Monday, October 10, 2011

...and some long overdue thank you's to my amazing family!


This is, finally, my last post here, scheduled to post itself on Monday morning (as I start Office of Readings with the sisters) after I'm gone. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works!)

It's Multitude Monday...and about time that I took some space on this blog to say "Thank You" to the people who who have been the deepest source of inspiration, the greatest loves in my life, no matter what: My family.

Apart from God, no one knows me better than you. We have been through so much together...

+  +  +

Mommy and Daddy,
thank you for teaching me how to pray and how important prayer is. You have always invited me and the others to holiness by example as much as by word, if not more.
Thank you for all the very important little things you did to make my life beautiful... for singing to me when I was a baby, for throwing me in the air, for tipping my mattress up at night (the best good-night routine ever!), for cleaning up (and teaching me how to clean up) my messes (physical and spiritual!) over the years.
Thank you for being there to listen and help me all the time, even (especially) during all the years when if I rarely took proper advantage of your help or listened to you!
Thank you for all of the sacrifices you make for me and our family to keep us healthy, happy, and holy. It really has been a grace, a great grace from God to have grown up in this family, in this household.

J,
I know I've already said this, but I'll say it again, it bears repeating, because it is just so true...thank you for being the best big brother ever! For the laughs, for the lessons, for the love. To take just one moment, or rather some of the best moments of my childhood, I'll never forget the joy of playing on the swing set during the summer listening to the Maple Leaf club's amazingly beautiful music. So much fun! And that pretty much sums up our life, doesn't it, only the goodness in you goes deeper than just plain fun. Being your sister makes holiness more fun than anything else I know! Thank you!

G,
thank you for putting up with me when I was (hopefully this only pertains to the past tense) an annoying little sister all those years. Following you around at the barn was fun, even if it didn't turn out to be my thing, and it meant a lot to me to have you as my prefect and my captain during my freshman year of highschool. I always looked up to you when we were growing up together, and still have so many reasons to admire you today. Good luck with all of your cooking adventures, and thank you for "following" me.

F,
thank you for being the best 'big' sister ever! (I don't remember when I started calling you my big sister, but I'll never forget all the ways that you have been, sort of.) For all of your the advice that I took, for better or for worse (always for better in the long run!), for your zany stories that amuse me to no end (they are just stories, right?!), for all the times we spent just talking about life...you're the best. And I mean it! I Love you, Little Lee Lee Lotta!

S,
what did you do to my cute little brother?(sorry, just had to ask that!) I am so proud of you, and it is such a joy to see you excel at everything, from academics, to running and swimming, and building upside-down ball tower tracks out of K'nex...thank you especially for bringing me to Compline these last few weeks, I owe you for that! ...all in all, life with you has been an amazing adventure...Godspeed!

D, last of all...
(Gretta: "Why am I always last?"//Uncle Max: "Because you are the most important!"-The Sound of Music)
I love you, love you, love you so much. Every minute we spent together was a real blessing, from our morning walks to church to our evening walks down by the bay. Thank you for talking with me, listening to me, and putting up with my occasional need to quiz you on the saint of the day! You are an absolutely beautiful young lady, and you have taught me so much over the years, about faith, life, and love. I am going to miss you so much, but look forward to your visits at the convent. I love you!

+  +  +

And to everyone else in my family: Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins...thank you for all the good times in PA, NY, FL, RI, or wherever the good Lord has brought us together over the years (though I think I've covered all the bases, I hope..oh, wait...D.C./MD/CT/NJ should be on that list, too!) We have had so much fun together, and I am incredibly grateful for all of your love, encouragement, generosity and prayers.

+  +  +

To all of the above, I am living in the convent because I love God and I love you.
In Christ, I am yours forever...


Love and prayers always from your unworthy daughter/sister/granddaughter/niece/cousin,

Mary

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Two more quotes before I go...

from a reflection on Martha and Mary:

“The external world is inclined to consider itself the real world; it accepts the inner realm as a remote, somewhat degenerate addition in which the weakling takes refuge when he can go no further. One day the correction will be made. What is now silent will be clearly evident as the stronger thing; what is now hidden as the decisive. The heart will prove itself mightier than the hand, a man’s essence weightier than his works. But things will not be entirely right until both worlds meet and blend. Then as much of the extrinsic will remain as is justified by the intrinsic; the rest will fall away. Only that will be received into the new creation which the spirit upholds as true.” (Guardini, Romano. The Lord, p. 228)      

This is how I hope to cross the threshold this afternoon, by the grace of God...                 

“So with no regrets and a heart filled with joy, I walked through the Catholic monastery enclosure door...With a heart overflowing with gratitude I gave myself forever to the Lord.”
(from Sr. Mary Mannes O.P.’s vocation story in Vocation in Black and White, p. 14...Sr. Mary Mannes is one of the sisters at my convent)

Thank you, Goodbye and Godspeed to all (well, almost...)

On this day, I am upheld by the grace of God and the prayers and good will of many souls.
Truly my life and vocation are a tremendous grace, 
and I could not be faithful to it all without the help of your prayers and encouragement.

I offered my Holy Communion this morning for the intentions of all.
All my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings are for the intentions of Jesus' Sacred Heart;
If I live for Him, I live for you, too. 
He loves you and desires all your good.

There will be two more posts on this blog, scheduled to appear after I go,
one today, and one on Monday.
Then, I will be quiet and hidden. I promise.

In the meantime, 

Jesus, Mary, Joseph, we love you, save souls!


St. Dominic, Pray for us!

 St. Benedict, Pray for us!



My Jesus, I trust in You!

(image sources are linked directly to the images)

Friday, October 7, 2011

When I wasn't looking...

...16 of my Dominican Brothers at the House of Studies were installed as Lectors on (or around?) September 18th. (Pictures are here...starting in the second row.) May they persevere in their vocations to serve God as sons of St. Dominic!

Hopefully in the future my sisters will keep me more up-to-date on the Friars' news than I have kept myself!

Also, Br. Peter Martyr Joseph posted an article about today's feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on the Vocations Blog.

Our Lady of the Rosary

source
Today is the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary,
and my last full day at home.

Here is a quote from a Benedictine monk, which a friend sent me a few years ago on the Rosary and which I have never quite forgotten (my emphasis in bold): 

"Be not afraid of distractions, provided you are willing to struggle against them.  Our heavenly Mother understands so well our weakness, our tired feelings, our weariness at times.  Hail Mary's multiplied never displease her. She appreciates your murmurings of faith, hope, and love. Do your best. But, never give up your beads. To carry them on your person . . . is that not as if you were saying them all day, all night secretly? 
 Keep them, at times, especially in time of trial, in the hollow of your hand. That is to clasp Mary's hand."

out of curiosity, I just googled the first line, and (as I suspected) found a longer version on Vultus Christi. 
Go there for the rest of it!

P.S. The Dominican Friars have redesigned their website (I thought I was lost for a minute!), and just posted a brief note for today's feast here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Your prayer intentions?

As a nun once said to me, recalling her own entrance into the convent and Profession days,
"Jesus can't refuse the prayers of a soul when she gives herself completely to Him."

This may not be my last post here, but today I want to say thank you, dear readers,
for taking the time to stop by to read my poor words.
On Saturday, I am entering the convent to begin my postulancy.
My vocation is to pray for all souls: my family, priests, seminarians, and all my friends
--that includes you, whoever, wherever you are.

On Saturday morning, I will receive Holy Communion for all of your intentions,
and in the afternoon I will carry you all in my heart
as I cross the threshold of the door that can only be opened by love.

If you have any specific intentions you would like me to bring to prayer,
please leave them in the comment box,
or just leave your name/nickname and I will remember your intentions....

Thank you again for everything, and please pray for me, too!

In Christ,

Mary

update: doing some housekeeping type stuff, the comment boxes are now closed. Sorry. But I will pray for all you readers of my blog and your intentions anyway. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Blessed Raymund of Capua

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Today is the feast of Blessed Raymund of Capua.

He was St. Catherine of Siena's spiritual director
and the 23rd Master of the Order of Preachers.

 Br. Raymund O.P. has written a beautiful article
about his patron and Catherine of Siena...
Go check it out at the Dominicana blog--it's wonderful!

"Never forget the graces of God!"
 -St. Catherine of Siena

Monday, October 3, 2011

All this is love, love's gifts.

This is my last Multitude Monday post.

On Saturday afternoon, I will pass through the door that only Love can open...and my life as the littlest daughter of St. Dominic will begin.

In the meantime, there is so much to be grateful for here and now...just noticing the little moments of grace every day...

...starting new, for the last time (here, anyway), in no particular order...
  1. he came back to get me for Compline
  2. Gregorian Salve, oh, how I'll miss it, though the Dominican Salve already holds a place in my heart, too.
  3. singing O Lumen in the dark on the way home, followed by the De Profundis.
  4. I have a place to call home and a family that loves me
  5. Sister time watching Theresa of the Andes together and thinking about the separation we will have to endure as I answer God's call to be a cloistered nun
  6. Brother time building the best K'nex ball tower ever; I couldn't have done it without him 
  7. the astounding generosity of a friend giving me her favorite icon 
  8. I was able to go to confession (finally, and just in time to prepare for my entrance!)
  9. Adoration for more than an hour on Friday
  10.  hugs, hugs, and more hugs
  11. sunset Vespers by the bay
  12. the beautiful moon, waxing again
  13. my oldest brother, still the best big brother ever
  14. the humility that comes from reading through old teacher's comments from high school, just reminding me where I've come from
  15. beautiful plans of my friends from college, working on Organization for Life projects
  16. other vocation stories
  17. Dominicana articles making me think every day (and reminding me to pray for my Dominican brothers!)
  18. a holy priest's homilies podcasted!
  19. week of holy feastdays, especially St. Francis of Assisi tomorrow, Bl. Raymund of Capua on Wednesday, and Our Lady of the Rosary on Friday.
  20. the grace to keep on praying
  21. these words from today's Office of Readings: "pray earnestly and frequently, not offering long and wearisome prayers, but praying often, and with perseverance." (Saint Ambrose)
for these, and the untold gifts that I've noticed moment by moment but forgotten now...

my sweet Jesus, I thank You!  

And I join the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience today for the last time
 
 
Blessed be God forever, forever Amen!

One day at a time...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI on St. Therese of Lisieux

Short and sweet...well worth three minutes today!


 St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face, pray for us!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI on Sainthood

Following some advice given by the good Abbot last night at Bible Study,
I read Pope Benedict XVI's recent address from the Vigil with young people,
given at Fair, Freiburg im Breisgau on Saturday, 24 September 2011.

The whole thing is indeed well worth reading, but here's a long quote of my favorite part:

Often it is thought that a saint has to be someone with great ascetic and moral achievements, who might well be revered, but could never be imitated in our own lives. How false and discouraging this opinion is! There is no saint, apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary, who has not also known sin, who has never fallen. Dear friends, Christ is not so much interested in how often in our lives we stumble and fall, as in how often with his help we pick ourselves up again. He does not demand glittering achievements, but he wants his light to shine in you. He does not call you because you are good and perfect, but because he is good and he wants to make you his friends. Yes, you are the light of the world because Jesus is your light. You are Christians – not because you do special and extraordinary things, but because he, Christ, is your life, our life. You are holy, we are holy, if we allow his grace to work in us.

Amen!

Michaelmas


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Today is the Feast of the Holy Archangels:
Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael.

There are just nine days left until my Entrance Day,
perfect for a Novena for the following intentions

That I might be faithful to prayer and to God's will at every moment
Healing and grace for friends in pain and need
Grace for my family and friends, especially priests and seminarians
All the intentions entrusted to my prayers

~a prayer just for today~

God our Father, 
in a wonderful way you guide the work of angels and men.
May those who serve you constantly in heaven
keep our lives safe from all harm on earth.


Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever amen!
(-Closing prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours for today)


Blessed be God forever, for ages unending, amen!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home again


As I unpack my bags,
I pause for a moment to look at the crucifix hanging above my bed
and I sigh, “Home.”

My heart and soul are at peace
after a beautiful trip to the mountain country
where I was born.

Grace upon grace showers down on me in these last few weeks
as I finally realize how dear they all are,
my family far and near,
only when it’s time to say goodbye.

And prayers fall from my heart,
through my lips,
on my breath as I have learned from holy people.

I pray calmly, quietly,
as I unpack my bags,
at home only for a time.

Lord, help me to live these last few weeks—days!
one day at a time, in the moment.
Thank you for all the precious moments!”


11 days left, and I give thanks for:


-those mountains surrounding me for the last time : : homecoming over and over again
-American Cassinise Benedictines : : Mass with seminarians 
-The Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, looking after everyone in that house
-knowing that Sara is at peace : : and it's not too late to get to know her better
-this post, making me even more grateful for the rich correspondences I have enjoyed over the last few years

Joining the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience today and every Monday 
(but there is only one Monday left until E-Day!)
 
 
Blessed be God forever!

One day at a time...

Monday, September 19, 2011

It's time to Choose Joy!

Gitzen Girl is taking the Christian Blogosphere by storm...why have I not known her until now?

How can I live as she dies, this incredibly strong woman who has strengthened so many hearts with her words?

I thank God for her life, hidden from me until now, now revealed for His Glory forever.

And I live. I love. I choose Joy.

There are many more tributes online, at Craig's, Ann's, and countless other blogs...go check them out, and join me in praying for Sara as she finishes the race!

counting down the days and still counting gifts

19 days left until my Entrance Day and what am I doing?

Trying to live life as normally as possible, right here, right now,
even as love grows more intense, more urgent with every passing day.

My sister throws herself into my arms over and over again and I don't mind because I know I'll miss her, too.

My brother and I, we dream big, and build tall. Another ball tower, weeks in the making...and it is amazing!

And I yell at him and his teammates on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, cheering them to run fast and hard and well. And he does, he runs the 5k in under19 minutes, breaking his record from last year.

I spend time with beautiful children across the street, and every day I learn love, so many ways I never dreamed of. So many precious moments here!

The students have been back for a week, and though I know only too few of their names, they are part of my family, too. It's a crazy wonderful family, and I'm thankful to be here, if only for a time...

This week, I am going to visit my mother's family for a few days, and hopefully visiting a priest friend  who lives in their area as well, if God wills it. But how will I say goodbye to the land of my first birth?

And I have a letter to write, possibly the last one for some time.
Lord, please help me find the words to say thank-you again!


Giving thanks for God's super-abundant gifts:

-time away from the blog to clear my head...
-but still finding time to write a post on a Sunday afternoon, giving thanks
-a surprise for my sister nearly done
-hugs, hugs, and more hugs
-brother takes me to Compline twice a week : : it's never too late!
-sister's delicious chocolate brownies
-crocheting blue yarn in the round
-advice from a friend
-the Saint Song (just plain fun!)

-tears of fatigue : : tension melting away : : rest
-the last beautiful letter in this series
-more fun with rubber stamps
photo by my neighbor, mother of 3!
-train whistle wishes
-chasing that beautiful toddler across the plaza
- Baby Bjorn : : picture of three girls ready for an adventure

(there were three of us in this picture, but I didn't ask for permission from the parents of the other two to post their pictures online, so just me here. Sorry. But imagine, if you can, a beautiful baby girl in a baby carrier and my sister at my side--that's her hand on my shoulder)

-bursting out happy smiles on our faces

-finding a classmate and cross-country captain at the meet
-cheering the team until my voice starts to give : : 18:59!
-a random kid's thoughtful thanks for my encouragement
-apple cinnamon muffins for breakfast
-running around with 4 amazing kids again : : joy, joy, joy, joy : :Go, Go, Go! on an adventure


Joining the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience today and every Monday 
(but there are only two Mondays left until E-Day!)
 
 
Blessed be God forever!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

E.E. Milne, Papa Haydn, and Song of Songs...


source
In other words, it's been a beautiful evening!
I just finished reading A.A. Milne's masterpiece Once on a Time, just for fun between other things.

Here are some (rather long) excerpts from my favorite part:

(background first) Wiggs is a young girl who has always dreamed of being a beautiful, graceful dancer. One day, a fairy gave her a magic ring that would grant her a good wish if she managed to do only good for a whole day, and a bad wish if she managed to do only bad for a whole day. After being good for a whole day, she makes a very difficult decision, a decision which she thinks will help another but prevent her dearest wish from coming true, and then she runs away from the castle, into the forest...

It was very quiet in the forest. At the foot of her own favorite tree, a veteran of many hundred summers who stood sentinel over an open glade that dipped to a gurgling brook and climbed gently away from it, she sat down. On the soft green yonder she might have danced, an enchanted place, and now—never, never, never...
            How long had she sat there? It must have been a long time—because the forest had been so quiet, and now it was so full of sound. The trees were murmuring something to her, and the birds were singing it, and the brook was trying to tell it too, but would keep chuckling over the very idea so that you could hardly hear what it was saying, and there were rustlings in the grass—“Get up, get up,” everything was calling to her; “dance, dance.”
           She got up, a little frightened. Everything seemed so strangely beautiful. She had never felt it like this before. Yes, she would dance. She must say “Thank you” for all this somehow; perhaps they would excuse her if it was not very well expressed.
            “This will just be for ‘Thank you,’” she said as she got up. 
“I shall never dance again.”
            And then she danced...
(Milne, A.A. Once on a Time, 156)

 Of course I can't help reading into this beautiful passage a bit, bringing my faith into it. I love the sacramentality of nature in what Wiggs experiences here. The beauty of the world, compelling us to dance, to sing, to praise. We must say "Thank You" to God in whatever way we can, even if it is "not very well expressed."

source
This reminds me of some lines from a song I got to sing in choir two years ago; 
Haydn's "The Heavens are Telling":


The Heavens are telling the glory of God,
The wonder of his work displays the firmament...
In all the lands resounds the word,
Never unperceived, ever understood.


And there is one more passage that I have to share from Milne, which appears shortly after the one quoted above...

...There is blue magic in the morning; the sky, deep-blue above, melts into white where it meets the hills. The wind waits for you up yonder—will you go to meet it? Ah, stay here! The hedges have put on their green coats for you; misty green are the tall elms from which the rooks are chattering. Along the clean white road, between the primrose banks, he comes. Will you be round this corner?—or the next? He is looking for you...
(Milne, A.A. Once on a Time, 158)

Sadly, I was unable to find a picture to capture these words, but maybe some more words from another book might do?

Hark, my Lover, here He comes!...My Lover is mine, and I am His!

Enough said.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

At the Foot of the Cross

 Listening to Kathryn Scott's At the Foot of the Cross right now...a perfect song for today...

Here are Kathryn Scott's beautiful lyrics, story afterward:


(by Fra Angelico)
 At the foot of the cross
Where grace and suffering meet
You have shown me Your love
Through the judgment You received

And You've won my heart
Yes You've won my heart
Now I can

Trade these ashes in for beauty
And wear forgiveness like a crown
Coming to kiss the feet of mercy
I lay every burden down
At the foot of the cross

At the foot of the cross
Where I am made complete
You have given me life
Through the death You bore for me

I'm laying every burden down
I'm laying every burden down 


This afternoon, I was sent home early to rest after a good talk with the matriarch across the road. She is so good to me, and I am so grateful for all her help getting through this time of transition in my life. It's been busy lately, and I'm trying to figure out how to balance everything--helping her, family life, spiritual life...ideally everything would come together organically and overlap, and I would not waste so much time on the internet when I come home in the evenings!

But I am not so good at time management these days. I've got to start going cold-turkey on the internet, or something almost as strict. It's nearly time to give up on this blogging thing. It was good this summer, but now it's becoming a burden, so quickly, and I've got to learn to let go of everything that holds me back and keeps me from getting to bed at a decent hour at night. Drafting posts for the next day doesn't help, and I can't imagine having a blog and not posting on every feast day, every experience in my life, significant or not...it's becoming a bit of an addiction, and I'll definitely have to pray about this. Either way, there are only 23 days left until my entrance into the convent, so time is limited anyway!

I'm laying every burden down...and I am grateful for every manifestation of the Cross in my life, especially on this day. Though I've run from every single splinter of the Cross, and screamed, and been absolutely contrary all my life, I want to turn around and embrace God's will for me forever, in joy and in sorrow, in strength and weakness, in sickness and in health, until death.

I'm laying every burden down...

The Glorious Cross of Christ


Photo by Lawrence Lew O.P.


 Today is the feast
of the Triumph of the Holy Cross...

and in light of this great feast,
I reflect on some words...

+  +  +  +  +

from St. Paul's Letter to the Philippians:

Christ, though he was in the form of God, did not deem equality with God
something to be grasped at,
but emptied himself,
taking on the form of a slave...
so God exalted him,
giving him the name
above every other name!

+  +  +  +  +
Jesus' own invitation to deny ourselves, take up our crosses, and follow Him...
and His reminder that there is no greater love than that one should lay down one's life for one's friends.


+  +  +  +  +

from a recent letter from a friend:

"Love which refuses to serve is not love at all."

+  +  +  +  +

 Love's Lesson that:

"if love can be earned, it is not love."

+  +  +  +  +


And above all, John's reason for hope:
"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son so that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life!" (John 3:16)

+  +  +  +  +

no time for elaboration/ explanation...it's another day at my neighbors'...nothing left but love!

Ave Crux, spes unica!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lest I ever Confuse the Two Again (II)

(edited re-post from the end of July, because hanging out with beautiful children takes precedence over blog originality right now...)

+  +  +  +  +

Saint Peter Chrysologus is decidedly not the same as Saint John Chrysostom. But I must admit, I get the two mixed up rather easily. It's a good thing I have the Patron Saint Index to get me un-confused. Here's what I've learned (hopefully some of it will stick):

Today's saint is John Chrysostom
 He lived from 347 until 407
In 398 he was appointed bishop of Constantinople
Because of his beautiful sermons, people gave him the nickname "Chrysostom" or "Golden tongue" (now you see why I get the two mixed up so easily?!)
In 451 he was recognized as a Doctor of the Church
He is the patron saint of Constantinople/Istanbul, orators, preachers, and speakers
He is also invoked against epilepsy

Peter Chrysologus is remembered on July 30.
He lived from 406 until 450
In 433 he became the Bishop of Ravena, Italy
Fought Monopyhsitism, which is the heresy that Jesus only had one nature
Because of his beautiful sermons, people gave him the nickname "Chrysologus" or "Golden word"
However, he was not proclaimed a Doctor of the Church until 1729
He is the patron saint against fever and against mad dogs.

Here's a quote from John Chrysostom:

"God asks little, but He gives much.





And another one, from today's Office of Readings:

"If God wants something, let it be done! If he wants me to stay here, I am grateful. But wherever he wants me to be, I am no less grateful." (from a homily by Saint John Chrysostom, bishop)

Amen! Blessed be God forever, in all His angels and all His saints! Amen!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Three Women Named Mary

On Saturday morning, I wear my blue "i love babies" t-shirt,
and after Mass, I wait for the woman who asked me to help out at a yard sale.

I make my thanksgiving for Communion,
for the gift of the Lord's presence in my heart by the statue of Mary.

And the widow stops to say hello.
Holding out her hands to me, she tells me that I am so beautiful, that God must be pleased with me,
and she wants to keep in touch when I go away...we will exchange addresses soon.

Only later do I realize that what she sees is not what I see,
and I am humbled by her praise,
because God only let her see the beautiful in me--His gift,
though I can often only see the ugly in me--my sins, my weaknesses, my faults, my brokenness.

+  +  +  +  +

On that sunny Saturday afternoon, at the yard sale, I see a woman in blue stop and bend over.
She cannot take another step.

I ask, "are you all right ma'am?" but she does not respond.

A tall man catches up with her, and she begs him to let her have a smoke.
We are on school property, a parish school, and he says to her,

"no, Mary. You can't smoke here."
 She pleads and pleads, but he will not let her,
so she goes and sits on the curb, alone,
until it is time for them to go.

My heart is breaking, for her, for him, for all who struggle in this world...
"is this what addiction does, Lord?"

And as I look from one to the other, the man notices my worried stare,
my curiosity that I cannot contain, and apologizes to me.
He apologizes, and I can see how much her pain hurts him, though he tries to hide it.
I realize that he has to deal with this every day, and he can do it, but he can't.
And I don't know what to say, what to do, but I pray.

Sweet Jesus, blessed Mary, pray for us and give strength to her, patience to him, grace to all!

Later, I realize that this Mary was obedient, even at the cost of suffering,
and I am sure that our encounter was not an accident or a coincidence.

Blessed Pope John Paul II says, "In the designs of Providence, there are no coincidences."
(Weigel, George. Witness to Hope, p. 440)

+  +  +  +  +

Today is the feast of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

After the name of Jesus, the name of Mary is the holiest, most beautiful name in the history of the world.
This is because Mary is the holiest, most beautiful woman who ever lived.
And we should never be afraid to take her as our Mother, to call on her name for help.
She will not take us to herself alone, but will lead us to her Son, for our salvation and the glory of God.

For Mary knows our joys, but she also shares in our struggles, our weaknesses, our burdens...
more than any other woman, she knows all this.
She was with me and the widow in church, looking with a mother's love on both of us.
She was with me when I realized how unworthy I am of the widow's love, let alone Mary's and God's!
She was with Mary on the curb, helping her to be obedient,
and with the man who cares for Mary, helping him to love patiently.
She watches us all bear our crosses behind our Lord,
intercedes for us with a mother's love,
and will be with us, rejoicing when we rise with Him.

 +  +  +  +  +

I rejoice with Mary on this, her nameday, and I give thanks to God the Father through her...

1000+x+22...and still counting...
for my mother's broken toe on the mend day by day : : the Abbots' reactions and her rebuttal

joys of nanny work : : red baby jogger : : just-in-time diaper change : : "Daddy Loves Me" onesie

oddly familiar laugh lines on an unfamiliar face : : sister's help : : yard sale ladies in leis 
knots, knots, knots : : good children : : lighthouse ring-toss : : a secret surprise for my helper in the works

more K'nex adventures : : the last hurrah : : "zi-ba-zi-ba-zib-zib" she sings and we laugh

banana cake with chocolate frosting : : crows summoning us to the picnic : : swooping swallows-bug control!

sister time : : new year at the high-school begins tomorrow : : more nanny work this week


Joining the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience today and every Monday:
 
Blessed be God forever!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Busy but Blessed

It has been a busy but blessed week.

Most every day from Monday to Friday has been spent across the street
with three of the most beautiful kids in the world.
Running around with strollers, bottle feeding, building blocks, fun!

Days of playing nanny and mother's helper from 8:15-4:30
doesn't leave much time or energy for anything else,
but as I told a friend, it doesn't matter all that much in the end.
God's will, God's providence, has placed me here,
given me these things to do, and if I can do them with love, that is enough.
And over the last two weeks, I have been learning to love what I do.
God has given me a growth in confidence,
more than I had when I started out
trying to fill my sister's shoes in that household.
May He be blessed forever!

Today, on my day 'off', I spent several hours
helping out at a yard sale for the local Woman to Woman crisis pregnancy center.
I was a little bit nervous about this, but in the end it was a very good experience.
It was wonderful to see so many different people, and to pray for them,
and to know that a few hours of my service could make a difference in the life of a woman in need.
So I am exceedingly grateful to the woman who not only put it all together,
but also invited me to help out with the children's games,
and also to my mother, who not only helped make some of the games better,
but also baked the best chocolate chip cookies ever.

Home again, I found this beautiful video on In the Heart of my Home.


Just beautiful. The last few moments sent chills down my back.

That's enough for now...
I have to look at the Mass readings for tomorrow,
listen to Word to Life,
and work on a surprise for my littlest sister (something I got for a donation at the yard sale)

Sweet Jesus, Jesus Love,
before I go, a few words, please.
I ask that You bless all the kids and families who came to the yard sale,
all the volunteers and people who contributed to this day in any way.
Bless also the women who will benefit from the proceeds, Lord,
You know what they need, and will give it.
My Jesus, I love You.
My Jesus, I trust in You.
My Jesus, I adore You!

Praise be to God
for the grace of this day,
for the grace of this week,
and for the promise that next week holds in store (including more nanny work!)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy Birthday, dearest Mother!

Today is the Feast of the Nativity of Mary.

Murillo's "The Birth of the Virgin Mary"
and now, here are some semi-poetic thoughts, 
sparked by the realization that Murillo painted 
Baby Jesus and Baby Mary looking at one another!

+  +  +

At Her Nativity
O dear Mary, mother Mine,
I have waited nine months to see your face!
Hidden within your mother's womb
I let you grow in silence
and now, here you are!
You are Mine, and I am yours!

O sweet Jesus, Son of God
quickly come!
Hidden in my womb
you will grow in silence
indeed, here I am: I am for You!
You are mine, and I am yours!

Do not be afraid of angel greetings
Do not be afraid of prophesy
or of the bitter road that lies ahead
All generations will call you blessed 
because of Me:
You are Mine, and I am yours!

How can I say if I will be afraid
there will be much to fear, I know
especially on that dreadful hill 
but my Fiat I will give to You
every day of my life,
You are mine and I am Yours!

Do not be afraid, most pure one
you will see the face of God and live
 Little one, you are a child now
but one day  you shall be 
the mother of all of God's children
for You are Mine, and I am yours!

I am not afraid, for You are my purity,
my God, my Son, and my Life
Yes, I am a child now, a little one always
but one day I shall be
the mother of all little ones
for You are mine, and I am Yours!

+  +  +


Sweet Jesus, Jesus Love,
You are mine, and I am Yours!
Thank You for the gift of Your Mother, my Mother!

Blessed Mother Mary, 
pray for us who have recourse to thee!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Great Victory!

Now I have yet another reason to be proud of my Dominican brethren:

Dominican Province of St. Joseph | Dominicans Triumph Over Marians, 14-8 Blog | op-stjoseph.org

(I never thought I'd be posting baseball scores here, but hey, there's a first time for everything, right?!)

Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows

Source
Brief Introduction:

The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows is on September 15th,
the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

I am praying this Novena
to Our Lady of Sorrows
for nine days, beginning today,
for the following intentions:

-a greater love for Christ's Cross

-healing for a dear friend




The Novena:

Pray the Hail Mary seven times while meditating on the Seven Sorrows of our Lady: 
*The Prophecy of Simeon
*The Flight into Egypt
*The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
*The Meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross
*The Crucifixion
*The Taking Down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross
*Jesus laid in the Tomb

Let us pray,
 
O God, at Whose passion,
according to the prophesy of holy Simeon,
a sword of grief
pierced the most sweet soul
of the glorious Mary, Virgin and Mother;
grant, in Thy mercy,
that we who honor the memory of her sorrows
may gain the happy fruit of Thy sufferings.
Who livest and reignest
world without end.
Amen.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Multitude Monday

(just an old picture I drew w/Paint a few years ago)
Now, with little more than a month left at home, 

moments are all I have,

and moments are all I have to deal with.


This double truth

is a double grace

and I am giving thanks today 

for God's superabundant gifts of grace: 







 1000+x+32...

-Thursday evening phone call : : a chair to hold me : : joy and thanksgiving running over
- Living Engaged to Him now : : thoughtful responses to my news coming in every day : :
so much love : : so many words of encouragement!

-Catholic family across the road : : tomatoes and strawberries : : talk of engagement with one who understands -she baked an extra loaf of bread for them  

-SeƱor's wisdom : : sharing his "I told you so" laughter

-no one at home at the wrong door : : orange crescent moon setting over the Bay : : Coyote lessons : : Guardian angel : : encouragement from a Christian friend : : wondering about angels
-I am not alone : : I am not independent

-encouragement from my grandmother to keep writing : : a generous aunt

-fun with K'nex creating Archimedean Excogitation Jr. (a.k.a. the Entropy Machine),
a modified version of the trampoline tower : : teamwork vs entropy
-Discovering George Rhoads and finding a video of the Archimedian Excogitation (Senior) online

-patient friends who do not give up on me, no matter how long it takes to respond to their letters
-fun with rubber stamps and markers

-Family Games on Sunday : : Monopoly after Holy Mass: : Scrabble after Dinner

-a new week for moments.

Joining the Gratitude Community at A Holy Experience today and every Monday:

 
Blessed be God forever!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

My Guardian Angel...

Source
...is AMAZING! 

And so are God's people.
Generous people.
Forgiving people.
Kind people.
Helpful people.
+  +  +  +  +

When her parents asked me if I needed a ride home
after a babysitting job late last night,
I said, "I think I'm all set, thanks."

Normally I take a golf cart from the club
up to the other side of the golf course and walk home from there.
It's only about a 3 minute drive followed by a 5 minute walk
all in familiar territory.

source



Late last night, when I got to the carts,
I stopped for a moment, wondering.
What was that noise coming from the woods?
Crazy shrieking, laughing, howling.
Coyote party!

I was terrified.

"Lord, help me! What am I to do?
I can't go home alone tonight!"

And I prayed to my guardian angel
for help and protection
as I swallowed my pride
and went back to the room named "Courageous."

He was very understanding, and came down with me.
He took me home the long way,
the safe way,
 six, seven minutes by car.

 + + + + +
Tonight, I am going back to babysit again.
But this time, I will borrow my mother's cell phone
so that I can call my father late at night
to come take me home the long way,
the safe way,
five, six minutes by car.

Earlier, part of me wanted to attempt the cart drive and walk home
just to prove my faith in the protection of my guardian angel.
I was a little bit ashamed  of being so scared last night!

Then I realized,
thinking about the Guardian Angel prayer,
that my fear was healthy and can be seen as guidance from my Guardian Angel.
After all, his job is not only to protect, but also to guide.

It would have been rash to have attempted to drive the cart through the woods and walk home on my own. Maybe nothing would have happened to me, but I have no way of knowing that.

God's grace works in mysterious ways.
My Guardian Angel saved me from the coyotes last night by letting me be afraid.  

source
And tonight, as the sun sets on another beautiful day,
I prepare to go
and return safely from another babysitting job
with my father's help,
I pray to my Guardian Angel
in thanksgiving for the love he has shown me in the past
and in petition that I may always live under his protection
and in the light of his wisdom:


Guardian Angel
my guardian dear
to whom God's love
commits me here,
Ever this day
be at my side
to light and to guard
to rule and to guide.
Amen.


Thanks be to God for my Guardian Angel,
for my father,
for my mother,
and for the kind people of Courageous.

Sweet Jesus, Jesus Love,
I love You!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Into Deep Water...



 

The phone rang yesterday evening.

It was so good to hear her voice again, at last!

Someone thoughtfully set a chair behind me 
 as I exclaimed, "Thanks be to God!"

And now, everything is different 
even though nothing has changed.

I am setting out into deep water this September, 
 but not leaving my childhood home until October.

Already, but not yet...

 I am no longer an aspirant, Lord, what am I?

Engaged!

Thanks be to God! 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September's Invitation and Challange

from today's Gospel:

"Put out into deep water..." (Luke 5:4)

This was Jesus' invitation to Simon and his companions.

Obedience to God's call leads to participation in His life,
an abundance of grace far beyond our understanding.

Two thousand years later, his invitation still stands for each one of us.

How will I respond?

Luke says this of the disciples:

"When they brought their boats to the shore, 
they left everything and followed him." (Luke 5:11)

I want to live these lines from the Gospel this month.
Every day, in big and small ways.

Courage.

Integrity.

Humility.

Detachment.

Obedience.

and above all, Love!

Love says,

"Do not be afraid." (Luke 5:10)


Lord, I am not afraid,
as long as You are with me.
Help me to do the Father's Will.
Help me to pray well for the fishers of men,
for the salvation of souls
that all may glorify Your Holy Name.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Saint Peter's Mother In Law

source
This is my 100th post!

Today, I finally get to explain
why Saint Peter's Mother In Law
is one of the principal patronesses of this blog.

Today, Holy Mother Church places her story
before us for the second time this summer.

Last time, Matthew told it. 

This time, Luke is our witness.

God laid the groundwork
for my devotion to this holy woman throughout my life,
but I did not begin to realize this until June 25, 2011.

My three-week visit to the convent was nearly over.



That morning, during my spiritual reading time before Holy Mass,
I read Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis' commentary
on Matthew 8:14-15, part of the Gospel for the day.

I was amazed at how Leiva-Merikakis took two seemingly simple verses
(that I would have skimmed over so quickly and thoughtlessly without his help)
and expounded on them so beautifully for three pages,
just a few hundred words that changed my life
just a little.

The pericope of the healing of Saint Peter's Mother in Law
came alive for me that day,
and I realized that her story is my story too.

In school as a student of Theology,
I was taught that the references to Saint Peter's Mother in Law in Matthew, Mark, and Luke
can be used to prove that Saint Peter was married,
so that can be used as an argument for married clergy.

"Peter, the first Pope, was married, so why can't priests marry today?"

I'm not going to argue against this idea in any length here,
though I believe that Peter was probably a widower by the time he became Pope,
and possibly before he even met Jesus.
But all this is speculation and beside the point,
and I am sorry that it used to distract me from what the texts actually say.

But to get back to Leiva-Merikakis' reflection on the healing of Peter's Mother in Law...
it is absolutely beautiful.

Here are just a few lines:

"The text [of Matthew] literally says, 'He saw her...and he touched her hand...and she was raised up and she began to serve him.' These four particular verbs in this particular sequence offer us a magnificent summary of the whole Christian life." (Fire of Mercy, Heart of the Word I, p. 341)

So I rejoice this day, as Holy Mother Church picked Luke's account of the same story for part of today's Gospel:

Luke 4:38-39

"After he [Jesus] left the synagogue, he entered the house of Simon. Simon's mother-in-law was afflicted with a severe fever, and they interceded with him about her. He stood over her, rebuked the fever, and it left her. She got up immediately and waited on them."

Same story, different angles...

Jesus' authority to heal by simply speaking words is emphasized here,  in Luke's Gospel,
and it is interesting to note that He had just amazed the people by curing a demoniac by His Word.
In Matthew's Gospel, Jesus cures Peter's mother-in-law by touching her; here His Word suffices.

Of the three accounts, Luke's is the only one where Jesus heals Peter's mother-in-law
before He calls Peter to follow Him.
I am not quite sure what to make of this, but it is definitely something to think about.

Luke and Mark both mention that others interceded for Peter's mother-in-law with Jesus,
while Matthew tells us that Jesus simply saw her lying there
and decided to heal her without being explicitly asked by anyone.
In this regard, I am torn, because I like both versions of the story.
I like the idea of intercessory prayer,
which is a huge part of my vocation and part of the inspiration behind the title of this blog.
However, I also believe that God's mercy needs no invitation,
that His healing graces are freely offered whether we ask for them or not.
So, I'm going to keep thinking about this, too.

Source
By the way, since this post is way too long already,
I'm just about done here.
If you've made it this far, you deserve a treat!
escape by clicking this second picture...
it will take you to a beautiful reflection
by Saint Francis de Sales
on the healing of Saint Peter's Mother-in-Law.
(I believe he is working from Mark's account.)

+   +   +

Saint Peter's Mother-in-Law,
pray for us!
Help us to recognize the ways in which 
we have been healed by God's mercy and grace,
and to serve our Lord in love
all the days of our lives
as you did.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, 
Amen.