Happy Feast of St. Francis of Assisi – Vocations can come from anywhere

St. Francis of Assisi is my confirmation saint (taken when I thought I wanted to be a vet; you can blame James Herriot’s ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ series for that!).

What has always impressed me about his story is how unlikely his vocation seems to be – a rich boy, a partier, a soldier who fled the battle and then a reformer of the Church and stigmatist.

While we would be as angry as Francis’ father and cringe if any of our children became naked in the public square as Francis did, let’s us strive to be open to the call of God in their lives. With the current headlines, our Church seems in real need of another reformer and perhaps one is in your home or group!!

Check out this inspiring story of some Young Vocations of Today

Happy Belated Feast of St. Therese, Happy Feast of the Guardian Angels….

and on and on and on! It’s not that every day doesn’t have its own saint or reason to celebrate our faith. This first week of October seems especially well-packed!

 

October 1 – St. Therese of Lisieux

October 2 – Feast of the Guardian Angels

October 4 – St. Francis of Assissi

October 5 – St. Faustina and Bl. Alberto Marvelli (my Nora’s Confirmation saint, read his story, it’s awesome)

All of these and others can be found here: Saints in October

So, take a moment, plan a feast (or least a good dessert) and know that in midst of the headlines that frustrate us or anger us or make us want to scream; there is reason for joy.

And while we might find it hard to find anyone to inspire us or encourage us or remind us that serving Jesus is a good thing; there are saints who have done just that.

Have a great week and know you are in our prayers!

 

 

 

Novena to St. Therese has begun – where will you see her roses?

 

Forgive me for not posting this yesterday, but don’t let that prevent you from joining us in prayer through our patroness! Remember, God works outside of time and space.

Head over to Pray More Novenas for the prayers, sign up for email reminders and more.

Be assured you and your family’s intentions have been added to my own during this novena.

And, please, let us know the roses you find along the way!

Happy Feast of St. Matthew – share some good news today!

I like the name Matthew; which means ‘gift from God’. And God has given me more than a few gifts with this name.

I am married to a Matthew, have a son named Matthew, though we call him by middle name. I have a brother Matthew, who has a son named Matthew, who we call Matthew. And, yes, my mother has laughingly complained that there are too many Matthews in her life!

The Matthew we celebrate today is the publican, the tax collector who walked away from his work to follow Jesus. He had a mid-life conversion so to speak; not a crisis, but a change of heart and his willingness to change gave us the gospel that bears his name.

Matthew’s gospel was written for his Jewish friends and neighbors – and us – to convince them Jesus was the promised Messiah. While the entire gospel is excellent, as all of them are, he has given us some verses worth memorizing:

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3-4

and

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37

Take a moment today to send happy words to any Matthew’s in your life, as well as encouraging your friends and family to see Jesus’ as their promised Messiah. For only in Him shall we truly find the peace we all need:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Happy Feast of the Triumph of the Cross!

 

Today is the day we remember the Triumph of the Cross; not so much the pain and suffering Christ endured on the Cross for our salvation but the fact that His death lead to His Resurrection and, at the end of our life, our own.

Today is the day we claim the verse, “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”  Phil. 4:13 By the triumph of the cross I can face my own sins, my own failings and find the strength to do better.

Too often I can find myself running to the cross with tears in my eyes laying down my burdens, overwhelmed by just how hard it always is. I ask Christ to help me endure my struggles as I picture Him there as on Good Friday and I feel broken myself.

I can easily forget that I can run to this same cross on Easter Sunday know it did not kill Him as expected. Satan did NOT win and the tomb is empty. The joy that bubbles up from this reality, this truth is the best boost to my spirit; a caffeine-kick, a jump-start to my soul. It is just want I need to keep going.

This triumphant cross might have inspired Paul to also write this in Phillipians:  “Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice. Your kindness should be known to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

So, find a reason to rejoice today. Celebrate this feast with a smile on your face remembering that Christ has triumphed as the result of a tool of torture. His act is the source of all the grace, mercy and joy we need to face our own crosses. He won and so did we!

 

Welcome Back! Welcome to All! Happy Feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta

 

It is a new school year and with this comes sharp pencils, clean backpacks, a homeschool Mom’s dream of a perfect year and – new Little Flower, Blue Knight and Hospitality Meetings!

It is for this reason that I just love September (and not just because it is my birthday month)!

And with new meetings will come new members. With this in mind, we wanted to share an email we got from a Mom looking for a Little Flowers group in her area:

“….We tried a group last year and we were very disappointed. First, my daughter sat at a table by herself and no girls invited her to sit with them. Second, the other moms were not welcoming. Lastly, there was no emphasis on helping others in need. I want to learn more about your group and how it works. Thank you for your time.”

Their first attempt for friendship was NOT at a LF group and it showed in how they were treated. It is important for us to take her sadness to heart and work to ensure that everyone feels welcome at our meetings – everyone -each and every daughter, mother, son and father.

Our welcoming spirit needs to come not only from the virtues of friendliness and hospitality but simple Love of Neighbor! If we were to ask Jesus, “who is my neighbor?”, He would surely remind us of the story of the Good Samaritan as He did in Luke 10:25-37.

“25 There was a scholar of the law[b] who stood up to test him and said, “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 26 Jesus said to him, “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” 27 He said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” 28 He replied to him, “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.”

Providentially, today happens to be the feast of St. Teresa of Calcutta who we all know as Mother Teresa. If ever we had a role model for welcoming all as if we were welcoming Jesus; it would be her: “I see God in every human being.”

We realize that not everyone is comfortable or as outgoing as others so how do we create a welcoming meeting? Here are just a few ideas on how to make this happen:

-Make sure everyone knows everyone’s name. Seems simple, but from week to week, we can all forget the names of people we have just met or see infrequently. During the first few weeks of meetings, include ice breakers that make use of name repetition. Check out Ice Breaker Name Games

-Consider creating a welcome team of girls with an adult. They could be the ones who greet people at the door, making sure to greet people by name. Throughout the meeting, these members would be asked to keep an eye out for anyone sitting alone or off to the edges. This could be a rotating team so everyone has a chance to shine.

-When choosing teams or partners keep an eye out for closed cliches. While our members will certainly have favorite friends, be careful that these don’t turn into ‘queen bees and wannabees’ or ‘top dog’. You can draw names out of a hat, have members with the same birthday month, same # of letters in their names become partners or teams. In other words, there any number of ways to pair kids up or make teams without having the members do it themselves which can often lead to exclusion of newer members.

Also, don’t be harsh on yourself if you realize exclusion has been a struggle in the past. Today’s first reading let us know that even Paul struggled with this:

“While there is jealousy and rivalry among you, are you not of the flesh, and walking according to the manner of man? Whenever someone says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apollos,” are you not merely men?” 1 Cor. 3:1-9

The tone of our meetings must always be the conclusion of Paul’s exhortation: “For we are God’s co-workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.”

Christ prayed for more workers in the vineyard, more laborers for the harvest. Let us remember that as we welcome new members and new families to our gardens; each one becomes a fresh worker for the harvest, a new co-workers in God’s field.

And, please, please share any ideas that have worked with your group!

Novena for the current crisis

 

If you are struggling, as most of us are, with the current crisis facing our Church, you may be wondering what you can do. Here are a few of many, excellent suggestions being put forth through other blogs, articles and newspapers such as the National Catholic Register:

A new novena offered by Pray More Novenas which begins today:

Novena for Abuse Crisis, Transparency and Healing

You can sign-up for email reminders.

As well as an excellent article encouraging acts of reparation here:

Meeting Scandal with Acts of Reparation

Consider talking with your spouse and children (age appropriately) about what your family might do to bring Jesus and Mary some comfort during this painful time. Our prayers and efforts not only add grace to the world but give the Holy Family and God, the Father some much needed love.

 

 

THANK YOU to all the campers and their Moms!

 

It was a wonderful summer visiting Virginia, Minnesota, and this past weekend – Kentucky!

I want to give a sincere thank you to all the Moms who helped host our camps (and me) and all the Moms who came! It is always so uplifting and encouraging to meet other Moms working on raising a new generation of saints and holy families.

A special hug and shout-out to all the girls who came, from the youngest to the oldest – the smiles, laughter, talent show exploits, painted rocks, songs and s’mores!!

Keep an eye out on our FB page for photos and news about camps for 2019! Yes, 2019! While I’m still tired from this past weekend, I already miss you all and can’t wait till next year!

Be assured of my continued prayers at every Mass and with every Rosary!

Rachel

 

Happy Feast of the Transfiguration

 

Today we celebrate the FEAST OF THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD, this day’s reading from Mark 9:2-10.

This story is retold in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 17:1–8, Mark 9:2–8, Luke 9:28–36) and each offers us a different perspective, a different witnesses’ view so to speak.

Over at the National Catholic Register, you can find a good article by Jimmy Akin from 2013  – 10 Things You Need to Know about the Transfiguration

His column comes out of the story’s inclusion in the readings of Advent for that year where he concludes his message with this important reminder:

“They (special events in the Gospels- Rachel) may have been meant only as momentary glimpses of the joy of heaven to sustain us as we face the challenges of this life, to help strengthen us on the road that will–ultimately–bring us into the infinite and endless joy of heaven.”

That truth is something I need to remember each and every day, because each and every day I want/demand a miracle. I want to see something amazing as proof that God loves me, remembers me.

But, I should be drawing strength and joy from the miracles visible each day – Eucharist at Daily Mass, a husband who heads to work each day at 6:00 a.m., children who went to Mass with me today (without any grumbling) and the promise of a heavenly home!

In other words, there are miracles all around me, ways God is showing me His love even without the arrival of Moses and Elijah. Remembering that truth, it seems my attitude might need some transfiguring!

 

 

Feeling like time has slipped away from you?

 

I have often felt like time has slipped through my fingers; too often. Wether this feeling has come from losing track of time while on the internet (“I’ll just take a look at a few things….”) or lost in a book (“One more chapter….”), I can get to the end of the day and wonder what did I do all day? Of course, I fed my children, laundry is done and my house is relatively clean but I suspect I probably waste more time than I use.

This feeling of lost time can sometimes overwhelm me as Satan can easily use it to make me feel just awful; that God is disappointed in me and I’ve let Him down – again. However, these feelings are NOT true. Even if I am accurate in how much time I waste, God’s love for me remains. While some adjustments might be needed to be made in how I manage my time, God’s love for me is constant.

But, I have often wondered if, because God is outside of time and space, He could ‘do something’ about use of the time and space He has given me? If that were possible, I would have a weapon to use when Satan fills my head with feelings of failure. And I just discovered, happily discovered, the answer to that question is: YES!

Check out this article from Aleteia: Redeeming Time

To quote the article by Philip Kosloski:

“St. Teresa of Avila composed a beautiful prayer on this topic, imploring God to transform that time from “loss to gain.” If you are feeling particularly down about the past, pray this prayer and trust that God can bring about a greater good from whatever time was wasted.

O my God! Source of all mercy!
I acknowledge Your sovereign power.
While recalling the wasted years that are past,
I believe that You, Lord,
can in an instant turn this loss to gain.
Miserable as I am,
yet I firmly believe that You can do all things.
Please restore to me the time lost,
giving me Your grace,
both now and in the future,
that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.”

Amen

I’ll be using some of the valuable time God has given me to memorize this prayer as a way to fight back against Satan’s attempts to shame me for lost time. Jesus, by His death and resurrection, has redeemed all things (Rev. 21:5) – me, you and, yes, even time!