About Me

Friday, May 17, 2013

Good Morning Prayer

Morning Prayer

Gracious God,
Thank you for the gift of today.
Refresh me. Invite me to discover your presence
In each person that I meet
And every event that I encounter.
Teach me when to speak and when to listen
When to ponder and when to share.
In moments of challenge and decision
Attune my heart to the whisperings of your Wisdom.
As I undertake ordinary and unnoticed tasks,
Gift me with simple joy.
When my day goes well, may I rejoice.
When it grows difficult, surprise me with
New possibilities.
When life is overwhelming, call me to
Sabbath moments
To restore your Peace and Harmony.
May my living today reveal your Goodness.
-Pat Bergen, C.S.J.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


"Solitude - my favorite moments,
Solitude - but, always with You, Jesus and Lord,
Close to Your Heart, time passes pleasantly for me,
And, close to Him, my soul finds repose.

When the heart is filled with You and over-flowing with love,
and the soul burns with pure fire,
then,  amidst  the utmost desolation, the soul will not experience loneliness,
because it rests on Your bosom.

O Solitude -  moments of supreme companionship,
though I be abandoned by all creatures,
I immerse myself, totally in the ocean of Your Godhead,
and You listen sweetly to my confidences."

-From St. Faustina's Diary (Entry 1699-Notebook VI)

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me and I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does
not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
I know if I do this you will lead me by the right road
though I may know nothing about it.  Therefore, I will trust you always
though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear for you are ever with me
and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.
- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

I believe that if I pray for something, God will deliver.  If I pray he be with me, he is with me. If I pray for courage, he gives me armor to face my fear. If I pray for love, he gives me someone to comfort and soothe. If I pray for something I have lost, he shows me the new gift but, doesn't degrade my heart's loss.  Whatever I pray for, I get an answer. It is always a good answer.  So, when I am so lonely and yearn for a kindred heart and someone to care for me, God sits with me in solitude and comforts me.

-Me (from my heart)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Opportunities and Choices

I have much to do today.  Today seems like just any other ordinary day.  But, it isn't.  Today is a day of fasting for me.  On at least one Friday out of the month, I fast for the unborn.

I know that many people shy away from this topic because it is hot.  But, I am not afraid of this. I am not scared to say that I think babies are innocents and don't deserve to die.  They are the most vulnerable of all human beings.  And although I can not stop women from aborting their unborn children, I can spend a day with these babies in spirit.

I believe in the right to life. I don't believe in the death penalty (even for murderers). There is just something that kills me when people tell me that women have a right to choose to abort their babies. I feel that women are being sold a bill of goods.  Because see, there is another option. 

I don't see anyone chanting, "I am barren, I will love your unwanted babies."  So, we have a disconnect.  There are people who want babies -any baby- and people who don't.  Why can't we have an "Adopt Children" campaign?  Why doesn't Sarah McLachlan sing ads for adoption of children but, only for dogs and cats? Why do we make it so hard to adopt babies here?  Why are these parents going overseas to adopt babies when we are killing them here?

I don't hate women who choose abortion.  These women must carry this with them forever. No one celebrates an abortion with the mother. Women, generally, heal after abortion in solitude.  Her body and life is changed forever.  I only hold compassion in my heart for the women that make this choice. 

But enough of my personal point of view.  Here is my prayer for today:

May the grace of God be placed on the women considering abortion today.  May they chose a more tender way of reconciling their situation. Change the hearts and minds of women just for one day.  Help us heal as a people.  May all the little souls who are returning home live joyfully with you and Mary the Mother of God, the angels, and all the saints.

In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,

Monday, May 6, 2013

Raising Children and Religious Choices

I wonder if anyone else comes in contact with people that need spiritual direction as often as I do.  I mean honestly, I don't go looking for people but, somehow God helps them find me.

I have a friend who struggles with her religion.  She doesn't really practice the religion she was raised in.  She is in a marriage that is not centered in religion and now she has children that she is struggling to find a way to teach them. Her husband is indifferent towards religion.

I told her that life is so complex and in my opinion, it is best to teach her children what she knows.  She should give them a foundation in what she loves and what gives her peace.  I believe that is perfectly good to give them a map and training and that the children can use that for the rest of their lives, regardless of religion.

She says that she wants her kids to choose for themselves which religion they follow.  I explained that children always make decisions for themselves. It is a myth that we have that much control over what our kids decide in the future. It is still important for them to expose the kids to the religions they (both parents) think offer good ways of life.

I wonder if she understood me.  She seemed pleased with our conversation.

Where do you sit?

Growing up as a Catholic, I learned many things not by study but, by custom or ritual.  We did things because our parents said so.  We didn't like it, but we did it.  Every Sunday, even if we felt bad, and even without my father, we went to mass with my mother. We were late every single mass.  We always rushed in, splashing our fingers in the tiny holy water fonts at the entrance of the church and scrambled over to the left side of the church. We never sat at the front (maybe this was out of my mother's shame of being late--I don't really know why, we just did what we were told).  We sat in the middle or towards the back, in two pews (because there were always a minimum of 5 of us and the pews were small).

I remember sitting, and standing, and kneeling and sitting again, and wondering what exactly the priest was saying way up front.  I could never hear a thing he said (I would just stare up at the high arches in the church and stained glass windows).  But, I do remember a sense of silence and calm in church.  My mom wasn't angry, hurt, or stressed there.  She was herself, she was calm, and beautiful.  Until of course, one of the kids started up.  Then, all the serenity was over.  The 10 seconds that I got to see my mom relax every Sunday were over.  She was back to guiding and correcting all over again.  And I knew it would be another hectic week until I got to see my mom rest for 10 more seconds on Sunday. Only now do I understand why she went and why she showed us how to practice the faith.

It is funny that when I had children, I knew I had to raise them in my Catholic faith. I just didn't know that it would be so similar to the way my mother raised us.  I didn't realize that I would struggle to get up the courage on Sunday to tell my kids we are going to mass.

I must vent here:  My kids are Catholic and have been since before they were even born.  And they always act like it is some great surprise that we are going to mass when I announce that it is time to get ready.  Then the whining and the dragging the feet begins.  We didn't like going to church as kids , either. (I get it- I would have preferred to stay home and watch re runs of Kung-Fu movies or The Three Stooges too.)  But we were respectful and we did what we were told. Granted, I discipline differently than my parents did but, regardless.  It irks me.

Anyhow, back to our Sunday custom.  I promptly announce we are getting ready for mass at 9:30. Eventually, everyone is dressed and prepared for mass. We get to mass usually about 5 minutes before it starts (which is a HUGE accomplishment in my opinion).  I walk in, bless myself, and walk directly to the left of the church.  I lead the family to a pew in the middle or the back but, never the front.  I watch my kids, who are very well behaved in church, stare up at the ceiling and at the stained glass windows. I am sure they have no idea what the priest is saying.

Where do you sit? What did you inherit from your parents? What do you do differently? What do you think you will pass down to your kids?