Thursday, September 30, 2010

Nancy fills me in on some important happenings in our Church in the Archdiocese!

Adoration on Tuesday... I felt that I wanted to be close to my daughter, Little Sister Hallel, and a special way to do that is to sit by the 10th station of the cross - "the row in the back with the last kneeler, so no one will see me crying."... was the reason she gave me for her coming home from her year in the discernment house and sitting there day after day for her hour of meditation and mass. 
I thought that it was much deeper and more spiritually motivated...as the 10th station is the epitome of humility... to be stripped in public!  There is not much more humiliating than that!  But no... it was so that she could weep before the Lord without being noticed! 
So now I am blessed with this special little place in church, where I can look out with the eyes of Susan for those months she was here!  I can warmly remember her love for Jesus that radiated from her as we would share an early Holy Hour before mass - sometimes in the pitch black in the church... all that you could see were the candles glowing... And I would look back at her as the sun would start to fill the church with more and more light, and see her looking intently at her lover, Jesus, in the tabernacle! 
I feel a joy and sadness... all at the same time rush over me as I walk past the 10th station.  Thank you, Lord for the memories of her wonderful call that I could watch happen before a loving mother's eyes!  Our special place is a gift of closeness!
It always is a reminder that I need to strive for humility in my life, and the Lord always rewards me with painful reminders of my littleness! Thank you Lord!  I want to be small so that you can rule in my life!
Today on the feast of St Jerome... he was an amazing man who gave us the Bible's wisdom that we have today!  These are his amazing thoughts;

In the Psalter there are 15 gradual canticles, the first song of assent begins with the words:  "In my distress I call to the Lord, and he answers me"; the second with:  "I lift up my eyes toward the mountains; whence shall my help come to me?"; the third:  "I rejoiced because they said to me."  The saint is always moving forward, advancing steadily and ascending to heights ever more sublime; that is the meaning of  "their hearts are set upon the pilgrimage."
I just went out to help Pat load the graincart so that when Ed gets here with the semi - in short order, he can turn around loaded... there was a glitch, so now I am praying that he is safe around the belts and motors and the auger!  What did the Lord tell us the other day about worry?
Always things to fix... Davey is learning from the great master of fixing! 

Now to the pressing issue that happened in the Arch diocese led by our former Bishop - now Archbishop John Nienstedt....  My daughter Nancy called yesterday to tell me about a video that has been sent to every member of the archdiocese about the issue of marriage!  She reported that many are being returned and one employee had asked others to send her their copy and she would make it into some art form in defiance of the stand the Church was taking... the Archbishop fired her on the spot, and rightfully so!
Nancy said that there were many being returned and if I would like one..."Yes!"  I got it and watched it this morning!
Nienstedt: The bishops of the state have an obligation by ordination to be teachers. And we all know the state of marriage in our society today -- the fact that ... four to five out of every ten marriages ends in divorce, the rate of cohabitation has gone from half a million in 1965 to over 5 million couples today. One out of every three Americans over the age of fifteen has never been married. And there are 19 million children being raised by single parents.


So the state of marriage is not very healthy in our society, and marriage is inherently something that involves our faith. It's a commitment for life, a life-giving commitment that is open to the procreation and the raising of children.

And so the church is very concerned about the state of marriage. The church also knows that in this state, a year ago, two pieces of legislation were introduced to the legislature suggesting that the definition of marriage should be changed. And so given that climate, we intend to and have been teaching what we believe is the God-given reality of marriage. Marriage isn't something that we create as human beings. It's already a given from the work of creation by almighty God. ...

This was what the Archbishop said in an interview... and he speaks at the beginning of the video and then there are other interviews and you realize that this is not something to be taken lightly!  If the legislators go ahead and make same- sex marriage equal to the marriage of a man and woman... it could take out of our hands as parents what our kids are taught about the Truth and make us into bigots if we feel that God made us as man and woman and the two of them shall become one within the marriage act!  It takes out of the marriage the procreation and love of children if there are two men or two women - this is not possible! 
 
It is sad to think that there should be such a huge uprising among Catholics about this! 


And yes, they do address the issue of the homosexual and how this is not aimed at them... that we are called to love them and value them as a special creation of God!  It is just to protect the sacrament of marriage and the reprecussions that could result if this is made law... first of all to the family, but secondly to the Catholic Church in all the ways that it would stand against such a law! 
Think of Catholic Charities and how they would be forced in the way of adoption...Of course, the Catholic Church would feel that a child should be placed with a home with a mother and a father, but they would be called bigots and could have legal actions taken against them... if it were legalized for two men or two women to marry and that it is no different than a man and a woman! 
In the video they mention that in the 1970's no fault divorce was said to be the answer to divorce being less harmful to families - instead it has made divorce a huge epidemic and we all know personally couples that just gave up too easily and walked away because they could and the damage that it has done to them, but mostly to the kids that are hurt by that!
Here's the site that I found when I googled it - http://www.catholic.org/hf/family/story.php?id=38412
I like the family story part!  I guess that you can watch the video on the Knights of Columbus site... I do have it here too, if you would like to see it,or I guess that you can get your own copy by writing the archdiocese as there are many that are being returned! 

Office of the Archbishop
226 Summit Ave
St Paul, Mn  55102-2197
phone: 651-291-4511

Lord, there are so many ways that we are being forced to protect the very basics of life as you have intended it to be!  Give us the strength to stand for the Truth, and thank you for the wisdom of those that are the servants of all servants... those that are called to lead our Church!
Give our leaders the strength to never waver from the truth!  There is no gray area!  We are called to love, bu sometimes it amounts to tough love!  The truth will set you free!  The lies of the world are there to deceive us and to lead us towards death!  There is so much to help us... show us the Way, the Truth and the Life!  Protect us and be with us as we look to you and are aided by your amazing Church!  Jesus we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!

Bless-bless, Barb

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Mary has a little lamb.....

Note the lamb on the pail of apples... it had just pidked some and put them in the pail!  Mary has to have her along these days...  She calls her "Obaheta" from Semame Street that has Murry and his Ovejita - Spanish for lamb! 
Mary and her little lamb are both working very hard... They make a good team and I think that they would make the children laugh and play to see the lamb picking apples?

Life is full of surprises these days!

Little Davey kept grandma company, and of course he wanted to always know what bumpa was up to...  there were things going on from afar, but then while grandpa fixed the bouncy seat tractor...Davey could sit in the seat and watch!  They were loading the semi with the auger and that was a bit intimidating for him... so it was good to be looking on from a distance!
Davey sees grandpa and it is a big deal!

Last night while I was mowing at about 6p... Pat really surprised me with the grinning announcement that he was going to "combine beans!"  I was shocked that it could be possible when we had just gotten 6 inches of rain 5 days before!  They were out there for about an hour and 1/2 until they hit a "soft" spot... I have no doubt that with this wind today... they will be back out there trying sooner than later.  Now they are taking corn out of the bins from last year and taking it to the elevator.  Always something to do!

Today is the wonderful feast of the Archangels - Michael, Gabriel, and Rapheal! Talk about surprises... when they arrived and they intervened with messages from the Lord... now that was an amazing - life changing event!  

I just read from the morning mass the reading from Revelations 12:7-12 about the battle at the end of time when Michael and his angels battled against Satan and his angels... "The huge dragon, the ancient serpant, who is called the Devil and Satan, who deceived the whole world, was thrown down to earth, and its angels were thrown down with it."  

Now that is a heart lifting vision to me... there are so many times lately that I am so angry with Satan and his lies that so many believe! 
That is not the end of it... this is super wonderful!

Then I heard a voice in heaven say:
"Now have salvation and power come, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Annointed.  For the accuser of our brothers is cast out, who accuses them before our God day and night.  They conquered him by the Blood of the Lamb and by the word of his testamony; love for life did not deter them from death.  Therefore, rejoice, you heavens, and you who dwell in them."
So powerful and so wonderful to know that we are assisted in our battle against Satan with the help of St Micheal!  I need to remember to say it sincerely more often in the battle of life and for life!
On Sunday April 24th 1994, Pope John Paul II recommended this prayer be used by all Catholics as a prayer for the Church when he said:


'"May prayer strengthen us for the spiritual battle we are told about in the Letter to the Ephesians: 'Draw strength from the Lord and from His mighty power' (Ephesians 6:10). The Book of Revelation refers to this same battle, recalling before our eyes the image of St. Michael the Archangel (Revelation 12:7). Pope Leo XIII certainly had a very vivid recollection of this scene when, at the end of the last century, he introduced a special prayer to St. Michael throughout the Church. Although this prayer is no longer recited at the end of Mass, I ask everyone not to forget it and to recite it to obtain help in the battle against forces of darkness and against the spirit of this world."'

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host -
by the Divine Power of God -
cast into hell, satan and all the evil spirits,
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Amen

I remember reading the wonderful book of Scott Hahn conversion to the Catholic Church - Rome Sweet Home - and how he had as a Protestant seminarian struggled with The Book of Revelation written by the Apostle John!  That is until he snuck into the back of the church and watched with amazement a Catholic mass over and over!  It was then that he was struck with the reality of this battle being played out time and time again... every time that mass is celebrated and the bread and wine becomes Jesus in Body and Blood and the angels fall on their knees and worship... heaven comes down to earth!  Scott was trying to destroy all the lies he felt that the Catholic Church was living and instead he was drawn in  as one of it's strongest supporters!
I have Ruth coming over to help me on the job of apple pie filling today, and I hear my husband turning off the tractor, so this might get cut short... Of course, when I read about the Blood of the Lamb... I think of Hallel...
An Hallel psalm today is so appropriate as we join our voices with the Angels in praise of our God of all heaven and earth!

Psalm 138

I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with all my heart,
for you have heard the words of my mouth;
in the presence of the angels I will sing your praise;
I will worship at your holy temple
and give thanks to your name.
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

This is just too good! - continuing with Psalm 138

Because of your kindness and your truth;
for you have made great above all things
your name and your promise.
When I called, you answered me;
you built up strength within me.
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

All the kings of the earth shall give thanks to you, O Lord,
when they hear the words of your mouth;
And they shall sing of the ways of the Lord:
"Great is the glory of the Lord!"
In the sight of the angels I will sing your praises, Lord.

I love the difference of their two sets of hands! 

I must end this for today... life is closing in around me!  I will think of the angels often today and join with them in endless praise of our God and King! 

Jesus we love you and praise you to the highest heavens!  Thank you for the surprises in life and may we like Mary say;  "Be it done to me according to your word!"  And may we fight along side St Michael in the battle against Satan and all his lies and empty promises!  Jesus we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!


Bless-bless, Barb


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The door has opened for the sharing of pain and suffering.

It seems that after so publicly sharing the last 15 months of our 20 year old son's sudden discovery of having a rare form of brain cancer... that when we find ourselves around those that know us, they want to let us know of the pain in their lives and the worry... It is a good place for us to be able to diligently pray for them in turn that lifted us into the Lord's presence...
At one point after a friend shared that her daugther, who graduated with John, is mysteriously in a wheel chair due to horrible mysterious unsteadiness... I knew that we needed to pray together right then and there, so we did!  That girl in the grocery store is never far from me, and I am changed!
These two have required a lot of prayers and care over the last year also... John had to bring our dog,Lilly, back from the brink of death from a mysterious "farm dog disease."  And little Davey has a mysterious swallowing problem so that some of the fluid goes into his lungs...  HE is on thickened liquids and does better on that, but he gets really sick when he gets colds and has ended up in the hospital with pneumonia once a year for his young age!  Lots of care and prayers!
All of us have many needs that bring us before the Lord each day for help and support... It always is unfathomable to me to know that there are those that do not pray.  My son, John, shared with us that in his darkest times... he did not "think to pray."  Yet, he knew that there were so many that we lifting him up and he also sincerely said that he was healed by prayer!
I have learned through the experience of John's cancer journey that there are different places and types of prayer... there is the constant traveling of rosary beads through fingers ( mine) and there is just a peaceful calm place of security that is provided knowing that you are surrounded by prayers of many... a place where during chemo running into your vein - you can be peacefully watching the Twins game with your dad. 
My need to be in a constant state of prayer could be on the border of "worry."  Today in morning prayer we are told in many beautiful ways "do not worry."  I heard a homily one time in which the priest shared...  "Do not worry or be not afraid is used in the Bible 365 times - for every day of the year!"
"God did not create the world only to abandon it to its own devices.  He cares day by day for all that he has made, although we do not always recognize his hand at work."  See http://www.magnificat.com/
Do you see how lush our grass is?  Crazy for this time of year... today I will mow with the lookout for standing water or mud bogs! 

Reading morning prayer and the gospel and meditation of the day with my farmer husband and after the rain and rescuing cattle from their pastures etc... there is much that I think is special and would like to share as time allows...
From openning hymn:

As days and seasons weave their web
Of warmth and cold, of wet and dry,
The cattle forage for their feed,
And overhead the sparrows fly
Where God keeps count of every one
Whose span is measured by the sun.

The wheel of time entwines the strands
Of death and life we think to be
Our loss and gain, and makes of them
One single thread: eternity.
The lillies of the field know best:
Where God provides, let spindles rest.
Praise the Lord!  A grand Hallel psalm, and that is just what it means - Praise the Lord to the Highest Heavens!  Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul!
Lord God, how great you are!

You make the grass grow for the cattle
 and the plants to serve man's needs,
that he may bring forth bread from the earth
and wine to cheer man's heart;
oil, to make him glad
and bread to strengthen man's heart.
I will sing to the Lord all my life,
make music to my God while I live.\
May my thoughts be pleasing to him.
I find my joy in the Lord.
Bless the Lord, my soul.  Psalm 104
In pondering this idea of worry and the times of stress as a mother in the last year... I clung to my rosary and my internal prayers, and yes... I needed so badly to pray with my husband and son the morning and evening prayers!  Was that a form of worry?  It was what supported me and got me through and it was the way that I communicated with my strength... the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit!  I knew it was out of my hands, yet I needed to have someone carry me through the "valley of the shadow of death."
I see now that for me it was the way that I could let go and trust... while John was in a much more weakened and helpless state and he could let go and find peace in the midst of the terrifying reality of his life just knowing that I and so many others were praying for him.  That was a beautiful gift to him and it was a wonderful testament to me to see his strength and faith in the battle for his life!
Today is a different and not too familiar Gospel... it happens just before Jesus goes to Jerusalem and his supreme sacrifice for us!  Luke 9: 51-56

It is speaking of the journey.... How that speaks to me and is just what I have called this last 15 months - our journey called cancer/healing.  We have also called it the "battle" on many occassions and all those that have fought for us on the battlegrounds armed with the spiritual weapons!  Both of these are so true for us!
Someone, who has come to be special to me... Elizabeth Leseur (1914) is a French married laywoman whose cause for cannonization is underweigh... I love the way that she writes and the pearls of wisdom she has to share.  Today she writes about... How to Join Jesus on his Journey

"The future will be what we make it; let us reflect on this thought so that it may motivate us to act.  Especially, let us realize that all collective reform must first be individual reform.  Let us work at transforming ourselves and our lives.  Let us influence those around us, not by useless preaching, but by the irresistable power or our spirituality and the example of our lives."
I was just mystified by this woman that has touched me time and again in her writing and googled her... I will share her link - http://www.sophiainstitute.com/client/COL_ads/COL_bkst_diary.html
In a short time I have found the next book that I want to read after the enlightenment and soul searching that City of Joy has meant to me... This diary of Elizabeth's is what converted her unbelieving husband to embrace the Church and even become a priest after her death!  The true lesson of silently praying and offering up her suffering!  Wow!  Her words today are taking on an even deeper meaning! 

"Let us give ourselves generously and try to strengthen our faith and expand our understanding confident that all will come to us to be rekindled and to enlighten their hearts and minds."
"Let us love.  Let our lives be a perpetual song of love for God, first of all, and for all human beings who suffer, love, and mourn.  Let deep joy live in us.  Let us be like the lark, enemy of the night, who always announces the dawn and awakens in each creature the love of light and life.  Let us awaken others to the spiritual life."
"Why do we put off doing the good until tomorrow?  Why do we wait to be wealthy before giving?  Is not the gift of ourselves better than money, and is there any time we could not offer a tear or a smile to someone who is suffering?  Cannot a word from us strengthen someone in distress?  Cannot an act of pure love coming from the depths brighten a sad life?"  Elizabeth Leseur
 
Two year old grandson, David, is on his way... so I must end this wandering thing that this has become!

Jesus we love you and thank you for the journey that we share!  There are times that we feel alone and burdoned... allow us to know that we have a spiritual army with us and to "be not afraid!"  Jesus we trust in you!  Amen and Halleluia!
Bless-bless, Barb