Sunday, May 13, 2018

Our Lady as Mother


May is traditionally dedicated to Our Lady. A beautiful devotion to her is the Litany of Loretto. She has so many wonderful titles that we can honor her by. One of my favorites is "cause of our joy." She gives us so many reasons for joy when we pray to her. Her greatest desire is to lead us to her Son, who is the source of all joy. It is fitting that Mothers' Day and the anniversary of Fatima fell on the same day this year. At Fatima, Our Lady truly reminded us that she is our Mother and desires that we be in Heaven with her. A devotion to Mary is so necessary for the spiritual life and can only bring about an increase in virtue. 

A great quote by St. Bernard: "In dangers, in doubts, in difficulties, think of Mary, call upon Mary. Let not her name depart from your lips, never suffer it to leave your heart. And that you may more surely obtain the assistance of her prayer, neglect not to walk in her footsteps. With her for guide, you shall never go astray; while invoking her you shall never lose heart; so long as she is in your mind, you are safe from deception; while she holds your hand, you cannot fall; under her protection you have nothing to fear; if she walks before you, you shall not grow weary; if she shows you favor, you shall reach the goal."

Sunday, May 6, 2018

As Simple as Syrup


One of my favorite childhood memories is spending time at my uncle's house in Massachusetts. Growing up with my cousins made the experience of being a kid all the more fun. The games, the stories, the holidays were things shared and something I look back on with the fondest thoughts. 

My uncle used to tap his own trees on his property and make maple syrup. To this day, I use maple syrup every day on my oatmeal and my thoughts go to those memories. It's funny how something as simple as syrup can connect you to the past and remind you of the best people in your life. Our memories make us part of who we are, and what we've experienced contributes to the person we will be.

It's easy to see how I defy anyone who calls "Aunt Jemima's Original Syrup" real maple syrup or how it can ever be considered in the maple syrup family. There's nothing compared to true maple syrup that comes from tapping trees.

I love how the simplest memories are enough to brighten each morning!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Birds of the Air


One of my favorite Scripture quotes is Matthew 6:26: "Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?" This passage gives such comfort that we are so valued and loved by God and He will always take care of everything.

I also like that this chapter of Scripture reminds us to focus on one day at at time and not to worry about the future. It's so easy to always be thinking about tomorrow, whether it is simple planning or more serious planning and to get caught up in wondering what our future holds. If we find our thoughts constantly dwelling on a part of our lives that hasn't come yet, we will never really live each day.

God is in the present moment. I love how Mother Angelica talked so much about this concept. The present moment is all we have, the moment before is gone and the moment ahead has not yet come. We should focus on truly living by enjoying life in the little moments and not taking them for granted. 

Sunday, April 22, 2018

On the Move


So part of my being absent from this blog (and backdating five posts in a row) is embracing the life change of moving. I think both the challenge and excitement of moving takes hold of your life like ivy. From the idea stage of "it would be nice to live somewhere else" to getting to that somewhere else, the amount of things involved grows and grows until the ivy of moving just takes over. It's a juggling act. It's an adventure. It's a process.

Most people seem to say once they've accomplished a move that they never want to move again. New house, new people, new place, maybe even a new job, all make your life a series of changes. It is definitely fun and makes life both interesting and surprising, but it makes you wonder how some people can handle moving so frequently like military families.

The boxes and boxes and packing tape and bubble wrap, the change of addresses, the settling in, using a gps to get anywhere, new routines, can all seem a bit overwhelming. The move definitely has to be worth it and a refreshing difference from the previous place. 

For me it comes down to adding to one's experience. I don't think I would enjoy growing up and living in the exact same place from beginning to end, although I'm sure it has it's perks. Moving allows you to experience life in a different way and face new challenges. To move is to take the leap of discovering if a new place brings opportunities you never would have had otherwise. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Eucharistic Adoration


I think truly one of the greatest devotions of the Catholic Faith is Eucharistic Adoration. Of course Holy Mass is the liturgy that brings us the Holy Eucharist, but there is something truly special about the quiet mental prayer that can be spent before the Blessed Sacrament outside the liturgy. For although we go with the intent of comforting Our Lord, He in turn is the one who comforts us. 

He is always waiting day and night for a visit from us. He gives Himself entirely and only asks for our love. The moments in life that are the most challenging offer us a chance to run to Him and tell Him all our worries and trials. Sometimes we need not even say anything, just gazing at Him present in the tabernacle is enough for Him. We are then refreshed and can continue on with the struggle, knowing He is there every step of the way. 

There are so many ways to pray before Him, the rosary, reading a spiritual book, meditating on Scripture passages, but the very best is using our own words and talking simply as to a friend. Even if we feel that we aren't getting the answers to our prayers, He hears us and is answering them all the same, but perhaps not in the way we expect. 

A visit to the Blessed Sacrament should be a part of our daily life, no matter how busy we are. Our Lord deserves to see us in person and we should desire to see Him too. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Divine Mercy


If you've never been to the Divine Mercy Shrine in Stockbridge, MA it is well worth seeing. I was blessed with the opportunity of visiting the national shrine more than once when my uncle's family lived in the area. It is a very peaceful place, one conducive to prayer and rest with perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The church itself is designed with detailed woodwork and stained glass windows, the grounds are beautiful MA countryside where you can find life-size stations of the cross, and there are even candle grottos and a gift shop. It is a wonderful place of pilgrimage, particularly for the feast of Divine Mercy today.

What I like about the Divine Mercy devotion is the emphasis on trust in God. We can all find reasons for worrying about something in our lives that are not going quite the way we would like, but today's feast reminds us that God is in control and we can rely completely on His providence. 

St. Faustina said: “Great love can change small things into great ones, and it is only love which lends value to our actions. And the purer our love becomes, the less there will be within us for the flames of suffering to feed upon, and the suffering will cease to be a suffering for us; it will become a delight! By the grace of God, I have received such a disposition of heart that I am never so happy as when I suffer for Jesus, whom I love with every beat of my heart.” 

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Easter Triumph


Easter and Christmas are both such special times of year. I think the biggest difference between the two is Christmas has more of a note of sweetness and joy, whereas Easter has the feeling of triumph. There is something particularly triumphant about celebrating the Resurrection. Christ has the victory over sin and death and we are given the hope of everlasting life.

I love this quote by St. John Chrysostom: "O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages."

While the spiritual side is the most important of the feast, I do love Easter traditions such as dyeing eggs, egg hunts, and of course the chocolate bunnies. The same as any holiday, Easter is that special time to be with family and friends. Blessed Easter!