I am excited about a new daily devotional coming out from Ave Maria Press called The Catholic Mom’s Prayer Companion A Book of Daily Reflections, edited by Lisa M. Hendey and Sarah A. Reinhard. I was asked to contribute 4 devotions to this wonderful book and am honored to be included in this distinguished group of over 80 leading Catholic authors.
I just got my advance copies and I can now share with you one of my reflections:
Note: My spiritual journal still resides here but I will also be publishing each post on the blog as well.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
MARCH 30, 2016–Today’s readings put forth a common theme–that we need each other. I loved the line from the meditation found at The Word Among Us website:
“There’s something about opening ourselves to other people that makes us more open to the Lord’s presence and his comfort.”
The meditation cites the examples of the two disciples walking to Emmaus, pouring themselves out to Jesus even though they did not recognize him. What they did recognize was his openness to their plight. He was willing to listen.
It also discusses the reading from Acts where Peter and John “give what they have” to the lame beggar–the healing power of Christ.
The meditation concludes with the idea that we most often find God in one another.
Such discovery requires trust. I have to go out on a limb based upon my initial feelings about someone, and trust that they want to hear what I have to say.
It makes me think about the vibe I give out–does my face convey openness, or am I annoyed that you are bothering me? Am I sitting still and being attentive or am I fidgeting? Is my mind focused on you or pushing in the future, waiting for you to leave?
It’s not easy to trust. It’s a lot easier on my part to think that my problem is so “special” that no one will understand it and so I keep it to myself. That’s a form of pride. There is no problem that is unique to one individual. At least one other person in the world has been through my problems. If I go out on a limb and confide in another, will I find God waiting there to listen?
I am pleased to present this guest post from Father Steven LaBaire, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Worcester, MA.
Today’s gospel reading (John 5:1-16) at the Pool of Bethesda where Jesus heals the man who had been lame for over thirty years struck a familiar chord. In that reading, Jesus asks a most obvious question: “Do you want to be healed?” He sensed that the man having been ill for so long, was stuck in that mode.
I remember hearing that question in my head when I had my throat blessed two years ago on the Feast of St. Blaise--that blessing healed my singing voice. Actually my answer to the question at that point was “No!”
Why the heck not??
I no longer wanted the responsibility associated with being a singer. It sounds ridiculous even as I write this but leading the singing at mass each week had become a grind. That’s what happens when you do it too long without a break. It was time to step aside and I used my lack of singing voice to do that. I sure as heck didn’t want my voice to come back–it would take away my excuse!
Eventually I came to understand that it was perfectly okay to take time away. I have only just returned to singing in church but this time as a member of the choir, without the leadership responsibility.
Get that elephant off of me!
Then there was the feeling of being stuck when it came to my weight. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on top of me–loosing weight seemed like an impossibility.
A rare hour spent in church in front of the monstrance changed everything. The grace I received from that time of prayer helped me to gently prod the elephant to move away. He did and I was able to embrace my diet (which is now a chosen lifestyle). I’ve lost 22 of the 27 pounds that I wish to lose. That elephant will not visit me again.
Praying at home
As I wrote in my spiritual journal, “Is My Day Your Day,” Even though I felt the insistent call again and again to stop, be still and pray, I could not get myself to do it. Again, it was time spent in adoration that caused that elephant to move away as well.
I was healed: my voice came back, I lost the weight, I’ve started praying in my corner each morning and each night.
Healing removes burdens, not just of the physical ailment or stubborn mindset, but of the guilt and attachment associated with those things.
Sometimes it is there for so long that it becomes your identity. It can be a excuse to avoid doing something that is difficult. It definitely requires a truthful assessment of yourself and that can be painful.
All of that was true. But in each case, I experienced transformation. SO worth it!
Not such a simple question is it: “Do you want to be healed?”
In this Sunday’s Gospel we hear about Jesus opening the ears of a man who is unable to hear. Jesus also removes a speech impediment which had prevented the man from speaking clearly (Mark 7:31-37). Not surprisingly this man’s life is completely changed.
This is from my recent Tech Talk column on Catholicmom.com. Portions of this article were taken from my upcoming book, River of Grace: Creative Passages Through Difficult Times, from Ave Maria Press. It is available on Amazon.