Reflections On The Journey 

Subtitle

Meditations

Friendship

Posted on July 30, 2018 at 9:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Do you value your friendships?


Friendships are a terrific blessing in my life. There is one special woman who has been my best friend since I was thirteen, and several others who have come in and out of my life at various times.


Some of these friendships have been short-lived. That is not to say they haven’t been valuable to me – sometimes circumstances like moving or transferring to a new job just meant that a friendship didn’t last very long.


I have several casual friendships which I appreciate. For example, I have become friends with several people I have worked with on various projects. I also have gained friends as a result of my travels. Thank goodness for the convenience of Facebook so we can continue to keep in touch!


Then there are those somewhat deeper friendships that developed through my associations at church and work – close proximity on a regular basis and shared experiences have brought us together. These friendships are varied but all are important to me. There are friendships that have lasted from my high school days, some which revolve around plays and the arts, and others which always seem to involve coffee or wine!


But the friendships that mean the most to me are the ones that have survived the difficult situations. You probably have some of these friends too: they are the ones who love you without question even when the makeup is removed, and the ones who are willing to listen whenever you need a sympathetic ear or a shoulder to cry on. They are the people who have seen you at your worst, have counseled you through difficult situations, or even assisted you financially. They are the folks who put you first, like the ones you would not hesitate to phone in the middle of the night if the need arose. It seems no matter what happens, they remain close.


St. Maximilian Kolbe once said “God sends us friends to be our firm support in the whirlpool of struggle. In the company of friends we will find strength to attain our sublime ideal.” How true – I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for my faithful friends.


Scripture too reminds us often of the value of friends. My favorite verses include:

Sirach 6:14 “A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter; he who finds one finds a treasure.”

Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”


I am blessed to have several people in my life who I can call my friends, and I hope that you have many good friends too. If you haven’t connected with some of your friends for a while, maybe you can do so this week. Renew or revive some of those friendships which have helped you over the years – maybe you can even thank them for standing beside you when you needed them.


My gift for you this week is a poem I wrote for a friend many years ago.


You Are In My Heart 


My soul knows you are troubled so;

You bear a heartache I can’t mend.

You deeply ache for something lost,

Some unfelt joy that might have been.


Although I have not walked your path,

I feel your hurts, and feel your pain,

I cry with you and pray for you

So you might see sunshine again.


For whatever may come ‘cross your path,

Whatever cross you have to bear,

You are in my heart, my friend.

Please know that I am always there.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Our Father, Continued

Posted on July 2, 2018 at 7:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Will you pray the “Our Father” differently this week?


Last week I began a reflection on one of the most common prayers we pray, the Our Father. In my opinion this prayer is perhaps the richest and most comprehensive prayer that we can ever pray! This week I’d like to add reflections on the seven petitions that are contained inside this prayer.


The first petition is “Hallowed be Thy Name.” Although it seems like a declaration of God’s holiness, this phrase can also be interpreted to mean we are asking for God’s Name to be holy. God’s holiness is a mystery, yet by giving us His Name (I Am Who Am, or Yahweh), God is allowing us to know Him more intimately. And to know God intimately implies we need to be holy too. In asking Him to make His Name holy, we are in essence asking to make all creation (including us) holy as well so that His Name can be made holy through our actions. Do I truly want God’s name to be holy?


“Thy Kingdom come” is the next petition. In this part of the prayer we ask primarily for God to fulfill the promise He made that His Kingdom will be made manifest at the end of time. But God’s Kingdom is more than heaven, and more than just a place, and more than just some point “at the end of time.” God’s Kingdom is the very life of Christ, lived in righteousness, peace and joy. It is today as well as forever, and both in the world as well as in our hearts. Do I want God’s Kingdom to live in my heart today?


The third petition is “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” We pray here for God’s will, not ours, to be done in all things and in every place. I don’t know about you, but God’s will is often a mystery to me, and even more often not what I would will! But we ask for God’s will anyway, because deep inside we realize that He knows best. Obedience to His will can be hard, but He created us after all, and as Creator, His plan would be perfect, even if we can’t see or understand that plan. Do I truly want God’s will to be done at all times?


The next petition is one that most of us can easily relate to: “Give us this day our daily bread.” Of course we pray for our needs! And we have many needs, along with many “wants” that we may think are needs but are not. In this petition we ask for our “daily” bread – in other words we ask for just what we need TODAY – nothing more and nothing less. We are asking for nourishment, both the material kind and the spiritual kind. And we ask for US – not just ourselves, but for everyone in the world. So many people are starving both physically and emotionally in this world, and so we plead with God to satisfy their needs as well as our own. Do I ask God to satisfy the needs of all my brothers and sisters?


“And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” follows in the line of petitions. We pray that God will forgive us. We all desire forgiveness, for we are all sinners. But the second half of this petition may startle us. How hard it can be to forgive others, yet the format of the prayer is astonishing: for we say our prayer for forgiveness of our sins will not be heard or answered unless we have met the strict requirement of forgiving others! That little word “as” defines how we should ask for forgiveness. We can only receive God’s mercy when we have forgiven others. How humbling is this petition! Am I willing to forgive others so God can forgive me?


The next petition is “Lead us not into temptation.” God of course tempts no one – that trick is handled very nicely by the devil. We know that we will always be tempted, but we can ask for God’s help: help to discern what is temptation and help to not consent to that temptation. We also pray that God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are capable of battling. Do I spend time working with God to discern what tempts me and how I can battle that temptation?


The final petition is “But deliver us from evil.” This petition specifically asks for God’s protection from Satan, the Evil One. Jesus’s death did win us the victory over Satan, but it is a reality that Satan continues to try to seduce us in cunning ways. So we pray that each of us be freed from all evils, past, present and future. Do I truly want deliverance from Satan?


The “Our Father”, also called The Lord’s Prayer, is such a powerful prayer – rich in so many ways. We glorify God, profess our faith and ask for help, all in one short prayer. I encourage you to pray this prayer today with a new spirit – a spirit that focuses on each part of this prayer in a deeper way. May the praying of this prayer bless you in new ways this week!


My gift to you is my poem reflecting my thoughts on the Our Father.


My Father

My Father dear, to You I praise Your name above all names;

A song I sing, my arms upraised, and every day the same.

You rule our earth with loving hand as heaven too You guide;

We follow You throughout our land from Lent to Christmastide.

Please bless us, Lord, with full food bins, enough to share for all,

And help us to repent our sins, forgiving others’ falls.

Protect us, God, from evil one’s temptations yet again;

O lead us now close to Your Son to do your will. Amen.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Seasons

Posted on March 5, 2018 at 7:50 AM Comments comments (0)

What season are you in?


I’m getting a little tired of the winter season! On February 2nd, that darned groundhog predicted six more weeks of it, and we certainly have seen lots of winter here in Minnesota. I am not a fan of freezing temperatures and icy blasts of wind. Last week, two more snowstorms dumped oodles of the white stuff in our yard, and more is predicted for today. Yes, we are definitely in the winter season!


The other day I began to think about what season I am in at this point in my life. The earth has wound its way around the sun many times during my life journey, and I have seen many things. Although a spring in my step is still there, I am far from that spring chicken I used to be (as the aches and pains in my joints often remind me). The prime summer of my life is behind me too. Summer frolicking is greatly reduced – although I still enjoy playing on the floor with my grandchildren when given the opportunity!


Perhaps I am in the autumn of my life? Although I don’t take too many physical falls (except the other day on a patch of ice), I do sometimes fall behind in activities, and it’s getting harder to keep up with technological advances. Winter represents our final decline, the conclusion of our life on earth. I don’t think I am in winter yet, but who knows how long I have left on this earth? God knows, but He is not telling me!


I DO know that whatever season I am in, I will not stop living. Just because I am “getting older” doesn’t mean I have to cease my involvement in activities or discontinue trying to improve myself. On the contrary, now is the perfect time for me to strive to become the best person I can be.


I will make the most of whatever time I have left, and I will continue to help and encourage people as much as I can on my journey.


Does it really matter what season you may think you are in? I don’t believe it does. To me, what is important is that we each live our lives as fully as we can, loving and supporting others as they move through life.


My gift to you this week is another poem, entitled “Seasons.” May you have a blessed week, no matter what “season” you are in!


Seasons


I am a tree. My home is in a forest community, but I do not live alone.

I reside with my brother and sister trees.

We are a diverse group of varying shapes and sizes, colors and ages.

Together we make up the global forest of our world.

Although each of us is unique,

We all are rooted in the same nourishing soil of God’s word.


Our lives together may span only a few seasons, or perhaps a hundred.

Each spring brings new Son-filled afternoons of warmth

As we try out our new gifts.

We begin to grow, and we stand tall, basking in the bright light of the Son.

We tell stories, shivering and shaking with delightful laughter as we praise the Maker.


But we also experience some dark mornings of despair.

Our lives are shrouded in the devious clouds of the devil’s darkness.


We huddle together as we brave the stormy tragedies

Of illness and sorrows that crash around us.


We bend in different directions in the gusts and throes of thundering pain.

We watch, helplessly, as our friends creak and groan,

Struck with death’s lightning,

And we can do no more than perhaps catch them when they fall lifeless to the earth.


Yet some of those storms are gentle, bringing healing rain to wash our tired bodies,

Wiping away the tears seeping from our wounds.


Soon summer comes dancing in, and we branch out and grow some more.

We experience each new moment in awe,

Greedily drinking in the dews of temptation.

We flash our fancy foliage in pride to our neighbors.

It is easy to reach out our newly bedecked limbs to the sky,

Selfishly desiring to earn the admiration of all the other trees.


But then the Maker sends the autumn.

The unseen wind of the Spirit whispers to us of a time for change.

The voice grows in intensity, suggesting, leading,

Enveloping us with a liberating grace.

Yet we stubbornly grasp tightly to the leafy vestiges of our summer life,

The grudges, pains and sins that bred all too easily during the summer’s frolics.


The Spirit is persistent,

Massaging our limbs with tender caresses and persuasive nudges

Until we finally surrender and let go of our sins,

Allowing them to be swept away by the breath of life.


Our failings and hurts float freely away,

Drifting down, coming to rest on the fertile earth.

There, they mingle with the precious rain of Christ’s blood,

And eventually are absorbed back into His Holy presence.


We stand then, stripped bare, yet strengthened somehow by this grace,

Primed to brave the bitter barrenness of a winter of vulnerability.

We wait with great anticipation,

Until at last we are ready to be renewed once again

In the joyful springtime of God’s love.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Blessed By Tears

Posted on February 19, 2018 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)


Are you ashamed of your tears?


I admit, I am a “crier.” It used to be a running joke at our house when my kids were young: When we were watching a movie, the kids would periodically glance over at me to see if I was crying yet. Because invariably, whether the movie ended on a happy note or the hero died, I would cry. But I also cry for many other reasons - when I get really frustrated, in the middle of a deep prayer session, while grieving, and in confession, to name a few.


Years ago, I was ashamed that I had so many tears. It was mildly embarrassing when the tears fell during the sad part of a movie or when the bride kissed the groom at a wedding. But when I would break down at work or in public places, that was embarrassing. Those tears only seemed to make things worse.


When I look back on all those tears, I realize they all were blessings of healing grace, even if I was embarrassed at the time. Tears for me, especially in the difficult times, are cleansing. Shedding tears helps me break through barriers I have erected, freeing me to draw closer to God. The tears relieve my anguish and release pain and anger that I have been holding in. And I especially need those blessed tears when I am working through a loss.


Matt Hammitt’s song “Tears” speaks to me every time I hear it. The refrain echoes an affirmation that I need to hear: “Just let 'em fall, right down your face; Hit the ground, in a pool of grace; And feel the things, you haven't felt for years; That's why God made tears.”


I hope that you are able to cry at least sometimes – to free your emotions and open yourself to healing. May you be blessed with tears! My gift to you today is a poem I wrote in 2011 during my visit to Medjugorje, called “Healing Grace.”


HEALING GRACE


You reach out Your hands to me, O Lord,

The loving hands of healing grace.

Yet I am afraid, O Lord, to take Your hands.

I am not good enough - I am ashamed of my life and failures.


But Your gentle words are penetrating me.

Your gracious Spirit is welcoming.

Despite my pain and brokenness,

Your love reaches out, embracing my soul.


My spirit is still hard, O Lord;

I have hidden from you for so long.

I want Your blessed love so desperately

And yet I am afraid.


Your sweet love persists,

Penetrating my soul with tender kisses,

You wrap me in Your holy sacraments

As you place your healing hands around my heart.


I cannot resist You, Lord.

Your Love is so strong and caring.

My heart melts within your supportive hands,

And slowly I open up to your healing grace.


My soul is awash with joy as I give myself to You.

I free my heart for you, dear Lord

I ask for Your sacred forgiveness.

I taste the incredible joy of Your love inside me.


You answer my prayers with my own tears,

Tears of release and gratitude

For the blessings You have freely given to me.

I surrender to Your healing grace.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2018 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Merry Christmas

Posted on December 25, 2017 at 8:20 AM Comments comments (0)

Merry Christmas to you and your family!


Today is a very special day, when Christians around the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Despite the fact that humans are notorious sinners, God’s great mercy provided for a Savior – one who would bear our sins patiently and suffer horrendously on the cross in order to wipe away those sins. The birth of this long-awaited Savior was met with rejoicing by the angels and in wonder by his Mother Mary and earthly father Joseph.


He came to earth in a lowly package, wrapped in swaddling clothes instead of gift wrap, and he laid in a manger instead of under a tree. His parents couldn’t afford to buy him the latest toy, and he was born and raised in an area without all the modern conveniences. But he was raised with love, and He was Love.


My gift to you this Christmas is a poem I wrote several years ago. May you welcome Jesus into your heart today, and share the gift of Him with your family as well.


A Winter’s Night


Small specks of glistening snow

Fall silently, softly, earthward.

A hint of the setting sun lingers in the west,

Only a narrow band of light shows through.


Above hang dusky clouds

Seeming to brush the treetops.

The vastness of the universe seems somehow gone,

And peacefulness reigns.


The snow stops.

A whisper wind tugs at the clouds.

They gently part, bringing to view

The thin sliver of a fading moon.


A star, brighter than the others, pierces the darkness

Between the trees’ webs of tangled lace.

Soon the sky is filled with bright points.

The majestic aura of the heavens is unveiled.


The world is watching, waiting.

The hour of midnight silently comes.

Creation rejoices with the heavens.

The Christ Child has arrived.


Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Faye

© 2017 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Death

Posted on October 15, 2017 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Death is a hard subject for many people to think about. We sometimes deny that death will happen to us or those we love. Then when reality hits, we are not prepared.


And we can’t deny that death hurts. No matter how or when it happens, most folks are not ready to lose someone they love. We don’t want to let go of the memories. If that person has done many things for us, we may feel at a loss on how to continue our life.


Sudden death is perhaps the hardest. Whether through an accident or suicide, we are not prepared for the loss. My own experience with the sudden death of my father was shocking. For a long time I replayed the events leading up to that day, wondering whether I could have done something to prevent it. My anguish was deep and it hurt so much. Thank goodness I had much support from my dear friends and family. Their love and much intense prayer were the keys to deal with my grief.


Recently a friend of mine watched her husband pass away. He had experienced a severe stroke, and although at first there was hope he could recover, a second stroke made it clear that this was not to be. Hospice provided a calming place for her as well as for her husband, allowing him to make the transition from this life to the next with dignity and love.


Fortunately for this dear woman, friends and family rallied around her to support her as she waited. We all prayed – for him as well as for her. What a difficult place she was in – and unless you have experienced such a thing yourself, it is hard to understand how you could possibly deal with a situation such as this. However, in a flash of blessing, the Holy Spirit prompted me one morning in the wee hours to write about what that experience must be like. I forwarded the writing to her, and she shared that it quite accurately reflected what she was experiencing. She gave me permission to share it with you, which I have included below.


Whenever you know of someone who is going through a difficult time, especially with a death, I pray that you will be able to provide some comfort for that person. Yes, it is important to attend the funeral and share a card. But think also of that person during the months following the death. It is just as important to keep in touch with that person afterwards. The grieving process can be long and painful, and the loving voice of a friend or a gentle hug may be just what that person needs to continue their healing.


I challenge you today to look around for someone who is hurting. Take a little time to think of how you can support and encourage them. May your words and presence be a loving support and blessing for someone who needs a little care.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2017 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net


Letting Go

The time has come to say goodbye, my dearest, faithful spouse;

We’ve spent so many years as one, since day when we took vows;


We tried so much in hopes of change and easing of your pains,

But doctors and the test results showed little hope remains.


Oh, how can I forget the life we’ve shared throughout the years;

Marriage, babies, jobs and homes, the joys and doubts and fears.


You always were the best of friends, we shared each up and down;

I knew each wrinkle on your brow and every smile and frown.


Your roughened hands encircling mine as every night we prayed,

Your sweet embrace, your gentle kiss, and ev’ry mem’ry made.


I’m grateful for the loving care you got as time went past;

The peaceful room, the gentle staff, were blessings at the last.


My mind was reeling on that day as I sat by your side,

Watching you take final breath, and I broke down and cried.


O God, how can I bear this loss? How will I carry on?

My dear, my love, has gone from me, up to the great beyond.


My mind says he is now with You, in Your most loving arms,

He’s freed from all his suffering and all those earthly harms.


He’s dancing free with all the saints who’ve entered Peter’s door,

And yes, I know he’s happy there, with ones who’ve gone before.


And yet my heart feels emptiness without his warm embrace,

Now I have just photographs as mem’ries of his face.


I miss him, Lord! What can I say? I don’t want this to end!

It’s hard remaining here alone without my dearest friend.


The tears keep coming, Lord, as now I work through each new day,

Forgive me when I falter as I’m learning this new way.


I cherish hugs of faithful friends who gather me in tight,

I bless them all for their kind words to get me through each night.

 

Sustain me, Lord, and guide me as I learn to ease the pain;

And help me face each little thing that into life will rain.


And Lord? Take care of my dear man, until those blessed days

When I can join with him in Your most glorious Heav’nly rays!

Charity

Posted on September 4, 2017 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (0)


Today is Labor Day in the United States, and our country is reeling in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. So much devastation has occurred, and yet there has been so much love and charity that has bubbled up through the waters of destruction, and so it is quite appropriate that today’s meditation is about the last of the virtues, Charity, also known as Love.


Like all virtues, charity is an act of the will, and the exercise of charity increases our love for God and for our fellow man; but because charity is a gift from God, we cannot initially acquire this virtue by our own actions. Charity depends on faith, because without faith in God we obviously cannot love God, nor can we love our fellow man for God's sake. Charity is, in that sense, the object of faith, and the reason why Saint Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:13, declares that "the greatest of these [faith, hope, and charity] is charity."


Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said “Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same – with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.” This is about the best definition of the virtue of charity which I have found.


So much love and charity have sprung up in the aftermath of Harvey. There are those whose jobs involve service – police, fire, National Guard and more – who you could say are merely doing their jobs, but I think there is still love behind their work. And how many other citizens, on their own, piloted their personal watercraft through flooded neighborhoods to help take stranded people to safety? How many businesses opened their doors to provide shelter to those who were evacuated? How many people donated funds to the Salvation Army, the Red Cross and other organizations to help provide food and supplies to those in need? This is charity in action.


There isn’t a lot that I can personally do for the Harvey victims located 1,200 miles away from Minnesota. Of course my prayers have stormed toward heaven along with millions of others’ prayers, and I have donated what I can to agencies who can provide assistance. But to me, this is so little compared to what others are doing. Take my son Joe, who is a resident of Conroe, Texas, located north of Houston. He and his family were able to stay safe during Harvey with his in-laws in a more western town. But then he took it upon himself to gather up supplies and donations, loading his truck and trailer and bringing them back with him. His company also sponsored an open house to raise funds for the victims. He is going to make a difference to at least a few people. That’s charity.


There’s just one caveat when you perform acts of love – don’t think too highly of yourself when you do good works! I sometimes fall into this trap – patting myself on the back for a good deed I have done. Then I think I can relax because I have “done my part!” Instead, I must remind myself that we are called to continually love others. I believe we should not stop at “good enough” but continue to give, even until it hurts. That is not easy to do, but that’s what Jesus did – he gave his life for us. That is Jesus' perfect act of Charity.


How can you incorporate Charity into your life? Today I challenge you to find someone to whom you can offer Charity. Maybe you can donate something to those affected by Harvey. Perhaps you have a neighbor who could use some help with their children. Maybe you have a strong shoulder to offer to someone who is experiencing a loss. Whatever you can do – do it. And may you be blessed through your charity.


As your Labor Day gift, I offer you another of the poems I wrote called Butterfly of Love.


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

© 2017 www.reflectionsonthejourney.net

Prayer

Posted on May 22, 2017 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Prayer has always posed a challenge for me. When I was young, my mother encouraged me to say my morning and night prayers, but I usually forgot. At night I was too tired and in the morning I just forgot in my excitement to start the new day.


As I got older, my prayer life improved a little – I said the rosary and other basic prayers like the Our Father, but I did not learn many others. But more often than not, my mind would stray during my prayer time. I would come to the end of a prayer and not even remember what I had just said.


Once I began working full time and started a family, the busyness of life wore me down. There wasn’t time to pray (or so I thought.) Days would pass and I didn’t even think about prayer until Sunday rolled around and it was time for church. My rosary gathered dust in the corner of my drawer. I often felt that prayer and I just didn’t get along. I wondered about the great saints who prayed so well, and how I could barely mutter a few words before crashing at the end of a long day. Can you relate?


But a few years ago when I started pondering a bit about my dismal lack of prayer, a new realization set in. Although maybe I wasn’t saying formal prayers very often, I did shoot a few words up towards heaven now and again - usually prayers for help - and there were thanksgiving and intercessory prayers for others as well. Whenever I had some moments to myself, especially when blessed with the opportunity for a retreat, I would spend time out in nature. I would reflect on the grandeur that God has created in our world and marvel at the goodness lying in even the gnarled and broken trees.


I discovered it is during these moments of solitude when I do my best “praying.” Formal, rote prayers are very good, and I do use them, especially the rosary, yet for me there is a special connection with God when I put pen to page and describe a scene in front of me or my feelings about a relationship. Writing is the way I pray the best. I still have many times when I struggle with prayer or am distracted, but I am not so worried about that anymore. God will take whatever prayer I can give him, and I think He is especially pleased just that I TRY to pray.


Everyone has their own “best” way of praying – what is yours? Perhaps it is fingering the worn beads of a rosary. Scripture may provide you with words of encouragement. Perhaps you prefer to kneel in a chapel in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Maybe you find comfort reciting the prayer our Lord Jesus taught us - The Our Father - the most comprehensive prayer we can say.


Whatever your style of prayer may be, and wherever you choose to pray, savor those moments you have with God. Allow yourself to be immersed in the precious love he has for you. Just pray! And as 1 Thes 5:17 says, “Pray without ceasing.”


Today’s gift for you is a prayer I wrote several years ago about how I meet God in Prayer.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye



I Meet 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.


If you like this meditation, please share it with others. And if you have any suggestions for topics for me to address in this blog, I’d love to hear from you. I write this blog for YOU.

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Let Nothing Disturb You

Posted on April 24, 2017 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s sad to say that we humans are a somewhat “disturbed” people. We live in a world of noise, turmoil, anger and an inability to get along with our fellow man. We continually suffer pain and anguish due to physical ailments or emotional trials, and fear often rules our lives. We seldom find peace.


I’m sure you have had your share of problems which have robbed you of peace: losses, illnesses, broken relationships, and more. Some of you may currently feel overwhelmed with the issues you face today. And in the midst of these issues, on some days your spirit may sink so low that you wonder if you will ever make it back to the surface. I have been there, too, and I know many people who are right now in the midst of great difficulties which have severely shaken their sense of peace.


On that Easter Sunday so long ago, Jesus appeared to his disciples, and again a week later. Both times he said to them “Peace be with you.” Jesus WANTS us to have peace. This peace that he longs to give to you is the fruit of the love he had for us – a love strong enough that he was willing to die for our sins on the cross.


But if Jesus wants us to have peace, why is it that we have so much trouble finding it? Why are we continually disturbed by situations, people, and events? I wish I had all the answers. We live in a broken world, and we will face constant challenges until that day when our Lord returns. But God has provided help for us in the meantime!


On days when I feel overwhelmed, I am very grateful that I have a few resources close at hand to which I can turn for help. My husband is sometimes dismayed at the huge collection on my bookshelves, but there are some fabulous resources there! These books have seen me through many problems and I still consult many of them regularly for inspiring quotes or suggestions for ways to deal with a problem I am facing. Even Google has been a help…. I am just careful when I use the internet to be sure I am looking at credible sources, because unfortunately there is misinformation out there on the web.


Prayer is a very strong tool which I use to gain peace. Regular morning prayer to Jesus and to Mary is essential to my mental and spiritual health, as well as intermittent prayers throughout the day. I find I am able to deal with problems in a much more peaceful way on days which have started out in prayer.


Another helpful resource for me is reading and writing poetry. I have a few favorite authors whose works inspire me. And sometimes just the act of writing calms me down and helps me see the problem more clearly. It also helps me when I can “phone a friend” or speak to a spiritual advisor to feel some loving support coming from a sympathetic voice.


What helps you to feel at peace in the midst of disturbances? If right now you don’t have many resources at your fingertips, I’d suggest getting some. There are many inspirational websites out there that can provide daily or weekly support via emails or blogs, and other resources on specific topics. Pick up some good books, especially ones dealing with issues that you are currently facing. (Don’t forget to check out your community or church libraries!) And find someone who is willing to listen, if not offer some helpful suggestions.


These words from St. Teresa of Avila have been such a blessing to me when I feel my sense of peace slipping away. I hope they will be an inspiration for you as well:


Let nothing disturb you,

Let nothing frighten you,

All things are passing away:

God never changes.

Patience obtains all things

Whoever has God lacks nothing;

God alone suffices.


-- St. Teresa of Avila


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye


If you like this meditation, please share it with others. And if you have any suggestions for topics for me to address in this blog, I’d love to hear from you. I write this blog for YOU.

You can also subscribe to my weekly emails – just send your name and email address to [email protected] and I will get you added to the list!


Jesus is Risen!

Posted on April 17, 2017 at 10:55 AM Comments comments (0)

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body.” Luke 24:1-3


Happy Easter! The four gospels each give a slightly different account of what happened on that blessed Easter Sunday morning. They differ in the accounts of who came to the tomb, and how they reacted. But all four state that the stone was rolled away from the tomb, and Jesus was no longer inside - He is Risen!


Understandably, the disciples and the women who followed Jesus were confused about this turn of events. They did not remember right away that Jesus had said he would rise. It took other people or events to enlighten them about what happened. They had to get the word directly from angels who were at the tomb, or in the case of Mary Magdalene, from “the gardener” - Jesus himself.


Then there were the two disciples on the road to Emmaus. This story is one of great significance to me. We have an Emmaus retreat ministry at our church, and that weekend long ago when I made my retreat profoundly affected my faith. Just like the two disciples on the road, it was in the breaking of the bread that I came to more fully recognize Jesus.


Does one of the stories listed in the gospels describing how disciples encountered Jesus after the resurrection resonate with you? Can you picture yourself there at the tomb, on the road to Emmaus, or somewhere nearby, and then suddenly encountering the Risen Lord? It doesn’t matter which scenario you prefer - the important part is that Jesus rose from the dead and you have met him! His resurrection broke the cycle of sin and death for all of us in a manner that no one expected, but in a way that completely fulfilled God’s plan of salvation.


And he did it for YOU, and for ME, and for every human being! What an amazing gift! God has shown us his power over death in an incredible way, allowing us to remove that fear from our lives. I pray that you will spend some time today and this week reflecting on Jesus’ resurrection and how you have encountered him in your life.


Today I’d like to share one of my poems with you. Enjoy!


Your Resurrection

I see You rise out of the depths of the grave;

You shine with all Your glory in the morning sun.

Your cross shrinks into the background,

No longer the focus but always there,

An everlasting reminder of the tremendous gift You gave me.

You gave Your life for mine, and You ask nothing in return but love.

Lord, help me to always keep Your sweet death in my heart.

Remind me always of the great suffering You endured for me.

Place upon my heart a sign of Your precious love and forgiveness.

As I gaze upon Your tender face,

Allow me to accept Your mercy,

And thank You for the grace You have given to me.

I hold Your resurrection in my heart.


Have a blessed Monday!

Faye


If you like this meditation, please share it with others. And if you have any suggestions for topics for me to address in this blog, I’d love to hear from you. I write this blog for YOU.

You can also subscribe to my weekly emails – just send your name and email address to [email protected] and I will get you added to the list!