Gratitude Attack

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Every year, as the days grow shorter and the skies grayer, I feel immense gratitude. The crisp autumn air, brilliant leaves rustling on the trees, and gusty winds bringing them swirling down to crunch underfoot – it all makes me immensely happy.

It makes me so happy that, during this season, a certain angle of the sun on the pane can literally send my heart into a gratitude attack. My heart overflows with joyful prayers of thanks for the blessings of family and friends, food, clean water, power, transportation, and shelter.

And, every year, this season draws me into a deeper love for the Creator of all of this beauty too. I see the delicate leaves, loved into existence for one short season, at their full glory, swirling down. I think of my soul, my life, all of us, just a “breath” in the span of history, so small, yet so significant because He loves each of us into existence too. As I gaze at the intricate patterns the leaves draw upon the air in their final abandon, the words of St. Ignatius come to mind, “Few souls understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to abandon themselves unreservedly to Him and if they were to allow His grace to mold them accordingly.”

And so I pray:

Dear God,

Creator of the autumn winds,

You cool the summer sun

And paint the autumn hues.

Teach me,

Like the beautiful swirling leaf,

to abandon myself ever more unreservedly to you.

Give me the grace

To allow the breath of your Spirit

To direct my path.

That my swirling journey would intersect at your will

And my landing be at your will.

And that, at every moment,

my journey might bring

greater glory to you, My God.

Amen.

In all created things discern the providence and wisdom of God, and in all things give Him thanks. St. Teresa of Avila

 

My heart your home – Watermark

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Impermeable Love and the Call to Relationship

Have you ever seen two young people who are in love? It sometimes appears that they are in their own little world. Absorbed in their love for each other, they seem unaware of what is happening around them. Their focus is solely on one another. They seem, in this state, to be floating through life.

God’s love for each one of us is like this. St. Thomas Aquinas said, “The soul is like an uninhabited world that comes to life only when God lays His head against us.”

God loves each one of us and focuses on each one of us as if there were only one of us in the world. By human standards of comprehension, this amount of love is completely incomprehensible – especially considering He loves everyone He has created, down through the ages, in this same way.

And, like young lovers in their own little worlds, God’s love is impermeable. Like this love, His love, makes us lighter, burdens fall away.

Unlike the love of young lovers though, His love never waivers. Neither floods, nor war, nor even death can take us from His love.

If we accept it, His love is the only constant – through life or death – for all eternity. When one accepts His love and surrenders in trust to God, His love is impermeable. His love encircles us and guards us.

But we must accept it. St. Augustine said, “Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst and ours.” It is a two-way relationship. God waits expectantly for us to accept Him and His love.

There really is no better offer – but we must trust Him – and accept the offer.

“God is indeed waiting for you; He asks of you only the courage to go to Him.” – Pope Francis

Jesus' love

Join me on my faith journey

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In the past few years, a lot of life has happened and I’ve done a lot of walkin’ on my faith journey. I hope you will walk along with me as I journey on.

I was looking at the calendar today and saw that St. Teresa of Avila’s feast day is fast approaching on October 15th.  She’s one of my favorite saints.

Let me tell you how we first met.  Here’s what she said:

Nada te turbe,
nada te espante;
todo se pasa,
Dios no se muda.
La paciencia todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene nada la falta:
solo Dios basta.

Oh, wait.  Let me translate:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

OK, I know this all sounds strange.  Let me tell you more.

I first heard this excerpt from St. Teresa’s poem, “Nada te Turbe,” a year ago today.  I had never really known much about her prior to this.

On that day, I learned that my father’s kidney disease had progressed and that he would soon need dialysis. He was completely opposed to dialysis but, without it, he would die.

I tried to convince him that dialysis would be okay but he would hear nothing of it.  So, I went to church to pray. I prayed that, if it was God’s will, that my dad’s kidneys would get better so that I could have him around a little longer.  I prayed so hard.  It felt like “life-or-death” praying.

When I got home from church, I opened an e-mail that my father, who didn’t know I was at church praying for him, had sent me while I was there. It was the link to a beautiful musical setting of the “Nada te Turbe” on YouTube.

The words of the song seemed to be a direct answer to my prayer at church.  “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you.”  I was so disturbed and frightened.  When I heard these words, I felt such a sense of peace.  The next line kind of scared me more though – “all things are passing.”

“Oh no,” I thought to myself, “there’s my answer.”  “All things are passing.”  Yet, over the weeks to come, when I prayed about my father, I still felt such peace.  A peace that seemed to say that everything would be okay.

Over the next couple of months, I kept seeing excerpts from this poem everywhere – at work, on Facebook, on the internet, and on the brochure shelves at the back of our church.  Every time I would see the poem, I would get such a sense of peace.

After a few months, my father returned to the doctor.  The doctor was surprised by the lab results.  He asked my father what he had done.  My dad asked him what he meant.  The doctor said his kidney function had not only not gotten worse, it had improved.  My father said, “we all prayed.”  Today, my father is still hanging on at the same stage.

In my heart, I feel that God heard my prayer that afternoon and asked St. Teresa to comfort me.   Now, when I pray, I always ask her to remind God of my prayers too.

Nada te Turbe video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMiyHknj3Rg

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