Saturday, July 1, 2023

Simple Blessing

I was admiring the stately and brilliant zinnias in our flower garden yesterday morning when a monarch butterfly came and posed for a photo. This simple blessing surely came from above. Over eleven years ago when my precious sister, Linda, passed away we released monarch butterflies in her honor after her Funeral Mass. You can imagine any time now that I see a monarch butterfly I sense her nearness.

What simple blessings do you experience each day as you gaze at the beauty of the earth--the sun, the moon and the stars above, or the flowers, the trees and birds of the air?

A New Creation

     One morning my husband and I were reading part of a letter from St. Paul to the Colossians, found in the New Testament of the Bible. It was actually the First Reading in Liturgy of the Hours. I know--too much information. Let me get to the point...As I read I was a struck by the great message contained in this Word. The title of the excerpt was Life of a New Man. Isn't that what we long to be--a new and better creation?--a better version of ourselves as author, Matthew Kelly, would say.

     I'll just list some of the things Paul says to the Colossians and let's imagine he's speaking to us. He starts out with strong commands about what to stop doing."Put to death whatever in your nature is rooted in earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desires, and that lust that is idolatry." Col 3: 5 How's that for nailing it right off the bat? In other words, absolutely get rid of any of that. Either we put it to death or it puts us to death.

    "Put this aside now: all the anger and quick temper, the malice, the insults, the foul language...and stop lying to one another." Col 3: 8-9 So we need to renounce anger, renounce lies and other destructive behaviors that we might engage in and pray for the grace to act maturely, that is, to exercise self-control with the words that come out of our mouths and to have the courage to speak with honesty. When we simply begin to choose and practice these virtues it gets easier and easier to live as mature people who then get into the flow of being the creative people we are meant to be.

     As St. Paul continues speaking he softens and instructs the Colossians to do these things: "Clothe yourselves with heartfelt mercy, with kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another, forgive whatever grievances you have against one another. Forgive as the Lord has forgiven you."  Col 3: 12-13 In order to bear the fruit of those five virtues of mercy, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, we need to become aware of who we might need to forgive and have the willingness to forgive them, even when we may not feel like it. We choose to take the higher road. We keep in mind we are setting ourselves free when we forgive others and more wonderful things can happen when blocks, like unforgiveness, are removed from within us. 

     And then my favorite part of St. Paul's admonition--"Over all these virtues put on love. Christ's peace must reign in your hearts." Colossians 3: 14-15 There is truly nothing more powerful than love. Love transcends everything. It can speak all the languages of the universe. It can powerfully impact the hearts of everyone.  We seek to be love in this world. And peace reigns in our hearts when we choose this path of life.

     Finally, Paul says..."Dedicate yourselves to thankfulness. Let the word of Christ, rich as it is, dwell in you. In wisdom made perfect instruct and admonish one another. Sing gratefully to God from your hearts in psalms, hymns, and inspired songs."  Col 3: 15-16 Thanksgiving needs to be every day. Dedicate means to commit. We commit ourself to be a thankful person. When we remember to give thanks daily for all the gifts we take for granted--for breath, for life, for the people we love, for a place to live and food to eat, for the basics and all the extra surprises that happen unexpectedly, we enter into a more heavenly place on earth. Thanksgiving is a gateway into the presence of the Father Almighty.

    Imagine someone who is dressed in filthy garments. You are watching as they remove those dirty clothes and they say, "I don't need these anymore because there is something much better laying right here for me." When Paul spoke of "put to death" and "put this aside", it's getting rid of the filth that has turned us into selfish and, oftentimes, violent people. And now you can see them picking up clean, beautiful, royal-like garments and redressing themselves. They are choosing to clothe themselves with the beautiful virtues. Then they see a gorgeous velvet robe laying there too and put it over all the new clothes--that's the LOVE robe.

     And so I humbly pray+
     Lord Jesus, we desire to live as new creations, as new women and new men. Put to death, by the power of your Holy Spirit, whatever may be "rooted in earth" within us. Give us an increase of virtue to replace all that we need to put aside. Especially bless our mouths and all that comes from them. We command the stronghold of a lying spirit to leave us and ask for the spirit of truth to reign in our lives. 
    Come, Holy Spirit, fill our hearts with the same heartfelt compassion that Jesus had as he walked the earth. We long for the river of grace to flow through us. We will that all unforgiveness be gone toward those we have hardened our hearts against. Set us free, Lord, to forgive as you have forgiven. We surrender to love. Fill us with more of your Holy Spirit who is the love between you and the Father. We surrender to peace. Touch our minds that we may be transformed with good, holy, and pure thoughts that increase the peace within our hearts. 
    We thank you, Lord Jesus, for everything--for breathe, life, for each new day, for grace to be transformed, and power to turn from all that is not good, for your Holy Spirit that fills us, and your word that dwells richly within us. Increase our wisdom so we may help one another to find the right path that leads to eternal life. And finally, put a song of grateful joy ever in our mouths as we honor and praise you for all you have done for us. Amen.

Resist Discouragement

Sometimes do you feel like numerous thoughts or emotions have collided within you and are beginning to weigh you down? Like maybe you're missing a loved one, someone said something that bothered you, you're not sure what next step to take, someone doesn't seem interested in your project, someone didn't reply after you asked them to get back with you, or you've lost some connections with people. And all these kinds of thoughts are making you feel sad or even depressed? These are simply a few examples of some very real instances that could mount up in our minds.

Wait a minute! Wait a minute! Don't go too far in that thinking. Right here and now you need to resist the temptation to think things are going wrong. Get a grip on your emotions. Talk to them. Tell the negative emotions to get out.

Say, "Sadness, you have no place here. Go! Getty up. Good-bye!"A most powerful way to rid ourselves of negative spirits is to say, "In the name of Jesus, I renounce  ______(whatever it is). Ask it to go directly and immediately to the foot of the cross.

Then go immediately to thankfulness. Surely some things are going right. Speak 'em out! Thank you for the sunshine, for the rain, for the person that was kind, for my friend...whatever you are thankful for that day.

We must develop good habits to stand firm against the temptations of the evil one who comes to rob, steal and destroy our peace. The victory is ours but we must exercise our authority as a child of God. 

True Peace

My dear brothers and sisters,

Who wants true peace? Or maybe the better question is, who doesn't want true peace? Our pastor preached a good homily at church sharing from Psalm 23 where the true definition of peace can be found. 

“The Lord is my shepherd there is nothing I lack.  In green pastures you let me graze; to safe waters you lead me;...” Ps 23: 1-2

Not only does the Lord give us true peace, but also an everlasting  fullness of measure.

“You set a table before me as my enemies watch;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows,
Only goodness and love will pursue me all the days of my life; 
I will dwell in the house of the Lord for years to come.”  Psalm 23: 5-6

The Lord guides, protects, provides and nourishes forever! Christ Jesus is our peace. 

"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father."    Ephesians 2: 13-18

We read in Ephesians how Christ is our peace. He broke down walls of division, especially "divisions within our own heart," said our Pastor.

Have you thought about that before? It's pretty powerful to reflect on. If He broke down these dividing walls within us and among us, why are we allowing them to remain?

We were encouraged that Sunday to first examine our own hearts and "let God’s love permeate every aspect of our lives." We were exhorted to heal any division within our hearts in order to find peace and to allow our faith to permeate every aspect of our being as well.

I don't know about you, but for me, this teaching brings me to another point of surrender, of throwing my arms up to my Heavenly Papa and praying, Come, Lord. Jesus. I am yours. Help me. Take me. Mold me into your likeness. I give you my heart. Heal its divisions. Make me whole so I may serve you better and love my brothers and sisters in this world with deeper compassion.

Monday, August 15, 2022


Can you hear me calling your name
inviting you to a freedom you have never known before? 
Do you sense my hand holding yours 
and my presence ever before you? 
All this time I've been whispering sweet nothings in your ears, 
telling you of my great love for you, 
reassuring you that all is well. 
I long to give you a greater disposition of trust, 
a deeper surrender to my power, 
a fuller openness to what I'm doing and will do in your life, 
and understanding of who I am inviting you to become.


Tuesday, March 8, 2022


My little children, your hearts are small, but prayer stretches them and makes them capable of loving God. Through prayer we receive a foretaste of Heaven and something of paradise comes down upon us. Prayer never leaves us without sweetness. It is honey that flows into the souls and makes all things sweet. When we pray properly, sorrows disappear like snow before the sun.     St. John Vianney
In the middle of the night, I felt an invitation to arise from my slumber and pray. I said, "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening. You have the words of eternal life." What I discerned him saying was, "Things are serious, very serious. The world is in a precarious way. You must intercede as never before. Pray, pray, pray. Pray with urgency. Pray with faith. Pray with joy. Pray with sorrow. Pray at all times."
Yes, Lord. I hear you. Give us the grace to respond wholeheartedly to your plea for prayer. Help us to make that priority first in our lives. Give us perseverance by the power of your spirit to pray at all times. Like St. Paul exhorted the Ephesians: "Pray in the Spirit at all times, with every kind of prayer and petition. To this end, stay alert with all perseverance in your prayers for all the saints..." give us an increase of perseverance. Eph 6:18
As I googled the word "perseverance" I learned it "is a strength within the virtue category of courage" and that "courage describes strengths that help you exercise your will and face adversity." The Greek meaning of the word is to accomplish thoroughly, patient enduring, steadfastness, to abide in, and bearing against. The Hebrew meaning is to exert oneself. All of those definitions are food for meditation, especially as we consider the state of our world and the Lord's invitation to pray, pray, pray as never before.
We want to respond, we want to obey, and we need you, Lord, to work this grace deeply within our souls. In the powerful name of Jesus, we pray. Amen!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Led By The Spirit

My husband and I serve in ministry at our city's jail.

One Friday after a chapel service I was led into a women's pod. Usually, I have a reason to enter a pod. Oftentimes during the week, women make a kiosk request for bibles, rosaries, holy cards, daily meditations, etc. and we deliver those items to them. But this particular day, I had nothing to deliver. I was simply led by the Spirit to enter through the heavy steel doors into this pod (F 17) where some of the women live. Inside the large pods are the cells where they sleep.

As I crossed over the threshold of the second set of heavy steel doors, the guard at the front desk said to me, "I am happy to see you!" Such a warm hospitable remark, I thought. We don't always encounter that kind of hospitality inside the pods. I told this female guard who radiated a beautiful smile that I had nothing to deliver but just wanted to come inside and see how things were going. She asked me if I could do a "bible study." I told her I brought no resources to do that. She quickly handed me a book from beneath her desk entitled "Healing Prayer" and encouraged me to use that as a resource. Then she announced to all, "Bible Study!"

My husband and I serve on a healing ministry team so this rather amazed me and seemed perfectly natural.

Within no time ten women gathered in a room inside the pod and we were engaged in our healing prayer session. With only about a half-hour to spend with them, we began going around the large circle and one woman at a time stated their prayer intention(s) and I had the privilege to pray with each one of them and they for one another.  It was so beautiful to witness the openness of these women as they shared from the depths of their hearts about their most pressing needs. There were many requests for favor in the court system, for their children, for deliverance from drugs and alcohol. It made my heart sad to know these women were addicted to heroin, meth, and other such destructive substances.

As I gazed into their faces I said to them, "You are beautiful women created in the image and likeness of God and He has so much more for you than you can think or imagine." Tears welled up in my eyes.

It was just a prompting of the Spirit to go into that pod...and look what the Lord had prepared--a healing prayer service for ten women. And I was showered with His love and healing grace too! Glory to God!