Guilty or Not Guilty

Wrestling-with-God

By Tom White

The incredible span of time we witness and measured in our heavens, in our literature and in our amazing minds is breathtaking to say the least. Within all that we encounter, we are often left with the humbling view of own place in the timeline. We also are left to consider that someone much more powerful than us began “it,” sustains “it” and holds power over “it.”

It’s that same power many of us have been led not simply to respect, but deep down inside our very being, fear. Perhaps terror is a better word for some of us. “It,” we are told, is so incomprehensible that it is beyond being a mystery. It is, OMG, huge and, well, so powerful!

God began everything and everyone, and holds power over all creation. I remember being taught early in life that maybe I should consider this: If God forgets you for even a brief moment, you will cease to exist. For a period of time, my nightly prayer was very focused: God, please do not forget. This was fear beyond words. (Read More Here)

The Passing

Charleston_GraveBy Tom White

Many of us fear silence. No, it actually terrifies us! We are more comfortable trying to manage a tsunami of sounds than we are of embracing no sound at all. Perhaps this is no truer than when we must meet death and dying.

Hospice care is a term often associated with an almost reverent, and certainly gentle, extension of mercy to those judged to be near death. Peaceful and prayerful are common descriptions for the “environment” of hospice care. Somehow, we feel better when we have helped our loved one to be in embraced by this new womb.

Physicians of many descriptions have told us that quiet can be the best medicine when someone is ill. “They” will get better sooner when it is quiet; “they” will be able to calm themselves so the body can do what it is designed to do; “they” don’t feel like company anyway. These physicians implore us with lack of sight and sound to make their case for properly treating illness. This is the tsunami of sound we try and manage. We seem to prefer it to silence.  [READ MORE].

Hearing

Hearing 1Prisons of any kind are not for the faint of heart, regardless if you are an inmate, resident, family member, victim, survivor or staff. It takes amazing strength, physical and mental, to simply endure to the next day. Some wonder how they do it. Sadly, some do not.

The Kansas Department of Corrections, not unlike many departments throughout the country, provides the physical and psychological evaluation of the convicted felons. The process of evaluation results in, among other determinations, choosing the appropriate facility for the inmate. The security those in the institution as well as the inmate being evaluated is top-of-mind.

God and/or religion and the part they may play in the inmate’s life become a factor of the psychological evaluation.  As with any of us, the perceived roles are many and varied: punishing, forgiving, gentle, loving, judging, powerful, etc. If God plays a role, that role may very well help determine the depths of remorse, responsibility, guilt, love and even the hope of rehabilitation.

I was privileged to be part of such a team some years ago. Read More Here…

The Physician

Physician1At some point in our lives, you and I have likely been called to wipe a nose, change a diaper, hug and sooth, or apply ointment in order to help a child calm down in the midst of their distress. Or was it to calm US down?

Additionally, we probably have been asked to wipe a nose, change a diaper, embrace and massage or apply ointment to bring a little comfort to a friend, spouse, partner or parent. Or was it to comfort US?

When we are at our best as people, often we find our hearts moved while witnessing someone in need, someone who needs US. God has blessed us with gifts we did not realize are in our possession.  While caring for others, we purposely lose sight of our own needs—amazing what we are capable of when this happens!

There is such inner joy in charging ourselves to discern ways to bring comfort to someone who may have greater challenges than expected. Innately our hearts call out for us to extend a helping hand: a hand up, a hand of friendship, a hand of blessing, a healing hand.

Then there are days when WE may struggle with something as simple as the light of dawn or as complex as how to go on living another day. We struggle with the pressures of family, work, career, finances or relationships. Any meaning in our lives is not unclear, it is just not anywhere in sight. Why are we even here? We find that our own hearts are calling out for someone to extend us a helping hand: a hand up, a hand of friendship, a hand of blessing, a healing hand. We may wonder if God loves us, if anyone loves us.

In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, we are called upon to VISIT THE SICK. The Pope asks us to open our hearts and minds to those around us and extend a helping hand. Some interpret this to mean allow the healers in our midst, our pilgrim physicians, to apply the ointment, the balm of kindness as well as the massage, and the caress of the hand of God to comfort US on the journey, those next to us and those on the margins. But what about the things we do in our lives on a daily or weekly basis, often without even thinking twice?

bnwpix.com-medium-vivitar-last-station-nursing-homeEach one of us is, in fact, encompasses the pilgrim physician in our personal, daily care of family and friends. Within our church, parish ministries visit the sick in our hospitals, our nursing homes and our homebound. This calling, however, can extend beyond just visiting the sick. We are grateful for those of the St. Brigid Needlework Group and St. Joseph’s Women who pray and craft knitted and sewn gifts of comfort to those who are ill. These ministries welcome any who wish to share these talents.

Wherever we are in life, chances are this call to mercy is already instilled within our lifestyle. We are giving and receiving the helping hand.