Where Are My Prayers Going?

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I am losing my mind. I pray and I pray, but I still don’t know what to do. I want to be hopeful, but the sadness I experience overwhelms me. I start to panic and my heart rate speeds up. I try to calm myself down, but my attempts are thwarted by more negative thinking. I fall to my knees. I beg God to relieve me from this suffering, and I ask for things to get better.

A few days past, I have managed to motivate myself to get out of bed and try to get on with my regular routine. I still feel the same. I feel like God has abandoned me. The people around me look like they are living such great lives. My friends and family all seem to be living the dream, but have no clue that I am struggling so much.

Why does it seem like everyone else has it so easy? Being me just feels so tough. I can’t get a break. If not for the tree falling on the house after the storm last week, things would seem better. Also, why did my SUV need brake repairs now? The expenses are mounting up, and I am already short this week. God, where are you?

For the past few months, this has been my trend of thought. One mishap after the other come and graces me with its presence. All I really want to do is throw in the towel. I have had enough of God not answering me. I need answers. I need a solution. I need help.

Then today happened. Something at my very core told me to go 12 noon mass today. Something I don’t do. I usually pray a lot and try to talk to God throughout the day. But, the last few months I noticed I was trying to solve things on my own. I wasn’t interacting with God as much as I did. In honestly, I had forgotten my own motto “God in Everything I do.” You can imagine why I find it so hard to write something when I am so uninspired to do so. While the troubles I am currently going through haven’t gone away, I am working on putting my trust in God again so that I don’t have to go through my sufferings on my own.

It has just been such a horrible time lately. I needed to take a step back and reflect. I don’t know much. But, I learned that sometimes God answers us in silence. I really wish He didn’t do that. I am just really glad that He didn’t leave me. In silence, I learned that I was running away from Him. I was too proud thinking I could solve everything on my own. The thing is I chose to suffer alone. Yes, I prayed to Him. But, I didn’t trust in Him. I didn’t trust that He would be there to help me during this tough time. Today’s Gospel reading, talks about us needing to humble ourselves like children before we can receive the rewards of heaven.

I had to humble myself today to let my faith grow. The future will bring about days of discouragement, stress, hopelessness, and sufferings. Will we remember to trust that God is there watching over us? Will we remember that in His silence He is always there fighting with us against our own demons and sufferings of today.  

What are you suffering from today? Will you humble yourself to let it be known? Please feel free to comment below and let me know how you are feeling. God gives us all that we can handle and He also provides us with hope to fight another day. You are never alone unless you chose it.

Have I Lost My Way?

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I am going to be frank about it. I am a big big coward. As soon as things get tough, all I really feel like doing is to curl up into a ball and just give up. The reason I started this website is to glorify God and I thought that would be simple enough. It is not that my belief in God has changed in any way, but my faith and trust in God has been tested and tried this past month to the fullest that I couldn’t provide hope to all of you when I was need of so much hope myself.

The thing is I know that everyone has problems. Everyone is going through something that tests them. But, this time I folded my cards and I succumbed to a world without God. It was a horrible month to say the least. I am just so ashamed that I let myself down. I let my mental and physical illness get the best of me. I allowed it to lose my focus on what is important to me – my faith in God.

I found myself praying and praying, but I could not feel or hear God in my life. Where did He go? Why was He not with me? Was I selfish to believe that God would also grant me success? I used to feel His presence in my life, but it felt as if He just abandoned me.  On top of all my negative thinking, I would also find myself sitting in front of the evening news watching one tragic story after the other. In the past month or so, we heard tragic stories of mass shootings, and catastrophic natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes wreak havoc on people’s lives. How could we believe that God would let this happen to innocent people let alone believe that He took a vacation from my life too? My thoughts and prayers go out to those families who had to go through so much devastation.

Then one day, I saw this t-shirt with the saying “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.” And, I felt a jolt go through my body. I was in a rut and I needed to find way out of it. I had stopped praying my evening prayers, I had stopped taking my mindful minutes to reflect on all the good that was happening in my life. At this moment, I was going to rid myself of these negative thoughts about that I had to wait for God to answer me. I had forgotten that God granted me a mind with abilities and the power to act.

So I decided to act. I decided that I would live by this mantra – Grateful Effort Matters. Step one is to be grateful that God has given me this day to live and breathe. Step two is make sure to put maximum effort into everything I do no matter what the task. I need to stop taking for granted that I have the ability to do something now, when others don’t so I can’t waste it doing things half-assed. And, the third step, what I did today matters. All I that I do is for a purpose. The purpose to utilize each and every day to be a better human than the day before. It is with that purpose that I can use my talents to glorify God and hopefully be a contributing person in this world.  

Perhaps it’s not that God abandoned me, but rather helped me grow. The fact of the matter is it is our responsibility to invite God into our lives if we chose to do so.  I know for fact it easier said than done, but I it’s worth taking the leap. This will be a long journey one I hope to share with you and I hope you will share with me. There are so many more obstacles to overcome. I may have lost my way for a bit, but I know that trusting in God is definitely the path I will take.

The Hopeful Heart Within: Prayers & Thoughts to Survive Today

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I am very pleased to announce the debut of my first prayer and thoughts handbook. Now Available on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07V1ZTMZS

Thank you for all the support. Proceeds from the sale of this handbook will be going to charity, to cover E-book related expenses, and the maintenance and development of www.themindfulcatholic.com

Please feel free to email me at Kurt@themindfulcatholic.com for any suggestions or charities you would like us to support.

Love, Where are you Hiding?

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Love, where are you hiding? That is a question I ponder a lot these days. It seems to me like these days we are more inundated with more negativity and hate than positivity. I am not saying kindness and acceptance isn’t happening every day. But, I am saying that we don’t hear enough of the stories of love and hope.

As children, we would imitate what we saw. In some cases, we imitated bad gestures and were reprimanded. Is it really any different now? If all we see is hate, injustice, and negativity, will we just imitate and accept it as the new normal. Social media and the news are so fast to report the bad and the negative that it seems all the good just becomes a blur. On occasion, we get an inspiring story about how strangers come together to help each other in time of need. We are so touched by the story it makes us stop and think for a second. It provides us with hope and faith in people. It allows to see that positivity does in fact exists. Moreover, it makes us think of the possibility of a world filled with more love than hate.

Luke 10:25-28 states, “There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said to him. “What is written in the law? How do you read it? He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”   

Jesus illustrates the superiority of love above all things. Although, Jesus gives us just this simple task. We all realize and understand that the task at hand is quite difficult and challenging. To love your neighbor is really hard.  Just because you tell yourself you love them, doesn’t really mean you do. I can recall so many situations when I should have showed more compassion to someone in need, but instead I looked away and just went on with my day. Have you ever stopped and helped a stranger change his or her flat tire?  Did you just continue driving along rushing to your destination?  I bet some of you didn’t think anything of the situation or think of how that person could be in serious distress over a flat tire.  Still, some of us, drove away thinking “sucks for you” and continued forward without a pause. Too many times we are just so distracted surviving our day to day, we don’t have time to deal with being compassionate for others.

I like to think that we are more compassionate than it seems.  But, our environment and experiences have distracted us from our priorities. When we allow God into your lives, we can slowly retrain our minds to again focus on what is important and reprioritize God’s place in our life. By bringing God into everything you do, allows us to take baby steps into practicing love above all things.

Dear God,

Help me to be more compassionate, and understanding today and the days to come. Help me to keep my focus on my priority of loving you. I realize you may call upon me to help a fellow neighbor in need. Be with me and help me accept this important task.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Mission Probable; Not Mission Impossible

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I always loved playing chess with my father. I liked the strategy and the thought process behind the game. But, I have to admit it I was never really good at it. I recall my father always trapping me in a few moves and just in a short time I would hear the words “Checkmate.” Then, we would just set up the board again and repeat the process. I played each time hoping that I would make a better move that would finally outsmart my father so I could finally win. Until his death, I had never won a game of chess against my father, but I was almost a victor on several occasions.

In today’s Gospel (Luke 10:1-9), Jesus sends out his followers on a mission.  Like the rigid movements of chess pieces, Jesus gives his followers specific instructions on what to take and how to handle themselves as they go about their mission. He urges them to “carry no money bag, no sack, no sandals, and greet no one along the way” (Luke 10:4) Jesus does this to emphasize that his mission is too important and that these missionaries need a singlemindedness focus to complete the task ahead. Theses missionaries needed to free themselves from their attachment to material possessions and greetings to people should be avoided as not to distract them from the fulfillment of their task.

Our mission every day if we to choose to accept it is to give glory to God. As followers of Jesus, we must take the time to be mindful and place God in everything we do. Jesus reminds us to keep the focus on Him. By keeping God our focal point, our tasks are easily performed so that we can get back to focusing on him. I believe that when Jesus asks us to rid of our attachment of material possessions it is a call to get rid of the distractions that take us away from his Father. The distractions of where we don’t put God first in our life. There is nothing wrong with wanting and desiring material blessings. It is wrong when we forget God in the process of obtaining those material things and in an effort to achieve our desires we do something bad or wrong. God wants us to be in our lives and when we place God first in our lives some us will just notice that what we once desired isn’t as important has that feeling of God being present in our lives. Many times I catch myself desiring something and then I pray to God and God answers me with something else and for some reason that thing I wanted so badly just dissipates. The truth is we want more of God in our lives, but some of us aren’t ready to make the winning move to actually take that step. We may feel like we are close on some days, but until we fully accept that God is all we need, we will never be say “checkmate” on our own distractions or desires.

Dear God,

Give me strength and give me courage to make you a priority in my life. All that I have and want is for your glory. Help me to be a humble servant to your will.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Keep Moving Forward

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I recall being a child and constantly getting yelled at for running around everywhere. My father and mother had to be embarrassed because I would run up and down the aisles at movie theaters and at church. I was just being a kid enjoying the notion of never looking back. What happened to those days? As an adult, I notice we aren’t as adventurous or daring as we once were. Maybe its wisdom, or maybe we are just too lazy to be curious again – to look at things as if we were seeing them for the first time. As adults, we also find ourselves constantly being haunted by our pasts. Yes, we don’t want to make the mistakes of yesterday, but instead, we dwell in fear and we find ourselves paralyzed not being able to act. In some cases, it is simply just easier not to look ahead.

Life is filled with ongoing choices of sorting out priorities, which are important to us. For some us, we don’t seek to look what is ahead because we are too distracted with so many tasks in front of us. We wake up each day being a zombie going through the same schedule as the day before. Others, plan the day to the exact detail filling their itineraries to the max, and they too are distracted to see what still lies ahead – God.

Jesus calls us to follow him and to not look back. He wants us to make him a priority in our lives. He wants us to experience our life plans with Him in it. He wants to be apart or our decision making so that we can prepare for what is ahead in life- our eternal salvation. Jesus has the power to fill you with his grace so that we can be freed from our past so that we can live with him for God’s glory.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus says, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62) Jesus speaks about the severity and the unconditional nature of Christian discipleship. Jesus wants us to live in him at all times so as not to be distracted from our purpose of glorying God.

Every person has the choice to accept God into our lives. God calls us each differently and individually. We can choose to accept the love and grace He has provided for us or choose to continue to look backward and live in the past. God is what is forward in our lives. When we acknowledge that God is in everything we do our lives are filled with opportunity. When we place God as the most important priority in our life, things just get easier. Our daily activities become acts of glory. When we choose God first, we choose to the important work of proclaiming his kingdom. Will you accept this opportunity?

Dear God,

Help me to move forward in my life. Help me not to dwell in the past. Grant me strength and courage to make you a priority in my life. I understand that placing you first in my life allows me to offer up all my obligations and duties for your glory. Send forth your Spirit that I remain steadfast in proclaiming your everlasting kingdom.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

What Do You Hunger For?

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I told myself this is the year that I would get myself into shape. So, I do what most people do. I joined a gym. I admit working out and getting healthy has really never been high on my priority list. But, I made this goal and I want to commit to it. My hopes are that my weak damaged heart will get stronger and stronger. I also hope those pants I bought will fit me better. So far, I have been making every effort to get the gym at least three times a week. I noticed that while my cardio sessions at the gym; I have developed this rather unique habit. I am not sure if it’s good or bad. I just know that I do it for some reason.

At the start of every cardio session, I get my headphones on and I place myself in front of a television that has the food network playing. That’s right. I watch cooking shows or shows about the best food to eat. I am such a sucker for great sandwiches and decadent desserts. Also, I am such fan of great bread. The thing is I love to eat and I love the feeling of great food satisfying my hunger.

In this Sunday’s Gospel, we hear the story of the multiplication of loaves and fishes. We learn about Jesus’ true compassion and hospitality for His people. Jesus also foreshadows the Last Supper as He blesses over the remaining loaves and fishes producing food for five thousand revealing God’s love and how He is committed to feeding His people.

We have that choice to accept God’s nourishment. We have to open up our hearts and minds to His great love and compassion for us. But, I know it’s hard to find God at difficult times. It’s easy to look the other way or ignore Him when you aren’t getting the results you desire.

So, what is it that you hunger for? Maybe it’s a physical, spiritual, or financial need that you desire, whatever it may be; God wants us to be part of it. He wants us to ask Him for our daily bread so that we can be satisfied in everything we do.

Now is the time to offer up our prayers and thoughts to God. Let us continue to remain steadfast in our faith in Him. Let us not get discouraged with how He answers our prayers, but understand that He provides what we need and not with what we want.   

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the many blessings that you have provided to us. Help us to remain faithful, and remind us that Your love and grace is all the nourishment we need. Let us build the habit of coming to You with for our daily bread so we may have our fill of Your love.

In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Take a Minute to Let God In

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Have you ever noticed that when a traffic light turns yellow, suddenly drivers near the light accelerate faster? How about if there is a traffic camera or a police officer nearby? How fast are we then to react to the yellow light? I bet when we feel like we can get away with things we tend to get a little riskier with our decision making. But, as soon as we see possible consequences in the form of a camera or police car we react fast enough as not to bring any attention to ourselves. Traffic lights are there to provide order and to provide safety. Most of us, view them as obstacles in our way. When we are running late, we hate them. Yet some of us, are brain dead when we come to one. We see red. We stop. We see green. We go. We are so consumed and distracted in our own thoughts that we sometimes forget, we need to stop and take notice of what is right in front of us.

Today, we celebrate Father’s all across the country. We also celebrate the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity. God reminds us that He has always been in our lives. He created us and wants to be a part of our daily lives. But, do we really take notice of His presence? For all of you that make the effort to go to Mass or Church services today, I applaud you and I hope you know that you are inspiring others with your willingness to take the time to be with God. However, after services is over, God invites us to remain in Him throughout the minutes of our lives. He doesn’t want to be with you just at Mass or at service. He wants us to invite Him in to our lives. He wants to be present in our decision making and He wants us to know we are never alone.

In Romans 5:1-5,

“Brothers and sister: Therefore since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand, and we boast in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

God has blessed with His Spirit. With that Spirit, He invites us to stop and take notice the He is with us through all the good and especially through all the bad. He wants us to lean on Him through our darkest hours and to never give up hope and to endure on. We are invited to live in God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Let us keep our focus on God, and let’s start inviting Him into everything we do.

Dear Lord,

We are so thankful for your grace and love. Continue to bless us with your grace and Spirit so that all we do may glorify You. Lord, please shower your graces of love onto the many grandfathers, fathers, and fathers to be. May they continue to live in Your Spirit.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

It's Ok to Doubt

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I watch TV. Maybe, I watch way too much of it. One of my regular habits is to watch the evening news. I tell myself that I am watching it to find out the weather for tomorrow and for the next five days. Instead, I am bombarded with stories of mishap, misfortune, tragedy, and chaos. As I watch, I often think about why a loving God would do such a thing? In the last week alone, the United States went through devastating tornadoes, floods sweeping homes away, and another mass shooting. I cannot begin to imagine what these individuals must be going through at a time when things just seem to fall apart. Moreover, I can understand how at these very difficult times it is easier to doubt God’s power and existence and question- Why?

As Christians, we are taught that these years on earth are to be used wisely and to be enjoyed, but it’s all in preparation for the greater life to come. I think at times we forget that our faith in God, doesn’t constitute that we are deserving of a perfect life, but instead, a perfect eternity.

Pain and suffering sucks. There is no doubt that we would rather have things work out the way we hoped for, but as we already know things are what they are. It is inevitable that a situation in our lives will not turn out the way we thought. As God’s children, we will pout and throw our tantrum like a four year old being reprimanded by a loving parent. That pain and suffering awakens us to God. God wants us to return to Him at our most difficult times.  He wants us to remember our purpose here on earth. Most often great pain is used as a tool to reinforce our purpose. We often hear the phrase “No Pain. No Gain.” Maybe, we need to apply that same mentality in order to grow our hearts stronger to God’s love. Maybe it’s ok that enduring great pain now brings about everlasting happiness later.

Each and every day God provides us with choices. He provides us with the ability to choose between what to do and what not to do. God continues to test us. He continues to push us toward things we find nearly impossible. It’s this testing and judging that we often hate the most. So, we must choose for ourselves in which direction we should take. Do we allow God to lead us? Or, do we allow ourselves to reject Him?

I believe that each of us endures our own pain and suffering that sometimes doesn’t hit the evening news telecast. Each of us will undergo tragedy, loss, and triumphant. My hope is that when things get to be so hard and difficult that we can take a step back and still see God. I hope we have the strength to get ourselves out of our own way to see that life in itself isn’t about us. That our lives and actions are all for the Glory of God.

My prayers go out to those who are suffering and going through devastation and tragedy. I hope God fills your minds and hearts to find that peace to live out today and the days to come. Let us hope that our faith remains strong in Him, who will deliver us from all this hardship.