Where’s the FIRE!?

Maybe it’s because we’re setting record low temperatures this week, maybe it’s because our water heater died last night, but I am compelled to talk about lukewarm faith today.

Because then I get to talk about fire (and I’m really cold right now).

I was recently going through a marketing exercise, and asked what the villain is that our company fights against. Obviously Satan is the easy answer. 

But when I dug down to it, what really gets me fired up, is fighting against Spiritual Apathy, aka Lukewarm Faith.

I remember when I first found the term “Lukewarm Faith” when I was praying my first Divine Mercy novena. There’s an entire day dedicated to praying for those suffering from lukewarm faith.

(…and I say “suffering”, but many people don’t know that they are suffering when they’re lukewarm. It’s a paradox.)

It struck me so much because that was me. That IS me. I battle lukewarmness cyclically. 

I am drawn to Catherine of Siena’s famous quote “Be who God Meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Every time I find myself circling the drain of inspiration (Inspire = “In Spirit”) , I start looking around at how I’m using the gifts God gave me, and it becomes pretty obvious that I’m not using my  God-given talents, and instead trying to be/get/accomplish something that is outside what God has planned for me.

I have a few different remedies I turn to:

1) Brute Force – This is where I set aside a half hour in my day, bust out my rosary, and follow that with a conversation with God. Ending with 5-8 minutes of just listening. 

2) Seek Knowledge – The wealth of tradition and history of the Church ensures there are always books I haven’t read, whether about a saint I can relate with.

3) Confession – I’ll be hounding you about this all Lent 😉

4) Lectio Divina – Digesting a specific passage of the bible prayerfully.

What do you do when you find yourself getting spiritually lazy?

Love to all,
+Megan

Maybe it’s because we’re setting record low temperatures this week, maybe it’s because our water heater died last night, but I am compelled to talk about lukewarm faith today.

Because then I get to talk about fire (and I’m really cold right now).

I was recently going through a marketing exercise, and asked what the villain is that our company fights against. Obviously Satan is the easy answer. 

But when I dug down to it, what really gets me fired up, is fighting against Spiritual Apathy, aka Lukewarm Faith.

I remember when I first found the term “Lukewarm Faith” when I was praying my first Divine Mercy novena. There’s an entire day dedicated to praying for those suffering from lukewarm faith.

(…and I say “suffering”, but many people don’t know that they are suffering when they’re lukewarm. It’s a paradox.)

It struck me so much because that was me. That IS me. I battle lukewarmness cyclically. 

I am drawn to Catherine of Siena’s famous quote “Be who God Meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”

Every time I find myself circling the drain of inspiration (Inspire = “In Spirit”) , I start looking around at how I’m using the gifts God gave me, and it becomes pretty obvious that I’m not using my  God-given talents, and instead trying to be/get/accomplish something that is outside what God has planned for me.

I have a few different remedies I turn to:

1) Brute Force – This is where I set aside a half hour in my day, bust out my rosary, and follow that with a conversation with God. Ending with 5-8 minutes of just listening. 

2) Seek Knowledge – The wealth of tradition and history of the Church ensures there are always books I haven’t read, whether about a saint I can relate with.

3) Confession – I’ll be hounding you about this all Lent 😉

4) Lectio Divina – Digesting a specific passage of the bible prayerfully.

What do you do when you find yourself getting spiritually lazy?

Love to all,
+Megan

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Good morning  –

First of all — let’s just agree to NOT mention all the typos in Friday’s email. Not my best work.

I’m going to plow ahead and talk about a practice that a dear friend turned me on to. 

We were at a Catholic Women’s group and she began our group prayer with “Come Holy Spirit.”

She let the words rest, and she repeated the words: “Come Holy Spirit.”

Once again she left just a bit of silence settle and prayed one more time “Come Holy Spirit”.

From there she continued with leading our prayer. 

This opening took no longer than ten seconds (I don’t think – I wasn’t timing it), but the effect was enormous. In nine words the mood of the room shifted as we remembered our purpose for gathering and centered ourselves around the presence of God. 

I’ve started using this in my little prayer pockets during the day. I’d like to hear the effect this has on your prayer life once you try it out.

Love to all,
+Megan

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A New Perspective on the Weather.

As a South Dakotan, we probably get 3 perfect days a year… 72 – 76 degrees, sunny, no wind, no bugs. 

Three glorious days where no one is complaining about the weather.

Today as I look out my office window and remember I have no reason to be outside in the 13 sparse degrees allotted to us, I get to enjoy the sun.

It’s gloriously bright outside. A fresh layer of white snow is causing me to squint against the abundant light streaming in from outside. The indoor lights are useless today.

Thank you God for this sunny day! I haven’t thanked you for the weather lately. The sun today is heavenly, and for that I am grateful! 

I hope you can always find something to be grateful for.  On the dark rainy days we get to put off mowing one more day. On bitterly cold snowy days we can curl up with a family member and a book. 

It’s the stark contrast of the bad days that make the good ones so much sweeter.

And on those rare, perfect days we can just be in awe.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I know the depth and breadth of our Catholic faith can get overwhelming.  There is always something more to learn or uncover.

Prayer, history, Saints, Catechism, traditions… when I stop and think about the mountain of information that faces those coming to our church via RCIA, I have to admire them. Even if these wonderful souls are intimidated by all of that, they press on because of the Eucharist.

The other day I was feeling sorry for myself because I had taken on too much. I was falling behind on serving my customers well and being a great mom to my children because I was being stretched in other directions. 

In the midst of all of this I found myself in Mass on Sunday morning feeling completely disconnected. Noting that I was relying on a feeling (which we’ve talked about here before), I prayed.

I didn’t even know how to start… Should I ask for something? Be grateful? I ended up just having a flow of consciousness prayer – laying it all out there. What was frustrating me, how I was disappointing myself, expectations that were left unmet.

I found comfort in knowing that God just wanted my presence at that moment. I didn’t have to go find another saint to be inspired by, I didn’t have to decipher the meaning of a paragraph in the Catechism or read the writings of St. Benedict.

I just had to be present at Mass.Thank God for the sacraments. Thank God for the grace we receive in Confession and in the Eucharist. 

He’s not adding to my burdens. Our relationship is not meant to be a mental exercise. 

We are welcome at His feast, we can lay our burdens down and find rest in Him.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I like getting a good chuckle at Mass.

This Sunday we had a special Mass for our Confirmation candidates, and Father referred to confirmation as one of the “pickle sacraments.” Once you’ve received it, it can’t be undone.

So I ask you this… Have I been living under a rock? I thought that was hysterical! I’ve never heard that phrase before.

I’ve done a Google search, and nothing came up. I don’t think Google has failed me since 2004. 

Back to the topic at hand… Once you are sealed with the gift of the Holy Spirit, it cannot be undone. The pickle cannot go back to being a cucumber.

God will not leave you. He is Love.

Remember, you wear the His seal.  And thank God for that!

Love to all,
+Megan

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When is the last time you changed your mind because of a sermon?

Does this sound familiar?

I have a bad habit of sitting in Mass, listening to the sermon, and thinking “I’m glad Father is bringing this up, because there are a lot of people in here who need their minds changed about this issue.”

And other times, “Man is he off about that! How dare Father make veiled declarations about politics?”

It begs the question: How open are we to have our minds and hearts changed?

Whether it’s something political, tithing, or simply the importance of saying the rosary every day, sometimes it’s too painful to hear how I’m falling short. So instead I turn the homily outward and look for ways that it’s OK to stay how I am because someone else is “doing it worse”.

It begs the question: When is the last time I opened my heart and mind to change? 

What opportunities do you have to reconcile your ideas to the teachings of the Catholic Church?

I struggle with some church teachings. I’ll be the first to admit that. So my challenge is finding out :

1. What is the Church really saying on this issue? (get clear)

2. Why do I think so strongly otherwise? Why am I resistant to change my mind on this? (what’s driving my resistance?)

3. What little nugget of truth can I grasp that will allow me to put a tiny crack in my current beliefs? (change my perspective)

The next time you find yourself thinking “This doesn’t apply to me”, challenge that voice and search that resistance for opportunities to grow your faith.

Love to all,
+Megan

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It’s important to be curious

First of all… a special thank you to Thomas who replied to last week’s email about recognizing grace by pointing out paragraph 2005 of the Catechism.

(I’m not going to quote it for you here. I’d like for you to get a little curious, go look it up, and maybe even get a little distracted by reading more of the Catechism on your own.)

Reading paragraph 2005 led me to backing up a little bit and reading all of Article 1: Grace and Justification.

Granted – I did not “get it” after the first read through. Or the second. In fact, I’m still re-reading this section over and over so I can wrap my brain around grace and justification.

But the side benefit of trying to intellectually understand these spiritual concepts is a growing curiosity.

You see, I’m a “Try-Hard” (according to my 8th grader, “try-hard” is not a good thing. It’s used as in insult in the halls of middle school.) I keep searching, learning, consuming, trying, asking.

This is all the long way around of saying this: Getting curious leads to learning, and then to action.

So I hope you get curious, learn something new, gain insights you hadn’t had before, and ultimately find yourself in a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I don’t remember who told me the first time, but I remember understanding the lesson immediately: Feelings are not reliable. We can’t base our faith on feelings.

So when I talk about recognizing grace, it’s important to put aside any feelings I may have and examine the evidence.

Driving home the other day, I had a recognition of grace in my life. I don’t know why this was different from all the other times I’ve thanked God for the gifts He’s given me, but I had a very sudden realization of the abundance of His grace is my life.

And while, of course, there was a feeling of peace that accompanied this “ah-ha moment”, I felt compelled to examine where those feelings came from.

I’ve been putting a lot of very conscious effort into loving those who drive me nuts – the people around me all the way out to national politicians. As my 18 year-old told me the other day “you have to love them, you don’t have to like them.”

So as I dug into this sudden recognition of grace, it was the realization of how I’ve been able to extend grace to others, and how that ability has been growing steadily over the last few months; how I’ve been able to put aside initial judgement, consider other perspectives, and see the good before being tempted to dig for the bad.

I don’t tell you this because I’m patting myself on the back. Instead, I want to tell the whole world how God has answered my prayers, helped me put in the work and create change in my own life – all in a way that is only possible with His grace.

As I was telling my junior high robotics team last week – if given the chance, extend the benefit of the doubt and give grace to those around you. God will fill your cup right back up to the brim and more.

Love to all,
+Megan

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Embarrassingly, I was out-gifted by my sister last year.

I know, I know. It’s not a contest.

But when the gift my sister gave Mom for Christmas last year brought tears to her eyes, I knew she had “won”.

What was that gift?

A rosary. 

Seriously. The daughter who runs the Catholic website was out-gifted by her sister, who gave Mom a rosary.

I still shake my head at myself for that one, but with a smile on my face.

Love to all,
+Megan

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I think I’m doing a disservice to my kids…

Last week I was invited by a dear friend to attend a rosary get-together. I don’t know if I’d call it a “club”, it was simply a gathering of her friends to pray the rosary and eat dinner together.

I had never been to anything like this before, and it was wonderful.

Outside of a church, praying in public is not something I’m used to. 

Yes, we pray before meals, I pray in my car, but that’s about as “public” as it gets for me.

It occurred to me that I even avoid “getting caught” praying when I’m praying at home… and what a disservice this has been to my children.

Sure, we talk about prayer and Catholicism – they’ll  have 13 years of Catholic education under their belts by the time they graduate – but my natural inclination for privacy has made it harder for me to set an example of what prayer life could look like.

So the challenge I have for myself this Advent is to put myself in more scenarios where I can get “caught” praying.

Pray for me 🙂

Love to all,

+Megan

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