"Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." - 2 Corinthians 3:17
The Swallow-tailed Kite bird, unique in its shape, is a beauty to behold as it swoops left and right, high and low. Gliding so effortlessly through the air. Its wings barely move as it virtually hangs motionless in the sky.
Already unique in our form, we would do good to emulate the Swallow-tailed Kite's gracefulness. To be so spiritually free. Loving God, self, and neighbor with an unconditional love.
A kite without strings. A spirit mercifully free.
Holy Spirit, I yearn for Thee. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Reflection
The school bus stopped in front of the place. From above, you could see the number of the bus by the door and on the roof. The numbers were "923". These numbers probably meant nothing to most people, except to be used as a means to identify one bus from another.
But to devotees of St. Padre Pio, these numbers represent the Feast Day of a Beloved Saint: September 23, i.e. "923".
Perhaps there was a connection between these numbers and this bus.
Perhaps the bus carried people needing the protection of St. Padre Pio.
Perhaps the aura of St. Padre Pio was present throughout the bus.
Perhaps it was just the awareness of a keen eye who stopped and noticed the significance of the numbers on the bus.
St. Padre Pio, forever present among us, pray for us.
TAGS: Reflection, Story
"But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them." - Matthew 6:29
It's that time of year again. The butterfly bush takes months to grow, form its flowers, and flourish. When all is in place, it emits the scent that attracts local pollinators. Yep, open for business!
The customers, multi-colored butterflies, hummingbirds, bees, and moths, are all flocking to the bush to receive their nourishment. What an incredible sight of nature at its finest.
We seek our nourishment at the table of the Lord. With the best linens, the finest vessels, the scent of incense, and the chiming of bells, we are called through the Word of the Lord to receive His body and blood.
Come, all ye faithful, the doors are open for worship and praise. What an incredible sight of glory at its finest.
"Open wide your mouth that I may fill it." - Psalm 81:11
Since the tree nuts aren't ripe yet, the squirrels are eating pine cones like they are corn-on-the-cob. It seems like picnic time with all the naked pine cones, and the little remnants that are left behind, scattered throughout the yard.
Squirrels, like all outdoor animals and birds, are hungry and searching for food to satisfy their nutritional needs.
Humans, on the other hand, are mostly blessed with enough food to satisfy their physical hunger. However, they continue to seek out food to satisfy an "other" hunger. This hunger, a spiritual hunger, is often undefinable.
With summer upon us, picnics abound in backyards, parks and festivals. Satisfying a physical hunger is relatively easy, but a spiritual hunger may take some work and be hard to sate.
This summer, make time to fulfill your spiritual hunger. Create a picnic, of sorts, of spiritual material to meet your yearnings. So hungrily devour this feast that your longings resemble corn-on-the-cob with only little remnants left behind.
Divine Master, enable me to come to You to satisfy my mind, heart and soul with overflowing abundance and grace. Amen.
TAGS: Prayer, Reflection, Story
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you." - 2 Corinthians 13:13
The flowers had three clusters of three petals with three flower heads, all layered together to create a single blossom. Separate, but three, in one. Much like the Blessed Trinity,
Set off against a green background with the sun making their whiteness bright, and their flower heads glistening in contrast, one could not notice the uniqueness and repetitiveness of their threefold composition.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit: with us, in us, and all around us, if we only look for it.
Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. Amen.
"For I know well the plans I have in mind for you—declares the LORD—plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope." - Jeremiah 29:11
How did they do that? The side of the building was a mosaic of stone and bricks. But it wasn't a random mosaic; there was a pattern to it. How did they create the perfect pattern of curved and crisscrossed lines on this vertical plane? Much artistic ingenuity and foresight was necessary to ensure that the lines crossed at precisely the right location when the masonry work occurred.
Having everything in place and executing as planned can result in an amazing feat. God works like that in you. With His plan, and your obedience, you can achieve anything. If you wander from the path sketched out for you, and don't pull yourself back in line, you will not reach the end result that God has in mind for you.
Chart the course. Stay in line. And follow the path laid out for you.
Dear God, thank you for knowing the plans for me and for guiding me along the way of those plans. Amen.
“Worthy are you, Lord our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things; because of your will they came to be and were created.” - Revelation 4:11
Have you ever seen a dragonfly up close? What an interesting creation by God our Creator! Here's five fun facts about this fascinating insect.
(1) Dragonflies were one of the first winged insects to evolve, some 300 million years ago.
(2) Dragonflies are expert fliers. They can fly straight up and down, and hover like a helicopter. The flight of the dragonfly is so special that it has inspired engineers to dream of making robots that fly like dragonflies.
(3) Dragonflies only eat prey they catch while flying. They provide a great natural method of mosquito control as a single dragonfly can eat 30 to hundreds of mosquitoes per day.
(4) Some adult dragonflies live only a few weeks while others live up to a year.
(5) Nearly all of a dragonfly's head is eye, so they have incredible vision that encompasses almost every angle except right behind them.
Only God could have mastered such things.
The late Catholic Archbishop of Hartford, John Whealon, (died on August 2, 1991), had undergone cancer surgery resulting in a permanent colostomy when he wrote these very personal words in one of his last Easter messages.
"I am now a member of an association of people who have been wounded by cancer. That association has as its symbol the phoenix, a bird of Egyptian mythology. The Greek poet Hesiod, who lived eight centuries before Jesus was born, wrote about this legendary bird in his poetry. When the bird felt its death was near (every 500 to 1,461 years), it would fly off to Phoenicia, build a nest of aromatic wood and set itself on fire. When the bird was consumed by the flames, a new phoenix sprang forth from the ashes. Thus, the phoenix symbolizes immortality, resurrection, and life after death. It sums up the Easter message perfectly. Jesus gave up His life, and from the grave He was raised to life again on the third day. New life rises from the ashes of death. Today we are celebrating Christ's victory over the grave, the gift of eternal life for all who believe in Jesus. That is why the phoenix was one of the earliest symbols of the Risen Christ. The phoenix also symbolizes our daily rising to new life. Every day, like the phoenix, we rise from the ashes of sin and guilt and are refreshed and renewed by our living Lord and Savior with His forgiveness and the assurance that He still loves us and will continue to give us the strength we need."
Archbishop John Whealon could have lived in a gloomy tomb of self-pity, hopeless defeat, and chronic sadness, but his Faith in the Risen Lord opened his eyes to new visions of life.
And so must we. Alleluia!! Christ has risen. Christ has risen indeed.
Do you want to fast this Lent? It's not too late. Lent lasts 40 days so all of those days are available to you.
Here are a few tips from Pope Francis:
“In this life, we will always have things to do and excuses to offer, but now is the time to return to God,” Pope Francis said, insisting that the Lenten season is not so much about the small sacrifices made or the things given up as it is “discerning where our hearts are directed.” - Excerpt from Ash Wednesday Homily, 17 Feb 2021
At first, I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized His picture when I saw it, but really didn't know Him.
But later on when I met Christ, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride. But it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that Christ was in the back helping me pedal. I don't know just when it was that He suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control, I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable…it was the shortest distance between two points.
But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, He said, "Pedal!" I worried and was anxious and asked, "Where are you taking me?" He laughed and didn't answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I'd say, "I'm scared," He'd lean back and touch my hand.
He took me to people with gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey, my Lord's and mine. And we were off again. He said, "Give the gifts away; they're extra baggage, too much weight." So I did, to the people we met, and found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.
I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He'd wreck it; but He knows bike secrets. Knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places. And I'm beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with my delightful constant companion, Jesus Christ.
And when I'm sure I just can't do anymore, He just smiles and says…"Pedal."
--"The Road of Life", author unknown
"Looking at little life moments with a spiritual eye."