Thursday, March 22, 2012

All that Sparkles

My mother loved anything shiny or sparkly.  Even now, five years after her death, when I see sweaters or shirts or purses decorated with sequins, I think of Mom.  Wearing these items made her feel special; made her feel she stood out in an otherwise drab existence. I could tell her how beautiful she was until I was blue in the face and she still wouldn't believe me.  But an outsider complimenting her? She glowed as if a movie star. She didn't see the beauty I saw in her blue-gray-green eyes and in her pierced heart. I saw past the mental illness and loved her more than she ever knew. We must learn to trust the love of our families, those closest to us. Just as we must trust in God and the love He has for all His children.

In today's Gospel (John 5:31-47), Jesus said to the Jews:

The works that the Father gave me to accomplish, these works that I perform testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. Moreover, the Father who sent me has testified on my behalf.  But you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, and you do not have his word remaining in you, because you do not believe in the one whom he has sent.  You search the Scriptures, because you think you have eternal life through them; even they testify on my behalf.  But you do not want to come to me to have life.

I do not accept human praise; moreover, I know that you do not have the love of God in you.  I came in the name of my Father, but you do not accept me; yet if another comes in his own name, you will accept him.  How can you believe, when you accept praise from one another and do not seek the praise that comes from the only God?

The glitz and glamour we see on TV and in magazines is just that, shiny and sparkly.  People admire and believe in what celebrities say and do. Why is it so easy to deceive ourselves into thinking bad behavior and lack of faith is attractive?  It's not!  Lay apostles, don't be deceived.  If you are envious of relationships you see on TV, turn it off.  If you wish you could wear those beautiful sparkly gowns on the red carpet, don't buy the magazine.  Instead, do some spiritual reading.  There are so many inspiring books available at our fingertips.  No Turning Back by Fr. Donnie Calloway, Rediscover Catholicism by Matthew Kelly or Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza are a few of the most inspiring books I have ever read.  Look toward Christ.  He will not lead you astray.

In the May 2007 Monthly Message, Jesus guides us to closer union with Him:

“. . . My beloved apostle, please be disciplined about your time with Me in each day. I do not want you to be distracted. I do not want the world to take your hope from you. If you do not spend time with Me, you are vulnerable to the fears sowed by the enemy of hope. I rely on my beloved ones. In them I find rest and solace. You see, dear apostle, if I can change you and fill you with My great spiritual blessings, I can change others. Is there even one life that you can say you affected by your faith in Me and by My presence in you? Do not limit My plan in your mind. My plan is vast and it is working. Be joyful today as I am joyful. Hope in Me, dear one, as I hope in you. Trust in Me as I trust in you. Be with Me as I long to be with you and together we will fill the world with hope, drawing many wounded souls back into our family of love.”

My Lenten journey of solitude has brought peace and calm during this time of reflection.  The more I silence everything around me, the closer I become with our Savior.  Today, turn off the radio in your car or DVR your favorite show to watch later, spending quiet time with the Lord. You won't regret a second of it!

Thank you, Lord, for this time of solitude.  It is becoming my way of life, and I am so thankful the sparkles are disappearing.

God bless,

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