Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All Beginnings Have a Yes

How rare it is to find a valiant woman! It is perhaps necessarily so, since Scripture says that they are more precious that pearl and diamonds. Let us however work to train a few. For in this century we must no longer count on men to preserve the faith. The grain of faith that will be saved will hide itself among women. A woman cannot remain neutral in the world. She too is set for the fall and resurrection of many. How different are God’s thoughts from ours!

Between women and God is often arranged the eternal salvation of husbands and sons. But for this she must be valiant. Strong to uphold purity of life. Strong to keep inviolate the treasure of faith. Strong in every battle of life. Great-souled in the face of calamity, persecution and death. And remember, sorrow is the training ground of strong souls. ~  St. Madeline Sophie Barat (1779-1865)                                                                                                  

As women we are called to bring life into the world. And though not all are called to be mothers, we are all called to spiritual motherhood. Our call is to bring Christ into a world that so desperately needs Him, to be a healing balm in a wounded world that has seemed to have lost its way. Where can the valiant woman be found if she cannot be found among us?

All beginnings have a yes. If we are to carry out our call and bring Christ into the world, we must say yes, much like our Blessed Mother said her yes to the angel Gabriel. We must turn away from the spirit of the world, and all that it tries to convince us, and turn toward the spirit of Christ. As St. Madeline Sophie Barat says, “A woman cannot remain neutral in the world”. The time for women to take a stand for Christ is now.

My soul magnifies the Lord
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
Because he has regarded the lowliness of his handmaid;
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed;
Because he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name;
And his mercy is from generation to generation
on those who fear him.
He has shown might with his arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has given help to Israel, his servant, mindful of his mercy
Even as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his posterity forever.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We Are Made by God And For God

As I woke early this morning before dawn and walked downstairs to the kitchen to fill my teakettle with water, I looked out the window into the darkness of my backyard. A single lamplight shown on the face of St. Francis as he waited patiently for the first of the three Hummingbirds that come each morning to drink from the fountain beneath his feet.

We have had this garden statue of Francis for over twenty years. It was blessed by a dear priest friend of ours, and the sound of the water trickling into the fountain can be heard from my bedroom window at night. It is quite soothing on a hot summer eve.

 I poured my tea and was saying my prayers, when sure enough, just as the sun took its place in the sky and the sparrows began to sing their morning praises to the Lord, there they came to take their morning dip into the fountain and to feast on the sweet nectar of the nearby Jasmine. We all need our daily nourishment to survive.

“As the body cannot live without nourishment, so our souls cannot be spiritually kept alive without prayer” St. Augustine

We were made by God and for God. Jesus says “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn 10:10). This life that he refers to is eternal life and consists of sharing in the very life of God himself, and dwelling in His presence.

It is not enough to be a good person. We are called to be holy people. Prayer calls us to holiness because it calls us into the presence of God who is all love and all holiness.

Just as most of us not only nourish our bodies in the morning or the evening, so too, our souls need nourishment throughout the day. Prayer is our spiritual nourishment that keeps us in the presence of our Almighty God.

The spirit of the world keeps us busy and it keeps us preoccupied. We become so busy that we often forget to notice the spirit of Christ in the ordinary things and situations around us. We fail to notice the presence of God dwelling in our midst.

How do we place ourselves in the presence of God? To do this we must cultivate a spirit of prayer; one that is always with us, like the air we breathe. We must realize that God’s presence is in all things and in all places. We must remember that His divine spirit entered us through baptism and His loving gaze is upon those who love Him, especially those in prayer. (Taken from St.Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life)

COME, Holy Spirit, Creator blest,
and in our souls take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid
to fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

The Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel speaks of profound dedication or consecration to the loving hearts of Jesus and Mary, as Carmelite religious have done for centuries. This is an act of love that links us to them forever. Medjugorje Day by Day, Richard J. Beyer

"Dear children! My invitation that you live the messages which I am giving you is a daily one, specially, little children, because I want to draw you closer to the Heart of Jesus. Therefore, little children, I am inviting you today to the prayer of consecration to Jesus, my dear Son, so that each of you may be His. And then I am inviting you to the consecration of my Immaculate Heart. I want you to consecrate yourselves as parents, as families and as parishioners so that all belong to God through my heart. Therefore, little children, pray that you comprehend the greatness of this message which I am giving you. I do not want anything for myself, rather all for the salvation of your soul. Satan is strong and therefore, you, little children, by constant prayer, press tightly against my motherly heart. Thank you for having responded to my call." BVM Oct. 25, 1988

Oh Holy Mother Mary, perfect model of prayer and contemplation, model of virtue, mother of us all,

Thank you for giving the Brown Scapular to St. Simon Stock as a sign of our consecration and
devotion to your Immaculate Heart. I renew my consecration to you and to the Sacred Heart of your beloved Son this day. Help me to grow closer to your hearts, minute by minute, hour by hour and day by day through all eternity. In Jesus name I pray, Amen

Monday, July 12, 2010

God Has Shown Me The Better Part

As they continued their journey he entered a village where a woman whose name was Martha welcomed him.

She had a sister named Mary (who) sat beside the Lord at his feet listening to him speak.
Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me."
The Lord said to her in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her." Luke 10 38:42

The alarm clock goes off before the sun has finished its morning yawn. We hit the snooze button and role over for just ten more minutes of slumber before we jump into the showers, then rush over and pour that first cup of coffee. Awe caffeine, what a wonderful stimulant you can be! Back to the daily routine of traffic, deadlines and time is of the essence contracts to fulfill. In a word I am referring to “obligations”.

Vacation has come to an end and it is such a bittersweet. Although I love my home and have become accustom to my daily “normal”, what a treat it has been to have seventeen days of vacation time in the Eastern Sierra Mountains, in the cabin my husband and I have been building for the past three years. Ten of these treasured vacation days being spent with loved ones, my children and grandchildren, my parents, and a nephew; a truly full house!

I have always had a tendency in life to be a little hard on myself, always trying to be a good parent, but always wondering if I really was a good one or thinking to myself, “If I only knew what I know now, I would have done so many things differently”. Thank God for my Christian faith and thank God for giving me every new day to start over again.

I live very close to my children and grandchildren, but I had never spent so many days in a row with my children and their families under one roof, observing their interactions with one another and seeing what my children were passing on as values to their own children. It was a time of treasure and delight!

As our days of fun and adventure came to an end, my children packed their families for the long journey home. No more campfire nights with my dad playing his harmonica and grandchildren eating smores. No more little feet running on hardwood floors, "Grandma, tell me another story about bears!"   My husband and I waved them all goodbye; tears of joys filled my eyes.

Arm and arm, we walked back into our cabin, picked up Mrs. Potato Heads earring and purse off our sofa as we sat down, looked at one another and smiled.

I thank God for all the blessings in my life, for every moment that lead to this precious time together as family. God had shown me the better part, and I am forever grateful.