Wonderful Music, prayerful images
Just listen and look, and let the monks lead you in prayer:
I belong to an email list of wonderful women who support and pray for each other. On that list is a woman we call “Theodora” She calls herself the “hippy hermit” and every so often posts a meditation on her life, her surroundings and her community. One of these really hit me in the heart, and with her permission, I post it here:
Knowing you have only x amount of time on this earth can change you in remarkable ways. Now this may happen when you are in your teens or twenties or later in life. You may have a bad accident and almost not make it, or an illness or go into the doctors and find out you got a mushy brain. Whatever the cause you will think on many things and make major decisions. I reckon, having gone through several of these events, that living in the end times means just plain living.
But for me it does make the sun shine brighter, makes me see more in this poor ol’ world that needs love and compassion. If I could donate blood, bone, or anything to help someone I would. But that decision was taken from me as I am not qualified to do so. But I am qualified to decide how to live daily. That becomes both physical and spiritual and is a blessing.
You see, not knowing that you will see the next day means that this day becomes an eternity for you. You set your house in order the best you can and then get on with life. You accept the truth that we are born and we die. The in-between is what Our Lord taught us how to live. You hope that those in your family and around you will understand any decision you make and know it is out of love for them and for yourself. Yes, love yourself. Not selfish love but love as Christ said. For we cannot love others if we don’t love ourselves. If I end up with tubes and such laying in a bed somewhere well, I ain’t gonna dwell on that now. I have done what I could to see that will not happen but we all know how well that goes. I pray I don’t get to be a mean, cranky person as I walk this path but who can say that will not happen.
One would hope that if such happens that those around me will remember that I really didn’t want to become this. We can live in fear of growing older and what is to come and we can live in fear of getting up and being hit by a car or wiped out in a storm. We can, but is that life? The older I get the more I love. Somehow it just comes with the game…the game of life. If I decide no more tests, no more possible cures then that is my free will given by God. If my Priest were to say I had to do this I would have to tell him no and lets the chips fall were they may. I will love him just the same but the decision is mine.
I will embrace all that is allotted to me and walk each day loving those around me. I won’t tell them what to do, how to do . Nope I will love them for who they are and thank the Lord I had another day with them. And when I can no longer do such, well, I ain’t gonna dwell on it. It just robs me of the gift I have been given. It means I threw away all that time I spent fearing things instead of living in the love Christ meant for me to do. So, no matter what your age, how you are physically or spiritually each day is what counts. I ain’t gonna spend my time on “Did she cover her head in Parish?” “Did she light the candles right?” “Does she wear pants in Church?” And a hundred more things that cause such fear.
I hit the delete button now when posts come in that degrade people, from the President down to those who speak and look different from the poster. I have even stopped being around those people when I can. They won’t change and I ain’t telling them to. They have free will and choice too.
Life is too precious, too wonderful to go around putting another of God’s children down in such ways. Nope, I will take this gift from Our Lord and try to use it the way He taught. I only ask that all remember that this is what I am trying to do.
You don’t have to agree with me or choose to do what I am doing. Just know this, we all live in the end times. I just found out how close me end is. LOL Now you ladies whom I really love so much…just love yourselves then you can love even the cranky ones which I may become. And hey, I may out-live my doctors and all them that say me time is limited.
And if I could give a part of me to help another see the sun shine another day I would. Even if a Bishop or Priest says it ain’t Christian to do so. I reckon it is like the fishes and loves…maybe the Lord would use my one fish to feed many.
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It’s Lent. And I’ve been thinking about our discplines during Lent – food abstention, more prayer, more spiritual and Bible reading, more giving of alms. Particularly the last – the giving of alms. Like most cities, my home town has its share of the homeless, the poor, the outcast and the marginalized. And I’ve been struggling for a long time about giving them money. I’m not going to go into all the arguments for and against, those have been done. What I finally realized was that God tells us to give alms. He doesn’t tell us to judge the actions of the people we give them to, or to dictate how they are to use them, or to decide whether they’re worthy or not.
I’m still not sure how I distinguish between a “real” beggar and one who earns $30,000 a year and drives a newer car than me and why one “should” be given alms and the other not. If someone is earning his living by begging, but has a ‘nice’ home and a good car, it seems there is some psychological and spiritual damage here as profound as mental illness or substance addiction. And it’s not up to me to decide which of those is the more ‘deserving’ of alms.
We’re just supposed to give. So I have been. Not much – quarters and loonies and whatever other small change I have in my pockets. And I now keep change in my coat pocket for just this. It’s too easy to say, “Oh, it’s too much trouble to dig into my purse or wallet” and not give. Which was my copout for a while.
And I’ve been mulling over my reactions to them, and my reactions to their reactions. My reactions to them? Shame, fear, embarassment. Shame because I don’t give, or give more; fear because I could so easily have been like them, or even been them and only through God’s grace and mercy am I not; fear of their contempt, hatred, judgement of me. Embarassment because I have so much and they have so little – and I’m not necessarily talking material possessions or money here. I have the blessings of family, both blood and church; friends, who will be there through thick and thin; church and health, physical, emotional and mental. Many of them have few or none of those things.
I’m not yet able to look in the eye the people to whom I give alms. I don’t know why – some of the above, but maybe more fear – of judgement, of condemnation, of scorn. Of seeing a human being who has the same emotions I do, had and still has hopes and dreams, and could probably crack a really good joke when they’re feeling good. Who is loved by God just as much as I am, and who has a guardian angel just the same as I do. Yet I am always thanked and often given a blessing or wished a nice day. And that makes me ashamed. They are people, they are God’s lost children, and really, not very different from me, in spite of whatever it was that put them on the street, begging for their meal or their high or their next bottle. I’m spiritually broken, I’m in the hospital too – that’s what church is. Why can’t I remember that? Why can’t I remember that by giving alms, I may have entertained angels, and that what I do to the least of these I do to my Saviour, and love them as I love Him? I keep telling myself that, as I approach them, and as I walk away, but it still doesn’t make me feel better. And I hate the glow of self-satisfaction when I do it.
So I will keep giving alms, and I will keep trying to look them in the face, and see a person there, and remember that before God, they are my equal, and I am the worst of sinners. May God bless us and keep us both.