Monthly Archives: May 2016

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity – Cycle C

23 May 2016

Reflecting on Romans 5: 1-5

Okay, St. Paul, let’s just test this. You say, in today’s letter to the Romans, that affliction produces endurance, which produces character, which produces hope. Really?  It seems to me that affliction produces pain, and pain produces loss of hope, and loss of hope produces despair. But let’s take an example and see who’s right.

I’m amazed at the number of people I know who are walking around with migraines, most days of the week. How on earth do they do it? Well, they’ve learned how to tell when it’s coming on, for starters, and they get their medications on board right away. They’ve lived with migraines for years. They know what they need to do, and they do it. That’s endurance.

Then, after making adjustments in lighting and diet, they go out into the world. They show up for work. They show up for their families. They show up for themselves. If that’s not character, I don’t know what is.

When I observe them cheerfully working, conscientiously getting through the day without even mentioning the pain, I feel myself growing in confidence that I, too, can face the challenge of any pain that may be on my horizon. Their proven character gives me hope that I too can stand up to affliction when it comes my way.

And you know what? It’s worked. Observing people I love standing up to migraines so courageously has truly produced hope in me, and that hope has held up when I myself have been challenged.

Afflicted with migraines, they learned endurance, which produced character so inspiring that it created hope in me, which has never disappointed. Okay, St. Paul, you get this one.

Test St. Paul’s theory in your own life. Is it true?

Kathy McGovern ©2016                                                    For Cindy and Karen and Patrick and Maddie and Marty

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Pentecost Sequence – Cycle C

18 May 2016

Come, Holy Spirit. That’s what we say.

But could you help us actually mean it someday?

Do we know what we’re asking for? Should we retreat?

Can we absorb all that fire? Can we take the heat?

                                                                           

First, give us grace to prepare for your power.

Give us hearts to give up what you long to devour.

Our greed, our guilt, our closing our eyes,

Take it all Spirit, lay bare our disguise.

 

Help us want to want you, that’s really our prayer.

Enlarge our hearts so there’s room for you there.

This Pentecost, Spirit, bring us a new birth.

Then watch as we join in renewing the earth.

How will you work to bring the earth back to health this year?

 

Kathy McGovern ©2016

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

A Mother’s Day Memory

9 May 2016

The rain started out fast, and before I knew it my doll and I were drenched!   I raced down the alley with my doll carriage, but Susie fell out and into the muddy alley.

I was hysterical, of course. My beautiful mother went out into the rain to look for her. I was stunned to realize that my mother was not completely magical. Even she, with all her wondrous powers, couldn’t find my beloved doll.

Ah, but two days later she came into the house carrying Susie! It turns out that the Doll Hospital had taken care of her and then called to say Susie was ready to come home.

Susie must have been very sick. Her skin wasn’t as cuddly, her eyes weren’t the same color, and her red hair was now brown.  I missed her red plaid dress, but the blue dress they gave her in the hospital was pretty too. We went out to play. Twenty-five years came and went.

On a Wednesday morning in January, 1981, a cloud lifted from my memory, and I started to giggle. I called my Magic Mother. That wasn’t really Susie you brought home that day. Without missing a beat, she said, I’ve got the dumbest kids in America.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night was going to keep her from consoling her little girl.  She was going to find Susie, whether she had to swim to her, or dig her out of the mud, or enlist the “doll hospital” to do it.  And you know what?  She’s still rescuing me, still consoling me, still loving me, thirty years after her death. That’s the strongest magic of all.

Tell your mom, whether she is here or with God, a favorite memory of her.

Kathy McGovern ©2015. Originally published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Thanks to my Mom!

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Cycle C

4 May 2016

Reflecting on Acts 15: 1-2, 22-29

Some burdens are carried for no good reason, and some things are borne because we have a deep intuition that the kingdom of God is built on the muscles acquired from carrying them.

Take fasting, for example. Please. Some fasts―like cutting calories in half for an extended period of time―are excruciating, and may or may not bring us closer to those who are hungry in this world. But other fasts―like cutting gossip at the quick, or disallowing ourselves the luxury of ignorance about the needs of others―build character, and are, in fact, the very character of God.

In the earliest days of the infant Church, some of the Orthodox Jewish-Christians living in Jerusalem were happy to allow Gentiles to join in the Jesus Movement. Certainly! All are welcome! There are just a few requirements, of course. Naturally, the men will all need to be circumcised. Yes, it’s an extremely painful and dangerous procedure, but God demands it. Now, if they had had the good sense to be born Jewish, they would have been circumcised at eight days old and would have no memory of it.

The Holy Spirit was so evident in those early years.  As the good news of the Risen One advanced throughout the Gentile provinces, it became beautifully obvious that the burdens of kosher dietary laws and circumcision no longer applied. Come to the feast! Partake of the table of mercy. And every day, hundreds were added to their number.

It’s nearly Pentecost again, that festival of inclusion that strengthened the disciples to preach Jesus to the ends of the earth. They traveled light, and, thank God, left the heaviest burdens behind.

In what ways are you joyfully lifting burdens from those who long to draw near to Christ?

Kathy McGovern ©2016

Kathy McGovern © 2014-2015