Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Healing Memories Bring Hope

He pulls out the ladder and heads toward the attic. Still in his work overalls, the wet mud he’s been in all day has dried to a crusty light brown around his knees. He’s been up since 4:30 this morning and is still working; this time it’s for me, and I smile at him as he heads up the stairs.

“It seems like I just put all these things away not to long ago; time goes by so quickly”, he says.

He hands me down the boxes of decorations, an accumulation of memories that we have collected and shared over the past 36 years.

“Yes, time does go by quickly”, I say in response.

First he hands me down the box that holds our Advent wreath; I had been asking for it for days now. The lighting of the Advent wreath has long been a tradition in my family, going way back to the time I was a small child.

Mom would always set the table so festive on that Sunday night, a hearty meal was set before us, and dad was first to light the candle. He would always offer a beautiful prayer of thanksgiving for all we had received throughout the year and he would remind us of the reason for the season, it was a time to prepare our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ Jesus.

It was a time of anticipation, a time of prayer and a time of sharing what we had with others.

Passing down traditions of faith and family have always been important to us.

"Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.… Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Seek That Which Is Above,1986

The Lord blesses us with so many things; all He asks of us in return is to love Him, to believe in Him and to have hope in Him.

"Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience." Romans 8:24-25

The greatest gift you will ever receive will never be found under a Christmas tree. It is far too valuable to be stored in any other place but in the depths of your heart.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

God's Mercy Will Give You Everything

Out of love God created the heavens and the earth,

The sun to shine by day,
And the moon and the stars to guide by night.

He created the waters and the dry lands,
He brought forth vegetation of every kind,
And the most succulent fruit trees.

He filled the waters with living creatures,
And birds graced the sky.
He blessed the lands with wild creatures of every kind.

God looked at all He made and He saw how good it was.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1 26:27

Our Father, who has loved us from the beginning of time, only wants to share His goodness with us. Why do we turn from Him so quickly? Why do we harden our hearts toward Him?

"Dear children! I look at you and I see in your heart death without hope, restlessness and hunger. There is no prayer or trust in God, that is why the Most High permits me to bring you hope and joy. Open yourselves. Open your hearts to God’s mercy and He will give you everything you need and will fill your hearts with peace, because He is peace and your hope. Thank you for having responded to my call." BVM November 25, 2010

Thank you loving Father for allowing the Blessed Virgin Mary to remain with us so long.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Continually Give Thanks

to him who alone does great wonders,
who by his understanding made the heavens,
who spread out the earth upon the waters,

 who made the great lights,
 the sun to govern the day,
the moon and stars to govern the night
Psalm 136 4:9

Bless the God of all, who has done wondrous things on earth;
Who fosters men's growth from their mother's womb, and fashions them according to his will!
May he grant you joy of heart and may peace abide among you;
May his goodness toward us endure … as long as the heavens are above.
Sirach 50 22:24

“Dear children! Today I invite you all to rejoice in the life which God gives you. Little children, rejoice in God, the Creator, because He has created you so wonderfully. Pray that your life be joyful thanksgiving which flows out of your heart like a river of joy. Little children, give thanks unceasingly for all that you possess, for each little gift which God has given you, so that a joyful blessing always comes down from God upon your life. Thank you for having responded to my call. ” BVM August 25, 1988

May a joyful Thanksgiving be yours....


Friday, November 19, 2010

The Light of Life

I have heard it said, “If you point your finger at someone, remember there are 3 more pointing at you!”

We are always so quick to find fault in those around us, whether it be a neighbor, a family member, or a co-worker. However, we are quick to justify our own faults, mistakes and behaviors.

We have even given our faults cute little phrases such as, “my guilty pleasure”, which really means, “Yes, I know I shouldn’t do it, but is it really that bad? Who is it hurting anyway”. These guilty pleasures could be just about anything from a TV show we know is immoral, but watch anyway, to an extra glass of wine that leads to loose lips in mixed company, to a shopping spree we really can’t afford and decide  not to tell our spouse about, or maybe a grudge we choose to hold on to because we believe we were wronged and we aren’t going to let go.

Who do these things really hurt? These things hurt us, they hurt our family and friends, they hurt the ones we work with. They hurt everyone involved!

As we, the Christian community, let our own moral compass slip, we become desensitized to evil influences  around us. It happens slowly at first, but gradually we become more tolerant of sinful behavior in ourselves. We lose focus of our true call. As disciples of Christ, our call is to be a light of life to a falling world. We are called to bring the fire of Christ's love to a world that grows cold.

When the people came to Jesus for healing, he would tell them, “Go and sin no more”. He wanted them to be healed completely in both body and soul.

"Dear children; With motherly perseverance and love I am bringing you the light of life to destroy the darkness of death in you. Do not reject me, my children. Stop and look within yourselves and see how sinful you are. Be aware of your sins and pray for forgiveness. My children, you do not desire to accept that you are weak and little, but you can be strong and great by doing God's will. Give me your cleansed hearts that I may illuminate them with the light of life, my Son. Thank you." BVM November 02 2010 Message to Mirjana

Friday, November 12, 2010

A Call to Duty

It was close to 4 o’clock in the afternoon when my cell phone began to ring. “Hi hun”, it was mom, “where are you right now, your dad has been passing an awful lot of blood. He is lying down now but I’d like you to drive us down to the VA emergency hospital.”.... He had been there the previous day for the same reason, but once things had gotten under control he had been released to go home.

“I’m about thirty minutes out mom, I will come straight over, try not to worry”, was the silly thing I said to her. I called my husband to meet me at their house; I took my rosary bracelet off my wrist and immediately began to pray. “Please Blessed Mother, ask your Son to be with them both right now and to let me be the peaceful presence they will need.”

Though both my parents try to hide their fears, the stress that they have been enduring is taking a huge toll; it is an invisible weight that can’t be seen with the eye, yet its enormity fills the room. Cancer is a horrible thing and it is something that has been a part of their lives for many years now.

The admitting nurse remembered dad from the day before and quickly got him into a hospital bed where he waited for the doctor for well over three hours. During that period of time, we were required to hangout in a small waiting room with the dozens of other people that had been there before  us. It was clear to see that many of these people were wounded veterans that had answered their call to duty and it was equally clear to see that for these brave soldiers, the battles continue, their suffering goes on.

As each one of them waited for their turn to be seen by the emergency room doctor, I thought of the souls in purgatory. I thought of how they spent their time of purification, waiting for the prayers of loved ones here on earth to intercede for them as they waited to see the Lord. I realized that I needed to spend more time praying for these souls than I actually do.

“Human suffering evokes compassion; it also evokes respect, an in its own way it intimidates. For in suffering is contained the greatness of specific mystery….man in his suffering, remains an intangible mystery.” John Paul II, Salvifici Doloris

Our dear Pope John Paul II knew what it meant to suffer, he was a true Christian soldier, a friend of the cross that bravely answered his call to duty. He referred to human suffering as redemptive suffering, a term that the world wants no part of.

 Yet, it was the suffering Christ that moved the heart of the criminal during the hours of the crucifixion "this man has done nothing wrong." Then, turning to Jesus, he asks, "Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). What wonderful faith this repentant sinner had in Jesus.

I remember dad telling me how he cried out to God and asked Him take this suffering, this cancer from him. And I remember him telling me that if God’s answer was no, that he would offer it up for the conversion of others. This is something he has done and continues to do everyday. He too is a soldier for Christ, he has bravely answered his call to duty.

I only hope to be as brave as those I follow after.....And I thank God for the suffering they endure for me and the whole world.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Service to Others Leads Others to Christ

Being a member of the Militia of the Immaculata and having my Marian Feast Day just around the corner, I was intrigued to find a wonderful article titled  "Thoughts on a New Knighthood"by The Most Reverend Charles J Chaput, O.F.M. CAP.

Scripture tell us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (PS 111:10). Wisdom-not merely the knowledge of facts or a mastery of skills, but wisdom about ourselves, other people and the terrain of human life-this is the mark of a whole person.1

It takes a lot of time, sweat and prayer to really know ourselves; even with a life time of soul searching most of us will fall short of knowing ourselves completely.

When I started my 33- day preparation for True Devotion Consecration to Mary, this time last year, the thought was put into my mind to pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of self-awareness. I had enough sense to ask for this gift to come to me as the Lord saw fit, for I did not want to become so overcome by my sinfulness that I might fall into despair and loose hope. But God, in His omnipotent mercy, is answering my prayer.

Little by little, day by day, He continues to gently reveal to me areas in my spiritual life that I need to work on in order to better serve Him. This can be a very humbling experience, because there is so much inside that needs to change. So everyday I ask pardon from Him and continue the fight as a member of the MI.

If I were to ask myself what it means to be a Christian soldier, I would hear grandma say, “read the Sermon on the Mount”. Simply put, we are called to the service of others and we are called to lead others to Christ.

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matthew 5: 13

As I begin my 33 day renewal of my Consecration to Mary I pray that the Lord might bless my spiritual eyes as I check my armor for holes and dents. I ask Him to bless all of you; your prayers and your comments help strengthen me, and they give me courage. May you and your loved ones grow in love for one another and in love for others.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen

1 The Most Reverend Charles J Chaput, O.F.M. CAP.