Thursday, February 20, 2014

Restore this Lent

Needing a boost in my own spiritual journey, I will be taking the Restore workshop this Lent. Elizabeth Foss and Ann Voskamp have had a great impact on my spiritual life and have provided much inspiration over the last three years.

Their books Smalls Steps for Catholic Moms (Elizabeth with Danielle Bean) and One Thousand Gifts (Ann) are encouraging, contemporary voices as women and mothers as I work on keeping my focus on Christ.

In addition to daily course material, Elizabeth will have podcasts with Ann as well as Sarah Mackenzie, Aimee Kollmansburger, Ginny Sheller and Colleen Mitchell - all of whom have inspiring faith filled blogs - you need not be Catholic to join or benefit from their messages.  There is a small cost (this is an unsolicited plug, I don't get anything in return), you can learn more about it here:
In Elizabeth's words: 
If you are willing to dig deep, do some soul-work, 
and seize the abundant joy that is Easter, let's begin the restoration.

"The Restore Workshop is a six week online course geared towards adult women who have struggled or are struggling with or want to avoid burnout. It is for any woman who wants to nurture joy within her life and the lives of those around her."


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Prodigiosus or Horribilis?

2013 Prodigiosus or Horribilis? 


Towards the end of 1992, Queen Elizabeth gave a speech in which she referred to the year as 'Annus Horribilis'. The moniker was referencing the demise of the marriages of her sons and a fire that ravaged Windsor castle.  Hardly a joyful time, but, truly horrible and brushing aside a whole year? The Queen was wrong. Oh - how my Irish cousins love that statement;)

Every year has horrible moments - some evil, tragic and painful but there are also many joys every day.  In those moments of pain and loss, do we not persevere? Can we not find hope, love and charity or help others do so?  When there is a background of horrible, moments of joy seem greater.  

Tempted to label 2013 as Annus Horribilis, 
I choose to look on 2013 as Annus Prodigiosus, 
our very miraculous year. 

2013 had times of accomplishment, trial, triumph but mostly perseverance.  Perseverance isn't a moment , milestone or celebration but when accompanied by faith and prayer it can be miraculous. 

Two years ago I started this blog as a way to transition from parish prayer chain moderator to writing on the extraordinary power of prayer in daily life.  I had been witness to years of petitions from a congregation that saw miracles big and small, a group that faced unspeakable tragedy with grace and exercised the muscle of prayer through it all. It was also a way to come to grips with the fact that part of my life as a young mom was ending.  Our family was complete.  While there was and is much mothering still left ahead, the idea of baby days were over.  It was an abrupt but not unexpected transition with little time for melancholy.

Within weeks of beginning the blog, our family was rocked by a sudden illness that changed our lives forever.  We stumbled through my husband's recovery and I limped along writing about prayer in the blogging world.  


Then our school community was devastated by the senseless death of a classmate, and we were knocked to our knees.  First  figuratively and then literally in prayer for many swirling issues that rippled out from that tragedy.  The blog sputtered,  I dabbled on Twitter and  Facebook - but the energy for discussing, promoting and encouraging prayer was too much when faced with my own list of petitions.  I had a list, a long one and with three teenage boys (two of them driving) my life felt like my own personal non-stop litany.  It felt as if our family's trials were enough to crush us.  

Add in a dose of politics, pettiness and a penchant for sarcasm,  I didn't want prayer to glow.  I wanted to put prayer to work in a skull drudgery fashion, hard prayer surely was most worthy.

And then there was, cancer.

It seems surreal reflecting on the moment the diagnosis was delivered - an ordinary day that, with the utterance of two syllables, shattered so many best laid plans.  How could this be?  We were coming out of the dark, looking forward, starting fresh! I was mad. It wasn't fair, but slowly, my perspective changed.

Give thanks in all things. That phrase circled my head.  I was not happy about it.

At first I was numb, I organized, I called in the troops.  And then I felt like I wanted a time out with God.  A come to Jesus meeting of sorts.  "Ok, we have been through a lot - my husband especially,  we did the hard work, now this is just too much! We need joy!"

And then it dawned on me, did I give thanks or was I thankful for getting through? There it was again.

Give thanks in all things. Really, I got it- haven't we earned joy. Joy is the reward! Not so fast. 

I was completely focused on 'pray constantly!  I even wrote about prayer! I had the map, I was not lost.  But slowing down and reading Thessalonians, there it was joy - not after prayer and thanks but before

Prayer wrapped first in joy and then thanks - the idea seemed trivial in crisis, even Pollyannaish.  But there it was:
Always be joyful; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks; this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Now six months later, with much of the heavy lifting accomplished by our valiant patient and fervent prayers for that single syllable - cured, we live in hope.   

Through every good, bad and in-between moment, prayer has been a constant for our family.  It has comforted us, sustained us and helped us not just look for, but start with joy.  Was each trial filled by tranquility and lovely music in the background? No.  

There were (and surely will be) gritty, messy times but we are focused in this marathon of love, we will not succumb to the horrible - we will not forget joy or thanks.

So at the end of this tumultuous year filled with triumphs and trials I choose to say it was a miraculous year.   We have said many goodbyes as we moved away from a lovely town, classmates, neighbors and dear friends.  Happily, we are just as fortunate to reconnect with old friends we haven't seen in far too long and are continually blessed by new friends and neighbors.  

So thank you 2013, from the outside looking in it might be characterized as Annus Horribilis.  Yet, through joy and thanks in prayer, we persevere and it has been a miraculously joyful year.  I am still praying constantly, but with joy - prayer is not work. 

Prayer approached with joy, knowing a good and loving God listens, loves and is with us will make you glow and for that I am thankful.

Have a blessed and joyful 2014.

"Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance, and perseverance must finish its work in order for you to be mature and complete." (James 1:2-4). 
 Mother Antonia Brenner 1926-2013 Requiescat in pace

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stations Nature Trail

Here are some moments captured a few years ago as I walked this beautiful trail for the first time. Come, journey through the woods (even if online) meditating on Christ's suffering, acknowledging the power of prayer and reflecting on the gift of salvation.  Have a blessed Holy Week, Karen



Stations of the Cross


Prayers of the Stations from Our Catholic Prayers


Preparatory Prayer

(to be said kneeling)
ALL: My Lord, Jesus Christ, / You have made this journey to die for me with unspeakable love; / and I have so many times ungratefully abandoned You. / But now I love You with all my heart; / and, because I love You, I am sincerely sorry for ever having offended You. / Pardon me, my God, and permit me to accompany You on this journey. / You go to die for love of me; / I want, my beloved Redeemer, to die for love of You. / My Jesus, I will live and die always united to You.
At the cross her station keeping
Stood the mournful Mother weeping
Close to Jesus to the last




The First Station:
Pilate Condemns Jesus to Die

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how Jesus Christ, after being scourged and crowned with thorns, was unjustly condemned by Pilate to die on the cross. (Kneel)
R: My adorable Jesus, / it was not Pilate; / no, it was my sins that condemned You to die. / I beseech You, by the merits of this sorrowful journey, / to assist my soul on its journey to eternity./ I love You, beloved Jesus; / I love You more than I love myself. / With all my heart I repent of ever having offended You. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Through her heart, His sorrow sharing
All His bitter anguish bearing
Now at length the sword has passed




The Second Station:
Jesus Accepts His Cross

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider Jesus as He walked this road with the cross on His shoulders, thinking of us, and offering to His Father in our behalf, the death He was about to suffer. (Kneel)
R: My most beloved Jesus, / I embrace all the sufferings You have destined for me until death. / I beg You, by all You suffered in carrying Your cross, / to help me carry mine with Your perfect peace and resignation. / I love You, Jesus, my love; / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never let me separate myself from You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
O, how sad and sore depressed
Was that Mother highly blessed
Of the sole Begotten One




The Third Station:
Jesus Falls the First Time

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider the first fall of Jesus. Loss of blood from the scourging and crowing with thorns had so weakened Him that He could hardly walk; and yet He had to carry that great load upon His shoulders. As the soldiers struck Him cruelly, He fell several times under the heavy cross. (Kneel)
R: My beloved Jesus, / it was not the weight of the cross / but the weight of my sins which made You suffer so much. / By the merits of this first fall, / save me from falling into mortal sin. / I love You, O my Jesus, with all my heart; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / May I never offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Christ above in torment hangs
She beneath beholds the pangs
Of her dying, glorious Son



The Fourth Station:
Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how the Son met his Mother on His way to Calvary. Jesus and Mary gazed at each other and their looks became as so many arrows to wound those hearts which loved each other so tenderly (Kneel)
R: My most loving Jesus, / by the pain You suffered in this meeting / grant me the grace of being truly devoted to Your most holy Mother. / And You, my Queen, who was overwhelmed with sorrow, / obtain for me by Your prayers / a tender and a lasting remembrance of the passion of Your divine Son. / I love You, Jesus, my Love, above all things. / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never allow me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Is there one who would not weep,
'whelmed in miseries so deep
Christ's dear Mother to behold.





The Fifth Station:
Simon Helps Jesus Carry the Cross

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how weak and weary Jesus was. At each step He was at the point of expiring. Fearing that He would die on the way when they wished Him to die the infamous death of the cross, they forced Simon of Cyrene to help carry the cross after Our Lord. (Kneel)
R: My beloved Jesus / I will not refuse the cross as Simon did: / I accept it and embrace it. / I accept in particular the death that is destined for me / with all the pains that may accompany it. / I unite it to Your death / and I offer it to You. / You have died for love of me; / I will die for love of You and to please You. / Help me by Your grace. / I love You, Jesus, my Love; / I repent of ever having offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Can the human heart refrain
From partaking in her pain
In that Mother's pain untold?




The Sixth Station:
Veronica Offers Her Veil to Jesus

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider the compassion of the holy woman, Veronica. Seeing Jesus in such distress, His face bathed in sweat and blood, she presented Him with her veil. Jesus wiped His face, and left upon the cloth the image of his sacred countenance. (Kneel)
R: My beloved Jesus, / Your face was beautiful before You began this journey; / but, now, it no longer appears beautiful / and is disfigured with wounds and blood. / Alas, my soul also was once beautiful / when it received Your grace in Baptism; / but I have since disfigured it with my sins. / You alone, my Redeemer, can restore it to its former beauty. / Do this by the merits of Your passion; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled
She beheld her tender Child
All with bloody scourges rent.




The Seventh Station:
Jesus Falls the Second Time

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how the second fall of Jesus under His cross renews the pain in all the wounds of the head and members of our afflicted Lord. (Kneel)
R: My most gentle Jesus, / how many times You have forgiven me; / and how many times I have fallen again and begun again to offend You! / By the merits of this second fall, / give me the grace to persevere in Your love until death. / Grant, that in all my temptations, I may always have recourse to You. / I love You, Jesus, my Love with all my heart; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
For the sins of His own nation
Saw Him hang in desolation
Till His spirit forth He sent.



The Eighth Station:
Jesus Speaks to the Women

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how the women wept with compassion seeing Jesus so distressed and dripping with blood as he walked along. Jesus said to them, ``Weep not so much for me, but rather for Your children.'' (Kneel)
R: My Jesus, laden with sorrows, / I weep for the sins which I have committed against You / because of the punishment I deserve for them; / and, still more, because of the displeasure they have caused You / who have loved me with an infinite love. / It is Your love, more than the fear of hell, / which makes me weep for my sins. / My Jesus, I love You more than myself; / I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never allow me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
O sweet Mother! Fount of Love,
Touch my spirit from above
Make my heart with yours accord.



The Ninth Station:
Jesus Falls the Third Time

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how Jesus Christ fell for the third time. He was extremely weak and the cruelty of His executioners was excessive; they tried to hasten His steps though He hardly had strength to move. (Kneel)
R: My outraged Jesus, / by the weakness You suffered in going to Calvary, / give me enough strength to overcome all human respect / and all my evil passions which have led me to despise Your friendship. / I love You, Jesus my Love, with all my heart; / I am sorry for ever having offended You. / Never permit me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Make me feel as You have felt
Make my soul to glow and melt
With the love of Christ, my Lord.



The Tenth Station:
Jesus Is Stripped of His Garments

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how Jesus was violently stripped of His clothes by His executioners. The inner garments adhered to his lacerated flesh and the soldiers tore them off so roughly that the skin came with them. Have pity for your Savior so cruelly treated and tell Him: (Kneel)
R: My innocent Jesus, / by the torment You suffered in being stripped of Your garments, / help me to strip myself of all attachment for the things of earth / that I may place all my love in You who are so worthy of my love. / I love You, O Jesus, with all my heart; / I am sorry for ever having offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Holy Mother, pierce me through
In my heart each wound renew
Of my Savior crucified.




The Eleventh Station:
Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider Jesus, thrown down upon the cross, He stretched out His arms and offered to His eternal Father the sacrifice of His life for our salvation. They nailed His hands and feet, and then, raising the cross, left Him to die in anguish. (Kneel)
R: My despised Jesus, / nail my heart to the cross / that it may always remain there to love You and never leave You again. / I love You more than myself; / I am sorry for ever having offended You. / Never permit me to offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Let me share with you His pain,
Who for all our sins was slain,
Who for me in torments died.



The Twelfth Station:
Jesus Dies Upon the Cross

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how Your Jesus, after three hours of agony on the cross, is finally overwhelmed with suffering and, abandoning Himself to the weight of His body, bows His head and dies. (Kneel)
R: My dying Jesus, / I devoutly kiss the cross on which You would die for love of me. / I deserve, because of my sins, to die a terrible death; / but Your death is my hope. / By the merits of Your death, / give me the grace to die embracing Your feet and burning with love of You. / I yield my soul into Your hands. / I love You with my whole heart. / I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Let me mingle tears with thee
Mourning Him who mourned for me,
All the days that I may live.



The Thirteenth Station:
Jesus Is Taken Down from the Cross

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how, after Our Lord had died, He was taken down from the cross by two of His disciples, Joseph and Nicodemus, and placed in the arms of His afflicted Mother. She received Him with unutterable tenderness and pressed Him close to her bosom. (Kneel)
R: O Mother of Sorrows, / for the love of Your Son, / accept me as Your servant and pray to Him for me, / And You, my Redeemer, since you have died for me, / allow me to love You, / for I desire only You and nothing more. / I love You, Jesus my Love, / and I am sorry that I have offended You. / Never let me offend You again. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
By the cross with you to stay
There with you to weep and pray
Is all I ask of you to give.



The Fourteenth Station:
Jesus Is Placed in the Sepulcher

V: We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You. (Genuflect)
R: Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world. (Rise)
V: Consider how the disciples carried the body of Jesus to its burial, while His holy Mother went with them and arranged it in the sepulcher with her own hands. They then closed the tomb and all departed. (Kneel)
R: Oh, my buried Jesus, / I kiss the stone that closes You in. / But You gloriously did rise again on the third day. / I beg You by Your resurrection that I may be raised gloriously on the last day, / to be united with You in heaven, to praise You and love You forever. / I love You, Jesus, and I repent of ever having offended You. / Grant that I may love You always; and then do with me as You will.
(Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be.)
Virgin of all virgins blest!
Listen to my fond request:
Let me share your grief divine.




Sunday, May 27, 2012

Celebrating the Defense of Religious Liberty: Memorial Day

How fitting my last blog post before a long absence was a prayer to the Holy Spirit.  It seems only natural then I return to the blog on Pentecost Sunday. Hopefully, with the help of the Holy Spirit I will continue to chronicle my journey in faith, motherhood, friendship and love.


As Christians, and as Catholics we are warned we will be out of sync with world. (Matthew Chapter 10)  These last months certainly have caused me much dismay as I have felt out of sync with the leadership of my country as it pushes against the beliefs I hold close to my soul. 


This blog has been quiet for such a long time as our family dealt with our own healthcare crisis, but the news of the many lawsuits brought against the healthcare mandate by the Catholic Church and prayerful consideration about wading into the perils of politics on the blog, I felt my position should be clear. I celebrate the Catholic Church for its defense of our religious freedom by fighting the healthcare mandate. 


The media chatter focusing on women's healthcare 'rights' is absurd.  No one is taking away an adult woman's decision-making power about her own healthcare.  What right is being taken away is a religious institution's ability to decline to participate in a government mandated program that goes against the core of its faith. The Catholic Church stands for the protection of life from conception to natural death.  When any practice infringes on life, the church has one position - life wins. 


And for women's health? If this were truly about healthcare the discussion should not be about medicinal birth control.  Medicinal birth control is about convenient sex with a lower risk of pregnancy, not health. And while some doctors use the same pharmaceutical used for birth control to treat other conditions, the Catholic Church has often stated to Catholic healthcare providers that certain hormone therapies, not related to birth control, are acceptable, which clearly is in the best interests of women's health.  When hormone therapy is used in a way that is not birth control, it is covered healthcare.   


Back to women's healthcare rights, if medicinal birth control does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases which can lead to long term health problems, sterilization and death why is it so important? We have been inundated with pamphlets about the use of condoms as a STD preventative measure. So, why is no one sitting in front of Congress waving a condom? Because this debate isn't about women's health, it isn't about birth control, it is about curbing religious freedom and having religion answer to the whims of the state.  

Artificial birth control is against the tenets of my faith -  so are many other "socially acceptable" practices - the Catholic Church is not trying to play moral police cop, they just don't want to be party to what they believe to be sinful.  What any individual, Catholic or not, chooses to do is their free will.  Just don't ask a religious institution to validate something that clearly is against their faith. The advocacy of birth control as a right, is merely a Trojan horse in the war on religious liberty.



This Memorial Day Weekend and Pentecost Sunday,
 I celebrate those who have fought and sacrificed 
for our freedom 
and the gift of the Holy Spirit to guide us as we soldier on. 


Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience towards evil and a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. But what is more important than the definition is the field of its application. The important point here is this: Tolerance applies only to persons but never to truth. Intolerance applies only to truth but never to persons. Tolerance applies to the erring; intolerance to the error.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen (Old Errors and New Labels)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A PRAYER TO THE HOLY SPIRIT

Sometimes an email inbox is a great source of inspiration. This beautiful thought was sent to me today, enjoy and embrace the words of Cardinal Mercier.


"I am going to reveal to you the secret of sanctity and happiness. Every day for five minutes control your imagination and close your eyes to all the noises of the world in order to enter into yourself. Then, in the sanctuary of your baptized soul (which is the temple of the Holy Spirit) speak to that Divine Spirit, saying to Him: 


O Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul, I adore You. 
Enlighten me, guide me, strengthen me, console me. 
Tell me what I should do; give me Your orders. 
I promise to submit myself to all that You desire of me 
and to accept all that You permit to happen to me. 
Let me only know Your Will.
If you do this, your life will flow along happily, serenely, and full of consolation, even in the midst of trials. Grace will be proportioned to the trial, giving you the strength to carry it and you will arrive at the Gate of Paradise, laden with merit. This submission to the Holy Spirit is the secret of sanctity."


Cardinal Mercier (1851 - 1926) from Catholic.org

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Grace Moments

Grace is defined in various ways by Webster's Dictionary:  unmerited help given to people by God; a virtue from God; a short prayer at a meal - all were present last night.  

We say grace at dinner, whether it is all five of us or not. Our grace is the familiar:
Bless us, Oh Lord, 
and these thy gifts which
we are about to receive from thy bounty,
through Christ, Our Lord.
Amen.

On occasion, after grace we will add intentions - ok, I start adding intentions and the Dad backs me up and we all offer our own intentions.  This is usually not met with resounding joy - but we have had a lot of intentions lately and it helps us all remember our blessings and each other's needs.  

Yesterday had been a busy day for all of us, a day that started with missing homework, tests, papers due, projects that required one too many voicemails - that still remain unanswered. Eventually as the boys were all finally home and about to eat by themselves, I said grace with them - except I started with intentions, praying for grace to get through the last of the week - three heads and six wide eyes bobbed up and bowed right back down when I started right into our regular grace. The relief of three starving boys was comical.  

What followed was not the usual loud and raucous meal.  Much to my surprise, dinner last night was a bastion of peace and quiet. In fact it was so lovely it took my breath away as I looked up and saw what I know will be a scene that will far too quickly change. My camera was laying out and I wanted to save the moment.  Click.


And change it did - because as soon as they heard the click this happened:

 And then this: 

And there it was, the grace of brotherhood. A little fun with mom, but brothers united - a virtue from God. And a little unmerited help from God for this Mom that sometimes can be too busy to see the blessings.  

May your day be blessed with grace, and the ability to notice it when it arrives. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Small Steps Together - Patience

It has been a long time since I've blogged here.  Life has brought unexpected changes that have made time to reflect and write a luxury that I didn't think I could afford. I didn't have the patience to pause and I am the poorer for it.  My personality trends to impatient, I am sure you've seen me - I am the one pushing the elevator up or down button more than once.  It makes me feel better and look foolish all in one fell swoop. Right now, we are in the midst of huge hurdle for our family, I am in full fix-it mode, I can do this, I can find a solution, I am impatient and anxious, wanting solutions NOW.

Sort of like Martha - no, not that one (though I find it no coincidence that the publicly lauded maven of housekeeping is aptly named, Martha) - I am thinking about the original Martha.  Sister of Mary of Bethany who hosts Jesus and the disciples, chronicled in Luke. Martha barks orders in a great frenzy readying a feast for her guests and is generally impatient with her sister sitting at the feet of Jesus. There is work to do but getting lost in the control of the day's events, Martha almost misses the opportunity to listen to Jesus.  Her impatience with her sister is rebuked by Jesus.

"My dear Martha, you are so upset over all these details! There is really only one thing worth being concerned about.  Mary has discovered it - and I won't take it away from her." Luke 10:41-42

Impatience brings the "what if?" and immediately worry and fear find a place to land.  In her impatience, I think Martha worried. What if....everything isn't ready? I will have been a poor host! I will be ridiculed! What if...the Lamb isn't cooked properly - my guests will be sick or hungry, what if the servants forget the proper table setting - my guests will be offended! Oh dear, Mary - get over here!!

Mary and her patient heart had found time to reflect on Jesus.  Martha's impatience may of made her feel better for a moment but in the end she looked foolish.


When prompted by Elizabeth Foss to think about patience, I thought about the events of this year and it made me realize that much of my worry and fear stem from my impatience with God.  If I kept the lists checked off and things going smoothly, I kept the schedule similar, I kept my prayer routine, I plan for every "what if" - today might be the day of a solution. By the way, it has been 262 days and I am still waiting. My impatience is getting in the way of my trust in God.  My soul needs patience. Patience brings trust and hope, with "only one thing worth being concerned about".

Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46:10

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Everything Starts From Prayer

"Everything starts from prayer. Without asking God for love, we cannot possess love and still less are we able to give it to others. Just as people today are speaking so much about the poor but they do not know or talk to the poor, we too cannot talk so much about prayer and yet not know how to pray." - Mother Teresa

Dear Lord,
Draw us to you in prayer; help us meet you there right now.  Though our needs seem great, help us know that Your love is greater than anything we might ever need.  May we find strength in being a child of God.  In being little, we will become a fortress of strength.  Lord we lift up our thanks and petitions to you, be with us now and always.  
Through Your Son, Jesus Christ, Amen. 


"So do not fear, I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous hand." Isaiah 41:10

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Pray, Help Where You Can

"Have a great compassion for people. To be able to have a heart full of compassion, we need to pray. Especially be kind, be loving to the poor. We think we do so much for the poor, but it is they who make us rich. We are in debt to them. Do you want to do something beautiful for God? There is a person who needs you. This is your chance." - Mother Teresa

Monday, May 16, 2011

Quietly and Simply

"Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, not even if your whole world seems upset. If you find that you have wandered away from the shelter of God, lead your heart back to Him quietly and simply." 
- St. Francis de Sales