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Archive for September, 2011

Goey

I’m having a little difficulty this morning.

How can you be SO EXCITED for someone else … and still feel so sad?

I saw Joe off this morning, his car packed. He’s on his way to fulfill his dreams; I’ve prayed for this for him and God has been so good!

Safe travels son … I turn you over to our Father and thank Him for loaning you to me for a time. You have blessed my life more than you will ever know.

24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee.
25 The Lord shew his face to thee, and have mercy on thee.
26 The Lord turn his countenance to thee, and give thee peace. (Numbers 6)

 I’m going to miss him so much.

 

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Once again God has humbled me greatly by the outpouring of His blessings.

I am SO THRILLED for Joe and the job offer he’s received in Portland. I know I’ve been blessed beyond measure by having him here for this long; I know he’s beyond ready to take off and live his life.

But I’ve been becoming more and more bummed as his departure date approaches. I note the “last time” he’ll be here to do this or that; I think of how much I’m going to miss his daily presence in my life. 

And all of that is natural, I know. But sometimes I start to wallow and the LORD has to pick me up again.

He did that today. Joe had a little health scare – he was concerned about the way one eye is dilated noticeably more than the other – and that re-focused me on what is important. I just received a text that he saw the doctor, everything is fine, he’ll see me for supper.

And I had to smile.

Thank you, LORD, for replacing my spirit of self-pity with a spirit of gratitude and praise. Once again I am humbled by your love and tenderness toward me, gently picking me up, turning me around, brushing me off and sending me out again.

I am blessed.

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Know It All

I had to laugh as I read about Eliu. He was young and had waited for the older men to straighten out Job, but as each gave his speech he realized that nobody was able to answer Job. He became angrier and angrier until he was about to burst:

16 Therefore because I have waited, and they have not spoken: they stood, and answered no more:    
17 I also will answer my part, and will shew my knowledge.    
18 For I am full of matter to speak of, and the spirit of my bowels straiteneth me.    
19 Behold, my belly is as new wine which wanteth vent, which bursteth the new vessels.    
20 I will speak and take breath a little: I will open my lips, and will answer.    
21 I will not accept the person of man, and I will not level God with man.    
22 For I know not how long I shall continue, and whether after a while my Maker may take me away. (Job 32)

Haven’t we all known people who “know it all” and are eager to make sure everyone else is aware? Haven’t we all been that person at one time or another?

Hopefully, as we grow in wisdom and age we learn some measure of control and patience and timing.

This passage from Luke 23:12 has my pondering today. I’m not sure why … I think the Holy Spirit may have something for me so I am praying about it. It is a short, simple passage:

And Herod and Pilate were made friends, that same day; for before they were enemies one to another.

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About Wisdom

I love how the Bible speaks of Wisdom as a treasure to be sought. Today’s readings had some little gems about Wisdom tucked inside:

And he said to man: Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom: and to depart from evil, is understanding. (Job 28:28)

This is what Wisdom is … it is fear of the LORD. Understanding that causes us to depart from evil.

Knowing what is Godly in seems so simple some ways; other times it feels elusive. As the Holy Spirit continues to work within me – revealing my own heart to me and transforming me to be more like Him – it is a constant tension to recognize what He is showing me and to allow Him to change me.

Some things are so easy to recognize and release to Him; other things my stubborn heart holds onto. I can be my own worst enemy over-thinking and analyzing, trying to weigh “follow” with “freedom in Christ.”

But I’m getting better at simply trusting that the Holy Spirit will protect me; that it pleases God when we seek and we truly are given reward.

She conducted the just, when he fled from his brother’s wrath, through the right ways, and shewed him the kingdom of God, and gave him the knowledge of the holy things, made him honourable in his labours, and accomplished his labours. (Wisdom 10:10)

Wisdom gives us our labors which are honorable. I am loving the prayer ministry God is teaching me; it is amazing and fits my strengths and weaknesses and personality perfectly. I’d never have pursued it on my own, but I’m pursuing it with all my heart now, confident in the things He is teaching me and showing me.

Isn’t this next one amazing?

She kept him safe from his enemies, and she defended him from seducers, and gave him a strong conflict, that he might overcome, and know that wisdom is mightier than all. (Wisdom 10:12)

Wisdom also gives us strong conflict, that we might overcome. I think of the conflicts He has given me along with the strength to overcome, especially the long dark valley of depression that He walked me through. It was such a long dark night of the soul, and I strayed so far from God.

But after, I have more profound peace and joy confidence in Him than ever before. I see how He protected me even when I didn’t recognize it; I am so grateful for the Wisdom He is giving me.

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Mass

I listened to a sermon recently about the Catholic mass and its history. It really is amazing how similar today’s mass is, to the celebration Justin Martyr described in 148 A.D. The priest noted that Justin Martyr would have known people who knew the disciples!

“On the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons.”

Notice the similarities:

  1. They met on Sunday
  2. All gathered in a central place
  3. “Memoirs of the apostles” or “writings of the prophets” were read … today we also have OT readings and gospel readings
  4. Then is an exhortation to imitate those good things … aka, a sermon based on the readings
  5. All rise and pray together
  6. The bread and water and wine are brought and transformed, then distributed to those present. Also, deacons take it to those who were unable to attend.

Also, in Chapter 66 of Justin Martyr’s First Apology, he describes transformation of the Eucharist: “For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Saviour was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus” (First Apology 66:1-20 [A.D. 148]).

The more I learn about my Catholic faith, the more I appreciate the many gifts I’ve received through it. I know I’ve been deeply blessed and protected by the sacraments and I’m enormously grateful for that. I see other people trying to find a church home and I’m so glad that any Catholic church I enter, is my church home.

Still, I am less about “the church” than I am about God. It does trouble me sometimes that people seem more focused on the church and place their identity in her more than Jesus. I do appreciate the church more and more though, and am so glad that when I was ready to leave, God told me to “wait and watch.”

 

 

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Abortion and 9/11

Tomorrow we mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. I find it very wrenching to think about the fact that every day, roughly the same number of innocents die from abortion, as died on that awful day.  I read this haunting story at lifenews and wanted to copy it here.

Monsignor Reilly told of how he was outside in New York City, with a clear view of the twin towers, when the planes hit.  “On the morning of 9/11 I was praying and counseling outside of a large abortion clinic in Brooklyn,” said Msgr. Reilly. “The abortion mill is located a few blocks from New York Harbor, at a point where you could look across the Harbor and easily see the Twin Towers.”

“The wind was blowing that day from Manhattan to Brooklyn,” recalled the 50-year-veteran pro-life leader. “So when the Towers came down, an incredible black cloud came over our heads. Outside the abortion mill, it became midnight at midday.”

Monsignor said he wanted nothing more at that moment to go to Ground Zero to help and to pray.  However, he knew that his duty at the time was to care for and pray for those women entering the abortion centre outside of which he stood praying.

Reilly noted that due to the disaster all businesses stopped, but, he said, “There was a bizarre exception, namely the killing of unborn babies continued, especially at the mill where I was counseling.  Inside the abortion mill, they were actually watching the events unfold on TV, yet the killing of the babies inside continued.”

“Thus I could not leave the mill at that time to go to Ground Zero,” he said. “I didn’t get to Ground Zero until it was midnight.”

When he finally did arrive at Ground Zero he says he felt totally helpless. As is his custom in such situations, he decided to pray his rosary.  And as he prayed he had the following vision:

As I prayed the rosary, I closed my eyes and with my eyes closed, I suddenly saw the people in the Tower getting ready for work at 9 a.m. Some were getting a drink of water, others a cup of coffee, all feeling safe and secure inside their office. Then I saw the terrorist plane breaking into their secure quarters and exploding like a great bomb with the people in the office having no place to hide, no place to flee. Then still standing at midnight at Ground Zero, I saw not the people in the Towers, but I saw a womb with an unborn child inside, feeling so safe and secure and suddenly breaking through the wall of the womb was this terrorist object, the instrument of the abortionist, with the child having no place to hide, no place to flee from this terrorist instrument.

Msgr. Reilly concluded his address noting that when he opened his eyes, there at Ground Zero, “it became absolutely clear to me that Ground Zero is ongoing. Be not afraid then to go Golgotha, to the abortion clinic, to Ground Zero near you, to rescue the unborn children.”

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Sometimes songs or movie describe us best – who we are in a certain moment.

The last few years I’ve realized that It’s a Wonderful Life is “me.” I used to wonder sometimes why “some” people are given such seemingly blessed lives while others have to struggle so much. I finally realized that I was one of those whose life has been hugely blessed from the very beginning … from the parents I was borne to, to my childhood on an Iowa farm with cousins and aunts and uncles close by, to the husband God gave to me and the children He loaned to us for a time.

Luke 6:38 perfectly describes it: ” … gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap.”

No life is “perfect,” of course. I’ve had a long ugly struggle with depression; we all suffer loss and the Refiner’s Fire. This last weekend I felt like Fiddler on the Roof as I witnessed my niece, Bobbi, being married to the love of her life.

And yesterday Joe finally heard the wonderful news he’s been praying for and working so hard toward … a job offer at an architecture firm in Oregon.

I’m SO THRILLED for him. I’ve been blessed to have him near me longer than anyone has a right to hope for – he turns 28 this month – and he’s beyond ready to build his own life.  And yet … I’m a little sad for me. I know these children are on loan from God; I know they are His and in His hands. It’s just that they have blessed me so deeply, and I will miss him.

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don’t remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?

Wasn’t it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

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