CONVERSION STORY NO.???????????????

We have talked before about how our Conversion Stories never really end. Every once in a while something new happens that makes us want to re-commit ourselves to Jesus. This is one of those stories.

About 7 years or so ago, I started having a very fast heart beat, which then caused other problems, which resulted in several operations and a loss of energy. Of course, at the same time, I was getting older, which also results in a loss of that youthful energy.  Anyway, a few years before that after I retired from  working, I started talking to Jesus and asked Him what he wanted me to do next. After several years of prayer, and “What do you want me to do”? and several bible classes, a thought hit me during the night.  It seems, I always get my communications from Jesus at night.

The people that had been leading our bible and religious study classes had either moved or were worn out and had stopped coming up with ideas. It seems that is what Jesus wanted me to do. I had not led classes and come up with ideas for years, since before  I was married 25 years ago, so this took some praying and courage.  I was taking bible study classes in another church in our Cluster, so had someone to talk about it with and bounce things off from. Then the Presence Catholic Radio came on the air in our Area.

The Presence. FM is another miracle.  There are not that many Catholics in Maine. The Presence runs totally on donations. It started 6 years ago in Southern Maine and moved north, area by area until it covers all of Maine.   It is very informative, and everyone that listens, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, learn a lot.  I just happened to be listening one morning on the way to exercise class and heard the Rosary and then a prayer in song called: THE CHAPLET OF DIVINE MERCY.  This is a beautiful prayer, and the first time I heard it, it brought tears to my eyes.

First though, one thing I learned from one of the Presence talk shows, was that the Rosary, and the Mysteries that go with it, form  a STRING OF THE LIFE OF JESUS. Each Mystery that we say between the ten Hail Marys and the Our Fathers is a point in Jesus life and by the end of each week, day by day, we cover the Life of Jesus. It is so beautiful when you realize this.

Anyway, I thought more people should hear and pray the Chaplet. I did some research, spoke to other people at our church and spoke to our Parish Priest. The Sunday after Easter is called DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY, and the Pope had asked all Catholics and other Christians to pray the Chaplet on that Sunday afternoon at 3 PM for peace in our world. Three PM is the hour that Christ died and it is a special time for prayer.  It worked, the Priest agreed, and I and many others in our church worked to make Divine Mercy Sunday afternoon a very special time of prayer.  It worked so well that Father decided we should move this prayer service to other Churches in our Cluster, and that is what we have done.  This year it will be in another of our churches and we can all still pray together.

Why do I call this one of my Conversion Stories? Because, this Chaplet brought more prayer and joy back into my life. It is something I can share and other friends can share with me.  There are many benefits to saying the Chaplet and people all over the world say this Chaplet at 3PM each day, especially on Fridays.  So even if I say it at 5PM, someone somewhere is saying this prayer and we are praying for peace, for souls in Purgatory and other special requests for our family, friends and ourselves. Jesus listens.

If you type in “Chaplet of Divine Mercy” on Google or another search engine, you will see a picture of Jesus with the words, “JESUS I TRUST IN YOU.”

 

 

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2 Corinthians 11:1-21-WHEN IS IT OK TO BOAST?/ and a PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN REFUGEES

I am in a Bible Study Group that is studying 2 Corinthians 11:1-21. Paul talks about Boasting. One of the question in our lesson is: When is it OK to boast??? I think most people brag or boast at one time or another. I know I do when I did a good job at something. I don’t boast to get attention, I boast when I am proud of what I did, and I know it is with God’s help, but I don’t always say that When do you brag? Think about this… the Answer is Yes..but it is only legitimate to boast about the POWER THAT COMES THROUGH GOD AND FURTHERS THE GOSPEL AND GOD’S KINGDOM. This is why Paul is bragging in his letter to the Corinthians. SOMETHING FOR US TO THINK ABOUT………………..

Another question related to this Chapter: RECALL A life experience that made you feel weak and most in need of God’s strength?? It took me awhile to come up with an answer, I am sure there were many times, and then I realized that is part of MY FAITH JOURNEY. Think about this, every time we feel weak and most in need, are also the time we renew our faith in Jesus Christ. Because that is when we realize that we can’t make it without Him.

The time I thought of was when I was told by my first husband that he wanted a divorce. When it really hit me that he was moving away, and I was going to be taking care of 4 children, ages 7 to 16 by myself, I fell on my knees and prayed, many times, knowing I could not do it alone. Well, they are all grown up now, and because the Lord was there for all 5 of us, through many hard times, and many really good times, everything turned out well and my children are now wonderful, caring, Christian adults, and they also became wonderful parents. I can’t tell you how many times I asked God for help, and he was there every time we needed Him

When I came home from Bible Study, I thought of many more time and prayed and begged God to help me. It has not always been on my time, but in the end I know that the help I received came when I needed it most.

THERE IS A SONG OUT NOW, CAN’T THINK OF THE SINGER RIGHT NOW, BUT I HEAR IT ON THE STATION: KLOVE. It says something about: “I didn’t know it would be like this… And it made me start thinking of more of my Faith Stories. IN FACT, I am now 76 years old, and when I look back on my life and what I had planned when I started out, I would have to say “I didn’t know it would be like this… I has been so much better than I ever could have imagined. If we listen really hard, maybe we will understand that God wants so much more for us than we originally ask for. I pray that all of you will have so much more to life than you expect.

PRAYER; The prayer tonight is totally unrelated to the above subject. I received a request today from Catholic Relief Services to help the Christian Refugees in Iraq, Syria and Gaza. Catholic Relief Services and Caritas are working to help these families. Together, they have assisted 350,000 war affected Syrians across the region with shelter, food, medical care, and trauma counseling and education for children. In Gaza, they wait for breaks in the violence to rush in medical supplies and relief kits. CRS is committed to meeting the most urgent humanitarian needs in all 3 places, and they will remain in each of these war-torn areas for as long as there are families who need help. But they cannot do it alone, since the funds they need come mostly from donations. You can get more information at: http://www.crs.org Remember these are normal ordinary middle class families with normal lives, and all of a sudden, they are running for their lives simply because they are CHRISTIAN. Could it happen to us???THE PRAYER FOR TO NIGHT IS FOR THESE UNKNOWN REFUGEES.

A PRAYER FOR OUR UNKNOWN FRIENDS: HEAVENLY Father, welcome into your embrace our friends overseas whose names we do not know, but whose terrible plight we rush to remedy. Bless the suffering people who struggle and sacrifice on behalf of their families. Grant them sustenance, shelter and opportunity. For this we give you thanks. Amen

CONFESSION, WHY?- MY FAITH STORY, CONT’D

IF ANYONE WANTS, I CAN GIVE YOU THE CATHOLIC DEFINITION FROM THE CATECHISM.
HOWEVER, this is what I know. Jesus told the Apostles to forgive sins. He said something like: “Go out and forgive sins, the sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven, the sins you shall retain, they are retained”. In other words, if someone asked an Apostle to forgive their sins and the Apostle didn’t think they were sorry and planning to try to avoid that sin in the future, he would not forgive the sin.

The Catholic Church came to the conclusion that Jesus meant for Priests, Bishops, and the Pope to be able to forgive sins since the take the place of the Apostles. Remember, Peter was made the first Pope when Jesus said,” upon this Rock I shall build My Church” and he was talking about Peter.

ANYWAY, Part of my Faith Journey includes Confession. I made my first Confession and then my First Communion when I was about 7 years old. This is when it occurred to me, and I think most kids, that they are really Catholic Christians. It is always a little intimidating going to church to confess something I did wrong to a Priest. Think about it. Talking to Jesus, whom you do not have to face, is quite a bit easier than looking a Priest( who represents Jesus on earth) in the face and saying you broke a Commandment, or saying that you are doing something wrong and need help to start over.
However, once I tell the Priest what I have done wrong, and what I am trying to correct, and he gives me some advice and a penance, and tells me I am forgiven, a load is off my shoulders and on to Our Lords and I no long have to worry about my sins. The penance can be a few prayers or correcting something that a person has done that needs to be fixed.
Now, I mentioned the other day that The Louisiana Supreme Court ruled that a Priest has to disclose what someone said in Confession. A Lawyer cannot disclose what a client says to him, a counselor can’t disclose what a client said to him and a Priest cannot disclose what a person says to him, no mater what it is. When a Priest becomes a Priest, this is the Oath he makes to God, and it cannot be broken. It has been that way for 2000 years and the Court in Louisiana cannot change that. A Priest would die if necessary to keep that secret. Once I or any Catholic confesses sins to a Priest, they are never mentioned again. And, it always good to realize that the Priest hears so many sins in Confession that there is no way he is going to remember mine or anyones’, and he has heard them all. So a Catholic can feel secure that his/her secrets are safe with the Priest in the Confessional.

This is why I say that we are well on the way to Persecution of Christian in this Country. A Catholic Hospital may have to close, if ordered by Obamacare to perform abortions, and Priest may have to go to jail rather than break his Oath of Confession, is this just the beginning????I hope not, but it doesn’t look good.

PRAY FOR THIS COUNTRY: OK GOD OUR CREATOR,
from your provident hand we have received our
right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
You have called us as your people and given us
the right and the duty to worship you, the only true God
and your Son, Jesus Christ.
Through the power and working of your Hold Spirit,
you call us to live out our faith in the midst of the world,
bringing the light and the saving truth of the Gospel
to every corner of society.

We ask you to bless us
in our vigilance for the gift of religious liberty.
Give us the strength of mind and heart
to readily defend our freedoms when they are threatened;
give us courage in making our voices heard
on behalf of the rights of your Church
and the freedom of conscience of all people of faith.

Grant, we pray, Oh heavenly Father
a clear and untied voice to all your sons and daughters
gathered in your Church
in this decisive hour in the history of our nation,
so that, with every trial withstood
and every danger overcome
for the sake of our children, our grandchildren, and
all who come after us-
this great land will always be “one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

FAITH STORY, CHAPTER 3, AND MY MEMORIES, 6/21 SAT

I WAS A SINGLE PARENT, AFTER MY DIVORCE, TAKING CARE OF 4 CHILDREN, IT WAS HARD WORK, FUN, VERY REWARDING AND SOMETIME VERY STRESSFUL.  I WORKED 40-45 HRS A WEEK AS AN INSURANCE ADJUSTER, AND OWNED MY OWN AMWAY, NETWORKING BUSINESS WHICH WAS ANOTHER 10-20 HRS A WEEK.  IT WAS ALL HARD WORK AND SOMETIME I GOT DISCOURAGED.  THERE WERE ANY NUMBER OF TIMES WHEN I SIMPLY PRAYED TO HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TO PAY THE MORTGAGE, GAS AND FOOD, AND IT SEEMED THAT EACH TIME I REALLY NEEDED HELP, HELP CAME.  I RECEIVED MONEY IN THE MAIL ONE TIME FROM MY RETIREMENT ACCOUNT FROM A PREVIOUS COMPANY JUST WHEN THE MORTGAGE COMPANY WAS GOING TO FORCLOSE.   I NEEDED A NEW SEPTIC SYSTEM AND THE COMPANY AGREED TO ACCEPT PAYMENTS, WHICH THEY NEVER DID.  MY OIL  company let me pay way less a month than I was supposed to, as long as I paid all summer to catch up,(This was before the payment plans came out)  I even stopped one time an bought  50 cents worth of gas, to get to work on pay day. I still remember that and much more, but it seemed God always came through. I was worried about food, my friend caught a deer, I helped him wrap it and he gave me half, meat for most of the winter.  My car wouldn’t start, the battery cable broke, myself and my sons taped it together, the car started and I got to work and the garage.  My car froze up right on the highway on the way to work, right outside my Oil Company’s house.  They drove me to work and thawed out my car so someone could drive me there on the way home from work.  My car wouldn’t start in a shopping strip mall,  I checked and a distributor cable was broken off, I looked up and there was an automotive store right in front of me.  I bought a cable, chucked the old one, and started up my car. There were so many other times when I didn’t know what to do and God came through.  I did nothing special, I just prayed every night and morning, went to church on Sunday, said my Rosary Beads once in awhile, and tried to be the mother and person God wanted me to be.

One time sticks out in my mind as the moment I knew Jesus cared about me.  I was working two jobs, I was tired and discouraged and our leaders in our Amway Marketing business held a campout in the middle of the summer, in a beautiful place in Maine.  On Sunday Morning we had an outdoor Worship Service.  It was a beautiful service, preaching and singing and then the preacher started talking about why Jesus died on the Cross.  We all usually say Jesus died for Us on the Cross.  But that day he made it personal. He looked at each one of us and said, “He died for you (say your name) and you and you, and we each said our name to ourselves.  My friends must of known I needed them, because one took my hand and one put her arm around me and of course I stood there with tears coming down my face.  It’s strange that things always happen when you need them most, isn’t it?  Only Jesus would know what I needed when I needed it.

The interesting thing was that the priest, some 30 yrs later said that same exact thing in Mass today when he talked about Holy Eucharist and why Jesus died for me and each one of us.

TODAY THE CATHOLIC CHURCH CELEBRATES: THE SOLEMNITY OF THE MOST HOLY BODY AND BLOOD OF CHRIST.

AMEN, AMEN, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.  I am the bread of life.  Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die.  I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.  (John 6:47-51)

PRAYER;  FOR YOU WE HUNGER; FOR YOU WE THIRST!

JESUS IS ALWAYS HERE FOR US. AND I AM AMAZED HOW TRUE I FOUND THAT TO BE IN MY FAITH JOUNEY.  

 

MY FAITH STORY, CHAPTER 2

These events won’t be in order because I will write them as I remember them.

THIS WOULD HAVE BEEN ABOUT 1989 or so.  I was an insurance adjuster for a company in Northern Maine, where there is a lot of wilderness and small towns.  I was assigned to go look at a house that had been repossessed by a bank and the bank wanted to know the extent of the damage and cost to repair the damage done to the house by the previous owners. I picked up the information from an agency in Houlton, they were the only ones who knew where I was going, and I was not reporting back to them.  I was supposed to go back to my office and do the report.  My secretary did not know where I was and would not have missed me until the next morning. 

I tell you all this because what happened when I went through the house still scares and amazes me, that I am still alive.  The house was all by itself with no neighbors.  I went thru the house, saw a door that went either to an attic or basement. I expected there to be something to step on when I opened the door.  It was pitch black, and as I stepped into what I expected to be a step, there was nothing.  I started to fall, grabbed a railing and hung on with both hands. If I had been paying more attention to where I was going than to the damage estimate, this might not have happened.

I don’t really know how I managed to pull myself up from nothing to the floor in the room I had left, but I did, and when I reached around for a light switch and turned on the light, there were steep stairs going down to an unfinished basement. With no top step.  I can tell you I said a prayer immediately thanking God for my life.  I realized that if I had fallen, no one would have found me until the next day, and even then unless someone noticed my car parked on the street and footsteps crossing over a snow bank, who knows when I would have been found.

Remember in the 1990s there were no cel phones and no way to communicate except pay phones and office phones. And there was no phone in that house.  I am still amazed that I am alive.  Some would say it was luck, but believe me, there is no way I grabbed that railing and pulled myself back into that room alone.  A miracle?  My Guardian Angel?  The Blessed Virgin praying for me to her Son?  Who knows, but I am still here, thank God, and God alone saved me.

I still get a lump in my stomach when I tell this story.

MY STORY OF FAITH, CHAPTER 1

My Story of Faith began when I was born.  I don’t know how I was so blessed, but I was born into a family of Catholics who truly lived their faith.  My parents brought me to be Baptized when I was a couple of weeks old.  Catholics believe we should be Baptized early to be free of Original Sin as soon as possible, and the parents promise to bring their young children up in the Faith they were Baptized in. We also have God Parents who also promise to help the parents bring their child up in the Faith.

So I was born to wonderful parents who did their absolute best to bring me up in their Faith, and teach and show me the way to get to Heaven.  They set an example and “practiced what they preached”. They were active in their church and so was I.  I went to Catholic Grade School.  If you think that makes a person holy, nooo it does not, but the Nuns taught us respect, of our parents, of the teachers and of God and the Church.  Catholics believe that it is a sin to miss Mass on Sunday, unless a person is sick or for some serious reason, so we went to church every Sunday.  It was fun for me since I got to sit beside my parents, and then after, we usually stopped to visit my Grandmother, pick up some donuts, and go home to eat breakfast. or dinner, depending how early it was. Going to Mass in my family was the beginning of a wonderful day with family. 

So for the first 12 or so years of my life, I tried to be a good person.  Didn’t always succeed and spent a lot of time sitting on a chair or being sent to my room for picking on my younger brother & sister or disobeying my parents.  The only time I was spanked on the rear was if I did something to endanger my self or someone else.  And I was never hit by my parents. 

We said the rosary every night during Lent, we went to Confession once a month, and as a child, most of the things I confessed would have been small things, but it felt good to tell the priest, knowing he represented God and that I received His Grace to go out and start anew, and try to be a better child.  We went to Mass once a week and also on special days. Being in Catholic School, we all went to Mass On Special Days during the school year.  Benediction on Sunday afternoon during Lent. Saying the Rosary every night as a family during Lent.  Belonging to Children of Mary.  Going to Christmas Parties with my parents to the organizations they belonged too. 

In case all this sounds boring, my parents knew how to make things interesting. It is fun when you are part of a family worshiping together.  Of course, sometime I went under protest, but my parents knew what was best, and of course they were right.

MOSTLY, MY PARENTS GAVE ME THE FOUNDATION I NEEDED TO MAKE GOOD DECISIONS FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE.  Of course, I didn’t make good decisions all the time, but I did have the foundation to fall back on when times got tough.  So, the rest of my Faith Story will be the good and bad decisions and how many times I was “Born Again” in the Faith.

Now that I am older and realize what my parents actually gave me, I thank God every day for giving me to parents who cared enough to teach me about God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and to teach me how to pray and to take time for prayer.

CONNIE’S MEMORIES; LENT

It’s strange the things we remember that make life growing up with our families special.  I was fortunate to be born into a family that believed in God, were strong Christian Catholics, and taught us kids the value of going to church each Sunday, of thanking God for what He gave us and enabled us to have, and best of all they taught us to take time out of a busy day to pray.  Especially during Lent.

Before I left home there were 6 of us children(one came later) and from the time I can remember, all my life, we said the Rosary every night during Lent.  No mater if my Father had to go back to work after supper, he came home around 5, we ate supper, did dishes, and ALL knelt down and said the Rosary.  If you don’t know what the Rosary is, it is the string of beads, we Catholics also call our Prayer Beads, they are blessed by the Priest, and saying the Rosary consists of The Apostle’s Creed(I Believe) The Our Father, Hair Mary, and Glory Be to the Father.  And they are said over and over, one person says the first part of the prayer, and we all answered with the second half. It takes about 20 minutes.  Believe me, by the time there were six of us kids, all kneeling down, it got quite lively.  But as a family it brought us closer together, and we had no question that our parents loved God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit and us.   It is a very wonderful feeling to know you belong.

The other thing I remember is that If I was still awake when my parents went to bed, I could hear them saying their prayers on their knees each night, praying for our family and thanking God.  It is a very comforting feeling when you are a kid to know that your parents love us and each other enough to pray together on their knees after a very long day.

God bless all you parents out there if you pray together with each other and your children, that is the best way to show love for each other and also teach your children to take time to pray.

God bless you all.