Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The View From The Valley. By: C.C.

“One sees great things from the valley, only small things from the peak.” (G.K. Chesterton)

      Love the Lord with all of your heart, serve Him by serving one another, and strive to attain purity of heart so that you may one day be in full union with Him sharing Eternal life. This should be the goal of our lives. 
   The idea that this should occur without moments of desolation is dangerous. It is to be immersed into a false sense of reality that avoids the very concept of what the spiritual life and what following Christ is truly about. There is no promise from our Lord declaring that our journey here will be filled with roses and euphoric moments. We are blessed at times to receive loving and divine consolation, but it is wrong to assume and expect Eternal glory to be with us just because we lead lives of faith.
  In looking at the lives of our Biblical ancestors and our Beloved Saints we begin to understand that those who were truly holy were also those most constantly afflicted. Through their witness we come to understand that it is important to praise God from the peak of our mountains in life, and to also praise Him from the valley. It can be argued that in the valley is where we should praise Him even more. These "low" moments of desolation and affliction allow us to humble ourselves before God and affirm for us that we are not in control. We are all at the mercy of our Lord. When we recognize that we are not at the mercy of a condemning Father, but an all loving and faithful God these moments and their purpose in our lives can become more clear to us.
   "One sees great things from the valley"..these moments provide us with the clarity to see where our hearts are in need of the most purification. We are called to constantly humble ourselves and reignite our desire to follow in the footsteps of the faithful. We are called by love to grow in love and a deeper union with Christ. This does not come without great faith, humility, service, and sacrifice.
   May we continue to grow in trust each day, understanding that our Lord will lead us into the valley so that we may be taken to a peak far beyond our own understanding and expectation. Let us strive to praise Him in all things, in all ways, and in every circumstance. "Jesus I trust in You." (C.C.) 

Monday, May 27, 2013

"Divine Comedy":God's Sense of Humor & A Talk From Cardinal Collins. By:C.C.


    I am taking a break tonight from sharing the "usual" reflective writings in order to share an event with you that occurred this evening. The Divine Author was truly at work composing a story that I could not script myself and one that brings so much joy, laughter, and a smile to my face ( as well as those I shared it with in my state of embarrassment!) 
    It is a simple and jovial story that presents a profound truth about how the "New Evangelization"  is deeply rooted in the almighty power of our Lord and Holy Spirit. It is most effective through our humility, faith, and surrender. Often in seeking to evangelize we miss the ways in which God is truly at work already within us. Tonight was one those nights. 
   It all began when I became aware that Cardinal Collins would be speaking at a "Theology on Tap" event in Toronto (at The Duke of York). I was made aware of this event rather late and sent an email in haste to the organizers of the event, and was put in contact with a wonderful young lady from "Faith Connections" named Vanessa. 
   Vanessa sadly informed me that the event was full to capacity and that I would not be able to attend. I assumed it to be God's will, casually resigning myself to potentially complete some marking for my students. Early in the evening I received word again from Vanessa saying that they had cancellations and I would be able to attend. I made my way into the city and was hoping to arrive by the 7pm start time. I was aware that there was already a registered guest list and that I was to simply walk in and look for Vanessa when I arrived. I got to the door of "The Duke of York" and asked where the "talk" was. Had I known there were two different speaking engagements at this point I would have been more specific! 
   None the less I was guided upstairs to "the talk" , I entered the door greeted by a young lady with a list of names in front of her. I told her my situation, and she said come on in! I walked around alone there were camera's everywhere, specifically that of CBC. 
   It was now past 7pm and no sign of Cardinal Collins and I also found it quite strange that the room was full of  mixed ages when it was supposed to be a 19-39 aged event! You would think at this point that I would realize I was in the wrong place...NOPE! 
     A man, who appeared to be an organizer of the event then approached me and said  "you do not need to walk around by yourself why don't you share a booth with these young ladies." I sat down at this very booth with two ladies in their early twenties. We shook hands and began small talk, well, I actually began to talk and asked them what they did, to which they replied they go to the R.O.M. for some science media communications program. I found it an interesting correlation for them to be attending a talk on New Evangelization, but hey, who am I to judge?
   Still, unaware that I was in the wrong place, I began sharing openly about how important sharing  "our faith" is and being witnesses in the world. I spoke of my blog, and my interest in chastity speaking/education, and the importance of aiding to clear ignorance that is often presented to us. I talked about the interfaith dialogues in my public school setting, and of my encounters with atheists etc.  These two girls did not interrupt me or motion to leave in discomfort. In fact, one of them asked me numerous questions and kept saying "this is very interesting"! I shared about our Blessed Mother and the Saints explaining how mistakenly "we" as Catholics are accused of worshiping "other god's"  when it is veneration and not worship! These two young ladies listened intently, I assumed them to be among my Catholic sisters. In fact, I do not even know if they were, or are, or once have been. I told them the importance of prayer as a foundation to any evangelization that we even think of accomplishing. And that it is the Holy Spirit that guides us...
  Then a voice came on the microphone interrupting our conversation (or actually, my one sided babble) and the lady welcomed everyone to "the Modern Science..something" talk! I was startled..and found this to be an interesting way of beginning an introduction for our Cardinal! My mouth dropped and I looked at these young ladies across from me and said.."Um is this the Catholic Theology on Tap talk" They looked and me and said "No, but, I believe there is another talk downstairs!" 
   At this point I was lost for words and apologized to them, explaining that I thought they were there for the same talk! Then again, I quickly realized while running straight down the stairs that I had nothing to apologize for, but rather, rejoice in. God allowed me to share the faith so candidly without intent, without any preparation, or "mission" in mind. He allowed this temporary ignorance so that the faith could be shared with these two young women. 
     I entered the packed room in the basement of the Duke of York, shared what just happened quietly with Lisa from "Faith Connections" who was standing at the door... briefly trying to explain myself.     I then stood and listened to our very own Cardinal Collins with a huge smile on my face for what had just occurred (despite being half an hour late). 
   As I listened to Cardinal Collins speak about the New Evangelization, I was deeply moved, recognizing that the "New Evangelization" is truly within the hands of our Lord. It was He who equipped the Apostles and it is He who will equip us. May we all remain open in surrender, allowing Him to work, and even surprise us from time to time. This was truly a taste of "Divine Comedy" (C.C.)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Prayerful Through Persecution. By: C.C.

"Many people [in authority] oppose us, persecute us, and would like even to destroy us, but we must be patient. As long as their commands are not against our conscience, let us obey them, but when the case is otherwise, let us uphold the rights of God and of the Church, for those are superior to all earthly authority." (Don Bosco)

     In facing opposition we come to a deeper understanding of what we truly stand for. Simultaneously we are presented with an awareness of our own convictions. It is this same reality that arouses within us great responsibility. It calls us to awaken and examine our consciences. 
   If we seek to uphold the rights of God and of the Church then we must first seek to uphold ourselves in faith, humility, and love for which we are called. We must first humbly examine ourselves in order to realize that often the values and truth that we long to defend is rarely reflected by our lives.
   In this way persecution and opposition can call us to a fullness of our faith. It can lead us to search for a deeper union with God . It serves as a reminder of how far we have flown from our Lord, and from the values that we should be exuding if we consider ourselves faithful followers of Christ and of The Holy Catholic Church. 
   Prior to our reacting we must find ourselves in personal reflection. Let us examine our consciences, peering through the windows of our own soul before we chase down external injustice. 
   If we truly long for the peace of God to surround us, then we must first build His peace within. Our Lord has promised "to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life." (Canticle of Zechariah) If we believe His words and in the oath that He has made, then the way in which we uphold the rights of God and of the Church stems from a place of faith and love. It should reflect the Gospel. 
  When faced with opposition and persecution let us recall the promises of our Lord and most importantly let us renew our promise to follow Him faithfully each day; upholding by our lives the rights of God and of the Church. We can not claim to be for God if we do not spend time with Him in prayer, we can not defend that which we do not know, and we can not claim injustice if we do not live by truth. Let us remain in fervent prayer, reminding ourselves that the Church is held together by Divine Hands and that we do not work alone.  (C.C.)   

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Father We Need You: For Our Priests. By: C.C.

"No one is more relevant today than a priest who understands his role as the servant of the Word; as one who can give us God under the form of bread and wine." (Catherine Doherty)

   Father, thank you. Thank you to all of you priests who have said yes to The Lord. Those of you who have espoused the Church with reverence, humility, and the deep desire to care for your flock.    Thank you for the hours in hospitals beside our dying relatives. Thank you for the presence at the most joyful times of our lives; from the wedding day celebrations to the Sacraments of our children. You have been so persecuted, it is you because you aid in bringing us the Body and Blood of Christ.

      Do not relent in your walk because we are most in need of you. We are most in need of you to live the faith with conviction and love. We need you to never forget the immensity of your role in the Church. We need you to remember Who it is you serve. As you lead others to The Lord never forget your impact. In times that you may doubt, turn most fervently to our Lord and our Lady in order to obtain all that you need. The reality of your humanity and brokenness only serves to show us the immense power of God. Your human hands serving us the Divine Gift at every Mass presents to us the mystery of God's love.
    You may never know on earth what you are storing in Heaven. You may never see the tears of comfort shed by the faithful after the words spoken from grace in your confessionals. You may never know the immensity of how you show us Christ, or the way in which your homilies, your kindness, and your joy has soothed us.  You may never know the amount of prayers offered for you and your vocation. You do not know this so that you will remain humble. You are often deprived of such affirmation so that you will throw yourselves time and time again to the foot of the Cross, and into the heart of Our Blessed Mother; finding in this more than what speech and words of thanks could ever offer you. It is in this way that you will best serve the Church, by drawing near to the Lord in all things, in all times, despite the difficulties faced.
   It is important that you also support one another. We call you Father, but to one another you are brothers. You are brothers who have responded to the same call, to serve the same God through the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Regardless of religious order, spiritual preferences, and ethnic backgrounds you are one as the Church is one. You should seek always to serve the Universal Church upholding doctrine, discipline, dogma, and one another. 
   You are called to pray for one another, to forgive one another, and help each other. Pray fervently for your fallen brothers that they may be strengthened in moments of disbelief and weakness. And pray for us. Pray for the laity that strive to serve the Church by praying for you and your vocation. Pray for the fallen. It is your witness that encourages our strength to live lives of purity, chastity, of obedience, and of sacrifice. It is you who shows us Christ. It is through your surrendered, humble, and ordained hands that we can feast upon the Body and Blood of Christ. We need you. (C.C.)  

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

"Home Sweet Home" By: C.C.

"Your home is in Heaven. All things of this world are transitory and passing. Do not cling to them lest you wish to perish with them" (Thomas a Kempis)

   If Heaven is truly home then how does one make sense of their lives away from "home" and caught up in the daily dealings of the world? How do we truly come to understand the purpose and importance of our humanity immersed within a transitory and passing reality? 
   These questions can only be answered by He who is steadfast and constant. It is through faith to our Lord that one begins to have partial understanding of what this passing journey means for God's beloved. It is in this drawing nearer to our Lord that we may begin to recognize the purpose of living each present moment with the conviction that we are made for something far beyond the tangible things of this world. 
  By turning to our Creator while immersed in His creation we can begin to live our lives with proper balance and the most genuine purpose. We can begin to experience a sense of freedom from all things tangible and "hope for things unseen".
  It is important to detach from all things in order that we may fasten ourselves so tightly to God. In this way we immerse ourselves in the world as He truly wills for us. As we strive for a deeper union with God we recognize that all matters we partake in are not part of us, and that we are not truly part of them. Rather, our presence to the things of this world becomes a means for answering the call to glorify God. We are to be fully hidden and attached to Christ in order to be most fully present in our world, living with the joy and fruits of He who does not perish.(C.C.) 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Humble Before God. By: C.C.

"The more a soul lowers itself in prayer, the more God rises." (St. Teresa of Avila)

      Throughout Scripture there are many reminders of the need for followers of Christ to be "childlike". We are called to be humble and simple as to better serve our Lord. This is not always an easy task for us as we are often approaching God in constant motion; in tireless action of pursuit. 
  We are accustomed to acting and pursuing. We are surrounded by daily deadlines and lists of things to "accomplish". We may find ourselves accustomed to working for the tangible goals and merits of our works, which serve as the motivating factors of our pursuit. We have acquired a sense of action and expectation of merit for our tasks by the very nature of our worldly ambitions. We may come to believe that the harder one works the more merited and successful they become. The higher we climb the more we gain.
   The incompatibility of this mindset within the spiritual life is undeniable. In order to attain the most merit of complete union with God we are called to pursue the nothingness of ourselves; we are called to relinquish expectation of merit by becoming humble obedient servants of God's will. 
   Only the humble will be able to see the Lord at work. We can not see "God rise" if we have set ourselves above Him. If we fail to lower ourselves in prayer and dismiss our need for God to take control, we do not allow Him the opportunity to work in our lives. We prevent ourselves from receiving the graces and fruits that our Lord yearns for us to have. We must not pursue but allow ourselves to be pursued by God. Let us all strive to lower ourselves daily in prayer and approach Him always with a humble and open heart. (C.C) 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Called Out Of The World. By: C.C.

"...You do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world." (John 15:19)

    This verse can bring comfort and simultaneously a sense of isolation and loneliness if we are not rooted in the understanding of what being a follower of Christ entails within the world. The comfort that this verse provides is best felt by those of faith who recognize the need for constantly focusing on the Eternal in order to make better sense of our worldly circumstances.
   Criticism often arises within our secular society in regards to Christian morality and way of life. In response to this, many of us can be filled with the temptation to retreat away from the worldly challenges and oppositions out of fear. This sense of fear, of which God does not will His children to have prevents the faithful from glorifying God, and also from living in the peace that our Lord wills us to experience while on earth. Fear also prevents us from sharing His message of love.
   Though we do not belong to the world, we are called within it to be present, to be a witness of faith, and a testament of the joy that only God can bring. If we dismiss the challenges, if we keep silent about things that are unjust, if we judge our peers in self-righteousness, then we lose the purpose for our being here. We must meet these challenges with prayer.  
  "You do not belong to the world".. and yet, you are chosen out of the world in order to live within it for the glory of God. In the moments that isolation and loneliness surface within our lives may we draw nearer to our Lord in prayer, trusting that He will truly "unite his children scattered throughout the world", in order for us to live united striving together for the good of His Eternal Kingdom. 

St. Michael Pray for us!
Holy Mary Mother of God, Pray for us!!
Amen. (C.C)   

"God Never Ceases". By: C.C.

"The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:" (CCC 27)

"God never ceases to draw man to himself". If God never ceases to draw us toward Him, then what is it that invades, disrupts, and distances man from God?
   If each of us took some time to reflect upon the distractions, disruptions, and idols in our lives that further the gap between us and God, we may begin to understand the reasons for any feeling of disconnect with our Heavenly Father who is consistently  present to us in love. 
   We may not be able to see God unceasingly drawing us toward Him because we do not cease in searching for happiness and truth outside of Him. As God constantly pursues us and draws us near to Him, we can be consumed with grasping at other things in our lives. Our search and ceaseless seeking for fulfillment does not enable us to see God at work. The constant motion and occupied nature of our lives can become a road block on our spiritual journey.
   "God never ceases to draw man to himself". It is only by our ceasing and surrender that we will be able to receive and allow the truth and happiness of God's love to resonate within us. We must recognize that the deepest desire written in the heart is for God, only then will we have joy. In the moments that we feel our Lord most distant, may we humbly be reminded that God never ceases and return to Him in prayer. Amen. (C.C.)  

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Loud Call to New Evangelization & The Quiet Whisper of Our Lord. By: C.C.

"The soul needs silence in order to adore Him.' (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity)

       The idea of New Evangelization has been embraced by many faithful members of the Catholic Church. Numerous blogs, websites, networks, twitter accounts, conferences, prayer groups, and many other fruitful means of sharing the Catholic faith have become quite prominent and easily accessible.
   The importance of Evangelizing is to encourage, ignite, and to also reveal the truth that we have been given. It is a means for us to share God's love. In order to do this successfully we must also take the time to get to know God ourselves and to make consistent effort at prayer. We must recognize the importance of having a strong foundation of personal prayer so that we may be formed in the truth of what we aim to share with others. If we feel called to share more, write more, preach more, post more, and "tweet" more then we must also understand the need to pray more and listen more to the voice of God.
   It can actually do a disservice to the faith of our Church if we consume ourselves only with talking and seeking to evangelize. We must pay attention to the movements of the Holy Spirit and where we are truly being led by our Lord. If we neglect the essential call to prayer and to fill ourselves with God through the celebration of Mass, The Eucharist, and the Sacraments... then we are only empty vessels at risk of becoming like the Pharisees.
   The success of  New Evangelization is built upon the ancient tradition of solitude and prayer. Without spending time in silence with our Lord and allowing Him to build a foundation within us, our work will not bear fruit. Our mission will not be properly rooted in God's will. To serve the Church and to build up the Kingdom of God is not an easy task. It is not work that we are called to do alone. We are sent out as if employed by God to share the good news of His love. We must invoke the assistance of the Angels and Saints in Heaven, as well as the protection and guidance of our Blessed Mother Mary. 
    The Gospel of Mark reminds us of Jesus taking the time away to pray in silence "And early in the morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. ( Mark 1:35). Jesus offers us an important example here about our need for time alone with the Lord if we are called to minister to others. May our humble prayer each day be rooted in these words "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening" (Samuel 3:10) Amen. C.C.

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Most Worthy Work. By: C.C.

"We think we need to work more and more; but, what we need to do is pray more"(Dorothy Pilarski)

"Our greatest work is our desire, our goal to be like Jesus. It's work. You have to struggle with yourself, you have to do violence to your passions, to your faults, to your weaknesses; you gotta change! You have to be transformed into that image. You can't buy it; it's a life long struggle to be holy as He is holy." (Mother Angelica)

    Being Christian takes work. Aspiring to be like Jesus is work that many may not wish to attempt or begin; yet, we all desire the fruits of what such a life would produce. We wish the merits without the work. The difficulty of working for holiness is intimidating. As Mother Angelica so bluntly expresses we must "do violence to our passions, to our faults, to our weaknesses" in order to be transformed and changed.
    It can often be perceived that living to fulfill our passions is more gratifying;that it is somehow more rewarding.The worldly work that we pursue with persistent ambition seems to offer us a tangible reward and a sense of accomplishment. Perhaps the first problem we are faced with today is the avoidance of wanting to lead a life of holiness in the first place. We have become obsessed and immersed in the idea of accumulating accolades and have forgotten about God. We have lost sight of Who is most important. 
   We have developed a perception that in leading a life of holiness we will somehow be taken away from everything "we desire", from everything we have worked for. To let go and allow God to work in our lives is not a matter of losing anything; it is a matter of gaining more than we ever imagined. It is to welcome the helping hand of One capable of providing the fruits that no human work and accomplishment can ever offer us. 
  If we surrender and realize that working to be like Jesus is the work that matters most, then we will begin to see the work around us becoming more fruitful and successful. It may not be this way initially, but do not lose heart. Continue to trust in the Lord. If we are taken away from our "desires" and everything that we have worked for, then it is because there is something greater, something more that our Lord has in mind for us. 
  Lord, today we pray that You will help open our hearts and our minds to the presence of You in our lives. We are often overwhelmed by our worldly responsibilities and duties, forgetting that You are capable of bearing our burdens and aiding our work. Provide us with the clarity to see that the most worthy work we can accomplish is that of serving You and longing to be most like Jesus.Amen. (C.C.) 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Graduated and Seeking God's Will: By C.C.

"God often speaks to us in the years of our youth and points out to us the project of our life." (Pope Benedict)

     It is important during the years of our youth to remain close to our Lord and to discern His will in our lives. I was inspired to write this post for those who have recently graduated from their studies and are "seeking". As many of our young adults wrap up their academic careers and graduate from school, the obvious question can be asked "What am I going to do with my life?" 
   So often we think that it is solely up to us. We spend years in education, tackling post secondary and graduate degrees. We devote countless hours immersed in our studies, and sleeplessly enter  lecture halls in pursuit of "our future". When everything comes to a close and our finals are written- we may wonder why there is there still a sense of unknowing.
   The question we must ask in regards to our future is "What does GOD will for me to do with my life?", "What does He will for this very day? The discernment process is challenging, but as we begin to ask this question in faith an answer will meet us with peace. It is important that we remain fervent in prayer amidst our confusion about where God is calling us. 
   Through an honest openness and surrender to our Lord we will surely be led to the place He wills us to be. May we all be attentive to God's voice as we seek to serve Him in faith. (C.C) 

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Holy Spirit; A Holy Light Of Love. By: C.C.

"As the day breaks we see more clearly in a mirror the spots and stains of our faces. In the same way, as the inward light of the Holy Spirit enlightens our consciences, we see more clearly and distinctly the sins, inclinations and imperfections that keep us from reaching true devotion. The same light that enables us to see such defects and imperfections inflames us with a desire to cleanse and purify ourselves of them. "(St. Francis De Sales)

      As the Holy Spirit enlightens our consciences the vices that exist within us become more visible. One may find it difficult at first to recognize this awareness as purifying love. It takes great commitment to God and a yearning to lead a life of holiness in order to persevere in trust that this clarity will bring us to true freedom; that it will unite us with God. Beyond this, a willingness to pursue the path toward true devotion demands great faith!
    Absent of God this inward gazing can become destructive. Often the avoidance of our own truth and inner shades of brokenness is something that we are told by our "feel good" culture to steer away from and ignore. We are presented with numerous books, theories, and "instant remedies" that are geared toward gratification; geared away from embracing the Cross. Somehow these "fixes" have become the source of further brokenness and disenchantment. The often radical measures attempted to blind us from our weaknesses and brokenness succeed only in fueling the fire that burns our open wounds within. 
     Our brokenness is not a disease or something to be ashamed of. It is our reminder that we are human. It is our reminder that we are in need of our Divine Physician. We are called by God away from this brokenness and wounds. God calls us toward Him with purifying love that longs for us to know the joy and peace of His love. 
   As the Holy Spirit enters our hearts we are led by a light of love and not one of destruction. In seeking to unite ourselves with God we must be willing to detach and heal from the ills that create a barrier between this union. In our brokenness we may believe the lies that can often fill our minds. It is the Holy Spirit that provides us with the clarity to see that amidst all of the sins, inclinations and imperfections God loves us so much as to call us toward Him and meet us where we are. Through the stings of purification we are comforted by an unconditional love. We must keep our eyes on God, remain persistent in prayer, and continue to hope in order to be "inflamed with a desire to cleanse and purify ourselves" so that we can live in the peace and joy of our Lord. 
    Lord, thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit and also for our brokenness. It is in this way that we may come to a better understanding of how much we need You within our lives. As we seek to break free from various things that separate us from You, provide us with the clarity and comfort that we need. Help us Lord, so that we may always look to you in our time of distress;recognizing that You are the only capable healer and help that is steadfast. Provide clarity and mercy for those who have yet to know You. Help those who yearn to serve You by sharing the joy, peace, and truth of Your love. We ask for the intercession of all the Saints, especially Saint Raphael and the protection of our most Blessed Mother Mary. Amen (C.C.)  

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Facing "The World of Action" With The Solitude of Prayer: By: C.C.

“In our age, the road to holiness necessarily passes through the world of action…. He who wills adventure will experience it—according to the measure of his courage. He who wills sacrifice will be sacrificed—according to the measure of his purity of heart.” (Hammarskjold)

     The path to holiness is one that invites us to aspire toward purity of heart;"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God"(Matthew 5:8). To attain this purity while living in our "world of action" poses great challenges and calls us first to surrender, to act with courage, and ultimately to sacrifice. 
  Though we share the call to holiness, the way in which we fulfill this call varies depending on our state in life and God's true will for us. Hammarskjold reminds us that this is also according to the measure of our courage and of our purity of heart. In order to respond to the Lord's call and be willing to sacrifice and strive toward purity we must first begin by encountering our Lord through the silence and solitude of prayer.
   It is important that we take time away from our "world of action" to seek the serenity of our Lord. "There should be at least a room, or some corner where no one will find you and disturb you or notice you. You should be able to untether yourself from the world and set yourself free, loosing all the fine strings and strands of tension that bind you, by sight, by sound, by thought, to the presence of other men. "But thou, when thou shalt pray, enter into thy chamber, and having shut the door, pray to thy Father in secret" Once you have found such a place, be content with it. (Thomas Merton)
   Lord, help us to recognize the importance of solitude and silence of prayer as we seek to serve You within this world of action. Provide us with the courage and strength to pursue the path to holiness despite the difficulty we may face. Thank you Lord for the gift of faith and the desire to follow You. May we strive each day to close ourselves away from the world as to better hear Your voice and carry out Your will. Amen. (C.C.)