Sunday, February 28, 2010

dressed in virtue

At work today, someone was wearing some very pretty jewelry and I complimented her on it. She told me her daughters really love jewelry.
There is a jewelry craze going on with big bracelets, necklaces with large pendants, dangling earrings.....bulky rings, even ankle bracelets and toe rings.
Some have jewelry that is specific for one outfit. I could not imagine how much jewelry one would have to have with a few dozen outfits. Yikes!!
I thought further upon this and came to the realization that: I would rather be dressed in virtue, than in costume jewelry (of course) or in gold or silver.
Virtue makes a woman beautiful, but all the jewelry in the world cannot hide the defects that pride and vanity bring.
Brian and I have a saying, "Simplicity chose us, be we have embraced her." This is surely reflected in the jewelry I own. Few pieces and classy. My favorite piece of jewelry, besides my wedding ring, is the pearl necklace my mother gave me when I turned 20 or 21. Her parents gave it to her when she graduated from college. I will pass it on to Elisabeth when she is 20 or 21.
Somehow when I wear lots of jewelry I feel phony, false, fake. I cannot be someone I am not.
I am so glad because it keeps my feet walking closer to Jesus.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

trouble with food

In regards to yesterdays post about Lent not going so Mass today I realized that that was yesterdays distraction from the devil. It worked. But not any more.
In HIM we are more than conquerers!!!

My favorite part of the Mass

Aside from the Consecration where bread and wine is turned into the precious Body and Blood of Jesus, and then receiving Him in Communion, I have another part of the Holy Mass that I always look forward to.

When the priest says......."Lift up your hearts." We respond "we lift our hearts to the Lord!" At this point I raise my hands to the Crucifix and give Jesus my heart, yet once again.

There is so much joy for me at this point!!!

Just wanted to let you know.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Lent 2010

It has only been 1 week since Lent began and I am not doing very well.
My prayer life is wonderful.............I am giving alms and time and mercy to everyone, but me. I struggle with fasting. At least right now.
I have discovered that I am afraid of going hungry. I spoke to Brian about this and he said in our 25 years together, we never starved. It may not be what I want to eat, but it will fill me.
So why am I afraid to go hungry?
Coming from a large family where there sometimes was not enough? Oh once in a while I may not have been able to have a second helping.
Maybe having a big family? With 7 sons who eat like piranhas, food goes quick. I frequently will do without, or have something else, so they can have what they want.
Just a little sacrifice on my part.
I really don't have time to enjoy food. Since work afternoon and evenings, I don't get to cook anymore..................I miss it. I am so frequently on the go, go, go.
And I have confessed that I do not like to eat.
Maybe it is the fact that I occasionally get low blood sugar that sends me to bed to recover. I hate it.
I started a campaign 4 months ago to EAT ON PURPOSE. That means to really make choices about what I eat and how it will nourish me.
So many times I eat on the run, not caring what I eat, as long as I don't feel hungry.
So here is what happens: when I get stressed...........I want a cup of tea. I can give it up but if the stress turns to an anxiety attack then I have to have a cup of tea. And tea without honey and cream won't cut it.
I don't want food to be the focus of my life!!!
I want to completely abandon myself to God and not to food.
Have I made food into an idol???
Someone who doesn't know me will think I weigh 500 pounds. No. I am only 20 pounds overweight.
And in case I am tempted to think this: No, being a nun would not make this better.

Jesus, I trust in you. Please help me.

The Rosary

Two thoughts on the Rosary. Make that three.
First, PRAY it! It is a weapon of spiritual dimensions that cannot be underestimated.
Second, I ask my guardian angel, Bruno, to pray the Rosary while I sleep. I hold the Rosary, and the deal is as long as I hold it, Bruno prays. Thank you my dear Bruno.
Thirdly, I heard a great talk by Jonette Benkovic (Women of Grace) about praying the Rosary. First meditative, then contemplative, then mystical. I think she should add another level:
praying the Rosary out of obedience. I have been doing that for 11 years. Every once in a while I pray the Rosary in a meditative, contemplative and maybe even once, mystical.
I was driving home from work, saying a Rosary with Fr. Benedict Groeschel on the Catholic Radio, when I was given a picture of Gabriel kneeling in profound respect at the Hail Mary. Then at the end of the first half, Mary and Elizabeth greet and hold hands (blessed is thr Fruit of they womb, Jesus).
Then for the Holy Mary half, I imagine Mary with her hands extended pouring out grace. There you go, my 15 second claim to mystical prayer.
Thank you Jesus and Mother Mary!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


I have been having Eucharistic Holy Hours for several years. Before we moved to St. Mel Parish, my Holy Hour was once a month at night, Nocturnal Adoration. Now St. Mel has a 24/7 Chapel and we go as a family once a week to spend that precious hour with Jesus.
We bring our spiritual reading to grow in our souls. Last week I popped in for a visit and there were 2 Asian nuns dressed in a brown habit- I am not sure what the order was. There were just sitting there with their eyes closed. No books!
The very next day I was listening to Catholic radio and it talked about just sitting in the Lord's presence. I get so distracted. But the radio host went on to say, just come back to Jesus. He won't say, "Gee, you got distracted a dozen times." He will say," Ahhh, you came back to Me a dozen times."
So today I sat still for 5 minutes and closed my eyes in the chapel. I breathed deeply and in my quiet mind said "Jesus" very slowly, with each breath.
In those 5 minutes I did come back about a dozen times, but it was easy to do, because it brought greater peace than my own thoughts. Imagine that!
Tomorrow: 10 minutes in contemplation!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Abandonment. That is an interesting word.
I usually associate it with myself and the fear I have of being abandoned by my husband or children. They have never given me any cause to feel that way, but like a dark cloud that wants to follow, I sometimes dread being abandoned.
Tonight, Pelianito's blog about abandoning ourselves to God, gives rise to meditation.

“My beloved child, is there anything I cannot do? Then know and believe that those whose lives are abandoned to me I will use to my glory. Many are called but few are chosen. Let those who will abandon themselves to the will of the Father empty themselves of all other attachments*. The Lord has need of faithful warriors, loyal servants untethered by the world. Do nothing prematurely, but be ready in the fullness of time to abandon what you know to follow me into the unknown. Do not fear, for I do not call souls to service without seeing to every detail. Watch and pray, listen and learn. Your Lord desires that all who serve him remain at the ready.”

So I ponder: have I abandoned myself totally to God?
What am I still holding onto?

This will take longer than one posting. More later.

My house???

5 1/2 years ago we purchased our first house, at the height of the market.
Had we known now..............................maybe it would be different.
All these years I have been thinking of our "investment" being an asset that we could give the children when we die.
But with Brian being unemployed and we are doing everything to stay above the drowning point, I am finally detached from our house. It is just a shelter for my family. We will not recoup our investment. Best of all: it does not matter.
God has more serious plans ahead and now that I am set free from caring about the house and its future, I am more readily available to God's Kingdom.
I wish I could express how freeing this all is for me.
But my joy will have to suffice in my heart.
Thank you Jesus.
Jesus, I give you my life, my heart, my work, my house, my bills, my nothingness,
my children, my worship. I hold nothing back. It is all yours. Take from me what You will for Jesus, I trust in you.

The trial, aka, The Illumination

If Jesus were to come back to Earth and to judge us, would there be enough evidence to convict me of being one of His followers?

Raising my Voice

Tne readings from today were thought provoking. My thoughts after the reading.
Notice the bold face verses.

Reading I
Dt 26:4-10
Moses spoke to the people, saying:
“The priest shall receive the basket from you
and shall set it in front of the altar of the LORD, your God.
Then you shall declare before the Lord, your God,
‘My father was a wandering Aramean
who went down to Egypt with a small household
and lived there as an alien.
But there he became a nation
great, strong, and numerous.
When the Egyptians maltreated and oppressed us,
imposing hard labor upon us,
we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers,
and he heard our cry
and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.
He brought us out of Egypt
with his strong hand and outstretched arm,
with terrifying power, with signs and wonders;
and bringing us into this country,
he gave us this land flowing with milk and honey.
Therefore, I have now brought you the firstfruits
of the products of the soil
which you, O LORD, have given me.’
And having set them before the Lord, your God,
you shall bow down in his presence.”

Who in the world is being oppressed right now?
Answer: millions of babies being murdered through abortion.

My meditation: am I doing enough? Yes, I pray for an end to abortion.
Yes, I teach and train my children to be prolife.
Yes, I march at the Walk for Life, West Coast.
Yes, I write letters.
Yes, I pray in front of Planned Parenthood.

But I am thinking that that is not enough.

What should I also do? Cry and shout to God for His deliverance of the unborn.
I should be raising my voice to Heaven; Not just saying a meek and mild prayer in most every Rosary.

We are so quiet and respectful of murder, not wanting to offend any. I understand that.
And we/I run the risk of being shunned for our outspoken views.
But who will judge us? God. And I don't want to be found/judged as wanting or asked by our Lord, "Jeanne, where were you when they were being aborted?" "Why did you not raise your voice?"

Help me Lord. Show me what I am to do.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Lent day 4

Day 1, Ash Wednesday I learned it was pride keeping me attached to a website
Day 2, I learned that I want to do Lenten nobodies good.
Day 3, I learned ego was involved in meeting a new person. I was not even aware of this at all. I also learned that though I have such a long way to is grace that God keeps stooping to work with me. Indeed, it is grace.
I learned another thing, too. I am terrible at making Lenten resolutions. I want instant holiness NOW and I will do anything, including fail, to attempt to get there.
My dear husband is so good at helping me be moderate and successful.
I declared that I would have NO tea and NO computer at all. He said, how about tea without cream and sugar (what IS the point??) and keep the computer to just 30 minutes.
That is doable.
But the whole idea of Lent is to be diligent and patient, with others and myself, living our journey as a pilgrimage.
Day 4, I learned pride, the lack of humility, kept me from truly being sorry to the Lord, when I gave a blank look at a guy in a car who cut me off. As soon as I learned that I was prideful, thank you Jesus, I could be really sorry.
Humility is what I am aiming for this Lent. And the only way I am going to get there is by the Holy Spirit.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

My "Happy Hour"

Oh my Happy Hour is my Holy Hour at the Eucharistic Adoration chapel at our church.
This Holy Hour was marvelous and wonderful!!!
I just don't want to forget it!
I went in feeling apathetic and complacent. I feel exhausted from trying to live a Christian life. I am even having heart pains.
Then I read a quote in the Magnificat that said, one needs to struggle to conform to Christ. Amen!!!!!
I am dealing with a lot of pride, so it seems. And now frequently Jesus lets me know about it. The opposite of pride is humility, which is my choice virtue of this Lent.'
Again, my spiritual reading is detailing the how to of humility. I want it, but am not exactly sure what it looks like.
In DFOT, Jesus tells us to come to Him to be refreshed and that He will answer our questions.
Tonight at the chapel was incredible refreshment.
Thank you and Praise You, Jesus!

Lent is like......

Lent is telling God you love Him more than you love the item or thing you sacrifice.

Lent 2010

I anticipate this Lent, with only increasing hope and joy, as in the last 10 years.
Before, I dreaded Lent, as while I was raising 8 children, I did not know how I would survive without chocolate. I remember once I called Brian in desperation to give me permission to have some chocolate, because I was going crazy with some child issue. Now, I would have known better than to give up chocolate. Instead I would find something else to sacrifice. In all honesty, I understand now that mothering and homeschooling 8 children is a 24/7 Lent, if done with love and patience.
But now at 51 years, I have a little better understanding of holy journeys, like Lent.
I actually look forward to and appreciate this time of cleansing and purifying and repentance.
Indeed,I wish a "happy Lent" to all!!!
I had been thinking of doing some really great penance in association with all the blessings we have, ie, like sleeping on the floor one night a week, because I/we have a really great bed. (Disclaimer, we did not buy this bed. It was given to us when my husband was laid off last year from his store selling beds.)
Brian and I are already fasting on bread and water for 1 1/2 days a week. This Lent I want to increase that to 3 days.
We will also be praying weekly with the 40 days for Life campaign at a local Planned Parenthood clinic. This is good.
Yes, there will be increased prayer and Mass. Necessary!
And joyfully I have given a "coin" to one in need. I am not even going to say how much. Hopefully I will become forgetful quick so I do not become puffed up.
But so far on this second day of Lent, our greatest Lenten "practice" just moved out.
Let me explain. We met Eric at the Eucharistic Chapel. He looked in need. He did not want anything. So I gave him our number and said to call us when he needed us. 2 months later he called, saying he needed a place to stay. Brian offered him a week to stay with us. I am so glad Brian was so generous to open our home to a homeless man!!! It meant we got to see the face of Christ, up close and personal. Every time I offered Eric a cup of tea, I offered it to Jesus. When I helped care for his wounded finger, I helped Jesus. When I encouraged Eric, I was actually encouraging Jesus.
We recognized that Eric was becoming very happy in our home. Good and bad. Good because we bathed him in love and security. Bad in that it kept him from growing or advancing his own independence, which is so necessary for self respect.
In all honesty, I wish I could have kept Eric here. Brian and I discussed how he is more like a young teen in his reasoning abilities than a middle aged man. Drugs and a tough childhood may have contributed to all of this. Eric never complained. He did not talk much, but would come out with random thoughts at odd times.
Brian said he would be perfect in a monastery as a porter or gardener. He fit right into our prayer life, which is almost monastic in regularity, but not in quality.
One of the Corporal Works of Mercy is sheltering the homeless......and we did that!
It was grace from God that we were open to doing it and that we actually did it and with no regrets!!
I remember a saying that went something like, 'give until you are uncomfortable'. I think if might be better phrased as 'give beyond your comfort level'. I know what that is like now..........and I would do it again.

Monday, February 15, 2010

an early Lent

I am really looking forward to Lent this year. It is another way that I can show Jesus I love Him more than I love myself. The 3 ply cord of fasting, prayer and alsmgiving is a good blue print to follow. Also following the Works of Mercy as an addition gives new ideas to spiritual growth.

But Lent came early. We have had the opportunity to shelter a homeless man. Eric is 49 years old, but is more like a teen in mental abilities. It is always hard to add another human being to the family mix. But this is special because I see the face of Jesus in Eric. Whenever I offer him food, it is to Jesus I offer it. When I ask him how he is doing, it is to Jesus I pose this question.

I am alittle concerned about what will happen to Eric once the week is over. There just don't seem to be enough shelters for the homeless. And Eric is not your average man. He would be perfect living in a monastery......praying with the monks......doing little odd jobs. How I wish I could set this up for him.

Jesus, I trust in YOU for Eric. How You will work is a mystery to me, but I am so glad that I could give you my all in this situation.

I am really thinking about what to do for this Lent after this?

Friday, February 12, 2010

My Guardian Angel

I was blessed a few years ago to be given the name of my guardian angel. His name is Bruno. And he is my constant companion. I am very grateful for him and to him. He has kept me from danger and death and encouraged me onto virtue.

I learned more about our guardian angels through Sister Emmanuel of Medgjugorde. They
always want to be busy doing good to us and for us.

So I have started a new night time tradition: I hold a Rosary in my hand while I sleep and I get to offer the intention and my dear Bruno prays the Rosary for me.

Skeptics may think this is cheating. My family says 1 Rosary daily together. And my husband and I say frequently another Rosary, even 2 more, together.

But having Bruno say a Rosary at night while I sleep and hold those precious beads in yielding some great peace in my life.

Thank you Mother Mary for the world's greatest weapon.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mystics & Mysticism

Last Friday I was wiping down the Altar at St. Mels, before I vaacumed. A woman praying the Rosary watched me and came over to tell me something wonderful.
She said that in her Theology class, the Altar came to represent the Body of Christ.
I am honored to perform this task of love for my Jesus.

Later that day, Fr. Tom stopped by our home and I related the above. He says it is not quite so, but that the Altar of the Mass becomes like the Crucifix upon which our Savior died. I told him I figured that anywhere Jesus is or was, would be sanctified.
To that he replied along the lines of "right on"!

But the most startling news came when Fr. Tom said that by definition all Catholics are mystics. Catholics believe that the bread and wine of Holy Communion are the Precious Body and Blood of Jesus. We believe in what we don't see. That is incredible!! That is mysticism. I made bold the definition below.

mys·ti·cism (mĭs'tĭ-sĭz'əm)
n. Immediate consciousness of the transcendent or ultimate reality or God.
The experience of such communion as described by mystics.

A belief in the existence of realities beyond perceptual or intellectual apprehension that are central to being and directly accessible by subjective experience.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Hough

I give it all to God

In Pelianito's most recent post, God asks for an offering of everything, in order to save souls.

It is 2:37am, and I am awake because Brian came to bed a half hour ago after watching 2 movies. I can't sleep for being wound up with anger and frustration at my husband for not working, for staying up late, night after night, for making me have to explain to curious family and friends his lack of work. I could go on. But it only serves to further the mental and emotional storm within me.

This seems like the perfect offering I can give to God. So after rolling out the homemade cinnamon rolls to offer my beloved children while I am at work, I will make a total gift of myself to God, and drink a cup of Sleepy Time Tea, hopefully to catch a few more hours of sleep before I get up and get ready for work at Eskaton.

Are you ready, most high and glorious God?

I give you myself.
I give you my lack of sleep.
I give you my tossing and turning in bed.
I give you my frustration and anxiety.
I give you my lack of security.
I give you my marriage.
I give you my struggle to love him even through this really hard time.
I give you my house and home, that I don't want to loose.
I give you my words.
I give you my thoughts.
I give you my hopes and dreams.
I give you my desires.
I give you my pride.
I give you my embarrassment.
I give you my heartbreak that my dear husband has not found work in almost 10 months and does not seem to be trying very hard. I know he feels useless and unwanted.
I give you my struggle to constantly encourage him, to what seems like no avail.
I give you my senses: seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching and the struggle to keep my thoughts and words acceptable in Your sight. All I want to do is please You. And I fall so miserably short of that.
I give you my silence, that I must keep in order not to wound him.
I give you our two old cars, that are hanging on. Thank you.
I give you my health, which is stressed out.
I give you my "love" of tea and chocolate. I sure hope it is not an idol.
I give you my mental and emotional health, which is under seige by the enemy.
I give you the pressure I feel to keep it all together.
I give you the negative feelings I struggle against.
I give you the bitterness.
I give you the lack of respect I feel for him, and what seems like a lack of love.
But loves endures, and hopes, all things. (1 Cor. 13)
I give you my job at Eskaton and thank you for that refuge.
I give you homeschooling that I feel too burned out to do. Please hold me to that committment for my children's sake. Thank you for the 20 years I have spent teaching and training my children for YOUR kingdom. Nothing academically could come close to that.
I give you my children.
I give you my concern for them, when they don't follow You.
I give you my anxiety over them and their choices.
I give you my hurt when they don't call me.
I give you my pain when they forget about me on my birthday and Mother's Day.
I give up my dread of being abandoned. You will not abandon me, and are always with me. Thank you. I believe YOU. I believe in You.
I give you my weight. How I would like to loose 20 pounds, but it would only serve my vanity. And I give that to you, too.
I give you my dependence on makeup to hide my blotchy skin.
I give you my clothes, or lack of choice there of. How many outfits do we need? My closet is sufficient, but like any woman, I like to be able to have choices.
I give you my desire to shop and have the freedom to get new clothes.
I give you my desire to be someone in the world's eyes, that I really despise anyway.
I struggle with being well dressed and coifed driving a nice car. But I am just a mom of eight in plain clothes driving a very old ugly car (Echo) that does not cool sufficiently in the summer on 105 plus degree days.
I give you the joys I have right now:
cooking for my family,
my wonderful children,
the Chapel where You stay for love of us,
getting back into watercolor, poor artist that I am,
Mark Mallett's praise and worship cd,
the Direction for our times volumes,
my garden with its trees and flowers and plants, or the hope they contain, since it is winter.
My husband is not my joy right now and I am sad about that. This is where the marriage vows kick in: for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part. Yep, that about covers it.
Oh, I give you my sarcasm,too, and aplogize that I even have it.
Lord, what ever I have, I give it to you. I hold nothing back. I may need reminding that I gave it to You, since I am alittle forgetful on occassion. And I may need coaching on how to give something up. Giving up vanity means not looking in a mirror,
but what does giving up embarrassment look like? Putting on a smile, as genuine as possible?
What does giving up my desires mean? Not having any? or putting them in right order, that my desire for You and Your kingdom in Heaven and on earth come first?
Lord, please accept this offering of all that I am and am not,
and all that I have, and have not.
I am your beloved and lowly worm.
And that makes me happy.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My Anima Christi

Soul of Christ, Sanctify me.
Body of Christ, Save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the Side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, Strengthen me.
Cross of Christ, lead me.
Sacred Heart of Christ, inflame me.
Mother of Christ, form me.
Spirit of Christ, create in me a clean heart.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy Wounds, hide me and heal me.
Suffer me not to be separated from Thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
At the hour of my death, call me and bid me,
That with Thy saints, I can praise Thee forever.

Mark 6

What can be learned from Mark 6: 30-56?
First, the Apostles come back from working great signs, after Jesus sent them out 2 by 2. Then Jesus tells them they need to rest because there is alot of activity and people are still seeking them out. They all, Jesus included, climb into a boat and set out, but the people get wind of it and preceed them to their destination.

Lesson: in order to serve others, you need to have your rest and quiet. How can a pitcher continually pour out its contents, if itself is not refreshed?

Another lesson: in the quiet and rest, I need to connect with God in order to keep serving Him and not myself.

Let's go on: When the Apostles and Jesus get to the other side of the lake, people are waiting for them already. People always want something from someone or better yet, Some One. The are hungry in spirit, and in body. And Jesus sees this. So He teaches them and then instructs the Apostles to feed them. They are bewildered as to how to do it. He multiplies five loaves and two fish and there are 12 baskets of leftovers.

The Lesson: even after working signs and miracles, the Apostles can't figure out how to feed several thousand: 5000 men and several thousand more women and children. They just don't make the connection. It was all meant to be a lesson to the Apostles.
Jesus is constantly and still teaching them, preparing them to lead His Church.

Lesson 4: 12 baskets of leftover fragments of bread and fish. I think this might signify 1 basket per Apostle. This lesson of lack of belief was meant for all, not just some of the Apostles. Jesus is asking each of the Apostles to feed His sheep.

Moving on: Jesus asks His Apostles to preceed Him to another local while He dismisses the crowds then goes to pray alone on a mountain. He needs quiet time, too.

In the middle of the night Jesus comes walking on rough waters to bypass them. (?)
Then He joins them in the boat, the storm dies down and they are completely astounded. They had not understood the incident of the loaves. Their hearts were hardened.

Lesson: There are some things we will not understand about Jesus. Why did He want to pass them by on the water? Was there a greater lesson for them and us?

Lesson 6: An immediate transition from the storm to the incident of the multiplication of loaves and fish, leaves me confused. That's ok, for I am little and cannot understand it all. Except, that the Miracles of Jesus are amazing and hard to understand. Everything Jesus does is miraculous.

Lesson 7: Their hearts were hardened. I have pondered this for many years. Just a few weeks ago I asked a 90 year old minister (Dr. Leroy Sanders) what this meant.
He said that when humans are confronted by the supernatural, our minds have a hard time embracing it, so the natural response is to disbelieve, or in other words, have a hard heart.

Finally, Jesus and the Apostles cross together to Gennesaret where lots of people are seeking healing. Whenever they touched Jesus' cloak, they were healed.

Lesson 8: Jesus did not ask if they believed in Him or that He is the Son of God, that was not a requirement.

Their silent faith in Him was enough to render a healing.

Lesson: what is my silent faith like?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

we need not fear

Brian and I have been waking early (6pm) to go to 7am Holy Mass. Today, the Feast of the Presentation, we made the Stations of the Cross after Mass. We are blessed by each others company as we make the Stations, each of us offering meditations on each station.
Today, at the 7th Station, I clearly understood that we need not be afraid of anything.
Since we have our faith in Jesus Christ, nothing else matters.

In the next few days I will offer meditations on all the Stations.....God willing.

Praised be Jesus and Mary!