- The amazing story of the 13 becoming Catholic!
- Our marriage stories - "The world needs LIGHTS!"
- John's cancer stories
- Now the stories of John's 4 sisters...Ruth, Nancy, Maria, and Susan/Little Sister Hallel!
- Susan Angela Agnes/Little Sister Hallel - the story of a Call
- The story of little Lamb - grandson Patrick
Thursday, June 30, 2011
Back at it... such a busy time of year on the farm with all the grass and hay that needs to be cut and baled and all the weeds that need to be sprayed. I already had to help pick up bales yesterday and that is a lot of times my job, but with my camera along to catch my most favorite subject and the warm breezes blowing through the pickup cab, and the flies biting my ankles, and the pollen giving me allergies... well, it's a mixed bag, but that rosary time while I am out there makes it all very wonderful and beautiful!
We are adjusting to being back home, and trying to carry forth all that we gained from our weekend retreat and how the Lord touched us and used us as His vessels and servants, and how we were human and made mistakes and were humbled... I was in a constant state of prayer - asking the Lord to humble me, and I was not dissappointed! If we did not make human and selfish mistakes, when would we experience the Lord's amazing forgiveness?
Today we read Matthew's version of the paralytic, and how the Lord forgives his sins, and that translastes into his healing him to show that He has the power to forgive sins! "Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,' or to say, 'Rise and walk?" But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins" - He then said to the paralytic, "Rise pick up your stretcher, and go home." Wow! how many times have we walked into confession paralyzed by a problem in our lives, and leave the confessional jumping and leaping and praising God?!? Well maybe doing that in our hearts!
What would we do if the person ahead of us in the confessional came out in joyful tears and exclamation of JOY? Hug them, and cry with them, and praise God with them? "When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had been given such authority to men." Matt 9:8 The three people that had brought the paralytic to Jesus - his friends - must have run after him and praised God to the highest heaven with him, and fallen at the feet of Jesus and thanked him for healing their friend! Let us also bring our friends and family to Jesus for healing and forgiveness, if it is impossible to bring them to Church or to the sacraments - most especially the sacrament of Reconcilliation - let us pray without ceasing for them to come to Him and that doors may be opened for that to happen!
Sweet Jesus, how I yearn to come to you and to be healed and forgiven... yet, why do I shun the confessional and the time there to lay my burdens at your feet? It is so hard to bare my soul to you, yet it is so foolish of me to try to hide from you what you already know about me. That I am human and selfish and I lie and I indulge myself and I am weak and sinful... I want to be free of these things so that I can be a better follower of you! Humble me Lord! Allow your LOVE and JOY to flow through and around me, and most of all allow me to minister to my family and to find the patience and understanding I need to put them first and to serve them. Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
"No one can be forgiven without a beginning of love. Through the visible priest, the invisible Christ forgives our sins and opens again his heart to us. That is why those faithful who are eager to make some progress in the spiritual life not only confess but agree that a priest direct them in the difficult path...Confession, penance, contrition constitute the sacred patrimony shared by all priests and all the faithful. We receive three inestimable treasures: the certainty of being forgiven through the words of Jesus to the paralytic, repeated expressly for us, 'Your sins are forgiven'; a kiss of peace received in the very depths of our miserable hearts; a blank page upon which the most infamous man, having become once more like a little child, can begin writing his life anew... for it is never too late to become a saint." Francois Mauriac (1970)
Holy Martyrs of the Holy Roman Church pray for us!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
A year ago we were joyfully sharing the life of the Community of the Lamb in Kansas City on this day - June 29th - the feast of ST Peter and ST Paul! My son in law, Paul, and his son, Simon, made a special icon of their amazing namesakes! We had a wonderful picnic outside in the beautiful weather we were blessed with while visiting. The reason for our visit was to say goodbye to Susan/Hallel as she was to leave for France on the 4th of July.
It happened that 4 carloads of Verlys went at 4 different times in about a week to experience the life that Susan has chosen or should I say that the Lord has called her to! Here we are singing the blessing song over our food - we all have this to share and it takes us back to the most amazing new family that we now have as a result of Hallel's call to be a bride of Christ and become a member of the Community of the Lamb!
Hallel loves her neices and nephews, and it gave her great joy to spend time with them... we just bought our tickets to go to France and be there as she takes her first vows with the Community of July 24th! Pat, I and John will be going and we just got a phone call from her to give her the times and dates of our comings and goings. We will be staying with the Community and I am so excited for Pat to be able to share in their life of poverty and deep prayer and carrying forth the Gospel into the world!
How Susan has embraced her little Simon - their birthdays are just two days apart and he is the oldest of all the grandkids, so Hallel has a special bond with him. But all of the grandkids are so blessed to have a connection with this amazing group and are totally relaxed and accepting of their life of simple work and prayer. It is very normal and natural for them to be there and to share with their little sisters and brothers- getting a glimpse of a life like no other!
Can you put yourself in Simon's place under Hallel's scapular and feel the sense of security and love that he is experiencing there? We are all blessed to share this with our wonderful daughter, little sister Hallel!
Little Mary has fun without TV or movies - watching Hallel's joy and helping with chores in making and cleaning up after a meal. A lesson in community life and sharing joyfully in all that needs to be done to care one for the other!
The apron was too big, but he could stand by his sister and aunt Hallel and be part of the sharing of the LIFE, and the smile shows his enjoyment of this FAMILY of faith and love and poverty and chastity and obedience and of prayer... things that he is not aware of - yet is all around him!
We gather in the beautiful chapel and hear the WORD proclaimed for each day and the psalms raised in such glorious song as that of the angels come down to earth! The words today from the readings about ST Peter - Acts 12:1-11 being brought out of prison by angels, and ST Paul's out of this world words to us in his second letter to Timothy 4 - "I, Paul, am being poured out like a libation... I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.... The Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it.... The Lord will resue me from every evil threat and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen."
We celebrated the feast day with ice cream all around on a beautiful evening after a day of family time of prayer and service one to the other... Our family is filled with so many - our Community of the Lamb, Our TEC family, each one that God gives to us in all that we do is the face of Christ to us!
Jesus, we love you and thank you for the many blessings and graces that shower upon us as we walk the road of faith and the path that you have laid out for us to follow - carrying our cross after you. There are so many special people that are there to be with us on the journey and to show us the beauty of a life with you. Help us to always look to you and to find the strength to shoulder all that we are given and to know that you are always in control! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
"In their apostolic mission, Saints Peter and Paul were obliged to face difficulties of every kind. But, far from deterring their missionary activity, these difficulties reinforced their zeal for the Church's welfare and for the salvation of mankind. They were able to overcome every trial because their trust was not based on human resources but on the grace of the Lord, who delivers his friends from every evil and saves them for his kingdom. May our holy patrons, Peter and Paul, sustain us and obtain for us that missionary zeal which made them witnesses of Christ to the ends of the then-known world." Blessed John Paul II Lord, hear our prayer!
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Remembering that it was Tuesday and Adoration would be going on... I got excited and then it just seemed to fall into place with the door openning for me to be there with my wonderful Jesus! Him in the monstrance, and in the tabernacle, and with the light to indicate His presence is all so vivid and real and powerful! It felt so personal and close and peaceful to be there with my lover, and creator, and forgiver, and savior, and life giver, and life saver, and life preserver, and the calmer of the storms of life, and the feeder of the spirit with His body and blood, the living Word of God, the living Bread from heaven, the river of grace, the giver of LIFE, the JOY, PEACE, HAPPINESS, GENTLENESS, KINDNESS, LOVE, HUMBLE TRUTH OF THIS WORLD. Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
The Litany of Jesus Christ, Priest and Victim
For private use only.
Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
Christ hear us. R. Christ, hear us.
Christ graciously hear us. R. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, R. Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, R. Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit R. Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, Priest and Victim, R. Have mercy on us.
Jesus, Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek, etc.
Jesus, Priest Whom God sent to evangelize the poor,
Jesus, Priest Who at the Last Supper instituted the everlasting Sacrifice,
Jesus, Priest always living to intercede for us,
Jesus, High Priest anointed by the Father with the Holy Spirit and with power,
Jesus, High Priest taken from among men,
Jesus, High Priest appointed on behalf of men,
Jesus, High Priest of our confession of faith,
Jesus, High Priest of a greater glory than Moses,
Jesus, High Priest of the true Tabernacle,
Jesus, High Priest of the good things to come,
Jesus, High Priest, holy, innocent and undefiled,
Jesus, High Priest, faithful and merciful,
Jesus, High Priest of God and on fire with zeal for souls,
Jesus, High Priest, perfect forever,
Jesus, High Priest, Who passed through the Heavens with Thy own Blood,
Jesus, High Priest, Who gave eternal life for us,
Jesus, High Priest, Who loved us and washed us from our sins in Thy Blood,
Jesus, High Priest, Thou hast offered Thyself as an oblation and victim to God,
Jesus, Victim of God and of men,
Jesus, Victim, holy and immaculate,
Jesus, appeasing Victim,
Jesus, peace-making Victim,
Jesus, Victim of propitiation and of praise, .
Jesus, Victim of reconciliation and of peace,
Jesus, Victim in Whom we have confidence and access to God, .
Jesus, Victim living forever and ever,
Be merciful! R. Spare us, O Jesus.
Be merciful! R. Graciously hear us, O Jesus.
By Thine eternal priesthood, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy holy anointing,Thou wert constituted Priest by God the Father, R. deliver us, O Jesus.
By Thy priestly spirit, etc.
By Thy ministry, Thou hast glorified Thy Father upon earth,
By Thy bloody immolation of Thineself made once upon the Cross,
By Thy same Sacrifice renewed daily upon the altar,
By Thy Divine power, which Thou dost invisibly exercises in Thy priests,
Graciously preserve the entire priestly order in holiness of life, R. We beseech you, hear us.
Graciously provide for Thy people pastors after Thine own heart, etc.
Graciously fill them with the spirit of Thy priesthood,
Graciously grant that the lips of priests may hold knowledge,
Graciously send faithful laborers into Thy harvest,
Graciously multiply faithful stewards of Thy mysteries,
Graciously grant them persevering service in accordance with Thy will,
Graciously grant them meekness in the ministry, skill in action and constancy, in prayer,
Graciously promote through them everywhere the worship of the Blessed Sacrament
Graciously receive into Thy joy those who have served Thee well,
Lamb of God, Thou takest away the sins of the world,
R. Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Thou takest away the sins of the world,
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Thou takest away the sins of the world,
R. Have mercy on us, O Lord.
Jesus our Priest, R. Hear us.
Jesus our Priest, R. Graciously hear us.
Let us pray.
O God, sanctifier and guardian of Thy Church, raise up in her by Thy Spirit worthy
and faithful stewards of the sacred mysteries, that by their ministry and example,
the Christian people may be directed along the way of salvation under Thy protection.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXp6xcY5IqU I just wanted to share this most wonderful video by Casting Crowns to make you cry with wonder and joy at how our lives depend on HIM, and are because of HIM! May your day be better with the knowledge and LOVE of HIM! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
Friday, June 24, 2011
Pat and I are off to work the TEC retreat in Bird Island for the weekend - directing for the first time! WE had planned to direct two years ago, but John's brain cancer intervened. Now we are overjoyed to have John working with us, and sharing his cancer journey in the Christian Life talk! I will be a river of tears and my hands will be raised in praise and joy within my heart, as my rosary passes through my fingers.
My time to write needs to be short and to the point today as I have much to do so that we can leave and not look back for 3 days... Thankfully the mowing got done last evening and now packing and working on my talk. I am giving the God the Community of Love talk and get to share the relationship I have with each member of the Trinity and how they have surrounded me with LOVE! Most recently I am filled with wonder at the healing of my precious son... I have the radio on loudly in the background to hear John talk on our local station about being co-chair of the Feat at the Fairgrounds - local relay for Life tonight at 7p...The Holy Spirit dwelt with us and brought us all the fruits of the Spirit as we found peace and strength to face all that came our way - supported by the "prayer warriors" in the thousands that lifted us into the presence of Christ as the paralytic was lowered through the roof to be healed by Christ - "Pick up your mat and walk!" And he did! Now two years later we never take life for granted again!
How we pray for the strength to put the other first, and if we are able to do that there will be peace and harmony. That is so hard to do when you are short on sleep and with all the stresses that come with the weekend. We have prayed the 3rd luminous mystery for TEC... the proclamation of the Kingdom - the Sermon on the Mount - that we may all encounter Jesus in HIS WORD and Sacraments!
This was taken at a TEC retreat a few years back, and I hope and pray that it will be the picture of our love after working the next 3 days together! Jesus and your wonderful Mother of the Universe, Mary most Holy... we fall on our knees before you and place our unworthy body, minds and spirits into your hands - come Holy Spirit and use us to your honor and glory! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
Bless-bless, Barb the humble and fervent
Prayer of Saint Francis of AssisiLord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury,pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.
Thursday, June 23, 2011
We did a photo shoot of little Gus in the baptismal outfit that his grandfather and father had worn... he also wore the bracelet that my sister Cheryl had made for him for his baptism... His grandma in Pennsylvania wanted to see specifically the hat on him, and after many attempts... we finally got it on him properly and then with some milk from momma and the natural light on the chaise lounge in their living room... it was a beautiful sight to behold! He looked to be the epitome of peaceful and was just that. How I need to find that place with work today at the nursing home and then the franticness of getting out of here to work a 3 day retreat!
Not only work the retreat, but direct it with my husband! It will be our first time doing this... we were to direct the summer that John got his cancer, and realized that we would not be able to do it at that time. Now we are back at it with all the other issues in our lives continuing to pull at us. The weather is being very much a challange for Pat with so much rain and cool weather... he had hoped to have the hay cut and ready to bale when we get back, but that is now impossible.
Peace awakes with the dawn of Life and all that is part of the ups and downs. The new family is doing well, but realizing that a little one is so much on a constant basis. So much to keep him fed and clean and safe and try to understand what he is trying to tell them with his cries for closeness and feeding... Nancy is doing so well with the feeding part, and prays that the "anxieties" may be managed as she discovers her "way" to calm and confident motherhood.
Is there such a thing as calm and confident motherhood? YES!
Jesus, life comes with so many things that get inside our heads and give us stress and anxiety... may we learn to leave it at your feet and realize that you are in control. "Let the Lord , your God, show us what way we should take and what we should do." Jer 42:3 Let us put our hands and heart, our soul,the deep recesses of our being wherein dwell those beliefs and thoughts that govern our actions, so that he may guide us in the ways of the Gospel." see http://www.magnificat.com/ Jesus, Mary, Joseph - show us the way to model your holy family and to find the LIFE and TRUTH that comes into the world through you! Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Halleluia!
"To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
I trust you, let me not be disappointed;
do not let my enemies triumph.
Those who hope in you shall not be disappointed
Lord, make me know your ways.
Lord, teach me your paths.
Make me walk in your truth, and teach me:
for your are God my savior.
In you I hope all day long
because of your goodness, O Lord.
Remember your mercy, Lord,
and the love you have shown from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth.
In your love remember me,"
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Sharing a meal at a Mexican restaurant just a block from the church between mass and the Baptism of little 3 week old, Gus... the farm follows us everywhere we go, and the bull looking over our shoulder makes us feel right at home in the middle of the city.
Little Gus doesn't know that gift of smiling and laughter yet, and his parents know that in a few monthes they will be delighted by his smiles...
Gus, could that be one of your first smiles for a story with cousins and your Godfather, Paul? Toooooooooooo Cute!
The suffering that those endured in the Concentration camps can really in only small ways compare to John's mental and sometimes physical suffering and of course add to the the spiritual suffering.... Yet John was always treated with tremendous love and respect and the outpouring was tremendous, whereas those facing living death in the death camps were totally demoralized and worked and starved to death! The suffering was just to the point of beyond human endurance, yet Viktor made a comment at the beginning of the sharing of his years in the death camps that "textbooks tell lies"... in other words all the studies that say that man cannot survive without sleep, unable to brush their teeth - they had healthier gums than ever before! All the comforts they thought they needed to sleep or to keep clean - they didn't and the dirt in wounds did not become infected even though they could hardly ever clean themselves. On and on... We are much stronger and can stand up to hardships much more than we ever thought possible. To see John in his calm strength face all that would terrify me... I knew it was the power of prayer giving him the peace that he needed!Jesus, how powerful is the human person given such terrible suffering, but with you there to assist him he can make it into something life changing! Jesus, we trust in you! Amen and Halleluia!
"This young woman knew that she would die in he next few days. But when I talked to her she was cheerful in spite of this knowledge. 'I am grateful that fate has hit me so hard,' she told me. 'In my former life I was spoiled and did not take spiritual accomplishment seriously.' Pointing through the window of the hut, she said, 'This tree is the only friend I have in my loneliness.' Through the window she could see just one branch of a chestnut tree, and on the branch were two blossoms. 'I often talk to this tree,' she said to me. I was startled and didn't quite know how to take her words. Was she delirious? Did she have occasional hallucinations? Anxiously I asked her if the tree replied. 'Yes.' What did it say to her? She answered, 'It said to me, "I am here - I am here - I am life, eternal life.' " Viktor Frankl
Tuesday, June 21, 2011
In the midst of John's first month of his cancer journey...time with his sister, Nancy, who had just finished her first year of teaching at the American Indian Alternative School in Minneapolis. She had taught John English and coached him in speech while she taught in Marshall High School for 3 years after she graduated college. John was struck with cancer in the summer after his second year of college in Ag communication at the U of M. He missed his entire next year in the battle of his life, and now has returned to finish now his junior year...doing very well.
This is the platform walker that allowed him to walk alone after the brain biopsy he had to diagnose his cancer had passed a biopsy needle through the back of his brain - his cerebellum - leaving him with left sided ataxia or imbalance of his left side... as we stood around his bed as he started to awaken from the anesthesia and the the steroids started to lessen the pressure in his brain... the Dr asked John to take his finger and touch his nose and then the doctor's finger. His hand waved all over the place and we stood in shock! Then when he tried to slide his foot down the front of his other leg and we saw how hard that was... we were totally knocked over with fear that our beautiful healthy son had been left damaged!
Before we got home on our 31st anniversary with our handicapped son, and figured out the walker to allow him to get around somewhat on his own. His dad had been his support in getting around his hospital room. It was very touching and fulfilled that need that a parent has to take away the pain or to be there to carry them when they are down or unable!
His dad behind to hold him up and his sister here from France to be at his side and keep him from falling over to the left as he tried to eat his meal.... a true picture of "he ain't heavy, he's my brother." The closeness is cherished and necessary... to give him the ability to feel that he is coming back to as much normal as we can give him!
These two are so close and have always adored each other. Susan being 3 years older than John and having lost 2 mischarriages between them.... she always watched out for her little brother John, and is famously known as saving his life when he was about 2 years old. John was walking up behind the tractor as Pat was backing out of the shed, and Susan brought our attention to it by asking; "Where is Johnny?" We looked around and snatched him up. She was always watching out for her precious little Johnny! I have found that the kids cherish and appreciate one another so much after we shared the pain and disappointment of the losses of their 6 siblings! It was so important for her community to allow her to be here and cheer him up with her goofiness and to just sit there shoulder to shoulder with her big little brother!
Walking with his two sisters under his arms to help him walk - from the back he looks like he is on the cross, and that he was! Then there was going to France and Lourdes and the healing that we all know happened as a result of all the prayer! For Hallel/Susan and John to share this huge step for her... taking her habit and changing her name... in the midst of the shock and horror of brain cancer! Mind blowing and a true miracle - now my husband and I are getting tickets to go to France in mid July to be there as she takes her first vows. Our cup overflows, and there is even talk of John going with us! Time will tell. Jesus, we trust in you!
Hallel helping her brother down the path in Saint-Pierre in France... This cherished picture is the epitome of the closeness. love and support of our two youngest children as they SHARE THE JOURNEY OF FAITH AND HOPE AND TRUST... the words "Take up your cross and follow after me." comes to me with vividness and power! Bless-bless, Barb the fervent and humble