Monday, May 30, 2011

Rogation Days

Barb at Suffering with Joy has posted a very interesting post concerning the Church's observation of three days of penance preceding the Ascension called The Rogation Days when the Church intercedes for the world. You can do this at home by praying Psalm 69 and The Litany of the Saints for these three days. Please read this very important post, especially in these days when this intercession is much needed. I will be joining Barb and I hope others will join in too! Thanks!

Foiled again : (

Yep. I did it again. Had my hair foiled that is. Bet those who read my blog frequently are thinking "After the last couple of hairtastrophes why would she even take the chance?"

Well, I think it may possibly be because I have ADHD of the spirit. I get so excited about having tresses of gold that I forget about the stresses of old and the lessons this stress over hair woes has taught me.

Overheard in heaven:

Guardian Angel: "Lord, there's not a chance she'll do it again."
Jesus: "You think not? Isn't that her car pulling into the salon parking lot right now?"
St. Peter (rolling his eyes): Oh, yeah, that's her! I'd recognize that mousy colored hair anywhere."
Jesus: "What's wrong with the color brown anyway? The mice seem perfectly satisfied with it."
Guardian Angel: "Problem is - she's not a mouse. You know how vain some women are about their hair; the problem is that she's been doing this for twenty years. Why won't she learn?"
Jesus: "Patience, patience. Let us not forget that she's in my 'no child left behind program' for slow learners. I think I know a way to lessen her vanity."
Guardian Angel: "Oh Lord! Please, not the hair falling out thing again! She looked like a porcupine for months and it upset her so much! Plus, it didn't work!"
Jesus: "No, no, nothing that harsh this time. Those salon lights are very deceiving, when she walks out into the sunshine and looks at her hair in the car mirror I think this will finally take care of the vanity problem once and for all."
St. Peter: "You know what really gets me, Lord? After each hair catastrophe she actually has the gall to offer it up as suffering! Like you'd accept something so pitiful! How can you allow this to keep happening knowing what she's going to do afterward. Sheesh!"
Jesus (with a grin) : "Ah, Peter, Peter, Peter, do you not know me by now? That's EXACTLY why I allow this to keep happening. Beside, I'm answering another prayer of hers at the same time, after THIS salon visit she'll truly be a beacon of light to others!"
Guardian Angel (after spotting Mrs. Vanity Calamity leaving the salon): YIKES!

Snicker. Well, on the bright side, I don't have pumpkin head or spaghetti head. (Note key words here - on the bright side.) It doesn't matter anyway as I'm due to go to the beach next month. I'll be a shoe-in for that lighthouse job I read about. If their lights go out I'll just stand at the top and spin. Trust me - the ships will have plenty of light to guide them to shore.

Here is a bit of advice on hair correction after mishaps:
Purple shampoo (John Frieda puts one out) DOES help brassiness. L'oreal has a brass remover also. For those whose hair has been over lightened a toner can help and Fanci Full puts out temporary rinses that help too.

                                                      Miraculous picture of Jesus smiling

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sabbath Moments - Stewing

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we "rest in God" and pay attention to the daily gifts God loves to share with us.

Spring is finally here! Yeah! Or maybe I should rephrase that as we seemed to have missed Spring and jumped right into Summer this week. It's actually hot! The sun finally made its appearance the past few days after weeks and weeks of gray, gloomy weather. It's funny how the sun can cheer a person right up. My daughter is much happier being able to get outside and play. She and her friend have been making some sort of weird "stew" all week. New ingredients, fresh from nature, added every day...which is fine as long as I'm not the one chosen to eat this new and improved (or so she claims) recipe.
                                          The "Stew Meister"

                                          The "stew".  And, yes...they added liquid to this pretty basket : )

Dear Lord I LOVE this child. She brings me Sabbath Moments every single day, even while she's sleeping.
Fresh "stew" anyone? It's 100% organic :)

P.S. (Pay attention to my daughter's hair color because it has something to do with my next post. And I'm sure many of my frequent readers know where this is going....again. Lol.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Groaning of Creation

"We  know that all creation is groaning in labor pains even until now."            Romans 8:22

Two years ago, during prayer, my Mom got this word "The whole earth is groaning."

Looking around this world lately there is probably little doubt in any one's mind that something unprecedented (at least in our lifetimes) is going on. Earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, bizarre weather patterns throughout the earth, animal die-offs and the like. It's just not normal, hasn't been for years, and continues to get stranger and stranger. But why? Why is creation groaning?

Only God could give us a complete answer to this question but here is what we do know:

When humankind fell ...all creation fell with it. This is not only biblical (read Genesis and Romans 8 for example) but is also obvious to the human eye. Even animals and plants sicken, catch diseases and die. In other words - OUR sin affected the whole planet. What makes people think that this has changed? There is a definite correlation between sin and what happens here on earth. Cause and effect, you could say, though scientists wouldn't agree because they only look at the physical and fail to take into consideration the spiritual. Needless to say, many scientists are probably a bit baffled by the events taking place on earth. Perhaps not by the natural disasters themselves as by the sheer number of catastrophes taking place lately. It's not just  the increase natural disasters, there has been a phenomenal number of animal die-offs lately. I couldn't find a site with all the statistics up until May but check out this site and here too. These sites will give you a general picture of how serious this issue is getting.

We know the Lord is allowing these events to happen in our day and I believe a good portion of it is due to the amount of sin in the world. As sin increases and our spirits groan under the weight of it- so too does the earth and all creation groan with us and these disasters will continue until we turn away from sin and turn toward the Lord.

Call it what you will - purification, chastisement, divine correction....the signs are everywhere and it's up to us whether we heed them or not.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Prophetic Words

The gift of prophecy is one of the charisms that the Lord gives to some people. Different people have different gifts and each gift fits into the "bigger picture" as a piece would fit into a puzzle. Prophecy is not always about the future, though it can be. Many prophetic words speak about the present time and may even draw on words from the past to "teach" or "warn" about the future. This is why sometimes you see an Old Testament passage given as a prophetic word for the present day. These are warnings and are meant to be taken seriously. Here is a link about the charism of prophesy - Prophetic Words.

Everyone who reads this blog knows that I believe we live in serious times. To make the "words" I (or at times others) have been given more easily accessible I have added a new feature to my sidebar with most of the links to the prophetic words given on my blogs. The links are all under the title "Words" for Our Times. These words are from 2009 and 2010 and they are more important now than ever. I will be adding to this list over time and linking to certain posts of other bloggers that I believe have this gift also.

Please remember that while reading these words that the reason God gives them to people is to help us not to frighten us. They are words from a loving God who sees his people walking blindly into grave danger spiritually and He is calling us to back to himself. 

"God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him."      1 John 4:16

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sabbath Moments - Life Missions

Colleen at Thoughts on Grace hosts the weekly meme Sabbath Moments. These are the moments when we
"live in the present" and find God's beauty in our daily lives. To those who would like to join in, please visit Colleen's blog. Check out her website Catholic Prayer Life too!

Here in the northeast the weather has been very cool and rainy. I've been taking advantage of this weather by catching up on my spiritual reading. One of the books I am reading is Life Missions, Family healings  
by Michael Brown of Spirit Daily fame. I highly recommend both this book and the website. The book is an inexpensive, easy read with a wealth of information to help one understand their particular mission (or missions) in life and speaks about the obstacles that may impede this mission. God created us for love and has given each one of us an "unique mission" that no one else on earth can complete. I loved Michael Brown's book!  I have been interested in this subject for quite a long time and I am already on my 2nd reading of this book. I like to reflect on particular areas which strike me and highlight them to go back to later. The subject of life missions fascinates me so much that I may do a future post on this subject. Here is an article about the book Life Missions, Family Healings  and another article about life missions and interior cleansing.

Speaking of life missions, coincidentally, the priests homily at Mass Wednesday was on this subject! He was a visiting priest, taking over for the Pastor who is in Rome right now. Isn't it funny how God throws what you are currently tackling spiritually right into your path? I just started attending this church recently for weekday Mass. I usually attend the noon Mass at my own parish because I couldn't find a morning Mass that fit in with my daughter's schedule - they all took place in the morning while I was getting her ready for school. It was only a few weeks ago that I found a Mass in the town next to me that starts 20 minutes after her bus leaves. I was thrilled! There's nothing like starting your day with the Eucharist! What I also love about this church is they pray the Regina Coeli or the Angelus (Regina Coeli from Easter until Pentecost) each day before Mass and they serve Communion under both Species which is less common these days. I put up the link because I found the document on this issue interesting and thought others may enjoy reading it also.

I don't think I've ever put so many links in a post! Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

You talkin' bout ME!

Why it may be best that we who are still in need of a lot of work when it comes to the virtue of humility do NOT hear our guardian angels speak out loud :

"Poor child! How imperfect you are! How much you need others to keep a constant guard over thee. Oh! How much patience I must have with thee!"    St. Gemma Galgani's Guardian Angel


My poor guardian angel has been getting rusty on the harp because I keep him so busy. The other angels have to put in their earplugs when he plays in the heavenly choir. I have a feeling I know what my purgatory will be... I just pray he doesn't take up trumpet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Three Favorite Scripture Verses

Barb at Suffering with Joy started a blog tag called Three Favorite Scripture Verses. The rules are simple:

1.Write a post on your three favorite verses from the Bible and why you like them.
2. Link back to this post.
3. In your post tag three other bloggers to carry this theme forward, link to you and tag additional bloggers.

My three favorite verses are:

1. "But do you gird your loins; stand up and tell them all that I command you. Be not crushed on their 
     account, as though I would leave you crushed before them."         Jer. 1:17
 This is a verse that God laid on my heart years ago. I knew He was preparing me to do some work
 for Him that a lot of people wouldn't believe nor understand and I was afraid to do what the Lord was asking of me. This verse is like a fire that runs through my veins and even after many years I rely on it
for courage and strength knowing that it is a promise of his own strength to uphold me and I need not worry about my human weakness because He is in charge. I use this verse often on my blog when I am going to give a "word" from Him as in this post  for example (which is even more relevant than ever). Maybe after reading it you can understand why this verse means so much to me. It's not easy obeying the Lord sometimes, especially in these days of unbelief.

2. "He said to them, I AM."              John 18:5
This took place in the Garden of Gethsemane when the soldiers and guards from the chief priests and the Pharisees came to arrest Jesus. The power of this statement made them turn away and fall to the ground
and, to be honest, these words make me want to do the same.  I AM is an Old Testament self-designation  of Yahweh. The Divinity of Jesus is made very clear in this verse. No wonder they fell to the ground!

3. "It is finished"                John 19:30
Jesus' words from the Cross before He died. I meditate on these three words all the time. These words say so much! Jesus completed the task his Father had sent Him for and the salvific work of Christ was done. Here are some beautiful words from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
"It is love 'to the end' that confers on Christ's sacrifice its value as redemption and reparation, as atonement and satisfaction. He knew and loved us all when he offered his life. Now 'the love of Christ controls us, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died.' No man, not even the holiest, was ever able to take on himself the sins of all men and offer himself as a sacrifice for all. The existence in Christ of the divine person of the Son, who at once surpasses and embraces all human persons and constitutes himself as the Head of all mankind, makes possible his redemptive sacrifice for all."

"It is finished".... three of the most beautiful words ever spoken to humankind.

I tag:
Anne at Imprisoned in my Bones
Karin at Daughter of the King
Colleen at Thoughts on Grace

Thanks for the tag Barb! I loved doing this meme!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Spiritual gifts that are much needed today

It's no great secret to those of you who read my blog posts that I believe we live in "spiritually" critical times. I also believe that each and every one of us, though some may be as yet unaware of them, have special gifts from the Lord that can be a great help today in leading people back to the Lord and these gifts include charisms. Over the years, I have heard it said that these "charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit" are no longer necessary - that they were only for the early Church in order to better spread the Good News of Jesus Christ and add to the community of believers...but this is absolutely untrue. Not only is it untrue but this false statement is detrimental to Christianity in this day and age.

The Holy Spirit is working harder than ever to bring people to Christ. Some of the reasons that we don't see the more obvious manifestations of these gifts of the Holy Spirit today and why some believe they haven't received any of these gifts may be due to:
- a lack of faith
- blockages in the spirit (this may be because we may need to forgive others...or even ourselves)
- unconfessed sin
- sinful patterns of living
- a lack of understanding the immense power of God
- a reliance on human understanding
- a lack of charity
- a refusal (can be an "unconscious" refusal) of the gifts due to false humility or because of inner    wounds that need healing

In order to be open to the Holy Spirit's work in and through us we have to rid ourselves of the overly scientific views that have been impressed upon us in today's secular society. We are spiritual as well as physical beings and science rarely, if ever, touches upon this aspect of human nature. There is nothing wrong with science itself  but it is prudent to remember that without God there would be no science and science should be put in its proper place. There are many incredibly brilliant scientists out there who are utterly lacking in "spiritual intelligence". Not all, of course, but quite a few.

God is beyond science. God is beyond human intelligence.

God is the great I AM.

When praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit - wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord, we should also be asking Him to stir up the charisms (meaning gratuitous gift or favor) He has given us. In other words, these charisms are freely given to those who love the Lord. We don't merit these gifts...they are given out of the pure goodness of God.

Above, I stated some reasons why the Charisms of the Holy Spirit may not seem to "work" in some people. In actuality, they "work" very well indeed but there may be something blocking their full manifestation. One of the obstacles is a lack of faith. Disbelief. Even though Jesus states in the gospels that His followers would do even greater deeds than what He did, some people don't believe it. Faith is not so much believing in God, but rather, believing God. And that, my friends, makes all the difference. St. Paul tells us in 1 Cor 12:7-11:

"To each individual, the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit. To one is given through the Spirit the expression of wisdom; to another the expression of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit; to another mighty deeds; to another prophecy; to another discernment of spirits; to another variety of tongues; to another interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes."

I deliberately bolded "each individual" to point out that the gifts are for all, though they differ from person to person. St. Paul never wrote "to some individuals" but to "each". If the father of a family gathers his children around him one day and says that he has a gift for each of his children...he means all of them. Granted, the gifts may differ but they are still precious nonetheless and even more they "fit" the person receiving them.

You may be wondering why I mention faith first in regard to charisms and this is because a lack of faith is one of the largest stumbling blocks. How many times in the Bible does Jesus sigh over the lack of faith of his followers (see Mt 17:14-20, Mk 6:1-6 and Mk 4:35-40)? Many. He also often praises those who have great faith (see Mt 15:28 and Mk 5:34). This is just a small number of the scriptural passages which refer to faith or lack of it.

We could call the age we live in the "Age of Doubters". Many of us forget that God's laws supersede the "natural law". God's power supersedes man's power and man forgets this. This grieves God. We have lost our childlike awe of the mighty works of God. My prayer is that an outpouring of the Holy Spirit may come upon all believers.

There is a certain type of  "spiritual snobbery" that exists today, sometimes seen among Catholics (but not limited to) and a number of people believe that they don't need these special gifts from the Spirit. Some even despise them and think that people today are "above" such things but the truth is that these charisms are meant to walk hand in hand with the other gifts and virtues God gives his children.


 They are an enormous help in bringing others to Christ and they build up the Church. This in itself is the greatest reason of all.

 I'll leave you with this quote from the Catechism of the Catholic Church :
"There are furthermore special graces, also called charisms after the Greek term used by St. Paul and meaning 'favor,' 'gratuitous gift,' 'benefit'. Whatever their character - sometimes it is extraordinary, such as the gift of miracles or tongues - charisms are oriented toward sanctifying grace and are intended for the common good of the Church. They are at the service of charity which builds up the Church."

I really wish....

...that I would remember to back up my posts. Sigh. I hope the blog monster (brother to the sock monster) is pleased with his recent post snatching. I had a problem with his brother today, too, while doing laundry. Well, at least the sock monster had some mercy and didn't steal many of our socks. He was kind enough to leave the ones with the holes in the toes. The blog monster actually worries me more because he could steal ALL our posts on a grumpy day instead of just one or two.

 Oops! I better not give him any ideas while he is still lurking in the blogosphere waiting for more victims!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Just a few pictures!

 Michaela made her first Confession and her First Communion this weekend and I couldn't resist putting up a few pictures! The first picture is from Saturday when the kids went to Confession and the rest are from Sunday. We weren't allowed to take pictures at Mass except during the procession so we have very few from inside the church. In the last photo the children had just crowned the Blessed Virgin Mary. It was a great weekend!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sabbath Moments

Sabbath Moments is a weekly meme hosted by Colleen at Thoughts on Grace. These are the moments when we pay attention to the inspiration of God in our everyday life and "live in the present moment".

My daughter makes her First Confession Saturday (I wrote this on Friday) and Sunday she makes her First Communion! Usually these Sacraments are a bit further apart but we have an overworked Pastor who has been ill so both Sacraments take place the same weekend. Michaela is well prepared - Randy and I have been pretending to be priests for the past week to help her get ready. It's been pretty funny, actually. We've been rolling and flattening pieces of bread and having pretend communion sessions as well as pretend confessions! We had her "make up" some sins and go through the format for Confession a number of times so she won't be too nervous. She has also worked on her Examination of Conscience all week and says she is ready. To be honest, even after all these years I still get anxious before Confession!

After she makes her first Communion the children in her class will be taking part in the May Crowning of the Blessed Virgin Mary outside of the Church. We are also having a party for her at my parents' house. I had some trouble finding her a gift because she already has a number of Rosaries, Bibles, books, and religious medals but I finally settled on a beautiful Communion bracelet and necklace for her. She'll be so excited! She LOVES jewelry!

I wish all you mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day!

Don't forget to check out my most recent post and sign up for the new blog ring - Blogging for Jesus! Your blog doesn't need to be strictly "a religious blog" - all blogs promoting a wholesome Christian lifestyle are welcome. A big THANK YOU to all those who have already signed up! I'd like to offer "Blogging for Jesus" as a special gift to Him next month in honor of His Sacred Heart!


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blog Ring - Blogging for Jesus

I started a new Blog Ring called Blogging for Jesus. A blog ring is a community of bloggers with similar goals. In this case: spreading the love of Christ throughout the world. Joining a blog ring increases traffic to your blog and makes it easier for others to find and access your site. To join, simply click on the link and fill out the form provided. Everyone who loves Jesus is welcome. The only requirement for Catholics is they must follow the Magisterium of the Church. My Protestant brothers and sisters are also welcome to join!

The form is easy to fill out. The only part that is a bit time consuming is writing a description of your site as this must contain at least 1000 characters. (At least it's not a thousand words!) I hope my fellow bloggers will join! The internet is a powerful tool for spreading the Gospel! If you have any questions let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Mary the Pharisee

For a period of time after my return to the Church I thought that holiness meant doing tons of what I considered "holy stuff" for the Lord. Being a perfectionist , I really laid it on thick. Daily Mass, Bible reading, spiritual reading, visits to shrines, name it, I did it. You can probably guess where all this eventually led.

Spiritual burnout to the nth degree.

Still, my little foray into pharisaism taught me many lessons and it was probably a good thing that I learned this early on. The spiritual burnout taught me not to depend on outward information and conformity but to seek transformation of the innermost self. I could have spent many, many years walking around thinking that I was fine had the Lord not stopped me in my tracks and showed me that conformity was not enough and that he was seeking to transform my heart.

There are great dangers in settling for a mere pseudo-transformation rather than an authentic one. A pseudo-transformation leaves one thinking that because they look outwardly holy and are performing holy actions that they are indeed holy and pleasing God when, sometimes, nothing could be further from the truth. By far, the greatest obstacle to transformation is thinking that you are holy and the best piece of advice I could ever give to anyone who has recently turned to the Lord is this:

Never, ever, believe that you have reached the "pinnacle" of holiness because all progress stops at this point. The Lord is so merciful that He reveals our sinfulness in "layers" so as not to overwhelm us. We must pray for humility so that we can remain open to what the Holy Spirit wants to reveal to us. If we are proud and resist his conviction it can "stall" our spiritual progress for some time.

Our natures are far more fallen than we realize and it is the sheer mercy of God and his infinite love for us that reveals these "hidden things" slowly rather than all at once. If we open our hearts to his work we can be sure that He will transform us into the image of his Son and welcome us with open arms when we leave this earth. God finishes what He begins in those with goodwill.

I still do the things I mentioned above (Mass, Bible reading, prayer, etc...) but I use prudence and try not to overdo it. My reasons for doing them has changed and this has made all the difference.