Sunday, June 26, 2011

Our Father's Love Sets Us Free....

Perhaps you have seen this video clip already but i just saw it for the first time the other day and I was so struck by the beauty of it.

in it, this little boy has just learned how to ride a bike and his dad is asking him how he feels about learning this new skill. The little boy's response is precious and inspiring as he mounts the grassy patch to give a speech about perseverance. I love it.

but as i thought about it, what the little boy is really rejoicing in is his father's love. Out of the love of his father, this little boy learned how to ride a bike. This little boy became free in a new skill because his father loves him and he is secure in his father's love and strong in it. it's so captivating.

this is indeed what we really desire. we desire that our Father finds us and embraces us and never lets go. When we know who we are to our Father, that He has never forgotten us, that He pursues and seeks us, it gives us the freedom to live in truth and to extol His greatness.

Two thumbs up for our Daddy's love for us! :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Far You've Come,,,,

Here is some beautiful music for you on this pleasant Tuesday morning.





Lyrics--

You'd have a wonderful day
If you could see how lucky you are
Now don't get carried away with your heart
You're better where you are

You're not the only one
Who's had to hang on to a moving star
Now don't be sorry, what's done now is done
And this is who you are

These days feel numbered and long
There's no one to speak of, there's no one at all
But you're not the reason that everyone's gone
That's not how they are

There is no system to change
No conditions are made, no permissions to start
Now don't go drawing lines in the sand
That's not who you are

Sometimes a high wall is just a wall
Sometimes it's only there to make sure you feel small
Or maybe there to save you
From the depths of a much deeper fall

The truth will not set you free
It's okay to believe that you're not good enough
God is not angry, not blind, deaf, or dumb
He knows how far you've come
He knows how far you've come
He knows how far you've come

Monday, June 20, 2011

*P.C.R. (Personal Conversion Required)

In light of the many things that are happening in the Church and in the world, I was pondering the necessity of personal conversion. There is no substitute for that personal relationship with Jesus. There is no substitute for the work we must do in allowing Jesus to come and heal our wounds and our sins so that we can be set free.

No one can do that work for us and no one else's work in this area can take the place of our own.

Perhaps this idea can seem rather daunting-- like the Christmas presents that read "Some Assembly Required" which perhaps should actually read, "this box contains five million small pieces of plastic and one sheet of directions written in five languages. Good luck!"

However, as we see in the parable of the wise vs the foolish virgins, the reality become clearer.

In the Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells a parable of the five wise virgins and the five foolish virgins. When the bridegroom showed up, the five wise virgins had enough oil in their lamps, the five foolish ones did not and so they missed the opportunity of entering the wedding feast with the Bridegroom.

Obviously the "oil" in the lamps isn't literally oil but a symbol for faith. I was also thinking that it links with the personal relationship with Jesus, the deep intimacy that He gifts to us. As we open ourselves to Him-- allowing Him to touch us in our wounds, receiving the Sacraments as often as we can and living a life of truth-- these realities are the "oil" in the lamps of our soul.

The truth is that we are Catholic because of Jesus- because of the Most Holy Trinity. We aren't Catholic because of certain people or certain things we like about the Church. We must understand that in our journey with Jesus, our motives will be continually purified.

But if we stand with Christ and continue along the journey of discipleship, if we remain faithful to the end, we will rise.

The death of Jesus, what seemed like the worst thing to ever happen- became the grounds for the most beautiful thing to ever happen-- that Jesus breaks the bonds of death, rises again and unites us to our Father.

Let's all take a deep breath. We must remain calm and in balance. We must continue on.

All things will pass away-- troubles, strife, trials, disagreements-- these things have been with us since the beginning of our experience with Original Sin. The trials the Church is facing now aren't the first and they won't be the last.

Let us peacefully and honestly stay the course.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Beary Protective

our fierce furry friend protects the novices from "the dark side" on Father's Day...very manly of you Beary!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Beary Wild....

We have repeatedly tried to tell our furry guest what life in the convent is like, but he just doesn't seem to be getting it....

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Looks Good To Me...

Now you're talking...

Plug Your Ears....

So, last night, I was somewhere in the city, minding my own business, when I heard this conversation between two men who were standing behind me. (my thoughts during this conversation re-enactment will be in parenthesis)

Guy 1: Dude, did you hear that Julie is pregnant with her third child? (gasp! not a THIRD child! nooooo!)

Guy 2: No way! Was it an "opps" pregnancy or was it planned?

Guy 1: It was definitely an "oops" pregnancy, her oldest kid is like only 2 1/2 (interesting reference to the child as an "oops")

Guy 2: Yeah, -laughing- that's definitely an "oops" thing (oh the horror!)

Guy 1: Totally....-laughing-

Guy 2: Man, after me and my wife have our second kid, we are definitely getting the surgery to stop everything -laughing- we aren't gonna mess around with that stuff anymore...
(ah, this is a very sad conversation, to sterilize yourself or wife as if you are mere animals, that is the horror...)

Guy 1: Yeah....

Then I turned around and said, "Gentlemen, MAN UP and embrace your masculinity and fatherhood. We need warriors and soldiers who will fight for life, dignity and nobility. COME ON!!" and then I put them both in a headlock until they promised to embrace their true masculine identity and read Theology of the Body from cover to cover.

okay, well, that last part didn't really happen, but their conversation indeed did.

I couldn't stop thinking about their conversation, even this morning as i woke up, I was just so struck at the casualness of their discussion and the conclusion that it is fertility and the natural rhythms of the body that are the enemy and must be literally destroyed. that just breaks my heart.

and this mentality is so prevalent and is held by an overwhelming number of people. why is this? because we don't know who we really are and what it really means to be a human person.

We have bought into the lie that pleasure is to be sought above and apart from the value of the person and so in the process we destroy ourselves and our children.

I am praying for these guys and for all us, that we would all grow in the truth of who we really are and the great nobility of masculinity and femininity.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

thought for the day...

There comes a time (or many times) in our life when hanging on to our ego and selfishness is far more painful than letting it go and entrusting it to God.

Perhaps we are most stressed out in life when we are clinging to our personal ideas of "how things are supposed to be" vs living life on life's terms.

So often we are set free and we gain so much more when we let go...

Just a thought.

Happy Wednesday :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Beary Intelligent...

Giant stuffed bears also increase their intelligence by studying at the school library...

Read The Fine Print

This commercial really got me. I saw it one day and read the fine print on the bottom of the screen as the commercial was playing.

This commercial is promoting some sort of botox-like injection that promises younger looking skin.

Okay......

So, it opens with some photos of beautiful women and on the bottom of the screen it says "not actual users"

and as the narrator speaks about the product not being a quick fix, the words on the bottom of the screen say, "for the correction of smile lines and facial wrinkles as a treatment consisting of up to four injections"

The entire commercial only shows one actual user, and the disclaimer on the bottom of the screen reads, "treatment outside the smile lines has not been studied, should not be injected around eyes or lips"

then the commercial goes back to showing fabulous beautiful women and the small print reads, "individual results may vary, not actual users"

eek! then after one of the versions of the commercial ends (not the one posted below), the last 30 seconds feature all the potential side effects and intended product use.

Yikes. I just find the whole thing irksome. I am most certainly for women taking care of themselves and being beautiful in body and soul, but has it really come to this? Can we really not accept ourselves as we are?

It's difficult, I know. I just think we should be discerning in what messages we allow into our hearts and minds and we certainly shouldn't swallow anything whole, we have to read the fine print.

Happy Pentecost

Happy (late) Pentecost folks.

As this Monday morning arrives, the Easter Season is over now (wailing and gnashing of teeth all around).

BUT, just because it is "Ordinary time" now again in the Church, doesn't mean that God isn't still pouring out His grace and mercy upon us.

As I was pondering Pentecost yesterday, I am still amazed at the change that took place in the Apostles after they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

These men, whom were so afraid of suffering and death that they will literally hiding behind locked doors, went out and transformed the whole world after they received the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In the Acts of the Apostles (5:15) we read that people brought the sick out into the street so that St. Peter's shadow might at least fall upon them. That is astounding.

Who is this Holy Spirit? Why don't we see these things happening today? Is God impotent? Are these things just stories of long ago?

 The truth is that the Holy Spirit is the Lord and Giver of Life. The same Holy Spirit that transformed the Apostles, is the same Holy Spirit present at this very moment as you are reading this. He deeply desires to transform us.

The problem is not with Him, our struggle is with our own heart. Actually, we are as holy as we want to be. God fills us to the measure we allow ourselves to be filled.

It's easier for us to put the blame on others for our "lack". Perhaps we say, "well, if the homilies were better, if the choir was better, if the people at my parish were nicer, I would be holier...." and the list goes on. (I can write about this because I have had to look at these things in my own life- blaming other people for my problems)

God is not impotent or a fairy tale from the past. He is not just a "nice story" that we tell children so that they will be good.

God is alive and well. God is creating, redeeming and healing. God is loving, piercing our darkness and setting us on fire with love.

May the Holy Spirit come and renew the face of our hearts. May we be given the courage to look within, to change what we can and accept what we cannot change.

May our lives be a living witness to the power and mercy of God.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Beary Scary....

Apparently large stuffed bears get their news from internet sources as well.....when they think no one is looking.....

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Play Your Own Song

this is fun :) (this is my little song)

play your own guitar song today on google.com

The Pain of Miscarriage....

This is a very beautiful article from Priests For Life director, Fr. Frank Pavone. He speaks openly and honestly about the pain of miscarriage in a woman's life.

Miscarriage

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
The wound comes from well-meaning people. "Well, it wasn't that far along." "You can always have another child." "Lots of people go through this."

Miscarriage is a tragedy that so many people misunderstand. They are not quite sure how to console a friend or relative who has suffered this loss.

While there are no magic formulas, there is one fundamental truth that needs to stay front and center: a miscarriage is the loss of a child who is just as real and has just as much value as any other child of any age. A woman who has a miscarriage is a parent who has lost a child, as is the father of the child as well.

In a society which continues to have a legal and cultural blind spot for the unborn, many suffer from the illusion that miscarriage doesn't grieve a parent as much as the loss of, well, a "real child." And that is precisely what hurts so much. We can never console someone in grief if we imply, even remotely, that the person they lost wasn't real.

Dr. Byron Calhoun, President of the American Association of Pro-life Ob-Gyns, has observed that prior to 1970, the loss of a child before or during birth was often treated in medical literature as a "non-event," but that now there is a growing awareness of the grief associated with such loss. In fact, Dr. Calhoun has developed a hospice program for unborn children.

As the medical community advances in sensitivity and understanding of these points, so must we all. Our love, our compassion, our sharing in the grief of such losses, can bring healing to the parents who have suffered miscarriage. The naming of these children who have died is one significant way of acknowledging their reality. The counting of these children matters too, so that if a parent is asked how many children he/she has, the child who died before birth is counted as one of them.

I recall the first pro-life billboard that we set up in 1990 here in our community of Staten Island, New York. It depicted a developing unborn child. One of the first phone calls I received about it was from a woman who had lost a child by miscarriage. "I can't tell you how consoling your billboard is to me. Thank you." That was all she said.

Perhaps the reason it was consoling was that someone was saying publicly what she knew privately: that was a real child. 

The life of that child matters, no matter how short it was. The death of that child matters, no matter how many may not cry. And the love I have for that child matters, even if nobody else knows.

Lord, comfort all parents who grieve the loss of their children of any age. Take them into Your loving arms, and give us strength until the day You give them back to us in heaven. Amen.

This column can be found online at www.priestsforlife.org/columns/3656-miscarriage.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

The Sword of Beauty...

A friend and I were talking the other day about Our Lady and her beauty- how beautiful she is, and how her beauty crushes the darkness of evil. Her beauty slays the ugliness of sin because her beauty is the beauty of grace.

The sword of her beauty destroys sin.

Her beauty, the true beauty of grace, pierces the glamorous facade of monstrous ugliness, which is sin. Sin is the epitome of ugliness. No matter what package sin presents itself as, when unwrapped, the hideousness is revealed.

There is a saying "ugly as sin" and this is true, for sin is very ugly. Humans weren't made to live in ugliness, we were made for beauty- eternal beauty.

It was Bishop Doyle (not Archbishop Fulton Sheen, my mistake) who said that a person cannot continually live in sin and continue to pray the Rosary-- one will eventually go. Either sin will go or the Rosary will go.

Beauty and ugliness cannot long co-exist, one will eventually leave.

I love the statues of Our Lady where she is crushing the head of the serpent. I love that she is who she is, just being herself, content and serene in the woman God made her to be.

 She is not trying to impress people or compete with other women, she is just being who she is and in that power of grace comes deep, strong and irresistible beauty.


The sword of her beauty slays the dragon of sin. The Rosary is a very powerful sword of beauty that pierces the darkness. As we pray deeply, we are transformed. As we ask the Mother of Jesus, Our Mother, to help us, she smiles her beauty upon us and we heal. Our Mother comes to bring healing to us.

We as women, especially, can go to her with our beauty wounds, our desires and our broken hearts. She will not chide us or scorn us, she only desires to bring us to her Son.

The world needs this true beauty of women to bring healing in a very broken and dark world. We don't need more plastic surgery, we need to open our hearts to the river of grace. We won't find ourselves by misusing or hiding our femininity. We live out our true calling in the healing of our femininity.

And this healing isn't just for the "unstained." This beauty and love comes from the heart of Jesus, who brings redemption and life even from the darkness of death.

Men who struggle with lust will find a powerful advocate in Our Lady and they will find a deep protection in her beauty. Her beauty heals lust because Truth heals lies, if we are open.

It would be totally awesome if Our Lady ever appeared under the title Our Lady of Eternal Beauty and if her image included her crushing the head of the serpent, with the sword of beauty sheathed on her hip.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Good Help Is Hard To Find...

What did St. Paul say? Something along the lines of, "those who do not work...."

More David....

Here is David's brand new song- What's In Your Heart?

David Thies Rocks...

I absolutely LOVE this song written and performed by David Thies. I wept the first time I heard it. Rock on David! Check out his summer tour schedule here
(sorry about the earlier posting mix up! David does not look like Eddie Vedder....ha ha!)

Eddie Vedder Sings Tom Petty

Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder (and his guitar!) sings an acoustic version of Tom Petty's Won't Back Down

Cool stuff :) love how the crowd sings along-

Life on the Rock Archive

Some of you have asked to see the show from last week--

here it tis!

thanks to all of you for your kind support :)

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Words From Our Mother...

From www.medjugorje.com regarding Our Lady's message to Mirjana on Jun 2nd- a day of prayer for non-believers:

"By 7:00 a.m., thousands of pilgrims could be seen in every available space possible, and still more and more pressed in up to the moment of Our Lady’s apparition to Mirjana. Mirjana arrived at the Blue Cross around 8:40 a.m. The apparition began at 8:47 a.m. and lasted five minutes. The following is Our Lady’s message:

“Dear children! As I call you to prayer for those who have not come to know the love of God, if you were to look into your hearts you would comprehend that I am speaking about many of you. With an open heart, sincerely ask yourselves if you want the living God or do you want to eliminate Him and live as you want. Look around you, my children, and see where the world is going, the world that thinks of doing everything without the Father, and which wanders in the darkness of temptation. I am offering to you the light of the Truth and the Holy Spirit. According to God’s plan I am with you to help you to have my Son, His Cross and Resurrection, triumph in your hearts. As a mother, I desire and pray for your unity with my Son and His works. I am here; you decide. Thank you.”

Mirjana said that Our Lady was very sad. She said that when Our Lady said, “I am offering to you the light of the Truth and the Holy Spirit,” Mirjana saw a particular light behind Our Lady." (end text)

I found this message to be particularly piercing because Our Lady really is speaking to all of us, as her children. All of us have areas in our hearts and in our lives where we don't believe fully. It seems like we often want to ride the fence on something or have given into fear in some area so we keep ourselves away from the true and authentic love of Jesus and Mary.

Perhaps we want to give some parts of ourselves but not others. It's interesting. I have noticed lately on a deeper level how when we are called to give of ourselves, we are called to give ALL of ourselves, not pieces and parts.

When a man and a woman get married, they promise to be faithful and true in "good times AND in bad, in sickness AND in health, in plenty AND in want" till death do them part. They don't pledge to be true only in good, healthy, fun and wealthy times. Where is the merit in that? Where is the love in giving and receiving only in pieces and in parts?

Do we want to live the fullness of life, following the One who loves us, even to the Cross? Or shall we choose to live a shallow life, flitting from one emotional high to another in pursuit of power, pleasure and prestige?

The choice is ours.

As we grow in the spiritual life and discipleship, we experience a slow purification of the ways we ride the fence and build up walls around our hearts with sin and resentments.

Jesus comes to touch our hearts and heal us. He is not afraid of us and our mess! This is VERY good news.

He loves us, oh, how He loves us. We needn't fear.

Let us step out in authenticity and grace.

May Our Blessed and Beautiful Mother keep us under her mantle and close to her heart always.







Saturday, June 04, 2011

Friday, June 03, 2011

Weird Dinner Guest.....

This weird dinner guest showed up....he was rather quiet but became unbearable.....

Oh, The Irony....

The irony over the death of Dr. Jack Kevorkian is certainly not lost on me. The 83 year old advocate of physician assisted suicide died of natural causes last night.

What a mystery. May God have mercy on his soul.
I wonder if he was ready to meet God, to meet The Truth? Would Doctor (should we even refer to him as such?) Kevorkian be able to tell God that he felt he had a better plan to "alleviate human suffering"?

hmmm.....

But let us not be led astray by seeming arguments for "compassion". People do not need a law to be free to commit suicide, as we well know. What we must understand is that "physician assisted suicide laws" are merely forerunners for more insidious things to come.

We must know the Truth and what the Church teaches and what true compassion really is.

Read more about this from author Mark Shea

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Life on the Rock

Check out EWTN this evening to see the show Life on the Rock, 10pm eastern time :)

Or stream it here: www.ewtn.com

The Glamorous Life...

A few years ago, the singer Fergie (who, incidentally, was raised Catholic and was recently married in the Catholic church)  had a number one song titled, Glamorous

Some of the lyrics said:
We flying first class
Up in the sky
Poppin' champagne
Livin' the life
In the fast lane
And I wont change...


The song goes on to talk about where she came from in her life and how she still has problems but is making it through the hard times.

I have been thinking about that word "glamorous" lately. It's interesting that we use that word in the formula of our Baptismal promises-- but not in reference to God. In the formula of our Baptismal promises, we are asked, "Do you reject the glamour of evil and refuse to be mastered by sin?"

Interesting.....reject the glamour of evil......

What does the word glamour mean?

dictionary.com says (and this was very interesting to study this word):

glam·our

[glam-er]  
–noun
1.the quality of fascinating, alluring, or attracting, especially by a combination of charm and good looks.
2.excitement, adventure, and unusual activity: the glamour of being an explorer.
3.magic or enchantment; spell; witchery.
–adjective
4.suggestive or full of glamour; glamorous: a glamour job in television; glamour stocks.
Also, glam·or.

Origin:
1710–20;  earlier glammar,  dissimilated variant of grammar  in sense of occult learning
 
Please note the origin of this word--- in the sense of occult learning. wow. 
 
The world besieges us with the message that we must somehow live a glamorous life. We are inundated with advertising that tells us that we are not good enough as we are, we don't have enough and that all we need is more "stuff" and we will somehow reach that illusive status of "happiness." The grass is always greener...
 
But all this is complete illusion. The truth is that glamour is illusive- for if it includes the realm of exciting and unusual activity- those things too pass away and become "routine" and they lose their charm. We can go on forever chasing the next "high" but where is true and authentic happiness to be found?  in the "next" job, the "next" relationship, the "next" party? 

I think not. 

Somehow daily life is pushed aside as only to be "endured" but in that, we are missing something great. 

One of my dear friends who is a very wise woman told me, "our daily life, our daily activities that we find boring and monotonous, those are the very things that bring greatness to our lives. It's not glamorous, but it's greatness." 

When we are faithful in the small things, those small things add up to greatness.
 
The world and society and maybe even people in our families and communities may never recognize this true greatness or say thank you, but this is the school where character, virtue and, dare I say, true happiness is born. 

As we seek to give of ourselves in service, and not the kind of service that is destructive, but the service that comes from Jesus, service that is life-giving, we enter into His life of greatness.

As we journey along the path of deeper healing and conversion- finding out who we are truly created to be-- it sets us free. Is it always easy and fun? Certainly not. But it's the stuff of greatness and completely worth the struggle. Eternally worth it all. 
 
May we embrace our true calling as children of God. May we reject sin and embrace grace and truth. 
A glamorous life? No thanks, I'd rather live a life of greatness.