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.


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.


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


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.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Angel of 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


The Catechism of the Catholic Church; 336 on angels.


“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