Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Encouraging Word August 19 2013

Yesterday I was thinking about how all of us are so very different in the way we approach the Lord.  Some of us are very holy and spiritual, some of us hide our holiness a little more, in other words, have trouble sitting still or blurting things we should not at bad times.

What I mean is we are all different vessels that carry the Holy Spirit and Jesus around with us.  Some of us are like beautiful wooden walnut bowls, polished to a sheen, carefully crafted with no bumps, able to carry food or most anything else. Beautiful walnut bowls must be kept carefully clean, using little soap so you don’t ruin the finish, never be put in a dishwasher and hand dried with a soft towel and treated carefully so you don’t drop them and splinter into a million pieces.

Some of us are like melmac  or corelle bowls,  durable, dishwasher safe and can withstand high heat, but aren’t always very pretty to look at or present at the table, yet always durable, can carry anything and let it sit for days inside before washing and usually won’t break if dropped.

I know this sounds silly, but if you look at who you are as a faith filled Christian, do you see yourself as the walnut bowl or the corelle? Both are excellent vessels to carry the Lord in. I don’t think one is better than the other. I personally love walnut bowls because they show such beautiful craftsmanship, but I am slightly afraid to own one since I am so very hard on my dishes and so just have a lot of corelle.  My own faith vessel is corelle too, I am not always smooth, or polished to a sheen. I can hold just about anything and love to serve the Lord, but I don’t know if people would always say I seem “holy.”

Does it matter which vessel we are? I’m not sure. I feel like I should be trying to work myself towards being a walnut bowl, yet that doesn’t seem like who God made me to be. He made me tough, able to withstand high temps and able to get dirty and clean up in the wash without any side effects. I love physical labor and often get very dirty doing a job.  I understand “street smarts” and like to minister to people who need reminding that they are God’s creation and that God loves them too.  Yet I also love helping distribute Holy Communion and the Precious Blood, something we seem to think only “holy” walnut bowls should do!

But I feel called to serve the Lord in walnut bowls ways some days too and I think that’s okay.  We still have to be who God called us to be and if He calls us knowing we are only corelle and not walnut wood, maybe that means He needs corelle this day!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Encouraging Word August 12, 2013

Intercession Prayer

By now everyone has probably heard of the car accident in Missouri where a priest just showed up to administer the holy oils to the young woman trapped in her car. It was at the young woman’s request that her rescuers pray with her and that is when the priest showed up, calming the young woman’s fears and help boost the morale of the First Responders whose equipment was not able to get her out.

What a perfect example of Intercessory Prayer, prayer that is asking for help for someone or something.  We sometimes think that prayer is all about God’s power to change our hearts and minds. That is true, but we should not forget that prayers can change His mind as well. Remember what God told Solomon: “If my people, upon whom my name has been pronounced, humble themselves and pray, and seek my presence and turn from their evil ways, I will hear them from heaven and pardon their sins and revive their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

This promise tells us that what we do matters. What we do releases grace, blessing, pardon and revival upon other people. We can influence God and He does hear our prayers.

During World War II an entire country prayed for help when British and French soldiers were trapped at Dunkirk, France on the beach.  The demise of thousands of soldiers looked imminent, when King George VI called for a day of prayer across England to help these soldiers and the country of England which was on the brink of being invaded by Hitler’s forces.  Called the Miracle of Dunkirk, when the day he was going to invade dawned with bad storms and fog making it difficult for the Germans to fly and Hitler called off the invasion, but the English Channel was calm enough for ships to rescue the soldiers who were trapped bringing them home.  Prime Minister Winston Churchill called this rescue, “a miracle of deliverance.” He said, “A guiding hand interfered to make sure the allied forces were not annihilated at Dunkirk.” A day of national thanksgiving was called to celebrate.

Was this just an error in judgment on Hitler’s part along with weird weather? Or was it divine providence coming as a result of people’s prayers of intercession.  Most people believe it was a combination of God hearing people’s prayers and the bravery of soldiers and rescuers involved.

The young woman in the accident believed that prayer would help her have the courage to survive this horrendous accident and prayer would help her rescuers figure out how to get her out.  The mysterious priest, later identified as Father Patrick Dowling, just happened to come along the accident and wanted to help by praying with the rescuers and victim. When the fire department’s equipment couldn’t get the young woman out of her car, another city’s fire department arrived on the scene and their equipment did get her out.  Many times we say things like, “It was a stroke of luck” or “what a coincidence” that something happens, but maybe it’s a combination of God interceding through the works of His people. He hears our prayers then He speaks to each of us, helping us see how we can help each other.  And intercessory prayer is interceding prayer, God interceding and each of us interceding by God’s call.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Day My Mom Touched The Pope

It was September 1987; John Paul II was in the United States and was scheduled to speak at the Catholic Health Association in Phoenix, Arizona during his pastoral visit to the United States September 10-19, 1987.

My parents were invited to attend the conference because my Dad served on the advisory board for a local Catholic hospital. They joined several other board members at the conference where Pope John Paul II, who was making an historic pastoral visit to the United States, was going to appear and speak to the conference attendees.

There was a huge crowd and as the Pope entered the hall, my Mom said you could hear the cheer go up and people began laughing and crying at the same time. As he made his way down the aisle alongside other speakers and his hosts, people were lined up trying to reach out to touch him, receive his blessing or just see his marvelous smile. There were nuns, priests, men, women and even babies

At one point my parents got separated, Dad with camera in hand, trying to capture a shot of the pope.  My Mom was two people behind the line placing her hand over the head of a short nun in front of her with her rosary wrapped around her hand.  Suddenly she felt a shake as the Pope grabbed her hand with the rosary, held it for a moment then let go as he moved on.  A photographer even caught the moment. She ‘s the woman on the right in red with short dark hair and not wearing glasses.  Dad is actually in the picture too far to the left the one with silver hair and glasses holding a camera.  Unbelievably my Dad caught a picture of the Pope just after the Pope grabbed mom’s hand. Her arm is the one in red on the left. 

Elated my Dad found my Mom and they hugged and cried. Later a photographer from the conference snapped this shot of my Mom and Dad from behind at the conference as they listened to the Pope speak. The rosary is still wrapped around my mom’s left hand as she holds Dad’s arm around her.

What a beautiful memory they both had of that day and us kids too as we have the photos to help us share it with them!

The picture of Mom from the front was taken by a photographer at the conference.

The picture of the Pope’s face was taken by my Dad.

The picture of my parents from behind was taken by a photographer at the conference.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Encouraging Word August 5, 2013

Encouraging Word

Louis de Wohl (1903-1961)

WHEN A MAN HAS REACHED A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF SUCCESS in his profession, people will come to him and ask questions. Now whenever someone asked me "Should I become a writer?" I invariably answered point-blank "No." Some were hurt, some angry, almost all of them were surprised. "Why not?" "Because you haven't got the stuff in you." "How do you know? You have never read anything I have done, have you?" "No. But I know all the same. I know because you asked me. If you had the stuff in you that makes a writer, you wouldn't ask me, you'd go and write and go on writing. You couldn't abstain from it."
And that goes, in my opinion, for all creative work; for would-be actors, architects, painters, sculptors, and musicians. Mind you, there are quite a number of people who cannot abstain from it, although they do not have the stuff in them, but that is beside the point.
As for me, I started writing at the age of seven or just a little older, and what really set me off was that some of the stories I read did not go the way I wanted. I simply decided to change them, and change them I did. At the age of eight I wrote a play, "Jesus of Nazareth," and the great speech of the High Priest Caiphas in the marketplace of Jerusalem bore a strong resemblance to Mark Antony's speech in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Caiphas praised Christ in the same hypocritical way that Mark Antony praised Brutus, to convince his audience of the contrary. Plagiarism or not, I was very much in earnest about my drama. I decided to compose the music for it myself, paint the posters and design the scenery, and of course I myself would play one of the leading parts, Caiphas perhaps, or Mary Magdalene

    I laughed out loud when I read the part of Louis de Wohl’s biography where he writes that some of the stories he read when he was 7 years old did not “go the way I wanted. I simply decided to change them and change them I did.”

   I did the same thing when I was about the same age! I had a mystery book which characters included two boys and a girls all the same age. I changed their names to my own and two friends and changed some of the adventures they had to match my own. From there I decided I could write my own stories and began my career as a budding writer by age 8! 

    And what he said about knowing if someone is a writer or not? I understood his somewhat cut to the quick answer too. Too many times I’ve had people tell me, wow that’s so great you have written a book. I’ve always wished I could write a book!”  And I look at them and say, “Well, why haven’t you?” And they stumble around with this excuse or that.  But really, what is your excuse for not writing a book? I self published all my books so you can’t use the, “No body will look, buy, read, care, or whatever, my book.” That is no excuse! I didn’t care if anybody read my stories. I liked them, I wrote them for my own enjoyment. It was just a fluke that my kids like to read them too and some other kids and some friends. I didn’t begin trying to write for all of them, just me!
     So if you ARE a writer, first of all you already know you are so you don’t need to ask me or anyone else and secondly, get writing. Buy notebooks and begin…there is no excuse!