Branching Out Blog

Hopeful Regrouping

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 5, 2024 6:00:00 AM

February already! Sometimes it is hard to believe how fast time passes! In less than two weeks, we will be starting the season of Lent. The big holidays of Christmas and New Year’s Day are over, the decorations are put away, the gift exchanges are done, and now it is time to regroup and refocus our prayers and energy. How to start fresh?

 The gospel readings from St. Mark yesterday and today at Mass recount the healing miracles Jesus worked among the crowds of followers. Jesus drove out demons from people who were possessed. He preached and kept moving in his loving ministry. He devoted himself to his flock, and his flock pursued even the tassel of his garment. The people could see Jesus’ power and strength. They did not give up!

 With these biblical reminders of the love and power of our Savior, it would be wise for us to take time to make a mental—- or even tangible—- list of the healings we know we or our loved ones need. We must thank Jesus again for all those little and big healing we have already seen in our lifetime. The healing can be mental, physical, spiritual, attitudinal, and repeated. It is normal to pray for healing, but we must be sure to spend time in thanksgiving when we experience answers to our prayers. We can learn from these healing occasions. We can even ask the Lord to make us healers in this troubled world. Perseverance is important. Humble faith keeps us going.

 Let us hopefully start these winter days with warm thoughts, perhaps drawing inspiration from Psalm 145:13b-20:

            The Lord is faithful in all his words

       and holy in all his works.

   The Lord lifts up all who are falling

       and raises up all who are bowed down.

   The eyes of all look hopefully to you,

       and you give them their food in due season;

   You open your hand

       and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

   The Lord is just in all his ways

       and holy in Lk his works.

   The Lord is near to all who call upon him,

       to all who call upon him in truth.

   He fulfills the desire of those who fear him,

       he hears their cry and saves them.

   The Lord keeps all who love him,

       but all the wicked he will destroy.


February is the shortest month of the year, but let’s try to make it long on listening for Jesus’ word and following his example of patient love.


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Topics: give thanks to God, Jesus healing, Sharon Krause, renewing our faith

Think Again

Posted by Sharon Krause on Oct 30, 2023 6:00:00 AM

Ouch! I cut my finger on the lid of a can of tuna. Sharp edge! I proceeded to the medicine cabinet for some peroxide and a Band-Aid. It was just an easy, normal thing to do—something I just take for granted. Then I heard on the television news how, in the war-torn Middle East, doctors are operating on children by the light of multiple cell phones and are using vinegar as the only available antiseptic.

We all take many things for granted. There are so many daily blessings that we are accustomed to that we don’t even think of them as blessings. Maybe it is time to think again.

In the gospel reading in today’s Mass, (Luke 13:10-17) the woman whom Jesus cured of an 18-year infirmity was able to stand up tall and think again about her life possibilities. Scripture says the first thing she did was glorify God.

We go to Mass weekly, or even daily, and receive the precious Body of Jesus in the Eucharist. Do we really understand what a blessing that is? What an encounter! Do we just take that grace for granted? Do we savor the experience of meeting God’s Son in a truly physical way?

As we pray for peace in this troubled world, let us try to pay attention to all the blessings we experience each day of our lives. It is easy to take everyday gifts for granted.

Let us pray.

How can I truly praise you, Lord?

The best I can do is to pay attention,

   and acknowledge your wonderous actions,

   to find you in all things—-somehow, somewhere, everywhere;

   to call it out: credit where credit is due!

My praise words help to remind me joyfully of who is in charge.

My praise is bursting with thanksgiving.

My heart’s desire should be only what your will sanctions.

I find it hard to understand sometimes,

   but you know that, and you have patience with me.

You are merciful.

Teach me to praise you better and to give you glory in the highest!



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Topics: give thanks to God, gratefulness, gratitude, Sharon Krause, thanking God

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

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