Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Help to Stay Fit

I try to stay away from scales, figuring I can tell by how my clothes fit what my weight is doing (going up or down). I have known for months that my weight is going up. Slowly all my pants and skirts have been tightening around the waist. I am down to a couple of bottoms to wear and 2 dresses I would wear shortly after giving birth. I have never been one who has needed or wanted to diet. However, I have been surrounded by people who are always concerned about weight. Conversations often revolve around what we eat, how much we eat, how little or much we exercise. Exercise is a scary word for me. I don’t choose it; I don’t crave it; I simply am scared of it. And, as my weight and lack of physical activity have increased, the thought of being healthy is becoming more and more remote.

Faced with this realization, I go back and forth between two thoughts. One is – why not eat and enjoy myself? I had two grandmas – the one who was heavier was more fun and always had a treat to offer. Why not be the happy go lucky grandma who surrounds her family with delicious smells and tasty treats? Who says I have to be thin and restrict myself?

Thought two – if I am to be around to see my children and their children grow up, then shouldn’t I see the value in maintaining a healthy lifestyle? Being healthy will give me more endurance. I might be more comfortable sitting at Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament if I was more fit. I might more joyfully serve the Church if I was not so tired all the time.

Hmmmm….what a dilemma. It sort of reminds me of my spiritual “weight.” Faced with my lukewarmness in the spiritual life there are two thoughts. One is – just enjoy the moment and do not worry so much about the afterlife! I have lots of examples from my family and friends of happy people who are not the least bit worried about their spiritual lives and things seem good for them. Why not be the happy go lucky mom who thinks only of her kids’ material and physical lives, making sure they have the most up to date clothes, and the best schools, and the newest cell phones? Who says I have to follow my conscience and restrict myself?

Thought two – if I want to see my children and their children in the next life, then shouldn’t I see the value in maintaining a healthy spiritual life? Receiving my “daily bread” will give me more endurance. I might be able to love Christ in my neighbor more, think first of others, if I was more spiritually fit. I might more joyfully be a channel of graces for others, and not feel so tired of doing it, if I was seeking first the Kingdom of God.

Hmmmm….what a dilemma. Seems to me, the only solution is entrustment to Mary! Hiding in Her womb, I want to allow her to carry me through my days, obtaining the graces for me necessary to do GOD’s will and not my own. On my own, I feed my ego. But, with Her, I have a chance to seek what is best for me and all my dear ones. Thanks Blessed Mother. 

“A person who concentrates on himself and is full of his own plans becomes very slothful with regard to the Holy Spirit….When you begin to seek help in your helplessness, you will hear the knocking of the One who, upon crossing the border into your world, desires to rescue you. God desires that you seek nothing other than Him.” S.C. Biela, Open Wide the Door to Christ, (Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005), 135 and 192

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Spiritual Nuggets to Share

The In the Arms of Mary Foundation team is on retreat this weekend and wanted to share with you some spiritual nuggets:

What is our first vocation?
 - To be a child of GOD.

How to be a child? St. Therese the Little Flower gave these points:
1. Recognize my own nothingness.
2. Trust in GOD's love and mercy.
3. Do not be discouraged with my faults and sins.
4. Do not attribute anything to myself.
5. Be grateful for ALL things.

When we see our sins, or unfaithfulness, how should we respond?
- Hope until the end! Despair and hopelessness after our sin is more offensive to GOD than the sin, itself.  

With all of this, turn to Blessed Mother - She will help pick us up when we fall and carry us on our way to Her Son! 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Miracles

I arrived at our parish’s Holy Thursday Mass so exhausted I wanted to cry.  I had been so busy all week, all day.  I wanted to celebrate the start of the Holy Triduum with all the members of our family, little ones included, but I had no energy.  We arrived a bit early to get some seats, and I knelt to prepare for Mass. My prayer went something like this, “ Dear Lord, I know how very significant this celebration is tonight, and though I want to be here in my mind, I am so tired that I also do not want to be here at all.  I want my children to experience the grace of this Last Supper celebration, and yet I do not want them here as I can barely take care of myself.  I can hardly sit here with my eyes closed, let alone take care of little ones, some of whom are awake past their regular bedtimes.  I am too weak to take care of them.  I am too tired to deal with their tiredness.  Please, Lord, have mercy on me.  If you want our family here, You will need to take care of them because I cannot.  Blessed Mama, please help me.”

And then I just sat.  As the Mass began and carried on, my children were quiet.  My 18-month old was QUIET!  Normally he is fussy from the beginning, but this night he busied himself with the kneeler and the teenaged girl sitting next to us.  He listened to the music and from time to time, settled himself on my lap for a cuddle.  Whose children were these????  I hardly recognized any of them!  After the homily, the congregation was invited to participate in the washing of feet.  Little did I know such a treat was in store.  My daughter and son, the two who bicker constantly, were in line next to each other and washed each other’s feet.  I could barely keep from tearing up. 

After the two hour Mass, my husband led us to the Adoration room for a quick visit.  At this point, the baby was getting a bit fussy, so I left to wait outside.  My husband was quick to follow me, but then noticed our daughter deeply quiet in prayer.  He waited awhile longer for her and then we drove home.  We sent everyone off to get ready for bed when this same daughter approached me.  She wanted to share something that happened to her at Mass, but couldn’t find the words.  Finally she was able to share that at the moment of consecration, she felt God’s presence in a profound way.  She knew He was there in the bread.  She could barely keep from crying as she explained that it was different, that she knew He was really there.  Same thing when she went to adoration.  I was extremely grateful in my heart for this gift she had received and explained to her that her soul recognized God’s presence.  He had always been there before, but tonight she had been open to recognizing Him. 

This reminds me of one of my favorite Scripture readings this time of year, the story of the road to Emmaus (Luke 24: 13-35). Two of Jesus’ disciples were conversing about all the events that had taken place and Jesus draws near and joins them, but they do not recognize him.  It isn’t until He is at table with them that their eyes are opened and they recognize him in the breaking of the bread. 

I guess I am just amazed at how God can reveal Himself when He so chooses.  I am grateful for the gift of Blessed Mama, because without Her, I might have fled the Mass or been beside myself with crankiness.  I could have become a major obstacle for my daughter and the rest of my family.  I do thank God for His mercy and for the presence of His Body and Blood in the Eucharist.   I thank God for searching out my children even though I am an obstacle.  And I beg our Mother to be my eyes so that I might not be blind to God’s presence in my midst.

The Families of Nazareth Movement, designed to support those living the spirituality of Communion of Life with Christ Through Mary, explains that it’s Charism includes the following: “By the grace of the Holy Spirit, through Our Blessed Mother, we aren’t afraid to present to God our weaknesses and misery.  In fact, we benefit from our weaknesses because they help us to more fully experience God’s Redemptive Mercy, especially in and through the Eucharist and Confession.  Surrendering to God’s will through Mary, we entrust ourselves to her so that she will lead us to humility, trust, and total obedience to God…..”  (http://www.familiesofnazareth.us/) I saw for myself that relying on my weakness, standing in truth about it, brought about miracles!  I saw these miracles with own eyes this past Holy Thursday night.  Thank you, God, for allowing me to see the truth about my weaknesses, and how it calls upon the abyss of Your Merciful Love.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Entrustment To Mary = Celebrating The Easter Season

The Contributors to this blog are taking a hiatus - celebrating this most joyous Easter week. How are we celebrating you may ask? - Sugar stupors, coffee adrenalin rushes, spending too much time back on Facebook, and one of us got to go on an exotic vacation! But whatever the indulgence may be - we are thanking our risen Savior for loving us no matter what, and for giving us his mother who keeps us safe in her loving arms.
May God bless you with His Divine Mercy!