St. Joseph's Altar at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy

We are very devoted to Our Lady, St. Joseph, St. Anthony, Bl. Mother Theresa & the message of Divine Mercy. This Blog is dedicated to our Lady and the Divine Mercy message.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lessons in Forgiveness....Difficult week.....

Have you ever wondered why difficult people seem to keep popping in and out of your life? I have struggled with this question for years. Why do I repeatedly have people in my life who are excitable, yell a lot, and are downright mean when "discussing" what is wrong? 

I could go into a long, probably boring, post about spiritual warfare and the battle for souls, but I think the bottom line is that these people are placed in our lives

so we will learn to pray for them and to forgive from the heart. It's not easy to pray for your "enemies" and forgive wrongdoings. In fact, for most of us, the cross of forgiveness is so heavy that we can barely lift it. We stare at it, refusing to carry it, while we wallow in self-pity and replay the scene(s) over and over in our head, becoming more and more agitated and angry. How do I know this? Because I just described myself, and the struggle I had this week with forgiving a person. This is not unusual for me. This is a sin that needs to be uprooted from my soul.

I don't even remember if this happened Tuesday or Wednesday of this past week. This person was angry, which is not unusual for her. She gets angry quite frequently, and in turn pulls aside others to take that anger out on them. Mixed in with all the emotion and barbed arrows she slings is many times an element of truth. She never takes the blame for anything, but twists the story so she is completely innocent and everyone else is entirely at fault for the anger she is feeling and is expressing.

This is where my biggest forgiveness struggles lay/lie?(?) People who are manipulative, twist stories and shoot barbed arrows generally get a huge dose of contempt from "pious"little me. If the person apologizes I will accept the apology, but that does not stop me from mulling over the insults and from having a self-induced "pity party". If the person does not apologize, well, it gets even funnier (in an ironic kind of way) and the "pity party" of anger and self-righteousness is bigger than New Year's Eve at Times Square. (blushing)

I tired to pray for her this week. I tried to pray that I would forgive her this week, but all that garbage just kept getting in the way. All I could see in my mind was my anger and hurt. I could see her side and that she was scared, but I could not get beyond the fact that she took it out on me. By Saturday I was exhausted from a struggle I could not seem to win.

I knew I needed Confession, but I did not go. Luckily, I am married to the most supportive, warm-hearted guy in the world. He looked at me and said that we need to head back to the Divine Mercy Shrine. I immediately calmed down and began to think straighter. This trip is a huge sacrifice to Paul, who works the midnight shift. He won't get much sleep, and he has to go to work tonight. It's very humbling to realize that although the pilgrimage will help him also, he is truly making it on his knees. (metaphorically speaking that is.) Thanks to Paul's sacrifice, I am able to make the pilgrimage for a plenary indulgence, which believe me is greatly needed after this week's "party", attend Mass, go to Confession, pray the Chaplet and immerse in God's Mercy and forgiveness.

Please pray for me that I will extend our Lord's mercy and forgiveness to those around me.
God Bless you and may you also immerse yourself in His mercy.

“I can forgive, but I cannot forget, is only another way of saying, I will not forgive. Forgiveness ought to be like a cancelled note - torn in two, and burned up, so that it never can be shown against one.” Henry Ward Beecher

Disclaimer: I was thinking about this post and realized that I failed to include a vital piece of information, in that *no one* has the right to abuse another person...verbally, physically or otherwise. (Nor do we have the right to abuse others, no matter how angry we are over a sitation.) You have a right to your feelings of hurt, anger and fear when you have been on the receiving end of any type of abuse. My meanderings today are only to address my responsibility for my reaction to, and the need for me to practice forgiveness for conversations that I take offense to, even if they are not actually abusive.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Good News!

I'll make this short and sweet. Paul & I both tested negative for cancer. Thank you, Lord! We prayed for God's Will to be done. Apparently, he has different crosses in mind for us to carry.

Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

May our Lord's Blessings and love pour down on you this day. His Mercy endures forever!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Under in progress...

Although my spiritual life will be "under construction" until the day I go home to God, this post is a note about my blog. I recently transferred a couple of posts from Wordpress, and started posting here, but I have not yet added all my links to websites and blogs.

For now, here is the link back to the Wordpress blog. I hope to get time this weekend to add all my links here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Test of Faith.....

It has been quite a week, and today is only Tuesday (now Wednesday since I left this post in draft mode). I can only imagine how interesting the rest of the week will be.

Last week, Paul had an appointment with the doctor who performs his colonoscopes. Apparently, three years ago Mr. Paul misunderstood that the doctor wanted him back for a 2nd colonoscopy 3 months after (not a couple of years later). Dr H. found an opening at the hospital for the following Wednesday, which is today. We are praying that all is well.

This week I went in for a 2nd ultrasound, external & internal to check out what appeared to be a benign fibroid 3-months ago. I'm beginning to think there is a theme going on here. "3" is a very holy number, representing the Trinity. Anyway, I digress..... The fibroid looked like the texture of a fibroid, but did not behave like one. Marvelous, now I have a rebellious fibroid inside me. Since this misbehaving concerned the doctor, he ordered 3 (that number again) cancer marker blood tests (oh yippee!) and a pelvic MRI. If these tests are inconclusive he may order up a laparoscopic surgery to go in and check out the "thing" that has decided to attach itself to me.

The very strange thing is that right now I am not scared, which surprised Paul. After the reconversion (of the heart) experience I had recently, I have found an indescribable peace. I do have concerns, but they are not taking over my life:

1. This is the biggie....that I will mess up somehow, and find myself not right with God and thus will spend eternity "burning". This is something I can tell you I definitely do NOT have any desire to do.

2. That Paul is not OK and I will eventually lose my best friend. God has granted us the gift of a good marriage and a tight bond, that if broken by death would be debilitating. I know God's Grace will prevail, but I can only imagine how painful and lonely my existence would be without the love of my life.

3. Ok, this one will seem dumb, but I'm afraid the doctor will want to take me off my bioidentical hormones. I have no desire to return to the fogginess, depression, lack of energy and hot flashes that caused me to disengage from life. Between losing my mother and trying to balance my hormones, I am lucky I didn't get fired from my job. I was a mess. I'm now back to normal, and I just want to stay where I am.

4. That my insurance company won't pay for "alternative" cancer treatments if it turns out that one, or both, of us is sick. We do not believe in Chemo, and we are both convinced that Chemo just doesn't work. I read there are 3 (that number) types of cancer Chemo does put in remission, but the rest is a "crap shoot". I'm not poisoning my body and impairing/compromising my immune system for a "crap shoot".

Conclusion, we are stepping out on faith that we will do God's Will and not our own.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Divine Mercy Shrine - Jubilee Year (50 year anniversary)

Today, Paul & I spent a wonderful day up in Stockbridge, MA. at the Shrine of the Divine Mercy. This is *the* Shrine where EWTN filmed the Divine Mercy Chaplet shown daily at 3:00pm. This chapel is stunningly beautiful and so very peaceful.

2010 is the 50th anniversary of the Shrine, and Pope Benedict has declared a plenary indulgence for pilgrims visiting the Shrine who fulfill the usual obligations for the Indulgence. I don't know about anyone else, but I can use all the help I can get. It doesn't hurt that the Shrine is a beautiful, holy and peaceful place to visit.

We made Mass by the skin of our teeth. Well, we weren't on time, but the readings hadn't yet started (blush). Side note....Question: How does a girl brought up to always be at least 10 minutes early for any event continue to be 5-10 minutes late. Answer: Marry a laid-back guy who works the midnight shift and you'll find out.

This is Saint Faustina's altar. I forgot to take a picture of Pope John Paul II cap and rosary. Where was my head?
This is the altar on the left side of the Chapel which is devoted to St. Joseph. There is a beautiful statue of Mary here. Of course, once again I forgot to take a picture.
This is a reflecting pool with an area devoted to St. Joseph. The pool was empty and dirty from the winter when we were last here on Divine Mercy Sunday. We were excited to see the pool clean and filled with water. The small building behind the pool contains a statue of St. Joseph & the baby Jesus, along with hundreds of candles. Wouldn't you love to sit here, with St. Joseph, and find refreshment in the Lord? Side note: We are very devoted to St. Joseph. I've asked him to guide me like he is my actual father, and help me stay on track.

I "met" a very holy priest in Confession today. He was so excited that I was in Confession. He radiated such joy, that I imagine every person going to Confession left with a bit of his joy.
I left with a feeling of joy, peace and happiness that God had granted, yet again, one of my prayers.

The Confessionals at the Shrine are the old-fashioned, Priest behind the screen, Confessionals. I am on the shy side, and I am also very private, so going to Confession is actually a bit torturous for me. I believe in the sacrament of Confession and I'll be the first to advise another person they should go to Confession. I only go if the Lord practically throws me into the Confessional. (Pray for me please that I get over this pride thing and just go.) I have been praying to find an old-fashioned confessional, because I thought it would help (and it did). I happen to be one of those people who just loves the old-fashioned traditions of the Church (pre-Vatican II). I am NOT one of the "Traditionalists" that think everything from Vatican II and beyond is heresy (or whatever they believe). I just love the comfort that "tradition" brings to me. God is good all the time. He answered my prayer, and I am humbled and grateful.

Our next visit to the Shrine will be bittersweet. We plan to head there on the Feast of the Assumption, which is August 15th. My mother went home to God last year, on August 15th, at 3:00pm, just as the contemporary (weekend version) of the chaplet began playing on EWTN. A trip to the Shrine will definitely be a pilgrimage and will be a happy/sad day for sure.

I hope you had a Blessed and peaceful Sunday. God Bless!

Where to live/Patron Saint for 2010 (a seemingly unrelated post) LOL!!

(this is the first post I moved from Wordpress)
Warning! Long Post

My husband and I have discussed from time-to-time where we would like to live in 2-5 years. We have thrown out different ideas/states/areas, but we really have not committed to extensive research. Our hope is to one day live in a Catholic, vibrant, faith-filled, family-centered community. We do not have children, so there is no one to take care of us if we should ever need assistance, or if one of us passes before the other. We would need to be part of an old-fashioned, close-knit community to (God-willing) stay out of nursing homes one day. We also like the idea of having the ability to remain outside for the majority of the year. Here in the northeast we would be stuck in the house a good part of the year. I really believe this ages older people very fast because they lack light, exercise, fresh foods and human contact.

I was thinking about our goal for the future (near or far) when I found a link to Ave Maria, Florida. This is a town constructed by the owner of Domino Pizza. He had a conversion experience and the outcome was that he sold off his plane, boat and other unnecessary objects of wealth. His dream was to build a community based on Catholic values. Everyone is welcome to live in Ave Maria, but the values are based on those of the Catholic/Christian teachings and beliefs. Fleeting thoughts fill my mind about this town as I move from excitement to apprehension. The pros include everything we desire (Catholic, faith-filled, vibrant, family-centered). The cons include apprehension about living in Florida (Hurricanes, excessive humidity, insects...the biggest obstacle is the thought of Hurricanes and weeks without power, along with needing to be evacuated from my home.) If we move to Hurricane territory one day this will definitely be under the heading of "stretch assignment" from God, and "other duties as may be required." I do not need to live in the lap of luxury, but I do like my creature comforts, and evacuation and no power does not appeal at all.

My next step was an intense desire to take this to prayer. I also realize that this could be an ongoing prayer for weeks/months/years and the answer will depend on God's timetable, not mine. Names of known saints began running through my head, and I figured the easiest way to discern which saint I should be praying to was to pull up a list of patron saints. Sigh...seemed like a great idea until I remembered I am the world's worst Googler. I found a list, but was confused about how to find a saint who is the patron of every question I have:

* Where to live?

* How to pay off debt our quickly? We are on a plan, but have approximately 2-years left before all the credit card bills are gone for good. Is there a way to accomplish this goal sooner?

* How to get the money to do the necessary home repairs needing to be completed before we could even think about selling our home?

* How to get rid of all the excess "stuff" in our house. We need to make money, and not just give it all away, but we do not want to have others pay too much for our "stuff".

* What would we do to earn a living in Florida? (Or anywhere else for that matter.) We still need to work for several years.

* How would we get ourselves organized to accomplish all this?

The list of my questions goes on and on. We truly want to discover and fulfill God's will for us. I "Googled" again and fell into the blog of a woman who will pray, and email to those who ask, the name of a patron saint who has chosen the person asking. Hmmm...I like that idea. A saint who has chosen me to pray for his/her intensions for those here on earth and in purgatory, and for whom I can ask to pray/intercede for us as we face not only the questions of where we should live, but also as we face our daily challenges. If you are curious about who your patron saint for 2010 is, you will find the link to Marianne's Blog in my Blogroll to the right.

Once Marianne gets back to me about our Saint(s), I'll post the name(s) and some information about the Saint(s). I'm looking forward to growing in holiness as Paul & I discern God's will for our life together.

May our Lord bless you abundantly on this glorious day.

ETA:  The woman is not currently accepting any requests for saint names.  For now, I'll stick to my favorites...St. Joseph, St. Anthony, Divine Mercy Chaplet & I'll add the Rosary back to my daily prayer. I think the "right" saint has already found me.  ;o)

Moved from Wordpress....

I started this blog over at Wordpress, which is a wonderful environment, but not for this computer challenged, non-geek. ;o) I need simple and easy for now.

I finally gave in and came back to Blogger because this site is more user friendly, and I do not need to purchase a book to figure out how to post and make changes. I will copy my blog posts from Wordpress so I can shut down the blog in the near future.

May our Lord Bless you today and always.........