Taking on the Mind of Christ

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Sometimes I get so weary of thinking, planning, prioritizing.  Then St Paul has something to say to me.

He tells me that Christ is the Head of my Body ( I am part of the Church’s body ,Col 1:18), and that I can take on more and more the mind of Christ.(1 Cor 2:16)

What if I gave over my thinking, my mind, at least periodically, and let Christ think for me?

That’s prayer.  That’s humility.  Your thoughts are so far above my thoughts Lord.  (Isaiah 55:9)

Could it be you have something better for me to be intellectualizing about?

So then I try it.  I try to go blank.  It’s kind of restful.  I stop trying so hard.  

Sure, I battle it.  But Lord, if I don’t make this decision now, all will be lost!  Lord, if I don’t figure this out now, things won’t work out for me!

I, I, I, me,me,me….Hmmmm…maybe there is another way.

Called submission. To a God who I believe loves me and want to help me.  Called trust. In a loving Father who might know a thing or two about what’s best for me.

Can I give over my head to THE HEAD?  That head that thinks, reasons, wills, decides, and even controls most of my bodily actions?

What if, from time to time today, we gave over our minds to Christ?  We let Him think for us, we let Him guide our decisions, we let Him tell our bodies what to do next?

Lord, give me the grace to trust You enough, to give you my mind today.  I will let you guide my thoughts and my actions.

 

 

 

 

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Faith Under Fire by Matthew Archbold

 

Messages of hope are gifts from the Lord. And when told in the form of a real life story, the impact is even greater.

Archbold writes as if he is sitting in your living room, telling the kind of story that draws people overhearing them, in from the other rooms.

This book is full of powerful stories of courage….stories that leave you with hope. Reading through them gives the opportunity to see how these apply in one’s own life. How have I been challenged to stay faithful? How can I be a witness to Christ?

Most of us will not likely be asked to give to the extreme that most of these people have. Our tasks are more ordinary, our encounters more subtle. But more and more we are being confronted. The line is being drawn in the sand. Do I really believe what I say I do? Does that really affect my speech and deeds?

From stories of war to stories of career challenges, the drama comes down to one thing- faith.

Looking for inspiration? Looking to draw strength from others in the conviction of faith?

Pick up Faith Under Fire, and be moved to pick up your daily cross, and follow Jesus to the hope and joy of the Resurrection!

“The Church is Our Mother” by Gina Loehr

In about a week I’ll begin facilitating my third ENDOW class.  ENDOW stands for Educating On The Nature and Dignity of Women.  Women of all ages gather in small groups to study the writings of the Church.  They read, discuss, share, and bring what they learn out into their world.  This year we are studying St John Paul II’s document On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.

Timing is everything.  Also just this week I began reading Gina Loehr’s book called “The Church is My Mother”, only to find the following in her introduction:

“‘The Church is woman, she is mother, and this is beautiful.  You must consider and go deeper into this’.

When Pope Francis spoke these words to me and my companions…I felt a personal tug on my heart.  We were commemorating the twenty-fifth anniversary of Pope St. John Paul II’s apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), a document that profoundly touched my life….

I had sworn off motherhood, not surprisingly, at the same time that I had sworn off Mother Church.  But Mulieris Dignitatem helped me to return to the embrace of my mother, the Church, and personally to embrace my vocation to marriage and motherhood as well.”

It seems that this St John Paul II’s document was a springboard for Loehr’s conversion, and helped her gain deeper understanding of the great gift of holy motherhood-her own and that of the Catholic Church.

Reciprocally, Loehr’s book seems to have come to me as a gift .  As I prepare to dive into the “dignity and vocation of women”, I’ve been reading through the chapters of Loehr’s book, as she describes seven ways the Church inspires us to love and how she shows that love in much the same way a mom would to the children she has borne.  Moms are given the great privilege to help create, and then to care, teach, accept, sacrifice, heal and celebrate these precious lives.

Loehr reminds us that the title of Mother for Church is not new.  Saints and the early Church Fathers used it often in describing her role in our lives. In a real and tangible way, the Church too gives us life, cares for and teaches us, accepts all and offers sacrifice ( the ultimate one in Christ’ death!), offers healing and celebrates our personhood.

Knowing how much encouragement is needed for moms, young and old, Loehr weaves in personal stories as a way to lift her readers up and offer a feminine heart who’s “been there”.  And a study guide for each chapter makes the book perfect for small group sharing and discussion.  For moms who yearn to integrate their faith into their vocation, the book can be a great way be inspired.

I’ve been…lifted up and inspired….and I feel more ready than ever to open up Momma Church’s pages in Mulieris Dignitatem – and read about her love and her gratitude for all women.

Loving My Little Dogginess: A Reflection on the Canaanite Woman

Loving My Little Dogginess: A Reflection on the Canaanite Woman

(Matthew 15:21-28)

She’s yelping and jumping, whining and wagging her little tail.  My little dog Zoey is looking for attention, looking for love.

In Matthew’s gospel, the Canaanite woman is looking for the same.  She petitions for attention…whining for love as she begs healing for her daughter.  With a heart normally accustomed to idol worship of pagan gods, she in her hunger, feels drawn to the Christ.  She’s creating a stir with her anguishing cries.

The disciple’s tell her to tone it down.  Doesn’t she know her place? Even Jesus Himself responds with absolute silence at first.

Then He appears to reject her entirely.  “I have people to take care of…I can’t waste my time on dogs outside the “house””.

And how does this woman-now-equated-with-a-dog respond back?  With playful agreement. With puppy dog eyes.

“Yes, but little dogs are so cute!  And you know you can’t resist me!  I would be happy to get any crumb of attention you would want to send me.  Because you see, I know that you are the Master.  And I know Your Heart can’t resist my desire to be known by You, to eat at Your table, to sleep by Your Fire, to be in Your House.”

My prayer is like that too.  And today, I came to love my “little dogginess” like Jesus does.

He knows I am looking for scraps from His table.  He knows I don’t deserve to be heard just because I’m nipping at His heels.  How patient He is, until I relent, and wait for a time to be noticed. How patient and obedient I am, when I sit and receive Him in silence.

Dog lovers take note!

Think of how you give in to that face!  That cry that pierces your heart. Does not the Lord do the same?

With the humility of the Canaanite woman, humbly call Him your Lord.  Wait on Him with attentive expectation, and receive the Word that she heard.

“O woman, how great is your faith.”

It is the story of the Christian’s life- idol worship turned into search for true worship…laments and demands into silence….knowledge of littleness rewarded with exaltation…and a permanent place to call home.

Sitting at the Master’s feet we are raised up to be honored guests at His table.

Thank you Lord ( and Zoey) for teaching me “little dogginess”.

 

 

God Speaks All Love Languages

God Speaks All Love Languages

How do you like to be loved?

Is it through words of affirmation? Maybe some quality time spent with your beloved?

Gary Chapman wrote a popular book called The Five Love Languages about understanding that people that we are in relationship with have a distinct language of love that speaks most profoundly to them, and about how important it is to seek to learn and to practice the love language of those we care about most.

It seems, Chapman says, that we respond to several love languages, though one might be prominent.

When God created the human person, he wrote the need to give and to receive love right into our hearts.  He made us relational.  But He did not create us, and then withdraw Himself from us!  He remains mysteriously present in the universe He created, and most especially in the immortal hearts and souls of persons made in His image. And that image is perfect love relationship in the Trinity.

So our relationship with Him must come first!  From Him we learn the languages that we need to hear, and the ones we can offer to others.

We can try loving on our own….grasping and clinging to others and to things in order to fill that gaping place in our hearts that need love.  But we find we are never fully satisfied.

The love languages of others, not matter how often or accurately they speak to us, will never completely fulfill our desires for love.  And it follows that we cannot “speak” to others without first receiving instruction ourselves.

God offers to teach is how to hear love.  God offers to teach us how to speak love.

And because God speaks all love languages, knowing our hearts better than any person could, all our desires for being cherished and for belonging to Someone are met.

Then filled with the graces of many aspects of love, He gives us to one another in friendship, marriage and family.

“As the Father has sent me (to teach you how to hear and speak love), so I send you.”

(John 20:21)

 

 

TOB Talk

TOB Talk

 

 

 

 

 

Sharing my journey and praise of Jesus’ healing love through the Theology of the Body…

An article on catholic mom.com

A Journey of Redemptive Healing #TOBtalk

Carving the Wooden Beam- A Reflection on Today’s Readings

“I am grateful to Him who strengthens me.”

“He has found me trustworthy” (Tim 1:12)

“With HIm at my right hand , I shall not be disturbed.” 

“You will show me….the delights at Your right hand forever.” (Psalm 16)

“Every disciple will be like His teacher.”

“Remove the wooden beam from your own eye….” (Luke 6: 39,42)

During the time I am here on earth, I am a disciple of the great Master Teacher.

 He is at my right hand , teaching me.  I am not disturbed in the time of learning and listening.

I have a wooden beam He is showing me about.

 Always there, it keeps me humble – makes me know I am always the disciple, student.  I have mastered nothing.  The more I learn the more I know I don’t know.

 Wooden beam….the Master Teacher is the carpenter who specializes in wood!

 He can show me how to remove it, and then,

I am to sit down with Him in His art studio called life and carve it into something beautiful.

He is at my right hand-  He touches my right hand to guide the artwork.

 It is curiously my own.

 He does not control my hand. No, ” I am grateful to Him who strengthens me….  He has found me trustworthy.”

He believes in me as the artist.  He knows I can take this large and grossly shaped wooden beam

and create something beautiful.

 Forgiveness and Mercy are the tools He lends me.  They are His and come from His right hand.   But He is generous, oh so generous, with His belongings.  In fact they are only for gift -not be be kept in His tool belt, but given away.

We work together, his grace is abundant, His work and direction affirming.  His counsel wise, His love so complete.

 We create something beautiful.

wooden hands

It takes a  lifetime…but I, disciple,am now like the Master Teacher.

 The work of art looks, at one and the same time, like us both.