Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Psalm 31: 5

Psalm 31:5
Free me from the net they have set for me,

Have you felt this way before?  Like there was someone out there you had a net out ready to catch you?  Like there are just to many places to run into temptation?  Like which ever way you turned there was some pressure for you to do something wrong or something that would turn you away from the Lord?

There are a lot of temptations in our society.  There are a lot of places that the devil is working to separate us from the Lord.  But we can't stay hidden in our homes all the time.  We need to be able to avoid these temptations and remain close to the Lord.  We need the Lord to free us from the nets that they have set for us.  We need to use this prayer to keep from falling into the temptations that we are hit with everyday.

What are strategies or prayers that you use to avoid temptations?

Dear Lord, free me from the nets that the devil has set for me.  Help me to remain close to you.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Psalm 30: 12

Psalm 30:12
You changed my mourning into dancing

It seems sometimes that there is so much mourning in the world it is hard to handle or even think about.  I get overwhelmed reading the news or hearing about all the death and destruction in the world (or in my city).  When I read about the shooting in Norway all I can think about is all those poor families and friends who are mourning the death of a person close to them.  When I hear a siren all I can think about is a family who is now homeless because of a fire, or a family siting in the emergency room waiting for news of their loved one who was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance, or even a child who is waiting for their father to return home as their father sits in the back of a police car.  A siren means that someone is mourning. 

There was a bad car accident on my street last night.  As I watched a young man being pulled out of the car and into an ambulance all I could think about was the people who would be waiting on him; the people who would be wondering why he was not home on time, the people who would be waiting for news at the emergency room, the people who may be mourning the results of this car accident long after it leaves my mind.

It is easy to become lost in the death and destruction in the world.  It is easy to become depressed and disheartened.  But this verse brings hope.

We can be assured that the Lord will not just leave us mourning but he will take that mourning and turn it into dancing. 

Has the Lord taken mourning in your life and changed it into dancing?

Dear Lord, I pray for all those who are mourning that the pain and suffering that they are experiencing can be one day changed into dancing.

Joining in with Soli Deo Gloria

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Out of Joy -Matthew 13:44

Matthew 13:44
The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

This one line from the gospel made me think in mass this morning.  Actually one part of the line stood out in particular. 
out of joy

The person finds a treasure  which is so valuable he not only sells his possessions to receive the treasure but he sells his possessions out of joy.  It is not a pain, or a bother for him to sell his belongings.  He does not do it because of a responsibility or a duty.  He does not sell his possessions because someone is forcing him to or because he feels it is the right thing to do.  He sells his possessions out of joy.  He sees such a joy in that treasure that he can joyfully sell everything that he has to obtain that one treasure.  He knows that this treasure is more valuable and will bring him more joy than all of is other possessions.

What could this treasure be that it could cause him to joyfully sell all his belongings to obtain it?  It is the kingdom of heaven!  Jesus is teaching us that the kingdom of heaven is so great that it is above anything that we could have on Earth and that it should bring us joy to reach the kingdom of heaven.

I know that I often miss the message of this parable, especially the joy part.  When we have an opportunity to grow closer to our Lord and closer to heaven we are instructed to joyfully take it even if it means giving up some other things.  Often times I find it hard to find time to pray.  I know I should pray and I know if I spent a little less time watching tv or woke up a little earlier I would have time to devote to prayer.  But I am often unwilling to make these simple sacrifices to grow closer to the Lord.  I feel that this parable is telling me that the time that I spend in prayer is worth so much more then the time that I spend watching tv.  It is worth so much more and is so great I should be joyful to have the chance to spend some time in prayer.  I should view the time I spend serving the Lord as a joy so great that nothing on Earth can compare.

Dear Lord,  Help me to take joy in my service to you.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Psalm 26: 2

Psalm 26:2
Test me, Lord, and try me:
search my heart and mind.

All through elementary school Thursday nights were spent studying for the dreaded weekly spelling test.  I would carefully study each word, rewriting it and practicing over and over again.  Then when I finally was confident that I knew the words and would be able to spell the correctly I would bring the list to my mom or dad and ask them to test me.  By this time I was confident.  I knew the words.  I would not ask them to test me if I still thought I would misspell words.
This same way the writer of the psalm asks the Lord to test him.  He wants to prove to the Lord that he is innocent.  He would not have told the Lord to test him if he was not confident that he had not faltered from the Lord.  He had nothing to hide from the Lord.  He tells the Lord to search my heart and his mind.  He has such confidence that he has been true to the Lord that he is willing to completely open himself up for the Lord to see any faults or errors.  He would not have told the Lord to test him if he was not confident or had something to hide.
Although I know that the Lord knows all our thoughts and actions I sometimes feel that I try to hide things from him.  I close my heart and my mind to try to keep him from seeing the times that I faltered or failed to act like I should.  Wouldn't it be great if we could have the same openness and confidence that the writer of this psalm has and be able to open our hearts and minds to the Lord with confidence that he would be pleased with what he saw.  There is nothing that should be going on in our hearts or minds or in our actions that we want to hide from the Lord.  So often I feel that I want to protect what is in my heart and mind because it may not be pleasing to the Lord. 

Dear Lord, Help me to open my heart and mind to you with confidence.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finding beauty in the mass

As I sat in mass this past Sunday I had a million things on my mind and repeatedly asked the Lord to help me focus on the mass.  As I sat in my pew after communion listening to the soft music and looking at the events on the alter I was trying to focus myself in pray but I found myself just staring blankly at the alter instead.  Then I really watched and saw what was going on at the alter.  The priest was cleaning the vessels used for communion and preparing to clean off the alter.  The alter servers were carefully carrying one object at a time clearing off the alter and bringing everything to the little table on the side of the alter.  One alter server went and closed the book and put it away.  They brought the water over for the priest to use to clean the chalice.  From my view it looked like the priest and the two alter servers were working in complete unison without saying a word to properly clean and clear the alter.  The whole process seemed effortless and reverent.

I compare this to the after dinner routine at my house.  There is an extended period of siting around debating who will clean up what and what (if anything) should be cleaned up today and what should be put off until tomorrow.  After this we usually end up simply carrying everything into the kitchen and placing the dished in the skin (or on the counter) and putting away any left over food.  The table is then quickly wiped off only if there is visible food on it.  The kitchen and the table always end up clean but it is not a process that I enjoy or one that is effortless.

Well that makes sense.  When I clean up after dinner it is just food that we have just eaten but when the priest and alter servers clean up after communion they are cleaning up after a meal of Christ's body and blood.  This deserves a little more reverence then my vegetarian chilli.  The priest and the alter servers took their work as sacred which it is.  Every action was part of the celebration of the mass.  In their actions they were showing reverence and respect for the body and blood of Jesus Christ.  In their actions on the alter they were serving their Lord.

In just this short time that I was totally absorbed in the mass I realized that in the presence of the Lord something as simple as cleaning the alter can be a powerful experience and a chance to serve the Lord.

Why can't I make every action in my day a chance to serve the Lord?

Dear Lord, Help me to live my life as a service to you.

 Joining in with Soli Deo Gloria

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Psalm 23:1

Psalm 23:1
The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I lack.

As I walk through the mall and look in the stores and watch the other people.  I sure feel like I am lacking things.  I am lacking that nice skirt in the store window.  I am lacking a new pair of sneakers.  I am lacking an expensive phone like the one that the person is using as they walk by me.  I am lacking the new art supplies that I glance at as I walk past the craft store. I am lacking the nice sweater that the manikin is wearing in the store window.  I am lacking the ice cream cone that a little boy is eating as he walks through the mall and just think about all the books that I realize I am lacking as I walk past the bookstore.

After even a quick walk in the mall I feel as if I am lacking quite a few thing that seem to be essential for life.  

There is no way that I could afford all of the things that a walk through the mall shows me that I am lacking.

But am I really lacking anything?  I have an amazing husband, wonderful family and friends, a comfortable place to live, food to eat, a good job and most importantly I have a God who loves me.  When I look at it this way I'm pretty sure that I'm not lacking anything.  With the Lord as my shepherd I know that there will be nothing that I am truly lacking.  

Sometimes I have to remind myself of this.  I see all these things that other people may have or things that I could buy and I feel that they are necessities and without them my life is somehow lacking.  I hear the constant voice of society telling me that more stuff is better.  I have to remind myself that as long as I have the Lord as my shepherd there will be nothing that I lack.

Dear Lord, Help me to not fall into the trap of consumerism.  Help me to not be jealous of the things that other people have.  Help me to realize with you that I have all that I really need.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

During Mass

This happened to me last summer but I just remembered/ thought about it recently.  Last summer one of my main efforts was to find a teaching job for the fall.  I applied everywhere and then I waited and worried.  I checked my email/phone/mailbox a million times a day hopping to hear something.  I searched for new postings obsessively.  There were times that I was depressed and anxious about not having a job yet but most of all I was frustrated with the waiting.  At times I found it hard to enjoy other things while I was waiting.  At times I found it hard to pray because I was so preoccupied with waiting to here something.  Well the summer went on.  I had plenty of interviews and did end up getting a job.

Then just last week I went to 12 noon daily mass.  As I was leaving and walking through the parking lot I turned my phone back on and I had a message.  As I sat in my hot car in the church parking lot listening to the message and quickly returning the call it felt strangely familiar. 

I thought back to listening to messages from prospective jobs in my hot car in the church parking lot after daily mass last summer.  Looking back I realized that quite a few times as I turned on my phone as I left daily mass last summer I found a message from a school wanting an interview or more information.

I would spend all morning worrying and anxious.  Then I would put all of my worrying aside to attend 12 noon daily mass.  As I would walk through the parking lot into mass I would shut off my phone.  I would spend 20 minutes in daily mass and then as I would walk back through the parking lot to my car I would turn my phone back on.  It happened more than once that this was when I received the news that I had been waiting for all day. 

It was when I turned myself to the Lord and away from worrying during mass that he answered my prayers.  I received the Lord during mass and I also received the phone calls that I had been waiting for.

Although I may have many other important things on my mind and on my schedule, I have to remember to always find time for the Lord.  Nothing else will work out correctly if we don’t find time for him.

Matthew 6:33

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.

 Joining in with Soli Deo Gloria

Monday, July 11, 2011


Numbers 9:8
Moses answered them, “Wait until I learn what the Lord will command in your regard.”

I love this.  The people asked Moses a question that he could not answer but this was not a problem, he simply said “Wait, I’ll ask God.”  There is no belief that Moses should know the answer to every question on his own.  There is to worrying because they don’t know where to find an answer.  There is no doubt that they will find the correct answer.  Moses just asks the Lord and then he can give the people the correct answer.
I wish I could be more like this.  I will I could completely stop worrying.  I with I could be confident that the Lord will give me (and I will hear) the correct answers.  I wish I had the patients to wait for the correct answer.

Dear Lord, Help me to ask you when I have a question or need direction.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Follow up to Psalm 20: 8-9

 "Being Catholic means never having to say he have nothing left to do."
-Scott Hahn (Signs of Life)

I was reading the introduction to Scott Hahn's book "Signs of Life" yesterday and one line hit me in relation to my post from yesterday.  On page 7 (I haven't gotten much farther yet) it says "Being Catholic means never having to say he have nothing left to do."  As a Catholic we don't give up.  Even when it seems like there is no possible answer or solution and the only option that we have is to give up we can still turn to God.  We don't have to have the feeling that there is nothing left or that we have tried our last option, we always have God and prayer.  I find this an extremely comforting thought.  What ever happens we will not be completely hopeless.

Dear Lord, help me to remember to turn to you when I struggle and when I succeed.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Psalm 20

Psalm 20:8-9
Some rely on chariot, others on horses,
but we on the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we stand strong and firm.

What do you need to make you happy?  A loving husband, family, friends, a comfortable amount of money, a job, time to relax?  While all of these things are very good and I am thankful to God to have these things they are not the one true thing that should make me happy above all else.  I should be able to be happy without any of these things as long as we have the Lord.  If I lost all these things tomorrow I really don't know what I would do but I know that I would get through it because I rely on the Lord.  I would struggle immensely and feel lost but I know I would be able to get through it and survive because I still had the Lord.
On the other hand if I was to have everything else and loose the Lord I would probably be able to survive and seem happy for a while but that would not last because I had lost my true happiness.  I would not have any base to stand on.  I would eventually collapse and fall.
I am truly thankful to the Lord for everything that I have on Earth; my husband, my friends and family, and all the comforts that I have been blessed with and I pray that I never have to live without them but I know that the true source of my happiness is in the Lord.

Dear Lord, Thank you for everything that you have given me.  Help me to always remember the true source of my happiness.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Psalm 19: 2

Psalm 19:2
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the sky proclaims its builder's craft.

In this psalm the writer sees the glory of God in the natural world, in the sky and in the patterns of the sun.   These natural wonders remind him of the power of God.  When I see beauty in nature I know that there must be a God who created it.  The more that I learn about science and the Earth the more I am reminded that their must be a God.  I don't know how else these things could be created and run so smoothly.  When I learn about the necessary and incredible interactions that occur between specific plants and animals I am amazed at their creation and know that there must be a God.  When I learn about the intricate workings of the human body I am amazed that we can carry out such complex processes without even realizing it and I know that there must be a God who created it.  With all of the incredible workings that I have learned about or observed in science I find it easy to see God in the world around us.  Just like the writer of the psalm who sees the glory of God in the sky and the sun we can see the glory of God in the world that he created.  The problem is that many times we don’t recognize these wonders as the glory of God.

Dear Lord, Help me and others to recognize the wonders that God has created.