Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yom Kippur.. and Divine Forgiveness for ALL

“Blessed is the Name of the glory of Your kingship forever and ever”.... second verse of the Shema...

Throughout the year, this blessing is recited in an undertone, as it was “stolen” from the angels. On Yom Kippur, however, we are likened to angels, so we too, like the angels, can recite it out loud.... so, let's begin the blessing by proclaiming......

“Blessed is the Name of the glory of Your kingship forever and ever”...

Yom Kippur, also known as "the Day of Atonement", is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people.... According to Jewish tradition, God inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book, the "Book of Life", on Rosh HaShanah, and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict.... The Tefila Zaka meditation says.. "I fully and finally forgive everyone; may no one be punished because of me. And just as I forgive everyone, so may You grant me grace in the eyes of others, that they too forgive me absolutely." During Yom Kippur itself, Jews fast and pray for God's forgiveness for the transgressions they have made against God in the prior year. Sincere repentance is required, and once again, God can only forgive one for the sins one has committed against God; this is why it is necessary for Jews also to seek the forgiveness of those people who they have wronged.

Of course, I am no expert really.. this is what I read on a website... and since I am Christian, I wanted to, also, read about WWJD (What Would Jesus Do)?  We cannot exactly know, but since He was Jewish.. we can believe that He fasted and prayed, together with His community.. He took His own measure, mingling regret and resolve.... He reflected on the year just past, and looked ahead to the year forthcoming... and as so many of His parables say, "Jesus took comfort in a gracious God, Who welcomed not only the "perfect", but also, the penitent... 

Because today is about forgiveness... and what I like to do is "connect" us all... I thought that I would give you all a little background on what we ALL believe regarding forgiveness.....

The Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians teach that God's forgiveness is received through personal repentance in conjunction with the ministry of the Church, that is, the Body of Christ. They teach to make formal confession of sins individually in the presence of a priest, and to obtain absolution as a formal expression by the church of God's forgiveness. It is taught that the sacrifice of Jesus via the crucifixion is the vehicle through which God forgives the believer of his or her sins. The sacrament of communion is regarded as central to the reception of divine forgiveness.

The Buddhists believe that in contemplating the law of karma, they realize that it is not a matter of seeking revenge but of practicing metta and forgiveness, for the victimizer is, truly, the most unfortunate of all....
Islamic belief teaches that God (Allah) is 'the most forgiving', and is the original source of all forgiveness. Forgiveness often requires the repentance of those being forgiven. Depending on the type of wrong committed, forgiveness can come either directly from Allah, or from one's fellow man whom received the wrong. In the case of divine forgiveness, the asking for divine forgiveness via repentance is important. In the case of human forgiveness, it is important to both forgive, and to be forgiven.

Ivanla Vanzant, New Thought Spiritual Teacher, said, "Forgiveness is the most powerful tool you have to lessen your burden and heal your life.  Simply be willing.  Your willingness creates a space for miracles to occur." I think that in order for the miracle to occur... we must believe that forgiveness is the awakening to the reality that the separation never occurred in God’s "eternal" reality... the space created by our willingness to forgive, should be open an free of debris.... the inability to forgive, creates blocks that do not allow us to see the eternal goodness in... and the unity and equality with... one’s brothers and sisters.  When we forgive, we remove the fog obscuring the reflection of God within others, which leads to the same sight within ourselves.... If we forgive, we will find that there isn't anything that can be done to us that can affect the eternal oneness that God has created.... all will remain as God created... and we, as blessed people, will remain united in God’s eternal love....  after all, we all make mistakes... we all carry burdens... and so, if WE repent, WE are all offered Divine forgiveness.. 

May the gift of forgiveness open us up to receive goodness in our lives so that we can be the blessed people God intends for us to be because we are all loved beyond measure and are cherished blessings to the world... 

Today, I fast and pray, as Jesus did... I fast and pray in solidarity with all my Jewish brothers and sisters, whom I love so much.. for what we do together is more powerful than what we do individually... we receive more Divine light and grace...  "Tzom Kal"

May your day be blessed with the miracle of forgiveness,
With love,

Monday, September 17, 2012

Rosh HaShanah

Hello from my heart to yours....

..In the seventh month, on the first of the month, there shall be a sabbath for you, a remembrance with shofar blasts, a holy convocation. -Leviticus 16:24
This is a blessing that I recycle every year... naturally, I take the liberty of editing because my thought process changes every minute... but the core message remains the same...  

I re-send it, with love, for all my Jewish friends especially.... and for my Christian friends, as a reminder that we were all Jewish once... after all, Jesus Christ celebrated this Holiday for 33 years..... 
Rosh HaShanah began last night at sunset and lasts until nightfall tomorrow... it is the Jewish New Year 5773... There are many traditions and customs that go into celebrating Rosh HaShanah, but this is my favorite I think because everyone can relate to it...
On Rosh HaShanah religious poems are added to the regular services... these poems refer to Psalm 81:4 ...
ד  תִּקְעוּ בַחֹדֶשׁ שׁוֹפָר;    בַּכֵּסֶה, לְיוֹם חַגֵּנוּ.
4 Blow the horn at the new moon, at the full moon for our feast-day.
The holiday is characterized by the blowing of the shofar, a trumpet made from a ram's horn and not from the horn of any other kind of animal, intended to symbolically awaken the listeners from their "slumbers" and alert them to the coming judgment.
So, I thought how wonderful it would be if every time we were "slumbering" ... and not listening to God's Word... and not following His commandments... someone blew the shofar to alert us... we need reminders throughout the day that we are not behaving as God's children... not behaving as the blessed people that we all are... this world would be a much better and loving place if we heard a little horn go off, wouldn't it? 
There are many instances in which we hear some type of shofar... sports come to mind immediately... that whistle just blows and blows...  for children, they hear the school bells.. this tells them that school is starting.. or hurry up because it was the late bell... and to change classes... many factories use whistles to let their workers know the day is over... can't you just hear Fred Flintstone right now? lol...... and Pavlov, in his conditional reflex experiment on saliva, used a variety of stimuli, including whistles, tuning forks and the ringing a bell to signal to the dog that food was on its way... 
In the Catholic mass, the altar servers ring sanctus/altar bells.. the primary reason for ringing the bells is to create a joyful noise to the Lord as a way to give thanks for the miracle taking place atop the Altar of Sacrifice ... however, another function of the bells is to focus the attention of those attending the Mass ..and "slumbering" ... that a supernatural event is taking place on the altar.
All of the world's people are guilty of "slumbering"... as adults, we shouldn't need a sound to remind us that the judgement day is coming and we should all be in God's grace when that happens... maybe we just need a little nudge from someone every once in awhile... something to keep us "awake"... maybe we can work on triggering our own minds and hearts so that when we do something wrong, we hear that shofar blowing in the distance ... blowing to awaken us from our slumber.... I don't know.. it's hard I suppose in this noisy world we live in... but we have to try because we are all loved beyond measure and are cherished blessings to the world...  

Just last week, a friend blew the shofar at me... I kind of knew I was "slumbering", but didn't quite know how to get out of the funk that I was in... on the morning that I met with him, my daily affirmation was... "Now is the appointed time.. today is the day of my amazing good fortune." ... and it surely was and is.... this holiday will forever mean so much to me... so much so, that I have been reading about the different rituals performed today... and the one that I especially liked and will do today is the Tashlich... Tashlich means "to cast" ... this custom consists of reciting select verses next to a body of water, such as a sea, river, stream or lake, preferably one that has fish... the idea is that "You shall cast into the depths of the sea all your sins." The reason for saying Tashlich next to a body of water is because Rosh HaShanah is the day when the Jewish people coronate God as King of the Universe... and even though I am Catholic, I rejoice with my Jewish friends as this is OUR, One and merciful God......  

I could go on and on, of course... (can you tell how excited I am about beginning the New Year?), but the blessing is really too long already... so, I will leave you all with this: 
L'Shana Tovah ...  "May your name be inscribed in the book of life and sealed for a good year."
May your day be blessed with all things sweet,
With Love,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Hello from my heart to yours....

"Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?" 
Alan Jackson, one of my favorite country singers

I was searching for last year's blessing for this day to get some kind of inspiration on what to write....... and well, I didn't send one... I did find ones from years prior... but they didn't inspire me much... the message still remains the same... it was one of the saddest days in history... and always will be... 

It is hard to write something meaningful regarding the events of 9/11... I searched the internet to find something, but there didn't seem to be much in the way of thoughtful poetry or prose by anyone that moved me in a wow way... maybe because writers aren't much different than anyone else; all of us suffered the same raw feelings regarding the event... and who really wants to write about it? ... worse, that the devastation was brought to us live on television.. in real time... not to mention the endless replays of the tragedy... how can words be as vivid as the visuals we all experienced?  Everyone remembers where they were when the world stopped turning that September day...   and 11 years later... the memory seems as vivid as if it happened yesterday....

Of course, I did find a poem by my good and faithful friend, Rod McKuen, that I'd like to share with you today...

Some Heroes do not engage, are
passive in the fight. Dying unaware
that any battlefield grew up around them.

Some heroes are just passing through
on their way to work or home, making
love and lunch appointments on cell 
phones, in cellblock cubicles.

Some heroes whistle on their way to death
caught unawares while polishing politeness
eating or deleting Spam, expiring in delirium,
not unwilling but not knowing, with no final will 
tucked into top left-hand drawer.

Some heroes learn to fly without a practice 
run, a test on some low country hill. And more 
than one young hero never reached a poppy 
field because they turned to dust or powder
while God was taking his usual time returning
earth to earth, dust to natural dust. 

If the battle comes to them then I insist
heroes are heroes and they need not enlist.
To die without a chance to choose, choice 
left to chance makes heroes sure as targets
practiced and then hit by marksman or
marked man in battle gear. Some heroes 
good & true become so just by being there.
First published in Flight Plan 9/11/2006

I, also, give you a youtube link of the song....

As I remember that day, I reflect on the following quote..... it reminds me to continue to have faith, hope and love in my heart... it reminds me to pray and live my life in grace and as the blessed person God intends me to be....

"....Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee..." 

Remember that you are loved beyond measure and a cherished blessing to me and the world...
May your day be filled with remembrance and prayer... for those heroes who became so by just being there... for the families they left behind ... and for the people of this wondrous country that will never forget where they were when the earth stopped turning....