St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do, thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the Power of God, cast into hell satan and all of the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
Lord, I know this day is going to be a difficult one. Help? “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." 2 Corinthians 12:9
I’m already biting my lip. I think I need to say something.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
--- 3 ---
I’m worried about what’s going to happen tomorrow.
“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6: 33-34
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial,[b] but rescue us from the evil one.[c]
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; Matthew 6: 9-14
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy. For waters shall break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. Isaiah 35: 5-7
“It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity. Through Mary, and the other holy women, the feminine element stands at the heart of the Christian religion.” Pope Francis
A Church without women is like the college of the Apostles without Mary. The role of women in the Church is not simply that of maternity, being mothers, but much greater: it is precisely to be the icon of the Virgin, of Our Lady; what helps make the Church grow! But think about it, Our Lady is more important than the Apostles! She is more important! The Church is feminine. She is Church, she is bride, she is mother. But women, in the Church, must not only… I don’t know how to say this in Italian… the role of women in the Church must not be limited to being mothers, workers, a limited role… No! It is something else! But the Popes.. Paul VI wrote beautifully of women, but I believe that we have much more to do in making explicit this role and charism of women. We can’t imagine a Church without women, but women active in the Church, with the distinctive role that they play. I think of an example which has nothing to do with the Church, but is an historical example: in Latin America, Paraguay. For me, the women of Paraguay are the most glorious women in Latin America. Are you paraguayo? After the war, there were eight women for every man, and these women made a rather difficult decision: the decision to bear children in order to save their country, their culture, their faith, and their language. In the Church, this is how we should think of women: taking risky decisions, yet as women. This needs to be better explained. I believe that we have not yet come up with a profound theology of womanhood, in the Church. All we say is: they can do this, they can do that, now they are altar servers, now they do the readings, they are in charge of Caritas (Catholic charities). But there is more! We need to develop a profound theology of womanhood. That is what I think.
God is with me. He knows and He understands my pain. When Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane He asked His Father,
“Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.” Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.” Luke 2: 42-43
Jesus suffered. He felt the excruciating pain of separation from His Father during His agony. In His anguish, as Jesus prayed, His sweat became “great drops of blood.” The Precious Blood of Jesus was spilled in the garden as the weight of sin grew heavy on His back. His Precious Blood spilled, not in a small quantity, but in “great drops.”
Jesus knows my pain.
What I know::
This moment is a trial, a challenge, which God allows in my life to strengthen me. Through this suffering I can grow closer to Him. This is a time when I must trust that God knows better than I, the suffering of His cup. He knows what this suffering will accomplish in eternity.
Jesus asked His Father to “remove the cup” from Him. Jesus’ human nature recoiled at what He must endure for love of us. As God, Jesus knew the cost, the great suffering He would endure when He submitted to His Father’s Will. As our Brother, Jesus accepted the bittersweet cup of salvation for love of us.
His moment of acceptance, similar to His Mother’s fiat when Jesus was conceived, opened the Gates of Heaven to the graces of salvation. Jesus accepted the Father's Will, and Jesus was at peace. Jesus knew He, the Great High Priest, would be subject to the control of men. He knew the cruelty, the wounds that would be inflicted on Him. Jesus knew He would die for love of us. Jesus knew that through His sufferings, we would be saved. Jesus overcame sin through death. When He resurrected, Jesus over came death. Through Jesus’ submission to His Father’s Will, He was made weak. Through the humility of Jesus, God was glorified and we were saved!
"Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power
is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of
my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." 2 Corinthians 12: 8-9
What I Know::
God does not challenge us without giving us hope. Our hope comes in trusting that God knows what He is doing. As frightening and unnerving as giving up control of any situation is, as Jesus submitted to His Father’s Will, so must I.
If words forsake me, then I will sit in silence until words come to me again. Silence and meditation. Silence and love. Silence and trust. The storm will pass.
In the aftermath of this storm, there will be damage, but out of the destruction comes new life, new faith, new hope.
"For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope." Jeremiah 29: 11
What I Know::
In the silence, I sit knowing that God knows what I think before I do. God knows what I will say before I say it. God knows my heart in the silence of His Unending Love. Jesus, the Son of the Living God, rose from the dead in silence. There was no one to hear the sound of Him as He returned to His glorified body. Silence brings us closer to the Lord. I am safe. He is the great I AM.
“But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they (the women) went to the tomb, taking the spices which they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel; and as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise.” Luke 14: 1-8
I wait in silence. I embrace the silence. The storm is passing, and words will return. In His tomb, silence. Soon the Lord will rise. He has carved me in His Palm. He loves me.
"See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me. Your builders outdo your destroyers, and those who laid you waste go away from you." Isaiah 49: 16-17
Luke Westman is a blogger and fellow parishioner at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Luke is a recent covert to Catholicism. Luke writes a blog called: "The Analytical Conservative." This blog is well written and interesting. Luke examines many ideas in his blog. I suggest you put aside some time to read it, because Luke's blog is very deep and analytical! What has interested me most about Luke is his journey to Catholicism. Unlike St. Paul, who was struck off his horse and surrounded by the love of God, Luke's journey to Catholicism was a deep, analytical journey. You will find his story of conversion interesting because Luke uses the writings of contemporary thinkers to travel on his way the Catholic Church. I will post part of his conversion story here, but I suggest that you go to Luke's blog to read the rest. It's long and detailed, but it is so interesting how God worked in Luke's life to bring him home, to the Church. Here's a sample::
I joined the Catholic Church a year ago. After confirmation, I wrote a
4 part series sharing the story of how I moved from Protestant
Christianity to Catholic Christianity. The original series contained my
story, but it did not contain a lot of arguments. To celebrate my 1 year
anniversary, I wanted to update and elaborate on my original 4 part
I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2003. The environment
at Gustavus is the typical university bias against any philosophical
view of the world that differs from moral and cultural relativism,
metaphysical anti-realism, progressive liberalism, and critical race and
gender theory. At this point in my life I was completely lost. I did
not have a consciously examined and accepted worldview. I was more or
less a progressive liberal, but I had no idea what that meant or why I
held the views associated with this philosophical perspective. I was a
progressive liberal by collegiate circumstantial accident; I was by and
large a practical atheist; and I was more or less a moral relativist. I
lived my life based on emotional whim, self-indulgence, and a lack of
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that there is a purpose for everything,
whether it be suffering or joy.
The only exception I would say that there is to that statement is::
I see absolutely no reason for beets.
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:: 1-8
--- 5 ---
Even Peter stepped out on the water, but when he took his eyes off of Jesus, he became afraid and began to sink. I am comforted by the thought that this great saint, our first pope was fearful in a storm. He whom the Lord chose to lead His Church on earth, lost faith at times, too.
So Peter got out of the boat, started walking on the water, and came toward Jesus. But when he noticed the strong wind,he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
Mathew 14: 29-31
Even a toad does God's Will by the nature of it's existence. A toad only knows what a toad knows, and that's the Will of God because the toad does only what a toad will do which is the Will of God. We can all learn from a toad.
"So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is." Ephesians 5:17
Although not yet approved by the Catholic Church, the visions of Our Lady of Medjugorje continue after 32 years. Often, during these visions, the visionaries are given messages to the world. On August 17, Ivan, received the following message from Our Lady::
"Dear children, today in a special way I invite you to pray for peace. Open yourself to the Holy Spirit, dear children, so that the Holy Spirit may guide you. Particularly at this time, dear children, pray for my beloved Holy Father; pray for his mission of peace. I pray with you; interceding with my Son for each of you. Thank you dear children, because even today you have responded to my call."
In this message, Our Lady, again asks us to pray for peace. She asks us to "Open yourself to the Holy Spirit so that He may guide you." She also asks us to pray for her beloved Holy Father and for His mission of peace."
From the beginning of the apparitions in Medjugorje, Our Lady has always asked us to pray for peace. "Peace, peace, peace," she told the visionaries. Peace.
"Pray for Peace," she tells us. "Open yourselves up to the Holy Spirit." Hearts that are open are willing to receive His graces, and His graces will be abundant for you. Pray for Our Beloved Holy Father who is on a mission of peace. Pray! Pray! Pray!
The peace the world lacks is in His Sacred Heart. Pray.
I asked God to send me holy people who would be friends, examples, and prayer partners. God had already sent me wonderful friends, friends who are close to God and who strive to do His Holy Will. I am blessed by their amazing friendships! I continue to ask God for His Blessing of wonderful friendships, and I have been blessed.
I read an article about the importance of being grateful and expressing that gratitude to the people for whom we are grateful. A suggestion in the article was to write a note to or send an email to these people on Mondays. The fact that we express our gratitude to them will make them feel appreciated. This expression of our feelings will also elevate our mood and makes us realize how truly blessed we are. So, today, rather than write her a note, I decided to post about a friend of mine whom I will call Maureen. That’s not her real name, but I know she will know that this article is written about her.
Maureen is one of those people that God sent into my life to be a friend, an example, and a prayer partner. Maureen loves God with her whole heart and soul. Her love of God is reflected in all that she says and does. She is well balanced, yet, a little bit funky, and I really like that about her! Maureen always has a smile on her face unless she is deeply involved in prayer. It’s then that her soul smiles. She serves God in our church as a sacristan and many other volunteer positions. She seems to be always moving and full of prayer as she works.
We pray for each others children on a regular basis. Maureen studies Sacred Scripture. I see her reading her well worn Bible, daily, after Mass. She seems to find special insights into scripture that have escaped me. When I lector at Mass, and one of the readings is written by Paul, Maureen comes in and says to me, “This one is a doozy. Good luck.” Or, “This one is so easy. You’ll do fine.” We both wish that Paul would just take a breath and add commas to his preaching.
Maureen is a regular adorer before the Blessed Sacrament. She belongs to the Rosary group at Church and to the Marian Prayer Group that meets on Tuesdays during adoration. Maureen is also an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She serves Jesus by taking Him to the local nursing home residents. She’s on the go for the Lord!
Maureen serves, praises, and brings others closer to God. Do you see how blessed I am? She’s an answer to a prayer and a true gift from God.
Maureen, we both know that’s not your real name. Thank you for being my friend! I am blessed by this relationship. Thank you.
November 1, 1950, Pope Pius XII, declared that by divine revelation, the Assumption of Mary was a divinely inspired doctrine. That at the end of her earthly life, Mary was assumed into heaven body and soul. This was a doctrine that was accepted by the Church. Homilies have been found going back, as far as, the 6th century.
full of grace,
The Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now and at the hour of our death.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever.
O Ever-Virgin Mother of God and Mediatrix of
Grace who art the House of Gold within which dwells thy Son, our Mediator,
Jesus Christ, we humbly beseech thee to grant our requests for our salvation
and the salvation of the entire world. (Here pause and make your requests) Keep
us close to the Vicar of thy Son in the unity of the One, Holy, Catholic,
Apostolic and Roman Church. Hear our prayer and grant the requests we make to
thee. St. Joseph, Intercede for us. St. Jude Thaddeus, Pray for
us. St. Mary of Cleophas, Pray for us. St. Philip Neri, Pray for
us. St. Louis Grignion de Montfort, Pray for us. St. Maximillian Kolbe,
Pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe,
Patroness of the Americas,
Pray for us.
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mystical Rose, make intercession for the Holy
Church, protect the Sovereign Pontiff, help all those who invoke thee
in their necessities, and since thou art the ever Virgin Mary, and
Mother of the True God, obtain for us from thy most holy Son the grace
of keeping our faith, of sweet hope in the midst of the bitterness of
life, of burning charity, and the precious gift of final perseverance.
One Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father...in gratitude for
the Miraculous Portrait as a continuing miracle and testimony.
Hey, you! Yes, I mean you. Have you looked around today? The trees look beautiful. They open their branches like someone giving you a hug. Look how deep the green is on their leaves. Look at the flowers underneath the trees. The trees have so much shade, and you can rest under them. It's cooler here than anywhere else. Look at the cracks on the sidewalks. People call them weeds, but those plants are hardy. They can grow out of the depths and stay strong even in drought.
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118: 24
Can you find things for which you can be grateful? Researchers have found that people who look for and find things for which they can be grateful live longer and happier lives. They suffer less from the inevitable stress in life. They suffer fewer physical symptoms when they are stressed. They are more relaxed.
“Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1Thessalonians 17-18
We all know that life is not easy. We find ourselves in situations which we cannot control. Pain and suffering are guaranteed. Something or some one will cause you to hurt, deeply. Yet, in every painful situation, whether the pain be physical or mental, there is always something for which you can be grateful, even if it's the thought that this horrible, terrible day is over and it's time for sleep. (Right there were 2 things for which you can be grateful.). Like Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind," who said, "Tomorrow is another day." 3 things.
“So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Matthew 6:34 It's easy to say, "Live gratefully every day," but the inevitable question is, "How do you live gratefully? How do you put this life style into practice?"
“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3: 14-17
One of the things to do is, and, I know, it's one more thing to add to your list, keep a gratitude journal so that when you fill up your journal, you can remind yourself how many things for which you can be grateful. You don't have to write full sentences unless you want to do so. Instead, make a quick list at the end of the day. Go to sleep with a smile on your face.
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Knowing that it takes 6 weeks for a new habit to be formed or broken, if you forget to add to your gratitude journal, forgive yourself, and start again. Change is a process. You will find that, as you realize how much you have for which you can be grateful, you will change. You will become more peaceful. When you are more peaceful, you will be kinder and more loving to those whom you encounter in your journey through life. In turn, others will be more peaceful, and change has started. Life is a journey, a process, and you can affect to change simply by being you.
“Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” Psalm 107: 1-2
Other things you can do to implement a lifestyle of gratefulness, is to remember to thank someone, even if it's for the small things they do. Take someone a cup of coffee and say thank you. I have begun to implement this practice. Choose a day. Send some one a thank you note, just because. Thank the cashier who checks out your groceries. Thank someone you love! Thank God and never cease praying!
“Say to God, “How awesome are your deeds! So great is your power that your enemies come cringing to you.” Psalm 66:3
Begin your day with gratefulness. When you awaken, thank God for 3 things and begin your day in joy. God is good, and He is madly in love with you. Thank Him for everything, because everything is a gift!
“You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you. O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 118: 28-29
Death comes to us all. Yesterday, Robin Williams died, the victim of an apparent suicide. Depression can be a fatal disease. This man who made so many of us laugh, who made us feel joy, even through our sadness, has passed into eternity.
God is the judge of each of us. We cannot judge this man. We can only pray for the repose of his soul.
Many people refer to the souls in Purgatory as the "poor souls." I hear that, and I think, no, not "poor souls," holy souls. Yes, they need to make reparation for their sins, and, yes, they suffer, but their next stop is heaven. They are not poor, they are rich!
Robin, you will be missed. We will pray for you and for the other souls who have died.
I remember a story about St. Padre Pio. He would often pray for his grandparents, that they might have a holy death. They had died many years before he began this practice. Think of what our prayers can do for our family members who have already died. We might be blessing them through our prayers with the gift of a very holy death. We won't know until we reach heaven, but we do know that we can pray for anyone who has ever died, at any time.
One of the most popular prayers for the Holy Souls in Purgatory is the St. Gertrude Prayer. Our Lord promised Gertrude that whenever this prayer was said that 1,000 souls would be released from Purgatory. Our prayers do help the souls.
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.
Another prayer to say for the souls is this one.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord; And let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen
This is one of my favorite prayers::
Oh, my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to heaven, especially those who are in most need of they mercy.
Pray each day for the Holy souls in purgatory and the rest of us who are not so holy. Pray for the salvation of everyone. Our prayers are needed. Pray for all those who suffer from depression. Depression can kill.
Robin, May your soul, and all the souls of God's faithful departed, through the loving and infinite mercy of God, rest in His Loving arms and in His Peace peace. Amen.
God is never out of our lives unless we push Him away. Even if we push Him away, He is always there waiting for us to return to Him.
Life is not easy. Each day we must pick up our cross and walk with Him even when we do not understand
"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your waysand my thoughts than your thoughts." Isaiah 55:: 8-9
So, when I Pixie and I walk, we leave behind the problems of the day, which helps. “Therefore
do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for
itself. Let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day." Matthew 6: 34
So, today we walked and saw the tree. Fall is on the way!
"Blessing upon blessing. Grace upon grace." Tracy McCarrell
Then there was left over cheesecake for breakfast. Raspberry and chocolate. Delicious!
"For he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” Acts 14: 17
Then, I checked the photos from the walk. Look at this amazing toad. Even a toad is a loving gift from God.
When was the last time you got this close to a toad?
"He loves righteousness and justice;the earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord." Psalm 33:5
Even with the crosses and problems we bear each day, God blesses those who love Him. He blesses those who don't love Him, and He waits.
"If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land which flows with milk and honey." Numbers 14: 8
"And from his fulness have we all received, grace upon grace. "
John 1: 16
"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!"
When you look through the muck in your life, and we all have muck, remember to look for the light, too. God will not be outdone in generosity. He will show you His Love, even if you have to look to see it. For reasons unknown to me, my credit card not only had a hold placed on it, but it was outright cancelled. I was visiting my daughter and relying on my credit card. I had no cash. My only other credit card had expired a year ago. This credit card was the first card my husband and I used when we got married. That was almost 40 years ago. I pay my bill each month in full. Go figure! It took a week and a half, working with the bank, trying to free up my card. Good news, I found out that the grocery store would not accept my credit card, but they would accept one of my two checks. Working with the bank, I opened a new checking account with my other check. I learned some financial lessons and a lot of patience. I now have not one new credit card, but 3 new credit cards and a debit card. I have another checking and savings account in the city where my daughter lives. I also have cash again. God will not be outdone in His generosity. I don't know what I'm going to do with all the credit cards, but I do know, now, that I will not be put in the position of not having a credit card or cash on hand when I travel. Yes, Rejoice in the Lord!
This is Pixie. She is an only dog. She is a therapy dog. She and I do hospice work together. Pixie is not used to having to share. She is very passive aggressive. When kitties aren't looking, she will eat their food and drink their water, even if she has plenty of her own.
Those eyes are amazing! They seem to probe the depths of my soul. She's a good dog, even if she is a bit passive aggressive. We laugh a lot when she's around!