Archive for April, 2014

Where Can I Find God?

Posted: April 11, 2014 in World On The Edge

God-thinks-mercifully
Pope Francis is a wonderful example of the spirituality of Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order.

Besides my husband and me,  several of our children–and now our grandchildren, were/are educated by the Jesuits.  I love the Jesuits and their philosophy. They are truly men for others. The Jesuits at Spring Hill College taught that God is present in the world today. And as a novelist and short story writer, that’s what I aspire to show. God is here. God is now.

Ignatian spirituality is rooted in the conviction that God is active, personal, and­­—above all—present to us. We don’t have to withdraw from the world into a quiet place in order to find God. God’s footprints can be found everywhere—in our work and our relationships, in our family and friends, in our sorrows and joys, in the sublime beauty of nature and in the mundane details of our daily lives.

It’s often said that Ignatian spirituality trains us to “find God in all things.” This perspective greatly influences how we live and how we pray. The daily grind of our everyday lives takes on transcendent importance. It’s the place where we connect with God.

This means that the choices we make in our daily lives either push us away from God or draw us more closely to him. Our lives matter.

The God of Ignatian spirituality is a giver of gifts. “God’s love is poured forth lavishly like a fountain spilling forth its waters into an unending stream,” St. Ignatius wrote. God’s blessings are a loving gift that invites us to love in return.

My Jesuit education invited me to love in return, too.  Not always in a serious way. Love can also be laughter. The Jesuits are fun! My experience was  that they love to laugh, and spoof, and generally have a good time.  This video of  the JHS choir is one example of  how those wonderful attributes are passed on to students.  Boys spoofing Taylor Swift?  And having fun doing it!

See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/what-is-ignatian-spirituality/where-can-i-find-god/#sthash.ZI0aM4LS.dpuf

I’d like to thank my blogging friend, Cristina, http://www.fillingmyprayercloset.com  And http://www.ignatianspiritualityl.com for inspiring this blog.

DSCN8260There are times when we feel small. We think everyone, except us, seems to have things they’re really  good at.  We think we may be lacking in the talent department, or that we don’t have enough inner drive, or that our job skills are less than another’s. Maybe we even pray that God will give us those things.

And maybe we get a little miffed at Him, too,  because he hasn’t. We may even say, ” Then what am I supposed to be doing here?”

Well, shouldn’t we remember it’s possible that only one small act of our sincere concern for a loved one or neighbor can be BIG.  In fact, it can  actually change their world. And it can change ours, too, when we reach outside of ourselves.

When we reach out to help in some way we become an image of God for others. We allow others to see Christ in us. We are, after all, His hands and feet on Earth.

So what are we supposed to do here?  Here’s what Jesus told Peter:

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter.  “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?””

He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.”

He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.”

Then Jesus said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”

Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and  said to Jesus, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.”

Jesus  replied, “Feed my sheep..”

Asking God to answer our prayers is good, and we should do that. But also, let’s remember that here on Earth we can be the instrument of answering someone else’s prayers as well.

Taking Life for Granted?

Posted: April 9, 2014 in World On The Edge

miss you MGD©We take so many things for granted, things that are short-lived and may be absent tomorrow. Sunshine.  Warm weather.  A beautiful bird on a limb that flies quickly away without our notice. Our youth that passes so quickly

So many times we take our present lives for granted, too. Our spouse. Our children. Our health. Our job. Maybe it’s because we’re so busy and don’t have time to think about those great gifts. We only realize how great they are when one or more of them is gone.

But isn’t gratitude in order?  A feeling of happiness comes when we appreciate what we have. Especially, when we look at what we have as ‘everything we need.’

Still, sometimes we get greedy. We look around and say, “I want that.” Maybe it’s a car, or a house, or maybe it’s more dramatic—a new wife or husband. Our desire for something more can become an obsession, precisely because we haven’t considered gratitude for what we already have. So we ignore what we have, and go after what we don’t have.

Of course, we will naturally strive for a better life for our family. And there are some situations that we may need to get away from.  But what if the so-called better life leads to hurting those we professed to love? And what if we’ve made too quick a decision, and regret it.

We need to think. And think hard.

If we’re so busy looking around at others, instead of looking at those who care about us, we’re likely to make a big mistake.

We’re likely to let go of someone and wish we hadn’t.

 

Confused About Truth?

Posted: April 8, 2014 in World On The Edge

How do you define Truth?

Here’s a story, an Aesop’s Fable:

file0001320657033 (1)Truth and the Traveler

A wayfaring man traveling in the desert, met a woman standing alone and terribly dejected. He inquired of her, “Who art thou?”

“My name is Truth,” she replied.

“Why have you left the city to dwell alone here in the wilderness?” he asked.

She answered, “Because in former times, falsehood was with only a few,  but is now with all men.”

This may be the case of truth and lies today. Often things that are presented to us as Truth are from the minds of those who find it easy to lie for their own profit.

Many of us  say we want to know ‘the truth,’ but often it’s  a truth that is convenient for us and relative to our situation, a Relative Truth.  As far as others and ‘their  truth’ —we want to be thought of as  tolerant, so we may  accept whatever anybody says, because if  it is right for them, then it must be truth. (Let’s just hope that ‘somebody’ who thinks he’s right isn’t a serial killer who believes murder is the only way to go. Or a man who believes the way to control his wife is through his fists. Or a drug dealer who sells to ten year olds.)

Relative truth is about belief. We can believe something true even though it is not nessesarily so.

So doesn’t there have to be an Absolute Truth? A knowledge beyond doubt?

And how do we decipher the difference between Relative Truth and Absolute Truth?

Think about this: it is absolutely true that we must breathe oxygen,  and if we don’t we will not live. If someone else says  his opinion is that we could breath water, we know it’s untrue.

If relativism were true, then the world would be full of contradictory conditions. If something is true for me but false for you, then opposite conditions exist. For example,  if I say “The cat is at the door,”  and you say “there is no cat at the door”– – and if we both think we’re right, then  the cat must be at the door at the same time he’s not at the door. But that is impossible. So, if truth were relative, then an impossible would be legitimate.

Remember the old adage, All that glitters is not gold, meaning that not everything that looks precious or true turns out to be so. This can apply to people, places, or things that promise to be more than they really are.

Absolute Truth. comes from God. And especially today, we need to seek it. 

“Truth must be sought at all costs, but separate isolated truths will not do. Truth is like life; it has to be taken on its entirety or not at all. . . . We must welcome truth even if it reproaches and inconveniences us — even if it appears in the place where we thought it could not be found.” —Bishop Fulton Sheen

If we are hoping for eternal life, I hope the desire to seek absolute truth will be necessity for each of us.

 

coverimage (1)I’ve been writing this blog five days a week for nearly a year. According to Word Press I have 231 followers and 205 posts. Today—with all humility—my post is about me: my books, my stories, my writing.

About this time last year, I published my first novel, A Hunger in the Heart http://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Heart-Kaye-Park-Hinckley/dp/1939627079/ref=tmm_pap_title_0 About the same time, two of my short stories—one, a Tuscany Prize winner—were included in the anthology, Eyes That Pour Forth, http://www.amazon.com/Eyes-That-Forth-Other-Stories/dp/1936855194/ref=la_B00BBC2C8O_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396867616&sr=1-1

And in July, my collection of short stories, Birds of a Feather, will be published by Wiseblood Books.http://www.wisebloodbooks.com/

If you are a follower of this blog, you know I’m a native Southerner who loves the South and writes stories about her people. You know, too, that I’m a cradle Catholic who loves the Faith and aspires to be worthy of it. But you may not know the thought process of behind my work…..and perhaps you are interested?

My stories usually center around a person who is, in one way or another wounded by life. Sometimes this is of his/her own accord, other times he is the victim of someone else’s cruelty. Real life has its ways of doing that to us all, doesn’t it?

So my characters need to be healed in sometimes deeply personal ways. They come to a crossroad, and a choice, then find that healing in a grace-filled moment—a moment that, on first look, may not seem filled with grace because it is an unsavory, or violent, moment. And not every one my characters will find it—-because not all of them allow it–just as in our own lives, when we’re not open to the grace of God.

My characters choose between love and hatred, disruptiveness or peace, vindictiveness or compassion. And some choose either to stay with, or part from, the most evil circumstances of our society.  It’s their choice.  Free will.

Important note:  No human being can honestly understand the magnitude of intelligence in the design of our Creator who gave us this free will, and whether we love Him back or not by the way we interact with each of His children—He loves us every second of our earthly lives, all the way into infinity.

I thank you for following my blog. Please like it here,  on Facebook, or on Twitter. Do comment if you have something to say. And I hope you’ll read my books, too.

Because, like you, I’m an earthly traveler through a world that seems more and more on edge, yet aren’t we striving to find and increase within ourselves, Faith, Hope, and Love?

Striving To Be Better?

Posted: April 3, 2014 in World On The Edge

file00060675003What effect do you have on others–friends, family, children. Is it positive, negative, or a little of both? None of us are perfect, we all have our failures and disappointing days. But isn’t it important to control our possibly harmful actions, feelings, and emotions–most especially interacting with children, but also, interacting with adults?

Not to say that we shouldn’t express our feelings to trusted friends or family, but the way in which we do it can affect them, too. Ideally, our goal ought to be that everyone we meet should be somehow better, simply because they have met us.

Respect for ourselves, and for the other person, is acting on the divine presence of God within us. After all, we are made in His image and likeness.

What about couple relationships, before marriage and after? Could it be that delayed sexual gratification before marriage can actually make a better person of both? Does it show strength, perseverance, respect for the other? Does it show us as a person who values the dignity of another, a dignity which comes directly from God’s presence within us?

Admittedly, in our world today, the world of ME, this is difficult to do. Some close their minds and won’t even conceive of saving sex for marriage. Things have changed, they say. But is that genuine truth?

Isn’t delayed gratification is what we try to teach our children? Do your homework first. Eat your dinner before dessert. Work for your grades, don’t cheat. Tell the truth, don’t lie. We try to teach them these things because we want them to be good to themselves and good to others. After all, not many of us want to raise selfish and greedy brats who want what they want, and want it NOW.

And not many of us want to hear that sex before marriage is like dessert before dinner, but would you tell your child that if he eats all his ice cream, you’ll treat him with green beans? Certainly not. We want what’s best for the people we love.

Yes, it’s hard to be the better man, or woman in any relationship. But as children of God we are called to try.

Rewind and Reload?

Posted: April 2, 2014 in World On The Edge

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you could rewind and then reload your life, would you do it?

How far would you go back?

What would you change? Would it be just one event, or more?

One thing is for sure. Life molds us from our first day on Earth.

We are influenced by who our parents are, what they taught us,  and how they cared for us.

We are influenced by friends we chose, by schools we went to, by people we dated, by whom we married.

In fact, every little thing we’ve ever done has led us to where to are— a place we like, or a place we despise.

Sometimes we can’t imagine why the bad things happen to us. We may think it’s unfair.  But doesn’t every event teach us something about ourselves?

If we want honest change—change for the better —the most fantastic thing is that we have the capability to do that.  I read this somewhere: “The past is gone.  Today is a gift. That’s why we call it ‘The Present.’

Let’s take a good look at the Gift of Life.

Lent is the perfect time to re-assess. Do we actually need to  rewind, and reload?

Belief

Posted: April 1, 2014 in World On The Edge

DSCN5279Belief: a feeling of being sure that someone or something exists or that something is true.

We are so tied up in people who’ve made names for themselves in sports, movies, television, politics. These people live lives that we envy–money, notoriety, control of others. Somehow the idea pervades our society that these sorts of people are better than most, better than we are because they are so important.

Well, this is so not true. The importance of  a person lies in his heart, not in a newspaper headline.

I think of a seemingly unimportant woman who spends her entire life unknown by any but a few close friends, a woman devoted to her children and husband, a woman who cares for others when they are sick or depressed or in trouble.  I think of a person whose only claim to fame is that she loves. A woman who believes that loving is her mission, and has a will strong enough to commit to it. A woman who can overcome anything because she believes this world is not all there is.

I think of a seemingly unimportant man who works for  his family, provides for his children, is honest in his job. A man who prays. A man who does not let go of his convictions for something less important. I think of a person whose only claim to fame is that he loves. A man who believes that loving is his mission, and has a will strong enough to commit to it. A man who can overcome anything because he believes this world is not all there is.

I think of a seemingly unimportant priest committed to his parish, or his order;  a man whose vocation has been demeaned by some, yet he continues in the holiness of it. A priest for others no matter their often gross imperfections. I think of a priest whose only claim to fame is that he loves. A priest who believes that loving is his mission, and has a will strong enough to commit to it. A priest who can overcome anything because he believes this world is not all there is.

And here is something else I think. When we stand at Heaven’s Gate, we will have no  notoriety except the love we’ve shown others.  Because God does not read headlines. God reads hearts.

What’s your opinion?