Archive for May, 2014

Through Your Life

I was doing my morning prayer a few days back when this seemingly sublime quote really knocked me between the eyes, ” What gifts do you want to make to future generations through the life you are living now?

Wow, powerful huh?

It wasn’t asking what are you doing now for yourself or those you love. Or, what are you planning to do tomorrow to make a difference in your own life. No, it really is profound when you think about it and then really look at your own life and contemplate what positive, or negative impact your now is making on someone’s future. I suppose many might think life is not that interconnected and the little things I am doing today really aren’t even remembered next week. Perhaps, you are right in some respects. But, perhaps not.

Let’s see, what about me? I am doing my best through everyday efforts and relationship building to positively live a faithful witness to those in my sphere of influence. I try to live and act in the truth whether convenient or not. I have the privilege of working with many young engaged couples and do my utmost to encourage, challenge and call them to a higher understanding of what their public witness of love through married life demands. I pray for them, I pray for those I know and don’t know.

But is this statement speaking about something more? Something deeper and more impactful?

I like to think the life of a parent is pretty future orientated. As a mom of five young adults I can remember the early years when I would be out with the little circus and strangers would comment how I mustn’t know “what caused that” or  “them all yours” or other rude statements regarding their perspective of my “too many” children. My husband was always good about saying, “we are raising the next generation of upstanding citizens and tax payers. He was right too. All of our kids are hardworking, trustworthy, voting, tax paying citizens. They are good neighbors, safe drivers and volunteer occasionally to make a difference in their communities as well.  The efforts we made in their childhood have born great fruit that will hopefully affect generations to come.

So the short answer then for me is, I am doing my best day by day to somehow, in a way known only God to make a small positive impact for the future, mine and theirs.

Let’s hear what you are doing.


Peace, Is It Possible

Today I am away from all my usual craziness and in my own little corner of paradise which makes this time so sweet.

I believe with all my heart  that God wishes to pour his peace on us. It couldn’t have been more evident than when we read the account after the resurrection when Christ first appeared to his disciples in the locked upper room, “Peace be with you.” He didn’t reprimand the disciples for abandoning him or denying him. He just breathed on them and wished them his peace. Wow! That is so unlike any human response I might give in the same situation. Jesus goes on further to say, “My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” In Sunday’s Gospel Jesus reminds us again, “Do not let your hearts be troubled…”

Is there a reoccurring message there we might need to hear?

It is very possible to have an inner peace where it is still, and calm. This is the peace Christ wishes to extend to us. Fr. Jacques Philippe gives us this example, “In order to understand this we can use an image that can be illuminating. Consider the surface of a lake, above which the sun is shining. If the surface of a lake is peaceful and tranquil, the sun will be reflected in this lake; and the more peaceful the lake, the more perfectly it will be reflected. If on the contrary, the surface of the lake is agitated, undulating, then the image of the sun can not be reflected in it. It is like this with our soul in relationship to God. The more our soul is peaceful and tranquil, the more God is reflected in it…the more his grace acts through us.”

This imagery makes total sense. We have all seen this.

God’s Word is meant to be for us a source of strength, encouragement, recollection, hope, inspiration, education, and empowerment…need I go on?

Do we “feed” on the Word of God to mine all the treasures God has planted there for us to discover and rediscover?

Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel writes, “…we do not know the great heights at which our holiness lies… we shouldn’t try and hold back this sort of free-fall of the Word into our depths.”

Free-fall? That evokes both sheer terror and sheer exhilaration at the same time. That however, is what we need to do. We need to jump, let go, and freely unreservedly give ourselves over to God who desires to do amazing things with our lives.

What are we afraid of?

Why won’t we let go?

These are questions we must ponder and ask ourselves?

Do we believe and trust God?

Do we live in the fear of what if?

God’s open palms are right there to catch us. Do we believe that?

Will we consent to be the great saint God imagined in us? Are we willing to persevere in the difficult but immensely gratifying work of the Kingdom? Glory, honor, great joy and peace beyond all telling is there waiting for our yes.

Mothering and Miracles

Tomorrow dawns on the continental U.S. as mother’s everywhere are remembered and cherished by cards, calls and candy. Not necessarily in that order or limited to those means of gratitude. I too am a mother and now a grandmother, but it wasn’t always so.

The road to motherhood was deliberately delayed as I made the decision based on the loudest voices in my sphere of influence. Being  on the road to marriage it was recommended that I seek to “protect myself” so that no unplanned or unwanted child might be born until we deemed it so. We were the decision-makers of our world and nothing should happen without our direct intention to make it so, as Captain Jean-Luc Picard so eloquently declared each episode of “Star Trek the Next Generation.” No surprises were allowed, unless they were the sparkly brilliant kind.

While we were successful in thwarting any unwelcome new life (can you say, selfish?) for the first year and a half, the yearning to be called mom grew in my heart and so I ceased rendering myself infertile. Low and behold we were successful in conceiving a child months later but not without some complications. It seemed I couldn’t get a positive pronouncement on the pregnancy until magic number five, at which point I began to spot. It was very little at first and then became more of an issue as the weeks ensued and we neared the end of our overseas assignment. Exactly two evenings before we were to depart the country, what felt like labor pains persisted into the night. I realized as I had known all along that something was terribly wrong.

At the hospital I was told I was losing our child but that it was okay, it was so small after all and the best thing in these situations. Many women have miscarriages and I was another faceless number among the crowd. It didn’t minimize the pain any less, physically or emotionally. After being released from the hospital we were just twenty-four short hours from departing the country and heading home to U.S. soil. We couldn’t of known then that it would take years of trying and failing. We couldn’t grasp the implications this failure would have on our marriage as the months dragged on becoming years. No, all we knew is that we tried and that while saddened by this loss, there would likely be another pregnancy right around the corner. It’s surreal to think back of how I berated myself at the time, taking on the weight of consistent and radical failure day by day, month by month to obtain a pregnancy. There really are no words to describe the utter desolation I felt as the time crept along and we got left behind with each new announcement of someone else’s impending birth reached our ears.

So what’s the big deal God? I would shout as tears rolled down my cheeks soaking my pillow. I’m a good person, why the punishment? Why the delay?

As it goes with miracles I have learned, the more impossible the situation the mighter God has an opportunity to show off. This came in the way of a side trip to Lourdes, France as my father sought a miracle of his own. Through the intercession of another Mother with kindness beyond compare, we prayed and bathed in the miraculous waters. Returning to our home base we discovered within a short time that we had finally conceived. What was previously impossible, had suddenly become possible. Our doctor was baffled but pleased. He had no medical answer, and we needed none. We knew our prayers were answered, and all that time of grief was replaced with untold joy. It was through our own miracle at Lourdes that the infertile desert had become a fruitful oasis.

Nine months gave way to a son, our pain and longing but a distant memory. Before us lay our love manifest and tangible. Cuddly, precious and a gift beyond all treasure. God’s generosity bestowed in the tiniest of packages.

Why do I attribute any part of this miracle to another Mother? Our prayers all along begged the intercession of this heavenly Mother that I too might know the joy of motherhood. You see The Blessed Virgin is there, given as a gift from her Son on the cross, to us. Mary isn’t just Jesus’s mother a random receptacle who was handy at the time, she is Jesus’s Mother. Deliberate, unique, a hand-picked holy and spotless vessel worthy enough to enflesh the Second Person of the Trinity. She was “full of grace.” Jesus gave her to us at His Crucifixion, sharing His mother with us all.

What does that mean practically speaking?

It means we have an advocate in heaven. One that is right there where her Son is. Mother’s know best. They know when to give us a little push, and they are our biggest fans. Mothers never forget their children and think they are the greatest most awesome children in the world. Mother Mary loves each of us with a mother’s heart. Mother’s never give up on their children and Mary will never give up on trying to bring us to her Son. That’s the kind of Mother I sent my prayer requests too. Prayers I know would be hand delivered to her Son.

So don’t forget your heavenly Mother this Mother’s Day and if you have never gotten the chance to say “hi mom” now is as good a time as any.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mother Mary. Thanks for all the wonderful attention you have given me and all of your children. Thank you for countless prayers on my behalf and on all the wonderful children we have personally been gifted with. You are a model of humility, generosity, faithfulness and pure feminine genius. May I be like you, and surrender myself asking that you lead me more perfectly to your Son.

Love Creates

At least one hundred times or more I’ve said, “We are created by Love for love.” While I would love to take credit for such a simple yet profound statement I would be lying and taking credit for someone else’s inspiration.

Caryll Houselander, a deceased  British mystic and poet writes this, “The meaning of Creation is love; God created for love, and what he created is love.” There is so much packed into that short statement it is mind-boggling.

God doesn’t need us.

We were created out of the very heart of Love itself. Incredible when you ponder that. I was loved into being. I was conceived in the mind of Love before I ever came to be. I am wanted, worthy, dignified, precious and priceless.

Guess what? So is each and every one of us.

Yes, even the annoying, the creepers, weirdos, and green-haired people.

Creation is here for us. It is God’s gift. It wasn’t an accident or afterthought or randomly occurring cosmic event with no purpose or meaning. Everything God does has meaning and intention. He doesn’t abandon us to prod around in blind desolation, ceaselessly wondering about the point of our origin with no answer to be found. How cruel would that be?

The answers are all around us. The Artist has left his signature everywhere. In all times and places, in every single face, old and young, lost and confused, painted and twisted. It’s like He is shouting in a whisper barely audible “I Am.”

I Am in your laughter. I Am in the quiet breeze. I Am in a newborns cry and the dying sigh of the seemingly abandoned soul. I Am infused in every cell of your being, every thought you think, every word you speak. I Am! Why do you look in all the wrong places? Why do you remain in darkness? Why do you not feel or notice or care? Why?

I long to tell you of My love. I long to wrap you in Love’s warm embrace, to protect and lead you on road’s never taken. To show you My plan’s for your life, everything I imagined for you if you would but ask, and trust, and let go and let Me guide you.

God doesn’t need the warmth of the sun, water to refresh or wine to soothe His weary soul. God doesn’t require the night to repose, bread to satiate, oxygen to gasp and fill His lungs.

Love created these things for us to enjoy and relish in. How thoughtful, how kind, how utterly generous. A disinterested gift, bestowed on humanity out of His boundless depths. God literally says, “See this lily? I created it just for you”. You were on my mind when I formed the islands, how I knew you would laugh and play on its beaches and take your respite there under this very tree. And God smiled to Himself at the thought of you there.

And chocolate, yes, He thought of me. How many times I would taste and savor and squeal with joy. That made Him smile to Himself at the pure unadulterated pleasure it brings me.

So thank you, Amazing Love.

Thank you for it all. For what I have been blessed to experience thus far; the good and the bad. It has made me who I am and who I will become as the days go by, and the wrinkles increase and my pace slows, and my mind goes.

May I never, never forget Your Love. So as You willed it from the beginning, we may one day be together for all time, and share all the stories You want to tell me and remind me of all the things I never saw or noticed or paid any attention to. You were there in everything just watching and loving me all along.