How not to become the elder brother

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-s6sjs-c2abda

A reflection on the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Three characters dominate the parable of the Prodigal Son, sometimes called the Parable of the Loving Father. And we—you and I—at different points of our life, are all three.

Perhaps in our younger years, and definitely in our unrepentant phases of life, we can identify with the younger son…the humiliated sorrow and long journey home begging for mercy and forgiveness. And the experience of absolute love from another or from our heavenly Father, unconditional compassion and forgiveness.

But there are other times when we find ourselves, much to our sorrow, in the shoes of the elder son. To me, to be in this angry, narrow-minded, self-serving son’s shadow, even if only in the obsessing thoughts that pester me like flies, is worse.

John Ortberg states so accurately: “One of the hardest things in the world is to stop being the prodigal son without turning into the elder brother.”

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.


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Getting Free from Sticky Thoughts

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-yjy3u-c22a87

We humans have a negativity bias, meaning the bad things that we see, hear, and experience far outweigh the positive and pleasurable experiences. My angry reaction to a perceived slight will stick with me longer than my meditation on being the delight of the Lord. The negative and nasty things we remember make it just about impossible to see beyond to what is most true about ourselves and others, the goodness that is most truly who we are. If we know that this is true about the human mind and heart, it is only an intentional focusing of our thoughts and leaps of the heart on what is most true that will yield happiness and holiness in our lives.

 

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…
God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.
Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.
Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.
Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

For Those Who Wander a Call to Faith

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-ng78a-be9250

So many people today are wandering. They watch a movie here, hear a comment there, ask a question somewhere else, trying to put it all together. Indeed, today a tremendous amount of information about almost everything is floating around. We have moved quickly from a culture rooted in a Judeo-Christian foundation to a rootless, “democratic” hodgepodge that each person feels a right to navigate alone.

Wandering can be a stage of life: a time of doubting or searching for a deeper understanding of what one has believed “unconsciously” for so long. Wandering can also be a way of life: an eclectic combining of curious and fascinating images and myths, resulting in the creation of one’s own belief system.

The Israelites were struck with this wanderlust. The Book of the prophet Hosea likens the Israelites’ wandering from the worship of the Lord to the false worship of the gods of their neighbors in terms of a broken relationship that caused great suffering to the Lord.

In today’s podcast we explore religion as God revealing himself. Through this revelation of God, we truly come to know ourselves. We find our way home.

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.

Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.

Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.

Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.

Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

 

Walk in Complete Trust in Jesus

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-takaf-be9201

One day I received a letter from a gentleman in Illinois. “I thought that someone might be able to use this story,” he wrote, “and so I sent it to you.” Thus began one of those connections God establishes to multiply his grace and mercy.

In his letter, Patrick described a difficult time in his life. “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you.” It was the only prayer Patrick could say. He had forgotten all the other prayers he had learned as a boy. This one short plea to God, however, had become his lifeboat in a sea of disappointments and misery. It was a simple prayer, simple and desperate.

The seven months in which Patrick uttered this prayer almost with every breath were not easy ones. They were marked by divorce, loss of a beautiful home, business failure, and loneliness. Patrick couldn’t understand why his life had turned so sour. He continued to say, “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you,” though it seemed such a contradiction. Where was this God who could change things? Why hadn’t God intervened? Was Patrick being punished—and, if so, what terrible thing had he done to deserve all this? The questions kept coming as fast as Patrick could say his prayer. They were not questions of anger; they were questions of wanting to understand, wanting to communicate with the only One who could help him.

In this podcast we follow Patrick’s story, and the words of Jesus to him and to all of us.

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.

Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.

Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.

Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.

Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

How to Free Yourself from Inner Prisons

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-wrtzy-be8fcd

This experience of personal discovery and deep prayer explores the prisons within that hold us captive. In prayer we desire to be progressively transformed into who we really are before the face of God who truly IS. This may or may not change our outer situation, but as we remain in God’s presence, our inner being shines with that radiance. And through varying circumstances, everyone (including ourselves) can see God loving into existence our most authentic self, the person he created us to be.

Using the image of a prison, explore imprisoning situations you have lived through or are currently living in. These situations could have been created by someone’s attitudes toward you; a situation of injustice or abuse; events in your childhood; your own fears or shyness; a financial or physical tragedy; a betrayal, etc. What have you’re your imprisoning situations?

Reflecting on these imprisoning situations, you may become aware of certain “life lessons” that were impressed upon you over the years. These “life lessons” may have seemed helpful for a time, but may be obstacles to growth and maturity at this point in your life.

These injunctions became signposts to survival. We came to believe that, in order to be accepted or loved, we needed to:

  • disappear,
  • not think,
  • conform,
  • remain a child, or
  • protect ourselves from love.

Thus, we began to shut off the truest part of who we are.

Now is the time when God invites you to be free of all that.

ENJOYED THIS PODCAST? HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 4 ways you can join me on the journey. You can learn more about them at touchingthesunrise.com.

Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST.

Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.

Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.

Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

Midlife Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-thh8z-b55e92

I have beautiful memories of devotion to the Sacred Heart when I was a child. Today in my fifties, however, after half-a-lifetime or more of relationships, problems, dreams, the joy of giving life and love to others, disillusionments, sorrows, my devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is very different. This program offers ways in which someone in their fifties lives their love for Jesus and their devotion to his most Sacred Heart.

ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE? HERE ARE 5 WAYS TO GO DEEPER…

God has amazing ways of knocking on people’s hearts, awakening desires, arousing questions, provoking an unexpected spiritual fire. If you have enjoyed this article, and are ready to embark on a sustained spiritual journey, here are 6 ways you can join me on the journey:

  1. Join my private Facebook Group and walk the road of healing with a great group of people. I offer a half-hour live spiritual conference here Tuesday evenings at 7pm EST
  2. Sign-up for my letter Touching the Sunrise. I write a letter a couple times a month from my heart to yours to support you along the way.
  3. Explore my books: Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach; Reclaim Regret: How God Heals Life’s Disappointments; Just a Minute Meditations Deeper Trust and Inner Peace.  Enroll in the free 5-day email series introducing Reclaim Regret.
  4. Enroll in courses on Midlife, Contemplative Prayer, and a do-it-yourself downloadable Surviving Depression retreat
  5. Become a part of the HeartWork Community, a place where you can ask the hard questions and find a path to a life that is free, fulfilling and fruitful.

 

Bless and Do Not Curse: How Love Conquers Everything

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-iy8g7-b2941d

I love you. You know that. I’m sorry. You know you’re my dearest daughter.

The words were soothing, forgiving, as I rested a moment in my father’s hug. It had been a long week and a lot of work as we prepared their house to go on the market and my parents to move.

I love you. You know that.

All my failures rushed over me. I hadn’t been able that week to plaster over my own broken humanness with a schedule of prayer and community and work. Instead I saw me. In the raw. Tired. Unable to rise above the frustrations of the moment. The worry. The fatigue. The sleeplessness….

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Easter Reflection – When Jesus brings us to overwhelming places

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-njraf-ae9de6

As I was living the sacred days of the Paschal Triduum this year, I have been thinking of how overwhelmed people are feeling these days. It seems as if we have been brought to the edge: as a country, as a Church, and even the burning of Notre Dame has been as a kick in the gut.

Though we prefer to meditate on Jesus as the kind and gentle Shepherd, the merciful Savior, the consoling Master, Jesus actually brought his disciples into a state of “overwhelm” a number of times. Consider the storm on the lake. Jesus told the apostles to go to the other side of the lake. A sudden storm threatened to capsize the boat. Spotting Jesus walking on the water they cried out in fear. Peter, ever the courageous one, demanded to walk across the water to him. Looking down at the waves that swirled at his feet, he began to sink, crying out, “Lord, save me.” Or consider when Jesus was preaching into the evening and the apostles urged him to let the people go into the village to find something to eat. “No. You give them something to eat.” And then he offered them no instructions. “How are we going to do that?” was the immediate response of the befuddled twelve. There are any number of times when Jesus brought his apostles into “overwhelm” mode.

But Holy Thursday was a dramatic shift. With the shouts of joy and praise still in the disciples’ ears and hearts, the mood turned somber as the darkness fell. To the men who still wondered who was first, who was better, and if they were going to get something from an expected victory of Jesus over the Romans, their Lord and Master was now about to teach them truly what his life as Emmanuel was really about….

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Overwhelmed and worried about the future? Ten steps to a more compassionate life

https://www.podbean.com/media/share/pb-9qkvq-aa529d

Only the courageous can choose compassion. Only the brave can witness within themselves their ego’s demands, consistently breaking open the deeper places of love. I believe in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another, even as I see the fear that makes me tremble, so small of heart. I touch the anguish of the world, knowing it is no different from the love I insist on holding back from the person nearest me.

We can overcome the evils of the world only with the courageous choice by which we, as Jesus, would give our life for our brother beside us, in small decisions that choose compassion over cruelty.