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)

 

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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Are you missing the banquet?

Our parish priest gave a great homily this Sunday.  He told a true story about a family coming onto the boat with bread and cheese for a long voyage.  Their were a proud family and kept to themselves, not willing to mingle with other passengers.  They stayed in their rooms and ate sparingly of their bread and cheese, wanting it to last till they reached their destination.  During the course of the trip, they grew restless and were hungry for better, more nourishing food.  On the last day of the voyage, the son begged his father to go up on deck to look around before they landed.  He said yes and the son dashed out, longing for a better view of the ship.

After several hours, the son had not returned; so the father decided to go look for him.  When he found him sitting at a large banquet table with a plate piled high with meats, vegetables and deserts – eating his fill.  The father imagined spending his first days on land in prison because he could not pay for all the food his son was consuming.

“Hey Father, come, eat; it’s all free” the son yelled as soon as he saw his father.  The captain brought me here.  He said all this food has been served every day and it is all included in the price of our tickets.

ARE YOU SETTLING FOR BREAD AND CHEESE, WHEN YOU COULD BE FEASTING ON THE BANQUET OF THE LORD?

Jesus paid the price of our ticket to paradise and he provides divine food for our journey.  His banquet is ours for the receiving each time we attend mass.  Do you miss mass on Sunday?  How about mass during the week?  If so, could you be settling for mere bread and cheese when you could be feasting on the food your body and soul desires?

HOW ARE YOU FEEDING YOUR SPIRIT – WITH BREAK AND CHEESE OR WITH THE FOOD OUR LORD PROVIDES THAT WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU THIRSTY OR HUNGRY?

What are my gifts?

Pray about this and journal…….What spiritual gifts do I have?

This past Sunday, Father talked about the spiritual gifts of the Holy Spirit.  We each have our own unique gifts that come from the same source, the Holy Spirit of God.  He reminded us of them, asked us to remember our own gifts and asked us if we are using them wisely in service to God and his church.  These gifts are:  Wisdom, Knowledge, Counsel, Fortitude, Understanding, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

Pray and Journal:   Which ones are you able to receive and claim as your own? How are you using these gifts in your own life?  Would others recognize your use of these gifts, or do you keep them hidden and unused?

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!!

 

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