Sunday, February 28, 2016

Hope and the Sign of the Cross

The sign of the Cross is traditionally thought of as a purely Catholic prayer but in reality it is a powerful method of calling Love to mind, of asking Love to live in our hearts, and of seeking Love's guidance in the way that we live our lives. It is a prayer for all people, not just Catholics, who wish to live their lives for the sake of Love.

Touching the forehead, say, "In the name of the Father"

Hope begins in our thoughts. It is our perceptions and our intentions that determine our reactions to the things that happen to us throughout the day. In our quest for Love, we make this gesture and say these words to call Love to mind, to ask Love to guide our perception of events, to remind ourselves of our intention to make Love the focus of our thoughts throughout the day.

When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts about someone else, make the sign of the cross. Remind yourself that your goal is to love that person and negative thoughts won't lend toward that goal. When you catch yourself being frustrated or angry with your circumstances, make the sign of the cross. Remind yourself that these things are fertilizer for your growth.

Touching the center of your chest, say, "and of the Son"

Hope requires us to change and grow. Change isn't easy. Growth can be painful. When we make this gesture and say these words, we are calling to mind Christ's willingness to love others in spite of the worst that they could do to Him. We look to Him for our example in how we should behave toward those who are filled with hatred: with compassion for their pain but without allowing their pain to become our own.

Sorrow and suffering are the price we pay to be open to Love. They are necessary ingredients in answering our prayers to become a more hope-filled human being. What the person who is being unkind to you is doing may be intended for your harm, but Love will use it for our good and our growth.

Whenever you receive criticism or are hurt by someone else's behavior, make the sign of the cross. Remind yourself that this pain is manure, and the person who has dispensed it to you 

Criticism stings, and ugly words hurt. But hidden in that criticism and those ugly words are important lessons we need to learn in order to grow in our capacity to give and to receive love. This person is giving us a gift of themselves, however ugly that gift may be, it may very well be the best gift they have to offer. It would be uncharitable of us to reject that gift or to look upon it with scorn.

Instead, we must receive it graciously. Ask the person who gave it to us to explain to us why they gave us this gift. Try to understand their point of view. You might find that what you thought was a horrible insult is hiding a beautiful intention poorly delivered.

If the explanation doesn't suit us, there is no need to be angry. Analyze what they said to you. Ask Love's guidance in gleaning whatever truth there might be in it to help you grow. Whatever is left after you have found the truth, you can discard safely in the same way that you would discard wrapping paper. The truth you receive is your gift. The wrapping paper might be ugly, but the truth is worth digging through it to get to it.

Touching first the left shoulder, then the right, say, "and of the Holy Spirit."

Hope comes in its greatest abundance when we begin to share Love with others. The left represents the east, the right represents the west. We are, in the gesture and with the words, asking Love to walk with us no matter where we go and to direct all of our actions throughout our journey.

The seeds of your future success come when you serve with pure intention to bring Love into someone else's life. This is not merely something I say. It is something I have borne witness to in my own life and in the lives of a thousand others throughout recorded history. It was a pure intention to serve someone with no intention of getting anything out of it that I ended up landing my first big client in my writing business. It was a pure intention to serve with no intention of getting anything out of it that this client of mine met someone who was able to launch her business to a multi-million dollar status. It was out of a pure intention to serve with no intention of getting anything out of it that another friend of mine was taught business skills that allowed her to make breakthroughs in her business at a rapid pace.

Love wants you to serve. Blessings flow when you help others grow. The blessings that come will not always be money. Sometimes they will be in the form of connections to people who can help you get some place you want to go or need to be. At all times, serving others will lead you to the very thing you need to grow into the person you must become in order to attain the things you desire in life. 

If you are tempted to pass by someone in need, make the sign of the cross and remind yourself that Love is your purpose in life. This person's need is your opportunity to pass on Love to someone else and to bring more hope to their life. When you do this, you will fill your own life with more hope.

Amen

Give an amen if you believe it!

Next up: Hope and the Mysteries of the Rosary

These are the foundational prayers of the Rosary. In the next segment of Daily Dose of Hope, I'll explain how the mysteries of the Rosary teach us what to expect on our journey toward hope.

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