Don’t Break the Bowl: Straight Talk for a Busy Soul — Even the Sparrow

We pulled into the school parking lot and swung open our van doors to let in the kids pile in, fresh from school and ready for snacks, sports practices, and all the activities of each evening. My friend smiled as they scurried around us, backpacks and water bottles flying. “How are you?” she asked, and…

Don’t Break the Bowl: Straight Talk for a Busy Soul — Even the Sparrow

An excellent piece shared from Claire Dwyer’s blog – Even the Sparrow.

Loving and Serving People-The Only Real Path to Contentment

Several of the daily Mass readings recently were from 1Timothy which have always had much meaning for me. The publication Word Among Us had an excellent piece on 1Tm 6: 2c-12 recently and is presented here.

Catholic Meditations 

Meditation: 1 Timothy 6:2-12 

Religion with contentment is a great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6) 

Are you content? It’s a surprisingly complicated question. We love Jesus, but sometimes we feel unfulfilled. We have heard, “The love of money is the root of all evils,” but it isn’t always about money (1 Timothy 6:10). Sure, material things like our possessions, food, or recreation can compete for our love. But the desire for recognition, status, or fame can also make us feel dissatisfied. 

What are you longing for? Each of us probably has something that feels just out of reach, and we think that if we had it, we would finally be happy. For some, it’s money or material possessions. For others, it’s recognition, popularity, or respect. Whatever it is for you, know that if it becomes a focal point, it can ensnare you. You can become envious of those who have what you want. Still yearning for something more, you can stray from the foundation of your faith and mistakenly think that you need Jesus and something else. 

Banish this fiction from your mind! All you really need is Jesus. He alone can give you true and lasting contentment. As you learn how to place everything else in its proper context, you will find yourself receiving more from Jesus. 

The best way to find this kind of contentment is to bring your attachments to the Lord and ask him to set you free. Remember, you didn’t bring anything into this world, and you won’t take anything out of it. The only thing that will stand the test of time is knowing Christ and knowing that you have loved and served his people. If you dedicate yourself to advancing these goals, not only will you please the Lord, but you’ll also become more and more content. 

Jesus doesn’t condemn anyone for having riches, for taking pride in their accomplishments, or for enjoying their possessions. But he does warn people who find their security in these things more than in him. He wants all of us to set our hearts on things above, not on earthly matters. This is the best way to keep our possessions and our reputations in the right perspective. It’s also a great way to build the kingdom. 

“Lord, help me to overcome the attachments that keep me from you. Jesus, I want to find the contentment of knowing you!” 

Psalm 49:6-10, 17-20 

Luke 8:1 

#FaithAlive

And The Rich Man Turned Away Sad

It has been a busy but good summer that has slowed down my posting. Most recently spending four days with my two sisters and their families and my mother in Colorado. A time that really rejuvenates the soul.

Now that I am back, there have been several good Daily readings in August. One of them was the story about the rich man who asked Jesus several questions about what he should do to gain eternal life. We usually focus on how he was saddened by Jesus’ final response and went away sad. We do not hear about him again but was that really the end of his story? Here was a man who realized that he needed to grow and that is why he approached Jesus. Isn’t this what we should be doing as followers of Jesus i.e to ask questions of ourselves and seek asnwers from God? The meditation by Word Among Us on this reading was excellent and is included below.

Meditation: Matthew 19:16-22 

What do I still lack? (Matthew 19:20) 

When we read this story of the rich young man, we often focus on how he “went away sad” (Matthew 19:22). But we don’t always give him enough credit. He knew enough to realize he needed help—and to ask Jesus for it. His question was sincere too: “Teacher, what good must I do?” He wanted to be a better man, and he wanted the “eternal life” that he saw the disciples enjoying (19:16). 

This is a good question for us to ask Jesus every day as well. In fact, the Church encourages us to do it. Every day, we can ask Jesus to help us see how we are doing in our walk with him and how we can do better. In the sixteenth century, St. Ignatius of Loyola developed a way for us to do just that. He called it the “Daily Examen.” Here’s a version that consists of five steps. 

The first step is to thank God for all the blessings you’ve received that day. What are you thankful for? 

The second step is to pray to the Holy Spirit. It can be hard to recognize God’s presence in the course of the day. So ask him to help you look back with spiritual hindsight to see where he was with you that day. 

Third, review what happened today. Whom did you encounter? What situations and emotions arose? How was God speaking to you through them? And how did you respond? Don’t worry about every circumstance; just look at what stands out. 

Fourth, think about when you felt closest to God. Perhaps it was as someone helped you in the grocery store or as you admired a beautiful sunset. When did you feel further away from God? Maybe you felt impatient when someone asked you for help. Perhaps someone cut you off in traffic, and you got angry. Be sure to ask the Lord’s forgiveness for any sins and for his help to change. But remember, don’t go away sad! Jesus is inviting you to follow him on the path to heaven. 

Your fifth and final step is to look ahead to the next day. Think about the people you’ll meet, the situations you’ll face, and invite Jesus to be part of them. Remember, he wants to walk with you every step of the way. 

“Lord, open my eyes! Help me to become more like you.” 

Judges 2:11-19 

Psalm 106:34-37, 39-40, 43-44 

#IgnatianSpirituality

No Longer Strangers

I always like reading from Ephesians and this morning’s daily reading was no exception with its’ focus on relationship. The Word Among Us had an excellent meditation on today’s Epistle and is included below.

Meditation: Ephesians 2:19-22

Saint Thomas, Apostle (Feast)

Members of the same household as saints like Thomas? It might seem like a stretch, especially when you think of how much the saints accomplished for Christ. You might feel that your life falls far short of such a high standard. But remember, as Thomas’ own story tells us, the saints were not perfect. Look at the apostles, the “foundation” Paul says we are built upon: Peter misunderstood Jesus and denied him. All of them except John abandoned him. Thomas himself proclaimed he wouldn’t believe Jesus had risen until he had probed the wounds with his own hands.

You are . . . members of the household of God. (Ephesians 2:19)

But that is not the end of their stories. Jesus gave Peter the chance to proclaim his love three times, mirroring his threefold denial. Then Peter went on to lead the early Church. Jesus appeared to Thomas and let him see his wounds. Once Thomas saw the resurrected Jesus, he made one of the most powerful proclamations of faith you will hear in the New Testament: “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28). From there, he went on to proclaim the gospel all the way to India!

These apostles were no less members of the household of God when they struggled with unbelief or weakness than when they became courageous heroes of the faith. This means that you are no less a member of the household of God when you are painfully aware of your own weakness and unbelief. In fact, that’s a great place to start because the more you know how much you need Jesus, the more open you will be to meeting him and receiving his grace. Look at Thomas: Jesus did not deny him the chance to touch his wounds. But he didn’t stop there. He called Thomas further, beyond his weakness and into deeper faith.

You are a member of God’s household, and in this household, the saints are your big brothers and sisters. They have so much to teach you, especially through their stories about how God accepted them and continued to work in them. You can be confident that God will accept and work with you too.

“Jesus, thank you for bringing me into your household of faith.”

John 20:24-29

Psalm 117:1-2

Word Among Us – July 3, 2019

Don’t Be a Lone Ranger!

Even St. Paul needed a community of believers to shore him up

Today’s reading in Acts talks about Paul’s inspiration when he sees an altar to the “Unknown God” in Athens. The article in the today’s publication of Word Among Us is excellent and follows here.

Meditation: Acts 17:15, 22–18:1

6th Week of Easter

They came away with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him. (Acts 17:15)

It’s easy to see St. Paul as a “lone ranger” hiking alone down Roman roads, single-handedly establishing new churches. Today’s first reading might even cement that image in our minds, as Paul goes into Athens on his own to preach—except for the fact that he’s eagerly awaiting Silas and Timothy’s arrival. In reality, the picture of a lone, independent St. Paul is far from the truth.

From his conversion onward, Paul tried to surround himself with believers who supported him. Some of their names are familiar to us: Barnabas, Titus, Luke, Priscilla and Aquila. Others are not so well known: Sopater, Gaius, and Sosthenes. At one time or another, these brave men and women (and more) accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys. They proclaimed God’s word alongside him (Acts 13:5). They comforted him when he was crestfallen (2 Corinthians 7:6). And they energized him with their witness (Philippians 2:20). What’s more, most of Paul’s letters were works of collaboration, written with coworkers in ministry.

Far from being a lone ranger, Paul was a team player who saw the value in community. Consider one of the metaphors that Paul used to describe the Church: a body composed of many members, each of which was vital to the body’s functioning (1 Corinthians 12:12).

If Paul needed a community of believers shoring him up, so do we!

Are you a part of a group of other Christians who help support you in your faith? Maybe you’re involved in a parish renewal organization. Or perhaps you serve beside other Catholics in your community. If so, that’s great. Is there any way you can strengthen these relationships? Perhaps you could set up a monthly lunch gathering or start a text message thread devoted to praying for each other’s petitions. Or maybe you can just simply express how much they mean to you.

If you don’t belong to a group like this, how about looking to join one? You might start by looking at your church bulletin for a listing of existing groups. And you can always ask the Lord to open doors of friendship for you. Remember, you are not meant to be a lone ranger. You are a member of the body of Christ.

“Lord, thank you for the gift of friendship.”

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14

John 16:12-15

#CatholicLiving #CatholicWay