Jonathan's Blog

Reflections on the glory of God

A Morning Reflection – Three in One

Yesterday I had lunch with a good friend of mine.  We are involved in two ministry efforts together and this was a ‘working lunch’.  We had a good and hopefully productive discussion.  I enjoy listening to this brother in Christ who is several years my senior with a varied and very interesting life experience.  He is an intelligent, insightful and spiritual person. I feel I have so much I can learn from him.  Yet, as God has set it up in the ministries we are working together on, I am the one in the leadership role.  I am the one handing out assignments and yet at the same time asking for help.  I find the whole situation completely ironic!  God is so amazing!!

During our time together, the conversation turned to the Holy Trinity for a bit.  Three persons in one God.  We can have a relationship with each and yet, each is the One, All-powerful, All-knowing, Everlasting God!  Each is not a part of God, but entirely God.  We can never fully understand it.  There is, however, inestimable value in beginning to try and understand it.

The conversation reminded me of a talk or a teaching I had once encountered which presented a concept which really helped me move forward in this attempt to understand three persons in one God.  It is simple and yet profound.  It is that I, as one man, can at the same time be husband, father and son!

Later, when the irony of being the leader to someone I consider a spiritual mentor struck me, I realized that even within this brief time my friend and I shared over lunch, I had been leader, student and friend.  He had been helper, teacher and friend!

We indeed are made in the image and likeness of God.  God in Himself is a relationship of three distinct persons and yet still One God.  We were made for relationship.  We were made for relationship with God and with each other.  We are all on this journey together.  We need each other!

I am so grateful to God for all the amazing people He has placed in my life, from my wonderful wife, to my fantastic family, to so many fabulous friends like the one I was blessed to share time with yesterday!!!

My brothers and sisters in Christ, make some time today to spend with your friends and your family and most especially with the One who made us!!  It’s what we were made for. He is waiting for us!

Advertisements

August 26, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Morning Reflection – Birthday Surprise

Today is my birthday.  For those inquiring minds that just have to know, I am now 54.  I don’t mind sharing that.  I believe every day is a blessing so in my logical brain, the more days I have been given, the more blessed I am.

Twenty years ago today, I received a huge birthday surprise.  It was a Tuesday morning, the day after Labor Day and I rode my bike the eight miles to work like I usually did back then.  Not long after I got started on my work day, I was called to our office lobby and told my wife was there to see me.  As I walked out to the lobby, I was feeling pretty good, expecting some kind of birthday surprise gift.  She wasn’t there for my birthday.  My bride was there to tell me that just hours earlier that morning my Dad had passed away, the victim of a heart attack at 64 years of age.  This was a complete shock to me; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

My Dad, Alfred Richard Cyr, Dick to his family and friends, and simply ‘Dad’ to my brother and I, was born in 1931 and raised on a potato farm in northern Maine during the Great Depression and World War II.  He served time in the Navy after the war in the early 1950’s. In 1959, he married Jessie McWhirter, my marvelous Mom, and in 1961 they moved to Florida before it was popular to do so.

My Dad, like myself, his eldest son, was a fairly quiet and calm individual.  He kept a lot of things to himself.  He was a fabulous father and a good and loving husband.  He was a very intelligent man who came up with some of the most ingenious little inventions while tinkering in his garage mostly in wood working.  He loved to make things out of wood.  I still have a baby crib he made for his only granddaughter, my little girl.  Well she is a grown school teacher now, but always my little girl.

Just over five years ago, my Mom joined her long lost best friend in eternity and I can believe there was a huge celebration at the pearly gates on that day.  I was blessed with wonderful parents and my only regret is that I didn’t get to know them even better as an adult.  I am eternally grateful to them for giving me life, for how they raised their two boys and for introducing me to Jesus Christ and His Church.

I missed my Dad as my children grew up without their grandpa, but thanks to one of two visions I have been granted in my life, I know that Dad didn’t miss a thing.  He experienced it all from the eternal perspective, the best seat in the house.

About ten days before he died, my Dad took me to an NFL preseason football game in Orlando as my birthday present.  Two of my sports heroes at the time, Dan Marino and Don Shula were on the field that night.  We had a wonderful night together, although the late evening totally wore Dad out.  I can still remember watching him drive away after he dropped me off at home in the early morning hours. I didn’t know it then, but that was the last time I saw him.  I do remember talking with him on the phone a few days later and can still hear him say as he hung up the phone “Good-bye Jonny, I love you”.

The wild thing is that the Lord used this tragedy in my life to draw me into a deep and personal relationship with Him.  I have so much more to learn, but because my Dad died when and how he did, I questioned God and He answered me and He consoled me.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, wherever you are in your faith walk today, please don’t shy away from asking God questions.  He will answer you (Matthew 7:7-8) and you will be better off for it.  Seek the Lord today and He will be found and if your parents are still this side of eternity, do me a favor and give them a call today and tell them thank you and that you love them.

September 5, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 4 Comments

A Morning Reflection – Daddy Time

My daughter called me last night. She wanted to talk to her Daddy. She was struggling to deal with a rather nasty and sadly unnecessary situation, the kind of thing we humans do to each other because, well, we are human, imperfect fallen creatures. She just needed someone who loved her to listen to her and help her work her way through it. She needed to vent and she chose to talk to her daddy. I listened and offered what I hope is some fatherly wisdom.

It was lousy timing for me. I had worked late and not eaten dinner yet. I was tired, hungry and impatient. Yet, when she called, my hunger and impatience dissolved and love took over. I didn’t even think about any of those things until after our talk was done. By then they didn’t matter any more. Unrelated to the struggle she called about, she also has an extremely difficult life decision to make this week and we talked about that as well. Even though my heart aches for her experiencing this difficult situation, it was a time of joy for me and a pleasure to be there for her in those moments. She reluctantly hung up after awhile, feeling calmer, ready to move on and I hope loved. She knows she was heard.

A few weeks ago our son called and invited his mother and I to come and visit him for the day. He wanted to ask his long-time girlfriend to marry him. We spent the afternoon with our son and a good friend of his before he asked the big question at sunset. We met her parents while waiting together for the news. She said yes and we were there to help them celebrate. He just wanted his parents to be a part of this big moment in his life. We are so grateful!!

It is ironic to me, but lately I have been really struggling in my prayer life. I don’t know why, but I have just found it difficult to consistently spend good quality quiet time with the Lord, our Father. The Lord used these events in my life to gently remind me again in a new light what I already know. We all sometimes need some Daddy time.

This is prayer. Our Father, Abba which means Daddy, is waiting for us to call upon Him. He hungers for us to spend time with Him and never grows tired or impatient with us. He is always ready to listen even if we just need to vent. His heart aches for us in the things we suffer through, but He is faithful to His promise to always be with us. Sometimes, He may even offer us a little fatherly wisdom if we are willing to listen and sometimes He is simply grateful to be invited to celebrate with us.

So my brothers and sisters, call upon your Daddy today. Call your earthly dad and just say hi and then check in with our heavenly Daddy and share with Him the deepest desires of your heart, your fears and your joys. He is anxious to hear from you and you know you will be heard!

June 2, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Morning Reflection – Christmas Stuff

As Christmas concludes in the Catholic liturgical calendar, I find it appropriate to reflect on my experience of Christmas this year.  It has been different for me this year.  I believe I see things through a different lens after my experiences of the last nine months of unemployment.

Did you like your Christmas stuff this year?  I got some stuff for which I am thankful.  Most of it was even very appropriate for me, meaning I will actually use it.  I was also given a temporary job helping someone move.  I thought I was volunteering to help a servant of God in a moment of need, but as it went I was paid very generously.  My wife and I received a couple of very generous checks from incredibly loving people.  I am so very thankful.  God and His children are amazing!!!

Yet, I think I am most thankful for the third day of Christmas this year.  On the third day of Christmas, the one true God gave to me my whole family gathered around my Christmas tree.  All three of my grown adult children and two ‘significant others’ were all home together for two days.  It was a nice family time.  We are so very blessed.

Others I happen to know were not so blessed this Christmas season.  One man just had his divorce finalized and another is battling through the break up of his marriage.  One couple had their house broken into and their Christmas was literally stolen.  Two brothers in Christ lost loved ones just days before Christmas; one a sister and a niece and the other his only son just 29 years old.  My heart is broken for them.  All this suffering and at Christmas time even.  What was I to make of all this?

It occurred to me sometime after the funeral for my friend’s son that this is actually what Christmas is really all about.  It is about all this stuff that we encounter and struggle with and suffer through.  The meaning of Christmas is that the God of the universe, the Creator of all things, loves us so much that He came down from heaven and inserted Himself into all of our stuff.  He came to be with us.  He became one of us and thus knows all of what we experience, the joy and the sadness alike.  The joy of Christmas is that Jesus walks with us through all of the struggle and the grief.  He comes down to us every time we pray and invite Him to be with us.  He comes down to us every time we receive Him in the Holy Eucharist.

He is with us always at Christmas and every day we walk this earth and He longs for a deep and intimate relationship with us.  May we reach out to Him every day in prayer and in the way we react to all those whom we encounter.  May we open our hearts and share with Him all that we experience!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

January 12, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

A Morning Reflection – Invitation

One day a little while ago, I got a call from a very good friend of mine.  He inquired as to whether my wife and I were fans of a particular kind of food.  I had to honestly say that we weren’t really but also had never really tried it.  He invited us to dinner with him and his wife and clearly stated “…and I’m buying!”.  I relished the chance for us to spend some time together with our wives so we accepted.  He named the place and the time and we agreed to meet there.

We had a very nice time with our friends.  It was good food and great company.  Our wives are good friends too.  We were at this little tiny restaurant and there was almost nobody else there so it was really nice and quiet.  We just sat and ate and talked about the food and the everyday stuff of life.  There was no fanfare or big excitement, just four people enjoying good food and each other’s company.  The only thing bad about it was that it was too brief.  My friend and I had a meeting to get to for the ministry we both work in at our church.

We receive a similar invitation from God.  Every day our Creator calls out to us and invites us to spend time with Him.  He longs for our “yes” to His invitation.  He meets us wherever we are and at any time we will agree to meet with Him.  He relishes the chance to spend some quiet time with us, to dine with us and discuss the food and the everyday stuff of our lives.  “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me” (Rev 3:20).  He even provides the food in the scriptures which are His very word and especially in the Holy Eucharist which is His very body and blood!

May we hear the invitation of the Lord today and accept.  May we open the door and spend time with Him in prayer and listen to His words to us in scripture.  He is always true to His promise to come into our house, our very being, and dine with us.

November 22, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Morning Reflection – Peaceful Reflection

Recently, my wife and I took a day off and spent several hours walking around a nearby nature preserve.  We are both working out of our home now and we are still adjusting to our home being both a workplace and a place of respite.  So we decided to get out of the house for awhile to find a little peace from all the things that had to be done.

It was a beautiful clear sunny day, warm but not hot with a very mild breeze.  Finally, the sun actually felt good.  We wandered slowly around the park sometimes quietly chatting, sometimes in silence and sometimes in prayers of praise taking in many wonders of God’s creation.

The park includes some wet lands areas and also a steady moving creek.  We stood for awhile on a boardwalk overlooking the creek.  On this calm clear day the water was as smooth as glass.  In some places I couldn’t distinguish the trees from the reflection of the trees!  I could only tell the water was moving due to some of the natural debris which was slowly but steadily moving downstream.

As I stood there watching one part of God’s creation beautifully reflecting the other creations in its surroundings, I realized this was only possible because of the calmness of the day.  If the mild breeze that felt so good had been more of a wind, the water would have been too disturbed to so perfectly reflect the things around it.

Thus it is with our hearts as well.  It is at those times when our hearts are calm and peaceful that we best reflect the love and mercy of our Creator to those around us.  When we allow our hearts to be disturbed by the events in our lives, we tend to turn inward and think mostly of ourselves.  We don’t even notice the needs of others around us.  However, when we give our disturbed hearts to the Lord in prayer, we can find His peace which surpasses all understanding.  With His peace in our hearts, no matter what debris may be moving through our lives, we can still reflect His great beauty which is all around us and in us for all those who surround us to see and experience.

November 15, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Morning Reflection – Transformed

I have developed a routine lately of rising before dawn and taking a walk to pray the rosary.  Of course it is completely dark and quiet in the house as I drag myself out of bed, dress and tie my shoes.  It is still night as I begin my walk and prayer.  I can still see stars in the sky through my sleepy eyes as I trudge down my street toward the park where I walk.

The park has a sidewalk which loops around a set of three soccer fields.  I walk laps as I pray and on most days I can quicken my pace as I begin to really wake up.  As I pray and contemplate the life of Jesus through the mysteries of the rosary the sky begins to slowly brighten.  It is as if God is slowly turning some great dimmer switch and slowly turning on the day.

If I look down too much watching the path before me instead of the sky, I miss the gradually changing environment around me.  The stars dim and fade away as the sky turns from black to deep blue to a more pale blue.  If there are enough clouds the sky is painted with beautiful mixtures of yellow, orange, pink, blue and white.  Right before my eyes, night is transformed into day.

This morning as I walked in silence after completing the rosary, the Lord brought to my mind how our lives are just like this.  As we walk the path of our life, lifting our hopes, cares, fears and dreams to Him in prayer each day, we are transformed.  As we step through each day of our life we don’t usually realize that anything is happening.  However, if we take the time to look around us and reflect on the mysteries in our life, then sometimes we can see how we have been gradually transformed.  I know as I look back over the last few months of my life, I can now see that I am not the same person I was even five or six months ago and I am so grateful for that.

So keep praying my brothers and sisters.  Make an appointment with God every day.  Talk to Him and listen for His still small voice as He speaks to you through the scriptures, the people in your life and the events of your life.  You are being transformed into an even more beautiful mixture of colors.  Look for it and you will see it.

September 4, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Morning Reflection – True Wealth

I did it! By the grace of God, with the help of some great friends, I completely and totally surprised my wife for our 30th wedding anniversary. This is really difficult to do as she is very observant and I am terrible at hiding things. Amazingly, I managed to arrange for a small group of our friends to gather at our favorite food establishment on the evening of our anniversary without my wife finding out about it.

My beautiful bride thought we were having a dinner out for just the two of us as we usually do. As empty nesters, we have dinner for two most of the time now. So my wonderful wife was flabbergasted when we were met by nine of our friends sitting at a huge table in the corner. We had a wonderful evening filled with fellowship and joyful sharing of stories.

This was my gift to my bride to celebrate 30 years of marriage. Having been unemployed for the last four months or so we are not exactly rolling in cash. We are blessed but could not afford anything extravagant for our celebration. What we received instead was a priceless outpouring of kindness and love. Our friends gave us some really nice and thoughtful gifts. I never expected that. I just wanted the pleasure of their company to help us celebrate and that is exactly what we were given. Each one present that evening sacrificed something from a busy and full life in order to spend a few hours with us. The gift of their time was the most precious gift of all.

I have been able to reflect in these last few months on the relative value of different things. What is true wealth? After four months of joblessness, I can tell you that for me true wealth is not how much income we have or how much stuff we have filled our house with. True wealth is in our relationships. The most important of those is with our God and then our family and friends.

The time my wife and I shared with our friends on that joyous evening is true wealth. No one can ever take that away from any of us. It is an everlasting memory. Even if we should forget though, those moments we shared, the outpouring of love we received and hopefully reflected even a little bit are as eternal as the God through whom they were given.

True wealth is 30 years of loving marriage and friends to celebrate with on the journey of life. True wealth is loving others and the love we receive in response.

August 16, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments

A Morning Reflection – Moonlight

Did you happen to see the big bright beautiful full moon rising in the eastern sky on Sunday evening? It was an amazing sight to behold.

My wife and I were driving south out of Jacksonville on our way home from a weekend conference with the youth group from our church when she first spotted it. I looked to where she directed me and there it was, this beautiful giant glowing ball hovering in the sky. I heard from friends later that on this night the moon was at its closest point to the earth. This was the third gift of God we had seen that day in His creation. Earlier that day on our journey we had seen a rainbow and then a little later a glowing orange sunset sky.

The moon that evening was beautiful to behold. It is amazing that a full moon on a clear night can provide enough light to generally see where you are going and observe your surroundings. Yet, the moon is a giant dust covered rock orbiting the earth. It has no light of its own. It simply reflects the light of the sun. Dust and rock are not known for their reflective abilities. This just accentuates what a bright light the sun is to be reflected so beautifully off of a dust covered rock.

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are very much like the moon. We possess no light of our own. Our sinfulness covers the beauty we do have just as the dust covers the moon. Yet that does not mean we can not shine. Even in our sinfulness, God can still use us for good. When we draw close to Him, place ourselves in His presence and open our hearts to His ways, His great light is reflected off of us and we can appear to others to be a beautiful giant glowing presence hovering in their midst.

July 17, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Morning Reflection – Stormy Night

Last week, my wife and I were blessed to have two of our three adult children home for a visit at the same time. One day, we decided to take the day for a family fun trip. We enjoyed a wonderful but also long and hot day. We were all tired and worn out as we started our journey home in the early evening. However, a storm was brewing and this would not end up being an easy journey.

As we drove the dark and lonely road, the storm intensified. There was almost constant lightning and frequent thunder. At times the lightning was blinding like looking into a strobe light or a camera flash. Then the rain came pouring down and the wind howled blowing sheets of rain sideways. The lightning seemed only to intensify as the rain kept pouring down. My wife said she could only see one reflector at a time on the road ahead of us. A few cars passed us but one car remained steadily behind us the whole time. We had a Christian radio station playing lowly on the radio and we never lost the signal even briefly.

The power and majesty of God was on display before us and quite honestly I was in both awe and a bit of fear. I thought about how small I am before God. It was quiet in our car except for the sound of the falling rain, the crashing thunder and the just barely audible worship music coming from the radio. I think we were all in quiet prayer. I know my wife and I were. That car behind us remained with us until the storm finally let up just as we neared home. Then it peeled off on another route but the driver honked as they parted our company.

Even as we were still traveling through the driving rain and flashing lightning, I began thinking about how many stormy journeys we encounter in our lives. I feel like I am in one now in my life and my whole family seems to be experiencing some kind of storm in their lives also. When we are in the midst of one of these storms we can’t always see very far ahead, but sometimes, we can see God’s hand at work. It can still be pretty scary at times though. Yet, God is present and we can hear His steady but still and quiet voice if we keep the channel of prayer open. He is present in our family and friends who tuck in right behind us and walk the journey with us the whole way.

So my brothers and sisters, whether you are journeying through a dark stormy night right now or accompanying a friend or family member along the way; stay the course, one step at a time and keep that prayer channel open.

July 4, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | 2 Comments