Posts tagged: Joy

Notice God’s Love

Betty blue bordered (2)I want to challenge you to try something. Ask God to show you today how much you are loved. Then—here’s the challenge—pay attention and notice when He does, because He will, but you might not expect the method He chooses.

Rev. Michael Harvey spoke recently about a study that showed people in other countries are more open to spiritual experiences than we are in the States. We tend to lead our lives in such a hurried, busy state that we are too distracted to notice that small miracles surround us. We are spiritual as well as physical beings. So, why is it so hard for us to believe we are surrounded by a spiritual as well as physical world? We need to practice being aware of how God touches our lives.

Sometimes God shows us his love through nature:

  • In the vastness of the ocean, or stars, or a mountain range.
  • Or perhaps in the craft of a frost-covered spider web, or the contrast of red berries next to the white bark of a birch tree.
  • Maybe you’ll be entertained by the play of a puppy, the speed of a horse, or the call of a bird you haven’t heard before.
  • Maybe your heart dances when the first daffodil or crocus opens, or daphne causes you to inhale deeply.

God can speak to your heart through other people:

  • Someone’s words may strike home and seem like a personal message for your life.
  • A friend calls or stops by to visit.
  • An unexpected kindness makes your smile reach your eyes.
  • You listen to lyrics and a melody, or see beauty in a painting and are uplifted.
  • You can certainly know God’s affection through the embrace of a loved one.
  • Or sometimes, witnessing another’s misfortune, you realize how blessed you are.

If we are alert, we see the hand of God in coincidences:

  • Uncanny timing brings an old friend across your path, or averts an accident.
  • A deadline you weren’t ready for is suddenly postponed.
  • God was definitely cherishing you the day, the moment, when you met the love of your life.

You may experience God within you:

  • Inspiration comes and a problem is solved.
  • Your prayers bring you to a new awareness of God’s nearness and love.
  • Forgiveness you couldn’t quite attain settles gently into your soul.
  • A pervasive moodiness lifts and you re-experience joy.
  • You reach a goal that had eluded your efforts.
  • You suddenly realize what unrecognized gifts you’ve been given in your abilities, or your family, or your health.

In fact, if you want to grasp the wealth of God’s love for you, list the aspects of your life that make you grateful. Look to the past:

  • Note where God has blessed, rescued, or forgiven you.
  • Remember that even the times you suffered often brought forth growth. Perhaps a relationship ended and you were devastated, but later you fell in love with someone more perfect for you.
  • Go beyond your own past and study history to see God’s hand in it. Appreciate what your ancestors risked in order for you to know freedom and opportunity.

God can speak to you in pain:

  • Ponder the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
  • Many people first find God when they are suffering, at the lowest point in their lives. When they cannot go on, they reach out to Him and experience a peaceful comfort and realize He sustains them.


Let’s open our eyes/hearts/souls to God and all the countless graces He showers on us each day and discover a critical step to growth. Once we know deep down, undeniably, that we are loved, it frees us to a sense of gratitude and an ability to love ourselves and others.

Discover what circumstances prove easiest for you to recognize God’s tender presence. For me, because I love nature, He tends to touch me in the beauty of sunshine, flowers, birds, and wildlife. I feel treasured when a flock of geese flies overhead or I spy a hidden deer. I also feel God-cherished through my family. When my husband smiles at me, or I hold a tiny baby, I connect with that spiritual world.


If you are like me, you may start out your day with the best intention to notice God’s love notes. Then the business of the day wears on and suddenly it’s bedtime and you haven’t thought about it again. That’s ok. You can mull over your day with a sense of gratitude as you fall asleep. And then you can begin again tomorrow because God will show you His love any day you choose to recognize it.

If we believe that God is love, we touch God whenever we open our hearts. Will you notice Him loving you today? Or will someone else notice because of your loving actions?


May you discover new depths of God’s personal, intimate love for you this week!


All will be well.


 Tomorrow begins the Easter Triduum of

  • Holy Thursday, when we contemplate Jesus’ desire to be with us, even in the face of death, as he offers his Spirit to be accessible through a simple meal of Communion;
  • Good Friday, when completely innocent and all powerful, he chooses to suffer and relinquish his life to redeem us from our failings; and
  • Holy Saturday, when we move from the darkness of death to the light of resurrection on
  • Easter Sunday, when death and sin have been conquered!

Easter is a celebration of victory! God is on our side and he won! We are victors!

How can we not exude CONFIDENCE? Even if all the efforts of our past 6 weeks have not paid off and we still feel inadequate, we can step forward with confidence in God’s love for us.

There can be NO DOUBT when we look on the cross and contemplate Jesus’ suffering, knowing he chose freely to die for us.

If we truly believe that the Son of God suffered, died, and rose for us, shared his Spirit in order to continue to be with us, we have no choice but to TRUST God’s love for us.

Being followers of Christ doesn’t mean we won’t be outcasts.    He was.

It doesn’t mean we won’t know failure.    He did.

It doesn’t mean we won’t suffer.    He chose to.

It means we have already won! He lives! 

It means this life we live has meaning. He shows the way.

It means we will rise after death! He prepares a place for us!


In celebration of our victory over all that is imperfect, I offer you words from St. Julian of Norwich, who lived during the threat of the plague:

“And these words: ‘You will not be overcome,’ were said very insistently and strongly, for certainty and strength against every tribulation which may come. He did not say: ‘You will not be assailed, you will not be laboured, you will not be disquieted,’ but he said: ‘You will not be overcome.’ God wants us to pay attention to his words, and always to be strong in our certainty, in well-being and in woe, for he loves us and delights in us, and so he wishes us to love him and delight in him and trust greatly in him, and all will be well.

“All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of thing will be well.”


Blessings on your Easter season!

Betty Arrigotti

Choose life!

You’ve made it to the final entry of Lent in our search for Joy!

One last author that I recommend you consider: Matthew Kelly is a 30-year-old Catholic who travels the world speaking to young and old about God’s dream for each of us: that we become the best version of ourselves.

He says we are physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual beings and that life is all about love. To be truly happy we must pay attention to our needs in these four areas:

  • Physical – Eat healthy foods, sleep enough, and exercise regularly.
  • Emotional – Focus on our relationships. Every relationship will blossom if we regularly spend carefree timelessness with the other, whether spouse, friend, or children. With time spent as if on vacation, we will move into the higher levels of intimacy like sharing our hopes and dreams, our fears and needs, and our efforts to become the best version of ourselves.
  • Intellectual – For ten minutes every day, read a book that challenges you to grow.
  • Spiritual – Our spirits need solitude, scripture, silence, and the sacraments. Matthew recommends we attend to Mass, asking God to show us just one way we can become better versions of ourselves this week. Somewhere in the readings, music, prayers, homily, or silence, we will be given that one message.


Matthew insists we all know deep down what will make us happy and better people. Yet, we don’t do what we know will make us happier and healthier. Why?

Because we are too busy.

What are we too busy doing? Working to attain things that we want, thinking they will make us happier. Instead, we should do the things he lists above, the things we need.

Things that really will make us happier.

He recommends we slow down enough to determine every decision by whether it will help us be better versions of ourselves. What we own does not matter. What matters is how we love – ourselves, the people in our lives, and our God.

When my daughters were in grade school we celebrated the approach of Easter with a poster that began with a caterpillar and a seed. Over the weeks of Lent the caterpillar grew through stages of development until it was a butterfly. Likewise the seed sprouted two leaves, a stem, a bud, and eventually flowered.

Now as Lent draws to an end and we prepare to celebrate Easter, the celebration of new life, let’s resolve to choose life.

  • Choose gratitude, rather than complaints. 
  • Choose simplicity over materialism and complexity.
  • Choose relaxation and renewal over busy-ness.
  • Choose trust, rather than insecurity.
  • Choose service, rather than meaningless pursuits.
  • Choose life!
  • Choose love!

 And may your choices lead you to Joy!

 Happy Easter!

 Betty Arrigotti

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants,   by loving the LORD your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him. Deuteronomy 30:19-20

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