Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Remember, the devil isn't just working on 'us'

Sometimes, we do all the things we should do
Pray all the prayers we are supposed to pray.
Honor God in all His Glory
Love others with the heart He has given us.

And we get slapped in the face.
Kicked in the side.
Spit on the head.
Tripped down the stairs of emotion.

Why? Why? Why?

If the devil can't get to you
Through you...
If you've resisted his lies
Resisted his temptations.

He will work on the ones
Next to you
In front of you
Behind you.

He will try to get to you
through them
They might tempt you
or hurt you in your weakest spot.

Maybe they can't resist
the chance to put you down,
To be mean or hateful
They don't know how to be strong.

It's hard.  It hurts.
Pray for them.

It's sad and it's difficult.
For you.
But more difficult and sad for them.
Pray for them.

You've not always held your tongue.
You've not always been kind.
Now you've welcomed the Lord into your heart.
He gives you strength

The actions or words that have hurt you
may have been their one mistake of the week.
Their moment of weakness is directed at you
Because you can bear it.

Another person, one who is weak,
One who doesn't know the love of Christ
And His Sacrifice
might crumble under the assault or temptation.

Pray for them.

Rejoice in the challenge that you
have been given
for with Him, you can do
All things.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

What a truly Good Friday it was!  I'm kind of still processing the scriptures and events of the last few days. But I want to share with you the 'life' part of it.

Last night, we attended Holy Thursday Mass at my 'weekday' parish, and today, Good Friday again at that same parish.  It's a traditional Catholic Church setting/architecture, and is so beautiful.  We are so blessed in my diocese to have such amazing priests at so many parishes. I have rarely encountered one that wasn't wonderful.  But these two priests at this parish; Monsignor is elderly, but sharp as a razor. He just needs help with the steps. His heart must be made of gold. He reminds me so much of my paternal Grandpa, who was a huge influence on my spiritual life.  The other priest is younger (yet older than I am), but inspires me so much in his homilies and confession.  I also attended the Stations of the Cross, as well as praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the first day of the Novena, with the parish.  I also had a word with Monsignor afterwards, which is always a delight.  It was also delightful to see a hundred people waiting for confessions today, especially since this parish has them daily.

A few fun things happened today, as well.

After the service, I walked with my husband outside as he went back to work. While there, a gentleman was kind of lingering around the bottom of the 10 or so steps out front, looking around. No one spoke to him, until I called to him, asking if I could help him.  He slowly walked up the steps to me, and asked if there was a priest....well, 'grunted' would be closer to accurate.  I told him about confessions, but that the priests would be there all day.  He said that he went to confession 24/7.....but he was clearly wanted a Catholic priest. I said that Father XXXX and Monsignor XXXX would be glad to hear his confession. He recognized Monsignor's name, and said he'd talked to him before. I of course complimented Monsignor.  I then asked if I could help him with anything, and he said no.  He then kept saying he went to confession anytime, any place; I did not clarify it with him. It wasn't the time. We spoke for another moment or two, and he started to leave.  He continued speaking as he walked away, but I don't think he was unhappy with my response to him.  You see, this parish has many homeless people around, as well as a nearby 'entertainment' district, and is in the heart of the city.  This man had a mohawk with long hair (hard to explain), a leather vest, dark sunglasses, perhaps he was a biker, or had been...basically the opposite of everyone who had just walked out of the church.  My point is this: don't judge.  People are people. We all have the same basic needs.  This man enriched my life for having been in it just for a few minutes.  Please pray for him.  Let's call him Frank.

As I got in my car, I pondered how if your heart was open to God, He placed you in circumstances, wherever you are.  I still ask Him what He wants me to do, but I leave my heart open to Him and His Desires, for the Spirit to move me where He wants me.  

Shortly, I decided to take a somewhat different route home, just for a change of pace, for a few blocks.  I had decided to do this before I even made the two turns towards the intersection where my route would begin to differ.  For the first time ever, I saw a young man with a sign asking for money at that corner. I've been through that corner 50 times (or more) in the past year, and not once has there been someone asking for money. But this time, the time I would need to be in that left turn lane, a young man was there. Well, I'm listening, God!  I got a dollar out for him, and decided to do more. I wasn't going just to hand it to him; I knew I'd be at the light for a few minutes since I had missed the turn signal due to the traffic line, and would be there for a few minutes.  I asked his name (CJ), and his plans.  He told me he had a job waiting for him half a country away, but needed to get there.  I asked how I could pray for him; he was caught off guard, and happy to answer that he was needing to get a job and get to his job.  I then asked him to pray for me.  I don't know that I was there just to give him some monetary help, but perhaps the spiritual support he needed.  I knew I should have gotten some more rosaries yesterday, but I guess I wasn't listening very well!  Once again, though, people are people. They aren't just homeless or beggars or rough characters........

(PS: I also offered a man and woman a ride the other evening after I had eaten at a chain restaurant; they were walking out of the parking lot, but had been eating in the restaurant. My husband was glad that they declined when I told him this!  However, that's the first time in 10+ years I've offered strangers a ride, and do NOT recommend it 99.999% of the time.  But perhaps God just wanted me to ask.  Yes, God.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lenten reflection, as we finish Lent 2014

The end of Lent is approaching, and it's a good time to take a look at what I've done this Lent, right or wrong, good or bad, to honor the Lord and this season.

I gave up chocolate. I didn't think that through! I was thinking Reeses, M&Ms, that sort of thing....but did y'all know that there is chocolate in hot cocoa? ;) It didn't occur to ME until the 3rd sip.... And in EVERY DESSERT THAT IS MADE during Lent? ;)  I slipped one time, with a sip of hot cocoa on a freezing morning while out of town on business (I don't drink coffee often, but when I do it's with chocolate creamer. Guess what else I ended up giving up for Lent? Yep, coffee!).  I somehow managed to make it through Lent without once having meat on Friday.  That's a bit more difficult while on the road with limited choices in restaurants, but I made it.  Didn't hurt me to go a bit hungry.  This might be my first year without 'slipping' on the meat abstinence.  We went to a big pre-game party that included FREE burgers, brats and hot dogs on the local MLB team home opener.....it was on a Friday.  Boy did that smell good!  I went again a few days later, and was able to have a dog at the game.  It didn't taste near as good as I was imagining it on the previous Friday.(Much like sins, don't you think?  They aren't near as rewarding as we think they will be, even for the moment.....)  (more after the break)----------------->

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Feeling still in the Lord

Thanks for sticking with me!  I haven't felt very literary, not even 'internet literary' lately. My thoughts have been contained mostly to a few words on a Facebook status or two. I've even been silent on my favorite Catholic forum.

I haven't been suffering from a dryness, but more quietness, stillness.  I've still had thoughts during my prayer and Faith life, but I haven't put them to paper.  Perhaps it's the Lenten season.

In the past year (14 months actually), I've had moments of being overwhelmed by all the Graces and Blessings I was receiving from God.  Other times, it's been more quiet.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The 5th Joyful Mystery: The finding of the child Jesus in the Temple

The Joyful Mysteries are truly a joy to meditate upon.  These first five significant events can teach us so much, especially about being childlike and receiving God's love.  Today, I'll share with you my thoughts on this morning's meditation on the 5th Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple.

Luke 2: 41-51 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast. And when they had fulfilled the days, as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company, went a day's journey; and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintance. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem, seeking him And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him: "Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing". And he said unto them: "How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart. 

My meditation on this Bible passage brought me to these thoughts this morning.

Of course Jesus was obedient to His parents on earth, Mary and Joseph.  But His Father called Him to share His Wisdom with those around Him, with those that needed it, and Him.  Even though Mary and Joseph know He is God, our Savior, they must have been concerned, if not worried, about Him when they were apart. Jesus knew that He must obey God, and was teaching us to do so, even at the expense of His parents' concern.

The part that I focused on this morning was this: Jesus was not actively disobeying His parents Mary and Joseph, but was obeying His Father, our Father.

It seems like right now, our country is forcing us to choose between obeying our country, or obeying our Father.  Yes, Jesus said:  Matthew 22:21 ...Then he saith to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God, the things that are God's.

Father, I pray to You to help me to remember that I am Yours above all things, above all people, above all nations.  Give me the strength to give to You, and You alone, what is Yours and due You.  All that I have, all that I am, all that I can be, is Yours.  Help me to understand and be strong for Your Desires for me. Give me the wisdom and knowledge needed to explain to others when I seem to be dissenting from my country's popular opinion.  Father, I want to be obedient to You above all else, even when the world around me tells me differently. My heart is Yours; my body is Yours.  I must serve You above all else; not an ant on the ground, or a ruler of any nation, can supersede Your morals and demands that You have put upon us.  Thank you for the nation, Father, in which I live and dwell while on this earth.  I pray that it may become even greater as a servant of You, O Lord.  I pray for You to be in the hearts of our leaders and our fellow citizens, to see the righteous way of Your Path.

Hail Mary, full of Grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

For more on the Joyful Mysteries:

Friday, March 21, 2014

Stained glass

While at Mass today, I had the opportunity to ponder upon the beautiful stained glass I was surrounded by at this beautiful parish.  I've been very blessed to have visited and seen some beautiful artwork, including stained glass, in the last few months.  Today, and many of the days I've been at Mass, the sun was shining through the windows, creating even a more brilliant piece of art.

When you let the sun shine through, it becomes more stunning.

When you let the Son shine through you, you become more brilliant. When His Light shines, you are even more beautiful, starting from the inside out.  Your face becomes a beacon for His Love; your joy is in the warm glow of His Love.

If I do not share His Love, His Light, His Joy in my heart, then I am dim, dull, and muddied, much like stained glass appears to be when it's dark.

Peace be with you and may you be guided by the Holy Spirit on your journey.