Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to Make Your Prayer Better

Everyone's familiar with Luke 11: 1-4.  Right?

But what about when you don't feel like praying?  Jesus teaches us how to pray, Luke 11: 1-4, and also what to pray, and so does the rest of that section Luke 11: 5-13.  But what about when you're too tired, or just feel "blah."

I contend that it is when you push yourself, is when your prayer is worth more.  I think it is more worthy.

Follow my train of thought.
     You don't like children.  You don't know how to act, or say.....you're just uncomfortable with them.  But you're friend teaches little children.  And not only can't your friend understand how anyone could not like children, he actually thinks it's a terrible thing that you don't care for children.  He doesn't shut up about it.
     You meditate on it.  And you decide that you are going to try to look at children through your friend's eyes.  You'll try to see what's so wonderful about little kids.
      So your friend arranges for you to volunteer with him.  So the first day, a little girl pees on you while you're reading a story.  The next day, some little #^*# asked, "Why are you so fat?"  In fact, a day didn't go by, that you don't have some horror story.
      But you pushed yourself to go back every day, if only to prove to your friend that you really, really, did try to like children.
       Eventually, you know these kids by name.  Then you know them by personality.  You get to know when they're sad, mad, happy, and you know what?  You start to care about them.  Somehow, they wormed their way into your heart.
     Alright...alright!  You grow to love them.

This is the point of my story.  I contend, that your love is better, more worthy, if you will, than your friend's love,  because the friend did just what came naturally to him.  He loved children.  You on the other hand, had to work on it.  You pushed yourself to do something you didn't want to do.  And I think the same is true of prayer.  When you pray when you don't feel like it, when you have to push yourself, it's worth more.  Actually, you're praying to please God, not yourself.  An act of love that will please God.

Monday, August 30, 2010

High Notes

Read 1 Corinthians 15:52

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Teaching Etiquette

My neighborhood is one of the best places to bring up a family.  It's a quiet, away from the center of town, pretty development.  That was a major factor in my family's decision to buy the particular house that we still inhabit.

Another plus was the fact, that two little girls lived next door, who were just about the same age as my daughter.  And for the most part, this worked well.  They were friends.  Even to the point of a path being worn in the grass between our two driveways.

There was however, one incident, that made this over-protective mother, seethe.

When my daughter had a birthday party, there were (And I contend still ARE), certain obligatory guests that you just have to invite.  I consider this "etiquette."  Besides family, you have to invite certain people.  In that category, I would include friends, people who always invite you to their parties, people who would be "hurt" if not invited, and then, you can invite whomever you want.  We always adhere to this rule.

I made sure my children invited their cousins, friends, and children who sat around their desks at school-- because everyone would be talking about the party, and we didn't want anyone to feel slighted.  We didn't forget our neighbors and those who had invited my kids to their birthday parties.

This is a parent's duty--to bring up thoughtful, caring, polite children, who mind their manners.

Then came the day, when I noticed my child's dejected face looking out the window, at the birthday party for the little girl next door.

Read Luke 14: 12-14.

What was Jesus thinking?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Another Pre-Sign Up Announcement

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Scripture Sense

Our Lady of Hope Prayer Group is studying the Catechism, and the Bible.  After their usual prayer routine, they read and discuss, either the CCC, or the Bible.  This is a type of prayer, too.  It's called Lectio Divina, specifically Group Lectio Divina.  You read and then contemplate what you read.  The advantage of doing this in a group is the discussion that follows.  You have the advantage of hearing different insights.

Hey, this is exactly what Arise Together in Christ does.  We read and share.  Well, whadyano!

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Questions 109-119) tell us how to approach studying scriptures.  It is important to understand that there are two senses of Scripture: the literal, and the spiritual.

The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture.
The spiritual sense is the signs revealed by God's plan.  This is subdivided into three more senses: allegorical, moral and anagogical.
     Allegorical sense is seeing events in the light of their significance to Christ.
     Moral sense are events written for instruction.
     Anagogical sense are events interpreted in terms of their leading us to heaven.

A medieval couplet summarizes the four senses:

                                The Letter speaks of deeds; Allegory to faith
                                The Moral how to act; Anagogy our destiny.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Knock Knock

Did you hear what happened to Mrs. Murphy's after her near death experience?  

Well, while on the operating table, God came to her.  "Is this it?" She asked.  God replied, "No my child, you have another 40 years to live."

So as soon as she was well enough, she colored her hair, exercised and lost weight, had a nose job, and breast augmentation and soon became very popular.  Her husband considered her a trophy wife.  Heck, she thought of herself as a trophy.
Just as she was applying for a job as a model, she had a heart attack.

This time, she really did die.  As soon as she could, she accosted God, "Didn't you tell me that I had another 40 years to live?"                   "Oh, it's you, Mrs. Murphy!  Sorry, I didn't recognize you."
This old joke came to mind during this Sunday's Gospel.  Read Luke 13: 24-28
Yikes.  Imagine God telling you, "I do not know where you are from.  Depart from me all you workers of iniquity."

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Helpful Bible Study Hints

While reading Fr. Mark Carr's "A Holy Rule for Internet Communicators," I came across some suggestions to help us in our Scripture reading and sharing.  Actually he is discussing how Catholic Bloggers should conduct themselves.  For more on Catholic Bloggers, you can link to the real article, above, or my other blog, for my spin.

Use the three color pen method taught by Mons. Jonas Abib. (Monsignor Jonas learned that Pope John Paul II used the same method.)
This means:
a.) Underline any command forms directed to the reader in red. (i.e. Phillipians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord Always”)
b.) Underline any principles in black (i.e. 1John 4:8 “Who does not love does not know God, because God is love”)
c.) Underline any promises in green (i.e. Romans 8:11 “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”)

Actually I've seen Bibles that come with all the passages where Jesus is speaking, highlighted in yellow.  
My Bible is going to be pretty colorful.

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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sales Pitch

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Both Dormition and Assumption

A place to put on your bucket list, is the Russian Museum of Icons, in Clinton, MA.    See Link.

The last time I went, I saw this Icon of the Dormition of Mary.  The docent explained that this particular Icon portrays the Eastern Orthodox doctrine on the Assumption of Mary.  The Dormition of the Theotokos and the Assumption of Mary, are both celebrated on August 15.  We are celebrating the same event.  However, the Orthodox church teaches that Mary died a natural death, but that her soul was received by Christ, and that her body was resurrected on the third day, at which time her soul was taken up, bodily into heaven.

Roman Catholics believe that Mary was "assumed" into heaven in bodily form.  Pope Pius XII, defined the docrine of the Assumption, in  Apostolic constitutionMunificentissimus Deus (1950).

Orthodox and Roman Catholics see the role Mary has played in Jesus' life.  We can see that she who played the most prominent part of His life, would be resurrected, like all of us, but more uniquely, as befitting her role.  She was the first person to say "yes", and for this reason should be especially honored.

Read Romans 8: 28-30.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trust Me

You should make it a practice to never trust people who say, "Trust me."  Good advice.

However, sometimes you just don't have a choice.  You have to, because there's no other alternative: doctors, mechanics, lawyers, politicians, ...other experts.  Is it because of the few--the bad experiences, that we're wary of trusting?  But we should be, shouldn't we?

What about trusting God?


Read Hebrews 11:1-2, 8-12.

Abraham trusted.  Mary trusted.  Jesus trusted.

Yikes, no wonder we balk at trusting God.   It's not that trusting God means that everything will be honky dory.  After all, we're not living in the Garden of Eden.  It means that God's promises will become true in the end.  The process of getting to the end, may not be smooth; that's where the trust comes in.  You have to believe that God will deliver.  Trust = Faith

Thursday, August 5, 2010

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Monday, August 2, 2010

Prophetic Utterances

The words of the boy remind me of "priests and prophets."  Moses comes to mind.  And when I think of Moses, I think of the Ten Commandments.  And when I think of prophets, I think of proclamations like this boy's.  He and I think alike.

The style the boy uses reminds me of Deuteronomy.  And that's what I read for meditation, today. 

Deuteronomy it the fifth book of the Bible.  Its name means "second law."  But as far as I can see, it isn't about a second law; but rather an explanation of some of the commandments.

I am particularly thinking of the Fifth Commandment and abortion.  Read Deuteronomy 18: 9-12.

Abortion is an abomination to the Lord.