Saturday, December 26, 2015

#amillionforMegan



This cutie is my niece and Goddaughter, Megan.

Megan was recently diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma.  This is a rare and aggressive form of soft tissue cancer.

My Fighter




My goal is to get 1,000,000 people praying for Megan.  So, if you're reading this, please pray. But do more than that.  Please share this with your family and friends and ask them to pray as well.

Megan and her family have rock solid faith and are leaving this is God's hands (with the help of doctors and chemo!)  They are also full of joy for life and in each other:

Not really twins! 

Sister fun!

The Fam 

A friend of Megan's recently tweeted: Why do bad things have to happen to such good people?  My response was "Megan is creating prayer warriors." Will you be a prayer warrior for Megan and her family?

#amillionforMegan





Thank you!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Bitter Sweet Retreat

This past weekend, my mom, sisters and I were blessed to attend a moms' retreat run by some fantastic Dominican Sisters.

This is my forth year attending and their first.  I love this retreat and wanted to share the experience with them.

We got to the retreat center, an elementary school run by the Sisters, and chose the classroom where we would be bunking down for the night.  We were in the 6th grade room and ended up having the room all to ourselves even though there were over 150 moms on the retreat.  Pretty sweet.

Being in the sixth grade room meant that our Adoration hour was at 6 a.m.  I'm an early bird so this was  perfect for me.

The main content of our retreat was given by a priest who edited a translation of St. Augustine's "Confessions".  He was very knowledgeable about Augustine and his mother, St. Monica.  He was also quite witty and fun to listen to.

After a dinner of noodles and chicken (yummy, but I don't know what the sauce was so I can't tell the name of the dish), we played a white elephant game and I won a copy of Scott and Kimberly Hahn's "Rome Sweet Home", a book I've been wanting to read for a number of years.

The retreatants then prayed night prayer with the Sisters and we went to bed.

I was having a hard time sleeping, being on the floor and all, but sleep was the least of my concerns by 2:30 a.m. My mom, who had been walking in the halls, heard sobbing coming from the ladies room.

A young mom, 17 weeks pregnant, had just suffered a miscarriage and my mom came to wake me up to help.  Yikes!  Not at all what I was expecting to do this weekend.

I went see her and asked one of the moms who had also been alerted by the crying, to call 911.

By the time the paramedics arrived, I was privileged to have seen little Benedict, born too soon, but perfectly formed.  His little head, his tiny arms and legs, fingers, toes, mouth, nose and ears.  He was probably all of 8 inches long from his head to his bottom.  So beautiful!  And so sad for his dear mother.  She named him and baptized him.  Such presence of mind for one so young.

The rest of the retreat, though wonderful, passed in kind of a blur. We sang and attended Mass at the Mother house, which is BEAUTIFUL! We delved more into "Confessions".  By the time is was over, I was so tired, but talking about going back for more next year.

Please send up a prayer for this young mom and her family.  Thanks.


www.thatslife12.blogspot.com

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Suffering Sanctified

Wayne and I are in Year B of Catholic Biblical School of Michigan.  We just finished studying the Gospel of Mark.  The topic of suffering was addressed and one of the members of our small group said something that bears repeating. (He is not sure whom to credit with these words but maybe someone reading this knows and can share.)


Christ our Lord became man. While man was created in the image and likeness of God and we are dignified by this association, Jesus, by becoming man (by "touching" human life) gives special dignity to  humanity.

Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River.  He touched the waters and thereby sanctified them for our baptism.

Jesus fasted for 40 days in the desert before beginning His public ministry.  He "touched" fasting thereby sanctifying it as a practice we should all embrace.

Jesus "touched" suffering.  He suffered immensely and He suffered well.  His touch sanctified suffering and made it something that we should long to do well.

St. Paul wrote in his letter to the Colossians (Col 1:24) "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."

Fr. John Riccardo explains that what is "lacking in the afflictions of Christ" is our participation in them.

People in my age group and older were taught to offer it up when we had a headache or other type of pain we were dealing with.

I have learned over the years, from great teachers, that in addition to offering up our suffering, we should also UNITE our suffering with that of Christ's.

We will all suffer. It is an inevitable fact of life as a consequence of original sin.  For many, it is definitely their path to sanctification.  It doesn't matter how little or big the suffering is. From an annoying headache, a broken bone, loneliness, or cancer, uniting it to Christ's suffering sanctifies not only us but the suffering as well.




www.thatslife12.blogspot.com

Monday, October 19, 2015

Truth

Last week I read quotes from two very wise gentlemen.  Both had to do with truth.

George Orwell said, "The further society drifts from the truth, the more it will hate those who speak it."

My cousin, Don Gervase, said, "There is one truth…how far you drift from it is determined by adopting a "truth" that fits with what you've been persuaded to believe.  That is why counterfeits look so much like the real thing, but are still fake."

We have seen this drifting away in major ways in our country.

Abortion is still legal even though we have been able to show, for decades, that the growing baby is not just a blob of tissue.  Some have been persuaded to believe that this is necessary and good for women.  Abortion is not health care.

Assisted suicide is becoming more widely accepted.  It is tragic when someone healthy and able bodied commits suicide, but when someone ill decides on assisted suicide they are seen as heroic. Suicide is not health care either.

Marriage has been redefined to include same sex couples, though this is most definitely not what God intended at creation.  Again, some have been persuaded to believe that this is necessary and good for these couples.

Jesus gave a mission to the 12 to go and preach the good news, baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. They were to take His teachings and make sure that others learned them the way He taught them.

The apostles were the first Christians. They learned the truth from Truth Himself.  They spread that truth throughout the known world, and it has been this truth that the Catholic Church has been charged with teaching for nearly 2000 years.

In His teaching, we have the seven Sacraments: Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Sacrament of the Sick.

In His teaching, we have the truth about marriage, divorce, contraception, the sacredness of life from conception to natural death, how to live our faith so that our neighbors are loved as we love ourselves and so on.

Jesus prayed before He died:

"As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you." John 17: 19-21

I pray for an end to abortion. I pray for more people to realize the dignity of human life. And, I add my prayers to those of our Savior;  that one day we may be one in the faith that Christ left us.


www.thatslife.blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Mary Question

Many people, Catholic and non Catholic alike, find it difficult to get past the "Mary question";

Why Mary?

To be fair, there is more than one Mary question.

Some don't get why we need to go to Jesus through Mary.

Some wonder why Catholics "worship" Mary. (We don't.)

Some don't get how we can "adore" Mary. (We don't.)

Some don't understand why we pray to Mary.

All big, valid questions.

For starters, we need Mary because Jesus needed Mary. In the manner that Jesus chose to come to earth, He needed Mary to carry Him and birth Him.  Because He came as an infant, He needed Mary to nourish Him and bathe and clothe Him.  Because He went through childhood, He needed Mary to take care of Him: cooking, cleaning, sewing, teaching---being a mom!

Picture this; A child walks into the house with a friend that s/he wants to introduce.  Dad and mom are standing there and the child says, "Dad I want my friend to meet you.  Chris, this is my dad."  "Nice to meet you Chris",  says Dad stretching out his hand.  Mom is standing there, smiling, waiting.

Chris says, "Is this your mom?"  To which the child replies, "Yeah, but she's not important.  Let's go in the family room and talk with my dad for a while."

Ouch!

Christ did not make Mary's role, and her being, so important just to have us set her aside and forget about her now that her job of bringing Christ into the world is done.  Her job of bringing us to Christ never ends.

We go to Jesus through Mary because she is the vessel through whom He chose to come to us.

Secondly, we don't worship or adore Mary. Worship and adoration are for God alone.  We offer Mary something called hyperdulia.   Click here http://centeredinchrist1.blogspot.com/2015/05/hyperdulia.html
to read my previous post on this subject.

Finally, why do we pray to Mary?  Remember that prayer is conversation.  When we go to Mary with our needs, we are asking her to take our needs to Christ. We are asking her to intercede for us.  We do this for each other all the time. "Pray for me, please, I have a test to take." "Pray that I can find a good job," "Pray for my sister, she's going on a trip."  We pray for each other all the time.

In the Old Testament, when Queen Mother, Bathsheba, went to see her son, King Solomon, he got up from his throne and bowed down to her (he honored her).  (1 Kings 2:19)

Why was Queen Mother Bathsheba there to see King Solomon?  She was there on behalf of someone who had asked her to talk to her son for him (to intercede for him).  (1 Kings 2:19)

At the wedding feast of Cana, who knew the need of the couple?  Mary did. What did she do for them?  She interceded for them.  "They have no more wine".  (John 2:3)  Jesus, ever willing to please His mother, performed His first miracle.  Why would we not go to Mary when she has complete access to her Son at all times.  She is more than willing to intercede for us at all times.

But there is more.  What words did Mary say to the servant?  "Do whatever He tells you." (John 2:5)
Mary leads us to Christ and His will.  She still tells us to listen to Jesus and do whatever He tells us.

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Notice the Rosary on the arm of Mother Mary, likely the most well-known Marian devotion.  In this devotion Mary, again, leads us to Jesus as the mysteries of the Rosary take us through the life of her Son.  As we dwell on the life of Christ, this brings us closer to Him as our Savior.

O Mamma Mary, O Queen Mother,  O Mother of our Savior,  pray for us, O holy Mother of God, that we make be made worthy of the promises of Christ.  Amen











Friday, July 3, 2015

What's Your Isaac?

In yet another excellent homily, our priest encouraged us to find our Isaac.

What’s your Isaac? 

In the book of Genesis, chapter 22, verses 1-19 we encounter Abraham being tested by God.  God sends Abraham to “a place I will show you.”  He instructs Abraham to sacrifice his son, “your only son, whom you love.”

So Abraham sets off, trusting that God will again work His wonders and that “God, Himself, will provide the lamb for the sacrifice.”

Abraham was willing to give up his Isaac, his promised one, for love of God. 

Father Tom encouraged us to find our Isaac.  What are we willing to sacrifice for love of God? Because our sacrifices mean something in our lives and the life of the church, we are all called to sacrifice.  

Right away, though, Father gave me an out.  He said, “I’m not talking about sweets or the little things we do during Lent.  I’m talking about an Isaac.  Something we love and would have a very difficult time giving up. 

I breathed a little sigh of relief and went home and had a brownie covered in chocolate ice cream.  And, I pondered what my Isaac is. 

All day long I thought and prayed about my Isaac.  I pondered while I ate part of a chocolate bar.  I pondered over a mug of hot chocolate and I pondered while the chocolate from my s’more dripped on my hands and down my chin (hey we’re up North and it’s a holiday weekend.) 

By the time I crawled into bed, I knew I had found my Isaac.  It is most definitely chocolate (really the only sweets I like).  On any given day, I eat at least one thing that contains chocolate.  I also like a mug or two of hot chocolate, even in the summertime.

I have given up chocolate in the past.  It is hard for a day but I feel so much better without it.  Something always draws me back to it. Perhaps a birthday, we have a lot of those in our house. 

 This time it was my nephew’s wedding.  They had a dessert bar extravaganza and the parfait was just too much to pass up.  Thus, my plunge back into the chocolate abyss began.  (Being on Prednisone didn’t help either.)


Now that I have admitted to at least one of my Isaacs, I have to come to terms with going back to living without chocolate.  It is not something I can commit to for an indefinite period of time.   I always give myself a time limit and then splurge for a bit before I dig back.  I’m human and weak after all.  But dig in I will and reap the benefits of doing without, especially if I offer this sacrifice to God for Him to use for His good purpose in my life and the life of the Church. 

While I do without chocolate, I will continue to think about other Isaacs that I have in my life. I’m sure there are more things I can do without that will draw me out of myself and closer to my Lord.  I am certain God has changes in store for me if I am honest in my search.   So I will keep praying about it.

Now I challenge you. What’s your Isaac?



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Down In Adoration Falling

Years ago when our 4th child was a baby, I discover Eucharistic Adoration. How, in almost 30 years as a Catholic, I had never encounter it before baffles me to this day.

We were on vacation in Canada or perhaps New York (I need to look this up), and we were at a church with a huge garden which had a walking path lined with larger-than-life statues of many Saints.

I was pushing Josh in the stroller looking for the kids' names on the base of their Patron Saints.  As I made my way to the doors of the church for a peek inside, I noticed a side grotto hidden behind a stone wall.  I curiously made my way in and there was Christ in the Monstrance.

A small sign requested silence, but my heart requested me to go on my knees.  Down in adoration falling.



stanneshrine.org

Such a peace overwhelmed me that I knew this would not be my last encounter at an adoration chapel.

At the Last Supper, Jesus gave us His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity not only to consume but to Adore.  He is with us in every Catholic church, in every tabernacle, in every part of the world.  He longs for us to spend time with Him whether we can receive Him in that moment or not.  We can be physically with Him and spiritually with Him.  Don't stay away.

Come!  Let us Adore!!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

You Are What You Eat



When our children were little, they had a favorite book called Chocolatina by Erik Kraft.  




The story is about a young girl named Tina who could not get enough chocolate. She ate it for breakfast, and at lunch and dinner.  She loved it so much she even snuck some during her classes at school.

Her health teacher drilled into the children's heads that, "you are what you eat".

One day, to Tina's horror, she actually turns completely chocolate.  She can't bend her arms to comb her hair,  her best friend won't sit by her on the bus because her mother would be mad if she got chocolate on her clothes.  Worst of all, her feet melt on the hot playground and the other kids have to carry her back into school.

Her teacher's warning had come true.  What a nightmare.

We, as Catholics, have a much better opportunity before us.  We also become what we eat.  But, we have access to the greatest feast of all time, the Eucharist.

Jesus Christ, Himself, becomes our food.



His own words confirm this:  "I am the Bread of Life."(John 6:48)

He goes on to say,  "If you do not eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you. He who feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and I will raise him on the last day." (John 6: 53-54)

So what do we become if we receive the Eucharist?  We become like Christ. We become holy.

What does the Eucharist give us?  Abundant grace, sanctification, forgiveness of venial sins and a promise we can't refuse, eternal life.

There is no better offer on the face of the earth.  Come to the feast!!!


www.thatslife12.blogspot.com

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Ordinary Sanctity

Sanctity is the state of being holy or saintly.

In my last blog I talked about being called to be ordinary.  This does not mean that I am not called to sanctity. Mother Angelica, founder of EWTN said, "We are all called to be great saints--don't miss the opportunity!"

Scripture tells us, "be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matt:5:48)

So, while the majority of us are called to live ordinary lives, this does not give us permission to be less than God wants us to be.

How do we achieve that to which we are called?  Several ways:

Prayer.  Pray every single day.  Don't let it be a sloppy prayer either.  If you are only going to pray a little bit, make it GREAT!!  Get down on your knees.  Breath in peace and let your mind focus on God. (He's always waiting to hear from us!)

Practice ACTS:

Acclamation---praise God and adore Him; realizing that He is Almighty!!

Contrition--tell Him where you messed up and be sorry. Tell Him you're sorry for hurting Him.

Thanksgiving-- thank Him for everything--joys as well as sufferings.

Supplication--ask Him for what you need.

Mass:  go to Mass more than on Sundays.  Every single day Christ is there in Holy Communion waiting to come to you.  Try to attend Mass at least one more day during the week.  You will find that as you let Christ feed you with Himself, that you find it hard to stay away.

Confession: Christ instituted the Sacrament of Confession for a reason!! We need it!  He knows we need it.  Go!  You'll be glad you did.  Afraid? Embarrassed? Been a while?  It doesn't matter.  Pray for courage and go.  It will lead you closer to Him.

Do something for someone in need.  Needs come in all sizes: donate food to a food bank, make a meal for a new mom or someone recovering from surgery, tutor an adult who cannot read, bring Communion to a shut-in, pray for someone who is dying.  It doesn't have to be huge, it just has to be done.

Read your Bible.  If you don't have one, go buy one; a NICE one.  Start with a Gospel.  Read what God has to say to you. It's a beautiful thing!

Read about the life of a Saint.  There are so many amazing Saints from which to choose; Saints who were children, Saints who were men, Saints who were women, Saints who had visions, Saints who were hermits, Saints who were martyred.  Start anywhere.

The road to sanctity is within reach.  All you have to do to get on the road is have the desire.  God will lead you.  Start today!



















Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Called To Be Ordinary

When you delve into the lives of the Saints you come across some great lovers of God, His Church and His people.

You'll meet, among others:

 St. Francis of  Assisi, who was called to give up a life of great privilege and wealth. Instead he wore a scratchy robe and sandals as he "rebuilt" the Church.

graceandspace.org

St. Clare of Assisi was a great friend of St. Francis.  She was an Italian of noble birth who also gave up her wealth to serve God after hearing St. Francis preach.  Saints beget Saints, the saying goes.

acfp2000.com

St. Frances Cabrini, also an Italian, left her native land to travel to the new United States. Here she founded schools, orphanages and hospitals.

wikipedia
St. Catherine of Siena, yet another Italian, lived solely on the Eucharist. She poured out her love of Christ on the poor and sick. She even helped Pope Gregory to see that he needed to return to Rome.

wikipedia
Bl. Mother Teresa of Calcutta gave up her comfortable job as a teacher and went to the streets of India to minister to the poorest of the poor.

wikipedia
St. Thomas More gave his up his life rather than give up his Catholic faith when he refused to give his allegiance to King Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England. (One of his good friends was St. John Fisher!)

wikipedia
It took St. Augustine of Hippo a long while to finally give up his sinful ways and follow the path that God planned for him. He, too, was influenced and taught by another great Saint, Abrose. He became a priest, bishop and one of the greatest Saints in the Church.  He lived a life of poverty and preaching.


wikipedia
While sainthood is a goal of mine, because sainthood implies reaching the heavenly goal, I feel like I will be a small S saint. God has called me to a very ordinary life.  I am called to be a daughter, sister, aunt, wife, mother and soon, grandmother.  I have not been called to travel to distant lands to preach the Gospel.  I have not been given great wealth with which to feed the poor and build hospitals, orphanages or schools.

I am not a brilliant scholar or preacher that can take the Word of God and make it accessible to the masses.

I cannot spend my life on the streets caring for the poorest of the poor while I have a husband and children to care for.

At this point in my life, I cannot even go out on mission trips to bring Jesus to people who have never heard of Him before.

But, I do have a calling that God desires that I carry out.  I bring Him to my own mission fields; my home, my ultrasound clinic, my blog. If I do this work of the Lord's well, I shall one day hear the best words anyone could hear:

"Well done good and faithful servant . . . come share your Master's joy." (Matt 25:23)



www.thatslife12.blogspot.com

Monday, May 11, 2015

Hyperdulia

Hyper-what?

Since it is May and May is the month of Mary our heavenly Queen I thought I would take a cue from this Sunday's homily and talk about the way we love our Mother Mary.




Father John, our associate pastor, explained the different levels of honor and respect that we give to the Holy Trinity, to Mamma Mary, and to all the other Saints and angels.

Latria is the term used when we talk about how we love the Trinity.  It means adoration.  To God alone belongs this type of love and devotion.  We should love no one and nothing more than God and so to Him alone belongs our latria. Within the definition is the clarification that: Latria carries an emphasis on the internal form of worship, rather than external ceremonies. (Wikipedia) 

The reverence we give to the Saints and angels is a lower form of devotion called dulia. We do not worship them, we do not adore them but we can and do have a devotion to them.

Since Mary is the mother of God, she rightly deserves a higher form of reverence than the other Saints and the angels.  We call the reverence we give to Mary hyperdulia. Again, this is not worship or adoration. This is devotion and reverence taken up a notch.  

Why do we honor Mary at such a level?  Because of her role in salvation history.  Her fiat, "may it be done unto me according to thy word." (Luke 1:38)

Mary, our Mother, plays three roles within the realm of the Trinity:  she is the daughter of the Father, she is the mother of the Son and she is the spouse of the Holy Spirit.  If God himself thinks highly of her to give her these three roles within the Trinity, than she absolutely deserves our devotion.  

Some with a strong devotion to Mamma Mary may be afraid that they love her too deeply.  St. Maximilian Kolbe reassures us by telling us, "Never worry about loving Mary too much. You can never love her more than Jesus does!"  

So to reiterate:  we Catholics do not worship Mary.  We are devoted to her, we go to her and ask for her intercession, and we love her in a hyperdulia kind of way.  

(Thanks to Fr. John for this lovely explanation!) 



www.thatslife12.blogspot.com


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Credible Witness

At Mass one day last week, Father asked the school children what a witness does.  They came to the conclusion that a witness gives testimony (hopefully to the truth.)

We are called to be witnesses for Christ and His Church.  Are we credible witnesses?  Do our lives show others that we love God?

In the Gospel of John chapter 10 we read:

So the Jews gathered around him and said to him,
“How long are you going to keep us in suspense? 
If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 
Jesus answered them, “I told you and you do not believe.
The works I do in my Father’s name testify to me."


 "The works I do in my Father's name testify to me." 

What works did Jesus do that testified for him?  He fed the hungry, cared for the widows, preached the good news of the kingdom of heaven, cast out demons, cured the sick and gave His life because it was God's will that He do so. 

What works do we do that testify for us to the world that we are Christians? 

Do we love our neighbor as ourselves?  Do we feed the hungry? Take care of the widow and the orphan?  

More simply, do we not speak poorly of our neighbor?  Do we take care of our aging parents?  Do we set a good example with our words and actions?  

Whether we know it or not (or believe it or not) all of our actions are being watched by someone.  Others who do not know God, but may be searching, are watching us to see how we behave differently than others who do not claim to be Christians. 

There is a story that I cannot take credit for nor give credit for because I only remember it, I don't remember who told it to me.  It goes something like this: 

A young man, looking for a place to stay for a while, came to the home of a couple who claimed to be Christian.  He stayed with them for six months.  He took note of how they lived and learned from them.  After six months he told them he needed to leave. They asked him where he would go, knowing that he did not have the money to pay for an apartment.  He told them that he was now going to spend six months with a non-Christian and see which way of life he liked better. 

If that young man had come to stay with you, would you have felt that he saw true Christianity in action when he was in your home?  Would you have been thrilled to find out that that was what he was searching for or would you have wished that you had done a better job being a credible witness?  

"Let your light shine before men in such a way that they will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matt. 5:16)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Remaining Faithful

Today was an interesting day.  There are many aspects to the story I'm about to tell so I hope this doesn't get too long.

My mom and I have been walking for the past week. We go about two miles a day and so far the weather and my muscles have cooperated beautifully!

We decided to take a break over the weekend because by Friday my legs were a little stiff (still haven't made time to go get those new shoes that I need!)

Last Sunday I began a 54 day Rosary novena. www.prayerflowers.com  This is a 27 days of petition, 27 days of thanksgiving prayer.  It has a few extra prayers, and a meditation between each decade about the mystery one is going to pray.  It is beautiful.  Since it was early, and I was feeling chipper, I decided to kneel to pray.

With the extra prayers and meditations the novena takes about a half an hour to accomplish. When I got off my knees, I was starting to hurt a bit.  My already stiff muscles were tightening and starting to cramp.  Within a few minutes, the cramping had moved from the muscles around my sciatic nerve, up my back to my shoulder blade, and into my shoulder so that moving my head was very painful.

Today was my Dominican day.  I was determined not to miss the meeting but after taking one Aleve and driving to Mass, I was pretty sure driving all the way to my meeting (35 minutes away) was probably not a great idea.  I hemmed and hawed with the idea of staying home but was determined to get there.

I took another Aleve and my dear one used a rolling pin to loosen my thigh muscles, and then rubbed my shoulder and back so I could move a little better. He then said he would drive me to my meeting.  What a great guy I have!

On the way to the meeting, I quickly re-read the email that our formation director had sent to us.  I misread the location of the meeting.  I thought our meeting was changed to the church that is about 3 miles from the school where we usually meet.  So, I had Wayne drop me off there.  By the time I realized my mistake, Wayne was on his way home.  So,  I decided I was going to walk, and called Gwen to see if she would send someone to come and get me.

Obviously, she was running the meeting and not going to answer her phone but I was persistent. To no avail.

I knew it was a long walk so I took it at a peaceful pace and just left it up to God to get me there.

About a 1/2 an hour into the hour that it took me, I was getting tired and a little discouraged. I decided to think about Christ's walk to Calvary.  Lent being in the not too distant past, and Stations of the Cross still pretty fresh in my mind, I contemplated what our Lord went through.

 I came up with all they ways I was blessed that my walk was so much different:


  • I was wearing shoes
  • My skin was intact
  • I was not wearing a crown of thorns
  • I was not carrying a heavy cross
  • No one was spitting on me
  • No one was whipping me and yelling at me to get up and keep moving
  • I was fed
  • I was not thirsty
  • I had had a good night's sleep
  • I was not cold
  • I was not hot
  • It was not raining or snowing
  • And the most important difference:  I was not going to be nailed to a cross when I reached my final destination.
Was I tired at the end? Yes!  Was I grateful that I had spent the week "training" for today? Yes!

When I talked to Gwen about all that had happened, she had a pretty profound insight.  She said that once we make a decision for Christ and follow where He is leading us, we will come up against opposition from Satan.  I was grateful that I had chosen to be peaceful about the situation and keep Christ in mind during this trial.
 A few weeks ago, my mom gave me a copy of an inspirational quote she has taped to her bathroom mirror. I have mine tucked behind my crucifix.  It reads:

 "God has a purpose for your pain, a reason for your struggle, and a gift for your faithfulness.  Don't give up!"  

Maybe this was supposed to be a deterrent from the evil one, or maybe it was a test of my faithfulness. 
I'm not sure. 

I know this; since I'm pretty sure the Aleve wore off hours ago, and since I only have a tiny little bit of tightness still in my back so I can't turn my head as far as I normally can, and I don't hurt anywhere else, that God did give me a gift for my faithfulness.  

Plus, I got to my meeting eventually and that was a great gift as well. 



Wednesday, April 1, 2015

The Ultimate Goal

buzzfeed.com

May you be as intentional in attaining heaven, 
as you are in reaching your other life goals. 


Most of us have goals.  In order to reach those goals we have to make plans. 

When our goal is vacation we make plans: where to go, when to go, how long to be gone, what to pack.

When our goal is an education for ourselves and eventually, perhaps, for our children, we make a plan:  how far to travel, how much we can afford to pay, what to study. 

When our goal for adult life is looming, we make plans: whether to stay single, get married, become a priest or religious or have a career.   

When our goal is getting through today, we make plans on a smaller scale as well: what to wear to work, what to have to eat, with whom to have lunch.

What about our ultimate goal, heaven?  If your ultimate goal is not heaven, nothing else you do in life will matter.  You can be the best accountant, basketball player, doctor, or teacher in the world, but if heaven is not your ultimate goal, your life will not be lived for its intended purpose.

If heaven is your goal, how intentional are you in reaching that goal?

Being baptized and confirmed is not enough.  You have to live intentionally for God.

You have to follow the Commandments: love God with all your being and love your neighbor as yourself.

That is being intentional.

As intentional as feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, sheltering the homeless and burying the dead. Sound familiar?

As intentional as instructing the ignorant, counseling the doubtful, admonishing the sinner, bearing wrongs patiently, forgiving offenses willingly, comforting the afflicted, and praying for the living and the dead.  These should sound familiar as well.

When we do these works intentionally, we are living with heaven as our goal.
 (See Matthew 25: 34-40)

So, I repeat:

May you be as intentional in attaining heaven, as you are in reaching your other life goals. 

One day, you'll be glad you did. 









Monday, March 30, 2015

Feeling the Thaw

Spring has officially arrived. Although the weather isn't exactly cooperating to its fullest yet, the snow is gone and the thawing has begun.

I can see it out the window and I can feel it in my being.

Winter is HARD on me.  Ask my hubby.  I was busy enough this winter with many activities not only for myself but for a few of the kids that it went by relatively quickly and so my doldrums did not hit the low point that they have in the past.

But they were definitely there.   My mood gets grey. My face has a hard time making my smile work.  I spend less time praying well or going to the Adoration chapel.  My thoughts are grey as well, which makes me more silent than I usually am.

This is hard on me and those that I love.

It was bad enough at that I actually hired our Caity girl to come and clean house for me.  She worked hard for me getting the house in shape and livable a couple of times a month.  She didn't mind doing it because she was not here to see how fast her work came undone.  I was wallowing and couldn't stand doing it because it felt like no one cared if it got done or not, least of all me.

Throw Lent in there, 40 days in the desert, and life gets a little rough.

However, change is coming. I can feel it!  I actually cleaned the windows today, inside and out.  All the doggy nose prints are gone.  The grime from the dusty road is gone and I can see the sunshine streaming in so invitingly.

I am making a mental list of things that need to be fixed and now that I'm thawing, I can actually see that these tasks are do-able and when the windows can finally be opened, it will be a joy to do them with a warm breeze blowing through house.

Twice already, I've been to the Adoration Chapel by 7 a.m. because it's not dark then anymore.  I wrote in my prayer journal for the first time in a month.  My prayer has become more focused and I can pray for other people more than I pray for myself because I can think about more than ME ME ME now.

We took the kids for frozen yogurt last night, and I wanted to go because, even though it was after 7 p.m. it was not dark.

God is faithful. Spring is here and Easter is right around the corner.  Both awesome reasons to hope!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ready?

 Are you ready for Easter?

I'm not.  It's not time to be ready because Easter is still 18 days away.

We're still in Lent, preparation time.

The lovely part is, the days are getting longer, and sunnier and warmer (in some places)!

That is great motivation for me to finish Lent strong.

How do we finish strong?  If you're on the the right track, fasting, praying and almsgiving,  then keep up the good work.

If you haven't started yet, there is still time.

You can still sign up for "The Best Lent Ever" at DynamicCatholic.com.  There is a daily reading or video to watch. They are both pretty short but meaningful.

You can still open up your Bible and read the Gospel for Mass for each day that is left (USCCB)--what the heck--keep reading it after Lent is over too.

Find a good cause, and when you give up something you like for your fast, make a donation.

Not fasting?  Give it a try. It changes your perspective on a lot of things.

Spend some time in quiet.  Turn off your phone, computer, or tablet. Whatever distracts you from thinking about God, turn it off.

Find out when a nearby church is doing Stations of the Cross.  This, too, will change your perspective on a lot of things; especially your suffering.

Eighteen days is a long time.  Jump in with both feet and see what God can do in that time period.  Your Easter season will be joyous and meaningful if you put in the effort to draw closer to God during Lent.


www.thatslife12.blogspot.com

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

House of Bread

Did you know:


Bethlehem (where Jesus was born) means "house of bread"?

the manger that Jesus lay in as a newborn was a feed trough?

that Jesus is "the bread of Life"? (John 6:48)

that the Eucharist (Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus) is nourishment for our earthly pilgrimage?

that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life? (Lumen Gentium 11)

that Jesus waits for you in the Eucharist every day (not just on Sunday?)

there is a Eucharistic Host at Mass every single day, especially for YOU? (if you are a practicing Catholic in a state of grace.)

that Jesus said, "For my flesh is real food and my blood real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in Him"? (John 6:56)

that He really meant it?

that Jesus waits for you in an Adoration Chapel near you?

that you can go to Adoration any time day or night in most of these chapels?

that your journey on earth can be so much better with Food for the journey?

Any questions?


www.thatslife12.blogspot.com




Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Perfect Peace

Do you ever wonder if you're doing just what God wants you to be doing, and not just what you think would make you happy?

God has a way of making His will perfectly clear, even if we aren't listening well.

I've been praying and praying about putting the two high schoolers on the bus next Fall.  It would save me almost 2 hours of commute time each day.  It would free up my morning for chores and the middle of my afternoon to actually cook dinner.

It would also cost $1300.  Sigh.

So, I prayed and I prayed and I messed with the budget and fiddled around with a couple of accounts and I made it work.

I had the checks and the bus form in an envelope to be dropped off at school this morning.

The only thing I didn't have was PEACE about the situation.

As I was brushing my teeth before my daily commute to the school,  I suddenly got a very clear idea of what God wanted with the situation.

Our son will graduate next year.  It would be the last year I would get to spend that much time with him on a regular basis.  I would miss our morning prayer time.  I would miss the quiet rides or noisy rides depending on what day it was and what time of day.  I would miss the lessons I get to teach and the things I get to learn about our kids as they jabber with each other.

I would miss hearing our daughter talk about the cute boy in science or the new song by her favorite artist.   I would miss what homework or test they were not looking forward to.

All of these things would be talked about on the bus, and would have been old news by the time they got home at 4 p.m. exhausted and "starving".

So, I finished brushing my teeth and went to get the envelope, which I proceeded to tear into tiny pieces.

And guess what I found?  PEACE! And JOY at discovering God's perfect will.  Sure, I'll still have interrupted mornings and afternoons.  I've been doing this for such a long time, I probably wouldn't really know what to do with the extra time anyway. And, the money will be spent on that for which God intended in the first place.

It was what God wanted all along. I just wasn't listening.


www.thatslife12.blogspot.com




Saturday, February 14, 2015

Give Him Your Cloak As Well

We are all called to live out the Gospel message.  Everyday brings us opportunities to do just that.

"Love your neighbor as yourself"(Matt. 12:31) sums it up nicely.

Most of us do this without even thinking about it.  We hold a door for someone.  We offer a smile to someone who looks sad.  We introduce ourselves to strangers.

How about going a step further?  Are we willing to give someone the coat off of our back?

I know (and love dearly) someone who did just that, one day last week in the brutal cold.

This 'body-of-Christ' person saw a need.  It started small.  A kind word spoken because the receiver was obviously very, very cold.  An offer of gloves, placed on the frigid person's hands by the giver because his fingers were curled with cold.

And then, the offer "would you like my coat, too?"  I am sure that there was gratitude on the part of the receiver.  He still had a ways to walk and had just stopped to get warm enough to finish his trek.  Now he could do it warmth.

That could have been the end of it, but this kind-hearted person was feeling a little regretful later in the day because they realized a cab would have offered more protection from the elements.

Another listener to the conversation chimed in:

"Don't feel badly!  You were like the good Samaritan who took care of the initial need and then left the wounded man in the care of another.  Someone else picked up where you left off."

I saw relief on the giver's face.  We can't do it all. We can only do the part God asks us to do and then trust that the next person called upon to step up to the plate will be a good discerner of God's voice as well.

If we all lived the Gospel so well, the world would be a much warmer place.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

God-Things

One year ago this month, I attended my first meeting at the Ann Arbor based Lay Dominican group (now known as Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati Lay Dominican Group--not Community yet as we don't have enough professed members.)

That was quite a weekend and God was working in many ways, both hidden and obvious.

I spend a quiet Friday night at a nearby hotel just soaking in the alone time. This is a God-thing and a hubby-thing.  They both know I need these quiet times.

The next day I went to Christ the King for Mass.  As I was entering the church, someone called my name.  For Pete's sake, I was in Ann Arbor, who knows me here?  Low and behold it was my cuz, Terry.

She invited me to this "Dominican thing" she was going to with a friend.  Hmm, that's where I was headed.  What a God-thing to send me a friend that was going so I didn't have to go alone.

While we were waiting for Mass to start, Terry reached in her purse and pulled out a small booklet titled, "Our Lady, Undoer of Knots" and handed it to me.   As I began to read the description of the novena, I was moved to tears.

Terry had no idea I was struggling with some things in my life (aren't we all?).  God, however, knew.  It was His God-thing that put her there at that moment and told her to hand me that booklet.

This little booklet,  this POWERFUL novena, Mamma Mary's intercession and God have changed my life.  I've have prayed it twice for myself and am in the process of praying for one of our kiddos. (Waiting patiently for that answer!)

We all experience God-things.  We don't always recognize them though.  As you walk through your days, look for God-things.  They are there.  God always knows what we need when we need it.  As you begin to look for them, you will see them all the time.

Our realization that God is with us and taking care of us is the best God-thing of all.



www.thatslife12.blogspot.com







Saturday, January 31, 2015

Self-Worth

Many of us spend a lot of time questioning our self worth.  We may not look in the mirror and talk to ourselves about it.  We may not actually even know we're thinking about it.  But we are.

Where do we find our self worth?  I will first give you the world's answers.

Work: We are a hard working people.  We get up early to get to our jobs.  We stay late at our jobs even if we work at home.  We work on Saturday and sometimes Sunday.  So much to do!

Money:  We need money, lots of money.  Our "have to have" lists are long.  After all, there are Joneses to keep up with!

Clothing: This goes along with money (although, most of these do).  What designer or brand do we need to advertise to feel like we fit in?

 Cosmetics: Is our makeup looking good today?  How many bags of makeup are necessary to make us feel beautiful? How about our hair?

Vehicle: Is it new? Is it shiny?  Is it popular?  Is it fast?

Home:  How many square feet do we need to tell the world "we've made it!" ? Is is in the right neighborhood?

Things:  Cell phone (newest and best?), computer (newest and best?), tablet, e-reader, blender bottle (we own 5-really?), shoes (how many pair?),  etc.

If you haven't already guessed, I don't buy it.

Here is where we find our self-worth:

Genesis 1:27 "God created man in His image: in the Divine image He created him: male and female He created them."

And here:  Romans 5:8 "It is precisely in this that God proves His love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Not one thing that can be purchased will get us to heaven.  Not our good looks, not our vehicles, not how hard we work at our jobs.

The next time you feel like you just have to work one more hour, or go buy something new and shiny, or whatever, decide to do this instead;  STOP and say a prayer.  Ask the Lord what He wants from you. Ask the Lord to show you your worth in Him.  Give up what the world says will make you happy.  Take on Christ and live life to the fullest.  Still get up early, but use the time to pray or go to Mass (the ultimate prayer). Go sit with Jesus at an Adoration chapel. Waste time with Him. In this way, you will learn all you need to know about your self-worth.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Gearing up for Lent

Lent is right around the corner!

Ash Wednesday is February 18, 2015.

So, what are you doing to get ready and what will you do during this season to prepare your heart for the greatest day on the calendar, Easter Sunday?

Here are some options:

Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist has available a Lenten Journal.  It is part of their Disciple of Christ-Education in Virtue program.  I used it last year and it is excellent. Find it here:  https://www.sistersofmary.org/our-news/news/347-a-lenten-journal.html

For those who live in the greater Detroit area:

Holy Trinity Apostolate is having their annual Lenten Symposium on Saturday March 14, 2015 at Sts. Cyril and Methodius Slovak Catholic Church at 41233 Ryan Road in Sterling Heights .  Many great speakers are on tap for the day (including Archbishop Allen Vigneron). Lunch is included in your registration fee of $55. Register at: www.holytrinityapostolate.com     I have attended this several times and have never been disappointed. This year, my Dear One and I are making a weekend of it.

Church of the Divine Child 1055 N. Silvery Lane Dearborn, MI 48128 is hosting an event titled Discovering Christ. This is a free event but registration is required.  Meetings will take place each Friday, February 13-March 27 from 7-9 p.m. in the High School All-Purpose Room. Contact Karen at ChristLifeDC@gmail.com by February 6, 2015.

Many churches have fish fries on Friday evenings along with Stations of the Cross.

For those homebodies among us, try dynamiccatholic.com.  Matthew Kelly wants you to have your "Best Lent Ever" and it will come right to your inbox.  How easy can it get?

Confession of course!!  Check out times in your area at: masstimes.org  Click on confessions and it will only show those times, which makes things a lot easier to find.

Anyone know of anything else going on in your area?  Be sure to leave a comment so others can know too!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Growing in Sanctity

Sanctity = Holiness

Can you feel yourself growing in sanctity every day?

Are you working at it with the patience of a Saint?

Sanctity is hard work and something we absolutely cannot do on our own.

We must take God, in all three persons, along for the ride.

Pray to God the Father for wisdom to see the places in your life that need to be sanctified.  Trust me, He will show you.  Thankfully, with me, He is very gentle in His approach, although sometimes, I admit, that a 2 x 4 may be more effective!

Pray to Jesus to lead you to the Father.  "No one comes to the Father except through Me", Jesus tells us.

Read the Gospels.  Embrace the words of Jesus. Come to KNOW Him and His love for you!!

Especially pray to the Holy Spirit.  He has all those gifts He longs to pour out on you:
Wisdom, Understanding, Right Judgement, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Fear of the Lord.

These are gifts, freely given to those who who have been baptized and who ask for them.  You have to want them. You have to embrace them.

When you embrace them, you will give off good fruit. Those good fruits are:
charity, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, long suffering, mildness, faith, modesty, constancy and chastity.

Granted we cannot work on all of these at once. We are a work in progress.  But, if we truly wish to change and to grow in sanctity these are steps in the right direction.

Mary and St. Joseph are key helpers in growing in sanctity.  Don't forget to ask for their intercession as well.


thatslife12.blogspot.com