Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Healing By His Hand. By: C.C.

"Our life is full of brokenness - broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God's faithful presence in our lives." (Fr.Henri Nouwen)
      It is through the surrendering of all pride and in recognition of my own brokenness that I find myself able to reflect on this important message from the late Fr. Henri Nouwen with humility. I have spent time in prayer reflecting on brokenness, and after reading some of Nouwen's words I have come to understand this universal truth of brokenness on various levels for each and every person within their life.
   It takes a lot for one to admit they are broken. It takes immense courage to recognize the wounds that remain upon our hearts . It takes complete surrender to the will of our Heavenly Father to offer up all of our wounds and brokenness with an honest return to "God's faithful presence in our lives". It is then that we are able to potentially see the gift in our wounds. The often unfortunate events that have left a deep mark within us then become our catalyst for incredible growth and strength of heart.
   As Nouwen reiterates, our lives are truly full of brokenness on various levels. Each person will have their own experiences, trials, and tribulations..however, we share this sense of brokenness. It is human to be broken, but it is God's will that we heal. His will for us is joy.
    As we struggle with bitterness and resentful responses to life's events we often lose sight of God and His amazing healing presence. It is so easy to hide tucked away beneath the scars of our wounds. One may choose to live there hidden and guarded, feeling "safer". Yes, this is potentially a natural response, but anyone who lives healed by God's unchanging love and grace will tell you that this is not living at all. We are called to share His joy..in saying this, it is imperative then that we offer up the brokenness within our hearts and souls so that Christ can truly dwell there. It is then that we will be able to love each other as we are called to. We will be able to face "broken relationships, broken promises, and broken expectations" with a sense of peace and hope. It is in failing to acknowledge our wounds that we will forever be victim to hurtful events from long ago, while at the same time depriving ourselves of living new experiences with joy, love, and fullness. 
   I have spent time in dialogue with a dear friend of mine who takes great ownership for his wounds and his personal brokenness. He has recognized the harm in not healing and offering up all of these wounds to Christ. It is by constantly turning to Him and returning to Him that my friend has been able to heal immensely. It is in this same way that I offer up my own brokenness time and time again. I recognize that God has always been present through every event in my life. I find it crucial that Nouwen points out that it is by "returning again and again to God's faithful presence" that we can begin healing. This statement is crucial because it highlights the act of us "returning" to God and not vice versa. God has and will always be in our midst and present in our lives. 
     Lord tonight I pray for all who are broken. Heal the wounds within us that leave us imprisoned to experiencing life on earth the way that You intended. Help us Lord, so that we can forgive those who have hurt us so deeply. Provide us with the humility it takes to look within ourselves honestly. May we strive each and everyday to become more like You so that we can share this with everyone in our lives. Lead us back to You Lord when events in life cause us to wander away from you. Provide us with the clarity to see the ways in which the brokenness is part of our journey toward purification. Lord, we understand that the road to healing is often long..walk with us and do not leave our side. Blessed Mother comfort your children upon this journey toward healing. Give us courage to face ourselves and the willingness to receive all from you gently. Lord thank You for Your constant presence in our lives. Thank You for this brokenness, for it is here we will come to further understand Your Majesty and love. Amen (C.C.)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

St. Anthony of Padua And Love: By: C.C.

``Everyone longs to give himself completely to someone, to have a deep soul relationship with another, to be loved thoroughly and exclusively. But God, to the Christian says, "No, not until you are satisfied with living for Me and being loved by Me alone and having an intensely personal and unique relationship with Me alone. I love you my child, and until you discover that only in Me is your satisfaction, you will not be capable of the perfect human relationship that I have planned for you.`` (St. Anthony of Padua)
     How silly it is for us to think that to love another is something we undertake alone. How comforting to recognize that it is in loving the Lord who is the source of all love, that we begin to understand what it truly means to love another. It is only until we give ourselves fully to God and recognize His love for us that we are truly ready and capable of offering ourselves as a gift to another. When we resign to His will, even with our matters of the heart and human relationships we come to experience a sense of how our Lord desires us to live in relationship with one another. It is only then, as St. Anthony of Padua reminds us, that we will be capable of the perfect human relationship.
      This idea and possibility of  a "perfect human relationship" is one that may cause many confusion. The clarity comes in recognizing and accepting the fact that only in God will we ever find complete satisfaction. A distortion of this understanding is by placing this expectation upon another. Naturally, doing this will only lead us to heaviness, unrest, and a sense of disappointment
     It is only through continuously offering up our need, our thirst, and our hunger to the Lord that we will ever be replenished and fulfilled enough to share in the experience of the human relationship He has planned for us. Today, more than ever, we see the disintegration of so many marriages, families, and "loving relationships" . There is a constant seeking and yearning for "something", or "someone" who will fulfill our deepest desire and need. Often people are sadly used and abused as one seeks for this false ideal. For us as believers, we recognize that this yearning can be fulfilled only by our all loving God.
     Despite the fact that we may have this awareness, it is still difficult to constantly work for a complete reliance and dependence on God for our needs. However, as we rise and then fall we will be guided back to this unavoidable truth. We will be able to accept the failing of another, their lack of being able to live up to our every expectation, and see instead this shared human imperfection that is true of all of us. Let us find comfort through our prayers and may we rest well in knowing that our Lord is there whispering into our ear and the silence of our hearts " I love you my child."  (C.C)


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Today's Thought. By: C.C.

Untitled: By C.C.
I write the words that pour from You
into this broken and receptive heart.
To aid in another's journey toward You
while at times I know not where to start.
It is Your Spirit that guides me...
directing these words I share
I am nothing Lord without you
Long before these words
You were there.
Finding comfort in forefathers
in Saints from long ago
an ancient truth so deeply rooted
leading us to flourish and to grow
So take these words and open hearts..
If it be Your will
or lead me Lord to contemplate
and keep my pen for You still.
I long to please you always
this is my earnest prayer
This gift of writing You have given
and You always meet me there.

It's A Merton Morning. By: C.C.

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”  (Thomas Merton)

   As we further seek to discern the will of God and battle with the emotions that often plague us along the journey, much comfort can be found through the words of Thomas Merton.
    If we give ourselves permission to step back and allow God to continuously work, we will be able to truly accept and embrace whatever it is that may come. Regardless of the difficulties and challenges that may arise, Merton suggests that through embracing all things with courage, faith, and hope we are better suited to live in the present moment with more acceptance.It is then we come to truly let Christ be our compass and surrender everything to His time. 
      Merton succeeds in sharing the most important reminder of all by saying that we "do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going"..in reading these words I begin to let out a sigh of relief and  yet, at the same time recognize the amount of courage, faith, and hope that is required in order for me to be at peace with this. 
     Let our prayer then be one of acceptance. May we each come to learn the importance of living in the present moment. Let us yearn to grow in virtue of courage, faith, and hope more than we yearn to "know what is happening or exactly where it is all going". As we develop this ability the immensity of what may happen becomes easier to embrace. Spend time each day in prayer surrendering and asking God to aid you in strengthening the courage, faith, and hope that is already alive in you. Our Lord knows fully what it is that plagues us and those things that frighten us about our futures and our present moments alike. It is He who asks us to have courage, faith, and hope like the Saints before us. It is our Lord who is able to work with us and through us so that we are able to live with joy and trust in Him regardless of our circumstances. 
     Courage......one day at a time! (C.C.)      


Monday, June 11, 2012

His Time Is Not Our Time. By: C.C.

"For a stalk to grow or a flower to open there must be time that cannot be forced; nine months must go by for the birth of a human child; to write a book or compose music, often years must be dedicated to patient research. To find the mystery there must be patience, interior purification, silence, waiting." (Blessed Pope John Paul II)
          Recently,  I have written and reflected on the way that we are called to resign completely to the will of God. In doing so we allow ourselves to be open and receptive to the truest plan and design for our lives. Within this surrendering there are many decisions that we will eventually have to make as our Lord reveals certain things to us. These choices may challenge us at times, and yet simultaneously prompt us to look upward in prayer and constant surrender to our Lord.
        As we seek to please Him and commit to His will we start to humbly understand how small and incapable we are if left to our own works. One may also begin to become more aware of the fact that they have a lot less control over the events of their lives than they had once thought. In this state of awareness and revelation, we begin to experience and acknowledge the Lord working in our lives in a manner much different than before. It is amazing, wonderful, exciting, confusing, challenging, and absolutely necessary. As one starts to "taste and see the goodness of the Lord" it is quite natural to yearn for more and more of this "goodness". Often, this yearning leads us to a state of impatience. Once we have resigned to the will of God we must also allow Him to work in His time.
        Blessed Pope John Paul II reminds us that the most intricate and beautiful things known to this world take time. It is through trusting God in faith and resigning to His will, that we are also called to be patient. Just as our Lord knows what is best for our lives, He is also knowing of when we are best suited for everything He provides. Let us strive for the strength and trust in our Lord so that we can allow Him to work in His time. May we come to understand that God does not work in accordance with the time restraints by which we live, but that He will always be right on time for us.
       Lord, tonight I pray that we may all continue to resign ourselves to Your will. In doing so, provide us with the patience and humility to see Your design unfold in our lives. As we find ourselves waiting for You Lord, may we also understand that You are already with us right where we are. Help us to always look toward You..trusting that Your time is the only time we should keep. In our moments of impatience and anxiety guide us back to Your love. May the warmth, compassion, and the immaculate heart of Mary keep us comforted. Thank you Lord for knowing us better than we know ourselves, for calling us toward You, and wanting us to share in Your joy. Amen. (C.C.)


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Christ As Our Compass. By: C.C.

"You will find no vocation, no state in life, where there are no bitter experiences, no annoyances, no hard times. Everyone, except those who are fully resigned to the will of God, would like to change places with someone else. This general uneasiness of souls proceeds from the distaste they find when things do not go their way, and a certain influence of the evil spirit who presents the state of others as better than their own. But that is not true; whoever does not resign himself completely to the will of God will turn here and turn there, but he will never find peace." (St. Francis De Sales)
     Our pursuit for peace is one that potentially goes unidentified by us. We often walk aimlessly seeking exterior things- striving to obtain love, happiness, success and wealth. The moment discomfort happens we might naturally respond with the impulsive yearning to flee, to move on, to change our direction and our place. We feel this burning fire within us of unrest and discontent in these scenarios. One may even think that by changing the peripheral things they will find inner rest and peace.
      Undoubtedly, our environments can indeed add to some of the inner unrest that one may experience. It is foolish for me to dismiss the reality of this. However, at the same time, one must also recognize the power of accepting the natural difficulties that will arise throughout our lives. As St. Francis De Sales reminds us, "You will find no vocation, no state in life, where there are no bitter experiences, no annoyances, no hard times." I have reflected this past week on the importance of embracing our crosses in order to follow Christ, in order to share in the glory that can only be experienced once we embrace, accept, and conquer our difficulties. 
      When things do not "go our way", we often will to change our direction and find a new way for ourselves. We "turn here and turn there, but we will never find peace". The difficulties are unavoidable, but they do not have to be fully unbearable. It is through commiting ourselves to the will of our Lord that will  eventually lead us to find peace. Let Christ be your compass, and daily resign yourself to His will...yearning for nothing more than to follow the directions that He has set out for you.
      Yes, I understand that in order to do this one must have profound faith and hope in the Lord. However, it is often in simply tiring from attempting to map our own way that one may finally cry out "Lord, please show me the way you would like me to walk, provide me with the strength to accept the difficulties and annoyances that I am facing". Regardless of what it is that leads one to surrender and reach for the compass of Christ, the most important thing is that we do.
      Lord, today I pray that each of us can make peace with the fact that our struggles and difficulties will always be present. Help us recognize that by resigning ourselves to Your will we can meet the peace that you desire for each of your children. Lord, often in frustration we are not sure what Your will is. Provide us with this clarity in our times of confusion. And Lord, hear us as we simply say "I resign myself to God's will"..let these words carry us to a deeper union with You, and a clearer path. Amen (C.C.)

Merton Moment. By: C.C.

"My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following Your Will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please You does in fact please You. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing." (Thomas Merton)
      Thomas Merton is one spiritual writer that I have yet to familiarize myself with. This short prayer written by him has captivated me from the very first moment I stumbled upon it. Emerging from this was an overflow of reflective thought, peace, and also a very simple lesson. By acknowledging that he has "no idea where he is going" and that "he can not see the road ahead of him", Merton shares a universal truth of the human journey.
       The human journey is naturally one of immense uncertainty. It is definitely a walk along a "dark" road where many of us, like Merton, can share in the fact that we do not see the road ahead. Travelled alone and without faith our human journey is one that is plagued with questions that can only be answered by having a spiritual understanding of what it truly means to be human. It is only with faith and continuous surrender to our Lord, and a constant "desire to please Him" that we will surely be led toward a sense of clarity amidst the chaos and unknown.
       It is then, through this perpetual desire to please God that one truly begins to align themselves with the will of God above all things. Lord, May we each strive to have an honest desire to please You.  It is by acknowledging the uncertainties of our human journeys that we come to focus on the truth found only in You. Let us live without seeking worldly comfort or stability, but lead us to live with fervent faith and hope for all things. Amen (C.C.)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

God Is At Work: By C.C.

" God is not removing you from your environment. He is not taking you away from the world, or from your condition in life, or from your noble human ambitions, or from your professional work...But he wants you to be a saint-right there!" (St. Josemaria Escriva)

      I strongly believe that it is a struggle for many to truly incorporate God into their working day. As a result of this one may establish the idea within themselves that their faith and identity in God is separate from their work life and environment. Potentially, one begins to compartmentalize this aspect of themselves, placing the Catholic faith as something to be visited only on Sunday's in Church, before the Blessed Sacrament in Adoration, or while praying on the drive into work.
       There is definitely no malice here, however, by creating this separation we commit a disservice to ourselves and most importantly to our Lord. Failing to recognize that God is with us amidst our working day, surrounding our goals, and human ambitions is a failure to acknowledge the all loving Father that has provided us with these gifts, and worldly successes.Many fear going deeper into their faith because of the unknown.
      There may be a potential fear of being called away from the careers we hold or the studies we are pursuing. This fear, this illusion that our Lord wants to "take us away" from what we "love" and are "successful in" is truly dangerous. It is in truly turning to God and acknowledging Him where we find ourselves today that we may come to see His goodness, His love, and His true honest will for our lives to live as His children wherever we are. It is also in doing this that we come to understand the fact that our Lord may be calling us away from where we are only to lead us to a place where we can better serve Him. Loving God and living in the world as we are called to do is something that will truly lead us to the path that is in accordance with who we were created to be.
       Our prayer life and love for Him is not something to be secluded from our working day as St. Josemaria Escriva reminds us. We are each called to be Saints, right where we are, and throughout our working day. May our faith be ever so strong, and may we always keep our eyes on Him, giving thanks for our worldly successes, and striving each day within our dealings to please Him above all things. In doing this , I believe that we will each secure success on earth through sharing His light, and most importantly pleasing our all loving and merciful Father in Heaven. Amen. (C.C.)

Friday, June 1, 2012

Today's Sharing. By: C.C.

" Our Lord's words "whoever wishes to be My follower must deny his very self, take up his cross each day and follow in My steps" (Luke 9:23) were spoken for men of all times and localities. They are equally applicable to the young, to the middle aged and to the elderly. They are a challenge to modern man---so surrounded by the comforts and the conveiniences of modern inventions--who takes all these things for granted and, becoming immersed in the material, often forgets his eternal destiny." (Foreword from: The Imitation of Christ by: Thomas à Kempis ) 

  It is easy to look upon this Scripture verse from St. Luke and potentially graze past it without much thought. However, it is in this very verse where one can find a wealth of knowledge, consolation, and finally, if willing a sense of humility. Modernly speaking you and I may not be called to carry a Cross like that of Jesus. We can not read this and fully fathom the pain, sweat, shame, and the interior battles that Jesus would have experienced while carrying His Cross. It is evident though in further reading and understanding, that these words were truly spoken "for men of all times and localities". If this statement is true, which I believe it to be..how then can one living in our modern times and in these diverse localities relate to these words that we find in Luke? If we can not fathom the pains and experiences of Jesus at the Cross, what is it that we know for sure?
         Well, if I may suggest we know the pains and toils of our own human experiences. We come to understand the relevance in these words when we begin to recognize the agonies and circumstances that often plague us as our own Crosses. It is often difficult in the state of modern comforts and conveniences to take into account the presence of the Cross.  However, in saying this it is also important to understand that the Cross does not discriminate. We will each face conditions that are uncomfortable and times that may seem unbearable. We will face loss, illness, potential unemployment, and the death of loved ones. I do not write to seem dark and mundane, but rather to bring understanding and clarity of what it means to be a true follower of Christ.
        Even amidst today's modern times the same sentiments spoken in Luke are also spoken to us. The comfort and consolation in this verse comes from the understanding of the Eternal destiny and promise. If we lose sight of this promise how can we ever find hope and joy through our "Cross bearing"? As believers in Him we carry our crosses and face life's adversities like everyone else. There is not some "quick remedy" on an earthly level that can help us avoid this reality. But, through faith we are not alone in these times of trial and cross bearing. We must acknowledge the instability of our modern comforts and conveniences. As our foundations are shaken and we are faced with circumstances that seem unbearable, let us look upon them as reminders from our Lord...that we are not in control and that He is calling us deeper to continue to walk with Him, to take up our crosses each day and follow in His foot steps.
          Lord today I pray that despite our modern comforts we do not forget and lose sight of our constant need for You. Let us remember that even though we may prosper materialistically, through study, and in our workplaces, Your kingdom does not judge our worldly wealth, but rather on how well we have followed in Your footsteps. Let us recognize our temporary sufferings as our crosses in this life. May we seek to always find true joy through You. Lord please protect your children wherever they may be and aid them in carrying their crosses daily. Keep watch Lord over those who have yet to know You, for You know each of them and love them. Thank you Lord for the many blessings You have bestowed upon each of us and for continuing to reveal Yourself daily in our hearts, minds, and souls. Finally Lord, "Thank You for the Cross". Amen (C.C.)