Getting Rid of Our Yucky Stuff

I recently bought an acorn squash to prepare for one of our meals. My husband is a picky eater, but that is one vegetable he likes. I had him cut it in half so I could scrape out the yucky stuff inside—you know, the stringy pulp and seeds. As I scraped, I thought how God can scrape out our yucky stuff from inside us–our hurts, our resentments, our anger, our emotional pain, whatever is yucky for us. Then I thought of the woman in the Bible with the hemorrhage. She just wanted to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment so she could be healed, so her yucky stuff could be taken away.

I thought about my yucky stuff, how I’ve been suffering from work burnout. I too need Jesus’ healing touch. It’s comforting to know that reaching out to my Savior for help and healing can be as simple as touching the hem of his garment by prayer and faith.

Perhaps you have some yucky stuff that needs to be healed. What is it for you that needs healing? I encourage you to reach out in prayer and faith today for that healing!

Copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

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Can Spiders Teach Us Something?

You’ve got to be kidding! A spider teach us something? No way! Patience, persistence, or the concept of a good work ethic are probably not the first words we think of when describing a spider. My apologies to all those with arachnophobia (fear of spiders).

I must admit that spiders are not my favorite bug. In fact, they are frequently quite annoying, particularly when they show up in unexpected places–like dangling from my rearview mirror on the way home from Mass. While I didn’t get into an accident (thank goodness), let’s just say that spider didn’t do that anymore!

I read an article, though, that described how spiders are very patient. It pointed out that whenever a spider’s web is destroyed, it patiently and persistently builds a new one. I thought about that for a bit and decided it certainly made a lot of sense. Now, if we are trying to get rid of spider webs, we don’t tend to appreciate their persistence very much!  But, spiders are patient, perhaps more patient than I would be if I had to constantly rebuild a web that someone was always trying to get rid of. Their webs do look pretty when the dew glistens on them in the sunshine, and I have to admit some of the intricate patterns are pretty fascinating to contemplate, unless of course I run right into one!

Another thing spiders can teach us is the value of a good work ethic. When they get their webs destroyed, they build again–out of necessity, of course–but without a good work ethic they starve. Laziness doesn’t build a web. The spiders have to believe for their next meal and hope that their web won’t get torn down, yet again. Like the spider, we also must have a good work ethic, believe for our next meal, and not be lazy. We must have hope that our dreams and aspirations won’t be shattered, again. A spider building a web is a lot like us sending a resume out on the worldwide web (pun intended) looking for a job. We put it out there and pray for a fruitful harvest, just as the spider builds his web and hopes for its next catch. Just as we must be persistent and patient if we are to get a job, so too a spider must be persistent and patient in their quest for a meal.

So, how does all this change our perception of patience? While having the patience of Job is all well and good, maybe we could all contemplate the patience of a spider. You see, God can use even bugs to teach us life’s lessons.

Copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

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

 

Are You Really Fasting?

Is it really Lent already? Yep! Ash Wednesday has come and gone. Gone also is our ashy forehead smudge. Ashes remind us that we are sinners and have a need to repent. During Lent, we hear messages about prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. I will focus on fasting.

What do we think fasting is? Sure, it’s eating less or nothing at all, but shouldn’t we do more than that? Let’s not forget that fasting can include more than eating; it can have a spiritual dimension as well. Giving up material things like food can be a good thing, but our spirits need something more. Why not fast from the things that trip us up spiritually: impatience, anxiety, mistrust, judging others, gossiping, spending more time at work than we need to, bad driving, being inconsiderate? I think you get the idea. We might pray more, spend more time reading spiritual books, doing works of charity, you name it. Those are all good things, but are we making progress on our sins? I encourage you to think of your soul as the inside of a tree. The rings show how fast or slow a tree grew. The rings are sometimes close together, other times further apart. When Jesus examines your soul at the end of time, how will He see your growth? Will there be fast growth or slow growth? Will you have made progress towards becoming more like Him, the Tree of Life?

Copyright © 2017 by Theresa M. Williams

Questions for Jesus

My reflection that follows comes after singing “Mary Did You Know?” from our Christmas program. In this song, the songwriter asks Mary how much she knew about what Jesus would do in His life. I recently heard someone pose the question: “If you sat next to Jesus on a bus, what would you ask Him? What would you talk about?” These are some of the questions I’d ask:

How much and when did Mary tell you about the circumstances of your birth? The shepherds? The magi? Did she mention the gifts they brought and what those gifts represent? I know the story of the little drummer boy might be a legend, but what would you think about him playing for you at your birth?

Did you think it odd living in Egypt? Or were you too little to remember that time in your life? Did Mary and Joseph tell you why you lived there? How did you feel about that? What was it like to move back to the land of your birth? How did people react to you coming back? Were you treated differently from other boys? If so, how? When did you realize you were different from other children?

What was it like to learn carpentry from Joseph? Did you ever accidentally hit your thumb with a hammer? As a carpenter, what was the most difficult or challenging item you ever made? When and how did Joseph die? How did this affect you and Mary?

Besides your baptism, did you have much contact with John the Baptist?

Oh, the many questions we could ask Jesus. If you were on a bus with Jesus, what would you want to ask Him? Would it be about some practical aspect of His hidden life as mentioned above, or would it be something different? What are you curious about?

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams

Deliver Us Lord

Deliver us from violence and rioting.

Grant us peace.

Deliver us from hatred.

Grant us love.

Deliver us from those who would kill us, whether here or from abroad.

Grant us life.

Deliver us from corruption.

Grant us honesty.

Deliver us from prejudice.

Grant us understanding.

Deliver us from jealousy.

Grant us tranquility.

Lord, our country is in disarray. No matter which side of the political fence we’re on, some don’t feel ‘heard.’ People feel afraid, unsafe, and angry. Help us to love one another, to be honest, understanding and peaceful. Aid us to see one another as your children. Assist us to be more selfless and less selfish. Let us consider the consequences of our actions and the needs of others. Let us remember the Golden Rule “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Peace.

Copyright © 2016 by Theresa M. Williams