Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Faith

Are you discouraged or angry about the events of this world?
Have you lost contact with your faith?
Begin to rekindle it to find hope. Love and peace.
Our world, our life is temporary. Our creator, our God is eternal.
Trust in eternity.
All is well.
Peace and love to you my friends.
+++++++++++++++


2 Timothy 3:14
But you, remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it.
There are many similarities between the times of Saint Paul and our own. Living a Christian life was a conscious choice and was not supported by society at large. Christians were faced with many temptations to turn from their beliefs or to grow lax in the practice of their faith. Paul exhorts Timothy (and us) to be faithful to what we have learned and believed about Jesus. Our gathering for Eucharist is a way we strengthen our faith, as well as support one another for our common mission as disciples. Our individual faithfulness builds a stronger faith community.
Where do I find strength for living my Christian faith?
Loyola Press 3 minute retreat

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Breath

I attended centering prayer on Saturday. The leader mentioned that the Holy Spirit breathes us.
That was my focus for the exercise of centering to silence.
Allowing, like I have a choice, the Holy Spirit to breathe me.

After centering I thought, I can only hold my breath for so long. Then I breathe. It is not my choice to do so because I am trying to hold my breathe. It is the choice of the Holy Spirit to breathe me, to keep me alive for awhile longer, and that length of time is not mine to choose or decide either.

Think about this, the Holy Spirit breathes us. We are not the breathers. Breathing is not of my own doing or my choice. Breathing is holy, it is sustaining life with the Holy Spirit. It is life.

How will I go through the day with this concept of the Holy Spirit breathing me?
Will I think about it or be unconscious of it just like I am unaware of my breathing?

Our God, in this Holy Spirit is alive with us, within us and around us in others, in all things.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Easter in us

For those of us who have experienced dissension and strife,
let Christ, the Prince of Peace, Easter in us!
May he give us quietness of heart.

For those if us who have suffered deceits and lies
let Christ, the Truth, Easter in us!
May he teach us the truth of his love.

For those if us who have a difficult time forgiving-
  forgiving others and ourselves,
let Christ, the Merciful Lord, Easter in us!
May he draw us nearer to his compassionate heart.

For those if us who struggle with self-esteem-
   a feeling of lack of worth,
let his Majesty, the King of Glory, Easter in us!
May he remind us of our royal dignity.

For those if us who have experienced betrayals,
let Jesus, the Divine Friend, Easter in us!
May he introduce us to his intimate friendship,
and to people whose holy friendships will bring us
closer to God and neighbor.

For those if us who struggle to find the right words to say,
let Jesus, the Word himself, Easter in us!
May he give us the gift of speech - speech that is
holy, good and affirming of God-given life.

For those of us who suffer illness - of mind, heart, body
let God, the Divine Physician, Easter in us!
May he touch us with his gift of healing.

For those if us who experience the stress of scholarly endeavors
let Jesus, the Teacher, Easter in us!
May he give us the gift of recollected study time,
and the gift to express our thoughts readily and clearly.

For those of us who have lost direction or are searching for the right path,
let Jesus, the Way, the Truth, and the Light, Easter in us!
May he help us to see where he is directing us,
and may we follow him with steadfast devotion.

For those of us who have experienced hatred
or violence to body, heart, or mind,
let God, Love himself, Easter in us!
May he introduce us to his great love,
and may his love shine forth in our daily lives.

God is alive!
May he Easter in us!
Today, let us carry his life into the world!
St Edith Stein, pray for us.
Amen

By Dr. Dianne M Traflet
Author of Saint Edith Stein, a spiritual portrait

On 8/19/2014 verbal permission received by author to post to this blog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pray for peace. Pray that our hearts of anger and hatred are softened toward love.

Prayer is the only thing that will change us.

We love our money and things, our property, our righteousness so much we are willing to kill each other. 

There is no we or them. There is only us. 

The people we deem to have power and wealth, have not brought us peace. Because their wealth and power is superficial. It is temporary.

Only the power and wealth of God's love and mercy can bring us peace and it is delivered through God's grace.

Get down on your knees as often as possible and pray. Pray till you sweat blood. Pray for yourself, pray for your family, pray for us. Just pray!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What's the Point?

Ecclesiastes 12 :7 Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.

Psalm 119:1 Happy are those whose way is blameless, who walk by the teaching of the Lord.

What is the point of the scripture above?



Oprah asks a final question to her Super Soul Sunday guests, "what do you know for sure?" 

One day I would like Oprah to ask me that questions as a guest on her show. 

And my answer is, "I know for sure that no human being made the world we live in or the means by which all was created. This is the work of an intelligent and all encompassing being that we have named God."

When I read the first scripture knowing what I know for sure, it tells me that I started with God and will return to God. Period.

The second scripture is telling me what to do with the time in-between those two events, beginning and end. Be blameless by living a life that is guided by God's teaching. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Life as a Christian

My son said to me one day, "if you were born into a Jewish family, you would be Jewish. Or into a Muslim family you would be Muslim. And if you were born into a Buddhist family, you would be Buddhist. So being Christian is only a result of the family you were born into and the beliefs they hold."

I get his point and the beauty of living in America is that everyone has the freedom to either adopt the faith they were born into or not.

I know the Christian faith, specifically, the Catholic tradition is the faith for me. I have looked into Judaism and read the teachings of Pema Chodron, an American Buddhist nun, to supplement the Christian teachings. The Buddhist slogan, cause no harm, is very much in line with the 10 commandments and Jesus teachings about loving God, self and neighbor.

I think it is best to look at the similarities of all the religious traditions instead of getting stuck on how many there are or which one is followed. After all there is one God who created all and that includes all of the religious variations human beings believe.

I attended a friend's 50th wedding anniversary yesterday. The ceremony was beautiful and the scripture below stuck with me.

It is from the Book of Romans. Paul is its scribe. I think all the religions of our human experience hold some essence of his words.

How about we all start trying to live by them instead of being in constant debate about who is right or better.

Our main focus in this life is whether we are living our lives in a way that will get us back to the God who created us. I think this is God's will.

Our God is Holy, meaning pure. We must become pure to be able to mix well with God.

If God is oil then we must become oil. And if God is water then we must become water. Otherwise we won't mix.

If your home is filled with love and peace and someone who is angry, bitter and a trouble maker wants to live with you, would you let them? I think you would prefer to have someone who is also loving and peaceful.

This is our God. Love and peace. We must become that too.

I find that Jesus is the closest if not the only human being to reflect this image of God. Therefore I follow His teaching with the hope that I too may become like Him. He lived a life that is so radically in contradiction to the teachings and way of life that it changed our world as we knew it. He set the example of how to live in a way that will get us back to God.

If I found this God like image in any other religious tradition, I would be following Him or Her.
And this is how it works. It is not about the faith we are born into. It is about what we do with the faith that we are taught. Do we use it to become like God, love and peace?

I know if all of us lived by these words we would see love and peace in our lives.

Want to give it a try?

Romans 12:1-2, 9-18
I urge you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God,
     to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice,
     holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.
Do not conform yourselves to this age
     but be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
     that you may discern what is the will of God,
     what is good and pleasing and perfect.
Let love be sincere;
     hate what is evil,
     hold on to what is good;
     love one another with mutual affection;
     anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in zeal,
     be fervent in spirit,
     serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
     endure in affliction,
     persevere in prayer.
Contribute to the needs of the holy ones,
     exercise hospitality.
Bless those who persecute you,
     bless and do not curse them.
Rejoice with those who rejoice,
     weep with those who weep.
Have the same regard for one another;
     do not be haughty but associate with the lowly;
     do not be wise in your own estimation.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil;
     be concerned for what is noble in the sight of all.
If possible, on your part, live at peace with all.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Divine Mercy

My faith journey has been filled with many curves, hills and valleys. I have tried and questioned many of the religions and non religions throughout the years.

I was born and raised in the Catholic tradition where Jesus Christ is the savior of the world.

He who believes in the Son will have eternal life. John 3:36

Through my growth and maturity I have come to know God as love. I can not imagine that love would leave anyone behind because they could not see Jesus Christ as the savior. And because the particular religion or non religion they were born and raised in does not have this teaching.

So I question this. And I ask, how come there are so many ways to get to God? It can be confusing.

I hear these same questions from my sons as they journey with their faith. And from others who are searching in their lives.

Do you have similar questions?

Well maybe I have an answer.

Let's see.

I attended the Women's Commission day of reflection several months ago. It was an all day retreat with speakers, food,vendors, Holy hour and Mass.

I enjoyed it very much and was left wondering about a Saint that was mentioned in one of the talks, Saint Maria Faustina.

Who is this woman who established and taught Divine Mercy?

What is Divine Mercy?

She danced in my subconscious until I searched for her on Amazon.com (the five and dime of the 21st century, where you can find anything! So, I figured I could find a Saint there, hehe).

And I did.

Her diary is published, in paperback. There was no kindle version to my disliking, because I want it instantly and I want to save the resources of paper and gas in the creation and distribution of a paperback book.


So I waited for Saint Faustina to arrive in her time!!



I am told that we don't pick the Saint, the Saint picks us. Then I waited with excitement after hearing this because of what I might learn from her.


Someone else told me that she read her diary and it is quit boring. I thought that that might be the case because it is her diary. It has meaning to her and without being her it is hard to really understand what she was going through. Hard to feel what she was feeling or know the surrounding circumstances.

So my excitement dwindled a bit and my trust in her, since she picked me, remained high.

Saint Faustina's diary arrived and I dove right into it. I started with the introduction to get a flavor for what was inside.

Fascinating!

She was born on August 25, 1905 and died on October 5, 1938. She lived for 33 years which is the age Jesus started his ministry, 33.

She is known as the Apostle of The Divine Mercy and is regarded as an outstanding mystic of the Church. Mysticism is the science or art of spiritual life. Mystics, those who practice mysticism, view their experience as a way of human transformation.

She was born into a poor family and spent most of her time working on her relationship with God. "She zealously went about her duties, she faithfully observed all religious rules, she was recollected and kept silent, all the while being natural, cheerful, full of kindness and of unselfish love of neighbor." 1

She states, "You know from my earliest years I have wanted to become a great saint; that is to say, I have wanted to love You with a love so great that there would be no soul who has hitherto Loved You so"( Diary 1372).

You = Jesus. And these types of conversations with Jesus are throughout the book. Most if not all of her diary entries are like prayers. Many of them are used in adoration of Jesus, in novenas and general prayers today.

I have constant conversation going on in my head with myself! Maybe I can make some good out of all that chatter by directing it toward Jesus?

Her diary is amazing and inspiring. Her devotion to Jesus is so beautiful.

The dedication page has this written:
My Daughter, be diligent in writing down every sentence I tell you concerning My Mercy, because this is meant for a great number of souls who will profit from it. (Diary 1142)

WOW! Jesus is talking back to her!!! And told her that many souls will profit from what he is going to tell her! I am HOOKED! I don't know if it is my soul or my Accountant brain that is more excited by the word profit.

I did not start reading from the beginning of the book because this passage captured my attention full stop! So I started with the diary passages that begin with the number 11 as the above passage.

Diary passages 1101- 1200 speak about how Jesus wants to save all souls. He asks Saint Faustina to teach about this desire and call it His Divine Mercy. He asked her to paint a picture of the image she saw of him. The image is in the picture above.

I moved to the beginning of the book and it contains passages about her devotions, faith struggles and conversations with Jesus.

Overall, this book tells me that Jesus is available to everyone, regardless of our birth religion. I invite you to speak with Jesus and St. Faustina in prayer. And pick up a copy of the Diary. We never know how it will speak to us and lead us in our lives!

I have a lot more of the Diary to read. I'm taking my time with it so I can ponder the words and listen for direction.


1 Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska.