“IN QUIETNESS AND CONFIDENCE SHALL BE YOUR STRENGTH.”
Come to me. Sit with me. Sit in the quiet with me. Rest. Pray. We hear these words in our hearts. We read them in scripture. And still we find it hard to sit quietly with the Lord.
We try but our minds wander......problems to solve, solutions to find, thoughts scattered and wild with worry. I know, I've been there. And I will say to you as I say to myself, STOP. Stop trying to come up with solutions. Stop trying to figure things out. Imagine all of your prayers being in one book and Our Lord is taking care of each one of your concerns. Then we begin to worry and and our trust goes out the window. In that moment we are erasing our prayers from the pages of our personal prayer book, basically telling our Lord that we can handle it, which we can't and that is why we are praying in the first place. And on and on and on.....
Why would we ever want to erase our beautiful heartfelt prayers from God's thoughts for us. He loves watching over us, “the Lord watches over you...the Lord is your shade at your right hand.” Psalm 121:5
Our Lord is ready to shower us with gifts and graces. All we have to do is pray and ask. “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.' Matthew 7:7
The answer might not come immediately but in that waiting and praying, God's grace will surprise you. And you will know this scripture to be true. “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8
Take the Lord's hand, give Him back your book of prayers and never stop praying....never! “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Know you are not alone and feel the Love and the strength of Our Lord.
By: Mary Maddox
By: Msgr. Charles Pope
September 18, 2013
Impatience is a human problem, but we moderns must surely suffer from it more acutely. This is because many of our modern conveniences create the illusion, and to some extent the reality, of instant results. Flip a switch and the lights come on. Instant downloads supply our computers with music, games, software, and almost instant information.
Any delay in this process almost certainly infuriates us. The journey from east to the west coast used to take many months in a wagon train. And now it is accomplished in four to five hours. Despite this marvel, even a 20 minute flight delay infuriates us.
I remember as a child that we would be enticed to buy a certain product, say cereal, by being able to cut off the box tops. And, having saved four of them, I could mail them in to the address, to get a certain die cast or plastic toy, or other promotional product offered by the cereal company. Instructions always said, “Allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery.” This is almost unthinkable today. What child would spend months eating cereal, clipping boxtops, and then wait 3 to 4 weeks for delivery?!
Yes, patience is a human problem, but it has a certain modern intensity about it. Expectations are premeditated resentments, and we have a lot of expectations about instant results. Thus resentments are always near at hand.
In the spiritual life especially and in personal growth we must learn to slow down to a more human pace, and also the pace of God. To many of us moderns, God is infuriatingly patient and slow. He, and the Church seem to think in terms of centuries, not a 24 hour news cycle.
And He leaves many things unresolved for quite a long time. Where was he when Hitler and Stalin and Mao and any number of unjust rulers were plying their wares? Why does he not thunder from heaven more often, as we sometimes read in the Old Testament?! Why does He not send jagged lightning bolts to destroy sinners from the face of the earth? (are you so sure you would escape?) And when will the Church he founded “get with the program” and start denouncing and excommunicating those who sinfully dissent?
Of course, while there is a place for discipline, even excommunication, the Lord warned of acting too hastily in the parable of the weeds and the wheat. The impatient field hand zealously wanted to rip out all the weeds, but the owner warned that the wheat might be harmed as well.
Many of us may well wonder what harm could come from wiping out a few sinners from the face of the Earth or expelling a few more heretics. The Lord does not explain why, but simply warns that hasty and severe actions may cause harm even to the wheat.
Yes, we are an impatient lot, no only with others, but also with ourselves. Why, we wonder can we not simply overcome certain sins by sheer force of will? Why are we not instantly more chaste, more generous, more kind, more zealous, simply by deciding to be so!? Why do prayers of deliverance and exorcism not have instant effects? Why does confession not solve sin at once by its grace?
In an instant result society, discouragement is right at hand. And even when we do make progress, suddenly setbacks are at hand. “I was doing so well!” We think.
Most confessors know by experience that perseverance is good and holy, but impatience is devilish. It is especially devilish because it tries to masquerade as piety, saying “You ought to be a saint by now!” But it is really pride. Yes it is pride to think you can go from 0 to 100 and skip all the steps the rest of us poor slobs need to make. Who am I to think I can simply lay hold of holiness by a few decisions? Holiness is far higher than I imagine in my reductive insistence that I ought to be able to lay hold of it in a moment. No, this is a journey, a journey with setbacks, and progress in fits and starts. Frankly even a lifetime may not be enough and purgatory is a likely pit stop for most of us after death.
Why so slow? Because grace builds on nature. And it is our nature to change slowly, almost imperceptibly. When I was an infant I looked nothing like I do today. Frankly my mother was grateful that I did not come forth from the womb at six feet tall and 200 lbs. No, I came forth at six pounds, sickly and dying. I was baptized immediately since I was not expected to survive. But having recovered, I have progressed today to what and who I am. But at no point could my growth be perceived. It was slow, steady, and also marked by setbacks, injury, and also growth spurts.
If this is the case with our bodies, it is also with our soul, which is the form of our body. I have made remarkable spiritual progress in the last thirty years of my life. But day by day, I noticed little change. Yet, by the grace of God I am what I am.
Sudden a rapid growth seldom lasts an is usually called cancer, a deadly disease. Healthy growth is organic, steady, slow, and almost imperceptible.
Impatience is a form of pride and it is not in wisdom that we indulge it. Scripture says,
Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay. See, the rash have no integrity; but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live. (Habakkuk 2:2-4).
Finally some words of reminder and comfort. I am not going to say who wrote these words because I have sometimes discovered that we care more who said something, than what is said. You can Google a phrase and find easily enough who wrote this. But for now let the words themselves have the necessary impact. I have little doubt these words will bless you as they have often blessed me.
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything
to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something
unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress
that it is made by passing through
some stages of instability,
and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you;
your ideas mature gradually—let them grow,
let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them,
as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances
acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit
gradually forming within you will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing
that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself
in suspense and incomplete.
This link will take you to a funny video on our impatience! On Gloria.tv
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
“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
Prayerful Path/Mary Maddox