Thursday, April 29, 2010

HEARTLIGHT

I am feeling ever close to my Lord and His Son . . . spreading His Word and the Truths that were commited to paper in The Bible are the greatest joy in my life! Heavenly Father, Jesus, I love you so very much!

~*~


VERSE:

For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.

~Job 19:25

THOUGHT:

Beyond what these words were first meant to convey, we know today that our Redeemer will return as the Rider on the white horse in triumph and victory. Hallelujah, what a day! Then the world truly WILL KNOW that Jesus Christ, our Savior and brother and friend, is Lord of all things!

PRAYER:

Conquering King, Immortal God, I look forward to the day of your ultimate triumph in our world. Until that day, I pray that your Kingdom may be reflected in my ministry, my  family and my life.  Through the Rider on the white horse, I pray. Amen.

THIS DAY'S . . .

Oh indeed! If Christ had lived a complete life and died a natural death, who knows what miracles and words of faith he'd have left on this earth.  HOWEVER, if that were so, where would we be?  J.C. Ryle expresses it so eloquently!

~*~


Christ would have lived, and taught, and preached, and prophesied, and wrought miracles in vain, if he had not crowned all by dying for our sins as our substitute! His death was our life. His death was the payment of our debt to God. Without his death we should have been of all creatures most miserable.

~J. C. Ryle

~*~


How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

~Psalm 133:1, The New International Version

~*~ 

What a beautiful dream.  I can only imagine the sadness felt by the Father and His Son, that the world has not embraced His love and sacrafice for them.  Thank God for free will which enables each of us to live our faith and reap the rewards of our devotion to God's Word.

CHEESE!

BOY, THERE ARE DAYS THAT I COULD TRUTHFULLY USE THIS EXCUSE....


Did you hear about the 83-year-old woman from Sun City, AZ., who talked herself out of a speeding ticket by telling the young officer that she had to get there before she forgot where she was going?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

THE SECRET OF FATIMA


This topic is so, so complicated that I wonder "where do I begin?"

The Vatican has officially recognized the Secret of Fatima, of that much, we are certain.  Since my conversion to Catholicism over 20 years ago, I have learned more about our Faith than I ever dreamed, and still, I do not even chip the tip of the iceberg.  Two of those miracuolous subjects are the Marian Apparitions and The Incorruptibles, among many others.  This lengthy entry will address the three parts of the Secret of Fatima; however, it will not completely cover the topic.  I am addressing the Third Part of the Secret (herein, the "Secret"), specifically, because I received an email last evening from a dear, dear Catholic sister regarding the Secret.  While it was, of course, well-intended, it contained a number of half-truths and complete fallacies under a section entitled "WHAT TO EXPECT".  I'm not even going into that topic as I found in my own research that what was contained in this part of the email circulating who know how far are completely fabricated.  I am meditating particularly on the interpretation of the "Immaculate Heart of Mary" by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in his "interpretation" of the third part of the Secret, which you will read for yourselves further down.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE ORIGINS 
OF THE SECRETS OF FATIMA


Fatima, Portugal, 1917
Witness
Three children: Bl. Francisco & Jacinta Marto; Sister Lucia

Summary

In the spring of 1916, the Angel of Portugal appeared to three children (Francisco age 8, Jacinta age 6 and Lucia age 9) near a hilltop cave, giving them a special prayer of adoration to pray to the 'Hearts of Jesus and Mary.' He appeared later in the summer urging them to pray and make sacrifice in reparation for sin and again in October, giving them supernatural Communion.

On May 13, 1917, the Virgin Mary appeared to the children above a holmoak tree in Cova da Iria and asked them to come to the same spot for six months on the same day of the month. She also urged praying the Rosary daily for peace.

On July 13, Mary showed the children a vision of hell, and taught them an addition to the Rosary aimed at salvation of souls. More and more of the faithful began to visit and accompany the young seers to the apparition site. In August, when a hostile government official 'kidnapped' the children to prevent their going to visit Mary, a crowd of 15,000 witnessed supernatural thunder and a lightning which thwarted the plans of some to go and forcefully release the children (who were freed after being severely threatened).

In the October 13 apparition, the Virgin asked that a chapel be built there. In the past, onlookers had seen a bending shrub (June), smelled a 'celestial fragrance' (August), and beheld a luminous globe and a 'rain of vanishing roses' (September) all of which (along with the messages relayed by the children) led several thousand people, including the press and sceptics, to come to view the promised miracle. Just after noon, the sun began 'dancing' and moved about the sky along with various colors. Witnesses as far as 30 miles away viewed the undeniable event which was reported in all secular newspapers.

Francisco and Jacinta (recently beatified) died a few years later and Lucia (then a cloistered nun) had three more visits from the Virgin in which Messages and requests for devotion were relayed.
 
Sr. Lucia eventually committed the third part of the Secret to paper. The third part of the “secret” was written “by order of His Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and the Most Holy Mother ...” on 3 January 1944.  It was placed in an envelope and then into the Archives of the Holy Office.  Over the years, it has been retrieved, and read, by several Popes in succession, each making the decision that it should not be published, when on each occasion, it was returned to the Archives of the Holy Office.
Sister Lucia gave an indication for interpreting the third part of the “secret” in a letter to the Holy Father, dated 12 May 1982:
“The third part of the secret refers to Our Lady's words: ‘If not [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated' (13-VII-1917).

The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: ‘If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, etc.'.

Since we did not heed this appeal of the Message, we see that it has been fulfilled, Russia has invaded the world with her errors. And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfilment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides. If we do not reject the path of sin, hatred, revenge, injustice, violations of the rights of the human person, immorality and violence, etc.

And let us not say that it is God who is punishing us in this way; on the contrary it is people themselves who are preparing their own punishment. In his kindness God warns us and calls us to the right path, while respecting the freedom he has given us; hence people are responsible”.
The decision of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to make public the third part of the “secret” of Fatima brings to an end a period of history marked by tragic human lust for power and evil, yet pervaded by the merciful love of God and the watchful care of the Mother of Jesus and of the Church.

The action of God, the Lord of history, and the co-responsibility of man in the drama of his creative freedom, are the two pillars upon which human history is built.

Our Lady, who appeared at Fatima, recalls these forgotten values. She reminds us that man's future is in God, and that we are active and responsible partners in creating that future.

Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
Archbishop Emeritus of Vercelli
Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
In Sr. Lucia's own written words regarding the third part of the Secret:
The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

 I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.


Tuy-3-1-1944”.
In summary, we have what is taken from the theological commentary on the third part of the Secrety by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"A careful reading of the text of the so-called third “secret” of Fatima, published here in its entirety long after the fact and by decision of the Holy Father, will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled. We see the Church of the martyrs of the century which has just passed represented in a scene described in a language which is symbolic and not easy to decipher. Is this what the Mother of the Lord wished to communicate to Christianity and to humanity at a time of great difficulty and distress? Is it of any help to us at the beginning of the new millennium? Or are these only projections of the inner world of children, brought up in a climate of profound piety but shaken at the same time by the tempests which threatened their own time? How should we understand the vision? What are we to make of it?

An attempt to interpret the “secret” of Fatima


The first and second parts of the “secret” of Fatima have already been so amply discussed in the relative literature that there is no need to deal with them again here. I would just like to recall briefly the most significant point. For one terrible moment, the children were given a vision of hell. They saw the fall of “the souls of poor sinners”. And now they are told why they have been exposed to this moment: “in order to save souls”—to show the way to salvation. The words of the First Letter of Peter come to mind: “As the outcome of your faith you obtain the salvation of your souls” (1:9). To reach this goal, the way indicated —surprisingly for people from the Anglo-Saxon and German cultural world—is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. A brief comment may suffice to explain this. In biblical language, the “heart” indicates the centre of human life, the point where reason, will, temperament and sensitivity converge, where the person finds his unity and his interior orientation. According to Matthew 5:8, the “immaculate heart” is a heart which, with God's grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore “sees God”. To be “devoted” to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means therefore to embrace this attitude of heart, which makes the fiat—“your will be done”—the defining centre of one's whole life. It might be objected that we should not place a human being between ourselves and Christ. But then we remember that Paul did not hesitate to say to his communities: “imitate me” (1 Cor 4:16; Phil 3:17; 1 Th 1:6; 2 Th 3:7, 9). In the Apostle they could see concretely what it meant to follow Christ. But from whom might we better learn in every age than from the Mother of the Lord?


Thus we come finally to the third part of the “secret” of Fatima which for the first time is being published in its entirety. As is clear from the documentation presented here, the interpretation offered by Cardinal Sodano in his statement of 13 May was first put personally to Sister Lucia. Sister Lucia responded by pointing out that she had received the vision but not its interpretation. The interpretation, she said, belonged not to the visionary but to the Church. After reading the text, however, she said that this interpretation corresponded to what she had experienced and that on her part she thought the interpretation correct. In what follows, therefore, we can only attempt to provide a deeper foundation for this interpretation, on the basis of the criteria already considered.


“To save souls” has emerged as the key word of the first and second parts of the “secret”, and the key word of this third part is the threefold cry: “Penance, Penance, Penance!” The beginning of the Gospel comes to mind: “Repent and believe the Good News” (Mk 1:15). To understand the signs of the times means to accept the urgency of penance – of conversion – of faith. This is the correct response to this moment of history, characterized by the grave perils outlined in the images that follow. Allow me to add here a personal recollection: in a conversation with me Sister Lucia said that it appeared ever more clearly to her that the purpose of all the apparitions was to help people to grow more and more in faith, hope and love—everything else was intended to lead to this.


Let us now examine more closely the single images. The angel with the flaming sword on the left of the Mother of God recalls similar images in the Book of Revelation. This represents the threat of judgement which looms over the world. Today the prospect that the world might be reduced to ashes by a sea of fire no longer seems pure fantasy: man himself, with his inventions, has forged the flaming sword. The vision then shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction—the splendour of the Mother of God and, stemming from this in a certain way, the summons to penance. In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined: the future is not in fact unchangeably set, and the image which the children saw is in no way a film preview of a future in which nothing can be changed. Indeed, the whole point of the vision is to bring freedom onto the scene and to steer freedom in a positive direction. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the “secret”, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them.


The next phrases of the text show very clearly once again the symbolic character of the vision: God remains immeasurable, and is the light which surpasses every vision of ours. Human persons appear as in a mirror. We must always keep in mind the limits in the vision itself, which here are indicated visually. The future appears only “in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor 13:12). Let us now consider the individual images which follow in the text of the “secret”. The place of the action is described in three symbols: a steep mountain, a great city reduced to ruins and finally a large rough-hewn cross. The mountain and city symbolize the arena of human history: history as an arduous ascent to the summit, history as the arena of human creativity and social harmony, but at the same time a place of destruction, where man actually destroys the fruits of his own work. The city can be the place of communion and progress, but also of danger and the most extreme menace. On the mountain stands the cross—the goal and guide of history. The cross transforms destruction into salvation; it stands as a sign of history's misery but also as a promise for history.


At this point human persons appear: the Bishop dressed in white (“we had the impression that it was the Holy Father”), other Bishops, priests, men and women Religious, and men and women of different ranks and social positions. The Pope seems to precede the others, trembling and suffering because of all the horrors around him. Not only do the houses of the city lie half in ruins, but he makes his way among the corpses of the dead. The Church's path is thus described as a Via Crucis, as a journey through a time of violence, destruction and persecution. The history of an entire century can be seen represented in this image. Just as the places of the earth are synthetically described in the two images of the mountain and the city, and are directed towards the cross, so too time is presented in a compressed way. In the vision we can recognize the last century as a century of martyrs, a century of suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars and the many local wars which filled the last fifty years and have inflicted unprecedented forms of cruelty. In the “mirror” of this vision we see passing before us the witnesses of the faith decade by decade. Here it would be appropriate to mention a phrase from the letter which Sister Lucia wrote to the Holy Father on 12 May 1982: “The third part of the ‘secret' refers to Our Lady's words: ‘If not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated'”.


In the Via Crucis of an entire century, the figure of the Pope has a special role. In his arduous ascent of the mountain we can undoubtedly see a convergence of different Popes. Beginning from Pius X up to the present Pope, they all shared the sufferings of the century and strove to go forward through all the anguish along the path which leads to the Cross. In the vision, the Pope too is killed along with the martyrs. When, after the attempted assassination on 13 May 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the “secret” brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close to death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words: “... it was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (13 May 1994). That here “a mother's hand” had deflected the fateful bullet only shows once more that there is no immutable destiny, that faith and prayer are forces which can influence history and that in the end prayer is more powerful than bullets and faith more powerful than armies.


The concluding part of the “secret” uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith. It is a consoling vision, which seeks to open a history of blood and tears to the healing power of God. Beneath the arms of the cross angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and with it they give life to the souls making their way to God. Here, the blood of Christ and the blood of the martyrs are considered as one: the blood of the martyrs runs down from the arms of the cross. The martyrs die in communion with the Passion of Christ, and their death becomes one with his. For the sake of the body of Christ, they complete what is still lacking in his afflictions (cf. Col 1:24). Their life has itself become a Eucharist, part of the mystery of the grain of wheat which in dying yields abundant fruit. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians, said Tertullian. As from Christ's death, from his wounded side, the Church was born, so the death of the witnesses is fruitful for the future life of the Church. Therefore, the vision of the third part of the “secret”, so distressing at first, concludes with an image of hope: no suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God. The loving arms of God welcome not only those who suffer like Lazarus, who found great solace there and mysteriously represents Christ, who wished to become for us the poor Lazarus. There is something more: from the suffering of the witnesses there comes a purifying and renewing power, because their suffering is the actualization of the suffering of Christ himself and a communication in the here and now of its saving effect.


And so we come to the final question: What is the meaning of the “secret” of Fatima as a whole (in its three parts)? What does it say to us? First of all we must affirm with Cardinal Sodano: “... the events to which the third part of the ‘secret' of Fatima refers now seem part of the past”. Insofar as individual events are described, they belong to the past. Those who expected exciting apocalyptic revelations about the end of the world or the future course of history are bound to be disappointed. Fatima does not satisfy our curiosity in this way, just as Christian faith in general cannot be reduced to an object of mere curiosity. What remains was already evident when we began our reflections on the text of the “secret”: the exhortation to prayer as the path of “salvation for souls” and, likewise, the summons to penance and conversion.


I would like finally to mention another key expression of the “secret” which has become justly famous: “my Immaculate Heart will triumph”. What does this mean? The Heart open to God, purified by contemplation of God, is stronger than guns and weapons of every kind. The fiat of Mary, the word of her heart, has changed the history of the world, because it brought the Saviour into the world—because, thanks to her Yes, God could become man in our world and remains so for all time. The Evil One has power in this world, as we see and experience continually; he has power because our freedom continually lets itself be led away from God. But since God himself took a human heart and has thus steered human freedom towards what is good, the freedom to choose evil no longer has the last word. From that time forth, the word that prevails is this: “In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart; I have overcome the world” (Jn 16:33). The message of Fatima invites us to trust in this promise.


Joseph Card. Ratzinger
Prefect of the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith

Peace and Love,
Abbey

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

STAY TUNED!

I'm working on something that, to me, is a very interesting phenomenon with respect to Our Faith.  I received an email that was filled with quasi-facto which immediately alerted me to seek the truth.  I found some very interesting things, under the pen of the former Card. Ratzinger, now our dear Pope Benedict XVI.  This really isn't fair, is it?  However, I prefer to address when I have sufficient time to be sure everything is stated factually.

PEACE, LOVE AND BLESSINGS!

THIS DAY'S . . .


We are not our own, any more than what we possess is our own. We did not make ourselves; we cannot be supreme over ourselves. We cannot be our own masters. We are God's property by creation, by redemption, by regeneration.

~John Henry Newman

~*~


This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

~1 John 3:16-18, NIV

Time For Some CHEESE!

When all else fails, when my hind end is drooping and my bottom lip is about to drag across the floor, there's nothing like some good humor to get things back on an upswing!

~*~

3 friends die in a car accident and they go to an orientation in heaven. They are all asked, "When you are in your casket and friends and family are talking about you, what would you like them to say?

The first guy says,"I would like to hear them say that I was a great doctor of my time, and a great family man."

The second guy says, "I would like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and school teacher which made a huge difference in our children of tomorrow."

The last guy replies, "I would like to hear them say ... Look, he's moving!
 
~*~
 
 
~*~
 
A first-grade teacher, Ms Brooks, was having trouble with one of her students.. The teacher asked, 'Harry, what's your problem?'

Harry answered, 'I'm too smart for the 1st grade. My sister is in the 3rd grade and I'm smarter than she is! I think I should be in the 3rd grade too!'

Ms.. Brooks had had enough. She took Harry to the principal's office. While Harry waited in the outer office, the teacher explained to the principal what the situation was. The principal told Ms. Brooks he would give the boy a test. If he failed to answer any of his questions he was to go back to the 1st grade and behave. She agreed.

Harry was brought in and the conditions were explained to him and heagreed to take the test.

Principal: 'What is 3 x 3?'
Harry:  '9'

Principal: 'What is 6 x 6?'
Harry:  '36.'

And so it went with every question the principal thought a 3rd grader should know.  The principal looks at Ms. Brooks and tells her, 'I think Harry can go to the 3rd grade'. Ms. Brooks says to the principal, 'Let me ask him some questions..'  The principal and Harry both agreed.

Ms. Brooks asks, 'What does a cow have four of that I have only two of?'
Harry, after a moment: 'Legs.'

Ms Brooks: 'What is in your pants that you have but I do not have?'
The principal wondered why would she ask such a question!  Harry replied: 'Pockets.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What does a dog do that a man steps into?'
Harry:  'Pants.'

The principal sat forward with his mouth hanging open.  Ms. Brooks: 'What goes in hard and pink then comes out soft and sticky?' The principal's eyes opened really wide and before he could stop the answer, Harry replied, 'Bubble gum.'

Ms. Brooks: 'What does a man do standing up, a woman does sitting down and a dog does on three legs?'  Harry: 'Shake hands...'

The principal was trembling.  Ms.. Brooks: 'What word starts with an 'F' and ends in 'K' that means a lot of heat and excitement?'  Harry:  'Firetruck.'

The principal breathed a sigh of relief and told the  teacher, 'Put Harry in the fifth-grade, I got the last seven questions wrong...'

~*~


During a company's recent password audit, it was found that a blonde employee was using the following password:

"MickeyMinniePlutoHueyLouieDeweyDonaldGoofySacramento"

When asked why she had such a long password, she said she was told that it had to be at least 8 characters long and include at least one capital.

~*~

Wife asks husband,

"How many women have you slept with?"

Husband proudly replies,

"Only you, Darling - With all the others, I was awake."

Hospital Visiting Hours are 10 am to 4 pm.

~*~








Enough for one day! Sleep well, dear ones!

Monday, April 26, 2010

THIS DAY'S . . .


I prayed for faith and thought it would strike me like lightening. But faith did not come. One day I read, "Now faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." I had closed my Bible and prayed for faith. I now began to study my Bible and faith has been growing ever since.

~Dwight L. Moody

~*~


“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”



~John 14:27, The Revised Standard Version

~*~


The best part of life is when your family become your friends and your friends become your family.

~Robin Roberts

HERE I AM

Here I am; I'm among the living, though I'm not "all that" today (again?) .... hubby made me seek out a new psyche doctor today, but of course, I cannot get in until May 18, so I will bide my time.  It's really unnerving to a person like me when I've been going to the same place, same doctor, same counselor for over 10 years.  Now I have to go someplace where they don't know me from Jack's outhouse and start all over.  I hate the cycle that you have to go through on psychiatric drugs - finding the right one, I mean.  Once you find the right one, it's great.  But that period of trial and error can be pretty awful sometimes. 

I went to EWTN this morning with my daughter.  I didn't know that they had a gift shop and her youngest, Riley Dale, is receiving his First Holy Communion this Sunday.  I've bought each one a Bible with their name inscribed, so was looking for the same for Ri.  I picked up a crucifix for my son's house, which I need to have blessed first.  I got him a new Rosary and bought a couple of Guardian Angel tokens which have the prayer on the back.

I've driven by EWTN millions of times, but it sits sort of down in a valley of sorts and there's lots of trees and shrubbery, so I've never actually been on the grounds until today.  I found it to be a very serene place.  There is a covered outdoor prayer place, which is really beautiful.  I also saw that they have Monday through Friday Mass at noon, so I'm going to make it a point to attend. 

The gift shop was all things Mother Angelica ... even in Spanish! And there are lots and lots of gifts, books, religious portraits and statues at very reasonable prices.  I did not get it and I wish I had, but I'm going back to pick up this statue of the Blessed Mother.  I need to make a place for her where I pray.

Lee's son, Joshua, is coming down from Illinois tomorrow and will be here until Sunday.  His mother and brother are coming from Georgia on Thursday, and will also be here until Sunday.  I'm excited about seeing them all, so I best get to the house work because my fairies didn't show up again this week, leaving only moi to do the cleaning.  I'm going to post This Day's . . . and then I'm off to do what I detest most first - the bathrooms!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Our Blessed Mother's Message, April 25, 2010

"Dear children, at this time, when in a special way you are praying and seeking my intercession, I call you, little children, to pray so that through your prayers I can help you to have all the more hearts be opened to my messages. Pray for my intentions. I am with you and I intercede before my Son for each of you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

POSITIVE THOUGHT


A blessing is the bridge between heaven and earth.


HEARTLIGHT


WISDOM:

A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.

~Proverbs 15:18, King James Version

VERSE:

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.

~1 Peter 1:18-19

THOUGHT:

If value is determined by price, we are incredibly valuable. God took the most precious treasure of heaven to buy us out of sin and death and adopt us into his family. Silver and gold pale in comparison to that value.

PRAYER:

Holy God, may I live each day more aware of my inestimable value to you. May my words, thoughts and actions be permeated with your sense of my worth -- not so that I may seem important to others, but so that I may live in holiness and honor to your precious gift
to me. Through him I pray. Amen.

My Friends Are Angels

Dear Ones,

I apologize that I have not posted, perhaps left you hanging with my last post.  I received so much support from you all, it just brought me to tears, how much people that I have never even met CARE.  Each of you are in my prayers this day!

The last thing that I might be know for would be being at a loss for words, but that is where I have been for two days.  I've been riding the roller coaster, and actually, didn't want to impose my feelings, which ran the gamut, on you all.  I will be posting in just a little while, I promise.

Today, I do feel better and I am about to say my Rosary, so please give me just a little time to gather my thoughts.  My basket has been empty, so I will do my best to gather my thoughts, or at least something funny to pass on to you.

Y'all do not have any idea how wonderful your thoughts were and how much they meant to me. They lifted my spirits and reaffirmed that I am not going to God with MY OWN needs ... I somehow tend to leave myself out of my prayers .... does anyone else do that without thinking?  I'm so busy praying for so many that I love that I don't even think of me.

See you all soon!

My love,
Abbey

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Depression

I'm having a really hard time.  I cannot put my finger on it.  I have everything that I have conceived in recent years - not having to work any longer, my children and grandchildren all nearby, and a good marriage that has finally found a happy medium.  So, why am I depressed?  I have a presciption that would increase the dosage of my anti-depressant; however, when I saw my GYN, I told her that I had not been using my hormone spray.  She suggested, and I agree, that one should not change two things at the same time; otherwise, one won't know which has been the real fix.  So, I have been using my hormones for a month or so, and continued the regimen of my current anti-depressant prescription.

I should be elated with my situation.  God has been so good to me and I am so grateful, trying to give back wherever I can.  But I am at a complete loss as to my mood swings.

I called my pen-pal, call him "Syd", and he made me laugh.  I was crying and telling him all of this and he said, "you're beginning to sound like me!"  Syd is a chronically depressed individual, and I have tried FOR YEARS to get him to see someone.  But, like a lot of men, he feels he should grin and bear it, even though it never gets any better.  I take that back - he did perk up a little when he began having grandchildren.  He is Ian's uncle by marriage.  He is as emotionally struck as I am about Ian's condition.

I told my husband last night, "why can't I be like other people?  Why can't I go through my days being happy, instead of taking even the small things to heart and becoming depressed?"  Dear Syd, he reminded me that what you see on the exterior is not always what is going on inside.  True, Syd, true.  I have a photograph of Cooper in a frame and one of my son when he was about 5 sitting side by side on my nightstand.  I took those photographs, looked at them and then clutched them to my chest as I fell back on the bed and cried.

Life seems to have suddenly swooshed by at lightening speed.  Gone are the days when I had tons of friends from my community and my children's activities.  Now, I am the grandmother sitting on the sidelines, watching my daughter and her husband living out their days totally devoted to their children's activities, and they've made so, so many friends.  I feel at times like a duck out of water.

What's wrong with me?  I put myself through memories of my own children growing up and I long to go back, do it better this time.  I beat myself up that I wasn't the best mother than I could have been.  I can't change it, nor have I been able to forgive myself for not "being there" at various times, for divorcing the kids' father and hurting all three of them, for my son moving out of the house three weeks after I married Lee because he felt like he was in the way.  I won't ever get over that one, I've tried.

The light just went on and now I'm scolding myself because I knew WHERE to find the help, and WHO is going to give it to me. Sorry, Lord, I'm on my way.

If I am to truly show myself to my blog friends, then I must show them everything.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  I'm not perfect, I'm not happy as a clam every day, and I am suffering the inability to reconcile myself with my children being grown and gone, and MY feeling that I wasn't good enough.  I wish I knew how to get through this - say, snap my fingers and all of it to be gone.  I'm a clinically depressed person; I can't help it.  I will always be dependent on pharmaceuticals, but when even they don't work, I feel lost.

It's a bad day in the neighborhood.  Tomorrow will be better.  I'm sure of it.  I'm going to get up and drive out to see Cooper for the day.  I'm trying to get my daughter to go with me; I don't think she realizes how much I want her to go with me, so I can spend time with both my children at the same time.  But, I don't want to lay a guilt trip on her.

Knowing what Ian is going through, and how deeply Ann is hurting has just pulled the rug out from under me today.  I don't like feeling so helpless, to help myself or others.  I'm a nurturer, a fixer, but I cannot fix that or myself.  I think I have focused my prayers on other things for too long, and now, I know that I need to focus on healing myself.  There so much . . . . garbage.  Does it ever end?  And if so, is it only in death?

Feeling Helpless to Help

Recall that saying, "you can look around and always find someone whose troubles are worse than your own"?  And when you do, do you wish that you didn't know it?

My son, who is 27, began playing t-ball when he was 5.  In the next couple of years, we became ballpark parents and met lots and lots of people from our community that we would have never known otherwise.  One of those people was a boy a year older than my son, his name is Ian.

My son "wanted" badly to be a great ball player, not unlike Ian, to whom it seemed to come naturally.  My memories of those few years are filled with the positive - little boys being so excited about playing, and the cheering parents, brothers and sisters, along with the comraderie between families.  The negative has nothing to do with my point, so I won't get into that.

Ian's mother was a hair stylist and salon owner.  She had been a very popular girl in high school, being on the dance team and also being very petite, pretty and sure of herself.  I'll call her Ann.

What began as "word of mouth" stories about Ann that I heard and used as a basis of the opinion I formed of her then, ended up pushing me toward her to seek her friendship.  She was not unlike me in a lot of ways, and I loved her openess and frankness.  Ian is her middle child of three, an older boy and a younger girl.  We lived in the same community for many years, and Ann ended up divorcing and marrying another friend of mine, his family all being parishoners at the same church as me.  Ann, along with Ian and his younger sister, went through Catechism and joined The Church.  Our friendship ebbed and waned for various reasons, but nothing in particular as those things go, but we have now held onto a friendship of about 27-28 years.  We now live on the other side of the universe from them, but there is always the annual Christmas card exchange.  Ann's husband calls Lee every now and then and that is how we basically keep up.  His brother is also a very good friend of mine and we have also been friends for many years, reduced to pen-pals by the course of life.

Ian was a great little ball player, and he is also the apple of Ann's eye.  I remember him as a child as being so cute, I could eat him up.  He had character and wit; he made you laugh without even trying.

When Ian was 17 years old and graduating from high school, he looked around at a lot of those kids who had grown up with mine as well, and he didn't like what he saw.  He wanted to make something of his life; he didn't want to end up in a menial job, marrying, having kids, divorcing .... he wanted to break the cycle of his friends'.  So, he joined the Marines, which took the consent of his parents, Ann and her former husband.  Ian was slight of build and I just could not imagine him in the Marines, but off to Parris Island he went.
Ian ended up being sent to Iraq in that first push of U.S. troops.  I thought of my own son and I could not imagine him being in a foreign country, his life in danger.  I saw Ann every weekend at Mass and we always caught up afterward during coffee and doughnuts.  Ann was so firm in her belief that Ian would be okay.  "It's not his time," she kept saying.  You may or may not recall an international news wire photograph that was printed in newspapers around the world which was of a young man sitting atop a military tank and the flag of Auburn University flying proudly next to him.  That was Ian, and he and his family grew up staunch Auburn fans.

As a result of that photograph and the Auburn Flag flying, which drew international attention to the university situated in the southern part of Alabama, Ian was offered the opportunity of a lifetime - a full scholarship at Auburn upon his return.  We all said fervent prayers for Ian's safety, and when he finally returned to the States, I saw him at Mass with his wife and the baby she had delivered while he was gone, and he looked just like Ian, the little boy that I remembered.  As he played with and doted on his baby, I still saw the face of a really young Ian, but here he was, a war veteran, a father and a husband.  I won't ever forget how great it was to see him that first time.  The relief! Whew! I could only imagine how Ann felt.

Ian moved to Auburn with his little family, apartment paid by his scholarship, and began his studies.  He also worked in the Athletic Department with the trainers for the football team during his time at Auburn.  He and his wife had another baby, and when he graduated, they returned to Birmingham.  I had lost touch with Ann as far as knowing where her children were in their lives, what kind of jobs they had, etc.  I only knew where Ian lived and that he had a job.

A few months ago, Ian's stepdad called Lee, which seemed like one of those "how the heck are you?" phonecalls, but it wasn't.  We learned that Ian has ALS, or Lou Gehrig's Disease.  I wasn't sure what that meant.  I'd heard the term, but I knew nothing of the disease.  So, off to the internet I went to read up.  What I found made my heart sink deep into the pit of my stomach.  About the only positive that I found was that it seemed to progress very slowly in some, but quickly in others.  I won't get into the meat of that disease - if you're interested, Google it.  I began praying in earnest for Ian, that his would be the slow-growing kind.

That was probably a year ago, maybe more.  Ian went through some radical changes and his uncle, my pen pal, let me know how sad it was to see him at the family Christmas party.  He isn't one for gorrie details, just saying he found it hard to look at Ian.  That's all I knew; he wasn't doing well.  I'm still seeing Ian in my mind's eye, that young ball player, and to really bring that vision home, my youngest grandson, Riley, looks a whole lot like Ian did at that age.  Riley reminds me so much of Ian.  I'm glad of the reminder lest I lose sight of sending up my prayers for Ian.

After not being in touch with Ann for a number of years, other than the Christmas card that only bears our names and best wishes, I felt compelled to write to her.  I couldn't call her; I couldn't put her on the spot like that, nor do I think I can be strong for her.  Ian went from being a vibrant young man with a wife and two children, working for his family, going through life as a war veteran/hero, college graduate and businessman, to being reassigned to working from home due to his affliction.

Today, Ian is no longer able to work.  I have no idea what Ann is going through on a daily basis, but moreover, what Ian is going through, along with his wife and children.  I wrote to Ann yesterday.  I had written a month ago and she returned a brief note saying "to say that this is difficult is an understatement."  Ann wrote back this morning.  Today is a hard day, she said.  There are days like today that she walks around and just cries.  She said some days are like that.  My heart hurts so badly.  There is nothing I can do to take away the pain or the dreadful disease that has stricken down a young man in his prime.  He is only 28 years old. 

I'm praying for you, Ian, and I know that you are a chosen child of God.  There is a purpose to this nightmare on earth. My prayers are with you today and every day since I've learned of your fight against ALS.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

HEARTLIGHT


VERSE:

But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

~1 Corinthians 15:20-22

THOUGHT:

Being eternal is nothing new. Being like Jesus completely, eternally, will be new. But when the moment of glory hung in the balance as Jesus was revived from his death sleep, we too were given the assurance that death no longer claims us. The only death that really matters is our death to sin in baptism with Jesus. If we have shared in that death, we will most certainly share in his resurrection (see Romans 6:1-14).

PRAYER:

Almighty, Most Powerful God. Because of your grace and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, I know I will see you face to face. Help me now, however, to live that resurrected life being more like Jesus today than any day ever before. In the name of my
risen Lord I pray. Amen.

THIS DAY'S . . .



In sorrow and suffering, go straight to God with confidence, and you will be strengthened, enlightened and instructed.

~John of the Cross

~*~

And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.

~Philippians 4:19, The New International Version

~*~

Conscience warns us as a friend before it punishes us as a judge.

~King Stanislas I

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

A Heartfelt "Thank You"

I have asked for your prayers on more than one occasion, and I have received your words of comfort and assurance that you are praying for me and the situations that have been heavy on my heart.  I need to "Thank You" all who have been so supportive and vigilant in your prayers and/or Rosaries on my behalf.  I am so happy to tell you all that God is working, the answers are coming, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude and love for you all.  Thank you so very much for remembering me during your most special time spent with our Heavenly Father.  

Lovingly,
Abbey

THE GUARDIAN ANGEL PRAYER

The Guardian Angel Prayer goes like this:

Guardian Angel Prayer
Angel of God, My Guardian Dear
to whom God's love commits me here.
Ever this day be at my side
to light and guard and rule and guide.
Amen.
I wrote earlier about feeling a "presence" in my home, and even catching quickly fleeting glimpses of "something" out the corner of my eye.  Since my total conversion, a magnificent coming to God and Jesus Christ more fully, my inner peace doesn't seem to allow for fear.  Especially a fear of something that may be heavenly.  Yes, I spoke to the presence in my kitchen when I was swiffing the floor.  It hung heavily behind me until I finally said, "I don't know who you are, but you are welcome here.  But, I do not need your assistance right now.  You may go and rest."

After talking to several Catholic friends about this "spirit", I was told of the Guardian Angel Prayer.  It was given to me and I was instructed to say the prayer five times before going to sleep.  I was also told that the very name of MY Guardian Angel would come to me before morning.

I placed the folded paper containing the prayer I had written inside my Rosary box.  I usually say my Rosary in the morning, when I am alone and the house is quiet.  However, I kept forgetting about saying the Guardian Angel Prayer before bedtime.

Not long ago, when I started paying attention to the glimpses I was having in my own home, I was lying in bed early one morning after Lee had left for work, but I was merely dozing, not fully awake, not fully asleep.  I suddenly felt a weight come down lightly on my feet.  It felt as though someone had sat down on my bed.  I used to have a cat that annoyed me in the early mornings when I wanted to sleep by curling up right on top of my feet.  So, my instinct was to more or less kick at the cat to get her to move elsewhere.  Without thinking, I kicked my feet and then rested them again.  Again, the same feeling, as if someone had sat down on or next to my feet.

I finally remember to repeat the Guardian Angel prayer five times in sincerity two nights ago before I went to sleep.  In my dreams, the name "Barnard" lingered.  I didn't dream of people or places, I didn't dream activity; I dreamed of the name "Barnard".  Note here that I dream vividly, and always have.  There is no "St. BArnard," but there is a St. BErnard.  This is what I found about the Guardian Angel, St. Bernard:
This excerpt from a sermon by St. Bernard of Clairvaux (Sermo 12 in psalmum Qui habitat, 3. 6-8: Opera omnia, Edit. Cisterc. 4 [1966], 458-462) is used in the Roman Office of Readings for the memorial of the Guardian Angels on October 2.
"He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. Let them thank the Lord for his mercy; his wonderful works are for the children of men. Let them give thanks and say among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them. O Lord, what is man that you have made yourself known to him, or why do you incline your heart to him? And you do incline your heart to him; you show him your care and your concern. Finally, you send your only Son and the grace of your Spirit, and promise him a vision of your countenance. And so, that nothing in heaven should be wanting in your concern for us, you send those blessed spirits to serve us, assigning them as our guardians and our teachers.
He has given his angels charge over you to guard you in all your ways. These words should fill you with respect, inspire devotion and instil confidence; respect for the presence of angels, devotion because of their loving service, and confidence because of their protection. And so the angels are here; they are at your side, they are with you, present on your behalf. They are here to protect you and to serve you. But even if it is God who has given them this charge, we must nonetheless be grateful to them for the great love with which they obey and come to help us in our great need.
So let us be devoted and grateful to such great protectors; let us return their love and honour them as much as we can and should. Yet all our love and honor must go to him, for it is from him that they receive all that makes them worthy of our love and respect.
We should then, my brothers, show our affection for the angels, for one day they will be our co-heirs just as here below they are our guardians and trustees appointed and set over us by the Father. We are God’s children although it does not seem so, because we are still but small children under guardians and trustees, and for the present little better than slaves.
Even though we are children and have a long, a very long and dangerous way to go, with such protectors what have we to fear? They who keep us in all our ways cannot be overpowered or led astray, much less lead us astray. They are loyal, prudent, powerful. Why then are we afraid? We have only to follow them, stay close to them, and we shall dwell under the protection of God’s heaven.
There is an excellent read here regarding the theology of the Church on Angels. I found it very fascinating, but moreover, comforting.  I remain unsure of the name of my Guardian Angel, but I am reconciled now that these presences that some feel, like me, others never experiencing this heavenly miracle, is a direct connection to God.  I am experiencing never before peace and serenity in my life.  Prayers that I have sent to our Loving Father for, literally, years are being answered.  I so wish that I could somehow convey to non-believers the absolute joy that having God as one's center brings.  I cannot even conceive of the magnitude of His Works, but I believe in them and they will come as He hath promised. 

Dear God, it took me 56 years to come to know you as intimately as I do now. They were not wasted years; they were years of growth, and sometimes very tumultuous ones, that now make sense, instead of being bad memories.  Thanks be to God.

THIS DAY'S . . .


No man can break any of the Ten Commandments. He can only break himself against them.

~G. K. Chesterton

~*~


Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

~James 5:16, The New International Version

Monday, April 19, 2010

THIS DAY'S . . .

I have never before heard of Epictetus, but I invite you, if you are interested, to read at Wikepedia about this man.  The name, Epictetus, piqued my curiosity, and it is never a bad effort when one thirsts for more knowledge.  You will find what is known about his name and his thoughts are a bit of an enigma, and were left to a particular student of philosophy who put down Epictetus' philosophies on paper.  To read more, go here.

~*~

 

I am always content with what happens, for I know that what God chooses is better than what I choose.

~Epictetus

~*~


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

~Hebrews 12:1, The New International Version

~*~


Christianity is like electricity. It cannot enter a person unless it can pass through.

~Richard Raines

BIKER BAR

Nothing for two days from me, then it's all fun . . . I did have a busy weekend away from home.  Lee was invited to a hunt club with some of the guys at work, so I went down to the lake on Friday to my girlfriend's house, then drove across to my son's on Saturday and spent the night with them and baby Cooper.  It's hard to get back into the swing!!  Here's another funny for Monday.

~*~

I dropped by your house the other day and was told you were down at your favorite biker bar with some friends.

I wasn't sure where that was, but was told I wouldn't have much trouble finding it. Sure enough, I drove just a couple blocks and there it was...



When you have a lot of things to do, it's best to get your nap out of the way first.

DRUGGED!

Friday, April 16, 2010

THIS DAY'S . . .


Christianity is more than a doctrine. It is Christ Himself, living in those whom He has united to Himself in One Mystical Body.

~Thomas Merton

~*~


Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

~Acts 2:38, The King James Version

~*~


Perhaps with charity one shouldn’t think. Charity like love should be blind.

~Graham Greene

Thursday, April 15, 2010

POSITIVE THOUGHTS

The power to make positive choices is arguably the greatest gift that we humans beings have. It is the gift of conscience and of consciousness.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

HEARTLIGHT



VERSE:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to The scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.

~1 Corinthians 15:1-4

THOUGHT:

The story of the Gospel is simple. The grace of the Gospel is glorious. The sacrifice of the Gospel is incomprehensible. The victory of the Gospel is eternal. The core of the Gospel is Christ.

PRAYER:

Almighty Lord, thank you for the empty tomb and Jesus' victory over the grave. Just as Jesus' death pardoned my sin, his resurrection assures my future. Thank you for grace and glory. May my life be lived each day by the power of the resurrection. In Jesus name I pray. Amen.

WISDOM:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is Understanding.

~Proberbs 9:10, King James Version

THIS DAY'S . . .

Rev. Billy Graham . . . what a beautiful and wise man, a gift to the world.  And Robert Ingersoll's quote is so timely in light of the tragedy that befell a sweet and dear family in our neighborhood.  Continue your prayers for Abigail Hope Dahlen, R.I.P., and the family and friends who will feel her loss forever.  Also for the young man who accidentally ran her over.  He is having a really hard time.  He is only 19 years old and this memory will haunt him forever. 

Almighty God and Father, please show us your way, your truth, and your light, so that we may know that there is a higher purpose to everything that happens on your Earth.  Amen.

~*~


Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion - it is a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

~Billy Graham

~*~


Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

~Ephesians 3:20-21, The New International Version

~*~


One laugh of a child will make the holiest day more sacred still.

~Robert Ingersoll

GLORY HALLELUIA! THANKS BE TO GOD!

My dear friends,


I am getting ready to go and see Cooper for the day!  But I could not leave without leaving this for you, God's glory beckons me and He doesn't have to nudge very much.

I HAVE HAD TWO ENORMOUS PRAYERS ANSWERED ONE RIGHT BEHIND THE OTHER THIS MORNING!

Dear ones, I have cried tears of joy.  One miracle, if I may call them a miracle because they are miracles in my life, has been a three-year struggle.  I have waned and ebbed in this prayer, and sometimes needed to REALLY DIG DEEP on this prayer.  The second, I have prayed in earnest for the last few weeks but it has been dream in the making for nearly a year.

I have found, in my life, that God truly brings me to my knees in prayer because it is just and right.  The specifics of this part of my relationship with our Loving Father is between me and him . . . yes, family, I CAN keep a secret! LOL!

I cried with joy this morning, but now I can go and see Kerry and Cooper and it will be a wonderful visit, with huge weights that have disappeared in seconds.  I'll be back here later this evening or tomorrow.  I need time to soak in all the love that I am feeling!

I promise you, Lord, you will not regret your gift of generosity, spirit, love and humbling on this sinner.  I am ever closer to Thee, You are my Everything.


Thanks be to our Powerful and Loving God,
Abbey

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

THIS DAY'S . . .


In darkness there is no choice. It is light that enables us to see the differences between things; and it is Christ who gives us light.

~Augustus Hare

~*~


Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

~John 5:24, The King James Version