Our Heavenly Home

God knows that places mold and shape us. Just like the poor who are specially sheltered in his love and know him intimately as their consoler, he offers himself to us as both the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, and the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep. From a land covered in green pastures and rolling in still waters, we are invited to look to our heavenly homeland, to which we are ever being called.

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before

Seeking God

Lord, I long to see you. With my own eyes, I want to see you myself, see you for who you really are. Not through another's eyes.

I’ve heard so much about you. How much is opinion? How much is hearsay? How much is truth? I want to know for myself. I want to hear with my own ears. Please come near, Lord, as you pass by today.

I am out on a limb, waiting for you, out of my comfort zone. And as you come, overwhelm me with the wonder that it is not I who seek you, nearly so much as it is you who seeks me.

 

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before

What Can I Offer?

What an incredible, glorious thought: that you are with me, Lord, leading me and guiding me every moment, and that you are building a sanctuary in me with my very own offerings. I want to offer everything! But I confess a tremor of fear, because my offerings have not been generous. I need to know that you love me unconditionally, even though the tabernacle of my body and heart is not always pure enough to welcome you.

What can I offer you, today, as a welcome present?

 

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before

The Consistency of God

If God is not schizophrenic but utterly consistent, why does Jesus come to us so differently from Moses? What does the springtime, pastoral Galilean setting communicate? What emotions play across Jesus’s face as he eases his overflowing heart in the company of those wholly devoted to him? Are you amazed at every word, the cadence of each syllable? Why or why not?

Reread the Sermon on the Mount. As you read, think, “Do I believe him?”

What should you do now?

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before

More Than Just a Theory

The apostles James and John, the sons of Zebedee, wanted to be like Jesus and sought to drink from his chalice of suffering. But when Jesus knelt to wash the feet of Simon Peter, it was too much for the fisherman to accept: “Peter said to him, ‘You will never wash my feet.’ Jesus answered him, ‘Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance with me’” (John 13:8).

Jesus is not meant to be a model in theory, he came to live out the active model of God’s love for us. Pope Francis writes: “Peter did not want Jesus to wash his feet, but he came to realize that Jesus does not wish to be just an example of how we should wash one another’s feet. Only those who have first allowed Jesus to wash their own feet can then offer this service to others.”

—from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room

The People the Lord Came to Save

The very people the Lord came to save are those who live in constant fear and who have nothing to live on but hope. The fact that they live in dire poverty is not by their own choice, but the choice they make to live in voluntary poverty is the absolute realization of their gift from God. This dynamic and vibrant faith comes from a place where those of us who live with a decent roof over our heads and who take the basic necessities of life for granted can never experience or even imagine. 

—from the book Ignite: Read the Bible Like Never Before

There Is a Season

 

Saint Bridget of Sweden longed from an early age to become a nun. But she was obedient to her prominent family’s desire that she marry a prince. Their marriage was happy and produced eight children (including one, Catherine, who would go on to be a saint herself). After her husband’s death, Bridget followed the call of her youth.

There are different seasons to our lives, as Bridget found. Her example shows us that God knows what’s best for each season; all we have to do is listen. 

—from the book Sisterhood of Saints

Looking for the Lord

“Why are you weeping?” the angels ask her as she leans into the tomb. Mary Magdalene is not ashamed of her emotion; she is not hesitant in her answer. She is missing her Lord. No, she does not fully grasp the great theological mysteries of the passion and the resurrection that she is about to encounter. She cannot explain that she leans in to look because everything about Jesus indicated there was something greater coming on the other side of his hideous death. All she knows is that she is there because she is looking for her Lord. And that is enough to lead her straight to the Resurrected One.

—from the book Who Does He Say You Are? Women Transformed by Christ in the Gospels

A Spirit of Joy

The secret of Saint Francis’ joyful spirit was his vibrant belief in a God of overflowing goodness and love. Francis was so in love with God that at times he would pick up two sticks from the ground, tuck one under his chin like a violin and move the other over it like a bow. Then, in an ecstasy of joy, he would sing in French songs of love and praise to God.

Francis used to say that he wanted his followers to go about the world like strolling minstrels, “to inspire the hearts of people and stir them to spiritual joy.” They give us an example to follow in our own day!

–from the blog “The Peace Prayer of Saint Francis”

 

Jesus Is Constant

There has always been a diverse group of personalities at table with the Lord. At this time in history, you and I now are present. We, like the apostles, are unreliable and weak and afraid. We are inconstant in our devotion to our Lord. We deny him, we betray him.

But Jesus is I Am. He is constant.

The One who sits with arms outstretched in the Da Vinci depiction, who sat in the center of the table in that Upper Room, sits now in the center of our hearts with arms outstretched. He died on the cross out of love for us. He is continually with us, welcoming us, and looking at us with his loving, tender gaze, just as he looked at Peter. What he did at table, he continues to do with all our varied and challenged humanity, a variety of personalities that is forever and continually represented in every church, in every upper room, throughout our entire world, where “two or three are gathered together in his name” (Matthew 18:20).

—from the book Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life

Meeting God in the Upper Room