Reflections On The Journey 

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Meditations

Reflections From Faye

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Pride

Posted on February 24, 2020 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

What? It’s almost Lent? I’d better get moving!

 

Each year during Lent I try to do something related to my spiritual life. Often, this means I may give up something that I enjoy or do something extra, above and beyond what I normally do.

 

This year I am going to do something different. I have decided to focus on something that will force me to look closely at my own life to see if I am failing in some area that perhaps I have been ignoring. So for the next few weeks I will review the Seven Deadly Sins, also known as the capital vices or cardinal sins. This is a grouping and classification of vices within Christian teachings. The list itself does not appear explicitly in the Bible, but many biblical passages refer to these sins and their effects.

 

The Seven Deadly Sins are pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath and sloth. For this first week I’m going to review pride.

 

On just about every list I’ve seen, pride is considered the original and most serious of the seven deadly sins: the perversion of the faculties that make humans seem to be more like God. It is also thought to be the source of the other capital sins. It is identified as dangerously corrupt selfishness, the putting of one's own desires, urges, wants, and whims before the welfare of other people.

 

In more destructive cases, it is irrationally believing that one is essentially and necessarily superior or more important than others, failing to acknowledge the accomplishments of others, and excessive admiration of the personal image or self (especially forgetting one's own lack of divinity, and refusing to acknowledge one's own limits, faults, or wrongs as a human being). Pride is generally associated with an absence of humility.

 

Many authors speak about pride – you can find references all over the internet. Benjamin Franklin said "In reality there is, perhaps no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history."

 

Pride is referenced in a few places in the Bible. Sirach 10:12-13a (NAB) says “The beginning of pride is man’s stubbornness in withdrawing his heart from his Maker; for pride is the reservoir of sin, a source which runs over with vice.” Proverbs 16:18 (NAB) also references pride with the famous quote "pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall," which is often shorted to “pride goeth before the fall.”

 

While it’s okay to be proud of our own accomplishments or that of others, we sin when that pride becomes consuming and we over-inflate our value. It also may result in vanity, self-idolatry, ignoring others or only seeking our own status.

 

We can probably easily name people who have lived in the past century who likely had a problem with pride - Adolf Hitler comes to mind - and you may be able to spot people in your own life. But beware - it’s very easy to point our fingers at others who may have this deadly sin, but not so easy to see it in ourselves.

 

Therefore, what about ME? As part of my preparation for Lent I examined my own life this week specifically around the issue of pride. And I’m sad to say I found several instances of wrongful pride. For example, it was fine when I felt a sense of accomplishment when I hit the “Publish” button for last week's blog post, but NOT when I read that other blog and thought that my blog was better.

 

I have been doing a daily examen for some months now. But on the last few nights when I have done this, I initially thought either that I hadn’t sinned or my sins were so small that I needn’t worry about them. In reality, though, I realized that pride had snuck in and said “Nope, I got this. I don’t need any help; I’m God.”  I actually HAD sinned but had glossed over it. Oops.

 

Then there was the day last week when I was following a driver who made several unlawful moves. What was my reaction? I patted myself on the back, congratulating myself that I was a MUCH better driver. Yep, some pride in that one, too. And then ten minutes later I erroneously turned on a red light. Oh boy.

 

What was my takeaway from this review? Realizing that there were several times (more than the ones I mentioned above!) when pride had snuck in during the past several weeks, the first thing I did was to schedule an appointment for confession!

 

But I also had to think about what will happen when I get into those situations again. If I do not take actions to stop this, pride could become even more of a problem in my life. In order to be better prepared, I prayed for the graces I will need to respond appropriately in those situations when they happen again. I may even want to think about other situations where pride could rear its ugly head. Hopefully with this preparation I will gain more awareness and be able to shut down pride sooner.

 

Have you had some trouble with pride lately? Perhaps you could take a little time this week to look at this first deadly sin to see if it has surreptitiously crept into your life. Take action to shut down your pride, if needed. A blessing may be waiting for you....

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Second Chances

Posted on February 17, 2020 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (1)

Have you ever been given a second chance? We probably all have had second chances in our lives, and we likely remember some but not others. Some of these second chances may have been for small things and others for more important things, and perhaps we have taken some of the chances and not others.

 

Sometimes we do not get second chances. I recall a time years ago when I brushed off a boy who asked me to go out, and he never asked me out again. I did not get a second chance.

 

But I have had many other, more important, second chances. When I was sixteen, I failed my driving test because I could not parallel park my mother’s huge Cadillac which I had to use for the test. On my second chance, the tester was more lenient – instead of failing me he only marked me down since I had aced the rest of the test, and I was able to get my driver’s license.

 

Here’s another example - in high school I had done a little acting but never got a second chance to pursue it further until I discovered a nearby community theater several years ago. I have since been enjoying “trotting the boards” and discovering a new side of me I didn’t know was there!

 

Then there was my failed first marriage. It was a devastating time in my life, and God required me to work to get through it. But God granted me a second chance when He brought a new man into my life. And this “second chance” turned out very well!

 

Life is often hard, and we make mistakes. When something big in your life fails, it’s easy to give up or believe that you won’t get another chance. But God may have a second chance for you up His sleeve! It may not come for quite a while, but when it does come it is probably just what we need. If we have learned from our mistakes, we can be ready to accept this second chance.

 

When I think about the many times that I have sinned, I feel like a failure. Yet God always give me a second chance! He always takes me back, welcoming me with wide open arms and enveloping me with unimaginable love. God gives me a second chance, and a third, and a fourth…. All I need to do is to ask.

 

Do you need a second chance in your life? Have you made a mistake but would like to correct it? Bring your situation to God, repent, and ask Him for a second chance. He will bless you with that second chance, and you too can feel His boundless love.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

More Than a Feeling

Posted on February 10, 2020 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Love.

 

Love is a word that means so many things, in so many ways. For example, I can love a delicious piece of chocolate, a captivating book or a soothing massage. This love is a feeling I get when I enjoy something - a fondness or satisfaction. But this kind of love can be fleeting - if the chocolate runs out, the book’s plot twists in a poor direction or the masseuse rubs me the wrong way, I may no longer feel love for it.

 

I have a different kind of love for my close friends – those people who have been there for me during both the easy and the challenging times. There is a special connection between us, and we can sit in each other’s presence and not say a thing. This love is deeper, and for me it is more than just a feeling. It’s a real love, one that lasts. Something pretty awful would have to happen to cause this love to disappear.

 

My love for my spouse is even deeper. Yes, when we first met and dated there were certain romantic feelings of love that surfaced, and those of you who have been “in love” probably know exactly what I’m talking about. There is a sense that you are not complete without the other, and you would do anything for them. But in order for a marriage to survive, that love must grow much deeper. Challenging times will come, and those giddy feelings can come and go. Spouses must decide to love each other, to make a lasting commitment to each other. That’s one reason why we say “in sickness and in health” in our vows! We may even need to love our spouse for a while in a way that may contradict our feelings. At, least this is what it has been like for me. I have chosen to love my husband even during those times when the “feelings” are not as strong as they once were.

 

My love for my children is similar. Since the moment I discovered I was pregnant with each one of my sons, I knew a love for them that was unlike the friendships I have forged. I have had challenges with the children, but despite that my love runs so deep that I would fiercely protect them if I could from hardships. And I also had to love them by letting them go - to learn and make mistakes on their own in order to grow. My love for my children was a decision that I made and am still making today. And I will do my best to love them no matter what happens to them or to me.

 

The last love I will talk about today is love for and with God. God loves us so perfectly that I can scarcely grasp this kind of love. It is somewhat like a love for friends, spouses and children. But it is so much more than that. It is a true commitment God has made toward each of us as His children. He loves us fiercely yet allows us to make our mistakes. God in fact IS love.

 

I love God, but not anywhere as completely as He loves me. My love for God is more than a feeling, more that just a satisfaction or even the closeness of a friend. It is more than the love I have for my children or for my spouse. And yet like those loves it is a decision and commitment I must make over and over again, to consciously love God freely, above all else.

 

This isn’t easy for me. I am imperfect, and I imperfectly love God. But I still will try to love Him as fully as I can. I know I will make mistakes and turn from Him, but His Love is always there. And God always enfolds me into His love as soon as I decide to return to Him.

 

What do you love? Whom do you love? Is your love real? Or is it only a feeling? Perhaps this week you could take a little time to look at the loves in your life. If one of your loves needs a little work or reorientation, I hope you can spend some time this week to sort things out. You might find a lovely blessing hiding amid your loves!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Face Your Giants

Posted on February 2, 2020 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)


One of my daily bible readings a few weeks ago was the story of David and Goliath. I imagine most of you remember the story – how the young lad David bravely slung a stone and felled the giant Goliath. David was able to accomplish this because of two things – he had prepared, and he had faith in God.

 

David’s preparation was his training and practice as a shepherd. He had to protect his flock, and so became skilled in the use of the sling to take out a deadly animal who was hunting his flock. Then David had faith in God. He was raised to know scripture and religious teachings and he practiced his faith regularly. When the time came to face Goliath, David was able to draw upon that faith.

 

We may not have physical giants to face like David, but we do have our own “giants.” Every one of us has at least one heavy burden or obstacle that gets in our way during our lives. These are our giants. Many of these giants may seem quite unconquerable – like a diagnosis of stage 4 cancer or the death of a family member. These giants can cause immense sorrow and require hard work to overcome.

 

So what can we do to fight these giants? I think we need to prepare and have faith, just like David.

 

The preparation part may be difficult. We usually don’t have a clue about what kind of giants will pop up in our lives or when they will surface. There is no way a normal human being can know everything - therefore, often the “preparation” can only occur after the giant appears. For example, you probably only will research facts and treatment about a physical ailment AFTER you receive the diagnosis. However, it’s helpful to have general knowledge about a number of things so you have some idea of where to go to get information and help.

 

Faith, however, is something that we CAN have ready in our hip pocket. Yes, we can call on God at any time – even an atheist might do that in a weak moment. But how much better is it for Christians! When we have spent time with God and the Scriptures on a regular basis, we have built up a basis of faith. And the more we do this, the stronger we become. For example, I find that memorizing a few verses of Psalms comes in handy – I can recall and recite a sentence or two when something difficult comes my way. And it is easier for me to pray when I have already built a solid relationship with God.

 

I hope that you have done some preparation and have a strong faith in your life, so that you can be prepared when the giants step in. But if perhaps you are unsure whether you are ready to face your giants, I encourage you to take some time this week to work on this. Spend a few more minutes each day in prayer or read some scripture. If you already have a giant lurking somewhere in your life, take a little time to research your issue and learn some strategies for handling it.

 

May you be successful in facing your giants!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Unplug

Posted on February 2, 2020 at 10:10 PM Comments comments (0)

When was the last time you unplugged your electronics and got away from it all? It seems too many people are tied to their devices and spend much of their free time plugged in. I too appreciate that technology has given me immediate access to information, but I also find that unplugged time is very important too. I need time away from the hustle and bustle – time to recharge and relax.

 

I unplug in a few different ways. When I only have a free hour or two I will just set my phone to silent and turn off my PC. If Steve is home, I will head to the basement and enjoy the silence there, or I will pop over to the chapel at church for a while. Sometimes I read or pray, and sometimes I just sit.

 

If I am blessed with the opportunity to do so, I’ll take a whole morning or afternoon and go unplugged. This can be critical when I need to tackle a daunting project - I find it easier to concentrate without interruptions. Sometimes if I am working on a project on my pc it takes effort to keep myself from checking emails, but I CAN do it if I try. Occasionally I will leave my phone at home while I go out to run errands. This helps me avoid the temptation to check in every half hour!

 

Periodically my husband and I take vacations out of the country. Now I know you can get internet and phone data plans while travelling, and I have the ability to do so, but I only do this in an emergency. Otherwise, I use wifi (when available) to connect back with the world. In many cases this is only in the evenings at our hotels or at wi-fi cafes. When we are cruising, we may purchase a wi-fi data package, but these can be pricey and the number of minutes is limited. It forces me to be frugal with my internet time – I don’t want to waste those precious minutes absorbed in funny cat videos or mindless scrolling through Facebook posts!

 

The good thing about this unplugged time is it allows me time to do other things. I can spend time writing, reading or participating in other fun things. I can actually have a face-to-face conversation with my husband or friends! Unplugged time can be a real blessing for me, and I now try to take several times during the week to unplug.

 

When was the last time you unplugged and took some time for something else? If it has been a while, maybe this week you could take one hour to unplug. Do something a little different! But during this time, don’t check your emails, don’t watch TV, and don’t even listen to a CD or a radio. You may find a special blessing during your unplugged time!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Hands and Feet

Posted on January 20, 2020 at 4:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Most of us are blessed with two feet and two hands that allow us to do so many things. Using our feet, we can walk, trot or run to get from one place to the next. We can traverse long distances or short ones. We can even use our feet to help move things from one place to another.

 

Our hands are even more useful than our feet! We can use our hands to get dressed, to eat or to write. Our hands can be used to touch and hold things.

 

My hands and feet are great blessings to me, and I am very grateful to God that I have them. So it is important to me to take good care of my hands and feet – I keep them warm during the cold months, I wash them frequently, and I even treat myself to a pedicure or manicure every once in a while!

 

But it is also important that I use my feet and hands for good things. I want to use them to bless others – to go to visit family and friends, to hug them when they are feeling down, to write useful words for people to read, and to give things to those in need.

 

You’ve probably heard it said that we are Christ’s hands and feet. I agree! After Jesus’ resurrection, He was no longer physically present on earth, therefore it was up to the disciples (and all of us who follow them) to continue Christ’s work here on earth. We must be His hands and feet.

 

Even if we cannot do miraculous healings like Jesus did, we can still comfort those who are ill, put an arm around the shoulder of one who is grieving or send a note to a lonely relative living in a city far away. Although we may not be able to multiply loaves and fishes, we can take bags of food to the food shelf to help feed those who are hungry or invite others to join us for a meal.

 

There are so many things we can do to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I am striving to do at least one thing every day that Jesus might do if He were still here on earth, because I can bless others through my hands and feet.

 

Will you be Christ’s hands and feet today? This week, I encourage you, too, to think of things you can do as if you were Christ’s hands and feet. Then do them – and bless others. Who knows, you might find a blessing or two that comes right back to you!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Be Still

Posted on January 13, 2020 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (0)

How often do you sit and just “be still?” Being still is really hard for me. I can sit, but I usually have to be doing something like reading or writing. If I am not busy, I feel like I am shirking my duties or somehow not living up to expectations.

 

Yet it is important to just be still and not be doing anything else. When I take the time to be still, it is amazing what things that I previously missed which I can finally see.

 

For me, a good time to be still is when the sun is rising. When I just sit and watch the darkness of the night fade, I can see the sky gradually become lighter and observe that one swift magical moment when the rays of the sun visibly appear over the horizon. Another good time for me to sit and be still is in the late afternoon as the sun descends. I can sometimes observe an entire rainbow of colors streaking through the clouds – reds, pinks, blues and purples running together like a watercolor wash on a pad of paper. And I can savor the colors deepen in intensity as sun sinks lower.

 

Being still helps me to listen better, too. I can detect birds excitedly conversing as the sky lightens in the morning, the wind whispering stories to the trees throughout the day, and the crickets calling insistently to their mates as the evening approaches.

 

I can also hear the Spirit much better when I am still. When I sit quietly, especially in our chapel, and tone down my own thoughts, the mystical promptings of God become more distinct. I am able to hear His gentle whisper touching my soul. In the quiet I can ponder those words and thoughts and start to understand what He is saying to me and what I must do. And when I leave the stillness my soul is calm and I am ready to respond to His commands.

 

When was the last time you were still? If it has been a while, maybe you can take some time this week to sit for a few minutes and do nothing but be still, listen and observe. A blessing may be awaiting you!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Wise Men and Women

Posted on January 6, 2020 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Epiphany. It’s the date when we remember when the three Wise Men came from afar to visit the Baby Jesus in the crib. On this feast at our church, we usually sing carols like “We Three Kings” or “Rise Up, Shepherd” which mention the eastern star which led the visitors to the stable.

 

We say that the three kings were “wise” men – perhaps astrologers or sages -who looked in the heavens for signs and then interpreted them. They saw the star, studied it and followed it to Israel. When the kings arrived in Jerusalem to enquire about the child, King Herod was disturbed. A new king had been born? A rival? This was not good news for Herod, so he cunningly told those astrologers to return to him so he, too, could go and honor the child.

 

After their visit, though, the wise men received a dream that they should not return to Herod. Wisely, they followed that advice to return home by another way.

 

I’ve often wondered what happened to those kings – did they continue on in their lives without considering what happened on their journey and Who they saw? Were these Gentile men somehow changed, becoming wiser as a result of seeing the Baby Jesus?

 

Yet I wonder - did this visit change those men? Might they have begun to live life in a new way once they had met the Savior face to face? Did they share what they had seen with the people back in their hometowns?

 

I guess I won’t know what really happened to the three wise men, but what about me? I meet Jesus face to face every time I receive Him in the Eucharist at Mass. I meet Him face to face every time I sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament in our chapel. Am I changed by these encounters? Have I become wiser as a result of these face to face meetings with Jesus?

 

I know that I am far from perfect, but I can take time to reflect on these encounters with Jesus. I can try to look at my life and see how I perhaps could change. I will likely never become rich and famous, and few people in this world will even know my name. But I do hope that, somehow, my face might reflect the face of Jesus to those who I meet. I pray that I can take Jesus with me wherever I go – not only when I take communion to the homebound, but at all times when I visit with friends, spend time with my family or even pass someone in the store or on the street. And I can hope to become a wiser woman as a result of my meeting Jesus.

 

When was the last time you met Jesus? Were you able to spend a little time adoring him? Do you think that this encounter with Jesus made you a wiser woman or man? Perhaps this week you can ponder this thought. And maybe you can be a little more mindful the next time you have an opportunity to meet Jesus. Who knows - you may be blessed by growing a bit wiser!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Look Within

Posted on December 30, 2019 at 7:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I know many people take time at the end of the year to think about resolutions. For years now I have not made formal resolutions at the beginning of a new year – instead I make resolutions any time throughout the year, whenever I am ready to set a new goal for myself.

 

But I do think that as the end of the year approaches it’s a good thing for me to spend some time to look within myself. Have I been living out the resolutions that I made during the course of the past year? Have I been a faithful wife, mother and friend? Have I followed Christ’s plan for me as best that I can?

 

When I have asked myself these questions in the past, I usually realized that I have not done as well as I could. And like in past years, once again I have to admit that I have made mistakes. I have gotten angry with my husband, I have failed to be there for a friend, or have in some way neglected my family. I once again failed to meet the weight loss goal I had set, and my spiritual life? Well, let’s say I’m not much further along the path to sainthood than I was last year at this time.

 

I could let these revelations get me down. But instead I am going to use this awareness as a means for correction. I will go to confession and admit my sins to God. I will apologize to those whom I may have hurt, and I will strive to figure out how I can alleviate my many shortcomings. I probably will miss something or someone on the list, but I can’t beat myself up about that. I am human, after all. I make mistakes. But I can still try to improve.

 

After receiving the greatest gift of all, Jesus, last week at Christmas, I will look within myself. I will do my best to atone for my failures. I will resolve to strive (once again!) to do better in 2020. And I will ask for help from the One who can help me, my Lord the Christ.

 

Perhaps you too may choose to spend a little time this week looking within. Take some time to review the past year and how you have done as a person. If you find some failures, that’s ok. Fix what you are able to fix and work to change what you can for the future. Ask God for help too, and you may be blessed with something wonderful!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Accept

Posted on December 23, 2019 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (0)

We are now in the final week of Advent. In just a few days, Our Lord will come again as a baby – the greatest gift God has ever given to mankind! Jesus, our Lord, has come as a tiny child but He is also our Savior - His death and resurrection gave hope back to mankind that we are once again pure children of God, swept up in His infinite love!

 

It is sad to me that so many people don’t understand this precious gift and do not accept it. When people gloss over December 25th as just another day off work, or just a time to get together with family, stuff themselves and throw piles of gifts at each other, they often miss the REAL gift - that of Jesus.

 

Two thousand years ago, so few people accepted Jesus. Although huge crowds saw Jesus perform miraculous healings and feeding of thousands, some accepted Him but many did not. They couldn’t see past the physical gifts Jesus provided to the spiritual gift that He was also offering. There was no room for Him in the inns of their hearts.

 

Today at Christmas time, most Christians set up beautifully decorated trees, string colorful lights along the eaves and adorn their doors with wreaths. This preparation of our homes is a lovely sign that we celebrate the season. But hopefully we also display a humble creche to remind us of that cold winter’s night long ago when that Blessed Child was born in a lowly stable. And hopefully we have been preparing ourselves too.

 

How about you? Do you have plans to attend a Christmas service to listen to the good news proclaimed by the angels so long ago and again today? Are you keeping Christ in your Christmas preparations and celebrations?

 

Are you ready to accept the blessed gift of Jesus?

 

Have a blessed Monday and a beautiful Christmas!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net


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