Reflections On The Journey

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Reflections From Faye

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Easter Sunday - He Is Risen

Posted on April 17, 2022 at 7:15 AM Comments comments (55)

What a joyful day this is! Even if the weather in Minnesota is a bit on the cool side, I am rejoicing! The pain of Good Friday has passed, and the waiting is over. Jesus is risen from the dead!

 

My favorite story surrounding the resurrection is the one in Luke 24, on the road to Emmaus. (Luke 24:13-35) The despondent disciples were so disheartened after the shock of Jesus’ death. They didn’t believe the women who went to the tomb and reported that Jesus had been raised, and they walked home in sorrow. It took the words of a stranger, actually Jesus, explaining everything in Scripture that pointed toward him, and a Eucharistic meal, for them to recognize Jesus and realize that yes, He has risen!

 

Over the years, I too often did not recognize Jesus in the things around me, or even in the words of Scripture. It has taken me years of experiencing little things (perhaps little miracles?) in life and diligently studying the Word of God to truly believe. And since I am human, I have lapses all the time.

 

But today, I believe! Jesus died for me, and he rose for me! So today I will celebrate this precious gift. And I pray that you, too, will recognize Jesus in your life, and celebrate the blessing of his rising for you.

 

Have a blessed Easter Sunday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Good Friday - The Cross

Posted on April 15, 2022 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (88)

Today we celebrate Good Friday, when we remember the day Jesus was cruelly put to death. Some people may wonder why we “celebrate” such an awful event. And true, it is a very sad day.

 

However, we can celebrate because we know the ending to the story! The great sacrifice of the cross meant that Jesus had to endure immense suffering, humiliation, and ultimately, crucifixion, all for the Glory of God and for our salvation. The same people who lauded Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem, only a few days later condemned him to a most horrible death on the Cross.

 

How many times have I condemned Jesus after praising him earlier? Have I denied Jesus when I put other things before my faith? Was I actually saying horrible words to Jesus when I ragged on or dishonored a coworker or spouse? Did I turn my back on Jesus when I looked down on the homeless or denied help to a stranger or even to a friend? Could I have pounded nails into Jesus’s hands and feet when I disobeyed one of his commandments?

 

In so many ways I have acted as bad as that crowd in Jerusalem. My actions hurt Jesus as much as those of Pilate and the soldiers. Yet Jesus died on the Cross for me anyway. Despite my failings and my faults, despite my lack of trust and sinful ways, Jesus died FOR ME and FOR YOU. That indeed is something to celebrate.

 

“We adore Thee, O Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.” These words I will be speaking as I attend the Stations of the Cross service at my church this afternoon. I hope to be properly penitential as I remember what Jesus experienced on that dark Friday two thousand years ago, and the incredible gift he gave to us.

 

I encourage you to take some time today to meditate on Jesus’ death. Attend Stations of the Cross, or a Veneration of the Cross service if you can. If you cannot get out, you can find resources on the internet to walk you through a meditation on Good Friday. One that I particularly like is here:

https://provpresri.org/docs/GoodFri2013StationsCross%20(1).pdf

 

May you be blessed as you ponder the gift of the Cross.

 

Have a blessed Good Friday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Holy Thursday - The Passover Supper

Posted on April 14, 2022 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (40)

Have you ever studied the Passover as described in the Old Testament? I have done it a few times now, and I have found the parallels to Jesus’ Holy Week to be very insightful.

 

The Passover ritual is described in detail in Exodus 12. The gist of this passage is that the Israelites were first to procure an unblemished male lamb. In a specified manner they were to sacrifice it, prepare it and eat the flesh, and sprinkle its blood on their doorposts so the Angel of the Lord would pass over their homes while the Egyptian first-born males were killed. The Israelites were to repeat this ritual every year to remember how the Lord had saved them, as part of their covenant with God.

 

In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of his part in the salvation covenant: “I am the living bread come down from heaven, if anyone eats this bread he shall live forever; the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” (John 6:51) He is telling the people what he will do for them.

 

Then on Holy Thursday, it is fulfilled. Jesus reenacted the Passover supper with his disciples. And during it, he did something amazing. “During the meal he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. ‘Take this,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ He likewise took a cup, gave thanks and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: ‘This is my blood, the blood of the covenant to be poured out on behalf of many.’ (Mark 14:22-25) Then he asked the disciples to do this in remembrance of him. In this way, Jesus explained that He is the new Lamb (a perfect, unblemished male), and that we are to partake in this sacrifice to remember that he has come to save us.

 

Jesus is telling us that the Eucharist is not merely a symbol – it is indeed the living flesh and blood of Jesus. The Bible in a Year reflection for Day 100 confirms this, stating: ‘For over 1500 years, every Christian believed in the Eucharist as the true Body and Blood of Christ. If this teaching is wrong, then every Christian was guilty of idolatry, and Catholics and Orthodox Christians are guilty of idolatry today. Recall how quickly God put a stop to the worship of the golden calf on Mount Sinai. Would God have allowed Christians to idolatrously worship mere bread and wine from the beginning of the Church?”

 

Wow. When I spend my time in Holy Week remembering the words of Jesus on that Holy Thursday, I am in awe of the great gift he has given to us. His Body. His Blood. The Holy Sacrifice of each and every Mass truly is that partaking in the Passover of Jesus, and I am encouraged to participate in Mass and eat his flesh as often as I can.

 

If possible, I encourage you to attend a Holy Thursday service to partake in this blessed ritual. If you cannot attend a service in person, see if a local church may be livestreaming their service and you could watch. I also encourage you to spend some time in Adoration in front of the Tabernacle in your church this weekend. Take some time to be blessed by this amazing gift that Jesus is giving to you.

 

Have a blessed Holy Thursday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Passion

Posted on April 11, 2022 at 8:10 AM Comments comments (91)

Yesterday was Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday. At church we listened to the reading of Jesus’ passion and death. For me it was a sobering start to Holy Week.

 

The passion in yesterday’s gospel reading is a sorrowful one – describing what Jesus went through following his initiation of The Lamb’s Supper (The Eucharist): a mocking trial, torture, the jeering crowd and the arduous journey to Calvary where he became The Lamb of sacrifice for us. We also read of Peter’s passionate denials of Jesus followed by his equally passionate sorrow once he realized what he had done.

 

Jesus’ passion as described in the gospels is one of agony. Jesus is no longer in control but must surrender to the wishes of others. He must endure many hours of anguish, waiting until he could finally utter those three sacred words “It is finished.” But he lived his life fully, and with passion, for us.

 

No doubt you have suffered in some way in your life – your own special passion – where you were no longer in control but had to wait in a type of agony until whatever it was finally became resolved. I have too, and I know how hard it can be. A challenging health diagnosis, the loss of a loved one, a broken relationship – each of these and many other things can bring on a time of sorrowful passion in our lives. And yet we must press on, looking upon our cross with hope.

 

It helps me to remember that within the passion of Jesus is the mystery of God’s immense love for us. In his Passion, Jesus sacrificed everything for us, and now Jesus waits in passionate love for us to choose him; to allow him to give us an abundance of love, graces and blessings. We just need to choose him above all else.

 

I encourage you to spend some time during this most holy of weeks to think about the Passion of Jesus – that special gift he gave us in the form of his suffering, death and resurrection. Think about the passion he had for all of us – the amazing love he showed by going through the terribleness of Good Friday. Perhaps you might watch a film this week that depicts Christ’s passion. But even better, if you can, attend some or all of the services offered by your church during this week. Immerse yourself in Jesus’s passion. And may you become as passionate about Jesus as he is passionate about you.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Lent

Posted on April 4, 2022 at 8:15 AM Comments comments (19)

We are already several weeks into Lent – and in just two weeks it will be Easter. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone. I have to say that my Lent has not gone as “well” as I had hoped. I did not do great acts of penance, and I barely managed to keep up with my daily prayers (I had a few slips and catch-ups).

 

I know I need to step up my game, and so I am planning to attend a reconciliation service this week. I will continue to fight to become holier and purer so I am ready for Our Lord’s passion, death and resurrection.

 

I hope your Lent is going well, and that you have received some blessings from it. If it hasn’t gone so well, I invite you to join with me in re-committing to your Lenten goals. And so I encourage you to say this prayer with me today:

 

O Lord, this holy season of Lent is passing quickly. I entered into it with fear, but also with great expectations. I hoped for a great breakthrough, a powerful conversion, a real change of heart; I wanted Easter to be a day so full of light that not even a trace of darkness would be left in my soul.

 

But I know that you do not come to your people with thunder and lightning. Even St. Paul and St. Francis journeyed through much darkness before they could see your light. Let me be thankful for your gentle way. I know you are at work. I know you will not leave me alone. I know you are quickening me for Easter - but in a way fitting to my own history and my own temperament.

I pray that these last two weeks, in which you invite me to enter more fully into the mystery of your passion, will bring me a greater desire to follow you on the way that you create for me and to accept the cross that you give to me. Let me die to the desire to choose my own way and select my own desire. You do not want to make me a hero but a servant who loves you.

 

Be with me tomorrow and in the days to come and let me experience your gentle presence. Amen.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

 

Encouragement

Posted on March 28, 2022 at 9:45 AM Comments comments (776)

I love the word “encourage” and its variations – which is why it is a part of the mission of Reflections On The Journey: To provide help, encouragement and inspiration during the journey of life resulting in stronger faith and purpose.

 

The word “encourage” is described by Dctionary.com as a verb meaning to inspire with courage, spirit, or confidence. You will note that the word “courage” is a part of encourage. Courage is a noun which means the ability to do something that frightens one, or strength in the face of pain or grief. The word courage comes from the Latin cor, which means “heart.”

 

So to be encouraged means to be given strength of heart.

 

Every one of us has “down” days – days when things do not go well, and we may feel like we want to give up. Even when we have had good things in our past, when some trial comes along we can easily fall prey to worry, fear and anxiety. We can forget that God is always with us in the midst of our battles.

 

I have had days like that. I know how hard it can be to stay positive and not to give up.

 

That’s when I need to run to God. God tells us “Be strong and of good courage“ many times in the Bible – some sources say there are at least twenty variations of those words in the Bible. I guess that means God is constantly reminding us to be encouraged despite our trials. How wonderful is that!

 

Do you need some encouragement today? Try reading Psalm 31! Hope in God, for He will be with you. And may you find blessing in God’s encouragement for you.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Funerals

Posted on March 21, 2022 at 8:05 AM Comments comments (1199)

This past week my family laid to rest my ex husband. We held a lovely funeral at the church, followed by a luncheon to visit with family and friends. Later, we interred his ashes at the cemetery.

 

Some people wonder why we even bother to have a funeral at all. The deceased can’t enjoy it, anyway. But the funeral is very important in my opinion. It serves many functions.

 

The funeral service a celebration of the life of the deceased. Every person is important, and their life had meaning to many people. By holding a funeral, we celebrate his or her life as we remember them and we express our thoughts and feelings about the deceased. It is a chance for family and friends to gather and mourn together their very real loss, and it provides a support system for the family and friends.

 

Christians recognize that the person’s life here on earth may have ended, but their eternal life is just beginning. The funeral service gives everyone a chance to say that final goodbye and yet celebrate that his or her life is not really over, just changed. We pray that they will soon be joined with Jesus in Heaven.

 

The funeral we held was difficult at times, and tears were shed. But it was also very supportive for us. It was such a comfort to see family and friends present as we said goodbye. Some people who attended did not know Jim very well or at all, yet they came anyway, because they recognized that Jim had been an integral part of our family, and they were there to support us.

 

If you have lost someone recently, know that your family and friends will support you. Hopefully you are able to have a funeral to celebrate their life and feel the love and support of family and friends.

 

And if you know of a friend who has lost an important person in their life, I encourage you to attend the funeral service, if at all possible. Your presence may be the blessing your friend needs to help them through their grief.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Reflections

Posted on March 14, 2022 at 9:20 AM Comments comments (1288)

We mark milestones in our lives in many ways. We celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, years of sobriety and years on the job, to name a few. Today I am celebrating a milestone: this is my 300th reflection post.

 

When I started this blog in 2014, I didn’t know how long I would continue. I thought I would give it a year and see how it worked. Then I just kept writing…..

 

There were times over the years when I had lots of ideas and I would write three or four posts ahead. Then there were times when I would not have any ideas at all. Occasionally I would just plain forget and find myself working late on Sunday night to write something intelligent and hopefully meaningful for the next morning’s post.

 

I know my posts are not necessarily “media-worthy,” and I don’t have hundreds of followers on my “Reflections On The Journey” Facebook page. I have about a dozen people who get the emailed version of this blog, and even fewer that actually visit my website. But that is not the point of my work.

 

I write my “Reflections On The Journey” blog because I find joy in the writing – writing is one of the spiritual gifts of the Spirit which I have been given. My message is to provide help, encouragement and inspiration during the journey of life resulting in stronger faith and purpose for my readers. And I find that the writing helps me, too, through the trials of my own life.

 

My blog shares my personal journey in small reflections, and occasionally I throw in poetry, references to songs or a portion of the writing of others. I toss in things that are meaningful to me and which have helped me through my own issues. My goal is to allow my readers to see that we are not perfect, it’s ok to have problems, and to give encouragement that we can work through our issues.

 

It is encouraging when I hear from one of you. I am glad my words are fulfilling my mission to help you through your own journey. I would be honored to pray for you about a specific problem you are having or write about a topic that is meaningful to you – so please feel free to email me or comment on my posts. This blog is for YOU.

 

I plan to continue writing this weekly blog as long as I am able to do so. I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to inspire me to write meaningful words and thus continue to fulfill my mission. May you find blessings in these words.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Grief

Posted on March 7, 2022 at 9:25 AM Comments comments (1191)

Are you dealing with grief right now?

 

About ten days ago we had a death in the family. My ex-husband and the father of my oldest two boys died unexpectedly. We all were shocked – we never expected this.

 

My boys are grieving their loss. I, too, am grieving. Although my ex and I had many rocky times during our marriage, after the divorce and annulment my ex managed to turn his life around. He renewed his faith, and we began to have a cordial relationship. He once again became a part of our family gatherings, thanks to the kindness of my current husband. I am grieving for the loss of his kind soul, and I am grieving for my boys.

 

I am extremely grateful that I had a long conversation with my ex only a few days before he passed. I have spoken to his friends, and it is very comforting for my family to know that in those last few days he also had good visits and phone calls with other people that were close to him. What a blessing to know that he was in good spirits in those last few days. But the loss of someone, especially one who was part of your family, still hurts.

 

It has been hard for us to go through papers and sort things out in my ex’s home. We have come across photos of happy times, which have helped us to recall him with fondness. We have also uncovered things we didn’t even know existed, and my boys have learned things about their father that they previously never knew.

 

I know it is going to take time for all of us to heal from this tragedy. But during this time, we will not bury our grief. We will grieve together and find the support we need to get through this time. We are leaning on each other and our friends and family.

 

An unexpected blessing out of this is that members of our family are coming together in a way we had not done for a long time. I am looking at this as a positive outcome of a very difficult situation, and I hope we can go forward and maintain these renewed relations. Even though it is hard to see right now, I am confident that our Lord has a hand in this, and that we will get through this difficult time and grow as a result.

 

Everyone grieves differently, and for different periods of time. Some may feel overwhelmed. Others may bury their feelings or stoically try to get through it. If you know someone who is grieving, see if there is something you can do to help them. Think about what that person really needs right now. Some may need a shoulder to cry on. Others could benefit from a listening ear. Still others may need some guidance on what to do, or actual help doing things. Sometimes it's hard to know what to do for someone who is grieving – but it’s good to try.

 

Stay in touch with your friend. Your contact may mean the world to the person who has lost a loved one. Put your friend’s well-being before your own, if possible. Consider carefully what you say so your well-meaning remark is not misinterpreted. And prayers are usually always appreciated!

 

We all experience grief at one time or another. If you have lost someone recently, know that I am praying for you. Please do not bury your grief when you have a loss. Talk about it with others and ask for support. And accept help offered - your friends want to help if they can. And of course, pray and ask God for help, too. It may be a difficult time, but you will get through it. And who knows, perhaps an unexpected blessing awaits you within the grief.

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

Feeling Inadequate

Posted on February 28, 2022 at 10:00 AM Comments comments (1178)

Last week I talked about perfection, and that led me to think about feeling inadequate. When I am faced with a new or big project, I often feel like I don’t know what I’m doing. I feel inadequate to take on the new task.

 

My friend Lili talks about this is one of her “Life Tools By Lili” podcasts. She talks about how she felt spooked out and unsure of herself when faced with a new opportunity. What she did was to first take a break, and then come back to her situation with a new perspective. Lili says there is always going to be competition, but perhaps instead of being afraid of them, you might try to learn something from those competitors. Or perhaps you may even be able to team up with one and work together to achieve common goals. You can watch this particular episode of Lili’s here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4ieAcVFCA4

 

I am currently looking at a new opportunity for this summer. I have some something similar, but not on this big of a scale. And I know that I don’t have all the skills needed to do this task to perfection, so that old inadequate feeling has come popping right up. But, like Lili suggested, I took a little break from thinking about the project. I prayed, and then I decided to approach it a bit differently. I have located a few of the “competition,” and will be asking them to be my mentors for guidance and help. Although I haven’t officially gotten the go-ahead to do this project, you can bet the butterflies are already surrounding me. But with guidance from my mentors and much prayer, I am feeling more confident that I will be able to take on this project and the end result will be a success.

 

Are you looking at taking on something new? Are you feeling a bit inadequate to take on this new task? Or maybe you are feeling inadequate about a task you are currently charged with? I encourage you to step back, pray, and see if you can look at the task in a new way. You may be blessed to locate some mentors and discover it’s not going to be as difficult as you thought. God’s grace will guide you!

 

Have a blessed Monday!

Faye

© 2022 Reflectionsonthejourney.net

 

 


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