Your heart today

One of my favorite Catholic Christian songs is “Your Heart Today” by the ever so prolific and talented Fr. Manoling Francisco, S.J.  If there is one man who was put on this earth and given talent in abundance who has done more than his share to bless others, Fr. Manoling is that man.  And although the whole song is beautiful and truly touching, it’s the last line that has resonated with me the most:

“And when I’ve done all that could, yet, there are hearts I cannot move —  Lord, give me hope.  That I may be Your heart today.”

My favorite line from Fr. Manoling Francisco, SJ's "Your Heart Today":  "And when I've done all that I could, yet there are hearts I still can't move-- Lord, give me hope.. That I may be Your heart today".  Amen.  #prayer #yourhearttoday #frmanolingfranciThis layout actually appears in two separate pages in my altered book.  It’s a ways away yet but I put the whole refrain in separate pages.

A prayer.  Words of inspiration.  Between me and my God.

A source of strength and inspiration both in good times and bad.

A matter of faith

Ash WednesdayI went for ash at a nearby parish which was a short walk from my building, like I had done the last 3 years.  There was this pair of ladies on the church stoop with a camera on a tripod, and I was curious but had secretly hoped they wouldn’t stop me for whatever it was they wanted to ask.  But stop me, they did.

They were doing market research and putting together a documentary in the process, and would I be willing to answer a few questions about Ash Wednesday for a talent fee of $10.  I don’t know what made me sign the release form pronto, but I said yes, took off my shades, and waited as they got set up with the rest of New York walking past me.   I was lucky that it was a sidestreet and not a main thoroughfare, but this being New York City, the traffic was pretty brisk during the lunch hour.

From the first question of what is Ash Wednesday to whether or not the Pope’s admonition about Ash Wednesday brought me here (and no, it did not — I go for my ash whoever the sitting pope is) — I’m glad I took the time to answer the questions, because it was a reaffirmation of what I have grown up to believe all my life about my religious leaning.

Like all other surveys and interviews, there is that question that sticks with you:  “How would you define faith?”  And spontaneously, I replied, “It’s believing in something or someone, a higher power or being even if you cannot see Him or physically feel him.”

That is the kind of faith that I am trying to teach my son, and it’s a kind of faith that you cannot give to someone if you don’t have it in your heart. 

I did a Lenten fast yesterday which was rare and not easy for me, but I made it through the day with a few slices of bread and water.  At night, I made do without the meat and had grilled cheese.  For the season, I’m trying to give up red meat.  So far, so good.

This Lenten season is more solemn to me for many reasons, and I want to make the most of this season or repentance and renewal and flesh out my relationship with God.  Faith has always been a very personal aspect of my existence, and while I wear my faith on my sleeve literally, what goes on and what I think and say to Him stays between Him and me. 

I am also trying to find the courage to forgive and to not let anger or pain crowd my heart.  It is not easy but I know it is the only way to find my way to inner peace and calm.  I try to be more introspective now, thinking before I say or do something — and reminding myself of what is right and just according to His word.  I am trying.  I am praying.

The past few months have seen me feeling closer to my God and I have never been more reassured of His presence in my life than at this time.  I feel blessed. 

I wish you all the blessing of that kind of presence and reassurance, and hope that the Lenten season will find you having a closer and more meaningful releationship with Him.

A Prayer and a Thought

I woke up today to more news about yesterday’s tragedy and we continue to feel the heaviness brought on by the carnage we keep hearing about.  I’ll say it again: let’s continue praying for Boston.

Naturally, there is a silent but pervasive buzz in New York City today as well.  We are no strangers to tragedies like this and despite the normally vigilant stance the city takes, we can never be complacent.

It makes me pause to think about what dangers might lurk around my home city now — and I am sure there are a ton that we aren’t even remotely aware of — and I get a barrage of mini-panic attacks around my list of “What ifs” bordering on the paranoid.

It’s during times like this when I look to a higher power for calm.  I suddenly remember I haven’t said my morning prayers.  I usually talk to God as I walk to the bus stop.  I got a free ride today.  In the end, there isn’t really much that we can do in the face of all the threats surrounding us.  We can never be too careful, true, but in the long run, there’s more to the equation than our caution.  That’s why I pray.

Last night, I was watching television before turning in, and I must say I have been struck by how several of the heroines we see on TV today are “non-believers” — is it a trend in television shows now to keep away from religion?  Perhaps.  Alicia Florick in THE GOOD WIFE “does not believe” even if her teenage daughter had “found” religion and is a born again Christian in the show.  Dr. Bones in BONES is too much of a scientific genius that she dismisses the miracles attributed to Jesus Christ as myths, yet backpedals and says that the reason the myths have persisted is because people have learned to forgive.  (paraphrasing last night’s episode).  Even Dr. Megan Hunt in BODY OF PROOF doesn’t “practice” her religion (which is not identified) and had asked her daughter Lacy if she minded that they didn’t go to church.

I’m not looking for religion in television, but that it is declared that the main character of the show has none to speak of gives me pause.  Why the need to declare this facet of that character’s personality when religion is not an integral slant in the show?

Just another passing thought in the midst of reflecting upon the tragedy so close to where I’m at and how it has emphasized the need for prayer to me personally, at least.

He is Risen

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, personally, is very meaningful to me as a Roman Catholic Christian.  It is the best example to me of a promise fulfilled by my God.  A promise of redemption and everlasting life.  It reminds me of the greatest sacrifice of all to save mankind, my soul included.

Today I celebrate that promise of hope… in prayer, in my heart and mind.

I get reminded that He is always there for me.  Ever present and ever powerful.