The Annunciation ~ Transferred

The Feast of the Annunciation is traditionally celebrated every year on March 25th. But this year it has been bumped off the liturgical calendar by the already expanded Celebration of Palm Sunday and Passion Sunday combined.

What to do?  What to do?

I decided to Celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation by reflecting on my favorite image that was painted by the artist Henry Ossawa Tanner in 1898.  Tanner was influenced by the time he spent in the Holy Land and seeing first hand the places where many biblical stories actually took place.

I have altered Tanner’s painting to include what I think may have been close to the vision of what Mary saw in her future during her encounter with the Angel Gabriel.  She saw herself as the Mother of Jesus…who would be born from her womb nine months later in a town called Bethlehem.

When I saw this “life size” painting of the Annunciation at the Philadelphia Art Museum a few years ago, I was inspired to reflect on what God was calling me to do with my life, and how I might respond.  Every year, on March 25th, I put myself in the place of Mary in this painting and ask: “God, what would you have me to do during this next stage of my life.”  And then I get a glimpse…just a glimpse…of what that might be.  Perhaps you might want to do the same.

In closing, I share with you this poem/prayer by Julie Parker:

May Light touch that place where you fear to go…

May Love embrace what you don’t yet know.

May you hear the call of your Soul’s sacred song.

May you come home to yourself, its where you belong…

(Image of Mary holding Jesus is a statue entitled “Lady of the Vineyard” in the Beguinage, The Community of the Vineyard, in Brugge, Belgium.)

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Half-Way Through Lent

img_6970Yesterday marked the half-way point of Lent.  I started out pretty good, but got lax after the first two weeks.  Kind of felt like making New Year’s Resolutions and only keeping them until the end of January at best.

Still wondering, after all these years, how to make real progress on keeping up with commitments to myself.  I seem to do ok with following through on my promises to others, but have a much harder time sticking to the resolutions that involve changing me!

Do others have that problem?  Would love to hear from you about your successes, failures, or even half measures.  Need some inspiration.

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This February 14th is Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day

I don’t remember a year that Ash Wednesday fell on Feb. 14th which is Valentine’s Day.  Not quite sure how to celebrate/observe those two very different occasions this coming week.

Usually on Ash Wednesday, I try to fast and abstain from meat…and to begin a spiritual practice that I will follow for the next Forty Days of Lent.  This year I decided to practice a friend’s tradition of filling up 40 bags of things that I want to discard, pass along or donate to charity.  This will take some discipline as every day I will start out with a different area of my house that I want to de-clutter.  Hopefully, by the time Holy Week and Easter roll around, I will have made good on this promise to myself to do this.

For the last few years on Valentine’s Day, Ted has made a lovely lobster dinner complete with a champagne toast and perhaps even a chocolate treat for dessert.  That tradition seems a little decadent for Ash Wednesda, but at least it would be a “meatless meal.”  We often watch a romantic movie or perhaps play some favorite cd’s full of love songs.  That seems quite the opposite of going to church for the imposition of ashes and pondering our mortality.

Perhaps one way to observe both Ash Wednesday and Valentine’s Day this Wednesday would be to spend the morning and early afternoon focusing on the start of Lent, the penitential season of the church…and then to switch gears around dinnertime to focus on love and romance, the themes of Valentine’s Day.  I really don’t think God would mind such a creative way to spend February 14th this year.  What do you think?

PS. Just learned that the last time Valentine’s Day and Ash Wednesday was the year I was born…1945💖

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Words Matter

Words Do Matter.  That is why I am so furious over President Trump’s use of the word “Shithole” when describing certain countries in Central America and Africa.

Two questions:

  1. Why does Trump use derogatory words to describe other human beings, organizations that he doesn’t like, and now foreign countries?
  2. Why do Republicans and Trump supporters put up with this behavior?

I am worried about what this is saying to our children.  Will they think this behavior is OK?

I am embarrassed that people around the world, including foreign leaders, see Trump’s behavior as a sign of moral and ethical decay in America.

Yet, I try to remain hopeful that once the Trump train jumps the tracks, that good people will rise up and right our ship of state.  I tell myself that it is only a matter of time, but it is so hard to sit by and watch the train wreck happen.

What words are you using to describe the situation that our country is in?  And are you hopeful that it won’t be too long until words matter once again?

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I still give a darn!

I know it’s been ages since I have written a blog. Now that we are into the new year, it’s time for me to get back to writing “everyday blessings plus.”

We have been going through a cold snap here in Florida, and last night I wore my favorite “sleep socks” to keep me warm. When I woke up this morning, I noticed that they were a little worse for wear. They were actually “holey.”

Got out my darning spool/egg…and along with needle and thread, I managed to darn my socks to extend their life.

Wish it was that easy to fix other things that need mending in our world. I will do my best to seek out local opportunities to make this world a better place…because I still give a darn!

Happy New Year!

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Why are Women who speak Truth to Power called “Nasty”?

This morning I woke up to the news that President Trump called the Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico “nasty.”  This does not surprise me because he has no tolerance for powerful women who speak their mind, especially when it involves his ego.  And believe me, Trump’s ego is bruised this week…even more than normal…after his Health and Human Services Cabinet Secretary had to resign in disgrace because of abuse of power.

Yesterday, as I watched the CNN interview  with Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, I realized that she was being goaded into speaking the truth to power.  The reporter asked the major if she had heard that Trump’s acting Homeland Security Director (also a woman) remarked that what was happening in Puerto Rico was a “good news story.”

Mayor Yulin Cruz just stared at the camera for a few seconds.  I felt that I could read her mind.  Do I tell the truth or do I hold back and hope that Trump will send the help that my people need right now?  She opted for the truth.

She made a few remarks and then said: “Damn it, this is not a good news story.  This is a people are dying story.”

Her people lacked housing because their homes were either damaged or destroyed.  Their hurricane supplies such as food and water were running out and could not be replaced as stores and businesses were shut down or not able to be restocked.  Medical care was in short supply as hospitals were damaged, and those still up and running depended on receiving more fuel for their generators.  Diabetics who relied on refrigerated insulin and kidney patients who needed dialysis were going without the treatments that were keeping them alive.

Bridges had been washed away and roads were blocked by fallen trees.  Fuel was in short supply to run generators or drive cars and trucks across the now dangerous roads.

Hampering emergency responders were two things: 1) lack of communication because cell towers were down, and 2) electric power had been knocked out across the country.

And this morning Trump responded like a bully as he tweeted from his golf course in New Jersey.  I will not repeat his comments except to say that they were unpresidential.

How long, O Lord, do we have to suffer his disparaging remarks?  When will the GOP establishment say “enough already”?

And when will women who speak truth to power be applauded rather than put down. It will happen when the general public rises up and says enough…”Enough!”

 

 

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