When uncertain about God’s will, it is very important that we tell ourselves: “Even if there are aspects of God’s will that escape me, there are always others that I know for sure and can invest in without any risk, knowing that this investment always pays dividends.” These certainties include fulfilling the duties of our state in life and practicing the essential points of every Christian vocation. There is a defect here that needs to be recognized and avoided: finding ourselves in darkness about God’s will on an important question . . . we spend so much time searching and doubting or getting discouraged, that we neglect things that are God’s will for us every day, like being faithful to prayer, maintaining trust in God, loving the people around us here and now. Lacking answers about the future, we should prepare to receive them by living today to the full.
“I’ve had to learn to go slow, much slower, to take things at the pace of prayer; to stand and to wait.”
Beethoven’s 5 Secrets – OneRepublic – The Piano Guys
Skit Guys – God’s Chisel Remastered
In America we have education for success, but no education for suffering. There is instead the filter, the well-meaning deception, that teaches neither religious hope nor stoicism, and when suffering arrives encourages group hysteria, private shame and a growing contagion of despair.
How to educate for suffering is a question for a different column. Here I’ll just stress its necessity: Because what cannot be cured must be endured, and how to endure is, even now, the hardest challenge every one of us will face.
The Misery Filter, by Ross Douthat
A Prayer for Our Children
Dear Jesus Christ, you know what our children are up against in this culture, you know what I’m up against as a parent. And yet you clearly said, “In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Give me the courage and motivation I need to protect my children in this pornified culture.
Give me the words to speak as I warn them about the dangers of pornography, and bless my children that they may understand my warnings.
Help me to be merciful, patient, and kind with my children after they do see pornography. They didn’t ask to be born into this pornified culture, that wasn’t their fault.
You are always loving, compassionate, and merciful with me, dear Jesus, help me be like that for my children.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of death. Amen.
Learn to say this prayer: “Dear Lord, bless [annoying person’s name] and have mercy on me!”
In between staring out the window, reading books and catching some extra shut-eye during my daily treks to work and classes, I noticed people who looked like they could use a prayer, so I would silently ask God to bless them. It wasn’t always the ones who looked homeless, or seemed to be “on” something or looked like they were about to explode; oftentimes my fellow travelers didn’t appear outwardly needy at all, but there was a weariness in their eyes or a way they would strike me, and I’d ask God to bless them.
It became a habit to do this, a way I could intercede for others in the midst of my everyday life.
St. Rita of Cascia devoted her life to the care of plague victims, without ever becoming infected with the disease. Immediately after her death she was venerated as a protector from the plague and was named the patroness of “impossible causes.” We request her intercessory prayer through a form such as this:
In the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit:
Under the weight of my burden, I turn to you, dear Rita, holy woman and saint. I am confident that you will hear my prayers and intercede on my behalf.
You, who were chosen by God to be an advocate for those whose cases are most desperate, have the graces necessary to understand my need. [Mention your intention.]
If my sins are an obstacle, impeding the fulfillment of my urgent plea, I beg you to obtain for me, from God, the necessary grace to see and understand my sinfulness, that I may, in sincere contrition, make a heartful reconciliation through the sacrament of penance.
From the glory of heaven, have compassion upon me, you who suffered by the grace of the thorn and the rose, that my suffering and anxieties may be lessened, that I may bear my crosses with courage, contentment and trust. I will everywhere proclaim my debt and friendship to you.
Oh, Bride of Jesus crucified, help me to live well and to die well. Amen.
It may seem strange given all the leisure activities that exist in the modern world, but it’s now become something not for the faint of heart to carve out time each day to pray, to study Scripture, or to read a good Catholic book. Finding that time inevitably involves dropping something else. So, as we go through our day, we ought constantly to be judging how important something is to our salvation. Does it advance our salvation or retard it? The good thing is that the more we make the good choices and the more that we just step up and choose, the better we become at choosing the right thing.
I say “our” because we are not involved exclusively with our own salvation. We are carrying everyone else along with us. Now, when the baby needs to be fed or changed, of course, she is at the top of the list. However, once everyone has been taken care of, we usually have some wiggle room: five minutes here, five minutes there. Drop a TV show, don’t read a trashy newspaper, don’t surf your life away online. And we can prepare for those moments. Have some prayers written out and placed around the house; read one when you get a few moments.
According to The Morning Offering, the Patron Saint of dysfunctional families is St. Eugene de Mazenod (1782-1861). His Feast Day is May 21st.
Put aside your hatred and animosity. Take pains to refrain from sharp words. If they escape your lips, do not be ashamed to let your lips produce the remedy, since they have caused the wounds. Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury. The recollection of an injury is itself wrong. It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good. It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul. It puts all virtue to flight.
Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC: The Message of Divine Mercy
Jesus, I trust in You!
What was your relationship with your father like? I’ll bet it wasn’t perfect. That’s because your father was human and wasn’t perfect, but there is a deeper reason.
It has to do with the way you’re wired. You were designed to need the perfect — I mean absolutely perfect — unconditional and complete love of a Father. In other words, you have within you a need for a Father that no human father can ever fulfill.
This is why so many people grow up and rebel against their fathers or blame their fathers or hate their fathers. They perceive that their father has failed them.
What made me come to this conclusion was speaking to a number of people over the years in counseling who blamed their father for their problems. Then when I looked at the facts objectively I realized that the fathers they were complaining about were actually pretty good guys.
I’ve had situations where the father was a good Christian man who provided for his wife and family, never cheated on his spouse, loved his kids and spent time with them, but they still blamed him for being a lousy Dad.
. . .
I believe we all — to a greater or lesser extent — carry within us something I call the Father Wound. This is the wound we received from not having a perfect father. The wound may be deep and lasting — disabling and poisoning every part of our personality, sexuality and relationships — or it may be less profound, but present nonetheless.
How does this wound show itself? It is revealed in a multitude of ways: the person may find it impossible to trust anyone in authority. They may perceive all “father figures” as the enemy. When faced with a “father relationship” at work, in sports, at church (or most anywhere), an ordinarily mature and sensible person may rebel, undermine the “father” or reject him. They may give that person the silent treatment or walk out on him. In other words, they will exhibit immature behaviors — reacting like a child or an adolescent responds to the negative father figure.
The Father wound may reveal itself in distorted sexualities. The genesis of some homosexual conditions are rooted in the search for the loving father. Some immature heterosexual conditions present as the little girl looking for “Daddy”. The wound may show itself in a person’s inability to accept himself or herself, in poor self esteem, immature rage and aggression towards others … the Father Wound can be at the root of a whole range of other difficulties.
Radical feminists, for example, often rage against “the patriarchal system”. To be sure there have always been aggressive and abusive fathers, but to accuse all fathers and all men because of the evil of some is unrealistic and unhelpful. The answer to bad fathers is not no fathers, but good fathers.
How beautiful then, that Our Lord gives us just the one prayer which covers all prayers, and it is the “Our Father“. This prayer, when prayed in a deep and meditative manner can heal the Father Wound and all it’s nasty symptoms.
Leave the past to God’s mercy, the present to God’s love, and the future to God’s providence.
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
Jesus, come and get me!
Jesus, I trust in you.
Come, Holy Spirit, come!
Dear God, if today I lose my hope please remind me that your plans are better than my dreams. Amen.
Lord, give me whatever the most Blessed Virgin Mary asks for me.
I call myself a “former” atheist but that really is not the best label. I still am (and hope to always be) connected with all of the things I ever have been, in some way. Many people expect me to speak about my past as if I am terribly contrite and embarrassed. But I am only ashamed of the ways I did not love God and others. I am not ashamed of the seeking, the wrestling, and the questioning. I am not ashamed of being eccentric and bold, an odd rebel. I have not discarded my past, nose wrinkled, as if it were smelly garbage.
I think it is important for us to see our sin as God sees it. He knows precisely which things that may have led us to sin that will also, with the proper training, lead us to be saints. St. Paul was an overly zealous Pharisee, a rule-idolater and a violent persecutor. But much of what made him sin in the name of God was also what lent itself to his future holiness. Each of us has a unique gift to give others and the Church, and God often draws on the most unexpected aspects of our personalities and talents to do so.
I found myself praying the oddest prayer the other day.
“Dear Lord, I used to wish you would cure my natural skepticism but now I never want you to take it away. I don’t want an easy, naive faith. Make my faith daring, bold, and unashamed but never take away my understanding for those who doubt. I always want to be united with those on the fringes of the Church, those who find no understanding, those cast out of ‘insider’ circles, the doubters, the seekers, the eccentrics, and the misfits. From a Church of ‘in-crowds’ and comfort, deliver me Lord.”
As we have seen, there is sometimes a big difference between what God is actually asking of us, and what we imagine he is asking. We won’t have the grace to do what God is not asking of us. But for what he is asking, he has promised us his grace: God grants what he commands. When God inspires us to do something (if it really is God who is the source of the inspiration), at the same time he supplies the ability to do it, even if it is beyond our capacity or scares us at the start. Every motion that comes from God brings both the light to understand what God intends, and the strength to accomplish it: light that illuminates the mind, and strength that gives power to the will.