Minute Meditation – Intention / Attention

God looks at us the way a good dad looks at his son or daughter. When it comes to prayer, our heavenly Father sees our hearts, our sincere desires to pray well, not just our final products in prayer. So even if our praying of the rosary ends up being just a bunch of scribbles, we should remember that God can write straight with our crooked lines.

He can delight in our good intentions, our sincere desires to please him in prayer, even if we lose fervor or our minds go someplace else. Having a good intention is more important than maintaining perfect attention throughout the prayer.

—from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth
by Edward Sri

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Intention/Attention | Franciscan Media

Minute Meditation – Death is Not an Ending

Our faith has a way of answering questions and helping us understand that their deaths and those of all our loved ones are not signs of an ending, but rather a new beginning for them. The separation is only physical, though that initially is very painful. Spiritually, we are never separated from them. That’s because the God we believe in and who revealed to us the truth about life, death and life eternal never separates people who love one another. God is love. Why would he separate loving people?

They are closer than ever. We can’t see them, but they can see us. They can hear us and they still watch over us; that’s what mothers do! And our faith reminds us that there is a reunion waiting for us when we have completed our journey on earth. What a reunion that will be!

—from St. Anthony Messenger‘s “Notes from a Friar: A Mother’s Love
by Jim Van Vurst, OFM

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Death Is Not an Ending | Franciscan Media

Minute Meditation – God Give You Peace

St. Francis of Assisi was a medieval man to his core, yet his problems were not dissimilar to what we face today: ongoing health crises, civil instability, emotional desolation, and deep anguish. But once he stripped himself of all things worldly, Francis understood that no wound was beyond God’s ability to heal. 

In a letter Francis wrote to Brother Leo, an early friar, his salutation should be on the lips of everyone who loves those suffering in mind or spirit: “May God smile on you and be merciful to you. May God turn his regard toward you and give you peace.”

—from St. Anthony Messenger‘s “Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness
by Christopher Heffron

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‘God Give You Peace’ | Franciscan Media

Minute Meditation – God Appreciates Our Prayers

Whatever struggles you may face with the rosary, never walk away feeling discouraged. If your mind wanders, if you don’t feel the fervor, or if you’re very sleepy while praying, remember that the words you are reciting are biblical and holy. Simply pulling out your beads and saying the sacred words is giving something beautiful to God, even if your heart or mind is not as into it as you’d like.

Moreover, as St. Thomas Aquinas taught, the intention to pray is itself the beginning of prayer. In fact, he wrote in his Summa Theologiae, “It is not necessary that prayer should be attentive throughout; because the force of the original intention with which one sets about praying renders the whole prayer meritorious.” If we sincerely desire to give God our best in the rosary, but we lose attention and fervor, that foundational good intention is still a beautiful gift to God. So even if our performance of the rosary is not as great as we’d like it to be, that doesn’t wipe out the foundation of a good intention.

—from the book Praying the Rosary Like Never Before: Encounter the Wonder of Heaven and Earth
by Edward Sri

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God Appreciates Our Prayers | Franciscan Media

Minute Meditation – Love Conquers Sin

It was because Christ was the perfect adorer of God, the perfect bridge between creatures and the Creator, that he could bridge the gap created by sin. Sin was not first in God’s intentions; but because we sinned, when God does come among us as Jesus Christ, his perfect adoration ends up being his perfect sacrifice.

He didn’t come to repair sin, he came to be the firstborn perfect creature; but because we sinned, he showed us just how great is God’s love: God not only becomes one of us, but he dies with and for us and made peace “through the blood of his cross.”

—from the book Nourishing Love: A Franciscan Celebration of Mary
by Murray Bodo, OFM

Love Conquers Sin | Franciscan Media

Minute Meditation – God’s Playful Spirit

What if our relationship with God is as simple but as joyful and sweet as spending the day playing with our grandchildren? We are delighted with their every tentative move, questioning eyes, captivating smiles, out-of-left-field antics, half-blurted syllables. Before someone hauls me before the Inquisition for heretical ideas, may I offer the scenario of the third joyful mystery, the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ? The three Wise Men traveled from afar, guided by the bright star, anticipating the once-in-a-lifetime meeting with the promised Messiah.

At the end of their long and harrowing journey, there was Jesus, asleep in the manger—a beautiful, gentle, innocent baby.

Our loving God will do anything to gladden our hearts. Anything to make our day. Surely, God will happily play with us, as Christ did with his earthly parents, Mary and Joseph. Can we open our hearts, “become like children” (Mt 18:3), and allow God to play with us?

—from the blog “At Play in the Fields of the Lord“
by Ed Gamboa, MD

God’s Playful Spirit | Franciscan Media

Mary’s Yes

Mary’s Yes

She is remembering now what she has stored up in her heart all these years. It began the first time she experienced the Light that is God. It dwelled inside the angel’s words, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). That is what happened in the very moment of the angel’s speaking. And she embraced the light that was the words themselves.

She said yes to so beautiful a proposal, its light, its love. And she said simply that she was God’s handmaid. May it be done to her according to God’s word spoken by the angel. And the Light then filled her whole being. And the angel left her alone with the light illumining her womb.

—from the book Nourishing Love: A Franciscan Celebration of Mary
by Murray Bodo, OFM

Mary’s Yes | Franciscan Media

God’s Plan is Joy

Joy sees the world as God intended; it is a reaction to all God is doing in our lives now and in the future. It is a choice we make based on the knowledge that God loves us and is with us through all our life experiences. 

One simple way to increase joy is to smile more. You may feel awkward at first, but it works. Start by imagining yourself smiling happily, like a child playing on a swing set or jumping in the ocean waves. Then practice it in the mirror—a great big toothy grin. A genuine smile involves the eyes and the mouth. It releases stress-lowering neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine into the bloodstream. This means that smiling begets more smiling. It reminds us that there is still joy in life. 

—from St. Anthony Messenger‘s “How to Grow in Holiness
by Colleen Arnold, MD

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God’s Way, Not Ours

It is very easy to engage in “if only” thinking: If only I had been born into a wealthier family, if only I had the advantage of a better education, if only I knew more influential people who could advance my career, and so on. “If only” thinking suggests that I am a spectator of my life, not an active participant in it.

Someone who constantly engages in “if only” thinking will never truly be at peace. She or he imagines that the key to happiness lies in someone else’s hands, someone who is withholding that key. Jesus’s words will often seem an obstacle because the “if only” thinkers tend to forget that Jesus suffered and died on a cross. If Jesus had followed their example, his time on the cross would have been filled with rumination over his bad luck. The Gospels, especially the Gospel of John, show Jesus as very deliberate in his choices. He rules—even from the cross.

—from the book Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi
by Pat McCloskey, OFM

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Light in the Darkness

Jesus told us that we’re the light of the world, and do we ever take him seriously when we’re celebrating his birth! We string lights inside and outside, wrapped around pillars and fences, trailing from rooftops. Now we have laser light shows that play on the front of the house. We string lights in the house around doorways and up and down stairs. The tree might have big lights, little lights, LED lights, bubble lights, and a lighted star at the very top. And no matter how old we get, there’s still a little bit of magic when we switch them on. Our love of light may go all the way back to an ancestral memory, at least in the northern hemisphere, of fearing the darkness and the cold of winter. The twinkling holiday lights give us not so much utilitarian light as a sparkle and dazzle that imitates the stars on a crisp cold night. So it’s not surprising that spiritual teachers through the millennia, beginning even before Jesus, have used light as a metaphor for holiness, for joy, for peace.

As researchers study the effect of various kinds of light on the parts of our brain that control waking and sleeping as well as mood disorders, we gain knowledge and insight. People in climates that have long stretches of dark, gray days have learned to use light therapy to keep depression and seasonal affective disorder at bay. But mostly, we’re putting a name to what we already know instinctively: Light makes us happy.

—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek

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