Thursday, November 29, 2012

Are You Ready?

The end of the church year is quickly approaching, and a new year will soon begin.  It is at this time of the year that I begin to start thinking more about advent and Christmas.  I think of all of the wonderful things that come with the holidays, like seeing family and friends, and I also begin to prepare myself for the coming of the Lord Jesus.  In the midst of all of this I tend to overlook the message that is sent during the last couple of week of the church year.  It is now when we hear more about the end of the world and Jesus coming again to save us and grant us eternal salvation.  It makes me stop to think about when Jesus will be back, and will I be ready.  I once heard that the best way for the devil to persuade you into succumbing to temptation is to convince you that you still have plenty of time to correct yourself, and that there is no big hurry.  This thought can lead people into a harmful lifestyle full of sin, and when the time does come, it is too late.  So as the old year comes to an end and a new year begins, we are reminded that Jesus is coming to Earth.   Not only are we focusing on celebrating the first coming of Jesus Christ, but let us not forget that He will be coming back for us, which could happen at any time.

Are you prepared for Jesus to return?


Wednesday, November 28, 2012


It is not always easy to stay firm and grounded in faith. There are many that will try to break faith through words or actions, but these are not enough to break the love that God has for all of us. I know, personally, when I came to the University of Cincinnati from a Catholic high school, I was surprised by how many people did not believe in God. I guess that I was living in a bubble of my own creation. I have stood my ground against people who have tried to convince me that my faith is not important. Nevertheless, I do actually enjoy a good bit of religious debate because it gives me greater perspective on my faith. Today's Gospel reminds us of the strength and fortitude that we must have to stay faithful.

Jesus starts out by letting the Apostles know about all of the suffering that they will go through, which forecasts what the Apostles will go through during the Acts of the Apostles. It also foretells some of the hardship that the Church would have to go through during its infancy. Even today the Church suffers from harsh criticism and hatred. Jesus explains that the Apostles will be 'handed over' to be dragged before civil and religious courts. He makes it know that this is because they are associated with Him.

Many of the early Christians came into conflict with the Jewish community and were handed over to the synagogues. Synagogues were not only places of prayer and learning Scripture, they also functioned as civil courts. Many people felt threatened by the actions and ideas of Christians. However, Jesus lets His Apostles that they, have nothing to fear, that they will know what to do or say when the time comes. The sad thing is that most of the accusers, as Jesus goes on to explain, were members of the household, such as "parents, brothers, relatives and ‘friends’." Many the things that Jesus is telling the Apostles apply to us as well.

It makes no sense that Jesus, who taught truth, love, freedom, peace, justice and non-violence, becomes the object of lies, hatred, imprisonment and torture, division, injustice and terrible violence. Jesus exclaims that the Apostles will not be harmed, but this is meant to signify the fact that nothing will break their faith. If we are able to make it through all that our enemies can throw at us, we will be able to come out at the end as people who can be proud of our faith.

We must all try to help people see where truth and goodness lies. This can be done by discovering these in our own lives. Finally, we must all have the courage to live up to our values. We must not submit to those who try to break our faith. God will help guide through tough times, but, in the end, it is faith and fortitude that protect us.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Freedom of Forgiveness!

If you ever want to read the Bible but are unsure of where to begin, the gospels are always a great place to start.  Or you could Go Eat Pop Corn! That is, read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians =)  For about the past week, I've been reading through Galatians.  There are so many good thoughts inspired by Paul as I read his letter to the Galatians, but the one that has been really inspiring to me is when Paul talks about life before and after the coming of Christ.

"Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed.  So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:23-24

Throughout this letter, Paul really emphasizes life before and after Christ, so it definitely got me thinking.  What if Christ never came?  First of all, we would still be under the law..."locked up".  We would have no forgiveness, we would have to pay for every little and big mistake we made...we would have no hope!  Secondly, we wouldn't have proof of God's crazy, incredible love for us.

Imagine a world in which you had no forgiveness.  Think about the mistakes you make, the sins you commit on a daily basis.  What if, after you made a wrong, there was no chance that you would be forgiven?  How hopeless and depressing would that be?  We are human.  We are going to screw up, that's just how it works.  But thankfully, Christ came and paid the price of our sins (BIG and small!) for each of us personally.  So now, we not only have an amazing example of how to forgive and how to love unconditionally but we also receive those things for ourselves.  Christ offers us forgiveness so that we are not slaves to the law and he has proven that he loves us unconditionally because we are more precious than his own life!

Now when we screw up, we can receive forgiveness.  We are saved not by our perfection but by our faith.  How crazy awesome is that?  It's so freeing!  When we mess up, we can still have hope.  We can try again to become a better version of ourselves.  And that is definitely something we can thank God for!

Need something else to think about?  If Jesus' dieing on the cross meant only saving you, he would still do it.  Believe it or not, he loves you that much.

Until next time,

Monday, November 26, 2012

"The World is about to Turn!"

                Recently in church, the song “Canticle of the Turning” was sung and I really liked the message. The words and even the music were hopeful and left a feeling of anticipation. The refrain seems to symbolize the idea that good things are coming. God will bring good changes and blessings to you and the world. The world is always about to turn as long as you have faith and look for the signs.

                “My heart shall sing of the day you bring.
                Let the fires of your justice burn.
                Wipe away all tears, for the dawn draws near,
                and the world is about to turn!”

                 In the verses, the song expresses joy in your soul for God being in your heart. It embodies the meaning of the phrase ‘good things come to those who wait.’ Having the greatness of God in your heart always and waiting for His signs and blessings will bring you good things and happiness. God works great things in people, however small one person may be, and he helps the strong while humbling the ‘proud’. Being a humble person and having faith and belief in God gives you the strength to get through your trials. The song references tyrants and how you having justice takes away their power. Recognizing and acting on the justice God stands for takes away power that oppressive people have. With God the hungry and poor shall be fed. I find this to be of literal and figurative meaning. The poor and hungry people of the world will be taken care of by God and the people who are poor and hungry in faith, belief, and happiness will be fed in that sense as well. Though there are wars and fighting, God will deliver His mercy.

                I had to write about this song because later in the day one of the church’s campus ministers, Sister Leslie, said that being Catholic means you have salvations every day. Some religions involve one big moment of revelation and understanding so it was interesting that she thought of it like that. God can turn your heart in different ways and can give you little, or big, moments of understanding every day. I thought it was cool that I had liked that song and looked it up to get more of the meaning and then Sister Leslie talked about God turning your heart and sending every day salvations. It was kind of like I experienced a little sign myself so I had to share it with you.

Hope you experience a little turning in your world soon :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Presentation of Mary

I am sure that most people are thinking about all the food that they are going to eat tomorrow, during one of the most popular holidays in America, Thanksgiving. However, along with all of the hype about tomorrow, today is very important feast day in the Catholic Church, celebrating the life of Mary. Today, is the feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 Most parents, during Mary's time, had their child blessed before and after birth, but, for some Jews, that was not enough, and they had their child blessed during infancy. The child was consecrated by a priest in a temple, and, afterwards, the child would stay in rooms that were owned by the temple, assisting the priests with their duties.

 The Bible containes no text concernign this feast of Mary. Instead, you have to refer to the apocryphal works, particularly the Protoevangel of St. James. After Anna was told by an angle that she was going to have a child, Mary, Anna dedicated Mary to the Lord. Supposedly, when she turned 3, Mary was brought to a temple that accepted only the best daughters of Israel. During ancient time, the age of three was seen as a time of transformation from infancy into childhood, because it was at this time that the child was weened and potty trained. Mary spent her youth in a type of holy retirement, disconnected from the corruption of the world. She exemplified the religious, interior life. Mary lived like this until she turned 14, when she was espoused to St. Joseph. The temple that Mary entered can be seen as a symbol for the Garden of Eden, and Mary's entrance into the temple, thus, symbolizes the entrance of the New Eve.

 The feast of the Presentation of Mary most likely originated in Syria, which is where the apocryphal books originated. Just for some clarification, the apocryphal books were writings that contained information that was considered fraudulent, so they were not included in the canon, the books contained in the bible. The feast was introduced by a French nobleman, Philippe de Mazières, Chancellor of the King of Cyprus, who spent some time at Avignon during the pontificate of Gregory XI. It was taken up by many dioceses, but at the end of the Middle Ages, it was still missing in many calendars. In 1500, at Toledo it was assigned by Cardinal Ximenes to September 30th. Sixtus IV received it into the Catholic Rites, and Pius V struck it from the calendar, but Sixtus V took it up a second time. The date of celebration has changed, but the feast still continues today in the Catholic Church.

I found it interesting that the three feasts of the Birthday of Our Lady, the Holy Name of Mary, and her Presentation in the Temple correspond in the Marian cycle with the first three feasts of the cycle of feasts of our Lord: Christmas, the Holy Name of Jesus, and His Presentation in the Temple.

 Mary gave up a large part of her life to the Lord. Take some time today to calm yourself in all of this holiday hype. Prepare yourself for the coming season of Advent.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Beauty of Differences

Vincent Van Gogh once said, "The best way to know God is to love many things."  I love this quote.  I love this idea because God made everything.  So by exposing ourselves to the world and all that is in it, we are learning more about who God is.  If we stay in our bubble, if we stay locked in our tunnel vision views, if we stay closed minded then we are missing out on so many beautiful things!  If we never leave our houses or our neighborhood, we would never see the ocean or the stars or meet wonderful people.  All of these things teach us more about who God is.  The more we know about the world and the more we love the things in it, the more we know about and love God too.

Last night in small group, we were talking about what we loved about our Catholic faith.  One of my absolute favorite parts about Catholicism is how open we are to other faith traditions.  We learn about them.  We don't judge them or try to convince them that they are wrong.  We respect and value their opinion, their takes on life.  We learn from them by learning about them.

Often times I think people stick with what they know.  We stay in our comfortable bubble and fear things that are different.  We fear people who look different or who were raised different.  But I think once we step outside that circle we are exposed to a world much more beautiful than we could have ever thought.  We are exposed to different ways of thinking, different opinions, different ideas.  God is big.  Bigger than we will ever be able to comprehend.  The more we experience, the more we learn about God.

So I urge you, don't be afraid to face people who believe things different than what you believe.  You might not agree on politics or social issues.  You may not agree on religion or spirituality.  Quite frankly, you may not agree on much.  But listen and learn with an open, nonjudgmental ear.  In doing so, you might learn something about your infinite, loving God.

Until next time,

Monday, November 19, 2012

Giving from the Heart

Last week, the Gospel reading was about the poor widow who gave the Church two small coins, which was all she had. This is another one of my favorite Biblical stories; I remember reading and rereading it in my children’s Bible. When I was young, I’m not sure I knew why I really liked it so much, but now I am able to easily recognize the parts of the story that really touch me. 

The first point I reflect upon is the fact that Jesus said how even though she gave the smaller monetary amount, she gave more than the rich people who donated a lot of money. It shows us that God doesn’t care about how much money is given; He is much more concerned about how much of the heart is given. This is such an important message God gives us. The poor widow gave much more of herself, and her gift was a lot more selfless than the rich people’s. Giving is not meant to be something that is calculated, and done to earn the admiration of observers; it is supposed to be genuine and for the sake of others. God wants to see us believe in a cause, and to truly want to help others, not give money or time simply because that’s what we’re supposed to do and that’s what makes us look good. Also, He wants us to give more than money or time; He wants us to go much deeper and give our hearts and love to others. By giving all she had, that widow showed how much she cared about others in need, and was able to put them above herself. 

This leads me to the second point I focus on in this story. Even though the poor widow did not have a lot herself, she was able to selflessly give away what she had for others and trust in God to take care of her. This, to me, is amazing. I often times, to my dismay, find it very difficult to trust completely in God. I spend a lot of time worrying, or deliberating about choices, instead of just leaving it up to Him. The poor widow was able to give away all she had, and not be concerned, for she trusted that God would provide for her somehow. I admire the trust she had in God, and that’s the relationship with Him I try to strive for. That poor widow is a role model to me, and I hope all of you can take away from her story as much as I do every time I read or hear it. 

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and God bless, 

Friday, November 16, 2012

We Exist to Serve

A few days ago, I was talking to a nice gentleman that has recently gone through a lot.  If I were in his shoes, I would be so frustrated.  But, this man was just eager to get better.  We had a nice conversation about some of his life experiences.  One conversation lead to another and throughout his words I could hear his excitement in his voice.  This elderly man was thrilled to experience more life.  I asked a series of questions trying to basically ask how he could stay so positive without literally asking “with so much bad, how do you keep so happy?”  But for as many indirect questions as I asked I got a pretty straightforward response.  He looked at me and said, “I know I am still here because my work is not done. I still have someone’s life to touch.”

Wow! What an outlook to have.  I need reminding sometimes that it is not always about what I am going through at the current moment.  But rather, we are here to ask what we can do for others.  We exist to serve.  I think that it is equally important that serving may not actually mean physical labor.  Sometimes, it is just being in the presence of someone that needs a friend. 

So for today, Go in peace to love and serve the lord =)  And don’t be afraid of the wonderful things that God will surprise you with.  


Thursday, November 15, 2012


Today I had something especially weird happen.  I have been thinking about moving out of my house for a while now to live with a friend next year.  The only problem was I am currently living with 6 other guys who I like living with, and I didn’t want to put them down 1 more person for rent purposes.  Today I was going to talk with one of my roommates who coordinates most things in our house about possibly leaving.  I was anticipating him to be rather upset and disappointed that I was thinking of leaving and he would have to possibly find someone to replace me.  Well, this afternoon 2 nice ladies knocked on our door and told us that they were with the government, and that they were going to buy our house and demolish it to help expand a road.  We would need to move out of the house by this spring.  At first I was shocked, but then I realized that this was a huge break for all of us.  A few of us were planning on moving out, and instead of burdening the guys remaining, we all are receiving a helping hand to move to a similar location, but in an arrangement that best fits all of us at this time in our lives.  

So a situation that could have been very hard and confusing for all of us turned into a very simple decision.  Wow!  This could not have come at a better time.  This is what some people would call a crazy coincidence.  I operate under the idea that, that’s not odd, that’s God.  God is always acting in our lives.  Sometimes in the hustle and bustle we miss them and don’t see Him there.  But when we stop to listen, there is so much He is telling us and doing for us.  

Is there anything that has happened to you lately that could make you say, “That’s not odd, that’s God?”  Take some time today to sit peacefully in a quiet space and just listen to the marvelous things God has to tell you today.  


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Another Good Samaritan

The Gospel reading today is very popular, and it is one of my favorites, but that does not mean that I understand it completely. There are multiple layers to the Gospels, layers which Biblical scholars have not even discovered. I seem to find new meaning every time I go back to reread different passages from the Bible. I also find that I am better able to apply them to the different situations that I am going through presently. The Bible might seem like a dry read, but if you take time to take in the true meaning of the words and symbols, you will see how much it has to offer you.

The Gospel reading today starts out with Jesus traveling to Jerusalem, where He will suffer and die according to God's plan. However, He stops in northern Samaria, still far from His destination, where He meets ten lepers. Contrary to most people's assumptions, leprosy, in Jesus's time, was not as severe as Hansen's disease, which is literally a wasting away of the body. Instead, it was a general classification that could have included many different skin diseases. In ancient time, people thought that those plagued with leprosy were not victims, but were, instead, signs of God's judgement. 

The lepers called out to Him, asking for mercy, and, going against Jewish precedence, Jesus gave his attention to them. Human nature usually guides our decision of whether or not to notice the sick and the dying. This might be because we are to busy or because it makes us uncomfortable, but, nevertheless, we ignore them. This is something that we must all overcome. I believe that this is one of the areas that I definitely need to improve in. We seem to get caught in a life that we see as comfortable, which makes it tough for us to step out of our comfort zone. However, the only way to grow is to try something new, and to leave the comfort of your everyday life, just like Jesus does. 

Jesus tells the lepers to go and show themselves to the priests. The lepers were healed as they completed Jesus's commandment. This does not mean that they were simply healed, medically, they were also made to be able to enter society again as regular people. 

One of the men that was healed saw that Jesus deserved thanks, much like Jesus saw the lepers. The twist is that the man that came back to thank Jesus was a Samaritan. The Jewish people hated Samaritans, seeing them as less religious, which is ironic, since a Samaritan is the hero in this story. The ultimate outcast turns out to be a model of the Catholic faith. Luke, the Gospel writer for this story, was a foreigner, and he enjoyed writing stories in which the foreigner turned out to be the hero. 

Jesus wonders where the other nine are, but He realizes that they are not returning. Therefore, He tells the man to go, for his faith has saved him. In this instance, the word 'healed' translates to the word 'saved'. Therefore, ten were healed, but only one was saved.

How often do we stop to thank God for all of our blessings? Are we willing to take the time, like the Samaritan, to thank God, or are we like the other nine, who are too busy to stop and celebrate thanksgiving?


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thank You Veterans

Back in September, as Luke and Katie talked about earlier, the UC band traveled to Washington, D.C. for the football game. On Friday, after a long bus ride, we arrived at the hotel around 7:30 and had the night free to do whatever we pleased. We were staying about 30 minutes outside of downtown, and most people decided to walk to a nearby restaurant or stay at the hotel. A couple people, though, were planning on taking the metro downtown to eat and explore. Normally, I would choose the safe option and stay around the hotel, but I really wanted to see the city. I’ve been to D.C. probably 3 or 4 times before, but I can’t get enough of it. I love the quiet patriotism and honor present at the memorials, the wide diversity of people and places in the city, and the government buildings and museums saturated with history and remembrance of our nation’s past. That place is so full of honor, patriotism, and hope for our country, and it leaves me in awe every time I visit. With that in mind, I decided to travel downtown with some of my friends. As soon as we arrived downtown, we ate some delicious crepes from a street vendor and embarked on our quest to find the monuments and memorials.

While we were able to see the Capitol Building, the Washington monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the World War II Memorial, and the White House, I think the World War II Memorial touched me the most. Every time I visit it, I am left speechless. Seeing how our great country was able to come together, men and women, to fight for our country and defend our freedom always amazes me, and that memorial displays that so clearly to me. The courage of the soldiers, the sacrifices everyone made, and the evident patriotism and selflessness so strongly radiate from every part of that memorial. As I was walking around, I felt immensely thankful to be living in America.  Just before the trip, I learned about the current struggles in Burma, where the government cruelly oppresses their citizens. Villages are set on fire for no reason, women and children are raped and killed by the soldiers that are supposed to protect them, and so many are starving, sick, and dying. We are extremely blessed to be living in a nation where every person has rights, and the government is for the people, by the people. I thank God for the soldiers who serve our country, past and present, and pray for their safety and well-being. Sunday was Veteran’s Day, and I’d like to ask that everyone say a special prayer today for all those men and women who have served or are serving our country. 

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices.” –President Harry S. Truman, World War II Memorial

God bless,

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Sharing the Gospel

I've been thinking a lot about being Catholic recently. What it means, how it colors every aspect of my life. Mostly, how I have a responsibility to share the Gospel with those who haven't heard it, or have forgotten it.

In the past week I had one of the most civil and informative discussions about politics and religion in the history of humanity. But I had a moment of clarity during the discussion when one of my friends and co-workers was completely shocked to find out my views on a particular issue. I pointed to my Catholic faith as the reasoning behind my worldview. As I've given thought to the discussion since then, I realized that my worldview should not have been a surprise because I should be living the Gospel and sharing it no matter what.

It's a hard thing to do as a layperson in an ever more secular world. But we have a great God, and we must help others to cultivate a relationship with Him. This week, I'm challenging myself to live a little less for myself and a little more for Him. Join me!

Peace & Blessings,


Thursday, November 8, 2012

He Will Search for Us

Today’s Gospel Jesus tells us about the lost sheep.  This is when one of the sheep is lost and has strayed from the flock, but the shepherd goes out and finds this sheep and brings him back to the rest of the flock.  This story pertains to many of us at one time or another.  Often we stray from the Lord.  Maybe we cut back on prayer or succumb to temptation.  Sometimes we may even stray so far that we may not even think we can go back or even find a way back.  But Jesus searches for us like a shepherd searches for the lost sheep.  No matter how far we may stray, He is always right behind us, trying to bring us back to the flock.  

This story always gives me hope.  It tells me that even though I may make some wrong choices, God is always there for me with open arms.  He seeks us out, ready to forgive us and carry us back to His flock.  

Here is a challenge for today that may be very tough.  Can we act as loving as Jesus does?  Can we reach out to someone who may have betrayed us and forgive them with open arms?

“I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need for repentance.”  -Luke 15:7


Wednesday, November 7, 2012


I was reading some of the Gospel passages from the past couple of days, and I noticed that yesterday's Gospel reading was especially meaningful introduces an important parable that highlights an essential aspect of the Catholic faith. However, this aspect is explained through a parable that uses the analogy of an important banquet to describe the Kingdom of God. In Jesus's time, ritual banquets were held to honor someone who was going through a personal transformation. As a part of the ritual, a stranger would become a guest and or enemies would become covenant partners.

It is important to understand the background and what came before this passage to truly grasp the meaning of what Jesus is trying to explain. This Gospel passage takes place while Jesus is sitting in the home of one of the leaders of the Pharisee's on the Sabbath. Many of the guests were vying for the most honorable seat in the house, but Jesus teaches them that it is more important to be humble. He also advises them to invite the poor and crippled into their homes, even though they may not be able to repay the host, because, instead, the host will be repaid through resurrection. And this is the point at which the passage begins.

One of the Jewish guests exclaims that he will dine in the Kingdom of Heaven, which leads Jesus to tell one of His many famous parables. He starts out telling how a man was throwing a huge banquet. During ancient time, it was rude to back out of an invitation to a banquet at the last minute because the number of people that responded to their invitation determined what type of meat would be served. Therefore, if people did not show up, the extra food would spoil. It was also rude to attend a banquet without being invited because the meal was prepared for a specific number of people.

The man sends out his slave to tell the guests that the meal is ready. The first invitee makes that excuse that he must go examine a field that he had recently purchased. This is obviously a lie because, in the Middle East, people knew every single factor about a piece of land before buying it, so no one ever went back to examine a field because everything about it was already known. He is basically saying that his field is more important than the host, which is pretty mean if you ask me.

The next invitee explains that he has to try out oxen that he had bought recently. This excuse is exactly like the last invitee's excuse; most people discussed prices and tried out oxen before buying them, so there is no need to try them out retroactively. Imagine a husband saying that he cannot make it to a dinner that his wife had been planning for a long time because he has to try out cars. However he had already bought the cars without even looking at them.

Finally, the third invitee exclaims that he has just married his wife and cannot make it to the banquet. This is very silly because everyone in the village would have known that the wedding was occurring and the banquet would not have been scheduled around the same time. Also, it is quite strange as to why he accepted the invitation in the first place if he knew he could not attend.

The next section of the passage is amazing. Instead of becoming angry for having been insulted three times, which a natural expectation, the host knows that he needs guests so he tells the servant to go out and invite the poor, crippled, blind, and lame to his banquet. This is a genuine act of selflessness and generosity. The host knows that he will not be repaid, but he still wants all of these undesirable people to eat at his table. And surprisingly it is never written that the order is accomplished because redemption is still going on today.

I really enjoyed this passage, it has a lot of meaning and shows that those who invite the undesirables into their home will be rewarded in the Kingdom of Heaven. At the same time, it also teaches that we must accept the invitation into the Kingdom of Heaven or else it will pass us by, much like the invitees in the passage refused to accept the invitation to the banquet. Letting God into your life is the first step towards accepting that invitation.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Prayer Slacker

I'll admit it, I've been slacking on prayer.  Do you ever go through those slumps?  I think I'm in the middle of one.  Where prayer is just something quick you do in the morning or on your way to school.  But time is never dedicated to really praying and spending time with God.  And when I do make time to go to the chappel, I always seem to rush in and rush out.  I do, however, feel most connected to God in the chappel because it's quiet and intimate and rid of distractions.  It's just me and God.

But lately, when I stop in the chappel before going home for the day, I have been going in with the wrong attitude: "If I stop and spend some time in the chappel, I will feel better about myself because I will have gotten in my prayer for the day."  Ten minutes in the chappel means I didn't ignore God which means I don't have to feel guilty that day.  But really, this attitude has made everything worse.  Because I am "working God into my schedule."  Prayer has become something I check off my to-do list.  Did I pray today? Yes. Check.  It has become something that I feel like I have to do while in the past, it was something I loved to do.

I'm not sure how to get back to a better prayer life.  But it's comforting to know that God will always meet me where I'm at.  He already knows how I'm feeling about my prayer life, so I might as well be honest with him.  If I just ask God to meet me where I'm at and admit my shortcomings and faulty attitude, then I can take his hand and his help to get me back to where I want to be.  And the beautiful thing?  Even after all this, God's love for me has never lessened.

Until next time,

Monday, November 5, 2012

Thanksgiving Every Day

I was researching quotes the other day, which is something I often times do, and I came across the following: “There is something in every season, in every day, to celebrate with thanksgiving.” –Unknown. Of course, the mention of thanksgiving made me think about the holiday, and Thanksgiving happens to be one of my favorites. I love every food item on the menu, along with the fun family gatherings and the knowledge that the Christmas season is just around the corner. I thought back to memories of Thanksgivings past, and was struck by one aspect of the Thanksgiving holiday my family celebrates. When my brother and I were little, my mom would have us (and everyone else at the table) go around and say at least one thing we were thankful for. I remember rattling off long lists, and how I enjoyed hearing what my family was thankful for.
Reflecting on this old Thanksgiving tradition got me thinking about the idea of giving thanks. I feel like gratitude is an often times under-expressed feeling. We go through life, and are given so much; yet how many times do we say thank you? This is something I’ve taken upon myself to do more; to say thank you to people for even the simplest of gestures. I’ve found that people are happier and more willing to do good when they are thanked for it; it’s that little bit of encouragement and validation that people need. It’s amazing to me that two simple words can make such a world of difference, and it’s such an easy act to do. Even though I try to say thank you all the time, I still miss opportunities, especially with God. Many of my prayers revolve around intentions, and asking for things. I usually give a general thank you for everything, but I know I should spend more time on that because God gives me so many good things. It’s the same way with my parents; they do so much for me, and yet I don’t give them the appreciation they deserve. When I read the quote I mentioned above, I started thinking about how we tend to reserve our immense gratitude to one holiday called Thanksgiving. While that’s a great time to give thanks, why don’t we make it a point to express our gratitude every day of the year? I had a theology teacher in high school, who every time we did prayer and intentions, would include one along the lines of “thanksgiving for all of our blessings.” It was always such a good reminder to be thankful for everything good in our lives that God has given us. Why can’t we be as grateful as we are on Thanksgiving all of the time? We definitely should be; wouldn’t you like it if every little thing you did earned you a thank you? You like to feel appreciated, and others do, too.
So as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, I encourage you to spend some time each day thinking about what you are thankful for. Don’t hesitate to tell people thank you for things they’ve done for you. I know it may seem silly or awkward at times, but people really do appreciate those few words. Send a text to your mom or dad thanking them for their constant support, or tell a friend thank you for spending the evening with you. Thank God for the beautiful sunset, or for a successful day. See how happy it makes people, and see how happy you are to 1) make someone smile, and 2) realize all of your blessings.
I’ll start. Thank you for taking time out of your busy day to read this blog! It means a lot to me to see that people have read what I post; it makes me feel like I have something good to offer others.
God bless,