Reflections On The Journey 

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Meditations

Reflections From Faye

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Ask

Posted on October 14, 2019 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (0)

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matt. 7:7)


This prayer from the Gospel of Matthew is one that I love. It is also one that causes me to question. Jesus told his disciples and us that if we ask, we will receive. This passage encourages prayer – to regularly ask for what we need. Jesus also taught us this when he gave us the words of The Our Father prayer.


So I regularly pray for various needs – asking that God will hear and answer my prayers. I pray for positive test results from doctor visits, quick healing from an illness or injury, and for peace and calm in the midst of a storm. I ask for these things for myself, my family, my friends and even for people that I do not know.


I know that when I ask I must leave all the “work” needed to accomplish these things in the hands of God. But I also need to TRUST – that God will answer the prayers that I ask.


The problem comes for me when I don’t seem to get an answer to my prayers, or I don’t get the answers that I want. When that injury lingers on or the friend does not get well, or when the storms of life continue to rage, I wonder if God really heard me asking for help. Or I may think that perhaps He chose to ignore my request or to even to give me a new problem to manage. It’s then I can easily become discouraged.


That’s where faith and trust is so important! I must remember that I am not God. I do not know the whole story behind the problems. I do not know what the best outcome is for a particular situation. God is the only one who knows! And He may know that having an injury linger on will cause the person to soften or be more receptive to His love. God likely knows if allowing an illness to persist or worsen will eventually lead someone closer to Him. And He knows when a devastating storm will cause thousands of people to give unconditionally of themselves to rebuild it, thus improving those individuals' characters.


The Bible assures us that God DOES hear our prayers. But we also have to ask properly, and in accord with God’s will and plan. When we ask due to our own selfish desires, God will likely not hear or act on our prayers. James 4:3 says “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”


God always answers our prayers, but He only answers them in His time and according to His desires. And so I must learn to be patient (to wait for His timing) and to ask with the provision that it be according to God’s will. I have found it can be very hard to pray in this fashion. Yet when I trust that God WILL answer my prayers (in His way) I more often feel at peace. And I can keep asking. And eventually I usually see the answer, even if it is not what I had hoped.


Is there something that you wish to ask of God? Go ahead and ask! Ask Him, that if it is His will, He will hear your prayer and act on it. Then trust that God will answer your prayer, in some fashion, in the best way possible. Have faith that God really does know what’s best and will give you what you need when you ask. God loves to bless us – sometimes we just have to be patient and wait.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

Storms

Posted on October 7, 2019 at 9:10 AM Comments comments (0)

What storms are you facing?


In the past few months the news has been filled with stories of storms which have ravaged parts of our earth. Hurricane Dorian took out a good portion of the Bahamas, and recently Hurricane Lorenzo raged in the Atlantic Ocean even reaching as far as the Azores Archipelago. Some people say that global warming has played a major part in the increase in storms.


But there are many other “storms” that are not nature-related which can be every bit as devastating as those natural ones. People all around us are experiencing storms every day - fighting cancer, surviving the loss of a loved one, or battling depression. Yet sadly, often a stigma is associated with these personal storms, and those affected often hide their issues and pain, even from those closest to them, and often we are unaware of the struggles they face.


I imagine many of you have faced personal storms in your life. I have too – if you read back through my previous blogs you will learn about some of them. And I know how hard it can be some days to just get out of bed and face the latest in a seemingly endless series of gusts and lightning bolts attacking us. Yet I also know that when I am in the midst of one of these storms I need to reach out to someone for help. That person may not be able to take the storm away or even calm it for me, but they can at least hold my hand and listen to me as I vent, and maybe even provide a bit of a shield to reduce the storm’s force. And it also helps me to pray – for continued faith that the storm will eventually pass, for strength to make it through, and for direction to find the best way out.


Are you facing a storm in your life? What storms have you faced recently? Whenever a storm appears in your life, I hope you will reach out for help. Find a friend who can walk with you through the storm. Ask God for assistance too. You never know when a blessing might pop up like a little umbrella to shield you in your storm.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Heaven

Posted on September 30, 2019 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you had a taste of heaven?


What is heaven? Most of us have likely heard a description of heaven. There are books and movies which talk about what heaven is like. We have read cartoons and quotes by famous people depicting heaven. The Bible refers to heaven several times – the dove descending from heaven onto Jesus at His baptism, and that Jesus’ death and resurrection have opened heaven to us when we die.


But what really is heaven? Good old Google popped up a definition stating heaven as a place regarded in various religions as the abode of God (or the gods) and the angels, and of the good after death, often traditionally depicted as being above the sky. We are often told it is a wonderful, loving place, and maybe we are surrounded by angels singing majestically. But we probably won’t really know until we actually get there.


And yet some people say there is a heaven on earth.


I don’t know about you, but I have had some very “heavenly” experiences. I recall when I held each of my sons for the first time and the immense joy which rushed through my body at the sight of those precious little ones. Then there are those times when I am sitting in the chapel, deep in prayer, and I feel warmth all around me – I sense the presence of God and peace calming me. Even when I collapse in bed after an exhausting day, when I review the events of the day and I realize I have significantly helped someone, there is a satisfaction that goes beyond an earthly delight. For me, these experiences are close what I envision heaven to be like.


I believe Heaven can be tasted on earth in some of the ordinary things we do or experience each day. When we are surrounded in love, joy and music, when we experience no pain, and have memorable experiences of encounters with people and delightful experiences with various activities in life - these little joys seem to be a foretaste of what our final heaven will be like.


When have you experienced a bit of heaven on earth? Perhaps it was when you spent time with an important person in your life, or during a significant event. Or just maybe it was just in little things – the scent of a lovely rose, a majestic rainbow spreading through the clouds after a storm, or a child giggling over a new toy. If you don’t immediately recall a little slice of heaven here on earth, I challenge you to spend a little time this week thinking about that. I suspect you will find you have been blessed by many bits of heaven during your life, and you can use them as a foretaste of what is yet to come.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Appearances

Posted on September 23, 2019 at 6:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you judge by appearances?


What do you think when you see a person dressed in dirty clothes? How about when you notice someone who smiles but has rotting or missing teeth? What crosses your mind when you see someone who is missing a limb, hunched over in a wheelchair or exhibiting unusual behavior? Or what if the person has a different skin color, dresses in clothing that you are not accustomed to seeing, or drives a rusty old clunker car?


Chance are you make a quick judgement call on that person based solely on their appearance.


Sadly, we’ve all been there. Only a few nights ago during my examen I realized I had made a poor judgement that day about a person I had just met, solely because of his way of speaking. Because of this judgement, I failed to take the time to talk to him or get to know him. Who knows what I may have missed because of my bias?


We have all made judgements based on what we see or hear when we first meet someone. When someone doesn’t present a good “first impression” or the perfect ideal we expect we tend to think less of that person. We humans have so many biases – we so easily make judgements just because a person has certain characteristics.


But things are not always as they seem. We have no way of knowing just by looking at someone what they have experienced as a person. We do not know what is going on in their minds, what kind of disposition they have, whether they are suffering from a hidden condition, or what their intelligence level may be. It is only be giving the person a chance, and getting to know them, that we come to learn what they are really like inside. If you merely judge a book by its cover, you may miss the amazing story inside.


I know several people who have a physical handicap but who are persevering and funny. I also know many people who struggle with depression and autism, yet they are beautiful, creative people. Others I know would never win a beauty contest, but their hearts are warm and generous. If I had judged them merely on their appearance and hadn’t taken the time to get to know these people, I would never have had the joy of their friendship.


We can also look to history to find stories of many people who were “dismissed” due to their appearance or actions but who had something amazing to give to the world (Albert Einstein, Mr. & Mrs. Leland Stanford and Susan Boyle come to mind.) Perhaps you can think of people in your own life who may not measure up to the world’s “ideals” but who bring love and joy to your life. Every person is a child of God, and has the right to be valued just for who they are, not what they look like.


My challenge for you today is to think about someone you have met or whom you know but perhaps have ignored due to their outward appearance or their actions. I encourage you to look deeper, and maybe get to know that person a little better. Try to uncover something wonderful about that person, something unique that God has placed within that person. You could be immensely blessed!


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Fear

Posted on September 16, 2019 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Are you afraid of something?


Fear is an interesting emotion. Fear can be frightful when something causes us major trepidation. I would be quite fearful if I was approached by a savage beast, if fire threatened my home, or if a serious illness befell a family member. This fear might even paralyze me to the point of inaction, and there could be serious consequences if I remained in that fearful state.


But fear can also be a good thing. If I am afraid of something, like spiders, I might decide to learn and understand more about arachnids to help me become more comfortable around them. I might even work to overcome my fear by touching or holding one. (I held a tarantula several years ago!) When I am afraid I’ll fail when I start a big new project, I may choose to study harder about the initiative and do better preparations for the tasks I need to do. I have to admit that Google has helped me a lot when I need to learn something! Sometimes I use calming techniques to get my butterflies to fly in formation. And I pray for spiritual help to guide me. In these cases my fear has caused me to change something in my life, and I think I have become a better person because of it.


Throughout human history, man has had many things to fear: drought, wild animals, harsh climates, advancing armies and more. Uncertainty about how things will turn out has been the cause of much fear, too. Fear of things we cannot control and fear of the unknown cause us to worry and doubt our abilities.


When I am faced with fear, it helps to recall other people who have faced uncertainty and fear. Moses was afraid when he was told to go to Pharaoh and speak on behalf of the Israelite people. Mary was uncertain when Gabriel told her she would be the Mother of Jesus. Joseph was afraid to take Mary as his wife knowing she was with child before their marriage. And look at the disciples, who cowered in fear when they faced that wild storm on the sea of Galilee even though Jesus was right there with them.


These biblical figures who we know did great things were afraid! And it took an angel, Jesus or God himself telling them not to be afraid but to go ahead with their tasks in order for these humans to overcome their fears and act.


I have heard a definition of courage that says that courage is not the opposite of fear or even the absence of fear, but instead it is the ability to act in spite of fear. I think that’s true.


I have been fearful at many times in my life, and I still have fears. Yet I have learned that although it’s hard for fear to leave us, we can still do things to lessen that fear and act anyway. When I pray and take other steps to lessen my fear, I feel better knowing that I tried. And in some cases, the results have brought me unexpected blessings!


Is there something in your life which is causing you fear? Perhaps something unknown or dangerous? I encourage you to pray about it, and perhaps take some new steps to learn how to lessen your fears. Get help if you need it. I encourage you to act anyway if you can, in spite of your fear. You may find some blessing along the way!


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

See Clearly

Posted on September 9, 2019 at 7:35 AM Comments comments (0)

How clearly do you see the things of importance?


Last week I was in the chapel for my regular adoration hour, and I had spent some time reading and in meditation. My meditation moved my soul quite a bit and I began to cry. (This is not uncommon for me, so I always keep a huge stash of tissues in my adoration bag for moments just like this.)


I removed my glasses to wipe my eyes, but before I could put my glasses back on my eyes were drawn back up to the altar where the Monstrance was placed.


This particular Monstrance is very familiar to me, since I have been a regular adorer for many years. But at this moment my view was very fuzzy. Without my glasses, I could see a basic shape and recognize that candlelight was glinting off the gold, but the Monstrance itself was a blur. I had to think quite hard about what it actually looked like because I no longer could see it clearly.


Of course, once I put on my glasses I could clearly see the beautiful piece that held the Host. In light of this observation, I spent some time reveling in the magnificence of the Monstrance and studying its shape and design. Then I purposefully focused on The Body of Jesus encased within the gold. I marveled at the hands that crafted the Monstrance, but even more so the Glorious Body that it held.


Toward the end of my adoration hour I removed my glasses again. The Monstrance was once again a blur to my physical eyes, but I now held a new image of it in the eyes of my soul. I could still “see” it. I recognized it and what it held even though physically it was a blur. You see, by taking even that little bit of time to study that special structure and learn its intricacies and reflect on what it held, I was able to form a strong interior image which remained long after my physical eyes could not see it.


I find that I often fail to take the time to really study and know things, and when my "glasses" aren’t handy I don’t recognize them. I hear a name but cannot recall the face of the person it belongs to. I read a passage of scripture or hear a homily at mass, and an hour later I cannot recall the topic or the point that was made. I even no longer can recall some things that I had learned by heart years ago. It’s as if I have removed my glasses and now it is just a blur.


My experience in that chapel helped me to realize the importance of really getting to know those important things well. I may need to see them on a regular basis to keep them fresh in my mind. That’s especially true with my relationship with Jesus. I need to spend time with Him and get to know Him through the glasses of scripture and prayer, in order to be able to “see” Him when my physical senses become blurred with all the other things of life.


Are you able to see clearly the things of importance in your life? If something seems a bit blurry to you today, perhaps it is time to “put on your glasses” and study or re-learn that important thing – what it looks like, how it sounds – and commit it to your soul’s memory banks. Then whenever you don’t have your “glasses” handy, you can still clearly see that important thing. For those important things are the ones that will likely bless you!


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Labor Day

Posted on September 2, 2019 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

What kind of labor do you do?


Today is Labor Day in the United States. Ironically it’s a holiday, which means many people have the day off from work! People can take a break from their labors, and hopefully relax and spend time with family and friends.


Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions and achievements of American workers and is traditionally observed on the first Monday in September. It was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century and became a federal holiday in 1894.


Folks who participate in “The Great Minnesota Get-Together,” also known as the Minnesota State Fair, know that the fair ends on Labor Day. And most Minnesota schools resume classes after that date. So for many, Labor Day also symbolizes the end of summer.


I suspect just about everyone reading this blog has labored at some point in their lives. They have studied in school, worked at a job or career, or they have managed and run a household or business. I was one of those people who did all three of these labors, and at one point I even did all three at the same time!


Labor is necessary. It takes work to grow and process food to feed our country’s citizens. Effort is needed to conceptualize and manufacture new things that make our life easier. And much coordination and juggling is required to raise children and keep a home from falling apart!


When we enjoy the work we do, it is so much easier! It seems to take no effort to do our labors, and we receive tremendous blessings from our work.


But sometimes our labor is a real burden. We may be stuck in a job that is not fulfilling, or we have found we have married someone who refuses to help with the children. Some people must juggle multiple jobs just to keep food on the table and then they may have very little time to relax. In these cases the labor becomes hard, and it’s challenging to find joy in our work.


When I was raising three children, holding down a job and completing graduate school, on may days I seemed to barely be keeping my head above water. Some days I was so stressed that I wanted to quit school, work, my family or all three!


It’s in times like these that we need to strive to remain positive and look ahead to our goals. We may need to regularly remind ourselves that our labor is truly helping us, to feed our families and to create a better world, even if we can’t readily see the results of our labors. For me, I had to turn to prayer, and focus on the benefits that each of my labors was providing.


As I look back on the various work I have done in my life, as well as the labors I do now, I can see that they indeed have blessed my life. My studies allowed me to get a better job. My various jobs put food on the table and allowed me to help my children get through their own schooling. My efforts to raise my three sons may not have been perfect, but those boys have turned out to be good people! And my current volunteer labors are making a difference in my community.


What labors are you doing right now? Can you see the blessings that those labors are having on yourself and on others? On this Labor Day, I invite you to celebrate your labors. And if you happen to be struggling with some of them, look to God for the strength to continue forward. I will pray for each of you that God will indeed bless your labors.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Walking

Posted on August 26, 2019 at 6:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Have you taken a nice walk lately?


I used to have one of those old step tracking devices – a small disk I could put in my pocket or clip to a pocket or my bra. But I lost it a few years ago in an airport and I just never bothered to replace it.


Recently my six-year-old grandson was interested in getting a step tracker, and the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was probably a good thing for me to get a new one also. After a quick search online I found a pretty decent deal, ordered it and got it set up.


My new tracker is much more powerful than that old one. It not only tracks the number of steps I take during a 24-hour period, but it also keeps track of my sleep. I can record my heart rate and even my blood pressure (although I’m not sure how accurate that last number is).  And there are settings for walking, running and bicycling. I haven’t attempted working with the last two yet.


Since the new tracker arrived I am more conscious of the amount of exercise I am getting. I am taking more walks, and I am using the stairs instead of the elevator when the opportunity presents itself. This is good news for me, because I have a few pounds to shed.


And I do like to walk. My husband and I will sometimes go out in the early morning to tour our neighborhood. Some of the ladies in my cul-de-sac have a standing six pm “walking date” every evening during the warmer months and I join them when I can. And I am looking forward to going to the Minnesota State Fair this week – I should have no trouble surpassing my daily step goal there!


Walking is a great form of exercise - almost anyone can do it. It isn’t so important how fast you walk – I think the more frequently I walk and the farther I walk, the more fit I will ultimately become.


I also find walking to be a terrific way to be “unplugged” for a while. I have seen some people walking with their head bent over their phones, but not me. I turn off my phone and enjoy the conversation with my walking mates and revel in the scenery and occasional wildlife - we have deer and wild turkeys in our neighborhood. I can meet up with neighbors and stay connected. And when I walk alone, I can muse on one of my current projects (occasionally getting a needed insight) or just spend some quiet time in prayer.


As the weather turns colder later this fall, I may find it less enticing to walk outside. But we do have many indoor malls nearby where walking is encouraged, and I plan to keep at it.


Are you a walker? If you haven’t been walking much lately, I encourage you to give it a try. If it might encourage you to get out and walk more, consider purchasing a fitness tracker – many are very reasonably priced. Just be sure to get one with a sturdy wrist band! And when you do walk, take time to enjoy yourself and God’s beautiful creation! Walking could be a great blessing for you!


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Empty Yourself

Posted on August 19, 2019 at 7:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Can you empty yourself and let God fill you up?


Have you ever felt empty? Have you felt drained after a long, hard day at work or after a tough time caring for a child or an aging parent? I’ve been there – I recall many times collapsing on the couch after one of those days feeling completely spent and not even caring if I had anything to eat.


That kind of empty feeling is a physical one. We have used our brains and our bodies, and we feel as if we have given everything we have. Perhaps we even feel unsure if we can do it again tomorrow.


I don’t know anyone who likes feeling empty like that. But I think sometimes we need to become empty, but in a different way.


I know I often get too full of the world. I fill my plate with many things to do, and still want to enjoy quality time with my husband and family. I am bombarded with ads for things I don’t need, and images which seem to say I am not good enough as I am.


If I sit back and take stock of myself, hopefully I can see that I am too full of all that stuff and those images which can press me into feeling useless. That when I need to become empty in a different way, in my soul.


While on a retreat this past weekend I listened to the priest speak about a deep desire we all have within our souls – a desire for God. Just as we have physical appetites that need to be met, we also have spiritual ones. We humans have a space within our souls that can only be filled by God.


Yet I, like many human beings, try to fill that spiritual void with physical things – various pleasures of life that I think will bring me happiness. Like the big “stuff” I have to do, and the overinflated images that are constantly blasted at us from the media. Then there are the smaller things, like chocolate! I eat this sweet even when I am not hungry, thinking it will satisfy that “other” hunger in my life. But this pleasure is only temporary, and it really does nothing to satisfy that craving I have for “something more.” I get hungry again. And I even find myself eating more chocolate because what I ate before suddenly is no longer enough.


What I have failed to recognize is that temporal pleasures on earth cannot satisfy my soul. A piece of chocolate cake may calm my hunger pangs and bring me a sugar high, but that feeling doesn’t last. And it fails to do anything for my soul.


While I need to satisfy my physical needs, including physical hunger, I also must appropriately meet the needs of my soul. It has taken me many years to begin to understand what exactly it is that will fill the emptiness of my soul. For me, what I need is the grace of God.


But I can’t fill up my soul on my own. I must empty myself of the things of this world so I can allow God to work in me. For it is really He that fills that emptiness. I need to spend time with Him and listen to His Word, and He will fill me. And like I need to eat physical food regularly to satisfy my physical needs, I must regularly meet with God to ensure my soul stays filled with the right things.


When I allow God to fill my empty soul, I can achieve a high that far surpasses the high I get from chocolate!


Are you overly full with the wrong kinds of things? Perhaps today you can put a few of those things aside – those things that don’t really matter in the grand plan. Then allow yourself to be open to let God and His grace enter in. Let God fill every corner of your empty soul with His love, and you could be amazingly blessed!


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Meeting God

Posted on August 11, 2019 at 9:05 PM Comments comments (0)

How will you meet God today?


It is no surprise that I don’t understand God. He is God, after all, and I am not! But there are parts of God that I CAN understand, and those are the parts that in my humanness I can recognize. Today I’d like to share with you how I meet God.


God is everywhere. God is in everything I can see, and in everything I cannot see. And every day I meet up with God in more ways than I can count.


Here are a few examples: In the morning I meet Him in the bright rays streaking in between the blinds. I feel Him in the warmth of the sun and the chill of the wind. God is present in each person I encounter throughout the day and in the vast marvels of creation. I believe He is even present in the things constructed by humans.


Since God surrounds me at all times, I constantly meet Him. However, I often fail to recognize Him.


I find it hard to meet God when things are not going the way that I planned – He can be a master of disguise! When I am watching my grandkids and the toddler is constantly saying “no!” in defiance and the older children are not doing what they were told, I get frustrated and don’t see God. When I don’t get recognition for a task I worked on really hard, I wonder why God seemed to let me down. And when I see shootings so often in public places, I wonder how I can meet God in the midst of this pain.


When I am in the midst of a trying situation, it helps me to think of something positive that might some out of the situation. In the examples I listed above, perhaps God is telling me I need to learn better patience with the children, or maybe I should work on humility. Or perhaps God is working somehow through the responders and the family members of the victims in a way that I can’t yet see.


It’s easy to say that I need to see God all the time, but it’s harder to actually do it. I may have to look very closely to see God in the crying baby, the homeless man on the street corner or the disheveled person ahead of me in the checkout line.


But I am working on being open to meeting God in everything, good and bad. He is many things! And I give thanks that He meets me in so many ways.


Do you think about your meetings with God? Perhaps you might choose to think about how you will act when you meet Him today. I encourage you to be on the lookout for God as you go about your activities. You could say hello and thank Him for everything He has given to you. You may be amazed at the blessings you will receive.


Today I have a gift for you – a poem I wrote about five years ago.


I Meet My God


I meet my God in prayer because I believe that He is everything.

I meet my Creator, who has given me life and instilled in me the deep desire to know Him more.

I meet my Parent, who feeds me with Word and Bread and shelters me from harm.

I meet my Confessor, who chastises me gently but offers healing love and consolation.

I meet my Teacher, who guides me on my spiritual journey and corrects my path.

I meet my Gardener, who nourishes me with the water of life and trims the weeds from my path.

I meet my Healer, who brushes away my tears and lifts me in my brokenness.

I meet my Friend, who converses with me and places a gentle arm around my shoulder.

I meet my Lover, who captivates me with His breathless love and gifts of grace.

I meet my Savior, who has given Himself fully for me no matter what I have done.

I meet my God in prayer because I will never stop seeking His love.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net


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