Where Charity and Love, God is There

This morning’s blessing from the Divine Office:

Ubi caritas et amor Deus ibi est
(Where charity and love, God is there)

We feel your presence here
Your love and comfort near
As you welcome us.
Fill our every need
Hurry gracious host
To those we meet

(Chorus)

And so we come to you
We need to be renewed
Take our gifts O Lord
Use us for your good
Help us love each other as we should

(Chorus)

Help us your people Lord
That we may serve the world
Wash away our sins
Cleanse us from within
Send us forth to do your will

(Chorus)

So as we live each day
Lord help us that we may
Keep our hearts and minds
Open to your love
That charity and love in us abound.

(Chorus x 2).

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I, Me, Mine

I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth.  I’ve been “settling” in…that’s the easiest way to describe it, but doesn’t quite do justice to the adjustments being made to a new country, new job, new home…missing the old, and desperately trying to fit into the new.
 
I’m hearing little God whispers in my ear again.  I’m trying hard to listen to them, it’s been awhile since I really felt like God was talking to me.  Ya know the dynamic of getting a new car, and suddenly it seems EVERYONE is driving the same kind of car?  Upon our move here-in the midst of financial struggles, there seems to be a similar dynamic in place.  Often, I will happen upon an article, a television blurb, or a discussion that centers on poverty and the Christian’s duty to the poor.  I’m having my heart and mind stretched in ways I didn’t realize they could be stretched.  I’m challenged by something I thought I knew that is coming home to me in a deeper understanding—a heart-changing “knowing” that everything that I have is provided by and on loan to me from God.  It is not “mine”, it is meant to be held with an open hand, and made available to anyone who needs it.  This changes the way I look at “my stuff”.  If God had need of any of it to support my neighbor, how tightly do I hold it?  Is it available to assist, or do I close my fingers around it and use it only for myself, my wants/needs/gratifications?  I am ashamed when I ponder the contrasting images of the loud and proud Pharisee faithfully tithing his percentage alongside the poor widow, humbly giving her all.  I’m awed by the way God has used others to assist us, to bless us, and to teach us:  An unbelieving family member apologizing for not being able to provide beds, but opens his home, refrigerator, and wallet to help, even in the midst of his own financial struggles;  A check in the mail from a friend who is unaware of our deep need, but obeyed a God-whisper to send a gift to a friend; A bag of potatoes from a downstairs neighbor who “is allergic” to them; I could go on and on.  Why am I afraid of holding that open hand, when I have myriads of examples of providence and deep love of God?  Why am I afraid of tomorrow, when I know it’s the same God that holds that day in His hand that I see providing for me today?