To the one from whom much was despoiled and plundered, the gaze of God goes most directly, and the holiest help He gives. ~Marie Hosdil~



Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Greeting


Click the title for a greeting from Geoffrey.

When It Rains . . .

At the encouragement of a dear friend of mine, I have decided to mention that our family has gone through some tough situations in the past couple of months. I can't go into the details because it involves my children's lives and they would prefer I not go into it. From my perspective I have taken on a houseful of dependant folks that I love dearly and want to provide for. Those of you who know me, know that I am a single mother of young adult daughters. One is getting married on Saturday, one is leaving for the Franciscan University of Steubenville on Monday and the other is staying with me along with her two young sons. This crew and three cats and a partridge in a pear tree have my little place buzzing. Recently we incurred some unexpected expenses and I am not sure how we are going to manage. I am trusting that God will provide, but I also know that sometimes He uses other members of the Body of Christ to make that happen. So if you feel led, there is a donation button along the side of this blog that will enable you to be a channel of His support for my family. You have my promise that any funds received will be used to address the difficulties at hand and not for the January sales! Thank you in advance.

A Blessed New Year to You All

Only a few hours more--and this year too will come to an end and pass into history. I too finish the year and await the new dawn with joy . . . . I go down on my knees before my God and, recalling his kindnesses to me this year, I humble myself in the dust and thank him with all my heart.

Blessed John XXIII
1881-1963

(Thanks Christina)

The Twelve Days Of Christmas for a Large Family

I love this! Click the post and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Mother's Love Is Eternal

Since becoming Catholic I've told my kids that even if I pass away, my prayers will always be with them. In fact, I've told them, I'll be a better prayer warrior after I've departed than I am now. But my children are adults. I have finished wiping their noses and teaching them to say please and thank you. If you click the title of this post you will read about a young mother who is no doubt a powerful prayer warrior for her children, but never got to finish raising her little ones. I bring this to you so that you can pray both for her and for her husband and babies. Few people need your prayers as much right now.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Mary's Mantle Reprise

A long time ago I started a little tiny group of Catholics who were being persecuted for their faith. I had received so many heart breaking letters and emails from folks who were suffering terribly at the hands of people who were so against the Catholic Church (or rather what they believe the Catholic Church to be) that they were acting out in ways that were unchristian to say the least. Often times these Catholics were being persecuted by loved ones. The very people who should care enough to try to understand what they feel obligated to oppose rather than just blindly lash out at what they don't understand. I felt then that in order to be able to help these folks we needed a Priest to shepherd this group. I didn't feel qualified to answer their many questions or to be of the right kind of support. We never did find a Priest willing to take on that task. I think the biggest obstacle was that the members of Mary's Mantle were from many dioceses and even from other countries. Priests didn't feel able to advise people from such a far flung area. I can understand that. But since Mary's Mantle disbanded about a year and a half ago, I have had this ache in my heart that just won't go away. These folks are dear to me and I keep them in my prayers all the time. But I still wanted them to have an arena to reach out to each other and be a support. So I decided that for whatever it was worth, we would restart Mary's Mantle and see where God takes it. I've started a new blog which you can visit by clicking the title of this post. I hope to provide some encouraging articles and prayers and I hope to get a email group started again so folks can stay in touch. The Internet can be a blessing or a curse. I believe the people of God should take possession of it as a tool to build up the Body of Christ. So as for this little corner of the cyberworld, we will hold one another up and help each other be faithful to Christ and His Church.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Grandson Says the Cutest Things


We have a little statue of Santa Claus worshipping the Baby Jesus on our entertainment center. Gabriel, my 2 year old Grandson, was looking at it this morning and said, "Santa praying baby go to sleep."
You'd have to know how challenging it is to get him to bed at night to understand how funny that is.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hard To Imagine


Click the title for an article on the First Public Christmas in Baghdad. We can't even imagine such oppression.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Too Young For A Brain Tumor




Click the title post and visit Steve Ray's blog for a very heartbreaking story of a young man who has given his all to Christ and now needs the Body of Christ to be a support to him. I know the economy is tight, but everybody's little bit makes a big difference.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Out of Darkness ~ OK, I give up!

For the last several years I have made numerous attempts to take what I experienced as a Protestant and make it Catholic. At every turn I have found that what I learned as a Protestant only scratched the surface of what is available to us as Catholics with the possible exception of the one on one mentoring that was practiced in my former church. Every time I try to move to the next step and explain what impacted me in that phase, I realize that compared to what God has provided here within Holy Mother Church, I have nothing to offer.

So the other day I sat down and asked the Lord where to go from here since I've been trying to re-create a wheel He as long since surpassed. I came up with an outline of what God has taught His Saints down through the centuries that makes what I was taught as a Protestant seem so superficial and truncated.

If you notice the section in the margin called "In The Works," you'll see that I've included some titles that will serve as a map to where we go from here. The Lord made it clear a while back that He didn't want a Catholic flavored version of my protestant journey, He wanted a Catholic guide to healing. It's just taken me a while to realize I have to throw away the old outlines and sit before Him with a clean sheet of paper and wait for guidance. So, Lord, consider this my white flag. Show me how to express the riches of your healing grace. St. Faustina, my guide and Patroness, help me express His fathomless Love and Mercy and the healing power of His Presence.

Duema Con Los Perritos

Click the title if you're in the mood for a Sunday afternoon nap.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Living the Catholic Calendar

I love the Catholic Liturgical Calendar. You cradle Catholics might not realize what a grace it is to be lead down an annual revisiting of the life of Christ. This ex-baptist remembers how anti-climactic it was to anticipate Christmas for several weeks and then, poof, the day was gone and no one gave it much thought until next year. I always felt there was something more to it. (I always felt there was supposed to something much more to our communion services as well.) The protestants have lost so much by leaving behind this beautiful tradition. Christmas is a day, Easter is a day, and isolated from anything else, they lose the gospel context of both Holy Days.

As Catholics, we follow in Christ's food steps 365 days a year and revisit Jesus' ministry every year from the Annunciation to Pentecost. While protestants are busy conjugating a verb now and then, we experience the life of Christ, the history of the Jews, the Epistles and the Apocalypse in context over and over as long as we live. I can honestly and enthusiastically say that I know my Bible and my Lord far better after seven+ years as a Catholic than I ever did in my 40+ years as a protestant.

So Come O Come, Immanuel, and prepare our heart for your coming!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Out of Darkness ~ Do You Want To Be Healed?

This past weekend I got a few minutes to talk to my friend, Christina. I find it so enlightening to talk to people who have been through so much and been so impacted by God's mercy. Diane used to refer to me as a trophy of God's grace. I would agree that any soul that has experienced healing from what could easily have been a mortal wound is a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and a stronghold of Divine Mercy.

I had asked Christina to give some thought to what God had done to bring her healing. She's still praying about that question as I am, but she had some thoughts that I felt deserved some discussion.

She mentioned how many times in the gospels Jesus asked someone in need of healing if they wanted to be healed or if they believed He could heal them. In those two questions are two prerequisites to the working of the Holy Spirit in making us whole.

Do we want to be healed? I know in my case I had spent years formulating defense mechanisms that I used to try to satisfy the needs of my heart and mind. I had become very attached to my self made fortress. I became defensive and hostile any time my self protective mechanisms were threatened. I even turned on God when He made attempts to woo me away from my own idols. I had to get sick enough of myself and the emptiness of my soul in order to be willing to take those first tentative steps toward obedience and trust. I couldn't receive what God had for me as long as I clung to my own devices. (I wrote about this in an article called "Broken Cisterns" about a year ago. You can find it in the archives on June 8.)

So Jesus' question is legitimate. Are you willing to be healed? Are you willing to empty yourself of your own "self soothing" in order to let Him be your all?

Jesus also asks the sick "Do you believe I can heal you?" For some it's not so much being willing as it is believing that Jesus can make a difference in their lives. I've known people who dare God to change them because they don't believe it can be done. Again, this form of doubt usually leads us to find our own, self-made armor so that we can get from day to day. We muddle through expecting nothing from God except maybe condemnation because we have no vision of His power or His determination to make us new. He's asking us to step out in faith and follow Him, believing He can make us whole. He will even honor our shaky steps of beginning faith and help our unbelief as we continue to put one foot in front of the other.

In reality, these are the questions He asks us all every day. As we struggle with the human nature that constantly wars against the sanctifying grace we receive in the Sacraments, He continually asks us if we are willing to be changed and if we believe He can change us.

What in your life are you putting up with because you can't imagine facing life without it? What are you holding on to because you don't believe God can sustain you without your self-made comfort? Are you willing to be made willing to believe Him? Are you willing to take those first shaky steps toward obedience and ask Him to meet you along the way and help your unbelief?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Father John Gives the Invitation

Yesterday our Pastor gave the most beautiful homily. As I'm listening and keeping Gabriel from climbing under the pew to see the little child behind us, I suddenly realized that he was preaching a good old fashioned salvation message with an invitation at the end. Now if you're not baptist or from a similar strain, you might not know what that means. But if you want to hear the Catholic gospel, check out Father John's homilies along the right margin of this blog and give yesterday's homily a test drive. For all you Catholic haters out there who accuse us of not calling people to repentance and faith salvation, prepare to be surprised!

Blessed Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception



This is one of my favorite pictures of my dear friend, Steve Ray. If you'd like to know what he's doing there in the mud, click the post title and check out his blog entry. This rather unusual pose is a demonstration to explain the Immaculate Conception of Mary. I had the privilege of having dinner with he and Janet the night before this photo shoot here in the Arizona desert. I think it turned out real well. If you haven't seen any of Steve and Janet's videos, do check them out. I love watching them and I've used them for classes in RCIA as well.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Planned Parenthood Lies ~ Caught On Video

Click the title and prepare to be outraged!

Did You Know This?

I just want to know why this was not investigated aggressively by the Election Officials. Can it be that this country was so swept off its feet that it purposely ignored its own laws? Isn't that kind of scary? (Click the title for the article.)