Let Nothing Disturb You …

Let nothing disturb you;
Let nothing frighten you,
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who has God,
finds he lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

– St. Teresa of Avila from Let Nothing Disturb You (30 Days With a Great Spiritual Teacher)

Advertisements

God’s Wisdom …

If we want to be spiritual, then, let us first of all live our lives. Let us not fear the responsibilities and the inevitable distractions of the work appointed for us by the will of God. Let us embrace reality and thus find ourselves immersed in the life-giving will and wisdom of God which surrounds us everywhere.
— Thomas Merton from Thoughts in Solitude

Those who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from God exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the most ordinary, natural and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual. The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books become sources of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose. This is why they carefully pick up the crumbs which clever minds tread underfoot, for to them everything is precious and a source of enrichment.
— Source: Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. , The Sacrament of the Present Moment (As presented on p.284 in the The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, S.J.)

Prayers of Saint Francis …

BLESSING …

May the Lord bless you and
keep you; may the Lord show his face to you and have compassion on
you! May he turn his face to you and give you peace! Amen.

PRAYER OF ADORATION …

We adore You, O most
holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all Your churches all over the
world, and we bless You because, by Your holy cross, You have
redeemed the world.

PRAYER FOR PEACE …

Lord, make me an instrument of peace
Where there is hatred, Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood, As to understand;
For it is in giving that we Receive,
it is in pardoning that We are pardoned.
And it is in Dying that we are Born to Eternal
life. Amen.

St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 in Assisi, Italy. His gift to humankind was his love of God as he experienced Him in all of His creation. His imprint on history are the men and women who identify with his vision in the Franciscan way of life. That legacy lives on in the followers of Francis who today seek to inspire in themselves and others the ideals of peace and justice.

Saint Francis, Pray for Us.

Sharing God’s Work …

Our vocation is not simply to be, but to work together with God in the creation of our own life, our own identity, our own destiny.  This means to say that we should not passively exist, but actively participate in His creative freedom, in our own lives, and in the lives of others, by choosing the truth. To put it better, we are even called to share with God the work of creating the truth of our identity. We can evade this responsibility by playing with masks, and this pleases us because it can appear at times to be a free and creative way of living.  It is quite easy, it seems, to please everyone.  But in the long run the cost and the sorrow come very high.  To work out our own identity in God, which the Bible calls “working out our salvation”, is a labor that requires sacrifice and anguish, risk and many tears.  It demands close attention to reality at every moment, and great fidelity to God as He reveals Himself, obscurely, in the mystery of each new situation.
— Thomas Merton from New Seeds of Contemplation

We know when we are following our vocation when our soul is set free from preoccupation with itself and is able to seek God and even to find Him, even though it may not appear to find Him. Gratitude and confidence and freedom from ourselves: these are signs that we have found our vocation and are living up to it even though everything else may seem to have gone wrong.  They give us peace in any suffering.  They teach us to laugh at despair.  And we may have to.
— Thomas Merton from No Man Is an Island

12 Things I Wish I Knew at 25 …

The New Year is a time of reflection and resolutions.  It is a time when many of us commit to implementing positive changes into our lives striving for self-improvement.  The hope is at the end of the year that perhaps we may come out happier, wiser or in some way better than when we started.  Usually, at this time of year there is an abundance of suggestions and advice on how to make this the best year yet!   This year I was particularly inspired by post written by Catholic priest and author Rev. James Martin on the occasion of his 50th birthday.  It was a compilation of 12 tweets on the 12 things that he wished he had known at 25.  These are the things I took would like to learn and incorporate into my daily living this year – and hopefully well beyond that as well.  Happy New Year!

1. First up: Stop worrying so much! It’s useless. (i.e. Jesus was right.)

2. Being a saint means being yourself. Stop trying to be someone else and just be your best self. Saves you heartache.

3. There’s no right way to pray, any more than there’s a right way to be a friend. What’s “best” is what works best for you.

4. Remember three things and save yourself lots of unneeded heartache: You’re not God. This ain’t heaven. Don’t act like a jerk.

5. Your deepest, most heartfelt desires are God’s desires for you. And vice versa. Listen. And follow them.

6. Within you is the idea of your best self. Act as if you were that person and you will become that person, with God’s grace.

7. Don’t worry too much about the worst that can happen. Even if it happens, God is with you, and you can handle it. Really.

8. You can’t force people to approve of you, agree with you, be impressed with you, love you or even like you. Stop trying.

9. When we compare, we are usually imagining someone else’s life falsely. So our real-life loses out. i.e. Compare and despair.

10. Even when you finally realized the right thing, or the Christian thing, to do, it can still be hard to do. Do it anyway.

11. Seven things to say frequently: I love you. Thank you. Thank you, God. Forgive me. I’m so happy for you! Why not? Yes.

12. Peace and joy come after asking God to free you — from anything that keeps you from being loving and compassionate.

— Rev. James Martin, S.J., December 30, 2010, Huffington Post

Rev. James Martin, S.J. is a Jesuit priest, the culture editor of America magazine and author of numerous books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything.  He is also the author of My Life with the Saints which Publishers Weekly named one of the Best Books of 2006.  Father Martin is a frequent commentator in the national and international media.   Before entering the Jesuits in 1988 he graduated from the Wharton School of Business and worked with General Electric for several years.  He now lives in New York City.

The Silent Self …

If we really want to pray,
we must first learn to listen,
for in silence of the heart,
God speaks.
Mother Teresa of Culcutta

There is a silent self within us whose presence is disturbing precisely because it is so silent: it can’t be spoken. It has to remain silent. To articulate it, to verbalize it, is to tamper with it, and in some ways to destroy it.

Now let us frankly face the fact that our culture is one which is geared in many ways to help us evade any need to face this inner, silent self. We live in a state of constant semiattention to the sound of voices, music, traffic, or the generalized noise of what goes on around us all the time. This keeps us immersed in a flood of racket and words, a diffuse medium in which our consciousness is half diluted: we are not quite ‘thinking,’ not entirely responding, but we are more or less there. We are not fully present and not entirely absent; not fully withdrawn, yet not completely available. It cannot be said that we are really participating in anything and we may, in fact, be half conscious of our alienation and resentment. Yet we derive a certain comfort from the vague sense that we are ‘part of’ something – although we are not quite able to define what that something is – and probably wouldn’t want to define it even if we could. We just float along in the general noise. Resigned and indifferent, we share semiconsciously in the mindless mind of Muzak and radio commercials which passes for ‘reality.’
Thomas Merton from Essential Writings

Our real journey in life is interior:
it is a matter of growth, deepening,
and of an ever greater surrender to the creative action of
love and grace in our hearts.
Thomas Merton from Essential Writings

We will never find peace in the midst of our worries and problems by thinking our way through them.  Thought is a false labyrinth that always returns us to the same confused starting point.  Prayer is the true labyrinth that takes us deeper than thought and leads us to peace that “passes all understanding”.  Letting go of our anxieties is our greatest difficulty, which testifies to the negative resilience of the ego … Meditation is the work of love and it is by love, not by thought, that God ultimately is known:  the knowledge that saves is the knowledge of love.
Laurence Freeman from Web of Silence: Letters to Mediators

Prayers to Know & Follow God’s Will …

As I look upon your face, Loving Jesus, I see your invitation to trust you.  Send your Holy Spirit upon me as I make my pilgrimage in life and grant me the grace to trust You more and more each day.  You have given me a unique constellation of gifts and talents to be used in building up the community of faith.  May I always look your face and see You as the greatest sign of God’s love for me.  Then grant me the courage to follow your witness by giving my life in loving service.  Amen.
— Rev. Craig A. Pregana

O Jesus, I desire that you make your will known to me; I wish to follow you.  Enlighten my soul and give me the strength and courage to choose the state of life in which you wish me to serve you.  Dearest Mother Mary, obtain grace for me through your powerful intercession.
Amen
— Author Unknown

Bless This Home …

Bless this home.  May its windows catch the sun and its doors open wide to friends and loved ones.  May each room resound with laughter and may the walls shut out troubles and hold in warmth and cheer.   May this home be filled with joy in the morning and sweet dreams in the night. May it be a home where love has come to live.

Bless this doorway.  Bless and protect the goings and comings.   May all who come to it be treated with respect and kindness.

Bless all the rooms of this house.  May each of them be holy and filled with the spirit of happiness.  Protect us as we stay awake and watch over us as we sleep.  May this home blossom with love, goodness and generosity.

Bless this living room.  As we gather in this room to share friendship, may love and peace never be strangers within its walls.  May the spirits of mirth and laughter, hope and faith, playfulness and prayer, compassion and love be perpetual guests in this home.  May the spirit of pardon and forgiveness reside with us and be always ready to heal our divisions.

Bless the kitchen and the dining room.  As you fill the hungry with good things, send your blessings on us as we worry about what we will eat and drink.  Teach us to share with others what we receive through your generosity in the spirit of thankfulness.

Creator God of Light and Love, be our shelter when we are at home, our companion when we are away, and our welcome guest when we return.  Send your abundant blessings upon this house, now becoming a home.

Amen.

— Author Unknown

Flood the Path with Light …

Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, “How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?” There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.
— Henri J. M. Nouwen from Bread for the Journey: A Daybook of Wisdom and Faith

Prayer

God of our life, there are days when the burdens we carry chafe our shoulders and weigh us down; when the road seems dreary and endless, the skies grey and threatening; when our lives have no music in them,  and our hearts are lonely, and our souls have  lost their courage.  Flood the path with light, run our eyes to where the skies are full of promise; tune our hearts to brave music; give us the sense of comradeship with heroes and saints of every age; and so quicken our spirits that we may be able to encourage the souls of all who journey with us on the road of life, to Your honour and glory.
— Attributed to St. Augustine of Hippo

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King Jr.