Backtracking

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Sitting at the doctor’s office Tuesday morning, I revisited the Word among us and took notes on my already marked pages.  When I go anywhere, I always carry something to read, my pen, and, usually, a pad on which to jot fleeting thoughts.

Three weeks earlier I’d read through the articles while waiting nearly six and a half hours for Steven’s vehicle to get serviced at the Toyota dealership.

Recollections

That Tuesday I reflected on the messages from How to Grow in Spiritual Discernment (Jan/Feb 2010) and Hear Our Prayer, O Lord! (Lent: Feb/Apr 2010) until I felt inspired to journal in Segy’s Book of Everyday Miracles.

Vividly, I recalled Segy’s Senior Night.  He wondered what would become of the relationships he’d forged with his high school buddies. 

Segys-book“How will I know who’s truly my friend?”

“A true-blue friend is one that neither lack of communication nor distance nor time can separate from you.  No matter how long you’ve been apart, you’ll pick right up where you left off when you see each other next.”

I smiled at the memory.  May 2001 seemed so recent.

Then, as if transitioning from one lesson to another, I quietly closed the journal and was unexpectedly drawn— just like that into an animated conversation with two bright, engaging women who sat across from me in the waiting area.

Connections

After talking for a while the young woman, Nidaya, a university sophomore majoring in marketing, told us how and why she’d ended up at the Toyota place.

As she’d left campus the day before, her car had been hit from behind.  She hadn’t been upset.  “In fact, I calmed the girl down as we waited for the police.  We weren’t driving fast!” she clarified.  “This was a warning for her to get the brakes fixed.  It could’ve been worse, but it wasn’t.  And she provided the insurance information right away, so everything was fine.”

??????????Nidaya’s story compelled me to share what I’d written to Segy minutes earlier.

Remember that time you came home from a night out with your friends?  You plopped on the cushy brown chair in my room and said, “We’re both builders of people.”  And it’s true. 

The more we talked and listened to each other, the more I made meaning between our conversations and what I’d read that morning.  Even the daily meditation applied! 

“Jesus, my brother, I come to you today to sit quietly with you and enjoy your presence” (the Word among us, Jan/Feb 2010, p. 46).

“We span three generations from different cultures and walks of life, yet we agree on so much,” Nidaya enthused.  “It’s amazing!”

Before long Nidaya’s car was ready.  The fender bender had been repaired, and the oil change she’d meant to have done the afternoon before had been taken care of.  She wished both Betty and me well and encouraged me to keep looking for the special job that would surely come.

Then Betty told me about her life since her husband’s passing last year.  At eighty years of age, Betty is spirited, upbeat, and youthful.  As she spoke glowingly about her best friend’s courageous efforts to overcome many health issues, I could tell that Betty is thoughtful, loving, and other-focused.  She has nothing to complain about, she said, because she’s healthy, lives alone, drives, and has no limitations.  But I also observed a fiercely resilient woman who makes no excuses for herself.  An unsung hero.

When Betty’s name was called she smiled, wished me well, and— before exiting the dealership— looked back to twinkle at me sweetly.

I couldn’t help but think that, even if we were to cross paths again, we wouldn’t recognize each other since we were little more than strangers who’d related well to each other as part of God’s master plan for us that afternoon.  I felt blessed.

Messages

Two down and one to go, I thought.  I knew I’d be called next, so I resumed my reading and right away stumbled onto a timely meditation.

Lord, give me ears open to hearing you and a heart willing to serve you.  Let your word do its work in me, and make me always faithful to your inspirations! (p. 48).

I’d read for hours, made mental notes, and scribbled on pages.  I’d been gifted with time well spent among two very smart women— one younger, one older— who had much to share about their life experiences and their faith, Muslim and Protestant, respectively.  I’d learned a lot!

Backtracking

Thinking back on my afternoon with Nidaya and Betty, I smiled.  God had set up his classroom so extraordinarily that I’d learned firsthand about prayer in five movements: reading text, reflecting on meaning, responding in prayer, resting in God’s message, and applying that message to daily living.

Then this Tuesday, three weeks later at the doctor’s office, God chose my quiet time as the perfect opportunity to check for understanding, even providing me with a related web link for further reading!  What an awesome teacher to provide such individualized instruction!

Prayers

Come, O Holy Spirit!  Enlighten my mind to know your commands; strengthen my heart against the snares of the enemy; inflame my will…  I have heard your voice, and I don’t want to harden myself and resist, saying “Later…, tomorrow.”

Nunc coepi!  Now I begin!  In case there is no tomorrow for me.

O Spirit of truth and wisdom, Spirit of understanding and counsel, Spirit of joy and peace!  I want whatever you want.  I want because you want, I want however you want, I want whenever you want (St. Josemaría Escrivá).

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Contact information

Holy Spirit leaflets are from Franciscan Mission Associates, P. O. Box 598, Mount Vernon, NY 10551-0598.

May 19, 2013

We all need the Holy Spirit because he alone can enable and empower us to live the life that Jesus won for us on the cross.  We need the Spirit to guide us to the truth….  In the midst of all [the] noise [in our lives] the Spirit continues to speak, telling us every day that Jesus wants to act powerfully in our lives.

But the Spirit doesn’t just speak to our hearts.  He also gives us the words— God’s own words— to comfort those who mourn and to encourage those who falter.  He gives us the wisdom, too, to know when to listen instead of speak.  He offers to teach us how to move ahead in peace, confident in his leading, even when we can’t see where the road leads.

That outpouring of the Spirit in the sight of people from all over the world stands as God’s public notice: “I have not left you desolate.  I will help you.  I will teach and encourage you, empower and energize you to do the thing I call you to do” (the Word among us, May 2013, p. 38).

July 13, 2015

“As I ponder your Word, O God, give me the courage to ask my questions, being open to the full meaning of the passage as it impacts my life” (Sister Maria Tasto, OSB, 1938-2014).

August 12, 2015

In the supernatural order, love leads to light; the Holy Spirit leads us to the Word, and through the Word we go to the Father in whom all life is completed and all movement is converted into rest.  And in him every creature finds its perfection and its happiness, because all things are completed when they return to their principle (Luis M. Martinez in True Devotion to the Holy Spirit).

December 4, 2015

“Lord, do not let my heart lean either to the right or to the left, but let your good Spirit guide me along the right path” (St. John Damascene).

January 6, 2016

“It is with the smallest brushes that the artist paints the most exquisitely beautiful pictures” (St. Andre Bessette).

January 27, 2016

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us (Romans 5:1-5).

March 22, 2016

Learn to abide with attention in loving waiting upon God in the state of quiet.  Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God which, if admitted, will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love
(St. John of the Cross).

June 20, 2016

Today when you pray, I invite you to pray mindfully to God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.  Take time to explore your relationship with your favorite person of the Trinity.  The length of our prayer is not as important as the fact that we choose to pray.  In essence, it is our desire to pray and connect with God that is more important than what we say, think, or feel during our prayer time.  When we place ourselves in God’s presence we are praying even if we do not have any words (Monday Message by Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB: “Reverence in prayer – RB 20″).

December 13, 2016

“Those whose hearts are pure are temples of the Holy Spirit” (St. Lucy).

February 1, 2017

Love is the foundation of devotion to the Holy Spirit, as it is also the foundation of Christian perfection.  But love as a reflection of God, as his own image, is something that encloses within its simplicity a boundless wealth and a variety of forms.  Who can fathom the depths of love? (Luis M. Martinez in True Devotion to the Holy Spirit).

March 8, 2017

Just remind your children every day that you love them, that you believe in them.  There is great power in the love of a parent.  They do not need things to be happy….  They need to know your heart (Heidi Hess Saxton in Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta).

April 1, 2017

God is far from finished with any of us.  Our conversion still needs to be deeper and wider, but that can only happen if we admit that God still has much to teach us (Pat McCloskey, OFM in Peace and Good).

May 26, 2017

“The Holy Spirit is the master of prayer and causes us to abide in continual peace and cheerfulness, which is a foretaste of paradise” (St. Philip Neri).

May 30, 2017

“Whatever we are, that we are by the divine goodness; and this goodness is specially attributed to the Holy Spirit” (Pope Leo XIII).

June 6, 2017

The word of God is inflamed with the fire of the Holy Spirit.  It consumes vices and promotes virtue.  It bestows wisdom on well-disposed people and provides them heavenly food (St. Norbert).

June 9, 2017

“Many people will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave footprints in your heart” (Eleanor Roosevelt).

June 25, 2017

Praying through journaling can be a liberating and beautiful means of expression.  Your writing can take on the feeling of a love letter or a song and can be accompanied by a heart-wrenching release of emotions.

Do not attempt to censor yourself as you write.  Don’t worry about spelling or proper grammar.  Do not be afraid of writing down how you truly feel— God knows your heart already. Instead, offer yourself— in all your beauty and your brokenness— freely to God and ask him to use your journal to bring you closer to him.  Do not be afraid to give it all to God, who can turn our ashes to beauty, heal our deepest wounds, and set us free (Melissa Overmyer in Born to Soar: Unleashing God’s Word in Your Life).

August 21, 2017

The Holy Spirit has much to teach us and much grace to pour on us.  But it takes time and willingness to stay close to Jesus.  It takes patience and determination to trust in his power to move us forward.  It takes confidence, knowing that, if God starts something good in us, he will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6; the Word among us, July/August 2017, p. 73).

September 27, 2017

“Holy Spirit, giving life to all life, moving all creatures, root of all things, washing them clean, wiping out their mistakes, healing their wounds— you are our true life, luminous, wonderful, awakening the heart from its ancient sleep” (St. Hildegard of Bingen).

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Links of interest…  Actions speak louder than words…  Atheists are lame…  Camino con Jesús: blog / prayers to the Holy Spirit…  Connect to God through prayer  Come, Holy Spirit…  Distraction & reading in meditation (intentions)…  Evangelizing atheists…  God is Inviting You (blog: Sister Kristine Anne Harpenau, OSB)…  Holy Spirit: factsgifts / invoking / promptings / temples / ten ways to open up…  How not to be afraid to express your faith…  How to stop worrying, start living, & find a friend in Jesus…  Jesus: multitasker…  Journalism as an act of grace…  Learning not to worry / to be scrappy in the spiritual life…  Lectio divina: about / beginner’s guidefour moments of prayer / examplesstart prayingtaste of silence (book) / transforming power (more)…  Let the Holy Spirit possess you…  Life & light in the Word…  Look of unconditional love…  Looking down or looking up…  Power of parables…  Pray a novena to the Holy Spirit & kindle a fire within…  Prayer in five movements…  Quick daily practice to help you be more grateful…  Read, think, pray, act…  Spiritual smoothies…    Ten powers of spiritual intelligence…  Three questions every woman is dying to be asked…  What we can learn about the Holy Spirit’s power from the life of Mary (video)…  Why centering is not Christian prayer…  the Word among us  (more)…

WP posts…  Angels keeping watch…  Concrete abstraction…  Dear God…  Disquieting moments…  Growing pains…  Heart of hearts…  Lenten meditations…  Lenten reflections…  Lenten resources…  Little gifts…  Making meaning…  Messages…  Prayerful ways…  A real church…  Timely message

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