Branching-Out

Sharon Krause

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Praying with Psalm 145

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 18, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I doubt that I am alone in feeling the need for some good news or some reminders of positive, hopeful aspects of life in this world. It is time to pay attention to Psalm 145, part of which is the responsorial psalm used at Mass today. Instead of just breezing through it, let us take a thoughtful look at what the psalm tells us about the Lord and what that means for us.

One of the purposes of prayer is to adore God. Psalm 145 gives us words we don’t use in ordinary conversation to help us praise the Lordextol, declare, proclaim, bless, laud. It is almost as if we enter into a different mindset that is holy and prayerful.

We address God as “King” and “Lord.” We say we will bless and praise his name forevernot just today or when we are in church. He is in our lives, present to us, available to us always. There is no way we can fully comprehend the Lord’s greatness, but that is not discouraging; it is comforting, because we all know we have only human abilities. God knows our limitations and loves us as he created us.

The psalm tells us that we have good news of a wonderful God to pass on to other generations. And we have this news on which to meditate and about which we can burst into song. So we should not keep all this happiness a secret; we need to share it often and willingly! The generations of believers shall

celebrate the fame of your abundant goodness,

and shall sing aloud of your righteousness. (verse 7)

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Topics: give thanks to God, Good News, prayer, prayer life, prayer of thanksgiving, Sharon Krause

God's Help

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 15, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I was in the cafeteria; I was studying for my last exam of my last year at Mt. St. Mary College in Newburgh, New York. A dorm friend walked in with a former neighbor and friend who had given her a ride from home to the college on his way back to his apartment and work in Connecticut. He had been visiting his folks in the Pennsylvania-New York area. My friend and the young man sat down at my table to have some coffee and a snack. We chatted for a while.

A couple of weeks after I graduated from college, I received a phone call from that same young man. To my surprise, he had stopped by the college and found out my address. Ultimately, we dated and, after a year, got married!

Fifty years later, I have to say God must have had a hand in our meeting. The chance of meeting Duane after I graduated was practically non-existent. My home was in New York state, and he lived and worked in Connecticut. Our paths would never have crossed! I was meant to meet him that day. I say it was a divine set-up.

Years passed. Our daughter was doing well in high school. My part time job allowed me the time to start attending a few daily Masses in my parish. I started to feel closer to the Lord. I went to Mass more often. After a while, to my surprise, the pastor approached me with an invitation to become a minister of the eucharist. What a blessing! Did God help me to prepare for this? I think so! The privilege to distribute the Holy Eucharist at Masses and bring the precious Body of Christ to shut-ins was a great blessing! With God’s help, I was able to minister for about 13 years! 

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Topics: divine intervention, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, divine help, divine providence

Timely Thoughts

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 11, 2021 6:00:00 AM

As soon as I learned how to tell time, I became an ardent clock-watcher. I still always seem to know what time it is—unless, of course, there is a power outage, and no battery clocks are close by. Consequently, I am rarely late for an appointment and have little patience with people who tend to be tardy.

I have some ideas about using time in our quest for holiness. Priests and religious pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day. Consisting of psalms, hymns, sacred scripture readings and other prayers, the Liturgy of the Hours is regularly prayed at various times of the day and night. More information about this type of prayer can be easily found on the internet.

I got thinking about a “Liturgy of the Ours” in which we could pray, at set times of the day, for things that are ours, i.e., our families, our friends, our healings, and our blessings.

It is up to each of us to take the time to communicate with our loving God, to build on the relationship we are so privileged to have.

Yes, we are busy, but, in many cases, we can make time for activities that we deem important. I am not suggesting that we spend endless hours in prayer, but I know from personal experience how easy it is to get caught up in worldly activities, get tired, and skip over prayer time on a given day. 

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Topics: prayer, prayer life, prayer of thanksgiving, spend time with God, Sharon Krause

Perceptions

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 6, 2021 6:00:00 AM

How we see and understand the various aspects of life changes as we mature and as our circumstances change. We are influenced by so many factors, some overt and some very subtle. We all have agendas of one kind or another. Emotions can play a part. Just when we think we have control, someone or something can challenge that perception. We hope our decisions about what is good and what is bad will keep us persevering toward positive outcomes. It is easy to fall into complacency or to just go along with the crowd if we are not careful.

Not many weekends ago, the reading from the ninth chapter of Mark’s Gospel included a teaching by Jesus that was aimed at changing his apostles’ perception about “the greatest.” (Verses 33-35) He told them that the greatest should be the least or servant of all! Whoa! Talk about a reversal!

And how about the parable of the Good Samaritan? (Luke 10:25-37) Does a “neighbor” have to be someone of your social status or someone with whom you have something in common in order to qualify for your love and assistance? Love does not have a nationality or special social order. Again Jesus is teaching about breaking out of stereotypical thinking and putting love first.

Jesus wants us to broaden our parameters for caring about others. We can exceed what we think our so-called limits of tolerance are. In Matthew’s Gospel (18:21-22), Jesus tells Peter that we should be merciful and forgiving when someone sins against us; we should forgive over and over again! What we perceive as unforgivable is worth more consideration.

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Topics: acceptance, inclusion, Sharon Krause

Thoughtfulness

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 1, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Our grandson is living with my husband and me during his last year of college. He is a wonderful young man already, but one day I was trying to be extra grandmotherly and to impart a tidbit of wisdom. I mentioned how important it is to be thoughtful of others, even in simple ways, just to make others realize how much they are loved and appreciated.

Subsequently, I got to thinking about thoughtfulness in a more analytical way. First of all, thoughtfulness does take timeperhaps not a lot of time, but enough time to consider what we know about a given person or situation. What would allay a person’s worry? What would make that person crack a little smile or breathe a sigh of relief? Sometimes just being polite is being thoughtful. It may slow us down for a moment or two, but it can be worth it.

Attention to detail can promote thoughtfulness. There is positivity in noticing and commenting on how lovely someone looks in that outfit or how well a person bags your groceries. We focus on people other than ourselves and give them pleasant feedback.

Our own creativity can come into play. Share a simple personal story or provoke a short conversation to engage the other person in a friendly exchange. It may be a welcomed surprise to break the monotony. I am constantly aware of the hustle and bustle in today’s world. We can so easily get caught up in what our own agendas are and forget about bringing gentleness and good will into our interpersonal exchanges.

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Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, thoughtfulness

Nourish to Flourish

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 27, 2021 6:00:00 AM

As people age, they may be increasingly aware of which foods are good for them to eat and which ones they should avoid. Some of us take daily medications as well as dietary supplement pills in an effort to maintain health and fitness. Certain herbs and spices help to make our recipes taste good and have healthful properties as well. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t jingle or rattle when I walk as I consider the number of supplements and meds I take every day.

 On his website (https://draxe.com), Dr. Josh Axe once discussed healing and nourishing herbs mentioned in the Bible. Among others, anise, bitter herbs, cinnamon, cumin, and garlic were used in biblical days for flavoring and because of their medicinal effectiveness.

Imagine that there were supplements we could take that would positively affect our attitudes and responses to others so that we would be more in line with what Jesus would do. What if we could buy the milk of human kindness in the grocery store and drink it to make us kinder? What if Bit O’ Honey candies or sweet peas could cause us to be sweeter? What if eating cucumbers could actually keep us “cool as a cucumber” and control a quick temper while making us more patient? Maybe the bakery department of the grocery store could supply humble pie which, when eaten, would make us less self-absorbed and more solicitous of others.

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Topics: salt of the earth, spiritual life, Sharon Krause, nourishing the soul

Autumn Prayer

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 24, 2021 6:00:00 AM

With autumn coming fast, pictures and other representations of pumpkins are populating the retail stores. Pumpkins are almost ready to be harvested from leafy gardens. Pumpkin-flavored everything can be found in numerous locations. It is fitting to present to you a prayer for autumn with pumpkins in mind!

Praise to you, God of the seasons!

Under the autumn sky, we behold your glory and artistic splendor.

Many are your beautiful creations

Perceived amid the colorful leaves and harvest miracles!

Keep us mindful of our own true colors as we

Image you, and show love and openness to our brothers and sisters,

Never forgetting your promise of eternal life with Jesus, your Son, and all the

Saints who sing of your unending mercy and love. Amen.

 

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Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, autumn prayer

About a Boat

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 20, 2021 6:00:00 AM

A friend of mine, Mary, was taking a course in spiritual direction many years ago. She asked me if I would let her do a practice session with me. We had had talks of a spiritual nature in the past, so I was happy to oblige.

We met and she asked me to try to visualize an encounter with Jesus. It wasn’t long before I could see, in my imagination, Jesus with me. We were in a rowboat, and Jesus was smiling a wonderful smile as he rowed. Jesus certainly knows me and my love of words very well, and so I saw a connection right away: my maiden name is Rowan, so, of course, Jesus was rowin’ the boat in which I was the passenger!

To this day, I remember how safe and secure I felt with Jesus in control. There were no troubles, threats, or worries in the boat, just Jesus and me. There was no real destination, but just a quiet togetherness. The whole exercise is a treasured memory, with an image I can recall when anxieties creep into my consciousness. The boat did not sink, because Jesus was rowing.

We read in the Synoptic Gospels about Jesus falling asleep while a storm tosses the boat, and his companions think they all will perish. When they wake Jesus, he calms the waters and sternly questions the apostles about the whereabouts of their faith. Jesus has control in this boating adventure.

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Topics: Sharon Krause, Rely on Jesus

Same Numbers

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 10, 2021 6:00:00 AM

How we use words and numbers evokes different responses and understanding. Let’s consider the numbers 9 and 1. If we call 9-1-1 on the telephone, we are calling for help in an emergency or accident situation. When we solemnly recall the horrific events of 9/11, we remember the terrible terrorist attacks that claimed so many innocent lives. However, there are at least 11 instances in the various books of the Bible that present hopeful messages when we check out 9:11that is, chapter 9, verse 11. I will show you what I mean.

In Deuteronomy 9:11, we read that after 40 days and 40 nights, Moses received the stone tablets containing the Ten Commandments. Even though Moses would fling those tablets in anger at the sinning Israelites, we do see that God was seeking a covenant with his people. God gives us many second chances and wants relationship with us. That should inspire hope in all of us.

In Nehemiah 9:11, we are reminded of how God divided the Red Sea so the Israelites were able to pass and get away from the Egyptians who had enslaved them. Again, we see a reason for hopefulness.

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Topics: hope, hope and promise, Sharon Krause, hope in God

Compete

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 7, 2021 6:00:00 AM

From the time children are quite young, they learn about competition. They play board games, sidewalk games, school playground games, and learn that there are winners and losers. As the children grow older, the competition becomes more varied and intense. This year, the Olympics reminded us of the joy and persistence of competition on many levels.

There are many rewards when we compete: trophies, certificates, money, notoriety, excitement, records to break, attention, self-satisfaction, and titles. Many athletes try to just beat their own best performance whenever they compete. From retailers’ points of view, advertising is a means of competing for consumers’ business. 

While competition challenges us to put forth our best performances, it can also be overwhelming. Rivalry and egocentricity can cause some sinful tendencies. As in most areas of life, extremes can be sources of temptation. Balance in life is always a finish line for which to strive.

Fortunately, we don’t have to compete for God’s love. For example, we read in the book of Deuteronomy,

   For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty

   and awesome, who is not partial and takes no bribe, who executes justice for

   the orphan and the widow, and who lives the strangers, providing them food and

   clothing. (10:17-18)

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Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, growing in faith, growing in love

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