Monday, November 23, 2009

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Christianity is not a voice in the wilderness, but a life in the world.

It is not a idea in the air but feet on the ground, going Gods way.

It is not an exotic to be kept under glass, but a hardy plant to bear twelve months of fruits in all kinds of weather. Fidelity to duty its roots and branch.

Nothing we can say to the Lord, no calling Him by great or dear names, can take the place of the plain doing of His will.

We may cry about the duty of eating bread with Him in His kingdom, but it is wasted bread and rootless hope, unless we plant and plow in His kingdom here and now.

To remember Him at His table and to forget Him at ours, is to have invested in bad securities.

There is no substitute for plain, everyday goodness.

~Author Unknown~

Sunday, November 22, 2009

THE FEAST OF CHRIST THE KING



As one liturgical year comes to an end, and another begins next week with the First Sunday of Advent, it is time to reflect...on how our relationship with Christ has grown...or weakened...over the last twelve months.

Have we kept Christ as the King of our hearts...our souls...and our lives?

Have our words and actions loving shown this truth to others?

OR...

Have we made ourselves the king...or queen...of our own universe?

Have our words and actions shown to others a love of dominance above all else?


Is it always YOUR way or the highway...in your family and professional relationships?

Can YOU bend with circumstances...or...do YOU bend circumstances to suit YOURSELF?

Do YOU always have to have the last word?

Are YOU always right...in spite of what the facts may prove?


The time is right to change that dynamic...to put Christ back where He belongs...as the King of YOUR heart...YOUR soul...and YOUR life!

Turn back to Christ...give Him back His rightful place in YOUR life...the time is NOW!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!!

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My younger son and I love the television show "Monk." In this week's episode, Mr. Monk was talking with Randy Disher about how even when everyone pokes fun at him and gives him a hard time, Randy is always good natured. Randy explained that years earlier on a case, he saw a bumper sticker that read:

"CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY."

As the show went on, Mr. Monk...obsessively, obsessively compulsive...took this advice to heart...and...even after getting bad news...literally danced out of a courtroom and almost did a Fred Astaire on a bench in the hallway...all the while repeating: "I choose to be happy."

Yesterday was my 49th birthday. I always enjoy it more when a birthday falls on a weekend, because in my house that means we celebrate ALL weekend long...a veritable holiday weekend for the birthday boy or girl.

It isn't grand or expensive...just three days of doing the favorite things and eating the favorite foods of the birthday person.

In this case...ME!

And so, it was...God...family...barbecue...the arcade...relaxation...and, a triple chocolate birthday cake from my favorite bakery.

All weekend long, I kept hearing Mr. Monk repeating: "I choose to be happy." That simple phrase, became the mantra for my birthday weekend between my younger son and I.

The past few years at my house have been difficult:

illness...anger...helplessness...death...sadness...irrationality...threats...drama...and the ultimate realization that there are always those among us, who...no matter what we may say or do...cannot love or respect us...because, they simply have not yet learned how to love or respect themselves.

Today, as I begin my 50th year on earth...I am adopting Mr. Monk's motto for this next part of my life:

"I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!!"

To paraphrase Mother Teresa: it is never between me and THEM...it is...and...always has been...and...always will be...between me and GOD!


God wants me to be happy.


I choose to be so!


How about YOU?


God wants YOU to be happy, too!


Say it...

in your head...

out loud...

or...

dancing down the hallway, a la Fred Astaire...

but...

just say it:


"I CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!!!"


Then...make it so!


God Bless YOU!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

MY PRAYER

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Heavenly Father,

Open my ears that I may hear You,
My eyes that I may see You,
My mind that I may come to know You better,
My heart that I may love You more deeply, and
My soul that I may have eternal life in Your loving caress.

Amen.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

GOD IN THE STREETS



We are called to see Christ in everyone...everywhere...always...and...forever.

Sometimes, however, it is nearly impossible to recognize...to tune in to...Christ...in the person in front of us at a particular moment.

Anger...fear...sadness...misconceptions...mental illness...all these things...and more...blur the presence of Christ in the other we are encountering.

And so, we avoid....we ignore...we fight back...we lash out...in reaction to the other's behavior.

Yet, our faith is not re-active...but rather...pro-active.

Sure we will fall...sin...at times...and, we will have many excuses..."I'm tired"..."I don't feel well"..."it's not fair"..."he shouldn't have said that"..."she shouldn't have done that"..."it was supposed to be ME"...and on...and on...and on.

But, will we rise up...reconcile and move on...or...will we fall even further?

While the clip above shows Eucharistic Procession through the streets: the Real Presence of Christ in procession among us...in our everyday life, we encounter Christ in EVERYONE we meet...the good...the bad...the ugly...the infuriating.

The question is:

Will YOU recognize Him before it's too late?

Will I?



Thursday, October 8, 2009

HEART OF MY OWN HEART

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If you greet sunrise with God in your heart and a prayer on your lips, there is a better chance that your day will reflect God's love, mercy and justice, and you will be better able to treat others the way God would. —~ From: When Did I See You Hungry? ~


There are four things that you cannot recover in life:

(1) The Stone...........after it's thrown

(2) The Word...............after it's said

(3) The Occasion......after it's missed

and

(4) The Time............after it's gone.


So, keep God in YOUR heart...a prayer always on YOUR lips...and...a smile for EVERYONE YOU meet!

Not only will YOU become a blessing to those around YOU...YOU will be bountifully blessed in return!!



Heart of my own heart...whatever befall...still be my vision...oh Ruler of all!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS OF ASSISI

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"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who deal likewise with their fellow men." ~ Saint Francis of Assisi






"I beseech all of you, by whatever charity I can, that you show reverence and all honor to the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, because (in Him) all things, whether on earth or in heaven have been pacified and reconciled with Almighty God." ~ Saint Francis of Assisi

Saturday, October 3, 2009

THE ANNUAL ANIMAL BLESSING

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This afternoon, we will be having the Annual Blessing of the Animals in the parish. I am praying the rain will either be done or hold off until after the blessing is over. Some of our Level 7 boys and girls will assist as one of their parish service projects towards the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Over the years, we have seen many dogs, cats, rabbits, hamsters...and even...snakes. After each pet is blessed, the Level 7 boys and girls will complete a certificate for the animal...and...present it to the owner with a medal of Saint Francis of Assisi. Treats and goodies for the pets will be available as well.

In the book..."Will I See My Dog in Heaven," by Jack Wintz, OFM...Father Wintz discusses how the book has sprung forth from an article he had written for St. Anthony Messenger magazine in 2003. After the article appeared in the magazine...the following Letter to the Editor was received. From the pen of Mother Teresa of Calcutta comes sound advice for all pet owners:

[Dear editors:] I am still jumping up and down over the article about animals in heaven. All observations made by Father Jack are sound references to the fact that God loves all creation and will include all in our heavenly home.

For the past several years, I have organized a "Blessing of the Animals." In 1972, I had written to Mother Teresa [of Calcutta] to ask for a letter of support. She sent one, over her own signature, and I quote: "[Animals] too are created by the same hand of God which created us. As we humans are gifted with intelligence, which the animals lack, it is our duty to protect them and to promote their well-being. We also owe it to them as they serve us with such docility and loyalty."

I think Mother Teresa says all there is to say about the sacredness of the animal kingdom.

[From Marlene, Louisville, KY] (p17)

I think so, too.

How about YOU?

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

WILL I SEE MY DOG IN HEAVEN?

I just finished reading a great book for anyone who has suffered the loss of a beloved pet..."Will I See My Dog in Heaven?" by Jack Wintz, OFM.

Based on Holy Scripture and the teachings of Saint Francis of Assisi...whose feast we celebrate this coming Sunday...this book has brought me great comfort by proposing...and...supporting the case that we will in some way see our beloved pets again in eternal life.

In honor of the Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi...October 4...over the next few days, I will be posting excerpts from this wonderful book, filled to the brim with the beauty of Franciscan Spirituality.

When we investigate God's way of exercising dominion over the world and its creatures, whether nonhuman or human, we see a Creator who is loving, gentle, thoughtful, and wise. God creates in a reverent and caring way, making sure that everything is "good" at every stage. God "blesses" the first man and woman and exhorts them to "be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28). Like a proud parent, God watches as the earth brings forth vegetation, seed-bearing plants, and living things of every kind. God provides a beautiful garden watered by lovely rivers. There is never a sense that God is acting in a domineering or exploitative way. God's dominion is one of respect, not a heavy-handed domination. This is the way that humans are meant to exercise dominion over their sister and brother creatures and the created world. (pp12-13)

Jesus came to teach us to love as God loves.

God's love is "gentle, thoughtful...wise," and respectful.

God's love is not exploitative or domineering.

How does YOUR way of loving compare to that?

What do YOU need to do to...make YOUR relationships...reflect God's way of loving...more fully?

To order your copy of this beautiful book: WILL I SEE MY DOG IN HEAVEN?

To join the discussion: WILL I SEE MY PET IN HEAVEN? DISCUSSION GROUP ON FACEBOOK

Sunday, September 27, 2009

WE CAN'T TAKE IT WITH US

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You can’t take it with you!

We have all heard this phrase time and time again.

And, we know it is so true.

We can’t take the stuff…the things…the detritus of this life…with us into the next life with Christ.

And, who would want to?

There is nothing man can make on earth…no matter how fabulous it may seem…that can compare to what God has ready for us in heaven.

No, we can’t take the stuff of this world into the next.

Neither can we enter the next world with the baggage of sin on our souls!

We don’t like to admit it much…but…

WE ARE SINNERS!!

We make mistakes…we do and say things that we shouldn’t…and we don’t do and say things that we should…every…single…day.

We are imperfect.

Jesus tells us in today’s gospel that if our hand causes us to sin…we should cut it off. If it is our eye through which we sin we should pluck it out!

And, what about our tongue…angry words spoken in the heat of a moment…gossip, rumors…telling our “friends” things that we know will hurt them...and sometimes cause them to re-evaluate everything they have ever believed…under the guise of “better they should hear it from me than someone who doesn’t love and care for them?!”

If that’s how we love and care for our friends…I feel sorry for our enemies!

Sins!

Over the last two weekends, the Level 2 children and parents came for gatherings. The first sacrament the boys and girls will receive in 2010 is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The children come up in the church…they are taught to bow as they approach the altar...as they will on their First Holy Communion Day...and sin is explained to them.

SIN…such a little word that causes so much terror and distress...in our lives...and...in our world.

Last week, one of the second graders raised her hand and said, “I don’t sin.”

Once sin was explained, the look on her face said clearly…that she too has sinned...at least once...in her seven years.

So, too… you and I.

The good news is, Jesus gave us a wonderful gift before he left us…The Sacrament of Reconciliation.

When we grow weary from the weight of the baggage of sin we carry with us…a few minutes of heartfelt confession with a priest...renews our soul...our heart...and...our conviction to live a life of love...so that we may be welcomed into the loving arms of Christ...and...granted eternal life.

When First Reconciliation Day comes…some of the children will be a little anxious…they are encouraged not to be nervous because when they are done they will be refreshed...and...renewed.

They will be given a new page upon which to write their future.

Some come out literally glowing!

And how about us?

Sometimes we feel weary…overburdened.

Sometimes we need to be refreshed…renewed…strengthened to resist temptation.

So I invite you to accept the gift Christ so graciously offers…the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

It is true…we can’t take it with us!

When we die…all the things we hold dear here on earth will be…disbursed…discarded…even destroyed.

Our soul will always be…either with Christ…or…in Gehenna.

In the Religious Education Program, it is our task to help you…help…your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews grow in relationship with Christ.

Each and every one of us is called to be a prophet.

Would that we take that calling seriously, and model by our actions, the things our words say.

We must...

Walk the Talk.

Why not…walk the talk…right into the confessional…and…show our boys and girls the importance of cleansing our soul…even as we nourish it each week…at the altar?

I promise you…that even if you are a little anxious…you will feel so much better afterward.

You will be refreshed…renewed…you may even…GLOW…with the mercy...and...glory...of God!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

THE BEST LAID PLANS...

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On Friday, when I was putting the finishing touches on plans for our catechist meetings, I wrote...and...scheduled the blog that appeared yesterday.

In reality, the meetings never occurred because I spent the better part of the day in the Emergency Room.

The morning began like so many others...

I left the house at 8:56 AM...got in my car...buckled my seatbelt...and...left the driveway. By the time I reached the stop sign on the corner of my block...just one house away from mine...I felt what I thought was my seat belt, pinching my shoulder.

As I turned the corner, I reached over to rearrange the belt, and came away with a piece of fuzz in between my fingers. Still driving, I tried to flick the fuzz out of my hand, when I realized I had instead crushed a bug in my fingers!

At the same moment I realized that the pinching was getting worse. I stopped on the side of the road...to find...that I had been stung by a bee. In just those seconds there was an angry..swelling...red patch on my shoulder.

I turned back home, put an onion on the sting, and my son took me to the hospital. By the time I got there, my blood pressure was very high, and I could barely breathe.

In triage, there were two men ahead of me...each with a bee sting of their own.

Last week, my husband had been stung twice.

The week before that, the pastor had been stung.

The receptionist in the doctor's office said her husband had been stung last week.

And, when my younger son came home last night, he told me he too, had been stung...on his way to class...yesterday morning.

Thankfully, my son did not have the reaction I did to the assault.

Today, I am home from work still having difficulty breathing...itching all over...and...wondering what's up with the bees this year!?

Bee careful (sorry, in my weakened condition...I just couldn't resist) when you are outside...avoid perfumes, open food and beverage containers...and of course...hives and nests.

If you know you are deathly allergic to bee stings...make sure your Epi-pen is up-to-date!

Take care of Yourself and each other!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TWELVE VIRTUES OF A GOOD TEACHER

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Today, our catechists will join with me to "kick off" our Catechetical Year. We will come together for prayer and plans.

There are the weekly classes to discuss, as well as, Sacrament Preparation, First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, Confirmation, retreats, Christmas Pageant, Stations of the Cross, Seders, Hunger Banquets, Chinese Auction, walk-a-thon, service projects, parachute making, gatherings, potluck dinners, Catholic Jeopardy, VBS, soccer camp...and, on...and, on...and on.

Our year will be chockful of opportunities to talk...and...learn...and...grow...as well as...opportunities to walk the talk.

There is much promise in the air!

One of the handouts I will distribute...this morning and evening...at the meetings...lists the Twelve Virtues Of A Good Teacher as described by Saint John Baptist de La Salle...Patron Saint of teachers:


GRAVITY

SILENCE

HUMILITY

PRUDENCE

WISDOM

PATIENCE

RESERVE

GENTLENESS

ZEAL

VIGILANCE

PIETY

GENEROSITY



As I distribute this handout, my prayer for our catechists, myself, and all catechists worldwide is this:

Lord Jesus, send us your Spirit...fill us with the gifts You know we need...to help us open the hearts...and...minds...and...souls...of those entrusted to our care...to the beauty and wonder...that is only found in relationship...through You and the Holy Spirit...with our Father in Heaven.

Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.

Live Jesus in our hearts, forever.

Amen.

Monday, September 14, 2009

EXALTATION OF THE HOLY CROSS

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We should glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, for He is our salvation, our life and our resurrection: through Him we are saved and made free. ~ Entrance Antiphon for the Exaltation of the Holy Cross ~

Sunday, September 13, 2009

OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF BABES



Yesterday, our Catechetical Year began with Parent/Child Meetings for our Level 1 children. I love working with the little ones. After a brief talk and prayer with the parents and children, we bring the children upstairs where I gather with them around the Baptismal Font in the vestibule. After we discuss why we bless ourselves with Holy Water upon entering church, we line the children up in pairs at the inner doors of the church and I ask them what they see.

Of course, the first thing they see is "the big table." As I explain that we call that table the altar, I tell the children that when we come to mass it is just like when we have a fancy dinner at home. At home, the food we eat strengthens our body. At mass, the food we receive strengthens our soul. And, like that fancy party, when mom's best table cloth comes out, candles may be lit, and flowers may be put on the table...at church, too we have a fancy tablecloth, special candles, and flowers. Mass, is the fancy party where we celebrate Jesus...and...our friendship with Him.

Still, as we stand by the entrance, I point out the gold box on the wall behind the altar. I tell the children that in the Catholic faith we use many BIG words to describe things. I explain that I think we use such big words to try to show the "big-ness" of God. I tell them that the gold box is called a Tabernacle...a big word that means..."little house." And, in that "little house" is Jesus. And, we know He is always there because the little red candle by the Tabernacle is always lit. I explain that Jesus is present there in the form of the host...the small hosts that have been blessed at mass...and a larger one that is always there, too.

I tell them that when we enter a church we must do so in a special...quiet...way to show that we know that God...Jesus...is there. One of my young helpers leads the way into the church and demonstrates for the children how they must genuflect when they reach their row...their pew. I then send the children in...two by two...to quietly, and reverently take their seats.

Once we are all inside, I ask the children if they have any questions about the things they see. The Level 1 boys and girls yesterday were exceptional. They asked about the "trophies" in the case. I have to admit, the bottles of holy oils in the cabinet...do...look like "trophies" from a distance. And, they are in a way "trophies" of our faith. When "-trophy" is used as a suffix it means " a condition of nutrition or growth." How smart was the child who called the holy oils used in Baptism, Confirmation, and the Anointing of the Sick..."trophies!"

One little girl asked why Jesus was nailed to that cross. I explained that Jesus came to teach us a new way. He was a king but not one with a palace...gold...or...jewels. As people began to follow him, the kings with the palaces, gold, and jewels got worried because they thought Jesus was going to take their place. They didn't understand. I pointed out the tapestry of the Stations of the Cross on the far wall, and explained how Jesus was arrested, carried His cross, fell, nailed to the cross and died.

But, that the story did not end there, that God raised Jesus from the dead and that proved that everything He had said was true...that love is the true treasure...and...that Jesus rising from the dead, and God's great love for us is what we celebrate at the party...the mass...each and every Sunday!

Before the parents came upstairs, the children asked about the stained glass windows and what they depicted, and, we ended with a prayer for the new year followed by an Our Father. At that point, the children got up to go with my young helper to get a better look at the window of the Good Shepherd and receive their gift...a children's mass book.

As she walked over to the window with the other boys and girls...the little six year old girl in pink, who had asked about Jesus on the cross...looked over her shoulder at me and said, "I still don't understand why they had to kill Him! Couldn't they have just asked Him to sit down and explain it all a little better?"

Out of the mouths of babes!

So, my dear friend, co-worker, brother, sister, mother, father, aunt, uncle, cousin...neighbor...my challenge to YOU today is this:

Rather than crucify that person YOU are having issues with...

Why don't YOU take the advice of my little friend in pink?

Ask them to sit down with YOU...and...explain it all a little better!

Are YOU up to that challenge?

Friday, September 11, 2009

TRUST IN GOD

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How important it is to avoid being upset by the trials and troubles of this life, for these things always tend to contract the heart rather than opening it up to trust God. ~ Quiet Moments With Padre Pio ~



May God bless all those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.

May God bless all those who lost their lives due to health complications from exposure on 9/11.

May God bless all those men and women still suffering from health complications linked to that fateful day.

May God bless their families and friends who grieve or care for them.

May God bless our Nation...and...our World.

May God help us to always keep our hearts open...through even the most horrific events we must endure...now and forever.

Amen.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

THE FEAST OF THE NATIVITY OF MARY

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Today the barren Anna claps her hands for joy, the earth radiates with light, kings sing their happiness, priests enjoy every blessing, the entire universe rejoices, for she who is queen and the Father's immaculate bride buds forth from the stem of Jesse. (adapted from Byzantine Daily Worship) ~ Saint of the Day ~

Today, we celebrate the birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary. No pregnancy...or birth...is an accident. Rather, pregnancy and birth are miracles...revelations of God's unfolding plan for the world.

Each child...even from before the moment he/she begins growing in the mother's womb...is precious to our Heavenly Father. Each child...each of us...has a special place in God's plan.

Mary knew this...and, God's plan for her was extraordinary.

Mary's faith in God...proven with a simple "yes"...brought Salvation into the world.

Just like us, Mary had free-will to answer "yes"...or..."no" to God's plan for her. Her faith and devotion to our Heavenly Father, led her to willingly say "yes" to His plan for her and us...for...the whole world!

Eternity beckoned...and..Mary's belief helped set us all free!

God has a plan for YOU...and me!

Through prayer and quietude we can discern our place...our part...in God's plan.

With free-will, we can answer "Yes!"...or..."No!"

Eternity beckons...what is YOUR answer?

What is mine?



God entered history through a family in order to make family life holy and show us how to live in our homes. ~ Love in the Little Things ~

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

DAY OF PRAYER FOR CANCER

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Today...and each first Wednesday of every month...is a Day of Prayer for Cancer...at The National Shrine of Saint Jude.

When you visit the shrine's site, you may send prayer petitions...light a vigil candle...request a mass...post a prayer...or, sign-up for weekly devotionals.

In the meantime, please join me in praying...the following prayer from the shrine...for all those dealing with the affects of cancer...at this very moment.

God of healing mercy, in Jesus your Son you stretch out your hand in compassion, restoring the sinner, healing the sick, and lifting up those bowed down. Embrace us now in your loving care, particularly those afflicted with cancer, for whom this intention is offered. May the Spirit of Jesus bring us all health in soul and body, that with joy and thanksgiving we may praise you for your goodness, through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.



Have A Blessed Day!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

THERESA TUXEDO AKA SPEEDRACER AKA TERRY TERRIFIC...RIP BABY GIRL!

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It has been a crazy 18 months and 18 days at my house...and...cancer seems to dominate every conversation.

My baby girl...Theresa Tuxedo...died...Saturday morning.

That is her...in better times...in the above picture.

Theresa was born...in our home...on December 18, 2000. She was one of three babies I found when I came home for lunch that day to check on Precious...her mommy...whom I knew was due any day.

When the other puppies began to stand and walk around...Theresa still lay on her chest...dragging her back legs behind her. I took her to the vet, beside myself. Something was wrong with this adorable little girl.

The vet told me she was a "swimmer puppy." He taught me exercises and sent me home to do physical therapy with Theresa to help her legs grow stronger. For months afterward, I would pick her up and exercise her legs...before I went to work in the morning...when I came home at lunchtime...twice each evening...and every two hours on weekends...praying all the way.

Not only did her legs strengthen...and she began to walk...but, she began to RUN around the house at high speeds...and so, earned the nickname: "SpeedRacer," from my older son.

Theresa was such a success story...born crippled to SpeedRacer status...in only a few short months!

A very sweet little girl with the humans in the house, Theresa took no guff from the other canines...or the pastor...my boss. Several years ago, she began barking loudly at the then pastor as I brought her before him, at the Annual Blessing of the Animals. Before I could tell him her name, he joked: "This one's named 'Rosemarie,' right?"

She was my good baby girl. When she went for her annual physical this past June I wanted to know what food I should give her, because she had put on a great deal of weight. Her belly was very large for a little dog. Her weight had increased from 24 to over 27 pounds.

The vet said she wasn't fat she had a tumor growing inside her.

Talk about feeling like an idiot!

Her bloodwork showed her white blood cell count was very high...over forty thousand. The doctor put her on a two week regimen of meds, and said that if they helped he would perform surgery to remove the tumor.

I went home, started the meds and began praying. I asked St. Peregrine, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Jude to intercede for Theresa as well.

After two weeks, we returned and surgery was scheduled. The doctor said he didn't know if Theresa would survive the surgery...I continued praying...and she did!

The doctor had gotten the entire tumor out...over three pounds worth...but said he couldn't be sure that the cancer hadn't seeded elswhere in Theresa's body. Complicating it all was the fact that the original tumor was in a mammary gland, but the biopsy showed it was a particularly fast growing and aggressive bone cancer that was involved...even though it was not in Theresa's bones!

Her blood count fell to a more normal thirteen thousand, and she came home with an E-collar and a drain in her belly:

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The prognosis was guarded...but good.

Until, I found another growth on her shoulder shortly after the drain and stitches had come out.

The growth was removed in a second surgery, and Theresa was racing through the house, being her normal loving, gentle self...a demeanor that had not changed during any part of her journey here on earth.

I began to call her Terry Terrific!

She returned to the vet last Saturday to have the stitches in her shoulder removed and it was then that two more growths were found in her belly. She came home with more meds and an appointment in two weeks to see if they grew.

By Monday, August 24th...merely two days later...the two growths had doubled in size. On Tuesday, I was in the dining room and heard something fall, down the hall. I went to investigate and saw nothing.

Theresa was sitting in the hallway so I gave her a pat, and that is when I noticed her breathing was labored. As I sat watching her for a minute, she fell forward onto the tile floor. That was the noise I had heard. I felt the growths and found they had doubled again...overnight.

I brought her to the vet that afternoon, he gave her a steroid shot and more meds. After he took an x-ray, he brought me into the operating room to show me that the cancer had spread to Theresa's lungs. And, something was blocking her stomach as well.

I thought he was going to tell me that we would have to put Theresa down...but to my surprise he gave me meds to make her comfortable...all the while apologizing to me...and telling me that all we could do now was make her comfortable. Through it all, Theresa did not utter a sound...aside from all the barking she had done at the other dogs in the waiting room...before we saw the doctor.

I had to get to work, so I asked the doctor if I could bring Theresa with me. He told me by all means...bring her everywhere!

And so, I did.

Theresa came to work with me that night, and every night last week. She strutted on the leash even as her little sides worked hard for air. She sat by my side at my desk each evening. She was so excited that she was going everywhere with me in the car...to work...to my aunt's to let the man in who diagnosed the leak in the basement, and the following day to let the man in to fix the sprinklers. Each time I went to leave the house last week, Theresa raced down the stairs and sat by the door waiting for me to put on her leash.

She just strutted on that leash...pulling me along.

To the very end, Theresa lived up to her nickname: "SpeedRacer!"

But then, late Friday night, something changed. I was already in bed and Theresa wasn't coming into the room to sleep by my side...as she always did. She stayed in the hall sitting upright with my younger son's bedroom door seemingly supporting her. I went to her...got down on the floor with her...and...between her demeanor and the demeanor of the other dogs...realized the end was very near.

Lucky, her dad...ran into the bedroom and hid on the other side of the bed. Her brother, Mr. Wiggles (he's a whole other story all by himself!) sat upright in the hallway as if standing guard...very uncharacteristic for him, since he likes to be the center of attention.

Theresa put her head on my leg, and I pet and consoled her. Her eyes were not right, and I knew that whatever my prayer...this time around...God's Will was going to be very hard to take!

My sweet little Theresa snuggled as close as she could, and I kissed her on the bridge of her nose. I thought about how much I despised cancer, and spoke some of the same things to Theresa, that I had spoken to my aunt back in April. I told her that she had fought a good fight, but there was nothing more we could do...that I loved her, and would miss her...but that the time for suffering was over. I made the Sign of the Cross on her forehead.

Theresa licked the tears from my face, and just sat with me for a couple of hours. When she went back to her position by my son's door, I tried to help her rest on a pillow...but she would not have any part of it.

She sat upright that entire night.

The next morning Theresa had an appointment with the vet. She was walking and acting normally, with the exception of the still labored breathing, but even my older son commented on how different her eyes were.

As for me, I told my husband, if the vet thought another surgery would help...schedule it!

My heart, though, knew better.

I had Catechist Training that morning, so my husband took Theresa to the vet. I gave her a kiss...told her I loved her...and...made the Sign of the Cross on her head...before she left.

The last picture I have in my mind of Theresa, is of her plopping down on the porch, not wanting to leave with my husband. He picked her up, carried her to the truck and they were on their way.

As I was driving to the church, I got the call that on the way to the vet, Theresa looked over her shoulder at my husband...sighed...and, dropped her head on the seat. He could not find a pulse. He rushed the rest of the way to the vet...they tried to revive her...but, it was too late.

Theresa was gone...another statistic in the insanity that is cancer!

We are heartbroken...and, again struggling with the "how-comes" and the "if-onlys"...that accompany illness and death...whether it be the death of a man, woman, child, or beloved pet.

Theresa is now at rest.

Her earthly journey ended.

I know that animals do not have the same souls as humans...but, because they are energy...I do hope and pray...that the energy that was Theresa...somehow returned on Saturday...to the energy's Source...our Heavenly Father!

My husband simply insists: "All dogs go to heaven!"



Death leaves a heartache no one can heal.
Love leaves a memory no one can steal.

~ From a Headstone in Ireland ~

For more information on

SWIMMER PUPPIES


BONE CANCER IN PETS


OR

MY FAVORITE VETERINARY PRACTICE ON LONG ISLAND

Thursday, August 27, 2009

HOW CUTE IS THIS GUY?!?

I found this Costa Rican lizard through @Eco_Costa_Rica on Twitter. For some reason, the link wouldn't work when I re-tweeted, so I am posting it here.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.
~Ce­cil F. Al­ex­an­der~

Sunday, August 23, 2009

FAITH

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Faith is a gift of God to man and it is, at the same time, man's free and total entrusting of himself to God.

Faith is the docile listening to the Word of the Lord, that is the "lamp" for our steps and the "light" on our way.

If we open our hearts to Christ with confidence, if we let ourselves be conquered by him, we too can experience, together with the Curé d'Ars, "that our only happiness on this earth is to love God, and to know that He loves us."

Let us ask the Virgin Mary, always to keep alive in us this faith impregnated by love, which made her, the humble girl of Nazareth, Mother of God and model for all believers.
~ Pope Benedict XVI ~

Friday, August 21, 2009

RAY "BUBBA" SORENSEN

I received these pictures in my e-mail...the pictures and the story must be shared!

There is a huge rock near a gravel pit on Highway 25 in rural Iowa. For generations, kids have painted slogans, names, and obscenities on this rock, changing its character many times. A few months back, the rock received its latest paint job, and since then it has been left completely undisturbed.

It's quite an impressive sight. The flag is not draped over the rock...it's actually painted on the rock, too.

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Here's the artist: Ray 'Bubba' Sorensen:

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Thank you, Ray, for sharing your God-given talents with the whole world!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

♫ ♫ ♫ COUNTING OUR BLESSINGS! ♫ ♫ ♫

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The other day, I received the following e-mail from my cousin whose son and daughter-in-law...both...are in service to our country:

Have you ever seen one of our military walking past you and wanted to convey to them your thanks, but weren't sure how, or it felt awkward? Recently, a gentleman from Seattle created a gesture which could be used to express your thanks and has started a movement to get the word out. Please everybody take just a moment to watch...The Gratitude Campaign...and then forward it to your friends!

THEN START USING THE SIGN!




While I was on YouTube, I found the following video in the same line-up as The Gratitude Campaign...



This has been a difficult year for so many of us...death, economic woes, family hardships, illness...and, on...and, on...and, on. Yet, even as we lament the hard times, we must never lose sight of the good that is around us always and everywhere.

Both these videos started me counting my blessings:

The butterfly that greeted me as I left my home yesterday afternoon to go to work (that's it in the picture above, taken when it settled on it's purple perch).

The majesty of God in the stunning sunsets (that's a picture I took of one on the post entitled The Feast of the Transfiguration) I see each evening as I take Horseblock Road home from Auntie Dee's house after collecting the mail.

My husband and sons who stand side by side with me through the good times...and...the less than good times.

My friends who lift my spirits...even as they extend a shoulder to cry on.

Our pastor, deacon, and so many parishioners who pray for me each and every day.

My babies...you probably call them dogs :)...who greet me with unconditional love each and every time I enter the house...even if I have only been gone a moment...to get something from the car!

My cousins...with whom I have reconnected...who send me prayers, blessings, and wonderful inspiring e-mails like the one above.

The waves on the ocean that remind me of the strength and awesomeness of God.

Food on the table...and...good friends around it.

The kindness of strangers.

The excitement of the children, and the fun we had during VBS last week.

My God-given life...talents...and...gifts.

The freedoms I enjoy, in a country secured by the strength and intelligence of men and women...like my cousin's children...who sacrifice for me!

How about YOU?

Been a bad year?

So bad...that YOU haven't been able to see the good, all around YOU?

Why not take a moment...and...count YOUR blessings?

And, then...

DANCE!!!

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.~ Melodie Beattie ~

To help Veterans right here on Long Island go to: VETERANSROCK.COM

Friday, August 14, 2009

REJOICE! GOD LOVES US EVEN WHEN OTHERS CAN'T...OR...WON'T!

Isaiah 49:15-16:

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

and have
no compassion on the child she has born?

Though
she may forget,

I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND

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One day a man saw a old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pinto was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on his face, she was worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn't look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.

He said, "I'm here to help you, ma'am. Why don't you wait in the car where it's warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson."

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire. But he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn't thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped.

Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty, who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, "And think of me.."

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn't erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan...

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote: "You don't owe me anything...I have been there too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I'm helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you."

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill, and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard.

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, "Everything's going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson." ~
Author Unknown~

There is an old saying..."What goes around comes around." All it is, is another way to say, we reap that which we sow.

What have YOU been reaping lately?

What have YOU sown?

Have YOU been sowing:

Love...or...Vengeance?

Duplicity...or...Transparency?

Healing Actions...or...Hate-filled Ones?

We all must be very careful of that which we sow...the harvest will be bountiful!

The question is:

Will it be a harvest of goodness...and...grace?

OR

Will it be a harvest of ill-will...and...hardship?

The choice is ours...

What do YOU choose?

Monday, August 10, 2009

BEAUTY TIPS

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Below is a wonderful poem Audrey Hepburn wrote when asked to share her "beauty tips." It was read at her funeral years later:

For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.

As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.


And, just for fun...a clip from one of my all-time favorite movie musicals. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF OUR LORD

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At His Transfiguration, Christ showed His disciples the splendor of His beauty, to which He will shape and color those who are His: "He will reform our lowness configured to the body of His glory" (Philippians 3:21) ~St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae~

The homily I heard today was about "mountaintop experiences." The disciples certainly had a "mountaintop experience" on Mount Tabor...when Jesus was transfigured...right in front of their eyes.

Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.” ~Mark 9:7~

While we were not present on Mount Tabor, with open hearts...we too, can recognize our own personal "mountaintop experiences"...those times, when God reaches through the firmament to grant us a glimpse of His Transcendent Glory...His Almighty Power.

Creation, in all it's wonder...from the coos of a newborn...the waves on the water...a beautiful sky at sunrise or sunset...a puppy's sighs...to a new bloom in the garden...reveal to me glimpses of God's Transcendent Glory.

These are MY "mountaintop experiences."

What are YOURS?

Free your heart...your mind...and...your soul, to recognize and savor the glimpses of God's Transcendent Glory all around YOU!

And, may our "mountaintop experiences" strengthen us to know...who it is...we are called to be...and...how it is...that God ultimately reveals Himself...in the fullness of His love.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

THE JOURNEY

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I began this blog and joined Twitter as a diversion...during the long hours...days...and...weeks of sitting...watching...waiting...and...praying...when my aunt was in the hospital in March.

It has become a place where I share my faith...my ministry...my life...and...my struggles with all three.

Not many of us live charmed lives...I know I don't. And, no matter how many letters you can write after your name...nor...what they mean...a life of faith is still a journey, with all the wonders...and...pitfalls, that any journey on earth can...and...usually does entail.

My route thus far has been circuitous at best. And, yes, the journey has been beautiful...and yet at times...exasperating...holy...and yet at times...insane...a great blessing...and yet at times...a great trial.

Some years ago, I was complaining to my confessor about how difficult some thing or another was for me...and, this was his reply: "You follow a God who carried a cross, was nailed to it, and died an undignified death upon it. WHAT Do YOU Expect?!"

Well, in a world of instant gratification...me, me, and more me...anything goes, etc., etc. we expect rainbows and baby kisses every single day. Yet, there is no rainbow without at least a little rain...nor...a baby to kiss without at least a little pain.

And so too, our faith journey will be strewn with good times...and...bad...baby steps forward...and...giant leaps backward.

The thing is, as in any journey...to stay the course...until the destination has been reached...the loving arms of Christ...as He welcomes us...Home!

Monday, August 3, 2009

ABBEY AND MEREDITH

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I received this beautiful story in my e-mail today.

It came from Dr. Jon at PetPlace.com.

It is proof of what God can accomplish...through us...when we just open our hearts to let Him
!

"Our 14-year-old dog, Abbey, died last month. The day after she died, my 4-year-old daughter, Meredith, was crying and talking about how much she missed Abbey. She asked if we could write a letter to God so that when Abbey got to Heaven, God would recognize her. I told her that I thought we could so she dictated these words:

Dear God,

Will you please take care of my dog? She died yesterday and is with you in Heaven. I miss her very much. I am happy that you let me have her as my dog even though she got sick. I hope you will play with her. She likes to play with balls and to swim. I am sending a picture of her so when you see her, you will know that she is my dog.

I really miss her.

Love,

Meredith

We put the letter in an envelope with a picture of Abbey and Meredith and addressed it to 'God/Heaven'. We put our return address on it. Then Meredith pasted several stamps on the front of the envelope because she said it would take lots of stamps to get the letter all the way to Heaven.

That afternoon she dropped it into the letter box at the post office. A few days later, she asked if God had gotten the letter yet. I told her that I thought He had.

Yesterday, there was a package wrapped in gold paper on our front porch addressed to Meredith in an unfamiliar hand. Meredith opened it. Inside was a book by Mr. Rogers called, 'When a Pet Dies.' Taped to the inside front cover was the letter we had written to God in its opened envelope.

On the opposite page was the picture of Abbey & Meredith and this note:

Dear Meredith,

Abbey arrived safely in Heaven. Having the picture was a big help. I recognized Abbey right away. Abbey isn't sick anymore. Her spirit is here with me just like it stays in your heart.

Abbey loved being your dog. Since we don't need our bodies in Heaven, I don't have any pockets to keep your picture in, so I am sending it back to you in this little book for you to keep and have something to remember Abbey by.

Thank you for the beautiful letter and thank your mother for helping you write it and send it to me. What a wonderful mother you have. I picked her especially for you.

I send my blessings every day and remember that I love you very much.

By the way, I'm easy to find, I am wherever there is love.


Love,

God"


Who needs YOU to share God's love with them today?


For help in caring for your pet visit: PETPLACE.COM!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

FIRST PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION IN IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY

The goal of our life is to be with God forever.
God, who loves us, gave us life.
Our own response of love allows God's life to flow into us without limit.

All the things in this world are gifts from God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily.

As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal.

In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation.

We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God.

Our only desire and our one choice should be this:


I want and I choose what better leads to God's deepening His life in me.


~Saint Ignatius, as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, S.J. ~

Friday, July 31, 2009

THE FEAST OF SAINT IGNATIUS LOYOLA

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On his way to fame and fortune in the military, Saint Ignatius was sidetracked by a cannonball...at the Battle of Pamplona...which shattered his leg. While he convalesced, he spent his time reading The Life of Christ and The Lives of The Saints...the only books available to him, at the time. His conscience deeply touched, he began a long and painful conversion to Christ.

Eventually, he founded the Society of Jesus...the Jesuits...employing the motto:

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam...

To The Greater Glory Of God.

Everyone who calls themselves a Catholic Christian would do well to make this their motto, as well...that everything...we say and do...always be said and done for, "the greater glory of God."

What are YOU saying and doing, today?

Are YOU saying and doing it for the glory of self?

Or, do YOUR words, actions, and deeds ultimately glorify God?

He has given us a great gift...life.

What we make of that life is our gift back to Him!

I pray that my words, actions, and deeds always glorify He, who has so generously gifted me!

I pray too, that YOUR words, actions, and deeds always glorify Him as well...for YOU, too have been generously gifted by God!

A few years ago...as I was discerning a call to become a Spiritual Director...I spent much time...with my own Spiritual Director..praying through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola.

The Examen of Consciousness is an integral component of the exercises...and, quite frankly...should be an integral component of the prayer life of us all...to help us grow more sensitive to our spirit and our Source:



Saint Ignatius' Prayer For Penitents:

Receive, Lord, all my liberty, my memory, my understanding and my whole will. You have given me all that I have, all that I am, and I surrender all to your divine will, that you dispose of me. Give me only your love and your grace. With this I am rich enough, and I have no more to ask.

For more information on the Spiritual Exercises, visit:
IGNATIAN SPIRITUALITY

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

THE FEAST OF SAINT MARTHA

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Today is the Feast of Saint Martha.

We don't know much about Martha except that she...and her sister, Mary, and brother Lazarus...were dear friends of Jesus...probably wealthy...and...that she was so busy cooking, cleaning, and complaining about it all, that she usually lost sight of more important matters.

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her. ~Luke 10:38-42~

Martha then said to Jesus, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. ~John 11:21~

Jesus said, “Remove the stone.” Martha, the sister of the deceased, said to Him, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days.” ~John 11:39~

I confess right now, that I have never been able to relate to Martha. I have always found her to be short-sighted...too busy...do-ing...to just be. Too busy complaining about her sister to just love.

And yet, it is in just be-ing that we find peace.

It is in taking our place at the feet of our Lord that we learn how to love.

How about YOU?

Are YOU a "do"-er?

Always...

Everywhere?

Are YOU always complaining about all YOU do?

Are YOU always complaining that no one helps YOU?

Then, it's probably time for YOU to just be!

Take the time so necessary for YOUR soul and YOUR psyche to just "be"...

AND, more importantly...

to let Christ just "be" in YOU!

Once Jesus...gently...instructed Martha on the proper place of faith in service...her complaints ceased...and her service became filled with love.

The same can be true for YOU.

If YOU just take some time to be infused..as Martha was...with the love of our Lord!

Take some time today...and...just be!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

LAUGHING WITH THE SAINTS

I was reminded the other day...right here on this blog...by a dear friend from Twitter...that ours should be a joyful faith. Sometimes, though we get so bogged down in our own struggles of being in the world but not of it...in our own Good Friday-like experiences...that we lose sight of the fact that without the pain of Good Friday...there is NO joy of Easter Sunday Resurrection.

For some time now, I have been enduring a personal Good Friday. My faith and my hope in Christ help me to know...unreservedly...that my own personal Easter Sunday-like resurrection is on the horizon. In the meantime, rather than wallowing in the pain and darkness, I have chosen to Laugh With The Saints!

I hope these videos give you a laugh or two...or, if you are enduring a personal Good Friday of your own...I hope they give you a few moments of respite.

And...the whisper of a promise...that your own Easter Sunday-like resurrection is on the horizon, as well!

God Bless, You!!





Monday, July 27, 2009

A MOTHER'S PRAYER

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My husband and I, and even a good family friend, are worried about my older son. He has been through a great deal this past year and a half.

His world...as he knew it...was blown apart...as if by a dirty bomb.

The scales have been ripped from his eyes, and two women, whom he had adored, have shown him a different...darker...more hurtful...side of their personalities...the side, I had managed to protect him from...for much of his meager twenty-three years.

He has lost all respect for these elders, and he is questioning...everything...at the moment...his heritage...his genealogy...and yes, even...or more precisely...especially...God.

It breaks my heart.

This is a young man to whom I would go to discuss philosophy and faith...a young man who talked about the priesthood...went on vocation retreats...and even pilgrimage to Medjugorje for discernment.

That is no more.

The harshness that can sometimes be found in extended familial relationships...is weighing him down at twenty-three.

Each day, I place him...as I place my entire family...in God's Hands.

I pray, that God's justice and righteousness will cut through the insanity of the situation that is wearing my son down, and show him that God IS real...IS listening...and...IS able...to soften even the most hardened of hearts.

And, even as I pray for solace for my son, still I say:

"Thy will...NOT my will...be done!"

Sunday, July 26, 2009

WIND IN THE WILLOWS

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Today, we heard proclaimed the Gospel of the loaves and fishes. The homily I heard, reminded me of a story my boys loved to have me read...over and over again...when they were little. It was a Little Golden Book called "Mickey's Stone Soup."

Based on the Grimm Brother's tale, Mickey Mouse enters a village and with a "magic stone" manages to gain everyone's trust and cooperation to make a grand soup to share. Someone brings the pot...another the water...others, the carrots, potatoes, and a bone...until a savory soup is simmering.

The Body of Christ is like that!

We all have something to share!

Too many times...like the villagers in the story...we do not even realize, just how much we have within us to share. But, when we loosen up just a teensy bit, we find that our contribution...no matter how big...or...how small...is just the thing to season the mix perfectly.

The little boy in the Gospel, had enough faith that his contribution of five barley loaves and two fish in Jesus' hands could feed the multitude gathered.

Jesus tells us we must have the faith of a little child to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

How is...YOUR...faith doing, today?

How is...MINE?

What do...YOU...have...within YOU...that is just the thing that the Body of Christ needs to fulfill the Kingdom?

What do...I?

How can...WE...come together...with...OUR...different contributions...to further God's Kingdom...here on earth?


At the end of the homily, the presider began to sing the refrain from a beautiful old song about the Holy Family, called Wind In The Willows:

As I went a walking
One morning in spring
I met with some travelers
On an old country lane
One was an old man
The second a maid
The third was a young boy who smiled as he said
"With the wind in the willows
The birds in the sky
There's a bright sun to warm us wherever we lie
We have bread and fishes and a jug of red wine
To share on our journey with all of mankind."
So I asked them to tell me their names and their race
So I could remember each smile on their face
"My name is Joseph this is Mary my wife
And this is our young son, our pride and delight
With the wind in the willows
The birds in the sky
There's a bright sun to warm us wherever we lie
We have bread and fishes and a jug of red wine
To share on our journey with all of mankind."
So I sat down beside them
With flowers all around
We et from a mantle
Spread out on the ground
They told me of prophets
And peoples and kings
And all of the one God that knows everything
"We're traveling to Glaston
Over England's green lanes
To hear of men's troubles
To hear of their pains
We travel the wide world
Over land and the sea
To tell all the people
How they can be free
With the wind in the willows
The birds in the sky
There's a bright sun to warm us wherever we lie
We have bread and fishes and a jug of red wine
To share on our journey with all of mankind."
So sadly I left them
On that old country lane
For I knew that I'd never see them again
One was an old man
The second a maid
The third was a young boy who smiled as he said
"With the wind in the willows
The birds in the sky
There's a bright sun to warm us wherever we lie
We have bread and fishes and a jug of red wine
To share on our journey with all of mankind."


I found the following video of the song. I just wish the lyrics had not been changed to exclude the names of Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

FINDING UNCONDITIONAL LOVE

Each morning, I receive a Minute Meditation via e-mail. The thought for today is:

Love within a family is unconditional, and this kind of environment is necessary not only for children but also for adults who need a space of healing from wounds inflicted in the marketplace.
~Living a Spirituality of Action~


Love within a family SHOULD be unconditional and curative.

Is it that way in YOUR family?

Is it that way in MINE?

Too many times, our families are our worst judges and juries...our closest relations are our harshest critics...our most punitive taskmasters...a veritable fount of unforgiveness.

There are many reasons...excuses...why this dynamic is so; and yet, it is not the familial relationship-dynamic modeled to us by our Triune God!

So, where do we go, when the harshest wounds are not inflicted in the marketplace, but rather in the bosom of the family?

While some turn to alcohol, drugs, promiscuity, overspending, and other "self-medicating"...self-harming...short-term fixes; I turn to God...my haven in the complexities and irrationalities that are my family life. I would love to have had a "Donna Reed-type" family...but, I was not so blessed.

And so, I turn to God...who KNOWS all...and...SEES all.

I pray for conversion of hearts for those who refuse to communicate...or have right relationship...with me.

I pray for God to pour His love and mercy and forgiveness out upon me, so I in turn, may have mercy, forgiveness, love...AND...understanding for those who are hurting my children and I.

I pray that God may keep me from becoming as bitter as some.

And, I pray for fortitude...to continue doing what I know in my heart is the right thing to do...to follow through on the wishes of the one who was disrespected...in life...in illness...and even...in death.

I guess, as the old saw goes: "candy is dandy...liquor is quicker"...


but...


GOD IS FOREVER!


To subscribe to Minute Meditations go to:
AMERICAN CATHOLIC.ORG

Friday, July 24, 2009

IS IT JUST ME?

I wish this couple all God's Blessings on their recent marriage...and, I do find the video fun...even, as I happily note it was not done in a Catholic Church...BUT, I can't help thinking this performance would have been better suited as the entrance to the reception...rather than the entrance in a church! Am I out of line?



Thoughts?

Comments?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

THE CARPENTER'S HOUSE

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family.

He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by. The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career.

When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you."

What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently.

Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity. The plaque on the wall says, "Life is a do-it-yourself project." Your life tomorrow will be the result of your attitudes and the choices you make today!

~Author Unknown~

For more stories like this, visit:
INSPIRATIONSPEAK.COM

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

WHAT WILL MATTER

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Ready or not, some day it will all come to an end.

There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days. All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten will pass to someone else.

Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance. It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.

Your grudges, resentments, frustrations and jealousies will finally disappear. So too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to do lists will expire.

The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.

It won't matter where you came from or what side of the tracks you lived on at the end.

It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant. Even your gender and skin color will be irrelevant.

So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured?

What will matter is not what you bought but what you built, not what you got but what you gave.

What will matter is not your success but your significance.

What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.

What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage, or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.

What will matter is not your competence but your character.

What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.

What will matter is not your memories but the memories that live in those who loved you.

What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.

Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident. It's not a matter of circumstance but of choice.

Choose to live a life that matters.

~Michael Josephson~

Michael Josephson is nationally known as an ethicist and radio commentator. Mr. Josephson is the founder and president of Josephson Institute and its CHARACTER COUNTS! project. The Josephson Institute consists of Centers for Ethics for Youth, Sports, Business, Public Service, and Policing.

For more information on the Josephson Institute, project CHARACTER COUNTS!, or to subscribe to Mr. Josephson's valuable newsletters visit:

JOSEPHSON INSTITUTE CENTER FOR ETHICS

Monday, July 20, 2009

FORTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF THE FIRST COMMUNION ON THE MOON

"...the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the very first food eaten there, were the communion elements.” ~Buzz Aldrin~



FOR MORE ON THE FIRST COMMUNION ON THE MOON GO TO:
REV. BOSCO PETERS' "FIRST COMMUNION ON THE MOON ANNIVERSARY" AT LITURGY.COM.NZ

Saturday, July 18, 2009

DIGNITY

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One's dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it cannot be taken away unless it's surrendered! ~ Michael J. Fox ~


So...Don't...Surrender...Your...Dignity!


Don't Surrender To...

Abuse

Addiction

Entitlement

Threats

Illness

Overspending

Jealousy

Hate

Greed

Bullying

Fear

Ego

Unbridled Passions


Rather...Submit...Your...Very...Being!


Submit to the Holy Spirit...

To the dignity and peace that can only be found within YOURSELF

Within YOUR heart

Within YOUR soul

Within YOUR relationship with our Heavenly Father...as mediated through Christ...and...guided by the Holy Spirit!


Despite what the world tells us...

Dignity and peace do not come from what others do...or...say about...or...to us!

IF THEY DID...what a roller coaster ride our life would be...as we rode the wave of compliments...and fell into the pit of complaints...over and over...many times...every single day!

Dignity and peace do not come from external things...fancy cars...fancier houses...closets full of clothes and shoes...vacations across the world...fame...fortune...things...and more...things.

IF THEY DID...all those sporting that onerous bumper sticker: "Whoever dies with the most toys...WINS," would be happy and at peace...rather than working more and more hours...at more and more jobs...even at times...grasping at that which is not theirs...in the vain attempt to sustain the unsustainable.

Just pick up a newspaper, a magazine, or turn on the television...the story is there for all to see...happening to all too many...all too often...all the time!


Christ surrendered HIS dignity...that we should keep ours...as royalty...sons and daughters of the KING! That is the only thing we possess...freely given by God...that will survive our death...and...all eternity.

So, as Catholic Christians, our bumper sticker should read, "Whoever dies with the dignity and peace of their soul intact...WINS!"


How are...YOUR...dignity and peace doing today?

Have...YOU...surrendered them to another's abuse...threats...or...jealousy?

Have...YOU...surrendered them to illness...or...fear?

Have...YOU...surrendered them to the opinion of another?

Have...YOU...surrendered them in...YOUR...own over-developed sense of entitlement...overspending...or...greed?

Have...YOU...surrendered them in the race for MORE?


As long as...YOU...are breathing...YOU...can reclaim...YOUR...dignity and peace...YOUR...very SOUL!

The question is...

Do...YOU...have the...FAITH...necessary to...submit...to the Holy Spirit...in order to do so?


Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13 ~