Sunday, July 31, 2011

Vows in two places...

At the same time that we were in France with Hallel as she took her vows... Maria was in Nashville for her friend, Sr Elizabeth, to take her final vows with the Nashville Dominicans.  Maria had studied a year in Rome with all 4 of these people pictured above... Maria came home and joined the Poor Clares in Sauk Rapids for 5 months, and the other 3 all entered religious life and stayed there.  When Maria came home - Sr Elizabeth then Lisa came and they made stations of the cross for our grove that are still there.  

Hallel kneeling before the foundress of the Community - Little Sister Marie -"I promise!"  she says to the Rule of the Community for poverty, chastity and obedience.  It is wonderful to know that all over the world there are young people listening and answering the call deep within them to love and follow Christ with their entire lives!  And what an amazing, and exciting, and fulfilling, and "out of the world" choice it is!  
And to truly keep your eyes, heart, and mind on Christ you need to leave the world behind!  Hallel has told us numerous times that the Lord showed her that she needed to be poor and "to leave it all behind."  John asked her if that meant her family, and she nodded "yes".  Jesus, we trust in you!
Bless-bless, Barb
Still there in my heart with all the grandkids in paradise!

Hanging On Praying Endlessly - HOPE

Hope seems to be hugely a theme in our lives these days.  It has been about 18 months with a clean brain for our son, John, after battling for a year against the most horrific of things - brain cancer!  We return for his 3 month check up in a month, and we begin to feel more hope and less worry as we get more and more positive results!
Yet, we also have known of young people not making it, and a young girl, who continues the battle and recently had dissappointing news.   Yet, she continues to HOPE, and go forward, and fight to regain!  Such a lesson on how HOPE is always there no matter what! 
The first reading in mass today is the one my dad was reading on a silent guided Ignation retreat at the Cenacle convent in Wayzata in 1971, and was told to join the Catholic Church along with his family - my mom and 11 kids!  He was a Protestant Minister at the time, so this was HUGE!  Isaiah 55:1-2                                                  "All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and eat; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk!

2 Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. " 
He wants to feed us and care for us, and we can rely on that, and never stop having HOPE!

So with prayers continually in our hearts and on our lips... let us walk forth into the day, and the world around us... carrying our light and serving those next to us.... Christ with us.  He serves and feeds us, and gives us "living waters" to revive us and give us life, so that we may in turn serve those we are given in our lives to love. 

Jesus, we love you and thank you for all the ways that you feed us - today in the Gospel is the feeding of the 5,000... reminding us that we can, and will recieve you in the Eucharist today, and take you within ourselves - "God with us!"  How can we fail to have HOPE with God within us?  Jesus, use us to your honor and glory.... especially within our domestic Church - our Family.  Those closest to us, we hurt the most... help us to love and to serve!  Jesus, we trust and Hope in you!    Amen and Hosanna and Halleluia!
Bless-bless, Barb
"The hand of the Lord feeds us; he answers all our needs."  Ps 145: 16

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Saturday devoted to Our Heavenly Mother...

Mary, my heavenly Mother, fills each one of my days with peace and joy and love... to see my only son, in Lourdes, looking at her with such love, gratitude and devotion was about the best part of our trip to France over the last week!  The rosary fills my days with prayer for each of my children, my husband, my Godchildren, The Family, and many other intentions that have been placed upon my heart... John knows of my prayers daily for him on the 5th decade of each day, and he knows that our prayers have been answered in his healing!
He not only was thanking Our Lady for his own healing, but heavy on his heart was a girl, Lisa, who is struggling and asking for healing from brain cancer also.  He bought a candle to light for her at the grotto and also prayed for her throughout the day.  I pray for her daily with John on his decade of the rosary...

He wears a bracelet of hers, that friends made at the beginning of her battle...
Not only did John bath in the miraculous healing waters of the springs at Lourdes with his dad this time, but he had them pour water over his head as he did two years ago... he took the candle to be lit for Lisa and put some of the waters over it in prayerful hope for Lisa...

He carried it through the grotto... where Mary had appeared to St Bernadette, and placed it  with the candles to be lit.
Lord Jesus, with your loving Mother at your side interceding for the world... we lift Lisa up to you for healing.

May our prayers rise to you and may we find your peace and healing love.  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen

Bless-bless, Barb
Lourdes, France, 1858.

"I am the Immaculate Conception.

I do not promise to make you happy in this world but in the other."  Mary spoke these words to St Bernedette

The many sick coming - hoping and praying for a cure... there have been many miracles at Lourdes over the last 150+ years.  We watched many of the sick coming out of the baths crying from the shere emotion and spiritual depth of this experience!

John and Pat in line for the baths - John holds the candle that he had lit for Lisa... they both had water poured over their heads for the intention of healing of brain cancer!  Jesus, we trust in you!
More from our day of prayer and hope at Lourdes, France!
A humble poor shepherd girl... Our Lady came to us through her faith!
We touch the sacred ground, where many have found healing!


Friday, July 29, 2011

Reflecting on the glorious week in Michigan- Family time supreme!

Coming home with a day to get ready for France - I can finally work with the glorious pictures that remind me of the beautiful week I shared with my 3 oldest girls and all 6 grandkids!  Two of the husbands and their brother, John, joined us for the weekend, and a trip out to the lighthouse is always a family outing on the last night... Maria and her two precious kids came from Missouri, while her husband was on manuevers for the week with the army...
Ruth and Paul and their 3 - it was the day that David turned 3!

The new little family - Nancy, Bill and Augustine... sweet baby Gus.  He was showered with so much love this week!  We welcomed him into this world royally!

John with his big special Godson, David, on his birthday with the lighthouse behind them!

Cute loving couple - Ruth and Paul will celebrate 7 years of marriage in November.

Two kind of silly 3 year olds - David and Therese.

Fluffy puppy gets a LOT of attention.

Simon takes flight as the waves splash on the rocks!

A good one by the lighthouse! 

Grandma time is a gift!

Another setting for Grandma time... all the faces are visible in this one!

Forever together in memories and photos that I will cherish and look at again and again.  Thank you, Lord, for family and time in paradise together!  It fills us with joy and thankfulness!  Bless-bless

Hard and beautiful - THE CROSS!

The Feast of St Mary Magdalene is a big one in the community and we celebrated it with them with the vigil on Thurday night and the feast on Friday the 22nd.  This beautiful icon of Mary encountering her Risen Lord outside the tomb was in front of the altar.  After only 3 days... after she had stood at the foot of the cross, and watched her Lord die a horrible death.... what Joy to find him ALIVE with new life... yet how much had that cross changed, and made that beauty and joy more intense?
Every time I describe our "out of the world" week.... hard and beautiful... I am reminded of the Cross, and the "Most Cherished Cross" that Hallel wrote about to her sister, Nancy, on the event of her engagement last year in April...
"Nancy, Look I am writing you a letter... aren't you impressed? Well, you better be because both you and I know how often this happens. I am writing to tell you now extremely excited I am about your engagement to Bill. I have to admit, when I got the news I wasn't really shocked but that night as it sunk in during adoration and the next day during mass I was so happy. My heart overflowed with joy for you. How beautiful to know that you have found your... most cherished cross. While I have never had the experience of being married, from what I hear is that he will truly be your cross. But not your cross as human eyes look at it, as a thing to run away from, as a thing of torture but rather as that which is truly the tree of life. It is only when clinging to the cross that one can truly live, it is the source of all life and of all love. Your marriage to Bill will be this, not something to run away from when it gets hard and when it hurts, but something to hold tight to, especially when it hurts because it is in this that you will find life and love. Know that it is through your marriage that Jesus wants to show you his great love for you and also that the best example that you can give to the world of Christ's love is a marriage lived in truth. So, in other words, know that I am so happy for you and that I love you a whole lot. Know that you are in my prayers during this crazy time of wedding planning; that you may not go crazy but rather learn to love each other better and that you may both have great joy and great peace. Remember to pray for me too! God Bless, Your little Sister Hallel"
Little Sister Hosanna with our daughter, little Sister Hallel!  They represent the praise that they feel for Christ, their spouse, in all that surrounds them!  Hosanna!  Halleluia!  Little Sister Hosanna is directing the voices of the Community in the most beautiful of Praise and Worship!  We feel like we are with the angels in heaven as we join them for their worship and prayer! 

Another beloved daughter, little Sister Maria Angels.. she came with the first group to Kansas City and came to visit us on the farm a few years ago!  How we rejoice to have our expanded family, as the Community of Hallel becomes our family as well!  The motto they live by - "Wounded, I continue to love."  Lord, give us the strength!

Today is the feast day of St Martha - happy feast day to my sister, Marty - we are reminded that " Instead of chiding Mary, Jesus, albeit very gently, chides the busy, well-meaning Martha.  He defends Mary for doing the right thing, choosing the better part.  Luke is using this incident to stress the point that, in the presence of Jesus - the only proper thing to do is to allow him to feed us, to serve us..."  Sr Ruth Burrows, O.C.D. is a carmelite nun from England

Jesus speaks to us today in the Gospel - "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her."  Luke 10:38-42  How we need to sit at His feet and Trust in Him to get us over the hard places in life and all the stesses should fly up to HIM on the Cross - our Most Cherished Cross!

So much beauty fills us, O Lord, we need to Trust and allow you to feed us and serve us!  You ask us to pick up our Cross and follow after you, and we listen and stumble ahead... it is hard and painful, yet we discover that there is so much joy in giving up our desires and selfish ways and turning to YOU,  the Tremendous Lover!  May we not look for false happiness... the pleasures and lures of the world - and find real happiness in giving up of our selves and sitting at your feet as you teach, instruct, demonstate real LOVE, and feed us!  Jesus, we trust in you!  Amen, Hosanna and Halleluia!

Bless-bless, Barb
"What then have we to do?  We must realize that God is our tremendous lover, that he is our all and that he has done all our work for us.  We must believe that in God and not in ourselves; we must hope in God and not in ourselves.  As St Augustine told us, there is one man who reaches to the extremities of the universe and into the end of time.  We have to enter into this one man - this one Christ - by faith, hope, and charity.  We have to find our all in him.  He is our full compliment and our perfect suppliment.  No matter how weak we are, he is our strength; no matter how empty we are, he is our fullness; no matter how sinful we are, he is our holiness.  All we have to do is to accept God's plan - to say as Christ said coming into the world: "A body thou hast fitted to me; behold I come to do thy will, O God."  We have to accept the self, the surroundings, and the story, that God's providence arranges for us.  In humility we must accept our self - just as we are; in charity, we must accept and love our neighbor just as he is; in abandonment, we must accept God's will just as things happen to us, and just as he would have us act.  Faithful compliance with his will and humble acceptance of his arrangements will bring us to full union with Christ.  For the rest, let us gladly glory in our infirmities, that the power of Christ may dwell in us.  In our weakness, and in our love we shall thus become one with him, and there shall be one Christ loving himself." 
Dom M Eugene Boylan, O Cist. R. (1963) was a monk from Ireland and he wrote the book, This Tremendous Lover... a book my mother found in a bookstore and she "groaned over" as she read it... leading her more powerfully to His Church!  It speaks to me so powerfully of the "little helpless lamb" that is so lovingly referred to by the Community of the Lamb - when speaking of the poor and humble and lost and hard situations in life!  Help me, Lord, to look on with love!