Posts Tagged ‘Morning Prayer’

Life Has a New Meaning — Morning Prayer for Sunday, January 20, 2019 — Can I Change How My Mind Talks To Me?

January 20, 2019

Can I put my dark past behind me? Can I turn toward God with real trust?

Am I all through with lying, bad behavior, remorse, and wasting money? For a long time we were only half alive. Now that we’re trying to live decent, honest, unselfish lives — we’re really alive. Life has a new meaning for us, so that we can really enjoy it. We feel that we’re some use in the world. We’re on the right side of the fence, instead of on the wrong side. We can look the world in the face instead of hiding in alleys. We come into A.A. to get sober and if we stay long enough, we learn a new way of living. Am I convinced that no matter how much fun I got out of drinking, that life never was as good as the life I can build in A.A.?

Image result for I think therefore I am, pictures

Meditation for the Day

I want to be at one with the Divine Spirit of the universe. I will set my deepest affections on things spiritual, not on things material. As a man thinketh, so is he. So I will think of and desire that which will help, not hinder, my spiritual growth. I will try to be at one with God. No human aspiration can reach higher than this.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may think love, and love will surround me. I pray that I may think health, and health will come to me.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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God is love. That is the teaching. Am I constantly obsessed with what I hate? Maybe I am on the wrong track.

Cogito, ergo sum is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”.

But am I thinking good thoughts? Are my thoughts helping me stay sane and sober or are my thoughts working against a better, more peaceful life?

There are ways, steps, to remove from us resentments. To help us heal the hurts of the past. To allow us to start anew.

Related:

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Do I have a God I can run to? Do I think God wants to punish me? If so, maybe I need a New Concept of God.

Rembrandt van RijnThe Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669. 262 cm × 205 cm. Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

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What Kind Of God Do You Have?

Psychologists, pastors and mental professionals tell Peace and Freedom that many people view God as a tyrant that wants to punish them.

Who is going to go to a God like that?

Christians believe in a God that is all loving, all forgiving, and merciful.

Many see God in the Rembrandt image of the “All Forgiving Father” sometimes called “the Prodigal Son” painting (above).

The Bible says “God is love.”

The Bible goes to great length to describe God as:

Everywhere

God doesn’t live in a particular place, separate from his creation, but is everywhere in it.

Absolutely powerful

Even though the world has evil things in it, God can and will bring about justice.

Knowing everything

When you pray, it is to a God who understands every thought.

Beyond space and time

God is eternal and doesn’t rely on anything else in order to exist.

Good

Even when circumstances look terrible, goodness will have the upper hand.

Holy

God is set apart in awesome perfection, but he is also utterly loving.

Utterly loving

Although you would expect God to be unapproachable because of his holiness, he is immensely tender toward human beings.  Knowing him is an entirely wonderful experience, bringing a sense of being loved, blessed and sustained through life.

Way above gender and language

However you try to describe God (including using the words he or she), the truth is even greater.

One

There is only one God, although he can be encountered in three different ways – Father, Son and Spirit.

The notion that we must “fear God” has been largely debunked by Christian scholars. they say, in this context, fear really means “awe.” We should be in awe of God but anxious to go to Him since he is all loving, all forgiving, and merciful.

Related:

(The problem is, you may have something wrong even though you are not a psychopath)

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Morning Prayer for Saturday, January 19, 2019 — Reliance Upon God To Answer Our Call

January 19, 2019

Are we building a life of honesty, integrity and goodness? Are we unselfish and dedicated to service to others?  Faith in God, love of our fellow human beings, and unselfish service are the foundations of the spiritual program and recovery. … We’ll never fully reach these goals, but the adventure of building that kind of a life is so much better than the merry-go-round of our old life that there’s no comparison. We come into addiction recovery to get sober, but if we stay long enough we learn a new way of living. We become honest with ourselves and with other people. We learn to think more about others and less about ourselves. And we learn to rely on the constant help of a Higher Power. Am I living the way of honesty, unselfishness, and faith?

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Meditation for the Day 

I believe that God had already seen my heart’s needs before I cried to Him, before I was conscious of those needs myself. I believe that God was already preparing the answer. God does not have to be petitioned with sighs and tears and much speaking before He reluctantly looses the desired help. He has already anticipated my every want and need. I will try to see this as His plans unfold in my life.

Prayer for the Day 

I pray that I may understand my real wants and needs. I pray that my understanding of those needs and wants may help to bring the answer to them.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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What we put into our heads each day can determine our stability and mental health. Its not just eating right that makes us healthy — we have to keep “on the beam” and thinking good thoughts. That’s why the daily, vigilant participation in a spiritual program is recommended….

Related:

Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!

The most often repeated instruction to man in the Holy Scripture is: “Do not be afraid.”

This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
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Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
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Related:
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Morning Prayer for Friday, January 18, 2019 — “God, Help Me Grow in Faith in You, Day By Day”

January 18, 2019

The new life can’t be built in a day. We have to take the program slowly, a little at a time. Our subconscious minds have to be reeducated. We have to learn to think differently. Any one who tries to make a complete change in their life knows that the old thinking is apt to come back on us when we least expect it. That’s a relapse. Building a new life is a slow process, but it can be done if we really follow the principles of the program and stay in the fellowship, program. Am I building a new life on the foundation of trust in God and Sobriety?

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Meditation for the Day

I will pray daily for faith, for it is God’s gift. On faith alone depends the answer to my prayers. God gives it to me in response to my prayers, because it is a necessary weapon for me to possess for the over coming of all adverse conditions and the accomplishment of all good in my life. Therefore, I will work at strengthening my faith.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may so think and live as to feed my faith in God. I pray that my faith may grow because with faith God’s power becomes available to me.

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Related:

Image result for human brain, pictures

Rembrandt van RijnThe Return of the Prodigal Son, c. 1661–1669. 262 cm × 205 cm. Hermitage MuseumSaint Petersburg

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What Kind Of God Do You Have?

Psychologists, pastors and mental professionals tell Peace and Freedom that many people view God as a tyrant that wants to punish them.

Who is going to go to a God like that?

Christians believe in a God that is all loving, all forgiving, and merciful.

Many see God in the Rembrandt image of the “All Forgiving Father” sometimes called “the Prodigal Son” painting (above).

The Bible says “God is love.”

The Bible goes to great length to describe God as:

Everywhere

God doesn’t live in a particular place, separate from his creation, but is everywhere in it.

Absolutely powerful

Even though the world has evil things in it, God can and will bring about justice.

Knowing everything

When you pray, it is to a God who understands every thought.

Beyond space and time

God is eternal and doesn’t rely on anything else in order to exist.

Good

Even when circumstances look terrible, goodness will have the upper hand.

Holy

God is set apart in awesome perfection, but he is also utterly loving.

Utterly loving

Although you would expect God to be unapproachable because of his holiness, he is immensely tender toward human beings.  Knowing him is an entirely wonderful experience, bringing a sense of being loved, blessed and sustained through life.

Way above gender and language

However you try to describe God (including using the words he or she), the truth is even greater.

One

There is only one God, although he can be encountered in three different ways – Father, Son and Spirit.

The notion that we must “fear God” has been largely debunked by Christian scholars. they say, in this context, fear really means “awe.” We should be in awe of God but anxious to go to Him since he is all loving, all forgiving, and merciful.

See also:

loving, all forgiving, and merciful.

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Principles of the Program

Step 1 – Honesty

Step 2 – Hope

Step 3 – Faith

Step 4 – Courage

Step 5 – Integrity

Step 6 – Willingness

Step 7 – Humility

Step 8 – Brotherly Love

Step 9 – Justice

Step 10 – Perseverance

Step 11 – Spirituality

Step 12 – Service

Related:

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  (Joyful anticipation of the future)

Morning Prayer for Thursday, January 17, 2019 — “God Keep Me From Worry, Anxiety and Impatience”

January 17, 2019

With God’s help, I will build a protective screen around myself, which will keep out all evil thoughts. I will fashion it out of my attitude toward God and my attitude toward other people. When one worrying or impatient thought enters my mind, I will put it out at once. I know that love and trust are the solvents for the worry and frets of life. I will use them to form a protective screen around me.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that frets and impatience and worry may not corrode my protective screen against all evil thoughts. I pray that I may banish all these from my life.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

Image result for god grant me peace, pictures

Morning Prayer for Wednesday, January 16, 2019 — Daily strivings and perseverance

January 16, 2019

The mosaic of my life is built one day, one tile, at a time…

I will try to obey God’s will day in and day out, in the wilderness plains as well as on the mountaintops of experience. It is in the daily strivings that perseverance counts. I believe that God is Lord of little things, the Divine Controller of little happenings. I will persevere in this new way of life. I know that nothing in the day is too small to be part of God’s scheme.

Image result for mosaic of my life, pictures

Prayer for the Day

I pray that the little stones that I put into the mosaic of my life may make a worthwhile pattern. I pray that I may persevere and so find harmony and beauty.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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Morning Prayer for Tuesday, January 15, 2019 — Joy For A New Day, New Life, Starting NOW!

January 15, 2019

What we are looking for through prayer and meditation is a new way of life. A better way of life. A spiritual way of life and outlooks that allows us to be better people and make better decisions…. We are seeking to be restored to sanity. Prayer, meditation and service to others are good for our mental health!

Twenty Four Hours a Day for January 15:

The A.A. program is a way of life. It’s a way of living and we have to learn to live the program if we’re going to stay sober. The twelve steps in the book are like guide-posts. They point the direction in which we have to go. But all members of the group have to find their own best way to live the program. We don’t all do it exactly alike. Whether by quiet times in the morning, meetings, working with others, or spreading the word, we have to learn to live the program. Has the A.A. way become my regular, natural way of living?

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Meditation for the Day

I will relax and not get tense. I will have no fear, because everything will work out in the end. I will learn soul-balance and poise in a vacillating, changing world. I will claim God’s power and use it because if I do not use it, it will be withdrawn. As long as I get back to God and replenish my strength after each task, no work can be too much.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may relax and that God’s strength will be given to me. I pray that I may subject my will to God’s will and be free from all tenseness.

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Related:

Image result for human brain, pictures

“Anxiety increases in direct ratio and proportion as man departs from God. Everyone in the world has an anxiety complex because each of us has the capacity to be either a sinner or a saint.”

“Despair and anxiety are possible because there is a rational soul. They presuppose the capacity of self-reflection. Only a being capable of contemplating itself can dread annihilation in the face of the infinite, can despair either of itself or of its destiny.”

— Both quotes from “Peace of Soul,” Chapter 2, By Fulton J. Sheen, first published in 1949.

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The most often repeated instruction to man in the Holy Scripture is: “Do not be afraid.”

This little “anti-anxiety” prayer was a part of every Catholic Mass for centuries:
.
Deliver us, Lord, from every evil,
and grant us peace in our day.
In your mercy keep us free from sin
and protect us from all anxiety
as we wait in joyful hope
for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
.Related image
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Nada Te Turbe (Let nothing disturb you)
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Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.— St. Teresa of Avila
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Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!

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Related:
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Morning Prayer for Monday, January 14, 2019 — Obey God and Walk With Him

January 14, 2019

I will learn to overcome myself, because every blow to selfishness is used to shape the real, eternal, unperishable me. As I overcome myself, I gain that power which God releases in my soul. And I too will be victorious. It is not the difficulties of life that I have to conquer, so much as my own selfishness.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may obey God and walk with Him and listen to Him. I pray that I may strive to overcome my own selfishness.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

Image result for God, Jesus, walk with Him, art, pictures

Related:

(Includes What Drives This Alcoholic: A Life Mission)

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Reflection by The Most Rev Msgr William Goh Archbishop of Singapore
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14 JANUARY, 2019, Monday, 1st Week, Ordinary Time

MOTIVATED BY A HIGHER CALLING IN LIFE

SCRIPTURE READINGS: [  HEB 1:1-6PS 97:1-26-79MK 1:14-20 ]

Christmas and New Year celebrations are over.  Students are back to school and we are back to work and the daily drudgery and humdrum of life.  As we begin the first weekday of the ordinary liturgical year, the Church wants us to see everything in perspective, lest we live an unreflective and fragmented life.  We need to ask what direction we are taking in life.  What are we living for and what are we supposed to do?  This was the case of the apostles.  Peter and Andrew, like the rest, were just casting nets to catch fish.  So too were James and John.  They were mending their nets.  They were doing mundane things.   They did not have a higher vision and calling. They were just going through life. Like many of us, they were just surviving, not living.  When we do things for the sake of doing, we will not live life to the fullest.  When we just go through the mundane things of life, we cannot live with excitement and passion.

The scripture readings today provide us with a higher calling for each of us.  Yesterday, we just celebrated the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.  Today, the scripture readings provide us with a clearer vision of what our baptismal calling is all about.  At His baptism, Jesus revealed to us the higher calling of life.  He came to show us the way to live our life to the fullest.  He could do it simply because, at His baptism, it was revealed that He was truly God and truly man.

The first reading from the letter to the Hebrews confirms that Christ is the revelation of our calling in life.  This is because He is the revelation of God.  He is greater than the angels.  He is God’s first born Son, that is to say, He holds the highest privilege, rank and honour, just like all first-born.  Indeed, Jesus as the Word of God shows us what life is all about and what our calling is.  This is what the first reading tells us. “At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son.”

He is not only truly God but truly man.  For this reason, He wanted to be baptized by John so that He could identify with us in our humanity and most of all, to suffer the pain of sins.  For this reason, immediately after His baptism, He was led to the desert to be tempted by the Evil One.  “And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness.  He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.”  (Mk 1:12f)  St Mark inserted this event between the baptism of Jesus and the proclamation of the Good News in order to assert that Jesus could identify with us in our struggles against the Evil One.  But more than just being identified with us, He wanted to show us that it is not impossible to overcome the temptations of the Devil.  Rightly so, the author of Hebrews testified that “he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty.”

Vatican II in the Constitution of the Church underscores Jesus as the One who could give us meaning and direction.  “Nevertheless, in the face of the modern development of the world, the number constantly swells of the people who raise the most basic questions or recognize them with a new sharpness: what is man? What is this sense of sorrow, of evil, of death, which continues to exist despite so much progress? What purpose have these victories purchased at so high a cost? What can man offer to society, what can he expect from it? What follows this earthly life?

The Church firmly believes that Christ, who died and was raised up for all, can through His Spirit offer man the light and the strength to measure up to his supreme destiny. Nor has any other name under the heaven been given to man by which it is fitting for him to be saved. She likewise holds that in her most benign Lord and Master can be found the key, the focal point and the goal of man, as well as of all human history. The Church also maintains that beneath all changes there are many realities which do not change and which have their ultimate foundation in Christ, Who is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever. Hence under the light of Christ, the image of the unseen God, the firstborn of every creature, the Council wishes to speak to all men in order to shed light on the mystery of man and to cooperate in finding the solution to the outstanding problems of our time.”  (GS 10) 

Christ continues the work of salvation.  God is not just the creator but He is also our Redeemer.  Through Christ, He created the world and through the same Christ, He will redeem us.   Hence, the author wrote, “He is the radiant light of God’s glory and the perfect copy of his nature, sustaining the universe by his powerful command; and now that he has destroyed the defilement of sin, he has gone to take his place in heaven at the right hand of divine Majesty.  So he is now as far above the angels as the title he has inherited is higher than their own name.”

What, then, is the higher vision and mission of life?  What is His message of salvation? Jesus began His mission by proclaiming the Good News from God.  “‘The time has come’ he said ‘and the kingdom of God is close at hand.  Repent, and believe the Good News.’”  In other words, Jesus wanted us to know that God’s reign of love, mercy and justice is here.  He is the light of the nations and the hope of humanity.  This world is not under the reign of Satan and his angels but He has come to restore creation under the rule of God’s love and mercy.

With the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, we too share in His calling and mission.  We are called to share in His mission of proclaiming the Good News.  What does this mean?

Firstly, in all that we do, our focus is on humanity and people; not on work and things.  Peter and Andrew were simply catching fish day in and day out for their livelihood, but they never lived.   Jesus called them to a higher purpose of life, which was to catch men. Jesus said, “Follow me and I will make you into fishers of men.”   Indeed, whatever we do, especially in our work and jobs, we must not forget the objective of what we are doing.  If we work, it is to contribute to the development of the world and of humanity.  In our work too, we want to earn money to support our family and our loved ones so that they can have a happy life.   In whichever vocation we are in, the end target is not simply getting things done or performing well but to offer the best service to those people whom we are serving.  Ultimately, we are serving God by serving humanity.  So we must not do our work and only see it as work but rather to give a better life to our fellowmen.

Secondly, our mission is to heal and mend lives.  We read that James and John were mending nets in their boats. “He called them at once and, leaving their father Zebedee in the boat with the men he employed, they went after him.”  Instead of simply mending nets we are called to mend lives, to put lives in order, to forgive and to heal.  This is what our work is all about.  We want to let sinners know that they are forgiven and that Jesus loves them still, so that knowing they are loved by God, they will repent on hearing this Good News that they are loved and forgiven.  Our ministry is one of healing and restoration, whether as parents, bosses or workers.  We must show the mercy and compassion of the face of Christ in the world.  

Realizing that this is our call, what is demanded of us is a decisive response.  Why?  Because it is the Lord who calls!  This explains why the first disciples of Jesus left their work and their nets, that is, their possessions and even their loved ones, in this case, the father, immediately and followed after Jesus.  When the Lord calls, we cannot tarry any longer.  The answer must be a decisive “Yes” like Mary, and it must be immediate.

Of course, this following of Jesus is an ongoing process because it appears that the disciples were called a few times later.   We have other stories of Jesus calling the apostles in different ways.   In other words, following Jesus begins with a decisive response but it is an ongoing process of growing in faith in Jesus.  We need to search and clarify our call daily.  So as we work and live each day, we need to ask how faithful are we to our call to “catch men” and “heal lives” so that they fall in love with God and with us.  Make your vocation and all that you do to bring people to Jesus so that they can live their lives meaningfully and purposefully.

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Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore 

Morning Prayer for Sunday, January 13, 2019 — I pray that I may always call on God’s strength

January 13, 2019

Before we came to the fellowship, we were living an unnatural life physically and mentally. We were punishing our bodies by loading them with alcohol. We didn’t eat enough and we ate the wrong things. We didn’t get enough sleep or the right kind of rest. We were ruining ourselves physically. We had an alcoholic obsession and we couldn’t imagine life without alcohol. We kept imagining all kinds of crazy things about ourselves and about other people. We were ruining ourselves mentally. Since I came into the fellowship, am I getting better physically and mentally?

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Meditation for the Day

I believe that my life is being refined like gold in a crucible. Gold does not stay in the crucible, only until it is refined. I will never despair or be despondent. I now have friends who long for me to conquer. If I should err or fail, it would cause pain and disappointment to them. I will keep trying to live a better life.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may always call on God’s strength, while the gold of my life is being refined. I pray that I may see it through, with God’s help.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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Image result for happiness, living the right life, pictures

Related:

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There are our “top overnight reads” at Peace and Freedom:

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What Drives This Alcoholic: A Life Mission

After 16 years of sobriety, my friend relapsed and started to drink again.

When I asked him how it happened, he said, “The alcohol just jumped into my mouth.”

When I asked him what was it that made him get out of bed in the morning, what was his mission, and what gave his life meaning, there was a long, uncomfortable silence.

I need to thank God continuously for the great gift of sobriety.

For me, a Christian in Alcoholics Anonymous, AA and my faith are in complete and perfect symmetry. I cannot imagine one without the other. I need both to sustain me.

I need meaning in my life. And I need interior peace — because that’s where I’ll hear God. I need to meditate.

A.A. is the beginning and not the end. Without true meaning in life, without a real mission, this particular alcoholic would be forever adrift and in danger.

I need friends, family, community and support. I need my sponsor and my wife sometimes equally and sometimes one more than the other.

But as a Christian, I also need Jesus. I need to seek him out and find him. I need to knock.

I need the hope of eternal life.

Nothing in this world can fill my need anymore. Once sober in A.A., we discover our spirituality — our spiritual nature and our spiritual life.

Truly now I am a spiritual being having what I hope is a temporary physical experience. I am no longer wedded only to this world. I am pointed toward the next.

For me, this is the goal of A.A. To give us a greater meaning, and greater goals. Selfless service to others is one of the best ways to stay sober and stay spiritually fit. So I must do that.

“Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps” is the goal. I must stay sober to keep my future shot of eternal life alive. If I don’t my spiritual life will end. I must live by the principles of the program and the teachings of the Christian life to have a shot.

All this is why many in A.A. with long-term sobriety are much better people than they were before. Now that we have tools, principles, fellowship and mission, we do better.  With real life tools and goals, we have a chance at eternal life.

And the joy of life and giving back every day.

John Francis Carey
Peace and Freedom

  • Honesty. We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Hope. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Faith. …
  • Courage. …
  • Integrity. …
  • Willingness. …
  • Humility. …
  • Brotherly Love.
Here’s the pathway to a better life:
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Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic by Matthew Kelly
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The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic
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  • Prayer and Meditation Description: Specifically, Kelly notes that this consists of a daily routine of prayer. “Am I saying the other 93 percent of Catholics don’t pray? No. Their prayer tends to be spontaneous but inconsistent. The 7% have a daily commitment to prayer, a routine” (p. 8).
  • Study Description: “[Dynamic Catholics] see themselves as students of Jesus and his Church, and proactively make an effort to allow his teaching to form them” (p. 14). Kelly also notes that on average they spend 14 minutes each day learning about the faith.
  • Generosity Description: Generosity covers not only time and money, but also generosity in all things. This generosity is a way of life.
  • Evangelization Description: While many Dynamic Catholics don’t consider themselves to be evangelists, they “regularly do and say things to share a Catholic perspective with the people who cross their paths.”

Interestingly, Alcoholics Anonymous teaches the same four characteristics:

— Prayer and Meditation
— Study
— Service to others
— Twelve Step Work (Evangelization)

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Third Step Prayer (Alcoholics Anonymous)

God, I offer myself to Thee-
To build with me
and to do with me as Thou wilt.
Relieve me of the bondage of self,
that I may better do Thy will.
Take away my difficulties,
that victory over them may bear witness
to those I would help of Thy Power,
Thy Love, and Thy Way of life.
May I do Thy will always!
Thank you, God, Amen!

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Lord, I ask your pardon, I have sinned again

Lord, I ask your pardon, I have sinned again. This, alas, is what I am capable of doing on my own! But I abandon myself with confidence to your mercy and your pardon, I thank you for not allowing me to sin even more grievously. I abandon myself to You with confidence because I know that one day you will heal me completely and, in the meantime, I ask you that the experience of my misery would cause me to be more humble, more considerate of others, more conscious that I can do nothing by myself, but that I must rely solely on your love and your mercy. Amen.

By Jacques Philippe

Book: Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence

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What is unique about Christianity?  Faith in the incarnation or the resurrection is not peculiar to the Christian Faith.  Other religions also believe in some form of incarnation of gods, and even resurrection.   Perhaps, what makes Christianity different from other religions is that we believe in the doctrine of grace.   In other words, salvation is purely the grace of God; not the work of man.  Grace is given to us irrespective of what we have done in life.  We cannot earn merits before God but we are called to receive His love, mercy and salvation graciously.

In most religions, there is always a belief in some form of Karma, the effects of what we do in life, good or evil.  If we do evil, we will be punished.  If we do good, we will be rewarded.  In other words, what we sow is what we reap.  Even St Paul appeared to affirm this principle.  “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  (Gal 6:7f)  However, the context of St Paul’s saying is that bad consequences will happen to us when we reject the grace of God.

This grace is given to us through Jesus Christ.  It is said that the word, “GRACE” is the acronym for “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense.”  Through Christ, we are given the grace of salvation freely and without reservation.  This is what the second reading from Titus tells us.  “When the kindness and love of God our saviour for mankind were revealed, it was not because he was concerned with any righteous actions we might have done ourselves; it was for no reason except his own compassion that he saved us, by means of the cleansing water of rebirth and by renewing us with the Holy Spirit which he has so generously poured over us through Jesus Christ our saviour. He did this so that we should be justified by his grace, to become heirs looking forward to inheriting eternal life.”

Baptism, therefore, is the expression of this grace of God given to us freely for our salvation.  There are no conditions for baptism except faith in His grace alone.  We are justified through faith in Jesus Christ who wrought for us the grace of reconciliation. St Paul in his letter to the Romans wrote, “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith.”  (Rom 3:22-25)

The baptism of children is a clear example of grace, when they are made sons and daughters of God, heirs of Christ without any merit of their own to show.   St Paul wrote to the Ephesians, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”  (Eph 2:8-10)  They are given a new life in Christ and assured of eternal life.  All who are baptized are given a new dignity as adopted sons and daughters of God through the forgiveness of sins and the bestowing of the Holy Spirit.  Our sins are what cause us to lose our sonship and daughtership.  With our sins taken away by Christ and the bestowing of the Holy Spirit, we are now able to live out our sonship and daughtership in the power of the Holy Spirit.   Only in the Holy Spirit, can we live out our sonship.  From now on, even if we do good, it is not something that we can boast about except that the grace of God enables us to do good.  St Paul wrote, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 Cor 12:9f)

We can do good also because of the example that Christ has set for us to follow.  He has taught us how to love and how to be good.  “God’s grace has been revealed, and it has made salvation possible for the whole human race and taught us that what we have to do is to give up everything that does not lead to God, and all our worldly ambitions.  He sacrificed himself for us in order to set us free from all wickedness and to purify a people so that it could be his very own and would have no ambition except to do good.”  Indeed, Christ has revealed to us our destiny in life, which is to share in the fullness of life with God.  We are called to die to ourselves with Him in baptism so that our lives will be reflective of our sonship in Him.

Hence, today as we celebrate the Baptism of our Lord, we are reminded to be grateful for our own baptism.  Being baptized is not just for our own salvation but baptism also means that we are given a mission as well to bring others to Christ.  The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of His mission.  Whereas the feasts of Christmas and Epiphany celebrate the human face of God in Jesus, the feast of baptism reveals the divine face of man by showing our real identity as God’s sons and daughters.   This is who we are.  Necessarily, baptism obliges us to live out our sonship and daughtership seriously so that others will come to see the human face of God in us and the divine face in man.  St Paul urges us, “we must be self restrained and live good and religious lives here in this present world, while we are waiting in hope for the blessing which will come with the Appearing of the glory of our great God and saviour Christ Jesus.”

Thus, baptism imposes on us the duty of witnessing to the Lord and to be apostles of Christ.  The command of the Lord before He ascended into heaven was this, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”  (Mt 28:19f)  Like John the Baptist and the prophet Isaiah, we are to be joyful messengers of the Lord.  “Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God.’  Here is the Lord coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him. The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him.  He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewes.”

We are called to clear the path for people to accept the Lord into their lives by helping them to remove all the obstacles that prevent them from coming to the Lord because of pride, fear, selfishness and brokenness.  This is what the Suffering Servant said, “Prepare in the wilderness a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become plain, and the ridges a valley; then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”  Many people today are too wounded to be able to see the face of God because of the injustices they suffered or their pride of intellect, thinking they can solve all problems of life and find happiness in pleasure, power and success.  To such people, we bring the Good News, words of consolation and encouragement.  “Console my people, console them. Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for.”  Jesus began His mission thus, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Lk 4:18f)

This mission is possible only when we become conscious of the dignity of our sonship and daughtership in Christ.   We read, “While Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove.  And a voice came from the heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests with you.’”  To regain our sonship, like Jesus, we need to enter into prayer and intimacy with the Father so that the Spirit of God can rest upon us anew and reinforce our consciousness that we are sons and daughters of God so that we can live accordingly in the power of His Spirit.

Written by The Most Rev William Goh, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Singapore
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Morning Prayer for Saturday, January 12, 2019 — Gratitude and Humility

January 12, 2019

I will say thank you to God for everything, even the seeming trials and worries. I will strive to be grateful and humble. My whole attitude toward the Higher Power will be one of gratitude. I will be glad for the things I have received. I will pass on what God reveals to me. I believe that more truths will flow in, as I go along in the new way of life.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may be grateful for the things I have received and do not deserve. I pray that this gratitude will make me truly humble.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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Grace is an Unearned Gift

Paul sometimes uses “grace” as a broad catchall term to declare the way God acts toward His converted but still occasionally sinful children. In every case, whether referring to a singular gift or a continuing package of gifts that result in salvation, grace must always be perceived as unearned. Here, “grace” is used as a kind of shorthand for the entire ministry of Jesus Christ through which we are given salvation.

Notice that Paul exclaims, “Grace has appeared,” just as the manna, cloud, and fire appeared to illustrate God’s faithful presence to the Israelites through the entirety of their pilgrimage. Thus God is shown freely providing them with guidance, daily sustenance, and security. Recall that in John 14:18 that Jesus says in relation to giving the Spirit of truth, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” Paul is implying in Titus 2 that Jesus is following the pattern that He established with Israel for the church’s benefit.

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Paul also describes Christ as the personification of grace, salvation, redemption, teaching, hope, and the instruction and inspiration to live godly lives of overcoming and good works. All of these are shown as aspects of one huge gift that is continuously flowing in our lives.

Even as Paul describes Jesus as the personification of grace, he also uses Him as a synonym for grace and all of its powers and benefits, as though Christ exemplified all aspects of grace rolled up in one package. In this way, we can more easily identify and understand it and its meaning to us. Notice further what Jesus—grace—is doing: It is teaching us. Teaching represents the empowerment of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, inspiration, and discernment regarding our responsibilities. It also helps us to identify the subtleties of Satan’s devious, anti-God systems.

We should not make the mistake of thinking of grace as an entity; it is not a “thing” God dispenses. “Grace” is a term that represents the freeness of God’s personal, patient, and concerned generosity—His blessings and saving acts that are continuously flowing on our behalf to assist us along the way.

God’s saving work in us is not merely an extending of life to everlasting life. It is a creative labor on His part, forming us into the image of Jesus Christ, that requires our freely given cooperation for it to succeed. One of our major problems in fulfilling this responsibility by faith is to think about Him consistently, seeking for and acknowledging His benefits, and then returning thanks and praise to Him for His forgiving, patient generosity.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Living By Faith and God’s Grace (Part Two)

https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/17275/Grace-as-Unearned-Gift.htm

Morning Prayer for Friday, January 11, 2019 — Seeking God’s Will and Guidance — Meditation

January 11, 2019

I will pray only for strength and that God’s will be done — I will strive for consciousness of God’s presence

Meditation: To leave it out of one’s daily life is to miss the very purpose of living.

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When we were drinking most of us never thought of helping others. We liked to buy drinks for people, because that made us feel like big shots. But we only used others for our own pleasure. To really go out and try to help somebody who needed help never occurred to us. To us, helping others looked like a sucker’s game. But when we came into A.A., we began to try to help others. And we found out that helping others made us happy and also helped us to stay sober. Have I learned that there is happiness in helping others?

Meditation for the Day

I will pray only for strength and that God’s will be done. I will use God’s unlimited store of strength for my needs. I will seek God’s will for me. I will strive for consciousness of God’s presence, for He is the light of the world. I have become a pilgrim, who needs only marching orders and strength and guidance for this day.

Prayer for the Day

I pray that I may seek God’s guidance day by day. I pray that I may strive to abide in God’s presence.

From Twenty Four Hours a Day

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  (Joyful anticipation of the future)

Self-Abandonment to Divine Providence by Jean-Pierre de Caussade

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Conscious Contact with God – The Mindful Path of the Spiritually Awakened

The power of prayer and meditation in recovery is often extolled as essential in recovery circles, at least in those that embrace spirituality as the central theme toward healing. Prayer remains the predominant, spiritual power-tool of choice for those attempting to build a structure of spiritual recovery. It is a major proposal found in almost all religious denominations and there is certainly no shortage of prayer in the Twelve Step presentation, “Alcoholics Anonymous.”

Most people in recovery are familiar with some of the “Big Books’” prayers. In fact, I have all of the Twelve prayers toStep gether [1]if you like and highly recommend them to every newcomer starting out.

Like many other recovered alcoholics and addicts in long-term recovery, I have several decades of experience to draw upon for information. In the over thirty years of living personal trials, including egregious errors as well as spectacular successes, I have discovered that nothing comes close to the life altering effects of conscious contact with God through practicing meditation. [2]

No human activity renders one more useful to God and to his fellow man than living awake, aware and God conscious. In this brief article I am going to attempt to convince you that this is true, then point you to a direct source. Hopefully that will also answer the question, “How.”

Obsession Is A Spiritual Dysfunction

I work with a lot of alcoholics and addicts, not in clinical courses of treatment, of course, but from the spiritual angle. That is where the true source of the malady lies. Since the obsession, that causes addictions and alcoholism is found in spiritual dysfunction, it takes discovering the remedy for the ailing spirit to remove that heinous desire to drink or drug. In the course of that discovery we always get around to discussing conscious contact with God. How to get it. How to improve it and how the failure to make progress results in losing it.

How Can You Explain Conscious Contact With God?

They want to know what “conscious contact with God?” is. They want it explained to them. I mean, if I live a life that is continuously improving it, then surely I must be able to explain it, right? I can explain it about as well as I can explain what vanilla tastes like. That’s all anyone can do, and it just doesn’t quite do the experience justice. You have to sample it yourself to really know. What I can tell you, is where and how to find some. Then, once experienced, no explanations are necessary.

Consciousness of this order isn’t something to know. It is something to experience. Recovery is not a course of study that can be memorized like school lessons. It is a liberated way of living in the stream of experiences we call life.

Simple consciousness is nothing more than being aware of your thoughts. In each moment during the day that you are awake and aware, everything changes. Your present, your future. You are no longer making decisions but moving through each new moment effortlessly without deciding. There is no need to become involved in decision making because each new option before you becomes clear. It is a confident lifestyle. This simple consciousness, when combined with a yearning and willingness to contact God is something else altogether.

Connection Guides Our Lives And Our Sobriety

The idea of establishing a deliberate connection with a Supreme Being for the purposes of receiving guidance and direction is a widely held spiritual goal, shared by many, including the co-authors of “Alcoholics Anonymous.” Once awakened and free of their deadly obsession, they propose three ideas designed to maintain that conscious state:

  • Continue to enlarge the spiritual life,
  • Improve conscious contact with God, and
  • Grow along spiritual lines.

Not very concrete expressions are they? Rather ambiguous one might say. Enough so that students of spirituality have a very rough time trying to wrap their heads around it. Yet, the simple implication throughout the twelve-step method is clear: That an alcoholic can seek all the self-help, self-knowledge and human aid he can afford to access in the treatment of his condition – but unless he does all of these three critical things, his sobriety will not endure. He may relapse and perhaps die.

An ominous warning for sure and yet there is a powerfully positive side to this message. There is also the proposal of hope – that through these three ideas, relapse of an abstinent alcoholic or addict is virtually impossible. These are not merely interesting or optional concepts. In fact, they sound like something that the sufferer will need to do to survive his maladies.

Putting Step 11 Into Context

The good news here is that these ideas are not complicated at all and are interchangeable terms, amazingly simple to attain and can be wrapped up into one experience. Then understanding them at a deep level becomes automatic.

They each refer to a spiritual awakening event, an event that each 12-step practitioner is supposed to experience as he goes through the progression of activities designed to induce it. The Step 11 idea isn’t to seek conscious contact God, but to improve upon conscious contact with Him already established. The step assumes you already have it.

If all three mean the same thing, then for succinctness let’s pick one. Let’s pick the term actually used in Step Eleven, “Conscious Contact.” It’s the great catchall term and synonymous with “Spiritual Awakening. “ Being spiritually awake is conscious contact with God.

Until one is immersed into the Twelve Step spiritual way of life, it can be a surprise to learn that the goal of the steps is not to stop using and drinking. It is to have a spiritual awakening, establishing a conscious contact with God. Once that happens, the obsessive desire to drink or drug subsequently falls away. Then if the addict/alcoholic establishes a lifestyle that takes his initial awakening and improves upon it, bringing that state forward into each day, not only is there no chance of relapse, but his usefulness and personal attitude strengthens as time goes on.

Continue, Improve, And Grow

But what if the recovered alcoholic or addict doesn’t change much beyond that momentous event? It behooves the addict to remain awakened, if not for the sheer joy of living, then at least so the errors of his past do not re-emerge and wreak havoc on his life all over again. Once the initial spiritual awakening occurs, the trick becomes holding on to it by improving it.

Continue, Improve and Grow—these are the active expressions for spiritual awakening – or simply put, “God consciousness.” This is not merely an activity of convenience – something to do once or twice a day or when the going gets tough. It is a psychic state of being carried all throughout the day, every day for the rest of our lives. Our human existence is dependent upon it. We cannot live well now or at all in the future without it.

Why Emphasize Meditation? 

Why all this emphasis on meditation? When I write about “conscious contact with God,” I write about meditation because that is what I am all about. I am a one trick pony in this regard. When conscious contact with God is established, there is nothing else to worry about. Not any old conscious contact. There is conscious contact with self, with one’s own imagination and thoughts. I am not talking about that kind of consciousness. I am talking about conscious contact with the Supreme Being. That is the only kind that counts.

Conscious contact with God isn’t only for Twelve Steppers. Anyone needing to overcome any obsessive addiction, whether a substance or behavior, will find the solution to their problems the very moment they establish a God connection.

People have been seeking the path to discovering God long before the invention of the Twelve Steps. They have also been having spiritual awakenings—whether by divine vision, or even blinding bolts of lightning striking them in the head, does it really matter?

Although there are many practices called meditation, not all are the same. The meditation I use[3] is a simple ancient practice of pulling back out of the stream of thought and becoming separated from thoughts so that consciousness can return from where thought has taken it. It is mindful but non-religious, non-contemplative and most importantly—it works. With nothing added and with nothing left out—too simple for many people, but when done correctly the results are drastic and life altering.

Liberation From The Bondage Of Self

When we become conscious and freed from the sleeping state in which the world has driven us, where the force of resentment – hate, fear and frustration enters in to nourish and inflate an insatiable ego-self—we are instantly liberated from the bondage of self. Right then. Right there. No waiting. In that moment, our problems begin to drop away.

It is true that the elimination of drinking is “only a beginning.” Continuing to live in the God conscious, awakened state allows us to remain free from anger, gaining mastery over resentment.

In my case, I’ve been relieved from all my obsessions—not only the one which presents in an insane desire to drink but all obsessive behaviors, even those involving food, sex, drugs like nicotine and a host of others. Attention deficit disorder, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, obesity, smoking, drinking, major depression, anxiety and other dysfunctions are all gone.

Peace of mind can be experienced

There is wonderful, personal peace of mind—with a security, stability and happiness that I share with my family. I wish there was a way to adequately convey the ease of living and joy that comes to me and my wife Nancy as we raise our physically, emotionally, mentally fit kids, but I cannot. Like vanilla, like God consciousness, like spiritual awakening—these must experienced for yourself.

Practicing conscious contact with God and improving it as we go along certainly does a good deal more than eliminating a booze problem. And practice means meditation. To leave it out of one’s daily life is to miss the very purpose of living.

Reference Sources: [1] http://recoveredalcoholic.blogspot.com/2010/08/each-24.html

[2] http://stepelevencomesalive.blogspot.com/2013/03/real-meditation-for-real-alcoholics.html

[3] http://stepelevencomesalive.blogspot.com/2013/03/real-meditation-for-real-alcoholics.html

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About the author: danny j schwarzhoff is a father, husband, author and prolific blogger. He likes steak, bananas, The New York Yankees, a perfect cup of black tea and just being Dad. A native of Queens, New York City, Danny currently lives on Cape Cod with his wife Nancy and their two teenage children. Email him at Pendum [at] dannyschwarzhoff [dot] net or just Google “recovered alcoholic” to find his other stuff.

https://addictionblog.org/spirit/conscious-contact-with-god/

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Deepak Chopra in Beverly Hills, Calif.
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