As long as I live

I started my blog earlier this summer. I said and truly thought I would be posting daily. It was a challenge but also a delight as I love to write. Then things changed. School began and for me that meant both student and teacher. Two moves for close family members were in progress. Needless to say, something had to give. My posts began to be days apart, then unfortunately weeks. I truly miss posting daily but realized I needed to be in the present moment, attending to the people and situations most pressing. I had to give myself permission to drop into bed without it being done. It was disappointing but real. I was the only one who had set the bar and I could be attentive to those who needed me if I was more available. So posting dropped from the “must do” to the “like to do” column.

Today I felt a push to write – a push to talk about the joy of being in relationship with God. Two areas of my life are very prevalent these days. I am both student and teacher. As student, part of my daily homework is meditating on a scripture verse assigned by my instructors. I’m now in my fourth week in doing this and I have to say it has been an interesting journey of discovery. We are given a theme for each month – the first was God provides for me; the second God chooses to make me. As a teacher, I am helping nine 6-9 year olds prepare to receive the sacraments of reconciliation and holy communion. We began in Genesis and the garden of Eden. How uncanny that what I am preparing these little ones for is what I am going back to in my studies as well!

I’m blown away by the simplicity and greatness of the works of God. Creation – well just wow. Right now in Illinois where I live, the trees are turning color; the days are crisp; clear, colder yet inviting. All are in a state of movement – birds, squirrels, winds, leaves, clouds, sun and moon, light and darkness, children and adults. The wheels are moving in life and although it is different, we are advancing in time – and inevitably towards the end of each of our lives. I am so thankful for today’s meditation – Psalm 104 – as it truly puts so much in order. This verse (14/15) tugged at my heart in it’s simplicity.

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle, and plant for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.

Yesterday I watched a farmer harvest soybeans in a large field behind my house. Today I went to Mass and received the body and blood of Christ in what looked like bread. It surely strengthens and satisfies the hunger in my heart for God.

And yet I know there are many other places far more beautiful than what I look out to from my porch. There is more to learn, read and seek than what I have completed in my life. I struggle to know whether this is my place since my dear husband passed, yet our Lord knows the plans he has for me. This is my third year as a widow and I feel it’s been a good time of “waiting.” I’ve come to recognize God loved me when I was far away and lost; He loves me still as I am draw near. I know my time here on earth is but a fleeting glance in the scope of all time. I am not afraid to die but only to be close to my Lord and God all the days he gives me to live. I am saddened by those I love who seem to not recognize the call God places in all hearts. Confused with pleasure, power or possessions in our material world, they are deaf to Jesus saying “take nothing, not even a second pair of sandals, and go out to all the world, telling of the Kingdom of God.” They do not hear the words “follow me.” I pray their hearts are softened so they too can have the joy God desires to give to them.

And so in saying this, I pause and wonder, do my ears need a cleaning? Will I hear his call to change if it comes in a way I am not ready to hear? Could I make a move if this is what he calls me to? Will I settle and work being faithful in my journey as I am now? Am I ready to die if this is his desire (no, I’m not sick or expecting to die anytime soon). My Lord and My God. Anything for you Lord. And everything. As a friend recently said to me, I gave Him a blank check. You know me better than I know myself. Especially in such a time as this. Do with me as you will. Here’s my blank check too.

I urge you to read the whole Psalm, not just verses 14/15. Below is a bit more. What does my future hold? Him. That’s all I need to know. He’ll figure out how to fill in the rest.

What is your view, your desire in seeking him with a heart that doesn’t just meet up with him at some point in your day but all day, every day, in multiple ways. As Dan Burke of Spiritual Direction.com said this past summer –
“if you’re not all in, you’re not in at all.”

O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. Yonder is the sea, great and wide, which teems with things innumerable, living things both small and great.

There go the ships, and Leviathan which you formed to sport in it. These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.

When you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their spirit they die and return to the dust.

When you send forth your Spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the earth.

May the glory of the Lord endure forever, may the Lord rejoice in his works, who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke! I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him for I rejoice in the Lord. Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more!

Bless the Lord O my soul, Praise the Lord. Amen. Alleluia.

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Anxiety and the Cross

How do I let you cover me Lord? Do I fight you and am anxious or embrace my cross? As I read today’s scripture on the Exaltation of the Holy Cross I thought of it as the tall beacon of light in my life. Yet in my studies I had another scripture to contemplate – that of Luke 12:22-32 – do not be anxious.

Sitting in mental prayer and reading these two passages I couldn’t help but reflect on the correlation of the two. Whenever I see the numbers 316 immediately Jesus’ words come into my thoughts; “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.”

I think about eternal Life – a new life I cannot go to on my own – not to be earned or learned – but to be given. God GAVE us his only Son. It was HIS son who came and taught us the way to his Father. The path to eternal life. That alone was a lot to take in. But then the Luke passage; as I read it once, twice and three times – God pointed out the word YOU. Who was Jesus speaking to? It says YOU. He was directly speaking to me as I pictured him sitting across from my chair. He was speaking to anyone who believes in him – because if you didn’t it’s likely you wouldn’t be reading his words. He GAVE us the instructions to get to eternal life; “He said to [his] disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life and what you will eat, or about your body and what you will wear.” In fact, he said it twice in verses 22 and 29.

He said, “As for you, do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not worry anymore. All the nations of the world seek for these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these other things will be given you besides.” Which also brings me back to the Exaltation of the Cross. Because to not worry means I don’t get to complain, contradict or crucify anyone with my words, action or even thoughts. That’s lifting a cross for sure.

But what was even more clear in this passage was that word YOU. YOU he says, not I. So often my words are I. I did this. I did that. I thought. I acted. I remember. I feel this or that. I, I, I. How many times in a day do I – there I go again… claim myself instead of recognizing either God and/or my neighbor? Every time this self pronouncement occurs, the carried cross is lowered and anxiety moves in, as if stepping away from him.

Perhaps today in being more aware through his words, God will lead me to embrace the discipline of removing the “I” from my day. This could look like not acknowledging myself above others or of putting an undue burden on anyone to get my point across. It could be the absence of hearing pride or vanity in my voice, giving myself praise or choosing the words so another could. It would be to bear my cross in the sacrifice of self offering — for the sick, dying, those in purgatory, difficult situations, etc., etc., So much and many to pray for and offer up. All day, every day.

Jesus called to me in the word YOU eighteen times in this short 10 verse passage. His point of putting me first above all other creation tells me he was serious about getting my attention. HE has the answers. How well are my ears listening?

May my cross be lifted to yours my Lord, casting out all anxieties and fear. Guide my mouth and thoughts to die to self, surrendering my will to yours. Place thy lamp unto my feet so that your cross can be seen in the shadows of my life, always. And may all gory be given to you, all the days of my life..

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Mary, My Mother

So often I take for granted the gift of the Blessed Virgin, mother of the most high God. I love my birth mother and hold her up in high esteem. I accepted who she was without knowing everything about her; she wasn’t perfect, as none of us can be. But I ask God to bless her with eternal peace. Yet I wonder why it is many of us fail to call upon this holy woman of God who said yes as our heavenly Mother; Mary, the first temple of Christ Jesus, Mary, Untier of Knots, Mary Most Holy Virgin, Mary, Sorrowful Mother, Mary, Immaculate Mother. All these names plus more, given because of the elevation to being our Mediatrix; the one who pours down graces upon those who come to her for guidance in their journey to her Son.

I look at the many pictures I have of Mary in and around my house. She is a reminder for me to pray – to offer up and sacrifice for others when I can. She shows me it is simply about loving. She loved a pregnancy she did not understand. She loved a man named Joseph whom she would marry but never know in a physical embrace. She placed herself and this child in his care, trusting implicitly. Her love did not question but followed the directions given by the Holy Spirit. She must have been afraid; yet she did not lose hope and faith that she was being led and that God the Father would not stop leading her and Joseph. When she lost Joseph and faced her Son on the cross, once again she had to find the trust and faith that brought him into this world and let Him go from it.

In this crazy covid-19 country/world of ours; with our nation about to have a life-changing election, we can lose hope and faith; we can become frustrated with the hate heard and seen so rampant and out of control. What can I do with this frustration of people being judgemental, critical, prideful and condescending? The whole uncharitable mentality seeps down into the cracks of society, in families between brothers and sisters, husband and wives, children and parents. The evil one surely is enjoying this moment of division – even in our churches their is division with our Cardinals and Bishops and Priests. Opening one’s mouth must constantly be checked for it can be taken quite out of context. Oh Mary, Queen of Peace, come and reign in our hearts again so that we may see with humility our own insecurities, weaknesses, failures and sinful actions first; then look with charity towards our neighbor.

Today I should have rose early to go to Mass since this was a first Saturday in which greater reverence is given to our Mother Mary who leads us to her Son. I rose in time but procrastinated, thought about it, procrastinated more and then the time was gone. I feel ashamed of my weakness, my inability to show her my gratitude for all her motherly interventions that I am aware of and those I am not. I can now only ask for mercy, to repent of my sloth and seek her forgiveness. You may think I am crazy; it isn’t a holy day or Sunday, and the obligation to even attend weekly on Sunday is lifted. Why am I so hard on myself? It’s because Mary has the graces I need, and want, and I chose to turn away and say, not needed today Mary. Because when I don’t choose to take any and all opportunities to be with her and her Son in the highest form of prayer – the Mass – then I am saying no thank you to her graces. Who would say they only need their father, not their mother? Their are times I need one more than the other, but in all likelihood, I need them both. And I need them often, not just when their is an issue or problem. I need them most when I think I don’t!

Life isn’t easy. Choices are just that – a hard left or right. Consequences follow every choice – whether it is in this life or as we stand before God in our final judgement after death. He sees everything – he already knows it all. He gives us so many opportunities – every single day – to receive more and more grace which is like getting better directions for our way in this crazy world. Without our Lord’s help, we will be lost. Mary brings those graces from her Son and unfortunately it seems there are probably more graces than people asking for them. The love of the holy family for us, the adopted sons and daughters, is infinite. Will you join me in letting more of it pour into our hearts and seek forgiveness for what we have thrown away?

Oh Mary most pure, Mary who has the greatest compassion, empathy, understanding and courage; Mary who loves her Son so much she extends herself to all of us; Mary help me to come to you. I am sorry I have been weak, failing to come before you and giving in to sloth. I want to be near you. Like St. Paul, I often do not understand why I don’t do the things I want to do and instead do what I don’t want to do. Help me to learn and grow in my journey to your Son, help me to hear the directions that lead me by following you ever more closely. Next time this occurs, help me to remember how I felt after that poor choice so that I may honor you and give your Son all the glory through my participation at Holy Mass. Mary, help others to look at you as the conduit of graces which your Son desires for us all; help us to call upon your motherly care in our times of need; whether it is to just sit and be held by you or in seeking your counsel or the counsel of your Son. I know you have my greatest interests in mind — to live my life so that your Son will welcome me to eternal life, and to bring with me my family, friends and all God’s people as well. Mary, Mother of God and my mother, pray for us now and at the time of our death. Amen.

First photo By Cadetgray – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14324487
Third photo By Peter Paul Rubens – http://freeforumzone.leonardo.it/discussione.aspx?idd=354952&p=4, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5723565
Fourth photo By Giovanni Battista Salvi da Sassoferrato – Web Gallery of Art: Image Info about artwork, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1432637

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Good Bones

Photo by Magda Ehlers on Pexels.com

For this purpose…. Jesus came for and with a purpose. Most of what we do in life is for a purpose – seldom is it just a random act. We might think it’s random, but likely we’ve had it on our radar and maybe just avoided it.

Jesus’ purpose was to heal and draw us to himself so that we could prepare to be with him for eternal life with his Father and the Spirit. Wonderful! I want to walk with him all the days of my life. But the question I often seek is what did he have in mind for MY purpose? I know it’s to know, love and serve my Lord and my God. But how, for some days are very difficult!

Recently I have felt God moving around in my life like the cogs of multiple wheels coming together. For many close to me, things that seemed to be stuck are now beginning to move. It’s not quite smooth sailing; I’ll admit it looks a bit rough and has it’s starts and stops. But I keep thinking about how it’s in motion. Where is God leading them? Will this moving help them with their purpose in life?

In today’s Gospel, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law. She got up and went to work – her purpose was to feed and care for her family so they could follow him. Jesus also heals many and actually has to leave the town to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom to other towns. For this purpose I have been sent, he says.

I used to get hung up on purpose, mission and creating plans. Now I just look for some good bones and go with it. Good bones are often described as something worthwhile at the core, but maybe not so great on the outside. If making a decision helps find or clarify your purpose, I like to say there were good bones in the mix. Most often when factors come together to clearly show how to move forward, purpose is found and action steps are revealed. Good bones are the deep base of a choice. Good bones is the base of friendship with God where you know in your heart he has your back and will not let you down – because he knows you by name and created you to live your purpose.

Sometimes even with good bones, our purpose can be sidetracked by another. Your efforts could become clouded over, unsettling you and desolation can set in. What was clear could become foggy. St. Ignatius says go back to when you had consolation and wait it out. Look into what occurred and how you reacted. Trust God has your back, strengthen your faith to know he loves you and hope in finding the good bones once again.

Sweet Jesus, sometimes I feel like I have the answers and other times I’m left wondering. I lose my way so often, getting confused and twisted in the difficulties of life. Help me to keep my eyes on you where I know there are always good bones to be found. With you all things can be worked out. I know my faith can lack and hope dwindle. But I also know that in trusting you, anything can turn and be made good. Show me how I can use the purpose of knowing, loving and serving you be used the best way in my life. Help me to be patient and quiet as I wait to hear from you. Open my ears and eyes to hear you speak. May my trust be ever stronger all the days of my life.

Bones photo By OpenStax College – Anatomy & Physiology, Connexions Web site. http://cnx.org/content/col11496/1.6/, Jun 19, 2013., CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30131407

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Head Bobbin

My head bobbed last night toward the end of the RNC. Not because it was boring, but I was tired. This morning in prayer it did it again. My favorite time of sitting with our Lord and in the middle of a prayer I find my eyes closed and mind drifting. I had 8 hours of sleep and coffee too!

In today’s Gospel Jesus tells his disciples to stay awake. Awake- being of full consciousness to what is occurring in and around you… is definitely an act of the will.

I can think of so many circumstances of doing my own thing, thinking of only my self and not of how another feels or how they will be impacted by my words and actions. These times I was sleeping- yes asleep in myself yet visually fully awake.

I hear Christ saying to me too, wake up! “Much is happening around you to those I love! Where are you?” I want to say right here, but in all truthfulness, I’d rather just do my thing. It’s far less complicated. But I also know doing so is not following his commands to love my neighbor.

Today I will try again. I will attempt to look with his eyes for those in need, in sorrow, grief and pain; for the lonely, broken-hearted and yes even in the joyful and happy people he brings before me. I will look forward to every moment of staying awake until my day is done and I can rest in his shelter once again.

Sweet Jesus, you know how off track I can get. You know I like to tend to many things. Help me to stay awake- and on task- for the things and people most important to you and your will. Help me to stay awake even when the labors I do make me so tired. I do not want to miss your visit to me in being awake with another’s needs. I want to be fully awake and not have my head be bobbing up and down, missing much of the grace you intended to give. Help me to remain with you in all my waking hours. Help me to watch, and pray. Grant me the ability to humbly and effectively serve those who are drawing more deeply to yourself with a fully awakened heart, loving and serving them as I do you.

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Conform, Consent, Confirm

Can you see the Angelic images conforming, consenting and confirming God’s presence?

It certainly isn’t an easy choice to follow Christ. But three words; conform, consent and confirm describe what I choose in following Him. When I conform my life to His, I have to seriously consider what I am doing, for what motive and what consequence will occur. I cannot just choose to live life with a generic “go with it, or relax” or even “whatever” attitude, because I have found I am a radical Catholic. Yep, it’s true. It’s the Lord God, Creator of the Universe, of all creation that I’ll bow my head to, drop a knee for or give my life over to. It’s about following a set of commandments given to protect my life and keep me close to the one who gave me life.

Therefore, I give Christ my consent to take my heart into His, to mold and shape it as a potter does clay. He knows what is best for me; I need to keep my hands clear as to not interfere. I can be active when I am asked to participate and journey with Him in the good works he has planed for me. Yes I am submissive to Him, for he is my all. He would never harm me but always save me when I turn to Him. I recognize who He called to lead me while in this world – Peter – the rock, although today it is his chair that I align myself to. He knew the answers our heavenly Father asked through His Son. He was the chosen one to lead. I am to follow.

St. Peter, near the Temple where Jesus was condemned. 01/06/2019

I confirm my love for God and my neighbor. Although the second one is harder to love than the first if I’m honest. Some people! And this they may be saying about me. No one of us is easier or more difficult than the next in one way or another. But I choose to show confirmation in accepting Christ into my life by sharing Him with you in my thoughts and words. He is our God, creator, redeemer, sanctifier. We are His people. He is our all. We praise and give glory to His most holy name. We love each other in His name.

From the Collect of today’s Mass: O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command, and to desire your promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.

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What would you choose?

This is a pretty important and serious video to watch.  Whether you are Catholic or not, the information presented here is pertinent, timely and informative.

Society stands on a threshold of further degradation in the acceptance of evil or choosing to rise up and be informed/participate in ending this injustice of aborted baby cells as part of vaccines. 

This video shares information with truthful data in a very detailed way.  Over 80 questions were sent in and are addressed in the second half.  They are ones you and I would ask and will give you lots to think about going forward. It is almost 2 hours long, so maybe take it in chunks, but all that is presented is very good, factual and based on real data. 

I hope you will help me to spread this video to others so all can be informed and take action to direct these pharma giants to take the moral road because they CAN.  The more people know, the greater influence can be made.

As St. Ignatius said, be aware, understand and take action – and I’ll add, don’t be afraid, bullied or misinformed.  Here’s the youtube link.  Charts at www.cogforlife.org

https://youtu.be/dOU3I7ybJWE
Thank you for your consideration in sharing this message of hope amidst the darkness.

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Where’s the value?

I woke this morning questioning the value of my blogging. Because there’s only so much time in a day after sleeping, eating and praying and blogging isn’t a 5 minute thing. I wrote this at 6 am and am finally typing at 10 pm. But I’m typing. And the evil one is always wanting to defer my efforts of serving our Lord. So I’m typing on – I hope you will continue reading!

I’m not a scholar with worldly or insightful talent to speak from; but I am humbled to know, love and adore our Lord in a meaningful way. So I have asked myself on numerous occasions, should I be blogging? Or should I be reading, reflecting and learning by spending time in other peoples blogs, videos and books?

In my mind I go back further – why did I even start it up again? It took over my life for awhile and really got me off track in my priorities. But the answer comes quickly – I love to write AND share the power of Jesus’ mercy and love. I feel that in writing and sharing, one person may want what I have with Christ and choose to seek him too!

Today’s Gospel message said to me that it doesn’t matter what little I give or how late I am. It’s the why and how I serve God that is more important. The motives for my choices have to be unselfish and done with joy. It’s GRACE, not works. I can type all day about nothing and who would want to listen anyway? I am thankful to take a step back here and there, not type, miss a day or two or three and just let God speak to my heart as to when and what to type. Otherwise, it’s pride and I’m wasting time for both of us.

The last two days in the scripture readings we reflected on the rich man and attachments to possessions. This helps put today’s readings in perspective for me. It is only by God’s grace, his plan for my life – moment by moment, that I need to dwell on. Sure there’s all that other “stuff” to work around – appointments, people, classes, etc. Sometimes I hear God calling me early and sometimes late, and sometimes it’s to write and other times just sit and be still. Or make a cake with a granddaughter.

May I always be obedient Lord to each day of mental prayer with you – listening and taking up the direction you are asking me to follow. Help me to see that it is not one but in all things that I will find you when I have you as my center. Forgive me for my selfish motives and weakness to be seen and heard instead of giving you all glory and honor. Strengthen me to accept your grace with a joyful and repentant heart and then do the works you ask of me. Show me me where to firm up my foundation in you against these attacks from the enemy and my concupiscence of narcissism and pride. Teach me how to be your Shepherd in my little corner of the world; helping others by leading the way to your safety.

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