Friday, July 01, 2005

I cannot believe it has been weeks and weeks since I posted! And now it's 11:43 PM and I can barely stay awake but I want to just post a little something.

I had a fantastic visit with my nieces! What wonderful, joyful - and funny! - girls they are. Not an ounce of guile between the two of them. The little one especially will just throw herself at you and give you a smooch. She also has what is called an "old soul". Now, I do not believe in reincarnation but could God have created her soul and hung onto her for a bit before He put her soul in her body? Maybe that is heresy, I don't know. But for a seven year old she is remarkably intuitive and her recall for detail is incredible. Not to mention her Spanish accent is superb. I thought my Spanish wasn't bad but she was correcting my pronunciation of simple words like hola and leche!

More on the little miss tomorrow....

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Real Presence

The Real Presence - stumbling block to Christian unity or stepping stone to Heaven?

I am going to concentrate on the stepping stone to Heaven. I did something on Thursday that I needed to confess. We went to the Vigil tonight which worked out well as I had time to go to confession before Mass. I wasn't sure I needed to confess but figured Father would know the answer to that one. So I made my confession and instantly felt better.

During Mass I experienced a revelation of sorts at the Consecration. While I was kneeling I was caught off guard by how much I love Jesus in the Eucharist, how deeply I believe in His Real Holy Presence, how utterly profound it is to experience His love by being in total communion with Him.

That is a huge reason why I went to Confession. Even though He forgave me the moment I expressed contrition days ago I needed to take that extra step. I could never purposely commit a sin against His Holy Body and just ignore it. Obviously Holy Communion is not symbolic in the Catholic Church and to me which is why it is so important to approach the Table with a clear conscience.

It is amazing to me how all the Sacraments belong together, how they work together to bring us closer to Christ. None of them can stand alone. Only God could have come up with such a brilliant plan!

Friday, June 10, 2005

Happy and sad at the same time.

This Spring my emotions have been on a bit of a roller coaster ride. It started with the Terry Schiavo death watch. As a Catholic I don't even need to explain how wrong starving someone is. Heck, as a decent human being I don't need to explain it!

Then our beloved pope John Paul II passed away. He had been pope since I was 14 years old and it seemed he would reign forever. I forgot he was human. But I was pleased to see Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger elected pope.

Next thing you know the imminent arrival of baby Michelle presented us with a new set of worries. First Ella, her mama, had no medical insurance. At the eleventh hour she finally she got it. Then the doctors feared Michelle was not growing anymore due to an inefficient placenta so Ella had to be induced and labor took two days! I am sure I gnawed my nails down to my knuckles.

In the interim, my favorite uncle was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The only good thing about cancer is that it gives one a little time to sort out one's affairs and for the family to rally around and make amends where needed. This was the case for our family. The ironic twist is that my uncle was given 4 - 8 months to live. From the day of that prediction he lasted just under 6 weeks. I think the fact that he was reconciled with his family after a major falling out years ago had a lot to do with that. But only God knows for sure.

Now it is June and in a week we will be seeing baby Michelle for the first time. Oh, we've seen photos - but to see her in person will be wonderful! And to kiss her little face and her hands and toes....!

Joe said Guy has our Father's Day activities all planned out. We are going to Butchart Gardens. I said to Joe that I could not believe that this young man who, at 17 years of age, accused me of making his father "soft" all those years ago, is taking us to a 55 acre floral display garden for Father's Day!!!! Yes, truth is stranger than fiction.

This spring has been happy and sad. But that is life.

And remember - old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill!!!!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Happy St. Ephram's Day

Didn't realize I had been away from the blog for so long! It's been busy here. I am happy to announce we will soon go on a weekend trip to see our new grand-daughter. She will be 3 weeks already on June 10!

The weekend after we see her I am flying off to see my baby brother. We have not seen each other in seven years. His daughters are getting to be big girls and I know we are going to have such fun! I even bought new pajamas for our girl's PJ party. My SIL can come but not my brother! Nyah, nyah, Robbie - no boys allowed.

Our pastor has been away on retreat and I have really missed weeknight Mass. I usually go on Tuesday nights and sometimes on Thursday. I went tonight and I am glad I did. I needed to be filled up. I wouldn't say I am in a dry spell - just a lazy one. I can't remember the last time I prayed my Rosary, cracked open a Bible or went to Adoration. But today is a good day to start!

Well, I am really too tired to write but I just wanted to put this out there so the 2 people that acually read this blog will know I am still alive!

Oh - and St. Ephram - you can read about him here.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Feast of Corpus Christi

Moses said to the people:
"Remember how for 40 years now the Lord, your God,
has directed all your journeying in the desert,
so as to test you by affliction
and find out whether or not it was your intention
to keep his commandments.
He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger,
and then fed you with manna,
a food unknown to your fathers,
in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the Lord.
Deuteronomy 8:2-3

Today's reading really speaks to me.
For nearly 40 years I wandered through a spiritual desert.
Terrible things happened to me and my family.
While I never stopped believing in God I did not keep His commandments.
I hungered for peace and tranquility and communion.
I was nearly drowning but God kept me bobbing up and down in the toxic stew I had made of my life.
Eventually He prevailed over my self-will and I gave my life over to Him.
I returned to Mass but had to wait 18 months to receive the Sacraments. It was the best thing that could ever have happened to me.
I learned to pray the Rosary, went to Eucharisitic Adoration, studied the Sacraments. I stopped going through the motions and began to live like an orthodox Catholic. I started to feel more at peace.

On June 3, 2004 I was finally able to receive Holy Communion again. The tear in my soul was healed. My broken heart was mended. I was a whole person again! This is what Jesus does for us when we receive Him in Holy Communion. What a perfect way to come to us and nourish us and love us. So simple and yet so profound.

Thank you Jesus!

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Aaaaaaaaaah, that's better

Went to Confession. Father was great! He is just visiting this weekend while our regular pastor is away. I look forward to hearing his homily on Corpus Christi! Speaking of which, now I am really glad I went to confession - now I can receive the Body and Blood with my heart and soul cleansed and refreshed.

God is good!

Got sins?

Well, it's been a few days since I posted! It's not that I had nothing to write but just wasn't up to putting it down in black and white. Of course we are deleriously happy about our new grandbaby. We have received quite a few photos of her and she is beautiful. But I just wanted to stay on that little pink cloud of self-satisfaction for a bit.

So, here I am back in the land of Ugh. In some ways it has not been a good week because I always feel discombobulated after a long weekend. Must be one of the downfalls of getting older - needing to be stuck in that rut. I guess I am not good with change.

Another thing that would have made the week better is if we had Mass on Tuesday and Thursday night as usual. But, Father was out of town so no Mass. I also neglected to go to Adoration which I could easily have done on Wednesday night. Furthermore I did not do any Bible reading this week nor did I pick up any of my numerous books on Catholicism. And to top that off I have lost my little prayer book by Fr. Benedict Groeschel. However, if somebody found that book and it helped them - then it was meant to be. The book was only $12 and I can always order another one with my next book order. (Amazon is both one of the world's best inventions and the worst!!!)

So Friday morning comes along and having become spiritually malnourished (hardly prayed at all this week to boot) I was sitting at my desk and I could literally feel the nastiness bubbling up in my soul. I knew if I didn't nip it in the bud somebody was going to cross my path and I was going to let them have it. And it happened late Friday afternoon as I predicted.

The thing that makes me mad is that I knew full well that my stinky attitude was going t make me lose my dignity. So, why didn't I offer my day up to the Lord? Why didn't I pray for guidance and that He would speak through me with both love and humor. I was being stubborn yesterday thinking like an 8 year old - "I don't want to be good". Really!!

So what to do, what to do? Well, I am going to Confession tonight. I feel dirty and yucky and stupid. I am going to use Fr. Z's tips for making a good confession. I did go to Adoration last night and prayed about the situation but I need to voice the words and my sorrow. Can't do that at Adoration where there is a strict rule of silence except when we sometimes pray the Rosary.

Huh. I feel a bit better already just thinking about going to confession.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Thoughts of Oma

I was thinking about my maternal grandmother last night. When she was my age (40) she had just lived through WWII and had 5 children all under the age of 6. In fact her second child had Down' s Syndrome and the last two babies had both arrived in 1944, one in February and one in December. The winter of 1944/45 was extremely harsh with many people dying of starvation and from the bitter cold.

My paternal grandmother was 35 when the war ended and she had three children under the age of 6. During the war my grandfather had been sent away to a work camp but escaped. He came home long enough to get my grandmother pregnant with their third child but then had to disappear again. Since my grandmother was German and living in Holland these were tough times for her. The neighbourhood people viewed her with suspicion because of her nationality. If it were not for her in-laws helping her she and the children may not have survived. The Nazis came to her home on at least one occasion to offer food in exchange for information on the whereabouts of any Jewish people that might be hiding. She refused.

I cannot even fathom what these two strong women endured. In my spoiled North American existence I cannot begin to comprehend the sacrifices these women made to raise my parents.

More on their struggles later.