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?

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

His Eye is on the Sparrow

ginger leighToday’s Gospel (Matthew 6:24-34) reminds me of a painting I purchased from artist Ginger Leigh and her story behind the painting.

A couple of years ago I fell in love with a Ginger Leigh folk art painting of two sparrows.  Ginger graciously relayed to me the inspiration behind her sparrow art.  She told me that her mother and father are a part of her art team.  Her father puts together the wood pieces on which she paints, and her mother helps with the painting.  Working together has enriched their father-daughter relationship and made them especially close.

She went on to say that the previous year, her father suffered a heart attack.  Luckily it was mild and he fully recovered; but she told me when it first happened, she was very frightened.  While at the hospital and under a nurse’s care, Ginger heard her father explain to the nurse that God must have been watching over him.  The nurse recalled the words to the gospel song, “For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”  Her father enjoyed hearing those words and told the nurse that when he was young, his nickname was “Sparrow”.  Ginger was very surprised.  As close as she and her father were, she had never heard of that nickname.

The words of the song struck a chord with her.  She then researched the inspiration of the song and was inspired to create her lovely sparrow art.  Ginger told me that I should read the history of the song; she said it was a wonderful story.  I did – and it is!

The song was written by Civilla Martin in 1905.  Civilla and her husband were travelingin New York and stayed at a boarding house owned by Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle.  Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for about twenty years and her husband was confined to a wheelchair.  Despite their obvious afflictions, the couple was happy and a delight to be around.  Civilla’s husband asked the couple for their secret. Mrs. Doolittle simply replied: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”  Two days later, Civilla wrote a poem inspired by Mrs. Doolittle’s words.  These words were put to music by composer Charles H. Gabriel.

“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart by lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy

I sing because I’m free

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.”

We often forget the words of Jesus: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

Jesus, I Trust in You!

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

 

 

Lizards have blankets

1 lizardMy childhood was filled with imagination and fun fantasy thanks to my mom.

I remember going to bed at night and peeking out from under the covers ever so often, hoping to see the “Sand Man”.   I was told that the Sand Man came every night.  He had a bucket full of sand and would fasten the eyelids together of all little children with sand, so that they would have a good night’s sleep.  It made perfect sense to this little girl, who awoke each morning with a crusty-sand-like mixture in her eyes.  I felt this “Sand Man” was extremely aggressive and rude.  I tried and tried to stay awake long enough to get a glimpse of him, but he was too elusive!

My mom could talk to lizards.  We spent a lot of time outside in those days before computers and video games.  Occasionally we would come across a nice green lizard.  Mom would make sure we would stop in our tracks and be very quiet and still.  She would then, in a very authoritative voice, say “Lizard, Lizard, show me your blanket!”  We watched with eager anticipation, and sure enough, that lizard would pump out a great pink blanket from under its belly!  We were so amazed!  Our mother was just so magical in me and my sister’s eyes!

Of course we heard lots of stories about the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.  The Tooth Fairy was one of my favorites. She was a little mouse fairy that flew around gathering little children’s teeth to make her mouse furniture.  I could picture a cute little mouse with wings, a tutu and wand.  But as hard as I tried, I could not imagine why anyone would want furniture made out of teeth!  How uncomfortable!

Role playing and imagination were vital to entertainment in those days.  My friend next door and I played house with our baby dolls.  I had loads of Barbie dolls.  These dolls had a camper, vehicle, and even an airplane!  Mom showed me how to take an ordinary cardboard box and using crayons, transform it into a Barbie house by drawing pictures on the wall and of course furniture! These hand-made houses were more fun than the already made vehicles.  I can remember playing “Ms. America” and answering the all important interview question.  We acted out our favorite movies like “Mary Poppins”.   Making up games was of no consequence.  Our little minds were just brimming with ideas and creativity.

According to mom, loud repeated thunder was God moving furniture.  I did not think God had furniture made from teeth.  I was sure it was gold and heavy – hence the loud thunder!  Mom talked quite a bit about God, Mary, the Saints and angels.  We knew our guardian angel was always watching over us.  We said our prayers every night, talking to God with Mom.  There was not a doubt in my mind that God knew everything I did.  If I did anything that I thought would make my parents mad;  I was also worried that God was mad.  He was a very real part of my life.

I eventually grew up and gave up the games and fantasy.  I never gave up my faith in God and my friends in Heaven.

In some way trusting in imagination leads to lessons in having faith.  Teaching a child to believe in mouse fairies and lizard blankets may seem childish and unproductive, but it is just the opposite.  A child is naturally inclined by innocence to believe.  Children look up to their parents and when a parent embraces the world of the unknown and unseen, a child is taught to have faith.  They understand  that not everything can be seen or touched or fully understood.

At a certain age, I knew there was no Sand Man lurking in the dark corners of my bedroom.  I gave up baby dolls and eventually had three real babies of my own.  I learned the real meaning of Christmas and Easter which has nothing to do with elves and baskets.  I never gave up my faith in God and my friends in Heaven.  I never gave up those evening talks with God.  Although I cannot see Him, I feel His presence and know that He is watching and guiding me and my family.

When I hear parents or teachers today complaining about a child’s imagination, I get sad.  The secular world wants to do away with imagination and fantasy play.  The secular world wants children to believe only in what can be seen and proved.  The secular world does not want to hear about babies in the womb having a soul or that people with disabilities are vital and have purpose.  The secular world does not want to hear about God or Jesus or Mary or Angels or Hell or anything of the spiritual realm.  It has an agenda that robs children of innocence and a proper childhood.

So, this summer, sit with your kids and watch Mary Poppins then act out your favorite scenes.  Take a walk outside and make your child giggle when you make a lizard show his blanket.  Look for fireflies and call them “lost fairies” looking for their home.  Then put your little one to bed and say a goodnight prayer to God together.

But you can leave out the Sand Man. He is too creepy!

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

Franny’s Poor Angel!

It is taught by the Catholic Church that we all are given a guardian angel the moment we are conceived in the womb and created by

guardian angelOur Lord.  Hebrews 1:14: “What are the angels then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by Him to help those who are to receive salvation.”  Since it is God’s plan that we are all called to be with Him in eternity, it stands to reason that we all are given this angel as a guide throughout life.

According to the book, Get Us Out of Here, by Nicky Eltz, some of us have more than one angel.  Eltz spent quite a bit of time interviewing Marie Simms, an Austrian Mystic.  Marie claimed to have been visited by poor souls in Purgatory for much of her life. (She died in 2004)  The book is fascinating.  According to Marie all of us have at least one angel.  Doctors and Religious have two guardian angels.  These angels stay with us on earth and in Purgatory until we make it into Heaven.

When I read Marie’s testimony of Doctors having two angels; I immediately thought of my sister-in-law who is a Doctor.  I called her mom and told her that her daughter had two guardian angels.  She was not surprised and said she had known that for quite some time.  When asked to explain, she told me that when my sister-in-law was very little she told her mother that she had two angels.  She even knew their names, Meredith and David!

I too was not surprised.  I have always heard that little children often times can see and sometimes communicate with guardian angels.  In rare cases adults, such as Padre Pio, have also had the ability to communicate with an angel.

That got me wondering about my sister, Franny’s, angel.

I am ten years older than Franny, so I witnessed her grow up.  At a very young age, Franny had a very real but very imagined friend.  I would sit on my bed doing homework and listen to her have very involved conversations with this invisible girl – I cannot remember her name.  It got to the point where I asked my mother if something was wrong with Franny “in the head.”  My mother told me lots of kids have imaginary friends and she would grow out of it.  I remember thinking that my mother had to be wrong.  There was no way any “normal” child could have such lengthy discussions with an imaginary friend.

Now I wonder if that could possibly have been her angel.

Now let me tell you about Franny.  She was accident prone, a free-spirit, and definitely T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  I have always felt sorry for my parents for the stress raising Franny must have caused; but now that I think about it, her angel must need a serious vacation!

I witnessed her guardian angel in action.  She could barely walk and was standing beside the kitchen cabinet one day while my mom was fixing dinner.  I was sitting on the floor trying to get her attention.  Suddenly my mom dropped a knife.  I had a clear view of a knife barreling straight down, sharp side down, heading for my sister Franny’s head.  All of this occurred in the blink of an eye.  I clearly witnessed the knife make a sharp left turn and fall on the floor beside my sister.  I was shocked.  I knew enough about physics to know that nothing could have made the knife turn like that.  I jumped up and quickly told my mother what I had just witnessed.  My mom saw God’s Hand in everything and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Must have been her guardian angel.”  I thought there was no other explanation.

By the time Franny was two she had made multiple trips to the emergency room.  There was a burn from a floor furnace, stiches on the lips from a fall while climbing on a high chair…

My favorite story of all is the quarter.  At the age of seven, Franny was home from school due to having pneumonia.  I guess she was bored and decided to fling a quarter in the air and try to catch it with her mouth.  She was really good at this.  In fact she was so good that the quarter eventually went straight down into her throat!  I was in my room and could hear a huge commotion in the kitchen.  When I entered I saw my dad holding Franny upside down while hitting her back.  Franny was red and choking.  My mother – the nurse- was frantic and screaming.  My dad yelled at my mom to grab the car keys. (The hospital was only about two miles away).  My frantic mother yelled that she did not know where her keys were and ran into her room to find them.  I could see my car keys.  I grabbed them and my dad and I took off for the hospital.  My dad was driving and Franny was sitting on my lap.  Lo and behold, as soon as she was upright again, she swallowed that quarter.

We drove up to the emergency room and my dad instructed me to take my sister inside and inform the nurse that she has pneumonia and had swallowed a quarter.  I was mortified and asked him why he was not going in.  He calmly stated that he left in such a hurry, he did not put any shoes on his feet.  I brought my sister who was breathing but still sobbing, into the emergency room.  My dad left to get shoes.

I told the nurse what happened.  She began filling out paperwork.  She looked at Franny crying and asked her what was wrong.  Franny told her that her back was hurting.  The nurse said, “That is probably from the pneumonia, honey.”  Franny immediately set her straight, “No, it hurts because my dad was hitting it!”  Again, I was mortified.  The nurse just laughed.  She took Franny get an X-ray.

At that moment a mad woman came barreling in the emergency room driveway in a red station wagon.  I knew the car and I knew the woman – it was mother!  Poor thing, she had no idea if her child was alive or dead!  She walked in just in time to see Franny coming out of X-ray and then a clear picture of a shiny quarter already settled in her stomach.

That quarter stayed in Franny for six months.  When scans showed it could not be passed and was in danger of blocking her intestines, it had to be surgically removed.   My mom called it her thousand dollar quarter!

Over the years there have been many more Franny tales and adventures.  She is married now and has two beautiful children.  Of course she still makes trips to the emergency room, recently breaking her foot!

I just have to laugh and say “Franny’s Poor Angel!”

 

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

Highway to Hell

My husband and I like old music.  We like most of the music from the

20130927_070409seventies and sixties, whether it be rock, country, pop, blues, …

A couple of weeks ago we had the TV on and the Grammys had just started.  We do not watch the Grammys; however AC/DC started the show so we thought we’d watch a little.

It ran through my mind the moment the show started that it was so sad how satan has taken over the music industry.  Music has changed in my opinion, and not for the better.

Not long after having this thought, AC/DC begins singing “Highway to Hell” and the entire audience had glowing red devil horns on their heads.  It was an ugly confirmation to what music has become…a mockery.

It is believed by many that lucifer was a very high ranking angel in charge of the ministry of music.  I believe there is beautiful music in heaven; music that glorifies our Lord.  Here on earth, our music can either glorify God or not.  It is sad to see that so many famous and glorified music talent of today choose to glorify sex, drugs, violence…anything but God.

Think about it.  God created the angels with specific jobs in mind.  There was one angel who was given great beauty and wisdom.  This angel was to always be in God’s presence and had the great responsibility of keeping the beautiful flow of godly music throughout the heavens.  Next God creates man in His own image.  Man has an immortal soul and is made to one day share in God’s divine nature.  The angles became man’s protector, guide and servant.  Out of jealousy of man, one angel with much power headed a rebellion against the Creator.

What did God do?  Those angels were cast out of heaven.  God sent His only Son to save mankind.  Jesus was tempted by the evil one just as we are tempted.  He was promised riches and control over all of the world.  Jesus instead took up a cross and allowed Himself to be murdered rather than go against His Father.

The devil is very cunning.  He has been very patient and has gradually diluted man’s sense of right and wrong.  He used his ministry of music to begin planting seeds of revolt.  I am not sure when exactly the change began.  My first memory of seeing talent stripped of any decency was Madonna.  She chose the name Madonna in mockery of Mary.  She then had hit after hit with songs that snubbed moral teachings.  Her aim was to be the exact opposite of the true Madonna, who was humble, respectful, holy and not just “like a virgin”; she is the perpetual virgin!  “Like a virgin’s” Madonna is rich and powerful. She has a huge following; but at what price?

Not all music is influenced by the devil.  God still has good angels.  There is music today that is wholesome and good.

So ask yourself- what music are you listening too?  What are the lyrics?  What are your children and grandchildren listening to?  Does your taste in music glorify our Lord?

I am sure that when the audience at the grammys had on their devil horns and were laughing and enjoying themselves; lucifer must have been laughing and enjoying it as well.  He only wants to lead man astray. He hates us.  We are the cause of his fall from the heavens.

Jesus who allowed Himself to be tortured and killed for our sins and transgressions, must have been very sad by this mockery.  His mother was probably shedding tears again.

Play some music in your home today.  Music that is good and decent.  Music that glorifies God, not man.

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry