Saturday, April 23, 2011

Easter Joy!

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved and said, 'They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!' So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running . . . . Simon Peter saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, went inside. He saw and believed." [John 20: 1-9].

"He saw and believed." I suppose that we could argue all day long, 'What are the most important words in the Bible?'

"Seeing and believing."  Our Faith certainly begins with this. These are very important words!  And yet, oddly, what did the Other Disciple see, exactly? Nothing! Literally, the absence of our Lord! Merely the burial cloths, the indirect evidence of where Jesus had been.

There is confusion, because the disciples can barely comprehend what has just happened. Jesus is gone! Who took him away? Out of their confusion, they run around, to the tomb, away from the tomb, to tell the other disciples. Perhaps they are somewhat in a panic.

There is the fear. What is going on here? Who took Jesus away from us?

Then Faith takes over, at least in the mind of the Other Disciple. His belief was based on what he could NOT see. Faith is believing in something we cannot see!

Faith takes us out of that dark place, that time in the morning when the sky is still mostly black and we cannot see clearly around us.

Faith anchors us. We can stop racing around in our confusion. We can be still.  We can look and see. And believe.

How many times have I been lost and confused and in a dark place? How many times have I focused only on the "burial cloths" in my life: on the literal absence of comfort, teaching, wisdom, hope, love in my life.

And yet, all those things I needed have been there, just not in the place I first searched. They have not been "on the ground".

They have been up above, with Jesus. And with God. There is true joy in that!

In Colossians 3:1-4, Paul says, "Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. . . Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature."

The times I have encountered true joy, are the times I have fully experienced a Redemption. I have walked through dark places, clinging to my Faith, praying to God for help, looking up, not down.

The time I almost lost my son, only to hear the news that he would still be ours, on this earth. I cried tears of joy. I like to think that I placed this plea in God's hands and He "heard" my faith.

Or the time I was told that my husband might have terminal cancer. When the call came that all was well, I sobbed so hard, I could not speak. Total Joy!

Or the time that I almost lost my life in a violent crime. I prayed to God and miraculously I lived!

What are YOUR "burial cloths"? Pain? Loss? Despair? Confusion? Doubt? Fear? Do you wear these as your lifelong mantle? Or do you seek Joy?

I admit that often, I am weighted down by my "burial cloths". Often, it feels almost impossible to shed the pain, the despair, the fear, in the place where I dwell. But I find that if I shift my glance, the same way that the stone shifted away from Jesus' tomb, I can find my Faith again.

In my times of Faith, I can see more clearly the Redemptions in my life. Maybe your Redemptions are not as dramatic as mine. But they are there! Do you bask in the spring sunshine, or smile in delight at the flowers pushing up from the earth? Do you see the renewal of life in the sweet face of your child or grandchild? Do you revel at the hope of a second chance: a new job; or a relationship repaired?

If you find that your Redemption is lost or missing, don't wallow in your burial cloths. Look up and express your faith. See and Believe!

Faith ------>  Joy!!

Easter Joy to you all!

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

"The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace. . . They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. It was the third hour when they crucified him. At the sixth hour, darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' " [Mark 15: 16-17, 33-34]

I always wondered why we call it "Good" Friday? After all, it is the total opposite of "Good". It is the darkest day, and these are the darkest hours of our lives as Christians. Even during the crucifixion, "darkness came over the whole land", as if the whole world knew that this was the bleakest of times.

On Good Friday, I feel somber and dark. As if my best friend died. Really, it is like that, isn't it? Our Best Friend has died.

I remember I went to church services on Good Friday when I was about 14. The church was dimly lit and very quiet. There were candles at the altar. The massive cross on the altar was draped in sheer black fabric. I had entered a deathly place, a sacred funeral .

How is it that the day that Jesus died can possibly be "good"? Why?  Because, in this case, "good" means Holy. When I realized this, I had a shock of recognition. Of course, this day is Holy, because it is the day that our "Best Friend" gave to us the ultimate sacrifice, the gift of his own life.

It IS a Holy day. It is also a day full of irony. Not only do I feel sad, I feel sort of shocked and even a bit horrified. Here is Jesus, the Son of God, dressed in purple, the color of royalty. This feels right. But his crown is made of thorns, which can scratch and tear one's skin. And he is mocked and spat upon. He is hung next to two common criminals. How can the Son of God be treated so horribly?

I am deeply hurt at this mockery and at the violence of Jesus' death. The way you would feel sick at heart over the violent death of your best friend. This is how the disciples must have felt: shocked, hurt, even terrified at the anger of the crowd.

And full of doubt that anything good could ever come from this.

And especially despairing when Jesus cries out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" I have felt this way myself at times, when I am in such a dark place that I cannot possibly see how what is happening can be part of God's plan.

But it is another thing entirely when the Son of God can fall into that dark place of despair. Jesus is supposed to save US from that dark place.

And yet we see in that moment how fully human that Jesus is. He can comfort us perfectly when we enter that dark place. He does not just know of it, he has traveled through it himself. For us!

There is hope in Good Friday, though!  We know the rest of the story, the next chapter that comes with Easter and the Resurrection. This is the glorious moment that the disciples cannot yet see!

Jesus, even in my darkest hours, may I understand that you have suffered for me and that you willingly sacrificed your life for me, so that someday I may be lifted up to you!

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Palm Sunday

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, made in human form . . . he humbled himself and became obedient even to the point of death, even death upon a cross." [Phillipians 2: 5-8].

Palm Sunday appears to be so festive. We dress up for church in spring clothes, as if it is Easter already.  Parishioners gather in a great crowd, waving palm fronds, and marching from the church garden or from the parish center, into the sanctuary.

It is a parade-like atmosphere. We recall the crowds lining the road, as Jesus rode his donkey into the City of Jerusalem. There is excitement in the air, but also dread.

Palm Sunday, to me, is like watching a suspenseful film, where the hero enters a very dangerous place. We want to scream, as the plot unfolds, "DON'T go there!!" We know in our hearts what the ending will be. It will be cruel and violent and terribly sad. It will change our lives forever.

Mostly, we cannot see that this transformation can possibly bring any good.  I relate to Jesus as if I were still a child. My sweet, wistful heart does not want him to die and leave this earth. I know that the Holy Spirit is the Wise Counselor who dwells within us, in His stead. SO?! I cry, 'That's not good enough!'

Perhaps it is like going through the stages of grief. Denial = "NO! THIS cannot be!" Or, we bargain with God. "WHY, God?" Why does Jesus have to go there, to suffer? Even anger: "Who were these wrong-headed rabble rousers who could persecute our Lord?"  Or depression: We fall into a black mood, where we see no hope, no light coming from this.

Then, we know the truth. We are filled with the dread of resignation, that Jesus did have a choice. But, He went to the cross despite his free will. He was the epitome of Obedience.

Obedience. That is not a word that we hear much these days. It is old- fashioned. Even nerdy. Who leads a life so simple, so boring, that they aspire to nothing more than to follow God's plan for them?

Even more to the point, who empties himself to God's Will to such an extent that one's service is a true, even painful sacrifice?

I am not anywhere near what Christ was when He went to the cross for me! But I can recognize who I am and how I can be obedient to God's plan for me.

Who am I? First, I am a wife and mother. You could say that is one of my "callings" in life. There are so many things about being a mother that are awesome, joyous, miraculous etc. Intermingled with all that is a lot of pure drudgery: doing laundry, cooking meals, carpooling, etc.

Paul says: "Therefore, my dear friend, as you have always obeyed, continue to work out your salvation [God's plan for you], for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. . . Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God." [Phillippians 2:12-14].

It is amazing to me how, when my motherly duties become an act of Love and Service, even like a Prayer, how truly good and joyous it is to be Obedient to God!

God, You call me to a Holy Purpose! Even in my daily life, I  desire to be obedient to You and to Your Plan for my Life. Help me to see that there is joy in every sacrifice made in being Obedient to You!

[Related Posting: "The Road To Calvary", April 1, 2012.]

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

STOP Abuse

" How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God. Dear Friends, now we are children of God!" [1 John:3: 1-2].

Did you know that April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month?

In some ways, that leaves me sick at heart. EVERY month should be Child Abuse Prevention Month!

The greatest message I have gleaned from the Bible, and from my life, is that it is all about the Love, my friends. Yes, we are children of God. Then why do we treat each other so brutally?

And the greatest sin is the abuse of innocent children. Abuse is akin to murder, because it destroys the soul. It fractures the psyche. It leaves the child vulnerable and unable to feel safe anywhere or with anyone, for the rest of her life.

 What is abuse? It is not always the stereotyped image we have, of a child who is bruised and battered from physical abuse. Certainly, that is one egregious example.

Often, it is more subtle. Verbal abuse, for example. Have you ever been in the supermarket or at the park and heard a mother yell at her child? Mothers who call their children a failure or an idiot are child abusers. This kind of verbiage tends to get internalized, until the child gives up trying to accomplish anything.

Or, abuse can be lack of medical attention. When I was 14 or so, the treatment for my severe asthma unaccountably stopped. As an adult, I struggle with the effects of this every day.

Or abuse can be physical deprivation: the lack of maternal affection. No one hugged me or said I love you when I was growing up. Or it can be withholding of food.  Demanding that a child eat what is provided for dinner or there will be nothing else, not even a piece of bread. This leads a child to exhibit hoarding behavior and to develop life long eating issues.

The most heartbreaking form of abuse is sexual. It shatters the child, leaving her unable to form secure attachments with any human being. It can lead to a devastating lack of trust in even God, and destroy her Faith. It can cause her to believe that she is worthless, to believe that she does not matter.  The deepest pain is the pain of feeling that you are not fully human, that you are a thing, or that you do not even exist.

The signs of abuse can be subtle: a child ceases to speak. Is she merely a quiet child, or is there a lot more going on? Eating habits change and the child either gorges herself constantly, or virtually stops eating. She seems to wall herself off and has no close friends. She barely sleeps (this is called hypervigilance). Or she seems depressed and sleeps constantly. She drops out of favorite activities. Or she is angry and becomes belligerent.

The pain from abuse is searing and deep. It is not something the child can ever escape. It even comes at night in the form of nightmares. Sometimes, as the child  matures, she turns to drugs, alcohol, or promiscuity to dull the pain.

In the worst case, the child gives up and gives in to despair. She believes it is better to be invisible, or not to have been born at all. This deep despair can easily lead to suicide.

I love the Scripture in Matthew 19:13: " Then the little children were brought to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked those who had brought them. Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as them.'  "

Jesus, place your hands on all the little children. Let them know the healing power of your love. And may we all be like Jesus and make it our life's work to love, and protect, and heal  all the little children. 

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


"Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. . . The devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. 'All of this I will give you, he said, 'if you will bow down and worship me.' Jesus said to him, "Away from me Satan! For it is written, 'Worship the Lord your God and serve him only.' " [Matthew 4:1, 8-10].

During Lent, we Fast, we Pray and we Give. This Scripture is the source of the Lenten practice of Giving.

The devil believes that the "cure" for feeling weak, powerless and in a position of deprivation IS? POWER! Splendor and kingdoms and Material Wealth.

Have you ever met anyone who thought that whoever has the most stuff wins? The guy who has 2 houses, 5 cars, 3 boats, 3 dogs, and enough designer duds to outfit a bevy of models at Fashion Week?  Sad to say, this is a zero sum game. It is a competition that you cannot win. There will always be someone else who has more than you.

Ironically, our greatest source of "power" is in giving-- in losing something of ourselves for the sake of another.

I have had a tremendous amount of Loss in my life. No one in my young years to consistently provide for me, either physically or emotionally. A family member who committed suicide. Being raised by an emotionally unheathy mother who would behave erratically: I came home from school one day when  I was six and she had gotten rid of our family dog. When I was 13, I came home and she had gotten rid of all of my beloved stuffed animals.

In graduate school, I almost lost my life in a violent crime. From this one horrible event, I suffered the loss of my sense of safety and security--- anywhere.

In a span of two years, I have seen the death of my father, my best friend, my mother and mother-in-law.

As humans in the face of such loss, we tend to want to hoard things, to grasp onto whatever we have and hold on tight.

Instead, I live by my new motto, "The more I Lose, the more I Give."

When I Give, I am always astonished at how much I actually Gain!

In his Letter to the Phillipians, Paul said, " I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him." [Phillippians 3: 8-10].

One Lent a few years ago, I decided that instead of giving up something, I would join the Prayer Shawl Ministry at my church. I would Give. When my mother died, these were the women who gave me Mass Cards, who comforted me, who offered meals.

After my father died, all I could feel was heartbreak and loss. Somehow, I ended up with his lawn mower and some of his old tools in my basement. Mostly they were duplicates of what I already had. And terrible reminders of him. I called my house painter to see if he knew anyone who needed some tools. His helper came to pick up the lawn mower and tools. Turns out that the helper had escaped the old country with the clothes on his back. I even noticed that he had some visible injuries from his ordeal. Giving this man the old tools was a Redemption for me and a new start for him.

I came from an abusive home. After my mother died, I called an "umbrella" organization to donate some furniture and lamps from her house. I had no say as to what organization was to receive my donation. I later learned that the things I had donated went to a battered women's shelter! I told a friend, "God winked at me!"

I have shared the link to this blog and in turn, been invited to join a prayer group. From that group, I have made new friends!

The antidote to Loss is Giving! It is like medicine, like a balm for the soul.

Interested in Giving Back as a consistent life choice? Consider attending the Second Annual Bishop Peter Rosazza Social Justice Conference-- Rooted in Faith: Building One Human Family. For information, access the Office of Catholic Social Justice Ministry web site at

God, in confronting the many losses in my life, may I find a generous face in You! May I give from the heart, and give my all, to find Your Love which heals me so deeply!

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


" A man from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha, had taken sick. The sisters sent word to Jesus: 'Lord, the one you love is sick.' On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 'Lord,' Martha said to Jesus, 'if you had been here, my brother would not have died.' Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.' [John 11: 1-2, 17-21].

This story has many of the elements of Jesus' own rising to eternal life after His crucifixion: the death of Lazarus, his laying in the tomb for more than a few days, Lazarus' tomb that is a cave with a stone laid acrosss the entrance, and Lazarus' release from the the linen shroud and his resurrection from death. This is a foreshadowing of Jesus' own resurrection and our Easter joy!

Jesus says to Martha, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the Glory of God?" And he says to his Father, " I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that You [God] sent me."

To resurrect means to "restore to life, to reanimate, to bring to view again that which was lost."  How much can we modern people believe in our own Resurrection?

Throughout my life, I have been "saved", literally, many times!

While I was being born, I almost died. This is obviously not an event I remember. But when my relatives told me this story after I reached young adulthood, my immediate response was, 'There IS a God and He reached down to make sure I was born. So I must have some purpose!' I was given a life.

When I was about four, I jumped into a neighbor's pool and sank down, down, down, but my feet could not find the bottom. I thought, This is what it is like to drown! My mother's arms pulled me out. I coughed up a lot of water and began to breathe again.

When I was in high school, I was home alone one evening, and there was a prowler in the neighborhood. Later the police found our trash can overturned underneath the kitchen window. When my parents came home, they found the police at the door. The officer said that I was "very lucky". Think of how I could have been injured or killed. I was "saved."

When I was in graduate school, I was the victim of a violent crime. I was passing away, losing consciousness at the hands of the attacker, but I prayed to God to save me. For no earthly reason, the attacker stopped and I was saved. Again.

After I was married only a few years, my husband was misdiagnosed with cancer. For about a week, we awaited the scheduling and results of a biopsy. If he did have this cancer, he would live only a few months. Then I would be alone. I waited in agony by the phone during the biopsy. Then the call came; it had been a shadow on the X-ray. It was not cancer, it was a benign calcium deposit. My husband was saved. I WAS saved! I wept for joy!

When our son was born, we ran into trouble, serious trouble. We almost lost him. But we regained him. He was saved. Our hearts were saved and not broken.

One day, I took my son to the park. A wind shear ripped through the trees and we became afraid. I put him in the wagon and we headed for home. Less than a block away from home, a huge maple tree snapped in half and was falling right for us! I hauled as hard as I could on the wagon and ran for our lives. The tree cleared us by a few feet. Live, downed wires were all around us. But, we were saved.

One summer day, I was out in the yard weeding, but it was too hot and humid. So I cut short my gardening and came into the house.  Almost as soon as I got inside, a huge ash tree fell over, right where I had been standing! I was safe in the house!

You may think that I am making all this up, that so many near death experiences cannot possibly happen to one person! All of these are true stories!

You may think, How can one person possiby go through all this and not be depressed? Or angry?  Or paranoid?  The only way to get through these things is to focus, not on the death, but on the Redemption, the Resurrection.

 Someone very wise said to me, " You have a lot of Redemption in your life!" NOT, 'You have a lot of death, drowning, crime, cancer, loss, violent storms and deadly trees in your life!' We cannot deny the harshness of life. Yes, we have to feel the pain of our trials,to process and understand the crises in our lives. But we do not need to DWELL in that dark place of loss and violence and sin. If we do, that is not Life. It is dying a little more every day!

This wise person also said to me, "The early Christians had such joy, that people thought they were drunk!" I shook my head, How could that be?! In the early church, Jesus had died, the early Christians were persecuted, there were few followers, no churches in which to gather.

How? The joy comes, not from death and sin and catastrophe and turmoil. It comes after those trials. It comes with the Resurrection. It comes from believing that there is something Holy and True and Perfect and Sacred.

It comes from our Faith.

What is the Resurrection in your life? Your improved health, after your doctor cures you? The unconditional love of your spouse, after a difficult childhood?  Finding a job after the loss of the old one, when you feared when you would never work again? The birth of a child and the second chance to remake all the things that went so very wrong in your own childhood?

Think smaller: A sunrise? The coming of spring after a harsh winter?  Rest after a weary day?

Jesus, You ARE my Resurrection. You ARE my life! Let me see the saving power of your Presence all around me, the Light to banish my darkness!

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


"Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. The devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple: 'If you are the Son of God,' he said, 'throw yourself down.' Jesus answered him, "It is also written, 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " [Matthew 4:1, 5-7]

During Lent, we Fast, we Pray and we Give.

In this Scripture, we learn that we are not to test God. In other words, we are to Pray and to have faith in God. He will answer us in His own time, and we cannot and should not dictate His response.

Prayer is not a way to control God or His responses to us! Or a path to guarantee a certain result!  It is not an exercise in manipulation : "If you really loved me, God, you would grant me this desire!"

And so, we learn the truth. Prayer can be frustrating. It can be a lonely business, especially if the answers do not come so readily. It may seem like throwing our pain down a dark hole and hoping that the echo of an answer drifts back up.

I never was taught to pray when I was a child. No one ever prayed for me.  Sure, my grandmother taught me to say the Our Father, but it seemed like so many chanted words, like an incantation.

When I decided to convert, the priest told me to spend time every day in prayer and reflection. I thought I had no time for that. Now if I do not spend time with God, I have an untethered and dissatisfied feeling, like I have lost my sense of direction.

It was when I prayed and I began to get answers, that I started to get spooked. I asked for advice and was told, "Oh, you'll get used to it!"

I have found that prayer is a discipline, something I have to do every day and something I can always improve upon. If I get discouraged, I tell myself, it is the Practice of Prayer, a learning process.

I have found that prayer is an act of Love. Think of a time when you felt helpless to make someone's situation better. In those cases, I have offered to pray. I have seen the relief and the gratitude in the suffering person's eyes.  Even if that person was not Catholic, or Christian or even a believer! To pray for someone is an act of incredible tenderness.

I have found that when I know someone is praying for me, simply imagining that person in prayer for me is healing. "Only say the word and I shall be healed!"

I have found that prayer is simply talking to God, when you feel as if no one else in the world could understand you.

I have found that a thought can be a prayer, and you do not even have to be aware that you are asking for something. I have had feelings of deep sadness, perhaps at the death of a dear friend; and God has immediately answered me. He does not even want me to have a sad thought!
I have found that prayer releases me from the prison of thinking that I have to do everything myself! No, I do not have to be all powerful, and I am not alone!

I have found that sometimes when I pray, I do not always get what I want. No, I get something even better, because God truly knows what I need.

Finally, I have found that in really desperate situations, God has literally saved my life. I have been in circumstances where my life was in the balance and I prayed, "God, I have so much to live for and so much more work to do!" And for no earthly reason, the danger ceased and I was protected.

Prayer is not the province of the Desperate, however. It is a practice we must do first, foremost and always.

God, I deeply desire to enter into a conversation with you. I cannot imagine my life without You there with me, every step of the way. In prayer, I seek Your counsel, Your Love,  Your presence, always.

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Blind Sight

"As he went along, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent him. . . While I am in the world, I will be the light of the world." [John 9:1-4]

How many times have bad things happened to us and we agonize, ' What did I do to deserve this?!'

I have faced some of the roughest things in life: deprivations in childhood, medical neglect, abuse, bullying, a fire, a flood, a near drowning, a suicide in the family, the ravages of alcoholism in the family, a horrific crime against me that nearly cost me my life, trees coming very close to falling on me, a long and agonizing wait to becoming a parent, the loss of a best girlfriend to cancer.

I have at times felt like Job! But I never cursed God! God, in His infinite love, would never DO this to his children.

So, how to explain evil? Or the bad circumstances that can happen to us, like the man born blind? If there is a God, people question, 'How can He let these things happen to us?' Or, worse yet, 'Has God forgotten me? Does He hate me for something I have done or not done? '

I see God as grieving when we sin, the way any parent would if a child did very wrong. As a loving parent, God would never forget us, or hate us or give up on us.

The opportunity for sin comes from God's gift of Free Will. We have the choice to behave lovingly or sinfully. We cannot prevent others from sinning against us. Nor can we prevent bad things from happening to us.

So people ask, 'If God is so all-powerful, why can't He prevent sin against us? Or bad accidents? ' This is a tough one. The only thing I can think is that, if God took away all sin and accidents, He would be removing our Free Will. He would be turning us into His robots.

But I do not want to lie down and give up in the face of all the bad things happening around me. I think I am too much of a fighter to always absorb the dark spaces or to walk away. Maybe that fighting spirit is how I survived so long under such difficult circumstances.  Something in me will not allow me to accept things as they are. That is not good enough, I say, I want a better world!

In Ephesians 5: 8,  Jesus says, "For you were once darkness, but now you are the light of the Lord. Live as children of light. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them." This reminds me of Jesus in the desert. He does not shy from evil, nor does He hide, He confronts it with the help of the Holy Spirit. But He also does not dwell there, in that dark place, He passes through.

For me, dealing with evil is a process of countering those dark places with goodness, with justice, with Light. It is a daily strategy of fighting the darkness, so that the Light will prevail. It is my Way, my Truth, my Life!

God, I want to BE the light, a light so bright that I outshine the darkest recesses of the world!

As I confront evil, I may be damaged by it but my wounds only open me to receive God into my heart. Help me to truly believe that, even if sorrowful or tragic things occur, they happen so that I may see the power of Your divine work in my life.

(c) The Spiritual Devotional 2011. All Rights Reserved.