Orientation

Orientation.  The mental state of preparation might be our first reaction when we see that word.  But to be fully oriented to prepare to the fullest extent possible requires the mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical state of preparation for an event.

Being properly oriented for Advent in preparation for Christmas is the work of today.  The proper orientation for Lent in preparation for Easter will come soon.  And within each season are smaller feasts with their preparation days for which the proper orientation is beneficial.

Stopping at each preparation point to consider our mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, and psychological orientation is critical to receiving most fully what God intends for us as we prepare.  One can imagine the same exercise of orientation by an Olympic athlete prior to the final practices and preparation period for the Olympics.  Or the orientation of the Special Forces elite soldier prior to the rehearsals for an upcoming secret mission.  Their comment might be “Your head and heart have to be in the right place for you ever begin the preparation.”

So it is with each spiritual adventure we undertake, whether within the liturgical cycle or any other outside of it, such as a retreat, novena, Bible study, spiritual study, etc.  Orientation begins with a pause and reflection our current state in each of those areas acknowledging honestly our condition. Otherwise, we may encounter difficulties during our preparation when we are ‘surprised’ by something in one of those areas and become ‘disoriented’ as it were.

When we have fully acknowledged our current state, we can make a decision of the will as to our desired orientation in each of those areas. And then take each of those desires to Jesus through Mary, Mediatrix of all races, begging for the grace and strength to remain in that orientation as we prepare.

So let us consider our orientation for what is in front of us now in each of those areas: mental, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and physical.

  • What is my current state of being? Let me pause……
  • What do I choose it to be? Let me pause……

Let us resolve to take the desired orientation for what we are about to undertake to Mary, Mediatrix of all graces, and ask her to give us the grace to prepare for our upcoming liturgical feast or spiritual adventure.

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

Francis Cardinal George’s Prophetic Column

I recently read a column by Francis Cardinal George of Chicago and it struck me that it was no ordinary column, but one that has a prophetic element to it worth taking notice. Here is part of the article.  The entire article can be found at:  http://tinyurl.com/k2uygfm

 

It takes no moral courage to conform to government and social pressure. It takes a deep faith to “swim against the tide,” as Pope Francis recently encouraged young people to do at last summer’s World Youth Day.

Swimming against the tide means limiting one’s access to positions of prestige and power in society. It means that those who choose to live by the Catholic faith will not be welcomed as political candidates to national office, will not sit on editorial boards of major newspapers, will not be at home on most university faculties, will not have successful careers as actors and entertainers. Nor will their children, who will also be suspect. Since all public institutions, no matter who owns or operates them, will be agents of the government and conform their activities to the demands of the official religion, the practice of medicine and law will become more difficult for faithful Catholics. It already means in some States that those who run businesses must conform their activities to the official religion or be fined, as Christians and Jews are fined for their religion in countries governed by Sharia law.

A reader of the tale of two churches, an outside observer, might note that American civil law has done much to weaken and destroy what is the basic unit of every human society, the family. With the weakening of the internal restraints that healthy family life teaches, the State will need to impose more and more external restraints on everyone’s activities. An outside observer might also note that the official religion’s imposing whatever its proponents currently desire on all citizens and even on the world at large inevitably generates resentment. An outside observer might point out that class plays a large role in determining the tenets of the official State religion. “Same-sex marriage,” as a case in point, is not an issue for the poor or those on the margins of society.

How does the tale end? We don’t know. The actual situation is, of course, far more complex than a story plot, and there are many actors and characters, even among the ruling class, who do not want their beloved country to transform itself into a fake church. It would be wrong to lose hope, since there are so many good and faithful people.

Catholics do know, with the certainty of faith, that, when Christ returns in glory to judge the living and the dead, the church, in some recognizable shape or form that is both Catholic and Apostolic, will be there to meet him. There is no such divine guarantee for any country, culture or society of this or any age.

 

I believe this is not a political statement. It is prophetic, and frankly, along the same lines as St. John Paul II’s speech just before he was elected Pope. I HIGHLY recommend this short article: http://www.catholicity.com/mccloskey/final-confrontation.html

Up to now, what he (the future John Paul II) predicted was nascent. But we have now fully entered what is more widely known in Catholic circles today as the Final Confrontation as he coined the term. It has begun.

That is what my book, “That Flame in Your Heart? Turn it into a Blowtorch!”  is essentially laying the foundation for. So that people can find peace, serenity and joy no matter what is going on in their lives and around them. Now. In their present circumstances of life.

They are going to need it.

Now is the time of preparation. It is time to find that peace, serenity and joy in everyday life, in every circumstance of their life, no matter what is going on. And then spread that to every person they come in contact, in ways appropriate to their calling.

Waiting until they cry out in the turmoil is too late. Practice now what you need when the time comes as surely it will. No human is immune from suffering.

But there is only one Source of peace. Human attempts to achieve it by force or division or allurements or any human institutions will fail.

As usual, I may be running a little ahead of things, but in my strategic planning consulting, my business is future-casting, and my record is pretty good. (I have never had a CEO tell me we got his company ready too soon.)

We have reached the proverbial ‘tipping point’.

From here forward, it will accelerate non-linearly, at a geometric rate.  Those who prepare now, “and bring the extra oil (of peace) they need for their lamps, will not want when the groom appears”. (if I might paraphrase Mt. 25: 1-13) And those who do not will be locked out in the night.

The end result will be a victorious Church in splendor…….. But between where we are today and that victory is a great gulf of darkness which we are plunging into. Out of it will emerge a cleansed remnant Church, radiant in splendor as it reflects its King.  And all those who have bought into the “anti-Church” and “anti-Gospel” will be swept away.

The good news is that each soul will have sufficient light given it to make a decision, as God always does, so eternity will not be a surprise, but rather, what was chosen and pursued by that soul with the free will He has given it.

I pray that everyone can come to know peace, serenity, and joy in their lives no matter what is going on. And that the flame of love for God in their hearts might be turned into a blowtorch!

Now.

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

The Emmaus Walk, Sorrow and Disappointment, Bitterness or Hope?

The sorrow and disappointment the disciples of Jesus felt as they walked the road to Emmaus is common to us all.  Hope crushed by overwhelming loss or tragedy is a normal human experience.

How we handle sorrow and disappointment is crucial to the spiritual life.  If we become bitter, then it is really our pride in control.  “I know better than God!” we are shouting within. We shut out what God wills for us, and we shut out His Mercy and Love, HIs Compassion.

The disciples reveal their humility in listening to what the ‘stranger’ is telling them about God’s will in their lives by explaining the meaning of scripture and how it applies to their current circumstances.

Thus, when Jesus finally reveals Himself, they have the openness to recognize Him!

They were humble: their hearts were open to the Word of God as it was explained to them. So much so that their hearts were “burning” within – like a blowtorch! When they recognized His Presence in their lives, suddenly their hope was restored, joy beyond description filled them and they risked returning to a Christ-hostile environment to share the Good News! Jesus has risen!

What we are thinking, feeling or experiencing at any point, even during our greatest disappointment, has no bearing on the truth and the reality: Christ is with us, Christ among us. Christ our hope and joy is present to us!

May our hearts burn with joy within us – like a blowtorch!

Peace to you!

May peace, serenity and joy be yours as Jesus turns that flame in your heart into a Blowtorch!

Book Review: ” Can You TEXT ME Directions?” by Bonnie Young

Bonnie Young Crandall has done it again with her newest title, “Can You TEXT ME Directions”, a short (106 pages) but very powerful collection of vignettes from young people all over the world. They tell their stories of finding Jesus in ways that surprised them, in an honest and open way, full of every kind of joy and sorrow, struggle and victory that youth today are quite familiar with.  Bonnie has done a masterful job of editing each story to its essence and yet leaving in the uniqueness that is each person.

It is the kind of book that once you pick it up, is hard to put down. Some of the stories are absolutely fascinating. When you are finished with one story, you feel compelled to read the next, because after all, it is short.  Many of the stories caused a tear to form as the persons, all very real, are so easy to relate to.

As Jesus works in their lives and their hearts, you can feel the joy and wonder with them as they yield to Him and overcome the obstacles in their lives with new found faith.  The book is written so well that one can easily empathize sufficiently to feel the flame of love for God in their hearts turning into a blowtorch!

It is the kind of book that every high school and college student needs to read.  The memory of those stories will strengthen them as they invariably encounter the many struggles of faith faced by maturing students in an academic environment. It would also be superb for small groups to read and share on as well.

You can order the book from her blog here or on Kindle from Amazon here.

Get a copy for yourself and then get copies for every high school or college student you know. It can be a life changer. You just never know the good it can do…… eternally.

 

 

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