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.