Kathy Anderson and Susan Boruff are frequent presenters at our Center and have offered another inspiring reflection and meditation today. We’re so grateful for all of their contributions to our guests! Let’s take a few quiet moments to read and listen as we try to find a holy moment.
Practice Holy Moments
“God is calling you to great holiness. It is not something that you have to earn. Jesus already did that for you. Just accept it and run towards the Lord with open arms and an eager heart.” ~ Fr. William Meninger
What is a holy moment? According to Matthew Kelly in his book The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity, a holy moment is a “moment when you open yourself to God. You make yourself available to him. You set aside what you feel like doing and in that one moment you simply do what you prayerfully believe God is calling you to do in that moment.
Read the following scripture aloud two times.1 Peter 1:13-16 “Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’”
Matthew Kelly writes in his book that the biggest lie in the history of Christianity is the belief that as Christians we cannot be holy. He wants this lie to be debunked. How is this done? By proving the opposite – one moment at a time.
Kelly continues, “even the saints did not live holy lives, but holy moments.”
One of my favorite saints, St. Ignatius of Loyola (1492-1556), the founder of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), was at one point in his life a womanizer, who loved clothes and the life of being a courtier. He chose, in one moment, to become a humble servant of the Lord. This one moment happened when he was convalescing from a war injury. He spent his time in recovery reading The Life of Christ in which the author invited him to “read the life of Christ in such a manner that you endeavor to imitate him as far as you can. For it profits you little to read unless you also imitate.” He also advised his readers to “stop and relish interiorly the Savior’s mysteries, words and actions.”
Savor the Savior. Savor means to appreciate and enjoy completely.
Invitation to Practice:
Over the next few weeks spend some time reading the teachings of Jesus in St. Matthew’s gospel, chapters 5, 6 and 7. You can do this on your phone. Bible Gateway is a great website giving different versions of scripture. Each day, take one paragraph at a time, read the paragraph aloud several times and focus on a word or phrase you hear that God has for you that day. If a word or phrase does not come to you, just pick one. As you go through your day and you catch yourself “not being holy,” i.e. impatient with your children or spouse, ruminating on anxious, fearful thoughts, silently (or loudly) cussing the driver next to you, irritation with you boss or colleagues, overwhelmed with life, worried about money, health, etc., quietly recall your word or phrase and savor it for at least 25 seconds.
God designed our brains to become what we focus on. St. Peter asks us to prepare our minds for action. By savoring these holy moments, we begin to wire our brains for more love, compassion and holiness.In a previous good letter, I mentioned The Limbic System, which is our survival brain. It is the part of the brain that makes it all about YOU. Again, we need the survival brain for our survival. To balance out the survival brain, we also have the Pre-Frontal cortex. The Pre-Frontal Cortex houses your reflective, analytical, logical, rational and planning systems. It also, when activated, regulates emotions. This part of your brain is activated during meditation and contemplation.
Here is the key:
When the Pre-Frontal cortex is activated, the Limbic system is deactivated. It is like a see-saw, when one is up, the other is down. This explains the scripture: Perfect love, casts out fear! By choosing to focus on love, compassion, holiness, etc. you deactivate the part of the brain responsible for afflictive emotions, old memories, old wounds, the release of stress hormones, etc.
Our brains are like Velcro for negative thoughts/emotions and like Teflon for positive thoughts/emotions. Which is why we suggest to savor and relish positive experiences.
The author of The Life of Christ agrees and writes, “put aside all other preoccupations and with all the affection of your heart, slowly, diligently and with relish, make yourself present to what the Lord Jesus has said and done, and to what is being narrated, just as if you were actually there, and heard him with your own ears and saw him with your own eyes.” This inspired St. Ignatius to develop what is called The Spiritual Exercises. The purpose of The Exercises is “to overcome oneself and to order one’s life.” They are designed to allow God to work through us, not us to work through God. The exercises are God-centric, not self-centric. It is not about what you are doing for God, but what God is doing through you!“
Ignatian spirituality helped me meet God in new ways, opened my mind to new ways of prayer, fostered trust in God’s presence, and liberated me from the alienation I had experienced for so many years. For the first time ever I felt and believed that God was close to me.” Fr. James Martin, SJ
We invite you now to “exercise yourself spiritually” as you participate in Kathy’s guided imagery practice. It’s really good!
You are invited to find a quiet place to sit with your back straight, which opens up your chest and opens up your heart to receive. The meditation is 14 minutes and includes two minutes of silence.
To learn more about Take Twelve Today, Kathy and Susan’s ministry, please click here.