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

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)

 

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.

Who makes up your support network?

We all know how difficult life can be at times.  Striving to live according to God’s will for us can also be difficult.  Navigating all the distractions, detours and roadblocks can be easier with the help of a good support network.  In his book, “God’s Voice Within”, Father Mark Thibodeaux explains how crucial it is to have someone following close behind you, cheering you on, pointing to the false spirit and whispering tips in your ear.  His further explains how having good mentors, good companions and a strong link to the church makes for a great support network.

Mentors.  In today’s culture, the idea of having a mentor isn’t very popular.  We are bombarded with the idea of independence and having all the wisdom we need.  Or perhaps, we are just too busy to realize we don’t have all the answers and need someone who is actually wiser than we are.   Father Mark makes the point that everyone should have a good mentor that we visit with regularly and describes the qualities of a good mentor.  This person would be wiser but not necessarily older than you.  Your mentor may not be an expert on the particular topic you need to talk about; just a good listener.  She really believes in you.  She would never attempt to make a decision for you, even if you consciously or unconsciously push her to do so.  She shouldn’t be a close member of the family, an immediate supervisor at work, or a best friend.

Where do you find such a mentor?  You may already have someone who came to mind right away as you read the qualities listed. You might go for a visit and tell that person you would like their help in discerning a specific decision you may need to make.  If that person agrees to help, then you commit to visiting on a regular basis, i.e. weekly or monthly.  This type of mentor can also help you with issues of daily life.   However, there may be times when you have a need for mentoring in a specific area of your life.  It is similar to going to a medical specialist for a specific ailment.  You may find a need for a mentor in the area of writing, art, music, gardening.  Someone wiser and more experienced in these areas can offer help, advice and guidance.  In the case of your prayer life, you could seek out the help of a Spiritual Director.  This type of mentor has received training to listen for the movements of the spirit in a person’s prayer life and help her to notice the presence of  God and where he may be leading.

Companions.  Father Mark makes the distinction between a friend and a companion.  He explains a friend is someone who you would go out and have fun with, laugh and “hang out” with.  A companion is someone who truly wants me to be the best I can be and is never bossy or preachy.  I like to make the distinction like this – I might share a beer and a joke with a friend, but with a companion it’s a cup of coffee and a long talk.  As with a good mentor, a companion would be more advanced in the spiritual life than you are and are looking out for you.  You are able to share the deeper parts of yourself and your companion would share theirs with you.

Church.  When we get lost in the distractions, detours and roadblocks of life, we need the safe refuge of the church.  We are home there.  With its 2000 years of teaching and tradition, the church is a safe haven for those feeling desolation and fear.   The saints have so much wisdom to share with us.  Father Mark sites wonderful sources of wisdom:  Learn about surrendering to God’s will from St. Augustine.   From Mary we learn to trust in providence.  Reading about Maximillian Kolbe we learn about sacrifice.  From Francis of Assisi, we learn about poverty, from Francis Xavier we learn about passion for evangelization and from Therese’ of Lisieux, we learn about humility.   Such wisdom in the church is a treasure that is ours.

And, as Father Mark puts it, “When I feel lost, confused and frightened, the ritual of the church nourishes and strengthens me in a place too deep for words.  Ritual allows my body to act out what my soul is longing to articulate.  When I am spiritually starving, the Body and Blood are the rations that keep me alive another day.”

We all need a good, solid support network to sustain us, to nourish and guide us.  When you hear the same advice coming from the three parts of your support network, a decision becomes easier to make or the direction to take is clearer to see.  Who makes up your support network? 

Father Mark Thibodeaux’s book “God’s Voice Within” is wonderful and would be a great addition to your spiritual reading.

 

What to do when you can’t pray.

I had an experience last evening of not being able to pray when I was called to pray.  A funeral home near me called to ask that I come and pray the rosary for a family.  They call regularly to ask for a Rosary in English and French too.  I had been running around all day with errands, chores, and trying to write.  I hurriedly got in the car to arrive just before the appointed 7:00 time for the recitation of the rosary.  I asked our Blessed Mother Mary and God on the way to help me “turn off” my frantic mind and “please, just let me pray”.  Well I did pray the rosary with this grieving family; but I had to fight all the distracting thoughts of things I still had left to finish up at home.  Mid-way through the rosary, I felt God’s presence and was able to “really pray” the rosary with this family.  What a blessing!!  Even in the midst of all my distractions.  Imagine that.

The message here is, I believe, even when we feel many distractions to prayer, we should be diligent and pray anyway; even when we don’t feel like it.  I believe God calls us to prayer even when the spiritual high feelings are not evident.  The key to deepening our relationship is to show up and be present so that God can bless us with grace and peace.  It would have been easy to decline the request from the funeral home, I did have alot to do, but I answered the call, and was able to feel God helping me to pray, even when I didn’t feel I was able to.  Stand Faithful!!!

Rosary CD’s are in – Let the praying begin!!

My CDs have arrived and they look great…Rosary in English and FRENCH; and “Reflections of a Broken Heart” -This CD is particularly helpful for those grieving loss, it’s filled with spoken words of healing and inspiration to continue doing “the work” of grieving our losses.

You can get them at Crossroads Bookstore in Lafayette, The  Rosary House in New Iberia, Cades Grocery and  Company  Beauty Salon in St. Martinville.  You can also order directly from me,  mail check or money order to 107  Beacon Drive, Youngsville, LA 70592 (please add $5.00 for shipping).

English Rosary $15       French Rosary (2 cds) $20      Reflections $15

Here are a couple of comments I have received on the CD “Reflections of a Broken Heart”

“Joan offers her down-to-earth “Reflections of a Broken Heart” to those who are searching for understanding and hope as they grieve.  She poured her pain over her husband Brad’s illness and death into poetry and prayer. As Joan relates her growth through suffering and healing into a deeper spirituality, she reaches into the hearts of others and calls them to respond to their grief with grace and courage, or as she puts it, “with grace and guts.”       

MaryLahey, LPC, LMFT,  Director of Bereavement Services, The Center for Loss and Transition, Hospice of Acadiana, Inc.

“Joan, you have put into words, quite effectively, the sentiments of one who has endured the pain of losing their beloved. Your unfailing devotion and dedication to John, as well as your steadfast faith resonates profoundly through the CD. It is inspirational. My congratulations to you on putting this recording together and I wish you great success in marketing and promoting its distribution.”  

Kelly Cahill, Jr., M.D., Family Medicine

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