by Sister Elise Cholewinski
A couple of years ago my spiritual director gave me some
personal advice. She suggested that I find a small object and
carry it in my pocket, and that whenever I felt challenged or
disturbed, I reach into my pocket and hold that object, regaining
my focus and becoming centered again. Later, after searching
through my desk and dresser, I found a little red glass heart, and
I've carried it with me much of the time since then. It does
remind me of who I am and what I am called to do.
In the first reading for this Sunday's liturgy, and in the Gospel as well, we hear how we are called to love the Lord our God with our entire being. The Jewish people had a way of continually remembering that call. On the wall at the entrance of their homes they placed a little wooden box called a mezzuzah. Inside the box was a scroll containing the words from today's reading from the Book of Deuteronomy:
Every time the people entered or left the house they were to touch the box and recite those words. If they didn't have the words memorized, they were to open the box, remove the scroll, and read the words. Can you imagine how many times Jesus had recited those words by the time He reached adulthood! Do you think those words made an impression on Him?
Whether it's an object in the pocket or a paper in a box, having something to hold or touch can be a constant reminder of the purpose of our lives, namely, to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. As we hold that sacred object, we can become aware of how we, too, have been held in the palm of God's hand; we are never forgotten. For we have the capacity to love greatly and even heroically only because God has first loved us.
by Sister Laura Zelten
Faith and belief are hard to put into words or images. We believe (know) it is there, a part of our everyday existence. But how do we know? Because we trust in God's love.
At times it is easy to believe and trust. At other times it is difficult to find God in our human understanding. One of those times was when I accompanied a family at the birth of their stillborn daughter. The young couple was filled with confusion, sorrow and deep grief as they held their very perfect looking baby girl. They could not understand why God would call her home before her life began here on earth.
My understanding was her mission was complete. She has touched so many lives in such a profound way - even though she never saw the light of day or spoke a word. This tiny angel had people praying fervently; family began to minister to one another; friends came to support and hold those who were deeply grieving their loss.
At this moment in time we all needed to lean on our faith and belief that God was present and this child was now in heaven.
Elise, I love your reflection. Thanks for reminding me of the importance to remain focused and centered on Jesus.
Ever since being fortunate enough to visit Jerusalem I've been considering buying a mezzuzah for my house and office. Would Jewish people find that offensive or would it be ok?