Thursday, February 28, 2013

Unexpected tears and sadness today

I turned on EWTN and found myself engrossed with the final hours of my Pope Benedict XVI's reign as Pope.  Many times I would just surprise myself with loud weeping as he took each step to leave the Chair of Peter. 
Turning on the TV to this powerful scene and listening to his words of great wisdom - "The heart of the Church is Christ.  The Church is in the world, but not of the world.  Christ continues to walk with us through time, because of the Church.  The Daily Eucharist - our JOY, which no one can take from us!"  This final tweet today was in Latin and said - "Thank you for your love and support.  May you always experience the JOY that comes from putting Christ at the center of your lives."  He is so amazing and such a Jesus lover and sharer of the Truth!  Speaking to my mom this afternoon - she is so sad to see her hero humbly step down and allow a more vital man to take the Chair of St Peter.  "He is so spiritual and I will miss him and his grasp of the True Faith.  I just wish that all could come to know the great JOY of discovering the True Church!"  I agree with you, mom!  We are so very blessed by our journey! 

So with this borrowed picture showing all the people up on the dome watching Benedict leave the Papacy - I was a river of tears at this point.  Lord, thank you for the strong believer and sharer of the TRUTH... Pope Benedict XVI!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

"The Heart of the Church is Christ." Pope Benedict XVI

Therese and her little brother, David, gave all of us a handmade rosary this past summer in Michigan.  Here are her Lanoue cousins - even at that time 2 month old Rose Ida - with their new special rosaries!  Maria called this morning with a sweet story for me!  "Therese in the the midst of saying her first rosary all by herself!  She asks me what the next mystery is as she sits in my prayer space and prays her first rosary."  Maria shared that she has taken to setting her alarm to rise early ahead of the kids and get her prayertime in, but today she forgot to set her alarm.  Therese awoke and found mom's prayer space empty, and was drawn to model her mom's example and pray there in her stead.  "When she gets up she finds me there, and I have been better about praying a rosary with the kids lately."  Maria knows how much the rosary means to me in my prayerlife, and that I am so enjoying the colorful special rosary that she and David made for grandma!  The rosary has become my lifeline and prayerline - so hugely lifegiving and HOPE giving through my year of John's brain cancer, and most recently with the sudden traumatic death/rebirth of our grandson, Patrick Joseph!
Two more join the special rosary picture on a glorious day in July on Lake Michigan.  In the background I have on EWTN as this is the day that our beloved Papa Benny is leaving the Papacy!  I just watched him humbly give a few farewell words to the Cardinals...  "The heart of the Church is Christ.  The Church is in the world, but not of the world.  Christ continues to walk with us through time because of the Church.  The Eucharist is our daily JOY, and no one can take that from us."  What simple humble and beautiful speaking of the Truth!  The two that are speaking about the Holy Father said that he is such a humble man... one said something cute - "Humble is not a word used much about anyone these days.  Not a word that is used much."  So true! 

This summer there were 7 grandchildren and now there are 9!  Mary continues to wear her special beautiful rosary... we all received one!  May this special prayer/devotional of our Church give comfort and many hours spent in prayer for each one of our grandchildren!  It is so wonderful to get this special story of Therese this morning.  There is so much JOY for grandma to know that all of our grandchildren with the help of their parents are being taught the Truth of the True Church and the JOY that comes with embracing our Most Cherished Cross and finding LIFE, and LOVE, and LIGHT! 
Lord, this is such a momentous day in which we now are praying so hard for The Church as we elect a new Pope.  There is so much new LIFE and LIGHT coming into the world - in the world but not of the world!  We see the children in our midst that are embracing the beauty of The Truth!  They are open and Loving and show us the way we are called to humbly and simply give our all to YOU!  Jesus, we know that your Most Sacred Heart is beating in the Heart of Our Church!  You show us the Way to YOU by giving up our selfish desires and needs and being a servant to ALL!  The prayers of the little children are storming heaven for the good of all those in our domestic Church/family.  May we fall on our knees and ask that YOU lift us in your arms in our weak and sinful state.  May we use this season of the Church/Lent to rend our garments and sit in sackcloth and ashes as we are sinful and need to leave our selves behind.  Jesus, we Love YOU and your Bride, the Church - You continue to walk with us through time through YOUR CHURCH!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
Luke 1:46-47 Mary said “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my savior.”

Mary, being the handmaid of the Lord, was completely empty of self, and God filled her with grace. “Full of grace” means full of God. A handmaid is at someone’s disposal, to be used according to someone’s wish with full trust and joy, to belong to someone without reserve.

-Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

Mary is incredible! Sometimes I just pray for an ounce of the faith she had in our Lord."  Your Grace is enough by Matt Mayer  Matt Maher - Hold Us Together
I am so excited to find this Catholic artist - he now joins the ranks of Danielle Rose!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Winter long and cold and long

We are ready for a break from the cold and wind - Pat says that we are getting older so it is getting harder to take.  It could be true.  It sure is nice now to have Cow TV and to watch the cows that are close to calving in the barn with the rotating camera.  That new technology showed up just when we are starting to feel our age and need a break from facing the cold every two hours during the night.  There is even a microphone that picks up the sounds of labor pains.  Yes, a cow has those too, and she is delivering a 60-100 pound calf - not a 7-10 pound baby.  Ouch!  That would really hurt and you can hear the grunts and moos as they are laboring to have their calves. 
Snowball had a nice size calf - about 60 pounds.  Pat calls the bull he bred her to - a calving ease bull and this nice small calf is why.  Now the calf can grow like crazy outside the womb and it is much easier on the mother Cow!  Nice and healthy is the name of the calving game!  Jesus, be with calving and we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb

Tears in the confessional...

Jesus it was such a gift last night to have you there listening to my sins, and knowing your love and forgiveness for me.  The tears rolled from my eyes as I rent my soul as a garment in the 10th station of the cross - Jesus is stripped of his garments.  That is truly the humility station, O Lord.  And as I was praying in front of YOU in the monstrance in Adoration... I struggled with the agony of humbling myself and admitting my errors and sins to the priest that sat there in YOUR NAME and as YOU!!!  The act  of true humility, and so hard to do, yet so cleansing to me.  Guilt that I have carried within for so many years -  from my early nursing days of almost 40 years ago!  Once again today you are asking us in the Gospel..."whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave."  Matt 20
Lord, those tears washed with them my sins away... as the YOU spoke to me those words of forgiveness - "I absolve you of your sins, in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."  May I always remember that YOU are there to minister to me and surround my with YOUR LOVING and FORGIVING arms when I humble myself and fall on my knees in my heart, mind and soul.  I am stripped of my garments of false pride, and impure thoughts, and judgemental attitudes, and all those things that seperate me from YOU.  Jesus, I trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
The Tenth Station:

Jesus is Stripped of His Garments
"It seems that every step to Calvary brought You fresh humiliation, my Jesus. How Your sensitive nature recoiled at being stripped before a crowd of people. You desired to leave this life as You entered it - completely detached from all the comforts of this world. You want me to know without a doubt that you loved me with an unselfish love. Your love for me caused You nothing but pain and sorrow. You gave everything and received nothing in return. Why do I find it so hard to be detached?

In your loving mind, dear Jesus, did You look up to the Father as You stood there on that windy hill, shivering from cold and shame and trembling from fear, and ask Him to have mercy on those who would violate their purity and make love a mockery? Did you ask forgiveness for those whose greed would make them lie, cheat and steal for a few pieces of cold silver?

Forgive us all, dear Jesus. Look upon the world with pity, for mankind has lost its way and the principles of this world make lust a fun game and luxury a necessity. Detachment has become merely another hardship of the poor and obedience the fault of the weak. Have mercy on us and grant the people of this day the courage to see and know themselves and the light to change."
Mother Angelica's reflections on the Stations of the Cross
Doing the stations in Nancy's home chapel last year at this time... Such a gift is LENT for us weak and sinful people.  Humble us, Lord!  Danielle Rose singing the Litany of Humility

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"The greatest among you must be your servant." Matt 23

Litany of Humility
"O, Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.

From the desire of being esteemed,

Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved...

From the desire of being extolled ...

From the desire of being honored ...

From the desire of being praised ...

From the desire of being preferred to others...

From the desire of being consulted ...

From the desire of being approved ...

From the fear of being humiliated ...

From the fear of being despised...

From the fear of suffering rebukes ...

From the fear of being calumniated ...

From the fear of being forgotten ...

From the fear of being ridiculed ...

From the fear of being wronged ...

From the fear of being suspected ...

That others may be loved more than I,

Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I ...

That, in the opinion of the world,

others may increase and I may decrease ...

That others may be chosen and I set aside ...

That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...

That others may be preferred to me in everything...

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…"
Sharing this yesterday with a group of friends - one of them said that she could see praying this, but just was thrown by praying - "From the desire of being loved - Deliver me,Jesus."  "Aren't we supposed to desire to be loved, and isn't it true that unless we are loved we cannot in turn love and serve?"  I didn't have an answer to this, but now am giving it some thought and prayer.  The motto that the Community of the Lamb lives by kept circulating in my mind and heart - "Wounded, I will not cease to LOVE."  And also look at the humility litany/prayer... as a word picture of Christ's suffering and death for us.  Looking at Christ - He was LOVE, and therefore with all the hatred leveled against Him by all, as well as carrying all of our hateful sins upon His shoulders on the Cross - He continued to LOVE, and did not allow the desire of being LOVED to intrude on the divine plan of our Salvation.  This is easy to spot in our domestic Church/family... where we allow our most personal self to emerge, and as a result we usually treat those closest to us the worst!  If we are wounded by another, and are not loved the way that we feel we deserve - do we continue to LOVE?  Or do we kneejerk and in turn try to put them down and hurt them? All I can say is that our marriage and families would be so much better and happier and loving, if we were able to return hurt and barbs of the arrows with LOVE, and humble ourselves in this way!
Rosie will certainly learn to love cows and calves with the help of her big sister, Mary!  It was always interesting to see the difference in our 4 girls -  some of them loved the farm and being outside and showing cows and calves at the fair, and some just didn't.  Now we see that in the two grandsons that live just 3 miles away - Simon loves the equipment and cares nothing for the cows, while David loves both! 
Another way to look at the idea of not desiring to be loved - is the idea that we gain true LOVE and LIFE from our embracing the Cross in our lives.  Once again when we look at the example we have from Jesus, and in our own experience, it is truly through the Cross that we have received eternal LIFE, and we see the True picture of LOVE.  Christ the Lamb, slain for us, spotless and weak and HUMBLE to the point of denying Himself for the good of ALL!  The Gospel for today is Christ speaking to us about how we are to approach our lives with HIM - "The greatest among you must be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled; but whoever humbles himself will be exalted."  As I am writing this I have a vision of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, and her order, who work in the gutters with the poorest of the poor, those that are cast aside and are dying alone and unloved.  These sisters provide the LOVE of Christ for them - as they are the true picture of humility - having nothing!  They consider the poor - "Christ in our arms!"  I know that the Missionaries of Charity - Blessed Teresa's order - pray the Litany of Humility weekly, and ask for humility to take place within them.  Wow!
Little Rose meeting her first calf - little Crystal. 
Jesus, may we take a step today in dying to self, so that YOU may live within us, and in turn may transform our domestic Church/family!  How we need YOU to show us how to humbly embrace our Most Cherished Cross and find LIFE and LOVE!  "Patience, gentleness, humility, silence, kindness.  To hide all that I can of my physical sufferings, and all my moral suffering, my spiritual deprivations.  To cover everything with serenity and smiles: all my discomfort, sadness, and renunciations.  To try to reconcile the tastes, desires, and needs of each and to take no account of myself, not to think of what I might wish; to sacrifice even my greatest hopes, when, misunderstood, they might irritate or displease another.  I shall have all eternity in which to contemplate him whom I adore, to unite myself to him, and to pray...There is plenty of material for renunciation and profound and constant self-denial inthis unending abandonment of all that is my deepest longing."  Elizabeth Leseur (1914)  Lord, may I be more loving, and not expect to be loved or desire LOVE.  I am weak, and that it when I turn to YOU.  Jesus, you carry me in your LOVING and FORGIVING arms, and I am YOURS!  I know that I always and without deserving it - have Your LOVE for me, so armed with that I am able to face all that comes my way.  Jesus, I need you and trust in YOU.  Amen and Halleluia

Bless-bless, Barb
If we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people to not kill each other? Any country that accepts abortion is not teaching its people to love, but to use any violence to get what they want."
Blessed Teresa of Calcutta  Matt Mayer - Every little Prison (Deliver me) 

Lord, we place calving in your hands, and trust!!  Francesca Battistelli  - Strangely Dim

Snowball and her sweet new heifer, Snowcrystal!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snowball wins!!!!

Pat and I heard a loud moo on our cow TV and went to look - Snowball had her calf!!!  The first little newborn girl calf - heifer - is here and her name is Snowcrystal!  She is totally black, so I am sure that Mary will have her number memorized soon.  That way she will know her when she sees her in a big bunch of black calves, and I am sure that Mary will have her spoiled and tame too with all the attention she will be getting from her.  They are coming over to meet her for the first time after school shortly, so grandma better get ready for the many pictures I will be taking.  Snowball is such a good mother already and not so happy when the big black dog wants to lick her new baby!
Lilly loves those new babies too much!

Mary came to meet Snowcrystal for the first time!  Sweetness....

And she shows Rose Ida her first calf ever!  So it begins for a new farmgirl!

The charism of humility - Hallel's order

John and Hallel outside the temporary monastery that the Community of the Lamb is living in.  It is located in an old rectory next to one of the many neighborhood churches in a poor area of Kansas City, Kansas.  About 4 blocks away the new monastery is taking shape quickly.  For updates as it grows and soon to open this summer - you can check on their site - Now they are starting the work on the inside!!!  It is so wonderful to see the progress, and to know that they are putting down roots in the heart of our country.  We were just talking to a person, who failed to see the value of the contemplative life - "My neice is an sister, and she works a job plus is going back for her doctorate.  She says; 'Are their prayers any better than mine?' "  It seems that many people are of the impression that unless you are gainfully employed or making money to support yourselves - that you are lazy, and taking the easy way out, or wasting time and money by spending your days in prayer.  I see it as a very necessary and important job!  If it weren't for all the religious in convents and monasteries praying for this world - I would hate to think how much worse off the world would be!  I see prayer as hugely important, and the lesson that religious, who appeal to us to support their work in contemplative prayer by contributing to teaching us the beauty of humility, and being dependent on others as a small child would be.  How often does Jesus tell us that we need to be as small children and that we can learn from watching them?  Constantly and emphatically!!! 
We are all excited around here as Snowball just had the first calf for the year - it is a heifer and her name is officially Snowcrystal!  Snowcrystal is very fitting with the frost on the trees today after the fog!!!  I will have pictures galore by evening - I am sure!
Jesus, it is so wonderful to have the excitement and wonder of new LIFE around us.  Be with calving that all may go smoothly this year.  Keep Pat rested and healthy as he is busy around the clock with the needs of the new little ones born on these cold days.  Thank you for the prayers we receive from the Community of the Lamb - as they model for the world the power and beauty of being humble and asking for us to reach out to them.  May their new little Monastery - Christi Lumen - Light of Christ - be a beacon on the hill for all those that are lost and alone.  Jesus, there is are so many ways we are misled - we think that we need to be totally self-sufficient and not rely on anyone or even on YOU, O Lord!  But this is not what is the Truth - we need to humble ourselves and depend on YOU and your Bride, the Church!  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia
Bless-bless, Barb
"Be merciful, just as your  Father in heaven is merciful."  Luke 6: 36-38  The Gospel for today!
"What pleases God, is to see me love my littleness and my poverty; it is the blind hope I have in his mercy.  This is my sole treasure."  St Therese of Lisieux

In honor of the birth of Snowcrystal with the sledding hill behind.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Joyful sharing of mass as a family!

It was a beautiful morning - Yes, there were sparkling ice crystals shining in the sunlight after we have now 4 more inches of dry fluffy snow!  But arriving in our newly remodeled church with my husband and turning around to see Ruth and Paul with their 4 little ones sitting behind us, then to have one of Hallel's classmates sitting in front of us with his wife and little one year old son, and looking over at the 10th station where she would sit after she returned from the discernmemt house... it added up to the true sense that we are worshipping with great JOY as a family united in Faith!!!   Father shared in the homily as to whether we were here just out of following the rules, or if we were there truly out of our LOVE for HIM. 

David made a new sweet snow angel in the newly freshly fallen snow!  There was so much newness and freshness as we gathered as a family this wonderful Sunday morning.  Pat just was speaking to his sister about all the wonderful women in our Church that are models to our daughters and young granddaughters.  The fact that our granddaughters are named after such amazing wonderful women - Bernadette, Therese, Mary, Rose...all wonderful women saints that are in our Church to help women walk the path of Faith!  This was the responce to the argument that our Church puts women down and demeans women.  I love the clear and special answer Pat had for that.  "We honor Mary as the Mother of God, and she shows us the way a woman is called to share her faith and Christ to her family/domestic Church."  Women are called to serve the Church in a beautiful way - different from a man. 

Now Mary adds her angel to the new snow.  It was just so good to have the FAMILY sharing of mass.  Hallel has told us that we are together in the Eucharist, as we are united in the spiritual universe when all the angels and saints... worship and adore Christ as He appears in the Body and Blood!  Hallel is with us as we share the uniting in the Eucharist.  I thanked her classmate that sat in front of us, for bringing her close to me this morning.  I shared that we are looking forward to sharing some hometime with her as she is coming home for a visit after a couple years. 

Jesus, the gift of sharing Faith as a family is a blessing!  We thank and praise you that we are able to see YOU in our lives/family/domestic Church.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia
Bless-bless, Barb
"Lent is a time of transformation.  As we gaze in the dark faith of prayer upon the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, we are transformed into his likeness.  As we leave the work of prayer for the work of charity in our world, we live in his likeness."  See 

One more time for this great one!!!  All 4 looking and smiling as well as the steers behind them, and Lilly the dog!  Now you see what makes me happy!  Francesca Batistelli singing Lead me to the Cross

second in the running!!!  Roger is looking this time!


Saturday, February 23, 2013

A miracle!!!

All looking at the camera and smiling.... even the steers behind them!  It is truly a miracle worth sharing with the world!!.

"A people peculiarly his own..." Deuternomy 26

Here is Snowball in my face, and I thought a good picture to describe "peculiarly his own" - the thought that kind of grabbed ahold today in morning prayer shared with Pat.  It is so true of us, and our crazy journey of FAITH... as we keep turning back to HIM in his unconditional LOVE for us... no matter what!  Peculiar is very much us!!  We know that we LOVE our Lord, and want to give our all to HIM, and then we take it back in a moment's temptation.  I am feeling my weaknesses so much these Lenten days.  I vowed to myself that I would not do this or that, or do better by giving of myself to others with a cheerful attitude... then the reality of my failures stare me in the face.  I see how glaringly much I fail, yet that is when I truly see that I need Jesus.  I am a weak mess, and that is when I turn to Jesus!  I will always remember complaining to Hallel about my sad state of being weak after I had my hip replaced.  "Mom, that is when we turn to Jesus."  May I always be peculiarly your own, O Lord, and that means that I need to be weak and lowly!  Humble me, Lord!
The little ones around us show are the ways that the Lord teaches us - People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”  Mark10:13-15  What is He saying here?  He is telling us that we need to Trust, and when we fall down to allow Him to pick us up in His arms and carry us.  When He carries us - then we get to where He wants us to go.  What do peculiar people do instead? - they take off in their own direction, and end up in a big heap, when they fall and hurt themselves, and hurt their loving and forgiving God!  With my weakened state of failure this Lent... I am sensing this so graphically in myself.  The Lord even dealt with me in my dreams last night, and I never dream or remember them.  He is getting to me, when He can! 
Lord, YOU came to help me by personally dying for me so that I could follow after YOU, carrying my Most Cherished Cross.  I am weak, and that is when I turn to YOU.  Help me, Lord!  I need to become more Yours, and deny myself.  Forgive me and although I am "peculiarly yours"... thank you for taking me back into your arms over and over again!  I want to give you all my heart and all my soul, as you desire.  May I look to your Mother, Mary Most Holy, as a true example of what I need to be as a woman of Yours!  She is a true example of a humble vessel of LOVE and service to You and the entire world - as she bears YOU to the world, and loves YOU with a sacrificial LOVE!  Through embracing your Cross, as she stood at the foot and watched YOU die a most horrific death... she found LIFE and LOVE!  YOU rose from death, and appeared to her first of all!  There is no doubt that YOU came to your faithful Mother of God, and embraced her with your nailscarred resurrected hands.  May we know that we are embraced each time we turn back to YOU.  May we carry that knowledge and LOVE of YOU into our domestic Church/family.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Halleluia

Patrick and Bernadette love their fingers, and Jesus loves them!!!
Bless-bless, Barb
"But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your heavenly Father, for he makes the sun rise on the bad and the good, and causes rain to fall on the just and the unjust... So be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect."  Matthew 5:43-48  The Gospel for today
“May today there be peace within.

May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.

May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.

May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.

May you be content knowing you are a child of God.

Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.

It is there for each and every one of us.”

― Thérèse de Lisieux
“Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.”

― Thérèse de Lisieux

Maria says that Patrick rolls over only when they aren't looking at him - humble boy that he is!
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

― Thérèse de Lisieux
It just seems right to take to heart the "small way" of St Therese this day.  We are weak and humbly need YOU, O Lord!  A cool version of the litany of Humility - watch the words, and pray them!!!  So hard, but so important to become totally HIS!
The prayers of a parent for their children - never end and are without ceasing!  Matt Maher speaking of the Litany of humility - Wow!  Now his song, Every Little Prison

Friday, February 22, 2013

Snowball looks like she belongs in the snow!!  Snowball still is awaiting the arrival of her calf.  She is quite tame and recognizable with her white face and red tag.  So I enjoy taking pictures of her when I am outside to help.  She will come right up to the fence and pose for me, and with the blowing snow coming down - it just seemed like we needed to get a snow picture of her.  Maybe tonight she will finally have her calf.  Pat thinks that she could be one of the first.  Mary and her dad were talking about "C" names for this year and keeping with the winter theme - maybe Christmas could be her name, because we are hoping for another girl this year.  We could call her Christi for short.  Now Snowball is in the barn out of the snow, and we are hoping for less snow than they are talking and a warm up soon.  Lord, we place calving in your hands.  Jesus, we trust in you.  bless-bless, Barb
Minnesota winter is a long drawn out deal...