Tuesday, March 8, 2022

HONEY THAT FLOWS

My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of Heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.     St. John Vianney
In the middle of the night, I felt an invitation to arise from my slumber and pray. I said, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. You have the words of eternal life." What I discerned him saying was, "Things are serious, very serious. The world is in a precarious way. You must intercede as never before. Pray, pray, pray. Pray with urgency. Pray with faith. Pray with joy. Pray with sorrow. Pray at all times."
Yes, Lord. I hear you. Give us the grace to respond wholeheartedly to your plea for prayer. Help us to make that priority first in our lives. Give us perseverance by the power of your spirit to pray at all times. Like St. Paul exhorted the Ephesians: "Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints..." give us an increase of perseverance. Eph 6:18
As I googled the word "perseverance" I learned it "is a strength within the virtue category of courage" and that "courage describes strengths that help you exercise your will and face adversity." The Greek meaning of the word is to accomplish thoroughly, patient enduring, steadfastness, to abide in, and bearing against. The Hebrew meaning is to exert oneself. All of those definitions are food for meditation, especially as we consider the state of our world and the Lord's invitation to pray, pray, pray as never before.
We want to respond, we want to obey, and we need you, Lord, to work this grace deeply within our souls. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Led By The Spirit

My husband and I serve in ministry at our city's jail.

One Friday after a chapel service I was led into a women's pod. Usually, I have a reason to enter a pod. Oftentimes during the week, women make a kiosk request for bibles, rosaries, holy cards, daily meditations, etc. and we deliver those items to them. But this particular day, I had nothing to deliver. I was simply led by the Spirit to enter through the heavy steel doors into this pod (F 17) where some of the women live. Inside the large pods are the cells where they sleep.

As I crossed over the threshold of the second set of heavy steel doors, the guard at the front desk said to me, "I am happy to see you!" Such a warm hospitable remark, I thought. We don't always encounter that kind of hospitality inside the pods. I told this female guard who radiated a beautiful smile that I had nothing to deliver but just wanted to come inside and see how things were going. She asked me if I could do a "bible study." I told her I brought no resources to do that. She quickly handed me a book from beneath her desk entitled "Healing Prayer" and encouraged me to use that as a resource. Then she announced to all, "Bible Study!"

My husband and I serve on a healing ministry team so this rather amazed me and seemed perfectly natural.

Within no time ten women gathered in a room inside the pod and we were engaged in our healing prayer session. With only about a half-hour to spend with them, we began going around the large circle and one woman at a time stated their prayer intention(s) and I had the privilege to pray with each one of them and they for one another.  It was so beautiful to witness the openness of these women as they shared from the depths of their hearts about their most pressing needs. There were many requests for favor in the court system, for their children, for deliverance from drugs and alcohol. It made my heart sad to know these women were addicted to heroin, meth, and other such destructive substances.

As I gazed into their faces I said to them, "You are beautiful women created in the image and likeness of God and He has so much more for you than you can think or imagine." Tears welled up in my eyes.

It was just a prompting of the Spirit to go into that pod...and look what the Lord had prepared--a healing prayer service for ten women. And I was showered with His love and healing grace too! Glory to God!

Saturday, December 4, 2021

Enjoy Peace

My child, peace in your soul, peace in your memory, peace in your understanding, peace in your will; peace with God, peace with men, peace with yourself. Peace, peace, peace, in heaven and on earth. Peace in the depth of your heart. This is what the Child Jesus grants us through His birth. He reconciles us with His Father and gives us power to triumph over our enemies and enjoy peace in the midst of war.

- Venerable Mother Mectilde of the Blessed Sacrament (1614–1698)

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Peace to you!

My uncle, Fr. James Conner, O.C.S.O., a Trappist Monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani, wrote a homily recently about the words of Jesus found in the gospel of Luke.

 “If they do not accept you, go out into the streets and say: 
‘The dust of your town that clings to our feet, 
even that we shake off against you’”.  Luke 10:10-11

     "The words of Jesus," he said, "might seem quite harsh at first sight...However in the context of the whole text..., we see that it is done only as a last resort.

     Jesus is primarily sending his disciples into towns to proclaim the message of God’s love and care for all peoples. The primary word that He wants them to proclaim is: “Peace to this house!” It is a peace which only God can give, but a peace which is promised by all the prophets for the mission of the one sent by God.

     Jesus comes among us as the fulfillment of the promise of the coming of one who will be Prince of Peace. He comes to proclaim peace which comes from God’s loving care for each one of His children. Isaiah compares the peaceful person to a child on its mother’s breast. “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you”. That child is each one to whom the Word of God is proclaimed. It is each one of us who have received this message that God will care for us as a mother cares for her infant.

     But we don’t like to consider ourselves as infants. We want to see ourselves as self-reliant and competent to take care of ourselves and our world. We all too often act as if we did not need God’s help and protection. 
                 
     But Paul tells that “the world has been crucified to me and I to the world” (Gal 6: 14). The world that must be crucified to each one of us is the world of deceit and selfishness – a world of power and prestige. But by that very fact it is a world of lies. Jesus calls Satan the “father of lies”. The lies which Satan sows in the world and in our hearts is the lie of self-sufficiency – “I do not truly need God – I can care for myself and my world!” 

     It is such lies which lie at the root of all the evil and deceit in the world today. All too often, even leaders of nations are known more for their lies than for fostering truth. Such actions only sow dissent and division within a nation and in the hearts of those who follow him. It serves to divide the nation from other nations and even beget division within the nation itself. And Jesus said also: “A house that is divided cannot stand”. (Mark 3: 25)

     In contrast to this, Jesus sends his disciples – he sends each one of us – to spread the true message of God’s love and care for every person. We may object to world leaders sowing dissent and division, but do the very same thing in our dealings with one another in daily life.

     Each time that we encounter another person, it should embody the message: “Peace to you!”. The Christian should be a person of peace. Above all, the monk should be a man of peace – peace within himself and peace with others with whom he lives. The injunction of Jesus does not extend merely to missionaries. It extends to each one of us – whether in the monastery or in our homes and places of work. 

     That is why we express the sharing of Peace before receiving the Prince of Peace within Communion. That brief moment cannot be simply a distraction from the Eucharist – but a call to each one of us to heed the message of Jesus and truly live as men and women of peace, knowing that our names are truly written in heaven." 

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Reset the Button

Friends,

Do you ever feel you need to hit the reset button on your life? You've become aware of too many distractions causing you not to stay attracted to what's most important in your life?

Resetting can be done at any time of day, but may be easier at night before you go to bed or in the morning before starting off your new day.

At nighttime, it's helpful to take time to reconsider what happened during the course of the day.

What are the things that stand out the most in your mind? Did they bring you joy or sadness? Did they uplift or bring you down? Were you responsible for what happened or did someone else cause it? Is there something you can learn from what happened?

It's important to stay aware of your emotions during the day--the joy, the sorrow, the anger, impatience, frustrations...perhaps you've experienced them all in a day--that's not uncommon.

The emotions are talking to us. What are they saying to you? Do you know? If you were angry, why? What caused the anger? Is there something you'd do differently tomorrow? 

Here's where you reset the button. Learn from the day's experience. Resolve to do something different the next day if you need to. If it was a good day full of joy, then give many thanks. The reset button is hit that way too.

If you're resolved to hit the reset button in the morning, begin with gratitude. Give thanks for your breath and a new day to start fresh. Let gratitude rule your mind--giving thanks for even the smallest things that we take for granted.

Reset. Resolve. Refresh!


   "Blessed be the Lord, for He has heard my cry..." Ps 28: 6



Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Taking Quiet Time

     Sometimes there are so many distractions that come from every direction. Just when you think you can sit down, be still, take a deep breath and enter more deeply into the presence of God--who is with us always--other things can quickly grab our attention. For instance, the phone might ring and a family member needs you, someone might text and needs to know something about your plans later in the day, you need to go to the bathroom so you get up and you get distracted on your way back to your prayer chair, or someone in your family asks you a question even though you said, "I'm in quiet prayer now"…I've experienced all of these and more.
     So many different things can happen as we try to enter deeply into this sacred space. But regardless of the distractions, every return is virtuous when we re-commit our will to make a return. Do not let the distractions bother you even if many have already occurred--just be grateful that you’ve been given the grace to keep turning back. Be mindful of those distractions. Think about humanity and how many people are needing to enter this quietness and have no idea how to get there. But you do if only for five minutes. And that’s a very good start. 
     So uncross your legs and put both feet flat on the ground. Straighten your back and take a deep breath. Be aware of the light of the day that is shining on the world. Imagine that light penetrating your body and your mind and it is healing light. You open up to receiving it because you know you need it. And remember it is not an "it," rather a person-Him!
"I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life."  
     It is He who is calling you close, out of His enormous love, His magnanimous love. He wants to give you a kiss for the day, a kiss that will be with you throughout the day--one that will remind you and seal your identity as His child, actually as His lover. Imagine that! So embrace the five or the 10 or the 15 minutes in silence, and be filled with the light for this new day. Then let that light shine to all you meet.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

TRUST

Have you heard this way to describe trust? True Resolve Under Severe Testing. Makes perfect sense to me.

What resolve do you make when things are at their worst? How do you stand firm? Are you armed for spiritual battle? Aware that "we are fighting not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." Ephesians 6:12 Do you dress yourself daily in the armor of God, our Father in Heaven--with righteousness, peace, faith, salvation, the word of God, prayer, perseverance, supplication?


In trying times, I remind myself about God's everlasting love for me and you. That I am more than a conqueror through Him who loved us.  Romans 8:37


Sooner or later we all face terrible trials--severe testing. It may be tribulation, or distress, persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword. We have only to look across the world and see all these afflictions that people--our brothers and sisters including ourselves--are suffering from.


What will set us free? Believing God is with us through it all.


Regarding God’s Everlasting Love, the holy scriptures in Romans 8: 31-39 says: "What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written: 'For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.' Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."


Lord, increase our faith to believe and to experience your loving presence in our midst. We want to trust you in all the circumstances of our lives. Give us the grace of perseverance to endure our trials and to keep standing firm no matter what. In the power of the name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.