Monday, January 25, 2010

On the Conversion of St. Paul

On the Conversion of St. Paul . . .

I was praying the Divine Office on the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul the Apostle and I was struck by the words—so familiar, yet so fresh: “Paul, my grace is sufficient for you; my power is made perfect in weakness.”

And the second Antiphon following it, “God’s grace in me has not been without fruits; it is always at work in me,” also raised my awareness of just how much Paul’s life in carrying on the mission of Christ was dependent on God.

When you reflect on these two passages together, what simply cannot be missed is a sense of humility before God. It is just such humility that each of us would be blessed to embrace.

How often do you go through your day, imagining that YOU have accomplished this or that, when all along it was God? Do you recognize that whatever good your actions or words produce is a result of God’s grace in you as well? Do you hear the constancy of God’s presence in the words, “always at work in me?”

Yes, God is with us always, pouring out his grace on us, perfecting our weaknesses and producing good fruits through us. This connection with God in our lives is tangible. It is something to marvel and we must be careful not to ever take it for granted.

God’s grace is indeed sufficient for us!

Monday, January 11, 2010

As we begin this new year, are you among those who have made a resolution which has already been broken, or have you been diligent in your attempt? I hope that if your resolution was to pray more or attend Mass during the week, that you are successful, because this is truly the best thing you can ever do for yourself.

Of course, resolutions that involve smoking, weight and other personal improvements are always a good idea, but underneath any of these--dare I say even more important than any of these--is becoming more connected to God. Why? Because it is through the grace of God that we are able to become all we can be. We simply cannot do any of this on our own.

It is through God's help that we are able to continue when we fall down. It is through God's help that we are motivated to get started in the first place.

When we live with a healthy dependence on God, we know and understand the great blessings that are available to us. God is always present in times of trial and in times of joy.

Stay connected to God and you will find success in all things.

God bless,

Monday, January 4, 2010


Sometimes it can be difficult to discern God's will. I think that is because we often try to "sort things out" using our intellect. We consider pros and cons, the logic of our choices. Basically, we try to rationalize our way to a decision.

This is not a bad thing, however . . .

Any discernment we make must also be a discernment of heart. That is not the same thing as a discernment through emotion. This is not to say that our decisions should be led by our feelings.

Discernment of heart is an opening up of ourselves to God. It is prayer to God, asking for help. It is submission to God's will when we recognize our stony heart is unmoved because our logic is hardening it.

Sometimes difficultly with discernment comes from interior debate in the absence of a desire for God! It is our own logic vs. our personal wants, and that is not the debate that will help us reach a decision!

If you want to know God's will, ask him to remove your wants and your rationale and replace them with the desire to follow Him. Although you may need to patiently wait for a nudge as to what you should do, you can be confident that your personal wants have either been set aside, or are at least in line with God. This will bring you to a good decision.

And that's the second part of discernment. We want to line up our desires with God's plan for our life, rather than try to fit God's plan to ours.

God bless,

Friday, January 1, 2010

To know is not to understand

I am reading Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle's latest book, Mother Teresa and Me and I came across this quote by Blessed Teresa of Calcutta:

"To know the problem of poverty intellectually is not to understand it. It is not by reading, taking a walk in the slums, admiring, and regretting that we come to understand it and discover what it has of bad and good. We have to dive into it, live it, share it."

A parallel to our prayer life jumped out at me when I read this quote.

How many of us surround ourselves with a complicated prayer ritual? Maybe we have two or three devotional books or styles, i.e., Rosary, Divine Office, Examen, etc., when prayer can and should be very simple. That's not to say we shouldn't be active pray-ers through these methods, but think about it . . .

To know Jesus intellectually, is not to be in a relationship with Him, actually. And to create a multi-dimensional approach to prayer does not mean that we accept the love He offers us, rather, perhaps one-sidedly, it implies it is our activity that makes the difference.

Let the grace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ pour into your open heart and you will know and truly experience the depth of prayer.

Happy New Year!