What Do You Want Me To Do For You?

bartWe spring into action when what we need seems at hand. The verbs describing Bartimaeus’s actions in this gospel say everything about faith, encountering Jesus, and choosing to follow him. He cried out, kept calling, threw aside his cloak, sprang up and came to Jesus, stated his request, received his sight, followed Jesus. Such need, such urgency, such conviction! These verbs describe Bartimaeus’s faith-in-action, his deepening relationship with Jesus. Indeed, does anyone approach Jesus except out of boldness born of need and faith in him?
Bartimaeus has faith. Faith that Jesus will hear him, faith that Jesus is the Son of David who has power, faith that Jesus will have pity on him, faith that Jesus will heal him. Bartimaeus’s faith was rewarded, but even more than he thought he needed. Jesus also assures him of being saved. Bartimaeus’s actions are the manifestation of his faith. Jesus’ actions are a manifestation of his saving power in response to another’s faith.
The blind Bartimaeus knows exactly his position in relation to the community: off to the side and begging. He also knows his position in relation to Jesus: crying out, springing up, following. His position in relation to the community arises from his need; his position in relation to Jesus arises from his faith. Indeed, does anyone approach Jesus except out of boldness born of need and faith in him?

Do Not Worry About Tomorrow

matthew62434Worrywart? Fussbudget? Incessantly they talk about what might happen, whether they made the right decision, what to have for supper, how much to exercise! Incessant worriers place themselves at the center of their universe. Everything tends to be about them in one way or another. They serve only themselves in their small world. No wonder people find them unpleasant!
This Sunday’s gospel mentions worry four times and anxiety once! And Jesus is clear: Do Not worry! Telling us not to worry is like telling us not to be the center of our own lives. And that is exactly the point! If we choose ourselves, put ourselves first, we worry. If we choose God, the center of our lives shifts from ourselves to God then to others. Worrying draws us into ourselves, caring for others draws us out of ourselves.
If we choose God, we will feed on God’s generosity, be clothed in God’s gift of Life and be made rich in faith. This choice is sufficient not only for a day, but for a whole lifetime, even for eternity.
We need to hear Jesus’ admonition “do not worry” and choose not ourselves, but God. Choosing God as the center of our life increases our Life. Most of us don’t consciously choose ourselves as our master; we are subtle about it. The measure is our worrying. Obsessive worrying about things, future plans, success, security is a clue we have chosen ourselves as master. It is a clue we need to chose the most compassionate, most generous, Master: God. Jesus assures us that trust in God and reliance on God’s care are fruits of choosing God as master. The choice is ours.

Sisters: A Documentary

Sisters from Robert Gardner on Vimeo.
sistersSisters is a one-hour documentary film about faith and hope, love and death, seen through the eyes of five Catholic Sisters who have committed their lives to the service of others in the deepest way.
LCWR is happy to host this one-hour documentary, Sisters, which examines the lives of five American women, revealing both their humanity and their deep spiritual grounding as Catholic Sisters.
Sisters is the vision of Carol Rittner, RSM, who deeply felt the need to tell this story, and spent three years raising the money and working with the filmmaker. She is the Distinguished Professor of Holocaust & Genocide Studies and the Dr. Marsha R. Grossman Professor of Holocaust Studies at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, U
The film was produced and directed by three-time Emmy winner and Academy Award (Oscar) nominee Robert Gardner, a production of Gardner Films.
First broadcast on PBS stations in 2013, Gardner Films and LCWR are providing the film here in its entirety at no cost. We encourage viewers to share the link and permission is granted for any public group viewing by DVD. For more information or to purchase a DVD, please click here.

The Persistant Widow

How often my nephew badgered his parents when he saw a toy advertised on TV! By his persistence, I suspect he hoped to change his parents’ minds about what was good for him. The same is often true about our prayer. We pray to change God’s will, that is, we pray for what we think we need or want and hope we can convince God to give it to us.

In the Gospel, Jesus does encourage persistence in prayer. True persistence is not badgering God for what we want. True persistence in prayer wells up from a deep faith and brings out the hope that leads us to the longer view and broader vision of Jesus. Our persistence in prayer brings us to new eternal life.

Persistence in prayer is not nagging God for what we want. Prayer informed by deep faith is openness to what God wants for us, which always leads to a greater good than we can know or imagine.