Thursday, October 31, 2013

Shackle us o Lord


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.

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

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,  
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 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)

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


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:

Tuesday, October 1, 2013