Saturday, March 14, 2015

Do You Celebrate Christ

I know that as Catholics sometimes we can get caught up in rituals of the Mass, especially if  you are one that attends daily Mass.  Yes it is beautiful, and meaningful but for those of you  that are cradle Catholics and have witnessed the same event every Sunday or daily, you can  have a tendency to loose the spark of what it all means.  I often tell cradle Catholics that I  consider myself lucky in the since that coming into the church as an adult I have a better  understanding of what it all means, I can appreciate it more than say those who have been a  Catholic their whole lives because see as a cradle Catholic, the Catholic Church is all you  know, when you come into the Catholic church after having been affiliated with different  denominations you can see what you have been missing, and I feel that for allot of us converts  to the Church it helps us to have a deeper passion for the Mass.

Now I am not saying that converts are better than cradle's what I am saying is if you have  gotten to the point in your life that the Mass is more of a routine than you need to spice up  your Church life. I often times will tell people that I consider myself an evangelical  Catholic, and I am sure that you are giving the screen the same confused look that people often  give me when they hear me say that.  See I grew up in a Baptist church, and so it was not  uncommon for someone to be "filled with the Holy Spirit" and shout or raise their hands when  they felt overwhelmed with love for God.  Now I am sure that if I was to do that during a Mass,  I would probably get some very strange looks.  But see there are times during the Mass that I  do get that overwhelming love for God, especially when I partake of the Eucharist, and there  are times that I have to bite my tongue to keep from expressing the over abundance of love that  I am feeling.

One thing that I have done that has helped me to keep that fire for Christ burning ever so  bright is spending time in worship here at home.  I know that this sounds silly but some of my  most Spirit filled moments happen when I am cleaning my house.  I turn on some praise and  worship music full blast, and I sing along as I am cleaning, there have been many times that a  song will strike a cord and I stop whatever I am doing and lift my hands up in the air and  spend time just praising the Lord.  I can be so deeply ingrained in praying my Rosary, focusing  on the different mysteries, and I have caught myself stopping, lifting my hands and praising  God.  Or if I watch a movie on TV, I have caught myself tears streaming down my face, praising  God, this happened to me just last night.  I was watching the movie Facing The Giants, I could  not hold back the tears, not because the movie was sad, but because it was so profoundly  moving. Things like the examples I have given are all ways that I celebrate God.

God is not only just present in the Mass, He is present all around us, each and everyday, no  matter where we may be, if we look for Him we can find Him.  So how do you celebrate Christ?   Just during the Mass?  Or do you seek a relationship with Him at all times?  Where does God  stand in your life?  Think about these questions, be honest with yourself, and if you find that  you are not celebrating Christ each and everyday, then you need to spend some time in prayer,  and ask God to become the center of your life again, not just during the Mass but each and  everyday.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Righting A Wrong Way Of Thinking

As any of you that have watched the news in the past couple of weeks knows the area in West
Virginia that I live in was hit by a total of around two feet of snow within a two week period.
This caused all of the roads to be bad, and when the snow started to melt it caused a huge
flood in our area.  Many people lost their homes, and everything that they owned it truly was a
State of Emergency like the governor declared.  I am grateful that our home was spared, and
that the only things that were a true threat to us were the slick roads.

In the process of the river rising because of all the water it effected our city water plant
and caused it to have to shut down, which left us with no water.  As I write this we are still
without water for 5 days now.  Remember now our home was spared from the flood, our electric
managed to stay on throughout the storms, so we had a dry safe, warm home and for that I am
truly grateful.  But not having water for the past five days for some reason has bothered me
more than it should, and I am ashamed to have to admit that the way that I have reacted to it,
is in a way shameful.

There are so many people that have lost so much, everything that they have worked for, gone in
a matter of hours.  And here I am complaining just because I don't have any water, how
embarrassed I truly am.  So why are you writing about this on a Catholic site you might ask?

Well I know as Christians we are suppose to have it ingrained in our minds and hearts that God
is there and He will take care of us, but we also are human and imperfect people and we have
thoughts, and concerns just like everyone else, and yes even Christians at time can have their
periods of doubt, especially in times of great stress.  It is hard during times of heartache to
see God's hand in something, but no matter how bad things look at the moment, you don't have to
worry because God is always there.  And as an imperfect human I have allowed this minor problem
that I am having with no water fester and become a lot more that it really is, and in essence I
feel like I have failed a test that I have been given.

You have heard the saying that hind sight is 20/20, and that is true, as I write this and look
back at my reactions to the struggles that have been placed in front of me, I can see where I
have went wrong, and now I am taking the steps to make them right.  Instead of getting on my
Facebook and complaining to people who have no control over this situation I should be on my
knees asking God to give me the grace to handle this situation in a way that will bring glory
to Him.

In conclusion as I finish writing this article, it is now day 6 with no water, but see I am OK with that now.  Because after giving all of my stresses to God and allowing Him to take control over the situation things are starting to work out.  I was able to go to my daughters house last night and take a long, hot, relaxing bath (with hot water), my dear husband came home from work with a 5 gallon drum of water, and with 6 gallon judges of water, so now after I finish this article I can go in and wash my dishes, and get my kitchen straightened back up, and actually cook a meal for my family this evening instead of us having to eat out yet again, and I spoke with the water department and they are pretty sure that they will have the water back on within a couple of days.  By giving God the control in my life, instead of me trying to control what I can't, not only were my prayers answered, but God is where He is suppose to be in my life, the driver's seat.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Thoughts On Our Lady Of Fatima

A friend of mine recently ask me what my thoughts on Our Lady Of Fatima were, and it got me to
thinking a lot on the subject.  I remember when I was first learning about the Catholic Church
and hearing all of the wonderful things that people had witnessed in the Church I heard about
Our Lady of Fatima.  When I first heard about Fatima I remember I was instantly amazed at what
the children had witnessed there, and I remember that I believed it right off, I had no doubts
in my mind that it truly did happen and I found the account amazing.

As I read about the three children I was almost jealous in a way that it had happened to them,
and not to me.  Could you imagine seeing Our Lady, listening to Her speak?  Oh how wonderfully
blessed those kids were, I don't really think they understood at the time what a profound
impact that this would have in so many millions of peoples lives.  It never fails to amaze me
the many different ways that God makes His presence known, and the fact that He uses Our Lady
shows how much love He has for His Mother, and it is that love that He has for His Mother, that
makes me love Her so very much.

She is my Spiritual Mother and I have often talked to Her just like I did when my mother was alive.  She can understand me in a way that no one else can, and to talk with Her gives me such a peace in my heart.  At the beginning of April I am going to be reading yet another book on Our Lady of Fatima, and I am going to be sharing my thoughts on it chapter by chapter on a separate page on my blog.  If you would like feel free to get the book and read it along with me.  The title is Our Lady Of Fatima by William Thomas Walsh.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Do You Defend Your Faith

I am sure that if you live in a large area, or one that is predominately Catholic then you probably don't run into this problem very much if at all, but if you live in a area like I do to where you are the only Catholic among allot of Protestants then you have probably encountered this on more than one occasion.

I don't know about you, but as for me I am constantly having to defend my beliefs and my Church, from people who know very little if anything about it, and go on false teachings that they have received from others who know very little if anything about the Catholic Church.  Arch Bishop Fulton Sheen said it best we he said "There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church."  And that statement is just as true today, as it was back when he said it.

Some of the basic questions and comments that I receive on an almost daily basis are, don't you know that the Pope is the anti-Christ?, why do you all worship Mary?, You know that the Catholic Church is the whore of Babylon as spoken of in Revelations, You know you are not suppose to call any man Father, etc....  Oh how many times have I had to explain the answers to these same questions, shew if I had a dime for every stupid question that I have been ask I would be a millionaire.  I do have to say though one good thing about all of these constant questions is that it has made me have to study more about my Church and it's teachings so that I can be ready to defend it in battle.

I grew up in a family of Protestants Baptist to be exact and I constantly got to witness how they treated two of my aunts and their families that were Jehovah's Witnesses.  The comments that were made, the way that my family would act around them like they had some kind of deadly virus, all because they believed differently.  I now know how they felt, because in essence I have been treated the same way, and it pains my heart so much to know those kinds of hurt feelings all because they believe something that is a lie, and rather than checking it out for themselves they would rather go on believing those lies.

But it is in those times of battle that I stand firm on my beliefs and my Church, because I know the truth's that she holds.  Not only do I have a strong Church family here on earth to back me up, but I have all the Saint's in Heaven praying for me when I need it the most, oh how strong they all make me.  I can be having such a rough week that I just don't know how much more I can take, and then I go in the presence of the Lord and receive Him into my body and my strength is completely renewed so that I am ready to fight my battle for another week.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

How Do You Embrace The Mass

When you attend Mass, is your heart in it, or do you just go through the motions?  Do you think
about the words being spoken, the songs being sung, the prayers being said, or is your mind
somewhere else?

I know that these are some harsh questions, but if you are going to be honest with God then you
have to be honest with yourself, and sometimes that means stopping to take a look at your way
of thinking.  I know that I have spoken to cradle Catholics and converts, and have ask them
this very question, and I must say that I appreciate their honesty.  Some have informed me that
a lot of times they are thinking about a bill that is due, what are they going to have for
dinner, I even had one tell me that they have actually fallen asleep during the service, which
I find hard to believe with all the standing, kneeling and sitting.  But have you ever really
given a hard, long thought to the the meaning of the Mass, to what is actually going on?

For me participating in the Mass is very emotional, and I always make it a point to leave all
of the outside world, and the worries in the car when I get there.  The Mass is my time to
spend with the Lord, to worship, and admire Him, everything else can wait.  I view each prayer
as my conversation time with the Lord, I view all of the singing as my time to praise Him, I
view the message the Father gives as God's instructions for my life journey, and I view
partaking in the Eucharist as my time to fully embrace the love that my Lord has for me, to
take Him in completely body and soul.

I have even became so ingrained in the Mass that when it gets to the prayer, Father I am not
worthy that You should enter under my roof, but only say the word, and my soul shall be healed,
I find tears streaming down my face, because I truly understand all that He went through for me
and to know that He has that power to forgive me is truly amazing. And when I walk up and
receive His body and blood I see that as a protective shield for me, when I take Him in I feel
that He is protecting me body and soul and it gives me such a warmth that I have never
experienced in any other way.  It is then that I can say that I truly have experienced the full
love of God.

The next time that you attend Mass start by leaving all your concerns in the car, go in
expecting to filled with God's love, really listen to the word's of the songs, the prayers and
the homilies, don't just go through the motions, really take God in, and you will be surprised
at the great love that you will feel.

Friday, February 6, 2015

My Christmas Miracle

As many of you may know I was raised, married and raised my kids the first part of their lives in the Freewill Baptist Church.  In 2006 after a very long journey I came home to the Catholic Church.  I will write about my conversion story in another article.

In my joining the Catholic Church I really offended allot of my family members who were all Protestants, especially my dad.  He would call me often and try and talk me into coming back to the Baptist Church, and each time I would politely say I appreciated his concern but I was happy where I was.  He would tell me that because I was Catholic I was going to Hell, that the Catholic Church was the Whore of Babylon that is spoken about in Revelations, and that the Pope was the anti-Christ. These are all basic teaching in the Baptist Church, and him being a devout Baptist believed them whole heartily.

Over time he seemed to back off a little instead of it being an almost everyday thing, he died down to maybe once a week, then every two or three weeks, but I always knew how he felt and always tried to be prepared for whatever negative comment about the Catholic Church that I knew at some point would come.

Ever so often I would invite him and my stepmother to come and attend Mass with me, and my stepmother did and liked it allot, she has a very open mind and even though she is a devout Baptist she does not hold negative thoughts about different denominations.  My dad on the other hand would always have a reason not attend, there was something special going on at his church, he had other plans etc... but it never stopped me from inviting him on occasion.

I would pray a Rosary for him daily, and I would ask the Lord to please open his eyes to the truth about the Catholic Church, and I knew that in God's good time if it was His will, my prayer would be answered.  I had been talking to my step mom and I ask her if she might help me to convince my dad to come to Christmas Eve Mass with me, she said she would talk to him about it, and I just played it off, thinking oh well he will just come up with another excuse, and I let it go at that.  A couple days later my phone rang and it was her, and she told me that she had convinced my dad to attend Mass with us on Christmas Eve.  She told him that it was only fair since I had on occasion went to Church with him.  She told him that he needed to go and see for himself what went on, not just to depend on what other people told him, and so I was getting a Christmas miracle, my entire family, my parents, my husband and both of my kids were attending Christmas Eve Mass with me for the first time ever.

I don't know why, but over the next couple of days leading up to the Mass I was so nervous, I knew how the Mass was, and I knew how much I loved it, I was just praying so hard that God would open my dad's eyes to the truth and he could see for himself the love, and passion that Catholics have for the Lord.  I wanted him to see the love that our Priest had for his congregation, the love that he had for the Lord, I wanted him to see the wonderful family that I had there in my fellow Church members.  I just knew if he would go in there with an open mind he would be wowed by what he saw.

Finally it was time to head to Mass, as we walked in the Children were just starting their little play, I could not help but keep looking toward my dad and to see him smiling at the wonderful job the kids were doing just melted my heart.  As the Mass began and the songs started,and the prayers were said, and the message was given I watched as my dad tried to absorb everything that he could, part of me thought that maybe he was trying to catch one of the things that he was taught about it in the Baptist Church, but as time went on, you could watch him relax and really get into the service.

After service was over, and we had walked out to the car, I could no longer stand it, I said dad so what did you think?  And he looked at me and smiled and said ever so simply, "that wasn't bad after all", and for him that was saying so much.  I ask him if he would ever consider coming back with me to visit again, and he said why sure I did not see anything bad in there.  I then told him, well the next time that you hear someone say something bad about the Church, could you maybe tell them that you have been there, and seen it for yourself, and maybe before they go and believe everything that they are taught that they should go and check it out for themselves?  He did not say anything but gave me that reassuring smile that I am so use to seeing when he knows the truth about something.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Are You A Christian Or A Hater

 Before I go any further I want to make one thing clear, NO I am not a Muslim lover, I am a Christian.

When this country was founded, yes it was founded one nation under God, but this country was also founded with the belief that people of all faiths could come here and practice their beliefs without fear of punishment.  How many of our soldiers have fought and died so that we are able to keep that freedom?  There are people that live here as American citizens from all different faiths, and weather you agree with me or not, the truth is there are bad people in all of those different kinds of religions.  There are people that call themselves Christians that are anything but Christ like, there are people who call themselves Muslims that are anything but peaceful etc...

Now I am about to say something that will probably drive some Christians crazy, but I have studied the teachings of Islam and a TRUE Muslim follower believes in peace.  The people that you see on TV, the terrorists, the crazes who kill in the name of Islam are not practicing the true teachings of Islam.  And I am sure that there will be people that pull up certain scriptures from the Koran and say see they want to kill all Christians.  Well I am sure if you would take some time and read the Bible you would see that there are verses in the Bible that if misunderstood would make Christians out to be barbaric.  For example the two women fighting over who the real mother of a child was, and King Solomon told them to cut the child in half.  Now any sensible people would know that he was not literally telling to cut in half, it was a metaphor.

Anyone can take a text and pervert it to suit their needs, that is how we have ended up with so many different denominations.  Instead of looking at the persons religious beliefs, you should look into their hearts, cause there are just as many people who call themselves Christians that are just as evil as some people who call themselves Muslims.  I am a Christian, but I am looking at this from an American stand point. Our country fights for the rights of ALL to practice their religion, it does not state Christians only. If these people (Muslims) are law abiding citizens then they should have just as much right to practice their beliefs as we do ours. No one says we have to agree with them, but we should respect them just as they should respect us. We are to be CHRIST LIKE, and Jesus loves all, He may not approve of how they believe but He still died for them, it is up to them to welcome Him into their hearts. But if they are Americans they should have the same rights as all Christians.

Call me a Muslim lover if you want, that is OK.  But I am also a Christian lover, a Jew lover, a Hindu lover etc...  See I am following the examples of Christ, and He loves everyone.  Whatever happened to the phrase despise the sin not the sinner.  Before you call yourself a Christian you need to stop and take a look at your heart, do you have the love that Christ has? Do you love your neighbor, what if your neighbor is a Muslim?  What if they are atheists?  See there is no where in the Bible that I can find that Jesus said love only your Christian neighbor.  As a Christian do you show the love of Christ to everyone?  If not you might want to start reading the Bible because as a Child of God, that is what He expects us to do.  No one says you have to agree with their beliefs but you know have you ever thought that instead of showing something other than hate you might just lead a lost sheep home to the Shepherd.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Is Your Prayer Life Organized?

Do you have a set time each day that you unplug your phone, turn off the tv, find a quite spot 
and spend some time talking to the Lord,or are you one of many people that find that you are 
too busy?  Alot of people today feel that their lives are to hectic to be able to find time  each day for such a commitment, they may want to but when it comes right down to it, their  lives are so disorganized that they just don't feel that they have the extra time.
St.Therese of Lisieux said that prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance  directed to heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trail as well as joy;  finally, it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus.   She saw prayer as a very important part of her daily life, in bad times as well as in joyful  times, she even went as far as telling us that prayers unites us to Jesus, it is our communication line straight to the Father. Our Father wants to hear from us, everyday, not just when we need something or are scared or worried, He wants to share our joys and happiness as well.

St. John Chrysostom said that prayer is the place of refuge for every worry, a foundation for cheerfulness, a source of constant happiness, a protection against sadness. We as adults know that in this day and age there are far more stresses then there are plesentries, so it would benefit us grately to make sure that prayer is factored into our everyday busy lives.

Now if your life is anything like mine, you are up at dawn, and on the go nonstop till bedtime, with kids, work, laundry, cooking, cleaning, meetings, etc... I know that there have been times that I have caught myself dozing off while waiting at the doctor's office, or if I sit down for a minute to catch my breath throughout the day.  But if I had better balanced out my day, I could have used those times to spend in prayer.  There are also times when I am washing dishes, or cooking that I could put in a Rosary tape and pray my while I am working around the house. But there still needs to be a set time each and everyday that is written in stone for me to spend time in the presence of the Lord, and after much trail and error I figured out a schedule that works very well for me.  Not only am I aware that at a certain time each day I am going to stop what I am doing and spend time with the Lord, I look forward to and crave that time.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Half Awake Priest

Very recently I had to spend the night in the hospital because of some chest pains and raising blood pressure. The doctor came in and spoke with me and my husband and told us that he felt I needed to have a heart cath done to make sure that there were no blockages in my heart. We both felt he knew what was best so we agreed, and he told us that he would schedule the procedure for the following morning.

After he left I put on this big brave face for my husband because it seems that the more worried I get about something, he gets ten times as worried. I told him everything was going to be alright and finally convinced him to go home and get some rest. After he left I broke down and started to cry, and went to dig my Rosary beads out of my purse and discovered that they were not there.  I had not brought them with me.

After crying for a few minutes I decided to call my parish priest and talk with him. But then stopped when I reminded myself that he had just been in a car accident and even though we knew that he was going to be OK, I know he was still very sore especially seeing as how he is 86 years old.  So I decided not to bother him. Looking through the phone book I found the Catholic church local to the hospital and decided to call their priest to see if he would maybe pray with me over the phone to give me so peace about my procedure the next day. He answered the phone with such a nice gently tone, I told him who was and why I had called him, and ask if he would pray with me. He said, “Sure no problem,” and right there over the phone he prayed with me the most beautiful prayer.  I felt such peace when he finished. We spoke for a few minutes and I guess I must have mentioned something to him about forgetting my Rosary at home but for the life of me I can’t remember. We said goodbye and hung up the phone.

I watched TV for a few minutes and then after a few laps around the hospital floor it was time for bed. Laying there trying to go to sleep I heard a knock on my hospital room door. I said, “Yes please come in,” thinking it was one of the nurses.  But instead of a nurse entering my room, a man with messed up hair, in a sweat suit and tennis shoes came in instead. I said, “Yes may I help you?” And he said,  “No I came here to help you.” He introduced himself as the priest I had spoken with on the phone and then proceeded to come and sit by my bedside.

I was shocked and surprised, but very happy that he was there. He told me that as he was trying to go to sleep it popped in his head that I had forgotten my Rosary beads at home and he said something told him to get up and bring me a set to the hospital. So he jumped out of bed in his sweat suit, messed up hair and half asleep and got in his car and came to where I was in the hospital. He then proceeded to give me a beautiful set of Rosary beads, and then after giving me the anointing of the sick and communion, he sat there and prayed the Rosary with me.

After he left I could not help but smile.  My heart was put to ease and there were no worries in my head. And all of this came about thanks to a priest in his sweat suit, tennis shoes, messed hair and half awake.

I'm Bored

I commend any and all mothers who have survived a summer with two or more teenagers in the house. You should all be given golden awards for your effort. I on the other hand pray that I make it through each day with my sanity.

When I was a teenager I was never bored. I always managed to keep myself busy doing things throughout the day, and never went to my mom and whined, “Mom I’m so bored!!!!”

Kids today have it so easy. They have unlimited resources such as computers, satellite TV, and Play Stations, and yet they still seem not to be able to keep themselves from being bored. And with my kids I could give them the moon and they still would not be content. I love my kids dearly but I have a quote that I have used very often. They will come to me and say, “Mom do you love me?” And I will answer, “Oh yes honey with all my heart, but I love you a lot more when you are in school.”

My daughter is a classic example of the bored teenager. She is fourteen years old and there have been numerous times that she will come to me and say, “Mom I am so bored. Tell me something that I can do.” I respond with ideas such as cleaning her room, helping me dust the house or sweep and mop, and her response is, “No mom I don’t want to do that.” She is continuously asking if a friend can spend the night and I almost always agree if they want to, thinking well this will keep her busy so she won’t get bored.

WRONG!! Then she comes and says, “Mom WE’RE bored what can WE do?” And my response is, “Play your Wii, or get on line, go swimming in the pool, watch a movie on TV.” And the response is frequently, “No mom. We did that already and now we are bored.”

It always amazes me how quickly my kids can get bored. They can be out of the bed no longer than an hour and they are already complaining. What is a mother to do? I once watched a sitcom on television about this town that was getting ready to go back to school after the summer break, the kids were just so not wanting to go and were in very bad moods, and yet the parents were as cheerful as they can be, hurrying their kids out the door so they wouldn’t miss the school bus. Then once the kids were on the bus and it was out of sight, the parents starting cheering, balloons seemed to magically fall from the sky and they all seemed to somehow have a cup of wine, drinking in celebration of another school year.

Yes, I count the days till school starts back and can imagine how peaceful it will be around the house for eight hours a day, five days a week. I dream of how much housework I can get accomplished and actually get to enjoy for a few hours before the kids return home and mess everything back up. But you know I would not trade my kids for anything in the world because I love them so much.

But, as I said, I love them a lot more when they are in school.

Letter to An Unborn Baby

I am writing this letter to try and help you make sense of what is about to happen to you. You are still so new and tiny in the womb safe, warm and protected you have no idea yet of the horrible thing that is about to happen to you. See you were conceived at a time that apparently wasn’t just right and because of that you are going to have to die before you ever are born.

There are sayings that people use today to justify everything so that they can make themselves feel better for the choices that they make, even if the choices are wrong. They don’t want to accept that they are making terrible, life changing decisions, ones that they will regret later on. Saying things like, “It wasn’t planned, it was an accident, it is just not the right time for me…” They speak as if you are not a human, they just don’t want to accept the fact that your little heart is beating, you little fingers and toes are forming, you are very much alive, and the only thing that you are asking is for someone to love you and take care of you.

You did not ask to be brought from the safety of God’s arms to your mother’s womb that is a choice that she made, and now your little life is about to be over before it even begins. But rest in peace dear little baby, back to God arms you will fly, where you will have no more pain, to rest with the Father where you once came.

Life is not always fair, another popular saying here on earth. I wish I could help you to understand why your life was ended before it began. I am just as confused as you are dear baby, this world has become so wicked that I myself can’t understand. But don’t worry dear little unborn baby, you will not be forgotten by me, and once you make it back to to Heaven know that you will remain in my heart and my mind. Life is not always fair, and there are things that happen that we just don’t understand. Rest with God dear little baby, and know you were loved at least by one.

Rain, Rain Go Away

I know that the title of this message might seem strange, but it is very fitting for what I am going to write about today. I am sure that you have guessed by now that we have received a lot of rain over the past several days, and it looks like there is more planned for the rest of the week.

We all know the old saying, “Rain rain go away, come again another day.”  When I was a child I would always sing that rhyme when it would rain and I wanted to go outside and play. But as I have grown older I had really forgotten about that rhyme until the other day. I was walking through the house and listening to the rain as it was hitting the roof, and out of nowhere I started singing, “Rain rain go away……”  I stopped in my tracks and started to laugh. There was that old saying coming back to me, but as I was thinking about those words I stopped and reflected on the rain and on God’s purpose for it.

As children we never stop and take the time to think about why God does the things He does, all we think about is what we want to do, and we want to do it when we are ready.  When something happens and we can’t we get angry, and just as the song goes we want the rain to go away so we can get out and about.

Welcoming New Members To The Church

I had the privilege of knowing several people that were welcomed into the Catholic church during the Easter Vigil.  What a wonderful celebration for these people, for us all.  I have read articles in the recent past that try to convince people that Catholic Church is decreasing in number, but I beg to differ.

Being a recent convert myself I can see things from both sides.  Before I started having the desire to enter the Catholic Church I never really took the time to notice anything about it.  I came from a strict Baptist background and so knowing things about other denominations was something that you did not take the time to research.  I could tell you anything that you wanted to know about the Baptist church because I made it my life.  I would go to family reunions and hear others talking about belonging to this denomination or that denomination.  But I never bothered to pay attention to what they were saying because in my eyes there was none better then the one that I was in.  Having that kind of mind set is wrong – it is that attitude that makes people feel ill toward other churches that are not their own.

I consider myself very blessed that God helped me to see the error of my thinking and helped to open my eyes to the Catholic Church.  What a wonderful gift it is to be a member of the One True Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, a gift that keeps on giving your whole life.  And how sad it is that there are many people out there that are not able to experience this wonderful gift out of shear unwillingness to open their eyes to something that is not in their comfort zone.  They are afraid to take a leap of faith for fear of the unknown, and having that fear is preventing them from experiencing the wonderful joys that come from The Catholic Church.

Anytime that I hear someone say that they are in RCIA class I get so excited for them, because I know that they are on a road that is going to lead them to true happiness.  Oh what a great thing they are doing by allowing themselves to be open to something that they have not known before! By allowing themselves to learn about the Catholic Church they are saying that they are aware that the Catholic Church is here, and that they are willing to learn about the long wonderful history that the Church has while they pray and to ask God to help guide them to do His will in their lives.  I wish that everyone would have that kind of open mind set, because if they did they would see what they are denying themselves by not  learning about this awesome Church, the one Church that Christ himself set in motion.

So anytime that I see someone being confirmed and partaking in the Eucharist for the first time,  I know what kind of journey that they have been on.  I also know that they have finally received the many wonderful gifts that the Catholic Church has to offer.

Seventh Heaven

I bet that when you hear the words “seventh heaven” you probably think of one of two things.  First, there is the phrase “living in seventh heaven”.  Then there is also a popular TV show with the title “7th Heaven”.  Well, in this article, both apply.

I have often wondered if people are telling the truth when they say that they are living in seventh heaven.  To me that phrase means that their lives are perfect, and in this day and age I find that really hard to believe.  But you would be surprised at how often I hear people use that phrase.  I think that the idea of living in seventh heaven is a great one, and one that all people should strive for, but realistically that is usually not how real life is.

I was watching an episode of the TV show 7th Heaven the other day and I think that it was that show which gave me the idea for this article.  I feel that the show contradicts on purpose.  It displays the lives of a Protestant Christian family whose father is the minister of the local church.  Each episode is full of daily challenges that most families face at one point of another in their lives, In the end they show how you can deal with everyday problems as a family in a Christian manner.  I think that the reason that I enjoy watching this show so much is because they do not candy coat problems.  They work together as a family to get through anything that stands in their way.  I feel that as Catholic Christians our family lives should be handled in the same way.

I can only speak from my own personal experiences in my family, but I also have listened to other people who have shared their problems with me.  I find it funny how each individual chooses to handle these unfavorable events that pop up in their lives from time to time.  As for me and my family there is a mixture.  I am a devout Catholic Christian, my children are being raised as Catholic Christians, but my husband right now is in what I call “no mans land”.  He is a wonderful husband and father and he does believe in God and in the precepts of the Catholic Church, but for some reason he is resisting the call to come home to the Catholic Church.  So with that being said, you will understand why at times problems that arise in our home are often dealt with differently.  But they are always dealt with in love, compassion and Christian understanding.  Even though my husband is not in the Church he still runs this family on Christian values.

Everyone dreams of living a life free from all problems and stresses of this world, but in reality that kind of life doesn’t exist.  I am not saying that all of life is  gloom, doom, and dread.  What I am saying is that Satan is a very real figure and roams the earth with the intention of causing family unrest, and it is up to us to pull together as one and unite all of our love that we have for each other together so that we can fight all of the problems that Satan tries to cause us.   I have watched so many families fall apart because they choose to fight these battles on their own, without relying on each other and on God to help them through it.  I am a firm believer that without God you will be destined to fall, and without the love and strength of your family, there is no way that you can even come close to living in seventh heaven.

The love of family is a precious gift that God has given us.  It is a gift that we are to handle with the greatest of care, because even though it can be as strong as an ox, it can also be as fragile as fine bone china.  It is a gift that can continue to grow and expand if tended to and nurtured, or it can wither up and die, if it is left alone and forgotten.  I believe that when it is unattended to then it is at that point that Satan tries to enter in and stir up trouble.  In order for the family to be able to rise above and be successful to any problems that show up then we must be prepared.  The way that you prepare yourself and your family is through love, prayer, and devotion to God.

Love is a very mighty tool and it is one that is vital in order for your family to be able to function in a way that is Godly, because God is love, true love.  We are to strive to be Christ like, and in order to be Christ like we have to try and have the love Christ has for us.  Even though there is no human way that we can have as much love as God has, we still need to strive to make the most out of  all the love that He allows us to have.  We are to take that love and apply it to our families so that they can grow in a way that will be pleasing to God.

Prayer is another very important tool to use in our families, it allows us to have that one on one talk with God to be able to focus directly on Him and to tell Him all of the problems that we are having, and to ask Him to show us how to deal with them in a way that gives Him honor and glory.  Praying individually and as a family are very important, because when we pray individually we have that one on one audience with God.  When we pray as a family not only do we share our problems with God, but we also allow our families to hear our pleas and allow them to also take our intentions before God themselves.  This also allows them to know that there is something that we are struggling with and it allows them to pray and ask God to give us the strength to get through them.

Devotion to God is in my opinion is the most important tool that we can use as a family to become strong.  God is the one that put us here.  He is the one that created everything that you see around you.  He is the one that put love in your heart.  He is the one that we can go to in our time of need.  There is nothing that God can’t do.  All we have to do is go to Him with a humble heart and ask.  You have to be aware though that even though your prayer intention may not be answered in the way that you want it, it will always be answered.  It will be answered in the way that God feels would be best for that particular situation.  It is up to us to accept His answer to our request, and not question what the outcome is, because God is the one in control, and He will never do anything to His children to hurt them.

I often will hear people make the comment, ‘I can’t believe that God allowed this bad thing to happen to us,” or “Why did God not answer my prayer?”  Well, dear friend, I am here to tell you that God never leaves you alone.  He is always there with you, and He does not cause bad things to happen to us. He gives us free will, and even though we may make bad decisions with that free will, He is still always there with us, all we have to do is call out His name.

In closing I want to tell you that even though this world is not designed for us to live in true seventh heaven.  It is designed for us to make the best of all the different situations that we face.  When we truly give our all to God, and allow Him to take over the driver seat and we  follow His direction’s we can come close to experiencing what seventh heaven might feel like.