Mary Undoer of Knots

Christ came to bring JOY;

Joy to children, joy to parents,

Joy to families and friends,

Joy to the sick and elderly,

Joy to all humanity.

In a true sense, JOY is the keynote message of Christianity,

And the recurring motif of the Gospels.

Go, therefore, and become Messengers of Joy!

~ Pope John Paul II

Friday, December 23, 2011

Small and Humble

"When we look at the crib, we see how God uses weakness and humility to do great things.  So let us not be afraid to be small and humble like the Baby Jesus, so that God's greatness can shine through us."

~ Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

O Emmanuel (God With Us)

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
the Desire of all nations and their Savior:

Come and save us,
O Lord, our God!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Rex Gentium

O King of Nations, and their Desired,
the Cornerstone who makes all one:

Come and save our race,
whom you formed out of clay.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

O Oriens

O Dayspring,
Brightness of eternal Light and Sun of Justice:

Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness
and the shadow of death.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

O Clavis David

O Key of David,
and scepter of the house of Israel:
You open and no one shuts;
You shut and no one opens.

Come and lead forth from his prison,
the captive sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Monday, December 19, 2011

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse,
who stood as a sign for the people,
before you kings shall remain silent,
and to you the Gentiles shall make supplication:
Come to deliver us, and delay not.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

O Adonai (Lord)

O Adonai,
and leader of the house of Israel,
You appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:

Come, and with an outstretched arm, redeem us.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

O Sapienta

O Wisdom,
You came forth from the mouth of the Most High,
and reached from end to end,
and disposed of all things sweetly and mightily:

Come and teach us the way of prudence. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Vocation Update

It has been quite a whirlwind these past few months.  After much searching and discerning, God has made it pretty clear to me that I am not going to be entering the Daughters of Mary.  It is a long story, but one of the most compelling things that has been happening over the past year, is my discomfort at wondering when I would really get a chance to pray and study as a DM.  I found myself wondering (and pretty confident) that I would be having less time as a lawyer in a habit than I would have as a lawyer in my own house to contemplate all of the mysteries of Jesus.  I became increasingly wary of leaving the prayer life I already had, to be in community with less time for prayer and very little time for study and personal growth.

About a year and a half ago, I saw on Facebook that people were becoming friends with the Elmira Dominican Nuns.  I was amazed by this, as I only live about 30 minutes from this incredible contemplative order, and in all my years of discerning, had never even heard of them.  When I saw on their web page that they had not had a new vocation in 25 years, I wrote to them and said, in a nutshell, that I had been discerning for a number of years, and never even heard of them when they were in my own backyard.  I offered to help them, and the vocation director, Sr. Anna Marie, set a time for me to come up and meet with her. 

Two amazing things are immediately apparent in this journey:  Number One, I thought I was going there to help promote them, and Number Two, I was sure God would never call me to a contemplative order, as He gave me so many gifts that would lend easily to helping people as a missionary or in an active order (lawyer, teacher, musician, etc.).  So we met on occasion over the next year, and Sr. Anna Marie was very kind and helpful to me, giving me great spiritual direction, but she never once tried to dissuade me from my path to the DMs.  I was just so sure of myself -- RED FLAG.  :-)

So then, about 6 months ago, some things happened with the DMs that made me extremely worried, when I saw one sister leave, and others who were not very happy.  The disturbance in my soul reached a fever pitch and I ran to see Sr. Anna Marie.  I boldly told her to please let me talk and do not say anything until she had time to pray about it because it was bad, soooo bad, and I did not want her gut reaction, (not that she would ever have one, she is so peaceful, and God is soooo close to her).   And after giving my whole sordid story she had an inspiration that she believed to be from the Holy Spirit.  After this whole year of meeting with me, she had never once thought of me for any other order, but this new order of Dominicans came to her mind.  She told me they were visiting Elmira the next weekend and could I come for a visit.  They are a contemplative foundation (new Dominican Monastery awaiting enough professed sisters to become a stand-alone monastery), and they have a vision that really complemented the things I had been saying to Sr. Anna Marie all along. 

When I heard her say these words, I was immediately flooded with peace.  This is HUGE because if you would have seen me crying and frantic five minutes before, you would have to know that it was the Holy Spirit.  And when I met them the following week, I again was filled with peace and God's great Love.  There was no more concern or frantically trying to get somewhere on my own terms.  Things worked out that I could visit them in Delaware the next week, and when I entered their chapel, I felt like I was coming home.  I did not want to leave!  I took to the monastic life like a duck to water.  Honestly, I never felt that way with the DMs.  I could not figure it out, as there were so many, so-called 'signs.'  But this experience with the Dominicans had absolutely NOTHING to do with me.  I did not look for it or ask for it or anything.  All I did, was a few months before it all unfolded, I began praying a perpetual novena to Mary, Undoer of Knots, and my prayer changed from, 'please undo the knots that are keeping me from the Daughters of Mary," to "PLEASE, Blessed Mother, from your heavenly perspective, PLEASE undo the knots in my life that I do not even see, and help me to clear the path to wherever Jesus wants me."  And she has done just that!  She lives to help her children come closer to her Son.  She lives to help her children stay on the path that He has laid out for them.  Pure Mercy.  Pure Love.

So here I am, still with my financial obstacles, but it appears that God is working to make them disappear.  I felt compelled a few months ago to ask someone to buy my house.  I told him I paid far less than what I am asking.  I gave him a price for what a similar house went for in the neighborhood, and then told him the price that would make me a nun.  He has agreed to pay me much more than it is worth, and if he can not come up with the funds, has promised to find someone else who will do it!  I need a lot of prayer on this, because the evil one is doing everything he can to thwart our efforts.  But I do believe it will work, and that I will enter on St Catherine of Siena's feast day, April 29, 2012.  Whee!

So that is the scoop for now.  I have no idea what God is calling me to 'do' in the Dominican order, and I simply do not care.  All I want is to do His will, and clearly this path has come from Him, so I am walking it, with eyes and ears open, excited to see, hear and touch what lies ahead.  All for the Glory of God!

Merry Christmas!


Mary, Undoer of Knots,
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Why are you cast down, my soul,
why groan within me?
Hope in God;  I will praise Him still,
my savior and my God.

from Psalm 43

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Jesus, Help Me!

I have long had the practice of cutting pictures and prayers out of bulletins and programs and mailings from charitable institutions, and placing them in my prayer books and other books.  Mostly, I save them for inspiration, but they make nice bookmarks too!  :-)

Well, this morning, this prayer fell out of my Liturgy of the Hours prayers, and it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear today.  I have no idea from where it came, but here it is:

In every need, let me come to You with humble trust, saying, Jesus help me!

In all my doubts, perplexities and temptations, Jesus help me!

In hours of loneliness, weariness and trials, Jesus help me!

In the failure of my plans and hopes; in disappointments, troubles and sorrows, Jesus help me!

When others fail me, and Your grace alone can assist me, Jesus help me!

When I throw myself on Your tender love as a Brother and Savior, Jesus help me!

When my heart is cast down by failure to see any good come from my efforts, Jesus help me!

When I feel impatient, and my cross irritates me, Jesus help me!

When I am ill, and my head and hands can not work and I am lonely, Jesus help me!

Always, always, in spite of of weakness, falls and shortcomings of every kind, Jesus help me, and never forsake me!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Still waiting . . . But getting closer

I had hoped to have some good news to share by now. But as per usual, there must be some great spiritual benefit I am receiving from this constant delay and waiting. I am still working on the obstacles to my vocation, and it appeared for awhile that something really, mega-miraculous was happening. I still have hope that it will work out, but I am once again delayed and looking for God in all of it. I know He is there, and so once again (and again and again and again), I surrender.  Blessed Mother, help me surrender.

I have discerned a call to a Dominican order….(more later on that). I am shocked by this, but I trust it like nothing I have ever known, because I had virtually nothing to do with it, and I did nothing to seek this. God moved in so many mysterious ways to bring it about, and had it happened 2 years ago when I first approached the Daughters of Mary, I would not have been spiritually mature enough or ready. Once again, He proves that His timing is perfect, and when I permit it, His will WILL be done. Fiat. Let it be done.

I have great peace about this order, and unlike my past, I find myself not even caring or worried about any part of what my future will bring as a nun. I am well aware of my human frailties, and I know it will be very difficult, and seemingly impossible for me at times, given my strong will and enormous ego, but I have faith that if this is where God is calling me, He will give me everything I need to follow Him and do His will. I can not WAIT to begin this new chapter in my life, and I fully expect to enter on April 29th, the feast day of Saint Catherine of Siena, however the enemy of our souls is doing his best to thwart God’s efforts. Please, PLEASE pray for me that my obstacles will be removed and none other be placed in my path. I have never wanted anything more in my entire life, and I look forward to the day when I can write about all of the amazing things God did to make straight this very crooked path of mine. He is a God of great mercy, and I will spend my eternity thanking Him for the great love He has shown me in this life.

Totus Tuus . . .
Saint Catherine of Siena, please pray for us.

The One Thing . . . By Matthew Kelly

Matthew Kelly is a good man with a great heart for God. I once wrote to him and asked for his help in making a dream come true for a friend of mine. I was surprised to receive a telephone call from him, and a great conversation ensued with numerous ideas for helping my friend. He was most kind and generous with his time and thoughts, showing great regard for two complete strangers. This personal quality of his has everything to do with what it means to be a Catholic Christian.

I was excited to have the opportunity to review one of his new books for the Catholic Company, and read it in just a few minutes. It is a small book, The One Thing – Passing Faith Onto Children, and at only 64 pages with lots of pictures, it was easy to read in under a half hour.

Matthew is known for making complex issues simple, and truly, that is what he did in this little book. Mostly he spent his time writing about his own experience of love in relation to his first born and only child, a son named Walter. Would that all parents in today’s world look at their child in the way that Matthew looks at his! Drawing from his recognition of the love he has found in his own heart for this child, he began to understand more deeply the love that God, our Father, has for each of us. As a soon-to-be contemplative nun, I have to tell you that this is exactly what I hope to spend the rest of my own days contemplating.

What it all boils down to in answering the question of which ‘one thing’ it takes to pass the faith on to children is this: Matthew believes, as do I, that it begins by showing them your own authentic love for God by the way you treat them and their mother and all of God’s children… the way you go out of your way to do things for them, to help them, and to serve others. This shows them Jesus. This shows them how God loves us and wants to be with us. When you do this, you are teaching them about Eucharist, because you are teaching them, by your example, of what it means to be Jesus to each other. And there is no better way to receive Jesus, than when we receive Him, sacramentally present in the Eucharist, another great thing this book reminds the reader.

I love putting these kinds of books in my office waiting room.  I have one of Matthew's other books in my waiting room as well.  They are small tidbits of important wisdom, put simply and accessible even to non-readers who do not have the patience to read a long novel.  Sometimes, a person only needs one well-reasoned thought to bring them back to love.  I hope this little book will do just that. 


(This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The One Thing. They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Fellowship of the Unashamed by Anonymous

I am part of the "Fellowship of the Unashamed."

The die has been cast.

I have stepped over the line.

The decision has been made. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, and my future is secure.

I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, chintzy giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity.

I now live by presence, lean by faith, love by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power.

My pace is set, my gait is fast, my goal is Heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions few, my Guide reliable, my mission clear.

I cannot be bought, compromised, deterred, lured away, turned back, diluted, or delayed.

I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of adversity, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity.

I am a disciple of Jesus Christ.

I must go until Heaven returns, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes.

And when He comes to get His own, He will have no problem recognizing me.

My colors will be clear.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shhhh . . . .

Just a quick note . . .

The last three months have been undeniably indescribable, completely and totally Divinely inspired.  I am not ready to write about all that has transpired yet, but suffice it to say, our merciful Father is answering my vocation prayers in a powerfully loving, generous, mysterious, incredible way.  I can not even find the words to describe all that has happened yet, as I am simply overwhelmed by the mercy and love I have received, so I am choosing to simply BE and listen for now, watching as it all unfolds, taking it all in.  I will write more after some of the plans I am making are brought to fruition, probably in a month or two.  For now, it is a time of great preparation and thanksgiving.  Thanks be to God!

Totus Tuus

Saint Dominic, pray for us.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


It has been an interesting couple of months. For many reasons, I have found myself beginning again, not wondering whether I have a call to the religious life, but to which order?

Catholic author and philosopher, Peter Kreeft, wrote a great article on discernment, and I found the following paragraph to be especially pertinent to where I feel my heart is being drawn today:
       Look for the fruits of the spirit, especially the first three: love, joy, and peace. If we are angry and anxious and worried, loveless and joyless and peaceless, we have no right to say we are sure of being securely in God's will. Discernment itself should not be a stiff, brittle, anxious thing, but—since it too is part of God's will for our lives—loving and joyful and peace-filled, more like a game than a war, more like writing love letters than taking final exams.
Wow. I have to admit that I have not had as much peace as I would have expected, given that all I want to do is give everything to Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And I have surely had my fill of anxiety in the journey. But now that I am embracing the fact that God may have different plans for me, I find my heart filled with peace in the process of discernment. I am relishing it and grateful for new insights. This comes as quite a surprise to me, unexpected, yet so needed. I thought I was finished with discerning this vocation. Silly girl.

I have long believed that it was God's will that I suffer. After all, it was great suffering that brought me to Him, and my best learning seems to come from persevering through difficulties. I always offer the suffering to Jesus for all the intentions of His Sacred Heart, knowing the great value of redemptive suffering, so I figured it made sense. I know all the great saints suffered, so I guessed the turmoil in my heart was normal as I have waited and wondered and tried to make my way to the convent, to no avail, as my obstacles remain for more than a year now since I was accepted into the order. Since I now believe He may be calling me elsewhere, I am surprised to find the turmoil dissipating and the flow of graces flooding my soul like a long awaited summer rain after a hot, dusty drought. He refreshes my soul. ~ Psalm 23

I am not ready to make any decisions yet, and I am (surprisingly) not worried about the outcome. Maybe for the first time in my journey, I feel myself being led by God in a way that is not based on human feelings, emotions, signs or opinions. I feel like every day is like writing and reading love letters between me and the Lover of Our Souls. I am no longer anxiously trying to finish a dreaded exam. Instead, there is deeper and deeper love, internal and external peace and joy in the freedom that comes from permitting our Beloved to show me the way. It is yet another level of surrender, but unlike many of the other painful layers of surrender I had to learn, this one is pure grace, pure love. It is a gift to trust like this, and I am grateful. There is much to look forward to.

For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the LORD, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues

As you may know, I like to review books for the The Catholic Company as part of their reviewer program. This time, however, I have been blessed and privileged to review Father Robert Barron’s DVD and Study Guide/Workbook, Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues.

Father Barron’s DVD and the accompanying workbook have been wonderful gifts for me. I would recommend them highly to anyone who seeks more than simple facts and general knowledge, but who also yearns for deeper understanding and introspection.

The DVD is exactly what you would expect of Father Barron --- insightful, interesting and powerful in its ability to give me pause to know more about my faith, my God, my Church and myself. He brings clarity and humor to the virtues and sins, relating all to Dante’s Inferno. I am a regular participant in the graces and healing that come from sacramental confession, and with this DVD, I found a new understanding of my own frailties and sin that I need to work on, a real blessing for my soul, and a blessing for anyone who would listen with a heart open to God and continuing conversion.

The Study Guide/Workbook is the best I have seen of this genre. Unlike other workbooks that accompany DVDs I have owned, this book does not simply get you to regurgitate facts from the DVD, to ensure rote memory. Father Barron, in his great wisdom, inspires you to think beyond what he has taught, and to help you to go deeper into your understanding with assignments to read scripture and relevant passages from the catechism --- LOVE IT!

This set would be great for personal study or as a group. There are so many paths your discussion could take you, I dare say you could do this workbook over and over again, and still find new things to delve into…..A DVD and workbook that would continue to provide new insights as you grow in faith and love with the Lord and His Church. Thank you, Fr. Barron!

***This review was written as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. You can visit The Catholic Company to find more information on Seven Deadly Sins, Seven Lively Virtues CD Bundle . They are also a great source for a Catechism of the Catholic Church or a Catholic Bible.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Unfathomable, Divine Mercy . . . There just for the askin'

My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. 
I implore Your pardon for those who
do not believe, do not adore,
do not hope, and do not love You. 

~ Fatima Pardon Prayer

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank you, Blessed John Paul II

It was a wonderful Divine Mercy weekend.  The sun was out, the homilies were inspired, the friendships were blessed and peaceful and fun.  There was and continues to be, much to be thankful for in this life.  And although my Mom continues to suffer from her Parkinson's disease, grace abounds. 

Don't get me wrong---I am not saint.  I want my Mom to be healed.  I long for her to be healed, and I continue to beg for her to be healed.  But what can we do?  God, in His mercy, has answered our prayers and His answer, at least for now, is no.  I pray that it is no, not now......but soon.  But who knows?  His plan is greater than we can imagine, and suffering can be powerfully redemptive.  So while we are disappointed, we know that He has our best interest at heart, and He would not permit this suffering if He did not intend to bring a greater good out of it.

Sooo.....Thank you, Bl. John Paul.  I am sure your prayers and ours are bringing about conversions of heart and healing in so many more ways than we can imagine.  And thank you to all who have read about my Mom and prayed for her.  We are blessed by your prayers and generous spirits.

 Fiat ~ Totus Tuus

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Blessed Mother: Pure Love, Pure Mercy

I experienced a great grace this weekend, being able to attend a powerful retreat on Forgiveness with Rwandan holocaust survivor, Immulee Ilibagiza and Monsignor John Esseff.  Thankfully, and by the grace of God, forgiveness has not been a big issue for me, but I was so moved by Immaculee's story of survival and forgiveness, living 91 days in a 3' X 4' bathroom with 7 other women, only to emerge to find her family had been murdered, that I could not pass up this opportunity to hear her great witness to forgiveness and the love our Beloved Savior has for all of us.

I also longed to know more about Our Lady of Kibeho, (church approved apparitions which occurred prior to the Rwandan holocaust), and was happy to learn much from Immaculee about her own experiences with the visionaries and what the messages meant to her, to Rwanda and to the entire world.  My love for our Blessed Mother has grown ever stronger after understanding more and more the great gift we have been given by Mary's unfathomably merciful, Divine Son.

I am only now starting to process some of the fruits of this wonderful retreat experience, but clearly for me, one of the greatest gifts of this retreat came from Monsignor Esseff, when he told us that God, in His mercy, gave us Mary -- pure love, and pure mercy -- as our Mother.  Jesus, on the other hand, is also pure love and pure mercy, but additionally He is pure justice.  Mary sees us, her children, with the eyes of love and mercy, no judgment.  Justice is not her domain.  Jesus, as the just judge, can deny his Mother nothing, as she is perfect and immaculate in every way.  He is powerless against her intercession.  (See The Wedding at Cana).  Of course her intercession is pure and always for our own good as a perfect Mother, and her will is perfectly aligned to that of the Divine, but it is becoming clearer and clearer to me, how going through Mary to Jesus is a far quicker and efficient way to getting to the center of His Sacred Heart than to go directly to Him.  She makes a clear, straight, easy path for us without judgment and opens the way to Him, just as she did when she cleared a path to Him from heaven to earth when He was born.  She cleans us up and presents us to Him in a way that we are unable to present ourselves.  Her only desire is to bring us close to Jesus so that we too may have complete union with Him for eternity.  In her love, she wants us to know Him as she knows Him, and from her perspective, she can obtain that for us far better than we can obtain it for ourselves. 

Pure love.
Pure mercy.
Would that every mother on earth could be called the same!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Begging for the Intercession of John Paul II

My mother has Parkinson's Disease.  It is difficult to see her body increasingly betray her, although she has the best attitude for dealing with the constant changes, and keeps giving it all to God.  She accepts God's will for healing as well as she does for His reasons for not healing her -- His will be done.  But I am a beggar, and I do not plan to stop asking Jesus to give her this great gift of a miraculous healing.

I have recently felt inspired to ask the constant intercession of Pope John Paul II to obtain from Jesus, a complete healing for my Mom.  I have absolute faith that He can heal her, and I pray that it is His will to heal her with a miracle that will give tangible witness to the mercy, power and love of our Beloved Savior.  Of course, His mercy may permit her to continue to suffer for reasons only known to Him.  But we pray, and we hope.

Please join me in praying the prayer I have asked my entire family to pray, every day, at least through May 1st, which is Divine Mercy Sunday, and the day our Pope John Paul the Great will be named Blessed......

Dear Pope John Paul the Great,
Through the Immaculate Heart of our Beloved Mother, Mary,
We beg you to intercede for us,
Pleading with He whom you were known as His Vicar on Earth.
We beseech you to beg Him for a miracle,
That on the day you are raised to the altar and declared Blessed,
That He will grant a complete healing to my Mother,
His beloved daughter, Patricia Ann.

As you, yourself know first-hand the suffering endured
By those who suffer from Parkinson’s disease,
We beg you to obtain from Jesus,
That my Mother be completely healed from this terrible illness.

Oh, Holy Father!
Can Jesus Himself ignore the pleas of His Beloved Vicar?
We implore you, pray unceasingly to our Beloved Savior,
That He will look with favor on us and grant what we request,
Through your humble and holy intercession.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
Who lives and reigns with the Father and the Holy Spirit,
One God, forever and ever.


Friday, March 25, 2011

The Annunciation - Happy Feast Day!

This video is veeeerrrrry POWERFUL.
Thank you, Blessed Mother.  Thank you for saying YES.

Let it be done according to Your Word.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

JOY not OY! :-)

Peace.  Pax.  Pacem.  No matter what you call it, I am feelin' it and sooooo happy to have a respite from the struggle!

I was on team for the Diocese of Scranton Women's Cursillo last weekend and it was absolutely a gift from God for me.  The very moment I arrived at St Gabriel's monastery, I could feel the tangible presence of Christ.  I went immediately to the chapel to say hello to Him and spend some time in front of the tabernacle before the weekend festivities began, and I was instantly filled with an intense peace and feeling of great love.  It was clearly a gift of divine grace, as I had been so stressed that I did not think I would have anything at all to offer to the team and candidates. 

God gave me respite.  He gave me strength.  He gave me everything I needed to be able to do His will for the weekend.  Isn't He just like that?  Always giving us exactly what we need?  The key is to trust and to conform my will to His will.

He gives me whatever I want, because I want whatever He gives
                   ~ St. Therese 

Decrease so that He may increase.


The Power of the Sacraments by Sister Briege

I just finished reading a little book by Sister Briege McKenna called The Power of the Sacraments.  It is only 64 pages long and not really meant for someone who has an understanding of the sacraments already.  The length of it precludes any in depth theological discourse.  It is, however, perfect for someone who may be sitting in the pews, unaware of the basic meanings and power that the sacraments have in the lives of those who receive them with faith.

Sr. Briege devotes a few pages to each and every sacrament, sharing common insights and a few of her own thoughts.  She shares stories of her own encouters with people in the sacraments and the healing they bring.  The story she told in the chapter on marriage was especially poignant and brought me to tears, thankful for the tremendous grace God continues to shower on His children through these supernatural treasures.

I think that people who don't even know what they are missing are not likely to pick up a regular book on a topic such as sacraments, but if given a little one like this, might be more apt to take a peek. 

I think I will put this little book somewhere it will get picked up and peeked at.  My hope is that this little taste of the truth will inspire a greater desire for more knowledge and further study.

P.S.  As many of you know, I enjoy reviewing books for The Catholic Company in exchange for free books.  They have asked me to share with you that Catholic Company is also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.  If you are interested in signing up for the reviewer program, let me know, and I will give you the information.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Padre Pio to Padre Agostino

I am oppressed by the uncertainty of my future, but I cherish the lively hope of seeing my dreams fulfilled, because the Lord cannot place thoughts and desires in a person's soul if he does not really intend to fulfill them, to gratify these longings, which he alone has caused.

~ Letter to P. Agostino from P. Pio
October 4, 1915

Oh, how I pray that this is true!

oy.  fiat.

Monday, February 28, 2011


I have failed miserably this month at being the person I know God is calling me to be. I have been stressed beyond belief and am being tested time and time and TIME again. I have never failed a single test in my academic career, but in the spiritual realms, I would be kicked out of school if it was not for the mercy of our Beloved Teacher.

I have no choice but to rely on Him for everything. The very millisecond I think I have things all figured out, I fall flat on my face. This time, I fell extra hard, and I simply have had very little strength to get back up again. It has been much easier for me to just lay down and argue with God, trying to manipulate Him into giving me what i want---what I THOUGHT He wanted. And in case you have ever wondered, reverse psychology does NOT work on Him. Trust me. Don't waste your breath. :-)

Sooooo....I am beaten down. I am tired and worn out. I can do nothing on my own--NOTHING. I have no choice but to give it to Him all over again, and always AGAIN.

Will I ever learn?

I have heard it said that we should not beat ourselves up about our shortcomings as we journey on this path to holiness. Would the loving father of a toddler be mad at his child who falls when he is learning to walk? Of course not! He would pick him back up and help him to try again. And the same is true with our Father in heaven. All of this falling and failing is part of the learning process if we permit Him to help us to continue to move forward on the journey. When He sees us fall, it is with the eyes of a loving parent who sees us progressing forward as we grow in our love for Him and align ourselves to His will. All is just does not feel well right now.....But it will again.....just need to keep getting up.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Conversion of St. Paul and Me

Thirteen years ago today, on the feast day of the Conversion of Saint Paul and Super Bowl Sunday, a man broke into my home and brutally assaulted me in my bed at a few minutes after 3:00 a.m..  I was lucky to be alive, and a judge I knew at the time told me, "God must have something very special planned for you."

The truth is that God does have something special planned for me.  But I am not unique, as the reality is that He has something special planned for each and every person on our planet.  The question is, are we able to accept His special and unique plans for us?  Are we able to love His will more than we love our own will?

I suffered in seeming darkness for a number of years after I was attacked by this still unknown stranger.  But when I ultimately gave up trying to heal my own mind, I finally relented, and gave my mind and my whole self, to God.  It is a long story of great grace and great love and miraculous healing, but the happy ending is that instead of living my life in darkness, seeing no need for God, He used this attack to bring about a greater goodHE ALWAYS DOES THAT IF WE LET HIM.  He used the attack to knock me off my horse, in much the same way He did to Paul.  Of course Paul had a real horse, God spoke out loud to Him and he became blind for awhile, but my horse was just as real to me.  It was the pride and the arrogance of believing that I was in control of everything and did not need anyone but myself.  I had no need for God until I fell on my butt and needed help to get up. 

Now let there be no confusion:  GOD DID NOT CAUSE THIS MAN TO ATTACK ME.  He does not cause drunk people to kill people in car accidents, nor does He cause people to be mugged, or raped or murdered or husbands to beat their wives or anything at all that is evil.  He may permit these things as a consequence of the Fall and our own free will, but He will always use them to bring about a greater good---ALWAYS.

I hate when well-meaning people say that 'bad things always happen for a reason.'  That is simply not true, not helpful, and waaaayyy too new-agey for me.  The only reason evil things happen is because people make bad decisions that bring about bad actions and bad consequences.  So while things do not happen for a good reason,  God uses those bad things to bring about a good result if we let Him.  There is a big difference in this.  Maybe I am not explaining this well, but it is like saying that God wants or makes these bad things to happen so He can use them for a greater good.  NOT TRUE.  God does not want these bad things to happen, nor does He make them happen.  He is pure good and perfection and incapable of evil.  He may not always stop them from happenning, but He always gives us the grace to handle them and bring about a greater conversion or greater love or greater forgiveness or whatever it is that is lacking in our own spiritual (and sometimes physical) well-being.  A good can never be diminshed by an evil.  Case in point:  The greatest evil in history---DEICIDE--The murder of Jesus, our GOD.  And yet this seemingly abject failure of a mission, brought about the redemption and salvation of countless souls, past, present and future.  There can be no greater gift than this.  God permitted the worst evil known to mankind to be committed against Himself, and He used it to bring about the greatest good of all time--Eternal life for us, with Him, in paradise.

God, our Father, is calling each of us to Himself through Jesus, His only begotten Son.  No one should ever believe that they can not 'get over' this or that traumatic event.  With Christ, all things are possible, and all evil can be made good by Him who is all good, all knowing, all powerul and all loving.

Let it be done according to Your Will, Lord.  Fiat.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Mysteries of the Virgin Mary, Living Our Lady's Graces - by Fr. Peter John Cameron, O.P.

In Father Cameron's own words, his mission in writing the book, Mysteries of the Virgin Mary, Living Our Lady’s Graces, "is to present the real life of the Blessed Virgin Mary as it is commemorated in the Marian liturgical feasts of the Church," pointing out the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where it states, "the Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." But really, this description only touches the surface. The fullness to which he captures the depth of Mary, Mother of God and Our Mother, and the depth to which my heart is moved by his words, goes beyond any other book on Mary that I have read thus far.

I love St. Louis de Monfort. His love for the Blessed Mother and his True Devotion and 33-Day Preparation for Consecration are classics which should be read by everyone. I personally renew my 33-day consecration annually, and every year, I find myself growing closer to Jesus, through Mary, through the 33-day preparation written by St Louis. I must admit, however, that to this day, after having begun this annual tradition about 5 or 6 years ago, I am still mystified by some of it. Oh, I know that the Holy Spirit reveals these things to us, sometimes over a lifetime and rarely all at once, but I have longed for something that would explain, in depth, the mysteries of Mary, and why she is so important to our faith. Don’t get me wrong---I feel it. But I want to be able to verbalize share it. Father Cameron has done just that.

Father Cameron begins by asking the question, Why Pray to Mary? He gives seven compelling answers, including quote after quote from numerous saints, as to why God gives us graces through Mary. Father Cameron gives an explanation that does not rely on mere pronouncement, but is backed up with insight that can only come from the Holy Spirit Himself. Father writes beautifully and clearly, without debate, and gives the reader a hunger to know our Lady and her Beloved Son all the better.

After taking the time to answer some of the basic questions, Father Cameron devotes the remaining chapters of his book to specific events and titles of our Blessed Mother, offering compelling quotes that literally brought me to my knees. For instance, I have never heard of St Amadeus of Lausanne before, but this quote of his struck me in a special way, given the context in the chapter, and the place I am in my own life right now:

        Mary suffers delay that she may advance, she advances through her perseverance. Perseverance, joined to love and work, creates fullness, brings forth perfection.

Mary suffered separation from her Divine Son when He died for our salvation. The delay of years before she could see Him again must have seemed like an eternity for her maternal and immaculate heart. But we can be assured that her remaining earthly life was of great value to the early Church and to us. In this separation and delay, is great mercy for all the world. Read this book and you will be inspired to love more, and to know the Lord in the fullness of His Mother’s own memory.

I will treasure this book and read it over and over and over again.


P.S.  As many of you know, I enjoy reviewing books for The Catholic Company in exchange for free books.  They have asked me to share with you that Catholic Company is also a great source for serenity prayer and baptism gifts.  If you are interested in signing up for the reviewer program, let me know, and I will give you the information.