Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Tradition Continues

First, a little history:

The Infant Jesus of Prague originally came from Spain. The legend tells that the Infant Jesus appeared miraculously to a certain monk, who modeled the statue based on the appearance of the apparition. According to another legend the statue belonged to St. Teresa of Avila, the founder of the Discalced Carmelites, who was aflame with a great love for the Child Jesus. She is said to have given the statue to a friend of hers, whose daughter was setting out to travel to Prague.
When the Duchess Maria Manrique de Lara came to Bohemia to marry a Bohemian nobleman in 1556, she received the statue from her mother as a wedding gift. When her daughter Polyxena of Lobkowicz was widowed, she gave the precious statue to the monastery of the Discalced Carmelites attached to the church of Our Lady of Victory in 1628.
The Carmelites placed the statue in the novitiate chapel, so that the young monks could learn from the virtues of the Child Jesus. At that time the Thirty Years' War was raging through Europe and even the Infant Jesus was not spared when the Saxon army occupied Prague in 1631. It was only after his return to Prague in 1637 that Father Cyril of the Mother of God, originally from Luxemburg, discovered the statue, abandoned in a corner. To his sorrow, however, he found that the Infant Jesus had had both hands broken off. At this moment it seemed to him that the Infant Jesus was saying to him:
Have mercy on me and I will have mercy on you.
Give me hands and I will give you peace.
The more you honour me, the more I will bless you.
Eventually Father Cyril had new hands made for the Infant Jesus. The gold coin invested in this was returned many times over, as the Child Jesus began to bless the monastery, the local people, and the whole of Prague. Miraculous healings were attributed to him, as was the protection of Prague when it was laid siege to by the Swedes in 1639. In 1651 the statue was carried as a pilgrim round all the churches in Prague and in 1655 it was solemnly crowned by the Bishop of Prague. This event is still remembered today on the anniversary feast-day, falling on the first Sunday in May.
Now the tradition:
When my parents got engaged, my mom's Aunt Kitty gave them a statue of the Infant of Prague for an engagement gift.  My mother's devotion to Infant Jesus began when she was six or seven.  She shared a bed with two of her aunts and was in the habit of wetting the bed at night.  Her aunt gave her a tiny statue of baby Jesus which she put under pillow, after praying that she would stop wetting the bed.  In the night, she rolled over onto the statue which woke her up-before she wet the bed.  So began a lifelong devotion.  The engagement gift was an extension of this devotion.
When each of my siblings and I got engaged, our parents made sure we each had our own statue. 
About a week ago, my mom and sisters and I got together for our monthly Ladies Night Out and we had a gown cleaning while we talked. 
Each of our statues was fresh and ready for Christmas.  
This year we continue the tradition. Our second oldest daughter, Caitlyn, got engaged on Christmas Eve.  My dear one and I had a statue ready to be presented, and so, on the day of their engagement they received their own Infant of Prague.
Congratulations to Caitlyn and Jimmy.  May Infant Jesus watch over you and bless you with a lifetime of graces, happiness and peace.  

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Year of Faith

Today, 10/11/12,  the Holy Father celebrated Mass to officially begin the Year of Faith.

There are many ways to participate.  For starters, pray!!  If you are not in the habit of praying daily, start now.  The Lord's Prayer is the perfect prayer because it comes from Jesus, himself.  It's a great place to start.

If you do pray already, do you do a morning offering?

Here is one I like:

Oh Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer you my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of Mass throughout the world. I offer them for the intentions of your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, the reparation for sin and the union of all Christians. I offer them for the intentions of our bishops, of all apostles of prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father for this month.  (I add) and for the intentions of Our Lady.

Do stop to pray at noon.  The Angelus is a great one for the middle of the day.

What about the hour of mercy: 3:00 (a.m. or p.m.)   A six minute Chaplet of Divine Mercy is easy.

How about Mass?  Do you go more than once a week?  Try to get there on a weekday.  Jesus is always ready to nourish you with His word and Himself.

Try a different church for Mass, perhaps a National Shrine or your Cathedral.

I would encourage you to read Porta Fidei, Pope Benedict XVI's Apostolic Letter for the indication for the Year of Faith. (He's worried about us!!)

The catechism in small daily chunks is being offered to you at Read the Catechism in a Year |  The site is a bit slow right now because of traffic volume but once you get there just give them your email address and they will send you a chunk a day to start reading.  (I already read mine for today and it's not too long!)

Prayers for you this Year of Faith.  Let's live it!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Outdoor Advent Wreath

The oldest two girls were perusing Pinterest this morning trying to come up with themed basket ideas for a wedding shower Caitlyn has to plan.   As I was looking at the amazing things creative people have come up with, I realized that I had been pretty creative myself just last year.  (This is not easy for me).

Last November I made an outdoor Advent wreath.  Although I would try to find a less expensive way to do it, if I had to do it again, I was really pleased with the results so I thought I'd share.  I realize it's only September 1st but, I've seen Halloween stuff out for at least a week so I think I'm good.  Some people like to plan ahead.

For the base I used a small table that we keep next to the bar-b-q.  It is really nice because  the legs are supported by a bar.  I used tent stakes on the bars to hold the table steady in the wind.

I bought four pretty sturdy, tall, rectangular candle holders here:  Luckily they also had the purple and pink candles.  I got six purple and two pink to make it through the four weeks.

ACO had pink and purple colored sand.  Michaels had the wreath greenery and red ribbon.

I filled the candle holders with pink or purple sand (3 purple, 1 pink). The sand holds the candles nicely and since the candles were shorter than the holders, it brought them up to a good height.

One of the kids wrapped the greenery around the candle holders and Liz made a lovely bow.

Last Advent was especially rainy and so I had to devise a way to keep the rain off of the candles.  I put some perforated tin foil over the openings and used large rubber bands to hold it on.  Here are a couple of photos.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Love You Forever

Not long after my dear one and I were married we started something special.  We started saying, "thank you for loving me."

My dear one's response has never changed when I say these words to him.  He always tells me, "I'm never going to stop."

What a comforting reassurance especially in a world were people "fall out of love" all the time.

Unconditional love is not an easy gift to give.  It takes a lot of prayer, tongue biting, flexibility and courage.  How many live up to the challenge?

And yet we all have the assurance of unconditional love.  All we have to do is place ourselves in the care of Jesus.  When he stretched out his arms on that cross, 'I'm never going to stop loving you' was the promise He made to us.

He calls us to accept His love and His promise.

He not only gives us His unconditional love, He is our role model for giving our unconditional love to others.

Struggling in this area?

Turn to the Master.  He will guide you, ever so gently, to the beauty of giving this gift.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

How's Your Fortitude?

Earlier this week number 2 son wanted to go see "The Dark Night Rises".  He'll be 16 years old in a couple of weeks but still I was hemming and hawing.  I hate violent movies!

His cousins were going (even the one with the mom who is stricter than I am).

I told him I had issues with the violence.  He didn't seem deterred by it.  (I will never know just how violent it is because I will never watch it.) Apparently there is more to the story than just the violence because everyone I know who has seen it has said it is fantastic.

So where does fortitude fit in?  I caved.  I let him go with his aunt and uncle and cousins.  He thought it was wonderful. I still feel a little guilty.

I sent my sister (not the same one mentioned above) a text that said: 'So much for fortitude in the face of adversity.  I hope if I ever have to defend my faith by giving up my life, that my tormentors don't pout!'

How's your fortitude?  I have found out that I need to pray very hard for mine to increase.  It is so important when raising children to not cave in and give them bad things because it is easier to say yes than list all the reasons why not to kids who can't or don't want to understand.

If you think of it, pray for me.

I'm sure the movie won't turn him into a bad guy.  But, another choice may have made me a better mom.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

"I Can Do All Things. . ."

A trip to the doctor showed that my cholesterol was creeping a bit too high.  This was also a pretty lazy winter, despite the pretty nice weather we had (or maybe because of it!)

I got tired of sitting around waiting for something to change.  I said to my dear one, one day, "If I don't start moving, I'm going to die. "

The next day we joined the gym.  It has been six weeks of progressively more intense (not that lifting 30 pounds is all that intense but I'm getting there), more sweat producing workouts.  We go three days a week.

Depending on the day I work abs and arms or legs. I always do cardio.  

So far I've lost 6 pounds, and a couple of inches.  I feel so much better.  Not a day goes by when I don't do some extra physical activity just because it's starting to feel so great (and, because then I can eat more!!)  Mostly I ride my bike to run errands.

My goal is to ride my bike to my sister's house in Westland.  (I already know I can make it to Target and back :)  ).

I still have to go get my cholesterol rechecked but I'm pretty sure I'll like the results.

 I do my workouts for God's glory.  If not for Him, I would be a lazy pile of mush.  He helps me push myself to take care of His gift that is my body.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Corpus Christi

Sunday June 10,  2012.  The feast of the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.  We Catholics are blessed, every day if we choose, to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus in the Eucharist.  Every day there is a Host,  Jesus, waiting for us.

Our visiting priest who, on his last day in our parish after two years with us while he attended school, gave a homily on the Body of Christ.

It moved me and so I, once again, share his words with you.

Our culture has become addicted to the passing beautiful.  Beautiful people on magazine covers and in movies.  Beautiful cars in new and fancy colors. Beautiful homes with beautiful furnishings etc.

He reminded us that America brought about the first super market.  You can find everything you want to eat in a super market.   Colors and textures abound and it is all displayed 'beautifully' so as to entice the shopper to purchase this or that item.

But is there lasting beauty in these things?

He then talked about the Eucharist:

It comes in one shape:  round.
It comes in one color: white.
It comes in one size: small.
It comes in one flavor: bland.

But, oh, what a gift we have been given by Christ in this round, white, small, bland Host.

Jesus, Himself.

A lasting gift to the world for all who have been called to the table. (That is, all of us!)

And what beauty awaits those who partake, for Jesus assures us, "He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has life eternal."  John 6:54

Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Sacramental 30 Days

On May 9th, Joseph was Confirmed.  He chose St. Francis of Assisi for his patron and his big sister, Liz, for his sponsor.

It's nice to know that they understand what's going on when your children receive a Sacrament.  Joey obviously did as his celebration cake read:  "Congratulations!  You've been drafted."

Later in the month (after she saw all the First Communicant girls in their finery), Claire knew it was time for her to join us at the Table of Plenty.  In order to do that, though, she had to make her First Confession.  She was well prepared, just nervous.  

I didn't get to see her face as she left the confessional as she had asked me to go in with her (I plugged my ears).  I've been told she came out glowing.  She had a spring in her step and she did the customary heel click after praying her penance prayer.  

June will start off on a happy note as Claire receives her First Communion.  She is so excited. We bought her cake, 

her shoes and her gift today (she wanted a special 1st Communion doll). 

So this happy mom is praising God for His Sacraments and for the children who are receiving them with joy.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


When is the last time you treated yourself to some time in an Adoration Chapel?

I am scheduled for an hour a week from 2-3 p.m. on Tuesdays.  Sometimes I can get there.  Sometimes I can't.

Today, I could.  It was wonderful.

A very wise priest told me to take a notebook with me and start each fresh page with, "Dear Jesus" and then just write.  Being a writer, that had great appeal for me.  I took his advice and now have a journal of my Adoration time.

I love to look back and see what was up only a few short weeks ago, or maybe a month or two.  I like to see what problems have been resolved and how my moods were during my visits.  Not surprisingly, I'm always in a better mood when I leave no matter what "garbage" I bring in with me.

Today was  a grateful day.  I have a lot for which to be thankful.

About half way through my visit, a class from the grade school came for some time with the Lord.  They were so quiet and well behaved it was lovely to have them there.  They, too,  brought journals (a sign of a wise teacher).  Some brought Bibles.  They all were touched by grace.

Having a rough day?  Need some peace and quiet?  Rejoicing over answered prayers?

Go to the Chapel.  Jesus awaits you!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Not Just for Meals

The Catholic prayer before meals goes like this:

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts, which we are about to receive from Thy bounty through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

While it is a beautiful prayer, I feel like it is greatly under used.

If you look at it closely you notice that it first asks God to bless us.  Who can't use that on a regular basis?

Secondly it asks Him to bless the gifts we are to receive from Him.  This is not always food!

I had the opportunity to go to Mass with my mom and dad the other day.  While we were in the car I said, "Josh is taking his final Calculus 3 exam right now."

The first words out of my dad's mouth were the grace prayers.  He laughed when he realized what he said but then we talked about it.  He prayed for us, including Josh, to be blessed and he asked God to bless the gifts he was anticipating getting, namely for Josh to do well on his exam.

We decided it was the perfect prayer for the moment.

It's perfect for other moments, too.  Give it a try.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Riddle

Heard this riddle in a homily so I don't claim it as my own.

What are the only man-made things in Heaven?

Let's see:

There are angels.  Nope.

There are Saints.  Nope.

There is
" such a great cloud of witnesses".  (Hebrews 12:1)   Nope. 

So, what are the only man-made things in Heaven?

The wounds of Christ. 

For all eternity, we will be able to see the wounds that brought us to our Heavenly home.  Thank you, Jesus.

Our Salvation

Thursday, April 19, 2012

God Knows

One day, a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling very overwhelmed with lots of different issues with people and things going on in the house.

After Mass, I took the opportunity to stay for a bit and spend a little time before the Blessed Sacrament.

Then I went up to the St. Joseph cove and prayed there.

Momma Mary's cove was next.

As I was fervently praying, pouring my troubles out, looking for answers,  the organist began to practice a song for the funeral that was going to take place that morning.

What song did he play?

Be Not Afraid.  

Of course I started crying.  God was hearing me and He chose such a beautiful way to show me.

Quite frankly, I don't remember all of the things I was praying about, but I'm sure several of the issues have been resolved.   I just know that as soon as that song started, I stopped worrying.  God was going to help me through, as He always does.

It was just a gentle reminder for me to keep trusting Him.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Praying For The Dying

How do we ease someone into eternity?  Praying for them is the one way I have been able to aid in the transition from this life to eternal life.

Recently I had the privilege of praying for my sister-in-law's mom. She has a very weak heart and is in hospice care.   I sat quietly at her bedside while she ate her scrambled eggs and toast and prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for her.

When invited,  I joined several others in prayer for a woman with brain cancer.  She was fighting so hard and the cancer was beating her.  She allowed several of us to come to her without  foreknowledge of who we were.  We heard her story, single mom with 7 children, and went to minister to her.  She was very grateful.

A few years ago my sister's mother-in-law was losing one of her brothers.  My sister and I showed up with an image of Divine Mercy, and prayed the Chaplet for him.  He got better (not well) and was able to move back to the nursing home for several more months.

We never know how God will answer our prayers for the dying.  We  just have to trust that He honors them and that the person for whom we are praying will remain in His loving care.

Do you know someone who is dying?  It is a very good experience to pray for them while you are with them.  It is much more intimate and they feel your presence even if they are too sick to acknowledge it. And they will leave this life knowing that you cared for them.  What a way to go.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seven Sorrows

As we prepare to go through Holy Week, and the Passion of Christ, we need to recall that someone else suffered tremendously during those days and last hours of Christ's suffering:

His Mother.

September is the month set aside to honor the Sorrowful Mother, specifically September 15th, but I thought this might also be an appropriate time to share what sufferings Mary went through during her life with the Son of God.

The Seven Sorrows of Mary are:

1. The prophesy of Simeon. (Luke 2:22-25)

2. The flight into Egypt. (Mt 2:13-18)

3. The loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple.  (Luke 2:41-51)

4. Mary meets Jesus on the road to Calvary. (Revealed in a vision to Blessed Anne Catherine  Emmerich)

5. Standing at the foot of the cross. (John 19:25)

6. Taking Jesus down from the cross. (Revealed in a vision to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich)

7. The burial of Christ. (John 29:38-42)

There is a whole devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary.  When I learned them, I was taught to say the sorrow and then pray a Hail Mary.

This web site,, has fantastic artwork and either commentary or scripture verses to take you through the sorrows, or Dolors as they are also called.  

May our Lady lead you to Our Lord.

Friday, March 30, 2012


"Jesus, I trust in you."

These words are found at the bottom of the image of Divine Mercy.  They are so easy to say and, sometimes, so hard to do.

When life throws us a curve ball, say your car breaks down, or you wake up too sick to go to work, or your basement pipes back up 3 times in a week, it may still be fairly easy to say those words.

How about when something really devastating happens, say, cancer.

How do we react to something that huge?

I am honored to know a person who is in a fight with cancer who has not only committed those words to memory and likely says them often but who LIVES them.  In a note asking for prayers this is what he wrote:

“My feeling is that this cancer does not change the basic facts: the Father is all loving and wants what’s best for us, He is all wise and knows what is best for us, and He is all powerful and can bring it about.   
     “So I feel, as always, blessed and fortunate.  The Lord has chosen this cancer to do important work that needs to get done, not the least is the opportunity, through grace, to grow more quickly in faith, hope, and love of the Lord, if only I continue to trust in Him and endure well, without complaint, and with a joyful attitude the challenges this cancer brings.
    “ In addition, because I am fortunate to be ”grafted” into the “body of Christ,” I have the opportunity, once again by grace, to join myself more intimately to Jesus’ own once and for all redemptive sacrifice made present at Mass, offering my life in Christ to the Father for your well-being, and for those others whom He puts on my heart. 
     “So, I cannot be sad.  I can only be grateful and rejoice, taking delight in the Lord.  Kathy (named changed by blogger) and I will be on an adventure with great opportunity.  Lastly, prostate cancer can be so “friendly” compared to the evil of others.”

I am so grateful for his example and I ask you to keep him in your prayers.  

Dear Jesus, help us all to "trust in You." 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Divine Mercy Novena Coming

Starting on Good Friday, I am joining more than 10,000 Catholics to pray a Divine Mercy Novena!
I’m actually trying to help this online prayer community ( to get 20,000 people praying this novena for God’s Mercy. We all need Mercy, right?
You can sign up for handy email reminders to get the the novena prayers here.

After you sign up, maybe you can help spread the word as well. God’s Mercy is abundant and overflowing, let’s share it!
Okay, that was all from John Paul.  This is from me: 

I have done at least 3 novenas with this group.  You get an email each day that contains the prayers for that day.  Easy as pie!  Please join us. 

And, if you write a blog or have a website, go ahead and paste the John Paul part of my blog onto your site.  Let's get this novena worldwide.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Oh! The Pain

The other day, as I was contemplating Christ's passion and death,  I was moved to wonder, 'how many of those wounds that tortured His precious body were caused by my sins?'

Instantaneously a number popped into my head.   I will not share what the number was but I will admit that it surprised me.

Over the next several days, with that number floating around in my head, I tried to see if perhaps I had made it up myself.  Nope, that was the firm number the Lord kept giving me.

Last Saturday at confession, my penance was to stand before the image of the eleventh station.  The 11th station is Jesus being nailed to the cross.  The priest told me to put myself in the scene and choose which person represented me.

As much as I wanted it to be the pure and sinless Mother Mary, it wasn't happening!!

As I looked at the other people in the scene I saw a soldier with his hand in the basket of nails pulling out the next one to be used.  I saw the soldier in charge diligently watching his charges.  There was one soldier with a hammer ready to strike and the last person was a woman standing with the Blessed Mother.

With tears streaming down my face, I put myself in that scene, and I thought about that number.  Wow!

Christ died for our sins, before we were even alive to commit them.  As for my number, He knew that before He walked the road.

It brings new understanding and thanksgiving for the verse:
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5) NIV

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Do you have an hour to save a life?

40 Days for Life is a national and international campaign that involves 24/7 prayer vigils that take place outside of facilities that perform abortions.

The  current 40 Days for Life campaign has been going on since Ash Wednesday. It will last until April 1, 2012.   So far close to 300 babies, that we know of, have been saved and at least two abortion facilities have closed their doors.  There are also employees at abortion clinics that have approached the volunteers who are praying outside the centers.  They are looking for a way out.

Just last evening, I prayed at our local abortion facility with one of my sisters and a cousin.  He told me that there is a clinic worker who needs to find a $12 an hour or higher paying job and then she can quit her current job.

This is the 10th campaign that 40 Days for Life has held.  This spring's campaign is going on in 251 cities in the United States and in locations in Canada, England, Australia and Spain.

Can you give an hour to save a life?  To find a vigil site near you go to

If you cannot get to a vigil would you please add to your daily prayers:

participants in the vigils
abortion clinic employees
women seeking an abortion
doctors performing abortions
the men affected by abortion and especially
the babies whose lives are the most dramatically impacted by this procedure.

Please also consider spiritual adoption.  See "A Popsicle Stick and a Prayer" in my post list.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

When I in Awesome Wonder . . .

Last evening my mom called to let the kiddos know that Venus and Jupiter could be seen, very close together, in the night sky.  A couple of them had a good time setting up the telescope and taking a look at the planets.

This morning when I came out of Mass there was a beautiful half moon lighting up the early morning sky.
The sun was rising, too, and it was an intense orange color as it came over the horizon.

Later this afternoon while I was out walking, I noticed that the trees are starting to bud.  Hurray!
I took a photo of some purple flowers (I don't know what they are called) that are in full bloom in the neighbor's side yard.

This morning's pleasures inspired me to start humming "How Great Thou Art."  How could I do otherwise?  God makes His presence known so boldly if only we are aware enough to appreciate it. I've been singing it in my head all day as I have found more things for which to be grateful.

 Here's a short list that will keep me singing for a long time:

An awesome hubby, healthy children, vehicles that run, 70 degrees in March with more lovely days to come, a visit with two of my sisters and my parents, energy to get through the day,  and no more hole in my living room ceiling.

I pray that I will always be aware of God's blessing and not take them for granted.  He loves our praise.

What makes you sing?

Saturday, March 10, 2012


The Lord, and my dear one blessed me with a  wonderful time away.  I get to spend several days in Florida where it is warm and green and peaceful.

I longed for warmth and I am warm.

I longed for peace in my heart and I have it.

I longed for a closer relationship with the Lord, and I feel renewed and refreshed.

I have been to Mass, Mother of Perpetual Help devotion and confession.  I have had quiet time to listen to some nice hymns and rosary time to contemplate the life of Christ.

Walking around outside contributed to my rosy glow as I am just a bit sunburned.

I have had the blessing of family time with cousins.

Never doubt that God knows the needs of your heart and will find a way to answer those needs in ways you least expect.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Night Prayer

We are blessed at our parish to have night prayer on Sundays during Lent.  It is a lovely way to end the day and my dear one and I get some peaceful prayer time together.  This song is sung during the prayer and it is very powerful.  Read it slowly and soak it up.  Enjoy.

Holy darkness, blessed night,
heaven's answer hidden from our sight.
As we await you, O God of silence,
we embrace your holy night.

1. I have tried you in fires of affliction; 
I have taught your soul to grieve.
In the barren soil of your loneliness,
there I will plant my seed.

2. I have taught you the price of compassion;
you have stood before the grave.
Though my love can seem 
like a raging storm,
this is the love that saves.

3. Were you there 
when I raised up the mountains?
Can you guide the morning star?
Does the hawk take flight 
when you give command?
Why do you doubt my pow'r?

4. In your deepest hour of darkness
I will give you wealth untold.
When the silence stills your spirit,
will my riches fill your soul.

5. As the watchman waits for morning,
and the bride awaits her groom,
so we wait to hear your footsteps
as we rest beneath your moon.

Text: Inspired by St. John of the Cross, 1542-1591. Text and music © 1988, 1989, Daniel L. Schutte. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Dark Nights and Dry Days of the Soul

It happens to all of us at one time or another.  It usually happens to me about this time of year.  I'm longing for the warmth of spring and for the magnolias to bloom.  I want the plastic off the windows and the windows open.  Fresh air . . . what a concept.  I want my coat put away for another season and spring colors in my wardrobe.

What I really long for, though, is a closer relationship with the Lord.  But I feel withered, like the grass and barren, like the trees.  I want new life running through my veins.

Lent is a struggle for me.  I look forward to it with eager anticipation and then find that the fasting and the hum drum days don't really mesh well and they bring me to a dark place.  I alway wonder, "why did I want it to be Lent?"

My prayers seem more forced, my fasting is done in a less than "do not let anyone know you are fasting" mode and my energy seems sapped.  I find myself sitting more and doing less.

Of course Lent brings us to Easter and usually with Easter comes spring warmth and all the other things mentioned above.

So I hang on to the promise of the Resurrection and know that the darkness will not last forever.  And even in the dark, I know the Lord is there cheering me on through Lent to the beauty of another springtime!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ripe For The Picking

At Mass this morning, Father talked about a job he had when he was right out of college.  He was a fruit picker; specifically citrus fruit.  He learned that when grapefruit is ripe and ready to be picked, the picker has just to grasp the fruit and give a slight tug and the fruit will come off with ease.  He told us that if any force is used it means the fruit is not ripe and the skin will tear and ruin the grapefruit.

He then, of course, fit it into the Gospel reading, which was about the Lord calling Levi.  Levi's response to the Lord's call was instantaneous. No force was needed, no prodding, no coaxing.  He just left his post and followed Christ.  He was "ripe" for the picking.

As we journey through life, there are different times that the Lord calls us to a new, closer relationship with Him.  Sometimes we're ready to move where he wants us to go. Other times we're not quite there.  We feel the tug but we don't let go of what He would like us to give up.  The Lord will not drag us, kicking and screaming, or even resisting just a little.  He wants our full consent before He moves our heart.

Is there an area where you're feeling the tug?  Are you holding on to something which you need to release?  This Lent is a perfect time to ripen so that the Lord may pick us easily and move us to a better place.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another Word on Fasting

In my post about fasting I forgot to mentions some important details:

First, Sunday is never a fast day as it is a mini Easter.

Second,  the days the celebrant wears white when offering the Mass are not feast days either.  Guess you'll have to come to daily Mass to find out.

Third,  breaking your fast is not a sin.  My confessor told me so.  What a relief, because although I try awfully hard, sometimes it just tough. 

And last,  if a month is too long because you're new at this, try a week.  I've heard it takes seven days for something new to become a habit. 

God speed.


Many, many people pray for no suffering.  Where would we be if we did not suffer?  Life would be too easy and we would not rely so much on our Dear Lord.

St. Paul said, "Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church." (Col 1:24)

 A wise priest, in explaining this passage said, "What in the world could be lacking in the suffering of Christ?  Our participation in it!"

Many of the Saints have said that suffering is the kiss of Christ.

Why  is suffering so desirable?  It makes us draw closer to God.  When we suffer, we are more likely to pray and when we pray we inevitably improve our relationship.

Your sufferings can save souls on earth and ease into Heaven the souls in Purgatory.

 We all suffer something everyday.  There are the brave saints who pray for it.  I long to be able to be that open to Christ.

Do not pray to not suffer.  Pray to suffer well and unite your sufferings with those of Christ and He will bring your sufferings to bear great fruit.

Fast and Pray

Does it sometimes feel like God doesn't hear your prayers?  I think we all feel that way sometimes.  Even the disciples felt it. A father brings his son before Jesus and tells him that he asked the disciples to drive out a demon and they were unable to do so.

After Jesus casts out the demon the disciples ask Him, "Why could we not drive it out?"  And Jesus tells them it is because of their lack of faith.  But then adds, "But this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.” ( Mt 17:19-21)

What does the word fasting bring to mind?  To me it used to mean going without food for long periods and ending up with a killer headache, which made me cranky and hard to be around.  Somehow, I thought, this isn't what God is looking for.  

So I decided on a different kind of fasting.  I pick one or two things per month to do without.  Chocolate is a big one because it's a staple for me.  I drink hot chocolate every day all winter long.  So to give it up for a month is a big deal.  

We know that, "Man shall not live by bread alone." (Mt 4:4)  I sometimes feel like I could because bread is another of my favorite things. It holds my peanut butter so well! So bread is another thing I give up for a month.  

God doesn't need us to starve ourselves to benefit from fasting.  It is, after all, supposed to draw us closer to Him.  When we desire the thing from which we are fasting, it is a time to pray, not only for strength to continue the fast, but also for a special intention for which we are awaiting an answer. 

Give it try. God will bless your fast.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Connect the Dots

Twice in the past couple of weeks I've read two similar stories of God working in peoples lives.

In the most recent, one a young man and God are having a conversation. The young man is telling God how awful his day was, listing each thing that went wrong. By the end of the conversation he is ashamed of himself for complaining because, as he recounts his day, God tells him why each thing happened as it did, and in each case God was protecting him from harm.

We don't get the blow by blow to know why our days, good or bad, go the way they do, but God is ever in charge and guiding us.

Have you ever stopped to connect the dots? Think about an event in your life that changed you in some way. Go backwards and see if you can find others events that, in retrospect, helped the event come about to perfection.

God is always working with us. He always knows best. We need to learn not to fight Him. Let Him do His thing in your life and watch the dots connect.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


One of the Gospel readings this week was from Mark, chapter 7. The story is about the Greek woman who wants Jesus to drive a demon from her daughter. At first Jesus, not so gently, tells her He will not help her: "It is not right to take the the food of the children and throw it to the dogs."

Wow! Harsh.

Her persistence pays off however. She tells Him, "Even the dogs under the table eat the children's scraps." And Jesus cures her daughter.

The meditation for the same day, in the Magnificat Magazine, was written by St. Claude de la Colombiere. St. Claude assures us that what Jesus wants is our persistence. Don't pray once and, if you don't get an answer, stop asking. Repeat yourself, relentlessly. This is pleasing to the Lord.

St. Claude says, "The more He seems to be unwilling, the more you must insist."

Do not fear to sound like a broken record. Do not fear that the Lord does not hear you. He wants us to trust Him even though it feels like nothing is happening. Something is happening. We are changing. We are learning to pray as He wants us to pray.

St. Claude finishes by saying, " Compel God to . . . say to you with admiration "Great is your faith, be it done as you wish."

Joyfully awaiting that response.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46)

Momma Mary spoke these words over 2,000 years ago, and yet we can claim her words and echo her sentiments today.

God has done great things for us and holy is His name.

How do our lives reflect the love the Savior of our souls has for us? How do we take God to others, even in our own homes where sometimes it's the hardest place to do so?

A kind smile when someone is feeling crabby. A warm lap for a sleepy little one to snuggle in. Help with homework, that comes with patience and not exasperation. Putting away a book we really would like to read, in favor of playing a game or reading a book to someone who is bored.

We bring God outside the home when we feed the hungry by dropping off canned goods at the back of church. Drop a buck or two in the poor box. I promise, you won't even miss it! But someone will really benefit.

May our lives proclaim the greatness of the Lord in the little things we do and say everyday.

Monday, February 6, 2012


The Serenity Prayer was printed on a bookmark that came in a package I received in the mail today. For those unfamiliar with the prayer it reads:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

I was praying the prayer and thinking about it while I walked the dog. Having a dog in the house is not something I can change right now. I have to put up with the fur and the barking, all the while seeing the kids shower him with love and attention. So, while I can't change the fact that he lives with us, I can change my attitude about it and look on the bright side. He is a great companion for the kids and I can take him for a walk. This gives me quiet time and some much needed exercise in the sunshine.

Another thing I can't change is the calendar. And, while we've been having the best winter ever with almost no snow, lots of sun and even warm days, I can't help but long for May! I want to have the windows open and feel the fresh air. So, since I can't open the windows I take a walk. Ahh, fresh air and no need for gloves or a scarf.

There are many, many things that I can't change. Some of them will change with time. Some will never change (i.e. I'm not getting any younger and my body tells me this every day!) So I call on God to grant me serenity, courage and wisdom that I may do all He asks of me everyday.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Say One For Me

Because many of the children in our home are no longer children, there are several different Masses attended each weekend. As one or two are leaving for their chosen Mass, I always request that they "say one for me".

It's a line I learned from my mom when my siblings and I started driving ourselves to Mass when we still lived at home. I'm hopeful that it is a line that will continue to go through the families as our children have children of their own.

It is a wonderful feeling to know someone is praying for you. Even if you don't have a specific request at the time, God always knows there's something we need now or will be needing in the near future.

I take my requests to daily Mass with me so if you've asked me to pray for you, rest assured that I am doing just that.

And the next time you go before the Lord, would you please say one for me? Thanks.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do You Love Me More?

My dear one got to work early, as usual, to do his daily morning prayers. Well, one day this week it snowed and so he had to salt the parking lot before going into the office (small company). He had not yet started to pray when another employee showed up and started talking.

All through the day, he kept thinking about getting to his prayers and kept letting other things get in the way. Suddenly, he "heard", "do you love Me more?"

UHH! That "voice" that cuts us to the quick. What should we be doing that we are putting off because we're busy with something else? It doesn't always have to be prayer when we hear that voice. It could just be that He is reminding us that somethings are more important right this minute, and that if we love Him we should be doing His will now, instead of our own.

God our Father longs for our happiness. He also knows that if we do what He wants, we'll find the happiness He wants for us and the happiness we crave. It will come to each of us in different ways but we have to be open to give up some of what we want, to be open to what He wants for us. Show God that you love Him more. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also." Matt 6:21

What Is Holding You Back?

Is there something in your life that you need to do now?

Visit a sick friend? Admonish a sinner? Speak up for something you believe in?

What is holding you back?

Is it fear? Isaiah 41:10 "Fear not, I am with you." (among many similar promises)

Don't know what to say? Luke 12:12 "The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all that should be said." Sometimes, though, we say the wrong thing with the right intentions. Don't beat yourself up. They will understand because they've probably done it, too. They'll get the message and appreciate your effort.

Is it going to make you sad? Rev 21:4 "He will wipe every tear from their eyes."

Immerse yourself in scripture (google the verses if you have to!). God will direct your thoughts, words and deeds and "your reward will be great in heaven." Luke 6:23.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Peaceful Fortitude

Every morning, before he leaves for work, my dear one blesses me by asking, “what can I pray for today?” For a long time my answer was “peace.” I needed to be peaceful in my home so that our children would be peaceful. I learned that peace is a gift and you have to open it to receive it.

One morning “peaceful fortitude” came out of my mouth. My dear one chuckled a bit and went off to work and to pray for me. I asked him later why he chuckled and he said he was having a hard time putting peaceful and fortitude together because he pictured fortitude as a concerted effort to get something done.

That’s exactly what I envisioned, too.

My days are busy with all the normal things that come with running a home, schooling three children, and being available for all ten people who count on me everyday. I need to be peaceful while I listen, instead of being antsy to get back to an undone job. I need to be peaceful when I’m teaching, what I feel is a fairly easy concept, and the child really doesn’t get it. I need to be peaceful when little or big things disrupt my “to do” list. (See, Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening.)

I also need fortitude to keep going through it all when I want to go hide in my room and read a book, (or write a blog).

And, so, because he prays for peaceful fortitude, I accomplish what God calls me to do that day and I do it as peacefully as I am able.

How Do I Love Thee?

What do you do when you find yourself unable to love someone as you ought? We hear all the time of difficult and troubled relationships. Some give up, and the relationship ends on a bad note. Others put up with a person they find difficult. How terrible to be “put up with”. And there are those who find the courage to LOVE.

God’s love is the only way to love another. Just as He loves us, we are to love each other. That is a lofty goal.

I was listening to Al Kresta today, and Fr. Larry Richards was his guest. Father recommended a prayer that I found so beautiful. This is the gist of what he said:

“Lord, I cannot love this person the way I should, but You can and You do. I give You permission to love them through me.”


This must be the prayer St. Francis of Assisi prayed before he hugged the leper that he had once avoided.

This must be the prayer of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta and her nuns as they took the sick and dying from the gutters and ministered to them.

This can be our prayer as well. If you have the courage, pray:

Dear Lord, I give you permission to love through me. Amen.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Gift of Prayer

Ever wonder what to get the person who has everything? Or what to get the person who doesn't have everything when you don't have extra cash?

How about the gift of prayer? Make a spiritual bouquet. A spiritual bouquet is a collection of prayers that you offer on the recipient's behalf. It can be a novena (nine days of prayer), or a Rosary, Masses, or any amount of time that you wish to spend in prayer talking to God about that person.

If you have a blank notecard, why not write a note telling the person the prayers you have said for them, or are going to say? Email is great, but a handwritten note is so rare these days, and so appreciated.

Not one person that you know does not need prayers. Let them know you are praying for them, especially if you are praying for something specific for which they have requested your prayers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Every Knee Shall Bend

Do you kneel when you pray? I always do during the Mass. I didn't often at other times. I'm a lazy prayer. I know God hears me no matter what position I am in and lots of times that is lying in my bed, curled up under the covers and, admittedly, half asleep.

Did I get a nudge to get up (at least sit up!) and perhaps kneel beside the bed? Yep! It took me a while to listen. Kneeling changes things.

It makes you keenly aware of what is under your knees, for one. Thankfully, there is carpet in my bedroom. (I'm a wimp.) Kneeling makes you have to pay attention to your posture: back straight, shoulders down, hands folded.

A big plus is that you aren't likely to fall asleep while you pray!

Once I've got all of the above taken care of, I can focus on the prayers. I tend to pray a little longer and I find myself praying out loud.

Another plus is that it fits in with my silent witnessing, for while we are told to go to our rooms and pray to our Father in private, my bedroom is akin to Grand Central Station. The kids and my dear one see me on my knees. Definitely not folding clothes or washing dishes while kneeling beside the bed.

I suggested to our youngest that she kneel with me tonight to do her bedtime prayers. She actually said all of the prayers with me and added a couple of her own. She changed the way she prayed because she was on her knees.

Need a boost to your prayer life? Give kneeling a try and see if God does not reward your efforts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Speak, Lord, Your Servant is Listening.

This past Sunday at Mass, the first reading was about young Samuel learning to hear the voice of God. Eli gives him these words to say in response to God's call, "Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening." Guess what? These words are not for Samuel alone.

During the homily, Father told us to reread the scriptures of the day and pick one sentence to contemplate for the week. I knew this would be my line.

Try making them your words for a week and see what happens. When you wake up, after thanking God for His gift of another day, say these words to Him. Then watch throughout the day and see if you can discern His voice. I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with the number of things on my to-do list. When I get that overwhelmed feeling I tell the Lord, "You tell me what on this list (or not on this list) that You want done today."

God will show you exactly what you should be accomplishing. Maybe at the end of the day not one thing on your list is crossed off, but you've accomplished something much more important and the overwhelmed feeling is gone. Sure the list will be there the next day but somehow it's not so daunting anymore.

I've said it before, I'll say it again, God knows what we need. Don't be afraid to be a servant who listens.