Hail Mary

About two years ago I started feeling called to pray the Rosary.  I was excited to pray it and wanted to spread the call. I asked a friend to pray with me.  I bought Rosaries to give to the homeless and asked them to pray with me, and I bought a book about the Rosary, The Secret of the Rosary by Saint Louis de Montfort.

And then the time came to pray… every time I would begin to pray, I lacked patience, the desire to complete it left me as soon as I began and honestly I kept falling asleep in the middle of saying it.  My attempts became fewer and fewer and my excitement waned.

Then about six months ago I had an interesting discussion regarding the strong connection between our physical actions and our prayers, and I decided to begin trying to pray the Rosary again, but in action this time.

I decided to connect praying the Rosary with an exercise I love, yoga. Below is how I have been been praying the Rosary of our sweet and wonderful Mother, and I hope that if you struggle to pray the Rosary this will help you.  Use this as a guide to pray with me, or as a spark to ignite a new idea within you to honor and pray the Rosary of our sweet Mother Mary!

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I begin the Rosary by praying the Apostle’s Creed in the humble position of prayer on my knees with my hands together in prayer.

I then pray the Our Father with my arms spread wide and my face tilted upward open to both receiving and giving according to His Holy Will.

For each Hail Mary I go through a vinyasa yoga flow.

I begin in the downward-facing dog pose, a humble position showing Mary that I desire to learn from her.

Hail Mary full of Grace, the Lord is with thee.

I then flow into a plank pose, a position of strength acknowledging the great and unimaginable strength required by her to FULLY surrender to our Lord.

Blessed art thou among women,

I then lower into a prostrate position and spread my arms wide to form a cross as I speak of her Holy and Blessed Son, Jesus.  I desire to be one with the dust of the ground when speaking of our Lord.

And blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God

I then bring my hands in and press up into a cobra pose, the pose of a snake acknowledging that I have sinned and I have caused others to sin just as the snake in the Garden of Eden did so long ago.

Pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Pressing back into downward dog pose, I continue this flow for each Hail Mary.

Then at the end of the first 3 Hail Mary’s or at the end of each decade I sit back into a child’s pose, a pose of rest and humility, honoring the Trinity, begging for forgiveness and mercy and once again acknowledging that Mary is my mother, and I long to learn from her as I pray.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

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Acts 1:14
They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.

And Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?”

Sometimes we pray and pray and then pray some more, but do we know what we are asking Jesus to do for us?

I am often praying for forgiveness.  Forgive me for this, forgive me for that, forgive my sin from yesterday, forgive my sin from 15 years ago, etc.  This morning I was praying for forgiveness for something yet again, and I thought to myself or He said, “I have forgiven you, and I will forgive you again, and I will continue forgiving you as many times as you request to be forgiven, but when will you release your sin and give it to Me?”

When will I release my sin, when will I give it to Him?  He has already accepted it, He has already died for it, but have I let it go and actually given it to Him by accepting His forgiveness?

Have I become comfortable wallowing in my sin, remembering it, begging forgiveness and then returning to wallow in the comfort  of being an unforgiven sinner yet again?  I am not sure…. maybe?  I am not saying that we shouldn’t be praying for and begging for forgiveness often and more than once, but I think I have been missing a very crucial part to this prayer, a prayer asking Jesus to help me release my sin, give it to Him and enter the unknown territory of forgiven sinner by accepting His forgiveness.

Sweet Lord, sweet Savior, sweet Jesus I am in awe as I see Your amazing work more clearly than ever before through more specific and focused prayers.  I want each beat of my heart to be filled with gratitude and thanksgiving for You and I beg You to please keep opening our eyes to our sins so that we can beg forgiveness, repent and release our sin to You!

The Ancient Paths

Just as impurities should be removed from the original metals during the process of making an alloy to increase the strength and durability of the alloy (the new metal), our impurities should be cleansed and removed before He melts our hearts into one new heart through marriage.

If our hearts are full of impurities, then how can we ever hope for our new heart to be strong.  These impurities will cause our new heart to be brittle, weak, and easily damaged requiring constant attention and surgical repair.

Sweet Lord, we have neglected the need to seek cleansing and purification through reflection, prayer, fasting and confession before the many celebrations of our lives, but most of all before our marriages.  We have turned the time of engagement and preparation into yet another party rather a time of reflection, prayer and a time to seek You.  Please forgive us and help us seek the ancient paths, where the good way lies.

Jeremiah 6:16
Thus says the Lord:  Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.

Our Heart

Twelve years ago my husband and I were married, we became one, but I don’t think I ever took it as seriously as God meant for it to be taken.  Yes, we have been married and faithful and loving.  We have been blessed with three wonderful children, and we spend lots of time together, but I don’t think I have really believed or thought that we are truly and physically one.

Mark 10:8
And the two shall become one flesh; so they are no longer two but one flesh.

A few months ago, I started thinking about this bible verse and wondered if truly we were truly made into one and given the same heart on that wonderful day of our marriage.  Have I ever behaved as if we truly have one heart?  Have I inflicted damage or scars on our heart through hurtful words, arguments and fights?  Have I ever tried to pull or push away hard enough to create a rip in our heart or to break our heart?  Has God ever had to carefully sew our new heart back together?  Has our heart grown stronger throughout the years or have we inflicted scars that will forever be weak spots that might break more easily?

I don’t know the answers, but after I started thinking about this I began trying to literally, physically and spiritually live life as one with my husband.  I began by talking with him in my heart and praying for him throughout the day while he is as work.  During yoga classes I started praying that the strength, flexibility and peace gained in class were flowing to him.  Talking, laughing and doing homework with our children after school, I began praying that he was sharing in our time together.  Finally when I mess up which is often, I beg forgiveness from him and from our Lord (this one isn’t new), but now when he messes up I beg forgiveness from our Lord because if I truly believe that we are one then my mistakes are still mine, but his mistakes are now mine too.

Most of you reading this probably think I am a little crazy and spend way too much time in my own head.  I will never really know the answers, but I don’t think that is really the point. From my little experiment I do know that I see my husband more and I love him more.

I pray that it is true, I pray that our sweet Lord truly gave us one heart, our heart!

Forgiven!

A father will always forgive a son!

This is why Jesus had to literally bear our sins for each sin to be forgiven.   His Father forgave each and every sin only when they became His.  If we try to seek forgiveness from the Father without Jesus, the sin remains ours.  If we offer it to Jesus, Jesus will accept it as His and the sin will be forgiven by Jesus’ Father because Jesus is His Son and a father will always forgive a son!

Maybe this is why we can only come to the Father through Jesus, through the loving relationship of a father for a son!

He is the way!

Thank You Jesus!

Tonight as He bleeds…

On this night our Lord will pray in the garden of Gethsemane, suffering in agony as He prays to the point of sweating blood.

What was flashing through His mind in those moments?  What caused Him such great emotional pain  that He physically sweat blood?

Maybe as He knelt there praying, life flashed before His eyes, but instead of seeing His own life, He saw all of our lives flash before His eyes. Our lives became His as He lived each of our lives in His mind, in those moments.  He saw every sin each of us has ever committed as His own sin.

He watched Himself committing these grievous, selfish, terrible and sinful acts. God, His Father, watched Him committing these grievous, selfish, terrible, and sinful acts.

He literally, physically, emotionally, and mentally bore our sins, and yes, I believe watching Himself commit our sins made Him sweat blood.

He Himself bore our sins… – Peter 2:24

Oh my Jesus…  please forgive us, thank You, please forgive us, thank You, please forgive us, thank You, thank You, thank You…

One moment at a time…

The other morning I fell yet again.

It was the one day of the month when parents can walk their children to their classrooms, see their artwork and help them unpack and get ready for their school day.

The girls were eating slow, laughing a lot and having a ball at breakfast.  I interrupted their little party to tell them them to hurry up.  It didn’t phase them, they kept enjoying their breakfast and each others company.  I rushed them again and again they continued to slowly enjoy their breakfast and their sweet little jokes.  Then I continued complaining about the fact that we were leaving 10 min later than I wanted to leave while brushing their teeth, getting their socks on and urging them into their shoes.  At one point I asked my youngest to please put her shoes on and she started laughing at me and told me that I had already put them on for her.

When we finally arrived at school, I realized that we had forgotten their folders.  My sweet oldest was finally upset.  She is so studious and organized and was very upset about coming to school without her folder.  I felt so bad, but even in the midst of my guilt I didn’t say the right thing.

After getting them to their rooms, I ran home to get their folders.  I then waited at the office while my oldest came to pick up her folder and I finally apologized for being so impatient earlier that morning.

As we hugged she whispered “I forgive you” into my ear.

I think I have finally realized that God did not make me the mother of these three sweet little blessings because of anything I have done, but instead because how strong they are to withstand all of my mistakes and because of everything I still have to learn about patience, goodness, forgiveness and love from them.

God thank You for Your forgiveness every time I fall and thank You for these three blessings in my life who so willingly forgive me as You do!

Please continue to open my eyes to all of their wonderful teachings and keep reminding me to slow down and take everything one moment at a time!

Expand, expand, expand…

Circles are everywhere.  Our lives are filled with both figurative and physical circles.  We see them in nature, we see them in actions and re-actions and we experience them physically around tables, in meetings, and during circle time as children.

We include people when we are willing to expand our circles, but we can just as easily exclude others by refusing to expand our circle for new arrivals.

My sister wrote a blog that I loved last year, Is it a pie or a triangle?.  The conversation we had regarding this blog stands out clearly in my mind as a moment in my life when I finally started to scratch the surface in my personal understanding of Jesus and what He did for me.

Ever since this conversation, I have thought of God as a large circle that we are all held within.  I then picture all of us as small circles within the God’s large circle.  Some of our circles are bigger and some of our circles are smaller and some of them overlap.  The bigger ones represent those who have accepted or included more people, and the smaller ones have accepted or included fewer people.

I don’t think heaven or paradise is possible without everyone and unfortunately we are the ones imposing limitations and building walls within God’s beautiful, all-inclusive circle by excluding others.

Pray for everyone, try to empathize with everyone…
Empathy will lead to forgiveness, and forgiveness will lead to love.

OUR best life doesn’t work unless everyone is included!

I pray and dream for OUR best life for everyone, everyday!  I hope you do too… together we can expand our circles!