Reflections

Remain in Me

[Chosen Lady:]
I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth
just as we were commanded by the Father.
But now, Lady, I ask you,
not as though I were writing a new commandment
but the one we have had from the beginning:
let us love one another.
For this is love, that we walk according to his commandments;
this is the commandment, as you heard from the beginning,
in which you should walk.

Many deceivers have gone out into the world,
those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh;
such is the deceitful one and the antichrist.
Look to yourselves that you do not lose what we worked for
but may receive a full recompense.
Anyone who is so “progressive”
as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God;
whoever remains in the teaching has the Father and the Son. – 2 John 4-9

©Nissa Gadbois
Although I’m here in my little bubble, I am not unaware of the violence and upheaval going on around the country. I know about the ugliness being meted out between friends and families. 

Two salient points from yesterday’s first reading from the Mass leapt out at me. Perhaps they will speak to you as well.

First – we must love one another.  We must will the good of one another even if we don’t have affection for one another.

Second – it is not love to preach that which is outside of accepted Church teaching.  We must not modify or innovate the Gospel,we mustn’t torture it to seem to support viewpoints or behaviours that are either explicitly contradicted by scripture and/or tradition.

We must love the person.  That doesn’t mean we can’t abhor the words, thoughts, or actions of another. But always we must love.  We must take care of each other.  We mustn’t do harm in body, mind, spirit, nor to that which belongs to another person.  We defeat evil by filling that vacuum with good… with love.

Anyway, that’s what I try to teach my children. I guess that’s what you try to teach yours.  I guess that’s what nearly all of us were taught and what we want to teach.  Perhaps we could try to channel that anger, disappointment, entitlement, braggadocio into something constructive, something to build everyone up.  I wonder what that world would look like? I suspect it would look a lot like Heaven on earth.

“If we have no peace it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” – St. Teresa of Calcutta

Solitude

“I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time. To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating. I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
  – Henry David Thoreau, Walden

©Nissa Gadbois

I find I’m becoming more introverted as I get older. Friends and family, who know me well, will tell you that I am an extrovert to a power of ten.  I love people.  But more and more, I feel I need to love people quietly.  More and more, I feel I need to draw into my own small circle with those I love most and just be together.

I long for a time when I can visit long and deep with a good friend, maybe two.  I long to meet with some of the wonderful men and women that modern technology has brought into my life.  But so few.  So very few.  It seems, sadly, that the only place I can visit with those people is in a very bright, very loud café, constantly interrupted. I want to focus on the heart of my companion, to talk about meaningful things, to laugh together, or to sit in silent contemplation, joining hearts and hands, making memories that sustain us both.

I want to be far from the hubbub that is current society.  It’s all too loud, too angry, too brash, too rude.  I feel wounded and I need to make sense of it all.  Here.  In solitude.

“In order to understand the world, one has to turn away from it on occasion.” –  Albert Camus

But I leave the door open to kind-hearted friends and acquaintances who want to come to call – through this space and in real life. 

When you are feeling unworthy…

©Nissa GadboisHe remembers His promise of mercy, the promise He made to Abraham and his children forever.

And unlovable, and so very broken.  God sends His word to speak to your aching heart:

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance
or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
But you have mercy on all, because you can do all things;
and you overlook people’s sins that they may repent.
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing that you have made;
for what you hated, you would not have fashioned.
And how could a thing remain, unless you willed it;
or be preserved, had it not been called forth by you?
But you spare all things, because they are yours,
O LORD and lover of souls,
for your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore you rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing,
that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in you, O LORD! – Wisdom 11:22-12:2 (NAB)

His name is Love and Mercy and Goodness.  He calls us all to Himself, chastises justly but with gentleness.  He tenderly enfolds us in His embrace and admonishes us to do better, to try harder, to never give up.  When we fall down in the mess we have made, we must get back up, dust ourselves off, clean up that mess, and try again.  And again.  Every single day for as many days as we are granted.

Each one of us was loved into existence by Love Himself.  We are precious and worthy.  We are cherished beyond reason, and above measure.  In all our ugliness and failings as well as in our triumphs and joys.

God is good.  So very good.

 

Changing Seasons

How beautifully leaves grow old.  How full of light and color are their last days – John Burroughs

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois

©Nissa Gadbois  ©Nissa Gadbois

How wonderful it would be if we could all grow old as beautifully as the leaves do.  They seem to foretell the glory of eternity. 

We have all known an elderly person that seems to radiate joy and peace, as though they were robed in rich silks and wearing a crown.  Would that we all strive to become like them as the seasons of our own lives change. 

Perfect Timing

©Nissa Gadbois

This is the Joseph Tree.  Several years ago, we came to this place.  It was up for sale by lottery and the USDA was hosting an open house.  As we walked back from the upper field and woodland, we stopped and prayed that if it was God’s will, He would make it ours.  We returned several days later with our children and buried a statue of St. Joseph among the roots.  We were not the fortunate winners, so we carried on looking at other farms.  That search took us all over the state and as far away as Kentucky. 

But our hearts were always here. 

After a few more years of feeling like we had been wandering in the desert, we discovered that this farm might be available again.  We prayed for peace about making an inquiry.  It was a long, long process but eventually  – and on my 40th birthday – we signed the closing paperwork.  His timing was perfect.

One day, there will be a beautiful statue of St. Joseph here – above ground – evidence of his faithful prayers on our behalf, and of our gratitude for his tender care.  As difficult as these five years have been, we are filled with gratitude every morning at the enormous gift of this place; and humbled by the responsibility of stewarding for the rest of our lives.

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