We have moved into the new school year with all its possibilities. We may also feel a little nostalgia for years past. We often remember the past as simpler, easier – even if it wasn’t that simple. We know that life unfolds in relative time. Years fly by, and sometimes we feel “the day will never end.” With new challenges, what’s familiar gives way to uncertainty. Our experience beckons us to move forward; in this way, we test ourselves and deepen our experience of life – realizing who we are becoming. I believe we find God’s Spirit in our longing to grow – grace at work in our lives.
Jena Muhr ponders a lesson in forgiveness sparked when her little girl fixed a broken statue with loving care. My oldest recently turned 6 years old, and she has been trying to be extra helpful around the house. She enjoys helping vacuum, dust, and clean windows—but only on her timeline. I am always thankful to have a helper around the house, even if it takes three times as long to get the job done.
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Last week on Monday, the staff at the Father Peyton Center organized and celebrated a small and beautiful surprise birthday party for me. We were all together in the same space. It was a wonderful time—there was cake, donuts, and drinks; everyone was relaxing and laughing. In addition, I got all sorts of messages from around the world. The online East African Catholic community overdid itself with beautiful graphics and messages! In celebrating birthdays, we offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for the gift of the life of the person whose birthday we celebrate. We are telling God that we don't take the gift of the life of that person lightly. We are telling God that we are grateful for the gift of that life, and we deeply value it.
When my father-in-law retired, he spent considerable time in his basement workshop. He became a skilled woodworker, crafting many projects that he generously gifted to family members. Some of his most delightful endeavors were wooden toys for his grandchildren – a cradle, trucks, planes, cars, a dollhouse, a toy train, boats, and many more. His great-grandchildren now enjoy the toys; they keep them in the box he also made. Things we treasure have a way of enduring.
Around here, we are in the latter days of summer, and the garden flowers are in full bloom. We have tended the garden with weeding, feeding, and watering; it has been a dry summer. Taking care to sustain the growth has yielded vibrant blossoms.
“Do you believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree?” (Under the fig tree is code for learning to know God and His ways in the scriptures.) Nathanael is flabbergasted and wide-eyed in surprise at what Jesus has disclosed about him. “You will see greater things than this. You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”