Sunday, November 30, 2014

Can People Tell You're Catholic?

One of the kids asked me today, "Is he Catholic?"  When I said yes, she said, "I didn't know that."

That speaks volumes!!

Do others know that you are Catholic?  Does it show in how you speak?  Does it show in how you act toward others?  Does it show in other actions?

Or are you only Catholic on Sunday for an hour, or for that matter, in name only?

Our prime mission as Catholics is to go into the world and proclaim the Gospel.  We don't have to stand on the street corner screaming out Bible verses to back up our proclamations.  We don't need to be  Bible scholars -though we do need to read it and join Bible studies to know what it says and have a basic understanding.

What else do we have to do?

We have to smile at people and show our joy.

We need to lend a helping hand to someone in need, whether it's opening a door, bringing a meal, driving someone to Mass, raking an elderly neighbor's leaves.

We need to be willing to pray in public.  Do the Sign of the Cross and bless your food in a restaurant. Take a walk and pray a Rosary with your rosary in hand.  Join a Marian procession or an Advent tree lighting at your church.

Speak about the Lord and what He had done in your life.  Praise Him out loud.  Tell someone you'll pray for their needs.  Don't complain about anything, even the weather.

We talk about so many things, lots of them unnecessary.  How often do we speak of the One who gave us life and a whole lot more.

Have children!  That may sound weird but it's a question that often comes up when I tell people we have nine kids.  Trust God with this area of your life.

Volunteer at soup kitchens, crisis pregnancy centers, etc.  Because it is a part of your life, you're bound to talk about it, and that spreads the Gospel about taking care of the less fortunate.

Bring Jesus to others.  Do not let anyone, even for a moment, wonder whether you're a Catholic.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

We Need To Take Back Sunday

When I was a kid, Sunday was family day.  We would go see our grandparents. Because is was Sunday, and Sunday was family day, our cousins and uncles and aunts would be there as well.  Family time!

Stores were closed so shopping was out of the question.  The visiting was anticipated so the chores that needed to be done, laundry, ironing, grabbing a gallon (or 4) of milk, going to the dry cleaners, etc. all needed to be done before Sunday.  Sunday was not a day of work, it was a day of relaxation.

I miss that~

Sunday now, seems to be just another day.  The kids who play sports often have a game on Sunday (must to my dismay).  The stores are open and so the planning that went into getting things done by Saturday is gone.  "There's always tomorrow."

We're busy, busy people.

I don't really think it needs to be this way.  I think we need to bring back Sunday as a day of true relaxation.   Close the stores so the owners and employees can be with their families.  Close the restaurants and cook together!

There are those who would argue that to close on Sunday means the loss of income to the shop and restaurant owners.  I would argue that if we do as God commanded and keep the Sabbath holy by getting to Mass and spending Sunday relaxing, rather than making it just one more day, that things would be a whole lot better.

Ask the owners of Hobby Lobby and Chick-fil-A about profits and being closed on Sunday.  I think they would tell you they're doing just fine!  They have been in business since the 40's for Chick-fil-A and the 70's for Hobby Lobby.  Sunday for them, is a day off.   Thus, they and their employees get a well deserved break and can go back to work refreshed.

The roads around our house have been under construction for over two years.  They crews work 7 days a week.  Trying to get the job done is the goal.  I get it.  But my mom had a conversation with one of the crew and he told her he was praying for rain.  A good hard rain would mean he could go home and have a day off.  He was so tired.

How do you get a good days work out of someone who never has an opportunity to do nothing for a little while?

So I put forth a cry for the return to sanity.  God knew what He was doing by requiring us to keep holy the Sabbath.  It wasn't a suggestion, it was a command.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Never Say 'Only'

So often when I tell someone that my Dear One and I have nine children, I hear, "I only have one", (or two, three, or four) but, always prefaced with only.

Using only when discussing the number of children one has, makes it seem like a contest has been lost.  I wonder how the children of these parents feel when they hear this.

These parents don't have only any number of children. They have that many blessings from God and should speak this out loud so their children hear that instead of something that may make them feel inadequate since they aren't one of a much larger family.

We, as parents, don't have to compare ourselves to anyone else to see how we're doing as parents. We just have to make certain that we are doing as the Lord has directed us and make sure that gratitude is the overwhelming emotion.

We are not in control of how many children we have.  Sure we can be open to life, but God has the only say in how many blessing He will choose to send to us.  We should not try to limit God, nor should we be sad when He limits us.  He knows what we need, what we can handle, and what is best for us.

So, whether you have been blessed with few or many children, always remember that that is just what they are, blessings.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

When It Hits Home

I am currently enrolled in the Catholic Biblical School of Michigan with my Dear One.  In this four year course we will study the whole Bible.

Right now we are plowing our way through Genesis.  So far we've read about the Flood and the destruction of Sodom (and everything in between).

I was reveling in the fact that at the time of this destruction, there were so few people in the world compared to right now.  I was also bemoaning the fact the we have done as fantastic a job as our Old Testament ancestors did in messing things up!  I wondered out loud to the kids in the truck, whom I was driving to school, why God doesn't zap us.

That's when I got this wonderful bit of knowledge and understanding from our thirteen-year-old daughter:

"Mom", she said, "that why we're here.  Catholics are supposed to go out into the world and teach others about Christ (and His Church).  That's our job."
My teacher!

Wow!  It is lovely to know that she is hearing what is being taught and is able to get her mom back on track when mom forgets for a minute the purpose of it all.  Thanks, Love, for the lesson.  I'll keep it in mind.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Grammar God

I just finished reading a wonderful book called, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World, by Joanna Weaver.

For those unfamiliar with what that title means, it is an allusion to the Bible story where Jesus visits the sisters Martha and Mary.  Here's what happens:

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[a] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42 NIV.
While the whole book has several captivating ideas that have make me pause and think, one line really stuck in my head, so I thought I'd share.
We've all heard the phrase, God's ways are not our ways."  We get impatient to have our prayers answered NOW.  God doesn't work on our timeline. Don't let that discourage you.  Think about this instead:
Don't put a period where God puts a comma.  (p. 126)
When your prayers are not answered immediately, or even for what seems to you like a long time, don't give up praying.  Maybe God just put a comma there.  A pause while other things fall into place that will make the answer to your prayer better than you ever expected.  
In addition to reading this book, I'm in the midst of a Bible study and we are smack in the middle of the story of Abram/Abraham.  Abram was tired of the wait caused by the comma.  God promised him a great nation and Sarai was now too old to have children. So, he and Sarai took matters into their own hands.  Sarai gave her handmade to her husband so that he could have a child, and heir apparent(ly) through her.  NOT God's plan. 
Pray through the commas God uses.  Ask for courage to wait, courage to trust His will, courage to hang on when all seems lost.  If it's truly a comma, the answer is coming.  
There is another line in the book that didn't strike me as intensely but is equally important: 
Don't put a comma where God puts a period. (p. 127) But that may be a blog for another day. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sacrament Of The Sick

In the Church, there are seven Sacraments.

The Sacraments of Initiation:  Baptism, Eucharist, and Confirmation.

The Sacraments of Vocation:  Marriage and Holy Orders.

The Sacraments of Healing: Reconciliation and Anointing of the Sick.

Today I was an observer while two friends received the Anointing of the Sick.  It was very moving and beautiful.

One friend has suffered much over the past couple of years from injuries that occurred either when trying to lend a helping hand (got rear ended driving a passenger home from the airport) or by being in a bad place (under an overhang at work) at a bad time (when the ice on the overhang decided to slide off!).  A rotator cuff injury and ensuing surgery and a concussion (from the heavy ice)  have caused not only physical pain, but memory issues and much time off work.

The other friend is having surgery in a couple of weeks and was looking for peace and prayers for self and the doctor and nurses.

The Sacrament begins with a penitential rite whereby sins are acknowledged.  The priest then reads a short passage of Scripture.  The forehead and palms of the hands are anointed with holy oil (olive oil that is blessed at the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday each year) as Father prays over the anointed person. We do this according to Scripture: Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. (James 5:14)

Father then prayed a prayer for each friend.  The prayer for my injured friend mentioned and return of health in mind and body and a return to the work of their livelihood.

The prayer for my other friend included prayers for a successful surgery and return to health, and included a prayer for guidance for the doctors and nurses who would give care during the procedure and ensuing hospital stay.

This Sacrament usually includes the Eucharist, but since we had just been to Mass that part was omitted.

Both friends glowed with gratitude and holiness (as the Sacrament also has the saving power of forgiveness of sins).

This Sacrament used to be call Extreme Unction and was used primarily when death was imminent.  Forgiveness of sins, viaticum (food for the journey-the Eucharist) and anointing are all wonderful ways to begin the journey to Heaven.

However, the Sacrament is much more widely used now than in the past.

Do you know someone who is ill, facing surgery, suffering from Alzheimer's or other ailment such as a stroke or cancer?  If so, this Sacrament is available.  Get in touch with your parish priest.  I'm confident that he will be more than happy to confer this Sacrament for you or a loved one.

Monday, September 29, 2014

For What It's Worth

I had an interesting experience at Mass today.

It was the High School Family Mass.  The high school athletes were there and so were many families, thus the church was very full. As a result, instead of sitting at the end of the pew where we always sit, we moved down to make room for others.

The gentleman that sat down beside us was a man that I have seen at daily Mass.

His clothes and other features about him tell part of his tale.

His sweater was worn out at the elbow, his slacks not in the best shape. What little hair he had was long and a bit unkempt.

There were other things about him that made me know his state in life was not as easy as most of the people sitting in that church.

When it was time for the collection, I handed our tenacious one our envelope with our usual contribution inside.

I was watching that end of the pew because my Dear One was ushering and had the collection basket.

I noticed the gentleman reach in his pocket and take out a single dollar bill.  In that moment, I knew that he was more generous than all of us at church.

"He sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money in to the treasure. Many rich people put in large sums.  A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents. Calling his disciple to Himself, he said to them "Amen I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had." (Mark 12: 41-44)

May we all trust the Lord with our "wealth", no matter how big or small that me be, and know that when we are generous, He will never hold back His blessings.

Monday, September 22, 2014

God is Faithful

Every morning as part of my morning prayers I say, "keep us safe, body and soul".

Twice in the past two days God really had my back.

Sunday, the day before a major freeway was set to reopen after being closed for complete overhaul since April,  someone decided it would be fun to open just a small section for foot, bicycle and long board traffic.

Our tenacious one decided she wanted to go with a friend and ride bikes down there.  They did, indeed, have fun.  In fact, they were having so much fun that they went way (WAY) past the place where they were supposed to stop.

My Dear One called me, trying not to sound too worried, and asked me to pray since the girls had been gone a long time and he did not see them in the crowd.  That was a terrifying phone call, to make and receive!

I immediately called my prayer warrior mom and then hit the floor on my knees.  I just kept saying The Lord's Prayer over and over and the Hail Mary and begging St. Anthony (among others) to show my Dear One where the girls were.

I also called 911.  Seems that every Livonia police officer was already down on the freeway (keeping the fun safe, and as it turns out, looking for other lost children.)  I gave them names and descriptions of the girls and then resumed praying.  Wayne found an officer who took him in his cruiser and they went looking together.

Thankfully they found them soon after!  Once 4 o'clock hit the construction works (or someone in charge) starting sending people off the freeway and made them make their way back to the beginning on the service drive of the freeway (which was full of traffic!)  That's were the girls were found, safe and sound, and tiredly trying to make their way back to Wayne.  They got to ride in a police car back to our vehicle and then rest on the ride home.

They had no idea what a hoopla they had caused.

Today, God was watching over us again.  A vehicle full of us were going with Josh to pick up his new, blue Mustang.

During the drive there, which was very long and involved many freeways and a new driver,  we came very close to being creamed by a pickup truck whose driver was in a hurry. Thanks to guardian angels, quick thinking, and no panicking on the part of the new driver, the vehicle we were in was returned to its original lane with not even a scratch on the fender.

(It was a lot more adrenaline pumping than that, but two stories in one blog is a lot to read!)

Anyway, we are all home and safe.

God be praised!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Hope in Tragedy

Once again the students lined the sidewalks leading into the church.

Most  were dressed up in suits or dresses, some in bright red band jackets.  The band instruments were inside, ready to be played at the appropriate time.

The "No Parking-Funeral" signs were not just in front of the church today. They lined the streets and were even in the parking lot of the park adjacent to the church.  There were going to be a lot of people at this funeral.

Within the past four years, our parish has lost a number of young people.

One year an incoming Freshman died of a brain tumor.

Another year two recent graduates died in a horrific car crash.

At all three of these funerals, the teens did the same thing. They lined the sidewalks to show support for the families mourning the loss of their children.

Today's funeral looks similar on the outside.  Another young life cut short.  Mourners in black, flowers galore, tissue boxes at the ready, tears, and hugs.

But a huge question mark hangs in the air this time.

This time the funeral is for a girl who committed suicide.  She would have been a senior this year.  She was beautiful but troubled.  She knew loss.  She knew pain.

Quite recently the suicide death of Robin Williams shook the world. The world asked, "why?"

Again, today, we wonder "why?"

Where do we turn at times like this, when there don't seem to be any answers?

The line of teens outside showed the way.  The way into the church. The way into the Sacraments that bring us comfort.  The way into the presence of the Lord, where we find all of our hope.

Christ Jesus, bring comfort to those who mourn; bring peace to those in pain.  As you promised, turn our sorrow into joy.  May we hope in You!  Amen.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Catholic Mass Mob

On Sunday, July 13,  the forth Catholic Mass Mob took place at Sweetest Heart of Mary Church in Detroit.

Unfortunately for us, by the time I heard that this group was started, the third Mass had just passed.
Upwards of 1000 people filled  St. Joseph Church near Eastern Market.  Reading about it and seeing photos piqued my curiosity and I "liked" the Catholic Mass Mob page on Facebook.  It was there  that I learned about the next Mass.

Gratefully, we and about 1800 other people heeded the invitation to come and attend Mass at a Detroit Historic Church.  We were blessed to have Bishop Reese say the Mass.

Sweetest Heart of Mary church is incredibly beautiful.  I only had my phone with me so the photos don't do it justice but here is a small sampling of what it looks like.

The choir loft.  The acoustics are so great that one would have thought there were upwards of 20 choir members singing. There were only 8, and it was wonderful. Plus, when you have a whole church full of people who have made an extra special effort to be there, and almost everyone sings, it is a joyful sound, indeed. 

The Stations of the Cross were glorious.  Each station sits on its own "balcony" with a canopy over the top of it.  Just beautiful.

These are just two of the many stained glass windows that surround the church.  Breath taking.

This is the ambo shown in an off-center photo of the main alter. I thought I had one straight on, but I guess not.  Gorgeous! 

St. Therese alcove to the right of the main alter.

Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Immaculate Heart of Mary. 
 I would imagine the pews were hand carved.
 There were two beautiful confessionals at the back of the church. Hannah said, "I would go to confession in one of those!" 

This is someone else's photo of the front of the church. I wasn't far enough away to get a photo of the twin spires so I borrowed this! 

There are many more photos that show the magnificence of the church on Facebook at Catholic Mass Mob.  Take a peek, and if you're in the area, consider joining us at the next Mass Mob, August 10 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Albertus Church. 

After Mass, we went to lunch at Onassis Coney Island right across from the field that used to be the home of Tiger Stadium. It was a wonderful day and we look forward to the next month's Mass Mob.

Monday, June 30, 2014

A Thin Layer of Dust

This is summer number two of bigs trucks, large holes, huge sand piles, cement pipes, and many a detour trying to avoid the road work that is going to improve driving in our neighborhood a lot!

We, personally, have more vehicles than you typically find parked at any one house in the area (or State), and on any given day, because of all the work going on, they are covered in dust.

A vehicle just back from the car wash will, within an hour or so, be covered with a thin layer of dust.

One that hasn't been washed in a week or so will have a lot more.

And one that has actually been driven in the work zone, will likely be mud splattered as well.

This is kind of what our lives looks like when we get further and further from Sanctifying Grace.

Step out of the confessional on a given Saturday afternoon and your soul is shiny clean and spotless (if you've made a good confession.)

However, being human, it doesn't take us long to slip into little sins, that coat us with a "thin layer of dust".

A week or two out, we my find that we've slipped more often than we'd like and that dust layer feels likes its getting a little thicker.

A few months (or years for some) we are not only "mud covered", we may be mired in quicksand and sinking fast.

Sin has a way of catching up with us.  We are, after all, concupiscent beings.   We won't be perfect until heaven.

Thankfully, in His great mercy, Jesus left us with a solution to the sin problem;  the Sacrament of Confession.

I tend to write about this often because I am so graced by good priests who listen well, give amazing counseling and advice and then do what Jesus gave them permission to do: "loose on earth" so that my sins will be "loosed in heaven" ( Matthew 18:18).

How thick is your layer of dust? Or, how deep is your quicksand?

Run, don't walk, to your nearest Catholic Church (go to to find a schedule of confession times) and get cleaned up.  You'll be so glad you did!

(If it has been a while since you frequented the Sacrament and you need a refresher, check out my earlier posts on this blog that go step-by-step through the process--and don't forget the ice cream!)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

I Love Answered Prayers

I just had to share an event that occurred at our daughter's wedding reception.

Sometime during the reception one of the kids (one who does not drive yet) asked for the keys so she could retrieve something from the van.

Three hours later, she remembered that she couldn't quite remember what she did with the keys after she got what she needed.  Of course, by this time it was dark and things were made a little more difficult.

We borrowed a flashlight (thanks Terry!) and went to look in the van. Sure enough, there were the keys in the back seat.  Sigh.

Our son Michael had left the reception an hour earlier and was just getting home when we called him to see if he would bring us the extra set of keys.  My heart was heavy because it was an hour drive that he had just made that he would have to make again, only this time in the dark.  So, I started to pray.

Someone, not sure who, got a hold of a park police officer.  He used all his special tools on the driver's side door to no avail.  He could not get the door open far enough to get his metal rod inside the car, to attempt to hit the unlock switch.   So, he put all his tools away and encouraged me to call AAA, which I did.

Some friends graciously agreed to wait and see what was going to happen, and volunteered to meet Michael half way and then bring the keys back to us (thanks Lil and Jim!).

While I was on hold with AAA, I got this nudge inside telling me to ask the officer to try the passenger side.  He was willing to try, but with the message loud and clear that the doors were made the same way and that likely it would not work.

So, with fireworks lighting up the night sky, I walked over and drew a sign of the cross on the passenger door and then walked away and continued to pray.  Later conversations would reveal that several others were praying to their favorite Saints (St. Anthony to name just one) as well.

I decided to call on Mamma Mary.  I kept begging her, 1) to allow the door to open far enough to get the tool inside the van (which she did!) and 2) to guide the metal rod to the door lock and click it open

I heard the lock pop and was beside myself with joy. And, so, I give a grateful thank you to all those who prayed for us and for the answered prayers.

We got to go to the hotel as planned (with our toothbrushes and pj's with us), and get a good night's sleep.

Thank you, Mamma Mary, for your prayers, and thank you Jesus for your answer!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014

What a Sunday!

This past Sunday was one of great rejoicing in our Church.

Not only was is Divine Mercy Sunday, (Jesus I trust in You), we also welcomed two giants in our recent history into the family of Saints; Pope Saint John Paul II and Pope Saint John XXIII.

 I love being Catholic!!!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Cobblestones on the Path

If you think of life as a journey, and the journey to heaven as a path, then the events in your life could be considered cobblestones.  The stones line up, or meander here and there, but eventually you get where you're going--if you stay on the path!

If you ever wonder if God has a plan for your life, you're not alone.  All of us question where we are headed.  Sometimes it feels like we're given a dream, only to have it snatched away and changed into something completely unexpected.  Often it feels like we have an emptiness that we don't quite know how to fill.

In my case it was the latter.

Ever since childhood my dream was to be married and have a big family.  Dream come true.

While there was a definite path leading up to my marriage, the part of the path I'm going to focus on comes after the wedding.  In the first 4 years of our marriage we had three children.  During our break between children #3 and #4, God distinctly told me to sign up for nursing school.  So I did!  

Six years, and 2 additional children later, I was a nurse.  I had no idea when I would get to use my degree, but I had it!  

Along the line, God told me to homeschool our children. So I did!  

I loved teaching and learning.  How much I had  missed in my own school experience, especially in the area of my Roman Catholicism.  My love for Christ and His Church bloomed into daily Mass attendance and frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and my prayer life bloomed as well.  As I taught the children, I learned about  quite a few wonderful Saints that I had not previously known. 

About four years ago, God told me to become the nurse manager of a new ultrasound clinic that our local crisis pregnancy center was opening.  So I did!  

I get to counsel clients and do ultrasounds for women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. 

In February of 2011, God told me to start this blog.  So I did! 

All these things brought me great fulfillment.  But, in 2012, I started to feel like there was something missing.  I had this feeling that something was coming but I wasn't sure what it might be.  So, I began to pray and pray and pray.  

Last July, my dear one signed me up for a mom's retreat that was being hosted by the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist.   While I was on the retreat, spending time with other moms and the wonderful, joyful Dominican nuns, the Mother Superior gave a talk in which she listed many Dominican Saints--some of whom I had learned to love during our homeschool days.  

And then . . . a friend of mine told me she was joining the Lay Dominicans . . . and my heart melted!  I knew this was what God was calling me to do.  

What do Lay Dominicans do?  They bring Christ to others through, among others things, writing.  They minister to people in the community through, among other things, counseling women in crisis pregnancies. They attend daily Mass and pray frequently throughout the day.  They study their faith so that they can better share it with others. All of my cobblestones, lining up!!

So, I have begun my journey into the Lay Dominican community.  My heart is full and happy.  The empty feeling is gone.  

If you are searching for what God has planned for you, don't give up!! PRAY, PRAY, PRAY.  (Remembering that prayer often means LISTENING!)  God will lead you as surely as He has lead me. 

Please pray for me on my journey.  I will be praying for all of you.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Late Night with Jesus

Ok, technically it's early morning, but I thought it had a familiar ring to it.

It's 1:57 a.m. and I'm awake again.  This is not an every night occurrence, but it happens often enough that it feels like a routine.  Most nights I just make the most of this time by praying; tonight I'm writing about it.

When you wake up in the middle of the night and you can't go back to sleep, what is your first course of action?

Do you go get something to eat, turn on the boob tube, snuggle with the baby (who may have woken you up)?  Do you lie there worrying, creating a list of things to do the next day, or frustrated that you're awake again, and would rather be sleeping?

I've done all of the above.  There is one more thing to try; pray.

I know that often I'm awakened by the Lord because the house is finally quiet and He wants some quality time with me.  I always need quality time with Him, but with a busy household (that has been busier and noisier lately with all the "snow/cold" days) our time together has been shorter and more interrupted than usual.

When you wake up, let Jesus be your first thought.  He will direct you from there.  He knows your needs and loves to hear you give voice to them.  He wants you to waste time with Him and if the only time you take to waste with Him is the middle of the night, He'll take it!  Often, He demands it.

Think about the four ways to pray; Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication (ACTS).

Don't give Jesus just your memorized prayers, which are wonderful, don't get me wrong.  What He wants most often is your heartfelt prayers.  The ones where you just talk to Him about everything that's on your mind.  If this is hard for you, try writing Him a letter.  Hey, you're awake anyway, you might as well get up and get a notebook and a pen.

Then there is a listening prayer.  Can you be still with the Lord?  Can you hear what He wants to say to you?  There's an old saying that states, God gave us one mouth and two ears so we should listen twice as much as we talk.  Same goes with praying.  God has much to say to us.  In the quiet, still, dark of the late night,  what is Jesus wanting to say to you?  Don't fight it.  He's got some good stuff for you!

I think this is what He wanted from me tonight so I'm going back to bed.  Happy praying!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Seven Sorrows

In times of sorrow in your life, to whom do you turn for comfort?

Jesus, of course.  A spouse, a friend, a sibling?

How about Mamma Mary?

Being redeemed by Christ from the moment of her conception left Mary free the sorrow of any personal sin on her part, but that does not mean that she did not suffer and did not experience sorrow in her life.

Mary's life was lived entirely for God.  Her initial fiat ("may it be done unto me according to your word." Luke 1:38) was just the beginning of the suffering she would face.  Being an unmarried young woman and pregnant, I'm certain, caused no little tongue wagging and head shaking.

 There are seven particular sorrows, however, that we meditate on when we speak of Mary's sorrows.

When meditating on these seven sorrows add a Hail Mary after each one and it becomes a devotion.

The first sorrow of Mary is: The Prophesy of Simeon.  "Behold this Child is to be the rise and fall of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted and you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed."  Luke 2:34-35) 

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. (Luke1:28)  Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Luke 1:42), Jesus."  Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

The second sorrow of Mary: The Flight into Egypt. "Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, 'Rise, take the Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him.  Joseph rose and took the Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt."

Hail Mary . . .

The third sorrow of Mary: The Loss of the  Child, Jesus in the temple.  After they had completed its days, as they were returning, the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem, but His parents did not know it. Thinking that he was in the caravan, they journeyed for a day and looked for Him among their relatives and acquaintances, but not finding Him, they returned to Jerusalem to look for Him.  After three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions."  (Luke 2:43-46) 

Hail Mary . . .

The forth sorrow of Mary: Meeting Jesus on the road to Calvary. "And there followed Him a great multitude of people, and of women, who bewailed and lamented Him." (Luke 23:7) 

Hail Mary . . .

The fifth sorrow of Mary: Standing at the foot of the Cross. "Standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother an his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala." (John 19:25)

Hail Mary . . .

The sixth sorrow of Mary: The taking down of Jesus' body from the cross. "Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council,…came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus . . . he gave the body to Joseph.  … He took Him down."  (Mark 15: 43-46)

Hail Mary . . .

The seventh sorrow of Mary: The burial of Jesus in the tomb.  "Having bought a linen cloth, he took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in the tomb that had been hewn out of the rock." (Mark 15:46)

Hail Mary . . . 

So, when you are sorrowing, remember that you are never alone.  Turn to our Lady and meditate on her sorrows and let her bring you comfort.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

How Deep is Your Cushion?

Today's Gospel reading is from Mark: 4: 35-41.

In the reading, the disciples are in a boat being tossed about on the water in a "violent squall".  And where is Christ?  "Jesus was in the stern, asleep on a cushion."  Asleep?  On a cushion?  In a fishing boat?

Fr. Urban's homily was all about the cushion.  He said he spent a lot of time reading and trying to figure out why Mark would make sure that the presence of the cushion was a detail in this Gospel.

His conclusion was that the cushion was God and the relationship that Jesus had with Him.  He was so confident in this relationship and the protection of being in so close a relationship with the Father, that he was able to sleep in the midst of the storm.

Can you sleep in the midst of the storms in your life?

How does one go about finding the trust that gives such peacefulness?

I think it starts with thanksgiving.  Once you begin to be grateful for ALL the things God does in your life; good, hard, painful, wonderful, normal, then you begin to see that He is over all things.

Thank Him for everything!  Did you wake up this morning?  (Obviously if you're reading this!)  Thank Him.  Did you eat?  Thank Him. Did you have a hot shower?  Did someone you love hug you?  Does your home have heat?  Do you have a shovel and a strong back; or someone young and capable of shoveling all this snow?? The list could go on and on.  Did your car start? Did you get where you were going without mishap?

All of those things are easy to be thankful for because they are good things.

 Now, try being thankful if you answered 'no' to any of them.

I have a friend who is the most grateful person I know.  Her husband has been out of work since June; she thanks God every day that he is able to help her at home while he looks for a job.

Her teenaged daughter spent a couple of days in the hospital recently with pneumonia.  She was grateful for good doctors, nurses and medicine.

 When the car repair bill was higher than expected she praised the Lord.

Does the stress of these situations get overwhelming sometimes? Sure it does, and then she has a good cry, thanks God for the tears of release and puts her smile back on!

Never miss a chance to be thankful.  It builds your trust in a God who loves you, in a Savior who died for you.  Take time to care for your cushion and you will sleep like Jesus!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Did you know...?

I heard something on the radio yesterday that I found fascinating and thought that I would share it.  I wish I could give credit to whomever was speaking but I was in the car and just heard it by chance so I can't.  

The person speaking was teaching that Psalm 23 is the Psalm that the early Christians would recite on the way to the Easter Vigil (and probably during) when new members were welcomed into the Church.  

Being welcomed into Holy Mother Church means receiving the three Sacraments of Initiation; Baptism, the Eucharist and Confirmation.  

Let's go through the Psalm and break it down:

"The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
    He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
    he refreshes my soul." (Psalm 23: 1-3)

The quiet waters are the waters of Baptism, which remove our original sin as infants and all sins up to that point as adults, and bring us into God's family.

"You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies." (Psalm 23:5)

The table He spreads for us is the table of the Eucharist where Jesus feeds us with His own Precious Body and Blood.

"You anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows." (Psalm 23:5)

The oil used at Confirmation is called Holy Chrism and "is a mixture of olive oil and balsam," and is used to signify favor and strength from the Lord. (Catholic Education Resource.)
"And I will dwell in the house of the Lord, forever." (Psalm 23:6) 

All of these Sacraments bring us into the Church which leads us to our final resting place with Jesus in heaven.