Reflections On The Journey 

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Meditations

Reflections From Faye

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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

Wait

Posted on December 16, 2019 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

What are you waiting for?

 

We all need to wait at times. Our waiting can be joyful or it can be stressful. I find that the waiting that comes with Advent is mostly easy because it’s finite. I know that what’s coming at the end of my wait will be good, and I know exactly how many days I have left to wait for it!

 

But much of the waiting that occupies us is open ended. We wait for love and marriage without knowing if it will come. We wait for children without knowing whether we will conceive. We wait for a job, justice or healing.

 

The hardest thing about most waiting is not knowing when it’s going to end, how it will end, or even if it is going to end. Waiting brings questions without easy answers. If your life’s plans aren’t coming to fruition, should you change course or hold out for your heart’s desire? Are your unfulfilled yearnings indicators of sinful discontentment or blessings God simply hasn’t yet fulfilled? It’s sometimes so hard to know.

 

I came across an acronym that is helping me wait a little better. Here it is:

 

Watch God work in His ways

Ask God about his purposes

Invite God to work in your heart

Trust God to fulfill His plans

 

What this acronym means to me is that I need to be mindful while I wait, to what is going on around me. I need to recall that God is in control, not me. And when I may not understand what He is doing or why, I can pray and ask for God to grant me understanding or at least a little more information about what is or will be happening.

 

I can also invite God into my heart. I can ask Him to rest in me, to give me peace and calm no matter what happens. And I can ask Him to help me to trust – to trust that what will happen is for my greater good.

 

Following this acronym during my times of waiting may not be easy, but I think it will help me to focus better. Perhaps it will help you as well.

 

May you be blessed while you wait.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Gratitude

Posted on December 9, 2019 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you have a spirit of gratitude?

 

Novelist Morris West once suggested that when you turn seventy-five years old there should only be three phrases left in your vocabulary: “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” I'm not 75 yet but I think he has a point! There comes a time in our lives when gratitude becomes quite important. We could be smart, healthy, have done many good works, or even be famous, wealthy and remembered for some legacy, but if we are not living in a spirit of gratitude, all of that will mean nothing. We will not be happy, even with all those “things,” nor will we be a source of happiness for others.

 

There are many virtues out there, but it seems to me that gratitude should be one of the top virtues. If we are grateful for everything we have, love would flow out of our hearts like rushing streams. If we act with a sense of gratitude, we will act in love and not in a self-serving fashion. In a sense, gratitude changes how you live.

 

Growing in gratitude helps us mature and develop into a secure and loving person. Yet many people don’t think often about gratitude. Sadly, our world is conditioned to expect more and more, and many people fail to pause and be grateful for the many blessings they already have.

 

I volunteer for an arts organization that is helping our community remember to be grateful. This organization started a community arts project last year called “The Gratitude Wall.” It is a large painting that will contain thousands of gratitudes from the community. People are invited to write down what they are thankful for and their thoughts will be inserted into the artwork. The final art piece will be displayed in the community.

 

A listing of every gratitude written so far is posted on the organization’s website. Many of the things people are thankful for are ones you would expect to see - like family members, health, friends and the like. But there are also things that most of us take for granted or don’t even think about – like a warm bed, food on the table, a fresh start in life, and surviving a domestic violence situation. As I read through the list, I realize how blessed I am. I think this project is a wonderful way to express gratitude!

 

What are you thankful for today? I encourage you to take a little time to reflect on what blessings you have received, even if they are small ones, and maybe even write them down. I suspect you will create a huge list – for we all have been blessed in so many ways! Then take a few moments each day to give thanks for those blessings. You may find that your attitude becomes more positive, and maybe you can show a little more love to others because of the blessings you have received!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Advent

Posted on December 2, 2019 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

What are you waiting for?

 

Last week we had a dumping of snow onto our neighborhood overnight. Surprisingly, the city plow came by at 5 am and again at 7:30 am. The driveway plowing service came just after the later city plow, but surprisingly our driveway and one other driveway in our cul-de-sac was missed! We waited and waited, but the little plow didn’t come back until much later.

 

Waiting can be frustrating! Fortunately, my husband and I are retired from the work force, and we can be selective about when we venture forth in inclement weather. As it was not necessary for us to leave our home right away for anything urgent, we just hung out at home, working on projects. But we did experience frustration. Had everyone else not been plowed out, it wouldn’t have seemed so bad…. But as it was we were forced to wait, and when the plow did not show up by the time we had to leave, my husband had to go out and clear off enough snow so we could get one car out of the garage. So much for waiting!

 

We now are in a season in our church year that involves waiting – Advent. This four-week period leading up to Christmas is a season of expectation and waiting. Children who have not grasped the importance of waiting get very antsy as they are forced to wait until Christmas approaches. Adults too can feel a lack of patience as preparations are being made.

 

It IS hard to wait, but it is something we all must do from time to time. We must wait nine months for a child to be born. We may have to wait to get in to see a specialist doctor, and then have to wait to get the test results. Or we have to wait until it is time go on a trip or visit loved ones.

 

But waiting doesn’t mean sitting around idly. While we are waiting we can be preparing. We can read up on how to care for a newborn and set up the nursery, or we could gather necessary information to take with us to the doctor. We may gather maps and plan out excursions we will take on our trip, and figure out what items to pack.

 

Advent preparations are also important. In our house, we set out the Advent wreath with fresh candles, write up the annual Christmas letter, and shop for gifts for our family and friends. But even more importantly, Advent waiting means preparing my heart. It’s a good time to ask myself: am I ready to receive Christ when He comes? Am I doing what God is asking of me during this season of my life?

 

As we begin Advent, I encourage you to ask yourself “What am I waiting for?” Are you waiting for a secular Christmas, or are you waiting for a spiritual one? Then see if maybe there is something you need to change so that what you are preparing for is the right thing. Then wait – with joy and expectation! For blessings come to those who wait.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Creation

Posted on November 25, 2019 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (0)

Are you thankful for creation?

 

I was looking in the Book of Genesis the other day, re-reading the stories of Creation. Did you know there are two stories in Genesis! The first (in Chapter 1) recounts the tale of how God formed the earth, creating everything out of nothing over a period of six days. The second (in chapter 2) gives the story of the Garden of Eden and deals mostly with the creation of man.

 

These stories in Genesis may or may not be factual. They were stories written for the people of long ago to try to explain in a way man could understand what happened when God created the world. I believe these stories to be true, at least in a sense. I believe God DID create our world. He created the heavens and the earth, He created the sun moon and stars, He parted the waters and the land, and He formed plants and animals to populate the world. And I believe He created man in His image.

 

Whether all this happened over six “human” days or six “God days” I cannot say. But the timing doesn’t matter to me. And whether it happened exactly as the Bible states, or whether there was some kind of “Big Bang” involved is of no importance to me either. What matters to me is that creation exists.

 

Yes, I know there are people who would argue that our world came about by chance. And I suppose that is possible. But looking at the complexity of our Earth and all its parts and gazing into the vast universe at the millions of stars out there, it just makes sense to me that there is a God who created it all.

 

I find myself continually in awe of the immensity, diversity and beauty of creation on our planet Earth. We have millions of creatures! Scientists say there are over 17,500 species of butterflies, and there are more than 20,000 species of plants that fall just into the daisy family. Amazing!

 

Humans are the most complex creatures of all. Humans have the ability to give to and love each other, and the capacity to create marvelous things ourselves. But we also can use our gifts for evil, and we have the ability to harm creation including each other.

 

Despite these not-so-good attributes, man is still a pretty amazing creation. We are blessed to live in a world filled with extraordinary things, and most of us have more than we really need to survive. Our world is a pretty awesome place, and I am a rather wonderful creature myself. Sure, I have faults and I may not win any earthly beauty contest, but I have some other amazing characteristics and talents that I can use to help and encourage others.

 

In this week of Thanksgiving, hopefully you will be able to take a break from your usual work. I imagine many of you will be spending time with family and friends. You may also enjoy a plentiful meal, play a few games, and share laughter and stories.

 

I hope that as a part of your celebration that you will also set aside a little time to think about all of the creation that you enjoy in some way. Maybe you could even consider what would life be like WITHOUT some of the things God has given you. And then I encourage you to give thanks – not only for the food and fun, but for God’s creation and every blessing that you have in your life.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Small Stuff

Posted on November 18, 2019 at 8:30 AM Comments comments (0)

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.”

 

Most people have heard the phrase “Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, and It's all Small Stuff.” This quote was originally coined by Robert Eliot, reported in a Time Magazine article about stress from the early 1980's. It also appears in Robert’s book entitled Is It Worth Dying For? from the same period. The quote however, is often attributed to Richard Carlson, an author and motivational speaker who became famous with his best-selling book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and it’s all Small Stuff (1997). Regardless of the origin, this quote has impacted many lives, including my own.

 

Like many people, it’s easy for me to get entangled in stress about lots of things and decisions that need to be made. And so I wrestled with the quote, because it seemed to me that it’s NOT all small stuff. Some decisions sure seem to be about “big things” like what career path to choose and whom to marry.

 

But on considering it further, I think the point is The Small Stuff. I know I often spend way too much time worrying about things that really are small and unimportant in the grand scheme.

 

I’ll give you a prime example from last week – one morning my husband wasn’t yet awake when I needed to get ready to leave the house. So I pulled items from my closet, dressed in semi-darkness, and soon was on my merry way. I discovered later that I was wearing a dark blue shirt instead of the black one I had intended to choose to match my black slacks and black and white sweater. I was instantly mentally transported back to that one time years ago when I overheard a woman comment about how awful it was to mix blue with black clothing – and I was the one wearing the blue and black! I was devastated and immediately ran home to change clothes.

 

Not surprisingly, last week the first thought in my head was “what will people think?” But fortunately I also remembered the small stuff quote. Who really cares if I wear blue and black together? And even if they do, should I let that upset me? Absolutely not! And I continued to wear the outfit for the entire day.

 

I often catch myself sweating about the small stuff. What if I oversleep and am late to a meeting? Suppose my dinner guests gets served a dry roast? Or what if I can’t finish a task I had promised to complete by a certain time? Will the world fall apart? Yes, my lapse might result in some ruffled feathers or inconvenience, but life will go on.

 

In my opinion, most of what happens in life is small stuff! So rather than wasting precious time getting upset about all these little things, I am choosing to not worry about them. If I make a mistake, oh well – I will correct it and move on. Instead I am going to focus my time and energy on the big things, like my family and my prayer life. Because in the end, those are the things that are truly most important to me.

 

Are you sweating the small stuff? Maybe this week you could spend a little time thinking about what you worry about and decide if those things are maybe too small and not worth all that worry time. Perhaps you might be blessed instead by focusing on the things that really matter to you. I encourage you this week to not sweat the small stuff!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2019 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net


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