Saturday, January 30, 2010

Seeds of Faith


"Dear children! May this time be a time of personal prayer for you, so that the seed of faith may grow in your hearts; and may it grow into a joyful witness to others. I am with you and I desire to inspire you all: grow and rejoice in the Lord who has created you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

January 25, 2010 Message


Reflecting on Our Lady’s message, I started thinking about my time alone with the Lord.


Being an early riser, I find that hour before the sun comes up each morning to be a peaceful time to be with the Lord; it is my most precious time of the day.


This hour is devoted to prayer, daily scripture readings, and praise. And I always wish it could last a little longer.


But, Our Lord is always calling us to personal time with Him. He invites us to spend time with Him in Eucharistic adoration. He invites us to partake of His precious body and blood in the celebration of daily mass. He offers us peace and forgiveness through the sacrament of reconciliation. His loving arms are always open and everyday He invites us to spend personal time with Him so that the seed of faith may grow in our hearts.

Thank you Holy Mother for always reminding us of the love your Son has for us all.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More than Pampers and a Prayer


This morning I had the privilege of participating in the Walk for Life, sponsored by Birth Choice Health Clinic in Santa Ana, CA.

Birth Choice Health Clinic is a faith-based, pro-life organization that provides services and education to teens and adults. Not only does is promote abstinence and positive alternatives to abortion, it offers parenting classes and a place where dads can talk through
"The Dad Project".

At Birth Choice, they don’t just offer Pampers and a prayer, as one newspaper article stated, they offer housing and education for young women when necessary for a period of up to two years at “Toby’s House”. At "Toby's House" they are taught real life building skills, receive child care, job assistance, domestic violence recovery education, and more.



Their Santa Ana clinic is located in the heart of the downtown area. As we walked a two block radius of this clinic we passed three abortion sites. Two of these sites offer third trimester abortions; I found this to be heartbreaking. But what I found out too, was that solicitors are paid to offer discount flyers to vulnerable women in the area. These solicitors get paid by how many women they can bring into the abortion facility. Who says that abortion isn’t a money making industry!!!

As we walked and prayed, a priest who had joined us made a statement that I will never forget. He likened the abortion facilities to the death camps of Auschwitz. He said that human life was being exterminated here like it was there and people just look the other way. This is a sad analogy, but I can see the connection.

I started this posting by saying that I had the privilege of participating in this Walk for Life, I really mean that. And I ask each one of you that read this post to pray for the success of clinics like Birth Choice.

Prayer to End Abortion

Lord God, I thank you today for the gift of my life,
And for the lives of all my brothers and sisters.
I know there is nothing that destroys more life than abortion,
Yet I rejoice that you have conquered death
by the Resurrection of Your Son.
I am ready to do my part in ending abortion.
Today I commit myself
Never to be silent,
Never to be passive,
Never to be forgetful of the unborn.
I commit myself to be active in the pro-life movement,
And never to stop defending life
Until all my brothers and sisters are protected,
And our nation once again becomes
A nation with liberty and justice
Not just for some, but for all.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen!






Friday, January 22, 2010

America Defend Life

"America you are beautiful . . . and blessed . . . . The ultimate

 test of your greatness is the way you treat every human being,

 but especially the weakest and most defenseless.

If you want equal justice for all and true freedom and lasting peace,

then America, defend life 

 -Pope John Paul II





 

Thank you Lord for the glorious gift of life.

May we all become stronger advocates for life, true witnesses to the gospel of life from the womb to the tomb.
 
O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us that have recourse to you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Like the Falling Rain, Cleanse Me Lord

Standing on my front porch, I watch the morning rain fall from the sky.

It trickles through the nearby trees, cleansing the dirt from the leaves, as it makes its way to the thirsty ground below.

The air is chilly, but the smell of the wet soil is so fresh.
I begin to think of my soul, and realize that it has been a while since I have made a good confession.


I look at my watch and see that I have time to get to morning mass.
Scurrying upstairs to put on shoes and grab my keys, off I go.

The church is dimly lit, but filled with the warmth of God’s loving presence.


Many people have made their way to church this particular morning, all wanting to spend a little time with the Lord before they start their day.

In the first reading, the Lord tells Samuel, “Not as man sees does God see, because he sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.”

These words touch me deeply and I repeat them to myself as I walk up to receive Him in the Eucharist.

Mass has ended and I noticed an elderly priest sitting in the very last pew. Walking over to him, I ask him if he would hear my confession, he says “Of course”.

I’ve never been very good at face to face confession, maybe because I come from the era of behind the screen and that is where my comfort is, but the priest is so welcoming that I am instantly at ease. When I finish he says those wonderful words, “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”


I feel so joyous. I hug him and almost dance out the door.

Driving home, I once again think about those leaves that have been washed with the rain and I thank God for washing me too!


DearLord,

I have so far to go, but with the help of the sacraments you offer, may I learn to see others as You see them and not by appearance. Open the door to my heart that I might look outside with eyes of love.

Amen

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Power of Prayer




"Dear children! I call you to prayer. By means of prayer, little children, you obtain joy and peace. Through prayer you are richer in the mercy of God. Therefore, little children, let prayer be the life of each one of you. Especially I call you to pray so that all those who are far away from God may be converted. Then our hearts shall be richer because God will rule in the hearts of all men. Therefore, little children, pray, pray, pray! Let prayers begin to rule in the whole world. Thank you for having responded to my call." Our Lady of Medjugore August 25, 1989

Jesus speaks to us about the power of prayer in Matthews’s gospel:

When he was going back to the city in the morning, he was hungry.
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went over to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. And he said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again." And immediately the fig tree withered.

When the disciples saw this, they were amazed and said, "How was it that the fig tree withered immediately?"

Jesus said to them in reply, "Amen, I say to you, if you have faith and do not waver, not only will you do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, 'Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,' it will be done.
Whatever you ask for in prayer with faith, you will receive."

Reflection:

Prayer is by far the most common subject of Our Lady’s messages in Medjugore, as well as a primary teaching of Christ in the gospels. It is the root of joy and peace, as Mary reminds us today, and its power in unbounded, as Jesus teaches his disciples in the gospel. 1


May we find joy and peace through prayer as we begin a new day, a true gift from our Lord above.


1 Medjugorje Day by Day, Richard J. Beyer


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Feathers in the Wind

  "You shall not wrong one another." Leviticus 25:17


There is a 19th century folktale about a man who went about town slandering the town's wise man. One day, he went to the wise man's home and asked for forgiveness. The wise man, realizing that this man had not internalized the gravity of his transgressions, told him that he would forgive him on one condition: that he go home, take a feather pillow from his house, cut it up, and scatter the feathers to the wind. After he had done so, he should then return to the wise man's house.


Though puzzled by this strange request, the man was happy to be let off with so easy a penance. He quickly cut up the pillow, scattered the feathers, and returned to the house.


"Am I now forgiven?" he asked.


"Just one more thing," the wise man said. "Go now and gather up all the feathers."


"But that's impossible. The wind has already scattered them."


"Precisely," he answered. "And though you may truly wish to correct the evil you have done, it is as impossible to repair the damage done by your words as it is to recover the feathers. Your words are out there in the marketplace, spreading hate, even as we speak."


How interesting it is that we, as human beings, so quick to believe the bad that others say about someone; so accepting of the "news" contained in print and television tabloids, and so ready to assume the worst regarding another's actions, actually allow ourselves to believe that the evil "we" spread about someone won't really matter. Incredible that we can't seem to immediately and resolutely accept the fact that the gossip we speak can - and often does - significant damage to that person. 1


"Gossip is like a fired bullet. Once you hear the sound, you can't take it back." 2

1,2 Lori Palatnik and Bob Burg.

 

I found this today and thought that it was something valuable to ponder.

God Bless,

Daily Grace

Monday, January 11, 2010

Holy Mother




Like many Catholics, I have a special love and devotion to Our Lady. Maybe one of the reasons this devotion to her is so strong, so easy, so natural, is because of the love and respect I have for my own mother; I’m just thinking out loud here. 

My love for Our Lady has been there from my earliest memory and I am truly grateful for her presence in my life. I call on her everyday to pray and intercede for me, my family, those who ask for prayer and those who don't.

Anyway today, I was blog surfing again..........and came across another wonderful catholic blog  I wanted to share with you called "the way of the upright is a highway" . This is where I found this fabulous tribute to our Holy Mother sung by both Eric Clapton and Luciano Pavarotti.

I hope it moves you as much as it moved me.

God Bless you all and may Our Holy Mother hold you close to her Immaculate Heart.

Daily Grace

Sunday, January 10, 2010

BURNT BISCUITS..............


There was a kid whose mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. He remembered one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, his mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of his dad. He remembers waiting to see if anyone noticed!


Yet all his dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at his mom and ask him how his day was at school. He doesn't remember what he told them that night, but he does remember watching his dad smear butter and jelly on that biscuit and eat every bite!


When he got up from the table that evening, he remembers hearing his mom apologize to his dad for burning the biscuits. And he'll never forget what his dad said: "Honey, I love burned biscuits."


Later that night, he went to kiss Dad good night and he asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. His dad wrapped him in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt biscuit never hurt anyone!"

Aren't our lives full of imperfect things.....and imperfect people?

Learning to accept each others faults - and choosing to celebrate each others differences - is one of the most important keys to creating healthy, growing, and lasting relationships.

Let's make that our prayer for one another... that we'll remember to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our lives and lay them at the feet of God. In the end, He's the only One who will be able to give us relationships where a burnt biscuit isn't a deal-breaker!

Please pass me a biscuit, and OK, the burnt one will do just fine !

This was given to me by my mom. I thought that I would pass it on to you in a spirt of gratitude and humor.

Have a blessed day!

Daily Grace

Friday, January 8, 2010

Day by Day

I was recently surfing one the latest Catholic blogs I had joined
called, YIM Catholic and their recent posting was titled “Because of Brother Sun, Sister Moon”. This movie had always been one of my favorites for many reasons, but the main reason is that I love Francis's humility and simplicity. He got the fact that nothing on earth could make us happy, except loving and serving God. He was a "Fool for Christ", something I could only strive for!

Anyway, after reading their post I had to order it from Netflix. Come to find out, I enjoyed it even more than  I did the first time. This time however, it is the lyric of the song in the movie, sung by the late 1960 hippie "Donovan", that keep playing over in my mind:

If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends
Heartfelt work grows purely.


If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.
Do few things but do them well
Simple joys are holy.


Day by day,
Stone by stone,
Build your secret slowly.


Day by day,
You'll grow too,
You'll know heaven's glory.


If you want your dream to be
Build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends,
Heartfelt work grows purely.


If you want to live life free
Take your time go slowly.


I can only speak for myself, but I know that I am always in a hurry, rushing from one thing to the next. I ask myself why I do this.  I think it just has become a habit, a way of life, so to speak. But just like a person can break a habit of smoking or nail biting, or whatever else it might be, I am going to try to kick this one, day by day!


God Bless You All,


Daily Grace

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Sheep Without a Shepherd


When Jesus saw the vast crowd, his heart was move with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them. Mark 6:34-35


Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all. They all ate and were satisfied. Mark 6:41-42

In today’s reading Jesus refers to the crowd as sheep without a shepherd and then performs the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves to feed those gathered on the hill side that had come to hear his word and have their souls nourished.

This miracle of Jesus is seen in all four gospels and reminds us of our need for holy priests that preach the word of God and consecrate the blessed sacrament of the holy Eucharist. Today  I ask all to pray for the needs and protection of our priests, bishops, auxiliary bishops and our blessed Pope Benedict XVI; and may we always remember to thank and support them in their effort to bring Christ to us.

A Prayer for Priests

Lord Jesus, you have chosen your priests from among us and sent them out to proclaim your word and to act in your name. For so great a gift to your Church, we give you praise and thanksgiving. We ask you to fill them with the fire of your love, that their ministry may reveal your presence in the Church. Since they are earthen vessels, we pray that your power shine out through their weakness. In their afflictions let them never be crushed; in their doubts never despair; in temptation never be destroyed; in persecution never abandoned. Inspire them through prayer to live each day the mystery of your dying and rising. In times of weakness send them your Spirit, and help them to praise your heavenly Father and pray for poor sinners. By the same Holy Spirit put your words on their lips and your love in their hearts, to bring good news to the poor and healing to the brokenhearted. And may the gift of Mary your mother, to the disciple whom you loved, be your gift to every priest. Grant that she who formed you in her human image, may form them in your divine image, by the power of your Spirit, to the glory of God the Father. Amen. 1



 1 intercessionforpriests.org/

Monday, January 4, 2010

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Fullness of Life



Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. 1



As I begin this New Year 2010, I am filled with hope and a renewed sense of purpose;


For I feel the presence of the Almighty within me, filling me up, strengthening me.


Gratitude has become a close friend;
I find joy every time I see her face in the world around me.


Beauty has revealed herself to me on the snow covered peaks of the Eastern Sierra mountain range;
She has made herself known in the orange and purple sunsets above the Northern California coastline,
And she has broken bread with me as I shared the love and laughter of family and friends over holiday meals.


As I begin this New Year 2010, I am blessed to see all the ways the Almighty shows himself to those who seek his face.


May the Lord of all hold you close to himself this day,
And may you find comfort in the warmth of his most Sacred Heart.

(1 )Encyclical Letter of John Pau II, the Gospel of Life; Evangelium Vitae