What is your life water?

On my way out of a local store, I noticed a bottle of water labeled “Life Water.”  Just coming off a three day Triduum celebration, songs about water were still buzzing in my head.  In Isaiah 55, we heard proclaimed, “Thus says the LORD:  All you who are thirsty, come to the water!”

What is your life water?  What brings you sustenance?  This morning, I once again realize that for me, family, faith and friends are my life water.  People and moments sustain me, enliven me, and challenge me to grow.

In the Easter Vigil readings, we witnessed God’s great love for all of us in Genesis, the saving of the Israelites in Exodus, the promise of living water in Isaiah, and the reminder of our own Baptism and share in the Resurrection in Paul’s Letter to the Romans.

Life isn’t always easy and rarely predictable.  Our days are filled with both joy and sorrow.  Much like the last three days of the Easter Triduum, we have moments of uncertainty, anguish, disbelief and pure joy and wonder.  We welcome little ones into the world and pray our goodbyes for those who depart all too soon.  We get through it all, somehow, but not on our own and not without our living water.

Whatever your living water this Easter Season, I wish it for you in abundance.  Drink up.  Alleluia!

Holy Week and Page 138

Page 138…I don’t want to forget page 138 of Thrift Store Saints.  All during Lent I’ve blogged about this book by Jane Knuth and her encounters with people at the St. Vincent de Paul Store in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  I’ve shared some of my favorite Jane moments and have added my own two cents’ worth to the conversation.  But that was all before we reached Holy Week 2017.  I don’t know what, if anything, has changed inside of me.  I’d like to tell you I had some major conversion experience and that my heart has been opened in a new way, that I’m much more loving and caring and open to everyone.  But with only three days until the start of the Triduum, I’m pretty much the same stubborn person with a very narrow comfort zone.  With one exception…I’m drawn back to Page 138 and am using it during prayer this Holy Week.  I am hoping that the following words will lead me into deeper prayer, reflection and some sort of action:


                        “The fourth lady, the one who wants a blanket, is past

                        crying.  She doesn’t appear to care at all what happens

                        to her next.  I ask what other assistance we can offer

                        her.  ‘Nothing,’ she says.  She takes the clothing and the

                        blanket, politely thanks me, and leaves the store with the

                        same blank expression she came in with. 

                        It is not a good thing when someone is so easily helped. 

                        It is not good when the poor are silent.  It is her face that

                        haunts me at night, hers that I remember. 

                        Slowly, I am beginning to realize that I prefer tears to

                        resignation.  I prefer shouting, anger, and bitterness to a

                        courteous hopelessness.  I would rather deal with some-

                        one’s mess than with their silence, because there is no

                        way to clean up silence.”

Wishing you a blessed Holy Week, friends.  Please feel free to share your thoughts and to share this blog.  And maybe share your copy of Thrift Store Saints with a friend.  Be sure to point out Page 138!

There But For the Grace of God Go I

How’s your Lent going?  Did you read Thrift Store Saints by Jane Knuth?  If so, this week’s blog was inspired by Jane’s realization in Chapter 15 that “God doesn’t distinguish between us, rich or poor, French or American, socialist or capitalist.  All are his rich people and all are his poor people.”

Even if you haven’t read Thrift Store Saints, I don’t have to tell you about the struggle many people face when encountering a panhandler on the street.  Time and again, people will say, “If I give him/her money, how do I know they are not going to use it to buy alcohol/drugs/cigarettes?”  Another frequent comment is, “How do I know they are REALLY poor and not just scamming me?”

Jane’s Chapter 15 forces me to look at my own interactions with people in need.  Am I turning a blind eye to the man or woman on the corner holding a cardboard sign?  While it’s naïve of me to think I can help everybody, am I doing what I can, to borrow a phrase from Pope Francis, to encounter Christ in everyone I meet?  Can I look people in the eye instead of averting my gaze?  Can I let the person know he or she is not invisible?

In Luke 10: 25-37, Jesus uses the parable of The Good Samaritan to address the age-old question of who is my neighbor. A total stranger helps a man in need without questioning social norms or practicality.  Would I be willing to do the same?  The honest answer is some days I do better than others, but I hope my heart is leading me in the right direction.  There but for the grace of God go I…