Feast of Saints Phillip and James

This prayer from the Magnificat this morning brought tears to my eyes:
O Lord our God, you chose to build your Church upon the faith of ordinary people made extraordinary by the companionship of your Son and the power of the Holy Spirit. Keep us faithful to the gift which they received with such joy and handed on at such cost, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ordinary people – just like me. O Lord help me to be worthy of the trust You placed in me.

Why do I come to Adoration?

In the book of meditations I have been reading in Adoration, written by a Dominican priest, is the question “why do I come to Adoration?”. It seemed an appropriate question to think about, so I wrote the following:

At first going to Adoration seemed almost necessary when I was asked to serve as a facilitator for the Women’s Scripture study. All of the other facilitators went regularly. I knew and believed for a long time that the Eucharist was and is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. I confessed that belief each time I received the Eucharist, and it was the very reason that I returned to the Catholic Church after almost 20 years away. I wasn’t sure what I would do in the Adoration Chapel at first, so I brought books to read, a rosary, Bible, something to write on, even my text for the Bible study.

As the weeks passed, I realized that I was growing more peaceful. The peace, I thought, had to be coming from the time I had spent in the Adoration Chapel. While I didn’t feel anything unusual, something was changing me. That something was the Presence of Christ in the consecrated host.

I still come for the peace, although I had taken a break of several months when I just didn’t want to go. But the Adoration Chapel – or rather Christ Himself, kept calling me back – not in words that I could hear but in a feeling that something was missing from my life. I come and spend an hour with Jesus every Monday at noon because Christ is healing my brokenness, because He loves me with a love I cannot understand, because I feel an obligation to show my thankfulness for all He has done for me, because Jesus is here in this small room in a special way, because, perhaps most of all, I long to know Him and because, finally, He is God and I am not.

I still bring my Bible and my rosary. Sometimes I say the Rosary prayers or the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. I read my Bible, sometime gaining some new insight in the words I am reading. Today the following words “jumped out” at me from Matthew, Chapter 3, verse 8: “Bear fruit worthy of repentance.” That, to me, seems a very tall order.

Psalm 55

Morning Tea pencil drawing F. McDonald

As for me, I will cry to God and the Lord will save me.

As I read this Psalm this morning, I knew that the first lines were of Jesus, crying to God and waiting for God to save Him from all those arrayed against Him. But the last few lines: “Entrust your cares to the Lord and he will support you. He will never allow the just man to stumble.”, those lines were spoken to us. It gives me confidence and peace.

Jesus Calling

Poppies watercolor F. McDonald

Each morning I read from a day book entitled “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. The book was given to me several years ago. When I first started reading it, I thought it was a bit silly and pretentious, as it was meant to be words from Jesus to me. But after some time, meditating on the readings, I have gotten great comfort from it.

This morning’s passage included the following: “Every problem can teach you something, transforming you little by little into the masterpiece I created you to be.” I never thought of myself as a “masterpiece”, even one in the process of becoming, but I found this very comforting, that with all my warts and faults, God is at work, molding this little pot into a great work of art. I wonder what the final product will look like?

Jesus Calling

crossI just happened to pick up the book “Jesus Calling” which I haven’t read for a couple of months. The reading for today said ” Demonstrate your trust in Me by sitting quietly in My Presence.” So I did, although I can’t say I was that quiet. It was still dark outdoors. The light below the front porch reflected through the windows and formed a cross on the wall. I used that image to think about all that God has done for me, how often I have failed Him.

I will praise you Lord, for You have rescued me.

That was the Psalm response from yesterday’s Mass. The words swirl around in my head, the tune replaying over and over. Mary at prayerAnd it is so true. The Lord has rescued me.

I had not talked about this here – my experience in Adoration a few weeks ago. After talking with my spiritual advisor, she confirmed it was a gift. It was a most unusual experience. I had put away my Bible and notepad and was just sitting, speaking with the Lord. My mind grew quiet – which is so unusual – and I just sat there. It was if I were in a bubble of some kind, almost like a little static around me. I didn’t think of anything. I heard when the lady who has the next hour came in, sign in and seat herself. I heard the church bells announce 2pm, my time to leave. I kept sitting. And I continued to sit for perhaps another 5 to 6 minutes just because I was so at peace. I didn’t want to leave, but finally I knew that I must.

My advisor said that was “contemplation” though I don’t remember what I was thinking or how I got there. Maybe I am not meant to know – God led me and put me there. I am so grateful.

I have signed up for “Oremus”, an eight week class on prayer. It starts on July 9th and runs for 8 weeks on Thursday evening. Maggie is taking the class too. I am looking forward to enriching my prayer life, if it can be talked about in that way. I want my prayer life to be fruitful.

The “Our Father”

For several weeks now I have been thinking about the prayer which Jesus left to us. The Our Father. In Old Testament times the Jews thought of themselves as God’s chosen people. Sometimes they even thought of God as their Father, although to my mind I remember more often the Jews thought of themselves as children of Abraham.

The Apostles asked Jesus to teach them to pray. Jesus taught them the “Our Father”, giving them and us a way of addressing God Who created us. He is Our Father and we are all His children. I am touched by the line in the prayer “Hallowed by Thy Name.” I think of how often I abused Our Father’s name, for which I am sorry. When saying the prayer, I always hesitate at that phrase, knowing how special that phrase is, how I should be reverencing the Name of God.

“Learning Christ” – from a card from Charleston Children’s Home 1990

Teach me, my Lord, to be sweet and gentle in all the events of life – in disappointments, in the thoughtlessness of others, in the insincerity of those I trusted, in the unfaithfulness of those on whom I relied.

Let me put myself aside, to think of the happiness of others, to hide my little pains and heartaches, so that I may be the only one to suffer from them.

Teach me to profit by the suffering that comes across my path. Let me so use it that it may mellow me, not harden nor embitter me, that it may make me patient, not irritable, that it may make me broad in my forgiveness not narrow, haughty and overbearing.

May no one be less good for having come within my influence. No one less pure, less true, less kind, less noble for having been a fellow-traveler in our journey toward Eternal Life.

As I go my rounds from one distraction to another, let me whisper from time to time, a word of love to Thee. May my life be lived in the supernatural, full of power for good, and strong in its purpose of sanctity.

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This was among my mother’s things. If she was taught this in her years in the Catholic orphanage, it would explain why she was so wonderful.

Experiences at Mass

I had another strange and beautiful experience at Mass on Saturday. Fr. Brian was the celebrant.

There is a time after Communion is over that the priest or a Eucharistic Minister returns the unused Consecrated Hosts to the Tabernacle. This time Fr. Brian carried them to the Tabernacle and put them away for later use. I have been trying to pay more attention at Mass and this particular time I saw on Fr. Brian’s face a look of pure contentment as he carried the Consecrated Hosts. I have pondered all evening and this morning what I saw. I liken what I observed to that of a mother carrying a beloved child. There is a sense of mystery, joy, contentment in the look.

This is not the first time I have observed Fr. Brian during Mass. One day – perhaps I wrote of it earlier – it was as time stood still and he reached for the chalice of wine. I don’t know if it was before or after the Consecration, although I believe it would have been after the wine became the Blood of Christ. Fr. Brian’s actions seemed to be so practiced, so ordinary – if I can use that word – so natural to him that I thought at the time that he was truly called to the priesthood at birth.

Fr. Brian suggested to us, after he had returned to his seat, that we take a few moments to just sit and contemplate as we held within us Christ Himself, and listen for God to speak with us. I wonder now if he saw people leaving and wanted to stop them. But no matter. I did what he suggested. There was the tiniest whisper in my ear – I love you. And I knew that God was speaking to me. And instead of my usual “I don’t deserve Your Love”, I just accepted the words and took them to heart. The Great God of the Universe loves me.

Thinking this morning

Nativity of our LordAs I lie in bed this morning, wishing that I had not woken up so early, I began to think about my spiritual journey and how long and difficult it has been. For so many years I took God for granted, praying only when I had a need, as though it were His job to keep my satisfied. In the last few years those ideas have changed. I try daily to praise God for all He has done for me and all of us. I wonder at the beauty and majesty that is in our material world. I am amazed at the thought and planning that has gone into the creation and sustaining of all that exists. I am in awe that a God of such power and intention could love us and especially me. He must be so patient, for like a child who is learning to walk, His hand has been on mine throughout my life, leading me to the place where I am now. In the fullness of time, after leading His chosen people for centuries, He even sent Jesus to show us the way back to Him. How can I adequately give thanks to this Loving God? How can I praise Him as He should be praised?