Saint Ignatius of Antioch was introduced to me by our parish priest at a recent homily.
He was a first century saint and was born in Syria. Ignatius converted
to Christianity and eventually became bishop of Antioch. In the year 107, Emperor Trajan visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius would not deny Christ and thus was condemned to be put to death in Rome.
Ignatius’s great concern was for the unity and order of the Church. Even greater was his willingness to suffer martyrdom rather than deny his Lord Jesus Christ. He did not draw attention to his own suffering, but to the love of God which strengthened
him. He knew the price of commitment and would not deny Christ, even to save his own life.
He willingly suffered martyrdom. The day of his martyrdom, he was thrown into the Colosseum. Built in 70 A.D. Rome's Colosseum has been the site of celebrations, sporting events
and bloodshed. It is a place where the early Christians were mauled to death by the lions for their believe in Jesus and His Church.
Ignatius was dressed in his priestly garments as he entered the Colosseum. As the lions attacked his left and right side of him, Ignatius
raised his hands to Heaven. The lions hung on to his flesh, but he continued to keep his hands, heart and eyes raised to Heaven.
I was inspired at the image of two lions hanging on to his flesh yet Ignatius kept his eyes on Jesus and his Heavenly home. I thought
about how we each have our 'lions' hanging on to us trying to pull us down.
What are these 'lions' gnawing and chewing at us from each side? It could be our addictions that will not let go easily. It could be our worry and anxiety that is trying to consume us and beat us
down. It could be our doubts that keep us from fully trusting in Jesus in all things. It could be our pride that shouts “You don't need God.”
We can like Saint Ignatius trust and raise our hands to God our Father and proclaim, “In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
I trust in you; do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me.” Psalm 25: 1-2
“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The Least Ones
“Whatever you did for one of the least of my brethren you did it for me.” Matthew: 25:40
Who are the poor? Who are the thirsty? Who are the hungry? Who are the strangers and naked
among us? Who are the ill and those in prisons? When I think of the poor, the thirsty, the hungry and the naked, I immediately think of the homeless or the beggars on the street corners that are really down on their luck or those stuck in a dark, prison cell
or jail. The least ones among us are the homeless and those who live on the streets and in prisons. However, their are also the least ones that we sometime do not recognize among us. Who are they?
For me, they could be members of my own family. Those family members who are lost, lonely and are hungering and thirsting for the
Light of Christ. Perhaps they could be the person sitting next to me in the pew at Church longing for someone to acknowledge their pain and loneliness. It could be that angry driver that just cut me off and presented me with an avalanche of vulgar words. It
could be the grocery clerk who is filled with anxiety, heartbreak and feels no one really cares.
The least ones are indeed the helpless babies in the womb whose very life is threatened by abortion. The least ones are those who are suffering silently from the effects of having an abortion. The least ones are the elderly that are trapped
in a sea of loneliness and feel abandoned.
Jesus words are very serious
when he says: “Amen, I say to you what you did not do for one of these least ones,
you did not do for me. And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to
eternal life.” Matthew 25:46
Jesus is asking us to be His Light
to those who are in need of the Savior's touch of love, compassion and forgiveness. Some of us are called to serve the poor at homeless shelters and food banks and to provide them with financial assistance. But we are all called to see the dignity of each
person made in the image and likeness of God. We are all called to help those who just need a little smile, hug or encouraging word and a listening heart.
Everyday Jesus presents an invitation for us to care for the 'least among us.' Let us respond to His invitation.
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy. Let us take the blinders off of our eyes and look beyond ourselves and see our brother or sister in need today.
Lent and Friendship
"Faithful friends are a sturdy shelter: whoever finds one has found a treasure. Faithful friends are
beyond price; no amount can balance their worth. Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; and those who fear the Lord will find them.”Sirach 6: 14-17
Lent is such a grace-filled time of the year. As I was celebrating Ash Wednesday today at the Cathedral,
I was filled with such gratitude. I am so thankful for all our holy priest that allow us to gather, celebrate, and receive Jesus' Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity every day. I am so grateful for their dedication in being spiritual guides and confessors for all
of us wandering souls in so much need of Jesus' mercy through the Sacraments of Reconciliation.
I am so grateful for my husband who takes the time to listen to me ramble on about whatever I am upset about. I need to remind myself to thank him for a listening and patient heart especially when I am going through a tough time.
I am so blessed when my husband and I pray together. He is my husband but he is also my faithful friend.
I am thankful for all my friends who join me in celebrating the Mass, Bible Studies or simply sharing a cup of coffee together. I am so grateful for all their prayers when I ask for pray. I know it is the grace of their prayers that
gets me through the tough days. We trudge the road together as pilgrims hand in hand. We rejoice with each other when we hear the good news of answered prayer. We weep with each other when sorrow and heartache comes rushing in. When we meet new friends we
welcome them with open arms and hearts.
During Lent I am going to try and
have a grateful heart regardless of what I am going through. There is always hope in the midst of the clouds. Jesus is with us and we are not alone.
us walk together hand in hand along this journey to our Heavenly Home one day at a time.
Love Covers a Multiple of Sins
“Above all, let your love for one another be intense, because love
covers a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4: 8
My mom was a great cook and homemaker. She was raised with eight brothers so she learned at an early age to cook, sew, clean, grow a garden, can vegetables and ride horses. When
I was being raised I took for granted all the delicious meals and deserts my mom prepared for us kids and our dad.
I watched her many times preparing a meal but I never did help much with the preparation accept perhaps to peel potatoes or carrots. When I got married at a young age of 18, I attempted to prepare meals for my husband.
I found out very quickly that watching someone prepare a meal is not the same thing as actually doing it yourself.
I remember making a potato salad and trying to remember how my mom made it. I managed to put together all the ingredients my mom used. However, I never paid much attention as to the amount of each ingredient she put into the
salad. I just guessed. Well, I put in a whole lot of mustard. It was really pretty to look at. I was really proud of myself for creating my first potato salad. However, when I tasted the potato salad, it was absolutely terrible.
My husband, however because he only wanted to please his new bride, said it was good but quite not the same as my mom's
potato salad. He was being kind and didn't want to hurt my feelings. 'Love covers a multiple of sins' and in my case a very awful tasting potato salad.
The good news with much trial and error I did finally learn to cook with the help of my Betty Crocker cookbook and seeking the advice of my mom.
Perhaps it is better to respond in love rather than react with hateful statements. I knew the salad was awful
but it helped me to know that despite of the failed potato salad, my husband was kind and loving.
When we want to react with an avalanche of negative
comments, let us rather be kind and loving in our response to each other because we are each trying the best we can.
EGO (Easing God Out)
“Invest in character and it will see you through good times and bad. Invest in ego, and it is like
building a house on quicksand.” Matthew Kelly (Taken from Perfectly Yourself)
I like the definition of EGO—“Easing God Out.” Your ego is your conscious mind, the part of your identity that you consider your "self." If you say someone has "a big ego," then you are saying
he is too full of himself. I also like the definition I heard about our egos: “Brighten up Buttercup, its not all about you.”
If what I have accomplished is wrapped up only in myself and I don't rely on God then I am filled with false pride. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before
a fall.” Proverbs 16:18.
Many years ago, I
had the honor and privilege of knowing an old fellow in Alcoholics Anonymous. He had many, many years of sobriety. He spoke words of wisdom to the newcomers struggling to stay sober. He would say continually, “Pride comes before a fall.” He was
a humble, honest man who depended on God each day. His sobriety was a gift from God. He believed that and lived that truth. Through his dependence on God, he developed a strong but humble character. It didn't just happen all at once. It was that steady, faithful
surrender to God each day. His character was full of trust in his God.
He would never boast of how many years of sobriety he had because he felt it verged on being prideful. He would just be thankful that God had given him another 24 hours of sobriety. Before he died he had over 50 years of sobriety. He showed by his example
how to develop that humble trust in God.
building requires for each of us a daily surrender and dependence on God. It takes time to develop those qualities that most resemble Jesus. But through prayer, the Sacraments of the Church and hanging out with other fellow pilgrims, we slowly develop a strong
character. We slowly let go of our selfish egos. We won't ever do it perfectly but with God as our Leader we make progress each day.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness
with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:5-8
Slipping and Sliding
This winter in Helena Montana we were blessed with an abundance of snow. After it snowed and snowed, it turned cold.
Then it warmed up somewhat just enough for some the snow to melt and then freeze. Then to top it off it rained and then it turned cold and refroze the packed snow. It left sidewalks, streets, stores and church parking lots a shiny sheet of ice. Everywhere
all you could see for miles is ice skating rinks. Now I use to enjoy ice skating but walking on ice can be quite scary and challenging.
I began asking my guardian angel to keep me from falling as I ventured on the ice. I also began to ask the angels to protect everyone from falling. Now there are practical measures I took to combat the icy walking
conditions. I sprinkled ice melt on my sidewalk and by my car. It only helped a little. Then I decided to purchase some sand and that helped steady my footing on the unpredictable ice. I also made sure that my snow-boots had adequate traction. All these measures
are helping me from slipping and falling.
The icy conditions reminded me of my spiritual footing
with the Lord. What steps do I take to prevent myself from slipping into bad habits and sin? Do I only call upon my guardian angel when I find myself in slippery, sinful territory? Perhaps it would be better if I called upon my guardian angel and the saints
every day to help avoid these slippery places. How many times do I ask the angels and saints to help one of my loved ones or friends who find themselves in a slippery place?
What practical steps can I take to keep me from slipping into sin? Perhaps take some time to pray, read scripture, celebrate Mass, spend a quiet hour before the Blessed Sacrament,
and frequent confession. When I surrender all my fears and concerns to Jesus, I am at peace standing on solid ground.
“When I say, “My foot is slipping,” your mercy, Lord,
holds me up. When cares increase within me, your comfort gives me joy.” Psalm 94: 18-19
Looking Beyond Appearances
“Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart”
1 Samuel 16: 7
It is easy for us to judge appearances. Isn't it? I
suppose it is a natural part of being human. It is quite difficult if not impossible to look beyond appearances without God's help.
I don't know how many times that my judgments about a person were totally wrong. When I entertain judgments about a person, I miss the opportunity that God wants to give me. What are these opportunities?
It is seeing beyond the physical appearance and looking into the person's heart. That is what Jesus did to each person He encountered on His journey and continues to look beyond our yuck and looks at our hearts.
I remember an old fellow who use to come to Saturday night Mass. No one wanted to sit next to him because he
was much in need of a bath and clean clothes. Quite frankly, he stunk. You can't blame those who didn't want to be subject to this awful smell. He was a loner; He walked two or three miles every day around our little town, picking up trash. He lived in an
old run down shack. However despite his odd personality, he was very faithful about participating in Mass every week.
By the grace of God, I decided I would sit next to him at Mass. Yes he stunk, but he was also in need of love from others. By God's grace, the stinky smell didn't bother me much. During the sign of peace, I would
look him in the eye, smile and greet him with a sincere “Peace of Christ.”
I also remember a time, after may years away from my Catholic faith, I sat in the Church parking lot, trying to muster enough courage to walk through the doors to attend Mass. I was so afraid that others would judge me and not welcome me back. I asked Jesus
to walk in with me. Upon entering the Church, I was greeting by the Deacon who gave me a big smile and a hug and said, “Welcome.” That smile and hug, is what I needed to feel like I belonged and was home again.
Choosing to sit with the old man who stunk, was my way of “paying it forward” because I knew how
desperately I wanted to feel welcomed too and that I belonged and I mattered.
Let us welcome each other and especially those who are difficult to to be around. Jesus welcomes all who
come to Him with smells, warts and yuck because He sees their heart that is in much need of love and acceptance.
God is Greater than our Hearts
As I was meditating on the scripture passage in 1 John 3, I was taken in by the verse “God is greater than our hearts....”
Sometimes my heart is weighted down with all kinds of yuck and sinful inclinations dwelling
every where. When I read those words “God is greater than our hearts,” I began praising God. Thanking Jesus that He is bigger than my little stony heart.
He is the transformer of hearts. He is in the business of heart transplants. Taking my hardened heart of stone and
pouring out His Precious Blood into all the blockages that prevent me from truly embracing that I am His child and He loves me.
Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus pours out his healing grace and power washes my heart with his Precious Blood. I am forgiven. I am transformed. My heart becomes soft again and open to receiving
His love. I become teachable and able to discern the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus I beg you to create
a clean heart in my Oh God and renew and steadfast spirit within me.
The Christ Child
Merry Christmas to all my family and friends. I am so grateful and blessed that you are a part of my
I just had to share with you this unique and beautiful Christmas card I received
from one of my friends. It is more than a Christmas card it is indeed a Holy card that is worth pondering. This simple but profound image indeed tells who Jesus Christ is and why He came into the world.
At first glance I see the baby Jesus laying peacefully in a simple manger. Then my eyes are drawn almost immediately to the crown of thrones that surround
the baby Jesus. He suffered, died and rose from the dead to set us free. Then most profoundly my eyes see the chalice with the brilliant life-giving Host—the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord truly present at every Mass and in every Tabernacle
throughout the world. This is our faith. This is our hope.
I cannot help fall on my knees
in humble adoration to our King who has come to save us from sin and the darkness. Jesus Christ truly is the Light of the world.
May the Christ Child
Bring Peace to your heart, your home and to our world.
“My Heart is Moved with Pity for the Crowd.”
Jesus said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd...”
Jesus you see your people wondering aimlessly, going around and around in circles, seeking fulfillment that they hope
will finally satisfy but coming away lacking. Your heart is moved with pity for they are like sheep without a shepherd. Jesus mercy be with us now.
The vast majority of the crowd keep seeking the things of this world that will never satisfy; but you Jesus keep careful, patient watch over your people.
Then suddenly Jesus you spot one of your little ones break from the insanity of the crowd and turn toward the Light. Overjoyed
you race to this little lamb and lift this precious one on your shoulders. You bring this little one to the Father's house where there is much rejoicing. This little one caught in the rambles of sin, death and hopelessness is now set free into the loving arms
of Jesus. All heaven and earth rejoice. Alleluia!
Thank you Jesus for never given
up on your people.
Let us too, seek those who are lost in the crowd
of aimless wandering and bring them to Jesus through our prayers, sacrifices and simple acts of kindness.
Let our hearts be moved with pity for those who need a smile or encouraging word. Be watchful like Jesus for those who are seeking the Light of Christ. You be there light and lead them to Jesus. Ask Mother Mary to bring them to the cross
where there is redemption and the hope for a new life.
Who can I bring to
Jesus? Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to someone who needs a little encouragement today.
The beauty of Advent is in the eye of the beholder. It is a time we can slow down
and breath in Jesus' peace and love. When it starts to snow instead of shoveling sidewalks and brushing off cars, we could stop just for a few minutes and watch the fresh, silent snow fall to the grown. There is such stillness in the silence of the snow falling.
We begin to sense God's presence among us in the stillness of each snowflake falling.
When worry, rushing and anxiety threatens again to rob us of Jesus' peace, we can simple close are eyes for a moment and picture the gentle, silent snow falling and know that God is near. God is as close as our next breath.
Even when we are busy with preparations for Christmas, we can still remember how the snowflakes fall so silently
and peacefully never in a hurry or rush. We can silently whisper, “Be still. God is near. All is well with my soul.”
Advent is a time to clear out the clutter in our hearts and to spend time with Jesus the Prince of Peace.
Take a few moments each day and reflect on the silence and stillness of this Advent season. “Be still and know that I am God.” Psalm 46: 10
blessed me with a harvest of about 16 pumpkins this year. I have given many away and I am using the rest for absolutely mouth-watering pumpkin squash and for future pumpkin pies, cupcakes, and pumpkin bread.
I planted the pumpkin seeds and grew them in my greenhouse. All the little tender plants were doing just fine, then some kind of bug
got all the pumpkin, zucchini, acorn and cucumber plants. All the plants died accept for some of the pumpkin plants. They looked really sick. I said a quick pray and decided to plant them in the ground in the hope they might survive. For a few weeks I continued
to water the sick plants, giving them a dose or two of Miracle Grow. I didn't see much life in them. But they didn't die. I kept hoping.
About six weeks later, these little plants began to show signs of recovery. From that time on until harvest they became my miracle pumpkins. God turned these scrawny little pumpkins plant into four to ten
This little miracle pumpkin story reminds me that God never gives up
on us. When we can only see all the yuck in ourselves and our lives, Jesus sees the beauty inside of each of us. He doesn't look at the scrawny mess of our lives. Jesus just keeps showering us with his graces and mercy at every turn.
Thank you Jesus for never, ever giving up on me or the people in my
Just love this little poem. So true....
What is it like to be a Christian? It is like being a pumpkin. God picks
you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then He cuts off the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, and greed. Then
He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.
Remain at the Foot of the Cross
“There is no evil to be faced that Christ does not face with us. There is no enemy that Christ
has not already conquered. There is no cross to bear that Christ has not already borne for us, and does not bear with us. And on the far side of every cross we find the newness of life in the Holy Spirit, that new life, which will reach its fulfillment in
the Resurrection. This is our faith. This is our witness before the world.”- St. John Paul II
We all have our crosses to bear—in our sicknesses, in our families, in our jobs, in our retirement years, in the challenges of everyday life. Jesus is calling from the cross- “Remain with my mother Mary at the foot of the cross.” It is with Mary that we
can endure our sufferings.
“Whenever I meditate
on Your sufferings Jesus, my own become less heavy.”--The Stations of the Cross by Immaculee Ilibagiza.
Mary continues to take my hand and led me to the foot of the cross each day. When I meditate on Jesus' sufferings, I am strengthened to endure my own crosses. When I look at Mary watching her son go through unbearable suffering, it helps me to know that I
am not alone.
But how easy I forget to
remain at the foot of the cross with Mary. I try and flee from my crosses but Mary gently takes my hand and brings me back to the foot of the cross. I was meditating on how to remain at the foot of the cross, and I thought that perhaps if I super-glued myself to the foot of the cross I would have no choice but
to stay with Jesus and Mary. I smiled at that thought! Yet another way is to ask the Holy Spirit to keep me holding on to Jesus no matter what is going on in my life. The Holy Spirit does a much better job than super-glue.
“I desire, through your Passion Jesus, to see the example You wish to give me for how
I may live my life, especially in difficult times.”
us Pray: “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross, you have redeemed the world.”
God's little surprises
As I entered
the Cathedral Saturday morning for 9 am Mass, I greeted Ruth who was holding her baby boy in her arms and tagging right behind her was her charming little girl.
Ruth and her little ones took the pew in front of me. Mass began; then
her little girl began wiggling and informed mom she had to go to the bathroom. Ruth handed me her baby and asked if I could hold him for a few minutes. I was delighted. It has been a long time since I held a baby in my arms.
Her baby in my arms warmed my heart to overflowing. I really needed this simple touch from
the Holy Spirit through this precious child of God.
I thanked Ruth for allowing me to hold her baby. I shared with her that I really needed this gentle touch of God's love through her beautiful baby boy.
I got in line for confession. Holding this precious baby in my arms, opened my heart to the Holy Spirit. I began to make an examination of conscience.
During my confession, I was able to share with the confessor that
I was struggling with some looming depression that seemed to be trying to enter my life. I know that it was the Holy Spirit because I had no intention of sharing this with the confessor. He gave me some real practical suggestions. My burden became lighter.
“For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.” Psalm 149: 4
God is always gifting us with these little surprises if we are open
to the Holy Spirit promptings. I desire to practice the presence of the Holy Spirit in each moment of each day so as not to miss those little surprises of God's grace and healing.
Let Us Pray: Come Holy Spirit fill me with your presence in this moment.
your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love. Zephaniah 3:17
Trying to put a square peg into a round whole
When Isaiah 22: 19-23 was read at Mass on Sunday, the last verse stayed with me throughout
the day: “I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot to be a place of honor for his family.”
I pondered how God created each of us unique and beautiful as it says in Psalm 139: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully
made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in
your book before one of them came to be.”
God created me to fit perfectly
like a peg in a sure spot. Unfortunately for many years I was trying to force myself to fit my square self into a round whole. I tried to live up to my expectations and other people's expectations of me. I was always silently comparing myself
to others. If only I could sing like my friend. If only I could speak eloquently like my other friends. If only my marriage could be like my friend's marriage and on and on. I spent a lot of years trying to be someone that I am not. I ended up miserable.
Over time the Holy Spirit showed me that God created me with unique qualities and talents. He created
each of us with unique qualities and talents. Once I embraced the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made, my perception of myself changed dramatically. I ask God to show me how I could serve Him with the gifts that He knit together in my mother's wombs.
When I was a child I was very shy and timid and was scared to death to talk in
front of people. As an adult I began asking Jesus to be my strength and be my courage. “For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice but rather of power and love and self control.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Today I can speak up and talk in front
of people because Jesus is my strength and my courage.
Instead of being someone
I am not, I surrender and allow God to continue to form me into the person that He created me to be. It is then that life becomes an awesome adventure of discovery. I joyfully try to live His Words: He will fix me like a peg in a sure spot...
Because He Lives
Last Sunday, as I was returning to my pew after receiving Jesus, I closed my eyes and quietly began my
time with my God and my Lord. In my mind, I saw the Blessed Mother, Mary Magdalene and St. John walking towards me. Our Blessed Mother took my hand and quietly said, Come follow us. They led me to the foot of the cross. There I saw my crucified Lord
suffering so. To see Jesus in such pain and agony, took my breath way as tears flowed down my face.
Our Blessed Mother whispered, Jesus has accomplished it all for you. He
has redeemed you. It is finished. Stay at the foot of the cross always. Every time you receive Jesus go to the foot of the cross.
As I was gazing upon my crucified Jesus, I looked to the side and saw my family coming to the cross. I saw countless members
of my family both past and present kneel down before the cross. Again our Blessed Mother whispered, It is accomplished. Jesus has redeemed all of your family. Stay at the foot of the cross. It is here all will be purified and sanctified.
With tears in my eyes, I whispered, My
God how I love you my Jesus.
We need the sure security of Jesus Christ crucified ever before us because life is so unpredictable and things can change in an instant.
We need to receive often Jesus in the Eucharist so we can be anchored in Him in the midst of the many challenges and storms facing us each day.
As I continue to reflect on this interior vision, the words from a beautiful song entitled: Because He
Lives burst forth from my heart.
Let Us reflect on the words from this song: God sent His son, they called Him Jesus. He came to love, heal and forgive. He lived and died to buy my pardon. An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.
Because He lives, I can face tomorrow; because He lives, all fear is gone; because I know He holds the future and life is worth living, just because He lives.... Amen.
You can click on the link below and listen to this touching song: (Just hold down the control key and the link
When Life Happens....
This past Spring and beginning of Summer, I have been busy, pulling weeds, preparing the
soil in the garden and planting seeds to be kept in the greenhouse until the warmer weather. It is a labor of love with some physical challenges.
The little vegetable plants were blossoming and growing each day in the greenhouse and becoming ready to be planted in the garden. Then something happen to the tiny plants.
Life Happened! The squash, cucumbers, pumpkins and zucchini's leaves began to turn yellow. I began going through the list of possible reasons—too much water, too little water, too much sun not enough sun. But I finally came to the conclusion
the little innocent plants were apparently attacked by a squash bug or some kind of fungus who feasted on the leaves daily.
By the time I could put together a rescue mission, many of the plants were beyond rescuing. I was really disappointed as I had cared for the little plants just like a mother cares for her babies. I decided to plant
the ones that seemed like they might survive. Perhaps with warm sunlight, fresh air, water, a good sprinkling of Miracle Grow and a pray or two, some might survive.
Unfortunately all the zucchini and the cucumber plants didn't make it. Some of the pumpkins and acorn squash look like they might survive the squash bug epidemic.
I was fusing and fuming about the plants for a few days, when in prayer
the Holy Spirit nudged me to accept what is and go buy some more plants. You know those sayings—don't cry over spilled milk; when life hands you a
lemon make lemonade. It was a simple solution.
Now I will probably have some yummy cucumbers, zucchini and pumpkins later this Summer and Fall. I am still caring for the little sick plants in the hope that perhaps
they will make it, but now I have a back up plan.
reflecting on this little gardening experience thinking that life is a lot like gardening. You don't know what you are going to get. You suit up and show up, pray, surrender and hope.
When life throws me a curve ball, I sometimes want to wallow in “wow is me” and feel sorrow for myself. But I have a choice to process through the loss and learn from the “lemon”
experience or I can stay stuck in my yuck.
I also know I am anchored in Jesus Christ and nothing shall shack my inner calm regardless of curve balls coming my way. How do I remain anchored to the Rock of my
salvation? Through daily pray, reading Scripture, Mass, surrendering and trusting in Jesus each day.
Today, regardless of what is happening in our lives, let us meditate on these words from Isaiah 12:2-3:
God indeed is my Savior. I am confident and unafraid. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and He has been my Savior forever and ever. Amen.
Praise be Jesus!
Hope for our World
I've been on a pilgrimage these last 33 days. It began when my friend Margaret Ann and
I decided to renew our consecration to Mary through the book, 33 days to Morning Glory by Father Michael Gaitley. We have renewed this consecration for a few years now. Each time I participate in the renewal of the Marian Consecration, I grow a little more closer to Mary and this also means that I fall in love a little
more with Jesus.
I shared with Our Blessed Mother since I am not able to
go to Fatima on a pilgrimage, perhaps I still could journey with her these 33 days.
On Friday, the pilgrimage with Mary brought me to St. Andrew's Catholic School to join the children, parents, grandparents and friends to participate in a May crowning and a special Mass to honor Our Blessed Mother.
It was the first time since I was a child that I had been to a May crowning. It brought back so many precious memories.
As a little girl I fondly remember how special it was to honor our Mother Mary with a procession and placing a beautiful rose crown on her head.
As I entered the gym at St. Andrew's School where the Mass was to be held, I was invited to take a flower so I too, could participate in the procession. My heart was filled with
joy to see the children ages from kindergarten to high school all dressed in their very attractive uniforms. The children were filled with excitement and child-like wonder.
The Mass began with singing songs to Mary. The sounds of children's voices filled the room which felt like scented roses falling gently from heaven. Father Bart asked
each of us to offer up a sacrifice for Mary as we placed our flower on her altar. It was very simple but deeply touching.
I so appreciate the parents of these children who have sacrificed much to give their children the gift of a Catholic education at St. Andrews. They are giving their children a firm Catholic foundation so that they
can become strong, moral adults. These children are the hope of the future. Pope Francis said: “To Christians the future does have a name and the name is Hope.”
Saturday morning, as my pilgrimage continued, I participated in a special Mass in honor of the May 13 feast day of Our Lady of Fatima celebrated by Father Bart.
Following the Mass, Father invited us to consecrate ourselves to Mary by reciting the special prayer of St. Louis de Montfort.
Father Bart asked us to take away three things from this celebration of the 100th Anniversary of the Fatima Apparitions and to incorporate them into our lives each day:
Do Penance—make little sacrifices for the reparation of sin in our world.
Pray the Rosary for peace in our hearts, homes, and in the world.
Renew our devotion to Saint Joseph because he is our great intercessor along with Mary for our family and the world.
At noon on Saturday, found me in front of our State Capitol along with many fellow travelers also on this pilgrimage with Mary. It was a
very chilly, windy day, but as soon as we began to pray the Rosary, the wind died down some what while the sun was trying to break through the dense clouds. The Holy Spirit's peace filled the air and warmed each of our hearts.
What a beautiful pilgrimage. Yet the pilgrimage is not ended for me but my heart is renewed with greater hope
for peace in my family and in our world.
The pilgrimage for each us continues
with Mary each day as she continues to bring us closer to her son Jesus through the powerful pray of the Rosary. Each time we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we have the great honor to receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus
Christ. It is a foretaste of the Heavenly Banquet. I can't quite wrap my mind around this. It just doesn't get any better than this, at least this side of Heaven. Amazing!
Thank you Mary for walking with me on this pilgrimage to the Sacred Heart of Jesus who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Let Us Pray:
“You have changed my mourning into dancing, O Lord, and have girded me with joy.” Come Holy Spirit, living in Mary....Renew the face of the earth so that all creation may return to God. Amen.
(33 days to Morning Glory)
To find out more about Our Lady of Fatima check out: https://www.americaneedsfatima.org/
Open my Heart and my Mind
I try and read the daily Mass readings. Many
times its just words that I am reading and the words don't penetrate my mind or my heart. I easily forget what I read minutes later. But today as I was reading the Gospel the following passage began to take on a deeper meaning for me:“Then Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.” Luke 24:45.
If I desire to understand the Word of God, I must ask the Holy Spirit to open my
mind and my heart to grasp what God is saying to me this day. Our God desires to talk to us and to shower us with his words of wisdom, counsel, strength and knowledge.
It is such a simple prayer to invite the Holy Spirit but it helps to grasp the meaning of the passage.
It makes such a difference in my quiet time when I ask the Holy Spirit to open my heart and my mind. When I invoke the Holy Spirit to come into my prayer time, the Lord does grant me a time of refreshment as it says in the book of Acts: that
time of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.....Acts 3:20.
Before the Word is proclaimed at Mass or we begin to read Scripture, let us remember to invite the Holy Spirit to open our hearts and our minds so that we can better understand the Scriptures and
how they apply to our lives right now.
Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:2
Let us Pray:
Come, Holy Spirit open my heart and my mind that I may know you more intimately in Your Word today.
My Plan Verses God's Plan
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8
How is your Lent going? We are almost into Holy Week. We
are just days away from the completion of Lent.
Every year I make a list of things I would like
to accomplish during Lent. I do pray about it and I do ask God if that is His plan for my Lenten journey this year. I decided that I would try and go to daily Mass more if possible. I made a commitment to go Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Friday's at
the Cathedral. I also decided to spend more quiet time in meditating on Scripture. These were all attainable goals and I was committed to them with God's grace.
Then life happened. My little plans were turned upside down in one day. My knee decided to go out on me. I honestly don't remember hurting it. It was very painful and I ended up in the Emergency Room and put
into a knee stabilizer until I could get into the Orthopedic doctor. My little Lenten plans and my little world were turned upside down in an instant.
I surrendered my plan to Jesus asking Him what now? I decided to offer up this little knee suffering and unite it to Jesus' passion for those who are most in need of God's mercy. I realized there are so many
people who are suffering so much more than my little suffering and I am given an opportunity to pray for those suffering.
I was forced to give up my plans and enter into to His plan just for today. I also had to surrender my self-reliance and ask for help. I am bull-headed and I don't like asking for help. My husband began to take care of me with so
much kindness and love. He took over the household chores which included walking our dog Annie. I was deeply humbled and touched by his tender care for me. I keep thanking him over and over again. I was able to spend a lot of quiet time meditating on Scripture
and doing the little Lent Bible study. I found myself looking forward to this quiet time. I finally realized that God was given me the grace just for today to embrace this time and to see the beautiful blessings emerging each day.
I am realizing that God's will for me during this Lent is fasting from busyness—always doing, always on the move. To truly know that
Jesus is whispering to me: “Be Still and Know That I am God.”
Psalm 46: 10
I am enjoying this peaceful, quiet time and I have no need
to grumble or complain because I know this is God's will for me right now. I also know that by surrendering my self-reliance and pride and asking for help, it has blessed my husband's life. He commented that he loves walking our dog Annie and feels so good
about it. Through this knee injury God's grace has brought us closer together.
I know with physical
therapy and God's healing, I will be up and going again. However, I want to continue to fast from too much busyness and spend more and more time enjoying God's grace in the now moments of my life.
As I accept my situation as it is, God's grace is sustaining me day by day.
“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation "some
fact of my life" unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” ― Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous - Big Book
Cutting Off Your Limbs
I was reflecting on the passage from Mark's Gospel in which Jesus talks
about temptation and sin: “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed than with two hands to go into Gehenna, into the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better
for you to enter into life crippled than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. Better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna, where ‘their
worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.”
As I meditated on Jesus words, I pictured myself missing some vital limbs such as my hand, my foot, my eye. Not a picture of wholeness that's for sure; but a picture of a broken soul going through life crippled and maimed because of sin.
Jesus doesn't sugar-coat sin and the seriousness of the consequences of
sin in our lives. Sin deeply wounds the Sacred Heart of Jesus. He loves us so much that He desires all to repent and enter into His mercy. He waits for us to turn to Him even just a little; then you can almost see Jesus running towards you with open arms and
rejoicing. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit shout from the roof tops with unspeakable joy: “Let us rejoice for this child that was lost has been found.”
It doesn't matter where you've been or what you have done, or how long you've been away from Jesus, He whispers gently: Come
to me. Jesus says, “I have not come to call the righteous to repentance but sinners.” Luke: 5. This is truly good news for you and for me.
Jesus' mercy is so much bigger than our personal sins, family sins and
our nations sins. Jesus is standing by the ocean of his mercy pointing to us; urging us to enter into His mercy through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this Sacrament of Love, gentle rays of mercy flow from Jesus' Sacred Heart removing our stony hearts
and replacing it with His gentle, loving and strong heart. For God created us from nothing, He can recreate us. We do not have to go through life, crippled, maimed and broken, bogged down by our sin. For what sin destroys, Jesus recreates.
Through His merciful forgiveness, Jesus fills us with joy, peace and hope
so that we may know Him more intimately, love Him more deeply, and serve Him with great joy all the days of our lives.
“I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all you idols. I will cleanse you. I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you,taking from
your body your stony heart and giving you a natural heart.” Exekiel: 36: 25-26