Instruments of Peace

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The Prayer of St. Francis has been on my mind these days.  The specter of violence filling our television screens, computer monitors and our minds is overwhelming.  In Syria, Gaza, Iraq, Nigeria and now even at our own door in Ferguson, families and children who have nothing to do with the political unrest around them are at risk and are directly in harm’s way.  As anger, fear and death rages in our world and in our own city’s streets, I wonder how we could have gotten to this point.  And then I hear the words of St. Francis in my mind, “where there is hatred, let me sow love, where there is injury pardon.”   I am searching my heart for the ways in which I have turned my head when there has been injury and injustice.  Each little act of racism, judgment and most of all my own inaction, contributes to my growing tolerance for gross acts of anger, violence and injustice on a much larger scale.  It is easy for me to see the misdeeds of others and blame the “system.”  But St. Francis’ words are calling me, calling us, to find ways to become instruments of peace, compassion and healing.  In the days ahead, let’s try to find ways to pray together and work together, actively seeking” to console rather than to be consoled, to pardon rather than to be pardoned,” to truly become instruments of peace.  Our world, our city and the future are depending on it.

Christ’s Peace!

Mary Kay

Wisps of Glory

Maya Angelou“Everybody born comes from the Creator trailing wisps of glory. We come from the Creator with creativity. I think that each one of us is born with creativity.”

~Maya Angelou~

Today the world lost a woman of prophetic vision and a voice “trailing wisps of glory from the Creator,”  poet Maya Angelou.  As I reflect upon her legacy to our country and to the world, I am reminded by her words of the indwelling creative energy of God.  Honoring her memory, let’s take a moment to search within for “wisps of glory from the Creator” and commit to sharing our own precious unique gifts with the world.

We sometimes think of great artists, musicians, writers and poets as a breed apart from the rest of us. The wild Bohemian lives of the great artists and inventors throughout time has been a curiosity and even threatening to others less creative and free-spirited. But they are the people who remind us of what we knew as children. They are still aware of the presence of the Holy Creative Spirit dwelling within each of us. Those who have the ability to reveal the unseen, eternal truth, people like DaVinci, Michaelangelo, Monet and Matisse, Shakespeare and even Suess open the door between heaven and earth allowing us to experience the Divine in our midst and within each person.

So, I believe it is of the greatest importance to nurture and promote creativity in our own lives and in the our world. In order for us to grow in our spiritual lives, we must feed our spirits and develop our own creative abilities. Perhaps it is in pursuing a hobby like knitting, cooking, wood-working, journaling, music or art. Each of us needs to build time into our lives to fully explore the talents and abilities God has given us so we can become most fully the person we were created to be. Another way to feed our spirits is to enjoy the art, music and poetry of those “wild Bohemians” who are compelled by their gifts to share them with the world.  We can re-discover awe and amazement enjoying time in our garden or playing on the floor with our children and grand-children. We don’t need to be Mozarts or Picassos, indeed God has a different plan, and usually a much less dramatic one, for each of us. But in deepening our awareness of the value of creativity we each participate a little more fully in cooperation with God in the ongoing process of Creation.

Christ’s peace,

Mary Kay

Celebrating Parents

familyWe celebrate parents and remember our spiritual mothers and fathers this time of year.  Children everywhere are scrambling, trying to find just the right way to express their love on Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June.  Brunch reservations are filling up, Hallmark is selling cards at a record pace, and almost every television and radio commercial has a suggestion for the perfect gift for Mom and Dad.

Springtime is a season when we are particularly aware of the gift of new life.  The trees and flowers are in bloom.  Gardeners are faithfully tending their seedlings and plants.  Watching animals and birds nurturing their newborns remind us of the special bond between parent and child.

It is good to set aside a day to express our gratitude and love for our parents.   Many of us will only be able to use the day to remember a mom or dad who has died, in love and prayer.  Unfortunately, many people will be painfully reminded of wounded, broken or nonexistent relationships with their mothers or fathers.  For many, Mother’s Day and/or Father’s Day promoted by our culture and even celebrated at Sunday worship only serves to remind them of the kind of mother or father they will never have.   It can be a very lonely, isolating experience not to be able to share in joyful gratitude for the parental love the rest of the world seems to be celebrating.

Hopefully, we can look to the spiritual celebrations honoring St. Joseph and Mary this time of year as consolation and strength for those who feel orphaned and for those parents who are struggling themselves.  The feast of St. Joseph on March 19th as the husband of Mary and again on May 1st,as the feast of Joseph the Worker, gives us the  opportunity to look to him not only as the father figure for Jesus but also as an example of unwavering love and fidelity of a man for his wife and children.  And Catholics particularly remember Mary as well as remembering their own mothers during the month of May.

Let us look to the Holy Family as a model of unconditional love and faith.  We can use Joseph and Mary as examples of the parents we strive to be.  We can call upon them in prayer to strengthen and sustain us as parents and parent-figures for younger generations. And perhaps, some can look to them to be the spiritual father or mother they have longed for and needed.  That is the beauty of our belief in the Communion of Saints, and patron saints.  Even if we feel abandoned or mistreated by the people in our lives, we can still trust in the love, prayer and support of those fathers and mothers in faith who have gone before us.

Mary and Joseph be with us and bless us and all families this season.

Mary Kay

St. Joseph the Worker

St. Joseph CSJ Chapel

O God, Creator of all,

graciously grant that by the example of St. Joseph,

we may complete the work you give us to do.

Provide us work that uses our talents, enhances our dignity

and sustains us in body and spirit,

through Jesus Christ, your Son who lives and reigns with you

in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.     Amen.

Happy Feast Day!
Mary Kay