Tag Archives: Dynamic Catholic

The Sound of Silence

So here it was, just one week after Easter and we left mass frustrated — again. We went to mass at St. Ferdinand and were meeting our friends for dinner after that. They were all going to St. Killian, but Tom and I don’t care for mass in an auditorium. We would have gone to our own parish, but didn’t want to get caught up in the First Holy Communion ceremonies. So here we were listening to this awful chanting music for the next 20 minutes before mass started. Are you kidding me? I couldn’t pray or think or even concentrate on anything. And then that’s how mass went too. At every turn, the music interrupted the mass. This is how the music was there during lent, but I thought it was just something special they were doing then. I guess not — oh, how I don’t like change for change sake. The music used to be one of the best things about St. Ferdinand.

It seems like we complain after every mass anymore. We left mass and Tom turned to me in the car and said, “this seminar next weekend better be inspiring, because I’m thinking I’m not sure about going to church anymore.” My heart sank, but I knew too that I felt the same way.

Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose
The seminar by Matthew Kelly of Dynamic Catholic was the following weekend. We drove about 3 1/2 hours to Mechanicsburg, PA and booked an overnight stay so we could drive back to Pittsburgh on Sunday. I wasn’t feeling the greatest, because I had the stents in my kidneys changed two days before, and my doctor used bigger stents which were a little uncomfortable. But there was no way I was missing this!!!! We desperately needed inspiration!!!!!

And wow, did we get it! The program was almost four hours, but there were three breaks during the presentation. Matthew Kelly is the best speaker I’ve ever heard — period. The material was what we needed to hear and mix it with his own sense of charm and humor — simply AMAZING. Seriously, I laughed out loud during that four hour period more than some of the comedy shows I’ve been too. His jokes were clean, but so funny, because they were about things mostly only Catholics could relate to. When he portrayed Jesus with his disciples, he played a role of light humor with meaningful lessons. He tried to make us see that all these holy people we put on pedestals are really just like us, including the disciples. Matthew Kelly was all about statistics. He had them too — he talked about a multi-year research project that showed the current state of Catholicism in America. He compared our percentages to those of Europe. He shared insight into developing a closer relationship with God — finding God’s purpose in your life. Seriously, INSPIRATION.

The best part of it being in Mechanicsburg was that Tom and I talked about it off and on the entire drive home. It not only brought us closer to God, but closer to each other. We had meaningful conversations about what it meant to us that we embrace our Catholic faith. We talked about all those things that we were going to implement in our lives.

We started to make real action items. The first is silence. With silence comes clarity and allows us to hear the voice of God in our lives. So my new morning routine starts once the alarm sounds. I shut off the music and lay in silence. And I begin my morning prayers at that time. I start praying about my day and talking to God about the things coming up — what I’m worried about or excited about or just not sure. As I lay there, the ceiling fan is almost hypnotic. I also have these two prayer books. Well, they’re pretty beat up. I read sections from them every single day. I’m going to have to repair the spine on the one book. I have the same routine, now only I added 15 minutes of silence where I can talk with God.

Tom and I are reading the Gospels every night — Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Well, we’re still on Matthew, and we read 1-3 chapters out loud every night before going to bed. We’ve only missed a couple of nights — nights when we were just too tired or one of us went to bed earlier than the other. We read out loud and comment on things we didn’t realize, how we interpreted something or just something that didn’t make sense. It’s a much different experience reading out loud in the silence together. I’m hearing things so much more differently than in church with all the commotion at times.

I’m also reading the book that was part of our packet from the event. It’s called The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. Much of what was discussed during the night is reinforced in this book. I’m about half way through and am finding some additional techniques in prayer and following a new format for making prayer more meaningful. It’s such an easy read and I gave one of our copies to my Mom on Mother’s Day.

I feel as if I’m on this wonderful journey that I’ve been invited by God to take. I don’t know how this came about. I remember seeing a link on Facebook from my friend Val to join Matthew Kelly in his Lenten program online. I signed up for those daily messages and after that, something was awakened. That’s the only way I can describe it. And, it’s interesting that I’ve been seeking silence for the past couple of years — trips to quiet towns — away from it all, away from the craziness. Maybe God has had a message for me and I just couldn’t hear it. Well now, I’m ready to listen.

Always B E L I E V E !

Falling In Love

Well, in keeping with my Lenten theme the past couple of posts, I wanted to share a beautiful quote by Father Pedro Arrupe. It’s about Love and it really spoke to my heart. So for all of you who aren’t following Matthew Kelly’s daily Lenten messages, here’s something to noodle on.

“Nothing is more practical than finding God,
than falling in love in a quite absolute way.

What you are in love with,
what seizes your imagination, will affect everything.
It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning,
what you do with your evenings,
how you spend your weekends,
what you read,
whom you know,
what breaks your heart,
and what amazes you with joy and gratitude.
Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything.”

Always B E L I E V E !

Oh, one last thought — check out Father Pedro Arrupe’s Wikipedia page. What this man experienced in his lifetime was nothing short of amazing.

In Search of Happiness

This prayer came through as part of my message today for Lent from Matthew Kelly at Dynamic Catholic. It’s just beautiful and what a great prayer for the start of this week. It came with the message that you can only find happiness within God’s plan for your life. I believe in God’s plan, as he has guided both Tom and me on our journey together. This week I will look for happiness.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardships as the pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that you will make all things right, if I current to your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with you forever in the next. Amen.
The Serenity Prayer

And yesterday, part of Matthew’s message was that “it is Jesus you seek when you dream of happiness…it is he who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is he who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle…the courage to commit yourselves humbly and patiently to improving yourselves and society…”
St. Pope John Paul II

Yes, only God truly knows what is deep within my heart. Tom comes in a close second, but there’s just no way he can know everything. God does know how I struggle in this life from a moral standpoint with what’s going on in this crazy world — and how much I hide my true feelings so I can blend in easier — gosh that never used to be who I was! Somewhere along the way, I decided I needed to blend in.

Back when Matthew Kelly challenged me to think about what I was resisting in order to move forward, it had come to me that I seriously needed to let go of some things that I was holding onto. Some of these things are the same things that have caused me to close myself off and not be so forthright and trusting — I became so serious. So as part of my Lenten journey, I am letting go and I am choosing happiness. Watch out world, Pam Miller Peters is getting her mojo back. And I’m excited to be who I am in all ways, even if I don’t blend in.

Always B E L I E V E !

I’m Not Giving Up Chocolate This Year

So, what am I giving up for Lent? I don’t think it’s a matter of what I’m giving up as to what I’m going to do this year to make my life better. I signed up for daily messages from Matthew Kelly at DynamicCatholic.com. They’ve created a campaign called Best Lent Ever, where you can sign up for Lenten inspiration through thought-provoking messages. Dynamic Catholic is committed to re-energizing the Catholic church in America by developing world-class resources that inspire people to rediscover the genius of Catholicism! I love that. What a fantastic mission!

I also read six-minute meditations from my “Little Black Book.” The church provides these little books that cover the 40 days of Lent (plus days leading up to Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter) with scripture readings from Luke’s passion narrative with reflections. I look forward to reading them every year. It’s one small thing I can do to consciously think about Lent every day.

So, I also had my first session yesterday with my new personal & business coach, Barbara. And, after we went strong for over three and half hours before breaking, I started to think about how things in my life are coming to a culmination. Some of the exercises and things I need to think about for my next meeting with Barbara are crossing the message that I received today from Matthew Kelly and my Little Black Book. God, I am listening.

First, Barbara has asked me to find time each day to “relax”. To just “be”. And it took us a while to define what that meant. No, it’s not working on my computer with the TV on in the background. No, it’s not shopping online. She determined that I always had to have something to focus my mind on. And that probably meant there was something that I didn’t really want to think about if everything was quiet. Of course, she’s completely correct. The times I am in complete silence, I think about things that sometimes make me cry. It’s usually when I lay down at night to pray. And as I talk to God, all my fears and short-comings come pouring out.

But before I heard of Matthew Kelly’s daily messages, or had Barbara’s homework assignment, I had decided to take 15 minutes a day to meditate during Lent, in addition to the Little Black Book. And to meditate around something with meaning that could move my life forward. I mentioned this to Barbara, and she immediately said, “and that’s an excellent thing for you to focus on for Lent.” Barbara is encouraging me to meditate and think about something that will help me move forward. Matthew’s message today was simple, “Resistance. What in your life are you resisting that’s holding you back from moving forward with God’s plan?” And the message from the Little Black Book — Jesus looked to the past the night when the Israelites escaped from slavery in Egypt, but he also looked to the future to the great banquet in Heaven. How am I looking into the past with my joys and sorrows, success and failures, etc. And how am I looking forward?

Wow! It’s like everything is coming together, and I have a challenge in front of me! God, I am listening!!!

So, what am I resisting? What is it that I need to do to move forward? How is God speaking to me? I guess now I have something to meditate around — and can I find the answer? Is it inside of me? Sometimes these kinds of things make me freeze up and get a block. I came home from work and said to Tom, “The message I got today for Lent is asking what I am resisting. So what do you think I am resisting in my life to move forward with God’s Plan?” His answer was, “Change.” I said, “What do you mean? There’s so much change in my life, and I’m usually leading it.” and he said, “I don’t know — it just sounded good.”

So, I’m on my own with this one. Maybe tomorrow’s message will help think about it in a different way. If you haven’t signed up for Matthew’s daily messages, join me! And if you’re interested in getting your own copy of The Little Black Book, you can visit their website at www.littlebooks.org.

Always  B E L I E V E !