Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Is it enough?

Is it enough for me to know that Jesus saves me from my rebellion with God (Savior)?

This is a question posed to me last week and it has been hanging around. The best way for me to understand something that lingers is to write about it.

Here it goes.

Is it enough to just know this? And if I do know it what am I to do with it?

The answer for me is yes, it is enough for me to know this because this is the starting point for faith to grow and as my faith grows I will change. I will become less rebellious.

I see this lived out in the lives of the Saints. Many of them were extreme rebels. And in time they became great ambassadors for God. The story I know best that is found in the bible is about Saul who became Paul. Do you know this story?

Acts 9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
“Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Saul obeys Jesus and in time becomes one of the biggest advocates for Christ.

When I ponder the fact that the Creator of all and everything chose to become human to experience in the body of Jesus Christ horrific suffering and extremely painful death I am compelled to learn more so that I can change. I do not what to be the same as I am today tomorrow.

As we see demonstrated in Paul's story God meet us where we are.
Maybe it is in a difficult relationship, a challenging work environment, chronic pain, mental suffering, physical illness, life threatening disease, financial issues…..

When God is meeting me in these areas of where I am, what do I do? I have a choice to stay as the situation is or I can change. In my experience I did not make the changes on my own. I prayed and prayed and prayed. I changed my attitude, I surrendered all the I could not change with the willingness to change myself whenever needed. I walked the challenge with Jesus through continual conversation, prayer.

Is it enough to know that Jesus is our savior? Yes. Because this is where we start. We are the salvation story unfolding minute by minute, day by day.

Friday, July 10, 2015

One for everyone

The automobile is considered a weapon of death and destruction if it is not used properly. Everyone who wants to can get a drivers license. And everyone with a drivers license can drive a car.  One for everyone.

People driving their cars are careful not to hurt themselves or anyone driving near them. And then there is road rage and drunk driving. Some people are easily irritated by they way other people drive. So they beep their horn, cut them off and even shoot them. Others drink alcohol and get in the car without thinking of the harm they can cause. One for everyone.

The Gun lobby would like to have the same process available for guns. One for everyone.
The idea is if everyone carries a gun, just like everyone being able to drive a car, those who are prone to cause harm will hesitate to do so because they may be shot in the process. One for everyone.

We see this is not the case with automobiles. The aggressor or drunk person acts and the recipient of their action is injured or killed. The recipient of the road rage or drunk driving does not retaliate with their car to protect themselves or cause harm in return. Generally, the recipient is in shock or too injured from the attack to take any action. One for everyone.

If people get bent out of shape because a person is not driving in a way the makes them happy. Or they drive a car while intoxicated, what is to stop that same person from shooting someone who is not doing something they like?

I was in the supermarket waiting to speak with the customer service person. A man came in to get a money gram redeemed. The customer service person could not retrieve the money because the sender did not send it properly. The man became angry and was cursing at the customer service person. His body language and energy was highly charged. If he had a gun he would have used it regardless of whether I had a gun or not. He would have made sure he shot first and shot us all quicker than we could shoot him. Could you imagine living in such a way? It reminds me of the western TV shows and movies I watched as a child.

One for everyone does not work. People who cannot control their emotions, drive while intoxicated or who have mental imbalance will continue on their path of causing harm because that is the only way they know how to cope with what they are feeling and experiencing in the moment.

I would like to see more training in emotional intelligence, mindfulness and meditation for us all.
Maybe by adding this type of training to the driving and gun licensing we will see a reduction to drunk
driving, road and gun rage.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tin pan

I walk our three dogs every morning.
I bring two grocery store plastic bags with me.
I use these bags to pick up after the dogs and to pick up garbage in the street.
My eyes are trained to spot garbage. My mind and heart is motivated to pick it up so it does not get into our waterways.

First step in the three dog walking process is to get them out of the door with untangled leases. Then we proceed down the front steps to the sidewalk. Bailee, the german shepherd, is the first to go.  Luna and Dash take a little longer. Dash, the maltese, likes to sprinkle a little bit here and there as we walk. We begin our stroll and I see, after passing two houses, a tin pan and plastic lid in the street.
I wonder how this is possible? Was someone eating a meal and tossed the pan with lid when done? I walked past it and picked it up on the way back. No sense carrying the thing for the whole walk. I was very confident it would still be there when I retuned because there was no wind to take it away and my past experience proved the case time after time.I have definitely 'cornered the market' in picking up street garbage.

The dogs and I had a very successful walk. All three did their thing and I captured their duty in the plastic bag.

On the way back the tin pan was there. As I picked it up I remembered a conversation I had with my husband a few days ago. I had just cleaned out the tin pan that captures the grill grease and asked him if he could pick up more tin pans. The one I cleaned is getting a bit worn and will be ineffective soon.

He was unable to find the tin pans in the size we needed and said he would look again in a few days.

Is it possible that our creator (for me, Jesus) was intimately involved in this whole story? So much so that the tin pan is made available in the time it is needed?

Could it be that Jesus knows me so well, he knew I would pick the tin pan up. And that I would have the idea of seeing if it fit the grill after I picked it up (or maybe the idea was given to me as a a part of the tin pan gift)? Abundant gifting!

My life and all the struggles I experience are lightened and even vanish when I live my life with this faith and trust in Jesus' promise;

+ Matthew 6:25-27
For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air that do not sow, reap or gather the harvest and yet they are cared for by our heavenly father (creator). Are you not more than they? And who of you by worrying can add a single hour to you life?

We are cared for just as the birds. Resting and reflecting on this turns my worry into peace. +

A prayer

Our creator who lives in and around us
And is glorified though our living a moral and just life.
You exist and your will is done with or without us.
Make us aware of your abundant provision.
Forgive our unjust and immoral choices.
Help us to forgive those who cause harm.
Guide us from temptations and evil.
You are life, love (power) and peace now and forever.

By Barbara Monahan

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


It must have driven the devil nuts to have Jesus reject his oh so appealing temptations and then to behold the real miracle that Jesus performed during those long 40 days fasting in the wilderness, i.e., the miracle of Jesus’ inner transformation: His identity and mission remained intact; His trust in God confirmed; His purpose restored and grace was received so that our lives may be fulfilled.

In today’s Gospel, after Jesus is baptized by John but before His public ministry of teaching, healing, and touching lives, Jesus is driven by the Holy Spirit to the wilderness. He opens himself to confront whatever his journey there may present.

Where else but the Bible’s hi-drama setting of the desert could Jesus have such a momentous encounter with the Holy Spirit and the devil, with wild animals and angels?

There, after 40 days, Jesus is challenged on the deepest levels of His being and self-understanding - - his identity as the Son of God. Would He continue to hear the Holy Spirit’s call or fall for the devil’s appeals to use his powers for all the wrong reasons?

In the Mystery of His Desert experience Jesus shows us how our desert times can lead us to a place of renewed life and direction: of discovery, and fresh experience of God, AND of ourselves. Spiritual wildernesses, like physical ones, are almost always places of transformation – skimpy on comfort, but heavy on emptiness, on testings of inner resources, and on seeking and finding the strength for what may lie ahead.

And so led by the Spirit we come to St. Alfonsus to retreat from the everyday. We come to open our hearts and minds and invite God to speak to us, to deepen our understanding of ourselves, our identity as daughters of God, and to strengthen our Faith.

Facing up to one’s temptations and exposing the times we’ve thrown in the towel takes radical honesty and guts. Like Jesus, the breathtaking stories that the women so generously shared with us this Journey weekend occurred at the spiritual crossroads of their lives. They reveal the many agonizing ways of being tempted to fulfill basic human and survival needs, stories of women who forgot their worth and very identities as daughters of God.

For them and for us, these so-called demons are the sum total of all negative events, betrayals, losses, and harm inflicted and internalized which gather force and momentum until they tempt us to resolve them in illusory ways that restore nothing.

These stories give us insight into the brokenness that can threaten us. Even though our brokenness may differ from theirs – at some point this weekend we may have perceived how many are the ways we’re tempted to be self-serving; how immense our need for approval; how insidious the ways we undermine ourselves; and how in stormy or empty times we cry out ‘prove that you are God’, only to lose faith in Him and despair when he seems to be absent, but in reality HE is not!

The good-news, courageous women of this weekend show us how they had to survive until a compassionate hand of a ministering angel/friend or a Parish like Presentation reached out to them; how with the Help of the Holy Spirit they began to transform their wildernesses into sacred landscapes of spiritual resource. As they began to experience God’s hand in their daily lives, their identities as daughters of God were restored and their hands began to reach out to others.

The stories of these women’s lives confirm that spiritual growth is often about healing our inner image. They help us to see God in the most intimate moments of life. These are the moments that shine like a light in the darkness in which we see more clearly, hear loudly, and feel more deeply that God is with us on our journey. These are moments in our seasons of becoming whole when we awaken to our True Selves in God.

During his life Jesus, like us, will come to be tested many more times. He too is growing in Consciousness. But he continues everywhere and all the time going about His Father’s business, which is living and working for us, to narrow the gap - - both perceptual and real - - between the Divine and the human, thereby fulfilling God’s agenda to plant the Holy Spirit deep inside us.

In Breaking the Bread at the Last Supper and inviting us to drink from His Cup, Jesus promises his Everlasting love and gives His very Life to us to become the New Covenant of Love which covers us all.

The ministering Jesus gives us renewed life and strength: He seals our identity and affirms our true worth as women and daughters of God. He guides us in discerning how best to become the face and hands of Christ for others, and to realize in today’s Gospel that “this is the time of fulfillment.”

So let us all take a Deep Breath in the Holy Spirit’s Light that will help us live knowing we are the Beloved of God and growing ever-more aware of God’s Presence within us and in all of Creation.

In the words of R. Rohr. “Each and every creature is a unique word of God, with its own message, its own metaphor, its own energetic style, its own way of showing forth goodness, beauty, and participation in the Great Mystery. Each creature and each woman has its own glow and its own unique glory.”

Written and beautifully delivered by Elena 2-22-15 at Women’s Journey Retreat.

Permission granted to post her homily by Elena and the Journey committee.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Souls aboard

I was watching a movie where an airplane pilot told the air traffic control tower, "there are 100 souls aboard.”

Recently a US Airways plane landed without its nose gear down. The pilot flew by the air tower asking if the nose gear was down and informed them about the 56 souls aboard.

Our planet earth has 7 billion souls aboard!

 What does the word soul bring to mind?

I think about the divine. I do not think about gender, marital status, age, race or religion.

The word soul has a neutralizing effect.

What if we used the word soul to describe everything involving humans and animals?
How could that change the way we live and interact?

I think it would;
+ Eliminate all judgment.
+ Increase compassion.
+ Reduce violence.
+ Increase justice.

Soul is our spiritual state. It is who we were before entering this earthly boundary and who we will return to being when we leave this earthly boundary.

Soul is freedom and inspiration (in spirit).

What if our corporations thought of their employees as souls instead of assets?
How would policies and the way we conduct business change?

What if our religious organizations saw souls instead of gender?
I could be ordained a priest and serve as I am called to serve while remaining in the faith I was born into.

What if we taught our children that they are souls having a human experience instead of humans with souls? We would see less bullying and more loving.

Soul becomes primary instead of secondary.
Soul shows us we are all the same. Our human experiences are what is different.

What if while driving in my car I think of the others in their cars as souls?
I reduce my road rage if I think of the person who is flipping their middle finger at me as a soul who has forgotten that they are a soul because they are so caught up in the boundaries of being human, the boundaries of time and space.

What if I think of the person serving me in the supermarket or a restaurant as a soul?
How would that change the impatient feeling that stirs within me when I don’t get what I want as fast as I want it? Or have to wait on line longer than I have time for?

Would operating as a soul who interacts with other souls change my stress to peace? Would I smile more and grimace less? 

The soul application and its ripple effect for change is endless!

Give it a try!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Train of events

The term used is chain of events yet the experiences I had over the past week felt more like a train moving and morphing than a static linking. 

The train's engine started on Christmas day.

I received a Christmas gift from my son of a framed picture of my mom that I took for a photography class 30 years ago.

She died three years ago and seeing the picture released memories and tears. She is remembered by my family who are alive now and may become a distance remembrance for the generations of our family to come. Maybe this photograph will help to preserve her in our family history.

I returned to work this past Monday to read an email announcing the death of a colleague, Amy. She was 51 years old and died on Christmas Eve. She left behind her husband and 17 year old daughter. Amy and I had conversations over the years about life and it's challenges. And writing this is not something I ever imagined. She had 25 years with our company and at the age of 55 she could have retired with a pension and medical benefits. I hope our company grandfather's her time in some way so her husband and daughter can receive those benefits. I hope she is not forgotten too quickly within the corporate walls. 

Last night I was watching the movie 'Conspiracy' about the assassination of President Lincoln. This took place in 1865, 149 years ago. No one from that time is alive today. And only those who gave something of historic value are remembered in our media of movies, pictures, books and magazines.

These events left me wondering about life's meaning. Why bother when all will be forgotten?

I prayed for some inspiration about my wondering. I asked to receive some insight at the Women's Insightful Hour meeting held on Tuesday afternoon. 

The topic of our Insightful meeting was the Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent Keith. All but two of these commandments were used by Mother Theresa as a prayer foundation. And many people attribute them to her.   

This morning just before woke up the scripture Isaiah 55 come into my mind. I google it and the title is "an invitation to an abundant life. The full verse is written below.

My summation of this train of events is our life has meaning and purpose in our day to day living. It may not be the stuff that makes it to the general population's memory through our media. It will, however, be a part of those we interact with each and every day. Just like my mom and Amy. 

We have the profound privilege to create love, joy and peace in every moment starting with ourselves and then with others, family and strangers. We have God's support of abundance in our creation process.

And in creating love, joy and peace in these moments we create an eternal memory that we will experience when we leave our earthly boundary.  As Isaiah tells us, "This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever."


The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.


This morning I woke and Isaiah 55 came into my mind.
An invitation to an abundant life.
1 “Come, all you who are thirsty,
come to the waters;
and you who have no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without cost.
2 Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and you will delight in the richest of fare.
3 Give ear and come to me;
listen, that you may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
4 See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a ruler and commander of the peoples.
5 Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations you do not know will come running to you,
because of the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor.”
6 Seek the Lord while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake their ways
and the unrighteous their thoughts.
Let them turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on them,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it,
12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord’s renown,
for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever."