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Sunday, December 18, 2016

We Remember Them...


Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace. And may the souls of all the Faithful Departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.







From a Jewish Prayerbook by Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer.
In the rising of the sun and in its going down, we remember them.
In the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter, we remember them.
In the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, we remember them.
In the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, we remember them.
In the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of fall, we remember them.
In the beginning of the year and when it ends, we remember them.
When we are weary and in need of strength, we remember them.
When we are lost and sick at heart, we remember them.
When we have achievements that are based on theirs, we remember them.
When we have joys we yearn to share, we remember them.
So long as we live, they too shall live, for they are a part of us as we remember them.
Love you Michael....Your Cinders

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Second Sunday in Advent

I do not at all understand the mystery of grace - only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.  -Anne Lamott

Facebook has memories of posts from a year ago, two years ago and even longer.  The memory that came up for me was from three years ago.  It was a link to Caring Bridge.  It was the update about Michael.

My Advent has become a time of waiting in a new way.  In the update it spoke of how chemo was ending and he was coming home to die.  It spoke of how happy we were that the cancer had not metastasized to his brain.  It spoke of hospice. We were waiting!

God in His Mercy allows us to wait.  I believe that in the waiting we can become calm and surrender ourselves and our circumstances to Him.

Grace enters whenever we open our hearts, minds and souls to accept it.  It is always there waiting to enter our lives.

Last night I watched part of Risen, which is about the Centurion that helped crucify Our Lord.  He is tasked with finding the missing body of Jesus.  He ends up with the Apostles.  They have been told to go to the Sea of Galilee were Jesus will meet them. While out on the boat with them fishing, a man appears walking on the beach.  Peter looks at the man quite intently and turns to the Centurion and says, "Sometimes, He is hard to recognize."

Grace helps us to not only recognize Jesus, but to act as He would have us act.  Let us hold our memories dear but also look forward to the future.  Let us keep ourselves every ready to accept God's Grace.

Lord,
you know how painful this waiting is for me.

You alone know the depths of my heart.
Help me to hold dear my memories, yet still
look forward to the future.

Help me to accept Your Grace.

~Cindy

Monday, October 31, 2016

Passion and Purgatory

In the middle of my physical sufferings, the inner music of my soul will not stop praising God with acts of virtue offering Him my love.
- St Genoveva Torres Morales

Everywhere I look people are getting ready for the Holidays.  The mood is turning festive. I must admit that for me this time of year has become my Passion.  Please do not think that I can even begin to compare my passion with the Passion of Our Lord.  I can not and do not. Yet, I feel very much as if I am suffering my own passion.

This week is Michael and my birthday week.  All the time that we were married we celebrated the day between our two birthdays.  In celebration of Michael's last birthday our dear friends Debi and Roy drove from Texas to celebrate with us.  We all knew this would be our last celebration.  We had so much to talk about and so much to celebrate.

This week we will also celebrate All Soul's Day.  It reminds me that we must pray continually for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.  Michael, who promised me and I him that we would pray each other out of Purgatory would actually be celebrating his birthday.  Our Lord certainly writes straight with crooked lines!

This is the beginning of many "lasts".  Each one is written on my heart.

Lord, let the inner music of my soul
be made sweeter by my tears.

May my prayers and remembrances open
my heart to your grace.

May my lamentations become hymns of JOY!

~Cindy

Monday, October 24, 2016

Beloved...

Beloved: I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.
The second Letter of Saint Paul to Timothy

This is the picture that showed up on my Facebook page as my memory yesterday.  The quote above is from the second reading at Mass yesterday.

When I first saw this photo yesterday morning it was a little bit of a shock.  I remember that day as if it were yesterday.  Michael was in the ER receiving blood transfusions.  He was upbeat and full of himself.  My favorite sister was there to keep us company and to watch over Michael.

During this time Michael was being poured out like a libation.  His departure was at hand.  He had competed well and was so close to the finish of his race.  Most importantly he had kept the faith!

Never once did he complain or falter.  He was at peace.  I miss him terribly each and everyday.

I ask as we are approaching the Anniversary of his race completion that you continue to pray for the repose of his soul.  Pray that if he is still being purified like fine gold in the fires of purgatory that he be released soon so that he may praise God in Heaven.

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

Monday, October 10, 2016

Martha, Martha, Martha...

Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever what we have made it.
 -St. Francis de Sales

I have always been much more comfortable being a Martha and not a Mary.  I jump up and do things.  Even though I say I really do not want to be in charge.  That is usually where I end up. Doing!!

It is a great Cross for me to sit and be quiet.  And so with that in mind and for the good of my family needs now, I decided to resign as the Coordinator of Lectors and Commentators at Church.  It was a difficult decision for me and one that I did not make lightly.

I feel that it is right for me to sit at the feet of Our Lord and listen.  It is and was so easy for me to get caught up in the doing that I found I was becoming deaf.

I will enter my own little cloistered heart and contemplate and pray.  I will spend more time listening and less time talking.

Speak Lord,
I am listening...

Help me to open my ears
and heart and hear you anew.

Help me to close the grille and
hear your voice in the silence.
~Cindy

Monday, September 19, 2016

Faith and Fear.

"Faith and Fear both demand that you believe in something that you can not see.  You choose." - Bob Proctor

When living on the sailboat I was fearful of the weather and the shore.  If given a choice I would choose open water over coming into harbor.  The harbor was filled with obstacles and shallow water.  Oh how I hated shallow water!

It seems to me that we are heading for shallow water.  In our fear we allow knee jerk responses to replace prayerful and thoughtful responses.  We condemn Colin Kaepernick because he, in peaceful protest, is taking a knee during the National Anthem.

Before Colin Kaepernick decided to take a knee I didn't know who he was or what he did or believed in.  Now he is front and center of a National debate.  It is easy to vilify Colin and claim that he is not patriotic.  Who is he, a millionaire football player, to shout discrimination?  From what I have read Colin is not talking about himself in this peaceful protest.  No, Colin is talking about groups of people that have been and are currently being discriminated against.

In my humble opinion we are being stirred up by hate and haters.  Social media and the politically  inclined among others stir the pot to divide us.  They want us to dislike and distrust each other.  If we live in a them and us world it is easier to to stand on opposite sides and toss garbage at each other. It is easier to be controlled.  We find ourselves in group think.

Several times on Facebook I have seen a post that states we need Jesus now.  I believe that what we really need is people willing to live and act like Jesus.  We can't just go to Mass on Sunday and think that we have our ticket punched.  No we must go out and be Jesus to everyone that we meet.  We must be merciful and forgiving.  I know those words are easy to write and easy to read.  It is much more difficult to live them.  I believe that we must try!

I do not know what Jesus would do.  However, based on His past behaviors I do not think that he would be condemning Colin.  Jesus wasn't much for condemning.  He asked questions and made thought provoking statements.

John 8:1-11New Living Translation (NLT)

A Woman Caught in Adultery

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them.As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.
“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery.The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”
They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust.
When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman.10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
11 “No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”

O Lord,
let the condemning stone fall from my hand.
Let me be a mirror of Your mercy and forgiveness.

Help me to choose Faith over Fear
Help me to show Mercy to others as You have shown me Mercy.

Curb my tongue...
~Cindy


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Finding JOY!



We are at Jesus’ disposal. If he wants you to be sick in bed, if he wants you to proclaim His work in the street, if he wants you to clean the toilets all day, that’s all right, everything is all right. We must say, “I belong to you. You can do whatever you like.” And this is our strength. This is the joy of the Lord.
 - Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

I have been long in writing a new post.  During my travels this summer I have had the occasion to ponder Joy.  Joy is more than happiness.  We are called to be people of joy.  Everything that we do, think, say and are should be Joyful!

Mother Teresa of Calcutta soon to be Saint Teresa of Calcutta lived a life of Joy even though she was without spiritual consolation for decades.  But in this lack of consolation she found Joy in the Lord.  I wish I could tell you that I am a joyful person.  I try to be, but then I find that I am not filled with the Joy of the Lord.  It is not the Lord that has abandon me.  No, it is I that have moved away from Him.

This past summer as I traveled across these United States I was struck by the sheer beauty of the landscape.  There were times when I spontaneously broke into prayer or was made mute by the majesty before me.  I was fortunate to have people I love to share it with and that made it all the more majestic.  It is easy to be joyful in those circumstances.

I find it harder at the dimming of the day when I miss Michael the most, or when a child is hurting and I can't seem to help.  When I think of my parents aging and needing more help, it is more difficult to be joyful.

Yet, each day the Lord shows me his handy work.  The beauty of the sunrise and sunset. In the laughter floating down the street.  He touches me in so many ways each day and is willing to carry my burdens with me.  He offers joy at every turn.

Lord,
I stand before you in my humanity.
Help me to relish each moment you
give me with JOY.

~Cindy

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Be Brave...

Men go abroad to wonder at the height of mountains, at the huge waves of the sea, at the long courses of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and they pass by themselves without wondering. -St. Augustine

To a woman my fellow widows at church think that I am brave.  Brave to travel alone, brave to drive long distances in a motor home, brave to leave to comfort of my home.  I am NOT brave!  I just refuse to let my fear stop me from living.

Driving the Oregon Coast Line on the 101 was an exhilarating and terrifying drive.  The vistas were breath taking, so were the curves and drop offs.  I know that Our Blessed Mother had to be there as the Hail Marys were flying off my lips.  I asked her to keep track of the decades as I was too busy keeping us in our lane and on the road.

I called on the Blessed Mother again as the wind was a steady 20 knots with gusts that moved me all over the road in the middle of no where.  If I had been on the boat, S/V Dragonheart would have been dancing in the waves and all would have been well.  Motor homes tend not to right themselves when knocked down.

Being brave doesn't mean that you have to go it alone.  In fact, Our Lord has given us a cadre of Saints and Angels to call on when we need help.  I believe in their powerful intercession.  It is the intercession of the saints that make being Catholic so wonderful.  We have friends.  We have friends in high places!  I go to those friends when in need.  I can't wait to meet them.  Many of us have formed long lasting relationships.  Some saints are new relationships.  But when in deepest trouble, when paralyzed by fear I know that The Blessed Virgin, my Mother is always there.  She helps me to stand up straight and tall when I want to curl up in a little ball of fear.  She comforts me in my sorrow.

So be brave...you are not alone.

Lord,
You know my deepest secret fears,
Help me to face them,
confident in Your Love.

Remind me of my friends,
the angles and saints; who
truly are my helpers.

Thank you for the gift of
Our Mother.

~Cindy

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

We Have Turned Our Backs

Oh my God! Teach me to be generous; to give and not to count the cost; to fight and not to heed the wounds; to toil and not to seek for rest; to labor and not to seek for any reward save that of doing your blessed will.
-St. Ignatius of Loyola

The news and the condition of the world have me truly worried.  We collectively appear to be lost.  We have lost our moral compass and keep our heads firmly planted in the sand.

The story about the well with poisoned water that turned everyone mad except the King and his family keeps going through my head.  The people because they have drank from the well all go mad.  The King and his family do not as they have a private well.  However, the people want to get rid of the King because they no longer trust him.  In the end the King and his family drink from the poisoned well and the people love him again.  But now the King is as mad as his people.

Social media allows us to judge others... and judge we do.  From the parents whose child fell into the gorilla enclosure which resulted in a beast, magnificent tho he was, to be killed for the child's safety.  I wish that I could tell you that I never took my eyes off any of my children or that I never feared that one drowned because I lost track of them at the lake.  They were fine.  Just taking a nap.  I didn't know that.  I am sure if this was posted on Facebook there would be outrage and a police investigation as to my criminal responsibility for losing track of my child.  It happens in an instant.

Politically we are slinging mud at each other and the vitriol is some of the most vile I have seen.  We as a country complain, but we don't seem to want to do anything to change the situation.  We have the power, but that would mean taking responsibility and we are not very good at that most days.

We listen and take advice from people who have no qualifications other than they have a podcast and they seem to speak to the hole in us that desperately wants to be filled.

If only we could turn around we would see that the answer has been there all along.  God, yes, God is the answer.  If we could focus on Him and His teachings and truly trust Him and be obedient to Him, and do His will and not our own we would not have any problems.

Let us look to our commonalities and truly love each other.  It is difficult to sling mud at someone you love.  We must act according to our conscience and be willing to accept the consequences of our choices.  We must stand up not for ourselves, but for those that can not stand up for themselves.  We must exercise mercy. Yes, mercy even for those that we think are not worthy.

I shudder when I think how we pray by rote the words of the Our Father...forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those that trespass against us...

Lord, I stand before you
in need of your mercy.

I stand before you
in need of moral courage.

Help me see that my judging will
only lead to my own judgement.

~Cindy

Monday, May 16, 2016

Wanting Chinese Food...

If I had been a man I would have been a great preacher.
-St. Teresa of Avila


My youngest daughter texted me from Madrid, Spain this morning saying, "I'm a bad tourist. I'm at a Chinese Restaurant right now.  My reply was, "sometimes you need Chinese Food no matter where you are."

That simple exchange led me to think about some of the things that I want or think that I want.  There is a difference.  The biggest thing in my life that I have believed with all my heart is that I was to be a Nun.  Well, that didn't happen.  I got married.  I got married more than once.

I think in the beginning I got married because I wanted children and I could not reconcile that want with being a Nun.  Wanting to be a Nun became an easily pulled out excuse for being unhappy.  "Oh, if only I had become a Nun."  "I never should have married.  I should have become a Nun."

I am not sure what would have happened if I had been a Nun.  A cloistered one at that!  I do know what happened because I chose to be in the world and remain among the laity.

I married and had children.  In fact, I have always said that I had yours, mine and someone else's.  I have biological children, step-children and adopted children. I wasn't always the best Mom and I drug my children through my own drama.  Never a good idea.  But I wasn't a bad Mom either.  I did the best I could with what I had at the moment.

In my vocation as a lay married person, the one thing that I am most proud of is how Michael and I handled his impending death.  That I did right.  I did not do it alone.  I had so many people praying for us. I had my parents who put their lives on hold to be with us.  I had our children, who came and saw their Dad.  I had my favorite sister and her family who helped in so many ways.  I had my brothers, who supported me in every way they could.  I had exceptional friends who held me up. I had my faith, my priest, and my parish.

Life can be like Chinese food.  One from column A and two from column B.  Faith is not like that...it is a stead fastness that carries you through even when you want to quit.  Faith enables us to climb mountains and swim oceans.  Faith enables us to deal with washing clothes at eleven o'clock at night for the child that just remembered they need that special shirt in the morning.  Faith enables us to wash dishes and mop floors with a smile on our face.

Sometimes we want Chinese food.

Lord, You know me
looking for the easy way.

There is no easy way.
Your way has a yoke,
but the yoke is light.

~Cindy


Sunday, May 8, 2016

Oh Pride...

The only way to make rapid progress along the path of divine love is to remain very little and put all our trust in Almighty God.
-St. Therese of Lisieux

I will be honest, I am a bull in a china shop!  I open my mouth and speak before my brain and heart can stop me from being hurtful, small, and judgmental. I do not take criticism well, in fact, I become defensive and dig my heals in.

I have been known to cut off my nose despite my face.

Lately Our Lord has been putting me in positions to learn humility and I have been failing miserable.  I have been like the cacti in the picture with lovely flowers to lure you in and yet if you get too close my thorns will get you!

I have been extremely opinionated of late and with that comes judgement of others. I know best and am happy to tell you how and when you should do something.  I have snapped at others and then had to apologize to them as awareness stabs me in the heart.

Lord lately you have been gently trying to remind me to be an empty vessel and to accept criticism and to stop judging just because they sin differently than me.  As usual I needed a 2x4 to get my attention.  I needed more than one reminder and you were willing to provide the opportunities.  Thank you!

Lord, here are all my hurt feelings.
I give them to You.

Here are the unkind thoughts and criticisms of others
I give them to You.

Here I am stumbling on the path,
Hitting my head on the low gate to Heaven.

Here I am in all my weakness
Seeking my strength in You.

~Cindy

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Today is a gift.

God wants you to be in the world, but so different from the the world that you will change it. Get cracking.
-Mother Angelica

I have the ability to hide in my little world.  I go to daily Mass and home and to my sister's home. I also go to the grocery store when needed.  But what I really want to do is travel!

I just got back from a week of camping with a group of strangers.  I felt that I had been thrown head long into a world that I did not feel comfortable in.  It was a singles group which really is not my scene, but a mutual friend wanted me to meet up with a women. She thought we would hit it off.

The woman and I were able to find common ground and we had a good time until we had to be with the group.  They were negative in so many respects and there was a fair amount of casual sex.  It reminded me that my life had changed in small and big ways.  I no longer felt part of the world.  Especially that world.  So I made sure that I started my day with prayer; to ground me, to put on my armor, to help me remember that I am a child of God. The Rosary in my pocket was a good physical reminder of who I want to be and how I want to conduct myself.

I listened to their stories about how lost and hopeless they felt. Only one other person went to Church on Sunday. We went to Mass together.  There were remarks about going to church so we could be saved.  I needed to go to get grace and be strengthened.

As much as I wanted to hide in my RV and not interact I knew that I had to get out there and be Christ-like. I attempted to put a positive spin on the negative.  I was to be a witness to them.  I did my best.

The week did help remind me that I love being in my RV, seeing the country and admiring God's handiwork.  I was and am feeling guilty about wanting to be out there when I have commitments here at home.  As I was discussing this with my favorite sister, she reminded me that I need to do this traveling thing while I still can.  She reminded me that each day is a gift and that I can't squander it.  My parents and brothers agree with her.  Then Father Charlie talked about it in his homily at Mass.  I know he sees my heart and reads my mind!

I want to find a way to meet my commitments and still travel.  It would be a shame for that new RV to just sit and gather dust.  I bought it for a reason.

Lord you gave me the desire to serve you.
And You gave me the desire to travel.

Help me to find a way to do both.
Your will, not mine.
~Cindy

Sunday, April 3, 2016

We do not recognize Him!

"Holiness is not for wimps and the cross is not negotiable, sweetheart, it's a requirement."
-Mother Angelica

I love the readings during the Octave of Easter. Jesus is raised from the dead and He appears to His disciples and His Mother, Mary.  Yet, each time that He appears to them they seem not to recognize Him!

This has always concerned me.  Why didn't they, who walked with Him, ate with Him, and shared in His public ministry not recognize Him when He appears to them?  Father Charlie hypothesized that perhaps Jesus looked different, or perhaps they didn't expect to see Jesus.  Jesus takes the time to appear in places that they had all been together during His life. I love that fact that Jesus cooks breakfast for them on the beach.  What an incredible image of Our Lord on the beach, fish and bread on the fire cooking for His disciples.  How much He loves them and us to do the most ordinary of tasks for them.  He feeds them!

We too are like the disciples.  We don't recognize Jesus when we see Him.  Perhaps it is like Father says, we don't expect to see Jesus there.  But there He is, sitting in the pew behind us chatting as they plan their golf date, or the parishioner that rubs us the wrong way or that we rub the wrong way.  He is in the homeless person on the corner that we wonder are they really down on their luck and should we just drive by.  Jesus is in the family member that has hurt or disappointed us.  Jesus is the rebellious teen or the forgetful parent. Jesus is in the sick or dying spouse that we care for on a daily basis until we fear we can't do it any more.

Let us not forget that Jesus is also in the innocent smile of a child.  The painted sunrise and sunset are gifts from God.  Jesus is in the smile of a total stranger that lightened our dismal day.

Jesus is not in the tomb.  HE IS RISEN!

Lord help me as I move through my day
to see You in others.
Help me to see You in others that annoy, hurt or anger me.

Help me to see You in my small cross.

Help me to lighten the cross that others carry.

~Cindy

Monday, March 21, 2016

God Writes Straight

God writes straight with crooked lines.
-Fr. Charlie

I know that I have mentioned Fr. Charlie's quote that, "God writes straight with crooked lines" before.  Lately it is a mantra that has been circling in my head for a couple of weeks.

When Joseph is sent to meet his brothers, they want to murder him.  Instead they sell him into slavery.  Later when they are starving and head to Egypt they are saved by the very brother they wanted to murder.  God took a seemingly bad situation and made it a good one.

As I reflect on my life I see where God has taken what I considered a bad situation and He turned it around for good.

When Michael was diagnosed and we knew he was terminal we could have been stuck in that mess of crooked lines.  Instead God wrote straight to our hearts and freed us from our fears and doubts and drew us ever closer to Him.

Now one of my daughters has been diagnosed with cancer and once again the lines are crooked.  Even now I see God's hand writing straight.  This diagnoses has allowed us to begin healing our relationship.   God doesn't want us to have regrets.  No, He calls us to lay every thing at His feet so that He can carry our burden.

Certainly during Holy Week as we approach the crucifixion of Our Lord we see the crooked lines.  Peter denies Him, Judas betrays Him, and Jesus feels abandon in the garden. Yet through all of this God's hand is writing straight.  He turns this sacrifice into our salvation.

Lord,
Help me to not become entangled with crooked lines.
Give me the strength to see that Your hand is already writing straight.
~Cindy

Sunday, February 28, 2016

And my Knee HURTS

Many would be willing to have afflictions provided that they not be inconvenienced by them.
-St. Francis de Sales


I am feeling like a little whiney baby complaining about my knee pain.  It hurts.  It has been hurting for a long time now.  It is exhausting somedays just to sit.  So I finally got into see the Orthopedic Doctor the other day.  I wanted the doctor to tell me that I was going to get a new knee.

Instead I was told that we would be trying cortisone injections.  Not that my knee is not a candidate for surgery, it is. We need to try this first.  So I got the injection.  Then I hobbled out to the car and laid my head on the steering wheel and sobbed.

What just happened?  I did not get the outcome that I thought I was going to get.  Instead I was told I needed to do this other thing first.  No the injections will not cure what is wrong with my knee.  In fact, if and when the injections do not work then yes, I will get a new knee.  I believe the words he used were,  "The golden age for knees is 65."  Small comfort when you can't walk to do your grocery shopping, or pick up you mail, or drive!

I am a couple of days away from the trauma of the visit and I have a different take on things.  No, I still am not really satisfied, however, I was reminded that even a new knee is not a guarantee that I will be pain free.  I am not looking to be pain free.  I just want to be able to function.

Then Matthew Kelly reminded me in his video on Making Sense of Suffering that only our Catholic/Christian faith adequately explains suffering.  Suffering has value.  Suffering has value when we offer it up with Jesus' suffering where it will be perfected.  Not sure that I was willing to offer up my suffering initially. Still struggling actually.

 I know that I am never going to feel the way I did before.  I am going to be inconvenienced.  I am going to be in pain.  It is what I do with that pain that is important.

O Lord,
my knee hurts,
I want to offer it up with Your suffering.

Help me to see this as an opportunity to
join You in Your suffering.

Remind me to look at You on the cross
and be silent.

~Cindy

Monday, February 22, 2016

In the Presence of God...

It is true I am not always faithful, but I never lose courage.  I leave myself in the Arms of Our Lord.
-St. Therese of Lisieux

I have just attended the week long Lenten Mission presented by Fr. Michael Moore of the St. Patrick Fathers.  It was a week filled with intense emotion.  There were times when I was sure that God and Father had spoken.

It had been a challenging week before the retreat. I was feeling inadequate and less then what God expected of me.  I was raking myself over the coals for old and new faults.  I was spending a lot of time beating my breast.

Quickly I found that I was the only one beating me up!  God had forgiven me.  As Fr. Michael would say, "God buried the hatchet.  It was I that marked the spot so that I could unbury it."

I am still thinking and praying about all that was said during the Mission.  It gave me focus and started me walking again with the Lord, sans hatchet.  I am trying to fall into the Arms of Our Lord with abandon.  Trusting Him.  Being courageous.

I stand in the Presence of God,
with all my faults, wounds, hurts,
and disappointments.

I stand in the Presence of God,
with all my doubts and faith.

I stand in the Presence of God,
quietly replying...
Here I am Lord.

~Cindy

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Lent...

Let the mouth FAST from foul words and unjust criticism for what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes but bite and devour OUR BROTHERS? St. John Chrysostom

I actually look forward to Lent.  It is a time to prepare for the great Solemnity of Easter.  I find the quietude of the Lenten Devotions lend themselves to introspection, reflection and action.  I am drawn into the Passion of Our Lord in new ways each time.

Today I was reminded of the quote of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin:
"We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience."

So many times it is easy to be confused about what and who we are.  The world pulls us in many directions.  We blithely post on Facebook and other social media words of encouragement and passive-aggressive posts begging our friends, and we know who they are, to share if only for one hour to show their support.  Yet we walk past the beggar, the homeless, and gossip.

During this time of Lent, let us quiet our minds and hearts.  Let us listen in the night to the Lord's call for us.

Lord,
Here I am.

~Cindy

Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Liturgy of the Hours

Prayer reveals to souls the vanity of earthly goods and pleasures.  It fills them with light, strength and consolation, and gives them a foretaste of the calm bliss of our heavenly home. - St. Rose of Viterbo

I love technology and all my little gadgets.  I revel in the idea that I can put something on my calendar on the phone and it will sync to my computer and iPad.

For awhile now I have been praying the Liturgy of the Hours digitally.  It was easy and straight forward.  I could even listen to it being read to me.  But I have been being pulled back to the Dead Tree Books for a bit.  There are those in my family who at reading this are shaking their heads wondering what took me so long.

I have a lovely prayer book that I use every day and have been having the nagging feeling that it was time to purchase the Four volume set of the Liturgy of the Hours. Thank you Amazon Prime for delivering them it two days!  The down side is that the guide for 2016 is on back order.  So for the time being I go to the digital edition and stumble in my book until I find the correct readings/prayers.

The Deacon at our Church was kind enough to give me the LOTH 101 right after he blessed my volumes. Still stumbling around, but from everything that I have read that is normal.

But I love my books with their ribbons and thin pages.  They rest in my hand and have weight that feels right.  There are no notifications dinging and scrolling across the screen.  I am able to fall into the rhythm of the readings without distraction.

I have ordered the book, "Divine Office for Dodos," from the Confraternity of Penitents Holy Angles Gift Shop.  They promise me that they will have me flipping to the proper Proper of the day in no time!

Lord,
I am so grateful 
for the opportunity to pray in unison
with others around the world.
This gift of the Liturgy of the Hours
is second only to the Liturgy of the Mass.

Let me lift my voice in your praise.
~Cindy

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul

"Therefore, brothers. Stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by word or by letter from us."
 2 Thessalonians 2:15

The story of Saul being knocked off his horse and blinded is one of my favorite ones from my childhood.  I think that is because I have related to Saul.  Thinking I was doing the right thing and running headlong into the fray.  Judge, Jury and Executioner.

Saul persecuted Our Lord in big ways before his conversion.  Binding up those he thought guilty, having them put to death or imprisoned.

Once Saul saw the light he was baptized and became one of the most important preachers of the Gospel.  He became Paul.  He preached anywhere and everywhere.  He was a prolific letter writer. He was martyred for his beliefs.

I too am guilty of being a persecutor of Our Lord.  No, I haven't had anyone arrested, thrown in prison or put to death.  But I have gossiped.  I have had unkind thoughts roll around in my head for days about someone, so much so that I have imprisoned them in my most unkind evaluation of them.

I have been uncharitable not only with my time, but with my treasure.  I have let my pride stand between me and others.  And is it not true then that it stands between me and my Lord?

There are actual persecutions going on now.  People are being threatened for their beliefs, they are being put to death for their beliefs.  I on the other hand have the freedom to worship when and how I want.  I have a Church and brothers and sisters in Christ at my disposal.  I have ready access to the Sacraments.  I have Freedom!

Lord, help me when I persecute
those around me, with my words,
my thoughts and my actions.

Remind me of the conversion of Saul.
Help me to be a better preacher of my beliefs,
by my words, but more importantly by my actions.

~Cindy

Sunday, January 17, 2016

They have no wine...

Mary can teach us kindness..."They have no wine" she told Jesus at Cana.  Let us, like her, be aware of the needs of the poor, be they spiritual or material, and let us, like her, give generously of the love and grace we are granted.  -Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

I have been a bit like that leaf floating down the river.  Not feeling like I have a direction.  Feeling a bit aimless.  Feeling dissatisfied.

I am not sure what I am dissatisfied with, but it is a vague cloud that hangs over me and makes me itchy.

If I look around I have so much to be thankful for in my life.  There are people, even in my own family, that are facing huge financial worries and health issues.  I have a roof over my head, food on my table, clothes on my back, good friends, and most importantly I have my faith!

I am finding my way in this new phase of my life.  I am still enthusiastic about life and all the adventures that await me.  Our Lord has been revealing His mission for me in bits and pieces.  I like the big overview and then distill it down.  God works by handing out hints and teases me with my mission.  Why?  Because it is all about Trust, Abandonment, and Obedience.  The message is always the same.

God:  Trust me I have a plan.
Me: But have you thought about this or this?

God: Trust me I have a plan.  Have I ever let you down?
Me: No You have never let me down, BUT...

You get the picture.  Mary, as Father Charlie reminded me this morning, trusted her Son.  Today's Gospel has the only words attributed to Mary in the Bible.  "Do whatever He tells you."

Wise words indeed.  "Do whatever He tells you."

Lord, I may feel like that leaf floating down a river with no direction.
You have set my direction as I pass over each stone, branch or obstacle in my way.
You move me along in the shallows and the deep.  You let me linger in the stillness.
You move me rapidly when needed.

Lord, keep my heart and ear tuned to You.
Help me to take heed of Mary's words:
"Do whatever He tells you."
~Cindy

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Feast of the Epiphany

The star beckoned the three wise men out of their distant country and led them to recognize and adore the King of heaven and earth. The obedience of the star calls us to imitate its humble service: to be servants, as best we can, of the grace that invites all men to find Christ.
- St. Leo the Great

Our Lord calls all of us to recognize and adore Him.  How we choose to accomplish our mission is as different as each one of us.  All are called to serve.  It may be that we are called to a Consecrated Life, or one of marriage.  Perhaps, we are called to be in a Third Order or simply a Lay person sitting in a pew.  No matter our mission we all have been called.

The star still beckons us to seek Him.  Sometimes it beckons us to places that we do not want to go.  Often we are uncomfortable and yet we are called to follow that star.  I think that the star is such a strong symbol for me as I love to look up at the night sky and stand in wonder in all that God has made.

In that previous life on the boat when sailing at night the stars were guides to follow to a destination.  They were points of light punched in an ebony sky to remind me that I was not alone.  I may have been on a very small boat on the ocean, but I was not alone.  God set the stars out every night to keep me company as I listened to the snap of the sails and the whoosh of the water as it passed under the keel. It was there under the ceiling of "His Great Cathedral" that I heard Him speak to me.  He was a voice of comfort when the storms came.  He was and is a gentle reminder that I have been called.

Lord,
Help me to listen.
Help me to hear with my whole being,
what it is that You ask of me.

May my response to following the star
be quick and steady.

~Cindy