Super rough morning friends...super rough. I won't even get into details. A comedy of errors of the school uniform kind coupled with unexpected snow and a husband traveling for work. And now, I've missed lunch. The cafeteria is closed. Nope. Not caving. Off to the vending machine. Fiber One Bar and honey pretzels for me. Nothing will keep me from celebrating this wonder feast day for St. Francis de Sales! No matter how late I am today.
The patron saint of authors, writers, journalists and - I'll throw this in there - me, as a blogger; I thought it fitting when he chose this blog to be its patron. When I looked ahead and saw that his feast day was coming up, I threw all my books to the side in a hurry and began to read Introduction to the Devout Life <--- that's a free book by the way. I needed his frank, common sensical (that's a word today) advice for how to navigate this new life I love - Catholicism. I tried to finish the book in two weeks - nope. So I am still plugging along, but hope that by the end of this list, you will get to reading. He will change your life.
I also prayed a novena to him with a specific intention, that I don't know if I can share. Is that like a birthday wish? If you share it, it won't come true? How does that work? On with the show...
You know he's hot.
I have made use of a name suitable to all who seek after the devout life, Philothea meaning one who loves God.
She is a girl he takes under his wing to teach her - clearly and directly - how to live *perfectly*. He calls them remedies. Yes, please. I'll take all the droughts, tinctures and apothecary fabulousness you got. Of course, I assumed the role of Philothea in his book - to make it personal. So I would listen. You see, he is also the patron saint of deafness. Help me to hear you St. Francis de Sales.
So there are penitents who forsake sin indeed, but do not give up their affection to it: that is to say, they resolve to sin no longer, but they have a certain reluctance to deprive themselves of the miserable delectations of sin; their heart renounces sin and departs from it, but it ceases not for all that to look back often in that direction, as Lot’s wife looked back at Sodom.
How often do we enter the confessional to be reconciled but continue to repeat that sin, even if venial?? Gossip? Lying? Even the little, white ones. Swearing? Grudges? How do you remove that delectation of sin; cut yourself off so you don't go down that road that God had just swept away for you?
Remain at peace regarding whatever is said or done in conversations. It if it good, you have done something for which to praise God. If it is bad, you have something in which to serve God by turning your heart away from it.
It is right that you should begin again every day. There is no better way to complete the spiritual life than to be ever beginning it over again.
I want a second chance, don't you? I didn't finish this book. So what? I get more chances to complete it. I get more chances to share it and live it. I love that chances are always ours for the asking. We can always try again next year, next month, on a Monday. Right now. We can always try again. Even when others do that eye roll thing that makes me cuckoo for cocoa puffs in doubt, stand firm, He give us a second chance all the time - and there's no eye rolling there to be sure.
Consider the bodily gifts which God has bestowed upon you; your body, so many conveniences for its support, so many lawful consolations for it, such friends, such helps. And compare your own case with that of so many others who are worth more than you, and who have not received these benefits: some disabled in body, in health, in limb; others abandoned to the mercy of reproaches, and of contempt and dishonour; others oppressed with poverty and God has not willed that you should be so miserable
I often get caught up in a bad day. Caught up in my own head, feelings and musings. I try not to, but I do. It's never that bad, never that intense. But imagine if I didn't have people who prayed for me? How would my life look? People I don't even know pray for me, and for you. People who don't even know my name or yours. People who just know me as Lexicon's Mom, or that chick with the crazy hair or you as that dude that just walked by with the green shirt. I pray for that guy. I pray so he can sense God's grace in a remarkable way or in a really great relish for his sandwich that brightens his day.
At the end of the year, my hands hurt from all the typing at work. It was then that I realized just how important my hands are for so many things. Knitting, blogging, stirring pasta, making meatballs, hugging, carrying Little Monk around piggy back style.
Reflect on this ingratitude, how, when God was pursuing you so unceasingly to save you were always running away from him to lose yourself.
This hit below the belt, Sir de Sales. I am a recent convert. I could go crazy looking back on all the times I ran away from God. Or all the sins that I never repented for! I could really beat myself up because I saw Him, I felt Him, but I kept turning away like a mean little Prodigal Son. And here I am today with a fatted calf and gold rings - - His Word, His Light and His Truth - - at my return home. I think I can reflect on this ingratitude insofar as it helps give me a measuring stick to see the great lengths He went through to get me to see. To get you to see, to read this, right here.
Your eyes, O Lord, have a true view of people. This is what they really are - and nothing more.
Seriously, when you wonder what other people think of you...it's none of your business. It's theirs. More importantly, the way in which we view people is always tinged with our own self doubt isn't it? The why's of behavior and the reading between the lines. It's exhausting! Taken this way, only the Lord knows what people are, and from that vantage point, we see there is nothing more than love there:
But it's love. That's how He sees us and how we should *try* to see others - and it's hard. I don't deny that. But the trying makes us beautiful.
And now, like Philothea,
At the conclusion of your prayer, walk about a little and gather a little nosegay of devotion from the considerations which you have made, in order to inhale its perfume throughout the day.
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