Monday, December 27, 2010

Family Blueprint

Women of Faith:

The celebration of Christmas was followed yesterday by The Feast of the Holy Family. What an appropriate beginning to a New Year for our readings to give us instructions as to who, what, and how to treat and live with those we love and cherish the most, our family; and at a time when our activities are revolving around exactly that, spending time with family.

Our families may be big or small. We have our immediate family: our spouse, joined with children, siblings or parents (for those who are married) or for those who are not married, religious and single life, the church. We have our extended families, our aunts, uncles, and grandparents. And then we have our families at work and the family we sit beside each week at church. They in turn extend out to the family that we role model to when we leave the doors of the church each week.

It brought to mind the basic character instructions we were taught and that we try to teach our children from the earliest stages of our life: “Say Thank You,” “Listen to your Dad,” “Do what Your Mom said,” and “Tell your sister/brother you’re sorry.”

I don’t think we realized it then, and we might not even have realized it when we were teaching it, but we were actually teaching God’s blueprint for living a family life: Thanksgiving, Forgiveness and Honor of God’s family hierarchy.

“God sets a father in honor over his children; a mother’s authority he confirms over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. Whoever honors his father is gladdened by children, and, when he prays, is heard.
‘Whoever reveres his father will live a long life; he who obeys his father brings comfort to his mother. My son, take care of your father when he is old; grieve him not as long as he lives. Even if his mind fail, be considerate of him; revile him not all the days of his life; kindness to a father will not be forgotten, firmly planted against the debt of your sins —a house raised in justice to you.” Sir 3:2-6,

“Brothers and sisters: Put on, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body.
“And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, as in all wisdom you teach and admonish one another, singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
“Wives, be subordinate to your husbands, as is proper in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and avoid any bitterness toward them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this is pleasing to the Lord. Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they may not become discouraged.” Col 3:12-21

God says it all: Husbands, Wives; Fathers, Mothers; Parents, Children; Sisters and Brothers—Respect, Love, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness and Patience, Forgiveness and Thankfulness; listen to each other and obey in God’s order—spouses to each other, children to their parents-- each of us taking care of the others with love. The same “order” of character skills we were taught at the very beginnings of our lives. The same “order” that God designed for our entire world to achieve peace, love and harmony for all.

It is so easy to read these readings and see where we need to improve; to see our sins and our failures, but more importantly also to know that God’s design is perfect and that if we strive to do it in His order we will achieve that peace and harmony in love which He has given us and that we all seek in our hearts, to find what many just call happiness.

Dear God, I sing your praise. Let Your word live richly in me and may Your wisdom guide me as we continue to celebrate Your birth in our families and throughout the New Year. Help me and all wives to listen to our husbands (and our children their fathers) to whom you have given authority in our houses. Bless them with your graces so that all fathers may love their families unselfishly as You have instructed. Give us as women, wives and daughters, the graces to live with gratitude, kindness, and compassion and always be ready to forgive those who have hurt our tender hearts. Help us each to forgive the other, AS we forgive them. Thank you for all of the blessings you have given us as families, and for the time this Christmas season to spend enjoying their presence in our lives. Amen.

Continue to enjoy your family this Christmas season and throughout the New Year.
Wishing you Peace and Love, given in gratitude and forgiveness,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Peace on Earth

Women of Faith:
“Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men” & “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.”

In these last few days of Advent, in the preparations before Christmas, I continue to pray that I will remember these two verses.

First, that Jesus is the Reason: I hear it, I see it, but will my head let my heart rest long enough to believe it and live it; to remember that Christmas is about only ONE gift—a little baby, who wanted nothing more from us than for us to follow Him, and to be like Him. And who continues to want this from us: silence, peace, humility, and charity.

And the second: that “Peace on Earth”, comes from “Goodwill toward Men.” I liked Father’s comparison yesterday: we do not find Christ at a “fancy” hotel—we find Him with the animals in the stable at the inn.

We find Him with the “lowly” and the downtrodden taking care of people, giving to people, and serving people. We do not find Him at glitzy holiday parties where every decoration, every food, every person is “perfect.” These “perfect” things are man made, not God made; they draw are attention away from Jesus, the reason for the season; and ultimately, at the end, we are called to be “perfect” by God, not by man.

There is nothing coincidental about who has become Saints, why Mary is called Blessed and which people God will select to be with Him in heaven. These are the people who answered His call, who died as martyrs and who lived a life of service for Him. They should be our role models.

In our roles in marriage (Ephesians 5: 21-33), wives are called to honor Jesus by honoring and serving their husbands. And our husbands are called to live a life of service to Jesus by being our protectors and providers, by being willing to die for their wives, as Christ died for us on the cross. In affect then, we are ALL called to give up our own needs, and to serve each other with love and to respect ALL life.

God has given us a “perfect” example of how we are to live by the life Jesus led on earth. That is why He is the Reason, why His life was written down for us to follow in the Bible, why His life was completely self giving as He died on the cross, not to save Himself, but to save US!

Jesus served God, not with glitz and presents, but with the gift of Himself. He is our example of love and respect, the same love and respect we are called to give our spouses, our extended families and our world.

Ultimately this is where PEACE will come from. Peace needs to start with changing our own life by taking a quiet moment to listen to God in the silence of our hearts, and by becoming as humble as the adoring animals who followed their shepherd to find Jesus the Shepherd at the stable.

Peace is not about shopping, cookies and candies, gifts under the tree or who can out do their neighbors with lights. Peace is found in a little baby, in the smallest of rooms, and in the light of a star that guided us to the baby Jesus. That is why HE is the Reason for the Season.

Dear God, Praise be the Reason for the Season, Your Son, Our Shepherd, Jesus. Thank you for His Gift of Love and Service. Help me to live my life more like He lived His. And guide me to find Peace on Earth by spreading goodwill to all, but especially to Stan, my family, and to those who read this prayer, my friends. Amen.

May you have Peace this Christmas!



Monday, December 13, 2010

Light in the Darkness

Women of Faith:

The first thing I do when I wake up is search for the light; the light outside that means It’s time to get up, and light inside so that I can find my glasses, clothes, and my way out of the bedroom.

Occasionally I get up in the darkness of night without turning on the light and I usually pay the price of a bump, bruise or stubbed toe.

The first thing God created in Genesis was light, to contrast with the darkness. Light so that we could see the rest of creation, light so that He could guide us, and light which we could reflect to help others also find the way. Likewise our choice to see Him and follow His light or to walk around in darkness, searching for some path to follow.

Think about a candle. It is a very small light. But in a very dark room it guides our path. It allows us to walk around without bumping into the walls or whatever other obstacles. And it allows us to see the door so that we can enter a new place with a much brighter light.

That’s the way my life is with Jesus too. I can either make the choice to search for His light, follow His light and reflect His light, or I can reject His light in my life. Just like my choice is to turn on the light when I wake up in the morning, so is it my choice to seek God in my life, to look for His guidance in whatever I am doing and hopefully to reflect His presence in my life by the actions I take.

“The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone. You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing. As they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as people make merry when dividing spoils. For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful. Isaiah 9:1-2, 5-6.

Dear God: Praise be the light You have given us in Your son, Jesus. Thank you for allowing me to see Your light. Forgive me for the times when I reject the light and instead turn to the darkness of sin. Wake me up with Your light so that I am guided to reflect Your Spirit and can find the peace that You offer forever in Heaven. Amen.

Don’t leave the light off so that you don’t wake up the rest of the house, turn it on! Wake up the house. Be guided by His light and reflect His light to the world.


Monday, December 6, 2010

From A Child, A Season of Hope

Women of Faith:
I need Hope. I need the childlike hope found thru Jesus. Hope that my relationship with Him will be inspired and strengthened everyday; hope that a simpler life exists; hope that everyone that I love will come to follow Jesus as best they are able, with each of them becoming their best versions; and hope that the wars that are being waged against peace, love, and life in our families, society and the world, will be extinguished by prayer, fasting and forgiveness as God intended when He designed each one of us in His image.

In these short, dark, days of winter, when life is speeding by, and stress seems to be swallowing the true spirit of Advent and Christmas, HOPE is what keeps me moving forward; HOPE is what keeps me in tune with “Jesus is the Reason.”

As is often the case the children are often the ones to really “see” what is important and of true value, so this song speaks loudly to where I want to be standing—in a line for Jesus—in Hope of Jesus guiding my every move: (f the link doesn’t work go to ). Please share and pass this message and beautiful song on. If we could get everyone to be more interested in the “Line to See Jesus” instead of “keeping up with the person next door” oh, what a “Wonderful Life” we might HOPE to see.

Dear God, “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song…They will see the glory of the LORD, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, Say to those whose hearts are frightened: Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; Then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the mute will sing. Is 35:1-10 Please forgive me when I get discouraged. Humble me to ask forgiveness for my sins, for it is never too late to repent. Thank you for answering my prayers and for giving me signs to help guide my way through the maze of earthen treasures (and pleasures). Help me to remember that when times get tough my sufferings aren’t nearly as painful as what you gave up for me by dying on the cross. Guide me to the Line for Jesus. My hope lies in You. Amen.

Blessings of Childlike Hope and Love,