Author Archives: Mary Ann

Temptation

This is my temptation: to let the violence, tragedies, and selfishness in the world frighten me so that I forget my birthright as a beloved child of God and become distracted from participating in God’s work of reconciliation, forgiveness, and compassion. I am tempted to believe my small efforts to pray, be kind, and comfort the suffering are not a part of the solution to the world’s problems.

Along with the wild beasts and demons in my desert today, there are also angels to care for me. I need not make an idol of fear. I am reassured that I have a part to play in making God’s vision of love and unity a reality.

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. Mark 1:12

Clean and whole

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Jesus heals a leper
Pen and ink drawing, c. 1650-1655
Amsterdam, Rijksprentenkabinet

So much conspires to tell me I am an outcast in this society: unemployment, chronic headaches, overwhelming fatigue, and the ever-accelerating pace and stress of modern life when what I crave is time—time to go slowly, to rest, listen, and discern God’s will for me.

When I become aware that I am feeling ashamed of who I am, I pray to be reunited with the unconditional love and compassion that is my birthright. The Lord is always willing to touch me and make me whole again.

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”

Helped up

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
Christ Healing Peter’s Mother-in-Law
pen and wash, circa 1650-1660

Jesus is always at home to those who need healing. He enters our personal space to touch us, make us whole, and help us get back on our feet so that we may continue to use our gifts and talents to serve others.

May I be willing to show up at the Lord’s door to ask for his grace and guidance. May I invite him to enter my mind, heart, and soul.

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John… When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. Mark 1:29, 32-33

Fishing for the Lord

Commitment. Endurance. Diligence. Exertion. Risk.

Fishing is hard, humbling, day-by-day work.

Trust. Our efforts to love and serve the Lord and each other provide life-giving nourishment for our families, our communities, and our world.

As [Jesus] passed by the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting their nets into the sea; they were fishermen. Jesus said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Then they abandoned their nets and followed him. Mark 1:16-18

At home

With deepest reverence, we recognize each other as a holy home where God’s Holy Spirit—a harmonious presence of love, wisdom, and guidance—dwells.

We live entwined with God’s healing Spirit. We do not fear loneliness.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? 1 Corinthians 6:19

The mystery made known

And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. Matthew 2:9b

Those who have made the trek, followed the star, and encountered the Christ teach me that the power and light of love can never be fully obscured. May their example renew my faith when it is clouded by pain, depression, or grief, and rekindle my hope when it is diminished by disappointment, disillusionment, or discouragement.