Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Our Lady and St. Juan Diego

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Giving Spiritual Gifts

We are sending this blog post again as the address for the In the Arms of Mary Foundation was incorrect. The below address is the correct one to use. Sorry for any inconvenience this mistake may have caused.

Tis the season to give presents! I usually pick a tag from the local TREE of JOY to give a Christmas present to a person in need. This year the material gifts asked for on the tags somehow discouraged me from choosing one. Yet, I felt a need to offer alms somewhere this Advent/Christmas season. Then a request came across my email that was an answer to my dilemma.  It is one asking for spiritual books to be donated to priests and seminarians in Uganda. The priest making the request recognizes how these books can touch the interior lives of those who read them - in order to grow in holiness and to strengthen one's faith. A priest who desires to grow in holiness and faith on his journey to heaven is always beneficial for the souls of the lay people who come to that priest for personal guidance. Here is part of the priest's request:
"I have a feeling that if these books have helped the Laity, then it would even be very good for the Priests and Seminarians as well. Kampala Archdiocese has 317 Priests and 216 Seminarians. In addition there are 19 Diocese in the country where those books would be appreciated…I trust if these books are published and given to Priests as well as Seminarians, they will make a very big difference in their spiritual growth."
It brought me joy knowing my donation would not only be for the priests and seminarians who will read these books, but for the blessings that will be bestowed upon those who will come in contact with these men. It would be giving a gift that would have a spiritual and even eternal benefit! This opportunity brought peace to my soul.

I have read the 2 books the priest is requesting: Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock, and Open Wide the Door to Christ, both authored by S.C. Biela.  I will include a description of each at the bottom of this blog posting. These books have helped me come to understand how necessary it is to become poor in spirit in order to enter the Kingdom of God. I have learned that I must stand in the truth of “who” I am and admit this to Christ accepting His mercy and unconditional love as I do so. They are books that address everyday circumstances with a spiritual spin, helping me see how to open my heart to my faith, the Sacraments, God’s will, and my entrustment to the Blessed Mother. They are written in a way that speaks to every reading level.

What also is attractive about this request is the affordability of the donation. Just $10 buys one book including the shipment to Uganda. If this sounds good to you too, you can mail your donation to:                                               
In the Arms of Mary Foundation
P.O. Box 271987
Fort Collins, CO 80527
Or click on this link to Uganda Book Fundraising project. This will bring you to the In the Arms of Mary Foundation website to make your donation there. Please let the Foundation know that the donation goes for the Uganda Book Fundraising project.

The Foundation desires to fulfill the request of this priest with the help of others. It has begun by sending him a box of 24 copies of Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock. They will continue to ship books for Priests and Seminarians as long as there are funds available. I invite you to share this news with your family, friends, and cyberface acquaintances as well.
May all of our readers have a very Merry Christmas knowing God loves us as we are!


“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, then I will enter his house and dine with him and he with me” (Rev 3:20).
This book leads the reader to discover the constant loving and merciful Presence of God. God never leaves His beloved children alone. He is always at the door of our hearts knocking, awaiting our opening of ourselves to Him. Discover the different ways God knocks, why we hesitate to open the door of our heart, and what treasure lies ready for when we do open the door to our creator. S.C. Biela, (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005)
Continuing the themes presented in Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock, Biela helps to convince the reader of the treasure that awaits when we finally open wide the doors to our Creator. He reminds us of the key: spiritual poverty. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 5:3). But how to become poor in spirit? That is exactly what this book addresses. A must read for all who desire transforming union with Christ. S.C. Biela, (Ft.Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = A Joyful Home

Over the weekend, my son was invited to enjoy the afternoon and spend the night with his cousin.  When he returned the next day, he shared about all the fun activities and yummy food that they enjoyed, and I was happy he had a good time with his relatives. That is, until he hinted that he would prefer living at their house, with them, over our home, and us.  Ouch.  Now, before you might think badly of my son, know that his Control Freak of a mother encouraged him to be open with his feelings.  I knew as I was asking him that I was also asking for trouble, and for a quick wounding of my ego.  Sure enough, even though I understood what he was saying and why he was saying it, I wanted to rescue my pride.  I wanted to (and did, to some degree) rationalize to myself and to him why their home environment might appear to be better, but that the grass wasn’t necessarily greener. 

The truth, though, was that I had been praying for more peace and joy in our home for a long while.  The noise and chaos drives me crazy, and because I am so darn responsible, all the activities and school projects stress me out.  I am so overwhelmed that my temper is short and often times I unfairly lash out at my son.  OR hold too high of expectations.  OR micro-manage his schoolwork.  OR nag him about how inefficiently he does his chores.  Of course he enjoyed the laid back personalities of his aunt and uncle!  Yes, I can rationalize to myself that they might have been trying their best to make sure he enjoyed himself, but perhaps not.  Perhaps they are like that all the time.  It doesn’t really matter, because if I stand in truth, I know God is asking me to allow more of HIM and His joy in our home.  I must beg Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace, to reign in our home. 

Now, in my mind I want to be strong and organized, while remaining gentle and loving and present to my loved ones.  But according to my track record and my awareness of my personality, this doesn’t work.  I am always so tempted to rely on my own strength (which is non-existent) rather than allow the One to live in me and through me.

So as we celebrate this third Sunday of Advent, I am reminded of the pink candle – JOY!

    Christian faith most fully expresses itself in the joy of discovering the personal love of God, which you can depend on and to which you can entrust yourself.  Faith experienced in this way eradicates the attitude of the dramatic fatalism toward one’s own evil, which our contrition can change into a “happy fault.”  Christian joy flowing from faith is like a stream of God’s love.  It is faith that tells you to smile at God, to be joyful in His love.  Then you should look at yourself, whom you take much too seriously, from a certain distance and with a humorous perspective.  The virtue of humor lets you defeat the poison of sadness with which Satan tries to permeate your soul.  This virtue of humor causes you to stop worrying about yourself and allows you to live a life of joy flowing from faith. (Tadeusz Dajzcer, The Gift of Faith, 3rd ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2012), 99-100).

So if I read that right, I can ask Blessed Mother to be contrite with me and for me, and allow her to rescue me from my sadness over my temper with my children.  I will not be a perfect mother, but I can bless my children by being a channel of grace and of the pure love of their Heavenly Mother by allowing her to carry me.  I can trust that God, in His infinite wisdom, has paired my soul with the particular souls of each of my children for our greatest good.  Yes, this is reason for joy.  The fact that I am being reminded over and over how very much God loves me as I am is cause for great joy.  So I am grateful for the conversation with my son, as it allowed me to stand in truth and be reminded of how very much I need God.  I am reminded that I must fall to my knees with empty hands and simply ask for the grace to respond to His Love (in the arms of Our mother, of course!).  

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Entrustment to Mary = Celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

I have encountered different people who struggle building a relationship with the Blessed Mother. Usually their road block is the fact that Mary was conceived without original sin.  They’ve said to me “of course She could say ‘yes’ to God,” or “She can’t possibly understand me, I'm attached to sin” or “at least the other saints had to get over their sinful nature, thus I can possibly follow their lead, but Mary? How can I compete with that?”

Well, by the grace of God, I don’t see it that way. I find the news of Mary’s Immaculate Conception all the sweeter for me! When I go to Mary I am going to someone who has the “power” (She is FULL of grace) and the “humility” (She cooperated with grace) and therefore, She will care for me in the best way possible. If our LORD saw fit to put Himself into Her arms, then wouldn't it be just crazy foolishness for me to think that isn’t good enough for me?

Awaiting Christ this Advent – and doing it by staying in MOM’s arms.

“Freedom is something extraordinary and it takes on its proper meaning only in the posture that Mary assumed during the Annunciation. She was fully free, and yet with Her entire life She wanted to fulfill God’s will – She wanted to become the handmaid of the Lord.”  (S.C. Biela, Behold, I Stand at the Door and Knock [Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005], 53.)

“The call to childlike trust is always leading us to imitate Mary. Our Heavenly Father wants us to imitate the way Mary lowered Herself before Him, especially the way that She continually maintained the posture of servant and slave.20 Mary assumes this posture because She knows that Her humility and childlike manner lead Her to abandon Herself to God’s love – a love that is constantly knocking on the door of the human heart.” (Ibid. 90.)