Tag Archives: prayer

Power of Prayer

Posted on September 11, 2013 by Ron Quinlan

Today is 9/11/13.    I remembered 9/11/2001.

About 8:50 I watched from my classroom a small group of women leave church. They had stayed after mass to say the rosary. They always had a long list of people and causes to pray for. One was always for anyone in the parish who needed a prayer. They had done this for years, saying the rosary for anyone who needed a prayer, for jobs and for people who were sick. This was part of their daily routine.

We have no idea of how many people benefitted from these prayers but I know on 9/11/01 there were 6 parishioners working in the World Trade Center. All six came home safe. Never underestimate the power of the Rosary.

The Three Persons in the Happiest Marriages


We attended a lovely  wedding this past weekend.   I truly love weddings.   There’s something about wedding ceremonies that evoke emotions of the couple’s love and commitment to celebrate their joining together into a new life path. Sometimes the couple express their feelings towards each other, often in a spiritual or scriptural setting. The blessing asks for happiness, joy, commitment, sharing, and always love.

It is sad that many marriages break up – about 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher.  But, what about all those beautiful weddings and all the emotions that got stirred up? Where is that couple who vowed to love each other forever, forsaking all others? Where and why did half of them falter?

They may have forgotten something. They may have left Someone out.

The traditional wedding ceremony usually involves a religious setting, asking God to bless the union, free it of jealousy, anger, infidelity and selfishness. Church weddings include God in the service and He is a part of the day’s happiness and union. A large part.  One in which the entire family partakes.

The marriage has more chance to succeed if they remembered  to include God in their relationship from the very beginning.   Having God in your marriage is like being part of a tripod. It won’t stand as well on just 2 feet.  It needs the 3rd foot for balance. It is an essential accessory  for holding a marriage steady at slow-moving speeds or when they plan long, hoped-for ranges.  A God-tripod is the best way to prevent a problem marriage. Otherwise, it may cause out-of-focus problems or topple over and have to be discarded.  With God in the tripod loop, it is certain to remember  many happy, shared memories.

Couples who attend and work at church activities together often are kept aware of including  God in the marriage. Scripture heard at church reminds couples to:   Accept one another;  Care for one another;  Carry each other’s burdens;  Forgive one another; Encourage, build up one another;  Spur one another on to love and good deeds, and Pray for each other.

Pray together.   It is difficult – almost impossible – to feel anger or not forgive someone when you pray with him or her.  It encourages to not ‘hold on’ to any anger overnight – or else it  may  still have embers that may flare up in the morning. “In your anger….do not  let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.”

Taken all together, these Scriptures are a blueprint for a happy marriage.  Include God in the blueprint, and you will be blessed with a mate who will love you as much as you love him or her.

A happily married couple once told us their secret:  “You have to feel that both of you are giving 125%.”   Include God in that percentage and your odds will go way up.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy… husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies…….each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband. (Ephesians 5:25-33)

(C) Marie Coppola   July 2018

 

 

How to End a Bad Relationship

You can get along with all of the people some of the time; you can get along with some of the people all of the time but you can’t get along with all of the people all of the time.    A spin on the old adage.

It is an unfortunate fact of life that we simply can’t get along with everybody. If we are lucky, we have good relationships with our family and friends and in-laws, but every once in awhile, there is someone who becomes a ‘literal thorn in our side’. Sometimes, it is apparent why this happens. But other times, as much as we analyze and pick the relationship apart, conversation by conversation, we can’t understand totally why this happens.

Call it karma, call it fate, call it ‘that’s life in the big city’, it can play havoc with our lives. This is especially so, if it is a family member, a spouse, or an in-law.  It can be someone we are close to and see frequently; or it can be someone we’re not so close to and see infrequently. The latter can be spaced out in visits (if you have to visit them at all) and can be managed. Somewhat.

But, what do you do when it is a sibling, a parent or God forbid, a spouse?

If and when you are immersed in a dysfunctional relationship, emotions can override logic. If it is a parent or sibling, we are talking a major challenge. If it is a spouse, it can be catastrophic.

    

What do you do? Do you bite your tongue in all conversations, hold back lashing down to a minimum, feign sickness to avoid them? Work more; socialize less, bury yourself in a book?

Or do you join in when they are around, feel stressed out and pray that the day turns out ok and not into a fiasco. Others are counting on you to ‘join’ in the group and just ‘keep cool’ or ‘chill out’ or anything short of sitting on you and duct-taping your mouth.

Well, there are many variables here.  In a family matter – a parent, a sibling, a child – there is a history here and lots of interchanges. Some issues are so interchangeably tangled, that unless the ‘diametrically-opposed players’ come to a prayerful compromise and exchange of promises and a sincere heart change, there is little hope that they will link arms and have a drink together. In fact, drinking may make it worse.

A spouse you don’t get along with is much more challenging. This is a life commitment you both made. Serious and truthful conversations, role playing (perhaps with a third party), and a sincere desire to change the situation is warranted if you want to right it. It’s not going to go away by itself. One person can’t change it; it needs both. Make that three – add God. Positive actions, prayers and verbal affirmations help to get issues out in the air and looked at.   Three steps forward and two steps back – but keep forging ahead and praying while you do it.

It may work out.  It has worked out.  And made relationships stronger. But it also hasn’t worked out.  And relationships end.

I had such a person in my life. This was a ‘long-history person’. We simply were like oil and water. Things said were not taken the way they were meant; get-togethers became strained with stress; attempts to make it better made it worse; and the chasm opened wide and threatened to swallow us.

This relationship caused additional spiritual stress for me: didn’t God tell us to forgive seventy times seven?   Aren’t we supposed to ‘love one another as He loves us”?  How could I reconcile this fractured relationship with my faith?   How could I change into something I wasn’t?   I tried and tried and couldn’t and didn’t .

One day, at church service, there was a visiting minister.  His topic was ‘You Can’t Get Along With Everybody’.  I was all ears.   His sermon was loving, prayerful, scriptural and reality. He looked out at all of us and said, “You have to face the fact that you won’t get along with everybody in life – it could be someone close, a loved one or even a child of yours. You simply will not have a good relationship with them.” And then he offered, “Even Jesus did not get along with everyone. As a native Nazarene, he was not always welcome in his own neighborhood; people mocked him that “he was a carpenter’s son – how can He think he is a Son of God; we knew Him as a child playing’.” Jesus left his hometown and started traveling with His ministry. And when He and/or the Apostles were not welcome in a town, He told them to ‘wipe the dust off their feet’ and move on.

Please understand that this minister was not suggesting that you disregard any and all people that you don’t get along with and wipe them off like dust.  Remember, we are all imperfect.

Life is a compromise with almost everybody. It is usually a loving compromise and returned as such. Sometimes people have life changes and within those changes, people temporarily behave differently and relationships change with them. They may be going through a rough time; and they need your patience and love. I’m not talking about these kinds of ‘not getting along’. They are transient and natural in all our lives.

I’m talking about the constant, never-ending, always-the-same negative and destructive relationship that causes stress every time you connect.

I talked with the minister after the service and told him I felt bad about this relationship that I just couldn’t seem to embrace. He answered, “There are some relationships you can’t fix. Thank God they are few, but they simply will never be what they are supposed to be. You have to walk away and leave them. Withdraw from them; they will eventually harm you. Wipe the dust from your feet and move on. But always, always pray for that person, forgive them and forgive yourself.   But always pray for them.”

I found a serene feeling of letting go that day. And I followed his advice. I also began praying for that person. And that was very difficult for me.  The first few prayers were stifled and stiff and seemed to get stuck in my throat.  But I kept at it and in time, sincerely meant the prayer. I pray for this person to this day. I pray for her peace; I wish her well-being and remind myself that she is loved as a child of God just as I am.   With my change in attitude and prayer, I feel differently about this person.  We may – never be close but the awful feelings of animosity are gone.

There is no judgment or blame here — it’s just that….”As one face differs from another, so does one’s heart.”

©Marie Coppola  Revised May 2013

Why go to Church? I don’t have time.

 

We live in an ultra-busy world. Technology gets us there faster, enables us to work faster, gives us computers, fax machines, cell phones, our Blackberry, iPods, notebooks – everything is speeded up so we can dance as fast as we can. Sometimes, economically, we have to work 2 jobs or both partners work; life is entangled. We’re all on roller skates. There’s barely enough time to do all we have to do – who has time to give a whole day and put it aside and keep it holy?

Question:  Who has time for faith? How do I get faith? I’d like to have faith, but where and how do you get it?

Answer You can start, get and keep faith by keeping the Sabbath holy.  At the least, most faiths have services for an hour on Saturday or Sunday. This is time for regrouping of family; renewal of faith and refreshment. Keeping the Sabbath sets the pace for a ’day of rest’ be it spending a couple of hours ’together’ and/or awareness of God at least one day of the week. Some of us have to work on the weekends, but there are services during the week – as a day of rest- or at least a sharing of a Scripture over breakfast or dinner or watch a spiritual TV show to ‘keep a day holy’.

Faith begins and grows with God’s Word, the Bible.  Some find Scripture hard to read and understand.  Joining a Bible class may aid you.  For those who get frustrated easily, they can start with a New American Bible or a Good News Bible which is easier to understand.   Sometimes reading the New Testament and/or Jesus’ words, usually in red or bold, is an incentive to pursue the Bible as a whole entity.

Question:  What is Sabbath? 

Answer:   Sabbath is a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday.

It is one of the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God.

Question:  Why should we remember the Sabbath and keep it holy?

Answer:  Sabbath is a sign in respect for the day during which God rested after having completed Creation in six days (Genesis 2:2-3,  Exodus 20:8).

The Bible tells us it is a weekly day of rest and time of worship.  It is observed in Judaism and Christianity and informs a similar occasion in several other faiths.

It is true today that many families have broken the tradition of keeping the Sabbath holy.    Many families are Easter/Christmas/Channukah families and do not attend services the rest of the year.   Many churches are attended by mostly seniors and children making rites in their faith, but young people, young mothers and fathers are sorely absent. And once the children finish their rites, they disappear from church with their families.

When folks ask me, ‘how did you get your faith’, or ‘how can I get faith’ – I tell them to attend a church, temple or place of worship.   There are many different denominational churches or temples like there are many people, and it’s important to go to one where there’s a good fit for your beliefs.    Sermons, homilies and services should provide  direction and instructions from the Bible.   Worship communities help bridge the gap between the Bible and today’s world and how we apply it to our lives.

A person or family gets used to church very easily – it becomes a habit or ritual – going as a unit to worship or learn about God and His Word.   Community of church are the people that attend church with you who can be tremendous helpmates in learning about God or sharing in life’s events with you.

He gives us each week of our lives; why not give Him one hour of it?   Bring your mate and family.  Parents: It is the best gift you can give your children.

Try it ~ you’ll like it – and God will bless you.

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Copyright ©  Marie Coppola  Revised November 2016