Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Thank you Lord for healing my head and my heart." John at morning prayer this morning

A wonderful blessing was given us yesterday in Rochester... we were able to attend the 12:10p mass at St John the Evangelist where I attended daily mass and hours in the Eucharistic chapel while John had his stem cell transplant and recovered during the month of January 2010. 
Through the doors to the Eucharistic chapel with the tabernacle with Jesus inside!  I would sit here in deep prayer and supplication of my Lord for the healing of my son from the enemy brain cancer.  Those prayers were answered and we attribute so much help from our amazing glorious Church and our prayer warriors!
The incision at the back of his head that diagnosed his cancer, and left him with a deficit on his left side to this day..."But you have not let it limit you,and have done well considering."  we were reminded of how great John has done by our special Neurologist, Dr Brian ONeal.  He has such a wonderful interest in John and spoke about a world wide conference this week in which they will discuss some things pertaining to John yet, as they go 10 years out!  7 years ago in New Orleans at this conference John's case was presented and some big decisions were made - that he would go on to stem cell transplant!  He was told by his other cancer doctor that he was cured and no longer needed to come and see her.  Wow!  We left there with great happiness and thankfulness and JOY!
Such a blessing to have this church such a big part of our healing!  It was wonderful to be there with my husband and son in the midst of a landmark day.  One in which we were told that he has as good a chance of getting lymphoma as any other person now.  And given an encouraging report of what he has accomplished in his healing.  This morning at prayer John thanked the Lord for his healing of his head/brain cancer as well as his heart by finding the Faith that he lacked in his life.  "I don't feel anything, and I don't know what I believe." he used to say.  But now his Faith is what guides and directs his life and he is asking the Lord what the plan is for him as far as what job or vocation he is called to.  Life takes on a whole new perspective when you are asking for the Lord's plan for us rather than dictating our own path with great designs to be successful or rich or powerful.  One thing we know for sure is that we are called to be humble and to die to self and to serve!
The tree is up at Ruth's in the big picture window where I would put my tree over the years!
The advent wreath... Simon welded a star that they have put on the back of the shed facing the road and for each week of Advent they will add a strand of lights coming from it!  So special and count on Ruth and Paul to do above and beyond!
In the center of the picture - taken from the road... I love the lighting of the Advent tail on the star for each week of Advent!  He is coming!
May he come ever more into our hearts!  Pat went to find a bathroom before mass and found a confessional with the light on... he went in and suddenly found the gift of reconciliation!  "I am jealous." I told him, and soon I plan to get there myself.
Talk about a model of humility - today is the feastday of St Andrew, who introduced his brother Simon Peter to Jesus! 
St. Andrew's Christmas Novena begins on his feast day, Nov. 30th! It is a pious Advent tradition to recite this prayer 15 times daily through Christmas Eve for a special intention dear to your heart. #StAndrewsDay #CatholicChristmas
How powerful would it be to do this 15 times a day through Christmas Eve!  It would truly bring our Lord's reality of God coming to life in our cold world in the form of a helpless infant into our hearts, minds and souls!
I long to remain humble and weak so that I always need my Jesus and turn to Him always!

Pertaining to John on this feast day of St Andrew - Faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the word of Christ... The voice has gone forth to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the earth.  Romans 10
John looked death in the eye and was totally humbled and as weak as a newborn child... it was then that he realized that his half-hearted prayer had been answered and he then realized The Truth... he needed Jesus and His Bride, The Church to live his life rightly!  He heard Jesus speak though the Church and His Word and Sacraments!

John catching up with his good friend Little Brother Clement. 

Lord, we are in awe of how you answer prayers in a way that surprises us and humbles us and brings us to our knees as we embrace The Truth!  Thank you for the healing John and his continued journey that you are revealing to him.  How he longs to share his story with all!  To touch others with his message/voice - sharing his love for Jesus, Mary and The Church!  Continue to show him the path you wish him to follow.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Bless-bless, Barb
My Champion for LIFE with Our Lady of Guadalupe, who has Jesus in her sacred womb!  The Mother of God! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Childlike - "the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them." Isaiah 11

How joyfully surprised were our Community on Thanksgiving day as we pulled up 15 minutes before mass?  We started from home at 4a and drove straight to their door about 7 hours of hard driving.  With the uncertainty of our lives - I hadn't let them know of our "fake plans."  John walking in for mass with his precious Goddaughter in his arms.  How we love to share mass with Hallel's Community of the Lamb and our country is so blessed to have them with roots put down into the heart of our country!  Lumen Christi/Light of Christ ridding our mixed up mess of a country of darkness of sin and death!
Such a peaceful and trusting little one!  Her huge eyes would look up at this strange man, her Godfather whom she hasn't seen for a couple months of her short 6 month life.  Eventually she fell asleep in his arms during the mass and not a peep out of her.  With our 3 married daughters each having a baby girl in about 10 months we are surrounded by the beauty of new life - and with 14 going on 15 of little ones from Simon at 12 down to a 6 month old and a 3 week old...the idea of "childlike" is very visible and alive and real for us.  The crying and needing their needs to be met by their moms and the love and snuggles we receive also.  The very little ones are summed up with sleeping and eating and cleaning them up with diaper changes every hour or so.  They are totally dependent on their parents for all they need, and they grow more and more loving and responsive with smiles and giggles and LOVE!
Chewing on grandma's rosary case from Fatima is a great grace.  How I love all that our glorious Church has to offer us to make our lives full of richness and blessings and graces!  Look what lies ahead for you little one! 

We are in Mayo Building with John to see his doctor that has been with him for this entire journey - 7 1/2years!  The idea of childlike certainly describes how helpless John found himself after his brain biopsy!  Unable to walk alone and needing help even to the BR!  In that helpless state is when he realized that this was his half-hearted prayer for Faith!  "A week later I had brain cancer!" 
About ready to fall asleep in Godfather's arms at mass with St Agnes over his shoulder holding the lamb. 

It is quite sweet today...John brought a special Mary and The Saints calendar for 2017 that he is going to gift to his Catholic doctor.  He got me one and had another identical one come too.  "I think I am going to give it to Ivana."  "Oh, John that is very sweet of you.  I think she will be touched and love it!"

Monday, November 28, 2016

"I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof..." Matthew 8

The Advent wreath up and aglow with Luke and Rose taking it all in this morning - they arrived with mom to pick up their Christmas tree and Advent wreath out of the basement. 

The family picture taken at our Labor Day gathering is no longer complete... I had to add little newly arrived 4 week old Evangeline with her 6 month older cousin, Josephine!  Pat, I and John started a nightly Advent prayers with the TV off and the candle lit and sharing night prayer and petitions for all the needs and, of course, for our family!  Pressing on our hearts in prayer is the 7 year old girl and her family we shared prayer with in KC.  She is dying, and we spent time gathered around her in her home and now in prayer without ceasing!
The rain washed most of our snow away overnight, so it is a wet dreary world out there today.  We will be working on the calves this afternoon, so it would be really nice to have the wind settle down.

The Gospel today is a familiar one and more so now since we use these words before we receive Jesus in the Eucharist at each mass we attend.  After reading it numerous times including in our shared prayer last night by the Advent wreath... the words of the Centurion really share the shame I have at my sinful state under my roof and how I need to clean it up before my Jesus enters in!  With Advent we move from the darkness into the LIGHT and I feel the strong need to get to Reconciliation and lay my burdens and sins and sickness at his feet. 
Such an exciting time of year for the little ones, and if Advent and Jesse tree is shared in our domestic Church/family... the focus is not so much on the presents that Santa will bring, but more on the beautiful life-giving gift Jesus coming into the world has been for us.  This increased prayer time of Advent is what we did as a family with our young ones.  We would read from the Saint book, read from the Bible, sing praise and worship songs from my Protestant days, say a decade of the rosary together.  It brought us to a place of looking to Mary and Jesus rather than Santa! 
John is missing his sweet Goddaughter, Josephine. 

After doing evening prayer and our petitions on our hearts, Pat read the Gospel for the next day.  This is something we have learned from our family of The Lamb!  They always start "chewing" the Gospel by chanting and reading each line many times starting the night before.  After doing my prayers, I feel the excitement building inside of me as I turn to read the Gospel for the next day.  I go to sleep with that ringing inside of me like a bell!
With her first bow!

Jesus does not demand that we be worthy, because we are small and weak and sinful and that is truly when we turn to Jesus.  But he does want us to be sorry and humble about the sad state we are in and then he will be able to live and move and work and change our hearts!  A priest friend just shared these wonderful words - "We have now begun the Season of Advent. A time where we move from the darkness into the light of Christ. It becomes even brighter when we can change our hearts to be more like Christ….loving everyone as a brother or sister. "  Fr Tim Biren
And how can we do this?  By getting rid of all that has come between us and our Jesus through The Sacrament of Reconciliation, and attending mass and receiving him Body and Blood, and by spending time with Jesus in Adoration!
I always say this... "You need to believe that the Eucharist is Jesus to receive it, and if you do why would you be anything but Catholic?"  To all those that get upset that they are prevented from receiving the Eucharist as they have left The Church or are not a practicing Catholic. 
My friend, Scott Hahn, loves The Church like I do!  It is time to throw off our sinfulness and come to that change of heart and find healing from Christ!
Kids and cats galore...
Me pregnant with Ruth during Advent 1979 with my sister, Mary, who died from cancer 7 years later.  Ruth was born just after New Years - 1/4/80.  The beginning of our family and our Advent traditions.  Each day I am so grateful to our wise wonderful Church for giving us this wonderful Season to come into The LIGHT and leave the darkness behind.  So amazing!
I just had the opportunity to share the deep spiritual Thanksgiving mass, meal and visiting the death bed of a 7 year old girl with The Community of the Lamb with my sister-in-law kindred spirit, Angela.  How I love the lack of superficial and real and meat and potatoes we have with them.  It is never superficial or surface lip service... but REAL LIFE/LIGHT/LOVE/The Cross/Jesus/The Church!  I have always loved to get the small unimportant out of the way and focus on what is truly important in our lives - Faith and Family!
From the first reading in Isaiah 4 today is so true of what we experience when with our Community of the Lamb - For over all, the Lord's glory will be shelter and protection: shade from the parching heat of day, refuge and cover from storm and rain.
My friend, Bianca, leaned over before mass and we shared this joyful moment - "The flowers are back!"  Their gorgeous arrangements from donated flowers and those found throughout the neighborhood... Share their LOVE for Jesus in ways we are lifted up!
The two newest members of our family provided lots of snuggles/love!

Jesus, I am filled with so much gratitude to have this most special Season of Advent in our glorious Catholic Church!  It has always been such a powerful way to bring our family together sharing our Faith with great JOY!  We long to be with you always at the "banquet in the Kingdom of heaven!"  Thank you for all the ways you help us on our journey if only we humbly fall on our knees and confess that we need you and are unworthy.  Jesus, we trust in you.  Amen and Hallelujah
One more little girl to join our family in March!  What JOY fills my heart!  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
Luke and Rose are excited to welcome their baby sister when the cows are having their calves on the farm... March!  LIFE is the most precious of gifts and must be protected and cherished from conception to natural death!
With 3 new granddaughters in a year - we will almost catch up to our grandsons... 7 granddaughters and 8 grandsons!  Now maybe the dollies will be all over and less of the light savers and swords and guns!  I am ready for a change!

So amazing!

Puts us in our place and away from the "me" and "I" of the holidays!

There is a wonderful story with the Little Sisters that an angry gang member, after they shared the Gospel with her, offered them a glass of water!
Now into each day - the first week of Advent!
Danielle Rose - give and take
The Afters- Broken Hallelujah
Lauren Daigle - Light of the world

Sunday, November 27, 2016

"Hurry he is coming"... "Put on the amor of LIGHT" St Paul to us and the Romans! It's here! The first Sunday of Advent!

My Champion for LIFE with his arms full of little girls!  Rarely was he without a baby in his huge arms, and that is what makes him happy, and they too seem to feel protected and comfortable resting in the embrace of their loving grandfather!  Three week old Evangeline Mary just amazed Pat and I at how much she looks like our girls - her mom and her sisters!  We could almost close our eyes and recall our own nest years with our dark haired little babies.
Lots of baby holding going on over our family Thanksgiving. John got to rediscover what a sweet and happy baby his Goddaughter, Josephine is.  She is sweet and beautiful with a quick smile and huge eyes!
Sweet Therese loves to pose with her precious sister!
A more thoughtful pose is always nice, too.  Grandma does get tiring with all of her picture taking, but who can blame me?

After wonderful family time with a large part of our family and even our Family of the Lamb... we find that it is now Advent and reminded of the first year The Community was here in the US and Pat and Nancy brought 2 little Sisters back to KC after studying English for a month up in St Paul.  Pat was just saying today that he knows that the Little Sisters and Little Brothers did not sleep much last night as they pray into the wee hours of the morning to mark the vigil of Advent.  Not only prayer but much reading of the Word of God, the Saints and singing of many Psalms and other songs relating to the coming of Advent.

Berna meeting her new baby girl cousin for the first time. "Her hair's so soft."
A sweet peaceful smile for her loving grandpa.
Jojo gets her first hair bow...  they can count on their grandma for getting those topknots and bows in their hair at least for a picture or two.
Yes, there were also 5 boys having a great time -
Lots of dress up was had by all!  It was wonderful to gather in Nancy and Bill's wonderful home in KC - the weather was in the 50s, too!  The kids played outside on the trampoline too!
The kids loved raw squash from Ruth's garden!  Josephine loved to such on a piece of too!
Game time!
Bill's turkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   We were recalling all the places he has cooked for us over the last 7 years.  All but 2 we had his wonderful food!  WE are so thankful for Bill and his lovely assistant, Nancy!  How our hearts soar when we realize that in just 3 short weeks we will see them again at CCC/Cross Christmas Camp! To have Advent here and our preparation and deepening of our Faith journey up until Christmas... I am filled with excitement and great JOY!
Thank you, Bill and Nancy!!!! 

In contrast to Father's great homily reminding us that we need to not allow the hectic pace of getting ready for Christmas to cause us to miss all that the Lord wants to work in our lives and hearts in deepening our knowledge and love of Him!  "Slow down and allow Jesus to change and work in your heart this Advent."  Then the final hymn spoke of "hurry to Jesus.  Hurry he is coming."  Yes, I do want to hurry to Jesus and just stay there in his embrace and embrace our Most Cherished Cross and find LIFE/LOVE/LIGHT!  St Paul speaks this; "Put on the armor of light... put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh."  Romans 13   
A soft smile from sweet new Em!
I have noticed that after having my 4 girls... I just am obsessed with girls and with the 4 together... I had dresses and photos in mind!
A thoughtful pose by both babies.  Soon this 6 month gap will get smaller and smaller.  Rose and Bernadette are like this and they are the best of friends!

I feel such excitement and happiness at this special time in the calendar of the year!  We were reminded of the 3 ways we are to celebrate Advent.  1. the coming of God as man.  2. His coming again at the end of time. 3. His coming into our hearts.  Wow!  I don't know about you, but I am filled with so much anticipation of growing in my faith and sharing this with my family.  Pat, I and John were talking on the way to church about amping up our prayer time together.  By lighting the Advent wreath before bed and sharing night prayer, the Word, the Saints, Praise and Worship music, and just going deeper together as a family!
Love the bare toes.  We see that Em has her mom's finger toes, which is from my dad on down!
The 4 girls... Happy first Sunday of Advent one and all!

Jesus, I long to be better prepared in my heart, mind, and soul to receive you always and forever.  I want to live with you both here in my life on earth and forever in heaven with you!  I am filled with great Praise for you and your glorious Bride, The Church!  The wisdom to give us these 4 Sundays of Advent to prepare ourselves more fully to bear you into the world!  Like your Mother may we always humbly bring your LIGHT into our worlds!  Jesus, we trust in you. Amen and Hallelujah
May the Almighty and merciful God,
by whose grace you have placed your faith
in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son
and yearn for his coming again,
sanctify you by the radiance of Christ's Advent
and enrich you with his blessing.
As you run the race of this present life,
may he make you firm in faith,
joyful in hope and active in charity.
So that, rejoicing now with devotion
at the Redeemer's coming in the flesh,
you may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life
when he comes again in majesty.
And may the blessing of almighty God,
The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
come down on you and remain with you for ever.
Solemn Blessing after Communion
It is so wonderful to see my girls being such wonderful sisters and friends to each other!  I pray that can be true of these girls too, and that they will stay close as cousins also.  Bless-bless, Barbara Luke
This just makes me smile deep in my heart!
A dear friend and family of the Lamb is now in formation as a deacon for The Community.  In the last year he went over to Saint Pierre and had a profound deepening of his Faith there.  To see his eyes filled with LIGHT just makes me burst out in laughter of great JOY!
The two year old boys got to know each other much better and warmly hugged goodbye.
The light streams into Nancy's home and it is delightful to watch all the kids reflected in that warm glow!
"John can't leave."  We went with the Little sisters to visit a dying 7 year old girl, who John and Fr Craig had prayed over a year and a half ago.  She has brain cancer, and is now unresponsive and likely to die in the next week or so.  It was a most powerful way to go from mass and a huge community meal to then sit at the death bed of this dying 7 year old girl surrounded by her mother and 4 other siblings - 2 older brothers and 2 little sisters and many assorted animals.
We also met Morgan from Minnesota, who is in love with The Community and hopes to join them soon as a Postulant!  So rich and deep and powerful is our time spent with them and having their prayers surrounding us on this journey!
Arms full of life that will be raised as LIGHTS to the world!
So sweet, and in just 3 weeks they will join with Ruth and Paul's bunch... our 14 will be together and what JOY!
Each one precious in the sight of the Lord!  We are given each new life to fill our world with LIGHT of LIFE!  "let us walk in the light of the Lord."  Isaiah 2:5 - the first reading from mass today!
Always look to Our Lady and she will bring you to her Son, Jesus Christ!

The best hour I spend each week!  Hallel and her Community come and visit Him each day!

The Word/Jesus fills each day to the brim!

Paul's 3 youngest and the calves.  It is so perfect that this young family is now on the farm!
Pentonix - Hallelujah