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Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

Sunflower Seeds

Celebrating Everyday Spirituality

What Do You REALLY Value?

Twenty-Third Publications has come out with a new book entitled Scripture Passages that Changed My Life. The editors asked ten regular contributors to the daily devotional, Living Faith, to pick one scripture passage that changed their lives and to explain how. (Truth in advertising: I wrote one of the chapters.)

Before I continue, I would like to give you a little quiz. (Do I hear moaning and groaning out there?) The quiz consists of three simple questions:

1) What scripture passages (usually one sentence or so) do you think the writers chose to write about? (Answers are at the end of today’s reflection.)

2) If you had to pick one passage from scripture that changed your life, which passage would you choose? (I hope some of you will share your answer with us below.)

3) Which scripture passage do you think I chose? I’ll give you a hint. It’s one of these: 1) “The Lord is my shepherd” (Ps. 23); 2) “Consider the birds in the sky…and how the wildflowers grow” (Mt. 6: 26, 28); or 3) “Mary said, ‘Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.  May it be done to me according to your word’” (Lk. 1:38).

One of the chapters in this book was written by Fr. Martin Pable, OFM CAP. He selected a passage from St. Paul’s letter to the Phillipians (Phil 1:9-10). The phrase he focused on was this: “My prayer is that…you may learn to value the things that really matter.” He explained that sometimes what we say we value is not always what we really value. One way to determine what we really value is to ask ourselves these three questions:

1) What do I spend time on?

2) What do I spend money on?

3) What do I spend emotion on? (What do I get angry about? What do I rejoice over? What do I worry about? What do I grieve over when it is missing?)

I really like these questions. Reflecting on them can help us to grow in self-awareness. I, for example, can say I spend a lot of time on writing, preparing talks and retreats, and traveling to places to give those talks and retreats. That shows how much I value these things. But how much time do I spend surfing the internet and clicking on articles about famous people (like the British royal family), or spider solitaire, or recipes that I’ll never make? Another example: I can say I value exercise, but how much time per week do I actually exercise? You get the idea.

Secondly, what do I spend money on? Friendship is very important to me, so I’ll spend my money on going out to eat or to a movie with my friends. Supporting the local economy is a value for me. But do I buy food from my local farmers’ market? If prayer is important for me, am I willing to spend money on books or publications that will nourish my prayer life? If I say I value a certain non-profit, do I make a donation to them?

And finally, what do I spend emotion on? Does it really matter who wins the Super Bowl—compared to how people are sometimes being treated unjustly in our workplace, our city, our church? What causes me more anguish: my getting stuck in traffic for an hour or a child being killed in the crossfire between two gangs? Do I worry more about my physical appearance than I do about climate change?

Today you might want to spend a few moments reflecting on what you really value? How Gospel-based are your values? To what extent have you taken on the mind and heart of Jesus?

Answer to question 1: a list of the authors and the scripture passage they chose:

Chris Koellhoffer, IHM (Micah 6:8): “to do justice, love goodness, walk humbly with your God.”

Mary Marrocco (John 12:3): “the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.”

Mark Neilson (Ps. 51:3): “Have mercy on me, God.”

Amy Wellborn (Gen. 50:20): “Even though you meant harm for me, God meant it for good.”

Steve Givens (Mt. 25:40): “Whatever you did to the least…”

Pat Livingston (Jn. 15:4): “Remain in me, as I remain in you.”

Melanie Rigney (Is. 64:7): “…we are the clay and you our potter.”

Fr. Stephen Rosetti (Jn. 15:11): “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you…”

Question 3: I chose “the birds… and the wildflowers…”

Question 2: What scripture passage has changed your life? Please share below! I’m eager to hear from you!

Our song today reminds us of our greatest treasure: our loving relationship with Jesus. The song is “You Are My All and All” and it is sung by Nicole Nordeman.

Any responses?

45 Responses

  1. Proverb 3:5-6 – Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to God,
    and God will make your paths straight.

  2. Good morning, Melannie….I, too, love the lilies of the field quote, but I only wish I could take it fully heart, to fully believe those beautiful words. A particular favorite Bible verse of mine is from Ephesians 2:10 — “For we are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we can walk in them.”

    Have you ever just “run into” a good work? You know, you’re walking down the street, and a car pulls over to ask for directions, or somebody drops something and you’re there to help them pick it up. I try to see these times as mystical opportunities prepared for us by God! Each day we are walking in the good works of the Lord! How amazing!

  3. Since high school (Elyria Catholic) these have been my favorite passages. I had my mother in my mind when I thought about these words back then. She was always worrried about she and my dad not having enough money for retirement. She died at 68 and guess who worries about HER retirement? Thanks for the reminder of this great passage.

    25“This is why I tell you: do not be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? 26Look at the birds: they do not plant seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them! Aren’t you worth much more than birds? 27Can any of you live a bit longer+ by worrying about it?

    Good News Translation®

  4. Jeremiah 29:11
    For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    I also like verses 12 & 13

  5. Psalms 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” never fails to comfort me.
    Just saying the words releases my shoulders about three inches and causes me to take a deep breath. I “know” it’s not all on me and that it will be okay in the end…and if it’s not, then it’s not the end.

  6. Always be joyful in the Lord. I repeat, be joyful. The Lord is near. Never worry about anything, but tell God all of your desires of every kind in prayer and petition, shot thru with gratitude and the peace of God, which is beyond our understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Phil. 4-4,6&7

  7. A favorite of mine (not forgetting the thanksgiving) is…
    Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

  8. John 14:20 “…I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” I was praying the Rosary Novenas to Our Lady for a very special intention. Part of the prayers has the words “Thou in me, and I in Thee, in time and in eternity, in Mary.” At the end of the first 27 days of petition, I experienced a tremendous peacefulness. I knew in my heart that my prayer had been heard, so the next 27 days my prayers were in joyful thanksgiving. On October 20, 1992, my prayer was happily answered. That verse has comforted me throughout my life.

  9. St. Paul to the Philippians 4:11 “…for I have learned, in whatever situation I find myself, to be content.” or as an old version I read, “be content wherewith thou art.”

  10. “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides.” Matt 6:33

  11. Isaiah 30:20 –22: “The Lord will give you the bread you need and the water for which you thirst. No longer will your teacher hide himself, but with your own eyes you shall see your teacher, while from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears: ‘This is the way; walk in it,’ when you would turn to the right or to the left.”
    This was given to me on retreat by a trusted spiritual director, and it influenced me in many important decisions since then. It has also taught me to trust in God’s gentle direction.

  12. “All things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” – Romans 8:28

    I have seen this verse unfold throughout my life, both over shorter and much longer periods of time. God gets me where God wants me to be in most amazing ways and also has “worked” the difficult times in my life so that they, too, could bear fruit. God uses whatever is available!

  13. My childhood dream was to be a pilot – learn to fly. When I retired at age 60 I pursued my dream and the scripture passage that brought me thru 5 years of flight lessons was: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Phil. 4:13. Before the flight examiner got off of the plane he turned to me and shook my hand saying: “Congratulations you are a pilot!” this happened on Dec. 29, 2006 – one of the most perfect weather days in December in OHIO!

    1. High five! I became an RN at age 57. So many people say: whose gonna hire an old person. But when the Lord is behind the inspiration, He opens doors.
      I got a job right away and still work as a nurse. Many passages helped me through. “I can do all things in Christ…..” carried me along.

  14. “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness .. for when I am weak, then I am strong”. 2 Cor. 12: 9-10. I also love and have meditated often on the scripture from Jeremiah that was selected by another above. I remind myself daily that God has a plan for me and for everyone and that His plan is a good one – that his will is perfectly designed for each of us and my work is to surrender to that plan with thanksgiving while keeping my mind and heart and eyes and ears open to sensing the next right steps along the way. I also love the Canticle of Zechariah: “In the tender compassion of our God the dawn on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Thanknyou for this heart, mind, and spirit-filling beginning to my week!

  15. 1 Corinthians, all of Chapter 13, especially verse 4 through 7. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, (love) is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    Pointed out to me as I began to really study the Bible, by a mentor of sorts. One who comes the closest I’ve known to living this teaching.

  16. Good Morning Sister Melannie,
    Even before I got to the end of the Living Faith reading today, I knew you were the author!! Super and appreciated.
    Joshua 24:15 “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
    Psalm 118:24 “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice in it and be glad.”
    What a fun exercise. You are a very effective teacher/leader.
    Thank you.

  17. Dear Sr. Melanie,
    Thank you for all the questions you asked us to ponder this morning. I love the Beattitudes but I think, “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” has had the most influence on my life. I think it greatly affects my husband and my prison ministry and our concern about the children seperated from their parents at the border.
    We too, spend most of our money on eating out and going to the movies or theatre with friends. Friends are invaluable!

  18. Philippians 4:13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

    John 8:12 I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.

  19. There are two Psalms that touch me in different ways:

    Psalm 27: The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

    Psalm 51: Have mercy on me, O God according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin……

  20. Sister Melannie:

    This is a wonderful article and I will be purchasing the book. My favorite scripture passage is (Micah 6:8).
    “To act justly, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God.”
    God Bless you for all that you do.

  21. Proverbs 3:5-6…..”Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall make straight thy paths.” I am reminded of this daily by its inscription on the Road ID worn on my right wrist. Peace and Blessings,
    Ed Johnson

  22. James 4:8 — Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. Often in my life when I felt Good was absent, it was me who pulled away.

  23. Jesus answered, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” John 14:6

    Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Jeremiah 1:5

    You know when I sit and when I rise; you understand my thoughts… Psalm 139.2

  24. Romans 8:38
    For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor present things, nor future things, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  25. Isaiah 41:10 Fear not, I will help you.

    At a point in my life where I was amidst a decision regarding my occupation, I was also in a daily prayer challenge related to the Ignatian exercises. On the day I had to decide whether or not to accept a new role at work, this verse was the subject of the meditation. I took the role and it has made all the difference!

  26. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19, 23-24
    Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit.
    May the God of peace himself make you Perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will also accomplish it.
    This has been such a comfort and a guide for me!!!

  27. Dear Sr Melannie,

    Wow! Do you have about several hours. I love the song you chose, You Are
    My all in All by Nicole Nordeman play it lots. Three scripture quotes that have changed my life are; Be Still and know I am God! Ps. 46:10 my song that goes with it is Be Still and Know by Terry Wilkins Another is Jer.29:11-
    13, A future with Hope, my song, A future with Hope by David Haas, My
    Third one, Isa.40:31; with wings as eagles….I just found this song, called
    Everlasting God by Lincoln Brewster. I too will try to get this book , sounds great! Thank you for all your inspiration and love throughout the
    Year. When I get the Living Faith I always look ahead to see what dates
    Your on for. Sorry I’m partial. God bless!

  28. Romans 8:26 “In the same way the Spirit also comes to help us, weak as we are. For we do not know how we ought to pray; the Spirit himself pleads with God for us in groans that words cannot express.” Ever since I taught PSR confirmation classes, it became clear to me how much I relied on the grace & strength of the Holy Spirit who intercedes on my behalf. I cannot go it alone; the Holy Spirit guides, protects, & bestows upon me His gifts to help me be the best I can be each & every day. I often sing praise to Him in one of my favorite songs COME HOLY GHOST.

  29. Dear All, Thank you so much for all your responses this week. How enriching it was to hear what scripture passages have really spoken to you. If you’re just now reading this week’s blog, please feel free to continue to respond below. It’s okay to repeat a scripture passage too! Again, thanks to all! Sr. Melannie

  30. Good morning! I have to go with Sister Chris’ Micah verse. In one sentence, it tells me all I need to do, while walking on this earth, helping to bring about the Kingdom. It is a simple prescription, that I faithfully try to embrace everyday!

  31. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard what God has promised for those who love him. This had great meaning for me when my dad died I often wonder what God’s promises will really be

  32. Luke 11:10 “For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened”.

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