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The Path to Life

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“Lord you will show us the path of life.” This is the official refrain of today’s Psalm. It might be slightly different than what was sung, but if you look up the readings for today, this is what you will find. And what a beautiful, necessary refrain of hope we are given today!

The world is in trouble. We are all faced with struggle we could not have imagined. Jobs have been lost. Healthcare coverage lost. People are sick. Many have died. We are all going stir crazy stuck in our homes, ready for life to “return to normal.” We want, oh Lord, that sense of security and ease we had before the pandemic. We want to embrace our loved ones. But we are trapped in a cycle of insecurity and instability as the world battles to understand the nature of this virus and how best to respond.

But the Psalm today reminds us that our security is not in the world. Our security is in God. Lord, YOU will show us the path of life, not money, not prestige, not a bolstered economy or a miracle cure (important though those are). You, God, and only you are our security. You alone give us stability and peace.

The Psalmist goes on to say: “I bless the Lord who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the Lord ever before me; with him at my right hand, I shall not be disturbed.”

In this time of great trial, suffering, and inconvenience, let us turn to the Lord as our only refuge. Let this time of instability remind us that God alone is our rock. With him fighting at our side, nothing can overtake us.

To Be Salt of the Earth

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“You are the salt of the earth.”

In today’s gospel Jesus tells us this very catchy and familiar phrase. It is also the motto of St. Francis de Sales Seminary, except they use the Latin, “vos estis sal terrae”. Sounds very inspirational. I must tell you, though, I don’t quite know what it means to be “the salt of the earth”. 

To be the salt, does it mean to be one of the people? For us priests, maybe it is a warning to maintain humility and not forget we are sinners like everyone else. My wife had that assignment  when I was a physician. When she noticed I was thinking too highly of myself she would remind me, we all put our pants on one leg at a time. I was never quite sure what that meant, but I listened. 

Maybe to be salt means that we, through our lives, are to be the flavor of humanity? We are to lead joy filled lives of service and thereby flavor the lives of those we meet. Through our relationship with Jesus, through our understanding of salvation in the midst of suffering, we can offer others a means of savoring life. 

I also cannot help but think of a common modern use of salt, especially at this time of year…to melt ice. Being the salt of the earth, we could melt the ice of anger and hate. As the salt, we can give traction to those whose ways are slippery and prone towards falling. As the salt, we can provide a safe path to God and home.

Now that I think about it, maybe I do know what it means to be the salt of the earth.

Habits

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Habits. We all have them. Some are good for us and some are not so good for us. One habit that I have is to start my day with three things.

The first is my daily prayer. I have a routine to my prayer that is rooted in a prayer to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary. This prayer quickly transitions into the Act of Consecration to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal. The third component is an informal prayer to our Lord to lift up my “big asks”.

The second part of my morning routine is to read the daily meditation from Thirsting For God: Daily Meditations of Mother Teresa edited by Angelo D. Scolozzi. I often dog-ear the pages of “the good ones”. It is fun to come upon these dog-eared pages a year later and wonder what inspired me to dog ear it.

The third component is to read my daily reflection and prayer from The Catholic Mom’s Desk Calendar by Lisa M. Hendey. This waits for me in the kitchen. I read it while I am waiting for my daily dose of coffee to finish brewing.

If I don’t accomplish these three things before leaving the house, I feel like I am missing something. It is in sharing this habit of mine, that I share the meditation from St. Teresa, as noted on October 22, which inspired my writing today. “To almighty God, the smallest action given to him is great. But for us, we always measure how much we did, for how long. For God, there is no time. What should be important to us is how much love we put into the giving.” All in all this habit of mine to start the day takes all of 10 minutes,
sometimes 15 if something is weighing on me. It is amazing how small of a thing can have such an impact on my relationship with God and others. This habit brings me to peace. It brings me to hope. It brings me to a better version of myself.

What habits do you have? Are you looking to start a new one? I am happy to share my resources any time. I’d love to hear about some of yours.

Posted by Jill Fischer with 1 Comments

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