How Do You Pray?
Jesus says, “This is how you are to pray.” We are, then, blessed with the most beautiful prayer, shared with us by Jesus: The Lord’s Prayer, also known as the Our Father. This is HOW Jesus prayed. For many years I missed that important bit of information. First introduced to the Lord's Prayer in preparation for my First Communion, part of the 'big 4' I was to memorize, someone failed to share it's origins. Not from a family of big Bible readers (aka we didn't have one); the mind-blowing fact that this prayer was taught to us by JESUS HIMSELF - was totally lost on me!
In Matthew's Gospel, the Apostles ask, "How Should We Pray?" How many of us have asked Jesus to teach us how to pray better, how to grow closer to God the Father, how to be more faithful to His teachings? Bottom line, how many of us are asking — how can we be holier? Wanting to be holy may seem a bit lofty and righteous; however it is an intricate part of our Baptismal promise. As a follower of Christ we are called to constant conversion. We are called to be saints - and like it or not, saints are holy.
So... How are We to Pray?
Jesus, during one of the most amazing sermons provides us the most perfect guideline for prayer. This simple, yet profound prayer that I would gather more than 85% of those reading this can recite by heart. Yet, how often do we pray it? When we do recount it, how often do we marvel in awe at the reality that this is not only from Jesus, but was the formula for how Jesus, himself, prayed to God?
Removing the Stigma of Rote Prayer
I have a confession: for many years I resisted using The Lord’s Prayer and even the Hail Mary in my prayers. I felt they were rote, boring, insincere prayers taught to me as a child, but now as a ‘mature’ adult I was perfectly capable of fashioning my own prayers. I even avoided praying the Rosary because I had convinced myself that there was very little value to memorized prayer. Unfamiliar at the time with Scripture, I never realized the origin of this prayer – or the true value it held within.
The commonality of this thought process was made apparent during my first women’s retreat. After much prayer and consideration, I decided to begin each event with the Rosary. It was on a Saturday, so I created a PowerPoint of the prayers and added vivid, colorful, gorgeous art depicting each Joyful mystery. Everyone got settled in; I welcomed them to the “Seeking the Peace of Forgiveness” retreat, turned down the lights, opened the PowerPoint, and jumped right into recitation of the Rosary. During the lunch break, one of the attendees pulled me aside and said, “I almost bolted for the door when you began the Rosary. I cannot think of a more boring way to pray. You may want to rethink using that in the future.”
I did rethink it, but I did not remove it. Instead, after welcoming guests, I spend time explaining why I chose to begin every program by praying the Rosary together.
What great benefit comes from praying with prayers we know so well, that we can recount them while allowing us to also ponder the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is beautiful to see the transformation of these women, who do sometimes still share they considered ‘bolting’ when we began, but are always glad they remained because in the end it was a great blessing.
Our Father, who art in Heaven…
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2014, 2017
First appeared on Catholiclane.com
I REALLY dislike the Word - BLOG
, In 2009, as my heart was being transformed in ways I had never dreamed through a 'reversion' to the Catholic Church; so was a desire to share that newfound joy with others. Although blogging was already a 'thing' in 2009, my pure disdain for the word kept me from launching my own until April 2012.
Why this second change of heart. I saw how powerfully moved one could be when reading about the spiritual journey of others, particularly as it related to their every day ordinary life. My first post was short and sweet, no images and no hyperlinks (lack of technology and know how):
NEW To Reconciled to You -- a blog about Living the Sacraments in our daily lives. This blog will cover reflections on actual sacramental events and the occasional informative post on the Sacraments themselves. These blog entries will come not just from me, but from various sources - since we all make up the body of Christ, it makes only sense that I span out to bring you the broadest picture of Life in the Sacraments.
My How Times Change
Five years later, and I AM amazed at how the ministry and this blog has evolved. The Lord has opened up so many doors - starting in June of 2012, with an opportunity to write for Catholicmom.com. This allowed me to share my love of the Catholic faith, my family and writing with even more people like me searching to find God among the hustle and bustle.
My blog has grown to include:
Hate the Word, but LOVE the Action
While I still dislike the word - BLOG (bleck). I have come to absolutely adore blogging. The ability to share how the Holy Spirit continues to inspire me in my prayer life; participation in the Sacraments and through my exploration of Scripture - is such an amazing gift! In addition, the wonderful people God has introduced to me through this and the other blogs I've been blessed to contribute to - has made putting up with this stupid word - absolutely WORTH IT!! I guess, I can't deny what is in my heart - The Blog Life is definitely for me!
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
Reflection based on Steve Angrisano's My Soul is Thirsting
Morning. Already. UGH.
My mind races to the million things on my to-do list, but is quickly overtaken by the temptation to pull my covers over my head and sleep for just fifteen more minutes. And then the song begins…”My soul is thirsting for you O Lord, thirsting for you my God.” My heart listens to the familiar words, soaks them in and by the second repetition turns them into a prayer of my own….”My soul is thirsting for you O Lord, thirsting for you my God, thirsting for you my God.”
The song my morning alarm plays has been the same for the past decade or so: the melodic voice of Steve Angrisano singing the words that set the tone for my day and my life: "My soul is thirsting for you O Lord, thirsting for you my God." I first heard this song sung as the Responsorial Psalm at Mass not long after experiencing a major conversion. Instantly I was captivated by the words and the music which seemed to express the deep longing I felt – a desire to want to know and experience everything about the Lord all at once. It was an insatiable thirst. It still is.
Take a minute to listen to Steve Angrisano’s “My Soul is Thirsting”
Thirst is a funny thing
It is simultaneously as demanding as a toddler and just as picky. If you have ever been physically thirsty you know just what I am talking about. The thirst can occupy your every thought, but satisfying it isn’t as easy as swigging down the nearest available beverage. If you are truly thirsty, a cold glass of milk, or an icy cold soda is not going to do the trick, in spite of what the advertisers tell you. Physical thirst is best satisfied by the purest of drinks – crystal clear water.
It is likewise true with spiritual thirst. We live in a culture overrun with thirsty people trying to satisfy their thirst with second-rate beverages. They attempt to quench their thirst with hobbies, careers, and bucket-list experiences. And it works – for a time. I know. I was there. I sought after all the material goods the world had to offer and I was temporarily satisfied. However, the satisfaction was short-lived and the thirst would return, stronger and more demanding than ever. Spiritual thirst is best satisfied by the purest of drinks – the living water of the Holy Spirit.
St. Augustine, in the opening lines of the Confessions, expresses the quality of this spiritual thirst in one of his most famous quotes: “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.” Our spiritual thirst will never be satisfied until it is satisfied by the Lord himself.
Setting my daily morning alarm to Steve Angrisano’s “My Soul is Thirsting” serves as a reminder to me about the truth that my soul’s deepest desire is for the Lord and that only he will satisfy the longings of my heart.
Here are a few questions for reflection or journaling:
The Scriptures are filled with passages about thirsting for the Lord. Here are links to a few of them – we provide the links in order to give you the opportunity to dive into the rich waters of Scripture and read the passages in their original context.
The biggest difference between satisfying physical thirst and satisfying spiritual thirst is that while pure drinking water is not always available, the living waters of the Holy Spirit are an infinite spring that the God our Father desires to pour into us. What’s stopping you? Today I encourage you to make the word’s of Steve Angrisano’s song your own and beg the Lord to satisfy your thirst for Him!
All Rights Reserved, Debbie Gaudino 2017
Music Rights - Steve Angrisano
Follow the Entire Steve Angrisano Series RIGHT HERE!
DEBBIE GAUDINO - SAINTS 365
Debbie Gaudino is a Catholic blogger and speaker. You can read more of her fabulous writing on her blog: Saints 365.
She is a happily married, homeschooling Mom to two beautiful children. She and her husband were raised Catholic and had both fallen away from our faith for most of our young adult life. We experienced a major conversion at a Mass celebrated by Blessed John Paul II in Rome in 2000. Since then, our lives have been centered on knowing, loving and serving the Lord and his church.
Learn more about Debbie's work and speaking over on Saints 365!
The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
Consider for a moment, the imagery of the lamb slaughtered as sacrifice of atonement for the sins of others. Jesus not only took the place of the lamb but more importantly, took the place of you and me. He was slaughtered for our salvation. Maybe slaughter is a harsh word; however, when we fail to see the horrific truth of His crucifixion – we fail to see what a gift it truly is.
God’s greatest gift to us is his son, Jesus Christ. Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection open the door to salvation and eternal life through the gifts of mercy and forgiveness. But do we utilize these gifts? Are we wise enough to recognize what God is offering and take full advantage of it? The best way to appreciate this great gift comes with participation in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka going to regular confession). Gifts left unused are useless.
One year for Christmas my “baby” sister gave me Wii fit, complete with resistance bands, a water bottle and workout mat. I was furious! Let’s just say she’s a very fit size 6 and I’m not. I thanked her through clenched teeth, and after Christmas shoved the game, still in its wrapper, to the back of the TV cabinet.
A few months later, my mother shared her diabetes had progressed and she would now require daily insulin shots. A light went off in my head. My father had his first heart attack at 34, and by the age of 55 was a heart transplant recipient. Now, my mother, barely in her 70s, had become severely diabetic. Both diseases plaguing our parents, we know from their doctors, could have been prevented or at least controlled with diet and exercise. Yet, neither followed this advice and are paying the price with their health. My sister’s gift was not about judgment or control. No, it was given from a place of deep love and concern. She could care less about what my outside looked like; this gift was all about my having a healthy, strong inside.
Unused Gifts from God
The same can be said about God and confession. His gift of forgiveness is about spiritual health and well being. God wills only good for us. He is a loving father that wants only the best for us. Yet, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, like my Wii Fit, left unused does me no good. For many years I spurned the gift of Reconciliation, initially petrified to step inside the confessional then apathetic to its healing power. Also, as it is with gifts, while the giver’s feelings may be hurt by a less than joyous reception of the gift, the only one being really hurt is the one not accepting, opening and using it!
Now I go as often as I can, usually opting for the once a month schedule. Like my desk, if I keep up the tidying, it tends to not become unruly or overwhelming. Additionally, due to the healing element of this Sacrament, the more I go, the healthier my soul will be!
All Rights Reserved Allison Gingras, 2017
First appeared on Women in the New Evangelization (WINE) "From The Vine"
A Rightful Place (Steve Angrisano)
Steve Angrisano's song, "A Rightful Place" inspired me to consider this important thought: Do I live my faith in a way that shows others that I am a follower of Christ; and that there is a place for them in His Kingdom as well?
Living My Faith Out Loud
This Christmas, like so many before, I gathered with my extended family. We don't have family traditions that include playing games or singing carols together. My family likes to 'visit'. These visits include telling stories and catching up. They also include lots of food - and a glass of wine (or beer). Our visits can last for hours - probably my favorite part because we live far apart and definitely do not have as much 'together' time as I would like! While I try to practice temperance the duration of the visit can sometimes trip me up; and I find myself drinking just a bit more than I probably should. Alcohol is not an evil - Jesus first miracle was providing a fine wine for party goers to enjoy; however, it must be enjoyed with prudence.
So, what does this have to do with 'living my faith out loud'?
Who I was vs Who I am Now
I go astray (especially when enjoying a beverage or 2) in living my beloved faith in all circumstances. While called to be an authentic witness of the battle to be follow Christ in this world; it is perfectly fine to show my weaknesses and imperfection - YET Christ is calling me to constant conversion. HE wants to continually work at being a better version of myself.
And while my family is well aware of my love of Christ and the Catholic faith when I am with my loved ones who knew me before my reversion, I struggle to be the 'new' me. I am not called to stand on a soapbox and evangelizing all day; but I am certainly called to witness to the power of Christ to transform a life. My words and actions should illustrate the grace abundantly given, but they knew me before - and they know who I really am. After most holiday events I don't have a alcohol hangover I have a moral one because I know that I have failed more often than succeeded in showing Christ to the world. Even more disappointing when that world is those you care most about and want to share in the joy you believe awaits when the celebrations in this life have ended.
What's a Girl To Do
Be thankful for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Christ knows my heart, and he knows my weaknesses. St Paul spent most of Romans 7 sharing the human condition of knowing what is right, and yet failing to choose it. That tightrope of life luckily comes with a safety net - GOD'S unending love and mercy. Though it does not give me permission to just act as I wish, and then run to confession. Each time I am faced with the situations that cause me to slip or fall, is an opportunity to reach out to Christ for strength -- maybe next time I will be braver to live my life out loud and in doing so show my friends and family that there is a rightful place for them, as well.
Something to Ponder
In what circumstances do I find it most difficult to be the new creation in Christ I have become? What strategies can I determine now to help me when I face those situations in the future?
I've been a #FanGirl of Steve Angrisano for a long while now...
I am fairly confident after spending some time listening to his inspiring, worshipful and praise-worthy music - you will be one too.
To Learn More about Steve & his Music visit: www.SteveAngrisano.com
Follow the Entire Steve Angrisano Series:
January 16 - A Rightful Place (Allison Gingras)
January 23- My Soul is Thirsting (Debbie Gaudino - Saints 365)
January 30 - I Am the Bread of Life (Michelle Gelineau - Give Him 5)