Roads We Travel

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 26, 2022 6:00:00 AM

I was cruising the television channels recently and landed on a station that was airing an episode of the classic series, M*A*S*H*. I saw the wooden directional road sign that displayed the names of various cities in America as well as Seoul and Tokyo. It got me thinking about the various roads we travel or places we go in our lives and the virtual road signs we could use to help us find our way. Just as in the TV series, road signs can be a way of coping with challenging situations.

Let’s imagine, for example, some hypothetical road signs. So much in our lives is very literal and visual. If we can visualize a sign that reads “Patience,” we might try to follow that road when tempted to lose our temper. The arrow on the sign may point us to Ephesians 4:1-3:

   I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you

   have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one

   another through love, striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond

   of peace…

Life can present us with many problems. We can get stuck on the road of “Resentment” toward someone concerning a past conflict. It is best not to go there! Our new road sign could point us to Philippians 3:12-14:

   It is not that I have already taken hold of it or have already attained perfect

   maturity, but I continue my pursuit in hope that I may possess it, since I have

   indeed been taken possession of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I for my part do not

   consider myself to have taken possession. Just one thing: forgetting what lies

   behind but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the

   goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Jesus Christ.

Another sign that can easily pop up on our brain-post is “Anxiety.” What direction can we take to relieve anxiety or that of someone else? Proverbs 12:25 tells us:

   Anxiety in a man’s heart depresses it,

   but a kindly word makes it glad.

And St. Matthew tells us in his Gospel, 6:34:

   Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day

   is its own evil.

And St. Paul reassures us in Romans 8:38-39:

     For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor

     present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other

   creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The post in M*A*S*H* had 11 directional signs displayed in a bit of disarray. Our personal signposts may have more or fewer signs and can change as time passes. Sacred Scripture is full of wonderful hope and direction to point us to the right pathways. I have provided only a few examples. Each of us can find our own help. Even if our signs say things like “Doubt,” “Temptation,” “Fear,” “Confusion,” or “Transition,” the Holy Spirit is a great travel guide through prayer and Sacred Scripture. Blessed travels to all of us!

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Topics: applying Scripture to your life, Holy Spirit, Sharon Krause, choices

Blanket Coverage

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 19, 2022 6:00:00 AM

When my three grandchildren were little, we would often sit on my couch, and I would read to them from numerous popular softcover books. There was a very lightweight quilt on that couch that we would carefully throw over our laps as the reading session proceeded. We called it the “story blanket.” It added to the fun and magic of those shared moments. The four of us were unified and joyful as we shared the tales about pokey puppies and silly bears and adventuresome spiders. Those were the good old days!

Recently I got thinking about that story blanket and wondering if something similar might be useful in times of stress or anxiety. It could be an actual or even virtual “prayer blanket” or “no-worries blanket” that could be thrown over one or more of us together to offer a respite from discomfort. For a little while, we could distance ourselves from whatever is causing any upset in our lives. Blankets cover up people and things. They provide protection, a measure of warmth, inclusivity, and privacy. Most blankets are soft; so much in our world is abrasive and rough.

With the constant presence of cellphones and computers nowadays, it is not so easy to separate ourselves from outside stimuli. I see people walking, talking, texting, and listening everywhere I go. While it is all done in the name of convenience, there is something to be said for being able to take time to clear one’s head, connect with our loving Father God, and feel a non-technological connection with others. The comfort of the real or imagined “prayer blanket” could give gentle peace a chance.

So many times I hear people say in an effort to comfort others: “We are sending you our thoughts and prayers.” Can that become a stock expression? Do we always really follow through and take the time to think and pray for those individuals as we plow through our busy days and nights?

So let’s frequently pull our prayer blankets over ourselves and be comforted by what St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Romans (8:38-39):

   For I am convinced that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor

   present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other

   creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Topics: everyday prayer, Sharon Krause, serenity

Remember and Follow

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 12, 2022 6:00:00 AM

   Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them saying,

   “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” (Luke 22:19)

What a wonderful memory that is, revisited at every consecration at every Mass! We remember and treasure that saving, nourishing miracle of our Savior. We have followed his direction gratefully for so many years.

What else do we remember learning about and from Jesus? What else can we do in his memory? We certainly recall his telling Peter to forgive transgressions seventy times seven times. (Matthew 18:22) That’s a tall order, but we can try to develop a willingness to be forgiving and understanding. We remember how good it feels to come out of the confessional. Starting over with a spouse or friend after a disagreement feels very refreshing.

We remember how many times we read in Scripture of Jesus healings of the blind and disabled. We cannot perform healing miracles like those, but we can offer sympathy, aid, and understanding to people who are suffering. Crowds would follow Jesus, even break through a roof, as they brought numerous friends and relatives to be touched by him. They persisted even though Jesus must have been extremely weary. Let’s stop and think about his example when a whining child pursues us or an impatient friend is complaining about a personal problem and wants our help. Remember what Jesus would do.

If we cannot recall all of the Beatitudes, we can read them again. (Matthew 5:3-11) Jesus’ teachings are memorable and give us goals for which to strive. In our world that often encourages selfishness and egocentricity, Jesus reminds us of the holy way of life. When we do the right work on ourselves regarding priorities, peace-making, and mercy, we are “blessed.” Jesus was a methodical and thorough teacher; we can try to emulate his style.

Remember when the Pharisees and Herodians were trying to get Jesus in trouble about paying the tax to Caesar? We see that Jesus amazed them with his answer about the right order of things. (Mark 12:13-17)

   So Jesus said to them, “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what

   belongs to God.” (Mark 12:17)

Keeping things in the right order, keeping our priorities right is a challenge. The Holy Spirit is available to help us.

As we get older, sometimes our ability to remember things becomes far from perfect. That is not so with God. We can take great comfort from the Lord’s words to Israel in Isaiah 49:15-16:

   Can a mother forget her infant,

       be without tenderness for the child of her womb?

   Even should she forget, I will never forget you.

   See, upon the palms of my hands I have

     written your name;

   your walls are ever before me.”

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Topics: we remember, follow Jesus, follow the gospel, Jesus as teacher, remembering, Sharon Krause

Sacred Sundays

Posted by Sharon Krause on Sep 5, 2022 6:00:00 AM

Decades ago, I used to walk to 11:15 Sunday masses with my mother. St. Joseph’s Church was only about a 15-minute walk from our house in Middletown, New York. We would pass a few businesses on our travels, and all of them would be closed because it was Sunday. Back then, unless the business was a hospital or a pharmacy, most businesses were not open on the sabbath day. Ours would be a quiet, almost sacred walk past the weekday-noisy business establishments, including a laundromat, a car-repair shop, and a few other small enterprises.

On our way home from church, we would stop at a tiny what-we-now-call convenience store for a newspaper and penny candy for me. I really felt like a privileged character circumventing the Sunday sanctions and buying a luxury gumdrop or two on that holy day. The little store was rather dark inside and smelled of age, but as I pointed to the different candies I wanted, the elderly saleswoman would hunch down and gingerly scoop up my choices to put into a small brown paper bag.

During my growing-up years, the Sunday sanctions were relaxed. I remember my catechism teaching about avoiding servile work on the sabbath day. As a child, I was prone to a bit of scrupulosity as I tried to follow every letter of the law. I missed the spirit of the law. I would get caught up in the confusion of law for law’s sake versus law tempered with love.

In today’s liturgy, the Gospel of Luke (6:6-11) relates that the scribes and Pharisees were just looking for a way to defame and criticize Jesus for His merciful cure of a man’s withered hand on the sabbath. Jesus is God, so this was hardly “servile” work for God! Regardless, agendas were more the issue in that circumstance. Confrontation was the scribes’ and Pharisees’ goal, not the joy of the healing!

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Topics: Sunday Matters, Scripture, Sunday, Sunday Mass, Sharon Krause

Words and Consequences

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 29, 2022 6:00:00 AM

Grudge! That word jumped out at me as it was read in Mark’s gospel at today’s liturgy. I have heard stories of grudges between families and individuals. The stories are never good. I know of one family that for almost 20 years has been damaged by a grudge over the worth of family property. Three members of that large family have isolated themselves from all the other relatives. They never communicate. It is as if the rest of the family had died! There are many causes of grudges, but they all seem to involve unforgiveness or anger or ambitious rivalry. Words are usually exchanged. Emotions come into play.

In Mark 17-29, we learn that John the Baptist has told Herod that it is unlawful for him to have his brother’s wife, Herodias. For that, John is imprisoned by Herod even though Herod enjoyed listening to John’s preaching. Herod promised Herodias’s daughter her heart’s desire after her delightful dance; that is when grudge-ridden Herodias suggested that her daughter ask for the head of John the Baptist on a platter. Herod had to keep his word!

If we hold a grudge, we try to punish the person with whom we are at odds. We really are punishing ourselves by holding on to anger or resentment. In the Lord's Prayer, we ask God to “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” If we hold a grudge, we take back our part of the proposed deal with God. Somehow, we might righteously think that if we hold onto a grudge, the object of our anger gets what he or she deserves: the loss of our love or attention. We, however, miss out on the possibilities of satisfying interactions with that person. The grudge can take on a life of its own and be “in charge.”

I suggest that we try to turn grudges into nudgesthat is, nudges to bring love into challenging situations. Deflate the grudge balloons! Pray about any situation that tempts us to hold onto anger; ask the Holy Spirit to shine a new revealing light to help us see other sides to the story. We might take a small step and start a conversation about something else upon which everyone does agree. Do a little. charitable work of mercy together. Recall a happy event we have shared and give thanks to God together. Invite conversation and possible new avenues of joint effort.

Remember that grudge-holding is bad-example-giving to others. Diffuse the emotional buildup while remembering past joys.


Psalm 51:12-14 is a good forgiveness prayer:

   A clean heart create for me, O God,

       and a steadfast spirit renew within me.

   Cast me not out from your presence,

       and your holy spirit take not from me.

   Give me back the joy of your salvation,

       and a willing spirit sustain in me.

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Topics: reconciliation, Scripture, Sharon Krause, holding grudges

Simply Beautiful

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 22, 2022 6:00:00 AM

I’ve named her Mimi. I have raised her since she was a six-inch seedling. She is my mimosa tree, proudly standing in my side yard. She is so beautiful with her pink and white fragrant flowers! Bees find her especially appealing as they climb all over her pretty blossoms.

Mimi has numerous branches now that gently blow with any summer breeze. Mimi is very flexible and free as she provides shade for passing ride-on lawnmowers or my husband as he trims the shrubbery. At one point, she had to be tended to because some children who ran through the yard pulled off a couple of her small branches. My dutiful husband bought some sealer and covered up the bare spaces on her branches to protect her from insects and disease. Mimi is flourishing and fancy now.

People walking their dogs in the neighborhood have stopped to ask about Mimi: what kind of tree she is, how old she might be, and so forth. They happily notice and admire her and appreciate her as a neighbor. She reaches to the sky in all her God-given splendor!

In this troubled world, I think about how I might try to copy Mimi’s simple beauty in my own life. Can I offer comfort and rest to others who are struggling? Am I able to flexibly sway with the winds of change and conflict as I grow despite the temptations and discouragements? When I break off even briefly from following the way of Christ, am I willingsealed with my Savior’s sacrificial loveto atone for my missteps and grow even stronger?

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Topics: God's gifts, Sharon Krause, sharing our gifts

Oh, So Blessed!

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 15, 2022 6:00:00 AM

Today we celebrate the feast of Mary’s Assumption into heaven, and I can just picture Mary running to embrace her loving son again! How blessed she is! And we come upon that word, blessed, four more times in the reading from Luke’s Gospel today (1:39-56)..

Elizabeth says Mary is “blessed among women” and that the baby in Mary’s womb is “blessed.” She points out also that Mary is “blessed” because she believes in the fulfillment of the Lord’s words to her.

Then Mary acknowledges that she will be called “blessed” by all generations henceforth. The whole room is filled with joy and gratitude for God’s blessings! Can you remember a time you were so joyful?

Let’s look at Mary’s beautiful “Magnificat” and pick out the blessings mentioned in the poetic prayer. Right away, we consider God’s abundant mercy for those who obey and acknowledge Him. We are reminded of God’s strength which he uses to lift up the lowly and to fill the hungry. By his actions, he directs us. He keeps his promises, so He teaches us about faithfulness. We remember the importance of humility and of what it really means to be “rich.” God is a very loving Father and his name is truly holy and should be revered as “holy.”

We can almost feel the leaping of John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb. Mary’s spirit, she says, is rejoicing. Perhaps we can remember when we have felt our spirits rejoicing. We know we have been blessed over and over. We can prayerfully savor those blessings and share our joyful gratitude without necessarily writing such lovely poetry. It is a good idea, though, to acknowledge God’s goodness and generosity. While not bragging to others, we certainly can share how blessed we are and point out others’ blessings as well. It is so easy to complain. How much better to proclaim the greatness of the Lord! (v. 46)

Let us add our own personal memories in the following prayer of thanks:

Dear Loving Father, I trust in your unending mercy. Forgive me for (       )
and for times I have wavered in my faithfulness.
Thank you for giving me hope.

Lord of Strength, I trust you will lead me to new blessings, as you show me how

   to help (       ) and others who may need assistance.

Ever-present Lord, show me how to keep loving promises to (       ) and others.
Give me perseverance and belief in the talents you have given me.

Lord, give me gentle reminders to be humble and to be aware of what is truly

valuable and important, especially in the areas of (       ).

You know me and I am so glad You do!

Your name is holy. Thank you for your beautiful name. May I use your name only in a loving way.


Your oh so blessed follower,


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Topics: Assumption of Mary, gifts from God, Gratitude to God, Scripture, scripture readings, Sharon Krause

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

Attention to the Details

Posted by Sharon Krause on Aug 1, 2022 6:00:00 AM

The other evening I saw a local news story about a tractor-trailer that collided with a train. There are photos of the badly damaged truck. Maybe it was too early to report all the details of the incident, but I was waiting to hear about the condition of the truck driver. I never did. That was an important detail about the story, but it was not in the report.

We can learn a lot from details. In the gospel reading in the liturgy today, the detail about Jesus having heard about the death of his cousin, John the Baptist, reminds us of the humanity of our Savior. He withdrew by himself, to be alone, probably to grieve, but the crowd of followers wanted his attention. How generous he was to be solicitous of them! His grief and his solitude did not come first.

We read another detailthat Jesus unselfishly reached out to the sick and healed them. He also paid attention to what time of day it was and was concerned about the hunger of the crowd. Jesus multiplied the five loaves and two fish, but we read the detail that he said a blessing first. Does that remind us to give thanks for our food, or do we save grace before meals for special family gatherings?

One more detail that is important is that the disciples picked up the leftovers after the crowd was satisfied. Do we waste food? Do we get careless about leftovers or too busy to plan well? Do we consider donating to our local food pantries or organizations that help to feed impoverished people? It is so easy to read or hear again about Jesus feeding the multitude and miss some of the subtle messages.

In order to notice and get the benefit of details, we have to try to be fully aware of what we hear or read. That is difficult sometimes, because we are often distracted or just too busy. In today’s world, it is hard to be in the moment and our best selves. I doubt we will have five thousand people to worry about at once!

Let us pray:

     Jesus, help us to be aware of the needs of the people we encounter and give

     us generous hearts. Make us aware of the details that suggest opportunities to

     spread your healing compassion. Send Your Holy Spirit to enlighten our busy

     minds so that we can be more like you. May we use our giftedness to exemplify

     grateful servitude and gentle love. We ask all this in your precious name. Amen.


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Topics: Scripture, scripture readings, Sharon Krause

Five to Consider

Posted by Sharon Krause on Jul 25, 2022 6:00:00 AM

Did you notice? In five months we will be celebrating the birth of our Savior! Two thousand years ago, Mary, Jesus’ young mother, was experiencing the babe in her womb growing and stirring. She, herself, was showing signs of growth and her appearance was changing. The miracle of the Nativity was approaching.

How about us? Shouldn’t we be showing signs of growth, an increase in holiness, over these next five months? We can find some encouraging words in today’s liturgy reading from St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians (4:8-10), telling us five things:

  1. We are afflicted in every way, but not constrained;
  2. perplexed, but not driven to despair;
  3. persecuted, but not abandoned;
  4. struck down, but not destroyed;
  5. always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

It’s always helpful to pursue growth knowing that we can be hopeful having Jesus on our side. One way to grow spiritually is to seek new forms of prayer. I recommend little changes at a time. There are many resources available, especially at RENEW International. The Liturgy of the Hours offers prayers for different times during the day. So many materials are available these days online or in libraries.

Our materialistic society may not encourage self-denial, but we all know our society has many imperfections. Fasting from a favorite food indulgence for a day can be a good idea. What that food would cost could be donated to a food kitchen or other charity. Growth involves change. Sometimes change makes us uncomfortable, but that is not necessarily negative. Little sacrifices are little growth steps.

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Topics: prayer life, Sharon Krause

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