Saturday, October 22, 2011

Search the Depths of my Heart Lord!

I was listening to Food for the Journey last weekend, Sister Ann Sheilds was reading the alternative opening prayer for the mass on that Sunday, and it made my heart stir as I listened to it:
 Lord our God, Father of all ,you guard us under the shadow of your wings and search into the depths of our hearts.  Remove the blindness that cannot know you and remove the fear that would cause us to hide from your sight.
Maybe I needed to hear it, because it played through my mind and heart as the week progressed.   Then, a rather vigorous Facebook exchange involving a family member who posts a lot links in support of "homosexual marriage" occurred. His current post was too much for some who had not felt the need to comment before.  He share one of those trite slogan picture thingys (I don't care what they are about I tend to think that they are trite), but it included the original posters comment that Catholics needed to show those Bishops what love is and support gay marriage.

Now my husbands family has a gift for entering into heated debates and being able to end them without lingering anger, even if there are lingering disagreements, and this exchange was no different.  But reflecting on this prayer brings me back to this intense disagreement, mostly I needed to remember it.   For in my fear of saying something too harsh, I said hardly anything at all; and I was blinded to the most troubling aspect of the exchange, which my brave and faithful  sister-in-law helped me to see (although indirectly).  She pointed out that this nephew was now going to a church that openly dissents from the teachings of our Magisterium, and that issue was the catalyst that drove him there.  He searched it out and choose it because of their open dissent, and my dear sister-in-law who has been gifted by the Spirit in Fear of the Lord, passionately argued that my nephew was putting his soul in jeopardy, aided only by my son Matt, another cousin and finally her husband, who summed up the arguments nicely.  I am ashamed to say my one and only contribution was lukewarm, because I feared so many things!

Thanks to my conversation I realized that I had only payed attention to one aspect of the discussion, and not the crumbling faith of my nephew.  And in the depths of my heart I realize that I would rather pretend that there is not storm than directly confront it.  For shame!  But, I think that if my prophetic inkling is right I will have another opportunity.  And love is so much more than what the proponents of gay marriage think it is.  I pray for the courage to always see the most needful thing Lord, and to not allow fear to blind me.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Journey to Wisdom: Timeless Stirrings and Ecclesiastes

Journey to Wisdom: Timeless Stirrings and Ecclesiastes: Today is the birthday of my youngest child, Max, he is one year old. It has been a graced year. Graced with the quiet stirrings of the imm...

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Our Eyes Are Dim!

Maybe I have been stretching a bit in my past reflections on the Sunday readings for Mass (here and here, and finally here ). In my heart I have been brought back again and again to the theme that we have dimmed our eyes and weakened virtues by relying on over-sentimental visions of the Sacred Scriptures and thus of the Lord Himself.  It is our growing inability to perceive the unseen, and to seek out the Lord in the wonders that we are surrounded by. We want to grasp God and quantify Him, examine Him under a microscope.  And this weakens our faith, and our strength as a society.  We cannot produce true justice, because we do not have the strength, wisdom and enduring compassion to actually see it through.  In our guilt at failing our fellow man in building each other  up virtue we fall back on "fairness" which in turn continues the downward spiral until I fear we will not have many people who will be able to see or understand transcendent truths or values.  It will be as C.S. Lewis predicted in his book The Abolition of Man.  If you haven't read it, you should!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Famished Heart

Famished Heart

I am invisible to the world,
Invisibly held fast in Your protection; held fast in your favor.
I grope, grasp and stumble, Your strength upholds me  
Vanity of vanities; You call me beyond my nothingness,
Alluring me unto You, whispering to my restless, famished heart.

Words cannot describe my joy, Yet my voice lifts to You in praise
In You, dead wombs beget generations,
Lifeless souls enter eternity.
Rescue me from the isolation of myself.
Fill my famished heart with joy beyond all words!

My paths you make straight.
My restlessness you fill with holy desire.
Purifying love burns through me like fire;
Your cleansing wrath pours on me like water;
Illuminating my path, refreshing my footsteps.

You erode walls that dam my passion; walls that hedge my charity.
Your justice surges like water;
Your goodness flows like an unfailing stream.
My heart is raised in Your might, resurrected for Your glory.
The profane washes away; the precious revealed, my soul is scoured.

The quiet lullaby is my song of praise!
All who hear me, praise Him!
For God lifts the lowly; sees the unseen;
 Illuminates the ever present beauty.
Famished hearts filled with joy beyond all  words!

 Copyright 2011 Heidi Knofczynski

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sophia at

Shes so, you know.... Sophia! I think the video says it all! My 3 year old Sophia! Life would be soooooo dull without her!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Still, small voice

The readings for this Sunday have shed some light on some recent posts that I have been attempting.  I say attempting because while these memories have been breaking through in my thoughts I have been unable to place them in a concise post that still conveys the truth of what happened, and also the way it expanded my vision of how God calms the storms of my life! !

 I always have difficulty in my personal application of scripture, I have this voice which continually screams "who do you think you are" when I prayerfully try to place myself into a particular story of scripture. Like Elijah, I have learned to recognize that that is not God:
1 Kings 19:9a, 11-13a  "A strong heavy wind was rending the mountain and crushing rocks before the Lord-but the Lord was not in the wind.  After the wind there was an earthquake-but the Lord was not in the earthquake.  After the earthquake there was a fire- but the Lord was not in the fire.  After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound.  When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave."
And this has helped me to see  ways of dealing with the trials, temptations and turbulence  that rage on and will continue to until the end of time.  In fact, what is brought out might not seem to be a solution, or a way of dealing with these events.  It it might seem to be nothing, a breath of wind or a phantom of my imagining!

The Psalm declares that God comes to us in kindness and peace, all around us all hell may be breaking lose, do we lose sight of the Lord?  I cannot tell anyone that it is easy to focus on the Lord when the confusion, disruption and uncertainty of life seem to demand that you let go of all that "contemplative stuff" and grasp at controlling your chaotic life!  I can say that God will come to you, and he does not need you to be sitting in a cave waiting for Him!  And whether you realize it or not at the moment He brings with Him peace and salvation.

Not that I have any authority, or even any expertise in the way of prayerful scripture reflection, I react the same way many people do during times of intense physical, or psychological struggles!  I forget about everything else and worry that I will never ever, ever, recover!  In fact I can become so distracted with my problems that I cannot even focus on prayer or scripture, the words cannot even formulate in  mind!  Paul in his anguish over the unbelief of the Israelites does not fall into this trap, rather he relies on and perseveres in the Spirit to allow him to continue to speak the truth and God expanded his vision of who the Israelites were (Rom9:6-12).

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

God alone

How can I write this, I who crave acceptance among my peers!  And not just acceptance, but honor and adulation; I hate to even write it down because I know how lacking I am in every respect!  Not too bad at writing, but lacking in grammatical structure, spelling (thank you spell check)  and a wee bit melodramatic!  Thoughts that flit through while writing or in conversation, will misdirect my thesis often take my writing (or conversations hostage) and create confusion and lack of confidence.  My charity is weak, half-hearted and easily diverted to more selfish works.  I am not ugly, but, well, I am 42 and not blond!  I am mediocre in every sense, yet I crave recognition for being smart, talented, and beautiful inside and out. I fear recognition as much as I crave it because I do not want anyone to know just how mediocre I am. And know I will expose myself as the lazy, inconsiderate, and self obsessed person that I truly am.

I wonder how many feel this way?  How many of us are caught up in the vicious cycle of wanting to be known, but fearing exposure?  I find myself asking God how anything I do can be of any use since all thing pass through this confused and self centered mind of mine.  All my actions are over analysed, and condemned as selfish.  As far back as I remember a accusatory voice has whispered or sometimes shouted "who do you think you are?"  And this voice intrudes in all that I do, whether it is altruistic or more ambitious; and it stops me in my tracks.  I have kept a journal  for a few years off and on, but I always find it difficult to write about myself, or to write my prayers to God.  If I re read them I feel absolute shame at how pathetic I am, how desperate I am to be somebody that all who know admire.  "Who do you think you are" after all, you are too afraid to do anything of worth because of course you know how inadequate you really are, how mediocre you are.  But I so desire to be great, to do great things to be a part of a great story.

Last Sunday I published a short scripture reflection on a unknown blog that has no readers except me, but it was public so I felt exposed and naked as I hit the word publish.  I also felt energized and inspired, but the "who do you think you" are voice kept intruding! You think that you are worthy to comment on Scripture?  No.  You think that you can actually bring a reflection to completion and coherence? No.  But I want to know Jesus.  I want Him to know me.  My reflection, whether or not it made sense, described how all my misdirected desire of the past, all of my pent up and wasted passion was for Jesus.  And the gospel of last Sunday told me that He Himself will satisfy my heart's desire and He will not send me away to find satisfaction elsewhere, but in Him all desire is satisfied.  And how many more times I will have to go back to Him and eschew the accomplishments of this world, seemingly hiding in fear of failure, but more and more relying on God Alone, to know me and to direct me in Truth.  God never say's "who do you think you are", though I sometimes have to push through that thought to get past it, keeping my heart, mind and soul focused on Jeses.  That is not easy for someone as easily distracted as myself. 

So today, in reading Romans 2, I have gravitated to versus 16 ":.... God will judge people's hidden works through Christ Jesus" and 29: "......his praise is not from human beings but from God."   And He will give me my true identity and He will judge me with truth and in Him I can put my pull trust for in my weakness and insecurity He will draw forth humanity and beauty.

In all things Praise be to God!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Prayer Reflections on Romans 1: 18-32

Romans 1:18-20
"The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven against every impiety and wickedness of those who suppress the truth by their wickedness.  For what can be known about God is evident to them.  Ever since the creation of the world his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made"
There are passages in scripture that always cause my heart to tremble a bit, and I can feel a surge of passion welling up in my soul.  This is one of them, and as I read it, I remember some of the times that I have seen the power and majesty, beauty and mystery of creation.  I am not a world traveler, my travels have been confined to the United States and Canada; but the majesty of creation never fails to stir my heart.  The fearsome power of nature leaves me, as a humble observer, with the knowledge of my frail humanity and provokes terror at how truly insecure I am in this world.  How easily I could be snuffed out by cold, hunger or any number of calamities that could befall a city girl out in the wilds of nature.  Perceptions of divinity and eternity are there to be sure, but how easily I am reduced to insecurity, instead of humility and how susceptible I am to allow the surge of passion in my heart to be the subject of servile fear instead of pious Fear of the Lord.

There is power in this world that I can perceive; I can stand next to waters surging against stone with such force the I can feel the cool, misty breeze stirred up by it.  I have looked out a car window as we have driven through the vast and seemingly endless Great Plains and I have been at once overwhelmed by it's immensity and thrilled by it! The mountains never fail to impress me with their majesty, and their unyielding might. I am frail ,and in these moments the illusion of security that I normally enjoy in the comfort of my modern lifestyle crumbles, even as my heart surges with passion. What if I ignore the passion that surges forth from my heart towards the power that I am overwhelmed by; or worse, I subject it to finite things or fear? I have done this often in the fears of lesser things, such as the fear of being rejected and ignored.

I have so many times let fear distract me from the True God; the fearsome power and majesty of nature, it's fickleness and cruelty create insecurity that as human beings we long to escape.  The banality of our modern existence often floods us with fears of the ultimate futility of all things around us. To reach out and, by some supplication or incantation or even by some possession of beauty or position of prestige, render the outcome that  will insure our prosperity or even just our survival is grasped at, and the passion that is so powerful in the human heart, which wells up in us for the glory of God, so as to make us ready to have Him enter our hearts, is so easily diverted to things of this world that we long to have some control over.  The fear that we then allow to direct our passion directs it in superficiality and vanity. And now my passion is muted and dulled, pointless unless it provides some tangible pleasure. Does this sound unfamiliar?  Are there not distraction in my life that divert my strength and energy toward things that cannot fulfill my hearts passion and desire? Toward things that ultimately drain our passion and replace it with slavery, and we so willingly make the exchange!

But St. Paul's verse is a warning that we must not allow those fears to prevail, for the very things that stir up feelings that should provoke our intellect to ponder and search for God, have a tendency to become the object of our passion and our fear becomes servile, our passions become degraded, and it is because we have not used our passion to energize our intellect to fully discern that God  is the Creator of the power of nature.  God is the Father of me; of all of us, even those of us who remain invisible and unseen by the finite power of this world.  St.Paul warns us that the wrath we experience is not just some where far out in the future, but here and now in the perversion of our intellect and the degradation of our morality and dignity.

Romans 1:21-24,28-32
For although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks.  Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened.  While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image for the likeness of an image of mortal man, or of birds or of four legged animals or of snakes. Therefore, God handed them over to impurity through the lusts of their hearts for the mutual degradation of their bodies.....And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God handed them over to their undiscerning mind to do what is improper.  They are filled with every form of wickedness, evil, greed, and malice; full of envy, murder, rivalry, treachery, and spite.  They are gossips, and scandlemongers and they hate God.  They are insolent, haughty,boastful, ingenious in their wickedness and rebellious toward their parents.  They are senseless, faithless, ruthless.  Although they know the just decree of God that all who practice such things deserve death, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.

The consequence (wrath) of our actions are terrifying!