I’m going to take the rest of today to pray and be with the Lord. I know I will spend time with Jesus in the Sacrament at a church near my home which has it available 24/7.
When I was going through cancer treatment, I went there a lot in the small hours of the night. I didn’t pray with words all that much. I just went to be with Him, for the companionship of that Presence. It helped me through that time.
Last week, I began going back there again. The chapel was closed and locked during the shut-down. I couldn’t go in March, April, May during the days of hard grief over losing Mama. But it’s open now.
I need Jesus. The only courage I ever have comes from Him. I learned something when I had cancer that, for all my years of walking with the Lord, I had not learned before. When a doctor tells you that you have cancer, it is a blow. But if you ask God for courage, He will give it to you.
You ask. He gives. It really is as simple as that. I never once in all that time asked for courage that I didn’t feel the calm and peace that passes all understanding flow into me immediately.
You can count on it.
That is unfathomable. The atheists who make fun of the whole idea that the God Who made everything there is should care enough about us to answer our little prayers are right. It is incredible. When they say that it’s a ridiculous notion that anyone as great as God should care about us in a deeply personal and tender way, they are right again. It is unbelievable.
But it’s true. The fact is, He does love us. And when we ask for courage to navigate the rough waters of this life, He gives it to us.
I’m not a theologian. I don’t know anything about the theological ins and outs of these things, and, to be honest, I don’t care to learn. The Holy Spirit has taught me everything I need to know to live my life for Him.
He has taught me through the outpouring of love I felt when I first turned to Jesus, through years of walking through life with Him, through the Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes and every word in the Gospels. He has left clear instructions for all of us. He taught them to us with vivid stories about ordinary things spoken in language so simple the gist of it fits on a t-shirt. He has shown us His heart and told us exactly what He requires of us.
The constant teachings of the Catholic Church that go back through the millennia in a straight line to Calvary are bumper guards for all of us. The Church embroiders details on top of the Ten Commandments and the Gospels to make applying them in daily life easier. But it does not — ever — eradicate them or contradict them.
If individual priests or bishops try to tell you that cruelty, lying, cheating, stealing, and sexual assault don’t matter because other things are more important, they are not speaking for Christ. They are not teaching Christ. They are teaching a false gospel of their own devising for their own purposes.
The Church offers us the gift of the Eucharist, which is Christ in a simple physical form that we can see, touch and partake of. The Eucharist is a conduit of grace, as are all the sacraments. Like everything else that God gives to us, whether or not we receive this grace is our choice.
The Ten Commandments and the Sermon on the Mount are God’s real non-negotiables.
I’ve been spending time alone with Jesus in the Eucharist late a night when no one else is there. I go there for the companionship in this perilous time in our nation’s life.
I love America. From the top of my fuzzy hair to the soles of my Okie feet, I am an American. More than that, I know that America is the lodestone that holds the wall of peace together all around the globe. Remove America, and we are faced with truly historic times.
But passionate patriotism and dreadful concerns can sweep away the peace that passes all understanding and leave you wide open to the negative emotions that currently dominate our national thinking. It is so easy to step into the traps of anger and surface thinking that are lying there with open jaws, waiting to snap shut around you.
I woke up early — very early — this morning. It was raining. Our bedroom is quiet, but I could hear the thunder as I snuggled down and tried to go back to sleep. When sleep didn’t come, I started to pray my morning prayers. Before long, I drifted into what Catholics call an examination of conscience. That was, as it always is, a trip down humility lane as I confessed to myself and God the things I had done and asked Him to forgive me. It was a cleansing and a humility that I needed to restore the proper perspective in my life.
I’m going to spend today in prayer. I may also take tomorrow to pray as well. I’ll know I’m finished when I get finished.
Then, I’m going to begin posting thoughts on the prayers I pray, in particular the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
I would love it if you would join me in praying the Seven Sorrows of Mary.
We need prayer my friends. All of us need it. Each of us needs it. Our country needs it.
In the meantime, you might look up Matthew 5: 3-10; the Beatitudes. Then look up Exodus 20: 1-17. the Ten Commandments.
This is the simplest and most direct form of God’s Non-Negotiables. They aren’t a political creation by a web site that was trying to drive the vote in an election. They were spoken to us by God. God carved the Ten Commandments on tablets of stone and Jesus Christ Who is God in human form, taught us the Beatitudes Himself.
They’re not suggestions. Any priest or preacher who sets them aside and says they don’t matter because other things are more important is lying to you.
Let’s begin our prayers by thinking about how we can do a better job of applying the Ten Commandments and the Beatitudes to our own way of living.