There is Nothing Like a Mother’s Love

Mary

Just spent the last few days with my mother in my hometown. She has taught me so much about love and service and my faith. For example, when I struggled down some stormy roads earlier in my life, her unconditional love and maternal tenderness was a beacon for me in my dark time. From big things, like her steadfastness during my turbulent years, to little things, like the lemon cake she surprised me with today, I know first-hand there is nothing like a mother’s love.

Just spent the last 33 days with my Heavenly Mother. She has taught me so much about love and service and my faith. For example, when I struggled down some stormy roads earlier in my life, her unconditional love and maternal tenderness was a beacon for me in my dark time. From big things, like her steadfastness during my turbulent years, to little things, like the radiant blue ribbons on her photo above that she surprised me with today, I am learning first-hand there is nothing like my Heavenly Mother’s love.

January 1 not only marks the start of a New Year, but it’s also a special Marian feast day: The Solemnity of Mary, the Holy Mother of God. I was blessed to spend this holy day with my earthly mother and my Heavenly Mother.

For the past 33 days, my mother and I have been participating in a “do-it-yourself retreat” called 33 Days to Morning Glory. It is a book by Father Michael Gaitley that helps prepare you for a personal consecration to Jesus through Mary. It is based on the classic work of St Louis de Montfort and basically, as Pope Pius XII says, this consecration is “essentially to union with Jesus, under the guidance of Mary.”

Today after we went to Mass, my mother and I stood before the beautiful statue of our Heavenly Mother (pictured above) and recited our consecration. The radiant blue “ribbons” that appear on the photo image above was not part of the statue. We did not see them as we stood there before or after the picture was taken. I know most would say it’s probably a reflection from some light, but I accept it as a sweet and simple gift from my Heavenly Mother. It deserves repeating: There is nothing like a mother’s love!

There is a Catholic practice of offering a prayer at the start of each new day, called the “Morning Offering” that consecrates oneself to Jesus. My mother has it taped to her bathroom mirror and prays it each day. And as I start this New Year, I can feel the love of my Heavenly Mother as she tenderly calls me to also start praying it every morning, just like my earthly mother. The prayer is listed below, if you would like to join me in this New Year’s resolution.

O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,
I offer you my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day
for all the intentions of your Sacred Heart,
in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world,
for the salvation of souls, the reparation of sins, the reunion of all Christians,
and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father this month.
Amen.

Remember, there is nothing like our Heavenly Mother’s love to bring us closer to Jesus. May you and your loved ones have a productive New Year growing closer to our Lord!

 

Tis the Season to…Pause and Pray at the Manger

nativity-596934_1920 (2)

It’s finally here! The Christmas season. Time to remember what the season is all about. Time to pause and pray before a manger. May I suggest Prayer at the Manger written by my friend Cinda DeVet? It will only take a minute, and the Child is waiting. Waiting for you.

Enjoy the meditation and have a peaceful and blessed Christmas.

Prayer at the Manger

Child within me,

Child who loves the child I am,

Child who walks with me always,

Open my heart to You.

 

Let me know Your peace.

Let me know Your littleness,

Win me by Your sweet dependence

On Mary and Joseph.

 

How can it happen

That the Almighty God

Lies helpless,

An infant,

In an animal shelter?

Tell me, Baby Savior.

 

Your vivid infant eyes,

Wide and wise

Hold mine for a long timelessness

And impart all I need to absorb.

Always, always Love.

 

Child within me,

Child who loves the child I am,

Child who walks with me always,

Open my heart to You.

Cinda DeVet

As the Darkest Day Draws Near — Find Lights of Hope Here

Light of Hope for the Darkest Days

The darkest day of the year is near. On December 21, those of us in the Northern Hemisphere will have the longest night of the year and the shortest period of daylight. There will be over five hours more darkness than we had back in June. That’s a lot of darkness. Below are some quotes about light to help brighten and bring some hope into our cold, dark Advent season.

John 8:12 “I am the light of the world,” he said. “Whoever follows me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”

Psalm 18:28 “For it is you who light my lamp; the Lord my God lightens my darkness.”

Micah 7:8 “Do not gloat over me, my enemy! Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.”

John 1: 5 “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

Genesis 1:3-5  “And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.”

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 11:7 “Light is sweet, and it pleases the eyes to see the sun.”

Proverbs 13:9 “The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.”

Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.”

Revelation 22:5 “Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever.”

Although this is a season of dormancy and darkness, remember that the light of the world, the Christ-child, came to bring hope to those lost in the dark. How fitting that we celebrate his radiant birth in a few days…

Prayer from December 2018 edition of Magnificat:

Lord, Jesus Christ, you are the light of God’s face to us in the long night of Advent. Shine on us in darkness while we await in hope the dawning of your coming day, who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayer for Purging Evil From the Church

Mary crushing the head of Satan

I don’t know if you are like me, but I have had trouble voicing my deep concerns for the Church during my prayer time. Besides saying my rote prayers or the simple prayer-plea of Help, I have struggled with finding the words to pray for my universal family, the Catholic Church.

Then…I came across this beautiful prayer written by Pedro de la Cruz and published by Catholic Prayer Cards and wow! It put into words the many things that have been bouncing around in my heart. It has become part of my daily prayers and I knew I had to share it. Will you join me in asking our Heavenly Mother to intercede for our Church?

Here is the link to the prayer card:

http://www.catholicprayercards.org/clerical-abuse-crisis/Prayer-for-Purging-of-Evil-From-Catholic-Church.html

Prayer for Purging Holy Card

Who is That Man?

Saint Anthony

Have you ever come across a person that captured your attention and left you wanting to learn more about them? Maybe you wondered, just who is that man? (or woman?) One such person that intrigued me in my younger years was Saint Anthony of Padua. Mainly because I was taught the prayerful phrase, “Tony, Tony, look around…something’s lost and can’t be found.”  I was curious why we ask Saint Anthony for help when we lose something. Was it because he lost things when he was a child?

As I researched this pious person, I found some interested things about him. Take the quiz below and you can learn more about this spiritual role model too.

  1. Saint Anthony was born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal. What name was he given at his baptism?
    A) Anthony
    B) Fernando
    C) Martin

Saint Anthony was born into a prominent family in Lisbon, the son of Martin and Mary Bulhom. His parents gave him the name Fernando at his baptism. He took the name Anthony when he received his habit, most likely inspired by Saint Anthony of Egypt.

 

  1. How old was Saint Anthony when he went to the Abbey of Santa Cruz?
    A) 10 years old
    B) 15 years old
    C) 20 years old

Saint Anthony gave up his life of prestige and asked to be sent to the Abbey at age fifteen. He studied there for two years and then for nine years at Coimbra, learning Theology and Latin. He was probably ordained a priest during this later time.

 

  1. Saint Anthony originally started out as an Augustine, but then changed to what order?
    A) The Franciscans
    B) The Dominicans
    C) The Jesuits

Saint Anthony changed to the Franciscan order after being inspired by five Franciscans who were martyred in Morocco. He longed to be a witness for Christ and earn the crown of a martyr. The Franciscans did initially send him off to Morocco, but he never made it because he became very ill and was brought back to recover. Anthony suffered from ill health most the rest of his life and died at the age of 36.

 

  1. Saint Anthony is the patron saint of _____?
    A) Hospital workers
    B) Priests
    C) Lost things

Saint Anthony is invoked for the return of lost property. One reason comes from the story of his missing book of Psalms. This was the time before the printing press and owning a book was a very special thing. When Anthony discovered his precious book of Psalms was missing he prayed that it would be found and returned to him. After his prayer, the thief was moved to return the psalter. It turned out to be one of the novices in his order!

 

  1. Saint Anthony became famous when he____?
    A) Delivered an eloquent sermon
    B) Built a monastery
    C) Wrote a book

The answer is A. Saint Anthony was at an ordination, and for some reason, there was no one to give the sermon. So the Franciscan provincial asked Anthony to just give a short simple sermon, thinking he was fairly uneducated for he did not fully know about Anthony’s theological studies as an Augustine. Anthony’s delivery was so humble and eloquent that he quickly became famous for his preaching. Over the years the crowds that would come hear him were so great that sometimes he had to go out into a field to preach because everybody could not fit in the church.

 

  1. Once Saint Anthony attempted to preach to some heretics who would not listen to him, so he went out and preached his message to some____?
    A) Birds
    B) Wolves
    C) Fish

Tradition tells of Saint Anthony preaching to some fish, which all swam up to hear the famous speaker. After seeing hordes of fish listening to Saint Anthony, the heretics relented and returned to the truth of the faith that Saint Anthony was teaching.

 

  1. Thirty-two years after Saint Anthony’s death, his body was moved so as to be placed beneath the high altar of the church in Padua. What part of his body was found uncorrupted?
    A) His tongue
    B) His heart
    C) His feet

Though most everything else had decomposed, it was his tongue that was intact and life-like upon opening his coffin, even though the tongue is the part of our body that decays first. It was taken as a sign that God approved of his mission of preaching and teaching. Saint Bonaventure, who was present for the occasion, reverently took the tongue and said, “O blessed tongue, which has always blessed God and caused other to bless Him, now it appears evident how great were your merits before God!” His tongue was placed in a reliquary and can still be seen today.

Admiration for Saint Anthony

So, it was the simple poem “Tony, Tony look around, something’s lost and can’t be found” that initially caught my attention, but now I admire Saint Anthony for other things besides asking him to help me find lost articles.

Most notably, I admire Saint Anthony’s deep prayer life and humble nature. The scientific examination that was conducted on his bones in 1981 revealed that he had thickened knee caps, a result of kneeling in prayer for long hours every day.

Another thing I am in awe of is how he was able to preach and teach in a simple and yet profound way. He did so in a way that even the uneducated were able to understand his messages. His method included the use of allegory and symbolic explanation of Scripture. I believe this Saint can teach me a lot about my attempts to share the Good News. I wonder if the Lord is telling me…Pray more!

In summary, Saint Anthony was a simple and humble friar who preached the Good News lovingly and with fearless courage. So many miracles occurred at his gravesite that he was canonized a saint in the shortest time in the history of the church-only 11 months. In 1946 Pope Pius XII officially declared Anthony a Doctor of the Universal Church.

THE TIME TO ACT IS NOW! 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Healing

Praying and Fasting Jesus

A CALL TO ACTION FOR OUR CHURCH IN CRISIS
40 Days of Prayer & Fasting for Healing
October 1st – November 9th

Would you consider joining me and others for 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting for Healing? This is a call to action for our Church in crisis starting Monday, October 1st (or start whenever you read this) through November 9th.

Cardinal DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said, “The Holy Father is…inviting, and I am asking this as well, that all the faithful join in prayer and fasting…Jesus remarked once, ‘This kind can only come out through prayer and fasting’ (Mark 9:29); a humble reminder that such acts of faith can move mountains and can even bring about true healing and conversion.”

As the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) draws closer to its November assembly to address the crisis in our Church, join your brothers and sisters in Christ during this time leading up to the assembly for 40 Days of Praying & Fasting for Healing.  Healing for the victims and their families; Healing for the Church and for all those called to lead it; And healing for ourselves as we struggle through this turbulent time.

Observe this forty-day period from October 1st – November 9th as a time of increased prayer and penance, like another Lent. Please join us in performing these two acts of faith.

1.) PRAYER

Consider adding prayers to your daily routine, like the prayer to St Michael the Archangel, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet or some extra Hail Mary’s. Another good prayer option is to make a Holy Hour (or ½ hour) of prayer and adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

2.) FASTING

As penitential practices, fasting and abstinence unite us to the redemptive suffering and death of the Lord. Consider following the norms for Lent such as no meat on Fridays, or no eating between meals. Other ideas are to give up sodas, alcohol or dessert.  How about no social media for one day a week during the 40 days?  Or perform another fast of your choice.

Remember the prayer and fasting example of Jesus and take to heart the words of Cardinal DiNardo; “acts of faith can move mountains and… bring about true healing and conversion.”
Lord forgive us and heal us. Amen!

JPII weapons of prayer and fasting

 

 

 

My Personal Letter to Cardinal DiNardo

Letter with no return address

His Eminence,
Daniel Cardinal DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
1700 San Jacinto
Houston TX 77002

Your Eminence,

I am a cradle Catholic and daily communicant who has spent countless hours volunteering in numerous ministries in the Church-most notably with the youth. I am writing because I am deeply troubled by this horrific crisis in the church. I feel angry, ashamed, and betrayed. I have great concern for my two young grandsons, one who currently attends a Catholic school, as well as all the youth that I work with.

My prayers go out -first and foremost- to the victims, yet I want you to know that I am also praying and fasting for you, your brother cardinals, bishops and priests, as well as our Holy Father. I plead with you to remember the victims during this process. Keep them as your driving motivation to bring justice and healing to God’s people.  During this dark spiritual warfare that is going on, I propose a battle cry of “Remember the Victims!”

You, Most Eminent Cardinal DiNardo, are in this place and time for a reason. God has placed you in the position of President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and you have the opportunity to lead the charge, to act courageously and justly on behalf of the victims, and to help bring the Church into a period of purification and reformation. Transparency, truth, and reparation for sins are a must. Know that I am making special sacrifices specifically for your strong moral leadership.

Respectfully yours in Christ,
Rose of Sharon

St. Maria Goretti, St. Charles Lwanga, and St. Mary MacKillop pray for us!