Catholics and “the Word”

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Catholics get our beliefs from two places – Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  Unfortunately, we, as a religion, are not well-known for our knowledge of Scripture, as many other denominations are.

Scripture is truly God’s love letter to us.  If we claim to love God, then we should want to know Him more fully each day.    Do you know that if you were to go to mass everyday for three years you would have (nearly) read the entire bible?

Fortunately, there are multiple resources for getting these daily readings – Apps like Verbum or Laudate; or subscriptions like Magnificat, or the Abide in the Word book.  How about the good old-fashioned daily missal?

I must admit that for years, I did not feel moved to read scripture on a regular basis.  I wrongly believed it to be about people thousands of years ago in a time and place that had almost nothing to do with me.   I felt I couldn’t relate.

Then I decided to start each of my religion classes with the gospel reading of the day.  You would be surprised at some of the insights the children have; the respect they show when the Word of God is being read; and the impact this small thing has had on some students in retrospect.  They’ve actually returned to tell me about it!!  That’s a God thing – not a Dana Doyle thing – for sure!

In the past few years of my spiritual journey, these two quotes from the bible have really struck me as being powerful and (of course) true:

Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

 Your word is a lamp to my feet
 and a light to my path.  Psalm 119: 105

Stop and reread those!  God’s Word is living and active – not old and out of date.  It is able to pierce the soul – to change us.    It is able to direct our paths and show us the way.  I need to know the way in this mine field of a world in which we live.

Think about how reading one line of scripture changed Saul to (St.) Paul!

In our world today, people are longing for Truth.  They are seeking God who is Truth whether they know it or not.  They are hungry for it.

The sad part is that so many want God, but they want Him on their own terms.  They say, “God is merciful.  God loves me.”  Yes, He does! But do you love God?  God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  He does not change to suit changing morals, and the bible is indeed still relevant in 2018!

Oh my goodness!  I’ve been reading the prophets lately: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Amos, Micah…Many of the passages sounds precisely like what is going on in our world today.  Everything has changed, but nothing has changed.  Human beings keep on repeating the same dumb mistakes – or let’s be real and call them what they are – SINS!

Recently, I took a class on Lectio Divina, the prayerful reading of scripture.  It was awesome!  Talk about a powerful way to grow closer in relationship to God!  I’m just getting started practicing what I’ve learned.  Already, it has made a difference in my understanding of and use of scripture to enhance my prayer time.  Do you want to grow closer to God?  I will tell you what I learned and give you a resource in my next post.

For now, here are the mass readings for Sunday, July 29th.

Notice how the first reading with Elisha the prophet foreshadows the gospel story of the multiplication loaves and fish with Jesus.   Do you truly believe with all of your heart that God provides all that you have? Do you believe that He has the power to multiply what little you may have if you will just hand over your “loaves and fish” to Him?

 

 

Posted in Prayer

For You

It has been many months since I have posted anything.  A sweet friend told me the other day that she missed my posts.  You know, I used to get excited about having several hundred readers a day (in the blog’s peak.)  Now, it just seems so unimportant. I’ve all but disappeared from social media. I care, but I don’t care, if that makes sense.

I feel as though I owe an explanation, but don’t think I can give one, really.   I have not felt inspired.  The words that were free flowing for so long just dried up.  Something profound happened to me in December of 2015, and it changed my focus completely.   I became very introspective – trying to discern God’s plan for my life and the lives of my family members.  I started soaking up everything I could read to aid my understanding, including God’s Holy Word and the prophecy of Catholic saints, as well as modern day “prophets.”

I still don’t have many answers.  In my experience, the Lord takes His time in unraveling a plan –  it might blow our feeble minds if it was all laid out before us at once!   I also know that His timing is always perfect.  So I try to wait patiently for that answer.

I read something the other day that suggested meditation upon God’s Word – even if it was just a verse that was meaningful.  I opened my bible and these two lines from Psalms 37 struck me:

Psalm 37:5,7  Commit your way to the Lord; trust in Him and He will act…Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”

I keep saying that repeatedly to myself and have even posted it in several places I frequent.  The truth is that life is tough for all who love the Lord.  The farther the world departs from God, the more we will stand out – and it is uncomfortable.  The world today does not know God – Truth.  The world did not accept Jesus.  If the world treated Jesus unfairly and even cruelly, how can we expect any less?  We must accept and even embrace persecution – but can only accomplish this with God’s grace.

The world tells us that we should avoid suffering at all costs.  Jesus tells us and shows us the exact opposite.  In fact, there are so many paradoxes in the bible.  It seems radical (maybe even crazy in earthly terms) to say that suffering can be a blessing.  It surely doesn’t feel like it when you’re going through it.

I trust though that God has a plan – a plan that is best for our eternity  – if we will surrender to Him and allow Him to form and use us.  That molding can be grueling, but it can be done with a peace and inner joy that God alone can give – and He wants to give us that grace!   He tells us that He will never test us beyond our strength.  Sometimes, I’m ashamed to say, I doubt this promise – especially when in the height of a personal storm.

I believe that so many good people are suffering now because Christ is allowing us to share in His suffering to help save the millions of souls who are on the path to hell.   We are told that the Lord does not wish that one of His children be lost.  Do we wish the same for our fellow brothers and sisters here on this earth?  Do we care enough to offer all of our pain as a “ginormous” prayer for their repentance and conversion?

Two things have given me peace in the midst of suffering:   The rosary – particularly “The 7 Sorrows of Our Lady.”    I often listen to it at night before I go to sleep,  I feel Mary’s empathy and support in my own sorrows, because she has experienced REALLY tough things herself and yet she remained faithful.   Visits to the Blessed Sacrament also help me keep my peace despite the frequent world wind of trials and challenges. Just sitting in the presence of Jesus is so calming and restorative.  If I skip (because I’m “busy”) then my day inevitably derails.

I hope this has been helpful to someone out there.  Please pray for me – for discernment  and grace.  Know that I often pray for you, my readers and friends.

Posted in Prayer

Absolutely Breathtaking!

I’ve been working on a presentation for a retreat I’m giving.  I stumbled upon these music videos by Audrey Assad.  I love her voice, and I knew of her music, but I did not know of these picturesque videos of some old time hymns she sings.  They are absolutely breathtaking, so I had to share!!     It is Well    Be Thou My Vision   How Can I Keep From Singing    Take a few minutes out of your busy day.  You are sure to be blessed:)

Posted in Christian Music, Inspirational, Prayer | Tagged , , , , ,

The Blue Butterfly

Just had to share this story posted by a fellow I read all of the time, Mark Mallet.  It’s really good – read it all the way through:)  Open your hands and have a great, blue butterfly kind of day!

The Blue Butterfly

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Posted in Inspirational, Prayer | Tagged , , , ,

Stop All the Clocks

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My heart is hurting so much for several people who have lost a loved one suddenly as of late.  When you lose someone, one of the many upsetting aspects of it all is how everyone else’s world keeps moving along (seemingly) as usual while yours has completely fallen apart.   When I heard this poem from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, long ago it touched me deeply.  I think it explains this feeling I’m talking about eloquently.  To all who are grieving, I pray that God will give you strength and peace and the certainty of knowing how very much you are loved.
Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public
doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.

W.H. Auden

Posted in poetry, Prayer | Tagged , , ,

Happy Birthday!

images-2  I don’t know why, but I’m actually excited about Pentecost tomorrow.  In all my life, I cannot remember being excited about this feast.  I mean, Christmas & Easter – those are exciting – but Pentecost, hmmm.  All of the feasts in the Church are supposed to be special (hence the term “feasts”), but I guess I’ve never REALLY given much thought to Pentecost.  It’s the day that Jesus’ promise was fulfilled – to never leave us alone – to send us an advocate – His Spirit.  At Pentecost, the birth of the Church, God literally set the hearts and minds of his apostles ablaze, so they were prepared/compelled to courageously go “where no man had gone before” – to preach the gospel in some super hostile places.  Just read the Acts of the Apostles!

I guess, I see the celebration of Pentecost as a hope for us today. The world has become a very hostile place once again – especially where Christians are concerned.  We are called (as always) to stand up for our Faith – to protect it – to do what we know is right – to love Christ with everything we’ve got – even when (not if) it makes us unpopular, persecuted, made fun of, tortured or killed because of it.  It’s getting more and more difficult to do that in a world that has sold its soul to the devil.  We cannot muster this courage of our own accord, my friends!  We NEED a stirring up of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in every Christian, because the battle we are in is the Ultimate one.

I have to admit that sometimes I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that the gifts of the Holy Spirit are only for those “special people” –  Charismatics or Pentecostals.  I mean, I don’t speak in tongues or anything.  If I had the gift of the Spirit, surely I would be able to speak His language, right?  I came across this quote from a very wise person concerning the Holy Spirit:

The spirit-filled life is not a special, deluxe plan edition of Christianity. It is part and parcel of the total plan of God for His people.” A.W. Tozer

I suppose at times in my life, I have felt somehow that I’ve gotten the “basic” Holy Spirit package and not the “Deluxe Version.”  Have you ever felt that way?

The bible tells us, however, that the Spirit is for all who love and obey Christ:   “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Matthew 3:11  And how about this one:  “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16

God’s Spirit DWELLS in you and me.  That’s some pretty profound stuff there!  If we truly believe this, shouldn’t we be living accordingly?

I love this quote from St. Catherine of Sienna:

“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Oh how I wish the world were ablaze with love for God (1st) and one another. “Come, Holy Spirit!  Fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love…”

Holy Spirit Prayer

This is my favorite Holy Spirit prayer that I say a lot:

O, Holy Spirit, beloved of my soul,
I adore you.
Enlighten me, Guide me,
Strengthen me, Console me,
Tell me what I should do.
Give me your orders.
I promise to submit myself
to all that you desire for me
and to accept all
that you permit
to happen to me.
Let me only know your will.

by Cardinal Mercier

The Lord says He will give His spirit to those who ask.  Have we asked?  Do we long for it or do we spend our lives trying to resist the Spirit – afraid to know God’s Will for us as it may not match our own.

If I’ve learned one thing in this life it is that God’s plans are infinitely better than mine.  Come, Holy Spirit!

 

 

Posted in Prayer | Tagged , , ,

Hot Pursuit

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I am a firm believer in the fact that God communicates with us – if only we walk with eyes and ears and a HEART wide open.  St. Augustine once said, “God loves each of us as though there was only one of us” – as if we were a long awaited, treasured only child.  He loves us so much that He does not just sit around on His throne up there tapping His fingers waiting for us to respond. Of course, true love can never exist without free will.  He loves us enough to allow us to reject Him if we so desire BUT if we take the slightest step toward Him, He will pursue us to the ends of the earth.

I am so very grateful that the Lord deems to send me reminders of His faithfulness – His presence, His love – because I am one insecure child who needs many reminders and reassurances.  One of the ways I believe God has been speaking to me for several years now is through hearts.  They’ve literally littered my path – always popping up unexpectedly – and often when I need them the most.  God is soooo good!

That’s just one of the many reasons I am hopelessly in love with Him!  I wish that love could be contagious, because I’d love everyone to be infected!  Here’s a song from Toby Mac that I’ve quoted  below.  It speaks to me.  I hope it speaks to you.  Be open!

“…But You loved me enough to pursue me…

When love broke thru
You found me in the darkness
Wanderin’ thru the desert
I was a hopeless fool
Now I’m hopelessly devoted
My chains are broken
And it all began with You
When love broke thru
And it all began with You
When love broke thru…”

 

Posted in faith, I Saw God Today, Inspirational, Prayer | Tagged , , ,

A Beautiful Blessing

Yesterday, I read a post from Courageous Priest.  He spoke about a beautiful blessing that a priest can give to a mother and father who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth.  I did not know this existed!

Most women of childbearing age have experienced miscarriage.  Some, sadly, have experienced several.  I remember mine vividly.  It happened in November of 1995.  I still have a rose that my husband brought me that I placed in a little glass heart shaped box (when it dried out) to commemorate that child.  It was tough.  I remember the incredible sadness I felt that no one could soothe.  Even though my baby was peanut sized, he/she was already a part of our family.

grieving-mother

I think it is because we are all more than just a body – we are body/soul composites.  My baby was more than a tiny body that failed to thrive, but he/she was a BIG soul who now resides in heaven.   I can’t wait for us to meet one day!

Anyway, if you know of anyone who has recently suffered a miscarriage or stillborn child, you may want to share this beautiful prayer service and blessing.

 

Posted in Faith & Children, Prayer | Tagged , , , , ,

How to Pray Continually

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If you have not been taking advantage of The Best Lent Ever, it is not too late.  The tips given are very practical – easy to put into practice right away – if you can “slay resistance!”  Yesterday, Matthew Kelly taught us how to pray continually as St. Paul commanded us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.  Personally, I have had some success with attaching prayer to daily routines – like turning the ignition in the car, or brushing my teeth.

Matthew suggested setting an alarm on your phone hourly and offering that hour’s  activity for a particular person or intention.  That way we are offering all that we do each day as a prayer.  My goodness, if everyone were doing this, can you imagine how that simple act would change the world?  If you don’t want to set an alarm, you could simply tell God an intention each time you begin a new task.

I tried this yesterday with an activity that is – let’s just say “distasteful” to me – like walking the dog in the cold, dark moonlight and picking up his poop in plastic baggies by flashlight.  Ugh!  Strangely, it seemed to take some of the displeasure away, knowing that someone was benefitting from it (besides the dog)!

So what are you waiting for?  We are already 15 days into Lent.  What little tweak can you make to your daily routine to break out of routine and make this your best lent ever.

 

Posted in Lent, Prayer | Tagged , , , ,

Spring has Sprung!

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As you know, I enjoy taking walks in my neighborhood at different times of the day/year with my camera – trying to capture just a bit of the beauty of God’s creation. Now that I have Tommy, the dog, to walk, picture taking is a bit of a juggle or challenge.  Tommy was patient enough to let me capture these early signs of spring.  I hope you enjoy them!

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