Meditation of the Day -A Man Must Go Through a Great Conflict With Himself

“A man must go through a long and great conflict in himself before he can learn fully to overcome himself, and to draw his whole affection towards God. When a man stands upon himself he is easily drawn aside after human comforts. But a true lover of Christ, and a diligent pursuer of virtue, does not hunt after comforts, nor seek such sensible sweetnesses, but is rather willing to bear strong trials and hard labors for Christ.”— Thomas a’ Kempis, p. 64

Daily Meditation – By Accepting Our Sufferings, We Spare Ourselves Much Harder Ones

“By accepting the sufferings ‘offered’ by life and allowed by God for our progress and purification, we spare ourselves much harder ones. We need to develop this kind of realism and, once and for all, stop dreaming of a life without suffering or conflict. That is the life of heaven, not earth. We must take up our cross and follow Christ courageously every day; the bitterness of that cross will sooner or later be transformed into sweetness.”— Fr. Jacques Philippe, p. 49

//Catholic Company//

Bible Love Notes – 3 Ways to Avoid Under-Thinking a Problem

God created us with different strengths and there are blessings in being introspective and blessings in being laid-back. 

However, most strengths have accompanying weaknesses.

Introspective people can “over-think” problems and laid-back people can “under-think” them. Over-thinkers need to replace obsessive thoughts with God thoughts. (see Over Thinking)

Under-thinkers need to face problems squarely:

1. Dealing with conflict instead of ignoring it.
Matthew 5:23-24

2. Caring deeply about personal sin instead of excusing it.
James 4:8-10

3. Praying about everything, being alert, giving situations the time and effort they deserve.
Colossians 4:2

Laid back people don’t let their minds ruminate over problems. They can help over-thinkers put things in perspective and leave their problems at the feet of Christ because the problems of this world are insignificant in light of eternity.

But they must avoid denying or ignoring problems, refusing to give them the time and prayer they deserve. 

What personality type are you – introspective or laid-back? Why not find a prayer partner who has the opposite strength.

Minute Meditation – What is Refuge?

What exactly is refuge? It’s vastly different than shelter. Refuge is deeper, scarier. The stakes are higher when you need refuge. Shelter is from temperatures dropping and the chance of rain. You can probably make it through without shelter. But without refuge, you’re vulnerable and truly alone. Refuge is wind blowing the cedars as far as they will bend, thunder that jolts you and an absolutely black night that has suddenly fallen. And you’re running toward home. The need for it is deeper in the body. When you find shelter, you can calmly peer out. But the need for refuge makes you look within. I could never add up the number of hours I’ve spent alone staring out the window at that void. Those are the deepest darkest loneliest hours. I feel that darkness filling me, as I am part of it. In you, Lord, I take refuge; let me never be put to shame (Ps 31:1). When I remember to say a prayer, it comes as a cluster of stars on the periphery, and I’m not quite sure I even saw any green sparkle, but I try again. A Hail Mary. A Jesus Please. I can’t even call that relief “embers” because embers stay awhile. When I cannot sleep because I am reliving some conflict I endured that day, one I feel I cannot undo, when I’m imagining some future event which I fear is going to flood me with more heartache and sink me, and God, at last, finds me in the dark, I fall asleep, and when I wake up, I don’t know at what point I finally let that refuge enclose me. The psalms are all about the contrasts in our lives. Like a riveting black-and-white photo, there’s gradations: vivid cool to dramatic warm to dramatic cool. Refuge honors the challenge of the silver tone moments turning to noir.

— from the book What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms

by Maureen O’Brien

//Franciscan Media//

Bible Love Notes – 6 Things I Did Wrong as a Daughter-in-law

It’s so easy for a daughter-in-law to have a messy relationship with her mother-in-law, and we usually lay the blame on the mom. But I realize I did 6 things in my relationship with my mother-in-law that caused major problems:  

1. Thinking she should do things like my mother.
We all grow up with certain expectations of family life…who will help with the dishes, who initiates holiday events, how gift-giving is handled, etc. We need to allow our husband’s mother her differences without being offended. 

2. Sharing my beliefs in a self-righteous way.
Whether our in-laws are Christians or not, we can offend them by sharing our faith without love and grace. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our faith but we should share it graciously. 

3. Handling Conflict poorly 
Conflict is a real test of honor. Honor requires that we express our differences with grace and respect, listening carefully, trying to understand, answering carefully and prayerfully. Even if our in-laws show little respect for us, we’re called to the higher standard of honor. 

We should do our best to seek reconciliation. See You Can’t Serve God if You Refuse.

4. Not Encouraging My Husband to Honor His Parents 
If I’m my husband’s helpmate, I’ll encourage him to become the person God wants him to be. This means reminding my husband to call his parents, to remember the things that are important to them, to pray for them, to build his relationship with them—it’s commanded by God with a promise attached…a promise that will affect my life and my children’s lives, not simply my husband. 

5. Having A Selfish Perspective 
It wasn’t until God got a hold of my heart in this area that I started looking at things from my mother-in-law’s perspective instead of simply from my own. When I did, I could look back on things we’d said and done and realize how disrespectful or hurtful they had been. 

6. Being Petty 

Sometimes we just need to overlook the small stuff…not even talk about it…just let it go. 

“Homework”: study these verses this week and ask God to help you apply them to your relationship with your in-laws. 

Philippians 2:3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value [your mother-in-law] above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. 

Ephesians 6:2 “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” 

Matthew 7:1-5: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your [mother-n-law’s] eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your [mother-in-law], ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your [mother-in-law’s] eye. 

Bible Love Notes – When Christians Don’t Get Along

Are you sometimes confused by disagreements and conflict between Christians? Shouldn’t believers get along?

It’s true that applying biblical principles to our relationships will improve them, but we are still imperfect people.

Paul and Barnabas, both mighty men of God, had a strong disagreement and parted ways (Acts 15:36-41).

I recently read that Elizabeth Elliot and Rachel Saint, both mighty women of God, didn’t get along very well either. They ended up parting ways.*

Reading between the lines, we’d find similar situations in many biographies of great saints.

We won’t automatically like every Christian, and we won’t work well with every Christian. 

But God never asked us to “like” everyone or work with everyone. He asks this:  

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

The Bible in a Year – Day 62 – Spies Sent to Canaan

The Bible in a Year (with Fr. Mike Schmitz)

Day 62: Spies Sent to Canaan

As we read Numbers 12 and 13, Deuteronomy 11, and Psalm 94, Fr. Mike reflects on the conflict between Aaron, Miriam, and Moses and explains why Miriam appears to be the only one punished. He also mentions the lack of trust the people continue to have in God, as they discover that the land of Canaan is occupied by a seemingly stronger force.

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