Monday, April 30, 2012


Women of Faith:

Are there days when you are restless, wandering, uncertain of the path you are on, or even what you are seeking?

Do you open the refrigerator, cupboards, or drawers trying to find the right food, or the right tools to inspire your work?

Do you try to accomplish a task—but nothing seems to quite go right, or you don’t get the satisfaction or results you anticipated?

Do you look to your spouse, coworker or a friend to do something for you and they don’t see what you see, they miss the obvious, or you get impatient and end up doing it yourself?

Are there days when you don’t seem to accomplish anything? When the entertainment you sought doesn’t end up making you happy? When you feel as if what you said really didn’t make a difference or wasn’t even heard?

This is how I sometimes feel when my prayers become prayers for everyone else instead of prayers for myself: when I pray to change others instead of praying to change myself.

I find it is much more important to pray to change my own attitude than it is that I seek to try to make others change their attitudes. I have control of myself, of my attitude with the help of God. I don’t have control of anyone else’s.

And because my own attitude has been changed by God’s grace, I am able to accept more shortcomings, forgive more hurts and sorrows and be more willing to help others reach their own goals.

I pray for a “Christlike” attitude, that I will the Spirit of servitude and gratitude.

And when I feel “right,” it is easier to “do right.” It is easier to encourage those around me, to serve with a smile and to be more patient and tolerant. I have more hope and am able to persevere in overlooking the sacrifices and sufferings of irritations caused by our human inadequacies.

By praying for someone else to change so that they will serve Christ (and me) I am waiting for someone or something that is beyond my control.

But if I pray to change myself, than my heart will be opened to the grace of God’s joy in my own life. When I can be the first to smile, the first to serve and the first to give thanks than I will also be enriched with the knowledge that I have given someone else comfort, someone else hope and maybe even someone else a sense of peace or desire to search for the same joy of Christ they see in me.

Likewise, I am called to remember that when someone does something for me it is important to show my own gratitude for them because than their service will be multiplied for others.

This is how Jesus leads us. This is how a shepherd leads his flock.

“Jesus said: "I am the good shepherd. A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. A hired man, who is not a shepherd and whose sheep are not his own, sees a wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away, and the wolf catches and scatters them.” Jn 10: 11-13

We all sometimes become the lost sheep, seeking peace, love, and comfort. We think we want food in our stomachs, clothes in our closet, and we are looking for a kind word to energize us. We are seeking happiness through “human fame, human fortune, and human love.” It is all too easy to follow something or someone other than Jesus and let the “wolf” scatter us or even catch us.

“It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.” Ps 118: 8-9

Instead my prayer should be: “God change me. Come into my life. Open my heart to you. Be with me today. ‘Lord, you created us for thee. We will always be restless until we rest in thee.’” St. Augustine

“I am the good shepherd, and I know mine and mine know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I will lay down my life for the sheep.” Jn 10: 14-15

Heavenly Father: ‘Come be the heartbeat of our lives. Come be our source and breath of life. Gather us in and form us in Christ. May we spread your wisdom through out all the earth. You are the wind that breathes through the field. You are the life that flows through the vine. You are the light that shines in this space.’ Amen. (Words from Spirit and Grace by Ricky Manalo)

Will I wander because I follow someone or something less than God’s truth? Or will I follow Jesus’ path of self-sacrifice and love; to be led by His Church and His truth? Will I be dependent on Him changing others or will I seek Him to change me?

May Christ be your shepherd, your leader this week. Follow Him,

In faith,


Monday, April 23, 2012

Standing Together

Women of Faith:
“Lord Jesus, open the Scriptures to us; make our hearts burn while you speak to us.” Lk 24-32

“How do we get more people to join us?” was a comment from one of our date night participants last night.

They echoed both my sorrow and sometimes my frustration of not only the marriage ministry and enrichment program but of life and living in general.

I want EVERY person that I meet to experience love in their marriage, joy in their life and hope in their futures—the hope, love and joy we are promised by Christ if we follow Christ.

And while praying that we can stand together as Christians, I also struggle not to judge others actions because it hurts to watch the people whom I care about experience sufferings and sorrows in their life because of their own actions.

Friends who say they are Christians, but yet do little or refuse to turn to God; who deny their faith by their actions (although sometimes their words would say otherwise); who struggle to forgive or to accept; who are self-serving instead of self-giving or who seem stuck in a lifestyle that won’t allow for offered enrichment or hope to enter their lives.

“Blessed are they who follow the law of the Lord!” Ps 119: 23-24

“Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen.... came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.” (So they blasphemed him to try to take away his credibility) Acts 6:8-15

Even those in Christ’s time who were blessed to be present during his miracles denied, blasphemed, spoke against, crucified and tore down those who were clearly giving them God’s message.

“Jesus answered them and said,..."Do not work for food that perishes but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him the Father, God, has set his seal." So they said to him, "What can we do to accomplish the works of God?" Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in the one he sent." Jn 6: 26-29

We have been blessed by the Miracles of Fatima and Lourdes, given the living examples of Mother Theresa and Pope John Paul II and yet we doubt like St. Thomas, deny like St. Peter and have persecuted like St. Paul.

We are being asked as Catholics and as Christians to stand for the law of Christ against the law of the nation which denies religious freedoms in the current health care mandates. Will we?

We are given opportunities to enrich our faith by ministries such as the date night program, men’s and women’s faith sharing groups and bible studies. Do we do take the time and prioritize an event that will enrich our marriage or are faith life beyond our “one hour” of weekly church attendance? Are we even giving God the one hour so that he might “open the Scriptures to us”?

Heavenly Father, May our hearts burn as we hear the words you have spoken. Help us to truly open our hearts and minds to do the actions you require of us as Christians. May we have the courage to stand together to give full attention and praise to your law even if it means we will be persecuted because we must deny societal rules. Protect our priests and religious who publicly hold themselves up to your righteousness. And may we all follow you, by taking the opportunities to enrich our faith lives in daily prayer, in reading and studying scripture and by doing something extra to help someone else today. Amen.

May you be blessed by God and may you have the strength and courage to do what is right by God,

In Faith,

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Doubting Thomas in Me

Women of Faith:
There are some Monday’s when I don’t have a clue what is going to be in this meditation until after half of it is written—there are other Monday’s, like today, when I have had this “thought” all week long – one that just won’t go away—one that just keeps getting brought up in prayers, emails, music, conversations—not just once or twice, but over and over again.

I can’t wait for someone else to do something RIGHT, I have to do RIGHT, by and for God, by myself—NOW!!

It doesn’t matter what everyone else around me does, it only matters what “I” do, when “I” chose to do it and that “I” choose do it for God.

“For the love of God is this, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whoever is begotten by God conquers the world. And the victory that conquers the world is our faith.” 1 Jn 5: 1-6

The story of “doubting Thomas” Jn 20: 19-31, was fittingly read yesterday at a Confirmation Mass. The teenagers were challenged to ask themselves if they would believe without seeing, if they would continue to act in faith, and if their faith would continue to be the same faith as it was yesterday, today and tomorrow, when life doesn’t go their way.

Am I a doubting Thomas?

Or do I have the faith to be patient with God’s plan and that His plan for me will benefit all who believe?

Do I believe the lie that it is greener on the other side and that I deserve a more loving spouse, a better marriage, a more supportive family or friend? Or do I keep my marriage vows, the covenant of love, I promised in faith and hold true to God’s commandments always –by acting for God, thru God, and in God—all the time, not just when it’s convenient for me?

Do I hold true to God by unselfishly serving and forgiving my spouse or a
friend knowing that they may hurt me again?

Do I hold true to God by choosing His commandments over the lies of media and the lies of my peers because “everyone else is doing it?“

Do I have enough faith to accept sufferings not as a punishment, but rather as a way for God to draw me closer to Him so that I will depend on Him more?

Have I and will I waver in my faith? Of course I will. I am human, I am not perfect. I have sinned and I will sin again. That is why we are given His promise and hope in the resurrection of Christ.

So, should I be upset with God because I am suffering? No! Does praying for the things I worry about help? Yes! Can I worry about something I have prayed about? No! If so, therein lies the doubting Thomas in me.

Is it important that someone else has sinned towards me? No! Can any good come out of holding a grudge or being unforgiving? No! Do I doubt that He will forgive anyone who asks for Him in their life?

Is it important that God has not yet answered my most fervent prayer or that someone hasn’t said thank you for what I did for them? No! If I don’t trust that God hears my prayers, once again, I am a doubting Thomas.

What is important is that “I” follow God’s commandments; that “I” am an example to others; that “I” act in faith; that “I” trust God and that “I” don’t blame anyone else for my attitude or choices.

If I blame God or someone else for my problems, mistakes or challenges, it means that I expect someone to be more perfect than God. And God gives me the free will to choose to do something that is not right. Yes, even Thomas doubted.

If I choose to believe in the lies of society—that it is important how I look to someone else, what I achieve in my job, how much money I make, or one life over another; then I have chosen a priority other than God, I have chosen to believe someone other than God. I have chosen to doubt God.

We have what Thomas didn’t have-- an instruction book and a history of God’s guidance. Thomas didn’t have that benefit. We have been taught by God how to love in our marriages by submitting and denying one’s self (Eph 5); we have been taught how to forgive each other, seven times seventy times (Mt 18:22); and we have been taught who and how to serve (works of Mercy) Mt 25: 35-39.

John Waller’s two songs “While I’m waiting” and “Blessings” speak of trusting and making choices for God while we wait for answer to our prayers: “I’m waiting on You, Lord. And I am hopeful.… though it is painful.. patiently, I will move ahead. Bold and confident, taking every step in obedience. While I’m waiting I will serve you…. I will worship.” While I’m Waiting by John Waller

“This day, every blessing and curse, is a choice now. And we will choose to be a blessing for life….For your kingdom, for our children, for the sake of every nation.” Blessing by John Waller

Heavenly Father, You are my hope and salvation. Help me to choose Your blessings instead of the lies of this world. Forgive me for the times I have doubted You and grumbled about the crosses I carry. Help me to choose You with hope and confidence all the time. May I have the patience to wait for your answer. Thank you for St. Thomas as an example and witness to me even when I doubt your presence. Amen.

Don’t doubt God this week! Put your hope and trust in His mercy, in His forgiveness and in His love as He helps you carry Your cross,

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Get Out of the Way!"

Women of Faith:
WE hung Him on the cross. WE rolled the stone over Him.

“They were saying to one another, "Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large.” Mk 16:1-7

He rolled away the stone. He arose without our help! “Get out of HIS Way!”

He didn’t need US to roll away the stone; HE did the hardest part without us.

My own sins stand in the way of my own salvation. HE took them all away—for me.

My own pride stands in the way of seeing the gifts HE so freely gives me thru the people HE has blessed my life with and the forgiveness He gave me.

Do I forgive others as unconditionally?

Is my pride “getting in the way” of accepting the love and forgiveness that a family member doesn’t quite know how to give—so I misinterpret their intended peace offering?

My own anger “gets in the way” of the love He freely gave us and the love given to me by others. His pure love was demonstrated to me thru His complete surrender of Himself FOR me. Do I deny myself to give to others?

Am I trying to do it all and then being resentful because no one else seems to be helping me? Am I praying for an outcome and then sabotaging the outcome by lacking the patience to wait for His answer to my prayers? Or am I missing his answer because I “spout off” instead of listening for/to His reply?

My own greed says that I deserve more. He gave me everything I need—both here on earth (“give us this day our DAILY bread”) and eternal bread, the Eucharist—His body and blood. He gave us EVERTYTHING! Do I continue to ask and expect more from others?

Am I expecting a thank you for what I do, but forgetting to thank those that serve me every day. The person in the checkout line, the spouse who fixes my car or does the laundry, the waitress or cook or spouse who feeds me, a child who gives me a hug but forgot to clean their room.

Is the outcome we seek, the outcome He desires? Or are we seeking worldly happiness instead of heavenly salvation?

I need to “get out of the way.” I need to forgive those who have hurt me. I need to deny myself and give more to others. I need to accept with thanksgiving all that is given to me, by Him and by those who love me.
None of them have done any greater wrong to me than what I did by crucifying Jesus.

I have not been scourged, beaten, crowned with thorns, made to carry a wooden cross 650 yards up a hill, or murdered by the cruelty of crucifixion.

I need to “get out of the way” of interpreting His word to meet my needs.
He gave me the Spirit and the Church through his rock, Peter. His 2000 years of truth are handed down thru the Popes and in the Tradition of the church, and the Spirit he puts in my heart to guide my way. He is the Way. He is the Truth. He is Life.

I need to adjust my attitude and love as He did without demanding someone to love me in return. I need to serve others without expecting something back. I need to remember to say THANK YOU for all that I have been given.

I need to step back and look UP. I need to “get out of His way!” I need to quit asking for more and say thank you for less.

I need to “get out of the way” of sin and allow Gods grace to flow into me and fill my cup so that I can pour my cup out to others.

He will give me all that I need. He already has given me all that I need.

“If then you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.” Col 3: 1-4

Dear God, Your grace is amazing. Thank you for all of the gifts you have given me, my health and the wonderful people you have placed in my life—family and friends. Move me out of the way, push me to see your truth, help me to remember that you have control of all that I am and all that I do. Amen

Give God control this week. Get out of His way!!
May you be blessed by His Easter,

Monday, April 2, 2012

Love is Power

Women of Faith:
When I was growing up I remember dreading this week of the year—it meant more church, more sacrifice, less food and somber meditation.

I don’t quite remember when my attitude towards Holy Week changed. Maybe it took some of my own suffering or maybe I had to experience the power of unconditional love from someone outside of my own family.

But sometime in my late teens and early adult years my attitude changed. I began to look forward to this week of “dying to self,” of appreciating the gift we have been given to experience Christ’s walk in and thru the passion celebration, of experiencing the Power of Love.

He summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me, for whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the gospel* will save it. What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels. Mk 8:34-37

On Thursday I will participate in the Last Supper—I will be present as we celebrate the very first Eucharistic Mass—when Christ gave us himself as the eternal food so that we would be sustained by Him, in Him and thru Him; fed by His flesh and blood each time we participate at his table in the (universal) Mass which he established to replace the Passover meal and celebration.

Am I willing to lose my life for Him? Will I stoop to the depths of Christ and wash the feet of those who serve me?

“He said to them, "Do you realize what I have done for you? You call me 'teacher' and 'master,' and rightly so, for indeed I am. If I, therefore, the master and teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash one another's feet. I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do." Jn 13: 14-15

On Friday, Jesus’ death on the cross is the culmination of an attitude of one who does not cry out and who does not flinch against evil. He bears patiently the beatings and the violence of the same world we live in today.

Evil is what happens when people are consumed by fear and hatred. Evil is never content until it has destroyed the pleading and accusing eyes of an innocent victim.

Will I be “Simon” who helped Jesus carry his cross for 650 yards or will I be the bystander yelling insults and mocking Jesus? Who am I crucifying this week by my lack of forgiveness, by my words or by my silent treatment to them?

Or am I strong like Jesus? Do I turn the other cheek and endure the insults and false accusations of others with love and forgiveness?

"The Lord God is my help, therefore I am not disgraced; I have set my face like flint, knowing that I shall not be put to shame." Is 50:4-7

Will I experience a mother’s desire to take away all the pains and sufferings of those I love? Mary’s sorrows as Jesus suffered pain, torture and ultimate death on the cross shows us how to bear our burdens and sufferings.

And here I watch the ultimate power in ultimate love. Because love is not a feeling—love is the action of serving, of giving up everything to serve another without any desire to be repaid, or to receive reward.

Will I become a participant? Or will I only remain as a bystander?

This is what Holy Week is all about: A call to action. A call to conquer evil with love, a call to bear patiently when we are wronged, a call to forgive 70 x 7, a call to serve kindly, a call to courage and perseverance when things don’t go our way and a call to have hope in the power of love.

It is about a Son’s love for his Father; a Mother’s love for her child; and the bridegroom’s love for his bride.

It is not about feeling loved, but how we act out our love.

It is not about saying I’m sorry, but how we forgive those that have wronged us.

It is not about saying we are saved; it is about accepting the responsibility that comes with that relationship with Christ, by how we act (Mt 25: 31-40) because we have accepted the love so freely given to us by Jesus’ death on the cross.

Lord Jesus, the evil which we have allowed into your world must bring you deep sorrow. Help me to follow Your path to power by acting in love. May the sorrows of Your passion and death serve to remind me of the hope and joys that followed in your resurrection. Help each of us to serve with courage and to spread your joy to others. Amen.

May my sadness as I walk with Christ this week become my motivation and the pain of desire to do what I can to serve others in and through love.

And may your hope and desire for heaven be strengthened by the Power of His Love this week,