Friday, September 23, 2016

Staying on the Path

 I was taking my dog, Fitz, for a walk through the park.  Fitz loves the park.  He also loves the squirrels that are out and about collecting nuts.  Unfortunately for me, what used to be a nice walk, has turned into Fitz darting off in all directions trying to chase the squirrels up the trees. As he jerks me from one direction to the next and into the dirt, I had to ask him, “Why do you keep chasing after things you can’t have?    Why can’t you just stay on the path?”
  Fitz, of course, did not answer, but it did get me thinking.  I wonder how many times God has watched me chase after things that took me off the right path.  It’s surprising how some harmless little distractions can take our focus away from prayer and spending time with God.  As we shift from one season to the next, this may be a good time to check the footprints we are leaving.  Are they on the path or are they off chasing squirrels?


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Heavenly Moments With Our Lord

I would like to encourage everyone to find a few moments to spend adoring Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Lovin' it!

    "God who do you want me to be?"  Have you ever been brave enough to ask God this question?  We are constantly bombarded with clever marketing ideas about what the world thinks we should do in order to be successful, innovative or outstanding.  You can attend a multitude of seminars on how to make you or your brand unique and prosperous.   I sometimes wonder, though, what God would say if he were holding a seminar on how to be happy and successful in life. I wonder if it would go something like this:
  Good afternoon everyone.  I am really excited to be here with you today!  I think you are all absolutely amazing!  Do you even realize how amazing you are?  Each and every one of you has been blessed with incredible talent, but you haven't even tapped into it's full potential yet.  I want each of you to spend time every day discovering how your talents, my gift of love to you,  could be used to spread My love far and wide.  The secret to happiness is sharing My love with others.  It is that simple. It's totally amazing, and it is powerful enough to change the world.    Don't complicate it.  Let Me love you, and then share this love with the world! (Microphone drops and God walks off the stage.)


Sunday, September 18, 2016

The Lake


  Mitch was fishing off the pier when he heard someone call his name.  He looked  up and down the pier, but saw no one.  Again, a voice called out his name, and Mitch saw a man across the lake waving to him.
  "Mitch, it's me, Jesus, come on over and let's talk."
  "Okay, Jesus, I'm coming right over.  Let me just find a boat."  Mitch was so excited!  The Lord was calling his name.  Quickly, he gathered his fishing gear and ran towards the end of the pier to find a boat.  Mitch saw a man sitting at the boat rentals.  "Excuse me, sir, I would like to rent a boat right away.  Do you have any rowboats available?"
  "Sure I do.  I have two left for today.  I saw you running down the pier, you must be in a big hurry," said the man.
  "Yes, I am.  I just received a call from the Lord and He is waiting for me on the other side."
  "Well, you better hurry then.  You sure you want a row boat?  I have a brand new speed boat that could get you there faster."
  "That sounds great, but I have never driven one before," admitted Mitch.
  "Don't worry.  I'll take you there myself.  I wouldn't want you to miss talking with the Big Guy.  He's very busy.  You don't want to keep Him waiting."
  "You're right.  If you could take me across the lake that would be great!  Thank you."
  The man smiled, "Come on, let's go.  We just need to walk down to the next pier and we'll be there in a jiffy,"
  "Ok, sounds good."  Mitch and the man walked quickly towards the next pier over.  As he walked, Mitch began to get a little anxious.  He didn't realize the pier was so far away.  The man sensed Mitch's anxiety and he began to tell him a few of the local stories.  "Do you see that big house over there?  You know who lives there right?......."
  Mitch was surprised to hear that so many successful people lived on this side of the lake. Even more surprisingly, the boat rentals man seemed to know all of them.  He told one amusing story after another about their big boats and extravagant parties.  Just before the two of them reached the pier, they just happened to run into Rick Townsend, the man who threw the best parties.
  "Ricky, how are you doing sir?" the man said as he greeted Rick with a warm handshake.
  Rick returned his smile and said, "Excellent.  I couldn't be better.  I was just about to jump into my boat.  Hey, you two want to come along?  The cooler is filled with some nice cold ones."
  The man smiled.  "How could we pass up such a great invitation?  My friend, Mitch, is interested in getting to the other side of the lake for a big meeting.  I was going to take him in my boat, but your boat is even faster.  Come on, Mitch, let's cross the lake in style."
  The three men proceeded down to the opposite side of the pier  where all the private boats were docked.  Mitch was really impressed that he was being invited onto Ricky's boat.  He had never been on a boat this expensive before.  He wondered how much this boat even costed.  The three men sat down and cracked open a beer. 
  "Mitch let me show how fast this baby can go.  Your going to love it!"  Rick said as he headed towards the center of the lake.
  The boat ride was amazing!  Rick obviously knew the lake well.  It was exhilarating to cross the water at such speeds.  Mitch smiled and thought to himself, "So this is how the other half lives. It must be nice."  Time passed very quickly before Rick finally slowed the boat down.
  "So you boys want to join me for some lunch?  There's a great little pull up restaurant on the other side of the lake that serves amazing food.  It will be my treat."
  Mitch was about to decline, when the man said, "Sure that sounds great!  Mitch here wants to get to the other side of the lake anyways.  No sense going hungry, right?"
  Mitch wanted to say no, but he actually was a little hungry and he reluctantly agreed.  As promised, the food was amazing.  Rick was a very generous man and he seemed to know everyone.  Everyone stopped to chat and say hello as they ate.  Mitch had never been introduced to so many successful people in one day.  After Mitch finished his dessert, he looked around the lake.  He actually had no idea where he was.  Where was the pier he was fishing on?  Which shore had he seen Jesus at?  Did that even really happen?  Had he just imagined it?  Mitch was starting to doubt himself now.
  Another large boat pulled into the resturant's pier and a crowd called out to Rick.  "Ricky, is that you?  Come on over."
  Rick smiled and said, "Come on, guys, this ought to be interesting."  
  The man followed Rick and then looked over his shoulder,  "Mitch, are you coming?  This looks like fun?"
  Mitch began to follow.  As he got out of the boat, he noticed for the first time the name of Rick's boat "Clever Distractions".  Mitch thought to himself, "That's an odd name for a boat."  Mitch stopped for a minute and wondered what he was even doing.  He didn't even know these people.  He thought about getting on the boat when he suddenly heard something that stopped him in his tracks.
  "Ricky, Lucifer, how the hell are you guys?!"
  Mitch suddenly realized who the boat rentals man actually was.  How could he be so stupid?  How much time had he actually wasted?  Panicked, Mitch looked around the lake again.  How far away had he traveled from Jesus?  How did this even happen?  Mitch felt his heart racing.  He closed his eyes and bent his head down and from his heart he said, "Jesus, I'm so sorry.  Please forgive me."
  "Mitch!" a familiar voice yelled.   Mitch opened his eyes and saw Jesus waving far down the shoreline.  "I'm still waiting."
  This time Mitch ran towards Jesus.  He never took his eyes off Him and he never looked back.



Friday, September 16, 2016

Out of the Mouth of Babes

  I would like to share a conversation I had with my youngest daughter.  I told her I needed to write a post for the blog, and I asked her, "What do you think I should write about?"
  She thought for a minute as she wiggled her loose tooth and said, "I think you should write about how faith can be like a loose tooth."
  "Really?  How so?"  I asked.
  "Well you know how sometimes people can lose their faith?  Even though they think they lost it, it's not really gone.  They just need to wait for their adult faith to grow up and break through the surface.  Do you think that's a good idea?"
  "You know, I think that's a great idea.  You are so smart."

   I guess we all have moments when we wonder if God is listening because He hasn't answered our prayers the way we would desire.  There comes a time when we have to just trust God and let go of this immature or "baby faith".  We may experience a time of loss or feel like something is missing.  It is sometimes during these moments of doubt and confusion that God is actually calling us closer to Him.  Our faith needs to trust in God's timing and in God's Will.  When we abandon ourselves to His Will,  God, Himself, will come fill the emptiness and nurture our faith to grow stronger and more mature.  It may take a while before we feel like smiling again, but when we do, our new stronger faith will shine brightly for all to see.

Susan & Maria

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Angel of God, My Dear Guardian

  As I had mentioned last week, St. Pio is one of my favorite saints.  If you are not familiar with him, I would strongly recommend learning about him, and from him.  Many of the letters he had written to his "spiritual children" are filled with wisdom and encouragement.  One of the many fascinating ways St. Pio communicated with others was through the use of his guardian angel.  St. Pio was granted a special blessing by God.  He was able to see and communicate with his own guardian angel, and the guardian angels of others as well.
  I thought that this week we could try to spend some special time with our own guardian angel.  Every human being is given an angel who protects and helps guide them to God throughout their life.  What an amazing and wonderful gift!  We often seek the advise of others, but how often have you asked your guardian angel to assist you?  Even though we cannot physically see them or hear their voice, they are by our side inspiring us to do the Will of God.  Be sure to enjoy the gift of their presence, and let them know how grateful you are to have them in your life!


Friday, September 9, 2016

Vacationing with God #9- San Giovanni Rotondo, The Friary of St. Pio

  We drove down the beautiful  Adriatic coastline alongside rolling mountains adorned with grapevines and olive trees.  The Shrine of St. Pio sat on top of the highest mountain.  The narrow road up the mountain was probably better suited for cows or donkeys, but St. Pio is near and dear to my heart, and I would have gladly walked up the mountain to see where he had lived.
  Excitedly, we walked into St. Pio's friary.  His friary was completely preserved.  His bed, chair, desk, the tiles he walked on were all completely protected with glass.  We saw the many altar cloths used while he said mass.  Chills ran through me as I saw the how the blood from the stigmata on his hands was present on all the cloths.  We also saw the many pairs of brown gloves he used, his different vestments-everything tinged with blood.  There was an entire wall of thousands of letters, rosaries, and holy cards that people had sent imploring his prayers and blessings.  We also saw the cell where he lived and died and the window he used to lean out in order to bless the crowds.
  Slowly, we descended the stairs leading to St. Pio's tomb.  Flowers were everywhere.  As I knelt beside him to pray,  I could almost feel his presence in the room.  I prayed for my family members in need of healing and I asked St. Pio for guidance.  I asked him what I could do to be a better follower of Jesus.  My prayer was answered almost immediately.  In my mind I heard four words- "Prayer, sacrifice, suffering and confession." As I repeated these words over and over so I would not forget his precious advice, I received one more piece of advice, "Learn from the wounds."  As I continued to pray, I could feel my tears running down my face.
  Before leaving St. Pio's Shrine, I stopped to write a personal letter to St. Pio again asking for his intercession with family members.
 I placed my letter into the offering alongside so many others.  Amazingly, St. Pio still receives thousands of letters.