Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday's Reflection

Last night I finished the section on "giving" in Henri Nouwen's book, but that isn't what has been on my mind lately. In my prayer last night I started to reflect on how I've been annoyed and angered easily as of late. My mentor at the parish said she thinks Lent is an easy time to succomb to those times - we're also going out into the desert and what better place to be tempted and lose our sight of God than this time we're supposed to focus on Him all the more. I was going to blog about all of this last night, but...I fell asleep. I probably needed it, plus it was for the better! Today as I was reading a friend's blog I read this awesome article on preparing for the sacrament of penance, but it was also concerned with what I was reflecting on last night - going past the external things and digging deeper into the root of our issues.

This morning as I was driving I reminded myself that today I was going to choose love and kindness over being annoyed, frustrated, and angry. After all, this life isn't about me and having things my way. It's about God and doing things His way.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Today's Short Post

The new Catechism for Adults if broken up into chapters and each one ends with a meditation. The one for the first chapter is taken from book 10 of The Confessions by St. Augustine. He professes his deep love for God in this meditation. He also says, "You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness." These words were used by Matt Maher in his song Alive Again, which is fantastic. I think it's pretty applicable to Lent as well. Take a listen and reflect on it for yourself. :)

Sunday's Reflection

"We are chosen, blessed, and broken so as to be given."

"True joy, happiness, and inner peace come from the giving of ourselves to others."

"I think that our deepest human desire is to give ourselves to each other as a source of physical, emotional, and spiritual growth."

Nouwen has it right again! Sometimes we think that we have nothing to give others, but we forget about the gift of our own lives. We can give of ourselves in so many ways, and it's not just of our money and material possessions. I mean the true gift of self, of who we are, uniquely created and gifted to be. We can share our joys but we can also share our sorrows.

As the Beloved of Christ, he gave us his everything. All three Persons of the Trinity are life-giving. The Father gives us life and He also gives us beautiful gifts of creation and nature. Jesus gave us his life and gave us salvation. The Spirit gives us so many gifts! We only need to ask... or do we? Grace is a free gift and we don't do a single thing to merit it. Amazing.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Media Break

Alright, this post isn't really related to Lent, but I wanted to give a shout out for two CDs I bought last night. I was at LifeWay and they had TobyMac's new cd on sale AND Francesca Battistelli's album for $5. What a steal. I've been a fan of TobyMac for quite some time, always intrigued by his hip hop beats and his lyrics. His albums continue to impress and the newest always seems better than the last. On his latest album, "Tonight," he has familiar sounds from previous CDs, but I'd say he has branched out in his music as well, ever growing in his creativity.

The first time I heard Francesca Battistelli on the radio I really liked her song "Free to be Me." I've heard several of her songs since then, but I was really digging her entire album, "My Paper Heart," when I was listening to it in the car today. It's neat when albums actually hold a theme to the music, and Francesca does just that. Her music is catchy and her lyrics are very relevant to the lives that we live today and becoming who we are called to be.

I'd post a video for Tobymac's City on our Knees, but because it's still new, I can't embed that particular video, but here is one from Francesca.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Little Black Book

The Scripture verse today in my little black book (lenten reflection booklet) was taken from Mark 14:3 and it is about the woman in Bethany who anoints the head of Jesus with expensive oil. Placing myself into the story, I think I would have been really nervous, anointing the head of my Savior. But maybe the woman didn't know exactly who Jesus was... or did she? She came to him, freely giving a gift that was costly. Are we willing to bring our treasure to the Lord?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Life of the Beloved

I am a Henri Nouwen fan. I now have several of his books but I've never actually finished one. I'm quite terrible at finishing books, unless it's fiction and I need to know how it will be resolved. I guess that is part of why I want to incorporate more spiritual reading into my Lenten journey. For the past two months I have been working on Nouwen's Life of the Beloved. It's a very simple book that focuses on us, the beloved children of God, and how we can be, become, and live as the beloved. Becoming the beloved involves being "taken, blessed, broken, and given." I'm currently reading on being broken.

We're all broken and we all know we're broken. Nowen says we are alone in our brokenness: each human being suffers in a way no other human being suffers. I can't say I've ever thought of that before. We always try to find ways to comfort the broken and afflicted and people try to comfort us by trying to be empathic. Just because I have lost grandparents to death does not mean that I will fully understand the pain that you may go through when one day you (whoever you are) lose a grandparent.

I think we try to hide and cover up our brokenness. "Everything is ok," "I'll be alright," "Oh, don't worry about me." And we never like to cry in front of people. At least I don't, and I'm sure there are others who feel the same. Last night Jeremy and I were playing racquetball. After our water break we began our second game and I was serving. The ball went behind me and I turned around to watch Jeremy hit it. I saw it alright, I saw the ball coming right at me and it hit my left cheek (I thank God it did not hit my eye). Jeremy came over and asked if I was alright and I simply started crying. Yes, it hurt, but I think I was more in shock and I think I cried for all the times I didn't cry. If I was with others I probably would have tried to pass it off and said "I'll be alright," but I told Jeremy that we should go back and ice it. Maybe the icing did help, but this morning I was almost surprised to see that I did not have a bruise on my face, it was only a tiny bit red. So yes, I probably would have been fine last night and could have kept playing, after getting over the shock of being hit, but I let my brokenness out and it felt good.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From Beads to Ashes

I walked into the office this morning just in time to catch the children from The Learning Center parading around in their masks and handing out beads. I immediately received four beaded necklaces from the little ones - what can I say, I'm loved! I also have the biggest beaded necklace with a plastic mask on it hanging from the corner of my door. Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. A strange "holiday." You only celebrate it for the duration of one day. You don't really want to decorate for it early and you certainly don't want to leave your mardi gras things hanging up because the next day is Ash Wednesday and I can imagine the comedian, Jim Gaffigan, saying "that would be inappropriate."

So today I'm wearing brightly colored beads around my neck and tomorrow I'll be fasting and starting my Lenten resolutions. Is "resolution" even the right word to use? Well anyway, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. In a previous blog post I mentioned giving up coffee, and while I would still like to follow through with that one to the best of my ability, I had a revelation last night (or this morning?) about something better that I could do: wake up when my alarm goes off and NOT hit the snooze button. I used to be so good about not hitting "snooze" all throughout college, but this past year hasn't been the best for that. I've been praying a lot about what I should do for Lent and I really want to strengthen my relationship with Jesus. I think it has fallen to the wayside at times within the last year and a half and I want that to turn around. How will not hitting snooze help me with this you might ask? If I can get up earlier and actually get out of bed, then I can make time in the morning for some prayerful reading and reflection. Of course I want to increase the amount of silent prayer, but I'd also like to do more spiritual reading.

So here's the thing: I want to read from Scriptures or another spiritual book (ones that I have already started). In order for that reading to become something more to me and not just words I'm reading for the sake of reading, I will blog about them. It may only be a couple sentences or perhaps it will extend to several paragraphs. Whatever the case, daily blogging will keep me accountable. Disciple is hard, but it has to start somewhere and sometime...

Monday, February 15, 2010


Today I watched an interesting little video about "moments." Technically, a moment is 90 seconds. I didn't know that... but who really watches the clock when they reference a moment. How do you "live in the moment" when your focus is on time? This video seems to be saying that everything is a "moment." Some moments are insignificant, others change the course of our lives. I don't think we're even aware of most of the moments in our lives. We take pictures to "capture the moment" - either we're obsessed with remembering things or we're obsessed with seeing ourselves (let's be honest, those insignificant pictures are always posted on facebook). Don't get me wrong, I enjoy taking pictures and I like to look back over them to remember the good times, but sometimes we really do just need to simply live in the moment, not worry about fiddling with our camera, checking our email or text messages on our phone, and enjoy the present and the presence of those around us.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


Lent is coming up soon (two weeks and a day) and already I have decided to give up coffee. Scary, I know, but I figured this would be very sacrificial for me! So far I've gone without it today, but I'm starting to lag a little bit. Mmm water. Nope, just doesn't have the same taste or effect of coffee! So, in light of my coffee free day, so far, here are some great coffee pictures.

And quite a scandalous one I found:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Unexpected Grace

We suspect the obvious
with the drone of the day distracting our thoughts,
lost in our daily routines,
bound by normalcy and the dullness of sleep,
until we are awaken by the Spirit,
embraced by freedom and love,
love dancing to unheard music in the soul
like the flicker of a flame,
enlightening our hearts, our own love,
to the Master's love.