How Should I Pray Lord?

Recently, I was feeling rather concerned and overwhelmed about all the various issues facing our world. I was confused about how I should pray regarding them. How could I cover the bases, yet do a fair job of prayer? The following is the result of this discernment process:

NOVENA ON WORLD WOES

From terrorism, deliver us Lord.

From political chaos, deliver us Lord.

From moral chaos, deliver us Lord.

From transgenderism, deliver us Lord.

From abortion, deliver us Lord.

From sex- and human trafficking, deliver us Lord.

From senseless killings, deliver us Lord.

From funding of abortion, deliver us Lord.

From bullying of any kind, deliver us Lord.

From infringement of religious freedom, deliver us Lord.

From infringement of free speech, deliver us Lord.

For an end to sexual abuse, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to domestic violence, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to emotional abuse, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to financial deception, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to political correctness, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to Satanism, Lord hear our prayer.

For an end to killing of Christians, Lord hear our prayer.

Regarding gay rights, enlighten them Lord.

Regarding gay marriage, enlighten them Lord.

Lord, open their eyes and hearts to Your will.

For those who don’t know God or who have turned their backs on Him, help them Lord.

Help our leaders to work together for what is right and to put aside politics. Grant them wisdom and right moral judgement.

Give us the strength and determination to pray, to hope, and to never give up regarding Your kingdom.

I hope this prayer helps you in your prayer life. Feel free to adapt it as you wish. You can pray it for 9 days straight, like a Novena. You can add an Our Father and/or a Hail Mary to the end of each phrase or however the Spirit moves you. Enjoy, and God bless!

That’s What Love Looks Like

A woman patiently helps her husband guide his walker down the aisle… That’s what love looks like.

 A caregiver is attentively feeding someone with a severe disability… That’s what love looks like.

 A receptionist waves good morning to a lonely old man going to work next door… That’s what love looks like.

 A friend patiently listens to some distress at work and offers to pray… That’s what love looks like.

 A husband with other plans stays home with a sick wife to help and support her… That’s what love looks like.

 A clergyman cries with a parishioner in their emotional pain… That’s what love looks like.

 A male classmate closes a window when someone feels a draft (even though he doesn’t understand why)… That’s what love looks like.

 Someone challenges her friend when she puts herself down… That’s what love looks like.

 Friends support one another when one of them is having a bad day, helping them talk through their difficulty and offering emotional support… That’s what love looks like.

Parents laugh and play with their firstborn child, a daughter with Down Syndrome… That’s what love looks like.

 A fellow immigrant offers to attend a series of classes she doesn’t have to attend to translate for her community… That’s what love looks like.

Co-workers find out one of their own walks a long distance to/from work. They and their managers get that worker his own transportation… That’s what love looks like.

These may not be the most dramatic examples of what love looks like, but there IS one:

 An innocent man is crucified between two thieves. He is Jesus Christ on the cross, and He died in our place for our sins… That’s what love looks like!

 Blog copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

 

The Child Will Be King One Day

As I was getting ready one Sunday morning to help my husband with his chaplaincy duties at the airport, I thought about the state of our country. I thought about how there are false news stories, people wanting to thwart the president-elect’s inauguration, and so on. I thought about how sad it is and how those things didn’t exist when I was growing up. Then, suddenly I wanted to sing the words to “The Beautiful Mother,” which is about Mary’s birthing of Jesus. One phrase in particular struck me ‘She listens to heavenly voices. The child will be king one day. When I thought about the last sentence, I began to cry and then sob. I grieved the fact that we have gotten so far away from our Lord. So many people want to remove Him entirely from our lives. If they only knew how much He loves them; if they only cared! I told my husband about my experience. He later commented about my faith, my love for America, and my compassion for my fellow man. I never thought about that incident that way. I was sad that so many people don’t perceive our Lord as their king. Will He ever be king of our hearts again as a nation? I can only hope, and time will tell.

Lord, you are a gentleman who doesn’t force yourself on others, even allowing them to reject you by their free will. Please be merciful to us. Help us to realize our need for you and your love for us. Help us to make you king of our hearts once again. Blessed Mother, I implore your help in this matter. Only when your son is king of our hearts will America be great once more.

Copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

America the Beautiful?

As I was singing “America The Beautiful” in church last night, I was struck by what words didn’t move me to emotion, that usually do, and what lyrics I most concentrated on. When I sang the song, I didn’t feel the pride in our country that I would like to feel, that from a person who served in the military. When I sang “a thoroughfare for freedom beat,” I thought ‘freedom for who and for how much longer?’ Our country advocates freedom for those who would break God’s laws, but for those of us who want to keep God’s moral laws, we are treated like outcasts and accused of hate. Oh yes, we are still free to go to church, but heaven forbid if we speak out against sodomy and abortion, if we as Christians advocate for prayer and the Bible, and if we are not politically correct!

The words that struck me most in this song were “God mend thine every flaw.” Our country has lots of flaws. We live in a society whose moral compass is broken and in need of repair. How long will God shed His grace on us as a country if we ignore His commandments?

I’d much rather think of beautiful, spacious skies, amber waves of grain, purple mountain majesties, and fruited plains than our country’s flaws. But, for mending of those flaws, we must pray fervently so we will continue to be a free country, that our country be pleasing to God once again, and that He may shed His grace on us. Please pray for our country and have a safe Fourth of July, and may He shed His grace on you.

Copyright © 2016 Theresa M. Williams

How did it happen so fast?

I can’t believe it’s June already. It seems like it was just January. Time has been getting away from me lately. Would you believe Kevin’s 10th ordination anniversary is this month or that we’ll be celebrating 38 years of marriage later this month? Wow! I’m reminded of the words to a song ‘Longer’ by Dan Fogelberg:  Longer than ther’ve been fishes in the ocean, higher than any bird ever flew, longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens, I’ve been in love with you. Stronger than any mountain cathedral, truer than any tree ever grew, deeper than any forest primeval, I am in love with you.

I’ll bring fire in the winters.’ You’ll send showers in the springs. We’ll fly through the falls and summers with love on our wings. Through the years as the fire starts to mellow, burning lines in the book of our lives. Though the binding cracks and the pages start to yellow, I’ll be in love with you. I’ll be in love with you. Longer than ther’ve been fishes in the ocean, higher than any bird ever flew, longer than there’ve been stars up in the heavens, I’ve been in love with you. I am in love with you. Songwriters: DAN FOGELBERG © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC For non-commercial use only.

The part that really gets me though is where Dan talks about comparing our life to a book, about the binding cracking and the pages yellowing (must be referring to wrinkles). I must say though I don’t believe Kevin’s and my fire has started to ‘mellow.’ Kevin and I think it’s so neat to be married to our best friend. With another couple we know, the wife has told me her husband is her best friend. That’s heartwarming.

Another song we sing at Mass talks about weeping, laughing, sharing joys and sorrows ‘until we see this journey through.’ Certainly we do that daily. Our marriages are sanctuaries (or should be), a place where we can go even if the world crumbles around us. It should be a place where we feel safe and loved. I’m grateful for every day with Kevin. I realize the older we get that someday we’ll leave earth and join the kingdom of God.

It amazes me when I hear older folks state they wish they could go back to their younger years—not me! I really don’t care to repeat my previous years. I figure I’ve earned the right to be right where I’m at. I don’t want to try to have a family, attend college, find a career, you name it. I hope to retire someday, and I look forward to what lies ahead, but I’m not in a great hurry to get there; it’ll come soon enough with all its challenges, effects of growing older, friends or parents dying, and other things. (Some of this has already happened.)

I look forward to growing older with my best friend, my spouse, and I want to take life as it comes and enjoy as much of it as I can, while I can. I’m sure it probably won’t be easy sometimes, but I’m sure going to try anyway! How about you?

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Entombment of Stress; What’d those pork chops ever do to you?

Did you know that stress comes in two forms? It does: eustress and distress. Eustress is the good stress, the kind we need to get and keep motivated. It provides incentive to get the job done. It spurs us on to action, to accomplish things. Everyone needs a little bit of stress in their life in order to continue to be happy, motivated, challenged and productive. It is when this stress is no longer tolerable and/or manageable that distress comes in. Distress is the bad stress we have. It’s when the good stress becomes too much to bear or cope with. Tension builds. There’s no fun in the challenge. There seems to be no relief, no end in sight. This is the kind of stress most of us are familiar with, and this is the kind of stress that leads to poor decision making. Stress can be really sneaky. It’s not always obvious to us, or others. It can build up slowly, like magma in a volcano. It can even explode on us and onto others when we least expect it—again, like a volcano. Stress is dangerous and entombs us. We are ‘bound’ like Lazarus with the ‘ribbons’ of distress. Lazarus couldn’t move because of the burial wrappings/ribbons. Likewise, stress can incapacitate us and hamper us in our ability to function. Distress affects our health, our emotional state, our relationships, our jobs, ministry, and other areas of our lives.  Physiological symptoms of distress include an increase in blood pressure, rapid breathing, and generalized tension. Behavioral symptoms include irritability, overeating, loss of appetite, drinking, smoking, and negative coping mechanisms. To read more, https://brocku.ca/health-services/health-education/stress/eustress-distress.

A dear friend of ours, whom I shall call Percy, recently exhibited distress with a co-worker by ‘going off on them.’ It surprised Kevin and I to hear about this because Percy is a very calm person. He smiles an awful lot, and I don’t think we’ve ever seen a scowl on his face or heard him raise his voice. My husband is a lot like this. He rarely gets upset, but when he does, look out! It takes people like Kevin and Percy a while to build up to outbursts and anger, but when they do, it’s very distressing. You know it took a lot to get them that upset, and you hate to see them in that state. I had a co-worker who was like this. Her name was Mary Alice. She was so upset about something one day that, when tenderizing pork chops for dinner that night, she tenderized them so much you could almost see through them! I heard about this the next morning as I checked with Mary Alice to see how she was doing. She was able to laugh about the pork chops then, but I guess you could say she took her distress out on those poor pork chops. A few days later, I jokingly asked her if she had any more pork chops for dinner, to which she laughed and said no. It was such a joy to see her laugh again. I hope Percy can relieve his distress so he can go back to work and be happy. God bless you Percy!

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

What the heck is Lent?

In Christianity, Lent is a time of fasting and repentance in the spring, beginning on Ash Wednesday and ending several weeks later on Easter. Note: To “give something up for Lent” is to abandon a pleasurable habit as an act of devotion and self-discipline.

Okay, now that we have the technical definition out of the way, let’s get down to business! It’s not too unusual for people to compare notes on what they’re ‘doing for Lent.’ One of my friends related she was giving up sweets because she really enjoys them. When she asked what I am doing, I told her I’m working on more tolerance and less anger with my fellow motorists. I certainly didn’t say this to sound like I was working on something more important than she was. But, at this stage of my life, I realize that it’s more important to work on spiritual things and matters of the heart versus giving up some external food or drink that I like. I figure working on a bad habit is something I should be doing anyway, and when better than during Lent? After I die, I’m pretty certain I’m going to spend a lot of time in Purgatory before I get to the ‘pearly gates’ of heaven! Working on some of my spiritual shortcomings may decrease my time in Purgatory—hey, I can dream can’t I?

Now, what’s Purgatory, you ask. Purgatory, according to Catholic Church doctrine, is an intermediate state after physical death in which those destined for heaven “undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” Now is it clearer why I am working on spiritual things and how I hope it shortens my time in Purgatory? I once heard Purgatory referred to as ‘heaven’s waiting room.’ Sounds promising, but I know I hate to wait; what about you?

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams