Monday, July 11, 2016

One beggar telling another beggar

Evangelism is just one beggar telling another beggar where to find bread.  - D.T. Niles

We are all beggars.  We don't have to be perfect or scholars to spread the Gospel.  We only need to share the little that we know with those around us.  We are all lost and seeking the Lord.  Even when we can't do a lot we can still share what we have.  We can share the joy that the Lord brings to our life.

Let Us Pray:
Dear Lord, Help me to remember that we are all beggars trying to search out a little more and grow a little closer to you.  We need the help of others as much as we need to be of help to others.  Help me to be open to the help of others and to always be willing to share your love with others.  I ask you to help guide me to you and to give me the opportunity to share this with those around me.  Give me the strength to reach out to others and give them the help and support that they seek.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

"All things came to be through him"

All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:3-5

Having God in my life is good.  There is no doubt about this, but there are other good things in my life; my husband, my son, friendships, travels, my job and so many more.  Some of these don't seem to be related to God but these verses tell us otherwise.  These verses remind us that "All things came to be through Him".  Not only should we thank God for these gifts in our lives  but we should use these gifts to bring his light to the world.

These verses challenge me to think about how I can use what God has given me to bring life and light to the world.  I think about my job as a public school teacher.  I spend my time at work doing work that I love but is not outwardly serving God.

How does this work bring life and light to the world?

I can treat my students with love and respect.  I can great them with a smile and listen to their thoughts and ideas.  I can value them as a person and remind them that they can talk to me in times of trouble.  I can bring some light into their lives and teach them how to do the same in their lives.  I have to remember that as I go about my day I should be doing so much more than simply what is required in my contract.  My focus should be beyond common core and standards.  As a Christian my focus should be on bringing life and light to the world.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

Serving at Home

Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’  Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’  And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’-Mt 25:34-40

This has always been a passage that touched me.  It has called me to go out and serve.  To volunteer at a soup kitchen, to visit the nursing home, to tutor struggling kids.  To go out and serve.  These are things that I enjoyed doing.  The people I served brought me joy and I felt as if I was doing God's work.  

But this service was not something that I did every day.  It was scheduled.  I served when it fit best into my schedule and when it worked with theirs.  When it was on the calendar, then I served and when I was done I went home and continued with my life.

All this has now changed.  As I sit here nursing my new baby I realize that he is a child of God.  He is "one of these" that Jesus was speaking about.  The last few weeks of my life have been completely filled with feeding, clothing and caring for this little baby.  This is service.  I am learning that there are times when I am not called to go out and serve but I am called to stay in and serve.  Right now I am called to serve the Lord by caring for my little baby.  This is not something that I have to fit into my schedule this is my life.  Over the past few weeks my life has changed dramatically.  The way that I serve the Lord has changed dramatically as well.   

Saturday, June 28, 2014

They are like us

We hear about the Saints all the time.  They are a great source of inspiration but they are often far off.  They lived long ago, in far away places in very different times.  Most of them were priests or nuns.  It is easy to think that we don't really have much in common with the saints.  But there is one thing that we all have in common (and it's a big one).  

We are all children of the Lord.

I was reading the prayer on the back of a Saint Rita prayer card the other day and one word of one line stood out to me:


"by following the will of our heavenly Father"

Even though Saint Rita lived hundreds of years ago she still prayed to the same Father in heaven that we pray to.  Even though she lived a very different life than I do we still are part of the same Catholic family in Christ.  This is what brings us together.  This is where our lives do intersect with the lives of the saints.

They are like us.

Dear St. Rita, during your entire life on earth you found your happiness by following the will of our heavenly Father. Help me to be as trusting of God in all his designs for me. Help me this day to give myself to him as you did, without limit, without fear, without counting the cost. Help me to be generous in serving the needs of others, patient in all difficulties, forgiving toward all who injure me. Help me to learn more deeply the great mystery of the cross of Jesus, so that by embracing it as you did, I may come to experience its power to heal and to save. Amen.

For more information on the life of Saint Rita look here. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Our Brothers and Sisters

I really love when I have the opportunity to go to daily mass.  There is a simplicity about it that brings out the true beauty of the mass.  The simplicity allows me to hear lines of prayers that I say every week in a new light.  
The mass brings us together as a community.  We need that community.  As much as we want to be (and think we are) independent and self sufficient we need a community.  I am starting to build a little community but it is a slow process.  But even if we know no one in the church or if we are visiting a new parish we are still part of a community.  I was reminded of this today as we prayed the penitential act.

"And you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God."

The people around us are our brothers and sisters.  We are asking them to pray for us as they are asking us to pray for them.  This brings us closer together as we draw closer to Christ.  We are not alone in the church, we are surrounded by our brothers and sisters who are praying for us. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A Future of Hope

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope.- Jeremiah 29:11

I have found this to be one of the most uplifting line in the bible.  I am a worrier.  I worry about everything.  I even worry about worrying (I am sure that I am doing it to much).  We are always told not to worry because God has a plan for us.  Great, don't worry He has a plan, but what if its a bad plan?  What if it is a plan that you will hate?  What if it is a plan that will make you miserable?  All plans are not created equal.  Well this gives me something else to worry about.

But we are reassured once again.  It is not a plan for woe is a plan for hope.  We don't need to worry, its a good plan.  A plan that will bring us to a future of hope.  Our creator knows what will make us happy and he has a plan to take us there.  His plan goes beyond our plans for dinner or even our life plan his plan is concerned with our eternal happiness and joy.  We can rest assured that he has our backs and will bring us to eternal joy with him if we allow him to.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A look at Lumen Fidei - a leap in the dark

I am almost done reading Pope Francis' encyclical Lumen Fidei.  What a joy it is to read.  It is not to difficult or academic and it directly makes contact with my everyday life and issues related to my faith journey.  If you have not read it you can find it here and I would strongly recommend giving it a read.
Since it is so packed with information as I read it I underline words and phrases that stand out to me.  I have been going back and rereading these underlined phrases and thinking about them and praying about them.
Since these lines have been so beneficial to my prayer life and my life I wanted to share the lines and my thoughts on them and some ideas about how they can be carried out in our present lives.  My plan is to gather these up into a small series over the next few weeks.

"Faith was thus understood either as a leap in the dark, to be taken in the absence of light..."
      -Lumen Fidei, Pope Francis

I have come across this so often.  In college I studied various fields of science.  I took science classes, had scientist professors and spent a good amount of time with other students involved in the sciences.  Many of these people were not religious but the topic of religion and faith did come up.  People of faith were often spoken about as those other people.  Those people that aren't educated.  Those people who do not believe in science.  Those people who have not yet found the truth of science.

This put me in an awkward position.  Either I was a scientist or I was some poor person without knowledge, without understanding fumbling around in the dark.  I knew that wasn't true.  I knew faith was not something I turned to because I didn't know any better.  I new faith wasn't something that I believed in because I had nothing else to believe in.  I knew that I was educated.  I knew the truths of science. I had information.  I was in light.  And I still had faith.  My faith did not come out of a lack of information but from a wealth of information.

I knew this but the people around me didn't (and many still don't.)  How can we change this perception.  For one, make it known that you are Catholic.  I don't mean that you should announce to everyone that you are Catholic but don't hide it or be ashamed to bring it up in conversation.  It should come up in conversation.  It is who you are.  If one of your co-workers or friends is picturing a Catholic they should be picturing you instead of some hypothetical person.

Next, be ready to support your beliefs.  Our faith is not just a jumble of ideas and rules, there are reasons and teachings behind them.  become educated in your faith and show it off.  Our faith comes from light not darkness.

Lastly, be knowledgeable.  Show that you are a person of faith and you understand foreign policy.  Or show that you are a person of faith and you can understand a scientific journal.

For all of you are children of the light and children of the day. We are not of the night or of darkness.
1 Thessalonians 5:5

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Thank them for their service

Cloistered Nuns
Just the thought kind of scares me.  At first it seems a little weird.  What do they do all day?  They pray.  But is that really all they do?  I didn't really understand it.  But then I listened to this program on "The Good Catholic Life" (a local radio talk show) and reflected on the following line from Pope John Paul II (which I first wrote about here)

"Yes, God alone is our true and unfailing support, just as love and prayer are the only sure spiritual levers with which it is possible to lift up the world."- Pope John Paul II (1994)

It was then that I realized that the women who spend there days in prayer are not doing it for themselves, they are doing it for the Lord and for us!  They are not spending there time praying for themselves but they are praying for the Church (for us).  They might not be physically feeding the poor and ministering to the imprisoned or even evangelizing to their neighbors but they are serving the poor, the imprisoned and their neighbors in a much greater way.  They are bringing the sufferings and pains of the people and of the Church to the Lord.  Although it may not be visible to outsiders they are directly serving the needs of the suffering.

Through Prayer!

It reminds me of how we often thank our soldiers serving in the military (as we should).  We thank them for giving up their life (at least part of it) to serve our country (and us).  They are separated from their friends and loved ones as they devote themselves to others.  In a similar way a woman entering a cloistered convent is giving up her friends and loved ones to devote herself to prayer.  This prayer is a service to us all and it involves a great deal of sacrifice on their part.
We should thank them for their service.  We should thank their families for the sacrifice that they make as well.  To me it seems like an unbelievable sacrifice and an unbelievable service.
Thank them.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Two thoughts on an amazing evening

I attend an amazing Catholic worship event the other day.  It was a last minute decision.  A friend of mine invited me but I was busy then at the last minute it turned out I could go.  She was still going and I was able to meet her their.  It was well worth the drive.  It started with a dynamic and inspiring Catholic speaker.  Then there was a great Catholic band which played some praise and worship music followed by a powerful time of adoration and ended with some more music.  All throughout confession was being offered as well.  I wasn't sure about going at first but am so glad that I did and hope to be able to get to it again (it is help every month!).  
Throughout the entire evening I came away with two important thoughts that I would like to share.
First:  I left there overflowing with God's love and joy, ready to sing praise to the Lord and open up my life to Christ.  It was a powerful experience and I can only assume that many others in the room felt so filled with his love and joy as well.  This is great!  I would have loved to stay there all week.  But we as lay people need to remember that it is our job to be filled with this love and joy and then spread it all over the world.  We need to share the love with our families, we need to bring this joy to our co-workers.  Our job is to bring Christ out to the people of the world that we live in.  This isn't something that we can keep to ourselves.  When we are inspired we need to share that inspiration with our world.

Second:  The speaker was great, the music was amazing, the community was incredible but was really made the evening was adoration.  This was what really mattered.  This was why we were all there.  This was what brought us all together.  This was what the speaker spoke about.  This is what the musicians sang about.  Christ.  Christ was there.  We were praising him.  We were adoring him.  He is what made it all so powerful.  He is what we need to share with the world.
I really don't think the evening would have been the same without adoration.  It would have been nice.  It would have been inspiring.  But it would have had something missing.  I think it is important to remember this.  No matter how good we are or how enjoy able you life is if it is missing Christ it is missing something essential and it will never be the same once Christ is added.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Praying for Prayer

While I try to pray all throughout the day it is nice to have some quality devoted time to pray, to read the bible and to speak to the Lord.  I can do this best when I am either in a quiet place outdoors or in a quiet church.  This is hard to do.  I need to have the will to pray.  I need to have the time to pray.  I need to have access a suitable environment for this type of prayer.  But I know this time of prayer is amazing and fruitful.  Because of this I always say a special prayer.
I pray for prayer.
When ever I sit down to pray I first thank the Lord for bringing me there.  I thank the Lord for getting me off the couch to come and nurture my relationship with him.

"Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing me here today to spend time in front of your Blessed Eucharist."

"Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me some quiet time out of my hectic day today."

"Dear Lord, Thank you for giving me the will and the want to come talk with you today."

Then when I am finishing up my time of prayer I always ask to Lord to help me return to this time quickly.

Dear Lord, Thank you for this time together.  Please help me to come back to talk with you tomorrow."

Dear Lord, Please help me to find time tomorrow to spend time with you.

Dear Lord, Help me to stay in prayer with you through my hectic day tomorrow and give me the time to return to your Blessed Eucharist soon.

(This can also be a nice time that I think about my scheduled for the next day or so and when I will pray)

I have found this to be extremely beneficial to my prayer time and to my relationship with the Lord.  Spending any time in prayer is a hard thing thing to do and I know I can take all the prayers I can get.