Branching-Out

Little Prayer Opps

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 8, 2022 6:00:00 AM

The other day I watched a local news story about the increase of whale sightings here in New England. A little boy was interviewed and said there were three things he really lovesmusic, video games, and whales. I thought it would have been good if one of his professed loves was God, but I realize that he also may not have thought about the individuals he loves, such as his family members. Still, it was a chance for me to offer a tiny prayer for that little boy, a prayer that he understands that God, our Creator, is responsible for all those blessings, including music, video games, and whales.

I was outside with Buddy, our old cat, and a bunch of young boys whizzed by on their bikes. For no apparent reason, one older fellow yelled out, “Oh my God!” I got thinking about how many times I hear that exclamation or read:”OMG” on the computer. Is that expression a prayer, or is it comparable to “Gee whiz” or “ Wow!” or something as secular as that? Is it an attention-getting outburst or as repeatedly mundane as a habitual “Bless you”? Is the person really calling on God for help, as in a prayer? Well, again, that was a little chance for me to offer a prayer for that young man that God would bless him and protect him on his speedy bicycle travels.

I sometimes get annoying phone calls from people or recordings that don’t speak but just hold open the phone line. I could just hang up, but, since the line is still open, lately I have taken a minute to pray the Lord’s Prayer out loud before I or they hang up. Maybe only God hears me, but I pray.

 

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Topics: everyday prayer, prayer, spontaneous prayer, Sharon Krause

Potholes

Posted by Sharon Krause on Feb 21, 2022 6:00:00 AM

It is not necessary to wait until March for a little Irish humor!

A leprechaun here on vacation
was suddenly filled with elation

for the potholes he spied were so deep and wide

he could hide from the whole population.

The other day, as my husband was carefully maneuvering our car around the numerous New England potholes, he reminded me of that limerick I had written years ago. Especially this time of year, those road-surface erosions can challenge even the best drivers.

All of us can also experience potholes in our spiritual lives, too. What had seemed like smooth routines in our prayer life and holy habits can sink into occasional ruts, holes, and even roadblocks. What causes these interruptions? Seasonal distractions, illness or threats of illness, weariness, disappointments, and the evil one seizing opportunities can all be to blame.

So, what can we do to get back to some semblance of control? We might try something new. Find some new prayers online or try using different prayer books or novenas. Ask some friends in faith for resource ideas. Maybe a priest, deacon, or religious sister would have a recommendation.

Try establishing a new routine. Pray at a different time of day if you can. While having a familiar time and place to pray can make prayer comfortable and easy, sometimes a new experience gives fresh life and perspective to what we want to achieve.

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Topics: prayer, prayer life, Sharon Krause

Visual Aids

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

We recently been seeing the removal and even destruction of statues of certain famous people who, besides their heroic deeds, had either committed or permitted some not-so-admirable practices.

This underscores for me the fact that we humans like visual aids to reinforce certain ideals or to perpetuate certain virtues. Eyes-on and even hands-on experiences are effective for teaching and making lasting impressions on us. We find it helpful to see tangible things and not just rely on understanding abstract concepts. We need to “flesh things out.”

While I understand and appreciate Jesus’ birth, there are no photos of his coming. However, I have a lovely set of nativity figurines I put on display every Advent and Christmas season. Right after Thanksgiving, I brought out my set and carefully arranged the porcelain figures on the top of a small bookcase in my living room. I know some people don’t put out the baby Jesus until Christmas Day, but I love that baby all season long, and I know he came, so I don’t wait.

I finished my decorating and went to bed. In the middle of the night, I heard the telltale sound of porcelain clinking together, and then bang! My husband went downstairs and found the donkey from my nativity set broken on the floor. Buddy, our senior cat, had jumped up onto the bookcase and could not get out of his own way. He took off in a guilty flurry and zipped up and down the staircase a couple of times at top speed.

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Topics: Christmas, Christmas season, Advent, crèche, prayer, Sharon Krause

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

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

Expectations

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

Over the past year, I have been at home, staying away from places where people congregate. I have been watching more television shows, both series and news programs. I conclude that audiences seem to expect and consume more drama, intensity, “breaking news,” danger, and the outrageous. Presentations that get the ol’ adrenaline pumping, or super sales offers that get encourage folks to use their credit cards to order more “stuff” are what prevail. Shows that investigate crimes and analyze in great detail the how-tos of perpetrating those crimes are portrayed as “entertaining.”

Because of modern technology, people expect to be quickly entertained. It can be easy to swallow spoonsful of self-indulgence when they are so readily available. If there is good news or incidents that are not so violent, we often see and hear about them only in the last few minutes at the ends of broadcasts.

I also hear about people of all ages being more stressed out and depressed. The virus pandemic has been blamed for this, but I suggest that the intensity of media presentations might be a contributing factorsort of a CTSD, Current Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

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Topics: patience, Jesus Christ, prayer, RENEW International, talents, Sharon Krause

Prayer: To Be Attentive

Posted by RENEW International on Jan 31, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Gracious God,
help us to grow 
in our knowledge
and love of you.
Open our ears to all
you would have us hear
as we go about
our daily lives.
Help us to be truly attentive
to your presence within and among us.
Keep us mindful of your nearness,
open to your challenge,
committed to your compassion,
and present to your people.
In your name we pray.

Adapted from The Word on the Go, Cycle B,
© RENEW International

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Topics: attentiveness, catholic RENEW program, compassion, God's presence, prayer, RENEW International

Prayer: Repentance

Posted by RENEW International on Jan 24, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Loving and gentle God,
for the times we have been
insensitive to the needs of others …

For the times we have not resisted evil
but have given in to it instead …

For the times we have failed to offer hope and support …

For the times we have shut ourselves off
from comfort, hope, and support …

For the times we have allowed cynicism to reign …

Lord, we repent and believe in the Good News.

Loving God, we turn to you in love and trust.
Allow your reign to grow continually in our hearts,
now and always. Amen.

Adapted from PrayerTime, Faith-Sharing Reflections on the Sunday Gospels, Cycle B,
© RENEW International

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Topics: catholic RENEW program, Good News, Gospel of Mark, Jesus Christ, prayer, RENEW International, repent and believe in the gospel

Big Fish Lessons

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

For some reason, the story of Jonah and his three days and three nights inside a great big fish inspired some comparisons with life circumstances today. Hmm! Does that sound odd? Let’s think about it.

My husband and I have been somewhat quarantined in our house since last March. Yes, we go out for a few errands now and then, but most of our time is spent inside the belly of our house. So far, we have been safe from the COVID virus waves. Praise God, who has blessed us with resources, retirement, health, and stability.

I went to the Bible and reread the Book of Jonah and found a great deal to consider. Whether we believe that this account is just a teaching story or a description of a truly interesting miracle, the reread was worth the time. Allow me to share.

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Topics: divine mercy, catholic program renew, God's forgiveness, God's love, Good News, his people on earth, prayer, RENEW International, repentance, Jonah

Thoughts about Walking

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

Over the past ten months, I have limited my going to stores, churches, and entertainment venues. Consequently, I have had a lot more free time around my house. When I need a change of environment, depending on the weather, I take a walk around my neighborhood. I have revisited my conclusion that I take so many things for granted and that I need to be mindful of all the things I can do, even though there is a pandemic virus threatening. So a walk around a few blocks helps me to clear my head and focus on positivity; and my doctor encourages me to exercise often for my physical health.

Have we ever considered other opportunities a stroll can provide? If I am walking alone, I have the chance to pray the rosary or some other personal prayers. I find prayers of gratitude pop into my head as I observe beautiful clouds or hear sweet birds’ songs. I am reminded of how grateful I am to have the strength, balance, and flexibility to be able to walk; yet, I see happy people gliding along very successfully in wheelchairs and enjoying what outdoors has to offer them.

And I never know whom I might meet as I amble around the familiar streets. At times, God gives me chances to smile and greet others, and maybe even share brief conversations that could brighten others’ days or help solve little problems.

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Topics: catholic program renew, God's love, Good News, prayer, RENEW International, The Gospel

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