Worth Revisiting Wednesday: A Catholic Mom’s Prayers for Her Teenage Son

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.


A Catholic Mom’s Prayers for Her Teenage Son

(Originally posted September 11th, 2014)

Today, as we remember the tragedy of 9/11, I am blessed to also Small-Success-Thursday-250pxcelebrate the 15th birthday of my son Peter.

IMG_0703That day as he was turning two, I was out making necessary birthday preparations when the Twin Towers went down. This event that has so defined the spirit of our nation in both sorrow and solidarity is an indelible part of his birthday as well. Yet, rather than disregarding or muting the sentiments of the day, perhaps there is much grace for him in being reminded of the world outside of himself. In recognizing that in life we often hold sorrow in one hand and joy in the other, and that each one is essential in awareness of our blessings and the presence of God. So with this I opened his baby book and found the prayers that my husband and I had written to him before he was born.

1.  From Dad: IMG_0294

“My prayer for you is to be a good Catholic, and patriotic American. To live a life of honor, as you seek to follow Christ.”

IMG_04602.  From Mom:

My prayer is that your life will be filled with happiness and laughter-surrounded by true friends and family. That you will be able to see the good in all things, to be the one to change and work for change when needed.”

IMG_06353. As a Freshman this year, Peter passionately and persistently pleaded with us to attend Sacred Heart High School.  Not knowing how we would ever afford tuition with my husband being the only one working and with me in graduate school, we were hesitant. Yet, this is what changed our minds.. (Excerpt from his admissions essay.)

“Yet, if I had to had to identify what is most essential to me it would be my faith in God, and who I am because of that. I pray to God every day, and ask Him for forgiveness when I make mistakes. Likewise, I have chosen to serve as an altar server at my parish of St. Peter’s, since 3rd grade to give back to God who has given so much to me. This is also why I find using the Lord’s name in vain disrespectful, rude and offensive. God is of number one importance to me, and those who disrespect Him, I believe, also disrespect me. I would like to attend Sacred Heart because I want to be in a community of people who appreciate and love Him as much as I do.”

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So, while Peter is a still a typical teenager, and going to make his own mistakes in life, I am comforted in knowing that he is aware that God is there too. That the choices that he makes do not affect him alone, but influence and shape the world around him. Thank you Father, for the gift of our children, and for this day to celebrate and hold the sacredness of the gift of life in our hearts. For this day when this mom can throw her arms around her son who is now far taller than she is!

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8 Examen-ations for Decision Making

Keeping it short and sweet today, but I thought I’d share my own adaptation of a spiritual decision making tree. The first three are quite essential in that they ask of us to go to the source..

God’s word, God’s voice, and the Holy Spirits guidance in all. The other five invite us to consider our intentions, and the effects of our decisions on others. I enjoy reflecting on these particular scripture verses too, giving each a bit of time to bear fruit.

When making a significant decision,  I have also found it important to discuss the situation with my husband, a close friend and when possible with my spiritual director.

Sometimes, inviting another perspective and experience can provide both distance and clarity. Notwithstanding, in taking the time to pray together, we begin to appreciate the necessity of community and the strength found through these faithful bonds of fellowship . None of us are ever intended to embark on this journey alone, but invited to reach out, uplift, lean on, and carry one another when the way seems difficult.

Thank you Father for all those you have placed in my life- my family and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. For the truly prayerful counsel of Fr. Jim who continues to fill this time of discernment for me with great joy and faith-filled wisdom.  May every decision be less of me and more of You, for you know the way ahead so much better than I. 

Peace,

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Worth Revisiting: Currently, Contemplating St. Michael

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.


Currently,Currently, Contemplating St. Michael

(Originally posted September 29th, 2014)

Currently,  I am thinking today about the feast of St. Michael the Archangel also known as Michaelmas. This feast is shared with the angels Gabriel, and Raphael. Michael is first mentioned  in the Old Testament book of Daniel in strengthening and promising to help Daniel after he has a vision of things to come for the people of Israel. (10:13-21) Then again in Daniel 12 ,when Michael is noted as a “great prince” and protector of God’s people. In the New Testament, in the book of Jude, Michael first “argued with the devil in a dispute over the body of Moses” (Jude 1:9). Then in Revelation, Michael is shown triumphantly leading the forces of heaven to defeating the fallen angels following Lucifer. (Rev 12:7-9) Michael is considered the patron saint of the Church on earth, for a holy death, police, soldiers, paramedics, travelers by sea, and sickness.

While science has been so helpful in explaining so many things in our world, there remain these beautiful reminders that God is always seeking to communicate (Gabriel), to guide (Rafael), and to protect (Michael) his faithful[1].  How grateful I am to know that we have this heavenly assistance in battling the evil in this world.

Prayer of St. Michael: St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who wander throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

Thankful for//  the gift of the “Tiny Saint” Michael necklace by my friend for my son Thomas. For any of you that are unfamiliar with this company they carry a large product line of these tiny saints on charms, bracelets, rosaries and necklaces. Each features either a biblical reference or description for the saint with the item. Thomas has been sleeping with it under his pillow since he received it last Friday.

Enjoying// God’s gift of beautiful weather this weekend! In New England, we have to cherish these gifts of warm, almost summer like weather, in the fall because we know the cooler weather is on the horizon. So, Saturday we headed out with beach towels, snacks, drinks and a football to Long Beach on the Plymouth, MA coastline. How amazing it was for this mom to close her eyes, soak up the sun, and simply listen to the ocean and the laughter in the background. I couldn’t help being inspired though, and snapping a few photos!

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Loving// my new Loyola Institute of Pastoral Studies t-shirt! As some of you might know, I am a graduate student of Loyola Chicago’s Pastoral Studies Program. How can I do this living in Massachusetts?  Well, as you may have guessed, the majority of my work is through their phenomenal and engaging online program. Utilizing interactive programs like Sakai, Adobe Connect, and Voice Thread, students are challenged to read, reflect, collaborate, write and engage one another through virtual classrooms. It leaves nothing absent from the traditional classroom, except for maybe the commuting, parking and study sessions in the college library. If you have ever considered going back to college, and wonder if you could fit in, Loyola Chicago might be for you! It has been such a positive experience that I am now serving on the Student Engagement Committee as a liaison between faculty and students.

Speaking of which, I am… Excited about// my upcoming trip to Chicago in a couple of weeks for the Alpha Sigma Nu Induction ceremony at the Lakeshore Campus in Chicago. How awesome that my roomie from Rome, also a Loyola student, has so graciously offered to be my roommate again! What an honor to be considered among  those committed to  the Jesuit mission and ideals of scholarship, loyalty and service.  What began with my own passion for learning and faith development has evolved into a yearning to share and awaken the faith in others. Through my experience at Loyola, I have gained both knowledge, and the tools to critically explore and embrace the faith, as well as, endless creative ways to engage and connect.  Ignited within is a faithfulness to continued collaboration and spiritual formation and a life of service.

Today, may you too feel strengthened and encouraged, on this feast of St. Michael , to learn, grow and boldly serve in your own community  knowing God is with you.   Signature

[1] http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1153

Whose Calls Are You Taking?

Some time ago I was approached by a friend’s mother who was going through an extremely difficult family situation.  As is often the case, I had not planned to be there at that moment, but had felt an inner pull to change my plans for the day.

Seeking advice, comfort and direction she began relaying the details as well as the inability to find any peace. Listening, I wondered initially if we should perhaps relocate to a different setting. Then quite suddenly,  I became keenly aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence.  As she spoke I could feel her anxiety and fearfulness and knew that this was the time and place that each of us was meant to be.

Father, help me to let her know how much you love her. Let your Spirit guide my words and her to find you once again.

“Have you prayed recently?”, I asked.

“I still go to mass on occasion, but I can’t say that I feel close to God. I know the prayers that I was taught as a child, but I really don’t know how to pray any other way.”

“Can I ask you another question? Whose calls do you answer each day?”

“You mean on the phone? Well, that would be from my family or my close friends.”

“Those moments are meaningful because conversation is so essential in our relationships. There is a give and a take, a time to listen and a time to speak. And when you do so, you each share in one another’s lives.”

“Yes, that is so true! Though lately, I want to help but question whether I am being listened to.”

“God feels the same way . He is there waiting for us to talk to him and yet we so often let his call go unanswered.  He wants so desperately to be in relationship with us, to be invited into our day and our problems. Sometimes, we simply need to start small.”  “Ever notice a particularly beautiful sunset or a gift of a new day or grandchild and feel compelled to say Thank you?”

“Oh, I have! I had forgotten about that!”

“Gratitude is a indelible part of becoming aware that God is near, noticing all the little ways that God is there for us in our everyday. Today, I can say with certainty that God is here with us. If it’s fine with you, could we pray together and ask for His help in this situation?”

“Yes, but how do we begin?..”

 Father..thank you for the gift of bringing us together today. You love us so dearly and want to be ever close to us.  This is our desire too today. Lord, please let “Mary” know that you have never left her-that you are there to listen, guide, and bring her peace. That though we do not know where the road leads that you are always walking beside us.  Please also help remove the fear and anxiety that are troubling her, and replace it with your loving embrace. We love and praise you –in Your name we pray Amen.

Today, the readings from 1 Samuel  (3:3-10; 19) and John (1:35-42), really hit home. I was reminded of this conversation and of the importance of listening in my faith life. For in this busy demanding world that we find ourselves in, hearing God’s voice requires a desire to tune out the noise and tune into the Father. Moreover, it is being ready to pick up the “phone” when he calls rather than letting it go to voicemail.  Only then can we “Come and see” what He has planned for us, where we are to go and lead others to Christ.

Reflection: Did I seek to listen to God today? Did I invite him prayerfully into my life-sharing my joys, concerns and difficulties with him? If not, why wait..He’s standing by!

Peace,

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Worth Revisiting Wednesday: Sowing seeds

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.


Sowing seeds: How is your soil prepared?

(Originally posted July 13, 2014)

Gospel Reading: MT 13:1-9
On that day, Jesus went out of the house and sat down by the sea.
Such large crowds gathered around him
that he got into a boat and sat down,
and the whole crowd stood along the shore.
And he spoke to them at length in parables, saying:

“A sower went out to sow.
And as he sowed, some seed fell on the path,
and birds came and ate it up.
Some fell on rocky ground, where it had little soil.
It sprang up at once because the soil was not deep,
and when the sun rose it was scorched,
and it withered for lack of roots.
Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.
But some seed fell on rich soil and produced fruit,
a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Today as I prepared for leading Children’s Liturgy, I wanted the children to consider some of the ways that we too nourish the soil in our hearts to allow God’s Word to grow in our lives. It isn’t simply that God’s Word is spoken, and we can choose to accept it or not. There is much that we can do to prepare our hearts to hear the Word each week, and continually to nourish it. Just like a tender young plant, it needs our awareness (found in prayer), attentive removing of weeds and rocks (through confession and reconciliation), our participation (experienced in community at mass), and above all- love.

 While so simple, do we arrive at mass, and leave without noticing any change at all in our lives? Do we even remember the Gospel reading or the homily?

To this, I sometimes challenge my family to tell me what they heard at mass. At times it is a joke from the homily, perhaps a song, a particular prayer, and quite beautifully the Word itself. It’s is so interesting to hear how each one of us is touched differently, and yet carries the potential to bear fruit not only in our lives but in the world around us. This is the second important take away that this parable contains. We are not only the soil but when we live fruitful lives, we then can be sowers of God’s love in the lives of others. Carrying God’s Word within, we become sharers and sowers in the darkest places of hate, division, and despair.

That evening was the wake for the father of one of our youngest faithful. Together, we lifted her and her family up in prayer together in community. Lord, may this seed of love bear much fruit in the hearts of your faithful, and may you grant this family peace as they remember this loving father, husband and friend to many.

Peace,

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Examen-ing Procrastination

Linking up this week with CatholicMom.com. Small-Success-Thursday-250px

Procrastination

thy name is mine- Reminiscing.
Warm sand, waves crashing
I am engulfed by your inspiring presence.

Laughter of children
Amazed by your splendid treasures,
My soul sings with joy.
Little palms upturned, bare feet carrying such gifts.

 

 
sea, beach, grass:

 

And yet I hear you
Not in a rushing wind rather
A small gentle breeze
Instantly mindful of the infinite ways

 

 

 

morgueFile free photos:

 

You long to converse
Desiring to be discovered
You hide not from me.
But smile-sunlit rays dancing upon sea sprays.

 

 

 

morgueFile free photos:

 

Suddenly I find
Myself exceedingly thankful
Gifted graced moment
Aware that I am unbelievably loved.

 

 

 

Oh yes, procrastination thy name is mine! Returning from Winter Break I honestly felt that I needed a day to recoup, a time to catch up on neglected chores and conversation over a cup of coffee with a close friend. Back to school for my children, work for my hubby and I find I am finally enjoying my groove in the normalcy of a routine.

Yet, there is definitely a need in our lives for retreat and a break from the everyday. A time to reflect on all of our commitments, re-examine our priorities, as well as to appreciate all that God has given us. As I sat on the sand, my children laughing as the waves were crashing I was reminded of the joy intended for us. Moreover, that through the ups and downs God is always there, breaking into our day to allow us a respite, moments of peace, clarity, joy and love.

What then is waiting for me? There is that elusive final integration project (aka thesis) needed for my Master’s degree.  Procrastination in part stems from placing extremely high expectations on myself while knowing full well that perfection is not what is required, or even possible through my own efforts. I find solace in recognizing that if meant to undertake a task, speak to a situation, God will give me what is needed to do all these things and more.

 So the other part to this picture is discernment and that is the better part of delay. The time that I spent with my family and with God was necessary. Can we continue to race forward with endurance if we do not pause to reflect on where we have been, where we are and desire to renew our spirit? Connection, we were never meant to do it on our own, the love, support and guidance are there to be discovered.  With this, I ask for your prayers as I embark on the path ahead.

 Peace,

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Worth Revisiting Wednesday: An Extraordinary Assembly

It’s Worth Revisiting Wednesday! A place where you can come and bring a past & treasured post to share, and link-up with fellow bloggers! Co-Hosted with Allison Gingras at Reconciled To You.


An Extraordinary Assembly: Synod on the Family

(Originally posted October 5, 2014)

The Holy Family, courtesy of Catholic Culture.org

“May the Wind of Pentecost blow upon the Synod’s work, on the Church, and on all humanity. Undo the knots which prevent people from encountering one another, heal the wounds that bleed, rekindle hope” Pope Francis (Prayer Vigil 10/4/14)

Our family on the occasion of our wedding some 20 years ago!

Today, is the opening of the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the  “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization”. What a beautiful opportunity to affirm both our commitment to our shared tradition, and to those memories still yet to be made in the joys and challenges that lie ahead. It is through a “living Gospel…as testified in the Scriptures, preserved through the example of the martyrs, and witness of ordinary believers” that we best understand our memory and identity as a people called to be church.[1] And yet, this same commitment invites us to dynamically respond to God’s grace in present and future situations which continue to shape and form us as followers of Christ.

Available from John Paul II Institute- Communio: International Catholic Review 2014

Here, we are acknowledging the relationship of the memory of the believing community with that of doctrine, the preserved expressions of faith, and that of the authority of office. Understood in this way, the community of faith is to be foremost in service to the truth of the gospel of Jesus. The doctrine then is to be reflective of the community in its various historical contexts, and the authority of office in service to all of these. It is, as Gaillardetz observes, “ not a monarchy or a democracy but a spiritual communion of persons called to submit themselves to hear God’s word and discern God’s will in the concrete circumstances of community” [2]

So then we come to the situations that have prompted this particular synod on the family, said to be seeking pastoral solutions in light of the Gospel. Specifically, the issues that the Synod is expected to address  are those of the eligibility of divorced Catholics to receive communion, scandals of abuse, same sex marriages, contraception, and cohabitation. As Pope Francis notes, there is a “special need for mercy in the church today” and to listen attentively and “discuss sincerely” with those faithful who have become “frustrated and marginalized”.[4] Here, in reflecting on Vatican II, we glimpse the special role of the bishop within the community as teacher and judge of the faith, guiding us in the truth of the Gospel. Likewise, in light of Lumen Gentium, as laity we see our responsibility, in patience and love  “to express our opinion on matters which concern the good of the church”. [3]

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