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peace

“Sunday Sunset” Debuts This Sunday!

 

Looking for a great way to end your Sunday?

Want to unite in prayer with Christians around the world without leaving your home?

Need some strength in preparing for the week ahead?

Do you need relief from your anxiety?

Would you like the Lord’s peace to fill your heart?

My new 15 minute Internet radio program may be just what you need! On Sunday, June 24th at 8 PM Eastern time “Sunday Sunset with Gary Zimak” will debut on BlogTalkRadio. Join me in praying the Night Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours and for some reflections on the day’s Gospel reading. Each Sunday, we’ll get together to pray and reflect on the Lord and His providence.

How can you listen?

Simply click on the following link at 8 PM Eastern on Sunday and the show will begin to play. If you’d like an email reminder, you can follow the link now and click on the clock icon (next to the program date).

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gzimak/2012/06/25/sunday-sunset

If you can’t listen live, the podcast will be available in the BlogTalkRadio archives and iTunes and you can access it from my regular BlogTalkRadio page:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/gzimak

I hope you can join me as we gather together over the Internet. No matter where we live geographically, the miracle of technology allows us to unite as brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m looking forward to praying with you on Sunday…

please invite a friend!

One Way To Be Sure You’re Following God’s Will…

 

“Do you really believe God loves you? If you do, you know that everything that happens in your life is for your good. And it isn’t always a peaceful experience.” (Mother Angelica)

How do I know what God wants me to do with my life? How can I be sure that I’m following His will?

While this is a concern for anyone who is sincerely trying to follow the Lord, the answer is simpler than you realize. Although there are decisions that must be made in the course of our lives, there is one sure way to be certain that we’re following the will of God. It is to simply accept everything that happens in your life as being God’s will.

That’s it? You bet! This method of discernment is so simple that it often gets overlooked. In addition, it’s one of the most difficult things that we can ever do. Why? Because it involves our accepting illness, poverty, sorrow, loneliness, humiliation and uncertainty as being part of God’s will… and that isn’t easy!

The Bible tells us that “all things work for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28), but that is often forgotten when we are faced with unexpected challenges. Just for a minute, imagine how peaceful you’d be if you TRULY believed that everything that God permits to happen in your life is in your best interest. In reality, that’s exactly what the Church teaches. It is God’s will that we all end up in Heaven (1 Thes 4:3) and He sometimes allows “bad” things to happen in order to help us arrive at our eternal destination.

In his book, Uniformity With God’s Will, Saint Alphonsus Liguori advises, “Whenever anything disagreeable happens, remember it comes from God and say at once, ‘This comes from God’ and be at peace.” While this advice seems simple, just think of how many times we violate it each day! How often do we complain about flat tires, financial problems, poor health, heavy workloads, tiredness and so many other issues?

Today, why not try to follow God’s will by NOT complaining when unpleasant things happen? Instead, make it a point to thank the Lord for making His will known!

“Whatever good or evil befalls you, be confident that God will convert it all to your good.” (Saint Jane Frances de Chantal)

“Woman, Why Are You Weeping?”

 

But Mary stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb. (John 20:11)

The gospel reading from today’s Mass teaches us an important lesson. Sometimes, as in Mary Magdalene’s case, we get so wrapped up in the problems and worries of our lives that we fail to recognize the Lord’s presence. Mary flat out “missed the point” when she wept at the tomb. Jesus had risen from the dead, but Mary didn’t get it. Bodily resurrection was not something that occurred to her. Instead, she assumed that someone stole the body of Jesus. But what happened then is really important…first the angels and then Jesus appeared to her. The Lord’s appearance finally snapped her out of her sorrow and made her realize that all was well.

Every day, we encounter situations which could cause us to hang our heads and weep. If we give in to the desire to lose hope, we’ll miss the presence of Jesus and the peace that He can provide. By clinging to our own preconceived ideas of what is “good” for our lives, we often fail to see God’s providence in action. Sometimes, “bad” things are actually “good” for us and can help us to reach Heaven. Instead of weeping at “the empty tomb”, we should instead seek out the Lord – in Scripture, in prayer and, most of all, in the Eucharist. Then, and only then, will we feel His peace in our heart!

An Unexpected Retreat

I’ve been feeling really burned out lately…mainly caused by too much “burning the candle at both ends”.  Working a full time job, blogging, hosting a radio show and running to the hospital to visit my mother has really taken a toll on me.  The other day, I was telling my wife that I just wished I could take my prayer books and just go spend a few days with the Lord.  Eileen told me that I should “take a retreat” from my evangelization activities and just spend some time in prayer with Jesus.

It sounded like a good idea, but how could I just drop everything?  I need to blog, tweet and post on Facebook or else the world will fall apart!  As He often does, the Lord found a way to make this happen.  Over the weekend, my mother was hospitalized with pneumonia.  Her illness is complicated by the fact that she is 82 years old and has severe Alzheimer’s disease.  She has been fed through a tube for several years, as a result of forgetting how to eat.  She no longer walks, not due to anything physical, but because she doesn’t remember how.  Throughout the weekend, my sister and I took turns visiting Mom in the hospital.  My sister wasn’t able to go today, so I made the decision to cancel my nightly radio show and go to the hospital.  I had no idea of the blessing that awaited me!

One of the tricky things about dealing with my mother is the communication aspect.  She’s hasn’t known who I am (at least she can’t verbalize it) for a long time and her speech is a mixture of random English words, some Polish and a lot of gibberish.  I try my best to carry on a conversation, but I honestly don’t expect too much in return.  I smile at Mom and tell her I love her.  Sometimes she smiles back, sometimes she tells me, ” I love you”.  Often she’ll start laughing and I’ll laugh too, never quite sure of what’s so funny.

For some reason, I was really looking forward to seeing Mom tonight.  When I walked in the room, I was pleased.  Her color was better, the cough was less pronounced and she was in a good mood.  As soon as I saw her, my worries vanished and I was a child again.  I smiled at my mother and she smiled back at me.  She laughed and I laughed.  For a little while, the worry and stress I’d been experiencing disappeared.  I imagined the times that she probably smiled to me when I was a baby and I would respond.  I felt a sense of peace as I stood by Mom’s bedside; a peace that I NEEDED to feel!

I learned about charity when a very compassionate nurse came in to take my mother’s vital signs.  She was obviously a very caring person who treated my mother with respect and dignity even though Mom was giving her a hard time (my mother hasn’t forgotten how to be feisty!). 

At the end of our visit, I kissed Mom and told her I loved her.  I made the sign of the cross on her forehead and asked God to bless her.  Then I walked to the hospital chapel and spent some quiet time with the Lord.  Since this was a Catholic Hospital, they have a beautiful chapel (see picture), complete with the Blessed Sacrament.  As I sat alone with Jesus, I was at peace.

I walked to my car feeling a lot better than when I first arrived.  It then dawned on me that I just had my “retreat” and it was a good one.  Thank you, Jesus, for being a great retreat master!