Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Tag

help me believe

A dear friend and mentor from Boston College gave me a beautiful painting as a graduation present a few years ago. The painting is called “The Annunciation” by Henry O. Tanner.

I have had this painting hanging in my room since I began graduate school. I love this painting, and, like many great works of art, it means something different to me all the time. Sometimes I relate easily to its message, other times I don’t know what its message is.

The Annunciation is one of my favorite stories from the Bible.  I love that Mary said yes to God, even though she had absolutely no idea what exactly she was saying yes to. She was young, unmarried, and filled with God’s grace. And she said yes.

I love this painting for many reasons, but lately, I have found this painting very inspirational and comforting. I love the way Mary is looking timidly into this bright light–I love that we can’t see what exactly the light is, or where the light is coming from. Nevertheless, she is looking intently at the light, in such a humble fashion. “Me? Are you looking at me?”

I am currently filled with an indescribable, overwhelming feeling of anxiety and uncertainty. I have no idea what is happening in my life, I have no control over anything, and I am not even sure what I want. I feel a little bit like I am staring into this light, into this unknown space, and asking not only “Are you looking at me?” but “What exactly would you like me to do?” and “Do I have the strength to do this?”

I pray that I can, like Mary, find somewhere the strength to say yes to God’s will in my life, even though I have no idea what that means, or what it looks like. Here’s to trying.

running with endurance

Last night, I finally caught up on my episodes of America’s Next Food Network Star. One of my favorite shows, no doubt…there is something so great about watching an ordinary person compete with other ordinary people for a spot on the Food Network. The competition, the intrigue…its all too good.

My favorite food network personality happens to be Bobby Flay. And on last night’s episode, Bobby graced us with a really great comment. When discussing a contestant who had a so-so week, Bobby explained that he simply didn’t think she was giving it her all each week. He commented that some weeks, she seemed to work really hard and rise above the pack, but other weeks, she has just been ok.  “I’m not sure that she really wants it…Everyone here on this network comes to work each day and gives 110%, and I just don’t get that from her.”  Something like that.

That little comment really got me thinking about my own work. Sometimes (quite often, actually) I look at other peoples’ lives and I romanticize them…thinking, ugh, if I had that job, my life would be so easy! Or, if I could only work those hours, my life would be so simple…and on and on.  But the reality is, it takes hard, hard work to be successful.  My life is chock full of people who work ridiculously hard, every day.  For these people, the 9-5 does not exist.  They go in early, stay late. They go in to the office on their day off.  They spend hours strategizing how to get new accounts, how to keep their clients happy.  And they happen to be the best at what they do. There is no coincidence here.

Just re-reading old posts, it is easy to see that this has been a very challenging summer for me, to say the least. And towards the end, I really began to lose steam. I just got tired, and began dreaming of lazy days of reading for fun and having no worries. That simply is not my reality right now, nor do I want it to be.  This is the epiphany I had last night. I want to be here, working hard, doing everything I possibly can to make my dream come true. And you know what? This morning  I woke up extra early before going to the gym, and I translated some Genesis…just for the practice.  And when I got home from work, I sat down with my Greek New Testament and translated some John.  It felt so great to be working…not because I had to, but because I genuinely believe in this battle that I am fighting.  This is the work that I love, and I’m going to do it.

All of this reminds me of one of my favorite scripture verses of all time: Hebrews 12:1.  So I will close with this thought, and with the hope and prayer that you will continue to run with endurance whatever trial is currently before you in your life.

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”   Hebrews 12:1

what are you afraid of?

A few months ago, my Mom came up for a visit. It had been a rough few months and I was so grateful for her loving presence. On Sunday morning, we went to Mass at a nearby church and afterwards, decided to browse their bookstore (sidenote: there are few things in life that my Mom loves more than a good Catholic bookstore!)

She stumbled upon this book called “God, I have Issues” by a Jesuit, Mark. E. Thibodeaux.  She LOVED the title and we laughed hysterically at its truthfulness. Who among us doesn’t have “issues” after all? This book has little entries to help you pray through any mood, and it is a fantastic resource, I highly recommend it! 

To say that I had an important meeting today would be an understatement. Arguably one of the most important meetings of my academic career loomed before me this afternoon, with merely 20 minutes to spare. So I grabbed this book and read the entry called “God, I’m Afraid” which seemed most fitting in this moment.

This entry focused on allowing prayer to let you get to the root of your fear. I was definitely not in a praying mood–after all, I was panicking and pacing back and forth through my apartment. In typical Ignatian style, Fr. Mark asks “What are you afraid of?” Once you’ve answered that, he asks again. and again. Until finally, maybe you get to the real root of your fear.

Today when I did this exercise, I got to the bottom of my fear: failure. I am afraid of failure. So much of my future is out of my control, and this frightens me.  But I felt so much better just naming the fear. So I gave it up to God, asked for God to sit in that meeting with me, and went to my meeting.

And you know what? It turned out to be one of the greatest meetings in recent memory, and I now have the opportunity of a lifetime in front of me.  To sum it up, “Mama always said that miracles happen every day. Some people don’t think so, but they do!” (Forrest Gump)

So I ask you, what are you afraid of?

Bob Rice

Catholic speaker, musician, author, teacher

domestic diva, M.D.

my mother raised the perfect housewife...then I went to med school

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The Spiritual Evolution of a Faulty Catholic

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