Sunday, July 15, 2018

Scapular Stories

Available on Etsy in custom sizes!

July 16th is the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel! Our Lady said to St. Simon Stock: “Take this scapular, it shall be a sign of salvation, a protection in danger and a pledge of peace. Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire . . . wear it devoutly and perseveringly. It is my garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life.”

Sabbatine Privilege:

1. Wear the scapular devoutly and continually.
2. Observe chastity according to one’s state in life.
3. Recite daily the Little Office of Our Lady, or abstinence on Wednesdays and Saturdays, or the rosary with permission from a priest to substitute.

Our Lady promised to liberate the soul from purgatory who fulfills these requirements upon the Saturday after their death.


Here's just one miraculous story of Our Lady's protection of those who wear her scapular: "A French priest on pilgrimage was on his way to offer Mass, but realized he forgot his scapular. He knew he would be late if he went back for it, but he could not accept offering Mass at Our Lady’s altar without wearing her scapular. The priest returned with it and was in the middle of offering Mass when a man approached the altar with a gun. He shot the priest in the back, but somehow the priest continued to say the Mass prayers as if nothing happened. The faithful thought the bullet miraculously missed the priest; however, they discovered afterwards the bullet had been found ADHERING TO THE BROWN SCAPULAR, which the priest had refused to be without." While this story is truly amazing and inspiring, most importantly, Our Lady helps those who wear her scapular receive eternal life.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Parents of the Little Flower


July 12th is the feast of Sts. Louis and Zelie Martin, the parents of St. Therese, the Little Flower. If you are looking for good reads on them, the books above are excellent! Both parents originally wanted to enter religious life, but God called them to marriage. They raised up a family of saints and became saints themselves! Their heroic virtue in family life is an inspiration and example of how we are to live.

"To the love of God, to the spirit of faith and hope was joined in my father's character an immense charity toward his neighbor. That was his outstanding virtue." ~ Celine Martin

"Our mother was abnegation personified, gifted with great courage, and an extraordinarily energetic character. She had a very sensitive and very generous heart, turned always to God, in whom she had a truly heroic confidence." ~ Celine Martin

"My parents always seemed to me to be saints. We were filled with respect and admiration for them. I sometimes asked myself if it were possible to find their equals on earth. Around me I could see nothing like them." ~ Pauline Martin (Mother Agnes of Jesus)

"God gave me a father and a mother who were more worthy of heaven than of earth." ~ St. Therese Martin (the Little Flower)

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Precious Blood Chaplet



Check out this sacramental available at handmadecatholicshop.com for the feast of the Precious Blood of Jesus!

PRECIOUS BLOOD CHAPLET


The 33 beads symbolize the 33 years of Our Lord’s life. The seven mysteries honor the seven principal sheddings of the Precious Blood of Jesus. Pope Pius VII granted a plenary indulgence to those who recite this chaplet daily for a month.

Begin with the ejaculation: “O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.”
One Glory Be.

First Mystery: The Circumcision
Pray for chastity of soul and body.
Five Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Second Mystery: The Agony in the Garden
Pray for the spirit of prayer.
Five Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Third Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar
Pray for the grace of mortification.
Five Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Fourth Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns
Pray for the grace to despise worldly honors.
Five Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Fifth Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross.
Pray for patience.
Five Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Sixth Mystery: The Crucifixion
Pray for true contrition of your sins.
Five Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Seventh Mystery: Piercing of the Side of Jesus
Pray for the grace of perseverance.
Three Our Father’s and one Glory Be.
V. We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants. R. Whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.

Conclude with: 
“Almighty and everlasting God, Who hast appointed Thine only-begotten Son the Savior of the world, and hast willed to be appeased with His Blood; grant us, we beseech Thee, so to venerate this Blood, the price of our salvation, and so to be defended by its power upon earth from the evils of this present life, that in Heaven we may enjoy its everlasting fruit. Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end. Amen.”

“The more you shall have contemplated My Painful Wounds on earth, the higher shall be your contemplation of them in Heaven.” ~ Our Lord to Sister Mary Martha Chambon

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Need a Quick Dish?


This has to be one of the simplest dinner dishes that actually appeals to the sweet tooth. Get two or three chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch cubes) and cook in a frying pan. Cook a cup of rice in a separate pot. Use a cup of riced frozen broccoli to heat up. Mix all together when chicken is cooked. Add some salt, pepper, garlic salt, and (a lot) of brown sugar. 



A colorful arrangement awaits your dinner table, fit to serve five hungry mouths. And I might add, that a root beer float doesn't hurt to accompany it (or any dish). :-)



Hope you enjoy this easy meal that can be accomplished in 15 minutes! 

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Pray for Priests


One of the most noble tasks we can accomplish in this world is prayer. Prayer is our direct link to God. When we pray before the tabernacle, it is better than being granted an audience before a king, for we are beholding the King of Kings. He is ready to hear our every request and answers them all, even if not in the way we expect. 

We forget though that this privilege of praying before our King is brought to us only by His priests. Without the priest, we would not be able to adore Jesus in the tabernacle, nor receive Him at Mass, nor attend Mass at all. A priest is another Christ and as such holds such a great dignity in his vocation. These days it is hard to find truly holy priests, but that is where prayer comes in.

Today is Fathers' Day and our priests fall under that title in the spiritual sense because they guide us as children to reach Heaven. We must pray for them that they may be holy and that there may be more priests who give their lives to such a praiseworthy mission. There is no greater goal than winning souls for Christ. Let us support our priests and be grateful to them for helping us in our path of sanctity by remembering them daily before the tabernacle, especially today as our spiritual fathers. 

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Stroll in the Park


What is your favorite form of exercise? There are so many ways to rejuvenate yourself by spending time in exercise. Lots of people enjoy hiking or running on trails, some bike riding or kayaking, others with indoor equipment. I'm certainly not one for "working out", but I think getting a daily half hour of recreational exercise is really good for you. It's healthy for your body and your mind and lets out some of that extra steam. 

Thoughts on weight loss? Well, to me that's secondary. I mean who doesn't enjoy feeling more fit and going down a size in clothes? But I think the experience of the exercise (especially outside in nature) is much more satisfactory than the results or lack thereof. 

Personal favorite: I really enjoy bike riding, kayaking, and walking. Each offers a unique setting. Bike riding can be stationary, kayaking on a beautiful lake, and walking down your home street are all pleasant in themselves. There's nothing like the feeling of accomplishing something when getting where you want to go, and a healthy life brings much content.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

More Blessed to Give


They say it's more blessed to give than to receive and if you've never had the opportunity of volunteering, let me just share how amazing an experience it can be. You think that you are going into something trying to make a difference in someone's life by giving your time, but you realize very quickly that in making that sacrifice you are receiving so much more yourself than you could ever imagine. 

When we give our ourselves it takes us out of ourselves and let's us focus our energy on other people. Our problems seem so small when we see what others have to go through. And even if you are going through more than others, it at least makes the burden lighter by alleviating someone else's pain for a day. Volunteering doesn't take away your suffering or someone else's suffering but it reminds us that "life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."

Some great volunteer ideas are perhaps at your church, nursing homes, crisis pregnancy centers, soup kitchens, schools...the opportunities are limitless if you are really looking. On a personal note, I've really enjoyed volunteering at a horse farm that teaches children. I love both horses and kids so it's the perfect combo for me, and you see clearly that what truly matters in life is serving God and serving our neighbor.

You may say that there just isn't time to volunteer if you're working full time and taking care of a family, but maybe if it's only just once a month on a Saturday that you give a couple hours to something, it would be possible. Believe me it makes all the difference to them and to you.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Families of Heroes


Every year I make a point of writing something for Memorial Day. This year I want to focus on the families of the heroes who fight for our freedom. Sometimes I think that even more than the sacrifices of our solidiers, we should be grateful for the sacrifices of their families. It can be harder to be left behind than to go out into the fight. The grandparents, the parents, the siblings, the spouses, the children, and friends all see their dear loved one defend our country, and they know the solider may never return and if they do they may never be the same.

The wait for those families must feel like an eternity. The worries must nag at them every day. The pain of longing to be held in their arms once again must fill their heart with sorrow at each moment they are not with them. These military families deserve our greatest gratitude for their sufferings. Without the support of the families, the solider would not have the courage to go out in the first place. 

I've said this before, but a great way to help these families is to send care packages to either them or the soldiers. A site that provides ways of assisting is operationgratitude.com. Even hygiene items are needed overseas...things we take so easily for granted. 

And let's say a special prayer for the solidiers and the families of those who have given their lives for our country. May we never forget the ultimate sacrifice that made them heroes. Happy Memorial Day!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Where is the Next Book?


I'm just days away from it being a whole year since I published a book. Hard to believe it's been that long since one of my stories hit the shelves, but life has a way of carrying you along and one day you look back and realize how much time has really passed. It's been a year of much change, hence being absent from publishing, but I'm happy to announce that the two books you have been waiting for will finally be ready this year. Act of Hope is set to be realized in late Summer 2018 and The Amanda Case Files #3 with it's exciting continuation of the double agent mystery for Christmas 2018.

Act of Hope focuses on a fallen away Catholic actor who is injured in a limo accident. He is forced to think about his life with the help of an eight-year-old fan who is always ready by his bedside. There is a letter writer, Penny, who sends messages of encouragement to the actor, Matt Snow, and the reader is left to question if she is a new romance or his long-lost fiance. Other characters are a Fr. Charles who is the hospital chaplain and lots of interesting characters in the nursing home where Penny works. Where is Matt's brother whom he hasn't seen since his career took off? Will the actor get better and more importantly will his faith return? How will Penny fit into the actor's life? Find out in a couple months!

The Amanda Case Files # 3 takes place in Maine right where you left off in the sequel. Uncle Riley is kidnapped and Liz and Sam must discover how that connects to the mysterious double agent. As Liz works more closely with Fred, will he continue to be her friend or foe? What other secrets will the Henley's discover about their parents and their investigation? What does the key open that the stranger gave Liz in the basement? Find out at Christmas!

Check out my four books on Amazon!

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!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Easy Corn Casserole


Are you looking for a simple dish that tastes gourmet? This is a great one for the holidays that everyone will think you gave blood, sweat, and tears in making, but really you only had a couple minutes to get something together! Only 5 ingredients!

~ 1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
~ 1 frozen package of corn
~ 1 can of creamed corn
~ 2/3 cup of vegetable oil
~ 2 T brown sugar

Mix ingredients together. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes in a 9x11 pan. Top should brown slightly and knife come out clean when finished. Enjoy! And watch your friends and family compliment you for all your "hard" work. :-)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Saint for All Needs


There is no saint quite like St. Joseph to pray to for any special intention. St. Teresa of Avila said: "I wish I could persuade everyone to be devoted to this glorious saint for I have great experience of the blessings which he can obtain from God. I have never known anyone to be truly devoted to him and render him particular services who did not notably advance in virtue for he gives very real help to souls who commend themselves to him."

I just wanted to share this devotion of a 30 Day Prayer to St. Joseph. I have never known it to fail!

"Ever blessed and glorious St. Joseph, kind and loving father, and helpful friend of all in sorrow! Thou art the good father and protector of orphans, the defender of the defenseless, the patron of those in need and sorrow. Look kindly on my request. My sins have drawn down on me the just displeasure of my God, and so I am surrounded with unhappiness. To thee, loving guardian of the Family of Nazareth, do I go for help and protection. Listen, then, I beg thee, with fatherly concern, to my earnest prayers, and obtain for me the favors I ask. I ask it by the infinite mercy of the eternal Son of God, which moved Him to take our nature and to be born into this world of sorrow. I ask it by the weariness and suffering thou didst endure when thou didst find no shelter at the inn of Bethlehem for the Holy Virgin, nor a house where the Son of God could be born. Then, being everywhere refused, thou hadst to allow the Queen of Heaven to give birth to the world's Redeemer in a cave. I ask it by the loveliness and power of that sacred Name, Jesus, which thou didst confer on the adorable Infant. I ask it by the painful torture thou didst feel at the prophecy of holy Simeon, which declared the Child Jesus and His holy Mother future victims of our sins and of their great love for us. I ask it through thy sorrow and pain of soul when the angel declared to thee that the life of the Child Jesus was sought by His enemies. From their evil plan, thou hadst to flee with Him and His Blessed Mother to Egypt. I ask it by all the suffering, weariness, and labors of that long and dangerous journey. I ask it by all thy care to protect the Sacred Child and His Immaculate Mother during thy second journey, when thou wert ordered to return to thine own country. I ask it by thy peaceful life in Nazareth where thou didst meet with so many joys and sorrows. I ask it by thy great distress when the adorable Child was lost to thee and His Mother for three days. I ask it by thy joy at finding Him in the temple, and by the comfort thou didst find at Nazareth, while living in the company of the Child Jesus. I ask it by the wonderful submission He showed in His obedience to thee. I ask it by the perfect love and conformity thou didst show in accepting the Divine order to depart from this life, and from the company of Jesus and Mary. I ask it by the joy which filled thy soul, when the Redeemer of the world, triumphant over death and hell, entered into the possession of His kingdom and led thee into it with special honors. I ask it through Mary's glorious Assumption, and through that endless happiness thou hast with her in the presence of God. O good father! I beg thee, by all thy sufferings, sorrows, and joys, to hear me and obtain for me what I ask. (mention your petitions) Obtain for all those who have asked my prayers everything that is useful to them in the plan of God. Finally, my dear patron and father, be with me and all who are dear to me in our last moments, that we may eternally sing the praises of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. A blameless life, St. Joseph, may we lead, by thy kind patronage from danger freed. Amen."

Sunday, March 11, 2018

True Joy


The Fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, reminds us of the fruit of the Holy Ghost--joy. Joy is a pure gift from God. We can practice charity or experience peace, but the idea of joy and happiness is something God fills us with because it comes from Himself. Joy and goodness go together. As God is all-good, He is the ultimate object of our desires, and we are truly happy when seeking Him.

There is a difference between "feeling happy" and true joy that is supernatural, and that supernatural joy comes from fulfilling God's will in our lives. When we are completely open to God acting in our lives, He takes care of everything for us. For He desires us to be happy more than we want to be happy. 

Joy is also lasting. It may seem like a contradiction in terms, but I think when you are sad it is still possible to experience joy. Because even when we are going through tough times, we can still hold onto the hope and happiness of union with God, which more often than not is achieved through suffering well. 

I've always liked this quote: "Serve the Lord with laughter" by St. Padre Pio. It is a much fuller life to take each experience great or small with a smile.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Paradise


Everyone has a favorite vacation spot, either a place to return to year after year to make memories or a place that of itself creates a sense of peace and relaxation. Now nothing is permanent here on earth, but I do think there are places that God has made that give us a foretaste of paradise.

That paradise for me is without a doubt the ocean. There is something so majestic about the waves and the immensity of it all. There's a whole world beneath those waters that I'll probably never see in person because I doubt I'll ever scuba dive. There's nothing to compare the sound of the rolling waves to or the soft sands or the ocean breeze or the setting sun. If it was possible to find a heaven on earth, the beach would be it for me.

I love the idea that there really can be a "happy place" you can go to. God has created so much beauty around us that taking little trips reminds us that we can find that at home too. But there's nothing like having a favorite vacation spot that makes you realize there's so much to enjoy in life.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Beatitudo


Beatitudo, or perfect happiness, is a concept I learned in a philosophy class once. For life has many ups and downs, hellos and goodbyes, and good and bad days, but there is something that lies beneath all that where we can find peace and joy. 

The Catholic Encyclopedia discusses: "Beatitudo, perfect happiness, complete well-being, is to be attained not in this life, but in the next. Primarily, it consists in the activity of man's highest cognitive faculty, the intellect, in the contemplation of God — the infinitely Beautiful. But this immediately results in the supreme delight of the will in the conscious possession of the Summum Bonum, God, the infinitely good."

While beatitudo is something fully possessed in Heaven, we have a foretaste of it on earth, and it is this very concept that transcends the sufferings of life. The possession of God carries us through and allows us to be truly happy no matter what storms shake us. 

I think too that this possession of God extends to other people. For we see God in those around us--those closest to us, and so our happiness comes not only from God but the people He puts in our life. We in turn can be a source of joy to those same people.

So in what does perfect happiness consist? And how can we find it on earth amidst suffering? Blessed Margaret d’Youville says: "All the wealth in the world cannot be compared with the happiness of living together happily united." The key is union--our souls in union with God and our hearts in union with friends. Because one can only truly be happy by giving oneself to another, or rather that true joy shines the brightest in sacrifice and love.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Patience of 40 Days


Lent teaches us a lot about patience. I think this is one of the hardest virtues to practice, perhaps because it is required of us so frequently. There's innumerable moments throughout the day that we must endure some suffering or wait for things. The Lenten season asks us to commit to a practice, sacrifice, additional prayer, or virtue for 40 days (give or take) that help us learn patience.

I was sent a document recently on Patience by Fr. Richard Clarke that consists of a 30 day meditation on the virtue. One quote Father writes: "The virtue of patience consists in the willing endurance for God's sake of all that is painful to nature, of whatever kind it may be." I like the words "whatever kind" to remind us that really anything that presents itself as disagreeable to us is an opportunity to be patient and offer something to God.

Just as with waiting 40 days through Lent and making sacrifices along the way, brings us so much joy and glory with the celebration of Easter, the rewards of patience are peace and triumph. For I think it is in waiting for things that make the attainment of them so wonderful. There's an inner joy that accompanies those moments when you choose to be patient amidst suffering by the grace of God.

I love this quote by Mother Angelica, "Patience is adjusting your time to God's time."  Let's take Our Lady of Sorrows as our model of patience this Lent!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Taking a Drive


Do you ever just like going for a drive? Even if you don't have anywhere in particular to go, sometimes it's nice to drive along the highway and take in all the surroundings. I guess all-day drives can be a drag, but there's something satisfying about reaching your destination after a long journey.

I like the fun and adventure of trips--the idea that you can hop in a car or a plane and be somewhere else in a matter of hours. Going for a drive and playing music in the car, rolling the windows down and feeling the fresh air, laughing with your friends on the way to a movie. There's something about sharing a drive that lets you have the best conversations, those feel good moments, and the experience of getting somewhere together.

A nice drive gives you time to think, time to imagine, time to take a breather and slow down. I like the experience of new places, of the old fashioned idea of printing out directions, of capturing the moments that got you there. People laugh at the number of pictures I like to take, but you just want to savor those moments that quickly turn into memories. 

So when life hits you fast, remember you can just take it slow, one moment at a time!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Valuing Our Heritage


Our nationality is part of who we are. It might not play a central part in our everyday life as far as customs may go, but there is something to be said for our heritage. Where we come from sometimes helps us know where we are going. Being American is a distinct nationality, but most Americans have different heritages. I enjoy American holidays and traditions, but it is also nice to have some elements of our other cultures as well.

For myself, I am Polish, Irish, and German. To be honest, I don't play up the nationalities all that much, but I think it's neat to know what you are. I would love to travel to those countries and experience what the culture would be like. The food, architecture, and people would all be so interesting. 

One tradition that I have kept is a Polish one. Every Christmas we get special wafers decorated with religious scenes. Each member of the family breaks off a piece of their individual wafer and wishes the other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. It is a warm memory I have of all the Christmas Eve's growing up. (And I do have to say that Polish Chrusciki sugar pastries are absolutely delicious).

Heritage to me is a little piece of our past that makes the unique story of our life a little more fascinating!