Have you had your mind blown recently?

“Mind blown” with the prerequisite hand motions exploding from your head is something you have probably seen or even done. We know what it means; a light bulb moment. Something we thought we knew is found out to be wrong. A truth we’ve long held sacred is discovered to be false. The reality of knowing that Han Solo really did shoot first or something just as earth-shattering.

Forgive my Star Wars geek-out but you understand what I am saying. Throughout our lives we will learn something new or gain a new insight into long held truths and often this will happen when we least expect it.

Such a thing happened to me just today. My mind was blown – a light arrived at just the right time.

I have been ever so slowly reading Fr. Jacques Phillipes, The Way of Trust and Love, A Retreat Guided by St. Therese of Lisieux

In the chapter on “Trusting More and More” he goes on for several pages about the simple truths of prayer – we are called to be faithful to it, change for us happens only over time, there are ups and downs, God is always present even when we don’t ‘feel’ him, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. Stuff I already knew (or thought I knew).

Then this very morning I read from St. Therese herself:

“I understand and I know from experience that “the kingdom of God is within us.”….I have never heard him speak, but I feel that he is in me, that at every moment he is guiding me, inspiring me with what I should say or do. Just when I need it, I discover lights that I had not seen before. It is not usually during my prayer that they are most abundant, but rather amidst my daily occupations.”

Fr. Phillipe then reflects, “This means that even if our prayer is a bit arid, we must never be discouraged. God deposits treasures secretly in our hearts for the time when we will need them. That’s logical. We don’t need great lights in prayer, we need them in making decisions and acting. In prayer it is enough for us to stay humbly in God’s presence.”

MIND BLOWN! OF COURSE, HE IS RIGHT! Why was I waiting for lights when the Light of the World is always there!

Oh, you have no idea how much time have I wasted in prayer, sitting frustrated and saddened with the cold shoulder I felt God was giving me. I would sit there, waiting for some great light, some amazing insight! And feel, hear, get nothing.

Now, of course, time in prayer is never wasted but too often I felt as if God wasn’t even listening to me, wasn’t even there and I left my prayer time feeling abandoned, neglected and painfully lonely.

On the other side, I cannot tell you the number of times I have been able to say just the right thing, at the right time to the person, the child, the friend in front of me that I had not expected to say or even knew I knew.

Now, I am no mystic but when I read this passage, I remembered a few of these moments and felt as if God was whispering, “See, I always see you there praying. I’ve been there all the time. As you pray, I plant the seeds I knew you would someday need.”

The truth I learned today, in a deeper way, is this – be faithful to prayer, each and every day; no matter the silence, the dryness or the loneliness. Pray, even just a bit, every day and know God is there pulling some weeds, planting some seeds and doing what He does best – waiting for a moment to surprise us. The light will come exactly when He wants it to, not when we think it should. He is after all, the light of the world!

 

 

Did you forget something? Do you need to be reminded?

More than once my kids have asked, “Mom, why do we repeat the gospels and readings at church? Why do we hear the same stories, again and again?”

My kids are not asking this with a sense of awe in their voices as they wonder about God’s perfect plan; not at all. Feel free to re-read the question and to insert a bit of sarcasm in your voice along with a splash of whine.

This question has come before, during and after Mass when my kids are letting the familiarity breeding contempt attitude towards our faith infect their thoughts and feelings.

And my answer to them has remained almost as predictable as those readings they are complaining about.

“I guess God knew we needed to hear these stories (or psalms or lessons) again and again because He knows, better than we do, that we too easily forget the important stuff. He also made His plan for salvation simple enough to be included in one book because we would never agree to read more!” (or something very similar)

In other words, God knows our faults – including inherent laziness and forgetfulness – and accommodated them. He loves us so much, He made sure everything we needed to get back to Him was there; even willing to repeat Himself again and again and again. Even on a cyclical basis of Years A, B and C.

He knows we forget how much He loves us and how much Jesus gave up to come save us. We need to hear the stories of Peter, Paul, Ruth, Naomi, and Jonah over and over. We need to be reminded that we are seeds on a pathway, grapes on a vine and the apple of His eye.

We repeat these stories not only because they are so good they deserve a good retelling every once in a while but because they each carry a truth we need to be reminded of.

Today’s Gospel has us being reminded that Jesus isn’t interested so much in how our house looks but how our souls are doing. Can you remember which story that might be?

Prayers for Our Country and Ourselves

 

Today at Mass, Father’s homily reflected on today’s gospel (Luke 9:51-56) where we are told of Jesus’ determination to reach Jerusalem. Taking the unprecedented route through the ‘enemy country’ of the Samaritans, Jesus was extending a hand of friendship, letting them know by His presence that He came to save everyone – even them.

“but they would not welcome him
because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.
When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,
“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven
to consume them?”
Jesus turned and rebuked them,
and they journeyed to another village.”

Jesus rebuked them, He would not permit revenge to cloud their mission.

How poignant a gospel in light of yesterday’s horror in Las Vegas. I have no answers for even my own children except to remind them that God remains faithful and merciful. May we continue to pray, especially as we approach the 100th Anniversary of Fatima, that peace come upon the whole world.

 

Small martyrdoms we can all share in

Today we remember the martyrdoms of both St. Wenceslaus and St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions.

St. Wenceslaus is known by his beloved Christmas hymn but unless we know the verses well we easily forget that he was murdered by his own brother in cahoots with his pagan mother! Faithful to the end to his Catholic upbringing through his father, he forgave his murderers as they killed him. St. Wenceslaus in Baltimore  is a beautiful historical church.

We also remember St. Lorenzo Ruiz and Companions. Known also as St. Lawrence Ruiz, he was beatified by Pope St. John Paul II on Feb. 18, 1981 and his ceremony was the first one ever held outside of the Vatican.

Both of these men held fast to their faith until the end. What about us? Is there a martyrdom in our future?

Today at Mass, Father remarked that it is unlikely any of us will be slaughtered by a sword or tortured to death. However, he reminded us that we all have a chance – every day – to share in small martyrdoms in union with Christ on the cross. I will admit I shook my head a bit – really??!!

He continued – every time we die to ourselves and chose God’s will over our own is a small martyrdom. Every time we do what is asked, holding back from rolling our eyes or complaining, we can be as these men were. Every day we do what we are called to do in our vocation as spouses, parents, employees or employers with love, kindness and selflessness instead of giving into our selfish desires we are being small martyrs. A smile in response to the rude clerk or a silent prayer said instead of the curse. What a thought! He put into easy words something I had either forgotten or never really took to heart. Dying to self is its own small martyrdom.

I left Mass a bit more encouraged! Now I have new motivation to pick up my own bedroom! Too often, I give into my desire to check email just one more time rather than fold the laundry. I often ignore the mess of my desk and pick up that good book I am reading. Today, I have been reminded of the reason I should be a bit more diligent in my duties.

Choosing to do what I should do over what I want to do has a bit more weight for me now. But, I am left wondering if my kids ask why I am humming “Good King Wenceslaus” as September winds down.

You’ve got a friend in me….

Do you have a friend you can rely upon? Do you have a ‘sturdy shelter’, ‘a treasure’, ‘a faithful friend beyond price’?

These phrases taken from Sirach 6 are a reminder of how important is a real friend. Here we are even told, “Faithful friends are life-saving medicine…”.

Saints have known this truth and today we celebrate the feast of St. Vincent de Paul who could count among this friends both St. Francis de Sales and St. Jane de Chantal. While earlier in the week, we celebrated St. Cosmas and Damian. Though brothers, they were also friends who not only worked together to heal, but died together as martyrs. We have St. Francis of Assissi and St. Clare along with another pair of siblings Scholastica and Benedicta. We could list more.

Our children might be all about a new BFF each week but we know finding a good and true friend isn’t always easy. With our busy lives as spouses, parents, and much, much more, having a friend beyond our spouse can be a rare thing.

Sirach knew this as well and while encouraging us to find a good friend, he warned against those who disappear during struggles and talk about our difficulties with others. It is put so clearly; these people are “a friend who turns into an enemy.”

We hope you (and your children) find some good friends through our clubs. And while perhaps distance and the complications of life prevent you from being together as often as you’d like, knowing you have someone to turn to makes those same complications of life easier to bear.

Ecclesiates 4 will tells us, Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.”

For myself, two of my dearest friends live far from my home, literally states away in Kentucky and Massachusetts. But both of these lovely women of God can be relied upon to lift me up, listen to my complaints and never, ever judge me when I fall down. How grateful I am for them!

If you are in need of friend, consider asking St. Vincent de Paul or one of his posse of friends to provide for you in this poverty. The consolation of his friends was such an encouragement to him as he founded his order and changed the lives of so many people in France. Surely, he will help you find a friend wherever you live.

 

 

 

Today starts the St. Therese of Lisieux Novena – Please join us!

What a wonderful way to start off a new year of Little Flower Club meetings (as well as other Behold clubs).

She told us she would spend her days in heaven showering us with roses and I know many of us have had such experiences. Please join us again this year as we pray for all of your intentions.

You can head over to Pray More Novenas or EWTN for all the prayers.

And be sure to let us know what roses fall into your life!

School has started….

Which means I seem busy than ever and I am left wondering where the summer went. But it also means that our groups are up and running all over the country and the world. Have you registered yours?

This small detail just might make a big difference in how your club runs. Granted, it will not have the same impact as today’s gospel. The of the raising of the Widow of Nain’s son changed her life but you might be surprised the little surprises we have for registered clubs. Register HERE.

In the meantime, please remember all the clubs up and running as you do your evening prayers, and be assured of my family’s prayers for your family!

Welcome All New Clubs! Don’t Forget to Register!

A huge welcome to all the new leaders who have started Catholic Clubs this fall! God bless you for your generosity! Please don’t hesitate to let us know if there is anything we can do to help you in your Clubs.

A good place to start with resources for your clubs is the Registered Clubs site. There is a TON of free information available there…from free downloads to links to resources, books, videos, and websites for teaching the saint, virtue, and more. These are trusted resources that we’ve viewed and read to help you in your clubs this year.

To access the Registered Clubs materials, though, you do have to register your club. Don’t worry, though, because it is fast and easy!

Just fill out the form here and get started with your year long membership today!

Camping In Minnesota – Novena Request

Our trip to Portugal via Pine Island, MN was just too much fun. The Moms were wonderful, their daughters were so full of energy, ready to play and have fun. Hopefully, you were able to see some of the photos at our FB page. I always leave that camp with great joy and an eagerness for next year (though I’ll put in my order now for a mite cooler weather in 2018).

Forgive my forgetfulness, but I meant to post this yesterday. While in MN, Fr. Randal Kasel, our wonderful host at St. Paul’s St. Michael’s Church. told us of the novena for the rebirth of purity and chastity the Diocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis beginning this week to end on the Feast of Sts. Ann and Joachim.

While it began yesterday, let’s remember our merciful and loving God stands outside of time and space and will hear and honor our prayers regardless of what date is on the calendar.

Each day is dedicated to a different request and each prayer is powerful and clear in what it asks for. Today is dedicated to Married Couples. Please consider joining in this powerful novena!

Novena to Chastity and Purity

Now, on to Virginia with our next camp in Leesburg, VA at the Freedom Center! Can’t wait to see all the LF’s and their Mom there!

 

 

June is dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Today also happens to be the feast day of St. Justin Martyr who tells us:

We the Christians are the true Israel which springs from Christ, for we are carved out of His heart as from a rock.   – St. Justin Martyr (d. 165)

Carved from the heart of Jesus, what beautiful imagery for us. If we are carved from Christ we can never be apart from Him and isn’t that where we all want to be?

There is so much we can ponder and consider when it comes to the heart of Jesus. Pope Pius XII gave us Haurietis Aquas (On Devotion To The Sacred Heart). It is not an overly long encyclical and you might be able to find time to read it over the next 30 days.

Or take a visit to catholicculture.org for more info on this historical devotion.

Want a beautiful craft? The lovely shirts pictured above can be found over at Shower of Roses (one of my favorite sites for LF ideas and crafts). You will get all details on how to make your own wildly cool tie-dyed shirt.