Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Late Night with Jesus

Ok, technically it's early morning, but I thought it had a familiar ring to it.

It's 1:57 a.m. and I'm awake again.  This is not an every night occurrence, but it happens often enough that it feels like a routine.  Most nights I just make the most of this time by praying; tonight I'm writing about it.

When you wake up in the middle of the night and you can't go back to sleep, what is your first course of action?

Do you go get something to eat, turn on the boob tube, snuggle with the baby (who may have woken you up)?  Do you lie there worrying, creating a list of things to do the next day, or frustrated that you're awake again, and would rather be sleeping?

I've done all of the above.  There is one more thing to try; pray.

I know that often I'm awakened by the Lord because the house is finally quiet and He wants some quality time with me.  I always need quality time with Him, but with a busy household (that has been busier and noisier lately with all the "snow/cold" days) our time together has been shorter and more interrupted than usual.

When you wake up, let Jesus be your first thought.  He will direct you from there.  He knows your needs and loves to hear you give voice to them.  He wants you to waste time with Him and if the only time you take to waste with Him is the middle of the night, He'll take it!  Often, He demands it.

Think about the four ways to pray; Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS).

Don't give Jesus just your memorized prayers, which are wonderful, don't get me wrong.  What He wants most often is your heartfelt prayers.  The ones where you just talk to Him about everything that's on your mind.  If this is hard for you, try writing Him a letter.  Hey, you're awake anyway, you might as well get up and get a notebook and a pen.

Then there is a listening prayer.  Can you be still with the Lord?  Can you hear what He wants to say to you?  There's an old saying that states, God gave us one mouth and two ears so we should listen twice as much as we talk.  Same goes with praying.  God has much to say to us.  In the quiet, still, dark of the late night,  what is Jesus wanting to say to you?  Don't fight it.  He's got some good stuff for you!

I think this is what He wanted from me tonight so I'm going back to bed.  Happy praying!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Seven Sorrows

In times of sorrow in your life, to whom do you turn for comfort?

Jesus, of course.  A spouse, a friend, a sibling?

How about Mamma Mary?

Being redeemed by Christ from the moment of her conception left Mary free the sorrow of any personal sin on her part, but that does not mean that she did not suffer and did not experience sorrow in her life.

Mary's life was lived entirely for God.  Her initial fiat ("may it be done unto me according to your word." Luke 1:38) was just the beginning of the suffering she would face.  Being an unmarried young woman and pregnant, I'm certain, caused no little tongue wagging and head shaking.

 There are seven particular sorrows, however, that we meditate on when we speak of Mary's sorrows.

When meditating on these seven sorrows add a Hail Mary after each one and it becomes a devotion.

The first sorrow of Mary is: The Prophesy of Simeon.  "Behold this Child is to be the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed."  Luke 2:34-35) 

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (Luke1:28)  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Luke 1:42), Jesus."  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The second sorrow of Mary: The Flight into Egypt. "Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.  Joseph rose and took the Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt."

Hail Mary . . .

The third sorrow of Mary: The Loss of the  Child, Jesus in the temple.  After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but His parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for Him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding Him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him.  After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions."  (Luke 2:43-46) 

Hail Mary . . .

The forth sorrow of Mary: Meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary. "And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him." (Luke 23:7) 

Hail Mary . . .

The fifth sorrow of Mary: Standing at the foot of the Cross. "Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother an his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala." (John 19:25)

Hail Mary . . .

The sixth sorrow of Mary: The taking down of Jesus' body from the cross. "Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council,…came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus . . . he gave the body to Joseph.  … He took Him down."  (Mark 15: 43-46)

Hail Mary . . .

The seventh sorrow of Mary: The burial of Jesus in the tomb.  "Having bought a linen cloth, he took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in the tomb that had been hewn out of the rock." (Mark 15:46)

Hail Mary . . . 

So, when you are sorrowing, remember that you are never alone.  Turn to our Lady and meditate on her sorrows and let her bring you comfort.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How Deep is Your Cushion?

Today's Gospel reading is from Mark: 4: 35-41.

In the reading, the disciples are in a boat being tossed about on the water in a "violent squall".  And where is Christ?  "Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion."  Asleep?  On a cushion?  In a fishing boat?

Fr. Urban's homily was all about the cushion.  He said he spent a lot of time reading and trying to figure out why Mark would make sure that the presence of the cushion was a detail in this Gospel.

His conclusion was that the cushion was God and the relationship that Jesus had with Him.  He was so confident in this relationship and the protection of being in so close a relationship with the Father, that he was able to sleep in the midst of the storm.

Can you sleep in the midst of the storms in your life?

How does one go about finding the trust that gives such peacefulness?

I think it starts with thanksgiving.  Once you begin to be grateful for ALL the things God does in your life; good, hard, painful, wonderful, normal, then you begin to see that He is over all things.

Thank Him for everything!  Did you wake up this morning?  (Obviously if you're reading this!)  Thank Him.  Did you eat?  Thank Him. Did you have a hot shower?  Did someone you love hug you?  Does your home have heat?  Do you have a shovel and a strong back; or someone young and capable of shoveling all this snow?? The list could go on and on.  Did your car start? Did you get where you were going without mishap?

All of those things are easy to be thankful for because they are good things.

 Now, try being thankful if you answered 'no' to any of them.

I have a friend who is the most grateful person I know.  Her husband has been out of work since June; she thanks God every day that he is able to help her at home while he looks for a job.

Her teenaged daughter spent a couple of days in the hospital recently with pneumonia.  She was grateful for good doctors, nurses and medicine.

 When the car repair bill was higher than expected she praised the Lord.

Does the stress of these situations get overwhelming sometimes? Sure it does, and then she has a good cry, thanks God for the tears of release and puts her smile back on!

Never miss a chance to be thankful.  It builds your trust in a God who loves you, in a Savior who died for you.  Take time to care for your cushion and you will sleep like Jesus!