Monthly Archives: July 2013
I was just reading a post from last week from the blog dotMagis called “A Place at the Table.” The article was a reflection on the topic of who Jesus would eat with. Jesus was known for eating with sinners and tax collectors. The blog asks us to consider the question of who are the sinners He would eat with today? I would like to take this one step further. Besides all of today’s well-known heinous sinners, Jesus would also have me at the table. How do I feel about that? Am I worthy? Who among us is worthy?
Upon further reflection, I have another question. Who would I eat with? Would I call the sinners or the saints? The needy or the wealthy, or both. All of us have need of acceptance, forgiveness, and friendship. Am I willing to be at table with those “others;” are they willing to be at table with me?
When we come to the Eucharistic table we are sharing the table with others – all sorts of others. We are the Body of Christ, receiving the Body of Christ. We are sharing the Body of Christ with people we might not agree with, approve of, or dine with. But, together we become the Body of Christ.
One of the hardest lessons we learn is applying this to our lives. Just as I wrote this, someone I do not want to associate with in any way came along. I helped him anyway. It is something I have to learn again and again.
Picture Courtesy MorgueFile
Someone once said, “Forgiveness is giving up the possibility of a better past” Why do I bring this up? Well, I know someone who is a master at holding grudges. The hurts of his past are regularly brought up and dwelt on again and again. I have come to realize that this is a habit that makes one a very unhappy person and sometimes unpleasant to be around.
I have been guilty of this behavior as well. I remember things that happened when I was in elementary school, junior high, high school, and a host of other times and occasionally trot out these hurts, large and small, and examine them. They hurt all over again. What good does this do me or my mood? Absolutely none. The offender does not suffer. The offender does not remember the offense, and most likely, the offender did not even recognize an offense was committed.
Holding a grudge only hurts me, it ruins my day and my life, and others may then consider me to be a negative person and try to avoid me. That is not how I wish to live. I have consciously chosen to drop those hurts, to try to forgive the offender. I find that by doing this, I am a much happier person.
But since it is amazingly difficult to make this change, I have adopted the practice of mindfulness when it comes to past hurts. I simply recognize that something once hurt me, and move on. I found that since adopting this habit, I truly am a happy person.
Today I learned of a mindfulness practice that may help others to simply notice and then move on. Get a bracelet – any bracelet will do. Put it on your wrist. When you notice the thought you are trying to eradicate, just notice it. Move the bracelet to your other wrist. This will help you to change a habit of dwelling on a thought into noticing the thought and moving on.
And remember this from the prayer that Jesus taught us, “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
By the way, I researched the source of the quote and there is no definitive answer.
I wait for the LORD, my soul waits and I hope for his word. (Ps 130:5)
Altogether too often we are in a hurry. When it is time to pray, so many other tasks, thoughts, and desires reach out and grab us. I find that I am guilty of this as well. I sit down to do my evening prayer and my examen and the shy cat comes over and wants his special time with me. So, I spend time with him. Then my latest read catches my attention and I want to get to that already. And it’s late and I want to go to sleep. Thus I miss my prayer or hurry through it.
I have found ways to lose some of that hurriedness I have. I arrive at my prayer spot earlier in the evening. I now have grown to expect the cat to arrive. I give him a few minutes of my time, then he decides he has had enough and moves on. Next I pick up my prayer. I very deliberately ignore my fiction book waiting right there for me, and because I have started a bit earlier, I can wait before sleep.
On a retreat all of this changes. My cat is not there. I have nothing to do but pray and walk. I have learned that during this time, it is essential that I devote my time to God. And thus I am ready to listen to what God may have to say to me. A retreat is then very rewarding – and helps me to wait for God. It also continues to help me when I return home; it helps me to build good habits I can take back.
On a recent post at dotMagis, one of the blogs I follow, Becky Eldredge discusses the topic of retreats and their benefits. The final statement of this blog really sums up the retreat experience. “God most certainly works with the limited time God has with a person on a retreat!” Take a look at the entire posting.
When I first went through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, I stumbled when I got to the word “colloquy.” It’s easy enough to look this up and get a definition, but that did not really clear things up for me. Since then I have come to understand this term. Today there was a blog posted that I really liked explaining this word. Follow this link to this article from Kevin O’Brien, SJ, reprinted from his book, The Ignatian Adventure for a great way to understand what this prayer practice is.