I SAW GOD TODAY

I SAW GOD TODAY

Yesterday was the Feast Day of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of Mary and grandparents of Jesus.  As I drove through dark, empty streets to an early morning mass, I had time to reflect on the tiny miracles God had bestowed upon my family.  The names of these little miracles are Oliver and Olivia.

February 7, 1985, my husband and I were blessed to become the parents of our precious firstborn, a daughter.  The next seven years, we were blessed with two sons and our family was complete; or so we thought.  February 7, 2007 was the day we were proud to become grandparents to a sweet granddaughter.  Two years later, we celebrated the birth of her brother, our first grandson.

With each milestone our family celebrated, we have grown in number, in faith and in grace.  We have shared sacraments together including baptisms, first communions and weddings.  The years have brought good times and precious memories as well as hardships, illness and difficult times.

One such difficult time was the inability of our eldest son and his wife to conceive.  Each wedding anniversary for them was a time to celebrate, but also a reminder of the fact they remained a family of two and childless.  They heard the usual comments, “it will happen when the time is right…”  The love between the two of them and their love for Christ was evident as was the longing for a child.  It is natural for a man and wife to want to share their love with a child created by their love and God.  A child that is not only apart of their family, but also God’s family – God’s child.

As a mother, my heart ached for them and the emptiness they felt.  As a Catholic, I knew that I had to put my trust in God and wait for His Will.  Still, I felt I should do something!  I remembered hearing a story about Mother Teresa.  It was said that upon hearing a young couple lament over their infertility, Mother advised the woman to wear a Miraculous Medal and pray for our Mother Mary’s intercession.   The story goes that the couple returned a year later to inform Mother Teresa they had conceived.

So, in early 2018, I purchased a Miraculous Medal, had it blessed and wore it around my neck.  Our family prayed and put our trust in the Lord and we waited.

Ten months later, I took a trip with my daughter and two grandchildren.  While in my hotel room, my Miraculous Medal broke off the chain around my neck and fell to the floor.  I picked it up and quickly reattached the medal.  It had never done that before.

Upon returning home; I was relaxing with my husband and telling him all about my adventure, when there was a knock on our front door.  We greeted my son and his wife and soon learned that the day we had prayed and wished for had come!  My husband and I cried tears of joy upon learning our daughter-in-law was indeed with child!

We thanked God for His answer to our prayers.  I thought about the medal around my neck.  I decided I would continue to wear it as a prayer for a healthy pregnancy and delivery.  A few short weeks later, I looked down and saw just the chain on my chest; the medal was gone.  I knew it was a sign from above that there was no need to worry.

A friend of mine long ago said, “When God answers prayers, He does it in a big way, so that you know it is Him!”.  This was never more true, than the day my son phoned me with the news that there was not only one baby, but two!  He and his wife would be blessed with twins!

Ezekiel 28:26, “then they shall know that I, the Lord, am their God!”

June 12, 2019, our little family grew by two and our number of grandchildren doubled in a matter of minutes!  Two perfect little miracles were born!

Turning into the church parking lot yesterday, I could not help but joyfully laugh at God’s goodness.  The past three years have been a lesson in trust, perseverance and faith.  I thought about Saints Joachim and Anne; how they endured years of infertility before giving birth to the child who would become the mother of us all. Then they became the grandparents of the Savior of the world.

James 1:3-4,   “for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And let perseverance be perfect so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Every time I looked into the eyes of a newborn – my daughter, my sons, my grandchildren – I saw God.  I saw His handiwork.  His handiwork is always perfect.

James 1:16-18, “all good giving and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no alteration or shadow caused by change. He willed to give us birth by the Word of Truth that we may be a kind of first fruit of His creatures.

Amen

 

Old Dogs and Angels

Old Dogs and Angels

Oscar was my empty-nest puppy.  It was 2004 and my first-born and only daughter had just moved away from home.  Her two brothers kept my husband and I very busy; but seeing my first child who called me “Mom” drive away, left a little hole in my heart.   I decided soon after that I would get a puppy.

There was no question as to which breed of dog I would choose.  I have always been partial to Shetland sheepdogs or “shelties”.  This breed has the “Lassie” look but are much smaller and easier to handle.  I found a breeder near us and my youngest son and I picked out the runt of the litter.  He was small and shy.  I fell in love that little runt and named him Oscar.  He was nervous and unsure of his new home.  Oscar stuck to me like glue.

That was nearly 15 years ago and Oscar still sticks to me like glue!  He has aged well, but my 15 year old sheltie is very different from the little runt I brought home.  As a younger dog, Oscar followed me diligently and was quick to jump on my lap as soon as I sat down.  He listened for my return when I was away as he kept watch at the front door.  These days Oscar moves much slower.  He no longer jumps onto my lap.  He is now deaf and does not see as well.  He quietly naps in his bed while I am away.  One thing has remained constant; he is still my shadow.  Once I return home, he follows me from room to room.  He is always close by.  He has spent his entire life trying to keep a careful watch over me.  He has been a most faithful friend.

As I study my old friend these days, I am reminded of another faithful friend who has been my constant companion for my entire life – my Guardian Angel.  Although I have never seen this angel; I believe with all my heart that God’s words are true: ” What are the angels then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by Him to help those who are to receive salvation.” Hebrew 1:14

My angel has watched over me, guided me, and prayed for me.  We have a special, spiritual bond that is beyond human comprehension.  It is a connection ordained by God and for God that began at my conception and will only end as I enter the Kingdom.

Although I have never seen my angel, it sometimes seems that my faithful friend does.  There are occasions when it seems Oscar is seeing something or someone that is only visible to his eyes.  During these episodes, I imagine and hope that somehow my old dog can see my angel.  Perhaps my angel sometimes gently strokes his fur as a reward for his steadfast watchful eye.

Someday I hope to see my angel.  For now I only need to look at Oscar as he faithfully follows me throughout our home; from the time I step out of bed in the morning to the end of my day when he lies in his dog bed right beside mine, to know the love and devotion that my angel must have.

For now I have two angels.  One angel will stay with me for the rest of my days.  One angel will be with me for the rest of his days.  When that day comes, I surely will have a hole in my heart.  I know my guardian angel will comfort me.

Cest Bon

Sherry

 

 

A Birthday Wish for Pope Francis

A Birthday Wish for Pope Francis

Holy Father, I cannot imagine the weight of being the 266th successor of St. Peter!  The entire Church of more than a billion people, look to you for leadership, clarity, and nuturing.  It is an awesome responsibility.  The world is much different than in the days of St. Peter, but the instruction from our Lord Jesus Christ remains the same: “Feed my lambs..Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep…Follow Me.” John 21:15-19

I love the Church Jesus founded on His rock, St. Peter.  I was baptized Catholic as an infant, was married in the Church, and in recent years have witnessed my grandchildren receive their First Communion.  I love the sacraments and understand how precious and wonderful are the treasures of the Church.  These treasures are not money or priceless art, but the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  His living presence is among us to this day!  The Eucharist is guarded by His Church, but also worshipped and adored.  Along with His physical presence, the Church and its leadership are entrusted with keeping sacred the Words and Teachings of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the Truth and the Way.

These are dark days.  As the world blocks out the light of Jesus, darkness prevails.  Many have fallen into this darkness, including some who were ordained into leadership roles of the Church.  Humans are weak.  Even St. Peter at the dawn of the Church denied Jesus Christ.  It was a dark time, but the Holy Spirit gave courage, wisdom and guidance.  A few men fed a handful of sheep with the Truth, which led to a world wide Church today.

Holy Father, you are a man of great humility. I see God’s mercy in all that you do and say.  As we celebrate Advent and the coming of Jesus, my birthday wish for you is that the Holy Spirit give you the courage, wisdom and guidance to bring the light back.  Please have the courage to speak the Truth and “speak the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:31

The flock of Jesus need to understand that sin does exist, so as to avoid the darkenss.  “If your brother sins rebuke him, and if repents, forgive him.” Luck 17:3

Being cautious of offending, has watered down the Truth of Jesus Christ.  Holy Father, be the voice of clarity and truth in this precious Church. May the Holy Spirit always inspire you and give you courage to feed His lambs, tend His sheep, feed His sheep and Follow Him.

Happy Birthday Pope Francis!

THE DAY THE SUN DANCED

Yesterday we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the miracle of Fatima.  October 13, 1917 over fifty thousand people witnessed the sun dance in the sky.  It was the culmination of several months of Mary visiting three shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal.  Mary gave the children secrets and warnings of a second world war.  She begged for conversion, prayer and fasting.  She promised a miracle during her last visit in October.

It was a rainy day a hundred years ago.  The crowd of thousands were drenched and growing impatient with the children when finally the Mother of God arrived.  She brought with her sunshine and a sun miracle.  The crowd stood mesmerized by the movement of the sun and then became horrified as the sun suddenly looked as if it were falling out of the sky.  The vision did not last long, as just as suddenly as it had begun, the sun was back to normal.  The stunned crowd stood in disbelief as they noticed that their drenched wet clothes were completed dry.

I can only imagine the commotion of that day!  The tens of thousands of people included non-believers, believers, young and old.  Many who were ill or handicapped were healed that day.  There must have been screams, crying, rejoicing, praising…  I would have loved to have been there.

Surprisingly, I do know what it feels like to see a miracle of the sun.  About five years ago, my husband and I traveled to Birmingham, Alabama.  We visited Mother Angelica’s beautiful shrine and we made a stop at a little community where one of the Medjugorje visionaries was visiting.  Mary appears to this visionary daily and a group gathered outside the home of the host to say the rosary during the time of the apparition.  It was a beautiful day.  When my husband and I were walking to the site of the rosary, we noticed a beautiful rainbow in the sky.  Following the rosary, a spokesperson announced Mary’s message.  It was now nearing evening.  My husband and I packed up our blanket and rosaries when someone yelled, “Look at the sun!”.

Words cannot describe the beauty I beheld.  The sun was swirling and all colors of the rainbow were flying off of it.  It looked like a giant pinwheel in the sky.  We stood for a few minutes and watched a miracle take place before our very eyes!  I heard someone who was a regular to this community say that this was a rarity and very special.  I could not help but hold my head up and thank my heavenly mother for the spectacular show of God’s majestic creation.  It reminded me that this is God’s world.  It is His sun, His moon, His trees, ….

Too many of us today do not take the time to look up at the sky, smell the flowers, or listen to the sound of the rain.  Our God created these for you and me!  Let us never forget the messages of Mary.  We must live this life by following the teaches of Jesus.  We must never forget that we are a creation of God.  His Spirit lives within us and if we ever feel lost, we need only look up at the sky.

 

BIT OF FATIMA IN CAJUN COUNTRY

My husband and I daily drive around Cajun country in south Louisiana due to our work as insurance inspectors.  We enjoy the ride, chatting about life, finding unique places and meeting interesting people.  Sometimes we say our rosary together to pass the time on extended drives.  We are both devoted to our heavenly mother and pray for her intercession and graces every day.  The love of Mary in this part of the country is very evident to anyone who drives along the many country roads.  We have seen countless statues of Our Lady in front of homes and business.  It always brings a smile to my face to see a special shrine in someone’s yard; knowing that family has the same devotion to the mother of God.

A couple of months ago, during one of these drives, my husband and I came across a special and unique shrine.  In the middle of nowhere, we noticed a sign – “Ave Maria Shrine”.  I quickly asked my husband to pull into the parking area.  The property was very lovely.  There was a pavilion with seating and a small building under the pavilion.  I noticed the grounds were immaculate with rose bushes, statues, and wooden crosses marking the Stations of the Cross.  I was very curious about this shrine, having never heard about it.  My husband was uncomfortable being on this property.  I began to open the truck door and he immediately asked me what I thought I was doing.  I told him I was going have a look inside the building.  He let me know that he did not think that was a good idea; (he was being protective as any good husband should).  I looked again at the sign and told him, “Look, it says it is open from 6am to 6pm. It is open; I am going have a look.”  He knew there was no stopping me; he rolled his eyes and told me that he would turn his truck around while I had a look.

I opened the door to the shrine and was pleasantly surprised to see a statue of Our Lady of Fatima.  It was a small shrine, but there was enough room for a kneeler and a box to place petitions.  I could see that it was lovingly being cared for as there were flowers and candles on the altar.  I wrote a petition, placed it in the box and prayed.  On the way out I noticed a pamphlet on the shrine and took one with me.

My husband was patiently waiting in the vehicle.  I very excited told him what I found inside the shrine.  Together we read the pamphlet.  It stated:

“In June of 1994, two young men from Venezuela, visited the Opelousas Ave Maria Rosary Group.  They claimed to hear and see the Blessed Virgin Mary.  They shared messages of conversion, penance, fasting, sacrifices, weekly confession, daily Rosary and mass.  In April of 1996, she asked the Ave Maria Rosary Group to build a replica of the original Fatima Shrine.  This was built by hard work and donations.  The Shrine was opened November 19, 2000.  We have had claims of healings, conversions, and answered prayers since that time.  We invite you and your families to come to the Shrine to pray and receive the blessings, comfort, and peace from Our Lady….On the first Saturday of each month, Our Lady has promised her presence at the Shrine from 6 pm to 6:05 pm.  She is there to receive our petitions and prayers.”

“How wonderful!”, I exclaimed.  “I will be right back.”, said my husband as he left the vehicle and headed towards the shrine.

We returned to the shrine the following month and said our rosary together there.  We will return there on the 13th of May in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Fatima.  It is also Mother’s Day weekend.  I encourage anyone who is in our area to visit the shrine and thank our mother for her visits to earth, her prayers and intercessions.  The shrine is located at 3484 Prairie Rhonde Hwy., Opelousas, Louisiana.

I cannot make a pilgrimage to Fatima, Portugal; however, I will make a pilgrimage to the little Cajun Fatima Shrine.  It will truly be a special Mother’s Day weekend!

C’est Bon,

Love

Sherry

 

 

Fireflies and Mercy

My husband and I were sitting and talking on our back patio just the other evening.  While we relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company, the sun set and darkness began to surround us.  As our eyes adjusted, the moonlight provided some soft lighting and the fireflies began their shimmering dance across our back yard.  I was quite entertained with the little bright spots of light spinning and zipping around.  My husband then arose from his rocker and stated that he would turn on an outside light.  I quickly told him, “No, we won’t be able to see the fireflies!”.  He laughed, but sat back down and we continued to visit in the darkness all the while enjoying those sparks of light.

Yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday.  I love this Feast Day!  Devotion of Divine Mercy was personally requested by Jesus during church approved apparitions to Saint Faustina.  Sister Faustina was born in 1905 in Krakow, Poland and received many messages from Christ.  He appeared as Divine Mercy and instructed Faustina to have His image painted.  It was His request that the image be venerated and for there to be a Divine Mercy feast day the first Sunday after Easter.   Saint Faustina kept a diary of her heavenly visits and although she was poorly educated and only lived to the age of thirty-three; she was able to achieve all that was asked of her.  If you have not read her diary, I highly recommend you do.

I spent part of the afternoon, on this glorious Divine Mercy Sunday,  watching a documentary on the original painting of Divine Mercy Jesus which was supervised by Saint Faustina.  She wanted the artist to portray Jesus just as she had seen Him.  Of course no painting can capture the beauty of our Divine Lord and Saint Faustina wept at the outcome.  Jesus was not disappointed; however, and informed Sister Faustina that the painting was a reflection of His Grace.

While gazing upon this original painting of Divine Mercy, I noticed how Jesus was surrounded by darkness.  His rays of Mercy shine forth through the darkness as He extends a blessing.  I thought about the fireflies.  In the light of day, fireflies are unnoticeable.  It is only in the black of night that these fireflies shine and sparkle the most.  In the same way, in our own darkness of sin we are called to trust in Jesus and trust in His Mercy.  We can feel Jesus best when we are at our weakest.  We can offer ourselves to Jesus most fully during our most sorrowful days.  It is in our weakness and in darkness that we find His Mercy; it shines forth and washes us with His Grace.

John 8:12 “I am the light of the world”, He said, “whoever follows Me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”

Remember during your darkest days that He is there for you, and His light will show you the Way.  Never be afraid of the dark, trust in Him!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

Grieving the Green-Eyed Monster


It was a beautiful day.  The kind of day that just brings a smile to your face when you first walk out the door.  My husband and I set out for a full day of insurance inspections on a beautiful, sunny March morning.  After over thirty years of marriage and many of that spent apart due to our different professions which required traveling; we appreciated the time we now spent working together.

The first inspection of the day was a home not far from our own home.  In just a few minutes we arrived and knocked at the door of a nicely kept brick home.  An older woman hesitantly opened the door and looked at us nervously with large brown eyes.  I quickly explained who we were and the purpose of our visit.  She smiled and walked outside, noticeably more at ease.  Her name was Vivian and she spent a few minutes answering our questions before we set out to take photographs and attain measurements.

Vivian was chatting with her neighbor when my husband and I stepped into her backyard and noticed a cute little building.  We had to ask Vivian if this was an apartment or just a cute storage shed.  She graciously walked over to her back fence and lovingly looked at the cute building in her backyard.  She explained that was indeed a storage shed and had stored flooring tools for her late husband.  “My husband was a floor man,” said Vivian.  “He laid flooring until the day he retired  I just don’t have the heart to clear out the shed.”  The smile left her face and her eyes welled up with tears.

My husband and I stood by quietly as Vivian began sharing her love story.  We learned that her husband was tragically killed in a car accident.  He kissed her good-bye one morning and never returned.  Tears were now streaming down her face as she relived that day.  There was a tremendous pain in her heart because she never saw him again.  She was told his body was too mangled and broken up.  The casket was closed, but her love and longing for him never did have closure.

Her eyes stayed on that shed, but her heart and mind was with her true love.  We told her we were so sorry for her loss.  She seemed to remember that we were there; she turned and looked at us and smiled through her tears.  I told Vivian that we were Catholics and we believed that our bodies do die, but the soul lives on forever.  She told us that she too was a Catholic.  My husband told Vivian that praying together as a family always helps us in our despair; especially praying the rosary.  She nodded and told him that she loved saying her rosary.  She wiped her face as she told us about her wonderful supportive family.

Her mood changed as she then told us that she had been married for 53 years!  Wow!  They had met at a dance.  Vivian’s face lit up as she recalled the day.  She said she had spotted him from across the dancefloor and told a friend with her, “That is the kind of man I want to marry!”  Her friend happened to know him and introductions were made.  She laughed as she described her late husband as her “green-eyed monster.”  She bragged that he had the most gorgeous green eyes and one big black brow.  The next time she was out, she saw him again.  That time she decided that she would get her “green-eyed monster”.

She was laughing, smiling, and crying all at the same time at these memories.  She got her green-eyed monster and had many happy years of wedded bliss.  She told us that they were never wealthy, but were comfortable and had a good life.

The smile left as she once again looked at his shed.  “I just want him to come home to me,” she cried.  “I don’t feel like living without him.”

It broke our hearts and we held back tears.  We had only just met this woman, yet we felt like she was family.  We wanted so much to ease her pain and take away her suffering, but that was impossible.  The love of her life was departed and she will hurt until she meets him on the other side.

I gently asked her how long had it been since her husband’s accident.  I was expecting her to tell me it had been a few months.  Her answer nearly knocked me over.  “Eight years.”, said Vivian.

EIGHT YEARS!  “Vivian”, I said, “you are living proof that love never dies.”  She laughed at that.  I asked her if she had any grandchildren and  found out that she had several.  I told her that she truly had a blessed life and with all the children and grandchildren the Lord had given her; she still had many blessings in her life.  She agreed.

We both thanked her for sharing her story with us.  She invited us to stop by and visit if we were ever in the area.  My husband told her that we would pray for her while saying our rosary and she smiled and thanked him.

After Vivian retreated back  into her home, my husband and I quickly and silently finished our job.  We climbed into our vehicle once we finished and finally allowed a few tears to fall.  She had touched us so deeply.  She had reminded us that life on this earth is short.  A husband and wife joined in holy matrimony is indeed a celebration of life and a blessing from God.  She also taught us that complete strangers can have such an important message, if one just takes the time to listen.

We drove to our next job holding hands.  I looked over at my wonderful husband and noticed how his green eyes sparkled.