Wiping the Face of Christ

I had brought my daughter to the emergency room one night a few years ago. She was in pain and so I sat with her in a crowded emergency wait area and we waited. And we waited. Time seems to pass so slowly when we or a loved one is suffering.

The hospital staff were obviously overwhelmed with the amount of patients seeking care. I surveyed our wait area and noticed an elderly woman sitting in a wheel chair in the corner of the room. She looked very ill and feeble. She was quietly spitting up in a plastic bag the nurse had given her. She was alone.

The elderly woman’s face became sweaty and smeared with her spittle. Her breathing seemed very labored and she longingly looked at each medical attendant as they whizzed by, trying to be patient and wait her turn. She began coughing, almost choking. I looked around the room and found that not one person was even looking up to check on the woman. I realize these people were in an emergency room and had some type of medical issue, but most seemed young and healthy compared to the elderly woman in the corner of the room.

I was sitting across the room and asked the woman if she would like a cloth to wipe her face. She nodded that she would. I retrieved a cloth from the nurse’s station and handing it to the woman asked if she had family with her. She told me that she did not. I sat next to her and volunteered to call someone for her. She asked if I could call her daughter. After calling both of the woman’s daughters, who were both busy with work, the elderly woman asked that I call her brother. Her brother seemed confused by my phone call; I handed the phone to the woman and let her explain to her brother. Finally, a family member took an interest in the woman’s health and agreed to meet her at the hospital. Knowing that someone was going to be there for her, seemed to relieve the woman. I saw her smile as she handed me back my phone. Not long afterwards, a nurse opened the door and called the woman’s name. She was finally leaving the wait area. She smiled and told me thank you. She pointed at me and told the nurse, “that is my sister.” It was humbling and unexpected. As I rejoined my daughter, who as it turned out was having appendicitis, I was again humbled to hear my daughter say to me, “I would never let you come alone.”

What happened to kindness in the world?

Today during Good Friday Service, I found myself sitting near the 6th Station of the Way of The Cross, depicting Veronica wiping the Face of Christ. I found myself contemplating the simple act of kindness that brought a moment of comfort to our suffering Lord, Jesus.

It has been Church tradition that after the death of Jesus, His mother visited daily the scenes of Christ’s Passion. The origin of the Way of The Cross is the Holy Land as still today pilgrims reverently walk the Via Dolorosa at Jerusalem. It developed over time to the 14 stations we have today.

Veronica and her cloth are not mentioned in the gospels. She and her act of kindness have been a tradition passed down through the centuries. It is unknown if Veronica was truly her name or what became of her; but there is proof of her existence in the Veil of Manoppello, Italy.

The Veil has many similarities to the Shroud of Turin. Like the Shroud, its image is not painted on the cloth, but rather, apart of the cloth. The image when placed over the Shroud is an exact match. Like the Shroud, it has a history of being stolen and hidden until it found its home with the Cupuchins in Manoppello in the 1600s.

As I venerated the Cross of Jesus today, I wondered if I had been alive back then, would I have tried to comfort Him? I cannot go back in time; I must comfort Jesus by being kind and loving to my brothers and sisters here now. I like to think that as I handed the elderly woman the cloth, it was also an act of comfort to my Lord, Jesus. There is no time outside of this world. We can through our prayers and works of mercy be a comfort to Jesus during His Passion just as Saint Veronica. He will leave an imprint on our hearts just as He left an imprint on Veronica’s veil.

C’est Bon

Love, Sherry

My Friend Shirley

I was a young mother moving away from my home of south Louisiana to Virginia where my husband was stationed with the US Navy.  The year was 1988 and there were no cell phones, home computers or GPS devices.  It was a new life in a big city with no family or friends for hundreds of miles.

 My husband would be traversing mostly onboard the USS Shreveport; I had to figure out how to navigate an unknown area with two children under four years old.  My solution was to look up addresses of businesses in a phone book.  I then located the address on a city map and mapped out a route from my location to my destination.  I was able to find my way to the grocery store, medical facilities, church and so on.  I am a person with no sense of direction, so I felt quite accomplished with myself!  My first year in Virginia, I was a stay- at- home mom getting acquainted with new surroundings and reassuring my little ones that this new, strange land was safe and was now home.

A year later, during one of my husband’s deployments, I felt secure enough to venture out into the workforce.  After obtaining a sitter for the kids, I walked up the steps to Sussex Apartments’ office and met my future boss/friend, Shirley.

My first impression was – this is not going to work out!  I found Shirley to be nothing like anyone I had ever met.  Here I was, this short, conservative, modest, Catholic wife and mother; there was Shirley, a platinum blonde, heavy make-up and spike high heel wearing divorcee – we were the very definition of opposites!  Looking back on that moment, I imagine it was comical to behold!  She carried herself with such elegance and self-confidence; I knew I had just met a force to be reckon with!

Always polite, I carried on a conversation with Shirley and smiled while she ranted about her current assistant, who she described as “drab and depressing.”  She complimented my smile and thought out loud that I would be such a welcome change to the office.  I left that interview not knowing what the heck just happened!  Shirley and I seemed to hit it off and talk effortlessly – I saw something in her that I lacked, and she evidently saw something in me.  Before long, I was sitting at the front desk and working daily with the ever surprising and bodacious Shirley!

Why the two of us got along so well is still a mystery!  I had two little kids at home and an early bedtime. She had two Russian wolfhounds and no bedtime.  She dressed to kill every day and flirted with every man that walked in the door, married and unmarried alike.  I was friendly and sweet with everyone, but always was careful to keep my distance.  She walked into a room and lit it up with her presence; I was shy and quiet trying not to bring attention to myself.  She visited psychics and was very New Age.  I loved my Catholic faith and had never been exposed to such things. We were worlds apart as far as personality; yet for a time, she was my dearest friend and confidant. 

Shirley had a huge heart!  She genuinely cared about her staff and residents.  I watched her cry over employee firings and rejoice at our accomplishments.  A lonely, elderly neighbor to our office was visited almost every evening by Shirley.  I accompanied her once or twice while the gentleman served us cake and talked about his wife that had passed.  

My best memories of Shirley are from Christmas. Shirley absolutely loved Christmas!  She took great care to decorate for the Christmas season and was a gracious hostess to our Christmas party.  The season of giving just delighted her to no end. 

I still love that dear woman to this day – even though I have not seen her since my family moved back to Louisiana – thirty years ago!  I was just in my mid-twenties then and Shirley and I made plans to visit over the years; but life is just so busy that it never happened.  Each year for Christmas, I receive Virginia salt-water taffy from my friend, and I ship out some Louisiana gumbo to Virginia.   We exchange Christmas cards and catch up once a year.  Since I have seen Shirley, I had a third child, and watched my children graduate and get married.  I am now a grandmother and have a blessed life with my love of thirty-seven years and our dog, Archie.  Shirley, now retired, has been a mother to many fur babies over the years.  I have numerous photos of her rescues who were treated to a wonderful dog life!

The time I spent in Virginia was intimidating – I was a fish out of water.  My friend, Shirley, took me under her wing and filled my days with laughter while listening to her escapades.  Whenever I think of her, I smile, and that has to be the most wonderful compliment I could give anyone – you make me smile!

Merry Christmas Shirley and thank you for the taffy!

Your friend still,

Sherry

Shirley, 1989

Our Little Cajun Saint

“After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb.'” Rev. 7:9-10

Today is the Feast Day of All Saints’ Day. We know from scripture that heaven is filled with multitudes of people from every nation. We know the names of some of these Saints and celebrate them on individual Feast Days; however, most of the heavenly Saints are unknown and are celebrated as a group on November 1st of every year. The reason for the November 1st date is Pope Gregory III, in the sixth century, dedicated a chapel in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to all of the Saints and set the anniversary date as November 1st.

Having been brought up in Cajun country and seeing firsthand the devotion to the Catholic faith here in south Louisiana, I imagine heaven has many many saints with a thick Cajun accent! The most famous of these is known as the “Little Cajun Saint”, Charlene Richard. Charlene left this world at the young age of twelve in 1959. She succumbed to a terminal illness while offering up her sufferings and uniting her cross with Jesus. More than fifty years later, tens of thousands visit her grave site every year to ask for her intercession.

In January 2020, Bishop Deshotel officially opened the cause for canonization of Charlene Richard. This is the first step in a lengthy process to be named a Saint. Charlene’s life will be investigated as well as the many testimonies of miraculous healings attributed to her intercession.

My husband and I have visited Charlene’s grave site over the years and have requested her intercession and prayer. We made a recent trip in early September of this year. I have been suffering from arthritis in my right knee for many years. The pain was close to being intolerable this year. I scheduled an appointment with my orthopedic and expected to be told another shot in the knee would be needed. Instead, I was told a total knee replacement would be needed in the near future. I was given a shot and told I would have to return in three months. This time the shot did nothing. I struggled to walk as every step led to severe pain in that right knee.

I have been blessed to serve as a Eucharistic Minister at my parish church. As I continued to have problems walking, I was forced to ask for a substitute on my weekend to serve. The pain of not being able to serve my Jesus was just as severe as the pain in my knee. The following weekend, I asked my husband to drive me to Charlene Richard’s grave.

The day was lovely and I found the grave site to be just as peaceful as ever. I sat on a nearby bench and prayed. I asked Charlene to pray for me. All I asked for was for the pain to be at a point where I could still stand and serve communion. My husband also joined in praying for Charlene’s intercession. Afterwards, I hobbled towards my husband’s truck; still in severe pain.

There was no difference in my pain or my walk for a couple of weeks. Then once again, it was my turn to serve as Eucharistic Minister at mass. The week leading up to the mass I noticed that I was walking much more easily. The pain in my right knee was still there, but had diminished to a point that I was very capable of serving at mass. And serve I did! I do not consider what happened to me a miraculous healing. I do know that I prayed at Charlene’s grave for a specific intention and that intention was fulfilled! It has been two months and I am still able to walk and serve at mass.

Today on All Saints’ Day, I would like to thank Charlene Richard for her prayers and intercession. I will pray that her cause for sainthood progress so that one day she will be named in the book of Saints.

C’est Bon!

Love Sherry

Building Family and Faith

Many years ago, my children and I were spending the day at my parents’ home, (Maw-maw and Paw-paw), while my husband was busy at work. Paw-paw was busy building a folding camping table that day. My four-year-old, Brennan, stood nearby closely watching his grandfather measuring, sawing and nailing. My dad proudly showed off his carpentry skills for his grandson, who was thoroughly engrossed with the transformation of wood and nails into a fine piece of furniture. When the table was completed, my son ran over to me and Maw-maw and brought us over to see what his grandfather had accomplished. He boldly told his Paw-paw, “When my daddy grows up, he will be able to build too!” My husband drove up right at that moment as we were all chuckling over my son’s comment. He also got a big kick out of it!

This memory reminds me of St. Joseph. I can imagine Jesus as a little four-year-old boy watching his father work with wood; measuring, carving, and creating. As a young child, Jesus would have had that same wonderment as Brennan in seeing the transformation of wood into objects and furniture. He would have looked up to His father, St. Joseph, and would grow up learning the craft, assisting His father.

Not all men are skilled in carpentry, but all fathers are builders. It takes a loving and strong man to build his family, to protect them and guide them as spiritual leaders. St. Joseph is our model of a self-sacrificing husband and father. He did whatever was needed to keep his wife and Son safe, whether it meant finding shelter in a cave or fleeing for a strange land in the middle of the night. He was a man with tremendous faith and he built a Holy Family.

I grew up with a father who was a “jack-of-all-trades”. He could build and fix anything. I was the oldest of four girls and did not appreciate the many skills of my father when I was a girl. I thought at the time it was something all fathers could do. Seeing my father through my children’s eyes, I had a newfound appreciation of his creativity and craftsmanship. Today I look back at the times my father took on huge construction projects such as adding a third bedroom and utility room to our home and I realize he was not just building a home, he was showing his love for his wife and children. Taking time every Sunday to take our family to Mass and visit our grandparents, was my dad’s way of building faith in his family.

My wonderful husband is not a carpenter, but he is a builder. From the moment we left the church as man and wife, he has devoted his whole self and life to our marriage and family. My children, grandkids and I have always felt his love, devotion and protection. Years ago, he was involved with his boys as a football coach; today he leads his children and grandchildren in the rosary on first Fridays.

Looking back on that memory of Brennan, I do see now that his father did grow. We both grew as parents and now as grandparents. His father is a builder of family and of faith. I hope our grandkids look at us just as I saw Brennan look at my dad those years ago, with wonderment and with love.

Brennan with Paw-paw and Maw-maw

Bless my Socks!

I was very lucky to grow up in a home with a mom who was a graduate of Mount Carmel Academy for girls in New Iberia, Louisiana.  In 1870, the Sisters of Mount Carmel opened the school in New Iberia and remained until 1988.  The Sisters of Mount Carmel are religious women dedicated to an active ministry of pre-school, education, spiritual direction and social services.  During my mother’s tenure in the forties and fifties, the Sisters were the primary administrators and teachers at the academy and passed on a very traditional Catholic faith.  Students were taught the importance of the mass, sacraments, praying the rosary, and the blessing of sacramentals.  Students took pride in being chaste and virtuous.   Father Joseph Chauvin wrote, “For is not every Carmel a garden of God where lovely blossoms of virtue bloom?”

It was evident growing up that my mother was in love with God and with the mother of God.  Our house always had a statue of Mary in a front flower bed.  Just as she had assisted one of the Sisters at Mount Carmel with painting statues during her high school years; my mother would lovingly clean and paint her statues if they became weather-worn and dull.  She kept blessed objects in our home and holy water.  There were numerous times during a stormy night, I would see my mother running around our home sprinkling holy water for protection.  Her rosary was kept beside her bed and she always ended her day with her rosary and prayers.  I watched her light candles in church for a special intention or in thanksgiving.  She often spoke of the saints, especially St. Anthony and Theresa.  My mother lived her Catholic faith and she made sure her husband and four girls, (while we were still under their roof), lived it with her.

One’s faith either grows or withers away.  Due to the great foundation given to her by the Sisters of Mount Carmel, mom’s faith has never wavered.  She and my father are now retired and live a quiet life.  Even though they are part of the high risk group during this pandemic, they still live their faith by watching mass daily on TV and spending time each day in prayer and reflection.  The two of them turn 80 this year!

We celebrated mom turning eighty in July.  For one of her presents, I bought her some religious socks.  A local Catholic gift shop had a selection of socks with designs such as Mary, Joseph and St. Theresa.  After much thought, I settled on a pair of rosary socks and Mary socks for mom.  I knew that she loved wearing socks and would get a kick out these!  She was surprised and very pleased with her gift.  She was so pleased, that later that evening I received a phone call from mom telling me that she would be bringing her new socks to her local priest for him to bless them!  This really tickled me!  I laughed and told her, “Mom, I do not think anyone has ever asked Father to bless their socks!”.  Mom went on to say that I was to make sure she was buried in her blessed Mary socks!

The Catechism teaches: “Among sacramentals, blessings (of persons, meals, objects, and places) comes first. Every blessing praises God and prays for His gifts. In Christ, Christians are blessed by God the Father, with every spiritual blessing.”  Sacramentals “are sacred signs which bear a resemblance to the sacraments. They signify effects, particularly of a spiritual nature, which are obtained through the intercession of the Church. By them, men are disposed to receive the chief effect of the sacraments, and various occasions in life are rendered holy.”.

A mother never stops being a mother.  Mary was Jesus’ mom not just on earth; she is His mother in heaven.  Because we have now become children of God and brother and sisters of Christ, Mary is now too our mother in heaven.  Even though I am now a mother and grandmother, my mother is still mom.  She is still teaching me how to live my Catholic faith.  She is still setting an example for her family and showing us the way to heaven.  I only hope I am doing the same for my children.

Well, I will be giving socks for Christmas this year.  Oh, and they will be blessed!

Love,

Sherry

 

Not the Plant Lady

My mom and dad had the green thumb.  In fact, they had green fingers and hands too!  Our little home had citrus trees and flowers.  Dad planted a garden each season and his vegetables were famous for their size and taste.  Mom took great care in the front flower beds to have attractive roses, four-o’clocks, lilies and irises. Her flowers were always a beautiful setting for Mom’s statues of our Blessed Mother, other saints and Jesus.   While growing up, I watched these plants become fertile and produce year after year; not realizing the care and work involved in maintaining a garden.  I never fully appreciated the fruits of my parents’ labor or their hard work and patience with nature.

I married a wonderful man.  He is a great husband and spiritual leader of the family.  He is not a gardener.  And lo and behold, I did not receive the green thumb gene!  In the early days of our marriage, my attempts at keeping a house plant alive were indeed a challenge!  I tried a few times, and after a few failures, I decided, “who needs plants anyway?”.

So, we bought vegetables at the market.  Sometimes we were given some by my dad, who maintained a garden into his seventies.  If I wanted flowers, I bought them at market.  I told myself they were even prettier than if I had grown them myself.  All was well in my non-green world…until six years ago.

Six years ago, my children were grown and on their own.  We had two grandchildren and my husband and I decided to make the move from our home town to Youngsville, Louisiana to be closer to our family.  It was our first time living in a neighborhood with a HOA. There are rules requiring flower beds.  We did not panic… our flower beds have azaleas and other perennials that require minimum maintenance.  Our backyard is fenced in and private with trees and a pasture in the rear.  As I sat on my back patio during my first year in the new home, a thought popped into my head that I really needed a fig tree.  My favorite fruit has always been figs.  I grew up with them in the back yard and so the tree also held some fond memories of being young and carefree.

I expressed my desire to plant a fig tree to my husband.  His words said, “sure, we will get one.”, but his eyes said, “what are you thinking?”.  Each year since, during planting season, I would remind my husband that we had agreed to plant a fig tree in the back yard.  Each year his words said, “yes we will”, while I saw in his face that planting anything went against all his beliefs and convictions.  It was enough to have to mow, trim and weed the darn flower beds that we are forced to maintain, I am sure was going through his mind.  Each spring we sat on the back patio and enjoyed the quiet, the birds, the breeze, but not a flower or fruit in sight, until Mother’s Day a couple of years ago.

On a beautiful mother’s day, my son and daughter-in-law showed up at my home with a gardenia as my present.  I knew nothing about gardenias.  My son’s beautiful wife had a grandfather who was a rose expert, and she has inherited her family’s love and skill of horticulture.  I felt enormous pressure as I imagined planting this lovely gardenia in my back yard only to see it wither away as had all my other attempts at gardening.  The Plant Lady, I am not!  It was such a lovely gift and my son married such a lovely woman, that I had to plant that gardenia and it just had to live and bloom! I did not want to let her down!  I did my research.  I spent the next day reading all about gardenias and their needs.  I spent the next few days looking for the perfect spot in my yard that was not too sunny and not too shady.  The following weekend, my husband and I got the very clean shovel out of the garage, dug a hole and planted the flowering bush.  We watered it and we were both pleasantly surprised when we felt quite accomplished. We were rooting for the little fellow to make it!

Summer months came, (extremely hot in southern Louisiana), and we took turns watering our little gardenia.  Winter came and the gardenia was still alive.  Snow actually fell that winter, (a very small amount), and we feared that it would not survive.  Our fears gave away to excitement as early spring found little blossoms on our gardenia.  I took pictures of them like they were our children!  These delicate white blossoms  were the fruits of our love and care.  Once again, I reminded my husband that we had not planted our fig tree.  Once again I was told that we would get that tree real soon….

Fast forward to today.  This morning I walked out into the back yard with our dog, Oscar, and was thrilled to see our little gardenia full of blossoms.  The yard smelled heavenly!  It brought such a smile to my face and heart!  I gathered a few flowers and set them in a vase so that my home would be filled with their sweet fragrance.  My husband walked into the room; I showed him my bouquet and boldly proclaimed, “today, we are getting that fig tree!”.  My joy at that moment wore down his years of hesitation.  Lo and behold, this afternoon we drove up to our house with a fig tree!  And not just any fig tree, it is a LSU Purple Fig Tree!  (Big LSU fans here) Tomorrow we plant the fig tree.  I cannot wait to see what it will produce.

I am starting to get into this plant stuff.  I think I will make a Mary garden around the little gardenia.  Perhaps some roses, four-o’clocks, lilies and irises.  My poor husband!

Cest Bon!

Love,

Sherry

 

 

 

A Boy at the Cross

Growing up in Cajun country, Good Friday was a day to attend church services at 3:00 and solemnly venerate the cross.  Once the service was completed, families gathered together for a meal (usually a crawfish boil), and then spent the rest of the day celebrating family and the upcoming Easter festivities.  Until I was grown with grandchildren, I did not fully understand the magnitude of what happened on the first Good Friday.  At that time, I chose to spend the afternoon taking my grandchildren to Good Friday services;  there would be no family gatherings for celebration until Easter Sunday.

A few years ago, I attended Good Friday services at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Milton, Louisiana with my nine-year old granddaughter and my six-year old grandson.  The church was dark and quiet.  My grandson, who was a very talkative young man, fell asleep on the pew not long after services began.  I did not wake him.  At the time of veneration of the cross, the congregation was told to remove shoes and walk up to the cross barefoot.  At that time I awakened my grandson and instructed this sleepy little boy to remove his shoes so that we can go up to the cross.  He was a little confused by all this, but I did not have time to fully explain. I got his shoes off, and then we were up and walking up the aisle to kiss the cross of Jesus.

My grandson was ahead of me and in no time at all, it was his turn to walk up and kiss the cross in veneration.  Now he was really confused.  He stood about 3 feet away and just looked at the cross.  My mind was racing….what should I do if he continues to just stand there! I had a real fear that he would turn around and ask me what were these people doing! Embarrassed that the line of people were being held up, I decided I would just walk ahead of him, kiss the cross and take him by the hand with me back to our pew.  No sooner had I made this decision; he finally took a few steps, softly kissed the cross and it was my turn. I really  regretted not talking to him about the service beforehand.  I had much explaining to do on the way home!

The following week I attended mass and apologized to Father.  I told him my grandson had been sleeping and was confused about what was going on during Good Friday service.  He immediately asked me if my grandson was the boy who just stood there looking at the cross.  I winced and told him yes, it was.  Father told me not to apologize; many people afterwards had told him they were greatly moved by seeing this young boy stand and look at the cross before walking over to kiss the wood.  He thought it very touching himself!  I was highly relieved and felt very foolish.  I had only seen my drowsy grandson holding up a line of devout Catholics wanting to venerate the cross.  God had it planned that everyone else saw how we should approach the cross – as a child, full of awe and wonderment.  A boy standing if front of his Redeemer.

Yesterday was Good Friday, 2020.  It will forever be remembered as the day mankind truly walked the Passion with Our Lord.  Never was there a time when the world felt so helpless, lonely and forsaken.  Yesterday afternoon, I spent time with Jesus and reflected on His sacrifice and the sacrifices forced upon mankind during this pandemic.  His great pain was not caused by the physical torture and crucifixion; but by the abandonment of His friends and the emotional torture of viewing His beloved mother’s anguished and deeply grieved face as she stood by Him through it all.

It is impossible to reflect on the passion of Jesus Christ and not acknowledge the suffering endured by His mother.  I can imagine in that walk to Calvary, Mary’s mind was flooded with memories of the baby she held in Bethlehem and presented in the temple; and the boy she nurtured, fed, and loved.  Others saw only a man.  She saw the Christ child that she was blessed to bring into this world; a world that hated and persecuted Him.  Mothers everywhere can sympathize with this holy mother of all mothers.  It was her baby boy on that cross.  I am sure she stood there confused by the angry mob and the hatred spewed out towards her Son, who was all good and loving.

Her heart was pierced just as His side was pierced for our transgressions.

This Holy Week, my heart has been pierced by the separation from my children and grandchildren.  I can do nothing but stand at the cross and pray for mercy.  I approach the cross as my grandson did those years ago – in awe and wonderment.  He is my redeemer.  By His stripes, I am healed.

In the end, this too will pass.  There will be a resurrection.  I will once again spend time with my family and friends.  I will not take that time for granted.  For now, I spend my days with Jesus and His mother.  They know my pain, because they lived it and so much more than I could ever imagine!

LORD BY YOUR CROSS AND RESURRECTION YOU HAVE SET US FREE!

 

 

 

 

God Hit the Pause Button

“My Soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with Me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” When He returned to His disciples He found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with Me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  Matthew 26:38-41

These are wondrous days.  Years from now we will talk about the “Great Pause” of 2020.

Just a few months ago, life was normal.  Everyone went busily about their day.  Work, school, extra-curricular activities, and other mundane tasks filled our minutes, hours and thoughts.  Days sped by at the speed of light.  There was very little time for prayer, stillness, watchfulness, and God.  Most of humanity were caught up in this endless cycle of wake, work, and repeat.   Then along came a virus.

Society had long ago decided that God was not welcomed in its schools, courthouses, places of business, and stadiums.  These entities are now empty, dark and desolate.

The Church Jesus began 2000 years ago has seen division and bickering among the chosen leaders.  Sacraments have been abandoned, just as Jesus Himself was abandoned in the garden.  Many Christians have decided to forego the cup and instead pick and choose the teachings of Christ that suit their lifestyle.  Sunday mass was looked upon as a chore with many finding any and every excuse to stay away.

Today, the priests stands alone in celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  Parishioners cannot partake of the precious sacraments.  We have been asleep while Jesus waited for us.

The test is here.  This is a loving warning from our Father in heaven.  What lessons are we being taught in this Great Pause of 2020?  Hopefully, we have realized that only God is in charge.  He must be the center of our lives and families.  He thirsts for us.  We must thirsts for His love.

We must welcome God back into our homes, schools, courthouses, businesses and every day lives.  When the church doors open, we must look forward to worshiping Him joyfully.  We must follow the example of Jesus Christ and do the Will of our Father.  We must pray and we must listen – listen to each other and to our Lord.

Ask your Father to give you grace and strength to do His Will.  Trust in Jesus.  Keep watch, spend time with Him.

Is your spirit willing?

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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