Posts Tagged ‘Catholic’
Following on from my last post on my different types and methods of prayer, I thought a quick post on barriers to prayer might be prudent. I often hear people say that they just don’t have time for prayer, that life just gets in the way. I sympathise because I can be the master of prevarication regarding a lot of things and prayer is one of them. I’m terrible for finding household tasks to do before I start the one thing I SHOULD be doing. “I’ll just hang the washing out, and then I’ll pray.” “I’ll just prep the veg for tea, and then I’ll pray.” You can replace the word, ‘pray’ with any of those things that you continually put off, we all have them.
I know that sometimes I feel that my house should be spotlessly clean and tidy before I sit down and do the things I enjoy doing, so that can drive my desire to leave prayer/bible study until the end of my chore list; I love it so much that I almost feel guilty for taking time out to do it when the vacuuming still needs doing and the dog wants a walk. I’m getting better at prioritising prayer but I’m also mastering the art of praying whilst working. More on that in a minute.
For me another barrier was that I thought I had to speak in a formal way during prayer, scripted prayers, thees and thous etc. This is really not what God wants, he just wants us to open our hearts to Him and speak as we would to a friend. As the saying goes, it’s not how you pray that matters, it just matters that you do. Don’t let formality come between you and time with God.
I’ve always wanted to be the kind of person who gets up at sparrow’s fart and puts in half an hour with God before the day even starts….hmmmm. Now, those of you who know me, know that I already get up at silly o’clock in the morning [5.30am usually] so let’s be honest here, any earlier and it’d barely be worth even going to bed at all lol. I hit the ground running and don’t draw breath until Ethan’s at school at 8.30am. So, I’ve compromised and I set my alarm for ten minutes earlier than I need to be up and I give that ten minutes solely to God. No books, no rosary, no trappings at all; just God and I chatting and getting ready for the day to come. I always ask for his strength and guidance through the day ahead and He always tells me He loves me.
Praying whilst working; The other trick to prayer is to remember that you don’t have to be on bended knee with a breviary in your hand or at church when speaking to God. He’s with us all the time, ALL THE TIME!! So, when you’re stood there washing the dishes…pray for your children; when you’re hanging out the washing….pray for your spouse; when you’re cooking the supper….pray for international causes. You get the picture. I pray in the car on my way home from dropping Ethan at school. I pray for the people on my prayer list during that journey…I turn the radio off, throw a glance at the passenger seat to make sure Jesus is there [He always is], and away I go. I’m sure other drivers think I’m on my hands free kit lol. I don’t need it, I have a direct line to God.
If you enjoy praying scripture, you can pick out one of your favourite verses, write it on the back of your hand [size limits allowing 😉 ] and every time you catch sight of it during the day you will automatically send it up to God.
Post-its around the house are great too. Short, arrow prayers can be stuck in strategic places ~ on the back of the toilet door, on the fridge, on your dash board.
There is absolutely a place for scheduling time to spend with God in prayer. However, we are all victims of our own success and life has become ridiculously busy and complex. So yes, on the days when you can find half an hour to sit down with God, go for it. For me, that time is usually after the school run. I come in, put the kettle on and put away the dishes while it’s boiling. Make a pot of tea and while it’s brewing I fold the washing. Then I grab my favourite mug and my prayer basket and it’s my time with God….and I stick with it until I’m done. I don’t put a time limit on it, I just do it until I feel complete. This doesn’t happen every day but I try to make sure it happens as often as possible. Fridays and Sundays I’m at Mass in the morning anyway but on the other days I just do my best.
Ah, and that’s another thing that I’ve found helps enormously, my prayer basket [see photo’ at the head of this post]. Having everything I need in one place and totally portable is perfect. No scrabbling around looking for my bible or rosary, no frantic search for my pen…there it all is ready to grab and go. So, what’s in my prayer basket? Hmm, more than you think lol. My CTS bible; Sacred Space Prayer Book, 2016; Just Calling bible study series [Book 1] and relevant note book; Trusting God Day by Day devotional by Joyce Meyer; A Year of Mercy with Pope Francis [beautiful book regardless of whether you’re catholic or not]; Patterns of Prayer by Eugene McCaffrey [equally delicious and the book we’re using for our Carmelite prayer group]; notebook listing people to pray for; two more notebooks [hmmm possibly too many notebooks lol although they each have a purpose, honest]; pink, blue and purple pens; my rosary beads; regular prayer beads; post-it’s and bible hi-glider pens. Yep, all of that fits in my little basket. I don’t use all of it every day and I do switch things in and out depending on mood/need. But it stops me using the excuse that I don’t have what I need to be with God.
I think the only thing I need to add now are some links to my favourite online sites that I use for prayer and bible study. I don’t use them often but they’re a Godsend [no pun intended]and if that’s more your bag then they’re fantastic, especially for on-the-hoof prayer: ~ Pray as you go ~ I use this on my phone’, particularly the Examen at the end of the day. Sacred Space which I mentioned in my last post. Ignatian Spirituality ~ a beautiful site covering all aspects of Ignatian prayer. WordLive ~ this is more of a bible study but another great site nevertheless. Daily Reflections-Alive Publishing ~ distinctly catholic but hey, horses for courses. Joyce Meyer also offers a daily devotional under the, Everyday Answers tab on her home page. So, there should be something there to suit everyone. Quite a diverse list.
I really hope this helps you if you’re struggling to find time to be with God. If nothing else just sitting silently in His presence is perfect, you really don’t need ‘stuff’. If you have a young family, just resting in His presence for a few moments may be all you can do. And on those days when you don’t manage anything other a quick apology towards heaven for not having prayed at all, don’t worry, tomorrow is another day and God is faithful and knows the intentions of your heart. He loves you regardless.
I’ll pray for you today, in case you don’t manage to ~ may you be blessed beyond your wildest dreams, may you feel the love of God surrounding you as you go through your day xx
[ps links in pink, as always]
Posted in Faith, Ignatian Spirituality, Lent & Easter, Prayer, Private Vows, Scripture, tagged Benedictine, Catholic, Faith, Ignatian, Lent, Prayer, Private Vows, Scripture on Thursday, May 5, 2016| 2 Comments »
Lent this year was a time of huge change and transition for me. A time of spiritual growth. I was so lucky not to be working because this gave me the time and space to indulge in Lent completely. Sadly, I had a flu type bug over the actual Easter weekend so missed all those beautiful services but you know what, Lent was such a blessing that nothing could put a dampener on the joy it brought me.
So, coming out of Easter-tide [although, we’re still officially in the season of Easter until Pentecost which falls on Sunday 15th May this year] I’ve been left with my mind heavily focused on prayer. God seems to be leading me down a prayerful path by opening many doors to prayer filled opportunities. A Carmelite prayer group has just started at my local church, we’re meeting once a month to spend time in contemplative prayer. This is challenging but beautiful.
I’ve also been lucky enough to secure myself a place on a, ‘Week of Guided Prayer’ which is being organised and offered by our local church partnership. This is such a fantastic opportunity and I feel so blessed. I get to meet with a Prayer Guide for around half an hour each day for a week, there are no words to express how much I’m looking forward to this.
I’ve just acquired myself a copy of, Sacred Space: The Prayer Book 2016 which was suggested to me by the lovely Sister who is the Pastoral Administrator of our parish at the moment. It’s a book I’ve considered for the last few years but have always used the online version found HERE. When she suggested it I kind of wasn’t surprised. God has a way of bringing these things to our attention if we’re refusing to see the obvious. It’s just the most perfect devotional prayer book for me, very thought provoking and relevant.
With all this focus on prayer I’ve been thinking about exactly what prayer is and what form/s it can take. It’s a question I’ve been asked a couple of times recently. I’ve discovered this is a huge subject because prayer can be so many things, it has so many facets. It’s also unique to each person because we are all so different with myriad needs. I can’t speak for others so I’ll just describe my own experiences of prayer.
Whether it be the comforting recital of the Our Father during Mass or a handful of Hail Marys during the week, structured prayers have an important part to play. They bring me a feeling of peace and familiarity [often taking me back to my childhood] and, no matter how many times I say them, they bring something different each time. They are a safety net when all else fails and I have no words of my own. Also praying scripture, particularly the Psalms, can be a wonderful expression of prayer and devotion. There’s a Psalm for every mood and every situation.
Private intentions and petitions are another important facet. Praying for the needs of others and ourselves. I’ve begun to keep a book of people and causes to pray for because otherwise I’m worried I’ll forget. The list is long….and forever growing.
There are those arrow prayers that I fire heavenwards throughout the day. Maybe just, ‘Jesus, help me’ or ‘Bless this person, Lord’. These are small, but mighty. Acknowledgements that Jesus is always close, always on hand to guide and encourage. We just have to reach out to Him.
In our monthly contemplative group, prayer is silence….it’s listening…..it’s being at one with God. Listening is a very important part of prayer and something that people often forget. They can be so busy with a ‘shopping list’ of people and personal needs [which are important] that they forget to just listen. . . . to just ‘be still and know that I am God’. [Psalm 46:10] Remember, prayer is a two-way street, God also has things He would like to say to us, to ask of us. ‘Listen with the ear of you heart.’ Rule of Benedict, Prologue.
I also do a lot of Ignatian Contemplation where you place yourself within a scene or event in the bible, usually from the Gospels, and imagine what you can hear, see, smell, taste and feel…you put yourself in that place, lose yourself in the story. Imagine that you’re there with Jesus in the boat as he calms the waters…. It’s a truly amazing way to pray and it has revealed some amazing insights to me, and God has spoken right into my heart during some of these exercises. As an alternative to this I sometimes just imagine that Jesus is sat opposite me at the table in my kitchen and we have a conversation. This is a very simple act but totally mind blowing at times. We’ve had some great chats, Jesus and I.
Back in August 2009 I wrote the words below ~ I found them today and they are still relevant: ~
Prayer is unique to each individual
It’s that hurried word on waking or a constant all-day dialogue.
It’s half an hour of liturgical trawling through the Breviary.
It’s that conversation with the ‘no one’ beside you at the table or in the car ~ it’s our faith that makes that ‘no one’ a someone!
It’s just a thought ‘thrown’ God’s way.
It’s a heartfelt plea on the back of despair or a word of joyful thanks at a beautiful moment.
Prayer does not have to be words, it can just be silence. It’s a two-way street and that silence can be filled with listening.
Most of all prayer, in whatever form, is an act of fidelity to God.
On the face of it, not much has changed since I wrote this, but yet everything has changed because I have changed. There are a lot of echoes of what I still do today but it all feels very different. A lot more authentic somehow. I particularly like the reference to prayer being an act of fidelity to God. Our way of demonstrating our faithfulness to God.
In an ideal world my whole life would be my prayer, to be ‘always in His holy presence’ and keep ‘a loving gaze on God’. [Patterns of Prayer, McCaffrey OCD p19] It is something to aspire to.
Hello lovely people. I thought I’d just go with a newsy chat today. It’s my birthday [53, ouch] and I’ve given myself the day off. Well, as much as any wife and mother ever gets the day off; I was still up at sparrow’s fart and have done all the usual morning chores and the school run but, other than that, I’m not doing much else. I might get my crochet out in a while and try to finish Ethan’s Cosy Crofter Throw. We’ve finally transferred him, and most of his belongings, to his new room and I have to say that it’s looking very nice. I thought we’d struggle to fit all his ‘stuff’ into his new room but he’s become a bit of a minimalist and has been totally ruthless about recycling things that he’s not played with for a while or that he thinks he’s grown out of. However, he informs me that the room just needs a nice throw on the bed to finish it off so I need to get a wriggle on.
I share my birthday with St Catherine of Siena’s feast day. It’s lovely to share my birthday with a special saint and if I’m lucky enough to go to Mass on my birthday [which I did today] then it makes for some great readings within the service.
After sharing the crocheted sock pattern in my last post I was excited to give them a go straight away. Unfortunately I discovered that the only 2.5mm hook I had was a grey Pony one, but I find them very difficult to use now. As I’ve got older my hands have been prone to cramp and I have a ganglian [deep joy] on the back of each hand, so gripping a very thin, metal hook really makes my hands ache and, after a few hours, I also get a blister on one finger. Pony hooks were all I used years or so ago but I had to find an alternative once my hand problems started. Now I’m a ‘Clover Amour‘ convert, and I’ve never looked back, no pain, no blisters, no cramp. So, back to the story ~ without both hook sizes I couldn’t really start the socks 😦 . I ordered one immediately along with a couple of balls of plain sock yarn [be rude not to huh?] to use for the toes, heels and cuffs. I’ve got some beautiful 4ply sock yarns but they’re all multi-coloured. If you click on each photo’ below you’ll be able to see exactly what the yarn is and which colourway.
As soon as the new yarn and hook arrive I’ll make a start and be sure to share anything I achieve on here. I’m trying very hard not to have too many projects on the go at once or I’ve discovered nothing gets finished as I hop from one to another depending on mood. So, I’ve allowed myself one large and one small project at a time. Ethan’s throw is the large one and these socks will be the small one. It is working so far.
The sun is out here as I type but the clouds are looming and there’s a bitter chill in the wind. I have to confess that I’ve put the heating back on. We’re out for a quick tea tonight, something of Ethan’s choice which I suspect will involve a burger. Tomorrow I’m going out for a meal with my beautiful daughter, Millie, so I’ll be twice my normal size by Monday!! lol Oh, and did I mention cake? No hope!!! 🙂
It’s a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK so we’ve got an extra day together which is perfect given it’s my birthday weekend. I hope you all have a fantastic weekend and enjoy your extra day off if you’re lucky enough to have one.
Hi lovelies xx
A really quick Sunday night post just to share a custom order for some button flowers that I made yesterday. There are two sets of flowers, one in multi pastel shades and the other in plain pastels. The plain ones are going off to their new home tomorrow. These have become very popular for embellishing things, and I’ve used them to decorate my little crocheted bags. As you can see I haven’t sewn in the ends yet but by the time they leave they’ll be all tidied up. [Click on any photo’ to see it enlarged.]
Happy Mother’s Day to all you ladies out there who Mother someone, whether that be biologically or just through the love of someone you care for in a maternal way. May you all be blessed.
Today is also Laetare Sunday in the catholic faith. This falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent and it is a day of rejoicing [Laetare meaning, to rejoice] and the Priests and Deacons wear rose coloured vestments. It’s a day when we can relax a little from our Lenten rigours [such as they are 😉 ].
Good morning lovelies xx
It’s sunny, it’s Friday and it doesn’t get much better than that. The horses in the paddock opposite are looking very chilled as you can see. I’m just back from celebrating a wonderful Mass with the equally wonderful Fr Peter, who is a retired priest from a nearby town. We don’t have a parish priest in residence at the moment as our last one moved on and he cannot be replaced due to the general lack of men taking up the priesthood. Sad times but hey…we get Fr Peter on Fridays and he’s just lovely. I can’t get to Mass fast enough because he is so welcoming, charismatic and funny too. He’s obviously seen a lot of life and it really shows in his relationship with us, the faithful. We are truly blessed by him…even if he does tease us by mentioning bacon sarnies on days we’re meant to be fasting 😆 x
Anyway, I’m waffling…I’m sat here with the standard cup of frothy coffee on my desk, Honey at my feet and a few things to share as it’s the end of the week. The week got off to a great start with Ethan’s excellent secondary school offer [see previous post] on Tuesday, but sadly that same day he was sent home having passed out three times in class. He is incredibly squeamish and we think it was something they were reading about in their group reading session [it was nothing massively graphic but, in the story, someone had just cut their head]. Anyway, poor little guy went down like a stone. Luckily his teacher caught him as she could see he was going by his truly dreadful colour. He was out for a while and fainted twice more before they could actually get him out of the classroom and down to the medical room at which point I was called. The school did a super job of looking after him. Ethan’s become very squeamish over the last couple of years but never actually passed out, until now. Something worth watching I think just to be sure that’s all it is. The children in his class were amazingly well behaved during all this which was most impressive as I would think it must have been quite scary for them to see Ethan out for the count on the floor. He was very quiet and subdued for the rest of that day and had a bit on an adrenalin hangover on the Wednesday but was back at school and is fine now.
As I said in my last post, I’m a bit of an early riser. It’s a habit formed when I was working and, so far, I haven’t been able to break the 5.30am wake up. I do love the early morning, the silence while everyone else is sleeping. The calm. Time alone with God who feels very tangible somehow during those early hours. I’m also loving the lighter mornings, aren’t they just wonderful? The sky is just beginning to lighten at half-five with a hint of a bluey-grey tone…the light of the day to come, slowly creeping into the house, gently embracing each room. Perfect!
Something silly to make you smile or possibly groan. I ordered a book from Amazon, a small book. It was delivered yesterday by Amazon Logistics [whoever they are] but I was out. Okay, no biggie you say but strangely they delivered it to a neighbour of mine…then emailed me to say it was with my neighbour. Yep…clear so far. Then Jill, said neighbour, posted it through my letterbox…….hmmmmm. So, if Jill could fit it through my letterbox why couldn’t the Amazon delivery guy?? No, it wasn’t, ‘to sign for’. Yes, it’s a very obvious letterbox. Not one of these fancy black jobs with an opening the size of a gnat’s whisker…. I’m left wondering…….but it made me smile.
Finally, some crochet. As most yarn addicts will appreciate I have a few projects on the go or WiP’s as they’re called [Works in Progress]. Here are a few photo’s of one that I’m very close to finishing. If I’m honest I’m not sure I’m all that happy with it as it stands, but I know from experience that once you add the finishing touches such as a border etc., what was once a dismal failure can turn into something quite lovely. So, here’s hoping. This is my Cosy Patchwork Granny made using this yarn pack from Wool Warehouse . I did buy an extra 100g of the Claret though because that’s what I’m edging each block with and I’ll also use that colour to join them together. Might even use it for the border but not certain yet. I’ve got about another five blocks to finish. I’ll post an update when there’s something worth seeing. I loved the colours in the pack as they had a lovely cosy, autumnal feel but hmmmm this might not be the blanket that does them justice. We’ll see. [click on each photo’ to see it enlarged]
That’s me for this week I think. Tonight my little lad and I are having a film night [at home], we’re going to be watching the new Avenger’s film, ‘Age of Ultron’ with the usual supply of popcorn and nachos close at hand, it’s gotta be done :). I’m off to help at church tomorrow and then Mass again on [Mothering] Sunday.
I wish you all a blessed and peace-filled weekend. Sending love . . .
I’m just back from the school run and sat here with my cup of frothy coffee. The rain is battering the windows and the horses in the paddock opposite look mighty unimpressed, although some of them are wearing some rather fetching overcoats. I’ve been up since sparrow’s fart [5.30am] because, as I mentioned in yesterday’s post, today is D Day regarding secondary school place offers here in the UK. Now, I knew that the offer would probably ping into Si’s email just after midnight and yes, I was originally going wait up and read it. However, as the fated hour drew round I realised that A) Si was at work as he works nights only in his new job so I was alone to face any potential disappointment, and B) If the offer was not what we’d hoped then I’d probably be awake for the rest of the night worrying. So, I decided to NOT open the email and go to sleep. Which surprisingly I managed to do. Whoever said Essex girls don’t have self control?? Ha!
So, there I was at 6.20am with the farting sparrows; the tablet fired up; a cuppa in the pot and suicidal cats wondering where their food was; waiting for Si to come in from work. [Honey, our Basset wasn’t ‘up’, she really doesn’t do mornings lol] He was equally as amazed as you guys that I’d not opened the email lol. The good news is that we got our first choice of secondary school for Ethan!! **does victory dance around the lounge** However, we also know how lucky we are and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who will undoubtedly not have got their first choice and quite possibly not even got a school that was on their list of choices, this does and has happened. Ethan’s off to the only catholic secondary school in MK. I think relief was actually our overriding emotion to be honest.
Enough basking in glory then and onto to something else ~ clarification. Hmmm I was thinking last night, during my long wait until midnight, that although I did historically have regular followers on my blog who ‘knew’ me well, there might be new readers [due to the change in focus to crochet etc] who don’t know anything about me at all. The bit I’m thinking of here is faith…. I don’t want people to think I’m all pious, that Catholicism is the only way forward and that I’m bigoted or dogmatic about my choice of religion. I just want to put this out there and make it crystal clear that yes, I’m catholic [converted in 2009], Ethan is being raised a catholic and we love our faith. My husband however is not religious and no, that does not cause us any problems. Most of my friends are not religious and among the few who are some are Muslim, some are Hindu, some are Christian [and of many denominations] and some are just spiritual. I celebrate and appreciate all religions and faiths, I don’t choose friends on the basis of their faith or beliefs. I am not judgmental and have a past that is cringe-worthy at best [sounds of skeletons rattling in the cupboard] and I spent many years not being of any given religion, and in fact was Buddhist during the years leading up to my conversion to Christianity in 2006. I don’t tend to talk about my faith anywhere except here and sometimes at church. If anyone asks me about it I’m absolutely happy to share but it won’t be me who raises the subject first. This blog started back in the day as a means to record my faith walk and it [the blog] has changed focus and direction many times along the way. I no longer feel the need to record that journey in quite so much detail but it is nice to have somewhere to write about the ups and downs that come with being a woman of faith. To be honest, it’s really hard to find anyone to talk to properly about religious issues because it is such a taboo and inflammatory subject so this blog can be a good outlet for that occasionally.
Okay, I just wanted to put that out there before people think, “Ay we’ve got a right one ‘ere.” and never darken my blogstep again. . .
Right, I’m going to wake-up Si who is off tonight and we’re going out for brunch…have a lovely day all…stay warm and dry XXX
Hi lovelies xx
Did anyone wonder if I’d been abducted by aliens?? No?? lol As you can see my blog has morphed once again. I don’t want anyone getting bored 🙂 . It’s been nearly a year since I last posted, ahem!! **looks slightly shame-faced** Life takes over and pressures of work become overwhelming. . .well, you all know how it is.
As I’m way overdue an update, here goes. . .
I gave up my job as a Teaching Assistant in December ’15 partly because quite frankly I’d had enough [don’t get me started on the pressure of working in a school etc etc.] but mainly to see Ethan  through his Year 6 SAT’s and into secondary school in September. I may have to return to some form of paid work for financial reasons at some point, but for now we’re surviving quite nicely.
Si has also left his school job and is now a warehouse operative, working nights. He loves it, especially the lack of pressure and stress. Don’t get me wrong here, we both loved working with children [him senior, me primary] and if that was all there was to it then great. Sadly, that is not how it is…you only have to look to the media over the last few years to know how challenging working in a school has become, for everyone, not just support staff. Fine if you can leave it at the door but if you care at all about your job then it’s impossible not to take it home with you. There comes a point when your sanity is more important, we both arrived at that dark place at pretty much the same time. Nuff said but the right decision for both of us without a doubt.
I’m still heavily into crochet and have completed a few projects, most of them since Christmas. Some finished ones below and one just begun…the Crofter’s Throw in the variegated yarn [rest your cursor over or click on each image to see the caption]. There are other ‘works in progress’ but I’ll save them for another day.
So, you can see why I’ve revamped the blog with more of a crochet theme. I was thinking about starting to sell some of the things that I make. A few people have already asked for commissions so there is work out there. However, I’ve promised Ethan a new bedroom first…and I’m a woman of my word. I just love wielding a paint brush and roller about with six cats trying to ‘help’…oh the joy!! The gloss and ceiling are all done…just the walls to go and Ethan tells me that he’s helping with them….gulp!!
My faith has become very settled, at peace is probably a better term. I’m in a very good place. Ethan is about to take his First Holy Communion which is his choice; it had to be as I wasn’t going to insist and it was totally his decision which is just as it should be.
I notice that my last post was in Lent of 2015 and here we are again, just starting week three of Lent 2016 and yet another journey towards the cross. The joy of not being at work is that I can participate in Lent totally. This is a time of huge growth and discernment for me, I can feel change is in the air. It’s scary, but it’s good scary and I will share properly in another post.
So I will leave it there. Interestingly I believe that tomorrow, or rather midnight tonight to be irritatingly precise, we’ll receive notification via email of which secondary school Ethan will be going to. I’m hoping for one of our four ‘choices’ [I use the term loosely] or we’ll have to go through the hassle of appealing which I can well do without. Think positive Sharon, think positive. I’ll let you know. . .
Peace and blessings to all
Hi everyone xx. I know it’s been a while and yes, I did ‘hide’ my blog for a few weeks while I was deciding whether to continue with it or not. I have this inner battle every now and then, usually when I realise that I’m blogging for my readers more than I am for myself. This leads to self-imposed pressure that I don’t enjoy. Time to take a break when that happens. I’ve also started a hand-written journal that I’ve kept up with faithfully for quite a while now. It’s a lot less pressured as I’m the only audience so there’s no pressure to perform as it were. There’s something very satisfying about putting pen to paper and just spilling your thoughts onto a crispy fresh, clean page.
However, that said, today I have something to share so was inspired to blog. I saw this thought provoking article about Ordinary Time posted by the Nuns of Turvey Abbey on Facebook yesterday and was inspired to respond. The article talks about OT being a period of waiting, a lull in our liturgical year and, for some, a time of restlessness between pivotal [more exciting?] points in our church calendar. It’s a really good read, and I am always interested to see how others travel through the religious seasons.
For those who are not certain, Ordinary Time starts after Pentecost, which was June 8th this year, and carries right through until the start of Advent. There is also a period of OT which runs from the feast of the Epiphany in early January and ends on Ash Wednesday, being our marker for the beginning of Lent.
Personally, I love the gentle rhythm of the liturgical year. It was the one thing I missed during my denominational discernment [2006-2009], especially when venturing into the more evangelical ‘happy clappy’ churches [great singing though 😉 ]. I was bereft at the lack of liturgy and ceremony. I think that’s what drew me to Catholicism in the end. I don’t ‘need’ all that ceremony and all those feast days to be catholic, but they’re a great reminder of how important my faith is because so much effort and value is placed in the Mass and all that it holds/offers.
Ordinary Time is a gift really, a time to take a breath, take stock, think about my faith without the pressure of Lent or Advent to distract me from the simplicity of my faith. Just occasionally it’s good to be your own focus and hopefully, whilst taking a good look at yourself, you might even see Jesus walking right there beside you….
photograph courtesy of Turvey Abbey
Our lives are full of choices alot of which we make subconsciously or with very little thought ~ what to wear, what to eat, how to behave or respond to other people. Today’s Mass readings looked at the book of Deuteronomy 11:26-28 where Moses sets before us the commandments of the Lord our God and describes them as a blessing [if you follow them] or a curse [should you choose to disobey them].
This theme was echoed in the Gospel reading taken from Matthew 7:21-27 which talks about the sensible man who builds his house on rock and the silly man who chose sand for his foundations.
Both of these pieces of scripture present us with choices. These were not just relevant for the people of biblical times but choices that each of us face and make every single day. We have to choose to follow the commandments, choose to follow God’s word and build our faith on a bed of rock. In fact we have to consciously choose God numerous times during the day. As my faith matures I find that alot of these choices are now habit but still there are times when I have to think hard about doing the right thing, making the right decision. Ask myself “What would Jesus do?”. I doubt there will ever be a time when I don’t have to give these matters conscious thought.
Today’s readings made me think back to the day I very first chose to follow Jesus [21/06/06]. The day He called me to Him loud and clear. I always knew that the final choice was mine ~ to take His hand and walk with Him or say “thank you, but no” and go on my own way. A real crossroads in my life that, quite frankly, could have gone either way as I did consider both options. This is what I wrote on my old blog at that time…
“I knew I had two choices, embrace it wholeheartedly and run with it or ignore it and run the risk of never having the opportunity in quite the same way again.” [whole post can be read here]
It is obvious to all of you which road I chose and I have never had a moment of regret and it’s with great tenderness and love that I look back and remember those very excititng early weeks. However, it’s also good to be reminded of those smaller choices we have to make every day. It doesn’t mean we always make the right decisions but at least we’re thinking about the right path, the best approach, the compassionate response; doing our best to walk with Jesus.
So tomorrow when you wake you can choose to turn to Christ and try to live consciously ‘in the moment’ all day, for the benefit of all those whose lives touch yours as you travel beside our Dear Lord……