n., An issue of water from the earth; a spring; a fountain. v.intr., To rise to the surface, ready to flow; to rise or surge from an inner source. v.tr., To pour forth. adj., In a satisfactory condition; right or proper. interj., Used to introduce a remark, resume a narrative, or fill a pause during conversation; used to express surprise.dictionary.com
Saturday, November 03, 2007 Heidi's blogging again - elsewhere. Check out http://fluxit.blogspot.com posted by Heidi | 3.11.07
Wednesday, March 24, 2004 I've been in the position to do a fair amount of interceding lately for different people and circumstances that God has placed on my heart and mind. One amazing gift of the Catholic Church is the opportunity to intercede in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus Himself...
Recently I read Sr. Ann Shield's book Pray and Never Lose Heart: The Power of Intercession. The section that most struck me was chapter 6: "In the Name of Jesus."
She begins by quoting John 14:12-14, the last part of which is "Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it."
She then goes on to say:
Many times in the past I would read this passage and immediately try to apply it without fully understanding what Jesus meant. I would say, "Jesus, in your name, do this." Or, "Jesus, in your name, make this happen." Yet, is the name of Jesus just a formula we can attach to the end of any prayer we make? . . .
Consider what it usually means to make a request in someone else's name. If I were to ask you for money in the name of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, for example, you would rightly expect your money to help Mother Teresa's work. . .
In the same way, if we are praying "in the name of Jesus," our requests should have some connection with Jesus and his work. In other words, I had better have some reason to think that I am asking for something Jesus wants! When we are sincerely praying "in the name of Jesus," we do not simply say the name of Jesus at the end of our prayer. We are praying according to Jesus' heart and Jesus' intention.
When you have been pruned and the life of Christ is increasing in your life, you love him so much that you find yourself saying, "I want whatever is your will." This is what it means to ask in the name of Jesus. The only way you can know whether something is according to Jesus' nature and according to Jesus' will is by union with him.
And this is what she goes on to elaborate. posted by Heidi | 24.3.04
Monday, March 15, 2004 I've been drawn to books on praying for healing in the last while, and the lastest classic-that-I'd-never-heard-of that I just ran across (& read) was Francis MacNutt's Healing. The book contains some real kickers, such as:
Christianity is more than doctrine; it is power. It is power to transform our lives, to destroy the evil that prevents us from loving God and our neighbor. Jesus came to bring us a new life, a share in God's own life. We have always believed these things, but where is the reality of it? Where is the power that truly changes lives?
What we have done all to frequently has been to take the good news and turn it into good advice. The good news is that Christ has come to help us enter into the very life of his Father and to transform us by his power into new persons who can love and rejoice and help the poor in a way far beyond our capabilities. In contrast, good advice is to hold up a Christian ideal of life and service, and then to say: "Here's the ideal; now use your own willpower to achieve it." In short, we are tempted to preach law rather than grace (p.75).
or this--the response I've been waiting for to the conception that many people have that "having faith" (especially in terms of prayer for healing) consists of ratcheting up self-deluding "belief" that something that they in all honesty don't think will happen will nevertheless happen:
My faith is in God--not in my faith. . . .
My faith is in God--in his faithfulness to his promises, in his wisdom, in his power, and in his goodness. . . .
But my faith is not in my faith. . . . Once we begin to look at our faith rather than at God, we begin to concentrate on our own inadequacy. . . .
Many people I have met who do believe in healing feel guilty about their human doubts. They turn inward when they hear the challenge, "Do you have the faith to be healed?" Instead of confiding absolutely in God's power and goodness, they begin to probe within themselves to examine whether they are entirely free of doubt; and nine times out of ten, the answer is no. Then there ensues a painful conflict, in which they begin to feel guilty; the more they examine their doubt, the bigger it grows. In the struggle to pass beyond the point of doubt, they end up suppressing their real feelings.
The more they wrestle, the deeper their anguish. They may finally try to surmount their doubts by a strong act of the will, moving beyond the doubt that still swirls around underneath. But faith is a gift we cannot attain by our own efforts. As Dr. Bogart Van Dunne, a Methodist scripture scholar once said in a seminar: "Protestants began by rejecting Catholicism for what they conceived was its reliance on works for salvation. But now, for some Protestants, faith has become the works they struggle to achieve" (pp. 94-95).
Instead, the approach he puts forth is to turn to God, trusting in His love, wisdom, and power; accept our own doubts as normal; take the appropriate concrete action (e.g., praying for the sick/being prayed with); and then simply leave the results up to God.
Refreshing. Very refreshing.
I would also recommend Healing Prayer by Barbara Shlemon Ryan--much shorter and less dense; a good introduction. posted by Heidi | 15.3.04
Tuesday, March 09, 2004 Digging into my e-mail archives again, I came to the reflection below, which I shared at a prayer meeting around Easter two years ago. What I wrote in it has been coming back to me with a great deal of force lately, though, because I've been watching what I wrote about take place in the lives of a family I dearly love as they grieve the loss of their brother/son, who died after being hit by a car last week. Their grief and their suffering will not end with with the last days of Lent and the dawning of next month's Easter Sunday, so what will Easter mean...
Lenten reflection on Easter suffering
I didn't give up anything for Lent this year. Nor did I take anything on.
The reason is probably obvious to most of you--I'd been through enough already;
I was finally finishing up my second and last round of radiation treatment for Hodgkin's Disease.
I was looking forward to rest, recovery, relief.
I was not prepared to encounter the most difficult Lenten season of my life, not just physically (by a long shot), but emotionally and spiritually as well.
Somewhere in the thick of it, I asked my parents to pray with me, and when they'd finished, my Dad said that he'd had an image of my hand, and in my hand were various things--my health, for one. And God was taking those things, taking them so that all that was left was my open, empty hand. And that was as far as he could see. That was my Lent.
Having talked with various people, I know that I am not the only person who experienced this Lent as being particularly draining. I am not the only one who was looking to Easter with greater-than-usual anticipation, who saw it as, among other things, somehow an end to the suffering of this Lent.
Easter has indeed been Easter for me--a time to rejoice in the truth that my Redeemer lives!
But, as I alluded to earlier, my hand is, in an earthly way, just as empty as it was before Easter--I still have a long road to recovery; the struggles that I experienced during Lent are not over. But this sharing came together in a realization that I had this Easter week:
As we are here on earth, Easter is not about an end to suffering.
At Easter the disciples' suffering had only just begun.
Easter is not about an end to suffering;
it's about the transformation of suffering.
Under the law, suffering was the price of sin and the mark of a sinner. If you want evidence, just read Deuteronomy 28--the curses for disobeying the law.
In His death and resurrection, Christ broke the chains of death and sin, but He did not put an end to suffering. He did not leap from the tomb to conquer Rome and put an end to pain.
What did He do?
He took suffering and transformed it from the mark of a sinner into love itself.
This is the earthly promise of Easter--not that our suffering here is over, but rather that if we are willing to stretch out our arms upon the cross rather than curl in on ourselves in the face of pain, His love will spring forth from us as new life.
It is upon this tree that the fruit of the Spirit is borne.
Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness.
Gentleness. and Self-control.
It was through this Lent and Easter that I began to understand that these are not emotions. They transcend emotion as the kingdom of God transcends the earth on which we stand. So that with Paul we can say that we are "sorrowful, yet always rejoicing..."
How amazing to experience crying out to the heavens, "I HURT," yet simultaneously find incredible joy in the truth that My Redeemer Lives and I, with my own eyes, will see Him!
Easter does not end in that paradox, though, for I am also holding onto the ultimate Easter promise:
That, one day, I, with John, will hear the Voice from the throne say, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more Death. or Mourning. or Crying. or Pain.
For the old order of things has passed away..."
And He will make all things new.
posted by Heidi | 9.3.04
Wednesday, March 03, 2004 I'm back!
Ever been kicked (where you needed kicking) by something you wrote or said yourself?
Happened to me again yesterday.
So, here's to the me that wrote this way back in September of 2002...& here's to hopes that I'll start writing (& posting) more regularly from here on out--I think the time is getting right.... (the one caveat being that once I get writing, I start writing, as amply demonstrated by the length of this post!)
If it is not by not-loving that one guards one’s heart, how does one guard one’s heart, particularly as a single person in relation to members of the opposite sex to whom one is not married?
There are four parts: Trust, Surrender, Freedom, and Modesty (& again, I’m not discussing clothes...)
"God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life." One of my most frequent quotes because it summarizes the truth so neatly. God loves you. God, your heavenly Father, your Papa, your Abba. Watch the delight of brand-new parents with their tiny little baby—-it is that delight that your heavenly Father has for you, one whom He formed to be unique, unlike any other in all of history, and never to be repeated. He is your Papa; He knows the road He has set you on, He knows the "good works He has prepared in advance for you to do" (Eph. 2:10)—-and He would hold your hand, if you will only let Him.
We are all three-year-olds sometimes: "I can do it myself," "Are we there yet?" "Yet?" "Yet?!!" Trust Him, hold His hand, and keep on walking. What does He ask of you? He asks you to look to Him and do the next thing, and then the next thing, and then the next thing. Not to leap three miles ahead of yourself (the "next thing" might involve planning for the future, but it does not mean *dwelling* in it), or to keep looking from side to side saying: "Is that where I'll end up?" "Is that?" "Is that?" "Are we almost there yet?" "Yet?!!" Trust Him, who loves you and knows you so much more intimately than you know yourself-—if your eyes are fixed on Him and you simply keep walking, doing the "next thing" each day, you don’t have to worry about missing anything that He might have for you! Dance with Him...
Trust also says that God is enough, and more than enough. I am walking with my Beloved, with the only One who loves me perfectly, Love Himself. He supplies my daily bread, all that I need to sustain me. It is not the relationships around me that themselves meet my needs-—they are simply vehicles for His divine love, and as such, they are not what I should cling to, but the One who placed them there for me.
"Loving" someone without this trust ultimately will not be love, but something that seeks to consume the other-—it will express a neediness rather than a true selflessness.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths." Proverbs 3:5-6
Surrender says again that God is enough and more than enough, and beyond that that all things are rightly His, to do with as He pleases. It says that He loves me, and therefore I can hand these things, this relationship, these possibilities to Him, because His way is love itself, a perfect plan, the best way. Surrender says, "Not my will, but Thine be done," and in its fullness it wells up from a knowledge of God’s divine love. Of course may Thy will be done! How could I ask for less, for to ask for less would be to ask for less than perfect love!
"Loving" someone without this surrender will ultimately not be love, but something that clings and cowers, grasping rather than giving.
Surrender asks: "Teach me Your way and I will walk in Your truth. Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear [could be literally translated: 'reverentially trust'] Your name." (Psalm 86:11)
"Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:21)
Surrender is letting go in a God-ward direction; freedom is letting go in a man-ward (woman-ward :) direction. While surrender says to God, "Not my will, but Thine be done," freedom essentially says to another person, "Not my will in your life, but God’s will in your life be done."
To use the road analogy again, in marriage, two have become one and together walk down the road, holding God’s hand. Outside of such a covenant, however, freedom says that while we may be walking down the same road right now, our paths are nevertheless separate, and until such time as we may enter such a covenant, God’s will for my life may not necessarily be God’s will for your life, and I will neither exercise any claim on your life to the contrary nor allow you to exercise a claim on my life to the contrary. Love in the midst of this is the desiring of the other’s best good—-desiring God’s will to be fulfilled in the other’s life even if that should mean that your paths separate-—and it is a love that is possible only when it springs from trust in God’s perfect love and surrender to His goodness.
"Loving" someone without this freedom, which exists but has a different expression in marriage, is to give the reins to fear rather than love, to say in the end that you trust neither the other person nor God.
I’ve pointed out before that modesty is not really about clothing or appearance but about a personal freedom to give rather than to want or seek to be wanted. This modesty has as one expression personal appearance, but there is another expression that has nothing to do with clothes but is at least as integral to one’s sexuality as one’s physical being.
There’s a saying that I’ve run into more than once to the effect that "Men give love to get sex; women give sex to get love." That statement portrays reality about as effectively as a stick figure portrays a person (tell someone to find the person that the stick figure is a portrait of-—you won’t have much luck). Nevertheless, there is some truth in a stick figure and there is some truth in the saying. The word "love," however, isn’t one of the truths. A better approximation would be "emotional gratification," which can be as thoroughly divorced from real love as sex can.
What the saying does do effectively is distinguish two facets of human sexuality—-the physical and the emotional, the exterior and the interior. Many don’t realize that immodesty is possible with each.
It is fundamentally wrong to use another person as a means to one's own physical gratification. Does this make sex wrong? No. It simply means that sex is intended to an act of mutual giving (a gift which can only truly be *given* within the context of marriage) rather than a vehicle for personal pleasure. No human being should ever be treated simply as an object for use, a means to an end. [See "Love and Responsibility" by Karol Wojtyla and "The Theology of the Body" by Pope John Paul II]. Physical immodesty is the beginning of the distorting of sex into the use of another human being for one's own gratification.
It is wrong to use another person as a means to one's own physical gratification, but it is also wrong to use another person as a means to one's own emotional gratification.
Again, it is wrong to use another person as a means to one's own emotional gratification.
People are not meant to be used.
In the proper context it is not wrong to *receive* emotional gratification from another person, just as in the proper context (marriage) it is not wrong to receive physical gratification from another person. But a person should never be used simply as a means to either of those ends.
The saying above about giving love to get sex and vice versa highlights the popular perception (whether true or otherwise) that men are more oriented to the physical while women are more oriented to the emotional. Thus women and girls are often given lectures on physical modesty and emotional modesty is...generally ignored.
Guys, take note: If you want the women in your life to dress and physically relate to you in such a way that will help you guard your sexuality, there is a way that you can reciprocate. Relate to the women in your life in such a way that your words and actions do not imply a level of commitment that you and the woman in question do not have--don't relate to her as you would to a girlfriend if you're not her boyfriend, don't relate to her as you would to your fiancée if you're not her fiancé, don't relate to her as you would to your wife if you're not her husband. (And prior to all of that, if you're not interested in dating her in the first place, by all means be friendly to her, but don't act as if you're interested in dating her!)
It isn't so much an issue of not deceiving her (in other words, you can't justify it by saying that she's perfectly aware that you're not her boyfriend) as it is an issue of respecting and honoring her, the commitments themselves, and particularly honoring and respecting whomever you each might eventually make those commitments to. To do otherwise is to let your own desires (however transitory or eternal) usurp the place of real love. There was wisdom in the counsel of Elisabeth Elliot's father to his sons to not say, "I love you," unless they were prepared to follow it immediately with a proposal, because love is not about a feeling but about a commitment of the will--the feeling is simply *one* of its expressions. In love, just as in everything else, there is a time to speak and a time to be silent.
Women and girls--take the last two paragraphs, flip them around to address women instead of men, and apply them to yourselves :)!
I learned something that may seem obvious while going through radiation therapy last year--the most difficult part of growing in virtue is often in the stupid little things rather than the big things. To elaborate, confronting the reality of my own mortality wasn't really a problem--I can work up plenty of grand emotion & lofty feeling about death and heaven--but feeling like I was swallowing around a golfball one week, or having an appetite that rebelled like a spoiled four-year-old, or being everlastingly tired over and over and over again--all of those stupid little things were the hard part.
In the same vein, love isn't so much about the grand feeling when all is roses and turtledoves and your beloved is the most perfect man or woman in all of creation--On the contrary, Love is about being patient when someone just doesn't get it for the umpteenth time.
It is about being kind when you're feeling overworked and underappreciated.
Love is about not being envious even when someone else got what you much more deserved, and not boasting even when your accomplishments really do outweigh the other person's egotistical blather.
It is about not being arrogant in the face of another's failings or sin, but remembering always, "There, but for the grace of God, go I."
Love consists of not insisting on your own way, even when you know you're right (when else would you try to insist on your own way?).
Love keeps no record of wrongs and is not consumed with irritation or resentment even when the other person's actions seem spiteful and deliberate and it seems like you're stuck with more than your share of the work.
Love does not rejoice in evil, even if it seems like the other person's "just desserts."
Love rejoices in the truth, even when it comes at personal cost.
Protecting love bears all things, knowing that God created the other in His image.
Love always trusts, leaning on God and not on appearances.
Love always hopes, knowing that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
Love always perseveres, knowing that though what is asked is impossible for man, nothing is impossible with God.
And yes, I'm preaching to myself.
posted by Heidi | 3.3.04
Thursday, October 16, 2003 Today is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Pope John Paul II's pontificate.
In honor of the occasion, the book I've chosen to highlight is Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel.
Given unprecedented access to Pope John Paul II and the people who have known and worked with him throughout his life, George Weigel presents a groundbreaking portrait of the Pope as a man, a thinker, and a leader whose religious convictions have defined a new approach to world politics - and changed the course of history. Weigel explores new information about the Pope's role in some of the recent past's most stirring events, including the fall of communism; the Vatican/Israel negotiation of 1991-92; the collapse of the Philippine, Chilean, Nicaraguan, and Paraguayan dictatiorships during the 1980s and the epic papal visit to Cuba. Witness to Hope also discusses the Pope's efforts to build bridges to other Christian communities, and to Judaism, Islam, and other great world religions; presents an analysis of John Paul's proposals for strengthening democratic societies in the twenty-first century; and offers synopses of every major teaching document in the pontificate [as of ~1999].
Pope John Paul II also recently published another volume of poetry: The Poetry of Pope John Paul II: Roman Triptych: Meditation. More information about this book, including reviews and a mail-order form are available at USCCB Publishing.
Finally, you can check out the apostolic exhortation, Pastores Gregis: On the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World, that the Holy Father released today.
posted by Heidi | 16.10.03
Wednesday, October 15, 2003 Today is the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, a Carmelite nun and Doctor of the Church.
Of her book The Interior Castle, Christianbook.com says:
This 16th-century Spanish mystic is considered one of the most profound spiritual teachers in the history of Christianity. Father Kieran Kavanaugh, the editor of the volume, says in his introduction, "The Interior Castle has come to be regarded as Teresa's best synthesis." Teresa received the image of the whole book in a vision on Trinity Sunday, 1577. An early biographer says that she beheld "a most beautiful crystal globe like a castle in which she saw seven dwelling places, and in the seventh, which was in the center, the King of Glory dwelt in the greatest splendor."
The Second Vatican Council pointed out that by penetrating the revealed message, the Christian mystics enrich our comprehension of it and thereby contribute to the Church's living tradition. Among the mystics, St. Teresa of Avila holds a unique position as a witness to divine realities. Her common sense, humor, and penchant for everyday images liven her writings, but she is above all remarkable for her analytical abilities in proving the mystery of God's workings in the soul. On September 27, 1970, Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa a Doctor of the Church. During the ceremony the pope spole of her as a teacher of "marvelous profoundity."
posted by Heidi | 15.10.03
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