Like the rich man?

Gustave Doré, 1832-1883 The parable of the rich man and Lazarus, from the Gospel of Luke 1891

Gustave Doré (1832-1883)
The parable of the rich man and Lazarus, from the Gospel of Luke
Print, 1891

How am I different from the rich man? Do I notice the people around me? Am I attuned to others’ suffering? Do I make an effort to assuage the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual distress of those in need? Am I tormented by my lack of compassion and indifference towards refugees, drug addicts, alcoholics, the unemployed, and victims of human trafficking?

Today I will pay attention to the people I encounter and give help wherever—and as generously as—possible.

[Jesus said to the Pharisees:] “Abraham replied, ‘My child, remember that you received what was good during your lifetime
while Lazarus likewise received what was bad; but now he is comforted here, whereas you are tormented.'” Luke16:25

 

Very small matters

Притча о неверном управителе. 2012 г. Холст, масло. 80×70. Художник А.Н. Миронов Parable of the Unjust Steward‎. 2012. Canvas, oil. 80 x 70. Artist A.N. Mironov

Притча о неверном управителе. 2012 г.
Холст, масло. 80×70.
Художник А.Н. Миронов
Parable of the Unjust Steward‎. 2012.
Canvas, oil. 80 x 70.
Artist A.N. Mironov

Today I am practicing trustworthiness in very small matters. I said my morning prayers, fed the cats, made the bed, ate breakfast, cleaned the cat boxes, and hung the laundry on the line. I washed the dishes, emptied the garbage, took a walk, wrote in my journal, and wrote a birthday note to my aunt, who turns eighty-seven this week.

These simple activities—along with others—will add up to be my day. They don’t seem to be worth very much, but this morning I asked God to show me what to do and how to do it. This seems to be what God is showing me: to take responsibility for this tiny corner of the world that is mine—and to do it with love.

“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.”
Luke 16:10

Welcome home

James. B. Janknegt 2 Sons Oil on canvas

James. B. Janknegt     2 Sons     Oil on canvas

How good it feels when someone is is keeping an eye out for my arrival and is happy to see me. A warm welcome is one of the best gifts there is.

Sometimes I feel I have wandered far from the love and serenity God offers me. Anxiety, financial worries, and illness can contrive to make me self-centered instead of God-centered. When I become aware of the spiritual starvation my self-absorption has caused, I take comfort in knowing God, the Master of Compassion, has been looking out for me and is here to welcome me home.

“While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion.” Luke 15:20b

Today’s cross

Ruizanglada (1929-2001) Agnus Dei - Serie Negra, 1995 Expuesto en la 1ª Feria de Arte Contemporáneo de San Sebastián Donostiartean 7-11 agosto 2014.

Ruizanglada (1929-2001)
Agnus Dei – Serie Negra, 1995
Expuesto en la 1ª Feria de Arte Contemporáneo de San Sebastián Donostiartean 7-11 agosto 2014.

Today’s cross is heavy and I am struggling to carry it. Sometimes I wish someone else would take on the burden, but I know I am responsible and accountable for how I respond to life with its challenges, adventures,  mishaps—and pleasures and blessings.

There are kind and compassionate people who are willing to walk with me as I limp along with my cross. Their love, good humor, patience, and companionship give me the encouragement I need to keep going.

And when there are no people to walk with, I know the Lord is there: behind, before, and beside me.

[Jesus addressed the crowds,] “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

Humble of heart

Leopold Müller [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

MORNING PRAYER
Leopold Müller [CC BY-SA 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

To humble myself is to let go of my need to be right and have all the answers. It is to be teachable. It is to see myself as I really am in relationship to God: a small, imperfect, wounded human person in need of love, guidance, and mercy.

[Jesus said,] “For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:11

Widen the gate

TianChang_GateIn every corner of the world, people love and serve God and their neighbor each day. I don’t know all of them—how could I? only God does. But I do know their faith, humility, compassion, generosity, and respect for all human life widens the narrow gate and makes it easier for me to follow where they lead.

[Jesus answered them,] “And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.” Luke 13:29