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Closer to God

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During Lent, I try to honor the 40 days of praying, fasting and almsgiving by doing something from each of these three pillars.  We often only think about the things we can give up during Lent, like chocolate or TV. While that is all well and good, it is important to focus on why we give them up.

There is supposed to be sacrifice involved. It is supposed to be hard - much like the sacrifice Christ made for us. Our fasting should bring us closer to God. There is the rub! Fasting is meant to eliminate those things that get in the way of us being the best versions of ourselves in service to God and one another.

This links to prayer. If our sacrifice is truly meant to bring us closer to God and others, there has to be an element of prayer so that we stay laser focused on the outcome. Does giving up chocolate do that for you?

Once you begin fasting and praying, almsgiving is giving back as an alternative to what you are giving up. So if you are sacrificing, you should fill the void with fruitful actions to bring you closer to God and others.

The struggle to fast, pray and give is real. It is yet another opportunity to align yourself with your fellow Catholics to ban together and support one another, not in misery, but in sacrifice to our Lord and Savior.

Touched by God

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It dawned on me recently that we rarely ponder St. Joseph. If you think about it, this poor guy's life was flipped upside down. How troubling it must have been to learn that your betrothed was pregnant and not by you. The predicament they found themselves in was mutually disgraceful. His reputation and hers was being called into question. Mary said yes, but Joseph certainly didn't. That was, until he was touched by God.

If you recall the story, Joseph was planning to divorce Mary quietly so as not to bring attention to her or the situation. But, rather than respond in haste, even though he had a plan, he turned to prayer. As a response to his prayer, Joseph had a dream that told him not to be afraid, but to marry his betrothed. Joseph trusted in God. He married Mary quietly and followed the requirement to report to Bethlehem for the census. You know the rest of the story.

I often wonder if this whole experience helped Joseph love Mary more. Did it help him love God more? Did he understand who his son really was? Did he "get it"? I wish the gospel writers would have given us just a little bit more about this guy named Joseph, don't you?

I do know this, there is no better person I want to have intercede on my behalf when I need to gain trust in the Lord and His plan in order to be at peace.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

St. Joseph knew, when Mary became pregnant, that this child was not his child. He saw that she was pregnant but didn't know how. If he had gone to the high priest, she would have been stoned to death. Do you see the charity and thoughtfulness of St. Joseph? - St. Teresa of Calcutta

The Beauty of Prayer

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I spend a lot of time in prayer. It is woven through the fabric of my day. The beauty of prayer - when you are quiet and listening to the stirrings of your soul - is that you will hear the voice of those you pray to and with. That is why I love going to Adoration. It is a quiet spot in my week to just "be" before the Lord. I love it when I am actually able to adore alone. That is some powerful stuff - to be alone with the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. That quiet time can exhaust me of the need to talk and move me into listening mode. In listening, God reveals His plan. I feel I've become a good listener. I'm a good listener, but I am not patient. I’ve learned that God does answer in His own time and in His way - the best way.

I spend a lot of time in prayer. Always have. Always will. I won't ever make a decision without it. God is my best friend. He never steers me wrong.

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