(Advent and Christmas reflection)
What is in a gift? How do we open a gift? Do we open the gift slowly or tear it open?
Do we honor the gift giver? and the gift?
Do we silently cherish, hold, and look intently at the gift?
or do we put aside the gift,
paying no attention to the work, love and care that went into presenting the gift?
When we receive a gift, we often look at the wrapping
and then we tear it off, as if we only want to see what is inside;
is it what we asked for? what we wanted? what we need? or just a token gift?
Then there are times when we open a gift with great thought and very slowly.
As we receive Jesus into our hearts
in the Holy Eucharist,
do we use the time prior to encountering Jesus in the Holy Eucharist
to prepare our hearts for the King?
or do we go through the motions just to fulfill our Sunday obligation?
Going through the motions, is like tearing off the paper
we miss the gift, the giver and the reason for the gift.
The gift is Jesus and eternal life with Him
the Giver is God the Father who loved us so much that He sent His only Son
into the world to redeem us,
the reason for the gift:
LOVE, PURE, UNCONDITONAL AND PERFECT LOVE.
When we take time to pray,
when we take time to see Jesus in and through our lives
it is like one who slowly unwraps the gift,
we see, appreciate and honor each moment
of the encounter between God and our self.
When we receive a gfit in a gift bag, we tend to pull the gift out of the bag and
then we look at it and choose to honor or reject it.
Do we pull Jesus out of our "gift bag" when we need Him,
or are angry at Him and need to blame someone,
or when we feel abandoned and life seems out of control?
Or are we in a relationship with Him
one that recognizes that He loves us and will never abandon us?
Do we see that God never changes,
whether we wrap Him up or put Him in gift bag.
He is the gift giver and Jesus is the gift
whether we honor the gift, ignore the gift, put the gift away or in hiding
whether we respect the gift or not
we are always living out of our human limitations.
God on the other hand
is not limited.
His mercy, His love, His compassion,
His sense of Humor are not limited,
and never end.
Jesus is the greatest gift to us
but do we realize, can we imagine, that we are God's gift to others?
Do we know that He loves us and
has created us to live in union with Him on this earth
and as we do that,
we are gifting others with a glimpse of His presence,
by how we love and care for others?
Each time you give a gift to another, you are giving a part of yourself,
the part that loves, cares and appreciates another.
You are giving someone else the gift of God
as He is revealed through you and seen in you.
As we draw nearer to the Holy Birth
let us thank Mary for saying YES and allowing God to dwell within her,
let us thank God for saying YES
when He chose to use you and me to be His instruments in His world,
that HE wants us to do His work, that HE believes in us and knows our potential.
Let us thank Jesus for coming into our world, our life, and our hearts
and for making us one with Him;
in and through our baptism into His passion, death and resurrection.
Let us thank each other for being the gift of God's presence
a Glimpse of God,
to us in and through their prayers, works, words and example.
During this Advent season,
as we prepare to recieve the Baby Jesus into our hearts,
let us pray to be open to recognize that Jesus
is the greatest gift given to humankind,
and that we have been chosen by God to receive Him.
YES. YOU AND I,
have been chosen by God
to recieve the gift of His Son Jesus into our lives forever.
As recipients do we ever say thank you to God for loving us
and presenting us with such a great and awesome gift?
Let us thank God
now, later, tomorrow, next week, on and every day
and may we never grow weary
of being a gift giver
or a recipient
because both are avenues to encouter God and His great love for us.
Thoughts to reflect on…..
WHAT IS SUMMER FOR?
What does summer mean and how does it change me?
S – Self – Am I taking care of my self
and finding the time to rest and relax
so as to replenish my body, mind, spirit
so that I can more fully enjoy
and be present in my relationships with family and friends?
U – Undo – Can I allow Mary, the Un-doer of knots,
to undo the stress knots that I have, and allow myself to rest in the presence of God?
If I recognize that stress comes from
how I handle situations, challenges, and circumstances in my life,
can I change how I react so as to live a more whole and healthy life?
Can I ask Mary, the recipient of many stressful triggers,
to calm my fears, lessen my anxieties, and help me to draw nearer to her Son Jesus?
M – Measure – During these summer months, what do I measure?
Do I measure and count the moments,
hours of my time spent with family and friends, or my time spent in prayer?
Do I look at the time I spend in relaxation as a time of blessing
or do I see it as wasting time?
Do I look at and measure the time that I spend at work as a necessary evil
or as using the gifts and talents that God has given me to glorify Him?
If God had a measuring stick, and He asked you to mark where you thought His love for you was,
where how would you mark it?
Would it be in centimeters, inchs, feet, or yards?
Would it be on the low end because of shame, guilt, false humility, or the high end because you realize that His love is unconditional and unfailing?
He gave and continues to give His love freely and without measure, without cost,
the cost was paid in full on the very cross that you behold. Do you believe this?
M –Memory - The season of summer often brings back memories of our youth
and the things that we did as a family on summer vacation.
If your memories are great and plentiful, continue to live them.
Try to do some of the same things with your family
so that they can come to appreciate your past and the love that your family shared on summer vacation.
If your memories are painful, start your own new memories.
Create new traditions.
Build memories for your children
so that they can pass them on to their children.
Good heartfelt memories are very special gifts from God especially created for us.
E – Embrace – During these hot summer months,
are you open to embracing and being embraced?
To allow one self to be embraced, one has to let down their guard
and open their arms to fully experience the love
that comes from a genuine embrace.
Being embraced sometimes involves forgiveness.
Can you forgive? Can you ask for forgiveness?
God wants to embrace you and tell you how much He loves you.
He is waiting for you to let down your guard
that is hiding the shame, guilt, fears that you might be holding on to.
Can you open your heart and arms to God
so that He can not only embrace you,
but also touch and heal you?
Once you let down your guard and
take the time to feel the love and embrace the mercy of God,
you will also realize that God has had you in His loving embrace
since that moment He formed you in the womb.
His embrace has been love that surrounds you,
the peace that envelopes you
and the joy that fills you,
despite the challenges that confront you.
R – Refreshment – During these summer months,
take the time to be refreshed and rejuvenated.
This is the time to rejoice in the longer days filled with sunlight,
the warmth of the sun as you relax under its rays,
the brisk cold feeling of the ocean waves as they hit you,
the calm of laying on a raft in your pool,
and the ability to go on vacation
where you can enjoy the great gift of God’s creation
and the blessings that surround it
such as faith,
and the joy of having FUN !!!!
SURRENDER those things that keep us from being the person that God has created us to be and keep us from becoming the person that He knows we can be, those things that are standing in the way of our seeing Christ more clearly in our self and in others, in life’s challenges and in our crosses. LENT IS NOT A TIME TO GIVE UP and think that we can’t do what God knows we can and invites us to believe that we can and that we, with His help, will.
STRETCH OURSELVES: our imaginations, our minds, our spiritual comfort zone and our hearts. We need to stretch so that we can see ourselves accomplishing and overcoming the hardest challenges that face us, but we think will defeat us. We need to allow God to stretch that which is set and confined so that HE can reset, reform us into His image.
LOVE ourselves and others, especially those who don’t like us, and to HATE those things that take us away from God and make us want to be more self-centered and selfish instead of being more Christ centered and self-less.
FORGIVE and not to be bitter. We are called to forgive ourselves and others, and not hold on to the past of bad choices, deep hurts and poor decisions. Only in true forgiveness can we experience genuine and lasting freedom so that we can be the beacon of Christ’s mercy, love and compassion for our self and to others. "Forgive them for they know not what they do”
BE STILL so that you can feel the gentle breeze of God’s Spirit as He touches your heart and opens it to His healing love and deep abiding peace.
NOT BE BUSY just for the sake of being busy or to run from anything. Lent is a time to listen as God tells you that there is only one thing that matters to Him. That you know and believe with all your heart that you are His greatest creation, His beloved son or daughter, that He loves you just as you are, and that His love for you is free, unconditional and everlasting.
LOOK OUT THE WINDOW and see and appreciate His presence in all of His creation; the sun, the moon, the stars, the grass, the creatures that crawl about and those that hover over, the people that we know and the stranger that we pass by, the beauty of the day, the beauty in the hearts of those that care about us and the beauty of a God who cares even more for you.
BUT IT IS NOT A TIME TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR if you are looking to point out your sins, your flaws, your weaknesses or your shortcomings, but only if you are looking to remind yourself that you are loved by God just as you are because His love is much greater than all of these. His death is a reminder that He sees all that you see, but He looks into the depth of your heart to see that which you have not begun to.
AS LENT GRADUALLY comes to an end, and you find yourself asking, “How have I grown in my relationship to Christ, or how have I been a reflection of His presence in my life to others”? As you look back and recall how you found yourself helping others and giving of your time, talent and compassion, know that your desire is in response to God’s grace, so trust in God and believe that you are closer to Him than you think.
We measure our progress and that of others with human expectations and limitations, but God looks into the very heart that He created and sees its width, its depth, its woundedness, its potential and fills it with His compassion, His mercy, His peace and His grace so that we can be the best loving person that we can be. You are what He wants you to be, for you can be nothing less.
What you are is God’s gift given in love and out of love,
what you become is your gift to God.
WHAT IS THE COLOR OF YOUR HEART? now? earlier?
RED - Is your heart filled with passion? do you give of yourself and all of your energy to the people and situations that you encounter on a daily basis? or is your passion tamed by laziness, contentment, wearyness, pain or just disinterest? If you were to look in a mirror at your heart, what color is it now? if it is red, can you identify your passion and feed it to help those around you to grow and become the best people that they can be: spouses, children, friends, neighbors,
co-oworkers? Is your passion, the love that you hold for your spouse, a positive strength that empowers you to live a healthy marriage, one that builds each other up so that you can both become the best people that God has created you to be?
Is your passion an affection that is shared with a sense of care and respect? What does passion mean to you and how do you live it in your life? Is it a destructive energy or a constructive energy?
WHITE - Is the color of your heart white? Is it pure, not sinless, but a heart that strives to be a saint in the midst of one's own sin and weakness? one that seeks and receives the graces of God to live in love and peace? one that seeks to extend that love and peace to others? If your heart is white, do you give God permission to write on it whatever He wants you to know and take with you today? or is it filled with clutter with no space for God's writing, instruction or counsel?
If you look and see that your heart is white, does it remind you of your baptism and how God chose you, called you by name and made you His very own out of pure unconditional love?
YELLOW - Is the color of your heart yellow? Are you a source of light to others? can others see
the presence and light of Christ in and through your attitude, actions and deeds?
If the color of your heart is yellow, are you able to recognize that you are the light of Christ that burns brightly in your family, neighborhood, community, church and world? can you recognize that you are the light of Christ, no matter how dim you think your light is, in the midst of the darkness of the world and all of its forces that want to put the light out?
PURPLE - Is the color of your heart purple? are you feeling a sense of remorse, or guilt, or is there a desire to make amends for the sins of the world against the God of love and compassion?
We connect purple to the liturgical seasons of advent and lent. The color reminds us of our need to repent of our sins and seek the mercy of God and others that we have offended. I
s that where your heart is today? How can you make amends today so that you do not carry the burden until advent or lent?
Or is your heart purple because you recognize the sins of our world:addictions, materialism, consumerism, isms.... and how they have killed, mamed, destroyed, the gift of humanity, the very humanity that Jesus Christ died for? Christ died for us sinners, yet we don't all recognize that we were included in His passion, death and resurrection? In our sins and weaknesses we fail to see how God eagerly waits for us to come to Him and seek His mercy, compassion and healing.
We see ourselves as the worst and we fulfill that image in and through our actions towards our self, others and God.
Do you see that self destruction in someone you know and love by their addictions and bad behavior? Is you heart purple because you regret their actions and feel remorse for the self that is lost in the midst of a false self? Is your heart purple because you see where you may have unintentionally participated in the formation of negativity, false ideals, hopes, or expectations?
Can you speak with God about your contrition and seek His guidance to find true healing, and peace so that you can pray for it for those in most need?
BLUE - Is your heart blue? do you feel the refreshing life cleansing waters upon your heart that you were washed in at your baptism? Have you been forgiven by God? someone that you offended but reached out to seeking forgiveness? have you forgiven yourself and laid down your burden of guilt and self condemnation? Where is your peace from? Who can you entend your peace to?
Who can you pray for to receive the peace that God had given you and you would like them to experience? Who in your circle of friends, family or community would you like to see experience this great peace that only God can give and is always ready to shower on those who ask?
Can you say a prayer for peace for them so that their heart can become blue and be the blue that represents the peace and calm of the waters of baptism?
GREEN - Is the color of your heart green? What do you hope for? What does hope mean to you and how do you exude hope to others? There is so much green that surrounds us: trees, leaves, grass, yet in the natural course of nature, there is a time when we don't see the green as much.
It is the same with the human heart. there are times when we are blind to seeing the green of hope because of injury, hurt, and pain, and instead we see despair, discouragement, and we become disenchanted and disillusioned. This occurs through human sins and how they affect us personally. Sin can eliminate hope or make it stronger, it can bring us down or help raise us up to seek the love and mercy of God, sin can cause us to stay face down with fear but hope makes us want to get up and face our fear.
Is the color of your heart green today? What hope have you been given? extended? Has the God of all consolation and love filled you with hope? is it overfloweing and you need to share it? or is it just enough for you to embrace, feel comforted by and rest in?
WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HEART TODAY?
NOW, AT THIS VERY MOMENT?
CAN YOU REMEMBER WHAT IT WAS WHEN YOU WOKE UP THIS MORNING?
WHAT DO YOU WANT IT TO BE WHEN YOU LAY DOWN TO REST?
IS YOUR HEART A RAINBOW?
IS IT A WATERCOLOR? A SKETCH?
DO YOU SEE THE MANY COLORS THAT IT CAN BE,
AND THAT THEY ARE ALL GOOD
BECAUSE YOU HAVE THE HEART OF GOD. YOU ARE HIS BELOVED CHILD,
LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY, HIS GREATEST CREATION.
SO AS LONG AS YOU SEEK TO SERVE HIM WITH AN UNDIVIDED HEART,
YOUR HEART WILL ALWAYS BE A REFLECTION OF LOVE,
LOVE FOR GOD,
SELF AND OTHERS.
From Complaint to Prayer
Your Kingdom Come
every time I want to complain about something,
the weather, how I am feeling, who said what to me....
Help me to transform my words, and thoughts into tnansformative actions and prayer.
When I am complaining about the rain, or the snow or the heat;
help me to pray for those who are suffering
because of the rain, the snow and the heat.
let my prayer be
that you give them the courage, the consolation and the strength,
to face another day not knowing what to expect,
but trusting that You will bring them through, and
believing that they are now stronger than they were
yesterday and able to face the day
with a greater faith, a deeper trust,
more hope and abounding courage.
When I am ready to complain about my aches and pains,
help me to offer up my suffering
for those whose aches and pains
are life threatening
and where they have no one to be with them
as they endure and carry their heavy cross.
Help me to pray for those whoses greatest pain
is their waiting in purgatory
awaiting the day where they will be able to see
You face to face.
When I am ready to complain about another human being
help me to remember that we are all created in
Your loving and sacred image,
and that we are your greatest creation, all of us,
with our weakensses, habits, talents, gifts and strengths.
May my thoughts and prayers for them be
that You continue to bless them
and be with them in their difficulties
as I knowvYou are with me in mine.
when I am ready to blame You for all the wrong in the world,
please help me to remember
that the world is good because you can't create anything evil or bad,
but it is our choices as human beings that are evil and bad.
May my thougts and my frustrations be turned to You,
so that I can be transformed to share Your vision
and make it a reality.
YOUR KINGDOM COME.
FATHER'S DAY PRAYER
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY To all those who are Dads, Granddads, Foster dads, Single dads, Uncles, Moms who are fulfilling both father and mother roles, and brothers. For all of our dads who have gone before us, May God's eternal light shine on them and may they rest in the peace of His loving embrace.
Let us thank our HEAVENLY FATHER for the gift of His Fatherly love in the giving of His only Son, Jesus. Let us pray for our Holy Father and all priests, that they continue to serve God faithfully through the reception of the sacraments, the support of their fellow priests and the prayerful encouragement of the faithful.
Let us pray that God will continue to bless those dads who are striving to be the best dads that they can be in the light of His strength, courage, grace and love. May their faith and the support of their spouses, children and families help them to flourish and grow as an instrument of God's peace, healing, mercy, compassion and love for them and all those they encounter.
Let us pray that God will be merciful to those dads, living and deceased, who have been instruments of harm, pain and estrangement to their spouses and children, and may He open their hearts to seek forgiveness and conversion.
Let us pray that we seek God's grace as well, for the times that we have been hurt by our fathers so that we can shine as His instrument of mercy and compassion and live in His peace, joy and healing.
THE POWER OF LOVE
What does power mean?
How is love powerful?
Do you feel empowered by love?
Can the power of love move mountains?
if so, do you love enough to move the mountains that stand before you?
Can the power of love open hearts, split the red seas in your life, heal deep wounds?
if so, why is your heart closed to God's healing touch? How is that your life is in turmoil and you can't seem to separate the good from the bad, the healthy from the non healthy, the needs from the wants,?
Can the power of love change you? Do you want to be changed? Do you see a need to change? What is change?
If love can change you, how is it that you find yourself doing the same harmful things over and over again? How is that you don't feel lovable or that you think that God doesn't love you unconditionally?
Love is tranformative, is your confession a source of transformation?
There is only one love that can change us, trnasform us, make us powerful in a very God like way.
That is the love of God that He chose to give us in His only Son Jesus Christ
and how Jesus chose to show us love as He suffered and died on the cross.
TRUE, UNCONDITIONAL, EVERLASTING LOVE
CHANGES US, TRANSFORMS US,
MAKES US BETTER NOT BITTER PEOPLE.
IT CAN MOVE MOUNTAINS,
SPLIT THE RED SEAS OF OUR LIFE,
AND HEAL OUR WOUNDEDNESS.
......................SENT AN ANGEL TO EARTH.................
......................APPEARED TO MARY, SHE SAID "YES".............
......................APPEARED TO JOSEPH IN A DREAM..............
......................TOOK MARY AND THE CHILD TO BE TO A PLACE OF SAFETY,,,,,
......................WAS BORN IN A MANGER...........
......................HAD MANY VISITORS TO HONOR AND ADORE HIM............
......................RAISED JESUS AS A BOY.............
......................FOUND JESUS IN THE TEMPLE.........
......................RETURNED HOME AND WAS OBEDIENT................
......................TOOK 12 MEN AS HIS CLOSEST FRIENDS AND SHARED WITH THEM THE KINGDOM............
......................BROKE BREAD WITH HIS BETRAYER...........
......................SUFFERED AND DIED ON THE CROSS.......
......................GAVE US MARY AS OUR MOTHER.......
......................FORGAVE THE REPENTANT THIEF.........
......................ROSE FROM THE DEAD........
......................RACED TO THE TOMB..........
......................APPEARED TO THOSE WHO BETRAYED, DENIED, RAN AWAY FROM HIM AND OFFERED THEM PEACE......
......................ASCENDED TO THE FATHER AND SENT THE HOLY SPIRIT.......
......................FEEDS US HIS BODY AND BLOOD IN THE HOLY EUCHARIST......
......................CONTINUES TO OFFER US PEACE TODAY THROUGH THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION.........
.....................GIVES US FAMILY TO FORM US, SHAPE US, LOVE US, TRANSFORM US, FORGIVE US.........
......................GIVES US FRIENDS TO SEE US AS WE ARE, LOVE US AS WE ARE AND CHOOSES US AS A FRIEND....
.....................GIVES US A MIRROR TO SEE US AS GOD SEES US; HIS BELOVED CHILDREN, LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY, AND HIS GREATEST CREATION.
....................GIVES US WINDOWS TO SEE THE PEOPLE AND THE WORLD AROUND US TO NURTURE, TO CHERISH, TO SHARE GOD'S LOVE, PEACE AND MERCY, TO RESPECT AND TO REVERENCE AS AN EXTENSION OF GOD........
....................GOD GIVES US A TASTE OF JOY, PEACE, HAPPINESS IN THIS LIFE SO THAT WE MAY KNOW, BELIEVE AND HOPE IN WHAT LIES AHEAD IN HEAVEN ....
.....................GOD GIVES US;
.....................THE BREATH OF LIFE TO BUILD UP ANOTHER. AND NOT TEAR THEM DOWN........
....................THE EARS TO HEAR THE CRIES OF THE POOR AND THE JOYS OF THE EXULTANT.....
.......................THE NOSE TO SMELL THE AROMAS OF LIFE AROUND US.......
........................THE FEET TO WALK A MILE IN THE SHOES OF ANOTHER .........
........................THE HANDS TO REACH OUT AND TOUCH SOMEONE,
........................OUR BODIES TO HONOR, REVERENCE, AND RESPECT AS WE SEE GOD IN THEM AS HIS INSTURMENTS TO BUILD UP HIS KINGDOM HERE ON EARTH.
THIS IS THE DAY THE LORD HAS MADE, LET US REJOICE AND BE GLAD IN IT.....
FALLING IN LOVE
The unexpected act of falling.....in love?
When did we fall in love with you?
Was it at our birth when we fell/came forth from the womb into the arms of the doctor and nurse
and then was embraced by mom and dad?
The gift of life, the gift of love was, is precious, more precious than we ever expected or imagined,
it was a miracle.
Our first vision, of our falling IN love was when you gave us our first breath of life,
it was your love as given in and through life.
Was it when we were growing up and fell at the cross, where the pain of our sinfulness
met the glance of your unconditional love and mercy?
Where and when we fell in sorrow for the recognition of not just our sinfulness
but for the first time we realized beyond words, your great love and awesome care for us.
It is now Lord as we lay down our burdens, our stresses, our pain, our anger and the ache of alienation.
Have we fallen in LOVE with you?
YES! we have.
We have been unexpectedly been brought low, drawn down so that we can only look up
and be lifted up by you and each other.
And that is not all bad because as we recognize we have fallen,
we know that it is in LOVE...
LOVE FOR YOU LORD,
LOVE FOR OUR FAITH,
LOVE FOR EACH OTHER,
LOVE FOR OUR GOD,
LOVE FOR OUR VOCATION,
LOVE FOR THE BODY OF CHRIST AS SEEN AND SOMETIMES UNSEEN IIN OTHERS,
LOVE FOR OUR PERSON OF SELF: PRIEST, BROTHER, DEACON, FATHER, MOTHER,
WIFE, SISTER, FRIEND, UNCLE.
Love for being considered your disciple and being counted among the persecuted, and the blessed.
LORD...FALLING IN LOVE..
The gift, not the disgrace,
of seeing the place where we all walk as Holy ground and being so close that we can only raise our eyes,
take your hand and be raised with you to the new an unexpected vision you have in store for us.
LORD, Have we, Have I, fallen in LOVE with you? Again?
I hope so, and I pray that I continue to fall in love, not anger
because it is in the falling,
that I know you will lift me up and walk with me. again....
Both of these words use the
exact same letters
but in different order.....
It takes the silent
voice of God
in the depths of your heart.
Is your heart able
to be silent
so as to listen to God's
is your heart filled with the noises
around you that
you can neither listen or be silent?
you can be silent so that you can listen to
what God wants so much to tell you...
that He loves you
and even amid the noises
He still knows your heart
and hears your prayers.
Healing is a Journey
One definition of honor given by Merriam Webster is: good quality or character as judged by others.
What does honor and spiritual direction have in common or what does one have to do with the other?
I believe that to be a spiritual director, honor has to be one of the first characteristics that a person recognizes for oneself and in another human being. How can one direct another in the life of God if one cannot or does not honor oneself? How does one honor oneself? I believe by recognizing first and foremost that one is God’s beloved son or daughter, chosen by God and loved by God unconditionally. If we can recognize those characteristics, we then have a greater respect for ourselves and are able to show greater respect for others.
Honor is one of the significant characteristics that indicate the presence and the joy of God, along with respect, dignity, love, compassion, mercy and forgiveness. Those qualities are what make a child of God honorable and respected.
If one can honor that in oneself, we are more open and ready to recognize that other individuals are also people of honor because they too are God’s beloved.
People think that honor is for those who have accomplished great things or have done something that no one else could. We are ready to honor others for their accomplishments, which we should, but it seems that we are less ready to see or honor ourselves because then we think we are being too proud or self- centered. Yet, I believe that God wants us to honor ourselves because it is then that we are honoring Him and His presence within.
When we honor Him we are then are able to see His presence in others and are able to guide others to grow in a greater recognition and awareness of His presence in their life, as well as to help them grow in a deeper relationship with Him as they come to know Him, and love Him more deeply.
The presence of honor, respect, dignity, love, compassion, mercy, forgiveness, are qualities that one hopes to possess and also see in others. When we fail to do that, we fail to see God in all of His qualities. God calls us to be like Himself, to be His beacon and reflect His presence in our world, our communities, our Churches and our families. When we honor that which is indwelling, incarnational, then we are being the very presence of God to others and it is then that we too can and will be honored by others as being a person of good character, good quality and God centered.
These characteristics of Honor represent one who will guide another in their spiritual life and that is a spiritual director.
What does it mean to be honest? And who would know if we weren’t?
Honesty requires a spirit of humility, integrity, uprightness and honor. To be honest one must be true to oneself and to their God and creator. Honesty is a response to God’s invitation to live justly, walk humbly and love tenderly. Honesty requires a conscience decision. For one to be honest verses lying or cheating or some other negative course of action, one is looking at the situation or circumstances with a spirit of righteousness that can only come from God and His Holy Spirit. When one looks at the situation with a conscience, it is then that honesty prevails and the desire for a sense of peace and joy awaits them.
Honesty is a quality in a person that is accompanied with integrity, compassion and a deep sense of peace and joy. When one is honest, one can look in a mirror and see a sinner that knows God dwells in the depth of their being and serving Him faithfully is more important than what can be gained by dishonest decisions.
How does God see an honest person? Does He see him as someone who is stronger than others or more special than others? I don’t think God sees any of His creation as any less than another, but God sees all of His sons and daughters as very special and beloved. God promises that His grace is there for all who seek it. It is there when we are faced with difficult decisions where we are being pulled to make a dishonest decision, it is God’s grace, God’s love for us, God’s desire to for us to stay away from sin without taking away our free will, it is that which will empower us to make an honest decision.
It is the grace of God that empowers us to be honest, to find peace and to realize our inner strength. Strength comes from within and honesty is a strength that comes from the foundation that has been set. God sees all of his children as special and gives all of His children the grace to make the right decisions. When one makes the right decisions, God’s grace prevails. It is human beings that look at others as different, stronger, weaker, less than perfect from the world’s view, when we judge another, when we think that we can’t do or be better because we dwell on our sinfulness, then the graces that God gives us are not being used and it is during those times that we tend to make dishonest decisions
THANKSGIVING DAY PRAYER
Let us be humble in our hearts…..
And most sincerely say….
A word of gratitude to God….
On this thanksgiving Day.
Whatever we desire and wherever we may trod,
we ought to think a little more of what we owe to God.
We ought to thank Him for this life,
With all of its beauty and yes, even its strife,
for the sunshine and the flowers,
and the stars that shine at night,
that keep us focused on His love and
His eternal guiding light.
We should thank Him for
the gathering of family with
the friendships and the pleasures
that we have blessed to share,
especially when we show our love
and truly learn to care.
And we should try to live our lives
according to His way,
to glorify and honor Him,
by what we do and say.
We ought to practice virtue,
and to set our sins apart,
and draw a little closer
to His loving and Sacred Heart. Amen
What does it mean to empower someone?
For me to empower means to call someone to believe in his or her inner strength and ability. Empower does not mean to seek physical power but rather to use the power of conviction to move mountains.
Empowering begins with every individual believing that they are God’s beloved son or daughter, that they are blessed as His greatest creation, that they are loved unconditionally, and that they were created to be the best person they can be.
We can empower each other every day by showing respect, kindness, love, compassion and mercy. We can empower the homeless man by not judging him and letting him know that God loves him, that he is God’s greatest creation that he is not alone in and with the cross that he is carrying. Will this empowering give him a home or a job, or the dying person, healing?; only God knows the answer to those questions. What it can do is give him the faith to continue to seek and persevere, not to quit and not to despair. Things can change, but if one does not believe this, then one can continue to battle to low self- esteem whereas if one is empowered, even in the midst of the worst challenges or life experiences, they can gain an inner and abiding peace that conquers all.
To empower means not to judge but to lift up those who have fallen, to listen to those whose voice has been silenced and not to be deaf to their plight, and to see those who have been invisible in society because of their addictions, disabilities or visible scars. When we empower, we don’t change a person’s circumstances but rather change a person’s self- image and help them recognize their inner strength in light of their circumstances.
Spiritual Direction and empowerment go hand in hand because as a Director walks with a directee, he or she helps the individual recognize the presence and power of God in their life and in their life circumstances. With this recognition, eventually comes the realization that they are loved unconditionally by God and that they are not alone in their suffering but God is walking along side of them. Spiritual direction can lead an individual to desire to grow in relationship to God, whereas they never were able to realize that God has been lovingly and gently knocking on the door of their heart, patiently waiting for them to open up to Him. Spiritual direction involves a journey of self- discovery, personal transformation and conversion, both of the directee and the director. The joy of walking with another who also possesses the light of love and empowering them is that as they grow in that light they begin to radiate that light in all they do for self and others. They believe in God’s love for them, they begin to empower the director.
When we empower, we lose sight of self and with God’s eyes see another who is struggling with the eyes of love and words of strength, acceptance, courage, affirmation, peace, community and compassion. When we empower and lose sight of our self and our own struggles, we are also empowering oneself with a selfless, giving attitude that brings us closer to Christ and how He has called us to live.
To those who are not believers, they too can empower another by showing respect, acceptance, being non- judgmental, being compassionate and by being a good caring person. To those who need to be empowered, they are not looking to be judged, but rather to be
Barrenness of Lent
In the barrenenss of lent, in the depths of the darkness of sin, in the grips of worry, with the weight of our heavy crosses bringing us down and our suffering, we have Jesus Christ who has already walked in our shoes, taken on our burdens and then nailed them to the cross.
But before He died He gave us three gifts":
The gift of mercy "Father forgive them for they not what they do", The gift of Hope: This day you will be with me in paradise, and the gift of Motherly love: Mother behold your Son,
Son behold your mother.
These gifts given to us from Jesus out of love, in love and for love. He wants us to love,forgive and be at peace with others so that we can be at peace witih Him and our self.
He wants us to know that there is always Hope and that we should never despair.
He has also given us Mary, His Mother and ours to help us on our way to become closer to Him.
She is a great intercessor as many mothers here on earth are. She presents our needs to Her Son and He takes them,looks at us amd anwsers them in true and unconditional love,as He knows they would serve us best.
Lent is a time to reflect on the gift of life and love.
Life, the gift of His life that we are given in the Holy Eucharist and the gifts and graces that are found in the the Sacraments of the Church. Life, our very life and breath is God's gift to us. Every breath is His gift to us and we should strive to be His breath of life to all those that we enconter.
The Gift of Love. He gave of Himself, He suffered and died in and out of complete love for us.
Would we do the same for Him or another?
Lent can be a great season to grow in our faith life and in our love for God, others and self. We have to be open to His graces and the invitation to stretch our spiritual comfort zone. We should trust that whatever He calls us to do, be, leave behind or embrace, will make us a greater reflection, beacon and instrument of His presence in our world. Are we ready? are we open?