Sick of Being Sick

Romans 12:12

Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

 

As I celebrated my birthday last week,  I was taking a look at the last 5 years and thought about all the different health issues I have had. In that time period, I have dealt with a thyroid issue, diagnosis of prediabetes (which my doctor said is really type 2 diabetes just waiting to happen), a kidney stone, and a recent diagnosis of IBS.

The prediabetes diagnosis really knocked me for a loop and I was quite upset by it. I swore off all sugars and did really well for a while losing 50 pounds. With my medication, I stay within my numbers so I find myself at times cheating a little with the sweets.

The thyroid condition is managed with medication and the kidney stone was hopefully just a one-time thing. I have added lots of water to my daily routine!

The condition that has me discouraged is the IBS. It was pretty bad for a while and the doctor has me on a special diet currently to see if it can be controlled by adding fiber and watching the intake.

What has me down is I am doing what I am supposed to and nothing has changed so far. It’s only been 3 weeks but I guess I am getting tired of my body breaking down. I know that if I just put in my body the correct foods, I will be healthier.  This is something that I have total control over and at times, choose not to do so.

Why am I self-sabotaging my health?

I think we all do this. We just want to have our guilty pleasures and for a brief moment in time, enjoy our life without the boundaries of health issues. I know that I have been very discouraged lately and also that it’s not a good feeling.

I  need to read the Scripture passage every day to drive home the fact that if I endure in my afflictions, God will bring me through the situation. I also know that with all my current whining and feeling sorry for myself , there are so many others that have it 1000 times worse than I do.  I am actually extremely blessed to have that free will to make the proper choices and make my health better. I am also blessed to have health insurance and the monetary resources to visit doctors and specialists and purchase the specific foods that will hopefully improve my issues.

This does not mean that I won’t continue to struggle with my current situation but I need to give it all to God and let Him help me carry the load. These things happen for a reason and I need to be open to whatever God is leading me to through this time.

Rejoice in hope, endure in affliction, persevere in prayer.

I hope that I can endure and persevere every day and know that if I don’t give in to it, God will give me the way to deal with it. There are many examples in Scripture of God using infirmities and illness in others to perform miracles and teach others how to live.

I hope that I can use this time not to get depressed but to reach out to God for His intercession and to offer my suffering for others who are more seriously ill than I will ever be.  In His timing, God will accomplish whatever His plan is for me; I just need to trust in Him.

So, God, I am not asking for more illness, but if that does happen, let me accept Your will for my life and make the best of it.  After all, Christ did not call the healthy but the ill to be healed by His grace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tending to Your Garden

wheat-weeds

courtesy stdavidparish.org

Matthew 13:24-30

 Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.  But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.  When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

 “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.

“The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’

 “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them.  Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’”

 

I  have a garden like a lot of people do. We have corn, tomatoes, peppers and even some pumpkins from seeds we planted last year. And one of the things I try to do on a regular basis is remove the weeds so the plants can grow.

In this passage, you would think that Jesus would have said “remove all the weeds so the good wheat can grow without constraint”. But that is not the message here.

At Mass yesterday, my priest Fr. Chris described it this way: ” If you remove the bad, how can you recognize the good?”  I had never thought about it that way before. How do we know what is good for us if we don’t know first what is bad.  If we can’t determine the evil in our lives, how can we know what is the right thing to do?

I now look at this passage with a new understanding. I know that bad and good things happen together and that is the way God wants it.  It is in good and bad times that I need to go to God with prayer and thanksgiving. Even the hardest of times is a gift from God because He will always give us what we need to come through it.  And personally, some of the weeds are caused by my own actions and I need to recognize that and make reparations for those actions to God and others.

When the weeds get too high, I go to my garden and remove them so my vegetables can grow. In my own life, when those bad decisions and actions get too much, I must weed them out so my relationship with God and others can flourish. It’s easy to weed a garden; you only need a few tools. It’s not so easy at times in your own life to admit your wrongs and make reparations.

Take a look at your garden and separate the weeds from the wheat and enjoy what God has left for you – a bountiful harvest of mercy, compassion, forgiveness and love.

 

 

 

A Shout-out

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biblepic.com

Matthew 10:26-33

So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.  What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.  But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.

 

Whenever we get a piece of good news, the first inclination is to tell everyone you know. You work it into conversation with others even when that conversation has nothing to do with your joy. You call friends and relatives and post it all over social media.

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So why don’t we proclaim the greatest news of all to others more frequently?

In this passage, St. Matthew is telling us to spread the news of Christ to all and not keep it in the darkness. We should not be afraid to tell everyone by our words and actions that God is the center of our lives. We should be yelling from the rooftops!

Easier said than done.

I know for me personally, I try to live by the Golden Rule -do unto others as you would like done unto you. Again, easier said than done and believe me, I have my days where this rule does not apply. But this Scripture tells us that if we spread God’s love to others, Jesus will intercede for us with His Heavenly Father.

It can be difficult if not uncomfortable to talk about our faith at work or casually among friends. We don’t have to be in a theological debate; we only by our actions need to display compassion, kindness, patience and love. These are the only words God needs to hear.

Your shout-out can be as simple as holding the door for someone, giving someone a compliment or buying a friend  a cup of coffee. God wants to see us honor Him in the small routine things of this life so we can be happy with Him in the next eternal life.

As St. Francis of Assisi said “Do all you can to preach the gospel and if necessary use words!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Know It All

Psalm 139:1-6

Lord, you have examined me and know all about me.  You know when I sit down and when I get up. You know my thoughts before I think them.  You know where I go and where I lie down. You know everything I do. Lord, even before I say a word, you already know it.  You are all around me—in front and in back— and have put your hand on me.
Your knowledge is amazing to me;  it is more than I can understand.

Whenever I hear this passage, one phrase stands out to me.
You know my thoughts before I think them.

If God already knows my thoughts before I think them, then why do I need to pray? Why ask for anything when He already knows what I am going to ask. Why bother? Why go through the motions?

Because God wants to hear us ask. He wants to have an open dialogue with us. He wants us to have a personal relationship with Him.

When you have a personal relationship with someone, there are times when you already know what they are thinking and what, in certain situations, they will say.  Yet, don’t you still want to hear the words?  The words of praise, love, appreciation and even disagreement.

Why would God be any different?

God wants you to speak with Him, ask of Him, appreciate Him and all that He gives to us
daily. He doesn’t “need” for us to speak those words; God desires it.

So, even though He already knows what is on your mind, talk with Him anyway.  Give thanks, ask for intentions and just have that conversation.

Ask and you shall receive  – even though He already knows…

 

Walk Like The Man

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Hebrews 4:14-16

Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning.  Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

There is an old saying ” You can’t understand what someone is going through unless you have walked a mile in his shoes”.  No one knows what others go through on a daily basis or how hard it must be at times to go through life.

Except Christ.

Christ understood completely what it is like to be human because He was human. He understands about temptation because He was tempted in the desert. He understands human relationships and those struggles because He had many human relationships with saints and sinners alike, mostly sinners.

Christ continues to understand our weaknesses even to this day and beyond. He is there to help and guide us through any situation. He is not someone unapproachable but is very present in all of our lives if we choose to let Him in.

Christ was tested in every way yet was without sin.   No, we humans can’t say that we go through the tests of our days without sin. We sin all the time. Yet, Christ is there so we can approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and find help in our time of need.

We don’t know what others go through every day. Our society has become so self-absorbed and we are only concerned about our needs. We need to heed the call of Pope Francis to turn the “I” into “We” and help our fellow human beings to pass each test of life.

Aren’t we blessed to have someone in our corner that has also been through the battles? We have that in Christ. He is there for us because of His love and because He has been through more than we will ever have to endure.

Walk a mile in another shoes – think about that today as you have encounters with others. Be merciful, compassionate and supportive.  By your actions, you could affect someone else who going through a similar experience and change that person  forever.

Let Christ who has experienced all our struggles be our guiding light as we continue our walk in life and our walk in the Lord.

 

 

 

The Forgotten Days of Holy Week

Holy Week 2017

Holy Week 2017 began yesterday with Palm Sunday, the triumphant return to Jerusalem of Christ and ends next Sunday with the resurrection of Our Lord on Easter. In between, we have Holy Thursday on which the Eucharist was instituted along with the priesthood, Good Friday when we commemorate the Passion and Death of Jesus for our sins, and Good Saturday when we lay in waiting for the miracle to come.

So, what happens Monday through Wednesday?

I only really noticed this week that Monday through Wednesday is not called “Holy” but only referred to as the “________day of Holy Week”.  Why don’t these days mean anything?

Oh, but they do.

For me, I take these three days and do an examination of my Lent so far. I would have to honestly say that this year was not a good one for me. I started out strong and fizzled away these past few weeks. My Lenten resolutions turned out to be a bust.

What I do each year is take a calendar and pray for a person or group each day. I started out great the first 3 weeks and have barely said a Hail Mary this last week or so. And forget about “giving something up for Lent”. That didn’t last past the first 48 hours.

I think these weekdays of Holy Week are vital to our spiritual journey. We take these days to examine where we are and what we need to do in the home stretch of Lent. We prepare our hearts to receive the greatest gift ever given to mankind. We make our spirits and souls repentant as we listen again to the Passion of Our Lord and try to comprehend what His sacrifice really means. To me, it’s incomprehensible because I can’t believe at times that God thinks I am worthy enough to have my sins forgiven time and time again.

So, during this Holy Week – which really is a full 7 day period – take the time on these first few days to pray, fast, and give alms which we are all called to do. I know I have a lot of praying and apologizing to do to God this year and I am going to start today. I am not going to take this Monday-Wednesday  for granted as just time to cross off until the “real” holy days come.

Every day all year round are holy and a gift from our Creator. I thank Him for all His many gifts but especially for the gift of His Son.

Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter Season!

Have Mercy!

Psalms 103

Bless the LORD, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name! Bless the LORD, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts,Who pardons all your sins,and heals all your ills, Who redeems your life from the pit,and crowns you with mercy and compassion, Who fills your days with good things, so your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The LORD does righteous deeds, brings justice to all the oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, to the Israelites his deeds. Merciful and gracious is the LORD, slow to anger abounding in mercy.

He will not always accuse,and nurses no lasting anger He has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our wrongs deserve. For as the heavens tower over the earth, so his mercy towers over those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our sins from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him.

 

When I read this passage, one line stands out to me: He will not always accuse, and nurses no lasting anger. He has not dealt with us as our sins merit, nor requited us as our wrongs deserve.

I think about how many times I have sinned or done something wrong and still God loves and forgives. Even if the weight of the sin is immense, God still cares. He pardons us no matter what and loves us even more. He only wants what is best for us no matter how many times we wrong Him. If God wanted to, He could throw all his power into making us suffer but He doesn’t.

Can we say the same for our relationship with our fellow men?

For every time that we feel that an injustice has been done to us, we still have to forgive. We are all called to do that. But that is easier said and not always done.

It is hard for us as flawed human beings to forgive and forget. It is hard for us not to hold a grudge and to act in anger. We all have people in our lives who have done us wrong and usually our first reaction after the shock of it all is revenge. How can I get back at that person for what they have done to me? How can I avenge it?

The answer is simple; we can’t.

No matter how we get back at that person, it still doesn’t change the original transgression. And in the long run, it doesn’t make that initial pain lessen any.

Looking back at my own experiences and the times I have been betrayed, I was always more hurt than vengeful. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t had my times of revengeful thoughts or wishes upon those people. I think it’s only natural for us as humans to want to strike back.

But we need to change that perception and try to deal with others as God mercifully deals with us. God sees us repeating the same sins over and over and yet He still wants us to be with Him in Paradise someday. How many times do we need to see this to know that God has our  backs?

So, the next time you feel slighted, don’t be angry but put it in God’s hands knowing that He has it all handled anyway. Pray for understanding and peace. Pray for tolerance and mercy upon those that have wronged you knowing that God shows these same things towards us.

Outward sign again 

I posted this in 2015 but it still applies today.

FEBRUARY 18, 2015 / CLARELAFFERTY

Ash Wednesday 2015

Matthew 6:1-6


Jesus said to his disciples:“Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father. When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you,as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you

Today, on Ash Wednesday, this Gospel is read. Be careful not to let everyone know what you are doing for your own ego, but do everything in the silence of your heart. So, what do Catholics and Christians do today?

We get ashes on our heads for all the world to see!

I wonder why this particular reading is proclaimed on Ash Wednesday since this seems like a contradiction in its message. But as I see it, the ashes on the outside are for us inside. It is a sign that we acknowledge to all the world that we are sinners only saved by the cross of Jesus Christ. That is why the ashes are made in the sign of the Cross.

Some look at us today and think “Boy, this person is so holy”. Some look and say ” Is it Ash Wednesday already?”. And some just give you a funny look once they get past staring at your forehead.

For me, ashes symbolize all the times that I burned bridges with God because I put my own needs ahead of His. I admit that I am a sinner in need of repentance and salvation that only Jesus gives me.

So, today, think about your ashes and what they mean to you. Let that symbol reach your inner being where you have that private conversation with God. Let Him know that you are going to make this the best Lent ever. Don’t give up something for Lent but give in to the fact that we are all flawed human beings and need God more than ever.

Not giving up for Lent

I asked my 2nd grade CCD class last week to think about what they will “give up” for Lent which starts on March 1st this year. I explained to them that they need to make a sacrifice and to not give up something like homework!

Then I sat down to figure out what I was going to “give up”. I usually give up chocolate but since I am prediabetic, I shouldn’t be eating that anyway. That would be like allowing my kids to give up that homework that they are trying to avoid. I was no better than they were and I should be an example to them .

So, I am not going to give up something that I should already be doing. I am going to “give in” to what the season of Lent is all about.  Repentance, penance, soul-searching, prayer, fasting and abstinence. These things would be a real sacrifice for me because I am not very good at any of them. 

The last few years, I have bought a pocket calendar and each of the 40 days of Lent have dedicated my day and prayers to people that mean a lot to me like family and friends. Each Sunday, I pray for my priests and deacons who are an inspiration to me everyday. Tonight, as I stare at my calendar, I am trying to decide where to start. 

I think this year, I will pray for things that are not easy for me. I will pray for people I don’t always get along with. I will pray for those who are less fortunate.I will fast for those who are hungry. I will abstain from frivolous things for the people who have nothing.  I will do some soul-searching to see where I am lacking and dedicate days to pray for myself. I don’t see this as selfish but as necessary because I can’t be of service to others if my own house is not in order. 

Lent starts with a display of ashes on the forehead and ends with the greatest sacrifice ever made. In between these 40 days, I need to take stock of my relationship with God and dedicate time -real time- each day to thank Him for the gift of His Son and to do my small part to show Him that I am truly grateful. God doesn’t need my Lenten sacrifice; He just needs me to do His will and to live by the greatest commandment- to love others as He has loved me.  It is a tall order indeed and I fail many times at it because I am human. I can never love as God loves me and I don’t fully understand at times how He can do it so unconditionally. 

All I can do, in my own human and flawed way, is try. I believe that when God sees a genuine effort being made, He is pleased. I will therefore give unto God what He deserves- my time, my devotion, my prayers and my service. 

May this Lenten season be one of discovery, hope, peace and love for you all. 

Rising Above the Flood

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Genesis 8:6-13
At the end of forty days Noah opened the hatch he had made in the ark, 
 and he sent out a raven to see if the waters had lessened on the earth.It flew back and forth until the waters dried off from the earth.Then he sent out a dove, to see if the waters had lessened on the earth. But the dove could find no place to alight and perch,and it returned to him in the ark, for there was water all over the earth. Putting out his hand, he caught the dove and drew it back to him inside the ark.He waited seven days more and again sent the dove out from the ark.In the evening the dove came back to him,and there in its bill was a plucked-off olive leaf! So Noah knew that the waters had lessened on the earth.He waited still another seven days and then released the dove once more;and this time it did not come back.

Did you ever feel like you were surrounded by flood waters in your life? I know I have. There have been times where I feel that God has abandoned me knowing what I am suffering with. I have sent out those ravens and doves to see if my earthly burdens have lessened only to have those birds return with no solution to my problems.

And then, the waters subside and my life becomes manageable again.

This is what God does for us all. He puts us in situations of suffering and hardship not because He wants us to struggle but so that we reach out to Him for His mercy and understanding. He makes the waters part so that we have a clear path to Him.

When the dove did not return, it was because it had found safe haven on the earth. It did not need Noah’s ark anymore; it had found its home. But for us, we always need God to return and give us that safe haven which is available to us if we only wish to accept it.

So, the next time you are in a hard situation, send our your prayers to God like doves and ravens in the anticipation through faith that He will fulfill your needs. God answers all prayers; sometimes we don’t like the answer, but He never ignores us.

Let your prayers and praise fly up to the One who always grabs our hand when we are drowning in life to pull us closer to Him.

 

The Be-Attitudes

Matthew 5:3–12 

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn: for they will be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek: for they will inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness: for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they will see God
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets  who were before you.

 

 

When I started this blog a few years ago, I imagined it as something I would post to almost daily. I decided that when I am struck with inspiration, I would post. The blog started out daily, then weekly, then monthly, then every few months.  I was not being inspired as much as I originally thought.

So, I apologize for my lack of postings.

But, at Mass yesterday, the Gospel was the Beatitudes, one of the most repeated and familiar passages in the entire Bible. And when my priest Fr. Chris started his homily, he referred to them as the Be-Attitudes.

Inspiration!

What a great way to describe this passage. These simple words explain so deeply how God wants us to live. Be merciful towards others, humble and meek to self, put others first, hunger and thirst for the ways of God, mourn when you are not acting as you should and be comforted by God’s mercy, be pure and peaceful, and take the heat when others persecute you for your faith in God. Rejoice for the kingdom of Heaven will be yours!

I was inspired by that sermon to really look at my own self. Am I where I need to be? In some areas, yes but in most, not even close. I have a lot of work to do to achieve what Christ has presented to us all. If we follow these Be-Attitudes, there is only joy and happiness for eternity, that’s all.

I am not going to promise that I can tackle all these shortcomings in my life all at once because I would just be setting myself up for failure just like I did when I promised to blog daily. It was not reasonable to think I could be inspired every day to write. But in a lot of ways, I am inspired daily by those around me who display Be-Attitudes that I take for granted.

So, inspired by Fr. Chris and the Scriptures, I can only say that I will do my best to live the Be-Attitudes each day with the knowledge that only good things can come from this. It won’t be easy and I might not even get it all right by the time my time comes to an earthly end. I can only say at this point that I will try and hopefully with God’s infinite mercy, I will be able to be counted among those He has chosen.

It’s time for my Be-Attitude adjustment…

 

 

Adventageous

Mark 1:1-3
The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet: “I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way” —“a voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for him.’

As we prepare in this season of Advent for the coming of Christ,  we need to also take a look at our everyday lives and assess where we stand. Are we ready for not only this life but the one to come? Have we truly prepared our hearts to receive this most amazing gift?

I know in my own life, I am so busy doing the day-to-day things that I don’t spend enough time in real reflection and preparation for the Messiah. Yes, I listen to Mass every day and I do read the Scriptures on occasion. But I for the most part am going through the motions and not absorbing all that God is providing for me.

My life is filled with noise and distractions and wasted emotions. I find myself lately with a lack of patience and getting upset over silly trivial matters. These are the matters of this world and not of the world that I strive to be in someday.

So, I need to prepare in earnest in this Advent season and be ready and humbly grateful to receive the Gift that God is giving to us all. The Gift of Salvation. The Gift of Love. The Gift of Sacrifice. The Gift of Jesus.

Have a blessed and wonderful Advent season and prepare the Way of the Lord!

His Will and My Inheritance 

Psalm 119

You are my inheritance O Lord 


What do you think of when you hear the word “inheritance”? 

The word inheritance conjures up the thought of being left something in a  will. What did I mean to the person?  Am I going to get something  of value?   Money, jewelry, real estate or something of sentimental value? In other words,  what’s in it for me? 

In the Scripture  passage above,  the Psalmist is stating that all they need is God for an inheritance. Instead of reading a will, we want to follow God’s will. If we follow God’s will, our inheritance  will be greater then any monetary amount or any piece of land. We will have God and we will have Heaven. 

So instead of thinking of an inheritance as something being left to me, I will start thinking about God’s inheritance as something He is doing for me because of his great love. God does not want us fighting over a Will;  he want us doing His will.  It’s just that simple and it’s just impossible because as flawed human beings , we do many things and many times do not follow His will. 

So do not think of things of this earth but think  of the things above. God’s inheritance is there for all of us if we only try our best to do His will. There is no more important will then God’s and our reward will be great. We couldn’t have inherited anything better. 


Feeling the Squeeze

The tighter you squeeze, the less you have.
Thomas Merton

Have you ever met someone who has to have total control of everything? They have to run everything, be in charge of everything and watch everything you and everyone else does. Or maybe you are that kind of person – a type “A” driven personality who needs to be in the driver’s seat.

What does all that control get you?

As Thomas Merton states, the tighter your grip on everything, the less you end up having. When you put the squeeze on others, you are not trusting them to do what God created them to do. You are taking control of their actions and in the process, denying them of fulfilling God’s destiny. And you are also so wrapped up in what others are doing, you can’t focus on God’s plan for you.

No one likes a micro-manager. No one likes to be told what to do at every turn. Where is the chance for someone to grow and learn and be a better Christian if they are constantly being kept under someone’s thumb? Being controlled will eventually lead to resentment and impatience and will squeeze the spirit out of others. And really, who died and made you Boss? This behavior will do nothing positive; it will lead to the end of friendships and relationships.

And your relationship with God will suffer the most.

So, next time you are tempted to tell everyone what to do and where to be, take a step back and pause. Is what I am doing beneficial or am I causing strife? Am I displaying a Christian attitude or amplifying my own importance?

Start giving others the space they need to do what God created them to do. You can’t do it all. No one can. Only One can do it all. There is only One Boss  and He has it all under  control.

To Him Through Her

SilverRosary

courtesy wikipedia.com

 

Ad Jesum per Mariam – To Jesus Through Mary

When I was sitting at Mass yesterday, I pulled out my rosary like I do each week and wrap it around my right hand. I don’t know when or why I started doing this; it’s just become a habit of sorts. Only yesterday, I thought about the saying above in regards to the rosary.

As Catholics, we are called to come to Christ through His mother, Mary. We should be asking for her intercession every day for the things we need and the things we need to work on. She is our mother and His mother and don’t we always go to Mom when things get tough?

I belong to Our Lady of Peace parish, yet I have never felt a devotion to Our Blessed Mother. In fact ,when I have that rosary wrapped around my hand, I don’t even say a Hail Mary. I usually use the beads to say other prayers in asking for God’s help, not Mary’s.

I have many rosaries but my favorite is the one that has Saint John Paul II and Pope Francis on it and was blessed by Pope Francis. It is a rosewood rosary that has a nice aroma to it. This is my go-to rosary yet I don’t say the actual prayers that are associated with saying the rosary.

I need to change that.

I need to go to Mary for her help in being a better person and a better mother.

It is through her that I can get to Him.

The Rosary shouldn’t be a string of beads that I wrap around my hand to try to look holy to those around me. I should be using it for the purpose it was created; to pray to God through Mary.

I have always felt guilty that I don’t say the Rosary on a more consistent basis. And I am not going to make any promises to say it daily or even weekly. I  need to start slowly, even with just one decade a day, to get myself to where I need to be. And where I need to be is with Jesus through Mary.

 

What a Difference A Priest Makes

It happens in every parish…

Priests are assigned to parishes to do the work for the people. They sacrifice their lives to help those around them. The most important thing they do is celebrate the Sacraments and of course the Mass which is the summit of our lives. They provide advice, comfort, friendship and mostly love.

Priests are moved from parish to parish and sometimes onto other very important duties within the Church. It is a rarity to have priests in parishes for more than a few years before moving onto either another parish or assignment that the Bishop determines would benefit the Diocese.

When priests first come to a new parish, it is an adjustment for everyone. For the parishioners, it is learning a new priest’s style and mannerisms. How does he say Mass? What are his sermons like? What ministries is he drawn to? Will he fit in?

For the priests and deacons that are already at the parish, it is learning to work with a new colleague. It is adjusting to personalities and working alongside someone who has also dedicated his life to God and the Church.

But for the new priest, the prospects must be frightening and exhilarating at the same time. I can’t even imagine the situation that he is thrown into and all the time is expected to smoothly transition into his new role.

In my parish of Our Lady of Peace, we have been so blessed to have many amazing priests come and go into all our lives. Just when you get used to one, he is called to go to another parish and you feel let down but happy for his opportunity to serve others as you have been served. You wish him well but secretly don’t want to see him go. It is the nature of the vocation.

In my wonderful parish for the past 3 years, we have been extremely blessed to have a newly ordained priest assigned to our parish for his very first stop. And we have all seen first hand the extraordinary gifts and talents of this holy man.

I don’t know how to accurately describe Fr. Kevin Mohan. When you first meet him, you feel the calming presence of someone who truly has a personal relationship with God. You are struck by his youth, and at the same time, his ability to be wise well beyond his years. When you talk with him, you know that his full attention is with you at that moment. He is not thinking about what else he has to do or when his next Mass is. You are his sole concern and it is rare indeed when you can truly have a meaningful conversation with someone who is not preoccupied with the busyness of life.

The times that I have sought out counsel from Fr. Mohan, I have been so comforted by his words of peace and prayer. For a rookie priest, he is truly inspiring. He opened my eyes and my heart to alternatives that I had not considered before and was brutally honest with me when I didn’t want to accept what I already knew I had to do in a very difficult situation.

And now, Fr. Mohan is leaving for a new assignment just like we all knew he would. It is a sad day but also a happy one as we know Fr. Mohan will take on his new assignment with the same enthusiasm, love and grace that God gave him when he answered Yes to Him.

I must admit I am slightly jealous of the new folks that he will get to work with. They have no idea what they are in for. This priest, this holy man of God will change their lives as he did mine. He will make a real difference the second he walks into the door. He is truly God’s messenger.

So, to Fr. Mohan I just want to say thank you. Thank you for first surrendering your life to God’s will. Thank you for your kindness, wisdom, incredible sermons , merciful confessions, and for just being there for me and for all of us. Our parish is so much better because you were here and you have made a lasting impression. I wish you health, success, happiness and most of all, love and peace in the life that God has chosen for you. I can never repay you for what you have done for me and you will be in my prayers daily.

And for the rest of you, thank your priests, deacons and religious for what they have done for you. Don’t wait until they are gone to acknowledge what they have sacrificed for God and for us all. Pray for them daily and continue to support them no matter where they are.

Like the Dewfall

 

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(courtesy of fishermanukmusic.co.uk)

 

 

Eucharistic Prayer 2

You are indeed Holy, O Lord,the fount of all holiness. Make holy, therefore, these gifts, we pray, by sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall,so that they may become for us the Body and  Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

When I was at Mass yesterday and this passage was spoken by our priest, for some reason  I was focused on the part of sending down your Spirit upon them like the dewfall.   I have heard this Eucharistic prayer for years now and of course you take these often repeated words for granted. But for some reason, I really listened to this part. 

When I think of dewfall, I imagine going out first thing in the morning to get my daily paper or even walk my dog. The grass, driveway and sidewalks are completely covered in moisture. I walk on the grass and my slippers every day get soaked with the morning dew.

It is in this moment that I should realize that God continuously sends down his Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to us like the morning dew. He covers our world and our lives in the Spirit and we should be soaked each moment with His presence.

Yes, it can be annoying even at times when I am not fully awake yet to have my feet get completely soaked when my dog is taking his morning constitutional. But in this minor annoyance is the promise of God’s love and continuing mercy for all of us. We should treat this daily signal from God as a sign of His total commitment to us as His children.

Did you ever really look at how beautiful things can look in the first light of day? The dew running across spider webs and how it just touches the tips of each blade of grass – simply Divine.

So, tomorrow morning and every morning, rise up and greet the morning dew with thanksgiving and know that God has it all covered. Don’t get aggravated by your wet slippers but praise Him for covering us body and soul with His love and grace. When you track in the moisture from outside, know that God is with you on the inside.

 

 

 

 

Reverent Repetition 

As I was sitting at Mass on Sunday reciting the same prayers that are said each week, it dawned on me. Am I really paying attention to the words I am saying or just trying to get that part of the Mass over with? 

When you enjoy a favorite song, is it the words or the melody that make it your favorite? For me, a lot of times I really like the tune but have no idea what the lyrics mean. It doesn’t make me like the song less; for those songs, I am into the music more than the words. 

So at Mass, am I into the routine predictability of it all and not the true meaning of each prayer I say? 

I think that all of us are guilty of this from time to time. You can’t seriously contemplate every single word you say all the time. It is not in our nature to do that. But, when praying the Mass, we should try with each response to realize that every part of the celebration has great meaning. Every “and with your spirit” and “Amen” spoken contributes to the whole experience. Each time the Gloria is sung, it is raising our voices to the heavens to worship God to the fullest. These are not words to be taken for granted no matter how many times I have recited these over the years. And the Our Father, which the Lord Himself taught us, should never be said as if we were going through the motions. 

So, I am going to look at the Sunday Missal next week and read the responses before Mass. I want to say the words with confidence and conviction. I want God to know that I am fully participating in the Mass and that I take this seriously. The Mass is the summit of my week and I need to pray the Mass with the importance and reverence that God deserves. 

No Comparison

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courtesy of quoteaddicts.com


Galatians 6:4-5

Each of you must examine your own actions. Then you can be proud of your own accomplishments without comparing yourself to others.  Assume your own responsibility

 

I have a terrible habit of comparing myself to others. I do it all the time. I look around me and see people who are better looking, slimmer, funnier, smarter and holier than I am. The last one especially – I go to Mass each week and look around and see others that I assume are holier than I am.

I see people that i know are involved in all kinds of parish ministries. I see people that I don’t know but see each week and automatically know that they are better people than I am. I know that they pray more, give themselves to God more and accept their crosses better than I do.

I have come to know that I actually don’t know anything.

As the Scripture passage states, I need to look at my own accomplishments and not compare myself to anyone. So, why is this so hard for me to do?

Maybe it’s because I have not accomplished all that I have thought about doing. I do not pray consistently, don’t read as much Scripture as I used to and have not dedicated enough time to writing for this blog about Scripture.  And I certainly can do a better job at carrying my crosses in life which has been a constant issue for me.

I never feel that I am good enough.

But I know that God thinks I am good enough. He looks at my accomplishments and my shortcomings with the same love and acceptance that I can’t seem to give myself. God knows that life can be hard and that I can be even harder on myself. I need to go to Him more and ask not for His acceptance but for His mercy. I need to feel His mercy so that I can forgive myself for the times when I don’t measure up in my own eyes to others.

I need to assume my own responsibility and that is to live my life the best way I can and try to do what God wants me to do each day. I can never measure up to God but He doesn’t ask me to. In His eyes, I am always good enough.

 

 

 

 

 

The reason for this Easter Season

I wrote this 2 years ago – it still applies today.

Revelations

25 - Philippians 2.1-13

Philippians 2:6-11

Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself,taking the form of a slave,coming in human likeness;and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,becoming obedient to the point of death,even death on a cross.Because of this, God greatly exalted him  and of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Whenever I am down, depressed, worried, doubtful about my faith in God, I turn to this passage.  To me, these words define my faith. Within these few words is the reason for our faith and the definition of Our Savior. I don’t need any other words.

This Scripture passage touches me more than any other passage in the Bible. I just relate to it.

During this Holy Week, take a look at…

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