Monday, December 31, 2012

Gratitude and Blessings

My title is spiritual~ese for out with the old and in with the new. This morning at Mass, Father thanked God for 2012 and asked for God's blessing upon 2013. I am not sure I have ever thought to do that myself.
While this past year of 2012 has certainly had its ups and downs both on a personal and global level, I am thankful to God for all of it. The downs can be learning experiences, and sometimes those painful little graces of humility. It is easy to be thankful for the ups or the good things that happen, but as St Paul tells the Thessalonians: " everything give thanks..."
So as 2012 comes to a close, I will give thanks to our gracious and merciful God for the good, the bad, and the ugly and I will ask Him for his blessing upon all of us throughout the coming year.
A Happy, healthy and blessed New Year to all who come by here.

Here are some links to help us start 2013 with our hearts and minds turned to God.
Prayer for the New Year(USCCB)
Spiritual Tips for the New (and any year)

Comments always welcome at The Front Porch.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

An End of Year Award

As I have taken a bit of a blogging hiatus, the last thing I imagined finding in my combox was a blogging award. Thank you to Nancy at The Cloistered Heart and The Breadbox Letters for this award.
One of the things I like best about blog awards is that they enable us to discover some new blogs we may not be aware of.
The Catholic blogosphere has been a source of inspiration, encouragement and friendship over the last four years.
Here a few who have walked along with me during that time.

Colleen at Thoughts on Grace
Mary at The Beautiful Gate
Daily Grace
Michael at Reach Paradise

Some of my newer friends:
Patricia at I Want to See God
Caroline at The Bell of the Wanderer
Nancy at The Cloistered Heart

Thank you to these and all the Catholic bloggers who help to inspire me on my faith walk.

Here are the rules:
1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award
2 Write a blog post and tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen — there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required — and ‘present’ them with their award.
3 Please include a link back to this page: — and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)
4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them.
5 You can now also join our Facebook group — click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012′ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience.
6 As a winner of the award — please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award — and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…
Yes — that’s right — there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once — this award is different!
When you begin you will receive the ’1 star’ award — and every time you are given the award by another blog — you can add another star!
There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Peace On Earth; Good Will To Men

It has been somewhat of a tradition for me to post the following song by Casting Crowns. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day is a song based on a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow during the time of the American Civil War.
As then, so it is now that our country is living through some dark times. The bells of Christmas are a sign of hope. That Hope was born in a manger over 2000 years ago. Jesus our Hope is the greatest gift we have ever been or ever will be given.
The story behind the song and the poem can be found here.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Friday, December 7, 2012

One Whom Jesus Touches

“And as Jesus passed from thence, there followed him two blind men crying out and saying, Have mercy on us, O Son of David.  And when he was come to the house, the blind men came to him. And Jesus saith to them, Do you believe, that I can do this unto you? They say to him, Yea, Lord.  Then he touched their eyes, saying: According to your faith, be it done unto you.  And their eyes were opened…”  
~Matt. 9:27~30

Throughout the Gospels we read of the countless times Jesus heals someone through His touch. In today's Gospel from St. Matthew, we read of the two blind men who were healed of their blindness through Jesus' touch.
In every healing that we read about in Sacred Scripture, we see that Jesus requires the faith of the one being healed. In today's passage, He actually asks the blind men: "Do you believe that I can do this?" When they profess their faith, the healing takes place.
It is the same for us. Jesus may not be walking this earth as a man, but He is still with us. His power, through the Eucharist, through Sacred Scripture, and sometimes even through others, still has the power to touch us and heal us.
We may not suffer from physical blindness, but most of us suffer from some degree of spiritual blindness. St. Ambrose, whose feast we celebrate today, says: "...for he whom Jesus touches sees more." 
Whenever we ask Jesus to heal us of our blindness, or of anything for that matter, He asks us the same question He asked the two blind men: "Do you believe I can do this?" Jesus can do anything He wants however He wants, but He asks of our faith; He wants our participation in His healing of our wounds~spiritual or physical.
Jesus' response to the blind men's affirmation of their faith, and to ours is: "Let it be done according to your faith. The stronger our faith, the more complete the healing.
During this Advent and all through our lives, may we believe more fervently in Jesus' healing power. May we allow Him to touch our souls so that we may see more.

Lord Jesus,
I believe in Your power and in Your desire to heal me of my spiritual blindness. Increase my faith so that the scales will fall completely from the eyes of my soul so that I may see more of You and Your will for me, that I may see more of Your beauty in creation, in others and in myself.

Comments welcome at The Front Porch.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Another Motherly Companion

Those of you who have been a follower of this blog for some time know that I have had a sort of running joke with St Ann. She was my patron for the last three years. So this year when I put my hand in the basket to choose a saint for this year, I had to wonder if this powerful saint and mother had had enough of me, or did she feel that she had more to teach me.
Well, it seems that she saw fit to pass me on to another powerful saint and mother. St Monica is my patron for this year. I find it interesting that for the last several years my patron saints have been strong mothers. St Ann has done much to help me with my own spiritual motherhood and I think St Monica will continue that task.
If you have read my reversion story, you know that as a post~abortive mother part of my healing has been in accepting my spiritual motherhood with my daughter in heaven. This is not always easy for me to do given what I have done, but having St Ann as a patron and spiritual companion certainly has helped. St Monica is an example of what the power of prayer can do. She prayed for over 30 years for the conversion of her son, Augustine. I know she will intercede for me and teach me more about how to embrace my spiritual motherhood.
Oh, and St Ann, don't think for one minute you are off the hook; I still plan to call on you too :)

If any one would still like a saint for this coming year, there are plenty left.

Comments are always welcome at The Front Porch.

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.