Monday, February 27, 2012

Companions on the Journey

Women of Faith:
We are all on a journey. A journey that is a direct reflection of the companions we have on the journey with us—be they good or bad—an angel or the devil.

So who are my companions on this journey? And where is my journey going?

Are my companions a reflection of Christ? Are the laws I am following to take the journey God’s laws and will my journey take me to my goal of heaven?

Or do my companions reflect Satan because they find it easier to follow the laws of society? Are they on a journey that is “all about me” and don’t believe in heaven or hell ? Do they deny God’s very existence and live only to seek selfish desires, doing what they want, rather than searching and doing what God wants?

I spent some time this weekend behind the scenes of the Christian Experience Weekend for men (CEW). Even though I was not directly a part of the retreat (for obvious reasons, it was a men’s retreat—the women’s will be next weekend) –indirectly I could feel the change as they became “companions on the journey,” faith companions which support, serve, and nurture each other’s faith journey.

From the very beginning God knew that “it was not good for man to be alone” –so for Adam he created Eve. He invented marriage—between one man and one woman. Even in the beginning he knew sin would create death and if His world was to continue it would take male and female together.

And after Adam and Eve, came Noah who “two by two, male and female came to Noah into the ark” Gen 7:9 so that when the great flood was over they too could repopulate the earth.

And even in the times when Jesus was said to be “alone”--The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. Mk 1: 12-13—He was not really alone for he was tempted by Satan and supported by the angels. Both God and the devil were with Him. Even Christ had to choose his companion for the journey.

Our first and foremost companion is God but we are given the choice to decide if we will allow him to be with us on our journey.

We don’t choose our first earthly companions. Those companions are our parents. None of us could be on earth without two people who have become one. And even those who have a “single” parent were created not by one, but by two. And we are joined by them to our family.

But as we grow we are given the choice as to who our companions will be, and who will become our support on the journey of life.

Will we choose friends who are the Satan’s that tempt us? Or will we choose an angel of God who supports us to reach an eternal goal?

Who are the companion’s on your/our journey? And how are we taking care of those who we meet on the journey—with patience, in support and with compassion and kindness?

"You shall not bear hatred for your brother in your heart. Though you may have to reprove him, do not incur sin because of him. Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD." Lv 19: 17-18

'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?' 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.’ And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."Mt 25: 44-46

So I watched men come who came to CEW as individuals, each with their own personal reasons for choosing to attend, walk out changed because they had become companions—companions in faith. They had begun to share their individual stories of sin, conversion, forgiveness and healing—and now had a new found group of support and a renewed sense that their journey was not for them alone, but that their journey was to be together with Christ.

Heavenly Father, Praise be your company in my life. Thank you for the friends and family who read this reflection and support me on my journey with you. May your Spirit guide me to be the companion you want me to be for others, and to choose faithful companions for myself. While our paths may be different, may we all be joined together, in the end, with you. Amen.

Blessings on you and the companions you have chosen in your journey,

Monday, February 20, 2012

In Awe

Women of Faith:
My first title this morning was Rise Up and Say Amen. I wanted to write about Ash Wednesday and beginning anew. But there are some mornings when I don’t seem to have words, when I know what is in my heart but I don’t have the energy to think so I just want to use someone else’s words.

Not only am I searching for words, but for hope and light. I just want to be able to say “yes, amen, that’s right.”

I suppose it is human nature to doubt. I feel like my faith is strong, like I should have enough faith to always believe, but yet I am constantly awed by what is set before me.

I said to someone earlier this week, “Things just keep happening, in a good way, but not always in good circumstances. And I continue to feel, each time, “wow” can that really be. What just happened? I am awed by God’s presence. But, why am I still surprised and in awe? Awe and wonder is one of the seven gifts of the Spirit we receive at confirmation.”
So while some of you may be doubting and/or searching, I pray that you will have the faith to believe and have hope.

And for those of you who have been given, by the Spirit, the gift of awe in His presence, I pray that you will share your faith by being an example of hope, joy and love for others.

These are the words set before me this morning, the first song I heard, the bible verse I last read and words from both yesterday and today’s readings. I am so in awe!

“Everybody falls sometimes. Gotta find the strength to rise from the ashes and make a new beginning. Anyone can feel the ache. You think it’s more than you can take. But you're stronger, stronger than you know. Don’t you give up now. The sun will soon be shining. You gotta face the clouds to find the silver lining.

I’ve seen dreams that move the mountains, hope that doesn’t ever end. Even when the sky is falling I’ve seen miracles just happen, silent prayers get answered, broken hearts become brand new. That’s what faith can do.

It doesn’t matter what you’ve heard. Impossible is not a word. It’s jus t a reason for someone not to try. Everybody’s scared to death when they decide to take that step, out on the water. It’ll be alright. Life is so much more than what your eyes are seeing. You will find your way. If you keep believing.”
What Faith Can Do – Kutless

“For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment.” 2 Cor 1: 20-22

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”* Eph 5: 14

"Why could we not drive the spirit out?" He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer."
Mk 9:29

I am so in AWE!!

Heavenly Father, It is in your presence that I am awed! Thank you for the gift of awe and wonder sent by your Spirit. Give us strength to begin anew in this Lenten season and to rise from the ashes!! Help those who are struggling to find You. May they have the faith, strength and courage to ask for your guidance and wisdom. May they answer your call and do your will. Help me to continue to feel that “WOW!” To see the silver lining in the clouds and to pray unceasingly. I say, “Yes! Amen! I believe!” Amen.

God says it all! I can say no more—Have an AWEsome week,

Monday, February 13, 2012

Grown in love

Women of Faith:
I am grown in the choices I make. I choose to be grown in love.

Love is not a feeling; happiness is a feeling.
Love is not an emotion; anger is an emotion.
Love is not a state; confusion is a state.
Love can include feeling and emotion and leave you in a state,
But love is, at heart a decision.
Love sees the imperfections, sins and failings and says, “I still choose to love you.”
--Mark Hart, Blessed are the Bored in Spirit

We are grown in love thru God.

I choose to weed out the lies which our fed to me by the media and influence all of our lives—the lies that say we can do no wrong. We are all sinners with imperfections, so we must choose to make God a priority so that we can grow closer to him.

The lies that say “it’s all about me and what’s important to me, and how I feel about me, and if I am happy in me.”It’s about putting God in each of those statements for it will only be his judgment in the end.

The lie that says our wrong choices are unforgivable, so there is no hope for me. God always forgives, but it is our choice to forgive others and to ask for forgiveness so that we may be forgiven: “And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

And the lies that say we have a “right to choose.” Yes, we have a choice… but if we choose death over life, if we choose to sleep in instead of going to church (keep holy the Sabbath), if we choose anger over unconditional forgiveness then our choice is not God—our choice is not love.

Everything we have is a gift from God: Our time, our bodies, our children, the air we breathe, and the food that sustains us. Do we give thanks by choosing to let His seed be firmly planted in the soil of good friends and a God enriched environment?

I choose to be firmly rooted in my faith by truly trusting in the words of scripture—his words which fertilize me. I choose to be regularly fed by daily prayer, weekly attendance at mass and receiving him in the Eucharist so that my soul will be filled by the body and blood he gave us on the cross.

I choose to be watered by His grace because I seek His grace.

I choose to be warmed by the SONshine when I choose to give everything back to God in prayer and thru forgiveness.

Love One Another. As I have Loved You, so You should also Love One another.
John 13:34

Heavenly Father: We praise and thank you for the Spirit that gives us grace (thru water), fertilizing us thru your holy word and blessing us in the gift of your Son. May our choice be to love others as you love each of us. May we seek to be chosen by you, and may our choice be to serve you by serving each other. May we all choose to be grown in love, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Weed out the bad seeds, be firmly rooted in Christ thru your choices, be watered by the grace of forgiveness, fertilized by scripture and may the Son shine on you this week,

Happy Valentine's Day,

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hope in the Silence (Feb 6th entry not posted)

Friends in Faith:
More and more I find myself wanting silence. I find myself searching for a place and times where I can be alone, so that I can “hear” what it is that God wants me to say and do. I find myself choosing to escape work and avoiding the noise of cell phones, computers and the TV.

I used to be annoyed when I woke up early and could not fall back asleep. Lately I have taken this as an opportunity to lay and pray within the quiet of early morning.

Have you taken the time to be silent? For he says:

“I will come to you in the silence. I will lift you from all your fear. You will hear my voice. I claim you as my choice, be still and know I am here. I am hope for all who are hopeless, I am eyes for all who long to see, in the shadows of the night, I will be your light, come and rest in me.

“Do not be afraid, I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine.

“I am the strength for all the despairing, healing for the ones who dwell in shame. All the blind will see, the lame will all run free, and all will know my name.

"I am the Word that leads all to freedom, I am the peace the world cannot give. I will call your name, embracing all your pain, stand up now, walk, and live!

“Do not be afraid I am with you. I have called you each by name. Come and follow me, I will bring you home. I love you and you are mine.”
You Are Mine by Daniel Haas

Then Paul spoke these words: “If I preach the gospel, this is no reason for me to boast, for an obligation has been imposed on me, and woe to me if I do not preach it! If I do so willingly, I have a recompense, but if I do so unwillingly,” (out of duty) “then I have been entrusted with a stewardship…. Although I am free in regard to all, I have made myself a slave to all so as to win over as many as possible. To the weak I became weak, to win over the weak. I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may
have a share in it.”
1 Cor 9: 16-19, 22-23

I want to be sure that everything I think, everything I do, and everything
I say is done in, for and thru His glory. But I can only do that if I can find time to be silent to hear what He is saying to me.

He calms me when I get impatient or the demands on my time seem overwhelming.

He gives me hope that I will be blessed with a share of His glory so that when I get discouraged by the laws of man and selfish attitudes of human nature I can ask forgiveness and seek change in my own attitudes. I pray for those who do not yet see.

And I watch in wonder as those who search for His grace are changed because their hearts have been opened and they are willing to be blessed by the gifts of the Holy Spirit: right judgment, knowledge, courage, reverence, wonder and awe, understanding and wisdom.

I feel blessed to know that many of us seek the same Godly wisdom. It is easier to walk the path of faith knowing that we are walking together, with God carrying us through the rough times and leading us when it becomes dark, or we cannot see our companions on the journey.

Heavenly Father, Your silence can be deafening; your call but a whisper. Give me the patience to wait for your call. Open my heart to be ready and willing to listen so that I do not miss a word of the wisdom you want to share. Help me to never fear sharing with others what Your Spirit reveals to me. Teach me to speak compassionately and in righteousness, never judging but as your servant. Thank you for allowing me to see Your light in the signs and gifts shared by our family and friends. Amen.

I am so in awe of Him, and in what He has revealed to me, and yet I know there is so much more still hidden from me. May we all have peace in our hearts to know Him, trust Him and to patiently wait for God’s call.

I look forward to silence so that my ears will be opened. And I want to be ready to answer God’s call by giving Him my ALL.

May we all find time for silence to hear and reflect on His blessings on us throughout this week,