My family . . . the blessings of my life!

My family . . . the blessings of my life!
Sean, Mackenzie, Pat (hubby), me, Jeneah

Sunday, April 18, 2010

One Minute Meditations - Interior Life

Work
If you know that study is apostolate, but limit yourself to studying just enough to get by, it is clear that your interior life is going badly.

If you are so careless you will lose the right spirit. Just like the worker in the parable who cunningly hid the talent he had received, you may, if you do not put things right, exclude yourself from God's friendship, and be stuck in the mire of your comfort-seeking calculations.
– St. Josemaria Escriva, Furrow, #525

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One Minute Meditations - Character...temptation

Character
Turn your back on the tempter when he whispers in your ear: 'Why make life difficult for yourself?'
– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #6

LIZ'S QUESTION TO ASK OURSELVES...
Do we turn our backs or do we look for ways to make life less 'difficult'?

Following Christ doesn't mean an easy path, but it does mean a peaceful heart despite rocky paths.

Hold strong to Christ. Do not be lukewarm. Turn your back on the tempter. Grab onto our Mother Mary's hand and ask her to take you to her son. Life is difficult. Choose Christ. Choose virtue. Pray hard.

The tempter wants you to take...
The easy way out.
The less difficult choice.
The 'But I deserve to feel good don't I???' choice.

The tempter KNOWS standing for Christ is going against the flow of the secular world and is often the 'less popular choice, therefore the more difficult...that's why he tempts you with avoiding difficult paths or tempts you with 'feel good' choices that are temporary and fleeting... but as Christians our goal should be the PEACE THAT CHRIST OFFERS. HIS PEACE IS FOREVER.

Being a Christian calls us to turn our back on the tempter as he whispers, "Why make life difficult for yourself?"

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My recent ponderings "Has humility been lost in our culture?"

Somehow since our first trip to San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala, in 2006, I have found myself wondering about humility in the American culture.

I wonder, "In our zeal for women to become educated, career women, have we foregone the great virtue of humility?"

This question appears in various circumstances that draws me into attempting to see this more in a spiritual way (Holy Glasses, if you will)...wondering about what God really asks of us.

Most often this question arises because I am a stay-at-home mom...or in the eyes of the world, "You don't work?" ... Uhm, YES, I do work. I work a lot.

One of the other ponderings I have regarding lost humility in women in America is the need to be equal or even more than equal ('top dog') to others (not just over men, but over everyone). In our quest to become "IMPORTANT" or "OF VALUE" did we lose the importance of HUMILITY?

  • Do we dislike having people in authority over us?
  • Does it bother us to reverence another?
  • Are we willing to humble ourselves to serve others...WITHOUT BEING ASKED?
  • Must the initials after our name be of higher 'value' than others around us?
  • Do we dislike using titles of others that acknowledge their importance (i.e., Mr., Mrs. Dr., Father, Deacon, etc.)
Here's the recent reason why I find myself pondering this loss of humility in my opinion, in the culture of American women.

Our deanery recently held the yearly, "Good Friday Stations Walk" where young and old alike gather to walk and pray the Passion. This year the walkers experienced a heightened 'offering of suffering' as it decided to pour buckets of rain!

As I looked through the pictures, a couple caught my attention, and I found myself in tears!
LITERALLY SOBBING!


Do you see what I see?



Here's a close-up...do you see what I see?

Do you see the women...
lovingly holding umbrellas over the two priests?


I was told, not only did they hold the umbrellas over the priests, but to do so sometimes meant walking in the gutters of flowing water from the downpour. TRUE HUMILITY. TRUE REVERENCE.

I know one of these women, and she is educated and a career woman. However, she's not too proud to humble herself by reverencing her SPIRITUAL FATHER. This woman does not struggle with the need to feel 'equal' to him -- obvious by her truly humble actions. By this action, I would also assume she would not have a problem with using his proper title of "Father" before his name.

Yet, many American women I know would struggle with both aspects of this lady's loving humility -- if they were asked to do such a thing as 'lower' themselves.

Not only that, knowing these two priests, I would be safe to guess that they would NEVER EXPECT such treatment. However, they do deserve it. They gave their lives to our Holy Mother Church to be our spiritual fathers.

Have we lost the beautiful virtue of humility? I pray not.

Saint Zita, pray for us!

Just yesterday I had the conversation with my kids about our family rule of calling ADULTS by Mr. or Mrs. so and so. And how many of the adults don't like it (for various reasons). But that begged the question, "How did this happen?" ... "Why do kids insist on addressing adults by their first name, as if they are EQUAL?" When I grew up (hundreds of years ago according to my 13 y.o.) we would NEVER think of addressing a teacher or leader with anything but Mr. or Mrs. Yet, today in preschools you have Little Johnny addressing his teacher by Miss Liz, rather than Mrs. Kearns. WHY? What are we teaching Little Johnny when he is allowed to address adults by their first name? Will he then as a teenager resist ever using a title that acknowledges the fact that he is NOT someone's equal?

Is it a lack of humility?

Saint Joseph, pray for us!

Here's the reflection that brought all of this to mind this morning:

One Minute Meditations

You Can!
True faith shows itself in humility. Dicebat enim intra se – that poor woman said to herself: Si tetigero tantum vestimentum eius, salva ero – if I can but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be healed.

What humility she showed. It was both a result and a sign of her faith.
– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Forge, #324

Actions speak much louder than words...
Mary, Mother of God, intercede for us.

Scripture Verse of the Day - Dishonesty, Gossip

Proverbs 16:28

A dishonest man spreads strife, and a whisperer separates close friends.

When you speak are you cautious not to gossip about others? Is it gossip if it is true? Can the truth be harmful or slanderous to another?

Do we realize how these 'little' sins add up and the importance of our acknowledging our failures and finding true contrition as well as a strong resolve to watch what we say...at all times.

Here's what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say, in part, about the importance of awareness & even confessing these 'little' sins...

1458 Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.59 Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father's mercy, we are spurred to be merciful as he is merciful:60

Whoever confesses his sins . . . is already working with God. God indicts your sins; if you also indict them, you are joined with God. Man and sinner are, so to speak, two realities: when you hear "man" - this is what God has made; when you hear "sinner" - this is what man himself has made. Destroy what you have made, so that God may save what he has made. . . . When you begin to abhor what you have made, it is then that your good works are beginning, since you are accusing yourself of your evil works. The beginning of good works is the confession of evil works. You do the truth and come to the light.61
HERE IS A LINK TO THE CATECHISM PAGE REGARDING CONFESSION & VENIAL SINS (LITTLE SINS)

We must guard our words to be pleasing to the Lord, who is all good and loving -- as we should try our best to be as good as possible and as loving as possible. Let us all see Christ in those around us and build each other up rather than tear down.

Making Eucharistic Adoration priority in our lives . . .

What a powerful testimony of the importance of Eucharistic Adoration in our lives.

In this reflection today I am reminded of this great and simple necessary part of every Catholic's spiritual life. I especially love the closing sentence, "So, I think it is important to go back to the Eucharist, and give a real place to the Eucharist in our lives and in the lives of our families."

How blessed we truly are to have Jesus -- Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity -- available to adore. At our parish we are so deeply blessed to have Perpetual Adoration. May we all take advantage of this gift from God at every possible opportunity.


Saturday, April 3, 2010

One Minute Meditations - Holy Purity

Holy Purity
Don't try to reason with concupiscence: scorn it.
– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #127

Liz's Note - strange how the Lord works. Between raising teenagers, talking with young adults, and yes, even married couples, I find myself discussing or researching Church teaching on the subject of restraining purely physical temptations. So when I saw St. Josemaria's meditation today, I figure maybe the Lord is using this as an instrument of teaching.

Defining concupiscence a little deeper:
In its widest acceptation, concupiscence is any yearning of the soul for good; in its strict and specific acceptation, a desire of the lower appetite contrary to reason.

But the lower appetite is of itself unrestrained, so as to pursue sensuous gratifications independently of the understanding and without regard to the good of the higher faculties. Hence desires contrary to the real good and order of reason may, and often do, rise in it, previous to the attention of the mind, and once risen, dispose the bodily organs to the pursuit and solicit the will to consent, while they more or less hinder reason from considering their lawfulness or unlawfulness. This is concupiscence in its strict and specific sense. As long, however, as deliberation is not completely impeded, the rational will is able to resist such desires and withhold consent, though it be not capable of crushing the effects they produce in the body, and though its freedom and dominion be to some extent diminished. If, in fact, the will resists, a struggle ensues, the sensuous appetite rebelliously demanding its gratification, reason, on the contrary, clinging to its own spiritual interests and asserting it control.

"The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh."

Thursday, April 1, 2010

One Minute Meditations - Humility

Humility
Self-knowledge leads us by the hand, as it were, to humility.
– St. Josemaria Escriva, The Way, #609

Dedication to Jesus
Lord Jesus Christ, take away my freedom, my memory, my understanding, and my will. All that I have and cherish you have given me. I surrender it all to be guided by your will. Your love and your grace are wealth enough for me. Give me these, Lord Jesus, and I ask for nothing more. Amen.
St. Ignatius Loyola (1491-1556)

St. Teresa of Avila
“For mental prayer…is nothing more than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much…Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”

St. Thérèse of Lisieux
"...So I sought in holy Scripture some idea of what this life I wanted would be, and I read these words: 'Whosoever is a little one, come to me.' It is your arms, Jesus, that are the lift to carry me to heaven. And so there is no need for me to grow up; I must stay little and become less and less."

Magnificat
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children forever.