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!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Praying for the Dead: A Corporal Act of Mercy

“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace.” 

This prayer for the dead is an indulgenced prayer
meaning that a soul in Purgatory will receive a partial indulgence when it is said.
You will also receive and indulgence by saying this prayer.

Here are two links that will help you understand more about these acts of mercy.
They are encouraged and sanctioned by 
Pope Francis.

This is a Facebook link.  If you're not on Facebook you might not be able to access it.

This is accessible by everyone.  It is a letter written by Pope Francis.

Just as frequently as you prayed for the souls in November.  Pray for them now.  They cannot help themselves.  They only have you!

Friday, January 29, 2016

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)  Meeting homeless people
begging on the street and hearing their story was a humbling experience.  It was also a vehicle for thought.

2) Giving to homeless people, knowing that what was given to them might be sold for something not appropriate, became an act of grace, a vehicle for letting go and not judging.

3) Giving my give away rosary, and a cherished rosary to the homeless people we met, became an act of letting go and knowing that God is working in their lives.

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, January 28, 2016

One Word: My Favorite Prayer


What is your favorite 
One word Prayer?

Photo Attribution: Francesco de Zurbaran
Public Domain
Art Institute of Chicago

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Worth Repeating: Don't Be Afraid To...

Be honest.  Have you ever worn your Rosary out? 
Wait!  Do you know where your Rosary is? 
Wait! Do you own a Rosary? 
Wait!  Do you know how to pray the Rosary?

These are important questions for a Catholic.  Next to the Mass, the Rosary is one of the most powerful prayers we have in our arsenal of faith.  Each mystery of the Rosary takes about 20 minutes to pray.  Through each decade we view the Gospels with the eyes of Mary, His Mother. 

The prayers of the Rosary are simple.  We begin with the Apostles Creed which reminds us of the fundamentals of our faith.  The rest of the prayers are basic, prayers we should have learned as children.  There are a total of 6 Our Fathers, 6 Glory Be's, 53 Hail Mary's, and, between each decade the following prayer::

"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."

The prayers are repetitive and meditative. 

Each decade brings to a different encounter with Jesus.

There are 4 mysteries of the Rosary::
The Joyful Mysteries
The Luminous Mysteries
The Sorrowful Mysteries
The Glorious Mysteries.

In each mystery, we learn more about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, Son of the Father.  He teaches us through His life how we are to live and pray.  Even Jesus prayed to the Father. 

When we pray the Rosary, we join with Mary, the Mother of God, in walking through Gospels.

In the Joyful Mysteries,
we learn of Mary’s faith when the Angel Gabriel asked her to become the Mother of God.
We see Mary leave her hometown to care for her elderly cousin, Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptist,
becoming the first Tabernacle of Jesus.
We skip to the birth of Jesus to His presentation in the Temple, and to Jesus teaching the elders in the Temple as His parents frantically search for their Son.

In the Luminous Mysteries,
we see Jesus leaving home to begin His ministry.
He is baptized by John in the River Jordan.
Here it is that we meet the Father who is pleased with His Son, Jesus.
Jesus performs His First Miracle, at His Mother’s prompting, at the wedding in Cana.
She said to the waiters, “Do whatever He tells you.”
Jesus then begins His Ministry by proclaiming the Gospel of Salvation to the Jews.
We see Jesus Transfigured on the Mountain.  His apostles are amazed when they see Jesus as God.
At the Last Supper, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

In the Sorrowful Mysteries,
Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane.  He prays for His Cup to pass, but He accepts the Will of the Father when it does not.
Jesus is arrested and taken before the Pilate who orders Him to be Scourged.
Many healthy men died during such scourings.
In the midst of the tortures He endured, He was beaten, whipped, and crowned with Thorns.
After all of this, Jesus was condemned to death, a death of shame, on the cross.
Yet, He begged His Father to forgive His torturers because they did not know what they were doing.
Jesus was crucified and hung between two thieves.
As He is dying, Jesus gives His Mother to us as our Mother.
Jesus dies on the cross.

In the Glorious Mysteries,
Jesus after being buried in the tomb is resurrected from the dead.
After 40 days, Jesus ascends into heaven in the presence of His Mother and the apostles.
As He promised, Jesus sends the Holy Spirit to enlighten and strengthen His followers who will carry on the work of His Church.
In the last two decades of the Rosary,
we return to Mary, His Mother, and ours.
Mary dies and is assumed into heaven, body and soul.
She is crowned Queen of Heaven and Earth.

The life of Jesus is condensed into the Rosary.
Based on Sacred Scripture, in the Rosary, we meet the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Each mystery is a prompt for meditation on the life of Jesus.

Through the Rosary, we come to know Him.

In our prayer, we come to know His Mother.
In our prayer, we come to know His Apostles and disciples.
This “extraordinary” event of love, which is the life of Jesus,
who, as the Second Person of the Triune God, defeated sin and satan.

Know this act of love.
Pray the Rosary!
Don’t be afraid to wear those beads out!

Monday, January 25, 2016

A Notation in My Prayer Journal

Not everyday happens as we would like it to happen,
Everyday comes to an end.
Thank God for each day.
Good night.

(It must have been a bad day.)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Gifts of the Catholic Church

Our Catholic Church is so wonderful!
Our Church reaches out to us, 
she offers us great graces by which we can grow closer to
We have the liturgical seasons,
including Ordinary time in which nothing is ordinary.
We have the seasons of

We have the rich and mystical history of the Catholic Church.

We have the grace giving Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

We have a loving Pope who has opened the doors of Mercy for us.

We have the Magisterium of the Church which guides us as we journey through life.

We have the prayers of the church: the Rosary, novenas, and  music.

We have the saints of the church who were once sinners.

We have the gift of Purgatory as revealed through our Church.

We have the gift of doctrines which will not be changed.  Truth cannot be changed.

We have the gift of Mary, our Mother.

We have the gift of Jesus, our Lord and Savior, who gave His life that all might live.

Most importantly,  the sacrifice of Calvary, the Gift of Salvation, the Lamb of God, becomes the gift of God to us, when the bread and wine offered during Mass are consecrated into  the living Body and Blood of Jesus in the Eucharist.
The real Presence is there for us to adore and worship.
Our God, the Living God, the second person of the Divine Trinity.

In an age when materialism, secularism, paganism run rampant, we have our Lord and Savior alive in our Churches.  Let us run to meet Him in adoration and the Mass.

Oh, Lord, I am not worthy.
Jesus, I trust in You!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Moment with God

The priest elevated the consecrated host.
The congregation bowed in adoration.
"My Lord and My God."

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Easy Peasy Free Tutorial: How to Make a Rosary Bracelet

I make Rosary Bracelets and give them away at Church.
We have a basket placed at each exit of the church,
we put the the bracelets in the basket.
The bracelets are put into a plastic bag with a note.
Our pastor has already blessed the bracelets so they are good to go.

I make both
the full rosary
one decade rosaries.
(It seems that the 1 decade rosary is the most popular one right now.)

We encourage people to pray the rosary daily.

Here's how to make a very easy rosary bracelet for yourself, a friend, or your Church.

Please remember to have your priest bless your bracelet.

What you will need.

 1) Tools:  Memory Wire cutters or your wire cutters that you don't use for making jewelry.  Cutting Memory Wire with your good jewelry pliers will ruin the pliers.  You also need some round nose pliers and a pair of flat nose pliers.

2) Memory wire

3) Beads of your choice.  Where do I buy my beads?  I buy when beads are really cheap at Michael's or Hobby Lobby.  I haunt thrift stores for old jewelry that I take apart and use.  I also make my own beads.  The sizes of beads depends on your preferences.

4)  A muffin tin helps to keep your beads organized.

5) Beads.

6) Seed beads.

7) (Not pictured) Small crosses or crucifixes.

How to make a One Decade Rosary.
To Make a Five Decade Rosary, you just increase the number of loops you cut off the memory wire and increase the number of beads you use.

(For a 1 decade rosary you will need:  16 beads + 1 cross + seed beads)
(For a 5 decade rosary you will need: 59 beads + 1 cross + seed beads)

1) Using your memory wire cutters, cut 1 loop of the memory wire so that the circle overlaps about 1/2 inch on each side.
To make a 5 decade rosary, cut 4 continuous loops of memory wire, so that the memory wire overlaps about a 1/2 inch on each side.

2) Using your round nose pliers, make a loop on one end of the memory wire.

3) Depending on the size of your beads, add 3-5 seed beads + 1 larger bead + 3 seed beads.

4) Add 10 of your larger beads + 3 seed beads + 1 larger bead + enough beads to come close to the end of the wire.  You'll need a little bit over 1/4" memory wire for the end.  With what remains of the memory wire, using your round nose pliers, make a loop at the end of the wire, but don't close it yet.
Add a small cross  to the end of the loop.  Close the loop.

5) Have your rosary bracelet blessed by a Catholic Priest.

6) Pray the rosary daily.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Worth Revisiting: Ordinary Time. Ordinary Life.

Living in ordinary time

Jesus lived the majority of His earthly life in ordinary time.  He was the son of Joseph and Mary.  Joseph was a carpenter.  Mary was Joseph's wife.  Joseph was the father, the  earthly father, of Jesus.  Mary was the mother of Jesus.  They were an ordinary family living an ordinary life. 

The world saw nothing extraordinary about this family.  The sun rose and set.  The rain fell.  They were good neighbors.  Joseph had friends.  Mary had friends.  Jesus had friends.  Nothing was out of the ordinary.   Jesus, Mary and Joseph were a family.

They would attend Temple together.  They would gather with family and friends to celebrate the feast days.  Joseph, Mary, and Jesus would make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem each year.  They traveled in a caravan.  They ate.  They slept.  They lived an ordinary life in ordinary time. 

Babies were born.  New families were made joyful with the arrivals.  Grandparents cooed at the new babies.  Mary held the new babies close to her.  She would help the new mothers when grandparents could not.  Joseph would help those who needed help.  Joseph often sent Jesus on errands to help those who could not help themselves.  Jesus would give His food to the poor.  Jesus would bring home stray animals.  Mary gave up trying to control the number of God’s creatures who would follow Jesus.  She knew He would always be safe with them.  God provided them with food for these animals and birds.  

Mary and Joseph would watch Jesus comfort anyone who was sad.  He would remind them of the goodness of God.  The adults would smile when they heard Jesus talk.  Mary and Joseph would look at each other in awe and wonder.  Often, they did not know what to say.  At night, after Jesus was asleep, they would look at their Son and wonder.  Joseph would pray to the Father and ask Him for guidance.  Jesus was the Son of God and Mary.  Joseph was overwhelmed with gratitude for the gift he had been given by the Father.  Joseph was the guardian of these precious lives. To the world,  this family was an ordinary family.

Joseph would ask advice of the elders about raising a Son.  The elders would smile and give their advice.  Grandmothers would give their advice to Mary about her beautiful Son.  She would smile and listen with care, always honoring their intentions to help her with love.  Their was nothing extraordinary about this family.

The village watched as Jesus grew into manhood.  When Joseph died in the arms of Jesus and Mary, the villagers brought food, love and support for the grieving family.  Jesus became the provider for His Mother.  Most in the village assumed that she would seek another husband, but they knew that Jesus would provide for her if she did not.  Matchmakers tried to find a wife for Jesus, but they were just an ordinary family.

So, when Jesus unrolled the scrolls and told the villagers that the prophesy of Isaiah had been fulfilled in Him, He was not surprised when everyone asked, “Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?  Is not Mary His Mother?”

He was not ordinary, but He lived in ordinary time.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

In the End, We all Die

Have you lost count of the number of famous people who have died 
this month?
I have.
I can only remember
David Bowie and Glen Frey.
There were others, famous, infamous, and those whose names we will never know.

They died, too.

One day, our name will be submitted in  an obituary because we died.

So that's all there is?

You are conceived.
You are born.
You live.
You die.

If the best we have to look forward to is death, 
that image is bleak
until we see the Face of God
and know that our life is for Him and Him alone.

In the end,
fame doesn't matter.
Money doesn't matter.
Houses, clothes, and shoes don't matter.
What matters is love, and how we live our lives in the service of God.

We make our choices in life because God gave us the gift of free will.
We can blame others for our mistakes, but, in the end, the truth is that we chose our behaviors.
We chose how to live our lives.
(Some people blame Eve because Adam sinned, but, the truth is that both Adam and Eve made the choice to sin.)

The other truth is that 
God loves us.
He cannot NOT love us.
We cannot earn His love.
He simply sees us for what we are and loves us.
He sees us from the time He blessed us into being into the moment of death.
How we return that love in service to Him is up to us.
We can live for us, or we can live for Him.

In this year of Mercy, we can serve Him by extending Mercy.
We can serve Him by loving others as we love ourselves.
We can give our lives over to God to allow Him to direct us in our missions.
Truth never changes, and God is Truth.
He will never change.
 In Him there is Hope.

 "For ‘In him we live and move and have our being, as even some of your poets have said, ‘For we too are his offspring."
Acts 17:28

We are His offspring.
We are His Children.

Do you hear Him calling you?
Listen as Samuel did.

So he said to Samuel, “Go to sleep, and if you are called, reply, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” When Samuel went to sleep in his place,  the Lord came and stood there, calling out as before: Samuel, Samuel!   Samuel answered, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”
1 Samuel 3: 9-10 

Do more than live.  Serve!

Monday, January 18, 2016

10 Reasons I'm Still Catholic Today

1) My mother made sure I was baptized as a baby, and she also made sure I was raised as a Catholic.

2) We attended Mass every Sunday without exception.  I also attended Mass with my mother everyday at 6 AM through high school.

3) We prayed the rosary every night as a family.

4) Someone, somewhere prayed for me.

5) For a while, I left the Church, but a non-Catholic friend brought me back to the Church through her example of love and faith sharing.

6) During times of great trials and sorrows in my life, even when I was at my lowest point, I received graces and blessings through the prayers of others who lifted me up to God in prayer.

7) The Catholic Church is the only Church in which we have our Living God present in the great gift of the Eucharist.   Through the consecrated hands of the priest, Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, comes down from heaven in the forms of bread and water.  This miracle is called transubstantiation.

8) The sacraments of the Catholic Church, when we use them, fill us with graces and blessings.

9) The leaders of the Catholic Church have come down from the first pope, St. Peter.  Pope Francis is one of our most beloved Pontiffs.  He is full of love and mercy.  He has proclaimed 2016 as a Year of Mercy.

10) Did I say I love Pope Francis?  I do.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

What Is your Vocation?

The most common "vocation," within the Catholic Church is the vocation to the priesthood.
We are asked to pray for vocations.
We need our priests!
Please pray for our priests,
please pray that more men to be inspired
by the Holy Spirit to discern 
the gift of the priesthood.
We all have a vocation.
What is yours?
No, it might not be to the priesthood
nor to the religious life.
As part of the body of Christ,
we all have something to do for Him.
I have learned that my vocation has changed through the years.
When I was a child, my vocation was to be a child.
I had to learn to become a good adult who knew about God and loved Him so that I could be an example for others.

As I grew up and, reluctantly, adjust to adulthood,
my vocation was to be a college student so that I could learn the skills I needed for a job.
I had to take care of myself financially and become a good, productive citizen in society,
I had to learn my faith, which never changed, 
but, unlike a child, I had to learn to live my faith,
knowing that Catholicism was a way of life and not just a day during the week when I attended Mass.

After working as an adult for awhile,
my vocation changed again.
I married.
I had to learn to be a good, faithful, loving wife to my husband, 
just as he had to learn to be a
good, faithful, loving husband to me.
Again, I had to live my life as a spouse in the Catholic Church.

Then, my vocation changed again.
My vocation caused me to learn to be a good mother.
We all make mistakes as parents,
and so much of parenting is trial and error,
so I was grateful for the leadership of the Church in helping me to become the best parent I could be.
Again, my vocation changed.
My vocation was to be a caregiver to my husband who was diagnosed with a terrible cancer.
My vocation as a wife changed again.
I was still a wife, but I was also asked to be a pillar of strength for my husband and my children.
I was  widowed.
My life within the Church and society was changed again.
My vocation was to hold my life and the lives of my children together.
At times, my vocation was simply to remember to breathe
as we worked through our devastating grief.
The story goes on and my vocation has changed again.
I am now in the role of caregiver for my daughter who has the same, deadly cancer that killed my husband.
Again, there are day on which I have to remember to breathe.
She's doing well, but my vocation changed again.

I'm no longer a child.
I'm an adult.
I'm no longer a wife.
I am a widow.
I'm still a mother.
I'll always be a child of God.
I can only assume that my vocation will change again.
I've had many vocations in my life.
Each one, challenging or not, was a gift from God designed to bring me closer to Him.
What is your vocation?
Do you think it will change?
I'd love to hear.
God is good.

Photo attribution can be found
This is a public domain photo.

Friday, January 15, 2016

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) The virus is gone, and I'm up and running again!  It's hard for me to be still.  I thank God that I'm really feeling better.
2) Getting things organized here.  I've actually made a dent in my closet!  Yes!

3) Pixie is feeling better.  Her lumbar stenosis is under control!

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, January 14, 2016

In This Year of Mercy: Let It Go!

Others have made note of this, and it's sad.
There are those bloggers in the blogosphere
who are angry
about anything.
They look for things that are wrong, then report them in their blogs.
Some people hail them as 
crusaders who seek to protect Catholicism
from the infidel, schism, and heresy.
There are those others who are angry
and look for arguments.
They troll the blogosphere
and are offended by anything they have not said or approved.
Even more sad is that this idea of being offended about everything
and anything
has led to being so politically correct, some are even looking for gender neutral pronouns like "skee" instead of she.
I shudder at that one.
This attitude of being offended by comments, whether they were intended to be offensive or not, is pervasive in our society, in the media, and in the blogosphere.  
It's not the the fault of bloggers who are angry for whatever reason, it's just part of our society now.
So, I wish an atheist a Merry Christmas.  They are offended.  In response the atheist responds with a nasty comment.  Now, I'm mad.  I boil the rest of the day because I, now knowing that the individual I was blessing was upset, well, I'm still upset.
From the Miriam Webster dictionary, the definition of Mercy is:
kind or forgiving treatment of someone who could be treated harshly.
(At this point, I'm still thinking could be treated harshly and saying "should be" treated harshly.
So, in this Year of Mercy, what do I have to do?
Will this solve all the problems of the world?
Will this bring peace to our world?
Will this cure the anger we see in the world?
No, but it will help me if I
That's mercy in action.
The mercy we extend to others comes back to us.
God will not be outdone.
Give Mercy.
You will receive mercy.
Whether the slight you received/perceived was large or small,
Let it go.  

"Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you."
Luke 6:28 


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Worth Repeating: Who Would Have Ever Dreamed?

This year, I was stunned when my cousin died in her sleep.  She was 8 years younger than me.  She had divorced herself from our large family when she moved to Texas with her family.  We didn’t know why then.  We don’t know why now.   No one seems to understand.  The only person with whom she kept in touch was me.  Our conversations were only about once a year, but they were fruitful, enjoyable, and long. 

On the morning she died, I received a text from her son telling me that she had “passed.”  It was a shock to everyone, but the biggest shock came when I asked when her Mass of Christian burial would be.  No one would answer me until I saw on Facebook that a chaplain from the united unitarian church of paganism would preside at her memorial service.  There were no plans for a Mass of Christian Burial, and no one explained why.  My heart broke for her.  I had Masses said in my parish, but they are not the same as the Mass of Christian burial which she would never have.

This was very difficult to accept, but as my 80 year old cousin, who is also like a sister to me, said, “Let. It. Go.  You’ll never know.”  She was right, but difficult only speaks lightly of what I felt.

The second shock of the year came, when I asked my dear 80 year old cousin what she had planned for her funeral.  She said, “Nothing. I don’t want anything.  No Mass. No Rosary.  Nothing.”  No explanation was forth coming, so, I had to let it go.  Stunned, I was on my knees again in prayer.  God has His way of doing that.

When I die, I want a priest with me holding my hands, after he has anointed my palms with the holy oils of the church.  I want every priest I have ever known to preside at my Mass of Christian burial.  I want rosaries and Masses said for my soul.  I want the whole thing plus more, just to be on the safe side!  I want everyone to know that I was a Catholic woman who tried to live her faith, not always successfully, but she tried.  I want the homily at my Mass of Christian burial to one of praise to God. 

All right, maybe those wishes are overkill, but I want to be buried not just as a Christian, but as a Catholic.  This label is very important to me.  As we go through life, into the valleys and up the hills, we show the world our faith.  If we are unkind to our sisters and brothers and we fail the teachings of Jesus, what would be reasonable for them to think of our Catholic faith?  Is our faith a religion that teaches others how to live and love and serve God by the way we treat them?

So many children of God consider themselves to be spiritual but they don’t like “organized religion.”  How do we teach these daughters and sons of God, that God is there, alive in our churches, because He has taught us this is His Truth Himself?  How we behave affects what others believe. Religion is not bad. Like the Ark of the Covenant, it is where the Word of God is kept.

 Do we always set the best example?  No, we do not.  I am a grievous sinner, but when I fall, I get up, walk into the confessional, and through the priests’ ministry, I am forgiven my sins.  I can change and start again.  I pray that a priest will be with me for this purpose when I die.  I want to be reconciled to God and my fellow man.

When the last hymn is sung, and my body is taken out of the church to be buried, my hope is that, even though I was not perfect, I will be remembered as a Catholic woman who gave her all to Jesus through the Catholic Church.  I repeat, religion is not bad.

Yes, these are the ramblings of an old woman with wrinkled hands and fingers that are becoming bent and crooked as I age.  Once I had great dreams, but life interfered, and my reality changed.  These were God’s plans for me.  He’s brought me here and to my knees.  How can I thank Him for His love and compassion? 

I am blessed to be able to  live the rest of my life as a Catholic woman. In this capacity,  I can witness our faith for Him, Who is Love.  I can be His Hands, His Feet, His Mouth, His Eyes, and His Heart to His other children.  I can offer my sufferings to Him as an oblation of love for peace.  My heart is still young, and, life will not be easy as I age, but I am a Catholic woman, and I love that title!  I pray that people see the Catholic religion positively through me. 

Jesus said, “Follow me.”  He didn’t just mean Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook.  He meant, “Follow Me.”

Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tips and Thoughts for Navigating a Prayer Journal and Growing Closer to God

You can buy a beautiful journal.
You can make a beautiful journal.
You can use a notebook.
You can use note cards.

A journal doesn’t have to be fancy.  A journal is a collection of your thoughts and ideas.

You can freely write your ideas and questions in a journal.
You can use a structured plan to make your journal writing easier.

Keep your bible near you when you write.
When you begin to write, ask  the Holy Spirit to come into your heart.  Open your heart to His love.

If you choose a structured format for your journal, you might begin with

Praise to God
Lord, I praise you for___________________________.
You can write a few words, sentences or paragraphs.
Lord, I thank you for _____________________________.

Ask for guidance
Lord, as I begin to write, I ask for your Holy Spirit to guide me.
Where do you want me to go with this journal?
Write what comes to your mind.

Other ideas

You can record your favorite prayers in your prayer journal.
You can tell God about your day.
You can tell God how excited your are about something that happened to you.
You can tell God about your problems and challenges.
You can tell God about your deepest desires and longings.
You can tell God about your worries.
You can ask God for forgiveness.
You can write a story about God.
You can tell God what you’re going to make for supper.
You can tell God who you’re eating lunch with today.
You can tell God if you’re lonely or sad.
You can ask God to bless someone.
You can ask God to take care of your children.
You can ask God to heal the sick and dying.
You don’t have to think less of yourself if you have no ideas.  Simply sit and pray.  Ask God to give  you some ideas.  He will.
Look up a favorite passage in your Bible.  Write what you think about this passage.
Still stuck for ideas?  Google journal Prompts.  Trust me, you’ll find them.

If you like, become an art journalist.  Draw in your journals.  Color in your journals.  They don’t have to be fancy.  Sometimes, when words aren’t there, a picture says more than words ever could say.

Add photos to your journal.  Remember, it’s your journal, and you can do what you like with it.

Things to remember:
Set a goal of writing 5-10 minutes per day in your journal.  Most days, you’ll be able to achieve that goal. 
Some days, when you’re stuck, write three to four words in your journal just to express how you feel.
Date your journal each day that you write.
Consider your time, when you are prayer journaling, as a sacred time, a precious time to be with God.
Journaling is another type of prayer.  I found  my prayer voice through journaling.  It is a tool to deepen your relationship with God.

That’s up to you. 
I do put my handwritten journals away after I finish writing.  These days, I journal on my computer.
I’ve looked at apps for journaling, but I am not overly impressed with them right now.  Perhaps you would find an app helpful to you.

However you choose to handle your journal, remember, that God will be working with you through your journal. 
If you can’t find time to journal on a particular day, that’s all right.  Don’t push yourself unless you really feel the need to journal. 
If you need to vent in your journal about someone, and it might be someone who could read your journal, vent, then rip that page out of your journal.  Tear it up.  Burn it.  Ask God to bless that person.  Let it go.
Someone might read your journal and see your vent.  That could cause hurt feelings.
Remember this is our year of Mercy.

Lastly,  just write, whether it be one word or a thousand words. 
God is Good.
Draw closer to Him through your prayer journal.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Blessed with the Year of Mercy: How's That Working for You?

Change is never easy,
and with the
Year of Mercy starting during the 
the fact that my life has been in chaos for the last two months,
I can only say,
"It's working.
The Year of Mercy is helping me
I've done nothing,
God has been pouring out His blessings on me
during this beautiful 
Year of Mercy.

1) I've become more aware of my lack of mercy, and I'm given the ideas and opportunities to change.

2) I've become more aware of the times when I have showed mercy.

3) I've become more grateful to those who show me mercy.

4) I've come to realize that if God shows me mercy, I must also show mercy.

5) I know that God loves me, and I've done nothing to deserve that love.
I know that He will not love me less no matter what I do.
God is Love.
God is Mercy.
God is forgiveness.

What have you discovered in this year of Mercy?

Saturday, January 9, 2016

5 Ways to Pray

God is real.
One of the best ways to know 
is to pray.
How do we pray?
1) We can use words or not.
We have our traditional prayers:
The Apostles Creed
The Our Father
The Hail Mary
The Glory Be
The Fatima Prayer
The Hail Holy Queen
(You say all of these prayer when you pray the rosary.) 
There are many other beautiful prayers in the treasury we call the Catholic Church.
2) We must participate in the Mass. 
This, the greatest prayer, involves our minds, our hearts, our souls, and our bodies.
Here we worship God with other Catholics.
Here our priests consecrate the bread and water into the  
Body and Blood
Ours is the only Church who has our God with us, not only during Mass, but waiting for us in the Tabernacle in the Church.

3) We can sit in silence during Eucharistic Adoration and let God love us.
We can sit in silence and love God.
We can sit in silence and let God look at us with His Eyes of Love.
We can sit in silence and look at God with eyes of love.
4) We can read  Sacred Scripture and think about what God is telling us as we read His Words.
(This is called Lectio Divina.)
You begin by praying and asking God to lead you where He wants you to be in prayer.
You choose a verse or two of sacred scripture and read it.
Ask yourself, what is God saying to you?  Which words jump out at you?
Read the verse again.  What is God saying to you?
You might want to jot down your ideas.
End your prayer time in Thanksgiving and Praise.

5) We can pray using our imagination.  If you are not familiar with the stories of the Bible, choose one and read it.  You might need to read the story more than once to become very familiar with it
When you feel that you know the story, close your eyes and put yourself in the story.
Walk with Jesus.  Talk with Him.  Ask Him questions.
Follow Him as His Disciples did.
Smell the air.
See the Sea of Galilee.
Touch the hem of Jesus' clothing.
Hear Him speaking.
Taste the bread that is being served to the thousands.
You will come to know Jesus in a way you have never been able to know Him before.
That's mental prayer.

However, you choose to pray, 
There are other methods of prayer.
Explore prayer.
Always pray.
Pray daily.





Friday, January 8, 2016

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) It's been a rough week, but I came through it just fine!
Thank you, Jesus, for the graces you sent me this week.

2) It's not that I like snow, but the snow looks beautiful this morning, and the roads are cleaned.

3) Quiet.  I actually spent an hour in silence, willingly.  It was beautiful!

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, January 6, 2016

Worth Repeating: Mary's Memories, the Sorrowful Mysteries

The Agony in the Garden

I felt my heart begin to break when I knew Jesus and His Apostles had left for the Garden.  The Apostles were uneasy.  They sensed that My Son was sorrowful.  He had warned them that He would be killed, but they did not believe.  I fell to my knees with the other women and we began to pray.  Jesus began to suffer in the Garden.  He felt the weight of sin on his shoulders and satan was there to tempt Him again.  Jesus was sorrowful beyond words.  I could feel His sorrow in my heart.  How he could bear the weight I do not know.  I’ve never known such sorrow.  He asked His Father to let this cup pass, but the Father withdrew.  Jesus accepted His cup for love of us.  His soul was at peace, but He knew what was to come.  When they came to arrest Him, My Jesus identified Himself to the soldiers of the temple.  They began to beat Him.  When Peter tried to stop this by cutting off the ear of the soldier, Jesus reminded Peter that this what was meant to be.  Jesus healed the soldier’s ear.  The other soldiers were stunned.   My Son was beaten and taken to both Herod and Pilate.  My Jesus, My Beautiful Son!  My heart weeps.  My heart weeps when I see You.  My precious Child.  I love You!

The Scourging at the Pillar.

How could I look?  Jesus did not look like Himself.  His beautiful face was swollen and bruised.  His eye was swollen shut.  When asked about the charges, Jesus would not answer.  Pilate tried to calm the crowds.  He knew that Jesus did not do anything wrong, but he was afraid.  He ordered Jesus to be scourged.  My Son!  My Son!  You are the Son of God, but they do not know You!  These are the people who were cheering You and calling You the Messiah.  Now they are calling for your death.  My Son!  I am here.  I hear the whips as they strike Your flesh.  I feel the whips as they rip into Your flesh.  I see the blood flow from Your skin.  Your flesh is hanging in shreds, and they continue to beat You.  The sear of the air on Your wounds brings tears to My eyes.  My Son, how do You bear this pain?  They want to kill You.  Pilate did not order that.  My God!  My God!  Protect Your Son!  I am weak.  How much more weak are You, My beautiful Child?  At last, the beatings have stopped and the soldiers are giving You back Your clothing that is soaked with your blood.  You can barely walk.  You lost so much blood!  If they only knew how much You loved them!   I see You looking at me.  I am here, My Son!  I am here.  Be strong!  I. am. here.

The Crowning with Thorns

I didn’t realize they could find new ways to torture You.  Now, they are mocking You?  They are laughing at You and calling You the King of the Jews?  My Son, You are a King.  You will not show them, but You continue to pray for them and forgive them.  My Son, You are My God, too. 
Does Your love know an end?  Your love for us is unending.  I am with You as you walk this road.  I am here.  What is that in the soldier’s hand?  Is that supposed to be a crown?  I thought the mocking and the spitting were enough, now they are going to crown You with thorns?  How can they torture Love?  Oh, my Jesus!  I don’t know that I can bear this!  They have pulled Your clothes away.  The bleeding has started again. Oh, your most precious blood hits the ground!  They are giving you  a purple robe?  Oh, My Son!  They mock You even more!  They laugh.  They don’t know.  Yet, you pray for them, and You have forgiven them.  My Jesus, Your love is beyond all measure.  I die each time they harm You.  I must forgive them as You have forgiven them.  My Jesus!  My Son!  I am here with You.

The Carrying of the Cross

They have condemned You to die.  Pilate was afraid of the crowd.  They screamed for Your death and asked for Barabbas.  You who have done no wrong.  You who are Love.  They screamed for Your death, and Pilate gave in.  His wife warned Pilate to have nothing to do with You.  She knows You.  She loves You.  I see her in the window weeping as Pilate condemns you to death.  Pilate has washed his hands of You.  He is turning You over to be killed.  They drag You through the streets.  You are so weak.  How can You walk?  Your body has been beaten and you’ve lost so much blood.  My Dearest Son!  They have condemned Love!  They have condemned Love!  I must forgive as You forgive.  Now, I must watch You die.  How can You carry the cross?  John will get me closer to You.  You must know that I am here with You!  I will help You with Your cross.  John will get me closer to You.  Oh, Jesus, My Son, my heart breaks as I see Your disfigured face.  I see Your flesh hanging from Your body.  I see Your blood soaked garments.  I see Your eyes, and You see mine.  I cannot get close enough to help You.  John will take care of me.  Have no worries.  I forgive as You have forgiven.  My beautiful Son.  You are love, and they hate You.  They do not realize what they are doing.  The soldiers have forced Simeon to help You.  He does not understand the great graces You have given Him.  He knows that You will die.  You know that You will die.  Even as the torture continues, You forgive.  My Jesus, My Son, My God!  I love You.

The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus

My Son, My Son.  The nails have pierced Your Hands and Feet.  The soldiers have allowed us to be closer to You now.  There is no turning back.  The soldiers continue to mock You.  They are even casting lots for Your clothes which are stained with Your most precious blood.  The Jewish leaders are screaming at You.  They want You to prove You are God and come off the cross by yourself.  My Jesus!  How do you bear this pain?  I am not sure I can bear this pain, yet You bear this without complaint.  My Son, I do forgive them.  You have forgiven them.  You have promised one thief that he will join You in Paradise today.  The other, You have offered the chance for forgiveness.  He has refused You.  My heart continues to break.  I kiss Your feet.  They are so cold and blue.  You are shivering in the cold.  You’ve asked for something to drink, but they give you a drink to numb Your pain.  You refuse that.  You are willing to take the pain of sin completely on You.  My Son!  My Son!  My heart is broken.  Yet, You are still my strength.  Your breath is so shallow now.  Your pain is so great.  I dare not touch You for fear of causing You pain.  I see Your eyes as You hang on that cross.  I must touch You.  It’s almost the third hour now.  I see Your eyes closing.  I hear You call out to Your Father.  Jesus, He has not abandoned You, even if He did, I will not, but He has not abandoned You.  You are one with Him.  He feels Your pain, and He weeps.  My Jesus!  You have died.  My heart breaks for love of You.  The earth has quacked.  The temple is greatly damaged.  My Son, You are truly dead!  Your body is cold and is beginning to stiffen.  My Jesus!  We will lay You to rest soon.  Come back!  Come back!  I need You.  My tears are like cold rain drops.  The rain has been falling.  Your body is washed.  Your Father has washed His Son’s Body.  You lay here in my arms.  I do not want to let You go.  John reminds me that he is now my son and that I am his mother.  We must go.  Once the Sabbath has passed, Your body will be prepared for death.  There is very little time now.  John touches my arm.  We must leave.  He weeps as I do.  You are love.  Your mission is finished.  My heart is broken.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

My Word for the Year

It is the 
Year of Mercy.
God has a reason for this.

I must learn 

I must show

I must return to God what He has given me:

Even if it is not shown to me,
I must show Mercy to all I meet.
I must bless all with

Jesus, have MERCY on me a sinner.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Remembering Aunt Flora

Every time I see a box of 
I think of my great Aunt Flora.
Whenever we would go to visit Aunt Flora,
she always had a box of chocolates ready for me to take home.
Before my mother owned a car,
we had to take a bus to visit 
Aunt Flora.
She lived in between two very busy streets
near the center of Old Town
in a very tiny apartment.
I remember walking in the front door and seeing the back door within arms reach.
The small, teeny, tiny kitchen had a stove and small refrigerator.
Across from there was her bathroom,
which was probably the biggest room in her house because it had a sink, toilet, and small vanity.
Her living room doubled as her bedroom.
She had a small chair, a small table, and a small couch which converted to a bed.  
Her home was immaculate.  Nothing was ever out of place.   
Of course, when we arrived, she apologized for her house being so messy.
It was obligatory.  My mother and grandmother always replied that her home was always spotless.
She smiled, pleased.
When we left, either on the bus or my mother's car, I was handed a box of chocolate candy.
She smiled when I squeeled with delight.
Of course, I had to share when we got home.
This tradition continued when I took my children to visit Aunt Flora.

Aunt Flora is the beautiful woman sitting in between Jenny and me.
As you can probably guess, Aunt Flora was a devout Catholic.  See the Infant of Prague statue on the right?
There were others statues (Santos) all over her apartment.
I only wish I had one that she had to remember her.
She loved God so much!
She prayed without ceasing!
She prayed so much that her knees turned black from kneeling on the floor.
She told us that she used to bleach her knees to get them back to their natural color!
I miss her.
I think I need to pray to her and ask her to intercede for me with the God she loved so much.
I think I'll ask her to teach me to pray like she did.
I don't think I'll pray so much that I will have to bleach my knees, but,
who knows?
I'm at the age where I can do odd things and people will only shake their heads and say,
 "It's her age."
"Aunt Flora, you loved God so much.  Pray for me please.  Teach me to pray with my heart the way you prayed when you were alive.  Teach me to pray with my heart.  Help me to love God and serve Him as you did.  I don't keep bleach on hand all the time, so, I want to pray, but I don't want to bleach my knees!  Thank you  Amen."