Author Archives: Mary Ann

We know how

[Jesus said to them,] “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve.” Mark 10:45

Service can be as simple as lending a hand. Listening without interrupting. Smiling a welcome. Allowing someone to help. Being present to someone who is grieving. Encouraging someone in a new endeavor. Bringing an item to the food pantry. Picking up litter. Sending a note to a friend. Visiting someone who is lonely. Thanking someone for being there.

We know how to serve. The goodness and compassion in our hearts show us the way.

A kingdom of vulnerability

The wheel of wisdom, 19th C
Wellcome Library, London.

Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” Mark 10:23

When I suddenly went from having $13 in my savings account to having a lot more, I noticed I no longer felt ashamed at the bank, but stood straighter, looked the tellers in the eye, and felt more self-confident and self-reliant. This change made me wonder: Had I made money my god?

The kingdom of God is a place of vulnerability, not self-reliance. It is a place where I put my trust in the goodness of God, where I surrender my life and will to God’s gentle, compassionate care, and where I draw courage and confidence from God’s all-wise strength. The kingdom of God is where I find God’s kindness and love in the people I meet, where I offer help to those in need when I am able, and where I am not ashamed to ask for help when I am in need.

Precious innocence

Afghan children wait to receive basic medical care and clothing on Camp Clark, Khowst province, Afghanistan, Dec. 22. (Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith)

[Jesus said,] ““Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” Mark 10:14

Children are infinitely precious, innocent, and fragile. To mentor and care for children so that they maintain healthy self-esteem and develop compassion and a sense of personal responsibility is the most difficult—and rewarding—work an adult could have.

Today I will remember that children are a gift to cherish and protect. I will let the children in my life teach me to be aware of the joy of unconditional love. I will find opportunities to help children in need.

Patience, kindness, love

God Is Love
SashaLee19

The precepts of the Lord give joy to the heart. Psalm 19:9a

Patience, kindness, humility, encouragement, respect, generosity, courtesy…

When I follow God’s commandment to love, my heart knows the joy of doing God’s will as I show God to others through my words and actions.

Today I will treat myself and others with the tenderness owed to the precious children of God.

Sow peace

Tracy Hunter
Refugee Camp

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace. James 3:18

When I am at peace with myself, I am able to be of gentle, consistent, compassionate service to others.

Today I will let go of ambition and envy. I will take five minutes of quiet time to feel the peace of God in my heart. I will receive all people in the name of Love.

Messiah of love

Harry Fenn (1845-1911)
Caesarea Philippi (Banias)
Watercolor, gouache, brown ink, and graphite
on light brown wove paper
Metropolitan Museum of Art

“[Jesus] asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” Mark 8:27

He is not the Messiah of politics, power, and prestige.

He is the Messiah of compassion, comfort, and caring.

Today I will embody the love, mercy, and kindness of Jesus who reminds us we are made in the image of God’s love and goodness.

Listen and hear

Christ Healing a Deaf Man
paper, 1530
British Museum

“[Jesus] makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.” Mark 7:37

From Jesus, I am learning to listen to others with patience, kindness, and acceptance. I am learning to hear distress, anxiety, and grief behind complaints, anger, and blame. I am learning to speak words of comfort, encouragement, and healing. I am learning the healing of silence and the necessity of using appropriate words at the right moment.

Today I will take a minute to listen to my heart and hear the love of God. I will speak with compassion to myself and all those I encounter.

Clean inside and out

Jan Luyken (1649-1712)
Eating with Unwashed Hands
Phillip Medhurst Collection of Bible illustrations housed at Belgrave Hall, Leicester, England
Photo by Philip De Vere

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them,
“Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.” Mark 7:14-15

God made me in God’s own image of goodness and love. Today I will remain in God. I will refuse to be distracted and harried by the negativity, blame, manipulation, shame, and fear that bombard me from all sides. I will let my true nature of kindness, patience, encouragement, and comfort flow out of me to help heal our sorrowing world.

We will serve the Lord

Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520)
Joshua Addressing the Israelites at Shechem
black chalk, pen and brush in brown ink, heightened with white, squared, 1518
Teylers Museum

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”
Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:67-68

Who else could teach me to be love, to be compassion, to be forgiveness, to be healing except Jesus, the Master of kindness, reconciliation, and consolation?

Today I will serve the Lord by practicing what he has taught me: to love my enemies and my neighbor; to serve the poor, homeless, hungry, and ill; to comfort the frightened, distraught, and hopeless.

Magnified

James Tissot (1836-1902)
Le magnificat
gouache over graphite on gray wove paper
between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

“The Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his Name.” Luke 1:49

When I align my will with the Almighty’s, all things are possible.

Today I will ask God to show me what to do and for the grace to do it.