Walk in Her Sandals WINE Lenten Book Club
Faith and I visiting and praying at Venerable Fr. Patrick Peyton's Grave. #Love
In March, I traveled to Scottsbluff, Nebraska to give a Retreat focusing on the how much we actually have in common with Our Blessed Mother. There I met the most amazing women. At the end, I was blessed with this sweet Rosary Bracelet chaplet and a card which was moment of #grace #strength and wow! Prayers answered in the most incredible way! #Godcidence
Scripture is a significant part of my daily prayer routine. During Lent, I try to spend extra time coming to know the Lord through His Word. Which often includes great #sacrifice to find the time.
Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy call for us to care for the dead. A devotion to the Holy Souls in Purgatory has brought me much comfort over the years. I am never left #empty when I lift these dear souls in prayer. #RIP
On Day 25 the challenge was to share an image of #Mary. For giggles, I decided to make a collage of just the photos presently available in my phone's memory. If you thought, "she probably has more," you were 100% correct!
How is Your Lent Going?
It is never too late to start your Lenten Journey. Join the Instagram Challenge Here:
ReconciledToYou and Join the WINE Book Club HERE!
Delight yourself in the LORD;
And He will give you
the desires of your heart.”
Delight Yourself in the Lord
The first part was easier than I thought to accomplish because the Catholic faith is so rich in ways to encounter Christ in our everyday, ordinary life. I could not imagine my life not filled with prayer, Scripture and the Sacraments. St. Paul exhorted us to pray without ceasing, so whether folding laundry, driving the car or reading a book, I do everything with a prayerful heart. I will say a prayer of thanksgiving for each member of my family as I put their dishes into the dishwasher, say the rosary in the car or taking a walk, or praise the Lord for the talent bestowed an author as I read their book.
Lastly, the Sacraments are where I go to dip into God’s well-spring of grace. Grace is that undeserved yet freely given gift of God’s Holy Spirit within us.* That Spirit born from His great love that moves us to deeper faith, obedience, and hope. When I am feeling distant or discouraged, the remedy is always found in participation in and living out the grace found within the Sacraments. Particularly finding additional times during the week for Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, or making a really good (and frequent) Confession. Gifts are best when they are received, opened, and used. I try my best never to waste the grace present, promised, and abundant in the Sacraments!
*That is the simplified “Allison abridged” version of grace – by the way.
The Desires God has Placed upon Your Heart
That is where God is the most generous – since He has given us our lives, we can make a reasonable conclusion that those sweet desires placed upon our hearts, came also from Him. If nothing else, He is well aware of them. My worry about which desire I would want the Lord to fulfill was moot. All I am called to do is to focus on delighting myself in the Lord. My fidelity is all He requires.
This article in its entirety (which is not here) first appeared on fiction author, Erin McCole Cupp's website on October 26, 2015. You can read the rest here!
How do you delight yourself in the Lord?
What desire of your heart has He fulfilled?
The Time Before I Thought to Talk To God
Prayer had never been a natural part of my life, aside from the Rosary my mother made us pray during thunder storms and the occasional “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” as a child before bed.
Armed with this new knowledge about prayer, my relationship with God rose to a height I never imagined possible. The strengthened relationship came from discovering the five types of prayer presented in the Catechism. Each one represented to me new opportunities to enter into a dialogue with God. While I was aware of petitioning God for favors such as help out of the pending speeding ticket as the officer approached my car, the idea that I could bless, praise, or adore him was not part of my prayer vocabulary. Even the fullness of intercessory prayer eluded me; my immature faith understanding put a limit on the number of prayers God would answer so I tended to hoard them. Overall this was fine as I did not travel in circles where people went around readily asking for prayers; never mind the notion of turning to saints for intercession. Saints were holidays – Valentine, Patrick, and Nicholas – not heavenly helpers.
Thanks to my friend, and her simple book recommendation, I discovered these five types of prayer; and this Lent, I am revisiting them to continue strengthening my relationship with God.
Every Day Ordinary Prayer
- Blessing and Adoration (CCC 2626-2628)
Two fundamental forms express this movement: our prayer ascends in the Holy Spirit through Christ to the Father – we bless him for having blessed us; it implores the grace of the Holy Spirit that through Christ from the Father – he blesses us. ~ CCC 2627
2. Petition (CCC 2629-2633)
Next we will look at the one probably most familiar types of prayer: the asking, sometimes maybe even begging, for something from God. If I am honest, I did not expect to learn anything new from the Catechism with regard to the prayer of petition. Ever since my first math exam, I had figured out pretty quickly how to seek the Lord’s help in my life. Only a fool believes she has God’s ways all figured out, because just three paragraphs in, I read this:
The first movement of the prayer of petition is asking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that “we receive from him whatever we ask.” Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer. ~ CCC 2631
Being a mother of three has given me an interesting insight into the necessity of seeking forgiveness before offering a prayer of petition. My darling children have all had their moments when self-absorption or self-interest have gotten in the way of their good judgement or behavior. They have all had their turns of ignoring my commands, skipping out on obligations or duties, or failing to help around the house. Oblivious to the consequences of this behavior, these same children have come petitioning for rides, money, or help and are perplexed by my denial of their requests.
The motive for my holding back is to teach them a lesson to protect them from believing that behavior is acceptable. I want to train them to be the best version of themselves. My decisions, whether they see it this way or not, are always for their good. It always astonishes me how much of a child I really am in light of my faith and relationship with God the Father. How often I got about my everyday life ignoring God’s commands, dismissing the Spirit’s promptings to serve others, yet I fully anticipate an outpouring of answered prayers when I approach him.
3. Intercession (CCC 2634-2636)
Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm. ~ CCC 2635
So Many Ways to Pray to Jesus
4. Thanksgiving (CCC 2637-2638)
As in the prayer of petition, every event and need can become an offering of thanksgiving. The letters of St. Paul often begin and end with thanksgiving, and the Lord Jesus is always present in it: “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you”; “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.”
~ CCC 2638
Yet, there were elements of those most difficult circumstances that were good and I could thank him for them. In Romans 8:28, St. Paul clarified, at least to me, this paradox a bit more when he writes, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”
In all circumstances, we can find something to thank God in; even in the situations that don’t turn out the way we wanted. The house, was struck but did not burn down and my dad finally put up that metal rod to ground our antenna (clearly this was an incident from 1970-something). The car I was driving that fateful morning was a big, old, heavy-duty Ford Granada, and the only thing broken in the accident was my nose. Thank you God for sparing my life, and I pray that young man also learned from this harrowing event. Thank you God that my parents can have peace which trickled down to all of us kids; and I pray our home was a blessing to the many families that inhabited after us.
5. Praise (CCC 2639-2643)
Praise is the form of prayer which recognizes most immediately that God is God. It lauds God for his own sake and gives him glory, quite beyond what he does, but simply because HE IS. It shares in the blessed happiness of the pure of heart who love God in faith before seeing him in glory. By praise, the Spirit is joined to our spirits to bear witness that we are children of God, testifying to the only Son in whom we are adopted and by whom we glorify the Father. Praise embraces the other forms of prayer and carries them toward him who is its source and goal: the “one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist.”
~ CCC 2639
It was then I opened the Psalms and started to practice praise using those beautiful songs. From that time forward whenever I find myself struggling with anxiety, sadness or doubt I still turn to music. Contemporary Christian music has taught me how to praise and worship God when I have no words or even desire to pray. Music can fill my heart, it is a wonderful way to praise the Lord, much like David and his Psalms.
Talking with Jesus One Prayer at a Time
What is Grace? and Why Do I Need It?
Filling Our Grace Well
Entering into Conversation with God aka Prayer
- Rosary as prayer abacus. I employ this alternative use for the Rosary when I am having either a very distracted day or one filled with many prayer requests. For each bead, I bring to mind someone needing a prayer – offering that bead’s prayer for their specific intentions. At the end of the Rosary, I have prayed for at least 55 people. In praying the Rosary, grace abounds.
- Turn your inner voice to one of constant communication with those in heaven. Engage your Guardian Angel, Blessed Mother or favorite Saints (aka Your Saint Posse) in dialog. You will find the conversations not only more useful and encouraging, but it will also help you move closer to St . Paul’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing”.
- Do you feel like you spend all day in your car? What about praying for the intentions (known or unknown) for those in the houses you pass in your travels. I call this, “praying my town.” I offer prayers as I pass by homes of sick friends, families with new babies, as well as the police and fire stations. I also pray for the souls in Purgatory, with either the Requiem Prayer or this short prayer, “Jesus, Mary I love you, save souls” when I drive past a cemetery.
Online Pray More Lenten Retreat
- Learn more about the incredible mystical beauty of the Liturgy so to be fully present for each celebration of the Eucharist. Some of my favorite current books on the Mass include A Biblical Walk Through the Mass by Edward Sri, Seven Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn and The Power of Daily Mass by Bert Ghezzi.
- Get Ye to Adoration. Why? St. Alphonsus Liguori makes one of the best arguments for finding a way to work this incredible practice into your week:
- “Know also that you will probably gain more by praying fifteen minutes before the Blessed Sacrament than by all the other spiritual exercises of the day. True, Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, for He has made the promise, ‘Ask, and you shall receive,’ but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament will obtain a more abundant measure of grace.”
- Frequent Confession. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of great healing. When we come to the Priest to confess we are doing more than leaving our sins at the foot of the cross, we are being filled with God’s grace to go forward and sin no more (or at least sin a bit less). This a great gift that we all need to open more than just once a year!
Choose one scripture verse a month to memorize. Some suggestions from the well-spring of scripture that has blessed and transformed my life:
How Do YOU Fill your Grace Well?
What are some of your Favorite ways to build a stronger faith
foundation through Prayer, Sacramentm and Scripture?
Technology Solutions for the 3 Tenets of Lent
As your typical overachiever, I always have way more plans (or at least options) than I could ever balance or sustain. I suppose I just shoot high and contentedly settle for mid- to low results. It is my excitement with the out-flowing of grace during this season that gets the planning juices flowing.
Praying for the Living and the Dead – making this not only suitable for Lent but also appropriate for this Jubilee Year of Mercy.
- Live The Fast Not only does this site offer great resources for a fruitful fast, but they also offer specially formulated breads to assist physically in the art of fasting. The lost art of fasting – but Andy LaVallee and his team are sure doing good stuff to help bring it back in a powerful way!
- What You Give Up For Lent Changes Lives (Jeff Young, The Catholic Foodie)
- Lenten Inspirations from CRS Rice Bowl (BarbSzyszkiewicz, OFS)
- Engaging Teenagers this Lent using the CRS Rice Bowl App (Allison Gingras)
The quote,“Love isn’t love, until you give it away” attributed to Oscar Hammerstein II, came to mind as I contemplated how I would address almsgiving in this Lenten column. As I googled the quote’s origins, I came across this beautiful Reba McIntyre song. I decided it would make the perfect accompaniment to our pondering where God is calling us to show charity this Lent.
This article first appeared in Catholicmom.com, Feb 12, 2016
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2018
is a Catholic speaker, blogger, podcaster and writer. She believes that the Grace of God received through Prayer, Sacrament, and Scripture is the easiest and best way to grow in our faith.
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