Saturday, May 29, 2010

An evening at the cemetary after a loooooong day.... The emotions are so deep... not buried but lightly asleep and easily awakened...

It was a long tiring day for me, but after reminding myself in my early morning post that I needed to put flowers on the boys grave at the cemetary... I was determined to do that no matter how tired I was... It turned out to be about 8p and the late light was so beautiful on the flags that lined the path up to the crucifix... speaking so much of how you cannot separate our Church and state...  Our country is based on our faith... just think of our National Anthem!  It was a specail time for me to make a special tribute to not only the two that I have buried at the foot of my in laws plot... but also to remember the other 4 that we lost over best and worst years of my life... my childbearing years!  To look over and remember my father in law and my brother in law, Don, that are buried right there.... I am sure that all of you have those special ones that you want to go honor and show your love and rememberance by putting a special pretty flower arrangement.... "We love you and we miss you and we pray for you.... remember us in your prayers as you are so close to God in heaven!"  Hear our heartfelt prayers.  I missed having some of the family along to share the time there.  I maybe will still try... the kids (Nancy is here for the day with her fiance) remember going there and remembering the boys... Now I will want to try to find some of those pictures too!

Today is the special Saturday of ordinary time feast day to the Blessed Virgin Mary... From the morning hymn:

"Sun, and Moon, and stars adorn you,
Sinless Eve, triumphant sign;
You it is who crushed the serpent,
Mary, pledge of life divine.
Earth below and highest heaven,
Praise the splendor of your state,
You who now are crowned in glory
Were conceived immaculate.
Hail, beloved of the Father,
Mother of his only Son,
Mystic bride of Love eternal,
Hail, O fair and spotless one!"

Today I am filled with the power of Motherhood... after remembering my boys and one girl... I had always thought that I was unable to carry boys, but then John snuck through... the two I carried til 5 months and mysteriously died at that point that I had after John, were both boys!  Those are William and Robert and are buried at the cemetary... We have had small family services there... I can remember my dad, who is a deacon in the Catholic Church, leading a prayer service there for the boys...  We did not have a funeral for them, but did remember them in a special way and to come year after year for this weekend and to specially honor the short time they lived and we learned to love them always in that short amount of time.   All of us, including my children, know and are excited at the thought of all the siblings that they have to meet someday in heaven!  Mary also had a hugely powerful years of childbearing... She became pregnant by the Holy Spirit and bore God to the world!  Then she lived with her earthly husband in a chaste state and bore no other children...  Very hard and very much like those called to religious life when you truly think about it... 

So very much to ponder... That is one of the things that I love about my faith journey... so deep and so wonderful and so hard at times to follow and to understand, but it truly doesn't dishearten me...  I know that there is so much to be gained from hard things/crosses that we have in our faith journies... I know that Mary felt that way...."Mary the Mother of God, conceived without sin, courageous participant in the mystery of redemption wrought by her Son, loving mother of all the world, is herself the song of salvation sung by all the human race as the dawn of our own hope."  (see http://www.magnificat.com/ )

The grandkids are here and a big job of getting the final cows and cavles out to the lush green pastures is at hand... So armed with the ever present camera... I am called out into the sunny windy day... Armed with the army of little ones in heaven always with me along with Our loving and courageous mother and her Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ , all the angels and saints.... I have no fear for you are with me!  May they all be with you all and may this weekend of memories be a special one with those we have here with us on earth... our wonderful gift from God... families... Dear Mother of all the world... we your children are filled with love and compassion one for the other...heal our families with a wonderful weekend together!  Jesus we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!   Bless-bless, Barb

Friday, May 28, 2010

Memorial weekend - I always put flowers on the grave of my two boys at the cemetary... it brings up many feelings of what could have been but mostly of how grateful I am for the children that I have here with me...

Off to work at my NH today, and still some anxiety at being new and not "knowing that much" yet...  Lord, I depend on you and the ability to take it slowly to be sure about myself.   I will probably stop at the cemetary and put some flowers there at the foot of my father in laws grave to remember my boys... Two after John I carried 5 months and buried them with a marker in the cemetary...  It is what it is.

Today in the Gospel.... Mark 11:11-26... Jesus chases the money changers out of the temple and says; 'My house shall be a house of prayer for all peoples!"  Some powerful words from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta about prayer/adoration.... she like Susan/Little Sister Hallel spends an hour a day in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament!  As I feel about it, and I only get to spend 1 1/2 hour a week..."It is the best hour of my week."  What would the world be like without all those that dedicate themselves to prayer?  I would hate to think...

"What will save the world?  My answer is prayer.  What we need is for every Parish to come before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Hours of prayer... The time you spend with Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament will help bring about everlasting peace on earth... Spend as much time as possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament and He will fill you with His strength and His power... then you will become instruments of His love, peace, and joy."  Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Jesus... I lift up my prayers to you each day... it is as the breath I take in and out in and out... each beat of my heart.  I love you and need you and honor you... I humbly bow before you... I need you.  Jesus I trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!  Bless-bless, Barb

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I will allow pictures to share with you all the pasture times we shared as a family... Cow TV

Many evenings we would load everyone up in the pickup and drive slowly.... as some would be sitting in the back... out to take a long look at the cows and calves.  Pat would walk among them and comment on this one or that, while the kids would stand or sit in the back and watch the antics of this one or that... we would have the familiar ones that they had gotten to know over the years...  I would experiment with photography  - in '95 I worked on some silouettes with the setting sun of Susan and John.  I had done it with cows on the hillside a few years before.  Until the misquitoes got too bad we would enjoy the peace and quiet and time spent together away from distractions... One fun one of Nancy having fun on Ruth's account... it looks like Ruth got some sort of vegetation put on her head...  Tonight the guys are putting about 60 pairs out on pasture... so in honor of that I hope that you enjoy these.  Bless-bless, Barb

The humidity is gone from the air and our spirits are lifted by the glorious breezy day that lies ahead of us! "From the rising of the sun to its setting praised be the name of the Lord!" (Ps 113:3)

I admit that I come here most every day with my inspiration supplied by morning prayers shared with husband and son shared at breakfast... So I will once again give credit where credit is due... (see http://www.magnificat.com/) Today morning prayer started with a reminder to us that "every day offers a choice; what sort of reading, what sort of TV, what sort of conversation, what sort of friends will we choose to welcome into our home?"  Such a powerful reminder to me as I examine those things that I allow to enter my soul and heart...  There is no reason for me to sit and allow that "time to relax" and let just anything that catches my attention to enter in!  I need to keep my "home" inside of myself swept clean of all the clutter and rubbish!  One way to do that is to go to frequent reconcilliation, but before that I need to remember that I can walk away and do something else...

I was attracted to some shows on TV last night and I thought; " I feel tired and I deserve to sit and veg and watch these shows... the mowing that my son had asked me to do before he went outside to pick rock can wait til tomorrow."  But I saw how wonderful the evening was and knew in my heart that I needed to go out and mow....  And I was so blessed to be out there as the day was ending to see the sun setting behind the grove, the bean field behind the house lit by the late day sun, the cows out in the pasture in the middle of the yard and their calves grazing at the perfect time of the day...cool and no bugs...  then the full moon came out in the sunset tinged sky as a backdrop of the cows and calves grazing in the big pasture as I mowed around the bins... I would come around the side of the bin and see the moon bright and special and it made my heart sing at the beauty of it all... and special to me... I went in and grabbed my camera and with many attempts... I did manage to get some good ones! When my son and son in law came home after dark and I was just finishing up... it was good to hear the appreciation in his voice and not the disappointment that would have been there with the long grass still needing to be cut!  It was good to fill my mind with the goodness I am blessed with and not the crappy lives of those that fill the shows that I had thought looked intriguing...  Now for today and the choices that I will make!

I think this was the first reading yesterday for the feast of St Philip Neri... "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."  (Phil 4:8)  If we used this to measure what we are about to read, watch, look at or say... it would be a quiet existance and our souls would be a "clean and joyful home!"

I love the Gospel for today... it is from Mark10:46-52 and it is the story of Bartimeaus, the blind man that cried out insistantly to Jesus to have "pity" on him... to the point that Jesus couldn't ignore him... "Jesus stopped and said,  'Call him.' So they called the blind man, saying to him,'Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you.'  He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.  Jesus said to him in reply, 'What do you want me to do for you?'  The blind man replied to him, 'Master, I want to see.'  Jesus told him, 'Go your way; your faith has saved you.'  Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way."

So much for us to take from this... As dark as life gets... we need to continually call out to our Lord with faith and He is always there to answer our needs!  It is so beautiful to read of the expectant enthusiasm of Bartimeaus... as he leaps up to run to our Lord when he calls... knowing and TRUSTING in his heart that Jesus will heal him and give him the sight that he needs to go forward into all that life holds for him.  New sight that he has never had before and how the world would look to a man that has never seen!  So bright and wonderful and amazing and yes surprising to see what things actually look like and what color actually is!  It is spiritually like when we realize how the Lord has touched our lives in a personal way and given us the spiritual eyes to see things that are of heavenly nature!  How he can turn our crosses into resurrection glory is so amazing to behold with our eyes of faith!  Yes, there are those that try to quiet us as we yell out for Jesus, but we must continue with that trust in our hearts!  He will not deny our needs and our faith will give us the reward that we long for!  Then we too will only want to "follow him on the way." 

Very amazing sharing by Fr Matthias Joseph Scheeben (1888) who was a German priest and a renowed theologian... It is entitled... Lamenting our Blindness

"The preogative of grace is that it raises its possessor to its own exalted position; grace penetrates the soul, the true interior man, and unites itself so closely with the soul.... Grace weaves all its treasures together into a golden vesture studded with diamonds, and envelopes the soul with that vesture..... "The grace of Christ clothes us, as it were, with gorgeous purple and raises us to a dignity that surpasses all knowledge." ST Cyril  Recognize the splendor which you receive from grace, remain true in life to the high position which your soul occupies by grace."

Lord, allow us to cloth ourselves with the beautiful garment of "grace."  Clothed in that we can appear as ... "the greatest, noblest, and most glorious of God's creatures."  Armed in this way.. may we daily, hourly, by the minute fight to keep out the darkness from our clean homes where your Spirit dwells within us and gives us the amazing dazzeling graces to follow after you!  As we see for the first time with newly healed eyes... may we continue to fight the good fight against all that is trying to pull us away and distract us in our daily living!  Give us the joy, peace, patience. love, gentleness. kindness and all the rest that we need to bring You with us in all that we do... our families, work, play and all that makes up our days!  Amen and Halleluia!  Jesus we trust in You!  Bless-bless, Barb

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Up with the sun and a lot of joy found in all the different early morning activities... Such a glorious day!

After listening to cows mooing all night for their calves and the bright sun shining in our eyes shortly before 6a... my husband and I found ourselves out to get things sorted out... a night without their calves and calves without their mothers made it quick work to get them reunited once again!  Then Pat had to get the electric fence working, so I stood at the top of the large pasture that goes around the back of our farm and watched the cows and calves walk back and forth... the grass was lush and it was very special to see the cute pairs as the cows led the calves for a while until they got frisky and ran ahead of them... Sometimes the cows would kick up their heals and run too and some would be more calm or lazy and just continue to saunter along...  the early morning sun was such a paintbrush painting all the landscape with the special lighting that I love at those times of the day... Getting to the house early... we decided to go to mass and to take along Pat's 90 year old mother and John!  It was a very special morning in every way!

I was very excited to be able to go and celebrate the feast day of ST Philip Neri with mass.  I thought often of my wonderful brother, Phil, and wished him a special feast day in my heart.  The Magnificat (see http://www.magnificat.com/ ) speaks very much of the joyful way that St Philip approached life!  How that was infectious in his sharing the Word with young people that he worked with!  Isn't that so true that honey attracts flies more than vinegar!  In other words someone that is happy and joyful would cause people to wonder why and want to find what he has found!  Listen to this..."To have a sense of humor is to be wise enough to see things in proportion.  St Philip Neri was noted for his ability to be cheerful and to laugh from the depths of his burning love for the crucified Christ and to win other hearts for Christ by the quality of his joy." - "A cheerful glance brings joy to the heart." (Prv 15:30)

Lately I have struggled with being pleasant and happy around my family... This is such a lesson to me and when I think about what a difference it makes for me to have others in an upbeat and cheerful mood... I am praying today that I can remember that at least and not be so quick to be critical and angry... to forgive and forget and not only that but tap into the joy that I do have in my heart when it comes to so many of the wonderful gifts and blessings that have been a big part of this cross for the last year of cancer/healing!  Laughter is the best medicine!  Isn't it true any time you are with others and you are laughing hard and long?  It feels great and is wonderful to share and you feel that all is good!  Lord, I ask for your help to be more pleasant and shine on those around me rather than thunder and rain on them!  I want a change of heart... I see that the joyful approach is the healing way to deal with those things that are irritating and annoying!

Some words of wisdom from ST Philip - "He who runs away from one cross, will meet a bigger one on his road."  This really strikes a note with me when I see all these broken marriages and relationships... They get hard - which all of them do at times - and they walk away from them... hurting each other and the children involved and make the cross that they were given into a much huger cross!  So much damage and agonizing pain then are the result and so it goes on and on and around and around!  Sad and hard stuff! 

"Be devout to the Madonna, keep yourself from sin, and God will deliver you from all evils..."  The part about being devout to Mary...that part I have no problem with and then hopefully she can help me with the rest as she intercedes for me and models for me how to live a good, humble, and saintly life!

This quote I have heard before and now I know who said it... St Philip Neri..."The best way to prepare for death is to spend every day of life as though it were the last."  From my perspective of seeing that my sad and sour attitude does nothing but make those around me unhappy and sad... it makes sense that having a heart inflamed by God with joyful and self sacrificing love would make the whole world around me better and more pleasant and then I would respond better to that too!  It seems like I have a bit of a viscious circle going here... Lord help me to get off the merrigoround... it isn't very merry and my world has an unhappy tinge to it as a result.  St Philip...you look like a good one to help me with this...help me to embrace the joy that you brought into your life and community!  Jesus I trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!  bless-bless, Barb

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tuesday of the 5th week of Ordinary time - "I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved,and will come in and go out and find pasture." (Jn10:9)

Just shared morning prayer with husband and son... (see http://www.magnificat.com/ )... so many things jumped out at us as we prayed together to start our day filled with all that it holds.  This amazing explanation of Christ being the "gate" was the first "wow factor" of the day along with a humorour picture that John painted for us to get a chuckle at...  "The gate to the Lord's sheepfold is narrow and cut in the shape of a cross.  Yet Christ leads the flock safely through to the place of pasture that he has prepared for us."  John started laughing and shared that he envisioned Jesus bouncing on a cross like pogo stick through the gate leading the sheep...  Quite unexepected and a little crazy too... but whatever crosses your mind sometimes can't be helped right?  Maybe it would help us pick up our crosses and follow Him through the gate if we could have a little fun with the situation.  I was reading ahead last night and was reading about the saint for tomorrow -St Philip Neri - and it speaks of him being such a happy and joyful person and what a ministry that was!  It sure would be wonderful to have that kind of joy in the face of all the "hard things" we face.... Hear our prayers!

Two "grand Hallel" psalms used today - Ps 100 in morning prayer and Ps 98 in the readings for today!  These are psalms of praise and rejoicing which is what our Susan's name with the Community of the Lamb means... it was very touching when she told us that every time you say her name... you are giving God the highest praise!  Her foundress helped her choose the name as Susan got a week away from changing her name and had no idea.... When Little Sister Marie spoke "Hallel"... Sue knew instantly that this was the name for her!  "Now you need to live that joyful praise in your life!"  Little Sister Marie told her.  And for the most part... it is true of her... I wish that I could capture for you the way her face is totally alight with joy and love when the Gospel is carried down the aisle at mass!  She has shared that what drew her into the order was Christ - The Word!  For He is truly taken within them every day at mass and beyond in the hours of prayer and adoration and study that they do... so that they truly are Christ knocking on the doors of the poor!  So powerful for her and if you had the chance to read her letter to Nancy about marriage... I think that you can see where all that takes them... into the depth of Truth and Light!

Today's Gospel is amazing after immersing myself once again into the community of the Lamb... seeing two of them a few days ago...It is from Mark 10:28-31 and is where Peter tells our Lord that they have given up everything to follow him.... "Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, there is no one who has given up house or brothers or mother or father or children or lands for the sake of the Gospel who will not receive a hunderd times more now in this present age; houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persections, and eternal life in the age to come."  Another Wow! 

Speaking with LS Alma and LS Sarah a few days ago... they were sharing that they had a black man come up to them on the street in their neighborhood and he told them that thanks to them being there... he is now able to go out and walk without fear of being attacked by the hispanic gangs.  They have also asked those who know...the police and fire department about noticing a difference, as they would be the ones to truly notice... and they said that they have noticed a slight improvement in the crimes committed there.  While I was there I watched two of the Little Sisters drop everything and walk over to talk with two teenage boys that are known gang members that were walking across the lot by their home... they spoke with them in Spanish and then brought them inside to show them the model of the "little Monastery" that they plan to build right where they were standing.  Some young girls were so surprised to see them there talking with the Little Sisters...."What are they doing here?"  They truly embrace with love and acceptance all those that they encounter, and break down the barriers and hopefully give them a glimmer of "goodness".  One young girl exclaims that it is so clean in the home that they live in now, and also when we were there with Ruth they asked where her husband was... they were surprised when she told them that he was home with the kids.  To some of them it is foreign to have a two parent household... One little girl had many siblings all with a different dad, but she knows that she can come and be loved and accepted with the Little Sisters and come and sit in their beautiful glorious chapel and find a moment of peace in her twisted up world!

From a family's perspective, that truly does "feel" what Susan has given up...I also see the truth of these words in her life and what she shares with us.  Hallel has always been a big lover of children and when I would ask her if she wanted to look into this order or that after she shared with me at about 10 that she thought that she wanted to be a nun... "Mom, I am either going to be a nun or get married and have 10 kids!" was her answer to me for quite a few years... that is leaving your options open... And from what she shares... there are many kids in her life... she gravitates to the little ones when she goes begging and when John and I were visiting the monastery the young kids that came to the door wanted to meet Hallel's family... showing how much they think of her...

When you think about her giving up her home here and that she will be blessed with many... that is so true!  She can live in Argentina, Rome, two places in France, Poland, Austria and thank goodness since about two years in the "heart" of the US in KC!  Imagine if we had homes in all of those places... I don't think that most unbelievably wealthy movie stars have homes in all those far flung places!  Yes, they are humble and simple and usually located among the poor, but what amazing experiences lie ahead for those that answer His call to "leave all behind". 

I saw while visiting with the two from her community the other day that they make family wherever they go...  They embrace and love just as we do those in our families! But they spread their arms to embrace those that they encounter... Yes, for me today I can see today's Gospel coming to life when I look at the lives of the Community of the Lamb!  I am so blessed and I am at peace to know that my youngest daughter has answered her call in such a powerful and joy filled way!  Many saints in heaven are rejoicing with us on this their feast day!  St Bede the Venerable, St Gregory VII and St Mary Magdelene de 'Pazzi pray for us! 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph and all you saints... we turn to you this day, and ask you to show us your face and your path as we walk through the gate shaped in the form of the cross to enter the pasture of joy!  May we frolic as the sheep that know that they are safe and loved... Jesus we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!  Bless-bless, Barb

John was out helping in the field and the garden... it was different to have husband and son help plant my tomatos in the big wind last night... they were truly planted with love and care!  Please pray for little Dave, who is on his way to the Cities to check out a problem he has with swallowing and as a result has some damage to his lungs...