Saturday, June 30, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 4

"While I am on the subject of books, women might be interested in reading a book by author Dawn Eden entitled, The Thrill of the Chaste.

I would recommend this book for late teens/adults. It's a memoir by the author of her search for true chastity in her life. Ms. Eden shares with the reader her life that was filled with men and worldly things, yet it didn't bring her what her heart truly sought. She was looking for something far deeper than what society had to offer.

Ms. Eden is open and honest about her experiences. She has a great wisdom, sense of humor and a desire to be everything that God wants her to be. I found it refreshing and insightful.

Til then..."

Tales from the desert...Part 3

"One of the things that I really appreciate about being in the desert and away from the city is that I have a lot of time to read.

If you are looking for something to read this summer and want a book that will grab your attention and inspire you, may I suggest a book called, "Three Cups of Tea." It's a true story about an American named Greg Mortenson who, after failing to climb the K2 mountain in Pakistan, gets lost on his way down the mountain and stumbles into a village wherein he realizes that the children of the village have no school. The kids sit on the cold ground outside in the winter and learn from a teacher who only comes three days a week. Seeing that the children deserve more, Mortenson, with no money and no idea how he will actually build one, promises the village chief that he will come back and build the village a school. And so it begins.

I don't recommend it for very young children and would encourage adult parents to read it first as there are a couple of things in the book that are inappropriate for young children, but I think you may find the book inspiring and a testimony to the generosity, providence and protection of God.

Another thing that was brought to my attention was the story of Chinese Cardinal Kung. Cardinal Kung was a Bishop for the Diocese of Shanghai when he was arrested by the government in 1955 and put into prison for, get this, 30 years. By the time he was released in 1985, there was a Polish Pope and a new Vatican Council had already begun and ended! But Cardinal Kung remained faithful to the Church throughout his ordeal and was actually named a Cardinal by John Paul II "in pectore" (in the heart of the Pope, not made public) during his incarceration.

At 87 years of age, Cardinal Kung was released from jail and came to America. Thereupon he went to Rome and greeted the Holy Father. Here's an excerpt of his being made Cardinal from the website of the Cardinal Kung Foundation:"When Pope John Paul II presented Cardinal Kung with his red hat in ceremonies on June 28, 1991, at the Consistory in the Vatican, the wheelchair-bound, ailing Kung raised himself up from the wheelchair, threw aside his cane and walked up the steps to kneel at the foot of the Pontiff. Visibly touched, the Holy Father lifted him up, gave him his cardinal's hat, then stood patiently as Cardinal Kung returned to his wheelchair to the sounds of an unprecedented seven-minute standing ovation."

I find that idea of perseverance quite amazing. We get bent out of shape if the line at the grocery store is too long, imagine being imprisoned in China for 30 years! Imagine being imprisoned, not for something that you did that was wrong, but for believing in Christ. Things like this still happen in the world today, lest we be ignorant of that fact.

The Holy Father released a letter today to all Chinese Catholics which you can read here.
In it he addressed many important issues and it is no coincidence that the letter comes at a time in history when China's economy and world status are rising and that Beijing is scheduled to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. So you might want to read it.

Our Blessed Mother is appearing on earth more now than ever in the history of time. It seems like she speaks the same message to many different people, probably because we aren't listening to what she is saying. She continues to urge us to turn away from sin, pray, go to Mass and receive the Eucharist, fast and return to Her Son. As our Mother, she knows what is best for us and it must grieve her heart to see so many people living beneath their dignity.

Let us pray to Her for help, wisdom and perseverance.

Til then..."

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Tales from the desert...Part 2

" There are some very big things going on here in the desert. Yesterday, we visited our new convent being re-built in Holman, about 3 hours north of Albuquerque. Holman is where our community began almost 50 years ago and when the sisters left the area, the convent was destroyed. I remember seeing it 5 years ago before anything had been done to it and looking at the graffiti on the walls and the devastation of it, I didn't think there was much that could be done. However, the foundation was structurally sound and so the sisters and some amazing volunteers began to build upon it.

I was unprepared as to how beautiful the convent would be. The walls are white and they reach high to touch the skylights in the ceiling. There is a tile inlay of the Miraculous Medal, windows that reveal the breathtaking views of the mountains and nature, and even compact little rooms for the sisters that have built in beds, closets and desks. The Sisters aren't finished yet with this project and I hope to post pictures and a video of the convent soon. Much of the work and furnishings have come from generous benefactors who have graciously volunteered their time and resources. I know that God will bless them abundantly for their gifts.

Perhaps that goes to prove that God plants desires in the hearts of people and fulfills them. And that His ways are not our ways. Don't we do that at times, we look at something or someone on the outside and say,"Nothing can be done to fix that person or problem." And then God steps in and does something wonderful. It takes a lot of work, whether on a building or on ourselves interiorly, but we do our part and God does the rest.

I like that.

Til then..."

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Tales from the desert... Part 1

Sr. Miriam James is preparing for her Perpetual Vows in Bosque, New Mexico. These are some of her reflections from the desert. (please pray for her!)

"After leaving cloudy and rainy Seattle for the desert heat of New Mexico, I've noticed some interesting things. First of all, it's hot. That being said, there is something about the desert that invites reflection and recollection. It's no coincidence that many of the saints left the city and the teeming mass of humanity to embark on an unknown path in the desert. Perhaps they fled for different reasons but I would be willing to bet that although they were leaving "distractions" behind, they knew that a different and perhaps more difficult battle lay ahead.

Sometimes people think that the problems they have are locational. They think, "If only I didn't live here, I would be happy." Or "If only I didn't have this job, I would be happy." or "If I didn't have to live with so-and-so, I would be happy." However, it rarely works that way. We think that if all of our distractions and problems were taken away, we would be happy. So we move, quit our jobs, stop speaking to certain people, etc. and often what happens is that we are just as unhappy as before. Why is that? Because we take ourselves with us wherever we go and most of our struggles are buried deep in our own hearts, not in our neighbor. More on that later...

I really like our mission out here in Bosque and one of the first things I noticed about it when I first arrived here almost nine years ago was the immense peace that permeates this mission. I had never experienced peace like that in my life before that point and it struck me deeply. Many members of our community come here for renewal and preparation of vows and I think it's really providential because this mission is marked by silence, community and peace. So we here also try to take one day at a time and embrace the gifts that God is trying to give us, whatever they may be.

Blessed John XXIII said, "You must live each day as it comes, and proceed arm in arm with Providence, not trying to race ahead."

Think about it.

Til next time..."

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Sad Article about Planned Parenthood

I read this story in the National Catholic Register about the Planned Parenthood organization. I already knew the damage that Planned Parenthood does to women so I guess something new like this shouldn't have surprised me but it saddened me to see how women and girls are being taken advantage of for the sole purpose of money and the destruction of life.

Let us pray for all of these people.

Abortion is a very difficult thing to encounter. We live in a culture that tells us we can kill innocent children and that it won't cause any problems or distress later on. However, the deeper we go into this mentality, the more we are finding women who have been devastated by procuring or being forced to have an abortion. Things aren't alright later on. Time doesn't make a woman forget about her lost child. She doesn't just "get over it." And often there is no one she can talk to.

If you have had an abortion, please know how much God loves you and desires your healing and reconciliation with Him and your child. There is hope. No matter how long ago it happened or who you are, there is hope.

Project Rachel has a tremendous ministry to women who have had abortions. They offer healing retreats and people to talk to that understand, are compassionate, and can help. Won't you begin the healing process today?

Visit these links to find out more about Project Rachel- www.hopeafterabortion.com
Healing retreats: www.rachelsvineyard.org

We are praying for you.
God has a great plan for your life.
May God bless you and bring you His peace.