Saturday, December 19, 2015

St. Don Bosco, a role model for mothers and all souls

By God's grace I was able to find and purchase an old book called "Don Bosco: A Spiritual Portrait" by Edna Beyer Phelan. Her approach to giving the reader a thorough understanding of Don Bosco's life, spirituality, and ways is surperb. I highly recommend the book to anyone who loves children and wants to be holy, to all teachers, especially.

But as a mother, a homeschooling parent, and a catechism teacher this book has been marvelous. It awakens in me an awarness of my role to model virtue and instruct in truth always. To strive to be conscious of my words so they are encouraging, yet honest. But also, that it is important not only to my soul, but to the souls I interact with, that I seek to be pure and holy. None of this is possible without the Blessed Mother's unique examle and help, as Mother, Teaching Parent, and Catechist of all God's children. When she shares her gifts with her children, the impossible happens. Don Bosco proved this repeatedly in his life.

From the early years of his life the Blessed Mother gave guidance in the extraordinary degree. She not only pointed out his mission, but more amazingly....he followed with singular purpose to carry out God's will which she had shown him. Huge undertakings were achieved through his faith: children converted, Churches built, a school for boys accomplished, a new order for educating, and extended missionary work. Countless miracles occurred, not because he was great, but because he allowed God and Mary to work in his life. He set himself aside completely for God's will to be done for his and for others' sanctification. So it is not a surprise that Don Bosco taught, "This is the will of God, your sanctification." And, "It is God's will that we should be saints; it is quit easy to become a saint...Do your duty joyously." 

Don Bosco joyously lived what he taught and God shined countless graces out of Don Bosco for all to see and seek for themselves. The qualities that stood out to me were his desire to please God unselfishly in joy and suffering;  his prayerfulness in work, in play, and trials; his love of the Church from the Pope to priests to the Sacraments; his teaching others to love the Church as well; his love of Mary, Help of Christians, and his advice to talk about her daily to show gratitude for her help and to encourage others to have devotion to her; his dedication to duty even in trials and sickness; his complete trust in God; his self awareness of the impact of personal actions and beliefs on others; and his sorrow of sin with the awareness of the importance to avoid sin, especially impurity. All this, and more, calls me to climb the ladder to God in motherhood. What else did he do, but mother all those boys!? And I have been given only just a few children to raise and instruct, so it is all the mor essential to do well. What more important task is there than to be holy and hand on holiness in truth to the young in our care?

I thank the author of this book. For her spiritual life was well formed in order to communicate such a rich life as that of St. Don Bosco. I thank Don Bosco for his example and influence on so many souls, even to this day. I thank Mary, Help of Christians, for her complete sharing of all God's gifts with those who aak her. And above all I thank God for "all He has done for us." 

Please, Lord, do not let this little one go astray; nor the little ones in her care. Bring us closer to you. Amen. 

What Saints have been a model for your motherhood? 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Mediatrix of All Grace

"Please, Lord, you have given me so many graces...please give them to my son so he can do so much more with them." Could Mary have had a similar prayer?  

We all want our children to be better versions of us. We can see it in their talents and manners, but what about in grace? A mother wants to be able to share all the riches God gave her with her children. She wants them to do better. Spiritually, a mom does not want the good God has given her to be fruitless causing His graces to end with her. Rather she desires His graces to continue through her children, for God's glory and their benefit. She wants her children to be given more graces then she had receieved so they may do better things in this life than she. But that is a sinful mom's desire. How much more perfect was Our Blessed Mother's?

Mother Mary must have desired to share all God gave her so deeply that He granted her desire and made her the channel of all His grace. Since she is "full of grace," sharing God's infinite grace is her pleasure and privilege. Maybe she prayed, "That they all have Your grace." Her love of Him must have been so deep and penetrating that she wanted all God's children to share in it. Not only did God give her this honor, but He founded the Church which contains is the signs of grace so more "children" may receive His Grace and continually increase in it.

Thank you, Mary, for the prayer you did pray for all of us. Continue to pray that we do not squander God's grace, but that each of us treasures it and shares it. Amen.

Thank you, Lord, for Holy Mother Church and all the moments of grace she so kindly protects and sheds upon Your children. Amen.

Monday, October 19, 2015

humble thanks

I presume most parents at one point realize that the children they have been given by God are ....well, so much better than they deserve to have. Tonight is such a night for me. I am moved to countless tears in realizing the children I have are beyond what I could have ever worked to raise. 

So, I write this post to express gratitude to God for His mercy on my husband and I in giving such beautiful, humble gifts and graces to our children. He looked beyond our failings and gave them blessings without measure. May we be holy servants of such children; and may they always in turn serve You, Our Creator, realizing one day Your Love and Goodness to them.


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Shedding Light on Greater Truths

"Yet no sinner should ever despair of God's mercy as long as he lives. For there is  hardly a tree so thorny and knotted that men cannot make smooth and beautiful. So likewise there is no sinner in this world so bad that God cannot adorn him in many ways with grace and virtue."
-from The Little Flowers of St. Francis, Part 5: Sayings of Brother Giles
the book is by Raphael Brown; copy-write 1962

See how this quote uses the truth revealed in nature to speak in a way so we can understand God's immense power and generosity? I hope there will not come a day when these types of living analogies will be incomprehensible to the young. They will forget, or never know, if we do not teach them.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Are you Jacob or Esau?

Yesterdays Old Testament reading was about how Rebekha dressed Jacob in Esau's clothing: she added goat skin to Jacob's neck and hands to mimic Esau's hairiness, and then she helped prepare a special meal for Isaac on behalf of Jacob. See, Isaac wanted to give Esau his blessing and this blessing was very important, for it carried on God's blessing which began which his father, Abraham, had given him. Isaac was eager to give this blessing before he died, so he asked Esau to go hunt some wild game and prepare him a meal with it so he can give him his blessing. Rebekha knew of this plan and was convinced that Jacob was the one God wanted his blessing to lay upon, so she took matters in her own hands.

Many times if we look at this single section of the story, we think Jacob and his mother were going against God: lying, cheating, stealing. However, we cannot forget another important event. At an earlier time, Esau was so hungry from his work, he desired the food which Jacob had with him. Asking for it, Jacob told Esau he may have it in exchange for His birthright. Ravished with hunger, Esau sold his birthright of the first born, which assumed with it Isaac's blessing, to Jacob for the food. So you see, Jacob and Rebekha were actually acting out of justice when she disguised him as Esau. Since Esau had treated his birthright blessing as unimportant by selling it for mere pleasure, and was now about to steal it back, Rebekha took the initiative to make sure Jacob got what was due to him.

Since the Old Testament always points to the New, what can we learn?  Lets look back first with Adam and Eve. They sold their birthright for the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. They had been protected by living in God's grace but now had been stripped of it, and left to the world. But God gave a promise of the future crushing of the evil that entered humanity through them.

In this part of scripture we see many coverings being undone. The serpant hid itself as good, then revealed as truly evil, Adam and Eve were covered with Grace, but then that was removed since they exchanged it for lesser desires. Then God comes and covers them properly with animal skins, showing them how to cover themselves with chastity. Then He tells them of the Woman who will be covered with Virginity (perfectly chaste, full of grace) that will crush the head of the serpant by means of Her Son. Then they are told of the labors they must endure meanwhile.

Jumping foward, we enter the New Testament. In Luke, we see how Mary clothed with Grace, accepts the Motherhood of God's Son and accepts giving Him his humanity. But what does this have to do with Rebekha and Jacob? Well, let me see if I can summarize what St. Louis de Montfort teaches us sbout this: First, Gabriel came to announce to Mary that she was going to be the Mother of God's Son; she believed. The Incarnation occurred when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her and she conceived of the Holy Spirit. In this she gave the full, graced humanity to God the Son. He was disguised to sinful man, but not to those who believed. Like Jacob, but better, He became took on full humanity to obtain God's blessing on behalf of all humanity. What was once uncovered and traded in for sin and pleasure was now "recovered" by faith and sacrifice by Jesus through Mary, which was foreshadowed in Jacob through Rebekha.

So what does this teach us? It teaches us to ask Mary to cloth us with God's grace and for us to live lives covering ourselves with the Life of Christ. 

The Holy Spirit teaches us that we are One Body in Christ. If we are One Body, then we too should be "re-covered" with all His truly human qualities.....we need to "live and breathe and have our being" in Him. Let me explain one more way, when Jesus took upon Himself the suffering and death of the cross, He allowed Himself to be covered with all sin, humiliation, pain, suffering, and disgrace. Then He revealed His true Nature...that of God, by rising from the dead. See, by taking on our flesh and being covered in our sin, He decieved the devil and took back what is rightfully ours....Eternal Blessing in Life with God...a life of Grace. 

Therefore, I do not see Rebekha as stealing the blessing for Jacob, rather I see her preparing the means for her son, Jacob, to recover the blessing he was promised beforehand so it was not taken away and squandered. She acted to preserve the blessing. Mary did the same thing, but with true humility and grace, she prepared a place and means for her Son to recover the blessing God had promised beforehand to all humanity. It was time to give what was promised, and Jesus and Mary accepted and carried out God's Will in order to do so for us all then, and cntinues to do for us all now.

Hence, I end with a reminder that we are like Esau, wanting God's blessing when we have already exchanged it for lesser pleasures. We want without the work, however I also desire to motivate you, and myself, to live like Jacob, allowing our Mother, Mary and the Church to "re-cover" us with grace, virute, and blessing. Because of Christ's work of redemption, we have the Sacraments for exchanging sin with Grace, our life for His. We have centuries of holy instruction on how to do good by being obedient after Christ's example. We can now confidently avoid evil knowing that when we fight the temptation to trade what God says is holy (you) for lesser pleasures, we are choosing the better Way of life. We need to spend the rest of our lives practicing these things while learning who Jesus really is through Scripture and studying how the saints have lived their lives after the example of Christ. And doing so will be much more efficient and effective if we do it under the prayers, guidance and help of Mary, the Mother of God.  All this will aid us in "re-covering" our lives with Christ, becoming "other Christ's" in the world, which is only possible through Mary and His Church.

God bless you and mine. Amen.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Call to Families: Raise your Kids Clinging to the Teachings of Christ

The following was posted by Courageous about the resent Supreme Court ruling on marriage. I wanted to share some of it becuase of Archbishop Chaput's statement on what we must now do, even more so than family and one marriage at a time. God have mercy on us and bless our children, and help us have the courage to live the faith entirely, always.

"Following the Supreme Court’s ruling Friday that declared so-called same-sex “marriage” a constitutional right, multiple bishops have since voiced their opinions. While many have been forthright in their condemnation of the Supreme Court’s defenseless ruling, some have offered highly ambiguous statements, painting a strange moral equivalency between the faithful and faithless.

Immediately after the ruling, the USCCB issued its strongest statement yet, calling it a “tragic error that harms the common good and most vulnerable among us.” They also exclaimed that the definition of marriage will never change, regardless of what nine elected justices on the Supreme Court tell us.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia offered no concessions, saying that “the mistakes of the Court change nothing about the nature of men and women, and the truth of God’s Word. The task now for believers is to form our own families even more deeply in the love of God, and to rebuild a healthy marriage culture, one marriage at a time, from the debris of today’s decision.”

Monday, June 29, 2015


Our dear priest reminded us in his homily yesterday that everyone has some affliction, some concern, some suffering of one sort or another. And Jesus says to each of us, "Do not be afraid, just have faith." 

From one day to the next we each have a cross to carry. The one concern of mine that continued to come to my mind was my son. For those that know me, my son is all good things, almost. But moms still desire things for their children that are deeper. And we try to do much to get them to seek the deeper life with Christ. We want them to live for God and follow Him, no matter what. But how far do we carry our motherly role? When do they walk the road themselves? Do any of us?

I wish I had the answer. But answers usually do not come until after you lived through the situation, and since I am in it now, I can only share what I have only reflected. And once again it happens on the Way of the Cross: At the eighth station.

Approaching the eighth station, look at where you have been. With Christ you have tried to pick up your cross and dropped it; you have been misunderstood and wrongly understood; you've fallen yet rose again; you choose to stick by your children and have been encouraged by trusted friends; you have helped carry burdens, added budrens, and your burdens have been lightened by others; you tried to forgive and clean off the weary; you have gotten tripped up again, only to stand up stronger. Then one day you realize that all the while you have been carrying your cross, needing healing, and seeking to do right, your children have been at your side. They have learned from it all, whether they realize it or not. Now together you are face to face with Christ. Placing them before Christ, you beg for His blessing on them...that they will choose to follow Him, not as you do or did, but better, more lovingly, more prayerfully, more trustingly.  And then, silent waiting. You watch and wait to see what they do, and what you will do.

Then you realize, this is the station you leave them. If they are to go further, they need to choose Christ's Way on their own. And you? Questions arise: Is this what is meant by "do not be afraid. Just have faith"?  But did I do enough? Did I do too much wrong? Did I miss anything?  You need to go on and follow your set path marked by Him, if you still choose to. As you prepare your decision, you glance back again, "Did they learn what they needed to?" You now glance forward and see that what you must finish is for them, too. You will always pray for them, always stick by them, always try to comfort and guide them, but life has brought in a crossroad and your longing for Christ leads you on. You never can stop loving them, nor should you. Your role is just changing, as it should. And you repeat to them the blessed priests words of today, "To seek God is life's greatest adventure; To find Him, life's greatest achievement." May each of us live such lives.

Dear God, may I always be a witness to my children to seek and love You above all things. May you guide us so we are open to follow you and find you along the Way together. Spending eternity in union with You. Amen.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Keep Persevering

At the Eighth Station the women are given their mission. It requires of them to persevere in adversity and continue to seek Christ in their lives. In doing so we shepherd our children toward Him. But what if we try and we seem to be getting no where? No closer to Him?

Well, one piece of advice I read this morning in a book I am slowly reading. It is called The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli. It is published by TAN boks. The author points out on page 12 for us to remember that Jesus does not stop searching for the lost sheep. This is the sheep that does not seek Him, yet Christ will not give up on it. The author points out how desirous Christ is to "communicate Himself to us and heap continual blessings on us."  Therefore, those of us already searching for Him and already opening the door to Him, would not Christ "finding the door open, and hearing us beg to be honored by His presence," do anything but grant us our request!?" 

So, let us persevere in seeking Christ in all the aspects of our lives; for He is already seeking us and desires to shower continual blessings on each of us. He will not ignre those who seek Him. Do not dispair. You are His treasure. Seek Him and trust He is with you already.

God bless your Lent.