Sunday, February 28, 2016

Mother/Daughter Retreat

Happy Sunday, y'all!

Several of you have asked me when I will be leading another Mother/Daughter retreat and I am happy to announce that the next one will be April 29th-May 1st at our lovely retreat center in Corpus Christi, TX.

For more information, see the flyer below. To register for the retreat, click here

Friday, February 26, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Hope For Freedom

I love this tweet posted yesterday by Pope Francis. 

I think one of our greatest fears and sorrows is the belief that we will be forever marked by our past- by what we have done or what has been done to us. Perhaps we fear that "victim", "loser" or "rejected" is our deepest identity. We spend so much of our lives coping and trying to compensate for what we fear might be true. 

Lent reveals the truth. And in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we find that our deepest identity, our deepest calling and yearning, is actually one of relationship- being sons and daughters of God. When we embrace the courage to face our sin and brokenness and receive ongoing mercy, our lives are transformed. 

This is the Good News- that Jesus became man; that God took on flesh. He assumed all to redeem all. 

His life, death and resurrection changes everything. 

We need not remain prisoners of the past. 

We rise to our true identity in the glorious freedom of the children of God!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Know Yourself: A Lenten Journey, Part 1

I Don't Know What I Don't Know...

Every driver knows that one of the worst places you can find yourself is in the "blindspot" of another driver. You know, that little space in the line of sight between the coverage of the rear view or side mirror and the actual car next to us.

I think we've all had the experience of checking our mirrors and then changing lanes, only to hear the mad blast of a horn as a car speeds by that was previously unseen to us. As our heart races over the near collision, we practically break our necks double checking the next 12 lane changes.

And then sometimes the collision does happen. We "could have sworn there was no car next to us" but the accident happens and the problems and trauma ensue. 

One of my friends noted that this is true in our personal lives as well. How many times have we "run into or over" others simply because we didn't "see them." It's the boss who regularly becomes angry and screams at his employees because "that's just how he is." It's the meddling mother-in-law who can't get through a conversation without saying something cutting or judgmental, who is just "trying to be helpful." It's the spouse who is more concerned with themselves than the marriage or family. Often no one wants to confront these issues and so the problem continues on and on. The self-awareness is minimal and the pain it causes others pours forth.

Many times our blindspots come not from an area of malice but simply from a lack of self-awareness. We don't know ourselves or our story well enough to understand what it might be like to interact with ourselves on a daily basis. I am often personally convicted when I complain about others because people have to live with me as well! They have to work, interact and relate to me- a broken, fragile person just the same.

But there is also another aspect to blindspots- we often do not see ourselves as we truly are in our deep belovedness to God. As St. Paul writes in the context of speaking about authentic love,"For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known." (1 Cor 13:12) We all long to see face to face. Our deepest desires involve loving and being loved, knowing and being known. This is an ache for eternity. When we see God face to face, we will finally see, know and love in fullness.

Until then, we undergo this process of revelation; of knowing only parts and pieces as we move toward the whole. It is beautiful and sorrowful, wounding and life-giving. It is the path of true love- to behold ourselves and others as a unique, precious and unrepeatable creation of God Himself.

So, perhaps this Lent we could ask the Holy Spirit to reveal our blindspots-that He would reveal the areas we regularly "run over" and miss people because we just don't see them.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to speak to our true identity, our true belovedness, and live in that reality rather than relating to ourselves and others from our masks, woundedness, and skewed vision.

We often don't know what we don't know.

Let us ask to see clearly, all the way around.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Choosing Conversion

If you've ever been to a 12-Step meeting, you know that at some point the group or someone in the group will usually pray or reference the "Serenity Prayer." 

That well-known prayer is found on wall hangings, plaques, dishes, prayer cards, etc. and the text usually reads, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference." 

Would that we all lived that short prayer! Imagine how different our daily lives would be? 

And yet, there is more. 

That short excerpt is actually part of a longer prayer which continues:

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 

There is so much packed into that prayer which perhaps will revisit another time but what I want to ponder here is the invitation the prayer offers to conversion, one day and one moment at a time. 

Lately I have been so convicted of the moment-to-moment grace that God gives and reception of mercy and conversion therein. In a celebrity and sound-bite culture, we attach importance only to "big" events with audacious happenings. We are "outraged", freak out, feed on the adrenaline rush it provides but nothing really changes. 

We often live in "The Land of If-Only" where our minds play the game of, "If only I was...then I would be happy." "If only the people ( I work with, have in my family, see everyday) would change, then I would be better." "If only the Church would...then I would be holier." And it goes on and on while we miss the daily reality of grace leading to serenity and conversion. 

One of my favorite passages from a wonderful book by C.S. Lewis titled The Problem of Pain reads, "We are, not metaphorically, but in very truth, a Divine work of art; something that God is making, and therefore something with which He will not be satisfied until it has a certain character." 

God fashions and refines us daily. As a great masterpiece, the Artist takes much care and diligence in perfecting the work of art. And that happens one day at a time, one moment at a time. 

What part of the masterpiece is God working on in your life right now? Is it forgiveness? Letting go of perceived control? Is He trying to flood you with joy or speak to you the beautiful theology of your body? 

Like any other pursuit, conversion takes time and diligence. Our life is a series of triumphs and failures, victories and defeats. It all fashions the masterpiece. 

So let's let the Artist do His work. 

The 8th Corporeal Work of Mercy...

I posted this on Twitter yesterday and couldn't help but post it here as well!

Bringing a little mercy for all the coffee lovers during this Year of Mercy!

God bless you :)