While walking to the grocery store with my daughter, she noticed that an elderly gentleman had fallen. She said, "Mommy, that man fell." We went over to see if we would help him get up. When we got to him, he was reaching out to his elderly wife for help. Seconds later, a woman pulled up and got out of her car and got out. She offered her assistance and reached behind him to stabilize him and helped him get up. While she was helping him, 2 others stopped to help. He thanked the woman who helped him and she said, "no problem, it is what I do in my job." My daughter and I definitely saw Christ in action today with the many people who stopped to lend a helping hand to someone in need.
I was observing a second grade class watch a short video on Martin Luther King Jr. The video ended with an excerpt of MLK's "I have a dream" speech with a gospel music background. All at once, the second graders with a rainbow of skin colors - black, white, and brown- all started to snap in unison to the gospel tune - just as Martin Luther King Jr. was saying, "I have a dream.... that little black boys and girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as brothers and sisters."
Christ in diversity, unity, harmony, peace, and in the innocence of children.
The prayers of my children: Seeing and hearing them talk with our Heavenly Father warms my heart.
My encounter with Christ was with my client who is looking for housing. When an option fell through because a HUD regulation she said, "I understand. Wasn't meant to be." I said, "That's an honorable was to look at it." She responded, "That's the only way to look at it."
My encounter with Christ was experiencing the love of the Spanish community in our Parish. We are so blessed to have such love among us.
Earlier this week we experienced the first big snowstorm of the New Year. My daughter and I work in Miamisburg and carpool every day to work. We normally travel into West Carrollton and take the Big Alex Rd High to get to work. As we left that day travel was slow but we made it through the snow and ice. As we approached the hill we felt confident as Miamisburg always turns their lights on that hill to flashing as it’s dangerous to stop with bad weather. As we ascended the hill we noticed for some reason the light were not changed and were still on normal cycle. Alas we got a red light and had to stop about ¾ up the hill. As the light changed we along with 12 or so other cars proceeded to go nowhere. All tires just spun....
The other day I received a phone call from a brother in Christ and former college teammate who serves in youth ministry on the other side of the country. We talked for 30min or so about our respective lives, and just before we said goodbye and hung-up, he said, "You know, we're still on the same team." What a wonderful reminder - and encounter with Christ- that no matter where we live, no matter our vocation and calling in life, that as disciples of Jesus we are all teammates - helping to build the God's Kingdom of love, compassion, and mercy together on God's team.
I was listening to a woman talk about her daughter who recently died of cancer and left behind two small children. She said, "We prayed and prayed for healing, but I did not think that God had in mind spiritual healing. That is exactly what happened. My daughter grew so close to God and received such spiritual healing through her battle with cancer, as did her husband and much of our family, including me." I sensed no bitterness or anger towards God, just a realization of the amazing spiritual healing that He was able to do through tragedy.
Reflecting over 2014, I have been thinking about the encounters with Christ I have had through the deaths of three of my grandparents, which all happened within roughly the past year.
The one thing that all three deaths had in common was this vibrant spirit yearning and fighting to leave their aged bodies and move on to the next life in the last weeks of their lives. My grandpa kept trying to take of his clothes saying, “I came into this world naked, I’m going out naked!” My Nana spent hours in tears asking, “Why do we have to live so long?” And the last, my Grandad, mustered up just enough energy to use his last words to greet my husband and me when we came to say goodbye. My cousin arrived just a few hours later and had the great privilege of gently taking him by the hand and “walking” Grandad to heaven to join his beloved wife of 60+ years – an experience my cousin explains as “divinely surreal.”
What these encounters with Christ did for me were to fortify my belief in our God, who, as Father Satish stated in his homily for the Commemoration of all Souls, “Loves us beyond death,” and also helped me realize how short our lives really are here on Earth, as every memory with each one of them- from my childhood through the present day- flashed through my mind with each passing. And most importantly, the encounters showed me that there is no greater purpose for our short lives here on Earth than to commit our hearts and lives to the mission of Jesus so that all those we meet can also know the God who “loves us beyond death.”
At the Encountering Christ through Mary retreat, when asked to write my own personal Magnificat, I decided instead, to come up with an image. Words don’t come easy to me. I am more of a picture person. In place of a song of praise, I would have an image of praise.
I brainstormed times in my life when I had encountered Christ, categorizing them into three groups: times I had encountered Christ through the Sacraments, times of great joy, and “other” times I had felt the presence of God. I then tried to think of an element or symbol that depicted each of these three categories for my image of praise to God.
The Canticle of Spencer
See the vastness of the Lord's strength & mercy,
To show such goodness to one like me.
His wisdom is far above, and I far below.
Yet, upon me, a great grace does He bestow.
He calls upon me to be like He is:
To love as He loves and give as He gives;
To forgive, to follow, and to father;
To lead my family further and further.
He calls me to do things that are impossible,
Yet, in His unfailing justice He makes them possible.
You equip us for the work of our call,
Oh Lord, always providing for us all.
You are faithful and in You we can trust,
For to all you are generous, loving, merciful, and just.
I marvel in His victory
I stand in awe of His mercy,
but above all I am speechless
that He wants me as His witness.
He is the Prince of Peace, our one Mediator
Yet he wishes me to be His ambassador.
He redeems us and saves us from sin, but that is not all.
He commissions us, sends us, and saves us for His great purpose, His call.
I praise that He brings us together as one,
In a unity that none thought could be done.
But, Lord, when we still feel alone, abandoned, and at a loss,
remind us that we can find you waiting for us on the Cross.
The Advent retreat was truly an encounter with Christ! How awesome!
To my God, my Heavenly Father:
From an early age you have been my Rock.
With comforting arms you have held me like a real father.
You have been my counsel, giving me your word to guide my life.
Each road that I have chosen you have walked with me.
You have never left my side.
You have shown me unending mercy and love.
You know my inner soul and weaknesses and love me all the more.
To Jesus Christ, my savior:
You have been my loving shepherd.
Leading me always back to my Father.
You are my redeemer.
Your sacrifice has saved my life.
You continue to constantly shepherd and feed me through your loving, faithful church.
Your life is my guide.
Your gentle care is a constant reminder of your great love for me.
Beautiful Holy Spirit:
You are my protector and my guide.
You flow through my life and open my heart.
You pray to my Father for me when I do not know the words.
You fill me with the strength to keep fighting the spiritual warfare and keep my eyes on the prize.
You breathed in me and gave me life.
You placed Your Spirit as a holy flame burning deep within me.
You whispered Your love for me
But my belief of unworthiness deafened my ears.
You showed me love through the beauty of the world around me,
But my vision was darkened by doubts and fears.
You came into the world as one of us.
LOVE BECAME INCARNATE!
You healed my blindness and deafness
Revealing the fire within me- Your Spirit of love
With eyes wide open, this fire- Your love- becomes visible in all people- in all creation.
You fuel the flames with Your grace through prayer, Word, and Sacrament.
You send me forth
So I can be like you…..
My Magnificat of Thanksgiving
I thank you from the depths of my heart for revealing your amazing love to me through the people and events in my life and through Scripture, for giving me a purpose, for showing me the path to walk, for protecting me from the dangers of the world, for bringing me family and friends to help me grow closer to you, and for always providing for all of my needs.
Thank you for using me on Your team despite my imperfections, my insecurities, my weaknesses, my sinfulness.
I have watched you transform lives and provide healing from illness, addictions, broken relationships, lack of faith, and loneliness. I have seen you provide for families who live deep in poverty because they seek you first and have a community of brothers and sisters in Christ who care for them. Thank you for lovingly pursuing all of us, your precious children, and rescuing us from lives of insignificance and brokenness.
Please help me proclaim your greatness to the world by being a vessel of your love, kindness, mercy, generosity, and grace. May I also, like Mary, be Your handmaid.
Christ was very much present today during the Advent Retreat. Fr. Satish so beautifully led us (me) from our (my) state of being in imaginative prayer, to the manger with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. I was brought to tears. My eyes were closed and I was there. I was standing in front of Mary. It's amazing and I don't know how he does this. Being led into imaginative prayer by Fr. Satish is an experience no one should miss
After Father Satish's homily on "The Parable of our True Worth", I asked my pre-teen daughter how she wanted to look back on her life and be proud of herself. She proved herself much more mature and focused than I was at her age, and said she that wants to be a second grade teacher and "help others grow in their faith." The conversation led to me sharing my testimony with her, a great mother-daughter bonding experience, and encounters with Christ for both of us.
After coming home from being out of town, we discovered an envelope on our back door.
It had $200 in it.
We were reminded that God provides for us and we need only to ask for His help and trust in Him.
When I have an encounter with Christ I feel at peace. It's like no other feeling I have ever felt before. sometimes I feel like someone must be praying for me. I am at peace and God is with me.
My daughter was desperate to sell their house. Our prayers were on prayer chains all over. One Sunday I offered my Mass up for the sale and then we sang, "How Great Thou Art." I just knew in my heart that God would answer our prayers. Three days later it sold. God is so Good!!!
After a long evening making phone calls to encourage interest and generosity amongst parishioners for the One Faith, One Hope, and One Love campaign, I found myself at the bottom of the list I had volunteered to do. Actually, it was the second to last name on the list. Dialed the number and a very sweet voice answered. Gave her my spiel and waited for her response. "Well," she said, "I really don't think I'll have any monies to give. You see, I'm 86 years old and live on social security." I agreed this made her situation almost dire but, not to worry, we were not about to make her life any more difficult.
She then said brightly, "But I'll sure pray that you get all the money you need."
I found myself almost glad she had no means to give. Hers was the most beautiful gift.