Feb 11, 2016

How Well Do You Know Jesus?

That is a hard question. Jesus is so far beyond human knowledge that we couldn't possibly know him as well as we'd like. I think that I know only the tiniest amount and that there is so much more to learn.

A few years ago, I went on my first silent retreat. It was such a moving experience. In the middle of nowhere with no one to talk to and nothing to distract, I spent a lot of time getting to know Jesus. And he told me many things I didn't want to hear. Things I had been avoiding because I didn't want to acknowledge that I needed to change.

This year I am going to try to find the time to go on retreat again. I need that time away from everything to refocus and reconnect in a meaningful way. Time to talk to Jesus and discover what he wants me to do. Frankly, I'm pretty bad at directing my life. I choose the wrong things, make the wrong decisions. I have so much more peace when he's in charge.

Feb 10, 2016

A Time Of New Beginnings

Today is the first day of Lent. It's a chance to make a fresh start. To wash away everything that has happened in the past and begin anew. Tonight at Mass, I distributed ashes and communion. It was the first time that I distributed ashes. I was moved by how beautiful it was. "From ashes you came and to ashes you shall return". It really sunk in when I was placing those ashes on the elderly who would, much sooner than myself, return to ashes.

For Lent, I am using Rediscovering Jesus as my guide. Today's theme is New Beginnings.

The question for today is: In what area of your life is God inviting you to experience a new beginning?

There are so many areas of my life that need new beginnings. My life in general has just slipped backwards. So, this Lent I am starting my life again from scratch. Not totally from scratch. I still have my same job, the same place to live, the same relationships and the same bad habits.

But, I will have a new attitude, a new sense of purpose and a chance to correct the things I've done.

I will put more focus on my prayer life and find the peace and clarity that I once had.

I will listen to God and practice patience with regards to my personal relationships.

I will give control over to God and accept that his plan for me is greater than any I could come up with myself.

Today, I put a renewed effort into saying my Morning and Evening prayers. To really take the words to hard and not rush through them just to get them over.

I put a renewed effort into offering everything I do for God's benefit. Being mindful to act in accordance with his wishes rather than my own.

I put in a renewed effort to draw closer to Jesus. To repair the relationship we once had.

Feb 6, 2016

Time For Some Changes

Recently, I was talking with a friend who gave me a wake-up call. I had let myself be led into temptation and reverted back to habits that I had thought were gone forever. The sad thing is, that in someways I knew that it was happening, but I chose to ignore the little voice in my head that was screaming at me. That little voice screamed until I no longer heard it.

With Lent only days away, it's time that I repaired my relationship with God. I'm not exactly sure how I could ever make up for the things I've done. I have always struggle with believing that I should be forgiven. I chose to do things that I knew were bad and I deserve to suffer the consequences. Even if that means spending eternity in Hell. I know that God can forgive anything, but I don't know if I want forgiven.

A few years ago, at a retreat, I talked with a priest who advised me that I was making my own hell. I was separating myself from God by not asking for Him for forgiveness. It made sense, but it didn't make it any easier. What I needed to learn was to forgive myself for my mistakes and that was very hard to do.

Unfortunatly, I fell back into that thought pattern and little by little, with each act of sin, I pulled farther and farther away from God. I no longer feel him so closely as I had before. He sits on the sidelines keeping an eye on me, but He's no longer the one I seek to spend time with.

Once I've done my penance, I will begin the work of cleaning out the bad things that have been building up in my life. Replacing the bad habits with ones of prayer. Relearning to hear that little voice that reminds me to do good and screams at me when I am not. I need to separate myself from those things and people that lead me into temptation and make me forget my commitment to God.

I need to spend less time on idle pastimes and more time at Eucharistic adoration and Mass and in prayer. I need to make things right.