Thursday, April 9, 2015

Loyola Art Museum

On a recent visit to the Magnificent Mile in Chicago, my family and I made a quick visit to the Loyola University Museum of Art.  Free admission on Tuesday was definitely a bonus.  The museum was very small, consisting of only two floors.  The first floor showcased a Shaker Art display which was beautiful in its simplicity.  The second floor held a display of sacred art from the Renaissance period, my very favorite!  I just have a few snapshots to share of the pieces that moved my heart, without the accompanying descriptions, unfortunately, but the art truly does speak for itself.  For more information about the Loyola University Museum of Art, visit here.  For more on the Martin D'arcy, S.J. Collection, from which all of the images below were taken, visit here.  Martin D'Arcy, SJ, was a Jesuit priest who lived in England from 1888-1976.  This collection is named in his honor.


The head of John the Baptist.  The accompanying description mentioned that those who suffered from headaches and ailments of the head would place their hat upon the face of  St. John to receive healing.

Mother and Child


Nativity Triptych

crucifix and vessels

The Queen of Heaven with four Jesuit saints from left to right:  St. Stanislaus Kostka,SJ,  St. Ignatius Loyola, SJ,
St. Francis Xavier, SJ and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, SJ


Ecce Homo (description here)

Crucifixion  Polyptych 


The angel standing below the crucifix is capturing the Precious Blood of Christ in a chalice.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish/the Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy, Chicago

"Along the frenetic Kennedy Expressway, in the heart of Chicago, St. Stanislaus Kostka Church/the Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy, stands as a sign of contradiction, a light to the world, an oasis of life-giving water calling all of God's people to find peace by turning with trust to The Divine Mercy."  ~Fr. Anthony Bus, C. R., pastor

My family and I were blessed to pay a visit St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish/the Sanctuary of The Divine Mercy and home of the world's largest monstrance, Our Lady of the Sign-Ark of Mercy in Chicago.  It was a gorgeous, gorgeous church!  We were greeted at the door by a woman who was mopping the floor.  She was so friendly and welcoming and invited us to come back anytime.  The church is open 24/7 for Eucharistic Adoration.  We will be sure to take her up on her kind offer the next time we are in Chicago.

For more information on St. Stanislaus Kostka parish, visit this link.


greeted by Our Lady in the church vestibule

The confessional looks so welcoming with the open doors!


beautiful stations!


The breathtaking frescoes look like they need some care as the paint is showing signs of peeling.


Isn't the altar magnificent?

altar details

Of course, pictures don't do justice to the beauty of the church.



Adoration is in a side chapel within the main church.

Here I am praying for your intentions.
The image of the Divine Mercy can be seen just beyond the monstrance.  Jesus, I trust in you!


Monday, April 6, 2015

An Honor to be Catholic (or Here Comes Everybody)

Old St. Mary's sanctuary (photo source)

I've been feeling a bit out of sorts in my faith of late.  I've always been very turned off by Catholics who publicly push their agenda for married or women priests or anything that is outside of the official teaching of the Church upon the rest of us Catholics.  And lately, I've begun to feel equally turned off by Catholics who publicly criticize the Pope and who push for only Latin Mass and only male altar servers, and a smaller, purer Church etc.  It's a big Church and we all belong, liberal, conservative and everyone in-between, and yet, it seems to me that we can't seem to stand each other.  Where is the love, I wonder?  Why can't we stop being so pushy?  Why can't we stop being so mean-spirited and small-minded?  Is this what Catholicism is really all about?  Must we constantly fight and criticize and trample upon each other in our efforts to be right and to prove everyone who doesn't agree with us to be wrong?

This dilemma, the constant clash between liberal and conservative Catholics, and people who label themselves as such, instead of simply calling themselves Catholic, and acting in a loving manner toward all, has made for a difficult Lent for me and there were many times when I found myself wondering whether I really belong anywhere in this Church, not really feeling particularly liberal or conservative myself but just loving God with all my heart and desperately wanting to draw closer and closer to Him each and every day.

And then the glorious day of the Easter Vigil arrived.  I had been asked to substitute for a lector and extraordinary minister of the Eucharist at this Mass.  I have been a lector for many years and feel quite comfortable proclaiming God's Word, but I've only served as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist on a few occasions and I have never felt comfortable or worthy enough to offer the very Flesh and Blood of the Lord to others.  But, always wanting to model myself after the Blessed Mother, I said "yes" despite my reservations.

I was so nervous on the day of the Vigil that I actually had asked two different people to take my place and was tempted to ask two others, as well, in an attempt to back out of my promise to help.  NOT like the Blessed Mother at all!  Can you imagine her saying, "Uh, God?  I changed my mind about this whole Mother of Christ thing.  I'm too nervous and unworthy to go through with it.  Can you find someone else?"  Thank God she is so much stronger and braver than I!  But, God's plan for me was clearly to have me follow through on my promise, as those I had actually asked to take my place weren't able to accommodate me.

In the end, offering the Precious Blood of our Lord to the communicants at the Easter Vigil was one of the most beautiful and wonderful things I could have done to have enhanced and strengthened my wavering faith.  As an Oblate of the Precious Blood, affiliated with the Handmaids of the Precious Blood, offering all of my prayers for priests, I felt especially moved and overwhelmed as I stood near the altar and Fr. Mike handed the Blood of Christ to me.  I carefully moved down the steps and waited for the communion procession to begin.

First in line was the woman who was just baptized at the Easter Vigil, followed by the four adults who were received into the Church.  To offer the Blood of Christ to them for their very First Holy Communion, was incredibly touching!  Later, my own family members each bowed to the Lord's Blood and then uttered their "Amen's" as I offered them His Blood to drink.  This was an Easter I will never forget!  This was an Easter where I felt exceptionally proud and honored and moved to be Catholic!

Later, as I spoke with two of the newly received, a married couple, they shared a bit of their story with me about how they had long considered Catholicism and studied it from an intellectual viewpoint before finally committing to it.  Through their story, I realized that even though our Church may look ugly and dismal to those on the inside from time to time, to those on the outside looking in, we are a beautiful Church full of mystery and goodness and the Love of God, sinful and messy and full of complainers though we are.  I feel more blessed and proud than ever to call myself a Catholic and I wouldn't give up the beautiful gift of my Catholic faith for anything in the world!




Saturday, March 28, 2015

St. Mary's of the Pines



The Salzmann Library at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary in Milwaukee is the home to many antique treasures including an 1882 copy of Poems written by Bernard Durward, founder of Durward's Glen Retreat and Conference Center near Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Bernard Isaac Durward, a native of Scotland, arrived in Milwaukee in 1845 with his family where he worked as an artist.  His painting included portraits of Milwaukee's founding fathers and Archbishop Henni, Milwaukee's first Archbishop.  After painting the Archbishop, Durward converted to Catholicism and became a professor of English literature at Saint Francis de Sales Seminary until 1862 when he bought the beautiful land known as Durward's Glen.  Two of his sons became priests and the property remains a destination for religious retreats and prayerful nature walks.

Portrait of Archbishop John Henni painted by Bernard Isaac Durward

The state of Wisconsin and the Catholic Church have been greatly blessed by the legacy of this artist, poet, teacher and naturalist. If you are ever given the opportunity to visit Durward's Glen, you will find a most peaceful and prayerful setting which was the home of Bernard Durward and his family. This poem of his describes it perfectly!

St. Mary's of the Pines by Bernard Durward-
Dear retreat for mortal wearied
With turmoil,
Take me to your sheltering bosom!
Soothe my brain with nature's gladness,
Pour the balm and wine and oil!
Dull routine my life has wounded
Nigh to sadness;
Give me in you wildernesses
Change of toil!

And ye springs that gush and sparkle
As your pour
From your never failing fountains,
From your dark, mysterious prison,
Swelling still the streamlet's store,
Laughing to the light of morning
Newly risen-
Let me join with your sweet murmurs
One voice more.

From the unseen came I also.
By the might
Of the Eternal Fount of Being,
Through the darksome ways of error,
Far more dismal than the night
Of your hidden stony barriers;
From that terror
By the hand of mercy lifted
Into light.

Streamlet-daughter of a thousand
Limpid springs!
On thou speedest like an angel
With a healing benediction
Folded underneath his wings;
Warbling sweetest as thou meetest
Contradiction
From rude stones on which the lichen
Feeds and clings-

Oh, that I could scatter blessing
Like to thee!
That my soul could mirror beauty
As thy bosom's liquid crystal!
That my songs might be as free,
Varied, lasting as thy singing!
Then should list all
Mortals to my strain-a minstrel
I should be.

Pines, that heal the air with perfume,
Towering high,
Decked with cones for jewels, pendant
In your green immortal vesture,
Though your heads are in the sky,
Yet, like mortal man beneath you,
You must rest your
Feet upon the solid fabric,
Or must die.

Lend my verse the balsam odor
Of your tears!
And the color of your needles,
And the heavenward direction
Of your stems, which rise like spears,
That my song may still point upward
From dejection
And the basis of the earthly
To the spheres!

Rocks, that Time has worn to grandeur
With his breath!
Steadfast as a righteous canon,
High above the vanished ages,
Moveless 'mid surrounding death;
How your silence and your shadows
Shame my pages!
Doomed to crumble, as the leaves
My feet beneath.

Little chapel, rude and lonely
To the eye,
How thy white cross in the sunlight
Gleams and prompts a prayer in whispers!
Shall my mouldering ashes lie
Blest and near thee, though unheeding
Song of Vespers,
Or the Kyrie Eleison's
Plaintive cry?

Gorge of beauty, sweetly nestled
'Mong the hills;
Far removed from sordid traffic,
Filled with springs forever weeping
Through the rocks in mossy rills-
Shall my lowly memory linger
In thy keeping,
When this heart which now is throbbing
Silence fills?

Yes; a little while my footsteps
May be known;
And the hearts that I have cherished
Will remember me in yonder
Sacred symbol in the stone!
They will say "His hand engraved it!"
And with fonder
Accents of affection whisper,
"He is gone!"

"Gone! above this transient vision
Of a day;
Upward springing through the azure,
Upward to the Source of Beauty,
From the strife of sin and clay,
Soared his spirit to our Savior,
As the levin
Through the clouds of storm and darkness
Cleaves its way."

A fascinating biography of Bernard Durward can be found here.








Monday, February 16, 2015

The Lord's Prayer with Fr. James Kubicki, SJ

The Milwaukee Catholics United for the Faith Chapter (CUF), had their annual day of reflection with their spiritual advisor, Fr. James Kubicki, SJ, the National Director of the Apostleship of Prayer, who also happens to be one of my closest friends, so I was happy to clear my calendar and attend the talk, pen and notebook in hand.

Fr. Jim, who had just flown in from a retreat he had given in warm and sunny California to cold and snowy Wisconsin, gave a brilliant talk on The Lord's Prayer with reflections from St. Teresa of Avila and Pope Benedict XVI.  His talk was so fascinating that two hours flew quickly by as if I had only been listening for ten minutes!  
Fr. Jim said that two versions of The Lord's Prayer could be found within the bible, a longer version in Matthew as part of the Sermon on the Mount, and a shorter version in Luke, Chapter 11, right after the story of Martha and Mary in which Martha was worried and anxious about many things and Jesus rebuked her for her anxiety stating that Mary chose the better part.  Martha wasn't really worried about serving Jesus, but she was more worried about herself and how she cooked and the work she was doing.  Whenever we're worried, Fr. Jim pointed out, it's because we are thinking about ourselves.  Jesus teaches us the great prayer of trust that counters Martha's worry and anxiety.

St. Teresa tells us that The Lord's Prayer is the prayer that we should esteem the most and can apply to our own needs stating, "I marvel to see that in so few words everything about contemplation and perfection is included."  And Pope Benedict states that "When we pray the Our Father we are praying to God with words given by God."

Our Father

Beginning with the name "Father", St. Teresa tells us that "this one word alone should lead to contemplation."  Every human person is made in the image and likeness of God and is a child of God with an immortal soul.  Adopted children don't have the same DNA as their adoptive parents, but as adopted children of God, flooded with sanctifying grace at our baptisms, we are filled with His DNA. As St. John tells us, "See what love God has bestowed upon us that we may be called the children of God, and yet, so we are."

It's natural for men and women to identify themselves with their success or their appearance.  Jesus tells us not to lose our identity on something that will come and go, but to find your identity in the love of God for you.  Rejoice because your names are written in heaven!  The Lord's Prayer reveals us to ourselves and reveals the Father to us. God loves us so much that he changes us and makes us His sons and daughters.  St. Cyprian teaches us that when we call God our Father, we ought to behave and act as sons and daughters of God with humility.  

We don't say "my" Father but "our" Father.  There is no individualism here.  God loves each one of us as though we were the only child made in His image and likeness, yet God's image is not just One but Three.  We recognize that we are called to love our brothers and sisters.  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that when we pray the Our Father, we leave concern for ourselves behind, oppositions and divisions have to be overcome.  The baptized cannot pray the Our Father without bringing before Him all of His beloved children and the needs of all the Church and the world.

Who Art in Heaven

This line reminds us of our ultimate goal.  We are not made just for life on this earth.  St. Teresa says that "God is sought in many places but found ultimately within yourself.  Therefore, recollection is so important.  We collect our thoughts and find God in a quiet place, the chamber of our hearts." Heaven is within.  Heaven is not a place, but a way of being. God is within the hearts of the just as in His holy temple.

The Eucharist is the closest thing to heaven.  It's heaven on earth.  We find the entire communion of saints in the Eucharist, therefore, we should receive the Eucharist as often as possible.

Hallowed Be Thy Name

There is a sense of control and power in knowing another person's name.  Teachers, for example, can more effectively discipline their students by saying their name out loud.  But calling others by their name is also a sign of care.  To know a person's name is to be in relationship with that person.

In the second commandment we are told not to take the name of the Lord your God in vain but to treat that name as a holy name.  So in keeping this commandment we commit ourselves to only speak God's name in prayer, not as a word of surprise.

When we give scandal through our actions, we also give dishonor to God's name.  When we publicly sin people ask incredulously, "And you're a Christian?"  God said that we bring dishonor to His name when we rebel against Him and act sinfully.  We are responsible for the sanctification of God's name.

Thy Kingdom Come

Pope Benedict tells us that we acknowledge first and foremost the primacy of God.  Where God is absent, nothing can be good.  This refers primarily to the final coming.  This prayer engages us, this desire commits us all the more strongly to living Kingdom values in our own lives.  We ask God to reign here in our hearts and then to extend that reign to our friends and family through us.

Thy Will Be Done

Our Father desires that all people be saved and come to knowledge of the truth.  This is good and pleasing to God who wills that everyone be saved.  Pope Benedict tells us that where God's will is done, that's heaven.  Earth becomes heaven in so far as God's will is done.  We're here to learn to love God totally.  Jesus perfectly fulfilled the will of the Father.  Union with Jesus gives us grace and power to do the will of God perfectly.  St. Teresa  states that she believes that "the only way to come to heaven is to want only what God wants.  Let us place ourselves in His hands so that His will is done in us.  We cannot err with this attitude.  Trust that God's will is the best."

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread

This is the most human of all petitions.  Give us the trust of children who look to their Father for everything, in contrast to the way of the world which is all about self-sufficiency and independence.   God told the Hebrews to gather manna in the desert, but to only gather enough for one day.  We have a human tendency to hoard and to find our security in things.

Epiousios, a Greek word not found anywhere else in the Bible but here is translated as "daily". But St. Jerome translated it as "superstansiolis" meaning "superstantial".  St. Jerome pointed to the higher substance that God gives us in this passage of the prayer.  This fourth petition of The Lord's Prayer is a Eucharistic petition; we are asking to receive the Eucharist daily.  This presents a challenge.  Do we value the Eucharist enough to participate as much as possible, even attending daily Mass during the week?  St. Thomas Aquinas said that what happened at the last supper was the greatest miracle of Jesus.  If we really believe that, how can we not be at Mass and receive the Eucharist every single day?

St. Teresa tells us that unless we give our wills entirely to the Lord we will never be allowed to drink from the fount of good prayer, that is, contemplation.  We can't do it on our own.  We're too weak and self-centered.  But when we receive the Eucharist we get the strength to unite our will with Christ.  We are more able to fulfill the will of the Father as Jesus did.  St. Teresa, speaking in this passage about herself said, "I know a person with serious illnesses.  Because the wonders this Sacred Bread effects in those who receive it, the Lord had given her such living faith that when someone said that they wished they could have lived at the time of Christ, she laughed, because when they receive the Eucharist, they have Him now, and not just one last supper, but He can do that for us everyday.  This person, though she wasn't perfect, strove to live His will every day.  Spend time after Communion to be with Him and converse with Him.  Strive to close the eyes of the body and open those of the soul and look into your own heart."

If we can't receive Communion every day, we should make a spiritual communion.  Say, "Lord, I wish I could receive You now.  Come to me spiritually." Then spend time reflecting on His Eucharistic presence.  With this we grow to perfection, not so much in how we are feeling, but in how we act; how we love.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses

Having received daily Bread we now have the power to forgive as Jesus did.  Pope Benedict tells us that forgiveness is a theme that pervades the whole Gospel.  It's astonishing because it makes a strict requirement of us.  When hurt or attacked our tendency is to hold on to a grudge.  But our petition will not be heard unless we have first met this strict requirement of forgiveness.  If we say we are without sin, we are liars, St. John tells us.  So with bold confidence we pray to Our Father begging Him to forgive us.  This is daunting.

Jesus often used the word "as" such as  "Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful."  Holiness means loving and forgiving as Jesus did.  It is not in our power to forget or not to feel hurt, but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion.  Jesus transformed his hurt into intercession.  "Father, forgive those who are doing this to me."

It takes two to be reconciled.  The only sin that is retained is the one that we don't bring to the Lord for forgiveness.

We need to pray for the conversion of sinners.  We pray for the conversion of every human soul, not for their condemnation or destruction.  Being ready to forgive our enemies means praying for them and their ultimate conversion.

St. Teresa tells us not to trust too much in prayer that isn't forgiving.

Lead Us Not Into Temptation

God doesn't lead us into temptation.  But God allows temptation, the temptation that comes from the devil.  We don't know why He allows it.  It could be for our self-knowledge and humility.  It could be as a penance that we experience temptation to dampen our pride and avoid forming too high of an opinion of ourselves.  It could be so that we grow in compassion because we suffer.  When we see others who are tempted we can say, "There but for the grace of God go I."  Because Jesus was tempted he can help others who are tempted, and so we can do the same, to help others who are tempted like us.

Finally, He could allow temptation for our growth.  To make real progress on the path from superficial piety with God's will, man needs to be tried and tested.  If you can identify your temptations, then God is calling you to grow in a particular virtue.  Exercise that virtue and grow in it.  St. Teresa tells us that the foundation of life consists in not only prayer, but also in virtue.  Look for virtue, not in the corners away from the din, but right in the midst of the occasion of sin.  We grow in union with Jesus when we fight temptation.  The greatest saints had the greatest temptation.  Jesus suffered our temptations to the bitter end.

Deliver Us From Evil

This last petition is also included in Jesus' prayer, "Don't take them out of the world but away from the evil one."  It touches each one of us individually, bu it is always "we" who pray for the conversion of "all."  With this petition we need to ask for nothing more.  We've come to the end of our prayer.  The last petition brings us back to the first three.  St. Teresa tells us that evils will continue but through the Eucharist we are given the Bread that helps us to overcome the world.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Camerata Milwaukee


source

Camerata Milwaukee is an ensemble of professional musicians in Milwaukee who perform a repertoire of music from the Baroque Period several times each year at St. Robert's Parish in Shorewood, free of charge.  Their music is breathtakingly beautiful and is performed with such obvious love and joy that it's impossible not to be deeply moved by their performances.

As Ruth Brown, the soprano, waits to begin her solo, you can see her summoning up the music within her with all of her being, and when she begins to sing it's as if her voice comes straight from heaven. The musicians on the stringed instruments move to the sound of the strings as though they play, not just with their hands and fingers, but with their whole bodies, making their music a complete and prayerful offering of their entire selves.  I marvel over the talent and dedication of the harpsichord player, Floralba Vivas.  Her instrument adds a light and lovely dimension to the music, but the thought of carrying and setting up the harpsichord for each concert seems like it would be a chore. Yet, it's obvious through the beauty of her music and the smile upon her face, that it's not chore, but an act of love for her.

A beautiful brochure is created for each performance which includes not only the evening's musical selections, but also the Latin and English translations of the vocal choices and well-researched program notes that give a detailed background on the lives and works of the composers written by Marianne Kordas, the Director of the Music Material Center for the James White Library at Andrews University and her assistant, Timothy Arena.
source

The concerts that I have had the joy of attending have had a very sparse audience, which is heartbreaking considering that this is professional musicianship offered for a mere free-will offering. Following the performance, there is a social gathering with a variety of cheese, crackers, desserts and wines available with an opportunity to meet the musicians.

Camerata Milwaukee has been in existence since 2010.  Please visit their website here for more details about the musicians, their performances and several videos of recent performances.

These English lyrics below are from the performance held on February 6th and 7th, 2015.  They are a divine prayer on their own, but when sung by soprano, Ruth Brown, alto, Leigh Akin, tenor, Cameron Smith, and bass, Brett Hanisko, they were brought to soul-stirring life.

O Jesu, summa charitas 
by Johann Schmelzer (1620-1680)

O Jesus, sum of all love,
O Jesus, strongest in love,
Heart's ray, joy's wellspring,
Sweet hope of the soul.

What words,
What tongue could tell
How thou consolest those who love thee,
How thou consolest those who seek thee,
How thou consolest those who call upon thee,
How delightful thou art to them who love thee?

Wherefore, O Jesus,
We take refuge in thee in tears.
We shed our sins,
We pray for joy,
we open our innermost souls.
We who love thee call upon thee.
Hear our humble prayers.

-Translated into English by Paul Britten Austin, taken from liner notes to the recording Laudate! Music from the Duben Collection in Uppsala, Sweden PRCD 9100.

The video here and below was performed: 15 December 2012, at the St Robert Catholic Church, Shorewood-WI.
Ruth Brown, Soprano
Tony Perez & Jennifer D'Alessio, violins
JoAnn Haasler, viola --- Marie Sinco, cello
Floralba Vivas, harpsichord


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Mighty Deeds

"Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his native place and among his own kin and in his own house.”   So he was not able to perform any mighty deed there, apart from curing a few sick people by laying his hands on them.  He was amazed at their lack of faith." ~from Mark 6:1-6



I'm so grateful for the opportunity to attend daily Mass on my lunch break.  Those thirty minutes of prayer in the midst of sharing bits and pieces of my client's lives at the clinic where I work helps me to cope with the stories I hear that are sad, stressful and difficult. And those thirty minutes of prayer allow me to deeply thank God when the stories I hear are happy, miraculous and joyful.

At a recent noon Mass, during his homily, Fr. Matt Walsh, SJ, spoke about Mark's  Gospel passage regarding the lack of welcome that Jesus received in His hometown.  He asked, "What could it possibly mean that Jesus wasn't able to perform any mighty deed apart from curing a few sick?  Wasn't curing a few sick considered a mighty deed?"   Fr. Matt explained that the mighty deeds that Jesus had wanted to perform weren't pertaining to the curing of the sick but rather to the increasing of faith in the people of his home town.  These people knew Jesus from His earliest days and they could not accept the fact that He was the Son of God.  They couldn't believe.

I reflected upon this as I prayed for the clients I had seen in my office that morning and for those that I would see in the afternoon to come.  So many of the women I see live lives of deep faith and trust, never really knowing where their next meal will come from, or waiting long hours for transportation while their restless children run and play in cold hallways, fearlessly fleeing from far-away countries for the promise of a better life in America where everything, including the language and the food, is strange to them, struggling to break free from abusive relationships and create a new life for themselves, selflessly giving their babies up for adoption, trusting that a stranger can promise a better life for the little ones that grow within their wombs.  Don't all of these situations require lives of faith and trust in a God who can bring good out of a seemingly hopeless situation?  

And how do I fit into the scenario of faith?  Perhaps I am more like those hometown residents of Jesus than I would care to admit.  Even when I am witness to stories of hope and faith through the course of my workday, when I see God performing miracles of love in lives that are extremely difficult, I fail to put my full trust in the Lord and believe that He will continue to carry me forward to a beautiful life abandoned completely to His love.  Too often I act as though all of the problems I encounter can be resolved through my own actions.  I dig my heels in and stubbornly resist God's plans for my life, rather than believing that with God all things are possible, even my own sanctity.

I do believe, Lord.  Help my unbelief.  Don't turn your back on my lack of faith but open my heart to  Your ability and desire to perform mighty deeds within my soul.  Amen.