Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Christmas in memory!

Best Christmas in memory. Not because of any material things I received, which were wonderful, but because of the **joy** of being loved and saved by our Savior, and finally having the open heart to receive that Gift. Thank you Lord! My face hurt by the time Christmas Mass was over, from smiling so much! Having our sons with us filled my heart with joy as well, and the times we are spending with family and friends. Thanks to all my friends and family for supporting us in our journey, and especially for loving and supporting me even when I wasn't in the right place. God bless us, everyone.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!


Thank you God, for the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior, born on this day! God bless all of us during this Christmas season.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Who was that crazy lady at church today with her hands upturned?

What? Who, me? Ummmmm, maybe.

I've been blessed with so many Graces and Gifts this year.  I pray that each and every one could have them, or even better ones!  They don't always make 'sense' to me, because I have an earthly mind and body, but I strive to place my spirit in Him (and my body and mind.....but especially my spirit, my essence), which is where I think these Gifts are given.  Tonight, I was blessed with one of those moments.

One of the communion songs (hymn? maybe....) was "Lord, I need you"; you may have heard it before as it's a popular contemporary Christian song by Catholic musical artist, Matt Maher. I love that song, and I can truly pray it while singing.  I could feel the Holy Spirit moving in me as I received the Body of Christ, the Eucharist, and I returned to my pew.  As I knelt to pray, I moved my hands towards each other to clasp them in a prayerful posture as usual.  However, that didn't exactly happen. I couldn't move my hands together, and they remained quite a bit apart, like a magnet you can't force together because of their same 'attraction' properties.  My hands opened and upturned as I knelt in prayer.  I lifted my face towards the light that I felt on my face. (
I pray with my eyes closed and facing down; not because I'm holy, but because I'm easily distracted.)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Share this or ELSE!!

I won't be the one to share your picture on Facebook that today is 'National ____________ Awareness Day/Week/Month/Year'.  I won't share your picture of Jesus that says I must share it if I love Him.  I won't share the post about cures for cancer, Alzheimer's, Autism.  I won't be the one who clicks on LIKE or SHARE just because the picture says I have to if I love Jesus.  I won't be passing on those posts that say I must or I"ll have 7 years bad luck, or Jesus will deny me in front of our Father.

I will be the person who will instead share how something like cancer, depression or suicide has affected my life, and ask for your prayers.  I will be the one who prays for your illness, suffering, shortcomings.  I will be the one who follows Jesus Christ from the inside out; I will be the one who knows that Jesus knows I love Him if I don't pass along a chain letter with his name on it.  I will share the pictures that inspire me.  You can be sure that if I do 'share' something that I've seen, it's because it mattered to me, in a major way.  I will be the person who creates funny 'memes' to make my friends and cousins laugh.

My life is not lived on Facebook.  My faith is intertwined deeply with my life,  I hope.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Saint Michael Prayer
Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
~~~~~~~
Prayer of Saint Augustine (354-430)

From A Catholic Prayer Book

Lord Jesus, let me know myself and know you and desire nothing save only you. Let me hate myself and love you. Let me humble myself and exalt you. Let me think nothing except you. Let me die to myself and live in you. Let me accept whatever happens as from you. Let me banish myself and follow you, and ever desire to follow you. Let me fly from myself and take refuge in you, that I may deserve to be defended by you. Let me fear for myself, let me fear you, and let me be among those who are chosen by you. Let me be willing to obey for the sake of you. Let me cling to nothing save only to you, and let me be poor because of you. Look upon me, that I may love you. Call me that I may see you, and for ever enjoy you. Amen.

Monday, December 16, 2013

This 'consolation poem' bothers me

I have seen this phrase, from a poem, on various things that are supposed to console the ones of those who are still on earth after their loved one passed on.  While I understand that the poem is to talk of how much the loved one is missed on earth, if you truly believe in Heaven, why in the WORLD would you want to 'bring them back again'?
If tears could build a stairway, 
and memories a lane.
I would walk right up to Heaven
and bring you back again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Pray without ceasing...even in song

It's been an amazing 9 months since returning to God and to the Faith.  So many things have changed, and too many have remained the same; I pray that the the things that have remained the same change and grow, instead of deteriorating.  Sometimes, growth is in not falling!

I want to pray more. I want to pray better. This is truly what I hope to accomplish: pray without ceasing. 
 I want to pray when I awake, when I fall asleep; I want to pray without actively 'seeking' to pray.  I want to have the interior constant conversation with God.  When I awake in the mornings, my first thought is sometimes, 'What time is it? Can I sleep a little longer? What 'me' thing do I need to attend to?'  I wish to pray immediately, but my first thought....ME. Ugh. That's not good.  However, lately I've been waking up, and I hear a song in my heart, in my head. Is it Bon Jovi or Halestorm? No. I've been blessed to wake up to a song of the Lord.  It might be contemporary Christian, or a modern hymn, or a traditional hymn.  I don't listen to music as I fall asleep, but every day I do listen to at least a little contemporary Christian music (K-Love, Air1, etc.) .At first, I'd been trying to put it out of my mind, in order to pray.  Then I've remembered something I've always said, and heard others say: Singing is praying twice.  The song in my heart IS a prayer.  What a great gift!  I don't wake up thinking, "What song should I sing this morning?"  I wake up and it's there!  I don't usually wake up with the beginning of the song in my heart, so I like to think that I started praying/singing even before awaking; perhaps the angels were singing it to me as I lay sleeping in the morning.  I want this song to be the prayer before my prayers, the intro to my day and to my prayers to God.  Perhaps this song that I hear in the morning should be the theme of my day....

Oh my Lord, thank you so much for the song, and the revelation that I am praying upon awakening! Each morning, You awaken my soul, Your Spirit who dwells within me.  Let my soul always give you praise and thanksgiving. Thank you for the gifts you have given me and all of us.

1 Thessalonians 5 (Douay Rheims 1899)
16 Always rejoice.
17 Pray without ceasing.
18 In all things give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.
19 Extinguish not the spirit.


All You've Ever Wanted by Casting Crowns (LOVE LOVE LOVE the piano intro!!)
And clearly because it's Advent: O Come O Come Emmanuel


Sunday, December 8, 2013

I prayed for you today.

I prayed for you today.

Yes, you.

You were stopped beside me at the light as I said a Rosary in the car next to you; I dedicated that Hail Mary in the Rosary to you.

We haven't talked in awhile, because we're both busy, but I prayed for you again today. You might be going through family issues, have finals coming up, or working overtime, but you're always in my heart.

You were standing in line for Confession with me.  I prayed that you would feel the Lord's Love and Mercy, and make a good confession.  I prayed for you when you came out of the confessional, and you looked relieved, or sad, or were crying.

You were walking with your child down the sidewalk, and I prayed for a happy family for you.

You were at Mass with me, and I prayed for you.  You were in line for Communion, and I prayed for you.

You were celebrating the Mass, or in the back of the choir, or reading the second reading; I prayed for you to feel the fullness of the Love of Christ and that you had as close to a perfect Mass as possible.

You were waiting across town, sitting in an uncomfortable chair, wondering if anyone cared or loved you, as you waited for an abortion. I was dozing in my bed on Saturday morning, and I prayed for you; I prayed that the Lord save you and your baby and that you could feel His Love.

I saw your posting on the internet asking for prayers, and I prayed for you and your intention.  I saw your post about your pain, and I prayed for God to ease your suffering....emotional and physical.

You were sitting next to me at a social event, and were sad, angry, lonesome, hungry.  I prayed for your needs to be fulfilled.

We crossed paths years ago at work, at school, at a social event, and you came to mind today for no apparent reasons, so I prayed for you.

You are a friend, a stranger, an acquaintance, a family member.......I prayed for you.  Please pray for me.




Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rotten Monday=Glorious Tuesday

I had a rotten Monday.  I didn't sleep well, so from the start I wasn't in a good mood.  I'm still struggling with grief over my blessed Uncle heading Home to the Lord, not only for myself, but for my cousins and aunt.  Just everything seemed to be hitting me wrong (including PMS, to be honest), and even saying the Rosary or taking a nap didn't really help as much as I had hoped.  It reminded me that I used to feel that way EVERY DAY, EVERY MOMENT, when I was going through severe depression.  That scared me....was I headed back that way?  I couldn't imagine living like that again.  I tried to remain in prayer, turning to Him, and still praising Him.  I didn't do a very good job. I did reach out  on Facebook to a few close friends; their thoughts and prayers helped so much.  Plus, it gave me a moment of humility in knowing I needed to reach out for help. I'm not very good at that.  I also didn't have a very good coping mechanism, and was very weak.  I prayed that I would not succumb to sin.  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle! Be our protection from the wickedness and snares of the devil.....He protected me from own selfish wants and needs, that is for sure!  Plus, I know that my day would have been even worse had I not been praying and turning to God.

Today, I woke up early, after a fairly restful night's sleep (which I didn't expect).  I prayed, and then realized I had plenty of time to get to my favorite weekday Mass.  I headed that way and was able to pray a Rosary on the way.  I arrived in time for Reconciliation (always behind the screen/anonymous).  While I didn't have any thing major to confess, I partly was going to Confession in *thanksgiving*. Christ truly revealed Himself to me in the Confessional in many of the Words spoken through the priest, very relative to what I'm going through in parts of my life, that the priest himself had no way of knowing since they weren't related to any of my sins I confessed, yet were very, very specific. At the end of Confession, I asked the priest to include my uncle in his prayers today, as his funeral was this afternoon across the country.

During Mass, the priest often relates the Saint being honored that day to the Gospel, or just in general.  Today, of all days, is the feast day of St. Frances Xavier.  He is the patron saint of foreign missions and Catholic missions, among other things.  The priest called him the greatest missionary of all time.  Today, in Florida, my favorite and greatest missionary of my time, was honored.  My aunt is not Catholic, nor are my uncle or my cousins.  I don't believe that they knew today was this feast day.  What a great honor for my uncle!  Praise and thanks to the Lord for this gift.

Carrying on, I actually had a good experience <!> returning my new laptop for a replacement, and actually had some good things come out of it; from this led to another opportunity to share Christ's love with three people, and share the joy of Christmas.  When something good happens to us, we should always share that joy.  As much as my pride is trying to push me to share what it is that I did, I'm trying to ignore it!

One of my friends on Facebook said she'd pray that I'd have a glorious Tuesday.  The bell in my head still didn't ring.....

On Sunday, on our way to Mass, I mentioned to my husband that I miss the Gloria during Advent and Lent. I really and truly do.  I love singing that prayer.  Today, as I related my day to my husband, I told him about the lady I met this afternoon...an elderly lady and her husband.  Her name? *Gloria*  And then I remembered the car license plate I saw earlier today heading into the computer store as well: Gloria.  AMEN!  Thank you and praise you, Lord Jesus.

I pray you, my friends, have a Glorious day!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
O God, who through the preaching of Saint Francis Xavier won many peoples to yourself, grant that the hearts of the faithful may burn with the same zeal for the faith and that Holy Church may everywhere rejoice in an abundance of offspring. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
~~
Prayer by Saint Francis Xavier

Eternal God, Creator of all things, remember that You alone has created the souls of unbelievers, which You have made according to Your Image and Likeness. Behold, O Lord, how to Your dishonor many of them are falling into Hell. Remember, O Lord, Your Son Jesus Christ, Who so generously shed His Blood and suffered for them. Do not permit that Your Son, Our Lord, remain unknown by unbelievers, but, with the help of Your Saints and the Church, the Bride of Your Son, remember Your mercy, forget their idolatry and infidelity, and make them know Him, Who You have sent, Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, Who is our salvation, our life, and our resurrection, through Whom we have been saved and redeemed, and to Whom is due glory forever. Amen.
~~~~

http://www.loyolapress.com/saint-francis-xavier-1506-1552.htm

http://www.2heartsnetwork.org/Xavier.htm


Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Sunday of Advent

Thoughts on today's Mass, the first Sunday of Advent:

Giving our gifts to the Lord at the presentation of gifts: giving our sacrifices, our pain, our suffering, and our gifts to the Lord.  We give our gifts to the Lord on His altar.  As we do so, our gifts are binded with Christ.  Our gifts are made holier, more useful, more Christ-like.  Our gifts become one with the Lord, as they should be.  Whether that is singing, or telling others about Christ, or living a Holy life, it is made so much more magnified and holy by binding them with Him, by coating them with His love.  In addition, joining our pains and sacrifices with Christ's love: does it make our own crosses easier to bear, by adjoining them, blessing them, with Christ?

As the priest consecrated the bread and wine today into Christ's Body and Blood, it occurred to me that when we cleanse ourselves, wash ourselves, we do it with water.  Can you imagine trying to wash something to make it clean again by using blood? Yet, that is what Jesus has done. He has washed away our sins, our barrier to Heaven, with His Blood.  It's hard to imagine being doused in blood and coming out pure and white.  But that IS what happens.  We then run pure and clean as a freshly fallen rain.  The rain meets the earth and its sinful ways, and we become stained with dirt and mud.  We can use the water of this earth to cleanse us, or we can use the sacrifice that He has made for us and have it washed away with blood.  While being washed with His Blood, it seems impossible that the suffering that we are going through will bring us out to the other side clean and clear.  Faith is believing that this is not only possible, but it is true.

I also read the prayers of the faithful today, along with the first reading of Scripture.  One of the prayers is for those recently departed souls, which choked me up as I thought of my uncle.  As I returned to the pew for more prayers and the blessings of the gifts, I thought more of my uncle, and looked around the crowd.  It was a good sized crowd, perhaps 300 or 400.  Chances are fairly high that others lost loved ones this week.  Even as I had tears in my eyes missing my sweet uncle, I praised God and thanked Him, for in my estimation, few people had lived a holier or more dedicated life to the Lord than my uncle. How blessed and lucky am I, and how blessed is he, that he was able to rejoice for the Lord, in all ways, and honor our Lord the way he did.

Today's responsorial psalm was from Psalm 122:
Let us go rejoicing to the House of the Lord.

I know that my uncle went rejoicing to the House of the Lord this week, and that he was joined in singing and dancing with those that have went before him, including his parents, my grandparents.  I imagined them dancing and singing, although I have never seen them do that on this earth; what better place to do so than Heaven?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Our loss is Heaven's gain

When your world comes crashing down around you, how is that life continues on for those around you? People are still laughing, fighting, shopping, enjoying that very life that no longer exists for you at this moment.

Don't they know? Don't they know that a great tragedy has set upon the person next to them? They laugh at their jokes, they quibble at whose turn in line it is.

And all you can see is pain; it's the pain that sears deep in your soul.  It has encompassed your heart and every cell of your being.  Yet, even in this pain, you know it could be worse. It could be even closer to you; next time, it could be your own parent, instead of your aunt or uncle; or even closer.

How is it, that despite having had many family members die before, that this one hurts so much? The deaths of his parents, my grandparents, and of my mother in law, were the only ones that I can relate this to.  He was the holiest person I've ever known; even if he wasn't my own uncle, I still would have admired him, loved him, looked up to him. To me, he was like a male Mother Teresa.

I'm so happy his pain from many years of cancer, and the harsh pain at the end, is over.  I'm so happy that he is free, and I truly believe he is at home.  As a Catholic, I believe that purgatory is waiting for many of us, perhaps most of us, to cleanse the remnants of sin before we enter Heaven; I want to enter Heaven as a newly baptized baby: free from original sin and any stain of sin.   However, while we cannot presume to know who has already entered Heaven, we do believe that many, whom we call saints, are with God today.  I believe my Saint Uncle is there today too, and pray that my grandparents were there to welcome the son they raised to be such a great and humble man.

Father, find in me the rejoicing for his soul, and help me to remember that he has achieved the goal we have set out for ourselves.

~~~~~~~~~~~~
I heard this song on the radio exactly when I got the call about my Grandmother, and it fits perfectly:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

1 Corinthians 12:4-10

1 Corinthians 12:4-10 (Douay Rheims)

4 Now there are diversities of graces, but the same Spirit;

5 And there are diversities of ministries, but the same Lord;

6 And there are diversities of operations, but the same God, who worketh all in all.

7 And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man unto profit.

8 To one indeed, by the Spirit, is given the word of wisdom: and to another, the word of knowledge, according to the same Spirit;

9 To another, faith in the same spirit; to another, the grace of healing in one Spirit;

10 To another, the working of miracles; to another, prophecy; to another, the discerning of spirits; to another, diverse kinds of tongues; to another, interpretation of speeches.

Show with Knox Bible :: New Jerusalem Bible :: Latin Vulgate :: Haydock Commentary
Bible passage courtesy of VeritasBible.com

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Beautiful....


How to alienate fellow Catholics and Christians


 How to alienate fellow Catholics, especially when they are, of all things, attempting to interact with you, especially before or after Mass:

Make sure that they know that your way of worship is better than theirs, even if you both are the same Faith.  Pre-Vatican II vs Post-Vatican II.....and anything in between.

If they don't pray the same way or as often as you do, make sure that your attitude shows that you know better than they do. *Everyone* knows that _______ and _______ are the ONLY ways to get to Heaven and you don't have time for those that don't know what you are talking about (everyone has heard of the Divine Mercy...you don't have time to explain it!!!!).

If you do something differently than the majority, it's because you are the only one who knows the truth of the matter; maybe someday your glory will be recognized.

Do not welcome or speak to others in pews around you.

If you are in a leadership position, don't return phone calls or emails to people with questions, especially when they are asking to get involved. 

If others are dressed differently, or act differently, make sure they know either by looks or comments they are inappropriate.

Don't smile, make eye contact or shake their hands.

Act like you know a secret (a smirk is great), and if you tell them why, don't invite them to be a part of it. Always assume that if they were good enough, they'd already know about it and practice it.

If someone asks you a question, make the answer short and snappy, and act like they should already know the answer (whether it's where the restroom is, the priest's name, when Confession is, or how to join the Church).  If you promise to help them later with something, make sure you don't!


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Prayer for my friends

Dear Father,
I ask you to hear my prayer for Your children, my friends and family.  So many of my friends and family are struggling right now; many are dealing with their loss of a loved one, and I ask and pray that those loved ones are on their way to You, O Lord. Comfort the family and friends left behind, and help them to realize the Joy that their loved ones will hopefully see.

Others are lost, and they don't know why. I pray that they see the error of their ways, and seek You sooner rather than later.  Help me and others around them to be an example that leads them to You.  May they come to understand the Joy of your Creation, and Your Love and Sacrifice for them.

I have friends with broken hearts today, and I don't know how to help them; I can only point them to You, Father.  Nothing happens to anyone on this earth that You are not aware of.  I come to you and beg Your Help for them. Fill their hearts with Your Love, in all the cracks and pain that they think is left of their hearts.

I pray for my ailing friends and family; some have Alzheimer's, others have cancer.  Others suffer silently from illnesses.  I pray, if it's Your Will, to heal completely those suffering, especially those who seem to be at the end of their lives.  If they are not to be healed, I beg of You Your Consolation and ease their suffering.  Help them to see You before and after they leave this earth.

Thank you Lord, for all the Graces You have given us.  Thank you for this day. I praise and bless Your Holy Name, Jesus Christ our Savior.  Guide me to share Your Love.

Amen
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.
4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation; that we also may be able to comfort them who are in all distress, by the exhortation wherewith we also are exhorted by God.
5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us: so also by Christ doth our comfort abound.

Isaiah 40
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE)
God’s People Are Comforted

40 Comfort, O comfort my people,
    says your God.
2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and cry to her
that she has served her term,
    that her penalty is paid,
that she has received from the Lord’s hand
    double for all her sins.
3 A voice cries out:
“In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord,
    make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
4 Every valley shall be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill be made low;
the uneven ground shall become level,
    and the rough places a plain.
5 Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
    and all people shall see it together,
    for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”
6 A voice says, “Cry out!”
    And I said, “What shall I cry?”
All people are grass,
    their constancy is like the flower of the field.
7 The grass withers, the flower fades,
    when the breath of the Lord blows upon it;
    surely the people are grass.
8 The grass withers, the flower fades;
    but the word of our God will stand forever.
9 Get you up to a high mountain,
    O Zion, herald of good tidings;[a]
lift up your voice with strength,
    O Jerusalem, herald of good tidings,[b]
    lift it up, do not fear;
say to the cities of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
10 See, the Lord God comes with might,
    and his arm rules for him;
his reward is with him,
    and his recompense before him.
11 He will feed his flock like a shepherd;
    he will gather the lambs in his arms,
and carry them in his bosom,
    and gently lead the mother sheep.
12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    and marked off the heavens with a span,
enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure,
    and weighed the mountains in scales
    and the hills in a balance?
13 Who has directed the spirit of the Lord,
    or as his counselor has instructed him?
14 Whom did he consult for his enlightenment,
    and who taught him the path of justice?
Who taught him knowledge,
    and showed him the way of understanding?
15 Even the nations are like a drop from a bucket,
    and are accounted as dust on the scales;
    see, he takes up the isles like fine dust.
16 Lebanon would not provide fuel enough,
    nor are its animals enough for a burnt offering.
17 All the nations are as nothing before him;
    they are accounted by him as less than nothing and emptiness.
18 To whom then will you liken God,
    or what likeness compare with him?
19 An idol? —A workman casts it,
    and a goldsmith overlays it with gold,
    and casts for it silver chains.
20 As a gift one chooses mulberry wood[c]
    —wood that will not rot—
then seeks out a skilled artisan
    to set up an image that will not topple.
21 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
    Has it not been told you from the beginning?
    Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth?
22 It is he who sits above the circle of the earth,
    and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers;
who stretches out the heavens like a curtain,
    and spreads them like a tent to live in;
23 who brings princes to naught,
    and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing.
24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown,
    scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth,
when he blows upon them, and they wither,
    and the tempest carries them off like stubble.
25 To whom then will you compare me,
    or who is my equal? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    Who created these?
He who brings out their host and numbers them,
    calling them all by name;
because he is great in strength,
    mighty in power,
    not one is missing.
27 Why do you say, O Jacob,
    and speak, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord,
    and my right is disregarded by my God”?
28 Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
    his understanding is unsearchable.
29 He gives power to the faint,
    and strengthens the powerless.
30 Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
31 but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Woman in White

I'm finding myself growing more and more interested in Mary.  Despite being Catholic my entire life, coming AND going, I never felt a particular devotion to her.  I started praying the Rosary in February, and have received various Graces from God through her, I truly believe.

One evening, I was visiting our parish's Adoration Chapel, where the Eucharist, Body of Christ, is displayed 24 hours a day for worship.  It's a peaceful place of prayer.  I had only visited a couple of times before, including this time.  

As I entered the foyer area from the lobby, I glanced in the Chapel, and saw two women, one towards the front and the other just a few rows from me.  I remember thinking that it was unexpected that two other women were there at this time, but thought no more of it. I turned slightly to look at the prayer request book.  I was blocking the door to the lobby, and there were no other exits.

I entered the Chapel, and only one woman was there. I was confused; where did the first woman, the one in white, go?  I truly believe I glimpsed the Virgin Mary, mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I don't know why, and I don't know why it was in one sense so fleeting, and in another sense so long and obvious.

I don't know the meaning of the glimpse of Mary, but I'm thankful for it.  Although I'm not as devoted as I'd like to be this amazing woman, Mother, I'm learning more all the time and trying to get to know her.

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy,
our life, our sweetness and our hope.
To you do we cry, poor banished children of Eve;
to you do we send up our sighs, mourning
and weeping in this valley of tears.
Turn then most gracious advocate,
your eyes of mercy towards us;
and after this our exile,
show unto us the blessed fruit of your womb, Jesus.
O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary.
Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
~~~~~~
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary,
that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection,
implored your help, or sought your intercession,
was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence,
I fly to you, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother.
To you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful.
O Mother of the Word Incarnate,
despise not my petitions,
but in your mercy, hear and answer me.
Amen.

http://campus.udayton.edu/mary/marprayer.html
http://www.catholicdoors.com/prayers/marian.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_devotions#Major_Roman_Catholic_devotions_to_Mary

http://www.ewtn.com/Devotionals/prayers/

Friday, November 8, 2013

Father

Father,
I come to you, a sinner, and beg of your forgiveness.
Forgive all my sins and do not hold them against me.
I am weak without You, o Lord.
I need You, my Lord.
You are my everything; let me cleanse my heart for you.
Please Lord be my strength and my rock.
Stand between me and Satan.
Our Savior, Jesus Christ, please send your mother, Mary, to my side, as the devil fears her and her love for You.
I am weak, Lord. I am unworthy. Please forgive all my sins that I have presented to you, especially those of which I'm most contrite, for they are the most evil.
With you, my Lord, I will find peace in my heart.

-------------

Psalm 6
New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Prayer for Mercy in Time of Trouble.

For the choir director; with stringed instruments, [a]upon an eight-string lyre. A Psalm of David.

6 O Lord, do not rebuke me in Your anger,
Nor chasten me in Your wrath.
2 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am pining away;
Heal me, O Lord, for my bones are dismayed.
3 And my soul is greatly dismayed;
But You, O Lord—how long?
4 Return, O Lord, rescue my [b]soul;
Save me because of Your lovingkindness.
5 For there is no [c]mention of You in death;
In [d]Sheol who will give You thanks?
6 I am weary with my sighing;
Every night I make my bed swim,
I dissolve my couch with my tears.
7 My eye has wasted away with grief;
It has become old because of all my adversaries.
8 Depart from me, all you who do iniquity,
For the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping.
9 The Lord has heard my supplication,
The Lord receives my prayer.
10 All my enemies will be ashamed and greatly dismayed;
They shall [e]turn back, they will suddenly be ashamed.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~
During Confession, my penance was to make a special prayer to our Father, to ask for His assistance and strength against my sins, especially those sins that separate me the most from Him.

I ask Sts. Augustine, Dymphna, Mary Magdalene, Maria Goretti, Anne, Theresa of Liseaux, Teresa of Avila to pray with me to our Savior.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Favorite Saints for today!

We are so blessed to know the names of our saints and some of the angels in Heaven!  Their lives are examples of how we can and should live, and sometimes, examples of how we shouldn't live!! (St. Augustine comes to mind.)  No one on Earth, not even the Pope, is as close to God as these saints; many encountered Him face to face here on Earth.  Just as we ask those close to us on Earth for their prayers and intercessions, we can ask, through prayer, the saints and angels in Heaven to pray for us as well.  If you are not Catholic, or even if you are, understand that we are not 'worshiping' angels or saints, but our only means of communication with them is through prayer, and through God's allowance of that communication.

St. Dymphna, please pray for me and all those who suffer either directly or indirectly from the effects of depression, mental illness, and other such diseases.  Give us strength to overcome these diseases, or the strength to bear the burden.



St. Augustine, please pray for all of us who suffer from addictions of any kind, that we may overcome them through His Love and Mercy, and our Love for the Lord.  You lived part of your life as far from God as possible, yet you became a saint.  Please pray with us and for us to conquer these burdens, or to accept these crosses and chains according to His will.  Give us the strength to walk away from our addictions, or the ability to stand to bear them.  Please pray with us for those of our children who are away from the Faith, away from God, and living apart from His Life for us; your mother, St. Monica, suffered this daily until you returned to the Lord.  St. Monica and St. Augustine, pray that all wayward children, especially our sons, see the way back that the Lord has given them.

St. Cecilia, please pray to help us to find the joy of God in the beauty around us, especially in music and art; please bless those gifted to share those talents, that they may share God's Love for us in those ways that touch us.

St. Teresa of Avila, please pray for me and all those who suffer from severe headaches, migraines, and other painful physical conditions.  Help us to offer up our suffering when we are unable to alleviate our pain conventionally.  If so, please offer our suffering to God so that someone else's suffering might be eased.

St. Therese of Lisieux, pray for us to be children of God, and to appreciate all His Wonders we have in our daily lives.  Share your roses with those that need the sign to complete this love and appreciation of our God's great love for us.

St. Anne, we ask you to pray for us and with us; you were Mary's mother, and saw the path your Grandson took to save the world, as well as the pain that His Mother suffered.  Pray for our families, especially those families that have an unborn baby.  We pray that this, and every baby, be born as to God's plan, and not killed in the womb.  Pray with us for the end to abortion, and for the situations to end that cause those who think there is a need for these murders.

St. Faustina, through you we have learned the Divine Mercy prayer, and it has been prayed millions of times for God's Mercy.  You are so close to Jesus, we ask for your prayers that we also may see Jesus in our daily lives, and be open and able to hear His own Message for us.  Help us to live to see His Divine Mercy.

St. Francis de Sales, please pray with me that my words, actions, writings, may be led by Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, that somehow others are drawn to learn more, and perhaps be led to Christianity and Catholicism in order to serve their lives as His Children.  Please pray that my discernment may be easily understood and clear to me.

St. Catherine of Bologna, please pray for us against the temptations both of the body and soul.  After seeing your habit and hearing your story last week, I have felt drawn to learn more about you.  Be with me as I begin this journey of learning, and that I may acquire any of your amazing attributes that allowed you to turn your back on the ways of the world to serve Christ as He called you.

St. Mary Magdalene, please pray for all us sinners; you were accused of being a sinner by the public, and that your sins were too great for even the Lord to forgive.  You asked His forgiveness, even feeling unworthy.  Help us to remember that no sins are too great to be forgiven, for His Love and Mercy are limitless. Pray for us and with us for our contrition for our sins, and that we may be closer to Christ.  Our Lord could see into Mary's heart, and He said: "Many sins are forgiven her, because she has loved very much." Then to Mary He said kindly, "Your faith has made you safe; go in peace." From then on, with the other holy women, Mary humbly served Jesus and His Apostles.  Help us to serve Him, and to be an example to those who have condemned others for their sins, while hiding their own.

All you saints and angels in Heaven, pray for us, and for the departed souls in purgatory.

~~~~~~~~~~

Watch, O Lord (St. Augustine)

Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight,
and give Your angels and saints charge over those who sleep.
Tend Your sick ones, O Lord Christ.
Rest Your weary ones.
Bless Your dying ones.
Soothe Your suffering ones.
Pity Your afflicted ones.
Shield Your joyous ones, and all for Your love's sake. Amen.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

All Souls Day

Lord,
Please accept our prayers for all our departed brothers and sisters; we pray that they may soon see your Glory if they are not yet in Heaven with you.  We pray for all souls in purgatory, especially those who have no one to pray for them; may they see Heaven soon.



I include the below list of those who have touched my life and have passed on:
Prayers for those in Heaven:
  1. Mark
  2. Charles & Gloriann   
    O God, who has commanded us
    to honor our father and mother:
    in your mercy
    have pity on the souls of my father and mother
    and forgive them their trespasses;
    and make me to see them again
    in the joy of everlasting brightness. Amen
  3. Grandma and Grandpa B
  4. Husband's grandparents
  5. Grandma and Grandpa F
  6. Aunt SB
  7. Aunt BF
  8. Aunt HF and Uncle BF
  9. Uncle JF
  10. M & S S
  11. Great Grandparents (all)
  12. Helen R
  13. Dwight
  14. H M
  15. Peg B
  16. S D
  17. BH
  18. E&SG's son
  19. TG's late husband
  20. Mr. A Sw
  21. Mr. M Tsc
  22. Blondie and Ray N
  23. Nin C
  24. BH
  25. ML
  26. DC
  27. ME
  28. Uncle Bud

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shackle us o Lord

Father,

I offer to you our prayers, that we may be your slaves, 
slaves to your Love, your Mercy, your Guidance.

Break these chains that bind us to all that is not Holy, let all that see us know that we
are shackled to You and only You, forever.

Intertwine our souls with your Love, let us be healed from the sorrow and pain of sin, 
teach us how to resist the lure of the devil, that he may fail where you have succeeded,

Take our hearts, take our minds, take our souls. 
Take from me all that I have, for it was not mine.

Bind me to your breast, O Lord.
Shackle my soul.

Break the chains that choke our souls and all who have gone before us.
Wrap your Love around our hearts.

Restrict our movement Lord, that the only path we can take is yours.
Let us rejoice at the steep hill we climb for our Master.

Make us your slaves o Lord, that You will set us free.
~~~~~~
10/31/13

John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 


 Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Compartmentalizing Jesus

I know a lot of people, but have just a few friends, and fewer still that probably know all sides of me: the good, bad and the ugly.  We might worry that if someone knew our 'dark' side, or our weak side, or our different side, that they might not like us anymore.  That actually might be true.  So we hide that side of ourselves, or at least, don't put it out there for display. (My house is a mess, and I sure don't go around advertising it! I can also be cranky or less than patient in certain situations or with certain people; again, I keep that under a bushel when I can.)    This probably isn't a good way to be, but that's how I am, at least right now.  I know, deep down, that if someone doesn't like me or whatever because I have a certain weakness or fault, then we probably shouldn't be close friends anyway.  But I have friends that I hang out with doing certain activities, and other friends for other activities, and still others in another activity...some might overlap into another 'circle'.

Jesus doesn't want us to compartmentalize Him.  Besides, He knows each side of us, no matter how we might try to hide it. There is no where we can go that He isn't already there, and knows us.  It's hard enough bearing ourselves to people we meet, or even people we love.  How can I lay bare my entire existence, especially my faults, sins, weaknesses, to the One who loves me more than anything possible, the same One I hurt with my sins and failings?  But whether I choose to bear my soul to Jesus or not, He already knows.  I still need to be honest with Him and with myself.  How can I grow if I don't? How can I become closer to Jesus if I don't?  He's there waiting...for ME.


John 8:34 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, every one who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not continue in the house for ever; the son continues for ever. 36 So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. 

Monday, October 28, 2013

Heart moving sculpture

Having the pleasure of visiting the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis again last week, I came upon a sculpture that I didn't see there before.  It was in in polished black marble <?> and life sized. Wow.

I was moved to tears and eventual sobbing.  Being a mom made this even more painful to me.  I'd seen pictures of it, like this one, but never one in person.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Litany of Humility

Humility
by Merry Cardinal del Val, secretary of state to Pope Saint Pius X
from the prayer book for Jesuits, 1963
O Jesus, meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being loved,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being honored,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being praised,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, 
 Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the desire of being approved,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being despised,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, 
 Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected,  
Deliver me, O Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I,  
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I,  
J
esus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I go unnoticed, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, J
esus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. 
Charity
 "Charity is patient, is kind; charity does not envy, is not pretentious, is not puffed up, is not ambitious, is not self-seeking, is not provoked; thinks no evil, does not rejoice over wickedness, but rejoices with the truth, bears with all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things
(1 Cor. 13:4-7). To have Charity is to love God above all things for Himself and be ready to renounce all created things rather than offend Him by serious sin. ( Matt. 22:36-40) 

http://www.ewtn.com/devotionals/litanies/humility.htm

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Catch me I'm fallin'...........

Fallin' in love!!

With our return to the Church and Faith has come a newer, deeper capacity to love.  Sometimes it's *almost* like I've never felt love before.  I love my husband, kids, family, friends, chocolate....but once I started truly loving God, love feels even deeper.  Not only that, but I get this feeling of 'falling in love' when I hear a wonderful sermon, or read an amazing Bible passage, or many other things.  My heart truly feels ready to explode.

One of the first times I felt this love was at Mass.   It was a warm, wrap me up, cushion my entire body kind of love.  It was confusing at first; what is this feeling?  I've loved, been in love, been loved...but this was different.  I've had that feeling when reading Scripture, too.  It's like God has personally Himself sent me a personal love letter.  Next, in prayer, and then in daily life.  God has given me love in all parts of it.  Sometimes it's not in the form I might expect it to be, but once you open your heart, you can't dodge it.  Even when I look at my children and husband, I feel this renewed joy and love.  Truly, the more I give it away, the more He gives me.  When I show strangers kindness, out of my love for others...He rewards me.  He has rewarded me in many areas, but the true Joy is from sharing His Love.

Take the Love that He has given to you, and share it with others.  Now, I don't imagine we can hug strangers, or tell them we love them; we can show it in other ways.  We can be patient, kind, understanding, generous, fair, just.  We can offer our place in line to the person behind us, especially if it's someone cranky or having a bad day.  We can give everyone a smile.  Don't let those compliments about others stay inside....tell them.

1 Corinthians 13  (NRSVCE)
The Gift of Love
1 If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast,[a] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9 For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10 but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly,[b] but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13 And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit. Psalm 51:12 NRSVCE

For the woman whose love knew no boundaries, whose heart knew no limits; she truly loved more than I thought possible.  RIP GMG 10/20/2009

Friday, October 18, 2013

Don't get caught up in acting Christian....

Don't get caught up in acting Christian.

Get caught up in BEING Christian.

I pulled into the driveway just as I was listening to the Divine Mercy hour on the Drew Mariani show at 3:00 PM.  I love praying along with the thousands of other listeners for their intentions as well as my own.

I looked over, and there were my neighbors.  I thought of rushing inside so I could get my phone charged so I could continue to listen and pray along.  But as I glanced my neighbor in his neck brace, who also suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, along with his wife, who was mowing the lawn for the second time in her life, I realized that God didn't want me just to pray, or profess to be Christian.  I needed to BE a Christian, which meant getting out of the car, and away from my 'wants' (even though they were prayerful and powerful), to tend to someone else.

I'm so glad I didn't miss that opportunity...I missed the prayer, but I lived His Love and Command instead.  The prayer will be said after....but that moment of 'living' was more of praising Him, than it would have been to rush on inside and praying.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Act of Contrition

Such a beautiful prayer.  Praying it is like falling through the clouds after a tough climb to the top on a path covered by rocks which clawed and scraped you as you went through, and knowing that the Lord has you in His arms, wrapped up and safe...enjoy the ride! :)

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hungry....

I was late for Mass last week, for circumstances beyond my control (a quick 3 hour drive turned into 4 hours due to car issues and such).  I don't like being late to anything but especially Mass.  We chose a different parish because of its location and the talk that was being given after Mass.  I arrived 24 minutes late! OH MY!!!  But surely, I was there in time for the Eucharistic Prayers....ummmm, no. Wow.  But that's not what this is about.  I missed the Liturgy of the Word completely.

I always thought that the 'main' portion was the Liturgy of the Eucharist portion.  But I still felt somewhat like I had missed something.  I am so used to receiving both the Word and Eucharist liturgies, that I hadn't contemplated one without the other.  I felt incomplete, to a point.  I depend on the Liturgy of the Word more than I had realized.  The Eucharist fills me, but the Word prepares me.  I've heard of, but never been to, 'communion services'.

I went again to Mass the next day, and again with my BFF on Wednesday.  I just didn't feel complete without the full gift of Mass.  I love that we have clearly defined portions of Mass.

Monday, October 14, 2013

You know that one person....

You know that one person who always goes out of her way to say hello to you? It isn't because SHE is lonely (although she might be). It's because she doesn't want anyone else to feel lonely, to feel left out....because she knows that feeling.  That feeling of being shut out, of being ignored, being alone....not because there is something wrong with her, but because she is new, or different.

Can we go to the OTHER church next time?

"Daddy, next time can we go to church at the other place? But I still want to come here, like maybe take turns." - Three year old boy at Mass today.

While praying before Communion, a little boy was whispering (well, 3 year old boy 'whispering', which meant the 3 nearest pews could hear him) this to his dad behind me.  How cute!!  I couldn't help but smile.  This little boy loves going to church, and wants to go to more than one.  But he didn't want to play favorites.  He just wanted MORE.

I wondered if his dad was maybe Protestant, and the other church might have been more 'fun' for a 3 year old than Sunday morning traditional Mass.  But no; according to his dad, who is Catholic, after Mass, he was speaking of a nearby parish.  I didn't have the chance to ask him what the differences were, but I was thrilled to know it was another Catholic parish.  This little boy is excited about being Catholic AND going to Mass.

I'll probably think of a lesson in this later on, but it was just so adorable, and made me smile and feel so good inside.  Thank you Jesus for that gift, in addition to the sacrifice we were celebrating.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Happy day


:) My best friend of 30+ years is here just for today, as she goes to see her family and her uncle who is dying. I'm so blessed that she is in my life, and that she is my best friend.  She makes me a better person just knowing her and having her love me.  Even though she is only with me for a moment today, she is always in my heart.  She is the most generous, giving, loving person I've ever met in my life, along with my husband and grandparents.  She has taught me so much.  <3

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Forgiveness and Reconciliation

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.  It's been TOO LONG since my last Confession!  

Too long?  It was at least 10 years, maybe 14, between Confessions until I went in February of this year.  Now I go a few weeks, and I feel 'weak'.

Don't get me wrong; we don't have this sacrament as a 'feel good' instant healing.  My sins still hurt myself, others, and most importantly, God. Earlier this evening, it came to me that the Wednesday Confessions at our parish were starting. I quickly jumped in my car, and arrived 15 minutes after they 'opened for business'. :)  I couldn't believe how many men were in line tonight; they easily outnumbered the women 6 to 1.  I was much overjoyed at the number of people in line, even though it meant I would be there awhile.  There were two priests available, but I had no idea which ones were there.  I thought to myself that even if the wait was for hours, or even days, I would wait.  The chance to ask our Savior directly for forgiveness, and RECEIVING IT, is so powerful, amazing and such a gift.  As I prayed and waited in line for my turn to visit the Confessional, I found myself looking at the crucifix hanging overhead near the altar.  I had used my Laudate application on my phone to guide my memory and conscience; it forces me to be VERY honest with myself about my mistakes.  God already knows them; He's just waiting for me to ask Him for His Forgiveness. 

I feel like Jesus is holding me when I confess.
After preparing myself and examining my sins, I often will pray the Rosary as I wait.  Today, I chose the Divine Mercy.  As always, I had tears streaming down my face as I prayed.  I tried to contain them so as not to be noticeable to others and distract them, but it's such a powerful prayer.  It was especially powerful tonight, as I prayed for His Mercy not only for myself, but the others in attendance as well.  After all, it is through His Mercy that we are forgiven.

I've been to many different priests for Confession in the last 8 months.  Each one has been very different.  But one message has been universal (and, on a side note, 'Catholic' means universal).  "The Lord rejoices that you are asking His forgiveness, and are repentant."  I've visited with older priests, foreign priests, young (!) priests (which is a little strange...when you know the priest on the other side of the screen reminds not only you, but many others according to him, of Daniel Radcliffe!), talkative priests, quiet priests.  But there is One that I have encountered EACH TIME I've been to Confession: Jesus Christ Himself.  How else could it be, that this stranger on the other side of the screen, can offer me such guidance after a few moments of me telling him how many horrible things I've done or thought?  While I should watch my pride in thinking that I'm at all unique in my sins, I have been amazed at priests throughout the US, not even in the same diocese, can offer me such similar guidance, while not even knowing who I am.  I also believe it does take true humility and repentance for us humans to admit our worst faults and sins to a human being; we truly have to believe that the Lord is present with us, and that the priest is acting 'in persona Christi', in the person of Christ.  Just as I've heard things coming out of my mouth that I have no way of explaining or knowing, yet it comes out clear as a bell to the person I'm talking to, I know it's the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, our Father, who is being heard. And for the person to be representing our actual Christ is amazing.

I used to fear Confession and the Penance, but thankfully, the Penance I've always received is never as painful as what I deserve.  I should fear death and judgement if I haven't repented and confessed!  Confession is such a beautiful sacrament.  The fear is from the devil, who does NOT want us to repent.  The doubts? That's him, too.  By that last minute decision, I didn't give the bad guy much time to try to dissuade me. He did try to sneak in while I was there, but I had the Lord on my side. 

Another reason Confession is so powerful, especially as we wait in line with other sinners: it is helpful to know that I am not the only one who sins. It's easy to feel isolated, and like we are the worst sinners in the world, and that God will never forgive us (again, thoughts from the devil).  It reminds us that we are not alone, that we are never alone, in our sinful ways. We are not called to be perfect.  We are called to be the best we can be for Him. We feel the strength of each other and come to lean on each other spiritually, even without realizing it.  Plus, who knows how many others are praying specifically for us at that very moment we are standing in line with them, or saying our prayers in the pews?

Just another reason I love being Catholic!  God have Mercy on my soul, and those of my fellow sinners.

(Why Confession to a priest? "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9)
God had sent Jesus to forgive sins, but after his resurrection Jesus told the apostles, "‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’" (John 20:21–23). (This is one of only two times we are told that God breathed on man, the other being in Genesis 2:7, when he made man a living soul. It emphasizes how important the establishment of the sacrament of penance was.)  )

For further reading:

Examination of conscience: