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 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.

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?