Sharing–A Blessed Thanksgiving–2018

Good Morning Friends, 

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you! Certainly you all know of my gratitude to everyone of you for the part you play in the life of the All Are One Catholic community–we all together make our community of faith a vibrant place to be; a place where we can discover the love of our bounteous God. Wherever you are today, near or far, with family or friends; Robert and I wish you peace, love and joy, within which our good God resides! 

I have included below, Sr. Joan Chittister’s reflection for this week of giving thanks–enjoy! Pastor Kathy

Celebrate the good things in life
Life is not meant to be a burden. Life is not a problem to be solved. It is a blessing to be celebrated.Every dimension of life, its gains and its losses, is reason for celebration because each of them brings us closer to wisdom and fullness of understanding.Loss and loneliness, darkness and depression all sear the soul and cleanse it of its sense of self-sufficiency. Suffering directs it to the God of life.

But so do bounty and beauty and abundance. These give us a foretaste of wholeness. These are the palpable manifestations of the goodness of God in our lives. All of these things come unbidden. They are not signs of either our sin or our sinlessness. They are simply signs that the God of life is a living, loving God.

Breath of the Soul by Joan ChittisterLearning to celebrate joy is one of the great practices of the spiritual life. It confirms our trust in God. It affirms the greatness of creation. It seals our dependence on God. It attests to the beauty of the present and asserts our confidence in the beauty of the future. It recognizes the mercy and love of God.

When we celebrate the good things in life, we trace them to the Creator who gives without merit, openhandedly, out of the very goodness of community, love, and support that are by nature at the base of the human condition.

—from The Breath of the Soul: Reflections on Prayer by Joan Chittister (Twenty-Third Publications)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! What a wonderful time to celebrate the good things in life given by a God who gives openhandedly.
Love,


Sharing –a couple of things

Hello Friends,

I am writing from Utah tonight as we travel to the more southern parts of our country to take in some of the wonderful beauty of fall here and other places before we settle into winter in Minnesota. Today the weather was beautiful getting to 61 degrees after beginning  our day in Colorado at 27 degrees and snow in the mountains. I think we have left the snow now and are looking forward to more sun in the days ahead–tomorrow we will hike around Arches National Park–should be great! One can hardly take in the grandeur of this place–the high red rock peaks, the brilliant yellow Aspens–it’s too much!

Today is All Saint’s Day and I had hoped to get this off to you sooner, but the internet isn’t always available. On this day we usually think of holy people who have lived outstanding lives and that is good to emulate some of them as we are able. But I am here to say that each of you is a “saint” in your own rite.  That is because we have the possibility of living a good and holy life as our God intended. Being a saint is really about God loving us and we loving God in return, trying to do our best to be the best that we are capable of. If we strive each day to do that, we don’t need to be canonized, we simply need to live fully each day! So……

Finally, just a gentle reminder to all that this weekend we need to set our clocks back one  hour to get wherever you/ me may be going on Sunday!  Enjoy!

Pastor Kathy

 

Advent Sharing

Dear Friends, 

I have shared with you in the past that I am part of the Water Working Group as a Cojourner with the Rochester Franciscan Sisters.  The following is an initiative of this group–an Advent challenge that we put out to the Sisters and Cojourners and I thought perhaps some of you might wish to participate in as we move into the Advent Season beginning tomorrow. You don’t need to do everything listed, perhaps choose one thing to do or simply become more aware! Blessings on you during this holy season of Advent. –Pastor Kathy


 

An Advent Challenge

From the Water Working Group

We, the members of the Water Working Group, Sisters Betty Kenny, Iria Miller, Joy Barth, Lorraine Doherty, Loretta Gerk, Glennie Jeanne Pogue, along with Cojourners, Mary Huettl and Kathy Redig decided at our most recent meeting that we wanted to reach out to more of you and share our work.

The Water Working Group is one of several social-justice groups that originate out of our Rochester Franciscan community of Sisters and Cojourners and its purpose is to first and foremost show gratitude to our God for the wonderful gift of water.  Our second purpose or goal is to be aware of how this precious gift, that we all need each and every day, is many times wasted or harmed through pollution—the dumping of chemicals and other waste by-products into our rivers and streams.

Being that Advent will soon be upon us, we are challenging ourselves and you to perhaps choose to do one thing each day to preserve and  protect our water supply as well as give gratitude to God for this vital gift.

Some things that we can do are included below—perhaps you can think of others. Caring for the earth’s oceans, rivers, lakes and streams can be very complicated and we have to try to see the big picture. Chemicals and by-products from manufacturing can often end up in our waterways and not only affect the water and creatures that live in our streams, but humanity—we only have to recall Flint, Michigan and the near disaster that occurred there, when lead was leached into the drinking water.

So friends, here are some ideas to try during Advent to make us all more aware and more grateful:

  • Be aware of how long you may be running the water when washing your hands, doing household tasks—could you use less?
  • Look for other ways around your homes that water may be wasted and rectify the situation. Suggestion: for those who grow vegetables—when washing them off, use a bucket and the used water can also water your flowers!
  • Notice articles in magazines and newspapers or on-line that mentions a threat to our waterways—call or write your members of Congress and ask them to support legislation that protects our water.
  • Be aware of who your legislators are and the issues they support—through the voting process, do your part to elect people concerned for caring for the earth, its land, creatures and water.

If you would like to know more about water and how you can help, here are some resources to check out during Advent:

http://water.epa.gov/drink/local/index.cfm

https://water.org   www.greenfacts.org/en/water-resources

https://water.usgs.gov

sourceprotection.net

https://www.wef.org/resources/for-the-public/value-of-water/

https://www.awwa.org/resources-tools/water-knowledge/source-water-protection.aspx

https://www.littletongov.org/city-services/city-departments/public-works/sewer-and-storm-drainage/storm-water-quality

http://www.cwi.colostate.edu/

https://www.denverwater.org/education/educational-articles

http://worldwater.org/

https://www.water-ed.org/

 

 

–The Water Working Group

 

Sharing

Dear Friends, 

Today is All Saints Day! Below is a piece by Sr. Joan Chittister on Saints that I wanted to share with all of you–enjoy! Pastor Kathy


In need of heroes
“Saints”—spiritual heroes of character and courage—are very elusive figures and not always all too comfortable ones either: They carry with them the ideals of ages often quite remote from our own, even, in some cases, psychologically suspect now. They seem to uphold a standard of perfection either unattainable to most or, at least in this day and age, undesirable to many. Their lives are often overwritten, their struggles underestimated and their natural impulses underrated. They have become a rather quaint anachronism of an earlier church full of simpler people far more unsophisticated, we think, than ourselves and whom we think ought to be quietly ignored in these more enlightened times. I disagree.

“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes,” wrote Bertolt Brecht. And every day the crime sections of our newspapers prove the point. We could use a saint or two, perhaps, to raise our sights again to the heights of human possibility and the depths of the human soul. It might not even hurt to pass one or two of them on to children who are otherwise left with little to choose from as personal idols than what Hollywood, TV, and the music industry have already given them, of course.

Here are five saints to tell your children about.

•Julian of Norwich, a 15th century anchorite who was devoted only to God, gave the world three learnings that would change the very things we call holy: that God is mother; that fear of God is not humility, and that even though we sin all will be well. Those are brave, heroic concepts in a world where God who is all spirit had been reduced to the notion of a male judge.

•The Baal Shem Tov was a man with an eye for the spiritual and a song in the heart. Nothing clearly authentic is known about him but nothing much less has been forgotten about the man either. The Baal Shem Tov insisted that the presence of God lurked in life as it was, that it was there for the seeing, that to live life joyfully was itself the real task of life.

•”The purpose of prayer, my daughters,” Teresa of Avila wrote, “is always good works, good works, good works.” Given her heroic and unending attempts to make religion spiritual and the church holy, she of all people had the right to say so. She did not use prayer as a refuge; she used it as a beacon. Learning to persist in the pursuit of good should make saints of us all.

• John XXIII is really remembered for making the political, the scholarly, the efficient, the clerical and the papal, human. What stands as a monument to his heroism is the indictment of ageism by an old man who turned a system upside down to make it new again. Now, thanks to him, age is no excuse for doing nothing.

• Joan of Arc’s heroic commitment to conscience over authority is a mighty one. There are some things in life that belong to God alone, Joan implies: human life, human responsibility, and human will. Joan of Arc is patron of those who hear the voice of God calling them beyond present impossibilities to the fullness of conscience everywhere.

HAPPY ALL SAINTS DAY, EVERYONE.
—from The Monastic Way by Joan Chittister

Sharing–3rd Sunday of Lent Homily

Hello Friends,

Here again is another homily from Pastor Dick Dahl in my absence–enjoy! 


The Gospel according to John was written decades after Paul’s letters to the Christian churches and after the three Synoptic Gospels by Matthew, Mark and Luke. The Holy Spirit over time led the first Christian community to have a deeper understanding of the mystery of Jesus the Christ. This is reflected in the Gospel according to John. It’s purpose is to be less a history than an understanding of the meaning of Jesus’ actions. They are presented in episodes that serve as signs which draw us into the mystery of God among us.

All three of today’s readings focus on water as a sign of life. In practical terms life originated in the oceans and seas. Living organisms need water to live. We would die sooner from a lack of water than we would from a lack of food. The Israelites in the Sinai desert feared they would die unless Yahweh provided water to quench their thirst. The Native Americans and their supporters at Standing Rock know that water is life.

Today’s Gospel story, however,  is a sign that reveals more than our practical need for water, as crucial as this is now and as it will likely become even more so in the near future.

It was noon, the sun was hot. A Samaritan woman comes to draw water from the well. This man, a Jew no less, speaks to her. He asks her for a drink of water. Her people were considered inferior by most Jews. No matter. Her religious beliefs were considered heretical. No matter. Her personal life—five husbands—left something to be desired. No matter. Jesus did not argue with her about religion. He did not show disrespect for her as a woman, He did not condemn her for living with a man who was not her husband. He spoke to her about “living water.”

Actually, this is where I think John’s Gospel is speaking to us. She probably had no idea what “living water” was, and we may not have much greater understanding ourselves.

When John and his followers put this Gospel into written form, they were conveying the deeper meaning that the Spirit had led them to see and understand in this event.  What is meant by the gift Jesus called “living water”?

Today it’s as if we are at the well and Jesus is saying to us what he said to the Samaritan woman. If you recognized the gift and who it is who is speaking with you, you would ask him. “The water I will give you will become a fountain within you, springing up to provide eternal life.”

John’s Gospel reflects the awareness St. Paul shared years before to the Romans, “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” It’s the intimate and immanent presence of the Trinity—the love of the Father for the Son immersing us though the Spirit, the Spirit poured out in our hearts.

What does this mean for you and me? First, it is our growing personal awareness through faith that we are swept up in the evolving creative love and presence of our Triune God. But beyond an individual aspect to this gift of “living water,” there is a social one as well. In his Sermon on the Mount Jesus  said, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.“ In our own limited but real way, the Trinitarian presence calls us to become aware of and work to change systems that oppress and trap people in demeaning and dehumanizing conditions. We find some of those oppressive systems even in the Church…in the community of believers…perhaps even in ourselves. Jesus always went where the pain was. Wherever there was human suffering, Jesus showed his concern about it now and about its healing now. He always paid attention. So must we.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is the “living water” that heals, that strengthens, that enlightens, that makes us aware.

Religious belief and science are both ways of looking at reality, of striving to better recognize what is true and and to have a greater understanding of it.

Ironically, the more humans know, they often realize how much they don’t know. For example astronomical physicists who study the universe, the cosmos, realize that about 68% of it is made up of “dark energy” which no one understands. Another 27 % is made up of “dark matter” again which no one understands. That leaves only five percent or less of the cosmos that is visible to us. Albert Einstein’s theories of relativity proclaimed a dynamic universe. Even when an atom is reduced to absolute zero on the Kelvin scale, it still vibrates.

I find it striking that science is discovering a dynamic imprint in all creation, a vibrancy so like the dynamic and evolving creativity of the Trinitarian force. So, the gift of “living water” that gushes up like a fountain extends our vision of Trinitarian activity beyond individuals and society, and connects us even to the farthest reaches of the universe, the rest of reality, visible and invisible.

The way science painstakingly discovers more and more about the mysteries of the universe in time and in space makes even more awe-inspiring the Christ mystery—namely that “even before the beginning of the world,” the love of God has been given to us, waiting to be poured as living water into us. The Israelites in the desert asked, “Is our God in our midst or not?” Sometimes we may be tempted to ask the same. Let us not harden our hearts, but in gratitude be aware of the Spirit, the “living water” in us that connects us to each other and to the entire universe. Let us pay attention to each other and everyone we meet, as Jesus did to the Samaritan woman.