Inspiring Goodness

Holy Thursday — Entering the Easter Triduum


The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. 

We have spent the past 40 days of Lent renewing and reinvigorating our faith in preparation for Easter.  The sacrifices and penances we have made have softened our hearts to be ready to enter the Easter Triduum — Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and the Easter Vigil — in which we commemorate the passion, crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The Easter Triduum allows us to walk in Jesus’s footsteps during His final hours on earth.

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Inspiring Goodness

Palm Sunday – Encountering God’s Goodness

Have you ever had an encounter with God that left you in tears because you understood the power of His goodness?  I will never forget the first time I watched Passion of the Christ a few years ago and how it brought me into the life of Christ in such a powerful way.  I watched Christ’s entrance into Jerusalem to accomplish the Paschal Mystery, His passion and resurrection with fresh eyes.  Seeing Jesus portrayed in His humanity and divinity brought home for me the magnitude of suffering, rejection, and betrayal He faced.  I may start my Spiritual Director’s practice of watching this movie on Good Friday.  Will you join us?

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Inspiring Goodness

Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord — Saying Yes to God’s Will

Fra Angelico, The Annunciation (ca. 1440-1445)  Covent of San Marco, Florence, Italy

We celebrate the beautiful Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25.  This day, which is nine months prior to Christmas Day, honors the Blessed Virgin Mary saying “Yes” to God’s will for her as part of His divine plan for salvation of the world.  Mary’s “Yes” is included every year in the Gospel reading for this Solemnity:

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word.  

Luke 1:38

The Solemnity of the Annunciation is a bittersweet day for me as it is also the anniversary of my father’s death.  He died on March 25, 1998, and I have had a Mass said in his memory each year on this day.  Over the years, I have found comfort in the Mass readings for the Solemnity, which provide me with encouragement and strength to accept God’s will for my life.  Mary’s brave and trusting acceptance of God’s will helps me to accept God’s will in my life, even to accept God’s will for the death of a beloved parent.  The Gospel reading also reminds me that God is always with us, and that I should not be afraid (Luke 1:26-38). 

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Guide to Goodness

Finding Perfect Precious Love

Joy isn’t what happens when life goes perfectly. It’s what happens when you know you’re loved perfectly, even when life’s a mess.

Chris Stefanick, Living Joy

The journey of Smitten With Goodness began with a simple question.  What does it mean to love?

Continue reading “Finding Perfect Precious Love”
Inspiring Goodness

Celebrating Happiness

Each day that begins, if welcomed in prayer, is accompanied by courage, so that the problems we have to face no longer seem to be obstacles to our happiness, but rather appeals from God, opportunities for our encounter with him.

Sharing wisdom from Pope Francis and wishing you hope and happiness on this WorldHappinessDay!

May you be smitten with goodness,

Cynthia

Inspiring Goodness

Inspiring Goodness: St. Joseph

As I am in the remaining few weeks of Lent where he is purifying my heart, I want to honor St. Joseph, my saint buddy who is helping me see God’s goodness working in my life.  I am in awe with his surrender to God’s will and his trust and confidence in what he heard.  Today is the Solemnity of St. Joseph, spouse of Mary during this Year of St. Joseph designated by Pope Francis.

I was fortunate growing up that I had a father who was my knight in shining armor.  It makes me sad that other daughters do not have this type of relationship with their earthly fathers.

Despite the circumstances in which I was conceived, my father was a man of integrity and did the right thing by marrying my mother when she became pregnant with me.  I can only imagine how St. Joseph felt, trying to decide if he should marry his fiancé Mary who became pregnant through the Immaculate Conception.  After his internal struggle and receiving God’s assurance, he was confident he was called to marry Mary and became foster father of Jesus.

My parents’ marriage did not last long because of my mother’s drinking.  It was fortunate that she was able to stop actively drinking when she was pregnant with me, but the disease took over again after I was born.    While parts of my early years are still a mystery, I am sure I felt confused and abandoned at times, along with feeling secure and loved at other times.  Although my mother was not able to care for me, my grandparents stepped in and my father was there until he was able to get custody of me.  He stood by in love.  Steady like St. Joseph. 

My father was a star defensive tackle at Notre Dame who could have gone pro until he injured his knee.  Instead, he worked hard digging ditches and owning a janitorial cleaning service while learning the oil business, his ultimate career.  He was a smart, hard worker and a good provider, just like St. Joseph.

Although not actively religious, my father was a man of deep faith.  He instilled in me the one true Catholic faith.  He defended the pope when my protestant stepmother accused him of not being Christian.  He bore fruits of the spirit like kindness and generosity.  He built up my faith by his words and his actions just like St. Joseph. 

My earthly father was far from perfect, but I know he did his best with the cards he was dealt and came from a place of love. 

I am blessed to have had such a father who modeled for me on earth what our heavenly Father might look like.  He always aimed for goodness but often missed the mark as we all do, twisted by our sin.  He was human, but regularly pointed toward Jesus as the bridge, to our divine Father in heaven.

As I sit with St Joseph this year, I am learning.  Learning things like how he was the guardian of the Virgin Mary, a foster father to the Son of God, a diligent protector, most just, chaste, prudent, strong, obedient, faithful, patient, pillar of the family, and a terror of demons to name a few.  As we walk through this year of St. Joseph, I invite you to let him inspire the goodness in you and want to share a few ideas to help in your journey:

Glorious Saint Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin, pray for me to have a pure, humble, charitable mind, and perfect resignation to the divine will. Be my guide, my father, and my model through life that I may die as you did in the arms of Jesus and Mary.

As we honor St. Joseph today, I hope you get to know him in a deeper way and allow him to point you towards God’s goodness.

Cynthia

Inspiration

Pruning Hearts

Today’s post, on this second Sunday of Lent, is written by a guest contributor Melanie Boutiette.  Melanie is my sister, mother figure, and friend.  I am pleased to introduce you to her and an article from her blog Just Beloved, Words of Encouragement for you!

I love to garden. I love digging my hands in the rich soil, planting beautiful flowers, and transforming a once barren area into a beautiful bed or landscape. The whole yard is filled with a variety of flowers and plants. I especially love the front of the house. I have an English garden there that once was just an ugly plot of ground after disease destroyed all the bushes and plants. To look at my yard right now in the dead of winter, you cannot tell that I love to garden.

More than ten years ago, a friend of mine who is a true master gardener, surprised me for my birthday that year and had my circle of friends gift me with a rose bush. Then she helped me transform that ugly plot of land with beautiful flowering roses. There is a profusion of color in bold reds, soft pinks, pale lavender, white, and yellow roses when in bloom.

Over the years, many, many more plants have been added to this English garden. Yellow lilies, purple, white, and lavender irises from my mother’s garden. Pink, fuchsia, and white peonies from my grandmother’s garden…just to name some of the plants. I am not a master gardener, so I do not know the specific names of all the variety of flowers but they are all precious to me.

My husband has joined in by planting zinnias, phlox, geraniums, petunias, and more. My husband, children, and grandchildren have given me a new rose bush or hydrangea bush to plant for Mother’s Day or my birthday annually. My garden is not limited to just flowers, but has many herbs for cooking like mint, thyme, parsley, and rosemary.

I love when the garden is in full bloom, fragrant with life, drawing the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. I love making beautiful bouquets of flowers to enjoy and share with others in neatly arranged vases. I relish cooking with fresh herbs. I simply love gardening.

And so, does God. He is a Master Gardener. He loves transforming barren hearts and lives into places of beauty. How precious is His Love?

Gardening is not easy. In fact, it very hard work. It is a constant struggle to tend the plants: to water, nurture, fertilize, and feed them. It is laborious to keep the weeds at bay and any pests or invaders out. It is hard work to keep plants trimmed and maintained. It is worth it though to realize the fruit of my labor.

A garden can often reflect the nature of the heart too.

Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that I may bear more fruit.”

Focus on His truth, John 15:2

God looks at our hearts as a garden. Daily we must spend time with Him. Time in His Word. We must water and feed our soul on that which is good. We must constantly weed out bad attitudes, anger, unforgiveness, resentment or anything that does not reflect the beauty of God. We must confess sin and pluck it out quickly before it has time to take root and spread. We must be careful to tend our garden well, and not allow foreign invaders in or pests and disease to ruin its beauty. For how quickly the world and sin can influence the garden of our heart with the lures of temptations so that we no longer look, talk, walk, or act like Christ!

And the garden does not just need tending in the spring, summer, and fall, but in the winter too. Winter seems brutal to look at the garden. The rose bushes have been pruned back as has the verbena bushes. The peonies, and much more have seemed to die and have been cut back. It is ugly right now. And everything seems dead. But winter is also a time of rest. And though it looks barren and hopeless, much is happening behind the scenes, and underground if you will.

God will often prune our lives and it can be severe. It can even be painful. He will cut off things that do not serve His purposes, or that are causing disease. He will pluck up, pull down, and root out anything in our lives that do not reflect His beauty, because He is after the better! Sometimes those old plants He is rooting out can be people, activities, friendships, jobs, and more because we have allowed those to replace God or they have become idols in our hearts.

Sometimes God knows the things in our heart’s garden are hurting us or holding us back from His vision and purpose. And like a diseased plant, He is pruning us because He is the Master Gardener. He sees the bigger picture. He sees the beauty and fruit that will bloom in due season through that painful process called pruning.

It is winter now: but wait for spring and summer and trust the Master Gardener!  Let Him prune you; beauty will burst forth! It is a promise.

Beloved:

Do you know that My love for you began in a garden?  I delight in all things beautiful. All My creation testifies to that. The delicate smell of a rose or flower is the fragrant perfume of Me drawing you and wooing you with beauty and love. The delightful dance of the bumblebee and butterfly reflects My beauty as well; it is a dance of love.  And when I planned your life, like a Master Gardener, I had specific intent and design to transform the barren landscape of your life and heart into a beautiful garden to reflect Me. But you have an enemy of your soul who seeks to creep in like unwanted weeds and pests and bring lies and destruction. And since the Fall, there is now toil involved in tilling the soil of your heart and in your literal garden.  When I come alongside you to trim and prune and cut away anything that robs you of true life and beauty, sometimes you’ve seen Me as cruel or harsh. You have not understood My ways. And when it seems as though you’re in a winter season where nothing is happening, can you rest in Me and trust? Do you not know that I am good and that everything I do has good plans in store for you?  As I prune you, it is so you can produce an even more abundant garden or fruits for others to see My beauty and goodness.  And it is ultimately for your joy and benefit as well.  Though you may not understand My ways, can you trust My heart?  Yield to My pruning and in time you will celebrate and see the abundance explode forth: just like a spring and summer garden.  I love you My beloved daughter, let Me prune your heart.

Melanie Boutiette is a passionate lover of Jesus, of coffee, and chocolate, she loves just about all things creative. Her creativity finds its expression in writing, painting, crafting homemade cards, gardening, throwing a party, reading, exercising or hiking, traveling, cooking, and playing with her grandchildren. She especially loves to encourage others through a timely note of encouragement or through the inspiring words in a story, poetry, prose or humor.  A former magazine and freelance writer and retired teacher, she now blogs regularly at Just Be-Loved.

Inspiration

Reclaiming Peace

Another blow.  Why can’t we catch a break?  These were my thoughts as I drove my husband to the emergency room. He had only been home from the hospital 20 days after previous admissions adding up to more than 200 days following his bone marrow transplant last year.  Sometimes it is just too much to be surrounded by all the suffering, the uncertainty life brings, and waiting in the fear of the what ifs.  The blanket of heaviness can descend upon me covering me in darkness when all I want to do is bask in the light. 

Anxiety can ruin your life.  It is complicated.  Fundamentally, any struggle with anxiety has a multitude of underlying issues including mental illness, chemical imbalance, a diagnosed anxiety disorders, and it includes a spiritual component as well.  For many like me, it is a worship problem.  I might be overwhelmed and preoccupied with external events of my life: like my spouse’s illness, not having a job right now or some other problem.  These things are the object of my anxiety and consume a lot of my time and energy.  But my problem is first a problem with God.  It is a problem of trust. Is the Lord Sovereign over my life? Does the peace of Christ rule my heart?  If not, there is a war in my soul, and it overwhelms me.  I have a divided heart and am not surrendering and trusting who God says He is.  At times, I do not believe in His goodness.  It gets to a point, as the pressure builds, where I cannot handle the anxiety on my own.  But I am not alone in my struggle.

Anxiety is a persistent part of our human condition.  It is so common that an estimated 23 million Americans suffer from panic attacks, while millions more identify as having some form of anxiety disorder.  Recent research shows that almost 40% of Americans are more anxious now than they were at this time last year.  Anxiety affects 1 in 8 children in the US and 18% of adults.  Mental illness and substance abuse expenditures are the single driver of disability costs.  And Post-COVID forecasts warn that the cost of treating widespread anxiety and depression will create a $1.6 trillion drag on the US economy. This is a crisis.  You can find out more information here

If you do not personally struggle with anxiety, then someone close to you does and it is important to be educated.  Anxiety is a weight that pulls you down.   It is pressure upon pressure, being paralyzed by fear, and lost in the worry of all the what if’s.  These pressures can sometimes be accompanied by despair which should not be a surprise, since so many people have both anxiety and depression.  Healing must be a priority. 

The question is where do you turn? 

“God comforts us in all our affliction” (2 Cor. 1:3-4).  It is a truth for all believers throughout time.  Paul reminds us that God graciously allows suffering to strip His children of self-reliance – of the pride that feeds so many of our other sins and hinders our usefulness for His purpose.  He wants to transform us, and He uses trying life circumstances to accomplish Christian growth and perseverance.  Setting our hopes on God alone is the ultimate remedy for anxiety.  Additionally, we need to discipline ourselves to look to Jesus regularly; especially when the anxiety tries to dominate our thoughts.  Scripture says, “On Him we have set our hope” (2 Cor. 1:10).  Hope delivers us from the crippling effects of anxiety because it helps us cling to an immovable anchor: the truth that God is for us in Jesus Christ. 

This Lent I have been enjoying DISCIPLE talks.  These conversations are rooted in Catholic teaching and Scripture and will guide you to a deeper understanding of your baptismal calling to live as a child of our Heavenly Father, as a brother or sister of Jesus Christ, and as a temple of the Holy Spirit.  It is helping to un-divide my heart and lean into trust of God’s goodness.

A free handbook accompanies the talks, highlighting key points, with questions to facilitate discussion or deeper reflection and suggestions for small activities called “Missionary Assignments,” that will help you grow in your relationship with Christ.  Our hearts must be at peace, and free from anxiety if we are to fulfill our mission in this world and fulfill our call to holiness.

As adopted children of God, through baptism, we are called to trust that our Father is leading us to salvation.  He can use the anxiety to let me know that my heart is not in right order.  We have a choice to love and love the good things of God or fall into the trappings of the world.  For me, these are my negative thought patterns that create anxiety. Rather than being reactionary and living in scarcity, I need to focus on the abundant gifts God has provided. 

Many of our fallen ways of thinking, have come from the lies we have told ourselves from past wounds that have not been healed.  I recently discovered Life Giving Wounds, whose mission is to help young adults and adults with divorced and separated parents, give a voice to their pain and find deep spiritual healing.  Although I have not participated in a retreat or workshop, I am enjoying their information including GRACE, their simplified Ignatian Examen (Examination of Conscience).  I have started incorporating this into my prayer time and this is helpful in putting me into the role of observer of my life and seeing a glimpse of how God sees me. 

For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord.  As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways.

Focus on His truth:  Isaiah 55:8-9

When I keep an eternal perspective, I realize that life is a gift.  Each breath is another moment to serve and be the hands and the feet of the Lord on this earth.  I can bring a little piece of heaven to others by using the gifts for God’s kingdom that I was uniquely designed to give to the world.

When I am overwhelmed with my life, and when the order I have known dissolves into disorder, darkness, and suffering, I am learning to look to the light.  Instead of focusing on negative thoughts, I can lift me eyes to creation and see God’s beauty. He sends a ladybug, a hummingbird, a cardinal, or a rainbow or any number of signs to show His love and that He is caring for me.  Then the veil is lifted, and I smile at the brightness.  The light that was already there opens before me.  I am not in this alone.  It is not my job to eliminate the suffering or move mountains.  I whisper, “That is Your job Lord, You are my light and my salvation.”

This fourth Sunday is the halfway mark of Lent and is traditionally known by the name Laetare Sunday, meaning Rejoice.  We rejoice because God loved us so much that He sent His beloved son to rescue us from sin and death.  I focus on this love and ask the Spirit to guide my thoughts, words, and heart to love. Strip away the anxiety and fear.  Help me continue to see that the light is more powerful than the darkness.  Let me invite You in and surrender and let You be my guiding light as I walk through the darkness into the light.  Help me to reclaim the peace You have already provided and be smitten with Your goodness.

Cynthia

Guide to Goodness

Are You Perfectly Merciful?

Return to me with your whole heart for I am gracious and merciful

During this third Sunday of Lent as I continue wandering in the desert of my soul, I am very grateful for God’s endless mercy and graciousness.  As the Master Gardener pulls the sinful weeds that crowd out the flowers of beauty, my Creator is pruning my heart for beauty to burst forth!  Ouch!

Passing judgement became part of my DNA at an early age. Living in a house with a stepmother who was critical of others and struggled with her own shame, this nature was passed along to me. Shame was like water and I was the sponge, soaking up the darkness. I never felt completely loved and accepted so I learned to compensate by overachieving and striving. Becoming a perfectionist, I never felt confident in who I was and looked externally for who I should be. I needed to be needed by others to make myself feel valued. Through much healing and personal growth, I came to understand how the sins of our parents are passed down to our children if we do not transform ourselves. Shefali Tsabary, PhD, in The Conscious Parent book and Tedx Talk, describes the framework to break this cycle. It is lifechanging.

As we live in the light and follow the path of true love, our eyes open to our brokenness and our transgressions. They are like a mirror that reflects the areas where we need to change to bring God’s light into the darkness of our world. We are called to change our mindset – to transformation. How well am I doing this?

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Focus on His truth, Luke 6:36

Mercy or tender compassion is God’s most distinctive characteristic. St. Augustine reminds us that we are, by our very nature, ordered to God. Since God is tender mercy, “having” God is tantamount to exercising compassion, and being merciful ourselves. This in turn allows me to have mercy for others. I have learned that being merciful includes showing mercy and compassion towards myself. If I judge myself harshly, how can I expect not to judge those who I meet throughout the day?

We are given a guide in Luke 6:37-38 as to what mercy means and the fruits that it bears: “Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

Bishop Barron says that “according to the physics of the spiritual order, the more one draws on the divine life, the more one receives that life, precisely because it is a gift and is properly infinite. God’s life is had, as it were, on the fly: when you receive it as a gift, you must give it away, since it only exists in gift form, and then you will find more of it flooding into your heart.  If you want to be happy, Jesus is saying, this divine love, this tender compassion of God, must be central to your life; it must be your beginning, your middle, and your end.”

How many times do I listen with an open heart? 

Being an active listener has been a strength in my career as a fundraising professional.  I have been successful at listening with a genuine, curious, open heart, and guiding relationships through trust.   In my personal life, I have had to work and apply the same approach.  At times with my family, I do not truly listen as I am thinking about what I will say or I try to impose my thoughts, perspective, or offer a solution. I am not listening with an open heart and at times can be judging others. 

To stop judging is the foundation of empathy.  As I let go my point of view, I can hear what God is saying to me in my life.  By keeping an open mind and heart open, I can hear what God is saying to me through others. And I can have empathy for people by listening to what God says about others and not be judgmental: to instead have mercy and compassion and God’s love for others.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux says on loving God: although we have sinned, been wicked and done evil, our Father, astoundingly, is merciful. He desires to pour into our lap gifts in good measure. But in our rebellion, we often fail to recognize his mercy or show it to others. True union with God always entails our assimilation to him, by which we are able to adopt the compassion and forgiveness that are his. For the true measure of loving God is to love God without measure.

One of my foundational life principals has been the golden rule: “Do unto others as they would do unto you.”  After God’s pruning of my heart, I aspire to: “Do unto others as you would have God do unto you.”

How well do I pay attention to the needs of others and show mercy and compassion?  Let us all reflect on this question during our remaining days of Lent and let God prune our hearts to be more perfectly merciful like him.

Smitten with His Goodness,

Cynthia

Inspiration

What Are You Thirsting For?

In this first week of Lent, I am realizing how my heart is being purified to be undivided.  It has been a challenging week where we truly entered the frigid desert here in Texas with a historic storm that crippled our infrastructure.  This arctic storm took away our power and electricity, water, internet, and spotty phone service.  To whom did I turn?

I like my routine, and this really threw me off.  It foiled my plans to start the Blessed is She Lent devotional Set a Fire, the Magnificat Lenten Journey, and Word on Fire reflections. Rather than having my one cup of coffee I am limiting myself to during lent and my holy hour, I found myself driving around in the car to keep my husband warm to stave off pneumonia, and charging my cell phone to continue contact with the outer world. 

Not the perfect start to Lent as I had hoped but I saw the angels among us.  Like our sweet son and his roommate, who did not lose power, offering to switch living spaces with us.  Or a friend with a back-up generator inviting us to stay with them.  COVID-19 and risk of any exposure kept us from accepting any of these kindnesses and we drove.  We drove and drove and drove looking for an open restaurant that had hot food.  We finally found one lone Panda Express drive thru where we waited in line for 45 minutes to partake in a limited menu.  We were grateful. 

A year into the pandemic, on top of true isolation due to my husband’s bone marrow transplant and now the weight of this storm, I truly felt I was in the desert.  I tend to crave the normalcy, distractions and comfort of my previous life.  Where do I turn to quench my thirst, ease my mind, and strengthen my soul?

Creating space for silence has been a big shift for me and opened my heart in ways I never thought possible.  I was fortunate to talk about this in a recent Catholic Woman article.  The silence is where we learn, are challenged, and grow.  It is where we decrease, and He increases. 

Just as Jesus suffered and was tempted by Satan, during Lent we are called to enter the desert of our own lives.  What are you being called to purify in your heart this Lent?

Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, God prunes our hearts as we are united to Christ and his suffering.  These practices of good works help give us strength to resist sin and to follow in His footsteps.  The Master gardener wants to prune the weeds of destruction we cause ourselves and others and purify us toward love. 

During the storm, I may not have had my traditional holy hour, but my heart was in constant prayer.  Prayers of intercession for the homeless who were freezing on the street, the elderly who were home alone with no power and running out of oxygen in their tanks to breathe and the new mother in a frigid apartment with a one-month-old baby.  Prayers of meditation through the rosary and the beautiful mysteries of our Lord’s life that show us the path to walk with him.  Prayers of gratitude for warmth in our master bedroom, a car full of gas to stay warm in, saving enough water to boil, a friend who is continuing to fight the good fight after complications of a bone marrow transplant and having a son-in-law with internet to post our Ash Wednesday blog, Hope is Not Cancelled.  (I am convinced the Spirit was at work both with the topic and prompting me to have the article ready the Monday prior to posting and right before I lost power!)  Prayers of praise acknowledging God’s goodness and grace in my life.   Rather than being caught up in the minor inconveniences this storm brought our way, I was able to see through the eyes of Jesus. This was the journey of my soul during these days without the usual distractions and surrendering to the true powerlessness in my life. An undivided heart.

One of the things I saved and brought inside prior to the freeze were my herbs that I planted last summer.  I have never been a gardener like my grandmother, mother, and sister, but had recent success this past year growing herbs in planters.  My usual mode of operation is to under or over water my potted plants each year and kill them within a few weeks.  I have learned that there is a balance.  When I pay attention to the plants, look at the soil to determine if they need water and prune the dead parts the herb grows stronger.  This is what the Master gardener, Our Creator wants to do with our hearts.  He knows us and what we need before we even need it.  He wants us to be aware and invite Him into our places of need.  Only He can quench the thirst of my soul. 

My soul is thirsting for you, O Lord my God.

Focus on His truth, Psalm 63:1

Only a few days into the desert, I am noticing one of the crosses I bear is my divided heart.  My soul desires to be immersed in the goodness of God versus being preoccupied with the temporary things of this world.  I contemplate am I bringing all my feelings to prayer – anger, fear, and mistrust as well as generosity, goodwill, and gratitude?  I know I have more anxiety when I do not surrender and keep an eternal perspective.  By bearing this cross of a divided heart and walking through my desert, I can see my continued conversion when I seek God to quench my thirst and allow Christ to live in me. 

From the cross, Jesus said, “I thirst.” That thirst was for all people to be reconciled to the Father. It was a thirst for souls to return to the love of God and find their way to the heavenly Kingdom. When I come to God with the dryness of my soul, He fills it with the living water and gradually I see the events of my life through the wisdom and detachment my spiritual relationship provides. 

May we all be Smitten with goodness,

Cynthia