Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Election Novena: Joyful Mysteries

The Joyful Mysteries, as prayed for this year's election, were written by myself. I hope this can help you in further reflection as it did for me and my family. It may not be a "wow-you-over" kind of prayer, but it's something...

1. The Annunciation = The "Yes!"

May we too say "yes" to voting for our values, not just because it is our obligation - but because we desire it too. May we say "yes" to going to the polls, to accepting our role as Faithful Citizens. May we put God's will above our own. God's will to let all living things prosper and die on his own terms - not ours.

2. The Visitation = Recognition

Like Elizabeth recognized Mary as the Mother of God, may we recognize the person God would choose to be our nation's leader. May we be excited and enthused about this valuable candidate. Bring into our lives others wiser than we may be to help us in this decision.

3. The Nativity = A Gift

The nativity represents many gifts: the shelter of the manger, the christ child, the wise men's gifts, the guiding star... May we follow that guiding star, spend time in quiet adoration and thoughtful prayer and worship, and open the doors to our hearts and let Jesus dwell within us. We pray for a respect of all life, the ability to live humbly, and the willingness to give our vote as a gift to God. Let each of our votes be given to represent so many of those babies unable to make this decision.

4. The Presentation = Guidance

Mary and Joseph knew the proper place to go gor guidance. Like them, may we turn to the CatholicChurch for guidance and instruction. On how to vote, what to pray for, what to hope foe, and what to do if the wrong person is elected. May we offer our lives as a service to God, rather than for ourselves.

5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple = Learn

Jesus proved himself knowledgeble in the presence of the elders. May we continue to educate ourselves in the faith - immerse ourselves in the Church's teachings about being a faithful citizen. Lord, help us spend more time in prayer this week, and help other find Christ to be their true leader and teacher in all of life's situations. Let the Holy Spirit be our guide.


Illuminating Mysteries

While praying the Mysteries of Light last Thursday in Adoration, I noticed a trend in affirmation of my earlier thoughts and the need for the Sacraments. Read along and open your heart to the Guidance of the Holy Spirit incase he has a message for you too.

1. Christ's Baptism in the Jordan

a. We are to set an example of ourselves, as Jesus did that day.
b. The Sacrament of Baptism is especially necessary to enter Heaven, and also to be able to move from having a life to living it for a greater purpose.

2. The Wedding at Cana

a. Even Mary says, "Listen to my son." She directs attention to Him, and in that moment he "grows up" and becomes the man we know Him as.

b. This also time reflects on the Sacrament of Marriage and the respect it deserves.

3. Proclamation of the Kingdom

a. There is a purpose to our lives and there is a greater cause to live for... That by being faithful, we will someday enjoy the fruits of our labor (as demended to us by God in Genesis) in Heaven. And this mystical place is open to anyone who wants it and works towards it.

b. This emphasizes out need for living out God's Commandments and His Will for us.

c. This call may include the Sacrament of Holy Orders, in order to fulfill His Will, or another vocation in which we give ourselves completely in service to God.
4. The Transfiguration of Jesus

a. Change - we need to be willing to change and accept God's Will for us, in whatever direction that may lead.

b. In the transfiguration, Jesus is defined as the Son of God and greater than those prophets who came before Him. We too must define our lives and acknowledge God's greatness.

c. When we ackowledge a changing point in our faith lives, where we change from Children of God to Soldiers for Christ - this point is when we recieve the Sacrament of Confirmation.

5. Institution of the Eucharist

a. The best way to make this all happen is to refresh ourselves with the Word of God, and participate in the Eucharist as often as possible - at Mass.

b. This is why the Sacrament of Holy Communion is so important, because God grants us Graces in that moment - that help us deal with every day circumstances and it revives our faith. Our desire to serve Him increases at Mass if we are truly open to receiving Him.

Thank you for taking the time to read my enlightening moment. Leave a comment if this has touched your life today in some way.

God Bless!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I know EXACTLY what I am doing.

FOLLOW-UP: For those who came to this blog from my email link sent on election day, click here to make your comments. It is a copy of my email with a link to a followup letter from a bishop after the election was over. So many seem to agree that what I have written is not a harsh opinion, rather a serious truth.

Last night I watched Hannity's
Top Ten Reasons not to vote for Obama

Here they all are, and I agree with every single one of them. Well put Hannity!

10. Judgement

9. Media Darling; 8. A Heartbeat Away

7. Consistancy; 6. Out of the Mainstream

5. To Many Democrats; 4.Divisive Politics

3. Taxes & Spending; 2. Foreign Policy

1. Experience

You see, while the defense for all life is my main reason for chosing McCain over Obama... everything else just seems to back it up! That is why so many of us say, if you are not respecting of life at ALL stages - only evil can follow your reign.

For those out there that we bump into on a daily basis, who say - "Hey, you're a union worker - you should vote for Obama because he's for unions..." talking about my husband, a union carpenter. Here's some info for all of you!!!

I vote for what I believe is good AND a moral choice for our country. Hence, the above topics.

I do not like unions. I think it is rediculous that we have to form unions in order to get fair pay and fair benefits. This should happen no matter who you work for. I do not like that unions force you to work for ONLY unions, even when work it scarce. I do not like unions because they do not find you other permanent work, infact my husband pays someone to find him work (and they don't) and he ends up having to call all the same companies and find the job himself. I do not like unions because they send such a negative vibe that either you vote for a democrat or you're seen as a traitor.

The only thing I like about unions is the fact that you get paid what you are worth BY FORCE (which is silly), and because they get free training to stay up to date. Well, all I gotta say about that is - McCain is trying to do this without having to form unions. Fair pay and fair benefits for everyone.

Okay, now I hear you all saying - well Obama is going to do this with his tax plan and universal health care plan. What a load of crap. All he's doing is trying to create a world where the poor feel comfortable staying poor and the people who have worked their butts off have to pay them to sit on their butts. Yes, I said it. I have heard real stories about people around here who turn down great jobs because it would "take away" their "welfare benefits." Can you believe it!? I know several men around here in the union who refuse work, because they want to just live off unemployment for their summer or winter vacation.

Yes, we opt to apply for unemployment benefits when Tom is unable to find work. But he is spending every day of those 1-6 months looking, and applying at every job known to man, even jobs he's never done before and jobs that are non-union. He does what is right for our family. That's always top priority!

So what are the priorities in your life? What the union hall is telling you to do? Or can you think for yourself, and realize that this world will be worse off with a president who supports unions, but is for the poor - NOT the middle class.

Okay, I hear another complainer saying - are you against the poor?! Heck no. I am all for helping the poor. 60% of this year I have been low income, standing in the food shelf line. But we've worked hard at coming back to where we are now. We made sure we didn't "settle into" the giveaways of the government and community. That's how it is supposed to work.

And if McCain becomes president, you bet you are going to find me cheering him on in his endeavors to promote nuclear energy - considering my husband works at the local nuclear power plant. You bet I am going to let him know we need to fight for fair wages and benefits, and not let people slack off and settle into government giveaways. I am going to back him in becoming independent in our own resources, and lowering taxes for corporations so they can afford to keep thousands at work and keep that work here in the US!

There are a million and one reasons I am voting this way, and I strongly believe that any union worker who thinks we are traitors or uninformed - are seriously wrong! We know EXACTLY what we are doing. And those signs in our front yard and on our vehicles are evidence of that.

Okay, I'm tired of explaining myself. Going to be with my family!

Bravely Voting Republican,

Having faith and living faithfully.

Courageous Love:
Lesson 3 Faith and the Life of Grace
Women's Study Group meeting on Oct 23, 2008

We open with prayer, and discuss next Sunday's Gospel. The discussion went something like this...

Next Sunday's Gospel: Matthew 22: 34-40
The Greatest Commandment
Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: "Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Melissa: I feel that from this reading and this lesson, which are so similar, make it clear that evangelization and worship go hand in hand. That one is worthless without the other. That is why I suggest that our resolution for the next two weeks is to reach out to our neighbor in a spiritual way, specifically asking God to pick that person for us. Perhaps to ask someone to come worship with us at church.

Clarissa: The word "All" seems so emphasized in this reading. "All" meaning our entire being for God, can seem overwhelming. And to love neighbors, who may be enemies... all hard to do. This must have been a radical teaching at the time.

Christine & Sandy: I've experienced "hard to love" neighbors. How DO you love someone so full of evil?

Melissa: When he said, "Love your neighbor" it continues to say "as yourself," which means simply to be an example to others, including those who are evil in actions, and treat them respectfully. [It is not our duty to be evil to those who are evil. We are to be respectful of them as a person created by God, regardless of how they choose to live their life.]

L: Spoke of an account where Leppers grabbed someone in an effort to disrespectfully be near them, and this religious leader in turn embraced them tighter in consolation.
[Is this like that quote: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." ? Are we to embrace our enemies with so much love and concern that it just rubs off and melts their hard hearts...]

Jamie: Has had lasting negative feelings and fear associated with hateful blog comments. Always wondering who's really out there on the streets of today?

Ann Marie: How many missed opportunities are there, when the Holy Spirit has moved us to do something, and we either didn't recognize it until later or ignored it all together?

Resolution: Reach out to your neighbor in a spiritual way.

Afterwards, we discuss our answers in the book. It was very enlightening, and quite the challenge to my faith life. I realize that God will continue to call me to be his lips and hands, even when I am seemingly busy. And this lesson points out, that even though we do good works, we also need to brush up on our knowledge of the faith inorder to profess it better.

Adoration time in reflection:
Okay God, before I can even remember to ask you for the name of the "neighbor" I neglected to evangelize to... you are already presenting me with the name [of a cousin] over and over again in my head. I can't even seem to let in any other possiblity.

So while [this cousin] is one of the lost souls in need of harvesting, I can't help but wonder...
I missed the opporunity so long ago, is it too late? [Just like in 1 Samuel 3 where he is being called over and over again.] No - God keeps calling for me. These cousins in mind are close to me, and we've "grown up" together - even though we are all still so very young. I want to speak to them because I care about them and their souls so deeply, but I fear losing that closeness with every holy word I speak.

I take this moment to pause and thank God for all in my life, especially Tom, who has "grown" in faith with me - with little debate.

Why are there so many fixated on "FEELING" the presence of God at chuch? Why, when there is a certain way to physically TOUCH Christ in the Eucharist? If they only knew. In today's lesson of Courageous Love, the woman knows she will be healed if she touches Jesus' robe. Jesus feels the "rush" of his power moving from him. What an exhilirating thought. At the end of the lesson there is a focus on the Eucharist, which at first seemed like another chapter by itself, but now I see the connection, that your Eucharistic body gives us more graces - a rush of Godly healing into our soul - each time we receive the Eucharist and you become a part of us! That's the FEELING I crave. This kind of rush MUST be comparable in exhiliration that those who stray to another religion are searching for. What can we do to make sure they see it here in the Catholic religion? If anyone wants to "feel good" when they are at church, the worship in song and prayer is exciting... but not near as affirming as knowing Christ Jesus, the Son of God, is now physically dwelling within you. If He is within you, your faith is bound to "grow." Nourish yourself often, and it will only increase. Just as this lesson was getting at. Now that's a RUSH!

Oh, how our lives are changed by our testings and trials in our lives and its affect on our faith. Some have simply failed the test and need someone or something to draw them back to the true path.

"Is it I, Lord?
Here I am Lord."

"I will go Lord, if you lead me." I will pursue this challenge because you have called me to it and you will bring me through it.

But you know my fears and anxieties. Consuole me. I am shaking in my boots at the thought of approaching someone so close to me on such a personal matter. But I will keep in mind, this is about Your Glory and Honor, not my social life.

With God, I can hope all things, endure all things...

2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge you in the presence of God and of
Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and
his kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient
or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and
teaching. For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound
doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will
accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be
diverted to myths. But you, be self-possessed in all circumstances; put up
with hardship; perform the work of an evangelist; fulfill your ministry.

1 Corinthians 13
tells us of this LOVE we should have for our
neighbor - in specifically in verse 7 - It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Thank you, Lord, for this revelation! Holy Spirit, continue to guide me. Mary, be my example. St. Michael and Guardian Angel - guard and defend me. Amen.

SO - I challenge you to go out and do the same.

I will post later, my "Illuminating" rosary that was said that same night, and what it means for us as Catholics who have faith AND live faithfully. I also will post the Joyful Mysteries we said yesterday for our Election Novena which began Sunday Oct 26, 2008.

God Bless!

See a beautiful adoration chapel here. It has a beautiful mosaic behind the monstrance.

4th folder, 4th picture MEME

Okay, I've been holding off - but it didn't take too long...

Open the 4th picture in the 4th folder of your "My Pictures" folders. Here's mine...
Its my first day of ... forever.

In just a couple week's that photo will be 29 years old.
God Bless!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Civic Duty as Catholics - this weekends homily

Jesus says in this weekend's readings...
'Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's,
and to God the things that are God's.'

I strongly urge you to read my dad's homily from this weekend about a Catholic's civic duty, click here!

OR visit his website anytime: A Wealth of Wisdom

God Bless you and yours!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's not a bailout, it's a Rescue Plan!

I got an email this past week from a friend, labeled "Non-partican" - yeah right.
It was from: Donald E. Wildmon, Founder and Chairman American Family Association
Maybe you got it?

Well I did, and it pissed me off to no end. While I wanted to reply quickly with "you mnoron, how can you be so gullable and pass this on to more gullable people?" I decided to write this about my own knowledge on the $700 bil rescue plan. I never got the nerve to send it to her, so here is my reply on my blog - the one I write about anything and everything I want to without disregard to who sees it.

I need to vent!

I am sorry to have to say this so directly, but it really irks me how quickly people pass on the negative rumors, and many willingly accept them as truth. I just want it to stop. The email you forwarded is just another liberal rampage to scare the American people into believing that our government is full of idiots who don’t care about the average citizen. FALSE. Liberals and Democrats love to point fingers, lie, and stay bitter. And if people want to point fingers, point them at yourselves because we’re electing these people who make these decisions. That’s who the blame lies upon. [Not to mention the greed of the every day citizen, ALL low to middle to high income people.]

There are too many bitter Americans out there as is who are not checking out facts. Why become so bitter before you know the truth about this plan, which this email sent below did not express. Do your research before pushing such inaccurate facts to other people who may be more gullible and just take someone else’s word for it.

That’s one thing I’ve learned with this election and “bailout bill” process, that you have to do your own research. Because media and personal emails are very biased and simply want to “jerk your chain” not properly inform you. Is that what you want?

Did you know that we were reliving the days of the Great Depression’s stock market crash of 1929?
Did you know that if they hadn’t passed this bill, we’d be much worse off?
Were you rooting for a recession or a depression? Because those were our choices.

Did you know that it’s not $700 billlion all at once, that’s just a cap off number over 2 years?
It is the equivalent (not expense) of around $3500 per person NOT $37,000 per person? That’s just to show people what that much money looks like, not that we have to pay a single penny of that. We don’t owe the [whatever] amount!!!!
In fact, there is a chance of making money on this decision! Overall it is still better for us. Many people will be able to keep their homes because of this “Rescue Bill.” The housing market should grow, and loans will become available again. But don’t expect a one week fix.

Think of it like a credit consolidation company, buying your loans and renegotiating them…
Many of “Middle Class Americans” have been there. You have been there.

Did you know that what we can do is be responsible citizens and don’t take on more than we can chew!?
Did you know that what we can do is be the responsible corporate people who don’t take advantage of others?
Did you know that what we can do is elect government officials that look out for the good of the nation, and not themselves.
Did you know that the best thing we can do is PRAY that those in charge will make the best decisions for all of us?

Again, it’s what’s best for our Country not just for you.

So instead of sending out negative vibes and emails that promise nothing but a negative vibe…
Pray to God who promises us he will answer our prayers according to his will.
And do your best to research and contemplate what is really happening, and stop pointing fingers.
Why are you so consumed with blaming someone? That isn’t Christian? Lets move forward with the plan we’ve got!

7 Questions About the $700 Billion Bailout

Feds Seek to Bring Stability to Market After Passing Wall Street Rescue

Financial Crisis: How to Stop the Panic: The world's governments are shocked and dismayed by their inability to stop the increasingly grave financial crisis. Nothing they have attempted has gotten lending flowing normally. Profitable companies are cut off from borrowing. Confidence is shot. Through Oct. 7 the U.S. stock market had its worst five-day performance since 1932 on fears of a severe economic downturn. Says Stephen Jen, currency economist at Morgan Stanley (MS) in London: "The choices for the real economy are between a recession and a depression."


What happens when a Senator dies?


While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

'Welcome to heaven,' says St. Peter. 'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'

'No problem, just let me in,' says the man.

'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'

'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the senator.

'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.' And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell.

The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne. Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly & nice guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises...

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. 'Now it's time to visit heaven.'

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

'Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.'

The senator reflects for a minute, then he answers:
'Well, I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.

'So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above.The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

'I don't understand,' stammers the senator. 'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.What happened?'

The devil looks at him, smiles and says,
'Yesterday we were campaigning..
..Today you voted.'

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Dignity of Women

Notes from reading "Courageous Love" written by Stacy Mitch
Lesson 2: The Dignity of Womanhood

This particular lesson is about being a woman and also what that means in marriage.

Q1a: In what ways has modern feminism advanced the cause of women?
A1a: Modern feminism has done some good by bringing to attention the works and efforts of women. However there is a difference between taking pride in your work and bring prideful. Feminism has opened up opportunities for the "feminine touch" to reflect in our society. Single women and mothers are now able to be self sufficent financially when they have no one else to help them out. It has expanded our education opportunities. Women can vote. Modern feminism has brought forth some fruitful things worth commending. [But don't get me wrong, there is a negative affect.]

Q1b: In what areas of life is the cause of women still in need of progress?
A1b: It is being rooted in selfishness and lacking morality. There has been a change in making it harder for women to be feminine and stay at home. Where this used to be common place, it is now seen as a sign of weekness, submission, and other sterotypes.

Have we really gone from "Stepford Wives" to "Desperate Housewives"?

OKay, I must stop here to let you know that I am not against the working mother. I simply wish that it wasn't a necessity, rather a choice that only must come with financial difficulties. Not used as an escape into selfishness and defining self-worth.

Q2b: What do you think it means to be a woman?
A2b: A women is feminine, sociable, prayerful and is drawn to care and service of many kinds. A woman has a diginified and moral lifestyle dedicated to the tasks of God's vocation set for her. Overall, her life is lived like a prayer.

*Pope John Paul II said (p29)
"Women must not appropriate to themselves male characteristics
contrary to their own feminine 'originality'...
an enourmous richness."

Q3a: What are some of the pitfalls of modern feminism?
A3a: Liberal feminists belive that housewives are lacking in social opportunities, seeing it as a burden rather than the blessing that it is. I myself made the decision to give up my many freedoms in hope for this better life I've found as a mother.

Because of their desire to be equal to men, they give up their feminity through various means including removing fertility, subjecting themselves to pills and abortions. These women put off marriage and children for personal success and adventure. They make their life for themselves and not for God. And it can be hard, because it is not God's natural way.

Challenge: For heaven sakes, type in images.google.com first "Womanhood" then "feminism" and tell me what you see!

In order to find our original purpose as a woman/wife, we have to look back at the first woman - Eve.
Q4b: Why did God create Eve? And what are its implications?
A4b: God said in Genesis that "it is not good that man be alone. I will make him a helper as his partner." This is a humble role, but active part. "While the man is the head of the family, the woman is the heart, and they are mutually dependent." #27 "This subjection, however, does not deny or take away the liberty which fully belongs to the woman both in view of her dignity as a human person, and in view of her most noble office as wife and mother and companion; nor does it bid her obey her husband's every request if not in harmony with right reason or with the dignity due to wife; nor, in fine, does it imply that the wife should be put on a level with those persons who in law are called minors..."
So we are to be submissive to our husbands, but not in a way that jeopordizes our right to diginity and respect. And as a married couple we become complete, whole, and depend on each other. It's not a one way street as some people think is the traditional way.
WITHIN THIS LESSON there are several refernces to women in the bible and I was taken by surprise how often. I still recommend this book to anyone trying to find their womanhood as God has designed for us in the single or married life.

In contemplation over this lesson, I definately can see why I haven't acheived my goal to be "lady-like." I seem to have used my knowledge and understanding of things (matters of life and faith) as a dominant weapon in my marriage instead of a tool, and sometimes with others. I will have much trouble becoming more submissive in my role as a wife. Just today, before reading this lesson, I had already felt compelled to be a more traditional housewife. But I let my old habbits take over my busy-ness.

I ask:

How can I humbly use my intellegence and understanding without seeming prideful, arrogant, or snobbish?

How do I appropriately speak with and inform others who are not as knowlegeable and perceptive as me without making them feel like idiots?

I know God has only good in store for my vocation as a wife and mother, as well as in my attempt to evangelize (share my faith). But I must first make a good example of myself before confronting other's lifestyles in debate.

God Bless!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Poem for Personal Strength

Did you read my Ah-ha Moment with God a few posts ago? Well, I wrote about a poem on a plaque my parents have had in their home for years. I believe they got it from a fellow deacon friend. Anyways, after my mom read my post, she emailed me the full poem. It is so beautiful and I have always been pondering it as I grew up, but it wasn't until the other day I finally got it. How do you feel when you read it?

After a while you learn the difference,
subtle difference, between holding a hand and chaining a soul.
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t mean security.
And you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts and presents aren’t promises.
And you accept your defeats with your head up and your
eyes open, with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child.
And you learn to build all your roads on today because
tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans.
After a while you learn that even sunshine burns if you get too much.
So plant your own garden and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers,
And you learn that you really can endure,
that you really are strong.
And you really do have worth.
Veronica A. Shoffstall (c) 1971
Love You
Mom & Dad
September 2008
Thanks Mom and Dad!
And God Bless everyone!