Sunday, July 17, 2016

how to maximize your meaning of the sacrament

Giampietrinio - The Last Supper (from wikimedia)
preparing for and participating in the sacrament is one of the best ways to find balance and harmony in our lives.

here are some ideas to maximize your meaning of the sacrament.

"examine yourself" - spend time reviewing the prior week; and how to improve in the coming week (see 1 corinthians 11:28)
find a quiet spot, either saturday evening or sunday morning; and spend a good thirty minutes to an hour in meditation.  review your actions and thoughts from the prior week.  do not be critical of yourself.  rather, simply note how you could have done better in your attitude about your circumstance in life, your interactions with others, and how you used your free will.  did you act with reason?  did you serve others?  how did you practice virtue?

next, coach yourself.  envision any circumstances that you will encounter in the coming week and how you can react to them.  think of ways to serve others, from small acts of kindness to truly going out of your way to help others.

consider journaling your meditations and review them each week.

think of the savior's sacrifice during the sacrament
pay attention to the words of the hymn.

listen to the words of the prayers.

while in silence, waiting for the bread and water to be passed, read or recite in your mind a chosen scripture or passage.  you can even work on memorizing a passage that has meaning for you.

over the years, i've focused on mosiah 14.

study the meaning of a 'broken heart and contrite spirit'
learn what a broken heart and contrite spirit are.  you can even start here.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

men's hearts failing them for fear

this last week, a phrase from my patriarchal blessing has been rattling around in my head and i've been thinking about it a lot.

the phrase says, "you will also see wickedness run rampant and hearts that will fail."  the concept of failing hearts is what i've been so focused on this week.

i've tried to deconstruct it and wrap my head around this concept.

the concept of failing hearts stems from a verse in the new testament.  christ tells his disciples of the signs of his second coming.  luke 21:26 reads, "men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken."

there is also a video entitled "men's hearts shall fail them", in which russell nelson describes a harrowing flight he was on, where the plane briefly caught fire.  some passengers were in total panic, while he was perfectly calm and he was ready to "meet his maker."  he then reads luke 21:26 and discusses how many today live in fear "because they forget their identity and their purpose."  when he says "identity", i believe he is referring to our relationship with god - that we are his children. he then lists several life-challenging circumstances which causes fear or anxiety in people's hearts.

thinking a bit more about both luke 21:26 and the nelson video, i asked myself, "why do people's hearts fail them in those difficult circumstances?"  two answers came to my mind, because they put their trust and happiness in something that is out of their control; and, because, for guidance in this life, they relied on their heart rather than reason.

how many people have taken for granted their life's situation - and have thought that they are the author of their privileged circumstances.  in reality, we fail to truly appreciate how many things in life are out of our control.  and when something unwanted happens (i.e. it is out of our control), we feel fear and anxiety - and our hearts fail us.

examples of these types of circumstances out of our control would be:
- loss of a loved one (to death)
- financial ruin
- degrading health
- natural events
- accidents

truly, we cannot control these types of events.  so why do we let our fear and anxiety grip us?  why do we let our hearts fail us?

how do we combat this?  how can we prevent our hearts from failing us?

the answer lies in not allowing our lives to be lead by our hearts.  rather we should should use reason to constantly ask the question whether something is in our control or not.  if it is not in our control, then we need to accept our fate, as it were, and try to learn from what life has dealt us.

if we do this, our hearts will not fail us.  they will keep on beating.  and our minds will be content with what we can do and accomplish.  if anything is out of our control, we will accept and even love our fate and exercise our control to understand what it is we must learn from it.