Sunday, February 23, 2020

The Golden Arrow

"May the most holy, most sacred, most adorable, most incomprehensible and unutterable Name of God be always praised, blessed, loved, adored and glorified, in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth, by all the creatures of God, and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen."

If you are looking for something to do this Lent that will be simple enough to persevere in for forty days, but still be truly meaningful to add to your spiritual life, then consider praying the Golden Arrow prayer. It's something you could tape to your fridge or mirror or desk that you would glance toward throughout the day to remind you to pray this often.

Our Lord told Sister Mary of St Peter that blasphemy injured Him more grievously than all other sins and was as a poisoned arrow continually wounding His Divine Heart. He gave her the Golden Arrow which could touch Him delightfully so as to heal those other wounds inflicted by the malice of sinners and grant graces to those who recited it. 

Lent is about drawing closer to the Lord, and what better way to do that than by honoring His Holy Name? Blasphemy and using God's Name in vain are common sins of our time that need reparation, so this would be a great way to prepare our hearts for the Lord at Easter. 

I am not the best at adding multiple penances and resolutions for Lent because more often than not I start strong and end . . . well wanting. So if you're like me and need something you can manage to keep going through a crazy busy ordinary life, this might be the prayer for you as a fruitful Lent idea!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Castles in the Air

What do you think about castles in the air? Is it fruitless to dream about things that either may not happen or can not happen? I personally don't think we would create them if we didn't feel a small sense of hope that they were at least . . . possible.

Castles in the air can be built in reality. Not all of them certainly, but if we take the first steps toward at least one of them, we can build a foundation for our castle. It could be we are looking for a new job situation, or we would like to see ourselves living somewhere else, or we would like to become better at a certain talent or hobby that is important to us. Whatever it may be, I don't think that we should envision our lives without castles in the air.

These castles give us somewhere to go. If we've had a hard day, it's nice to have a "happy place." Maybe you see yourself at your favorite vacation place or picture yourself settled with a family and growing old with someone. It gives you something to build for, to plan for, to hope for, and when you've actually reached that place you've prepared for, you have accomplished something truly wonderful. You'll look back on your life and be satisfied.

On the spiritual side of things, we should envision our castles in the air in relation to eternity. St Teresa of Avila said, "I thought of the soul as resembling a castle, formed of a single diamond or a very transparent crystal, and containing many rooms, just as in Heaven there are many mansions." We should be building for our home in Heaven through virtue, prayer, and good works, which will make our soul beautiful and reflective of God's presence like a diamond reflects light.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

Don't Take Life Quickly

Do you ever feel like you are always focused on the next thing in life? It's like you can't slow down and appreciate moment by moment because your mind is on what is coming next. This is a noteworthy quote by St Zelie Martin: "It is better to use the present time well, than to think so much about the future."

I was struck by this concept recently when spending time with children. For with children, they are totally focused on the moment. Whatever they are doing, they are doing it completely, not with their mind on next week or next month or next year. It simplifies things, don't you think? Children teach us so much, and this is an important lesson I learned, to focus . . . because if you blink you miss it. You can spend so much useless energy thinking and worrying about the future, that you never really live at all.

We shouldn't be in a rush to get to a certain part of our lives. I often think about the years Our Lord spent working as a carpenter, the immense patience that must have required. He could have accomplished our redemption in an instant, but He lived day in and day out a simple, hard-working life. Why is that beautiful? Because it gives meaning to every seemingly insignificant stage of our life. His public ministry was practically speaking a very short period of His life, obviously leading up to the most important part, but that doesn't make the rest of His life any less important.

It's good to have dreams and goals and hopes for the future. We want to plan and prepare for our lifelong vocations, but we don't want to miss what we have now. If you find yourself like me with a constant itch to complete the next stage, then realize if we are always thinking about what we don't have, we're taking life too quickly . . . and we just might miss what's right in front of us.

Sunday, February 2, 2020

Cleaning Out

There's something about the start of the new year and the end of the busy holiday season that inspires a very early spring cleaning in me. I just get this urge to make everything really organized and clean out when that may have been slightly neglected during hectic December's. There's so many ways to define a spring cleaning, like taking care of items you don't get to every week like dusting shelves, or re-organizing your pantry and checking for expired food items. 

The kind of cleaning I love the most though, is the kind that simplifies your life. One of my biggest goals in life is to live simply. Not so much that your house has the bare minimums and there's not even a picture hanging on the wall. Yet, to avoid all possible clutter is something that I strive for. Maybe it's a pet peeve of mine for things to be laying around when they have a home they can go to. To be honest, my family thinks I'm OCD about organization . . . for example I will notice if you even move a pen on my desk. 

However, I really think that a cluttered home is not as peaceful. Getting rid of material things is very freeing because it reminds you that those items are not essential to your life. "You can't take it with you" goes over in my mind often. Granted I am all for decorating a home and making it feel welcoming for friends and family. (I bought so much beach decor when I first moved it's ridiculous!) But decorating is really important because your home largely reflects your personality. It's like getting a window into a person's life to see where they live and how they live. That's why I love cleaning out because it's like you become a better version of yourself when you learn what you can do without. 

Whether it's your attacking your closet and giving clothes to the poor that you haven't worn all year or have outgrown, or reassessing your holiday decorations and trying not to accumulate so much, there are always areas to improve. I mean haven't you ever opened a desk drawer or kitchen drawer and wondered how it became a catch-all container? These are areas that are great to tackle at the beginning of a year because life is too short to get bogged down in stuff. It's better to fill your life with experiences and spending time with people rather than focusing on things. 

I read once that "clutter is postponed decisions" so be more decisive in your life, because after all if you wait too long, the opportunity may be gone.