Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Savior Is Born

  • And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
  • And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. And the angel said to them:
  • Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.
  • And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying:
  • Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Happy Feast Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe!

“I will demonstrate, I will exhibit, I will give all my love, my compassion, my help and my protection to the people. I am your merciful mother, the merciful mother of all of you who live united in this land, and of all mankind, of all those who love me , of those who cry to me, of those who seek me, of those who have confidence in me. Here I will hear their weeping, their sorrow and will remedy and alleviate all their multiple sufferings, necessities and misfortunes.”  -Our Lady's message to Juan Diego

Prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe:

Remember, O most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, that in your apparitions on Mount Tepeyac you promised to show pity and compassion to all who, loving and trusting you, seek your help and protection.

Accordingly, listen now to our supplications and grant us consolation and relief. We are full of hope that, relying on your help, nothing can trouble or affect us. As you have remained with us through your admirable image, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Too Many Friends?

Several years ago, I had a friend we'll call Angela. We met when our boys were really small and we would occasionally socialize, but I really only knew her through school activities. We weren't great friends, but we were more than acquaintances, too. One day, she made a comment I will never forget.

"I have too many friends," she said with a laugh. "I'm not out to make any new ones. I've got enough!"

I laughed along with her, more out of shock than anything else, and also wondering if it was just her sometimes-brash sense of humor, or if she really meant it. It wasn't long after she made that comment that our friendship seemed to die a natural death, and I wondered if I had somehow found myself in her pile of "too many friends."

I thought about her today as I volunteered in a community event that provides Christmas toys for needy children. I had never volunteered in anything outside of school and church activities, so I was looking forward to meeting some new faces and getting to know some friendly ladies in my community. For me, it was a way of branching out this Advent to do something for others that I had never done before, to get outside of myself and my own little world with its problems, and I found myself looking forward to the event. I checked in, received a name tag and looked around the room with a smile, ready to get to know some future friends, perhaps. It would be fun to get to know each other while we worked sorting toys and other presents. I said hello to some of the ladies, who were pleasant enough, but not overly warm and friendly. I shrugged it off, figuring maybe it was too early in the morning, and the ladies wanted to get down to the business at hand, so I got to work doing what the leader instructed me to do. I found myself sitting on the floor a little while later, folding extra gift tissue and hoping for a little conversation. "Hi," I said with a smile to the lady working next to me. "I'm Nancy."

She looked a little perplexed. She paused and did not answer right away.  "I'm Susie," she said warily. I got the feeling I took her by surprise.

"Nice to meet you," I said, still smiling.

I never got a response.

Well, I thought to myself, that's the end of that, I guess.

I felt bad for a split second, then shrugged it off and continued with my work. I made some comments to the other ladies about the nice toys that were there, but they weren't overly friendly either. I started thinking that maybe people were shy or having a bad morning, only to hear Susie later laughing and talking amiably with another lady working with us. Apparently they knew each other from before. As I tended to my duties, I couldn't help but think that perhaps, like Angela, this woman just had "too many friends." To me that does not seem possible. How could anyone have too many friends? The more, the merrier I say!

I'll never forget when I was about 19 or 20, a good friend of mine and I were making plans for a Saturday night outing. She happened to mention that some friends from her school wanted to come along as well, and figured it might be a problem, so she said she'd tell them that she would  see them another time.

"Why would you do that?" I wanted to know. "Ask them to come too!"

She seemed a little confused and unsure about mixing two groups of friends, and then said with a little laugh, "You know, Nancy, you are the only person I know who mixes so well with everyone."

"Well, why not?" I said. "It's more fun that way."

In my mind, come one, come all. I love meeting new people. If a friend wants to bring a friend I don't know to a gathering, I'm all for it. I will make that person feel as comfortable as I can.  It always boggles my mind how some people don't like or are afraid to socialize with new people or people they don't know. To me, it's a friend you haven't met yet! And I don't bite!

But I suppose there are those who are who are leary of new faces, who are uncomfortable around someone new.

Well, I guess that's okay, too. God made us all different.

But that's not going to stop me from holding out my hand for a shake and saying, "Hi! I'm Nancy! What's your name?"

You can never have too many friends!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Little Girl's Love For the Most Blessed Sacrament

"You come to me and unite Yourself intimately to me under the form of nourishment. Your Blood now runs in mine, Your Soul, Incarnate God, compenetrates mine, giving courage and support. What miracles! Who would have ever imagined such!"
—St. Maximilian Kolbe

Of her First Communion, in which St. Therese received Love Himself personally for the first time, she writes, "It was a kiss of love, I felt myself loved, and I replied, ‘I love You and I give myself to You forever." In her little notebook Therese wrote down all the days on which she received Jesus in Holy Communion. Her second meeting with Jesus was equally as intimate. Of this wedding Therese recalled the words of St. Paul, "It is no longer I who life, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal. 2:20).

This past Sunday, we opted to sit right up front for Sunday Mass. Our pastor always jokes about how Catholics always sit in their same spots week after week, claiming certain seats as our own, and oftentimes that's true for my family. We do tend to favor the left side, a few rows from the back. Ah, the comfort of routine! But with one of my sons serving as an altar boy, I thought it might be nice to sit directly in back of him in row two.  It really does limit distractions during Mass, and I find that things that shouldn't irk me that do irk me...well, they don't irk me, because I simply don't see them! Does that make sense? (Well, if you had to go back and read that sentence a second time, don't fret. I do it all of the time in my advancing age)!

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised by one little distraction, I have to say. It was a good distraction, actually, because it was so sweet and endearing. A little girl in a purple dress came down the aisle with her father after almost everyone had received Holy Communion and gone back to their seats. I recognized her as having had come down the aisle some moments earlier, so I was puzzled why she was returning. She had such a sad look on her tiny face that I wondered also what was wrong. The Extraordinary Eucharistic Minister leaned down and had a few words with her and her father, and then offered her the Host, Which she reverently received. He then patted her on the head and she turned around to walk back up the aisle, her tear-stained face showing a sign of relief.  In that instant, I knew exactly what had happened. She wasn't offered the Host the first time around. Being very petite for her age, it was probably assumed that she had not made her First Holy Communion yet, and she was too shy (and possibly surprised) to say anything at first. I realized that when they got back to the pew, she had probably started to cry, the sheer sadness of missing out on the Eucharist affecting her immensely.

My heart was touched, and I gave her a warm smile in the hopes of cheering her up, and also so she wouldn't feel bad or embarrassed about going back.

It made me think about how we can sometimes take the Eucharist for granted. Thanks be to God I do not,  but there were times in my past that I certainly did, I am sorry to say, before I knew how special and beautiful and life-giving it is to receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Our Lord. Now I would't miss it for the world! How many people miss Holy Mass because they're too tired on Sunday morning, they don't like crowds, it's raining, they have other things to do...the list goes on and on. This little girl, however, felt the pain of missing out on the Eucharist and God bless her, she went back to receive Jesus! Can you just picture Jesus smiling lovingly at his beloved child as she made her way back down the aisle?

If you've been away from the Eucharist, know how much He longs to be reunited with you in this way. Make a sacramental confession and be truly united with Him once again. Like the little girl, picture Him smiling lovingly at YOU as you make your way back down the aisle.

"I love so much a soul's desire to receive Me, that I hasten to it each time it summons me by its yearnings."

—Words of Jesus to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

Saturday, May 30, 2015

A Hiatus, I Guess You Could Say

To think I haven't blogged on here since the snow was flying...where has the time gone? When you're the mom of a graduating senior, it sweeps you up at mach speed, which is the speed of sound! So this explains my absence here. I'll be back once things calm down a bit. Until then...blessings to you and yours!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Funny Dream I Had Last Night!

Boy oh boy does God have a sense of humor!

Last night I was dreaming of flying in an airplane when we hit some really rough weather. The plane started shaking and it was obvious to me that we were going down. The plane started to nosedive. Incredibly, I was filled with PEACE about it, knowing my time had come and it was the Lord's will. I started to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet prayers. Suddenly, out of the blue in the chaos, Father Robert Barron came up next to me and said in that nice, calming voice of his, "Nancy, this is wonderful that you're praying the Chaplet, but would you mind waiting a few minutes? It's only 2:54."

Then I woke up!

Father Barron:  A stickler for timing

Saturday, January 31, 2015

St. John Bosco; feast day January 31

Enjoy the short video about the life of St. John Bosco, patron of youth and students. Today is his feast day. He plays a large role in my novel The Gate, as Pie teaches Josh all about how this saint has influenced his own life, as well as so many others in the Salesian tradition. 

"It's not enough to love the children, it is necessary that they are aware that they are loved." ~St. John Bosco

St. John Bosco, pray for us!
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