Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Confirming the Gifts

  Ah, it's that time of year when we begin Confirmation classes again with our high school students. I love the sacrament of Confirmation. The Holy Spirit coming down and infusing you with an extra dose of the Gifts of the sacrament,  Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety and Awe and Wonder or Fear of the Lord is such an amazing grace when you accept those gifts.
  Accept them? Yes, you don't get them unless you accept them.  Like everything with our Father in Heaven, YOU have a choice.  He never forces his love on  you, you have to choose whether to accept or reject God's love.  It's a gift. 
  So if you are preparing for Confirmation and you are preparing well to receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit you will receive them. But if you are just going along with everything because your family or teachers say you MUST be confirmed, you will not.  Likewise if you are not truly living the Catholic theology, you are not preparing yourself to receive those gifts either. Getting drunk, having premarital sex and ruining reputations; these things do not prepare your soul for the gifts God has for us.
  So think about it.  Are you REALLY ready to be confirmed as a Catholic?  You have to make the choice to receive God's blessing and graces.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Those AHA Moments in Life!

One of my daughters, gave a talk at a retreat several years ago that I thought was so wonderful, I wanted to share it again with you. She had an awesome way of looking at the things in life that reminds me to look at things good and bad in a different way and to not take your faith for granted. Here she is talking to her peers about that very thing:


I’ve always had a pretty strong faith life and have loved having this solid base and direction for my life and decision-making. Until not too long ago, though, I really thought I was missing something or doing something wrong. See, I had never had that one big “Aha!” moment. You know, that huge experience that suddenly puts everything in your life into perspective and completely recreates you?

Well, one sunny day, I was lounging outside between my college classes with my Cherry Coke. It was one of those rare moments when I felt like the absolute only thing I had to do right then was to be right there under the gorgeous blue sky. It was like God had reached down His hand and scooped up all my worries and stress, and there was no way He was going to let me ruin that beautiful day with any black clouds of my own. It was right then I had this sudden realization, a baby, Aha, you could say, that everyone’s faith is different, and unique and I’m not doing anything wrong just because I hadn’t had a giant Aha moment. I DO experience Aha moments, in mostly smaller, daily ways, like sitting on a bench, enjoying the sun. So as I sat there, I slowly started remembering other little Aha moments in my life:

I’m 3 years old and get my finger stuck in Mom’s sewing machine trying to see how close I can get the needle to my skin: Aha, listen when Mom warns you!

I’m 12, looking forward to a new baby cousin when my aunt has a miscarriage: Aha, WE do not always have perfect plans.

I’m 14 and in the 8th grade when one of my best friends and her entire family dies in a plane crash, causing my classmates and me a nauseating, disbelieving, confusing pain we’ve never felt before: Aha, I will not always understand.

That same year, my grandma has a series of paralyzing strokes leaving her confined to a wheelchair, her right side paralyzed: Aha, I do not always have total control.

I’m 15, learning to drive and back into a storm drain during my first driving lesson: Aha, I can pick myself up after mistakes and move on AND, curbs are a good thing!

I’m 17 when my Dad gets downsized from his job and I instantly dislike the person in charge of personnel: Aha, hate solves nothing!

I hesitantly experience a TEC retreat for the first time and leave on an excited, refreshed high: Aha, God loves surprises!

This summer I became a Eucharistic Minister at church: Aha, God is SO present He gives me shivers.

The guy I want to continue dating gives up his partying lifestyle so he can be with me: Aha, people CAN change and I am worth that change!

August 29, my Aunt gives birth to a perfect baby girl, four months prematurely: Aha, life is a beautiful struggle.

Not long ago, one of the most truly amazing men I have ever been blessed to know suddenly dies of a stroke, only halfway through his life: Aha, I cannot take a single person or moment for granted.

Don’t ever be afraid or feel inadequate for never having a single, gigantic moment in your life where your faith is perfectly, permanently connected, because faith is the constant journey of us becoming better, always learning and God always teaching. The experiences, both joyful and painful, that we go through shape us and show us how God is molding us more than one Aha moment ever could. All we have to do is let Him scoop those worries and troubles into His hand and realize He helps us through even through toughest times if we just let Him. He wants us to let Him be in control so we can see all those little Aha’s!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Everything Old is New Again...

I ran across this article again from my Civility Days and thought it was worth visiting again: 

  Civility in dress; I had a hard time finding a quote that fit this. “Modesty is important because it is that which protects the castle, yet it is also the frame that enhances the picture.”
   Why am I on this modesty kick? I know my daughters roll their eyes every time I bring this up, because they hear it so often. But when you have girls, it seems you are constantly having to help them battle the Fashion Attack where dresses, tops, prom gowns, and wedding gowns have gone way too far in the revealing side of our bodies.

   So, dear sisters this week’s Civility Lesson is on being civil in body and spirit! When we treat our bodies civilly we dress not just for comfort, but for the comfort of other people’s eyes!  If we lead men into temptation because of the way we dress or aren’t dressed, then shame on us! You see, it’s a known fact that guys are guided by what they see. Women are guided by not only what they see but what they feel. It’s that whole “sensitive side” we sometimes wish guys understood better!
   And forget arguing about it, it’s just the make up of DNA and genetics at work here and I’m not about to argue with nature.  Be it enough to say that guys react more to things they see and women don’t. You can look that up somewhere else.
   For now, as women, if we aren’t into sewing our own clothes, we are at the mercy of fashion designers who want to make us all look like ladies of the evening.  I have hardware I don’t want anyone but my husband to see. Why would I advertise that to the world?  If I want to act civilly to other men I am not going to flaunt myself in low tops or high skirts.  Even if you are not married why would you flaunt your hardware to just any guy you are meeting on the street?  Prudence would say that was not wise given that statement above about guys and them acting on what they see.  You don’t want that.
   Plus, there’s the whole living like a Christian thing which states we should not lead others into temptation.  In fact, Jesus says those who DO lead others into temptation should have a millstone tied to their necks and be drowned.  Yeowch!!!  That’s enough to scare me into covering everything up!
   While,  yes, men should have enough self control and most of them do, to just “not look” at you when you are wearing something way too revealing is that really fair? Why should they have to be the ones to “not look”.  We make up laws that say you can’t smoke in certain places because we don’t want smell it or reek of smoke, we make up laws that say you can’t kill each other or drive drunk.  Do guys need a law that says, “Hey, don’t dress that way, it’s hard for me to remain a gentleman when you are dressed like that.”
   Bringing back a civil society begins with our dress, our manners and how we, as Christians present ourselves to the outside world. Whether it’s in our cars not yelling at bad drivers or not humming in line at the grocery store or not dressing in a way that says we’re something we’re not, has to begin with you and me. If we take back civility in every way, then we become as human beings something much closer to what God intended us to be. It will be easier to love each other and help us all on the road to Heaven.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Highlights! or Why It's Good To Be Young, Fun, & Catholic!

Why it's good to be Young, Fun and Catholic: 

The Pope, the Pope, the Pope visited us this week!  I love his smile!

So beautiful! This is what I imagine Jesus would have looked like talking to the children!

Also, wow, cool the Lunar Eclipse, God's show of the universe in our own backyards:

So cool! Thank you Lord for sharing your world with us!  How you could ever think someone great is not behind all of creation!

Confirmation Prep!  Yes, you heard me correctly! Normally I cringe when I have to begin getting materials ready for our parish confirmation program because we don't have a specific program we to use. This year I've discovered a program that really speaks not only to the teens, but to their parents and sponsors and to me too!  It renews me as a catechist and parent and writer!
 And as someone whose mission in life is to get everyone I know and even those people I don't know to heaven, it has had a renewing, invigorating effect on me!

St. Francis de Sales. Yes, I've heard of him lots of times, in fact I have studied his teachings because I am a Daughter in the Society of St. Francis de Sales, but while reviewing my confirmation materials, I came across a story about him being an unsuccessful proclaimer of the Word until he began writing notes to people and slipping them under the doors of their homes. He was reaching out to the un-churched, those who aren't making it to Church.  And that's what I do with my youth newsletters and staunchly defend spending the paper and postage to keep mailing it to every child in my parish!  They have to hear about God and the Church somehow if they aren't coming to Youth Group!

And of course, my patron Saint, Michael's Feast Day is today and the Guardian Angels Feast Day is Friday!  St. Michael and St. Joan of Arc are my patron saints because I teach martial arts self defense to young people. 

So celebrate!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


   Just recently I began a 12 week workout program my personal trainer, who is also my daughter, invited me to join.  I thought it was a good time to get myself a little more in shape, tone up and evaluate my eating and exercise habits.  Three weeks into the schedule I find myself huffing and puffing through the exercises at times struggling to keep up with the other shall we say, much younger women who are also in the program!
  It made me think about little I knew how much I had "lost" in tone and muscle since getting a desk job eight years ago and how I really need to remember to fit my workouts into my busy days.
  The same could be said of my spiritual workouts.  How often do I go along every with my prayers, going to Mass every week and kind of forget to 're-tune' my spiritual self?  My physical workouts have me looking at my spiritual side too wondering if I need to 're-tone' aspects of my prayer and studying.
  Because everyone needs a tune-up!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

A Day in the Life of a Catholic...

The turbulent have to be corrected,
 the faint-hearted cheered up,
 the weak supported;
 the Gospel's opponents need to be refuted,
 its insidious enemies guarded against;
 the unlearned need to be taught,
 the indolent stirred up,
 the argumentative checked;
 the proud must be put in their place,
 the desperate set on their feet,
 those engaged in quarrels reconciled;
 the needy have to be helped,
 the oppressed to be liberated,
 the good to be encouraged,
 the bad to be tolerated;
all must be loved.

 This was how St. Augustine, described his daily life.
 I love this list because at the beginning of the day this is what I should concentrate on; not all the aggravations I experience, not nursing the hurts, rushing to do this or that.  But to be a helper to others along the path of our faith life.  I should be yelling out blessings instead of curses!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Feast of St. Monica Mother of Augustine

   Today, August 27th, is the Feast of St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine who was kind of a big time person in the Catholic church!  Okay, he was a doctor, as in philosophy and theology not the medical kind!
  His feast is celebrated tomorrow, August 28th.
  St. Monica was a typically devoted mom. She was married to a pagan, but she herself was Christian, Catholic specifically and she made it her mission, as many of us moms do, to get her husband and children to heaven!
  This would require quite a feat of prayer, fasting and 'stormin' the heavens' as my own mother says.
   Yet, Monica never gave up and before she died she would get to witness not only her son become Catholic, but her husband too!
  Yet, unlike all the nice stories we read as kids, or the movies, it was not a quick conversion story or happy one. 
  Monica was married to a man several years older than she, he was a pagan and his mother lived with them. Neither of them were very easy to get along with, he had a raging temper and his own mother not pleasant.  But Monica began praying and begging God for a change of heart which occurred with both her husband and mother-in-law and they both became Catholic.  Monica had another son and a daughter and they both joined religious societies. But then there was Augustine, the son who ran off seeking worldly wisdom and pleasures, had an illegitimate son, and really did not want to change his wild ways.  But Monica, being a really good mom and a worrier, kept praying. In fact it was said that she bugged the heck out of her local bishop to pray for her son.  After 17 years Augustine did indeed return and eventually became a Bishop and Doctor of the Catholic Church.