July flew by, as did pretty much the last year. Last July I posted every day, discussing St. Ignatius or an aspect of Ignatian spirituality. This year that didn’t happen, as you may have noticed. Today though, I offer you a gift to celebrate St. Ignatius. I collected my posts, including prayers, from last year into a download for you. Enjoy!
I dislike having to repeat the same things over and over. I think this may be why I don’t play the piano. Sometimes we are sent trials in order to learn something. Now, I don’t think God is in heaven rubbing his hands together thinking, “oh, what can I send Deanna today that will help her learn patience?” Life sends us many trials if we participate in it at all. And we can learn from our trials and become better people for it or we can resist. Like the saying goes, “There’s no value in the second kick of a donkey.”
We can become a masterpiece or a sketch. God’s plan is for us to be his masterpiece. Every trial is a chance to do the right thing and become more Christ-like. To embrace the person we are called to be rather than the person it is easy for us to be. For example, many people consider me to be a nice person. I have trained myself to be nice. I edit myself often. I control my mouth. On occasion, I succeed in not even having the negative thought or response. I’d like to say being nice is my default, but that isn’t true. What I do know is that I desire to be nice and think God wants me to do so as well. I want to be a masterpiece and with his help, I will become one.
What do you need to God’s help with so you can become a masterpiece too?
Good advice, isn’t it? I tell it to myself frequently to avoid the “coulda, shoulda, what if” questions that pop into my head in regard to past decisions. Today, as I was reading the story of Lot and his family being led out of Sodom I was reminded again to not look back.
In Wisdom 10:7 Lot’s wife is described as an “unbelieving soul.” That’s not a description I want to be connected to me, but then again, we all have doubts at times. Is God really paying attention to me? Am I important enough to merit his time and thoughts? Of course I am. And so are you. We all are worthy of God’s time, attention and thoughts. He created us in his image and gave us his Jesus to die for us and then sent the Holy Spirit to guide us.
Are there things in our past that we wish we could change? I doubt any adult can say no to that question. And that’s okay. We can learn from our past, not only the things we did wrong but more importantly, those we did right. All our life experiences combine to make us the person we are today. Each day God wants to us to look ahead, look up and see what he has for us. Looking back serves the one who seeks to hurt you not help you.
Trust in him, rest in the truth of his love, look forward.
Reading the daily Mass readings is a very positive influence on my day. It sets my mind up right away to focus on something positive, gives me something to think about as I go about my day and often times reminds me of something I need to remember.
June 13th’s first reading was a great reminder. This verse stuck with me, “But the one who gives us security with you in Christ and who anointed us is God; he has also put his seal upon us and given the Spirit in our hearts as a first installment” and I’ve been turning it over in my head and praying about it since I read it.
We have total security because God has put his seal upon us, given us his Son and the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is just the beginning, it’s the “first installment.” How many times do we feel sad or hopeless or overwhelmed? For me, that happens when I focus on myself and how I need to do so many things and I am so busy and the list goes on.
On the Feast of Pentecost, we asked for a renewal of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in our Church and in ourselves. The gifts are in us, we can ask in prayer to know which gifts we need to use to serve God. Be ready though, when we ask, he answers and it’s not a good idea to say no to God. This is why this verse struck me, I do not need to worry and neither do you, God is with us. We are his. Sometimes we need to be reminded and scripture is one of the best ways to seek God.
Daily reading of scripture lifts me out of myself and turns my mind toward truth, beauty, and goodness. Scripture lifts my eyes up to focus on something greater than self. Scripture reminds me of God’s plan.
If you are interested in reading the daily Mass readings there are many ways to do that. The easiest is to go to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops readings, scroll down to the bottom of the readings and add your email to get the readings to your inbox!
There are also monthly booklets with reflections and other prayers that you can purchase, both hard copies and electronic versions.
The Catholic Church has seasons, just like the natural world does. Our seasons are based on what is happening in the Church as to what season it is. I’ve spoken about the Liturgical seasons before if you want a quick lesson in that. If not, stay here and we’ll chat about Ordinary Time. Ordinary Time begins after Pentecost and continues all the way until Advent.
During Ordinary Time this yea, we are reading from the Gospel of Matthew on Sundays. There are various feast days and celebrations, most notably yesterday was Trinity Sunday and next Sunday will be Corpus Christi also known as the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ.
This is my favorite time of year. It is a time to really learn who Jesus is through the gospel readings and learn about all that he did while in his ministry. It is a chance to hear the parables, to learn how to follow Jesus, and to be reminded of what makes a disciple.
Maybe you were caught up in Lent with sacrificing and then celebrating during Easter. Now is a good time to get back to focusing on daily prayer. Maybe you want to learn a new prayer and try to memorize it. When is the last times you memorized a new prayer? For me, it was years ago when I first began learning about St. Ignatius of Loyola. I was taken by this prayer, Suscipe, and memorized it. Other than that I know the prayers of the Mass and the Rosary and then the Memorare and Holy Spirit prayer. Hmm, I may need to memorize a new prayer this season! There is certainly no lack of possibilities.
Another good idea is to read the daily Mass readings every day. I also am a big fan of reading the Sunday readings before I go to Mass. Read them with your family and discuss; repetition helps to remember, no matter what age. By reading scripture daily you learn more, you read the Bible which is one way to know God better.
Use Ordinary Time to grow and deepen your faith. If you do, it will not seem ordinary at all!
If you’d like, add a link to your favorite prayer so others can learn a new prayer or two.
I hope that you’ve been praying the Pentecost Novena and that you are ready to receive a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit! Come Holy Spirit and fill us with your gifts. Lead us to use them for your Church. Fill us with fire and holy boldness, sharing the Good News with all. Come Holy Spirit!
Here are a few songs for your listening pleasure on this feast of Pentecost!
Fr. Dave Pivonka, TOR is doing some wonderful work on the Holy Spirit using the ancient Celts idea that the Holy Spirit is a “Wild Goose.” Check out his series on The Wild Goose!