Welcome !

Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Phil Pratt                                                         OCBS, YEAR 4
April 4th, 2010                                                Instructor: Sharon Nelsen

The use of milk as a beverage probably began with the domestication of animals. Goats and sheep were domesticated in the area now known as Iran and Afghanistan in about 9000 BCE and by about 7000 BCE, cattle were being herded in what is now Turkey and parts of Africa. The method for making cheese from milk was known to the ancient Greeks and Romans, and the use of milk and milk products spread throughout Europe in the following centuries.

Milk is defined by Dictionary.com as:
  1. An opaque white or bluish-white liquid secreted by the mammary glands of female mammals, serving for the nourishment of their young.
 2. This liquid as secreted by cows, goats, or certain other animals and used by humans for food or as a source of butter, cheeses, yogurt, etc.
The ancient Hebrews held milk in high favor; the earliest scriptures contain abundant evidence of the widespread use of milk from very early times.  According to ProCon.org the bible contains some fifty references to milk and milk products.
Milk nourished the spirits as well as the bodies of the biblical peoples. Milk and honey together symbolized good health, prosperity and blessings from God. As a food it ranked next in importance to bread (Sirach 39:26).
There are several different sources for milk mentioned in the Old Testament. The milk of cows, Deuteronomy 32:14 and 1 Samuel 6:7; of camels, Genesis 32:15; of goats, Proverbs 27:27; of sheep, Deuteronomy, 32:14 and of sea-monsters, Lamentations 4:3.
McKenzie states: “The milk used in OT times was sheep or goat’s milk kept in skin bottles; in the arid and semiarid neighborhood of Palestine and even within the country itself in some regions water is scarce or unsafe, and milk was often used to quench the thirst. The milk could not be kept fresh but sour curdled milk was and still is a delicacy in the country.”
Milk was among the first things set before the weary traveler, Genesis 18:8, In fact, it was considered a luxury, Judges 5:25. Cheese of various kinds was made from it and the curds were eaten with bread and possibly also made into butter by churning, Proverbs 30:33.
It is possible that milk was used for seething other substances: at least the Israelites were strictly forbidden to seethe a kid in its mother’s milk (Exodus 23:19; 34:26; Deuteronomy 14:21). By a very general interpretation of these passages Jews have come to abstain from the use of mixtures of meat and milk of all kinds.
Figuratively the word is used (1) of abundance (Genesis 49:12: (2) of a loved one’s charms (Song of Songs 4:11); (3) of blessings (Isaiah 55:1; Joel 3:18): (4) of the (spiritual) food of immature people (1 Corinthians  3:2: Hebrews 5:12,13: (5) of purity (1Peter 2.2).

According to McKenzie’s Dictionary of the Bible, milk is mentioned only four times in the New Testament, and three of these are metaphorical (with the exception of 1 Corinthians 9:7).
In 1 Corinthians 3:1, Paul compares his instruction to the Corinthians to milk given to infants who are not ready for solid food. The same metaphor of milk for elementary instruction is used in Hebrews 5:12-6:1; here the writer finds fault with his readers for not advancing  from the milk, the elements, to the solid food of the perfect.

In 1 Peter 2:2, Peter uses the same figure as Paul but stresses, not the contrasting diet of infants and adults, but the appetite which all Christians should have in order to grow. All Christians should have a constant and intense longing for the word of God.

Copyright 2011 Phil Pratt

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Praying With Scripture

"Prayer is the beginning and the end. Reading the Bible is not like reading a novel or history book." (although it does contain books which are fictional and some that are historical) "It should begin with a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and minds to the Word of God. Scripture reading should end with a prayer that the Word will bear fruit in our lives, helping us to become holier and more faithful people." USCCB

One of my favorite ways to reflect on Scriptures is called lectio devina, where one reads a passage once, takes time to reflect, reads it a second time, takes time to reflect a second time, reads a third time, and reflects a third time, at each reflection listening carefully to what the Holy Spirit is speaking to one's heart, mind and soul.

I will read today's readings first, then choose which one I will reflect upon.

It will be today's second reading. They all call to me in different ways, but this will be the one.

Think of God's mercy, brothers, and worship him, I beg you, in a way worthy of thinking beings, by offering your living bodies as a holy sacrifice, truly pleasing to God. Do not model yourselves on the behavior of the world around you, but let your behavior change, modelled by your new mind. This is the only way to discover the will of God and to know what is good, what it is that God wants, what is the perfect thing to do. Rom. 12:1-2


Rinse and repeat twice.

Now ready to begin. What stood out? "What is good? What is it that God wants? What is the perfect thing to do?" I remember the first reading in Jeremiah, his burning desire to speak, struggling with fear of what others might think. People did often reject him. He spoke as a fiery prophet. I remember Peter in the Gospel, taking Jesus aside and speaking what was in his heart and being emphatically rejected, by Jesus no less. For me, very hurtful. Maybe Peter had tougher skin than I and Jesus knew he could take it. Peter did not understand the task that Jesus had to do, the extreme religious intolerance that He had to overcome, and Jesus was frustrated with him. Later Peter would reject Jesus three times in his hour of agony. Not the perfect thing to do.

I wonder if Jesus comforted Peter later...aside. Remember that comment about getting behind me...?

"Think of God's mercy."

I see Jesus later, not in today's readings, but something that comes to mind, Jesus serving fish and bread for breakfast to the disciples that had abandoned him. I see Peter, forgiven and still loved by Jesus, at Pentecost, baptizing thousands of people of every language who finally understand one another, who have found a way through the aid and power of the Holy Spirit to worship God as thinking beings, overcoming language barriers. Wow, what mercy. We are all still benefiting. Just look at it this way--internet is the fruit of pentecostal communication!

What do I learn? What is the perfect will of God? In my life. Mercy. It is easy to look at Jeremiah and Peter and Jesus and provide commentary about their actions. It is also easy to want the adreneline rush of being a prophet, a prophet who believes that they alone bear the word of God when no one else understands. However, it doesn't feel like the right kind of good. My "righteousness" ends up being won at the expense of the ignorance or mistakes of others. Holy Spirit, how can I turn this around? Hmm. It does feel good to be right. What is right?

Pause. Open the eyes of my heart. Look over the Scriptures again. What is the word which speaks to my heart.

"As thinking human beings," I will hold that in my heart today. In my mind. I do not know what fruit it will bear, but that is my "word of the day". I suspect it will involve making meals, listening to those around me, modelling good decision-making for my children regarding how we will spend our day, learning as my children model kindness to me. Maybe writing someone a note, coming to a mutual understanding, forgiving and being forgiven...these things are right. After a day like that we always feel all good.

End in prayer. Thank you Holy Spirit for inspiring Paul to write to his friends, the church in Rome. Thank you St. Paul...we appreciate you taking the time to write. Heavenly Father, thank you for your love, providence, and care today...In Jesus' Name. Amen.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Jesus and Peter: Inscrutable Mystery

I must say that I am having a hard time coming up with a reflection for this Sunday's readings, which contain Peter's great confession, "you are the Christ, the son of the living God".  It is, of course the definitive moment in which Christ, bestows upon Peter his name and commission as the head of the Church Militant:
"Blessed are you Simon son of Jonah.  For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you , but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16: 17-19 
I can only refer you to Pope Benedict's great book Jesus of Nazareth :   From The Baptism In The Jordan To The Transfiguration.  Chapter Nine deals with this event and I have not read anything else that has so thoroughly and richly explained it.  He explores the text as a brilliant academic, and also as a man deeply connected to the Spirit.  Here is an example, Pope Benedict has just gone through the various figures that the disciple gave as answer to Jesus' question "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"  
"The various opinions are not simply mistaken; they are greater and lesser approximations to the mystery of Jesus, and they can certainly set us on the path toward Jesus' real identity.  But they do not arrive at Jesus' identity, at his newness.  They interpret him in terms of the past, in terms of the predictable and the possible, not in  terms of himself, his uniqueness, which cannot be assigned to any other category. Today too, similar opinions are clearly held by  the 'people' who have somehow or other come to know Christ, who have perhaps even made a scholarly study of him, but have not encountered Jesus  himself in his utter uniqueness and otherness" Pope Benedict pg 292 Jesus of Nazareth.

And here the second reading come to mind, and this is the reading the I wanted to reflect on, made all the richer by Pope Benedict's instruction!
"Oh the depth and the riches and the wisdom of God!  How inscrutable are his judgments and how unsearchable are his ways.  For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counselor? Or who has given the Lord anything that he might be repaid?  For him and through him are all things.  To him be the glory forever."  Romans 11:33-36

For who indeed has known the mind of God?  Peter with all of his faults enters deeply into the mystery of God in the moment of his confession and bravely lets go of the predictable and safe responses. He allows the Spirit to lead him to see the identity of Jesus is more, so much more than our intellect can get a hold of.  All other paths stop short, and ultimately disappoint, even if they point us in the right direction.  They are superficial and our hearts yearn for so much more!

I am reminded of the character of Aslan in the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe  by C.S.Lewis.  He is a lion, who is an allegory for Christ.  The children question whether he is tame and safe, and they are told that he is most certainly not tame, or safe, but he is good.  To enter into the mystery of Christ is to avail yourself to the cross, and that is not, by earthly standards a safe path.  Pride is your enemy here, and, though it is appropriate, so is fear.

Pride leads you to think that you can grasp who Christ is, by academic study of a historical Jesus, or by reducing Jesus to a man of social justice or sentimental niceties.  This is  banal, boring and in the end leads you to think that all the mysteries and problems of this world can and should be solved.  Fear, is most definitely appropriate, but it can cause you to stop in your tracks.  To close your eyes, and pretend that life, death and eternity are not at stake here.  You can either go back to the nice safe and understandable Christ who's persona is malleable enough to conform to all of your ideas of what justice and mercy are or you can deny all together that Jesus is anything other than a historical person hijacked for the religious ambitions of the early Church.

Or, you can do what Peter did, wade into the water, the ocean of mystery which leads to the cross and beyond.  Yes, he sinks, he, in fear takes his eyes off of Christ, but he has the humility to cry out to him, to understand that Gods ways are inscrutable!  But faith and humility draw him into the mystery. Faith gives him the courage to see that it is vast and limitless and you are not in control of it, and humility, the ablilty to cry out to God, in praise and in recognition that we need God's endless mercy:

"The Lord is exalted, yet the lowly he sees, the proud he knows from afar.  Your kindness Lord endures forever; forsake not the works of your hands." Psalm 138
It is clear now why Peter is chosen as the rock on which the Church is built upon, and why we continue to need the guidance of the Church, and those who follow the humble fisherman in his Christ commissioned ministry.

To Him be glory forever! Amen!

Monsignor Pope, of the Archdiocese of Washington has a wonderful post on this Sunday's readings, well worth checking out!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Jesus and the Canaanite Woman

This Sunday's readings contain the Gospel reading, Matthew 15: 21-28, which is one that I am afraid is a bit hard for my modern sensibilities.  I feel for the woman, who is clearly an outsider, and I feel for her poor daughter. This woman goes to Jesus, mindful of the cultural walls that should have made her mission impossible (remember what Deuteronomy says about Canaanites!), yet,still, she seeks Him.
"At that time Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, 'Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David!  My daughter is tormented by a demon.'  But Jesus did not say a word in answer to her"
If I am entirely honest, the silent response of Jesus as this woman pleads for her daughter really bothers me.  It is a terror in my soul not to be noticed by the beloved, to seek Him and not have him respond.  But this woman remains undaunted, she continues to cry out to Jesus! Was His silence a non-response?  Even the disciples want Jesus to respond to her:
"Jesus's disciples came and asked  him 'send her away for she keeps calling out after us.'  He said in reply, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.'  But the woman came and did Him homage, saying, 'Lord help me.'  He said in reply, 'It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.'  She said, 'Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.'  Then Jesus said to her in reply, 'O woman, great is your faith!  Let it be done for you as you wish.'  And the woman's daughter was healed from that hour."
First he is silent, and then he reminds her that she is not one of the children, in fact, she is a dog.  My modern, and very superficial and thin-skinned sensibilities are insulted for this woman!.  I really want to explain that Jesus really did not mean to call her a dog.  I want to imagine he was smiling and winking at her when he said this, knowing that he was really going to teach the disciples a thing or two about inclusiveness.

  Or maybe I don't.  Maybe it is in facing down the hard truths of the Kingdom, without fear and in absolute humility that the full height and depth of the Gospel can penetrate to the darkest and most desolate areas in our soul. And maybe His silence isn't rejection, maybe it is in the dark night of His silence that the deeper truth of my need for Him, and my longing for Him are more fully revealed.  He draws forth from me the desire for His mercy because, in the light of His justice and truth, all is revealed.  But these are hard to endure, and sometimes I would rather choose blindness to truth.

 This woman comes to Jesus in absolute honesty,  about who she is and where she stands in light of the Truth as He stands before her.  It is her words and actions that indicate that.  In the passages before this story, Matthew 15:1-20, Jesus explains that evil in the heart of a person is what defiles a person, and leaves them blind, like the Pharisees who cannot see that disobeying a commandment of God is far worse than not following a tradition that has been handed down by their elders.  They are offended by Jesus identifying their neglect of the commandments and in their pride they are blinded and do recognize truth when they are confronted with it.  They refuse His justice, so they refuse His mercy.

 There is much to admire in the Canaanite woman's courage to seek Jesus, and her faith to keep on seeking him for the sake of her daughter. I am also drawn to her humility and her lack of presumption. She knows where she stands and in knowing that she avails herself fully to His mercy.  And in her perseverance to seek the Lord, she helps all of us to see in His light, and all is revealed.  No superficiality or blind arrogance will be tolerated, not if you want to receive the fullness of His healing.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Biblical Gardens, Michele Kinghorn

Michele Kinghorn
May 15, 2010
OCBS Year 4
Instructor:  Sharon Nelsen

There seems to be a pull for humans toward the natural world for the growth of our heart and souls.   This can be seen played out in the stories we read in the Bible.  Key stories from the Bible occur in the setting of a garden.  Did the gardens experienced by those who lived during the time of Moses and later at the time of Jesus look like the contemporary gardens we have experienced?  What do we know about them? 
A garden can be defined as "a plot of land where plants, fruits, vegetables, and spices were cultivated" (Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible page 482)  Typically they were located closer to the house and supplemented the diet of grains and dairy products consumed.   They were usually fenced in by a stone wall or hedge for protection and to keep out invaders.
You would find that the gardens of ancient Egyptians were attached to part of a palace of a king or wealthy family.  To reach a "country residence one often crossed its garden first.  The entrance was through a gate, at time reminiscent of the pylons of temples."  ("Horticulture: Gardens and gardeners" hefertiti.iwebland.com/trades/gardeners.htm, page 3)   These gardens were planted with trees within an enclosure and were irrigated.  There were also pavilions present.  Irrigation water was diverted and used to form pools and streams.  This created an environment of a welcome respite from the desert heat.  In the Egyptian garden, flowers were also grown.  According to the Dictionary of the Bible by John McKenzie, SJ, artwork from ancient Egypt illustrates people being entertained in a garden setting. 
Egyptians loved a formal garden; trees and plants stood in straight rows.   Lettuce gardens (lettuce was well known as an aphrodisiac), were dedicated to the god, Min.  Growing vegetables was very labor intensive.  The gardeners had to irrigate the plants since Egypt received little rain.  Water had to be carried from either the Nile or from a local well.  The gardeners who toiled in these ancient gardens endured the hot desert sun.  Some of them were slaves who were taken prisoner during the many conquering raids of the Egyptians into Canaan and Nubia. 

Gardeners tools were very basic.  They had planting sticks, hoes to dig with, baskets for carrying, knives and adzes for pruning, and earthen pots for carrying water.    (Pictures from ("Horticulture: Gardens and gardeners" hefertiti.iwebland.com/trades/gardeners.htm, page 7)     

Mesopotamian gardens were enclosed by cultivated trees, usually fruit trees, and were also irrigated.  However, they seem to have been absent of flowers.  They , like the gardens of Egypt, had pavilions for shade.   Some of these gardens could also function as a preserve and serve as a place for hunters to enjoy their sport.
The garden of the Old Testament was not has highly cultivated as the Egyptian or Mesopotamian garden.  It may be described as more of an orchard.   Ancient Israelites employed dry-farming practices.  Larger farms may have had separate vineyards and olive orchards.   It is also noted that many families probably planted fruit vines and trees within their gardens.
In the New Testament, a momentous event occurred in an olive grove:  Jesus prayed the night of his betrayal and arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane.  
“When he had said this, Jesus went out with his disciples across the Kidron Valley to where there was a garden, into which he and his disciples entered.  Judas his betrayer also knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples. (John 18.1-2)
Gethsemane (oil press) is located at the foot of the Mount of Olives.  Today it is an enclosed grove of eight olive trees which dates back centuries.  This grove is located where the "modern highway to Jericho diverges from the path over the mountain to Bethany".  (Dictionary of the Bible by McKenzie, page 305)     

(Ancient Olive Tree from www.allaboutarchaeology.org/garden-of-gethsemane-faq.htm)
Throughout his life, Jesus takes times away, retreats to nature.  Sometimes he would go to the wild in the desert or a mountainside - places of isolation.  Other times he would go to seek peace in a garden.  On the night he was to be betrayed, he goes to the sanctuary and refuge of a garden, the garden of Gethsemane.  I can only imagine the agony that Jesus experienced as he prayed that night, His human spirit seeking consolation and peace through nature and the protection of the garden while he prayed and agonized at the events that were to follow.
Gardens provide a gravitational pull for humans toward the natural world.  They are places of sanctuary, intimacy, protection, and healing.  We can see this evidenced in the gardens mentioned in the Bible, from the images of Eden in Genesis to the burial place of Jesus:  “Now in the place where he had been crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had yet been buried.  So they laid Jesus there…” (John 19.41-42a).
Gardens are places that invite us to pray and reflect; they enhance and nurture our spirits; they are places created and sustained by God, little “promised lands” where we can sow and gather, eating our fill as we meet and interact with God.
For the land which you are to enter and occupy is not like the land of Egypt from which you have come, where you would sow your seed and then water it by hand, as in a vegetable garden.  No, the land into which you are crossing for conquest is a land of hills and valleys that drinks in rain from the heavens, a land which the Lord, your God, looks after; his eyes are upon it continually from the beginning of the year to the end.   If, then, you truly heed my commandments which I enjoin on your today, loving and serving the Lord, your God, will all your heart and all your soul, I will give seasonal rain to your land, the early rain and the late rain, that you may have your grain, wine and oil to gather in; and I will bring forth grass in your fields for your animals.  Thus you may eat your fill. (Deut. 11.10-15)



The Creation An Appeal to Save Life on Earth  by E.O. Wilson Published 2006 W.W. Norton & Company, New York
Dictionary of the Bible by John L. McKenzie, SJ Published 1995 Touchstone, New York
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible  edited by David Noel Freedman Published 2000 Wm. B, Eerdmans Publishing Company
The Meaning of Gardens edited by Mark Francis and Randolph T. Hester, Jr.  1990 The MIT Press Cambridge, Massachusetts
Rooted Reflections on the Gardens in Scripture by Murray Andrew Pura Published 2010 Zondervan, Grand Rapids Michigan
"Garden of Gethsemane" http:www.allaboutarchaeology.org/garden-of-gethsemane-faq.htm
"Horticulture: Gardens and gardeners" http:nefertutu.iwebland.com/trades/gardeners.htm

copyright 2011 Michele Kinghorn

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Be Not Afraid: A reflection on Sunday's Gospel, by Gazelle Johnson

Heidi, I am sure the profound thoughts in the shower made their way into your reflection, applied to the real life of where you are   Since you reflected on the 1st reading, I will follow with the 2nd and Gospel readings today.

St. Paul’s Storm:  What I want to say is this: my sorrow is so great, my mental anguish so endless, I would willingly be condemned and be cut off from Christ if it could help my brothers of Israel, my own flesh and blood.

St.  Peter’s Storm:   Peter got out of the boat and started walking towards Jesus across the water, but as soon as he felt the force of the wind, he took fright and began to sink.

My StormIt really bothers me when Christians separate from one another due to differing Biblical interpretationI would not like to see anyone “cut off.”  It really does cause me mental anguish

Our Storm:  It was windy last night.   Really windy.  There was thunderstorm warnings.   I snuggled into the comfort of my bed,  and said a prayer for those who recently lost their homes due to severe storms.  You never know, in the morning…  This morning I found out that friends had lost trees, had minor property damage.  We had a branch on the apex of the roof.  

 I have family members who  attend a protestant mega-church.  This church recently collected large amounts of aid for the victims of the midwestern storms.  Catholic charities also are doing much for the victims of the storm, as well as numerous generous secular groups.   Neighbors help neighbors.  Good Samaritans every one.

They are all Jesus’ hand reaching out to Peter, to those sinking in the waves of the struggles of this life.   They do it for love of neighbor.   When I see them work together to solve a common problem, I see that they are all Jesus’ hand reaching out to Paul, to those sinking in the waves of separation due to different understand of religious theological development.

We are reminded to look at Jesus, how God saves through the means of humanity, his creation which he loves.  The storm is stilled.   There is still work to be done, trees to be chopped, boats to be repaired, Biblical truths to glean…and share.

Jesus’ Hand:  Jesus put out his hand at once and held him. ‘Man of little faith,’ he said ‘why did you doubt?’ And as they got into the boat the wind dropped.   We’re all in the same boat—and Jesus is here.  God with us.  When you take the hand of your neighbor, you take the hand of Jesus.  When you give your hand to your neighbor, you are the hand of Jesus.  Be not afraid.


Friday, August 5, 2011

The Whisper of the Lord

At the mountain of God, Horeb, Elijah came to a cave where he took shelter.  The Lord said to him, "Go outside and stand by the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will be passing by."  A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord- but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake- but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake there was a fire' but the Lord was not in the fire.  After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave.   1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a

 The readings for the Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time have so much to offer, and while I was in the shower today I thought of many profound, witty and earth-shattering things to say about all of them, with a bit of political and social commentary (and just the right amount of sarcasm thrown in).  But , by the grace of God, as I have sat down at the computer, I cannot remember any of my profound thoughts; they were full of wind and fire, sound and fury, but they signified nothing (except maybe the ego of yours truly).  And so it goes with me and most of my self-willed ambitions!  Thankfully, again by God's grace the still small movements of His Spirit have prevailed in me, for the most part.

 Each of us needs to work on hearing the gentle whispering of God, especially as the storms of life rage on around us.  The words may not be profound or earth-shattering either, they might be as simple as telling a very tired, sick and overwhelmed expectant mother that the most needful thing at the moment was not the mess all around her, and it was not in justifying to the world that being pregnant for the seventh time  isn't  a sign of laziness, selfishness or stupidity, it was the toddler at her feet who needed her. The exact words that God whispered to me in that moment of despair were :"Heidi do you see that little boy on the floor, he needs lunch and a nap." And all of a sudden, in a flood of gratitude, I realized that "kindness and truth, justice and peace" spring forth when we cry out to God our Father and trust in his response. The rest of the day would unfold as they always do, and the opportunity to live a life of meaning, beauty and integrity would be built on the moment to moment responses to the Lord's whisperings.

My morning sickness did not immediately abate, and I still struggled with doubt and fear, but I had gained perspective on how God's Kingdom emerges.  The Kingdom of Heaven emerges when we take our heart and mind of the storms around us and look to the Lord, because the raging tempests will continue until the end of time!

 I will never forget that still small voice, because as it is with everything that is of God, that whisper has echoed down through my past memories and forward into future struggles. It's gentle direction continues to unfold and work in my life.