Thoughtful Thursday: Rest in God

This is a rerun and perhaps as I still haven’t learned how to do this routinely yet there is someone reading this that will also benefit from the repeated message…

I don’t know about you but true rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest such as Sundays. In that vein, I’m sharing words I found comforting from St. Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). I plan to put her counsel into effect today in hopes that tomorrow I will be experiencing Sunday as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

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First Friday in Advent: A Prayer for this Season

Prepare a way for you, Lord?
I’ve got lots of work to do!

Help me prepare a way for you into my home, Lord:
help me find a place, a room, a corner, a chair
where you and I can meet each day to pray.
Perhaps I’ll put a candle there, with a Bible;
maybe a statue or a picture; a rosary or a prayer card:
something to mark the spot as the place I keep
to go each day to sit and rest, to take a deep breath,
to remember your presence and open my heart in prayer.

Help me prepare a way for you on my calendar,
an “appointment” each day;
even just ten minutes for you and me to get together,
to talk about the day, its ups and downs,
and get to know each other just a little better than yesterday.

Help me prepare a way for you to enter my thoughts, Lord.
When I’m trying to figure things out, nudge me
to ask for your guidance and counsel,
your Spirit and your wisdom,
when I’m making decisions and choices.
Help me prepare a way for you, Lord,
in my family and among my friends, at work and at school,
in my parish and in my neighborhood.
Help me prepare a way for you to come into the hearts
of those around me who are alone.

Help me prepare a way for you, Lord,
in the crazy rush of Christmas all around me.
Help me remember it’s your birthday
and that you should get some presents—from me.
Help me remember the poverty of your nativity:
make your way into my wallet and spend generously
on those whose needs are so much greater than my own.
Help me remember that of all the gifts I might receive,
none is greater than the love you have for me.

Help me prepare a way for you
to enter my life decisively, Lord.
In the quiet of my prayer, Lord,
help me clear the path you walk into my life, into my soul.

In the stillness of my prayer, Lord,
help me see you as you make your way towards me,
and show me that no matter the roadblocks I put up,
you’ll find a way to come, to enter,
and to fill me with your presence. Amen.

From Good Morning, Good God! by Fr. Austin Fleming, The Word Among Us Press, 2015, via

https://wau.org/resources/article/a_prayer_for_advent/

 

Too Much Tuesday: Simplicity in Spirituality

While rereading Dom Hubert Van Zeller’s outstanding Holiness for Housewives (and other working women), my primary Advent spiritual reading this year, I ran across the following words of wisdom I thought worth sharing. So often we make growing in our faith a complicated matter and are discouraged when we don’t seem to make much progress. Or, alternatively, we can become complacent and coast along in our spiritual practices and not really bear much fruit along the way.

I believe this holy Benedictine priest nailed it when he wrote this book as his way to holiness is, in Benedictine tradition, one of stability, obedience, and ongoing conversion–all the while balanced by moderation. I hope his words–summed up in his phrase “religion is yielding to Christ” are helpful to you as well during this time of waiting and preparing for our Lord and Savior’s birth.

“Training in spiritual things…can be done only by the combined activity of God and yourself. Concentrate on the service of the will…Obedience to God’s will is…is all that religion amounts to. Religion is God. Religion is recognizing God in His own setting. The setting is provided by Him, not by us…Religion is yielding to Christ.

The only thing that really matters in life is doing the will of God. Once you really appreciate this truth, and act accordingly to its implications, you save yourself a lot of unnecessary heart-searching [overthinking] and resentment.”

A Prayer for Election Day

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. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Thomas Merton

Rest in God

I don’t know about you but true rest is sometimes elusive for me, even on days of rest such as Sundays. In that vein, I’m sharing words I found comforting from St. Edith Stein (Sr. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross). I plan to put her counsel into effect today in hopes that tomorrow I will be experiencing Sunday as “a new life.” Maybe you will want to do the same…

“God is there in these moments of rest and can give us in a single instant exactly what we need. Then the rest of the day can take its course, under the same effort and strain, perhaps, but in peace. And when night comes, and you look back over the day and see how fragmentary everything has been, and how much you planned that has gone undone, and all the reasons you have to be embarrassed and ashamed: just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him–really rest–and start the next day as a new life.”

Doing the Impossible and More

For those readers who struggle with getting things done, here is my favorite quote from St. Francis of Assisi–whose feast day is today.

“Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”

Speaking of impossible, here’s a timely reminder for what we can do to improve this crazy world we live in.

“Sanctify yourself, and you will sanctify society.”

May your day be one of sanctified, intentional living so that God, through you, is doing the impossible.

 

Less is More

Recently my husband and I had a conversation about personal electronics which ended on the note, “first world problems.” Sometimes we forget that earthly treasures–although in and of themselves a neutral thing that are meant to be used for the glory of God–are not as essential as we might think.

For example, collecting–or just plain keeping–too much stuff in our homes can lead to chronic disorganization at best and hoarding at worst. Not to say that anyone can determine for others how much stuff is too much for their personal tastes, which varies wildly from the minimalist to the curator of multiple collections. But the general idea is that, if we’re not careful, as we’ve heard before, our stuff can end up owning us instead of us owning our stuff.

Likewise, earthly wealth can be a useful tool in the kingdom when wisely stewarded. But in some cases it may be that the best thing for one to do is to dispose of it. Today is the feast of the apostle St. Matthew and I like what St. Bede has to say about Matthew’s relationship to stuff in the form of earthly riches. It reminds me that although the outcome of my husband and mine’s conversation resulted in my receiving a Chromebook to replace a Macbook Air that had died, the new laptop is not going to change my life the way Christ has and is and will continue to (as long as I cooperate!).

“There is no reason for surprise that Matthew the tax collector abandoned earthly wealth as soon as the Lord commanded him. Nor should one be amazed that neglecting his wealth, he joined a band of men whose Leader had, on Matthew’s assessment, no riches at all. For Matthew understood that Christ, who was summoning him away from earthly possessions, had the everlasting treasures of heaven to give.”

St. Bede the Venerable, from September 21 entry in My Daily Catholic Bible

Something to think about as we manage our own earthly possessions.

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