Saturday, June 24, 2017

Make My Heart Like Unto Thine

"Oh Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like unto Thine." Yesterday we celebrated the feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and this is such a beautiful and fitting prayer for this glorious day. I thought for this blog post I would just share the amazing promises that Our Lord gave to St. Margaret Mary for all those who will honor His Sacred Heart.

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state in life. 
2. I will establish peace in their families. 
3. I will comfort them in their trials. 
4. I will be their secure refuge during life, and, above all, in death. 
5. I will shed abundant blessings on all their undertakings.
6. Sinners will find in My Heart an infinite ocean of mercy. 
7. Lukewarm souls will become fervent. 
8. Fervent souls will rapidly grow in holiness and perfection. 
9. I will bless every place where an image of My Heart shall be exposed and honored. 
10. I will give to priests the gift of touching the most hardened hearts. 
11. The names of those who promote this devotion will be written in My Heart, never to be blotted out. 
12. I promise thee, in the excessive mercy of My Heart, that My all-powerful love will grant to all those who receive Holy Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months, the grace of final penitence; they shall not die in My disgrace nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Divine Heart shall be their safe refuge in this last moment. 

One way to honor Him is by having an image exposed in our homes of the Sacred Heart, or perhaps praying the Litany of the Sacred Heart, or even better spending time in adoration before His Eucharistic Heart. Let us not lose a single opportunity to turn our hearts to Our Lord's and ever more be united to Him.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Home Sweet Home

Not long ago, I wrote a post about the travel bug. That is definitely a common symptom that pops up in our lives, and a healthy dose of "seeing the world" is certainly great. This week, however, I want to write about home.

What does home mean to someone? A place you retire to when not at work? A place where your family lives? A place where you feel loved and secure? I think in a general sense "home" fits all of these definitions. To me, no matter where you travel or how long or short you are gone, there is nothing like that feeling of arriving at your "home sweet home." For unless you are a true nomad or your living conditions are less than ideal, there will always be somewhere special to which you return.

The word home seems to resonate a sense of peace. That in that place is somewhere you can find joy, comfort, security, love . . . all intangibles that reflect God, meaning He should be the center of the home. I like that phrase: "Christ is the Head of this house, the unseen Guest at every meal, the silent Listener to every conversation." 

Since the state of one's physical home can vary, it presents us with the idea that earth is not our final home. We are always traveling as pilgrims to our permanent abode in Heaven. It is a nice thought, is it not? To think of the concept of eternity. Home with all its ups and downs reminds us of this. When home is a place that brings contentment, we want to hold onto that forever. When home brings misunderstandings and frustrations, we want to escape from it. Meaning we all long for that place--for Heaven--where there is no suffering and our peace knows no bounds.

We should thank God every day for our home--somewhere that we have worked for and built up by all our efforts to create a place that you can sit by the hearth and breath a sigh of relief at the end of a long day.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Amanda Case Files No. 2

Available at Amazon!

Amanda Case returns for an all new exciting mystery! Jump start your summer vacation with a lighthearted and wholesome fiction novel. From the back cover: "Amanda Case is back for a new mystery that starts out personal. When Christie Henley is arrested for murder at Fielding's Hospital, Liz must discover who would frame her sister and why. Liz sleuths undercover to unveil a motive among doctors, nurses, CEO's, and a janitor. Will Liz find the killer in a plot that gets deeper and deeper? And how will she handle a very unexpected family secret that surfaces during her investigation?"

Here's a sneak peek of the novel! And you can look forward to the third installment for Christmas!

Chapter 1:

Elizabeth Henley stormed into the police station early one Wednesday morning. Nearly a year had passed since that morning when she arrived at old Anderson Manor. Seven cases had come and gone, all solved successfully and rather uneventfully. Not one had been personal . . . until now.
It was a warm June day, but Liz was wearing long pants and a dress shirt. She was walking quickly to a room where she had questioned suspects so often over the years. However, the person she was meeting was the reason for her anger and surprise.
“Liz—” Officer Robert Gray began to say as she entered the room he was waiting in.
“Bob, how could you?” Liz cut him off.
“It’s not my fault—”
“Did you arrest her?” Liz said, crossing her arms.
“No—I—I couldn’t. Captain Walker brought her in.” Bob put his hands in his pockets.
Liz’s face softened. “I’m sorry, Bob.”
“She’s innocent, of course, but the captain is determined to put her in jail—”
“Not while I’m on the case,” Liz said emphatically. “There is no way that a sister of mine will ever be arrested for murder.” She left Bob standing there and opened a door that led into a small room. Liz bit her lip at the sight of her younger sister, Christie, seated at the small table, twisting the ring on her left hand. She didn’t even glance up when Liz walked in the room. “Christie?” Liz said softly.
Christie turned her head and her eyes flickered. “Oh, Liz!” She stood up and gave her a warm hug. “I’m so glad it’s you.” Christie wearily sat back down into the metal chair provided.
Liz took the seat opposite her sister and hesitated before speaking. “I—” She cleared her throat. “I can’t believe I’m sitting here.”
“At least that’s a familiar chair for you. I can’t believe I’m sitting here.”
“Tell me everything,” Liz pleaded.
“Oh what’s the point,” Christie exclaimed. “They all think I’m guilty—”
“Your fiancé doesn’t,” Liz remarked.
Christie looked down and fingered her ring again. “Bob is not going to marry me now—”
“He will.”
“He was just promoted to sergeant after Brown was fired. He’s not going to marry a felon—”
“You are not going to jail. I’m going to get you out of here.” She twisted her curly brown hair.
“How? All the evidence is against me!”
“Start at the beginning,” Liz answered.
Christie sighed. “It’s a long story.”
“I’m all ears.”
Christie shifted her position. “It was Monday that I had the argument with Brittany—”
“The victim?” Liz asked.
“Yes. Brittany Lewis was the head nurse in my unit.” Christie suddenly looked past Liz and stared at the wall. “That glass—is Bob behind it?”
Liz turned around and looked at the glass that acted as a double mirror. “I don’t know, Christie,” she said softly.
“Probably,” Christie said, “and I guess they are recording everything I’m saying?”
Liz nodded.
“Bob might as well know the whole story too.” Christie leaned her head on her arm. “He’s not going to be happy about it . . .”
“What happened on Monday?” Liz asked. “Do you suspect someone?”
Christie’s eyes met her sister’s. “I do suspect someone, but let me continue the story.”
Liz said, “Go on.”
“It was six months to the day that I had started working at Fielding’s Hospital. I was relieved that I had passed the probationary period and would remain full time. It’s all I ever dreamed of. You know I have been talking about this for weeks.”
“I remember,” Liz added.
“Bob took me out to dinner that Monday evening. I had mentioned the argument with Brittany then, never imagining it would lead to . . . this.”
“What was the argument about?”
Christie looked at Liz. “Brittany was neglecting her shifts—asking me to cover for her at times. That’s not an easy thing to do in an ICU.”
“Obviously not.”
“I think Brittany thought she could get away with it because she was a senior nurse and I was the new kid in town. I wouldn’t complain because if I did I wouldn’t stay on at the hospital.”
Liz cut in, “I can see where this is going. Your probationary period was finally up, and you could say something to Brittany.”
Christie nodded. “And I did. I really wouldn’t have minded the extra work, except it was so often that I was endangering my own patients.”
“No one found out about this? No one tried to step in and stop what was happening?”
“Well there was one . . .” Christie continued, “Dr. Taylor. He’s the doctor we work with the most, and he started seeing me more often than Brittany.”
“He started asking questions?”
“Yes. He confronted me on the issue. I was trying to cover for her, but he started to see through it.”
“Why were you covering for her?” Liz asked.
Christie said slowly, “She knew something.”
The statement arrested Liz’s attention. “Knew something? About what?”
Christie didn’t answer. “Is there any way I could get a glass of water?”
Liz said, “Of course.” She walked out of the room and returned with a paper cup filled with water from the cooler.
Christie took the drink gratefully and sipped the water quietly. She then sighed.
“What is it, Christie?”
Christie looked across the room at the mirror. “I hesitate to say anything because I have a feeling Bob is listening to this.”
Liz’s mind was working. “It’s about someone he knows at the hospital?”
“His cousin actually,” Christie remarked.
Liz’s eyes widened. “The CEO?”
Christie swallowed the rest of her water. “Hill.”
“Andrew Hill has worked at Fielding’s for eleven years! He’s the founder of three different foundations and well respected in the community.”
“That’s why my word against his is nothing.”
Liz crossed her legs and paused to think. “What do you know about him? Or what did Brittany know?”
“I don’t really know what Brittany knew.” Christie sighed and whispered slowly, “I think that Andrew is the one who killed Brittany.”
A sound could be heard from behind the wall as if something was knocked over. Then footsteps came from outside the hall followed by the door opening. Bob was standing in the doorway. “Christie?” His mouth was open.
Christie looked away. “I knew you would react that way. I’m sorry, Bob. I have to tell the truth in here.”
“The truth?” Bob exclaimed.
Liz answered for her sister, “I know that Andrew is like a brother to you—”
“You are asking me to choose between believing you or believing Andrew?” Bob asked his fiancé.
“What has Andrew told you?” Christie asked.
“He was already questioned. His alibi is airtight,” Bob said firmly.
Liz looked back and forth between the two. “I wasn’t there for that, Christie. I’ve never seen Andrew other than in the papers.”
“So you believe me?” Christie looked desperately toward her sister.
“But how is it you were framed?” Liz asked.
Bob said uncomfortably, “The weapon was found in her locker, and she was caught on security footage.”
“Doing what?” Liz asked.
“Going in and out of the room where the victim was found dead,” Bob said.
“I found her dead!” Christie protested.
“I don’t doubt that for a minute, Christie,” Bob said sincerely, “but I can’t believe that my own cousin would have killed her. Why in the world would he do a thing like that?”
“I’m going to find out,” Liz said.
“As what? Amanda Case the detective?” Bob said, referring to Liz’s codename used on all the undercover cases assigned to her.
“As Amanda Case, the nursing assistant, who is replacing the accused,” Liz said playfully.
Christie smiled in spite of herself. “You think you can be a nurse?”
Liz looked offended. “I’m already a paramedic. Besides you have talked about it enough.”
“There’s a whole lot more to being an ICU nurse than talking,” Christie emphasized. “Do you really think that—”
“Look, Christie, someone framed you for murder. I’m not taking that lightly. One of us has to go in there and find out the why behind it all—and who better than me?” Liz said enthusiastically.
“Captain Walker is going to keep me here, isn’t he?” Christie looked at Bob.
Bob nodded with a frown. “But, in a sense, the killer can’t reach you here. So whatever he has against you, he’ll have to keep it to himself.”
“Bob—” Liz started to say.
“Liz, can I have a moment with Christie?” Bob asked. “I just need a moment.”
Liz nodded and left the room, closing the door behind her.
“Am I still being recorded?” Christie said, still sitting in the metal chair.
Bob shook his head. “I was the one—” He sat down across from his fiancé. “The captain was having me record you, but I was the only one in there. It’s just us now, Christie.” He reached out for her hand.
“Oh, Bob, what’s going to happen?”
“Liz is going to find the killer like she always does,” Bob answered reassuringly.
“I meant . . . about us?”
Bob’s eyes met Christie’s. “We are going to live happily ever after,” he said sincerely. “It’s only been put on pause, that’s all. This will be cleared up, and we can continue on with our plans.”
“I love you, Bob,” Christie whispered.
“I know you do, and I love you. I’m sorry you are in the middle of all this, and I’m sorry I found the knife in your locker.”
“What else could you have done? It was there . . . and the cameras . . .”
“There’s something awfully fishy about those security cameras.”
“What do you mean?” Christie asked.
“You didn’t kill Brittany—”
“Of course not!”
“I know. That’s what I’m saying. So, why didn’t the footage catch who did?” Bob said.

Happy Reading! 

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The First Novena

Novenas remind us to persevere in prayer. Arranged for nine consecutive days, novenas either pray the same prayer each day or have a different prayer depending on the particular devotion. The first novena of the Church was at Pentecost as Our Lady and the Apostles awaited the coming of the Holy Ghost. Novenas teach us to be patient because God wants us to keep asking for His grace and aid.

Particularly at Pentecost we remember the fruits and gifts of the Holy Ghost, but we should be praying for these every day. A quick list: Gifts ~ wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Fruits ~ charity, joy, peace, patience, long-suffering, goodness, benignity, meekness, fidelity, modesty, contingency, and chastity. 

A great saint who truly understood the reality of the presence of the Holy Ghost in our souls when in the state of grace was St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. Her message centered around the divine indwelling. Some great quotes of hers are: "It seems to me that I have found my heaven on earth because my heaven is Thee, my God, and Thou art in my soul. Thou in me and I in Thee, may this be my motto." And again, "What a joyous mystery is Thy presence within me, in that intimate sanctuary of my soul where I can always find Thee, even when I do not feel Thy presence. Of what importance is feeling? Perhaps Thou art all the closer when I feel Thee less." And finally, "May my life be a continual prayer, a long act of love."

There are no words that adequately describe the immense gift of the life of God in the soul. It is a great subject for prayer to dwell on the mystery of God's presence within us. We should make efforts throughout the day and every moment to converse with so great a Guest.

Blessed Pentecost!