Instant Prayer

I recently noticed a habit that I have. I had just finished my grocery shopping and I made my way up to the checkout lane. There were two carts in front of me, and I knew I would have a few minutes of waiting.

I immediately put my hand in my pocket and pulled out my phone. I didn’t even think about, I just mindlessly reached for it.

I didn’t have a pressing email waiting for me. I wasn’t expecting an urgent text message. I simply wanted to flip through various apps and information to see what was going on.

And then I realized something frightening. Whenever I am in “waiting mode,” I reach for my phone.

  • When I’m waiting at a long, red traffic light, I reach for my phone.
  • When I’m waiting for a friend at a restaurant, I reach for my phone.
  • When I’m waiting in a doctor’s office, I reach for my phone.

It’s automatic. My hand simply goes to my phone.

Once I discovered this habit, I quickly made a decision. Instead of fighting my phone addiction, I decided to use it to my advantage.

Every time my fingers touch my phone, it’s a trigger for me to stop. I take a breath, I calm myself and I say an Instant Prayer.

  • At the grocery store: “God, I thank you for the food that you give me to eat. Help me to remember those that are hungry and in great need.”
  • At the red light: “God, you have blessed me with the ability to move about and see your world. Help me to remember those that have daily struggles.”
  • At the doctor’s office: “God, thank you for giving me the gift of life. Help me to live each day to its fullest.”

You get the idea.

An Instant Prayer is a quick acknowledgement of what God has given me in my life. It’s a way to appreciate his love every moment of every day. Even in the grocery checkout lane.

An Instant Prayer is always tied to the environment or the situation at hand. It is quick and direct. It’s heartfelt and powerful.

And sometimes, an Instant Prayer turns into a full blown prayer and I never actually pull my phone from my pocket.

And that’s okay with me.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

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The Sacred Heart of Jesus

A Message from Mary Lestina

As a child, I remember walking into my grandma’s home and seeing the pictures of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary side-by-side on the living room wall. It was an image that I will never forget, and I often talked about it with my mom in the car after our visit.

My Mom’s answer was unforgettable. “Jesus and Mary love us so much that their hearts beat for us every moment and hope that one day our hearts will beat completely for them.”

The devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in its modern form is derived from a Roman Catholic nun from France, St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, who said she learned the devotion from Jesus during a series of apparitions between 1673 and 1675. In the 19th century, there were mystical revelations of another Roman Catholic nun in Portugal, Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, who requested in the name of Christ that Pope Leo XIII consecrate the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Let us unite in prayer that the reception of Holy Communion will lead us closer to Him and that He will form us into His image.

Let’s invite Him into our hearts and welcome Him into our lives.

 

 

Mary Lestina is the Pastoral Associate at St. Dominic Catholic Parish.

 

A Silly Goose

Four blocks from where I live, on the front porch of a red brick two-story house sits a silly, ceramic goose. She faces out toward the street, proudly greeting everyone who travels by.

This is no ordinary goose. This goose reflects the mood of the day. For example, if it’s a rainy day, the goose is wearing a yellow rain slicker and boots. If it’s July 4th, she is decorated in red, white and blue. When it’s summer, the goose is dressed ready for the beach, complete with sunglasses and bathing suit.

It’s no secret that the woman who lives at the red brick house has a passion for life. She could easily place the goose in a nearby flower bed or a under a large oak tree and let it become part of her overall lawn decor.

Instead, she chose to make the goose a symbol of her joy for life. Families out for a walk stop and point and smile at the goose. Dog walkers glance over to see the outfit of the day. It’s become a conversation starter in the neighborhood, and brought joy to many.

It takes a lot of planning and coordinating to keep the goose dressed appropriately. It takes true dedication.

It makes me think: Am I living my faith the same way this woman is living her life? Am I always sharing my passion with others?

  • Am I making people smile with my words and actions?
  • Am I planning and coordinating so that I can become the best version of myself?
  • Am I letting the world know that I love and honor God every moment of every day?

It may be a silly goose, but it’s a great symbol for us to embrace our lives and keep our faith on the front porch of our hearts, directly facing the world passing us by.

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

Anything But Ordinary

Ordinary Time. In the Church, we put away our white vestments and to the happiness of the Irish, put on the green.

Ordinary time takes us through summer and fall until once again we begin the first week of Advent. Ordinary time does have a few special Sundays: Trinity Sunday and the feast of Corpus Christi. However, our religious fervor, our Lenten observances, our Easter joy, our vows to become more a disciple of Christ, can quickly become ordinary as well. Just like our New Year’s resolutions became lost in our busy-ness, so too can our relationship to Jesus.

Here is what I suggest for summer.

Read the scriptures. Get a periodical that gives you the daily readings. Ordinary time readings give us a chance to reflect on how God calls us to live as disciples of Jesus. Weekday readings tell of the varied responses to God’s call and his call back to those who have strayed.

Secondly, attend Sunday Mass. It can be hard with sports, summer projects, and vacations, but remember, recreation means ‘re-creation’ and a great time to live a summer of gratitude for creation and all of God’s gifts.

Finally, remember someone else. Ordinary Time is a good time to re-connect with someone who may be homebound. Bring them to church, pick up some groceries, cut their grass, offer yourself for something greater.

If you do all three of these things, I promise you time your summer and fall will be anything but ordinary.

 

 

Fr. Dennis Saran is the Pastor of St. Dominic Catholic Church.

 

Love Can Change the World

I admit it. I am a Royal Watcher. I am magnificently drawn to the royal family, always have been and probably always will be. I find them fascinating. While I was not up before sunrise to watch the wedding of Megan and Harry, I did record it, so that I could zoom through the slow spots.

There were a few moments that moved me, but nothing more so than the sermon. I wanted to shout “Amen” to the television, but considering the remainder of my household was still snuggled up in bed, I thought the wiser.

I was inspired and energized! Bishop Michael Curry of Chicago spoke about love. More specifically, he spoke about how love can transform. How love makes all things possible, because God is love. As long as you and I continue to seek and pursue love, the Church will continue to thrive. We are to be the source of love – we, the Church.

Love can change the world! Our whole life experience hinges on the fact that we are to love God above all things and to love our neighbor as ourselves. If love stops so will the Church. If the Church stops, so will love. I don’t want that kind of existence, do you? I need the Church because I need the Eucharist. If the Church, the Catholic Church, ever grows passé to the point of no schools, no priests, no religious, no sacraments, I fear what that world would look like. That would definitely be the saddest world to live in.

Thank you for being part of a Church that needs you and wants you. For being the hands of Jesus in this very weary world.

Love God. Love neighbor. Love self. Let’s transform the world.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School.

 

The Man in Yellow

Several weeks ago I went to Miller Park to watch the Brewers play. I was fascinated by a man in a bright yellow t-shirt standing out in the right field seating area.

The man was very animated, jumping up and down, and motioning to the crowd around him to start “the wave.” After several attempts to get everyone coordinated, a small handful of people stood up and screamed.

Then it stopped.

But the man in yellow was determined. I could see his arms flailing about.

And then it happened.

The crowd suddenly came to life, and the wave began to take shape. It started in right field and made its way all the way to third base…before it fell apart.

The man in yellow was not to be denied.

This time the wave made it all the way to home plate before dissolving.

But he didn’t give up.

With one gigantic leap, he started again and the wave exploded from right field and immediately had traction. It traveled past third base, past home plate, and completely around the stadium.

And then it did it again. And again. Three times around the entire ballpark, 40,000 people happily participating.

The next time that you think the influence of one person doesn’t matter, think of the man in yellow.

The next time that you say, “What can I do, I’m only one person?”, think of the man in yellow.

The next time that you think you can’t make a difference in the world, ask the 40,000 people at Miller Park who it was that got them to stand as one.

“I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” – Mother Theresa

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

Can You Walk on Water?

When the disciples saw him walking on the sea they were terrified. “It is a ghost,” they said, and they cried out in fear. At once Jesus spoke to them, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”

Peter said to him in reply, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.”

He said, “Come.”

Peter got out of the boat and began to walk on the water toward Jesus. But when he saw how strong the wind was he became frightened; and, beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?”

Can you walk on water? Have you tried? Like Peter, we all have doubts.

  • We are told “be not afraid,” yet we are still filled with fear.
  • We are told “do not let your heart be troubled,” yet our hearts are often filled with worry and anxiety.
  • We are told to “trust in the Lord with all your heart,” yet there are times when we try to figure out everything ourselves without asking God for guidance.

We all begin to sink. And then we cry out: “Lord, save me.”

“O you of little faith.”

Starting today, I’m going to practice walking on water. Every move I make on solid earth, I will imagine that I’m traveling atop a smooth, clear body of water.

I take one step after another.

I move safely from shore-to-shore.

All doubt and fear is removed from me.

I am filled with faith.

All because Jesus simply says, “Come.”

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK.

 

The Love of a Mother Made Perfect

A Message from Deacon Greg Diciaula

Each year on Mother’s Day, as we express the love and gratitude we feel for our mothers, I also reflect on the gift that Jesus gave to us before the total gift of Himself on the Cross; the gift of His mother to be our own.

May is the month dedicated to Mary, the Mother of our Lord. Jesus entrusted Mary to his beloved disciple and to the entire Church with these tender words recorded in John’s Gospel:

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.”

Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. John 19:26, 27

Mary was there at the incarnation, birth, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. She was there on the day of Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. She was there as the first evangelizer and disciple, as she visited with her cousin, Elizabeth.

Her “Fiat” (Let it be done) given in response to the angel Gabriel, provides an example for each one of us. Mary said “Yes” and her humble surrender serves as a model for the vocation of every Christian.

Through her response, Mary shows each one of us the pattern of human love surrendered to God’s love, and finding its fulfillment. She also shows us the love of a mother made perfect.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners…

 

Deacon Greg Diciaula

Love One Another

Love one another…

What does it mean to love? I remember back in high school, we had to read a book entitled “Love” by Leo Buscaglia (1972) as part of our theology instruction sophomore year. It was in the context of this book that I learned many things about this little four letter word, that can have such ambiguity as much as it can have definition.

I went and pulled it off the shelf of my library as I pondered the commandment to “love one another.” While Jesus had provided example after example of what love really looks like in the gospels, the climax being His Passion, rarely are we ever confronted with such a selfless act of love on a daily basis. I thumbed through the pages to see if my sophomore self had left me any nuggets of inspiration, when I stumbled upon an annotation that read:

Love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely in the hope that our love will produce love in the loved person. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love. The perfect love would be one that gives all and expects nothing. (p.96)

Clearly, Jesus feels that we should be able to do this, otherwise, He wouldn’t have given us this directive. Typically, one does not ask of others what one would not do themselves. God loves us. We are to love one another.

I was recently reminded of the phrase “To love another person is to see the face of God,” notably coined in Les Miserable. Do you take time to reflect upon your relationships with this in mind? As I think about it, parents are the first teachers of love. As a parent, I vividly recall the moment I first laid eyes on my children and the overwhelming love that existed in that moment. I can truly say I saw the face of God. I still do. The love of a parent for a child is the closest thing in our human existence that compares to the love that God has for us. A parent would lay their life down for their child. That is what God did for us through Jesus – the ultimate sacrifice. In turn, we must love one another like that.

To all of the moms out there who make sacrifices, take “abuse,” give love, share smiles and tears to show your children the love of the Lord through your face, thank you.

 

Jill Fischer is the Principal of St. Dominic Catholic School

 

Together. With Love.

This week I met Michelle and Steve.

Michelle is an energetic and passionate woman who worked in the nursing field in Madison, Wisconsin for many years. She had a job and a home that she loved.

Then, one day, God called her.

Michelle’s mother was battling cancer an hour away in Milwaukee. And it was not going well. The treatments were taking a toll on her body, and she was struggling with day-to-day activities.

Michelle listened to what God was asking of her. It was time to leave the home and job that she loved, and it was time to move to Milwaukee to care for Mom.

God called, and Michelle listened.

“It’s never easy to watch anyone suffer, but it’s even more difficult when it’s your mother,” Michelle said. “But I am glad that I was there. It was a very spiritual experience. Both sad and uplifting as I watched her pass on.”

When Michelle lost Mom, she found Steve. Steve, equally as energetic and passionate, worked in the nursing field in Milwaukee. He met Michelle during her frequent hospital visits with Mom. Michelle and Steve knew they were meant for each other.

If it wasn’t for God’s call, she never would have met and fallen in love with Steve.

But then God called again.

Steve was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. It is the second most commonly diagnosed blood cancer after non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The cancer grows out of control quickly, crowding out the normal cells.

Steve has no family in the Milwaukee area.

“I don’t know where I would be right now without Michelle. She is literally keeping me alive with her support and assistance. She helps me manage my medication, takes me for treatment; she takes care of my every need.”

While they are optimistic, the future does not look good for Steve’s battle. They know their days together are numbered.

God continues to call them, inviting them to savor every moment of every day. And that’s what they’re doing. Together. With love.

Is God calling you today? Are you listening?

 

Dan Herda is an editor of theROCK