Thursday, October 5, 2023


There are those times when we feel rattled, when there seems to be an endless list of things to do, when we do not know how it's all going to come together, when things seem almost impossible, when the weariness sets in, when the anxiety tries to creep back into the heart. 

When the mind doubts that it can all be done, but then the grace of God sweeps in and I find myself sitting at your feet. I cry out to you and I say, "Lord here I am--my rattled self. Take me as I am."

I know you love and accept me; help me to accept myself, help me to take a deep breath, and to know that everything will get done in the power of your spirit, with your overflowing grace, with your faithful love that flows like a river when I open up and say, " FIAT!"  

Come, Lord Jesus, I need you!'

Saturday, July 1, 2023

Simple Blessing

I was admiring the stately and brilliant zinnias in our flower garden yesterday morning when a monarch butterfly came and posed for a photo. This simple blessing surely came from above. Over eleven years ago when my precious sister, Linda, passed away we released monarch butterflies in her honor after her Funeral Mass. You can imagine any time now that I see a monarch butterfly I sense her nearness.

What simple blessings do you experience each day as you gaze at the beauty of the earth--the sun, the moon and the stars above, or the flowers, the trees and birds of the air?

A New Creation

     One morning my husband and I were reading part of a letter from St. Paul to the Colossians, found in the New Testament of the Bible. It was actually the First Reading in Liturgy of the Hours. I know--too much information. Let me get to the point...As I read I was a struck by the great message contained in this Word. The title of the excerpt was Life of a New Man. Isn't that what we long to be--a new and better creation?--a better version of ourselves as author, Matthew Kelly, would say.

     I'll just list some of the things Paul says to the Colossians and let's imagine he's speaking to us. He starts out with strong commands about what to stop doing."Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and that lust that is idolatry." Col 3: 5 How's that for nailing it right off the bat? In other words, absolutely get rid of any of that. Either we put it to death or it puts us to death.

    "Put this aside now: all the anger and quick temper, the malice, the insults, the foul language...and stop lying to one another." Col 3: 8-9 So we need to renounce anger, renounce lies and other destructive behaviors that we might engage in and pray for the grace to act maturely, that is, to exercise self-control with the words that come out of our mouths and to have the courage to speak with honesty. When we simply begin to choose and practice these virtues it gets easier and easier to live as mature people who then get into the flow of being the creative people we are meant to be.

     As St. Paul continues speaking he softens and instructs the Colossians to do these things: "Clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another, forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you."  Col 3: 12-13 In order to bear the fruit of those five virtues of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, we need to become aware of who we might need to forgive and have the willingness to forgive them, even when we may not feel like it. We choose to take the higher road. We keep in mind we are setting ourselves free when we forgive others and more wonderful things can happen when blocks, like unforgiveness, are removed from within us. 

     And then my favorite part of St. Paul's admonition--"Over all these virtues put on love. Christ's peace must reign in your hearts." Colossians 3: 14-15 There is truly nothing more powerful than love. Love transcends everything. It can speak all the languages of the universe. It can powerfully impact the hearts of everyone.  We seek to be love in this world. And peace reigns in our hearts when we choose this path of life.

     Finally, Paul says..."Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs."  Col 3: 15-16 Thanksgiving needs to be every day. Dedicate means to commit. We commit ourself to be a thankful person. When we remember to give thanks daily for all the gifts we take for granted--for breath, for life, for the people we love, for a place to live and food to eat, for the basics and all the extra surprises that happen unexpectedly, we enter into a more heavenly place on earth. Thanksgiving is a gateway into the presence of the Father Almighty.

    Imagine someone who is dressed in filthy garments. You are watching as they remove those dirty clothes and they say, "I don't need these anymore because there is something much better laying right here for me." When Paul spoke of "put to death" and "put this aside", it's getting rid of the filth that has turned us into selfish and, oftentimes, violent people. And now you can see them picking up clean, beautiful, royal-like garments and redressing themselves. They are choosing to clothe themselves with the beautiful virtues. Then they see a gorgeous velvet robe laying there too and put it over all the new clothes--that's the LOVE robe.

     And so I humbly pray+
     Lord Jesus, we desire to live as new creations, as new women and new men. Put to death, by the power of your Holy Spirit, whatever may be "rooted in earth" within us. Give us an increase of virtue to replace all that we need to put aside. Especially bless our mouths and all that comes from them. We command the stronghold of a lying spirit to leave us and ask for the spirit of truth to reign in our lives. 
    Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with the same heartfelt compassion that Jesus had as he walked the earth. We long for the river of grace to flow through us. We will that all unforgiveness be gone toward those we have hardened our hearts against. Set us free, Lord, to forgive as you have forgiven. We surrender to love. Fill us with more of your Holy Spirit who is the love between you and the Father. We surrender to peace. Touch our minds that we may be transformed with good, holy, and pure thoughts that increase the peace within our hearts. 
    We thank you, Lord Jesus, for everything--for breathe, life, for each new day, for grace to be transformed, and power to turn from all that is not good, for your Holy Spirit that fills us, and your word that dwells richly within us. Increase our wisdom so we may help one another to find the right path that leads to eternal life. And finally, put a song of grateful joy ever in our mouths as we honor and praise you for all you have done for us. Amen.

Resist Discouragement

Sometimes do you feel like numerous thoughts or emotions have collided within you and are beginning to weigh you down? Like maybe you're missing a loved one, someone said something that bothered you, you're not sure what next step to take, someone doesn't seem interested in your project, someone didn't reply after you asked them to get back with you, or you've lost some connections with people. And all these kinds of thoughts are making you feel sad or even depressed? These are simply a few examples of some very real instances that could mount up in our minds.

Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Don't go too far in that thinking. Right here and now you need to resist the temptation to think things are going wrong. Get a grip on your emotions. Talk to them. Tell the negative emotions to get out.

Say, "Sadness, you have no place here. Go! Getty up. Good-bye!"A most powerful way to rid ourselves of negative spirits is to say, "In the name of Jesus, I renounce  ______(whatever it is). Ask it to go directly and immediately to the foot of the cross.

Then go immediately to thankfulness. Surely some things are going right. Speak 'em out! Thank you for the sunshine, for the rain, for the person that was kind, for my friend...whatever you are thankful for that day.

We must develop good habits to stand firm against the temptations of the evil one who comes to rob, steal and destroy our peace. The victory is ours but we must exercise our authority as a child of God. 

True Peace

My dear brothers and sisters,

Who wants true peace? Or maybe the better question is, who doesn't want true peace? Our pastor preached a good homily at church sharing from Psalm 23 where the true definition of peace can be found. 

“The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I lack.  In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me;...” Ps 23: 1-2

Not only does the Lord give us true peace, but also an everlasting  fullness of measure.

“You set a table before me as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows,
Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; 
I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.”  Psalm 23: 5-6

The Lord guides, protects, provides and nourishes forever! Christ Jesus is our peace. 

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father."    Ephesians 2: 13-18

We read in Ephesians how Christ is our peace. He broke down walls of division, especially "divisions within our own heart," said our Pastor.

Have you thought about that before? It's pretty powerful to reflect on. If He broke down these dividing walls within us and among us, why are we allowing them to remain?

We were encouraged that Sunday to first examine our own hearts and "let God’s love permeate every aspect of our lives." We were exhorted to heal any division within our hearts in order to find peace and to allow our faith to permeate every aspect of our being as well.

I don't know about you, but for me, this teaching brings me to another point of surrender, of throwing my arms up to my Heavenly Papa and praying, Come, Lord. Jesus. I am yours. Help me. Take me. Mold me into your likeness. I give you my heart. Heal its divisions. Make me whole so I may serve you better and love my brothers and sisters in this world with deeper compassion.