Friday, April 1, 2011

7 quick takes #5-Lenten Friday style; of Work and Grace

1. First Friday, and  Fourth Friday of Lent~ hope you all are experiencing a fruitful Lent. Or if you are like me, maybe just trying to practice faithfulness in devotion and discipline. It's been a little different for me this year, because I have to watch my fatigue level and not get too overtaxed. So maybe some of the discipline comes in NOT trying to "do" too much. Ah, the age old lesson of "being." If you happen to "be " a mom, like me, or a dad, there is a certain "doing" requirement in our contract.

  --which brings me to---

2. I have been paying a little closer attention to what it means to offer my life to Christ. If I think in terms of point #1 above, I know I can't "work " my way into heaven without an inner conversion of heart. The outward actions alone are not enough if they aren't flowing from inside, from the works the Holy Spirit is doing to conform me to Christ. That said, we parents know that there is an awful lot of work to be done. Which brings me to that place where, as Brother Lawrence talked about in  The Practice the Presence of God, everything I do I can offer as a prayer and sacrifice, especially if I do something "extra" say, iron my husbands shirts. (No, I don't do that regularly; you may know my husband as the Guy With the Rumpled Shirts). Any and all of these I find can draw me closer to God and give me a sense of peace as I go about my day, knowing whatever small tasks I offer Him, He can use them for my continued conversion and His glory.

3. James talks about faith and works in Chapter two of his epistle:

 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 1516 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
   Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
 20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[d]? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 2223 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”[e] and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone. You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did.
 25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. 

 The famous quote of Martin Luther, referring to James as "the Epistle of Straw," though he later retracted that statement, speaks to the difficulty people have when viewing how their works affect their spiritual life and salvation. The Little Flower said it best, (thus becoming a Doctor of the Church), I am a very little soul, who can offer only very little things to the Lord".
If she, being a Saint and all, can do this, it stands to reason, so can we.

4. My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

“The burden of life is from ourselves, its lightness from the grace of Christ and the love of God.” -William Bernard Ullanthorne (1806-1889)  

"That is the mystery of grace: it never comes too late. -François Mauriac (1885-1970)

  “The law detects, grace alone conquers sin.” - Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430) 

“Lord I crawled across the barrenness to you with my empty cup uncertain in asking any small drop of refreshment. If only I had known you better I'd have come running with a bucket.” -Nancy Spiegelberg  

“For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them.” - Saint Augustine of Hippo (354-430)

5. William Adolphe Borgereau, 
             In Penitence

6.  I think T.S. Elliot was talking about our current weather when he wrote this:

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.

(A little excerpt from A Song for Simeon)
How Lenten.

7.  Please remember all those who you have encountered on line who need your prayers, and those who have asked for them.

Venreable Solanus Casey, Pray for us!

Wishing you all a blessed and hopefully, somewhat restful weekend.



  1. You know that is one of the few TS Eliot poems I have not read, or if I have it was so cursory that it has not remained with me. I will have to look it up before going to bed.

    I love that passage from James. Deeds really are very important because a holy heart will want to help his fellow man. That's another of those passages I rest on to argue that self absorbed worship is not really what Christ wanted. But I'm someone screaming from the wilderness. ;)

  2. Recently I'd been trying to find some information on Father Solanus and I just came across your post! Thank you!

    Also, what a coincidence: I just posted something on St. Raphael today and now I'm seeing your post on the sidebar! I like the prayer you provided here. It's a version I hadn't read before. And I also notice that you have the Saint Michael prayer as well!

    I enjoy your blog. It's got a little of everything and it's very visually appealing too:)

  3. Thanks Margo, you're very kind. I very much enjoy your posts as well! I have recently begun asking Father Solanus's intercession for a very special intention. :) I believe he is listening.

    Manny, being a convert, it is really interesting to look at certain verses with Catholic eyes, and see something new and beautiful. :)

  4. I did read A Song for Simeon last night and found it excellent. How come I never noticed that poem before? For those interested in the poem, you can read it here:

  5. RE: #2
    Just so long as you don't start sculpting instead of praying ;-) (think back to the retreat if you don't get the reference)

  6. LOL! I get it! I don't think of offering works *instead* of praying, but more of a way to spend more time kind of in touch with God throughout the day.
    Anyway--even if I did sculpt something, it likely would not lead one to think of prayer, unless it was something like, "Lord, help me!"
    The moderation I have to do has more to do with going places.Thankfully, the prayer and reading can be done at home, if necessary. :)

  7. I know that silly, I was just joshing :P

  8. Oh! I knew you knew ..that I know that you knew...uh...