2017 Blogs - June/Jan

6/28/2017

 

Soon it will be the 4th of July weekend here in the U.S. Even if Americans are in different places politically, usually everyone agrees that we need to celebrate the founding of our nation. Religious liberty was one of the founding principles upon which we were formed and most of us embrace this freedom.

God gave us freedoms too, first and foremost the freedom of choice. We can choose to worship God or choose to ignore Him. We can live according to the Ten Commandments or avoid all of them. Our Creator was very generous in allowing us to make the decisions ourselves. The problem, of course, is that we get easily bogged down in the attractions of the world, therefore, desiring to follow Him becomes complicated. Often times we choose a path other than the one leading directly to Him.

After divorce, the choices certainly don’t become easier. We are faced with the freedom to choose to forgive our spouse, or to hold on to anger because we think he/she deserves it. We can foster a love in our children to be devoted to the parent who has left, or we can expect them to “side” with us. We can decide to be charitable when speaking with others about our spouse, or we can bad mouth them.

It seems that no matter where we turn, there is always a new choice to make for the good or for the bad. If we make a conscious decision though to walk the way of God, He will help us use our freedom for the good. He will give us the graces necessary to be forgiving, nurturing and charitable.

So this coming holiday when we look to our nation and all the privileges we enjoy, let’s remember that one of the greatest freedoms is the freedom to worship God. We can use this privilege to give Him our greatest gift in return—the love of our whole being for Him Our Creator.

Stay safe! God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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6/21/2017

 

Our culture today seems to be moving further and further away from God. There are bright spots and some wonderful things happening, but on the whole it looks a bit bleak.

And if you are dealing with some hard issues (like a divorce for example), life can be somewhat overwhelming. There was a time in society where a minimal quality of faith might have sufficed. However, in days such as these today, we need a much stronger faith in order to, not only manage, but thrive.

God chose from all eternity that we would live now. He knows what our strengths and weaknesses are as well as our struggles and our desires. If He has placed us in this time, then it means He has also given us what we need to flourish.

Therefore, in order to do so, we must have a relationship with Him. He does not require us to have elaborate plans for our faith life, and in fact, He really asks very little. He desires us to faithfully love Him and our neighbor, He asks that we keep the Lord’s Day holy by worshipping, and He tells us that we need to petition Him for our daily bread. To be sure, these are some very basic requirements; however, if we follow them, He will give us everything we could hope for and more besides!

It seems unbelievable that we offer so little and He gives so generously, but that’s because HE LOVES US. One thing that we need to remember is that God’s Love Never Fails. If you have not been as close to Him as you could be, perhaps this is a good time to make a fresh start. He’d love to hear from you.

Have a good week! God Bless.

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6/14/2017

 

This coming Sunday is Father’s Day. It’s not a liturgical celebration but a secular one. We can, however, make it a day not only to honor our earthly dads but to give praise to our heavenly Father.

One of the things I have learned from the study of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is that the sin of Adam and Eve was essentially a denial of fatherhood. Yes, they were disobedient, but they doubted that God was a good Father for surely if He was the generous Father that they originally thought Him to be He would not have denied them the taking of the forbidden fruit!

Of course, they had help with that line of thinking from Satan. He tempted them to doubt that God the Father loved them unconditionally and wanted to give them everything. He did love them unconditionally, but asked of them this one sacrifice of not choosing the tree in the center of the garden. He asked them to accept His Goodness and trust that He knew what would fulfill them and bring them happiness.

Are we not like our first parents at times? Do we doubt the goodness of God for us? Do we believe He loves us unconditionally? If asked, we would probably say “Oh yes, I know God loves me and wants the best for me”, but our actions might show otherwise. When we pray for help to lead our daily lives, we need to trust that he will actually tangibly help us.

God the Father loves each of us individually. He is not just the heavenly Father that keeps the world in motion and loves us in kind of a general way. His love is personal and intimate. As was the case of Adam and Eve, He desires for us to trust that He will be the good Father and provide us with everything that will make us happy. That does not necessarily mean that we like everything He chooses for us, but He always desires what is best for us. Always.

So on Sunday, let’s make every effort to respond to our Heavenly Dad with the trust of our lives. Give Him all the pieces of your life (spouse, children, job, finances, health, housing) and believe that He will give it back to you whole. It may not be exactly what we think it should be, but we will know that He chose the best for us personally.

Happy Father’s Day to all you Dads!

Have a good week. God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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6/7/2017

 

Time moves along so quickly and as I get older, it seems to move at an astounding rate! Of course, when things are difficult it creeps by but moves speedily when life is going well. Time, however, is only for our life here on earth, in eternity there is no time, only present.

Such a hard concept to take in, isn’t it? One thing that I think gives us a glimpse is daydreaming. When we “come to” after having our mind someplace else, we are aware of not knowing how long we were out of touch. For those brief minutes or even seconds we were not constrained by time. Prayer can be like that too. There are days when we are looking at the clock because it seems to drag, but there are other times when we hardly realize time has moved.

I always have more things I want to do in a day than I have time for so occasionally I struggle with the time for prayer. My nature wants to get up, move and get going on the day, but my will tells me to stay put and just be. Those are the days I am conscious of the clock.

I remember hearing Archbishop Fulton Sheen years ago say that if time itself is the excuse for not praying--then seize it! Time for prayer is time well spent. If your schedule is already full to the max, squeeze in some time with Jesus anyway and squeeze out something else.

I have a friend who has decided not to wear her watch anymore. After losing a dear friend to cancer a couple of years ago, she has decided to use her time for being present to her daily life and not worrying about her schedule. That’s a perfect attitude not only for our normal routines but especially for prayer.

I am not advocating that we become irresponsible by not keeping our life in order, but just expounding a bit on the fact that we are controlled by time because we live in it now and can’t imagine being without it.

Try wasting some time with Jesus this week. It doesn’t have to be long or dramatic, just settle yourself down and be.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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5/26/2017

 

As we kick-off Memorial weekend, there always seems to be an upbeat feeling in the air anticipating the soon-to-be summer season. There is also something very upbeat before us on the spiritual level—the great Feast of Pentecostnext Sunday!

The apostles, on that day, received the Fire of the Holy Spirit and went out to change the world by their witness. We so need that fire today! All Christians are in need of the gifts of the Holy Spirit but if we are living out our marriage vows without our spouse, we certainly need the strength He provides for us to remain chaste. We also require the patience, peace and charity to deal with our spouse, our families and the world around us.

I think this third Person of the Holy Trinity is difficult to wrap our minds around and even harder to visualize. He is, however, no less important in our lives whether we can picture Him or not!

Try praying to our Advocate for the power to hold your tongue when you want to lash out at your spouse or anyone else, ask Him for the strength to get through each day with your children or coworkers when they try your patience, plead for the fire of love to burn within you for God and for others, and lastly, pray for final perseverance to stay faithful to the end.

Be there on June 4th as the Church celebrates this great Solemnity and ask Jesus to pour out anew a portion of His Spirit for your life and the lives of those around you. You will then be equipped to go out and change your corner of the world!

Have a good week. God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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5/17/2017

 

Do you ever have those days when you seem to be assailed by negative thoughts? I do. No matter how much I try to counter them with positive thoughts, there they remain. It’s as though there is an incessant chatter in my ears telling me that I am not worthy of God’s Love because I have too many faults and failings.

For some people these thoughts might come from conditioning received as children, or the result of negative relationships with others, or a host of any number of past events. But in any case, it is a part of us still needing to be redeemed.

Years ago I would wallow in self-pity, but I know now that it’s just a waste of time and I always felt worse for having done so. Instead I now make many acts of confidence and trust in God’s great Love and Mercy for me. I may not “feel” it at the time, but I know it to be true on faith.

I am also well aware that our adversary uses these times to convince us to give up. He wants us to believe the lies we hear and to throw in the towel. He thinks if he harasses us enough we will believe what we hear and fall away from God. If we believe the lies, he wins.

On the contrary, God never gives up on us. He is always there to lift us up and even carry us in His Arms if need be. He wants to tell us how much He loves us and how beautiful we are to Him. He wants to shower blessings upon us.

So the next time you might have one of those days, begin immediately by making an act of faith in God’s Love and Mercy and proceeding as though you feel it, even if you don’t. The negative thoughts will pass and we will once again be back on the journey a little stronger from the battle!

Have a good week. God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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5/10/2017

 

As I am sure you well know, this Saturday, May 13th marks the 100th Anniversary of the Blessed Mother’s appearance in Fatima to the three shepherd children. Two of them, Francisco and Jacinta, will be canonized by the Holy Father while he is in Portugal for the anniversary.

The world needs Our Lady’s intercession as much or even more now than it did in 1917 just prior to WWI. She needs our prayers, sacrifices and offerings more than ever before, and we all need her intervention in our lives and the lives of all our loved ones.

Ask her to help you in dealing with your spouse and your children. She very much understands your difficulties as a single parent. Even though she had the benefit of a dear spouse in St. Joseph, she was not distant in the lives of any of the families in her town of Nazareth. I am sure she would bring, not only some food, but especially some consoling words for her neighbors in need—sick children, husbands with no work, mothers who were ill, or a lack of groceries that week.

We deal with all of the above and Mary is no less present to us now then she was to the people of her village. The statue of Our Lady of Fatima is meant to give us an idea of how she appeared to the children, but she is no plaster image. She was a real mother who dealt with the loss of a husband and a Son who was brutally murdered. She knows sorrows deeper than we can even imagine. She will make herself known to you and be an integral part of your life, if you just ask her.

As a dear Mother, she wants so much for us to be close to her Son. She will make it possible for us to overcome anger, resentment, loneliness, worry or a doubting faith. Have no fear or shame in going to her, she just wants to be included in our lives.

So on this special anniversary full of graces, go to her. She’s waiting just for you!

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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5/3/2017

 

It’s been three months since I have written any blogs. I had surgery in early February and planned to return to blogging soon after that. Unfortunately, I had another emergency surgery later in February and that made my recuperation much, much longer. However, I am on the mend and looking forward to getting back in to my normal routine. Thanks be to God!

I began my blogs a little over a year ago during Holy Week, and here we are in the Easter Season again. Such a great time of year, not only because it is spring, but it is the springtime for faith as well. The newness of life coming from the Resurrection! How much we struggle for that newness when coming away from months of struggle from separation or divorce.

We want so much to feel good inside--to know love again, to not be so hurt or angry or resentful. We just want life again to return to some normalcy. We need to know that there is life without all the pain for us and for our children.

The Risen Christ gives us that hope. We know that if we continue to walk the path with Him, or better yet, to let Him walk it with us, we will eventually know peace and joy and a future of hope. He gives us some of these graces even during those rough times because He knows how much we need them just to hang on.

He walked with and encouraged the disciples of Emmaus. How dejected they were, their hopes being shattered! We can relate to them because our hopes have also been shattered. We thought we would grow old with our spouse and now we have to go it alone. He stirred into flame the ashes in their hearts as He walked with them and then allowed them to recognize Him in the breaking of the bread.

Each day as we open the Scriptures, He is right there with us enkindling the love in our hearts to keep our hopes alive. We see Him in the Eucharist by receiving Him into our hearts, and then it becomes easier for us to recognize Him in the events of our daily lives. Know that no matter where you are on the journey, the Risen Christ is right there walking beside you. He never leaves you for a moment. You can count on it!

Have a good week. God Bless!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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2/3/2017

 

Living in a cold climate (northern Vermont near the Canadian border) much of the winter is spent focusing on keeping warm. If you are fortunate enough to have a wood stove as a main source of heat or as a back-up for another type of heat, the warmth of a wood fire has a way of seeping into the bones and taking away the chill when you have been outside for awhile.

All of us, no matter where we live, need a way to remove the ‘chill’ of the outside world. We are not always aware of it, but the things that are part of the secular culture affect us more than we realize: computers, ipads, smartphones, kindles, TVs and of course the airways.

When Christ walked the earth, the scriptures tell us that he regularly left the disciples to go off by himself to pray. He needed to unite himself with his Father, to pull away from the demands upon him in order to ‘warm’ himself by being united with His Father in prayer.

I believe the demands of living in an active household, and most especially if you are a single parent, are monumental. Trying to juggle work, household chores, needs of children at any age, finances, personal time, or prayer can seem at times to be insurmountable challenges. But, as essential as it was for Jesus to unite himself with the Father in prayer, so we too need to pull ourselves aside and unite with Him.

As I mentioned in the beginning, there are many sources of heat to keep us warm, but only one is superior to the others for that deep down heat. So also there are many ways to connect with God, but to let go of everything else and spend time just with Him, well, that’s the best!

My purpose is not to add another layer of guilt to already burdened shoulders, but if you are having a terrible time trying to carve out some time to be with God, tell him the problem and allow him help you with the solution. He doesn’t want to put more demands on you. He wants to help you carry the demands you already have!

God loves you more than you can even imagine. God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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1/28/2017

 

I am enjoying re-reading one of my favorite books about St. Therese’s Little Way: I Believe in Love by Fr. Jean C.J. d’Elbee. Over and over again he speaks of having humble confidence in God’s great love for us. St. Therese was able to use that attitude to the full in her spirituality and is the basis of her teaching. I know that it is exactly what we should do also.

However, when we sin the last thing we are thinking about on a natural level is the fact that God loves us. We feel guilty and, instead of running to Him immediately as St. Therese always did, we usually shy away from Him, feeling bad that we committed the fault in the first place and then that we hurt Him besides. Usually in that order.

So often in the months and early years following the break-up of my marriage, I was filled with anger and resentment. And because of the anger, it was easy to fall into all the pitfalls that were placed in front of me. I was constantly feeling bad, feeling guilty. I wanted to believe that God loved me as I was, but I did not love myself so I just couldn’t understand how He could love me totally. I thought for sure He was unhappy with me which translated to me as “I don’t love you right now”.

I see now that what I needed to do was run to Him and say: “I’ve done it again, said what I shouldn’t have said. I’m sorry, please forgive me. I know and believe in your Great Love for me”. I don’t know if I could have gotten that last sentence out of my mouth! I was always asking for forgiveness, but my plea usually stopped there.

Now, as time has progressed, I can honestly say that the sentence that I could not say back then has become second nature to me, and that’s the grace of God! If you are dealing right now with some difficulties and falling often, please run to Him, ask forgiveness, but always add that you believe in His Love for you! You may not feel it but know that it is true.

God Bless you all.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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1/13/2017

 

It is Respect Life Month. This is the month when thousands upon thousands of people make the trip to Washington, D.C. for the March for Life. It’s been a number of years since I have been there for the March, but I follow it now on EWTN. If you have never been, it is a shot in the arm for anyone who is pro-life and thinks that we are alone. Just being with so many people of like minds and hearts always lifts the spirits, and, of course, at the same time gives witness to the nation that we believe abortion is wrong.

It is also a month to respect all life from conception to natural death. That involves an awful lot of people in between--that actually means everyone!! When it is a loved one or friend, it is easy. When it is the neighbor next door who is loud and obnoxious, not so easy. When it is someone who has hurt us, almost impossible.

But as scripture tells us: “…nothing is impossible with God” (Lk 1:37). So that means when we have been hurt or betrayed by our spouse (or anyone else), for instance, we can still love and respect them with the grace of God. We might not respect them for what they have done, but we must respect them for who they are—a child of God.

We also must respect ourselves. Often times during separation and divorce our self-esteem is poor. We’ve been hurt, we feel unlovable and we sometimes make choices that would harm us rather than help us. If we slip, we have the wonderful ability to ask God for forgiveness. He can help us get back on our feet and begin to make choices that will be beneficial for us. There can always be a new beginning.

And last but certainly not least, the Lord also respects us. He never belittles us, never accuses, never says I told you so, and never forces Himself upon us. He always waits patiently for us to respond to Him. After all, respecting others really means to love them. He shows us how, may we respond to this call in a generous way.

God Bless.

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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1/6/2017

 

Well, this is my first entry in the new year! I began on Ash Wednesday last year and, although there have been weeks (especially recently) that I have not posted, it has been a big accomplishment for me. I have never been fond of writing. I have always enjoyed sending notes and letters, but to write something formally was not my favorite thing to do. It’s a clear indication for me that God’s grace can do anything!!

Maybe that’s a good topic for the beginning of the year—God’s Grace. Sometimes I think we have the idea that it is like the sprinkly, sparkly stuff that we saw in cartoons or childhood movies to allow the person to act in a better way. Having recently seen a Christmas Carol again (a tradition at our home during the Season), the Ghost of Christmas Present sprinkles it on the home of Bob Cratchit and Tiny Tim blessing their Christmas.

God’s grace does indeed bless us, and frankly we could not do without it, but it does not go against our will and make us do things we refuse to do. His grace does enable us to act in accord with His Will and to live His Commandments as is our desire, but grace can also be repelled as in the case of Judas. Jesus was Grace Himself and still Judas chose a different path. Our wills are very strong indeed!!

So, how do we apply this to our everyday lives? If we are living in the throes of separation or divorce, we can and must ask each day for the graces of patience, peace, forgiveness, and love; and to have the strength to put one foot in front of the other and carry on with our families, our jobs, our obligations. We might need help to deal in a civil way with our spouse; to have the patience with children; or to make every effort to live the life God calls us to live even under pain and suffering. His Grace can do those things and it is available to us by asking.

If your life is a little more settled, we still absolutely need His Grace each day to carry out His Will for us: To be loving with others; to be faithful to prayer and the Sacraments; and to spread His love to all we meet. Let’s face it, the only thing we are capable of doing on our own is to sin, everything else requires grace.

So let’s make 2017 a year of grace. He will give it to us of course--all we have to do is ask. God Bless and Happy New Year!

You can respond to these blogs through email to: gthompson@solitudemyriam.org

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