Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
May 31st, 2010


No words needed.

May 31st, 2010


There’s nothing like a death in the family to give one pause, to make one stop and ponder what life is all about.  The sudden death last week of my daughter’s husband, Pete, in a tragic hang-glider accident has brought up a rush of “death memories.”

My first up-close brush with death came when daughter Wendy ran to me saying, “Grandpa’s lying on the floor.”  Grandpa had suffered a second heart attack and they took him away in an ambulance.  His funeral was a few days later.

Next came my own father.  Dad certainly believed in God.  He loved his recording of “How Great Thou Art” and  would weep as he listened to it.  But Christianity was not for him.  He didn’t understand why anyone would want an ugly thing like a crucifix on the wall.  As my sister and I sat with him at his bedside in the hospital he repeated the Lord’s prayer with us and slipped away.

Mom was a “born Catholic” and a faithful Catholic all her life.  I have no recollection of her ever doing anything that might be termed a sin.  She told me one day as I visited her at the nursing home that she had told God that His will was all right with her.  Her last moments were in a coma in ICU after emergency surgery.  I closed her eyes as I left her bedside.

When my daughter, Peggy, was shot and killed by an intruder in her home there was nothing to do but weep and hold a service and go to court and pray to hang in.  That is a whole other story.

Then my husband’s death, alone, in an apartment in a another city.  He had left me years previously.  When we married, he had been planning to be a priest, but he had stopped going to church.  We had seven children together.

Now, Pete’s death.  I went with Mary to the pre-wake viewing and watched as she knelt beside her husband in his coffin.  As long as I live, I expect tears will well up when I remember Mary stroking his head, saying, “His hair still feels the same.”  Nothing else was the same.  The body was in the coffin but the essence of Pete had left.   What hurts a mother more than to see her child suffer?

They crowd in and  pile up, these death memories.  My Protestant friends ask “Was he (or she) saved when he died?  Had he accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior?”   I can only feel confident about Mom.  Of the others, I can only say I’m sure they had heard of Jesus, but they were not churchgoers, and if Jesus was a central figure in their lives, it wasn’t obvious.

My purpose in writing this is to do as is written in 1 Peter 3:15: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect – “

Why do I hope that we will see our departed loved ones again in the promised land  when they were either non-Christians or fallen away Christians or in “irregular” living  arrangements?

Of course, many people choosing to live apparently “un-Christian” lifestyles, will say that “God understands.”  Fortunately, that is true.  God does understand.    They usually have some nebulous concept of a God who is good and kind.  Their God is known for his mercy and understanding, not for his rules and his justice.  In fact, they’re not really sure He has any rules at all.  And that may be their saving grace.

It is one of the comforting tenets of Catholicity that in order to sin, one must deliberately choose do something one believes to be wrong.   They’ve had an abortion?  They lived “in sin”?   They divorced and remarried?  God understands the circumstances.  They seem like “good” people.   They may be doing their best.   And truly, God always accepts our best.

This I believe: That God is just, he doesn’t punish for well-meaning mistakes.  That God is merciful – that he wants no one to be lost.  That God is forgiving – it is never too late to turn to God and say “I’m sorry – my bad.”

It is my hope that our loved ones, who have “the law written on their hearts” by God,  have been turned in God’s direction.  It is my hope that they were not only seen by most folks as “good people” but also by God as good people.  It is my hope that if they have not formally accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, neither have they formally rejected Him.   For that is what it takes to be eternally lost.

I pray that our loved ones, like the “good thief” on the cross, will end up  with the Lord in Paradise.  Francis Thompson, in his famous poem, Hound of Heaven writes eloquently of the relentless pursuit of God after the straying soul.  Did God not create man out of love?  Did Jesus not die on the cross for love of mankind?  Thompson’s description of God’s pursuit of the elusive soul is echoed in Saint Faustina’s diary when God again and again calls to a soul and offers a  grace which “emerges from the merciful heart of Jesus and gives the soul a special light by means of which the soul begins to understand God’s effort, but conversion depends on its own will.  The soul knows that this, for her, is final grace and should it show even a flicker of good will the mercy of God will accomplish the rest.”    ( Notebook V, 1486, pages 82-83).

God’s grace is always sufficient.   Even at the point of death a soul can choose.   That is  why we pray: “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death.”.

There is no cause to fret.  In the final analysis, God, who knows the heart and the mind, is the one who gets to do the judging. It is not for us to decide who is saved and who is not.  How little we know, after all, of the inner workings, strivings, and struggles of any human being.  God’s grace is always sufficient for salvation, his mercy is inexhaustible, his justice is perfect, his love is infinite, and His judgment is always right.


Afterthought:  I add this postscript because I worry that I might have made such a good case for God’s mercy and forgiveness that someone might decide to do whatever they pleased all their life in the hope of squeaking by with last minute repentance.  I need to say that  once you believe that God  has taken the trouble to give us rules to live by, (see my post WHY DIDN’T JESUS WRITE ANYTHING?)  once you know God’s law and decide to  break it anyway, that is a deliberate turning away.  God’s justice is as great as his mercy.   You wouldn’t want an unfair God, would you?


Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?  And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment.  And a second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  –- Matthew 23:36-39

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is  sin.  — James 4:17

Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me to be with me where I am, may see the glory you have given me, before the foundation of the world.   — John 17:24

Death is but the extinguishing of the candle because the dawn has come.

May 27th, 2010


When a member of our prayer group, Ellen, gave the following prophecy in 1982, we thought it was from God. We paid heed, and started a vigil, and met for an hour for many, many nights at the homes of various members, praying for the body of Christ. Other prophecies followed this one, but hers started the whole thing.

We recently visited Ellen in a nursing home. She had had a stroke, some fractures,  was in a wheelchair and on oxygen. I brought her a copy of her prophecy  and she followed the words intently as we read it to her. Her first words as we finished reading it were, “Where did the words come from?” She confirmed again, as we knew in 1982, that those words just weren’t hers. Twenty-eight years later the words and the call are just as fresh and as urgent.

My body is dying, prepare a vigil
In weeping and mourning, come.
Is there any among you willing to die
That my body might live?
It is you, my people, who are killing my body –
It is you, my people, who have the power to restore it to wholeness.
Search your heart – Are you willing to die to self –
Your ego, ambitions, jealousies, sin?
Are you willing to begin to live a new life –
A life centered on me – putting aside any claims you think you have –
In perfect obedience to my will?

The road to Calvary is harsh, my people,
But it is the only road for my disciples.
Death awaits you as it did me at the end of the road.
I had to pass through death to come to resurrection, to victory.
Search deeply into your hearts –
Do you believe enough?  Love enough? Trust enough to enter the grave with Me, and dare to hope in resurrection?

Don’t make the mistake of jumping into this lightly, my people.
I ransomed you at the price of my own life,
in humiliation and suffering.

I am calling you to be people of Calvary, willing to suffer, willing to die to yourselves,
in atonement for your sins and those of the world.
The time of trial and tribulation is intensifying.
I need you, my people, to be a beacon of light in the darkness.
The only source of light is my love in you.
There is no room for my love as long as you are filled with self.
The victory is within your grasp if you are willing to pay the price and not count the cost.

My love will not fail you.

Come, my people, in weeping and mourning, return to me. Restore my body.

————January 19, 1982

I have written about prophecy before, in Words From God and How Does God Speak? Knowing people like Ellen and hearing words like these helps me to believe, as we say in the Nicene creed, that God “spoke through the prophets” and still does.

Prophecies such as Ellen’s are far from rare, occurring worldwide.  Here is an interesting site on prophecies.  

May 23rd, 2010


This came via email without credit to the author.   Amazingly, there isn’t a dud among them.

1. A bicycle cannot stand alone; it is two tired.

2. A will is a dead giveaway.

3. Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.

4. A backward poet writes inverse.

5. In a democracy it’s your vote that counts; in feudalism, it’s your Count that votes.

6. A chicken crossing the road: poultry in motion.

7. If you don’t pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.

8. With her marriage she got a new name and a dress.

9. Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I’ll show you A-flat miner.

10. When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

11. The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine was fully recovered.

12. A grenade fell onto a kitchen floor in France and resulted in Linoleum Blownapart.

13. You are stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it.

14. Local Area Network in Australia : The LAN down under.

15. A calendar’s days are numbered.

16. A boiled egg is hard to beat.

17. He had a photographic memory which was never developed.

18. The short fortune teller who escaped from prison: a small medium at large.

19. Those who get too big for their britches will be exposed in the end.

20. When you’ve seen one shopping centre you’ve seen a mall.

21 If you jump off a Paris bridge, you are in Seine.

22. When she saw her first strands of gray hair, she thought she’d dye.

23. Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead to know basis.

24. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.

25. Acupuncture: a jab well done.

26. Marathon runners with bad shoes suffer the agony of de feet.

27. I thought I saw an eye doctor on an Alaskan island, but it turned out to be an optical Aleutian.

28. She was only a whisky maker, but he loved her still.

29. A rubber band pistol was confiscated from algebra class because it was a weapon of math disruption.

30. No matter how much you push the envelope, it’ll still be stationery.

31. A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.

32. Two silk worms had a race. They ended up in a tie.

33. A hole has been found in the nudist camp wall. The police are looking into it.

34. Atheism is a non-prophet organization.

35. Two hats were hanging on a hat rack in the hallway. One hat said to the other, ‘You stay here, I’ll go on a head.’

36. I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

37. A sign on the lawn at a drug rehab centre said: ‘Keep off the Grass.’

38. The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

39. When cannibals ate a missionary, they got a taste of religion.

40. Don’t join dangerous cults: Practice safe sects.

May 12th, 2010


Janey Cutler of Blackburn, mother of 7, grandmother of 14, greatgrandmother of 4, sings in Glasgow audition  for Simon Cowell and the judges of Britain’s Got Talent. She is old enough to be Susan Boyle’s mother.