Reflections

Keep A Spiritual Journal

It’s hard to write. I know. Some people find writing too labor intensive, too much work, or they can’t think of anything to write about. I enjoy writing and I have many journals dating back to when I was a teenager. A lot of words and doodling on a piece of blank paper soon became my prayers when I got older. It’s amazing to let your thoughts come to life with words on paper. The art of writing something down has power. It does not have to be poetic, or grammatically correct. If you take a few moments to write out your prayer for the day, your thoughts, intentions, and emotions; your pen will make a spiritual record of what you are physically and emotionally experiencing. You can then sit back and use it as a touchstone to draw strength, energy, courage, grace, and wisdom. Just start writing what comes to mind and that is your prayer for the day–spiritual encouragement for the soul.

by Liz

Stations of the Cross

In every life there comes a morning when you wake up early and know the day will be tough from sunrise to sunset.  You look to tomorrow but today you must bear the sorrow. We all face these days, as Jesus did on his way to the cross. Although our tribulations are all different, we too are called to carry the weight of grief. The Stations of the Cross are a visual reminder of how we should carry our burdens to completion. It is a blessing to have that visual of Jesus’s sacred way. Standing in front of each station is a good time to reflect and ask for strength. During Lent, we get an opportunity to pray the stations after daily mass and Fridays after evening mass. On March 23rd the students will act out the “Living Stations of the Cross.”.I invite you to attend and meditate on the sorrowful way. This special time will help us “Make Room for Prayer,” thank God for our passion. After all, He’s alive and we’re forgiven.

by Diego

Incarnate Prayer

Abba, thank you for this old body, well used and worn, hands calloused, eyes failing, yet still, until death, the birdcage of my soul. You knitted Your Spirit to my flesh while I was still turning in my mother’s womb. To you O Lord this body has bowed and knelt. It has signed itself with your holy cross and made hand chapels in prayer. It has been an incarnate prayer, embracing the unlovable, smiling at grumpy men, reaching out in consolation, and kissing a baby’s cheek.  May this body, so miraculously and wonderfully made, animated by Your Spirit, be a living prayer this day in service to your children and in celebration of Your creation.   Amen.

by Andrew

Praying in Community

There was a time in my life when I never missed daily Mass. In the parish I lived in at the time, our pastor used to celebrate what some of us called a “flash mass” because we would be out in twenty minutes. There was no excuse for me not to go since I passed the church on my way to work. At some point, I stopped doing this; it may have been when I moved and our Church was “in town” and I lived “in the country.” One of the “Eight New Year’s Resolutions for Catholics” was to go to Mass one extra day a week. I think I will do that and pray that it once again becomes a habit.  I will make room in my busyness for this short time to start (or finish) my day sharing God’s greatest gift to us in community with our Church. (Daily mass is at 8:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.)

by JAM

The Catholic Olympics

 

Lent is always a busy time for me since I work in church ministry. I laughingly call it the “Catholic Olympics,”complete with the triathlon of Holy Week. Since the Winter Olympics are in the news now, the metaphor has heightened my awareness.  Do I have the strength to complete a “quad” (the retreats) or can do a perfect downhill run without faltering (the Scrutinies)? I know I need quality nourishment so every night when I close my eyes, I pray one of the psalms, usually, Psalm 23, “The Lord is my shepherd,” or Psalm 130, “Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord.,” or Psalm 100, “Cry out with joy to the Lord, all the earth.” Using the Scriptures to pray is called “Lectio Divina,” divine reading, an ancient monastic method. How did I learn these psalms by heart? I read them often, for many years. Frequently, sleep comes before the last refrain but when I awake in the morning, the words play again like a favorite song in my head. Then I am ready to face whatever challenge the spiritual events of Lent require.

by DC

Make Room for Giving

My voice coach is always telling me to “be generous with my air.” Most miserly people I know are miserable. Last week, I was talking with a friend who felt very unfulfilled in her comings and goings. We romanced what it might be like if her daily journey included sharing herself more, giving time, financial assistance, or serving on a Board where she could make a difference in someone else’s life. We discussed intentionally being generous with oneself in a selfless capacity. We talked about “what comes around goes around,” and even though the gift back to her life may not be in kind, she will receive a surprise gift of generosity at some point. If she “pays it forward,” might her life be more fulfilled? If we live intentionally, generously, knowing every gift of love matters, no matter how humble the donation of time or money, we confirm that we are one in faith, one in love, and one in service to the Body of Christ.

by Gracie

Make Room: Prayer Plan

In his classic, Desiring God, John Piper recognizes that the main hindrance to prayer is our lack of planning. He tells us, “Unless I’m badly mistaken, one of the main reasons so many of God’s children don’t have a significant life of prayer is not so much that we don’t want to, but that we don’t plan to. We get up day after day and realize that significant times of prayer should be a part of our life, but nothing’s ever ready. We don’t know where to go. Nothing has been planned. No time. No place. No procedure.” How do we make prayer a more intentional part of our Lenten practice and everyday life? We can learn from three things that Jesus did: “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed….(Mark 1:35). Jesus had these three, a certain time, a certain place, and a certain plan. I have attached some simple ideas for you to enhance your prayer practices. Lenten blessings.

Schedule Prayer time…

by Cathy

Make Room: Discipline the Body

During Lent, I  know that certain days are for fasting. That plan is already set for me. But what if I make a plan for fasting not only from the amount of food those certain days but also fasting from certain behaviors that would make me more aware, or a bit uncomfortable? To look inward at myself with new eyes at the actions and reactions I do each day? Taking an inventory of negative behaviors or things that I do on automatic will lead me to some possible new freedoms. I will write a list of things at the end of each day of what I said or didn’t say that was not my best; examine my body language, my reactions, my comments within conversations. Just by doing this, I will see the intentions throughout my day that I can change. As God as my center, I can fast with purpose. I can make room for discipline on all levels.

by Liz