Monday, January 28, 2013

Lift me up.

When a mother bears a baby, the first place of comfort the child experiences is its mothers arms. These arms that we have been given to hold infants, hug sad little ones, make meals with, and serve our families and neighbors are not mere appendages. Rather they are the physical sign of an even greater interior reality. The soul of the woman is made to embrace and bear burden and offer up gifts.

 I picture the mother with a child in her arms as a model for us in how to pray. First we accept life, then we take it in our arms and offer it to God. Sheltering, yearning for its welfare, and entrusting it to our common Father. So next time you go to pray, use your mothering arms to fill up with all those people who have entered your life, love them, and give them tenderly to God. We are not just mothers to our biological children, we are mothers of all souls. Our spiritual nature calls for us to live as such.

God bless you all...and those you raise up to God daily.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Thank you, Lois and Eunice.

Sincere: honest, pure, genuine, true

Faith: complete trust and loyalty to God

Dear Grandmothers and Mothers;
St. Paul's letter to Timothy (2Tim 1:1-8) shows the great gift you have been given in passing on the faith to your children and grandchildren. St. Paul wrote encouraging Timothy, " I recall your sincere faith that first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and that I am confident lives in your also." At first glance this verse does not seem like much. But it speaks volumes.

First, we know that these women had "sincere faith." They had no doubts. Second, they were essential in passing on the Gospel by their role as grandmother and mother. Third, they were instruments of grace in raising a Priest and Bishop. Whose faith and work influenced the Church.

We cannot take our role as grandmothers and mothers lightly. Whether or not we live our faith sincerely does have a huge impact on our children and the lives they lead when they are adults. We raise  God's children. We have the powerful role of raising priests, bishops, religious, and holy men and women. Our prayer lives matter vey much. Our devotion to the vocation of motherhood matters immensely. At the Eighth Station Jesus redirected the mothers to focus their attention on praying for  "yourselves and your children..." This encompasses many points, but the main one is to pray. Prayer is the school of faith. It is where God forms us and reaches those we give to Him. As mothers, Lois and Eunice certainly would have prayed often and regularly. They model for us to commit to doing the same.

So today I thank God for two mothers whose names were mentioned by the Holy Spirit in Scripture...Lois and Eunice. Thank you Lord for giving them the gift of a "sincere faith" which they passed on to Timothy and to the whole Church! Grant us Lord the same sincere faith so we too can spread the faith to our children. Amen.

A Mom

Friday, January 25, 2013

Knock, knock. Who's there?!

It was last night that a friend called when my mind was into business work. God's grace invited me to be polite and accept. This is never easy, but it was proof that gifts come in surprising interruptions from God. This friend offered to me light, holy conversation that encouraged me more than she realizes. Her growth in prayer and faith has been inspiring. I thank God for her and the kind words she gave me when I did not think I needed it. I say a big thanks to her for innocently breaking into my evening with such humble gifts. May God continue to give her grace.

For us all, however, I offer for us to think of all the times we have been focused on our plans and not taken a moment to submit to another's invitation to converse. I have often done this; most frequently with my children, but many times in conversation with adults by interrupting. The interruptions and unwillingness to give over control to another's requests for our time is a form of pride. We all have it. God wants to cleanse us all from it, too.

In today's Gospel, Paul''s life was interrupted in a great way by Jesus Himself. "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" The interruption we get may not be a blinding Light, but it may be a silent whisper or a little hand pulling the skirt, or an evening phone call; Or even the poor woman walking in the bad weather. God invites us constantly to enter His Way by submitting ours to the moments brought on by another's activity breaking into our lives. He is saying, "listen, I am near and I love you. I am present in these people and call you to focus your life on Me. Come, listen, enter into my rest."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"Heart on the Cross"

"Sell all that you have and give it to the poor, then come follow me"

Christ said these words to the man who asked what he needed to do to inherit eternal life. In my married state I wondered what more Christ means by this. I mean I cannot very well sell all our stuff! Although on cleaning day, it would be nice to have less to clean...anyway...

Lately I have been given a chance to go deep into myself and feel suffering that invites me to want to behave better. Recognizing our faults is painful, for sure, but it leads to good if we seek God in it and his healing. In these pains of contrition and awareness of our imperfection it is easy to feel downhearted, for who can ever change that or this flaw?! But in this agony, so to speak, we must run to Christ for forgiveness, for healing, and also to put it on the Cross. St. Jose Escriva says in his Stations of the Cross meditations that when we feel weakened and running out of strength to say, "Heart on the Cross! Heart on the Cross!"

Scripture says that all we own are our sins. So lets apply these words of St. Jose with the words of Christ to the man who desired eternal life: in the depths of suffering whether from sin or from another source, do not loose courage and stop running the race. Rather claim the pending triumph and say "Heart on the Cross!" Then give all you have, your sins, your enemies, your suffering...and nail it to the Cross with Christ....Sell all you have and give it up for the poor. Make your sufferings Redemptive with the Triumph of the Cross. If we do not give our sufferings to Christ on the Cross, we hang onto them and we are not equipped to bring good from them on our own. We need Him! We must give all to Him if we want to be healed and if we want souls to be healed. If we want to gain eternal life.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Focus the racing mind. On what?

Philippians 4:8 says:
Furthermore, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 6

I remember in my struggles to keep my mind from racing and going off on tangents with my battle with anxiety disorder, I was blessed to have been shown exactly what St. Paul writes to the Philippians. The way we all need to battle off continual negative thoughts is to catch ourselves and choose to think of holy things.   It is a battle worthy to be fought. A determined effort is needed to set before your mind and eyes and ears all that is good. Eventually God will shed pure joy on your mind and soul. For he will see you struggling to seek goodness in all situations by choosing to keep your eyes on that which is good. Be at peace in this endeavor, however, every step is one forward.

One of the greatest pieces of advice, I may have mentioned before is to sit in the presence of God and choose to ponder his attributes. Think of Him! He is our most purest and most gifted of thoughts that responds to grace to allow clarity to enter our lives. Our God is so good. Think of Him and all that is holy. He will take care of the rest.

May God be with you and in you always !

Friday, January 18, 2013

Let God

The other day I made a Shoe-fly Pie. It was a I liquid bottom, so while it cooked it ran over on the pan I placed under the rack. I let the burnt molasses on the pan soak for, well, three days! I did not want to face cleaning it. One day I did try to scrape it off, but to no success. So I soaked it again.
This morning I am trying to catch up on missed work, so I decided to tackle these burnt stains. It took  
an abrasive, and more scraping, and even then the stain left a dark ring in the areas. All the while I found myself using a prayer technique a dear friend taught me recently. "Lord, I know my sins take some abrasives to bring them to my conscience, and tough scraping to remove the caked-on build-up I have allowed to sit and ignore. But make me clean, and thank you for the abrasive corrections that you send with all love and mercy, for how else will I be prepared to love you completely for eternity?"  But as I came to the fact that these last stains will not come off, I said, "these you will remove." And it was reintroduced to me that without Christ's saving passion, no healing would come from our falls. And that we cannot heal and be made "squeaky" clean without him, no matter how hard we try.  But this is good news, because he multiplies our efforts and uses them to not only humble us, forgive us, strengthen us, lift us, and mend us, but also to bring to perfection in Him forever.

So, the lesson here is let God work. We can try to make virtue happen and make every effort to do right, but our efforts only go so far. And even our efforts depend on grace! Yes, we must work, but we also must Let Him Work. It is most humbling knowing we have done our best,  but it falls short and He is the one who wants to fit the pieces together..he just wants us to cooperate, not lead. To say with Mary, Thy Will Be Done, and I this faulty vessel. With God all things are possible!

God bless you all. You are "greatly loved!"

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why is it so complex to be simple?

Tomorrow begins Ordinary Time in the Church. It's a time for growing, a time for living the ordinary in an extraordinary way. (I forget who said that?) 

Without a doubt, it is in the little way of life where we meet God and live new lives in Him, but it means we must simplify. This is the great mystery...the mystery of simplicity. I offer that this is the struggle of us all, to eliminate complexity in and around us. But when we are striving after simplicity, we find God and therefore ourselves as He made us to be. In my life when things get complicated the best thing for me to do is draw all my attention to the fact that God is with me. Focusing on Him brings proper perspective in the midst of chaos...and the chaos ceases to be, even if events around me have not changed. 

So in this ordinary time, seek to find God through an adventure of simplicity. And I leave with this quote or prayer from St. Therese:

"Jesus, help me to simplify my life by learning what you want me to be- 
and becoming that person."

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Mary as Catechist

Here is an article I thought many of you would enjoy reading. Mary as Catechists for Parents
It speaks for itself.
Let us know what you think.

God bless you...Joy and many smiles to God!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Feed me, Will ya?

"The first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; 

secondly, to do it in the manner he wills it; 

and thirdly to do it because it is his will."

– St. Elizabeth Ann Seton 


I read recently that the great Saints have one thing in common, they focused on doing the will of God in each passing moment. They found Him in the present moment and therefore served Him there and found heaven on earth. In John 4:34, Jesus said to his disciples, "My food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish his work." The soul's food is to do God's will. It satisfies and refreshes and leads us to Him. I think this is why the Saints thrive on doing the will of God found in the present moment, for he is the One who satisfies.


Friday, January 4, 2013

Horse or mule? Or other?

I heard the other day a lady say that they bought stuff..."because that is what we are to do." This is the human example of being an animal. Not this lady, but our habits in general. Animals follow instinct, everything is habit, everything is learned. They do not decide for themselves. But humans are different. We can go with the habits learned with fallen nature, or we can use our free will and choose to live as God would have us do. One is a prison, the other is freedom.

All of us are prey to our natural passions and habits of mind, but we do not have to live by them. As we get to know Christ, we learn that because of him we have all the help we need; for he is the  Source for us to be able to receive his grace to conquer our passions and sinful habits. That is why He came! To save You! To save us from being less than human.  Yes, being truly human is found in Christ, not in our fallen nature. (That is for another day.)

Have you ever noticed it is much easier to obsess over things that are not of God then to do right? It 
takes a firm, determined act of the will to follow him one moment at a time. And to aim to let go of our passions. 
From Psalm 32:
"I will instruct you and teach you
The way you should go;
I will give you counsel
With my eye upon you.

Be not like horse and mule, unintelligent,
Needing bridle and bit,
Else they will not approach you."

God wants us free to choose to approach him. Prayer is how we approach God. He does not force us like we would an animal. He wants us to come to him and trust that he is leading us so we can come to him and follow him. It is in silent listening, silent waiting, silent abandonment in prayer and daily duty that we begin to find him and know him. We begin to know there is more to our dignity then what we allow ourselves to believe. We do not have to live doing what everyone else does, rather true living comes from knowing God and living His will. This is Freedom!

Pray for us all to be able to know Christ, and then have the grace to Live Christ.
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, pray for us women!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Birthday, St. Therese!

I do not know what it is, but the kids go back to school and I am like a caged bird set free! All the chores and tasks that were to be accomplished have only gotten started. Instead I find myself doing things that I do not NEED to do. However, it all has led me to recall that today is St. Therese's birthday. And I must acknowledge that before I go to try to do all my "little" things with great speed.

St. Therese has played a very pivotal role in my healing, in the raising of my girls, and in many local women's lives. So I give her thanks and ask her not to send real roses our way, but to drop rose petals of specific virtues to each one of us from Heaven! I thank God for her today and for all she does for so many souls.

She found the way to holiness to be simply the offering of every act purely for the love of God. She began to learn this early with her string of Sacrifice Beads. As a group of wonderful women around here have done, I pass on to you a link to see some nicely handmade ones. You can find them here. And lastly here is a link for directions to make them with your children or grandchildren, or for yourself.

St. Therese, pray for us!
Especially me who needs to get back to her little work!
God love ya!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Holy Mary, Mother of God

How blessed we are to have Mary as our Mother! Too often though we are unable to explain her role, or even understand the mysteries of the faith surrounding Our Blessed Mother and her Son. Her role, example and intercession is nothing to ignore. Her very "yes" to God ushered in our opportunities to say yes to God too. St. Louis de Montfort wrote wonderfully about how she is the best and surest way for us to go to Christ, not only in prayer, but also in our every action and thought.  By not being informed about what the Holy Spirit offers to us through her, we miss grace-filled opportunities of growth. Therefore I encourage you, to do three things this year to learn more and get closer to Christ through Mary:

First consider doing the online Course by Catechism Class on Mariology. It is only $15 and is entirely online, great for iPad use. A group of us have been studying their Prayer series and have enjoyed it so far. Very simple and informative. 

Second, I suggest you get the free consecration book for yourself. Read the beginning and commit to consecrate yourself to Jesus through Mary using this guide. In a nutshell it is a formal renewal of your Baptismal promises, and this time you take Mary as your mother. This guide is based upon St. Louis de Montfort's consecration preparation suggestions and is the reason why Pope John Paul II took the title, "Touts Tuus." All yours. There are videos on the website about consecration. Just click on resources on their webpage, and scroll to videos.

Thirdly, wear your brown scapular as a sign of your consecration, but also as a reminder that you want Our Blessed Mother's constant protection and her to clothe you with virtue. We are not without a great helper in our struggles. Mary is always at the foot of the cross. she is always with her children. Accept her from your heart and soul as your Mother. Ask her for constant help. There is no surer way to grow closer to Christ.

Mary, Mother of God, pray for us,
 that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.