Need Motivation to Exercise Self-Control?

Put God First

Need motivation to exercise self-control? Perhaps you have tried to quit smoking, drinking, or taking drugs. Perhaps you have tried to lose weight, or not work so many long hours, only to be drawn back in to the temptation. You tell yourself that you can have all the motivation you could want and somehow, you still succumb to the temptation. Great starts, lousy finishes! You try again, only to see the cycle repeat itself.

I’ve been on that hamster wheel with my weight! So, I speak from experience. It wasn’t until this last time of weight loss, when I got…Read more…

Shakespeare & the Apostles

Agincourt, Imagination and the Bible

Agincourt

Then he took the twelve apostles aside, and warned them, Now we are going up to Jerusalem, and all that has been written by the prophets about the Son of Man is to be accomplished.  He will be given up to the Gentiles, and mocked, and beaten, and spat upon; they will scourge him, and then they will kill him; but on the third day he will rise again. They could make nothing of all this; his meaning was hidden from them, so that they could not understand what he said.
Luke 18:31-34

King of France
With pennons painted in the blood of Harfleur: 
Rush on his host, as doth the melted snow 
Upon the valleys, whose low vassal seat 
The Alps doth spit and void his rheum upon: 
Go down upon him, you have power enough, 
And in a captive chariot into Rouen 
Bring him our prisoner.
Constable of France.
 This becomes the great. 
Sorry am I his numbers are so few, 
His soldiers sick and famish’d in their march, 
For I am sure, when he shall see our army, 
He’ll drop his heart into the sink of fear 
And for achievement offer us his ransom
Henry V, Act III, Scene 5

The Apostles do not come well out of the Gospels. They seem to have a near perfect ability to misunderstand or not comprehend Jesus. It is tempting to dismiss them as unusually dense or at least woefully ignorant. It does not help much if we remember that we know the end of the story and they didn’t, that we have the benefit of the reflections on Jesus and His mission in the Epistles and two thousand years of Christian thought and they had to make do with very much less. The reason this is not helpful is because it is a purely intellectual exercise on our part. Most readers of the Gospels, Christian or not, are emotionally invested in Jesus, often to a great degree, and it hurts us when we see Him desperately trying and usually failing to make those closest to Him understand who He is and what He is doing. That emotional wound, that empathy which we feel, cannot really be touched simply by engaging in the mental exercise of adding up the things which the Apostles could have known and could have understood and comparing it with what our Lord was asking them to know and understand. Emotional wounds need to be treated with emotional medicines.

(enter Shakespeare)
One way of reading Scripture is to immerse oneself in it imaginatively. If we try to see the events unfolding before us not through the eyes and with the feelings of a 21st century person but as near as we can manage it with the feelings of the historical participants then our perspective will change. For most of us it will not be possible really to enter into the thought processes of the Apostles, the holy women or the Pharisees because their thinking was dominated by a framework of assumptions and experiences that only professional historians could really reproduce. Their feelings, however, would be akin to ones that we ourselves are familiar with because the lapse of two thousand years has effected no change in the human emotional range whatever it may have done to the world of ideas. In this context Act III, scene 5 of Henry V becomes a useful tool. Why? to read more click here

 

Devil Knocking: Anyone Home?

Devil Knocking 2

The devil knocks at our doors every day! Every time we are unable to resist temptation, we invite Satan to rule our lives. It’s that simple. For example, too much of anything creates an unhealthy imbalance, whether it is food, drink, sex, drugs, work, you name it. Worse, if we engage in immoral behavior, we not only open the door, but we set the table for the devil to take up housing and we push God away. So, what is the remedy? Embrace the virtue of self-control. Use your God-given intellect to make prudent choices. The first choice that you… Read more…

Become Like Children

8255080926_7aba630153_nSome religious people would maintain only a mature, adult Christian can act lovingly, with a conscience. Yet Pope Francis and even Sacred Scriptures disagree with this narrow view.
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St. Paul explains God will judge everyone by much how truth God has revealed to them. If a tribe hidden in a jungle has never heard the gospel, God will  judge them based on what they know and St. Paul assures us all men have the basic laws of God carved into their hearts. In modern language, we all have an awareness of good and evil or a conscience.
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The problem is tapping into and living out from my core where God has inscribed a moral code on my heart. It is  hidden in my deepest self. Actually, if we can block out our own ego and selfishness and simply stop and listen, even a child knows what is right and what is wrong.
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The second problem is finding the strength to do what is right. Thank God for Christ because he offers an easy way to love. Relax. Give up striving. Surrender to His love and let it saturate every cell of your body. Then simply let His love flow through you. It ends up being a long journey to such carefree lifestyle because pride and ego get in the way. It is so simple that it seems complicated to our adult, logical minds.

Self-Control: Lacking or Fruitful in Your Life?

self-control

Self-control is a fruit of the Holy Spirit that exhibits its fruitfulness when we maintain a deep abiding relationship with Christ. As we celebrate Easter, and have now completed our Lenten sacrifices, I have to ask: How have you done with your Lenten sacrifice? Were you able to exhibit self-control and maintain your promise to Jesus in thanksgiving for the sacrifice He gave for you? Perhaps you gave something up, or perhaps you pledged to do something for others, or perhaps you elected to practice a specific virtue this Lent. Although Lent is over, you can still live up to your promise, for Jesus always gives us another chance, with each and every day that He gives us to live.

Jesus is our living example of one who bears fruit through the use of self-control. We only need to look at Matthew 4:1-11, where Matthew writes about the devil tempting Jesus three times during Jesus’ 40 days in the desert. Read more…

The Mother of Anne Boleyn

Now that Wolf Hall is on Broadway and on PBS, a great many people will be talking about not only Thomas Cromwell but also Henry VIII, his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, his daughter, the Princess Mary, and of course his second wife, Anne Boleyn.

In my novels I take the opposite side of the Reformation from Hilary Mantel–my protagonist is a Dominican novice. But I also in my research have found many surprises in the religious choices of people who lived in the 16th century. Including the mother of Anne Boleyn.

To read my post, go here: http://nancybilyeau.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-lonely-death-of-elizabeth-boleyn.html

How to Be Meek AND Effective!

Meek for a week

Meek AND effective – sounds contradictory doesn’t it? Well not so. There are many ways that we can demonstrate being meek without losing the competitive edge. If you think being meek is weak, then I challenge you to be meek for a week! Here are just a few things that you can try, and after doing so, I would love to hear back from you on what reactions you may have noticed from others, given your change in behavior:

  1. Put others at ease. – Be friendly. Create a vibe where others feel welcome to approach you. Body English speaks volumes!
  2. Be mild mannered. – Be docile in your behavior. Keep your emotions on an even keel.
  3. Listen and let others speak. – Restrain yourself from cutting in on conversations because you need to be heard. Give others the floor. You just might learn something valuable.
  4. Read more…

Easter Blessing to You and Yours!

Christ-the-Lord-is-Risen-Today-605x600

Easter Blessings to You and Yours! I wanted to take a moment wish everyone a very Happy, Blessed Easter! May you and yours be filled with Christ’s blessings this Easter season.   As with spring, Easter is a time of renewal – renewal of  our spirits. Take this time to reflect on Our Savior and all that He did, so that we might live. Take a moment to think about how much He loves you today, and know that when He hung on the cross, died, and rose from the dead 2,000 years ago, He did it because of how much He loves YOU today, in this world, in this life, at this time.

Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia, Alleluia!

Happy Easter,

Peace,

Virginia

God, Sin, Mercy, and Justice

Jesus has some interesting things to say about His relationship with the world and what it means to follow Him… [Clipped from Sample for space requirements]

These passages are interesting because they testify to the fact that Jesus came to save people from their sins, calling them to turn away from the evil they did. Jesus, out of love for us died so that we might be saved. But the fact that Jesus came to save us from our sins demonstrates that we have sins we need to be saved from, and love of Him requires us to act in a way that is in keeping with how God has called us to live. The Greek word μετανοια (metanoia) means having a change of mind and heart, and metanoia is what Jesus is calling every one of us to have—to turn away from sin and to turn back to God. He also chose His Church built on Peter and the Apostles to go forth with the mission of preaching the Gospel and forgiving sins, saying that rejection of the Church was rejection of Him (Luke 10:16).

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Meekness: Where Does It Get You?

blessed-are-the-meek3

Meekness

Where does it get you? Stomped over? Dismissed? Think again! Have you ever heard the commentary, ‘a good leader listens more than speaks?’ A good leader is docile, putting others at ease by creating surroundings that make it easier for those with diverse thoughts to speak and express opinions that might not otherwise be shared had the leader been domineering and overly assertive. Meekness gets you needed information to make prudent decisions.

Why show meekness in this dog-eat-dog world? Embracing the virtue of meekness sets you apart from the run-of-the-mill person in business today. Using the virtue of meekness, when appropriate to do so, will draw support from others because they will be drawn to you. Read more…