Be Renewed


August 5

“That you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires…”

I love the idea of each of us having this “best version” of ourselves. In fact, in everything, there is always a “best” or an “ideal”. The problem, though, exists in thinking that anything beneath our “best” or “ideal” will ever bring us as much joy. Think about it- our best… our so-called ideal life is really the life God intends for us; it’s this daily effort to live according to His call and His will. Anything else (meaning, anything less than what He wants from us) is simply not ultimately what He longs for us to have or to be. So in reality, our best version is simply striving to be all He calls us to be. Our best is His will. And it’s never too hard because He doesn’t call us to do things we cannot attain. So, as a result, we each are called to put away the parts of us that aren’t of Him. That old self, the one that isn’t our ideal version, the corrupted nature and the sinful desires, needs to be transformed into the self He has created from the beginning- our best.

Tonight, ask Him to strip away all the corrupt parts. What lies beneath is so beautiful…because, well, it’s your best.

They Went and Told Jesus

August 4

“They went and told Jesus.”

Imagine the scene when His disciples came to tell Him what happened with John, someone so dear to Jesus. Can you feel the grief, the intense sadness that our Lord experiences in that moment? What if it was someone you knew and loved… a good friend or your family member? How would you feel if someone came to tell you such horrible news?

I can imagine Jesus really wept; I can picture His beautiful heart and how broken it must have been at such tragedy. Are you ever tempted to think that Jesus didn’t experience human emotion like we do? That because He was fully divine, He was somehow spared from the pain of sadness? If so, I want to remind you— He was fully human.

If you’ve ever seen a picture or video scene from the Garden of Gethsemane, when our Lord’s agony in the garden took place, you’ll remember the horrific intensity of what He endured before His crucifixion… while the disciples slept. Like us, He was tempted, he suffered, and he hurt. Yet, unlike us, He constantly said “Thy will be done.”

Tonight, say a prayer for your family and friends and thank our Lord for their gift of life. And remember how precious they are.

Their Lack of Faith


August 3

“A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and in his own house. And he did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith.”

Do you ever feel like people listen so well to you and take your advice and guidance… except those closest to you? And while I know Jesus didn’t struggle with people remembering His past (the way they do with ours… because of our sins and past transgressions), He still was questioned and second guessed by those He knew well. Jesus was questioned by others, y’all. Jesus of all people!

The key for us in dealing with those closest to us is patience, humility, and yep… charity. It can be so frustrating watching those we love struggle with sin and making bad choices; yet, God calls us to love them through it all and to remain a beacon of light and hope as His instrument. In being patient, humble and charitable, we are drawn deeper into our relationship with Him, and thus, He guides us in our interactions.

Remember, Jesus struggled with this, and so will we. Ask Him to give you the strength and courage to face those you love with a virtuous and kind heart, and watch Him transform them (and you) in His time!

He Tried Again


August 2

“I went down to the potter’s house and there he was, working at the wheel.
Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased. Then the word of the Lord came to me: ‘Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done?’”

I almost want to just stop here and let this reading from Jeremiah speak for itself. But, I do want to share a little.

There is nothing that our Lord cannot repair— hearts, bodies, souls, minds… every single bit of us belongs to Him; as the ultimate physician, He can heal anything.

Truth: He is always searching and waiting for us; He meets us EXACTLY where we are. He molds us, shapes us, heals us, fixes us, and completes us. He takes our brokenness and repairs it. He takes our wounds and cleans them. He takes our missing pieces and puts them back together again. He is the potter, we are the clay.

Never think you are too far gone or too wretched. He is always waiting to bring you home and lead you into eternal Happiness and wholeness.

Pearls


August 1

“Jesus said to his disciples: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.’”

The Gospel of Matthew does an incredible job with imagery, here- treasure, finds, joy, sells all, buys, Heaven, fine pearls, great price. Wow, what a vision! You can picture the Gospel while reading it. // Even more than imagery, the truth underlying this Gospel is so real you can touch it. How often has this been a reality in your own life— that you find something that exceeds everything in your imagination? Not very often, I would guess. That’s because fine pearls and treasure are rare and priceless.

The first thing I think of in a natural sense is marriage. A real, true love is a joy that can’t be found every single day. And when you find it? You give everything you can to hold onto it. You let go of anything that keeps you from becoming all you’re created to be in order to allow Him to work wonders. You don’t squander it, and you know you can’t replace it.

That’s like Heaven. It requires us to find Him again and again, and to never stop searching for the treasures of virtue He places in our midst.

Tonight, thank God for the fine pearls He has put in your life, and ask Him to change your heart ever more in order to prepare you for the ultimate treasure of Heaven.

The Son of Man


July 31

“He said in reply, ‘He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.’”

Lately I’ve recognized that when I pray Night Prayer (as my last prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours each day), I rush through the actual examination of conscience and avoid looking over my day and my actions. I assume I haven’t done anything “bad” enough to justify actually pondering the last 24 hours, so I jump straight into the other prayers.

Here’s my first mistake: I’m rushed. And the goal for me of praying the Liturgy of the Hours is to formulate a lifestyle that revolves around prayer and not the other way around. So when it comes to Night Prayer? Y’all, I’m failing at it.

But there’s good news— I have a loving Father who is ready to meet me where I am and to sow something beautiful out of my, well, laziness. He is the sower of good seed…and if I let Him, I can become whatever He allows me to be.

Who are you allowing to sow the seeds in your life? It’s so easy to wash our hands of the things that seem small; but in reality, all the “small” things add up. And before we know it, we aren’t letting Him sow anymore.

Tonight, on this special Memorial of St. Ignatius of Loyola, let’s honor him and do a simple examination of conscience. And see how large your faith grows as a result!

Faith


July 30

“The Kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants.”

This verse from the Gospel today makes me think of the beauty of life. We all start in the tiniest form and because of nurturing, we grow into the magnificent creatures we are! From the moment of our conception throughout our entire life, He has formed us day after day.

Isn’t that how our faith is supposed to be? Through His grace, we grow deeper and deeper in the supernatural virtue of faith and learn to trust more and more in our Father’s love.

God meets us where we are, and He transforms even the smallest of faith. Just like the gift of life, He takes us at our smallest and turns us into His greatest of creatures.
Entrust Him with your littleness, wherever you are, and watch Him tend to you. You’ll be blooming in no time!

The Hand of the Lord


July 29

“The eyes of all look hopefully to you, and you give them their food in due season; you open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”

Let’s break this apart.

We all look to Him. He gives, He provides. He satisfies. Hopeful. Due Season. Desires.

When we look to our Father, our heart must be hopeful that He can, and will, provide. Yet, it’s so easy to get impatient, worried, afraid… and we try and do it on our own.
He provides for us in due season; this means He gives us what He wants us to have in His time… not ours.

Finally, our desires must be pure… they must be His desires for us.

When I stop and reread the above passage, I am reminded how good He is… how perfect His timing is… and how lovely the desires of my heart are when in line with His perfection.

My Father truly has, does, and will continue to provide all the needs and wants of my heart.

And He will do the same for you.
Entrust this to Him. Have faith He will provide. And let go.

One Day in your Courts


July 28

“I had rather one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.”

“No, if you pull up the weeds you might uproot the wheat along with them. Let them grow together until harvest; then at harvest time I will say to the harvesters, ‘First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles for burning; but gather the wheat into my barn.’”

These are two of my favorite verses in Scripture (I know I say that a lot), and how perfectly do they go together!

Getting to spend one day with our Lord supersedes any day anywhere else; so how important is it that I make sure the garden of my heart is full of wheat… and not weeds!
You see, what we do matters; who we are matters; how we treat others matters.

Our actions are a reflection of what we believe. If we truly believe He is who He says He is, then we are who He says we are— His people. Thus, our actions should reflect that.

Let’s keep in mind how beautiful our days with Him will be, because of how beautiful they currently are. And while we are at it, let’s live it!

Four Choices


July 27

Four choices:

A. The seed sown on the path
B. The seed sown on rocky ground
C. The seed sown among thorns
D. The seed sown on rich soil

I remember reading this passage years ago and thinking I was for sure living as if I was the seed sown among rich soil; how could I not be?! And then God started to pull up the roots… and I realized I was no where near rich soil. And He replanted me.

Our lives are full of opportunities to explore where we are. Every day is a new opportunity to dig and replant. Looking at the root is so important. We cannot fully become all we were created to be if we are not planted deep in rich soil.

Reread the Gospel tonight, and ask our Lord where you are. Then, ask Him to uproot you, and plant you amongst the most fertile of soil. Then, watch Him water the garden of your soul. You’ll be blooming in no time!