Sunday, August 27, 2006

An Astonishing Offer

I quiet myself and relax in the presence of God.
I declare my dependency on God.
I ask for the gift of experiencing God's care, goodness, kindness and faithfulness to me.
"God called me before I was born. From my mother's womb God pronounced my name." (Isa 49:1)

  • I reflect how, in my life history, I have been carried and sustained by the love I have received.
  • I recall the many ways in which this love was made visible e.g. thru provision for my physical needs, thru supportive relationships, thru the enjoyment of life and a sense of purpose.
  • I become aware that these gifts have been a part of God's plan for me. I allow myself to experience the security and freedom of God's particular care and choice of me.
  • In light of this experience of all God has done for me, I imagine and record in my journal how the contract/commitment God has offered to me might appear if written

I, God, as your creator, do hereby agree to love you ____ unconditionally. I will manifest this love within the circumstances and reality of your life.

I will support you by ________________.

I will nourish you __________________.

I will give you ____________________.

I will __________________________.

The conditions of this commitment have been effective from the moment of my first thought of you. This offer is exempt from ever being terminated.

Love, God.


I ____________ as your creature and beloved, do promise to respond to your love and generosity. I will manifest this generosity to you within the circumstances and reality of my life.

I will support you by _____________________.

I will nourish you ______________________.

I will give you ________________________.

I will _____________________________.

The conditions of this commitment are totally dependent upon your grace in my life. This commitment is conditioned by the discernment of Your will in my life.

Signed _________________________

Thursday, August 24, 2006

From Jesus on the day you were born

On the day I breathed life into you, when you first began, I smiled. You were special, I knew. You were mine. The seed of my love was planted in your heart tho you may not have known. There was a stirring in my heart that sychronized with your own on the day you were born. And I have never left you.
I remain within your heart at this moment. Today I renew my love for you and celebrate you. I am in the breath you take. Become aware of my presence surrounding you. Feel your own heartbeat. I am there in your center. I am within you. I am a part of you. We share your breath, your heart and your soul.
We are one.
(dedicated to Barbara on her birthday)

Monday, August 21, 2006

by Teilhard

We are impatient of being on the way to something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made
by passing throuh some stages of instability
and that may take a very long time.

Our ideas mature gradually~ let them grow.
Let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today
what time will make you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you
will be.
Give Our Lord the benefit of believing that His hand is leading you
through the obscurity and the becoming;
and accept for love of Him
the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Know your activity has to be far reaching,
it must emanate from a heart that has suffered...
We must offer our existence to God, who makes use better than
we could ever anticipate,
of the struggle in which we are enveloped.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

What Every Mother Wants

The Hidden Life of Our Lord as told to Gianna Sullivan and as reprinted by the Foundation of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary
Some of my reflection on the above:
Every mother wants her child to be loved and respected in the minimum. If they could, moms would absorb every ache and pain. There'd be no illness or accidents in the world that moms design for their babies. Little Johnny or Susie would be well and happy every day of their lives. Their friends would always be good influences, their neighbors would form a welcoming community. To a mom, they'd want teachers to give only good example, dads to be good parents and the world in general to be kind to their precious newborn infant.
Mary was just like every one of those moms. God asked her to be the mother of the world's Savior, so of course she wanted to be the best mom God's baby could have. Everything was fine until that trip to Jerusalem when he was 12. She'd never forget his exact words when they finally found him. "Didn't you know I had to be about my Father's business?" That sentence was like a shock to her system. "This is the beginning," she thought and she recalled Simeon's prophetic words.
When he told her at age 30 that he was leaving the family house she
hadn't been so surprised. After 30 years of living together she sensed his time was coming. She could only be grateful for all the years they did spend together. Jesus had lived physically in her body for 9 months and in her home for 30 years. No one else in the recorded history of the world would be able to say that.
But then, of course, came his arrest, torture, death and burial. Like other moms she had wanted to take his place. She knew he'd be the Savior since she was 14 years old but did it have to be like this?
"In her humility she bowed her head in silence." (ibid) Mary didn't make this about her but silently and painfully held in her own feelings. In "The Passion of the Christ" movie we see Mary wiping up Jesus' blood from the floor where his scourging took place. Her reverent action was a symbol of her respect for her precious Son and for his body. It was the body she had carried within her. At the foot of the Cross she held him one last time. The first time was in Bethlehem's manger. The last time on Calvery's hill.
"In her humility she bowed her head in silence."

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Hidden Life

I'm amazed, Jesus, that you chose to spend 30 years hidden, from a total of 33 years on earth.
(I worry about my work product being cost effective and time efficient.)
88% of your life on earth has nothing written about it in the Scripture. NOTHING. What you did in 3 years people are talking about 2000 years later. But for 30 years you remained quiet...hidden…average. No one noticed you. No one recorded the words you spoke or where you went.
(I have a cell phone just in case someone needs me)
There's something to be said for being "little" and silent in your heart. I have so much to learn yet, my Lord!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Mary's thoughts on the Glorious Mysteries

1.The Resurrection

Mary felt a close bond with her Son Jesus after being the only person on earth to live with him for 30 years. They had an intimate bond.
"I held him tenderly when they took him off the cross. I guess I knew he was dead, but I didn't want to hurt him. When they took him from my arms and laid him in the tomb, I thought my heart just stopped beating. I tried to believe and to understand but I was his mother first. I was angry, grieving and empty, all at the same time. Then we waited. It seemed like forever, but they tell me it was 3 days. I was devastated, I don't remember those days clearly. It's all just a blur. But then, I had an opportunity no other mother will have.
My Son came back from the dead. I had hoped for it and prayed for it, but I didn't allow myself to really expect it. Then, one day I went for a walk. I reached the farthest well by the trees beyond the buildings.
As I pulled up the water, I felt a hand on my shoulder. But it wasn't a stranger's touch. I recognized it. I was almost too afraid to turn around because I didn't want to be disappointed. But then He said my name, "Mary". My Son called me by my name. and that's when I realized He was different. He was alive. He was smiling. He wasn't in pain. He was GLORIOUS. It was GLORIOUS to see him. All of a sudden, the whole day was Glorious. Life was Glorious! He said my name again. Mary. That's when my Son became my God and all the pieces of the puzzle came together in my mind. Here is my Son. He is alive. Here is my God. He is glorious. And he hugged me.

2.The Ascension

The time finally came when Jesus had to move on. He had to return to his real Father in heaven. I sensed it was coming. He was going to leave us again. But I wasn't as sad this time. He was safe and well and happy. Yes, I sensed He was really happy to be going. Selfishly, I wanted to hold on to him, but I knew, like every mother, I eventually had to let go.
He taught us about the Holy Spirit during these last few days and he kept saying we would never be alone. That was the hard part between Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I felt desperately alone. But not this time. I believed Jesus. He had filled me up with hope and convinced me he would always be with me.
And, as his Mother, I wanted him to be happy. I had to let go so he could return to his real Father. I had to humbly remember that I was only the vessel God used to bring his Son to earth and so I let go.
"Get going", Jesus told us. "Go where I send you and tell the people about eternal life and confidence and hope. And remember," said my Son and these were the last words He ever spoke,"remember I am with you always, until the end of the world."

3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit

After Jesus returned to his true Father and his true home in heaven, the Apostles and I gathered for daily prayer together. We met in the room where Jesus appeared to us after his death. We met there and prayed and tried to figure out what each of us would do. So one day we were in that room praying and asking for instructions. I guess we should have known what to do next, but to be honest, we were unsure. Jesus had always led us. Since he told us to remember that He'd always be with us, we were hopeful and we waited. We were confident God would hear our prayers, but we never expected what happened next.
We all stopped whatever we were doing because someone thought they heard something. In the quiet, I felt a sense of presence..someone was there with us. Anticipation grew within me and my eyes widened. When the angel came to me to say I was with child I had felt the same anticipation. My heart raced. It seemed like a great silence overcame us and I fell to my knees. The disciples all did the same. An energy filled the air - a divine energy. It filled the space in that room and it filled me. I wasn't afraid at all. I haven't been afraid since Jesus rose from the dead. I was eager. What was God going to do with this humble group now? And then the energy seemed to brighten the entire room. I felt like I was aflame. It felt like power. Power from heaven had come over us. It covered us and filled us. I tried to be open. I tried to receive and be filled. Whatever my God was offering me, I wanted to receive it. The sacred power seemed to overcome us all and I remembered to last words my Son said to me,"Remember I am with you always." I knew it was Him. He shared his power with us so we would not be alone. He gave us his own Holy Spirit.

4. The Assumption
At the foot of the Cross John promised my Son he would care for me and he did that for many years. I got very tired as the years moved on and one day I passed from this life in my sleep during an afternoon nap. I thought I was dreaming. I felt like I was floating on a cloud, yet being transported somehow. I can't honestly say I know how it happened, but I came here to this Sacred Place. I'm living in Heaven now, totally and perfectly. What I mean is, I am here soul and body. Everyone else here only has a soul,for now. They will experience the resurrection of their body one day soon. I've also been able to see Jesus and to hold him tight like I used to. But the most wonderful blessing of all is that I see God! HE is the One for whom I lived my life. I see God who is the person I dedicated my self and every single action I performed on earth. I carried his Son and raised him. I did it all for God and now I can enjoy everlasting happiness here with him and with Jesus! Can you imagine my joy?
There is one more thing you must know. Since I am here in heaven I get the chance to meet your loved ones who have died. I know you miss them and I remember what that feels like. But I must assure you, they are in peace! It is beyond the peace that you know on earth and I probably cannot explain it well. You need not worry for them. On the contrary they look after you. They intercede for you and they are very proud of you. They are all happy. Everyone here is happy and we look forward to the day when we will all be here together.

5. The Coronation
When I was a young girl, the Lord sent an angel to speak to me. The Angel said, "Rejoice, O highly favored. The Lord is with you." Truthfully there were hard times for me on earth during which those words comforted me. They made me feel very special and loved. But my God is even more generous than that. They call me the Queen of Heaven, now. God gave me everything I needed to fulfill His Plan on earth. All I did was to remain faithful. Yet they call me the Queen. I do, indeed, feel like a Queen, surrounded by God and angels and saints in eternal joy and with no needs or wants. I am richer and more blessed than any person I know. My God is a very generous and loving God. I am not worthy of this title or his extreme generosity. All I did was listen for His word and remain faithful to it.
I beg you to do the same. I'd love you to be with us one day so you can share in our joy. The words that gave me strength can help you, too. "Rejoice. The Lord is with you."

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Growth in the Spirit for Teens

Growth in the Spirit

Do you have your drivers’ permits or a license yet?
Soon you’ll be graduating from high school and going on to college.
You’ll probably have a big party for your 21st birthday.
These are all social indicators of growth. You will have achieved a certain age in society at which driving or going to college or drinking is allowed. But all that means is you’ve been alive enough years to be able to do those things. It’s physical growth but arguably doesn’t require a lot more from you.
To learn how to drive responsibly….to go to college and achieve your full potential…to be allowed to drink but know your limits…that’s a better kind of growth.
Let me talk about a different example of growth. It’s one Jesus gave in John 15:5:
“I am the Vine. You are the branches. With me you will bear much fruit. Apart from Me you will do nothing.”
Obviously the strongest part of the tree is the root b/c it keeps the entire height of the tree and all its branches alive. God is our Root and b/c God is holy, we, the branches, are holy. If the branches stay close on the tree and get their energy from the root they will continue to grow. If a branch breaks off- it doesn’t get fed. It withers away and dies. It’s useless. A branch that remains on the vine not only continues to grow but bears fruit…BECAUSE it got fed from the root, not b/c of anything the branch did itself.
Jesus used that story as a way to explain to his disciples that they should stay close to Him. They should let him feed them so they can grow and “bear much fruit.” That should really give us confidence and self esteem if you think about it. You aren’t some twig growing up in the wilderness all on your own. You lucky people are a part of the Vine. The Vine. And simply b/c of that you are valuable and important. We may all be different branches (oak, dogwood, maple, weeping willow) but we’re connected to the Vine and b/c the Vine is holy so are we. We didn’t do anything to deserve that, God is just that generous. God’s holiness flows through us b/c He is our Root. Remember God said this in John 15. I’m not making this up.

And if we stay close to the vine we will ‘bear much fruit,’ Scripture says. It doesn’t say you stay close to God only – you, yes YOU will Bear Much Fruit. Not a little fruit – MUCH fruit. So that’s all you have to do if you want a great life. Stay close to God. And it works well for God, too b/c you bear fruit for him and the gifts he gave you get shared. Everyone’s happy J
How do you make sure you stay a part of the Vine? How do you feed from God the Vine so you, the branch can grow?

They say CPR saves lives. Well I’m saying the real answer is CPS.
Communion. Prayer. Scripture.
Communion is Eucharist. Eucharist IS Jesus. It’s not bread. It’s not just something we Catholics do at Mass on Sunday. It’s not symbolic. It IS Jesus. We’re the only religion that can say that. No other faith believes the bread is Jesus Himself. For them it’s only a symbol.
One non Catholic woman in a wheel chair said that if she really believed that nothing would stop her from crawling out of her wheel chair up the aisle to receive the Body of Christ.
If you were home everyday and your mom made you 3 meals a day that you refused to eat, what would happen to your body? Same thing can happen to your hungry soul if it doesn’t get fed with the Eucharist.
I believe God made me.
I believe God put certain ingredients together inside of me and those ingredients make me unique. They make me me. Eg: I am extremely organized. I love Tina Turner, Cher and Rod Stewart. I also love reading the lives of the saints. These are strange ingredients but God made me so I don’t question them.
Anyway if I’m made by God then I should return to him – my Maker – to develop my potential with the ingredients he gave me. It’s like there’s a warranty on me – so for all repairs I have to go my Maker. Receiving the body of my Creator fills me and repairs me. It takes me back to who I’m meant to be. It’s home. I’m fed. I’m strong again.
If God knit me together in my mother’s womb as it says in the Psalms, where else WOULD I go to get fed, fixed up, strengthened and ready to face the world again?

Remember I said CPS was the secret to life, not CPR. C is Communion and the P is Prayer. Don’t get me started on this one. It’s my favorite topic. Let me start this way:
You’ve all got friends right? Friends talk to each other, right? The minute you stop spending time with and talking to your friend your relationship begins to weaken. Like what might happen with your friends at home if you go away to college. Relationships are fragile and need a lot of attention. I’ve heard kids say after a retreat, “Oh, I don’t know how I’m going to keep this alive” The minute you stop spending time with Jesus, your relationship will begin to weaken…but not b/c of God. B/c of how weak we as humans are. It’s like we’ve got spiritual ADHD (know what ADHD is?). We always want to be entertained. That’s not real though. At some point we have to give back – listen- or even just hang out with God. That’s all prayer is. It’s no big deal. It’s just promising God you’ll spend time with Him even if He’s not entertaining you. Friends share. Sometimes you entertain him. Sometimes you listen. Sometimes He does. Sometimes you sit together quietly or you listen to music. But I warn you: the very minute you decide to spend less time with Him your relationship with Jesus will begin to weaken and then the spiritual you will weaken too b/c its not getting fed.

Now we’re up to the S in CPS. Scripture. Eucharist is Jesus’ body and Scripture is His words. If you want to get to know about someone who died you do some research. Maybe you read their biography or autobiography. I’ve never met Princess Diana but I sure feel like I know a lot about her. There are TV shows, movies, magazine articles and books written about her. It’s the same thing with Jesus, only we have one very special extra thing: His exact words. Yes there are also movies, magazines and TV shows but we have Jesus’ own recorded words to learn about who He was and what he said and did. I’m in a Bible Study group that has been meeting once a month for almost 10 years and we still haven’t run out of things to learn about Jesus!
There’s this line: The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. That’s in Luke 6. And do you know the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit? If you don’t know what they are how can you use them or ask God to bless you with more of them?

A lot of people stop praying b/c they don’t know Jesus as a person. Of course! Why would you spend time with or try talking to someone you barely know? Scripture is the best way to get to know Jesus the human being. The apostles could follow him around and listen to his teachings. We can’t do that but we can read about what he did and what he thought. When you know him better then you’ll want to spend time with him faithfully and not give up on him.

So~ that’s the way to grow into a strong Christian whose gifts develop fully and help others. The branch has to stay on the vine to be fed. And if it stays on the vine Jesus remains in you and you bear MUCH fruit. Take His word for it~ literally.

Prayer and
Scripture are the gifts God gave us. Big presents just for you. Open them up and use them. God went to a lot of trouble to make sure you get them.

…and good luck with your drivers’ tests.