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struggle

Is this really how it’s supposed to be? Life lived seperate and disconnected from people you cherish? Rare moments spent together always under the shadow and clock of knowing it’s for “this many days” and then it’s over again without any idea when you may see each other again? Am I really supposed to just resume day-to-day routines and feel … what?

Yes, other people have it worse, other people suffer more, other people … have their families close and see each other often and talk often and know their kids’ friends and the movie they saw last weekend and the person at work who annoys them the most and that their new favorite restaurant is …

I know His ways are not our ways and all things work for the good of those who love Him. I trust there are reasons and things happening behind the veil for our good that we don’t perceive. I don’t pray for God to “change” this. I believe this is God’s will for me; I trust. I know I’m greatly blessed in all ways

I just feel sad. Deeply sad. I miss them, I miss us. I enjoy their presence and personalities and laughter so much. I struggle again and again with what I’m supposed to do with this.

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Holy Saturday

I often ask the LORD to “make it obvious!” for me, and when it’s important He certainly does.

Usually, though, He directs me through very subtle nudges. They may seem unrelated but over time I have to smile at how He weaves them together:

  • A chance comment directed me toward the book, In Sinu Jesu. I have devoured it over & over, learning from it the importance of praying for priests and the immense value of time spent in Adoration both for me and for others around me.
  • A note in the church bulletin caught my attention, inviting women to be part of a Seven Sisters Apostolate¹. I found it intriguing.
  • A tug on my heart led me to pray for families every day – to pray for “the family” in our country. The traditional family is so under assault spiritually, culturally, politically. I believe many of the problems we face with violent young men is a direct result of this.
  • With praying for the family in mind, I found a tiny statue of the Holy Family for my prayer corner, and “for some reason” have been taking more notice of St. Joseph.
  • I’ve read several reflections on St. Joseph – no words are recorded from him, yet he was husband to Mary, step-father to Jesus, protector, head of their family. He believed the angel, trusted God, became a refugee when he took his family to Egypt to escape Herod, and brought them back to Nazareth where they lived as an ordinary Jewish family, observing Jewish laws. He worried when Jesus was “lost” and worked as a carpenter to support his family.
  • I saw another note in the church bulletin inviting women to join the Seven Sisters Apostolate; then another. I finally sent a message to the organizer, telling her I’d help out if they were still in need. She replied immediately – the Apostolate for our own priest at St. Cecilia was filled, but she was organizing for the two priests at St. Thomas Aquinas as well and would let me know when it was ready to start.

None of these is huge; certainly none of them are worth a blog post or special mention to anyone else and yet cumulatively, for me, they have led me in a deliberate direction.  This last Monday, March 19 2018, I joined my Seven Sisters at daily mass where Father Seda commissioned us.

At that mass I learned it “happened” to be the feast day of St. Joseph.

At that mass Father Seda’s homily touched on the power of hidden things that ordinary people do to make a big difference. Even though Joseph’s life, actions and words are largely hidden from us, he still played a significant role in the life of Jesus and for the plan of salvation.

Just so, unknown and ordinary people today have a significant role to play in the lives of others, often in hidden ways.

I am very humbled and grateful. Sometimes I feel a little lost and useless, wondering where I fit in and whether I do any “good” for anyone. Leadings like these, though, help me remember that it is God who is at work using ordinary people in sometimes hidden ways. Others may never know how we’ve prayed for them. We ourselves may wonder “what good am I doing?” But some day the veil will be lifted and I do believe we will be surprised at how our response to a nudge from God was used by Him.

Thank you, LORD.

¹Seven Sisters Apostolate is a formation of women who pledge to each pray one hour a certain day of the week for a priest. More information can be found here.

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

 

Invisible

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.