Archive for September, 2015

Pope Francis - Light of Christ

And Pope Francis did bless America, as Christ’s representative on Earth from more than 2,000 years ago.  There was “no other side of the lake” to rest for Pope Francis as crowds and throngs wishing for the sight and the words of this world spiritual leader popped up everywhere he would be. As in Jesus’ time, just to “touch the hem of his garment” would be enough.

Pope Francis, on his first visit to the United States, was shown love by the people and he, it can be said, loved us first, another powerful word from the Scriptures. His love shone through in so many ways, not the least of which were his many unscheduled stops to unify with the needy, poor, hopeless, challenged and hurting of our interwoven society….to speak with prisoners where he confessed, “we all have something we need to be cleansed from”…..from politely turning down the china and silver of a State Luncheon with powerful political  leaders and choosing, instead,to dine in a soup kitchen with the homeless.  He met and held in compassion the survivors of victims of 9/11 and prayed with them.

He spoke to the powerful and charged them with caring for humankind and the planet, and through them, he spoke to us, who may be considered lowly in power. Not so, he said. “Continue to look for the daily little miracles.”  In ordinary life with faith, kindness and an open heart not afraid to love, he said great things can be accomplished in your day.

“Come little children unto me.” Just like Christ’s invitation, he constantly sought out the children and babies. They brought great joy to his face and enlivened him during a daily arduous routine. “Sing louder,” he told the children in the classroom he visited, “Sing louder!”

Pope Francis - memorial wall

Each time I listened in on one of his talks, I wanted to hear him the next time he talked. He wanted to share with us the joy of having Jesus as teacher and model in our lives. “Look to him!” And Pope Francis pointed it out as a top responsibility of government to defend religious freedom.

Often now, we hear the words religion and spiritual being argued over. Some want to make one top dog over the other. Someone else blames one for past offenses and the other as woozy-floozy.

After this visit, I feel boosted up in the use of both of those words. Pope Francis is the leader of my Roman Catholic religion. It would be hard, however, for anyone to point to any Catholic orthodoxy or doctrinal insistence that came from Pope Francis on this papal visit.. He asked in all humbleness, again and again, “Pray for me”.   “And if you don’t want to pray or are a non-believer, will you just send some good wishes my way? Can you do that?” And then he broke into a wide smile.

He doesn’t make you afraid of God. I wouldn’t doubt that there may be a few who were who might check up on this again, thinking they have a chance.

Light emminated from his face and bodily presence. You could see it. It makes me wonder if that is where the halo came from in early religious artist’s renditions of the holy people in olden times. Did they see, or did they hear from others that saw there was a special light around these saints and workers of spiritual love?

Works of charity with love, tenderness and humility are on the path Jesus pointed to. This is the path he told us he was and wanted us to follow. This is also what Pope Francis told and showed us

Talking to the world-wide United Nations Assembly, he said emphatically, looking directly into body of the gathering: “The first law is to keep a true bond among you.”  It applies to us also, who don’t sit in those seat but he advised us to hold true to the Jesuit principle, “Use your gifts to help others.”

This pope is joyful.

This pope is a dreamer, a visualist.

He tells us: “Where ever there are dreams, wherever there is joy,  there Jesus is present.”

Pope Francis - depart

I didn’t want it to end. I didn’t want him to go. I watched his plane swoop into the darkened sky over Philadelphia, knowing that it was what he left behind that I must pay attention to. Oh, those many words and questions he asked us to ask of ourselves.

Love others……work together…..understand and forgive each other.

That will keep me busy for awhile.

Pope Francis leaves
God bless Pope Francis and I will not forget to pray for you.

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Lately, I’ve been involved in such a little matter of making order out of my little room where I spend creative time and energies when I write, draw, doodle, meditate or search the web.

Meanwhile all around me on a world-wide scale, millions of people are trying to make order of their lives, finding most of it destroyed by the violence of the human race or the ravishing energies of natural fires and disasters. Innocent people and their families are victims of random singular acts of violence; the threat of terrorism is ever-present. Whole nations are seeking new ground and new life in a setting which doesn’t threaten their daily way of life.

The sheer numbers are stunning and tend to make me feel like a sideline observer.

Yet, there is a call within that tells me I am a “companion on the journey”. That somehow, even in my own simplified and scaled down life, I walk with these others in compassion, in prayer, in belief and hope they  and all of us shall somehow be renewed. But just how do I “do something”?  Aren’t there many of us wondering that? Are there large needs that need to be fulfilled by small people or…..are there small needs that need to be fulfilled by large people?

Alfred Delp, who was a German Jesuit Catholic priest condemned to death by the Nazis in Berlin, believed and said we need to be men and women who are fulfilled. That faith is the path to fullness. “Fulfilled men and women are not pious caricatures,” he said. “They are people who are genuinely impregnated with the spirit of their calling, people who have prayed with all sincerity: make my heart like unto thine.”

In the midst of the destructiveness, pain and suffering of the Nazi power-driven and mad regime, he called people to have willing hearts that beat with compassion and return to the ideal of….service.  He defined this as meeting people on their own ground, in all circumstances, with a view to helping to master the challenges at hand. “That means walking by his side, accompanying him even into the depth of degradation and misery. Go forth, our Lord said — do not sit around and wait for someone to come to you.”

Why do bad things happen to good people? This is the eternal mystery.  Psalm 33 explores it. “The designs of his Heart are from age to age, to rescue their souls from death and to keep them alive….” The promise is held in Jeremiah 29;  “I know well the plans, I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.”

Today, I received a reminder in my email from Betty Lue Lieber, who resides and works in the midst of the endangered California forests burning right now. She has been supplying reminders on a daily basis for ever so long, but today’s reminder speaks right to being a person fulfilled and one dedicated to service. I share some of her words here.

Thursday, Sept. 17 at 4PM
From Betty Lue.

Robert and I have been living in Hidden Valley Lake, our Reunion Lake House, for over five years.
We also have a holistic counseling and healing center, Reunion ReSource Center, in Middletown.
We have a Reunion Community Room for everyone in Middletown and surrounding area to use.

We have been very fortunate during these wildfires with everything still standing.
Many of our friends and neighbors have lost everything.
As soon as the highway opens with electricity and water available, we will return to be helpful.

Many are grieving the losses.
Some are already conceiving the rebuilding.
We are believing together it can and will be done.
We appreciate good thoughts, help and support.

Blessings multiply with gratitude and Love.
Betty Lue

Update on the Wildfires in Lake County.

Valley fire
(as of Thursday, 8 a.m.)
·       73,700 acres burned
·       35% contained
·       13,000 people displaced
·       7,650 structures threatened
·       585 homes, hundreds of other buildings destroyed
·       3,580 fire workers
·       4 injured firefighters
·       3 confirmed deaths
Butte fire (as of Thursday, 11:30 a.m.)
·       70,760 acres burned
·       49% contained
·       10,000 people initially displaced
·       6,400 structures threatened
·       252 homes, 188 outbuildings destroyed
·       4,403 fire workers
·       2 confirmed deaths

What Can You Do?
For the thousands displaced by the wildfires and so much more around the world!

What Can You Do?
What Can I Do?
What Can We Do?

When we want to be helpful, what can we do?
When we don’t know what to do, how can we help?
When things are unknown or unclear, what can we do?
When caught in confusion, conflict and concern, what can we do?

When we feel hurt and frightened, what can we do?
When we are lost and alone, what can we do?
When we feel disconnected and separate, what can we do?
When in grief and without comfort, what can we do?

We can let the tears fall to wash away the hopelessness.
We can sing a song of comfort to soothe the pain and sorrow.
We can breathe in inspiration and seek some revelation.
We can write a poem and draw a picture to begin to create anew.

There is always something we can do.
We can give thanks for everything we have.
We can watch the sunrise and feel blessed.
We can let go and flow with what seems to be needed.

We can do what is valuable.
We can forgive and erase what is not.
We can make up our own next step.
We can give what we have to feel good.

We can tell stories of hope and faith.
We can remind ourselves to be kind.
We can reassure those who are worried.
We can give what we want to receive.

We can build a new world of possibility.
We can seek inner guidance and outer information.
We can share the best we know with others.
We can give thanks we can do something good.

We can remind ourselves, we can do what we choose.
We can encourage those around us.
We can care deeply for those who are lost, depressed and confused.
We can do the work to repair, rebuild and renew.

I am with you in Love, trust, support and encouragement.
We can, because we are willing.
Betty Lue.

Because I am willing and because I live as a fulfilled person, today what I can do that matters is to encourage anyone in my surroundings today in whatever way I can. One of the ways I encourage is to write Napkinwriter and remain faithful to the writing of it. Does it put out the flames? I don’t know but I write in the faith that my words matter.

I can care deeply for those who feel lost, depressed and confused. I can also pay particular attention to and offer myself loving kindness when I feel those things.

I can always work to repair, rebuild and renew that which provides fullness in my own life and what touches others.

That’s a pretty complete TO DO list for today. I can always begin again tomorrow.

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March 27 2014Photography by Susan Heffron Hajec


Rules For Being Human
(from an old Ann Landers syndicated newspaper column)

  • You will receive a body. You may like it or hate it, but it will be yours for as long as you live. How you take care of it or fail to take care of it can make an enormous difference in the quality of your life.
  • You will learn lessons. You are enrolled in a full-time school called Life. Each day, you will be presented with opportunities to learn what you need to know. The lessons presented are often completely different from those you THINK you need.
  • There are no mistakes—only lessons. Growth is a process of trial and error and experimentation. You can learn as much from failure as you can from success.
  • A lesson is repeated until it is learned. A lesson will be presented to you in various forms until you have learned it. When you have learned it (as evidenced by a change in your attitude and behavior), then you can go on to the next lesson.
  • Learning lessons does not end. There is no stage of life that does not contain some lessons. As long as you live, there will be something more to learn.
  • “There” is no better than “here”. When your “there” has become a “here”, you will obtain another “there” that will again look better than your “here”. Don’t be fooled by believing that the unattainable is better than what you have.
  • Others are merely mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself. When tempted to criticize others, ask yourself why you feel so strongly.
  • What you make of your life is up to you. You have all the tools and resources you need. Remember that through desire, goal-setting and unflagging effort, you can have anything you want. Persistence is the key to success.
  • The answers lie within you. The solutions to all of life’s problems lie within your grasp. All you need to do is ask, look, listen and trust.
  • You will forget all this. Unless you consistently stay focused on the goals you have set for yourself, everything you’ve just read won’t mean a thing.


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Morning Glory

morning-gloryPhotography by Linda Wilson

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.
Jubliant  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.

Then, silently, in the solitude of evening
I rest and am made comfortable
knowing that You, who are in all,
over all and through all
in this garden of glory
are the keeper of my soul.

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Breath of Life
Susan Heffron Hajec 9/4/15

I breathe in
I breathe out
I Am.
I Am.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I Am.
I Am.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I breathe in
I breathe out
I Am one.
I Am one.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I breathe in
I breathe out
I Am One
with God.
I Am One
with God.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I and others.
I and others.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I and others
are One with God.
I and others
are One with God.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I and others are One.
I and others are One.
I breathe in
I breathe out
I and all others are One.

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