Sainthood is for sinners

I’m a coward.

I read the lives of the saints and pray, “Lord, don’t let that be me.”

They met Jesus and Mary face-to-face in visions.  They have amazing gifts like prophecy and heroic virtue.  Some even bi-locate.  I’ll admit, I’m jealous of all the cool things that happened to them.

But to whom much is given, much is required.  Continue reading “Sainthood is for sinners”

The garden of my soul #mymasstakeaway

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The good old parable of the sower.  God is, of course, the sower.  And today my pastor emphasized that there’s nothing wrong with the seed.  God sows the same seed – His Word, His Truth, the Good News of Salvation in His Son Jesus.  The same seed is sown in every heart.

There’s nothing wrong with the seed.  The problem is with the ground.  The problem is me.  I’m the four types of soil.  Not just one or two of them.  All of them.

Sometimes I’m the good soil.  Other times I’m the bad soil.  Sometimes I open my heart to receive God’s word fully, embrace it and live it.  Other times I’m too shallow to let the Word take root and grow in my life.

Often, I’m the thorny ground.  God’s word gets choked out of my life by other concerns.  I’m too busy thinking about chores and playdates to bother paying attention at Mass.  I’m too busy exercising and doing my hair to say morning prayers.  I’m distracted by Facebook and I skip the Rosary.  God is still there in my life, but I don’t let Him have first place.  I don’t let Him take priority.  I crowd the garden with weeds.

I’m also the footpath.  The hard packed ground that can’t grow much.  I don’t have the depth or the richness of soil to flourish.  These are the times when I hear God’s Word but don’t understand.  Like today’s second reading.  I have no clue what St. Paul was talking about.  I don’t have the background or the education to decipher the message.  If I want to understand, I need to go deeper.  I need to grow richer in wisdom and knowledge of the things of God.

And I’m the rocky soil too.  Who doesn’t clear their field of rocks before trying to grow something?  Me, that’s who.  Because I’m lazy.  Undisciplined.  Digging rocks and hauling them away is hard work.  I’d rather leave them there.  I’d rather not do the hard work it takes to remove sin from my life.  My soul is so rocky.

Sometimes, by the grace of God, I’m the fertile soil.  I’m on fire with zeal.  I put my priorities in line.  I pray and receive God’s inspiration and act on it.  God works in my life in a big way.  And there’s peace and joy and right order.  The seed grows and blossoms and produces fruit.

I want to be the good soil all the time.  So I need to make some changes to the ground that is my soul.  I need to get rid of the things holding me back from producing fruit.

I can start by uprooting the weeds and the thorns.  I can get rid of distractions and make more room for God.  Pinterest can go.  Twitter can go.  Facebook can be cut way down.  I can spend more time doing spiritual reading and less time on frivolous novels.  More time in nature and less time in front of screens.  More time in chapel and less entertaining myself.  By weeding out the things of the world, I’ll make more room for the things of God to grow.

I can till up the footpath.  I can dig for Catholic speakers and writers to help grow my spiritual knowledge base.  I can shake up the packed down dirt and replace it with fresh new dirt.  Open my heart and make room for God’s inspiration.  I’ll start with Today’s second reading.  If anyone has enlightening posts to share, please do!  Otherwise, I’ll be hitting the Google search bar tonight.

And finally, I can muscle down and haul the rocks away.  I can roll up my sleeves and do the heavy lifting of removing sin from my life.  I’ve been doing this in a big way with the Virtue Challenge Team, and I plan to keep hauling.  I might need a wheelbarrow.  Or a tractor.  Or a backhoe.  I might need to ask for help from a trusted friend, or spiritual advisor.  I’d be honored if you’d join me!  And we can clear our fields together.  It’s not easy work, but the fruit it will yield is so worth it.

The path to holiness is not a one-time thing.  It’s a lifelong journey.  No matter how well I weed the field, something unwelcome is bound to grow back up.  I may till the ground and bring in new dirt.  But as I keep walking along, the path will get trodden down again.  I live in Connecticut, so from experience I know that no matter how many rocks I take away, there’ll be more rocks appearing in no time.

I know I’ll be continually working on the state of my soul.  I’ll have some areas of fertile ground and other areas that need work.  My prayer today is that God keeps my hand to the plow.  That I can remain faithful to the upkeep of the garden of my soul.  That I can make sure my soil is as ready as possible to receive God’s Word, let it take root, grow tall and strong.

That my life will produce great fruit.

And that yours will too.

 

Before we say goodbye: linking up with Rosie for My Sunday Best!

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An extrovert learns to listen

This is a tale of three meditations.

A journey of learning to come out of my comfort zone.

It starts with me talking to my best friend.  And ends with me sitting at the feet of the wisest teacher, listening with undivided attention.

This is a glimpse into my less-than-perfect spiritual life.  An admission that I don’t have things all figured out.  An acceptance that I’m not a saint.  Just a saint-in-the-making.

These are my unfiltered prayers before Jesus, my Lord and my God. Continue reading “An extrovert learns to listen”

Oreos and Netflix and Facebook, oh my…

I didn’t want to write this challenge.  Because Oreos.  And Netflix.  And Facebook infinite scroll.

I didn’t want to write it.  But I needed to.  Over-indulgence is so. hard. to. resist.

My mouth waters when I pass by the grid of fast food restaurants in the middle of town.  My tablet glows late into the night when I can’t stop swiping.  And my ears perk up when I hear someone say, “Do you know what she said to me last week?”

Oh, temperance, you’re so elusive.  I need you bad but I don’t really want you. Continue reading “Oreos and Netflix and Facebook, oh my…”

It’s our anniversary!

My husband and I are celebrating 7 years together.  So, as promised, I have something special to share with you…

Our wedding photos!

You don’t want to miss these photos.

From the moment I walked out of my parents’ house, for my teary-eyed dad to drive me to the wedding in his antique Mustang…

…to the moment my mom and mother-in-law crowned Mary as the new mother of our marriage…

…to the wedding party’s race on the beach complete with my special bridesmaid (my Grammie)…

…to the backyard reception where we fired up the grill and played badminton and volleyball…

So many incredible memories.

So much fun.

And I’m sharing our anniversary pictures, too, so you can see how our love has grown over the years.

Anniversary post 1 (1)
Click the pic to view our anniversary post!

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If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late!  Click the link below to sign up now, and the password will be emailed to you today.

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A shower prayer (just for fun)

Have you ever heard of the shower prayer?  I pray it every day.  It goes something like this:

Lord, wash my feet that they may follow Your path.  Wash my hands that they may do Your work in this world.  Cleanse my head of all distractions and fill it with thoughts of You –

JUST KIDDING!

I wish I prayed like that in the shower every morning.  I probably should.  But my shower prayer (and I don’t pray it every day, only every-day-I-shower) goes more like this… Continue reading “A shower prayer (just for fun)”

The softer side of justice

A modern examination of conscience.  (But not too modern… we’re loyal to the teachings of the Catholic Church here!)

When I see that wrong has been done, my heart pounds and anger rises to my cheeks.  I’m eager for “justice to be served.”  To dole out punishments, to right wrongs.  That’s just anger at its finest.

But justice is more than a punitive virtue.  It’s not all about laws and rules and rigid enforcement.  Justice means giving each person what they deserve, in both a positive and a negative way. Continue reading “The softer side of justice”

5 ways to see Christ in a stranger

Jesus said, “What good is it to love your friend?  Even gangs members do that.”  Okay, He really said tax collectors… but I figured gang members would be a modern day equivalent of the cliché bad guy.

Jesus routinely calls us to do more than love our friends.  In Matthew 25 He tells us, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do unto me.”  We have to go beyond our comfort zone.  We have to have charity that’s wider than our social circles.  It doesn’t do us any good to only love the people we know.

We also have to love the stranger. Continue reading “5 ways to see Christ in a stranger”

Joy: the hidden gift I found in depression

I’m not a doctor or a therapist.  I can’t diagnose or treat depression.  I can only offer you encouragement and thoughts from my own personal experiences.   If you’re suffering from depression, please seek professional help (I highly recommend Pastoral Solutions Institute tele-counseling services).  If you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 immediately.

 

It was hard for me to explain all the feelings I felt.

I tried to tell my husband I wasn’t unhappy.  But the tears and shouting that streamed from me every day said otherwise.  I was unhappy.  But I knew I shouldn’t be. Continue reading “Joy: the hidden gift I found in depression”

It would’ve been enough

A prayer modeled after the Dayenu: an ancient Passover prayer celebrating God’s blessings.

God my Father, in Your infinite Goodness You created me out of nothing.  You didn’t have to do that.  But You did it anyways, because You love me.  If You had created me and done nothing more, that would have been enough.

But in Your generosity, You did more.  You created this beautiful world and all things in it for my delight.  You filled it with incredible sights and sounds.  You gave me the changing seasons so I would never get bored. If you had done that and nothing more, it would have been enough.

But You didn’t stop there.  Continue reading “It would’ve been enough”