My Reflections

Come to the Quiet

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta said, "If people spent an hour a week in Eucharistic adoration, abortion would be ended."

What is Eucharistic Adoration?

    Understood simply, Eucharistic Adoration is adoring or honoring the Eucharistic Presence of Christ. In a deeper sense, it involves “the contemplation of the Mystery of Christ truly present before us.” By worshiping the Eucharistic Jesus, we become what God wants us to be. Like a magnet, the Lord draws us to Himself and gently transforms us. -Jesus waits for us in this Sacrament of Love.

    There is no set rule on how to spend your time before the Blessed Sacrament. Just suit up and show up. Jesus is ready to pour out his mercy and grace as you open your heart to Him.

    As the world becomes darker and darker, we need the Light of Christ to penetrate the effects of sin in our midst. Jesus is calling each of us to spend time before him in quiet contemplation to be renewed, refreshed, transformed and to make reparation of our sins and the sins of the world. Our world is so filled with noise and distractions. It is no wonder that it is difficult for us to quiet ourselves enough to pray and to listen for that small still voice of God.

    When I go before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament it takes me at least 15 minutes to quiet my thoughts enough to begin to pray. When I pray before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I usually begin by praying the Rosary or the Divine Mercy Chaplet. These merciful spirit-filled prayers always quiets my mind and begins to bring me into the presence of the Holy Spirit. I whisper quietly, “Come Holy Spirit fill me with the fire of you love. Come into my heart anew at this moment.”

    When my mind is calm, I can begin to listen to my Eucharistic Lord and King. Sometimes the Lord directs me to a Scripture verse or other spiritual writings. I like to write in my journal as this is one of the ways the Lord talks to me.

    It is difficult for me just to be still and quiet before the Blessed Sacrament. But I know Jesus has called me to be 'Mary and sit at his feet.' But it is during this quiet time of adoration and contemplation before my Eucharistic Lord that I get filled with his peace, joy and wisdom to go forth and share Jesus' love with others. When I seek this quiet time before my Eucharistic Lord my day goes so much better. When I skip this quiet time, I get stressed, anxious, and worried.

    I am attempting to discipline myself to spend more time before the Blessed Sacrament and as the saying goes, I am a work in process. There is so much more to be shared about the benefits of Eucharistic adoration.Let us turn to the Saints and other holy souls for their words of wisdom:

  • In order to convert America and save the World what we need is for every parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours of Prayer.-Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

  • All the angels of heaven gaze in ecstasy at the image left on your soul after each hour you make in the presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.-Excerpt from 'Letters To a Brother Priest.'

  • Every Holy Hour we make so pleases the Heart of Jesus that it is recorded in Heaven and retold for all eternity. -Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta. 

  • Perpetual Adoration extends its influence far beyond the individual adorers, touching their homes, and families and reaching out to the parish community and beyond.-Pope Paul VI. 

  • Our Lord hears our prayers anywhere, but He has revealed to His servants that those who visit Him in the Eucharist will obtain a more abundant measure of grace. -Saint Alphonsus Ligouri. 

  • The future belong to those who worship God in silence. -Saint Pope John Paul II.

  • The Eucharist bathes the tormented soul in light and love. Then the soul appreciates these words, 'Come all you who are sick, I will restore your health.' -Saint Bernadette Soubirous. 

  • The Holy Hour becomes like an oxygen tank to revive the breath of the Holy Spirit in the midst of the foul and fetid atmosphere of the world.- Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

  • A Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration is the best way to grow spiritually (outside of Mass)- Pope Paul VI.

  • Do you realize that Jesus is in the Blessed Sacrament expressly for you, for you alone? He burns with a desire to come into your heart.-Saint Therese of Lisieux.

  • Let us take time, in the course of the week, in passing, to go in and spend a moment with the Lord who is so near. -Pope Benedict XVI.

  • The spiritual lives of our families are strengthened through our Holy Hour.- Saint Pope John Paul II.

  • What I really prefer is adoration in the evening, even when I get distracted and think of other things, or even fall asleep praying. In the evening then, between seven and eight o'clock, I stay in front of the Blessed Sacrament for an hour in adoration. If we are to know the Lord, we must go to Him. Listen to Him in silence before the Tabernacle and approach Him in the Sacraments.- Pope Francis.

  • You can come to me (in Eucharistic Adoration) at any moment, at any time; I want to speak to you and I desire to grant you grace!-Jesus to Saint Faustina.

  • A Holy Hour of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament is so important to Jesus that a multitude of souls go to Heaven who other wise would have gone to hell.-Jesus revelation to Blessed Dina Belange.

  • Do you want the Lord to give you many graces? Visit Him often. Do you want Him to give you few graces? Visit Him rarely. Do you want the devil to attack you? Visit Jesus rarely in the Blessed Sacrament. Do you want the devil to flee from you? Visit Jesus often. -SaintJohn Bosco. 

  • I strongly recommend that each of us make a resolution, no matter what the decision will cost us, to make a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament....once a week. -Father John Hardon. 

  • A Holy Hour of adoration before the Most Blessed Sacrament opens up the floodgates of God's merciful Love upon the world. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta.

 Is Jesus speaking to your heart? --“I thirst, I thirst for souls. I desire for you to come to Me. I am your Eucharistic King. I thirst for souls. I wait for you in the silence. I ask you to come into My Eucharistic Presence now, I am here. I am waiting to fill you anew with My mercies of love. I desire to make you whole. You are My Eucharistic children. Come enter into My heart. I make everything new. I give you all that you need. Come! I love you My little one. I remain in the silence of the tabernacle. I wait for you to come to Me so I can fill you anew with My peace.” Prophecy given at a Holy Spirit Conference in Helena.

Even if you can only spend a few moments before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, these moments are grace-filled and healing. Start little and watch how God multiples your time. You will be come a contemplative in action like Jesus.

The Journey to “Mercy for Little Souls.”

   It has been said its not the destination, goal or end product but the journey itself that are filled with God's grace. I am so happy to let everyone know that the late Father Stu Long's booklet, Mercy for Little Souls, has been revised and expanded to include 40 reflections which make an ideal companion for Lent. If anyone would like a copy of the booklet it is on sale at Trinity Books and Gifts in Helena by calling: 406-449-4463.

   Margaret Ann, Ruth and I started this little writing project over two years ago. We were able to print the first version in the Spring of 2016 and now through the help of the Holy Spirit, the second revised edition has been printed and available.

   It required each of us daily to surrender our own agenda, obstacles to Jesus and to trust. We called on the holy angels and saints and of course the intercession of our beloved Priest, Father Stu. It is a good thing we didn't know of all the obstacles and challenges this writing project would present to each of us because we might have run the other way.

   We just decided to put one foot in front of the other and trust. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we trudged ahead. God sent us so many helpers and prayer warriors that assisted us every step of the way. We were blessed beyond blessed and looking back on it, it still overwhelms me the generosity, compassion, kindness and encouragement we were given.

   The heartfelt stories that so many people shared about how Father Stu impacted their lives continues to touch my soul deeply. Even after reading the booklet for errors and omissions a zillion times, I still find myself touched by stories, and the life and legacy of our beloved Father Stu. I know it is hearts touching hearts through the love of the Holy Spirit.

   Our hope has always been that through this little booklet, the Holy Spirit will move your heart and bring you closer to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

   We don't know what the future holds for this little booklet, but we surrender it all to Jesus and trust.

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”

1 Corinthians: 2:9

 

Digging Out of the Pit

   “God helps those who help themselves.” I have said this many times and believed it to be true. What it says to me is that God will only help me if I begin to help myself. I have come to realize that its not all about helping myself and waiting for God to help me. It is about surrendering to Jesus and allowing Him to work in my heart. It is about trusting that Jesus will give me the strength to do what I have to do this day.

    It is true I have to make the effort to take some steps in order to fight against discouragement and the looming depression I seem to be trapped in. I have to choose each day to suit up and show up. I choose to put one foot in front of the other, trudging ahead even if I don't “feel” God is with me.

   For me it is choosing to read the daily scripture readings and reading my 12-Step Al-Anon meditation for the day. It is choosing to take a little time for quiet pray and reflection. Sometimes I like to write my thoughts and feelings in my journal. It is choosing to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It is choosing to surround myself with my faith community. It is choosing to stay in the middle of my support system so I don't fall over the cliff.

   I choose to walk our dog Annie every day which gives me the perfect opportunity to reflect and to pray the Rosary. After my walk with Annie, I seem to be more at peace with myself and my little world. Annie is totally in the “now” moment. My dog always helps me to let go of yesterday, tomorrow and to embrace the “now” moment of this day.

   I was reading the book of Exodus and the following words stood out: “So Moses told the people what the Lord had said, but they wouldn't listen anymore. They had become too discouraged by the increasing burdens of slavery.” I certainly can relate to these words. Sometimes I allow myself to slip into the pit of discouragement. It seems like I've temporarily stopped listening to any words of encouragement from the Holy Spirit or others.

   When I find myself in this self-created pit of discouragement, I can choose to stay and decorate the “pit” with more burdens of negative slavery thinking. Or I can choose to surrender myself to Jesus and cry out for help. Jesus always invites me to come and rest in His Most Sacred Heart. I choose to accept his invitation. Jesus once again rescues me from my self created pit. My Lord and my God how I love you.

I love the Lord because he hears my voice and my prayer for mercy. Because he bends down to listen, I will pray as long as I have breath. Psalm 116: 1-2

No One Can Make You....

    I read something recently that really has me pondering: “Only one person in this world can ever make you feel depressed, worried, or angry---and that person is you. This idea can change your life.”

    If I really think about that, it is true. I am powerless over people, places, and things. It is a struggle to truly accept that my husband, son, that crazy driver or grouchy sales clerk cannot make me depressed, worried or angry. I have control over how I am going to feel and respond. Easy said hard to do.

    It is also said that if you repeat a positive action 10,000 times, it becomes a habit. It would stand to reason then that it becomes much easier to accept that person, place or thing actually as is. It then becomes much easier to surrender the person, place or circumstances to Jesus and let Him take care of everything. Also it opens our hearts to be able to forgive and to pray for the person or situation.

    In the Gospels, Jesus always took the time to spend quiet time in prayer before His Father. “After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray; and when it was evening, He was there alone.” Matthew 14:23.

    If am trying to create good habits in my life then it stands to reason to do what Jesus did—pray daily. Also if I want to grow closer to Jesus then spend time in his Word, participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass often, spend quiet time in front of the Blessed Sacrament and surround myself with good friends who love Jesus.

   I suppose if I faithfully each day attempt to do these things—then 10,000 times does seem attainable. If I fall short of my create good habit agenda and fall flat on my face, I know Jesus will be there to brush me off, pick me up and whisper gently, “Try again I am with you.”

 

Let Us Pray:“In the morning, O LORD, You will hear my voice; In the morning I will order my prayer to You and eagerly watch.” Psalm 5: 3

 

 

Words to Live By

Christmastime shows us how small God made himself. Go to the crib and see how small he became, how he lived that total surrender to the full.

We must learn to be that child in complete surrender and trust and joy.

See the joy of the child Jesus and the joy of Christmas. Never be moody, never let anything take away that joy.

Christmas shows us how much heaven appreciates humility, surrender, poverty, because God himself, who made you and me, became so small, so poor, so humble.”

Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta-Thirsting for God.

 

Let us Pray: Jesus I surrender it all to you Jesus. I trust in you.

A Hallmark Christmas?

   I been thinking a lot about the very first Christmas—the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The circumstances around his birth were so simple, so quiet and so uneventful to the rest of the world. His birth was announced by the angels to a few lowly shepherds. It wasn't announced to the who's who in the elite group of citizens at the time.

   He was born into a hostile, violent, sinful world. It sounds like the world that we live in today doesn't it? Before he was two years old, his parents had to flee with Jesus from the murderous King Herod. He gave orders to kill all the boys who were two years old and under.

   It sure doesn't have the makings of an ideal Hallmark Christmas and its not what God intended it to be.

   The God of the universe chose to come as a helpless baby, in a lowly stable where animals are kept. In a certain sense God was vulnerable. As a baby he trusted Mary and Joseph to care for and protect him. Just thinking about that is overwhelming.

   The traditions of Christmas in our families are part of this season. However in the midst of this joyful yet sometimes stressful family gatherings, it is important to take some quiet time and look at the babe in the manger. Reflect on how the coming of God into our midst changed the course of history forever. How the babe in the manger is changing the course of our lives.

   Jesus came to set us free of the chains that keep us bound to sin. Jesus came to give us new life. Jesus came to show us the way to Heaven. Jesus is our forever friend. Jesus will never leave us or forsake us. Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life.

   If you are lonely and feeling empty this Christmas even in the midst of all the celebrations, meditate on the babe in the manger. Hold the baby Jesus in your arms and ask Mary to show you how to hold Jesus in your heart this Christmas.

 

The Century Old Man

    He was a very old man who was celebrating his 101st birthday. I had the privilege of interviewing him when I worked for a small newspaper. I was warned that this might be a rather difficult interview because he was a man of very few words.

   My coworkers at the small town newspaper wished me luck in the interview because I was going to need all the help I could get. They had previously attempted to interview the eccentric old man on his 100th birthday without any luck at all. I thought to myself, 'This might be the shortest interview and shortest article in the history of the newspaper.'

    I entered the Senior Center as they were beginning to serve lunch. The aroma of fresh baked bread and the smell of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy filled the air. One of the staff led me to a table where “Sam” the century old man was sitting. I politely introduced myself and quietly sat down across from the birthday fellow.

    I wished him a happy birthday and enthusiastically informed him that it smelled like they were serving something very special for his birthday. He stared at me as if it say “You ain't gonna get me to talk, so don’t even try.”

   Suddenly one of the staff presented him with a bouquet of rainbow colored balloons in honor of his birthday. His pale blue eyes lit up and a slight smile emerged on his wrinkled-face. The staff informed me that his family was expected to arrive soon from out of state to surprise him on his birthday.

    Before the family arrived, I started to visit with Sam about how delicious the roast beef and mash potatoes tasted. I asked him how he managed to stay so healthy and in such good shape physically. To my surprise, he looked me straight in the eye and simply stated, “I don’t smoke or drink. I don’t over-eat. I walk a lot and I go to bed early.”

   He then resumed eating his mash potatoes and gravy. However those words spoke volumes to me. This certainly was the secret for a healthy, long life I thought to myself as I continued to observe him.

  Unlike many older folks, he wasn’t stooped over. When he stood up, he had the posture of a young man. He was not over-weight. Sam walked three miles a day, but he had to cut it down to a mile a day. He walked around our little town, picking up aluminum cans and liter. He did his part in keeping the liter down to a manageable size in our little community.

    He kept to himself, lived in a small run down shack. He didn’t want to be bothered. He didn’t seem to socialize much but he always enjoyed the challenge of winning a game of pool at the local bar or senior center. He could beat the younger fellows with the greatest of ease, which gave him great pleasure.

   Sam never missed Mass on Sunday. He would sit in the same place, week after week. He might not visit with anyone, but he certainly came to give God the honor and respect due to the Creator of the Universe.

    Three daughters, one son, one granddaughter and one great-granddaughter, arrived just in time for ice cream and birthday cake. When his family greeted him, that twinkle in his eye returned especially when his oldest daughter gave him a tender kiss on the cheek.

The daughter informed me that she wanted dad to move close to her, but he refused time and time again. She gave me some unique information about this quiet yet unusual chap.

   He was married for several years. His wife and him were blessed with four children. They later divorced when the children were small. Still a young man, he never married again. Though unspoken, I sensed his heart had been broken by the divorce. I wondered if this is why Sam never allowed anyone not even his family to get too close to him. Perhaps he was afraid of being hurt again. I would never know. I wanted to inquire about the divorce and circumstances but I sensed this was off limits to outsiders. The interview ended and I had to my surprise an abundance of information for my article.

    As I watched Sam leave the Senior Center with his family that day, I noticed he was carrying his colorful bouquet of balloons. He stopped suddenly and looking up into the clear blue sky released the balloons. As the balloons floated effortlessly into the heavens, I noticed his pale blue eyes sparkled and twinkled with child-like wonder.

With a long life I will satisfy him and let him see My Salvation.” Psalm 91: 16

(The old man's name has been changed to Sam)

 

Attitude of Gratitude

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

On Thanksgiving we reflect on our many blessings and we give thanks to God for them. However it is just as essential for our well-being to develop an attitude of gratitude daily.

My early days in the 12-step program of Al-Anon, helped me to develop an attitude of gratitude. My sponsor encouraged me to make a list daily of all the things I was thankful for. I thought to myself what do I have to lose by listing the things I was grateful for accept of course my negative attitude.

At that time of my life, I was not thankful for anything or anybody. I felt like my life was spinning out of control and I was drowning in the world of hopelessness and discouragement.

I began to thank God for the little things such as a warm house, warm bed, enough to eat, the smell of a hot cup of coffee, hot showers, clean clothes, dependable car, faithful friends, etc. As I began to feel an attitude of gratitude come into my life, I felt hope once again. I continued to be thankful for my husband, my children, my parents, his parents, my sister and brother, etc.

I noticed when I was thankful, I was also more peaceful. Eventually joy entered my life. I began to see that by sharing my thankful heart with others, it also helped them to move forward.

Today, I am also thankful for the most difficult, challenging and heart breaking times of my life. It is during these times, that I surrender my life over to Jesus each day. I seek the God of hope. I seek the God of peace. I seek the God of joy. I seek the God of love.

When I am in the midst of a difficult situation, it is a challenge not to slip into discouragement. During the difficult times, I embrace the cross of Christ. I place myself at the foot of the cross with Mary our Mother. I enter into the passion of Christ knowing that Resurrection Glory is near at hand.

When I surrender the situation to Jesus and ask him to take care of it, I choose to move forward with God's strength and hope just for today.  

If I learn to see everything with a fresh eye, I will find I have many reasons for contentment and gratitude. When I find myself being bogged down with negative thoughts, I will deliberately turn away from them.” One Day At A Time in Al-Anon-December 10th reflection

 

Let us Pray:

Help me Jesus to see my many blessings that come to me each day and remember to be thankful for them. One Day At A Time in Al-Anon- November 14

 

Thank you For Your Service

 Today is Veterans Day. We take time today thank all veterans and those who are serving now. We thank all who gave their lives to keep us free: Free to vote, Free to worship, Free to speak, Free to be born and to live in this great nation of ours.

I want to take this time to thank my husband Cliff for serving his Country during the Viet Nam War. I am so proud of you. I want to thank my dad who served in World War II. I thank my nephew, Tony for serving his Country faithfully for many years. I want to thank all my friends who served our Country.

 

I am deeply grateful for you. You help to keep us free. Take some time today or this week to thank a Veteran for their service. It will mean so much to them.

Let us pray the following prayer for our Veterans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If My People...

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles: 7:14)

I invite you to pray this special November election prayer which was first prayed in 1791 but still proclaims the same Divine Truths today.

Prayer for the November Elections

Almighty and eternal God,

you have revealed your glory to all nations.

God of power and might, wisdom and justice,

through you authority is rightly administered,

laws are enacted, and judgment decreed.

We pray that our November elections

may result in a President

who honors and obeys your divine law,

who encourages respect for virtue and religion

who executes the laws with justice and mercy

and who seeks to restrain crime, vice and immorality.

We also pray that we may be blessed

with elected officials in every branch of government

who seek to preserve peace,

who promote national happiness, continue to bring us the

blessing of liberty and equality,

and who guard our political welfare with honestly and

ability.

We commend to your unbounded mercy

all the citizens of the United States,

that we may be blessed in the knowledge, and sanctified

in the observance of your holy law.

May we be preserved in union, and that peace which the

world cannot give;

And, after enjoying the blessings of this life,

be admitted to those which are eternal.

We pray to you, who are Lord and God,

For ever and ever. Amen.

Mary, Patroness of the United States under the title of the

Immaculate Conception, pray for us.

(Based on the prayer offered on November 10, 1791 by Archbishop John Carroll of Baltimore, first Catholic Bishop of the United States, and cousin of Charles Carroll, Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence.)

 

 

 

Boulders Are Unmovable

   The other day, I was reflecting on Psalm 18:2-The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

   When I think of a rock, I picture a rock I can pick up and carry in my hands. But the psalmist is referring to God as his solid Rock, his fortress and his deliverer. He wasn't referring to a small pebble. My pondering on God as my Rock, brought me back to a time in my childhood and my experience with boulders.

    I grew up in the small town of Walkerville. It is a delightful small community nestled on top of a mountain looking down on the city of Butte, Montana. As kids we could look out our kitchen window in our two story home and see most of the city of Butte. What a view, especially at night. It was spectacular!

    For me growing up in Walkverville was a place of endless carefree adventure. About a mile from our home, there was a large field populated with lots of wild grass, all kinds of unnamed weeds and massive boulders. The boulders randomly were spread out throughout this wild terrain of unexplored adventure.

   These boulders were gigantic in size. We climbed up to the top of these boulders which could easily house at least three or four of us. I was filled in awe of these giant rocks. Standing on top of one of these boulders always gave me a sense of security. I felt safe from all that would harm me.

    A boulder is too large for a person to move. It is solid. I like that it is unmovable. When I think about God as my solid Rock, I picture one of these secure, strong boulders I remember as a child.

Today, it gives me a sense of security knowing that God is my Rock (Boulder), my stronghold, my shield and the horn of my salvation. Be not afraid God is with me this day.

 

 

Saint Joseph

   I been thinking a lot about Saint Joseph lately. Joseph taught Jesus how to be a carpenter. Joseph worked with his hands and created practical and perhaps some fancy, delicate things for Mary. Perhaps he even made little toys for Jesus. He used his God given ability to provide for his family. He was able to bless other's with his handiwork.

   Does our God given talents end when this life ends? Since eternity is forever, it would seem God would allow us to continue to create in Heaven. In John 14:2 Jesus shares with his apostles-In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?

   I like to imagine that perhaps in Heaven, St Joseph continues to create dwelling places for each of us. Perhaps he supervises the construction of all the dwelling places. When it is complete, Jesus puts the finishing touches on the beautiful place prepared for each of us. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no one’s heart has imagined all the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2: 9. I guess I best leave up to God where and how he fulfills his promise of Heaven. Sometimes though, it is good for us to spend a few moments pondering what it will be like in Heaven.

   This past week, I spent a little time in St. Joseph's chapel at the Cathedral of Saint Helena. I began asking St. Joseph some questions that I was pondering. What was it like Joseph to be the spouse of Mary who was conceived without sin? What was it like to be the foster Father to Jesus the God child? Was it challenging to trust in Divine Providence in the care of your little family? I imagine you spent quiet time in prayer trying to grasp the magnitude of your responsibilities as husband, father and what God was asking of you. Perhaps you pondered these things in the quiet of your heart as you created a new piece of furniture. You weren't given flashing green lights to show you the way. You were given discernment in the quiet of your mind through dreams. You submitted humbly to God and became obedient each step of the way.

   It is like this with us as well. In the quiet we seek God's direction for our lives. In the quiet before our Eucharistic Lord and King we come to know God's plan for us one step at a time. When we surrender, Jesus lights our path each step of our journey one day at a time. If sometimes we take a detour, the Holy Spirit gets us back on the lighted path.

   Thank you Saint Joseph for teaching us how to trust God and how to be obedient.

Let Us Pray:

O St. Joseph, whose protection is so great, so strong, so prompt before the Throne of God, I place in you all my interests and desires. O St. Joseph, do assist me by your powerful intercession and obtain for me from your Divine Son all spiritual blessings through Jesus Christ, Our Lord; so that having engaged here below your Heavenly power I may offer my thanksgiving and homage to the most loving of Fathers. O St. Joseph, I never weary contemplating you and Jesus asleep in your arms. I dare not approach while He reposes near your heart. Press him in my name and kiss His fine Head for me, and ask Him to return the Kiss when I draw my dying breath. St. Joseph, Patron of departing souls, pray for us. Amen.  (Prayer to Joseph (over 1900 years old)-Taken from the Pieta Book.)

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Story

   On October 1, we celebrated the feast day of St. Therese of the Child Jesus. She loved flowers and saw herself as the "little flower of Jesus," who gave glory to God by just being her beautiful little self among all the other flowers in God's garden. Her simple mission was to make God loved. She stated, “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth. I will let fall a shower of roses.”

   Indeed many people have been touched by her intercession and imitate her “little way.” St. Therese also known as the “Little Flower” introduced herself to me a few years ago. Someone gave me a St. Therese Rose Prayer card:

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands (mention in silence here) St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

   I was having a difficult time at my place of work so I decided to pray this little prayer to St. Therese asking for her intercession. After I finished the little prayer, I blurted out: Oh sure I am going to receive a rose from St. Therese as if thats going to happen.

   As my work that week became extremely stressful, I forgot all about my prayer to the Little Flower and went into survival mode.

   Judy, who was recently hired as the receptionist, came to my desk and handed me a vase with two beautiful roses in it. She just sensed that I was having a stressful time. She thought the flowers would cheer me up. My mouth dropped as I gave her a big hug.

   I immediately remembered praying to St. Therese and with tears in my eyes I began sharing with Judy my prayer to St. Therese. I guess St. Therese wanted to make sure that I didn't remain a Doubting Thomas. I felt blessed beyond blessed. St. Therese let me know that she was praying for me. My burden became lighter.

   As Judy and I began to get to know each other, she shared with me that she was participating in the RCIA program to become Catholic at the Easter Vigil. I was overjoyed and began praying for her and giving her little golden nuggets about our Catholic faith.

   Looking back on that experience, St. Therese not only helped my faith to grow but also planted roses of God's love in Judy. God is so good.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us.” (Hebrews 12: 1)

Let Us Pray: St. Therese shower us with Roses of God's love.

(Judy's name has been changed)



Ain't over until its over

   Today, I sat on our deck breathing in the warmth of the sun and enjoying the spectacular Fall day. I watched the sparrows, morning doves and a rabbit eating the bird seed that had fallen from the bird feeder. It was interesting observing how they were eating together without any squabbles. I thought to myself that we could learn how to get along with each other by observing God's creatures. Perhaps a glimpse of Heaven- “Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat.” Isaiah 11:6

    While sitting on the deck, I happened to look up at one of the top branches of our apple tree and in my amazement I spotted some apples on the tree. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I had harvested all the apples over a month ago. I had to check these apples out to make sure I wasn't hallucinating. I quickly grabbed the ladder and climbed up to the top branch. Low and behold, their were six or seven apples on the branch. They were fully ripened, of course. A squirrel who also lives in our apple tree had helped himself to three of the apples, leaving them half eaten. I was glad to share the apples with the squirrel—he has to eat, too. I was delighted at my find.

    Later that morning while walking our dog Annie, I was reflecting on the apples that didn't get harvested. My thought was “The harvest, ain't over until its over.” I also recalled what Jesus said in Matthew 19:30 “But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.”

    Jesus wants each of us to taste the sweetness of heaven. It doesn't matter how long we have run from his grace and lived a life of sin. He continues to offer His gift of salvation and new life. It doesn't matter how long we have faithfully followed Him because when He rescues and brings home new little lambs, we should rejoice with Jesus that those who were lost are now found.

    We serve a generous, patient, and compassionate God. The world has no time for those who come in last. But with Jesus there are no losers because He loves each of us the same. He meets us where we are at and carries us to His Father's house.

    Those apples waited for a long time to be seen and harvested. Many have resisted Jesus tugging at their hearts for a long time, but through our love, kindness, compassion and prayers, we can show them the way to our Father's house. When the student is ready the Teacher appears.

    When I was lost in the brambles of my sins, I am so grateful that Jesus sent me kind and caring people who loved and showed me the way to my Father's house.

Let us Pray: Change my heart O God. Jesus help me to reach out to those who need a kind word and a smile today.

Who do you say that I am?

   Is Jesus asking you, “Who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9: 20). Peter filled with the Holy Spirit exclaimed “The Christ of God.” Peter grew gradually in his relationship with Jesus. It just didn't happen instantly.

   When I was a child, teenager, and young adult, I knew of Jesus. I knew that I received Jesus each  time I received Holy Communion. Like Peter my relationship with Jesus grew gradually sometimes at a snail's pace because I didn't have a burning desire to get to know Jesus.

   At a Cursillo weekend a number of years ago, I truly met Jesus and asked Him into my heart. That is when everything changed in my life. I just didn't know of Jesus, I accepted Him as my Lord and my Savior. I fell in love with Jesus.

   Today, when Jesus ask me, “Who do you say that I am?”

   I fall on my knees in humbly adoration and proclaim: You are my Rock, my Mercy, my Fortress, my Stronghold, my Deliverer, my Shield in whom I trust. Blessed be the Lord, my Rock!  (Psalm 144).  You are all that I want. You are all that I need. You are worthy of my praise.

   Regardless of the difficult crosses of suffering I have endured, Jesus has walked along side of me. When the cross gets too much, Jesus carries me over the rough sea of life making my burden light.

   Saint Faustina words helps me to love and trust Jesus more and more each day:

   “I know that I am under Your special gaze, O Lord. I do not examine with fear Your plans regarding me; my task is to accept everything from Your hand. I do not fear anything, although the storm is raging, and frightful bolts strike all around me, and I then feel quite alone. Yet, my heart senses You, and my trust grows, and I see all Your omnipotence which upholds me. With You, Jesus, I go through life, amid storms and rainbows, with a cry of joy, singing the song of Your mercy. I will not stop singing my song of love until the choir of Angels picks it up. There is no power than can stop me in my flight toward God.” (Saint Faustina Diary 761)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

His Love Endures Forever

 Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His Love endures forever” Psalm 107

   When fear beckons to overcome me, I run to His Presence. I throw myself down at His feet, knowing that I will find safety there.

   As I gaze upon my Eucharistic Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, He embraces me with his tender love and mercy. I weep before my King and He ever so gently wipes away each tear.

   He invites me to sit in His presence so He can love me just as I am. Jesus whispers softly: “My precious child you are my beloved child and I love you just as you are. Allow me to fill your heart with my love and peace.”

   I give thanks to the Lord when the sun is shining brightly bringing forth rays of new hope and expectancy. I give thanks to my God when my heart is being tossed about like a ship in the vast ocean in the midst of a terrible storm.

   As the waves of doubt and fear threaten to overtake me, I stand firm because I am anchored in His love.

My King and my God you are all that I need. You are all that I want. You are worthy of all my praise. Your love endures forever.

"My God, my God why have you abandoned me?” Psalm 22: 1

Holy Week

    This is the beginning of Holy week. It is a time for reflection, prayer, and meditation. Palm Sunday we read the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to Matthew.

   For me to meditate on the passion of Jesus is to enter willingly into his passion as he did. When those words are spoken by the priest at Mass, 'Jesus willingly entered into his passion,' I try as best I can to unite my suffering to his and enter into His passion willingly. It is a surrendering of my will and my way. It is a willingness with the help of God's grace to enter into His way of the cross. I become his child and I beg his mercy and forgiveness for the times that I have sinned.

   I begin to glimpse just a little of how much Jesus suffered for me. I begin to see all the times that I have not shown mercy and kindness to others. Jesus shows me the depth of his love that while bound by sin and selfishness, he died for me.

    I can hardly comprehend and take in this kind of love. Jesus' mercy is being poured out to each of us in his suffering. He offers forgiveness and mercy to all. I ask for God's grace to open my heart more and more to his merciful love. Jesus I trust in you.

“Father, if this chalice cannot pass without my drinking it, your will be done.” Matthew 26:42

 

 

God Is Our Refuge and Strength

SAVE IN THE MIDST OF THE RAGING WATERS

   “The Lord, was it not You who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, whom made the depths of the sea a pathway for the redeemed to cross over.” Isaiah 51:10

    The children of Israel had marched on dry land through the midst of the sea; with the water like a wall to the right and to the left. I often wonder what the people of Israel thought as they went through the dry land with the water from the sea like a wall to the right and to the left of them. Were they in total awe at the magnificent power of God as he saved them from the approaching enemy? I can only imagine that some were amazed and terrified at the same time.

   It was probably not until they arrived safely on the other side, did the people finally grasp what God did for them. It is true in my own life as well. When I am in the midst of a crisis and the waves of worry and anxiety threaten to consume me, I don’t see or feel the hand of God keeping me from drowning in despair.

   As I call upon the Lord to save me, my anxiety mysteriously lessens and my peace returns to me. Jesus’ unseen ocean of mercy fills my heart and my soul.  The storm of the situation may still be raging but I feel protected in the midst of the battle.

   As I take his hand he leads me to still waters to rest awhile. It is in this still water that I know that no matter what the turbulent sea of life tosses at me, I am at peace and I know that I am resting in His Sacred Heart. Jesus I trust in you.

   “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46

 

 

 

Here I am Lord' I've come to do your will

Psalm: 40-“I have waited, waited for the Lord, and he stooped toward me and heard my cry.”

  

   As I reflect on this scripture verse, it brings me back to a time when by the grace of God I made my way back to my Catholic faith after many years of “doing my on thing.”

 

   I was raised Catholic and I am so grateful to my parents and the religious sisters who laid a good and solid Catholic foundation for me. As I sat in the pew listening to the song, Here I am Lord the sun was shining through the beautiful stained glass window and seemed to be shining directly on me.

   It had been a number of years since I had attended Mass. But by God's grace and my willingness to respond to that grace, I felt like God was whispering to me in the words of that song. I silently whispered, “Here I am Lord I only want to do your will. Use me however you want to. I surrender my life to you this day. Jesus you are my Lord and my savior.”

   My God stooped toward me that day and heard the cry of my heart. Even though that was many years ago, that little prayer of surrender is written on my heart and my life has never been the same.

   Through many difficult valleys and mountain top experiences, I suit up and show up for whatever God has planned for me this day. It doesn't matter how far we have strayed away from God, he continues to call us to his merciful heart.

LETTING GO

A SEASON OF PATIENT WAITING

By Connie

The leaves crunched underfoot as I walked down the narrow, bumpy path. I stopped briefly to inhale the crisp, fresh fall air. I viewed the splendid trees that were anxiously waiting to greet me on this path I chose to travel this day. The leaves on the ground were like a fall coat of many colors-several different shades of red, pale yellow and brown, some bright yellow and a few were a blend of copper with a splash of deep purple. I also noticed some persistent, perhaps even stubborn, green leaves that were still clinging desperately to the tree that they had grown accustomed to throughout the spring and summer. These leaves intrigued me with their stubborn pride, refusing to let go and to allow the change to happen within them. These determined green leaves reminded me of my struggle to let go of my need to control situations and people. If I had my way, I thought to myself, I would scotch tape these green leaves to the tree, so they would never have to go through this painful process of letting go and letting God change them. As I continued my walk, I began to realize that it was indeed time for me to let go. It was time for me to surrender to the fact that I cannot change another person no matter how much I love that person. I tired just like the stubborn leaves to feverishly cling to my way of manipulating a change. It left me blaming, judging, and condemning. I thought to myself: Perhaps by allowing God’s grace into the situation, I can learn to trust that God will take care of my loved ones just as He so gently takes care of the leaves that fall effortlessly to the ground. The tree knows it will be left barren and stripped for a season of waiting. But the tree also trusts in the Creator that after a season of patient waiting, life will once again bud forth, filling the branches with the glorious new birth of magnificent and vibrant green leaves. As the gentle breeze beckoned the leaves to let go and float gently into the Creator’s hands, I too, mentally released my hold on my loved ones. I gently placed my loved ones and myself in the palm of His hands, trusting in God’s glory to shine forth through the darkness. I ended my walk with renewed hope, knowing I have entered into a season of patient waiting, placing my trust in my Creator to make all things beautiful in His time.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:2-3) (Published in the September/October 2006 issue of The Family Digest)

 

 

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J | Reply 11.01.2017 09.30

Oh Connie! How I needed to read this today. Thank you and God Bless.

Jeri Ritari | Reply 04.11.2016 20.29

Connie, I can tell your writing comes right from the heart. Thank you for sharing.
Jeri

Connie Beckman | Reply 04.11.2016 18.16

Hi Mike,
Yep boulders are so cool and when we picture Jesus as our Rock---we can picture boulders. Amen

Mike | Reply 01.11.2016 04.33

Connie, I too have always loved "boulders" and the sense of security they seem to give. Sadly we have few, if any, in Florida. Could you send one down?

Michelle | Reply 11.04.2014 09.37

What lovely post. Thanks for sharing

Connie Beckman 11.04.2014 13.31

Thanks Michelle,
I just love the Psalms. The words are so filled with all human emotions. They are God's poetry that can touch and move our hearts.

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Latest comments

15.05 | 07:49

Beautiful!

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14.05 | 10:08

Thank you, Connie, for coming to our May Crowning. It is always one of my favorite days at St. Andrew.

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20.04 | 19:58

Amen, Connie. Beautiful!

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11.01 | 09:30

Oh Connie! How I needed to read this today. Thank you and God Bless.

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