Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Keep A Candle Lit for the Baby Jesus


Lately our readings have been on the travels of Joseph and Mary. One reading pointed out that Mary didn't have to go to Bethlehem, but Joseph did. Mary could have stayed in the comfort of home and family, but she didn't. This made me see again how Mary followed the will of God our Father. She ventured from what was familiar, safe and comfortable to bring Jesus to the world. She showed us there is no place Our Lord will not go to reach us!


The prayer on my mind lately has been for those far away from home this Christmas Season, and for those missing loved ones too. I received a letter from an old friend, and she had the following on her Christmas Letter: Please pray this season for the "military overseas/home and their families." Specifically for those families who will have a member missing from the table because their life was given for their country. A beautiful prayer and touching also because this friend lost her elderly mother recently. Here she is asking me to remember others rather than focusing on her loss.


One thing we can count on is change, but we can also count on Jesus to remain. Mary showed us no matter what the circumstances, no matter the uncharted territory we venture into, Jesus is there. He is never far away, and His heart is the home we can all share.


Keep a candle lit for the baby Jesus. Let us keep a soft place in our heart for Him to lay His head. Let us view the world through eyes first beholding a Savior's star, and let us grasp that wonder this Christmas Season! Amen

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Mind of Christ ~ Fowlerisms


Many posts ago, I wrote about a man from church who gives me notes for reflection. We decided we may try to post, every Friday, his thoughts, and we're thinking we'll title those posts, Friday Fowlerisms. Obviously I am posting early because Friday is Christmas! Below is the first post from my friend and brother in Christ, Mr. Fowler. I hope it will be a good reflection for you.

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The first letter is "M" in the Mind of Christ ~ Motivation
~ Motivation is an inside out job not an outside in
~ Stress is created from the outside in

The important part of motivation is the seed which is planted in the heart. The seed that produces the fruit of the Holy Spirit will bring forth love and service to God and others. The seed of self produces the fruit of love of self (EGO ~ Edging God Out) and service to one's personal interest.

The bottom line is that the "M" in the Mind of Christ was his motivation to do the will of God our Father through His love and service for us.

Are we willing to follow Christ in our motivation today?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Rejoicing ~ Advent


I haven't been blogging, because limited time has been a factor. My Mom and I have been running all over the place. Even though that sounds like the same old Christmas rush, this year I'm not letting my schedule dictate Advent. Does that make sense? Usually I worry "ahead" of time. I think, "Oh I have this coming up, and then that." This year, I'm taking each day as it comes. It's a calm Advent. It is an enjoyable preparation for Jesus. Next year, I hope to take lessons from this year and move closer to what is really important in this most Holy Season.


You are all in my prayers!


God our Father, you never force your way into our lives. You send your Son, a tiny child, to gently nudge our hearts. This Advent and Christmas Season we ask your Holy Spirit to warm our souls with your unfailing love. Amen

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Approaching Our Cross in Thanksgiving


This morning at Mass, I was thinking of days of old. My 86 year old dad was sitting to my left, and my husband was sitting to my right. I snuggled next to my husband and looked over at my dad. It made my heart hurt. When I was small, I snuggled next to him during Mass. I am thankful, more than you can know, to have my dad still with me. But this morning I realized times change. When we're young we think things will be the same forever, and as we age we know it is not so. Sometimes though I think I'm in denial. I always look for my parents to be here, even though I see a hand trembling or eyesight failing. My heart wants to burst at the thought of losing them. Our Lord knows what a baby He has in me. :)

On the way back from receiving communion, I happened to glance at one of the Stations of the Cross. It was one of the times where Jesus fell. The cross was on his back, and the cross caught my eye. How thankful I am to Jesus for saving us. How thankful I am to Him for letting me know I don't carry my cross alone. How thankful I am to know when things change, no matter how heavy that cross is, He will be there to help me. When I stumble and feel I can no longer make a step, He will be beside me to lift me up. He is with us always, and for that alone we can be thankful.

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Lord when painful times seem too much to take, keep us close in love and safe. Amen

Thursday, November 19, 2009

No Place Like Home

Today I returned from an overnight trip. I did enjoy it, but it will be nice to be back in my own bed tonight. There is no place like home, whether it is your home, your parent's, friend's home or even your hometown. It makes me think of what heaven must be like. It must be home. It must be that place where you wonder why you had to stay away for so long. It must be that place where we nestle into the Sacred Heart of Our Lord and rest in blissful wonder. This Thanksgiving I want to remember to thank God for preparing a place for us and welcoming us home in love!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus OOAK Art


This simple OOAK miniature artwork is my first attempt at an Ex Voto or Milagros. This is acrylic on canvas paper. I hope to do more in clay later on. Thank you for looking!
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Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, may the whole world burn with love for you!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

It's Here Again


It's that time of the year! Everything is getting busy already. I tried to knock out a big part of my Christmas shopping early because it makes me nervous. Next year, I'm going to simplify. Really, don't we have enough stuff?


How in the world does Christmas and everything else fall on the woman? Is it because Eve ate the apple? :) ~ As my husband says, "In the world of man, people just wouldn't get anything."

That's okay with me because when it is all said and done, I treasure the sentimental. An example is the cards signed by my parents, oops ~ signed by my mom. See there it is again, we even sign the cards for them. Do they even know how to write?


All kidding aside, I truly treasure this precious time with my family. My goal is to recognize my heavenly family too. How? By not losing sight of the fact that all love radiates from our Lord. He is the reason for every season, and the greatest Love of our life!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Don't Swear Like That ~ Part 2


It is becoming the time of year when I get busy! I'm not able to post as often, but I am still checking in on my favorite bloggers.

My last post on swearing stopped short because long blogs are a turn off for some. The gist of that post is a loss of reverence for the Name of God. For the Jews, His Name was too sacred to be heard outside the holiest courts of the temple. We see in Sacred Scripture where Christ's Name hurled demons from their victims. Today His Name still holds our hope and His Holy Spirit embodies all that is Holy! How many times have we heard "holy" in front of "unholy" words?

On page 26 of this booklet, I read "Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name," He promised, "that will I do." This is the authority of Jesus.

Further, His name ... strong enough in its utterance to open the gates of heaven and to touch the very heart of the eternal Father. (Now that's what I call power!!!)

No wonder the Apostles began to preach and work miracles, "in His name."

How profound do you find the next paragraph? It would be interesting to know just how the Holy Name of Jesus Christ came to pass from this glorious and powerful invocation to the casual, contemptuous, and sinful use current in the world today. A dreadful sort of parody on prayer seems to be involved in the distortion. It is as if a brilliant enemy of Christ had taken the name of the Savior and twisted it to the most frivolous and debased uses.

Soon, quite too soon the Holy Name became the common "curse" word of men and women who hated Christ, no longer believed in Him, or regarded Him as of no importance. And so it has remained to this day.

Originally the Holy Name was meant to be used to work miracles of grace upon the world. It was a name for blessings. It was the name that rang with the certain hope of God's loving bounty and protection.

It looks like Part 2 will not be the end of this subject. For myself, I feel like reflecting on the above words from this little booklet. Words have power to heal and to hurt. Even the seemingly innocent "gee" used in the show Leave it to Beaver referred to the big "G" of God. I know I need to stop and think of the use of God's name, even in saying "Oh my God." It seems harmless, but I'm saying His Holy Name without thought and without meaning. Our Lord deserves so much more than my careless and thoughtless use of His Name. He suffered out of a great love for us, and we should remember this always!
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Our Almighty Father, our Precious Jesus and our Most Holy Spirit, thank you for knowing each of our names and lovingly calling us by our names. Help us to realize when we are thoughtless, and help us to bring others back to the Power of Your Name and and the Name of Your Love. Amen

Thursday, October 15, 2009

In Relation to Eternity ~ Carmelite Jubilee


This past weekend, my dad and I had the pleasure of attending the 50th Jubilee of a dear woman named Sister Mary Joan. This Carmelite nun is Sister Mary of the Angels. No matter how much time passes before I see her, I always feel a kinship with her. Believe me I let “way” too much time pass.



Some of the descriptive words I’ve heard used for Sister are ~ precious, childlike, sweet and joyful. I have to agree with that description. There is no doubt she is a woman, but her sweet nature and faith reminds us Jesus calls us to be childlike so that we may enter into His Kingdom. Some people don’t understand the use of the term “childlike.” It doesn’t mean childish. It means a pure trust in God, seeing good in others, choosing to love, and finding joy in all creation.



At her reception I told her my Guardian Angel must have been whispering to me earlier that morning. On the way to pick up my dad, I was thinking of Mary and Martha. I thought about how Sister Mary Joan was like Mary, spending time with Jesus. As a Carmelite we think of her praying, reading, sacrificing and studying. Then I thought about how she was like Martha. She has her discipline which includes duties and service too. Every time we hear the story of Martha and Mary, it should cause us to think of our relationship with Christ. Myself, I’m lazy. I know I would be on the floor listening to Jesus while someone else busied about serving everyone else. I often wonder if Jesus is saying there is a time to serve and a time to listen. He didn’t chastise Martha. He just said Mary chose the best. Maybe focusing on Jesus causes everything else to fall into place.



Why did I think my Guardian Angel was whispering that day? The Gospel reading was on Martha and Mary which I believe was chosen by Sister. The priest remarked about the same thing with the contemplation of Mary and the service of Martha.



Finally I thought about our time here on earth as opposed to eternity. Here Sister Mary Joan has virtually given a lifetime to Our Lord. Her love for Him, her love for us, her service to Him and her service to us is a path that it seems few choose these days. Her example is one reminding us to take some time to be quiet and reflect. Her example is one reminding us to serve with love, however and whenever called. Thanks to God for Sister Mary Joan and the other Sisters at the Carmelite Monastery. Thank God for our brothers and sisters who have chose a life of religious service. I love you more than you can know, and I believe many others feel the same. We just fail to tell you or don’t tell you enough.



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Everyone please remember to pray for more vocations.



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Missing You!!!

Hi all,

I'm missing you, and I only have a moment to send out a quick post. It seems to be that time of the year where everything is happening. Last weekend I was out of town, this weekend I'm attending a wonderful lady's jubilee (Carmelite Nun), and the next weekend there is a birthday we're invited to join. You know how it goes on and on!

Anyway, I just want to say I'm praying for all of you, and I hope to have the chance to read some of your posts (for those who blog) soon!

God bless you and keep you precious ones!!!

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Revisit

In honor of my Guardian Angel, I am linking to an earlier post.

Click here...Thank you Guardian Angel

Thursday, October 1, 2009

A Gift of Today



This morning, for some reason, I thought today was Monday. My scattered self ended up at the gym without my workout gear, so I left. Then on the way home I was pulled over for speeding. (This is kind of funny because people accuse me of driving like a little old lady.) My insurance card was expired. The insurance is current, but the card was not. Thankfully, that all worked out, and I’m off the hook. Then I stopped to gas up the car, only to realize I pulled up to the pump on the wrong side. I moved and ended up heading for the same pump as a young man in a truck. He waved me on. He was still waiting on a pump when I left. I said a quick prayer for him and wondered if his parents know what a nice young person they’ve raised. The phone rang, and a sweet lady asked me why I was late for my 1:00 appointment. I thought it was at 2:00. Anyway that all worked out too. The best thing was I didn’t get rattled by any of it. It has been a beautiful day, cool and crisp. One of my cats is walking all over me, and the world seems right.



Maybe today is a gift for the celebration of my patron Saint’s day, St. Therese. It is definitely a gift from God. I think I’ll go enjoy some more cat and me time. I hope your day has been a good one and if not, I pray tomorrow will be better!

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The cat in the photo is one of our four! Her name is Daisy. :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

"Don't Swear Like That!"


Following up my last post.

Recently I found a booklet titled “Don’t Swear Like That!” by Daniel A. Lord, S.J. Inside the cover I found The Imprimi potest, Nihil obstat, Imprimatur and Copyright 1943.

First of all, when using the word curse, we have to remember the definition of the word. It is an action or desire of bringing evil or misfortune on someone.


Now to the booklet! I was surprised to find the following statement on page 12. “As a matter of fact the constant use of the oaths and curses have resulted in their losing all meaning.” I didn’t realize so much cursing was going on in the 1940’s. But this is a true statement. The more a word is said the more it is accepted. Even the word “pregnant” was taboo. My grandmother was horrified when she first heard it said in general conversation. She was accustomed to “expecting” or “in the family way.”


This booklet also covered the use of the name of God and Jesus Christ alone. How often do we hear or say “Oh my God!” Someone once told me; when we say this, think of it as our lips to God’s ear. The point is, don’t say His precious name in such a frivolous manner. On page 14, “Such usage is the sign of a complete lack of faith. God means nothing…Christ has lost all value in their eyes. So the Holy Names are tossed about in careless indifference.” It further states even gee whiz is a parody on Jesus Christ, and the origin is soon forgotten.


Words full of meaning become meaningless, page 16. “G-d damn you!” or “G-d damn him!” say the thoughtless modern man and woman. If we…thought of what the phrases meant, we might drop them forever from our vocabularies. And on page 19…It was left for thoughtless people of succeeding ages…to take that horrible curse and make it part of the most commonplace speech.

Finally, why don’t we use the reverse? Why don’t we say “God bless” instead of “G-d damn?” Or we could say “Go to heaven” instead of “Go to hell!” Maybe we don’t say the kind words because of the impact we desire.


There is more, and I will continue on my next post. But here is something to think about. This is basically covering curse words! What about those words that don’t carry a curse, but fall under the title? What about words which should really fall under obscene or vulgar?

Note: I have a real problem with GD, but I was typing from the booklet.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

What is Your Take on Cursing?

I found an old booklet on swearing, and I've been reading it when I get a chance. I plan to post some of what I find when I finish it. But, I'm curious or nosey...

What do you think about foul language?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Thankful for His Thoughtfulness


This weekend the thought that came to me and stayed with me was the blessings I've received. You've heard the song about thanking God for unanswered prayers! Well this is thanking God for the answer to prayers I've never prayed. That is a testament to the love of our Father. He gives without ceasing, and He gives without request.


Thank God for loving us!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Do You Know About The Living Ark of The Covenant?

As I’ve stated before, one blog posting can lead to another. Recently I posted on the Nativity of Mary. In that post, I remarked about Mary’s participation in the redemption of man in relation to Eve’s participation in the fall of man. (Gen 3:15) This post is about the Ark of the Covenant. Mary is known as the living Ark of the Covenant. When I first learned of this, I remember being delighted.



The earliest prototype in the Old Testament is the Ark of Noah. Then there is the Ark of the Covenant made of the finest Gold which contained the Ten Commandments, some of the manna that fell from heaven for the Israelites wandering the desert and the staff of Aaron. So what does this prototype have to do with Mary? Well let’s take a look! Remember God had the Ark built to certain specifications and made of the purest gold. Here we have Mary made of the purest flesh. We find the Old Testament Ark carried the Ten Commandments; Mary carried Jesus the Word made flesh. The OT Ark carried the staff of Aaron (signifying his priestly position); Mary carried Jesus the High Priest. And the OT Ark carried a gold ciborium with the manna God provided in the desert. Mary carried Jesus the Eucharist, the Bread of Life.


When Mary arrived to visit her cousin, Elizabeth exclaimed, “Who am I that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) We are reminded of when David says in 2 Samuel 6:9-10; “How can the Ark of the Lord come to me?” Also John the Baptist, leapt in his mother’s womb when Mary arrived (Luke 1:44). Remember David danced with joy in front of the Ark when it was brought to Jerusalem. But that is not all, The Ark stayed in the house of Obededom for three months, and God blessed the household of Obededom. Mary stayed with Elizabeth and Zacharias for three months, and brought blessing to their house.


And the final thought for this post is beautiful. The Holy of Holies was empty at the time of Christ and Mary. So the Ark of the OT was not there. How could the priests of the Temple know that the “presentation” of the child Mary in the Temple, was the entrance of the living Ark ~ the living Ark of the New Covenant?!



Our Lady carried Our Lord, and in obedience to God, from her arms she handed him over for the Salvation of the world. Today and always, she points us towards her Son, her Savior and ours.



Friday, September 11, 2009

Project 2996 September 09, 2001 Remembering Sei-Lai Khoo in 2009

As part of a project to remember the victims of 911, I was given the name Sei-Lai Khoo. I found her name spelled also as Seilai Khoo. I couldn't find much about her, other than she worked for Fred Alger Management, World Trade Center and co-managed mutual funds. I was hoping to find a photo, but I've yet to see one. Her age was listed as 38, and her residence as Jersey City, NJ. There was a short quote from her brother Yeng Leng Khoo, and the statement both came from Malaysia. She was here before him and showed him the ropes when he arrived.

I immediately wondered if Sei-Lai came here to pursue a lifelong dream. I wonder what she would be doing today, and I wonder what her family is doing on this anniversary.

Sei-Lai's age today would be close to mine. From the little bit I read about her, I get the impression she had so much to contribute. She was probably coming into her own and ready to continue blazing a trail through life. And now I know Sei-Lai will always be a part of my life because of this memorial. If you are reading this, I hope you will remember her too.

Dear Sei-Lai,

Eight years ago I was working Base Operations in the Mississippi Air National Guard. One of our pilots came and told me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. We all thought it was a fluke, a horrible accident. We ran to watch the replay on the television, only to see the second plane crash. We then realized this was more than a fluke. Sei-Lai, I didn't know you were there until today. I didn't know anyone in the towers. But I am saddened for your family, for all the families and friends. And though this tribute to you is not fancy or even worded well, I want you to know I will remember you. And I will now have a name that will stay with me for the rest of my life. Though I didn't know you in this life, maybe I will get to meet you in the life to come. I wish I knew more about you, but this I do know, I will not forget you, the others who perished or our military and others who have sacrificed so much since then. Rest in peace, Sei-Lai!

Margaret

Please pray for the families of the victims. Please pray for peace throughout the world.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Tending the Soul for God's Will


Before we can serve God in other fields we must till, plant, weed, prune and bear fruit in our own fields.

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The will precedes the intellect.


Everyday I have little readings I do, and the first sentence is a paraphrase from one. The second comes from a CD set I was listening to earlier.


You know how you can read several pages or listen to thirty minutes of something, and out of it all you find a couple of nuggets of wisdom or teachings? When you go back to it later, what you see or hear can be something totally different. I’m trying to make a habit of writing down what strikes me that day, whether it comes from my pastor, family, friend, reading or a talking donkey. Okay I don’t expect to find a talking donkey or anything, but you never know. It can happen right?


The first sentence struck me because of what I am always asking God. What am I suppose to be doing? I never get a good feel for the answer. This sentence makes me think, “Maybe I’m not ready to do what God desires because I haven’t tended my own field.” Tending our own field requires a lifetime of cultivating, but we should bear some fruit at some point!


Then the second sentence struck me because there is the constant fight. My will wants to do one thing when my intellect knows I should do something else. My will either justifies the end or figures it’s not so bad after all. But no matter how small the infraction, it chips away at the rich soil my soul should be steeped in. How can I grow the tree to bear fruit, if I’m not enriching my soul? My friend Karinann’s blog post, Out With The Old, In With The New, touched on the same subject. At first I thought how discouraging this “trying” to become anew can be. Then it came to me. It is better to be questioning than to think everything is okay. I think when I’m rolling along that track saying and thinking, “I’m okay” is when I am in the greatest danger. So I pray God will help me to examine my actions or lack of action and continually tend my soul for His desire.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

She said YES ~ Yes she did! Happy Birthday Mary!!!


Today we celebrate the Nativity of Mary. When hearing the word “Nativity” we think of the birth of Jesus rather than Mary. I remember a time when I was worried about loving Mary. Was I giving her love due only to God? Our gentle Lord let me know there is a reason we cannot measure love. It is because love is infinite. There is more than enough to spread around.


There is this man I used to work with who told me God randomly picked Mary to be the Mother of Jesus. I’m sure he went on and on about it because he knew of my Catholicism. He basically said she was at the right place at the right time. Even then I found it humorous. I could picture God pointing His finger around saying, “maybe that one…no, I think that one.” I wasn’t able to dialogue with him way back when. But as time passed there is one thing I have learned about our Creator. He is ordered, He is a designer, and He would not leave the Mother of His Child to chance. Even humans (responsible ones) don’t randomly pick a person to form a family.


It was funny because as a youngster people told me Catholics, like me, had to pray to Mary to get to God. I didn’t quite understand it because I prayed to God every night. Did these people know something about Catholics I didn’t? Now I know they didn’t know much, if anything, about Catholics. Well as I grew in my faith God began to give me answers about Mary, sometimes from the questions of others. One such question came from another guy at work. He asked me, “Why did God make it so Jesus would come from Mary?” He clarified by asking, “Why did He come from a woman?” I can only guess he was wondering why God didn’t just show up. I thought of all the questions! I’d never heard that one, but I told him I’d try to find out. Shortly after that my dad handed me a book, and there was the answer. In the beginning woman (Eve) came from man (Adam), and through this man came sin. For our redemption God reversed this occurrence and Mary gave birth to Jesus. This time man came from woman, and through this God-Man, Jesus, comes salvation.


So here I began to see Mary’s role. When she said, “yes” to God, her place was fulfilled. She holds a unique position. She is the daughter of the Father, the spouse of the Holy Spirit, and the mother of the Son. She is not Deity, but she is intricately entwined with the Trinity. And from there she calls us to the Glory of God. She is forever pointing not to herself, but to Him! Where Eve participated in the fall of man, Mary participates in the redemption. Satan thought he’d won with the disobedience of Eve. Oh but he underestimated the obedience of Mary. But the serpent would soon learn this when God Himself said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed…”

Friday, September 4, 2009

Thankful for the Small Things


This morning I stayed in bed a bit longer than needed. I quickly dressed, hoping I'd make it to Mass on time. The thing is, we had a Communion service because our priest is just now coming home from Ireland. While I miss the Consecration of the Eucharist, I told myself, our Lord is present in the already consecrated hosts.

Jumping in my car, I detoured and entered the highway with about five minutes left to making it to the church. The stop light caught me. When it turned green, I was turning left and did not have a turn signal. I made it to the light before it turned yellow, and I noticed oncoming traffic was very far away. I sailed into the church parking lot. I thanked God for clearing the path for me. He does that so many times in life. He wants to us to have a clear path. We throw the obstacles in most of the time. And when the obstacles aren't of our doing, He still offers us His help to continue on our way. Sometimes He gives us a red light telling us to stop and wait! Other times He gives us a yellow light telling us we can move ahead but with caution and being prepared to stop and wait again.

The added bonus to making it to this Communion service, was I entered the hall to find my son and his wife waiting for me. They are trying to attend Mass before going to work. I didn't know they would be there today, but they assumed I would be there. Of course, God knew all of this already. Isn't He a wonderful Papa? He loves us so much! I love Him too and wish to love Him even more!

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Please remember my son and his wife in your prayers. They are becoming on fire for their faith. Please pray they continue a lifetime of loving and serving God. Also I ask you to pray for my other son and his girlfriend. She became Catholic but neither are practicing. I'm praying the Holy Spirit will ignite their hearts. God bless you, and I'm praying for all of you too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Third Floor Window ~ Another Perspective

Recently I posted on Colleen Spiro's book, The Third Floor Window. Please click here to read another review from a different perspective than mine. Patricia, like Colleen, is a lady who helps other incest survivors on their journey.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Stay With Me Lord ~ St. Pio ~ Life, Hope, and Meaning


Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You I am without meaning and hope. Saint Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


Some versions of this prayer have the words “without fervor” instead of “without meaning and hope.” I have to say I like the prayer using the latter. So many times in life we hear people say my life had no meaning until I met Jesus, or I have no hope without God.


For me, a life without meaning is not life but death. If we define the word meaning as special significance, then life without Our Lord is devoid of meaning. I know some people will disagree, but stay with this thought. If I did not have the love of God, if I did not have God, what is the purpose of living? If our lives are not an eternal testimony to His love, then why are we here? I often think of the inheritance I value the most. It is the faith of my parents. And this faith was handed down to them. But God gave me a free will. Why? I think simply so we will love him freely. He could force us to love Him, but is that love? He wants us to come to Him freely and in love.


What about hope? The archaic definition for hope is trust. Without Our Lord where do I place my trust, in myself? Believe me I’ve tried that, and it seemed to work for awhile. When the rug was yanked from beneath me, I knew then trusting me was something I couldn’t do anymore. If we define hope as anticipation or desire, without God where is hope or what is hope? For me hope, without God, has no meaning. Our lives are designed to have meaning, and our hearts are designed to have hope. This hope is in a Love strong enough to die a cruel death on a cross, so that we can rise to a Love everlasting.


I beg You ~ Stay with me, Lord, for You are my life, and without You I am without meaning and hope. Amen!




Friday, August 28, 2009

The Third Floor Window ~ A Survivor's Story of Hope

Recently I was the recipient of a book by Colleen Spiro, titled The Third Floor Window. It is a true story and based upon Colleen’s life as a child of sexual abuse. The added heartbreak to this abuse is, it was at the hands of her father, the man who was supposed to protect her.

As someone unfamiliar with abuse, it is hard to fathom one would harm a precious child. As a person of faith it is crushing to find that child’s innocence, love and trust being violated. We are taught our bodies are temples of God, and these impure acts upon those abused are a desecration of God’s temple.

One portion of Colleen’s book is the crux of my beginning to understand. On page 72 she wondered where God was during her abuse. She sees Jesus in the corner of her bedroom, and He is crying. She saw pain and sadness on His face. It was then she knew Jesus was with her, and He knew her pain and suffering. She goes on to write it is important to her for others to understand what she’s been through. She doesn’t want to be minimized, to be alone.

And the shared suffering with Jesus, helps me see where we minimize others and desert them. When we do these things, we are doing it to Jesus too.

It’s true, only those who have similar experiences in life can relate to each other. I believe this book is significant because Colleen wants people to know the abuse still happens, and no matter how much time passes it is not something to be packed away and forgotten. It is a lifelong commitment for survivors to move forward in hope and healing.

The message I sent her after the first reading included this phrase, “…now I understand why some people don’t make it.” She responded that is what she wants her book to be about. It is not only for other victims, it is definitely for the rest of us. It is for us to see why some people deal with lack of trust, fear of rejection and questioning of friendship and love. It’s a lesson we need to remember and write on our hearts.


Finally, I still wondered why God didn’t intervene. I know there are many things that are a mystery, but I fear Our Lord will give me the following answer. “You Margaret, have not prayed enough, sacrificed enough and loved enough.” It is true; evil gets a foothold when we allow it. Why do I say this? Because we are the Body of Christ, we are His hands on earth. We are family, and we are responsible for each other. So for those reading this, please add these children and adult children to your daily prayers. Offer acts of kindness and sacrifice for them. And though it is difficult, pray for their abusers too.



Thank you Colleen for writing this book, I needed to read it and so do many others.

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Colleen Spiro is a certified spiritual director, a Benedictine Oblate and is employed as a parish secretary. She leads retreats and has written several articles that have been published in Christian magazines. Colleen lives with her husband in Florida.


Visit Surviving by Grace to learn more about Colleen and how to order The Third Floor Window.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Hi St. Monica and St. Augustine ~ Over Here!!!


St. Monica and St. Augustine, I know your feast days are side by side. I know today is St. Monica's day, but I always think of you as two for one. In a way it's true, you are two for One. Anyway, I just want to say thank you for your prayers. How many times have I begged you both to pray for my sons? I still do.

Jesus hears frequently from me too! He can thank you St. Monica for my persistence. I just tell Him, Lord I'm counting on You for these boys and all of us. I'm depending on You. I'm trusting You. Yes, Lord I'm expecting You to see us all safely home.

St. Monica you prayed for, cried for and followed your son ~ Augustine. Your prayers were rewarded in a magnificent manner. St. Augustine some where along the way, you allowed God to penetrate your intellect, will, heart and soul. Yes, I'm counting on our Lord, and I'm still depending on your prayers. Because that is what family is all about!


Thanks again for everything ~

I love you, Margaret

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bloodmoney ~ A Documentary

I found this fascinating quote today:



I found this over at David Marciniak's blog. Bloodmoney is a documentary that exposes the abortion industry. It also brings to light not only the cost in countless human unborn lives, but also the serious consequences and effects on the women who undergo abortions. As David says on his blog, "This could be big." I've posted a trailer below, but you can visit the home site of the film for details on the film and for information on how to get it distributed. This is a film that needs to be seen, perhaps now more than ever. Spread the word!Karinann, Daughter of the King, Aug 2009



You should read the whole article.



Monday, August 24, 2009

Suicide and Faith in the Love and Mercy of God


As you bloggers know, one post can lead to another. Angel of God... led me to this post.


After my friend committed suicide, I wondered about her. Over the years I’d heard so many different takes on people who take their life. But this wasn’t a case where she killed someone else and then herself. It wasn’t a case where she embezzled money and was about to be caught. The two instances just listed have variables for sure, and we can't be certain such individuals are only angry or desperate. It is just to point out, my friend did not fall into this type of category. She was tormented by things which led her down this path. And I wonder if the medication she was prescribed contributed to her final act. Mental illness is supposed to affect one out of four families. And we know there are many people who are depressed or have been depressed. There are people I know personally, who contemplated suicide but didn't follow through. And in one case, God intervened. But maybe He intervenes always, and this particular person responded. As for my friend, I knew her background, and I knew what she would do when confronted with love...


Shortly after her funeral, I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss my friend’s death with a priest. He told me to remember God is merciful. He further stated we don’t know what transpires between a soul and God at death. Right then I knew when my friend saw Our Father, perfect love, she fell into His arms. Why? Because He offered what she was seeking her whole life ~ love and acceptance.


Judgment belongs to God and God alone. We must remember He loves those who have committed suicide, more than we do. Our loved ones are His children. And what does a loving parent do when finding a child broken and spent? He opens His arms.


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Lord, hide in the shadow of your wings, those who are depressed, afraid and lonely. Gently soothe their souls, bless their hearts and bring them into the abode of your Most Sacred Heart. Amen

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Click here if you are interested in reading what the Catholic Catechism has on Suicide.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Letter Directing to Love God, Warns of Demons



The posts leading up this particular post started with first, one titled Guardian Angels and followed by Angel of God…in August 1991.



I feel like I need to give a bit of background for this next piece. My friend I referred to in Angel of God…, committed suicide. She was what I considered to be an intellectual. Her remarks at times flew right over my head. She wasn’t trying to talk over my head and assumed I knew what she meant. It would be difficult to find someone as well read as she. Yet she seemed to be disconnected in some respect. She was also very sensitive, to the point of not being able to let go of the sight of starving children on TV. It seemed to me these type of injustices layered in her mind and never tucked away. She was not a religious person. I remember her telling me though; my parents praying for me daily was amazing. What I took for granted she admired. She visited churches and relayed a story about one of those visits to me. She finally made her way to the middle of a pew in the center of the church. This was a feat for her because she didn’t like to stand out. At some point, every member of the congregation hit the floor. She alone was standing. She told me she tiptoed out over everyone, and that was the end of her church visits. The last thing she was doing before she died was reading the Bible.



The letter referred to in my last post is engraved on my mind. Her chosen words, so odd and out of character. Her message to me was not a long one, but sometimes length doesn’t mean significant. I won’t post it verbatim, but the following is the gist of what she said.



Her letter began with telling me she didn’t expect me to understand what she did. She told me to love God and to teach my sons about God, because there are demons that roam the earth. She ended by telling me she loved me, and she thanked me for being her friend.



First of all, I didn’t feel worthy of her love or friendship. My children were both under the age of five, I was a single mom, and I was not equipped at the time to help her spiritually. But what struck me were her directions about God. As stated earlier, she wasn’t religious or even spiritual. Then of course her statement of demons roaming the earth was startling. She never spoke of such, and she wasn’t referring to personal demons.



One other strange side note about this story is the song, “My Favorite Things.” I’d given her a snow globe, and this was the tune. She was so delighted with this gift. After she died, I asked for it back. One day, out of the blue, it started playing. And it seems every August I either hear the song somewhere, or I’ll start humming it.



Why do I think people need to know what her letter said? The reason is because there are people who believe in God, but do not believe satan exists. It’s not reasonable, because Sacred Scripture refers to satan. Yes we are surrounded by angels, but demons also roam the earth and we should be aware. Her exact words, “…demons roaming the earth,” makes me think of the St. Michael prayer. A prayer she didn’t even know.



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 Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.


Amen.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Angel of God...in August 1991


In one blog post this last July, I wrote about Guardian Angels. I was so interested in reading your stories of belief and encounters with angels. Several people left comments or links to their angel moments and incidents where loved ones were protected by angels. Back in this same post, I wrote of my plan to share one encounter I had many years ago with my angel.

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The month and year of this encounter was August, 1991. Earlier that year, I’d called a friend of mine to chat. Later she told me my phone call, that particular day, stopped her from taking her life. At the time I had no idea she was even contemplating such. She was committed to a facility where she was supposed to get help. Having no experience in this type of situation, I made her promise she’d never commit suicide. She promised me she wouldn’t. She even joked about linking pinkie fingers and promising. Naively I believed her.

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In August she ended up missing. Everyone feared the worst. I was pulling into my driveway when I heard a voice say, “There is a letter from (Name protected), in your mailbox.” Sure enough, I pulled a plain envelope with my name and address from the box. I knew it was from my friend. I recognized her writing even though the only mail I’d ever received from her before was a Christmas Card.

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Later I wondered if maybe it was my friend telling me the letter was there, but then I remembered the voice saying, “…from (her name).” She would’ve said, “…from me.”

Quickly I ran inside and called her house. Someone I didn’t know answered the phone, and I told him about the letter. He then told me what deep down I already knew, they’d found her body that afternoon.

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Later, I will post what she said in her letter because I think it is important. But it will have to wait because even after eighteen years, I still get emotional thinking about it.

There have been other encounters with my angel, but this one still stuns me. I guess my angel wanted to warn me about what I was about to find. Also, maybe this heavenly messenger was gently letting me know my friend was already gone. For whatever reason, I’m thankful to God for the gift of my angel. I don’t tell Him thank you enough, and I certainly don’t tell my angel of my appreciation for the guidance, protection and love sent my way.

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Angel of God, my guardian dear ~ to whom God’s love commits me here ~ ever this day, be at my side ~ to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen

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The Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336 on angels.

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“From infancy to death human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life. Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united to God.”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It Could Be Us ~ You Never Know ~ Please Pray

Reading Deacon John's blog today inspired me to write this post.

When people live in a country like we do, others are easily forgotten. It is almost hard for us to believe what is happening in other parts of the world. But what is happening, is people are being persecuted and martyred because of their Christianity. My intention at Mass for quite awhile now, has been to pray for them. I received that direction from a priest as penance after the Sacrament of Reconciliation years ago.

Please pray this prayer or your own.

Lord I pray for courage and strength for those, throughout the world, being persecuted or martyred for the Kingdom of God. And I pray for the conversion of unbelievers and sinners. Amen

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Holy Spirit's Illumination and Purification



My readings and thoughts of lately continue to reflect on humility. In my own journey, I find myself not quite knowing what I’m suppose to be doing when it comes to God’s will. I’m not expecting an angel to visit and give me some fantastic mission, even though that would be something! But it does seem like I would have some inkling of direction. At times I wonder if I’m missing the big picture, the picture consisting of the “little” moments followed by my patron saint, “The Little Flower.”



One recent reading focused on the gift of understanding from the Holy Spirit. Our intellect is limited by our human comprehension. Only by the light of the Holy Spirit can we begin to understand the truths of our faith. The words we study, read with eyes of faith, are profoundly illuminated when we are infused with the Spirit of God.



The other realization is that our hearts must be swept of the stains of sin and self. The windows to our souls need to be as clean and clear as possible. When we ask for the Holy Spirit to illumine us, we should prepare a place for Him. We should be free of attachments and ill feelings. How can we receive the full gift of knowledge from the Holy Spirit if our being is harboring worldly distractions?



“Help me to purify my heart, because what I desire to see is pure but my means of seeing it, impure. Come to me, O God, and purify me by Your grace; purify my heart with Your aid and strength. If I receive You into my heart during this present life, after my death You will admit me into Your presence.” St. Augustine



Lord, I know my heart and soul are not free of worldly attachments and baggage. I need your help in ridding me of whatever keeps Your light from brilliantly shining knowledge, wisdom and Your will into my being. Amen



Saturday, August 1, 2009

Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak...St. Pio



Stay with me, Lord, because I am weak and I need Your strength, that I may not fall so often. St. Pio of Pietrelcina



A recent post on Stay with me, Lord covered the first sentence of St. Pio’s prayer. The above sentence is the second part. Plus my last post was on The Cross and Humility. This second sentence fits nicely with recognizing humility. At times, it seems as if we only realize we are weak when we fall. We’ve all heard the phrase, “I hit rock bottom.” When we fall, sometimes we chastise ourselves to the point of insulting God’s infinite mercy. All we have to do is open our arms to Him. His love for us is so great; He cannot help but reach for us, His wounded child. He lifts us up with strength to move forward, He will even carry us.



The weight of our sins caused Our Lord to fall on His way to Calvary. But the weight did not cause Him to remain on the ground. Alone we cannot carry our cross, but with Him we are able to stand each time and continue the journey.



Lord, when we acknowledge our weakness, You pour Grace upon us. Help us to remember to open our arms in response to Your love, and to fall unabashedly into Your merciful Heart. Amen


Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Cross and Humility



Whenever we are having a family meal, my Dad likes to make the same joke. First he lets everyone know he is the patriarch. Then when we try to let him serve first, he waves everyone ahead and says he is practicing humility! We always get a good laugh from it.



St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi says, “This is the remedy to fix my gaze on You, Incarnate Word, hanging on the Cross. As soon as You see a humble soul looking at You in this way, You are quickly moved to look at it, and the effect of Your divine glance is like that of a ray of sunshine on the earth: it warms it and prepares it to bring forth fruit. This is the way You act, O divine Word, who by the light of Your glance, drain my soul of all its pride, and consume it in Your fire. No one can acquire humility if he does not fix his gaze on You, O Word, on the Cross.”



To humble self means rooting out all independence, pride and will. This is what we think of when we hear the words, meek of heart. Antonyms of humble include proud, rude and exalted. We think of people who are arrogant, unkind and selfish.



There was a time when I thought humility meant wimpy. Now I know, to be humble takes strength and courage. It is a discipline. There we see disciple in discipline. We find freedom in discipline. Otherwise we are slaves to our vices.



St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi reminds us that Our Lord shines upon the welcoming and humble. He warms these hearts with His Divine Mercy. And from these hearts springs forth the fruits of His love.



Lord, help me root out self. I can’t do it alone, I need Your strength. Amen