Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Prayer and blogging

I haven't been posting very often. Each time I decide to go on the computer to write I find that I am pulled into prayer instead. The Lord wants me to "pray, pray, pray" rather than follow my own inclinations to post, post, post (lol) and I am trying to be obedient. I guess it makes sense that He wants me to pray more and spend a little less time on the computer during this time of preparation. I think I've already told everyone how caught up I can get once I go on the computer, so I've been spending less time on here. I've become used to the Lord asking me to lay things down or put them aside for a while. When I follow his leading I feel at peace. When I don't ...I feel distressed in the spirit. Knowing how good our Lord is, He probably just doesn't want me to stress out right before Christmas.

I guess this is my way of saying that I probably won't be posting much this week, either :) And in case I'm not back before this weekend:

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the times when we "let go and let God" and live in the present moment.

I had a good week. My tree is up and decorated. (Shhh! Don't tell the Advent police!) My Christmas shopping is all done ( not wrapped yet, though). I even attended a Christmas party last weekend! It was at my brother's house and most of my family attended. My brother lives in a beautifully restored Victorian house just outside of Boston and there are usually between 100 and 200 people that attend the party each year. Thankfully, the house is very large!

Michaela and I made a gingerbread house together this week. I should have posted a picture so everyone could have gotten a good laugh! It resembled a gingerbread shack rather than a house! Still, we had a great time making it and that's what counts. Michaela looks forward to doing this each year and she thinks the gingerbread "shack" looks awesome. Well...okay...so do I.  I think I would have been disappointed if it came out perfect. There's not much fun in perfect, is there?

I've been able to spend quite a bit of time in prayer and reflection this Advent. I look forward to this time spent with the Lord. I've been doing some spiritual reading (books and online), too, which helps focus my mind and heart on God during this season. A big thank you to all the bloggers who have posted such wonderful Advent meditations on their blogs lately!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Christmas Novena to end abortion starts today

A Christmas Novena to end abortion starts today at Pray More Novenas . They are looking for more people who are willing to sign up to join them in this endeaver. The prayers are listed on the site.


Here's an excellent article from Spirit Daily - LET IT PASS AND IT WILL PASS. Well worth the read!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dethroning the god of self

I have been terribly hard on myself over the course of my life. Often, unmercifully so. For most of my life I had the bad habit of  "critiquing" each step I made, judging and over analyzing everything. It was like living with my own interior judge and jury. Not pleasant, let me tell you, since this judge and jury never took a break. Afraid of the devil? Who me? Worry about the "Accuser"? As if I had the time for him when I was so busy accusing myself! I didn't have much trouble being compassionate with others. I had difficulty being compassionate with myself.

After having myself as judge and jury for most of my life it sure was a relief when God started taking over the job. The funny thing is that I relinquished the reigns slowly. Did I think I was doing a better job than the King of Mercy would? Talk about pride! I'm not exactly sure what I was thinking. I think it had (and has) more to do with:

Pride and dethroning the god of self. Sooner or later everyone must get rid of the false gods they have set up for themselves. And the most difficult one to boot off the throne is the god of self. It's been a problem since the Garden of Eden and is certainly a huge problem today. Those who think they have escaped this aspect of the Fall are deceiving themselves. One of the biggest obstacles to becoming a saint is thinking you are one. The saints didn't think they were saints; they understood the depths of their fallen nature and their total dependency on God's mercy.

GOD'S mercy. Not their own. We are not as merciful as God. Not with ourselves, nor with others. Yes, many people have compassionate hearts but it cannot be compared to God's. Not even close. We can judge actions but not people. And this includes ourselves.Even when we prepare for Confession we are to ask for the light of the Holy Spirit and see our sins in HIS light, not our own. After all, we are going to Confession to confess our sins, not to confess our human nature. God is fully aware of our brokenness and seeks to HEAL us not to condemn us.

Those who "pick" on themselves are playing God. It's like saying to God, "I know what's wrong with me more than you do." Which isn't true, of course. He knows us through and through. The difference between when we try to accuse ourselves and when the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin is like night and day. Some of the signs to watch out for are these:

Scrupulosity - Been there, done that. Definitely not of God.
Confusion over sins - The Holy Spirit brings clarity. (Been here, too)
Despair or hopelessness - Satan's doing the accusing here. (Yep, here too)
Depression - This is an odd one. Obviously there are cases of physical depression, too, so this is a bit harder to discern. For those who don't normally battle depression this can be a good sign that we are trying to "outrun" the Holy Spirit rather than waiting for His light. (ditto)
Frustration - "This is ridiculous! It's impossible not to sin!"  Well, of course. And God well knows this. Even the saints fell. (Need I comment?)

The Holy Spirit brings true sorrow...then peace.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Hark, all ye fashion designers!

I have to admit something. Woe is me. I have "muffin top". And my poor husband has "Dunlap disease". For all you folks who may be unfamiliar with these terms:

"Muffin top" is the roll of fat that sticks out above the tight, low-cut garments that pass for jeans these days. Its partner is "plumbers crack", which used to only be a working man's problem but now affects the entire population. Unfortunately, one must bend over even in modern society, though perhaps fashion designers have forgotten this small detail. I guess exercise would help get rid of the "muffin top" epidemic, but there seems to be no cure for the "crack" virus which has plagued the world for a few years now. "Dunlap disease"  (when your belly dunlapped over your belt) has been around for years and is the male equivalent of "muffin top" .  Dunlap disease is now reaching the level of a worldwide pandemic as jeans get slimmer, tighter and lower.

What to do?

Well, I just so happen to have a solution. At least, it's a solution for those of us who would like to breathe again. The duds these days are truly duds. And since we were kicked out of the garden and no longer have the option of running around naked, my solution is this:

Let's take a page from biblical days and gird ourselves in robes and tunics! And before you say, "That's just plain nuts, Mary!", please let me remind you just how low and uncomfortable jeans are getting. A few inches more and...who knows? Privately, I think some parts are better kept hidden. It's not like I'm suggesting fig leaves, you know. Flowing robes and long tunics just make good sense if you think about it.

So...think about it:

We could bend over with ease. You could go without shaving your legs for months and no one would know. Fat? Skinny? No problem! One size fits all!  The only muffins would be the ones in your kitchen. You could wear sneakers (or no shoes at all). High heels - gone forever.There would be no "I have nothing to wear to the big bash tonight!" And men would never hear "Honey? Do these jeans make my rump look big?" (What rump, Honey?) Shopping would be a cinch! ROBES-R-US! Here we come!

Not good enough reasons? How about this one:


I knew I could convince ya.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Immaculate Conception

"O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"

   How often I've prayed this prayer. How often I've bowed my head in sorrow and supplication, placing myself in Our Lady's gracious hands, trusting her intercession. Mary was God's "hidden secret". From birth to death she lived in the Divine Will. And there she lives still...for all eternity. May we model ourselves after this humble Jewish woman and unite our own "FIAT" with hers. This is the "YES" that makes us truly free. It is sin which binds and enslaves us.

  "This is something we should indeed learn on the day of the Immaculate Conception: the person who abandons himself totally in God's hands does not become God's puppet, a boring "yes man"; he does not lose his freedom. Only the person who entrusts himself totally to God finds true freedom, the great immensity of the freedom of good."
  "The person who turns to God does not become smaller but greater, for through God and with God he becomes great, he becomes divine, he becomes truly himself. "   
                                                                           Pope Benedict XVI

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

When will I learn?

 When will I ever learn to just leave my hair alone. Last year, pumpkin hair. This year... spaghetti head. And a huge Christmas party to attend in 5 days. For those folks who don't know what spaghetti head is - it's when a vain woman makes an appointment at a salon for a shimmering head of shiny dark blond highlights in her mousy colored hair and (much to Satan's glee) comes home with white spaghetti strands in meatball brown hair. Sigh.

Rats. Foiled again.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Sabbath Moments - Miraculous picture of Jesus?

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we "let go and let God" and try to live in the present moment.

This Advent I am trying not to complain. It's not that I complain out loud a lot but I catch myself grumbling in my head. Earlier this week I told the Lord I would try not to grumble and would try to just let things be. Well, guess what? Within a few hours I lost my internet connection. A few hours later the heat and hot water went.

So what did I grumble about?

The internet connection. Yep.You heard that right.  I washed up in freezing cold water and it didn't bother me a bit. Neither did my cold toes. Frostbite could have probably set in and I'd have never noticed. But having no internet? This irked me to no end. And that, folks, is why this lady has to fast from the computer now and then!

On a brighter note, I was looking at one of my favorite pictures of Jesus this week. Supposedly it's a miraculous picture (I posted it below)  but whether it is or not doesn't matter one whit to me. I just like it and it makes me smile. Here's why:

About ten years ago I was going through a tough period in my life both physically and spiritually. One day while I was talking to the Lord I said, "You know what, Jesus? I don't think I've ever seen a picture of you smiling. You must have smiled and laughed during your life on earth but I guess no one thinks of you like that. I wish I could see a picture of you happy." I didn't mention this to anyone.

The very next week a lady I worked with gave me a copy of a photograph. It was a picture of Jesus smiling. She was translating some books about Luisa Picaretta, the mystic, for some sisters at a nearby convent and one of the nuns had given it to her. The story that Sister told her was this:

Another sister (I don't know what Order) had taken a picture of a priest during the Consecration at Mass (no idea why) and after the picture was developed it showed Jesus instead of the priest. The priest is still in the picture though - if you look at Jesus' heart area you can see the outline of the priest with the Host raised
in his hands. It's not as clear as the picture I have but you can still see it if you look.

I tried to research this photo on the internet but couldn't find anything. And if it's a fake...it's still a miracle to me. It was the one and only time I had ever told the Lord that I wished I could see him smiling and one week later I was given this picture. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

God speaks to us in various ways...

God speaks to all his children. I firmly believe this. Now, someone may say, "Oh no! You are wrong, Mary, God has never spoken to me." I beg to differ. He most certainly has. And often. I might even go so far as to say daily. Does anyone really believe that God speaks to only a few "special ones" and gives the rest of his people the cold shoulder? So maybe the question here shouldn't be whether God speaks, but rather...

Do we listen?

I think one of the problems is that people expect to "hear" Him with their earthly ears. An audible voice. And this happens at times but is not the most common way He speaks. He is God, after all, and doesn't need to communicate through a human voice, though He can do so if He chooses.

So what are the ways He speaks to us? Here are a few. None as important as the very last way I mention in this post though.

Divine impressions - these are often more clear than audible words because they go beyond the human language. Human language is limited but God's words impressed upon the spirit are not. I think this is a fairly common way that God speaks to us.

While we sleep - I really don't think sleep is only for the resting and healing the physical body. I think God speaks to us while we sleep. As a matter of fact...I've caught Him in the act numerous times. But only because He allowed it. He refreshes our soul as well as our body when we sleep. This only makes sense, right? We are spiritual beings, too. I'm sure that this aspect of our nature isn't neglected while we sleep. God wouldn't waste the perfect opportunity to work in a hidden manner without our interference, would He? Fat chance of that happening. God works nonstop and loves to work without hindrance.

Through intuition and signs - Spirit Daily has a good article about this today. Just click here to read it.

Infused knowledge- When God directly infuses knowledge previously unknown to a person there can be no doubt that He has spoken. Only God has this kind of direct access to a soul. He gives the person a "leg up" so to speak. 

These are just a few of the ways that God speaks. And for each and every human being who may doubt that God speaks....here is the greatest Word ever spoken:

                                               "IT IS FINISHED"                John 19:30