Ways to Pray with Prayer Cards

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I’ve mentioned my friend, Brother Mickey McGrath often. After one of his retreats I come away with a renewed sense of peace in myself and my faith as well as a renewed energy to expand my creativity. You often see that depicted on these pages with my photography and artistic attempts, some of which are quite good, and others….well, I tried.

One of his new products is a card set called Prayer Starters. Below the cut, you will be able to click on the picture to be taken to his website to purchase them if you are interested in that. Simply, they are a set of about thirty cards with an easel under the theme of Wise and Holy Women featuring the words of the four women Doctors of the Church, Sts. Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena, Theresa of Avila, and Therese Lisieux plus Dorothy Day and Sister Thea Bowman combined with Brother Mickey’s beautiful art.

I’ve been using them as a daily devotional although I haven’t swapped out the cards every morning. Sometimes I leave them up for a few days and let them speak to me as long as I can feel it. This usually lasts two days. 

I mention this because two cards ago I came across a quotation from St. Hildegard of Bingen:

“Only when we connect misery to our cravings can we begin to solve our dilemma.”

I did not understand its meaning. I read it again, and then went about my work. Whenever I passed by my dining room table, I read it again, paused a moment, thought to myself, again, that I do not understand this; what does this mean?

Some of you may read it the first time and think, of course, this is not hard, what is she not seeing?

Honestly, I didn’t know.

I began to read it a bit more slowly. I’d sit with it and read it out normally, then a bit slower, and then I’d emphasize the punctuation, adding in my own commas, like you would with a poem, each line paused for absorption. I think I did this for two full days. I still did not get it.

Simple words, but they simply weren’t reaching me.

I don’t know how many days passed, each day I’d read the card at least once, more likely twice. I stared at the card on the easel. I held the card between two fingertips. I read it over and over and over again.

One morning, probably about very nearly a week ago, I read it, each word on my tongue, my inserted comma giving pause, and as I reached the period at the end, my eyes opened wide.

It was there!

Right there the whole time.

And now that I’d seen it, I couldn’t unseen it; I couldn’t not understand the meaning, and the most significant part was how much it related to my life, to my cravings of things and thoughts and symbols and signs. Little things and big things, and there in all of it wasn’t misery but the idea that misery could be brought on with too much of the cravings or the opposite that if I think of the cravings as misery perhaps I’d crave less and therefore be satisfied with less. And maybe that’s not it at all, but that was what it was for me.

Because that’s what has happened in my life. I can feel it and I’m living it in some ways. I am not a pious, ascetic, silence seeker, but I also do not crave everything the way I once did. Not only do I prioritize secular, monetary and time things, but I am also prioritizing my faith in relation to my secular life as well as the items of faith that I want to follow and adopt into my lifestyle. That’s not to suggest a change in doctrine, but in a feeling of where I want my faith to bring me, and for me to bring to others.

Only when we connect misery to our cravings can we begin to solve our dilemma.

Card from Prayer Starters Wise and Holy Women Card Pack, Brother Mickey McGrath, All Rights Reserved. Photo mine. (c)2019

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12/52 – Brother Mickey McGrath

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Brother Mickey McGrath is an Oblate of St. Francis de Sales.

I was fortunate to meet Brother Mickey on my very first weekend retreat at the Dominican Retreat Center I go to. There was so much that I didn’t understand or know about the whole retreat experience. I was slightly withdrawn; I knew no one. I took my meals with people, but I was still alone. Now, that I’ve gone to more events, I recognize some of the people, I’m a little more comfortable in the physical place, but things are still new. I just discovered that there is a refrigerator for the retreatants to use. I’d say it’s taken me three years to find that out.

This first retreat, though was also an art experience. I do not art. I know after following me for as long as some of you have, you wonder why I say that, but I really don’t believe I have any talent. I’m too linear. I’m too much a writer.

This retreat changed all of that.

It was titled Drawing Closer to G-d, and its focus was on mandalas. Mickey had beautiful ones. I learned some art techniques, including to color outside the lines, to draw beyond the mandala border.Art is pictures and symbols and color, but it is also words, and I really enjoy the word art that I’ve done this year, especially my political and my scriptural.

Every time Brother Mickey directs a retreat in my area, I do my best to attend. That has given me the opportunity to become friends with him, enjoying warm greetings when we see each other. I’m a bit more talkative now, and I ask questions if I have any. I add to the discussion, and I art.

And I enjoy it so much that I do it at home. I find the coloring very calming, contemplative and prayerful.

Brother Mickey was and is my inspiration for stepping out of my comfort zone, for drawing a bit and coloring a bit, and truly moving closer to G-d as well as myself.

Brother Mickey’s works are available through his website.

The Best Laid Plans

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I’m on retreat this weekend. The subject is Wise and Holy Women. I had intended to make two posts or so this weekend, but G-d had other plans. When I  unpacked I  discovered that I did not have my keyboard. 

On Sunday, I  will write the twelfth week of the new 52 which was supposed to appear here today. Week 12 is a person, Brother Mickey McGrath, oblate and artist. He is our retreat director. He is wonderful and I will tell you of his influence on me over the last few years, opening my heart and creativity. 

In the meantime, follow the link in his name and look at his beautiful and spiritual art. 

Until next time, 

Blessings

Instagramming Across May

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When I first heard about Instagram, I thought, oh no, not another social media thingy. But once I began to use it, I really enjoyed it. Especially the way I can post directly from it to my Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Because those two latter ones are more anonymous than my FB, I do need to be careful not to post any identifying information or at least to be aware of it when I do.

In getting my new smartphone, I’ve discovered that its camera is better than my camera-camera and my Kindle camera and having 4G that actually works is the bonus, so I’ve been using it more lately. I also love the way the layout on multiple pictures looks. It lets me be creative and really use my imagination.

This May has been incredibly busy as you’ve read in the posts I’ve made and in the lack of posts I haven’t made. But I have managed to make Instagram posts because they are just so easy to upload.

I wanted to share them with you.

As a writer, I hate the saying, but sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

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On Retreat – Welcome –

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The plans I had for posting this week kind of got away from me. Every day I stated something that I wanted to share, but then never got the keyboard out. Then there were family obligations and therapy and packing for my retreat, which I’m on right now.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a travel piece on what items tend to be forgotten. Well, here I am traveling and I’ve managed to forget things I actually needed: my eyeglass case for my glasses to sleep in, a laundry bag, a. nightlight, which this room really does need, and a hairbrush which the mirror in my room will attest to how much that was needed this morning.

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