Friday, October 7, 2011

Saturday/Sunday Inspirational Thought

I decided to try something different for the weekend.  Here is a great piece I found:

THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE UNASHAMED (Author unknown) I AM A PART of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

The die has been cast. The decision has been made. I have stepped over the line. I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is in God’s hands.
 I am finished and done with low living, small planning, the bare minimum, smooth knees, mundane talking, frivolous living, selfish giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, applause, or popularity.
 I don’t have to be right, first, the best, recognized, praised, regarded, or rewarded.
 I now live by faith. I lean on Christ’s presence.

I love with patience, live by prayer, and labor with the power of God’s grace.

My face is set. My gait is fast, my goal is heaven. My road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I won't give up, shut up, let up or slow up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and spoken up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I am a Catholic. I must go until He comes, give until I drop, speak out until all know, and work until He stops me. And when He returns for His own, He will have no difficulty recognizing me. My banner is clear:

I am a part of the Fellowship of the Unashamed.

 Adapted from the original (author unknown) by Patrick Madrid

Devotion for today: Hail Mary, full of grace

Scripture says: Luke 1:26-38
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the descendants of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming in, he said to her, “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” But she was very perplexed at this statement, and kept pondering what kind of salutation this was. The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” The angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy Child shall be called the Son of God. And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age; and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Christ says: John 19:26-27
When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, "Woman, behold your son!" Then He said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" From that hour the disciple took her into his own household.

Blessed John Paul II: Apostolic Letter, Rosarium Virginis Mariae
The Rosary, a contemplative prayer
12. The Rosary, precisely because it starts with Mary's own experience, is an exquisitely contemplative prayer. Without this contemplative dimension, it would lose its meaning, as Pope Paul VI clearly pointed out: “Without contemplation, the Rosary is a body without a soul, and its recitation runs the risk of becoming a mechanical repetition of formulas, in violation of the admonition of Christ: 'In praying do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think they will be heard for their many words' (Mt 6:7). By its nature the recitation of the Rosary calls for a quiet rhythm and a lingering pace, helping the individual to meditate on the mysteries of the Lord's life as seen through the eyes of her who was closest to the Lord. In this way the unfathomable riches of these mysteries are disclosed”.*
*Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus (2 February 1974), 47: AAS (1974), 156

Prayer:  The Hail Mary (please say slowly)
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now, and at the hour of our death.  Amen
My thoughts: 
Today is the feast of the Holy Rosary.  The Rosary is one of the most powerful weapons we possess against the evil which exists in the world.  Said prayerfully and meditatively, as Blessed John Paul II suggests, it becomes a beautiful way for us to unite ourselves with the lives of Mary and Jesus. When Mary was asked to be the Mother of God, she accepted His will without asking why; she had the faith to place her life in God's hands. She will teach us how to do the same, if we but turn to her. Jesus gave us His mother as He hung on the cross. The mother He so tenderly loved while on earth is now our mother, who will always lovingly present our petitions to her Son. She loves us very much, and like any good mother, will always take care of us.  Go to her, pray to her, and ask her to lead you to her son:  “To Jesus through Mary.”
Your prayer:
Statues of Mary usually show her with her arms wide open, hands extended, palms beckoning to us to come to her and rest, to give her our troubles, and to trust that she will take them to her son.  As you pray the rosary today, picture yourself in her loving embrace, and believe your Mother loves you very much.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Devotion for today: bold enough to believe

Scripture for meditation: Matthew 8:5-10
When Jesus entered Capernaum, a centurion approached Him and appealed to Him saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, suffering dreadfully."  He said to him, "I will come and cure him."  The centurion said in reply, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed." For I too am a man subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me.  And I say to one, 'Go' and he goes, and to another, 'Come here' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this' and he does it."  When Jesus heard this, He was amazed and said to those following Him, "Amen, I say to you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith."

Christ says: Matthew 18-20
Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you." (NIV)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (154) states:
Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit.  But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act.  Trusting in God and cleaving to the truths He has revealed are contrary neither to human freedom nor to human reason.  Even in human relations it is not contrary to our dignity to believe what other persons tell us about themselves and their intentions or to trust their promises (for example, when a man and a woman marry) to share a communion of life with one another.  If this is so, still less is it contrary to our dignity to "yield by faith the full submission...intellect and will to God who reveals."* and to share in an interior communion with Him.
*Dei Filius 3: DS 3008

Prayer: Psalm 23:
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want,
He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.   Amen

My thoughts:
If the centurion was one thing, he was humble.  Although a man of great power, he was willing to humble himself before a power he recognized as greater than his.  His humility, and belief in Jesus Christ's power to heal, saved his servant from a lifetime of distress.  If the Lord is truly our Shepherd, then we must follow Him in humility, no matter how powerful or important we are in the world. As the Catechism tells us, we are all capable of believing in our fellow man without losing our own dignity. Doesn't it make perfect sense, then, for us to be humble enough to believe in God, Who, unlike any human, has the words of everlasting life?  Bold enough to ask for God's help, yet humble enough to accept His response: that is the secret to a peaceful prayer life.

Your prayer to God:
Close your eyes, quiet your heart and mind, and picture yourself walking with Christ through a beautiful field of clover.  Recognize His ability and willingness to help you, and present your most urgent requests to Him.  Then believe with the faith the size of a mustard seed.

A Request:  Please send me your stories, prayers, poems, events from your life that will help us all follow a devotional time in our lives.  I will categorize them by themes and use them for the various topics this blog will feature.  All suggestions are also welcomed.    Send to:

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Devotion for today: free from anxiety

Scripture for meditation: Philippians 4:6-9
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Christ says: Luke 10:38-42:
"As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him.  She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what He said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?"Tell her to help me!" "Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed-or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will  not be taken away from her." (NIV)

St. Francis de Sales comments in An Introduction to the Devout Life:
"Anxiety is the soul's greatest enemy, sin only excepted."  He explains that "when the heart is anxious and disquieted within itself, it loses the power to preserve the those virtues which are already acquired, and also the means of resisting the temptations of Satan, who does not fish in such troubled waters." He cautions us to recognize that "Anxiety proceeds from an ill-regulated desire to be delivered from the evil we experience, or to acquire the good to which we aspire; nevertheless, nothing aggravates evil and hinders good so much as anxiety and worry."  St. Francis advises us thus: "Therefore, if you earnestly desire to be delivered from some evil, or to attain to some good, above all things calm and tranquilize your mind, and compose your judgment and will; then quietly and gently pursue your aim...."  He asks us to check out hearts morning and night to be sure it is in our hands and directed toward God's will, and not "been snatched by some passion or anxiety...When you feel disposed to worry, command yourself to God, and resolve in no way to gratify your desire until your anxiety is entirely allayed...acting not in accordance with your inclination, but with reason.
St. Louis counseled his son,"If thy heart be ill at ease, hasten to open it to thy confessor, or to some pious person, and by means of his comfort thou wilt be enabled easily to bear thine affliction."  In other words, don't be afraid to ask a holy person for help and prayer!

Prayer: please say it very slowly
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.

My thoughts:
We see in the prayer that Christ taught us, that God is our Father, He will take care of us always. His is the will that matters, not ours.  If we truly believe that He will give us our daily needs, forgive us our failings, and protect us from evil, we have no need of anxiety.  Turn it over to God.

Your prayer to God:
Take time to offer your current anxieties to God, picturing Him sitting across from you, holding your hands and offering you His counsel and advise as He did to Martha.  Remember how much He loves you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

nice to meet you!

Welcome to my blog, "Grace 4u".  My name is Sandy Bertini, and I am a catholic woman who has dedicated her life to knowing, loving and serving God in this world in order to be with Him in the next.  I created this blog for busy people who are seeking a source of daily devotion and meditation, and would like to do so in a timely fashion.  I know how difficult it is to infuse Scripture reading, Holy books, meditation and prayer into one devotional period of a day, when time clocks are running and families are calling.  It is my goal to have this page serve as the "answer to the busy person's prayer."  May God bless us all as we venture into this journey together!