Monday, September 27, 2010

What's not to love?

Humans have a habit of projecting their own ill will and unlovingness onto God. I could be wrong but my guess is that our love for God is in direct proportion to our own willingness to be loved.This just makes sense. God is not going to refuse to come into an open heart. His aim is redemption and restoration but we cannot hold Him at arms length. How can you embrace someone if you are holding him off? We have many, of what we perceive to be valid, reasons for thinking that God may not be fair, or perhaps is a bit cruel and should be feared, but none of these things actually hold water when held up for inspection.They are simply reflections of our fallen human nature staring back at us. God is not an overbearing despot ruling over a kingdom of slaves or puppets. (Lol! You can tell this must have crossed my mind many a time over the years, can't you? After all, you have to write about what you know!)

I was thinking about God's love this morning. Well, actually, I was imagining God peering down at the world  many years ago with sorrow and sadness, wishing He could break through our defenses, standing up, casting his crown aside and saying to the angels, "I'll just have to go down there and SHOW them the face of LOVE." This may be a bit simplistic for a meditation but it's effective! And, basically, that's exactly what God did in the Incarnation. What's not to love?

We have a God who:
Became man
Heals us spiritually and physically
Forgives all who ask with sincerity
Loves unconditionally
Died for us
Wants an intimate relationship with us
Prepares us for eternity with Him
Sends angels to guard us
Dwells within us

This is the truth that we are left with once we peel away our petty projections. And so I ask again:
What's not to love?

Thank you!

Many thanks to everyone who prayed for my father's recovery. My family and I appreciate it. My father is out of the hospital and feeling much better. Prayer is powerful! He got out yesterday and even made it home in time for the football game (lol)!

God is good :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Prayer request

Please pray for my father who is in the hospital with pneumonia. My mother had to call an ambulance last night because she couldn't wake him up. He went to Mass as usual yesterday morning but fell asleep on the sofa when he got home. He woke up and ate lunch but was very listless and my mother was worried. She couldn't wake him up for supper at all. An ambulance took him to the hospital and we found out he has pneumonia. Until yesterday he didn't even have any symptoms! I think that he didn't even realize that he was sick because the polymyalgia makes him feel "fluish" most days so it's hard for him (or us) to tell if something's wrong when there are no obvious symptoms. I can relate because I used to have the same problem. I spent the day at the hospital with him and they have him on oxygen, an IV, and antibiotics. I hope this takes care of it. He cannot stand up at all and is very confused. Oddly enough, he has been on my mind the past few days and I had started a novena to the Little Flower for him. Now I'm glad I did!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

40 Days For Life

Today marks the beginning of the 40 Days For Life Campaign. Karinann at Daughter of the King  has posted a reflection and a prayer which can be used during this period and also a link  (which I'm thieving) where you can follow along and find more information about this campaign - 40 DAYS FOR LIFE. I invite everyone to join us in asking the Lord to end abortion, here in our own country, and worldwide.

Thank you, Karinann!

Spiritual care packages

My dad gives the best gifts in the world. Forget expensive presents wrapped in fancy paper, those take minimal thought and effort. My father's gifts are from the heart and more precious than gold. Instead of going out and shopping for Christmas or birthday gifts he does Holy Hours for those he loves. Not only does he do Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament for my family, he also has Masses said for us. He often sends me beautiful cards telling me this! Considering how difficult it is for him to get around, going out and doing Holy Hours for his loved ones takes a lot out of him. He even kneels for as long as he can, despite being in pain and barely able to walk.

I'm not sure he'll ever really understand how much his gifts of love mean to me, though I tell him so. I feel so thankful whenever I receive these "spiritual care packages" in the mail.  Perhaps in heaven he'll understand the enormous value of his gifts and the flood of grace contained therein. When I was young I just wanted him to be well and a regular father like other kids had, which was impossible due to his handicaps. Now that I've grown in wisdom I can see that by choosing this father for me, God was giving me the most extraordinary gift of all. Though he may not have been able to always support us physically... his spiritual support has been non-stop.

Monday, September 20, 2010

"I will accept good works"

My parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. What a milestone! Life has not been easy for them and the two of them have overcome many obstacles in the course of their marriage.

My father has been ill since I was a child. He suffers from mental illness, diabetes, and polymyalgia. Though he worked when I was a young child, by the time I was a young teenager he was too ill to hold a job. This left my mother the sole breadwinner of a family with 5 children. She supported us by cleaning houses during the day and businesses during the evening. As you might imagine, this left her exhausted, and us kids pretty much fended for ourselves. My dad wasn't doing very well at this time and was usually in bed.

My mom grew very close to the Lord during this period in her life. With work, five children, and a household to run, she would virtually tumble into bed at night, totally exhausted. Her lack of prayer time concerned her. Well-meaning friends would tell her that she needed to pray more. One of her friends prayed for 6 hours a day (Yep! I'm serious!) and would tell my mom that she HAD to pray more if she wanted to progress spiritually. My mom would try but would doze off in the middle of them. She started fretting about her lack of a structured prayer life and worried that she was not doing God's will. One night, she went to bed and started apologizing to the Lord for praying so little. As she was apologizing, a perfectly clear vision of Jesus appeared in her head. In this vision, Jesus raised his right hand and gently said "I will accept good works."  My mom was instantly flooded with a sense of peace. When she related this incident to me years ago she stated that the expression on Jesus' face was kind but a bit pained, as if to say, "Do you think so little of me? Do you think I am not aware of your difficult circumstances?"

My mom learned to make her work a prayer. She would offer Jesus her cleaning, uniting it with Him, during the course of her day. She learned to give Him every area of her life and in this way she found the "sacred in the ordinary". Her children, in the meantime, grew up with a roof over their heads and food on the table. And her children are thankful. She made her life a "living prayer".

Saturday, September 18, 2010

"I will not take part in this."

At times we find ourselves placed in a situation that calls for us to take a firm stand and this is especially true for those in the medical field who are pro-life:

My younger sister is a nurse at an urgent care facility. They treat illness and injuries that are not serious enough for an emergency room visit but still require medical attention. While she was at work 2 weeks ago, she found herself in a position that left her very shaken. The physician on duty walked up to her and said, "I need you to call in a prescription to the pharmacy. After you call it in, I want you to call the patient and explain to her EXACTLY how it must be taken. It is important that she follows the directions. I can't stress this enough, it may not work if she doesn't follow them exactly."

It was for the abortion pill.

My sister refused. She said quietly but firmly, "I cannot do this. I will not take part in this."

Free will works both ways. She is not the only one who refused to be a link in the chain of abortion. A PA refused to treat the woman the day before. I applaud them both.

I cannot help but think that those firm but quiet words of respect for life echoed into eternity - I cannot do this. I will not take part in this...

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the times when we remember to live in the present moment and unwrap the gifts which the Lord has laid before us.

My daughter has three Robo dwarf hamsters that she loves to spend time with. What she does not know is that while she is in school I love to spend time with them, too (lol). They are tiny little creatures 2 inches long, babies still, and I like to take them out and feed them while they sit in my hand. Two of them like to be petted and will sit still while you stroke their soft fur, the third is skittish. Their names are Lolly, Tootsie, and Honey (aka "the Pop sisters") and they live in the Taj Mahal of all habitrails. Actually, only 2 of them live in the Taj Mahal presently - Honey has taken up residence in my living room wall and I can't get her out. She snuck in there through the heating element and prefers the wall rather than the delights of her palace. My husband cannot quite understand why. Neither can I.  They have a sky wheel, a lookout tower and the halls leading from one room to another are a tubular masterpiece. What's not to like? Other than living in captivity and at the whims of a seven-year-old that is ;) This doesn't seem to bother my dog at all.

I started two novenas this week, one for myself and one for someone else. Both were to Our Lady. Mother Mary is quick to intercede for those who request it and it delights her when we place our cares and worries in her motherly hands. Jesus never refuses his mother's requests because she never asks for anything that would not be good for us. Mary's love and motherly intercession is a great and powerful gift to us and I thank God for her.

Now that school has started, I use the time spent waiting at the bus stop ( the bus is always about 20 minutes late) as an opportunity for intercessory prayer. I pray for everyone who crosses my path while I am there - the children, parents, and others who pass by. I do this in the car, too. I even do this while I'm waiting in stores. This way, I don't get impatient and I do something productive at the same time. Waiting becomes enjoyable when you do this.

The weather has been beautiful and the leaves are continuing to change color. I love looking at the foliage in September and October. It has a long way to go but it's still awesome!

Thank you, Lord. I am grateful for the beauty of creation.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Sins of the past

My past, O Lord, to your mercy; my present, to your love; my future, to your Providence!
                                                                                         St. Padre Pio

Life is a series of present moments. The past is just a shadow of the present and the future has not arrived yet, so the "here and now" is all anyone can count on with any certainty. Sanctifying each of these present moments, by living in the Divine Will, is our job here on this earth. We may at times fail in this duty but we should not let this discourage us, nor should we dwell on it except to try and see what we can learn from our mistakes. It helps to look at the past as a teacher; we can reflect on what it has taught us without getting caught in its traps. The traps, whether it's focusing on sins you may have committed or on how others have sinned against you, can lead to despair if we dwell on them too much. For those who are discouraged by past sins, it's best to leave it in the hands of Jesus. I have learned this the hard way, of course! Hopefully, my words can help others not make the same mistake. By placing the past in the hands of Jesus, I do not mean to suggest that counseling is not helpful. Often, counseling can help those who have suffered traumas and can speed up the healing process. A third party can often put things into perspective better than we can on our own. It's okay to acknowledge our hurts as long as we don't make them our primary focus by constantly reliving them. In this post I'm talking more about sin in general , not about extremely traumatic experiences.

Satan exists, though he would prefer us to think that he doesn't. This makes his job much easier because he knows we won't gear up for battle if we don't believe there is an enemy. Satan has an army and this army will use any weapon it can to attack us at our weak points if we allow it. One tactic that he uses is to try to keep us living in a past that no longer exists. The Blood of Christ covers the past, to doubt this is to doubt the power of His saving blood. Wounds heal if left to God's mercy. We can see this in our physical bodies, and the physical is a reflection of the spiritual. If we constantly "pick" at a wound, it continues to bleed. It's better to leave it alone and to focus on the present battle while trusting the Divine Physician to take care of our wounds.

It takes guts to face Jesus, admit our sinfulness (or to forgive the sins of those who have harmed us) and then move on. To do this requires not only looking at oneself squarely in the face but also looking God in the eye and saying, "Yes, Lord, I was wrong and I'm sorry." Humans like to be right, after all (lol). To forgive others we must see that our own nature is as prone to sinfulness as theirs. The degree of sin may differ but the tendency to sin is the same since we all have fallen natures. When we refuse to forgive others we condemn ourselves. Forgiveness is not a feeling, it is a choice. We choose to forgive with our will, not our emotions. Emotions cannot always be trusted and can hold us back if we let them rule us. They are good but they are subject to us and we should should not be subject to them.

We may end up with some battle scars in life but at least we can say we had the courage to enter the battle arena. Our scars are our badges of honor and scar tissue is tougher than regular skin. Life's tests make us stronger if we let them. We take our memories, both good and bad, into the present with us. And while the past may be a nice place to visit on occasion...I wouldn't want to live there.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sorrowful Mother

The most commonly accepted meaning of the name Mary is bitter. In the Old Testament the Passover meal consisted of an unblemished lamb dressed with bitter herbs, and unleavened bread. The Hebrew word for bitter herbs is maror. In the Eucharist we consume the true Lamb of God under the appearance of  bread...the Bread of Life.

O captive Israel!
Unblemished lambs you slaughtered
Dressed with bitter herbs
You ate, poised for flight
While woe spilled red
From death's grim lips
Upon Egypt's firstborn sons

O sorrowful Mary!
Bitter your name cries out
The salt of your tears
Dressed the Paschal Victim
While life spilled red
From Divinity's breast
Upon Israel's sons and daughters

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Heaven 101

I often hear people use the phrase "school of life". Makes sense to me! Think about it:

- Earth is the school which prepares us for heaven
-Life is a series of tests with recesses thrown in
-Our physical bodies are the tools we are given to write with
-If we skip too many lessons we get an incomplete and have to redo them in purgatory
-Hell isn't necessarily a place for those who get a failing grade. It's a place for those who get a failing grade ...and could care less about it.
- Death is the graduation ceremony
-Heaven is the place where those who learn their lessons well rest on God's laurels


YOUR MISSION, YOUR PEACE - This is an excellent article on prayer by Michael Brown at Spirit Daily.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blog Award

Many thanks to Esther at A Catholic Mom in Hawaii for sending me this award!

Here are the rules for passing it on:

1. Accept the award. Post it on your blog with the name of the person who has granted the award and his or her blog link.
2. Pay it forward to 15 other bloggers that you have newly discovered.
3. Contact those blog owners and let them know they've been chosen.

I'd like to pass the award on to the following great blogs:

Evan at Evan's Cove
Sarah at Prayer 4 the Journey (Same Sarah, new blog)
Michael at Reach Paradise
Nanette at Cucina Nanette
Barb at Suffering with Joy
Robert at Sparrow's Dwelling
Joey at Keeper of Memories
Mom at Heart for God
Pip at Rising On Eagles Wings (Same Pip, new blog. A new wife, too! Congrats!)
Kee at Little Hare
Mary at Hope Echoes
Breadgirl at Last Welsh Martyr
Mary at Me Myself and Mercy
DG at Daily Grace
Bear and Puff at The Spirit's Sword (Same blog, new baby! Congratulation!)

Okay... I admit it, I've been following a few of these blogs for a while. All the more reason to send them an award, I thought! I realize not everyone posts awards but I wanted to show my appreciation nonetheless!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts on atheism

In broad terms, atheism can be defined as a disbelief in the existence of deity. Most of us have come across people who claim to be atheists and have heard them say, "I do not believe in God and never will." I wonder if they would be surprised to hear me say, "I don't believe in atheism and never will."

It's true. I don't believe that there is such a thing as an actual atheist. I believe that people claim to be atheists but, in truth, I think it is really a symptom of a deeper illness. I have my reasons for coming to this conclusion though my reasons would be unlikely to hold water with those who say that God doesn't exist.

I think that "atheism" is a "disconnect" between body and soul. The disconnection is the illness and "atheism" is simply a symptom of the illness. There are probably many reasons why this disconnection may take place. A few causes could be:
-immense spiritual, emotional, or physical trauma to a person
-anger at God on a deep level that cannot be accessed
- a conscious turning away ( which wouldn't really be "atheism" but pride and making a deity of oneself)

I believe that the knowledge of God is built into the soul of every human being. How can it not be if we were created in his image? Some people may not have heard about God but this has nothing to do with unbelief. If someone were to tell them about God they would probably grasp the truth of Him fairly quickly because the truth is already planted within them, though they might not yet  be aware of this knowledge.

I sometimes will hear someone who does not believe in God  define atheism not as unbelief but rather the absence of a belief in a deity. The use of the word " absence" is what strikes me most about this definition as the word absence signifies a void. I think that God gives "clues",even through language, about the truth of life.

I rarely argue about God with those who claim to be atheists. I do not want to cause more grief to a soul that is already suffering. Instead, I place the person in the hands of our gentle Savior who is the only one who can really cure their illness. I simply state my belief in God and then turn it over to Love Himself. Intellectual knowledge rarely changes what a person believes. Grace on the other hand...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sabbath Moments - Blog joy!

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. This meme reminds us to live in the joy of the Lord and focus on the present moment.

It's great to be blogging again after taking most of the summer off. Blogging (and reading faith-filled blogs) brings me great joy! It's also a stress reliever (lol). It's almost impossible to feel down when you are smiling from ear to ear over the posts you read. I read this post over at Imprisoned in my Bones and am still smiling over it. Anne's personality never fails to shine through in her writing!

The weather here is perfect! Autumn is my favorite season and it's almost here! The leaves are just beginning to change and the evenings have been cool and crisp. I can't wait to go apple picking. I'm hoping to take Michaela to a nearby farm after school sometime soon to pick some Cortlands and Macs. There's nothing better than the smell of  freshly picked apples!

School has started and I have been enjoying the free time this gives me to attend Mass during the week and to pray more often. Attending Mass without a child interrupting is nice for a change (lol). I feel closer to the Lord when I am not distracted though I realize that this is only a feeling and has no basis in truth. Since the Holy Trinity lives within us, then distractions don't affect this indwelling but simply affect the perception of it. Still, it's much easier when you can give your entire focus to the Lord.

Thank you all for the recent comments welcoming me back after my break! I am enjoying catching up on your blogs!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Catholic Poet

For those of you who like poetry, check out the site  Catholic Poet. I highly recommend reading
Reflections on The Litany of the Sacred Heart - a series of  32 poems based on the Litany. Just

Plain speak

Sins can be couched in such palatable terms as to make them sound virtuous. For example, a while back I wrote to one of my state representatives about my opposition to abortion and asked for clarification on his stance on this issue. I received a letter in reply, part of which stated,  "I would not presume to impinge on another's right to choose."  I guess this is the equivalent of a House spanking because, of course, the insinuation is that I would. Presume, I mean. I thought about this for a few minutes and decided he was mistaken. I would not presume to impinge on the rights of others....I was merely impinging upon their wrongs.

What struck me as absurd about this letter is that the government often infringes upon our rights. They have forgotten that they are called to serve, not to be served. I suggest our state representatives take another look at   the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these words to be self-evident" may be a good place to start ( also note "unalienable Rights, that among these are Life...." if you would).  And no, I'm not the author of this document . You may go here for that.

So Mr. P.H., you have failed to pass the litmus test of humanity in your failure to defend life. Therefore, I have removed the title Honorable from your name - for abortion is anything but honorable.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

New blogs - 2010

Victor at Time for Reflections recently shared an idea for a meme that focuses on new bloggers. This meme would give people a chance to read some great new blogs that have entered the blogosphere in 2010. The rules are simple:

1.  Provide links to one or two new blogs (2010) that you enjoy and would like to share with others
2. Tag 2 other bloggers to do the same
3. Visit the new blogs!

Here are two that I recommend:

Heart for God - Mom with a Heart for God is a Catholic convert and the mother of 4 young children. Great blog! Today is a perfect day to pray The Litany of Our Mother of Mothers that is posted.

Crooked Halo - This is a new addition to the Catholic blogging community. Nanette is a lovely lady who enjoys writing about her Catholic faith and loves to cook. Check out her recipes at Cucina Nanette!

I tag Victor at Time for Reflections and Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. Let me know after you've completed the meme!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


How to tell if your child is a magnifikid:

-Magnifikids look forward to Sunday Mass without having a Summer Sprinkle Doughnut dangled over their heads
-One bathroom visit suffices for these saints in the making
-When reminded of a Holy Day of Obligation they do not yell out "Again! But we already went to Church this week!"
-Mommy's purse is in the same condition after Mass as when she entered and gum is still in the    
  zippered section
- The Catholic Charities envelopes are left intact and do not need to be sent out with pictures of kittens and flowers all over the front
- They do not ask why the priest sounds like the adults on Peanuts (WANH WANH? WAH WAH WAH)
- They know that the children's missal Magnifikid does not make a good paper airplane
                                              and last but not least

-They do not grin and shout "AMEN!" after the final blessing

Sunday, September 5, 2010

One in Christ

I know this is my first post in a while but I'd like to use it as an opportunity to bring up something that has concerned me lately. Over the past year I have received a number of e-mails from new bloggers who have expressed  some dismay over their reception into the Catholic blogging community. Many stopped writing after a few months due to a lack of response or encouragement for their efforts.  This saddened me because every person is unique in Christ and reflects different aspects of his beauty. The more blogs for Him the better as far as I'm concerned so I was hoping that I could help newer bloggers in some small way. Despite my computer illiteracy (lol! some things never change!) I CAN put up links so I thought I could highlight some new blogs each week. A number of bloggers helped me out when I first began writing and I, in turn, would like to do the same. In a spirit of unity let's put forth every effort to welcome and help our fellow Christian bloggers in any way we can :)

I will be adding this new feature in the upcoming week and am calling it One in Christ because we all have the same goal - to bring Christ to others. Remember, if even one soul is brought to Christ through a blogger's efforts it is worthwhile.

Jesus, I thank you for all Christian bloggers who have worked so hard to make your name known. Please bless each and every one of them. I also ask for a special blessing for those just entering the Christian blogging community. Inspire each of our hearts and guide our hands as we write. We are thankful for this opportunity to work for you! Amen.