Friday, July 7, 2017

Forgiveness

  Forgiveness is an act of will and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart.

  The experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work he will give us to do.

  Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me, I saw the sin of them. Jesus Christ had died for this man, was I going to ask for more?  Lord Jesus, I prayed, forgive me and help me to forgive him... Jesus I cannot forgive him.  Give me your forgiveness...and so I discovered that it is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world's healing hinges, but on his. When he tells us to love our enemies, he gives along with the command, the love itself.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Pray For Us Maria Goretti

   Today is the feast day of St. Maria Goretti, a young girl who though she had been assaulted, knifed and eventually would die of her wounds, forgave her attacker just before she died.  Her story is a wonder to those of us who harbor wounds and have a hard time forgiving such evil in our own society.
  I am one of those who struggles with the forgiveness of that similar sin. 
  We all have things stuck inside our hearts we have a hard time forgiving.  Small wounds are easy to forgive unless they build up over time and go unnoticed by us. Those small wounds can become larger and eat away at us inside causing us growing unrest, anger and not feeling forgiving.
  But the large wounds, the crimes committed against us, the ones that are right in your face from the start are, because they are large, are very, very hard to forgive.  Yet if left intact, if we do not deal with the journey of forgiving those sins, they attack us over and over again drawing poison into our very beings.  We must forgive. But how?
  I don't have answers. I am still struggling with forgiving such a thing. But today, the feast of St. Maria Goretti, who became a saint not because she refused to have sex with the neighborhood boy, but because she forgave him while she suffered from his assault, his knifing her repeatedly. She forgave him.  She was somehow able to forgive this wretch of a human being. She could forgive this boy who had no problem treating another human being so vilely; she forgave him.  She forgave him as she died.  She left this world bearing no ill will. And that is why she is a saint.  I pray for her intercession in my own heart to be able to be so forgiving.

Dear Saint Maria Goretti, your heart was so full of mercy, that you gladly forgave your assassin, and prayed that he might be saved; intercede for me before the Lord, Whom you now behold face to face. Ask Him to pour His grace into my soul so that I may always be ready to imitate Jesus as you did. I choose you as my friend this day and I ask you to accompany me my whole life long. In honor of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, and in the imitation of your example, I forgive all who have ever hurt me or who desired my suffering, and I ask pardon of all against whom I have sinned. Through Christ Our Lord,  Amen

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Winding Down With Yarn

  I just have to laugh. I look at my email and see notices from several different yarn stores, knitting and crocheting places all telling me how I can learn to knit faster, crochet quicker.  Why do I knit or crochet in the first place?  Well, yes it is to get something nice out of it, but mostly it's a de-stressing thing for me.  I sit and begin knitting and my stress level goes way down...I relax and knit. I don't worry what my knitting looks like, there's a missed stitch here or there that's okay. The point is I instead of taking up smoking, or smacking gum or stress eating I knit...and knit...and knit.
  I don't want to go faster...I want the slow rhythmic pull of the yarn; the act of pulling off a loop onto my needle, picking up the next stitch, wrapping the yarn around that stitch and slipping it off and doing that all over again is what lowers my shoulders, helps me breathe deeply and think only of my yarn. 
   So I don't want to go faster. In fact they could tell me some ways of becoming more relaxed as I knit or crochet.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Compassion Without Indulgence

   How do we teach our children to respect others while not giving up the values we have tried to instill in them?  If you only look at our country's media you would think we no longer had any values beyond indulging ourselves and our children in everything.  Teaching our children to be respectful of others, tolerant of other people's beliefs and cultures has suddenly turned into the media telling us we must accept everything as right and valued.  But there is a difference between someone being made fun of or ridiculed and indulging their every whim.
  As a parent you never want your child to be made fun of or to lack in friendships. Yet more and more we see parents indulging their children's feelings or desires, whether it's actually doing their homework for them, or insisting the teacher or administration is wrong about academic standards or discipline or encouraging them towards their transgender feelings at an age when they are really too young to have those feelings.  Instead of guidance, parents are becoming 'friends', instead of leaders, parents are becoming activists, instead of role modeling a faith filled life, they are throwing up hands, giving into demands and staying home from faith activities that could actually help them grown and raise their children.
  It's not easy to be a parent. It is hard today, it was hard yesterday and it will continue to be hard because we're human. It's why God created marriage because it takes a mom and dad to raise kids. Yes, it also takes other family members, grandparents, friends, community but mostly we've forgotten it takes God.
  We shove Him into the background.  But God is there to lead parents in their modeling of a value based life.  Jesus showed us how to respect other people without indulging them. He was considerate of the sinner, yet encouraged he or she to go and sin no more.  Parents must to the same thing. Parents are nurturers, not indulgers. Parents are role models, not activists.  Parents are supposed to try to lead their children to God, not give them excuses to stay away from Him.  Parents need our prayers.

Monday, May 15, 2017

And We Laughed!

  

   Many years ago, when our kids were younger and still at home and we had family meals, we would get to talking about this or that.  Sometimes we would veer off onto a subject from the news that made everyone sad or upset so to get everyone back on the happy track one of us would blurt out, “and we laughed!”   And we did!  Because life is like that, one moment there are sad and unhappy events, but we always have to look on the bright side of things and remember to laugh!

   Living your faith with true joy means doing the same!  We need to remember to laugh when the devil is trying to scare us into being paranoid, or into thinking God is not here with us. He loves to sow doubt and fear in our lives.  But if we remember to laugh, it reminds us that our faith is about spreading the Good News, not the Sad News, not the Bad News, but the Good News!
   My family has expanded now to include two son-in-laws and a daughter-in-law and a grandbaby on the way and it’s easy to watch the news and be frightened of the bad things in the world. What will my kids do about this war or that evil? What will happen to our grandchildren as they grow up?
   But having faith gives us an edge, or a cheat sheet to life.  We know that in the end, God has us all in His Hands. We know that if we stay faithful to Him, nothing on this earth can keep us from him.   I agree with  St. Paul who says in Romans, Chapter 8:   “ I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Romans 8:38-39
So live your faith with joy!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Hold On Tight!


original poster by Victor Baldwin 1971

 I feel just like this kitten from a motivational poster from 1971. It has been quite a week at the Simmons' Casa.  Last week as we were preparing for our son's wedding, our area of the state witnessed some major flooding.  When the interstate between St Louis and Cape Girardeau closed, our California daughter and her husband had no way to get from the airport to us! So they had to fly a small airline after getting off in St Louis.  My daughter will tell you it was a very, very small airplane.  There were only 4 passengers on the plane and it was a very, very windy day so they flew sideways most of the 30 minute flight.  Green around the gills, we picked her up at our local airport just in time for her to help me decorate for the rehearsal dinner we were hosting.   We ran with a Cinco de Mayo theme since it was on May 5th and had a taco bar. It was a lot of fiesta!  Saturday the rains were gone and it was a beautifully sunny day as  we were witnesses to the wedding of our son and beautiful daughter-in-law and the beginning their life together. Afterwards they held the reception at their home and we enjoyed each other's company, wonderful food and dancing out on the lawn! Joyous!

Then we changed gears as we helped my mom pack her house to move across town to a smaller duplex. 45 years of memories in a two story home take a lot of time to pack and reminisce about. But my two sisters and my brother were the mainstays of the packing and preparing and tomorrow the movers come. Wow, they did an awesome job!

In the mean time, our youngest daughter who got married in February is expecting! It's our first grandchild and we are all thrilled.  She is just now going through all the fun early pregnancy issues so I keep saltines near by for her!  She and her husband recently signed a contract on a house, their first and we got to take a tour of that and see what needed to be worked on before they move in just a couple of weeks. They have a huge yard and for that they'll need a working lawn mower, lots of paint needed inside and maybe some new flooring and a lot of baby proofing!

Our daughter from California spent several days after the wedding with us for a really great visit and time for her too to see her sister's future home and also Grandma's house before the move. It was an emotional time but we're happy for my mom.  There was a lot of "I remember this!" as she and my youngest daughter moved around the packing boxes and picked out little mementos to keep.    Meanwhile back at our house the girls found the tubs of baby clothes I had packed away over 20 years ago. It was time to ooh and ahh all over again as we all marveled at how very little babies are when first born, teeny tiny shirts and shoes.  While my California daughter and her husband were here, they put a contract on a home in California and got it, so now they are also planning a move a few blocks from where they live out there.

Last night, my husband and I waved goodbye to everyone as children headed to their homes. It was suddenly quiet in the house and a little lonely. It seems everyone is in the moving spirit around us as we looked around our own home of 25 years. Our home has seen its changes. We added on a family room and bedroom about 15 years ago. This home has changed in so many ways, moving rooms around, the living room has become the dining room, the downstairs family room has become my husband's office and game room. The colors change, the flooring too but it's always home to us. It's still the right size and shape for our needs.  And right now faith is the only constant in our lives as we try to hang onto the Lord like the kitten in the photo.  We know He holds us and our children in the palm of His Hand.  Thank you, Lord!