Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Happy May!

Oh what a great month that May is!  Spring might actually decide to stick, for one thing. But I love this month for many other reasons as well.

It's my birthday month. (YAY!)
My confirmation saint has her feast day this month.

And it's MARY month! The most beautiful woman ever born, the mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  Catholics do not worship Mary, despite allegations of non-Catholics.  We simply ask for her assistance, and honor her as the mother of Jesus, the woman chosen to give birth to Him and raise Him.  We honor and respect our friends' mothers, and our own mothers; why wouldn't we honor Mary on an even higher level than that?

I plan to honor her with special devotions this month. If you need a jumpstart (beyond the Rosary), here's some info to get you started:

For my new friend

A new acquaintance is going through some things, and I'd like to share the following thoughts with her (don't cry through this one! :) :) :) ) :  (let me know when you've seen this and I'll take it down if you like)

Thanks for your email last night!
Congrats on doing such a great job for your health! That's amazing, and shows what a strong person you truly are. I know it isn't easy.

You can call any rectory and meet with any priest. You don't have to go to the parish where you attend Mass. You can attend Mass, even, at any parish, not just your neighborhood/local one, so don't worry about 'belonging'.  Do your very best to get to Confession, and remember that God knows your heart and limitations. I'd sincerely recommend using your time at Confession or the rectory to visit with the priest about your life as a whole, along with your confession.  Do you visit the doctor for your follow up? They can also provide some information about other services that you might need.

I have met Jesus Christ in the Confessional many times. I urge you to do the same. He is there, waiting for you, but remember, He is ALWAYS with you.

God bless and keep you. I will keep you in my prayers, and ask others to do the same.

do not fear, for I am with you,
    do not be afraid, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
    I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Divine Mercy Sunday-quick thoughts

Hallelujah and Amen!
What a wonderful amazing day today will be, with the Canonization of two Popes, including the first one I really remember as a child, Pope John Paul II!  It is also Divine Mercy Sunday.  Christ's Mercy and Compassion for us sinners is boundless.

May God bless you and rain down all His Mercies on your soul today!

St. Faustina, pray for us!
St. John Paul II, pray for us!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Live your faith out loud!

We often assume that others are just like us, that they think like us, that they act like us.  Whether we pray every day, or never, we think others are doing likewise.

However, since returning a year ago, I'm finding that isn't true.  Seriously, all along many friends and family had their faith practices under that bushel basket.

We don't want to worship on the street corner like the Pharisee, for his reward is on earth, and is for his own glory, not God's.  But we can't hide our faith under a basket! Let your light SHINE! Better yet, let HIS light shine!

For example, suppose I knew of a glorious banquet, filled with all the best food and drink, and it was available for everyone. If I didn't tell you about it, wouldn't you be hurt? Especially if you found out some of your friends and family were going, but they also didn't tell you?  Heaven is neither a feast, nor a banquet; words cannot describe Heaven, nor can any comparisons even come close. So, if you can, imagine missing the most perfect feast on earth, full of the richest foods (with no calories!), delicious drink, mesmerizing desserts, and perfect entertainment (and no, don't even suggest Miley or Biebs).  Your family, friends and acquaintances have been attending the banquet for years, but never told you about it. Maybe you'd seen a flyer for it, and mentioned it to someone....and that person said, "Oh yes! It's wonderful! I've enjoyed it for some time and go every day!"

Share the joy. Be an example. Live your faith, talk about your faith. If you can talk about how great your favorite player on your favorite team, or your favorite singer, or TV show, or book.....why can't you talk about your great Savior?

It might be in small ways, but we can do great things in small ways.  Compliment (and mean it!) someone's cross or crucifix necklace. I did this just last week, and it turns out the young lady isn't even baptized, but she IS searching. If I hadn't opened myself first up to God, then up to her, I wouldn't have known gotten to have a great conversation with her; I pray that I helped her in even a small way.

I see an acquaintance who attends my parish around time sometimes.  Do I surreptitiously ask how he liked the homily on Sunday? Or, if I missed it, what I missed? No! I'll ask right in front of everyone else; why not? It's a conversation. It also holds me accountable for who I am, and whose I am.

I think we need to see regular, ordinary people talking about their faith in conversation. Don't be ashamed. You never know when it will touch someone, or open up the floor for questions.

Pray the Rosary while waiting in line, or on the plane, or subway. Wear your medals, your crucifix.  It's a fine line, but you can find it. If God and Faith are part of your every day, every moment, life, then there won't be that distinction between where your Christianity ends and you begin. It becomes one.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Remember, the devil isn't just working on 'us'

Sometimes, we do all the things we should do
Pray all the prayers we are supposed to pray.
Honor God in all His Glory
Love others with the heart He has given us.

And we get slapped in the face.
Kicked in the side.
Spit on the head.
Tripped down the stairs of emotion.

Why? Why? Why?

If the devil can't get to you
Through you...
If you've resisted his lies
Resisted his temptations.

He will work on the ones
Next to you
In front of you
Behind you.

He will try to get to you
through them
They might tempt you
or hurt you in your weakest spot.

Maybe they can't resist
the chance to put you down,
To be mean or hateful
They don't know how to be strong.

It's hard.  It hurts.
Pray for them.

It's sad and it's difficult.
For you.
But more difficult and sad for them.
Pray for them.

You've not always held your tongue.
You've not always been kind.
Now you've welcomed the Lord into your heart.
He gives you strength

The actions or words that have hurt you
may have been their one mistake of the week.
Their moment of weakness is directed at you
Because you can bear it.

Another person, one who is weak,
One who doesn't know the love of Christ
And His Sacrifice
might crumble under the assault or temptation.

Pray for them.

Rejoice in the challenge that you
have been given
for with Him, you can do
All things.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday

What a truly Good Friday it was!  I'm kind of still processing the scriptures and events of the last few days. But I want to share with you the 'life' part of it.

Last night, we attended Holy Thursday Mass at my 'weekday' parish, and today, Good Friday again at that same parish.  It's a traditional Catholic Church setting/architecture, and is so beautiful.  We are so blessed in my diocese to have such amazing priests at so many parishes. I have rarely encountered one that wasn't wonderful.  But these two priests at this parish; Monsignor is elderly, but sharp as a razor. He just needs help with the steps. His heart must be made of gold. He reminds me so much of my paternal Grandpa, who was a huge influence on my spiritual life.  The other priest is younger (yet older than I am), but inspires me so much in his homilies and confession.  I also attended the Stations of the Cross, as well as praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet for the first day of the Novena, with the parish.  I also had a word with Monsignor afterwards, which is always a delight.  It was also delightful to see a hundred people waiting for confessions today, especially since this parish has them daily.

A few fun things happened today, as well.

After the service, I walked with my husband outside as he went back to work. While there, a gentleman was kind of lingering around the bottom of the 10 or so steps out front, looking around. No one spoke to him, until I called to him, asking if I could help him.  He slowly walked up the steps to me, and asked if there was a priest....well, 'grunted' would be closer to accurate.  I told him about confessions, but that the priests would be there all day.  He said that he went to confession 24/7.....but he was clearly wanted a Catholic priest. I said that Father XXXX and Monsignor XXXX would be glad to hear his confession. He recognized Monsignor's name, and said he'd talked to him before. I of course complimented Monsignor.  I then asked if I could help him with anything, and he said no.  He then kept saying he went to confession anytime, any place; I did not clarify it with him. It wasn't the time. We spoke for another moment or two, and he started to leave.  He continued speaking as he walked away, but I don't think he was unhappy with my response to him.  You see, this parish has many homeless people around, as well as a nearby 'entertainment' district, and is in the heart of the city.  This man had a mohawk with long hair (hard to explain), a leather vest, dark sunglasses, perhaps he was a biker, or had been...basically the opposite of everyone who had just walked out of the church.  My point is this: don't judge.  People are people. We all have the same basic needs.  This man enriched my life for having been in it just for a few minutes.  Please pray for him.  Let's call him Frank.

As I got in my car, I pondered how if your heart was open to God, He placed you in circumstances, wherever you are.  I still ask Him what He wants me to do, but I leave my heart open to Him and His Desires, for the Spirit to move me where He wants me.  

Shortly, I decided to take a somewhat different route home, just for a change of pace, for a few blocks.  I had decided to do this before I even made the two turns towards the intersection where my route would begin to differ.  For the first time ever, I saw a young man with a sign asking for money at that corner. I've been through that corner 50 times (or more) in the past year, and not once has there been someone asking for money. But this time, the time I would need to be in that left turn lane, a young man was there. Well, I'm listening, God!  I got a dollar out for him, and decided to do more. I wasn't going just to hand it to him; I knew I'd be at the light for a few minutes since I had missed the turn signal due to the traffic line, and would be there for a few minutes.  I asked his name (CJ), and his plans.  He told me he had a job waiting for him half a country away, but needed to get there.  I asked how I could pray for him; he was caught off guard, and happy to answer that he was needing to get a job and get to his job.  I then asked him to pray for me.  I don't know that I was there just to give him some monetary help, but perhaps the spiritual support he needed.  I knew I should have gotten some more rosaries yesterday, but I guess I wasn't listening very well!  Once again, though, people are people. They aren't just homeless or beggars or rough characters........

(PS: I also offered a man and woman a ride the other evening after I had eaten at a chain restaurant; they were walking out of the parking lot, but had been eating in the restaurant. My husband was glad that they declined when I told him this!  However, that's the first time in 10+ years I've offered strangers a ride, and do NOT recommend it 99.999% of the time.  But perhaps God just wanted me to ask.  Yes, God.)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Lenten reflection, as we finish Lent 2014

The end of Lent is approaching, and it's a good time to take a look at what I've done this Lent, right or wrong, good or bad, to honor the Lord and this season.

I gave up chocolate. I didn't think that through! I was thinking Reeses, M&Ms, that sort of thing....but did y'all know that there is chocolate in hot cocoa? ;) It didn't occur to ME until the 3rd sip.... And in EVERY DESSERT THAT IS MADE during Lent? ;)  I slipped one time, with a sip of hot cocoa on a freezing morning while out of town on business (I don't drink coffee often, but when I do it's with chocolate creamer. Guess what else I ended up giving up for Lent? Yep, coffee!).  I somehow managed to make it through Lent without once having meat on Friday.  That's a bit more difficult while on the road with limited choices in restaurants, but I made it.  Didn't hurt me to go a bit hungry.  This might be my first year without 'slipping' on the meat abstinence.  We went to a big pre-game party that included FREE burgers, brats and hot dogs on the local MLB team home was on a Friday.  Boy did that smell good!  I went again a few days later, and was able to have a dog at the game.  It didn't taste near as good as I was imagining it on the previous Friday.(Much like sins, don't you think?  They aren't near as rewarding as we think they will be, even for the moment.....)  (more after the break)----------------->

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Feeling still in the Lord

Thanks for sticking with me!  I haven't felt very literary, not even 'internet literary' lately. My thoughts have been contained mostly to a few words on a Facebook status or two. I've even been silent on my favorite Catholic forum.

I haven't been suffering from a dryness, but more quietness, stillness.  I've still had thoughts during my prayer and Faith life, but I haven't put them to paper.  Perhaps it's the Lenten season.

In the past year (14 months actually), I've had moments of being overwhelmed by all the Graces and Blessings I was receiving from God.  Other times, it's been more quiet.