Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quick editorial notes and more....Sunday's first reading

I do a couple things differently when I'm writing about our Lord.

Normally, I'm very quick to note grammatical, spelling and punctuation mistakes (although, please forgive some of the free-flowing thoughts that were published late at night, proofed with eyes almost shut).

But when I refer to our Lord in any capacity, His Name is capitalized.  I take it another step: I also capitalize any 'trait' that belongs to Him, for lack of a better term.  For example:  His Love, His Forgiveness, His Mercy.  Anything that IS our Lord, is Holy to me.  While I often see 'His' or 'He' written as such, I rarely see it the way I do it.  That's fine.  It helps me to remember that All that is our Lord is Holy.

In other news:
I've added one of our parish priests to my Facebook. That should speed up the confession process (just kidding!).

I'm a lector for this Sunday's Mass, for only the third time (2nd time scheduled; other time volunteered).  I was reading ahead of this Sunday's readings on my Laudate app, and lo and behold, the first reading is mine. By 'mine', I mean MINE!  If you'll scroll down to one of my earlier posts, you'll find Sirach and why it is so special to me.  Here is the reading from USCCB:

Twenty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 126

Reading 1SIR 3:17-18, 20, 28-29

My child, conduct your affairs with humility,
and you will be loved more than a giver of gifts.
Humble yourself the more, the greater you are,
and you will find favor with God.
What is too sublime for you, seek not,
into things beyond your strength search not.
The mind of a sage appreciates proverbs,
and an attentive ear is the joy of the wise.
Water quenches a flaming fire,
and alms atone for sins.

This is so awesome!  This chapter and these verses were the Lord truly revealing Himself to me in my hour of need.

God is so good!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


So, you may have read my story about the bookstore. A week later, I figured I needed to be better 'armed' and picked up a few plastic rosaries and pamphlets. I put them in my purse, not knowing why or when I'd need them, and I have a fairly small purse right now.

I went off to go to Mass in the city where I went the previous week, and as I drove, I wondered what I should do this week; should I go to the bookstore again? Hmmmm. I prayed for God to show me the answer. I got there 30 minutes early so I could do my Rosary and Divine Mercy Novena.

I had barely parked near the Church, and I saw a man walk up to a woman, but then move on. He spoke, and I thought he was speaking to someone behind me. He asked again..."Can I have some money for a sandwich?" Now, in the past I have given food to people, but not in many years. (I don't see many homeless in general in my neck of the woods). I also tend not to give money to people, although I will if I feel the 'push'. Without hesitation, I said I could buy him a sandwich. I had just noticed a Jimmy John's on the corner as I drove in; I didn't notice it last week, or when I was next door  last winter. He said thanks. The XXXX (not Catholic) Church (he said) wouldn't feed him because they caught him sleeping on their property. I won't judge either one, I don't know both sides of the story.

We walked over to the sandwich shop. We walked, and I believe he said his name was Jeremy. I put my Bible in the car so I didn't have to carry it in the heat, and we walked over. He asked about that (Bible Study? Nope, Mass.) and after I bought his lunch, I asked if we could sit at the table while he ate. I said I wasn't eating because I was going to Mass. He seemed intrigued. I asked if he'd like to come, and he declined politely. I mentioned to him that it was nice and cool in the Church; he could just watch if he wanted. Anyway, he ate, and saved half his sandwich and chips for later (plus the cookie that I surprised him with). I invited him again, and he said he had to meet friends. Okay, no worries.  I said I wasn't trying to preach at him, but , "If you knew where there was the best food in the world, and it was free, wouldn't you tell EVERYONE about it?" (Best I could come up with on the spot)

He acted like he was starting to go, but then got real serious. That eye piercing look. This didn't seem like a chance encounter. He asked if people who never had the chance to know Christ would still be able to go to Heaven. Now, I just happened to read something about that the other day. He seemed happy with my probably rambling answer. 

I then asked him if I could give him something. He said sure. I handed him a Rosary and a pamphlet. He was surprised. Then he surprised me. He asked if I could meet him on Friday. I asked if he would go to Church with me. He said, Yes!!! I told him he could go with me anytime, but I wasn't going to be able to buy him lunch every time. However, I thought later that I will make him a sandwich or two and bring it. I had apologized that I hadn't gotten the rosaries blessed yet; he asked if we could do that on Friday!  

He wasn't there that Friday and I haven't seen him since. Maybe I'm being taken advantage of. Maybe not. But I DO know that God gave me an almost immediate answer to my prayer. Praise God!!

Btw, I just started saying the Divine Mercy since last Wednesday  and the Novena Monday. I didn't notice, but this parish is consecrated (I think that's the right word) to the Divine Mercy!

I'm trying not to brag, really I'm not; I just want to share the blessing He has given to me. Who knows what next week holds?  Who even knows what this Friday holds? God does, and that's all that matters. 

Open your eyes, and He shows us amazing things!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Bookstore sharing....Holy Spirit at work!

An unexpected evangelization moment in a bookstore....

I attended the noon Mass at a nearby parish (different diocese; our priests were mostly on retreat and Mass schedule was cut down) a couple of months ago.

I took a different route home, and drove by a (locally) renowned used bookstore. At the last second, I decided to stop in and look around (thanks God for the nearby parking spot in the rain). As I browsed, I found the Religious section, and the only other customer in the store was standing there as well: a young man in his mid-20s. I joked that it was funny that we were the only two in the store, and we both wanted the same section of books.  He laughed and smiled. He then mentioned that he had just read a good book about Martin Luther. I smiled and remarked that he was a very historical figure. I then told him, “I’m Catholic, so Martin Luther isn’t someone we really admire, although I'm sure he did have some very good contributions.” He laughed as well, and we started talking from there. I remarked that I had just left Mass, and he shared with me he had just had a meeting with his sponsor from AA, who is Catholic. He told me he attends a non-denominational, somewhat Baptist church nearby.

We talked, and soon I was sharing with him my story about the Holy Spirit from a few years back. He listened intently and was amazed at the story, but of course knew I was telling the truth. He then showed me the book in his hand; it was about the Holy Spirit. We continued to have a very long conversation, and he spoke of the Holy Spirit quite extensively. He also asked if I had been to an area Catholic retreat; he had attended with his sponsor, and met many wonderful people. He quoted Bible verses to me, and they were either some I had just read this week, or from a book I had started reading. We talked about the great Mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ. I talk a lot, but I was able to listen. More than once, he commented on how frustrating it was that people would go to church or Mass, but then walk out and not live the faith, and continue sinning. I think that was the message the Lord was giving me from this young man: live your Faith. I try to do that, but could always improve. We had a great conversation, and I told him he should think about, pray about, becoming Catholic. (I've never asked ANYONE to consider becoming Catholic!) We shared many stories, thoughts. I remarked how we might never know the impact of us both being there and sharing with each other, but that it was where the Holy Spirit wanted us (his was a last second decision to come in as well); later, the store clerk who checked me out was wearing a shirt that said “Darwin” on the front.  Perhaps our words reached him or someone else who came in after us to consider Catholicism, or drawing closer to Jesus Christ.

After over an hour of sharing, and numerous signs from the Holy Spirit that showed both of us that we were where we were supposed to be, I departed. During our visit, we were talking about prayers.  For some reason, I began asking our Lord in my heart, if I was supposed to give this young man my new beautiful Rosary.  I said if that was what He wanted, I would, but I really loved the Rosary I had sought and found.  Within moments, and we were not discussing the Rosary at the time, Tanner volunteered out of nowhere that he had a Rosary at home.  Before I left, I gave him a laminated card of the Mysteries of the Rosary; he had remarked how much he loved all our prayers. I didn’t even know the card was in my purse! Thank you, Jesus! I then asked him if I could say a prayer with him. We held hands and bowed our heads. I had no idea what prayer was coming, but the Hail Mary poured out of me. I gave him a hug, and told him that I looked forward to seeing him again someday. I told him if I made any sense, or touched him in any way, all Glory is to God, and if I didn’t make sense, that was all me. I ask your prayers for my young friend, Tanner, that he may continue to grow in the Lord, and perhaps, be Catholic. Pray that he is able to stand strong against his previous addictions. During our hour together, we praised Him, shared His word, were humbled before Him, and shared love for Him.

As Catholics are not known for evangelizing, or knowing the Bible scriptures, the Lord provided me with the information ahead of time, and I was able to quote a few other places as well. I have never asked someone to pray with me in public before, and I’m thankful to live in a country where I can do that. I have a bad habit of sometimes interrupting people as they talk (I am trying to learn not to do that), but not once did I interrupt. As we spoke, I could still feel the Body of Christ in my throat the whole time. The words I spoke were His. Thank you Lord for the blessing of Tanner today, and for Your Guidance and Love. Part of me is left wondering...perhaps he was an angel sent for me, whether in flesh of a real man, or appearing to me. What a great gift, and I hope that everyone can experience this, daily!
Thanks for reading! To be continued............

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Every day's a party!

Well, if not a party, a celebration at least! God gives us so many reasons to celebrate being His children.

I'm so blessed and honored to be Catholic. Growing up, I remember very few 'celebrations' other than the usual Easter and Christmas honors.  Since I've started attending weekday Mass, I've come to realize and appreciate all the celebrations and feast days we have.  I knew that every day honored a different Catholic Saint and/or Feastday.  A few years ago, I'd discovered my confirmation saint's feast day was in May.  Since I started my weekday attendance sporadically over the last few months, it seems like every weekday that I go to Mass has another true celebration, and I've been so blessed and lucky to attend Mass where the Priest or Monsignor not only has a great sermon, but relates the Biblical teachings and readings to the Saint of the day.  I usually attend  Mass without looking up the Saint of the day, and later find out how it completely relates to me and my life through the Saint, sermon and Biblical readings.  Now, some days are more 'ordinary' for me, but many end up being very special, and I can feel Him speaking to me, reaching out to me. I'm so thankful.

Each day is a gift; that's why it's called the present.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Being Catholic....or not.

It has been said that millions of people hate what they think the Catholic Church is, but few hate what the Church actually is. From Archbishop Fulton Sheen "There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.  ....As a matter of fact, if we Catholics believed all of the untruths and lies which were said against the Church, we probably would hate the Church a thousand times more than they do." 

I won't tell you that you have to be Catholic. I will tell you that I am called to be Catholic. In fact, I wasn't only called, I was directed to be Catholic by the Lord Himself. I am 100% in that.  However, He didn't tell me that you had to be Catholic.  

I love my Faith; I love my Church.  I detest sin: mine, yours, the world's sins. In each of us, there is and always will be sin.  Let me tell you this: even the Pope has sinned and has sin.  Catholics do not hold up their members as sinless or perfect.  All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.  

Shall we judge all blondes by the sins of a few? Shall we condemn all men for the sins of 1000 rapists?  No.  What sins have been committed IN the Catholic Church BY Catholics are horrendous.  These same sins are committed by thousands who are not Catholic; they are not unique to the Church, the Catholic Faith or to any close-knit or loosely organized group.

If your faith journey calls you to the Catholic Church, God bless you and welcome.  If your faith journey calls you to be Jewish, Protestant....God bless you.  And if you have no faith journey right now, know that you will be welcomed when are you are ready; just be open to it. You are loved each moment, completely and wholly, whether you want to be loved or not.

I believe in the Catholic Church: one, holy and apostolic.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Answered....Glory to God!

Praying can be difficult sometimes, at least for me.

I like praying for others and their intentions; I like praying with thanksgiving and gratitude.  I am learning to pray to request His Help.  After all, we would want our children to come to us when they have a problem, right? If we knew they had a problem that we could help them with, and they didn't come to us, I think we'd feel sad and hurt that they didn't trust us enough to ask, especially if it was something that they couldn't do on their own, or could do better if they had our help.  Sure, we need to learn to do things on our own, and make our way, but we truly can't do anything without the Lord.  All Glory is to Him!

So I'm learning. I feel selfish when I ask Him for help, especially when my requests are little tiny things that don't deserve His time.  Remember, though, we don't deserve His Time, or Love, either, but He gives them to us, freely and happily.  It's hard to ask when you feel the complete unworthiness of being human, and being a sinner.

I recently had a super large report and project I completed, and in the past, had some difficulties with the process on my end and with the clients.  Before I started the project, I prayed for His Help in completing the project portion fully.  Before starting the large report portion, I again prayed, this time for His Assistance on my portion, as well as for the client I was submitting the project for.  I then got to work.  I turned over my prayers to Him and didn't dwell on them.  And what did He decide to do?

Well, He answered my prayers completely. Yes, 100%.  Whereas before there were often days and days of communication, clarification and discussion, there were no questions. Zero.  My report was basically perfect, and their reception was as well.  It wasn't just me the prayers were answered for, either.  Many times the feedback and clarification I received from them was in the report and project, but they missed it.  Not this time.

Sadly, perhaps, I didn't even think about all the prayers I said for the project until a few days afterwards. I had so completely turned it over to God and did my part, and He did His part, that it was so natural and felt so right.  

All Praises and Glory to God, in all His Goodness, all His Wisdom, and all His Love. Thank you, Father.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Mother: Having a mother, loving your mother, being a mother, honoring your mother

I love my mom so much!  I'm adopted, so while she might not be the one who gave birth to me, she is my mother. Why is that? Society, in general, defines a mother as one who has given birth to a child.  I've never held with that.* A mother is the one who loves you, comforts you, holds you, protects you. She is often the one you turn to when you need something, or someone. She will stand between you and danger; she will do everything possible, when appropriate, to make you happy.  It may not always be what you want or expect. But nonetheless, it's always done in our best interest.  If we think we want a dozen chocolate chip cookies for dinner, she's not usually going to accommodate that. :)

Our Lady is our mother.  Think about it. She loves us, comforts us, holds us, protects us.  She wants to stand between us and danger; she wants to give us everything we need, but only if it's best for us.  We are God's children, as detailed in the Bible.  Mary is the Mother of God.  This is confusing for us humans, but that's the way it works.  She is the closest person who was on earth who is with our Lord. She gave birth to our Savior. Do you (or would you) love a mother as wonderful as Mary? He does. She is very special.  Don't be confused or misled: Catholics do not worship Mary.  We honor her, as is her due.  The Lord has seen fit to let her appear to us over the last 2000 years, and especially over the last few centuries.  That wouldn't happen if He didn't believe that we should honor and love her.  As Catholics, we are called to honor Mary, but we aren't required to believe in the miracles associated with her, or to give her extra attention.  But what a great gift we are given in our mother!

When I was a child, we said the Hail Mary prayer (which can be found on the Rosary page on this blog) during Mass. That wasn't standard, but apparently acceptable.  I rarely recall praying the Rosary as a child or an adult, until last February.  

When I was 16, I was in a wreck.  I had been sneaking out to see my boyfriend, and was in a hurry to get home before curfew (which, to be honest, was rare for me).  I rolled my '65 Mustang numerous times, end over end, side over side.  Despite the fact that I usually wore my seat belt when on the road, I didn't wear it on short 'town' errands in my rural/farm community.  I remember being upside down, hitting my head, as the car rolled.  Parts of the interior came off somehow (it was impossible to figure out how they came apart, given the small opening and the large object), the roof was crushed, and the front was demolished.

But the part I remember most is what came to me in those few seconds that seemed like hours.  I didn't consciously think "I need to pray!", or "what should I pray?". I prayed the Hail Mary. Not once, not twice.  It felt like I prayed it dozens of times in those few seconds that seemed like hours.  I walked away with a slight concussion. By walked away, I actually I walked a mile in the dark on a dirt road in the country 5 miles from town.  When I saw the car later, I had no idea how I wasn't hurt more.  

I love how, without even thinking, I turned to Mary in my scariest moment of my young life.  I had said the Lord's Prayer many, many more times in my life, and I had known it longer.  While I love our Father, and could have prayed directly to Him, it is comforting to know that Mary is here for us, is there for us.

Thank you Father for gifting us with such a wonderful mother, and for all the Graces You provide to us through her, and her intercessions.

Please pray for me.  God bless you.

Romans 8:16

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God....


*Side note: I get upset when I hear a newscaster refer to an abusive or neglectful woman as 'mother'. I don't mean mothers who aren't perfect, because I'm surely not! But, as in the Erica Green/Precious Doe case, the woman who was supposed to be her mother, either via birth or raising the little girl, didn't do a thing to protect her, and instead assisted in the abuse and murder of the innocent child. I will never forget that murder.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Letting go....and letting in

Let go and let God.

We've probably seen that on different church signs on their front lawns.  We hear that phrase a lot in secular life as well: "Just let it go."  We hear it when we are angry at someone or something; we hear it when we are nagging or scolding someone. We even hear it when we are hurting. It can be hard to let it go.

I'm thinking about a different type of 'letting go', that's even tougher.

First, let's think about what we are letting go. Anger? Sure. Lectures? Okay.

Let it go. It's easy (or at least, easier) to let go of things that are obviously detrimental to our lives. It's harder to let go of things that we enjoy, that we love.  We cling to our 'fun' sins, we cling to our daily lives, we cling to our prayers and prayer intentions.  Give them all to God.

Recently, I started reading the 33 Days to Morning Glory; in one of the first daily devotions, it talks about giving all our good deeds and prayers away.  Don't use them for ourselves, but offer them for whatever intentions Mary knows are needed.

I look around and see so many things that I love: my family, friends, home, many things I enjoy doing or love to do....yet, we are asked not to cling to these things either. Could I walk away from one of these? From all of these?  I know I should, for the Love of God, if that is what He asks of me. I look at my children, friends, family; I see what I think are mistakes, possibly ones that will keep them from Heaven (now I know how MY mom felt at times!).  It makes me sad that they might not be in Heaven with me (God willing, that I go there).  It's hard for me to wrap my mind around it all; I will be perfectly happy in Heaven, being with our Lord. My human, earthly mind says I can't be happy without these things I cherish on earth.

Let it go.  God should be #1. Not us, not our family, not our things. God.  God lets us go where we want.  If we choose to walk away from Him, He won't force Himself on us.

We must open our hearts and let go of things we think important to us, give them to Him, so that we can receive in our hearts the greatest gifts from God.