"Walking in the way and the love of the Lord"
The time has come again. The day where we re-evaluate our lives. We examine how we lived in the past year and make resolutions about how this next year can be better or different! The top of the list is usually, weight loss, eating healthier, going to a gym and so on... This year lets make some spiritual resolutions as well.
Examine your spiritual life this past year and lets make a spiritual resolution for this coming year. Just make a few, baby steps. Don't put too much on your plate. One step at a time. If you fall, don't get discouraged. Remember, "it doesn't matter how many times you fall, what matters is how many times you let God pick you up" Don't be hard on yourself. Everyday is a new day, every moment is a new moment. So just be present in the moment and just be.
Here are a few ideas:
Pick a Patron Saint for the New Year
There are so many other ways to ignite your spiritual life. So many little things we can add to our life to help us on this prayerful path.
Trust where God is leading you and have faith. Remember when Peter stepped out into the water from the fishing boat and then took his focus off of Jesus? He saw the wind and cried out: “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out His hand and took hold of him: “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?" We all struggle with having the stamina to step out in faith.
Let us have the stamina to ignite our spiritual life, let us have the stamina to say "Yes" to God, and let us have the stamina to strive to love the Lord more each day this year by putting Jesus at the center of our life.
Let us grow in holiness this year!
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!
Suffering creates glory. Yet so often we are unhappy in our suffering. Not a glimmer of God’s love, comfort and glory penetrates our hearts. But our heavenly Father, who is love, knows what will comfort us. He urges us not to bear our cross like a slave who is forced to, but out of love for Jesus. When we bear it trusting in the Father’s love and committed to His will, then our cross will begin to shine. We will become happy and we, too, will shine in His love.
From Father of Comfort by Basilea Schlink
2 Corinthians 4:17
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.
“Do not be afraid.” We have read these words in the bible many times. We sing it in our songs. We hear our family and friends tell us not to worry. But we go on our fearful way, thinking our worry will solve the problem and then our fears will be gone with the wind.
We know in our hearts that Jesus is taking care of us. But why can't we get our thoughts to go along with our hearts? Why should that be hard? And the answer is in our humanity. Our weakness. We are tempted away from God and fall so easily into being lost in our questions. So we spend our time worrying, wasting our time and days. Worrying doesn't help anything, it just takes us away from Jesus. Worrying takes us out of the presence of God in the now and leads us nowhere.
I want you to remember something. Jesus is holding your hand. Just like Isaiah 41:13 says, 'I am holding you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God. And I say to you, do not be afraid. I am here to help you.'
Those are the words we need to live by. God is with us at all times, holding our hand. When we are worrying, we are letting go of Jesus' hand and saying, “Hold on Jesus. I am going to sit here alone for awhile. I need to figure this out.” Why would we want to make the choice to let go of Jesus' hand? Why would we want to tell Jesus to hang on a minute, while we worry about something we cannot change at that moment. Why would we let go of the loving hand of Jesus.
He has a wonderful plan for us. Part of that plan is allowing our Father to take care of us, allowing Him to hold us by the hand. In our most difficult times, when we do not feel God's presence and feel abandoned, those are the moments we need to hold on fast. Don't let go! Talk with Jesus, pray with Jesus and trust in Jesus. “Do not be afraid.”
By: Mary Maddox
Dear Lord, in this quiet night, guide my way.
Lead my dreaming into Your dreams for me.
Help me to understand that in their mystery
there is healing and divine assistance
waiting to free me,
just a little more from me.
Lord, in this sacred dark,
I invoke the angels to protect me,
to stay close,
spreading their wings over me,
surrounding me, covering me,
whispering their night prayers,
the ones that assure and promise to keep me
and everyone I love safe.
I need their prayers to keep the shadows at bay
and to ready my heart for the blessings
of guidance and grace
that awaits me tomorrow.
Lord, I thank you now, in advance,
just in case in the morning light
I am disoriented and doubtful
about beginning again
my greatest task....
the holy project of finding me,
the one You formed in my mother's womb.
By: Kathleen Aparo
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time...though it tarry, wait for it...”(Habakkuk 2:3, KJV)
TODAY’S WORD from Joel and VictoriaGod has an appointed time to fulfill the visions, dreams and desires in your heart. Just because it has taken a long time or because you’ve tried and failed doesn’t mean it’s not going to happen. Don’t give up on those dreams! Don’t be complacent about pursuing what God has placed in your heart. Our God is a faithful God. No matter how long it’s been, no matter how impossible things look, if you’ll stay in faith, your set time is coming.
Remember, every dream that’s in your heart, every promise that has taken root, God put it there. Not only that, but He has every intention of bringing it to pass. Hold on to that vision today. Declare by faith, “My time is coming. God is working behind the scenes on my behalf. I will fulfill my destiny!” As you continue to hold on to that vision and speak life over your dreams, it won’t be long before you see them begin to take shape. You’ll see your faith grow, you’ll see your hope strengthen, and you’ll see yourself step into the destiny God has prepared for you!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for placing dreams and desires in my heart. I trust that You are at work to bring them to pass even when I can’t see it, even when it’s taking longer than I thought. I know that You are faithful, and I trust You completely in Jesus’ name, Amen.— Joel & Victoria Osteen
by Joyce Meyer - posted June 16, 2014
Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, my Help and my God.
O God, why do You cast us off forever? Why does Your anger burn and smoke against the sheep of Your pasture?
As I think about the storms we all face in life, I can understand why people sometimes ask, “Why the storms? Why do we have so many problems and struggles in life? Why do God’s people have to deal with so much suffering?”
As I considered these questions, I began to see that Satan plants these questions in our minds. It is his attempt to keep us focused on our problems instead of focusing on the goodness of God. If we persist in asking these questions, we’re implying that God may be to blame. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask God why things happen. The writers of the psalms certainly didn’t hesitate to ask.
I think of the story of Jesus when He visited the home of Mary and Martha after their brother, Lazarus, died. Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days before He visited. When He arrived, Martha said to Jesus, “Master, if You had been here, my brother would not have died” (John 11:21). She went on to say, “And even now I know that whatever You ask from God, He will grant it to You” (v. 22).
Did she really believe those words? I wonder, because “Jesus said to her, Your brother shall rise again. Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (vs. 23-24). She didn’t get what Jesus was saying.
I don’t want to be unkind to Martha, but she missed it. When Jesus came, she didn’t ask, “Why didn’t You do something?” Instead she said, “If You had been here—if You had been on the job—he’d be alive.”
When Jesus assured her that Lazarus would rise again, she didn’t understand that it was going to happen right then. She could focus only on the resurrection. By looking at an event that was still in the future, she missed the real meaning of Jesus’ words for the present.
But aren’t many of us like Martha? We want our lives to run smoothly, and when they don’t, we ask why? But we really mean, “God, if You truly loved and cared for me, this wouldn’t have happened.”
Let’s think a little more about the “why” question. For example, when someone dies in an accident, one of the first questions family members ask is why? “Why her? Why now? Why this accident?”
For one moment, let’s say God explained the reason. Would that change anything? Probably not. The loved one is still gone, and the pain is just as severe as it was before. What, then, did you learn from the explanation?
In recent years, I’ve begun to think that why isn’t what Christians are really asking God. Is it possible that we’re asking, “God, do You love me? Will You take care of me in my sorrow and pain? You won’t leave me alone in my pain, will You?” Is it possible that, because we’re afraid that God doesn’t truly care about us, we ask for explanations?
Instead, we must learn to say, “Lord God, I believe. I don’t understand, and I could probably never grasp all the reasons why bad things happen, but I can know for certain that You love me and You are with me—always.”
Heavenly Father, instead of asking for answers to the why questions, help me to focus on Your great love for me. When Satan tries to fill my mind with troublesome questions, help me to feel the protection of Your loving, caring arms around me. Help me always to show my gratitude and devotion for all that You do for me. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
From the book Battlefield of the Mind Devotional by Joyce Meyer. Copyright © 2006 by Joyce Meyer. Published by FaithWords. All rights reserved.
Because you are God, I can ask what I will
I can bring to you all of those who are ill
I can name everyone whose thoughts bring unease
And all of the many plagued by disease.
Those bodies betrayed by sickness, severe
Those families in crisis who don’t feel you near.
Because you are God, you feel every pain
Because you are God, you know them by name.
I bring them, I leave them, knowing each is a part
Of your sacred, compassionate, all loving heart.
I’ll remind you today; I’ll remind you tomorrow
Please God bless the many with hearts full of sorrow.
When we hear Psalm 98: "Sing unto the Lord a new song", we immediately think about breaking out into song for our Lord. Well at least, that is what I start to do. Before you know it, I am singing like a Broadway star in my kitchen. Singing loud and so confident for the Lord. We not only need to sing a song for Christ within the comfortable setting of our home, but we need to open those windows and let the world hear our praise. Share with others what Christ has done for you. It doesn't have to be in song, it can be something as simple as sharing a smile, sharing a kind word, sharing a helping hand, or just sharing His love with others.
So smile and go out and sing a new song!
An excerpt from Living in the Father’s Embrace
BY: FR. GEORGE MONTAGUE, S.M.
Jesus assures us that we can have that Holy Spirit for the asking. Our asking cannot, however, be routine. It must be passionate and persevering.
That is the meaning of Jesus’ story just before he tells us to ask (Luke 11:5-8). A midnight visitor arrives, and the family provider has no bread to set before him. So the host has to go next door and bang repeatedly on the neighbor’s door, even after refusals, until finally the neighbor gets up and hands him an armful of loaves. God wants us to nag and keep nagging, because the process deepens our desire and our capacity to receive and appreciate the gift once given.
So how badly do we want the Holy Spirit? How badly do we thirst for him? Are we like the cowboy who sings, “All day I’ve faced the barren waste without a taste of water, cool water”? If you don’t remember the song, think of the time when you were so thirsty that you thought of nothing else but water. That’s the thirst we should have for the Holy Spirit. It means dropping all other priorities until we reach the well of living water.
And what happens when we get there? I cannot tell you because you have to experience it for yourself. All I can say is that you are experiencing a creature’s share in Jesus’ experience of the Father. You have been granted entry into the unimaginable depths of the Godhead, the eternal gaze of the Son upon the Father on whose breast he rests (John 1:18). St. Paul says as much when he writes that “eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it ever entered the mind of man, what God has prepared for those who love him,” yet this is what “God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches out everything, even the depths of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9, 10; my translation).
The Holy Spirit is thus the searchlight, revealing things about God that we would never dream of. He is like the lights and camera, sunk to the depths of the Atlantic and revealing the Titanic, or a guide throwing a powerful flashlight on a cavern wall and showing us an awesome, eons-old water-crafted pillar. But the Father is no Titanic, nor is he an awesome pillar. He is … no words will do. Let the wordless Word carry you from here.
This article is an excerpt from *Living in the Father’s Embrace *by Fr. George Montague, which is available from the Word Among Us Press.
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