Branching Out Blog

One - Two - Three

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 14, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Have you ever noticed how often things happen three times in a row? Sometimes it is on purpose. Sometimes it is by chance. And I suppose sometimes it has to do with when you start noticing and counting. For example, I used to watch a television show about a medical center, and when the “doctors” were moving a patient from a gurney to a bed, they would always say, “On three: one, two, three,” as the lift occurred.

Remember the nursery rhymes and stories with three little pigs, Goldilocks and her three bears, three blind mice, and the three little kittens who lost their mittens? In baseball, three strikes and you are out! There’s the expression: “Three time’s the charm,” which means that success comes on a third try. In Sacred Scripture we read of the Magi, the three astrologers from the Orient. We also read that on the road to Calvary, Jesus fell three times. At Mass we pray, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts.” After the consecration, we pray the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God three times.

What got me thinking about all these threes? Well, being retired, my husband and I enjoy going out to restaurants for breakfast, and a lovely “three-time” experience occurred for us in just a week’s time. We were sitting in a small diner and waiting for our food, and I noticed that the two women sitting at a nearby table had just received their breakfasts. Before they ate, they silently joined hands, closed their eyes, and said a brief prayer.

A few days later, we were in a different restaurant and a young couple was sitting near us. When their food came, they joined hands, and each said a silent prayer. In that same restaurant about two days later, a little girl, a man, and an older man were seated at a booth. It seemed as if they were all family members. When their plates of food came, they all quietly said a blessing together before they ate.

What lovely faith witnesses! I hear so much in the media about God being left out of our lives. Three times in one week I saw evidence that that isn’t true! I know they were only short religious pauses in those peoples’ lives, but they were good pauses, and inspirational reminders to anyone who happened to notice.

What if we tried to thank God for our meals, or even our snacks, every day? What if we picked out three specific things each day that we usually take for granted and thanked God for creating them or for creating the inventors or manufacturers or designers?

Just like those thank-you prayers for breakfasts, prayers don’t have to be extremely long. If the prayers are sincere and remind us of who is always there to hear us and love us, then they are valuable. Prayers can be made up on the spot, in our own loving words, and can draw us closer to God and to fellow pray-ers. It can be as easy as 1-2-3!

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Topics: gratitude, saying grace, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

The Human Race

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 3, 2023 6:00:00 AM

What’s the hurry? We humans are always racing around doing something! Play that computer game! Wishing that red traffic light would change to green faster…got to get going! Quick! I guess I’ll have to find that question’s answer on the internet! Look it up! Ah! Answer comes right up! Race! Race! Race! Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! Instant gratification! Hurry! Black Friday sale! Hurry before supplies run out! Arms race! Race to the moon! Race to be “Number One!”

Do we race to help our neighbor? Do we race to church to pray and thank God for our blessings? Our spirituality can suffer because of all our human racing. We can forget how to slow down, how to savor Our Savior. We can get out of good habits of reverence and reflection. Oh, if we could just get past the race pace and into the prayer mode. Trying to channel the racing energy into being in the present moment in our gifted humanity to share love and affirmation is the challenge. If we must race, may it be to thoughtfully and/or spiritually offer improvement…while keeping God as our center.

CONCENTRICITY

Through ages and life stages

True love in concentric circles.

Keeping the Center in the center

Creative constant blessing Source;

Going around, coming around,

Kinship, community, sharing.

Steady and strong reference Point:

Always back to circle Center.

Spreading influence, challenges

In widening inclusiveness.

Like a stone dropped vertically

Into a puddle of water:

Circles growing, radiating,

Focusing on eternal Truth

Through ages and life stages

True love in concentric circles

Keeping the Center in the center:

God.

 

After all the day’s hurry and flurry, it may be a good idea to say this little take-off of a children’s prayer that could be easy to remember:

         Now I lay me down to slumber,

Haste and worries do me encumber.

If I should doubt that God’s “got my back,”

I pray his Spirit puts me “back on track.” Amen.

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Topics: centering prayer, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

Chore Prayers

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jan 23, 2023 6:00:00 AM

There are many simple, mundane little jobs we do every day. Why not make those jobs more than chores? I say we should add a little prayerfulness and stir well. Here are some examples, but we all can add or subtract ideas.

 LAUNDRY. As I sort these clothes, O Lord, help me to learn to discern better what things in my life need to be sorted through carefully and, maybe, made better. I am grateful for those favorite clothing items that I enjoy wearing, but as I spray and treat small stains on my clothing, may I resolve to work to remove any habits that sully my relationship with you, my Lord. When I fold and put the clean clothes away, may the Holy Spirit help me to order my life and feel a sense of peace.

 DISHES. Lord, I am thankful for the food that has been on these dishes and in these cups. You have been so generous, Lord, and I don’t always remember to say grace before or after meals.

I think of the cup of wine at the Last Supper that you passed to your apostles after you changed the wine into your blood. You are such a generous Lord, sharing and giving your Body and Blood to us as divine nourishment. May I hold you close and let your love spill out to others.

 COOKING. Lord, I remember your feeding so many followers with just five loaves of bread and a couple of fish. I remember the account of your having breakfast waiting for your apostles when they had finished fishing. Preparing meals is not just about food. Help me to remember that love, care, and camaraderie can be there as well. Bon appetit!

 SWEEPING. Not only am I cleaning and clearing the way for my family and friends, but I am clearing the way for you to work in my life today, Lord. With your help, I will avoid those pesky little temptations that get in my way, and I will use my precious time to spread happiness and love—even in simple, little ways. I will endeavor not to sweep difficult decisions under the rug, but rather to ask the Holy Spirit for inspiration and wisdom.

MAKING THE BED. Good day, Lord! Thank you for comfortable sleep which gives me time to rest and reset. I remember that your infant bed was a manger, and I assume that as you walked various places in your public ministry, you did not have a soft, well-made bed on which to sleep. Help me never to take my comfort for granted. Enlighten me that I may use my well-rested self to bring comfort and consolation to your other children.

  

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Topics: forgiveness, gratitude, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

Reception Challenges

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 13, 2021 6:00:00 AM

I still remember the phone call. My husband and I had just moved into our first apartment together, and I had the landlord on the phone. That was before cable TV, so people were dependent upon roof antennae and rabbit ears for their television reception. I was complaining to the landlord that every time trucks or heavy traffic passed by our abode the television picture would go kaflooey. The landlord said I should go out and buy a big box of nails and throw the nails onto the road surface outside the apartment. Of course, I did not follow his tongue-in-cheek suggestion.

I got to thinking about what can cause interference and poor reception in our spiritual life. Just as antennae reach upward, it is important for us to seek out God’s voice, to extend ourselves beyond ourselves, to reach out for the connection. A verse in the book of Lamentations encourages us:

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul that seeks him…. (3:25) 

And the book of Deuteronomy says,

From there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find him if you search after him with all your heart and soul. (4:29)

We also have a promise in the book of Proverbs:

          I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me. (8:17)

We can conclude that we have to be willing and active seekers of the Lord. So laziness or distractions can certainly slow down or inhibit our reception of God’s communication with us.

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Topics: listening to God, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, daily prayer, seek the Lord

Olympics of Love

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 4, 2021 6:00:00 AM
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Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, daily prayer, Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Pillows and Prayers

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 30, 2021 6:00:00 AM

The other day, I was cleaning out and rearranging items in a closet in my upstairs hallway. My husband was helping because he is much taller than I. He was passing down to me things from the upper shelf, and he just kept handing me throw pillows. I realized that I have a very large number of these decorative pillows, but I chose not to give away or dispose of any of them because they help me to decorate for different seasons and holidays. Their variety gives me choices and opportunities for different looks in my living room.

Leave it to me to think about correspondences between prayers and such mundane objects as throw pillows. Please take a comfortable seat, maybe with assistance of a throw pillow, and keep reading.

In our ideal daily prayer routine, we probably pray certain prayers in the morning and before retiring at night. Throughout the day, even if we are busy, we certainly can offer up little prayers for different people or circumstances.

What is it about throw pillows that I like so much? For one thing, they can offer support for your back. They are movable and flexible enough to stuff behind you as you nestle in to watch a television show or share in a conversation. With this same idea of support, you can offer a short prayer at any time of day for someone in the midst of a struggle. If that person know that you are praying for him or her, I am certain your support is a comfort. It is good for a troubled people to know that someone “has their back.” Prayer is a proven good way to do that!

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Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

Ready and Waiting

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 26, 2021 6:00:00 AM

The young man who resides next door to my husband and me has something hanging from his car’s rear-view mirror that caught my eye. Instead of fuzzy dice (Remember those?), a set of rosary beads, or a shiny crystal ornament that refracts the sunlight, he has a face mask or two dangling in their protective glory. I am sure he doesn’t misplace his virus shield and even has a spare if he does. It hangs there ready and waiting to be of service.

Nowadays, when we enter a store, we often see a jar of hand sanitizer or a sanitary-wipe dispenser ready and waiting for germ-laden customers’ hands or shopping carriage handles.

Meanwhile, bags nestle on the back seat of our car ready and waiting to be filled with groceries or other purchases because the stores we visit now have to sell us new bags if we don’t supply our own or choose to somehow juggle our treasures to our car. In many cases, we are asked to pack our own purchases in the bags we have brought. Safety first!

Extra air-purifier machines are strategically placed to frequently recycle the air we breathe. These machines are in medical buildings for sure, but not exclusively.

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Topics: RENEW International, Sharon Krause, daily prayer, God is our help

A Matter of Time

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 12, 2021 12:00:00 PM

So much has been written and sung about time. We spend time, check time, do time, make use of time, run out of time, take meds a number of times a day, and are at the mercy of time. But I have a few suggestions about another timeprayer time.

We have a charismatic prayer group at my parish. I suggested one week that we break down into teams of four or five and become “Take 10 Teams.” Each team would pick one of the prayer intentions from a list I would provide, and each member would take 10 minutes a day to pray for that specific intention during the upcoming week. Instead of just praying for world peace, for example, a Take Ten Team would pray for the people of North Korea—for their freedom and human rights. Another team might pray for peace for the people of Iran. And another team might pray a for poor children in the United States.

With Lent approaching, might make decisions about how we spend our time. Let’s say we are up and about for 12 hours a day. We might have a job outside the home. We might be working from home. We might have children at home. I suggest that prayer can be worked into those 12 hours in creative ways.

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Topics: prayer life, priorities, RENEW International, spontaneous prayer, Sharon Krause, daily prayer

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