Authenticity

Zach Fiedler Photography

05/03/21

Have you recently stopped, took a step back, and looked at your life? This is something I’ve recently been in the process of doing, as it is a time of big transition and change. What I’ve noticed is that there are several parts of my life where I wish I was living in a different way.

How frequently do we change the way that we live in order to better fit in with the people around us, for better or worse, or decide we want to make a change but not follow through with it?

All of this has to do with authenticity.

Authenticity, as I’ve decided to define it in my own life, is living as the man or woman that God has created us to be, in the most full way that we can. This means not compromising the ways that we are feeling called to live for the approval of others, not allowing ourselves to settle for less than who we can be, and striving to stay true to cultivating the gifts and talents we have been chosen to care for in ourselves.

Today, reflect with me. What are some ways that you are living that God wouldn’t be so pleased with? What are some things you’re living out that you know brings Him joy? How can you take a step tomorrow to live more authentically as yourself? This is a lifelong journey that allows us to become true Saints. The Saints are those people who lived most authentically out their identities as sons and daughters of the Most High.

Let’s continue on our journey to Heaven, living authentically in the Lord and accepting the authenticity of the people around us.


Closing Prayer:

Lord, please come into our hearts. Show us those things that bring a smile to Your Face, and shed light on the things that we have darkened for fear of being unaccepted by the people around us. Bring us into Your Light, that we may see ourselves through Your Eyes, and know more fully who You are calling us to be. Amen.

Nourishment – A Reflection

3/23/21

During this time in Lent, I’ve had time to reflect on the different ways that I nourish my body, mind, and soul each day. I do not always do the best job at all of these nourishment practices, but something I’ve been reflecting on is the beauty of feeding ourselves with the natural gifts of God. Below, I pose a bit of a reflection that I’ve been thinking of in my own life:

When you eat, what are you eating? Is it some factory-concocted formula, designed to best hook you on the product, or is it a whole food from the earth, designed by God to feed your cells and provide natural energy for your body? Every part of our body is connected, and when we choose to eat natural foods from the earth, we also choose a healthier state of mind, that better allows us to choose the things that will fully nourish our minds and souls throughout the day, rather than the things that are most convenient and maybe not the best for us.

When spending time in leisure, is it mindless and filling your brain with noise, selling the senses to temptations, or is it appreciating something truly beautiful? Could your free time really be considered ‘holy leisure’, or is it just ‘filling up the empty space with more noise’?

Finally, when praying, how does it look? Is it a laundry list for the Lord, or is it sitting there and truly contemplating His goodness? Is there any silence? Can we hear Him, or only ourselves?

These are just a few considerations to make when evaluating one’s life. As we approach Holy Week, what are the lessons we will take away from this Lenten season to our Easter festivities? How can we remember to continue nourishing ourselves, focusing on moderation and natural goodness, rather than following what seems easiest and most appealing in the moment? Let us ask the grace from God to enlighten our minds and give us a new perspective on our lives. May the Holy Spirit be our strength, the One who builds up our souls to be warriors for the Lord, rather than succumbers to the evil one.


Closing Prayer:

Holy Spirit, fill our hearts, and enkindle in us the fire of your Love. Lord, send us your Spirit and strengthen our souls. Give us to see our lives through Your eyes, instead of our own or the eyes of the world. How can we better serve you and the people around us? How can we better nourish our bodies, minds, and souls to be more fully the best versions of ourselves, whom You created us to be? Lord, You are our Strength and our Salvation. Miserere nobis. Amen.

A Quiet Peace

3/19/2021

A quiet peace

Light shimmers, dancing

The world still spinning,

But all is quiet.

Silence now,

Child, daybreak closes

All will be well

Within thine soul.

The ruckus of others

Veiled by heart’s stillness

No one may enter,

The soft dwelling-place.

Still, One lingers

Within the walls

Behind the veil,

Beneath the mask.

Comfort,

Compassion,

Serenity,

Calm,

Ne’er a sight nor feeling so lovely.

Bright and pure,

Beautiful, bold,

Face, akin to

Roses in bloom.

As sun goes down

And doors come closed,

There is still this brightness shining.

JESUS, Savior of us all,

Never leaves –

the darkness’s End.

There is peace within my soul, as the sun sets and brightly peaks through the windowframe. Never will the Light of my LORD leave even the darkest corners of my heart. His Love forever enduring. This Love will always be. Never to be moved; the LORD is my strength. His Divine Light shines softly upon my face.

O, Illuminating Beauty, O Radiance Divine, come now and stay close to your daughter. Beloved, converse and silently BE, here I’ll never cease to choose to be free.

The Name of Jesus

This evening I had an incredible experience in which the splendor and magnificence of God was made known to me in a very beautiful way. I was looking out at the gorgeous view from the University of Mary in North Dakota and saw an amazing sight…

The sun was shining, bright as can be (though it was 8:00pm), and all of a sudden, a cloud covered it up. But, each time it got covered by a cloud, the sun would somehow manage to make its way back into our line of vision, shedding a golden light over the whole land. It was really cool to watch because the sun almost was dancing, trying to fight its way back to light our evening and come above or around the clouds to peek through. I’ve attached pictures so you can see what it looked like in chronological order:

This wonderful display reminded me of the glory and power of Jesus and how, even in our darkest moments, He, in His divine goodness, somehow always manages to shine through when we most need Him to and to create beautiful light through His mercy.

To remember the power of even the Holy Name of Jesus, I wanted to share a prayer that the young adult group at my home parish, a chapter of Crossroads 4 Christ, learned about in one of our weekly meetings recently. A member of the group led us in prayer and taught us all about the Litany of the Name of Jesus.

The prayer is very simple and repetitive–It lists different names for Jesus, like Lamb of God or Prince of Peace, and asks for His mercy on us. It then goes on to ask further for Jesus to save His people, reflecting on different attributes of Jesus. It is one of the few litanies that is recognized by the Church.

Even just the very NAME of Jesus holds mighty, awesome power. The name of Jesus holds the power to fight off demons, work miracles, convert sinners, and really do anything; to shed light in the darkest places and turn them from dust to gold. When lost for words to say to God, how profound to simply say the sweet name that God gave His Only Son and Our Savior, “Jesus.”

Thinking about this more reminded me of a prayer I learned earlier this year. It is a simple prayer, in which one breathes in while praying, “Jesus, Savior of the World” (or any of the other names for Jesus), and then breathes out, praying, “have mercy on me, a sinner.” The idea of this prayer is that we are breathing in the sweetness, the goodness, the splendor, the beauty of Jesus, as we breathe out our sin, begging Him to have mercy on our souls. We remind ourselves of the greatness of God and of Jesus, but also acknowledge our imperfect, flawed, sinful selves and, by asking for His mercy, show remorse for having offended Our God. It is very similar to the idea of the Litany of the Name of Jesus, but shorter and good to say throughout the day.

These two prayers, simply invoking the name of Jesus and asking for His mercy, are some of the most powerful prayers we will ever pray. How amazingly blessed we are that we have a God willing to give us even a Name that can bring about unbelievable peace. As we talked about in the meeting at Crossroads, we should not be using Jesus’ Name in profane, disrespectful ways, or showing reluctance to use His Name for fear of offending someone else. Jesus’ Name is holy and precious.

If tonight’s sunset reminded me of anything, it was the beauty of Jesus, Our Lord and how He makes all things good.

Jesus, Author of Life, shine Your light upon us. Thank You for the beauty of the earth and all creation. Thank You for life. Teach us how precious each life is and remind our world of the sanctity of life. Thank You for Your Holy Name. We praise You, we bless You, we adore You, and we glorify You. In the Name of Jesus, we pray. Amen.

Below is the Litany of the Name of Jesus that we used in Crossroads and a link to another version on the EWTN website:

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https://www.ewtn.com/faith/teachings/incab3c.htm

Beauty

Monday Motivation~03/11/19

As this Lenten journey of ours continues, I would like to reflect on beauty. How much beauty is in our lives that we fail to recognize and thank God for? Lent is a time to see the blessings God has bestowed upon us even more clearly. What better way than to look around us and thank Him for even the smallest things. This week, I challenge you to thank God for even the smallest things. Find something to say “thank You” for each hour.

Example:

1:00pm– “Thank You, God for letting me breathe right now. Please bless all those who are sick and suffering from difficulty breathing.”

2:00pm– “Thank You, God for these beautiful trees that scatter my campus. Please help us to conserve the beauty of this world You have given us.”

3:00pm– “Thank You, Jesus for Your Holy Sacrifice. Forgive us for all of our transgressions against You, Who deserve all love.”

4:00pm– “Thank You, Lord for my beautiful family. Please bless all broken families, especially my friends who struggle with their family relationships.”

…And so on.

This is a nice little way to add gratitude and recognition of blessings into your day! It makes a world of a difference when we acknowledge the great beauty around us. Far too often, I catch myself taking things for granted. This Lent, let’s stop taking things for granted and thank God always, because as the priest says in Mass, “it is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere, to give [God] thanks.” It is not just good, it is “our duty” and necessary for “our salvation.”

Dear Jesus, Thank You for all of Your glorious gifts and blessings. Thank You for Your Holy Sacrifice and for all that You have done for us. Please give us grateful hearts that always remember to praise You and give You thanks. Let our days of being ungrateful and a people who takes everything for granted be finished. Praise and glory to You, Lord, God of Hosts!! Amen.

maryBabyJesus.jpg

Above: A beautiful image of Mary and Jesus that was too precious not to share 🙂 Add it to your blessings to thank God for today!