Monday, November 30, 2009

The Season of Advent

I have been remiss is my journaling here. I will make every effort to improve on this during the Season of Advent. It is a time of reflection and soul searching. It is a wonderful time to remember the past, live in the present, and hope for the future. Through the grace of God I will walk this road.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Bible

This evening I will present the topic of the Holy Bible to this years RCIA inquirers. Every time I speak before a group of those searching I am awed by their bravery to explore something I have lived with my entire life and in which I find such comfort in, that my Catholic faith. They are courageous and inspiring.

I enter with trepidation. Yes, even fear that the words I speak in instruction will not be clear and perhaps even confuse. I am afraid that I cannot answer their questions because I either do not have the answer or that I will not explain it to their satisfaction. I realize this is, in some way, my pride speaking, for the words should be coming from the Holy Spirit, as I am only his lowly instrument for the words.

I pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit to guide me in this endeavor again and that the words are those that empower the listener to yearn to learn even more.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Contemplation, The Second Pillar

I find it so terribly hard to be quiet. I don't me to not speak, though for me that is also a true statement. I mean to be in a place where my mind is free of WORDS. The words of shopping-for-groceries, why-didn't-I-read-that-book words, or the resonance of I-can't-do-that. Somehow, I manage, when I try to focus, to compile a list of everything I think I should be doing instead of trying to be quiet and centering on the presence of God within me.

Matthew Kelly asks,

Why do you suppose God called so many shepherds to occupy positions of authority and influence? Perhaps it was because they were out in the middle of God's cosmic temple all day, and in the middle of God's cosmic Classroom of Silence they had plenty of time to think, reflect, ponder, and listen to the voice of God in their lives. (Rediscovering Catholicism, pg 181)

I'm always busy thinking about my life. I can't seem to block it out. I've tried centering prayers, prayers for meditation to start my contemplation or used soft music to settle my mind. I have often thought I have Spiritual ADD (attention deficit disorder). I can't stay prayer-focused.

Matthew says to start with ten minutes a day.

If you are confused, angry, tired, frustrated, happy, excited, grateful...come to the silence...[A]sk yourself, "When will I spend my ten minutes in the Classroom of Silence today?" Don't be deceived by the simplicity of this message. You will be amazed how much ten minutes each day in a quiet church can change your life. (pp. 183-184)

Though I cannot sit each day in a quiet church, I will commit to sitting in a quiet room each day for ten minutes. God is everywhere and ten minutes can be found. I'll find them.

Finally, Matthew said to me in this text,

If we wish to encourage today's saints to emerge, we must simply return one question to our inner dialogue, I call it The Big Question. As far as I can see, it is the ultimate question, the only question.

"God, what do you think I should do?"

Well, there's the rub. Do I really want to know what God thinks I should do? What if it's not what I want to do...Hum! The reason for contemplation. God and Me discussing it!


Monday, November 2, 2009

Reconciliation, The First Pillar

We all have spiritual disease. We all have sins. Some people like to pretend that they don't, but their sins will just spread through their lives like cancer in the body. And in the end, they will be devoured by their sins...God sees your unrealized potential. He sees not only who you are, but also who you can be. Ask him to share that vision with you...
a great freedom is born by bringing your darkness into light. Our faults and failings have a tendency of eating away at us inside. But when we bring them into the light they lose their power over us...I assure you, if you will approach this sacrament with a sincere and humble heart, you will experience the flow of grace in your life. [As the priest speaks the words of absolution,] the flood gates of grace will be opened your soul will be filled with a deep peace, and you will experience inexplicable lightness, a sense of liberation.

Reconciliation is a gift. Behold the beauty. Embrace the treasure.
Rediscovering Catholicism
by Mattew Kelly

And so it is today that I am called to reflect on my own sinfulness. I do a poor job of making an examination of conscience each day. My excuse is I'm too tired. The TRUTH is I don't want to think about it. If I'm too tired I can go to bed and forget about it. In reality it will not go away. The sin is still there and when I awake in the morning to a new day without claiming my sinfulness that day will be no different that any other day in my life.

My happiness lies in claiming my can call them faults if you like, but a sin by any other name is still SIN. And so this day, before I go to bed I will do my examination of conscience, claim the sins as my own, and ask forgiveness. Then I will take these sins to my confessor for absolution. Amazingly, when I make it a practice of recalling my offenses in the examination of conscience, I have no need to make another examination of conscience before presenting myself before the priest for reconciliation with God.

I am beginning a renewal. I have done this many times before. Yes, and many times have let it slide. Yet again, I will try! I will made every effort to visit the Sacrament of Reconciliation monthly. And in this renewal, I ask for prayers that I may have the will, courage, and strength to continue this journey and that if I falter, I will have the wherewithal to begin again and not dwell on this as a failure but as another hurdle to be overcome.