Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Kingdom of Heaven is at Hand

Matthew 10:1-7

Matthew 10:7-15

The gospel readings for the last two days tell of the Lord instructing the apostles to–

Go…And as they go…to make the proclamation;

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand. We are not the apostles, but by our baptism, have every bit as much of a responsibility to proclaim

the hope of the gospel..to pray for the sick and the demon possessed and for the cleansing of those bound by sin.

You don’t need gold or silver for the journey, just a heart set on fire by the love of God.

The luggage of the world is a burden tied to the worry of the future, Jesus says all you need is what you have.

How can I go you might say ?

I don’t have a story … I don’t have Bible knowledge…I don’t know what to say when people challenge my faith.

Don’t begin with what you can’t do…In fact don’t begin with you at all. None of us are qualified or strong enough or smart enough.

For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh.

—Philippians 3:3

Some of our problem in the church today is that we are too impressed with ourselves. God uses humble people who offer the broken pieces of their

lives for Christ to multiply and transform into food for the multitudes.

Find your voice…and speak.

The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   4:45 PM  |   2 comments
Wednesday, July 06, 2011

St Maria Goretti, Patroness

St Maria Goretti

Patroness of youth and for the victims of rape.

Oh Saint Maria Goretti who, strengthened by God’s grace, did not hesitate even at the age of twelve to shed your blood and sacrifice life itself to defend your virginal purity, look graciously on the unhappy human race which has strayed far from the path of eternal salvation. Teach us all, and especially youth,with what courage and promptitude we should flee for the love of Jesus anything that could offend Him or stain our souls with sin. Obtain for us from our Lord victory in temptation, comfort in the sorrows of life, and the grace which we earnestly beg of thee (here insert intention), and may we one day enjoy with thee the imperishable glory of Heaven.

Amen.

For favors and blessings granted..

Thank you

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   1:08 PM  |   0 comments
Tuesday, July 05, 2011

God Help Us to Overcome Evil With Good

Not guilty. That’s what a jury of her peers judged Casey Anthony today. I wasn’t on the jury, but I do have my opinion. What hurts is that someone put that little child in the woods and I don’t know that justice was served today. I’ve been sick to my stomach since they announced it.

I couldn’t figure out why I was so consumed by this trial until this afternoon when my son and I sat together watching the verdict read and it dawned on me…

Years ago I waited for a verdict to come down too…I know what it is to cry out for justice with every fiber of my being. And every 3-5 years afterwards….

for 30 + years had to have friends and family go before the parole board to plead for him not to be set free. He was a repeat offender and my crime occurred after he was released and on parole.

A victim serves a life sentence…..either in life or death.

This November will be the 4th anniversary of finally resting my case with the parole board…..Over 30 years after the crime. He was scheduled for release in 2007 and it sucked the life breath out of all of us thinking of him being set free into society.

Two people plead my case in Tallahassee on my behalf ….and society’s…. My husband and my youngest son. The one I was watching the verdict with today. The stress from the preparation for that testimony took 10 years off all our lives. I can’t begin to tell you the legal people who came to our defense at the midnight hour …people who had remembered my case from all those years ago.

I would tell you the story, but I can’t…I wasn’t there.

However, after today, I think it’s an important story to tell.. It’s important for victims and society in general to know there is justice.…though it may not seem so today.

I’ve asked my son to be a guest writer on this blog for the anniversary day this November to tell you what it was like for him to try to save his mother from potentially seeing her attacker walk the streets….and how it forever changed his life. Both he and my husband spoke before the board..hopefully for the last time.

I have my oldest son to thank for this blog. It was at his encouragement that I began to write it a year ago this month.

Though I mainly write to bring others to know the love of Christ, what I’ve also found is that for the first time in 30 years…

I finally have a voice…and I’m not afraid to speak anymore.

There will be justice for Caylee one day……Unfortunately, it wasn’t today.

We should love and feel compassion for those who oppose us, rather than abhor and despise them since they harm

themselves and do us good, and adorn us with crowns of everlasting glory while they incite God’s anger against themselves.

And even more than this we should pray for them and not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil by goodness.

—St Anthony Zaccaria

+PAX



posted by Caroline  |   10:38 PM  |   2 comments
Monday, July 04, 2011

Independence and Peace

Optional Memorial of St. Elizabeth of Portugal: Independence Day (USA)

Elizabeth of Portugal was married young: she was only twelve years old when she became the wife of King Denis of Portugal. She was the daughter of King Peter III of Aragon and at her baptism in 1271 received the name of her great-aunt, St. Elizabeth of Hungary. Even at that early age, she had a well-disciplined character and, like her namesake, looked after the poor and pilgrims, with the consent of her husband.

St Elizabeth of Portugal

Today as we celebrate the 235th day of our nation’s birthday, when Congress issued a Declaration of Independence, announcing “that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states,” we can call on the intercession of St Elizabeth of Portugal.

Her birth was the occasion of reconciliation between her father and grandfather which began her reputation as a peacemaker. It was through her efforts that war between Castile and Aragon was averted.

Imagine the great works we could do for the Lord and for our country if each of us in our station of life sought to be peacemakers…and reconcilers.

Like St Elizabeth we can begin where it’s often hardest to live out that peace.

In our own house.

Father of peace and love, you gave St. Elizabeth the gift of reconciling enemies.

By the help of her prayers give us the courage to work for peace among men, that we may be called the sons of God.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Amen.

—Collect

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   4:37 PM  |   0 comments
Sunday, July 03, 2011

His Yoke Is…Easy

All Saints, Fra Angelico—15th Century

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

—Matthew 28: 28-30

This is one of those Scriptures I have read and meditated on …and had my moments of not understanding.

It’s one of those ‘quotable quotes’ from the Scriptures easy to memorize, but challenging to live if you really understand what it means.

I’m only beginning to understand it the more I try to live according to the Rule of St Benedict.

Why is it sometimes hard? Well, let me back into the answer by telling you what I’m learning.

I’m praying a novena to St Benedict as his feast day will be celebrated July 11th and here’s what is written on the meditation section for the fourth day:

In writing his rule, St Benedict was moved by the conviction that nothing matters so much in the spiritual life as obedience to God’s will.

Therefore he undertook to summarize the Gospel precepts and he offers them to his followers with the words,

“Behold the law under which you wish to do battle. If you can keep it enter; if not then freely depart. (Chpt 58)

Indeed in life’s struggle the knowledge of the divine will is a constant source of courage and consolation.

“Your laws, O Lord, are perfect, they give us life and comfort; your wise decrees are truthful, they guide the poor and humble; Your precepts

Lord, are righteous, they make hearts glad and joyful.” (Ps 18:8-9)

Burdens come and go throughout our life varying in degree and intensity. Sometimes the situations we find ourselves in can be changed, sometimes they can’t yet both become part of the load we carry. Small annoyances eventually fade away but the all-consuming ones can leave irreversible emotional scars…Even a casual glance in the ‘rear view’ mirror of one’s life might bring regrets and sorrows to cause us to say ‘if only.”

Or– it may be a present burden; a strained marriage, financial stress, a health crisis, a wayward child. As Christians we’re left with only two choices; either I rebuke and rebel at the circumstances God allows in my life, or I accept the will of God for me and submit to it as Jesus did. The yoke upon which Jesus learned was the will of His Father.

Jesus says it is in the will of the Father that we will find rest. Now for the part that is hard.

I have sometimes fought with the Lord …  over past and current burdens that have been part of the symphony He has written for me. I’m just being real.

I wish I could change a few. They would have made and could make a huge difference in my life.

Here is when the burden potentially becomes heavy and hard; not because God has designed it to be, but because I make it so. That’s when I forfeit the rest He longs for me to have, because I keep telling Him it would be easier ..if … In other words I wind up carrying the full weight of the bundle of burdens rather than accepting the precepts under which I have decided to do battle; His perfect and wise law which promises to guide the poor and humble.

These are what make the heart glad. Not what I imagine should or could be….

O the supreme folly of those who resist the divine will! In God’s providence, no one can escape hardship: “Who resisteth his will ?” A person who rails at God in adversity, suffers without merit; moreover by his lack of resignation he adds to his punishment in the next life and experiences greater disquietude of mind in this life: “Who resisteth him and hath had peace?” The screaming rage of the sick man in his pain, the whining complaints of the poor man in his destitution — what will they avail these people, except increase their unhappiness and bring them no relief? “Little man,” says St. Augustine, “grow up. What are you seeking in your search for happiness? Seek the one good that embraces all others.” Whom do you seek, friend, if you seek not God? Seek him, find him, cleave to him; bind your will to his with bands of steel and you will live always at peace in this life and in the next.

—Uniformity With God’s Will

Saint Alphonsus de Ligouri

It is folly to resist His will…but I have done my share of whining about it. Maybe you have to. There is no condemnation in the struggle and Jesus longs to give us rest.

Who knows ? Perhaps if God had given us greater talent, better health, a more personable appearence, we might have lost our souls.

Accepting God’s will is what the great saints like Benedict, constantly fixed their sight. They have learned what it is to rest on the easy yoke of Christ;

The will of God.

We depend on your grace and goodness O Lord.

Keep us from the wiles of the enemy who hides behind fear.

Fix our eyes on You for the race set before us

Teach is to do Your will

Amen

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   8:46 PM  |   0 comments
Saturday, July 02, 2011

O Immaculate Heart of Mary

Eastern Christians will immediately recognize that this is an unconventional icon of the Theotokos. It is, in fact, an icon of the Immaculate (Panagia) Heart of Mary, with its imagery and colors taken from the reports of the appearance of the


posted by Caroline  |   2:01 PM  |   0 comments
Saturday, July 02, 2011

Is Anyone Willing to Tell the Truth?

Closing arguments for the Casey Anthony trial will be on Sunday morning. If there is one thing anyone can learn from this sad story it is

…behold, you have sinned against the LORD; and be sure your sin will find you out.

—Numbers 32:23

You can’t lie your way to innocence or justice. I won’t dare judge this poor family..but even a casual glance at the testimony in this trial along with a very interesting and creative defense theory leaves much to be desired in terms of finding credibility.

I’ve been having some great discussions with people about the liabilities incurred from lying. It’s no scientific study, but person after person said they thought it’s OK when it serves your best interest. You know– the old white lie theory. The supreme question that came up with the mom’s I talked to was…would you be willing to lie for your child…perjure yourself on the stand as it appears Mrs. Anthony may have done to save her daughter from the death penalty ?

chicago tribune

Most of the moms said they would lie…even if it meant perjury..Some of the dads said they would too. I don’t want to act so pious as to say I know for sure what I would do…That’s like when people find out my story and blurt out,

Why didn’t you try to escape….?

And follow with whatever bravado they think they would have done. It takes everything I have to hold my tongue. Anyway..

I have given this some thought because one mother I spoke with made me feel like I was a bad mom since I said I probably wouldn’t lie for my child or anybody….

She was aghast. Thought I was a narrow minded, judgmental Christian with no mercy or empathy….

I responded….

I don’t think that my lie could possibly be a better defense than the mercy of God. I’d rather turn my child over to Him than to borrow the enemy’s tactic….and he was a liar from the beginning. Got him no where.

Remember the 32 year old maid who accused the IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn of sexual assault?

Turns out she may have lied and the prosecutors case is falling apart.

abc news

Remember Anthony Weiner?

I’ll tell you what..unless we decide to deal with this system of lying we’ve adopted as a regular means of communication, cover up and self defense

none of us are going to be able to distinguish a lie from the truth anymore.

Until our sins find us out.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   12:05 AM  |   0 comments
Thursday, June 30, 2011

Signal Grace and My Big Girl Pants

My sister and I were on the hunt for a condo for my mom… She’s the ‘decision is made let’s get on it girl’ and I’m OK, but let’s pray while we’re searching.

We had several requests..needs to be a real deal, close by and somehow my mom would have to be sold on it because ~ she hates condo’s…..

She never wanted to leave the house either. My sister calls me just 2 days after we started to look.

Check your e-mail and the pictures of what I found.

The two she found were beautiful and only five minutes away from the two of us. She says..

Let’s go see it with the realtor

I’m thinking …I’m not ready for this and it’s happening so fast. Saturday comes, my husband and I take my mom to church and out to dinner. Mom decides out of the blue she wants to see what we found. My husband knows me..He knows I have to work things through in my own way in my own time.

This is such a big piece of me to let go of.

If you don’t want to go ..I’ll drop you home first. He says.

I thought to myself…Put on your big girl pants…and just go with them. I did …sat in the car as he walked her around the property to show her the outside of her unit..He’d be better company than I under the circumstances. When they came back from their little tour my husband says to me,

Did you see what her neighbor across the street has at her front entrance?

Of course I did not…too wrapped up in my own pain of having to let something go I’m not ready to.

When I turned to look I almost fell over … Facing the front door from across the street was the most beautiful statue of The Blessed Mother set in a little alcove.

What is a Signal Grace?

Signal Graces are signs sent by God to help us make the right decisions in life. Moses saw a burning bush as a sign from God, and other people received signs from God daily. Signal graces usually come about as subtle hints to help keep us moving in the right direction – these signs are truly gifts from God.

Remember – there is no such thing as a coincidence, everything happens for a reason! By praying the rosary you will be more conscious of the way that God tries to help you and speak to you every day.

—via ~ erosary.com

We were stunned..as if The Blessed Mother had waited for us to arrive. I took it as a signal grace.  Two days later my mom and her ‘entourage’ saw the condo– she walked out and told my sister and I,

That’s it…That’s the one I want. Make an offer.

It was literally the deal of the century..and it’s done. Looks like I really am going to be saying good-bye to the house.

On July 4th we’re having a family party at….the house. To celebrate the beginning of the new chapter.

I told everybody I can’t make it a good-bye party….yet.

But I know the Lord is saying ..Let go. And He sent His mother to give us the signal… and the grace to move on.

I guess I’ll be wearing my big girl pants on the 4th.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   10:26 PM  |   2 comments
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It’s Time to Move On

And the Rock Was Christ

My family is entering another chapter in our life. It’s time to sell my mom’s house and move her into a condo. It’s a rite of passage in Florida and one I hoped we wouldn’t have to do. I think she’ll be happier. Financially it’s a good move; she’ll be closer to my sister and I …. but it’s the house that holds the last memories of my father and it’s where 28 years ago my mother catered our wedding reception. All evening a good friend played for the guests in our living room on my childhood baby grand piano. In the entrance of the house my mother still has a vase of artificial roses designed by the florist that survived all the weathering of our years together. They stand like a testament to the grace of God that that house was built on the Rock of Christ and that’s the reason we all still stand.

The foyer with the gray slate is perhaps my personal reminder of how long of a journey it’s been, and how much I treasure the memories that house has guarded for so many years.

For those who regularly read here you may recall that I sometimes refer to the fact that I am a rape survivor. I took down a piece where I said it ‘out loud’ with a few of the details. Sometimes I’m good with ‘just saying it’…sometimes I’m not. That hallway was where I collapsed after my kidnapper left me to die and I somehow found the strength to drive myself home. My father, the retired NYPD detective, had to literally pick his daughter up off the floor and help her begin the long road to justice and healing.

Though he lived long enough to see justice served…he did not live long enough to see me healed. Several months later it was in that same foyer that I embraced him after I found out he had terminal cancer. Now it was my turn to give him the courage he so selflessly gave me that hot afternoon in July.

That house was my haven of restoration when my life was in shambles after my dad’s death and my first husband deserted me because he couldn’t handle the aftershocks of a rape victim. It was in my blue bedroom with the white Queen Anne desk  I heard his last words to me;

Go on with your life because as far as we’re concerned…it will never be anything but…no

It was the room where I fell on my knees and gave my life to Christ and He began to rebuild with the promises of His Word what no other man or counselor could do.

And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

—Matthew 7:25

I fought some deep spiritual battles in that house trusting that God would,

revive the stones out of a heap of burned rubbish.

—Nehemiah 4:2

Somehow, I just can’t imagine the realtor parading  potential buyers through that hallway to the back bedroom highlighting all the physical features of

this beautiful home, when every time I pass through it I thank God I’m still alive and I hear my father’s voice.

My sister’s going to have to hold me up in this…She’s as tough as they come…and I love her for it. Last night on the phone…we traded places..She was the older sister saying it’s OK to let it go and it’s time to continue the story and make some new memories. This is the sister who helped my mom hang on to that house after he died….the one who accepted the challenge of my father’s last words to her;

Make sure that b…t….d never gets out of prison.

In that house— alone in the world—my sister, my mom and I fought as the rain fell and the floods came. We remembered,

the Lord, who is great and terrible and we fought

—Nehemiah 4:14

for our future and for our home. And by God’s grace…

We won.

It’s time to move on….

But I’ll never forget.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   6:22 PM  |   4 comments
Monday, June 27, 2011

In Defense of Not Being…Posers

I’m sure Mr. Warner means this in the nicest way….

From: Matt Warner ncregister.com

We need more authentic Catholics online. What I mean is – we need more people just being Catholic and living an authentically Catholic life…and then that being reflected online. (All of this applies to offline as well, really.)

I have met more authentic Catholic people online than I have time to keep up with.

And by authentic I certainly don’t mean perfect. In fact, I mean the opposite. The last thing we need are Catholics pretending to be something we’re not: perfect. Authentic means being humble and honest about our flaws and our need for the Church and the Eucharist (Jesus). People hunger for that kind of authenticity. And the Holy Spirit works powerfully within it.

In case I haven’t communicated it frequently enough ..I am NOT perfect nor could I even pretend to be..but it’s not very nice to assume anyone is pretending. That would make them….a phony. I can’t think of one blog I’ve read where I thought someone was pretending to be perfect.

And by Catholic I don’t mean pictures of Catholic stuff……

And I don’t mean more scripture verses and quotes from saints. I don’t mean more Catholic websites or newspapers. More of those would be good, too. But not in lieu of Catholics themselves.

Wait…what? Actually, I think if all some of us did was put up Catholic pictures and Scriptures and prayers quoted from saints we’d be evangelizing a culture and media that has a lot of words going on, and often a little too much authenticity….

We don’t just need more pictures and polemics. And we definitely don’t need more posers. We need you.

Well, thanks, but I do put up a lot of pictures, scriptures and prayers. They are an expression of my love for Christ who is the treasure of my heart and I hope that doesn’t make me a poser.

If you stop by here often enough, you’ll know plenty about my struggles to live an authentic Catholic life..I intersperse them between the pictures, prayers and, Scriptures and any other helps I encounter along my journey…..They are the light on the path.

Don’t let the pictures and Scriptures fool you…I’m not perfect…and I’m very thankful that any of you even stop by to read my two cents.

+PAX


posted by Caroline  |   3:51 AM  |   5 comments