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January 2018

 THOUGHTS TO PONDER

           "All created things are living in the Hand of God.  The senses see only the action of the                                               creatures; but faith sees in everything the action of God."                                                                                                      --Jean Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751) French Jesuit, Writer/Preacher

This quote seems to echo Jesus' often repeated message, "Stay alert" (see Matthew 25:13; 26:38, 41) in different words. Clearly, both are speaking of something more. In 1995 I wrote a guided meditation that I now know was a gift from the Lord. Of all the words that comprise that meditation, I believe the following instruction [spoken by Jesus] was not only given for the meditation, but was to be a daily rule of life for me: "I want you to observe closely all that happens this day, for nothing that is said or done is without purpose." In other words, pay attention to all that is happening--everyday! God is at work and we will only be aware of His handprints and footprints in our daily lives and the world if we pay attention!

Each of our lives is affected every day by the interactions we have with each person we encounter. Never a solitary activity, each encounter is a mutual giving and receiving with the other that shapes and forms each one's mind and heart. The graces God has given collectively during the encounter continue to multiply as we each continue to share them in turn with others.

At times we may look at a situation and see it as our best-laid plans gone awry--not so! When our plans don't work out--wait . . . . God will open the door to a better one. Sometimes we may look at what seems to be an interruption, an intrusion . . . . But, if our heart is open, it may be a blessing delivered in disguise, delivered through our interaction with an unexpected visitor! That's what happened to Abraham after his own plans to accomplish God's promise that he would be the father of many nations failed! (See Genesis 18:1-15).

If these words have touched your heart, it may be worthwhile to spend some time each day considering your life and the lives you touch each day. Ask the Lord to help you see each person you encounter as He sees them. Pray for a deeper awareness of God's presence in each person, yourself, and in each moment of the day--in all that you do and say. At day's end, taking a few minutes to review the day with the Lord is most beneficial. Ask His help to "spotlight" times throughout the day when you were unaware of His presence in situations of importance and/or acting in ways that were loving/unloving to others/yourself. End this day's review with The Lord's Prayer, or another of your choosing. Following this practice regularly will helps you grow in greater awareness . . . . to "stay alert."

May God bless you abundantly with the graces of awareness, openness, and receptivity. Amen.