Today, as I sit on my front porch, I get to celebrate and be thankful for the beautiful weather. The blue sky the color of Our Lady’s wrap, the wispy white clouds that are seamlessly floating by from the gentle cool breeze, and the beautiful tips of the angel wings, as I get to sit, relax, and write. It’s a day that brings me back to being in Medjugorje in 2009.
Yesterday I started off with good intentions of writing because I love the Archangels and it was their feast day. Then life happened, sick child, doctor visits, attempting to make a friend’s birthday special, dealing with transportation of a Cheerleader and a Boy Scout, making sure transportation was set up for the weekend because my husband and son were going on a camping trip. Then dealing with getting children home, showered and in bed at a reasonable time, even though they disagree with me because they are “middle schoolers” now, and should be able to go to bed when they want. Thankfully, with the schedule of middle school, their CCD classes, the cheerleading and the Boy Scouts, by the time they are finished telling me when they should be allowed to go to bed, they are already sleep! God is good!
Then I fell asleep, except I woke at midnight. Then the pondering began, it was mostly the “pity party” thinking that I didn’t get to write on the Archangels Feast Day. At 1 a.m., I discovered why I didn’t…….and, realized, ONCE AGAIN, the blessing of God.
At 1 a.m., I watched Raymond Arroyo on EWTN. Two of his guests were Martin Sheen and his son, Emilio Estevez. I know of Martin Sheen, and I knew he changed his name. I was also aware that his son, Emilio, made the choice to keep his father’s true last name, Estevez.
What I did not know, Emilio does not enjoy the movies that are out there today, with the vulgarity, the sexuality, the inappropriateness of the movies. He prefers to make more meaningful, spiritual movies. This caught my attention. Emilio and his father were on Raymond Arroyo to promote their new film “The Way”. They are doing a bus tour together across America to promote this movie. If I understood them correctly, it was because the movie would not be promoted otherwise.
This is the really interesting part for me. Martin Sheen’s given name is Ramon Gerardo Antonio Estevez, which he has kept. He did not legally change his name to Martin Sheen. His family, and some friends still call him Ramon. Martin Sheen changed his name approx 1959 due to the racism that was occurring in New York against Spanish people. He was told that he looked Irish. With that in mind, he chose the name Martin, after the CBS casting director Robert Martin, who gave him his “first break”, and from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. Phenomenal! I was blown away, I love Fulton J. Sheen.
Francisco was Martin Sheen’s father, and Emilio loved his grandfather. Francisco told Emilio stories of the Camino de Santiago and the French Pyrenees. Camino de Santiago is known as the The Way of St. James, meaning St. James walked this very treacherous path and his relics are in the church at the end of the walk. I found this fascinating.
While in Medjugorje, our fantastic guide, Dragon (of course, that is the Americanized name, since most Americans are unable to pronounce his Croatian name), informed us that St. James is the first person who received apparitions from the Blessed Mother, and amazingly, the church in Medjugorje is named St. James Church, and this will be the last time Our Lady appears on earth. She has been appearing in Medjugorje since, I believe, 1981. Coincidence? Once again, I think not!
Emilio’s movie is about a father whose son dies on his path of following the Camino de Santiago. The father is notified in America, arrives to collect his son’s ashes, and then decides to walk the path of the Camino de Santiago to find the answers to the questions he had regarding his son.
The movie will be released on October 7, 2011. I am wondering and pondering, if both Emilio and his father know that the movie is being released on the Feast Day of Our Lady of the Rosary, also during the month of the Rosary. Interesting? Coincidence? or most of all “God incident?”. Needless to say, you have probably already figured out that I see the complete hand of God and Our Lady in this movie, and have every intent of seeing the movie on Oct. 7th or 8th! If you are interested in more information regarding this movie please check out http://www.theway-themovie.com.
I wake this morning to start my day, dragging, because I fell back to sleep at 4 a.m., woke at 6 a.m., 6:45 a.m. to get the kids off to school, and then slept till 8 a.m. because I was attending my first spiritual book club EVER! Waking up and getting out of bed was so hard. I fought with myself, get up, go back to bed, round and round the circle went….then I said “God, if you want me at the book club, I need your help, and Padre Pio also”. Well, I guess he did, because I made it to the book club, and was welcomed with open arms. There were a minimum of 20 women who attended. The Holy Spirit was there, you could feel it all around us. The book we will be reading and discussing is “Render unto Caesar – Serving the Nation by Living Our Catholic Beliefs in Political Life” by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput. There is something special about this book club, and I am blessed and honored to be accepted with open arms. I will be reading Chapters 1 & 2 before next weeks meeting. I am sure I will be writing about this new adventure in my life.
Lastly, I have been pondering how many doors were opened for me this week, by God’s grace. First, I would like to start off with thanking God for allowing all that has happened in my life, and all that will be happening in my life, as I work hard at following the path of his son, Jesus, to heaven. I would like to thank my dear friends Sue and Tom for allowing me to enter into their lives during a very difficult time, which was a blessing to me, and another step towards delving deeper into my faith.For Sue, teaching me about Fr. Ed Dougherty, who ultimately healed my wounds of pain, and became a true father to me, who also taught me how to forgive. The physical loss is painful, the spiritual gain is another beautiful grace from God. I would like to thank Bernadette and Victor, for accepting me into their lives, showing and teaching me parts of our faith that I was not necessarily aware of at the time. Also, for continually keeping me and my family in their prayers, novenas, and multiple pilgrimages. I would like to thank all of the prayer warriors that I have met, Jackie, Monica, Mimi,Kathy, Helene (I know I’m forgetting some, I’m sorry, but believe me, I have more to write!) reconnected with (Patty, Janine, Mary), and been accepted into their groups, and my family being held up in prayer during our difficult times, and our not so difficult times. For the Padre Pio prayer group, where I am always accepted no matter how long I’ve been away. For Christine, who ”out of the blue” spoke to me at the Adoration chapel which then led me to the Padre Pio prayer group. For all of the people who have told me time, and time again that I should write, which I always said thank you, but I knew it was from the Holy Spirit, and I believed if it was what God wanted me to do, he would show me the way. However, the encouragement from my friends on writing has been amazing, so thank you Bev, because you are the last person, to ONCE AGAIN, say WRITE. I, in my ignorance, said “on what?”. She said “anything, you are passionate about many things”. Little did I know a week later, I would be writing! Or, were you really tired of my long posts, lol!
I also need to acknowledge and thank, Mimi, back over the summer she knew my family and myself needed prayers, strong prayers, and to be prayed over. We weren’t able to coordinate it until September 23rd, Padre Pio’s feast day. Coincidence? Nope…..God! After that day of intense prayer, all of these doors began to open for me. One of the reasons I am on here now! A very special thank you, and hug to Millie for her gifts of the Holy Spirit, and the love she has for all of us, and our families. Millie went through much on that prayer day, and I am thankful to her for accepting what the Holy Spirit had to do to work through her, and the “word” she received for me, from Our Precious Lord.
I must say thank you to Catholicdaily.com for sending out the request for bloggers, and the help, support, and encouragement you are giving me as I get underway with this new path in my life. I am extremely grateful, and I’m sure my friends are also, lol! They will probably now receive shorter emails, and posts from me, lol!
Of course, I cannot leave out my family, for my two daughters jumping at the chance for me to write. I was given a resounding “YES, DO IT!”. My son, who responded with “cool, awesome, you like to write”, and last but not least, my husband, who so kindly went to my blog to read it, and “like” it.
I cannot leave out a young man named Nikita, who is a friend of my oldest daughter. I first met him, last November. It was a birthday party for my oldest. I was sick, AGAIN! My mother, and my mother-in-law had arrived early to help out my husband. My daughter left to pick up our son from a birthday party he attended that day. I thought it was safe to sneak down, get some Gatorade and coffee and sneak back upstairs before anyone else arrived.
Imagine my surprise, when I saw this blond headed young man sitting in the rocking chair engrossed in his cell phone. I said hello to him, and introduced myself. He in turn, while looking down at the “oh so important cell phone”, stated “hi”. Well, my mother and mother-in-law knew what was coming next, poor Nikita had no idea. So there I stood, hair mussed, headache, stuffed sinuses, cough, mismatched lounge wear, and I state to this young man “do you know about cell phone manners?”. He stated “huh? not sure, no I don’t think so”. I said, “no problem, I will teach them to you. It starts with myself, my mother and mother-in-law, we are considered your elders (my gosh, I’m an elder now, when did that happen!!!!!), when someone you meet for the first time, especially someone older than you, or someone’s parent, you stand, put your hand out and introduce yourself. Prior to that you turn off your cell phone or ignore it. Do you know why?”. His response, “no”. I stated, ”because you are indirectly telling the “live” person you are with, they are not as important as your cell phone. That is not acceptable to me, nor will it go over well with future dates unless you both agree your cell phones are more important then each other’s company. So, let’s start over and give it a trial run here…hi (as I put out my hand), I am Maria’s mom, Michele (as he is standing and we are shaking hands), and these are her grandmothers.”. Ultimately, he did well. As time passed, and he would visit the house, I would notice that some of my statues were turned around. I asked my daughter, “what’s up, what’s happening here?”. She laughed, stated Nikita enjoyed doing those types of things, and he was more of an atheist, so to him it was more of a game to “mess” with my statues.
Do you know when I needed to name my blog, I had no idea what to call it. Shocking to my friends, I know, I usually am not at a loss for words. My oldest stated, “would you like me to call Nikita to ask him, because he is very good at this kind of stuff”. I said, “sure”. At the same time thinking, really, him, Nikita? Within minutes she stated, “he said, “Faith Comes First”. I almost fell off the chair due to the weight of my jaw hanging open! I responded “I love it, and I’m going with it”. So here, Nikita, who believes he may be an atheist, has little idea that God is working within him, and not giving up on him, and neither am I. Thank you Nikita, for being a part of my daughter’s life, and giving my blog such a perfect title!
To finish, today is the Feast Day of St. Jerome. Guess what he is patron saint of?…..writers……………OF COURSE! All in God’s plan!
Thank you Lord, thank you, thank you and thank you, all the glory and praise goes to You for the blessings You are bestowing upon me and my family! Thank You!
Tomorrow, I will be at a seminar with Marcus Grodi, from the EWTN show “The Journey Home”. It is also the Feast Day of St. Therese of Lisieux, which of course, means for me………..another story of God’s hand so kindly touching my life.
God Bless! Enjoy your night!