Wednesday, August 22, 2012

He is Always Listening.....

The church bells chimed loud and clear, a welcoming ringtone, one that always makes me smile whenever  mom calls. This morning however, instead of the usual enthusiasm that accompanies her calls, my stomach felt butterflies.

“Hi hun, the V.A. has scheduled dad’s procedure for 12:30”, she said. This will mark the third time we had been there in the last six days.

Cancer. It is something that he has suffered with for many years  now.

For a long time it was under control, but in the past few years it had resurfaced. Like an aggressive weed in a beautiful garden, it has taken over his entire body, invading everything it comes in contact with.  No organ is  left untouched.

I can remember many years ago, when this all started. I went with dad to his oncologist appointment. While we sat in the waiting room  to be called in, an elderly gentleman walked past us with what appeared to be a colostomy bag. “That is one of my greatest fears”, dad told me. “I hope I never have to have one of those bags”.

The procedure he was scheduled for this day would meet his fears. His kidneys have become so ridden with cancer that they have stopped functioning properly. The right one has worn down, and his potassium levels continue to elevate, putting him in extreme danger.

I buttoned up my work at the office and made my way to the V.A. I got there minutes before he was wheeled away by a staff member. I kissed his forehead and made the sign of the cross where I had placed the kiss. Mom did the same and added a beautiful blessing, asking the Blessed Mother and all God’s holy angels to protect dad in what he was about to undergo. He squeezed her hand, gave her a brave smile, and was taken away from us, into the hands of doctor that we hand not yet met, his regular doctor was not there.

Mom and I both had an unusual amount of anxiety so I suggested that we find out if the V.A. had a chapel; we both needed a quiet place to pray. Mom, in her stressful state, said aloud, “This is a government building, I’m not sure if they still have chapels here”. “Oh mama, I laughed slightly, “of course they do”. Humor can be a sweet relief  at times like this.

 I went up to the information desk and asked where the chapel was located and sure enough, it was located on the second floor.

As we started to make our way there, a man who had overheard our conversation, walked up to us. “I know where it is”, he said. “It’s hard to find, I will take you there”. I thanked him, and I thanked God, knowing that He was listening too.

The chapel was lovely and music was playing in the background, which might have been great for a lot of people, but in my mind it sounded like show tunes, and to be honest, the music was getting to me. I pulled out my rosary beads and so did mom. Together we prayed the Glorious Mysteries, me praying a little louder in an effort to block out the music.

Suddenly, we heard a joyful Irish brogue saying, “Awe, if it’s not the holy women, praying for the souls of the world, lovely, yes lovely”. The cutest little Irish nun walked up to us, Sr. Mary Catherine was her name, and said, “Bless you ladies, bless you. Wouldn’t you be more comfortable praying before the Blessed Sacrament ?”. “The Blessed Sacrament!” we both said in surprise. “Yes”, she said, “The Catholic Chapel is right around the corner, let me take you there”. She lead us straight to Jesus. We thanked her and she was gone. As we sat before Our Lord, I said another "thank you", for again He showed me He was listening.

Dad’s procedure took longer than expected. It had some initial hiccups; the cancer prevented one tube that had been inserted from staying in place properly, which caused a backup somewhere in the kidney area. Dad was in a tremendous amount of pain. The next day another procedure was done to correct the problem. An extra day in the hospital was require, just in case.Then he was released to go home.

In the following days a hospice team was sent to the house. That must be a rough one for everybody, it sure was for us . Dad choked up a bit and so did we. But, an interesting thing happened. The man that came from Hospice happen to a Catholic priest from the Philippines, a missionary priest. He comforted dad, staying with all of us for a while, answering questions and sharing stories of faith.

As Father was getting ready to leave us, we all gathered around dad, holding hands and praying. The Holy Spirit was so strong and again I thanked God. I knew He was listening.

Everything now is day to day. Life seems so precious and living in the present moment is so important. The words of this song from Isaiah 49 keeps running through my mind: 

I will never forget you my people. I have carved you in the palm of my hand…

This song continues to remind me that He is always listening.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Prayer Refreshes the Soul

 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Each moment of prayer is like a drop of dew in the morning which refreshes each flower, each blade of grass, the whole earth.

In the same way, prayer refreshes man. Just as he must rest when tired, seek peace when troubled, so he must pray and listen to the Spirit of God to renew himself.

How beautiful the scenery is when we look at nature in the morning, in all its freshness! But how much more beautiful is someone who conveys peace, love, and happiness to others. Children, if only you knew what prayer does to the human beings, especially prayer from the heart! In this way, you can become a beautiful, fresh flower for God. See how long the drops of dew linger on the flowers before the first rays of sunlight.

In this way, nature is refreshed and renewed. For nature to remain beautiful, it requires a daily renewal and refreshment. In the same way, prayer refreshes man, renewing and strengthening him. Because temptations afflict him again and again, weakening him, he must pray so as to be renewed and empowered to love. Therefore, pray and rejoice in the refreshment God gives you! BVM, Medjugorje, Jelena's prayer group Jan. 1986

Oh Lord, refresh my soul that I may share your word, your love, your grace with all you send my way this day. In your Holy name I pray.~Amen

Monday, August 20, 2012


In God's Company 2: "QUEEN OF PEACE" TRAILER - MEDJUGORJE DOCUMENTARY: Published on Aug 17, 2012 by bambiinaproductions

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 "Dear children! Today I am calling you all to
prayer. Without prayer, dear children, you are not able to
experience either God, or me or the graces which I am giving you.
Therefore, my call to you is that the beginning and end of your
day always be prayer. Dear children, I wish to lead you daily
more and more in prayer, but you are not able to grow because you
do not desire it. My call, dear children, is that for you prayer
be in the first place. Thank you for having responded to my
BVM, July 3, 1986, Medjugorge

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Give This Woman A Medal.

I don't know about you, but I usually spend a lot of time listening to the radio in the morning, catching up on the local news or national political headlines while I get ready for work or driving to work, but I have to admit that sometimes these newscasters and pundits can really bring me down. So in an effort to find a more positive, uplifting and educational alternative to the typical morning broadcast, I did a little 'web-surfing ' and discovered that Ave Maria Radio not only provides everything I was looking for, but that they also have an app available on iTunes!

This morning while listening to my 'new find', Teresa Tomeo, of Catholic Connection, she had a wonderful author and columnist , Pia de Solenni on as a guest. Pia was sharing a story about  the atrocity of forced abortion in China and how a wonderful 88 year old woman, Lou Xiaoying, is credited for saving the lives of 30 children she found in dumpsters over the past forty years.Her work as a rubbish collector put her in the right place at the right time. Her generosity should inspire us all.

To read this story in its entirety click here...