Thursday, July 21, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 14

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.

Feast of St. Lawrence of Brindisi


Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

No distractions to speak of this morning.  Thank you, Lord!


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  The 1st half of the 1st reading was very comforting but the 2nd half was convicting.  The Gospel gave me an initial feeling of pity for those who do not see or hear the word of God in their life.  That quickly changed...

Step #3 - Join the Story

As I listened to the words of Jesus, a sense of pride entered my heart.  His words stirred me with pity for the "others", for those who do not see or hear him.  I felt bad for those people who come here to listen to him simply for entertainment...or bread.  As I looked around the crowd, I began to judge or at least guess who might not be "getting it."  My pride made me feel superior to the "others" because I was clearly one of those who hears and sees.

Then I thought, "isn't this exactly the problem or issue God has against his people in the First Reading?"  God's people were clearly chosen, but not to be set apart from the world as other or better.  Rather, they, and I, are set apart to be light and truth.  Their pride turned their eyes upon themselves and their ears to their own words.  They became deaf and blind to the will of God.

I quickly realized how easily I too become deaf and blind.  My pride in thinking that I have all of the answers blinds me to God's answers.  It makes me deaf to his word.  In this blindness and with this lack of hearing I look at God's will but do not see, I listen to his word but do not hear.

However, this is not an excuse for despair but a grace to seek humility and an encouragement to be more open to God.  In fact, I laughed a bit at myself for being so foolish as to think I have perfect vision and excellent hearing.  Lord, give me glasses and hearing aides so I can love you more!

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


Dear Lord, give me eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand.  Help me to be more humble.  Give me the grace to read your word each day as though it were for the first time.  Open my heart and let your word and your grace penetrate my heart and change me more and more into the image and likeness of your Son.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving


Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Open our eyes and ears!

Today is Thursday, I would encourage you to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Luminous Mysteries of Work.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 13

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.

Feast Day of St. Apollinaris

Happy Birthday to my dad!!!

Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

I was a bit distracted this morning by the upcoming visit of my brother-in-law and his family.  I wrote down the things that need to be done for their visit and got back to the readings.


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  The readings today are again very rich in both the 1st reading and the Gospel.  Initial thoughts were that God has a plan for each of us to be prophets in our own way in our own state in life.

Step #3 - Join the Story

Today it was very peacful to sit on the shore and listen to Jesus.  I could see him sitting in the boat with the gentle waves lapping the shore.  His voice carried across the water as he began talking about a sower and seed.

I though the sower was very foolish.  I'm sure seed is not cheap.  For the sower to be careless about where he places the seed seemed ridiculous.  Why would the sower "waste" so much seed when he knows it only grows in rich soil?  Then I realized that God is the sower and God is never stingy as I am.

God's name may be "mercy" but I believe it is also "abundance".  God doesn't hold back.  Look at the abundance of beauty in the world!  There are plants and animals of numerous kinds.  Desert, forest, ocean, ice, mountains, flat lands, and all of it beautiful.  The sower in the story is God pouring forth his word and grace upon the world.  He is not stingy, he is generous, and he is hopeful.  God wants all to be saved and so he is indiscriminate about the sowing of his graces, I'm the one who is blocking the seed and choosing where it is sown!

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


Dear God, help me to be as one of my young sons in your garden.  Help me to just want to plant your word and your grace and goodness anywhere and everywhere.  Give me the grace of abandonment of my ideas of good or bad soil, worthy or unworthy people.  Help me not to judge the soil in this world but only to sow the seed with wild, joyful abandon.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Give us the courage to continue on this challenge that your word may take root in our lives and produce an abundant harvest.

Today is Wednesday, I would encourage you to pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Glorious Mysteries of Children.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 7

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.


Feast of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha

Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

My only distraction this morning was the alarm clock distracting me from sleep.  I got up late and could read the readings until I got to work...


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  Today's Gospel is very short and it made me think of a meditation I'd written years ago that I'll share here.

Step #3 - Join the Story

This is one of those Scripture passages that makes me stop, re-read, pray through it, and in the end still not understand fully what is being said. With the first verse I am all excited. After all I need rest, I labor, and sometimes I feel like I'm being crushed by my load - my work, family, and other activities. However, as I read on I hear two mentions of a yoke. I know that a yoke is used to tie beasts of burden to farm or work implements. So, my question is "how is placing a yoke on my back going to give me rest? How is this harness of sorts going to provide "rest for my soul."

Jesus then goes on to admit that He is in fact giving me a burden - my burden is light. With one sentence I am told to come to Him for rest and the remainder of the passage tells me that I should take His yoke upon myself. What gives?

The only way I know to explain this apparent contradiction is with a life preserver or a life vest. It too is a sort of yoke, yet it is light. If we were to fall into the sea with this light and gentle yoke it would save our life. If we didn't have the life vest on, the wind and waves would overcome us and we would perish.

If we put on the easy yoke of Christ and the light burden of the Lord, we will be saved from drowning in the sea of sin. However, if we cling to that which is not from God, sin, we will sink straight to the bottom with our heavy burden.

So, what is the "yoke" of the Lord? What is the "light burden" that He gives us? The apostle John gives us the answer - "For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whomever is begotten by God conquers the world." 1 John 5:3


FROM THE SAINTS - "Any other burden opresses and crushes you, but Christ's actually takes weight off you. Any other burden weighs down, but Christ's gives you wings. If you take a bird's wings away, you might seem to be taking weight off it, but the more weight you take off, the more you tie it down to the earth. There it is on the ground, and you wanted to relieve it of a weight; give it back the weight of its wings and you will see how it flies." - Saint Augustine

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


Dear God, help me to embrace the yoke and burden you have planned for my life.  Give me the strength to keep my eyes upon your Son on the cross when I feel as though things are too much.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Thank you for the opportunity to grow with this "yoke" and "burden" of the challenge.  May it make us better sons and daughters.

Today is Thursday, I would encourage you to pray the Luminous Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Luminous Mysteries as seen through the eyes of various people.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 6

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.


Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

My only distraction this morning was work and the things I have to do today.  It was nice to just write work and forget it.  The distraction disappeared!


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  Today the Gospel really spoke to me.  Although I've read this passage probably hundreds of times, there was certainly a new light on it today.

Step #3 - Join the Story

I imagined this taking place by the sea.  I often imagine Jesus teaching us in some beautiful, peaceful location.  The teachings always come after a long day walking, sailing, or working with people.  We are worn out from the day, exhausted really, and Jesus chooses this time to speak to us because we are not caring about the worries of the day, we are focused on Him.

He wants us to be childlike.  I've often thought that this only meant to be innocent.  However, today as I hear these words once again.  I wonder if he isn't referring more to a child like my youngest son.  He is innocent although he is also very ornery.  More importantly, he is persistent.  The word "no" doesn't phase him as it does me.  To him, "no" means "ask again".  Maybe that is what God means when He asks us to be childlike.  He wants us to be persistent in our prayers, maybe even in this 30 Day Challenge.  I think that perhaps he is saying that the father will reveal "these things" to those who are not only innocent and open to them but to those who are also persistent.  Maybe, and I write this with a smile, we need to pester our Heavenly Father. 

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


Dear God, help me to be childlike in my faith!  Help me to be persistent in my prayer life.  Help me to be like St. Monica who pestered you for 30 years about St. Augustine.  Give me the innocence, patience, and persistence of a child, your child.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  If we have missed a day or are just now joining, don't let the devil derail our efforts.  Thank you for the gift of childlike faith!

Today is Wednesday, I would encourage you to pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Glorious Mysteries of Death.

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 5

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.


Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

No distractions this morning, thankfully!


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  The readings seemed to be blurry to me today.  I could only see one line no matter how many times I read the passages - "Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm."

Step #3 - Join the Story

Although that line is the only one that that was clear to me it helped me understand the Gospel.  As I sat an listened to Jesus, the same message was loud and clear in the Gospel - Unless your faith is firm you shall not be firm.  

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


Dear God, I do believe, help my unbelief.  I want to be faithful, help me in my unfaithfulness.  Give me the eyes to see your wonderful works in my own day.  Help me to recognize the miracles before me each and every day.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Give us the strength to to have a firm faith!

Today is Tuesday, I would encourage you to pray the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Sorrowful Mysteries of Addiction.

Monday, July 11, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 4

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.

Memorial of St. Benedict - Here is one of our favorite books about St. Benedict.  (this is an affiliate link, purchasing through this link helps our ministry)

Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

My distractions this morning were thoughts of work for the day and week.  My mind also wanted to explore an upcoming family visit with my brother-in-law and his family.


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  The readings today seemed to be so far different from the way I usually imagine God - spurning prayers, bringing the sword, etc.  It was difficult to read so I kept reading, asking God to help it make sense to me.

Step #3 - Join the Story

As I sat and listened to Jesus' words I was shocked.  I was not expecting him to promote violence or the sword.  I wasn't expecting him to tell me that if I loved someone more than him, I'm not worthy of him.  But the more I listened, the more the message became clear.  God must be first in my life.  In the first reading God spurns the prayers, sacrifices and offerings of his people.  Why?  Because their hearts were not in it.  They were going thorugh the motions.  It essentially became a false worship of the true God.  Similarly, Jesus rejects a false love of him and a false peace at the expense of truth.  To truly love God I must think back to the Sunday Gospel and love him with all that I am.  I can't hold anything or anyone back.  I must be all in!

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God


Dear God, show me the ways that I am holding back from you.  Show me where my heart is not completely yours.  Help me to give myself to you completely in my prayers, sacrifices, and service to you and others.  Reveal to me the areas in my life where I am simply going through the motions and give me the strength to offer you my heart.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Give us the strength to worship you and live a life that is attractive to others that through our love for you, they too will come to know you.

Today is Monday, I would encourage you to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Joyful Mysteries of Suffering.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 3

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.

Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

No distractions today.  Sunday is always a great day to dive into the readings!  The only thing that did cross my mind was the fact that Nicole and I are going to be Godparents again today!!


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  It was great to read them, meditate on them and then go to Mass. If my schedule allowed it, I think daily Mass would add so much to these 30 days.  Oh well, God's will be done!

Step #3 - Join the Story

Today I joined the story in the 1st reading.  I was sitting there listening to Moses and his words hit home.

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God

So often I think that I make my faith life more difficult than it has to be.  Maybe it's me, maybe it's temptations from the devil, or maybe it's God testing me.  Today, I felt that struggle and fight just fade away.  I could see more clearly that God's will isn't some crazy, fancy, impossible goal.  It's simple, it's in my heart already if I'll only listen and trust.  Trust seems to be a theme for me at the beginning of this challenge.

God's will is close, in my mouth (words), my mind (thoughts), my body (actions), and my soul (will).  That is why it ties so well with the Gospel!  I have only to "carry it out."

Dear Lord, help me to trust.  Help me to love you with all that I am and my neighbor as myself.  I want to be like the Samaritan, help me to see that you are in every person!  Give our country the strength to imitate the Samaritan during this time of racial struggles.  Help me and everyone working through this challenge to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves.

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Thank you for our faith!

Today is Sunday, I would encourage you to pray the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Glorious Mysteries of Death.

Saturday, July 09, 2016

30 Day Prayer Challenge - Day 2

*The 30 Day Prayer Challenge is hosted by Real Life Rosary.  During these 30 days we are using the book 4 Simple Steps to Better Meditations to dive deeper into reading the daily scriptures.  Please click any of links for more information.  Join our Facebook Group to stay up to date.

Step #1 - Clear the Mind.

Yeah, no real distractions this morning.  The only distraction was an ad on the USCCB website!


Step #2 - Read the Scriptures

Today's readings can be found here.  I read each of the readings 3 times today before something really began to speak to me.

Step #3 - Join the Story

Today I simplly listened as though I were an Apostle.  I imagined us sitting quietly on a hillside somewhere as Jesus gave us this heart-to-heart talk.

Step #4 - Talk/Listen to God

Do not be afraid.  This stood out to me today.  There is so much to be fearful of in our culture today that it can feel overwhelming.  Today's reading reminded me that I have nothing to fear.  I shouldn't be afraid of those who may make fun of my faith or even persecute me for it.  I shouldn't fear that I'm insignificant in the eyes of God.  He cares for even the sparrow!  How much more for an adopted son!  The only fear that I should have is of offending the Lord, the one who can "destroy body and soul" in hell.  If I love God, that fear should be far from my mind.

Dear Lord, help me to be fearless.  Help me today to completely abandon myself to your Divine Providence.  Give me the strength to trust you, as the Psalm said, "your decrees are worthy of trust."  Help me not to be afraid but rather be like Isaiah and cry out, "Here I am, Lord.  Send me!"

Step #5 - Bonus Step - Thanksgiving

Dear Lord, thank you for this time of prayer and meditation.  Thank you for another day to know you, to love you, and to serve you.  Thank you for all of the people joining us during these 30 days.  Help us all to grow in our love for you and one another!  Thank you for making us fearless this day!

Today is Saturday, I would encourage you to pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary.  Here are the Joyful Mysteries as seen by St. Joseph.