Tag Archives: spiritual

Top 10 Spiritual Resolutions for 2018

December 31, 2017

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It is the start of the New Year  and we may or may not have made our New Year Resolutions.  Many people make resolutions to lose weight, exercise or save money, but what about our spiritual lives?

Here is a list of 10 Spiritual Resolutions that can change your life!

  1. Pray Every Day. Some of you may already to this but if you are like me sometimes in the morning rush I miss out on my 10 minutes of prayer with a promise to myself to get to it later.  Start the new year right and get up earlier and start the day with prayer.
  2. Pray Before Bed.  Just like starting your day right, it is important to end your day right. The Examen or Evening Reflection was written by St. Ignatius Loyola. It is five simple steps to reflect on your day that will change your 2018.
  • Remember God’s presence.
  • Respond to Him with thanks.
  • Reflect on how God showed Himself to you.
  • Repent of your failings.
  • Resolve to grow. 
  1. Keep a Prayer Journal. God’s presence is all around us but we sometimes don’t recognize it.  Keeping a prayer journal is a great way see His work your life. Never done it before? It is easy. Take a few moments after prayer to jot down your thoughts and anything that has been revealed to you in your prayer.  Take some time weekly or monthly to look for themes in your life and prayer.  Jot down the names or situations you are praying for, notice God’s responses, give thanks for answered prayers.
  2. Go to Confession. Centuries ago, it was customary to begin the New Year with a spotlessly clean house. Thus, houses were thoroughly cleaned as it signified a fresh start to the New Year. A clean house is good, but what about a clean soul? Start the new year right and get to confession! Better yet, resolve to go once a month! In addition to confession think about relationships you may need to heal. It might be a co-worker, friend or family member.  The way to lead in any situation is to lead with your own vulnerability.  It may be hard to take the first step and you may not get the result from the other person that you wished for but resolve to place humility above pride and people above being right.  It is a way to start the new year with a clean house and soul.
  3. Spend Less Time with Your Computer or Phone. This may sound like a secular and not spiritual resolution but spending less time on screens and more time with people (or in prayer) will improve your spiritual life.  There are some great things on facebook and on the internet but if you find yourself wasting time scrolling or in envy of other’s lives then you are not living your own life abundantly!  “I have come so that they may have life, and have it abundantly” John 10:10
  4. Read Spiritual Books. Spiritual reading plays an important role in our lives. Just as our bodies need exercise and good food, so do our hearts, minds, and souls.  For women – I recommend signing up for the  Read Between the WINE’s Book Club or check our recommended reading titles.
  5. Plan a Retreat. Just like planning a vacation for your family, planning a retreat for yourself needs to be a priority.  The new year is a great time to make those plans.  They can be as simple as spending a day at a nearby convent or monastery or taking a week long overnight retreat. Check with your priest for some suggestions. One of my favorite places is Pacem in Terris.
  6. Give. Plan to give of yourself this year. The old adage of time, talent and treasure is not just a ploy to get you to volunteer for the church or give money to keep it running.  Giving of ourselves is an expression of our love to God and all he has given us – which is everything!  When I had been suffering from a bout of depression, my priest suggested I volunteer at a homeless shelter or food shelf. It knocked me out of my own self-pity when I saw lives less fortunate than mine.  When cash is short – I am reminded that I am richer than 90% of the planet and even when my life is crazy busy, I think how difficult it would be if I spent the day looking for food to eat to survive.
  7. Rest and Sleep. On the 7th day God rested and so should we. Sleep and rest is healing. Check out this post by Fr. Mike Schmitz on getting enough sleep. To give ourselves the time to rest we may need to make room in our lives, so in comes #10.
  8. Say NO. We all should pattern our lives after Mary’s great “Fiat” by saying yes to Jesus. But saying yes to one thing may necessitate saying no to others.  In the WINE companion journal to Lisa Hendy’s book “The Grace of Yes” I wrote “The other lesson that I have learned in the grace of no has been that my well thought out “No” leaves open a yes to other things.  I heard a priest friend of mine answer the question about his celibacy to a group of teenagers when they asked him how he could have decided to become a priest and say “no” to a wife and children.  His response was.  “When a man does decide a “yes” to marriage that automatically means a “no” to all other women in his life.”  In that way a yes becomes a no to other things and a no becomes a yes to new possibilities. “
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When is Enough, Enough?

November 28, 2014

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Liscenced under creative commomsI have not been a Black Friday shopper ever since I used to work in retail.  Although I would go out with the family and grab lunch or look around, it was a rare occasion that I would head out early and brave the crowds while I muscle my way into a store.  When our children were little, my husband did head out at 4 a.m. to get a special electronic gift for our son, but in general I have tried to avoid the shopping frenzy.  Part of my reasoning to minimized my Black Friday shopping has come from my many years of working in retail and from working on Black Friday.  Crazy is even crazier from the other side of the cash register.

The practice if detachment is spiritual practice.  Their may be some people who are called to rid themselves of all material goods but detachment is not just about or for those in a religious order.  Just as their are different ways to approach our prayer life based on our state of life – we approach the practice of detachment in different ways. The Church teaches that we can serve the Lord and grow in holiness through many ways.  But St. Paul also tells us that the Christian engaged in secular activities must inwardly detach from them: “those who have wives should live as though they have none . . . buyers should conduct themselves as if they owned nothing, and those who make use of the world as though they were not using it, for the world as we know it is passing away.”  (I Cor 7:29-31)

Detachment  is a response to God’s love for us. When you fall in love, everyone else in your life pales beside the beloved. You change your schedule and your priorities.

Putting Paul’s advise from first century Palestine into practice in 21st century America can be tough. Having news reports and ads constantly telling you that you are missing out leave you feeling like you really are missing out but I try to remember that I have enough.  Their is this little anxiety thing that  happens. It is a cross between feeling like you are missing out because you are not spending money and the fear of not having enough or being enough. This year I am even more apprehensive to fall into the spend just to spend frenzy that happens in theses days after Thanksgiving.  Long term financial security is uncertain as I work through my next career move and though I am looking forward to the time off to enjoy the holidays I do have the realization that my life seems to give me time when I have no money.

Sticking to our holiday buying budget is always important but this year we will be trying to put our spending to where it is most important.  That may mean that if the must have item is 50% off today only, I will brave the elements to get the deal but work really hard not to fall into buying the impulse item sitting next to it.  I am focusing on my time I get to spend with family and recognizing that my time is a gift as I try to be thankful for all I already have.

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Be inspired to put love into action

August 13, 2009

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“Love is a Verb,”
by Gary Chapman

“Love has to be more than something we feel,” Gary Chapman writes. “It has to be something we do. We have to demonstrate it concretely.”

And inspiring story after inspiring story, that’s what “Love is a Verb” reminds.

Chapman of course became somewhat of a celebrity with the publishing of “The Five Love Languages,” which sold 5 million copies.

Here he offers 40 “love stories” by a whole gamut of people who share their real-life experiences of love in action — often not what you and I — or they themselves — expected.

Many are by writers who have a vital faith life, so they not only know how to tell a story but they get — and pass along — the spiritual they find in the episode they share about.

Chapman, a Baptist pastor in North Carolina, makes each story a teachable moment by adding a “love lesson” at the end of each piece.

Read a story a day

This is not a book to read from cover to cover.
You could, of course. The brief chapters — the longest may be seven or eight pages and most are four or five — make for quick, easy reading.

Better to savor the piece and its lesson a day at a time.

In fact, don’t start at the beginning. When your — um, “loveliness”??? — needs a pick-me-up, crack open this 248-page Bethany House book and start reading a chapter wherever your fingers take you.

Let the stories soak in.

Then get to work.

Because love is a verb. — bz
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Everybody thinks they have a book in them

May 20, 2008

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It must be part of modern culture that everyone who ever received a B+ or better on a high school essay has a gut feeling that they could write a book someday.

Whether prompted by illusions of penning the great American novel, delusions that a lot of other people will care about your life story or sincere conviction that others will benefit by knowing your take on a topic, the urge to write can be overwhelming.

Also overwhelmed, in turn, are book reviewers.

Write a few reviews and the hopeful of the literary world beat a path to your in box.

That’s okay, though. Keep ’em coming.

As I crack the spines of new deliveries that appear with the request for reviews, a question that regularly comes to mind is this: Who does the person who wrote this think will be interested in this?

That may be a valid question, but others, and a better ones are: Might there be people out there who would get something out of reading this? Are there gems in here that make this worthwhile?
Let me give you a couple of examples.

Ready for your coffee table?

Judy McCabe, who lives in Minnetonka, put together some of her thoughts of home with photos — some good, some just ordinary — to create a well-design, coffee table book titled, um, “Thoughts of Home.”

McCabe, a member of St. Patrick in Edina, has moved around the country, and she wrote, “What I really want to do with the book is open a dialog for people who are relocated or transferred.” Could viewing scene of normal, every-day life around homes of various kinds inspire fond memories and help people appreciate home life?

To be perfectly honest — and I told McCabe this — the book didn’t do anything for me. I did like the book’s design, and I think it works as a coffee table book to browse through. The ordinariness of the home life she describes, though, doesn’t compel me to give a ringing endorsement of “Thoughts of Home,” but McCabe deserves at the very least a pat on the back for not letting her creative urge lie inert.
Find out more about McCabe and her work at http://www.thoughtsofhome-judymccabe.com/.

Life story of interest?

Then there’s Bill Mori. Mori is a member of St. Paul in Ham Lake who pulled together his memories of growing up in Fort Dodge, Iowa, during the 1950s.
“East End Italian” is a series of brief chapters that, for the most part, aren’t unique. Life in Fort Dodge and at Holy Rosary Parish there isn’t much different from life elsewhere in the country that I could see. Yet….

There are slices of small town life that Mori has preserved by being willing to try this authorship thing. My favorite concerns his job at the local mom-and-pop grocers, a holdout to the supermarkets of the day. Customers came in to Brechwald’s with a list of items, and schoolboys like Mori ran through the aisles to “fetch” them, as he writes. Never heard of that before.

Mori’s got some funny, funny anecdotes. There’s a great story about being fascinated with airplanes, writing away to obtain photos from the manufacturers like Lockheed, Boeing and McDonald Douglas, only to have the government agents show up at their door, wanting to question a certain William Mori who was so curious about the latest military aircraft.

If you want to know more, contact the author at bmori@comcast.net.

Spiritual poetry, anyone?

Margaret Peterson has been rhyming for years, and now her poems are collected in her first book, “The Pearl of Great Price: Spiritual Poetry to Life the Soul.”

My guess is that poetry experts might judge her work as syrupy, Pollyannish maybe, and definitely old fashioned, as if that’s a crime. But I liked it. It wore on me.

Yeah, it’s a bit on the sweet side, but I’m going to bet Peterson is sweet, too. This is a lady who has taught 4th grade faith formation at her parish, St. Bonaventure in Bloomington, for more than 20 years, and just loves doing it, we hear.

There is surely simplicity in some of her poems, but others carry wisdom — and do so with great economy. Two samples:

Mirrors
A mirror reflects
Whatever it views
We reflect
The paths we choose.
The Pearl of Great Price
God is the pearl
In the ocean of life;
Will we love Him or cast Him aside…
And spend our lives searching
For something unknown
To ease the longing inside?
Find out more by looking her up at http://www.margaretpetersonpoetry.com.

Courage counts

These are just three examples of local people who have yielded to the urge and tried their hand at the book world. Their work may or may not be your cup of tea or may have value for just a small number of readers.

But if wholesale endorsement of a work isn’t in the cards, anyone with the courage to work hard at getting a book out of their system deserves applause for at least that effort. And who know when the next author of bestsellers might be one of those folks brave enough to put words on paper. — bz

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