Friday, December 30, 2011

An Open Heart


I have been reading The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and reflecting on the advise that Screwtape gave to Wormwood about how to prevent people from really praying.  
"The simplest is to turn their gaze away from Him towards themselves."
How often do I find myself doing this.  I pray but I am only praying for my own self satisfaction.  When I pray I try to make myself better or I try to solve my problems and difficulties.  When I pray it is often me closing myself off from the world and talking to myself.  
Prayer should be a conversation with our Lord.  I should be asking God to make me a better person.  I should be asking God to try to solve my problems or my difficulties.  When I pray I should be opening myself up to the Lord, talking with Him and listening to Him. 


Dear Lord, Help me to pray with you with an open heart.

Wishing everyone a very happy new year!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Best of 2011 - Blog Hop

I'm joining in with Shanda at A Pause on the Path for her blog hop highlighting everyone's best blogs of 2011.  I choose to repost the following post because it has not only been my most viewed post but I feel that has had a significant impact on my actions, my thoughts, and on my writing and studying this year.
Be sure to jump back to a A Pause on the Path to read some awesome posts.

Conserve, love, understand, be taught

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

This was said by Baba Dioum about environmental conservation issues. 

This is one of my favorite quotes for environmental education and conservation but I also see it as true in other parts of my life as well.  I have been reading about the American Catholic identity and the decrease in mass attendance of Catholics on Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's blog and Fr. Longenecker's blog.  There is a huge amount of Catholics who do not attend mass each Sunday.  What should be done about this?  I do my best to attend mass each Sunday and try to attend daily mass when I can but sometimes I feel like I am just sitting in the pew, following along with the actions and just waiting for mass to be over.  I am physically at mass but my mind is somewhere else.  
Why do I do this?  Because I don't understand the mass.  How can we expect people to take time out of their busy lives to go to the church and sit in the pew every Sunday morning when they don't really understand what is going on around them or why they need to be there?  In order to increase mass attendance and more importantly mass participation we need to teach people about the mass.  

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught."

We can not conserve and increase participation in the mass until we love the mass.  Mass should not be something that you have to do because you are Catholic but something that you love because of what it is.  In order to love the mass we need to understand what is happening at the mass, both the big event and small prayers and actions of the priest and the congregation.  But we can not understand the mass until someone teaches us about the mass.  This is where we need to start.  
Today in mass I tried to really focus on every thing that the priest said and not let my mind wonder.  I realized how much I don't know and understand about the mass.  The more I know and understand about the mass the more I can love it and be an active participant in Sunday and daily mass.  So now it is my goal over the next few weeks to take a closer look at the mass, really learn what is going on and share that information here and with others.


Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny at Small Things with a yarn along.

I don't have a picture this week (no working camera) but since I have been knitting and reading so much in the past week I felt like I had to share.

What I'm knitting?  I am still working on this sweaterHere is my last yearn along post where you can see where I was on this project almost 2 months ago.  It is coming along quite well but very slowly.  I am almost done with the back panel.  I am thinking that I might take a little brake from it when i finish the back and maybe work on a quick fun, project.  Any ideas?

What I'm reading? I just finished "The Hippocratic Myth" by Gregg Bloche.  It is a very interesting book about how doctors are being forced to act against the Hippocratic Oath.  I found it very thought provoking and felt it brought up some very interesting points.  It has made me realize that there are definitely problems with the healthcare system and the responsibilities of doctors but I don't feel that it presents any solutions or answers to the problems.  But definitely worth reading anyway.

Hope everyone had a very merry Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Matthew 5:8

Matthew 5:8
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

The Sermon on the Mount, in my opinion one of the most beautiful sections of the bible.  It is packed full of beautiful truths and are still so very relevant in my life today and they are so poetically written.
It starts with The Beatitudes.  A perfect example of this beauty and truth.  One line stands out to me tonight.

Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.

How can I have a clean heart?  By making sure that there is nothing on it that will make it dirty.  My heart should be focused on the Lord.  When I fill my heart on Earthly things that will pull me away from the Lord it becomes dirty.  I can not expect to spend my day filling my heart with the mindless chatter that surrounds me and then be able to clearly see the Lord.  This verse reminds me that in order to see God in the Kingdom of Heaven (or even to be able to form a relationship with him now on Earth) I need to keep my heart focus on Him.

Dear Lord, Help me to keep my heart clean and focused on you.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What is your favorite color?



What is your favorite color?

A question often asked by children.  Everyone has a favorite color.  Everything has to be that color.  You identify with that color.  You have something in common with other people who have the same favorite color as you.  Why?  I don't know.  It is a very simple connection but a connection that children love to make.  An important piece of information that children love to find.  Why?

What is your favorite color?

This was a question that one of my students asked me the other day.  I immediately replied "blue" without even thinking.  Why?  Because that has always been my favorite color.  Almost immediately many other students joined in sharing their favorite colors as well.  
It was so simple and childlike.  When we have so many 'important' issues on our minds and it seems like every question will lead to a heated debate or argument it is nice to see children having this simple conversation and making these simple connections with others.

What is your favorite color?