If you've read my blog for a little while, you may know that my faith ebbs and flows like the tides. The best time to pray, I've discovered over the years, is in the shower. I much prefer to pray outside, surrounded by God's magnificent creation, but the shower is peaceful, and the water reminds me of rain.
LOS ANGELES, CA - My husband, Jim, and I are part of a wonderful team preparing for our
second annual Day of Reflection - a one-day mini-retreat for former
Christ Renews His Parish participants. I remembered the fear that
gripped my soul almost one year ago as this same team prepared for the
first Day of Reflection.
As the number of participants grew and grew, so did my fear. Self-doubt set in and took hold of my mind, heart and soul. I prayed to the Holy Spirit for guidance, for peace and for strength. Why is it that humans, when standing on the precipice of something wonderful, allow Satan to enter their lives and place doubt in their hearts? As I prayed I squeezed a weekly hair conditioning treatment from a tube into my hand.
Pray and light a virtual candle
'My faith is a lot like my hair,' I said out loud. (Which is exactly why praying in the shower is a good thing because then people don't hear these random and often very strange thoughts that pop into my head when I pray!)
'Um, Shell, excuse me, but WHAT?' you're thinking to yourself right about now. I'll explain.
If you've ever attended a retreat, or have even just had a few hours to yourself to relax and reflect, then you know exactly how it feels to be on a spiritual high. Personally, after a retreat, I am renewed, on fire and filled with the Holy Spirit. Sort of like right after I color my hair. It's beautiful, vibrant, soft and shiny. I feel ready to take on the world after I color my hair.
The spiritual high lasts for a little while, and I'm excited to open my Bible and read scripture in the morning, or on my lunch break. I listen to Christian music and bless pretty much everyone I meet.even people who cut me off in traffic. I liken that to the weekly conditioning treatment inside that metallic blue tube. The weekly conditioning treatments leave my hair soft and shiny, just like the day I colored it. Similarly the music and scripture feed my soul.
After a while my spiritual fire begins to dwindle. I still pray in the shower every morning, and I still listen to inspiring music, but all those grand plans I had for living my faith to the fullest have been pushed aside. My fire, once roaring and bright, is now smoldering. That's like the color fading from my hair. It's still 'light brown' but the vibrancy is gone. It's kind of ashy looking, and the gray is starting to appear along my hairline.
A week or two later something happens. A homily at Mass shakes my foundation; my husband, my children, or a dear friend challenges me to truly walk the walk. Inevitably I look in the mirror and the gray roots seem to shout, 'We need your undivided attention (and a box of Clairol) right now! And by the way, these dead ends need some love, too.'
And the cycle begins again. Our church's Day of Reflection went very well, and although Jim and I and the retreat team gave much of ourselves, it was nothing compared to what we received. It took place in the smack middle of Lent, which is just what I needed, another spiritual boost (kind of like the root touch-up I use about three weeks after a full coloring!).
I do hope, dear reader, that this blog doesn't come off flippant or disrespectful. I explain things better when I have something ordinary to use as an example. I just want you to know, that like most people, I'm on a lifelong faith journey. Most days are filled with blessings, and I look for ways to bring Christ to the world. Some days, however, I need someone to bring Christ to me. With His help, and lots and lots of practice, the spiritual fire will burn a little longer in between retreats.
By Rev. Mr. Ian VanHeusen
Before you think that this article is another stereotypical condemnation of Transcendental Meditation and other forms of East Asian meditation practices, I ask you to think again. Christians are not able to practice Transcendental Meditation not because it is immoral ... continue reading
By Michael Seagriff
Many professing to be Catholic - even among those who attend Sunday Mass regularly - have lost the sense of the Sacred and their belief in the Real Presence of our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. CANASTOTA, NY - The many reasons for this are beyond the scope of this ... continue reading
By Tara K. E. Brelinsky
I guess that's why I spent part of my Sunday Mass distracted by them. Not because they were a distraction in the negative sense, but because they were a living picture of what it means to be faithful and faith-filled. ZEBULON, NC - Without a word, he ... continue reading
By by Tara K. E. Brelinsky
Chaos is at an all time high for sure in the midst of this on-going battle between good and evil. Before the age of internet, it took time to respond to a differing view. A letter to the editor or a phone call to your representative required you to invest real ... continue reading
By Jackie Stammen
Years ago after a retreat I attended, the Lord gave me a prayer which I've since remembered, which is kind of amazing because if there's anything I'm not so great at it's memorizing things word for word. Thank God it's a short prayer and that He knows my shortcomings ... continue reading
By Michael Seagriff
Let me repeat some obvious truths. God is more powerful than any of us. He draws each of us to Himself. He wants to excite our hearts. He longs to fill our minds and souls with the Truth. He desires that we yield ourselves totally to His will. CANASTOTA, NY - We are ... continue reading
By Wendy RN., BA, MBA
Eggs contain small amounts of almost every vitamin and mineral required by the human body. including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, manganese, Vitamin E, Folate and many more.One large egg contains (1):Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin): 9% of the RDA.Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): ... continue reading
By Jackie Stammen
There are consequences to every decision we make. With the decisions we make that are not pleasing to God, our loving Father tries to hold back the wrath that we bring upon ourselves as a result from those sins. However, as we sin more and more and as the sin goes ... continue reading
By Tara K. E. Brelinsky
My heart leaped as I raced barefooted across the cold mudroom floor. Pulling the door open, I found our little old mangy cat sitting just on the opposite side. Bending down to run my hands across her dirty winter coat, she rewarded me with a deep satisfied purr. ... continue reading
By Deacon Ian VanHeusen
In 1 Thessalonians 5:17, St. Paul writes that we should 'pray without ceasing.' This word from scripture can have two very different effects on our lives. Either we can reject it as a pious sentiment that is 'not practical,' or we can allow it to transform how we ... continue reading