Gathering My Thoughts

::living the liturgy

“You shall not bear hatred for your brother or sister in your heart. Though you may have to reprove your fellow citizen, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against any of your people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” ~ Leviticus 19: 17-18

“Brothers and sisters: Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” ~ 1 Corinthians 3: 16

“I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for He makes His sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what recompense will you have?…And if you greet your brothers only, what is unusual about that?” Matthew 5: 38-48

Oh, my, there is SO much in today’s scripture for me to dig deeply into. Though I’ve never been the type of person to hold a grudge, for I consider it a total waste of time and my time is precious to me — I have known myself to fail when it comes to reproving others without simultaneously sinning. I’m sure that I’m not the only Christian woman who teeters on the line of being righteous {which we are called to be} and becoming self-righteous {so NOT what we are asked to be}.  To reprove someone is to remind them of what we are asked to do, or say, by God in a gentle and loving way. And.then.stop. Let it go and move on. If we continue on, we take the risk of preaching a sermon we’re not qualified to give and falling into the sin of smug self-righteousness, and self-praising our own opinions of how others should behave.  As Father said in his Homily, we must “Be mindful that we offend others just as often as others offend us.”

There is also much that Christians in general can take from this {if they are truly listening to what Our Lord is saying here} and those they “persecute” can rely on, for our Lord, “makes His sun rise on the bad AND the good, and causes rain to fall on the just AND the unjust.” So when one stands on a corner shouting and pointing a finger at the “other,” he or she should ponder on what part of these words he or she isn’t getting. And for the “others” who are being singled out and having blame laid upon them, consider that God in His almighty mercy gives you no less consideration, mayhap a smidge more, than those who openly persecute you in His name.

In the past, I’ve struggle a lot when it came to reproving my biological mother and my sister. My mother preaches a lot, verbally and in letters. My sister hasn’t really had a specific denomination or church community she worships with. We have all come to God and all things spiritual, via different journeys and paths. We are all on various levels of religious understanding and spiritual practice. And I am getting so much better at recognizing that that’s okay!

When my mother writes, her letters are 90% preaching. For years, I’ve heaved heavy with indignation because, “I knew that!” These days, I read what she has to say and look for the nuggets of wisdom sometimes obscured by her verbiage, oftentimes obscured by my own mindset. More times than not, there is always something that I can take away positively from her words. In her most recent letter she wrote:

“I have a lot of studying  [of God’s Word] to do this year. No, I’m not going to spend my time trying to understand the world we live in. I’m not even going to try to understand myself or other people. Live and let live. Jesus came to heal.”

That’s a nugget, my friend.

Scarlett at 5

Scarlett birthday cake

:: giving thanks

For a husband who slightly mumbles as he dons a baseball cap and takes a flat tire to the shop, having just rolled out of bed and barely sipped his first cuppa’ java.

For my husband’s family, those tenacious and loving Heims. Not an easy crowd to adjust to during the first part of our marriage, but, as Sophie Hudson says, “Well, my word. What a difference twenty years [or so] makes. I’m surrounded by the same people, but by the grace of God, I have a completely different perspective.”

For a son-in-law who commutes from Las Vegas to his California home every week on his one day off and still manages to be at his youngest daughter’s 5th birthday party. 🙂

For teenage grandsons who hem and haw over writing research papers, then smile and do it anyway.

:: praying for

The security guard who was fatally shot during a robbery at a corner mall not more that five minutes from our home.

Our nephew, Eric, and his lovely islander wife, Ailina, that their journey into parenthood is easy-peasy.

Our nephew, David, and his beautiful wife, Jennifer, who recently suffered a miscarriage and so lovingly sent their wee babe to be in the arms of an Almightly God.

:: listening to

The sounds of the neighborhood on a Sunday afternoon: neighbors visiting with one another, dogs barking, birds chirping, Calliope music from the ice cream truck, and the blinds as the breeze flicks them against the sliding backdoor screen

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:: reading

A little Salty to cut the Sweet {Sohie Hudson} — Just finished reading this one. There’s something about a Southern voice that is both endearing and refreshing, even in print.

“Sometimes, you just have to ask the Lord to help you make your peace with things and move on.”

“Anyone who has been married knows that the whole ‘for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health’ thing is all fine and good and easy when you’re twenty-four and wearing a pretty dress and fit as a fiddle and your hair is just like you like it and your direct deposit kicks in twice a month. But the character of a marriage is forged in the difficult times…”

Still turnin pages with Bread & Wine {Shauna Niequist}. “If you put in the time, the learning, the trying, the mess, and the failure, at the end you will have learned to feed yourself and the people you love, and that’s a skill for life…’start where you are.'”

Library grab, Seasons of Grace: A Life-Giving Practice of Gratitude {Alan Jones & John O’Neil}. The title alone got my attention, can you guess why? — “Our spirits long for a bigger world to play in than the tiny cosmos of routine and work.”

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Continuing with the tome Les Miserable {Victor Hugo} and the equally lengthy Winter’s Tale {Mark Helprin}.

:: loving the moment

How the day feels after attending Mass and hearing His Word.

:: looking forward to

The last few days of February as we countdown to Oscar Sunday and our family’s Annual Oscar Night Party, complete with potluck and prizes and a Crown for the big winner of the evening!

Even though the only Oscar nominated movie I’ve seen this year is “GRAVITY,” I hope to make some lucky guesses as to the winners in the various categories.

Do you and your family or friends have any annual events you look forward to participating in? And, dear reader, how can I pray for you this week?

– Blessings

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