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)

 

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.

 

Autumn Spirituality

With the coming of autumn and the end of all the great summer activities, I feel a sense of “coming to the interior of my spirit”.  As some of the outdoor activites come to a close and I find myself looking to indoor projects to consider.  I am reluctant to let go of the outdoors but I realize that autumn is a time of dormancy and a time of releasing what was.  To me, autumn is a time of quiet, silence, and growth.  It’s a time to not only be inside but to look inside as well.

Take some time this fall, to sit quietly and look inside your spirit and see what needs tending.  As author, Joyce  Rupp says, “No new growth will come unless autumn agrees to let go of what has been.”  This is so true of our lives.  We are called to let go of the past, embrace the present season and allow God to take care of the future.  It is all in His hands.

I recently had my 61st birthday and approach the same age as my mother when she died.  I am reminded this autumn of my own mortality.  Some people don’t like this season because of trees losing their leaves and many of the summer plants and flowers die.  The falling leaves can make one feel sad or lonely.  They can be a reminder that we are called to let go of many things throughout our life.  Each time we have to surrender something, we connect with death and our own ultimate moment of letting so.

This season is a time to reflect on this reality.

It is in this season of autumn we are faced with questions we would probably prefer to avoid.

Who have I become?  Do I like who I have become?

Who and what do I value?

What do I believe about life after death?

What good have I done and has my life been worthwhile?

How do I want people to remember me?

Do I have unfinished  business?

Do the people I love know that I love them?  Have they heard these words from me?

Joyce Rupp reminds us that although autumn might seem to be a harsh reminder of death, we can also be encourage to enter into the mystery of eternal life.  We see autumn standing in surrender as the winds sweep her trees naked.   The frost browns her meadows and deadens her plants.  But a deeper truth is beneath the  appearance of death. 

So during this autumn, fall season I suggest that you not run from life’s changes and let go what keeps you from growing into the person you were created to be.  We must never forget that spring is not too far away and new life awaits us all.  God Bless.

Discerning God’s Voice as an Invitation

Have you never wondered if what you are doing is within the will of God?  I sure have.  I have recently been discerning several activities I am involved in and whether I should continue because me and my ego want to; or because I feel God calling me to them.  I was reminded this week by my Spiritual Director that when God calls us to do something he doesn’t “order us” – he “invites us”.   In my case, I was feeling overwhelmed with many things on my plate.  I was feeling the burden of being told what to do from voices in my past which is an indication of a false spirit trying to detract my efforts.

My discernment involved being quiet in prayer and asking God to invite me again.  Once I was able to hear the His invitation and not the “marching orders” of a false spirit;  I knew what activities I needed to pursue.

Remember….God will always invite us to serve him.  Then, it is our free will to accept that invitation or not.  Once we accept, we discern the cost of serving and then set about doing his will – all from a place of freedom to serve not from a place of fear and obligation.

Take a pause today, be silent, go to prayer and listen for your invitation.

God’s response to my prayer:  “Beloved, go about the work I set for you.  Don’t look for a big holy resurrection moment – just work and do your best.  Don’t look for out loud confirmation.  Just know and believe that I love you and won’t leave you alone to do this work.” 

Faith in My Old Purse

It’s old, tattered and worn; years of being hauled around, tossed here and there.

Its leather has grown wrinkled and showing its age.

Although it holds many things… keys, wallet, lipstick and gum;

There is always the rosary, kept in a secret pocket as a reminder that the carrier of this old purse is never alone.

There are times when the purse is nearly thrown out – its usefulness questioned.

A new one is found, tried for a time, only to reveal the secret pocket is not to be found and,

There is no space for the prayer-book that brings comfort.

So back to the old purse with its soft supple feel – nothing to fear from this old friend.

It’s all “broken-in” like a familiar companion who stands at the ready to hold what is necessary and dear.

     Has your faith stood the test of time, trail and joy?  For some people, in times of trial we question our faith or perhaps abandon it.  But if we stand faithful to what we believe, those times of trial can present an opportunity for God to reveal himself as  a tried and true savior who will not abandon us.  He does not send trials to us.  What he does is promise to walk with us through all trials and share in our pain.

Where is your faith?  Like the old purse, it may feel tattered and worn out, but let your faith be strong and unwavering in the face of life’s bitter times.   While a purse does indeed need to be replaced, our faith never does.  We are called to stand faithful no matter how tired, tattered or weary we feel.  God will always be there to carry us.  All we have to do is ask.

Am I worthy? Part 2

Pray about this…..and journal.  I would love to hear your thoughts.  This is a great subject to bring for discussion with your Spiritual Director. 

Are we worthy?   We should remember that we will always fall short of being worthy because of our sinful human nature.  We believe that God’s love and mercy are his gift to us in spite of our unworthiness.  This will keep us humble and always grateful for what he blesses us with, like his graces.

So, you might be wondering….doesn’t living in a way that is acceptable to God make me worthy?   Scripture says “works without faith is dead”.  Jesus said we need to believe that he is God’s son and that he came to save us, pay the price for our sin and pave the way to heaven for us.  That is how we are redeemed, or “made worthy”.  All the good works don’t save us, it is our faith.  And, if we have faith Jesus speaks of, we would naturally want to do all the good/acceptable things.

So here is the question to reflect/pray about and journal: 

When you are watching the Priest consecrate the host; as he raises up the body and blood of  Christ….what are your thoughts?  As you are walking up to receive Him in the Eucharist….what are you thinking, praying?

My response:  As I gaze on the consecrated Eucharist, I acknowledge Jesus’ body and blood, I ask God to receive me in union with Him.  I am in awe of His love for me.  As I am walking up to receive Him, I go presenting myself as being unworthy of his love, unworthy of Jesus’ sacrifice and of all the gifts He gives me.  Some say that we are worthy or else God would not have created us, much less sacrificed his Son for us and have loved us the way he does.   This causes me to reflect:  “So am I worthy after all?”  If I am, then I am truly loved?  Can I believe this?”  I believe this is the real connection between knowing something in my head to finally having this belief in my heart/soul/spirit.  This is a big truth and big joy comes into my soul.  This is why I am always so happy after attending mass.  Jesus’ union with me in the Eucharist enlightens my soul with His love for me.  I am redeemed!!

 

Am I worthy? Part 1

Pray about this and journal……I would love to hear your response

At mass we say, “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul would be healed.”  What is the “word” the Lord would have to say in order to heal my soul and make me worthy?

What do you think the word is?

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