Controlling or trusting?

And he longed to eat his fill of the
pods on which the swine fed, but nobody
gave him any.

This line from Luke’s version of the story of the prodigal son stood out to me this morning.

What if someone had given him some of the pods to eat? What if someone had provided nourishing food? Would the son have ever “come to his senses” and returned home? It appears that having plenty did not move the young man; it was being in want that humbled him and turned his heart and mind toward home, toward love.

I wonder how his father prayed for him. Did he beg God to protect his son? To keep him healthy, safe, well-fed? Or did he simply pray “for” his son, and trust God’s will? The father does not seem like a controlling man – he gave the son his inheritance and let him leave; he didn’t really chastise the older son later, but pleaded with him. I suspect he prayed and trusted, and then waited and watched.

I think sometimes we try to be controlling in our prayers, telling God what He needs to fix and precisely how we expect Him to go about it. We present a list as if He were Santa Claus. But I am learning – from my own life and from scriptures – that if we simply express our hearts to Him, He replies in ways we’d never have expected.

Lord, help me take each day as it comes and simply walk with you. Help me stay close to you in prayer and trust your plan for me and for all of the prodigals and lost sheep whom I love. I know you love them too, far more than I.

Jesus, I trust in you!




Simple & Profound

It is no little thing for a poor human creature of Mine to prefer My Eucharistic love to an hour of sleep in the night … By nocturnal adoration you will obtain from My Heart things which cannot be obtained from Me in any other way, especially the liberation of souls from the influence and oppression of the powers of darkness. More souls are saved and liberated by adoration made during the night than by any other form of prayer: this is the prayer that unites you most closely to My own nights passed entirely in prayer during My life on earth.

This passage from In Sinu Jesu¹ gave me pause. I’ve spent a great deal of time reflecting on it. It speaks deeply to my heart and answers some questions I’ve been pondering in my own life.

It is an invitation to me personally to spend time with Him in the night. I leave it to Him to awaken me; and indeed we’ve passed our hour sometimes at 1 a.m., other times at 4:30 a.m. We spend it together in prayer for many intentions beginning with my own family but also extending to His priests, His church, and to many people and situations that He brings to my mind and heart.

This hour so spent in the quiet of the night has made real for me the passage: “But you are ‘a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own'” (1 Peter 2:9)

A priest makes offerings to the LORD on behalf of the people. We are ALL called to be priests in that sense – offering our time, talent and treasure for the people God places before us. My offering is prayer – thoughtful, heartfelt, purposeful prayer for the good of others.

I feel like all the stumbling I’ve done these last 12 years finally has direction and purpose. Prayer is my vocation for this season in my life. I am so grateful for His patience bringing me here, preparing me and giving me a heart that desires this so deeply. To me, it is both simple and profound, a great blessing.

¹In Sinu Jesu When Heart Speaks to Heart, written by a Benedictine Monk



Most mornings when I walk the dog, I cross paths with a neighbor returning from his morning run. Each time I say, “Good morning!”  He never answers.

I walk into work past a group of people chatting and laughing at the front desk. “Good morning!”  No response; they continue visiting among themselves.

I have tried to initiate social time with several people from church; I long for friendship with someone who shares a love of God. I don’t hear back.

I send group texts or emails to my siblings and mom, or to my husband and our children trying to generate interaction and to catch up with their busy lives. Often the response is very short or they go unanswered.

Gradually I stop trying. If not for our invisible God, I would be crushingly lonely.

Each day I pour out my heart to Him: my joys, my sorrows, my hopes, desires, dreams, fears. He listens attentively and He responds with great tenderness. He guides, encourages, comforts, laughs with me. He creates beauty in the skies and waits for me to notice and delight in it. He invites me to come to him for even a brief moment during a busy day just to be with Him.

I suspect God has brought me into this lonely desert so that I will seek Him more, move closer to Him and stay there. I am certainly growing in my prayer life and feel more purpose in praying for others.

Among men I am lonely, a little sad. Fading … invisible.

With God I am finding joy and fulfillment. I long to see His face and to be fully in His presence.

I wrote this blog post in the morning, posted it before noon, and this evening God spoke to my heart through the book, In Sinu Jesus – When Heart Speaks to Heart:

There is no need … to go through life isolated, lonely, and friendless. I want to be the faithful companion of their days and of their nights. I want to be their solace and their rest. I want to be their Friend, ever ready to listen to them, to welcome them, to heal them, and renew their hope.

What a beautiful response to my prayer, to my longing. Thank you, LORD.

Because He Was Love

This was the reflection I read today and I think it is beautiful, and Truth.

One might ask: How was it possible that Christ could be put to death, one who never sought his own advantage? How is it possible that any power or person could come into collision with him?

Answer: It was precisely for this reason that he was put to death. This is why the lowly and the powerful were equally exasperated by him, for every one of them was seeking his own advantage and wanted him to show solidarity with them in selfishness. He was crucified precisely because he was love, that is, because he refused to be selfish.

He was as much of an offense to the powerful as to the lowly. He did not belong to any party, but wished to be what he was, namely, the Truth and to be that in love.

Soren Kierkegaard, in Provocations: The Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard
Kierkegaard (1813-1855) was a Danish philosopher, theologian, poet, social critic and religious author.

If I had been there …

He was spurned and avoided by men,
a man of suffering, knowing pain,
Like one from whom you turn your face,
spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

Yet it was our pain that he bore,
our sufferings he endured.
We thought of him as stricken,
struck down by God and afflicted,

But he was pierced for our sins,
crushed for our iniquity.
He bore the punishment that makes us whole,
by his wounds we were healed.
(Isaiah 53:3-5)

Sometimes I wonder if I’d been alive when Jesus was active, would I have followed Him … believed Him?

Would I have been one of the many disciples who traveled with Him, one of the women who provided for them?

If not traveling with Him, would I have at least gone out to hear Him when He was close by? Would I have heard the sermon on the mount? Would I have seen Him heal someone? Would I have sat on the shores of Galilee and listened to His words? As much as my heart soars reading those accounts 2,000 years later … how much more hearing them in person?

At the very least, would I have come out to meet Him as He entered Jerusalem, laying down palms and crying out to honor Him?

Or would I have been one who saw Him and looked away? Would I have thought He was afflicted by God?

In this place

Who is left among you
who saw this house in its former glory?

And how do you see it now?
Does it not seem like nothing in your eyes?

Now be strong, … and work! For I am with you.

Greater will be the glory of this house
the latter more than the former—says the LORD of hosts;
And in this place I will give you peace
(Haggai 2:3-4, 9)

This immediately struck me as being about me. My life is “this house” and I formerly saw myself as pretty glorious. I had a lot of self-confidence, thinking I was very smart, talented and strong. I didn’t really need anyone, I could do what I wanted and make things happen on my own.

Ah, how time has changed my perspective!  Looking back, the things I saw as “my glory” don’t seem so impressive any more. I realize, now, that I’m not so smart, not so talented, not so strong. Those aren’t traits that I value greatly, now, and I know in retrospect that I used to be quite afraid most of the time, and often angry.

God promises He is with us, even as he tells us to be strong and to work! And I do see a more glorious house being built within me, better than the former and more valuable in my eyes, and His.

I have more work to do, for sure. But in THIS place, He has given me peace.



Leave Behind a Blessing

12 Yet even now—oracle of the LORD—
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, weeping, and mourning.

13 Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God,
For he is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love,
and relenting in punishment.

14 Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind a blessing
(Joel Chapter 2)

I love this passage and its focus on God’s continuous invitation to us, along with His great mercy. The passage indicates a whole-hearted turning toward Him, not simply a temporary entreaty seeking “a thing” from Him and then turning back away.

The last line is what is sticking with me the most this morning: “Perhaps he will relent and leave behind a blessing.”

Initially we think He will leave behind a blessing FOR us in the form of some good gift. And that certainly may be the case.

But also, it’s possible that the blessing He leaves behind IS “us” as new creations with new hearts and a new dedication to offering mercy to others.

LORD, help me to be merciful; teach me; use me to be a blessing to others. Amen.