Can Silly Be Saintly?

Can Silly Be Saintly?

At the beginning of my spiritual journey I used to assess what it took to be a saint. “Sainthood” is a title bestowed indicating that this person had “made it”, successfully in God’s eyes. (Isn’t that why we were given this life?) My spiritual views have grown and developed along my road. I used to look at pictures and read the lives of the saints. In the accounts that I read the saints seemed to reinforce what I was learning in my Catholic schools: life is serious business and don’t screw up! We learned about mortification. (Death to the flesh). Denial, fasting, and abstinence were encouraged as bringing us closer to God. Remember the sermon about the rich man not entering heaven, only through an eye of a needle. (Still a little difficult to understand). All these tenets were very scary for a child to understand but did so shape my young life. I was a pretty serious kid wanting to please my earthly father and my Heavenly Father. Now that I’m older (and hopefully wiser) I’m reassessing some of my earlier beliefs. Previously there didn’t seem any room for much fun and laughter. Religion did not reach its long arms around any kind of frivolity. I recently enjoyed a visit from my two younger sisters enforcing my newer attitude of the power of laughter, silliness, and fun. The three of us laughed at the “stupid” things we do. We howled at some of our “missteps”. And giggled, as girls are ought to do. After the “sisters” visit, my theory on lighter is even more convincing. I’m sure that...
When Should You Pray?

When Should You Pray?

I’m writing today, dedicated as the National Day of Prayer, to celebrate the importance of prayer in our lives. It seems lately I’m drawn more and more to prayer and connection with God. Maybe it’s the world we live in or maybe it’s just me, but I know that it’s a good thing! Cardinal Joseph Bernardin in his book, “The Gift of Peace” written in the priest’s last two months of life encouraged us to pray when we are young! (That’s me, and probably you too!) At the time of his book, the Cardinal was dying of cancer and found it difficult to pray. So his message to us is to “pray early” while you feel good before the weakened body impedes the spirit. In his chapter on letting go the Cardinal reminds us that prayer is not a one-sided practice. Prayer involves speaking and listening on both sides. It’s a conversation between two dear friends, the Loved and the Beloved. No one likes people who monopolize conversations. The same is true with our conversation with God. We can’t just pelt God with our requests and needs, we need to listen for answers. Surprisingly, the words, “silent” and “listen” use the name letters. On Mother Teresa’s business card it read, “In the silence of the heart God speaks.” It is in this silence that we hear where God is leading us. Oftentimes God is asking us to “let go” of certain things that we hold near and dear to us. In this case the prayer is mostly for us. We use this silence to attune, aligning our wishes and...
What Message Are You Living?

What Message Are You Living?

As we go about our daily routines we interpret our vision of what life really means to us. Because we live in community we can’t help but share it with others. By our actions we broadcast what our vision of life really is and what we value near and dear to us. Behind every action and reaction there is a message. We are leaving a trail of communication behind us, whether we know it or not. Recently I shared a “walk in the park” with close friends coming across a trail bench dedicated to a woman who volunteered on the trail from 1980. This woman’s friends erected and dedicated this bench to honor her 90th birthday. In part it read: Happy 90th birthday, Anne Mayo – Beloved trails volunteer since 1980- Teaching us each day: Life is poetry, Family is everything Music lives in all of us, and Adventure awaits down every path! I could almost feel this woman’s energy and love for life. Life for this volunteer was an adventure to be lived, shared, and savored. I picture a joyous personality bursting with life and an open heart. Wouldn’t you love to be her friend? This woman’s friends captured “Anne’s” philosophy from one of Shel Silverstein’s poems: “How much good inside a day? Depends how good you live’em.” Let’s “pick up” what Anne was “laying down”. Her vision and values make life an exciting walk on the trail to be relished every step of the way. The cheerful approach to life that Anne was broadcasting has been well received and recorded. Our G-vite for today: I ask myself,...
Do You Speak in Code?

Do You Speak in Code?

In this fast paced world we live in today, we are often limited in our time and opportunity for real communication. We are sometimes reduced to mere code detectors to decipher the meaning of the message. We have short cuts to convey our thoughts as seen in text messages and the 140 characters of the tweet. We might see “r u (with a symbol of a sandy shore line)? Code for: Are you going to the beach? The reply might be “k” or a symbol of a thumbs-up emoji indicating that, “OK, yes I’m going to the beach”. Surprise: OMG (Oh, my God). Happiness: LOL (Laughing out loud). I’ve seen people have whole conversations without ever using a word. Entire unspoken messages are translated by little icons, symbols, and emojis. Birthday messages: Smiley Faces, Balloons, Cakes, Gifts! Happy Birthday! Our actual personal communication and greetings are mostly casual also. In our routine encounters with those we meet we hear “Hi”, “Bye”, “Chao”. And if we really want spend some time wishing our contacts a little more you might get a spoken “Have a Nice Day”. On my daily meditative walk I try to greet passers-by with a “Have a good day”, which I have my own code for. I want to send them on the rest of their day filled with many blessings so I adopted this Apache blessing as my code for “Have a good day”. In my heart I am wishing them the following good thoughts: “May the Sun bring new energy by day. May the Moon softly restore you by night. May the Rain wash away...
Find Your Beach

Find Your Beach

  We’ve all seen the beer commercial that encourages us to, “Find your beach”. Returning from an island vacation, enjoying the sand, sun, and shimmering water, I now have a fuller understanding of that advertisement. We humans, are like little electric or hybrid cars. We can go just so long until we “run out” of juice. We need to plug in, recharging our energy and strengthening our resolve. We need to STOP, halt our normal running around and connect with the Source of all Energy. So we need to find our chair on the beach, a rock, a mountain top, a pew in church or a bench in the woods and just “take it all in” to regroup. Just what does this “beach” do for us? How does it recharge, refresh and renew us to go back into the normal crazy lives that we all lead? These “beaches” in life, take our breaths away. We gasp, “Oh, my God”. “This blows my mind.” This vastness, this “over the top” unimaginable beauty, and boundless tranquility could only be the work of the Divine. For this brief time on the “beach” we suspend our normal thinking patterns of work responsibilities, time urgencies with social and financial pressures bearing down on us. We see our puny lives in comparison to the Bigger Picture. We realize that all our so-called important matters are not all that important in the grand scheme of things. We’re humbled by a Divine Presence, and can almost feeling the Almighty among us. While we’re awed by our smallness in the REAL picture we also are overcome with gratefulness,...