Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Thursday, October 11, 2012
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 | flocknoteflocknote.com. 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
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: http://www.quickcandles.com/Pillar-Candle-Holders-s/41.htm. 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
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
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 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
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
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
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
What are the only man-made things in Heaven?
There are angels. Nope.
Thursday, April 19, 2012
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
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
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, www.catholictradition.org/Mary/7sorrows.htm, 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
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:
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Saturday, March 17, 2012
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:
Thursday, March 15, 2012
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 http://40daysforlife.com/location/.
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
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
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
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 Â© 1988, 1989, Daniel L. Schutte. Published by OCP. All rights reserved.
Saturday, March 3, 2012
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
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
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.
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
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Saturday, January 21, 2012
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.
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.
“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: