Branching-Out

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

Climb It!

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 12, 2021 6:00:00 AM

My retired husband has our television turned on a good part of any day he is not busy with an around-the-house project, so I hear a lot of commentary about the news. Climate change is often in the headlines. That got me thinking about instances in the Bible when someone comes to a high place and decides to climb it.

Bear with me. I have read that Jesus would go to a secluded place, away from the crowds, and pray to his Father. For example, check with Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, and Luke 6:12. Jesus wanted alone time, chose a mountainprobably not really a big oneand decided to climb it. Jesus knew what was important, his communion with God the Father, and rose to an occasion to pray in solitude.

Remember the story of vertically challenged Zacchaeus? He sought out a tree to give him some height and climbed it so he could see Jesus. His assent in the encounter that followed was life-changing and life-saving! (Luke 19:1-10).

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Topics: personal reflection, prayer life, reflection, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

Best Coach Ever

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

With the easing of pandemic restrictions and the beginning of many summer sports seasons, I have been hearing about coachesfor instance, who coaches which team and whose contract has been renewed. Out of curiosity, I checked online to see what are considered necessary attributes of a good coach. I found that, in general, coaches have to be enthusiastic, positive, good teachers, supportive, focused, goal-oriented, knowledgeable, patient, clear communicators, prepared, inspirational, and good leaders. Whew! That’s a lot of qualifications!

Towards the end of last month, we celebrated the feast of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples as tongues of fire, instilling in them the ability to tell people of many different languages about the wonderful acts of God. I started to think how the Holy Spirit is probably a kind of divine coach who has all the attributes of the best coach ever.

As we pray in the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit is the Lord and giver of life, who spoke through the prophets. In John’s Gospel (14:26), Jesus tells us,

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and will remind you of all that I have said to you.

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Topics: wisdom, Holy Spirit, insight, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Sea-Shalls

Posted by Sharon Krause on May 28, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Have you noticed that we can look at something and not really see it? Either our attention isn’t well focused, or we are distracted by preconceived ideas or hesitations. The Holy Spirit can help us see better in many circumstances. I suggest that we visit my word-beach and collect some “see-shalls”.

Those who see beyond themselves and their own agendas and spend their time and creativity loving others shall be surprisingly rewarded.

Those who honestly see the error in some of their thoughts, words, or deeds, and work to correct their bad choices shall find renewal and refreshment with the Holy Spirit’s help.

Those who, with clear eyesight, see the equality of all God’s childrenour brothers and sistersand treat everyone fairly shall share the joy of new friendships and freedoms.

Those who see the importance of not dwelling in the past but making the most of the present shall experience new confidence and a stronger trust in our loving Father, God.

Those who humbly see their brothers’ and sisters’ need for forgiveness and willingly offer it shall receive forgiveness themselves and peacefully enjoy reconciliation with the Lord.

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Topics: forgiveness, generosity, insight, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, introspection, the examined life

Our Loving Father

Posted by Sharon Krause on Apr 16, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Our Easter season is 50 days long. No need to put all the plastic eggs and bunny decorations away in a hurry. On a spiritual level, this is our period to extend our rejoicing, to bask with gratitude in the light of our Risen Lord.

We have probably said The Lord’s Prayer thousands of times, but I think we can pray it with a few different meditations during this time of the church year.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

We have a Father who, while being fair and just, loves us very much. Sometimes, I think, he seems a big distance awayup there in heavenbut he is not far away at all. Heaven is where he is, and he is everywhere, all of the time. We can never honor and praise enough his name and who he is, but it is our challenge and privilege to try. If we God-watch, we can appreciate just how much he fathers each one of us every day. He expects us to behave like brothers and sisters in his family and share the love we know. We spring into loving action as we blend into springtime!

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Topics: Easter Season, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause, The Lord's Prayer

Peace Be With You

Posted by Sharon Krause on Apr 12, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Wishing anyone peace nowadays can be a tough challenge. We only have to listen to or read the news about all the troubles in the world to know that peace is hard to achieve. So many people, so many agendas, so many virus variants, so many conflicts all make peace seem out of reach.

 Wordsmith that I am, I got thinking about the word, “peace,” and the real meaning of that word. Consider this: “peace” is a lot like the actual condition of peace. It is a simple, one-syllable word that slides through our lips in a very easy, uncomplicated way. It has only five letters, but those five letters can help us figure out what is helpful to establish peace. I will elaborate. 

P — Patience: We need patience with ourselves and others in order to work toward peace. Our world today does not promote patience in much of anything. It is a discipline, and practicing discipline is not easy.

E Energy: Sometimes all of us get a bit lazy and let other people get involved while we sit out the problem. It is easier that way, and we can save our energy for complaining about the end results. We need to devote our energy and faculties purposely to work toward peaceful resolutions of difficulties.

A — Awareness: In order to promote peace, nonchalance is unacceptable. It is necessary to be aware of as many contingencies and factors as possible in any situation. Paying attention to detail with an openness to differences is important.

C — Christ: Of course, Christ, the Prince of Peace, has to be in our prayers and strivings. We can be quite vocal about our reliance on Jesus as we encourage others to trust in Christ’s love and assistance.

E — Empathy: Empathy requires a certain amount of humility and understanding of others. We all have weaknesses and limits. That is one reason why we hear that popular statement: “We are all in this together.” We read in Colossians 3:13:

Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other, just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

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Topics: peace, peace be with you, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

Road Repairs

Posted by Sharon Krause on Apr 9, 2021 6:00:00 AM

When springtime arrives here in New England, driver complaints about all the potholes in the paved roads are rampant. The bouts of freezing and thawing of the asphalt over the winter cause cracks and crumbles that often lead to some very large car-threatening holes. If the potholes don’t slow us down, the prospect of wending around the road-repair crew trucks will certainly challenge us.

Have we ever thought about the potholes in our spiritual lives? Sometimes we fluctuate in the warmth of our prayer life and religious fervor. Sometimes we yield to temptations for immediate, selfish gratification. The season of Lent has been a good time to evaluate and atone for those ruts and bumps in our road to holiness; and now that Easter has come, we can rejoice in the perfect Savior solution to our challenges.

Jesus has risen! His tomb is empty, and we are full of joy and hope! We can rise, tooabove all the sickness, anxiety, and world-threatening problems that menace us with doubt and despair. Jesus’ terrible suffering and death give us powerful examples of how to follow God’s will. God the Father raised his Son to new life and showed us that, thanks to Jesus, our road to new life in heaven is open. It may not always be a smooth road, but we know how much God loves us and offers us help to avoid the ruts.

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Topics: Easter Season, Jesus Christ, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

Easter Basket Prayers

Posted by Sharon Krause on Apr 5, 2021 6:00:00 AM

Come Easter morning when I was a little child, there would usually be a good-sized, fancy-wrapped Easter basket waiting for me on the dining room table. Through the colorful cellophane wrap I would see a rainbow of yummy jellybeans half-circling marshmallow yellow chicks, small chocolate eggs, and a fair-sized hollow chocolate bunny decorated with little candy flowers. I think it is a safe guess that many of my readers share a similar memory. A perennial question is, what part of the chocolate bunny you eat first? All these thoughts about the Easter basket and its contents have inspired an Easter basket prayer.

The Easter basket, possibly made of woven wicker, is the container that holds the colored plastic grass; it is the foundation or base holding all the good stuff! I think of the foundation of my spiritual life: the religious instruction I have had, the materials I have read, the teachers I have had, and the spiritual experiences I have had in my decades of life. What holds my spirituality together? What keeps me together and supports me?

Risen Savior, I acknowledge and appreciate how You lift me up and lovingly keep me from losing my way to You. Sometimes I feel like I cannot “keep it all together,” but You are always with me, and ready to help me through my tough times.

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Topics: Easter, Jesus Christ, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

Paying Attention

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

One day my husband and I were taking a leisurely walk around our neighborhood when we saw two policemen standing on a corner. A couple of blocks away was a police car, just sitting there as if waiting for someone or something. We concluded that the first two policemen were spotters watching passing motorists to see if they were talking on their cell phones or texting while driving. The officer in the nearby police car would get the message from the spotters and pursue any perpetrators. Citations, anyone?

That observation brings to mind the importance of paying attention to what we are doing and thereby avoiding distractions that could lead to trouble. Paying attention usually allows us to perform our activity well, because our minds are focused on the task at hand. However, since we are creatures that can usually think of more than one thing at a time, we have to strive to keep our priorities in order and our distractions under control.

Matthew’s Gospel (Chapter 14) reports that when Jesus was told about the death of John the Baptist, he went off by himself to a deserted place, probably to grieve as well as pray. He could not pay attention to his grief and prayer for long, however, because a large crowd followed him and wanted him to continue his healing ministry. Jesus was always taking notice of the needs of the crowds and so, in his great compassion, he found a way to heal their hunger for food as well and proceeded to feed five thousand of them.

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Topics: Lent, prayer life, RENEW International, Sharon Krause

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