Monday, May 18, 2015

The Sky's the Limit

Do you believe in God? Do you believe God loves you? If asked these two questions I would certainly say yes to both, so why all the hesitation?

Like those unwanted clouds on an otherwise sunny day, I have doubts that cast shadows on top of my faith.

“Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear…” (Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light)

Having read everything that Blessed Mother Teresa ever wrote, I was hesitant to read the collection of her letters that have been published as the book: Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light. This book discloses letters she wrote to certain people, letters that she wanted destroyed upon her death. These personal letters expose openly how she suffered periods of doubt about God.

I myself will openly admit to having wavering feelings of faithlessness. Heck, I might as well come full clean and state that usually these feelings of uncertainty come when faith is what I need most.

To realize that someone so Holy, so dedicated to caring and loving for the poorest of the poor may have had doubts, leads me to believe that none of us are exempt from experiencing the real test of faith, which is to prove that it is real.

For Blessed Mother Teresa to have carried this cross of silence for such a long time and still have the world look upon her in wonderment as she did what she set out to do only makes her more Holy in my mind’s eye. Whenever I think of her, I remember her courage, her inspiration, and her unconditional love that knew no bounds.

Her dark nights are no more. It is good to remember—the sky’s the limit.

Someone wise once said:

“Give yourself fully to God. He will use you to accomplish great things on the condition that you believe much more in His love than your weakness.”
 (Mother Teresa)

(Photo credit courtesy of Rich O'Donnell)

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Hold That Thought

Put an end to all those evil, destructive thoughts that are always trying to consume you. Stop them from doing any further damage to your peace of mind.

Of course, this is easier said than done. It takes self-control, discipline, and the grace of God to come close to accomplishing this task.

You would not believe all the far from the Word of God thoughts that enter my mind. I’ve been trying to hold them at bay by replacing them with the true Word of God.

I opened my Bible and my eyes fell upon Romans 12:2, “Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to Him and is perfect.”

By that one simple gesture of opening a book I found words that lift me up instead of thoughts that bring me down, words that bring me hope in lieu of thoughts that drag me into the gutters.

Someone once asked Billy Graham how to conquer bad thoughts from entering their minds. This was his response:

“Begin by turning to God and submitting your whole life—including your mind—to Jesus Christ. If you have never done so, confess your sins to Him today, and by faith ask Him to come into your heart. Then fill your mind with God’s truth. Don’t just empty your mind of evil thoughts, but fill it with good thoughts—in other words, with God’s truth as it is found in the Bible. Make the Bible part of your life every day, and memorize as much of it as you can. Then when evil thoughts come into your mind, immediately turn your attention to God’s promises and His love for you.”

Something to think about, I know it's harder than it sounds, but imagine what could transpire if we were to just try to Hold That Thought.

...when evil thoughts come into your mind, immediately turn your attention to God's promises and His love for you.

Peace Out,

(Photo credit courtesy of Cullen O'Donnell)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

That Ship Has Sailed

Our son has a knack for taking tantalizing photos, which he has permitted me to use at my disposal. So thanks to him I have limitless access to pictures of unbelievable sunsets, ocean waves that look as if you could reach out and physically touch the lapping water, palm trees where the branches sway in such a way that his photograph makes you feel you as if you are there leaning against the trees. I stare with envy at serene pictures of empty park benches that make me want to escape whatever I’m doing and sit for hours soaking in the beauty of the visual image displayed.

For some reason or another I keep staring at this one particular photograph. It is becoming one of my favorite pictures of all-time.

I see that boat out to sea and I think about all the events in my life that have past. That ship has sailed for me to experience what it was like to be barely sixteen with what seemed like my whole life ahead of me. Gone is the experience of a freshman away at college on my own for the very first time. Past is knowing what it felt like to carry a living soul for nine months deep inside me.  

The more I stare at this photo the more I become immersed in wondering too where that boat is heading and what lies ahead for me in my life journey. I’ve already experienced being sixteen, and twenty, and thirty, (and so forth) along with all the things that happen in one’s life as we age, but what I haven’t experienced is tomorrow.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that whatever I have done, and didn’t do, I will experience God’s mercy. That is enough to carry me through the seas of life.

“The Lord’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise. The Lord is all I have, and so in Him I put my hope.” (Lamentations 3:22-24)

Now, I’m beginning to understand why I so love this picture. It reminds me what I need to know in life…that we have a merciful God who loves and cares for us so much that He has promised to all who believe, that they shall enjoy eternal life.

How about you? Have you discovered what you need to know in life?

(Photographs courtesy of Cullen O’Donnell.)

Friday, May 1, 2015

May The Force Be With You

May happens to be her month. The her I’m referring to is our Blessed Mother Mary.

This month of May, I plan on devoting more time to her. Discovering more about the Mother of our Lord. Learning from her, calling out to her, admiring her, imitating her. Getting closer to her, this Mary—full of grace.

How about you? Will you let the force and power of our Blessed Mother, be with you?

St. Louis de Montfort has written:

“The whole world is filled with her glory, and this is especially true of Christian peoples, who have chosen her as guardian and protectress of kingdoms, provinces, dioceses, and towns. Many cathedrals are consecrated to God in her name. There is no church without an altar dedicated to her, no country or region without at least one of her miraculous images where all kinds of afflictions are cured and all sorts of benefits received…”

Our Lady, the Mother of our Lord, my puny little brain can’t comprehend all her glory. All I know is that many, many times I long for her mantle to cover and protect me.

St. Louis de Montfort’s words continue “…There is not a child who does not praise her by lisping a Hail Mary. There is scarcely a sinner, however hardened, who does not possess some spark of confidence in her. The very devils in hell, while fearing her, show her respect.”

As a baby lays its head upon a mother’s chest, I too long to rest myself upon her shoulders and feel the very presence of her grace. I yearn for her to be my protector and defender as I travel through life.

"From now on, all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty one has done great things for me...
Holy is His name."

Happy month of May—may the force of Blessed Mother Mary be with you!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

For the Love of God

Next time you find yourself beginning to feel insecure and unsure about what lies ahead, when those doubts you buried start to surface, causing you much discomfort, go grab your Bible and turn to Isaiah 41:13.

“For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you.”

Loved and secure, that’s what I’m feeling as I let the words of this verse, found in Isaiah, sink deep into my soul and take up residency within my heart.

Whatever fears may have kept me tossing and turning during the wee hours of the night have vanished. Each and every burden I carry upon my back just got lighter. Any second thoughts that had been running rapidly through my mind have subsided as the love of God engulfs me.

I will help you; do not fear—for I am your God.

For the Love of God . . . take a good long look at who it is that’s holding your right hand.

Do not fear.

(Photo credit courtesy of Cullen O'Donnell.)