Sunday, March 31, 2019

Overcoming Overwhelm

Have you ever seen Father of the Bride with Steve Martin? A true classic in my book. If so, you will recall well this scene when George is overwhelmed by all the wedding preparations, turning his house into a place for the ceremony, and above all "losing" his daughter to her new husband, and can't take one more frustration like not having the right amount of hot dog buns in the grocery store.

George: "I want to buy eight hot dogs and eight hot dog buns to go with them. But no one sells eight hot dog buns. They only sell twelve hot dog buns. So I end up paying for four buns I don't need. So I am removing the superfluous buns. . . . Some big shot over at the weiner company got together with some big shot over at the bun company and decided to rip off the American public because they think the American public is a bunch of trusting nitwits who pay for things they don't need rather than make a stink. Well they're not ripping off this nitwit anymore because I'm not paying for one more thing I don't need. George Banks is saying no! {Grocer: Why don't we just calm down now sir?} I'll tell you why we don't calm down, because you're not excited. It takes two people for a we to calm down, doesn't it?"

Overwhelm literally means to "drown or bury beneath a huge mass, feeling a strong emotional effect from an event, or to defeat completely." I often wonder why the smallest things in life seem to be the ones that upset us the most, but when you think about the fact if you are overwhelmed and you can't go lower than being "defeated completely" the smallest of frustrations can quite simply be too much. 

I think the answer to this question can be found in George Banks realization of hitting a low point when ending up in jail for splitting open the hot dog packages in the grocery store. It is ALL about perspective and taking a step back. Separate in your mind what is important and what is not and let some things drop off. Remember what you want to value in this moment when you look back on it at the end of the year. Find quiet moments for gratitude and a lifting of your heart to God. And above all . . . breathe. By the way it's nice to know they now sell hot dog buns in quantities of eight ;-)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Me Time

I think this phrase "me time" has been given the wrong connotation. People associate that phrase with a selfish form of relaxation--a relaxation that neglects certain duties or obligations. What people fail to think about is the healthy meaning of taking moments for ourselves so we can take a step back. 

It is important to have time, be it ever so short, in every day that is some form of peace. For many this is one's prayer time, for others it could be exercise, still more talking to a friend, or reading a book. In some way, it is the time of day we utilize a coping skill that helps us deal with stress. In taking those moments, we can tackle our duties with more calmness than if we plugged through with no break.

"Me time" is not selfish--it is taking a moment to better our mental health, which is as real or more important than physical health sometimes. We need to have part of each day dedicated to rejuvenating our minds that so often are going in a million directions at once. It is in a way a form of being "unplugged" from our problems for one moment so that it does not consume us.

So this week, take a moment out of every day for you. Make that time the best way to lighten your heart and help you to breathe, especially when it's a hard day. It's a real confidence builder because it reminds you that God is at the center of it all, and He wants us to have calm and peaceful hearts.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

St Joseph's Silence

Every year I love writing about this great saint. He is my very favorite and has never let a prayer go unanswered for me. St Joseph is a very powerful intercessor for any need and a model for all families in all virtues. I love that we get to celebrate his feast on both March 19th and May 1st.

I wanted to focus on his great silence . . . I believe that there are no words recorded in Scripture that St Joseph spoke. He is mentioned of course, but I don't think there are any words by him. I find it interesting that there were none recorded, but maybe he was a man of few words.

I can imagine this great saint being so absorbed in the love of Jesus and Mary that he could hardly help from being in a constant state of mental prayer. He must have been wholly at peace despite any hardship or suffering because there were beside him the two holiest beings that ever walked the earth. That doesn't mean that life was easy...quite the contrary...but the knowledge of God's constant presence must bring tranquility.

Can't we imagine our own lives like this? That God is present in all our life situations as to never leave us alone? We may not see Him in the physical sense like St Joseph, but He is there just as lovingly all the same. And in the silence of His presence, we can be silent ourselves just like St Joseph, absorbed in the peace of our God.

May St Joseph keep our families close to his most pure heart and draw us deeper into the preparation of Lent.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Miraculous Novena of Grace

A dear friend passed along this beautiful prayer! The Miraculous Novena of Grace can be prayed March 4th through March 12th or November 25th through December 3rd. Great way to begin Lent!

Prayer to St. Francis Xavier
Attributed to Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. (17th century)

"Most amiable and loving St. Francis Xavier, in union with thee I reverently adore the Divine Majesty. I rejoice exceedingly on account of the marvelous gifts which God bestowed upon thee. I thank God for the special graces He gave thee during thy life on earth and for the great glory that came to thee after thy death. I implore thee to obtain for me, through thy powerful intercession, the greatest of all blessings--that of living and dying in the state of grace. I also beg of thee to secure for me the special favor I ask in this novena. (Here you may mention the grace, spiritual or temporal, that you wish to obtain.) In asking this favor I am fully resigned to the Divine Will. I pray and desire only to obtain that which is most conducive to the greater glory of God and the greater good of my soul."

V. Pray for us, St. Francis Xavier.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray:

"O God, Who didst vouchsafe, by the preaching and miracles of St. Francis Xavier, to join unto Thy Church the nations of the Indies, grant, we beseech Thee, that we who reverence his glorious merits may also imitate his example, through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen."

Add an Our Father and Hail Mary three times in memory of St. Francis Xavier's devotion to the Most Holy Trinity, and a Glory Be ten times in thanksgiving for the graces received during his ten years of apostleship.

History/Promise: The Novena of Grace, which begins March 4th and ends on the 12th, the day of the canonization of St. Francis Xavier, owes its origin to the Saint himself. At Naples, in December, 1633, Father Marcello Mastrilli, S.J. was at the point of death. The Saint appeared to him and, bidding him renew a vow he had made to labor in Japan, said, "All those who implore my help daily for nine consecutive days, from the 4th to the 12th of March included, and worthily receive the Sacraments of Penance and the Holy Eucharist on one of the nine days, will experience my protection and may hope with entire assurance to obtain from God any grace they ask for the good of their souls and the glory of God."

The Father arose, instantly cured. So well has the Saint kept this promise that this devotion in his honor became universally known as the Novena of Grace. Its efficacy is not restricted to the dates mentioned. It may be made very appropriately from November 25th to December 3rd, the feast of St. Francis Xavier. Though any prayers can be said in honor of the Saint, the foregoing are generally recommended. 

~ from My Prayerbook by Fr. Lasance