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Friday, August 28, 2009

Bulletin Reflection for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-8 / James 1:17-18, 21b-22, 27 / Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23

In today’s Gospel, Jesus chides the Pharisees for holding to traditions even though their hearts are not in it. Traditions can be good, but when done by rote or on automatic pilot, they tend to lose their meaning. Many people cling to traditions because they fear change. Last spring, my nephew was in his school’s musical, Fiddler on the Roof. Tevye, the lead, tries to fight the changes happening in the outside world by clinging to the Jewish & family traditions he’s always known. It takes the marriages of his daughters & the revolution for him to embrace change.

We need to take a hard look at our lives & the way we live. In today’s society, just as in Tevye’s time, there are constant changes – many of which try to draw us further from God. Do we stick with the old traditions or do we reach out & embrace change? Some of those traditions may not be strong enough to keep us close to God, so we need to change. Mix up your prayer routine a bit. Attend Adoration & Benediction on the 1st Friday of the month. Join a Small Church Community. Create a new tradition for your spiritual journey.

What traditions to you cling to? Do they hold you back from God or draw you closer?

What changes can you make to help you draw closer to God?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Small Successes


Let's celebrate those little things that mean a lot. Here are my successes for the past week:

1) We moved The Saint out of our room & into The Princess'. He'd still been waking up many times throughout the night & not putting himself back to sleep because he could sense us in there with him. While he's still waking a few times a night, it's much better than before. Plus, she loves having him in there.

2) I took Casinodad to the doctor's office this morning for a scope on his GI system. (He's been dealing w/ a lot of acid reflux issues this past year.) My success is that I've remained calm throughout his many repeat questions as the medication from his procedure is wearing off. It's actually kind of funny seeing how loopy he is! BTW - He doesn't have any major issues, thankfully. He just needs to continue watching what he eats & taking Nexium for the acid.

3) Another issue of remaining calm - I didn't freak out when I saw the bill for our most recent van repairs (front brakes replaced & driver's side window motor replaced - all this after having the rear brakes & transmission filter replaced last month for even more $$$). Murphy's Law - We paid the van off a couple months ago & all we've done since then is repair it!

What are your successes this week? Check out Faith & Family Live for more.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Bulletin Reflection for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Joshua 24:1-2a, 15-17, 18b / Ephesians 5:21-32 / John 6:60-69

Today’s readings focus on choices. In the 1st, Joshua asks the Israelites to decide whom they will serve. The 2nd reading talks about how to choose to love your spouse. And in the Gospel, Jesus asks His disciples if they want to return to their former way of life or continue to follow Him. Growing up, I made all kinds of choices from which toys to play with to whether or not to obey my parents. There was one thing I didn’t see as a choice – belief in God. I was taught that He existed & I just accepted it. As I grew older & went out on my own, I was exposed to a lot of new things. I began to question my faith & wondered if God truly existed. I never turned my back on the Church, but I did struggle with my inner feelings. After talking with a dear friend, we came to the conclusion that I had never made the choice to believe. Many young adults stop going to church in their college years & later choose to come back. Because I never left the Church, there wasn’t a choice to return. Our talk & a lot of prayer helped me to make that choice. Believing is still tough at times, but I choose to remain faithful to God through prayer & encouragement.

If you’ve ever left the Church, why did you choose to leave? Who or what brought you back?

What does it take for you to continue your belief in Jesus, the Holy One of God?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Small Successes


Yes, believe it or not, it is Thursday again! So, what have I been successful with this week?

1) Despite our extremely limited amout of sleep the past six or seven weeks (yes, I said weeks), Casinodad & I have grown stronger instead of biting each others' heads off. I'm not a pleasant person when I don't get much sleep, so this is actually a huge success!

2) I've been struggling w/ an issue of forgiveness for many years. I'm still not ready to forgive, but I feel like I'm making progress. There's a chapter in The Shack by William P. Young that deals w/ forgiveness & it's really helped change my thinking.

3) We started school on Monday. Need I say more?!

Any successes for you this week? Share & check out others at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - The Finished School Cabinet

Friday, August 14, 2009

Seven Things I Love Meme

Thanks to Kelly at Gratiae Deus for tagging me in this meme. Here, in no particular order, are Seven Things I Love:

1) Casinodad - I've been blessed w/ a kind, loving, sweetheart of a husband & I thank God every day for bringing him into my life.

2) The Munchkins - God has blessed us abundantly w/ these four souls to raise. Life is never dull around here!

3) Coffee - my morning lifeline, after God of course!

4) Chocolate - another lifeline!

5) God & my faith - I may not always feel His presence, but I know He's always there.

6) Books - It's always nice to escape into a good book.

7) Music - There's always something to fit whatever mood I may be in.

If you're reading this, please consider yourself tagged. Leave me a comment so I can check out Seven Things You Love!

Bulletin Reflection for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: Proverbs 9:1-6 / Ephesians 5:15-20 / John 6:51-58

This is the third Sunday in a row that we’ve heard of Jesus being the Living Bread. Hmmm! Do you think that might be something important for us to remember? The only way to God is through His Son, Jesus Christ. What better way to meet Jesus than through the Eucharist – the Living Bread.

Somewhere in my education, the ball was dropped. Whether it was my educators or me, I do not know, but I grew up thinking the bread & wine was just a symbol of Christ’s Body & Blood. It’s only been within the past 10 years, through the help of my Small Church Community, and this past year, watching my son prepare for & make his First Holy Communion, that I’ve come to understand that Jesus truly is present in the Eucharist. The bread & wine does become His Body & Blood. What a wonderful feeling to know that the Living Bread is in me! Just recently, after receiving the Eucharist, my son told us that he felt all warm inside. I pray that we may all have the warmth of the Living Bread inside of us each time we receive Christ in the Eucharist.

How has your faith grown in receiving the Living Bread during the celebration of the Eucharist?

What can you do to better understand Jesus as the Living Bread?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Small Successes


1) I've tried so many different cleansers on our shower floor, yet that grime still remained. Over the weekend, I tried some Comet cleanser & a scrubby sponge...it worked. I only got about 75%of it done & I still have to do the walls, but those 20 minutes of small, circular scrubbings finally made a BIG difference.

2) We got a head start on some of our school for this year. We're doing the K12 program this year & school officially starts on Monday. We've been working through the introduction to the online school so that we can start right into lessons on Monday. So far the boys are enjoying it.

3) I've been staying away from the computer more this week...other than school related things. I've still been looking at my favorite blogs & sites, just not several times a day!

Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - "Must. Have. Sleep."

Friday, August 7, 2009

Bulletin Reflection for the 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Readings: 1 Kings 19:4-8 / Ephesians 4:30--5:2 / John 6:41-51
I’m sure all parents have gone through the “picky eater” stage at least once. You know – the child who refuses to eat that fry because it bumped the nuggets & now has a microscopic crumb on it! I’ve been through many frustrating meals, trying to coax my picky eater to try just one bite of those “good-for-you” veggies. I’ve even followed those tips that have you pureeing foods to hide in other foods – Shhh! They’ll never know it’s got healthy stuff in it!

I wonder how God feels when one of His children becomes a picky eater & turns away from Eucharist. He’s given us free will, but I’m sure it hurts Him plenty. It’s up to us to choose the Living Bread & live forever with Him or the stale bread of eternity without Him.

What can you do to reach out to those who have left the Church?

What does it mean to you to receive the Living Bread at each Mass?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Small Successes


I'm a little later than usual today, but it's never too late to share success! In joining Danielle Bean & other wonderful ladies at Faith & Family Live, here are my small successes for the past week:

1) I've stayed away from the grocery store for six days! No going in, no spending money!!

2) The homilies I heard at church the past two weekends have stuck w/ me. For the first time in a long time, I could actually tell you what they were about.

3) Went to a local farmers' market & got lots of great fruits & veggies today: corn on the cob, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, cucumbers, garlic, watermelon, new potatoes, & apricots. Plus, the munchkins were REALLY good for my mom & me, despite the crowd.

Check out Faith & Family Live for more successes.

This is my 28th round of Small Successes. Multiply that by three (since most of my entries consisted of three), then that's at least 84 Small Successes for me in the past few months. I'd say that is a success in itself!!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Book Review: Thank God Ahead of Time

Thank God Ahead of Time: The Life and Spirituality of Solanus Casey
by Michael H. Crosby, O.F.M. CAP.

My most recent review item for The Catholic Company is this book on Capuchin Father Solanus Casey. He is the first man from the United States to be declared “Venerable” by the Catholic Church. For those not familiar w/ the term, venerable is the form of address for one in the first stage of canonization, the process of becoming a saint.

I took my time reading because there was so much in this book to absorb. I really enjoyed reading it & look forward to reading it again, as I know there was a lot that I didn’t catch the first time around.

Each chapter covers the different cities in which he lived (Detroit, Yonkers, Manhattan, etc.). He was born in Wisconsin on November 25, 1870, the sixth child out of sixteen. At the age of 26, he went to Saint Bonaventure Chapel & Monastery in Detroit to begin his Novitiate. He struggled through his studies & his superiors had doubts about him becoming a priest. They eventually allowed his ordination, however, they decided he would not be able to hear confessions or preach dogmatic sermons. Throughout his ministry, he lived a life of servitude & obedience, never questioning his assignments & where they would take him.

Fr. Casey lived his life in such a way that knowing God called for appreciation, love, & service. He also encouraged others in this respect. Throughout his ministry, people came to him with requests for advice & blessings. There were so many positive responses to these requests, that his superiors asked him to keep a log of them. By the time of his death, he had filled up seven 12x10 inch letter-type notebooks with requests & their outcomes. People would always thank him for the miracles in their lives, but he humbly replied that it was always God, not him granting the miracle. "People believed in God's healing power because Solanus believed in it. Solanus believed in God; people believed in Solanus. Somehow, in this circle of belief, wonderful things occurred through his intercession and the actions he asked them to perform." (pg. 164)

Some of my favorite quotes of Fr. Casey’s:

“To those who don’t understand, no explanation is sufficient and to those who do understand, no explanation is necessary.”

“Life is to live and life is to give and talents to use for good if you choose. Do not pray for easy lives, pray to be stronger. Do not pray for tasks equal to your powers, pray for powers equal to your tasks. Then the doing of your work shall be no miracle but you shall be a miracle.”

“One need not be a priest to be an instrument in God’s hands. If a man lives as he should, he will be given the knowledge to aid people. And if we are interested in saving souls we must have an interest in others.”

“Deo Gratias!”
was commonly heard from him, for he believed that we must always thank God for our blessings – not just after we’ve received them, but before they’ve been given to us.

Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Thank God Ahead of Time.