Exodus 5

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5:4 Spending time with God may seem like neglect to others.
5:17 Some may think that quiet time with the Lord is laziness.
5:22 Never know God’s plan and sometimes things get worse before they get better.

We really don’t know what God’s plans are but he wants us to follow and trust him anyway. This is of course very difficult but it is what he wants. Moses is still questioning God’s plan and the Lord knows what is good. Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better and this is a great way for God to determine who is with him. Also, never let those without faith bring you down because of the devotion you have for God.

Lord, may I follow you wherever you wish and to always worship you. Amen.

Praying Through the Small Things

This morning after Mass, I went to my local Catholic bookstore. On my way back I asked Christ’s permission to stop at the bakery for a bagel. This instinct to ask for something so small caused me to really think about prayer and my relationship with God.

First, I think it’s worth mentioning that I am a child of God and a princess of the Most High. After praying about the bagel I thought, Why are you wasting God’s time with something so trivial? In a world with murder and theft, war and poverty, he has more important things to worry about. Don’t be so selfish! Then he reminded me that he is not constrained by space and time. He has enough energy and time to devote to my small prayers and to the big prayers of those who suffer in anyway.

This small prayer made me think of the prayers of children. In my RE class, the children write down one prayer and they are often small and seemingly unimportant to adults. We see the horrors of terror and broken families while little Billy wants a new bike. To that child, it’s important; and to God, that child is important. As a sign of love, what is important to our loved ones is important to us. He hears the prayers of Billy and myself, although they are small. He hears your prayers for health and safety. He can hear it all!

The final point I’ll make is to pray without ceasing, like St. Paul says. When we invite Jesus into the small decisions, it’s more natural to invite him into the big ones. We tend to seek him in life’s major challenges like marriage, childrearing, and treatments for life threatening illness. He loves answering these prayers but he also wants you to ask if you should go to the bakery on your way home from the bookstore. It is in these prayers over the insignificant things, that we develop a relationship with our Lord. Think about your dearest friends. Are they dear to you because they only showed up when you were going through major life changes? Or are they also their for you in the day-to-day grind of life? Christ is there in both the big things and the little things. But it is through cultivating a relationship in the small things that we can build obedience in the big things.

Scripture is full of God’s invitation to invite him into life’s small dilemmas. Pray without ceasing, be like children, I will come in and dine with you. Of course it is the will of God to love, support, and guide us through all of life’s major challenges. But he also wants to be in our minor annoyances. Guess what, hears literally every prayer, no matter how big or small. In the small ones we are able to learn how to tune our hearts to listening to his response. So today my recommendation to you is to pray the small things: What to have for dinner, what time to go to bed, what color eyeshadow to use. I”m sure he’ll love it!

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Living at Home

I still live at home with my parents and I plan to continue. Many young people these days are desperate to fly the nest but I’m perfectly content staying where I am because I recognize the benefits of being home.

  1. Finances: It costs a lot to live on your own, a lot more than living with your parents. Rent+renter’s insurance+car+car insurance+utilities+food=a lot of money that doesn’t need to be spent. I buy groceries for my household. That is my only financial responsibility. Some young people pay for their cars or cell phones, some families even charge rent. Chances are, the amount of money you spend living at home is significantly less than what you would spend living on your own.
  2. Training: There are so many great things we can learn from our parents still. One of the funnest things for me is cooking with my dad. We often do this spur of the moment so if I didn’t live at home, I wouldn’t do it very often. I have the opportunity to try different recipes and cleaning techniques so by the time I have a family and a home of my own, I’ll be prepared.
  3. Togetherness: So many young people experience loneliness which can lead to a lot of problems. Rather than pretending a boyfriend, roommate, or a dog can be used to supplement your family time, spend time with your family. The family is a natural, God given support network designed to bring peace, comfort, and love.

Too often young people want to be “independent” and move out of their parents’ homes. Problem with that his, we are not designed to be alone, and we aren’t responsible enough to live alone. It doesn’t make any financial sense to move out and yet kids are proud and do it anyway. Just stay under the care of your parents until you are under the care of your spouse.

I also want to finish this post with a clarification. If you are in a dangerous household, leave. No one should be subjected to any kind of abuse so if you are, go to your parish and seek assistance in changing your situation.

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Exodus 3

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3:2 Hello God!
3:7 He is sharing in our pain.
3:8 God promises to give the best.
3:12 He is with Moses and providing the necessary resources.
3:14 God gives himself a name.

God operates outside of physics and promises abundant blessings and knows all plans.

Lord, help me be obedient to your will and call on you by name. 

Imaginative Prayer

This past weekend I went to the inaugural meeting of young adults at one of the parishes near my home. It was a lovely evening with Mass, snacks, witness talks, and a lesson about prayer and Catholic art given by Father Sports. It was a truly lovely evening. I really like learning about art, particularly because I love history. Father showed us the Call of Matthew by Caravaggio, and explained how we are to use images, like the painting, to help us pray. Father ended the talk by saying we should imagine our Lord in our lives at the grocery store or sitting with us as we watch a football game. It’s a strange way to consider praying but I have found it to be one of the most beneficial.

The main reason I like it is because of the informality. Christ is our king but he is also our brother. We should display highest reverence for our Lord and participate in the formal prayers of the Church like Mass, the Rosary, and the Divine Mercy Chaplet. But this formality can really throw some people off. Also different seasons of life require different types of prayer.

I used to pray the Rosary everyday. I loved it, I felt I was receiving such abundant graces. Lately, though, I haven’t been praying my Rosary as much. This doesn’t make me a bad Catholic, it doesn’t mean I no longer value the Rosary, and it doesn’t mean I won’t go back to a daily Rosary one day. Lately, I have been in need of less structured, imaginary prayer. I need our Lord and our Lady in the muck of everyday life right now. I need them to sit on the couch with me, carpool with me to work, and hold my hand as I walk through the day. I find myself more conscious of their presence in the muck of real life when I pray this way. At work, when I get stressed, I look out the window and imagine the Blessed Mother standing in the parking lot smiling and telling me to let God let go of whatever I’m getting stressed about. I imagine Jesus standing behind me when I’m working on difficult paperwork. And when something goes wrong, he places his hand on my shoulder and reminds me to take a breath, be patient, and relax.  I imagine my guardian angel sitting in my passenger seat, so when someone drives like a lunatic (myself included) my angel is there to protect me and remind me to slow down.

Imaginative prayer is a spectacular type of prayer because it reminds us of how present the powers of heaven are in our daily lives. Our Lord is first our friend, he wants to walk with us in life’s difficult and messy journey. We can invite him into our messy journey when we engage in imaginative prayer. Now this doesn’t mean he isn’t present already or it is harder to perceive his presence when we utilize other forms of prayer. I just think it is another spiritual weapon that can be added to one’s arsenal. When you find yourself unable to focus in structured prayer like the Rosary, try informal, relaxed, friendly, imaginative prayer.

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