Pieces of Sunday

Some churches have opened with specific rules, smaller groups, masks.  I have still not felt comfortable to make this journey.  Instead my Sundays looks a lot different.  I do not “honor the Sabbath,” I do chores and grocery shop and pull some weeds in the garden.  I intentionally find time in the Word, with Mother Mary, Jesus in podcasts and prayer.  I cling to my rosary beads with a new passion.  As a new-two year Catholic, I find the pandemic to be incredibly hard, relating to my faith.  I miss the social groups, in-person bible study (not a fan of Zoom/video chats), working in the physical church, praying Adoration on Tuesday, checking out books in the library.  It’s a new normal.  I am not adapting well!

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There will always be prayer that needs to be done, and that can be accomplished anywhere.  I am hopeful for the future, that our entire world can heal from this virus and can find the space and comfort in which to worship.  Me included.

1 Corinthians 14:26
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.

Pieces of Emptiness

My trip to Scotland and Ireland was wonderful, but it’s always good to be home.  Summer is winding down fast here in Western Wisconsin, our maple tree is half orange and dropping leaves, right on schedule; usually the third week in September the trees start to change color.

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In this post I want to write about the emptiness we all feel at various times in our life.  For me, it generally stems from a loss or is a season of grieving.  My mother died when I had just turned 14, it was already a tumultuous time; with hormones raging, a new school to attend and the fact that my home life was changing drastically.

Here I am, 40+ years later and I still deeply miss my mother.  It may very well be the definitive change of seasons, the earth is getting ready for her greatest time; hibernation with renewal fast on her heels.

I tend to go deeper into my faith during these times, I wonder if you do too; or do you crawl deeper into your bed, a warm comforter or dog to soothe your heart?

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Psalm 10:14
But you do see; you take note of misery and sorrow; you take the matter in hand. To you the helpless can entrust their cause; you are the defender of orphans.

 

 

Pieces of the World

I’ve traveled to Germany, Amsterdam, Canada, Mexico and a few Caribbean islands.  I was born and raised in the United States and at 54 this might seem like a small list.  I am not a world traveler by any means, but I am……becoming one!  We leave in a few days for Ireland and Scotland.

Many well-wishers/have traveled these places suggest visiting the many cathedrals and small churches along the way.  I am looking forward to this because I want to see how other people worship. Catholicism was brought to Ireland in the 5th Century by missionaries, one of the most famous being Saint Patrick.

I am traveling with an incredibly open heart.  I want to see Jesus in a new way; in the centuries-old buildings, the faces of the faithful.

What unusual places have you discovered Jesus?  Would love to read your comments!

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St Brigid of Kildare

Complicated Pieces

Do you have someone in your life; with whom it feels very complicated?  Perhaps a son-in-law, manager, neighbor?  It’s hard isn’t it, to be mindful of gentleness when around these people?  I like to think that it’s a reflection on our own self, how we treat this person.  If we are begrudging, then that is a character flaw, it is also NOT the way Jesus expects us to live.

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Turning the other cheek or being extra nice (fake) is an ineffective path to choose, because Jesus wants us to be like Him.  Compassionate, forgiving, peaceful and kind.  It’s a test of our faith isn’t it, to love someone that is similar to a sour lemon!

Ephesians 4:32 [And] be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.

Leviticus 19:18
Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your own people. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
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Pieces, scraps of paper

The original book (which this blog is based on), “The Pieces” is from journals, scraps of paper, various writing I have done inspired by my faith and what God has taught me. Here are a few unpublished revelations.

“The Pieces,” my story, Your words. Inspiration  & truth.   Let’s save the world with You!

There was a time during my chemo journey that I anticipated only three treatments.  I was very disappointed to learn there would be a total of six.  God reminded me that He is the great Protector and Healer, that I am never alone.  (I felt very lonely during this time). 

The tumor, surgery, recovery, chemotherapy, healing from incisions, chemo brain, infections, neuropathy, the list goes on, I thought I would possibly die from one of these.  But here I am; still.  My Savior never left, encouraging me with the words of kind people, doctors, cards & visits.

Jesus, thank you for being present.  Forgive my anger and frustration  The enemy is hard at work, trying to get me back.  But he doesn’t know how coated in the armor of God I am, that my soul is filled with light, joy and grace.  Genesis 3:1-8 I too, hid from God while the pieces of evil were coming together.  It is not MY battle to win, it is Yours.  You are already there.  I know this lesson, but have chosen not to see.  Choosing to skip church or several mornings of devotions, gives the devil an inch.  Keep me close Lord, remind me what being lax does to the human spirit.

I am covered by the Armor of God:

  1. Belt of truth
  2. Helmet of salvation
  3. Towering shield of faith
  4. Mighty sword of the spirit
  5. The breastplate of righteousness

I feel peace in my spirit.  Each day is a gift.  So much came from cancer, the times I felt lonely, Jesus drew closer. 

 

 

Pieces of Communion

The Catholic church honors communion as a very sacred act.  It is Jesus you are meeting.

The bread; his body and the wine;  his blood.  It is experiencing Jesus in the highest form.  He is inviting you to encounter Him.  Wow!!!  Powerful!!!

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While the Catholic faith refers to communion as the Eucharist, it is shared by the faiths of many.  Coming forward to receive Jesus in His most Holy form.

As a confirmed Lutheran, former Unitarian Universalist and Episcopalian, I see the breaking of bread as a communal custom, not always religious, but to share together as community.

As a very new Catholic convert, I am deeply blessed by the Eucharist.  I have never felt as close to the human person, called Jesus, that walked the earth for 33 years as I have when holding out  my hands and receiving the wafer.

Have your experiences with communion changed during the years of your life?  Do you find it more or less inspiring?  Have you been moved by the experiences of this closeness?  Has the experience become extraordinary?  I encourage you to comment on this post, I’d be interested to read your thoughts.

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Palm Sunday Pieces

You can probably visualize it from your childhood religious teachings.  Jesus on a donkey, people waving palm fronds.  Do you know the whole story?

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Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing full well that this trip would end in his sacrificial death for the sin of humanity.

He sent two disciples ahead to the village of Bethphage, about a mile away from the city at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He told them to look for a donkey tied by a house, with its unbroken colt next to it. Jesus instructed the disciples to tell the owners of the animal that “The Lord has need of it.” (Luke 19:31, ESV)

The men found the donkey, brought it and its colt to Jesus, and placed their cloaks on the colt. Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In his path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air.

Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:9, ESV)

By that time the commotion was spreading through the entire city. Many of the Galilean disciples had earlier seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Undoubtedly they were spreading the news of that astonishing miracle.

The Pharisees, who were jealous of Jesus and afraid of the Romans, said: “‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples.’ He answered, ‘I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'” (Luke 19:39-40, ESV)

Credit: https://www.thoughtco.com/palm-sunday-story-700203

Pieces of Exhilaration

It’s hard to find hysterical joy in life.  Especially in the world in which we live.  I’ve always been a “see the sunshine in the clouds” kind of person.  I hope my positivity is contagious!  Today at a Lent study, in all the exhilaration I could muster, I lifted my hands and said:  “I’m jacked up on faith.”  The room roared with laughter, I knew they were laughing with me and not at me, but it was a bit startling; I was simply sharing how on fire I was for Jesus.

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I think we need to experience these moments more often.  Either we need to say something mind-blowing that moves the room, or we need to be on the receiving end of it.  Laughter and humanness is good for the soul!  It reminds us; particularly in regards to our faith, that the world needs to see more of Jesus — in us!

Become exhilarated for Jesus! 

 

Pieces of Change

I have never considered myself a particular religion.  I was baptized and confirmed “Lutheran,” but haven’t attended a Lutheran church in 40 years! Spent four years with the Unitarian Universalist church, meeting amazing people who challenged my beliefs.  Met a new friend who invited me to her church; Episcopalian, new to me, but also similar to the Catholic churches that I had explored, including retreat for more than fifteen years.  Seems that maybe I was heading the way of Catholicism, but never felt the draw to convert and join.  UNTIL NOW.

I’m on a new journey; again.  Thank goodness that God honors and encourages the soul to seek.  At least, that’s what I believe.

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So once again I put my thinking cap and glasses on, looking toward a new future, one that saves my soul, captures my spirit, embraces my faith and brings me closer to home.  Amen.

Pieces of Friendship

Jesus was friends with many people and in our quest to be more like Him, we share our life with friends also.

There are many variations of the bible; versions such as King James or the Living Bible, Good News, etc., but until today I had never heard of The Message.  I love how it breaks down these verses in Job 29:3-5

Job now resumed his response: “Oh, how I long for the good old days, when God took such very good care of me. He always held a lamp before me and I walked through the dark by its light. Oh, how I miss those golden years when God’s friendship graced my home, When the Mighty One was still by my side and my children were all around me, When everything was going my way, and nothing seemed too difficult.

What a beautiful definition of friendship with God. 

Today I spoke with a friend who is a snowbird in Texas.  We try and talk  once a week now, but oftentimes it’s less often.  I miss seeing her whenever I want, but I know she is just a call away.

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Maybe we feel that way sometimes with God.  We haven’t been studying His word, or spending time in prayer, worship or in solitude.  He too, is just a call away, He is always here, we just have to ask, cry out or pray.  Sometimes all three!

May you be blessed this week, finding time with a good friend and with the best friend; Jesus.