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8/31/15 8:33 A

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Thank you .... emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/30/15 12:28 P

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A friend sent me this link and I thought you might enjoy it. This is a priest talking about his mission and our faith. It was very good.
streetevangelization.com/blog/2014/0
8/
14/great-video-from-fr-ben-luedtke/


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8/30/15 1:54 A

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Thanks for the parish advice. i like my current parish but with the move I will find a new one. i guess my big thing is that i want to get involved and make friends that can assist with my spiritual journey. that and also find people that i can encourage as well. i do admit that i enjoy small adoration chapels as well. i like going at night or after work and refocus my energy.

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8/28/15 11:16 A

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Tammy,
I think if you like it keep going and, with time you will find new friends there if not..
leave.
I go to a monastery to pray, not interested in other people and I don't go to chat either..I am part of the adorers..
I also attend the Traditional Latin Mass where I know most of the people but, it is usually outside we chat and, if anything I just say Hello. Unless it is a friend from high school, or if someone stops me to chat I stop.. emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/24/15 11:55 A

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I have always attended the church that was in the parish I resided in. I have been in my parish for 35 years, and although our current pastor and I don't see eye-to-eye he has converted our church from the little country church it was built to a beautiful mini-cathedral. However, the change wasn't necessary, but only ran old long-time members away to attract people from our new pastor's old parish. They are at our parish in my pastor's words "for spiritual support not financial support" so we had almost a million dollar renovation to remodel our church to appease folks that don't support it. Oh well, I go to church to praise Jesus, and so I let it slide off my back. I was tempted to leave with a lot of my friends, but like I said I have been at this church for 35 years and hopefully I will be here when this pastor moves to a new church! Go with what feels good and you feel comfortable at. Go where it is inviting.

Let Go and Let God!

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8/24/15 11:45 A

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Good questions.

I find that I got used to our baptismal font water sounds, so you might as well.

Personally, I love attending a parish that we can walk to as a family. big selling point for me. I think you can make of your parish what you wish.

I have often heard that if you don't like your priest, to pray for the one you have. I guess the same could be said for a parish?

On my page, I share a bit about my journey with Overeaters Anonymous (12-Step program like AA, but for compulsive eating). When I attended my first meeting, it was very badly attended and they were considering closing it. Today, though, it is a thriving meeting. Obviously, that is not my doing, but if I had turned away I would have missed out on so much.

Therefore, my suggestion is just to begin to attend and find all the great points about it as time goes by. Our attitude is probably the biggest thing in life. If we want to see good, we will, and the opposite is true as well.

I'm sure you can be very happy at your new parish if you choose to continue to worship there and get involved.

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


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8/24/15 12:31 A

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I woke up early Sunday morning and decided to go to church in my new town. There were 2 parishes that were close by and I chose the one I never saw before. It seems like a friendly church. The inside seemed fancy but the people did not appear to be fussy. There were older people but also some families. The altar was open and the seating was a semicircle, not 2 long rows that I am used to. They had a large baptismal font in the back. the flowing water was distracting a dw times when it was time for quiet meditation. Maybe it is something you get used to. There are glass doors in the back entry way that led to the offices and school area. They have 3 masstimes so it should be easy to find a time to attend. My only concern is that I pick this parish because it is closest and has convienient mass times. There are several in the area.

emoticon Any ideas what you look for when picking a new parish to join?

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8/22/15 10:30 P

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a 25th wedding anniversary is an awesome thing to celebrate. i enjoy going to mass when there is anniversarys. it is an encouragement. i am only at 13 years myself.

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8/22/15 11:20 A

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Congrats Eliza, hope your day is special! God Bless!

Let Go and Let God!

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8/22/15 10:25 A

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Ours too. They put the air conditioning too high sometimes.

I like your new profile picture. It looks like you're "looking off into the future ...".

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


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8/22/15 9:39 A

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Thank you...yes going to Mass..
I am wearing a long skirt and a blouse and sweater, it gets chilly in church..

emoticon emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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CJBAGGINS's Photo CJBAGGINS Posts: 33,371
8/20/15 12:17 P

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I liked that reflection on staying/keeping gentleness.

Eliza - your big day is on Saturday? Congratulations! I wore a fancy dress (calf-length) for our 25th anniversary Mass in May.

I think you should wear something that you like to wear, and feel comfortable and attractive in.

cj

What if we woke up tomorrow with only those things that we thanked God for today?


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8/19/15 11:39 A

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Beautiful.. emoticon
gentle spirit..

I needed this today... emoticon emoticon have a sunny day...
HOT here over 100 again..


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/19/15 5:51 A

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What a wonderful message this morning.

Co leader of no topic off limits and African American men and women

http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/gro
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http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/gro
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http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/gro
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8/19/15 1:03 A

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i found a prayer book. it gives emotions, charcteristics in alphabetical order and finds bible passages to reinforce them. then each ends with a short prayer. i like this one alot:

charcteristic - GENTLENESS
Sometimes when life gets overwhelming, I lose patience, Father. Help me to react with a gentle spirit, When I choose gentleness, my circumstances and my attitude improve. Ripen the fruit of gentleness in my Life. Amen.

Tammy, Scarlet Dragons, Time to Bloom
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8/18/15 9:50 A

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Thank you Bob...

emoticon emoticon emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/16/15 6:33 P

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I see no problem with it. Next year will be out 40th and my son wants to throw us a party so we will renew our vows prior to it. I will wear a suit and my wife will wear a nice dress. When we did our 25th, we did the same thing. That time I footed the bill, it will be nice not to have to pay for it this time! Might do it as an outdoor party this time in our back yard though, if we do this at our Sunday 10:15 Mass. Would save money, but be more work for me. We will see, have a year to plan this out.

Bob

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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8/16/15 12:57 P

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I did go to mass, they had changed schedule because it was the assumption from 9 am to 10 am...but, we waited. emoticon
Looked in bulletin and they did not put my name for mass intentions next Saturday at 9 am for
a 25th anniversary blessing...wedding anniversary, I did cry and, then got over it..

emoticon
I plan to wear a nice long gown...do you all think this is wrong.??? emoticon

..it is beautiful, light purple emoticon not white but formal...my DH has his opinion but,
I wanted to look nice and, I just wonder your opinions... emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/15/15 9:57 A

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Saturday going to Mass...

emoticon
have a sunny day friends... emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/11/15 4:13 P

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Imerite (Tammy)so sorry, Hope you get some relief soon, overwelming feeling is awful... emoticon
took dog for a walk .. emoticon emoticon

Edited by: ELIZACG9 at: 8/11/2015 (16:14)

Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/11/15 11:00 A

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It's two-fer Tuesday. Two reflections today since the first one was so short!

Marinate in God’s Love

Teacher Helen Jacobs wants the “e” back in “time” so that she stops cutting time short. Mindfulness and marinating are the antidote:

How easy is it to get caught up in the demands and struggles of our secular world? How easy is it to say I’m too busy to check in with a friend or appreciate the views a long walk can provide? Dare I question, how easy is it to forget to spend time with God?

In a staff conference recently, when my mind was frantically racing through lesson plans and marking schedules and report comments and registration requirements and mortgage obligations, my train of thought was stopped suddenly by our school chaplain, with this provocative sentiment: “marinate in God’s love.”

How can you marinate in God’s love today?



Composition of Place on My Patio


As the weather improves and we bid farewell to what always feels like a long, cold winter, the backyard patio quickly becomes the most important “room” in our house. We all find ourselves drawn outside to read, share a cool beverage, have a nice chat, or just soak in some sun. We spend a lot of time on the patio, and many great family memories are created right here in our backyard.

As I sat on the patio the other night, I slowed down a little to consider why I love it out there so much. I often notice the changing colors of the blooming flowers, the lush green of the grass, and the beautiful blue sky with birds and clouds that work collaboratively to offer their admirers an ever-changing canvas. To a lesser extent, I also notice the sounds on the patio: the birds’ changing melodies, neighbourhood children playing exuberantly, lawn mowers hard at work. I admit, however, that I usually stop short of appreciating the scene beyond those two aspects. How often do I venture off the patio to feel the grass through my fingers and toes? How often do I close my eyes and inhale deeply the smells of this little retreat of mine? Have I ever tasted the fresh spring air?

Composition of place, St. Ignatius instructs, involves using all of our senses to come into the scene in a contemplation. Contemplation has never come very easily to me, and in that moment on the patio, realizing that I seldom use all my senses to appreciate this beautiful world God created, it struck me that the same challenge is present for me in composition of place. Just as in my day-to-day life, I tend to limit my composition of place to the more ready senses of sight and sound. I forget to slow down and engage all of my senses in the scene.

I don’t know if Ignatius had a parallel saying to “practice makes perfect,” but I think he would agree that by slowing down each day to observe the world using all of our senses, we might better incorporate them in our composition of place. This might then lend to an even more profound prayer experience.

Slow down. Feel the world around you. Taste it. Smell it. There is grace to be found in all of it.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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8/11/15 8:32 A

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i husy going crazy. i am selling my house and dont know what i am doing and i feel stuck. i still dont have a job in the new city and my dh has already been there for 3 months. we are waiting to move all our stuff untill i find a job, but for budget reasons i have to make about the same as i do now. supporting 2 houses is expensive. i understand better why seperated/divorced people struggle financially even after all the legal fees are done.


at least we still have a strong relationship and he is near family to keep him company so he is not so lonely. in the mean time i feel overwhelmed.

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8/10/15 11:24 A

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Compost, Dorothy Day, and Transformation

Posted: 10 Aug 2015 03:30 AM PDT

compost pile

Last year, we acquired a large compost bin to dispose of many of our leaves, weeds, and food waste. Our backyard compost bin is smelly. It’s stinky. In the spring, I placed the bin a few steps from the back door, with the thought that I’d be more motivated to throw away every eggshell and potato peel if it were nearby. Fast-forward to late summer, and the location made sitting outdoors unpleasant. The pungent odors of decaying vegetable matter did not go well with strawberries and tea on the back porch. We moved the bin further away, close enough to access, but not so close to prevent enjoying the rest of the yard.

Still, the compost is rich and full of nutrients. It’s amazing that what starts as weeds and garbage can be transformed into life-giving food for plants in the next round of growth. Sin and suffering are like the weeds and the waste that go into compost. Both are capable of being transformed by God into something new and fertile.

I’ve been reading Dorothy Day’s House of Hospitality. In one passage, she tells of a woman screaming in a nearby tenement building. The neighbors wonder at the cause: is the woman giving birth? Drunk? Insane? But they do nothing, just wanting to go back to sleep. Day then recalls being out with a friend as a young girl, when an angry dog attacked them and tore their clothes into ribbons. She writes, “I remember how people witnessing this miserable sight, in their own fear, had not come out to help. We welcomed the policeman who rescued us and I could have kissed his hands with gratitude…Why didn’t someone call the police now?”

Dorothy Day did not ignore human need. She devoted her life to standing in solidarity with the poor and developing houses of hospitality. It’s clear that much of her great reservoir of energy for this work drew upon her own past experiences of suffering—not only dog attacks but also losses such as being abandoned by her longtime lover, who left her when she became pregnant and converted to Catholicism. Such experiences seem to have deepened Day’s capacity to engage with poverty and loneliness in others.

In St. Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises, the movement from Week Three to Week Four is a movement from the cross to the Resurrection, from suffering and death to new life. In my experience, it’s not so much that God removes suffering, as though it had never occurred. Our pasts remain a part of our identities. Jesus himself still bears the bodily marks of his Crucifixion. Day’s personal history informed her post-conversion work.

God takes the difficult material of our lives and makes it capable of bearing fruit. We may want to keep the sinful, broken, “smelly” places of our lives far away—and surely God wants us to enjoy the blossoming gardens and not to remain in darkness. But the compost in the corner has its place, too. God takes all and transforms all—even the “garbage”—into new life.

The post Compost, Dorothy Day, and Transformation appeared first on Ignatian Spirituality.


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8/10/15 11:16 A

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emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/9/15 2:01 P

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I loved the "Thin Places" and "Star Certified/Stay Centered" reflections.
Thank you for posting them.

cj

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8/7/15 10:51 A

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Thin Places

William Barry, SJ, in his book, A Friendship Like No Other, invites us to be aware of our “thin places,”¯ those moments where we easily find God. Barry’s challenge to name for ourselves our “thin places”¯ was a challenge I took to heart, and I have come to two conclusions.
First, there are “thin places”¯ that occur in my life that are unique, special places that I do not get to visit very often, but when I do the felt presence of God is almost overwhelming. Many of mine are places in nature, such as the beach, my grandparents’ farm, and being in the North Georgia Mountains, and they invite me to understand the vastness and creative power of our creator. As I stand and soak in the beauty of nature these places offer, I also find that I understand that my mere presence in life is but one piece of God’s magnificent, ongoing creative work.

Second, as Barry’s question of “thin places”¯ remained on my heart, I found myself pondering it often during my Examen. Over time, I began to realize that there are some very basic rhythms and routines of my life that allowed me to readily and easily find God: snuggling my daughter, Abby, while sipping my morning coffee; sitting down to lunch with my kids after preschool to hear about their day; reading to my kids and our night time ritual of prayer; and savoring the few quieter moments with my hubby after the last door of my kids’ room was closed. I was surprised to find that the rhythms of my life are spotted with moments that easily allow me to find God. Without realizing it, these moments are checkpoints to see how the ones I love are doing and even more importantly “still points”¯ that allow me to savor the gifts in my life and to deepen my awareness of God in all things.

I am sure as I continue to ponder my “thin places,”¯ I will be surprised, yet again, as to where God routinely pops up in my day.


Let Go and Let God!

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8/6/15 1:29 P

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emoticon today my Son has a birthday!!
Perfect information.. emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/6/15 12:05 P

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The Transfiguration

Posted: 06 Aug 2015 03:30 AM PDT

Let us look at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:2–8) with its obvious reference to the baptism of Jesus in the Jordan (Mark 1:9). At the baptism we read: “And just as [Jesus] was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased’ ” (Mark 1:10–11). How did Jesus feel as he heard these words, he the Jew of the first commandment? We can ask him to reveal this to us. Now at the Transfiguration Jesus has another profound experience of God. At least one can read the scene this way even if some commentators see the scene as a postresurrection appearance translated to the public life. Jesus has just predicted the Passion for the first time; he can sense the hatred and venom beginning to surround him. At this critical juncture he once again hears similar words, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him” (Mark 9:7). What a comfort these words must have been to him. After all, it is the leaders of God’s religion who are out to kill Jesus. Could he have had doubts about the course he was on? I know people who have cried with joy that Jesus heard such words of warmth and love and reassurance from God in this dark hour. And they have felt that the memory of this experience sustained him in the Garden of Gethsemane. How does the scene strike you? What is Jesus like for you?

—Excerpted from Seek My Face by William A. Barry, SJ

Image: Francesco Zuccarelli, “Landscape with the Transfiguration of Christ”


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8/5/15 11:44 A

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Star Certified

I was praying on the freeway, as I often do, driving to work. The trees lining the road held me like the walls of a church. I traveled up “the aisle,” remembering the day I met Jesus in Communion at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Why did this tree-lined freeway remind me of that unforgettable day?

The cars processed up the lanes, bumper-to-bumper to our destinations where we would be perhaps blessed, broken, and shared.

I resisted the urge to put on the radio and dwelled instead on the first few words of the Our Father: hallowed be thy name. I spent several miles praising the one who made me. Hallowed be thy name.

My mind then turned to questions I had for God: What am I supposed to be doing with my life? Where do you want me to be? Who do you want me to be? What activities should I pursue, and which should I let go?

I struggled with many thoughts, recalled broken relationships, and wondered if I had enough time to get to my 7 a.m. appointment. I was meeting a woman to discuss starting a new ministry at our parish. Should I instead be focusing on helping those on this earth who are most poor? I sought answers. And I only seemed to have ongoing questions.

Before I knew it, I was at my off-ramp.

How privileged am I to own this car and sip a hot cup of coffee, when half a world away a woman walks miles for water she needs to boil before she can even take a safe sip.

As I drove up the street, a muffler-shop marquee caught my eye. I read, “Stay Centered.” I breathed deeply and smiled, thinking what a great message to put on a sign in front of an auto repair shop. Who put it there and why? It seemed plausible that some prayerful business owner put that sign there to encourage passersby. It was the message that helped me breathe easier about all my questions. Stay centered.

As the light turned green and I drove closer, the words came into focus. They actually said, “Star Certified.”

I laughed out loud, having seen what I needed to see, as if some movie special effects were playing tricks on me. And yet, I knew that was a divine invitation for me that day. When chaos seems to reign and confusion appears the only constant, I am invited to stay centered, remembering God is at the center of everything. Wisdom is found in that center.

Who says that God can’t find the most unexpected ways to reach us? Where have you been surprised by grace?


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8/3/15 10:12 P

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sfvonline.org
A law of prayer and grace...listen and tell me what you think please...

emoticon

Edited by: ELIZACG9 at: 8/3/2015 (22:13)

Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/3/15 11:03 A

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Encountering God in the Unexpected

We asked a few readers to share with us where they encountered God in the unexpected. Today and tomorrow we highlight their responses.

I Found God in the Finding of Me

Unclothed, unprotected,
Touched by unloving,
Uncared for in my need, I was
Nothing.
Rich men grab at what they lack;
Poverty lowers the hand.
Poor as I was, I sat,
Unconsoled, unexpectant.
Alone.

As a blind woman senses a friend in the room,
I felt your eyes upon me.
My abyss met yours, much deeper, and wild.
My chaos met your silence.
Ages of agony passed between us.
This, too, is where you live.
How could I know you were looking for me?
“My name is I wait. All ways lead to me.”¯
Thus I found God in the finding of me.

Grace Mazza Urbanski is the Director of Children’s Ministry for the U.S. national office of the Apostleship of Prayer. She blogs at Praying with Grace.

Surprised by Grace

I’m standing in my yard, looking over the swampy mess that is waiting to be cleaned up once the spring rains dry up and the sun begins to shine. It’s much later in the season than I had expected. Usually this is all done by the end of May, but it’s been a very cool and wet spring. I sigh—and my heart is suddenly filled to overflowing with an expected joy! It has no place here, on this gray, sodden day. Yet there it is, and I begin to chant, “Thank you, Lord. I love you, Lord.”¯ It’s been happening a lot lately, this surprise swelling of joy and gratitude. I’ve done nothing to earn it this day or any other, and soon it will pass like the clouds. But here in this moment, standing in the marsh that used to be my sanctuary, I simply accept it for what it is—grace.

Eric Gurash is a spiritual director and works in parish ministry. He contributes to Catechist’s Journey.

Challenging People

Since I work at a parish, you would think that I trip over God in so many places that I would never be shocked. But be assured—the sneak-up-on-me God surprises me daily.

God regularly shows up in the form of challenging people. Sometimes I see God in a cranky co-worker or in a perturbed parishioner. God always arrives in the needy poor, at times belligerent in their persistence and perhaps mentally ill or simply exhausted from difficult living.

It is easy to see God in the hushed and majestic sanctuary, when I am kneeling and praying alone. God is indeed there—God is everywhere! However, I continue be startled by God revealed in people that irk me. God astonishingly shows up in everyone, challenging my not-so-merciful heart to soften and open—just like God’s does for us every day.

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn works at a parish in New York and blogs at There Will Be

- See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/19551/
encountering-god-in-the-unexpected#sth
ash.dCUcXNif.dpuf

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8/2/15 3:38 P

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Hot?!? Eliza, I think "youknowwhere" has moved above ground! LOL!
Bob, I have enjoyed your posts. I receive the same on my FB page, but I read them easier the way you posted them. I also have liked how the Spirit has allowed them to flow with my own Ignatian Adventure. Thank you for taking the time to share them with us!
This week was special for me because of it being St. Iggy's feast day on Thursday, and St. Alphonsus Liguori's day Friday. Two of my favorite teachers!
I was blessed to go to Mass last night and this morning. We had very good turnout for our New Parishioner's welcoming reception after each Mass. I also was able to read a favorite reading at this morning's Mass.
Now it is time to chill and read a bit. I'm reading a book about "acedia" and how the desert fathers(and mothers) dealt with it. It is very active again in our society. To fight an enemy, we need to know it's tactics, recognize them, and let the Spirit help us conquer it.
I hope everyone has a wonderful first week of August!!! Spark it by following your Spark program, and by being open to the Spirit in your life!
Peace be with you!
emoticon


Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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8/2/15 1:10 P

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I went to monastery Saturday for mass... emoticon
sure is hot isn't it?


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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8/1/15 10:35 A

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The main thing I like about the Ignatian exercises, is the many different ways we can make anything and everything we do a prayer. Yesterday was the feast of St. Ignatious of Loyola which is also the last day of the 31 days Exercise. Did you find value in these? I can continue to post exercises if anyone is interested. Let me know. Or I posted their website on the last reflection and you can go their yourself.

Bob

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8/1/15 10:11 A

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I was up early today. Had a grace-filled TAG this morning, and am getting the day going along well.

Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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8/1/15 9:33 A

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I got up to ride my bike... emoticon
windy but watched the sun rise....

hope you weekend if fun.. emoticon emoticon emoticon
interesting reading about characteristics.... emoticon

Edited by: ELIZACG9 at: 8/1/2015 (09:33)

Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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7/31/15 10:56 A

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Six Characteristics of Ignatian Spirituality

George W. Traub, SJ, has spent his career in Jesuit education. He tells students and colleagues that Ignatian spirituality has these characteristics:

1. It sees life and the whole universe as a gift calling forth wonder and gratefulness.
2. It gives ample scope to imagination and emotion as well as intellect.
3. It seeks to find the divine in all things—in all peoples and cultures, in all areas of study
and learning, in every human experience, and (for the Christian) especially in the person
of Jesus.
4. It cultivates critical awareness of personal and social evil, but points to God’s love as more
powerful than any evil.
5. It stresses freedom, need for discernment, and responsible action.
6. It empowers people to become leaders in service, men and women for others, whole
persons of solidarity, building a more just and humane world.

From An Ignatian Spirituality Reader, edited by George W. Traub, SJ.

- See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/what-i
s-ignatian-spirituality/six-characteri
stics-of-ignatian-spirituality#sthash.
PiL6nWRC.dpuf

Pray with Your Imagination
By David L. Fleming, SJ
From What Is Ignatian Spirituality?


Ignatius would never have thought of himself as a highly educated intellectual. He had an advanced degree from the University of Paris, the finest university in Europe at the time. He was well-acquainted with the ideas of leading philosophers and theologians. He was an excellent analytical thinker.

But the mental quality of thought that drove his spiritual life was his remarkable imagination. His imagination played a central role in his conversion. Through his many years of directing others he discovered how useful the imagination could be in fostering a deeper relationship with God. Imaginative prayer is recognized as one of the hallmarks of Ignatian spirituality.

Ignatius first grasped the importance of the imagination during his long convalescence from his battle injuries. His key insights about God came through his imagination. The notes he took as he read about the life of Christ filled a 300-page notebook that he treasured for the rest of his life. The lives of the saints inspired him with noble thoughts of what he might do with his life. He told himself “St. Dominic did this, therefore I must do it. St. Francis did this, therefore I must do it.” Ignatius then daydreamed about feats of knightly valor and romantic adventures. His idle daydreams alternated between the two.

But these daydreams were not idle at all. His romantic dreams left him restless and discontented. His thoughts of imitating the saints left him cheerful and satisfied. Gradually he understood that spiritual forces lay behind his different feelings. He wrote of himself: “he came to recognize the difference between the two spirits that moved him, the one being from the evil spirit, the other from God.” This breakthrough in understanding the source of his feelings is the foundation of the process of Ignatian discernment. It was an insight he reached by using his imagination.

He continued to make liberal use of the imagination and integrated imaginative prayer into the approach to the spiritual life that he outlined in the Spiritual Exercises. In his hands, the imagination becomes a tool to help us know and love God.

Ignatius presents two ways of imagining in the Spiritual Exercises. The first way is demonstrated in a meditation on the mystery of the Incarnation in the second week of the exercises. He asks us to “enter into the vision of God.” God is looking down on our turbulent world. We imagine God’s concern for the world. We see God intervening by sending Jesus into the maelstrom of life. This type of imagining helps us see things from God’s perspective and take on God’s qualities of love, compassion, and understanding.

The second method of imagining is to place ourselves fully within a story from the Gospels. We become onlooker-participants and give full rein to our imagination. Jesus is speaking to a blind man at the side of the road. We feel the hot Mediterranean sun beating down. We smell the dust kicked up by the passersby. We feel the itchy clothing we’re wearing, the sweat rolling down our brow, a rumble of hunger. We see the desperation in the blind man’s face and hear the wail of hope in his words. We note the irritation of the disciples. Above all we watch Jesus—the way he walks, his gestures, the look in his eyes, the expression on his face. We hear him speak the words that are recorded in the Gospel. We go on to imagine other words he might have spoken and other deeds he might have done.

The best-known example of this use of the imagination in the Spiritual Exercises is the contemplation on Jesus’ birth in the second week. Ignatius suggests that we imagine “the labors of the journey to Bethlehem, the struggles of finding a shelter, the poverty, the thirst, the hunger, the cold, the insults that meet the arrival of God-with-us.” In the course of the Exercises, Ignatius proposes many such scenes from the Gospels for imaginative contemplation. He chooses scenes of Jesus acting rather than Jesus teaching or telling parables. He wants us to see Jesus interacting with others, Jesus making decisions, Jesus moving about, Jesus ministering. He doesn’t want us to think about Jesus. He wants us to experience him. He wants Jesus to fill our senses. He wants us to meet him.

Following Jesus is the business of our lives. To follow him we must know him, and we get to know him through our imagination. Imaginative Ignatian prayer teaches us things about Jesus that we would not learn through scripture study or theological reflection. It allows the person of Christ to penetrate into places that the intellect does not touch. It brings Jesus into our hearts. It engages our feelings. It enflames us with ideals of generous service.

Imaginative prayer makes the Jesus of the Gospels our Jesus. It helps us develop a unique and personal relationship with him. We watch Jesus’ face. We listen to the way he speaks. We notice how people respond to him. These imaginative details bring us to know Jesus as more than a name or a historical figure in a book. He is a living person. We say what the villagers in John’s Gospel told the Samaritan woman: “We have come to know him ourselves, and not just from your report.”

Excerpt from What Is Ignatian Spirituality? by David L. Fleming, SJ.

- See more at: http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignati
an-prayer/the-spiritual-exercises/pray
-with-your-imagination#sthash.jdQMUy2e.dpuf

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7/30/15 11:12 A

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Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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7/30/15 11:02 A

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God Winks

I was driving home the other day and was listening to the song “Lost in the Wilderness”¯ from the musical Children of Eden. In the song Cain expresses to Abel his loss of faith in God because they are in the wilderness, not the garden. As I pulled into my driveway Cain sang, “Don’t you ever watch the eagle fly to the sun and wonder how he got to be so free?”¯

At that moment, perched on the wall in front of me, was a small sparrow. It was just standing there looking around, as if it were taking in the beauty of the day. The bird was not rushing off somewhere. For a couple of minutes it just stood there, and I sat in my car just staring at it. Like the eagle in the song lyrics, the sparrow seemed quite free. This moment for me was what I’m calling a “God wink.”¯ Those are moments we feel touched by God in a unique and unexpected way—as if God were winking at us.

“Not one sparrow is forgotten by God,”¯ I recalled from Luke’s Gospel. This reminded me that God deeply loves all animals—even that very sparrow on the wall—just as God loves me. And God gives all creatures freedom, even in what seems like the “wilderness”¯ of the day-to-day. It’s easy to forget that, which is why a God wink was the perfect in-my-face reminder! The meaning I got from the song seemed uncannily timed with the sparrow sighting.

For all the focus I put on finding God in all things, I sometimes forget that God can find me. God winks are little, sometimes humorous, reminders that God wants to tap me on the shoulder and say, “Hey, I’m still here! Don’t forget me!”¯

When have you experienced a God wink?


God’s Voice Was in a Phone Call
Posted on April 15, 2015 by Cara Callbeck in Reflections

My grandfather used to call me his “little motor mouth” when I was a child. I think Jesus might call me that, too, even now. The problem is that when we spend so much time talking in any relationship, it leaves no room for listening. When we’re not listening, we can get disconnected from this amazing life unfolding all around us.

And this is why, when my mom called me the other night and innocently asked, “What does the voice of God sound like?” I completely missed it. As I started to share that God’s voice is in the words of the people we come across in our day, in those “Aha!” moments, and in the beauty of creation, I realized God’s voice was in this phone call itself—reminding me to listen to that voice hidden within the moments of my days.

Clearly St. Ignatius understood the importance of listening. In the Spiritual Exercises, not once does Ignatius instruct the retreatant to take the podium and have a one-sided talk with God. Instead we let God speak to us through meditation or contemplation, or in reviewing our day with God in the Examen. Ignatius puts great emphasis on listening to the voice of God in all that happens around us and in the stirrings of our hearts. It’s that listening exercise inherent in the Examen that allows us to stay connected with the world around us and equips us with the awareness needed to be contemplatives in action.

Two great examples of listeners that we can look to are Jesus’ parents. Mary and Joseph recognized God’s voice in angels, in dreams, and in pondering. They spent more time listening than talking—a lesson I can learn! Mary is described as pondering things in her heart, and Joseph never speaks; he simply listens with an open heart. We have Jesus in part because Mary and Joseph listened and heard God’s voice.

This week, the voice of God sounded like my mom on the phone, calling me to tune in a little more to those precious moments in my day when God speaks. Speak, Lord, your servant is listening now.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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7/30/15 10:15 A

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Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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7/29/15 5:57 P

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I had a nice hour long chat with my parish priest today, and confession. I am very blessed to have a priest who doesn't think I am crazy... LOL! Between he and my spiritual director, I may be making progress! emoticon

Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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7/29/15 11:37 A

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The People for Others That Inspire Me

In 1973, Pedro Arrupe, SJ, changed my life. (I was four years old at the time, toddling around a backyard on the other side of the ocean.) In what was termed a “radical” address for its day, Arrupe spoke in Valencia, Spain, to a congress of Jesuit alumni and coined the term “men [and women] for others.” He called for the formation of men and women for others to be the “prime educational objective” of the Jesuits.

Arrupe envisioned forming people “who cannot even conceive of love of God which does not include love for the least of their neighbors.” These would be people who would be committed to work against obtaining or using power or privilege (be it economic, social, or political) that came at the expense of the marginalized. They would commit to using whatever power or privilege they did have to challenge the social structures and cultural attitudes that marginalize people in the first place. People for others would be those for whom love of the poor, not ego and the accumulation of wealth and security, would be the driving force of their lives and work.

What my four-year-old self could never have known at the time was that Arrupe’s vision articulated the blueprint for my life and the lives of many others—Jesuit, other religious, and lay—who have accompanied me, inspired me, taught me, and challenged me to do the loving thing in spite of a world that constantly instills fear. Today, some 40 years later, I can’t imagine there was a time when the word “Jesuit” was not synonymous with the word “justice.”

While Arrupe was rightfully concerned with the nature of Jesuit education and used that concern as the wellspring of this Gospel-based vision, I have never been formally Jesuit-educated. And yet, my life and worldview have been formed through my direct and indirect interaction with these people for others—through the homilies, writings, and witness of Jesuits like Rutilio Grande, SJ, Dean Brackley, SJ, and Pat Malone, SJ; through the humble, courageous service of so many woman religious like Sr. Dorothy Stang, Sr. Simone Campbell, and my first spiritual director, Sr. Mary Hogan, OSM. And, perhaps most importantly for us lay people to believe we can live this call as well, I have been inspired by the passion for justice lived in the lives and work of lay people like Jean Donovan, Cesar Chavez, and my fellow Ignatian Associates.

Being a person for others was never meant to be a badge worn by members of an exclusive club of the Jesuit-educated. It is a way of life for all those who are willing to live and work for justice for the poor as their response to the overwhelming love of God. It means to be challenged by the trappings of evil in the disguise of security and control in favor of the person living in a slum on the other side of the world or down the street. It is to allow those who are powerless to touch our lives and transform us to be more fully human. And, I warn you, being a person for others is contagious.

Forgiveness, Transformation, and Mercy


What have I done for Christ? What am I doing for Christ? What ought I do for Christ?
Mercy seems to be a recurring theme in my prayer. But what is mercy really? What does it mean when we say God is merciful? How am I called to be merciful? I am no theologian, but I think there are two words that describe what God’s mercy means—forgiveness and transformation.

Forgiveness: God is a forgiving God. God’s love for us is unconditional and the very foundation upon which we are forgiven. No matter what we have done or how long we have been away, God is going to welcome us back with loving, open arms. As we feel sorry for our sins and acknowledge our sinfulness, we return to God time and time again. In doing so, we are making a decision to allow a radical change in us.

Transformation: God’s forgiveness and love for us are not just for us to receive a warm, fuzzy feeling and a clean slate. God invites us to be transformed by being forgiven. God, then, gives us a task: not just to avoid evil, but to work to overcome evil by doing good.

The idea of mercy is seen in the First Week of the Spiritual Exercises. We are invited to meditate on our sins, and we pray for the grace to feel sorrow for our sins. We are looking at our sins, however, through the lens of God’s love for us. As we ask for forgiveness for our sins, we are invited to consider three questions in prayer:

What have I done for Christ?
What am I doing for Christ?
What ought I do for Christ?

Through God’s mercy we are welcomed and loved, forgiven and transformed. As the questions from the Exercises show, though, God’s mercy requires action on our part. For us to live out our call to be merciful, we must take up the tasks God asks of us to help bring about transformation in others. How are we welcoming others? Loving others? Forgiving others? Through prayer we come to know how and where God is inviting us to take up these tasks of mercy.

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Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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7/29/15 10:37 A

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My Mothers story really made me cry..... emoticon




Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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7/28/15 1:33 P

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Amen.

Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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My Mother’s Suscipe

My mother, Rosemary Mulligan McCann, was a brilliant woman, and it was particularly hard for us to watch as Alzheimer’s seeped her brilliance from her.

When St. Ignatius encourages us to be detached or indifferent to an outcome or a decision, he knows detachment leads to a freedom which will bring us closer to God. When I think of that kind of freeing detachment, I often think of my mother’s last years.

Over those difficult nine years, she did not complain. At first she could no longer drive a car; later she no longer chose what clothes were put on her in the mornings. Losing those abilities was not her choice, but she was not bitter about her losses.

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,

For all that she had to give up, she was gracious, introducing us proudly as her daughters, often several times during the same meal. After a while, she introduced us warmly as her beloved sisters.

She joined the choir at her care center because she loved to sing, but after some months she had to quit because she was unable to learn new songs.

The burden of this terrible disease was to live each day not always comprehending where she was. “Is this my room?” she would ask over and over. “Whose room is this?” she wondered, looking around.

…my memory, my understanding,

It was not her choice: she was forced to practice detachment every day, letting go of her awareness of the world around her. Her fascination with politics and her love of entertaining were gone. Her five children watched as she relinquished her family roles as grandmother and then mother because she no longer remembered who our children were. Then, she no longer remembered us.

…and my entire will,

She gave up talking with her oldest friends, unable to carry on a conversation or use the phone.

…All I have and call my own.

When I visited, she would be thrilled to see me, joyful when I walked in the room. If I left for a minute and returned, she would give the same delighted response, elated that I had come to visit her, unaware I had been with her for two days.

You have given all to me.

She had a devout faith life, and prayers kneeling at the side of her bed had been a lifelong nightly habit. When she no longer knew what year it was or what city she lived in, she still had an innate sense when Sunday morning came around, and she was determined to get to Mass. Once she slipped out of her care center and was found walking the nearest highway, looking for a church.

To you, Lord, I return it.

She was polite and grateful to those who fed her and those who came into her room to care for her. They, in turn, loved her spirit and her continuing puns, even though she could not remember their names.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.

When she was in the later stages of her illness, she no longer spoke much. But we could connect with her through music and through prayers. She knew the songs of her childhood and could recognize the operas she used to listen to with her father.

I could pray the Rosary for her and sometimes prayed the Sorrowful Mysteries for her, telling her how Jesus was suffering with her and loving her. Occasionally, her mouth would move in repetition as I prayed the words.

Give me only your love and your grace,

My mother set an example for me of God’s love and care in the midst of confusion and fear. She had been unwillingly detached from her intelligence, her relationships, and so many things that had made her earlier life a vibrant one. She allowed God to hold her close, wordlessly, when she didn’t understand anything that was going on in her life.

When I look at my own life, I see a constant and unreflective need to complete my to-do list and show off my accomplishments, senselessly trying to prove my worth to the God who loves me endlessly. My need for control in my own life and my unfounded idea that I have to earn my way to salvation is so different from my mother’s example. I am beloved by God simply in being and not doing.

I have so much to learn, and it is all there in front of me, in my mother’s example of detachment.

…that is enough for me.


Praying Our Stories
i
This post is based on Week Two of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.

When I was in second grade, I kept a diary. It had a shiny purple cover, a tiny lock and key, and lined pages where I diligently listed what I did each day. This diary became the first of many I would later fill, and I would gradually add worn and well-loved journals (and a few empty ones) to my bookshelves. This collection of journals contains both the mundane, ordinary happenings of daily life as well as my deepest wonderings.

Because this second week of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure focuses on the Examen, I find myself wanting to review my filled diaries and journals. The Examen invites us into a similar process as journaling does—to look back over the raw material of our everyday lives, to reflect on God’s presence in it, and to choose to cooperate with God through our concrete, lived experience. As we make this a daily practice, we begin to see patterns, threads, and our role in the larger story that we are co-authoring with God.

When I was a senior at Boston College, I took a theology course called Praying Our Stories, which explored God’s presence in the everyday experiences and circumstances of our lives. Our capstone project for the class was to write a spiritual autobiography, our own story of faith. An avid journaler at the time, I turned to my entries to guide my story and was suddenly disappointed by their mundaneness, wishing I had a more interesting or action-packed story to share with my class.

This week, during my reflections, I have remembered how often I still fall into this thinking—that God is only found in extraordinary moments of dramatic transcendence. But I have also found renewed consolation. The Examen reminds me that God meets us just where we are: around the table, in the line at the grocery store, in our relationships, while walking to the bus stop, in the silence of the morning or evening, and throughout all our “coming and going” (Psalm 121).

May we be attentive to the Creative Writer who is the author of our stories and who is with us in all things.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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7/27/15 10:26 A

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Prayer Brings God into the Messy Rooms

When my son was in third grade, he was asked, “What would you do if you had an hour with Jesus?”

Depicted with smiling stick figures of himself and Jesus, he wrote, “I would show him my room.”

At the time his room was his pride and joy. He had decorated every inch of wall space with images from all the cultures he loved, newspaper headlines of sports victories, t-shirts that were too precious to actually wear, and pictures of himself amidst various adventures. It was truly a reflection of a little boy’s heart and soul.

Fast forward nine years and that bedroom is looking a little bit different. While some of the same images, with yellowed tape, still adorn the walls, the lifestyle of a teenager has definitely settled in: dirty laundry (or clean—does it really matter?) now takes the place of carpeting, the desk is under there somewhere (I think), the closet door won’t shut, and I shudder to think what might be in the dirty cups on the night stand.

Being the good parent I am, I pulled out that little boy’s precious nine-year-old art work and taped it to his door, hoping maybe, with a reminder of wanting to show Jesus his room, it might get cleaned up a little. His response was simply a smile and an affirmation that God was welcome in his room any time just as it was. (There was some consolation in my teenager having a better sense of theology than I did!)

Ignatian spirituality tells us to “speak to God as a friend.” Whatever image one conjures in that space, it is meant to evoke the experience of letting in God. We don’t meet God just in the formal living rooms of our lives—where prayer might be rote, perhaps someone else’s words, and feels like sitting in straight-backed chairs. No, prayer brings God into the messy bedrooms of our souls that we tend to close the door on before company comes over.

God longs to meet us in that space that reflects our true self, with all the images of things that we love adorning the walls and all the messiness. He comes not to cajole us to clean it up, but to be with us in it. God smiles contently by what we have done with it, how we have decorated our lives, what we display that is most important to us, and the to-dos piling up on the desk. God even forgives all the dirty laundry on the floor! And when we let God into that space often enough, we start to think about cleaning it up a little, just to make a more comfortable room for God to sit a while.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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7/26/15 4:23 P

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We all went to Jesus and Mary this morning...
I love mass...

emoticon


Take time to THINK...It is the source of power.Take Time to READ..It is the fountain of wisdom.
Take time to PRAY..It is the greatest power on earth. Take Time to LOVE and BE LOVED..It is a God-given privilege.
Be FRIENDLY, It is the road to happiness.. take time to LAUGH..it is the music of the soul.
Take time to Give it is too short a day to be selfish.. Take time to DO CHARITY..
it is the key to heaven.
I live in El Paso, TX


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NELLJONES's Photo NELLJONES SparkPoints: (588,073)
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7/26/15 3:51 P

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People must be going to church in resorts. There weren't as many this morning as usual, we didn't even have the policeman to direct traffic.

Nell
Reston, Virginia (DC suburbs)

No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

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7/26/15 3:46 P

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The physical stress of the last week finally took it's toll this morning. I am grateful I chose to take the weekend as an opportunity to renew my spirit. DH has been very gracious to allow me to just vegetate and sleep. He is feeling much better, can entertain himself, and be content in his recliner watching TV. I am updating my SP stuff and closing the door to the rest of the world in a few moments. Time to sit in silence and wait upon the Lord. HE shall renew my strength and set my feet upon solid ground!
May everyone have a blessed week!
emoticon

Step into the unknown with confidence! Trust that in the darkness of that first step there will either be something solid to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly!
Nothing tastes as good as living with less pain feels!


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Encountering God in the Unexpected

We asked a few readers to share with us where they encountered God in the unexpected. Today and tomorrow we highlight their responses.

I Found God in the Finding of Me

Unclothed, unprotected,
Touched by unloving,
Uncared for in my need, I was
Nothing.
Rich men grab at what they lack;
Poverty lowers the hand.
Poor as I was, I sat,
Unconsoled, unexpectant.
Alone.

As a blind woman senses a friend in the room,
I felt your eyes upon me.
My abyss met yours, much deeper, and wild.
My chaos met your silence.
Ages of agony passed between us.
This, too, is where you live.
How could I know you were looking for me?
“My name is I wait. All ways lead to me.”¯
Thus I found God in the finding of me.

Grace Mazza Urbanski is the Director of Children’s Ministry for the U.S. national office of the Apostleship of Prayer. She blogs at Praying with Grace.

Surprised by Grace

I’m standing in my yard, looking over the swampy mess that is waiting to be cleaned up once the spring rains dry up and the sun begins to shine. It’s much later in the season than I had expected. Usually this is all done by the end of May, but it’s been a very cool and wet spring. I sigh—and my heart is suddenly filled to overflowing with an expected joy! It has no place here, on this gray, sodden day. Yet there it is, and I begin to chant, “Thank you, Lord. I love you, Lord.”¯ It’s been happening a lot lately, this surprise swelling of joy and gratitude. I’ve done nothing to earn it this day or any other, and soon it will pass like the clouds. But here in this moment, standing in the marsh that used to be my sanctuary, I simply accept it for what it is—grace.

Eric Gurash is a spiritual director and works in parish ministry. He contributes to Catechist’s Journey.

Challenging People

Since I work at a parish, you would think that I trip over God in so many places that I would never be shocked. But be assured—the sneak-up-on-me God surprises me daily.

God regularly shows up in the form of challenging people. Sometimes I see God in a cranky co-worker or in a perturbed parishioner. God always arrives in the needy poor, at times belligerent in their persistence and perhaps mentally ill or simply exhausted from difficult living.

It is easy to see God in the hushed and majestic sanctuary, when I am kneeling and praying alone. God is indeed there—God is everywhere! However, I continue be startled by God revealed in people that irk me. God astonishingly shows up in everyone, challenging my not-so-merciful heart to soften and open—just like God’s does for us every day.

Fran Rossi Szpylczyn works at a parish in New York and blogs at There Will Be Bread.


Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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Hopeful Hearts Breaking Free From Hurts - Leader

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7/25/15 11:02 A

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I have no problem with same sex marriage as long as they don't force it on my church. There is so much craziness out there in the secular world, what's one more thing? There are so many laws now tied to marriage, and I understand gay couples wanting the same legal protections for their partners and their children, and I know that marriage wasn't even a sacrament until the Fourth Lateran Council in 1215. But it IS a sacrament now, and I am relying on my church to keep our faith. I have fled a Protestant church for this very reason. I just hope no one tries to yank the tax exempt status of the Church for keeping the faith.

Nell
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No one ever got up in the morning wishing she'd eaten more the night before.

Original Goal: 114. Current old lady goal: 106.


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Eliza, I know what you mean about working a job you don't like. I have the same problem with my knees and I have had days where I have put 20000 steps on my pedometer! But I believe that God puts us where He believes we belong. I hope the job you are checking on Monday pans out for you. I will say a couple of extra prayers for you.

Let Go and Let God!

Bob Hook

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