Sunday, September 29, 2013

Welcome, sinners!

SHOCKING news!!  Not only is the Catholic Church full of sinners, but the Pope HIMSELF is a sinner, and admitted it in his own words!  WHAT?!  "I ask Pope Francis point-blank: “Who is Jorge Mario Bergoglio?” He stares at me in silence. I ask him if I may ask him this question. He nods and replies: “I ​​do not know what might be the most fitting description.... I am a sinner. This is the most accurate definition. It is not a figure of speech, a literary genre. I am a sinner.”" I kid, I kid.  The Pope is perfect.  OOPS, that's wrong, but that's what many non-Catholics think that Catholics believe.

My Church is full of sinners.  Not only that, it's also full of amazing people going to Heaven (and some who may not).  Jesus wasn't sacrificed on the cross for perfect people, although His mother would be the closest, and who wouldn't sacrifice themselves for their child or parent? (when you find a perfect person, let me know); He died for you, me and every person in the world; after all, each of us has sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God.  That means me, you, your pastor, my priest, Mother Teresa, Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis, Sts. Peter and Paul.

Just as the ER is not for people in perfect physical condition with no ailments (oh, to dream!!), the Church is not the place for perfect, sinless people.  We welcome EVERYONE to our Faith. Everyone? I mean....what about the sinners among us who have sex outside of marriage (adulterers, fornicators, homosexual sex, etc)? Or those that have stolen, cheated, killed, were rude to us before Mass, cut us off in the line for doughnuts, didn't give us the job we deserved, or fired us for unjust reasons.... them too?  Yeppers.  Now, that doesn't mean that we can continue to disobey the laws of Faith, the words of Jesus.  We should strive each day, each moment to be a better follower of Christ, a better example to those we come in contact with. 

It's hard to admit when we've made mistakes. It doesn't always work out very well when we tell a loved one or a supervisor that we messed up.  The repercussions may be very hard, and we may be met with a lecture, or tears, and never receive forgiveness.  But we must admit our mistakes to Christ.  He already knows. He knows EVERY SINGLE thing we've ever done: good, bad or ugly.  Is He waiting for us with a whip or planning His speech to make us feel even worse, and then banish us from his sight? No. He is waiting to give us LOVE, of all things. Complete, 100% love.  Shouldn't we be ready to die a little bit inside, swallow our pride, ask for His forgiveness, and then do better?  He suffered and died so deeply as a man on earth; this seemingly small thing of asking for His forgiveness is but a small repayment of thanks for His sacrifice.  If we don't ask forgiveness, if we don't admit our mistakes, we really are fooling one person: ourselves.

It may not be easy.  But the reward, even the immediate one, is beyond any words I can say.

Lord, have Mercy on me, a sinner.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Random acts of kindness

We've all heard that phrase.  Many of us have practiced it, whether it's something like letting a car into your lane when it'd be easier to skootch on by, or paying for their doughnut in the drive through at Krispy Kreme.

But what about those who are in the peripheral of your life? While they may not be close friends, or even close acquaintances, they still matter in your life simply by crossing paths with you, once, twice or dozens of times.

Two of the most touching encounters I've had in my daily life came from people who cross my path regularly.  What's funny is, that I doubt they realize the depth of impact they made on my life (nor, I perhaps theirs), although I did try to let them know that they made a difference just by sharing their thoughts with me.  How many times have we thought something nice about someone, and didn't say anything to them? That could make a difference between a bad day and a great day for them.

Today, something that may be small for you, but makes a huge difference in someone's day.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Knock, knock....

Who's there?

Good question!  I know the face and spirit on this side of the keyboard, but have no idea who is reading my blog, if anyone is reading my blog!

Why do I have a blog, anyway?

One of the Gifts that I feel that the Holy Spirit has given me is writing.  Why do I think this?  I've always loved to write, and as many, often dreamed of writing the great American novel.  Alas, this has not been in the cards for me! (Although, I did win a short story competition for the state while in HS about a man and his cat....)  I often thought about writing, but didn't move towards it.  I'm proud that my son has the gift of writing; he was even featured in his (very large) high school yearbook his senior year. Coincidentally, I also was published in my high school yearbook my senior year; I was asked to write a poem commemorating a special hometown celebration, and it's printed on the inside cover, first page, of every yearbook for that year! :)

So, after my return to the Faith in February 2013, I felt all this energy pouring out of me.  I began to write. I wrote a little here and there for private use, but also began frequenting a message board for Catholics.  A few of the blog posts here were originally written for an online forum; the ones I can't get out of my mind get posted or elaborated on here on my blog.

One reason I started writing was because of how overwhelming the Spirit was inside me, and I had to let my thoughts out.  I don't want to forget these moments with the Spirit, and my memory is going fast, no matter how much something means to me.  Ahhh, the decline of various senses as I grow older....hearing is close behind, I'm afraid.  I also had an amazing experience with the Spirit in 1999, and I regret not keeping a journal at the time.

It's interesting, that at times, I will re-read something I've written, even shortly thereafter, and not remember writing it so well, or maybe not at all.  Where did the words come from?  My heart. And my heart at those times is filled with the Spirit.

Thanks and praise to our Lord for this gift.  Even if it's only You and I, I will cherish the words, and do my best to learn the lessons you've given me.

Whom shall I fear?

Have a blessed Monday!

Romans 8

Romans 8:18

18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. 

Romans 8:31b If God is for us, who is against us? 

Romans 8:37-39

37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer throughHim who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

What I'm reading this week.....

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Thy faithful and enkindle in them the fire of Thy love.
V. Send forth Thy Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And Thou shalt renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray. O God, Who didst instruct the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us in the same Spirit to be truly wise, and ever to rejoice in His consolation. Through Christ our Lord.


Here are some interesting links and blogs I'm reading this week:

Little Catholic Bubble

31 days with Saints

24th Sunday in Ordinary Time


More about grace....

The MOST Theological Collection: Mary in Our Life

Rosary Indulgences



Praying with the Saints

Catholic links on Catholicity

Catholicity (editorial post)


May God bless and keep you safe today.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

I can only imagine

I can only imagine, what it might be like....I love this song.

I first heard it at the very moment I got the news that my amazing grandmother had died.  I wasn't even listening to a Christian music station.  It was playing on contemporary radio in the background.  My grandmother was probably the most Christian woman I ever knew.  She was loving, charitable, welcoming...I could go on for days and still not scratch the surface.  I love to imagine that my Grandma might be dancing with Grandpa for Jesus.  I learned so much about Christian living and sharing God's Love and Word with others, from them.

This always makes me melancholy, and miss my Grandma.  It also reminds me of the ultimate goal we all have: to meet our Savior face to face.  Just imagining it overwhelms my heart and soul.

I love you, Grandma & Grandpa, and miss you so much.



It's the 21st century; even my 70 year old dad uses his GPS to get places, even when I try to give him the directions that will get him somewhere easier.

The GPS helps us find our way, as well as what we might need to do on the journey. Need somewhere to eat? Sleep? Refresh? Siri, Tom-Tom, or whoever is on your phone is glad to tell you.  The billboards and road signs might give us some direction, but not completely, to our destination.

Sometimes the GPS might be hard to understand, or follow, or may not have all the information that we need on our specific route and trip.

What do we use to guide our journey to Christ?  The Bible, of course, is a great road map.  The Church.  Our Church leaders and spiritual leaders.  So often, we look to tangible things to guide us, and we should of course use these.  I like to think of the Bible as a Love Letter from the Lord.  You could also think of it as a road map to Heaven.

We've been given so many ways to find Him and reach Him in our lives.  But what about the times you don't have access to your Church leaders and advisers, or a Bible? Maybe you don't even have a Rosary by your side, or you are in bed trying to sleep, but your mind is too cluttered.

Get out your personal GPS. Pray. It can sound intimidating; after all, Who are we praying to? Only the most important 'person' in our lives: our Lord: Father, Savior and Holy Spirit.  I am a perfectionist in certain things and if I can't do it perfectly, I don't want to do it at all (I'm working on accepting imperfections in myself and such, though).  You don't have to have perfect prayer. You can start by talking to Him. Talk to Him however works best for you.  Some people like to use formal language in their private conversations/prayers; others use a free-flow of thoughts (that's how I usually do, which explains how this blog seems to 'free-flow' all over the place!).

I've had different experiences with prayer.  I've prayed formal prayers like the Rosary and Divine Mercy; sometimes I have a specific intention, other times I just want to honor God.  I've prayed by using simple words, sort of a meditation: Jesus, I love you.  One of the most moving experiences involving the Holy Spirit and our Father was simply talking to Him as if He was right next to me (which He truly is). We talked for hours; we laughed, we cried.

But, just like the GPS, if you don't listen or pay attention after you've given your request for directions, it does no good.  We spend so much time talking, and being assaulted by noise (at least in the city), we forget how to quiet our minds and listen.  Listening is an important part of prayer.  Have you ever learned anything in your life where you did all the talking? I should be an expert in that, so I can tell you that I never have.

Listen.  Quiet.  Breathe.  This might take practice, or you might realize you hear Him quickly; if so, you might think about that He was just waiting for you to ask.

God's Praying System

Go Pray Soon (or)
God's Praying System

John 14:5-6

Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

Bless you and have a beautiful and joyful day being loved by the Lord!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Random thoughts for today

Today, September 11, 2013.  Every generation has that moment when their innocence or naivete is stripped from them in some way.  Two of the most traumatic ones that come to mind in recent history, that really changed America: 9/11/2001, of course, and Columbine school shooting.  I had always believed that my children were safe in school, and that we were always safe in the US.  Both of those things ripped away those illusions.  Growing up, the most catastrophic thing I can remember of a similar vein was the Challenger explosion.  I'll never forget my emotions on 9/11 and the days following, nor of Columbine. God bless and keep all those directly impacted by these, and other tragic events.

There is argument I've heard that God doesn't hear your prayers when you have sinned and have not repented, especially mortal sins/grave sins.  I don't agree with that, but I could be wrong.  Sometimes when I feel like I'm hopeless because I'm a sinner and so far from perfect, I still pray, and I've still been shown and given signs and Graces that are obviously His work. I'm so thankful that He reminds me of His love that it makes me want to work even harder to grow closer to Him.

St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
St. Francis of Assisi, pray for us.
St. Dymphna, pray for us.
St. Anne, pray for us.
Our Lady of Fatima, Lourdes and of Good Counsel, pray for us.
All saints and angels in Heaven, pray for us.
Lord, please hear our prayers, and forgive us our sins.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Sts. Peter and Thomas

The Catholic Church has a direct succession of Popes, going back directly to Simon Peter, our first Pope, and the one Jesus chose as the rock of the Church.

Was St. Peter perfect?

Perhaps his greatest sin was when Jesus told him what his sin would be, yet Peter told Jesus that wouldn't happen.

Would you say 3 times that you didn't know this man, especially so quickly and in succession? This man, who you know is your Savior, your Lord, and you claim not to know Him.  Actually, each time we sin, we are denying that we know and love Him.  When we ask forgiveness and offer repentance, we are saying we love the Lord more than ourselves, more than our sins. We are accepting Jesus Christ, proclaiming Him our Lord and Savior.

Luke 22:54-62

New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Jesus’ Arrest

54 Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. 
55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. 
56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 
57 But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 58 A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 
59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 
61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 
62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

What did Jesus do? Did He turn against Peter? Did He condemn Peter to Hell? No. He forgave him, and upon this rock, built His church. In earlier verses (remember, Jesus already knew that Peter would deny Him, since He is God) :

And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon [k]Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. 18 I also say to you that you are [l]Peter, and upon this [m]rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth [n]shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth [o]shall have been loosed in heaven.” 

So, this man, who committed perhaps the greatest sins of His life right in front of Jesus, was forgiven.

There was also the apostle, St. Thomas. 'Doubting Thomas' so might know him.  While he didn't deny knowing the Lord, he denied believing in Him, when others told him that Jesus had risen from the dead.  He wanted to see with his own eyes and touch Him with his own hands.  Then He believed.

19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and *said to them, [b]Peace be with you.” 
20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21 So Jesus said to them again, Peace bewith you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” 
22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and *said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 
23 If you forgive the sins of any, their sins [c]have been forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they have been retained.”

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called [d]Didymus, 
was not with them when Jesus came. 
25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” 
But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
26 [e]After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been [f]shut, and stood in their midst and said, Peace be with you.” 27 Then He *said to Thomas, Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus *said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” 

Why This Gospel Was Written

30 Therefore many other [g]signs Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 
31 but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is [h]the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name.

It's not a sin to have questions, or even doubts. But not all questions have answers; not all doubts are well-founded.  That's where Faith steps in; we believe. Not just because of the thousands, millions of miracles and signs that we see occur every day, but because of those we don't see as well.

For more:

Being Christian

Being Christian...
  • is following and loving Christ.
  • doesn't mean being perfect.
  • is not being 'holier than thou'.
  • is accepting Christ's love for us.
  • is not knowing all all the answers.
  • is believing that He has and knows all the answers.
  • means you'll stumble, fall, fail, make mistakes, sin willfully....but knowing His Forgiveness is yours for the asking, with true repentance.
  • is never being alone; God is always in your heart.  He is even there if you don't believe or love Him. One turn, one word and you can find Him.
  • is not accepting everything blindly, but accepting the things on Faith that He wants you to believe.
  • does not mean hating other religions, ethnic groups, lifestyles.  It does mean detesting sin, especially because it parts us from God.
  • is the hardest thing you'll ever do...and the most rewarding. It's still easier than sacrificing yourself on a crucifix for others who abused you, hurt you, denied you, killed you, don't love you, continue to sin and be imperfect. Yet He still loves us.
  • believing that Heaven is our ultimate destination, and doing everything we can, although imperfectly, to get there.
  • doesn't mean you are always happy. It won't solve all your problems. However, it DOES make them easier to bear.