Wendel Family

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.
(Mark 7:21-22)

My Jesus, you do not mince words when comparing external rituals with interior motives. We are not contaminated from outside, but from our hearts. In the Old Testament, we are exhorted, “Harden not your hearts.” If we do, we allow sin to direct us. Only if we are open to your love can we absorb and reflect it. Please help me to see myself clearly; then I will see you. Cleanse my heart and take it for yourself.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”
(Mark 7:27-28)

Your words, my Jesus, sound so harsh. Are you refusing to heal the child of a gentile woman? Are you denouncing her by calling her a dog? Only the word “first” gives a glint of hope. The woman does not bristle, but offers an apt retort. You must smile at her perseverance and quick wit. Perhaps this encounter is a living parable. We do not have to go away sad, like the young man who couldn’t give up his riches. We can even question you, or argue with you as the prophets did on behalf of your people.

The woman is fighting for her daughter. She will not be denied. Perhaps you are testing her for her sake, or perhaps for the sake of the bystanders, for the sake of all of us. Elsewhere, you say that your Father wants and expects us to keep knocking, even when we think we are being rebuked.

Please help me to persevere in prayer with faith, hope, and trust.

Friday, February 9, 2018

They were exceedingly astonished, and they said, “He has done all things well. He makes the deaf hear and he mute speak.”
(Mark 7:37)

Open my ears, Lord, that I might hear your Word and my lips that I might proclaim it.

What are you telling me now? As I plan my day, knowing that there will be distractions and interruptions, please keep me alert to your message of love. You will speak through whatever and whomever I encounter, whether I am walking to the store past the little pond, doing laundry and chatting with my neighbors, talking on the phone, or simply resting in you. Tune me to your will.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat.
(Mark 8:23)

Lord, in your merciful love, you always take pity on us. You know what we need, even when we, ourselves, do not. The meal you are about to bless and multiply gives immediate sustenance to those who share it, but you know that we need more than bread alone. You will give us a spiritual feast; you will give yourself, bringing us close to you than you drew those you touched and healed.

I have never experienced hunger for as long as a day. I have always had food within reach. It is hard to imagine physical starvation. Yet my yearning for you fills me with both pain and joy. I want more. I want to be with you. Please take me, Lord. Let me love myself in you.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

A leper came to Jesus and kneeling down begged him and said, “If you wish, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, he stretched out his hand, touched him, and said to him, “I do will it. Be made clean.”
(Mark 1:40-41)

There again, Lord, is that phrase, “moved with pity.” All we have to do is trust in you r power and ask your assistance, and you cannot help but heal us. Mercy is your nature. None of us are so “unclean” that you refuse to touch us. It is only when we turn away from you that we are lost, and, even then, you come after us. You want nothing but to draw us to you.

I will let go of my tethers, Lord. Then I will be free to float in your love. Cleanse me. Heal me.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
(James 1:2-3)

Teach me, Lord, to rejoice in whatever you send me, for you are always with me. You will not ask of me more than I can bear, and you will share whatever burden I carry. You are yoked with me. It is not so hard to push as to pull. All I have to do is lean against the yoke and my weight will impel it. With you next to me, I am resting even while I work. Nothing is as hard as I might imagine.

Whatever challenges this day brings, let me face calmly, not thinking of the past or future, but only of the row we are plowing now. My Jesus, I trust in you.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Jesus enjoined them, “Watch out, guard against the leaven of the Pharisees and the leaven of Herod.”
(Mark 8:15)

Leaven makes bread rise by puffing it up with air. Herod and the Pharisees were inflated with pride. If anything is going to leaven me, Lord, let it be your Spirit. On my own, I am as flat as the Passover bread, yet it is that wafer that you choose to transform into your own Body. You will work in me, small and plain as I am. Please make me humble, honest, and open to your Word. I must decrease; you must increase.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

When you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites. They neglect their appearance, so that they may appear to others to be fasting. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
(Matthew 6:16)

Lent begins today, Lord. I will wear ashes on my forehead as a sign that I am Christian, but for the remainder of the 40 days, with your grace, I will pray, fast and give quietly. Please help me to grow in faith, hope, and charity during this holy season.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
(Luke 9:24)

How can I lose my life, Lord? I doubt that I will die a martyr’s death, though in this culture it could happen. How willing am I to speak out for love of you and my neighbor? I pray that you will provide the grace, strength and courage to witness you. For now, for today, for this hour, this minute, let me forget myself and live in you. I am free because I am unattached. When I float in your love, I am nothing and yet I have everything. How senseless it is to worry. How peaceful it is to surrender.

Jesus said to the crowds, “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.
(Mark 4:26-27)

Some time ago, I received a living lettuce plant from Hungry Harvest. After using the top leaves, I placed it in a jar of water, where it has been growing on my window sill. Yesterday, I planted it in soil. The roots were long and tangled; new green leaves had sprouted, but there was no remnant of the seed. It had not died, but split open and become part of the growth.

If I am one of those tiny seeds, Lord. I, too, can disappear into your Kingdom, assimilating into it. This is the new life that never ends.

How can I grow in you today? I will not know, but I trust that your love will work in me whether I sleep or rise.

Jesus said to the crowds, “This is how it is with the Kingdom of God; it is as if a man were to scatter seed on the land and would sleep and rise night and day and the seed would sprout and grow, he knows not how.
(Mark 4:26-27)

Some time ago, I received a living lettuce plant from Hungry Harvest. After using the top leaves, I placed it in a jar of water, where it has been growing on my window sill. Yesterday, I planted it in soil. The roots were long and tangled; new green leaves had sprouted, but there was no remnant of the seed. It had not died, but split open and become part of the growth.

If I am one of those tiny seeds, Lord. I, too, can disappear into your Kingdom, assimilating into it. This is the new life that never ends.

How can I grow in you today? I will not know, but I trust that your love will work in me whether I sleep or rise.

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