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Prayer Is Not A Bad Word

 Is it popular now to end a conversation with “Prayers and love”?

I’ve noticed it happening a lot. Facebook has tons of people sending prayers for other people, or asking for prayers for themselves.

General conversation might well include the phrase, “praying for you (or the family, or a particular person.)”

I think it’s a wonderful thing. Others think it’s a superficial, trendy, empty phrase, like “See ya,” or “Have a good day.”

Thinking back to my Catholic upbringing, I believe prayer was part of my DNA in both its casual and formal way. I don’t remember whether my mother and father taught me and my eight brothers and sisters to think of God as accessible, but we did. I do remember that the nuns who taught us in school made sure we had the formal Catechetical knowledge about God’s place in our universe. Prayer seemed more private then. We prayed, but didn’t announce it.

So, where am I going with this?

Well, it seems a lot of us have learned some things about prayer.

First, it isn’t a dirty word. We feel pretty good about letting others know we care about them and saying so out loud or in writing.

Then, we feel secure enough in our beliefs to acknowledge there is A Supreme God who listens to us. (Or maybe we feel so insecure in a disintegrating world that we desperately need to believe in a God who listens and works miracles.)

You know what? It doesn’t matter. It only matters that we have faith; that we know there are things we can’t control and that there is a far greater Someone who can help if we ask.

Do I believe God answers every prayer?

Yes. I do.  But I believe He answers in ways we don’t always understand, which is why we have to trust. It isn’t always easy.

I know absolutely that asking God to take care of others makes us better people. I know that asking God for counsel can open us to new ways of thinking.

I know that right now, when I say, whoever you are, whatever your need, I pray for you, it is meant to be a blessing.

Prayer. A good thing.

 

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passive cowardice

I am a coward. Worse, I am a passive coward. Not only do I not speak out when injustice happens, but I let the injustice slide on by and drift into the “can’t do anything about it anyway” bin.

Not this time.

Another school shooting happened this week, not, what? little more than a week from the last one? This time it happened in a Maryland school. A kid shooting at kids. Yeah, it was only one kid who got killed. Yes, one other student got hit by gunfire. Good that the officer on duty stopped the shooter before others were hurt or killed. It was still traumatic, senseless, and left more grieving parents and families to wonder why, more school officials wondering how to make their school safe. (Not safer. SAFE.)

Ho Hum. Another day at the school lottery firing range.

When is it enough?

When do the adults in this country do what we’ve watched our young ones do? When do we start kicking and screaming and pointing fingers and demanding that something be done to stop this?

Someone said to me the other day, “Nobody in Washington will do anything to move a solution forward until one of their own is shot or killed.”

Seriously???

We’re waiting for the right kid(s) to become targets so somebody will do something?

Pathetic!

And this is even more pathetic. When the young people started their movement, calling attention to their own need to feel safe, what did this coward do?

I sat on my comfortable sofa in my comfortable living room, drink beside me, and applauded these brave young lads and lassies. I applauded these male and female Davids going against the unmoving, unbending, locked into place Goliaths in Congress. And I cried. I cried because I’m not smart enough, wise enough, courageous enough, energetic enough, to join them. To yell, No More. And I prayed. I prayed for the dead, the wounded in spirit as well as body, and I asked God to let it end.

He told me this was our task. He said He would help if we asked for His help, but that we had pretty much forgotten about Him and He also reminded me that the mess we’re in is the mess we created.

I have no idea if making twenty-one the legal age to buy guns, or outlawing the sale of the super weapons and bump stocks to general public or doing extensive background checks or any of the other suggested possibilities will help. But it is a place to start. Doing nothing is just that. Nothing. And the way I see it, there are way too many people sitting in the hallowed halls of Congress doing that. And the ball really is in their court.

There have to be national standards regulating guns. Guns kill. Don’t feed me that stupidity about it’s people with guns who kill. That is a true statement. But if the people who would do harm to other people had a harder time getting the guns they would use to kill, there would be far less killing. Guns kill. They kill because they were made to do just that, whether for hunting bear or hunting students. They kill.

While I’m on the soapbox here, let me say the idea of arming classroom teachers is about the dumbest idea I’ve heard. I come from a family of teachers, and I can’t imagine any one of them ever becoming a pistol packin’ mama or papa. I realize it only takes one good shot to take down an aggressor, but I wonder how many semi-trained teachers could fire that one good shot?

Last thing: I’m not writing this to start an argument with anyone. I’m writing this because something has gone terribly wrong in our beautiful world and I want us to do something about it. I do believe prayer is a good place to start. God not only loves us, He listens, and if we ask for His help, He’ll give it, in ways I can’t begin to imagine. He’s God. He’ll figure it out.

And I’m really tired of being a passive coward.

 

 

THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE

I’ll say it up front. This blog is all about God.

During this season of Lent, I made a resolution to begin each day with Dynamic Catholic.com.
It’s a website hosted by Matthew Kelly, the inspired head of the Dynamic Catholic organization, and it offers a question or statement each of the forty days of Lent about who we are, what we want, our values, and our role in life, all in relation to God’s plan for us.

Recently, Matthew asked the question, “Why do we complicate things?”

 It isn’t a simple question. It’s all tied up in who we think we are, what we think we should be doing, and most important, what, really, are we here for?

Right now, this minute, I don’t have answers. I want to know what God wants me to do. I want to be the person he wants me to be and I want to know that I am alive for a reason.

I know the Catholic catechism clearly spells it out. We’re here to know, love, and serve God. Easy?

No. Complicated. We live in a materialistic world , a world of “me,” where it’s too tempting to ride the wave of more instead of enough. God gets pushed aside so we can exercise that little freedom to choose thing and what’s easy is forgetting that we each have a purpose in life, that God always has his eyes on us, that he loves us unconditionally and that, if asked, he’ll guide us through the maze of life.

I like simple. I like the idea of God being in charge. It’s actually a relief. Thing is, liking it, wanting it to happen and letting it happen are different. See? Complicated. But I’ll keep listening for the Voice that guides and one of these mornings when I’m watching the shadows give way to the sun and thinking about whatever God question Matthew Kelly asks me to think about, I might see the light, no, feel the light, God’s light, shine into me and radiate out, so it might touch others.

Wouldn’t it be something if we allowed God’s light to fill us up and spill into those around us so it multiplies thousands of times?

Now that would be uncomplicated.

 

 

Yes. Some Things Do Matter More.

Wisdom that comes from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, and considerate, full of mercy and good fruits –Jas 3:17

When bad things happen, we’re never prepared. Maybe that’s because God, in His wisdom, wants to keep us from dwelling on a future we cannot change. We live with the fact that tomorrow is a question mark, even while we hope it will be pleasant and productive and good. So when bad things do happen, we can only ask for the words and actions that will comfort and soothe those they happen to.

I pray for that wisdom now as I pray for the family and the soul of a young man who died just yesterday. It was a senseless death and one he would not have wished on all who loved him so much.

It is right that we love our children beyond full. That we love them so much we don’t even think about it. That it’s just there, day in, days on end, forever. We love them and hold them tight inside us even when we don’t physically touch them.

So when sudden, unexplainable death stops the breathing, douses the spark – the light of inner being – there is no way forward. There is now. There is this. And there is realization that the laugh, the teasing, the tolerated hug, the birthdays with candles and cake and the years ahead when his never to be born babies call you Nanna or Gramma, or Grandy, will never be. There is no answer to the question that keeps repeating itself: Why?Why?Why?

I pray for all who share the grieving and am grateful that there is solace in prayer, though it can be sharp at first, filled with recrimination and anger.

Anger because we couldn’t prevent it. Anger that this child, our beloved child, did not understand the danger of drugs. Anger that God allowed it to happen.

But acceptance does come. And with it comes a plea for help, for wisdom.

I pray especially for the family – this special family who has been so much a part of my own. For you, I pray that this gift of the Holy Spirit folds itself around you, layer upon layer, so that you feel the prayers of all who grieve with you. I pray that all our prayers wrap you in a cloud of comfort.