Negative Thoughts Turned to Light

In the past week I’ve heard and read about negative passive thought. Now that I have a name for the negative thoughts that creep into my mind passively, I realize more when it happens. It happened today.  The kids and I walked into church and there was no place for us to sit except for in the back in the folding chairs.

The best place for us is near the front (everyone behaves better). As I sat in the folding chair, I caught myself letting negative passive thoughts take over. I pushed them out and instead heard this:

“You were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light,
for light produces every kind of goodness
and righteousness and truth.
Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.
Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness;
rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention
the things done by them in secret;
but everything exposed by the light becomes visible,
for everything that becomes visible is light.
Therefore, it says:
‘Awake, O sleeper,
and arise from the dead,
and Christ will give you light.'” – 2 Ephesians 5:8-14

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Fear Is A Friend

A post from the.nomadic.monk:

Fear makes a better friend than enemy. Hear me out. There is a lot to be afraid of. That’s something that gets overlooked in those memes and videos of people jumping off cliffs and stuff, which are supposed to inspire you. Ignoring fear, shutting it out, only amplifies its mysterious power over you. Fear is a friend. How come? Because it reveals to you what you love. We only fear when we are at risk of losing something we love. The greater the fear, the greater the love. Listen to your fear, calmly, without judgment, as to a friend over coffee.
.
When it shows you what you love, it will leave you alone, for it has said what it wanted. There, alone with your beloved, you can either more clearly behold its inner and lasting beauty, which can never really be lost, which not even death can rob, or you will discover its innate unworthiness of you, its inability to bring out the finest and noblest in you. If that’s the case, then you must love something else. This is how, as a helpful book once said, “perfect love drives out all fear”.

*Photo by Fr. Nathan Sparks, the.nomadic.monk

 

All Saints Pray For Us

Happy Solemnity of All Saints! Holy days of obligation are hard with a young family. There’s usually mass in the morning, in the middle of the day, and at suppertime.  Church was one of three things I can check off my To Do list I wrote this morning.

We went to the 5:30PM mass so that Ayla could come with us. I fed the kids before we went (Avery and Justine still ate Cherrios the whole time). I wanted to go and I’m glad I did because I heard the Beatitudes – a reminder of the formula for true happiness.

All Saints, known and unknown, pray for us that we may live the Beatitudes.

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain,
and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you
and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me.
Rejoice and be glad,
for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Matthew 5:1-12

Collage of Saints by Jill of truoriginal.com

It Is Jesus

It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is he who provokes you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle. It is Jesus who stirs in you the desire to do something great with your lives, the will to follow an ideal, the refusal to allow yourselves to be grounded down by mediocrity, the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society, making the world more human and more fraternal.” ~Saint John Paul II at 15th World Youth Day

Happy Feast Day to Saint John Paul II.

*Image is a painting by artist Christopher Santer, Pacem Studio

Stop And Smell The Roses – I Mean, Take a Picture

On our way home yesterday we drove by this stream. It always catches my eye. It was especially beautiful as the setting sun peeked through the changing leaves and the little waterfalls gurgled over the rocks. I drove by it. Then I turned around and went back.

“What are you doing, Mom?”

“I’m turning around.”

“Why?”

“To take a picture. Sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses.”

“You saw roses?! Where!?”

“It’s an expression for when you should stop and appreciate the beauty around you. Sometimes you have to stop, slow down and enjoy what God created.”

Our Lady of Sorrows

This Saintly Saturday is for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

“After your Jesus – who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours – gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.” -St Bernard of Clairvaux

Photo: Our Lady of Sorrows statue in Golgotha, Holy Sepulchre Jerusalem by Creisor

Be Strong, Fear Not!

Thus says the LORD:
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
with divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water.

Isaiah 35:4-7a

Be Doers of the Word

I recently read a reflection on this bible verse from the Book of James:

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction

It showed up again in the second reading at Mass today. So, is it a sign? Maybe. Maybe not. What I do know is that God put each of us on this earth to do good. To do good for someone other than ourselves. To help people, especially the most vulnerable.

In essence, the above verse is saying that pure religion is when we are helping others. How can you live out your religion?

Here is the full second reading for the 22nd Sunday in ordinary time, 9/2/18:

Dearest brothers and sisters:
All good giving and every perfect gift is from above,
coming down from the Father of lights,
with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change.
He willed to give us birth by the word of truth
that we may be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.
Humbly welcome the word that has been planted in you
and is able to save your souls.
Be doers of the word and not hearers only, deluding yourselves.
Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this:
to care for orphans and widows in their affliction
and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” -James 1:17-18, 21B-22, 27

Fear, You Don’t Own Me

This Tempo Tuesday I’m combining a couple of songs that have been playing in my head: Francesca Battistelli’s “The Breakup Song” and Zach Williams’s “Fear is a Liar.”  Both songs are about Fear.  It can consume you. Take over your life, if you let it.
But, as Francesca sings:
Fear, you don’t own me
There ain’t no room in this story
And I ain’t got time for you
Telling me what I’m not
Like you know me well guess what?
I know who I am
I know I’m strong
And I am free
Got my own identity
So fear, you will never be welcome here
And we have to listen to Zach and remember:
Fear he is a liar
He will take your breath
Stop you in your steps
Fear he is a liar
He will rob your rest
Steal your happiness
Cast your fear in the fire
‘Cause fear he is a liar
Cast your fear in the fire –  The Holy Spirit’s Fire.
Jesus please, “Let Your fire fall and cast out all my fears/Let Your fire fall Your love is all I feel.” We are all afraid of or anxious about something in our lives. Give us the strength to go to you and ask you for help in casting out the fear. Amen.

Hands

We visited Riley’s grandmother this morning. She’s 93. Her mind fails her but she looks good. If her hands could tell stories, I’m sure they’d write several books. Justine’s hands are 10 months young. She is just beginning her story.

A person’s hands carry babies, wash dishes, tighten bolts, solve problems, drive boats. They tell stories. Visit your older relatives to hear their stories. They’ll be happy to share and you’ll be in awe of their testimony.