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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Root Sins

Sin is a transgression against the divine law...  A fault, offense or an omission.
Below is a list of “root sins,” each being a disordered attachment to something. The things in themselves – achievements, relationships, pleasures – are not evil. The problem comes when we seek meaning and fulfillment in those temporal, created realities. In fact, we are created and called to seek our meaning and fulfillment in God alone, in our ever-deepening relationship with him. Achievements, relationships, and pleasures are meant to be ordered around and towards that principle and foundation of our life.
Pride is excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. Pride is also known as Vanity. Vain people seek fulfillment by being admired and praised by other people.
Envy is the desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation.
Gluttony is an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires.  This may be food, drink, clothing, housing, collections, etc.
Lust is an inordinate craving for the comfort and pleasures of the body.  Obviously pornography, infidelity and casual sex would fit in this category.
 Anger is manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury, verbally abusing and sometimes physically harming another.  It is also known as Wrath.
Greed is the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. It is also called Avarice or Covetousness.  It is closely related to Gluttony.
Sloth is the avoidance of physical or spiritual work.  Procrastinating anyone?
John 5:14
Revised Standard Version (RSV)
14 Afterward, Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse befall you.”
Conclusion:  We will be “well’ after our Lenten prayers, fasting and almsgiving. If we can maintain that state and “sin no more,” nothing worse will befall us! 
Most of the above is quoted in whole or part from various internet sites.  I have the time to do the research and hope this will be useful to you.

Judy Borman Harding
March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


 If you haven’t read my account of how prayer and fasting helped me to re-unite with my son, whom I had relinquished for adoption, look for posts titled "My Son, the Godsend."

Today I begin to write about my journey ‘from’, ‘to’ and ‘with’ God. yes, “from” fits because I ran away from him for thirty years and he called me back in so many extraordinary ways! 

 As I wandered in the desert of unbelief, many people were praying for me, most especially my mother.  As a result of those fervent prayers, several people came into my life who pointed me in the right direction.  One of these was a beautiful Christian lady, Cindy, who was my neighbor in Phoenix. She and I began walking together in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve and she gently began ministering to me.  I remember saying to her "I don't think I sin. I consider myself a good person and I try to be nice to everyone."   Now that my Christian consciousness has been raised, I think of that moment with great chagrin.  I don't remember what she said to me, but whatever it was, it was the first step to my considering the notion of myself as a sinner, a person in need or repentance and forgiveness.
A few years ago I wrote:
I feel the divineness of Your inspiration:
You have planted Your spirit within me.
I have accepted Your will, Oh Lord.
In Your Word I have found deliverance.
I have cried out to You in my pain.
I have offered myself to You,
And You have accepted me.
You have given me the key,
Opened wide the door.
You invited me to sit beside You,
Sharing your Body and Your Blood.
You suffered me as Your child,
Allowed me to anoint Your feet.
You invited me to see my reflection
In the mirror of Your Spirit.
I asked for You, and You came!
You cast aside the slimy serpents
Of pride, vanity, anxiety, avarice,
That covered my body from head to toe.
They shriveled slowly in Your sun,
Slinking away, leaving one by one.
Yet some still writhe within my sight,
Waiting to be recalled.
I beseech You: Hold my hand
As I wade through the tumultuous waters of my sin.
I grip your hand fiercely,

So as never to be lost again.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

On Fasting

Lenten Reflections, 3/6/14

On Fasting                                                              

Is not this the fast that I choose:  To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the throngs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”
Isaiah 58:6  (RSV)


Fast from coffee?  Impossible!  
 As my my friends and I, who pray together almost every day, discussed Lent and what sacrifices we would be willing to make, we all agreed that coffee would be the hardest thing to give up, with giving up sweets coming in a close second. But the more I thought about this, the more it seemed downright shameful that we felt we could not make such minor sacrifices for someone who, during the last hours of His life, was offered only vinegar to drink and no doubt hadn’t had a good meal in days, let alone honey cakes!
So along this theme, while stressing the most important “fast”  according to Isaiah:  to vanquish sin, to cast off pride and to help the poor and the needy (paraphrased loosely), I wish to make some comments on non physical and physical fasting and its effectiveness.  
People in the Bible fasted from periods of three days, seven days, ten days, twenty one days and forty days (Moses, Elijah and Jesus).  Most of us weak Christians are lucky if we can make it through one day!  But why should fast anyway?
Fasting is a form of prayer and a way to grow more aware of God, to be reminded at every pang of hunger of his gracious mercy.  
In Joel 2: 11-13, we read:
“Yet even now,” says the Lord, “Return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning.”  What better words could accompany us during the days of Lent, as we identify so closely with Our Lord’s suffering!  To return to God with all of our hearts is the single goal of fasting... not to look pious to our friends, to lose weight,  to save money. etc.  
Non physical fasts:  
  1. Fast from pride in appearance... put away the jewelry, makeup, gorgeous clothes for awhile (very humbling)
  2. Fast from TV, novels or Face Book.   Replace with Scripture and other spiritual reading, Rosary, church services, Adoration, prayer groups, etc..
  3. Fast from frivolous outings and parties
  4. Fast from talking, as much as possible, especially gossip and criticism
Physical Fast:
  1. Fast from food you really enjoy (especially meat and dairy products to honor some of the earliest fasts), one day a week or Wed. and Friday (traditional church fast days), or for the entire forty days.
  2. Try the “Daniel” fast, of fruits and vegetables only, or the other Daniel fast: 10:2,3: “I ate no delicacies, no meat or wine entered my mouth.” Remember: Proverbs 15:17 “Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.” Proverbs 15:17
  3.   Fast by eliminating a meal or two.
  4. Fast with water and juices only
RESULTS:  You will be amazed at the spiritual fruits of fasting.  Besides bringing us into closer union with Our Father, many people (including me) have found that fasting for a specific purpose brings results.  Remember Ezra 8:23:  “So we fasted and implored God for this and he listened to our entreaty,” and Mark 9:29: “This kind can only be driven out by fasting and prayer.” 
 “The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.”  Romans 14:3

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Lenten reflection,   3/4/14

SCRIPTURE:  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
Deuteronomy 6:5 (RSV)
 Three of the four gospel writers quoted this prayer (Matthew 22:27, Mark 12:30:37,Luke 10:27) with Mark and Luke adding “and with all your mind.”  (translations may vary)
What is your favorite Bible verse?  No doubt you have several well loved verses that have helped you to clarify your faith, consoled you in times of darkness and moved you forward on your spiritual journey.  
If I had to choose one verse that sums up the whole purpose of our lives and that has directed God’s people for thousands of years, I would choose the above prayer.  Our Jewish brothers and sisters honored this prayer, as part of the “Shema,” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9and 11:13-21) more than any other.   They would repeat it throughout the day and they said this prayer when death seemed eminent. They would write in on the finest parchment, put it in a decorative container and post it on the doors of their homes.
In pondering this verse, I see its beautiful compatibility with what I learned as a child from the Baltimore Catechism:  The purpose of life is to know God, to love God, to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
Lord forgive all of us who have gone vainly searching for other “purposes of life” instead of holding these words always close to our heart!
Suggestion:  Write the words of Deuteronomy 6:5 and hang them where you can see them, or put them in your mailbox, and say them every time you get your mail!
................................................................Yours in Christ, Judy

Sunday, March 2, 2014

First Lenten Reflection
February 2, 2014

                      “Pray without ceasing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:17

The goal of Lent  (know as the Great Fast in the Eastern Catholic tradition), is to draw closer to God through increased prayer, almsgiving and fasting and to carry at least some of these spiritual practices into our after-lent life. 
 On the eve of this Lent, I am preparing to share some reflections with you, in hopes that we can grow together and perhaps exchange ideas, stories and encouragement. 

What are my credentials?  I have none!  I am a layperson who has no special wisdom or erudition, a person who has the time (retired teacher), the inclination and the desire to pray, study and write.  I have been an agnostic, an atheist, a protestant, and a Roman Catholic.  I now have found a spiritual home in the Byzantine (Eastern) Catholic church, but continue to dialogue eagerly with people of all denominations.

First Lenten suggestion:   
Choose a prayer to repeat as ceaselessly as you are able
 Select a favorite prayer, word or phrase (some suggestions follow), and repeat it as often as you can remember.
“Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
“Come, Lord.” ('Maranatha' in Aramaic)
“Jesus, I trust in you.”
“Lord, lead me.”
“Open my eyes, Lord.”
“Oh God, come to my assistance; Oh Lord, make haste to help me.”
“In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”
“I love you, Lord.”
“Glory to you, Our God, Glory to you”
“All praise and all thanksgiving, be every moment thine.”
Or just choose a single word to repeat over and over through-out the day, such as ‘Jesus,’ ‘Alleluia,’ ‘Amen,’ or ‘Abba’ (Daddy God).
You may wish to sing or chant your prayer!

..................................................................................Yours in Christ, Judy