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Reflections From Faye

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Words

Posted on July 29, 2022 at 10:45 AM Comments comments (73)

Monday Meditation – Words 7/25/2022

 

Have you ever felt tongue-tied, and not sure of what to say? That has happened to me on a number of occasions. One thing that helped was participation in Toastmasters, where I gained confidence that I could even speak about a subject I knew little about.

 

But what about the times when someone needs comforting? Sometimes I struggle with what words would be appropriate for their situation and yet encouraging. I don’t want to inadvertently make their situation worse by using poor words or not saying anything when words would help.

 

And how about when I am called upon to share my faith? I know the subject, and I do know what I can say, but I may feel hesitant about talking about faith. After all, religion is one of those topics considered to be “taboo” in many circles.

 

Why am I afraid to speak even though I have speaker training? Am I afraid that someone will pooh-pooh my words, or get angry at me, or worse? Yes, that is probably accurate. In my country, people do have the freedom of speech, and yet there are still many instances when people are condemned when they proclaim or live their beliefs which disagree with the beliefs of others.

 

In Matthew 10:16-20, Jesus states: “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore, be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

 

This has happened to me! I have been in situations very concerned about what I was to say, but somehow the right words seemed to just pop into my mind. Once a young man stopped me in the gathering space at my church after mass and spoke to me about his struggle with God due to certain things that had happened in my life. I was completely unprepared for this encounter, yet I believe God gave me good words to say so I was able to share my faith with him in a way he found helpful.

 

Another time I spent a few hours with a friend who was going through something very devastating. In that instance I was not given a lot of words to say, but I was able to be a calming presence for her by holding her hand and wrapping my arms around her as she cried.

 

I don’t think these were coincidences! God knows better than I do about what is right to say or not say. Sometimes God gives us the right words to say, and sometimes He just prompts us to be present.

 

Do you struggle sometimes with what words to say in certain situations? We’ve all been there. If you have a good relationship with God, trust in Him that He will give you the best words to say, or the strength to say little but just be there. This blessing from God is also probably the blessing the other person needs as well.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Gossip

Posted on July 18, 2022 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (316)

Monday Meditation – Gossip 7/18/2022

 

Human beings love to gossip. We want to know the latest news about celebrities, our neighbors and even the person who sits in the last pew in the corner.

 

Certainly we do need to stay abreast of what is going on with the people we care about. We need to know if they are facing surgery or an illness so we can pray for them. We want to find out about major events so we can celebrate with the people involved. And we need to know important news about our local communities.

 

But how often do we pass beyond the line of important information and engage in gossip?

 

Gossip is defined as casual or unconstrained conversation or reports about other people, typically involving details that are not always confirmed as being true. Phrases like “Did you hear about so-and-so?” can spark long banters which may even involve speculations and outright lies, not to mention anger and hurt. I confess that more than once I have passed on a bit of news that may not have been true or helpful. It’s so easy to do, and gossip makes for great “conversational fillers.”

 

I remember a game I played as a youngster called “telephone.” One person would whisper something to the next person in line, who would in turn whisper what they heard (or thought they heard) to the next person. The message continued to be passed to the last person, who would say out loud what they heard. We laughed at how different the story became by the time it reached that last person.

 

Thinking about it now, however, “telephone” is not so funny. Isn’t that what often happens with a lot of information? One person passes on something, and by the time it trickles down through several others it is different from what was said at the start. Plus it could include lies or biases from the people anywhere in the chain and thus be more gossip than fact. I also wonder at the words used in various news programs as they discuss current events. I am curious as to how much of the information is factual as opposed to speculation and opinions, although I suppose I will never know.

 

Recently I came across a quote attributed to Pope Francis that struck me, and I think is worthy of review. Here's what he said as to why you should not gossip:

 

In Ancient Greece, Socrates had a great reputation of wisdom. One day, someone came to find the great philosopher and said to him:

“Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”

“A moment,” replied Socrates. “Before you tell me, I would like to test you with the three sieves.”

“The three sieves?”

“Yes,” continued Socrates. “Before telling anything about the others, it's good to take the time to filter what you mean. I call it the test of the three sieves. The first sieve is the TRUTH. Have you checked if what you're going to tell me is true?”

“No, I just heard it.”

“Very good! So, you don't know if it's true. We continue with the second sieve, that of KINDNESS. What you want to tell me about my friend, is it good?”

“Oh, no! On the contrary.”

“So,” questioned Socrates, “You want to tell me bad things about him and you're not even sure they're true? Maybe you can still pass the test of the third sieve, that of UTILITY. Is it useful that I know what you're going to tell me about this friend?”

“No, not really.”

“So,” concluded Socrates, “What you were going to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor useful. Why, then, did you want to tell me this?”

“Gossip is a bad thing. In the beginning it may seem enjoyable and fun, but in the end, it fills our hearts with bitterness and poisons us, too."

 

These words hit me as I read them. How many times have I just passed on information without confirming its truth, verifying it is kind, and ensuring it is useful? And how many of those times have my words poisoned me or the people I spoke to? Probably way too many times, I’m afraid.

 

I am going to try to improve. The next time I am tempted to pass on some information which may be questionable, I will try to remember to give it the three sieves test - to ensure it is true, kind and useful. Or better yet, I will just say nothing. I hope this mindfulness to avoid gossip will help me to become a kinder person.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Our Mother Mary

Posted on July 18, 2022 at 8:55 AM Comments comments (0)

Monday Meditation – Our Mother Mary 7/11/2022

 

When my mother Cleo passed away years ago, I felt a bit lost. I had gone to her often over the years for advice and just to spend time. When she was gone, that option was no longer available to me. I did have my mother-in-law to go to, but it just wasn’t the same. I was craving something more, but I wasn’t sure what it was.

 

Then I rediscovered Mary.

 

To be honest, I had known about Mary, the Mother of God, ever since I was young. I learned the Hail Mary prayer and saw statues and images of her in the churches I attended. And since I was born on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (the day Mary was conceived free of sin), she had always been a part of my faith life – I chose Marie as my confirmation name in honor of Mary.

 

However, I did not really “know” Mary until several years ago when I went on a pilgrimage trip to Medjugorje. It was on this trip that I really became close to Mary. I cannot take up a lot of time in today’s reflection to describe the events that occurred on that trip, because my post would be way too lengthy! But I will tell you that I encountered her in a very personal way on that trip. Ever since, I have been regularly praying the rosary and going to Mary for help.

 

I particularly love an icon that hangs in the Emmaus Chapel at my church – it’s the one in today’s photo. It depicts Mary holding her young son Jesus. Jesus is looking at Mary, but Mary is looking at me. No matter where I sit in the chapel, Mary’s eyes are on me. They are eyes filled with love and caring, and it’s hard to describe the peace I feel when I look at that icon. Mary has truly blessed me as my Mother.

 

I will always be grateful for my physical mother’s love and care and for passing on her Catholic faith to me, but I am also grateful for my Mother Mary who continues to provide me with motherly love and help. I pray to her regularly. I especially love the Memorarae prayer (I just prayed it this morning for a special intention) which is as follows:

 

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

 

Is your physical mother still around, if so, be blessed that she is there for you. If not, and even if she is, I hope you have another “mother” you can turn to. I highly suggest Mary! She has blessed me often, and I’m sure she will bless you too – all you have to do is talk with her.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Give Freely

Posted on July 3, 2022 at 8:10 PM Comments comments (567)

Monday Meditation - Give Freely 7/4/2022

 

I enjoy giving. I like to do things for people and to give of my time to worthy causes. My husband and I give donations regularly to our church and other charities, and we each volunteer several hours a week.

 

But I recently read a reflection about giving joyfully and freely, and it got me to thinking. Do I truly give freely to others and to God?

 

It’s easy for me to give of my excess. We have enough money to live on, so it is no problem to donate $30 or $50 to a charity. We periodically clean out closets and cupboards and take boxes of items we no longer need to thrift stores or church collections.

 

Yet that feels like giving from my excess.

 

It’s really, really hard for me to part with items. I “might need” that kitchen item someday, or maybe I’ll lose enough weight for that fabulous garment to fit again. Having gone through several lean years when I had little, I am extremely reluctant to throw things away, even though many of those things qualify now as “excess.” I do periodically tell myself that when I have several days free I will go through it all and purge, it seems like those free days never arrive.

 

I know God calls me to give and give freely, so why is it so hard? Why do I feel resentment when someone (or God) asks me to give something?

 

I have read many articles and books about how to clean out, yet I still can’t seem to do it. I need to somehow fix my mindset, although I’m not really sure the best way to do that, either. So this is a new prayer of mine: Lord, show me that so much of what I have I do not need. Help me to see how someone else could get use and joy from those items and give me the grace to let much of it go. And once I reach that point, then, Lord, grant me the grace to be able to start giving freely from my need as well.

 

After praying this prayer last week, I did do some cleaning out. I went through a section of my bedroom closet, and two shelves in my hall closet. I threw out some things that were of no use to anyone, and I did identify several items that will be given away. Although looking again at my closets, I see that there still is plenty of excess there…I guess I am going to have to do this process again, and again, and possibly again….

 

Are you able to give freely? If so, you are greatly blessed! If not, perhaps you could pray along with me this week for the grace to take a step or two to give away some money or things to help you start on the path toward the blessing of giving freely.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

The Effects of Sin

Posted on June 27, 2022 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (369)

Monday Meditation - The Effects of Sin 6/27/2022

 

I’m a sinner. I know I fail (a lot) and I make bad choices. But I do try to improve. What helps me to stay away from sin is when I realize that my sins do not just affect me, but they affect others as well.

 

Some people may say that only the “big sinners” – like murders and rapists – have sins which affect others. They may state that for average people their sins are minor and only affect themselves. An example might be a person who has the sin of chronic indulgence in some vice, like alcohol, food or even excessive gaming. That sin may harm that one person, but how could that possibly affect others?

 

I believe sin certainly can affect others besides the sinner. I have known a few chronic indulgers who no longer were able to function effectively at work or with their family and friends. Their work suffered (one was unable to keep jobs), and marriages deteriorated. These people no longer could (or wanted to) keep up healthy relationships and their families and friends suffered losses. To me, their sinful behavior definitely affected others.

 

I recently spent a little time looking at each of the sins that tend to keep cropping up in my life. I thought about how that sin harms me, and I also pondered how it is or may be affecting my husband, my family, my friends, my spirituality and my volunteer activities. This process was eye-opening! It was quite clear that I have been hurting others as well as myself with my sins, and I need to change.

 

I know I am not going to be able to expunge all my sins, and maybe I’ll never be completely rid of some. But I can start by working on the ones who have the most serious effects on others as well as on myself. It’s going to take some work even just to reduce the frequency of my sins, but I certainly want to try, especially now that I am aware how my sins may be hurting those I love.

 

Have you looked at your sins lately? If not, perhaps you could take some time this week to review a few of your sins and note how those sins affect you as well as how they are affecting others in your life. Awareness is the first step toward making changes, which could bring about some new blessing in your life.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

New Project

Posted on June 20, 2022 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (217)

Monday Meditation - New Project 6/20/2022

 

Have you taken on a new project lately?

 

I mentioned several weeks ago that I was hoping to have a new project for the summer. It was something I prayed about, asking God for assurance that this was what he wanted me to do. I am pleased to announce that it is happening! I am excited to be the director for the summer play “Old Hams” for Second Act Players. This full-length comedy is going to be a joy to direct, even though there will be challenges as we have some physical comedy scenes to produce!

 

This project has required a lot of pre-planning, and I will be learning new skills as I proceed. I expect there will be days of frustration as I wonder if it will all come together, but I also know there will be the joy of sitting back and watching the play as the actors bring their energy to the actual performances!

 

My summer is going to be busy… with rehearsals on most weekday evenings, I’m not going to get a lot of other things accomplished this summer, although I will keep up this blog! There won’t be opportunities to do any long-distance travelling, but I do hope to get away for some day trips and perhaps a weekend or two.

 

Therefore, each day I am including this project in my prayers. My prayers include a request for the health and safety of all participants, asking for guidance to help me to be encouraging and supportive to my actors so I can bring out the best in them and make this a terrific show, and for help to get the word out to many people so we can attract a good-sized audience.

 

If you are interested, there will be four performances this August, and one will be livestreamed! For more information about the play, please go to https://www.secondactplayers.com/old-hams.

 

Are you starting a new project? I hope that you have asked God for guidance as you proceed. It’s always good to be doing what God wants you to do! In addition, I encourage you to include daily prayers for your project’s success. A project aided by God will no doubt bring you many blessings!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

The Holy Trinity

Posted on June 13, 2022 at 8:50 AM Comments comments (258)

Monday Meditation – The Holy Trinity 6/13/2022

 

Yesterday was Trinity Sunday at my church. We celebrate the fact that we believe that God is Three in One.

 

This can be a challenging concept for us mere mortals to understand – anyone who has successfully conquered basic mathematics knows that 1+1+1=3. So it takes a bit of faith to believe in this concept of Three in One.

 

I came across a good explanation of the Trinity on the catholicculture.org website. It said: “The dogma of faith surrounding the Trinity is this: There is one God and in this one God there are three Divine Persons; the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God. Yet there are not three Gods, but one, eternal, incomprehensible God! The Father is not more God than the Son, neither is the Son more God than the Holy Spirit. The Father is the first Divine Person; the Son is the second Divine Person, begotten from the nature of the Father from eternity; the Holy Spirit is the third Divine Person, proceeding from the Father and the Son.”

 

The mystery of the Trinity, the Father, Son and Spirit, is the mystery of God and as such cannot be fully comprehended by us humans. Rather, we accept this as part of the gracious revelation of God and respond in the way of Jesus: him we address as Lord; with him we call on the Father; from him we accept the Spirit.

 

Why do we believe in the Trinity? Matthew 29:19 says: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Another passage from 2 Corinthians 13:13 has the apostolic benediction: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all.” Thus, the New Testament establishes the basis for the doctrine of the Trinity.

 

There have been many images representing the Holy Trinity created over the years. In the chapel at my church, we have an icon based on the work of Andrei Rublev which portrays three Persons seated at a table. Another common image is that of an older man (God) seated with a younger man (Jesus) with a Dove (The Holy Spirit) floating above or between them. There are even graphic symbols placed in a triangle or circle (usually a crown, a cross and a dove). The image I have attached to this reflection came from catholicireland.net, and I really like it because although it shows Three separate persons, the images are overlapped into One God.

 

Today I encourage you to think a bit about God and the Three Persons of the Trinity. There may be one to whom you are drawn more so than the other, and I think that’s ok. Each Person in the Trinity can give us blessings! So let us praise and adore the thrice-holy God who has shown His mercy towards us and has given us to share in His life.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Traveling Again

Posted on June 8, 2022 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (396)

Monday Meditation – Traveling Again 6/6/2022

 

My husband and I love to travel and to experience new cultures, natural wonders and more. Our goal is to do as much as we can before we are unable to do so.

 

The last two years of covid have prevented us from travelling much, especially internationally. We have had to cancel trips and push others out on the calendar until things opened up.

 

We just returned from a one-week trip to Europe, where we travelled on the Rhine River from Amsterdam to Basel. What a joy! We were blessed to see many old and restored churches and other buildings, and marveled at the incredible architecture, especially since so many of these structures are incredibly large. The photo accompanying this blog

 

Our taste buds were delighted with sensations from the local cuisine. And we met many wonderful people, on the ship’s staff, our fellow travelers and locals who patiently explained things to us in English. In our travels we have come to see that most people in the world are just like you and me – they are good, hard-working citizens who care for their corner of the world and for others.

 

A side blessing of our trip was my inability to connect to the ship’s wifi with my computer. I could access email from my phone, but I was forced to detach from several other things for a whole week. The downside was I not able to upload my blog from 5/30 (already written and on my pc) last Monday, which is why you got two posts today.

 

I hope you are blessed with ability to do some travelling soon, especially to areas farther away than your own city or state. There is so much to see out there, like historical and religious sites, and a vast array of foods that you may not be able to try locally. And then of course there are so many wonderful people out there who can bless you in many ways.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Love Deeply

Posted on June 8, 2022 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (229)

Monday Meditation – Love Deeply 5/30/2022

 

How deep is your love for others?

 

It’s easy for me to love people lightly. But why is it that I don’t love people more deeply? I think it’s because of the experiences I have had in the past when I have loved people deeply. Several times I got hurt when people rejected me or turned on me. My heart broke when I went through my divorce. It hurt when my loved ones died. Because of these things, I often became afraid to get too close to many people, so I would avoid more hurt.

 

So many people have these types of experiences - it’s no wonder that they choose not to love deeply. After a hurt or loss, they may choose to go about their lives alone, afraid of more love, forgoing the bonds that deep love provides.

 

But is that truly a good way to live?

 

Henri Nouwen says: “The pain that comes from deep love makes your love even more fruitful. It is like a plow that breaks the ground to allow the seed to take root and grow into a strong plant. Every time you experience the pain of rejection, absence, or death, you are faced with a choice. You can become bitter and decide not to love again, or you can stand straight in your pain and let the soil on which you stand become richer and more able to give life to new seeds.”

 

I had to choose to begin to love deeply again after my losses. I had to learn to trust that even the pains that come along with my love will somehow enrich me to grow.

 

It has been a struggle, but I believe that I am a better person now after having gone through the pains of love. I am better able to be a good friend and a strong lover, which in turn helps those people that I care about.

 

Yes, you might be feeling afraid of the pain that deep love can cause. But do not hesitate to love and to love deeply. When those you love deeply hurt you, reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. Yet don’t let that hold you back. Just as a seed has to be broken and die in order to produce new life, so too we need to be broken by our hurts in order to grow and love more fully.

 

Is there someone in your life whom you are not loving as deeply as you could? Are you holding back in a relationship because of fear? I encourage you to spend a little time today reflecting on your loves, and where you might be able to risk loving a little bit more. Try not to let past hurts bring you down, but instead ask God for the help you need to move on and strengthen your love. A blessing may await as you love deeply.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Praise

Posted on May 23, 2022 at 8:45 AM Comments comments (497)

Monday Meditation - Praise 5/23/2022

 

The word “praise” shows up many times in Scripture – some sources say it occurs over 250 times. Regardless of how many times it appears, that’s a lot, and to me, that means we are called to praise and worship God!

 

Psalm 150:6 says it best: “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.”

 

One reason that I love singing in the choir at my church is the opportunity every week to praise God in song. Since we are called to praise and worship God, what better way to sing? I have often heard the phrase “He who sings, prays twice.” I checked with my good friend Google, but I can’t seem to find a reliable citation of the source of that quote. No matter – I like it anyway!

 

I also have a favorite Christian radio station which plays a lot of uplifting music, including a lot of praise. That’s usually my go-to station when I am driving around town. It’s wonderful to be able to praise God while singing along!

 

But praise can be hard in the face of a challenge or death. When my dear friend passed away a few days ago, for a while it was hard to praise God. This dear woman is no longer on this earth, providing inspiration and comfort to her family and friends. We miss her so much. So I had to work a bit to find the praise in her death.

 

What I found was praise and thanksgiving that God has called her home and her earthly struggles are now over. She is now with him, and what better place can there be? Heaven is a place that hopefully all of us are striving to attain, and when a loved one passes from this life into the next, we hopefully can be happy that she or he is now safe with God. To me, that’s worth praising about, even when I may be feeling sad.

 

I encourage you this week to find something to praise God about, even if you are struggling with a loss. If you are unsure about how you can praise God, how abut asking him? He may surprise you with a blessing, and the praise will just be there.

 

Praise God!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 


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