Monday, October 31, 2011
Then one day something I call an alligator arrived in my life and this alligator was all wrapped up in the church and my family and my life. It doesn't really matter what the alligator was, it became a spiritual crisis for me. I was confused and angry and I could see no clear path. The alligator seemed to be something that was derailing me from the clear path to Heaven that I was trying to follow in my life. I had a friend or two who went to someone for spiritual direction and I had talked to them about direction. Someone to talk through the alligator situation with was what I needed. Perhaps what I needed was spiritual direction.
Most diocese, I am told, have lists of spiritual directors. All you have to do is ask. Priests also serve as directors and will often serve people beyond their own parishioners. As a woman, I decided that I really wanted to talk to a woman and I was able to find one whom I talk to monthly. I pay her what I can. This is not something covered by insurance. An advantage to having a priest as director is that he can hear your confession and adminster the sacrament as part of the direction session.
I suppose every director is different. In my direction we discuss what is going on in my prayer life and my life. Sometimes she will recommend a book or a particular way to pray. This month she has suggested that I meditate on one of the Stations of the Cross. She prays over me. We meet for about an hour. Once we went to Mass together. I have done a lot of crying in her office and laughing. I often say, she makes me cry, but the truth is, I make myself cry as the hurts and things that I have held inside come spilling out. Christ is there with us in Spiritual Direction.
Spiritual Direction, I heard at a conference, is a growing need within the Church. More and more people want and need spiritual directors. There are several programs to train more directors out there. I don't know if I would agree that everyone needs a director, but if you feel like you might, I would encourage you to seek a director out. It is one more help to get you out of the way of the alligators who are trying to derail you on the path to Heaven. Are not we all trying to become saints?
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Thursday, October 27, 2011
When I was a little girl I remember eating only the frosting off of a cupcake. I thought that was the best part and really didn't care about the cake part. That was all well and good for my sweet tooth, but it didn't really fill me up.
The same could be said for the spiritual life; we often look for the sweet frosting of consolation. Consolations are wonderful when God gives them, but that feeling doesn't last. The saints as well as any spiritual director worth his or her salt will tell you not to rely and base your faith on feelings. We need to be emptied so that we can be filled with God's presence. This is what happens to us and for us in the Eucharist. Jesus makes Himself present on the altar through His ministerial priests, and we are invited to approach Him, receive Him and be filled with Him in Holy Communion.
I found the following reflection over at My Daily Eucharist. It speaks to this emptiness that we long to fill and what we should desire in filling it. Just like my childhood cupcake~faith isn't just about the frosting.
The Blessed Eucharist: Our Greatest Treasure
~Fr. Michael Muller, C.S.S.R
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
The word "strive" in this verse from today's Gospel gives me incredible hope because it speaks directly to my many imperfections, my daily struggles, while also encouraging me continue to stay strong and focused on the teachings of Christ.
It is so easy to get off track everyday because we meet so much opposition to the truth. But we must pray for an increase of faith. We must believe that Christ's death was for each of us, individually. We must continue to get up every time we fall and strive to enter the narrow gate.
What God longs for us to do is to live in the truth Jesus reveals. This means believing in God's absolute, unconditional love, not in a notional way but one that transforms our attitudes and whole approach to life.1
O sweet Savior Christ, in your undeserved love for us you were prepared to suffer the painful death of the cross: let me not be cold or even lukewarm in my love for you.
Lord help me to face the truth about myself. Help me to hear my words as others hear them, To see my face as others see me; Let me be honest enough to recognize my impatience and conceit;
Let me recognize my anger and selfishness; Give me sufficient humility to accept my own weakness for what they are. Give me the grace – at least in your presence – to say. ‘I was wrong – forgive me.’
God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, increase in us faith and truth and gentleness and grant us part and lot among the saints.
— St. Polycarp 69-115
Note: 1 Sister Ruth Burrows, O.C.D.
Monday, October 24, 2011
But what if the person who has hurt us does not seek forgiveness, is not repentant and does not show any remorse whatsoever? In fact, what if that person revels in what they have done and boasts about it?
Saturday, October 22, 2011
I mean, the average American spends 2.7 hours a day watching TV, 1.1 hours online, and 7.5 hours working.
Surely squeezing in an hour with God is pretty good, no?
Until you realize that, if we are awake for 16 hours a day, this is what that looks like:
I never did like pie charts.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Today's lesson from the rule of St. Benedict speaks of doing something good with a pure intention; that is, with zeal for God's glory.
Father Gerard Ellspermann, O. S. B. of St. Meinrad's Abbey writes in his reflection for today:
Is it possible that many good people refrain from doing good simply because they experience temptations of pride in their good works?
He concludes that the answer is yes. Especially when one is talented and the work undertaken will come to notice either publicly or within the Catholic community. When the necessary work goes against the grain of the established mind set, such as the establishment of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite where it currently doesn't exist, both pride and fear of criticism can come into play. "What will people say?" has killed more than one good work.
Father Gerard goes on to say:
I am reminded of the example of St. Bernard of Clairvaux who one day ascended the pulpit to preach. He was assailed with temptations of pride, since he was an eloquent preacher. But he said to himself, "I did not begin this for the devil -- and I'm not going to stop for him." And he did preach an eloquent sermon.
I love St. Bernard's statement. If we examine our consciences concerning our undertakings, both within the context of our vocations and within the context of our duty to participate in the action of Christ for the salvation of souls, and if we can truthfully say what St. Bernard said, then we cannot refrain from doing good. We cannot refrain from doing our best in our daily duties at work or at home with a pure heart, regardless of being misunderstood or suffering from the jealousies and mean-spiritedness of others.
"That in all things God may be glorified" is the litmus test against pride and pusillanimous rejection of the promptings of the Holy Spirit. We only need to look good to God and follow in the footsteps of our Master.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Or do you comfront her there and then about cheating on her spouse?
What else would you do?
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Sometimes God lets us know what He wants from us in no uncertain terms.
Every time I look at my empty wrist, I am reminded to keep God at the top of my list.
1st published in Prayer Morsels ezine Oct. 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The Gospel this weekend brought some clarity to me about Rose. It was the Gospel about give to Caesar what is Caesar's. Give to God what is God's. And what is God's? We are. We are made in the image and likeness of God. Each face reflects God's very face. That is the test of love to see God's face in the face that can no longer respond or love or react. Rose is valuable because she lives and has God's face. Only God can choose the day and hour to call her home to Him.
Until that hour arrives, we are all given the task to love. To learn what love is. To see the very face of God in the least of His children.
Monday, October 17, 2011
This particular day, my son Jacob, 14, had the great privilege and honor of being the Cross-bearer and leading us through the streets.
Just behind our pastor and Our Lord in His Holy Presence, was one of our best friends, Mr. G. who was carrying the procession flag or banner (sorry I do not have a proper Liturgical term for this item)...and just behind him...were myself and two of my sweet little daughters; Mary Clare, who is 7 and currently preparing for her First Reconciliation, and Sarah, 6, who was thrilled to be "taking a walk with Jesus".
I was overwhelmed with JOY at being SOOOOOOO close to the Savior.
As we passed by pedestrians, traffic at red lights, and people coming and going at convenience stores, I prayed for each of them; that the sight of JESUS in the streets would somehow move their hearts closer toward God...especially, the unbelievers.
Father J., our pastor, will usually stop at least 3 times during a Eucharistic Procession...he turns toward us and lifts Our Lord on high...and of course...no matter where we are at that moment...be it the sidewalk or the black top of the Sheetz parking lot...when he turns the Blessed Sacrament to face us... WE KNEEL.
During one of our kneeling moments of Adoration, a group of teenage boys who were across the street on bicycles began to laugh and jeer and mock us. My prayers increased and grew more intense as I begged God to help them SEE HIS SON and come to believe in HIS TRUE PHYSICAL PRESENCE.
Behind me, I could hear my husband's beautiful voice, singing and praying the rosary with us. I could hear my daughter Laura's voice too...She is 16, and I noticed that her voice became just a little more pronounced as we passed the laughing boys..."Thank you, Lord", I prayed. "Thank you, for giving her courage and the grace to NOT be ashamed of YOU".
Later, at home, a few of my kids asked if I had noticed the boys. I told them I did and that I had prayed for them. Little Mary Clare wondered aloud why they would make fun of Jesus and I explained, as gently as I could, that they do not KNOW that Jesus was truly there.
I am so glad and grateful that my children knew it...and believed it...and humbly followed their Savior through the streets...led by their own brother...on a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon.
WE BELIEVE and WE BEG PARDON FOR ALL OF THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE.
Sunday, October 16, 2011
"I hope this Mass isn't too long ... I really have to get home to get ready for the party ...."
Overheard in countries like India, Sudan, and Egypt the other day:
"I hope I don't get killed at Mass today."
Thursday, October 13, 2011
I bought some of her Reverence & Awe Collector Cards and Cathletics Playing Cards to use in my first grade Religious Education Classroom. They're perfect for instructing children on Vessels, Vestments, Sacramentals and parts of the Mass. Her art work is filled with vibrant and eye catching colors that will draw any child. You can get them too on her website. She sells craft kits, cards and books that can be ordered at a very reasonable price.
Here are some pictures of her cards:
It was a happy mail day when I received them!! I plan to use them in my class this coming weekend!!
Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
You immediately recognise it as a very valuable antique. You know you can sell it to a dealer for at least $500 if not more.
What do you do?
Do you buy it for $1 and re-sell it to an antique dealer or at an auction and make some much needed money for your family, especially in these difficult economic times when every penny counts?
Or do you tell the sellers the true value of the item?
You think for a while. Isn't this what antique dealings all about? You search for cheap items and using your knowledge sell them at a higher price elsewhere?
What would an antique dealer do if he were at this garage sale?
What would Jesus do?
What would YOU do?
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Sunday, October 9, 2011
Here is one I have found written by JADE. I invite you to visit her by clicking on her name.
The moon casts silvery light over the sea. Stars dot the midnight sky. After whispering prayers to the Almighty One, I would have been tucked in my cozy cot waiting for dreams to come. But tonight there is no looking back. The dead must bury their own dead and the living must go on living. Rather than being blissful in some artificial dreamland, I choose to follow truthful love.
When I see Jesus step into the boat and my friends follow, doubt dims my mind. Maybe I shouldn't be here. Maybe I should go back home.
And then my friends shout, "Come on."
And Jesus invites me, saying, "Come with me."
So I go into the boat, still doubting. The moon is fiercely glowing and I can smell the salty sea. I flick a bit of seaweed off my feet and sit down to talk with my friends.
And then suddenly comes the unexpected storm. It floods all I thought I wanted. Everything I desired is upturned in those waves. The boat is filling fast and I panic; where is Jesus when you need him?!
He is fast asleep. We run to him, screaming, "Wake up! We're all going to die! How can you sleep? You mean, you're not going to help us?"
Jesus looks at us with sleepy eyes that are filled with patience and understanding. I know he understands me, at least, the way he looks at me. It's as if he sees a good heart that wants to know him.
With one motion of his hand, he calms the waves and all is still and quiet. At first, he says nothing. We listen to the swish of the boat, feel the breeze in our knotty hair, and look around at each other in astonishment.
Then he asks us why we are terrified. "Oh, you of little faith," he says and shakes his head. In this moment, I am first offended, and later motivated to better know God.
Finally, I prayed this prayer:
I ask for faith for the doubtful, for the ones I think might be struggling, the ones I love, and the ones I have never met. May they stay close to the Faithful One. May they not allow the temporary storms to persuade them to believe that they are unloved. In the same way, may they not allow their temporary doubt to keep them away from the wellspring of life that is in Jesus. Amen.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Cars run on gasoline, people run on grace. Without God's grace we would stall and break down every single day. Grace is everything and everything is a grace. Every single thing in life can be a stepping stone to the Almighty God if we allow it to be. I have a little booklet that I like to leaf through now and then called The Healing Flame of Love by Brother Leonard and one section of this booklet speaks about how grace works in our lives. The author's words are in italics, mine are in bold.
a. Grace is completely available.
There is not just one thing to do at each moment, or I fail to do God's will; there are a multitude of actions presented to me by grace. Different ways to act are as available as different items in a supermarket - yet appointed for my needs with great care.
This is something that always confused me before I read this book. Was there one "perfect" God-willed thing that I should be doing each minute of the day? Was I doing God's will or my own? Some things are common sense such as taking care of one's family or working, but what about the rest of the day? The idea that there are a multitude of actions presented to me at any given time and that they are in line with God's will for me relieved my heart and mind.
b. Grace gives us the physical ability to do the things necessary for salvation.
c. Cooperation with grace puts me in touch with a tremendous power. If we believe that we are and can do nothing, we must believe there is a power that can do everything. This power is, of course, God. Cooperation with His ideas, acceptance of His plans can make the power available.
Example: You cannot push a freight train, yet a small movement of the throttle and the whole train starts to move.
d. Grace operates below the level of consciousness.
Wonderful things - like the operation of grace, God speaking to us, the Spirit moving us, etc. - are continually causing changes in our soul. We are unaware either of their action or their significance.
Example: Consider what happens in Baptism, etc., or what happened when the prodigal son said, "I will return..."
We can't "see" grace, but we can often see the results of grace. It is impossible not to notice the work God has done in me over the years. Were I took look day by day, the effects grace has had on my life may be imperceptible but if I look over a period of ten years they are profound. I shake my head in amazement at God's power. Yes, I have a long way to go, but I have also come a long way.
e. God will not sanctify me against my will, but He can change my will to make it agree with His desires.
Yes, He did this to me. What a tremendous gift!
f. Grace is a receiving.
The really important thing to understand about grace is that we receive it as a gift. We do not earn it or receive it because we seem to have done something to deserve it. If we are at all interested in arriving at a high degree of prayer (in order to increase our output) we must appreciate this function of grace, for in contemplation our activity is a receiving.
I love this one. Grace is unearned and unmerited. It is a pure, free gift given by a loving God. Every single person on this earth is a recipient of God's grace though they may not realize it.
We live on grace.
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
(St. John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent)
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
The problem is remembering. Our daily schedules can be so difficult and crazy that we cannot find the time, much less remember.
It should be easy for me. I work at a church office, for heaven’s sake. I think of God and God-related matters all day. However, doing office work does not always constitute thinking of God.
So I have come up with some ideas on how to pray unceasingly – or as often as possible. (This is not a complete list nor is it in any kind of order. Also, a period of silent prayer is important sometime during the day.)
Monday, October 3, 2011
If that person is unconscious in hospital and is expected to die, and the priest administers the last rites, Extreme Unction, and the person dies without gaining consciousness.
Is that person now at peace with God and in Heaven, or Purgatory?
Technically speaking, the unconscious person had no say in the actions of the priest. So are the last rites valid?
What say you?
Sunday, October 2, 2011
One of the happiest days of my life was when I decided to make sure I thank Jesus every single day for dying for me.
One of the saddest days of my life was when I realized that was nowhere near enough ...
God Bless you.