Keep praying

You’re not wasting time …

You’re not living in a fantasy…

You’re not leaving the real work for someone else.

When you open your heart in prayer,

you enter an invisible battlefield not everyone knows about.

It takes courage to stand in faith against the darkness –

I hope you persevere in the light.

Your efforts may be invisible,

but the outcome will impact everything we see.

Becoming peace

If you want to be covered in chaos,

go ahead and bathe in it –

it’s easy to do, just soak in the news and talk to people.

If you want peace,

you need to shut out the world for a little while.

Maybe leave a little window open, so you can know what’s going on out there …

But you need to be fierce about creating a quiet space to contemplate

and welcome a visit from the Divine.

You need to be intentional about opening your heart to invite

God’s infinite love to heal your life.

I’m telling you, it’s the best thing you could ever do for yourself.

He’ll pour grace over your crown like pure water

for as long as it takes to clear your mind …

before You know it, you’ll be covered in wisdom, knowledge and miracles …

you’ll be filled with power and strength –

you’ll glow from within,

ready to march back into the world as an agent of change.

God makes peace out of people,

Then He radiates out of us to heal the world.

Will you allow Him to work through you?

Saying yes to God

When He tells you to rest, take a break.

When He tells you to stand in faith, keep your chin up.

When He tells you to march, go to the ends of the earth.

There are many voices in this world,

but only One that truly loves you …

There are many paths you can take,

but only One that leads to freedom …

Can you hear the whisper of His calling?

Do you have the courage to ignore what everyone else is saying?

Will you follow Him into the fullness of Life?

Experiencing God’s Grandeur

Gazing over the vast canyon

of Your unconditional love,

I begin to sense the depths You would go

to carve a place for each of us in Your ethereal home.

Everything gorgeous points to Your majesty.

The grandeur of nature exists, so we can marvel

at Your presence in it.

You call to us from beyond this world,

boldly proclaiming Your love.

Sometimes an unlikely wildflower

finds a way to grow in the cracks between ancient stones,

miraculously bathing in rich enough soil …

and I am nourished by hope.

 

A reminder to believe in miracles

I’ll never understand how you stopped believing.

The sun is shining, and your shades are drawn tight.

Why are you curled up in a ball on the couch,

when lavender breezes are right outside,

waiting to gently tickle you back into the flow of Life?

The full moon illuminates even the night,

but you hide in the shadows  –

bogged down in the mist,

I can’t imagine why.

There is a glistening ethereal reality singing your name.

It’s calling you right now …

Can you hear it in your children’s playful voices?

What about your bounding, smiling dog?

It’s like a radio with heavenly stations at your fingertips;

and you’re tuned into static instead of Love.

Can you at least try twisting to hope for a little while?

I want you to hear the melody of God.

I want you to dance to the tune of His miraculous healing power.

I’m telling you, it’s been there all along …

calling you out of darkness…

You were never really alone.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been blind –

The Sun will rise again,

And you can be there to see it this time.

Even you can come back to life.

What’s stopping you?

Joy on the faith journey

“Joy is the net, which catches souls.” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Have you ever picked up a children’s book of Catholic saints and seen Saint Sebastian gazing upward toward heaven aglow with eyes of love, then been a little horrified to see he had bloody arrows in his chest portraying his martyrdom?

Did you panic a little when you learned about our hero Mother Teresa’s decades-long dark night of the soul period, when she didn’t feel the Lord’s presence even as she so clearly did His work serving the poorest of the poor?  

I think if we authentically take these icons to heart, it’s natural to squirm.

When he was still in preschool, my son shocked me by asking “If I want to be like Jesus, does that mean I have to die on a cross too?”

It ached to hear that question from his sincere little heart that I wanted so badly to protect, but it also made sense since he’s a perceptive kid. We took him to church every Sunday to worship an image of our Lord being violently murdered on a cross – naturally, he noticed it and had questions.

Don’t we all have questions about suffering at some point of our lives? If we serve a loving God, why is there so much pain in the world?  What’s the point of following the Lord if it can lead to such horrible outcomes like it did for some of the saints? Why did Jesus even have to die on the cross, when He had the power to avoid it?

As He was preparing the apostles for his death at the last supper, Jesus said “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” (John 15:11)

Jesus wills our joy because He loves us – it really is that simple, even though it doesn’t feel like it when we’re struggling. Jesus Himself compared suffering we experience on earth as being worthwhile like having a baby. “When she gives birth to the child, she no longer remembers the anguish because the joy that a child has been born into the world.” (John 16: 20-22)

We can rest assured that Jesus allows our struggles for the sake of a greater good, whether we ever fully wrap our heads and hearts around that difficult truth or not. 

Saint Augustine explained it well “Since God is the highest good, He would not allow any evil to exist in His works unless his omnipotence and goodness were such as to bring good even out of evil.”

When we have faith, being loved by God can bring us immense joy, even in the face of suffering. No one forced the martyrs to offer their lives for the Lord. They did it from a great joy, love and faith within them, trusting that God would bring good out of their ultimate sacrifice.

Instead of fearing the sacrifices our faith may require of us, we should be praying for the grace of that joy, trust and faith the heroes of our faith posessed, which is ultimately the most liberating gift we can receive.

Having experienced the juxtaposition between awe inspiring miracles and encounters with the Lord and a fair share of hearache – I have wrestled with these questions, especially in light of wanting to share a healthy faith outlook with my children. 

I don’t remember how I answered my young son’s question at the time. But thanks to his innocent contemplation of the cross, I have been motivated to find peace with the whole concept of suffering and faith, even when it comes to my precious boys. 

Where before, I took my kids to church with a secret agenda of hopefully preventing them from ever suffering in their lives – Now, I bring my boys to church with a conscious agenda for them to be filled with the grace and joy it will take to realize that no matter what challeges life throws at them, their faith can give them the strength to respond with God’s love, which creates beauty out of the ashes.

I try to infuse the Lord’s strengt into them through my prayers, words, actions and attitude every single day. It’s a simple concept, really. What’s more important: What happens to you or how you respond? Will you respond with faith or fear? We always have a choice.

Don’t get me wrong! I still pray happiness and protection over my family every single day, but I also accept that the journey to the greatest joys God has planned for them will probably require them to work through some suffering, whether I like it or not. It actually already has! And it’s all good because every struggle we go through as a family solidifies our faith in God’s Divine Providence and ability to create beauty out of struggle. 

Jesus, You said “In this world you will have trouble, but take Heart I have overcome the world.” We need your grace to help us accept the reality of suffering in our world. Please fill our hearts with such an outpouring of Your Love, Joy and Peace that Your Grace overflows into everyone we encounter throughout our lives. Help us to know Your love and trust You on such a deep level that we are willing to bring Your Truth into difficult situations, even at personal expense. Give us the grace of Faith to truly believe in Your loving to create beauty from ashes. Help us to always live in the Light of Your Promises and experience the fullness of Your life and joy through it all. Amen.

 

Silence and Spirituality

spirituality and silence

Before you enter into silence,

I think you should know how shook up you probably are

from living in this world.

The moment you get still,

you’ll notice debris of doubt and fear floating inside you.

You may panic and want to run back into your busy life,

but I pray you have the courage to be still and know

that all really is well.

And if you stick with the silence long enough,

you’ll get to watch every dark thought sink to the bottom

and transform into solid ground for Pure Light

to shine into your life

and illuminate every fiber of your being.

It’s the best thing that could ever happen to you.

But beware: the more you experience the Truth for yourself,

the more responsible you’ll be for shining it into this dark world.

Related quotes and scripture

“We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Saint Teresa of Calcutta

“The fruit of Silence is prayer. The fruit of Prayer is faith. The fruit of Faith is love. The fruit of Love is service. The fruit of Service is peace.” -Saint Teresa of Calcutta

Psalm 46: 10 “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

Reflection
When’s the last time you quieted your mind in prayer and meditation to sense the presence of God in your life? Do you struggle to take time for silence in your life? Do you value it or are you too caught up in busyness to even know what you’re missing?

Prayer
God, please send an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit to bless everyone reading this to get a sense of Your spacious, loving, peaceful presence in their lives. Help them carve out time to connect with Your Still Small Voice in prayer and meditation, so they can truly learn to discern Your guidance for their lives.

Action Step
Before the rush of the day, try to wake up a little early to intentionally spend time with the Lord in silence. With a quick prayer, offer God your day and invite His loving presence into Your life. Whether using scripture or a favorite prayer, continue returning Your thoughts to Your desire to connect with Him. Don’t quit if you struggle with negative thoughts, stick with it and your spiritual connection will grow stronger all the time.