Prayers are wonderful exercises. They calm the soul and the body. Through prayer we renew our faith in God. Through prayer we heal our wounds and work through our wounds and pain. Prayer is and essential part of faith and faith is an essential part of prayer. Prayer allows us to watch; prayer allows us to dream.
When we read the Gospel, we realize that the Gospel is a prayer, and it lives within us. We know this by the presence of the Holy Spirit. Prayer allows us to take the time to notice God’s creation. Today, I watched an ant crawl across a blade of grass: such beauty; such grace; a gift from God.
We can make our bodies houses of prayer. Saint Paul tells us to pray continually. That is not impossible. Greeting a new person with dignity and love is a prayer. It is a gift from and for God. Prayer allows us to be happy every moment we live. And that is enough!
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, humility, and self-control are all names for what Saint Paul calls the fruits of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit. Over the next few weeks, I will return to these images for meditative reflections. As Henry Melvill writes: “Ye cannot live for yourselves; a thousand fibers connect you with your fellow men, and along those fibers, as along sympathetic threads, run your actions as causes, and return to you as effects.” St. Paul has deep reflections on all of these sympathetic threads.
As humans, we touch everything; aw we walk the earth, we water it with our pure beings and greatly enrich whatever we touch. But we are also doing harm to what we touch; we must accept that if our children and grandchildren are to survive, we must now adopt a worldview that sustains the earth, including all people of all faiths and origins. We must work together for our children. We can do this by using the Fruits of the Spirit.
We must allow ourselves to accept what God gives us and protect it; we must also bow to His will. We must recognize our relationships and brotherhood with all living objects in God’s creation. We need to recognize that the outcasts of society, the criminals, the loser classes, are in fact more important than us. Jesus mentions the least of these. We are in fact the least of these.
Using the thoughts of Saint Paul, let us grow in the grace of Jesus, reflecting the goodness and glory of God, the God that Jesus brought to live within us. It is time to recognize our grief and loss that we have created within ourselves and our society. May God bring these Fruits of the Spirit to your doorstep.
As humans living in this sometimes-frustrating world we remain living signs of God’s Graced and Glory; as Matthew reminds us, we must demonstrate this by shining God’s light on all we do. As free people of God, we inherit the wonderful tradition of demonstrate the freedom and dignity of all men and women around our small planet. We are all one of God’s chosen children. As His children, we honor justice and hate immorality.
As Peter reminds us “Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.” Each of us are missionaries of God’s word and light. Sometimes, we are put through unpleasant times; this darkness in our lives can be devastating; it is these times that we must seek rescuing from ourselves. Our old worn-out ideas no longer work, we need to love ourselves as Jesus invites us to do. We are God’s holy creation; we must use all of God’s creation to be of service in spreading His love.
We have a great teacher in Jesus; when we follow his lighted path, invite Him not our hearts, we find it simple to spread Love to one another. My prayer is that we look upon the other as an equal and share God’s Grace given freely without God asking from us nothing but love.
I sometimes get very confused and upset when I am in pain. I am told to pray. Well, I meditate and pray daily. I am told to praise God. I try to live by what Matthew writes in chapter 5, verse 16. I live my life doing what I can to reflect on the glory of God. But I still suffer in pain. There are two things that I truly believe: suffering is not the last word in my life, and, for God, all things are possible.
Do not get me wrong; I rarely ask God to lift my pain. There too many people suffering more than me, and whom I pray for God to comfort. This praying for others helps me cope with my difficulties. This is one way God eases my pain. And yet, there are times that I do complain to God; never as critically as Job does. I think I complain because when I am in pain, I feel like I am lost in the wilderness.
Then I remember that Jesus fasted for forty days in the wilderness, and I immediately find relief from this feeling. I never feel that my pain is sanctioned by God; He does not give me my pain, He comforts me when I need it. My loving wife and daughter both tell me that pain is not what stops me from doing things. It is the fear of pain that does. Mt prayers for God is to give me the courage to continue, to not give up.
My thoughts and actions are all aimed at making life pleasant for others; I do not anger at a person’s self-centeredness. I pray that God eases them of him of his burdens so he may be happy as me. I pray to comfort others, and as long as God allows me to do this, I am happy, pain or no pain.
I praise our Lord for all the good things in my life. And they are plentiful.
Paul writes in Romans: “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” For the first century Christians the writings of the prophets and spiritual leaders were considered sacred. Unless we know and understand what life was like for these early Christians, many in exile from the official church, we cannot truly understand the meaning that Jesus and his disciples really mean. Our translations over the centuries have been reworked so often that their original meanings many be truly lost.
We must accept that for these early Christians, their only society was spiritual and colorless. There was no bling. There was no physical structure called church. They looked to God and Christ as spiritual teachers and protectors. They understood that God’ Grace keeps all true believers in peace. All God asks is for us never to despise, condemn, or speak evil of anyone. I trust that we find these three simple requests difficult to do. I know that no matter how meditative I am I sometimes think wrongly about people I know. This is my sin.
I try to overcome this by entering my secret place of prayer and meditation.it is here that I expand my spirituality; it is here that like my early Christian ancestors that I struggle with the mortal loss and grief of human life. Through prayer and meditation, I try to unbind my spirit and let all thoughts of derision pass by me. I know that with God’s help, this is possible, as are all things.
Pray with me to be as the early Christians in our spiritual belief and acceptance of God and Jesus as our protectors, leaders, and comforters.
For God, all things are possible; we have heard and read this simple saying many times in our lives. It is when we feel lost that we must grasp this and know that we are safe. Jeremiah says: “Seek and ye shall find.” But Matthew brings this closer to our reality as he writes: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”
When we feel lost, we are in God’s hands; we cannot escape His loving embrace, for wherever we wander, God is with us; God is within us. I cannot put a number on the times that I have felt lost in my mortal life. At times, it seemed as if I was racing toward a bottomless chasm. When I turn to my spiritual leaders, I am invited to open my heart to the reality that I am always walking in the light of God. Not only that, but God also provides fellowship for me right here on Earth. My family, friends, and neighbors are here to support me when I feel lost.
Being lost is not a permanent state of mind; as I remember that through my faith, I am cleansed of all my sins and all my problems, regardless of how terrible I think they are. I walk on the path shown to me by Jesus, being the good Samaritan to all I meet. I greet you, my readers, whom I may never meet face to face with love and affection. You are my brothers and sisters, and therefore, I am never lost.
God chose you and me to live in this world; it is a marvelous life. Is this a risk for God? After all, most of the time we are fighting each other in words or deeds. We read our Bible and are taught that we are the light of the world and live with the cherished love of Christ. Love is our capacity to relate in a tender and compassionate to each other. Love is the only thing in our lives that encourages hope in our sometimes-dangerous and overly contentious world.
I recognize God and His Love in all of the many people I greet each day. I am able to be with and experience life with those with whom I share this love. I practice the universality of God’s love in everything I do. I love you; can you love me? Our love is a prayer for God to hear. I pray for others so that I also can be loved. If I do not share love, I cannot receive love.
Our birthright is love. Once we recognize this, we can be hopeful, patient and loving in our community of prayer with God. In our shared afflictions, we turn to God for help; it is Love that comforts us. It is love that comforts us. We can heal only when we love as Jesus taught us in the greatest commandment. I pray: Lord God, give us your love; give us your spirit.
Exodus relates Moses meeting face-to-face with God: “. . . the angel of the Lord app appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked and beheld the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed.” this reminds us that God’s fire roars into our lives burning the sin from our very beings. The fire that God brings grant us the ability to accommodate everything that we encounter whether it is sorrow, doubt, suffering, or pain. We all face this these material problems no matter who we are or where we live, and we know that God softens and comforts every trial that we face.
God brings this in the form of love, God’s Love. The compassion within us that this love brings allows us to recognize its glory and offer it to others. We identify with the graciousness and preciousness; overall it is all that repairs the brokenness within ourselves and within others. We recognize that note no matter who our neighbors are we suffer together in an unkind world that only God can rectify. We all have places of fear and trauma. With others we have conflicting places as well; places where the truth of God’s Love rings; places where we can trust; places where we can hold dear to us. This is where we have faith that all of which we are invited to share with our neighbors with whom we are traveling on this sometimes dark and long, lonely road caught. . . called life.
When we begin a new direction or restart an old purpose in our lives, we are not led by anything external to us. We are led by something within us. Some call this the Holy Spirit; some call it the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever it is, it comes from God. We should not and cannot reject or refuse this.
For years I did not listen to this inner voice; it was only when near tragedy happened that I changed direction and became a teacher. It is God that did the work within me which brought me and those I touched with good will and prayerfully good knowledge. As I followed this road that God placed me on, compassion and patience the unique characteristics of true spirituality grew within me.
I have learned to pray in the direction I want my life to go, the direction God wants my life to go. My compassion and patience grow within me and through prayer, I acknowledge all gifts of God that I share with others. I strengthen this daily by spending time alone in my mind and heart with only the presence of God as my companion.
Our mortal lives are filled with disappointments and traumas. There is no question that we will feel pain be it physical, mental, or psychological. The loss of a loved one is especially traumatic. These are unavoidable painful times in our lives, feeling that our world is coming to an end. We turn to God, Jesus, or the Virgin Mary, depending on our faith. We are comforted by the presence of these holy and spiritual entities that remain with us always, especially in these traumatic hours. We give that’s to God for the goodness and love given unconditionally.
There are other pains that we can avoid. When we anger at others or hold a grudge against them for something they did or did not do to us. When we hold on to this type of unloving thought, we suffer with a different kind of pain that many times will not leave us for a long time. We keep score; we suffer we hurt. These are times when we must turn to God. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our beings is there, but we ignore this. We suffer! This is when we must turn to God, accept His Grace, and forgive. We thank God for the work He does in us and in all people.