the word know

Meditate on Knowledge

The Holy Spirit’s gift of knowledge is interesting because it allows us to see things as they are in this world. This reveals that all that glitters is not gold.

As we prepare for Pentecost, we are meditating on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Nearly everyone needs a greater awareness of this Presence that is with us 24/7, yet does not intrude unless invited.

The gift of knowledge is used in tandem with the gifts of wisdom and understanding. Yet it is different because it allows us to see our lives … in all their chaos and circumstances … the way that God seems them, at least partially.

Using this gift, we can better determine God’s purpose for our lives. Then we can proceed to live out that purpose.

The gift of knowledge is often associated with people who are gifted teachers. That’s because it helps us understand our faith’s principles more fully. This can inspire us to lead a life that is full of God’s light and love. And this knowledge continues to expand throughout our lives as we seek the Holy Spirit’s presence.

I do that through Christian mindfulness: living in the present moment in the presence of God.

Ask for the gift of knowledge as we prepare for Pentecost. It could open the door to a better life for you and those around you.

corn fields under white clouds with blue sky during daytime

Pray for Supernatural Common Sense

Today, as we await Pentecost, is a good time to meditate on the gift of counsel. The Christian news feed Aleteia.org published a preparation for Pentecost by Philip Kosloski in 2016 that refers to counsel as the Holy Spirit’s “gift of supernatural common sense.”

I love that.

Counsel allows souls to judge quickly and correctly what we must do, especially in difficult circumstances. It’s an extension of understanding and wisdom, two other gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This can help us to find God’s will in a situation. We still need to pray for the grace to incline our hearts and minds to do God’s will. This detachment from our own “wants” is impossible without God’s help. Our job is to pray for it, with fasting in difficult situations.

Philip Kosloski’s entire piece on his novena preparing for Pentecost is here.

It includes this prayer, which I have shortened, to meditate upon:

On my knees, before the great multitude of heavenly witnesses, I offer myself, soul and body, to you, Eternal Spirit of God. I adore the brightness of Your purity, the unerring keenness of Your justice, and the might of Your love. You are the Strength and Light of my soul. Mercifully guard my every thought and grant that I may always watch for your light, listen to Your voice and follow Your gracious inspirations.

two people making a handshake

Meditate on Understanding

This week we are meditating on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The most difficult to understand is: understanding. What does that gift mean? It took some reading to find out.

While wisdom allows us to understand things from God’s point of view, understanding allows us to grasp the essence of our faith. This gift allows us to comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus.

Thomas Aquinas says four gifts of the spirit …. wisdom, understanding, knowledge and counsel … direct our intellect. So a person who has understanding isn’t confused about what to do, even in a world with many conflicting messages. Understanding allows this person to see what the next steps should be.

An example happens on the road to Emmaus. Jesus, in disguise somehow, walks alongside his disciples and “opens their minds” to understand what the Scripture were saying about the Messiah. The gift of understanding helps us to know the mysteries of faith more clearly.

Understanding gives us a deeper insight into the truths of our faith … a kind of permanent increase in faith I.Q. The Holy Spirit allows us to grasp this knowledge deeply and to hang onto it.

While being able to understand God is impossible to us on this Earth, we can have more insight into His ways through the Holy Spirit’s gift of understanding.

Complicated and confusing? Yes. So meditating on the gift of understanding and asking for more of it from the Holy Spirit is a good idea.

Ascension, Awaiting the Holy Spirit

Today is the celebration of Ascension Day, when Jesus left the Earth via a trip through the sky. He promised to come back the same way.

He told us that it was good that He was leaving Earth. Because that meant that the Holy Spirit could come and live within us.

I have two traditions for this period between Ascension Day and Pentecost Sunday. The first is to say a novena … essentially to pray the same prayer every day for nine successive days. This year’s novena is immensely private, but you can pick from classic novenas or choose to write your own prayer.

The second tradition is to spend time meditating on the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. You can do one per day if you would like. Here is the list:

  • Wisdom
  • Understanding
  • Counsel
  • Fortitude
  • Knowledge
  • Piety
  • Fear of God
  • Fruits of the Holy Spirit
    • Love
    • Joy
    • Peace
    • Patience
    • Kindness
    • Goodness
    • Faithfulness
    • Gentleness
    • Self-Control

There is so much to ponder on these gifts and fruits. I pray we all become more like the Holy Spirit in the next 10 days.

Here are some Bible verses to meditate on that discuss wisdom.

Write Your Own Psalm

“How to Live: What the Rule of St. Benedict Teaches Us About Happiness, Meaning and Community” by Judith Valente is one of the best books I’ve read this year. But, since I have 10 more chapters to go, I will save the glowing review for when I’ve finished the book.

Judith Valente does present two wonderful ideas about incorporating the Psalms into our daily lives that I’d like to share.

Her first idea is a good way to come alongside the meaning of Psalms you love. She suggest taking a Psalm that you know well and rewriting it to include the events of your life and/or the elements of your world.

This is an excellent way to grow closer to the times of David and his fellow Psalm writers. They wrote about their own personal worlds, filled with sheep and anointing oil. Turning Psalm 23, for example, into a poem about your life may be quite emotional and revealing. Some samples of that are found here.

The second idea is to take a current event … positive or negative … and create a Psalm about it. You can write a psalm of lament for a tragic situation. Or you can choose to glorify God for a positive event.

Each chapter of her book ends with suggestions for building the topics discussed into your daily life. I can’t wait to finish it!

Now: When Time Intersects Eternity

The present moment is the point at which time intersects eternity.

Sarah Young, “Jesus Always”

The present moment is the only time when we can truly connect with God. Thinking about the future is our own false narrative. Thinking about the past is clouded with misperceptions and mistaken memories. Now is all we have.

Today is May Day, a celebration not much in vogue in the United States. But it’s a wonderful time to stop and celebrate God’s spring. The holiday began in prehistoric times as a spring festival. May Day baskets of flowers and the Maypole dance are still involved in the celebration.

This year, as it is often, the first of May falls in the closing weeks of Eastertide. May Day is also the time when I start trying to have prayer and devotions outdoors.

Take a moment today to stop and connect with God amidst the spring rebirth. God is here. God is now. He is found in the flowers. He is found in the rebirth of activity as the pandemic winter ebbs away.

Thank you Lord for all that is beautiful in nature and in our lives. Please be with us every moment today.

Three Questions for Tweets

This Christian mindfulness exercise is good for any communications, especially for posts on social media.

The exercise involves stopping to think (always good for Twitter!) and asking yourself three questions:

  1. Is this true?
  2. Is this kind?
  3. Is this necessary?

The first two questions are pretty easy. The last is difficult. After all, is any social media post necessary?

But in today’s world, it’s good to shine a light in the darkness you can find on social media. We just need to be intentional and even prayerful about it.

It’s good to have a purpose for your social media accounts. The purposes for mine are:

  • Facebook: I use Facebook to connect with family, friends and former colleagues. The pictures from the account feed into a Chatbook series that I use as a family photo album. I also use Facebook to talk about caregiving, helping people with mental illness, being a long distance grandma and practicing Christian mindfulness. Finally, I use it to make people laugh.
  • Twitter and LinkedIn: I use both to promote mental health advocacy, Christian mindfulness and laughter.
  • Instagram: I post my best photographs on Instagram.

So for me, asking if a post is necessary means it must meet these criteria. There’s no room for unsubstantiated or iffy information, political fights, vulgarity or hate speech on my social media. That is, when I do it right.

Try creating your own purposes for social media. It’s what the pros … which I used to be … do. I would love to know how it works for you.

close up of hand holding text over black background

See Yourself As God Sees You

I want you to learn to look at yourself — and others — through the lens of My unfailing Love. As you persevere in this you will gradually find it easier to love yourself and others.

Jesus speaking in “Jesus Always: Embracing Joy in His Presence” by Sarah Young

Meditating on your true identity is a beneficial Christian mindfulness exercise. In Jesus Always, Sarah Young tells us that Jesus says: “You are troubled by fear of failure, but My Love for you will never fail. Let Me describe what I see as I gaze at you, beloved. You look regal, for I have crowned you in My righteousness and crowned you with glory and honor. You are radiant, especially when you are looking at Me. You are beautiful as you reflect My Glory back to Me.”

Seeing ourselves as God sees us brings peace. It also opens up a wave of compassion for others.

“A Guide to Practicing the God’s Presence” by Kenneth Boa and Jenny Abel recommends this exercise. It also provides a long list of identity scriptures for meditation. You can download the 211-page book for free here.

To do the Christian mindfulness exercise:

Choose one or two of the Scriptures below (or in any list of identity Bible verses). Pick one that you truly believe reflects how God sees you.

Write down the Scripture and place it on your bedside. Before you go to sleep, read the Scripture and meditate on it.

Some appropriate Scriptures include:

“But as many received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

“I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

“I call you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father, I have made known to you.” (John 15:15b)

“Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7)

“Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16)

“But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17)

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things have passed away. Behold, new things have come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“There is neither Jew nor Greek. There is neither slave nor free man. There is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28)

the planet Earth

Meditate on Earth Day

These beautiful prayers are fitting for meditation on Earth Day.

Canticle of the Creatures

All praise be yours, My Lord
through all that you have made.

And first my lord Brother Sun, who brings the day…
How beautiful is he, how radiant in all his splendor!
Of you, Most High, he bears the likeness.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Moon and Stars;
In the heavens you have made them, bright and precious and fair.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brothers Wind and Air…

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Water,
So useful, lowly, precious and pure.

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Brother Fire,
through whom you brighten up the night…

All praise be yours, my Lord, through Sister Earth, our mother,
Who feeds us…and produces various fruits
With colored flowers and herbs…

Praise and bless my Lord, and give him thanks,
And serve him with great humility.

– Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi

Wisdom to Care for the Earth

Lord, grant us the wisdom to care for the earth and till it.
Help us to act now for the good of future generations and all your creatures.
Help us to become instruments of a new creation,
Founded on the covenant of your love.

– The Cry of the Earth

Franciscan Prayer for the Earth

Lord, help us to maintain a reverent attitude towards nature, threatened from all sides today, in such a way that we may restore it completely to the condition of brother/sister and to its role of usefulness to all humankind for the glory of God the Creator.

Laughter and Mindfulness

Laughter is one of the best ways to feel mindful. It has so many benefits that the Mayo Clinic has a whole article on them, found here. The most surprising benefits are the positive impacts on your body!

My general rule is: If you haven’t laughed hard by 8 p.m., watch or read something funny. Deliberately try to laugh.

After you laugh, bring awareness to the way your body .. your chest especially … feels. Do you feel less stress? How about your mood? Did laughter lighten it?

Bring the Lord into your laughter with a prayer of gratitude.

If you would like more, laughing meditation is actually a thing. Here’s a video showing you how:

Let me know if you try this. And how it works for you!