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- Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
If you are the object of such murmuring, know that Jesus was first. Turn to Him and allow Him to console you, and try to rejoice that you have been treated like our Lord. Lord, please guard my tongue and help me to speak only the words You wish me to speak and to only listen to those words inspired by You. If I am the object of hurt from another, give me the grace to receive healing and strength and to rejoice that I am treated like You. The words of truth, spoken from the Heart of our Lord, bring joy to our lives and rejuvenate our spirits. When you hear these words of truth, take them in and act on them, you are set free from the burden of error and may experience a certain lightness of spirit and refreshment.
However, the opposite is true also. When you listen to an error, take it in and believe it, the fruit of this error is one of sadness and burden. The truth sets you free and an error weighs you down. This is good to be attentive to when you offer advice to another. If your words appear to lift them up and strengthen them, then you have an indication that you are speaking from the Heart of Christ. The same is true when you take the counsel of another. If their words immediately connect with you, filling you with a sense of inspiration and clarity, then listen and receive this word because they are most likely speaking the words our Lord has inspired them to speak to you See Diary Reflect today upon the conversations you have had this past week.
How did you feel afterwards? Did you feel inspired and renewed? Or did you feel dry and down. And how have your words affected others over this past week? Did you notice a healthy difference in them and a lightening of their spirits? Do a practical and concrete examination of your conversations and recommit yourself to listening to and speaking that which comes from the merciful Heart of Jesus.
Lord, I desire to be an instrument of Your Mercy in every way. I pray, today, that I may especially do so through the words I offer to others. May my words be Your Word, dear Lord. I love You, dear Lord, help me to love You more and to be an instrument of that love to all with whom I converse.
It is actually quite consoling to have someone with whom you can reveal the depths of your soul. This sort of confidant is a great blessing when absolute confidentiality, mercy and understanding are offered. Speaking even of your sins without hesitation can bring much healing when the person with whom we share these things responds with perfect love and is able to offer you the Mercy of God.
We all need such a confidant. But in truth we do! We have the priest, waiting for us in the glorious Sacrament of Reconciliation. His confidentiality is certain, his compassion and mercy is offered and the forgiveness and Mercy of God is poured forth upon the deepest and darkest secrets in your heart. Do not hesitate and do not delay in going to Confession. What is it that you fear revealing the most? The Lord desperately desires to enter into that darkness and bring the healing balm of His light and Mercy. Do let Him in through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The power of this Sacrament is unmatched and is exactly what you need to begin your healing and to be set free from your burdens. Do not fear it and do not put it off. Make an act of faith today in this glorious Sacrament and you will be amazed at the effect that it has on your life. Lord, please give me courage to confess my sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Please also give me the wisdom to know that this is among Your greatest gifts. In this Sacrament I encounter Your Mercy to the greatest degree. Thank You, dear Lord, for this priceless gift. One motivation we should have for working diligently at spreading the Mercy of God is the reality of the Communion of Saints.
Understanding this eternal communion will enable us to realize that what we do now we will rejoice in forever in Heaven. For example, if you go out of your way to share the Mercy of God with another and this Mercy is received and affects that soul for the good, this fact will be known and proclaimed for all eternity as you share Heaven with this person. Imagine spending your whole life on Earth spreading the Mercy of God as your greatest passion. And then imagine spending eternity glorying in the effects of this Mercy in the lives of countless other saints who are in perfect communion with you in Heaven, some on account of your holy efforts.
Do you ever think of Heaven? Spend some time today thinking about this glorious reality that awaits us. What will you delight in once in Heaven? Certainly you will delight in God, but reflect today upon the delight you will have when you see clearly the effects of the love you have shared with others. These merits of grace will live on forever. Think about these treasures that await and try to allow them to become an inspiration to you and a motive for your work of Mercy. Lord, I pray that You will inspire me continually to work diligently at spreading Your works of Mercy. Use me, dear Lord, and touch many lives through my efforts.
Keep my eyes on Heaven and help me to make this goal the guiding force and motivation of my love for others. I give myself to You, dear Lord. Use me to save souls. Our minds are a gift from God and one of the two primary ways we are made in His image and likeness. The other way is through the gift of our free will. But the intellect is an incredible gift that must be given to the work of God. It is good to pray that our Lord make our minds great, powerful and keen so that we may know Him, understand Him and comprehend all the rich mysteries that He desires to reveal to us.
Our minds grasp the truths of God in two primary ways. First, we must strive to engage all the many truths revealed by God through His Church. This includes the truths contained in Holy Scripture, the teachings offered by the Magisterium, the revelations from the lives of the saints and the theological discourses that seek to clarify and deepen our understanding. These precious gifts, given through the Church, reveal to us the mysteries of God. But the mind is also capable of receiving direct infusion from God.
When we allow our minds to be given to God, He imparts a knowledge and wisdom directly from His own Mind. This gift offers us immediate clarity in life and discernment of His holy Will See Diary Reflect today upon how fully you have given your mind over to the teachings of our Lord. Do you study the Scripture and all that has been revealed through the Church? Reflect, also, upon the direct infusion of Truth that our Lord wishes to impart to you.
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This precious gift comes on account of His abundant Mercy so as to lead you into knowledge of His very essence and His holy Will. Lord, my life is Yours. Today I especially surrender my intellect to You to use as You will. Teach me Your ways and reveal to me the very essence of Your eternal being. As I come to know You, dear Lord, give me the grace to follow You with all my mind and heart. One of the dangers many encounter in our modern technological world is that of constant noise. We are easily bombarded with chatter all day long. It could be through the radio, TV, Internet, or the ceaseless conversation of another.
Rarely do we find times of great silence. As a result, when silence is offered us, we often look to fill that silence immediately. But is this wise? Is it good to occupy our minds day and night with noise? Though every person will be different, especially depending upon their vocation, every person does need times of regular silence and solitude.
Without this it is hard to be recollected and to hear the Voice of God. God speaks in the silence and He desires to communicate to you through this sacred language. Do not run from silence for, if you do, you will be running from the Voice of God See Diary Try to take some time today alone in silence. If you find that it is difficult to do even for five minutes, then this is a sign that there is too much noise in your life.
We tend to be comfortable with it as we are entertained all day long. But try to take time in silence today. Resolve to do so as long as you can. Turn off the radio in the car, go for a walk, or sit and pray without thinking or speaking, just being quiet in the presence of God. The gift of silent communication with God is a gift that you need and you will learn more from silence than from hours of the noise of the world. Lord, I desire to seek You in the silence. I choose to listen to Your quiet promptings of love spoken in this way. Give me the wisdom and strength I need to dedicate myself to moments of quiet every day.
May these moments bring clarity to my soul and understanding to my life. Should we fear the truth? On one hand the truth can get us in trouble. Look, for example, at the Martyrs. They are witnesses to the truth with the shedding of their blood. But in the eyes of God this is no trouble at all. It is an act of great love and honesty, courage and resolve.
They chose the truth over life itself. Though you most likely will not be called to be a witness to the truth to the point of literally shedding your blood, the resolve in your mind and heart must be the same as the great martyrs. We must have an unwavering adherence to that which is in the Mind of God and must never hesitate to speak that truth with conviction. Of course, prudence is a guiding virtue that will enable us to discern what to say when. But we must, nonetheless, always be ready to adhere to and proclaim the truth with all the powers of our soul See Diary Reflect upon how firmly you attach yourself to Him who is the Eternal Truth.
Do you submit your mind to all that God speaks and believe it with every fiber of your being? This must be your firm resolve. Reflect, also, upon how you speak the truth to others. At times we can be tempted to speak without prudence which is ultimately a lack of charity. But at other times we can give into fear in the face of some opposition to the truth which is also a lack of charity.
Seek to live in the Truth of God and to proclaim it with His merciful Heart and the Lord will accept this resolve of yours as a sacrifice of holy martyrdom. Lord, I pray for courage and prudence as I go through life seeking to live and to proclaim all that You speak. May I never give into fear or cowardice when opposed or challenged. Instead, give me a peaceful resolve to be a great witness to You in all things. Imagine if someone gave their life for you because they loved you.
They were put into a situation where they knew you would lose your life if they did not freely give theirs. As a result, they chose to step forward in confidence, giving their life in exchange for yours. In order for someone to do this they would have to have an incredible depth of love for you, so much so that they valued your life over their own. We only need to look at a crucifix to be made aware of this reality.
We easily become so familiar with the Crucifixion of our Lord that we overlook the fundamental fact of His perfect love. He valued your life more than His own. He did not hesitate to die a horrible death so that you could live. This fact should not escape your daily notice. This is an act of Mercy that should leave us with eternal gratitude See Diary Spend time today pondering the Crucifixion of our Lord. Try to see it not as some far away event that has only an inspirational influence on your life.
See it instead for what it is. Without the free gift of Jesus on the Cross you would be lost for eternity. His act of love was an exchange of His life for yours. The depth of His love for you is more than you will ever fathom. Ponder this truth today and rejoice that you are loved to such an absolute extent. Lord, I will never fully understand the depth of Your perfect love. In my small way I thank You with all my heart and choose to accept the total gift of Your death on the Cross.
Help me to never doubt Your love for me, dear Lord, and help me to love You in return. Do you doubt the Love of God? The truth is that God is relentless in His pursuit of you. Though much of our holiness depends upon us, most of it depends upon God. While here on Earth, God never ceases to pursue you and to seek your conversion.
He sends His Mercy to you constantly in every way imaginable. But even in your deafness and blindness, God speaks and pursues and seeks and attempts everything possible so as to win you for Himself. In the end, if a soul remains obstinate and closed, God can do little more. Open your heart to Him. Even if you are in the depths of despair, allow Him to come to you with one drop of His perfect Mercy. Never close the door completely and if you have, do not hold it shut.
He will find a way if you let Him See Diary Hopefully you daily seek to open your heart wide to the Mercy of God.
But if you find that you have been bound by the chains of sin, realize that your greatest advocate is our merciful Lord. He can do wonders for those who are trapped and imprisoned by sin, or have become deaf and blind to His grace. Reflect upon how open you are to His Mercy today and resolve to let Him come to you so as to begin pouring His Mercy into your weary soul.
Lord, when I feel trapped or confused in life I know that You will pursue me with Your unlimited passion and Mercy. Your relentless love gives me hope when I am tempted to despair. Help me to open myself to You and to allow You to do Your perfect work of Mercy on my life. I thank You, dear Lord, with profound gratitude. How do you pray? There are many good ways to pray. Here are some common ways: attending the Holy Mass or another Liturgy, praying the rosary or other chaplets, reading the Scripture meditatively, reciting beautifully written prayers, sitting in silence before our Lord, falling prostrate before Him especially in the Holy Eucharist, etc.
One additional way to pray is to have a conversation with our Lord, speaking everything on your mind. But, at times, you will find it a blessing to converse with Him anyway. You may choose to go through your life, all of your concerns, all of your questions and confusions, and speak them directly to our Lord. This form of prayer helps to clarify life, as long as you seek to listen while you speak.
But speaking all of your concerns is a wonderful act and will be most useful as you invite God into every part of your life See Diary So how do you pray?
Reflect today upon the various methods you use and ponder whether there are other ways that you might add. Especially consider sitting down and conversing with our Lord as you would a friend. Think about even the psychological benefit that comes by speaking everything on your heart, expressing every concern, and presenting every question you have to God.
There is value in the conversation. You may not have perfect understanding of His answers, but God knows what you need and by coming to Him with everything, you can be assured that He will listen and respond. Lord, teach me to pray. Help me to know how much You love me and desire to hear from me about every burden of my soul. I desire to bring all to You, dear Lord, to lay it at Your feet and to abandon myself into Your gentle Hands. Thank You for always listening.
God is transcendent and His love is beyond what this world can contain. But nonetheless, there are many things in this world that do reveal aspects of the love of God. In fact, it is even appropriate to understand that God is like the tenderest mother to us. Motherhood is sacred because it is part of the natural design of God for humanity. The tenderness and unconditional acceptance of a mother stand out as two aspects that reveal the love of God.
God does love you with a perfect motherly love. Though this may not be the most common way to speak of His love, it is of great benefit to ponder this beautiful revelation from creation See Diary How do you see God? Reflect upon your image of God and rely first upon the various images in Scripture. But also ponder the many natural means through which God communicates His love.
Ponder, today, especially the love that a mother has for her newborn infant. Reflect upon the unique and powerful draw she has and her unwavering commitment. The Lord loves you infinitely more. Always find comfort in this love. Lord, I thank You for loving me with a perfect love. I thank You for the gift of motherhood and for the way that You reveal Your unconditional and tender love for me through this gift.
Help me to always know of this love and to seek You as an infant seeks a mother. When we engage in a conversation with another, it is always an opportunity to share the love of God. Even casual conversation has such potential. Sometimes conversations can go astray and become dominated by things that are not of God. In these moments the love and Mercy of God can also be shared by gently bringing the conversation back to where it should be, in gentleness and respect.
Praying for another while speaking will also open the door to a holy and healthy conversation. Do not underestimate the value of a holy conversation with another. It always has the potential of being a source of the Mercy of God for both of you See Diary Reflect upon the conversations you have had this week. Did they glorify God?
Were you attentive to the opportunity to use your speech and your listening to bring Mercy and comfort to another? Try to say an interior prayer this day each time you have a conversation. Invite the Lord to enter and consecrate the person and yourself to our Lord. He will act through you in wonderful ways. Lord, I do consecrate my speech to You. I pray that every conversation I have may give You glory and bring peace to others.
Give me wisdom and charity and help me to speak only what You desire. Give me also a listening ear so that I may act with Your Heart of compassion, hearing the needs and concerns of others. The devil is real and his temptations are real. He hates you with a pure hate and desires your destruction. This is good to know.
But the evil one is also quite shrewd and manipulative and will rarely speak blatant lies to you since he knows this temptation will most likely not convince you. Instead, he seeks to speak confusion to you, identifying things that are partly true and mixing them with subtle lies so as to lead you astray. You may find that you begin to obsess about this thing or that. And you may find that your reasoning might make some sense, but you begin to experience a sadness and confusion as you think.
Stop thinking in those moments and run to the Mercy of God. When your thinking is immersed in God, you are left refreshed and light. You begin to have new joy and clarity.
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But when the evil one begins to have his way with you, the opposite effects are felt in your soul. Be attentive to his sneaky deceptions and pay no attention to them See Diary Reflect, today, upon your thinking process. It is here that the tempter works his worst work. Reflect also upon how you feel as you have tried to figure out this situation or another. Commit yourself to a discernment of spirits by especially looking at the effects of your thinking. The Lord invites you to run to His Mercy every time you find yourself confused or misled.
Be attentive to these moments and know that they may be the temptations of the evil one. Trust in the Lord always and continually submit your thoughts to His holy Mercy. Lord, please always protect me from the lies and snares of the evil one. I rebuke him and his works in Your most holy Name and entrust all my thoughts to You. Come pour forth Your Mercy and truth into my life and dispel all darkness and gloom. The glorious virtue of humility must be understood, continually pondered and continually embraced.
What is humility? It is nothing other than knowing the truth about yourself, believing that truth and living in accord with that truth. Only you and God know the depths of your conscience. Human opinion matters little. Some may offer false judgments of you presuming your pride or another sin. And at other times some may speak words of flattery, exaggerating your virtue from impure motives. Neither false criticism nor words of flattery foster humility because they both have as their intention something other than the truth.
Some holy souls may even seek to misrepresent the truth of who they are by either exaggerating their holiness or by misrepresenting their misery so as to gain the praise or sympathy of others. But, again, humility has as its goal the truth of who we are.
Seek to know and believe the full truth of your life, and then seek to live that truth openly and honestly. This purity of intention will allow your true self to emerge, and through this humble act the Lord will shine forth from your soul See Diary Ponder today the truth of who you are. Seek complete honesty in regard to your actions and your intentions. Understand yourself and seek to know yourself as God knows you.
Doing this will foster great humility. As you grow in humility, see also the truth of God and His greatness. Humbly acknowledge all that God does for you. Seeing God at work within you and honestly expressing this with gratitude will allow Him to shine forth beautifully for all to see. This is truth and this is humility. Lord, I desire to know the truth of who I am. I seek this truth and desire to allow it to shine forth with honesty and integrity. I pray also that I see Your greatness and acknowledge Your workings in my life.
You are glorious, dear Lord. May this truth shine forth. It is difficult to stay friends with one who is suffering, especially when that suffering endures. Often, at first, when a soul is suffering from some illness or other difficulty, many friends come to help. But as time goes on, fewer friends maintain their love and support.
This offers a test of their love and mercy. But there is one Friend who will be there through it all. This is our Divine Lord. He endured the greatest sufferings in life and, as a result, He does not shy away from the friendship that enters into a relationship of long suffering. This witness of perfect love must also inspire you in your love for others. When you see someone suffering it takes great resolve to remain faithful to them and to your friendship over time.
But the longer the suffering endures, the greater the opportunity to love. Time purifies and strengthens love and when you are aware of the long suffering of another, see it as one of the greatest opportunities to manifest the unwavering love of our Lord See Diary Reflect upon those with whom you have shared friendship.
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Are there people in your life that have carried a heavy burden for many years? If so, how firm have you remained in your dedication and love toward them? They offer you an opportunity to manifest the unfailing love of our Lord. Reflect upon how easy it is to love another when they are popular, healthy and praised by many.
And then reflect upon the strength and commitment that is needed to remain steadfast to those in the opposite condition. Renew your love and friendship and you will manifest the great Mercy of God. Lord, make me a true friend. Help me to see the sufferings of others as an opportunity to love with Your Heart. May I become as faithful as You, dear Lord. I love You. Help me to love as You do. There are some who easily fall asleep each night and remain asleep until morning.
There are others who struggle greatly with sleep and this becomes a great burden and a source of discouragement. If you are one who struggles with sleep on a regular basis, or even on rare occasions, see this cross as an opportunity rather than as a burden. A sleepless night offers one particular opportunity to you.
It can be seen as an invitation to spend the night with our Lord. Though it is healthy to work to deal with the cause of sleeplessness so as to remedy it, it is also good to embrace it in the moment if it happens. Even something as seemingly insignificant as this can become a source of holiness. Seek to use a sleepless night as an opportunity to pray and meditate upon the life of our Lord. His night that night in prison would have most certainly been one of constant prayer to His Father. Recall also that there were many nights when our Lord chose not to sleep. By embracing this Cross with our Lord you will see an abundance of Mercy pour forth on your life See Diary If this is a struggle that you face, try to look at it from a new perspective.
Seek the Lord in your sleepless night and enter into communion with Him in His. Much Mercy awaits you as you seek to transform this cross into grace. Lord, I pray that every cross I carry will be transformed by Your Mercy into an opportunity for holiness. I especially offer my nights to You, dear Lord. When an army is under siege, it seeks a place in which it can defend itself. Seeking higher ground or a place that gives it shelter and protection is immediately sought out.
So it must be in your spiritual life. When you experience the darts of the evil one, or when life becomes burdensome to you, especially on account of your sin, seek the higher ground and the greatest place of refuge. This place is the merciful Heart of our Lord. Do not doubt that His Heart is a place of refuge for you.
Within His Heart you will find safety from the weary battle and you will discover that you are in a fortified fortress of Mercy. This specific aspect of Mercy, that of being a place of protection, must be understood and welcomed. We cannot endure the hardships of life on our own. We cannot fight the battles of life if we rely upon our own strength and skills. No one is talented enough to fight off the raging enemy.
Reflect upon your need for protection. By yourself, alone in this world, you will never survive. The temptations, attacks and evil that pervade this world will ruin you. But if you have a fortress of protection, nothing will do you harm. That protection is the Mercy of God. Spend time today thinking about God and His Mercy as such a fortress. See Him as your defender in all things and run to this place of safety. The Lord will surround you with His grace and will keep you at peace within the dwelling of His Heart. Lord, when I feel the weight, attacks and temptations of the world come upon me, give me the wisdom to seek refuge.
May I run to You and hide in Your merciful Heart. May I never doubt Your perfect protection and always find shelter in You. Do you tire of speaking of the Mercy of God? Do you find that it becomes repetitive and unimpressive? If so, speak of Mercy all the more and ponder it with new zeal.
You must never tire of the Mercy of God. The Mercy of God is so great and abundant that, in Heaven, you will see clearly how vast and wide it is. You will comprehend that it is incomprehensible and will never tire of contemplating its beauty. On Earth, you may find yourself tempted to dismiss Mercy as impractical and unimportant.
It may be perceived as something old and outdated. When this happens, be reminded that this is foolishness and irrational. You must seek it day and night and never relent in your pursuit of this unending and unfathomable gift of God See Diary Ponder, today, these three simple words: Lord, have Mercy. Say them often and intentionally.
Remind yourself that if you grow weary thinking about and speaking about the Mercy of God then you are failing to understand its depth and beauty. Its newness, especially, will help to keep you engaged in this gift and it will enable you to continually probe its depths. Readers are encouraged to abandon their attitude that child raising is a process that flows solely from parent to child and to instead think of raising children as a flowing interaction between parent, child, and other family members.
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Reflections on Notebook Five: 263-326
The meditations are designed to help teen girls be more conscious and aware of developmental, cultural, and personal factors affecting them. The importance of friendships, of dreams and goals, of respect for other family members are among many topics. The particular hazards and joys of being female are explored: for instance, how does the role of beauty in our culture affect girls coming of age? Written by Patricia Hoolihan, who has been writing about family and spirituality for over ten years, the book is sensitive, gentle and hopeful: a lifeline to be tossed to any girl young woman?
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