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What a weekend! Celebrating both the Feast of the Ascension and Memorial Day: what an incredible combination.
If I were to take both days and look for a commonality, one very quick and easy one comes to mind: a theme based on the word GO.
On the day when Jesus ascended into heaven, He gave us the Great Commission. This commission, put into its simplest form, could be summed up in the word "Go."
Go and make disciples of all nations. Go and spread the Good News to my people. Go and be My light to the world.
When the angels approached the disciples who were waiting and staring at the sky, they reminded the Apostles to go and wait for the Paraclete that would be coming to them. This Paraclete would provide them all they needed to go forth and carry out Jesus' Commission.
It can be hard to fathom why God would choose His now-flawed creation to be co-redeemers in the grand plan of Salvation. One could wonder why He didn't just stay and be our earthly King, leading us clearly on the right path. Leaving detailed theological answers to those with far more brilliant minds, I will only state the fact that He did, and you and I are that creation. You and I are purposely chosen to help save humanity.
Now, switching gears for a minute, let's consider Memorial Day. It is a day in which we honor those who died so that we might have freedom. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? These precious creations of God responded to the word "Go," leaving the comforts of home and familiarity to enact their commissions. They understood the risks that their commissions held, but offered it all for the sake of helping to save humanity from the evil at work in the world.
What would happen if each of us responded to our commissions from Jesus with the self-abandonment and offering of their lives that these men and women did? No doubt, the world would be a VERY different place. There would be so much less pain, substantially fewer problems, and a greatly diminished existence of heartache. The visibility of God's reign and dominion would be significantly clearer and peace and joy would take deeper root in humanity.
The point here is pretty obvious. We need to GO!!!!
As we remember those who gave their lives for our freedom as well as reflect on the Ascension, let's not be afraid to put it all out there.
It's time for us to GO.
Let's get out there and complete our commission and fulfill our purpose. You and I were created for a reason.
Are you with me?
Then, get ready...
Photo Attribution: http://www.publicdomainpictures.net/view-image.php?image=129718&picture=american-flag-and-blue-skies
Last year we made this cute balloon project made with things around the house. It went so well and we had so much fun!! I thought it would be worth re-posting since we received several comments last year expressing how much fun it was for other families.
God bless you and I pray you have a BEAUTIFUL and grace-filled Holy Feast of the Ascension!!
God's mercy is incredible. We all know that, right? Well, apparently God felt I needed another blazing reminder, so He allowed a pretty amazing thing to occur the other day; a story of love and mercy that just begs to be told.
The story started the week before, when my husband was given several prescriptions that needed to be filled at the pharmacy. Attempting the usual drop-off, the pharmacy tech and I realized that the doctor had somehow written down the date to be filled as the year 2012! Confused, (especially since the printed portion showed the year as 2017), the tech realized that she could not fill the prescription due to the incorrect date.
"I'm afraid that these are no good. You'll have to get new ones." Given the busy day I was already having and knowing that this doctor's office was 25 minutes away, I was a tad annoyed.
"Would you be able to call them for the prescription?" I suggested, hopefully.
"I'm sorry, but these prescriptions are for a drug that requires us to have a written prescription from the doctor." She paused, glancing at me with pity, adding, "With the correct date."
I thanked her and left, already dialing up the doctor's office to explain the situation.
Naturally, I had to leave a message.
That message turned into 2 messages, then 3 messages as the week continued. Since my husband would soon be going out of town for a week, the need to fill the prescriptions was becoming urgent and I could no longer wait.
I spent a full day calling repeatedly, and finally the doctor returned my call to say that she could not give me new prescriptions until I had returned the previous ones.
"No problem," I responded.
After hours of fruitless searching in all of the expected places (followed by all of the unexpected places), I continued to come up empty. Stunned, I kept replaying the last time I had seen them, hoping for some sudden recollection that might lead me to their whereabouts. I did remember the thought crossing my mind that I could probably get rid of them since I no longer needed them. However, considering that I save almost everything, I felt that it was highly unlikely that I had tossed them. And when I say toss them, I mean burn them, since in my neck of the woods burning paper products is part of our contribution to recycling. I played that moment in the kitchen over and over in my mind, and always came to the same conclusion: there was no way I had put them into the "burnables" can.
Then where could they be???
I called the doctor and explained that I had not been told to save the prescriptions and could not find them, hoping she would understand and make things right, but again she insisted that she was unable to give me new ones, even though it had been her mistake in the first place.
The reality that my husband would have to go without crucial medication that he needed for his medical conditions for an entire month was almost too much for me to bear.
As I was driving in the car on the way home later that day after speaking to the doctor, real tears of frustration about the injustice that was occurring and the suffering my husband would soon be facing filled my eyes and I cried out to God. I had already approached St. Anthony, begged for God's help, etc. yet I felt lost and extremely worried about the coming weeks.
Then, suddenly, as I prayed, I came to a realization. Although the attempt was there, I was not giving it over to Him - not ALL of it. I was still trying to control the situation, giving anger permission to take over my thoughts and rationale and allowing my pride to rule.
I realized that I was at one of those points when I could make the decision to truly walk the talk. My pride attempted to talk me out of it, but I knew God was calling me to something greater. I was at a spiritual precipice that, if maneuvered correctly, could really extinguish some of the fire in the devil's arsenal.
So, I literally took a deep breath and said out loud, "Lord I trust in You." Not completely sure what to do next, I then prayed the Diving Mercy Chaplet, focusing on trusting in His greater plan and asking for His mercy upon our situation.
After the Chaplet, I felt much calmer. Peace had found its way to my soul and I realized that I really was trusting the Lord and His plan for us. I began to replay those last memories of the when I had the prescriptions still in my possession, still coming to the same conclusion. I knew I had not burned them.
But wait...who says that they had to be burned?
I suddenly remembered waking up that morning to find that not one neighbor's garbage had been picked up, an extremely odd occurrence that virtually never happened. I had been concerned about it, hoping that the truck would finally appear since we needed to clear our very full garbage container.
As I sat remembering this as I drove home, my mouth fell open.
"Are You telling me that it's in the garbage container? Is that why it was never picked up?" I actually questioned out loud.
"No way," I mumbled, and I felt a spark of hope and excitement building.
I pulled into the driveway, astonished to find the garbage container still full and waiting. Trying to act nonchalant, I grabbed the container, pulled it down the drive and began burrowing through the bags. Disappointment set in as I reached the last bag. I had really thought I had figured out God's plan.
I opened that last bag, began my search, then cried out in triumph. Lifting two very soggy prescriptions out of the bag, I praised God for His incredible mercy. How could I have ever doubted?
Today, I picked up my husband's medication, and I can only imagine the pharmacy tech's wariness as she handed it over to the woman with the goofy, knowing grin on the other side of the counter.
Yes, God is merciful. And now I don't have to look any further than my garbage can to remember just how great that mercy is.
May we never doubt His faithfulness!
Photo Attribution: Jamie Grill/ Getty Images
If you had the chance to watch our recent video on our First Communicant interviewing Deacon Bobby, a soon-to-be ordained priest, this post will interest you! This past Friday, in a breathtaking, awe-inspiring Mass, our Deacon Bobby joined seven of his fellow brothers to receive the sacrament of Holy Orders, joyfully accepting his call by Our Lord.
Then, today, we were truly honored and blessed to be able witness his first Mass. There are few words that could aptly describe it. Still, as I participated in this momentous occasion when heaven met earth, one word would not leave my mind. That word? JOY.
Throughout the entire Mass, joy literally permeated in and out of all aspects of this special liturgy, finding its way to the hearts of its witnesses, as evidenced by the smiles continually seen as the Mass proceeded. This joy was so contagious that I wished that other young men could share in this moment to catch a glimpse of why the vocation to the priesthood is so beyond what many think in today's culture. Father Bobby's excitement and intense love of his God reminded me of the love of a bridegroom at his wedding, and it was truly a blessing to witness.
If you have never had the opportunity to experience a first Mass, believe me when I tell you that it is not something that can be easily forgotten. I can only imagine what it must be like to experience the Consecration for the first time. There are probably no words to humanly describe that moment!
We are beyond proud of Father Bobby and sincerely grateful that he answered God's call. With his "larger than life" personality, gifted singing voice and story-telling abilities and intense training, he is well-equipped to set out on his journey to share his deep love of the faith and spread the Word of God to a thirsty people.
May God pour His blessings upon all of our new priests that are being ordained throughout the world right now!! And may we continue to help with this calling, encouraging others to be open to the vocation of religious life. Thank you, Lord, for continuing to send such incredible harvesters out to Your waiting fields!
Whew!! What a whirlwind month this has become!! I can't believe how little I have been able to blog over the last couple of weeks. And, the most crazy week of May is still to come!
I'm not sure just how many Holy Spirit moments have occurred recently through the major crunch of time demands, but I know that several blog posts were found forming in my head. Sadly, though, I was never able to get them down.
Although I enjoy blogging, being a blogger has also become a calling. I am amazed at how God uses even technology to bring us closer to Him, and I can only hope that my family and I use it properly to proclaim His love, sharing and growing with the Body of Christ as we grow more intimately closer to Him.
Given this, I struggle with frustration and disappointment when the demands of life make it impossible to post for any extended period of time. However, during prayer in the middle of the night a couple of days ago, God revealed more of His plan. As I lamented the fact that entries weren't getting posted, I suddenly noticed an odd sense of peace. It seemed out of place with my strong feelings of failure. However, the strange combination of both feelings heightened my awareness that God was speaking.
Although I had been aware and reminded about this point many times over the years, I had gotten caught up in the "This is what I think God wants" plan as opposed to the "This is actually what God wants" plan. Again, He reminded me that His plan is indeed being made manifest according to His design: I am here to support my husband on his way to heaven, raise little saints, and work hard through caregiving for the conversion of an aging parent. In other words, my calling to be a wife, mother, and caregiver is far more important in the grand scheme of things, and if this is what God is calling me to accomplish in His timeline, then I need to accept it.
(And if there is one thing I have come to understand much better as time has gone on, it is that I really don't want to tamper with His plan. Things do NOT work out when I do!)
So, what did this revelation bring about? Well, it brought about a change of heart. And it also brought about this blog post, too. They say that blog posts are sometimes meant to be raw and real, and I guess this quite possibly might fall under that category. Thanks for hanging in there with me.
As commitments and many extra-curriculars and ministries wrap up the year this May, June promises to open up more time to devote to the blog and making videos. I can't wait to see what God has planned! :)
If May is one of those months that leaves your mind whirling, join me in taking some deep breaths and remember to lean on the Creator of Peace. With Him, you always know that at some point, days of peace are on their way!!
So sorry for the lack of posting this past week! Between preparing for our son's First Holy Communion and party (we like to really celebrate with family and friends!) and the regular craziness of homeschooling, Finals week, pursuing new leads on extra care for my father-in-law who lives with us and was recently diagnosed with dementia, extra-curriculars and work, I literally ran out of time to keep up with it. I actually had several posts running through my mind throughout the week but was just unable to take the time to sit down and get them onto cyberspace! :)
Thankfully, Justina and Jocelyn made this helpful video on how to create a cupcake rosary for a sacramental event while they were preparing the rosary for this weekend. If you have an upcoming event, your kids might enjoy creating their own version of this beautiful and tasty tribute to Our Lady and Our Lord. I literally did nothing in regards to the baking (we were at First Communion practice while they were baking) and the video. It was all them, which I hope encourages other kids to go for it.
God bless all who are receiving sacraments this spring. May their lives be forever changed and lifted in the Lord Who loves them with all of His heart!
I have a problem. I LOVE the Divine Mercy Chaplet and all of the beautiful and incredible blessings that it offers. BUT (and this is a huge BUT), I have an enormously difficult time praying and focusing on it. I am not diagnosed with ADHD (although several family members fervently maintain that I have it), but I do have, at the very least, some of its tendencies. Add to these a full life of constant balancing and I guess that it is not difficult to see why true focus seems almost impossible.
I had begun to feel real frustration with getting through the Chaplet. It completely amazed me that I could start it with a full heart, focused and ready to go, and then suddenly realize that I am at the end, having little memory of focusing on His mercy, but plenty of memory of the dozens of places my thoughts had run off to.
I actually began to consider that this beautiful prayer just wasn't for me. What good was praying it if I was unable to make it true quality time with my Lord?
However, despite these thoughts, I couldn't shake the feeling that God still wanted me to continue trying. So, since nothing is impossible for Him, I asked for help, since it had become painfully clear that I was completely unable to do it on my own.
And, answer He did! One day, on my way to a preparation meeting with a core team before a retreat, I tried praying the Chaplet in the car. Again perplexed at my inability to concentrate, I prayed an exasperated prayer of help. Suddenly, distinct thoughts of each of the talks that were to be given for the retreat came to mind, and He gave me the idea to focus each decade on a particular one. I was absolutely amazed at how much easier it was to focus on each talk as I concentrated on praying for the speaker and those attending the retreat who would be receiving his/her message, all in the light of God's mercy!
Truly in awe of the difference, I have gone on to focus on His mercy in regards to other things and people in my life as well. Then, today I felt called to change it up even more. I began on the first bead to pray for someone I knew that was struggling. My mind immediately went to others involved in his struggle (a person suffering from cancer), and my mind prayed for mercy for each of them, moving on to a new bead each time. This was truly an inspiring and incredible gift from God. Amazingly, as I continued, more people kept popping into my head, some related to previous ones, and some not. By the time I was done I had sincerely prayed for God's mercy to be poured out upon 50 people!! How incredibly amazing is that??
The experience meant so much to me that I felt that I just had to share it!! I will admit sheepishly that there are probably many of you who already pray the Chaplet using these approaches and many other ones as well. However, I really feel I would be remiss if I didn't express my joy in finding a way to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet more effectively despite the challenge of attention deficiency - a challenge that so many people deal with daily.
I also praise the Lord Who showed me how to spend my time with Him in a way that not only brings me more intimately closer to Him, but also allows me to share in a deeper connection with the Body of Christ.
I do pray that this post is able to provide someone the hope of a similar intimacy and connection to what I have experienced by inspiring new approaches to this beautiful gift of prayer from Our Lord.
May your day be TRULY blessed with continued Easter joy!!
Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/heart-love-rays-hands-blue-669380/
I just love today's Gospel. It is one of my favorite stories in all of scripture. It is one of those stories that can be looked at from a thousand angles, somehow offering the possibility of a brand-new revelation each time!
And, as usual, as I was participating in its proclamation at Mass today, it did not disappoint. This time my new angle came through the deep insight of our presiding priest. Although I won't go into into his homily (which I wish I could post here...it was just that good!), I really feel called to share his main point with you.
In a comparison with a Sherlock Holmes story, Father brought to life a truth that we all experience daily: in any given situation, the facts involved can be absolutely the same, but viewed so differently that an outcome can be completely affected.
In the case of the Apostles and followers on the road to Emmaus, they were aware of the facts. They had lived them! They knew the basic story of Jesus - his life, death, and now proposed rising, just as deeply as they knew the stories of scripture and its prophetic words told throughout the ages. Growing up, they had heard the prophesies over and over again, and now they had personally lived as participants in the story of Jesus. The facts were there. So what were they missing? Why were the facts not making sense in light of the news that Jesus had resurrected?
When the "stranger" walked with them on the road, He also had the facts. But due to His point of view as the victim and the One who had fulfilled the prophesies, He understood the connections, could see the timeline, and could recognize each and every utterance as part of the Master Plan. Because of this, He was able to explain and reveal another perception of the facts, one that included the "reading between the lines" factors that the Apostles were missing. That's why their hearts burned within them. Revelation had come to the forefront, opening their eyes to a reality and truth that had previously been beyond their imagining.
And, as if this wasn't enough, Jesus made manifest all that they had been learning by revealing Himself to them at the breaking of the bread. How awesome!!!
In reflecting, I couldn't help but consider my understanding of the Old Testament. How would I read and view it without the lens of the New Testament? Would it be similar to how the Jewish people view it today? An unexpected feeling of relief came over me as I pondered, followed quickly by a wave of deep gratitude. I am so incredibly blessed to have the ability to see scripture through the lens of Jesus' revelations!
We've all heard the familiar phrase, "Jesus changes everything."
I'm sure that the Apostles and followers of Jesus on the road to Emmaus would fervently agree!
Photo Attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Z%C3%BCnd_Gang_nach_Emmaus_1877.jpg
What do these two young men have in common? Both will be receiving sacraments in the next few weeks: Ordination to the Priesthood and First Communion! Join John Joseph as he interviews his friend, Deacon Bobby, as he prepares for his ordination. Learn about his journey to becoming a priest and preparing for the Sacrament of Holy Orders!
I can't help it! I'm longing for Lent again!
I would imagine that this sounds like a strange claim.
Now, don't get me wrong. I am truly rejoicing in the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior, and my heart sings His praises.
However, I am painfully aware that I am back to waging war on my sweet tooth. "That's normal," they tell me. Hmmm....then I don't want to be normal!
The incredible genius and beauty of the great season of Lent is that it shows us who we are capable of being. A time to offer up sacrifices to help Our Lord carry His cross and sufferings, Lent is also a time of renewal of our own bodies and souls. I definitely become a better person during Lent. I gain the ever-elusive virtue of self-control, welcoming its challenges and benefits in ways that I don't during the rest of the year. I also enjoy a deeper sense of Christ working in my life that is made manifest in an intimacy that can only come from joining my sufferings with those of His cross.
So, how is it possible that I can fall back into some of my old ways so quickly?? I guess that the fall of our first parents has a greater hold on me than I would like to admit.
Thankfully, knowledge is power! With the understanding of my fallen nature exists a certain resolve to to overcome it. However, although resolve is great, I do need some practical ways to put my faith into action.
As I tossed several ideas around in my brain (like trying to convince my brain that it is still Lent!), I couldn't help but muse: "I wish I had a Catholic life-hack!"
Yes, I am aware that if such a thing existed it might reveal an open door to the easy way out, a door that typically doesn't lead in God's direction. But, I then considered why such a thought would cross my mind in the first place. Although on the surface it appeared I desired an easy fix, I realized that in reality I was looking for something that was really just doable - with a more permanent time frame rather than the temporary one I had leaned on for Lent.
Could there be such a thing? As I prayed about it, a thought from Matthew Kelly's "Rediscovering Jesus" came to mind. Since self control seems to be at the same time both my nemesis and my saving grace, I knew I had to approach it carefully. Kelly's "delayed gratification" process seemed right up my alley. This idea encourages those of us with these struggles to practice waiting for 5 minutes before giving in to something that tries to diminish our self-control. If I can hold off for 5 minutes, I have successfully proven I am capable of overcoming my fallen nature. Once I have achieved holding off for 5 minutes several times daily, I can continue to lengthen the duration of time for a specific object of my self control or for delayed gratification in general. In time, I may be able to master self control in certain aspects. What a blessing that would be!
Catholic life-hack? I would venture to say so.
If you are one of those who join me in my sentiment of missing a Lenten lifestyle, try the "delayed gratification" process. It may be the Catholic life-hack you've been looking for!
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Hi! I'm a Catholic mom who loves to encourage and support others in their journey to live the beauty of our Catholic faith in a modern world. It can be a struggle, no doubt, but God has given us the tools we need! Join my family (both immediate and extended!) and me as we take on this incredible journey of our path to holiness.
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