Sébastien Dusart L’Enfant prodigue, de Félix Desruelles, Valenciennes (1899)
There is so much unsaid in the story of the father and his two sons. Why was the younger son so eager to get away from home, but expecting his father’s wealth to support him? Why did the father let him go without any lessons in money management? Was the younger son repentant or an opportunist? Would the warm and forgiving welcome of his father change him for the better?
Why did the older son let resentment about how his father treated him build ? Was it loyalty and custom that made him stay working for someone he resented? What was the real core of the anger he felt towards his brother?
Why hadn’t the father told the older son that everything of his belonged to him? Was the father generous or withholding?
Human relationships thrive on respectful, compassionate communication. We can never know the motives or thoughts of others unless we ask. We can never know our own motives until we take the time to examine our thoughts, behaviors, and actions in humility.
Today I will pray for enlightenment about how I relate with others. I will risk being vulnerable by communicating my thoughts and feelings with someone trustworthy.
Ion Chibzii “Grief” (70th years) 12 June 2011, 20:50
In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge. Psalm 90:1
We carry a cross of grief throughout our lives. To live with our grief requires courage and compassion. When we accept the moments of anger, resentment, finger-pointing, forcing solutions, and depression as symptoms, we dare to identify the source of our grief: the death of loved ones, disillusionment with government, church, and community leaders, being the target of prejudice, racism, violence, and injustice, illness, loss of employment and income, the frailties that come with aging, unfulfilled dreams. Grief challenges us every day, individually and collectively.
Lord, help me identify the source of the grief in my life. Grace me with the courage to be honest about my emotions and accountable for them. Shelter me with your love and compassion as I grieve. Bless me with great compassion for all who grieve.
Jesus said to his disciples: “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!” Luke 12:49-50
Like the Lord, we know we are waiting for things to change. We feel the stress, the sorrow, the depression, the wish to push time so that solutions emerge and are finalized.
Like the Lord, we do our best to make it through the agony of uncertainty. We wait for the graced moment when God sets our hearts on fire with love and joy, when we finally let ourselves be absorbed into God’s heart of compassion.
The Wasp, September 31, 1882 political cartoon, San Francisco, California, depicting San Francisco landlords as vampire bats squeezing the rent out of tenants, enjoying a fine meal, then being taken by death and thrown into hell.
Then [Jesus] said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Luke 12:15
When I consider my modest take-home pay and the food, rent, utilities, medical, and car expenses I have, it’s hard not to make money and things the center of my attention. Idols, in fact.
But God’s Holy Spirit — not money or things — is my source for life. Today I choose to put my trust in and my attention on God. All shall be well, however it looks right now.
James Tissot (1836-1902) Le “Pater Noster” opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper, between 1886 and 1894 Brooklyn Museum
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Luke 11:1
In humility, I acknowledge I do not know how to pray. In humility, I ask the Lord to teach me how. In humility, I let the Lord be my teacher — not only in prayer but also in love of my neighbor, my enemy, the poor, the stranger, the homeless, the prisoner.
Lord, give me the courage to be faithful to your teaching.
JESUS MAFA. Martha and Mary, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. [retrieved July 21, 2019]. Original source.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to [Jesus] and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.” Luke 10:40
I often wonder what prevented Martha from asking Mary to help her. Why did Martha speak to her sister through the Lord? Had Martha previously asked Mary for help and Mary had ignored her? What was the relationship between the two sisters?
Today I will examine my relationships and discern where and why I avoid direct communication with others.