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Archive for February, 2008

Heavy

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Sometimes the world just feels heavy. Sometimes it seems to me that life just presses down on me like a giant stone, trying to crush all the breath out of me. It feels like I’m the ghost of Jacob Marley dragging around all his chains . . . except sometimes the chains are mine, and sometimes the chains are just the world we live in. There are times when I just feel so tired of it all – the anger and hatred that surrounds us, the wicked deeds that are on the news, the suffering that so many innocent face everyday, the weight of my own sins. There are times when I just feel worn down by it all. I feel that way today, for no particular reason except that we live in an evil world and it just gets tiresome – and it’s true that the devil never takes a holiday. (more…)

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I recently have been thinking about forgiveness, as I’ve said in another post. I found this article about St. Francis who in his early life was repelled by the lepers he encountered, and after praying about this God gave him the grace to change his heart so that he could love the most “unlovable.” During Lent we are trying to focus our mind on God’s love through his sacrifice for us – in a sense trying to understand how God loves us, the unlovable sinners. (more…)

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Prayer for Priests

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Almighty God, look upon the face of Him who is the eternal High Priest, and have compassion on Your priests in today’s world. Remember that they are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation. Keep them close to You lest the enemy prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

Oh Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests, for the unfaithful and tepid ones, for those laboring at home and abroad in distant mission fields; for those who are tempted; for those who are lonely and desolate; for those who are in purgatory.

But above all, I recommend to You the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priest who absolved me from my sins; the priests who instructed me or helped me by their encouragement. I pray devoutly for all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, in particular for those that have offered me the Blessed Sacrament, Oh Jesus, keep them all close to Your heart and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

Oh Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for us; obtain for us a number of holy priests. Amen.

I found this prayer at Kansas City Catholic’s Blog and I really love it.

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Lately, I have been thinking about forgiveness. Mostly how I need to forgive others, which I’ve come to realize I’m not so good at. I mean, I always thought I was very good at it and maybe it’s just getting older and you know how things start to not work as well as they used to . . . well I think my forgiveness muscle was getting out of shape. There are three people I can think of off the top of my head (and there may be others, I’m just not as aware of) that I need to really forgive. These three people are people that I’m not close to and I don’t even really see them on a regular basis anymore. I used to work with them, and when I left my job I felt like they were such hypocrites – claiming to be Christians and acting like such jerks. Being nice to my face and yet being quite unkind behind my back. Of course I’m well above this sort of behavior myself, so you can understand my bitterness about it. What really sealed the deal though, was that this trio was very unfair to my husband, who still works at this place. I thought to myself that it’s fine if you want to be a jerk to me, but don’t do it to my husband who is a nice, humble person and one that would never lower himself to fighting back or being so petty. So, in my heart I decided that being mean to my husband was reason enough to not forgive them and to stay bitter. . . and I did. But something kept nagging me – that little Jimminy Cricket voice that kept telling me something wasn’t right inside of myself. Everytime I thought about these people I would just boil over with indignation at their stupidity and hypocrisy. How Dare They be so . . . so. . . HUMAN. Disgusting.

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Rebirth

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This evening I was reading Tim Glass’s blog. He has a wonderful series that describes his life and conversion to Catholicism. I loved reading it because he and I have a lot of things in common – I won’t go into everything right now – but it made me remember how exciting and awesome (and not in the surfer dude way) becoming a Catholic was for me. I still get goose bumps about it sometimes. I have often thought that “cradle Catholics,” if they’re not careful, can take so much of their faith for granted. When I came in, it was all-new. I look around wide-eyed and want to know about EVERYTHING! The statues, the nuns, the candles, the liturgy, the feast days, the vestments . . . everything is fascinating, but most of all I love it all because it all means SOMETHING! I find that so satisfying.

Sometimes when I go to Mass, I still feel a bit like a stranger – it’s my own doing – I feel like everyone around me knows what’s going on with everything and I’m the only one who loses their place in the missal, or forgets what saint that statue is . . . of course it’s all my imagination. Then even in my strangeness I feel comforted. When I kneel to pray and smell the incense, it’s like I’ve been gone for a long time and just got back and found everything just the way I’d left it, I’d only forgotten some of the details.

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The Rosary

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I found this article and I really like all the detail of it. Before I converted to Catholicism, I didn’t understand the Rosary – the repetition of the prayers seemed mindless and bordering on sacrilegious (“And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.” Matthew 6:7) but as I’ve grown in my faith, I’ve come to appreciate the meditation of this prayer more and more. It is comforting to be able to pray without worrying about what precise words to use, like when I just pray ad-lib to God. (” In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” Romans 8:26) I think prayers “straight from the heart” are extremely important, of course, but praying the Rosary allows my mind to focus on concepts beyond words, when I am praying and thinking about the life of Christ, or Mary, the beauty of sacrifices and miracles are more deeply revealed to me. I truly love to pray. I like to pray in the shower – I’m alone and I can talk to God without distractions or interruptions. I also like to pray as I fall asleep – it’s a really nice way to go to sleep – thinking about God and talking over the day with Him. I also pray quickly throughout the day, but there’s just something special about the rosary, it’s a prayer that a whole group can say together and yet we all gain something similar and different from it. Again, my words are inadequate to describe what I mean, but here is the article anyway . . . (more…)

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You can’t always get what you want – but you do get what you need!

I’ve been thinking lately about how God provides for us – how he works all the pieces in everyone’s lives to make things happen and you aren’t even aware that he is doing it. In 2006 I was pregnant and since our only other child was 14 at the time, we obviously didn’t have any baby supplies left over to take care of the one that was on the way. I was feeling stressed about this – thinking that I needed to have all these things ready; a bed, clothes, swing, highchair, everything that a baby needs. There was a woman that my husband worked with who told him that she had a crib that she wanted to give to us but she needed to get something on it fixed first. I wanted to buy a diaper bag and I had a gift certificate but everytime I looked I just couldn’t find anything that I liked. I was so frustrated with all this – I kept bugging my husband about the crib, asking him when the woman was going to have it ready? The diaper bag was just another small frustrating annoyance – why couldn’t I just decide on one?

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