they tumble and fall:
all my haggard hurts.

like a cottonwood tree
ever so slowly letting go,
so the heartache of my heart.

there goes a bit of sadness,
now a leaf of anger flies;
then it’s the dropping of self-pity.

the leaf of unforgiveness
takes forever to fall,
almost as long as non-trusting.

leaf by leaf by leaf
they fall from my heart,
like a tree in its own time.

old wounds don’t heal quickly,
they drop in despairing slowness,
never looking at the clock.

it seems a forever process,
this healing of the hurt,
and I am none too patient.

but a quiet day finally comes
when the old tree with no leaves
is decidedly ready for the new.

and in my waiting heart, the branches with no leaves
have just a hint of green.

Falling Leaves

My Guardian Dear

IMG_5398SoulCollage® by Susan Heffron Hajec

Angel of God, my Guardian dear
To whom God’s love
commits me here.
Ever this day, be at my side
To light, to guard
To rule and guide. Amen

I say this prayer each morning for Tom and myself, our children and grandchildren and place trust in the scripture that says, “For I have sent an angel to watch over you and guide you in your ways”  and I expand this prayer to include all those who have asked for prayer or are presently facing challenges of any kind in their life.

Today, Napkinwriter copies a reading from an essay posted in the October 2014 Magnificat for Thursday, October 2, the Feast of the Holy Guardian Angels. It is the same day that Catholic Charities Caring Network celebrated twenty-five years of work dedicated to the unborn babies, mothers and ongoing family needs in the Kalamazoo area.

And it is the day that the newly formed Prayer Place was dedicated and blessed by the bishop and begins its prayer ministry for all who need guidance and support in their lives and responsibilities toward the young life that has been placed in their care.

Prayer Place Image

I believe the light of the angels shone upon us that day, for when I took the photo of the blessing, it was a dark and dreary day, just holding off the rain. Yet the light shone brightly upon Fran Denny, the founding director of Catholic Charities and Julia and William VanDomelen, who created the VanDomelen Center to house the charitable works and services that help so many.

The Bishop's Blessing

The writer of the following essay is Jennifer Hubbard. She resides in Newtown, CT. The younger of her two children, Catherine Violet, was a victim of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, on December 14, 2012.  The news was just breaking on television while Tom and I were having his birthday luncheon celebration.

Jennifer writes:

” ‘Angel of God, my guardian dear…’ I watch as his eyes light up for what feels like the first time in a very long time. He interupts her, saying, “That’s what my Pop said when he tucked us in.”

Instantly, I am taken back to the summer when they all shared the same bedroom. As he finishes the prayer, it’s their voices I hear alongside his. ‘…to whom God’s love commits me here. Ever this day, be at my side, to light to guard, to rule and guide.’

It was the prayer my father taught us as children and now he was teaching my children. It is one of the simple prayers planted deep into the crevices of my soul.

Now, my brave little one says it to remember that he is not alone. I say it with him, and realize these are the words I have been searching for but couldn’t seem to find. The prayer we recite together is the divine insight for which I have been pleading. It is only then I realize the reason we are given this promise as children. It is the heart of a child that is willing to accept unconditionally. A child — truly opens to receive — to believe — to feel, deep within her heart, the truth.

This is the promise that grows in my soul, even when the days seem dark and my body is weary. It is the everlasting reminder. I am his child.  He will guide and protect me. He is my Father and my Shepherd. He will light my path and bring me home to the little voice I long to hear.”

- End of Jennifer’s Essay -

Clients at Caring Network are filling out prayer requests in the lobby and putting them in the Prayer Place Mail Box.  During our Monday and Wednesday noon hour small group prayer where “two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them”,  we pick up these intention slips and pray for each request.

If they are signed, they are returned to the requester through their social service worker with notes on them that they have been prayed for. We trust God, in the midst, will bestow his blessing to make all things work onto good. We place our faith in the promise that to ask, believing we have received, will bring about goodness in what are often scary and threatening situations.

Above all, we know that faith, as tiny as a mustard seed, can bring about a full, joyful harvest. For all these things, we pray.

And during my Wednesday time tomorrow, I will add a prayer intention slip for Jennifer Hubbard, her husband and child, that God, in his infinite mercy, will bless them mightily through their lives and bring them to once again complete union with Catherine Violet, at the end of their days on earth.

IMG_5403Praying in color.

Seeing Forever

Clear Day See Forever

“On a clear day, you can see forever…..”  That little ditty has been singing its tune to me all day.

We are having a sparkly, clear October autumn day here in southwest Michigan. Can a clear atmosphere in front of your nose sparkle? It seems like it is doing that today, as the fall colors arrive on the trees.

From the outset this morning on the drive up Riverview to St. Ambrose, it seemed like the clear blue atmosphere was dipping down and trying to reach right through the front windshield to touch us.

And it stayed that way, as I returned from a visit to St. Mary parish to spread the good news about the newly formed Prayer Place at Catholic Charities Caring Network and invited pray-ers to come down and join us throughout the week.

Adding to the twenty five years of corporal works of mercy, help, understanding and companionship to young teen mothers and their babies, comes this “space” where prayer is invited to pour over the people and the situations that can “find a way” through Christ who is the Way.

IMG_5402

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.  Matt: 18:20.  The invitation is open to drop in during agency hours Monday through Friday and have an individual prayer time. Then from noon – 1 PM on Monday and Wednesday, we will assure “two or three” together in this prayer space.  Prayer intentions come to us, filled out by the clients and staff and put in the prayer “mail-box” in the lobby — there you go,  Off to God!

So this afternoon, returning from this information mission, the clear, bright atmosphere danced once again right in front of me…so crystal clear….so NOW!  It was like it was saying to me, be where you are…..RIGHT NOW, there is no place better.

The past couple of weeks I have not been in that space. I’ve been in a thought and emotion fog, and one that certainly distorted my vision.  It was more like the first photo I just took to explain the brightness of the day.  The camera lens, unbeknown to me, was turned on an “eclipsed” symbol and it turned out like this:

Clear Day eclipsed

That’s what my thinking, doubts and fears have done to my vision in the last few days. But St Paul’s message to the Philippians today set the lens of my thought to the correct setting.

Brothers and sisters, I know how to live in humble circumstances; I know how to live with abundance. In every circumstance and in all things I have learned the secret….of living in abundance and of being in need. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:12-14

Ok! So the grocery budget’s been tight lately.  But there is a banquet of life set before us of which I can partake when I can see clearly the Giver of all gifts.

I can see clearly now, the rain has gone. I can see (most) obstacles in my way.

And clearly right in front of me now is a roast chicken to take from the oven, which will provide many meals worth of good eating and a home made pot of chicken noodle soup.

IMG_5403

Spirit Lead Me

 

Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Looking through the poetry of Hafiz today, I found the name of a great play. BEHOLD YOUR SELF!

As I read the lines of the poems, photograph images I had taken popped up in every line.  I have combined Hafiz’ poetry with my photography for this blog.

BEHOLD YOUR SELF
by Hafiz

“Hints of your beauty the mountains have.

Swiss Alps  church

The enchanting complexions of the coral reefs are pale

coral main 3

to a golden candle in our heart.

IMG_3489

What moves in any ocean moves through us.

Waves crashing

A thousand kinds of music play every hour that you orchestrate.

Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Let the next ticket you buy help seat you in front of….your soul.

RAKU - Peace Lady Raku by Sue

Photography credits:  Susan Heffron Hajec, Music director in blue lights; Alps mountains,  burning candle, peace lady mask sculpture created by Susan.

Internet stock,  Coral reef.

Christine Whitelaw, dadirridreaming7, (c)  ocean waves crashing off Australian coast.

 

Morning Glory

Morning GloryPhoto by Agnes Cairnes

 

Morning Glory
by Susan Heffron Hajec

The breath of dawn gives birth
to the day reflecting the lavish expression
and perfect personality of God.

Kisses of dew drops hug
the trillium carpets which bloom
in the hills, hollows and valleys
of God’s precious fields.

Migrating birds, a mantle of lace, float
with romantic grace across the ridges and valleys.
Jubilant fields awaken and jump for joy
as the rising sun tiptoes above the horizon.

My heart beckons me into this bountiful orchard
and amidst sparkling streams and waterfalls
I find the radiant beauty of your Presence.
My thankful voice forms a garden arch of praise
and I sing of your Glory.

For the crisp air of this Heaven on earth
speaks sacred sounds of sun-filled serenity.
And in these meadows and hollows,
I find you, my God,
and I celebrate this precious moment.

Yes, you are here in blossoming vistas of grandeur
and today, amidst the mountain laurel
and whispering wildflowers I realize
I am one with all good.

 

Morning Glory - LindaPhoto by Linda Wilson

Jan 26 Under the rainbow

I need those hearts, rainbows and sparkles today, so I repeat a story told on January 26 this year about Amy who gives all of those in great measure.

 

I am curator of granddaughter Amy’s away-from-home art gallery. Almost every time she visits us, she has “something I made for you” to give grandma and dziadzia.

Jan 26 - dziadzia-with-princess

Amy almost always dresses in sparkles. To quote her, “A princess can never have too many sparkles.”

Amy draws in hearts and rainbows and sparkles. Her hearts come in many versions and she has a sense of how precious they are to us when we receive them. She gives them over graciously.

Jan 26 Refrig heart

 

We have a large side-by-side refrigerator and we need it for space to hang her art. I am pretty sure she checks it out when she comes to know that I am current with her postings.

One day, I was coloring with Amy at her house and she said she was going to color a story for me. This is the story of grandma and Amy out on a nice walk together after a rainstorm. A rainbow has appeared in the sky and low and behold there is dziadzia, pencilled in under the rainbow, peeking at us to see where we are going.

Jan 26 Under the rainbow
You can immediately distinguish Amy from grandma through her detail. Grandma has the head of white hair!

Hearts and flowers….joy and expectancy….a rainbow to cover all endings and holding hands to add warmth and companionship. That is the story of our lives.

Jan 26 Amy's hearts

A good story.

 

 

Hello God! You There?

Cat - Hello God

When you place the call, God answers. This was my recent communication.

September 15, 2014
I am reading “They Speak By Silences” author listed as A Carthusian; and Surrender, a guide for prayer by Jacqueline Syrup Bergan & S. Marie Schwan; An article in AARP magazine (Aug-Sept) The Missing was a light bulb going off for me yesterday. Although it was an article focused on the loss suffered by the families of Flight 370, Vietnam MIA’s (still 1,500 listed), missing children and adults, it put a name to a condition I believe myself to be living…..AMBIGUOUS LOSS….. though fear is involved, it is more a gathering of many different emotions that are open to hit strongly at any given moment.

Psychologist Pauline Boss says “Ambiguous loss triggers a kind of stressful, unresolved emotional state distinct from traditional grief. ..resistant to usual therapeutic treatment (don’t have $$ for treatment now anyway) instead the path to healing involves negotiation an uneasy rapprochement with the unanswered questions that such a loss leaves in its wake. “Grief therapy doesn’t work because there is nothing wrong with the person, there is something wrong with the situation itself.

I would not go so far as to say there is nothing wrong with me, BUT I do feel the reality of living in the WAKE of personal challenging circumstances , and constantly discerning between what I must surrender to and the courage to change the things I can change, which seem so very few at this time.

Then I call upon my higher self to manifest, live in faith and continue my life one step at a time; I can cycle anger, despair, confusion, craziness, at any time of any day; I do not know when they will assail me and at times overcome me. I do all this with acknowledging my responsibility in all of it and consciously trying to knock out any traces of blame.

And my life looks from the outside looking in that “nothing much is going on here.”

I feel I am in constant negotiation, daily, with the terms of my life.

GOD’S ANSWER came on Tues. September 16 at 11:16 am in the
Twenty Four Hours AA Meditation Book:

Cat, pen and blank open notepad

(This looks just like my journal that I pasted the following answer in).
Sept. 9 Meditation of the Day:

“In God’s strength you conquer life. Your conquering power is the grace of God. There can be no complete failure with God. Do you want to make the best of your life? (yes) Then live as near as possible to God, the Master and Giver of All Life.

Your reward for depending upon God’s strength will be sure. Sometimes the reward will be renewed power to face life. (yesterday, I was in great need of this renewed power, I could not feel my own), sometimes wrong thinking overcome
( great struggle here yesterday and trying to quiet the wrong thinking, oh woe is me, what will become of us?), sometime people brought to a new way of living. (What is this new way, when you are doing the best you can?).

Whatever success comes will not be all your own doing, but largely the working out of the grace of God.”

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