Tuesday, May 28, 2013


May 25, 2013 Message to Marija

"Dear children! Today I call you to be strong and resolute in faith and prayer, until your prayers are so strong so as to open the Heart of my beloved Son Jesus. Pray little children, pray without ceasing until your heart opens to God’s love. I am with you and I intercede for all of you and I pray for your conversion. Thank you for having responded to my call."

Monday, May 27, 2013


God bless those who have given their lives protecting the freedom that many in the United States of America take for granted.  Let them all be remembered for the heroes that they are. God grant them peace in your Heavenly Kingdom.  May we never forget that there have been many battles, first on our own soil when this country was first settled, up to today where many men and women are still signing up to be one of the bravest of the brave to protect and defend our beautiful country and its people.  Say a prayer for them today.

God bless you,



Sunday, May 26, 2013


This Day's Thought

Breaking Free From the Past

By Brian Bill

Colossians 3:1-11 

In an old Candid Camera episode, an actor is on a busy sidewalk and begins looking at the ground. He walks around a bit and continues to look down. People are passing by him and a few give him strange looks. After a couple minutes, he decides to get down on his hands and knees and begins feeling around with his hands. People begin to slow down and watch what he's doing. Finally, one person stops and starts looking at the ground. Then another one begins searching the sidewalk.

In a few minutes, the camera shows about a dozen people looking down, some even on their hands and knees! At that point, the actor, who got all this started in the first place, quietly gets up and walks away. No one else notices that he has left. They're so intent in their search that they never even bothered to ask what it was they were looking for.

This is a good picture of how many people live in our society today. They're searching for something because they know there's got to be more to life. But, they'll never find it if they don't know what it is that they're missing. We're going to discover this morning from Colossians 3:1-11 that if you want to break free from your past, then where you put your eyes is very important. Instead of looking down, Paul challenges us to:

Look up (1-4)
Look out (5-9a)
Look in (9b-10)
Look around (11)
As we come to Colossians 3, we move from doctrine to conduct. This is very similar to the outline of the Book of Romans, where the first eleven chapters contain rich truths and the final chapters focus on how to live them out. The same is true of the Book of Ephesians. What we believe determines in large part how we behave.

Specifically, in Colossians, we've learned that if we get Christ right we get everything else right. Jesus is supreme over His creation, His church, and now we'll see in chapters 3 and 4 that He is supreme over the Christian. There are practical implications that should be evident if one surrenders to the supremacy of Jesus. As such, we move from principle to practice, from the indicative to the imperative, from the "is" to the "ought." It does little good if we can declare and defend the truth but fail to demonstrate it in our lives. Let's pray that we're not like those described in Titus 1:16: "They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him."

Warren Wiersbe reminds us that the pagan religions of Paul's day taught little or nothing about personal morality: "A worshipper could bow before an idol, put his offering on the altar, and go back to the same old life of sin. What a person believed had no direct relationship with how he behaved." (The Bible Exposition Commentary, page 133). Christianity is much different. Duty is always connected to doctrine.

Paul has been arguing that we are set free from the powers around us, now he tells us that we have been set free for living a life above moral reproach. God's plan is to first make us new; then He challenges us to live as new people. In short, we don't have to be like we've always been. We can break free from the past, if we know where to look.

Look Up!

Instead of gazing at the ground, we must first look up! We see this in Colossians 3:1-4:

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory."

This opening phrase parallels Colossians 2:20: "Since you died with Christ..." As we learned last week, since we died with Christ, we don't have to follow the rules of a hollow and deceptive philosophy. Colossians 3:1 establishes the truth that since we've been raised with Christ, we have a new status and therefore a new way of life. We now have a power source for living. Believers have died with Christ, been buried with Him, have been raised with Him, and as Ephesians 2:6 states, we have been seated with Him in the heavenly places. This is our position, but we must appropriate these truths on a daily basis in order to break free from the past.

That's why Paul writes, "set your hearts on things above." I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "He's so heavenly minded that he's no earthly good." While I guess that's possible, it's more likely that people today are so worldly minded that they're no heavenly or earthly good. If we truly set our hearts on things above, we will experience power and freedom here on earth. The word "set" means to seek something out with a desire to possess it. The word is in the present tense, which implies that we're to continue to seek the things above. It's not just a one-time decision, but is to be a daily activity.

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:21: "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." If our focus is on things that will ultimately rust, tarnish, break down, or burn up, our energy and emotions will be misplaced. If we seek out Christ and allow Him to become our ultimate treasure, our hearts will follow.

Knowing that "Christ is seated at the right hand of God" provides a much-needed reminder that Jesus is supreme and in control. This phrase echoes Psalm 110:1, which is the most quoted Old Testament passage in the New Testament: "The Lord says to my Lord: 'Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.'" Jesus is exalted and sits at the right hand of the Father, which shows that His redemptive work is now complete. The false teachers stressed "heavenly things" also, but Paul was appealing to the highest power of all, Jesus Christ.

The first imperative is to "set our hearts on things above." The second is to "set our minds on things above, not on earthly things." This literally translates, "Keep on thinking, as a matter of habit, on things above, not on things on the earth."

Our feet must be on earth, but our minds must be in heaven. Thoughts can influence actions, so if we place our thoughts above and not on the earth, our behavior will reflect those things that matter to God. This requires tenacious effort on our part because we tend to look down by nature, instead of looking up. But if we fix our gaze on things above, God will change our desires. If we change our mind, God will change our heart.

We need to put our brain in gear by focusing on those things that are spelled out in Philippians 4:8: "Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things." By seeking what Christ desires, we have the power to break our obsession with pleasure and the accumulation of things.

In verses 3-4, we're given five reasons to look up.

1. We've died (3a). This looks back to the cross where we died positionally in Christ. As a result, we have no obligation to live like we used to live. Galatians 2:20: "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." Because we've died with Christ, we should have as little desire for improper worldly pleasures as a dead person would have. We don't just receive a cosmetic makeover or simply add a Christian veneer that only laminates our life. Our old nature is not renewed or even reformed; instead, it is put to death.

2. Our life is hidden with Christ (3b). To have our lives hidden with the One who is seated at the right hand of God gives us both security and satisfaction. The image here is treasure that is stored away in a secure place. Like a seed buried in the earth, our real lives are hidden from the world, only to be revealed when Christ returns. Our new life is a mystery or secret to those who don't understand spiritual matters. 1 Corinthians 2:14: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned."

3. Christ is our life (4a). In a very real sense for the believer, Christ is what life is all about. Without Him we would be dead in our sins. In John 14:6, Jesus said about himself: "I am the way, the truth, and the life..." By realizing that Christ is our life, we can have a new attitude about anything that happens to us. If He is truly our life, we have nothing to fear.

4. Christ will come again (4b). Since Jesus is coming again, it only makes sense that we should be looking up on a continuous basis. The phrase, "when" is better translated, "whenever Christ appears." The fact of His return is certain but the time is indefinite. Since we don't know the when, we must keep watching.

5. We will appear with Him in Glory (4c). The verb, "appear" means "to make visible what is invisible." When Christ returns, the real position of the believer, which has been hidden to the world, will be made known. When Jesus is revealed in His glory, we shall be totally transformed according to 1 John 3:2: "...But we know that when he appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.".

Paul is urging us to look up and remember who we are now, who we once were, and who we will be when Christ returns. Where are you looking this morning? What does your mind focus on? What gets the attention of your heart? Friends, we must make a conscious, deliberate, and daily decision to look up and set our minds and hearts on heavenly things. Our outlook determines our outcome. Keeping our minds and hearts in the right place will often determine where we end up. That leads to the second point.

Look Out!

Not only must we look up, we must also look out. We see this in verses 5-9a: "Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other..."

Colossians 3:5, in the New Living Translation reads like this: "So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you." Because we have died and been raised with Christ, we have the spiritual power to slay those desires that want to control us. We have died to sin, but we must render sinful desires as powerless. While we can't totally eradicate the sinful nature, we can treat it as a morally impotent force. The new life calls for more than jettisoning a few vices and beefing up our spiritual life by going to church once in a while. We'll talk more about this in verse 10, but what gets renewed is the "new self," not the earthly nature. Positionally, we've died with Christ. Now we need to live it out practically.

Last week we learned that in order to pull the weeds of legalism, we must refuse to judge by externals, we must reject false authority, and we need to repudiate religious rules. But that doesn't mean we can do whatever we want as believers. Grace trumps legalism but Paul makes it very clear in Romans 6:1-2 that we are no longer to let sin rule over us: "What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?"

I admire the moral fiber and tenacity of Phinehas in Numbers 25. He's one of my heroes. As we say today, the dude rocks! He was not afraid to deal with sin. Israel was just about to enter the Promised Land after 40 years of hanging out in the desert. Now you would expect to find them really pumped up and excited about being so close. Instead of thanking God, the men of Israel are sleeping with foreign women and worshiping false gods. Needless to say God's anger burned against the Israelites and so he sent a plague among the people.

In the midst of God's judgment, one guy was so brash that he didn't even try to hide his sin. He marched right in front of the people with a Midianite maiden and took her into his tent to sleep with her. Picture the scene. The people of God are weeping at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting because of their sin and the plague that is wiping them out, and this bonehead walks right by them flaunting his sin. By the way, have you ever noticed how sexual sin can cause a normally sane person to do some pretty stupid stuff?

Well, this is where Phinehas enters the scene. When he saw what was going on, he jumped up, grabbed his spear, ran to the man's tent and drove the spear through both the man and the woman as they lay together. The plague immediately stopped, but not before 24,000 people were killed. I love what God says in Numbers 25:11: "Phinehas ...has turned my anger away from the Israelites; for he was as zealous as I am for my honor..." Because Phinehas was looking up, he was also looking out.

Paul wants us to look out so he lists some sensual sins in verse 5. We must slay these with the passion of a Phinehas. Anytime we see these desires begin to awaken in our lives we need to grab our spear and thrust it right through them. We need to be zealous for God's honor by putting them to death. Notice that we're not just to put them aside. We're not to wound them or even ask them to leave. We're not to experiment or play around with them, rationalize them or even explain them away. Instead, we're to kill them. We're to thrust our spears right through them.

Some of you are not going to like hearing about these sins. Maybe you came to church today to be encouraged with a positive message. Listen carefully. Negative warnings and commands grow out of the positive truths of Christian doctrine. Here's another way to look at it. God loves you too much to allow you to mess up your life with sensual sins. He's not a killjoy. He made you and knows what is best for you. That's why He wants you to live in purity and enjoy sexual expression within the bounds of monogamous marriage.

Did you know that Paul talks about sexual sin more than any other sin? I think there are at least three reasons for this.

1. Sexual sin is different than any other sin. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20: "Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body." The emphasis we hear today is on "safe sex," but let me tell you that there is no prophylactic for the soul. Sexual sin will take you further than you want to go and cost you more than you want to pay. We need to understand that sexual expression is not just something we do; it reflects who we are.

2. Sexual sin was and is everywhere. Sex outside of marriage was accepted as the norm in Paul's day and was actually part of many pagan religious rituals. I don't need to tell you how pervasive sex is today because you see it everywhere.

3. Sexual sin destroys people. Satan knows that he can trip up almost anyone by using sex. David was wiped out for a period of time because of his sin with Bathsheba. Marriages are destroyed on a regular basis because of infidelity. Sex was Samson and Solomon's downfall.

Paul lists the sins that we're to put to death.

Sexual immorality. This is a general term and refers to any from of illicit sexual behavior. We derive our word "pornography" from this Greek word.
Impurity. This is marked by a mind that is filled with sensually suggestive thoughts that reads sex into even the most wholesome of situations.
Lust. Lust seeks quick fulfillment and always wants more. Love takes work and deepens over time. Lust focuses only on the senses, but love uses the senses to cherish the other and to nourish the soul.
Evil desires. Our physical desires are divinely given but they become evil when they are motivated by the sinful nature and are executed for evil ends. Since desires lead to deeds, we must purify our minds and hearts.
Greed, which is idolatry. This is the sin of always wanting more. In this context, it may apply to the greed for satisfying evil desires and for sexual immorality. The person who is never satisfied with what he has is usually envious of what others have. This leads to idolatry, when things and people end up taking the place of God.
In verse 6, Paul states that because of these things, the wrath of God is coming. In this context, first of all, it could refer to the judgment of God that we bring on ourselves according to the principle found in Galatians 6:7: "A man sows what he reaps" and what we see in Romans 1:24where we read that "God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts..." Secondly, this wrath is "coming." Presently, it abides on all who have not trusted Christ and are designated as "children of wrath" in Ephesians 2:3. If a person does not come to saving faith before they die, they will experience the righteous wrath of a holy God.

Friend, if you're involved in immorality, you need to follow two dictums:

Don't do it! Stop right now. Confess it to God and to whomever you are wronging.
Don't view it! Be careful about what you put into your mind. Get rid of pornography. Get a web blocker. Watch what you watch on TV and in movies.
The Bible is clear in its teaching on this topic and can be summarized this way: Abstinence for the single, and monogamy for the married.

God's wrath is balanced within His holiness by mercy, compassion and love. He is repulsed by sin and yet is committed to us in love. Jesus will give you grace but He also tells the truth about your sin because He is the perfect embodiment of both grace and truth. Just as He told the woman caught in adultery to "go now and leave your life of sin," so too, He calls us to look out and stop what we're doing so that we can follow Him completely.

Verse 7 reminds us that this kind of behavior belongs to our old life and should not be part of our present pattern of living: "You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived." We need to put the past behind us and refuse to resort to a lifestyle that no longer reflects our true identity. In verse 8-9a, we're told to rid ourselves of social sins. By the way, we often dismiss these sins as the "little ones" that we can overlook. Paul doesn't. If you thought you cruised safely through the first list, you better fasten your seat belts.

The image here is that of taking off old smelly clothes. When my dad would take care of us kids growing up, he prided himself on never having to change a dirty diaper. When asked how he accomplished this feat, he would grin and say, "Oh, it's actually pretty easy. I would just put on a clean one right over the dirty one!" That probably explains why I am the way I am today.

Before we can put on the new, we must first take off the old. The verb "rid" calls for immediate, decisive resolution. Before new garments of righteousness can be put on, the old rags of sin must be discarded.

Anger is a continuous attitude of hatred that remains bottled up within.
Rage is what comes bursting out, often uncontrollably.
Malice is an attitude of ill will towards a person. It's often a hidden hatred of the heart that takes revenge in secret.
Slander is when we destroy another person's good reputation by lies, gossip and the spreading of rumors.
Filthy language is crude talk or abrasive words and is often filled with swearing and sexual innuendo.
Lying to one another disrupts unity by destroying trust. It tears down relationships and can lead to serious conflicts.
These behaviors have no place in any Christian or in any church. They are part of the old life, the "dirty diaper," if you will. We must resolutely "rid" ourselves of the repulsive sins of sex and speech so that we can "put on" the attitudes and actions of Christ.
Look In

After looking up and looking out, if we're serious about breaking free from the past, we must also look in. We do this by recognizing the truth about what happened at conversion. Look at the last part of verse 9 and verse 10: "...Since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator."

We'll pick this up in greater detail next week but I want you to notice that "you have taken off your old self" and "you have put on the new self." This is not a command to keep but a truth to claim. It's already been done. We are exhorted to stop doing certain things because we can stop. We are different therefore we can act differently. As we look in, we realize that we are no longer what we once were.

The new self has been put on and yet it is "being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator." We are created in the image of God but because of our sin, that image has been defaced. God's purpose is to restore His image in us. Warren Wiersbe puts it this way: "We were formed in God's image, and deformed from God's image by sin. But through Jesus Christ, we can be transformed into God's image once again." This is where we take the responsibility to renew our minds according to Romans 12:2: "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..."
Look Around

That leads to the fourth aspect of breaking free from the past: we must look around and see others as Christ does. Notice verse 11: "Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all." The word "here" indicates that in Christ there should be no barriers of nationality, race, education, social standing, wealth, gender, religion, or power. The gospel breaks down walls of ancient prejudice. Paul lists four groupings that need to dissolve in the church.

Racial distinctions. The spread of the Greek culture could make a Greek person feel proud and privileged and therefore look down on Jews. A Jewish person would regard Gentiles as heathen and immoral, and outside of God's grace.
Religious distinctions. The false teachers taught that circumcision was important to the spiritual life but Paul made it clear that this act of surgery gave one no advantages in Christ.
Cultural distinctions. The Greeks considered any non-Greek to be a barbarian and the Scythians were the lowest barbarians of all and were considered little better than beasts.
Economic distinctions. There was a huge cultural and economic chasm between slaves and those who were free.
All of these human barriers belong to the "old man" and not the new one. Friends, since Christ dwell in all believers, regardless of background or social status, we must make sure we are not allowing any division or prejudice to take root in our lives. The stigma of being different must be loved away as we strive for unity within diversity. Christ is all and is in all.

Stop looking down. And stop searching for something that will never satisfy. Instead, seek Christ by looking up...and live Christ by looking out, looking in, and looking around.

Thank You!

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Friday, May 24, 2013


There's not really any reason to hide
things. He already knows everything about you anyway.

As you open up to God you'll find that He
will meet you right where you are, even if
right where you are happens to be a very
bad place.

His love, mercy and forgiveness for you is
greater than any problem or situation you
could ever find yourself in, so trust in
His love for you, and run to Him.

Talk to God openly about your concerns and problems.

Don't hide things. He already knows anyway.

Blessings to you,


Thursday, May 23, 2013


My dear friends, each year we go to my bestie's house at the lake on Memorial Day weekend to "open up the season" properly.

I pray that each of you will have a safe, happy and blessed weekend.  See you next week!



Wednesday, May 22, 2013



Painting of Mary Magdalene by Ary Scheffer courtesy of Wikipedia
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase “offer it up” about a problem? Offering up our troubles to God is a great way to remember that, in our faith, suffering is never wasted or meaningless when it’s united with Christ’s suffering on the Cross, for atonement for sins.

Many people find it helpful to start the day with a morning offering. These prayers we present here for offering up suffering can help you and others as well.

We start first with this well-known prayer Our Lady taught the three Fatima visionaries, the children Lucia Dos Santos, and her cousins Francisco and Jacinta Marto, in 1917, to be said when offering up sufferings, sacrifices, or penances:

Oh my Jesus, I offer this for love of Thee, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In a similar vein, we offer this prayer:

Dear Lord,
Help me to remember in these troubled times
The cross you carried for my sake,
So that I may better carry mine
And to help others do the same,
As I offer up (whatever your concern or problem here) to you
For the conversion of sinners
For the forgiveness of sins
In reparation for sins
And for the salvation of souls. Amen

Here’s a shorter version that expresses the same sentiment:

Dear Lord,
I offer you (whatever your concern or problem here)
For the conversion of sinners
For the forgiveness of sins
In reparation for sins and
For the salvation of souls. Amen.

As the well-known Catholic author Peter Kreeft once wrote in this article, our suffering can help both ourselves and others we may not even know. As he put it "If we are 'in Christ', we, like him, can offer up our sufferings to the Father—and he uses them. They become seeds, or rainwater, and something beautiful springs up that we seldom see in this life."

This concept of redemptive suffering is one of those wonderful divine mysteries, much like our Lord’s Incarnation and His Resurrection that we as human beings will never fully be able to explain but that can give our lives so much meaning. Our sufferings can have a purpose!

God has given us free will to choose to follow Him or not. We’ve abused it many times because of our own sinful nature. And yet He can not only forgive our sins through the Sacrament of Penance (Confession) but also, if we stay close to Him in prayers of offerings, He can take our troubles of any size and use them to make amends for our sins or those of others. (Think of this like paying to fix a window you or someone else broke!)

As Bishop Fulton Sheen once wrote “Pain, agony, disappointments, injustices-all these can be poured into a heavenly treasury from which the anemic, sinful, confused, ignorant souls may draw unto the healing of their wings.”

Think of your sufferings and prayer offerings such as these as contributions into an “Atonement Bank.” It’s not in danger of needing a bailout, and it can give you quite a high rate of return! Your “deposits” can help you, your loved ones or people you don’t even know attain salvation and Eternal Life!

We’d also like to share with you this prayer to offer up sufferings related to confusion, doubt or despair you might naturally feel in bad times:

Dear Lord, during this trial,
I offer up to you my confusion
Give me clarity
I offer up to you my despair
Give me hope
I offer up to you my weakness
Give me strength
I offer up to you my pettiness
Give me generosity of spirit.
I offer up to you all my
Negative thoughts from Satan
So that when he asks ‘Where is Your God now?”
I may respond “Right here with me, giving me His grace
As a Heavenly beam of light penetrating your darkness!"

Remember that in God’s eyes, not one of us is useless. He doesn’t want to lose one sheep in His flock, not one! The one we call the devil, Lucifer, or Satan, however, would like nothing better than to see our destruction.

For most of us, the devil doesn’t turn us into Linda Blair types in need of an Exorcist (as in the movie of that title). His approach is more subtle but it can be deadly nonetheless.

Satan, the father of lies as our Lord referred to him once (John 8:44), tries to play on our weaknesses, our doubts and fears, even in good times, much less in the bad! Don’t let him get you down!

Do you feel like a failure? Frustrated beyond belief? At your wit’s end? Offer all that baggage up to our Lord. Give Him your frustrations and failures. Don't give them to the devil and his forces of darkness.
Do you feel lost? Think of people you look up to, or who inspire you. You think they’ve all had it easy? Look at Jesus. He was born in a cave to die on a cross between two thieves. He was abandoned as a common criminal by his disciples! He must have been a total failure, right? Not at all!

Our Lord came down on earth to share in our sufferings and to give His life not just for our Eternal Life but also so that we may see just how much He loves each of us. This love can strengthen us in our struggles and also help us to share our sufferings with His on Calvary. We can also get His grace, guidance and help through the Eucharist in Holy Communion and in Confession as well!

So, remember, as Blessed Robert Southwell, a 16th Century martyr for Christ once said "God gave Himself to Thee; give Thyself to God."

Picture courtesy of Istockphoto.com


When I was born, I already had a sister 18 months older than me.  I was born into a couple who had no business making babies.  My biological mother had been quite promiscuous.  In fact, because my biological father would cheat and then come home and tell her and beg forgiveness. He always swore he'd never do it again.  

History repeated itself in my first marriage when I was but 17 and pregnant.  The only difference was that my husband lost his temper (he claimed he'd black out and not know what he was doing), and he beat me up pretty badly a few times.

I cannot explain to you how or why, but it is still very prevalent in today's society as it was then for the female to feel that she "asked for it" and "deserved it."  Additionally, my shame and pride precluded me from telling anyone.  I would simply stay inside for days until the awful bruises on my face healed.

My biological father molested me when I was two years old.  That memory was locked behind a door for 50 years.  The details of the door opening are trivial, except for the fact that I recalled him taking me by the hand and walking me into the bathroom, where he would stand me on the closed toilet seat. You can figure out the rest yourself.

My bio mother had a son, we called him "Buddy", before the end of the marriage finally came.  She moved in with her sister, my sweet Aunt (RIP), who had two young boys of her own, one an infant and born out of wedlock.  The two of them would get us all to sleep and then they would turn out all the lights and leave.  They frequented "honky tonks" and picked up men, etc.  My aunt worked; my mother did not, so she was the caregiver of the children.  Only she didn't care and she didn't give. We roamed the neighborhood unsupervised and mind you, I was a toddler.  Another Aunt who ended up adopting my sister and I has told me she found me roaming around in the yard in the dead of winter, wearing only a diaper and tee-shirt, no shoes, no coat, nothing more.

My grandmother whom I adored and miss dreadfully to this day (RIP) had enough.  She packed my things and took me to Aunt B and Uncle B's house.  She sat down my suitcase and said, "Here's Abbey.  If you want her, you can have her."  Of course, they took me in.  My Uncle B was furious that his sister was such a tramp and horrible mother.

Two weeks later, my grandmother reappeared with my sister in tow.  She said she was taking her to my biological father in another city.  Uncle B stepped in and said, "no you're not.  We're not splitting up these girls.  We will take her." And thus, as my Uncle B who turned into my Daddy says today, think of your life as beginning when you came to live with us.

This was his response to my revelation that I had been molested by my real father.  It was probably the first most profound statement that he was able to get through to me.

I had long-tried to recall things from the years before I was adopted, and my therapist admonished me that this was very dangerous territory. She would not consent to hypnotism because she had done it once and it drove the woman over the edge.

All of my adult life, I confused sex with love and daddy.  I just wanted someone to love me.  But, I suffered a LOT of broken hearts.  I never understood my horrid behavior, a time in my life that I beg God to forgive in every prayer, until that door that had been locked for many years opened.  It did not "justify" my behavior, but it did explain my thought process and how screwed up it was.

Today, I know that God and Christ love me, and I love them as hard as I can possibly love anyone.  They forgave me, but I am still struggling to forgive myself.

I have to give a lot of credit to my Mother and Dad.  She could not have children, yet two were simply "given away" to her.  We were loved hard.   We were told every day that we were loved, even after spankings for bad behavior or a breaking of a rule, once it settled down, we were told how very much they loved us and that was why they were trying to not spare the rod so we would grow up decent and far removed from the kind of life of my real mother and father.  They did a great job.  I did the normal things teens do that hurt their feelings, and I feel awful for them.  We've talked a lot over the last few years and basically, they said "don't worry about it; there's no handbook for raising children.  We made mistakes, too, but we did the best we knew how."  That is imbedded in my heart.  I love them more than my own life.  

They are both 81 years old; my mother had a stroke in December 2010, but she is doing great except that they are unable to rehabilitate her right hand and arm.

From the time I was born, through the adoption, the rebellion, the promiscuity, all the way to today where my heart and soul belong to Jesus Christ, I realized that God was with me all of my life.  He has allowed certain things in order to try to teach me His word, but I failed miserably for a long time.

I no longer feel like a failure.  I am in the arms of God, and He is at the wheel.  I am so happy to let him drive!

Lovingly in Christ,


Positive Thoughts

Posted: 22 May 2013 03:45 AM PDT
Wake up every morning in such a way that you commit yourself to live the life you love and dream , yes! It is possible if you follow your heart and choose to make the most of the gift you’ve been given.
You have seeds of greatness in you. Let them flourish into kind and love actions to share with the world.
Do always your best , do it with all your whole heart.
Do not let obstacles sour the life you are meant to have.Do not give up your dreams.
As long as you are reliving your past , hurts, wrongs ; you are not able to heal them, let them go. You cannot move forward until you detached yourself from the past.
Quit focusing on what's wrong in your life and with yourself,and focus on what's right and all the blessings that you have now.
Train your mind to always remember the good and gentle forget the bad moments.What are you remembering will determine , what can of life you are going to live.
By Karina Loureiro.
Don’t let your insecurities bully you into a corner.  Don’t be your own victim.  Forget whether or not everyone else likes you, and focus on loving yourself more.  Accept, define and believe in the person you are.  For once you sincerely do, so will the rest of the people in your life who truly matter to you.



Pope Francis, Shepherd of Truth
Notable quotations from Pope Francis and official
teachings of the Roman Catholic Church
God’s love for us is so great, so deep; it is an unfailing love, one which always takes us by the hand and supports us, lifts us up and leads us on.
Let us never lose trust in the patience and mercy of God!
God is patient with us because He loves us, and those who love are able to understand, to hope, to inspire confidence: they do not give up, they do not burn bridges, they are able to forgive.
Let us remember this in our lives as Christians: God always waits for us, even when we have left Him behind! He is never far from us, and if we return to Him, He is ready to embrace us.
...God’s patience has to call forth in us the courage to return to Him, however many mistakes and sins there may be in our lives.
It is ... in the wounds of Jesus, that we are truly secure; there we encounter the boundless love of His heart.
We hear many offers from the world around us, but let us take up God's offer instead; His is a caress of love.
For God we are not numbers, we are important, indeed, we are the most important thing to Him; even if we are sinners, we are what is closest to His heart.
... I have so often seen God’s merciful countenance, His patience; I have also seen so many people find the courage to enter the wounds of Jesus by saying to Him: Lord, I am here, accept may poverty, hide my sin in Your wounds, wash it away with Your blood. And I have always seen God do just that — He accepted them, consoled them, cleansed them, loved them.
... Let us be enveloped by the mercy of God; let us trust in His patience, which always gives us more time. Let us find the courage to return to His house, to dwell in His loving wounds, allowing ourselves to be loved by Him and to encounter His mercy in the sacraments. We will feel His wonderful tenderness, we will feel His embrace, and we too will become more capable of mercy, patience, forgiveness and love.
(Source: homily at Mass, 4/7/13, Divine Mercy Sunday, Basilica of St. John Lateran)
Published by: Presentation Ministries, 3230 McHenry, Cincinnati, Ohio 45211, (513) 662-5378, www.presentationministries.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Tonight, May 20, 2013, the Blessed Mother appeared to the visionary Ivan at around 10 PM on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje. Sean Bloomfield (Queen of Peace Productions) was present and relayed the following report:

Tonight was a crisp, cloudless evening with just enough moonlight to illuminate the darker portions of the pathway leading up Apparition Hill.

Pilgrims from all over the world are in Medjugorje now; at a talk by local Franciscan Fr. Danko earlier today, when he asked the audience their countries of origin, at least 20 different countries were represented. Most of the pilgrims in the audience indicated that they were in Medjugorje for their first time.

As darkness fell tonight, the whispered prayers emanating from pilgrims climbing Apparition Hill further highlighted the international draw of Medjugorje. Our Lady's statue at the top of the hill, stark white against the night sky, stood high above the pilgrims gathered around Ivan. The crowd prayed along with him, and then he suddenly fell silent.

According to Ivan, "Our Lady came very joyful and greeted us with her motherly greeting, "Praised be Jesus." She prayed over all of us here with her hands extended. In a special way she prayed over those who were sick.

"She said 'Dear children, also today, in a special way, I invite you in this time of grace to open your souls to the Holy Spirit. Dear children, do not permit the world to lead you. Therefore, may the Holy Spirit lead you. Pray, persevere in prayer, that the Holy Spirit may descend upon your families who are in darkness. The mother prays together with you, intercedes before her son for you. Thank you, dear children, for responding to my call today.'

Ivan continued, saying "She blessed us with her motherly blessing, and blessed all the articles we brought with us. I recommended all of you, your needs, intentions, and families and especially the sick. Afterwards Our Lady continued to pray over us and then left in an illuminated sign of the cross, saying 'Go in peace my dear children.'"

THIS DAY'S . . .

This Day's Thought

To ascertain where you really are with the Lord, recall what saddened you the past month.  Was it the realization that you do not love Jesus enough?  That you did not seek his face in prayer often enough?  That you did not care for his people enough?  Or did you get depressed over a lack of respect, criticism from an authority figure, your finances, a lack of friends, fears about the future, or your bulging waistline?
Brennan Manning
This Day's Verse
Sing for joy, O heavens!  Rejoice, O earth!  Burst into song, O mountains!  For the LORD has comforted his people and will have compassion on them in their suffering.
Isaiah 49:13
The New Living Translation


Dear Lord, I do not know what will happen to me today. I only know that nothing will happen that was not foreseen by You, and directed to my greater good from all eternity. I adore Your holy and unfathomable plans, and submit to them with all my heart for love of You, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Amen.†††

Monday, May 20, 2013


It was January 17, 2005.  After 30 years of back problems following a big fall in a skiing accident in Red River, New Mexico, I found a surgeon who determined that there were two discs in the "L" region of my spine that had completely degenerated. It was bone rubbing bone.  His demeanor was rather casual saying "we go in and do a little surgery, replace the discs with a synthetic one at each level, it grows to the bone and you're good to go."

With that demeanor, he made me feel very comfortable that this was not a really big deal.  So, I had the surgery in January 2005.  The incision was about six inches long.  When I was released from the hospital, I was given some heavy duty gauze packs to change the bandaging twice a day as the incision would ooze until it completely healed.  I was in no way prepared for what I would endure.

The muscle spasms were enormous.  The pain caused my body to stiffen in agony.  The doctor had given me muscle relaxers, but they didn't seem to work.  My husband dutifully changed my bandages twice a day and the ones he removed were completely soaked.

Moving along to about one month after surgery, I had a follow-up appointment with the surgeon to check the surgical site.  At that time, there was fever in the surgery region.  He was unconcerned and his PA changed my bandages and gave me a script for physical therapy.

I began to go to therapy and the minimal exercise that I was doing caused excruciating pain. Following therapy, the therapist would put a very warm heating pad on my spine for about 15 minutes.  I was dutiful in my therapy and was driving myself to and from.  The problem was, I wasn't getting better, the pain was growing worse and the drainage from the surgical site was still problematic. It wasn't healing.

I came to a point where I could barely walk and couldn't drive, so my husband would take me.  The last appointment I took, I was unable to do anything.  The pain was so excruciating that I just laid there and cried.  Two therapists had to help me to the car - I was unable to walk on my own.

We had set up a recliner (one that really wasn't comfortable) in our bedroom and I had pillows stuffed all around me in an effort to get some relief.  I took my pain pills and they would cause me to sleep, and when I awoke, I was always depressed at the reality of the situation.  I was in great pain and I KNEW something was wrong.  I switched from the bed to the chair and back all day and night.  My husband slept in another room because I would be up all night watching television when I wasn't asleep.  As the pain pills wore off, the reality of my pain level caused me extreme depression.  My husband acted as if I was just malingering.  He and my daughter thought I was "being a baby" and therefore, neither of them put much stock in my cries of agony. Yes, I cried - A LOT!

In the meantime, I saw the surgeon two more times.  The incision was ALMOST healed, but not completely.  I told him there was fever in my back.  He sent me for two MRIs over the course of about four weeks, and he said "you have a little arthritis around the surgical site and that's why you're having so much pain."  He wrote script after script of Demerol, and at one point maybe 3 /12 months post-op, his PA was telling me it was time that I came off the pain medication.  I cried to him, "I am in excruciating pain; I cannot live without those pain pills!"

All through this ordeal, I was praying for God's mercy and divine healing.  What began as quiet prayer in the beginning went to crying and yelling at Him "WHY WON'T YOU HELP ME?"  I wanted to die, it would be better than what I was living as it was.

My surgeon then sends me to a "pain management clinic" and some quack of a doctor who literally took my bottles of pills and threw them in the floor saying "you won't need these anymore". He put me on morphine and something else, which made me uncomfortable mentally.  I took them as prescribed and an appointment for a block was scheduled.  At that point, I could neither sit nor stand, I was a mess and my husband was really fed up with me.  The doctor gave me the spinal after I had laid in a room for three hours with nobody checking on me.  All through that time, I was confident "God, this is it.  You will heal me now. Please let them come and get me, I'm hurting so bad."  I never stopped praying for His healing hand.

I FINALLY received the injection and afterward, it was like a knife slowly stabbing me and killing me.  I was dying a slow and very painful death.  After two days, my daughter came and she and my husband were exasperated and didn't know what to do.  It was a Thursday evening, April 28, 2005, 3 1/2 months since my surgery.  My daughter had decided that I was not malingering due to my crying constantly and telling her that it felt like a knife was stuck in my back.  She tried to call the pain management office that night, but nobody would call her back. She even got rude with the answering service and told them that this was a critical situation and somebody MUST call.  They never did.

Christie went home, which is three houses away, and I looked at my husband and said "Take me to the hospital. I'm admitting myself and I'm not going home until they find out what's wrong with me."  I was in such bad shape, I lay in the back seat of the vehicle, writhing in pain, wishing we could get to the hospital faster.  They had to physically lift me out of the car.  They sat me in a wheel chair and I squirmed and moved constantly, unable to sit comfortably.  Then I was moved to a gurney in the hallway of the ER.  Again, I'm moaning, groaning, questioning why they haven't done something for me, when finally a doctor came and put an IV in my arm and gave me a shot of morphine.  My pain eased quite a bit, but was still there.

I suppose there are "standard operating procedures" and it took some time for them to contact my internist and get him to okay the admission.  With an IV of morphine, I slept comfortably that night, but I was roused before daylight and taken for an MRI and a CT scan.  Blood had been drawn a couple of times during the night as well.

The surgeon came by all surprised that I was there. "What seems to be the problem."  Do you know I wanted to explode?  He said he was going to get the MRI and CT readings from the radiologist and the blood work results from the lab and would be back.

My husband went on to work, and when the surgeon and another physician entered my room, I was alone with no one there to support me.

Here we go, rather casually but yet it seemed I could read his mind (he was worried about a lawsuit), he says, "there's a change in your bone marrow and there is a pocket of fluid in your spine that is staph."  Yes, my first thought "I'm going to die."  He proceeded to tell me that they would keep me comfortable over the weekend and would go in and take out the hardware from the surgery as it wasn't needed any longer because the fusions held.  He said that my body might be rejecting the metal. But the bone marrow problem?  I had it when I was 12 years old.  It's called osteomyelitis - an infection of the bone marrow and it is very serious.  I had to elevate my right leg constantly and if I tried to stand, the pain was so great, I gave up trying to go to the restroom.  The other doctor, as it turns out, is an Infectious Disease Specialist.  Great.  Now what?  As they left my room, I asked, "am I going to die?"  The ID doctor said rather abruptly "You're NOT going to die!" as they left my room.

Allow me to make one point here.  I had been a practicing Catholic since 1980, was baptized into the Church in 1986, and raised my children in The Church.  But my faith was half-there.  I took the Mass for granted.  I was following along the Missal, doing and saying all that I should, but it was half-hearted.  No wonder God would not help me.  What had I done to earn His divine intervention?  I only became prayerful because of my pain and I wanted Him to heal me.

In this experience, I learned that you cannot just preach it, you must also LIVE IT.  God was there, all right, but he was allowing me to experience a huge trial to teach me a lesson - who was boss!  Who had all the power?  Where had I been in my heart of hearts?  Was I leading a Christ-like existence?

In short, I tell this story and it ends with, "God brought me Home, but not before He brought me to my knees."  This experience and the months following when I had to wear a PICC line 24/7 and change the lines and put a new bag of the medication that was brought to me once a week (a 7-day supply), literally changed my life.  I had a new pain manager; I had strong drugs; he was great and he monitored me carefully.  When he started weaning from the medications, I flipped out for about three days.  I was going through withdrawal.  It was horrible.  I thought to myself, "now I know how a drug addict feels and why he continues to do the drugs - it's better than the hell you go through to come off them."

It took a long time and I didn't feel fully healed, nor did I return to work until August of that year.  My faith since has grown in leaps and bounds, but mostly in the last couple of years, I GET IT!  Like Sally Field when she won her Oscar, I thought of God "He likes me; He really loves me!"

I am deeply devoted to the Catholic Faith.  I was raised Pentecostal and never liked going to church.  The first time I was in a Catholic church was a wedding when I was a young girl.  I'll never forget it.  I thought it was the most beautiful service I'd ever seen.  I never thought about it again until I married a Catholic and began going to church with him.

God is very forgiving.  I've had many deeply conversations with Him, I've asked forgiveness for a LOT of things.  The difficult thing is forgiving oneself.  I'm almost there, and I have Faith that God will continue to lead me where I should be.

My mother had a stroke December 15, 2010.  I asked her recently "don't you ever get depressed about your limitations due to your stroke?"  She said, "No.  I can't do anything about it, so why worry about it." That struck something in my mind and what she said goes through my mind a lot.  If you can't do anything about it, why worry?  Which brings me to The Serenity Prayer.  If you don't live by it, you ought to try and see how much worry is lifted from your shoulders.

I pray that this story has touched you in a positive way.  Just know this: God is there.  Even if you do not acknowledge His presence or ask Him to help, heal or forgive, He is with you always, until the end of time.

With love and joy in His Service †††,


Sunday, May 19, 2013


A precious little girl walks into a PetSmart store and asks,in the sweetest little lisp, between two missing teeth, "Excuthe me, mithter, where do you keep the widdle wabbits?"As the shopkeeper's heart melts, he gets down on his knees so that he's on her level and asks, "Do you want a widdle white wabbit, or a thoft and fuwwy, bwack wabbit, or maybe one like that cute widdle bwown wabbit over there?" She, in turn, blushes, rocks on her heels, puts her hands on her knees, leans forward and says, in a tiny quiet voice
"I don't think my python weally gives a thit."


Positive Thoughts

Posted: 19 May 2013 05:21 AM PDT

  1. LOVE BEGINS WITH YOU: Your inner voice is where your story of love begins: It is hard to feel worthy of love if someone is criticizing you all the time and especially if that someone is talking in your head. Stop self-loathing; it’s a waste of time. Stop comparing yourself to others and feeling like a victim. Dare to be proud of yourself, look for your strengths, watch for the negative talk and stop it.
  2. GRATITUDE REFLECTION:   Like any muscle, the heart get stronger with exercise. Gratitude reflection is a great exercise for opening the heart. Take two minutes each morning when you open your eyes and two minutes each night right before you close them to give thanks. Just go through the list of all the things you are grateful for—beginning with your ability to feel gratitude for the job that gets you out of bed each morning.
  3. DECLARE LOVE:  Give passion to everything in your life. Love your walks, your gardening, your age, the family you created, the weather patterns where you live. Grab onto it all as if you might lose it. See through a child’s eyes. Be thrilled and excited about life. Find miracles everywhere. Use the word love more often when describing aspects of your life.
  4. LITTLE IS BIG: A big heart is full of endless possibilities to show love in little ways.  Engage in small acts of kindness that cost little money, if any, and take little time. It is amazing how effective small acts of kindness are and how long they are remembered. Open doors, smile, call a friend that is hurting, put a card in the mail, pick up an extra coffee, make “just because” gestures part of your daily life. Don’t think it, do it! And yes, we all have more time for this than we know.
  5. LOVE LIKE THE OCEAN: You have the ability to love like the seven seas reaching around the world and back. And like the ocean putting passion into each and every wave, all your love matters and makes a difference. We are all capable of grand love.
  6. THINK HAMMER INSTEAD OF NAIL: At some time in our lives we will all experience pain and hardships. These experiences hurt and lead us to build walls around us to protect us from others. Yet, pain and hardship are great tools for opening the heart. You must have courage and strength and allow your hardships to open the flow of love in your life.
  7. UNDERSTAND MOTHER NATURE: Mother Nature bestowed us with romantic love so we can reproduce, maternal/paternal love so we can care for the next generation and friendship so we can connect and protect one another. However, in addition to the bonding gift of emotional love, Mother Nature intended love to serve us in many ways. One way is by easing anxiety. The next time you find yourself in a situation with a coworker, stuck in traffic or angry at a stranger, stay in the love. Witness how calmly your body reacts and how much more you can handle in your life.
  8. CUT OTHERS A BREAK: Most people are coming from a place of exhaustion and/or feeling unappreciated. People are overwhelmed and lonely, and Emotions 101 is not taught in any school. Regardless of how easy someone’s life may appear, they have their personal hardships. Simply cut them a break.
  9. REMOVE THE DEBRIS: Think of a river heading home to the sea. As she voyages forward her journey is hampered if debris gets in her way and clogs her up. Anger, resentment, fear, judgment and blame are debris hampering the flow of love in your life. Self reflect, take responsibility and open your heart to love. You can find tools to release the debris by reading books, watching lectures, praying, forgiving others.
  10. LET GO: Many people rarely if ever hear the words, I love you. It can be scary and awkward, but the more you say it the easier it gets. Just say: I love you to your mother, father, sister, brother, friend, anyone you love. End conversations with I love you. Just see how good it feels and how well it is accepted. Witness the love being returned to you.
    Tricia Lavoice


Peace be with you!
Happy Pentecost! 
I hope that this novena has been a good experience for you that has helped you to call on the Holy Spirit more. 
Now, I'd like to close this novena with a final prayer. 
Let us pray...
Dear Lord Jesus, I have specific requests that may only partially fill the infinite needs and desires that are in my heart. I ask that You answer me not only for those requests but also for a greater reliance on You to satisfy the needs and desires that You have given me.
Please grant the prayers of all those who prayed this novena with me. Bless them with Your love and make them holy!
May I seek You with a sincere heart knowing that it will profit me nothing if I gain the whole world yet lose my soul.
So, help me to see Your good and gracious purpose in all my trials. Help me to see Your blessings in every day and help me to love You more.
Thank You for everything, Lord Jesus!

The Peace and Love of the Lord, Jesus Christ, be with you and yours,
Love, Abbey

Saturday, May 18, 2013



Picture courtesy of iStockphoto.com
It has been said that Christ is closest to us in our suffering. This prayer for grace in sickness can help you cope during those times when you need to feel our Lord’s presence most!
Dear Lord, by allowing me to experience this affliction, so that I may share in your suffering on the cross for sin, you take a sublime chance that I might either draw closer to you for comfort, or turn away from you in my misery. O my Savior, grant me that precious grace to offer up my pain, as you did in Your Passion, to atone for sin. Help me to imitate your patience and to turn my complaints into offerings for my sins or for those of others, as you see fit. In this time of distress and pain, I ask, I seek, and I knock, for the grace of endurance, perseverance, and above all, trustful submission to Your Divine will, for my good and your glory.
This might seem like a tall order, particularly when you are undergoing a great deal of pain. We might admire those who carry their crosses gracefully. We might even feel grateful for a particular cross if we emerge stronger after bearing it, once the ordeal is over!

But how often do we embrace our crosses during sickness? You might have heard it said that God will only send us the crosses we can bear. Yet, especially during a serious illness, that cross seems to be made of lead, not wood, as it crushes down on us.

When we turn away from God then, we risk turning fragile moments into brittle ones. We lose the opportunity to bear our pain with love for Him as He bore His suffering out of love for us on the Cross. We lose the grace of trusting in Him to see us through our ordeal and to help us get to Heaven.

What we need to pray for most, as implied in this prayer above, is a patient, persevering trust in God to do the right thing for us if we seek to follow His will, no matter what the circumstances.

The degree to which we are receptive to God’s graces is the degree to which we will be given more! You might have heard the popular expression “Let Go and Let God.” Let Jesus help you carry your crosses in prayer!

THIS DAY'S .....

This Day's Thought

The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works.
This Day's Verse
Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice.  Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.  If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?  But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
Psalm 130:1-4
The New International Version
This Day's Smile
The great secret of successful marriage is to treat all disasters as incidents and none of the incidents as disasters.

Harold Nicholson