Archive for the ‘rosary’ Category

Discipline is not a dirty word . . .

Monday, August 1st, 2011

. . . when you’ve fallen down the side of  the mountain. I’ve hit a brick wall of late with my spiritual life, but if I didn’t have my discipline, I would have fallen off the mountain entirely and not even known why. And it would have been a lot harder to climb back up again (and it’s hard enough as it is!).

Discipline was not an appealing option

Being one of those “free-spirited” souls, I have never been attracted to discipline. It put constraints on my freedom and my time. Despite taking 5 years of piano lessons as a child, I can’t play a note in part because I didn’t have the discipline to practice. Often I feel like I’ve squandered my musical talent because of the inability to reign in my “free spirit.”

Applying discipline to my spiritual life didn’t seem to fit either. I remember watching The Nun’s Story with Audrey Hepburn and noticed the way she chafed at the bell ringing for prayer. She hated the interruption and even openly complained to her superior that the bell disrupted important spiritual conversations with patients or interfered with her work as a surgical nurse.

Little did I know I would be applying the concept of the bell to my own prayer life. And it’s proving to be most effective.

A fire burning to a fire dying out

For the last several weeks I have been reading Fr. Thomas Dubay’s book, Fire Within and it is helping me to find the fire within me. It’s a primer on contemplative prayer according to Saints Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. I was reading about Teresa’s seven mansions of prayer when the dryness hit.

I fell away from reading and found prayer increasingly difficult. Deep emotion and consolation turned into dryness and flatness. In the blink of an eye, I felt a million miles away from God yet I knew He had never left my side.

Discipline, technology and concrete measures

The regimen that I had initially set up for prayer was proving to be my lifeline.

I use technology to assist me in my prayer and I have several different rituals that I use to assist me:

  • I have set up my iPod to ring like the bell of a monastery to remind me to pray at different times during the day. Since reading about Teresa’s support of using concrete means to pray, I have loaded spiritual pictures and icons on my iPod so I can look at them as I pray. I also thumb my rosary ring when I pray the Divine Mercy at 3pm.
  • I have been praying a scriptural rosary each day to keep my mind from wandering (The Rosary Army has an excellent one that you can get on iTunes or listen to online. My own Sung Rosary has a scriptural Rosary book which I’ve used).
  • I listen to the daily readings from the USCCB website in the morning and at night, go to sleep listening to the daily mass using the CatholicTV app.
  • In the past I have prayed the Divine Office using the podcasts from divineoffice.org.

And slowly, ever so slowly, I feel myself clawing back up the mountain.

Discipline is life-giving

Rituals can sometimes rule your life, but they can also help to save it. I am so very thankful to Holy Mother  Church for providing the daily mass, the structured prayers and most of all, the wisdom to recommend that we use these resources. I hope that I will always remember how much discipline and structure are helping me to come closer to God.

Emotion is sweet but fleeting. Discipline can be just as sweet, and it’s a lot more dependable too. God does indeed supply all that we need!

 

 

 

Prayer in the midst of distraction

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

In my reading of Thomas Dubay’s book, Fire Within, I have come upon the chapter describing St. Teresa of Avila’s seven mansions. As a preliminary to the discussion of the mansions, Fr. Dubay described her teachings regarding vocal prayer.

Letting go of old habits

As a pure beginner in contemplative prayer, I have felt confused of late as to whether I should be using my imagination to conjure up images during prayer, or think of concepts. From my reading I have gathered that my imagination falls very short of what is possible just by letting go of everything human and allowing myself to be drawn into God’s presence.

Being a creative sort, and a visual learner, putting aside my imagination has been hard to say the least. I have found some wonderful consolation in prayer doing such things, and have also pondered many wonderful ideas. These things aren’t wrong, but they just scratch the surface. God is inviting me to go much deeper and to do that, I must put aside these primitive ways of praying.

Concrete suggestions

Bless St. Teresa and her innate understanding of human nature. She offers concrete ways to enter into this prayer, and I tried one this morning amidst an array of distractions.

She suggested focusing on a favorite image of Jesus and I have an icon I treasure that hangs on wall across from the rocking chair in our bedroom where I will pray and write. It’s pictured to the left.

I began to pray my rosary and focused on the picture. Now mind you, there was an unusual amount of noise and chaos going on around me – the roofers had arrived promptly at 7:30 am and were tearing our roof apart! Shingles were falling like rain!

Peace in the midst of chaos

In the middle of the rosary, one of the workman knocked on the door, needing to get into our basement to access the chimney. I calmly let him in and resumed my prayer.

My son then came in and we discussed plans for the day. I continued to remain calm and returned to prayer as if nothing happened.

This has never happened before!

Interruption to prayer always entailed frustration, aggravation, irritation. Yet this time I managed to stay in the presence of Jesus and remained calm. My peace was not disrupted.

Gazing upon the face of Jesus

The only thing I can think of that I did differently was to keep my focus on Jesus and just gaze upon Him.

My spiritual mother daily sits in her rocking chair and just contemplates the face of Jesus. I was in awe of that and envied her.

Now I have a taste of what she experiences.

Possibilities

It’s possible for me, and it’s possible for you too. Fr. Dubay reminds anyone who will listen that we are all called to deeper communion. St. Paul reminds us to “pray always.” It can be done.

And the more you taste it, the more the desire will grow.

Overcoming emotion before it takes over – a followup

Tuesday, July 5th, 2011

You may recall in a previous post the story I shared about how anger and aggravation overcame me beginning with the task of vacuuming the pool. I shared that story with my spiritual mother who advised me to say the Jesus Prayer before I begin, and during the task. It worked like a charm! I vacuumed the pool yesterday and the prayer lifted me outside of myself so that I could remain peaceful throughout the task. It had all the elements of being just as aggravating as the last time, but this time I was armed with prayer. Yet another lesson in the idea of detaching from emotion through prayer.

You would think I would then immediately apply prayer to any other time when emotion would overtake me but I still have a long way to go with this lesson. Letting go of aggravation and anger was easy in comparison to letting go of grief and self-pity.

Holidays lately have been a little difficult. I still haven’t grown totally into the empty nester role and therefore miss the kids terribly. I grieved the loss of our family together over the 4th of July holiday. Add to that a dose of self-pity because our efforts to go kayaking were thwarted yet again, this time by my husband’s back pain. I felt very badly for him, but felt sorry for myself too.

It took all weekend to turn to prayer but I finally did as I waited for a fireworks display. I had asked my husband if I could go and he said that was fine. I went and found myself feeling especially lonely and nostalgic for past days when we would go as a family. Seeing other families around me just added to the pain. I felt totally alone, until I realized I wasn’t ever alone – God was with me if I would just call on Him.

I began with the Jesus Prayer and quickly turned to the rosary. At first I looked up at the sky, thinking of heaven. Then I turned my gaze on all the people around me, asking God to bless them, and I began to see Christ in all of them. The feelings of loneliness, grief and self-pity slowly began to dissipate as I became aware of the presence of my very best Friend, the one who will never leave me, deep in my heart, and all around me too in those people.

The fireworks display seemed extra lively and bright now that I felt surrounded by friends. Maybe next time I won’t wait so long!

Why does love chase away fear?

Friday, March 25th, 2011

In praying the Sorrowful Mysteries of the rosary this morning, a thought struck me while praying the first mystery: The Agony in the Garden: why was Jesus afraid and what did it mean?

Jesus was the Christ, co-equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit – how could he know fear? But Jesus was also man and we all know fear. As a man, Jesus knew fear and anxiety in that garden that was so intense that He sweated blood and begged the Father to allow what was coming to pass.

It made me wonder: did Jesus as a man know the separation from the Father that all humanity knows, brought on by the fall of Adam and Eve? And because of that separation, did He then turn into Himself, thus coming face to face with the terrors that awaited Him? And by turning everything over to God (“not my will but Yours”) and thus turning away from Himself, is that what opened Jesus to the grace needed to face His most terrible hours with such courage?

Is fear then, self-centered, while love and trust is other-centered?

In remembering the many times I used to wake up at 4 in the morning, worrying endlessly about so many things, it certainly was all about me! I felt trapped inside of myself when that type of anxiety would grip me. Only when the sun came up and I got out of bed was I able to put a little distance between myself and my fear. When that happened, the fear would shrink and fade. The monster in the closet would disappear when a little perspective came into view.

I remember many years ago I read a book about a fire in a Boston nightclub that scared me so much I didn’t close my eyes the entire night. I broke out in a sweat and my stomach hurt. This fear was so deep that I refused to go out to restaurants. I wouldn’t go to our town library or work there for fear I would see that book. Sometimes I would see local news coverage of the event, citing some anniversary, and it would ruin my whole day. The fear was palpable, and it kept growing.

Finally I confessed my fear to my then-boyfriend-now husband. I had to pray on it for a long time, rocking back and forth in the bathroom crying until I got up the nerve to name it to someone else. After I confessed it, the fear went away – the monster in the closet was gone. I stepped away from myself, trusted God, and let it go.

I knew years later I had been successful because another terrible nightclub fire occurred in 2003 in Warwick, RI. This time, instead of running away from it, I faced it head on. It was hard, but it prevented the monster from rising up again.

Jesus faced His fear and turned it over to His loving Father. He turned away from himself and towards the Father. He could only do that because of his love and trust for the Father. And he was able to face his own monster, a real monster, and do it with grace.

Love chases away fear because love focuses on the other, not on the self. That turning away from self allows trust to happen.

Jesus tells us that fear is useless and to replace it with trust. Trust becomes easier as I come to know Jesus more intimately and fall more deeply in love with Him. Love is perfected over a lifetime and perfect love drives out all fear.

“Loving God . . . Loving Neighbor: A Lenten Transformation” Retreat Wrap-up

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

This past weekend (March 11-13), my partner Ann Wagstaff and I had the privilege of presenting to a group of extraordinary women at the Vita Nova Women’s retreat at the Barbara C. Harris Center in Greenfield, NH. The weekend exceeded our wildest expectations! The spirit of fraternity, affection and fellowship coupled with a real move of the Holy Spirit made it a weekend we all will remember for a long time to come.

Here are pictures from the weekend, and below the pictures, a description of what went on (including one of the talks that you can download).

Prayers for Detachment; time for reconciliation

After settling in on Friday, Ann and I led a prayer to help the women detach from their cares and focus solely on God. Music, prayers, candles and sweet scents lifted hearts to Heaven. Each woman wrote down their cares on a piece of paper – all the papers were put in a bag that was attached to mylar balloons that would lift the bag up to the ceiling!

After the prayer, everyone went to the Sacrament of Reconciliation with 3 wonderful priests, setting the tone for a Spirit-filled weekend.

Prayer

Prayer was a central part of the retreat – the Sung Rosary was done throughout the day using a Power Point presentation with images, scripture and the music of the Sung Rosary. Here’s a sample:

Loving God . . .

On Saturday morning, the presentations began. The theme of the retreat was the Two Great Commandments, based on Mark 12:28-34 – loving God, and loving neighbor.  A strong emphasis was placed upon priorities – how important it is to love God first and allowing that growing relationship to spill over into loving your neighbor. I shared teaching  on why loving God first was so important in my talk on Martha and Mary (read the text of the talk here), and Ann proceeded to share from her life about her struggles to balance between being a Martha and a Mary, and how she is becoming a “contemplative in action.”

I then spoke about how service happens through an outpouring of grace resulting from loving God, and how that grace can equip us for difficult service (in my case, helping to care for my dying mother).

The morning session concluded with an Emmaus walk, where the women, after hearing the scripture about the disciples’ encounter with Jesus at Emmaus, were instructed to take their own individual walk around the grounds as the disciples did, conversing and listening to Jesus.

Time of  Fellowship

Mealtimes at the dining hall were a highpoint as the food was so well prepared, and everyone was so warm and friendly. There was an extraordinary move of the Spirit through all the women which created a wonderful atmosphere of fellowship. It was a taste of Heaven.

Loving Neighbor . . .

The afternoon session focused on loving our neighbor by discovering and developing our natural talents and gifts, and then becoming aware of and praying for the spiritual gifts (based on scripture from 1 Corinthians 12, Romans 12 and Ephesians 4) . Ann and I gave a talk tracing our time lines to see what talents and gifts kept appearing throughout our lifetimes as a way of identifying what we do well (I also traced my husband’s interesting time line which led to his vocation as a deacon). I also spoke on what I termed “hidden gifts”  – those things such as being hospitable, being a good listener, or being a good caregiver – talents our society does not value but God does.  Each woman took a written survey to dig deeper into their own gifts and talents, and small group discussion followed sharing what they found out.

The scripture on the parable of the talents from Matthew 25:14-30 set the stage for a talk on the responsibilities we have to use our gifts to serve others. Blessed Mother Teresa was held up as the best modern example of a woman who used her immense gifts to help the poorest of the poor and that her ‘secret’ to her success what that it was all for Jesus. She had a unique talent for seeing Christ in every person she saw. I shared my song about Mother Teresa, “Teach Me to Love” (click here to listen).

Afterwards, the women gathered in small groups where they read sayings from Mother Teresa about service and applied them to their lives. The work they did produced some wonderful ideas – I took pictures of all the work they did so you can see for yourself and perhaps apply them to your life:

A beautiful meditation of the Stations of the Cross (a Power Point presentation with narration) was presented in the evening.

Blessing of the Hands

Sunday morning we were treated to a beautiful mass by Father Benedict of the Franciscans of the Primitive Order out of Lawrence, MA. Afterwards, we gathered back in the gym for our sending forth ceremony known as the Blessing of the Hands. Father blessed the water and the bowl was passed around from woman to woman; each woman dipped a finger in the water and did a sign of the cross in the hand of the woman next to her as a litany was read.  Eventually the litany was opened up and women shared their own blessings. It was a very moving ceremony with many tears shed. The ceremony strongly demonstrated the spirit of love and fellowship that bound together these new friends.

More information on Vita Nova

Ann and I were delighted and honored to have been a part of this event. The Vita Nova team (all volunteer), led by Rose Marie Cussom and Shannon Best were extraordinary in their efforts; their support made it possible for Ann and I to focus solely on the content and presentation of the material. I can’t rave about the team enough! Vita Nova is holding other events – be sure and check out their website for more information.

Learning true humility (part one)

Thursday, February 10th, 2011

I am extremely blessed to have 2 wonderful people in my life who act as friends and spiritual advisers – Deacon Dave from Delaware and my spiritual mother. The other day, they both gave me a powerful affirmation on the need and meaning of true humility.

It had occurred to me at the last confirmation retreat that I assisted on that I was very rigid in my routines. As God is prone to do on occasion, He shone a bright spotlight on this issue, but this was not what He was trying to show me as this was just a symptom. What became clear to me as I observed others on the retreat who lived their faith so openly and radically (and who loved so well), I was containing the Holy Spirit through micro management. I knew I was into control but I had no idea how much!

I began to deeply desire letting go of this tendency to micro manage but had no idea how to do it. This past Tuesday, God showed me how and it was a very obvious answer – prayer.

Prayer. Duh. But as my deacon friend pointed out, it could not be prayer that I dictated (which was one of my rituals). God had to direct the prayer. This meant I had to face up to a fear I had of being alone with God and quiet.

I have felt the pull to do this for quite a while. I am very dependent on technology as a tool for prayer and scripture reflection, using my iTouch extensively for everything from listening to podcasts and music, to using the new Confession app (an excellent app by the way, I highly recommend it) and various rosary and prayer apps I had downloaded. These tools work well but I was using them to avoid letting God direct my prayer.

This pull from God began to reveal a more root problem – fear of failure and a relationship based on trying to please God rather than just learning how to BE with God. This was tough stuff!

Because of all the times I have tried to be quiet with God and failed (either the mind races or I fall asleep – happens every time I go to adoration), I was afraid to try again.

Deacon Dave exhorted me to try and laid out a basic formula for it. I avoided it. My spiritual mother described how she did it which so affirmed Deacon Dave’s exhortation, and that helped. And she gave me a very wise piece of counsel – you can’t fail if you are with God. You simply do the best you can – He accepts you exactly as you are.

Yesterday was the first time I tried it but it was certainly not in a place I would expect it to work! I had spent much of yesterday putting together a PowerPoint presentation for the Sung Rosary using the Sorrowful Mysteries. Over the course of many hours I poured over images of my dear Jesus, tortured and crucified for all of us, for me. It was work at the time and I wondered why I was not moved more by the images. Later on in the day, that would all come flooding back.

I went to the gym to work out on the elliptical and proceeded to read as I always do. I was very distracted by the noise around me and realized that would not work. I plugged in my iTouch and began listening to one of my favorite classical pieces, Bach’s Cantata 140. The power of the music immediately triggered an intense period of prayer like I have never experienced before. All the images I had poured over earlier in the day flooded my mind and 2 in particular haunted me. I found myself attracted to a very physical and human Jesus as well as a powerful and divine Christ and I longed to be with Him, to touch Him. I kissed His feet and re-enacted Mary’s public devotion of washing His feet with precious perfume and drying them with her hair. I begged for Him to lift the veil and let me see His face, all while working the elliptical harder than I ever had before. There was something about the physical sensation of the running, the grunting, the panting, the sweating . . . I imagined myself like St. Paul, running the race with Jesus right beside me, just as Deacon Dave and my spiritual mother had said. For true humility is having Jesus right beside you, not behind or in front of you. Beside you, as He was with the disciples at Emmaus, opening their hearts to the scriptures and the truth.

There is more I want to write about this discovery of humility that I will share in future posts. But needless to say, this first true experience of prayer that was controlled by God left haunting memories and a deep desire to go there again. My spiritual mother was right – you can’t fail, and especially if you let God lead the way.

Sung Rosary named as #1 Rosary Product

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

I am pleased and excited to announce that the Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary has been named the #1 Rosary Product by Cheryl Dickow of Bezalel Books, posted on Catholic.net, the Catholic Exchange and Integrated Catholic Life. It is also being posted the Catholic News Agency.

Here is a direct link to the article:

http://catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=6121&grupo=InfoResources&canal=BookClub

Thanks be to God for this extra exposure!

Following up on the healing

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

As you may recall from my last post, my singing voice was healed through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary while singing the rosary. I also mentioned that a lot of the healing was psychological, that in fact, through her intercession, God showed me how I could sing so as not to damage my voice – He opened my mind to the proper techniques. Yesterday at mass, I had to put all of that to the test.

Normally I sing with a partner, Kathleen (who is a dream partner, by the way). She plays piano beautifully, has a nice clear voice and we work really well together. I lean on her a lot. Yesterday she could not be with me, so this first test of singing had to be done solo.

At first I was terrified! Intellectually I knew what to do and my faith told me just to hang on to Jesus like St. Peter did when he started walking on the water. I knew I had to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus to get over my fear.

And again, that voice: “Why don’t you believe?”

The first song, “City of God,” was a little rough! It’s a hard song to start off with and my fear was getting the better of me. But I kept thinking of St. Peter and forced myself to keep my eyes on Jesus.

By the time I sang the responsorial psalm, I knew I was going to make it. After all, I was singing, “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom should I be afraid, of whom should I be afraid?” My whole body relaxed and my voice came out nearly without effort.

The rest of the mass went off just fine. I had to pay close attention to technique to make sure the voice was being used properly but it didn’t distract me the way I thought it would. I just kept my eyes on Jesus.

By the end of the mass, I was singing out “We Are Called” in full throttle, happy and tremendously grateful that I had gotten to the other side. I walked on water and Jesus made that possible!

I am therefore very thankful that I lost my voice over the holidays. I’ve learned several important things:

1. Don’t depend on myself alone.
2. Take good care of the gifts I’ve been given by God
3. Stop drowning out my dear partner – we need to sing like a true du0!

Humility. That was the big lesson. And how bitter/sweet it was!

A healing miracle, thanks to Mary’s intercession

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011

As I mentioned in my last post regarding St. Marie’s in Manchester, NH, I experienced a healing while praying the rosary and remembering the beautiful altar of this church. That healing took place in my singing voice.

I had mentioned on Facebook that over Christmas I lost my singing voice. It didn’t happen suddenly but came about over a long period of time. I had noticed as I ministered at my parish that my voice was getting weaker and weaker, and I had little control over the vibrato. I am in my mid 50s but my voice was beginning to sound like that of an old woman.

It became extremely stressful singing at mass. I would open my mouth and have no idea what would come out! Sometimes my familiar voice would come out and sometimes a horrible warble would come out. Not fun.

I had forgotten all my training (proper breathing, singing from the diaphragm, etc.) and couldn’t apply technique to solve the problem. I tried doing vocal exercises but eventually I strained it through misuse and had to go on vocal rest with no singing, and quiet (and limited) talking.

I tried to apply what the Lord had shown me about ‘going with the flow’ and letting Him lead, and most of the time, I was okay with that. But occasionally I would panic that my voice was gone forever, or beat myself up because I hadn’t taken proper care of it (which is true). Often I would grieve.

Then last weekend I attended mass at St. Marie’s. The beauty of the interior (see last post for pictures) stayed with me, and I used the memories this past Monday while praying my rosary. And this is when the healing took place.

Before praying the rosary, I had been talking earlier in the day with Deacon David McDowell, a dear friend from Millsboro, Delaware. We were talking about praying to Mary for her intercession and how it feels when we notice her protective mantle around us. I was very inspired by our conversation and so I decided to try to sing my rosary on the way home in my car.

As I began the rosary, I sang it very softly to myself, afraid to strain my voice. The “Hail Mary” portion is particularly difficult for me to sing even under the best of circumstances because of where the notes are situated. Still, I pictured Mary and I kneeling together in front the throne of our Lord in heaven (resembling the altar at St. Marie’s) and it was glorious.  I longed to truly sing my prayers and attempted it but got nowhere. I then felt a prompt by Mary to pray for healing for my voice.

I had not prayed actively for healing since I had lost it and I even hesitated now. I realized that I didn’t believe a healing would happen; I felt responsible for its condition and didn’t believe I deserved a healing.

Still, I felt this voice saying, “Why, why don’t you believe?” At that point I gave in and offered the intention during the rosary. Nearing my destination, I tried to sing it again, but felt afraid to push my voice. And again I felt this prompt from Mary, questioned my fear, and I started to sing.

Suddenly it was like a secret trap door opened inside my throat and a beautiful, strong, confident voice rang out! No weakness, no horrible warble, just a clear, strong voice. It was like I had found a new route to my vocal chords which bypassed all the post nasal drip, the sore throat and strain, and the huskiness.

I knew immediately it was because of Mary’s intercession. I had always had great difficulty singing the Hail Marys and when I recorded it for my Mary, Queen of Peace Meditation Guide & Sung Rosary book and CD, I had prayed for God to show me how to do it. I believe that Mary interceded as it is the rosary, and I was taught the necessary technique through my prayer to sing it properly for the recording. Remembering that experience, I knew it had happened again. Mary took me by the hand and revealed to me the means by which to properly open my throat (as per my training) and let the real voice come out without doing further damage. The healing wasn’t so much physical (although I believe there was some physical healing) as it was psychological.

I wanted to test my voice further so when I got home, I got out my guitar and started singing the songs I’d be doing for mass that weekend, applying this new technique, and truly, my voice was back! I sang my heart out (probably overdid it but I will pamper my voice now till the end of the week) and felt such joy that Mary had interceded for me! I was able again to sing my prayer to God. I went over to a painting I have of her with the Eucharist, touched the painting and thanked her, and God, from the bottom of my heart.

Lesson learned? NEVER deny Jesus a chance to heal you. Had Mary not prompted me to ask, I wouldn’t have asked, and my false pride would have prevented a healing. I can never presume to know the mind and will of the Lord. As usual, I had to step out of the way so He could act. How patient He is with me, and how good He is to me, especially in giving me His beloved Mother as my guide and companion.

You can listen here to the power of prayer which enabled me to sing these prayers to our Lady.

Junk Food vs. Good Food – Reflections on prayers and readings for Sept. 11

Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Here are today’s readings
1 Corinthians 10:14-22; Psalm 116:12-13,17-18; Luke 6:43-49
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart[a] brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
(Luke 6:45, New King James version)

There are so many things I can fill up my life with: books to read, TV shows to watch, places to go. Our world offers so many choices that it’s easy to become full and cluttered. There’s a lot of “junk food” out there to feast upon.

We all know the temptations of junk food – it tastes so good! It satisfies. It brings me comfort when I feel blue or stressed. But we also know the consequences (especially if we’re older!) – indigestion, weight gain, health issues. Junk food can tempt me to eat too much, and thus suffer the consequences. Junk food does not bring forth good things that last.

The “junk food” of the world can do the same, cluttering my mind with thoughts and feelings that can ultimately harm my soul.  And being full of such junk food, it will inevitably pour out of me and perhaps, harm someone else.

In today’s Divine Office, morning prayer, I read about Wisdom:

Now with you is Wisdom who knows your works
and was present when you made the world;
who understands what is pleasing in your eyes
and what is conformable with your commands.

Send her forth from your holy heavens
and from your glorious throne dispatch her
that she may be with me and work with me,
that I may know what is your pleasure.

For she knows and understands all things,
and will guide me discreetly in my affairs
and safeguard me by her glory.
Wisdom 9:9-11

Today (and every day) I need to seek out the wisdom of God in helping me to decide whether the things I take part in constitute junk food that would bring forth bad fruit that could harm,  or good food, that will bring forth good fruit, fulfilling the Will of God. For surely good fruit serves others in love and leads them closer to Him. Filling my head and heart full of that wisdom will lead me there through such activities as praying the rosary, reading scripture, or simply taking a walk with Jesus as my companion.

Staying away from junk food takes real willpower, but once I am immersed in God’s grace, it gets a lot easier!