For heaven’s sake my heart

For heavens sake my heart

In these days of social media – what I considered private, even sacred moments of love, family, passions and relationships are now thrown onto the public domain.

A man proposes to a girl with much fanfare on reality TV or in a staged drama set up for You Tube.  I am not sure who started this trend, but the first public proposal I saw was Continue reading

The regrets of love not expressed

Is there any sorrow greater than the sorrow of not having expressed your love?

The sadness that grips you when you find it is “too late.”

Too late to do the things you wanted to do …                                                                            Too late to visit now … she is not there any more.                                                                   Too late to allot time for her … You kept it too late. 

All the things that were so important to you, you had to do them “today”                             …. whilst visiting Aunty Marie could wait till tomorrow.

You can now do them for the rest of your life … no need to stop what you are doing.           …your Aunt does not need you any more.

The bag of groceries you were going to buy her …                                                             The day you were going to spend with her                                                                                           The love you were going to express …                                                                                                    … You kept it too late.

You did not even stop to think                                                                                                … a postcard will help if you cannot visit today.                                                                      …. A telephone call will be better … you can talk to her NOW.                                            TODAY ….BEFORE it is too late.

She took time and care to write to you … Did you reciprocate ..?                                You wanted to … with all your heart you want to …                                                                 but you kept it too late.    

Can you learn even now, Learn before it is too late.                                                         Get your priorities straight.                                                                                               The house, the garden, the work, the chores                                                                 All these can wait … There can always be another time for this.                                                Delays won’t cause regrets.

What causes the biggest pain and hurt                                                                      Because there will not be another time for this – EVER –                                                      Is the regret, the  pain and the sadness                                                                    of love not expressed. 

With pain in your heart you whisper and hope she can hear you.                            Aunty Marie I’m sorry.  I love you so much.  Thank you for writing to me.  Thank you for caring. Please forgive me  – my selfishness – and please know that I love you.

Your loving god daughter                                                                                       Rosanne                                                                                                                          14th July, 1999.

(True story – shared as a reminder to express your love, and do the things that really matter – before it is too late.)

At Calvary …

The years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

    • Refrain:
      Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
      Pardon there was multiplied to me;
      There my burdened soul found liberty
      At Calvary.

Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan!
Oh, the grace that brought it down to man!
Oh, the mighty gulf that God did span
At Calvary!

… I’ve found in you, My endless love

Beautiful thoughts and beautiful connection made on love that never ends

Salt of the Earth

undermarysmantledotorg endless love I’ve found in you, My Endless Love.

Today is VALENTINES Day! What a fuss we make of the day. What celebrations! What a lot we spend trying to convince someone we love them!

Have we ever stopped to think what love is all about. Is it the love of a boy for a girl? a husband for a wife? a mother for her child? a teacher for the student? a pastor for his flock. There are so many kinds of love,

The Jesuit Philosopher and Theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke of Love as the energy that moves the universe.

“Love alone can unite Living Beings so as to complete and fulfill them…..for it  alone joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.”

“Driven by the forces of love the fragments…

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Can you feel the love tonight ?

Uncannily, as I was reflecting on the Last Supper of our Lord, I heard a station playing “Can you feel the love tonight” (From the Lion King.)  Listening to the words, I thought of the love that must have been present on Jesus’ final night on earth; that (Maundy Thursday) night when he commanded his apostles to love and instituted the sacrament of Love.

The song echoes in the background – Can you feel the love tonight? How its laid to rest.  It seems so appropriate .. a love hymn of worship.

Jesus knew his life and mission will soon end. He loves his friends so dearly but the hour has come to return to His Father.  It is time to say goodbye.

It is the most momentous farewell in the history of man. God became man and dwelt among us.  And now he is leaving us.

The success of Jesus’ entire mission  could hinge on what memories, message and instructions he leaves behind.   What is the single most important instruction or act in the final hours of his life as he bids farewell to his beloved friends?

I try to imagine his feelings in that  Upper Room, to understand the extraordinary chain of events and His command  “Love one another as I have loved you”.

He has worked with these disciples, loves each in a different way . He has planned a very special ‘passover’ meal, made preparations well in advance.  It will also be his own ‘passover’.

Judas:  who he knows will betray him – yet he does not leave him out of the farewell meal. Rather, looks at him with love and understanding – “Go and do what you have to do.”

Peter:  Jesus knows that Peter is weak and cannot be relied on as a friend in times of trouble, yet He draws him close for the final hours in the garden;  looks  with compassion on his weakness.  Peter, you will deny me three times. Left unspoken – I still love you. I have still chosen you to lead my flock.

Power hungry “materialistic” apostles:  who just before the meal were arguing about who would hold the most favoured position.  Perhaps they were following Jesus for some personal benefits.  Yet He loved them and gathered them close in those final hours.

Perhaps the only ones not included in that circle of love that night were the “self righteous ones” – the Pharisees who followed the letter of the law.  All the others were there:

  • Simon the Zealot – the political agitator against Rome.
  • The tax collector who betrayed his people to the Roman authorities;
  • The apostles on the periphery , those we do not hear much about;
  • Also Thomas – the one who was forever doubting and wanting proof  – someone much like me who wants to see and touch with my own eyes and hands.

What a motley crowd Jesus chose to love and impart his mission to 🙂

How could he express his love for them before he leaves? On the morrow,  they will be confused, empty, frightened.  How could he reassure them of his continuing love? How would we react if we were with our loved ones in our final hour?

Acts of love, words of love, pour out of Him that night. Surely it should be called the night of love?

They have walked in to the party with dusty feet yet no-one volunteered to wash their feet, as traditionally done by the servant of the household.  Here is an opportunity to express love instead of bickering about prestige and position. Jesus takes up a basin and tenderly washes their feet. Then he gently advises them :

No slave is greater than his master; and no messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know this truth how happy you will be if you practice it.

 “Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.

There are other words he speaks – all of them are words of guidance, direction, comfort, hope, consolation. He can’t give them enough.  They are words spoken by someone bidding farewell.  Listen carefully :

You cannot go where I am going.  Later you will follow me. 

Do not be worried and upset. 

Believe in God and believe in me also.  

There are many rooms in my Fathers house.

But Lord – We do not know how to get there ?

I am the Way the Truth and the life.  No one goes to the Father except by me.

If you love me you will obey my commandments.

His final words all carried nuances of love. 

 Love one another as I have loved you. 

A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; It can only do so if it remains on the vine.

 My Father’s glory is shown by you bearing much fruit.

 The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them.

 You did not choose me, I chose you and appointed you to go and bear much fruit, the fruit that endures.

His prayer was filled with love.

Father I want them to be ONE JUST AS YOU AND I ARE ONE. 

 He knew it was not going to be easy and so he promised to send the Helper to stay with the.  (With us!).  And he went one step further to assure them he would not abandon them : whatever you ask of the Father in my name he will grant you.

 And he yet again entreated : Remain in me; remain in my love.

The group of twelve amazingly managed  to remain in his love; to let the world know that they were disciples of love by the love that they showed one another.  They went out from that Upper Room and changed the world with that one commandment – “Love one another as I have loved you.”

It is not easy.  It takes practice. But it has to be done.  Jesus did not issue an invitation to love.  He issued a command.  “Love as I have done.” Dying so that others might live is another consequence of following this Man who set crazy, impossible standards.

The question is : Do we follow him in this manner?

The test of discipleship is hard if not impossible.  Yet, if you ask almost anyone how to become a good pianist, seamstress, painter, or tennis player, the answer is always the same: PRACTICE!

Similarly with discipleship  We have to work at it, practice and nurture it by means of grace until we learn to love one another as he has loved us.

The ‘night of love’, and the Sacrament of Love, has made this possible.

Can you feel the love 5

Credit: picture extracted and modified from utube video link above.

Bible quotes : majority from John 13 – 17.


Letting God work on us

Prayer has far more to do with what God wants to do in us than with our trying to “reach” or “realize,” still less “entertain,” God in prayer.

This truth eliminates anxiety and concern as to the success or non-success of our prayer, for we can be quite certain that, if we want to pray and give the time to prayer, God is always successful and that is what matters.

What we think of as our search for God is, in reality, a response to the divine Lover drawing us to himself.  There is never a moment when divine Love is not at work.

This work is nothing other than a giving of the divine Self in love.

The logical consequence for us must surely be that our part is to

let ourselves be loved,
—let ourselves be given to,
let ourselves be worked upon by this great God
and made capable of total union with Him. “

This reflection extracted from Ruth Burrows Essence of Prayer  so closely resembles my Advent wish ‘Receive His Love’  from a different perspective that I thought I would share it as my Christmas post.

My wish for my Christian brothers and people of all faiths is that we will let God – whoever you conceive Him to be – to work on us this Christmas so there is peace on earth,  good will and love amongst men.

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When love cripples

Once a little boy  playing outdoors found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to ask his mother if he could keep it. She said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar and put plants to eat, and a stick to climb on, into the jar. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. Worried, the boy called his mother who understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. She explained to him how the caterpillar would go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly. chrysalys The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He waited every day for the butterfly to emerge. One day, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out it looked like it couldn’t break free!  It looked like it was making no progress! 

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He got a scissors and very carefully snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger. The butterfly quickly emerged! As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised to find it had a swollen body and small, shrivelled wings. He continued to watch it, expecting that at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would usually shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand. But neither happened! untitledinjured butterflywikicommons The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shrivelled wings. It never was able to fly…

As the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong, his mother explained to him: the butterfly was SUPPOSED TO STRUGGLE. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly. The boy’s good intentions had hurt the butterfly. “

Excessive zeal, love and care of parents for their children, spouses for each other, and elders towards children, can sadly and often cripple growth of the people they are trying to help.

Parents who fear their children will be rejected and  try to make them perfect – to ‘conform’ to peer standards – cripple a child’s ability to accept himself as he is.  He will always strive to be perfect before he can be accepted.

Jesuit Priest Anthony de Mello was very critical of the popular phrase “I’m OK, you’re OK” which sends a deep message to the subconscious that you have to be OK to be accepted.  We should rather, he suggests, keep reminding ourselves and our children “its OK to be not OK!”  

Parents who are too protective of their children and curtail their movements out of fear, send out subtle messages of doubt, timidity, lack of courage and inability to cope with dangers that may surface. Do not let fear cripple. Better rather to warn your children of these dangers, role play how to handle them and send them out with courage, hope and confidence in their ability to cope.

I know a girl who was at risk for epileptic seizures. Her parents were so scared to send her out,  she lived and died not ever leaving the confines of her home except with her mother or father.  Love and parental fear crippled her.  The words of the song by Leeanne Rhymes are a poignant reminder of “the soul so afraid of dying that it never learns to live”. 

They say “love must be tough’.  I think this means we should learn to let go and learn to love with the ‘good’ of the object of our love being the primary focus.

I know another beautiful and talented child – a slow learner in academic studies – but with sharp observation skills and with it an outstanding talent for  imitation and drama. Unfortunately, because our society believes you need the three R’s (Reading, wRiting and ‘Rithmetic)  to be a ‘whole’ person, she is considered ‘mentally challenged’,  cosseted and treated her like a five year old without realisation of how crippling this action is.  Sadly, who she is or can be is mirrored in the low expectations of people around her.  They think she can never crawl out of the cocoon alone and so she never is given the opportunity to struggle, to strengthen her latent and unique talents, and soar.

Parents,  spouses, elders … we need to keep the story of the boy and the caterpillar in mind.  Actions, albeit of love, can stifle growth;  ‘help’ can  be a hindrance to progress. Fear for safety paralyses and encourages doubts, anxiety, lack of confidence. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust God and let go.  He who takes care of the lilies of the field and the caterpillars in their cocoon will fulfil his plan for your little caterpillars,  for they are His beloved children.

May we always give our children the freedom to struggle, to take their own time to strengthen their wings, to be who they were created to be,  so they may one day soar to the heavens.