Chalking of the Doors?

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Last night Gary and I attended a previously postponed Christmas party that became somewhat of an Epiphany party.  Those invited had been encouraged to bring a poem or reading related to Christmas or Epiphany.  I liked the idea for I have fond memories of my siblings and me dressing up as the “Three Kings traversing afar” toward our dad, King Herod, for our family’s traditional Epiphany play!

The other day a friend of mine gave me a piece of white chalk shaped and designed like an oversized wide crayon.  She told me it was to be used on Epiphany to bless our home.  I had never heard of that but thought it was an awesome idea!  This has been tradition in Europe for many years. It was such a beautiful gift so I determined to check out its meaning.

Chalking of the Doors

The chalking of the doors is a practice that began in Germany.  We Americans have little understanding of it but I feel like it’s a tradition that we could all use these days!

Imagine every home being blessed by God!  In that blessing we might ask Him for harmony, peace, joy and … why not even the  fruit of the Spirit? Why not ask God for a year full of dependence and cooperation with Him to bring peace, joy and harmony into our homes throughout the world?

Christus Mansionem Benedicat means “May Christ bless the house.”  The initials for these three words are incorporated into the chalking of the door of the home.  Since this tradition is done yearly, we are to write 20 _ _ _ 18 in the formula, as well as the three letters from Christus Mansionem and Benedicat in the center.  And the “+” signs represent the Cross of Christ.    

 20 + C + M + B + 18


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Gary and I will be praying the following prayer tomorrow after we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany at church.  We will then hang this banner on our door. Thanks to our good friends, Billy and Kelly, for giving us this beautiful family establishment sign several years ago.  We’ve had it displayed in three homes thus far.  The bonus blessing is that the material is a type of blackboard and quite useful for writing our Epiphany Blessing dates on!  Thank you friends!

 Epiphany Blessing Prayer

“God of heaven and earth, You revealed Your Only-Begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the Light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect Your Love. May we be blessed with health, purity, strength of victory, humility, goodness and mercy, the fulfillment of Your Word and gentleness.  May we always abide in Your will. May we always be thankful to God the Father, and the Son and the Holy Spirit. May this blessing remain upon this home and upon all who dwell herein. We ask this through Christ our Savior. Amen.”

May God provide all that we need in Him in 2018 and mold us to reflect His Spirit within us every step of the way!

Waiting in Line!

Today I waited in line for a full thirty five minutes.  My feet hurt, I was a bit distracted, and not only did I have a lot to do, I had a ton of things on my mind before my daughter and husband were to arrive for Christmas!  But I would have been glad to wait for another couple of hours!  Why?  I was in line to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) at my church.  It was to be my last confession before celebrating the Birth of Our Savior Jesus Christ at Christmas.

I do so look forward to going because there is such a cleansing and purifying grace I receive from Jesus each and every time!  I could have waited until after Christmas because of my busy schedule, but I wanted my heart to be exactly where it needs to be as I prepare for the coming of Jesus in the manger.

Weekly confession is not required in the Catholic Church, but I like to go every week, because of what I receive from God as a result.  I’d like to say “I love going to Confession” but that sounds pretty weird, but it’s so true!  It’s so cleansing and refreshing!  I leave the confessional with a peace beyond words!   Christ Himself empowers me to move forward, step by step, in an attempt to avoid sin of any kind.  That grace I receive from Jesus takes me back out into the world with a renewed desire to not fall back into sin.

Every time I go to confession two specific things happen to me: first, even if what I confess is minor, I usually find myself so repentant because of what I say in the prayer following my verbal confession. That prayer is called the Act of Contrition:

“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my
sins because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offendYou, my God, Who art all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.”

What creates an emotional penitent response in me is the fact that I’ve offended my Lord and God!  I feel so badly, even when it’s a small issue.  I surprise myself each time I get emotional as I pray the Act of Confession!  I should be used to it, but I believe it brings me to tears because I’m in the actual Presence of Christ when I confess and that is an overwhelming Grace I feel from Him!  The priest is “in persona Christi”, acting on behalf of Christ.  I so sense His Presence ever so close to me each and every time!  No wonder I feel an emotional depth as I pray my prayer of repentance to Him!

One of my daily prayers that helps me focus on pleasing the Lord in an intentional way is  Psalm 19:14 .  It refers not only to what I say but also to what may be in my heart.  If my heart is not willing to please Jesus from the moment I get out of bed, in every way, then I’m bound to fail and I want to”avoid the near occasion of sin”.

Every morning at Mass we participate in the Penitential Act which is a form of corporate confession of general sins before we enter into the Liturgy of the Word and receive Holy Communion.  It is as follows:

“I confess to Almighty God and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do through my fault… my most grievous fault”.

As I take my seat after receiving Jesus on Holy Communion, I ask Him to purify me as His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity pass through me as I approach another day.

I was most grateful to learn that we can also sin in our thoughts.  This keeps me humble, that’s for sure!  When I have negative thoughts toward someone, I feel ugly inside and it often turns me to more negativity.  I find it refreshing to confess even my negative thoughts because there is such peace upon being forgiven in absolution from the priest.  This creates such deep joy within me!

God sheds His Grace on us during the Sacrament of Confession as we participate in stating our sins and failure to obey God when He most wants us to.  I sense His Holy Presence in such a glorious way!  This is difficult to explain, but for those of you who are Catholic and have participated in this sacrament, I’m sure you share the same refreshing outcome we receive in the blessing and absolution of our sins.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and God’s abundant blessing and peace as we all enter into the New Year!

Thanksgiving 2017

The Wilderness

Thirty seven years ago, on a hot June afternoon, Gary and I arrived with our three month old baby girl in Nicholasville, KY.  He was to spend the next three years in seminary and I was going to work full time to sustain us financially.  I was a new graduate nurse and couldn’t wait to get started!  Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, KY hired me and I jumped right in!  However, after about four months of working full time night shift and trying to stay on top of things with my little one,  I diagnosed the current status of my life: it was a desert, a wilderness, a drag, and I was defeated. I’d also been demoted because I had failed one part of my nursing state board exam and felt demeaned and “dumb”.  This added to the running dialogue of “I’m so dumb” in my head!

The Wilderness

Within a year we moved closer to the seminary and I recall begging God to please drop from heaven a “money tree” behind the tiny mobile home we lived in. It was orange and white and about as hideous on the inside as you can image from that description of the outside! But we were students and that’s where many of us lived in those days.  It was during that period that I determined that, no matter how difficult this wilderness experience was to be, I would eventually encounter an oasis, and I hoped and prayed that it would come very soon!

Life became more trying and circumstances went from difficult to bleak.  I was desperate; I hated to leave my sweet little one to go to work those 12-hour shifts each night. I was living in a continually exhausted state even on my time off.  My tears increased as I begged God for mercy asking Him to please make that money tree a reality!

By the end of the first year I realized it was time to get a grip!  So, during those long night shift experiences, it was necessary to make the most of my time there.  My desperation compelled me to move beyond sheer existence.  As the night charge nurse, I stationed myself during the more quiet hours (including my one hour break) where I could be alone with God.  I sat in the patient’s hallway and spent 1-2 hours studying the Bible, writing out my prayers and journaling like crazy!  Thanks be to God I actually got a spiritual grip and life’s wrinkles began to smooth away.  This was just in time for what was to be another nine months of extreme nausea while orienting to another area of nursing.

I have had my share of roller coaster desert/oasis periods since then but I believe the desert life of those three years was the best thing that happened to me. They prepared me for future wilderness experiences that were to come. God worked deeply in my soul,  shared His profound love for me and showed me how to live consistently dependent on Him to handle whatever was to come my way.  I’m so grateful it happened early in my adult life, and as I look back I know God used those trials as faith builders for the rest of my life!

The Oasis  

Oasis: “a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary; a peaceful area in our everyday lives.”*

The most exceptional oasis experience I’ve had in my life was moving to New Jersey almost five months ago. I had no idea we would encounter such an oasis here!  I also had no idea that toward the end of our fifteen years in New York life would begin to feel wilderness-like once again.  God was so faithful to help us both as we walked hand in hand with Him through it all.

“Oasis of Faith”

As we realized we’d be moving close to Philly, I asked God to please grant us a church home that had “daily Mass” and “Eucharistic Adoration.”  St. Peter Roman Catholic Church was to become all of that and more!  I don’t want to give St. Peter’s Church more credit for our oasis than it deserves because that would be untrue.

This current oasis is because of Jesus Christ!  He has changed me and grown me in ways I never knew possible through the doctrine and truth of the Catholic faith.  Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist: His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and I partake of Him every single day!  I receive Him physically as well as spiritually in the Holy Eucharist.  He satiates me with His Divine Presence!! As I spend quality moments before the Blessed Sacrament I sit before Jesus and bask in His Presence.  There’s nothing like it! Jesus has not only proven Himself to me beyond words, but has also healed me of several wounds that I’ve held on to from my past.

Thanksgiving 2017 

What is the embodiment of my heartfelt thanks this year?  What is it that creates profound joy and wonderment deep within me this Thanksgiving? It’s Jesus Christ!

My heart longs for non-Catholics to find Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist of the Mass. It’s a game changer.  His Presence in the Holy Eucharist and in the “Blessed Sacrament” have proven to me that He is my “daily Bread.” I am nourished, loved, cherished, blessed and empowered as I partake of my Lord in the Eucharist.  This is my oasis of faith!

This Oasis of Faith is refreshing and constant. It’s different from any other period of oasis in my past. I’m aware, however, that as I experience such peace and grace in this current oasis I am sure that the next wilderness is certainly on its way, probably just around the corner!  I am not fearful. The Catholic Church teaches that no matter how difficult our trials may be, whether physical, spiritual or circumstantial, we can “offer up” that pain and difficulty to Him for the salvation or needs of someone else.  That comforts me for any unexpected trials in the future! Having Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity within me daily frees me of potential anxiety and fills me with peaceful anticipation of what is to yet to come, no matter what it is.

Happy Thanksgiving and may God’s Peace and Grace be yours!

*RhymeZone.com;  vocabulary.com

Thanksgiving 2017

The Wilderness

Thirty seven years ago, on a hot June afternoon, Gary and I arrived with our three month old baby girl in Nicholasville, KY.  He was to spend the next three years in seminary and I was going to work full time to sustain us financially.  I was a new graduate nurse and couldn’t wait to get started!  Chandler Medical Center in Lexington, KY hired me and I jumped right in!  However, after about four months of working full time night shift and trying to stay on top of things with my little one,  I diagnosed the current status of my life: it was a desert, a wilderness, a drag, and I was defeated. I’d also been demoted because I had failed one part of my nursing state board exam and felt demeaned and “dumb”.  This added to the running dialogue of “I’m so dumb” in my head!

The Wilderness

Within a year we moved closer to the seminary and I recall begging God to please drop from heaven a “money tree” behind the tiny mobile home we lived in. It was orange and white and about as hideous on the inside as you can image from that description of the outside! But we were students and that’s where many of us lived in those days.  It was during that period that I determined that, no matter how difficult this wilderness experience was to be, I would eventually encounter an oasis, and I hoped and prayed that it would come very soon!

Life became more trying and circumstances went from difficult to bleak.  I was desperate; I hated to leave my sweet little one to work 12-hour shifts each night. I was living in a continually exhausted state even on my time off.  My tears increased as I begged God for mercy asking Him to please make that money tree a reality!

By the end of the first year I realized it was time to get a grip!  So, during those long night shift experiences, it was necessary to make the most of my time there.  My desperation compelled me to move beyond sheer existence.  As the night charge nurse, I stationed myself during the more quiet hours (including my one hour break) where I could be alone with God.  I sat in the patient’s hallway and spent 1-2 hours studying the Bible, writing out my prayers and journaling like crazy!  Thanks be to God I actually got a spiritual grip and life’s wrinkles began to smooth away.  This was just in time for what was to be another nine months of extreme nausea while orienting to another area of nursing.

I have had my share of roller coaster desert/oasis periods since then but I believe the desert life of those three years was the best thing that happened to me. They prepared me for future wilderness experiences that were to come. God worked deeply in my soul,  shared His profound love for me and showed me how to live consistently dependent on Him to handle whatever was to come my way.  I’m so grateful it happened early in my adult life, and as I look back I know God used those trials as faith builders for the rest of my life!

The Oasis  

Oasis: “a shelter serving as a place of safety or sanctuary; a peaceful area in our everyday lives.”*

The most exceptional oasis experience I’ve had in my life was moving to New Jersey almost five months ago. I had no idea we would encounter such an oasis here!  I also had no idea that toward the end of our fifteen years in New York life would begin to feel wilderness-like once again.  God was so faithful to help us both as we walked hand in hand with Him through it all.

“Oasis of Faith”

As we realized we’d be moving close to Philly, I asked God to please grant us a church home that had “daily Mass” and “Eucharistic Adoration.”  St. Peter Roman Catholic Church was to become all of that and more!  I don’t want to give St. Peter’s Church more credit for our oasis than it deserves because that would be untrue.

This current oasis is because of Jesus Christ!  He has changed me and grown me in ways I never knew possible through the doctrine and truth of the Catholic faith.  Jesus Christ is truly present in the Holy Eucharist: His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, and I partake of Him every single day!  I receive Him physically as well as spiritually in the Holy Eucharist.  He satiates me with His Divine Presence!! As I spend quality moments before the Blessed Sacrament I sit before Jesus and bask in His Presence.  There’s nothing like it! Jesus has not only proven Himself to me beyond words, but has also healed me of several wounds that I’ve held on to from my past.

Thanksgiving 2017 

What is the embodiment of my heartfelt thanks this year?  What is it that creates profound joy and wonderment deep within me this Thanksgiving? It’s Jesus Christ!

My heart longs for non-Catholics to find Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist of the Mass. It’s a game changer.  His Presence in the Holy Eucharist and in the “Blessed Sacrament” have proven to me that He is my “daily Bread.” I am nourished, loved, cherished, blessed and empowered as I partake of my Lord in the Eucharist.  This is my oasis of faith!

This Oasis of Faith is refreshing and constant. It’s different from any other period of oasis in my past. I’m aware, however, that as I experience such peace and grace in this current oasis I am sure that the next wilderness is certainly on its way, probably just around the corner!  I am not fearful. The Catholic Church teaches that no matter how difficult our trials may be, whether physical, spiritual or circumstantial, we can “offer up” that pain and difficulty to Him for the salvation or needs of someone else.  That comforts me for any unexpected trials in the future! Having Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity within me daily frees me of potential anxiety and fills me with peaceful anticipation of what is to yet to come, no matter what it is.

Happy Thanksgiving and may God’s Peace and Grace be yours!

*RhymeZone.com;  vocabulary.com

A Weapon for Today’s Warfare

At 3:00 am on January 15, 1978, Ted Bundy entered the Chi Omega sorority house at Florida State University. He proceeded to murder two girls then headed out looking for more victims. When he entered another room, bat in hand as a weapon, he saw a girl laying asleep on her bed.  As he approached her, he immediately dropped the bat and ran out!  Later, when he was on death row, he asked to see a priest who then asked him what happened that night.  Bundy explained that when he entered that girl’s room, he had fully intended on murdering her “but just couldn’t do it.”    

Later, when the girl was interviewed by the authorities she told them of her promise to her mother: she would pray the Rosary every night for protection, even if she fell asleep in the process.  That night she was still holding the Rosary when Bundy entered the room.  Jesus protected her from this potential assault!  All of the other girls in that dorm were dead or near dead.  Bundy later confessed to over 30 murders that night!

The Rosary… is it superstitious?

Before I became Catholic, I was completely turned off by the Rosary.  I wasn’t interested in understanding it and subconsciously, I suppose, I felt like it was some kind of superstitious crutch that Catholics used.

My relationship with Jesus Christ has become so intimate since becoming Catholic.  And, believe it or not, praying the Rosary has much to do with it!

Jesus and the Rosary 

Little by little, upon inquiring the meaning and use of the Rosary, I began to understand how Jesus has used it to complete His Will in more ways than I would ever have imagined! I had no idea the Rosary was connected to Jesus!  Once I decided to step out in faith and pray the rosary, I couldn’t believe the results!  By doing so I witnessed several immediate answers to my own personal prayers as well as those for whom I was praying.

President Marcos of the Philippines*

The president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos, and his wife lived in lavish luxury.  Remember, she was known for her ownership of 3000 pairs of shoes, 15 mink coats, 1000 purses and 508 evening gowns!  Meanwhile the people were very poor and starving.  They wanted to elect a new president but the one who was to run, Benigno Aquino, was assassinated in front of his wife and family as he stepped off the plane to run for office.  His wife, Cory, was presented with one million signatures urging her to run for president in her husband’s place. On February 7, 1986, Marcos called for a snap election.  It was bloody and fraud-filled and he was declared the winner by his corrupt government.

The Cardinal of Manila then asked for a peaceful protest and Catholics came out by the hundreds. They peacefully surrounded the military tanks and armed soldiers, praying the Rosary and singing.  Holy Masses and prayer vigils took place and in less than a week, the soldiers unexpectedly stepped away from their tanks, put down their guns, and actually joined the peaceful crowd!  President Marcos fled the country on Feb 26th  and Cory Aquino became the new president!  Under her presidency the Philippines became a free and democratic society.  To this day people are still in awe that the evil, corrupt regime of Marcos was completely overturned through a peaceful means.   They prayed the Rosary!

The Gospel Accounts and the Rosary

The Rosary prayers are said in conjunction with the Biblical accounts of Jesus’ life here on earth, beginning with the Angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she was to bear the Savior of the world, continue to Christ’s death, resurrection and ascension, and end with the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.

I was sweetly surprised when I saw that the Rosary is clearly based on the biblical accounts of Christ’s life!  Note: I frequently find myself saying, regarding my discoveries of the truth of the Catholic church, this phrase: “Who woulda thought!?!”  (I was so prejudiced toward the Catholic Faith that I never even considered it as Christian!)

We as believers in Jesus Christ, trust Him to answer our prayers that we ask according to His Will.  The more we focus on His life, death and resurrection, the more we understand His Heart for his people and His desire that we be free from sin, Satan and evil.  The Rosary is a weapon of warfare against Satan’s plans because we pray using God’s Word as did Jesus in the wilderness.  God’s Word is a certain weapon against Satan!

The Mysteries

These Gospel events are called “mysteries” and rightly so, because we know that everything that Jesus is and was and will be revolves around the profound mystery of His Divine Love for each and every one of us!  They are as follows:

The Five Joyful Mysteries 

  • The Annunciation of St. Gabriel to Mary – that she would be the mother of Jesus.
  • Mary visited Elizabeth and John the Baptist jumped in her womb when Mary approached her.
  • The birth of Jesus Christ
  • The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple to Simeon
  • Jesus is found in the Temple among the religious scholars

The Five Luminous Mysteries

  • Jesus’ Baptism
  • Jesus at the wedding at Cana
  • Jesus proclaims the Gospel of the Kingdom of God
  • The Transfiguration of Jesus
  • The Last Supper (The institution of the Holy Eucharist)

The Five Sorrowful Mysteries

  • Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
  • Christ’s scourging at the pillar
  • Christ being crowned with thorns
  • Christ carrying His Cross to Calvary
  • The crucifixion of Jesus on the Cross

The Five Glorious Mysteries

  • The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
  • The Ascension of Jesus Christ to Heaven
  • The descent of the Holy Spirit in the upper room
  • The Assumption of Mary into heaven (Her body was never found)
  • The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Jesus is the Victor!

I have the privilege of meditating on these events of Christ’s life every single day when I pray the Rosary, using these events of Christ’s life as my spiritual weapons in prayer.  Our warfare can only be victorious with Jesus Christ as the center of our prayers!  (I also, of course, continue to pray personal prayers like I used to before I became Catholic).

In these days of constant worldwide turmoil, with evil surrounding the human race, may our hearts be open to use the spiritual weapons of warfare in prayer for peace.  One of my weapons is the Rosary.  What are yours?

*This article is from the same website as the above story of Ted Bundy.

 

Missed but Blessed…

As I sit here working on the photo books I make each Christmas for my grand kiddos, I turned on Pandora QuickMix to listen to praise music.  Working with adoration music in the background has always inspired me!  All Sons and Daughters, Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe, The Brilliance, and Matt Redman  are a few Christian artists I listen to.  Several Spanish worship songs have come on as well.  This warms my heart!  While living in Peru, learning to worship in Spanish was what lead me to slowly begin praising Christ in a more outward manner.   I am so grateful for those years that God deepened my relationship with Christ!

My heart is nostalgic as I sit here listening.  This music and lyrics bring back many precious memories from over the years.  I would stand in church, raise my hand and pour out my heart with a deep desire to please God in praise.  It was both a fulfilling and life-giving expression of my love for the Lord.

I am the same person today that I was then… but now I’m Catholic!  I really do miss the praise and worship so common in the Evangelical church!  I have of late, however, seen that evangelical recording artists’ music is filtering into the Catholic church, and that thrills my heart!  As Gary likes to point out when I share my journey with others, “One of the main reasons why Charlotte didn’t want to become Catholic was because she would dearly miss communal worship in song during the service”.  Yes, that was a huge obstacle for me!  Thankfully, I’ve been deeply blessed by the music of young Catholic artists as well, like Matt Maher, the John Blakesley Band,  and for the softer sounds, Audrey Assad and Kathleen Fowle .

Catholic Underground

The youth of the Catholic Church in New York City attend a regular monthly worship service  called Catholic Underground.   They come from all over New York, New Jersey and beyond to worship Jesus, pray and read scripture together.  I had been there a few times with Gary, but was never fully committed to it, because I had no interest in becoming Catholic.  I usually went because he wanted to go and I didn’t want to hurt him.  Their style of worship, however, intrigued me because it was so personal.

How many times does God have to knock on our heart’s door to encourage our obedience?  As I continued to refuse to become Catholic, I  knew I was disobeying God. So in February of 2015 I asked Him to give me a “sign or something!” to help me give in and obey His call to become Catholic.   Imagine the smile on His face when I said that!  I’m sure He had been waiting for me to open my heart’s door even just a crack!  About a week or so later, He fulfilled my request and sent me a sign.*  It was so clear that, in that very moment, I instantly surrendered my will to His and was confident that I should join the Catholic church!  I called it my “mini-miracle”!

 Catholic Underground’s next  service was just five days away and nothing  was going to stop me from going!  I simply couldn’t wait to go!  I didn’t tell Gary about the “sign” because I wanted to confirm it at Catholic Underground first, since it was my only connection with the Catholic church.  So off we went.

The Surprise Gift

The musicians always focus on one main song and repeat it in a prayerful manner during the course of the service.  This way every word is clearly heard and meditated upon.  The Holy Spirit, through their reverence, music and lyrics, speaks gently to each one present.

I was ready to hear from God that evening, but had no idea about the gift He was about to give me!  The chosen song for the evening was by  10,000 Reasons.  As I heard the beginning of the song the tears began to flow.  I knelt before Jesus in profound  humility as I worshiped and thanked Him.  You see, I had already decided to become Catholic because of the sign God gave me, but what I didn’t know was that He was going to surprise me with another special gift, one He knew I needed!  I have always cherished that song in my personal walk with God!  And it was done in a Catholic setting!  That was the gift He wanted me to have!  He was already proving to me that He is alive and well in the Catholic Church!

Needless to say, as we pulled out of the parking garage to go home I shared everything with Gary.  He was certainly relieved because I had been so obstinate!  But now all I could say was “yes, let’s do it!”.

So as I sit here worshiping God in my living room through the various songs played on Pandora I feel sad.  Why?  I grieve over the separation and spiritual blindness Satan has created between Christ’s followers in these two expressions of His Church: Protestants and Catholics.  I’m both!  I will always be both!  I have the absolute best of both expressions of Christianity!

Why did God ask me to return to the Catholic faith?  Perhaps to be an instrument in  bringing healing to these two beautiful expressions of Christ’s love for us!  We are not each other’s opponents.  I’m a witness to that.  Jesus Christ is Lord in both expressions and, I believe, so desires that we “be one” as He prayed to His Father in John 17 that we would “be one”:

“I have revealed You to those whom You gave me out of the world.  They knew with certainty that I came from You, and they believed that You sent Me.  Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your Name, the Name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.  My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.  I have given them the glory that You gave me, that they may be one as We are one— I in them and You in Me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.”  John 17: 6a, 8b, 11b, 20-23

May we as Christians consider what we have in common with one another rather than what separates us. May we beg God to forgive us and bring healing to our critical spirits, I ask this in Jesus’ name.  Amen.

  • If you want more details on that “sign”, please face book message me or ask me in the comments, leaving your email address.  Thanks!

I’m so Overwhelmed!

… overwhelmed with gratitude and deep joy for the daily discoveries I’m receiving from the Lord in this new chapter of my life! Not a day goes by that I don’t find myself, once again, so thankful for what Christ reveals to me about Himself….  new graces and mercy that surprises me beyond words!

I am more in love with Jesus than I ever knew could be possible!  I recognize it’s because of the Gift of Christ that I receive in daily Holy Communion  …. it’s almost like “going to the altar” for surrender and peace each and every time!  I also credit my closeness to Jesus because of the time I spend in adoration before The Blessed Sacrament. 

I have been experiencing beautiful, yet not extraordinary, answers to prayer in this past month.  Please allow me to share some of them with you:

Not too long ago I blogged about someone who had been gripped by fear.  I introduced her to the power God uses through  St. Michael, the Archangel to gain victory over our fears and issues.  In speaking with her recently, I asked her how she was doing, without referring to him at all.  I had noticed that she seemed to be handling life so differently these days!  She excitedly told me that she has “matured a lot”!  I was thrilled to hear this, yet not surprised!  Michael the Archangel fights victoriously for us if we ask him to and mean it!  He helps us along life’s journey as we call upon him to fight our battles, especially the ones where “self” gets in the way!

Our church, St. Peter Roman Catholic Church of Merchantville, NJ has given me some profound experiences in ministries I never knew I would be involved in, much less enjoy!  I’m so blessed to be a part of them all!  It’s no wonder, that, after submitting my resume in several places and having had two phone interviews, I still have yet to get a job!  God certainly has HIS reasons for why I’m not working.  I am, however, quite content to be where He has me for now!  Allow me to share some of these joys:

  • The second graders that come to St. Peter’s school for Catechism studies after school have me wrapped around their fingers! It has been such a joy for me!  These kids are seven years old and want to know more about the Bible and who God is.  Working with these kids has reminded me how much I enjoy preparing materials for children like I did in Peru when we were missionaries there!  I love it!
  • On the opposite end of the age spectrum is the Senior Ministry of my church.  They have hearts of gold but also struggle with daily physical issues.  They meet every day and are willing to be transparent with each other and share their desire to grow in Christ together.  They have exercise classes, daily prayer, arts and crafts, lunch and currently a weekly Bible Study with former Evangelical pastor, Jeff Cavins.
  • Gary and I attend the 6:45 a.m. daily Mass at St. Peters.  This is key to our mutual spiritual growth.  After receiving Jesus Christ in Holy Communion, I kneel quietly and meditate on Him as the Mass ends then take Gary to the train headed for Philly.  I then head back to church to spend time in Eucharistic Adoration.   Eucharistic Adoration of the Lord Jesus Christ and Holy Communion are the main reasons I have grown so much in my relationship with Him.  It’s such a joy to spend time with Him like this every day!
  • I also have the honor of proclaiming God’s Word from the pulpit (“ambo”) as well as helping distribute the Holy Eucharist to the parishioners from time to time.
    • Being a Lector, that is, one who reads from the Old and New Testament before the priest comes forward to read the Gospel, is such a privilege for me.  God’s Word is so profound!  Did you know that almost the entire New Testament and all the important events of the Old Testament are read in the Mass every three years?  I always thought Catholics didn’t read the Bible… how wrong I was!
    • I have found so much freedom from my old anxieties regarding reading Scripture from the pulpit. I continue to be surprised at how I no longer feel nervous to read in public.  I used to be so uptight when I had to read in front of others, always fearful that I wouldn’t do it perfectly right, for fear of embarrassment or criticism.  That has changed and I’m “overwhelmed” at the beauty in this new dependence on Christ.  It’s a freedom I’ve never known to this degree before as an Evangelical.  There’s just a depth and fullness I can’t explain but  know is real.
    • This new found freedom in Christ is due to my understanding (and love for ) the both the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) as well as in daily receiving Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist at Mass.  I’ve been experiencing His deep and abiding love in new and different ways.  I find that all I can say after receiving Christ in the Eucharist is this:   “Thank You, Thank You, Thank you! May I know You more and more…”

I finally gave in and went to a Chiropractor (for the first time in my life, thanks to my daughter’s strong encouragement to do so!) because of my frequent back pain flare ups.  My Chiropractor told me that I have curvature of the spine, something I never knew!  No wonder I’m in pain!  So it has been a good experience for me to “offer up the pain” because I know it is not wasted.  I can use it to pray for someone else’s need.   That was a new concept for me but it makes such sense!  I’m so grateful because it helps me handle the pain better than I may have in the past.  We all have one ailment or another, whether physical, emotional or mental, and we can “offer that up” to Jesus for the needs of someone else for whatever reason.  God uses my pain to help someone else and I’m grateful to be a part of that.  What a relief!  My pain isn’t wasted!

I told you that I’d keep you posted about my new friend “Karen” from my last blog .

We’ve texted one another and spoken on the phone several times, but have yet to meet up due to our crazy schedules.  It’s the beginning of a harmonious friendship and we find we have much in common… that too will be continued!

God has been so good to me and yes, “I’m overwhelmed” at His graciousness and love as I seek to further know, love and serve Him!