How to face the storms in life

Do not look forward in fear to the changes in life;
rather, look to them with full hope that as they arise,
God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
and when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in his arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
the same understanding Father who cares for
you today will take care of you then and every day.

He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace,
and put aside all anxious thoughts and imaginations.

St. Francis de Sales

Beautiful and Terrible Things Will Happen

Originally posted on Barnstorming:

chihuly7

chihuly5

chihuly9

Here is the world.
Beautiful and terrible things will happen.
Don’t be afraid.
~Frederich Buechner

(Two local teens died in separate roll over car accidents yesterday)

Most days I depend on beauty
happening in the most unexpected places
and go looking for it.
But when the terrible crushes, bleeds and fractures us,
beauty hides its face,
what I fear most
is that I’ll not ever see beauty happen again.

We are told, again and again and again
every single day, if only we can hear:
here I am with you in this broken world-
do not be afraid
do not be afraid
do not be afraid

chihuly4

chihuly11

chihuly8

View original

A mountain-step plod

“Experienced mountaineers have a quiet, regular, short step–on the level it looks petty; but then this step they keep up, on and on as they ascend, whilst the inexperienced townsman hurries along, and soon has to stop, dead beat with the climb . . . . Such an expert mountaineer, when the thick mists come, halts and camps out under some slight cover brought with him, quietly smoking his pipe, and moving on only when the mist has cleared away . . . . You want to grow in virtue, to serve God, to love Christ?  Well,you will grow in and attain to these things if you will make them a slow and sure, an utterly real, a mountain step-plod and ascent, willing to have to camp for weeks or months in spiritual desolation, darkness and emptiness at different stages in your march and growth.  All demand for constant light, for ever the best–the best to your own feeling, all attempt at eliminating or minimizing the cross and trial, is so much soft folly and puerile trifling.” (Baron Friedrich von Hügel)

Loneliness: a short-cut to God

From Madonna House’s Restoration about something we all experience.

Loneliness: A Short-cut to God

by Fr. Émile Brière.

In 1997, I was giving a retreat to staff worker Alma Coffman. The first question she asked was: “Now that you are 80 years old, what do you wish you had known or practiced at age 53, which is what I am now?”

My answer: First: to accept loneliness and rejection as the quickest ways to God. Second: not to seek to be consoled by people, but to console them.

Why is loneliness so difficult to accept? Why does rejection cause so much pain and anger? Because both are a kind of death. In loneliness you enter a certain darkness where there are no clear guidelines by which to find your way and no companion with which to share this suffering. We all need love in our lives or else we perish.

But there comes a time when no one can touch or fill that empty spot at the core of our being. Why not? Because that place is reserved for God. He is waiting for us there. But we get frantic and rush around trying to distract ourselves as best we can with food or drink or sex or work or games or videos or the internet. None of these things work.

The problem only grows, and the anxiety gradually becomes unbearable until we can even have a breakdown.

What to do in moments of loneliness? First and foremost, realize that loneliness is a good thing. God is calling you to himself. You are made for him. You are made for a very intimate relationship with him. Often it takes place through our loneliness and rejection.

Pray for a spiritual director and get one if at all possible who will support you but not take the place of God for you, one who will direct you to God.

And pray to Our Lady. Tell her exactly the state you are in and ask her to help you to trust the ways of God which are not our ways.

This is how the saints became saints. There is no other way. Go to the Lord Jesus Christ and beg him to console you and in so doing you will console him, because he is lonely too.

Then you will no longer be lonely or feel rejected since you are in the company of the great Lover, the great Healer, the great Consoler, who treats you as his beloved, as his friend.

I knew all that when I was 53. I wrote about it in a book entitled For Uncomplicated Christians or The Power of Love.

But I didn’t really know it. I had to go through a series of difficult experiences to be taught this supreme and supremely important lesson of the spiritual life: God alone.

Seek God alone and all the rest will be added to you. Seek God alone, and you will be able to touch the hearts of many and to bring them the tenderness and gentleness of God and of Our Lady.

Your heart emptied of its desires, save one, will grow larger, opening up to the immense gifts that God wants to pour into it before you die, so that you can be transformed into a more loving person, passing on God’s love to others and ready to meet him who loves you infinitely and whom you love with all your heart.

The saints knew loneliness and rejection. They were, each one of them, at times misunderstood, rejected, lonely, condemned, persecuted, even by their closest friends, relatives, community. Many came close to despair as did St. Therese, the Little Flower and Blessed Brother André. The saints prayed for faith, hope, and love and more faith, more hope, more love, and more trust, and through their suffering, came closer to God.

We can too.

Stepping Into The Minefield (To Those Who Love A Depressed Person)

Originally posted on john pavlovitz:

mine-field1

Life with depression is precarious business.

It’s like living full-time in a minefield.

You never quite get comfortable with your surroundings, even when things seem quiet. You always move gingerly, knowing full well that any step could blow it all up and send you reeling again; a bit of bad news, a difficult moment, or worse seemingly nothing at all. And every single time something triggers the sadness and that inner detonation occurs, parts of you get ripped up and shredded—and losing a bit of yourself in this way never gets easier.

One of the things most people don’t understand is the way mental illness isolates you, how it forces you to the periphery of all of your relationships because you know how unstable the ground you walk on each day is and how quickly everything can get ugly. You desperately want to avoid the collateral damage to people you love, so you learn to keep them…

View original 371 more words

Before you knew God, God knew you

Just discovered this book, Run with the Horses (Eugene H. Peterson).  Wow.  You’re going to be reading some selections from it these next few posts.   If you’re someone who battles with a bad father image.  Here’s some ammunition.

Before Jeremiah knew God, God knew Jeremiah: “Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you.”  This turns everything we ever thought about God around.  We think that God is an object about which we have questions.  We are curious about God.  We make inquiries about God.  We read books about God.  We get into late-night bull sessions about God.  We drop into church from time to time to see what is going on with God.  We indulge in an occasional sunset or symphony to cultivate a feeling of reverence about God.

But that is not the reality of our lives with God.  Long before we ever got around to asking questions about God, God had been questioning us.  Long before we got interested in the subject of God, God subjected us to the most intensive and searching knowledge.  Before it ever crossed our minds that God might be important, God singled us out as important.  Before we were formed in the womb, God knew us.  We are known before we know.

This realization has a practical result: no longer do we run here and there, panicked and anxious, searching for the answers to life.  Our lives are not puzzles to be figured out.  Rather, we come to God, who knows us and reveals to us the truth of our lives.  The fundamental mistake is to begin with ourselves and not God.  God is the center from which all life develops.