What Breakfast Taught Me About Prayer and God’s Will

What Breakfast Taught Me About Prayer and God’s Will

One morning at breakfast I had an interesting realization about God as I was offering my daughter 3 choices for breakfast. 

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Spiritual Asthma

Spiritual Asthma

As I mentioned last week, I recently got an inhaler

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Be Slow to Anger

Be Slow to Anger

This sounds like a no-brainer, but I swear children are hard-wired to find our weak spots.


Even babies are out to get us or so it feels, like when our 2 year old wakes up at 1 or 2 am and won’t go back to sleep in her cot so ends up in the marital bed pummeling me in the back with both feet. Eventually she falls asleep while I lie awake for the next two hours, hopefully mustering up enough energy to carry her back to her own room and bed. Or like the time she so was pleased with herself at pouring full glasses of water over the brand new sofa (thank God it was only water!) she slow-clapped her efforts, and even though I laugh about it now, I wasn’t laughing then.

Biologists like Katherine Hinde know that babies cry at night for a reason. They’re not trying to make us miserable; they want to eat and survive. Even when my 6 year old son constantly leaves practically all of his toys out strewn across his bedroom floor all the time; it isn’t because he’s lazy about keeping tidy (though he needs to work on it) but because he wants to explore every permeation of his imaginary world with all of the objects (yes all at the same time) because he’s wanting to be creative and feel relaxed and happy about enjoying those toys without restriction or inhibition. I can’t be constantly annoyed about normal childhood development, nor do I have a right.  God is slow to anger, too. “Even when he scolds us, he does so with a caress,” Pope Francis reminds us. For me, this means no yelling because I had a bad day at work, or because I’m stressed from lack of sleep and it feels like we’ll never get out the front door on time for the school run or catching the train to work etc.  It means forgiving mistakes quickly, and disciplining only when it’s for my children’s own good.  In short it really means embracing not just the first bit of the famous ‘Serenity Prayer” but the lesser known second half too.

Serenity Prayer
Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971)

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time; 
enjoying one moment at a time; 
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; 
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it; 
trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; 
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next. 
Amen.

Edmund Adamus

 

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He Loves You all Year Long

He Loves You all Year Long

The other night I was reading this cute book to my daughter before bed called, “I Love You All Year Long.” 


It goes through each season of the year, and how the mother loves her child in each season. It’s March here in Colorado, so the idea of swimming and beaches with sandcastles seemed very appealing. Yet, the raking of leaves and hot apple cider on a hayride did not have the same draw. After giving it more thought, I realized that a hayride and hot cider is so exciting and refreshing after a hot summer of drenching in sweat! Currently we are getting a spell of warm weather here and the kids have been playing outside every day, which makes me long for summer. But how exciting was it to get the kids bundled up to go play in the first snow!


That’s what I love about the seasons here. They are always changing, which allows us to appreciate the unique opportunities each season presents us with. This is much like the seasons of life that we find ourselves in. Sometimes like spring, they are full of new wonders and are very colorful. But they can also be rainy, keeping us indoors. Sometimes like summer, our lives are very dry, needing constant watering, even though we are busy doing lots of things. In fall, we rake out the dead leaves and really celebrate the changing of seasons. The different colored leaves of autumn are one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen! Then come the holidays during the winter, filled with anticipation, parties, and family time. But the days are cold and dark.

Every season of life has its ups and downs. Even our spiritual lives reflect these same truths – we have dark nights where we feel far from God, we have spring times of faith when we are filled with hope. Sometimes our prayer is dry and needs lots of water, and other times we rake out the dead of sin and can see the fruit of our efforts. But there is always something we can gain from each season. We need these ups and downs to not take a particular state for granted. If we can recognize these different seasons, we can appreciate what they bring, and look forward to the next change. The only constant, like in the book, is that God loves us in each season of our life. Our goal is to love him back the same in each.

At my brother’s wedding several years ago, Fr. Brady opened the Mass with the words, “The only tragedy in life is to not become a Saint.” We will experience tragedy – cancer, death, betrayal, poverty, etc. But redemption and our reward in heaven overcome all of these. On the other hand, missing the opportunity for holiness in each of these trials is the real tragedy, as God offers us grace continuously, no matter the external circumstances. Missing out on an eternity in heaven? That’s the worst.

Not feeling like you are a Saint? Neither did many of the saints. A saint is anyone in Heaven, whether the Church has publicly recognized him or her or not.  We are all called to be saints. What do all saints have in common? They never gave up in each season of life. They clung to grace to get back up again when they fell, and they embraced God’s constant love in each of these ups and downs. 

 
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Pillar of Families

Pillar of Families

“Pillar of Families” is one of the wonderful titles we attribute to the Light of Patriarchs – St. Joseph – spouse of Mary. 

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Loving God through Marriage

Loving God through Marriage

I struggle with loving God. Not because I don’t want to, but because I find it hard to figure out how. 


I struggle with thinking that the only way to love God is to participate in reverent Masses and have long hours in contemplative prayer. Well, with 3 kids under the age of 5, Mass is usually anything but reverent and prayer is almost never long and contemplative. So, I often feel like a failure when it comes to prayer.

In my mind, I know that if I wanted to spend long hours in prayer I should have become a nun. But marriage is my vocation, yet often times I feel like my vocation (particularly children), seem more like an obstacle to holiness instead of a path to it.
Now, I’ve read St. Therese’s Story of a Soul, and I’m familiar with her little way in that ordinary acts done with love are more important than great acts. But no offense to the wisdom of St. Therese, it just seemed like a cop out to my feeble human mind.
"Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ,” are the words of St. Therese, and I didn’t get it for a long, long time.

Then, one day it hit me while my family was at the park. I was watching my husband play on the playground with our children: chasing them around, helping them down the slide, pushing them on the swings.  And I just felt more in love with him! I felt loved in how he was showing love to the children we created together. So then the light bulb went off: of course that must be how God feels about us! When we love our spouses and kids, we are loving the Creator in whose image we are made.  As St. Therese said, “My vocation is love.” And love comes in lots of different forms!

Having that experience with my own family helped me realize that while time aside in prayer to God is important (vital!), I truly can love God through my vocation. By laying my own wants aside to serve my husband, getting off the computer to sit down and play trucks with my sons, or having one more tea party with my daughter, by doing these things, I am loving God. If all would make use of the ordinary duties and trials of their state in the way God intended, they would all become saints." Sister Miriam Teresa DemjanovichAnd now I can remember that day in the park, how I felt about my husband, and be reminded that’s how God feels about me.

“Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40

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The Spirit of Assisi

The Spirit of Assisi

Now that I am back from the World Meeting of Families event in Philadelphia there is a plethora of new ideas, resources, initiatives, and pastoral programs I have come back with which I hope in good time to review and share with you, as well apply to my day to day work.

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