Prayer Only for Today

I came across this beautiful prayer several days ago in the Magnificat Year of Mercy Companion book.  I’ve been praying it and would like to offer it for your reflection.

Only for today, I will seek to live the livelong day positively without wishing to solve the problems of my life all at once.

Only for today, I will dress modestly; I will not raise my voice; I will be courteous in my behavior; I will not criticize anyone; I will not claim to improve or to discipline anyone except myself.

Only for today, I will be happy in the certainty that I was created to be happy, not only in the other world but also in this one.

Only for today, I will adapt to circumstances, without requiring all circumstances to be adapted to my own wishes.

Only for today, I will devote ten minutes to some good reading, for good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.

Only for today, I will do one good deed and not tell anyone about it.

Only for today, I will do at least one thing I do not like doing; and if my feelings are hurt, I will make sure that no one notices.

Only for today, I will make a plan for myself; I may not follow it to the letter, but I will make it. And I will be on guard against two evils: hastiness and indecision.

Only for today, I will firmly believe, despite appearances, that the good providence of God cares for me as no one else who exists in this world.

Only for today, I will have no fears.  In particular, i will not be afraid to enjoy what is beautiful and to believe in goodness.

(Pope John XXIII)

 

Need a good read for your book group?

I am proud to present the second edition of my book, Grief Guts and Grace, recently published by Tate Publishing.

I would like to give the book groups in our area the opportunity to be among the first to read this Second Edition of my book, Grief Guts and Grace.  This new edition has been published by Tate Publishing and contains reflection questions that help with grief work.  It also contains new images of the angels in our yard as well as more poetry on grief.

I am willing to do a Question/Answer with your group after you have finished reading it.  I am also happy to sign books for your group.  If my book fits the focus and interest of your group, message me to arrange delivery of books and a date for Q&A.

The official release date for this second edition of Grief Guts and Grace was March 17.              I will be having a book signing at The Lab, in River Ranch, Lafayette, LA on May 16, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  Come see me – I would love to sign a book for you!!

Grief Guts and Grace is currently available at Crossroads  Book Store in Lafayette, La, through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Tate Publishing’s web site, http://www.tatepublishing.com.  You can also purchase them directly from me.  Cost is $10.99.  Message me for ordering information.

I look forward to talking to you about my book.

Front cover

You’re going to the Nativity…are you ready?

I invite you into an imaginative contemplation using the style taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola. Ignatius teaches us to enter a scene in scripture as an observer, as one of the people in scripture or as in the contemplation I offer here as yourself. We take part in the scripture scene and hear the message God has intended for us,
So, take a quiet moment away from the shopping, decorating, cooking, and all the Christmas preparations and come to the nativity. There is a young girl there about to have a baby and she needs your help. You can decide which person you are called to be – the innkeeper, the husband, the girl, a passerby, an observer, or maybe the innkeeper’s wife.
This contemplation begins with the innkeeper telling the husband that he has no more rooms. All the rooms in his inn are filled with people who have come to Bethlehem in order to fulfill their requirements of the census called by Herod.
The husband is turning to leave, when the innkeeper tells him he can use their stable behind the inn. There are animals in it but it’s all he has to offer. The husband is grateful and accepts, glad to have the shelter.
As the husband leaves the innkeeper’s wife comes in, having just walked by the girl on the donkey, heavy with child.
She tells her husband ” How could send that man to the stables, didn’t he tell you his wife was going to have a baby, and it might be as soon as tonight?”
The husband replied “No, he didn’t tell me anything about a wife.”
So, his wife goes to gather her best linens and tells him “I’ll be in the stable with that couple. They are about to become a family. That young girl looks so tired and frightened. I bet this is her first child. I’m going help her so don’t look for me for a whole. I’m staying with her for as long as she needs me.”
The innkeeper’s wife goes to the stable just as the couple are settling in. She helps to gather straw and sets up a makeshift bed for them as she notices the girl is beginning to go into labor.
“Rest easy my lady, I’m here and I’m not leaving you. I can help you. I’ve had two babies of my own and know what to do.” instructs the woman.
They introduce themselves to each other. They talk about their lives, their husbands and mostly about their faith. As the night wears on, the woman is mid-wife to the young woman, Mary who has not become her friend.

(Imagine for yourself what that conversation would have been like. What would you like to say to her; to ask her? How would you care for her? )

As the baby is born, the older woman is wondering where all the music is coming from – seems to be coming from the sky – the heavens! She wonders who these three men are and where they came from. They say they came to worship their King. She looks at her new friend, Mary, and wonders at all this. As she begins to understand the meaning of this night, Mary takes her Son from the manger and offers him to the woman.
“May I introduce you to Jesus, my son, your King?” says Mary as she hands her son to the woman.

Ponder the scene:
Do you accept Jesus right away or is some hesitation to accept this precious gift? If you accept him, look into his eyes and allow him to see into your heart and love you unconditionally, just as you are! If there is hesitation, ask Jesus to show you why and heal whatever resistance there may be so that you can enjoy the fullness of his love!

Merry Christmas Mary, my friend. Thank you for bringing Jesus to me!

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Psalm 23 – A different twist with a lesson.

Our pastor gave an interesting homily last Sunday.  He used a version of the 23rd Psalm to make the point about how we can be so separated from God that everything becomes distorted. We should look at our passions and what we spend time doing.  Do our activities line up with our faith, convictions and beliefs?  Here is the distorted version of the 23rd Psalm Father read to us.  Ask God to reveal any truth in it for your life.

The TV is my shepherd, I shall not want.

It makes me to lie down on the sofa

It leads me away from the faith,

It destroys my soul

It leads me to the path of sex and violence for the advertiser’s sake.

Even though I walk in the shadow of Christian responsibilities,

There will be no interruption, for the TV is with me.

Its cable and remote control, they comfort me

It prepares a commercial for me in the midst of my worldliness

And anoints my head with secular humanism and consumerism.

My covetousness runs over;

Surely ignorance and laziness shall follow me all the days of my life.

And I shall dwell in the hose of wretchedness, watching TV forever.

(Source: Homily broadcast on EWTN, March 18, 2002)

First of all, let me say that not all TV is bad and we should carefully discern what is good for the spirit.  Maybe, TV is not your shepherd as the parody implies; perhaps Iphone, internet, shopping, going to the casino, or some other activity has become the wrong shepherd for you.

 Just be aware that the false spirit can use anything to distract us from the real meaning of this beautiful Psalm. This is a beautiful way to live; a way that leads to life, peace and true happiness.

The Lord is my shepherd: I shall not want

In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

Beside restful waters he leads me;

He refreshes my soul.

He guides me in right paths for  his names sake

Even though I walk in the dark valley

I fear no evil; for you are at my side

with your rod and your staff

that gives me courage (Psalm 23:1-4)

 

The Holy Spirit can be Unpredictable – Catholic New Service

A wonderful thought-provoking article. Isn’t everyone entitled to all the sacraments, regardless of their circumstance?  What do you think?  Would readily agree to baptize the “Martians” in your family?

 

Allow Holy Spirit to lead, pope says, even when Spirit is unpredictable

http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1401934.htm


By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Christians must recognize that they do not lead or guide the church, but that the Holy Spirit does and the Holy Spirit can be unpredictable, Pope Francis said.

“If, for example, an expedition of Martians arrived tomorrow,” and one said he wanted to be baptized, “What would happen?” the pope asked May 12 during his early morning Mass at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.

Explaining that he really was talking about Martians, something unimaginable, he said he meant beings that are “green, with long noses and big ears, like in children’s drawings.”

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis said that if the Holy Spirit prompted the most unusual being to seek baptism, who would we be to hinder that person?

The pope focused his homily on the day’s first reading, Acts 11:1-18, which tells of the Apostles’ discussion — and consternation — over the Holy Spirit descending on a group of Gentiles at a time when the rest of the community of believers came from the Jewish tradition.

From the very beginnings of Christianity, the pope said, church leaders and members have been tempted at times to block the Holy Spirit’s path or try to control it.

“When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let’s do it this way,'” he said. “Who are we to close doors?”

Many parishes, Pope Francis said, have ushers to open the church doors and welcome people in, “but there has never been a ministry for those who close the doors. Never.”

“The Holy Spirit is the living presence of God in the church,” he said. Jesus sent the Spirit after his ascent into heaven to guide the church and lead it forward into uncharted territory.

The Spirit “makes unthinkable, unimaginable choices,” the pope said. “And we Christians must ask the Lord for the grace of docility to the Holy Spirit” in order to follow the Spirit’s lead.

END

 

Prayer Chain/Magic Novena – Why not to respond to them.

Have you ever received an email with a beautiful prayer or novena in it – along with some very explicit instructions on how you are to repeat it at specific times for so many days.  Many senders call it a prayer chain.  Once you have completed the prescribed instructions, the answer to your prayer or petition will miraculously happen;  as though saying these prayers as instructed will induce God to do your will.  I received emails like this every few weeks from some well-intentioned God-fearing people who have no idea what they are promoting.

My sister recently picked up a novena prayer to St. Jude Thaddeus from the book shelf at her parish church.  She had been suffering with bronchitis and a bad nagging cough.  She decided to take her illness to prayer and offered up this prayer to  St. Jude every day at the same time of day that she found the prayer in church.  After the days of prayer she experienced healing from bronchitis and the coughing had subsided.  She then decided to pray the novena again in gratitude for graces she received.  When she picked up the prayer sheet and unfolded it, she found the instructions for saying this novena.  It instructed the petitioner to pray the novena 6 times a day for the prescribed number of days.  She had only prayed the novena once each day – not having noticed the explicit instructions on the inside of the sheet of paper.   This goes to prove that God is not looking for gimmicks or tricks to petition  his will.  He only desires our sincere prayer and the giving of our will over to him.

I have wanted to respond to the emails containing this type of prayer chain saying something to the effect that God is not “on call” and waiting to give us what we ask for especially if we do it in an obligatory fashion as instructed.  Not wanting to offend the proffer of these prayer recipes I have asked a priest what is the best way to instruct rather than offend in my reply to them.

Here is the response Father said I should include as my reply when I receive such emails:

“I received your email containing a prayer chain.  I choose not to forward it & would like to tell you why.  A “chain prayer” or letter tells of a “future event” that will happen if the directions are followed.  To foretell the future is a sin, and has always been condemned by the law of God.  God’s promises are to those who obey HIS laws, not the other way around.   

The Catholic Church actually considers chain prayers/letters a blessing and a curse.  If a person fails to forward the chain letter, the curse can be the threat of bad luck.   If the person continues the chain letter, he is promised good luck or some form of  prosperity. This is occultist and against Church teachings. 

To the unaware Catholic, sending out prayers to friends seems a good thing to do.  What we often fail to realize is the pretext of the “prayer” might make it sinful rather than a blessing.  For example, a common chain may contain a beautiful prayer, poem, or picture of Jesus; and warns the reader of bad luck if he doesn’t forward it to a certain number of people within a certain number of minutes.

The reader is “enticed” to forward it in exchange for personal reward.  This makes it clearly not a blessing.  That person is relying on “following the directions” to obtain the desired outcome rather than simple faith in God for answers to personal prayer.  No matter how seemingly holy the content of the email is, the context is evil.  It undermines the charity and love of God for mankind.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church addresses the sending of chain prayers/letters in order to obtain a desired outcome in the future in Section 2115. 

“God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints.  Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Improvidence, however, can constitute a lack of responsibility.”

 Some people do not see any wrong in sending a chain letter.  They may do it for “fun”- but is it right? It is not.  We are to be role models to others of what a Christian is, and when we send chain prayers or letters, we are not being true to that call.  As we find Christ and proclaim Him as Lord of our lives, we need to search for the truth and what He wants of us.  It is in that spirit of truth that I choose not to forward any “prayer chains”.

Consider this next time you receive a prayer chain email, pick one up in church or feel the temptation to pass one on.

 

You and Advent – Make it personal.

In the spirit of Ignatian imaginative contemplation I would like to offer a reflection for Advent.  It is a deeply personal experience of mine while on a 12 day retreat in Azpeitia, Spain in 2008.  This experience has has a profound affect on  my spirituality.  The Retreat Center we stayed at was the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola.  He began the Jesuit Order and was the first Spiritual Director.  Much of what we do as  Spiritual Directors is modeled after his teachings, the Spiritual Exercises.

nativityReflect on the biblical scene of Mary and Joseph riding up to the inn, asking for a room.  You might read the nativity story in Scripture.  Put yourself in this scene as the inkeeper’s wife.  You hear the innkeeper tell them that there is no room, but they can have the stable.  This is upsetting to you, as the woman is obviously close to delivering her baby.  You go to the woman, carrying your best linens and offer to help her.

This special night, you help mid-wife the woman to deliver her baby.  Think about the conversation you might have with her.  She is very young.  She has been riding the donkey for a long time and is tired and no doubt, in a lot of pain.  She is probably very frightened.  However, you notice how peaceful she is – where does it come from?  How can she be so calm in the face of delivering her first child, in a dark, dingy stable so far from home.   Where does this strong faith come from in a girl so young?  You ask her about it.  What does she tell you?

As you spend the night with this young woman and her husband – you notice their love and concern for each other.  Do you have relationships that look similar to theirs?  What does the husband say to you?  What is he like?  Is his faith as strong as hers?  As him about his faith?

When morning comes and Mary is holding her child, she looks at you and thanks you for your assistance.  Then she leans forward and extends her baby to you.  Pause here for a moment, and ponder – do you immediately take and receive this child  – or is there any sort of hesitation.baby jesus

As we all know, Mary will always lead us to her son.  And here she is offering him to you.  Do you accept and receive him in your arms, in your heart, in your life?  An important question.  If you accept this  invitation, you life will change forever.  You may be required to change old sinful ways in order to fully accept and hold this infant in your heart.  As you look into the eyes of this child, you know that he is looking right into your soul.  What does he see?

We’ll look at what he sees during Lent…………

For now, ponder and enjoy the wonder of this night!!!

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