New Every Morning

The Book of Lamentations is not a part of Scripture that I normally turn to.  In the Old Testament, I often head to the Psalms or the Book of Isaiah when I’m looking for some inspiration.  In the New Testament, I love reading the Gospel of Luke, and I always find something to either lift me up or challenge me in St. Paul’s Letters.  How about you?  What’s your “go to” Scripture passages when you are looking for inspiration, consolation, or support?

Back to the Book of Lamentations.  My focus today is on Mercy.  We need to receive it right now, very badly.  We need to give it right now, very badly.  Here’s a passage to ponder, especially during these troubling times:

The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent;  They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.  My portion is the Lord, says my soul; therefore, I will hope in him (Lamentations 3:22-24).

As we move through this day, let’s ask ourselves, “How do I experience God’s faithfulness?”  “Where do I put my hope?” “How do I both receive and give mercy?”

Every day offers us a fresh start.  God’s favors and mercy are ours for the taking, each and every day.  How can we not be grateful to God for such gifts?


Weathering The Storm

Like most believers, I have my favorite Scripture passages, some of which I turn to in times of difficulty.  One of my go-to passages when things seem especially bad is the “Calming of the Storm,” found in Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 4:35-41 and Luke: 8:22-25.  Years ago, in a class I was taking on the Miracles of Christ, I chose this story to study and write on.  I think it was the last line of Luke’s version (8:25) which haunted me, “who then is this, that he commands even the wind and water, and they obey him?”

You know the story.  Jesus and his disciples got into a boat and were crossing the Sea of Galilee.  As they went along, Jesus fell asleep.  At some point, a violent storm kicked up, and the boat was filling with water.  Terrified of drowning, the disciples woke Jesus up and shouted, “Master, Master, we are perishing!”  With the shouts, Jesus woke up, “rebuked the wind and the raging waves; and they ceased, and there was a calm. (8:24).  Jesus then challenged those in the boat with him:  “Where is your faith?”

For those of us that have eyes to see and ears to hear, you can sense that we are in a epic storm, one so troublesome that it seems as though centuries have passed since we experienced anything like it. No doubt this storm is not going to quickly pass and many things need to happen before integrity, trust, authenticity and justice have been restored.  In the meantime, we are called to weather the storm, knowing that Jesus is in the boat with us, asking, as many cry out in fear, doubt and justified anger, where is your faith?

Over the last twenty centuries, the Church as weathered many storms, more than a few caused by those in authority.  Because Jesus remains in our boat, this one too shall pass, but much will need to be done.  Our faith is strongest when it’s rooted in Christ.  I’m reminded of the line found in Psalm 146, “Put no trust in princes, in mere mortals, powerless to save” (v.3).  As we do our best to weather this present storm, no matter how long it may last, let’s stay rooted in Jesus Christ, the Light and Savior of the world. He’s calmed many a storm, and this one we are in now more than likely will not be the last.

Lord, when the storms of life come my way, help me to find you in the midst of them, because I know you are there.  You are in all things.

Help me to have more faith, trusting that you have a plan for me, for my family, for my friends, for our Church, and for this world we live in.  You are making all things new!Give me the grace of perseverance,  so that one day I might be with you for all eternity, rejoicing at the eternal banquet of heaven.  Amen


God’s Plans

Did you ever hear the saying, “If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”?  I’m sure we’ve all had plans over the years which never came to fruition.  I know I have, and sometimes its easy to get stuck in the past, thinking of what might have been, what could have been, what should have been.  Over the years, I’ve come in contact with many people who never get unstuck, choosing to remain trapped in their past, failing to recognize that God may have a fresh plan for them,  one which includes a future full of hope (Jerimiah 29:11).

With twenty other pilgrims, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1495-1556) entered Jerusalem through the Jaffa Gate, shown here, at 10 am on September 4, 1523 (he kept a great journal).  That’s 495 years ago today!  His was an arduous pilgrimage, taking months of hard travel and filled with risks.  But when he arrived, it was with the sense that God called him here, and it was his hope that he would remain in the Holy Land for the rest of his life.  And yet, while that was Ignatius’s hope and dream, God had other plans.  Big plans for this former Spanish courtier, soldier, nobleman.

The next time you think about your past, including the many good times, along with those you wish to forget, don’t get stuck there.  Maybe all those plans of your youth have turned into nothing.  Don’t get stuck there.  Repent where you need to, then trust in God’s infinite mercy as you come out of the past and boldly into your future.  When Ignatius got forced out of the Holy Land, little did he know the impact he would have in the lives of countless people, some even 495 years after he walked through the Jaffa Gate. He didn’t know what his future held, but he trusted that God had a plan for him. St. Ignatius’s  Spiritual Exercises changed me nearly ten years ago, and now I have the chance to share them with others.  I will always be grateful that Ignatius decided that maybe, just maybe, God had a different plan for him, something to do other than what he first thought would be his destiny.  Trust that it might just be the same for you.

God has a plan for each and everyone of us, and when we call Him, pray to Him, look for Him, and seek Him will all our hearts, we will find Him with us, and He will change our lot (Jerimiah 29:12-14). That sounds like the plan for me, and I hope it’s the same for you.  Let’s start implementing that plan, starting today, boldly and full of confidence, no matter what our present circumstances might be.