This devotional is uniquely Catholic in that the meditation is based on the daily readings for the Mass, called the Lectionary. But you don't have to be Catholic to find a home here! Click on 'Today's reading' for the lectionary link to read the bible readings, then click the back button and spend a few minutes with the meditation. Relax! This is your time, well deserved, much needed, and holy. Let all the things you "should be doing" melt away and bask in the presence of your God who loves you!

Before we begin, let us pray,

Father, you created me and put me on earth for a purpose. Jesus, you died for me and called me to complete your work. Holy Spirit, you help me to carry out the work for which I was created and called. In your presence and name - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - I begin my meditation.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Today's Readings.

St. Apollonia

King Solomon succumbed to temptation and the whims of the people around him. He got lazy in his old age. It is always so much easier to follow than to lead.
One more thing: In the Gospel today the Greek woman stepped out of her comfort zone. She didn't follow the ways of her people when she could see the truth that Christ offered. She did what was best for her child, even though it went against the grain. In today's world, I have to be mindful of seeking out Christ even when those around me are making other choices. As a parent of teens, I find the peer pressure phenomena applies to parents too. Everyone's doing it. You have to let them grow up. You are so old fashioned. Yes, I've heard those all in my quest to keep Christ in my family; to seek him out when it is best for my children.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, I please heal my children of all that troubles them. Help me to seek your will in decisions regarding my children and for my family to resist the temptation to succumb to the pressures of this world. In your name I pray, Amen. St. Apollonia, pray for me.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Today's Readings.

St. Josephine Bakhita

In yesterday's reading, Christ sets the record straight on the observance of the Jewish law. He clearly tells the Pharisees that its not what the disciples are eating or how they eat it that makes them good or bad. In today's Gospel, he continues to emphasize the point with his followers. It's not what goes in, but what comes out of us that is what is important.
One more thing: My preschooler went on a bit of a hunger strike over the last few weeks. My husband assured me that all our other kids went through that phase too, but still I worried about it. In fact, I observed over the last few days that I'm a  little bit like the Pharisees sometimes, getting caught up in the human ritual, the mom mantra of "Wash your hands, eat your veggies, brush your teeth..." I really need to focus on their heart and what is coming out of my little people. I need to listen the their words a little more, and observe their actions. When their 'love' diet is deficient, I need to bolster them up and feed them some love so they can share it with others. Oh, and  my husband was right, my little guy is eating again.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you teach us that it is what is on the inside that counts. Help me to focus on the heart food for myself and my family so that we are spiritually healthy and reflect your love for us to others. In your precious name I pray, Amen. St. Josephine Bakhita, pray for me.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mother Mary.

Today's Readings.

Feast of the Presentation of the Lord

"The child's father and mother were amazed at what was said about him;"
Simeon foretold of the greatness and the suffering of Christ, but I'm not sure Mary could grasp what he was saying. I think she was probably like I was as a new mom: sleep deprived, hormonal, and lacking in confidence about how to raise this new wonder. It reminds me of the Christmas song, "Mary, did you know?"
One more thing: I had a conference with my preschooler's teachers today. I too was amazed at what they said about him. I didn't know he could cut a circle. I didn't know he could draw a person. It makes me wonder about all the other things I don't know, like what God has planned for him. I think any mother has her heart pierced many times because all children will undergo some hardship. During those times I seek refuge with Mary knowing she too has suffered as a mother. I also try to remember all the moments when my heart is bursting with joy.
Prayer: Dear God, thank you for sending Mary to be an example of motherhood to me. Help me to be like her as I raise my children: gentle, kind, full of love, and obedient to your will. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. Mother Mary, pray for me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coming home.

Today's readings.

St. Brigid of Kildare

I feel badly for Jesus in today's gospel. The one place you want to feel loved and accepted is at home. Jesus didn't have the homecoming he had hoped for. He was criticized and doubted. He was belittled. No one thought someone from such meager beginnings as he could be so wise.
One more thing: I would hate to think of the same thing happening to my children when they come home. However, it does give me pause to consider how I welcome them home. Do I make our home a place that encourages and fosters dreams? Do I properly celebrate my children's successes and give them more responsibility and freedom when the achieve? Do they feel more accepted here than when they visit at their friend's house? Today I resolve to welcome each child home and say something positive about each of them every day.
Prayer: Dear Lord, you know how it feels to be rejected. Wrap your comforting arms around my children when they feel rejected and left out. Help me to always make home a welcome and loving place where my children feel my love and yours. In your precious name I pray, Amen. St. Brigid, pray for me.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wild child.

Today's readings.

St. John Bosco

David is fleeing from his son Absalom in the first reading. Absalom has an unfortunate event befall him on his way to capture David and one of David's soldiers kills him. Upon hearing the news, David mourns and his soldiers are perplexed.
One more thing: Do I stop loving my child just because he is bad or rebellious? Of course not. Neither did David and neither does God. Sometimes I feel like one of David's soldiers, incredulous that God should love me after my sinfulness. However, he is Abba, my almighty, merciful father.
Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, thank you for your abundant and unfailing love, even when I turn against you. Help me to always show the same merciful love to my children as you do to me. In the name of your precious son, our Lord Jesus, Amen. St. John Bosco, pray for me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Family warfare.

Today's readings.

St. Hyacintha of Mariscotti

Fighting happens in the best of families. Look at King David. His children fought. Absalom murdered his half brother who raped his sister. Now Absalom is coming after David. David allows the jeering from the passerby along the road because he knows his own wrong doing has brought this trouble upon his house. The sins of our fathers  generations before us sometimes have consequences in our own families.
One more thing:  I'm sure the man possessed by demons had many family conflicts. That family must have felt exhaustion, shame, embarrassment, maybe even financial hardship from trying to care for this man. Once Jesus heals him he doesn't let him follow with the other disciples. He tells him to go back to his family and tell them all that the Lord in pity has done for him. When the fighting starts in my family, I try not to run around like a crazy person, but rather come to Christ for healing. Once he calms my spirit, I can come back to my family and tell them all the Lord has done for us.
Prayer: Father in heaven, you know our flaws and our selfish desires that cause us to fight with the ones we love the most, our family. Be present in my family today and every day. Heal all discord and contempt and help my family interact with one another in love. Heal all generational hurts and protect the generations to come from further conflict. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen. St. Hyacintha, pray for me.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Reflection on the week's readings.

This week Christ has given me plenty of opportunities to put my faith into practice. My child has been singled out in school by some other children and as a mom, it hurts to watch your child go through painful times. Christ has taught me in the readings this week to rejoice in this situation so I've turned it around with my daughter. We are calling it friendship academy and we are thanking God for giving us this situation to learn from. I know when she graduates from this school of hard knocks, she will be able to recognize a true friend and sister in Christ from across the room. In the meantime, I'm supporting her with prayer and claiming victory in Christ over this situation. Truth be told, though, I couldn't have gotten through the week without the support of my friends in faith and I'm so thankful to God for giving me these 'sisters in the struggle'. He never sends us out alone and a hug and a kind word have gone far toward strengthening me and supporting my resolve. Really, though, isn't this all part of God's wonderful and messy family tree? When I step back and observe from that perspective, it makes the moment less painful. We are a bigger than these situations that get under our skin. We are the Kingdom of God, right here, right now, slugging it out, swinging from branch to branch, and helping each on our journey toward heaven.
Have a blessed weekend!