Sunday Reflections: Rise and Pray

Posted by on Feb 7, 2016 in Faith & Spirituality

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And there appeared to Him an angel from heaven to strengthen Him. And falling into an agony He prayed all the more earnestly. And His sweat became like drops of blood running down upon the ground. And rising from prayer.  He came to the disciples and found them sleeping for sorrow. And He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation” (Lk 22: 43– 46).

 

Time flies for sure!  We just finished up the Christmas season, and we are headed straight for Lent.  Regardless of the time of year, my favorite mysteries of the Rosary is the Sorrowful mysteries.

Always, when reading the scripture for it, one thing always that always jump out at me is:

“Rise and pray, so that you may not enter into temptation.”

Right before our Lord was about to undergo his greatest trial, He no doubt was tempted by the Evil One.  Just like He was tempted when He first started his ministry after His baptism.

But during this time, Jesus asked for help, and in response Angles were sent to comfort him in his time of need, and to strengthen him.  The disciples that were supposed to stay awake with him were asleep.

Now Jesus knew what cup he must drink.  He knew what was coming, which is why he fell into an agony, but his disciples were asleep for sorrow.”

There have been so many things that has happened in the past few months.  Not just with me, but with other members of my family as well.  There is so much to have sorrow over, but there is much room for rejoicing.

However, during the deepest fog of what was going on, I have to ask myself, did I allow myself to go into a deep sorrow that numbed me.  I prayed, but it was hard to keep my focus.  It was easy to fall into doubt, and temptation.  I’m thankful that I haven’t fallen into despair, but when trouble faces your door, it’s hard not to feel down, like the Apostles.

But Jesus, the awesome person that he is, teaches us at this time what to do when we see and know trouble to knock at our door.  Instead of giving in to our sorrow, we are taught to pray.  Even when we are in deep sorrow, or agony, we are to pray more earnestly to ask for help during our difficult times.

When things gets rough, we tend to turn inward and our minds focuses on our problems.  Looking at the disciples as our example, when that happens, we fall deeper into sorrow and we become numb.

I’m sure we’ve all been there at times.  “What else can happen?”  “Why me?”

Jesus showed us that even in deep worries, concerns, or problems, we shouldn’t falter in our prayers.  We shouldn’t be paralyzed or filled with doubt.  We have to remember that evil is allowed to happen because there is a greater good that only God can see.

This week, I know I’m going to be thinking about this a lot.  When I’m sleeping, or wake up in the middle night upset about something, I do as our Lord commands:

rise and pray

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Sunday Reflections: Worrying Too Much

Posted by on Jan 2, 2016 in Faith & Spirituality

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It’s been a while since I did a Sunday post.  Mostly because there has always been a lot of things on my mind (and plate), I’m going to try and write down my thoughts each week.

This Sunday reflection, I’ve been reading the book of Matthew.  I think I’m going to be on this book for a while, because it gives me a lot to think about.  Lately, though, I have been worried.  Not just lightly worried, but really worried.  It seems these days I’m worried about a lot of things.

Now, I know that God will provide, and nothing is too big for Him.  Sometimes, I end up getting caught up in the day to day, that I worry more than I should.  How much of my years is added by me worrying?

 

 Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it? Mt. 6:27

 

Simple answer to that is no.  We cannot add one year to our life worrying about the the things that we think is to come.  The truth is, they may not even come true.  What makes worrying so destructive, is that sometimes it can take over your life.

You end up spending so much time worrying about the future that you forget to live in the present.  You almost become consumed with your thoughts, and everything else is neglected.

A healthy amount of worry is a necessary part of life, but when our worry consumes us, then we can see the ravaging affects that worry has on our health.

What I have realized over the years, because I am a worrier, is that I have to let go, and let God.  I am too little to do so many things on my own.  When I notice that my thoughts are running away from me, then I have to take a moment and step back, and re-evulate my situation.

Through prayer and just quiet time with me and God, I’m able to get back together, and have a clear mind to tackle anything.  I know that cannot happen if I just worried.

Are you a worrier?  Do you find yourself consumed with thoughts?  How do you get yourself back on track?

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5 Things I’m Thankful For in 2015

Posted by on Dec 30, 2015 in Musings

 

 

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This year was going to end relatively quiet until the end of the year. October, my heath issues started, and in December, literally one week before Christmas, a family crisis had happen. So far things are looking positive for the family crisis, and only time will tell about my health issues.

However, regardless of how we planned this year, and how it ended, I’m sure that it was completely different than what any of us had in mind. Yet I’m thankful. I know, how can you be thankful when it feels like your world is crumbling around you? Being thankful is the hardest and yet easiest things I can be at the moment. Hard because: yes, I do feel like my world is crumbling around me, and yet it’s the easiest thing to do because we easily forget it.

So, this year I’m thankful for:

1. Family. When one family goes through a crisis, you can always depend on family to rally around you and give you support. When you feel like the issue that you’re facing is too large for you, its family that gives you the extra emotional support to help you get through the dark times. For my family, I’m very thankful.

2. Faith. Nothing is possible without faith. Nothing is impossible for God. When you don’t know how something is going to get done, all you have to do is ask God, “How do you plan on doing this? I know this is way bigger than me.” Without faith, we would be wondering how to get through our daily lives. When we see a challenge, we won’t know how to get through it, but faith provides us the direction, and it leads us to the calm solution.

3. The Internet. Hahaha, why would I be thankful for something like that? Well, there is so much information regarding everything on it. Not only people talk about the same issues that you are going though, but people talk about how they found solutions for their problem. The internet can be an empowering tool because it proves you with so much information that would otherwise not be available. This can lead to better decisions regarding health and excercise—of course you would have to exercise good judgement when reading about health online.

4. Truth. Something as simple as truth sometimes can be manipulated and distorted. I was watching a health documentary and it was going over how many times truth about a cure has been suppressed because there is no money in it for big corporations. On a smaller scale, how often do we suppress the truth because we don’t want to hurt anyone, when they deserve the truth from us. I’m thankful for truth, because we can be honest and truthful with our loved ones, and one shouldn’t have to fear retaliation for telling them something that other people just won’t. My motto is, as long as that truth is told with love, and not looking to put the person down, while they will not like what you have to say (and may end up not speaking to you for a bit), they will come around because they will understand that you hold no ill will against them.

5. Change. I am very thankful for the ability to change. We are not set in our ways. We can change if we want it. I’m at this stage in my life where I have to get serious about many things: care for parents, grandparents, children, spouse, retirement, you name it, I’m sure that I’ve been thinking about it. What I love about the ability to change is that every day provides us with a new chance to do things differently. We are able and capable of making new decisions that can affect our lives in the future. What many of us have a hard time with is knowing that that part is in our hands.

As this year comes to a close, and the plans for the upcoming year are underway, I hope that many of us will not forget the lessons that we learned in 2015. The challenges that we faced will not be swept under the rug, but they will be used to learn and grow from. 2015 will be gone in a few days, but for me, the lessons will be forever in my mind.

What lessons have you learned in 2015?

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Eating Real Foods For The New Year

Posted by on Dec 21, 2015 in Health and Spirituality

eating real foods

 

I hope everyone is enjoying their Advent Season so far.  Since we are very close to Christmas, the decorations have been going up (but not lights yet) and the kids are very excited.  During this time, I’ve taken a moment to step back and take a moment for myself.  I’ve changed our environment for homeschool from the kitchen to the bedroom, and I am amazed at how fast we finish, but I’ll talk more on that later.

For the past few weeks, I have not been well, so I hope that you will all keep me in your prayers.  Since I have been feeling unwell, I have been focusing on my health more and listen to my body more often.  I’ve started cutting out processed food, gluten, eggs, dairy (including all cheeses).  The cheese is what is so hard to more away from, because it is so addictive, but move away from it I have.

In the process, I have been eating more greens such as: kale, bok-choy, spinach, and a whole  lot of greens!  I’ve ramped up on my colors: beets, sweet potato, peppers, turnips, blackberries, and the like.  I guess you can say that it is a paleo type diet, but in all honestly, its not really a diet, its a whole lifestyle change.

As I’m still recovering (long recovery I know), I realize that God put so many delicious food on this planet for us.  He gave us so many different types of meats, fish, greens, veggies, fruits for us to enjoy.  He has given us so much, and sometimes being thickheaded, we like to change this and add that.  We think we know what’s best for us, and it could be found in a package, but it is found right in God’s garden.  I ask the Lord everyday to help me truly know what is good for me, what will help me, and to step away from what is hurtful.

Before this journey, I would grab a premade item instead of making it myself.  I’ve relied too much on processed food that I notice that it was harming not only my health, but my family as well.  Just so that you know, I am really all about DIY cooking, but sometimes, I would grab the nearest thing when I’m stressed, or too tired to make cookies (not that anyone needs cookies) and many of those times they are store bought.

With me not feeling my best, I’ve decided to overhaul my whole family’s eating habits.   I’ve mainly focused on my faith on my blog, but I realize that my faith that God will provide, is also fueling my desire for my health.  My goal, is not to go to the point of obsession, but truly use the tools that God has given us, and be thankful.

I hope that you will come a long with me on this journey, to better myself physically and emotionally.  Health has a huge impact on our spiritual life, and vise versa.  I’m tying to find a way to bridge the connection between the two and share my findings with you.

Have you ever neglected your health by putting it in the back ground?  What do you think you can do to change that?  If you have made changes, what is some advice you can give to people who are just starting out?

 

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Where Is Your Heart?

Posted by on Nov 16, 2015 in Faith & Spirituality

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A few days ago, my husband and I were discussing the goals that most people strive for. We know already that most people strive for wealth, power, and fame. These usually go hand in hand as a person pursues what they feel is the most important to them.

But  if I had to share one question that I shared with my husband: Who do think is the happiest person in the world: the richest person, or a Brother or Sister?

My argument went like this: the Brother or Sister has to ask for permission, to do something, or if they need something. They do not have anything in their name, and many times they live very humble lives. In many cases, a life of service.

On the other hand, the richest person has everything their heart desires. They have all the money to buy anything they want, and if they have a need, it’s taken care of right away. They want for nothing, and ordinary people tend to think that wealth means importance.

Yet, if you look deep down past the surface, you find that the richest person in the world are not the  happiest. They may not want for anything physical, but they are still in need of something—of some One. They can have anything, yet it’s not enough. At times, some are bitter, or a little out of touch with ordinary people.

However, the Sisters and Brothers that I have met in my life, have this joy and peace around them that you wish you can just put in a bottle. They may not have everything they want but they have everything they need. That is what makes them happy. They found what their heart is searching for (God) and their heart is resting on Him.

We have to take a careful examination of our lives. We have to find out if we are content with what we have, or if our hearts are still searching.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21)

If our heart is where our treasure is, and if our focus is on the riches and fame of this world, then where is the room for God in our lives? Where is the room for our families?

In Matthew 19: 16-26 we heard another story of a rich young man who wanted to know what good he has to do to get to heaven. First Jesus tells him to keep the commandment, to which the young man replied that he does. Then Jesus instructs him to go and sell all of his things, and follow Him. To which the man grieved and walked away.

We can read this story and say, “Yea, of course I would drop everything and follow Jesus.” Looking from an outside perspective it’s so easy to say that, like it’s easy being a backseat driver. The reality of it is much different.

Our heart’s treasure can lie with anything: our gadgets, our hobbies, or anything we pour as much, or putting more effort into into things  than growing our relationship with God. When we look to this world to make us happy, we will only find sadness and grief, but if we direct our eyes heavenward, there is much joy that will shine in our lives.

From my experience, those who chose God first in their lives found that joy we are all striving for. Yes, we still have to worry about finances and bills, but putting God first in our lives, we trust that he is going to take care of all things, and lead us in the right direction.

Back to you: where is your heart?  Are you focused heavenward?  Do you find that your heart is still searching for something?

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What Does Mercy Look Like?

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Faith & Spirituality

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Have you ever wondered why the theme we hear about lately is inclusive?  Safe place? No hate zone?  I’ve been seeing this for a while now, as I’m sure you have too.  What we see now is a system that is now working to make things safe for a few, but leave the majority vulnerable.

As a parent, I wonder how that works with children?  You have 4 kids, and one does something wrong, do you punish the other 3?  Or let’s say one got it right, and did what was asked, do you reward the other 3 as well?

Of course, this is just a crude example, but in our willingness to “not offend,” and “make a safe place,” we are in turn making the place unsafe for anyone who disagrees.

Times like this, I truly wonder what would Jesus do?  We have excellent examples of what he did and how it affected people of the time.

 

Real Mercy

 

The woman who was caught in adultery.  We all know the story.  A woman was caught in the act of adultery (although I wonder what were her neighbors doing to catch her in the act), and they were ready to stone her.  To test Jesus, they bring her to him and expect him to carry out the punishment. Instead he says: “Those without sin throw the fist stone.” They all walk  away leaving just Jesus and the woman.

This last part is what our our society forgot. What he says next is so important: he says, “Go and sin no more.”

He did”t say, “You’re okay. Wear your choices as a badge of honor.”  Nope!  He acknowledged that she was a sinner, and told her not to do it again.  Today, it would seem that the scene would be backwards. Instead, society will say that she has a right to commit adultery, and how dare anyone call her sinner.

 

Why Are We Getting It Wrong?

 

We are living a society that has turned secular, individual, pragmatic, material, relativist,  and that’s just to name a few!

We remember of bits and pieces of the Gospel message, but it’s murky. We want to do what is right and just, but we are quickly forgetting exactly what is right and just.

You see, Jesus didn’t leave her in her sin.  He didn’t say, “well, that’s it, they should just take you as you you.  You’re an adulterer, and they should just accept you like that.”

Nope!  He told her that she was free to go, but, go and sin no more.  That’s it.  Mercy is forgiveness but is also an acknowledgment that we are sinners.

To change the definition of mercy as: “I’m okay, you’re okay” would be wrong, and actually contrary to the gospels.  Every person whom Jesus encountered, they either changed his life after meeting him, or walked away from him.

Not one of them demand that He change their teachings for them.

 

The Problem Today

 

The problem today is that moved away from the Biblical sense of mercy, and instead embraced a secular definition.  Mercy today is seen as acceptance of who and what I am.  If you don’t like it, then you’re being unmerciful, judgmental, and full of hate.

There is no mercy without judgment.  We have to first understand what we’re doing is wrong.  We have to admit to our mistakes.  We then would be in position for mercy–assuming that we will be granted it.  We do not deserve mercy, but it is given to us out of love.

Mercy now is seen as free of sin, or better yet, what was once sinful is no longer, and everyone agrees with you.

 

What Bishop Robert Barron Has to Say

 

Bishop Robert Barron talked about this in one of his videos, talks about Pope Francis and Mercy.

To say mercy, is to say sin….In the popular imagination, to say mercy is that sin does’ t matter.  Au contraire, theologically speaking, it’s not right to say that ‘God is Mercy’, the right thing to say is that God is love…Mercy is what love looks like when its turned towards the sinner.

I think Bishop Robert Barron says it beautifully!  In the end, it all comes down to language. We just ned to get the language correct, and finally talk about what is actually mercy.  Finally, we need to throw off the ideas of what we want mercy to be, and actually embrace real mercy.

 

Have you noticed an attempt to separate mercy from sin?

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It’s More Than Words

Posted by on Sep 28, 2015 in Media and Culture

Pope Francis has endeared many of us, and confused the rest of us. I fall into both camps! I love how personable he is, however I understand that I don’t understand a lot of things about him. To me, that’s okay. I wasn’t meant to understand completely every person, and I’m sure many of his writings will make more sense to me as I pray about it, and as time passes.

 

It's More Than WordsSQ

He talks about so many things when he addressed Congress on September 24th. I would love to share one of them with you now.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Mt 7:12). This Rule points us in a clear direction. Let us treat others with the same passion and compassion with which we want to be treated. Let us seek for others the same possibilities which we seek for ourselves. Let us help others to grow, as we would like to be helped ourselves. In a word, if we want security, let us give security; if we want life, let us give life; if we want opportunities, let us provide opportunities. The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.”

The Golden Rule. I’ve know I’ve talked about it, and I know we all know about it, but it just struck me that we all just know about it. Pope Francis breaks it down even further for us, in terms that we can understand as a nation:

– If we want security, give security
– want life, give life
– for opportunities, offer opportunities.

Pretty basic and simple stuff right? Then how come we fail miserably at it sometimes? So many of us wish and long for our loved ones to feel secure in their jobs, to know that they have a future in a livelihood and it’s steady. But these days, we know full well that we’re not living in the past.

Security of employment is out the door. Employees have no loyalty their employers, and employers have no loyalty their employees. Both are looking out for the next best thing to come a long.

From a privileged perspective one may think, “Well, if they don’t like the conditions, they can leave.” From an unprivileged perspective the other may think, “I’m not valued at my job, I should go where I’m valued.”

The same thing goes for life. We want “life, liberty, and persist of happiness,” but in the meantime we are snuffing out the very life that never had a chance.

The last line that drove it home to me was this:

The yardstick we use for others will be the yardstick which time will use for us.

Yup, a wonderful reminder indeed!

I’ll give you an example, do you know of Kim Davis? (Of course you do!)

Well how many out there dismissed her because of her earlier lifestyle and her remarriage? How many of us judge her a hypocrite because of the way she used to live before she found the Gospels? How many of us out there called her names just because she stood up for what she believed in?

Now, how many of us are willing to do the same thing? Even at the threat of jail or death?

We are so good at being backseat drivers, or quarterbacks, but in the past few weeks, I had to step back and look at her resolve during attacks, poked fun of, and even laughed at. I have to ask myself:  “Am I as strong enough to endure this type of trial?” This is a question all have to ask ourselves.

Pope Francis’ speech leaves us with many things to think about. Things that we have to work on as a nation that is wealthy but doesn’t do a great job for providing for those who are poor. We profess liberty, but we don’t practice it completely. Finally, we all want a livelihood, but by our actions as a nation we are denying others theirs.

Let us pray and hope that as a nation we can straighten things out.

Did Pope Francis say anything that inspired you, or made you think?

It's More Than WordsFul

 

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