Friday, February 26, 2016

St. Therese Thoughts- Don't Give Up

  I don't know if it's been because of the constantly changing weather this week...we had 70 degree weather last Saturday and Sunday, a blizzard with temps in the 30's on Monday and Tuesday, back up to 50's and 60's on Wednesday, back to snow flurries and high cold winds Thursday...but my faith life has been experiencing as many ups and downs this week. Someone said it was the weather, some say it's the full moon or something to do with some planets aligning up weird this week. Personally I think it's the devil because it's Lent...
  Whatever the cause, my faith life has been suffering because of it. Still reading and re-reading St. Therese's words on trying to offer up little acts of love. Why is it so very hard some times to do that? Then I read in her autobiography that she too felt incapable of the tiniest charity, the smallest expression of concern and patience and understanding. And she would time and again surrender her life to Christ with the hope that He would act through her.
  We don't get to a point in our lives where we can ever just sit and say, "There! I've done! I've achieved love and peace in my life."  It becomes more and more apparent to me that you almost never feel that way and yet if you dwell on that thought, the thought that you will never get there, all is lost.  I keep reflecting on how Therese kept asking our heavenly Father for help.  It's easy for us to look at her writings and life and say, "Wow, she did it, she mastered the patience and love she was working on." But that would not be true. It was a constant struggle for her. No one 'changes' just like that until we get to Heaven.  While she was faithful to the Gospel of Jesus and the core of His message, she struggled with living it on a daily basis. And there we see what we must also do.
  We tend to think that once-we've-begun-we-get-it-done." But that isn't how grace and mercy works. It would be too fleeting and never last.
  No, it must be a constant, daily or even minute-by-minute work of art for each of us. Just like our heart keeps a beat, our rhythm of breathing keeps repeating, so must our conscious desire to be patient, kind and merciful.  It may become a habit in some ways, but most likely it will have to be a rock in our shoe, a splinter in our finger that hurts and reminds us of the struggle.
  So don't give up on yourself. It's hard to sit during the Holy Mass and feel worthy enough to go to Communion on those days when I am fighting with myself again over my lack of compassion, patience or love...yet I fight myself to go because I so desperately NEED Jesus.  I know I am never worthy, but it's the food He gives me to keep trying every day to live with love. And when I receive Him I feel strength again. I know I can keep trying.  Abba, help me to keep trying!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

In the Spirit of St. Therese...

   I ran across the most beautiful example of someone who has made his job as a nurse in a hospital setting into a wonderful opportunity to show God's love for people.  The following link is about a young man who, during his nursing duties in the hospital, sings to his patients!
   Please take time to listen to the story...

Monday, February 15, 2016

Lenten Generosity

  Today, in our Lenten meditation from the Word Among Us, was the encouragement to treat those around us just like Blessed Mother Therese of Calcutta treated those she ministered to. It was she who told a visitor that you don't have to go looking for the poor to help them. We are all called to help those we live with, work with and encounter on an every day basis.
  And so, today, during Lent we are reminded to keep our Lenten fast by being generous to those we are with this very day. Even though they may not be poor in the physical sense, many of us could use an encouraging word, a smile, a happy thought to get us through our day.  We can be Mother Therese to everyone we meet by remembering the words of Lent this good mercy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Lent Is All About Our Joyful Anticipation of Jesus' Resurrection!

  In keeping with St. Therese's Little Way us keeping Lent is all about our joyful anticipation of the resurrection. Yes, we are reminded to be sorrowful for our sins, to wipe our slates clean as it were. But if we are sorry and confess our sins are we not then joyful the Lord has forgiven us?

  Opening our hearts to let in more joy and sharing the joy of God's love is what we as God's people are called to do.  Remembering that God loves us and renewing our Trust in Him is what we do during Lent too.  Sometimes we forget about trusting God.  We make the mistake of thinking we are in control of so many things in our lives and when we find out we cannot control something or we are controlled by something, we forget to trust God to make everything okay in the end.  Maybe it doesn't happen right now, or even tomorrow. But He will make everything good, even taking bad things and turning something good out of it.
  So this Lent, remember Therese's little way of loving God. Don't make it so hard on yourself that you forget to just love Him who made you.  Remember to give trust to the Father who made us and let Him deal with problems that arise that we truly cannot do anything about.  This Lent, just give it to Him... and have the trust, the smile and the love of a child towards God, our loving Father.

For more on St. Therese and her Little Way try this website:

Monday, February 8, 2016

Living the "Little Way" Week 2: Try it for Lent?

   St. Therese saw herself as a child of God. She liked to keep things simple and focused as a child does. Trust, especially trust in God, is a childlike virtue.  Some spiritualties have stressed complicated practices and extraordinary journeys of the soul as it responds to God's grace and love. Therese's spirituality is simple and she calls it her 'little way'. She believed and taught us that life presents enough challenges and opportunities for grace. She teaches us that God is everywhere in every situation any person and in the ordinary, simple details of life. 

  Everything is grace is probably the theme song of her spirituality. Her little way teaches us to do the ordinary things of life with extraordinary love. A smile, a note of encouragement, a phone call, suffering in silence, always having a positive word, a simple unnoticed task to brighten the life of another and so many other simple deeds done with love. These are examples of her spirituality.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Living Your Life the "Little Way"

  I recently re-discovered St. Therese the Little Flower and her little way to holiness. It was something I desperately needed right now in my life as I find my 'civility' towards others waning at times.    So this Lent I'd like to try following her Little Way to peace and mercy in my life. I invite you to come along...

St. Therese believed that the people of her time lived in too great fear of Gods judgment. The fear was stifling and did not allow people to experience the freedom of the children of God. St. Therese knew from her life that God is merciful love; many scripture passages in the Old and New Testaments bore out that truth. She loved the maternal images for God in the Old Testament and the love of God for us in Jesus Christ. In fact, St. Therese once wrote that she could not understand how anyone could be afraid of a God who became a child. She also knew that she would never be perfect. Therefore, she went to God as a child approaches a parent with open arms and a profound trust. 

St. Therese translated "the little way" in terms of a commitment to the tasks and to the people we meet in our everyday lives. She took her assignments in the convent of Lisieux as ways of manifesting her love for God and for others. She worked as a sacristan by taking care of the altar and the chapel; she served in the refectory and in the laundry room; she wrote plays for the entertainment of the community. Above all, she tried to show a love for all the nuns in the community. She played no favorites; she gave of herself even to the difficult members. Her life sounds so routine and ordinary, but it was steeped in a loving commitment that knew no breakdown. It is called a little way precisely by being simple, direct, yet calling for amazing fortitude and commitment.

In living out her life of faith she sensed that everything that she was able to accomplish came from a generous love of God in her life. She was convinced that at the end of her life she would go to God with empty hands. Why? Because all was accomplished in union with God.

Catholics and other Christians have been attracted to St. Thereses style. Her little way seems to put holiness of life within the reach of ordinary people. Live out your days with confidence in Gods love for you. Recognize that each day is a gift in which your life can make a difference by the way you choose to live it. Put hope in a future in which god will be all and love will consume your spirit. Choose life, not the darkness of pettiness and greed. St. Therese knew the difference love makes by allowing love to be the statement she made each day of her life.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

One Badass Book of Saints

I just finished reading a wonderful book whose title sounds slightly quirky but is a wonderful collection of stories of many different, wonderful women, some of them saints, some just good women who did saintly things.  It's called, "My Badass Book of Saints" by Maria Morera Johnson.

  It is filled with stories Maria collected  of extraordinary women in her life including her relatives and saints she know about, who helped her develop her faith and live courageously.
  For every woman, young and not so young who wants to know there are other women in the world who are smart, funny, faithful and not afraid to buck the system and never afraid to be a woman!
  I loved the message of this book because it reflected how I tried to raise my two daughters.
  I grew up in the 60's and 70's when feminism was growing, but the kind of feminism reflected by society was not the kind I was interested in. I want to be a faith filled woman who could fight fires, fend off the bad guys and mix it up when needed.  I picked martial arts as my vehicle and off I went fighting and learning how to defend myself in a man's world. What I came up with was how to stay a woman and learn how to fight like a woman and to teach other women how to defend themselves.
  Now my daughters not only also teach self protection to other woman, they also are strong, outspoken and have begun their own businesses helping others.  They are still having to do it in a 'man's' world where unfortunately chauvinism is still a big part of the business world.  But 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' and they are stronger because of it.  I am so very proud of them!
  So if you are a woman, read this book, be courageous and know you are not the only woman out there who wants to be strong, independent, gentle, loving and faith filled. God made you the way you are so be that and give all your efforts to Him.  He will guide you in the way He wants you to go.