Week 10-One Way

Psalm 56:3- “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

A couple of weeks ago, Fr. Pierre’s homily took us through some of the non-negotiables of being a disciple. I can’t help but think about how we can compartmentalize our lives–how I can compartmentalize my life. I still haven’t turned in my card–not because I don’t think I am a disciple. I haven’t turned my card in because I am not sure I have been the disciple God has called me to be and I want to take more time to pray on some areas of my life. Most areas of my life I have given to God. A few, I have not been able to give up the reins. I know what they are and some days I give them to God and some days I take them back. In the areas that I take back, I know this is where I can have the greatest impact in making disciples of others. And, I, as a disciple, am called to help make more disciples. This card has given me the opportunity to intentionally reflect on where I need to grow in maturity as a disciple. I don’t want to be a check the box disciple– I have done that in my life already. As a widow, I know I can help other widows/widowers know Jesus, as well as anyone who is faced with a life transition. I am even confident in the way that Jesus wants me to do this. I just haven’t done it out of fear of failure. I think re-routing has been chipping away at my fears. Loving God has never been risky, but accepting that God loves me no matter what–that has always been hard for me until recently. That’s because I am trusting Him more. God has allowed me to catch a glimpse of the happiness He brings when I allow Him to love me, when I live as a true disciple in the unique way (as a widow) that he is calling me to do that right now. I am praying that we can all find what God is calling us to do to bring more of our brothers and sisters to Him.

Heavenly Father,

I know you know all my fears, all of my doubts, all of my hopes and all of my dreams. I also know that you have your own hopes and dreams for me. I am pretty sure I know what they are because I have spent enough time talking to you about them! Help relieve my fears so that I might hold nothing back when it comes to bringing others to you. You have started great work in me–you have started great work in all of us. Allow me to let go of all that is not from you. In theses last few weeks of re-routing, help me to be intentional in contemplating what you are asking of me. Don’t let me stand on the sidelines. Give me the courage to get in the game and play it well. Brian, I ask for your intercession as you know me like God knows me. Tonight I pray for our nation. I pray for all of my friends and family. Tonight I pray for a special intention. Please hear my prayer. Amen.

Week 9-You-Turn

Blogging about Re-routing has forced me to look at these past 9 weeks and look at myself in ways that have stretched me. It is so easy to go through the motions of this life. If you want to live this life as an intentional Christian, it is impossible to just go through the motions and be successful. The Christian life is hard. It involves a decision. My will makes it hard. Every day it is hard because of the world we live in. I was talking to someone after daily Mass last week and she said that when you follow Jesus your family tends to think you are crazy and that there is something wrong with you because you need Jesus so bad. I can totally relate. Honestly, it would be much easier to live the way the world wants me to live–to just soak up all the good times I can, to not worry about whether I am going to heaven or hell, to live for myself, to only worry about the next restaurant I am going to, or the next shopping trip. That would be easy to do in this world, but it is so unfulfilling to me. I know that the world could numb me with counterfeit relationships, and material pleasures, but I want so much more. There is not true happiness living this way. I often hear this in prayer–“You can do this the world’s way, or you can do it MY WAY.” Fr. Prentice challenged us in his homily to surrender to Jesus unconditionally “no fine print, no hidden clauses.” We were given cards to make a commitment to surrender our lives to Jesus. I get what Fr. Prentice said, “Love cannot be forced. We have free will-that’s the way love works.” No one will force us to turn in a card. No one can force us to love, just as no one can force us to be wicked. We can decide. Will I turn in my card? I will because I believe in the love of a heavenly Father that is pure and true. I believe He wants what is best for me, and, I believe He allows me to struggle so I might grow. I don’t want to go through the motions of life–I want to be intentional and I want to surrender.

At an Alpha course that we have for engaged couples in our parish, we talked this week about how God guides us. One thing I felt compelled to share with these couples is that there are actually 3 people in this relationship-the man, the woman, and God. When a couple can surrender to each other in goodness and surrender to God at the same time, life is good. There is peace. I know this from experience. Does it mean that there are no challenges in life? Of course not! It just means that there is Someone walking the path with me–always–who is loving and merciful, who knows all my pains and wounds and who wants me to be happy. That’s exciting and it is worth the struggles because when you desire what is real, and what it is pure, there is an interior freedom that comes from living in union with God.

Tonight I pray that we will all choose, even if it is for the first time, to make that U-turn and to give all of ourselves to God.

Dear Lord,

Another day with moments of grace and moments of weakness. Some days I wish I wasn’t so aware of Your Presence because I am so often convicted of my sin. But when I sit in front of the Blessed Sacrament and you take me as I am, with all of my sins and failings, I get rejuvenated with the love you have for me. Your Spirit fills me when I live in accord with you. Help me to always choose to live in union with you and when I don’t, help me to recover quickly, because I can’t bear to not be near you and close to you. My days go better when I am aware of you. I realize how often I can get lazy when life gets overwhelming or when I don’t start the day with you on my mind and heart.

Tonight, in a very special way, I ask for the intercession of Mary, our Mother, to pray for all of the engaged couples in our Alpha group. May Mary show them the way to your Son as the reason for hope in marriages in this world. May they receive courage to withstand the temptations of the culture. I ask all of this your great name. Amen

Bridge Restored-Week 8

Last night before the Deeper Dive of Re-routing, I had several people tell me that I was behind on my blogs!   I am a little behind, mostly because life happens and I don’t take  the time to pray about Re-routing on a strict schedule like I should.   So, this morning was the first time I got to spend  time reading all of the Scripture verses from Week 8.  Just when life starts stressing me out, I realize that God’s timing is always perfect. Week 8 is all about the Bridge being restored–about understanding why Jesus became flesh, why Jesus walked this earth among all of us, why He ate with sinners, why He died for us as sinful creatures.  He did this because of only one thing– because He loved us.  And, He still loves us, even with everything that we have done or are doing right now. He is waiting for us and those we love, not just to come back to church, but to come back to Him. There is nothing that gives God more pleasure than to see His children come back home.  His arms are wide open–waiting.

I know personally that He waits.  I know that He wants to restore bridges.  He desires to restore bridges more than we give Him credit for.  I know where I was in college and the things I was doing.  Yet, I still went to church.  When I look back, how in the world could I go to church and still continue to live the way I did? I did it because I didn’t know Jesus–I knew a building. Jesus is not a building. So, here’s the good news!  My past, my sins, actually brought me back to Jesus!  Don’t take this wrong, but I tell people all the time, that I am grateful for my past sins because they have brought me where I am today. Am I completely free from sin?  Of course not. But, now I struggle, I “wrestle”, with the Lord walking right by my side.  I am dealing with life WITH Him.  He is holding my hand.  He is holding me close.  I promise you He is not just doing this for me–He wants to do this for all of us.

This last year, God has personally brought “doors” in my life, both in prayer, and, in reality, and even in several different visions that I wish I would have written down now.  I know God has been talking to me, but, this morning, I feel like I received confirmation about what  He has been trying to say to me.  I have much to share on this, but right now,  let me say that I have had doors of mercy, I have had closed doors, I have had open doors–I even have had troubles with doors.  Until this morning,  I have only thought about these doors as circumstances or things that I am supposed to do or not do, until I read John 10:7-11.  “So, Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I AM THE DOOR of the sheep.  All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not heed them.  I AM THE DOOR: if any one enters by me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”   How often have we heard the last part of this passage?   Today, God wanted me to hear the beginning of that passage as well.  And, I think he wanted me to share this.    All of us have the opportunity to come back to Jesus, and  all of us have opportunities to bring Jesus to others.  Doors do several things:  They give us access, they can protect us, they can lead us home or they can keep us locked away. Don’t be afraid of Jesus, as the Door.  He doesn’t want us to live in fear of Him–he wants to give us access to Himself and He wants to protect us from the lies of the devil.  It is never to late to allow Jesus to restore  our bridges and to bring us Home.

Heavenly Father,

Thank you, thank you, thank you for constantly being there.  You are always present.  Always.  I am grateful for the peace that only you can bring.  Today I am reminded that I need to be  more attentive to your workings in my life and to constantly dig deeper.  Thank you for the people you have put in my life. Thank you for the open doors, the closed doors, and your doors of mercy.  I love you, Jesus. You continue to show me what love is.  Thank you for the mercy that you have always extended to me.  Let me always be merciful to those who need it most. Help me to be a “door” to others so that through me, people will come to know You. Amen.

 

 

 

Bridge Out-Week 7

I remember when my husband was still alive, he would say “why do you always say you are wrestling with God?” The short answer to this is I am very aware that Jesus said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6-11). Jesus didn’t say a few lucky sinners would slip through the cracks, or several might get a free pass.  No, Jesus said, NO ONE comes to the Father except through Him.  So, this is why I wrestle because I know this Truth and, yet, I often still want to have “my will be done”.  I want to say “yes, with these conditions.”  If we are honest, we all do this to one degree or another.  We want to be God and when we play God, we stop trusting God because we think we know better.  We allow sin to slowly creep into our life and if we are not careful, we end up completely rebelling against God.

When I think about wrestling with God, I have this image of Jesus standing firmly planted, strong in appearance, and me, beating on His chest, asking lots of questions, like “Why?” “Why do bad things happen? Why did you do this to me? Why can’t I just have things my way?”  I am completely okay with wrestling with God. For me, it is a necessity in my life. The alternative to wrestling with God, is wrestling with the devil, and I don’t want to go there. My personal image of the devil is a Jim Carey-like figure (no offense, Jim Carey) who gets you into trouble and then when things have become a mess, he slowly tiptoes out of the room, with a Cheshire cat grin, saying: “Wow, you have really made a mess out of your life, gee, look at the time, I’ve got to go!” Don’t mess with the evil one. He is very real.

We live in a society where sin has become glamorous, acceptable and in a lot of cases, just normal and expected. We have forgotten the seriousness of sin–we have forgotten that NO ONE comes to the Father through sinning. The only way to the Father is through Jesus, most especially through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and sincere repentance.  Sin ruins our relationship with God and others. We see this in Genesis 3.

I can’t remember if it was this week of Re-Routing or not, but one of our priests said you are either walking toward the darkness or you are walking toward the Light.  I understand this. It is so easy to get re-routed in the wrong direction!  It can be so easy to turn away from God if we are not on guard. Put on the armor of God so that you may be able to stand firm against the tactics of the devil.” Ephesians 6:11.  I talked about this with my kids this week.  We talked about saying things to each other that hurt each other. When we do this, we are not only hurting each other, we are hurting God.  When we don’t seek forgiveness from each other, we end up continuing a pattern of saying things that we don’t mean.  We let the devil take over our interactions.  If we seek forgiveness from each other and say we are sorry, we are walking toward the Light.  We are interrupting the destructive path of the devil.   If we hold onto grudges or bitterness toward each other, we are walking toward darkness.  I pray this week we can all help each other walk towards the Light.

From my prayer journal:

Heavenly Father, I often wonder why things happen the way they do.  I often forget that you have your hand in everyone’s life, not just mine—even when we are in sin, you are right there waiting for us to turn back to you.  Thank you for all the times in my life when you have been so patient with me.  Thank you for loving me through the bad times.  Thank you for taking on my sin, not only once in a while, but every time!  Please do not grow weary of me because I am still a sinner in need of a Savior. Help me to never forget the seriousness of sin because I want to live free and I long to live in union with You. I want to love purely—forgive me for the times I have failed to do this.  Give me the strength and courage to stand up against the games of the devil.

 I pray for those who are in spiritual battle even if they don’t know it. I pray for my parish family that we will stay close to you through prayer so as to build a fortress to protect us from the attacks of the evil one.  Help us to know that we are worthy of your love and there is nothing that we have done, that will make you abandon us, if we would just let you into our life fully and completely, and without hesitation. Please bring us closer to being the missionary disciples you have called each one of us to be. We need you.

 Amen.

 

 
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