St. Michael Prayer

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.

Glory to God in the Highest!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Worth Repeating: Formula for Prayer

Photo Source:  Brooklyn Museum
Praise God.

Adore God.

Acknowledge Him as your Creator.

Thank God.

Love God.

Talk to God.

Rest in the presence of God.

Sing to God.

Love God.

Adore God.

Praise God.

Thank God.



Remember.
He is more than a "higher power."

He is Father.
He is Son.
He is the Holy Spirit.
He is the Trinity.
He is God.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Taking Down the Christmas Decorations

Wait!
(Insert the sounds of brakes screeching and a needle on a record dragging.)
Don't take them down, yet!

Why?

In the Catholic Church,
Christmas,
the second most sacred season of the church year,
has just begun.

Christmas began with the vigil Masses of Christmas, and it will end on January 10th this year, on the feast of the Baptism of Jesus.

After the 10th, the end of the Christmas season, we will drift into ordinary time.
The vestments a priest wears will once again be green.  
Now, if you're like me, you have a good reason to leave up your Christmas tree.

Merry Christmas!

Time to let your patron saint choose you for 2016.
Here's a link to the site.
HERE

Monday, December 28, 2015

It's that Time of Year Again! What time is it You say?

It's time to let your patron saint for
2016
choose you.
I have found the 
is one of the easiest way to do this.

For the year,
2015,
Blessed Mother Teresa
chose me,
and I have felt her influence.

In this 
YEAR OF MERCY,
who will be 
YOUR 
Saint?

Just click on the words
Saint's Name Generator, and you'll go to the site.
I'd love to hear who your saint is.
Tell me about it.


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Ending the Week in Praise and Thanksgiving...

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
 
1)  There were so many people who worked behind the scenes to make Christmas a true celebration, both at church and at displays like these.
They worked hard, and we were blessed by their work.

2) We were blessed this Christmas with memories, thoughts of families and friends.

3) We celebrated the joys of Christmas with pause for all those who are serving in the military, especially those who are away from home.

Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the Heavenly Host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!!!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Worth Repeating: 30 Words in Prayer

Silence
Before God.
Prayer of Praise to God.
Rest in the Spirit.
God is with us.
Give Him Your Cares.
Surrender all to Him. 
He loves.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Decorating the Church for Christmas

Decorating the Church for the holidays is a chore, but it is a chore of love.
We see flashes of color as JoAnn and Shirley race around,
directing us on what needs to be done.
The materials are out, 
and our creativity is challenged.
Space must be used properly.
Materials must be used respectfully.
So,
we work.
We suggest.
We modify.
We stop.
We view.
We take pictures.
We want to see the Church as others see the Church.
It is a beautiful Church, but once the decorations come out,
it is even more beautiful!
I wish you could see it today.
Absolutely AMAZING!
 
Yesterday, as we worked, Jesus watched us work.
He gazed on us as we worked to make His Church more beautiful.
He was in the tabernacle hearing us, watching us, inspiring us.
I could almost hear Him saying,
"Thank you.  Look at what you've done to My Church!  It's beautiful!  You're beautiful!  I love you all for what you've done."
In the end, we were tired, dirty, and overcome with the beauty.  
Thank You, Jesus, for being with us.  Thank You for inspiring us.  Thank you for loving us.
 

 


The Church is ready.  Jesus is still there.  He waits for us.  He loves us.  He's there for all of us.
 
Oh, Come let us adore Him!
Amen.

 
 

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Light Breaks the Darkness

Our world weighed down with 
The world enveloped
in
darkness
sighs with relief
when 
the 
Light of Heaven
is born.
 
Heaven reaches down
and 
touches the stable where
the sounds of a crying Babe
pierce the night,
and the whispers of soft feet
shuffle in the darkness
to soothe and comfort 
Him.
 
 
 
The Father looks at the
Son
and 
smiles.
It is Good.
 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We couldn't be there...

Of course, the songs are beautiful,
but we weren't there.
 
We couldn't feel the cold surrounding our bodies as we walked the roads and into the town of Bethlehem.
 
We couldn't be there to feel the dashed hopes of Joseph as he went from place to place trying to find shelter for his wife and soon to be born child.
 
We couldn't be there to feel Joseph's sorrow as he was turned away again and again.
 
We couldn't be there to feel the disappointment as Joseph moved his wife into the stable where animals were housed.
 
We couldn't be there to feel his empty stomach growling and knowing that there was no food at this late hour.

We couldn't be there to feel the cold surround him as he waited for the birth of the Son of God.

We couldn't be there to hear Him whisper to the Father his prayers of sorrow mixed with joy at the coming of the Babe.

We couldn't be there as Joseph first beheld the Child, the Son of God, the Messiah.

We couldn't be there as the cold, night air no longer mattered because the Child, the Promised One of God had been born.

We couldn't be there to hear the angels sing of his birth.

We couldn't be there to see the young mother and father kneeling in adoration of their Child.

We couldn't be there to see the shepherds as they rushed to adore the newborn King.

We couldn't be there to see the mother and father with the Baby in their arms, sleep safely, guarded by angels.

We couldn't be there to see Joseph comforting the Child as He cried in the early morning hours so that his spouse, the other one chosen by God, could sleep.

We couldn't be there to hear the Babe crying, already suffering for us.

We couldn't be there,
but
we are here now.

For Unto Us a Child is born.
Are you ready?
He'll be here soon.

Celebrate His Birth.
Pray for Peace!



Saturday, December 19, 2015

Ending the Week with Praise and Thanksgiving

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
 
1) He's almost here!
2) I'm finally feeling better!

3) i have great hopes for still accomplishing my Christmas shopping.
Hope is the keyword!

 
 
Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the Heavenly Host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Louisa, the Monks, the Walk, and the Angel: A story that Ends long After Christmas

She could hear them getting ready for the service, celebration they called it.  The monks were chanting in the background as they decorated the church.  The abbot, Father Schneider, had been over for their annual visit where she would renew their lease on the land and approve the parking that would overflow into the now barren fields.  This had been part of the agreement her great grand daddy had made with the priests who came seeking shelter in a storm so long ago. 
As long as her people would love on the land, the monks could live off the land.  When there were no more Calhoons left, the land would go to the monks.  It was required though that the land owners and the priests meet once a year.  So, they did.  The arrangement was amicable, and, according to her great grandaddy, approved.

Father Schneider came to dinner with the entire meal prepared.  He brought with him a younger priest who was to witness the transaction.  Again, this was required.  The young priest had been a lawyer at one time.  He turned his back on a six figure salary, and entered monastic life.  She never understood that.  Father Schneider donned and apron and warmed up the food.  The monks only ate vegetables, but they were delicious.  They brought her a steak which Father Schneider prepared.

The young priest brought a bottle of the wine the monks had made.  It was made from onions!  She was amazed.  It was delicious!  They ate together and drank the wine.  Father Schneider said, "Louisa, we would like to invite you to midnight Mass, again, this year."

"Father," Louisa replied with a hearty laugh, "Thank you, but you know I'm not a believer."  The young priest laughed.  "You could be," he said.  "What have you got to loose?" 

"An hour of good sleep or the time to drink some of the fabulous wines that you make.  I like being your neighbor, but I don't believe in that heeby jeeby stuff.  There's no God!  I wish I could convince YOU of that!  Ha!"

Father Schneider smiled kindly, "That will never happen, Louisa."

A silence settled on the table.  Louisa never stopped smiling as the young priest blessed the food.  "Oh, come on.  So you can't make me convert.  That's nothing to be sad about."

"Louisa," said Father Schneider, "One day, you'll know I'm right.  Anyway, the offer is always open.  Come to Mass and visit us.  We don't bite."

"Father, the day I see an angel is the day I'll be there, and since angels don't exist, except those cute ones in your bookstore, I'll never be there."

The young priest smiled at her.  He liked her spunk.  "That reminds me.  Father Ted sent you something.  It's on the porch.  He carved it just for you.  He said that you found the stump and gave it to him.  I put it on the porch.  I blessed it for you, and I'll bring it in after we eat."

Louisa laughed.  She remembered that beaten up, rotting piece of wood she found on her daily walk.  She would walk so that she wouldn't smoke any more. It took a lot of miles, but she gave up smoking!  Father Ted had given her the idea is walking. He said he had kicked the habit that way.  He told her to walk as often as she could.  He had smiled the day she brought in that stump.  She had dragged it a good quarter mile.  It wore her out, but from that day, she never smoked again.
They finished their meal, and they signed the documents.  She could see the church lit up from her window.  They walked out on to the porch.  Father Ted had carved the wood!  It was beautiful!  It was an angel about 3 feet tall bowed down in adoration.  His wings were folded, and he was offering something in his hand. It was a burned out cigarette.  You had to look really closely to see it, but it was there.

Louisa laughed until her sides ached.  She loved it!  "Please tell Father Ted, I love it!"
The unspoken question hung in the air.  "I meant a real, living angel!  When I see one of those, I'll be in the church from sunrise to sunset,"

They laughed along with her.  The young priest brought in the angel and put it next to the fireplace.  Then, they left and walked down the path to the monastery. 

Christmas Eve brought with it a gentle snow.  Louisa had watched the monks as they emptied the sheds of the Christmas things.  She would volunteer in their store when they needed help, but she never understood this need for fairy tales.  She would be alone tonight.  There was no family,  No children   When she died the land would go to these good monks. 

They had already had two Masses.  It was after 10:30.  She wasn't tired, so she put on her hiking boots, grabbed a flashlight, and started to walk.  She hadn't gotten far when she saw a man walking towards her.  He was young and clean shaven..  He wasn't very tall.  She didn't feel any fear, but if he was aggressive, she knew she could take him on and win.

He saw her, "Ma'am, I'm sorry.  I hope I didn't scare you.  I think I'm lost.  I'm looking for the church.  I'm supposed to preach there tonight."

That's odd, she thought.  Like he could read her thoughts, he said, "Father Schneider asked me to help out because of all the people who attend midnight Mass.  I was out collecting my thoughts, and then I realized I was lost, and it's getting late and colder."

"Oh, okay.  I was confused." She breathed a sigh of relief.

"My name is Michael. I mean Father Michael, and, let me guess, you are Louisa?  Father Schneider was hoping you'd join us tonight."

She laughed.  "He never gives up.  I'll show you the way. I was just out for a walk to clear my thoughts.  It's not too far."

Michael kept talking. He had an interesting personality.   "Would you mind if I preached my homily to you, right now, since you won't be there tonight?"

Louisa rolled her eyes.  He was very nice, but she didn't want to hear any fairy tales, and he had  said he had to get back.  "Maybe, tomorrow?"

"Well, then you'd have to be at Mass.  That will be tomorrow."

"How long will it take?"

"Not too long.  You're dressed warmly. You're not craving a cigarette, so we should be good."
"How in the heck did he know?"

"All right.  Make it quick."  She noticed the bench.  The monks must have put it there.  Looked like Father Ted's work.  It was exquisite.  There seemed to be a little light behind him. Must be the church. People got there early.

"For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son."  Today, we gather to celebrate His birth.  I was there when He was born. His Mother held him close to her.  She wrapped Him in swaddling garments that had been given to her because she and her husband were poor.  The garments should have been fine linens befitting a King, but they were cast offs from another woman's child.  I saw His earthly father, Joseph, hold the child for the first time.  I saw him bow down before the new born King.  I heard the angels singing praise to God, but only the shepherds were invited to meet Him.  They, who were the cast offs were called to pay Him homage.  I saw Joseph rub Mary's hands and cover the three of them with his shabby coat.  He could not light a fire in the manger, but he could love and protect them with his body.  I saw Joseph guard the Mother and child through the night. He couldn't see me, but I was sent as their protector, too.  I held the babe in my arms, just as you can do tonight when you receive the Eucharist.  Receive Him into your souls. Worship Him as the God Eternal. Adore Him.  Let the air be filled with hymns to God just as it was that Christmas morn.  Let the world be changed by your Love.  Oh, come let us adore Him. He is the King of Kings.    Amen"

Louisa had heard Michaels powerful words.  He had quite an imagination!  Michael stood looking up to heaven.  Louisa left her seat.  “An excellent discourse.  I felt like I was there.”  Michael smiled and followed.  They walked in silence.  What had just happened?  A priest would never say he was there.  He had a great imagination.  She could almost see the Babe and His parents in that stable…Wait! That was impossible!

 She thought that no matter what, Father Schneider would never miss Christmas Mass.  She could hear Michael’s footsteps as they neared the church. She turned around to show him the church, and he smiled at her and nodded.  "God bless you, Louisa," he said as he walked into the church. She could hear the choir practicing a song about Mary, the Mother of God.  Tears formed in her eyes.  She kept walking towards the church.  Where had she seen Michael before? 

The priests were gathering to concelebrate Mass.  They were vested in white garments. She saw Father Schneider.  He said, "Louisa, did you see the angel?"  She looked at all the priests. "No, but I met Father Michael.  He was lost and he practiced his sermon before we got here."
"My dear, Father Schneider said, "There's no Father Michael here."
"I saw him walk into church."
"Do you see him in church?  I think someone was playing a joke on you."
She looked around, and there on the altar was Michael.  He was kneeling down in adoration in front of the tabernacle.
Father Schneider said, "Louisa, that's a new carving by Father Ted.  Someone keeps moving him from the crèche to the altar.  I think one of our servers thinks he's being funny.  Anyway, that's Saint Michael, the archangel.  My dear, will you join us for Midnight Mass?"
Louisa was crying now.  She nodded and walked into church.  She turned,"Father, I need instruction now."  He replied, “Listen.  This will be your first lesson.”
She sat at the back of the church. She had never seen so much beauty in a service before.  So many of the townspeople were there, and they welcomed her warmly. 
She had so many questions.  What was this Eucharist?  She followed the people to the altar.  When she got there the young priest smiled and blessed her.  She wanted more, so she waited.  She must learn.

The next Easter Louisa completed her RCIA instruction and  was baptized as a Catholic.  She wept tears of joy.  She had been given a key to the church and she could be found there from morning to evening adoring God.  She knew her life was drawing to an end.  The cancer had returned and it was eating her alive.  She was in pain, but she smiled.  She knew that, soon, she would return to her love.

When she died, and her soul left her body, she saw Michael smiling and waiting near the Virgin. Then, the Mother of God grabbed her hand and took her before the Throne of the Trinity.  They poured their blessings out on her.  All of heaven rejoiced!  She was home, at last!









Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Worth Repeating: Getting in Touch with Yourself

Today, you often see "memes" that talk about the wonder of you.  These memes talk about getting in touch with yourself, learning to like yourself, learning to love yourself.  These themes are often preached by secular speakers as they tour the country selling their books or appearing on TV shows espousing their philosophies of life, wealth and happiness. 

"You are amazing!"
"Like a snowflake, there is no one else like you."
"If you don't like yourself, neither will anyone else."
"You choose to be happy or not."
"Don't believe it when someone tells you that you are not perfect."

While all these statements have truth in them, (remember, we are made from the stuff that made the stars, according to the late Carl Sagan,) these philosophies that promise us happiness, fall short of the entire truth.  When we love only ourselves, we cannot be happy.  Self love is only a part of love, and without the rest of the story, we are really incomplete. 

Jesus tells us that we must first Love God with all our hearts and souls because this is the first and greatest commandment.  He then tells us that we must love our neighbors as ourselves.  In these statements are the two greatest commandments.  They are the completion of love. 


“Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?”  He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’  This is the greatest and first commandment.  And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 22: 36-40

God
Neighbor
Self

This is the completion of love.  While it is important to love the self, it is more important to love
God first.  In Him we find peace.

" Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. “
John 14: 27


In Him we find rest.

"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Matthew 11: 28-30


In Him we find Love.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
John 3:16

To love oneself is not enough.  It is important, but it is not enough.  We must also love our neighbor as ourselves.  If we love our neighbors as ourselves, then the love we have for God and ourselves is easily shared with our neighbors. 

The sequence is this:: We love God.  God fills us with His love and peace.  We are full of God's love and self love.  This gift of love flows out into our world to all the people we meet filling them with love.  Since nature abhors a vacuum, the lack of peace, which once filled our neighbors, now fills their souls with the love of God.  The negative is pushed out by love, Who is God. 


 The greatest commandment is to love. 

Love God.
Love our neighbor.
Love ourselves.

There is no other way.


“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8: 38-39

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sick Day is Over. There are reasons for this.

I missed Guadete Sunday at church.  I was too sick to attend Mass.  Two weeks after taking care of my daughter, who is immune suppressed, who had taken ill with a nastier than normal cold, I felt the first inklings that I might be coming down with the same virus.  She was very sick for two weeks.  Now she is just sick.  I think I am moving into the just sick stage of this virus, but I'm not sure.

It doesn't matter.  The fact is I am sick and reduced to only being able to be out of bed for short periods of time to take care of necessities.  The virus is so tiny, yet, it disables me almost completely.

There is so little time left before Christmas.  I can feel my anxieties rising as I think about what needs to be done before the kids come home, and how quickly Advent has flown by.  My hope had been to draw closer to God through this time of preparation.  Now, I'm stuck in bed with a box of Kleenex at my side, a cup of lemon, garlic and honey tea waiting to be ingested, and a 60 + pound dog feeling the need to cuddle with me and hog the bed.  She does love to comfort me, though. 

I am not where I wanted to be at this time.  As I have laid in bed hacking, coughing and sneezing, I finally asked the question, "This might not be where I want to be, but where does God want me to be?"

God gives us the graces we need at the right time.  Could this sojourn in bed be what God is asking of me for now?  Does He need my small sacrifices from the discomfort and inconvenience of this cold for His greater purposes?  Does He need for me not to be distracted by the events and activities that would otherwise consume my time if I were well and on the go?
Does He need to get my attention in order to open my heart and soul to Him and His ways, not my ways? 

Most likely, all of the above, and maybe more.  
Then I remember:

God so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son.

What a sentence for meditation! 

God so loved the world!  He doesn't just love me or you, but the entire world!
He gave us His ONLY begotten Son.
His only Son!
Jesus, the God-man, having both a divine nature and a human nature.
God walking on earth, breathing our air!
A man born to die so that we might live!
A king who would be betrayed by those He loved, sentenced to die a death reserved for the lowest of the low, a king who willingly accepted this sacrifice for love of us.
So, we wait for the King of Kings who should have been born in the finest castle, with the most beautiful crib and blankets.  Yet, He was born in a stable, cold and hungry, wrapped in the swaddling clothes that his parents could afford.

God the Father knows when to keep a secret.  He also knows those whom He can trust, so He sent His angels to proclaim the good news, not to Caesar, not to Herod, not to any leaders of the known world.  He sent His angels to proclaim the birth of His Son to the outcasts of society, the shepherds!  He told them of His love for world, and they rushed over to adore the new born King.

Would we have been included in this proclamation?  Most likely, not.  As did most of Bethlehem that night, we would have slept through His birth.  Later, we might have seen Him with His parents in the marketplace, and we might have cooed at Him, but would we have bowed down in adoration of our King? 

We were blessed with this knowledge of our King, our God.  Now, even though Advent has rushed by us, again, we still have time to walk through the glorious mystery of His birth.  Are we down to ten days before Christmas?  It's a short walk through the streets of Bethlehem.  Let us rush to His empty manger and prepare to adore our newborn King.

Today's News


Monday, December 14, 2015

A Letter from Your Guardian Angel

My Dearest Child,
You are not my child, but you were given to me by God the moment you were conceived in your mother's womb, not a second later, not a month later, but at that moment when you became a human being.
From that moment on, you were the person I was to love without condition, and the person whom I was to guide through your life.
God also charged me with protecting you throughout your life.
I love you beyond anything you can imagine.
I can't love you as much as God loves you, but I am a reflection of His love for you.
Although I am in the third choir of angels, I am very powerful.
I will protect and defend you unless God chooses to bring you closer to Him through adversity and challenges in your life.  Then, I can only do His Most Holy Will.
Do not be bitter if God allows challenges and tribulations in your life.  He is testing you, and He is using these trials and tribulations to bring you closer to Him.  When these challenges come to you, keep your eyes on Jesus.  He will send you the strength and courage that you need.  
I long for the time when we meet.  You have free will, and I cannot interfere if you choose to sin.  I try to direct you to God.  You will know when I am there.  If you have sinned, you will feel ashamed.  I am helping you return to God.  I am a part of your conscience.  Never feel ashamed to confess your sins.  I will be there loving you and rejoicing with heaven at your return to the Lord. Because God gave you the gift of free will, I cannot force you to choose God.  There are so many people who do not choose God!  Their angels are broken when they die.  Hell is a place I do not like to see.  There is no hope in Hell.  There is no God in hell.  The demons torture the souls there.  There is no relief from the suffering.  This is why you must pray for all souls, daily.

"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 thy mercy."

Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, I love you.  Save souls.

You will help to save souls.  Pray for those who have no respect for human life.  Pray for those who murder and kill in the name of religion.  Pray for those have abortions.  Pray for those who perform abortions.  Pray for those who violate the untimely death of children.  Pray for those who forsake God in favor of evil. 

Evil comes in many forms.  You might not even recognize it when you see it.  Evil might look beautiful.  Evil might look like the fulfillment of everything you have ever wanted.  Evil might be calling you right now.  Just know that I am by your side at all times.  You are never alone.  I am invisible, but I am here.  Invoke my help and protection.  I will help you with great joy!

You are mine to serve on this earth.  
Ask me.  Invoke my help.  As me to bring other angels to help.
Call upon the Mother of God for help with angels.
She is our Queen.  We seek to serve her.  She, like no other, always does the Will of God.
Love her, too.
She is your mother.

My precious human,
I will close now with this thought.
I love you.
When you die, I will be with you.  I will be with you through your judgment.  I will escort you to Purgatory.   I will wait until you are purified, then I will escort you to the Throne of God where you will behold the
Beatific Vision for all eternity.

You are not alone, and you are loved.

Lovingly,
Your Guardian Angel
 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Today was her Feast Day: A Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe

Fairest Queen,
again, you remind us that you are our Mother.
You have been our mother,
You are our mother now,
You will always be our Mother.
For this we thank you.
We also thank God for your love,
for your kindness,
for your tenderness.
You love us only as a Mother can.
You guide us to your Son.
You protect us with the zeal of lioness guarding her child.
 Dearest Mother,
I run to you
broken, in need of repair.
Help me.
Intercede for me.
You are our mother, but you are also 
our queen.
Amen.

A Moment with God

Where the time had disappeared, she didn't know.  All she knew was that when she entered the chapel time did not stand still.  Time seemed to have the wings of angels, who themselves, lived outside of time.  More importantly, in that small chapel, she sat with Jesus, contained in the monstrance.  She closed her eyes to worship Him, inside her heart she sang songs of praise to Him, then opened her eyes to find herself filled with the glory of His love.  God cannot be outdone in generosity.  God cannot be anything but love, kindness, and justice.  God can only be the great I AM, Creator, Redeemer, Savior, Paraclete.  In His Sacred Heart there is shelter from the storms. Without Him there is nothing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Ending the Week In Thanksgiving and Praise!

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
 
1) Things are better, and that's good, very good.  
2) Even though the start of the Christmas season doesn't begin until December 25th, I love listening to Christmas Carols now.
It helps with how I do Advent.

3) One can never complain about warm weather in December in Minnesota, can one?




Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the Heavenly Host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!!!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

My Advent Journey, So Far...

My dream about this post was to say,
"My Advent journey has been amazing!  I've grown closer to God by leaps and bounds. Nobody could be more prepared than I am to receive Him into my heart on  Christmas..."
Sadly, my journey has been nothing like this.
Instead, my journey has been filled with challenges I never expected.
I'm not being pulled out of my comfort zone,
but I am being called upon to trust and accept the Will of God.
Yikes!
I'm dealing with sickness and aging.
My daughter picked up a cold and has been home, in bed, with a cold.
For most people, this is nothing serious,
but she's only 5 months out from a stem cell transplant, and a cold can make her very ill.  This time, she was lucky, and her cold didn't develop into pneumonia.  That was good, but it has been frightening for me, to the point of having panic attacks.
During this Advent Season, I know that God wants me to trust and accept.
He's working with us now, even if we can't see His work
Even now I gulp.

My dog, Pixie, developed a lumbar stenosis, which happens to some greyhounds as they age.
Aging.
Pixie is 11 years old.  In human years, she's 87.   That's old.
The pain is under control, but there are other side effects.  This is a progressive condition.  
I know that she is going to die someday, but this stenosis, which came on suddenly,
made me aware that I have been blessed with her for 6 years.  
These years were way too short.  I will cherish the time we have left together, but one day,
Pixie will run at the rainbow bridge with my other dogs
I weep as I write this.
Yet, I must praise and thank God because she was the right dog for me at the right time.
Trust and Acceptance

Today, I sort of dozed during Mass.
I didn't mean to sleep, but I did.  I can't blame it on the homily.  I'm just tired.
In spite of the falls and failures,
God has given me a gift.
He has challenged me to learn to trust Him and to accept His Holy Will.
He wants me to welcome Him into my heart on Christmas with more love than I have ever had before this season

My journey is difficult, but I know He loves me.
Hey, Pope Francis opened the doors of Mercy for the world.
'His Mercy endures forever!"
Can I learn to trust and accept this seaso?
I hope so, but until later...
I'll pray for you if you pray for me!
Thanks!
 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Worth Repeating: Can You Spare 3 Hail Mary's Each Day This Week for Peace?

Our Mother reminds us to pray for peace.
Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
the Lord is with you.
Each of us must pray for the peace of God 
in our hearts,
in our lives,
in our nation,
and 
in our world.
Blessed are you among women,
and
blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Jesus. 

If our world converts,
then there will be peace.
The peace of God,
which transcends all,
will fill our hearts, our minds and our souls.
Holy Mary,
Mother of God, 
Pray for us sinners,
We are all sinners.
Whether we know it or not,
we all seek God.
Our souls long for Him.
In Him there is peace,
a peace which the world cannot give.
Now, and at the hour of our death.
Amen.
That's one Hail Mary.
Offer that gift to Our Mother for peace.
She will take your gift and offer it to Jesus
in love for all of her children.
Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and
blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Jesus.
Hold Mary,
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death.
Amen.
41 words can save souls.
That's the number of words in each Hail Mary.

That's two Hail Mary's now.
Pope Francis says 20 decades of the Rosary each day.
There are 53 Hail Mary's in each rosary.
Our beloved Pope prays 4 complete rosaries a day.
He prays the Joyful Mysteries.
He prays the Sorrowful Mysteries.
He prays the Luminous Mysteries.
He prays the Glorious Mysteries.
53 x 4 = 212
If he can spare 212 Hail Mary's a day,
Can you spare 3 a day for one week?
Hail Mary,
Full of Grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and
blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Jesus.
Hold Mary,
Mother of God,
Pray for us sinners,
Now, and at the hour of our death.
Amen.
That's three.
The Blessed Mother will give your prayers to Jesus.
She intercedes for us everyday before His throne.

Leave a comment and let me know how it works for you.
Please share and PIN.
We can all join in a prayer for peace!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

I am His Mother's Slave...

Doesn't that title sound like something you would read in a gossip magazine?  You know the kind I mean.  The kind where all the stories are made up.  That's what the title sounds like to me,
but it's true.
I am His Mother's slave, and I have given myself over to her lovingly, willingly, and totally.

Today,
on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception,
a group of us lead by the blogger,
Pam Spano
of
complete our retreat
33 Days to Morning Glory,
and we will all consecrate ourselves to
Mary. 
We will give her complete control over our lives, our souls, our hopes, our dreams, our children, our families, all that we have, all that we own, all that we are, all that we will be.
We will run to her arms and be completely dependent on 
the Mother of God.
We will be her willing slaves for the rest of our lives.
 
Have you ever ridden on a roller coaster?  I don't like roller coasters because I think that they are dangerous rides.  You are strapped in, but if you get scared, you can't get off the ride until it's over.
You have no control over the hills and valleys you hit.  You have not control over the amount of time the ride takes.  You have no control over the safety mechanisms of the ride, nor the people who service the ride, or the people who run the ride.
Most people who like roller coasters, though, don't think twice about hopping on to a ride and going with the flow.
For me, that's frightening because I don't have faith in the "givens" of the ride.
This is almost the same idea as the consecration.
 
We are taking a leap of faith, and we are giving Mary our all. 
She will direct our lives from now on, and that "roller coaster" ride we call
Life
will be totally under her control.
Gulp!
She will lead us.   Care for us.  Mother us.  Protect us.
We only have to step back and let her make all the decisions.
Trust.
Faith.
Obedience.
Yikes!
Please pray for us when you are at Mass today.
We will need your prayers! 

Monday, December 7, 2015

Things I Love about The Sacred Month of December

1) Advent.  The time of preparation for the birth of our Savior.
Advent lends itself to preparation in meditation.
Imagine you walking with Mary and Joseph on the way to Bethlehem.
What do you see?  What do you hear?  What happens when you arrive?

2) Christmas Eve.  The home celebrations.  We remember the Baby being born in the stable, surrounded by angels who will proclaim His birth to the poor of the world.

3) Midnight Mass.  There is nothing as wonderful as this gift of Midnight Mass.  Let the temperatures be below zero and snow pouring down.
I will worship God at Midnight Mass.

4) Christmas morning memories!  I remember the kids waking us up to open presents!  I remember their joy at the birth of Jesus.  He was a little kid, too, and they related to His life!

5) The Marian feasts in December.  The feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th.  This is a holy day of obligation.  Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12th.  There are many more feasts of Our Lady in December.  Here's a link to see the others.  
Click HERE.

6) This year, I will complete a consecration to Our Lady on December 8th.  Pray for all of us who are consecrating ourselves to Our Mother.

7) The Winter Solstice is on December 22nd.  That means from the 23rd on, the days will become longer and that spring is on the way.  What a gift from God.

8) The end of December means the start of a New Year.  May God bless us and protect us!

What do you love about the month of December?

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Feast Day of St. Nicholas!

My son's name is 
Nicholas.
He wasn't named after the great saint,
but
he was named after my grandfather,
another saint.

However, 
this is his patron saint's feast day.

There are many stories about St. Nicholas.
He was a very holy man
who gave much away to those in need.

He was a bishop.
He was a passionate fighter of heresy and paganism. 

If you would like to read more about 
St. Nicholas,
please click
The story is very inspiring.

Happy St. Nicholas feast day.
 


Saturday, December 5, 2015

A Moment with God

They sat at the table in the outdoor cafe.  She was plain.  There was nothing physically outstanding about her except for the fact that he stared into her eyes as if in a rapture.  

His eyes were a flower petal blue.  His hair was encased in a pony tail at the back of his head The wild curls of his head were tied in an unbroken line of string cascading down his back.  

He held her hand gently as though she were made of fine glass.  His eyes whispered her name, and she sat there in silent, unbroken  conversation with him. 

By the grace of God, he had found his love!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Ending the Week In Thanksgiving and Praise!

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
 
1) I'm so blessed to have friends who "beam" rather than vent and in that beaming help me so much!
Praise God!

2) Beautiful weather here.  I guess it was the warmest November of the season.

3) My neighbors are wonderful people, and I can't say enough good things about them.
 
 
 
 
Praise God from Whom all Blessings flow.
Praise Him all creatures here below.
Praise Him above the Heavenly Host.
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!!!!
 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Worth Repeating: I'm Taking the Veil!

Of course, 
that veil has to be pink!
I've decided that during the season of Lent,
I will use a chapel veil in Church.
Believe me,
this takes me back to pre-Vatican 2 years.
It was during this time that all women wore head coverings when at church.

A woman could wear a hat, a veil, or a small chapel veil.
It seems that the older I get, the more I long for the older ways.  
Whether I practice this 
devotional of wearing  a veil, 
beyond the season of Lent 
depends on whether I am able to grow spiritually by wearing the veil.
I long for fewer distractions.
I long to be closer to God.
I long to embrace my faith as I never have before.
I don't know what will happen, but for now
I'm Taking the Veil!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

i Had to Look Back to Find Him: Moments with God

He was there with me.  I just didn't know it.
Thanksgiving morning, my beautiful, loving, therapy dog came down the stairs dragging her foot.
I thought she had had a stroke during the night.
She would whine a little, but something was terribly wrong.
Of course, the vet was closed that day.
Since we were dining with friends, I decided I wouldn't go.  
I knew I had to stay home with Pixie.
My tall son came downstairs and lifted Pixie on to the couch to give her some relief.
I told him I wasn't going to dinner.
He suggested I call our friends and ask if we could bring Pixie along.
Maybe she would stay in the garage.
I did just that, and they said, "Bring her, but we'll put her in the house."
(They do not allow animals in their home normally.)
So, off we went to dinner.
Pixie was put in their bedroom on the floor, covered up with a blanket and our jackets.
I didn't realize it, but everyone kept sneaking into the bedroom with hugs, love and food.
I was still very worried.
Dinner was over.  My son picked her up and scooped her into the car.  I remember thinking that I could never carry that 60+ pound dog, but he did it with ease.
We got home.  Pixie was no better, so I called the vet.
She told me what to do to help relieve her pain, and she had me make an appointment for Friday.
Friday morning, we had a diagnosis:
Lumbosacral stenosis.
It's a very painful, degenerative condition, however,
IT IS TREATABLE!
Ka-ching!
Again, we went home, this time armed with medications that would relieve Pixie's pain.
She responded in less than an hour.
Now, she wasn't healed, and she had a long way to go, but she was clearly on the mend.
She was carried around in the strong arms of my son.
He took her out and walked her, as best she could be walked since she was dragging her leg and walking on her knuckles, to go potty.
That night I slept on the couch while Pixie slept on the love seat.
We all made our sacrifices, but Saturday morning, the pain had returned.  I called the vet.  They asked me to bring her right in.  There was a change of medications and a laser treatment was added.
You could see Pixie visibly relax.  Things got better for her.
Fast forward to Monday.
Pixie was going up and down the stairs, again, even though her leg was a little gimpy.  
She had an appointment for another laser treatment.
We beat the snow, and she feels better.
Her leg is still very weak.  She almost slipped going down the stairs, but I don't have to carry her.

So, where was God.  I had to look back to see and know that He had been with me through all of it.

1) Pixie's stenosis had never acted up before.  If my son had not been home, I could not have carried her.  She's just too heavy for me.  The timing was impeccable.
2)  Pixie responded to the medications within an hour, and they are not that expensive.  She will need to be on them the rest of her life.
3) Our friends allowed Pixie to come to Thanksgiving, and, they allowed her to be in their bedroom!
3) The laser treatments helped!  Not every dog responds the way Pixie did.
4) Even though her leg is a little bit weak, and it will, most likely stay that way, Pixie is learning how to use her other legs to adjust.
5) Even when I was at my lowest being worried about Pixie, I felt that everything was going to be all right.  I know she's 11, and I have been blessed with her.  I have to be ready to let her go.  The thought was overwhelming for me, but I made it through.

God found His way through the chaos of my live to let me know that He loved me and that He loved Pixie.
I was blessed and inspired to think about all of this.
Chaos is chaos, but Love trumps chaos with no effort at all.

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me that no matter what, no matter where, 
You are always there for me.
 Amen.
 




Monday, November 30, 2015

Her "Yes" changed the World

w
Yesterday was the First Sunday of Advent and the start of the new church year.
In real time, Mary was nearing the end of her pregnancy with Jesus.
I don't know if she was one of these woman who barely showed her baby bump or grew quite large with the baby inside of her.
That doesn't matter, but what matters is that when
Mary said
"Yes," to the Angel Gabriel,
she said
"Yes," 
on faith.
She had one question for Gabriel.
Remember, she didn't doubt that this act of God could be accomplished, but she was a consecrated virgin and had served in the temple since early childhood.
She had not been engaged or wed.  Her experience with men was very
 limited.
Her question was:
 “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?
Luke 1: 34 
She knew where babies came from.  She knew she was a virgin.
She didn't doubt.  She only wondered how.
Through the angel Gabriel, God spoke to Mary.  He wanted her to know how great was the life was that she would be carrying in the temple of her body.
She still could say "No." to the request from God
"And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."
 Luke 1:35
The angel then reminded Mary that nothing is impossible with God as he told her of the baby Elizabeth was carrying.  
I imagine Mary smiling as she agreed to be the Mother of God, the mother of the Promised one, the Messiah.
All this time, she had the option to say no, but she didn't.
She said, in total submission to the Will of God,
“Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word."
Luke 1:38
And the child was conceived in her womb.
The Child, in our day referred to as a "clump of cells," began His life, at that moment,  in the body of a woman chosen for Him by the Father.
His life began with Mary's "Yes."
Yes!
For unto us a Savior will be born!
Prepare the way of the Lord!
.

 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Worth Repeating: Givei Thanks

"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."
Thessalonians 5: 16-18

Thanksgiving is not the only time of the year in which we need to remember to give thanks and be joyful.  Paul reminds us that we must rejoice always.

Really?  Rejoice always?  What about when things go wrong?  Yes, even when things go wrong.
 Pain is easier to bear when we focus on Jesus.  By focusing on our God, we are able to take the burden off of ourselves.  The pain is easier to bear when we know that Jesus, our Brother, is with us through each trial and storm.  Rejoice?  Yes, rejoice for God is at our side!  His Arms are outstretched ready to bear our pain and help us carry our cross.  Rejoice!  The Lord is with us!

Pray without ceasing!  Surely Paul is joking!  How can we pray without ceasing?  Why should we pray without ceasing?

The easiest way to pray without ceasing is to begin each day with the morning offering.

O  My Jesus,
through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer You all of my prayers, works,
joys and sufferings
of this day for all the intentions
of Your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass said
throughout the world,
in reparation for my sins,
for the intentions of all my relatives and friends,
and in particular
for the intentions of the Holy Father.
Amen.


By giving your day to Jesus, you are in a constant state of prayer.  Since prayer is the direct communication with God, we grow closer to Him.  By giving Jesus our day, we become aware of the virtues we need to develop and practice.  With this knowledge, we can choose to grow closer to God by growing in holiness.  To grow in holiness, we eliminate sin and the causes of sin in our lives.  We choose the ways of God over the ways of the world.  Yes, pray always.

Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

When the sea is calm and the waves are gentle, giving thanks to God is easy.  We can praise and glorify Him with our entire being.  Our heart and soul joins easily to the heart of our Savior. Then, the storm surrounds us, and Paul reminds us that we must continue to give thanks to God in all circumstances.  When the waves throw us to the shore and threaten to swallow our boat, how can we give thanks?

We can learn to give thanks by saying,

Thank you, Lord, for being with me in this storm.  What happens at the end of this storm, I don't know, but I do know that You will be with me through it all.

Easier said than done?  Of course it is!  In the heart of the storm, the ability to thank God is a unique challenge.  However, Jesus has promised us that He will give us the graces we need each day.  

"My grace is sufficient for you." 2 Corinthians 12:9

Thanksgiving begins with the decision to thank God in spite of what is happening in our lives.  When you are tempted to run and hide or slide into a slippery web of self pity or doubt, you can choose to make the decision to thank God knowing that He is with you, and that He is allowing this storm to bring you closer to Him.  We all have the amazing gift of free will, and it is through this gift that we can choose to honor and glorify the great I AM with our gift of thanksgiving.

For what am I grateful?

1) The hot weather is easing up!  Fall is on the way!
2)  I made it through the day without gossiping today!
3) I had a delicious dinner yesterday!  

Yes, I am grateful!  Thank You, My Lord and My God!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Preparing to Prepare the Way of the Lord

Huh?
(Insert the sound of a record player scratching the record.)
No, we don't have to prepare to prepare,
but I have found that with most things, 
if there is spiritual preparation,
things tend to go better than expected.

The Holy Season of 
Advent begins this coming Sunday,
November 29.
During the season of Advent we begin preparations for 
Christmas, 
but,
unlike secular preparations, we prepare spiritually to receive the Newborn Babe 
into our hearts on
Christmas Day.

We change our way of looking at Christmas.
Instead of only being a day of presents, activities, families, friends, foods, parties,
we look at Christmas as day in which we can celebrate
the birth of our Divine Lord and Savior,
Jesus, the Christ.

Now, I know you're holding your breath already at the thought of something else to do.
Stop!
Breathe and let go of the tension.
What good will it do you?
Will you enjoy Christmas on any level if you are stressed beyond words?
I don't think so.
If you slow down, breathe, and choose your activities wisely,
you will enjoy the celebration of Christmas on many more levels than you can imagine.

What can we do to prepare to prepare?

1) Stop.
That's right, stop.
Breathe.
For five minutes think about the story of the Birth of Jesus.
If you don't remember, pick up your Bible and read
Luke 2: 1-20
This tells the story of the birth of Jesus.
How great is that?  Angels, Shepherds, Wisemen.
Wow!
Amazing!

2) Say a minimum of 1 Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory be to God each day.
Ideally, if your could say a Rosary each day, that would be best, but praying, even if it's less than a Rosary, is good.

3) Write down three things each day that are spiritual about the celebration of Christmas.
These don't have to be long, just three thoughts about Christmas.

4) Praise God for three things in your life.

5) Thank God for three things in your life.

6) Make sure you attend Mass this weekend.

7) Congratulate yourself.  You are preparing to prepare the Way of the Lord!