Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Around The Blogosphere


Since Blogger has changed their format a bit, the ability to add links to posts by other bloggers has changed as well. It seems that you can share via Facebook or Twitter, but since I do not subscribe to either of those social networks I did not have that option. The old blogger had the little gadget that you could add to your blog and a "Share" button at the end of everyone's post. All you had to do was hit that button and it was added to your little gadget on your sidebar.
I still wanted a way to share new and noteworthy posts from around the Blogosphere (without joining Facebook or Twitter), so I added a text gadget to my right sidebar titled "Notable New from Other Bloggers", and there I will add linked titles of posts from other bloggers that I would like to share.
The first Post I have highlighted there is from Fr. Gordon MacRae's blog, These Stone Walls. In his post today he tells of a the miraculous conversion of his father, as well as the story of what awaits one of his fellow prisoners, Pornchai Moontri, upon his release from prison two years from now.
I invite you to read fr, MacRae's post today and to check that gadget on my sidebar from time to time to read other insightful posts from around the Catholic blogosphere.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Work Of The Father's Hands

I love the image of God our Father as the Potter and we His children as the clay. I love the thought of God, my Creator, molding me into the person He created me to be.
Funny thing about clay, though is that if left out, especially in the sun, it will dry out. It becomes hard and brittle without the life-giving moisture. The potter may find that he needs to take a chisel to it, and with that the risk of it either crumbling or at the very least resistant to what the potter has in mind for it.
Our souls too can become hard like that left out clay. It needs the life giving water that comes from Jesus. Jesus is our best example of how to remain soft and supple in the Father's hands. He prayed often and was always more concerned with doing His Father's will than anything else.
The clay of our souls will remain soft and supple through prayer and reception of the sacraments. Just like that lump of clay on the potter's wheel~if it gets messed up, the potter can begin again. He can't do that with a dried out brick. God our Father, through His Son Jesus can do the same with us. When we start to turn out as something other than the Potter intended by our sins, through the sacrament of Reconciliation, He can begin over again with us. Through the Eucharist we will receive the Living Water of Christ that will keep us malleable and able to respond to the Potter's touch.

Heavenly Father,
May I always remember that You are my Father and Creator. May my soul never again be hardened by mortal sin. Through Your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, may I remain responsive to Your touch so as to become what You created me to be.
This I pray through the same Christ Our Lord.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Slowly Prepare And Anticipate

I am returning from my three week blog rest. I took that rest because too many things were going on in my life during that time and blogging was actually becoming stressful. I think I am ready to return and Advent seems like the perfect time to do so. Advent begins a new Liturgical Year, so first off: Happy and Blessed New Year to you all. Those of you who responded to my last post and asked for a patron saint, they are in your e-mail so please be sure to check. If anyone else would like a patron saint for this year, just tell me so in the comments and I will be happy to prayerfully choose one for you. (The saints really do the choosing.) So business being taken care of, here are my thoughts on this blessed season...
I love Christmas, but I love the fact that God, through His Church, has given us this four week season to prepare and anticipate Jesus' coming both at the end of time and at Christmas. It forces us to slow down. If you watch TV for even 15 minutes you will see the world just wants to jump right to Christmas and it is not because they are in a rush to celebrate Our Savior's birthday!
I don't like to rush with decorations either; the only thing out in my home right now is my Advent wreath. The rest will come out gradually during the third and fourth weeks of this beautiful and sacred season.
More important than preparing my home, is preparing my soul to receive Jesus at Christmas. I always make it a point to go to confession early in the season. This year my parish is especially blessed to have the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal come and give a parish mission December 8-10. I am waiting to go to confession with one of the friars. The primary reason for their coming is that December 8th of this year is the 15th anniversary of our parish's Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration chapel. If you are anywhere in the vicinity of St. John the Apostle Church, Clark/Linden, New Jersey, please join us for the mission.
Advent reading is also part of my preparations. I am not sure what I will use yet, but I will let God lead me in that area. I have a book of Advent essays and In Conversation With God by Fr. Francis Fernandez on my shelf so I may use one or both of those.
Let us take these four weeks to slow down, and spend some time with the God who came to save us because Jesus is Emmanuel~God with us.
May you all have a blessed and fruitful Advent.

*Note: Up in my stand alone pages you will find a link for Advent Reflections. I wrote these last year during the Advent season and thought I would put them up again for this season.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Break From Blogging

I have not posted much here over the last month or so. While I have had a thought or two that seemed post~ worthy, nothing seemed to come of them. From the day I began this blog, I never wanted to post for the sake of posting. This blog belongs to God and it is His message that I always wish to convey in some way, shape or form. So in light of all that I simply have not written.
I have taken this all to prayer and feel that God is telling this Daughter that a break is called for.  I believe the maxim: "You cannot give what you do not have." I am going to spend this break time in more and hopefully deeper prayer. I have also neglected my journal writing which adds so much to my spiritual life, so I need to get back into that as well.
I will be serving on the team for my archdiocese's upcoming Rachel's Vineyard weekend (Nov. 18~20) and would ask your prayers for all those coming who are seeking God's forgiveness and healing from abortion.
The last two years I have begun the new Liturgical Year by offering my readers a patron saint to be there companion during the year. I will continue that tradition and offer all of you the invitation to participate in this again this year. For those of you who are new readers of this blog, this is how it works: Leave me a comment saying you would like a saint for the new year. I will prayerfully choose a saint for you and send you the saint's name. It is your job to get to know the saint~Google him or her, perhaps read a book or two by them or of their writings. Those of you who have participated in this before know that I truly believe that the saint chooses each of us and that through prayer you come to see why that particular saint has chosen you.
Leave me a comment on this post if you wish to participate. The saints will be chosen before the first Sunday in Advent and I will send their names to you by that time so you can begin the new year with your saintly companion. If I have your e-mail, I will e-mail it to you. If I don't have an e-mail you can leave it in the comment (which I will not publish for security and privacy reasons).
As for when I will resume regular blogging~ I am hoping to return with a reflection for the First Sunday in Advent. We will see if that is God's plan as well. In the meantime please keep me in your prayers and know that you will be in mine.

Review:Healing After Divorce

Divorce is not something most people think about when they get married, but unfortunately it happens to and in many marriages. Even the most amicable of divorces are traumatic. This very cold and sometimes hostile process causes deep wounds emotionally, spiritually and sometimes even physically and these wounds need healing in order for those going through it to begin again and carry on with a healthy and fruitful life.
When I found myself going through divorce six years ago, I felt like my life was falling apart in every way possible. As someone who had recently returned to the Catholic faith, I felt a great deal of shame and guilt. While I knew that God still loved me and had not abandoned me during this trying time, I also felt like I had disappointed and failed Him. It took many conversations with good priests, confessions, and lots of prayer to get beyond that shame and guilt.
Six years later, there are still times I find myself headed toward that quicksand of shame and guilt. So when I saw Susan K. Rowland's book Healing After Divorce: Hope for Catholics, I felt God was offering another aid to my healing. Rowland uses the experiences of her own divorce to help others who are going through or who have gone through this painful process.
The book is divided into four parts that take the reader from the time a marriage seems to be over through the grief process of mourning the loss, to beginning life over again. There is also an appendix with information on the annulment process. The book is a workbook with questions for reflection and room to record your own thoughts at the end of each chapter. I strongly recommend working through the questions and recording your thoughts. If the reader simply reads through the chapters skipping the work offered at the end of each one, I think much healing would be missed.
For the person going through a divorce as well as  for the one who has already gone through the process, this book is not easy, nor is it quick. Healing takes time and is a process in and of itself, but it is always worth the work and even the pain.
If you know someone who is going through the pain of divorce or who has already gone through it, I would highly recommend Susan K. Rowland's book. Along with the emotional and spiritual components of the book, there is also practical advice for dealing with finances and day to day life in this new state of life.

*This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Healing After Divorce - Hope for Catholics . They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.