Church? What’s the point?

– “I don’t get anything out of Church”

– “the Priest is so boring”

⁃ “It’s pointless going to Church with young children”

⁃ “We are all arguing before Church and running late. ”

⁃ “The Music is horrible. ”

⁃ “I can pray at home. ”

Some events i can acceptably make such reasons not to go…

⁃ A movie, if i get nothing out of it. Leave.

⁃ If a concert the music is terrible,don’t go back.

⁃ If a book , is boring ; i should put it down.

⁃ If a family activity is causing arguments i should definitely reconsider.

But all these things are forms of entertainment. We go to these places to be entertained. Church is not for entertainment.

Its about as exciting as getting gas in my vehicle. Now don’t get me wrong, church maybe thoroughly enjoyable and beautiful but that’s not a requirement. It is meant for fuel. A gas station does not have to entertain us for us to go. We need Gasoline. Period. No one will dispute this.

We need God. We need God to fill us with graces so that we can make it through this tough life. We need Him to make it through this week. We may need graces for others in our family that have no relationship with God and we can pray for them. Mother Theresa of Calcutta said she could not do her work for another hour without the Eucharist.

Things we do “get” from Mass:

We may need forgiveness so we can let go of the burden of guilt.

We may need clarity for a big change in our life.

We may need courage, for a problem in our homes.

We may need healing for an illness.

Regardless, of how Charismatic the preacher is or how lovely the music is.

I find that if i don’t goto Mass on Sunday, I’m fine on Sunday. I’m even ok by Tuesday. But by Wednesday i can tell I’m not myself.

You are going to the house of God. No tickets needed.

“If you refrain from trampling the Sabbath, from following your own pursuits on my holy day;

If you call the Sabbath a delight,

the LORD’s holy day glorious;

If you glorify it by not following your ways, seeking your own interests, or pursuing your own affairs—

Then you shall delight in the LORD,

and I will make you ride upon the heights of the earth; I will nourish you with the heritage of Jacob, your father, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”  (Isaiah 58: 13 – 14).

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Love your Husband

Sometimes i have to almost command myself to let go of all my busyness and to do list and realize my favorite person in the world is right there in front of me.

Or maybe I’m working on my grocery list and he wants to talk, well he is infinitely more important than that list or email.

Sometimes, he does things i wish he didn’t do and he doesn’t do what i want him to do… but it doesn’t matter. I would rather be happy with him than have my list checked off while we snarl at each other.

Laugh with him. Hold hands. Watch a movie. Watch comedians in cars drinking coffee on Netflix. Drink coffee outside together. Find matching socks for him. Print out an article you think he would like. Tell him you love him. Thank him for working hard. Ignore the traits that aggravate you. Remember the traits you love about him. Thank God for him, pray for him. Help him to fall in love with you. Sit by him. Put your phone down. Cook his favorite meal.

Life is so hard. We can go through it miserable together or we can enjoy each other while we do all the hard stuff. Don’t push your husband away when things get tough. Respect their opinion, and listen to it even when the advice irritates you.

When he hugs you remember the feeling when you first were dating and you were giddy because of hugs. It might have been 1 year ago or 10 or 30years who, remember that feeling!

One of God’s greatest gifts is marriage.

Don’t fake it. Don’t take pictures of it or try to hyper plan date nights. Just date again.

Put the bickering aside (its sooo miserable) and be nice. I like to pretend like I’ll never see him again , how would i spend my time with him.

⁃ if your husband is not responding like you want give it a little time. Usually men follow suit. If you are aggravated they are too. If you are happy so are they.

⁃ ask God to make him madly in love with you. Ask God to help you fall in love with him again.

I Love Suffering!

Actually I Love Lent!

Perhaps more than Christmas. Is that weird?

I find it a perfect time to reconnect with God. A time to self reflect.

A spiritual journey that the world has not commercialized , yet!

40 days of getting rid of the yuck out of my life and filling it with good things.

Some of the most powerful things I’ve done during Lent have stuck with me years later.

One year i gave up all music except Christian music. Before that Lent i used to love rap music. Since that Lent probably 10 years ago, it changed the way i listened to music. I am more aware of lyrics now and i can’t listen to the vulgarity.

One year i felt too concerned about my appearance. I gave up jewelry except my wedding ring. Honestly, since then if i think back … i wear very simple jewelry since and i feel happier about the nice pieces I’ve chosen.

One year i was especially obsessing about decorating my house. So i picked up all throw pillows and decorative items for lent to kind of detach myself from these items. That one was soooo difficult!

One year we fasted for my Godchild for healing and it worked! He experienced a miraculous healing of his hip!

-I usually like to “give up” something I’m unhealthy attached to.

⁃ I also like to add something positive to my life. Maybe go to daily Mass, Adoration or Confession.

⁃ I like to buy a spiritual book for the time.

This year i signed up for the Dynamic Catholic

“Best Advent Ever” and it was AHMAZIng!!!!!

So I’m expecting “Best Lent Ever” to be just as good! It’s a 1-2 Minute video sent to your email everyday. Make sure you sign up!

Best Lent Ever!

Lent is 8 days away!

Smile.

It belongs to the devil and his followers to be sad; we, on the contrary, ought always to rejoice in the Lord. – Saint Francis

Don’t you find miserable people everywhere you go…

⁃ your son

⁃ Your in laws

⁃ Your siblings

⁃ the check out clerk

⁃ The gas station clerk that worked all night shift

⁃ Your boss who got in a fight with his son

⁃ Your coworker who is waiting for test results

⁃ Your neighbor who is worried about paying bills

⁃ The guy in traffic, is late for work

How can we minister to these people?

Smile at them!

Be kind, be patient, tell them you are not in a hurry, listen to them, say a quick prayer for them.

But most of all be cheerful.

It is like a balm on chronic wounds.

Pair this with “Lord let something Sacred happen today ,”

And see what the day unfolds!!

Lord let something sacred happen

A world without God needs you to bring it to them.

Try to be a love song for others today.

Especially your children and your spouse. You are the heart of your home. If your heart is broken, seek healing. Your family needs you.

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Below is the Bible Verses and notes about Joy that may touch you.

“Do not be saddened this day, for rejoicing in the Lord is your strength!” (Nehemiah 8: 10).

The power of joy is unbelievable.  Do you know that you can have a powerful ministry of joy or cheerfulness?

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”  (Philippians 4: 4).  Joy is contagious. Spread it freely.

St Philip Neri, gifted evangelizer, also known as Apostle of Rome, founder of the the Oratorians was noted for his ministry of cheerfulness. Just by being joyful and cheerful, he attracted many souls to Christ.

Joyfulness or cheerfulness is so easy to notice in people. This is why many spiritual writers have identified it as the sure mark of the Holy Spirit in a soul.

If you want Joy to permeate your personality, immerse yourself in the word of God. The Holy Spirit will notice and come with other gifts.

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Sweetness in my Soul

Practicing the Presence of God has been bringing this strange feeling… i can only describe as sweetness.

When I’m able to connect with God and “find Him” even only momentarily it brings this unbelievable feeling of sweetness.

Once when i was in college during my morning prayer, i can remember this experience. Only once before. If i had to say how long it lasted , i would say maybe 15 mins. That was 12 or more years ago and i remember that “Heavenly Sweetness” as though it were yesterday. At the time , i remember where i was sitting in my college apartment, how i was sitting and i remember telling God…

“So this is why, we only need You.”

I could see a glimpse of what eternity in the Presence of God would feel like.

At the time i also recall thinking , i would never “have to” get married because i don’t “need” anything else or anyone else. God would be sufficient. Whoa. That’s a lot for a few minutes.

As i write this , i don’t think i ever told anyone. Not as a secret, i just never thought i was in a situation that it would benefit to share it, maybe …

Well the crazy thing is , i think that I’ve felt similarly 3-4 times since Practicing the Presence of God. This sweetness in my soul.

Completely different than my normal prayer like experiences which are mostly intellectually directed.

The big difference is , Looking inward to find God instead of upward or outward. I have been turning my gaze inward to make communion with Him. He is there all along i just didn’t know that.

He knows us better than we know ourselves. He knows us inside and out. So it’s generated from within us, right?? Not an outside source pushing Himself in….

The practicing His Presence is just uncovering what has always been. Brother Lawrence says his ENTIRE life’s endeavor was practicing the Presence of God. He couldn’t understand why everyone wasn’t doing this but i think it’s because we don’t know what we don’t know. I didn’t know i could replicate that feeling all those years ago. I surely didn’t know i could experience it daily or hourly.

This brings up 2 things in my mind , Mary saying…. “My Soul Magnifies the Lord…”

And i keep picturing a magnifying glass against her chest and God being magnified and projected outward….

So in this image , God is within her, deep, “small” and hidden per-say but she can tap into that and it is magnified.

That’s what i think this sweetness is. When i tap into the Presence of God within me (as opposed to this God in the sky looking down) it has this enormous effect that feels to overwhelming perfect and complete.

There is one other story i will leave you with… about 2 years ago i read an article called “Saints are still being Made…” something like that. About this gorgeous couple, the wife’s name is Chiara. Her story is unbelievable.

When she was dying, her husband ask her

“But Chiara, my love, is this cross really sweet, like the Lord says? She looked at me and she smiled, and in a soft voice she said, ‘Yes, Enrico, it is very sweet.’”

It always struck me. Sweet…. what a beautiful, bizarre way to describe a feeling. I think she was in the Presence of God. I think that’s what this book is teaching us.

https://focusoncampus.org/content/saints-are-still-being-made-meet-chiara-corbella-petrillo

Sweetness. Try today to slow down, tell God What is happening, casually as it’s happening. Close your eyes for a moment and feel His Presence from inwardly. This is while you are driving, or cooking or fighting with your child. Anytime.

#3 What’s the Holiest Thing I Can Do?

It’s not changing our activities that pleases God, but doing them for God leads to sanctification.

Doing them for God instead of for ourselves.

So which activity makes me holiest?

⁃ reading the Bible

⁃ Switching the laundry

⁃ Drinking Coffee

⁃ Taking a Bath

⁃ Playing go fish with kids

⁃ Going to Church

⁃ Disciplining my child

⁃ Cooking lasagna

⁃ Planning a birthday party

Whichever one was done for God. Was the holiest.

“God, i offer up my son’s schoolwork for love of you.”

“God, I’m brushing her hair , neatly for you.”

“God, I’m offering up my excitement about my new clothes for you”

“God, I’m going to cook for love of you “

Voice in my Head “Don’t send that text.”

Generally, I love being around people , chatting with people, cleaning with people, visiting, cooking, shopping. I love to do everyday things with other people.

However, this season of my life ( young kids, and homeschooling) , it’s often times not possible…

Part of the reason i can’t “handle” social media. I would get too engaged. To me it was counterfeit connections that left me feeling depleted instead of full.

That’s one of the main reasons for this blog , i need to connect with people in a deeper way. It’s really been a lifeline for me to reach people that i want to share life with.

But on a smaller more constant note , i fill this huge desire to connect by texting. Instantly , often , and most of the day.

I text articles, and pictures, and quotes to people.

I text reminders.

I text to do lists.

I text updates on the kids

Sometimes i notice this:

i write a text , and i feel something say, “Don’t send it.”

Me: “Why not? It’s just simple info. I want to send it.”

Voice in my head ( really God but it’s hard to realize that in the moment, it feels more like a feeling than a voice) “Don’t send it.”

So sometimes I say:

Me: “Fine, i don’t know why i can’t send this. I’ll just wait until later.”

Voice: nothing. (At this point, I’m expecting the voice to explain why not to send it but i hear nothing)

⁃ Later, it comes to pass that I’m glad i didn’t send it.

Some conversations in my head sound more like this:

Me : I type a text.

Feeling : “Don’t send this text.”

Me: “But i want to. It’s so simple. Can you come tom?”

Feeling: “Don’t send it.”

Me: “I’m sending it. I don’t want to forget to send it later.”

Me : i press send.

Then i regret it. It’s happened so many times. I sent something and it comes to pass that i should have just let things fall into place.

It’s really me trying to contort aspects of my life that i need to just be in God’s Will.

Maybe I’m the only person that has this inner dialogue about texting, but try it next time you send a text. Before you press send ask God if He wants you to send it or wait to send it. ( even 15 mins)

It’s good practice for Hearing the voice of God, as well as practicing obedience.

I felt like the Readings in Mass today were a confirmation of this reflection …

Reading 1

1 SM 3:3B-10, 19

Samuel was sleeping in the temple of the LORD

where the ark of God was.

The LORD called to Samuel, who answered, “Here I am.”

Samuel ran to Eli and said, “Here I am. You called me.”

“I did not call you, ” Eli said. “Go back to sleep.”

So he went back to sleep.

Again the LORD called Samuel, who rose and went to Eli.

“Here I am, ” he said. “You called me.”

But Eli answered, “I did not call you, my son. Go back to sleep.”

At that time Samuel was not familiar with the LORD,

because the LORD had not revealed anything to him as yet.

The LORD called Samuel again, for the third time.

Getting up and going to Eli, he said, “Here I am. You called me.”

Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the youth.

So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply,

Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.”

When Samuel went to sleep in his place,

the LORD came and revealed his presence,

calling out as before, “Samuel, Samuel!”

Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

Samuel grew up, and the LORD was with him,

not permitting any word of his to be without effect.

Corporal Acts of Motherhood

I read an idea to post the corporal acts of mercy on your refrigerator.

Corporal Works of Mercy:

1. Feed the hungry

2. Give drink to the thirsty

3. Clothe the naked

4. Shelter the homeless

5. Visit the sick

6. Visit the imprisoned

7. Bury the dead

When i read this article, I was nursing the baby. It was like God was saying your are literally giving drink to the thirsty. And you are dressing the naked everyday.

I truly believe He has not called me or most of us to some great big ministry. He is calling us to serve the people under our roof. So i made a corporal acts of mercy list for this season of my life.

Corporal acts of mercy: ( that i can do today )

Meal Planning for the Hungry

Dressing the naked for School

Comforting the Throwing up Child

Listening to the Lonely Child INSTEAD of looking at my phone.

Respecting the In Laws

Making a Home for the Homeless

Burying Resentment for my Spouse

You can definitely adapt this to your season.

Sorry about that God … #2 Reflection

So my next reflection from the obscure kitchen monk who lived 300 years ago…

When i sin, lose my temper, or say something i shouldn’t , i used to beat myself up about it.

I would feel guilty and think that that is the way “I am.”

But after reading this little book. Brother Lawrence would just casually tell God, sorry about that, and move on.

Wow! Move on ??

So i don’t have to feel like a horrible mom or person ?

So I don’t need to read parenting books, or pray more or get more sleep or take vitamins???

So i tried it:

I lost my temper with my 8 year old after a 30 min whine session from her.

Old Me: “God, please help me stay calm. Give me wisdom to parent the way you want me to . Give this child graces to behave. Maybe i should have her write an essay? Maybe i need to spend one on one time with her? Maybe she is not feeling good? And on and on and on….“ ( my brain is so exhausting)

Me now: “Sorry, about that God”

Moved on.

So. Much. Easier.

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Sorry about that God… #2 Reflection

So my next reflection from the obscure kitchen monk who lived 300 years ago… ( The Practice of The Presence of God)

When i sin, lose my temper, or say something i shouldn’t , i used to beat myself up about it.

I would feel guilty and think that that is the way “I am.”

But after reading this little book. Brother Lawrence would just casually tell God, sorry about that, and move on. 0″

Wow! Move on ??

So i don’t have to feel like a horrible mom or person ?

So I don’t need to read parenting books, or pray more or get more sleep or take vitamins???

So i tried it:

I lost my temper with my 8 year old after a 30 min whine session from her.

Conversation:

Old Me: “God, please help me stay calm. Give me wisdom to parent the way you want me to. Give this child graces to behave. Maybe i should have her write an essay? Maybe i need to spend more one on one time with her? Maybe she is not feeling good? And on and on and on….“ ( my brain is so exhausting)

Me now: “Sorry, about that God”

Moved on.

So. Much. Easier.

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My First Super Casual Dialogue with God

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