Tag Archive | Lent

I Consider Everything as Loss!

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Inspired by St. Paul’s words, in the book of Philippians chapter 3 verse 8:   “More than that, I even consider everything as a loss because of the supreme good of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have accepted the loss of all things and I consider them so much rubbish, that I may gain Christ” – (The New American Bible), I embrace the challenge of subtraction. 

So often, we seek constant additions, as much as a number of us hate mathematics.  WE seek to add to our finances, using the expression of “the more the merrier.”  Many seek to add to their family through procreation as is commanded by God’s words, and certainly there is nothing wrong with that once it is done in the proper relationship or sacrament of marriage.   
Today, our generation constantly seeks to increase the many contact lists on facebook and other social media, almost seeking a sense of popularity.  As if numbers, additions and multiplications are supposed to be the strength of our existence – one might think we are saying that, without having a lot, we have nothing.  

Yet, whoever said that more is always more?  More is sometimes worst.  The more people, the more chaos, the more mouths to feed, the more resources necessary, the more money the more worry, the more people in our lives, the more demanded, and or expected of us.   And the list can go on and on…

In truth, we all need people in our lives, but sometimes we lose people through falter, through broken relationships, stupidity, a lack of humility to apologize for hurts caused, through migration, or others just walk away without any solid reasoning.  Whatever the case, there is a loss.  

There is no doubt, that loss in and of itself is hurtful, it is painful, and it is often heartbreaking.  Yet, it is loss that causes us to search our deepest recesses to find that which is within us for survival.  It is loss, which breeds creation and creativity.  For failure to create new things is to die.  Thus, today, I seek to embrace the losses of my life.  The loss of seasonal people, loss of loved ones through the thief called death, the loss of money, the loss of good grades, friendship opportunities, and just the loss of even time which can never be gotten again.

This loss, I embrace, for while I hold the emptiness they created through the newly formed vacuum, I hang on tightly to God’s unchanging hands.  I embrace the loss because, it enables me to give it all, in a form of surrender to the ultimate authority of my life, – God himself.  The loss allows me to forget about myself, and concentrate on the healer of the hurts, the provider of the need, the fulfillment of the emptiness and the completion of the incomplete me.   

Today, I count it all as loss, for the Glory of God.  For the less time with that which I no longer have, the more time to discover and spend with HIM who is my ALL.  Today, one must remind themselves that no human person can fulfill us – but God who is our completion.  Psalm 63 says it best:  “Oh God, My soul longs for you, like a dry and desert land where there’s no water….”
Even deeper, the Lenten Season creates the perfect opportunity for me to Embrace the nothing, the empty, the loss and the void, while letting go of consumerism, and all its allies.  God is great and His Grace is Sufficient. – All I need to do is Believe, Hold On to HIM and Trust!  

By the way, the following link struck me:     http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=IkR3c0uuYIQ#!

Service & Sacrifice

One week ago today, so much seemed to have been different within me. Emotionally and spiritually I felt drained, frustrated and lost. Today, I look back and am Wowed at the changes that have occured. Simple things make big impacts sometimes, but most of all, one’s mindset sets the path to success or failure. My mindset was pulling me down the drain, but God always has better plans, and word them He does in his own styles and times.

Today, I spent most of it doing things in preparation for the upcoming Midwestern Awakening Retreat, and to say that I feel that I have accomplished much would be an understatement. I have accomplished much, though there are still some things to get done.

Along with that, I challenged myself and made a Sweet Potato Pudding as I always wanted to. And though some of the ingredients were not exactly what I desired to work with, I pulled it through reasonably well from all telling. :)
It gave me such joy just to first do it, and then watch others have it with pleasure. The little things in life which make a big difference quite often. Well, so much for food.

So, what’s in all this? Two words, Service and Sacrifice. Both were very much in play, and complement this Lenten season and the journey on which I have embarked; that of spiritual renaissance and metanoia. It is really a continuation, rather than a new venture; still it feels so new. There is a certain peace witihin my spirit that I feel today. There are multiple factors which have contributed to this peace, but certainly a big contributor is my latest prayer life. Not that I didn’t pray before, now it is more focused, intense, structured and factored into my daily living. I feel like I pray now with more purpose, you know like I did maybe 4 years ago. I pray that I will continue on this journey with dedication and growth.

May I continue to seek ways to serve God through others, while he blesses the sacrifices that I make. A A, in case you are wondering, I got some disappointing news today too, but I told myself to stay positive. So, here I am.
I pray you had a good day, and wish you well.
Feel free to share your thoughts with me. Mine seem rather random, but I am just writing from the heart at this moment.

Be blessed today and always.
In Christ,
Ceez

Attitudes & Others – both matter

It’s Tuesday, and somehow it was a busy but good one. The weather here didn’t seem too encouraging in the earlier part of the day, but I told myself it is still a lovely day. Later on, while running one of my required errands, I was elated to see the sun rays peeking through the building. That lifted an already positive mood and spirit, and I was thrilled to walk outside. The sun seemed to have been out in all of its glory.
My meditation was about living for the benefit of others, sort of forgetting myself, needs and desires and focus on that of others. Though at some points my own concerns hit me, I didn’t dwell on them. Yay to that!!! It always seems better to help others, and to make them happy in any case.

A busy but productive day – was today. Within me meanwhile, was a strong spiritual peace, one that I clung to. Nothing phased it, nothing. Interestingly one of the short conversations I shared with someone today captured the need to choose to be in control of my mental state / attitude. He was sharing how he makes big efforts to stay positive in the midst of things and situations which challenge his equilibrium. That was right up my emotional pathway, because it has been the thing at the forefront of my mind lately more than ever. Was that some co-incidence? I say No. I think it was divine within its own occurrence.

Then tonight, another conversation with a friend reaffirmed the need for us to reach out to others as I alluded to above. I think there is beauty in simple things, and so when someone says to me that they are going to visit a sick person, or a friend who has gone into “hiding” it warms my heart. It calls me to evaluate my own giving, and makes me see that indeed life is about others, not so much about ourselves, though we all have needs and desires.
So, tonight, since I have spent some time at the wellness center, building some healthy chemical reactions within my own psyche, I feel wonderful, and ready to get tonight’s chores on stream. Laundry, art, reading and prayer are top on the list. lol. I sound like a workaholic eh.

Anyway, I hope your day was wonderful, and if it wasn’t I urge you to look ahead at the morning, for Joy cometh in that time. Let us anticipate another GREAT DAY in CHRIST JESUS. I lay my burdens down, and I embrace the cross of Christ in a spirit of gratitude and victory.
God Bless y’all.

Whatsoever you do to the least of them….

So many things happened today, but I choose to focus on the lovely little couple whom I met. The sweet little lady celebrated her 91st Birthday, and her dear devoted husband was at her side all day. Their conversations are amazing, their exchange of whit and humor is beyond their age. I mean, there is clearly devotion, love, and honor radiating from this couple. Their family (son and family) love them dearly and ensured that her birthday was observed in a humble but loving manner.

What I took from that beauty is the Love of God. During a time of lent, we are asked to forget ourselves, focus on others and show love and appreciation for the life we have. I saw that in this couple who have spent over 70 years together as husband and wife. This is a lifetime plus. hmm I cannot tell you how amazing this is to me. With me being single, I feel a sense of hope for the concept of “LOVE” in the sense of marriage, family, devotion and faithfulness for all those who are anticipating marriage and long life togetherness. Don’t get me wrong, I am not quite a pessismist, but when I look around examples like these are far and wide. So, if I am to get married someday, I sure hope it will be with such true love and devotion.

Before you think I am in a zone of love-seeking (And what if I was? :) It sure is a normal thing afterall for a sweet, single woman…lol) I share this to emphasize that during the Lenten season we need to reach out to those around us who may not be as fortunate as we are. Oh it is easy to get all self-engrossed. Take it from me. But, once you help someone else, oh what joy it brings.
So today, I made it my business to write two full emails to two wonderful friends in my life. They deserved the time.
Glad I did indeed.
So, coming back to the giving, today’s readings warn us that what we do to the least of those among us, we do to HIM (God Himself). Hey, that is some warning eh.
My prayer is to do better, do good, do best, do right, do well, and do for God’s approval if nothing else.
Oh I really want to make it to eternal happiness with HIM, so I press on this journey.

God bless you as you live your day. In good Faith, I commend my night’s rest into the hands of Father God, and entrust the tomorrow into HIS care for He is going to make it Wonderful, all in Jesus name.
God bless.

Day 2 – Humility

The first stage of contemplation, dear brothers [and sisters], is constantly to consider what God wants, what is pleasing to him, and what is acceptable in his eyes. We all offend in many things; our strengths cannot match the rectitude of God’s will, being neither one with it nor wholly in accord with it; let us then humble ourselves under the powerful hand of the most high God and be concerned to show ourselves unworthy before His merciful gaze, saying: Heal me, Lord, and I shall be healed; save me and I shall be saved. And again, Lord, have mercy on me; heal my soul because I have sinned against you.”
– St Bernard

Today, I choose to meditate on the above quote of St. Bernard. Day two of my Lenten Journey. Among many prayers uttered, I find the words therein extremely timely, and powerful. Truly there is beauty in simplicity of words too. I reckon the words which calls on me to be humble. Oh humility, whoever said it was easy? It is not! Still, I find it to be so important in my walk with God. Often I have had to surrender my will, pride and power for the greater good of God’s work in contributing to the building of His Kingdom here on earth. To deny self, to deny desire, and to deny ego are all sacrificial. That is what the Lenten season reminds us to do.

Today too, I pray for salvation of my mind, for I think it is under severe attack. Indeed the mind is the battle field, and oh how the enemy of our souls seek to destroy us. The more I pray, the more attacks I seem to face in various ways. Still, I seek to press on, with the hope of reclaiming each day, my mind for the will of God.
May I survive this hard day, after a long sleepless night and may I seek humilty even when it meets pain.

Amen!

In 40 Days!

Today marks the beginning of the Lenten season in the calendar year of many Christians; most especially for the Catholic, Methodist and Episcopal believers. Each year 40 days of such a nature is recognized. It begins on Ash Wednesday (today). Very simply I began with going to a service and recieving ashes on my forehead in reminder that from dust I came, and to dust I will or shall return. Importantly, the need for almsgiving, fasting and praying during this season in need for a deeper conversion was emphasized by the preacher. Still, nothing can say anything about this season to me, better than the following blog post I found at http://fallibleblogma.com/index.php/dare-to-make-this-a-radical-lent/

Matthew Warner shared this, and I take delight in posting it here for your own reading. Essentially and maybe a bit selfishly, I post it here for my return to keep reminding myself of where I should be during these 40 days, but moreso, where I should be thereafter in my walk with God and neighbor. So many lines have stood out for me that I find it difficult to quote any specific one here; instead I suggest you read it for yourself. In my comment on the post, one of the things I mentioned and I care to mention here is: …”my need to radically love beyond the scars which linger within me…” Feel free to visit Matthew’s Blog to read all of it, and leave a comment too if you care to. Most importantly, I hope that you read it to benefit from the depth of this message.

As I embark on the next 40 Days, there is much that I pray for.
If you don’t embrace the Lenten season, I respect it, but what we as Christians do embrace, regardless of our persuasion is the need for a deep and total conversion. Since conversion to Catholics is a journey, I urge you like I remind myself today to work out your salvation in fear and trembling before God our merciful Father.
Yours in Christ Jesus.