Reflections On The Journey 

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Meditations

Reflections From Faye

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Archangels

Posted on October 19, 2020 at 5:45 AM Comments comments (0)

A few weeks ago our scripture readings were about the angels, specifically the archangels Gabriel, Raphael and Michael, whose feasts we celebrated on Sept. 29.

 

According to information I have read, there are nine orders of Spirits, or Angels, because we know by the testimony of Holy Scripture that there are the following: Angels, Archangels, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim and Seraphim. "Angel" is the name of their office, not of their nature. The Holy Spirits of the heaven are always Spirits, but they cannot always be called Angels; they are Angels only when they are announcing something.

 

Those who announce less important things are called Angels, and those who announce the highest things are called Archangels. And so not just any Angel but the Archangel Gabriel was sent to Mary to announce she was to be the Mother of God; for this ministry, it was fitting to have the highest Angel, since he was to announce the greatest news of all.

 

The Archangels are also given special names to describe their particular virtue.

 

Michael means "Who is like to God?" Whenever something is to be done needing great power, Michael is sent forth so that from his action and his name we may understand that no one can do what God can do. The faithful of many churches recite the prayer of St. Michael the Archangel, to call upon Michael to defend us from the enemy (specially the devil).

 

Gabriel was sent to Mary; he is called "Strength of God" and came to announce the birth of Him who deigned to appear in humility to conquer the powers of the air.

 

Raphael is interpreted as the "Medicine of God," for when he touched the eyes of Tobias to do the work of healing, he dispelled the "night of his blindness."

 

We humans can call on the angels to help us – for that is their role in life. It certainly can’t hurt to request help from these powerful heavenly beings. In addition to calling on my personal Guardian Angel, I can call on the Archangels. When I am tempted I can call on Michael to defend me from the temptation. I can call on Raphael when I am feeling ill. And why not ask Gabriel to help me when I need to pass on a difficult message to someone?

 

Psalm 91:10-12 confirms the power of angels: "No evil shall befall you, nor shall affliction come near your tent, for to His Angels God has given command about you, that they guard you in all your ways. Upon their hands they will bear you up,

lest you dash your foot against a stone."

 

I am so glad that we have angels available to help us! I encourage you to call on the angels and especially the archangels for help in your time of need. A blessing may await you!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Fall Colors

Posted on October 12, 2020 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Here in Minnesota we are blessed with four seasons. However, they are not exactly created equal.... Winter can be harsh, with huge snowfalls and bitterly cold days that seem to drag on forever, unless you happen to be one of those people who like to skate, ski or ice-fish (and I’m not!).

 

Spring is a better season for me. It’s a renewal and awakening, when dormant trees and plants bud out and fresh scents fill the air. Summer is though, in my opinion, the best season – when the weather is warm, flowers are in bloom and I can spend long, enjoyable hours outside.

 

Then there is Fall, which isn’t too bad. The passing of September signals that the cold Winter is on its way, but warm days alternate with cool ones. Some days you need to dress in layers to accommodate the changing temps as the day progresses! And there is so much beauty in the fall. Leaves change color and create a technicolor dream coat covering the landscape.

 

Crisp leaves rustle under my feet during my walks, and birds fly overhead, some migrating toward their winter homes. I marvel at the sunlight glinting off the myriad of colors everywhere: fading greens melting into bright yellows, and blazing oranges meshing with eye-popping reds, a veritable painter’s palette.

 

It seems to me that this year we have seen more vibrant colors than in other recent falls. On our forays into various state parks this fall we have seen some amazing views of the changing of the seasons, and even in our own neighborhood we have several lovely landscapes.

 

I am choosing to cherish the lovely days we have left of fall, focusing on the current beauty and not worrying about what will lie ahead in the coming months. I am capturing lots of photos, even though many of them will not be seen by eyes other than my own. The beauty captured in these last days of October will remain locked in my memory, ready to be recalled on some other dreary day.

 

If you have the opportunity to see fall colors where you live, I encourage you to do so - take a walk or go for a drive soon to see the beauty God has painted for us before it fades away. And if you can, take a few photos so you may be blessed later on a day when you may need the pick-me-up of viewing God’s majestic creation. Enjoy the beauty of the Fall Colors!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

100 Years

Posted on October 6, 2020 at 12:30 AM Comments comments (0)

One hundred years is a very long time. Within the past century, we have seen several wars, depressions, the advent of computers and the internet, aviation and space exploration and so much more. Life changed from a mostly rural agronomic economy to one of big business and technology.

 

Many of the changes our world has seen have been good. People can live longer due to medical surgeries and treatments. We can keep in touch with friends and relatives all over the world instantaneously.

 

But even though our world is connected technologically, we’ve become disconnected personally. People hunch over their phones, texting a person who is sitting just across the room. They spend mindless time scrolling, oblivious to the people around them. I have been guilty of that.

 

This past week we celebrated the one hundredth birthday of my mother-in-law. A few family members gathered in her home to celebrate mass and share a meal. And we’ll be having a larger gathering of extended family and friends this week at the church hall – socially distanced, of course. Although she has slowed down considerably over the past several years and physically needs help, Mom still can crack jokes, beat me in cards and does not hesitate to share her opinion in conversations.

 

Mom does not have a computer or a smartphone. The only way to communicate with her is to send something in the mail, visit face to face or do an “old-fashioned” phone call. And she loves it – visiting with family and friends is the best part of her days.

 

When I am with her, I must make a conscious effort to put away my devices and focus on her. The current news can wait, the games can be played later. My husband and I don’t know how much more time we will have with her, so we talk on the phone and visit whenever we can. Mom may not be up on the latest technology, but she has wisdom gained from 100 years of living. And that is special.

 

Do you know an older person who may not have much contact with others? Perhaps you could reach out this week and spend some time with them. If you can’t meet in person due to Covid restrictions, a phone call is just as good. People love to interact personally, and who knows how much longer they will be around? Bless someone today with a visit or phone call – and you might find yourself blessed as well!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

All Will Be Well

Posted on September 28, 2020 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you ever have one of those very frustrating days? You know, the kind of day when little seems to go right and you tumble into bed exhausted and feel like nothing got accomplished?

 

Yeah, me too.

 

It’s on days like this that I can easily lose my temper and say something I shouldn’t say, make mistakes, or possibly make something worse than it already was. And it’s on days like this that I need to step back from the problems and figure out how to calm down.

 

Lucky for me, I have a few ways to help me become calm. The hard part is remembering that I have them and then using them!

 

What usually works for me is to start out by taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Then I must recall that I am a mere human, subject to making mistakes, and I cannot expect perfection from myself. Finally, I have to surrender my problem to God.

 

In all probability, whatever I was working on will not matter at all in the grand scheme of things. I play a miniscule role in humanity – and while my good efforts can make a difference, my mistakes probably won’t.

 

Sometimes we just have to let go and remember Who is in charge. I have just begun reading “All Will Be Well,” a book from the series “30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher.” This particular volume is based on the classic spirituality of Julian of Norwich. Although I haven’t gotten very far into the book yet, the famous quote attributed to Julian, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well,” is one that helps me when I am facing frustration. My church also has a song with those same lyrics which provides me with comfort and calm.

 

Like almost every other saintly person, Julian wrestled with many things including sin. Yet her mystical visions helped her to see that although sin is a constant threat, somehow in the mystery of God, “all will be well.” She trusted that Christ has all things in hand and will bring good out of all things.

 

Yes, it’s hard to let go - I have not always been successful at this. And it’s challenging to face continued problems and trust that God will take care of them, and perhaps there is even a reason that these things happened. It’s so hard to be patient, to let God work in His time! I need to constantly remind myself that all will indeed be well in the end if I trust God, and that does help.

 

If you are struggling with a sticky problem or a rough day (or several), I encourage you to take that deep breath and see if you can let go of even a tiny piece of the problem. Turn it over to God and trust that He will handle it in His time. For with God, all indeed shall be well.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Knock, Knock

Posted on September 21, 2020 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

What do you think of when you see the words “Knock, Knock” or hear them spoken? My first thought is about those silly jokes we told as youngsters – you know the ones – “Knock, knock.” “Who’s there?” “Hoo.” “Hoo, who?” “You sound a little owly today…!” (groan)

 

While we may laugh at those little jokes, “Knock, knock” in the real world is different. Years ago we had a safer world, and when someone knocked at your door or rang your doorbell you would answer it. Today’s world is different, and we are often wary. If you are expecting a visitor or a package, or you can see through the glass that it is your neighbor, you will probably open the door. But if it’s a stranger out there, we may ignore the knock or even run and hide.

 

Sometimes I don’t even hear the knock. I have had packages delivered and I don’t even realize it until later. My husband gets frustrated with me about my not hearing his knock – he may need to repeat himself to get my attention. My problem stems partially from my hearing loss, but more so from the fact that I can get so engrossed in whatever I am doing that I just don’t hear the knock.

 

Over many hundreds of years, various artists have depicted Jesus standing outside a door, knocking. Have you seen any of these? (Google it!) This image is meant to portray Jesus knocking on the doors of our hearts. In every painting that I have seen, if you look closely, you will see there is no handle on the outside of the door. Why? Jesus cannot enter into our hearts unless we open the door!

 

This got me thinking. How often has Jesus been at my door knocking? How often have I been so involved in worldly things that I failed to hear Jesus knocking on the door of my heart, and thus failed to let Him in? Far too many, I’m sure.

 

I need to listen more. I need to pay attention to the gentle persistence of Jesus trying to get my attention, and I must open up that door. For even if I open the door just a crack, He can start to send in His grace and mercy. And when I open it wider, oh what blessings I can receive!

 

I challenge you today to listen for the knock, knock of Jesus at the door of your heart. The knock may be loud or it may be quiet. Open that door and let Him in. A blessing awaits you!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Rest and Refuge

Posted on September 14, 2020 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I don’t know of anyone who likes to get sick. I know I don’t. And yet it happens periodically. Every year I get some kind of cold which brings me down for a few days. I may have to cancel some activities because I don’t feel the best, but I recover and things are fine.

 

This year was no exception. Last week I felt a slight sore throat one day, and of course my mind turned upside down and ran overtime wondering if this was the onset of Covid. I cancelled my dental appointment and stayed home.

 

But there is an upside to not feeling the best. On that day I forced myself to rest and take care of myself, something I often forget to do. I worked a bit on my to-do list, caught up on some financial stuff and deleted old emails. But mostly I just rested in my home refuge, our basement family room. I curled up with a hot beverage and a good book, and I even took a few naps, another thing that I seldom do. And I enjoyed watched the birds come to the feeders.

 

Thankfully by the end of the day I felt much better, and I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and get back to my “normal” life.

 

But my day of rest reminded me that resting is so very important. We need breaks from our “normal” lives, to rejuvenate our bodies as well as our minds. God wants us to rest, too. He himself rested on the seventh day of creation, and He instructed his people to rest on the Sabbath.

 

And we need a safe place, a refuge, where we can go to find that rest. At home, that place is my basement. Away from home, I find refuge in nature and in the Chapel at my church. But ultimately I need a spiritual place of refuge and rest, and for me, that place is Jesus. The beauty of having Jesus as my refuge is that I can access him anywhere, at any time. All I need to do is pray, and His peace comes to me.

 

We all need refuge – so today I want to give you another poem, titled “My Refuge.” May you be blessed with a place of refuge in your life.

 

 

My Refuge

 

Where is my refuge, O Lord of grace?

Where will I find it? Where is that place?

 

Where is the calmness I seek for my soul;

The feeling of being perfected and whole?

 

When I need refuge, security, love;

I only need to look high up above.

 

Just close my eyes and then open my heart;

Let my Lord’s deep love in grace do its part.

 

The gift of sweet refuge is easy to see;

Refuge is anywhere that I might be.

 

Refuge is found in my family so dear;

Sisters in Jesus, all lending an ear.

 

Refuge is found is a special retreat;

Lingering, pondering our faith so sweet.

 

It is in nature, hearing the sounds;

Seeing the beauty; creation abounds.

 

Refuge is found when I just sit and muse

On Scriptural verses that form the Good News.

 

Refuge is tasting the sweet Bread of Life;

Nourishing, lifting me far from my strife.

 

God is my refuge, my fortress and shield;

He will sustain me and make my heart yield.

 

He will grasp hold of my spirit and soul;

God is my refuge in whom I am whole.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Try, Try Again

Posted on September 7, 2020 at 7:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Well, I did it again. I made a mistake, and I hurt someone. I apologized later, once I realized how what I had said hurt the other person, but the guilt hit anyway. I was tempted to tell myself that I was a failure. Had I listened, I might have dragged myself down further. But fortunately, I didn’t listen. Instead, I tried again.

 

We all have days like that, don’t we? We do so much stuff and become tired, and our guard slips and something comes out you didn’t mean to say. We fail – all the time! And then we must ask for forgiveness. Yet the cycle repeats itself the next day or the next week.

 

It’s hard when I find myself in the confessional repeating the same sins. Oh yes, I do try to improve, but I still fail. And it’s hard to admit, especially to another live human being. The good news is that human is acting in the place of God.

 

And so, yet once again, I slowly come to God’s feet as a humble, sinful person. But every time He unfailingly forgives me! It doesn’t matter how often I make the same mistake, if I come to Him in sorrow, and promise to do better, God gently holds my hand and tells me I am forgiven. God is so happy that I am repenting! He also gives me some extra grace to help me in the future. And when I step out of that room, I am lighter and I really do try again to improve myself.

 

Have you been making a few mistakes here and there like I have? Do not berate yourself. Go instead to the One who loves you more than you can ever know. Whenever you ask His forgiveness, He will grant it. And when you ask for that forgiveness, ask too for grace to try again to become a better person. He will grant that too. And one day perhaps you will see some blessings come out of your trying.

 

Today I have a poetry gift for you. Enjoy!

 

Butterfly of Love

 

God’s love is sometimes like a beautiful butterfly,

flitting above and around us in the garden of our world,

often seemingly just beyond our grasp.

Lovingly we gaze after Love, wanting to touch it,

to hold it, to snatch it for ourselves.

We are jealous when Love appears to pass us by

and settles on another flower in our garden.

We become bitter at their good fortune.

 

When the rains fall into our garden, Love may vanish for a time,

and we can grow cold and lonely.

So when Love reappears, we chase it,

desperately flinging nets woven from our insecurities and fears,

hoping to snare Love for ourselves.

But Love does not want to be caught.

 

We also try to trap Love by placing good deeds of honey strategically at our feet,

praying that Love will notice them and come to us with affirmations.

But Love is not fooled – Love understands our true motives.

So we drench ourselves in a new fragrant scent

that promises to mask our stinkweed odor and attract Love.

But the stench of our sins cannot be hidden from Love.

 

In final desperation, we adorn our petals with radiant hues of every sort,

attempting to cover up the fading glory of our youth.

But Love sees through our costumes and knows what lies beneath.

We shed tears of dismay, tempted to give up

when Love does not seem to circle around us.

We may believe that we are unworthy of Love.

 

But we cannot force Love to come to us.

Love comes when we allow ourselves to be the special flower

we were created to be.

We do not need to rely on false colors or fragrances to mask our inner selves.

Love cannot be trapped by our works or netted by our actions.

Love comes as a precious gift from God;

a gift that requires nothing from us in return except our acceptance.

 

We must raise our stems and lift our petals high, standing tall in our garden,

accepting ourselves as a beautiful flower created uniquely by God.

Then the butterfly of Love will alight upon us,

pollinating us with every grace and mercy that God can grant.

When we are ready, Love will settle on us – and then we will be whole.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Patience

Posted on August 31, 2020 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

This pandemic of ours has lasted many months now, and it seems like it will never end. People had become so used to having instant everything – instant meals, instant communications, and instant access to almost every kind of information - so it has been hard when this new virus popped up. People no longer had instant access to many things. Groceries and other necessities suddenly became scarce, and many people did not know how to be patient. We have been forced into waiting – waiting for information, waiting for a purchase to arrive, waiting for a vaccine, and waiting for the opportunity to go back to a “normal” life.

 

At the start of the pandemic I too felt much impatience. An important trip overseas had to be cancelled in March, and I missed an important milestone in my family. I had hoped that within maybe a month or two I would be able to make that trip, but that could not happen. And at this point I don’t know when I will be able to fly internationally. I have been forced into patience.

 

I was also used to going out almost everyday for something, like shopping and volunteering work. But that had to stop for a time. I was stuck mostly inside my home until the weather became better. I had to be patient, and so I began to figure out a new way of living.

 

Most of us have accepted the fact that we now must wear a mask inside public places, and sometimes it is prudent to wear one outside as well. I have learned how to sew face masks, and I have made hundreds to give away. I have a few different ones of my own, so I can sort of coordinate my mask to the clothing I am wearing. (This is as close to becoming a fashionista as I will ever get.)

 

I have learned which businesses near me are practicing good sanitization and social distancing, and I have become comfortable going to many of these. I coordinate trips to minimize exposure to others. When our church opened back up (to limited seating), I resumed some of my volunteer activities, although it is hard not to be singing in the choir each week. I guess you can say I am learning to be patient in my worship, too.

 

Jon Kabat-Zinn has a good way of describing patience: “Patience is a form of wisdom. It demonstrates that we understand and accept the fact that sometimes things must unfold in their own time.” Perhaps I have been gaining some wisdom over these past several weeks!

 

One of my favorite speakers from years ago, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, describes patience this way: “Patience is power. Patience is not an absence of action; rather it is "timing" - it waits on the right time to act, for the right principles and in the right way.” To me this means that waiting can give us some control if we refrain from impulsively acting without thinking. I know in many previous situations I acted too quickly and made mistakes.

 

Are you able to be patient these days? Even though it may be hard to be patient, I hope that you do try. God did not create the world in a single day. He waited thousands of years in the history of humanity to send us His Son. And man has been waiting many more thousands of years to see the fulfilment of God’s plan. God is asking us to be patient! And who knows, our patience may result in a lovely blessing.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Nuggets

Posted on August 24, 2020 at 8:35 AM Comments comments (0)

I love the word “nuggets.” This noun is defined as a small lump of gold or other precious metal, a small chunk or lump of another substance, or a valuable idea or fact. Gold nuggets have long been sought after through the centuries by prospectors all over the globe as that metal was quite valuable. When my grandsons were younger, one of their favorite foods was chicken nuggets, so their parents kept a huge bag of them in the freezer. But the definition I love the best is the third one – a valuable idea or fact.

 

As we move along our path in life, I feel it’s important for me to be on the lookout for nuggets which can help me to grow. They may sparkle and I may easily catch sight of them, or I may have to dig for them hidden among the obstacles of life. They may hit me over the head, but more often it will require a little effort on my part to uncover them, and I may have to polish away a rough surface to discover the gem underneath. But when I find one, it usually results in an “Aha” moment, when something suddenly becomes clearer and I feel emboldened to continue on my faith journey.

 

I was a “cradle” Catholic who attended a Catholic elementary school followed by CCD classes. I got the basics, but I didn’t learn everything about Catholicism in those early years. As a twenty-something I attended RCIA classes to help a fellow Christian learn about the faith and I found a few nuggets there. I discovered the Divine Mercy Chaplet and devotion on my trip to Medjugorje. Attending the Catechetical Institute resulted in my reading the entire Catechism of the Catholic Church which helped me understand the whys behind many parts of my faith. Attending formal Bible Studies along with reading Spiritual books has given me more nuggets. And sitting in the quietness of our Chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament has brought many more insights into my heart.

 

Have you been finding nuggets in your life to enhance your faith? I pray that you are blessed this week with some obvious ones, and I hope that you will be diligent enough to reach out for those harder-to-find nuggets - they may be nearer than you think.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Gitchi Gami

Posted on August 17, 2020 at 7:05 AM Comments comments (0)

My husband and I spent most of last week along Lake Superior, on the Minnesota shoreline affectionately known as the North Shore. We stayed in a resort by Lutsen and took day trips in different directions. We have been up on the shore several times before, so we focused this trip on places we had yet to discover and see.

 

For four days straight we hiked in several state parks and recreation areas along the shores of this huge lake, spanning from Duluth all the way up to the Canadian border. We spent many hours viewing the big lake’s incredible shoreline, a wide variety of forest flowers and fungi, trees and plants too numerous to count, and of course several rivers and inspiring waterfalls. What a blessing this was for us! I was able to capture some amazing scenery on my camera – the cover shot for this blog entry was taken at Iona’s Beach near Gooseberry Falls.

 

Lake Superior is the largest of the Great Lakes of North America. It is the world's largest freshwater lake by surface area and the third largest freshwater lake by volume. The Ojibwe name for the lake is Gichi-Gami (pronounced as gitchi-gami and kitchi-gami in other dialects), meaning "great sea." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the name as "Gitche Gumee" in The Song of Hiawatha, as did Gordon Lightfoot in his song "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald." Along the shore of the lake is a lovely bike trail known as the Gitchi-Gami Trail - perhaps next time we go up there we will take our bikes and ride it.

 

Perhaps you’d like to know more about Gitchi Gami. For example, how many rivers feed into the lake, how deep is it, and how many miles would it take to drive completely around the lake? Yes, I could list these answers and more facts for you, but I’m going to let you do your own research to find out!

 

Have you had a chance to do any exploring lately? If you get the chance, I’d suggest going out and finding your own Gitchi Gami. You don’t have to go to Lake Superior - for God’s creation has so very much to offer. You might uncover, like we just did, a few gems you never knew existed. And even if you can’t physically go out and explore, there is so much information available in books and on the internet – you can pick virtually anywhere in the world to visit and explore. Try it - you might be blessed in a new way by your exploration!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2020 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

 



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