"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
By: Mary Maddox
I just spent a year of walking. In 2018, I walked approximately 1000 miles across Europe and Israel. Let's break this down:
In April/May, I walked a portion of the Camino from Samos to Santiago. (10 days)
In May/June, I walked the full Camino from St. Jean to Santiago. (34 days)
In June, I walked the Jesus Trail in Israel. (4 days)
In September, I walked a portion of the Camino from Leon to Santiago. (14 days)
In Sept/Oct, I walked the full Portuguese Coastal Camino. (14 days)
It was my most amazing year. I found so much joy in all of this walking. I knew I had truly found my calling... leading others to Our Lord through walking meditation. Healing and love happens in every step.
So, why am I telling you this?
Because, I spent approximately 76 days with Our Lord. Over two months of walking across the world. In all that time, in laughter with others, in quiet prayer and in walking, our Lord kept repeating the same words to me, "Open your heart, I need you."
"Open your heart, I need you." What do you mean Lord? I thought you had my heart, I thought it was open. I pray, I do mission work, I help others, and I walk in faith. So, what do you mean, "Open your heart, I need you."
His words came on a very ordinary walking day. We were walking from Catrojeriz to Fromista. It was sunny and warm, one of the few warm weather days we had on our full Camino. We had 25 kms (16 miles) to hike. Toward the end of the day, we were walking along some canals. They were built in the 1750's, now they are used for irrigation. It was peaceful to walk along the water. Our group had separated, everyone walking at their own pace. I started to pray. As I walked step by step, I felt Our Lords presence next to me. It felt like He was walking beside me. This is when I heard Our Lord say, "open your heart, I need you.". I walked in silence and pondered those words. It was on this day, walking in the sunlight that I realized that my heart had been closed.
So, what happened? What closed my heart up tight and locked it? For me, it was my first experience of betrayal, a painful and scary time. (I know some people will say, you’re pretty lucky that it was your first) but the number matters not. It was a crushing blow to my heart. I know you can relate. All of us have been hurt by someone.
I thought I had forgiven my trespassers and I thought I was moving on. Yet, on this day, He reminded me that yes, I had forgiven but my heart was not open. My heart was not open to making new friends; my heart was afraid. I had retreated into His love. It was a good place. I needed the assurance of His love and care. I didn’t want or need to open myself to the outside world. His friendship was enough. But on this day his words were loud and clear. And maybe because of so many walking days and prayers, my little brain slowly saw the truth. My heart was not open! I was too complacent knowing I had forgiven, and once that was done, I stayed there. I concentrated on protecting my heart. I was stuck. But on that day, in that moment, I understood His simple call. OPEN YOUR HEART. He needs me. He needs me to give my heart freely. God needs me to not be afraid any more.
It's funny, Our Lord kept giving me signs along the Camino. I was hearing the same words over and over, spoken to me from strangers, "you radiate kindness and love" Wow! What? How could that be? I think the Lord was reminding me of the open hearted person I used to be. He was touching my heart with words from strangers, preparing me for His message.
I knew it was time. Time to heal and time to come back to the person formed in my mother's womb. As I walked, I chipped away at all the things that were holding me back.
You might ask, how did I do that?
I let go of pain.
I let go of pity.
I let go of trespasses and trespassers
I let go of comparing myself to others
I let go of expectations
I let go of being tough
I let go of fear
I let go and choose love again
I know we don't all have time to walk 1000 miles with God but maybe for me, it was needed. He got my attention that one warm sunny afternoon along the canals. A quiet, solitary place ... we all need that. Find yours … maybe it's at Church, at Adoration, or on a walk. Listen as you go about your day.
Chip away at your blocks. Allow the healing to take place and expect love, peace and joy to enter into your hearts.
Open your heart, let go and choose love again.
A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a hallowed purpose. Every step along “the way” has meaning. The pilgrim knows that life giving challenges will emerge. A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place. New insights are given. Deeper understanding is attained. New and old places in the heart are visited. Blessings are received and healing takes place. On return from the pilgrimage, life is seen with different eyes. Nothing will ever be quite the same again. ~ Macrina Wiederkehr, Behold Your Life,p. 11
We are inviting you to join us not as a tourist, but as a pilgrim. Our lives are filled with moments of brilliance often overlooked. As we walk “the way” let us acknowledge those moments. Let our journey take us within and just be. Step by step, mile by mile, day by day let us trust in Our Lord and spend this time walking the same path so many have walked before us. Through the exploration of our landscapes may we uncover deep and soulful inner healing and growth.
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page" ~ St. Augustine of Hippo
There is still room, join us for an adventure of a lifetime! Click here for more info!
By Michelle Medlock Adams
Look here, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.’
How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog–it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, ‘If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.’ Otherwise you are boasting about your own plans, and all such boasting is evil.” (James 4:13-16, NLT).
I recently heard of a study involving the top CEOs of the biggest companies in the world, and one common theme was apparent.
When interviewed, the majority of them said something like this: “If I could do it all over again, I would take time to stop and smell the roses. I would take more walks with my spouse. I wouldn’t be so stressed and uptight. I would slow down and enjoy the journey more.”
This intrigued me, as I am also very career-driven and goal-oriented, so I researched this topic a bit more and stumbled upon an article about Bronnie Ware, author of The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing. Ware, who cared for those who were nearing the end of their lives, wrote: “All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”
After pondering, processing and praying about all of this, I’ve come to this conclusion–being driven is a good thing, as long as you take time to enjoy the journey in all of your “driven-ness.”
That’s how we should live life.
We shouldn’t be so consumed with our goals in life that we miss the privilege of living. It’s important that we take time today and every day to appreciate the people and the blessings that God has given us.
If we don’t, when we finally reach our goals, after neglecting our friends and family along the way, we’ll have no one to celebrate with us. Or, we will have worked so hard and so long to accomplish our goals, that we’ll be too tired or in too poor health to savor that success.
We really can have it all, if we do it God’s way. Allow Him to prioritize your life and direct your steps. And, don’t be in too much of a hurry to bask in the beauty of the moment.
Every day is a gift, so treat it as such. Then, when we get to the end of our lives, we won’t have any regrets, only sweet memories of a life filled with love, laughter, success and satisfaction.
Here are 10 things you should take time to do in the near future:
1) Read a book to a special child in your life.
2) Slow dance with your significant other.
3) Watch the sun set, and thank God for painting the sky so beautifully.
4) Take your dog for a walk.
5) Visit or call your parents just to say you love them. (If your parents have already passed, then visit an elderly aunt or uncle.)
6) Stop by your best friend’s house with her favorite Starbucks concoction and share a few moments of cappuccino and conversation.
7) Put on some worship music and praise the Lord at the top of your lungs.
8) Go to that community concert that you’re always too busy for…you know you’re going to love it!
9) Look up into the night sky and find the various constellations, and then thank God for His handiwork.
10) Do something silly and fun with your family like have a picnic in your living room or have pancakes for dinner or wear your PJs all day on Saturday while having a movie marathon.
Pray this with me:
Father, I am thankful for the reminder that every day is a gift. Help me to not get so caught up in the busyness of life that I forget to enjoy living and appreciating all of the blessings You have given me.
And, Lord, please prioritize my life so that I will achieve the dreams You have placed in my heart while still enjoying the journey. In the precious Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen.
A calm mind is a great asset in this life. Without it, your devotional life will not bear much fruit. If your heart is troubled, you are vulnerable to the enemy of the soul. When you are agitated, you are not able to make good decisions. You will stumble into snares.
The enemy detests this peace in you. He knows that is the place where the Spirit of God dwells. That's why he devises such devilish ways to destroy this peace.
Avoid rash acts. Even if you are sure the Holy Spirit wants you to do something, wait. Put off doing it until your eagerness has declined. Introduced with that kind of self-control, a good work is more pleasing to God than if it were done hastily.
It is also necessary to overcome a certain inner regret. Sometimes we think our bad conscience is being generated by God when in fact it is the work of the devil. Here is the way to tell: If your regret results in greater humility and increases your desire to serve God, receive it with gratitude as a gift from heaven. If it creates anxiety, makes you sad, depressed, fearful and slow to do your duty, then we can be sure it has been suggested by the enemy. Disregard it.
Laurence Scupoli: The Spiritual Combat
My Utmost for His Highest
Daily devotionals by Oswald Chambers
. . . I am with you to deliver you,’ says the Lord --Jeremiah 1:8
God promised Jeremiah that He would deliver him personally— “. . . your life shall be as a prize to you . . .” (Jeremiah 39:18). That is all God promises His children. Wherever God sends us, He will guard our lives. Our personal property and possessions are to be a matter of indifference to us, and our hold on these things should be very loose. If this is not the case, we will have panic, heartache, and distress. Having the proper outlook is evidence of the deeply rooted belief in the overshadowing of God’s personal deliverance.
The Sermon on the Mount indicates that when we are on a mission for Jesus Christ, there is no time to stand up for ourselves. Jesus says, in effect, “Don’t worry about whether or not you are being treated justly.” Looking for justice is actually a sign that we have been diverted from our devotion to Him. Never look for justice in this world, but never cease to give it. If we look for justice, we will only begin to complain and to indulge ourselves in the discontent of self-pity, as if to say, “Why should I be treated like this?” If we are devoted to Jesus Christ, we have nothing to do with what we encounter, whether it is just or unjust. In essence, Jesus says, “Continue steadily on with what I have told you to do, and I will guard your life. If you try to guard it yourself, you remove yourself from My deliverance.” Even the most devout among us become atheistic in this regard— we do not believe Him. We put our common sense on the throne and then attach God’s name to it. We do lean to our own understanding, instead of trusting God with all our hearts (see Proverbs 3:5-6).
The First Gaze
Monday, June 30, 2014
I am just like you. My immediate response to most situations is with reactions of attachment, defensiveness, judgment, control, and analysis. I am better at calculating than contemplating.
Let’s admit that we all start there. The False Self seems to have the “first gaze” at almost everything.
The first gaze is seldom compassionate. It is too busy weighing and feeling itself: “How will this affect me?” or “How can I get back in control of this situation?” This leads us to an implosion, a self-preoccupation that cannot enter into communion with the other or the moment. In other words, we first feel our feelings before we can relate to the situation and emotion of the other. Only after God has taught us how to live “undefended,” can we immediately stand with and for the other, and in the present moment. It takes lots of practice.
On my better days, when I am “open, undefended, and immediately present,” as Gerald May says, I can sometimes begin with a contemplative mind and heart. Often I can get there later and even end there, but it is usually a second gaze. The True Self seems to always be ridden and blinded by the defensive needs of the False Self. It is an hour-by-hour battle, at least for me. I can see why all spiritual traditions insist on daily prayer, in fact, morning, midday, evening, and before we go to bed, too! Otherwise, I can assume that I am back in the cruise control of small and personal self-interest, the pitiable and fragile “Richard self.”
Adapted from “Contemplation and Compassion: The Second Gaze”
(article by Fr. Richard available free on CAC website)
Gateway to Silence:
May I see with eyes of compassion.
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox
Saint James, pray for us that we may be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus as you did. Help us to become special friends of Jesus as you were. Amen