WHY SHOULD ONE MEDITATE?
It’s very difficult to determine what exactly makes a person want to meditate. We discover the “why” only after we begin to meditate.
First, as Christians our limited minds cannot grasp the infinity of God. Philosophy, theology and other forms of learning only tell us things about God. They do not bring us into an EXPERIENCE of God. When we begin to abandon words, images and ideas about God in the silence of prayer, we come to a deeper sense and a deeper love of God.
In stillness, that quiet space, we come into the life of the Spirit, where we are transformed. Even Christ and the apostles became caught up in the activity and business at times (Mark 6:31). We need to withdraw each day from excessive noise and activity and find God in the solitary place in our own heart! We become disposed to God in silence.As Saint Augustine says,
“OUR HEARTS ARE RESTLESS UNTIL THEY REST IN YOU!”
We are losing the contemplative dimension of our lives, and we are paying a terrible price. Noise is drowning out the voice of God. That is why we come to meditation: to experience the presence of God.
Secondly, if we meditate, we become conscious of the “fruits of the spirit,“ as Saint Paul calls them........love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-24).
Thirdly, we join others on the common path. Spiritual writers tell us that “meditation then is the part of the universal spiritual culture of all humankind” (Ken Wilber).
Meditation is common to Hindus, Christians, Buddhists, Taoists and Sufis in Islam. Despite our different beliefs, and while our doctrinal differences seem to be great, the one practice that unites us, that brings us together is this path of meditation, of the inner silence of prayer.
40 THINGS TO GIVE UP FOR LENT
- Fear of failure… You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fail forward.
- Your comfort zone… It’s outside our comfort zones where new discoveries are made.
- Feelings of unworthiness… You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator. See Psalm 139:14.
- Impatience… God’s timing is the perfect timing.
- Retirement… As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason.You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. Our work is not always tied to a paycheck.
- People pleasing… I can’t please everyone anyway. There’s only one I need to strive to please.
- Comparison… I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.
- Blame… I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.
- Guilt… I am loved by Jesus and he has forgiven me. Today’s a new day and the past is behind.
- Overcommitment… Do you less better and accomplish more.
- Lack of counsel… Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.
- Impurity… Live lives pure and without blemish.
- Entitlement. The world is not owe me anything. God is not owe me anything. I live in grace and humility.
- Apathy...Life is too short not to care.
- Hatred… Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21. 234.
- Negativity… I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic.
- The spirit of poverty… Believe that with God there is always more than enough and never a lack.
- Going through the motions… The more you invest yourself, the more you’ll get back.
- Complain...Instead of contributing to the problem, be the solution.
- The pursuit of happiness… God wants something greater and more lasting and happiness. It is called joy. See what the difference is.
- Bitterness… The only person I am hurting by holding onto bitterness is myself.
- Distraction… Life is filled with distractions that will take our eyes off the prize.
- Giving up… God never gives up on us.
- Mediocrity… If you were going to do something, then give it all you got.
- Destructive speech… Encourage one another and all the more as you see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25.
- Busyness… It is a badge of honor to be busy. But that does not always translate to abundance.
- Loneliness… With Jesus I’m never alone. He was with me wherever I go.
- Disunity… If two of you agree on earth about anything, it will be done for them by the heavenly father. Matthew 18:19.
- The quickfix… Rarely does true transformation happen overnight.
- Worry… God is in control and worrying will not help.
- Idolizing… Don’t assign anyone a standard they cannot live up to.
- Resistance to change… Change is certain. It is not if we will change, but how we will change.
- Pride… Blessed are the humble.
- Small view of God… Don’t tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big your God is.
- Envy...I am blessed. My value is not found in my material possessions, but in my relationship with God.
- Ungratefulness… You have been blessed in a way greater than you realize.
- Selfish ambition… God has a mission for me that is bigger than me.
- Self-sufficiency… Jesus is my strength. I can do all things through him. Philippians 4:13
- Sorrow… Weeping may tarry for the night, But joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5.
- My life… Yes, give up your life! Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25.
The Serenity Prayer
God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; And wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time; Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; Taking, as God did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it; Trusting that God will make all things right
If I surrender to God’s Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life And supremely happy with God Forever and ever in the next.
(A prayer attributed to Reinhold Neibuhr (1892-1971))
REFLECTIONS DURING THE CORONOVIRUS EPEDEMIC
I Lift Up My Hands To You, O God
As I take up my hands to wash them and reassure my heart,
I pray for healing and wholeness for the whole world.
I remember that every life is unique and of infinite value:
from those living on the most remote part of the globe to those in our cities to our neighbors and family members.
Let me use my hands for good to help bring love and compassion to others.
“Let us lift up our hearts and hands to the Eternal.” (Lamentations 3:41)
Aside from this low-key guilt trip in pursuit of clean hands, this image is a reminder that I place my hands, my heart, my life RIGHT NOW in the Holy Hands of God. May you do so as well during these anxious times.
MONTHLY MOVIES WITH MEANING
LENTEN MOVIES WITH MEANING
March 19 (Tues.) 6:40PM
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The parish “Adult Spirituality/Meditation” program presents a VERY thought provoking film during Lent entitled, THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI. This is not a movie for the faint of heart, as the language and theme of this R-rated film might be offensive to some adults. However, it is a movie that will enrich your Lent in that it has the capacity to demonstrate forgiveness and transformation (two themes of the Lenten season) In the midst of a story that simultaneously brings out the worst and best of human nature, the most despicable and unsympathetic characters in the movie offer on unmistakably tender message of forgiveness. This movie represents the triumph of mercy over hatred.
This movie is about a bereaved mother who has had it with the failure of the local police department to find the person responsible for raping and murdering her daughter. She rents three billboards on a road leading out of Ebbing, Missouri and pays to have them emblazoned with black lettering on a red background: (1) RAPED WHILE DYING, (2) AND STILL NO ARRESTS? (3) HOW COME SHERIFF WILLOUGHBY?
PLEASE BE WARNED!!! This is not a lighthearted movie where everyone ends up living happily ever after. This movie struggles with the powerful themes of forgiveness and revenge, life and death, damnation and redemption.
Come and see how viewing “movies with meaning” can be the occasion of a Divine Encounter, a moment of grace in our own lives. Especially during this season of Lent!
After the film we will be able to discuss a Catholic understanding of redemption, damnation, how people (yes, you!) see the world through different theological lenses (what does theology mean?), about good and evil, moral and immoral, sin and punishment and so many other things as portrayed through the very interestingcharacters in this film.
- The Searchers
- All Saints
- Joyeux Noël (Merry Christmas)
- Into Great Silence
- Song of Bernadette
SPIRITUAL BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB!
LENTEN BOOK OF THE MONTH
The parish adult spirituality/meditation program will be reading for our Lenten book of the month during Lent,
The group will be meeting on Tuesdays on March 10, 17, 24, and March 31 at 6:30 PM. If you are interested, please see the front office for a copy of the book.
PLEASE NOTE: Please read the first two chapters of the book for our first meeting March 10 @ 6:30PM. Thereafter, read two chapters for each of the upcoming gatherings.
The title of the book, Girl, Arise, is from the word, TALITHA - an uncommon feminine name meaning “little girl” in Aramaic, given in reference to the Biblical story in the Gospel of Mark in which Jesus Christ was said to have resurrected a dead child with the words "Talitha cumi" or "Talitha kum" or "Talitha koum," meaning "Little girl, I say to you, arise!"
The author of this book, Claire Swinarski, believes it is possible to be both a Catholic and a feminist. She reconciles these two identities by demonstrating the strength and abilities women have to share with the Body of Christ. She points out that while both “feminism” and “Catholicism” can mean different things to different people, those who are Catholic feminists desire to make the world a better, more equitable place. And she shows that by treating women with dignity equal to that of men, by calling them his friends and teaching them, Jesus acted as a feminist as well.
The author is an ARDENT PRO-LIFE woman, knowing modern feminism goes too far, and explores what it means to serve others rather than focus on our own needs first.
She explores the stories of holy women, including Vashti in the book of Esther, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Joan of Arc, Mary Magdalene and the Blessed Virgin Mary - to show how their faith influenced their actions, even when these actions went against traditional norms and roles of women.
You will be empowered, as a man or woman (This book is not only for men!), during this Lenten season to embrace your God-given abilities and follow in the footsteps of women who have gone before you in faith announcing Christ, believing in His promises, and being faithful in an ever-changing world.