Back to Basics: Silence

Out of the Mouth of Babes

I will never forget the day Andrew “shh-ed” everyone in Church. 🙂 He was four or five-years-old at the time and we were still living in Ohio. We had come back to New Jersey for a visit and were in Church for a First Holy Communion.

While waiting for Mass to begin, a lot of people, including some family members behind us, were talking. Hearing the chatter, a person would think that there was a party going on, rather than a Church service about to begin. All of a sudden, Andrew stands up, turns around, and says,

“Shhh! We are in Church!”

Then he turned and sat down.

The people sitting around us were quiet for a moment and then began giggling and talking about how cute and funny Andrew was for what he said. It was adorable and cute, however, I think they missed the point.

Ding, Ding, Ding

Don’t get me wrong here. I’m NOT condemning anyone, or saying that it is wrong to talk in Church, or that we should go back to the days of absolute silence in Church. I’m just as guilty as everyone else when it comes to talking in Church sometimes.

However, have you noticed just how LOUD our world has become, both literally and metaphorically? We are constantly bombarded with TV, radio, social media, news, and other noises. So much so, in fact, that we don’t even take some time before the Sacred Liturgy to compose ourselves and prepare our hearts for meeting the Lord. On top of that, we also live very busy lives running here and there, taking care of family, and fulfilling our many obligations. These are all great things but when we talk, talk, talk, and go, go, go, it becomes impossible to listen. More importantly, it becomes almost impossible to hear God speak to us.

God WANTS to speak to us. He wants to heal us and minister to us but He can’t do that if we don’t take the time to settle down and tune in and listen for His voice. More than that, we NEED to spend time in silence in order to recharge our batteries and fill up our souls. We all know the saying, “we can’t give what we don’t have.” If we don’t take the time to fill our souls, listening to God in the silence of our hearts, we will burn out.

Prerequisite for Prayer

That’s why I really want to encourage you to find a way to make time for silence. Believe me, I know you are busy, but if you can get up even 15 minutes earlier to spend in silence (and prayer), I guarantee it will make a difference in your life.

Ultimately, we need silence in order to be successful with prayer. Sure, it is possible to pray when there is noise. We are called to pray at all times and, naturally, most of the time there will be some sort of background noise; however, it is absolutely essential to regularly block out some time for silent prayer. I strongly encourage you to consider to take up the battle for silence!

***********

REMINDER: I go live in my Facebook group every Monday at 10:35 am EST and every Thursday at 1:30 pm EST. I hope you will join me! Tomorrow, I will be talking about the prerequisites for prayer AND the two types of silence you should strive for.

PSST: If you are looking for accountability or focused encouragement in growing your spiritual life, I am here to help. Supporting and empowering women is my passion and I’d love to chat with you and see if we would be a fit for working together. Book a call with me here.

Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us (And a Little New Year Gift)

I want to wish all of you a truly Blessed and grace-filled New Year. Whatever this new year may bring, I pray that you be filled with all peace and joy and comfort in our Blessed Lord.

Image by Jan van Eyck (1425) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Today isn’t only the first day of the New Year but also the beautiful Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Churchyear.net explains this  lovely feast this way,

When Catholics celebrate the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God we are not only honoring Mary, who was chosen among all women throughout history to bear God incarnate, but we are also honoring our Lord, who is fully God and fully human. Calling Mary “mother of God” is the highest honor we can give Mary. Just as Christmas honors Jesus as the “Prince of Peace,” the Solemnity of Mary Mother of God honors Mary as the “Queen of Peace” This solemnity, falling on New Year’s Day, is also designated the World Day of Peace.”

For more information about this lovely feast go here and here.

************

As we begin the New Year, and make resolutions and such, I would like to encourage you to make a priority this year. To help you pray in union with our Catholic faith, I put together a list of all the major (and not-so-major) saint and feast days. It is in pdf form so you can print it out and keep it somewhere handy. Then each month, week or day, you can see what feasts and devotons are being celebrated at any given day. There is no opt-in required so go ahead and download the pdf here: http://www.simplecatholicliving.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Saints-and-Feasts-in-2018.pdf

The Lord is My Rock

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

Whew. This has been a challenging summer so far. I was sick with bronchitis most of June, and recently my husband came home from the hospital recovering from pneumonia. Then there as been some financial challenges and other challenges.

The Lord is my Rock

Image by Simon (2017) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

I feel like the Lord is sending me test after test after test. And, I don’t think I am alone. Someone shared with me that she sometimes doubts if God is watching over her when she feels like the world is falling apart around her.

Do you ever feel that way? Do you ever wonder if God is letting you flounder your way through life? It can be frustrating so frustrating.

What is helping me is constantly reminding myself that God does have a plan and a purpose for my life, even when I can’t see what that is. I also try to hold fast to the promise in the above scripture quote. God is my rock. God is my fortress. God is my deliverer. I just have to remember that God’s timing isn’t my timing and I need to remember to trust.

Have you ever heard of putting your name into bible verses? It sometimes gives a new perspective and a reminder that God is a personal God who is look out for each one of us as if we were the only person on earth.

For example:

The LORD is Carol’s rock and Carol’s fortress and Carol’s deliverer, Carol’s God, Carol’s rock, in whom Carol takes refuge; Carol’s shield and the horn of Carol’s salvation, my stronghold.” Psalm 18:2

Now it is your turn. Replace my name with yours. Know that no matter what you are suffering or dealing with God is with you. He loves you and He will bless you in His own unique way.

Next Steps

For  encouragement and support join the FREE Facebook Community.

For even more tips on living a Christian life and for exclusive content, sign up for the email list.

Time For a Little Humor!

Okay, enough with the heavy for a bit. The level of craziness in this world is reaching to an all-high-time high and the stress for many is unbearable – especially since the election.

Image by geralt (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by geralt (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Therefore, I thought I would share a little clean and pure humor. It is a joke I have heard before and it gives me a giggle every time I read it. Then, as I was poking around, I found it again on Fisheaters.com:

The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray: “Take only ONE. God is watching.”

Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies. A child had written a note, “Take all you want. God is watching the apples.

Out of the mouth of babes! I love this and it reminds me of someone I used to know who told me that she hopes that heaven is one big, eternal, never-ending supply of chocolate! I like chocolate, for sure, but not that much!

Take some time to smile and laugh today! The future may be unsure but the power and sovereignty of God is not!

*********

Tweetable: Time for a Little Humor!

31 Days of Prayer – Armor of God

My friend gave me this prayer. It is based on the scripture verse Ephesians 6:13-17. It is a wonderful prayer to add to your morning routine.

31 Days of Prayer - armor of God

Image by LoveToTakePhotos (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Today I claim VICTORY over Satan by putting on the WHOLE Armor of God!

I put on the Girdle of TRUTH! May I stand firm in the truth of Your Word so I will not be a victim of Satan’s lies.

I put on the Breastplate of RIGHTEOUSNESS! May it guard my heart from the evil so I will remain (tap your heart 3 times) pure, holy, and protected under the Blood of Jesus Christ.

I put on the Shoes of PEACE! May I stand firm in the Good News of the Gospel so Your peace will SHINE through me and be a LIGHT to all I encounter.

I take the SHIELD of FAITH! May I be ready for Satan’s fiery darts of doubt, denial, and deceit; so I will not be vulnerable to spiritual defeat.

I put on the Helmet of SALVATION! May I keep my find FOCUSED on YOU so Satan will not have a stronghold on my thoughts.

I take the Sword of the SPIRIT! May the two-edge sword of Your Word be ready in my hands so I can expose the tempting words of Satan.

By FAITH, Your Warrior has put on the WHOLE ARMOR of God! I am prepared to live this day in SPIRITUAL VICTORY!

—-Anonymous

You can print out the prayer here (no opt-in required). It is a strong and powerful prayer so I hope you will pray it regularly. 🙂

************

Tweetable: 31 Days of Prayer – Armor of God

31 Days Writing Challenge

You are Loved

Are you going through a difficult time right now? YOU are LOVED.
Are you feeling lost, abandoned or confused? YOU are LOVED.
Are you feeling angry, rejected, or lonely? YOU are LOVED.

You are Loved

Even when others reject you, neglect you, or disappoint you, YOU are Loved beyond measure.

Truly, you are loved more than you know. You have not been abandoned. You are not alone. In your darkest days, God is with you, even if it doesn’t seem like it. As St. Paul writes, nothing can separate us from God.

We may separate ourselves from God through sin or by ignoring Him but He NEVER separates Himself from us.

So, if you are struggling or going through a difficult time, take courage. Trust in God. Believe He is there. Know that He loves you.

*******

And, yes, if all is going well for you, if you are happy and “living the good life,” God loves you too! Remember Him, thank Him, and know that he shares your joys as well as your sorrows!

****

Tweetable: You are Loved

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

September 14 is the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. I think the following scripture (the 2nd reading from the feast day’s mass) from Philippians 2:6-11 sums up this feast perfectly:

Image by calibra (2013) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Image by chaddyfynn (2016) via Pixabay, CCO Public domain

Though He was in the From of God, Jesus did not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.

Rather, He took the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate, and it was thus that He humbled himself, obediently accepting even death, death on a cross!

Because of this, God highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name above every other name,

So that at Jesus’ name every knee must bend in the heavens, on the earth, and under the earth, and every tongue proclaim to the glory of God the Father:

JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

I cannot even begin to fathom the awesomeness of God’s mercy in giving us His son, Jesus, to suffer, die and rise for our salvation. It is simply mind-boggling. What an amazing love God has for us! What lengths He went to in order to assure our place in heaven and to bring us into relationship with Him!

May we today, and every day, remember that great love, especially when we go through struggles and difficulties. There is no suffering that we go through that will compare to the sufferings of Jesus. He knows the feelings of desolation, despair, and agony. And because of that, He is able to assist us and be with us in our suffering. Let us try to live in trust and hope knowing God will always be there for us!

************

Tweetable: Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Is God’s Love Enough?

Has God ever punched you in the face? Not in the literal sense, of course, but in the way that you hear something and it just changes everything for you?

Is God's Love Enough?

Image by brunoabdon (2014) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Well, He “punched” me about a month ago. I went to confession and when I was done telling my sins the priest says (among other things), “When we sin we are, in effect, telling God that His love isn’t enough for us.”

BOOM!

For some reason, those words rocked me to the core. “Of course, God’s love is enough! I go to Mass, I pray, I go to Confession regularly. I profess Jesus as my Lord and Savior and try to do right by him. Heck, I even have a blog to encourage other women with their walk with the Lord! Of course, His love is enough!”

BUT, is it? Really?

By definition, sin is a rejection of God. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states,

Sin sets itself against God’s love for us and turns our hearts away from it. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become “like gods,”123 knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus “love of oneself even to contempt of God.”124 In this proud self-exaltation, sin is diametrically opposed to the obedience of Jesus, which achieves our salvation.125 (1850)

Thus, when I sin, I choose self-love, self-wants, and self-desires over God’s love. So, yes, when I sin I am telling God that His love isn’t enough. I am telling Him that my immediate self-gratification and my self-will is more important than His Holy and loving Will for me.

Thankfully, God’s love and mercy is bigger than my self-love. He knows my hearts, all of our hearts. He knows that we are small and petty and foolish and yet He loves anyway. He knows that we will reject Him – are sins nailed Jesus to the Cross! – and He continues to choose us anyway.

Since that confession, I’ve tried to remember those words. When I am tempted to impatience, anger or other sin, I try to remind myself that God’s love is enough. I don’t have to choose impatience or bitterness, or whatever. It hasn’t been perfect. I’ve failed more than I’ve succeeded. But, guess what? That’s okay! His love is even enough for my failures!

God’s love is enough for you, too.

Whatever you are going through right now, try to think of those words. Are you suffering or in pain? God’s love is enough. Are you struggling with bitterness, anger or hatred? God’s love is enough. Are you lonely? God’s love is enough. Are you out of work or facing financial problems? God’s love is enough. I promise, no matter what you are going through, God’s love is enough.

***********

Tweetable: Is God’s Love Enough?

P.S. Know that I pray for my blog readers daily! If you have a specific intention you want me to pray for, don’t hesitate to let me know.

ALL Lives Matter

The senseless tragedies of last week are weighing on my heart. It feels like our world is going crazier by the second. When will we realize that every person is created in the image and likeness of God and should be treated with respect? When will we start to “judge” people by their character and not by the color of their skin, or race, or how they walk, talk, or dress or any other external attribute?

All Lives Matter

Image by Passagere (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

And where is God in all this? Honestly, I have no easy answer. I wish there was no evil. Heck, there are times when I wish there wasn’t free will so a person could never choose to harm another person. However, I choose to trust. I choose to believe that God will bring good out of these horrible events.

Of course, it is easy for me to do that. I’m not the one directly affected by the shootings. I’m not mourning the loss of a loved  one. I’m not the one who was shot and killed. So, I’m praying. I’m praying for the repose of the souls of all who died last week. I am praying for the families who are mourning and demanding answers (rightly so). And yes, I am praying for the shooters and their families. I am praying for all who are affected by harmful actions of others.

Will you pray with me?

Have Courage

We must always remember that no matter what happens in our lives, God has already won the victory in Christ Jesus. Our job is to take heart and to bear our trials with patience, even when it is not easy. Check out this encouraging quote by St. John of the Cross:

CourageandPersJohnofCross

There will be trials ahead, both personally and as a society, but if we remain fast, persevere with courage, and trust in the Lord, all will work out according to HIS plan, and for our greater good! God bless!

***************

Tweetable: Have Courage

Quote found at Catholicbible101