Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday of Holy Week - March 31st, 2010 - Today we look at Judas and suffer knowing that he represents our weaknesses.










There seems to be a darkness and sadness deep within us as we follow the footsteps of our Lord as he makes his way to his impending suffering and death...."But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us." Romans5:8 It is more the fact that we are feeling so unworthy and guilty for all the ways that we add to the burden of sin that our Lord had to carry for each of us... so that we can be free to follow him.

Today focusing on the miserable person that Judas must have been and although Jesus knew of his betrayal probably for all the time that Judas was with him... Jesus continued to love him and treat him no differently than he treated any of the other 12. May we take this to heart and strive more in our lives to be better followers. Jesus hear our heartfelt prayers of sorrow at our sins and picking ourselves up and going forward into our lives to likewise serve those around us with love and forgiveness. Jesus we trust in You!

It has also been a wonderful morning with our second daughter, Nancy, here to join each of us in what we are doing with the day... She has the wonderful gift... much like her Godmother and my sister, Mary,... of being "present" for each of the three of us here. She joined her father and I for mass this morning and then went outside to feed the calves with her dad and her brother, and then to go and see all the cows and calves with them. In between she came in the house and swept the floor for me and we chatted about what is going on in each of our lives... Nancy is so good at sharing and bringing things out of you so effortlessly! Then she is off with her brother going to therapy with him, and he called on their way in saying that she was going to take him out to lunch afterwards... How he loves it when his sisters are here and of anyone... he adores them and enjoys their company so much that it brings tears to a mother's eyes... Nancy is a breath of fresh air in this stuffy old place that we can become with just the three of us here... Maybe part of that is the beautiful spring weather though too! It was a delight to put clothes on the line for the first time yesterday and with another one in the wash now... I feel excited to go out there and feel the warm breezes blowing over me and the clean clothes... It would be nice for that excitement to last!

So much to share on this day before the whole scene of salvation goes into motion. I think of all the wonderful deep hours that I spent in the little chapel in Kansas City in front of the altar to our Lady of Guadelupe.... The hours of adoration daily that I was able to lift you all up to our Lord of love and peace! Looking across the room at the face of my daughter as her voice was raised in glorious song to her love of her life... Jesus Christ and his Lady her Spiritual Mother! Hallel is a name very fitting for her when she in prayer and song! What Joy!

I would like to quote here Archbishop Naumann; "We're grateful to you for embracing God's will , and being open to His call to serve Him as a consecrated religious and to live this life that tries to be a witness to the rest of us of what it means to depend on God and his providence in your lives. In so doing, I think, that you become a living Gospel in a very beautiful way for the rest of us. To seek God's will... to embrace God's will with our lives. Like Mary... You might say; "How's this possible for God to make me inito this living Gospel with all my weaknesses and hesitations?" And yet we know that God is using you in very beautiful ways and powerful ways and you see the miracle of His graces.... you see... You get glimpses, we pray, of how God is using you to touch and affect the lives of his people. And you trust that despite your own weaknesses and limitations, that God can use you for something truly beautiful and extraordinary just as he used Mary. And that indeed with God nothing is impossible!"

As we focus in our hearts more to a place of prayer... preparing ourselves to share our Lord's suffering and death... I like to go in my heart to the prayerful presence of all those devoted in a deep and personal contemplative way to focus on our Lord.... Yes, I am called to a life of the world, but that does not mean that my heart can not remain in deep contemplation whenever possible... that cannot be robbed of me by the world! One more thought provoking look at Judas as shared by Fr Sertillanges (1948) , who was a renowned Dominican preacher...

"Christ was willing to experience in length and silence the royal sorrow of betrayal - of betrayal by an intimate, by one who has been showered with kindnesses. He had poured them forth upon Judas, knowing all the while that he would show himself a monster. He spoke to him with consideration, with the vision of his crime before him. He washed his feet on that Thursday evening, conscious that he had already been sold.
"And in the garden of Gethsemane, when the miserable man had destroyed the last barrier that still held back the torrent of hatred, of iniquity, and of torture with his infamous kiss, the only revenge of Jesus was the gentle query: "My poor friend, what have you come here to do?" ONce more he gave Judas the title fo friend, which he had perhaps not applied to him at supper. He wanted him to know he had a right ot it, as the final effort put forth by the patience of God."

In contrast Peter was considered also....Fr Simon Tugwell wrote; "Our Lord chose St Peter, and his very weakness is our strength. He knew that it was no strength of his own that kept him from going the way of Judas Iscariot. And so he was chosen to be the one to "strengthen his brethern" because he knew what it was to be strengthened himself. Lk 22:31"

Dear forever loving and forgiving Lord... so much to ponder today as we prepare in deep places to embrace you bloodied and dying on the way of the cross and being placed there in the most brutal death we could ever imagine... Help us to know that we are weak as both of these followers of you, but with the strength you give us every day we can be followers of you... And by revealing our weakness we can help others to know that they too can come into your light of day! Jesus we love you and thank you for the amazing plan of salvation we are allowed to be part of each year! Bless-bless, Barb

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday of Holy Week - Beautiful day of family time and weather to enjoy too...






Late for me, but I have a few minutes to share a few pictures of the nice weather... we had 1 1/2 year old Davey here this morning after mass... He loves to be out with grandpa and anything he is doing.... Today he followed John and his dad around while they got the bottle calves fed and then the large cows fed... He is so fun now that he has mastered walking and is such a little bundle of energy.

We are thrilled to have Nancy down for a few days and she met Pat, his mom, I and John at Adoration... no better thing to share together... then to supper with the family across the street. Family is so wonderful.... how we love sharing times with Pat's mom. She is a delight to us! I think that I will let the pictures do the talking for me tonight as I am pretty much done in! It was wonderful to share mass and benediction with so many as we await the most powerful times of the church year! So deep and powerful! Jesus we trust in you!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday of Holy Week... walking with Jesus.... more of our time with Little Sister Hallel and her community.





I have touched on the deep rivers and valleys of prayer that we experienced to the point of sitting in my little spot in the chapel as I watched it all unfold.... Yes, a lot of it was in French with some of it translated for me and put into my hands each time that we entered into the Beautiful Holy space numerous times during the day... they always have fresh flowers that they have begged for from flousits decorating each altar... candles and incense used for adoration and mass. Christ is adored and present with us without a doubt! I wept at the gift I have been given by my time with them, and how all that they study and take in in their contemplative lives at these times of song, prayer and study of the Word of God and the Church Fathers is then reflected in all that they do and share with those around them and the poor at their door or as they go to the homes of the poor. I wept also for that all cannot experience all this.

Much of the week was spent in anticipation of Holy Week coming... much practice of the music as that is a huge part of every time they spend in prayer. The last morning we shared mass with 32 Sister Servants of Mary and the Sick at their Provincial house there in KC. Beforehand they were sweetly saying the morning office of prayer together without song... and then we went straight into mass and that too was without any song at all. It was so different after a week with the Little Sisters, because I think that for them what truly gets inside of you and touches you to the core after the Word of God but a close second is the angelic singing that they have as every part. Much still is in French and you realize how huge it is for them to come to the US and to get it all translated. For all other than Hallel... English is not their first language, and in conversation in the kitchen over dishes or preparing the meals which they do as a group a lot... they drift back to French... I put myself in their shoes in a different land.. I would so be yearning to go back to English whenever possible!

Their song contiues to come to me deeply throughout the day... A certain Alleluia that they sang is echoing inside of me as I write this and the words I shared as my title of the last post I made came to me during the night as I went out to check the cows on the TV... I quickly wrote it down as I knew that it would be gone by morning. Then it was fresh and singing deep within me! One Beautiful French song that I learned during the week was starting with "Hail Mary" in English... there were many verses and sung often... that went very deep and was so beautiful to the ears and the deep spiritual place in the midst of all the sharing from His Word and the Church Fathers as I also attempted to share a small piece with you in my last entry also.

When one night we were asked to come and share Vespers (evening prayer) with a group of people that were joining the Catholic Church and their sponsors adding up to about 30 people. Their beautiful song interspersed with the way that they chant the psalms... then they "chewed" the first 3 lines of the Gospel for the next day... speaking each line 7 times and then singing it 3 times for a total of 10 times for each line... Later the people experiencing it for the first time shared that it had truly made it come close to their hearts and that things would come to them in the process that would have not been possible in just reading it through normally. From my perspective especially after comparing their version of mass and prayer throughout the day with the community of sisters that only speak it back and forth... I see that people are very deeply touched by their approach and more than an approach... it is as deep love song that they are bringing before their spouce and lover of all lovers. I looked over each time at the face of my daughter beaming and joyful as she sang with the others these absolutely amazing songs that follow the liturgy and prayer exactly. Truly the Holy Spirit at work in all of it!

As you can see... this is a huge undertaking in trying to share with you the week that we just shared with the Community of the Lamb as they continue to work at bringing their lives into America for the first time! The Archbishop that invited them... I thanked from the bottom of my heart when he came to meet John and I... as he has also been lifting John up daily! But he in turn said what a blessing it is to have them in the middle of America, and how they are working so hard to have them build their little monastery there...so that they are truly here in our midst with the "home and chapel" that reflect their lives to the world around them. And the poor area that they have settled wants them to build there... "We will be safe with you in our midst."

On the two nice days we were there... One Little Sister rejoiced to see the people out of their homes with the nice weather. She had come during the winter and the people just were not visible... At one point we were outside getting some palms and flowers out of the car that had just arrived and two boys around 13 came walking across the vacant lot by their house. Immediately two of the sisters left everything and walked over to them and struck up a conversation... they were hispanic and both sisters speak fluent Spanish also! After a while they walked in to look at the model of the "monastery' that they hope to start building this summer. Another young girl that came in at that point was shocked to see them there as they are known to be involved with the gangs....

Also that day young groups of girls on bikes stopped in to meet John and I... as they know Hallel and wanted to meet her family. We found out later that many of them come from very "sad" home life. One girl when i asked how many siblings she had... told me just "a lot"... later one of the little Sisters told me that every one of her siblings has a different father... They come into their "little monastery" that they have made in the midst of this huge run down rectory and say things like... "It's so clean and nice here... my home is not that way." Yes, they also go on "mission" and knock on their doors, but that I will leave for another time. I will say that John and I did not experience that first hand and John did say that it was one thing that he would have liked to have experienced... yet knowing that it would not have been possible. The Little Sisters do say that it is something that they never get used to and that it is always a hard thing to do.

I need to go to tend to my life and responsiblities... but I do feel a certain sense of responsibility to share the wonder of this gift I was given with a week with my daughter and the life that she has chosen. The poverty of it is a lesson and I am for this window of time a changed person... I know without conscious work that I will once again drift back without my even knowing it! The lack of comfortable places to sit gets wearing to me, but Little Sister Hallel pays no notice... it could be the age difference too.... The comfortable desk chair on which I am sitting now allows me to forget my tailbone and concentrate on what I am attempting to share with you here... too much all at once, but as the time passes I fear that i am going to forget too much. I did attempt to keep a journal to help my memory!

Today the powerful Gospel from John12:1-11... where Jesus is eating in the home of Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead... Lazarus' sister, Mary, annoits the Lord's feet with costly ointment and dries them with her hair... Judas complains that this should have been sold and the money used for the poor... Jesus says that He comes first...How I see this in the lives of the community and that first of all they are contemplative in their lives of prayer and study and taking His Word into their hearts so that after that they can go and be "Christ knocking on the door of your hearts."

the final two verses of the hymn for today in the morning prayer of the Magnificat:

"Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll think of the poor;
Tomorrow," she said, "not today;
For dearer than all of the poor in the world
is my love that is going away,"she said,
"My love who is going away."

Said Jesus to Mary, "Your love is so deep
Today, you may do as you will.
Tomorrow, you say, I am going away,
But my body I will leave with you still," he said,
My body I will leave with you still."

Jesus as this Holy week begins... we come to you first of all in prayer and loving and reading your Word and sacrament in the Eucharist. Our cup overflows with love for you and we carry that forth into our lives of service! Jesus we trust in You! Bless-bless, Barb

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Mary Immaculate, Lead me along the way of Pure Love in the footsteps of the Unblemished Lamb... words from a song sung at times throughout the day..



I think that the words I shared to title this entry can give you somewhat of an idea of how deep this last week has been and how hard it is for me to share even a small part of our time. I know that when I was talking to Nancy about it today... she reminded me of how similar we all felt after returning from our week in France. What I see of Hallel's life with the community of the Lamb is one of deep contemplative prayer and study of the Word and Church Fathers, but also of poverty and service to the poor around them in Kansas City or whereever they find themselves throughout the world.

It was especially powerful to really be immersed in the Annunciation bit by bit over the week. Ususally they have very long and amazing vigils before the feast days in their community, but with the amount they needed to cover and the fact that Holy Week will consume them next week... they decided to do it partially each day... To put it all together for the vigil would have lasted most of the night with the music, scripture tying the OT to the New Testament readings and then the amazing Church Fathers and how they take you to a place of such deep learning! I will share one small piece that I marveled over.... I have known that Mary is the new ark of the covenant and tabernacle in which the Lord came to dwell and entered the earth as God made man.... But to read Exodus33 and 40 where the cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.... Moses was not able to enter the tent , because the cloud abode upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Then to look at Luke 1 where... the angel says to Mary... Hail, full of grace the Lord is with you... The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you... therefore the child to be born will be called holy, The Son of God! This is read in the midst of amazing music as they sing and sing and sing like angels to accentuate everything that they are reading and sharing with total love and devotion!

The next day we focused on the amazing "yes" that Mary said to the will of God in her life and we read some of the Church Fathers reflecting on this... St Bernard -

"Him whom you pleased by your silence, you will please now even more with your word. He calls out to you from heaven, 'O fair among women, let me hear your voice.'

"If you let him hear your voice, then, he will let you see our salvation. Isn't this what you have been wanting, what you have been weeping for and sighing after, day and night, in your prayers?

"So answer the angel quickly or rather, through the angel, answer God. Only say the word and receive the Word: give yours and conceive God's. Breathe one fleeting word and embrace the everlasting Word. Why do you delay? Why be afraid? Believe, give praise and receive.

"Blessed Virgin Mary, open your heart to faith, your lips to consent and your womb to your Creator. Behold the long-desired of all nations is standing at the door and knocking.
"Get up, run, open!
Get up by faith,
run by prayer,
open by consent!"

Luke1:38 Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be done to me according to your word.
Song of Songs2:8-14 We were wiping tears as LS Alma played the guitar and this was read...
"The voice of my beloved!
Behold he comes,
Leaping upon the mountains
bounding over the hills.
My beloved like a gazelle,
or a young stag.
Behold he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me:

"Arise, my love, my dove, my fair one, and come away;
for behold, the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time for pruning has come,
the voice of the turtledoves is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.

"Arise my love, my fair one, and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face, let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet, and your face is comely.

"... a garden locked is my sister, my bride,
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
Your shoots are an orchard of pomagranates
with all choicest fruits,
with all trees of frankincence,
myrrh and aloes,
with all chief spices-
a garden fountain, a well of living water,
and flowing streams. Song4:8, 12-15

I think that you can get a glimpse of how amazing this all is day after day in the mix of all the other things that we did while we were there... I need to go, but promise to continue to share more. Jesus we trust in You!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers in Kansas City!




I will miss keeping in touch even if it has become somewhat one sided this way... Know that every day I say a crown of thorns mystery of the rosary just for all those that have been with us on this journey... that will continue and it will probably be said daily in their special chapel... Jesus, how we love you and come close to you at this special time of lent! Thank you for the gifts of your seasons of the Church, but especially this one that leads up to your supreme sacrifice on the cross that takes away the sins of the world! Jesus we trust in You! Bless-bless, Barb and John... heading to Kansas City in the morning

"Never before has anyone spoken like this man."Jn7.... Our lives are filled with such joy with you at our side loving and forgiving Savior!







The day before we depart on a pilgimage into the lives of The Community of the Lamb... now with their first group living in the US in Kansas City, Kansas. Our daughter, Susan Angela Agnes Verly is now the first female from the US to join this fairly new order (both the foundress and founder are still living). The same day that she took her habit a young man from Florida became the first man to join the Little Brothers... We are grateful that this happened before Susan joined as now there is a place for her to be not across an ocean from us, but just a 7 hour trip from our home! She came here to live with the group of 6 women in Kansas City in November, and this will be our first trip there. It happened now because John's oldest sister,Ruth, has a nursing conference there for the week and we are jumping in with her! She will drop us at their door and we will enter it and the lives that they live for the next week! I have asked to be kept busy and not treated like a guest... so I will be in the kitchen and John could be my assistant... We will have much to share in a week when we return, but I might be silent until then. They do have internet, but it is used seldom....

Yesterday was a special gift day... I had my soon to be 4year old granddaughter, Mary, over for a day with grandma! From when she was 6 weeks old and Ruth had to go to work half time at the hospital until she had little Davey in July and I discovered that taking care of 3 kids was just too much, and then Mary and Simon went to daycare while I just had baby David here.... All those wonderful over 2 years... I had my Mary here with grandma 3 days a week. It was wonderful and as I have shared it was like stepping back into our "nest years" just enough! To have grandpa come in and the kids climb on his lap to help him eat... going out for adventures any day we could around the yard... Simon to look at the equipment and Mary to see the animals... Mary always had to go and spend special time with the Blessed Mother statue too... from when she could first walk... she would go over there and lean on her and kiss her... It was something that came from her without any encouragement from me... she just naturally wanted to show this lady in the garden her love and it was the most beautiful way to see with the own eyes the love that little children bring to their innocent faith!

For the first part of her time here... I had on PBS... Barnie gave us a neat idea that turned into a fun thing for the two of us! We then turned off the TV and started a big project drawing and painting Mary's family tree... We have noticed that the kids cannot understand that we are Ruth's parents and how all the aunts and uncles and cousins work, so I thought it could be a good teaching thing for her too. It took up a good chunk of time and she really got into the red watercolor paint! But the final result was fun for her to take home...she also took a box of watercolor paints so it will be fun to see what she comes up with. I know that I like watercolor best of anything to work with in my simplistic way of art.

Just before lunch...Pat was feeding the bottle calves in the shed, so Mary and I bundled up... it was once again cold and windy... and headed out... we had fun as Mary gave a calf a partially full bottle, and then she wanted grandma to chase her into a special space... like a little playroom... in the round bales in the shed. After going out to see Grandpa put down some fresh bedding in the new barn for the cows and calves while the calves kicked up their heels in delight... we came in and had some nice soup on a cold day with hot chocolate... We then had stories on grandma's bed before a nice nap.... Mary and I have read certain books about horses (she is a nut about horses, and is saving her change in a jar for her horse)over and over in those years... Cowardly Clyde by Bill Peet is our absolute favorite...I have the short version which she used to sit on my lap for as I clippety clopped through the... turning the pages like you are watching a movie... fast!

Mary found the book and was so excited... I had to do the fast version first and then read it word for word... we loved it! Thank you Lord for the gift of wonderful children... may I allow them to grow up and appreciate each new step they take into a new a beautiful part of their growing up in You!

The quote from the Gospel for today that I used for my title today... This is so beautiful... written by Paul Claudel (1953) who was a poet, a playwright, and a diplomat....

"The Gospels show us the Savior coming to the soul and imparting truth and virtue by the touch of a hand, the brushing of a garment, a bit of moistened earth applied to the locked eyelids. One look from him is enough to make an apostle out of that idler yawning under the fig tree.... Jesus did not always need a miracle or even a word. A tone or inflection often served his purpose, and somehow the intervening gulf was bridged. The lost sheep recognized his Master's voice and repsonded with feeble bleat."

How exciting, dear Lord, to be heading for a week with LS Hallel and her community for this week leading up to Palm Sunday! They live the Gospel and they "chew" it each day in prayer and study... How we love your Word made flesh in Christ... allow us to become more and more with Christ within us as we take your Gospel to heart and soul. Jesus we love you and trust in You!

Friday, March 19, 2010

A modern day reminder of St Joseph

 

I love this picture of Pat with John on the horse checking fence when John was about 3 years old... it truly is reminicient of St Joseph when he took care of Mary and Jesus... especially when he had to move them away from danger, and then model for Jesus the day to day work required of us here on earth to provide for our families and to serve our Lord and one another! St Joseph intercede for us to your foster son... He loves you and honors you and listens to you and your quiet Wisdom!
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Solemnity of the Feast of St Joseph - March 19,2010











We have it on good authority that today being a solemnity has trumped the Friday fast... Little Sister Hallel called and told her dad that he can even have
"steak" today! It is Pat's feast day too in that his patron saint is St Joseph. I think that we will probably go a local fish fry and not hold back... in other words pig out!

How I love St Joseph and really have started praying to him and including him in my daily prayers every day! Back a few years I thought that it was important that I add Pat in my rosary prayers and meditations daily. I have shared how I pray for each of my 5 kids using the 5 decades of the rosary beads, so I pondered which of the mysteries would remind me of Pat and help me to lift him up daily. I came upon the first joyful mystery... the Annunciation. Behind the scenes in this one, Joseph is showing me the wonderful faithfilled and great provider and protector that Joseph was to Mary in her humble and vulnerable state... and of course later the child Jesus... God come down to Earth. I love the way Joseph listens to the Lord and is a gentle and holy man. Being Pat's patron saint... and a intelligent laborer like my husband... a man who worked with his hands to create things for people and was there working in his home, and teaching his son over the years how to also join him. That teaching of our children is so important, and the way that he protected the Blessed Mother and the child Jesus...that is an important thing for a father to do this day and age!

Pat has always done an excellent job including the kids in "work" at the differnet seasons of the year... Fond memories of him taking all 7 of us out in the early spring to fix the fences in the pastures... getting them ready for the cows and calves to safely frolic in the sweet grass. Nancy and John have special times when they helped dad put up a new fence around some new pasture land... There is a pasture across the road that Nancy looks at and drives around on the 4 wheeler remembering the hot summer days that she and her dad put it up. For the most part good memories and some pride in seeing the cows out there enjoying the new grass and space... It has carried over now to the next generation as he had Simon and Mary in the trailer and I on the 4 wheeler as he put in some new fence a few years ago... So good for them to see Grandpa model for them the work and responsiblity he has to care for the animals of this world!

I have shared how Pat is such a wonderful interested husband and father... He loves and listens to the Lord in his life and has valued the Church and the faith of his parents and has made it his own. He has always upheld strongly that we will worship as a family... people have been amazed to see us come to church within the first week of a new arrival of a baby... Pat has always juggled the new baby and unless I had to go out to nurse the baby... handles them gently and lovingly... we also sit in the front of church and always have so that the kids can get as much as possible out of it. Yes, we have had to go out from time to time, but less than you would think. Now we are there with the grandkids... such a delight to have the family filling up the pew and the kids smiling and interested faces throughout the mass! So relaxed and good in the familiar beautiful church that they have attended every week of their lives! My two grandkids in St Paul have been to mass practically every day of their lives even in utero!

Today some reflections on ST Joseph by Fr Alfred Delp (1945) who was condemned to death in Germany during WWII. "Jospeh is a man who sets aside all thought of self and shoulders his responsiblity bravely - and obeys..... His message is willing obedience, He is the man who serves. It never enters his mind to question God's commands, he makes all the necessary preparations and is ready when God's call comes. Willing, unquestioning service is the secret of his life.... The prayer of St Paul - do with me according to your will - the quiet and willing readiness to serve of the man Joseph, could lead us to a truer and more genuine freedom."

Thank you for such a wonderful father figure that we have in a honored place in heaven to look to. That father image is so necessary today with all that the family faces... St Joseph we look to you and ask you to intercede for the unity and blossoming of the family in love of God and each other. Jesus we trust in You!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

A familiar scene - Our Lady loved her daily life with Her Lord and Savior

 

Jesus you are always with us in each part of each day... you bring joy in all the small things we do with great love! Thank you for being there with us always!
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"To those that are under the weight of sin, he becomes that lamb,a lamb slain for them." St Cyril of Jerusalem

This grabbed me this morning as we were sharing morning prayer at breakfast... After having Susan bring the Lamb so powerfully into our lives by becoming a member of a Dominican community called the Community of the Lamb. They are especially prominant in our minds nowas we have received word that the community that Susan had lived with two years ago has now relocated in our diocese of New Ulm and will be taking their habits next Wednesday night at 5:30p at the Cathedral in New Ulm! My daughter, Maria, called yesterday to inform me as she knows how much they all mean to me and how I prayed that just this would happen for our diocese first of all, but also thinking that Susan would be a part of all this and could be that much closer to home! The Lord had another path for her, and we love the Community of the Lamb and are forever changed for having them as our sons and daughters...

Susan/Little Sister Hallel called yesterday after I had heard the news, and I did ask her why she wasn't still with them for this huge step... "I wouldn't be happy, mom. I have found where I am supposed to be." A mother needs to ask sometimes, but I do love where Susan is now, and how I am looking forward to the week that I will be spending with her... this next week John and I are going to KC with Ruth... she has a week long conference for her nursing job there, and will drop us off with the Community of the Lamb in KC! We will live with them, and live their life with them and Sue says that I could be in the kitchen a lot doing the meals so that they can do other things... I want to help and not feel like a guest. Who knows... maybe we will never come back. For sure I will not be spending time writing here for the week. I will be burning to share when we return however!

More words of wisdom from St Cyril:

"Those who believe in one God the Father Almighty ought to believe in his only-begotten Son, Jesus says: "I am the door. No one come to the Father but by me."(Jn 10:9, 14:6) Anyone who does not accept the door cannot possibly reach the Father. Anyone who wishes to pray to the Father should adore the Son, or his prayers are not accepted.... The Savior becomes all things to all, according to the need of each: to those who ask for Joy, he becomes the vine; to those who wish to enter, he becomes the door; to those who are under the weight of sin, he becomes a lamb, a lamb slain for them. He becomes all things to all, but he remains none the less what he is.... He is the healer of bodies and the doctor of souls."

Jesus we are amazed at the personal journey that we are each called to as followers of you! How we are filled with the joy of your personal love for us as we see your hand always on us directing us lovingly forward on your path. Jesus we trust in You!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pied Beauty by Gerard Manley Hopkins in tribute to Mary's love of the farm and finding the love of her life... Jerry... a dairy farmer



Pied Beauty

Glory be to God for dappled things-
For skies as coupled-colored as a brinded cow;
For rose moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut falls, finches wings;
Landscapes plotted and pierced-fold, fallow, and plow;
And all trades, their gear amd tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, space, stranger,
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows what?)
With swift, slow;sweet; sow; adazzle. dim;
He fathers forth whose beauty is past change.
Praise Him.

One more quote from the scrapbook I made after Mary's death in 1986

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places, but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingling with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." Haldir the elf of the Lothlbrien Forest from The Fellowship of the Ring by JR Tolkein

Mary, I will always miss you and knowing you are with my children in heaven and our brother, Lincoln... I look forward to joining you someday. Thank you for the joy and life you added to my life! Jesus we trust in You!

My sister Mary's birthday - St Patrick's Day 2010... Mary would have been 52 today... instead she if forever 28!













St Patrick's day cannot come without my remembering my sister, Mary. It was her birthday and the little bit of Irish blood that we had gained through our parents... we are basically mutts with a small bit of this and that... other than my dad's Swedish mother, Dagmar. Well, Mary celebrated to the max with anything green to be worn or consumed for that special day! She truly lived life to the fullest as if deep down she knew that she would have a short life. She was 6 1/2 years younger than me, but I would say that I was the closest to her of any of my sisters and probably of any of my siblings... I think that others of my siblings would say that also...she had a way of sharing in our individual lives in a way that touched us deeply when she was gone and made us marvel at how at this certain time in our lives Mary was there to fill it!

Our closeness started when we would go to Lake Michigan for the summer... I have shared how my mother would get her mob of kids out of the city in Mpls and out to "the farm" for the summer. Well, when we lived in downtown Flint, Michigan until the summer after I graduated high school in 1969... she would get us out of the city in the summer and up to my grandparent's cabin on Grand Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. WE loved it! Pat, my husband...who is also celebrating his feast day today... says that we were spoiled rotten, and I would tend to agree... We would have tanning contests among us kids and I would be one of the brownest along with Mary and Phil... the brother just above Mary in order in the family.

Mary and I also became avid fossil hunters and would go for long walks on the beach... being over 6 years younger...she would fit right under my arm a lot like John with his sisters helping him walk after his ataxia! WE would head out the sugar sand beach and talk and look for the find of the day. We would sunbath and swim in the big waves of the big lake... we would watch my mother sketch and paint and both Mary and I did some sketching in our late teens/ early twenties... some of Mary's nature work we still have in the family and it is cherished!

When I married and started having babies... I had high blood pressure as I advanced in my pregnancy and would have to be on bedrest more and more... With my second daughter's pregnancy... my sister Mary was kind of just floating without much direction in her life... she came down to help me with Ruth, my 2 year old daughter, and to help Pat with milking the cows, and just to help me out as I was told eventually to only get up to the bathroom, but otherwise to stay in bed on my left side! Mary was city girl number 2 to come down and fall in love with the farm... I being the first.

Pat so appreciated her help and she just loved to be out there helping...His other two brothers that he farmed with then... Don and Ed... also appreciated Mary and her willingness to help. She was so wonderful and we all formed a wonderful happy family! After Nancy was born... she was Nancy's Godmother along with her Aunt Marge and Howard... We loved her and she had become such a wonderful part of our lives, but we knew that she needed to go and find her own life... so a few months later with copious tears... Mary left to stay with my folks in Taylors Falls and to start taking a nursing program... As fate would have it she met a dairy farmer from Wiscomsin and they married and had a wonderful daughter, Audrey. When Mary was 28 and Audrey was 20 months old Mary died from Lymphoma cancer. Our hearts were broken! It was so hard to not ask over and over...."Why?" But there was a lot of peace in knowing that she had found her farmer....

One hard thing that happened to me when I went up for Mary's funeral... the day she was dying I got a call from my doctor telling me that the ultrasound that I had had showed that my baby was dead.. I was about 3 1/2 months pregnat at the time... I called my parents and her husband that were at her bedside... they told me that Mary was going and her blood pressure was dropping, and it would be soon that she would die. I told them to tell her that the baby I was carrying would join her in heaven... I felt losing her that a piece of me had gone to be with my beloved Mary, and the baby that in those months I had formed a relationship with and hopes and dreams... I later named it Thomas, because she died on the feast day of St Thomas the doubter... then when I was at my mother's the night before the prayer service...I had a horrific mischarriage there and Pat rushed me to the hospital in St Croix Falls...I was bleeding so badly that I thought that I was going to join my sister... When they finally got an IV in... the next day I drank fluids like crazy so that I could get out and shakily make it to her prayer service that night and her funeral the next day... I was a wreck, but it was where I wanted to be more than anywhere else... the outpouring was good for me on all levels... but the tears just flowed!

So today after Mass I had to stop for a few groceries and had to get some green rolls for us to share at breakfast... to you Mary! And even though it's lent I might have to put a few drops of green food coloring in a beer tonight and toast my wonderful sister that is now watching out for her two Goddaughters... Nancy and Susan... from heaven. They have asked me why they have lost her and how come their Godparents are less than visible in their lives... I tell them that they must be called to pray for their Godparents and the Lord is giving them the call to pray! Pretty special for them!

I will end with a poem that I came across in the scrapbook I made after Mary died... It is about farming and is by Gerard Manley Hopkins... on second thought i will make it a seperate post with the neat pic that I have with it here.

Jesus, thank you for the gift of Mary in my life! May her soul be with you in Glory, and may St Patrick be giving her a birthday hug right now! Bless-bless, Barb