Worth Revisiting: Carry Your Candle & Go Light the World!

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.

Though written originally for Advent, the beautiful Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) brings to mind my own baptism and conversion to Catholicism! God Bless and Blessed Holy Week!

 Carry Your Candle..Go Light The World

(Originally posted December 19, 2014)

As a Catholic, few can say that they remember the experience of their own baptisms…that is unless they too are a convert. Looking back, I have often thought what a blessing God has given in allowing me to so vividly recall the details of this incredible undeserving gift.  Along with those later made in choosing to become a Catholic, I can see how these sacraments have formed me, and continue to transform me throughout my journey with God.  For those who have yet to hear my story, as well as for my own children, I feel today is a good day to share.

Having grown up in a strong Southern Baptist family, I would venture to say that I spent almost as much time at church as I did at home. Yet, there was no pressure or time set aside when I was to decidedly become a Christian. This was a time of Sunday school, a time to color, to play, listen to bible stories, and sing in the Children’s choir. However, early on I began to realize that, while young, more was being asked of me. One evening, sitting with my mother I had inwardly been praying. It was a deep soul searching prayer, one in which I sat in conversation with Christ asking what I needed to do. To any onlooker, I must have looked a bit odd because I was totally immersed in the moment, unaware of things going around me. “Be baptized.. Come you are loved and forgiven” were the words that resounded in my heart. Tears streamed down my little 7 year old face as I opened my eyes and related this to my mom. Now, so intimately I knew what sin was and that in choosing to follow Christ I could not also follow sin.

Though excitedly awaiting my baptismal date, it was only to be postponed by- chicken pox. An outbreak had hit all the schools and I was among the many, including the boy that I was to be baptized with. By the time the day finally arrived, my anticipation had truly grown. My mom and grandma sat in the congregation as I expressed my commitment to follow Christ’s teachings. Then, three times my head was slowly pushed back into the water and I joyously heard the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit”.

As a funny aside, I was so little and lightweight that with the gown I was wearing my feet automatically sprang to the surface with each submersion.  I literally popped to the top of the water, my grandma would later tease, just like an apple. Standing up and turning to face the congregation, I was greeted by a wave of applause and a chorus of Amens. This was, as Pope Francis would be the first to add, my new birthday in the Church.

Just a few months afterward, a couple of teens broke into that church taking any items of value before setting it ablaze. I remember the sadness that I felt at the sin that had caused so much devastation. I prayed for them, asking God to help them to realize this and to find their way to Him one day. While all church records were lost, my mom provided a living witness to my baptism and letter of testimony when I sought to be confirmed in the Catholic Church. Oh, and that small Baptist church would be replaced by a new one just 2 years later..three times the size.

Father you are everything new and good in this world! You created me anew through my baptism and called me to share in the life, love and mission of your Church here on earth. You have given me a light to guide me, and an open door through which to grow and embrace a sacramental life with you within the world. Please enable me Lord to always show your light and love to the world!

“Captivating”-The Story of St. John Paul II: A Boy Who Became Pope

Available through Pauline Press and Amazon

As a backdrop, I would be remiss if I also did not share the infinitely amusing ways God continues to make his presence known in my life and how I obtained my current copy of this book.  To my delightful surprise one Sunday, the Pauline sisters visited my home parish of St. Peter’s in Plymouth. After mass, I hurriedly ran downstairs to peruse the numerous collections to be had.

Let’s be honest, the gracious invitation of our sisters and my passion for books are two areas in my life that I find great difficulty saying “no” to.

Having spied this book, my husband saw the gleam in my eyes and knew he would not be leaving church empty handed. However, having only had it in my possession for less than a day, I felt compelled to share it with a friend and her daughter.

Oh yes it had found a home and the then 8 year old girl, who was to make her First Communion soon, was reading it every night!   So, while I explained to my hubby where our newly acquired copy went, I knew God had a plan of replacing the book one day.  Skip forward 10 months, and I now have my own copy again courtesy of A Seeking Heart radio show with Allison Gingras  and Pauline Books & Media along with an invitation to write a review. This I do joyfully, with a desire to share what I feel will become a treasure in the hearts of your family as well.

            In this story is woven the early childhood of Karol Wojtyla and his response to the burning question of God’s calling in his life to answer who he truly loves most of all. Though each loss of those dear to him left his heart aching, there was also joy in a growing awareness of the great things God was beckoning him to do and to be. Each of us, within our own vocations as single, married or religious is also asked to reply to God’s great gift of love in our own lives. Beautifully this story underscores that a profound love of God does not mean that our love for others is diminished, but magnifies our ability to love and express that love more fully. Captivating and exquisitely illustrated,  A Boy Who Would Become Pope is a stirring glimpse into the young inner life John Paul II and a challenging proposal to seek God’s love in all that we do.

Worth Revisiting: Examen-ations for Decision Making

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.

 Examen-ations for Decision Making

(Originally posted January 26, 2014)

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. 



God and the Small Stuff: It’s No Bother, Really.

It’s Monday morning and I have reluctantly left the warm comfort of my bed to embrace the day and week ahead of me. Why reluctantly? It wasn’t as if I had failed to enjoy the weekend, or conversely had enjoyed it so much as to need the added rest. Yet, whatever the reason I needed help, indeed strength to rise and greet the sunrise as it would soon be greeting me. So, I prayed.

“Father, you are indeed so great as to set the world in motion- help set my feet and spirit in motion too towards what I am to do today. Yes, You have my yes…Spirit lead and strengthen me.”

As morning routines have ensued, and I have found space and time for reflection, I am reminded again of God’s constant and faithful promise to always walk beside us. Growing up, I watched both my mother and grandmother go to God throughout their day with the great and small stuff of life. For my grandmother, this time was spent with daily scripture, and silent prayer. If she didn’t know the answer she knew who did and went straight to the source. My mom, though less attentive to scripture reading, found also great humility in her immense dependence on God. With petition and praise she thanked God for the food on the table, the roof over our head and gift of one another each day. Yet, she likewise would pray for good news to arrive, the sun to shine, the rain to stop, peace to come or the strength to endure the day ahead.

With a beautiful gleam in her eye, I was invited to listen to her retelling of the story of working the family’s fields alongside her brothers and sister. As the sun would beat down relentlessly in the heat of the day, exhausted and worn, they would sing and lift up this prayer for rain.

Oh, Let “there be showers of blessing..
This is the promise of love;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
Sent from the Savior above.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

—There shall be showers of blessing:
Oh, that today they might fall,
Now as to God we’re confessing,
Now as on Jesus we call!

There shall be showers of blessing,
If we but trust and obey;
There shall be seasons refreshing,
If we let God have His way.

Daniel Whittle 1883 (Ez. 34:26; Psalm 115:12; Gen 32:26)

What a gift God has in store for us if we come to him not only with our heavy burdens but also with our daily cares, questions, and humble petitions of the heart! Yet, repeatedly in ministry I hear the contrasting refrain of

Doesn’t God have more important things to do? I wouldn’t want to bother God with the small things..shouldn’t I save my requests when I really need Him?

To which I joyfully answer,

“No. God has nothing better to do than to sit and converse with You! He can move the mountains, calm the seas, guide ships, rescue the lost, and listen to the smallest of prayers. He is God after all.”

Our Father wants to be our friend all along- not just when we are in dire trouble. Today, let’s invite God into our day, into the little things of life..He’s here waiting for us to bid him near.

Father you come to me whenever I call! I know you smile to see me reach for you. And like a loving dad you hold out your arms to guide, encourage and catch me when I stumble. You know how difficult those first steps can be each day, and though our strength may fail..Yours always remains!

Peace, Signature

Worth Revisiting: Why Pray the Stations of the Cross?

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

Though this is a new post,the idea of revisiting the Stations of the Cross is a much needed conversation to be had this Lent. And one that in true Jesuit imagining I invite you to consider:

This past week as I accompanied my 4th grade students, from this past summer, for the Stations of the Cross I began to think…Why do we not do this more often? Here, we have been given this beautiful imaginative way to immerse ourselves in the story of the Passion of our Lord. More than merely listening we are asked to contemplate the scene, and walk in faith with Christ on the way to the cross. As we picture the faces of the crowd, the thoughts of the disciples, and the heart of Christ himself we glimpse the magnitude of the sacrifice of love that has been given to us. If you have never participated in the Stations of the Cross before, all are welcome, just call your local parish for the date and time. This is a graced pilgrimage and one that I hope that you too will make this Lent.

The First Station: Jesus Is Condemned – Tried unjustly for crimes he didn’t commit, would we have spoken up for Jesus? Do I speak up for others?

The Second Station: Jesus Takes up His Cross – Oh the sight of Christ beaten, crowned with thorns, and now asked to carry the cross! Do I seek to feel compassion for those carrying burdens?

The Third Station: Jesus Falls the First Time –Would I have rushed to His side? Am I a source of strength for others?

The Fourth Station: Jesus Meets His Sorrowful Mother – As a ‘sword piercing her heart’, the pain Mary felt to see her Son had to have been tremendous and yet she was there beside him. Do I meet others in their pain or only in joy?

The Fifth Station: Simon Helps to Carry the Cross – Chosen because he was different, Simon was called upon to carry Jesus’ cross. What unique gifts do I have that could serve Christ today?

 The Sixth Station: Veronica Offers Her Veil to Jesus – This woman seeing a way to help Jesus, in turn leaves with his image on her veil and in her heart. Do my actions today bear the image of Christ?

 The Seventh Station: Jesus Falls the Second Time –  Weak and weary, the weight of the cross with our sinfulness was greater than anything we have ever known. How does my own sinfulness weigh on me today?

    The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the Weeping Women –  Jesus meets the women with a profound understanding of the pain our sin carries. Do I consider the effects of my sin on others though the things I do or fail to do?

The Ninth Station: Jesus Falls the Third Time – Pushed and prodded on, there was to be no rest for Jesus on the way to the cross. Yet, we find rest in Christ who continually strengthens us and shares our burdens.

The Tenth Station: Jesus Is Stripped of His Clothing- Humiliated and stripped of his dignity, oh how our Savior seeks for us to see the suffering of our most vulnerable.

The Eleventh Station: Jesus Is Nailed to the Cross – What a cruel scene that lays before our eyes- and yet the love that is poured out as You take on our sins upon Yourself! Help me dear Lord to live this life in gratitude for your sacrifice, help me to love You and your creation as I should.

The Twelfth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross – Forgiveness You have given for those who sought to crucify you. Christ forgive me of my sins, and guide me to extend forgiveness to all I encounter in life.

  The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Is Taken Down From the Cross – Holding the body of her Son in her arms, we dare to imagine the loss and pain that Mary felt in this moment. In those times that I have experienced loss, do I rely on the strength of God and my brothers and sisters in Christ to carry me?

The Fourteenth Station: Jesus Is Laid in the Tomb –  As  Joseph and Nicodemus lay Jesus in the tomb, joined by Mary the mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalen  we imagine the stone that is rolled into place.  For those times we too are asked to place our trust in the events of our lives, unknowing what is to come next we pray for guidance.

The Resurrection – We know that this last station is not the end of the story- For Christ has risen and calls us all to a new life in Him! Let my life be a witness to his Passion and revealing of his love to the world!



Poetic Examen-ation: Life after the Thesis

This is a day that was long awaited,
A time dreamt of and indeed anticipated,
With months albeit years of preparation,
And a myriad of readings and connotations.
Today, I awoke knowing that there was nowhere I had to be.
There was truly no post to edit,
Or theologian I needed to credit,
An argument carelessly ignored,
Nor deeper meaning to explore.
I now wondered in this stillness what was to be of me.
On the surface I had considered,
Neglected tasks that could be bettered,
Domestic duties that once were small,
Sat waiting to be again forestalled.
Feeling there was a greater more fruitful use of my time.
Where was that book that had been given,
read when my free time too would beckon?
What was it now that I would write,
if granted this instant of respite?
Ah, yes  these too cannot be my compass prime.
For always when I come in prayer,
The answer seems to find me there,
No longer doubt or thoughts amiss,
At the day’s events that carry bliss.
Since You know where it is that I need to be and what I am to do.
But rather surrender to Thy will and grace,
To lead me to my rightful place,
Perchance beside the lost, or dying,
Or counseling a friend whose day is trying-
Where ever my feet are needed to go Lord I give them to You. 



Worth Revisiting: Fill My Cup Till..

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.

Coffee Date 2: Fill My Cup Till..

(Originally posted November 14, 2014)

Linking up with Dearest Love for a Coffee Date and Someday Saints to Embrace the Ordinary !

                                         Getting ready this morning I knew I needed to be there. Sure, there was an essay to write, laundry to be done, emails to send, yet that all would have to wait. Listening within, I felt an inner pull that I was being asked to put aside these things today to pray. Seeking direction, I quickly queried my friends and family to see if they had any special intentions.  So with prayers to carry and filled with purpose I opened the door to my church. Though I had written them down, I realized as I knelt that I had left them in my car. Beautifully, however, they each one by one came as a bright light in the darkness. Every prayer intention had a face, a name and a desire of the heart.

As I lifted each up in prayer there was an inner pause, stillness I have found only in God’s presence. “Be still and know that I am God” .

Yes, you have this all Father, all within your loving hands. There is a great awareness here, a knowing that you still the winds, calm the seas, and yet enkindle our hearts and minds to love and see as you do.

By no coincidence the readings today spoke of an attentiveness needed in fixing our eyes on what God is asking of us. With so many things to occupy our every day, I know I can easily find myself engulfed in the daily demands upon my time.                                         Today, Jesus I heard your voice and what an incredible gift to have been entrusted with these prayers this morning. Whatever else I could possibly do today, I know that this was where I was meant to be.

With the homily, a scene was painted of a sailboat and its captain on the open waters. With an eye on the horizon and hands ready, he notices and adjusts to the change in the direction of the wind. A hasty decision isn’t necessarily needed but an awareness and discernment as to the soundest course to proceed.

Jesus, you are my guiding light, the certain wind to carry me where you need me to be. When I seek you, and trust I am never truly lost. For you are The Way, the path of surest love from the Father to each one of us. And when our focus is on what is behind us, or we think that we can no longer see the path ahead, you light our hearts and call us Father, (farther) onward.

May your cup overflow with peace- goodness, and mercy as you seek God’s presence and direction in your day!


Mid Retreat Reflections: Consecration to Mary

Co-blogging my reflections with Cristina at Filling My Prayer Closet on 33 Days to Morning Glory by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC in preparation for Marian Consecration.

Familiar with Louis de Montfort’s treatise on Mary, I have thoroughly enjoyed Gaitley’s use of modern saint stories that bear vivid witness to lives devoted to Marian consecration. Here we follow St. Maximillian Kolbe, Blessed Mother Teresa and St. JP II. who also had devoted themselves to Mary to glimpse how that was manifested in the course of their everyday.

As a convert to Catholicism, I began this path of understanding and growing in Mary a little more than 20 years ago. Still, it is this later discovery that has prompted a desire to fully seek who Mary is in the life of Christ, the life of the Church and quite personally for me. Oh, how very much I still have to learn!

This retreat is said to be undertaken with ‘fire in one’s heart’ with generosity and desire. Where we lack these things, the Holy Spirit, Mary and the saints are there to lovingly guide and support us.

1. “Doing the Lord’s work does not always turn out according to our plans.”//This is none more evidenced than in the lives of the saints who were often redirected in their efforts to serve. For me, it speaks to the need to let go of the outcome and instead to seek God’s will and guidance in every instance of my desire to serve. Many times, I may never know the results of the work begun.

2. Because of sin, there is a great need to continually renew our baptismal promises and recommit our lives to Christ.// Mary’s life is a beautiful witness to a life fully committed to God’s will, and devoted to the heart of Christ- she is there to help us daily to honor our own promises.

3. Give Mary our prayers, sacrifices and gifts to distribute to those who need it most.// Initially, this was difficult for me to grasp. If I have been asked to pray specifically for someone, how can I let go of who my prayer’s intention is for? Because our efforts are not lost but she “augments, increases and purifies the spiritual gifts we give her”. Moreover, it isn’t that we cannot pray for those we love we just let go of the “final say”.

4. Why did Mary call herself the Immaculate Conception at Lourdes and not rather I am Immaculately Conceived?// I had never given this much thought before and yet much like St. Kolbe I was now enthralled with the distinction. As the spouse of the Holy Spirit she had in fact taken the name of the One who creates, sustains, and renews the face of the earth- the uncreated Immaculate Conception. Born without original sin, Mary also knows within her the Holy Spirit as “uncreated Love” which bears divine fruit within her womb in Jesus.

5. W+ w =S. In short, when we seek to unite God’s will with our own it is then we are led to sanctity or holiness.// Following God’s will is difficult but when look to Mary’s beautiful example we see she is there to lead the way.

6. Every day “people give themselves over to Satan to be possessed by him…why can’t people give themselves over to God to become an instrument of love?// Mary implores us to not be content in our own salvation, but to lead others, indeed the entire world, to conversion and to the love of Christ.

7. Christ longs, undeniably “thirsts” to be close to each one of us. “Hear your name. Not just once. Every day. If you listen with your heart you will understand”.// Moreover, this intimacy calls us to see the suffering of his children who are left lonely, hungry and uncared for. This too is a “thirst” of Christ which goes unfulfilled when we walk away from those most in need.

Father, thank you for this gift of time spent with you to seek how to better serve you in all that I do. Holy Spirit help me to conform and unite my will, as did Mary, with you. “Help me to listen (and respond) to the thirst of Jesus” 

Peace and Love,


Saying Goodbye in Ministry

“I will sing of your mercy that leads me through valleys of sorrow to rivers of joy” (The Valley Song- Jars of Clay)

The chalice of Eucharist, anchor and cross as three theological virtues of Love, Hope and Faith.

Those who know me or follow this blog have heard me speak often about the continual joy that I experience as a Eucharistic minister to the nursing homes. In bringing Christ to each of these faithful, the gift of grace that is experienced is immeasurable. There is both communion and community in these moments, a sharing of stories and of ourselves. It is an invitation into their day, their families, their sickness and joy. And I leave feeling God’s presence so profoundly at work and the gift of my time well spent.

Over the years, my husband and I have said goodbye to many very good friends in the course of this ministry. I call them friends because that is truly what they are. With each I cannot help but remember the little things, simple moments and conversations. Like putting on the shoes of someone who can no longer move their fingers or bodies they way they used to. We have been there in the last moments too, knowing that that this will be the last time we will probably see that person. So too is where God’s mercy and grace found me today.

I met “Joe” just days after he had arrived and had yet to get accustomed to his surroundings. My husband, who usually accompanied me was sick that day and could not go. Knocking on the door and introducing myself, I was invited to take a seat beside him. “I do not know how long I will be here…you see I fell and I need a little help for awhile.” “I see, well I am certainly glad to meet you and visit for as long as you are here.” There was a long pause, then he broke down and shared how he missed his wife, his home and familiar surroundings. “I feel so alone.” Listening intently, I knew how important it was for me to be there. “You are not alone today. Would you like to share in communion together?” “Then let’s begin with the Our Father.” Together as we prayed, and then spoke the words of contrition we felt Christ was indeed present.

This day was almost two years ago and I have joyfully watched as he settled in and found comfort in the loving care of the staff and his family who visited often. Several close calls in the past year have prepared me better for today, and yet I will miss him so. When we walked in, he was resting peacefully after hospice had visited. I hugged his wife and took my place beside her. “I’m afraid he may not be able to partake today..” “Well, how about a prayer together?.. The Our Father?” His family agreed and there we stood holding hands around his bedside praying the prayer “Joe”  and I had said  in our very first meeting. As we finished he opened his eyes and smiled! What a beautiful sight that must have been for him to see his family praying!

Saying goodbye is never easy, but I am so grateful for the time that God has given. In these privileged encounters where grace abounds, Christ fills the space of loneliness that those like “Joe” feel with unimaginable love. Though feeling loss, my heart too also knows the joy that awaits each one in the day they walk hand in hand with our Savior.

Thank you Father for allowing me to serve by bringing You to those who hunger and thirst for your presence. Help me to say goodbye when it’s time.



Worth Revisiting: Overwhelmed by God’s Love

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.

Overwhelmed by God’s Love

(Originally posted November 22, 2014)

Linking up with Gina from Someday Saints to Embrace the Ordinary

This morning when I awoke I was overwhelmed- not by stress or concerns, but by praise. Praise to my loving father who had given me a beautiful sunlit window. Praise for the first full night’s sleep in weeks, and the fact that there was nowhere else I had to be. Praise for my hubby who restfully slept beside me.

Loving Father, you knew I what I needed and gave me respite , body and soul. 

The last few days have been well..difficult. Coupled with a need for sound sleep and a break from the next crisis to erupt, I had been burning my candle at both ends. Good news had seemed in short supply and coffee was no longer even having an effect. It’s amazing what you can overlook or not fully appreciate when sleep is needed!

Walking downstairs I was met by my sweet pup, Gretl who had been taken outside by my 15 year old who had also prepared breakfast for he and his brother. Looking up, he smiled and added he had also been studying! A bit surprised I wondered..Ok, whose house am I in again? 😉

Lord Jesus, you remind us to give all of our cares and worries to you- to bring our troubles and lay them all down. Though waves may crash around us, you are always there for we are safe in your arms! I don’t need to know what’s next for whatever tomorrow brings, Lord I know to trust in you. 

So, as I look back on my yesterday I give you praise for all those moments for what they truly are, gifts from you. For all those times you broke through my day and sought to reach me, hold and uplift me.

1. Daily Mass//Deep in prayer, I felt so close to Jesus that it was almost a visceral hug.There was a warmth from his presence, and I longed to stay longer. After mass there was the added embrace of my faith friends, those who pray with me and even at times unknowing of the circumstance.

2. Lunch//Food is such a comfort for me when I am in need of sleep and feel the demands of life. Treated to lunch by a close  friend, I could not believe how delicious and filling it was! Exactly what was missing. So too was the conversation with her -highlighting the need once again for these deep friendships in our lives.

See More…