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Quote for Thought from Jesus Calling

Eucharistic adorationFrom the wonderful book “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young, part of the meditation for January 25:

“Sit still in the Light of My Presence and receive  my Peace. These quiet moments with Me transcend time, accomplishing far more than you can imagine. Bring Me the sacrifice of your time, and watch to see how abundantly I bless you and your loved ones…Enjoy the tempo of a God-breathed life by letting Me set the pace. Hold My hand in childlike trust, and the way before you will open up step by step.”

Go sit before the Blessed Sacrament or in Eucharistic Adoration. It’s transformative!

God’s Bucket List Item No. 1: Live with Stillness

In Teresa Tomeo’s new book, “God’s Bucket List,” she challenges us to forget our own to-do lists and consider what God would put on our bucket list. Essentially, she’s invoking the age-old idea of getting out of your own way and turning your life over to God. In a recent interview, she put it this way: “If God’s your co-pilot, you’d better changes seats! He should be the pilot!”

That’s certainly a path I’ve been on over the last year or two. So I wanted to stop and ponder each of the items that Teresa considers are likely on God’s Bucket List for most and see how I’m doing. No. 1 on the list? Live with stillness. She quotes from scripture, “Be still and know that I am God.” — Psalm 46:10.

I have always sought stillness and solitude in my life. I’ve never been much for noise and loudness. Since childhood, I was the quiet person — the one you could find curled up in a chair with a good book rather than out at the neighborhood party.

Growing up and into my 20’s I could find that quiet and silence when I needed it without any demands on my time except my early jobs and my boyfriend, now husband. I explored yoga and meditation and ventured down the new age path of philosophies and communion with God.

When I had my kids, my silence pretty much got flushed down the toilet! And that was a huge challenge for me — and still is. My kiddos, both boys, pretty much make noise constantly whether actual words or just “noise” and silliness. My youngest is quite the talker and since he was a baby was literally always “saying” something.

So stillness is how God “hooked” me into the Catholic church. He called me there and I went, and after I experienced the peace and solitude, I kept coming back for more and more.

I was truly surprised at how much emphasis the Catholic church puts on meditation, reflection and silence in the presence of God. It reminded me a lot of my new age experiences. I love meditation, which I had already honed in my yoga and other practices, but with the focus on Jesus and in the presence of the Eucharist, it reaches its true fulfillment. Once you truly learn how to let go of the world around you, the joy and peace that wells up inside during meditation is unmatchable.

So now I try to attend daily mass whenever I can, spend time in the Blessed Sacrament as often as possible, pray multiple times daily and do spiritual reading at home. When my body is screaming for quiet, these activities refill my tank, so I can be  noisy with my family without pulling my hair out. 🙂

“He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” — Psalm 23:2, one of my favorite verses.

If you can be still, this is where you will “hear” God. I have been called to do many things during the still times of my life that I would have missed had I not taken the time to slow down and listen.

How are you doing with bucket list item No. 1? Please share!

No 2 on Teresa’s bucket list: Live your passion. Stay tuned…

 

Adoration: Spending an Hour With the Lord to Change Your Life

Eucharistic AdorationThroughout all the reading I’ve done and homilies I’ve attended, it seems a big theme that stands out is the necessity to spend time in Adoration. For those of you new to Catholicism, that means time spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament, which is Jesus present in the Eucharist.

Most churches have Blessed Sacrament chapels where the consecrated Eucharist (made flesh by the Priest) is held reverently. There are also times for Eucharistic Adoration where the Eucharist is exposed (otherwise, it is covered) for set periods of time, such as during Lent or Advent, though some churches offer Perpetual Adoration where it is continually on display always with some one to “sit” with Jesus.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus asks his disciples to sit with him while he prays, but they fall asleep. He asks them “Can you not sit with me one hour?” This is where the concept of a “holy hour” comes from. Jesus asks us if we can sit one hour with him. Not to much to ask :).

So, for a Holy Hour, you can sit with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament or in Eucharistic Adoration, praying, meditating, sitting in silence, reading, etc. Can you believe we actually have the opportunity to sit WITH Jesus? That’s beyond amazing when you think about it. Why would we pass up that opportunity?

I am personally fascinated by reading stories of how people came to be called to their vocation (priesthood, married life, etc.) and so often you’ll hear them say they began to discern their vocation after time spent in Adoration. It seems to be an incredibly powerful thing :), no doubt about it!

I am making it one of my religious resolutions for 2013 to spend one hour with the Lord in Adoration each week and see where it takes me. I’m studying a book right now called Into the Silent Land about Christian contemplation/meditation and what better place to practice than in Adoration?

To this point, I’ve had good intentions of going to Adoration but keep telling myself “as soon as I get caught up…” I’ll start this practice. Well, surprise, surprise, I never got caught up and probably never will :). So it’s officially scheduled on my calendar and other things will have to work around it.

I’d love to hear from others about their experience in regularly going to Adoration. How has it changed your life for the better?

Religious Resolutions: My Spiritual Tasks for 2013

RCIA CatholicismAs we begin 2013, I find it the right time to begin to more consciously make an effort to eliminate bad habits and add new, productive habits into my life. I’ve spent the last year learning about Catholicism (barely scratching the surface!) but at least I’m informed enough now to have an idea of what changes I need to make to better my life.

So I thought I’d share with you, in the hopes you’ll share with me, my 2013 religious resolutions! In yesterday’s blog post, I talked about ways I will try to stick to these habits and how the structure of the church helps me in creating a routine that will become a part of my daily life. I plan to work on these resolutions slowly, focusing on one at a time until I feel like I’ve got that one adopted fairly well. Here we go…

My 2013 Religious Resolutions:

  • Pray the Rosary weekly. Also, pray a decade of the Rosary with my children weekly dedicated to someone in need or their recently deceased grandmother as a way to remember and honor her.
  • Spend an hour of adoration weekly in the Blessed Sacrament chapel or at Eucharistic Adoration when available.
  • Read the Bible daily and begin to explore Lectio Divino (a conscious reflecting of Biblical texts)
  • Blog at least 5 times per week on my Catholic Newbie blog.
  • Begin to work Christian meditation/contemplation into my routine (not sure how much yet)
  • Keep my body healthy by practicing moderation (not over indulging) in eating and by exercising my body 2-3 times weekly.
  • Once I am able (when I become fully Catholic), attend Reconciliation monthly.
  • Begin introducing my oldest son (8) to Adoration time.
  • Donate the amount we would spend on eating out for one meal monthly to our family’s choice of charity and have PB&J that night instead :).
  • Volunteer at a local charity one day per month.
  • Increase my tithing and donate more of my money to charitable organizations.
  • Engage my children in more charitable and volunteer activities.
  • Attend Mass weekly (I pretty much have this one down already :))
  • Be courageous in following God’s will.
  • Pray at least 2 Liturgy of the Hours daily.
  • Continue reading daily the Read the Catechism in a Year email.
  • Take one silent retreat this year.
  • Remember to see Christ in every one.
  • Get up earlier!

OK, so that’s a long list! Yikes! But these are all things I really want to work on. I think the key is to focus on one at a time so as not to get overwhelmed and do the best I can.

What are your Religious Resolutions for the New Year? Please share them and help hold me accountable to these!

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