Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Going Beyond





  Today let us meditate on these words from Pope Benedict XVI.  Take a few quiet moments today to listen to the whispers of God's voice.  As you speak with God today be light on your toes so that He will come and pull you close to His loving heart.  Do not let any burdens weigh you down or stand as an obstacle between you and God.  Let His Presence to fill you, as you allow your thoughts to drift beyond the earthly horizon, until they are nestled between God's Wisdom and Understanding.  Allow yourself to experience the splendor of His love for as long as you can and ask for the grace to love Him more.
  They say the path to heaven is narrow.  Perhaps then, we should just trust God to carry us there, Himself.

-Susan

Monday, August 22, 2016

Admiring the Beauty of God's Creation

   
Although it is a little sad to admit, summer is coming to a close, and autumn is slowly creeping closer. This is one of my favorite times of year, the little sliver between summer and fall. To me,  the mixture of these two beautiful seasons, always reminds my of the beautiful world God created. Every time I witness a breathtaking beachside sunset, or a tree that is slowly changing its color palette, I think to myself, "If God made earth this beautiful, just imagine how Heaven will be." Try taking a minute, every time you see the beauty of God in nature, to thank Him. Thank Him for creating you, and the world around you. Also try looking for the beauty of God everywhere you go, you may be surprised by what you see.

-Theresa

Friday, August 19, 2016

It All Adds Up!

  

God's love + Jesus' love + Holy Spirit's love is the gift of life created in you.  You are an amazing person!  We often spend too much time worrying about our shortcomings.  We need to remember that we weren't made to be perfect.  We were made with love and to love.  I would like to challenge everyone to share this powerful love, the very core of your being, with someone today.  Let's surprise God today, and all just come together and love each other.

-Susan

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Dwelling With The Spirit - 1 year Anniversary



    I can't believe how fast time flies, one year has already past since we first started this blog!!! When my mom and I first started this blog, we didn't know what to expect. We didn't know exactly what to write about, how to go about creating it, or if anyone would actually read what we wrote. All we knew that was we wanted to spread the word of God in a fresh new way. We had one goal, evangelization.

    I remember when I first shared with my mom the idea of starting a blog which would feature some of her amazing writings about our faith. For some reason I was scared she would turn down my idea, but to my surprise she loved it.  We have been a team, proofreading each others posts, helping edit each other's pictures and videos, inspiring each other, and praying together. 

    Originally, I only wanted to be the editor, manager, and creator of the blog, but my mom convinced me that I should post some of my writings too. I am so glad I did. It is such an amazing feeling to know that somebody likes what you wrote, or that it made them think. Blogging is such a powerful tool.  It has given me the chance to see my faith and evangelization in a whole new light.  I am so thankful for each and every person who reads this blog. This blog would't be what it is today without all of you who inspire my mom and I to keep writing, and spreading the amazing word of God.

God Bless,
Theresa


  Please continue to journey with us.  It is exciting to know that we have readers from more than thirty different countries.  Though we are miles (and even continents) apart from each other, our lives are linked together by the power of the Holy Spirit.  God is truly amazing!
  We would love to hear from you.  Please feel free to press the "contact us" page and say hello.  If you have a faith story you would like to share, we would like to invite you to be a guest writer.  Evangelizing the world is an exciting quest!  I hope you allow the Holy Spirit to dwell in you and to share His presence with all those you encounter.

May the peace of Christ be with you,
Susan



Monday, August 15, 2016

Mary's Assumption into Heaven



  Today let us celebrate with Mary!  I love imaging this moment in my mind.  I can just see Mary smiling radiantly at Jesus, and Jesus returning the smile with all His love.  Imagine Mary's joy to be able to hold her Son's hand once again!  I wonder what words Jesus spoke as He and Mary entered Heaven.  I wonder if Jesus looked around and said, "Hey everyone I want you to meet my Mom!" 
  I believe Jesus wants everyone to personally meet His Mother and love her the way He does.  Do yourself a favor and don't miss this opportunity.  Invite Mary into your life.  Embrace her with both arms the way Jesus would!  Let the joy of heaven touch your heart and inspire you to a deeper understanding of God's love for Mary!
Ave Maria!

-Susan

Friday, August 12, 2016

100% Committed- The Conclusion

  As we walked back into the gym, Sister Clara invited us to find a comfortable place to sit.  "I want to tell you how much I have enjoyed these last few weeks with you.  I want to leave you with one last thought before our final meditation.  Never take for granted your relationship with Jesus.  Let your faith be 100% Committed to discovering all you can about Him."


(Press play to start the meditation)



-Susan

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

100% Committed-part 8

(Please read previous posts in this series- 100% Committed, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7).

  It was the third and final week of my class with Sister Clara.  I wondered what we would be doing today.  I smiled as I remembered jumping into the pond last week.  I was really happy I had signed up for these classes. I was definitely making positive changes in my life.  I was letting my faith become more active.  I was no longer satisfied with letting my faith be the silent part of me that I allowed out on a Sunday morning or late at night to pray.  I found that my faith and my moments of prayer throughout the day were actually encouraging me to see my life in a whole new light.  It felt invigorating.
  As I entered the building, I saw Renee chatting with a few others.  I smiled when I noticed she wore shorts today.
  "Kay, how's it going?" Renee called out.  "We have to wait here.  There not letting anyone in yet.  I guess they're still setting things up."
  "Do you know what their setting up?" I asked intrigued.
  "No.  But I feel like it would be a safe guess to say that I will not be swimming in a pond today.  I did wear shorts, though, just in case."  We both started laughing.
  Just then we heard the door to the gym open.  "Hello everyone, come on in.  Sorry to keep you all waiting," declared Sister Clara.  
  As we walked in we noticed four large trampolines set up in the gym.  "This looks interesting," I said to Renee.
   "I'm going to ask all of you to find your partners from last week and then head to one of the trampolines," instructed Sister Clara.  She gave us all a few minutes to find our spots and then continued.  "Today we will be talking about the saints you have been reading about.  Now you will notice hung above each trampoline is a yellow ring.  I like to refer to these rings as the halo of sainthood.  Remember when we first met, I asked how many of you wanted to become saints?  Today we are all going to strive towards sainthood.   I want each of you to jump as high as you can and try to grab the halo.  Then I want you and your partner to try jumping together in order to grab the halo.   Does everyone understand?"  Sister Clara looked around and noticed us nodding our heads in agreement.  "Good.  Okay then, go a head and get started."
  Renee looked at me and said, "Okay, show me how it's done."
 I climbed up on the trampoline and started jumping. I was no where near reaching the halo.  After a few minutes, I started getting tired.   "Renee, it's your turn.  I'm not even coming close."
  "Don't feel bad, I've been watching, nobody has been coming close. Not even Allen and he is easily 6' 3"."
  Renee gave it her best shot, but she didn't come any closer than I did.  "Alright," she said, "Let's try this together." Together, I think we may have come slightly closer.  We tried to play off each other's bounce, but we were still unsuccessful.  After about twenty minutes Sister Clara called us all over.
  "Did anyone manage to grab the halo either as a team or individually?"  Sister Clara scanned the class and noticed that no one was raising their hand. "Well what do you think that means?"
  "That none of us are going to become saints," someone yelled out. 
  "Well I don't know about that, but let me tell you what I do know. Becoming a saint isn't easy, and it has nothing to do with physical ability. What does matter, however, is your desire to accomplish God's Will. It is living out and proclaiming the gospel not just with words, but how you treat others and how you respond to challenges and difficulties. I know I heard someone of you say that the halo was too high,  the expectation was too much. And I would be the first to agree with you. God does have high expectations for us, and if we had to rely on our own abilities, we would never make it. That is why we have to put our trust in God. God desires to bathe us in His graces so that we have the courage to act boldly in His name for the good of the Kingdom. So, the first thing you need to decide is, how important is the Kingdom of God to you?  How much do you want it and are you willing to love and listen to the voice of God over all others?  And just because you didn't aquire sainthood today, doesn't mean you won't tomorrow or next year or thirty years from now. You have to keep striving towards The Kingdom. You have to listen to the voice of God throughout all of life's distractions, and you have to talk to Him through prayer. The point of this exercise is to encourage you to keep trying, and to surround yourself with others who are also trying. So many people view sainthood as something so above them, that they never even try to see how close they could come to achieving it. My advise would be to never stop trying to become a saint and let Jesus determine how high He wants you to jump.
  We are going to go outside into the clearing for our next excercise."
  We all followed Sister Clara outside and stopped in front of an area with several balance beams. "I would like all of you to walk across at least one of the balance beams."
   After we all proceeded to walk across the beams without difficulty, Sister Clara said, "You all did a fine job. Now I would like you to come over to the picnic table area.  Each table has wooden cubes on it.  I want you to each choose five of these cubes."
  As I picked up my five cubes, I noticed each had a different weight attached to them, and each one had a chain connected to it.   One side of the cube had been painted with chalkboard paint. Sister Clara asked us to use the chalk on the table, and write one challenge on each block that our saints had to face during their lifetime. 
  "When you are ready, I would like you to bring your cubes over to the balance beams."
  Each of us was then handed a pole, and we were asked to slide all five cubes on one side.  We were told to place both of our hands next to each other in the middle of the pole, and then walk across one of the balance beams.  Needless to say, the added weight to only one side of the pole, made balancing much more difficult. It took most of us a couple of tries to get all the way across.  
  Sister Clara stood in front of us and said, "How many of you found this much more difficult to do when you were off-balanced?"  Everyone's hands went up.  "Life is definitely more difficult when we feel off-balanced for whatever reason. Now I want you to set your poles down for a minute and choose five more cubes. On each of these cubes write how your particular saint balanced or overcame their problems or challenges.  When you are finished please bring your cubes over to your poles."
  This next question took a little more time to answer.  At first everyone just wrote their saint prayed, but Sister Clara asked us to dig deeper.  How did they pray, what were they feeling, how did they trust God?  This definitely took more thought.  I thought about the long hours St. Faustina spent in front of the Blessed Sacrament, her obedience to her Superior's and to the priests she confessed to,  her devotion to Mary, and her complete trust in Jesus.  When I was finished I joined the other's by the balance beams.
  We were instructed to place these next five cubes on the other side of the pole and try to cross the balance beams again.  Not surprisingly, we all crossed with less difficulty.  Sister Clara smiled and said,  "We all need to find balance in our lives.  We can't let our fears, problems and disappointments overshadow our relationship with God. Nor can our relationship with God be one-sided.  We our fortunate to be able to learn how these saints had to overcome great difficulties.  Sainthood wasn't just handed to them.  They had problems and frustrations just like us.  The saints are not just role models for us, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ.  They are eager and ready to intercede on our behalf.  When you are feeling off-balanced, ask for their help and guidance.  Remember, the saints pray with us and for us, and it is easier to walk a path that has already been paved, then to plow a new path ourselves.
  Next, we will be heading back inside for our final exercise."

(to be continued...)

-Susan