somebodylovesmeblog

Sharing God's love with the world, one heart at a time.


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Let Us Kneel Before the Lord

Yesterday, the daily devotional from “A Catholic Woman’s Book of Days”  really touched my heart.  

O come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!  Psalm 95:6

The author recounted a time when she took a group of high-school students to a retreat day at a Monastery.  Part of the day involved attendance at Mass.

Afterward, some students remarked that the experience had been different from Mass at their home parishes.  “Here, it was like the focus was all on God.  At home, it’s more like it’s all about us.

Wow.  Such insight from young minds.

For many years, I was the one who was sometimes bored, thinking that Mass was supposed to entertain me, or that it was meant as only a fellowship time with my Church friends.  If the music was “good,” and the homily was “catchy and interesting,” I considered myself “fed.”  Otherwise, I really just went through the motions, fulfilling my Sunday Mass obligation.

Then I read “The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn.

How misguided and totally selfish I was.   You see, the Mass is not intended to be of entertainment for us.  We can be entertained anywhere in this world.  The Mass is a gift offered to us…to share in the Eucharistic Table together, in humble worship of Our Lord and Savior.  How blessed we are, that we have been invited to share in this banquet feast…The Lamb’s Supper.

During Mass, we are led to turn our minds and hearts to Our Lord, Jesus.  We worship through hearing His Word, singing praises to Him, and receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus.  Through the Eucharist, Jesus becomes one with us. He is in us, and we are in Him.  What could be more spirit filling than actually receiving Jesus into our bodies…into our beings?

How does that miracle of love even remotely compare to being “entertained?”

When at Mass, we are in communion with The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We are also accompanied by  God’s angels and saints.  The Communion of Saints…how mystical and beautiful!

How blessed we are to have a tangible way to be intimate with our Lord.  To be totally one with Him, and through Him.

Lord, I thank you for gifting us with your Church on Earth.  Thank you for inviting us to this Loving Banquet.  Please send your Holy Spirit to infuse our hearts, minds and will with your amazing and unfathomable love, joy, and mercy.

 

Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.  Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them.  John 6:52-56

 

 

 


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Jesus People

There is a cute little house on the corner of our street that has an amazing sign in the front yard.  When I walk by I can’t help but “feel the love.”

The words that call out to me by my humble neighbors are “Pray for America…if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.  2 Chronicles 7:14

Being that we live in a mostly liberal college town…it takes a very strong believer to be willing to publicly profess what they stand for.  

A few weeks ago, I introduced myself to the owner of the home, and shared with him how thankful we are that he has the sign posted.  He said that there aren’t too many that share our faith in this community, and he appreciated my stopping by.  I let Him know that there are probably more of us around than we realize …however, most practice their faith in a quieter fashion.

So… today is a gorgeous, sunny  California day, so hubby and I took a walk to the library.  As we passed the “Pray for America”  sign, the next driveway was a busy yard sale.  We started talking with the woman who was the “seller” and I assumed she was the woman of the house with the sign.  I introduced myself, and I asked,  “Are you the one that posted the “Pray for America” sign?  She kind of stared at me in a blank way, and then blurted out, “No, those are “The Jesus People.”  She looked toward her neighbor’s house and kind of rolled her eyes a second before I jubilantly answered back, “Well, that’s awesome, because we are Jesus People too!”

At that point, she changed the subject.

My husband and I got a chuckle out of the encounter, and although she may not have the same belief/faith system we have, she was a nice woman and we enjoyed visiting with her.  But it got me thinking…

Do the people in our daily life look at us as “Jesus People?”  Do they know by the words that come out of our mouths, the way we carry ourselves, the entertainment we partake in?  Do they see Jesus in us through our love, kindness, charity, and mercy?  Do they see something different in us..different from what they are accustomed to according to world standards?  Do they see us standing firm as Christians?  Not afraid to profess our Faith in Jesus and our love for Him?

Or are we Christians in words only, and continue to live as the world does?

I pray that in my life, Jesus works through me as a vessel, and I am identified as one of “The Jesus People.”  For that would be a blessing and the most wonderful compliment I could ever receive:-)

 


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How Praying The Rosary Changed My Life

My relationship with Jesus became  much more intimate, and my faith life, and life in general, was changed because of my relationship with His Mother. You can read a little of how that change was inspired here.

Praying and meditating on the Rosary transformed my life, and could transform yours, too.

Many people ask me about the Rosary, and do not understand why someone would pray to Mary, and not just directly to Jesus.  Although I am a cradle Catholic, I had the same questions for many years.

Until I was personally led by the Holy Spirit to meditate and pray the Rosary.

By opening my heart to Our Lord’s Blessed Mother, I was enveloped in her motherly love for me, and in and through that  love, was drawn closer and closer to her Son.  Once I realized in my soul that Mary is actually the Mother of God, the mother of Jesus, my heart was then opened to the knowledge that she is also my mother.  (think about it…if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God the Father and Mary, and God is also your Father (thus Jesus is your brother) …then it is logical to know that Mary is your Mother.  As our Mother, wouldn’t it be true that she would want what is best for us?  That she would want to guide us toward Jesus…our Savior?  That she would intercede for us to her Son, as she did at the wedding in Cana?

While praying the Rosary, there are four sets of Mysteries that are reflected on.  With prayerful meditation, these mysteries are life changing.  For information and instruction on how to pray the rosary click here.

In the chance that my meditations may be a blessing to you, I thought I would share some of my personal reflections associated with each one.  I certainly do not wish to insinuate that these thoughts are doctrines or formal teachings of the Catholic Church.  These thoughts are personal revelations or enlightenments to me, through the Holy Spirit.

The Lord will reveal Himself to you, personally, as you pray the Holy Rosary.

There are four sets of mysteries that are used for meditation on certain days of the week.  The Joyful Mysteries are said on Monday and Saturday.  Today is Monday, so I will start there.

There are five meditations associated with the Joyful Mysteries. I will cover each one.

  1.  The Annunciation  Luke 1:26-38   (For the love of humility)  Dear Lord, please help me to live my life with perfect trust in You, just as Mary did.  Help me to be your vessel…to have the openness to God’s will and the humility of Mary.  Help me to trust in you completely, even when not understanding the situation or where it may take me.   Allow me to say and have faith in Mary’s  words, “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.”
  2.   The Visitation  Luke 1:39-56  (For charity toward my neighbor)  Dear Lord, please help me to be a vessel, allowing your light and love to flow from me to the ones you place in my life.  Guide me to be understanding of the needs of my loved ones, and also any person that you place on my path.  You are perfect love.  I can never be enough myself to love your children the way that you do.  I can never fill the holes in their hearts or heal all that troubles them.  I ask that you fill my heart with You, and pour your love through me, even when I am unaware of the miracle taking place.  Help me to learn to love as you love, to see as you see, to hear as you hear.  Help me to have the spirit and faith of Mary, “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.”
  3. The Nativity  Luke 2:8-14  (For love of God)  Dear Lord, please help me to remember that You were born  into our world in poverty…placed in a manger, lovingly and with full trust in your providence, by Joseph and Mary.  Help me to understand the importance of family, and that the strength of the family is dependent on the foundation of God and His Truth, Love, and Mercy.  Help me to be open to your Love, so that I can be a reflection of You, to my family and friends.  And as I fall short, please work through me.
  4. The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple  Luke 2:22-35  Luke 2:39-40   (For a Spirit of Sacrifice)  Dear Lord, help me to always offer my life, my marriage, and my family to you, that you will use our lives to further your kingdom.  When I was a young mother, I did not understand the beauty of sacrifice, and I selfishly wanted to keep  my children for my own, only seeking their happiness in this world, and holding back from presenting them and myself to you…for your purpose.  I ask that you fill in for my ignorance and selfishness, and ask that you infuse us all with your presence, while guiding us in your light, and in your purpose.  Help us to use the difficulties in this life to bring us closer to you, and help me to remember to present myself to you each and every day, for you to work through.
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple  Luke 2:41-52  (For zeal for the Glory of God)  Dear Lord, help me to always desire to be in your presence.  You knew that you belonged in your Father’s house.  Help me to have trust and faith that I too belong in my Father’s house.  Help me to always invite you into my heart, to fill me with your love, mercy, wisdom, joy, and understanding, to help me and my life glorify the Father.

May your day be blessed in the love and light of Jesus, Our Lord.  May your heart be touched through these Joyful Mysteries.

Please feel free to comment with any questions.

Pray the Rosary  A Saint Joseph Edition  A wonderful little pamphlet.


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Be What God Created You to Be

After all the rain and gloomy weather we have been experiencing in Northern VA, we are blessed today with a glorious, sunny, warm day!  I took full advantage of it, and just returned from my lunchtime walk.

God always finds a special way to communicate with me, and today was no exception. As I walked, I looked over to the quasi-pond (drainage ditch/reservoir filled with rain overflow) in the front of our building.  My eyes first took in the sight of muddy, dirty water.  Then I noticed the paper cups, garbage and pieces of wood and cardboard floating by.  All I could think of was “yucky, dirty mess.”

When I looked closer, I saw a turtle sitting on top of the floating piece of wood. Since I rarely see turtles in my day to day life, that sight made me smile.  The next thing that my eyes were directed to was a few ducks serenely swimming, oblivious to the dirt and garbage scattered around them.  Then a movement in the tall grass caught my attention, and there was a regal heron, standing proudly, partially hidden from view.  Who would have thought I would see such beauty on my walk through a parking lot, in a filthy little pond?

So, of course, this scenario got me thinking.

Those beautiful creations of God, were smack dab in the middle of ugliness. However, they were not screaming in defiance, or questioning why God allowed them to be there.  What they were doing, was simply “being what God created them to be.”  They were swimming in the water, looking for and receiving the food that God provided for them, basking in the sunshine, and feeling His breeze gently cooling their bodies.  Instead of fighting and questioning every aspect of their life, they accepted the reality of their surroundings, and continued to be the beings that God created them to be.  They radiated their individual beauty, from the midst of their unclean environment.

We, as Christians, are in the midst of some serious unclean circumstances. There is much garbage floating in our world, and the dirtiness and muckiness of evil and perversity, surrounds us at every turn.  Although we are quite aware that we are also sinful in nature, we confess our sins and ask God for His forgiveness.  We are called to find refuge and live a pure life in Him.

At times the evil of this world is overwhelming and we forget that we are in His care. We forget that Our Lord’s peace is not given to us as the world gives…and no matter how hard we scream and shout, and attempt to fight the evil around us through our human ways, some evil will always remain until Jesus’ second coming.

The key is knowing who we are. Who we belong to.  When our hearts, souls and beings are safe in the love of Jesus, we are free to be ourselves in this unclean, evil world.  We are free to live the Divine Purpose our God created uniquely for each one of us.  We are free to simply just be…to thank God every day for the blessings He gifts us with, and to be happy and peaceful in our innermost being.  When we invite the Holy Spirit into our hearts to fill us with His love and light, our natural God-given beauty will shine brightly as a beacon to others…our hearts that are one with Jesus will shine and illuminate the world around us, exposing the evil for what it is.  And drawing in those who are living in darkness, and searching for the one true light.

Don’t be afraid to be the light in the darkness. Don’t be afraid to be the beauty among confusion, ugliness and despair. Find your true identity in the love and mercy of Jesus, and feel the freedom of simply “being what God created you to be.” 

 

 


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Listening for His Voice

IMG_2728Being that it’s a gorgeous sunny day today…in the eighties, I decided to take a walk during my lunch hour.

As I stepped outside and breathed in that amazingly warm and comforting air, I asked God to speak to me.  You see, usually I pray (talk!) the whole time I am walking, so I asked the Lord to do the talking today.

And I was listening for His voice.

For a few moments I was hearing the common drone of cars humming down the main road, and those sounds gave way to the gentle whirring of the breeze around me.  All of a sudden, there was the sound of a bird squawking.  The sound was getting nearer and nearer to me, and I looked down.  The bird was running in circles right in front of me and making all sorts of crazy sounds.  Then I saw it.  Her baby was off to the left of me, running toward the grass.  I realized that the mommy bird was protecting her baby!

Seeing the natural instinct of a mother protecting her little one really warmed my heart.  I thanked God for showing me such beauty, turned the corner and stepped up to the sidewalk.  Then I saw something I wish I hadn’t.  I saw two little furry baby birds, all soft and downy, lying dead on the ground.  I asked the Lord why He allowed me to see that?  Why did I need to see those sweet little birds that looked as though they just died?  And why did they have to die in the first place?

He answered, “there is beauty to be found through both life and death.”  After a few more steps, once again I looked down, and I saw it.  A bookmark had flown over and landed on the side of the path I was walking on.

I saw the words…Jesus is Alive! And I understood that because of Jesus, death holds no power over us.  In Christ Jesus, we are saved.  He is waiting for us to invite Him into our hearts and our lives, and accept the precious gifts He offers us.  Love, mercy, and salvation.  These are not merely words to bring us comfort.  Jesus is truly alive…He is right here with us now!

Lord, there are so many times I don’t understand your ways.  I don’t understand why some people suffer more than others, why some seem to attract the good things of the world, while others struggle just to survive.  Help me to understand that you are present in all of our lives, and in all circumstances.  Help me to trust that your grace is sufficient in all things, and that suffering, even death itself, can bring us closer to you.  All we need to do is open our hearts to you, and ask that you fill us with your saving holy presence.

 


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An Adventure of Love

My husband and I will be married 38 years on April Fool’s Day. (funny we chose that day, huh?)  Our life together has been an adventure up to this point.   With our sons and their wives living across country, and now our first

The Beginning of Something Good

The Beginning of Something Good

grandchild being so far away from us, our lives are being lead to an oncoming  season of change and even more adventure.

This morning, as we were commuting to work together,  a quick flash of memories filled my head.

The first moment Joe and I locked eyes.

I was seventeen, and he was 18.  He always says that he knew I was “the one” since the first time he laid eyes on me, when I went in to the “Strouss Terrace Room Restaurant”, interviewing for a part time waitress position.  He was a bus boy.  We were seniors in different high schools, and were both referred to that particular restaurant through family members.  The manager of the restaurant was Esther, who had been a friend of my mother’s when they were teens.  Esther loved my mom and would have hired me without an interview.

Funny how each and every decision, and every person we meet, has a purpose in either our future, or someone else’s.

My vision this morning was the moment we first saw each other as naïve teens, and then flashes of our life together since that moment.

I saw Joe with his arm around me, pulling me in for our first kiss.  He, with his light sprinkling of freckles, and his beautiful, warm, liquid brown eyes.  I felt safe when I was with him, like I was “home.”

I saw us walking down the aisle in “The Little Chapel of Bells” in California, and vowing to take each other from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part, according to God’s holy ordinance.     We did not understand what those words meant at the time, (of course we thought we did!) however, we have gone through so much together since then, and understand the “for better for worse” part very well now.

I saw the birth of our two sons, and how they changed us for the better.  Change never comes easy…children are one of God’s ways of teaching us what it means to really love and be selfless.  That change and growth takes a lifetime, and the Lord works His will through us in a way that we don’t even realize what is happening.  Funny how we always think we are in charge and we think we know so much…as Our Heavenly Father weaves everlasting beauty out of  the  messes we create with the rags of our “we can do it ourselves” mentality.

I saw the misery of the times when we were both so unhappy, and were right on the edge of giving up and divorcing…because although we both knew we loved each other, we had no clue about what marriage really meant, and even less of a clue on how to be happy.  That was until we locked eyes one more time, through tears, and made the decision to stay married and learn how to be happy. 

That was also the moment that we invited God into our marriage, and asked for His help.  He did not let us down.  Even when we didn’t realize it, He was working in the unseen…leading and guiding us toward Him.  Especially when we were stumbling and falling time after time.

I saw our two sons as babies, little boys, teenagers, and as the men they are now.  They, and their beautiful wives, have brought true joy into our lives.

Blessed by Timeless Love

Then I saw the face of our new grandson, and the reality of what God started so many years ago is shining through those beautiful, clear blue eyes! 

And the thought hit me…this is just the beginning.

So many more blessings ahead for each and every one of us, as we continue to keep our hearts open to Jesus and simply trust Him, who loves us.

 

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

 


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The Fullness of Spirit

For a few years now I have been feeling something that I could not put my finger on, or explain to myself or anyone else.  Experiencing my mom’s last few days with her, before her death, intensified that mystical feeling within me.  Those days with my mother, truly a blessing, could only be described as overwhelming, intense love; a fullness in the physical space around me, spilling over into the interior of my heart and spirit.

That is the word to describe the feeling…fullness.  Since I have become closer to Jesus, and filled with the Holy Spirit, my being feels more dimensional and “full.”  No matter what is happening in the world, or around me in my personal life, that fullness inside me helps to keep me grounded in The Truth.  It helps me to look past whatever the physical or material reality is, and try to look at things through the eyes of the Lord.  Or is it the eyes of the Lord, who lives within me, looking through mine?

This fullness in the Lord helps me to react in a different way than when I was more hollow and one dimensional.   There are many dark spaces in my heart that the Lord is continuously revealing, forgiving, and healing, and  I know there is much spiritual growth ahead of me.  However, this feeling of deep love and joy…this fullness…

Helps me to see beyond:

The ones who arrogantly defy Jesus Christ and the Christians who follow Him.  It used to frighten me, and cause me to feel intimidated and angry.  Now I can see past their anger and pride.  When I look into their eyes or see the fruits of their lives, I see the hollowness.  I see the empty hole that they allowed to be filled with the demons and darkness of Satan.  And instead of judging them, I have empathy and compassion for them and pray for their conversion.  I pray for their hearts to be filled with the tender mercy and saving grace of Jesus.

People who are hard to be around; the ones who only see negative in all situations and just can’t seem to ever be happy.  I used to try to stay away from these people, because their negativity seemed to transfer straight to my core.  Not only could I not help them, but I would internalize and feel their darkness, and could not even help myself.  Now I have learned that I can not heal or fix them or myself.  The Lord reveals their heart to me, and helps me to look past actions or demeanors.  I pray that the Lord touches their hearts and illuminates the darkness that they are not even aware of.

Those that stand proud, because all in their lives is going “just as planned.”   They planned, did the work that needed to be done, and now they are basking in their accomplishments.  They are under the impression that they are the total reason for their success.  That all those other “less fortunate” people just didn’t do the right things…just didn’t work hard enough.  Their education, status, decision making skills, or their “genius” is what sets them apart from everyone else.  With no inkling at  all that “Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:17   Knowing what I know from living the years of my life and seeing the ebbs and flows, I know that life will not always be “just the way they planned.”  I know there will be struggles and heartache.  So, I pray that the Lord reveals Himself to them, and opens their eyes, ears, and hearts to His saving love. And that they will have a solid foundation of faith through the storms that will come.

The evils that are evident in our world every day.  Those who are in rebellion against all that is Good, through blatant acts of sacrilege, perversity, unspeakable horrors of torture, abuse, murder, and the sacrifice and murder of babies in the womb.  When the evil of their actions are called out for what they are, the vileness of their spirits are revealed.  Have you ever witnessed the evil and hatred that spews out of the mouths that defend these behaviors?  You can actually feel a demonic presence, hear it in their voices, and see the blackness in their eyes.  In the past, I would have felt intense anger, fear and would have been judgmental.  Now, I am aware of the demons that reside in their spirits, and I am sad for them.  I show my love by praying for the Lord’s mercy on their souls, and for their conversion and healing.

Those who live their lives in quiet faith; that even though they stumble and fall along the way, they try to always live in the Lord’s Presence.  They seem content in their hearts and have a peace about them that is undeniable.   In the past, I would actually look for flaws…to make them more “real” to me.  Sometimes I still do that at times, I am ashamed to admit.  However, the Lord is guiding me to look beyond the physical, and focus on the hearts.  Everyone, no matter what their circumstance or what their life appears to be, needs prayers.  They need the Lord’s strength and grace in their lives, and I feel called to pray for all the Lord places in my life.

This fullness of spirit calls me to grow in His Love and His Presence.  It calls me to appreciate the communion of saints, and the power of prayer.  It calls me to follow and imitate the mercy of Jesus.

How is the Lord Jesus calling you?

Thank you, Jesus, for the mercy and love you bestow on me each and every day!  Please work through me to touch other hearts in need, especially when  I am at my weakest.

 

Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.  Ephesians 6:11-13