A TEACHING MOMENT-OFFER IT UP

This was not the Blog I had planned for this AM but our Deacon Dave wrote in the church bulletin about a subject I have been talking about ever since I had breast cancer in 2001 or 2001.  My mother used to say this to me, it may be a Catholic way of praying that goes back hundreds of years, but it makes sense. OFFER IT UP…offer your suffering up for another, here it is:

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“I remember when I was much younger when I would stub my toe, get a cut on my finger, had a stomach ache, or just plain felt ill, my mother said I should, ‘offer it up.’ I often wondered just what that meant. Through the years, I would use those those words often, but her meaning never really sunk in deeply until I had encountered other types of sufferings later on in life.

Her explanation still rings in my ears. “Offer up your pain and suffering to God as a sacrifice.” My reply was often, ‘to what? For what?’ The teachings of the Church had not been firmly embedded in me at the time. I had no heard of ‘REDEMPTIVE SUFFERING’and if I had, I probably wouldn’t have understood it fully.

In short, redemptive suffering is attaching whatever pain, suffering, or discomfort you may have to Christ’s suffering on the cross for relief for the souls in Purgatory, for the specific relief of someone else’s pain and suffering, or given to God to be used as He sees fit.

It isn’t that Christ did not suffer enough, so that he needs our miseries to be added to his: it is just that he allows us to be part of the healing out of pure love.  The simplest and clearest analogy I’ve heard is that of a mother, baking a chocolate cake in the kitchen. She has everything she needs and doesn’t need anything or anyone else to help. In comes her little three year old daughter who says, ‘Mumma, can I help?’ And love receives. Love doesn’t say, ‘No thanks, I have enough, goodbye.’ So mother says, ‘Sure, honey.’ and the little girl throws in her attempt with a half beaten egg and mess of flower.

Shift gears. God doesn’t NEED our help. But if we offer our painful feet, our pesky cold, our cancer , our heart problems, our annoyance with the person who just cut us off in traffic to God and say, ‘GOD, PLEASE TAKE THIS___________as a gift and unite it to your suffering on the cross. Use it for.._____________or whatever way you wish.’  That is making the best possible use of suffering. WHY WASTE IT?”

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And there you have it.  WHY WASTE IT? Don’t think this is easy. Sometime the pain and suffering is so much you can’t think…teach others in your family to help you think about “Offering it up” when you are in extreme suffering that never seems to end. This is what is so wrong and so hard about assisted suicide, which is so wrong, and devastating, but sometime may seem the only answer for you or those who love you. Remember GOD HAS A PLAN, so offer up your suffering for someone who is worse off than you. Teach your family to do the same things.  It does mater, God does listen, He does have a plan for you and He is in control. (Suffering on this earth may get you straight to heaven, we won’t know until we get there)

PRAYER;  Heavenly Father, you cannot be outdone in generosity, for you have given us the gift of life in the Spirit. Give us the grace to be open to this gift, that we may serve you and our brothers and sisters. Through Christ our Lord. Amen

THE FEAST OF THE ANNUNCIATION

I meant to write this Sat. March 25, since that was the Feast of the Annunciation. This is the day we celebrate:  Luke 1:26-38

The Angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And coming to her, he said, “Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.” But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” And the angel said to her in reply, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren; for nothing will be impossible for God.: Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her.

CANTICLE OF MARY:  And Mary told Elizabeth  (Luke 1:46-55)

MY SOUL proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the might from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever.

GLORY TO THE FATHER, AND TO THE SON, and to the HOLY SPIRIT, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen


The Glory Be to the Father is a prayer Catholics say often.  If only we would be as willing to do what God asks without question.   Here is a prayer for that:

Jesus, You became flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Pray for me, that I may deny myself and choose God’s will for my life, for I know and believe that He is a good Father and will lead me to salvation. Amen

 

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.”

 

 

ASH WEDNESDAY, MARCH 1, GRACE TO BEGIN

Joel 2:12-18; 2 Cor. 5:20-6:2; Mt 6:1-6, 16-18

We begin our Lenten journey today. Ash Wednesday is a day to recognize our smallness before God. “Remember, you are dust, and to dust you wil return.” the priest says as he makes a cross of ashes across our forehead.

In today’s first reading, Joel writes about a day of darkness and gloom, a day of events that are a sign of the coming day of the Lord when those who oppose the Lord’s righteous will shall be punished.

It’s easy to believe that all is right in the world when the sun shines and the flowers bloom. It is likewise easy to be afraid when the sky turns black and threatening.

During Lent, we’re called to repentance, rending “our hearts, not our garments,” as the prophet Joel writes (2:13). We’re called to recognize Jesus as our Merciful Savior. The more we turn our gaze toward the Cross, the more grace we will receive to bear our own crosses.

Ash Wednesday is a day of atonement for us. Turn to Jesus with trust and let Him lead you this Lent.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, help me to glorify Your mercy and lift my heart to You again. Help me to fully surrender to You, knowing that You hold me in the palm of Your hand. Amen

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As we begin the holy season of Lent, we are encouraged by these words of Pope Francis: “During Lent, let us all ask the Lord: Make our hearts like yours. In this way we will receive a heart that is firm and merciful, attentive and generous.. a heart that is not closed, indifferent, or prey to the globalization of indifference.

MAY your living out of Lent be a time of many graces and the joy of being made new in Jesus Christ.  God bless you all.

 

THE UNITED STATES, TRUMP ADMIN, WITCHES AND US.

Some of you may have heard the press being excited again because the witches in Our Country, the U.S., are calling up some kind of bad signs against the Trump Admin, which means they are against us and Our Country.  I would not ordinarily mention this, except when they all get together and call up more EVIL, they are calling up the Devil. When the Devil is called, he comes, which brings more trouble for us and our Country.  They may target Trump, BUT ANYTIME EVIL IS CALLED AGAINST THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, IT IS LEASHED AGAINST US AND OUR COUNTRY.  I put that in caps because it is so important. When Evil is unleashed, it is unleashed against us since it is our Government.

HERE IS WHAT WE CAN DO….PRAY, anytime and all the time. However, Jesus told St. Faustina,about praying at 3 o’clock each day. He called  it the HOUR OF GREAT MERCY. He said, “At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This  is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My passion.”   As second time he told St. Faustina, “………In this hour you can obtain everything for yourself and for others for the asking; it was the hour of grace for the whole world – mercy triumphed over justice……………………….”

NOW, you could pray for evil on those witches, but as Jesus said, “They know not what they do.”  SO, we pray, for OUR COUNTRY, FOR OUR CITIZENS, FOR OUR GOVERNMENT AND THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, FOR OUR CONGRESSMEN/WOMEN, AND WE PRAY FOR THOSE WHO ARE SO ANGRY, AND SO FILLED WITH HATE, THAT THEY WILL LEARN TO LOVE AND FOR THEIR CONVERSION.

So folks, that is how we overcome Evil in this Country and the World. If you and I all pray at 3PM every day, are as often as we think of it, say a one line prayer,ASK JESUS for a blanket of protection over our Government and our leaders.  THINK  how powerful that will be against Evil in this country and the world. Remember, it is always 3PM somewhere, so there will be praying almost continually. GOD ALWAYS WINS, AND WE NEED HIM NOW.

GOD BLESS YOU ALL!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LITTLE BLUE BOOK, ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS SEASONS

Dedicated to Bishop Ken Untener who was inspired to create the Little Books. There are several short reflections on the infancy narrative of St. Luke, that I enjoyed and think you all will also, food for thought.

JOY OF THE GOSPEL, On Nov. 24, 2013 Pope Francis issued a pastoral exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium (“The Joy of the Gospel) which urged a joyful proclamation of the Gospel to the world. “I INVITE ALL Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them; I ask all of you to do this unfailingly each day,” wrote Pope Francis in the exhortation, whose publication came at the conclusion of the Year of Faith

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ZECHARIAH AND ELIZABETH go home. I’m not told where this is but later, when Mary visits their home, I learn that it was “a town of Judah” (the same part of the land as Jerusalem) in the “hill country.”

Elizabeth soon learns that she is pregnant, as the angel had promised, and she expresses heer joy at what God has done for her.  PRAYERS of THANKSGIVING are the easiest to say. Every day, even on bad days, I come across all sorts of things that can remind me of God’s goodness–trees, little children, warm water in the shower, the sound of birds, a good burger, the sun, moon, stars, a kindness someone does for me. (and I will add,”the beauty around me after a wet snow storm, when the trees and every bush is covered in white). If I keep my eyes open for them, I can catch lots of things I never really noticed as “gifts” before–things that deserve a simple word of thanks to God.  If I haven’t done it often enough this week, right now might be a good time for a prayer of thanksgiving to God.

SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD

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FINDING JOY AT CHRISTMAS

We often feel Christmas should be a “sugar plum” day with no touch of sadness. We feel we mustn’t let the sad parts of our lives into this special day. Suffering spois it. Let only gladness fill the air.

BUT CONSIDER ANOTHER APPROACH: Instead of avoiding all the sadness and trying to create a Hallmark Christmas, savor the richness of a savior born into a broken world, for broken hearts, to bring healing.

This is the feast of a God who so loved this world-my world-with its better and worse. Let the love of this feast touch the better and the worse, and I’ll find a deep down joy that can bring tears to my eyes. This mixture fits the feast. The event as Bethlehem wasn’t a Disney World experience. It was a time of both bliss and sorrow.

The joy of Christmas is that light overcomes darkness. It’s the good news of the angel to the shepherds: Today a savior has been born for you…for all that is happy in you, and all that is sad in you. Don’t hide the sad feelings. For some, it is the first Christmas with a newborn child or a grandchild. For others, it is the first Christmas without  their mother, father, husband, wife, child, close friend. For all of us it is Christmas celebrated in imperfect lives in an imperfect world.

WHEN WE remember who Jesus was and why he came, we can let him come into our real life, and then experience what it means to have a merry Christmas.

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SPEND SOME QUIET TIME WITH THE LORD.

More another time……………………