Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blog Awards

  


While I was AWOL from blogging, Anabelle at Written By the Finger of God sent me two wonderful blog awards:
                                                   The 2012 Blog of the Year Award
                                                                          AND
                                                      The Food For Thought Award


THANK YOU, Anabelle! Now, I'll have you all know that my dear friend, Anabelle, sweetly blackmailed coaxed me into returning to my blog by threatening to take my awards back offering me a gorgeous pair of designer earrings made by her very talented daughter. (You can get a sneak peek at the earrings here - just scroll down the page a bit.)

I'd also like to send a big THANK YOU to Nancy at The Breadbox Letters (and  
The Cloistered Heart) and Karinann at Daughter of the King for sending me The 2012 Blog of the Year Award too! Right back at you, Ladies!

Here are the rules for passing the award along: (Man, I love cut and pasteWhoever invented it deserves an
award of their own.)

"The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page:   — http://thethoughtpalette.co.uk/our-awards/blog-of-the-year-2012-award/ and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5 You can now also join our Facebook group — click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Yes — that’s right — there are stars to collect!
Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star!
There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs — and even if they have already been given the award by someone else — you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!"

I'd like to pass the awards along to these incredible bloggers:
~ Theresa at My Desert Heart  phew, I almost wrote dessert heart  can't let these folks know how much I pigged out on sweets this week  that was a close call
~ Victor at Time for Confections Reflections
~ Colleen  at Thoughts on those chocolate chip cookies her husband bakes Grace
~ Anne at Imprisoned by my jeans lately in my Bones
~ Kathryn at Heart for God 's good food
~ Monica at Little Jesus and Me love cupcakes
~ Barb at Suffering from sugar overload with Joy
~ Sue at Sue Elvis Writes and I bet she bakes too
~ Jennifer at Catholic Inspired cuisine
 
if anyone notices my slips i'll just blame anabelle for sending me that food for thought award in the first place
besides, I bet anabelle likes a good seven layer bar oh right I forgot that anabelle burns things like i do hopefully she won't notice that i cheated on the rules for the awards  then again she did too 






Thursday, December 27, 2012

Capital Sin, Apocalypse Wow

Okay, I realize I've been away from Blogger for a while but:

Since when do we have to answer trivia questions to access our dashboards?

And does Blogger really care whether I know the capital of Texas?

(Now, I'm not sayin' I got it wrong, mind you. Nope, not sayin' that at all. I mean: I got on here, right?)

I admit that "Do you know the 37 things you should hoard before the coming disaster?" has me a bit stumped though.

(Hmm, after looking at some of my post titles I'm thinking that I should know the answer to that one....)


They Did Not Know I was Their Healer

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is from Hosea and it reads like this:

I drew them with human cords,
   with bands of love;
I fostered them like one
   who raises an infant to his cheeks;
Yet, though I stooped to feed my child,
   they did not know I was their healer.
                                    Hosea 11:4

Do you know that God is your healer? As I look around the world we live in today I see so much suffering in people's eyes. Many don't seem to realize that God is their healer in a very real and personal way. I believe that this is an aspect of God's nature that people don't think about often in this day and age where being self-sufficient is praised and looked upon as a great virtue. I think we forget that we are not a world unto ourselves and that the very self-sufficiency we so praise can at times be our greatest downfall. When we forget that we need others we tend to grow very selfish and overly focused on our own lives and well-being. We lose the greater picture that is reality and sit on our little thrones in the little false worlds we create for ourselves.

Pretenders, the whole lot of us. Imagine if God were to show each and every one of us the truth about ourselves all at once?

Ouch.

Like a universal "divine adjustment". (Hey, never say never.)

Thankfully, we usually get this "divine adjustment" over a period of time.

The truth is that we need others and we need God. Those who believe they can "do it all myself" can, if it goes too far, shut themselves off from God and others. When we close ourselves off in this way we also close ourselves off from the deep interior healing each of us needs. Healing that we need so very much in order to grow spiritually.

Many people aren't even aware that they do need healing. They walk around joylessly, believing that this is a normal state of existence.

It's not.

There's a strange ideology in this age (and an odd one it is if you really think about it): that God doesn't  step into our lives in an extraordinary fashion anymore. I think this manner of thinking is more a byproduct of the age we live in rather than a "truth" we should hold onto. As a matter of fact, if you ask me:

It's ALL extraordinary.

Every darn bit of it.

Every single moment of it.

Every last particle of it.




                                                             God with us

At least...it should be.



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Brain Drain

Ever have days when you feel as if you are trudging through deep water?  And you wish the day would hurry up and be finished already?

Well, it happens to me. Over the years, I've learned to recognize the patterns of thought that bring it about and how Satan uses it to oppress me. As aware as I am of what brings about the oppression on these days I have to admit that I sometimes wallow in it for a while.

Call it self-pity if you will.

Let's use insomnia as an example since this is a problem for a number of people, including me. I'll have a sleepless night and feel "foggy", tired, and irritable by 7:00 in the morning. Since we are physical as well as spiritual beings, in prances "Old Slewfoot" determined to get a foothold into my day.

And it always starts with the mind.

 If you can overcome these attacks quickly you have a good chance of having a smooth day. If you don't put them down quickly? Well, things will probably just spiral downwards from there.

Usually I am the one who starts the mess with an internal dialogue that might go something like this:

"Oh, how am I going to get through the day? I'm exhausted and of course it's a work day!" (You can fill in things other than work - the point is that we sometimes set ourselves up for bad days.)

"Why can't I sleep normally like other people? Great, just great!  I really needed a good night's sleep, too. Oh well! Another day of walking around in a daze I guess!" (I say this to myself but sometimes secretly wonder if I'm really announcing my displeasure to God. After all, I already know I'm tired so there would be no point in mentioning it to myself, right? Think along the lines of telling others all about your exhaustion to elicit sympathy from them...lol)
                 
If I let thoughts like these fester instead of ripping them out I can almost guarantee that they will get worse:

"I look haggard! Sheesh! Look at those dark circles! And to top it off my head is pounding. I can't go to work like this!"

(moan... groan)

"No coffee creamer in the house? Sigh. Figures there's no creamer today of all days. I could have sworn I just bought some." (Alright! Who used all the creamer?!)

(whine)

Okay, this might be a rather simplistic example of poor internal dialogue but I think you get my point. If we crack the door open through negative thinking someone is going to try to stick his foot in there. And it's not anyone we want visiting. We all have trials of some sort on a daily basis and the way we think can set us up for failure. It can also put a damper on our families. Have you ever noticed that if you grumble in the morning others sometimes "catch it"?

Kind of like a virus. If I get up in the morning and speak any thoughts like these out loud all hell may break loose.

All hell? Very funny! Surely not!

Well, sometimes it seems like all hell. I've long learned that if you give satan an inch he'll take a mile. He thrives on little stuff like this because he knows he has the opportunity to nudge the door open further. And he's going to use that opportunity to his advantage. After all, sowing division is his game. If he can seed the family with discord in the mornings he knows it has a good chance of spreading from there.

Slam the door shut on poor internal dialogue before the foothold becomes a stronghold. If you give in to negative internal dialogue on a regular basis it can become a habit and once it becomes habitual to think in this manner you can be sure that satan will use it to undermine both your life and the lives of others.

And it all starts with the "little stuff".

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two weeks? Did I say a TWO week break?

Oops.

My mistake.

Well, it's like this:

When you take a break from blogging you realize that there really are 24 hours in a day.

Not 2 hours.

No, a full 24 hours.

Minus sleeping time, of course.

Not that I sleep all that much.

This is what I do when I have insomnia:


This is also what I do a lot less of when I'm blogging, unfortunately.

(That raccoon bears a remarkable resemblance to me when I have insomnia, by the way. Especially  
around the eyes...)











Thursday, August 16, 2012

Two Week Break

I will be taking the next few weeks off from blogging and will return once school starts. I'm sure all you mothers out there can relate (wink, wink).

See you soon!

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Practical Power of Penitence

One of the blogs I like to read is Fr. Dwight Longenecker's site Standing on My Head. His most recent post is The Practical Power of Penitence and it was very good. I like the way Father Longenecker lays things on the table in a clear manner - his forthright writing style means I don't have to weed through piles of "excess" to get at the meat of what he is pointing out. It's right there before our eyes. 
The Practical Power of Penitence made me smile, especially the ending:

"Stop blaming others–even if it’s their fault. Take responsibility. Claim the blame. Pick up other people’s trash."

"Grow up."

Well, darned if that post didn't make me want to "grow up" right then and there!

Seriously. I was sitting there saying, "That grumbling he mentions? Yes, I know it well."

Grumble. Grumble. Grumble.

I catch myself grumbling interiorly (oops, Google Chrome says interiorly is not a word) on a regular basis. It's a pride thing. After all, it's much easier to grumble than to repair things, isn't it? 

Ahem.

Could you excuse me for a few moments while I go empty the "trash"? And "clean up" the house a bit?

(I will not put up another picture of Pigpen. I will not put up another picture of Pigpen. I will not put up...)

(oops)

(Down Freud! Down Jung! )

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Nothing Wrong with Believing in Miracles

In some ways being a Catholic Blogger destroys the simplicity of one's faith.  Personally, I've always been of the mind that it's better to believe in miracles than to despise them.

( The parting of the Red Sea.)

As a matter of fact, until I started blogging I didn't realize how many people did despise miracles despite the fact that the Bible is filled with them as is the history of the Church. There has never been a time that God has not stepped into our lives in miraculous ways as far I know.

 (The manna in the desert.)

I simply assumed that others accepted miracles as part of God's provision and love for us.

 (The  Virgin Birth.)

Until I started blogging that is. Once you start blogging you begin to see that there are millions of Catholics who don't believe in miracles anymore.

 ( Lourdes)

 Or even despise them as only necessary for people of small faith.

 (Fatima)

As in, "You may need to believe that miracles still happen since you are such a spiritual infant but I do not need them myself."

 (St. Faustina... O ye great saint of so little faith!)

The first time I came across this kind of attitude I was a bit shocked.

(You too Little Flower? O the shame of it!)

After all, it seemed to me that if God saw fit to perform a miracle then we should be thankful, right? As in thanking the Giver of all good things?

 (Oh, please say it ain't so St. Paul! Obviously, it was a moment of insanity on your part that brought about so great a conversion.)++

It didn't take me very long to become wary of what I wrote in certain comment boxes. I knew on which blogs it was okay to discuss the miraculous and which blogs to tread very carefully around.

(The lame shall walk.)

I learned this the hard way of course but managed to escape with my head intact.

 (The blind shall see.)

It did occur to me that perhaps there was something wrong with me for believing so easily and maybe I should back down.

(The deaf shall hear.)

Good sense prevailed, thankfully.

(Take this, all of you, and eat of it,
for this is my Body,
which will be given up for you.
Take this, all of you, and drink from it,
for this is the chalice of my Blood,
the Blood of the new and eternal covenant,
which will be poured out for you and for many
for the forgiveness of sins.
Do this in memory of me.)




(By the way, you had a lot of nerve bilocating like that, St Pio.)


++ (Sorry, St. Paul, but it was a rather bizarre mystical experience you had and all that. You can' t blame people for questioning it, can you? Can you?)










Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Marino Restrepo - full testimony in English




I thought the testimony of Gloria Polo was powerful but, for me, this one is even more so. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit throughout Marino Restrepo's testimony and have watched it twice. It's very long but well worth the time it takes to view it. To be honest, I felt like I was under a spotlight the entire time watching it.  When he talked about being grace bearers for others I felt the Holy Spirit's presence so powerfully that it left me stunned. This man's words are anointed. A big thank you to Anabelle who posted this video on her blog Written By the Finger of God.

For those who don't have the time to watch the entire video, you can find it on You Tube in shorter segments.

The "Dump"

We have special junk removal trucks up here in New England because most people have waaaaay too much junk. The business must be doing pretty well because I see their trucks everywhere. You pay the guys to remove your junk and then they either bring it to a dump/recycling center or they sell it to someone else so that the other person has your junk too. When they decide to get rid of it they then pass your junk along with some of their own junk to the next person. Soon, a number of people  have some of your "junk" along with their own and that of others.

Sin is like this. If sin is not stopped in its tracks through repentance and reconciliation with God it spreads like a disease infecting those around us. We can see manifestations of this infection throughout our country and world today. It didn't happen overnight and we are all responsible because we all fall short.  And with God's grace we have to repair the mess we've made - this is made possible through Christ who obtained every sort of grace and blessing for us by His life, death, and resurrection. Reparation is an important aspect of our lives here on earth.

I know I've written about this before but I want to share it once again in a bit more detail.
Years ago I had a dream. Someone led me to the edge of a high cliff and told me to look down. When I did I was stricken to the core by what I saw: there below me was what looked like an enormous dump, but instead of trash it was filled with the sins of humanity. Looking down into this dump I could see  drugs, needles, pornography, TV's, condoms, the Pill, books, weapons, and the list goes on and on. All the things we misuse were there. Our sins stretched as far as the eye could see. I don't know how to explain it but I also saw sins like rape and murder in this pile.  What really, really got to me was that strewn amongst the filth of our sins there were thousands and thousands of tiny little dead babies and even body parts. Someone was holding my hand and as I looked down into the pile I shook my head and said, "No hope. No hope."

But hope was holding my hand. I felt the strength of that hand despite the shaking of my head  and my words as I looked into this cesspool of vice. The Lord was simply showing me in a very clear manner just how far we've fallen today. We are even leading children away from Him through our refusal to correct our lives.

This dream was so vivid that I've never forgotten it. Who could?

It's time to turn back to the Lord. We have strayed far beyond what may be termed "human weakness".  Yes, we have natures prone to sin but we can't simply sit on the fence and watch as our brothers and sisters fall all around us. It's our job to help them up.

We cannot be like Cain and say, "Am I my brother's keeper?"  We have been given the responsibility of lifting others up through our prayer, words, and actions. Each of us has a mission here on earth and bringing others to the Lord is part of this mission. He gives us the grace to accomplish our missions if we trust in Him. Abundant grace. More than we can even imagine.

I came across a beautiful prayer in my Magnificat this month:

O God of mercy and compassion, all our guilt lies open to you, all our secret sins are known to you, all our ugly ways are clear before you, yet you never cease to offer us your redeeming love. Have mercy on us in our pitiful attempts to cloak our sinfulness with false bravado, and grant us the joy that comes with full repentance, through Christ our Lord. Amen.

God sees all things as they are. In His mercy He reveals our sinfulness to us slowly over a period of time (though not always) so we won't feel overwhelmed.  However, when we die our entire lives are laid bare before us all at once. There is no gentle lifting of the veil. We will see everything we have ever done (or left undone), thought, or said, in the clear light of truth Himself.

Are we ready for this?






Sunday, August 5, 2012

Fudging

Have you ever had someone ask if they can swing by your house for a visit? You say, "Sure! C'mon over!"

And then you look around and realize that your house is a pit and you have about twenty minutes to make it look good enough for company. So you run around like a mad woman in a frenzy hiding the mess as best you can so that your house looks presentable on the surface and hope that your friend doesn't decide to coax your kitten out from under the sofa where he's batting around dust bunnies and shredding your kid's books.

No?

Well, have you ever planned to give your house a thorough cleaning so hubby can come home and say, "Wow! You've been busy!" (UGH...true though - just wanted to pat my own back) but you get caught up on your blog instead? So about half an hour before he is due home from work you give the house a quickie so it looks like you've been doing something besides blogging half the day away?

Never?

Well, the truth is that I've done both.  I've fudged in my cleaning plenty of times. Made the surface look good all the while knowing that it's a mess in disguise and hoping I don't get "caught".

It's a pride thing.

You know...Mary the pharisee and all that.

I get caught sometimes though. The other day I walked in the door and my husband said, "Hon, you gotta see this." He then pulled out his phone and showed me a picture of our dog, Caesar, with a pair of underwear around his neck.

Of course...they were mine.

"Ooops! He must have gotten into the laundry basket."

"I think he found them under the bed, Hon. He was wrestling with something under there and then came downstairs like this."

My husband thought it was hilarious.

 I just hope he didn't post it on Facebook.

Sometimes we can sneak things by SOME people but never past God.  He has full knowledge of "hidden things".  I cannot count the number of times during my bedtime prayers when I sheepishly say to God, "I did it again, Lord. Got caught up on the computer. Just call me Mary the Pharisee."

You can't sneak anything past Our Lady either. When she cleans your inner house she doesn't bypass the closets.

I often wonder how many skeletons tumbled out when she opened the doors.

Sigh.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Muck

All my life I have had strange dreams. As a child, I used to beg my parents to leave the hall light on at night because I often had awful nightmares. They were always the same - I would be running and the devil would be chasing me. And I knew, even then, that he was totally and completely devoid of any goodness. His eyes were as cold as death and they petrified me. I would wake up full of panic, my heart beating wildly, wondering what would happen if he ever caught me in my dreams.

Well, he never managed to catch me as a child but he did lay out many snares for me and as a teenager I started falling into these traps. I fell away from the Church and my prayer life went down the tube as well. I would do my night prayers but they were done in a perfunctory manner with little to no reflection involved. I don't remember very many nightmares during this period.

It wasn't until my twenties that the nightmares came back full force. Only this time, the devil wasn't chasing me. He didn't need to anymore. During the night I would have dreams that I was standing in deep muck with reptilian creatures surrounding me. I would wake up and say Hail Marys until the fear left me. Later I would realize that these dreams were warnings that I was knee deep in hell spiritually. When I read my poetry from this period of my life I can see the warnings there too. Many of my poems were dark  and bleak.

Hell is a state of being and I knew that state personally.

Soon after my return to the Church I had a vivid dream. In this dream I opened my mouth and a worm started coming out. A strong hand grabbed the worm and pulled, pulled until it was all the way out. It was the longest, ugliest worm I had ever seen. The next day when I woke up my heart felt lighter. Gross but true.

Many years ago when I first started praying the Rosary regularly, I had a funny dream. In this dream I had a 7 story house . I was walking around this house when I came upon a lady with a broom and dustpan bustling around my house cleaning it. And good grief, was it a mess! But she started on the top floor and was working her way down. The house had no stairways, it had an elevator and she was using it to get from floor to floor. I followed her and then she turned around and looked at me.

It was Our Lady.

Before she turned toward me, she was pulling down cobwebs out of dark corners with her broom and was entirely engrossed (fitting word I think) in the work she was doing. I remember watching her steady and thorough cleaning and wondering why this woman was so determined to clean my house. After I saw who it was I remember waking up and feeling very blessed that she was taking on such a task.

I never saw her cleaning the cellar in this dream. She hadn't yet reached that point in her housecleaning and I'm a bit thankful that I didn't have to follow her down there.

She's cleaning my "cellar" now. Oh, I could tell you that my "cellar"is neat as a pin but I would be lying through my teeth. My "cellar" is a junk pile and Our Lady is shoveling it out. A broom just doesn't work on this mess. My emotions are flying all over the place as the junk pours out. I feel like a little kid in the middle of a trash dump puzzled (and a bit mortified) by my mother's insistence that all my "stuff" must go.

Oh, to think I've been clinging to trash all these years.

Who knew.













Saturday, July 28, 2012

Great Fruit...

                                                        ...but next time hold the nuts please!

Friday, July 27, 2012

When being firm just doesn't work...

                                                 

                                                   As you an see, I am against spanking :)

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Faith versus "positive thinking"

One of the things I have learned over the years is that the disposition of the heart is extremely important when it comes to our spiritual lives. A few years ago, the Holy Spirit, in a very pointed manner, showed me how anything and everything (and everyone for that matter) can be used as stepping stone to Him. Even situations that seem to be quite awful in our eyes need not be a stumbling block and can actually be HUGE stepping stones to God. We know by faith that God brings good out of everything and I've seen this at work in my own life in remarkable ways. Illness, deaths, trials of every sort, attacks, little daily irritations - every single one of these things can be springboards into the arms of God.

It's very easy for us to see how the joys in life can bring us closer to God but at times it's a bit harder for us to see how the "not so good stuff" can do the same - at times in more powerful ways than the happier aspects of life can. The conversions of most of the people I know came about through what  people would consider a bad experience (or a series of them). I'm not saying that the wonderful things in life don't bring us closer to God, I'm simply stating that many people I know turned to God wholeheartedly after a series of painful events or circumstances. God transformed their pain into something good.

They "allowed" Him to.  We always have a choice in our response.

When it comes to suffering of any sort the disposition of the heart can be the difference between allowing bitterness to enter the heart or allowing the Lord to  transform our pain and suffering into something beautiful. We can wallow in bitterness (I spent years in this "spiritual state", unfortunately) or we can trust that God is not "picking on us" (obviously I thought this at one point...lol) but allowing certain events to happen knowing that He is going to use these events for our good. This isn't what I would call positive thinking but rather "trusting in the God of all truth and goodness".  The words "positive thinking" make me a bit wary in our days because they can be used as blinders or a refusal to see truth. They can even be used as a way to avoid correction or as a way to avoid responsibility. I'm not so sure the term  means the same thing as it used to. Jesus was a truthful thinker not a positive thinker. He was often very blunt in His manner of speech. When He cleansed the temple He didn't put a positive spin on it "Oh, everything is fine and dandy here in God's house so I'll just leave things be." No, He saw the "truth" of what was going on and did something about it.


Look at the Crucifixion of Our Lord. God changed the world for all time through His death and resurrection. All things were transformed through Jesus who suffered so painfully for our sake. 

Jesus never said we would not suffer here on earth. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke the "conditions for discipleship" are taking up the the cross and following Jesus. After each of these Gospel passages the next passage is about the Transfiguration of Christ. A coincidence? No way. 

Picking up our cross and carrying it transforms us because God made it so. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Language of Heaven

There's nothing sweeter than listening to the babbling of a baby. A bit later, we smile and encourage their attempts to speak. Even though their words at first are not clear and sound a bit like nonsense to our ears we nonetheless praise them, understanding that human language takes time to learn. Eventually their words become clearer and clearer and soon words turn into sentences.

Next comes the terrible twos. Every third word seems to be "no" and we often say, "You need to listen and obey Mommy and Daddy, sweetheart." We know what's best for them and seek to protect them from danger and to teach them that listening and obeying are important to their safety.

So it is with prayer. Most of us begin our prayer lives with endless babbling to the Lord. No doubt He is proud of these early attempts to communicate with Him and like a proud parent, even encourages it.  As we grow in Christ our words become clearer but we are still very wordy and the conversation tends to be a bit one-sided at best. Like toddlers, we have learned to speak but have not learned to listen as of yet. Still, God seems to like the sound of our voices and seems pleased with our prayers. We are filled with consolations of every kind and blessed abundantly.

And then comes the silence. With our tendency toward verbosity this silence terrifies us. What did we do wrong? Why does it feel as if God no longer hears our prayers? Where is the leaping of the spirit we have come to expect during prayer?

During this time God is teaching us to simplify our prayer, to pray with our hearts and not just our mouths and minds. He is also teaching us to listen. Listening and obeying are two of the most important part of prayer. God speaks to every heart but it is hard to hear the sound of his voice if we don't shut up from time to time. Between the noise of the world and our own inner "yak, yak, yakking" sometimes His voice is drowned out by the cacophony of  interior wordiness, sometimes by the shouting of the world that surrounds us.

We know by faith that God knows all souls intimately. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Certainly, He hears the whisper of a silent heart that beats like a drum for Him. Our prayer is taken over by His words rather than our own for His thoughts are far above our own.

 The Heart of God gathers the hearts of men into Himself  and when we accept this "gathering" our hearts begin to beat in unison with His. 






Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fading Glory


The sun is shining quite brightly here but our country seems to be going through a dark, wintry night. As trees are stripped down in the winter, I believe America is in a period where it will be stripped of its hypocrisy and the bitter fruits it has sown will be  "bared" for all to see. We've already seen this to a degree and I believe it will continue until "eyes are opened" to the truth of our sinfulness as a nation. Let people accuse me of a lack of patriotism but I won't pretend for the sake of the label "patriotic" to be blind to the sins of my country. I belong to the Kingdom of God first. People accuse Christians of negative thinking but I think we are more concerned with truthful thinking than whether it's  positive or negative. Besides, what is negative about purification and becoming more aware of our sins? Seems like a great thing to me and it brings about healing to boot.

I was reading an article yesterday on the recent shootings  and was shocked by the anti-Christian sentiment in the comment section. Do people really believe that God is to blame for this horror? Sin is to blame. And the author of sin is NOT God.

On occasion I get negative comments on my blog too. I usually delete them but once in a while I save them as a reminder of just how far people will go to offend Christians. As a Catholic I've been told that I'm going to hell (or worse). Once, a man left me a comment after a post about abortion and when I clicked on his link I landed on a site in which the author's sole purpose was to blaspheme God in any and every manner possible. I deleted him as a follower but could not understand why someone would go to such lengths to harass those who have Christian blogs. Or maybe I do know...he was as repulsed by my blog as I was by his. My blog, especially my post on abortion, deeply offended him; his blog and his post about Jesus (you wouldn't even want to know the scenarios he put Jesus in - perverse to say the least) deeply offended me. He wanted me to see his blog and knew I'd be disgusted by it.

The spiritual war going on reminds me of one of my favorite poems:


To the Immaculate Virgin, On a Winter Night
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Lady, the night is falling and the dark
Steals all the blood from the scarred west.
The stars come out and freeze my heart
With drops of untouchable music, frail as ice
And bitter as the new year's cross.

Where in the world has any voice
Prayed to you, Lady, for the peace that's in your power?
In a day of blood and many beatings
I see the governments rise up, behind the steel horizon,
And take their weapons and begin to kill.

Where in the world has any city trusted you?
Out where the soldiers camp the guns begin to thump
And another winter comes down
To seal our years in ice.
The last train cries out
And runs in terror from this farmer's valley
Where all the little birds are dead.

The roads are white, the fields are mute.
There are no voices in the wood
And trees make gallows up against the sharp-eyed stars.
Oh where will Christ be killed again
In the land of these dead men?

Lady, the night has got us by the heart
And the whole world is tumbling down.
Words turn to ice in my dry throat
Praying for a land without prayer,

Walking to you on water all winter
In a year that wants more war.
         
         Thomas Merton






Saturday, July 21, 2012

Thoughts from St. Pio on Spiritual Warfare

I know spiritual warfare can be fierce at times and it's a consoling thought to know that everyone goes through them and we are not alone in our battles. I believe they build virtue, make us stronger and teach us to rely on God alone. Padre Pio fought many such battles; he could see the demonic world. Here are a few thoughts on this subject from St Pio:

"The field of battle between God and satan is the human soul. It is for the soul that the battle rages every moment of life. The soul must give free access to the Lord so that it can be fortified by Him in every respect and with all kinds of weapons; that His light may enlighten it to combat the darkness of error; that it be clothed with Jesus Christ, with His justice, truth, the shield of faith, the word of God, in order to conquer such powerful enemies. To be clothed with Jesus Christ it is necessary to die to oneself."

"Temptations, discouragement, and unrest are the wares offered by the enemy. Remember this: if the devil makes noise it is a sign that he is still outside and not yet within. That which must terrify us is his peace and concord with the human soul."

"Do not fear. Jesus is more powerful than all Hell. At the invocation of His Name every knee in heaven, on earth and in hell must bend before Jesus. This is the consolation of the good and terror of the evil ones."

No wonder St. Pio is a favorite of mine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wake Up Calls

                                              "Could you not keep watch for one hour?"


"And yet, while it refers specifically to Gethsemane, it also points ahead to the later history of Christianity. Across the centuries, it is the drowsiness of the disciples that opens up possibilities for the power of the Evil One. Such drowsiness deadens the soul, so that it remains undisturbed by the power of the Evil One at work in the world and by all the injustice and suffering ravaging the earth.  In its state of numbness, the soul prefers not to see all this; it is easily persuaded that things cannot be so bad, so as to continue in the self-satisfaction of its own comfortable existence. Yet this deadening of souls, this lack of vigilance regarding both God’s closeness and the looming forces of darkness, is what gives the Evil One power in the world."   Jesus of Nazareth by Pope Benedict XVI


There is a common thread running through a number of online articles and videos over the past few years and I have no doubt it's the working of The Holy Spirit. The word is "wake up". I have posted about this numerous times but I wanted to link to others who are getting this same word also so people will understand the seriousness of this message. It's not only Catholics who are hearing this - it's running across all Christian denominations.

For your discernment:

Wake Up! Be Converted!
He Calls While We Slumber *
Be Sober and Awake *
Watch and Pray
Wake Up!
Wake Up, Catholics
The Day of the Lord
A Spiritual Wake Up Call
Awaken From the Sleep of Unbelief
America! Can You Hear God Calling?
Wake Up, America!
Wake Up Call
Wake Up
Wake Up, America
Discerning the Times
Wake Up Church *
A Call to Anguish *
A Wake Up Notice
America's Last Call
The Last Hour

This is only a short list from hundreds that I weeded through. My question is this:
Are they all wrong? Or is The Holy Spirit sounding a worldwide wake up call?

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Love is in the Air - Netspeak


That would be "net speak" for those not in the know. (Hello, Victor? Are you there?) Okay, the simple fact of the matter is I spend too much time around young people and LOL has snuck its way past this insomniac brain and I tend to sprinkle it liberally in my posts and comments. You really think someone who types with one finger would pass up the opportunity to abbreviate when possible?

First, let me say:
LOL does not mean lots of love. I love people but I don't go flinging that love around the blogosphere in a random fashion, BTW. And ROTFLOL (which I do not use) does not mean "rolling on top of flowers, lots of laughter". I love flowers as much as the next person you know. And ROFLOL does not mean "rotten old f*rt laughing out loud".

Is netspeak annoying? Of course it is! But it's easy on the typing finger too. So here's a quick breakdown for my friends who think I am spreading love around like a bee pollinating flowers:

LOL - laughing out loud
ROTFLOL- rolling on the floor, laughing out loud
ROFLOL - rolling on floor, laughing out loud (someone was lazy and took out the "the")
ROFL - rolling on floor, laughing (someone was REALLY lazy...a one finger typist no doubt)

And BTW?

 It means "better than a whuppin", by the way.




Monday, July 16, 2012

The Power of the Church Triumphant

As a member of the Church Militant and part of the Mystical Body of Christ one of my greatest blessings is the access I have to the Church Triumphant. And I use it daily. The canonization process of the Catholic Church is very rigorous and the saints are living models of holiness for us. I stress living because they are not dead at all. On the contrary, they are more alive than we are and encompassed by the glory of God.

Everything and everyone can be a stepping stone to God and the saints are the most powerful intercessors of all. Knowing that, I turn to them for help in my daily life, especially in the area of faults, family life and spiritual progression. They love when we ask for their intercession and we can be assured that they are pleading our cause before the throne of God. 

I enjoy reading about saints and how often our prayers are answered through their intercession. Having a close relationship with the "great cloud of witnesses" who have gone before me is a very important aspect of my spiritual life and I pray the Litany of the Saints quite often. Plus, I have my "favorites" and  each has a charge over certain areas of my life; I am not one to refuse a gift that the Church has placed in my lap. 

Here is a quick breakdown of some of saints that "work" with me:

~ St. Faustina has charge of my blog, my own intercessory prayers for others, my understanding of         justice and mercy and other areas.
~ St Pio is my "spiritual father" and is in charge of my spiritual life and progress, along with my patron,
   St Teresa of Avila
~ St. Joseph is in charge of family unity and family matters
~ St. Bernadette is in charge of my growth in humility
~ St Benedict and St. Gemma help with spiritual battles (though I often call on the whole lot of them for this task)
~ Blessed Kateri and St. Tarcisius are in charge of certain areas of my childhood that pop up from time to time. They were my favorite saints as a child.
~ St. Peter and the other apostles have charge over keeping my feet firmly in the Faith.
~ St. Paul has charge over my spiritual gifts and my weaknesses (the thorns in my side)
~ St Dymphna over my propensity toward anxiety
~ St. Therese is in charge of saving a spot on God's lap for me (grin)

The list could go on forever but I'll stop here...lol. I thought I'd post this because I often wonder why people settle for vague "spiritual guides" when God has placed so many holy men and women as models and helpers for those of us still on earth. It's truly a great gift and blessing from the Lord!

And Our Lady?

She is my mother and I am her daughter. This spiritual motherhood is by God's design. Every single word that Jesus spoke on the Cross has infinite meaning because God is eternal.

"Behold thy mother."
                                     ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I'm very interested in hearing about the saints and their place in the lives of others. I pray with the saints and also use the Saint Calender to ask assistance on a daily basis. I would like to hear how other people incorporate The Church Triumphant into their spiritual lives. Anyone want to share their stories? You can leave a comment on my blog or a link to your post about this subject if you are interested in this too. Thanks!






Wednesday, July 11, 2012

About Those Mansions...


Every so often I check the keywords that bring people to my site. Today, I looked at them and saw "i read ignatius and avila and fenelon and just get depressed". 

Okay...I admit I smiled. Not because the words are funny but because these holy writers can seem rather daunting at times. When I read St. Teresa of Avila years ago my second reaction (you can read my first reaction here) was "Say what? You mean I've barely entered the castle? Mansions? Is that me over there standing in that cobwebbed corner paralyzed with fright?"  Not that I could move right then anyway, mind you, because that hideous reptilian creature thingy was nipping at my heels every time I tried to take a step. Scrupulosity was his name and not much got past him. He had one serious flaw though - he kept looking at himself because he took himself too seriously and loved himself too much. (Be quiet, Sigmund! Down, Jung! ) I knew I had my work cut out for me.

This was right after my six months of  "sainthood" I think. You know, right after the honeymoon period  when I was booted off my "throne" for the first time. I had dust in my nose for years.

Depressed? Oh, you could say that. Overwhelmed? Hmmm...that would work too. Of course, curiosity got the best of me and I read the entire book anyway. 

Then I tucked the book away in my "cellar". Gently of course. (You just don't offend your patron saint.)

As for Saint Ignatius (God bless his holy soul), I threw the book down in disgust (of myself) and didn't pick it back up for years. Talk about shining a light on one's soul! But there were a lot of things I wasn't willing to see yet so his "spiritual exercises" were left to languish on a shelf until my flabby soul had enough spiritual strength to pick it up again. You can't "exercise" when you are glued to your easy chair. (That darn throne!)

Fenelon I didn't read until recently and I immediately fell head over heels for him. His blunt writing style, his gift of exhortation - every word pierced my heart like an arrow. And it didn't hurt. It didn't depress me or overwhelm me. It gave me a clear picture of the work that still needed to be done and I appreciated it.

Why the big difference? Time, I think. Years later, I dragged my dusty copy of The Interior Castle out again and enjoyed reading it. I didn't feel depressed even though I "saw" that God still had His work cut out for Him.

 He takes joy in doing it. I am not my work in progress...I am His work in progress. And that makes all the difference.

St Benedict Prayer and the use of Sacramentals



Since a few bloggers have been posting about the dangers of the occult and the New Age Movement (see My Brush With Darkness) I thought I would post a prayer and a few links for the feast day of St. Benedict. The Catholic Church encourages the use of sacramentals  such as the St. Benedict Medal, The Scapular, Holy Water, the Crucifix, and other blessed objects. The tradition of blessing our meals or our children (and others) is also considered a sacramental. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church sacramentals are  "sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church."

We use sacramentals in our home. Our house is filled with them, actually. Blessed medals, holy water, blessed salt, oil (etc...) - we use them all. I wear the St. Benedict Cross daily and have been for years.
Sacramentals are used by priests during exorcisms and their use can also be powerfully effective when used by lay people. Though we cannot (and should never attempt to) perform solemn exorcisms, we can, and should, promote the use of sacramentals and prayers against evil in our households. Every time we pray the Saint Michael Prayer, we are doing exactly that.
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Saint Benedict Prayer:


0 glorious St. Benedict, sublime model of all virtues, pure vessel of God's grace!  Behold me, humbly kneeling at thy feet. I implore thy loving heart to pray for me before the throne of God. To thee I have recourse in all the dangers which daily surround me. Shield me against my enemies, inspire me to imitate thee in all things

May thy blessing be with me always, so that I may shun whatever God forbids and avoid the occasions of sin. Graciously obtain for me from God those favors and graces of which I stand so much in need, in the trials, miseries and afflictions of life. Thy heart was always so full of love, compassion. and mercy towards those who were afflicted or troubled in any way. Thou didst never dismiss without consolation and assistance any one who had recourse to thee. I therefore invoke thy powerful intercession, in the confident hope that thou wilt hear my prayers and obtain for me the special grace and favor I so earnestly implore (mention it), if it be for the greater glory of God and the welfare of my soul

Help me, 0 great St. Benedict, to live and die as a faithful child of God, to be ever submissive to His holy will, and to attain the eternal happiness of heaven. Amen
                                       ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Links - St. Benedict and the Medal of St. Benedict:
~ The Continual and Silent Prayer of St. Benedict
~ The Medal of St. Benedict

Links - Sacramentals
~ Introduction to Sacramentals
~ Sacramentals: What are They?






Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Wonderful Post

Barb at Suffering with Joy recently wrote a post called Divine Simplicity and Truth and I highly recommend it to all who haven't read it yet.  The meditations come from Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen's book - Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year. Barb shares her thoughts on duplicity of the heart and mind and how important divine simplicity is in our relationship with God and others. Her post wasn't just good...it was excellent. Thank you, Barb.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Moira Noonan's Story

I was searching for a conversion story that I had read online last year and found interesting when I ran across Moira Noonan's story. I haven't read her book Ransomed from Darkness but you can get a general idea of what it's about from the link above. Sometimes the dangers of the occult are best pointed out by those who were involved in it.

In the Vatican Document, Jesus Christ - The Bearer of the Water of Life, we can read what the Church has to say about the New Age Movement. It helps us understand why this movement doesn't fit in with Catholicism and never will.


We are not "gods"

I read a very interesting post today on Making All Things New and highly recommend it: God and god.

I've spoken of my experiences in bookstores where I will pick up a book and immediately hear, "Put that back!"  Often, I'll notice afterward that the book is listed under New Age and was accidentally placed in the Christianity section. Some of these books are obvious in their New Age teachings such as the book Fr. Joseph mentions in his article linked above while others are far more subtle and "claim" to be Christian when they are far from it. Some will even quote from the Bible which makes them all the more dangerous.

Christianity cannot be "mixed" with any other religion. God is God and we are not gods by any means.
It's not necessary to prove this - we are surrounded with this "proof" today. The rotten fruit of our apostasy from truth Himself is written all over the face of our country and world.

It's not safe to tamper with the spiritual realm. We call upon the Lord in this area at all times and are never to depend on self. When we go off on our own spiritually, as in the area of the New Age philosophy, we leave the safe haven of the Lord's "pasture" and wander off into enemy territory without
protection. We become as sheep surrounded by a pack of wolves.

It seems to me that those who are drawn into New Age teachings are desperately searching for personal  power in a world that overwhelms them. We don't need "personal" power, we need the power of Christ
in our lives. The disciples of Jesus were powerless until the Holy Spirit came upon them. The power they received was a gift from God, it did not come from themselves. They had no power without God.

And by the way, crystals are just "pretty" rocks.
                                              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Today's Mass readings:


Reading 1 Hos 2:16, 17c-18, 21-22

Thus says the LORD:
I will allure her;
I will lead her into the desert
and speak to her heart.
She shall respond there as in the days of her youth,
when she came up from the land of Egypt.

On that day, says the LORD,
She shall call me "My husband,"
and never again "My baal."

I will espouse you to me forever:
I will espouse you in right and in justice,
in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity,
and you shall know the LORD.

Responsorial Psalm Ps 145:2-3, 4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (8a) The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Every day will I bless you,
and I will praise your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD and highly to be praised;
his greatness is unsearchable.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
Generation after generation praises your works
and proclaims your might.
They speak of the splendor of your glorious majesty
and tell of your wondrous works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
They discourse of the power of your terrible deeds
and declare your greatness.
They publish the fame of your abundant goodness
and joyfully sing of your justice.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.
The LORD is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger and of great kindness.
The LORD is good to all
and compassionate toward all his works.
R. The Lord is gracious and merciful.

Gospel Mt 9:18-26

While Jesus was speaking, an official came forward,
knelt down before him, and said,
"My daughter has just died.
But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live."
Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.
A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him
and touched the tassel on his cloak.
She said to herself, "If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured."
Jesus turned around and saw her, and said,
"Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you."
And from that hour the woman was cured.

When Jesus arrived at the official's house
and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,
he said, "Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping."
And they ridiculed him.
When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand,
and the little girl arose.
And news of this spread throughout all that land.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

It Begins at Home

Faith starts in the home. If we truly care about our children then we must truly give them a firm foundation to stand on. What's firmer than a rock? Christ needs to be welcomed back into the hearts and homes of America (and the rest of the world for that matter). It all begins at home. It's not enough to send your child to CCD or Mass and not attend yourself. I mention this because it used to drive my former pastor crazy. People were constantly "dumping" their children at CCD and not attending Mass themselves or the family gathering sessions for faith formation. He was right, too. We'd see a number of folks dropping their children off  and walking over to Bagel Alley next door. No matter how many times he'd stress the importance of example they'd continue to do it. It frustrated him to no end. Not everyone did this of course but quite a significant number. The 9:00 AM Mass was deliberately lined up so that families could all attend Mass together and then walk over to the center for CCD for the kids and Bible Study for the adults. The church should have been packed, one would think, but it never was. And at one point Randy and I were the only two people attending the Bible Study class. 

They eventually made the family gathering sessions mandatory because barely anyone was showing up. Some folks thought this was over the top but how else could the priests and religious education teachers prepare the children for the Sacraments? As the head of Religious Ed. use to tell my mom and I all the time (when we were cleaning the center), "The parents need the classes almost as much as the children, if not worse."

I understand that we live in a very secular age and that this "secularization" of society has been catchy. Sort of like a virus that gets passed from person to person. But there's a cure for this virus and it begins in the home. 

Randy and I are far from being perfect parents but we are genuinely striving to give our child a firm foundation to stand on. Sometimes it feels as if we are constantly pushing against  waves of anti-Catholic sentiment or trying to swim through the morass of "junk" this secular society continues to toss at everyone but thankfully we can turn to the God who "walks on water" and trust Him to steer us in the right direction.

So how can families bring God back into their homes?

I thought this article gives a wonderful example on how to do this: The Domestic Church: 7 Steps to a Proper Catholic Home.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Prayer Request

Please pray for Liz and her son. Her little boy's cancer has returned and they are devastated. I am pleading for prayers for the entire family.

Let Go

Every once in a while I'll come across an amazing book that grips my heart from the moment I open it. One of these "treasures" is a short book called LET GO ,by Fenelon, an archbishop from the seventeenth century. I couldn't put this book down. It's right up there with Practice of the Presence of God  (Br Lawrence of the Resurrection). I'd like to recommend this book to those who are struggling and having trouble "letting go and letting God".  The book is so good that I keep going back to it again and again. Here are some "gems" from the book:

"Whatever spiritual knowledge or feelings we may have, they are all a delusion if they do not lead us to the real and constant practice of dying to self. And it is true we do not die without suffering. Nor is it possible to be considered truly dead while there is any part of us which is yet alive. This spiritual death is undeniably painful. It cuts 'swift and deep into our innermost thoughts and desires with all their parts, exposing us for what we really are.' The great Physician who sees in us what we cannot see, knows exactly where to place the knife. He cuts away that which we are most reluctant to give up."


"You have been asking for comfort and peace. But you do not understand that you have been lead to the brink of the fountain and are refusing to drink."


"Though it sounds strange to say it I am rejoicing that God has reduced you to a state of weakness. Your ego can neither be convinced nor forced into submission by any other means; it is always finding secret lines of supply from your own courage; it is discovering impenetrable retreats in your own cleverness."


"I beg you not to listen to self. Self-love whispers in one ear and God in the other."


"You can always tell when self is speaking. Self always wants to entertain itself and never feels sufficiently well attended to."


I came across this book by accident but I'm glad it fell into my hands. I have a hard copy of the book but  
read the samples from my Kindle too since there are a few translations of it. I recommend the version put out by Whitaker House to begin with because it's clear, concise, and easy to read.



Friday, July 6, 2012

If the Shoe Fits...


I loved the readings for Mass, Wednesday the 4th.  "How fitting!" I couldn't help but think. "Both the readings from the Old Testament and the New!"

And then I wondered, "Are people REALLY hearing them and letting them sink deeply into their hearts or do they imagine that they do not apply to each of us who live in this day and age?"

I decided to post these readings.


Seek good and not evil,
that you may live;
Then truly will the LORD, the God of hosts,
be with you as you claim!
Hate evil and love good,
and let justice prevail at the gate;
Then it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts,
will have pity on the remnant of Joseph.

I hate, I spurn your feasts, says the LORD,
I take no pleasure in your solemnities;
Your cereal offerings I will not accept,
nor consider your stall-fed peace offerings.
Away with your noisy songs!
I will not listen to the melodies of your harps.
But if you would offer me burnt offerings,
then let justice surge like water,
and goodness like an unfailing stream.
Responsorial Psalm Ps 50:7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, 16bc-17

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Hear, my people, and I will speak;
Israel, I will testify against you;
God, your God, am I."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"For mine are all the animals of the forests,
beasts by the thousand on my mountains.
I know all the birds of the air,
and whatever stirs in the plains, belongs to me."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"If I were hungry, I should not tell you,
for mine are the world and its fullness.
Do I eat the flesh of strong bulls,
or is the blood of goats my drink?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

Gospel Mt 8:28-34

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, "What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?"
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
"If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine."
And he said to them, "Go then!"
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.
                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


America reminds me of this town in the Gospel reading that begged the Lord to "leave their district".  We have systematically removed God from almost every area of our lives here in the U.S.

But then again, we didn't beg Him to leave...

We booted Him out.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celebrate Yesterday?


Celebrate what? Our bondage to sin? The 4th of July. Independence Day. I love my country but it's hard to celebrate freedom when you can clearly see its enslavement to sin. I will celebrate when the people of this country are free, not while they are in bondage and can't even see it. America has no idea just how far it has fallen. There must be a widespread return to the Lord. We are presuming upon His mercy without the necessary repentance to obtain that mercy. We aren't talking about small human faults here...we are talking about grave sin and deep internal rot. So, am I supposed to rejoice and celebrate a nation so hardened by sin that what was once clearly understood as evil has not only become the norm but is thought of as "right" and "good" by millions?
                                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes. Mourn as for an only child with bitter wailing, For sudden upon us comes the destroyer." Jer. 6:26

"But they refused to listen; they stubbornly turned their backs and stopped their ears so as not to hear. And they made their hearts diamond-hard...."  Zec. 7:11

"Gross is the heart of this people, they will hardly hear with their ears, they have closed their eyes, lest they see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and be converted and I heal them."  Mt 13:15

"Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, over the destruction which overwhelms the
virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound.   Jer.  Ch. 14:17


"Give ear, listen humbly,
    for the Lord speaks.
  Give glory to the Lord, your God,
    before it grows dark;
  Before your feet stumble
     on darkening mountains;
  Before the light you look for turns to 
      darkness,
    changes into black clouds.
  If you do not listen to this in your pride,
     I will weep in secret many tears;
  My eyes will run with tears
    for the Lord's flock, led away to exile." Jer. 13:15-17











Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mother, Father, Child...and Jesus

Today, Randy, Michaela and I all went to Adoration together. It was wonderful! After the three of us walked out, Michaela exclaimed, "My soul feels so much lighter!"

Usually I go to Adoration alone because Randy works and Michaela is at school for most of the year, but during the summer I plan on taking her once a week. She didn't pray the entire time but that's okay. I brought some children's books on The Holy Family, The Holy Spirit, and the Saints with us for her to read after she was finished praying. I understand that it is hard for a child to pray quietly for a long period of time. After our visit before the Blessed Sacrament we let her light two candles. She must have a soft spot for St. Anthony because she always heads for him first every time.


Tomorrow we are going to the Shrine of St. Joseph the Worker. We'll go to Confession while we are there and visit the store too. Since moving out of the city going to Confession has been much more difficult because most of the churches around here only have Confession on Saturdays and I work that day. The Shrine has Confession every day but it's about an hour away from where we live now. They also have Adoration both before and after Mass. 


Michaela knows about my experience before the Living Rays of the Heart of Jesus so she is aware that even though she cannot "see" these rays with her eyes they are there - cleansing her soul and drawing her closer to Christ.  


I rarely see children at Adoration (she was the only one there) but I am determined to teach her the importance of this very special Gift while she is still young. Whether she prays, reads, or just sits quietly in the Presence of the Lord I know those Living Rays are piercing her soul and that this will make a great difference in her life both now and when she is older.


God is good.







Monday, June 25, 2012

Okay! Okay! 11 REAL Facts About Myself!

I've been accused of cheating on a meme by two of my fellow bloggers. One wears a kilt, the other likes rocking the boat so the pressure is definitely on to complete it. They threatened to sic the Blogmonster on me if I didn't comply, so here goes:




Here's my photo. Pardon my appearance - I had just awakened and am quite prickly before my morning
coffee. As you can see, my most recent dye job didn't take and those stiff, wiry, gray hairs are still waving for attention like little banners in the wind (see Hair Anthem).

11 facts about myself:

1. I don't "cut the cheese" like Victor does, but I DO draw cartoons like a certain fiend I know. As a matter of fact, I love to doodle but am too embarrassed to put up any pictures because they are not much better than my speling.

2. My parents owned a bookstore when I was a kid but it went out of business after they turned it into a Christian bookstore. Says a lot about our country, doesn't it? And it was the only one in the city.

3. I eat sprouted grain breads, tabbouleh, green drinks, and lots of other weird stuff. Once I ate so many dandelion greens that a flower sprouted out of my ear. I ate that too.

4. You know that post I did about our septic tank a while back? We had it emptied only to find out that it was the neighbors "stuff" blowing in the wind all along. I offered it up.

5. I type with one finger which is why I cheated on the meme in the first place.

6. Not only do I have six gray hairs on my head - there is a stubborn, tough little bugger that keeps trying to grow out of my chin. This gained me entrance to the "Old Hags Club" along with Vicky and Puff. Feel free to join. These are the requirements:
~Must be at least forty (or close to it).
~ Must have a few strange wiry hairs growing in unusual places on the body such as the cheek, or one sprouting out of the chin that needs to be plucked (if one remembers because early Alzheimer's is another condition for membership).
~ Must look like a hag with dark circles under the eyes at least 7 days out of the week.
 
(Kindly,  Puff has offered a few of hers for those who don't meet the second requirement.)

7. I really do laugh at inappropriate times. Sometimes I laugh so hard I cry. There are some things I take very seriously though and my faith is one of them. 

8. I deliberately take breaks from the serious posts because if I didn't I would and do cry at what I see around me. These are not tears of joy.

9. When I was healed of the Myasthenia Gravis the Lord also healed my toenail fungus and a large  sebacious cyst on my head. In three days it was gone. And, yes, I'm serious. I was too embarrassed to mention it at the time :)

10. I am a watchman for those of you who know what this is. I didn't ask for this job but neither could I refuse it after all I've been given. I have a lot to be grateful for.

11. My daughter is a miracle baby.

And for good measure:

12. That white highlighting on my blog is driving me nuts. Kind of like my hair. I'm leaving it because I don't feel like removing it....yawn.



Self-discipline

So it's like this folks:

Randy "punished" our puppy, Milo, for peeing on the rug by sending him to his crate a few times after finding the "evidence". Never say dogs aren't smart - yesterday, Milo lifted his leg on the rug and then quietly walked into his crate and "punished" himself.

Yep, it's a dog's world out there and my home is their giant toilet.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Discernment of Spirits

Something that I would find rather amusing if it wasn't so pitiful:

I was watching a video given by a priest on "discernment of spirits" according to St. Ignatius' guidelines. Not long into the video the priest basically insinuated that satan and the demonic world didn't really exist and that it is not a necessary aspect in discernment of spirits.

Really?


Maybe he should have a little talk with Fr. Gabriele Amorth on that one.


On a brighter note: I easily discerned this spirit.



Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Mystical Body of Christ

This is what the Mystical Body of Christ, of which we are a part, looks like right now....


Yes, this is what it looks like. It's time to "wake up".

About the Miraculous Picture of Jesus I Posted


One of the posts on my blog that people seem most interested in is the miraculous picture of Jesus I posted. It gets numerous views every single day. Recently, at Mass, I ran into the friend who gave me this picture and she gave me more information on it. Plus, yesterday, I found the printed page she had given me years ago which explains the circumstances behind the photo.

Luisa Piccaretta  was a Catholic mystic and you can read more about the Cause of the Beatification of Luisa Piccarretta at http://www.padrebucci.com/id4.html, along with other information about Luisa, including her connection with St. Padre Pio (no, I can't remove the Padre part...lol). Thanks to my friend, who painstakingly translated much of Luisa's writing, I have had the opportunity to read quite a bit about "The Little Daughter of the Divine Will". 

The picture was taken during a retreat on living in the Divine Will. Here is the story behind the photo:

At the end of three days of talks about the Divine Will, given by Fr. Gustavo (who has a number of her original writings) in Leon Guananjuato, Mexico, in closing, he celebrated the Holy Mass on May 25th, 1998 to thank the Divine Volition. After Holy Communion, the new children of the Divine Will pronounced their solemn consecration (their promise to live in the Divine Will of God).

One of the sisters was taking photographs. When she received her developed photographs she discovered what you now see, sharp and clear, without any touch up, of the photograph of Jesus, which shows Him with a beautiful smile. 

"I am the Divine Teacher, the Teacher of the Divine Will, and the souls who live in my Volition are my SMILE." (A locution received by the person who took the photo.)

If you carefully observe the region of Jesus' chest, you will see the silhouette of Fr. Gustavo, dressed with the priestly vestments when celebrating the Holy Mass, when he was raising his arms in the moment of the elevation of the Most Holy Sacrament at the Consecration.
                                               ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My friend also left me another "explanation" of this picture - "this is from Vol 12, Jan 7, 1921"

“My beloved daughter, after the great sorrow which creatures are giving Me in these sad times, to the extent of making Me cry – and because this is the crying of  God, it resounds in Heaven and on earth - a smile will take over, which will fill Heaven and earth with gladness. This smile will arise on my lips when I see the first fruits - the children of my Will - living not in the human sphere, but in the divine sphere."
                                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Interesting. We all know it's about living in the Divine Will. This was the purpose of our creation. I'll more than likely post about this again at a future date. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Luisa Piccarreta and some poor translations of her works over the years. Hopefully, in time, we will come to a better understanding of Luisa's life and "mission" here on earth.