Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thoughts as we approach All Hallows Eve, All Saints, and All Souls

Counting our blessings: we lived in such a good neighborhood for 15 years and enjoyed such lovely, wholesome Halloween celebrations with a hay ride and chili cookoff before the trick or treating began. I wish I could find the photo the year the girls and I dressed up as a medieval queen and princesses. Every year, my husband carves the pumpkins and roasts the seeds with lots of seasoning salt. Usually, his parents have come down to enjoy the children and help hand out candy and watch an old classic movie.

Still counting our blessings: we are in a new, much smaller neighborhood with many kind people and families, and the annual, fall festival atmostphere of our Roswell celebrations accompany us here. The memories of good people and good times help us to bring forth new celebrations and new friends. We have our Faith and have always had many good family prayers around this time to the holy souls and to the saints. One year we even made a little saints museum in one of the children's rooms as the big days (read good link on All Hallows Eve, All Saints and All Souls) approached. At our parish (which has not changed, even though we moved farther north), there is that lovely feeling of expectation for Advent, just a few weeks away! Fall blazes in and out so quickly; it is such a lovely time of year!

Each year, in August, I pick a saint to pray to for our homeschooling. Education means to nurture; and, many parents see the family as a garden, a place where we work, play and pray to bring forth good produce. I have asked St. Gemma Galgani to be our special, educational protectress this year. It is not an easy culture within which to raise children and young people.

I regret letting my children read and watch all the Harry Potter stories, but I have to move forward continuing to humbly pray for the Blessed Mother's intercession and the fathomless Mercy of Christ our King, our Lord and Savior of all who call upon Him in faith, hope and love. Of these, the greatest is LOVE.

Here is my Halloween post from last year.

I just found this thought provoking article.

St. Gemma Galgani, pray for us and for all families striving to bring up their young in the best possible garden.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Let's work hard against contempt, let's adore Him, let's love...

"We can only learn to know ourselves and do what we can -- namely, surrender our will and fulfill God's will in us." --St. Teresa of Avila
I have a few quiet moments and am thinking about how fast the rest of the year will go by...and, I want to bring a grateful heart to each day, not worrying if I "get everything done". I am a "worry wart," as they used to call my grandpa (my dad's dad). It is important for me to stop and see the big picture, to stop and adore our Eucharistic Lord, even when I am not directly in front of the Blessed Sacrament. He, the Prince of Peace is, so very mysteriously, living inside of me and, as a beautiful song goes, "He is the air I breathe..."

We are all called to be living tabernacles. I love this thought and know that the Incarnation made this all possible. No wonder so many love Christmas. The miracle of Christmas is the gift of Mother Church. Christ came as a baby and would become even smaller in the Sacred Host (think of that!). As a convert, I am still learning and renewing, via His sacramental graces, my knowledge of the truths of the Faith. We know that Purgatory is the "Church Suffering" and that we, pilgrims on earth, are the "Church Militant" and that all persons are created to journey in faith, hope and love to our ultimate destiny of utter refuge, known to Catholics as the "Church Triumphant."

Heaven is the goal. It is the place to which we run. I was talking to some of the members of my Regnum Christ small prayer group (know as our "Encounters with Christ")about the idea that Heaven will be, for me, a place not of rest, as we tend to think of it. As a disabled person, I like to think of Heaven as a place where we are always free to move, free to act with verve and full-blown energy to love perfectly all the time. Come to think of it, that would be eternal rest because we would "rest" in the peace of a fully certain conscience, meaning that our hearts would be utterly pure. We would be unencumbered by our mental, emotional and physical disabilities. Living fully in the embrace of the Blessed Mother gazing in complete communion with the Blessed Trinity, we would be one act of pure love all of the time -- Heaven!!!

I know it is not a sin to be tired, but, as I am so tired so much of the time, I am blessed, if you will, to think, from time to time, of all the good works that I could initiate, if I were to have more energy. Alas, nothing is wasted! What I mean by that is that we can pray with all of our might for souls. We can offer everything up to Him who is Love. And, we must do what we can when we can to inspire and encourage ourselves and others.

We can offer each and every aspect of our daily lives for the salvation of souls, beginning first with our own. A related item I have been pondering is the fact that we must work and pray very hard not to be contemptuous of our own failings or those of others. Our Lord warns us of the only "unforgivable sin" being (all) that which opposes the Holy Spirit (do not quench the Spirit!). God never fails to forgive. We condemn ourselves. We know this. When we make our morning offering and ask for the special intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the mercy of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we must do so humbly and in full recognition of our potential for contempt, of ourselves and of others.

I just looked up contempt and you may be given a bit of a jolt --it is from the Latin contemnere, meaning to despise. Wow! Contempt is "an attitude to something (or someone, I add) which one despises as worthless, insignificant or vile; total disregard." (Webster's)

I believe this is key to understanding the internal persecutions of Mother Church. When any human person is deemed worthless (which can happen internally or externally, or both), then the demons leap in to the situation. When an idea that is good, truthful and beautiful is distorted, then the same occurs. The godly practices of celibacy for the Kingdom, worship of the Blessed Sacrament, family prayer, parish renewal, true friendship, authentic love, filial obedience to Mother Church -- there are so many more -- when these are held in contempt, watch out!

But first, return every hour of every day to the Lord with your whole heart. Ask our Lady to be your mother, to guide you, pray with you and for you. Ask for prayers from the holy souls and pray for them (then you will have "friends in high places," as I tell the kids). Here is a good link on Purgatory.

The one, sure prophetic word of God is to love. Spending time in front of the Blessed Sacrament will increase your capacity to love, of this I am sure for I have experienced it in my own life. I know it to be true both from doctrine and from experience. Both are good and sound. Only magisterial doctrine is constant, but it must be experienced to be transmitted, so that we may evangelize the world.

Is it possible that the teaching can be more sound, more constant, than the teacher? I am speaking of apostles, not our Lord Himself, of course. He mysteriously acts through clay pots. I have more cracks than most! I do know that true and real devotion to our Blessed Mother includes an ardent desire to free the holy souls from Purgatory.

Holy Souls in Purgatory, pray for us! I pray that the holy souls know that we care, that they do have us to pray for them and that they will help us love ourselves as children of the Most High God the Father and that they will help us love others as our Savior has loved us! Amen

St. Teresa of Avila (my Confirmation saint), pray for all inhabitants of this good earth!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Christ's Kingdom is Mother Church

This is our great hope and our invocation, ‘Your Kingdom come!’—a Kingdom of peace, justice and serenity, which will re-establish the original harmony of creation. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, General Audience, November 6th, 2002, Zenit

This compelling quote is from a beautiful writing from Mark Mallet on the Kingdom.

If I get hit by a bus today, I want to say that Christ's Kingdom is Mother Church. I think that Mark Mallet is right in saying (what the Catechism says too) that Mother Church must follow our Lord and Savior through His Passion to His Resurrection. In the great mystery of time and eternity this happens on many levels ( did happen, does happen and will happen with greater perfection...). The Church has a journey through time, just as each Christian has a journey through time. To some extent, through Christ's institution of the Holy Eucharist, the Kingdom reigns now in the hearts of those who receive the sacred Body and Blood in a state of grace. The enemies of the soul (world, flesh, demons) are constantly hammering us, and this God permits to prepare us for eternal life (...more and more, I realize that He permits our being "pummeled" because, like any coach worth his salt, the Prince of Peace, knows that freedom from sin and peace of heart, come in the midst of a great spiritual battle...).

It is so beautiful that we live a very full life in Christ and His Kingdom through the Church and her Sacraments. The Kingdom of God will never be an earthly kingdom; but, for me, reading prophecy gives me a sense of urgency to bring as many souls to the fullness of truth that is the one, holy Catholic and apostolic Church, as established by Christ Himself on the rock of His Holy Vicar, the Holy Father. I read prophet and saints to also help me put on the full armor of the Holy Spirit (knowing there are always, due to original sin, cracks in my armor) to wage war against my own rebellious spirit, the world and the devils. The Regnum Christi movement gives lay persons spiritual tools to do this. These tools are available to any practicing Catholic, indeed the life of prayer is "ever ancient, ever fresh," as St. Augustine says.

As I was praying about being called to join Regnum Christi, I had this sense that, in joining this ecclesial movement, our Lord Jesus would help me draw closer to the Blessed Mother. So far, this has happened. I hope I can describe this aspect of my journey of faith in a later post....but, another day, as I have to get back to homeschooling our fourth grader...TKC!