Food for Thought (Spiritually Speaking)
Lech Walesa became the leader of Solidarity in Poland and led a successful pro-democratic effort that ended Communist rule in that country in 1989. He was a shipyard electrician, not a politician or a powerful man. But he showed the power of solidarity – coming together as a group. That group freed a nation.
Solidarity applies to our faith life as well. We have strength in numbers.
Thy Will Be Done
We all need to feel like we fit in somewhere - but where? Where should a Christian fit it? How do we find the group that accepts us and challenges us to live our faith more completely?
More More More
A Good Person
We read Psalm 44 at Mass the other day and I was struck by the last line: Deliver us for the sake of your merciful love. Another translation says, Redeem us because of your love. I thought about the reason given for God to hear the prayer of the psalmist. It's because of God's merciful love, not because the psalmist deserves it. And that made me wonder how often we think God will hear our prayers because of our own actions – our own goodness.
I am anointed. You are anointed. God has anointed us in our baptism to serve Him and build up the Kingdom of God. How can we live out our anointing every day?
The Ripple Effect
We often rush through life, through prayer, even through relationships. We try to be efficient with our time, but that's not the way to approach time with the Lord. We should linger with Him. Linger with thoughts about Him. Linger on Scripture. Linger in His presence.
Re-gifting - Pass It On!
We receive spiritual gifts from God that we are called to re-gift - to pass on to others. What are those gifts and how do we do it?
Peace Be With You
"Peace Be with You!”
We say it at every Mass, wishing peace to those around us. We all, I think, want to feel peace in our hearts. But how do we have that? And how do we help others find peace?
Feed a Cold, Starve a Fever
Prayer and Fasting
A friend's mother is having serious medical challenges right now. She (my friend) woke up with the words "fast and pray" on her mind and asked me how to do that. I'll share some thoughts in this blog that might be helpful for those who are wondering the same thing.
My mother has begun to paint icons, sacred images of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, the angels or one of the saints. There are many steps in the process, and the teacher provides very detailed instructions that allow anyone to succeed, even someone without an artistic gift. One of the most interesting things about the process is the Rules for the Icon Painter. It is interesting how applicable they are to all who want to serve God.
The Look of Love
How do you see God's sacred gaze? He always looks with love, even when we don't see His eyes. We can feel His look of love in our hearts. What are the many ways God might look at us with love?
I have family and friends who regularly visit the cardiologist. We can take that same approach to our spiritual hearts. We are called to love God with our whole heart, but sometimes those hearts aren’t working right. What if we were to do a heart check on our spiritual hearts as frequently as we might for our physical heart? Imagine the progress we could make!
There is a distorted belief that a good Christian – someone who wants to be a saint – lives only for the glory of God, only to please God. They serve out of love for God, not from a desire for some kind of personal benefit.
On the one hand, we should act out of love for God and neighbor rather than our own personal gain. But on the other hand, when I serve, I feel good, so that’s a benefit to me. Is there a way to separate the two – serving God and being blessed by that service. If I am blessed, does that negate my intentions?
Look Ma! No Hands!
Sometimes we have to take our hands off the wheel and let God take control in our lives. For many of us, that is really difficult to do. Letting go of control is important for our spiritual growth. It's pride and fear that leads to a need for control. My pride in wanting to do everything right, and fear of the unknown when I'm not in control.
The Optimist Club
Optimism is defined as hopefulness and confidence about the future. Some people are naturally optimistic. They see the good in other people. They don't despair when faced with bad news. There is another kind of optimism that comes with faith – a supernatural optimism that we call hope. The virtue of hope is a gift from God that we can accept and develop.
I Didn't Do It!
Sometimes we say, "I didn't do it!" when we are falsely accused. Sometimes it's because we got caught and think denial is a good option. And sometimes it is an acknowledgement to God that we have failed to do His will, do be obedient to His calling. These are called "sins of omission." The rich man, Lazarus, went to the abyss because of his sins of omission.