This week we celebrate the feast of Thanksgiving with family and friends coming together around our tables. Everyone having much to be thankful for even when grieving the loss of a loved one or else remembering those gone before us from some time ago. We gather and we share the stories and the blessings and all that we thank God for in our lives. Even for the challenges and trials that have helped us to grow whether closer to one another, to God or deeper in our faith and trust of Him.
There is a song I heard yesterday reminding me of how my Dad lived and believed and hoped we would follow. The song’s following lyrics stand out with wisdom my Dad passed on to us from his great love for Jesus.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
by Alan Jackson
“Oh,what peace we often forfeit
Oh, what needless pain we bear
All because we do not carry
Everything to God in prayer”
My Dad believed that nothing was ever too small or too great to present to God in prayer and he often reminded us of that when life’s trials and challenges would come along. Jesus is our best friend, lover of our souls, and wants us to share our concerns and burdens, so that He helps us to carry whatever pains us or tries us.
I am so thankful for my dad. His empty chair saddens me, but he has left me such a treasure of faith and trust in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh what a friend we do have!
This is our sad year of firsts without my father. The holidays are fast approaching. First with Thanksgiving. A time to give thanks for all of our many blessings. How fitting to give thanks for how my dad touched each of our lives, and for our treasured memories of him.
My dad is my mothers beloved, her sweetie as she fondly calls him. He always was her sweetie and as I gently remind her, he still is and will always be her sweetie. With heavy hearts we will lay my dad’s cremains to rest a couple of days before Thanksgiving as the priest blesses the monument and his resting place. His interment feels as though we have lost him again as we realize how final it all will be. But in spite of our heavy hearts we will still be able to give thanks to God above for the many blessed years He gave to us with my dad. We do have much to be thankful for.
How horrific of a week we have experienced. Mass shootings are becoming more common and the saddest thing to hear is that so much exposure to the news of so many shootings leaves people feeling numb or sadder yet, they are getting used to it. God help us.
I believe that this is what happens to a society that moves away from God, not wanting His presence in our schools, our public squares or anywhere. All sense of honor is gone, particularly respect for life, all life. God-given life. We should feel the deepest sorrow with the state of things as they are and not grow numb or insensitive. Our turning back to God as a society is our only hope. We can still turn our hearts to Him and pray that He heal our land.
I enjoy attending retreats, taking time away from every day distractions to be renewed and refreshed and having my faith deepened as I listen to the priest, deacon or speaker ministering to the group in attendance. Sometimes it is hard to get away or to find the time for a retreat.
In our hectic paced world however, people are taking the time to retreat as families or on their own even if it is as simple as giving up electronic gadgets for a weekend and choosing activities that are more relational like camping together. Or maybe playing board games together or hiking and enjoying the great outdoors, bonding with each other.
Spending some time away this week, I decided to take along books I have been meaning to read, and some crocheting of Christmas gifts I planned to make. I was amazed at how quickly I could read my books or get my crocheting done when I was away from all of the distractions that normally demand my attention. There was time to focus, to be still and to work on my projects or to savor a good book. As I crocheted I could meditate or reflect and pray. It was enjoyable leaving me eager to return home refreshed and renewed.
On bended knee we praise and adore God, our Heavenly Father.
On bended knee we pray for those in need.
On bended knee we pray for all those affected by recent natural disasters, and senseless violence in Las Vegas and around our world.
On bended knee we pray for protection of the unborn and their mothers to choose life. For the aged, the handicapped, the weak and vulnerable. For life at all stages. For our legislators to make decisions in support of life and in thanksgiving to God for each victory for life.
On bended knee looking forward to the day, ” that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Phil 2:10-11
Aspens of gold lining the mountain roads and neighborhood streets bring sunshine to us even on a rainy autumn day radiant against the dark cloudy skies. But nothing compares to the shimmer of the sun back lighting them as we drive along. We not only see gold but gorgeous orange and red leaves of other trees and shrubbery bringing our hearts joy in a season of change. The colors of autumn come to us from God’s paint brush upon our great landscape. As we savor the pops of color around us, we can’t help but praise and thank Him for His glorious creation.
I received such a lovely visual from a morning meditation this morning written by Pope Benedict XVI. He pointed out to us that St. John the beloved apostle is seen at the last supper as reclining at table, leaning upon Jesus’ bosom. That particular scene of St. John leaning on Jesus is a symbol of how we are to live our daily lives, leaning on Jesus. Many of us have a scene of the last supper on our dining room walls. I don’t think I will ever look at that picture the same way again. It will always remind me of how we should live each day, definitely when daily trials and challenges come our way, leaning on Jesus’ shoulder.
There seems to come a time when joy begins to return while grieving the loss of someone near and dear. At first we experience so much sadness, spending much of our time crying over our loss as we miss our beloved. But then as time moves along, joy begins to return as we share the fond memories, treasuring the happy moments we once knew. Even if while we talk about the happy times, we end by saying how much our loved one is missed and how he left a big hole in our hearts and our lives. No one will ever fill that spot. But true joy is knowing where my Dad is now. In the loving arms of Jesus, where we all hope to be one day, when we too are called home.
The Great American Eclipse of 2017, a day for our history books and a day to remember. An awesome day with an awesome wonder in the Heavens drawing crowds from everywhere to spend the morning looking up for once, some with tears because of how awesome and amazing the sight was. What an awesome God we have! What an artist He is to have created the vast universe and such beautiful wonders for us to behold. Even watching the journey across our country was so awesome and hearing people’s response to what they were seeing,the excitement spilling out into our neighborhoods and schools.
How fitting for the feast day of our Blessed Mother’s Assumption into Heaven on Tuesday this week. But it is fitting that we have a vigil mass to celebrate her and to recall that she is truly our Queen of Peace for our nation. We so desperately need her intercessions for us with all of the building tensions in our country and the world around us. She has a very special place in the heart of her Son as she pleas for us before him. After all she was chosen among women by the Father for His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us pray for peace.