Alleluia! Christ is risen! Easter reminds us of God's unending and powerful love. It is amazing what God's power can do in our lives, especially in the places where we are struggling the most. As you watch our meditation for April, consider this: What are the failed places in my life? In those I love? In our world? For what newness do I long? How can God's love flow and surge into those areas of your life? Share your thoughts below and sign up here to have our meditations delivered to your inbox once a month.
No one is a stranger to suffering. It is a part of life. Our suffering often helps us to grow and see the world in a different light, but that doesn't necessarily make it easy. Where is God within our suffering? When you find yourself struggling, do you turn to God or do you turn away in frustration, hurt, or anger? As we watch our meditation for March during this Lenten season, let us ponder and ask ourselves: Is Lent a time for suffering, awakening, or both? Do I turn to God in times of struggle? How do I accompany and support others through their struggles? We invite you to share your responses below.
With Valentine's Day being marked on February 14, this month often makes us think of love. But what is love? Is it the euphoria you feel when you first start "falling" for someone? Is it about being accepted or appreciated? What makes love so special? Why is it important? As you watch our meditation consider the following: Where do you hear God's call and challenge to grow in love? How will you respond? How are you a loving person? Share your thoughts in our comments section below. And, Happy Valentine's Day to you and your loved ones! As Cornelia Connelly, our Foundress said, "Love in strength, rather than too much sweetness."
By Sister Peggy Crowley, SHCJ
"If you are slow to get angry, you are wise. But if you are quick-tempered, you only show foolishness." -Proverbs 14:29
We’ve all been there. Our boss frowns at us and we assume it’s because we’ve done something wrong. Our fear makes us feel angry and our stress builds, leading us to snap at our co-workers all day. Later we find out that our boss was simply having a bad day. Or there’s a miscommunication about who is picking up the kids after soccer practice and as a result, you and your spouse both show up. Your impulse is to reprimand your spouse for not listening, which leads you to list numerous situations in which you don’t feel your spouse has listened to you. These situations can easily overwhelm us in life. What role can faith and prayer play in managing this type of stress? A pretty big one actually!
Did you know that in the womb, our heart starts beating before our brains are even formed? Pretty amazing! Our heartbeats aren’t just mechanical throbs of a diligent pump, but rather an intelligent language that significantly influences how we perceive and react to the world. The truth is that our emotions operate at higher speeds than our minds. (Doc Childre & Howard Martin, The HeartMind Solution) That means that we evaluate situations emotionally and we think about it afterwards. If we don’t give ourselves times to reflect and pray over the situations that upset or pressure us, stress can build and lead to overreaction. Our faith can play a significant role in helping us to manage stress.
Daniel Goleman’s research (1996) confirmed that success in life is based more on our ability to manage our emotions than on our intellectual capabilities and that a lack of success is more often than not due to our mismanagement of emotions. The good news is that the ability to manage our emotions can be developed and increased throughout life. Your faith, and especially prayer, can be especially helpful in managing your stress. Use these tips to help build your emotional resilience.
- Spend time in a particular location that provides you with a sense of security such as your local parish.
- Express your gratitude to God. Begin a gratitude journal in which you record what you are grateful for each day. Regularly recognizing all you are grateful can provide a natural buffer from stress and overreacting.
- Trust in the Word of God. Take a few moments to recognize and remember that God is in control. Some Bible passages that can provide reassurance include Matthew 11:28-30, John 14:27, and Psalm 4:8.
- Find union with God through prayer and meditation. Sign up to receive our monthly meditations in your inbox to always provide yourself with a moment of reflection and awareness where you can see God acting in your everyday life.
- Undertake an activity that you find nurturing such as reading a good book or taking a warm bath.
- Get together with a friend and talk through how you are feeling.
Try to take refuge in one or more things every day. Taking refuge in the things that nurture you can pull you away from stress and overreaction, and begin to fill you with positive influences. As you rest increasingly in a background of refuge, your mind and heart are quietly stitching a safety net for you. What other strategies do you have for managing stress and overreaction? Share your ideas below.
God is always with us. It's not always easy to remember, but there's no doubt about. Just look around you! As you watch this month's meditation, ponder the following: How is God present with you in joy, sorrow, hope, and love? Where in your life do you choose love and therefore have hope? Share your thoughts below.
The Advent and Christmas season is upon us. As you watch this meditation, reflect and share your thoughts below: How are you preparing yourself to be someone who brings love into the world this Advent season? Where are your actions dictated by love?
Our world is filled with need, but look deeper and you will also see millions of people working to meet those needs. Our Foundress, Cornelia Connelly, described this as “meeting the wants of the age” or in everyday terms, responding to the needs of our time. As we celebrate Thanksgiving later this month, consider these questions: What are you thankful for in your own life? Are there ways you are being called to make a difference in the lives of others? What is your first step to taking action? Share your ideas below our meditation.
Sister Terri MacKenzie, SHCJ (Mother Ellen Mary) has created a web site— www.ecospiritualityresources.com
—that contains examples of her ministry to deepen understanding of how God lives and acts within us and our united world. (The mission statement of the Sisters of the Holy Child Jesus reads: For this is our mission: to help others to believe that God lives and acts in them and in our world.
) The new website site houses six free Advent and Lent reflections
, written by Sister Terri, that have been used by groups in many countries.
The resource for Advent 2012 is "Paths to Peace
," and Lent 2013 is "Spirituality of Soil
Guides for future years call us to ponder the life systems of air, water, and light/energy. The last deals directly with Incarnational Spirituality. Besides these reflections, this site also includes a brief explanation of:
- Background stories
- Suggested books and sites
- Videos including Time for an Energy Change that connects global warming and fracking, the justice focus of the Sisters of the Holy Child in the American Province
- Single items such as prayer rituals for occasions and pertinent Earth justice facts, especially about fracking (the Province's justice focus for its celebration of serving in America for 150 years in 2012).
Web contents help readers better understand, in light of new scientific discoveries, the mystery of Christ among us in our interconnected world.
While ecospirituality is not a topic of interest to everyone, this site seems to be meeting a need. It had more than 700 hits in its first month, climbed to first place in the "google order," and had more than 1,800 hits by early September. Viewers have left positive comments, such as the following:
- Amazing and beautiful site… So much to return to and to ponder. Thank you!
- This is awesome! I shall return again and again.
- So much to see in the ordinary elements of life. Thank you for opening eyes to possibilities.
- I am happy and lucky to be linked to this wonderful site.
Viewers are invited to contribute reviews for the suggested books and media, and Terri welcomes all comments and suggestions. She can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com. Visit the site today!