Posts Tagged ‘grace’

The gift of stumbling blocks – reflection on daily readings for October 13

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Today’s readings
Galatians 5:18-25; Psalm 1:1-4,6; Luke 11:42-46

We all have them in our lives – people that push our hot buttons. They aggravate us, make us angry, even hurt us sometimes. When that hot button is pushed and the emotions surge to the surface, it’s very hard to resist giving into them and either being overcome with  negative thoughts or worse, acting out on those thoughts. It could begin as murmuring to oneself and build to talking behind that person’s back or a direct confrontation.

I have two people currently who do that to me. One is a family member and the other a colleague at work. Even when I step outside of myself and see myself reacting badly to them, I cannot stop the surge of emotion, and I sin. I confess the sin after the fact, right away sometimes if I am aware of what I have done, but I’m at a loss as to how to stop that tidal wave of emotion that leads to sin.

Today’s first reading from Galatians 5:18-25 states the following (verses 22-26):

Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified their flesh
with its passions and desires.
If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit.

Living the Spirit, I’m finding, requires constant vigilance. Constant. Moment to moment. It’s impossible to do without calling on God’s grace all day long. This, most likely, is one of the main reasons why St. Paul urged us to pray constantly. That connection with God’s grace is meant to help me rise above such passions and circumvent them. It’s obvious to me that I will need to really pray a LOT during the day to avoid giving in my feelings.

And this is why these two people are a gift to me. They are the reminders I need to constantly seek God and His grace. I know they can cause me to stumble, so I must cling to God and remain Christlike in my love for them.

Live in the Spirit, following the Spirit . . . remain constantly close to God in order to be more like Him.

Dry as bones

Wednesday, March 31st, 2010

Prayer is a tricky thing. Because as human beings, we are imperfect, prayerfulness is oftentimes hard to achieve. Worldly concerns can interfere a great deal with prayerfulness, which is, in essence, remaining close to God. Certainly world events in the last couple of months have proven extremely distracting for me. Between the economic meltdown and the election, my prayer life is as dry as bones (I’m imagining that reading from Ezekiel, chapter 37, in the valley of bones), and I am feeling the consequences with ever increasing anxiety and stress. I am also painfully aware of that awfully bright spotlight that God will shine on your soul every now and then which clearly reveals every fault and shortcoming. I do realize that this is a grace, a wonderful grace.

I’ve lost my way to prayer and need to find it back. None of the various methods I usually use are working. It’s time to be totally open, vulnerable, naked before the Lord. Ouch!

I would love to hear feedback on your experiences with dryness in prayer and how you returned to a prayerful state. I am certain I am not alone in this and we could all benefit from the wisdom in this community.