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The Daily Sevens of Kingdom Living


by Father Edward J. Schramm

Let me tell you about Susie.

Susie entered my life in October of 2005. I heard about her before she heard about me. When she heard of me, she chose me. No, in the words of Isaiah 42, she “grasped” me. 

Let me back up a bit.

I was a missionary in Bolivia from 1978-1982. I have since learned that I am a missionary “of Bolivia” for the rest of my life.

A fellow and generous missionary had assumed the role of e-mail contact person and he mentioned in that eventful e-mail of October, 2005 that Susie had contacted colon cancer metastasized to the liver and could use our prayers. 

Susie, an Asian-Bolivian, was married to Jack, a fellow missionary whom I remembered as a gracious host in my initial contact with Bolivia, visiting my brother in La Paz in June of 1970. I had no contact with Jack after he left and thus I had never known Susie. 

Since I was in treatment for the same cancer as Susie, I e-mailed her about such and told her that I would offer up my trials of taking chemotherapy for her. 

That’s when Susie “grasped” me. Susie called me to say “thanks.” Susie called me weekly to share our experiences. Susie sent me three books that changed my life. Susie evoked an urge in me that I had to meet her. It just wasn’t enough to connect via our Sunday night telephone calls. Susie urged Jack to call me when she became too weak to do it herself. 

Susie died in September of 2006 the night before I departed for my scheduled visit to her home in New Jersey. In God’s mystery,
I was not meant to meet her in person. 

Susie, whom I never met alive, continues to this day to support me and shape my life through an “Invisible Embrace of Beauty,” the title of one of the three books that she sent me. 

See what I mean about “grasping” my hand? Quite rightly you ask, “and what did you do to develop this special life-changing relationship?” All I can say is that I initiated contact through that simple but eventful e-mail and slowly but finally “grasped” her hand as tightly as she had grasped mine from the very beginning. 

So why have I told you this story? Because Susie has helped me to see all the ways that God has “grasped my hand” and called me to use me in my weakest hour. 

In March of 2006 I did not think that I would live to see the end of the year. I did my best to say “yes” to that real possibility of death to this earth with hope. Through God’s grace my “yes” was accompanied by a flood of consolation and attraction to the glorious light on the “other side’ and glimpses of the radiance of that light emanating from all of creation here below. 

That “yes,” flood of consolation, and Susie’s “grasp” are the essence of the spark of inspiration that came to me in prayer that composed the “Daily Seven.” I think that the elements of the “Daily Seven” were the structure that God formed in me and around me and served me to awaken me to a new life. A new life full of the wonder and ambition for new possibilities to bring to the world with a zeal and naiveté most often associated with the age of the youth. 

My hope is that the “Daily Seven” will be a similar gift for you. I hope that you will be able to discover a youthful wonder and zest for new possibilities in your life and will be shed of all that encumbers your mind and spirit that keeps you bound to the predicable and ordinary. I mean that rut that we so easily get into that so often ends up being living the life of others' expectations for you rather than the expression of your authentic Divine-gifted inner self. 


He said to them, "Come by yourselves to an out-of-the-way place and rest a little." (Mark 6:31)

I have never met anyone who intellectually disagrees with the idea that we should all "stop to smell the roses."

The verses before and after this one.

The renewal is not for our comfort but so that we can better be used.


"This is my commandment: Love one another as I love you." (John 15:12)

"Jesus took Peter, John, & James and went up to the mountain to pray." (Luke 9:28)

What are we living for?

This is the basic question answered with the second point.

We are vulnerable to drifting and even being lost without a purpose and direction in our life.

This can be as formal and elavated of a vision as the Baltimore Catechism tells us, "to know, love and serve God and to be happy with Him forever", to as basic and mundane as "to be the best person that I can be".  It can be my discernment of God's call for me or simply my natural desire to make a difference in the world.

I believe that here as in all of the points of the "Daily Seven's" our vision will reflect where we are in our spiritual journey and it is open to evolve as our awareness of ourselves and our relationship to God and creation evolves. Renewing our vision for the purpose of our lives can rescue us from the trap and resulting disillusionment of "doing the same old thing" or it can be an opening to pursue our strongest creative urges to live in union with God.

What matters most is that I have a direction and purpose for the day so that I am living the day actively. Each moment is dedicated to what I believe is God's will for me and not just passively reacting to pressures around me pulling me to give attention to the "squeekiest wheel." If you don't relate to "belief in what God's will is for you," then choose to think in terms of what life is calling you to.
This point has been difficult for me to explain clearly. I know that it is essential for us to grow spiritually but it seems to vary for me on a particular day.
I think that it is important to state the ultimate vision for which we are living. For a Christian, that would be to live for God and for our response to God’s call to be one with His will and to enjoy the heavenly ‘banquet” for eternity at the time of our death. We are also to live the vision of the Church to accept the salvation that Jesus has brought us and to bring His Good News of salvation to all. We ultimately are to be evangelizers here on earth and beholders of God’s “face” on the other side.
Then, we have our daily vision for living which is a tailored vision of the ultimate vision that applies to this day. More often than not, I select this vision from the Scripture Readings of the day or from my daily spiritual reading. It may be that I reach out to those in need today. Or, it may reflect a Gospel passage about loving our enemies. Often, the daily vision for me is to radiate the joy of knowing that I am abundantly loved by God.
It is good to also articulate the vision of our purpose for living life at the beginning of the new Church or calendar year or at the beginning of Lent. I answer the question, “What do I believe that God is calling me to this year or this Lent?
This came to me at the beginning of this year as a result of what surfaced during the season of Advent and Christmas during my prayer time. Two images especially reflect this vision. It is really a two-fold vision. One is to “leap” from the “arms” of comfort and security into the “arms” of the needy. The other is to nurture my ministry with the care and dedication that I would give to having a newborn baby and knowing that I was committed a good twenty years to form that child.
The images and stories that gave me this vision are the following.
I read a Christmas story of a family that was traveling from a family trip to Las Vegas back home to California in time to celebrate the Christmas of their nuclear family together on Christmas day. They stopped at a café for breakfast along the way and encountered a homeless man there who was obviously homeless by the signs of his ragged clothes, disheveled hair, strong body odor and missing teeth. Their 18 month old boy became enamored with the man and picked up on his baby talk. The parents and brother and sister of little Luke were embarrassed by the whole scene and were eager to exit as soon as they had finished their meal. They attempted a graceful exit that would elude the man’s path but he got up to leave at the same time and his and Luke’s paths crossed close enough that Luke leapt from his mother’s arms into the old man’s arms. It was an encounter that brought tears to the man’s eyes as he caressed his new little friend and handed him back to his mother saying, “Thank you. This has been the happiest day of my life. Take good care of the little guy.” The mother left the café crying herself and muttering through the tears, “Forgive me, God. Forgive, me!”
It was after reading that story that I also said, “Forgive me, God for all of the times that I have held back from the needy.” And, I asked for the grace for the coming year to “Leap into the arms of the needy.”
The other image came from my annual holiday visit to friends, a young family in Indiana. This year I discovered that the two of them, each 41 years old, had just conceived a child and were challenged to be generous with this new unexpected call to parent another child to adulthood. Their example stretched my heart too as I realized that I was approaching my ministry as trying to make the expectations match my energy and probable very limited life expectancy because of the cancer currently under treatment. As a result of this life experience with my friends I am praying for the grace to approach my ministry with as much effort and care as if it needs twenty years of careful nurturing and formation. It may not be me who caries out the ministry to its maturity but I need to find those who will share the vision and be dedicated to keep the maturation going.
I go into these examples to help you see how our life’s circumstances greatly effect how we particularize our vision for life.
We each need to discover our own concrete vision for our purpose in life. And, we do it by reading the signs of the times in our own life events.


"For where two or three or gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them." (Matthew 18:20)

"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46-47) 

My first experience with my M.E. weekend

It's tapping into God's life within

It's the source of our creativity

A protection against self deception


"No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) 

Brings it into the light

Creates humility and vulnerability

Pray and move on

Most challenging when the debris is the reaction to the partner

The strongest tool for building unity


"For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." (Matthew 6:21) 

Take more responsibility of living from your vision in concrete acts

Vulnerable to priorities being shaped by the other

Takes care, time, and energy to direct rather than react

A place for families to check out with children


"Learn from the way the wildflowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them." (Matthew 6:28-29)

"Hark! my lover--here he comes springing across the mountains, leaping across the hills." (Song of Songs 2:8b)

"But rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God." (1 Peter: 3:4) 

Creates an attitude of gratitude 

Gives lenses for seeing the aura of God in all of creation 

Is the sacrament of God's breath of love 
the power of our words

Strongest affirmation that we can receive


"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) 

The action part of the vision 

Gives color to the agenda 

Expresses the spirit of the mission of the Church 

Reminds us that our call is a lofty one 
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