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Spiritual Reading: The Imitation of Christ

Spiritual Reading: The Imitation of Christ

I have a lot of Spiritual books on my reading list.  Many of them that I have read already, and some that I am itching to get through.  Each one of these books holds a treasure to change who I am, and lessons to living life to the fullest in the realist way.  While I could have started with anyone of those books, I decided to start with a book that I am reading: The Imitation of Christ. The Imitation of Christ is one of the most widely read devotional over 500 years.  Yup–I said it right, 500 years!  I first came across it by reading a quote in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  All Christians can get something out of this, not only Catholics.  I honesty would say that this text is good for anyone who wants grow their devotion to  Christ.   Learning Detachment   One of the greatest lessons that I’ve learned through this book, is about detachment.  Not just from things around us, but detachment from praise, detachment from our own pride and desires.  Each and every single false attachment we have to things (and sometimes people) makes us less attached to God.  So for instance, if you’re always wondering what other people what think of you, maybe you won’t go out there and share the truth because you don’t want anyone to think that you are crazy. To sum it up, there is a sort of self-death that happens to us when we truly become disciples of Christ.     Discerning Desires   Desires (I think) is one of the greats things that leads us...

Cutting Our Feet From Under Us

This post was originally published on November 14, 2011   This weekend, I watched the documentary: End Of Poverty? and there were several things that stood out. • In Bolivia, water was privatized to the point that collecting rainfall was considered illegal (thank goodness the people revolted and ran that company out of the country). • Most countries in the southern hemisphere are not economically independent–heavily saddled with debt that they will never be able to pay back. • People die in hospitals while waiting for family to scrape money together for their care. These victims are not even treated until they show the hospitals the money. • Violence usually increases when there is a gap between rich and poor. Which brings me to today’s post. I’ve sensed a change of climate in the States over the past decade. We all heard the news reports of the wealth gap, and how the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Hence the reason for the Occupy Wall Street movement that has spread across the country. But what it really feels like is that there are no more rocks to bleed elsewhere. So now, the knives are turned on ourselves. Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed. ~Mahatma Gandhi • More Americans are sinking into poverty each year. • Millions are out of work. • The highest types of jobs that are opening are in the service sector or part-time (which does not equal the pay that most Americans lost). It just seems like a precedent has been or is being set...
3 R’s For Meditating On Scripture

3 R’s For Meditating On Scripture

  I find that I am always interested in improving myself when it comes to meditating on scripture.  I’ve used so many different methods but this one seems to help me the most.  Of course, my hope that you will be helped by this method as well.  Here are the 3R’s to meditating on Scripture.   Read   I know right?  It’s the most obvious step, but it does begin with reading the Bible.  When started Bible meditation, some say start with the Gospels, other says the Book of John.  I didn’t follow either one, I started in Genesis.  Which ever you decide to start with, the main important thing to do is start.  Pray to the Holy Spirit to help you.  There are countless times that I have stopped mid-read to ask for guidance.  I also pray to get out of my scripture reading what the Holy Spirit wants me to get out of it, and not what I want it say.   Reflect You read until something reach something that pops out at you.  This passage, phrase, quote will grab your attention and this is where you will stop reading.   Re-read the passage.   Try to stop and every word and get as much out of it as you possibly can.   Think about why this passage stuck out at you.  What is going on in your life that makes this passage stand out to you. All these things are taken into account when reflecting on Scripture.  What grabs your attention may not be the same thing that grabs someone else.  This part of Scripture stopped YOU...
Looking At The Second Mansion

Looking At The Second Mansion

  When it comes down to prayer, I can freely admit that I am still a beginner, in fact, I feel like I’m in the Second Mansion. There is so much that I need to learn, and grow and gain!  There is never a dull moment with me in my home—that’s for sure. I am currently reading Fire Within, and it’s like an explanation of Saint Teresa of Avila Interior Castle, but he also talks about Saint John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul.  Now granted, these books are on my reading list, but I am really thankful for Fr. Thomas Dubay writings and insight regarding these two great mystics.   A look at the second mansion   As he breaks down the Interior Castle, and Saint Teresa many mansions, I cannot help but feel that I am currently in the second one.  As he explains,  “They are still engaged in worldly pastimes, half giving them up and half clinging to them.”¹  This is why I feel like I’m in the second mansion.   There are times that a thought runs through my mind where I would have the urge to read a book I once enjoyed in my pastime, but when given the opportunity to read it, I read something spiritual instead.  Almost like: “The man or woman in the second mansions is a battleground where the conflict between the world and the divine call is being waged.”² In a way, it’s almost comical. I’m all gun-ho about a certain book or movie, and when given the opportunity to watch or read it, the spirit is like,...
How to [not] Handle Emergencies

How to [not] Handle Emergencies

{This post was originally published on Aug 31, 2011. Picture updated, with minor edits.} Since my family came over to stay with me and my husband for a day in our very small one bedroom apartment; I’ve been able to reflect on a few things that I have learned. (That and I seriously need to decompress from this weekend.) 1. Some people can handle emergencies really well…others not so well. 2. Those who can’t handle it, have no idea what they are doing. 3. Sometimes, it’s just better to stay out of their way. Here are my lessons from my observations: DO – Pack clothes for at least three days. DON’T – Pack every article of clothing you own. Like your second grade student of the month outfit…just an example of course… DO – Pack food for consumption DON’T – Pack food that requires special treatment like your 3 liter can of olive oil. Really. Do we really need that much oil? Who’s cooking? DO – Bring something to entertain yourself. DON’T – Try to be the entertainment. Especially if you’re not good at it (note to self). DO – Entertain the toddler. DON’T – Compete with the toddler. Believe me, no one will thank you for it. Does any one really want to hear a 30-year-old bang on a set of pots during the “concert”….I don’t think so. DO – Enjoy being a guest in someone’s home. DON’T – Over stay your welcome. Like screaming in the hall, or having a bad day and showing it, or complaining why there’s no junk food in my home…again, just an example....

Sunday Prayer for Peace

  Have you turned on the news lately, and felt like there was just no peace?  I’ve heard through the inter web that it looks like we’re headed (or in) World War III.  Now, that could be an ever exaggeration–to us.  However, I cannot imagine what it’s like for people to live in conflict areas.  To them, this is no imagination at all.  What we can gather, is that there is a lack of peace in our world.  In the United States, we have unrest and protests.  Meanwhile, in Syria and Iraq we have militant forces destroying the quality of life.  Finally, the conflict of Israel and the Gaza Strip, we have two groups constantly fighting and shelling out rockets in each other’s direction. Now, every nation is going to have their own problems–we get that.  But there is something to note when so much is happening around us  that it will affect the locations that we go, or even what words to say.   No wonder someone can feel like it’s a global war happening!  This Sunday, I hope that you join me in my prayer for peace. It is obvious that we as a Nation, as a Society, and as members of this world in this very moment need it.     Dear Lord, There has been so much going on in the news lately.  Locally and internationally, that it leaves many of us confused, some angry and others bitter.  We ask Lord that you send down your Holy Spirit and touch people’s hearts and minds so that there will be peace among each other. We pray for...
What Humility Is Not

What Humility Is Not

  A few Sundays ago we heard a running theme through the reading, gospel and homily–humility.  There are many people, great and unknown that talk about this theme, write about it, and preach it.   What made this so personal for me is because, like everyone, I struggle with the idea of inadequacy and not measuring up.  Constantly that inner critic rears its ugly head and I’m back at square one.   So let’s begin by talking about what humility is not.   Humility is not putting yourself down.  Belittling yourself, and thinking ill of yourself.  It’s not thinking that you are not special.  Instead one of the ways to think of humility is not thinking of yourself more, but thinking of yourself less. Still don’t get it?  Okay, how about this: humility is accepting yourself, good, bad, ugly warts and all.  You accept every part of yourself and you are okay with it.  You accept the limitations that you have, and know when you have done your best. These days, its not cool to be humble and to show our true vulnerable state and expose our flaws.  Now I’m not saying what we need to do as an online confession (that’s what the Sacrament of Reconciliation is for).  What I am saying that it is okay to show a work in progress.   Most of the time, we beat ourselves up because we are comparing ourselves with someone’s finished self.  A writer will sit down and write hoping to complete a book that’s on par with Jane Austin.  Meanwhile not remembering that it takes time and many drafts, edits, and...

Losing My Voice Because of Negative People

  Funny things happen when you look back on your immediate past.  For me, that was the past two years.  You see my cursumstances were far from ideal.  When I originally started writing online, I had enormous amount of joy and spark to share my vision of life with anyone who would listen. I have learned that no matter how much happiness I felt, I couldn’t help those around me to focus on the positive things that were happening around them.  The harder I make my case to have them wake up, the more they would push back with more negativity.   Some people are just hardwired to be negative. #truth #movingforward Click To Tweet At some point, I was surrounded by a sea of negativity.  Everyone that encountered that environment became negative.  Next thing I knew, I was engulfed.  Everything that were outlets for me became things that others pointed out as selfish, stupid, or pointless.  The things that I loved to do: blogging, photography, raising my kids became a point to argue and for ridicule. Now, that I look back on it, it wasn’t me that had this problem, but those around me who couldn’t find ways to make themselves happy.  What they wanted to do was take the joy from everyone else.  I didn’t realize this then, but I do now.  Things do become clearer when you’re removed from a stressful situation. Surrounded by that all day and night became soul crushing.  Just going out with my family became a week long battle of trying to protect myself from the guilt trips that was constantly being...
Sunday Prayer: Knowing My Limit

Sunday Prayer: Knowing My Limit

    Dear Lord, You have taught valuable lessons this week. Through you, I have learned that I should just walk away from negative people. They take too much from me, and leave me empty at the end of the day. Without doing so, I leave my family empty and wanting me whole. I looked for guidance, and you graciously sent me a stranger. This stranger taught me that I was important in my life (of course You will always be first). Not only have this person helped me get out of my funk, but he also helped me realize that I have to help me get out of my funk. Thank you Lord for giving me the strength to be a living example for my daughter. By showing my daughter a range of healthy emotions, she will learn that it is okay to feel  sad, happy, or mad. I look forward to the new week and all the new lessons you have to teach. Amen. This post was originally published July 30, 2011. Minor edits on Sept, 3,...

The Body Is A Temple

For the longest time, I always heard that the body is a temple.  for me that always meant to try to avoid sin.  Do the right thing and not focus on anything that was harmful.  But while I completely took the spiritual parts seriously, I now must admit that I neglected the most obvious part: my physical body. Now, I always have an excuse: kids, homeschooling, home responsibilities, pregnancy, hormones, but the truth is that I didn’t do it completely because I didn’t want to.  October 2015 was my wake up call.  After going through a health scare that turned my world upside down, I read Saint Paul’s words differently.   We always make an excuse not to do something, until it’s decided for us. #health #bodysoul Click To Tweet   You know that your bodies are parts of the body of Christ.  (1. Cor. 6:16) Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who lives in you and who was given to you by God?  You do not belong to you but to God. (1. Cor. 6:19) Yes, I still take into account of the spiritual meaning of the words, but now I am driven to take the physics meaning of these words as well.  As the gatekeeper of food for this family, I have to think about what this means for us.  As of now my family has different dietary needs.  Some are allergic to peanuts, and others can’t handle wheat-gluten. Everyone needs something different. Since October, I have tried a new eating plan for myself.  I have started an elimination diet....
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