About michele

Hi, Welcome to my blog Faith Comes First for Catholicdaily.com. My name is Michele, mom of three, two dogs and a husband. I teach 6th grade CCD. Through the years, I have been encouraged to write, along with writing books. Last week, a girlfriend mentioned I should write a book. I chuckled and stated "about what?". She replied "anything, you love to write about multiple topics". When God sent this opportunity my way, I decided to apply, and to my delight I was accepted. I hope and pray that you will find my blogs interesting and informational. My goal is to share the little tidbits of our Catholic religion from the past, and bring it back into the present. So much is still pertinent for this day and age, and yet has been missed, or not taught any longer. One of my goals is to bring that back, along with information about the Saints, and how our religion ties into today's political scene we are living in at the moment. Thank you for visiting my blog, and please feel free to leave feedback. I would love to hear from others with ideas, your thoughts and feelings. Again, thank you and God Bless, Michele

The Year of Faith



I am excited to realize that I was a mere almost one year old, definitely crawling, maybe beginning to take my first steps when the commencement of Vatican II  took place, back on October 11, 1962.  Now I am old enough, and blessed with being alive to connect and celebrate The Year of Faith on the exact day of the beginning of Vatican II.  I do not have the words within me to describe what grace I feel, what gratitude I have in my heart to God, for allowing this in my life. Not just mine, but all of our lives. For some unexplainable reason, it has touched me deep in my soul. Maybe, it is because I realize, I am one of the lucky ones………….I made it under the line in learning the true teachings of the Catholic Church. By the time I was in Catholic high school, the teaching of the faith was a tad more “hip”. We had the folk music masses, we had the ”teen club”, and that was about it for our parish. Thank you, Lord!

Little did I know though, that God had so blessed my parish, our now deceased Msgr. Edward O’Keefe, and Sr. Anne Marie, the principal of my Catholic grade school liked the “old” ways.  We still had plenty of nuns who taught at the grade school.  We had a convent on the grounds, and were taught early to have respect for this building, and for the women serving God.  I was awed by that building.  One would have to “tip-toe” up to the door, lest you disturb someone. Then the doorbell would be rung, and you jumped, because it was soooooo loud, and we were supposed to be quiet, yet, what does one do when one is attempting to be quiet, and the doorbell sounds as though it is a “fire alarm”.  Then a nun would come to the door, with a look of wonder, sometimes annoyance, sometimes love, and always “yes, what can I do for you”.  While I shivered in my shoes, I would always state, very quickly, that it was one of the other nuns who sent us to the convent, we didn’t decide on our own!  We always went with a partner, as children we believed it was moral support. We would stand on the porch for 10 minutes, saying, “you push it, no you push it, no you push it”.  Sometimes, the nuns would be walking out the door as we were still discussing who was to push the doorbell.  We so believed we still had to ring the doorbell, we stammered over ourselves trying to explain to the nun what we were doing there.

Reverence was taught often, and immediately in first grade.  If you had not learned enough of it from home. You definitely understood it by the time you graduated from eighth grade. The convent was always to be entered with reverence. I never understood why, until one day, when I was in 8th grade, I was helping the younger, cooler nun who was the basketball coach.  She took pity on me. I couldn’t play basketball, I couldn’t cheer.  Somehow I ended up getting the important job of riding in the car with Sister, gathering the gear for the game, making sure she had everything she needed, along with the team.  In other words, I was the “ball girl”, “go-for”; I never knew. It probably only dawned on me now, as I type this blog. She so skillfully made me….an inept, klutz, and poor student, feel as though I was one of her favorite students, enjoyed my company, and loved having me around. Matter of fact, she was the nun who taught me why we had to approach the convent door quietly, and once open to continue to be quiet and reverent.  It was because the nun’s chapel was right next to the door. If the windows were open in the chapel, and if a nun was having her Adoration time, then we would be disturbing her or them.  I learned, every morning before school started, the nuns had a special mass, just for them.  I thought that was beautiful.  I knew it was because they loved God so much!  In reality, I’m positive the first reason was God, the 2nd……well, the 2nd had to be because they were about to enter into a six hour day with lots and lots of loud, noisy children.  They needed the nourishment of God to make it through their day.  Looking back, I must admit, those masses gave those nuns extraordinary strength to make it through the day, and able to treat us with such love.  Only as I am growing older have I begun to truly realize and appreciate the level of faith this school implanted within me, and along with my parents nourished in me.  The first time I was shown the convent chapel, I was so awestruck, I could not say a word, and was also to frightened to say anything, thinking I may get the nun in trouble!  My what stories our young minds can imagine.

Matter of fact, between our two priests, and nuns, and the handful of lay teachers we had in the school……….we knew we were loved, cherished, and accepted.  We also learned the teachings of our faith and the Catholic Church.  My parish grade school did an excellent job. Our priests always came over to visit with the children, giving hugs, and attempting to walk up the hallway with children holding on to their legs. It almost reminds me of the movie “Bells of St. Mary’s”.  Here, I always thought it was one of my favorite movies because of Bing Crosby, and Ingrid Bergman…..maybe, deep down inside it reminds me of a time in my life where I felt, and knew I was safe at school, with the nuns, teachers, and priests.

High school, as I mentioned earlier, was a tad more “hip”, so the Church could “reach the kids”.  Thank goodness for my parish grade school!  I was the odd man out, I didn’t buy the “hip” part.  I wanted the “guts” part of our religion. I began to feel I wasn’t being fed anymore, I can say that now.  I’m positive that is not what I was thinking then. I know one of the things I missed, the Latin Mass.  Sounds funny, but, I remember it, and when I am able to attend Latin Masses now, I am overjoyed!

Move forward to this past year when it was announced we would be having “The Year of Faith” in commemoration of Vatican II, there was and has been a stirring in my heart. Last night as I taught my 4th grade CCD class, today would be the beginning of The Year of Faith, and the significance with Vatican II, their darling little eyes were glazed over.  Yup, it made a big splash with them.  Yet, I still passionately did my best to imprint into their minds the kid size story of Vatican II, along with this Year of Faith.  Then I came home disappointed that somehow I failed, I missed the mark, the importance of this day…………………….that was……………until………………I woke this morning thinking about The Year of Faith.

Our prayer group decided we were going to do an hourly St. Michael Prayer for Paul Ryan and the debate tonight.  Hourly, I was praying.  Noon time came. My girlfriend and I were discussing how two Catholics were going to be in this debate. We discussed how we wouldn’t want to be the soul of Joe Biden, and then we discussed how we see in Paul Ryan, the kindness, the love of Christ, the caring, and love for his fellow man. I told my friend how I was able to use this as an example of two souls, one choosing to follow the path of Christ, and the other not, with my students last night, and what a beautiful moral story that came from this debate between two Catholics. My children went home thinking about their souls! I loved it!  No, did not, at all discuss voting. Not allowed too, just discussed what a person’s soul could be like in following the path of Jesus, and what a soul might be like that doesn’t follow the path of Jesus. Personally, I’m thrilled I’m not Joe Biden!

At 12:30 p.m., this out of the blue, totally gut feeling came to me with the words of:         I do not think it is any coincidence that the Vice Presidential debate with two (well, really one) Catholic (one in sheep’s clothing) is tonight on the FIRST DAY of THE YEAR of FAITH, and on the 50th anniversary of the start of Vatican II!  God’s mercy abounds!

I texted this immediately to my prayer warrior friends.  I was humbled by the responses sent back to me.  That, that is the time I realized, for me, how deeply touched I am by The Year of Faith we are entering, that happens to be coinciding with one of the most possible life altering elections I will ever play a part in, and that will most definitely effect the future of my entire family’s life, and the lives of my present in-laws, along with future in-laws, and most of all my descendants.  Most people do not understand yet, WE ARE TRULY ABOUT TO ENTER into THE YEAR OF FAITH, that I believe, will rock them to their core!

Praise God for the graces he pours down upon us! May the eyes and ears of the one’s who do not see, nor hear, have their eyes and ears opened during this Year of Faith!

Thank you, Lord, for your mercy!

 

 

Feast of the Visitation



On this beautiful sunny day, as I sit and type, I look forward to the magnificent evening ahead of me. Tonight, on this Feast Day of the Visitation, I will be with the members of the Confraternity of Christian Mothers, consecrating ourselves and our families to the Blessed Mother.  Which means, we honor Our Lady for being the mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and ask her to help us, as mothers, to guide and teach our children the ways of how she taught, her son, Our Lord Jesus Christ. Also to teach us, as mothers, to live constantly in the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ, as she did with such beauty and grace.

At NO TIME, do we, nor the CATHOLIC CHURCH, place the Blessed Mother above Our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ. We do as the fourth commandment states, Honor your father and mother. We honor the Blessed Virgin Mary, because she is the vessel through whom Our Lord Jesus Christ arrived. Without Mary’s YES, there would not be Our Savior, Lord Jesus Christ!

Due to the confusion over this matter among different religions, and among Catholics, themselves, today in my reading of The Liturgy of the Hours (pgs 1625 – 1626) I read:

Mary’s motherhood in the order of grace from the dogmatic constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council; found in Lumen gentium, nn. 61 – 62.

*****All in bold, italics, or different color is my emphasizing parts of Lumen gentium. I did not change any wording of the below document.    

Mary’s Motherhood in the order of grace

The Blessed Virgin was predestined to be the Mother of God in the eternal plan for the incarnation of God’s Word. By decree of God’s providence she was, here on earth, the loving mother of the divine Redeemer, the noblest of all his companions, and the humble servant of the Lord.  In conceiving Christ, in bearing him, in nursing him, in presenting him to the Father in the temple, in sharing her Son’s passion as he was dying on the cross by her obedience, her faith, her hope and burning love, she cooperated, in a way that was quite unique, in the work of the Savior in restoring supernatural life to souls. She is therefore a mother to us in the order of grace.

This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace–from the consent which she gave in faith at the annunciation, and which she continued to give unhesitatingly at the foot of the cross–lasts without interruption until all the elect enter into eternal fulfillment. When she was taken up into heaven, she did not lay aside this saving role but she continues by her intercession for all to gain for us the gifts of eternal salvation.

In her maternal love she cares for the brothers and sisters of the Son as they journey on earth in the midst of dangers and hardships, until they are brought safely home to the happiness of heaven.

The Blessed Virgin is thus invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix and Mediatrix. These titles must not, however, be understood as in any way detracting from, or adding to, the dignity and effectiveness of Christ, the one Mediator.

No creature can ever be classed as an equal with the incarnate Word, the Redeemer. But just as the priesthood of Christ is shared in various ways by his ministers and his faithful people, and as the goodness of God, one though it is, is, in different ways, really shared with creatures, so also the unique mediation of Christ does not exclude but brings about a variety of shared cooperation, deriving from the one unique source.

The Church does not hesitate to acknowledge this kind of subordinate role in the person of Mary. The Church has continuous experience of its effects, and commends it to the hearts of the faithful, so that as they lean on her motherly protection they may be brought into closer union with the Mediator, our Savior.

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I pray this helps individuals who have questions regarding the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the role that she plays in our Catholic faith!

Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit



The story of the Charismatic Pentecostal Rally continues, and while reading May 29th’s Liturgy of the Hours prayers, reinforced the blessings from that beautiful day, May 26th.

After Fr. Bill Halbing finished speaking, we had approximately a half hour break to move 850 people from the gym to the church, stretching of legs, and catching up with friends that you did not know were attending that day. I decided to take my time, since I knew I was one of the last to be leaving the gym. I did not expect to be able to find a “good seat” in the church.

As I was meandering along, speaking with different people, to my surprise I saw our bishop, who had apparently been in the back of the gymnasium the entire time. How exciting that he was not arriving “just in time” to preside over the mass.  Bishop David O’Connell, has recently become the bishop for our dioceses, and with that he has brought in with him a very strong whoosh of the Holy Spirit!  He strongly believes in evangelization of our faith as one of his top pastoral priorities for our diocese. He has shown his leadership in such ways as appearing on our local Catholic radio station, Domestic Catholic Media WFJS 1260 AM.  The First Friday of the month the bishop receives radio call-ins from individuals with questions regarding our faith, or even comments about our faith, or plans for the dioceses, with love in his voice, our bishop answers every question with grace and kindness. When he speaks, you can hear the joy in his voice, and the Holy Spirit inspired words coming through the radio speakers. He is also very interested in knowing what parish one attends when he is speaking to them. A good Shepard would want to know this, it shows his care and interest in what is happening, or not happening, in that person’s parish, and then gives him an idea of what may be needed there, or what ideas he  is able to take from that parish to incorporate into another parish, or the diocese. He is a very humble, loving Shepard.

While I continued to leisurely walk out with the other attendees, towards the church, I hear someone excitedly say “the Bishop is here!”.  That caught my antennae, I scanned to the left, and lo and behold, he was majestically dressed in his purple cassock, his appearance was one of peace, and the flowing of the Holy Spirit radiating from him. I was instantly drawn to him. Then I stopped myself, and said “no, don’t bother him”. As I am saying this to myself, I am watching a line of people saying hello, kissing his ring, children running to him and hugging him. He hugged them back with such joy, I could not take my eyes off of this scene, I was mesmerized. Then I went with the “nudge” of the first reaction of going to him. I made my way across the gym, through the chairs, I walked over to him, he put out his hand to me, I put my hand in his, said hello, and for the first time EVER IN MY LIFE, bent and kissed a bishop’s hand and ring. I am unable to describe the depth of my pull to this new Shepard of our dioceses, the Bishop. Howbeit, the pull to this Shepard of God was definitely an inspirational movement and moment for me.  I was truly blown away, that our bishop was present at the rally, and not there just for presiding over the mass. He wanted, he desired to see the people, he wanted and desired to meet with the people, and speak with them. Bishop O’Connell humbled himself to the level of the lay people, and not once, NOT ONCE, did I see, experience, or feel any air of arrogance or any type of behavior related to an aloofness. He WAS one with the people. He reminded me immediately of JPII, Pope Pius XII, and our current pope, Pope Benedict XVI.  I also had this sense of joy and awe that I could see him becoming our Pope one day. Praise God!  The Bishop was so kind to speak with me, and even allowed me to ask him if we could reinstate the praying of the St. Michael prayer, followed by the three Hail Mary’s, after all the masses throughout the diocese, due to the dire need in our own diocese, our country, and throughout the world. He had stated that he had heard this from the Monsignor of my parish, and that it is being taken under consideration. I was thrilled!  Now, I just have a few more priests to talk too, and if God desires it to happen, it will! Hallelujah!

As Fr. Bill Halbing stated, when one is infused with the Holy Spirit, one can only speak the Truth of God…….this world needs St. Michael protecting each and everyone of us. Side note: besides the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and Guardian Angel prayers I taught to my children, they learned the St. Michael prayer at an early age. We would say the prayer on the way to school, and I would remind them to say it when they were frightened, or going on a bus trip with their school, or away from home. Powerful and protective prayer!  As my girlfriend describes me, “you definitely have the gift of holy boldness!”.

My digression:  I notice with each passing day, for the salvation of the souls I know and love, and for the souls who don’t like me, and for the souls I do not even know, so many souls need to hear the Truth of God, for the salvation of their souls, and their family and friends souls. It is my job only to speak the Truth of God, not to browbeat.  Though, I must chuckle, in the beginning when I first started out, yes, I probably did “browbeat”. Through God’s grace, I no longer approach our Catholic religion that way. Nonetheless, it does not stop me from speaking the Truth of God, and I must say the moment my mouth forms any words connected to religion………I can see the glazed over eyes, and the stares, and the comments of “here she goes again”, and later being informed, my speaking was a form of “browbeating”, that exact word is no longer used, needless to say, many understand what I am stating. Now, I just chuckle to myself, apologize if I made anyone uncomfortable, and finish with “I was only speaking the Truth of God, the Gospel, and explaining the Tenets of the Catholic faith”. Then I change the subject. Praise God for Fr. Bill Halbing, because I will always keep his words in my mind, “God will not lower His standards for this earthly world, and you shouldn’t either!”.

Back on track now……slowly I walk to the Church, inhaling the sunshine, the beauty of the day, sucking up the warmth of joy I feel bursting from my heart, and not having a care in the world, or being concerned with the matter of being able to “find a seat” inside the Church. As I enter the church, I look around to sit, right before my eyes is a pew, 3rd back from the pulpit; that has, minimum, 4-6 available seats.  Saying to myself, “no way, these are reserved seats.” I ask the woman, “is all of this reserved?”. She states, “no!”.  I’m shocked!  Praise God, and take my seat on the end. Though, I must admit, I did figure due to the number of people in attendance, my very large pocketbook was not going to get it’s own seat.  As I suspected, it didn’t, and amazingly all survived!

The Church was beautifully adorned with red linens draped around Our Lord, and in other areas that brought out the beauty of the Church, the red flowers were the perfect amount, size, and color throughout the Sanctuary. Symmetrically placed, on each side of the Tabernacle, were exquisitely stunning red vases. I honestly cannot tell you what flowers were in those vases, by virtue of the elegance of the Tabernacle that was shining in glory. Absolutely stunningly breathtaking!

I was in my glory! This was going to be a mass beyond what I imagined, and it was! Thank you Fr. Jeff Kegley, Bishop David O’Connell, the Church caretakers, and the interior designers of St. Raphael’s Church. It all came together to have it be a Holy Spirit inspired mass, without one iota of a distraction. How blessed we were!

Usually, at these types of conferences, I will take notes at the homily. This time, I did not want that distraction. I wanted to be able to give my entire attention to the Bishop, not worry about picture taking, or writing. I am positive I felt that way since I had the opportunity to meet the Bishop prior to the Mass, and was so enthralled by him, and still on that “high”, I did not want anything to interfere with it.  I listened, taking in all that he had to say, our bishop, is a true evangelizer of our faith. He spoke of how the Holy Spirit wants to work in all of us, we only need to say “yes, and be faithful to God”; the gifts we were receiving this day due to the rally being held on the Vigil of Pentecost was “blowing me away!”.

The second reading of May 29th, in the Liturgy of the Hours, Volume II, pages 268 – 270, was on the writings of The Confessions of St. Augustine.  I was struck by what St. Augustine wrote, and how much of Bishop O’Connell’s homily seemed to immediately come back to me.  Since I did not take notes I will do my best to tell you what I learned from the bishop’s homily.

Bishop O’Connell spoke of how the Lord knows us, remember he “knit us together in the womb”, and went on to teach us how we can ask the Lord to let us come to know Him, as He knows us.  However, to accomplish this, we need to ask for it, be in a state of grace, desire it, and be willing to live the Truth of God.  God is waiting for us to come to Him, He will not force Himself upon us, He is just waiting for us to open the door to allow Him to enter into our hearts, soul, and mind. So that we may then speak His truth! As St. Augustine writes: “……because the one who does what is true enters into the light.”  As it is stated in John 14:15:” If you love me, keep my commandments”. Bishop O’Connell stressed how much God wants us, as His children, to follow His way, so that we may enjoy eternal life and happiness in Heaven with Him.  Remembering also, as we take up our cross, and follow the path of Jesus, we are reassured in Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things in him who strengthens me”.  Which in turn, will give us the grace to evangelize our Catholic faith. As I stated prior, one of the bishop’s top pastoral priorities for our diocese is evangelization. I am definitely thrilled with having him as our Bishop, this diocese has been abundantly blessed!  Praise God!

To finish, during the general intercessions, we offered up and prayed for the rescinding of the HHS mandate, that as many understand, this is truly regarding religious freedom, with the excuse of “women’s health” as a cover in an attempt to “fool” the individuals who are unable to “see” or “hear”, at this time. In spite of that, the miraculous can happen, with turning back to God, through prayer, confession, Adoration, mass, communion, spiritual communions, penance, mortification’s, alms giving, reading the Bible and following it’s teachings, along with the First Friday, and First Saturday devotions. Most of all, God in His love for us, and mercy, gave us many spiritual tools to fight the evil of the world. We MUST take up THIS FIGHT AS ONE, or WE ALL WILL LOSE AS ONE!

Imagine, after continuing to absorb the feeling of the Holy Spirit, in my life, from this awesome event, one of the psalm-prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours that I read on the 29th, echoed the intercessions from the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit:

Lord, God of strength, you gave your Son victory over death. Direct your Church’s fight against evil in the world. Clothe us with the weapons of light and unite us under the banner of love, that we may receive our eternal reward after the battle of earthly life. Amen.

…………….the story continues for another day…………………

 

 

 

Memorial Day Prayer 2012



Lord Jesus, You are the Savior of the world and the Prince of Peace; Watch over our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends and neighbors in the service of their country. Keep them close to You always; Protect them and strengthen them to live Your commandments.

Lord Jesus, give them the courage to serve with honor and dignity; Be with them as they face hardships.  When their service is finished, we pray You grant them safe return, sound in body, mind and soul.  Healing for those wounded physically or emotionally during their service.

Lord Jesus, please continue to give the families and friends left behind, the courage, fortitude, perseverance to withstand the time of separation from the one’s they love.

Sacred Heart of Jesus have mercy on us and on the whole world. Amen.

In memory of all the Holy Souls who have served their country for us to be free, and the innocent victims of war, we pray:  Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon them. Amen

Veni, Sancte Spiritus! – Come, Holy Spirit!



Saturday May 26th, I received a wonderful blessing from Our Lord, Jesus Christ!  He allowed me, along with approximately 850 other people from the Diocese of Trenton, and beyond, to participate in the Diocesan Catholic Charismatic Renewal on the Vigil of Pentecost in this year of 2012!  The anticipated attendance was expected to be 500 – 600 people. Before my eyes, I had the grace of the Holy Spirit in seeing Jesus infuse many of His disciples with His Spirit that the number of individuals who participated was increased by 350 people!

Actually, there would have even been more of a presence. One of the area churches that is filled with a number of Charismatic people, had an anniversary to celebrate on such a beautiful day, the 50th anniversary of the Ordination of Fr. Jay!  Some were able to participate in both events, others not, due to other commitments, and family duties. In any event, for the individuals who were not in attendance physically, they were definitely at the rally in spirit!

I left my home at 7:30, I wanted a good seat! To me that is front row, on the aisle. Driving into the parking lot at the Church of St. Raphael’s I can feel the excitement, and the energy of the Holy Spirit all around me. I said to myself, “this is going to be GOOD!”.  At first I wasn’t really sure where the rally was being held, if it was in the Church or the Parish Center.  I was beginning to hedge my bet on the rally taking place in the Parish Center, since I saw individuals walking towards there, I hopped out of my van and followed.

I also had a heads up that it might be held in the Parish Center since, the night before, I had been at the Church for Mass, Communion, and Confession. I wanted to be in a state of grace for this rally, to make sure I was open to anything and everything that God wanted me to receive through and from the Holy Spirit!  Actually, Friday night, I believe a few other people had the same idea, it was one of the longer lines that I have seen for Confession, besides Christmas and Easter. While leaving the Church, Friday night, I noticed Fr. Kegley and others leaving the Parish Center. I also noticed a handful of cars near the center. It wasn’t a difficult deduction for me to make on Saturday morning that the rally was being held in the Parish Center, or to follow the people.

Fr. Kegley and the Charismatic Renewal Team did a wonderful job with pre-registration, having enough help available to direct people in the different places they were interested in going. Now, I am a very simple person, although there are a few things I must admit, I am a tad high maintenance on……clean bathrooms is one! Fr. Kegley  took care of the age old problem of women and bathrooms!  Apparently, he has become aware of this issue through his years of being a pastor, or he has an excellent administrative assistant who pointed out this particular issue that concerns women. It was handled quite well, and I, along with many other women were very pleased, and thankful to see the accommodation’s that were made for us. The staff did a stupendous job with this rally. God takes care of the most minor detail, imagine……clean bathrooms without having to be concerned about “port a pots” around, Hallelujah! The women of the rally were able to focus entirely on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, due to one of our most basic needs being met! How awesome is our God!

I enter, sign in, take the advice handed out, “find a seat first”. Walk directly into the gym, and find the first few rows are reserved, which makes absolute sense. Then the next two general rows have the aisle seats taken. Hmmmm, what should one do???  Do I suck up my claustrophobia and sit in the middle of the two general rows or do I accept myself for who I am, and sit on the end of the third row. I took the third row, another reason I took the aisle seat, because if anyone is tall I can still see, having an aisle seat……sounds logical? correct? silly me……..do you know how many tall people were called to sit in those reserved seats, and the first two rows of the general seats……needless to say, I had to chuckle at God’s great sense of humor! I love it!

Then off to get breakfast as suggested. As you walk into the cafeteria, a woman was directing individuals on the breakfast to the right, although she also had a tad bit more information that I didn’t quite remember seeing on the sign up sheet for the rally, VENDORS!!!!!!

Well, as the family joke goes………..”if there’s a gift shop, that’s where you will find mom, if you are lost, or you think she is!”.  The woman that was walking into the cafeteria with me, stated “I think I will eat first”. From my experience, the early bird catches the worm at these events, so one of us went right, and one left…….needless to say, “right” WAS NOT my choice.  Off to the vendors I went! The first vendor I visited was where my daughter works. I believe, by now, I have purchased most of their inventory in the store. Now I have the DVD’s to begin collecting….St. Teresa of Avila, St. Rita, etc., getting there little by little.

The next vendor I stopped at is called The Timeless Rosary. I spoke with the owner. The concept of how to pray this rosary is fascinating. Yet, at this time, they do not have the rosaries on hand to sell. They had samples, took names down, and I will be contacted when the rosaries are available. All the same, I did buy the four CD’s they had at the table for sale, and am looking forward to listening to them. The four different Timeless Rosary CD’s are called:  The Timeless Rosary – Scriptural; The Timeless Rosary – Divine Mercy; The Timeless Rosary – Praise & Worship; last, but not least; The Timeless Rosary – Spiritual Fruits.  Our Bishop of the Dioceses has approved these CD’s and the booklet, although; due to life and, well, life, the pamphlets/booklets were not ready for distribution at the rally. When I receive the added information and rosaries, I will write regarding further information on how you can obtain these items.

I must say, for me; even though my family may disagree, I did fairly well with the vendors. Though having only a few vendors present, may have helped…..thankfully, the Sisters of Pauline Media and Books were present.  Shhhhh, don’t tell my husband, yet, once again, I bought books. I love books, I love reading, I love learning, I LOVE BOOKS!  I will digress for a moment……..when I was 17 yrs old, I babysat for the doctor that I worked for at the time.  I entered into his new home, aka mansion, and was awe struck by the feel and charm of their home.  I couldn’t get them out the door fast enough! After I played with the baby, fed him, and put him to bed, I walked around the mansion, and could feel the presence of the owners from years past. Mind boggling, blown away sensation for a 17 yr old, who had no idea what she was experiencing, and then attempting to explain it to people…..well, that’s another story!  Anyhow, this doctor had a library, a library, a true blue LIBRARY in his home, with three walls of shelves filled with books, THREE WALLS!  I was in my glory! I wanted to pay them to babysit everyday! My love of medicine thrived in that library….so, even though one of the Sisters, very kindly and jokingly stated “you must be a bookaholic, that’s good”, I laughed back………”yes, I am!”. The wonderful blessing, there were others around me, stating, “oh, me too, love books; can’t ever have enough books, especially when it comes to our religion!”.  Again, I’ve learned when books are out on display, if the Holy Spirit inspires me to pick up a book and buy it, I do!  It took me a few hard lessons to learn that one, though since my girlfriend’s husband (who is also my friend) had a miraculous healing from God, I now “fly” with the Holy Spirit as soon as I get the “nudge”.  Needless to say, my hope is, one day, very soon, to finish “my office”, the catch all room, and put up shelves for my books.  Hopefully, then, my husband will not feel as overwhelmed, since our bedroom is a pile of books. We have a little nook in our bedroom, that I can easily visualize with bookshelves and a lounger, with a little table, and light next to it, for me to lounge and read. Ahhhhh, the things that dreams are made of……….

Off to the last vendor table……It is a table of beautiful pictures of Icons. One that caught my eye was the Icon of St. Michael the Archangel, and his prayer. It was 10 x 14 in size, and I immediately fell in love with it. Despite that “nudge”, I held back. I looked at all the different pictures, silently speaking to myself (I was out in public, so I did need to watch!).  Then the “nudge” became stronger, and I remembered what happened the night before. It was bedtime in the house, my son was wary of something, not quite sure what, yet, his visits to my room were frequent. Finally he asked me, “mom, what do I say again with the Holy Water?”. I told him two things, “One, you can sprinkle it on the ground for the Holy Souls, or; Two, if something is bothering you, you sprinkle your room with the Holy Water, and at the same time state, “In the name of Jesus Christ, satan be GONE!  Then ask Jesus to place his Precious Blood all over your room, and to cover you with it, and then you can finish with praying the St. Michael prayer”. He said, “OK, let’s do that!”.   So, as he stood on his bed sprinkling his room, we prayed together and finished with the St. Michael prayer.  This 10 x 14 St. Michael Icon and prayer also reminded me of the St. Michael prayer card that they have at another church in my area, that is prayed at the end of mass, followed by the three Hail Mary’s.  I was speaking to the woman regarding this, and she stated, the Icon you are looking at, is what I gave to my Church, St. Vincent DePaul’s.  I instantly bought the Icon, laid it on my son’s bed when I came home, and gave it to him as an early birthday present.  It is being placed on the wall, above his head, it’s beautiful!

Now that my “gift shop fix” has been satisfied, I have time to take everything to my car without the items being in my way, or me having to worry about them while sitting during the rally. As I’m walking out to my car, Fr. Kegley and I cross paths. I say hello, then realize “ooh, I need these items blessed!”.  I ask Fr. Kegley if he would be so kind as to bless my items, and he does, another blessing, and the rally hasn’t even started!  Wow, this was going to be a dynamic day!

All the items were placed in my van. I now have the time to relax, get coffee, and eat a bagel.  Well, that is, after I clean up the hot coffee I spilled, because the coffee was HOT!  I was so excited, and ecstatic to be there, it’s one of the many goofy things that I do or have happen to me, I obviously do not pay attention to the minor detail of hot coffee, yet am always quickly reminded, yes, some things in life are hot, and you MUST pay attention! Even when excited and ecstatic that I’m out of the house, and get to be around other people who think, feel and have experiences like myself!

I eat, drink some coffee, and am ready for this rally to begin! First, we start off with Praise & Worship, wow, wow, and WOW!  Powerful stuff!  Moving stuff, the Holy Spirit is descending upon this “Upper Room”, and the people are ignited!  To all be one, singing, moving, swaying, clapping, speaking in tongues, it is such a deep inner core feeling of warmth, love, happiness, joy, being alive, they are just a few words I am able to use to describe the beauty of what is happening in the “upper room”.

After Praise & Worship, the keynote speaker walks onto the stage…….it is the one and only Fr. Bill Halbing! If you do not know him, find him! If you ever, ever have the chance to attend one of his conferences…………run to it!  If you are given the blessing of being able to see him multiple times in your life…………….GO!

Fr. Bill Halbing is filled with the Holy Spirit, he is full of joy, great sense of humor, and tells you the way it is. Time is short in this world, he doesn’t have time to pussy foot around, too many souls to get straightened out, and too many souls to save!  He is short, sweet and honest with you. If you’re looking for a “pat on the back, it’s OK honey” kind of answer, he is not the priest for you. If you want to know where you are making your mistakes, how to fix them, change them, have your soul be saved. He’ll tell you, straight out. At first, you may be taken aback, then, once you sit and think about your situation, what you asked God for, and what you are supposed to do, Fr. Bill Halbing gave you your answer. Now, DO IT!

Fr. Halbing is the pastor of St. Antoninus Parish, Newark, NJ. He has been involved with the Charismatic Renewal since 1975. He is a sought after scripture teacher, and has been a guest speaker at National Charismatic Conferences all over the United States, youth conferences at the Franciscan University at Steubenville, Ohio; children’s Bible conferences, parish missions, he has traveled to Guyana and Eastern Europe, preaching the Word of God, and continues to answer the call of God for his next assignment.

I did not know this, and I pray I am telling you the correct facts……Fr. Halbing stated at the rally, he first felt a calling at the age of 7 yrs old. I loved hearing that, in the many different books I have read over the past few years, I have learned that many of our very deeply religious priests who have many gifts, feel the calling at an early age in their lives, usually around 7 yrs of age. The more I am hearing this from priests that I now know, I am blown away, it is not just me reading it anymore, I’m hearing it first hand!

Fr. Halbing spoke of Pentecost and the Holy Spirit, what we must do to truly receive the Holy Spirit, and what it will cost us. I loved it.

What I learned from Fr. Halbing:  First, we are not the “nuts”, we are the normal; God does not lower his standards to the earthly world, and if we desire to have the Holy Spirit live within us, then we must not either!  The Holy Spirit inside of us, is the “Comforter”, and it is so true! When I am filled with the Holy Spirit, I feel so great, happy, joyful, at peace with myself, then when I come into contact with someone who may not be, yet, or choosing to not be living in union with God, then I feel uncomfortable on the outside. Fr. Halbing gave me the reassurance that this is normal. Blessing!

Second: Living in the Holy Spirit, WE WILL offend people, not because we desire to do that; instead, we are speaking the TRUTH OF GOD, for those not in union, yet, or, again, choosing not to be in union with Jesus, they will be offended. Blessing!  How many times I have had horrible, hateful things said to me, or about me, or treated as though I was a leper, and to realize now it is because I am speaking the TRUTH OF GOD, I am okay with it.  I no longer need to worry or fret, rather, I am aware of what is happening, and I can nail it to the cross, and hand it over to the Holy Spirit! Blessing!

Third:  We are to stop saying “WE ARE UNDER ATTACK”.  As he stated “you’ve been under attack since you were born, it started with the whack on the back side!”.

Fourth:  We need to keep Heaven in our hearts. We need to stop measuring ourselves, by our self, by our standards. Allow, and LET the Holy Spirit take over. We MUST die to ourselves, to allow the Holy Spirit to enter and dwell in us, we MUST be NOTHING, and God be and act in us. We need to understand the Cross and the Crucifixion before receiving the Holy Spirit. We cannot comfort others, if we do not have the Holy Spirit within us.

Fifth:  The Believer who has the gifts of the Holy Spirit does not have the gift for his or herself, instead they have it to give to others, to inspire others. Once a person has been convicted by God (received the Holy Spirit), they are the scariest people you may know……..why? because they speak the TRUTH OF GOD, no matter what, they are filled with the Holy Spirit, and that is TRUTH. When filled with the Holy Spirit, one does not want to sin, one desires to stay in a state of grace. One also knows, we are all sinners, when we fall, we know, we want……we desire…..we need…….the grace of confession as quickly as possible, because the joyful feeling of being filled with the Holy Spirit is so strong, we desire to have it back as quickly as possible.

In the area I live we are very blessed to have confession available to us seven days a week. One church does it daily, including Sundays, before mass starts. Another church, does it nightly, during the week, after the 7 p.m. mass, that is St. Raphael’s, where this Charismatic Pentecostal Rally was held.  There is another church, about 20 minutes away, that has confession on Tuesday and Thursday at 3 p.m.  Another, on Friday’s at 6 p.m.

The times that I lose my focus, and make myself my god, instead of allowing God to take over the issue in my life, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in my life, I have gone to confession two or three times in one week. Other times, I have gone once a week, and other times I have had longer period of times go by.  Although, personally, I do not advise going longer than a week in between confessions.  I know, by Church law, once a year is required. Be that as it may, for me, the longer between confession, I notice a farther distance from God, which bears the loss of the Holy Spirit, and the comfort inside is gone. I absolutely do not like that feeling! Confession brings back my “Comforter”, and it is a MUST for the Holy Spirit to be able to work in us, and FOR US to be able to be of help to others, and to do GOD’S WORK that he has planned for us – OUR MISSION!  I truly want to make sure when the DVD/Blu-ray disc of my life is being played for me with God sitting there, I truly desire that God tells me I fulfilled the mission that he wanted me to fulfill!

Lastly what I learned from Fr. Halbing is……..I will be one of the martyrs for our Catholic Church, and that is okay with me. If that is what God needs from me for the salvation of the souls of my family – husband, children, family of origin, in-laws, ancestors, and the future souls of my lineage, and my children’s lineage, I can and am willing to do that. It is very important for me that all souls be saved, I accept God’s will for my life. As long as I am filled with the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, then I can accept and will accept God’s will for my life.

Back in 2008, I ended a friendship, with an individual I believed to be my best friend. I was wrong. As I am known to do, I was speaking the truth of the Catholic Church, as I delve deeper and deeper into our faith, I have grown stronger and stronger in speaking out.  During the 2008 elections, I spoke out regarding abortion, and how it is the first intrinsic evil, and how, as a Catholic one CANNOT VOTE for a pro-abortion candidate, period, end of story, no room for debate. Basic tenet of our Catholic faith.  I had been physically ill off and on, and suddenly realized I had not heard from my friend, so I called, and in my usual way, asked “are you upset with me, or angry with me?”. I was told yes. I asked if I could be told what it was, and if it could be worked out.

It was regarding an email with the tenets of our faith that I had sent out to my Catholic friends and family. It turned out, there were other things I had stated in the past that we apparently differed on, yet, I did not know that because I was not told that there was a disagreement on the other end. At the time, I truly did not want to lose the friendship. I asked how we could work it out? After a few times of talking and discussing, it came down to………..if we only spoke about the things that did not offend this individual, then the friendship could continue. At first, I agreed to this, because I was so upset that I had hurt this friend unintentionally, and felt so bad that this had been going on, and I did not realize it, or pick up on it. I truly beat myself up over this situation. We spoke a few times, and then I felt so stifled, I felt as though I was dying inside.  Then by God’s grace, I realized what I was truly being told “DO NOT SPEAK THE TRUTH OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH TO ME, even though I was born, raised and received the sacraments of the Catholic Church, and raised my child in the Catholic Church, I do not want to hear the TRUTH of the Catholic Church, nor live it, then we can be friends”.

Once I was given the gift of understanding and knowledge of the situation, I also received the gift of fear and piety, knowing that I did not want to offend God, I did not want to sin against him, not because I do not want to go to Hell. Instead I love God so much, I do not want to hurt Him, by sinning, and by not speaking the TRUTH, is sinning, especially if I make the choice not to try to save a friend’s soul.  What kind of friend would I be if I didn’t want their soul saved, would I let them die in a fire? NO. Then, why would I stand by to watch their soul be lost.  I am not judging. By the gift of fortitude and counsel, I chose not to be muffled on speaking the TRUTH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. I pray for my ex-friend, and that the family’s souls are not lost.

As Fr. Bill Halbing stated, being infused with the Holy Spirit we will offend people! I can now look back at that time and put it in the proper perspective, Praise God!

On an interesting note, regarding Fr. Halbing’s prophecy of martyrdom……back in 2008, I told one of my prayer warrior friends, “when times begin to get tough, I will not be surprised if people begin to turn people in as they did in Hitlers time. I have no doubt I will be one of the first because of being outspoken”.  The other interesting note, this is my second time in less then a year that I have been in Fr. Halbing’s presence when he spoke of martyrdom.  Pretty cool!   With God and His Holy Spirit, I can do anything, because it is not me doing it, it is God taking over, and the Holy Spirit comforting me!

Praise God! Praise God! Praise God!

This rally was so magnificent, I have to break it down into parts. One blessing after another, just blown away!   Tomorrow is my son’s birthday, much to do, hopefully will be blogging more tomorrow night or Tuesday!

God Bless, Praise God!  Die to yourself, so God can come alive in you!

 

 

 

 

The Fifteen Promises of the Rosary of Mary



To Christians who recite the rosary devoutly, received by St. Dominic and Blessed Alain. I always knew there were promises, and I know some by heart, not all, so every once in awhile I will read them again in my Pieta Prayer Book, to brush up. I’ve always wondered how does one know if they are receiving a “signal grace” with devotion to Our Lady’s Rosary.

Little did I know when I blogged regarding my spiritual steps to conversion, that I happened to be, along with my mom, and my family entering further up the staircase of faith and conversion, and discovering my answer to what the “signal grace” of devotion to the Rosary would be like; little did I know.

Saturday, my mother stopped by after she had finished working at her twice a week, part time job.  She came in the house, and I could instantly tell this was a “need” visit vs. a “stopping by, hi” visit.  I guess my children know the difference also, next thing I knew the middle child was out of the room. My mom stated, “could you look at my arm and chest for a minute, the area feels swollen to me, doesn’t hurt. I was at the doc’s on Thursday, and she mentioned the front of my upper arm, towards the shoulder is a little “puffy”.

My mom had, had severe right sided neck pain earlier in the week, I kept this in the back of my mind as I was about to examine her arm and chest wall. My mom has a very extensive health history, with a miraculous healing of melanoma in 1962. Praise God! She has lived to see her husband die of melanoma, children grow into adults, marriages, grandchildren that have turned into young adults, along with teens, and tween’s. She has lived her life as a widow that, I believe, would make God happy, because that is a vocation all unto itself. All the while living with health issues dating back to her teen years. She has lived with scoliosis, multiple back surgeries to “fix” the scoliosis, though this was back in 1969, much advancement has been made with surgeries and improved treatment of scoliosis today. She lives with arthritis, along with three autoimmune disorders, she has suffered daily, hourly, every minute of her life with pain, as long as I have been alive. She has been on the medications that have been recalled because of death, these medications actually HELPED her vs. hurting her, the irony!

Only, as I have become  ”middle-age”, with a now young adult, teen and tween in the home, and life experiences, have I begun to appreciate my mother more and more, with each passing day.  It is amazing how, with age, wisdom does arrive on time.  My mother and I have been extremely blessed, and graced with the healing of our life history together. All due to the graces of the Rosary, the intervention of the Blessed Mother, the mercy of Jesus, the glory of God, all the intervention from the angels, saints, and holy souls. Of course, how many masses and communions were offered up between us for the healing of our wounds?

So the “visit” begins, we enter into the bathroom. I “eyeball” my moms chest, and instantly see “puffiness” across the right side of her chest wall into the upper arm area. No redness, no warmth, no pain. Inside I’m saying, “well, we’ve got ourselves a situation here”.  My mom is concerned, her boss and friend told her to enter one of those “fast express” doc places. It’s a Saturday, her family doc isn’t going to see her, yet she is concerned it is an infection, and if it is, she needs antibiotics pronto due to the medication she is on which lowers the immune system. I tell my mom, “no, I don’t want you at that “fast express” place, instead I want to you to see the nurse practitioner at this place. She’s excellent, she knows me, she’ll do the right thing for you, and if she is not there, then whoever is, will also do the right thing, because she trained them”.  My concern with the “fast express”, if it is what I expect, the doc  may blow her off to her family doc because he would be very aware there is nothing he could do that day, unless it was an infection. I knew where my girlfriend worked, even though it would not be an infection, they would not leave my mom to dangle and fret till Monday to see her family doc.

The woman I know wasn’t working Saturday, nonetheless, as I suspected, she taught the doc’s well. The doc ordered all the right stuff, mammo, ultrasound, and the doc threw in a chest x-ray. No antibiotics. That was definitely an “oh, beans” moment for me. At least we knew where we stood, my mom felt as though something was accomplished, she would not have to sit and ruminate on Mother’s Day about the possibilities. She is soon to be 74 yrs. old, she is very aware what this could all mean.

She would not need to be put through the agony of her family doc’s office staff not scheduling her for an appointment on Monday, or stress over the behavior towards her. She had the “scripts” from Saturday, she was able to enter into the Radiology Office, first thing Monday, receive her mammo, ultrasound and chest x-ray. What a gift from God, she was able to bypass the stress of her family doc’s office.

We spent Mother’s Day together for dinner. Usually on Mother’s Day, my husband, kids and myself will attend the craft show at Sayen Gardens, and then walk through and check out the beautiful scenery. One year we left Sayen Gardens around 3 p.m.  We were all starving, and I suggested Brothers Pizza, I figured it wouldn’t be crowded yet, I was right. We had a nice relaxing, cool Mother’s Day Dinner, and the tradition started.

This year we were going to attend the Air show at McGuire Air Force Base. My husband wanted to leave early, my body didn’t have it in me. I also had a gnawing sensation within me that I could not put my finger on. Instead, I slept in, chilled a little, then, all of a sudden I had a burst of energy, and knew, KNEW, we must eat dinner at Brothers at 3 p.m., as we have been doing all these years. I called my mom, asked her, she said yes.

We all met at Brothers Pizza around 3:15 p.m., it was a beautiful day outside and in. My three children were there, along with the boyfriend of my oldest. My mother gave me a beautiful gift, it is by Willow Tree, it is a shadow box canoe where you are able to place figurines. My mother picked out each of my children’s figurines that described one of their many, God given qualities.  Then she had each child give me their own figurine. It is precious, and something she had no idea that, when I happened upon it, in the store, that I said to myself, “oh, I would love this!”.  My mom told me at the dinner table, the day she saw me looking at it, she thought, “don’t buy it, I already have it”. She then went on to say, “I saw you make a face, and I said to myself, well, it’s too late now, I already bought it for you”.  Only later did I tell her, the face I made was one of “whimsy”, I wanted it, but knew I wouldn’t receive it.  Imagine my shock and surprise, I received exactly what I quietly had hoped for, God is good! A very special day for me, and for my mom. I will cherish the memory of this past Mother’s day, and her gift always!

Monday she had her testing completed. The radiologist told her she had “one enlarged node, no big deal”. Mammo and chest x-ray were negative. In the meantime, she scheduled an appoint with her gynecologist, for a follow up and his opinion. He is a highly respected doctor, along with being an excellent and cautious doctor.  Within less then 24 hours later, my mother received a call from the radiologist, stating, “on second look, there are really three lymph nodes, and I suggest a follow up CT Scan”. My mother stated to him, “my daughter and I have already spoken, and I will be getting a biopsy done”. His reply, “oh, I didn’t think you would be ready to hear that yet”. (That is for another blog, though I will say, I was very annoyed by the audacity of this radiologist to feel it was up to him, how to tell my mother what was going on with her own body. Do we really need to waste time on getting the correct care and treatment? As I stated, maybe another blog for another day, definitely pertaining to forgiveness!).

Can’t say I was overly surprised, she already had the appointment for the gynecologist. Now though, the picture changed a tad, at first we were going to wait to see the one doctor before making the appointment with the surgeon for the biopsy. That phone call changed the plans. I called the surgeon’s office first thing Thursday morning, and she has an appointment for Tuesday.  I asked the receptionist to start looking at dates for scheduling the biopsy as soon as possible. I received the very kind explanation of how the doctor will make that decision, and I kindly explained my mother’s health history, and how much I would appreciate an approximate date to be ready at the helm, after seeing the surgeon.  I also explained the surgeon knows who I am because I was the one who preplanned my gallbladder surgery before I even saw him for my appointment. He enjoyed that very much! I figured helping him out a second time would  make his day again!  I am usually a very proactive individual!

Wednesday night I took my mom to mass for Ascension Thursday, and confession afterwards. Little does she know we will be doing the same the night before her biopsy. She is not overly fond of confession, and as I explained to her, I am not here only to help you physically, I am also here for your soul!

While my mom was at her appointment, I was doing laundry, thinking, praying, praising God, when I was suddenly struck by the realization that we are receiving the “signal grace” for my mom. Wow, that blew me away. Even though, I knew to appreciate and love, possibly, my last Mother’s Day with my mom; I didn’t yet realize the graces and gifts being poured down upon my mother and myself.

The thunderbolt of realization blew me away……….I was so thankful, and yet, now sorrowful.  When I returned to blogging I mentioned that I have been blessed with a Spiritual Director, thank you, Lord and praise God!  While the Spiritual Director and I were speaking about the issues of concern to me, one of the issues involves a cure for someone I deeply love, who is so wounded, and in so much pain, a cure is the only thing that can be asked for, by Our Lord, if it is Our Lord’s will.  My Spiritual Director was very specific, it had to be a cure, not just a healing. Once the cure, then the healing will follow for other things.

My mom is my best friend, she is aware who needs the cure. I had told her what the Spiritual Director had stated to pray for, and I know, as my mother, my best friend, a prayer warrior, a devout follower of Our Lady’s Rosary that she is praying for this cure.

The thunderbolt of realization that my mother is the vessel for the cure, brought me to such a level of pain, I thought my heart would explode, I staggered and clearly said, “oh no, I didn’t mean for a cure this way!”. Then I stopped, realized and accepted, “not my will, but God’s will be done”. God makes good come out of things that we may see as “bad”, when in fact, they are great graces and gifts being poured out upon us.

Who, but my own mother, would be my greatest intercessor in heaven for me. There is no doubt she will be going straight to heaven when she dies. Part of the sixth promise of the Fifteen Promises, is that ”he will not perish by an unprovided death”. Never did I realize what that meant, until now, facing the beginning of the finality of my mother’s life. The seventh promise: Whoever shall have a true devotion for the rosary shall not die without the sacraments of the Church. My mother will be given the grace of Viaticum. How blessed we are, Praise God!

We have not been to the surgeon’s office yet, we have not had the biopsy yet. I may be totally wrong! If I am, all for God’s glory! If I am not, all for God’s glory!

However this biopsy turns out, it has opened my eyes, and spirit to questions I have had, and by God’s grace have been given some understanding.  My mom and I have already begun to speak about her eventual funeral, be it this year, or ten years from now. We’ve kept it lighthearted, and at times tearful. My mom has become closer with her sister over these past few years, so I know my aunt will be a help to me when the end arrives.  I have power of attorney over my mom’s medical part of her life, so I know  I will be facing some lonely decisions, and making decisions that will not be satisfactory to some individuals on earth. Nonetheless, with God’s guidance, and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit they will be the right decisions, for my mom, and for her soul in eternal life.

I love you mom……I always have, I always will, and whatever the results of the biopsy I am so grateful you are my mother, my mentor, and have shown me the strength of Our Lady’s Rosary. A mere thank you, does not seem enough, and yet, for now, it must suffice. Mom, I love you, and I will be by your side through all of this, as you have always been by my side, if not physically, then through the Rosary. You are truly one of the Blessed Mother’s many roses from heaven. I love you.

 

 

 

The Many Aspects and Steps of Conversion



While I was extremely ill, and pretty much in bed vs. out of bed in the fall of 2008 through the summer of 2009; I began watching EWTN more then I had ever done before since it’s existence. In the past, I would watch Mother Angelica, catch one or two saint movies, beyond that, not too much. Then as I began to delve deeper into my spiritual life, all due to God and this absolute amazing miracle he performed on my girlfriend’s husband in the first half of 2008 (that’s another blog). I became more interested in watching EWTN, and began to notice I was watching less “mainstream TV shows and/or movies”.

During the time of Tom’s miraculous healing, I was in the presence of very strong prayer warriors, and began to hear, listen and learn more about our faith. My very slow conversion began in 1996, in 2006 it picked up a level due to life experiences, and a very religious book store in Newtown, PA. You walk into the store and can feel the Holy Spirit throughout the entire store. The employees are filled with the Holy Spirit, it is a beautiful book store, and I have found more gems in that store then any bookstore I have ever been in!  The Salve Regina Bookstore is where my dream of visiting Medjugorje became a reality for me. The owner, and her husband have been there, last count, I believe is 28 times! Believe me when I tell you this is a Holy Spirit inspired bookstore, it is faith filled, infused with the Truth of God, and energizing!  In 2008, my conversion entered another spiritual level, that even I was blown away. I sure wish they had names for all these levels, they probably do, just haven’t found the correct book yet! Never fail, I will continue with that quest! This way, one day, I will be able to label each step of my conversion story!

One of the EWTN shows that caught my fancy was, Threshold of Hope with Fr. Mitch Pacwa.  At the time, he was reviewing and speaking about the writings of Pope John Paul II.  I enjoyed how he took the time to explain his works. I noticed I began to take notes, I began saying out loud “really? really? REALLY?????”, that’s when I began working towards another spiritual level. The desire of learning theology. I noticed I began watching the clock for 10 p.m., on Tuesday nights, so I would not miss the show. I would make sure the children were ready for bed, run into my bedroom, close the door, hop in my bed, pull out my notebook, get the remote, make myself comfy, and I was set! The beginning of the music would start, I would be waiting to see the lovely film of JPII entering the church, and then I would hear “knock, knock” on my bedroom door, and one of the children would have a question, or decide they needed to talk. The dilemma! What do I do? I absolutely love this show, and Fr. Pacwa, and yet, here are my adorable kids looking at me for kisses, hugs, talking, or helping. I sometimes, not so graciously, I must admit, would turn off the TV, put down my notebook, and attempt to give my children the best attention I could, and I’m sorry to say, sometimes as fast as I could, so that I could return to my “class”.

I soon discovered that “missing my class” was not the end all or be all of life, and that my calling is to be wife and mom to my family, even the dogs……….in their times of need.  I noticed if I rushed my children, I wasn’t happy with myself, and I wasn’t useful to them, they obviously didn’t get their “need” fulfilled, so they would only return with the same issue/request or a new one, because what they wanted or needed from me, they did not receive the first time.  In retrospect, I can see that and understand it now, and hopefully, have learned from it. Nonetheless, I didn’t see it then, so even as I strive for that next spiritual level, I was missing the steps up the stairs to get there.

Then the Threshold of Hope season ended, and so did the teachings of JPII. At first, I thought, “always a day late, dollar short”, and the “pity party” began for missing my Tuesday nights and Fr. Mitch Pacwa.

Next thing I hear and see, for myself, the series is returning with the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI. I’m ecstatic, absolutely thrilled! At first I believed my children were now “old enough” to understand, and to be given a little more freedom with their bedtime routine. Early in the year, I discovered, I was so very wrong!

When Fr. Mitch stated he was going to be speaking on Verbum Domini, The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church, I was speechless! I had the book in my possession! What are the odds of that happening? I was a very happy peacock, my smile was as wide as a peacock’s plumes when in their glory! I shouted out with glee, and said “thank you Lord! I’m taking a CLASS!”.  I love school, I love learning, I love absorbing as much information into my brain as I can, and being able to share it with everyone!  Believe me, just ask my family and friends, and they’ll tell you how many of the things I learn, I love to share!  Sometimes, my kids put their heads down, and say, “oh, nooooooooo”, my response, “but you brought it up!”. Then, of course, we laugh, and yet I still attempt to teach them something, and even though they won’t admit it, they don’t walk away, and I have to wonder…….if they aren’t just a tad bit interested to begin with……..I pray they are hearing the Truth of God in the words I speak, so they can stay on Jesus’ path vs. having to get back on it the hard way, as I did.

Thankfully, with God being so merciful, he doesn’t really care how we come back, as long as we come back to Him. I am always grateful to Him, and I love seeing how, and also realizing His hand in a situation with the people He places into each of our lives as we each, in our own way, slowly, make our way back to Him.

I immensely enjoy listening to Fr. Mitch speak regarding the teachings of JP II and Pope Benedict. I also enjoy watching the joy in his face, and the passion he has for the Catholic faith. He is also world wise, so no one is going to pull a fast one on him. As he stated, he lived in Chicago, he knows the ways of this earthly world. He so easily is able to be in the world, but, not of the world, and I admire that quality of strength he carries. Of course, by God’s grace, he is very blessed. As we are blessed to have him be on TV, teaching, and preaching his homily’s to us, when he performs mass on EWTN.

I hope and pray, one day I will be able to meet Fr. Mitch Pacwa, and be on one of his pilgrimages to the Holy Land. I love watching his Rosary from the Holy Land, and the stories he speaks about regarding it’s beauty. Today he spoke of Israel’s museum, I was stunned and astounded by the fact that there are artifacts still around from the time of Jesus.

I am very grateful to God, for allowing me to be aware of my steps of conversion, sometimes big, sometimes small, sometimes standstill, however, He never leaves my side, and I may not understand something as I am living through it. God still blesses me with the knowledge afterwards of why I had to live through it, be it good or bad. Always, it is for the purification and sanctification of my soul, and sometimes for others, and that is a beautiful blessing and gift to receive.  Especially, during the tougher times of staying on the path of Jesus and one’s conversion, it is always easy to say thank you, and praise during the good times. The hard times, it takes many prayer warriors to hold you up to God, and to remind you, “this is a great time to be saying thank you and praising”. All praise and glory to God for him allowing me to take another step up that spiritual ladder. Amen!

As for my facebook friends and family, they can expect to see on my facebook status “class time”, on Tuesday nights at 10 p.m.!

Don’t Let Your Life Be Sterile….



Hi Everyone,

Have been away for awhile due to health issues, and by God’s grace  I am now back.  I have so much to catch up on!

First, I have started with a spiritual director from Opus Dei, recommended by another woman from the Confraternity of Christian Mothers community, that I also am a member.

I had a wonderful spiritual director in Fr. Ed Dougherty; however, he sadly (for me)passed away on April 14, 2011. What a loss for this world, and the people he touched. On the other hand, a wonderful blessing, because I know he is praying for every single person who has ever touched his life. Including me, my husband, and my children. Praise God!  Fr. Ed brought much healing into my life, so much that I have been blessed with an expansion of my heart, for love, and forgiveness.  Don’t get me wrong, I still blow it. Nonetheless, due to Fr. Ed’s constant love, forgiveness, and teachings, he has brought me to another level of my spiritual life, I am so very thankful for God allowing that blessing upon me, thank you Lord!

After Fr. Ed died, I floundered. I knew what I was supposed to do, just wasn’t pulling it off………of course, to my perfection vs leaving that to God and his deciding how well I was handling it.  Of course, what happens when we try to be perfect? Well besides that being a breeding ground of pride and vanity, our attempt in “perfection” becomes immobilization.  Immobilization then breeds another whole issue  where we begin to lose the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as: knowledge, fortitude, understanding, piety, counsel, wisdom, and lastly fear of the Lord. Not that you don’t still see his mighty wonders and works, and miracles, you do! You may not see them as quickly though, or as brightly, or you may not give credit to God at all (back to pride and vanity).  I wasn’t even pulling off confession and reconciliation to “my liking”, jeez, can one get any more prideful?

During this time, always in the back of my mind, was my plead to Jesus to please send me another strong spiritual director.

In between life goes on, then I became ill. Didn’t like it, at ALL. Even did that in a lousy way! I was offering it up, but, was I offering it up well enough? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, pride and vanity……….what stinky feelings they are, especially when you have that nagging inside of you, and yet…………………………yet, you still go there, especially when you’re farther away from God.

Then something happened……..Rick Santorum stepped up and said “I’m running for President for the life of my daughter Bella”. I’ve always liked Rick Santorum, and by his words something began to resound within me. My faith? God? The Holy Spirit? Fr. Ed? I’m sure all of the above. Hills and valleys happened with my life, just as they did with Rick Santorum, and he never stopped praising God, for the good days and the not so good.  What about me? Was I? I believed I was, or was I kidding myself, and living a sterile life. Leaving God out of my life? Saying the right words, but, truly living them? What was going on? I did not know any longer.

I cried out to my prayer warrior friends, for without them, I knew I would not survive. While they were lifting me up and holding me up to God. I clung to the beautiful blueberry wood crucifix, and the beautiful blue rosaries Dani made me, while I laid in bed asking Jesus to put my illness in his wounds and hide me.

Then as I slowly began to improve, I noticed a lightening of my heart, the need to hug my children every chance I had. I was smiling again. I was beginning to see and feel God everywhere, colors were getting brighter. Just at that time I connected with the Confraternity of Christian Mothers, woman, who suggested the spiritual director from Opus Dei. I was thrilled. That week on “Women of Grace” with Johnette Benkovich on EWTN was a mom and daughter team who live the meaning of Opus Dei, and I watched with amazement at some of the things that I could be doing for my family, to sanctify us as a family, and as extra prayers for them.

Over the past few years, I have slowly become interested in Opus Dei, and 1, 2, 3, wow! I’m there!  God is funny that way, with me. Just in talking I will say, “you know Lord, I would like to do this one day, or go here one day, what do you think?”.  I never put a timeline down, just a mention and then figure if God believes it is correct for me, He will make it happen.  I also ask Blessed Mother what she thinks, and I’ll leave it in her hands to intercede if she believes it will be beneficial to me, my marriage, and my family.

By God’s beautiful grace, I am now getting back on my feet. I am working hard, at listening to the “knock, knocks” and making sure I’m answering.  I’m also trusting in God that he will lead each moment of my life. I am not perfect, never have been, never will be, I will leave that all to God, and accept this beautiful gift of life he has given me.

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. Happy Belated Mother’s Day to my readers! It was also the Feast of Our Lady of Fatima, which blew me away, what a blessing for all of us women.  Then I come to find out, it is Bella Santorum’s fourth birthday! She was born on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima, and it all clicked for me!

Bella was not supposed to live beyond her first year of life, and she has, what a blessing!  Bella was born in 2008, the same year of one of the most life changing elections in my lifetime, and in her father’s lifetime. I believe Bella is a victim soul for her father, and to urge him, and others (such as myself), NOT TO LIVE A STERILE LIFE, which he hasn’t! I also believe Bella Santorum is a victim soul for the USA.  There are a lot of if, ands, and buts, I could place in this paragraph, I won’t.

Bella Santorum was born on May 13, 2008 on the Feast Day of Our Lady of Fatima for a very special mission, and I believe she is beginning or did fulfill that mission.  Little Bella is a chosen child of God who will be highly honored in heaven.  Starting at birth, and even going through all she has medically, and then the campaign trail, Bella Santorum has NEVER LIVED A STERILE LIFE!.

She has been an inspiration for many, me included!

That is why today, when I saw the words of St. Josemaria Escriva, “don’t let your life be sterile”.  I decided to start, right at this moment!

Happy St. Matthias’ feast day!

God Bless,

Michele

 

Update on life……..should be back soon!



Sorry I’ve been away for so long.  Thought that my post Christmas season illness was mild this year………..until I discovered I was wrong!

Have been down and out with severe sinus issues, double vision, dizziness and unable to even be near a computer.

As I gain my strength back, I’ll be returning to blogging. Due to my illness, I missed almost the entire Book Club meetings to discuss Render Unto Caesar by Archbishop Chaput. Hope to return there soon.

Still looking forward to writing about my day with Marcus Grodi!

This weekend I will be attending a seminar by Jeff Cavins. His talk will be on Revelations. I am looking forward to this event!

Near the end of February, my parish will be hosting Fr. John Trigilio from EWTN’s Web of Faith. Another event I hope to be attending this Lent.

My first year of teaching 6th grade CCD has been an interesting year. Between our days off, and being ill, I definitely feel I never developed a rhythm. Nonetheless, I am marching forward, and happily anticipate having my “children” being enrolled into the Sabbatine Privilege of wearing the Brown Scapular, introducing them to Adoration at our parish’s Adoration Chapel, and hoping to have one night of Stations of the Cross for our CCD children.  Tonight I will be speaking about the Feast Day of Our Lady of Lourdes coming up on Saturday, and the role of St. Bernadette in this beautiful apparition.

We now have a young adult living in our home, along with a brand new spanking teenager!  Ahhhh, to say the least, times are interesting in our house. The youngest is still a tween, and is all boy……….never a dull moment in our home.

During my time of being ill, I would like to thank my husband.  On top of his work schedule, he did much around the house with having the kids help out in pulling their weight; along with the transportation of kids to their activities.

Thank you to my children, especially Maria, the oldest.  She has been my “store runner” through most of this time. Maria has also made us some very good dinners!

Theresa, has become my ”teen”, and is learning, along with doing a good job on doing her laundry.  I must say, I am enjoying that I am able to open the washer and smelling “clean clothes”.

Jack, the tween, is working hard at school, and should be very proud of himself with how well he is doing. He works hard for every grade he receives. Having Theresa so close in age with him, has been a benefit to them both. It has brought out a healthy state of competition in doing their best with schoolwork.

Lord, I am extremely thankful for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me, and my family, during these times of upheaval in our life.

Enjoy your day!

God Bless!

Michele

No Writers Block……….Sick



Hi Everyone,

Silly me. The last time I wrote, I thought it was due to writier’s block. Not at all, just a slow progressive virus that has put me flat on my back. Starting out slowly with each passing day. This past week it put me completely on my back, especially the last two to three days.

By God’s grace, I am now beginning to improve, but slowly. I’m going to take the hint to take care of myself. My mother has been a wonderful mom with supplying me with loads of delicious chicken soup. My daughter, Maria, has done a fantastic job of stepping up to the plate and helping me with the transportation of her brother and sister, and in general keeping an eye on them. My husband has been a great help with keeping up with the laundry.  T & J have been wonderul siblings by doing their best to get along and into bed within a reasonable hour.  The past 48 – 72 hours I have very few memories of any questions or concerns from my children. I am very thankful and proud of my husband, Maria, T & J pulling it together to keep the important things running in the household………………now, if the dogs could just learn to feed themselves……….

God bless, stay well…………and hoping to being returning next week with blogging.

Michele