Sunday, November 27, 2011

Get in Shape

Women of Faith:
I set several “deadlines” this year to lose a few pounds, but I kept putting it off. I kept saying, “I’ll do that later.” And then the next holiday or special event arrived and the new outfit I bought got left hanging in the closet, tags still on, because it didn’t look quite the way I envisioned it looking on me when I bought it.

A new liturgical year began yesterday with readings which reminded me that it’s time to “get in shape.” Blessed Pope John Paul II said in a 1996 homily, “Advent is the liturgical season that prepares us for the Lord’s birth, but it is also the time of expectation for the definitive return of Christ.”

Christ’s coming is just 26 days away! It is time to get my life “in shape!”

I never know when I might need to wear that outfit, or when God will look to see what I “have on” in my faith. I shouldn’t wait for a New Year’s resolution to get in shape physically and definitely I shouldn’t wait spiritually. I should always be “in shape” and ready for Him. “Be watchful! Be alert! You do not know when the time will come.” Mk 13:33-37

So this is a great time not just to get my body in shape, but also my soul; my physical body and my spiritual body; my relationship with Him and also my relationship with others; my heart internally and His temple--my body.

God’s plan for us is given to us in His Scripture and Spirit drawing a parallel, a correlation between our body and soul; between our relationship with Him and our relationships with our spouses (family, friends, or world).

"Would that you might meet us doing right, that we were mindful of you in our ways! Behold, you are angry, and we are sinful….There is none who calls upon your name, who rouses himself to cling to you; for you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our guilt. Yet, O LORD, you are our father, we are the clay and You are the potter: we are all the work of your hands." Is 64:2-7

God tells us that he will SHAPE us—mold us like clay. But our hearts must be open to change.

God tells us that even though we are sinful, if we cling to him he will deliver us. We cannot hide in our guilt. We are to trust His forgiveness and His will.

Lord: “Make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved. Rouse your power, and come to save us”. Ps 80: 2-3 May I always be ready for Your call. Help me to trust in your mercy. Take away my guilt and help me to feel Your strength, comfort, joy and peace. Thank you for Your eternal love. Keep me in Your care. Mold me with Your grace. Shape me with Your Spirit. In Your name, I pray. Amen.

If your body needs to be “shaped” be filled by the discipline of prayer, not food; be “molded” by God, not calories.

If your relationship with Him needs to be “shaped” give Him control of your life so that you may feel the power of His forgiveness, be released of shame and guilt and feel His love.

If your relationship with a loved one needs to be “shaped” open your heart to patiently trust in the conversion found through the graces received in the sacraments of marriage, the Eucharist, and penance.

May God’s will be done in your life this week and may we all be “shaped” by His perfect plan for our lives,


Monday, November 21, 2011

Give Thanks from your heart!

Women of Faith:
Someone asked me these questions this week:

What if you woke up this morning to only those things for which you gave thanks for yesterday?

What if you gave thanks for as many things as you complained about? (Am I failing to see or look for the good?)

Appropriate questions for Thanksgiving week, a week of spending: family time and “shopping” time.

And the readings of the last few weeks made me think even more: have I used my talents for God’s glory (Mt 25: 14-30); and to serve “the least” of His people (Mt 25: 31-46)?

'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.' … He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'
Mt 25: 43-46

I have so much I don’t appreciate, and I have so much I don’t really need—things that I wouldn’t even miss if they were gone. And I have been given so much that others would like to have—that others need, want and even pray for—certainly not just possessions, but the gifts of the Spirit and the love of spouse, family, and friends.

So in this week of Thanks and in this week of “shopping mania” let us give
God THANKS for His plan: in a vocation which allows us to give as a spouse, in the blessings of being a parent, and in the trust that His gifts of Eucharist and Scripture will be the only “daily bread” that we need to sustain us.

Let’s SPEND our time and GIVE our hearts to serving and changing our hearts and priorities to trust in God’s plan.

God does not judge me on the possessions I have or do not have, but rather on what I choose do with the gifts He has given me: physical, spiritual and emotional.

What is in my heart and to whom have I given it? For what do I give thanks to God today? Where am I spending my blessings, both time and money? Where will I “give” my heart, my time and my money this week? How am I “blessing” someone else this week? Am I more concentrated on “spending” love (that of God) or money (that of the world)?

Am I “complaining” about what I don’t have or appreciating what I do have?

Do I feel blessed for what’s in my heart (that which is a gift from God) or for what’s in my home (that bought with money).

Heavenly Father, Your glory is in things not of this world, but in what You SEE in my heart. Thank you for the blessings You give me that are not of this world, but those that are of life itself. Thank you for the talents I have—help me to share them with others. Thank you for the lives around me—help me to love without judging. Help me to spend my time this week shopping for what will fill my heart, not that which will fill space. Amen.

May your Thanksgiving be filled with blessings and your shopping be FOR a change of heart.

In Thanksgiving for HIS season,

Monday, November 14, 2011

Charm and beauty

Women of Faith:
Makeup, $15; Shoes, $35; Day at the spa, $150…..

The internal beauty of living God’s love and truth—Priceless.

We are created by God IN HIS IMAGE, our charm and our beauty are not on the outside, but rather on the inside –in the spirit we exhibit thru service to others given without promise of earthly rewards.

Wearing the “right” clothes and makeup or spending days at the spa will last only until soap and water wash away the mask and lotions at night or the clothes go out of style. This is an artificial beauty—beauty only by our own earthly standards.

“When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls. Her husband, entrusting his heart to her, has an unfailing prize. She brings him good, and not evil, all the days of her life. She obtains wool and flax and works with loving hands. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her fingers ply the spindle. She reaches out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy. Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting; the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her a reward for her labors, and let her works praise her at the city gates.” Prov 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31

Internal compassion, service, honor, respect and unconditional forgiveness are true values of life.

As Father Mike spoke yesterday, it is not just about what others see on the outside, but rather that our spirit is answering God’s call. It is not about just knowing what is right, but rather DOING what is right that makes the difference in our lives—in loving and serving with the “fear of the LORD” as our guide that brings us the rewards of blessed marriages, families and ultimately heaven.

Am I seeking inner change within myself rather than going through the outside motions? Am I praying to change myself rather than some circumstance or a person outside of me? (We can only change ourselves!)

It is through unconditional service and self-sacrifice that we become a worthy wife; a wife worthy of husbands who will protect us, provide for us and to whom we can mutually entrust our hearts.

Our husbands are to treat us as a prize, a gift from God—because we are God’s daughters. (Likewise—they are God’s sons—a gift to us.)

By our MUTUAL service, honor, and respect for each other, husband and wife, we will receive the richest of rewards—joy here on earth and eternal life in heaven.

Heavenly Father: May I look to your glory by entrusting my heart to your control. Help me not to be concerned with my outward appearance, but rather with the inner spirit you have given me. May my desire to please you inspire me to give you glory and honor through service to my husband, my family and all those around me. Help me to wisely and graciously use all of the blessings and talents you have given me. Amen.

May the gift of your inner beauty be given to someone you love in honor to God this week,

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lucky Penny

Women of Faith:

I just found a “lucky penny:” to wish upon. But I did not wish because I don’t really believe in luck. I took it as another of God’s SIGNS because I believe in “God”incidences, not coincidences. And at the time I was asking God to help me write this morning’s reflection.

When I returned to my computer it had returned to yesterday’s readings and meditation:

“If God were to give you just one wish, what would you ask for?

Solomon asked for wisdom, and God made him the wisest king of all time - and He added riches, health, and long life besides. He was the envy of all other kings. Wisdom helps us to make the very best decisions, and to always choose the right path. It's like hitting the jackpot every day.”

“Resplendent and unfading is wisdom, and she is readily perceived by those who love her, and found by those who seek her. She hastens to make herself known in anticipation of their desire; Whoever watches for her at dawn shall not be disappointed, for he shall find her sitting by his gate. For taking thought of wisdom is the perfection of prudence, and whoever for her sake keeps vigil shall quickly be free from care; because she makes her own rounds, seeking those worthy of her, and graciously appears to them in the ways, and meets them with all solicitude.” Wis 6:12-16 (The “she” and “her” are wisdom.)

Our priest said yesterday that wisdom is not what I know, but knowing to follow what God gives us as the truth. The book of Wisdom says that God will grant me what I need to know in “anticipation” of my desire to know it. That I won’t be disappointed if I have the patience to wait for what God will set before me today and that wisdom will appear in the signs of God—if I am watching.

I feel not lucky, but blessed because “My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.” Ps 63:2 I am searching for God’s wisdom and truth in everything I do. I am looking for His sign’s and they are everywhere I turn—BECAUSE I am looking: He is truly everywhere.

And like yesterday’s gospel: the parable of the waiting virgins, Mt 25: 1-13, I trust in the Lord that I will be ready and waiting when He comes because His wisdom is teaching me that it is not “what” I know but rather what He wants me to know that is important.

Heavenly Father: Praise be Your wisdom in handing down Your teachings to us in scripture. Thank You for granting me the knowledge of Your truth. May we all continue to be blessed by the Spirit of wisdom that You show us in Your signs each day. Amen.

May you be blessed to find God’s signs so that you may know His wisdom today,