Prayer

“For the happy man prayer is only a jumble of words, until the day when sorrow comes to explain to him the sublime language by means of which he speaks to God.” 

― Alexandre Dumas, The Count of Monte Cristo

Over the past few weeks I’ve been able to relight my votive candle. Until now the wax would have melted without lighting the wick. I’d forgotten how the glow of light illuminating Mary’s face helps calm my restless and sometimes anxious soul.

Right now there seems to be so much heartache around me–both on a personal level and as I observe the unrest in this country I love.

I can’t help but think of that sociology or psychology experiment where an infant monkey was denied physical contact and how that tiny little one failed to thrive both physically and emotionally. Are we on an entire world scale collectively failing to thrive because of our isolation from each other? Is our fearful withdrawal creating another type of illness just as dangerous as “the Covid?”

I’m not sure of the answer. After so many months of uncertainty, I don’t know who or what to believe. I find myself watching hours, days, and months march by with only more uncertainty ahead. I wonder what our future holds as colder weather moves in with all the usual viruses meeting up CV-19 and its mutated cousins. 

I do know the power of prayer so my votive candle has returned to my favorite spot on our back patio. It is here I visit daily to pray. It is the only thing I know for sure I can do to help. 

Join me.

God our Father, giver of life, we entrust the United States of America to your loving care. You are the rock on which this nation was founded. You alone are the true source of our cherished rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Reclaim this land for your glory and dwell among your people.

Send your Spirit to touch the hearts of our nation’s leaders. Open their minds to the great worth of human life and the responsibilities that accompany human freedom. Remind your people that true happiness is rooted in seeking and doing your will.

Through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, patroness of our land, grant us the courage to reject the “culture of death.” Lead us into a new millennium of life. We ask this through Christ Our Lord.
Amen.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Talking with God

I’ve been talking with God a lot these days.

It’s a good thing He is used to some of the language popping out of my head and mouth in moments of disbelief and frustration.

Here is a little bit of the conversation I had today:

Dear Lord, Please help me be still and listen–really listen–before I respond. Help me remember the power in silence.

Help me remember all my family members who sacrificed so much of their time to help my family. Help me to find a way to help others in that same spirit of true compassion.

Father, help me use the lessons I’ve been given and successfully learned to help others. There are many who are facing some of the same problems.

Please help me continue to learn and grow as I face what feels like overwhelming challenges daily. Help me stay strong and in connection with you.

In this crazy world, I believe in the power and forgiveness of you, my God. Please guide me to where I am needed and help me understand what I am here to do.

Thank you for listening, God. Thank you for never giving up on me and for always–always–loving me–unconditionally.

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thank you, Debbie Long, for sharing your beautiful photo with me to use in today’s story. I treasure you and send you thanks and much love. xoxo

Learning About Prayer

“Lord, make me a blessing to someone today.” 

Jan Karon, At Home in Mitford

A big part of my morning reading includes prayers and affirmations–some traditional and some less formal and more modern. Regardless of the format, I was beginning to understand there are many different ways to pray.

I’m not sure why I thought a prayer had to be this long, formal written collection of words. I think it’s a hold over from those prayers my sisters and I had to memorize when we were growing up Catholic.

As usual, I’ve made the simple very complicated.

Today when I pray my prayers are more like having a conversation with an old friend–a friend who knows all about me and loves me anyway.

One of my favorite prayer suggestions comes from Sarah Ban Breathnach’s, Simple Abundance, the reading dated January 24:

“Bless a thing and it will bless you. Curse it and it will curse you…If you bless a situation, it has no power to hurt you, and even if it is troubles for a time, it will gradually fade out, if you sincerely bless it. ~Emmet Fox

A powerful set of blessings that I learned from the teachings of Stella Terrill Mann, a Unity minister who wrote during the 1940s, encourages us to greet the morning with the affirmation ‘Blessed be the morn for me and mine.’ At noon declare, ‘Blessed be the day for me and mine,’ and in the evening, invoke this prayer: ‘Blessed be the night for me and mine.’ As you about your work at home or int eh office, affirm, ‘My work is a prayer for good for me and mine.’ These affirmations of good will bring many blessings into your daily life, as they have in mine.

Then start to count your blessings.”

I don’t think God cares about formality, word choice, or the length of our prayers. Like anyone who loves us, He is pleased we’ve taken the time to reach out and talk with Him.

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” 

Meister Eckhart

I am…

B…simply being.

~Peace~

Thanks, Sue and Al Rogers, for letting me use your picture as part of my story today. I love you.

The Gentle Touch of God

I have never doubted the existence of God nor have ever questioned His sense of humor.

Let me share one of my stories that support my belief.

The summer before my senior year in high school, my friend, Laura, asked if I could take over a week of in home babysitting so she could go on vacation. I was beyond thrilled. The family lived in Iowa City but would come get me when they brought Laura home. The catch? Convincing my parents.  The only way this would ever happen was to pray for a miracle. That was no exaggeration.

I prayed and, to my surprise, God granted the miracle.

Norma, the mom, picked me up and I was on my way to Iowa City for a week. The best part was there were two days at the end of the week when Laura and I would be at the same time.

The first night we were together we decided to go out and explore the neighborhood. As we walked, we discovered a Goodwill box that was crammed full of clothes. It was too tempting to pass up. We crawled inside and started trying on clothes–it was like having our very own fully stocked dressing room. We found everything we needed. We could not wait to show Norma at breakfast the next day.

She was not pleased. In fact, she told us in no uncertain terms that we were thieves. Not only were we thieves, but we had stolen from GOODWILL. She was so angry with us. She was so deeply disappointed in us. We needed to take it all back immediately. She told us we should be ashamed of ourselves.

We were ashamed. Very ashamed.

Sobbing, we gathered up all our treasures and headed back to the donation box. On our way back we walked past the Catholic Church. I was still very upset so I asked Laura if she minded stopping.

We walked up the few steps and through the front doors. The air was cool and the wide open floor plan of the church was dark and comforting. As our eyes adjusted to the dim light, we found our way to the altar. Sitting close together, we talked to each other and to God. The tears started again as we told Him we had not meant to do anything wrong. For whatever reason, we did not see what we had done was stealing. In all honesty, we explained, we felt the two of us needed those clothes as much as anyone else did. We were sorry and asked for forgiveness. But most of all, we cried, could he please help Norma find a way to forgive us, too?

Time passed. We talked. We prayed. Slowly we noticed that the air in the church felt warmer, the silence less pressing. Smiling, tears drying, we shared an emotional hug. Turning to leave, a ray of sunshine topped the trees and illuminated the large stained glass window over the entryway of the church. As that beam of light angled towards us, a gust of wind caught the heavy front doors, slamming them open.

Holy Cow.

We each jumped off the altar, down the aisle, and out the door! We did not stop running until we were about a block from the church.

At the time, we did not know what had happened. Had God visited us in the church in Iowa City?

My heart says yes and my heart is so blessed by the memory.

I am…

B…simply being…

Peace