I often sit in awe of God in the Holy Family while taken aback by realizing what a weakling St. Joseph was. His wife was perfect, and his son was God. Yet he was head of household, the decision maker. That had to be intimidating! Honestly reflecting upon this experience of awe in God begins the humbling experience of realizing your so-called ‘discerned’ and ‘holy’ choices weren’t so holy or discerned after all. But don’t beat yourself up over it. St. Joseph did the same thing when deciding to divorce Mary quietly, and God had to send him an angel to set him straight. May God do so for us too!
There are many lessons to be learned from Candlemas.
Consistently in the lives of the saints, two practices are found: (1) mental prayer, and (2) a practice of reviewing one’s day in dialogue with God. St. Ignatius of Loyola captured this daily review in the examen prayer. For some reason, when I first learned the examen, I just couldn’t wrap my brain around it because my way of thinking didn’t seem to fit into that prayer. After several months, I finally could remember the steps, use my calendar to help me remember my day, and found a time to pray it when I could stay awake. My life wasn’t exciting enough to keep me from dozing off…but the truth was I didn’t yet have the zeal for the spiritual life to uncover God’s presence in every moment.
I eventually realized that if there was something so different about God’s way of thinking from my own, then there was something very wrong with my way of thinking!
Some believe these are the end times; others, a minor tribulation. Many believe neither, as Christian societies have seen far worse times in history. All will agree, however, that the enemy is attacking us and many feel it in their everyday life. How do we respond in the heat of the battle? Kick Butt! The Quick Guide to Spiritual Warfare is unique in providing the tactics within the context of the spiritual relationship with God and from the reader’s lived experience. Accessibly organized for personal reading, Kick Butt! complements other books on the topic, formations such as oblates, Exodus 90 and Ignatian retreats, deliverance work, ministry and pastoral work. Self-publishing keeps price low ($2.99 Kindle/$6.99 print) making it available to Christians in nearly any circumstances. Available on Amazon.
In December we awaited the Christ Child. On Gaudete Sunday we shouted rejoice! On Christmas day He arrived, and we celebrated for an octave. Christmas is now behind us and we are well into the new year. Jesus continues to give us the gift of His Spirit in every breath; the love between Him and His Father animating our very being. He continues to give His Sacred humanity to us in the Sacraments. The best New Year’s resolutions will be those that serve to focus us on this very reality every day. Review and revise those resolutions so they can bring you more deeply into relationship with Him, and through that bring His love into your relationships with others. Then, take concrete steps to extend that love to others.
In 2021, share the gift of you.
With all good intentions we seek the path to sanctity, doing whatever we can fit into the day: fasting, rosaries, novenas, good deeds to others. But the path to sanctity isn’t in the ‘doing’. It is in surrendering to God. It is out of surrender that ‘doing’ comes. In the not-too-distant past, people could recognize a Catholic not by the clothes or crucifixes worn but by how they think, shown by how they speak and act. A Catholic mind is formed by God and so holds no duplicity.
Can people recognize you as Catholic not by label (pro-life, pro-marriage) but rather simply by your way of being?