Saturday, March 26, 2011

Prayer Intentions & Random Thoughts

This is the beginning of Spring Break for many of my family and friends and some of them are traveling.  Please keep all of the Spring Break Families who are going on vacation in your prayers so they are safe among the many highways, airways and waterways that they are traveling. 

Everyday, I'm still noticing many rosaries hanging in cars from their rear view mirrors.  I pray that these same people are also using it and not just using it as a decoration or statement of faith.  Many blessings and graces come from meditating on the gospels by praying the rosary.

I've noticed one hanging in the car of Shorty from the Animal Planet Show called Pit Boss.  I pray that he too, prays those prayers instead of decorating with them.

Where I don't like seeing rosaries is when they're used as a necklace by young men.  I see it on TV and have no idea why they're wearing it?  I pray that they're not desecrating something holy but that they love Jesus and His mother who is our mother.

Sometimes praying the rosary feels overwhelming with the many intentions I want it to go for:
my family and friends,
the families in our church and our parish priest and deacons,
Pope Benedict XVI and the Bishops of the Vatican,
the families in our neighborhood and my son's school,
for our soldiers who are defending our country,
conversion of all sinners,
peace for the world,
those suffering in Japan,
those who are considering abortion,
those who've made the decision and for those who perform them,
those who are homeless, hungry and hurt,
those who are lonely,
for fallen away Catholics
and for those who are against the Catholic Church.

The list can seem endless at times because of the society we live in.  In fact, I was listening to the radio recently about The War on Terror and I had offered up a prayer for all of the innocent people who are affected by this war and for our soldiers. 

And I heard/felt/thought in my head, pray for Osama Bin Laden.

Immediately, I thought, "WHAT?"  Then I remembered reading Corrie Ten Boom's book called The Hiding Place, many years ago and after her family was discovered harboring Jewish families during WWII, they were all arrested and she and her sister were sent to a concentration camp.  I recall in her book she said they should pray for the concentration camp guards, that THEY needed the most prayer of all for the evil they were doing. 

So, after the initial shock, I obeyed the Holy Spirit and offered up a prayer Osama Bin Laden.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Feast of the Annunciation

Today is a special day for us Christians because over 2,000 years ago today, a young woman's yes, changed our lives forever.  Mary said yes to the angel Gabriel when he came down to announce that she would bear the son of God.  She had been chosen to be the Mother of God and she willingly accepted.  Our Blessed Mother is are perfect role model for obeying the will of God.  She is a special gift to us and I thank God for her role in the life of Jesus.

When I was a young girl, I used to dream that the angel Gabriel came to me with such an announcement.  I wanted to be Mary, chosen by God for this greatest of honors.  To be responsible for raising Jesus and at some point, knowing that she would have to let him go.  I have to admit, my dream didn't include Mary's presence at the cross during his crucifixion.  That I knew even as a young girl, would be impossible to bear witness too.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

How Firm a Foundation

I recently finished reading a book by Marcus Grodi, How Firm a Foundation.  If you know Marcus Grodi then you know he is a former Protestant Minister who converted to Catholicism and now hosts The Journey Home show on EWTN.  (Which I love!) Each week he has a different guest who converted to Catholicism or fallen away Catholics who've come home to the church.

Mr. Grodi wrote this fiction book even though I wondered if part of it tells his life story.  He claims in the author's afterword that his book is based loosely on his life and a compilation of stories from people he has met through his journey.  It is fictitious though but extremely thought provoking.  The story is about Reverend Stephen LaPointe who loves Jesus, is married with children, and is a Congregationalist ordained minister who believes the bible is sufficient to practice and preach his faith.  From my understanding, Congregational Churches are structured so that each congregation independently and autonomously runs its own affairs.  Therein lies his problem.

Reverend Stephen LaPointe struggles throughout this story on little things such as, should he wear a clerical collar?  a suit and tie?  And then on to bigger issues of faith such as divorce, abortion, sin, and being led by the Holy Spirit.  The demands placed on him by his church often take priority over his family life and his marriage suffers for it.  He does not have authority over his church... the elders do and he battles them about what he believes is the word of God.  He has to worry about offending the biggest donors of his divided church... some believe that once saved, always saved and they don't want to hear about sin or repentance, heaven and hell are myths.  Others believe that yes, Jesus died for our sins but there is still the reality of heaven and hell.  Instead of being able to talk authoritatively on these matters, Reverend LaPointe asks for time to discern this matter so he can put off offending his parishioners.

He jumps from church to church seeking a Congregational Church that is in sync with what he believes and will understand his need to be a husband to his wife and a father to his boys.  He is pulled in so many directions and inside turmoils with "how can the bible alone be a trustworthy foundation of truth if so many sincere believers come up with such defensible yet contradictory opinions from the same text?  And all of them saying they are being guided by the Holy Spirit?"

All of his soul searching leads him to study the Early Church Fathers and he realizes that the early church did not have the bible.  They were taught from oral sacred tradition and what the Early Church Fathers taught was NOT what he learned in seminary nor spent 20 plus years of his life preaching in the different churches.  One such reading came from St. Irenaeus (who lived from 140 to 202 AD) who was the second bishop of Lyons in what is now France.  He was converted by St. Polycarp who had been a disciple of the Apostle John.  He said this,

"The church having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house.  She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth.  For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same. 

Neither do the Churches among the Germans believe otherwise or have another tradition, nor do those among the Iberians, nor among the Celts, nor away in the East, nor in Egypt, nor in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world.  But just as the sun, that creature of God, is one and the same throughout the whole world, so also the preaching of the truth shines everywhere and enlightens all men who desire to a knowledge of truth.

Nor will any of the rulers in the Churches, whatever his power of eloquence, teach otherwise, for no one is above the teacher; nor will he who is weak in speaking detract from the tradition.  For the faith is one and the same, and cannot be amplified by one who is able to say much about it, nor can it be diminished by one who can say but little."

The above quote came from St. Irenaeus' book Against Heresies.

Then Vincent of Lerins wrote the book, Commonitorium before he died in 450 A.D., "Keep that which is committed.  What is committed?  It is that which has been entrusted to you, not that which you have invented; what you have received, not what you have devised; not a matter of ingenuity, but of doctrine; not of private acquisition, but of public tradition; a matter brought to you, not created by you; a matter you are not the author of, but the keeper of; not the teacher, but the learner; not the leader, but the follower. 

This deposit guard.  Preserve the talent of the Catholic Church unviolated and unimpaired.  What has been entrusted to you may remain with you and may be handed down by you.  You received gold; hand it down as gold."

Vincent of Lerins wrote the book Commonitorium in which he gave arguments on how the Christian Faith was to be preserved and protected against the onslaught of heresies.  This above quote is in relation to Paul's command to Timothy to "keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding the profane novelties of words."

I don't want to ruin the end of the book for anyone who may be interested in reading it, but as I said earlier, it's very thought provoking and informative.  Marcus Grodi wrote an engrossing and yet hopeful book.


Monday, March 21, 2011

U.S.S. Silversides Trip

This is where we went this weekend for an overnight trip with my son's scout trip.

Here is the actual submarine from WWII that is now used as a museum in Michigan  and yes, we slept in the submarine for the night.  It held 72 crewman and 8 officers during the war and our pack/troop spent the night on board with two other scout packs. 

Before the boys toured the sub and brought their gear down, they first took an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) Class where they had to build their own out of pvc pipes with 3 motors.  The goal was to construct it so it was able to go up and down, front and back and turn in the water. 

After numerous attempts, they were all successful!  The boy scouts worked well with our cubbies by not taking over the projects but working with them.

This the torpedo room that has actual torpedoes in them.  And yes, the boys slept in this room either above, next to or below the torpedoes.  They loved it!

Here is my son in the confined quarters on the top bunk of the torpedo room. 

A group shot in the Great Lakes Naval Memorial and Museum before we left.

One last outside shot of the submarine with our group.  Our dads that went were awesome!  They took all of the night shift watches for our boys and let us moms sleep... there wasn't much sleeping but we appreciated it!

 This museum is in Muskegon, Michigan.  I would highly recommend a trip here if you're ever in the area!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

My friend left the Saint Patrick's Breastplate Prayer on my windshield this morning and I thought it fitting to use today since it's St. Patrick's Day!  Thank you Holly!

"...and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”    
-Ephesians 6:14

I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this day to me for ever.
By power of faith, Christ's incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan river;
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spicèd tomb;
His riding up the heavenly way;
His coming at the day of doom;
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of the cherubim;
The sweet 'well done' in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors' faith, Apostles' word,
The Patriarchs' prayers, the Prophets' scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord,
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the starlit heaven,
The glorious sun's life-giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind's tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea,
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward,
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility,
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan's spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart's idolatry,
Against the wizard's evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave and the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity;
By invocation of the same.
The Three in One, and One in Three,
Of Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Pray for Japan

We all know the devastation that has occurred in Japan recently and it's incomprehensible what are brothers and sisters in Christ are enduring... they need our prayers desperately! 

This is a country that is slighty smaller than the State of California with a population of 127 million and of which, 3 million are Christians.  I heard on my local Moody Radio Station that prior to this disaster, Japan averaged 100 suicides a day.  I have know idea how that compares to America but I was deeply saddened by this.  How will the survivors cope with this devastation?  I pray that they put their hopes and prayers in God.

I'm sure my blogging friends are praying for the people of Japan but I felt the need to ask again!

May God Bless Japan!

Monday, March 14, 2011

St. Gertrude

I've been taking my son to our church for Monday Night Eucharistic Adoration to pray the rosary.  Following the rosary are a number of prayers and one of them is St. Gertrude's Prayer to Jesus.

She lived from 1256-1302 and was a Benedictine Nun who devoted her life to Jesus.  I'm not clear as to the origin of her prayer to Jesus or His promise to release souls from purgatory, but I believe it and find it comforting to know that we can help our fellow brothers and sister in Christ be released from Purgatory.

Here is her prayer:

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus Christ, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, for those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ash Wednesday

Today is the beginning of Lent and we'll be going to mass.  My son and I made a Lenten Calendar from Catholic Icing and hung it in the kitchen. 

We wrote our individual goals of what we plan to do to honor God and deepen our faith (it's on the bottom portion that was cut off in the picture).  One goal is to give up diet pop...  I will need help though giving this up... it has a stronghold on me and I know it.  My son has challenged me to do it and I've accepted that challenge. 

It will be hard... very hard... so please pray for me!!

May everyone have a blessed Lenten Season!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Healing Mysteries of the Rosary

Last night we went to Eucharistic Adoration at my church for the 7pm Rosary Prayer and we prayed the Healing Mysteries.  I've never heard of these mysteries before and I was so intrigued and refreshed by meditating on the miracles Jesus had performed.  It was very beautifully done and I would like to pray them again!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Defund Planned Parenthood Bus Tour

Contact: Colleen O’Boyle, (703) 683-5004 ext. 122:

DES MOINES, March 7 ─ Today, Live Action and the Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List) launch a 4-day, 13-district “Women Speak Out: Defund Planned Parenthood” bus tour. Led by Live Action president Lila Rose and former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, the tour will include press conferences and rallies in 13 congressional districts. Each stop features local pro-life leaders thanking Members who voted for Rep. Mike Pence’s amendment to defund Planned Parenthood of its over $300 million in federal funding and targeting Members who voted against it.
The tour will make 11 stops, covering 13 districts across Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Rhode Island and New Hampshire from Monday, March 7 to Thursday, March 10.  Press conferences and rallies at each stop will highlight grassroots support for stripping taxpayer subsidies from Planned Parenthood, the country’s largest abortion chain. The tour schedule is available at:
“Planned Parenthood is a corrupt organization that aids and abets the sex trafficking of minor girls,” says Rose.  “A vote to funnel federal dollars into the nation’s biggest abortion business is a vote to make taxpayers accomplices in the exploitation of women and children, even at a time when our country is broke. We commend our Representatives who have voted to defund Planned Parenthood of its taxpayer subsidies--now they must stand strong and hold the line in negotiations with the Senate. American taxpayers and American women don’t want to subsidize abortion or those who aid and abet the victimization of young girls.”
Live Action is the youth-led pro-life organization responsible for recent undercover videos showing Planned Parenthood staff from management on down willing to aid and abet the sex trafficking of minor girls in New Jersey, Virginia, New York, and Washington, D.C.. Over the past 4 years, Live Action has also recorded videos showing Planned Parenthood clinics agreeing to cover up statutory rape and manipulating women during counseling with medical misinformation to choose abortions.
Reminder: Join Lila Rose for the Defund Planned Parenthood Webcast Monday Night
Get the details at:


Friday, March 4, 2011

Extended Responses to my "Struggling" post

I tried to post a comment on my previous post but I guess it went too long and after clicking post comment in came back as an error and wiped out my entire comment.  So, I thought I would try again and post my comment on a new post and see how it goes.

First, I have NO IDEA why there is a pro-choice ad on my blog!  I don't know how to delete it off... I've had ads about becoming mormon (again, I have no idea why that's on there either) and have been unsuccessful in deleting them.  I think everyone knows this but I feel the need to say it again, I am pro-life!

Ok back to responding to the comments...

Sarah- I like your comment about what's in your heart while tithing not the actual amount.  And I agree that I've never heard a priest say in their homily that we must tithe 10%.  I'm not sure when I first even heard that, I don't recall it in my childhood so it must have been when I was an adult.

Lady Rose- I was once told by an evangelical friend "that's one thing the Catholic Church has done right - be pro-life."  Hmmm... anyway, I finally found Abby Johnson's book Unplanned (previous director of a Planned Parenthood Clinic in Texas and became pro-life after witnessing an ultrasound-guided abortion.)  Right from the beginning she explains her experience watching the baby on the ultrasound fight for his/her life... saw the baby's profile...saw him/her kicking it's leg to get away from the instrument knowing something was wrong, watched the young mother crying... she obviously knew it was wrong but felt she had no choice... and then I closed the book with tears running down my cheeks. 

I have deep compassion for the young girls and women who've felt so scared and desperate and who've made the choice of having an abortion.  And those facing it now.  In fact that is one my intentions when I pray the rosary for these young girls and women... my heart aches for them.

Lynda- thank you for your honest comments about people of other faith.  I'm wondering why you once thought you'd never be friends with a Catholic?  Where does that thought come from?  Or what concerned you about Catholics?

I grew up Catholic and had friends of many faiths.  Religion was never an issue in our house or church... we were all friends.  It wasn't until I was an adult and moved to the town I currently live in, did I experience anti-Catholicism.  I joined a moms group at an inter-denominational church in a nearby town and I admire the effort this church puts in to the community.  They have a wonderful outreach program for children and moms. 

I learned quickly though by individual moms in the group that being Catholic was not a good thing.  I was told and had overheard discussions of anti-Catholicism such as "Catholics are all going to hell... they don't know Jesus... it's a dead church... the pope is controlled by Satan...etc."  My mind went whirling and I had no responses to any one of the above statements.  None.  I was shocked speechless.  I had never heard such things before.  When I responded that I went to a Catholic Church to one friendly mom regarding what church I belonged to, a look of disgust came over her face with her reply "Oh, you're one of those."  She never talked to me again after that.  Again, I was stunned and deeply wounded.

I'm still friends with a couple of women who go to this church and I've never experienced any judgment or condemnation from them.  But the damage was done... so I find myself cautious and guarded when the subject of faith or church comes up.  Waiting for a look or a comment that deep down I know will never come from these ladies but I can't seem to shake the uncertainity.  I've prayed about it and the result was that I joined a Catholic bible study and started learning about the history of our church from Catholic scholars.  I believe God used this time to steer me into becoming a better Christian by deepening my faith.  It was a painful and isolating time for me and now looking back, it was a good thing.

Sue - you are a wise lady!  You are so right that the depost of faith given to the apostles from Jesus has remained intact.  It's humbling that what we do in our mass every week, was what Jesus instructed the apostles to teach us... over 2,000 years ago and we still worship Jesus through the Holy Eucharist.

Thank you ladies for your comments, I so enjoy reading them and it makes me think then look for answers, which in turn deepens my faith.

God bless,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Struggling to find answers...

There are some questions that I've been asked about why Catholics do certain things.  The more I learn... the more questions I seem to have or are asked by others.  It's overwhelming really and I don't want to get stuck
on the small things but I can't seem to shake them either.  So, maybe I can find these answers through blogging about it.

1)  All Christians feel strongly that their faith is the right one.  There is such disunity in the Christian world and it's bothersome to me that there are so many of them.  New ones open up each year while others close... it's not a business!  How can this be happening?  Hartford Institute estimates there are roughly 335,000 religious congregations in the United States.  Of those, about 300,000 are Protestant and other Christian churches, and 22,000 are Catholic and Orthodox churches.  Non-Christian religious congregations are estimated at about 12,000.
2) How can all of the Christian religions NOT be pro-life?  I'm flabbergasted at this one.  I watched an interview with Abby Johnson, a former Director of Planned Parenthood, who wrote the book Unplanned and she stated she used to be Episcopalian and when she left the abortion clinic and became pro-life, she claims her church "asked her to leave."  WHAT??  She went on to say the reason she first became Episcopalian was because "they were pro-choice and they fit in."  I cannot believe that it's a universal truth in the Episcopalian Church, right?

3) Then my sister tells me she was told by a non-Catholic that the reason Catholics tithe 10% was because the pope was money hungry or something to that effect.  I need to research this one but again, WHAT?

If anyone has any information that would help me find the answers to these questions, I would be very grateful.