Monday, October 31, 2011

The Our Father- Thy Will be Done

Join me as I take a closer look at The Our Father.  

Thy Will be Done

God has a plan for us.  He has good plans for us.

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you- oracle of the Lord- plans for your welfare and not for woe, so as to give you a future of hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

He has plans for us that will bring us to eternal happiness with him in heaven.

But we have free will.  We do not have to follow his plans for us.  We can follow our own plans.  We can follow which ever path we wish and end up wherever that path takes us.  We do not have to follow his perfect path designed specifically for us which will lead to eternal joy.  We do not have to take the path that leads to our eternal joy and happiness.  

In this line we pray that God's will will be done in our lives and in the world.  We pray that we do take the path that he planed for us.  While we have free will so we can take our own will we pray that we will be able to take his will and follow his plan for our lives.

Dear Lord, I pray to you that I am able to see and follow the plan that you made for my life.

For more of my thoughts on the Our Father and on prayer look at these posts.

Deuteronomy 6:12

Deuteronomy 6:12
Take care not to forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery.

The Lord freed the Israelites from the land of Egypt.  He was giving them the land that he had promised their Father.  He must truly be a good God.  But Mosses tells them not to forget the Lord while they are enjoying all the gifts that he gave them.  

So often we are so busy enjoying all the gift that the Lord has blessed us with that we forget where all these gifts come from.  The Lord has provided us with all that we have and has given us the ultimate gift of eternal life with him in heaven but still we take him for granted and don't even remember him or take the time out of our busy lives to worship him and listen to his word.  He has given us everything but so often we don't even remember him.

Dear Lord, help me to remember you always.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The light shines through

Saints are people who the light shines through

My deacon started his homily today with a story of a little boy who loved looking at the stained glass windows in his church.  When he was asked if he knew what a saint was he replied "saints are people who the light shines through."
This made me think.  We may be filled with the light and the love of the Lord but if that light does not shine out we are not truly living as Christ.  We are not only called to be filled with the light but to then share it with others.  This light has to shine out of us in all that we do.  We are called to do everything with the love and truth of Christ.  People simply observing our actions should be able to see the love and the light of Christ shinning through us.  

How can we live our lives so that the light shines through us?  

Dear Lord, Help me to live in such a way that your light shines through me to those who I come into contact with.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Thy Kingdom Come

Join me as I take a closer look at The Our Father.  

Thy Kingdom Come

In this line we pray for the kingdom or the reign of God to come.  We need to turn ourselves over to the Kingdom of the Lord.  If we are praying for the kingdom of God to come then we need to be ready to turn ourselves over to our King, the Lord.  The Lord needs to be above all else in our lives.  He needs to be our ruler and our guide.  We need to create the kingdom of the Lord in ourselves so we can be ready when the Kingdom of the Lord comes.  

When I here the phrase "The Kingdom of God" I think about what a perfect place that would be.  Everyday we here about corrupt, abusive, distorted or destructive governments in our country and around the world.  Sometimes it seems like there is no conceivable way to create a good, fair and just government.  But this wouldn't be the case with the Kingdom of God.  I imagine that the Kingdom of God would be all of those things and more.  This is definitely something that we should all be praying for.

Dear Lord, Help me prepare myself for your kingdom.

For more of my thoughts on the Our Father and on prayer look at these posts.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Relevant- Five Minute Friday

This looked interesting so I thought I would give it a try.

Five Minute Friday


As a teacher and a learner this is something that I think about all the time.  Is what ever I am teaching my students relevant to their lives?  Will it ever be relevant to their lives?  If not is there another reason that I am teaching it?  How can I make it relevant to their lives?
And also as a learner: How is this relevant to my life?  Why am I spending my time learning this if it is not relevant to me? 
How important it is that we take what we learn and make it relevant to us or to others.  Learning is not productive if it is not used in someway, even if it is just to have a better understanding of the world around us, or to grow closer to the Lord.  If it is not relevant I know that I will not remember what I learn and it will be lost.


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hallowed be thy Name

Join me as I take a closer look at The Our Father.  

Hallowed be thy Name.
Holy be the name of the Lord.
The name of the Lord is Holy.

The Our Father is not just a prayer the the Lord gave us but a prayer that reaches us how to pray.  This is the first of seven petitions contained in this prayer.  Jesus is teaching us to begin our pray by giving praise to his Father.  We pray that his name be made holy but in doing so we also need to give him glory and praise.  When we praise the Lord we are removed from our self and brought before the Lord.  We empty ourselves and focus on the Lord.  All prayer needs to start this way.  We need to remember that our focus should be on the Lord and not on ourselves.  Praising the Lord is a way to direct our payer to the one who deserves our praise and attention and not simply focused around ourselves and our own little world.

Dear Lord, You are mighty beyond all wonder.  You are deserving of all praise and glory.  Help me to praise your name.

For more of my thoughts on the Our Father and on prayer look at these posts.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Who Art in Heaven

Join me as I take a closer look at The Our Father.  

Who Art in Heaven

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church "This biblical expression does not mean a place ("space"), but a way of being; it does not mean that God is distant, but majestic.  Our Father is not "elsewhere": he transcends everything we can conceive of his holiness." (2794)  
He is not just in heaven, as in a place far away, but he is in heaven as in the hearts of those who are just.  When we say "Our Father Who Art in Heaven" we are not just speaking to a God who is all powerful, distant and majestic but also a God who we are calling for to live in our hearts.  In order for this to happen we have to be heavenly.  We were not made for Earth but to live with the Lord in heaven.  When we pray this line we are asking the Lord to come live in us because we ourselves are like heaven.

Dear Lord, Help us to welcome you into our lives and our hearts.

For more of my thoughts on the Our Father and on prayer look at these posts.

Joining up with Jen today!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Hope for the Hopeless

It has been a hard week.  At times it seemed to be close to hopeless.  I really didn't know what I was going to do.  But then at then end of mass this morning I heard this line from the song "You Are Mine" 

I am hope for all who are hopeless

This reminded me that we are never really hopeless when we have the Lord to turn to.  Even when it feels like there is no one to turn to and that the situation really can't get better we are never really hopeless.  When we turn to the Lord we are never without hope.  This is such a comforting thought when all seems hopeless.  

Dear Lord, Thank you for bringing hope to all those who are in need of it.

For more on hope read this

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Our Father- Father

Join me as I take a closer look at The Our Father.  


We start this prayer by calling the Lord "Father"  What does this mean?  Is just something that we say, like we might call a close friend of the family an uncle?  No, we are not just calling the Lord "Father" because he acts like a father or because he is similar to a father.  We call him father because he is our father.  Through baptism is is truly our adopted father.

But this is not all.  If he is truly our Father then we are in return truly his children.  It is as his children that we come to him with the petitions in this prayer.  Only as children can we humbly come to the Lord with the petitions that we ask of him in this prayer.

We are not simply praying to the creator of the universe and we are not praying as just part of his creation.

Dear Lord, Help me to truly come to you as one of your children.

For more of my thoughts on the Our Father and on prayer look at these posts.

Joining up with Jen today!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Finding Beauty in the Mass- Distribution of Communion

My parish church is set up so the congregation sits on three sides of the alter.  There are usually about 8 people distributing holy communion including the priest and deacons.  Just after the sign of peace they all gather behind the priest on the alter.  The priest them distributes communion to these people.  Then they all separate, leaving the alter in all directions to distribute communion to the rest of the congregation.  This is the part that I love to watch and reflect on.

The priest is literally sharing the body of Christ to the ministers of holy communion.  Then they all take what they were given and share it with the entire congregation.

Jesus didn't teach his disciples just so they could know the truth but so the could share his teachings with others and spread the truth to the whole world.  This is what I am observing during the mass, the priest shares the truth with the ministers of holy communion and then they in turn share it with the rest of us.  

But this is not (or should not be) where it ends.  The good news should not end with the parishioners sitting in the pews on Sunday.  We are then called to go out and share this good news with those who we come into contact with throughout the week.  We are called to take what we receive at mass each we and share it with the rest of our world.  

As I reflected on the beauty that I saw during the mass I couldn't help thinking about how we have to continue this beauty after we leave mass.  So often this is where it stops.  In the same way that the priest gave the body of Christ to the ministers of holy communion and they in turn gave it to me, I have to continue sharing this truth, love and joy to the people that I come into contact with through the day and the week.

What are some ways that we can do this?  How can we share what we learn and receive in mass each week?

Dear Lord, Help me to bring you love and your truth to all those who I come into contact with this week.

Read here for more of my reflections on Finding Beauty in the Mass.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Our Father- Our

Join me as I take a closer look at The Our Father.  

Even in just the first word of this beautiful prayer I find great meaning and strength.  
Our Father, not My Father.  Usually when I talk about my earthly father I refer to him as my father.  The only time that I would refer to him as our father is if I am speaking for or with my brothers.  When we refer to the Lord as our Father rather then my Father we show that we are speaking not alone but with all Christians.  Even if you are saying this prayer alone on a deserted island, you are not saying this prayer alone.  This is a communal prayer of all God's people.  We are uniting ourselves with all Christians as we recite this prayer.  In the same way we are not individually praying for ourselves but for all of God's people.  In just the first word of this prayer we are united as a Church in prayer to the Lord.

This brings me a sense of comfort and unity.  As I lay in bed this morning next to my sleeping husband I began praying the Lord's prayer.  With simply this first word I had a feeling of praying not just for my needs and concerns but for the needs and concerns of my husband as well.

With only one word I went from one person praying before she started the day to the entire Christian people praying to our Lord.

For more of my thoughts on the Our Father and on prayer, look here.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


There are a million different ways to pray.  I have been trying to pray more and to purposefully try to live a life in which I am 'praying constantly'.  One type of prayer that I feel needs some attention is rote prayers like the Hail May or the Our Father.  I have heard people say that this type of prayer is meaningless, not really prayer and simply a memorization of words.  This may be true in some cases.  These prayers can be said simply as a string of words that you were made to memorize in CCD class.  But they can also be a beautiful form of prayer.  Just because you did not write the words of the prayer does not mean that you can't make them your own and pray them with true meaning to the Lord.  But in order to do this you need to know and understand what you are praying.  You must take a close look and every word that you are praying.  Then you are really praying and not just saying a string of words.

One night when I was traveling, I was lying awake at night.  I couldn't get up or turn on a light and I couldn't sleep.  My mind kept wondering and causing me to worry.  I needed something to focus my mind on.  I started praying the Hail Mary very slowly and deliberately, making meaning out of every word.  I felt like I was really speaking to Mary.  Although I havn't gone into so much depth since that night, I have not prayed the Hail Mary the same either.  I went from simply saying the Hail Mary to truly praying the Hail Mary.

I recently started reading a book on commentaries on the Our Father.  This book breaks down the Our Father and gives background and meaning to each word of the prayer.  This is just what I need to help myself learn to really pray the Our Father.

I will be posting with my thoughts on really praying the Our Father word for word and what I learn from commentaries.  I hope this helps you to remember the joy and beauty of praying rote prayers.

P.S. I can see some good from simply reciting these prayers even when they are simply a string of words, but more on that later.

Dear Lord, Help me to pray constantly and find meaning and truth in the Lord's prayer.