Finding God in the Mess Lenten Read-Along: Within the Heart

Finding God in the Mess Lenten Read-Along

What occurs in the blood within the heart is so similar to what occurs in our lives. Just like blood, we can become in need of being enriched. We can (and do) lose our way in life, become disconnected from healthy ways of living and being with ourselves and others. We can also find ourselves feeling lackluster or even burnt out.

Watch the video below to hear Jim Deeds read the rest of this excerpt from Finding God in the Mess: Meditations for Mindful Living, which he co-authored with Brendan McManus, SJ.

Participating in our Lenten read-along? Introduce yourself in the comments below! And post your thoughts, favorite quotes, or reactions with #lentreadalong on social media.


  1. Interesting that the replies are mostly from women!
    Wondering why men don’t get it!
    Love is Contemplation every day

  2. Second Week of Lent:
    My daughters and my grandchildren are my biggest reminder of being loved. I try to make sure the last thing any of them hear from me is that I love them, even when I am angry with them. I think you know you are loved if you can be hurt by them unfortunately. I know I always get more happiness from doing something for someone than for myself.
    My conversations with Jesus have been going on since I was a young child and had trouble falling to sleep in my darkened bedroom. My mom always insisted all lights were out at a certain time; I could never get to sleep. So I told Jesus stories, talking to them in my head. I still do that…and I still have trouble going to sleep. I don’t have trouble talking to Jesus, but I have to work on listening better. I wish Jesus could answer some of the life questions that plague me, especially about Adam’s loss. I want to know that Adam is with them, whatever that means. The silence is deafening at times. I try to find joy in little things…the full moon that I can blow kisses to my grandchildren through, Mari my cat’s antics, an evening of quiet sharing with Dan. A day at a time means a day that I pray for peace and blessings for each of the families I love and for joy and safety for my grandchildren. I like to fall asleep with those prayers on my lips…or share them in the shower. I keep adding to the latter list. The grace I receive is about the gratitude I feel for being still able to think and feel these ideas and feelings.

  3. I received my copy this past week, so I am behind in the schedule, but have been doing a topic each night. I finished “Holding onto the Moment” yesterday and wrote in the margin: I am fortunate to notice so many moments in nature. I have so many good memories of travels. I have many memories of good friends, tho’ many are gone. I have lots of good memories of traditional family celebrations, and special times with each child—and grown child. Yesterdays memory is seeing my niece’s post of the burial of my brother in Florida with a military gun salute and a beautiful rendition of taps. I had attended his funeral in Georgia last month and couldnt make the burial in Florida this month. I was so grateful for the FB post. The questions sometimes are very challenging, but this topic was an easy one for me because I am blessed with so many cherished moments to remember.

  4. In my first comment I said I was going to use this as a Lenten practice. Sorry to say, I am a week late in reading, but will catch up. I am reflecting on the fourth chapter “The Gift of Time” and one the third question “What are the things that I waste time on, and hoe could I handle them better?” I wrote watching TV and I could read more. The next chapter is “Freedom to Say Yes”. I could say “yes” by turning off the TV and picking up a book, which I have lots of, and also reading Finding Gos in the Mess. I didn’t do anything last week, but I will catch up this week, as I already see a pattern forming. I will catch up and by making comments, it keeps me focused.

  5. Week One Responses:

    The gift of time has always been a big thing to me ever since my husband gave me a bottle of thyme with that message. I have given it to my daughters especially Sara. In sending her some gifts of thyme I found it means courage, elegance, all that fit her so much. Sometimes I think it takes courage to handle time better, to break ourselves of habits that take us away from the author of time. I was reviewing Dan’s new book for him and he talks about thinking of the age of young children in months instead of years, i.e. 24 months feels like less than two years old. I am finding I have a need to think of the time since Adam’s passing in terms of months, 28, instead of over two years. I feel each of those months more than a span of two years.
    What do I need to say yes/no…I was struck by the idea of recalling our yes/no to God…and what God wants me to do. My life experience has been that I am amazed by God’s hand in my life…why this joy, why this pain, what am I supposed to learn, why did this happen as it did? I know I made choices, and I don’t blame God for the results…but sometimes I wonder why…and wondering is all it is. I try to find a positive even when it doesn’t seem to be there. I remember hearing Adam was gone…and yelling, no, no, no. Again, the element of never entered my life and that seems like the heart of the mystery. My analytical personality will always try to find a reason while recognizing that for many things there is no reason. My faith has questioned some of the doctrines of the church but never the existence of my God. That is one factor that allows me to live with constant change.
    What can I learn from the present or even today that is worth saving for the future? That to me is one of the beauties of human nature…we do more than be born, live, and die. We also remember. There will probably come a day when I don’t remember the past and are required to live in the present moment…but that’s okay too. Because somewhere in me will be all the memories I have saved or lost that made a moment in time worthwhile living.

  6. Hi everyone! Thank you for all your comments about our book. We are very honoured to have Loyola Press publish it for us in the States. God bless you all as you journey through Lent and beyond. #godinthemess

  7. I bought this book earlier this year and started reading it, then put it aside until I received the e-mail from Loyola Press about the Lenten Read Along. Unfortunately I didn’t post anything last week, but I did do some journal entries before this Read Along started. I am looking forward to using this as a Lenten tool and look forward to reading comments from other people, as it can have a profound effect. Also I am not one to use social media so this is a new experience for me.

  8. I did
    I wanted to buy this bookwhen I first read about it but couldn’t get it from your website as I live in England ( I believe it was only mail order within the US?.I will endeavour to do so now.


    I know exactly how you feel. My husband finished work in September. I keep telling him he needs to find his own ways to fill the days, find a hobby, volunteer etc. I know my sister in law dreads the thought of my brother retiring ( I know she loves him dearly). I juse believe it is unhealthy to spend too much time together. I know maybe I should be less vocal and let my husband find his own way. I know several ladies now, who feel exactly the way we do so maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on ourselves either. peace.

  9. I do not have the book, but am hoping I will be able to listen and reflect on the Lenten Read Along – Finding God in the Mess.
    Really feel connected to other people when I follow you online.
    You have been my guide in so many things over the years. This is the first time I have left a comment!!
    God Bless

  10. Marion have you discussed how you feel with your husband? If you feel you can’t, Maybe you could get him to talk about how he feels about retirement and what it looks like to him. He may be hoping for some quiet time as well if nothing else getting it out on the table might be a relief for both of you. Its Going to be an adjustment for him as well and he may be anxious about it too. I hope in time two of you can enjoy the companionship of each other In a way that you’ve never been able to before. Peace be with you

  11. The thoughts around the heart made me reflect on how it so reflects my connection with my God. My husband had a bypass some years ago with the doctor using a robotic arm called the Da Vinci. It was a stark reminder of how critical the heart is even if we have to artificially bypass the natural organ. Sometimes in my daily life I use ways to bypass the messages my God is sending me, but always that critical source of life is there, the “heart burning with love” for me.

  12. As a spiritual director, I’m always looking for straightforward, inspiring Lenten resources. I’m thoroughly enjoying the read along! The reflections are brief but deep with meaning. I especially like the encouragement I received from the phrase “there is always a way forward with some divine inspiration.” (page vi, preface) The reflection questions have helped me to apply the content of the reflections to my personal life. I’m looking forward to spending the rest of Lent with this book!

  13. My name is Louise, and I guide many women. I do love this simple series and beautiful book. Today’s short video reminds us to be silent and to connect with Jesus as He is always there, since He is our lifeblood. I recommend if you are going to quiet yourself pick a place where you can have your quiet time with God. It’s upstairs for me in my recliner. I set my iphone timer and rest with God. The hardest thing is to listen for God. He will speak to heart if you practice this every day at the same time in the same place. I realize years ago if I go quietly to be with God and I am hungry I just think about how hungry I am, so I make sure I have eaten. I also have learned that I need to have my planning done, if I go without planning my day/week that’s all I would think about in the silence.

  14. I’m not sure where one leaves a “Finding God in the Mess” comment or where to see the comments of others. This is a beautiful book. I like the journaling area and question prompts on each topic.

  15. I am at present finding myself lackluster and a little burned out. I am a bit anxious about the changes coming in a few months when my husband retires. Thank God, we are healthy physically and financially. But like many women I am used to a certain amount of “space,” and quiet time, in my daily activities. I love my husband, God’s gift to me 50 years ago – but it will be an adjustment. God bless.


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