Thursday, November 29, 2012

Through the Womb

Every day He humbles Himself just as He did when from His heavenly throne into the Virgin's womb; every day He comes to us and lets us see Him in lowliness, when He descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar.   

 – St. Francis of Assisi

 

When a newly conceived baby finds itself in the womb of its mother, it is nourished and protected and guided into growth and maturity. The baby's soul is even fed nourishment, if the mother receives Holy Communion and prays regularly. The two souls are wonderfully unique through a one-of-a-kind unity for nine months. This is the closest example I can imagine to explain the necessity for each of us to grow in spiritual maturity through Mary. 

In the repeat of yesterday's quote, above, St. Francis says, "Every day He humbles Himself just as He did when from His heavenly throne into the Virgin's womb..." This points us to how we each must offer ourselves to God. Through the Heart of Mary. She is the womb which bears God's children. Joining in her life and prayers unites us with the whole Church and therefore with Christ. It is the perfection of the Communion of Saints; In her-In Christ together we are all given to the Father. Mary's very being nourishes us with God's grace, protects us with prayer, and guides our growth by pointing us to the Sacraments of her Son's Church. 

Two suggestions: First, next time you go to ask Marys for prayers, ask your guardian angel to visit her throne in heaven and lay you and your petitions at her feet. Then, kneel and tell her your heart. She is constantly waiting to intercede for us. By the way, I think our Guardian Angels love this little mission to visit her. 

Second, read this article. You will like it. Growing in Total Consecration 

"O Mary conceived without sin, Pray for us who have recourse to thee."  
Amen.

God bless! 

 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

It's All in the Hands of the Priest

Every day He humbles Himself just as He did when from His heavenly throne into the Virgin's womb; every day He comes to us and lets us see Him in lowliness, when He descends from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar.   

 – St. Francis of Assisi

We all want to belong to someone, huh? St. Francis of Assist gave up his whole life to serve God and His poor. He along with many saints lived lives reflective of the Gospels. We are called to do this too. To be radical followers of Christ. What does that mean? It means to entirely belong to Him.

How? It is God's work. But using our free will we try to cooperate with His work and change our lives to reflect Christ's life. We need to get to know Him through learning and prayer and participation in the Sacraments. But one specific decision we can make is following His example by uniting ourselves with Him at every Mass. This is what I suggest:

Look at the above quote. "Every day (Jesus) humbles Himself...from the bosom of the Father into the hands of the priest at the altar." We need to do this too. What do you mean? I mean this. When the offertory comes at Mass, humbly make a movement of heart and will and ask your Guardian Angel to place you in the hands of the priest at the altar. Visualize yourself being offered as a thanksgiving sacrifice to God, body, blood, soul; to be transformed "through, with and in" Christ for the salvation of your soul, for the whole Church, and for many souls. This is what if means to be One Body...to be united to His, and the Mass is the connection, the Gate, to be His. All other devotions and prayers should point us here and stem form here. Our one purpose is to be transformed so we may be One Body in Christ and be a servant of the Servant.

This is why St. Paul could say, "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." He gave himself entirely up to God's Will. "My daily food is doing the will of God." (I forget who said that.) I guarantee with my whole life that there is no greater joy then to be in Christ. No better friend, no better time spent, no greater joy. All worries pass and confidence that He is real as the breath I take. Today, I live so I can tell you that. Let the hands of the priest lift you higher! Let him give you to God with His only Begotten Son.

"My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love you.
I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and 
do not love you." - Angel's Prayer from Fatima


God bless you!


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Come...

Do you realize that Jesus is there in the tabernacle expressly for you, for you alone? He burns with the desire to come into your heart.

– St. Therese of Lisieux

Saturday, November 24, 2012

"It's ALL Good!"

"Turn to me and be safe, all you ends of the earth, for I am God; 

there is no other."  

Isaish 45:


Some days are just very hard to get through. But remember to remind yourself that we are not alone. Sometimes I think God allows us to feel like there is no where else to turn so we turn to Him. This is a good and holy reaction to our good and tough days: to turn to Him for refreshment and strength. Visit Him often, admitting your need for His unfailing help. He will help, but you may not see it for a while. But He ALWAYS helps those who turn to Him and keeps everything in being.

Have confidence in Him for we are taught by the Holy Spirit that GOD is infinitely

All-Good
All-Knowing
All-Loving
All-Present
Almighty
All-Wise
All-Holy
 All-Merciful
All-Just

Therefore encourage one another to seek Him and live holy lives for yourselves, for our families, and for the world. One way we can grow in faith is reciting the Creed daily as part of our prayers; recite it slowly and allow it to become part of your heart and soul.

I praise God this day for mothers who want to get closer to Him!! 
Did you know that is actually Him calling you? We only need to respond.
God bless you all! 


  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Shh...He stirs" part 2

"Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the Lord! For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling."
Zechariah 2:17

We continue this two part series on this very busy Thanksgiving day. The family and food abound and our feet will be tired by noon, but we press on. Martha from the scriptures is surely active in each of us. But still on these hectic days of service, God still calls our attention to the verse above. We are invited  to make time to "sit at His feet and listen to Him" with Martha's sister, Mary. You say, it isn't possible! "Nothing is impossible with God." Just ask Him to let you know the right time, and then follow Him into a quiet spot. God is the God of all time, he knows what works into our schedule better than we do!
 
American Catholic Women are addicted to doing too much. We do not need to be in everything in order to be a good mom. To be good moms we must first slow down and seek God's presence. If we do not, not only will we suffer with anxiety on every level, but our children will not learn how to relax and find God either. It is essential that we be "silent". 
Here are some practical hints that may assist in cutting back on unnecessary activity:

God is God and you are not
 A mother's prayer for her children, the Church and the world is irreplaceable
cut out TV=additional time=prayer opportunities

Family First before Others, Always
Ever ask what can I do for God? Well, remember the first ones to serve are under your roof.
Eliminate all the needless running around, and you and your family will find peace
Don't volunteer for something if you are doing it because your feel guilty. 
It takes knowledge of self and personal abilities to say NO 

You need to care for yourself
Give your mind and body what it needs, nothing more, nothing less
If we expect too much from ourselves, we will expect too much from others
If we know we have limits, we will respect the limits of others 
 

"Shh....He stirs" part one

"Silence, all mankind, in the presence of the Lord! For he stirs forth from his holy dwelling."
Zechariah 2:17

Now reread the above verse. This time say it with a confident, force. I picture the hand firmly raised high and with the palm aimed to the people as a sign to stop and be still. 

This verse is the last verse in November 21st's  Old Testament reading. Zechariah, the prophet,  is telling Jerusalem to "Sing and rejoice!" because the Lord has said he is coming to dwell among you. Remember, when we read Sacred Scripture God's Word is deeper then the ink on the page. Scripture has a timeless and a multidimensional character that no human word can mimic. The Word is truly living for all ages and all people. Therefore this verse pertains to the people Zechariah spoke to, and to the time of Christ, and to the early Christians, and to the people of today. But it also speaks on the personal level, it speaks right to the individual soul.

To your soul it says, "Silence, dearest soul, in the presence of the Lord! For He stirs forth from His holy dwelling which is deep within you." 

The Lord is not way up in the sky, or far away. Not even in the worst of your days is he distant. Rather, He dwells right with you. He is with you in all your daily duty, and all your ins and outs. He announces that he is stirring and wishes you to be silent and still, to watch and wait for His movement within you. Therefore, make every effort to set specific prayer time with a period of silence to give your attention to Him alone. Start daily with five minutes of silence thinking only of His qualities and let him lengthen the time as he sees fit. This message is especially essential as we approach the holidays. There is no greater holiday than one that has been prepared WITH God. No greater day than one spent first with Him.

I offer these additional suggestions, in order of importance:
 
God is God and you are not
"Be still" and "let go" God loves you much, and waits for you to visit daily
Christ is available at Mass daily, come 
Go to confession at least monthly

Family First before Others, Always
Serve them with mercy and do daily duty well
All with love of God, for duty is a gift in disguise
Daily duty is our way to holiness and a tool needed for clarity of mind and growth in prayer

You need to care for yourself
This is how we learn how to love others as we love ourselves



Sunday, November 18, 2012

Do we rely on our own strength?

Humility is the safeguard of chastity. In the matter of purity, 
there is no greater danger than not fearing danger. 
When a person puts himself in an occasion of sin, 
saying, "I shall not fall," it is almost an infallible sign that he will fall, 
and with great injury to his soul. 
We must specifically and regularly pray for God's assistance 
and not rely on our own strength.
– St. Phillip Neri
I want to thank those moms who persist in encouraging chastity education in your homes and communities. But let us not forget what St. Phillip Neri refers above speaks to us as well. In order to pass on purity to our children and model it for other women, we MUST first practice it ourselves.  Have I contributed to impure jokes? Have I entertained images, TV, magazines, thoughts? How do I dress? Do I take care to dress modestly, not drawing the wrong attention? Do I communicate modesty to my children?
In our American culture we have been desensitized to unchaste fashions. I encourage all of us to look again at our wardrobes and ask ourselves what is cut too low, what is too tight, what may entice other men other than my husband. 
I read recently a quote from a teen boy speaking to teen girls. He told them that the way they dress will attack that type of guy. I have told my kids that sadly we are walking ads. What we wear, what we say, where we go all sends messages to those who see us. 
Just something to think about and adjust where needed. 
Check out these links:

Men's thoughts on the matter 
Modest Fashion Sense 
Cover up 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Take a peek

Just a technical note. I have added some links to sights and blogs that I think will cover many interests and needs as Catholic women. Women of Grace is fantastic. As I am developing this blog and learning to write better, I am realizing it is important that we need to seriously talk about and learn and then live our faith much more fully. We need to keep communication open between us all to give support to one another.  And with Jesus and Mary we will.

God bless you all!

 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What diamond cut are you?

As my husband and I dated longer, it was evident to both of us that engagement was soon approaching. We both desired marriage, so why not? Poor as we were in college, walking around the local malls was our "date out." We slowly began to meander into the jewelry stores and "look around." He would ask things like 'what do you like?' Now I never was attracted to large gems, I always like the petite styles, but I still did not hesitate in pointing those out. That is what God asks each of us, "what do you like?" Or more directly, what do you want to BE like?

See, God has given each of us a diamond which He enlightened Saint Teresa of Avila to write about. In her book, The Interior Castle, she explains it something like this: Consider, she tells us, that "our soul is to be like a castle made entirely out of a diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms,"...the outer wall of the castle is our bodies. The rooms of this castle are multi-layered and pivoted around the center room where God dwells. The brilliance of the castle comes from the Light found in its center, which is God. She than tells us that, "the soul of the just person is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says He finds His delight." A soul not in the state of grace has a dark covering over the place where God dwells. The sadness God must feel when He knows the capabilities of the soul to be a paradise and it not even being able to see His Light.

A paradise!? Yes, God finds and wants to find His delight in YOU! We must each let Him dwell brightly in us. Just imagine the joy in God when we allow His ways to fashion our souls into a diamond castle! (Not Barbie's Diamond Castle- for those with little girls at home), but the Castle of your soul! If there is any reason to dig dipper into the faith this is it! If there is any reason to avoid sin this is it! If there is any reason to 'cling for our lives' to the Catholic Faith, this is it! For only in her do we find the support and refreshment the soul needs to become this glorious castle. Therefore, do not limit yourselves to considering only the needs of your body and following only human desire. Consider first the needs of your soul: persevere in prayer, frequent the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, and set out to do your daily duty with great love. And please tell your children and close friends about the 'Diamond' they possess that was given to them by Our God.

Monday, November 12, 2012

It is a "do" thing.

Last week, a kind neighbor shared her distress over the past election. The question raised is why if so many people prayed very hard for things to go differently, why the result? Before I go further, remember that nothing happens if it is not for our own good and for the good of others. The book of Hebrews, I think chapter 12 or 13, explains the need for those God loves to be chastened and how it is good (even though it does not feel good at all!) 

One answer to my neighbors question came the other evening while I watched a documentary on Joan of Arc. It was good. But one line in it answered my neighbor's question. Here was the situation: Joan was poised praying and in answer to why such awful plight of the French in the hands of the English she said in a nut shell that 'God wants to be France's Savior.'  He wants to be our Savior! Not one president. He wants us to trust Him, and Him alone!
But in order for this to become real, we must react. How you may ask? By living a life of determined acts of virtue and prayer no matter the type of day you are having. Jesus and Mary are our models for this.


However, if in suffering we turn away from God, we will become more lost. But if we turn to Him in the midst of suffering, we may not have immediate answers, but we are exercising faith. God sees that and promises to grant blessings to those who trust in Him. Despairing of God's love is a dark place to be; but it is place we must not allow ourselves to travel to. It is dark and cold and lonely, but if by chance you find yourself steeped in doubt, count yourself blessed! Blessed!? Yup, for you are being invited to grow in faith and love. The one thing you must do is humble yourself and get on your knees and pray like never before. Tell God your sorrows and beg Him with Mary's help for an increase of faith. Then react. Rise and go about living faith as if you had access to all the faith possible, because you do.  God gives us grace sufficient for every good action we choose to do. It is not a "feel" thing, it is a "do" thing.  When enough of us "Do" acts of faith (this includes much silent time at prayer), God will bless us.

 
I know we do not have to look far in each of our lives to see some level of suffering. Practice acts of trust in God in those situations by abandoning yourself to God's permitting will. Remind yourself you do not need to know all the answers. I have had in-depth experiences in this matter and I assure you in whatever suffering you are enduring, when you seek God routinely in the midst of it, He will comfort you and heal you according to what is good and necessary. So too with our country. If we turn as individuals and communities to God, He will bless us. If we do not? I do not know that answer, but I do know that if I allowed myself to succumb to the heavy burdens I lived under, I would not be able to even write this blog today. We can never give up hope, we cannot despair. We must trust because God is real, God is love, God is our King.

"Where are You?"

I do not know about you, but when boys entered the picture in my life things began to get really confusing! One such night was when I was coming home from a boyfriends house, I was in great distress. I do not remember the issue, but it was serious to me then. I was a Lutheran then and I wanted answers from God. We never learned to make visits to church to pray to God, but I thought I would try. I was near home and was not running late, so I decided to drive to my church and find God. I think you can say I was ambitious? I knew it would be locked, but I thought I would try the door anyway and hope that someone forgot to lock it. For wasn't God in there? Anyway, the door was locked. Saddened, I decided to park in the parking lot and pray there. So there I secretly sat in my grey Chevette gazing over the front dash at the starlit sky. My whole being asked, "Where are You!?"  After sitting a little while, I felt relief from my confusion and returned home, but the question lingered, unbeknownst to me, in God's heart. 

I only recalled that night in my recent adult years when I realized that God has been answering that question for me throughout my life. He heard my prayer then and hears my prayers now. His heart is open to us wherever we are at in life.  So I say to you, never doubt that God hears your prayers. He hears every prayer and He answers every one of them in His way, and in His own time, for our greater good. I only ask that you pray more and more from the heart with your whole being. Sit and BE with Him. Seek Him. 

It will be another blog to talk more about where He is, but in the meantime, do not pass a Catholic Church without acknowledging His Presence within. A dear friend of mine, makes the sign of the cross upon passing by. Also, try planning your day's errands by including a visit to Him in the Blessed Sacrament first. Maybe you will spend less money that day while shopping?! Either way, you will leave more at peace.
 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Eighth Station

The idea for this blog had been brewing for years after a dear friend suggested it to me. But who would want to read what I have to say? No one for sure, but the notion has not left my mind.  

Yesterday while praying the Stations of the Cross at our local Church, I glanced toward the VIII Station, the name took on greater meaning for our times. Taking a look back, earlier this week our country elected its next president.  Almost half of our country's population was greatly grieved over the outcome. It is clearly a sign that great trials are upon us. What they are does not matter, but in the midst of the events of this week, visiting the VIII Station spoke loud and clear. For in a moment's meditation Christ laden with the Cross took a moment, it seemed to me, to give again a mission to women: 'do not focus on the sufferings of the age, rather turn to God in prayer and serve your families to transform this generation. Do not be overcome with doubt and grief, for in Me all will be well.' 

That is the Mission of this blog, to encourage you at all times, but especially in this increasingly difficult time, to get closer to God and lead your families ever closer to Him as well. Trust in God. He is with us.