Sunday, August 23, 2009


I'm persevering. Last Sunday's post, Aug. 16, "Hang in There," is also today's. That's due to the fact that distractions bother me to distraction! I sometimes think that my prayers are useless because I spaced out when praying and don't even know what I've prayed. Sound familiar?

Read Ephesians 6:18

Prayer is so important, that you can't just give up. I've been advised, which I subscribe to wholeheartedly, that it is the intention that counts, not the result. I certainly hope so.

When I first became serious about praying, I couldn't believe what an "air head" I was. I'd start a Rosary and finished in 5 minutes wondering what I did, knowing that I couldn't have prayed each bead. I'd try centering prayer and fall asleep. I'd begin the Our Father and realize that I was saying "and lead us not into the Holy Spirit, the Holy Catholic Church, the Communion of Saints..." What the...?

You know what I did? I kept at it. It use to upset me that I couldn't get rid of the distractions. I asked everyone for advice. I tried every suggestion:

Incorporating the distraction into the prayer
Pray to St. Michael to protect you from distractions.
Just start over (you'd never finish if you did this).
Try a different time of day when you could focus better. (Ha!)

You know what worked?


You can't be human and not have distractions. Period.

I kept trying. I keep trying.

You get use to the distractions. They don't upset me anymore. I don't just deal with them, because I can't deal with them. I can't ignore them. I acknowledge that I was just distracted and move on. Like I said, you get use them. You don't give up. Don't waste your energy on beating yourself up. As I said before, it's the intention that counts.

Just to back up my theory, I checked with St. Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica. In Vol. 2, Part 2, Question CXXXVII, paragraph 899, and Aquinas said that when we persevere we are strengthened by God's gifts of habitual grace. He points out that perseverance requires "gratuitous help of God sustaining the human being in the good until the end of life."

This sounds reasonable to me, because on my own, I certainly can't do it. It takes God's divine grace. Let us pray.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You're Invited

St. Mary's Arise Team is meeting to plan the next session. Everyone is welcome to attend. It will be held in the Rectory Dining Room on August 31, 2009, at 7:15 PM. So come whether you want to be on team, or just have some ideas, or if you're just nosey and want to see what we're up to. We're a fun group and open minded/hearted.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hang In There

Read Hebrews 10:35-36

From August 14-16, St. Mary's Parish has been celebrating the Feast of St. Rocco. St. Rocco is an example of perseverance. And nothing will test one's perseverance like an illness. Faith will be tested. Look to Saint Rocco as inspiration. Not only did St. Rocco contract the plague that ravaged Europe in the 14th century, he was thrown in prison. He looked so bedraggled, and scary that he was imprisoned for vagrancy and just looking suspicious. Having no resources to fight the unjust incarceration, he died in prison, after being there for five years.

Catholics are fortunate to be able to look to our saints for example, in our own trials. We also have Mary to make the path to God easier to follow. If she can endure watching a child be accused, scourged, suffer, humiliated, and crucified, then
we can persevere with confidence.

After reading Hebrews 10: 35-36; look up the definitions to Confident, Persevere and Complete. Which of these words mean the most to you, right now.

Praise be to God.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Listen to What You're Missing

Read: Deuteronomy 1:43, 2Chronicles 24:19, John 10:27

I know you're reading, but are you listening? By this I mean listening to God's voice. Do you know it? You can. You can recognize His voice. You do this the same way you recognize anyone's voice, by frequent contact with that person. If you spend time, even 10 minutes a day, reading scripture and meditating upon the verse, you'll hear God's voice. I promise.

What does He sound like? How do you know?

For me, it's a thought. I like to think of it as listening with my soul, not my ears. Most often it's an idea that flashes across my mind. Sometimes, I'm shocked by the idea because I would have never thought of it. That's how I know it's from God. I'm not that smart or creative to have come by such a revelation that just came to me. It has to be His grace. And it's always a good suggestion. God doesn't tell you to do wrong.

And one more thing. The more often, I spend time with God, the more frequently I hear His voice. He never shouts. He wants to converse with you, not have a shouting match. I know. I know because I've shouted at God and He didn't respond in kind. He just listened.

Kind of took the wind out of my sails. But if He can listen patiently to me, then the least I can do, is listen patiently, too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Young Adults

Calling All Young Adult Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston……

This Fall, all Young Adult groups are encouraged to use the faith-sharing materials for ARISE Together in Christ: In The Footsteps of Christ. The six sessions focus on how Christ calls us to works of charity and justice in our daily lives. The cost is $6.95 per book.

Groups begin to meet the week of October 4th in parishes all around the Archdiocese!

Sign ups will occur in participating parishes the weekend of Sept 12-13, 2009. You may participate even if your parish is not formally involved in ARISE by contacting the Office for Worship and Spiritual Life for details and to order books.

ARISE offers the opportunity for new friendships, stronger

faith, and a deeper relationship with Christ and others

through prayer and the Scriptures in a small-group setting.

Sign-Up Weekend

September 12-13

For more information please contact:
Mary Ann McLaughlin or Ann Cussen
ARISE/Office for Worship and Spiritual Life
Archdiocesan Pastoral Center
Braintree, Ma 02184

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Bible

There's an an article in USCCB web site, by Mary Elizabeth Sperry on reading the Bible. She gives ten ways to read Scripture. These are very useful for all in the Arise program.

The two that my Arise group used were the praying at the beginning and end of the meeting, and discussing what God was saying to each of us.

That's what's so great about the Bible. It speaks to us individually. We each hear individually just what we need. That's why it's so neat to have the habit of reading Scripture.

And don't let anyone ever tell you that Catholics don't do that. Or that the Church discouraged private reading of the Bible before Vatican II. That is not the truth.

When the early church was just starting most people were illiterate, so the Bible had to be read and explained by the church. Also, books were expensive and had to be treasured, so they were protected from theft, not the people. The Bible was in Latin as was the custom of the times. You have to judge history by the culture and society of the times--not with our twentieth century eyes.

As the Mass was developed, so were the Scripture readings. Through the centuries we have the form of One Reading is Old Testament, then one of the Psalms, and then Readings from the New Testament. Through the ages, Mass goers would have heard this. And over the Church's three year liturgical cycle, the people hear almost all of the Bible.

Catholics may use the Bible differently than Protestants, but that doesn't mean that our knowledge of the Bible is less, or inferior. We weren't taught to memorize chapters and verses in Sunday School because our use of the Bible is different than most Protestants. Catholics use the Bible in worship, meditation, and study. Most Protestants use the Bible for knowledge in study and inspiration.

Catholics can tell the parable, the meaning, and faith share with the best. But we may not be able to give you the chapter and the verse number. That would be nice, even impressive, but we concentrate on the instruction, as instructed. (Rom 2: 28-29)