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September 2nd, 2013

A PRAYER FOR OUR FAMILY

What a blessing Leona Choy is! I’ve never met Leona personally but we became blogging friends when we both read and admired everything written by Barbara Curtis on her blog, Mommy Life. And grieved together about Barbara’s untimely death. Leona is only two years younger than I am, but far more prolific, with a marvelous gift for ministry and words. I am taking the liberty here of reproducing her recent prayer for her family and can only urge readers to go to her blog and see for yourself how very gifted she is. Thank you, Leona, for writing the prayer I would have written if I could.

MY PRAYER FOR OUR FAMILY
O Lord, I pray for our family, not on the basis of my own righteousness but because of Your love for them and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ for them.
As the matriarch of our family, I come before You to intercede for Your grace and mercy upon each one in our family—our children, (no matter what their ages) and their spouses and children, our grandchildren and great-grandchildren including families whose relationships have broken, and for new families in the making. I ask for Your Holy Spirit to draw their eternal souls to repentance and salvation and grant them eternal life in accord with the promises of Your Holy Word. I pray that each member of our family, biological offspring or in a blended family relationship, will through an act of their free will become a child of Your covenant. I pray that the Guardian Angel You have assigned to each of us for our lifetime will protect and guide us all safely to our Heavenly Home.
I ask You to protect our family physically and spiritually. Lead them all in Your paths of righteousness and in Your perfect will toward his or her special destiny. Bless them with Your favor, give them their daily bread, and prosper them according to their needs and for Your glory.
On the authority of God’s promises in His Word I ask that negative spiritual strongholds of evil principalities and powers be torn down and any past generational curses be removed. In the Name of Jesus I resist the devil on behalf of our family. Deliver them from evil and the evil one. Banish his power from their lives, their bodies, minds, souls and properties.
I call forth Your bountiful blessings, O Lord, upon our family in agreement with the prayers of our godly ancestors. I receive and embrace Your favor and grace and mercy for myself and for my descendants because of Your love and faithfulness to Your covenant promises to our forefathers. Through the synergy of our prayers, I pass on our generational blessings with joy and vigor and faith to our posterity.
I pray that Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven in my life and in the lives of each member of my family. Help us to be diligent to establish, maintain, and bring forward a godly heritage to those in our family now and to those yet to be born. May we courageously and faithfully fulfill the purposes for which You gave us life and opportunity in this designated time in history that You have ordained for us.
In the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen
May 15th, 2013

GUEST POST

This is the kind of blog comment that makes you want to know its author. It came as a response to my post, years back, on The Gift of Tongues. I post it today with immense gratitude for the time he took to write it and with appreciation for the depth of his insight. Enjoy. And if it makes you think a little, that was the idea.

This article is incredible, and very sincere. It lacks complexity, is non-scripted, incorporates truth, and is from the heart. Very rare today. Even Jesus’ ministry was rare and didn’t heed that much worldy attention. The 5,000 people He had to feed was not even a visible blemish considering world population at the time was exasperatingly way higher than that.

I want to say this, to someone, anyone out there who reads this. Just know that it is true, God is real. This gift of tounges, it’s real. Is it mysterious? Very. Can science and math explain it just like it attempts to explain one God in three persons? Let me ask you this.. Can you completely explain science without using ANY math and vice versa? The creation cannot explain the creator. Before the first mind, thought up the first mathematical renditions, math was already in existance. Science, government, math, philosophy are partial understands from God. Think of when you went to college. ‘101, 102, 103’ and so on course structures. Well, consider ALL the branchs of world and astro sciences are just a 101 to true reality. 101. Nothing more. Basic, as complex as they are. The Bible is also basic. Everything we need to live and to please God and protect ourselves can be found in the texts, but it’s still basic. So when it comes to human philosophies, including our understanding of the earth through sciences and numbers won’t we then be limited? Can a tree know everything about the ground it lies in? Before the tree, the ground was. Evolution should simply be defined by this statement: “The process in which God tests man by allowing his mind to move into more discovered roads of understanding and into even greater free will, stirred by permissable deceptive influencial interferrance.” (A book usually always gets more and more captivating up until it ends.) Using a two dimensional mind in two dimensional thought processes will produce two dimensional results. Period. Will oak trees grow from the pumpkin seeds you planted? So, instead of using our “problem-solving impulses” of our human nature so much so to the point of commiting idolatry (that is worshipping the tools He has given us instead of Truth), let’s give God…AND His mysteries, a chance. Just like you won’t grow muscles unless you eat food, you won’t know God unless you use faith. God’s glory is deep within the things He has chosen to HIDE from us. And us having to “know everything” further and directly proves how selfish, irrogant, and truly self-centered the fallen human race really is….and, driven by fear. Fear has many forms. One of it’s forms is to have to know, all the time. Have all and complete understanding, avoid unmistakable fate. Right? Wrong. Even if we knew everything, what would we do with what we knew being the world that we are?

Some things God does is a mystery. We, as people, might need to build a bridge and get over it.

Human understanding, mixed with our fallen state, incorporated with suggestions and lies of our unseen enemies will GREATLY use tactics, deception, stealth, and emotion to pervert God’s glory of concealment into division, seperation, confusion, indulgence, isolation and compulsion to rebuttal. Think of a painting suddenly springing to life and demanding the artist to tell it how he created the color blue. Shut up creation, and enjoy the beauty of what’s on the canvass. In this example, yes ignorance WOULD be bliss.

The enemy is good. No, you don’t understand, the enemy is very good. He invented deception. Think of the worst person you’ve heard of you can possibly imagine. Now think of that man, or woman, humbly and bashfully walking up to the very Thought that entered their minds and drove them into choosing to act and asking for it’s autograph.
There is so much more to the definition of the word ‘Lie’ then simply just “not telling the truth.” Picture the biggest mall you can possibly conceive and fill that mall with as many departments as you can think of. Now name it. Call the entire mall, “DECEPTION”. There really are driving intelligent forces that invent new ways of deceiving man. What you think you may be seeing is not always really what it seems. Think of a well known illusionist. His very job is to trick your mind. If it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, looks like a duck and flies like a duck, it must be a duck right? There is no absolute truth or law to that. So, no.

Then what on earth are we to do? What is truly real and what is counterfeit? Thank God for, well God.

The Holy Spirit is the lens of Truth. He is a person, not electricity or the holy force of God. Call Him a Ghost or a Spirit only because you cannot see him, but as the wind remains invisible as it blows through the trees, He’s there and He’s a Person.

One of The Holy Spirit’s responsibility is in our gifts and accomplishments as a human race and as mankind. Tongues is one of many. Sometimes we as people, under tradition, will baulk when Y doesn’t equal X and no matter how hard we try, 2 + 2 won’t equal 4 even though WE KNOW it should. It’s OK. Everything’s gonna be OK. God’s got us, and glorifies Himself with His hidden mysterious that we may never comprehend nor understand. Well that’s not fair, we may say, again we need to get over it. That’s called suffering as God kills the pride in our hearts. He=God. We=People…NEVER to be God or gods. We can do all things (suffer) in Christ who gives us strength. And one thing we do is suffer. Jesus helps us suffer the refining process of purification God uses to burn the impurities out of His gold…us.

So before we judge, divide, ask questions, or impulsively respond, let’s invite (because He’s a gentlemen and won’t force Himself on us….also, life is a TEST) the One Truth Triune God into our lives, speech, and understanding.

My prayer is that this made sense to somebody. It is very deep and very thought provoking I will admit, but that’s just the way He made me. I once was a very ignorant agnostic. Be sure He didn’t make that. I choose it based on my understanding of the world around me, out of the eyes of a child on throughout early adulthood. What or who we used to be, is not who we really are once we learn of our true selves through the eyes of God. Just like when we think we know something, we really know nothing based on how much MORE is out there then our microscopic revelation.

May all the glory and praise be bestowed upon our very humble, yet furious, just, yet merciful, great and holy God. Thanks be to Him through the glorious Lord Christ Jesus, Amen.

If this inspired you; praise God, ask for His wisdom, go outside and share your testimony and God’s love. What Jesus did for you, He did for everybody.

Don’t fight either. I cannot stress that enough. Rebuke the IMPULSE to attack a skeptic’s misunderstanding or to defend God. If you feel you need to defend God through argument then your God is too small. Repent and accept Jesus. 🙂 Our God is a big eternal God and can handle himself. Can YOU handle your own responsbile response to an unbeliever’s questionable doubt? People refute due to lack of understanding or being stained by the acetone of religion. If you don’t know the right answer for them then pray and find someone who does. Give them a Bible, love them, pray for them, invite them to your home, feed them, cloth them, don’t ignore them. You never know which one is Jesus in disguise…testing YOU. He has the tendency of disciplining, training, correcting, guiding His own people before moving onto the world for it’s punishment.   (Kevin McCurrie, elipticaleclipse@gmail.com)

April 18th, 2013

I BELIEVE IN PROPHECY

I was well into my sixties before I ever gave even a passing thought to prophecy. Why would I? It was nothing that came up in every day conversation. Sure, I knew the word. It reminded me of the Delphic oracle and prophets in the Bible, people of long ago, akin to Greek gods or Socrates, maybe real, maybe not, who cares?   I knew that the Creed in the mass said that God “spoke through the prophets.”  That, too, meant little to me.  All the stuff in the Old Testament was just prelude to the New Testament when God actually appeared on earth and gave us the low down.

Once I got into a prayer group in the 1970s I soon became acquainted with the chapter in Joel in which God promises to send his Spirit:

“Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit -“

This promise is repeated in Acts 2:17.  I wouldn’t have paid much attention to this, either, except some people in the prayer group started getting prophecies.  They would speak, as God, in the first person.  We weren’t supposed to accept it as “from God” unless it agreed with what the Bible said and was confirmed by someone or something else.

It was Father Joe’s idea that we gather as small groups in people’s homes.  There were four in my group, Betty, MaryEllen, (both now deceased), and I’m vague about the fourth.  It was all new to us, this gathering and praying stuff, but we gave it a try.   We were not to chat until after the hour of prayer.  With a little soft music in the background, we tried to center on God.  It was during one of the earliest of such gatherings that MaryEllen shook a little and came out with something that God had to say about “oil.”  It was just a couple of sentences but it turned out to be the first of many prophecies that she was to receive. Nobody wrote it down.

I took it all with a grain of salt.  During that time period, however, one morning in my bedroom I heard a male voice which said, “My people, I love you, do not be afraid.”   Well, of course it agreed with scripture.  God says practically nothing else.  Nobody was impressed when I reported this message at a prayer meeting.  Soon after that came my second (and last) prophecy.  No voice this time; words just dropped into my head.  They were:  “Repent.  The Lord is nigh.” When I went to mass that morning the lector read, “Reform your lives. The kingdom of God is at hand.”   Mind you, that was thirty years ago!  I considered it confirmed then but I’m still waiting for His coming.

The thing about believing in prophecy is that I knew the people who were prophesying. It just didn’t seem likely that they were making these messages up out of whole cloth. Eventually MaryEllen came up with a prophecy I’ve written about before which resulted in a vigil held every night in someone’s home to seek the Lord. I have a loose-leaf book full of prophecies received in those meetings. The day came just a couple of years ago when MaryEllen was in the nursing home and I brought her a copy of her 1982 prophecy. Her only comment after we read it aloud was, “Where did the words come from?”

I’ve asked a few people who have said “The Lord told me…..” whether they actually heard a voice. Usually the response is that the thought just came to them and they thought the thought was from God.

At this point in my life I have heard so many testimonies, read so many books, heard about so many saints that I have no doubt that God is involved in our day to day life and can and does communicate with us when he so pleases.   Just read about how God commissioned Saint Faustina to produce a painting depicting his Divine Mercy. Read about Juan Diego and how the tilma showing of Our Lady of Guadalupe came about.  Read the story of Padre Pio and his stigmata.

Compared with such marvelous events, it seems a small thing that God might now and then say a word to us ordinary mortals.  He has said, has he not, that those who seek the Lord will find him? He will not leave us orphans.

 

March 5th, 2013

FRANK HODSON’S STORY

(Frank Hodson is my father.  I recently found these pages and read them for the first time as I typed them.)
 
CHAPTER ONE

In 1891, in Preston, England, my birthplace, where the people were predominantly Catholic, as our parents were, we, a family of five girls and two boys were much upset when our father turned away from his faith to become a spiritualist. It was not easy for the children to adjust to the new thought as we were confirmed in the old faith. Years later, I asked my father why he made such a drastic change in our lives and he gave me the following information.

At the time of the change, he said, a spiritualist medium came to town who declared she could contact departed spirits. My father had a friend who was a practicing magician. They decided to go to the meeting and expose the trickery. The medium went to different people in the audience and described the spirits around them. Dad and his friend waited until the meeting was over, then went to the medium and told her she ought to be ashamed of herself to tell such obvious lies.

She replied that she really could see these departed people, and after a long and heated session she said: “I see, Mr. Hodson, that I can never convince you and your friend by talking, but will you and your friend give me a chance to prove my gift tonight? Both of you go home and be alone at half-past ten, and sincerely pray that you will be able to see a spirit?”

They agreed. My father did his part faithfully and did see the spirit form of a young lady. He was greatly surprised and thought it was some black magic. He said to himself, “If I can go to the window, open it, look out to see if I am my normal self, if she is still here when I turn around, I will always believe.”

He said he went to the window, opened it, and all outside was as usual, then turned around to find the spirit still there but fading away. Then and there he decided to open a church and preach the doctrine of spirit return. Later he opened his own church and for seven years he invited mediums from other towns to come to his church and speak. My father attributed his luck in seeing his first spirit to the fact that the medium had promised to pray at the same time that he would be successful, because he was so sure that it could not be done.

As growing children we witnessed many seances in our home, where the mediums would come for supper after the service in the church. At times they would hold hands and sing hymns until someone would be controlled by someone dead and speak in a strange voice. It was a common thing in the evening for mother to ask Dad to let the white man speak through him, because now he had found out how to let the dead speak through him. He also had an Indian guide who could speak through him, but mother did not understand his poor English. Then Dad would sit for a time quietly, shake himself, and get up and speak in better words than my normal father ever used. Later he would return to his normal self.

Sometimes he had what they called physical mediums come to the church, and the large table had many ups and downs.  I remember when my father told me and my brother to get on the table to hold it down, but the table did rise a little.

Years later, coming home from the First World War, Second Division of the American Army, to Bridgeport, Connecticut, I married a good Catholic girl but I never forgot the spiritualist past.  I found myself, when I had five children, a little envious of the gifts my dad seemed to have attained.  Here I was in Bridgeport, with a family and no spirits to attend me.

CHAPTER TWO

I decided to pray and ask God to let me leave my body to prove to myself that there was a part of God within.  So I prayed, did some deep breathing to give me more courage, then said, “Now, God,  please give me proof.”  I found myself in a spirit form standing before a lovely endless heaven of azure light.  I found I was desirous of entering this astral world, but looking down my new spirit form of light, I found a round transparent chain of gleaming vibrating particles of light from my body center that emitted a glow of spiritual fire as they opened partly and then partly closed again.

The cold atoms of fire stretched from my new spirit center to the center of my body that I could still see.  Then I had the thought that if I wanted to enter the celestial home I would have to desire to break the chain of life.  Thinking about my wife and children needing my help I found the desire to enter this heaven of light lessen.  Desiring to go back to my earth body I found myself together again in my bedroom and quite shaken up mentally for some time later.

I seemed to have gone beyond the limits of self-seeking to find God in man, and I thought, “Never again!”   Later I began to read the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and was so much impressed by his thought that I wrote the book, Emerson’s Way of Life, and had it published.   I did not mention my astral journey in this book because it seemed too unusual to be believed.  At that time I had not read of any similar occurrence.  I wrote to Readers’ Digest and to the Science of Mind magazines, hoping that they had some record of a similar case, but got no reply then.  Years later, the Science of Mind published a case involving Robert Monroe of Charlottesville VA who had convinced some great scientists of his many similar experiences.  I wrote to Mr. Willis Kenneer, Editor of that publication, protesting his lack of mention of my report many years before.  He answered that Mr. Monroe’s case was believed by many scientists and could, therefore, be published.  I said he was sorry but hoped I would understand his position.

This astral journey made an indelible impression on my mind and since that time I have been able to return my memory to those events.  The atoms or cells vibrating with spiritual fire that I saw in the chain of life reminded me we all have these atoms of life within and we can make them more conscious to our mind by attention.  All searching for truth must be done slowly and prayerfully.  Treat the mind as a sacred area.  Let the attention flow to all parts of mind and body.  I found I was intensely alive with no harmful after-effects. Read the rest of this entry »

January 9th, 2013

TOO BUSY

I have a radio that I listen to first thing in the morning to see what the weather is.   And sometimes when I’m sleepless at night. I need to know how to dress and whether the car needs defrosting. My cell phone is smart but not smart enough to talk to (no Siri).   I can call or text people, take pictures or little videos which I can send places, actually go on the internet or to Facebook to search around, but the screen is so small and the alphabet buttons so small it is a bit of a chore.  I prefer to use my new computer.   So big, so Touch-Smart, so fast, with a nice big keyboard.  There must be something my computer can’t do but I can’t think of it.   I can actually dial people with a touch and talk to them (apparently through the screen!).   I can find lost friends, type letters which I send to a printer that spits them out, search how to make guacamole, print photos that I send from the phone or my iPad.

Oh, yes.  The iPad!  Katy gave it to me for my birthday and I was wary of having yet another technical challenge, but we are friends now — sort of.   I am well aware the my iPad has icons and talents that I haven’t begun to appreciate.  But it’s great for email, super-great for Scrabble, and it, too, can take photos and videos–bigger and better than those on  my phone.  Then there’s FaceTime.   Katy in Indiana and I in Connecticut can see each other and chat back and forth in real time with our real faces.  We did that when her daughter was being married and she modeled her mother-of-the bride dress for me before the wedding.    Just recently Dolly in Florida also got an iPad and we, too, enjoyed seeing each other as we talked.

Of course, I have a radio, in the house and in the car.   My car tells me the ambient temperature and its radio doesn’t mind playing a CD for me.  The in-house radio not only plays CDs but tapes.  (Remember cassette tapes?)  Upstairs there is an older TV which is devoted to playing VHS tapes–some of which actually feature ME!

Then there’s the TV which has about a 100 channels and which, too, can play CDs and DVDs on a much bigger screen.  Surely I am technologically blessed.  When I want to “reach out and touch someone” I can do it without ever leaving the house.  I must admit all this technology helps me keep in touch with family, especially family too far afield to see personally.  There are a couple of great- grandsons I have never met.

So, it’s good.   But sometimes I feel so scattered.  I head to a machine when I am looking for human interaction.  Something to amuse or entertain is always SO available at all times that there is a tendency to latch onto something — anything — to while away the time.  One’s brain can become, in a way, tethered to the machine.  I think we all know people who simply cannot listen to what we say when a TV program is playing which holds their interest  — even though they’ve been watching TV all day and have hardly spoken a word to a real person.

Sometimes I like to break away, to set my mind free and let it wander where it will.  To muse and ponder eternal verities.  To think of where I’ve been and what I’ve learned and consider what to do next.

Lazarus has a different story. Lazarus was an atheist and is now a Coptic monk. His story begins here with the video below.  Lazarus says Christ “went apart” to pray and we should do likewise. If you keep your world small and your life simple you are less likely to get scattered.  As he says, “You can’t fall out of a cradle.”

Is it time to “go apart?” Once again, it’s all about choice.

Here is a link to The Cloistered Heart.   There is a middle way between the frenetic, all-consuming busy-ness of today’s world and and the set-apart life of a monk.  The Cloistered Heart is a beautiful blog which tries to take you there.

December 21st, 2012

WHERE WAS GOD?

When something happens like the shooting and killing of 20 kids and 7 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 11 some will ask, “Where was God?” Mike Huckabee gives his answer.

Or, to put it another way:
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB

Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go.
He followed her to school one day
It wasn’t against the rule.
It made the children laugh and play
To see the lamb at school.
And then the rules were changed one day
Illegal it became
To bring the Lamb of God to school
Or even speak His name
Every day got worse and worse,
And days turned into years
Instead of hearing children laugh
We heard gunshots and tears.
What must we do to stop the crime
That’s in our schools today?
Let’s let the Lamb come back to school
And teach our kids to pray.
 

 

There is enough light for those who wish to see, and enough darkness for those otherwise inclined. — Pascal

November 28th, 2012

NO ARMS, NO LEGS. NOW WHAT?

Long before personal computers and YouTube I first read the story of Joni Eareckson, who, as a 17-year-old suffered a spinal injury which left her quadraplegic.  Joni was on Huckabee last night, as a 63-old-old woman, with her husband.  It was such a delight to see her for the first time, to hear something of her struggles and triumphs, and even to get a glimpse of her in the process of drawing which is accomplished with a pencil in her mouth.  “Sometimes I drool on my work,”  she says.

Wikipedia has this to say about her:

Joni Eareckson Tada is the founder of Joni and Friends, an organization accelerating Christian outreach in the disability community that numbers 610 million people worldwide. This organization operates out of the new Joni and Friends International Disability Center located in Agoura Hills, California. Joni is not only an international disability advocate but an artist and the author of numerous bestselling books, including Pearls of Great Price, Diamonds in the Dust, More Precious Than Silver, the Platinum award-winning Joni, Heaven: Your Real Home, When God Weeps, and The God I Love.

Here is one of Joni’s latest interviews — her injury, her despair, her hope. And her husband, Ken.

What can one say about a woman such as this? She has had difficulties we can’t even imagine. Recent surgery and chemo for breast cancer just added to her challenges.

On November 27 Joni publicly disagreed with Dr. Phil McGraw in the Huffington Post:

We are joining together to express our disappointment in Dr. Phil for a recent program focused on euthanasia.

Is this a topic that needs to be discussed? Definitely! Is this an issue about which more Americans need to be informed? Most certainly. However, what I must disagree with is how the topic was treated. It must be presented in a responsible manner, with a variety of opinions, beliefs and facts from a diverse range of sources.

Joni Eareckson Tada draws beautiful pictures with her mouth. You can go on line and buy her drawings and her Christmas cards. Joni Eareckson Tada is herself a beautiful work of art. Ken Tada, I would love someday to read your life story!

Nick Vujicic was born without arms or legs. He, too, has a story and a life. He also has a DVD, well worth viewing.

What hath God wrought?

November 7th, 2012

ROSARY OVER CHICAGO

ROSARY OVER CHICAGO

 

 

 

A giant 75-foot  rosary floated gracefully over Chicago ‘s busy tourism district on Friday as thousands looked on. The six-foot gold cross hanging from the rosary sparkled in the sunlight as it very slowly ascended between the Tribune tower and the Wrigley building. The rosary of helium-filled yellow balloons bearing the word LIFE then floated down Michigan Avenue over the Hancock Tower and past North Ave Beach . Cameras and cell phones flew into action as people responded to the unexpected sight.

“There was an excitement all around us and there were people in tears at the sight of the rosary.  I think we often take it for granted the power of a simple witness to the faith,” said a camp counsellor. A passerby tweeted, “A balloon rosary in the air. My faith confirmed :)”, while another surprised Chicagoan wrote, “what the… giant balloon rosary, with cross, just floated heavenward from the Michigan avenue bridge.” The rosary was the craft of 20 imaginative elementary school-aged girls and their counsellors participating in a summer camp at a Chicago Catholic Parish. The girls prayed the rosary in front of the Washington Blvd. Family Planning Associates asking Our Lady for an end to abortion.   Read more.

 

 

 

 

Marian devotion, particularly the holy Rosary, leads us closer to Christ. Blessed John Paul II’s favorite prayer was the Rosary, which astonished many people. He was a brilliant man with a double doctorate, had an exceptional IQ and could speak 27 languages. Yet his favorite prayer was the Rosary, which he called “the school of Mary.” –Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz

 

 

October 15th, 2012

THAT DUMB ROSARY

My Baptist friend who sometimes prays with us at the abortuary doesn’t think much of the rosary.  He says the Bible warns against “vain repetition.”  He doesn’t like the fact that there are ten Hail Marys to every Our Father.   We try to explain to him that the words of the rosary are really scriptural but that doesn’t cut it.  We tell him that it is “vain” repetition  that is warned against, not repetition itself.    The Bible is full of repetition–you can’t have too many Glorys, hosannas,  hallelujahs, or Come Holy Spirits!

We were never a rosary family since my Dad wasn’t Catholic.  I think I started saying it as a young mother after learning about the Marian  apparitions at Fatima and Lourdes.  I would say a rosary at night, before bed, sometimes two of them, sometimes with my arms outstretched.  My hubby, who was going to be a Jesuit before we married, had been reading about the penances of Willie Doyle and it made an impression on me. A rosary a day was being recommended, and indulgenced, and I thought that would be nice.

I was trying to please God and one night, during the Lords Prayer, I said “Thy will be done,” and really meant it.  I was flooded with a sensation that I immediately identified as “sweetness.”  It was something I had never felt before and never since.  I remember thinking,  “Take me.”  I had no idea where I might go but I was ready.  The experience didn’t last long.  My first thought afterwards was to look in the mirror to see if I might glow or something.  No glow.

Thinking I might have had a religious experience. I read “Varieties of Religious Experience” by William James.  It seemed that religious experiences tended to follow a religious commitment.  Since it had occurred during a rosary, you might think I would multiply my rosaries but children multiplied and the rosaries didn’t.  On the whole, I was never very fond of rosaries.

In the 1980s a member of our prayer group received a prophecy beginning “My body is dying.  Prepare a vigil.”  One of the members of the group, Loretta, usually had a rosary in her hand.  Many prophesies were received, but Loretta was the only one who received them from Mary!  The one I remember best went:

My children , join me in my pain.  I am the mother of sorrows.  Kneel with me at the foot of the cross and share my pain as my dear child endured death. Mourn for the part your sins played in his agony.  Shed tears of grateful joy to know that he loved you enough to suffer all for you.  Share our pain so that you may never sin again.   I can be a channel of mercy for you. My son will deny me nothing.

And again:

My children.  I am bereft.  I grieve!  Loneliness overwhelms me and I have no more tears.  Cry for me –comfort me.  He is God and he was my son.  Cry for those who would still hurt him.  Wait with me at the tomb.  Hope in the resurrection.  Together we can rejoice in Jesus glorified

Over the years, though I went to daily mass, I would never join the rosary people after mass.  I guess I had things to do and places to go.  However, in the past couple of years  it started to seem like a good thing to try.   After all, the rosary comes so well recommended.  And both the rosary  and the chaplet of divine mercy only take a half- hour.

It has been my understanding that as the rosary prayers are repeated we are supposed to meditate on the joyful, sorrowful, glorious, or luminous mysteries.   That never worked out too well for me. It became apparent that half a mind can say the rosary prayers while another half goes on an entirely different track.   I would find myself thinking what I was going to buy at C-town on my way home, or what I would blog about or write a letter to the editor about.   Sometimes, though, remembering the intention before a decade would start a train of thought.  For example, the second glorious mystery about the wedding feast at Cana would remind me of the mass at the chapel in Cana in Israel over 20 years ago.   At that time my husband had left me and I found myself crying through the whole mass.  I would find myself praying for Dick, now deceased.  Sometimes I would ask God to bring to mind others to pray for and it is amazing what a wide range of people God knows!  All this time in am in the midst of other regular rosary people, likewise in their own rosary world with Mary and God.  There is really something about praying together with like-minded people that stills the soul and seems to bring God closer.   Though my mind wandered, I found that my little spontaneous prayers in between all the Hail Marys were more fervent, more heartfelt.   It is good to pray among praying people.  Two of our regulars have only become Catholics in the past couple of years but they seem to have taken to the rosary like ducks to water.   Go figure.

I am reminded of Immaculée Ilibagizai’s book, “Left to Tell.       During the Rwanda killings she hid in a little bathroom with six other women for three months, and said the rosary almost continuously.   It was her experience that she was somehow taught spiritual truths and grew in understanding during that time of prayer and emerged a much stronger, more trusting, more knowledgeable Christian.   In my humble opinion, any time we set aside to wait on God is amply rewarded.

Marian devotion, particularly the holy Rosary, leads us closer to Christ. Blessed John Paul II’s favorite prayer was the Rosary, which astonished many people. He was a brilliant man with a double doctorate, had an exceptional IQ and could speak 27 languages. Yet his favorite prayer was the Rosary, which he called “the school of Mary.” –Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz

Elizabeth Esther writes: One prayer that I’m trying to do every Friday is the Chaplet of The Divine Mercy. The message of this prayer is that God loves all of us and His mercy, poured out on the Cross, is greater than all our sins. I’ve printed out the instructions and use my rosary to keep track of where I am in the prayers. Honestly, I’ve never found a more genius method for keeping my mind and heart focused simultaneously during prayer than by reciting written prayers while keeping track on the beads. It’s like God invented this kind of praying just for distractable brains!

“Where ever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

 

September 7th, 2012

DOLAN’S BENEDICTION

Timothy Cardinal Dolan gave the benediction at the end of the Democratic National Convention.  Dear Lord, hear it!

Let us Pray.

Almighty God, father of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, revealed to us so powerfully in your Son, Jesus Christ, we thank you for showering your blessings upon this our beloved nation. Bless all here present, and all across this great land, who work hard for the day when a greater portion of your justice, and a more ample measure of your care for the poor and suffering, may prevail in these United States. Help us to see that a society’s greatness is found above all in the respect it shows for the weakest and neediest among us.

We beseech you, almighty God to shed your grace on this noble experiment in ordered liberty, which began with the confident assertion of inalienable rights bestowed upon us by you: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Thus do we praise you for the gift of life. Grant us the courage to defend it, life, without which no other rights are secure. We ask your benediction on those waiting to be born, that they may be welcomed and protected. Strengthen our sick and our elders waiting to see your holy face at life’s end, that they may be accompanied by true compassion and cherished with the dignity due those who are infirm and fragile.

We praise and thank you for the gift of liberty. May this land of the free never lack those brave enough to defend our basic freedoms. Renew in all our people a profound respect for religious liberty: the first, most cherished freedom bequeathed upon us at our Founding. May our liberty be in harmony with truth; freedom ordered in goodness and justice. Help us live our freedom in faith, hope, and love. Make us ever-grateful for those who, for over two centuries, have given their lives in freedom’s defense; we commend their noble souls to your eternal care, as even now we beg the protection of your mighty arm upon our men and women in uniform.

We praise and thank you for granting us the life and the liberty by which we can pursue happiness. Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community. May we welcome those who yearn to breathe free and to pursue happiness in this land of freedom, adding their gifts to those whose families have lived here for centuries.

We praise and thank you for the American genius of government of the people, by the people and for the people. Oh God of wisdom, justice, and might, we ask your guidance for those who govern us: President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, Congress, the Supreme Court, and all those, including Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Paul Ryan, who seek to serve the common good by seeking public office. Make them all worthy to serve you by serving our country. Help them remember that the only just government is the government that serves its citizens rather than itself. With your grace, may all Americans choose wisely as we consider the future course of public policy.

And finally Lord, we beseech your benediction on all of us who depart from here this evening, and on all those, in every land, who yearn to conduct their lives in freedom and justice. We beg you to remember, as we pledge to remember, those who are not free; those who suffer for freedom’s cause; those who are poor, out of work, needy, sick, or alone; those who are persecuted for their religious convictions, those still ravaged by war.

And most of all, God Almighty, we thank you for the great gift of our beloved country.

For we are indeed “one nation under God,” and “in God we trust.”

So dear God, bless America. You who live and reign forever and ever.

Amen!