I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...
"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe
Sunday, June 5, 2016
By breaking down the Serenity Prayer, Fr. Jonathan Morris (author of The Way of Serenity) shows us practical and meaningful ways to follow the three parts of the prayer. He reminds us that we should ask God to "replace stress with a 'heart at rest.'"
This book is full of so many gems, and I'll probably go back to it from time to time to read, at minimum, the parts I underlined and annotated.
Here are a few of my big (and little) takeaways:
*If we see life as everything depending on us, that is a heavy burden to bear. Give your worries, stress, and hardships to God (Mt 11:29-30).
*Ignatius of Loyola has an awesome quote (which I actually have hung in my classroom the past few years): "Work as if everything depended on you, and pray as if everything depended on God." In other words, we need to try our best, but, at the end of the day, we need to realize that God is the one who will do the rest and bring our work to fruition.
*"If we choose to let things bother us, we will never be at peace" (p. 29).
*In the words of the "Our Father," we ask God for our daily bread, as in, what we need one day at a time. In the olden days, bread only could last one day and then it would be thrown out. Therefore, in that same mindset, we are fed by God one day at a time - we receive "grace from God for the present moment" (p. 37).
*God wants us to be uncluttered and insecure so that we learn to rely more on Him and His goodness.
*We are pilgrims just passing through; our final destination is heaven.
*"Life is like photography: we use the negatives to develop the picture."
*We have a CHOICE to be thankful, in good times and in not so good times. (I've recently taken this to heart with the "5 Minute Journal App," which I got for free through a Starbucks code redemption. In the morning I note three things for which I am grateful and three ways I will make it a great day. Then, at the end of the day, I add a photo, three amazing things that happened that day, and one way I could have made the day better.) There is something to be said for gratitude - it opens us up to beauty and love!
*Little things CAN make a big difference. Many prayers and poems remind us that we cannot do everything, which is a very freeing thought, when you think about it. In the book, Fr. Morris mentions a children's book "The Land of the Blue Flower" by Frances Hodgson Burnett (which I proceeded to download and read immediately - it's relatively short but not as short as a picture book) - the prince who becomes king is told that he cannot help all of them, but he knows he must do something. In the end, his little action makes a huge difference in the kingdom.
*Our faith lives and relationships with God are journeys that take continuous effort and attention. Nothing can be "fixed" or "solved" in one moment, day, or even year. Perspective is key.
*In the Gospels, God calls us to be light, salt, and yeast - all of these things do not exist for their own sake but to change things (or, the world) around them. Therefore, we are not here for ourselves but for others, to get them to heaven and to make our world a better place.
*God whispers - we need to LISTEN.
*"Things are to be used. People are to be loved" (p. 236).
Again, these are just a few takeaways from the book. It's definitely worth the read. I am so grateful to my friend who literally put it into my hands as a birthday gift a few short months ago. I believe it has helped me slowly start my own heart's conversion, which, as mentioned above, is not a one-and-done process.
I'm on a lifelong journey...and so are you. Join me in starting with one small step today.