Google+ Badge

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

The people who walked in darkness
Have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
A light has shone.
Isaiah 9:2

May the light of the newborn babe grow in your heart.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

And the Second Year Passes

"He who bears his sufferings with patience for God's sake, will soon arrive at high perfection.  He will be master of the world and will already have one foot in the other world.
-St. Giles of Assisi

How symbolic that on the second anniversary of Michael entering eternal life I am driving to San Antonio to spend Christmas with our children.

How happy I am that I will have two days to myself to talk to him as the miles move under my wheels. So many times we made this journey together.  In some ways we still make the journey together.  I talk to him all along the way!

I remember all the previous trips full of jokes, teasing, pushing on when he wanted to stop.  Asking if he wanted to stop at the Cochise Stronghold.  His answer was always that we would stop on the way back.  We never did.  We were always ready to be home.

I will visit his grave though I know he is not there.  But there is something comforting about sitting there and talking with him. I know that we will share memories while there.  I am sure there will be tears.  I know there will be laughter.

I would be remiss if I did not thank St. Joseph for the holy and peaceful death he gave Michael.  It was truly an answer to prayer.  Michael bore his sufferings with patience for God's sake.  I pray he has one foot in the other world.

Lord,
Thank you for all the memories that you give me.
Thank you for the health to make this trip.

Give me strength for the coming year and the changes it will bring.

~Cindy

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Year of Mercy

"Mercy is a good thing, for it makes men perfect, in that it imitates the perfect Father.  Nothing graces the Christian soul so much as mercy."
-St. Ambrose

If ever the world needed mercy it is now.  I look around and see terrorists, evil, and a country that seems to have lost its moral compass.

Some drag out the Founding Fathers and talk about their search for religious freedom.  Forgetting that as soon as they landed they set about making sure that everyone obeyed their version of religious freedom.

Have we forgotten that they committed genocide on the Native Americans.  The same Native Americans that saved them from starvation and certain death from the brutal New England winter.

We have always had different rules for different ethnic groups for immigration.  It depends on who we consider our enemy to be at any given moment.  Every time in history that we have attempted to divide our country on ethnic or religious differences we have lost.  We lost because of the Chinese Exclusionary Act, the Japanese Internment Camps, the Indian Reservations.  As Catholics have we forgotten that Maryland was a Catholic Settlement because the others did not want us.

Have we forgotten the Jesus came as a man.  A man that would look like most of the individuals on the no fly list. Jesus was not blond haired and blued eyed.  No, He looked Middle Eastern.  He looked Jewish.

I do not have many answers but I do know this.  We all will be judged based on how we have treated our fellow man.  Jesus is in the face of every refugee, every illegal immigrant, the stranger that walks past us, the beggar on the street corner, and the family member we haven't spoken to in years.

Mercy is something that the world needs now.  Mercy begins with me.

Lord,
Help me to see past the person
and see You in them.

Fill me with mercy for my fellow man.
Help be to be an agent of mercy for You.

Let not my fear stop me from seeing You.

~Cindy

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Solemnity of Christ the King

A person who governs his passions is master of the world.  We must either rule them or be ruled by them.  It is better to be the hammer than the anvil.
~St. Dominic


Passions.  I am a person of passions.  I am never half way in.  It is all or nothing with me.  This week has been up and down and I have struggled with my heart.

I am barely a month away from the second anniversary of Michael's death.  Some have said to me that the second year must be easier.  It isn't.  The loss though not as fresh is just as painful.  My life is still morphing into a life without his physical presence.  I still look to him and for him.

I was also distressed by a couple that I know that posted on Facebook that though they were Catholic they are now Christians and have just been baptized into a non-denominational church.  Are they unaware that Catholics are Christians? Are they unaware that they have been Baptized and need no other?  It broke my heart.

There was the post by a family member that stated: My name is ---------- and I am openly secular. I am kind, moral, and good, not because I need the fear of divine punishment or the promise of a divine reward, but because it is the right thing to do. I am good without god! If you are not ashamed put your name in place of mine and make it your status. 

What broke my heart was the sentence; " I am good without god!"  I ,for my part,am NOT good without God? I do not know where I would be without Him.

Then Sunday came.  Today we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King and accept the catechumens from the Rite of Christian Initiation.  There they were with their sponsors ready to make it publicly known  that they wished to join us in fellowship and become Catholics.  It made my heart soar!  The good God had reminded me that there are still people seeking Him.  My job is to assist them in whatever way I can.  My job is to be Christ-like.  My obligation is to proclaim loudly that, JESUS CHRIST IS KING OF MY HEART AND OF THE UNIVERSE.

Dear King and Savior,
Look on us with Mercy.

Help me to be the person You wish me to be.
Give me strength when I am put to the test.

May my proclamation of faith be not only on my lips,
but in my actions, for they speak the loudest.

~Cindy

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Suffering

For one pain endured with joy, we shall love the good God more forever."
~St. Therese of Lisieux


There has been so much suffering in the world from the beginning of the world.  Recently we have the terrorists that bomb cities and shoot people and try to cripple us.  Everyday there is some family who is struck by tragedy.

I have been following a country music couple that I had never heard of before. The wife was diagnosed with cancer and has enter Hospice Care.  They have a 20 month old baby.  Much is being written about her valiant struggle and their hope that there will be others who can learn from her suffering.  As Joey moves into Hospice Care they are still hoping for a miracle.

A miracle.  We all hope for a miracle.  The miracle that we hope for is one based on our own wants, needs, and desires.  We struggle mightily to see the wisdom of God's Will.  Yet, it is how we face our suffering that makes all the difference in the world.

If we can abandon ourselves to enduring suffering with Joy then we have not suffered in vain.  Just today I spoke with my Prayer Partner and she reminded me that another friend is facing the first year anniversary of her partners death.  She is dreading the anniversary and doesn't know what to do.

My Prayer Partner recently lost a good friend and is struggling with the loss.  It seems so unnecessary that her friend died.  We wonder if things could have been done differently and then perhaps a different outcome.  God has a way of doing things in His own Time and in His own Way.  We struggle and He answers that He knows best and we may not be able to see the wisdom of His Way.

Jesus suffered so much in the Garden of Gethsemane that He sweated blood.  He asked His Father to take the cup, but in the end He accepted His Father's Will and drank the cup to the bitter dregs.

Miracles come in God's Way, not ours.

Lord,
how painful it must be to see your world in such distress.
Help us to look past our fear and respond with Joy to our suffering and loss.

Help us to not let our fear make us stumble on the path to faith and acceptance.
Help us to embrace the Year of Mercy that is approaching with an open heart and mind.

~Cindy

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Birthday Michael

We have loved him dearly in life. Let us not abandon him until we have conducted him by our prayers into the house of the Lord.
~St. Ambrose


Today would be the celebration of your earthly birthday.  Though we would have waited until the third for the party.  So that we could celebrate our birthdays together.  All the years that we were together the 3rd of November became our joint celebration.  Our birthdays became so melded that at times it was difficult to remember that yours was the 2nd and mine the 4th.

Burnt Sugar Cake for you and pumpkin pie for me.  No candles too dangerous in the later years. How I wish you were here to celebrate, but you are not and I am sad.  Sad for me.  I know that you are in such a better place and your earthly suffering is over.

I miss you calling me Cinders, asking what the plan is for the day, and just sitting next to me.  I just wanted you to know that I am keeping my promise to you.  Happy Birthday!

Lord, you know
the depth of my grief.
I thank you for it.
For in this valley of tears
Are the lessons of;
Trust, Abandonment, and Obedience.
Your Will, not mine.

~Cindy

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Anger, the Priest and the Penguin

It is better not to allow anger, however just and reasonable, to enter at all, than to admit it in ever so slight a degree; once admitted, it will not be easily expelled, for, though at first but a small plant, it will immediately grow into a large tree.  ~St. Augustine


As I was driving to Mass this morning my mind began to wander.  It wandered back to an event this week that happened at Church.  I was upset by the way I saw two parishioner acting toward each other.  The behavior was hurtful especially to one.  So as I drove, I started to get angry about it.  Then I thought about St. Therese and how she struggled with frustration and being easily angered.  So I quickly asked for her intercession.  I was able to calm down and by the time I reached Church I was in a better frame of mind.


Then Fr. Charlie read the Gospel and explained it.  I think Father was reading my mind again.  Bartimaeus, a blind man sitting on the side of the road hears that Jesus is passing by.  Bartimaeus begins to cry out to Jesus.  Even with all the noise of the crowd Jesus hears him.  Many in the crowd, including the disciples rebuke Bartimaeus to be quiet.  They are angry that Bartimaeus is calling out. Jesus though asks that he come to Him.

Father reminded me that even though the disciples were with Jesus they didn't always get the message.  They, like me, were following but not completely understanding the message.  Father reminded us that we shouldn't let our anger or frustration with others keep us from living the Gospel. It is in our actions that we must be most Christ-like.  Actions, that word comes up a lot. How easy it is to say you are a Christian, to post it on your Facebook Timeline, and tweet it on Twitter. Empty; full of sound and fury, but nothing without ACTIONS.

So by now I am sure you are wondering why Father had his penguin with him today.  He was a prop for the beginning of Father's sermon.  In 1957 Father Charlie's father was bringing him a live penguin from an expedition.  The penguin died on the ship and was stuffed.  Father Charlie has had him ever since.  How can you not love a priest that begins with a penguin and ends with a call to live the Gospel not just hear the words.

Lord, here I am
sitting in my own frustration.
Forgetting to be charitable.

Thank you for the people that you put in my life,
who remind, who guide, and who make me smile.

~Cindy

Friday, October 16, 2015

A Bad Case of "The Gimme, Gimme Wants"

When the soul is troubled, lonely and darkened, then it turns easily to the outer comfort and to the empty enjoyments of the world.
~St. Francis of Assisi

When Michael was alive he wanted a car with a start button.  I told him we didn't need a new car. Now I want a new car.  Not just any car, but the car that I test drove in Tucson.  It was a thing of beauty.  All the bells and whistles!

Even after carefully looking at my finances, it was clear that I could do it, but it would put a bit of squeeze on me.  There would be no room for the unexpected. There would be no money for travel!

With help I was able to walk away.  Tho, I dreamed of that car. In my dreams I drove and drove and it was wonderful.  So I looked at the numbers again.  The same result.  I did call my parents and was hoping against hope that I would find support there for the purchase. I think Dad wanted to say yes as he has the new car bug too, but then we let Mom enter the conversation.  She was resolute in her firm denial of my purchase.  Then she gave me some good solid financial advice to follow so that this time next year I would be in a better position to buy the car.

God is like that.  He lets us want "things" and lets us figure out if it is a good idea or not.  He provides His Mother, Our Mother to go to in times of trouble and confusion.  She too has sound advice.

I must admit when I went to the dealership for maintenance I knew I shouldn't look at new cars.  I even told everyone do not let me look.  But I was led into my own temptation.  I saw it, recognized it, and embraced it with all my heart.  Then I was in a pickle, a pickle of my own making.

In the Gospel last Sunday Mark tells us about a man who knelt in front of Jesus and asked, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?"  Jesus reminded him of the commandments, to which the man replies that he has kept the commandments all his life.  Then Jesus tells him..."You are lacking in one thing.  Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven; then come follow me."  At that statement the man's face fell, and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.

There it is, possessions.  They own us. We do not own them. I did not need a new car.  I wanted a new car.

Lord,
I thank you for the people
you place in my life.

Especially for the ones,
who tell me what is difficult to hear.

The ones who remind me of who I
want to become.

The ones who love me for who I am.

~Cindy

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Not a Perfect Partner..

"We cannot separate love for God from love for man. We acknowledge God easily, but our brother?  Those with whom we do not identify in his background, education, race, complexion.  We could not have imagined that love for God could be so hard."
 -St. Edith Stein

Todays first reading came from the book of Genesis.  It is the story of God creating woman out of the rib of man.  Father reminded us that God made a suitable partner for man. God did not make a perfect partner for man. This was so that together they would grow in love, understanding and support of each other.

Father related a Sufi Muslim story about two friends, who over coffee discussed why one of them had never married.  The man explained that he had met many women that he thought would be the perfect partner.  Yet, each time he found some fault with them.  He claimed that only once he had met the perfect woman.  "So why did you not marry her?"asked his friend.  His reply, "She was looking for the perfect man."

It brought tears to my eyes.  Michael and I certainly were not perfect partners.  We were in fact suitable partners.  It took us awhile to figure that out.  We spent many years lamenting that our partner was not perfect.  In the end though we looked at each other with new eyes.  Eyes that saw the truth of our suitability and love for each other.  Michael thank you for being my suitable partner.  You taught me so many things.  You were my rock, my number one cheerleader, and my friend.

Lord, again You have
shown me the truth of Your ways.
Help me to see you in each person I met.
Help me to see that their imperfection are only
a reflection of my own imperfection.
~Cindy

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Humility

If you should ask me the ways of God, I would tell you that the first is humility, the second is humility, and the third is still humility.  Not that there are no other precepts to give, but if humility does not precede all that we do, our efforts are fruitless. - St. Augustine

All week the concept of humility has been playing in my head like a broken record.  Our Lord it seems has taken many opportunities to humble me.  I wish that I could report that I was grateful, alas, I was chaffed and complained.

Perhaps it was watching Pope Francis in his simplicity and humility that made me look at myself.  The Pope, like my sister has a way of saying hard truths in a gentle way and then quietly guides you to the right path.  Me, I like to take a more direct approach that can be intimidating and irritating and not humble at all.  I have struggled with this all my life.  I like to be right.  I want you to believe that I am right and most of all I want you to do it my way!  This is not to say that I am not without compassion.  I am more like the bull in the china shop.

I have been having a difficult time getting back to my routine.  I am restless and at loose ends.  This is a difficult time of year for my historically.  I struggle with depression and feelings of worthlessness.  I miss Michael more than I can say.  I feel that I am sitting in the pit. Then one of my sons sent this to me:

God found Gideon in a hole.  He found Joseph in prison.  He found Daniel in a lion's den.  He has a curious habit of showing up in the midst of trouble, not the absence. Where the world sees failure, God sees future.  Next time you feel unqualified to be used by God remember this. He tends to recruit from the pit, not the pedestal.

Today Father Michael with his wonderful Irish brogue gave the homily.  He reminded us that we can't wait to the end to get ready for eternal life.  We mustn't think that we are insured because we go to Mass.  We must humble ourselves and be like little children.  We must do all things with humility and in preparation for eternal life.

Lord, here I am,
in the pit.
Help me to trust that You will
lift me up.  Lift me up and use me,
an empty vessel to do Your will,
NOT mine.

~Cindy

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Being a Saint...

"Beware not to disturb yourself, nor to be irritated on account of the defects of others,  for it would be folly, because you saw a man throw himself into a pit, to throw yourself into another." ~St. Bonaventure

Pope Francis has been talking about how to become a Saint.  One of the things he says is that we should not talk about others.  You know Gossip!  He also has talked about gossip among our own Church members.  He states that this is a great sin.

I am guilty.  Guilty not only of talking about others, but of listening to negative things about others.  I was discussing this with my sister.  One point that she made was, "Well, then what would we talk about?  It is so much easier to point out the negative in our family, friends and others.  Looking for the good is harder."  I have to agree.  It is so much easier to find fault.  I think we do this so that we can feel better about ourselves.  That is part of the struggle.

Instead we should be looking for the good in everyone and in our commonality.  I know that I struggle with judging others and being irritated is so easy.  If I looked at others with the compassion that I ask Our Lord to look at me how much more peaceful would we all be?

Another conversation that I have frequently is; when persecution comes will I be able to stand up for my Faith.  I usually answer that I hope so. The question remains then, if I can not be compassionate and stop talking about others how will I find the courage to stand up for my Faith?

Lord, I believe.
Help me in my unbelief.

Give me the Grace to be compassionate.
To place myself in other's shoes.

Lord put on lock on my lips when
I speak ill of others.

~Cindy

Thursday, August 27, 2015

An Anniversary and a Peach Cake

"In the evening of life, we will be judged on love alone." St. John of the Cross


Facebook reminded me that on  25 August of 2013 I had posted the picture to the left.  It is a Peach Cake that I made for our Anniversary that year.

At the time we knew that we had little time together and each day was a cause for celebration.  I made a peach cake because at that time Michael craved peaches.  I think that we bought out several grocery stores just to keep our own supply plentiful.

This year I spent what would have been our 25th Wedding Anniversary with my parents.  I made a peach cake in Michael's memory and as we ate it that evening we remembered Michael.  We celebrated his life once again.

In the evening of Michael's life he need not worry, as he showed so much love.  He is missed and remembered by many.  As for me I will miss him until we are together again.

Lord,
You give us the gift of memory,
to remember our loved ones.
To celebrate their lives.

Help me as I continue to move forward,
To carry His memory with me.
In the evening of my life, 
I pray that I have sufficient love on which 
to be judge.

~Cindy

Monday, August 10, 2015

Enough Lord...


"Our Lord does not look so much at the greatness of our actions, or even at their difficulty, as at the love with which we do them."

St. Therese of Lisieux




Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a boom tree and sat beneath it.  He prayed for death, saying: “This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” 1 Kings

I have felt like Elijah and told the Lord that I had had enough.  I couldn’t go on.  Just let me die.  The Lord sent an angel to Elijah to feed him and bring him water three times.  After this Elijah was able to walk out of the desert.  It took him forty days and forty nights but he was able to go on and complete the mission that God had given him.

God provides me with food and drink and He has even sent angels though I am sure that I have not recognized all of them. The food He provides is the Body of His Son.  The drink is the Most Precious Blood of His Son.  He waits every so patiently for me to come to the table and have my fill.  For it is there that my strength truly is…As for angels He sends family and friends to help me on my journey.  They strengthen me for the challenges in my way to complete the Mission that God has given me.

This new mission is a difficult one for sure and yet at the most unexpected times God shows me quite clearly that I am on the path.  He reminds me that it is usually the small things that make the most difference.  An example was when talking to my son about the status of his life.  I asked him if he ever thought of going to church and laying it all out to God and letting God give him support and a solution.  A couple of hours later my son texted me. He asked if he could go to Mass with me.  We did go to Mass together.  After Mass he asked me if I was surprised.  My response was, “God doesn’t surprise me much these days.  I have found if I do what He wants I am so much happier.”

Lord, Cindy here;
Thank you for prodding me to extend the invitation to Mass.
Thank you for the angels that you send to me.
Thank you for the food and drink that you give me.


~Cindy

Saturday, July 18, 2015

On The Road

St. Andrew's Catholic Church Murphysboro, IL
I can't believe that I have been on the road for a month and a half.  It has been interesting each Sunday to go to a different church.  Some are friendly and some not so much.  Some are big and some are small.

As I move about I have been also going to cemeteries and churches that my family has attended in the past.  Sadly if there is not a service the church has been locked in all cases.

I stayed in a campground in Wisconsin that had a small chapel.  In the morning when it was quiet and most were still abed I could go there and pray my Rosary.  I almost enjoyed that as much as praying the Rosary under the towering pines in Yellowstone National Park.

There have been times when I have felt Michael with me and missed him tremendously or was doing something that I know he would have loved and felt tears gather in my eyes.

The trip has not been without some tense moments.  I am dealing with a fuel leak and so wish Michael was here to take care of it.  But he isn't.  Though I am not afraid or upset so he must be watching and keeping me calm.

My prayer partner and I are back on schedule and that feels great.  Starting the day praying the Rosary with her and ending each day with our night prayers puts the day in brackets.  Each day is offered up to God.  Each day I ask for His watchful care.  Each day I give thanks for all He does for me.

Lord, I am so grateful.
You have given me the means to take this trip.
You have watched over me and Cynthia every step of the way.
You keep us safe.

Help us to continue under You watchful eye.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Praying in Different Places

I will lift my eyes to the mountains;
From where shall my help come?

My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121

Since I am on the road, I have had the opportunity to go to Mass in different places. It can be disconcerting when you don't know who is the priest because the Deacons wear a Roman Collar and full vestments. The Gloria is sung differently, or they sing everything!

I must admit that my favorite prayer place was Yelłowstone. Up in the mountains surrounded by pine trees in the brisk morning air praying my Rosary while sitting at the picnic table. Occasionally a buffalo would be grazing across from me and the birds and squirrels were competing for loudest animal.

While driving through the Badlands I was reminded that the last time I was here Michael was with me.  It helps to close the circle to be back to places we enjoyed.

The next stage of this trip will be new territory. Yet the constant in all this is my prayer life. The schedule may be different, but the day starts with a Rosary and the day ends with my night prayers.

I am truly blessed to be able to enjoy this kind of freedom.

Lord, I ask that you continue to watch over me & Cynthia.
Be with us as the miles slip under our wheels.
Open our eyes to the beauty of your creation.
Help us to be kind to our fellow travelers.

~Cindy

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Going the Wrong Way

Be not anxious about what you have, but about what you are.  - St. Gregory the Great

Preparing to go on my first solo journey in my RV has been frightening and exciting all at the same time.  I have plotted my course on GPS and the Atlas and written notes and have downloaded all the apps.  Yet I still am concerned about going the Wrong Way!

It is so easy in life to find yourself lost on the road of life.  Wondering what you should do and if you have made the right decision.  You struggle or at least I do with; is this my will or Your Will.  Have I been a good example to my children, neighbors, friends, and strangers on the street? Am I truly easy to recognize as a Christian, or must I proclaim it from the roof tops?

Going to Mass, Confession, being a Lector and Extraordinary Minister of the Eucharist do NOT make me a good Christian. It is the way I live my life and the example that I am to others.

I have had occasion of late to wonder about my parenting.  My one son was recently in jail, lost his job, and his way.  I have a daughter that I am for all intents and purposes estranged from and one that I am pushing from the nest and the resistance is great.  She is making some decisions that I am sure are going the Wrong Way.  But I must let her make her own decisions and come to her own conclusions.  Part of being a good parent is to let your children make their own mistakes and learn from them.

My Mom told me once, "All you can do is build a good foundation and hopefully they will build their  home there."

Here I am Lord,
embarking on a new journey.
Help me to remember that I
only need trust in You,
abandon my will to Yours,
and obey You in all things.

You, Lord are the Right WAY.

~ Cindy

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Come Holy Ghost!

The word Paraclete signifies comforter or advocate; now both these offices imply especially the exercise of goodness, and goodness is a peculiar attribute of God the Holy Ghost, so He is said to be our Comforter in trouble and our Advocate in blessings.
- St. Thomas Aquinas

When I was younger we used to say Holy Ghost. One day Sister told us that we were now suppose to say Holy Spirit.  I never understood why we needed to change God's name.  I think they thought the word ghost might scare us or lead us to think of Casper the friendly ghost.  I still slip up sometimes and say Holy Ghost instead of Holy Spirit.

On this feast of Pentecost we are reminded of the fear of the unknown that must have caused sleepless nights for those gathered in the room.  Were they afraid that the Jews would attempt to have them put to death?  Yet, the Paraclete came!  The Paraclete was like armor that they could put on and go out without fear and proclaim the Word of God!

I sometimes forget that the Paraclete is there right beside me ready to give me voice and courage to do what is right in the eyes of God.  Today Fr. Charlie reminded us of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.  I couldn't remember them.  Father must have been looking at a lot of troubled faces because he said that he couldn't remember them either and had to look them up.

They are: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Knowledge, Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe).

I know that I not only couldn't remember them.  I don't use them often enough.  Seven wonderful gifts to help make my life easier.

 So my prayer is from an ancient hymn written by Rabanus Maurus (776-856)

Come Holy Ghost, Creator blest 
and in our hearts take up Thy rest;
come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

O Comforter,  to Thee we cry,
Thou heavenly gift of God most high,
Thou Font of life and Fire of love,
and sweet anointing from above.

Thy light to every sense impart,
and shed Thy love in every heart;
Thine own unfailing might supply
to strengthen our infirmity.

Drive far away our ghostly foe,
and Thine abiding peace bestow;
if Thou be our preventing Guide,
no evil can our steps betide.

Praise we the Father and the Son
and the Holy Spirit with them One;
and may the Son on us bestow 
the gifts that from the Spirit flow.

~Cindy

Thursday, May 7, 2015

GPS

Assumption of Mary, Immaculate Conception Basilica
Denver, CO
"I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life..."
John 14:6

I have been traveling with my parents.  During our driving adventure I have been learning my new GPS.  In Albuquerque, New Mexico I found a Costco Store that had the cheapest fuel.  So using the app on my phone I clicked on the routing function.  I wasn't happy with the route so I plugged in the location on my new GPS.  Unfortunately I forgot to turn off my phone's navigation.  So my poor Dad is holding my phone while the GPS and the phone are giving us differing voice directions!  "Just keep me on the Blue Line, Dad" and we should be fine."

It is extremely difficult to not follow voice direction.  I struggled to not listen, but was distracted and Dad aptly kept me on the blue line to our destination.  I had always wanted to see Albuquerque, but not that way.

I started to think that perhaps GPS really should stand for God Positioning System.  It seems to me that most of us have our battling directions, our God Positioning System and the WPS ( World Positioning System).  They like my two GPS' battle daily for our attention.  I like to think that the Blessed Mother is sitting next to me trying her best to keep me on the Blue Line so that I can make it to the correct destination.

We were reminded in Sunday's Gospel reading that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He is the ultimate GPS.


Lord,
please continue to be with me
as I travel this road of life.
Help me to listen to Your Direction.
Keep me from distraction and the
World's Positioning System.

~Cindy

Monday, April 13, 2015

Divine Mercy

Pardon one another so that later on you will not remember the injury.  The recollection of an injury is in itself wrong.  It adds to our anger, nurtures our sin and hates what is good.  It is a rusty arrow and poison for the soul.  it puts all virtue to flight.  - St. Francis of Paola

I have been thinking and praying about Mercy a lot lately.  I began the Novena of Divine Mercy on Good Friday and attended the Divine Mercy celebration at Church yesterday.

 For the novena we were asked to come to the church at 3pm to pray the novena prayers and pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy in Community.  Some days it felt like such a hardship to have to get in my car and drive to church.  Yet, I was always happy that I had made the trip when I got there.  Driving to church a hardship?  I am sure that Our Lord thought it was a hardship when His Father asked Him to die on a Cross for US!

But what is Mercy?  The dictionary tells us that Mercy is:
  1. compassion or forgiveness shown toward someone whom it is within one's power to punish or harm.

    So I began to wonder just how merciful am I... not so much.  Here I was being judgmental about others.  I was being obstinate about little things.  I was arrogant which led to more judging, yet there I was asking God to be Merciful to me.  Forgive me!   Forget that my every Confession contains these sins.  Have Mercy on Me!  Forget that I think that my way is the best way.  Forget that I have difficulty with humility and forgiveness.  Forgive Me!!!
    The amazing thing about Divine Mercy is that He does forgive me.  He looks down at my struggle and lifts me up. He sees me afraid and He stands by me.  He watches as I judge others and He grants me Mercy.



The above video is one that I saw on Facebook.  It reminded me that Jesus is there all day, every day. He is there ready to help me when I am afraid, when I am lonely, when I am celebrating.  He is there when I need His Mercy.

Pope Francis has declared that we will celebrate a Year of Divine Mercy starting in December 2015.  Please pray that we are as merciful to others as He is to us.

Lord,
Me again.
Standing here sinful and sorrowful,
asking for you to be merciful to me.

Help me to be humble.
Help me to not judge others.
Help me to see them with Your Merciful Heart.

~Cindy




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

He is Risen!

It is in the risen Lord that I place my trust.  How can my heart be troubled?  

Father reminded us today that each Mass is a little Easter, all leading up to this the great Easter!  Let us not get lost in the Easter Bunny, the eggs, and candy.  Let us turn our attention to the Risen Lord.

Lord,
I stand before you in hope.
Hope that one day I will join
All who have gone before me
And all who will come after me,
Praising You in Heaven

~Cindy

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Hosanna and Happy Palm Sunday


"Who am I to judge?"
- Pope Francis

Palm Sunday and I was allowed the honor of reading as the Speaker during the Gospel.  It is always moving to read the Passion of Our Lord and to celebrate His triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  Though we all know that treachery was being plotted by the chief priests and the scribes.

We are also reminded that Jesus was surrounded by the undesirables of His time.  Lepers, prostitutes and tax collectors to name a few.   Even His Apostles had their faults.  Peter denies Him, Thomas doubts, Judas betrays Him and the others have their own issues.

Jesus was not an excluder.  He was including.  He accepted each of them and each of us for who and what we are, warts and all.  He knows the secret recesses of our hearts and still loves us!  How amazing.

So I am troubled that we are still the rabble that asks for Barabbas, a murderer.  We want to use religious freedom to exclude and deny other humans.  We stand beside the chief priests and scribes and use the letter of the law to hurt our fellow humans.

Have we forgotten that Jesus is about forgiveness?  He, as far as I can remember, turns to the accused and forgives them and asks that they sin no more.  He did not stone the prostitute or the adulteress.  He did not walk away from the leper.  No, He embraced the sinner.  He came for the sinner.  I fear that if He came and walked among us today He would find that not much has changed.

Lord,
I am ashamed that I continue to sin.
I constantly seek your forgiveness, 
even when I am not willing to forgive my neighbor.

Help me to truly pray the words of the Our Father,
keeping in mind that I ask you to forgive me as I forgive others.
Let me not hide behind the letter of the law.  Let my heart be open.

~Cindy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

A backpack, St. Augustine, Lily and Gracie

"You have so made us, Lord, that we long for you, and our heart is restless until it rests in you."
-St. Augustine of Hippo





Lent is still confusing this year for me.  I am not sure what I am suppose to do.  So I am attempting to TRUST!

Cynthia left today for two months in Europe.  Helping her pack her backpack was frustrating, painful, and a reminder that I will be alone in this small but empty house.  I have not been alone in over 40 years!!!  I find the thought both exhilarating and terrifying.  I do not have to compromise with anyone but me.  Though compromise is the salt of life. Cynthia certainly kept me on my toes.  She kept me honest and humble.

St. Augustine struggled so hard to know God.  I think that is why he speaks to me.  What a great sinner, but what an incredible Saint.  The other aspect of St. Augustine is his longing for silence.  He is attracted to the beauty of the world and yet he longs to close his eyes from it so that he can see God.

My Mom shares with me stories of her Bible Study Group.  Really she asks me to pray for them, especially when one is in trouble or hurting.  Lily, I hope that Mom shares this with you.  I understand that your sister, Gracie has recently passed away and there is a hole in your heart.  I get that.  I still find myself examining the hole in my heart since Michael's passing.  Will it fill?  I do not know.  I am not sure that the hole is suppose to fill.  Instead, perhaps,  we are to learn from the emptiness that it brings us.  How can we be so sad when a loved one leaves us?  Are they not on their way to Heaven? Are they not closer to God than we?  Should we not be celebrating their reaching eternal life?

I am sure of this, when Our Blessed Mother stood at the foot of the cross and looked on the body of her son, I know there was a hole in her heart!  When she understood that He was resurrected the human side of her I am sure still had a hole.  He was her son, her baby.  She looked forward to being with Him in Heaven.  I look forward to being with Michael.

My prayer for the rest of Lent is borrowed from St. Augustine.

He bids you return to Him,
to that place within,
where peace abides,
peace that is never disturbed;
to that place from which 
Love never departs,
unless you depart from it.
Make your home in that place.


~Cindy

Monday, March 2, 2015

Metamorphosis

Let us become saints so that after having been together on earth, we may be together in Heaven.
~ St. Padre Pio

This Lenten Season has not been what I planned. I am sure though that it has been and will be what God has planned for me.

First, I fractured my foot and being on crutches and a cane and now possibly a boot is a humbling experience.  I had Plans!  Now I am dependent on others to help me out and it is slow going.

Second, because of my foot I was unable to attend the Lenten Mission at Church and I was really looking forward to hearing Fr. Foley.

Thirdly, I gave up Facebook with the expectation that it would be hard and somehow change me.  Then I started to read several Catholic Bloggers that stated extremely compelling reasons why one should NOT give up social media, but embrace it as an agent for change.  Too late, I am committed.  I must admit that has not been hard and I feel no change, however, God does tend to have His own mystifying time table for such things.

I know my prayer partner was concerned that my posts were only slightly behind the number of another friend on her wall.   She was concerned.  Perhaps she should have been.  I fear that she believed that I was frittering away my day with hitting the "like" button and sharing a little too much.  It was not getting in the way of my prayer life or my conversation with God.  It was a filler when I was waiting to go to Mass or waiting for an appointment.  But none the less I gave it up because I felt drawn to it.

But what does all this have to do with metamorphosis?  Well, the Transfiguration has always stumped me somehow.  I didn't get it.   Then Fr. Charlie used the word metamorphosis instead of transfiguration.  The clouds parted and understanding hit me over the head.

I have often spoken about how Michael was transformed.  The truth is that all of us who knew him were transformed.  His transfiguration allowed each and everyone of us to learn a lesson.   A lesson on how to die with Grace and Dignity.  A lesson on how not to complain about the hand we are dealt in life.  A lesson on how to embrace and forgive and love.  How to be the person that God intends for us to be.

Christ allowed them to see His Divinity shine through His Humanity.  He gave them a glimpse of who He was and is.  They, like me, didn't get it.  God in His Mercy shields us from His Big Plan.  He knows how it would terrify us.  Instead He gives  glimpses and riddles that we have difficulty with understanding.  Though in hind sight it is clear.  He is God.  He loves us.

Lord,
I stand before you
in a bit of a muddle.

Help me to remember that You are the Planner
and I am only an empty vessel that You fill.

Help me in my metamorphosis...

~Cindy

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Lent



Pay no attention to the affairs of others, whether they be good or bad, for besides the danger of sin, this is a cause of distractions and lack of spirit.
-St. John of the Cross


I did not want to give up Facebook for Lent, but it was the first thing that popped into my head.  Then I shared that with significant people in my life.  Then I tried to back track and think of something else.  No matter where I was or what I was doing the Holy Spirit was most insistent that giving up Facebook would be the most meaningful.

I just posted on Facebook that I was giving it up for Lent.  Now it is official.

Fr. Charlie reminds us that it is not what we do or what we give up for Lent.  It is important that we DO something.

Lately I have been feeling a little lost at sea, drifting with the current, but not interested in much.  My intention is to pay more attention to my relationship with God, open my ears and my heart and let God do the talking.

I hope that what ever you decide to do for Lent that it is a time of strengthening your relationship with God.

Lord,
Here I am
Not too happy with your suggestion
But willing to Trust that You do know best.

Here I am....

~Cindy

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I am a worrier!



"All things that are now worrying you can be put into a smile which shows your love of God."
St. Josemaria Escriva


I just returned from some time in Mexico.  It was   a wonderful relaxing time full of walking, amazing food and company beyond compare.

It was the first time I have flown since Michael passed.  I do not like to fly.  I worry and become so anxious.  But I did it.  It was not until I was in Mexico that I came to realize just how tightly I was wound and needed just to relax and breathe.

Each day the Catholic Church at the bottom of an extremely steep cobblestone hill rang the bells at ten minutes to the hour for Mass.  The priest would barely leave the altar and he would return to say the next Mass.  None of the Masses were crowded, yet the bells pealed all the same calling us to Mass or reminding us that Mass was being said.  The doors were open and passersby would peek in or steal a photo and just stand in the door.

I worried that I would not be able to follow along in Spanish but they provided a small four page pamphlet that I was able to follow quite easily.  I was worried that I would not be able to join in any of the singing, but low and behold the Communion song was one of my favorite songs.  In fact, it was the Communion song I had picked for Michael's Memorial Mass.  It was as if Our Lord was telling me see, I really am every where and I really do care about the smallest of your concerns.

Now I am back and a good week away from Mexico. Slowly slipping into my usual routine.  Now I am worried about my up coming trip.  Why?  I don't know.  I do know this.  It was easy to be confident in my opinions and decisions when Michael was there to be my sounding board.  Now I must stand on my own two feet.  For the first time since I was in High School I do not have a man in my daily life.  No one that I am dating, or thinking about dating.  No one that I am married to.  Just me, Cindy.

I am learning who I am and where I want to go.  I am learning what kind of person I want to be.  I am learning to rely on me.  It is so different when you can't say that your partner led you one way or the other.  It is easy to dismiss them and their opinions when you know that they will be there to pick you up.  It is easier when they know that you worry about every little thing and they assure you that you are doing alright.

I know that sometimes Michael must chuckle or laugh out loud at me and some of my foolishness.  I still talk to him and know that I always will.  I am getting stronger.

Lord,
You know how I worry and fret,
You know my lack of trust.
Help me to let go and trust you.
You would think by now I would know
that Your plan always outshines mine.

~Cindy

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Good Morning

Here am I Lord; I come to do your will.
~Psalm 40 8a & 9a


The sunrise evoked two immediate thoughts this morning. First, thank you God for the incredible beauty you bestow and secondly, Good Morning Michael.

Here I am, one year and one month after Michael's passing.  I can't believe it.  Life is moving on and the sun keeps rising and setting and I am making plans.  In fact, I am going to Mexico.  There is serendipity to this trip.  Mexico was the first destination that Michael and I traveled to as a couple.  I am going to the same town but with different people.  Though I know that Michael will be with me as he is in every journey that I embark on.

Samuel was called in the middle of the night by the Lord to begin his journey.  The Gospel today reminds us that Jesus walked and John saw Him and announced, "Behold, the Lamb of God."  And two disciples began their journey.  Andrew tells his brother Simon, "We have found the Messiah."  Thus Peter begins his journey.

We are all called.  Some are knocked off their horses because that is the only thing they understand.  Others hear God in the silence of the night or a whisper in their heart. Some in the echo of longing.

The call by God echo down the centuries.  We repeat the words spoken by the Angel Gabriel to Mary with each Hail Mary.  Ancient words spoken by many mouths daily and hourly.  Mary's yes was and is an example to all to answer God's call to each of us.

Lord,
Here am I Lord; wanting to do your will.
wanting to echo Mary's yes.

~Cindy

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Devil is Suttle

"We lose your souls not only because we do evil things, but because we neglect to do good: the buried talent, the unmarked second mile, the passing by the wounded.  How often in the Gospel condemnation follows because we do nothing."
- Venerable Fulton Sheen

I have been tired lately.  Not because of physical labor, just tired.  I am anxious for life to move forward, but aware that I must not wish away a single moment.  I somedays feel like I am swimming against the tide along an unending shoreline.  The devil knows I am tired and he is attempting to use that against me.  When I think about not going to Mass during the week, he encourages me to hit the snooze button or to think what difference does it make?  When I think about breaking promises or lazily reciting my prayers he is working on me.

 I NEED Mass and my prayers.  They keep me grounded and start my day off with thanksgiving and a sense that I can handle anything that comes up during the day.

The devil loves Facebook.  He can use it to anger me, but more importantly it is a time waster.  What did my Grandma say? "Idle hands are the devils workshop."  She was and is right.  Flicking through the countless posts and videos of cats and political rants I find that hours can slip away and at the end of the day what do I have to show for it? Not much.

I am aware that I have become a virtual hoarder on Pinterest.  Instead of pinning and dreaming and wishing I need to just get out there and do something!

So I am.  The devil can taunt me with glossy pages of ideas and blood boiling posts and hours of wasted time, but I am going to get up and do something.

I believe that I will start with Mass.  Not because it is Sunday, not because it is a Holy Day of Obligation...because I NEED it.

Lord
I know that you love me and protect me,
Help me today to be aware of my wasteful moments.
Help me to fill my days with things pleasing to you.

~Cindy

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Desiderata


Our labor here is brief, but the reward is eternal.  Do not be disturbed by the clamor of the world, which passes like a shadow. Do not let the false delights of a deceptive world deceive you.
-St. Clare of Assisi


I have been missing Michael a lot this week.  I have been weepy.  I have also felt him so close during Mass.  One time I could feel his hand on my shoulder.  He was sitting on my right.  I could sense him there at the Consecration.  How right that he should be there when all three parts of the Church are together; the Church Triumphant, the Church Militant and the Church Suffering.

I have been restless and wanting out of my skin, but no luck,  I am firmly in it.

Then today at Mass Father reminded my of a poster that I had on my wall as a teenager.  The Desiderata written in 1927 somehow managed to speak to me then as I was trying to figure out who I was and who I wanted to be.  The words today are as fresh and timely as when they were written.  Now they speak to an older and hopefully wiser me.

I find them calming in this time of missing Michael and finding my new single self.  I share it with you for it is worth sharing:

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. 

© Max Ehrmann 1927

~Cindy

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year


 No one heals himself by wounding another.
-St. Ambrose of Milan


It snowed on New Year's Eve Day in Bullhead City.  It does not happen often here, in fact the locals say the last time was 1977!

Snow was as I remembered it; cold, wet, and beautiful!

I was reminded of my childhood running unconcerned in the snow, my mittens so laden with melted and refrozen snow that they hung off my hands in a mix of ice and wet yarn.  My boots were usually rubbing large bleeding sores just below my calf, but I did not care.  It was snowing!  The sound of children's voices echoed in the neighborhood as we skated, built igloos and tossed snowballs at each other.  I have made my fair share of snowmen and snow angels.  I have placed my boots, mittens and coat over a warm register in the front hall and contributed to the unique smell of melting snow and wet yarn drying out.  On occasion you could hear the water drip, drip, drip and sizzle on the register.  I remember hot chocolate with marshmellows too and as I grew older hot toddies!

The snow here was met with differing responses.  Some were happy and others annoyed.  To some it was a miracle and to others an event that they wish they had not had to endure.

This morning, New Year's Day finds that the snow has retreated to higher elevations.  So we sit in the valley and look up to admire it.  It is almost a memory.

As I pondered the snow, I pondered my resolutions.  Why was I making any at all I thought.  In a day or two they will be a memory if I follow my usual pattern.  I don't want to follow my usual pattern.  I want my resolutions to last and I want change to come of them.  Not change in others, but change in me.

So here they are:

Lord,
Change me and the way I look at my brothers and sisters.
Change my will to Yours in all things.
Change my propensity to worry into joyful acceptance of Your plan.
Help me to change into that person that You desire.

Lord,
I look forward to our year together.
I believe that no matter what happens it is part of Your plan.
I believe that You will provide the grace and strength needed for any and all challenges.

~Cindy