“Mami” and “Mama”

My two daughters have children that have lovingly called them “Mami” (Spanish for “mommy”, because they are a Peruvian/American family), and “Mama” respectively.

I cherish the fact that these kiddos have different names for their moms because my precious daughters are unmistakably different from each other in beautiful ways. (It also helps to distinguish who’s calling whom when all eight cousins are together!) As unique as they are, my girls are excellent moms as they journey day in and day out with their remarkable children. (Can you tell I’m an ultra proud grandma?)

We are in the month of May and here it is Mother’s Day already! I find myself bragging to others about my girls and I thank our Lord every single day for them!  Today, however, I choose to brag as I blog!

                                     Mother's Day 2018 BLOG extra final!!!

Not that they would expect me to share this comparison, but I want to portray their role as moms in light of the most exemplar mom that ever lived: Mary the mother of Jesus.  I must say, without even trying to emulate her, my girls follow Jesus and are attentive to His voice, as was she.

Mary was holy and pure long before she was a mom.  I’m not about to put my daughters equal to Mary by any means, but as I studied more of Mary’s life as a mom, I could see some similarities.   I saw them, with sincerity and commitment, seek holiness in Christ Jesus long before they were moms too. Both were baptized as infants and at a very early age they each understood how much God loved and cared for them. They accepted Jesus and His great love at the age of three, respectively, and tried to live for Him with their sweet, tender hearts!  Each one had their own unique experience of “devotional time” with Jesus during their childhood. They read their Bibles and journaled regularly as they sought to please Him.

Fast forward a few years. Mary was a young teen when the Angel Gabriel appeared to her and told her that she was to be the mother of Jesus, the Savior of the world! Can you imagine being her in that moment? Her “fiat”* was a humble surrender of trust as she said “Yes!” to God, having no idea what that was to mean in her life.  My girls were in junior high when they said “Yes” to complete surrender to Jesus.  They began walking toward holiness in their lives while growing in their understanding of and obedience to Him. I saw them make profound decisions with Jesus in mind.

The more I study the Gospels of Luke and John and Mary’s role in Christ’s life the more I see what a remarkable role model she was.  In Luke 1:45-49, Mary rejoiced in the goodness of the Lord for the “great things He had done” in her life.  I have witnessed beautiful moments in my daughters’ lives of rejoicing in God’s favor as well.  I’ve seen them proclaim His goodness when they are taken aback by the many blessings and fulfilled promises He has bestowed on them.

At the time of Christ Jesus’ birth, when the shepherds explained how an angel appeared to them, Mary pondered it all and held it deep within her heart.  I’ve seen my daughters ponder deeply the things of the Lord, especially when life was stressful and confusing.  I’m so humbled by the beautiful reactions they have had as they continually seek God’s peace and serenity.

One awesome  characteristic I see in them is that of asking open-ended questions of their kids, especially amidst a crisis of some sort. When I look at my life as a young mom, I don’t recall ever asking those kinds of questions of my kids (thankfully all three of them turned out super well!).  This makes me beam all the more, because if I were to do it all over again, I’d be asking THEM for advice!  I’ve watched in awe as they both patiently take the time, day after day and week after week to ask questions that require an honest answer. This has nurtured their kids to respond well and make their own choices in their short lives.  When I shared my regret that I didn’t ask them questions I was both relieved and curious when one daughter responded with: “You did your best, mom!” face

We know, from God’s Word, that Mary asked at least one question of Jesus.  I’m pretty certain she asked Him many questions, but those stories of their family life would’ve made the Bible too large and heavy to carry!  “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” (Luke 2:48b).  After His response, once again, she pondered deeply in her heart what had just unfolded.  What an example of humbly waiting on God! And that is what I see in my girls as they raise their families.

When Jesus was crucified, his mom was right there at the foot of the cross. My daughters are the kind of mom that, no matter what, they surround their kids with unconditional loving care beyond words!  I’ve seen them both, with endless love, express deep concern and prayer when their little ones have been very ill.  They are always “right there” attending to their needs, cries, angst and pain.  Little has been written about Mary in the Bible, but I’m sure she was a woman others wanted to emulate and my girls have actually done that without even knowing it!

“Mami” and “Mama” were prayed for long before they were even born.   And what I prayed for has been realized in their lives and so much more!  They each are the best wife for their husbands and amazing role models for other women out there!  They are teachers, prayer warriors, preachers, chefs, bakers, doctors, entertainers, evangelists, managers, disciplers, friends and mentors in so many ways! They trust Jesus and say “Yes” to Him even when they don’t understand.  My girls have and will continue to prayerfully ponder, much more than I’ll ever know, the deep things of God with respect to their children… and what joy that brings to this mother’s heart!

Happy Mother’s Day girls!  I love you so much!

*Latin for “Let it be done” referring to Mary’s response in Luke 1: 38

The Eight Happiest “Lambs” I’ve Ever Seen!

I have three awesome children, eight beyond-wonderful grand kiddos,  one special godchild and, since September, eight precious seven-year-olds I call my spiritual grandchildren!

It has been my privilege to serve these very sweet second graders every single week in the CCD program (Confraternity of Christian Doctrine) of my church.  This is the after-school program for Catholic children who attend public school.  Whether I’m  creating/adapting lesson plans and materials, providing video presentations, preparing object lessons and crafts, or simply singing about the joy of the Lord, I absolutely love working alongside Carol in helping these kiddos fall more and more in love with Jesus!

The Little Lambs

A couple of weeks ago they attended a Saturday morning “retreat” and learned that Jesus is not only their Good Shepherd but that they are His precious lambs, the sheep of His pasture.   After a fun puppet show, some singing and group interaction, they each crafted a small standable lamb covered with large and numerous cotton balls!  Little did they know that these little lambs would later be used to demonstrate their role and dependence on Jesus – their Good Shepherd.

You may not be aware that I grew up as a Catholic. I attended Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in my hometown as well as the parish school; “St. Petes”.  I attended that school through the seventh grade then went on to the public school system.  Perhaps by leaving St. Petes I lost some of the desire to continue learning more about Jesus, and before I knew it, within a couple of years, I had drifted away from my earlier devotion to Him.

SS Peter and Paul Church SS PETER AND PAUL CHURCH

St. Petes School        SS Peter and Paul School

From Catholic to Evangelical to Catholic 

At the age of sixteen I “fell back in love with Jesus” by “accepting Him as my Lord and Savior” in an Evangelical church in town.  I thrived on Christ’s love and presence in my life as an Evangelical Christian for many years!  However, after much misunderstanding and confusion, I finally discovered the Truth of the doctrine of Catholicism (through a mini miracle God gave me) and returned to the Catholic faith two years ago next month.  My life has not been the same since and I could never go back!  Catholicism isn’t what I thought it was all those years.   Catholics who actually practice their faith truly are exemplar Christians!  🙂

The inexpressible transformation of my heart toward the Catholic church came through the understanding of the Sacraments, two of which I simply can’t get enough of – Holy Communion and Confession! As in a previous blog, I can’t overemphasize the beauty and depth of the Sacrament of Confession.  I actually don’t recall much about my First Confession experience in the second grade.  Perhaps it was because I hadn’t fully grasped, at age seven,  what it really meant. To know that my sins could be completely washed away by Jesus through confession to a priest is a truly profound mystery!  For that reason, it’s my deepest desire to help these sweet second graders understand the depth and beauty of the Sacraments.

No Inhibitions at all!

In class, as we prepared and reviewed the Sacrament of Confession, do you know that each child wanted to share with me what their sins were and what they were going to say to the priest?  I couldn’t believe their transparency!  They had no inhibitions, no concerns, no fears.  Some of their comments were: “I talked back to my mom four times”, “I hit my little brother two times”, I cheated one time in school”, “I was mean to my friend”, “I was disrespectful to my teacher”, and they wrote them down so they wouldn’t forget them.  They couldn’t wait to confess these to Jesus and receive His forgiveness!  These children are just beginning to learn the beauty of absolution, forgiveness and peace!

“C” Day!

The day finally came for their First Confession.  They had practiced how to do it and were very excited to talk to Jesus through the priest.  There was a total of fifty one children participating, including the second graders from the school.

Each one of them, upon finishing with the priest, were to come to the altar with their little lamb, place it standing up in the pen where Jesus, the Good Shepherd, was seated waiting for them.

Good Shepherd at St. Peter's for CCD

I had the privilege of receiving them there.  I cannot express the deep joy I had, to the point of tears, of watching those beaming, smiling faces as they approached Jesus.  They were coming to the altar to give themselves to Him in the form of that little lamb.  It was beautiful!  They knelt, placed the lamb in the pen, made the “sign of the cross”, genuflected toward Jesus then knelt at the altar rail to whisper their final prayer of penance.

To close that service, the children sang their favorite song loud and clear! A song I simply adore!

Their Reaction

That was four days ago.  I couldn’t wait to see the children in our CCD class yesterday to hear of their reactions.  I greeted them with a question: “What is one word you want to describe how you felt after confession?”  I had them write their answers on the blackboard and below is a photo of what they wrote:

Post Penance words on chalkboard

One boy drew a cross with Jesus on it and others drew a heart and several drew various stars as well! If you can’t read them, the words they wrote are the following:

“Excited and happy at the same time !!!,  Graet (Great) and excited,  Nervous, Excited, Happy, Loved, Thankful, Amazing love, reversed, Loved, nice”.

I asked the boy who wrote “reversed” what he meant.  “I went in feeling sinful and came out feeling clean and pure.”  This kid is in second grade!  I’m so proud of him!

What’s Next?

These children, my eight spiritual grandchildren, are the future of the Church!  And I love them dearly!  They want more and more of Jesus.  They yearn to know Him better and guess what?  Their next big step is the Sacrament of Holy Communion: The Holy Eucharist. They will be receiving the living Presence of Jesus Christ in the form of a consecrated Host at their First Holy Communion in May.

Needless to say the profound truth of Catholicism is simple:  We have the privilege of partaking of Jesus Christ, His True Presence, in the Holy Eucharist because He instructed us to do so. And as we do, He ministers to us because He is actually residing within us.  What a miracle!  What a joy!  (Check out some of my earlier blogs, It’s a Mystery and From Tears of Fear to Tears of Joy).

What a privilege it is for me to guide these precious spiritual grandchildren to the beauty, goodness and truth of Jesus Christ and His love for them as Catholic children!  I’m thrilled to be back home in the Catholic Church!  After all, it’s the church that Jesus Himself established back some 2,000 years ago and for that I am forever grateful!

Chalking of the Doors?

                                        IMG_5615

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.

     IMG_5616

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.

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 offend You, 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 walk into 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 of them as well.  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 in order 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.