Tag Archives: Lent

Ordinary Opportunities

Today is Good Friday. I’ve looked back my Lenten plans from February 15. My goal was to identify the road blocks in my life that impede God’s plan for me, and I outlined steps I could take to let go of things from my past. Today, those are complete and this is the first Lenten season that I spent time in prayer and meditation with God daily.

I wanted to share one last video post from Matthew Kelly. It’s message is truly inspiring. I wish everyone a very Blessed Easter and lots of opportunity.

Opportunity

 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.

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 ! 

Words That Cut

Words are powerful phrases for how we communicate with each other. It’s often difficult to know when and how to say things to make situations easier. Or sometimes your own frustrations cause you to say things you wish you could take back. Sometimes the people you love the most are the ones whose words cut the deepest.

For me, I can think about something someone says for a very long time and try to analyze it every way possible. Could they have meant something else? Did they say it out of jealously? Or maybe frustration? Is it what they believe or what someone else believes? Why did they say it? Did they know it would hurt me? Did they not realize it would hurt me until after they said it? Was my expression so unreadable that they didn’t think it really bothered me or I cared? Would they have to say something more harsh next time to get a reaction from me? What kind of reaction did they want to achieve? Did I just over analyze a simple statement that someone made? Did it really mean anything at all?

And has the shoe been on the other foot? Have I said something that hurt someone out of spite? Did I try to take it back? Did I know it would hurt someone? Did I hurt someone and not even know I did, because they were so unreadable? Did I say something under my breath out of frustration? Yea, I’m notable for that and not proud of it.

It’s just in my nature to over-analyze every situation, so why would I not try to figure out what something meant that someone said to me that cut to the heart? I know we’re more than halfway through Lent, but now I know that for what’s left of this Lenten season, I’m going to be more aware of everything around me. Instead of having to analyze someone’s words, maybe I could have done something so that words would never have occurred in the first place.

Always B E L I E V E.

Lord Let Me Walk

Lord Let Me Walk
(By Jack Miffleton)

Lord let me walk that lonely road with you,
Under the weight of the wood.
Lord let me walk that last mile in your shoes,
Under the weight of the wood.

*Refrain:
Freedom can be found, laden down,
Under the weight of the wood.

Lord let me cool your lips baked like clay,
Under the weight of the wood.
Dried up like rain on a hot and dusty day,
Under the weight of the wood.*

They gave you gall and sour wine for your food,
Under the weight of the wood.
Father forgive them; they don’t know what they do,
Under the weight of the wood.*

Lord, must the journey always end this way,
Under the weight of the wood?
How many times have we nailed you up today,
Under the weight of the wood?*

Operation Rice Bowl

Operation Rice Bowl

Operation Rice Bowl

Okay, so I was able to snag a “Little Black Book” at 4 pm mass at St. Ferdinand’s tonight. The Little Black Book is a collection of Lenten reflections and six minute meditations for each day leading up to Easter. Tom and I went early so I could look for it in the back of church, and I had about 20 minutes to read the daily thoughts from this past week and get caught up through today. Today’s reflection was called “Operation Rice Bowl” and it made me smile, because it reminded me of what I had planned for Lent.

The history dates back to 1975 when various Pennsylvania churchmen (a ecumenical effort that included Catholic, Jewish, Presbyterian, Episcopal and Lutheran participation) got together and created the rice bowl program to respond to a severe drought in Africa. And then again in 1976, Catholic Relief Services sponsored Operation Rice Bowl for the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia.

Since then, Operation Rice Bowl is an annual Lenten practice where parishioners place a cardboard container in their homes, and the money saved because of their fasting and the things they give up for Lent is put into the “rice bowl.” At the end of Lent, the rice bowl filled with the family’s offerings is brought to Mass, and the money is used for hunger relief in the local diocese and development projects in poor nations.

So I guess I need to change the name of my swearing jar to the rice bowl! I may not be participating in parish-wide program, but none-the-less I think I’ll add my dollars to my “rice bowl.” Which, by the way, has $9 in it today.

Lent is Upon Us

King Cake in celebration of Mardi Gras

King Cake in celebration of Mardi Gras

It’s that time of the year again. We celebrated Fat Tuesday at work with tons of baked goods, including a King Cake, donuts, cupcakes, brownies, cookies and all other kinds of sweets. Our kitchen was literally jammed with containers full of sweets, but by the end of the day on Thursday it was slim pickens!

So another Lenten season is upon us. I meant to pick up “my little black book” in church last week, but I had left my gloves in the pew and was too worried about finding them that I left without getting one! So, my daily Lenten ritual is missing. Hopefully I can still get a book this weekend in church.

We went with friends tonight to a fish fry at St. Teresa of Avila in the North Hills. During our meal, we mapped out all the fish frys we plan to attend this season, including St. Benedict the Abbott in Murrysville where my brother is Pastor. It’s a nice Friday night social outing for us and we’re able to support the area church fundraisers.

Once I got home, my husband fell asleep while watching the Pens game and left me sitting here thinking about Lent. What am I giving up for Lent? During dinner we had laughed at Gert’s Mom and Dad. They gave up highballs. That made me laugh out loud. I don’t know anyone who drinks highballs anymore, and not at the amount that it’s a sacrifice to stop drinking them!

So I’m giving up swearing. Yep, it’s going to be very difficult. Some of the things that come out of my mouth are actually terms of endearment! Quite a few swear words have made it into my normal conversations, especially at work, and I’ve been wanting to break this awful habit. They’re part of my everyday vocabulary — I use them as adjectives or expletives to get my point across. I know I can do it, because I am able to control my conversations with clients and around my Mom.

I know it’s going to be difficult and I know I’ll have slips. So, I’ve decided that I’m going to keep track of every time I swear, and for every time I swear, I’m adding a dollar to a charity jar that I will keep for an entire year. And at the end of this year, I will use it for Christmas gifts for a needy family.

So as we begin our journey through Lent, know that I’ll be saving dollar bills. I wish you all luck with all those things you give up this Lent!