Tag Archives: Catholic

Set the World on Fire

,catherine_siena_nails_were_not_enough_md

Wow. What wisdom.

It has been too long since I have written… blogged…. and what a perfect feast day to jump back into it.  Ah, one of my favorite saints, St. Catherine of Siena, though it is very un-catholic of me, I like to think of her as one of the most “bad-ass” female saints (right up there with St. Joan of Arc) … for she was very outspoken and persistent, something I strive to emulate. I need to be strong like her, strong in faith  … it seems recently I really need strong Catholic women (saints) I can look up to!

These past several months I had fallen into a mini dark night of the soul… this oppressiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger clutched onto me and would not let go… and I couldn’t seem to drag myself out of it.  So I persisted through it, offering up my sufferings and praying through it.  Of course trying to understand why we go through moments (months!) like these is sometimes next to impossible, we cannot see what it means now …. we just need to trust that He is doing something important. For God has a plan and He is working in us, making us better people, making us holier.  Though I, of course, did not feel holier during this time.  I felt like an epic failure. Was I supposed to learn something? (I didn’t). Was I supposed to be kinder and forgiving? (I wasn’t). Was a supposed to learn patience? (Good God I hope not!).  Or maybe I was just supposed to suffer yet endure. I have also been reading St Faustina’s Diary recently (another amazing saint!) and boy did she suffer a lot!  So I understand that at times we must suffer for God to work.  But suffering is just that… so painful, suffocating, difficult and draining…  how can I continue on when I feel so oppressed?

Why am I bringing this up on St Catherine’s feast day?  Well, here are two very powerful quotes that I feel help me get through.

St Cat fire

Bam! Be who you are meant to be.  That simple. God made you unique. There is no one else like you. There is a reason for that. So BE that person he created you to be, because no one else can do what you do.  No one else can set the world on fire like you!  Don’t let others drag you down and tell you to be something you feel you are not.  The only changing you should be doing is becoming more of a Christ like YOU (if that makes sense). God made me like this… at times outspoken  (obnoxious might be a better description. haha) … and rebellious and radical.  He did not mean for me to ever sit quietly and not speak out when I see something wrong. He made me like this!  So I find offense when I am admonished (and silenced) for speaking out, for asking questions or when I point out hypocrisy.  Hey!  Back off! Good wants me to be me.  I have struggled with trying to understand how I am supposed to act and who I am supposed to be … but I  now know that God wants me to be me, it’s that simple.  He wants me to set the world on fire in my unique way. He wants me to speak out.  Which brings me to this next infamous quote.

St cat cry out

YES! I will not be silent. She is right… especially now… the world is ROTTEN ROTTEN ROTTEN (Yes three rottens!!!) because of silence… especially recently…. everyone is so afraid to speak out about life, marriage and gender (among other things!) … and now we have lost the battle (read Matt Walsh’s book The Unholy Trinity, Blocking the Left’s Assault on Life, Marriage and Gender… he explains it all!) … It disturbs me that so many do not speak out! … but we should not give up! We need to continue to cry out!  So I will be ME and I will be brave… I will CRY OUT!

St cat start-being-brave-about-everything-drive-out-darkness-and-spread-light-don-look-at-your-st-catherine-of-siena-86-43-57

So thank you St Catherine for your wisdom! Know that your words give others like me the faith to be the strong Catholic women we are meant to be.

 

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Filed under Brave, Catholic, courageous, Faith, Holy, Jesus Christ, prayer, saints

Fat Tuesday Musings

what-if-lent

Hm….

So today, as I was googling “Fat Tuesday” memes to post on Facebook I came across this one. Makes ya think… doesn’t it? If you think you should give up something for  40 some odd days to bring you closer to Christ (which is the point of Lent) then maybe you should give it up altogether. HUH!

About 11 years ago I gave up drinking for Lent. This was, of course, back when I was still drinking… (obviously). It was very difficult for me, especially since St. Patrick’s Day is always during Lent and I love my Guinness on St. Patty’s day!   But I survived the “fast” and was quite proud of myself. I did it! After that Lenten fast I knew that I would eventually have to give up drinking (there was this still small voice in the back of my head) … I knew it deep down in my soul. Then four years later I finally did give up drinking for good (I am 6 years sober!). God was patient with me… and He gave me the grace to do so. I so needed to cut drinking out of my life. Being sober brought me closer to God.

Also about 3 years ago I gave up coffee for Lent… (AAAAHHHH! OH the HORROR!)

coffee-for-lent

… now that was even harder to do since it was something I drank daily!  Giving up coffee was a huge sacrifice!  But I drank tea during my coffee fast and  survived (though I hated tea for months after that haha).  I never thought I would eventually have to give up coffee… why the heck would I give up coffee?!  Coffee is not beer/booze! There is no reason to give it up! Or so I thought … Well, sorry Kelly, there was a good reason.  Health reasons… reflux/heartburn all attributed to coffee… so last fall I gave it up. Thing is… I’m fine without it. Go figure. And I feel better. Healthier. Praise God.

So … after seeing this “What if I told you…” meme… and thinking about my past “fasts” I was thinking … is this time of year (Lent) really a taste of what we should truly be doing…? A time to reassess how we have been living…  how else can we die to self and have a closer relationship to God?  Will what I “give up” this year eventually be something that is given up for good? And will the things I add become a beloved habit? .. Kind of scary… yet inspiring and exciting…

This Lent: I am setting aside more time for prayer/bible reading and reflection (up at 4AM!). I am going to write Haikus every day of Lent like I did last year (loved doing that!). and I am going to eat healthy (no junk food for you!). I hope, eventually, all of these things become a natural daily habit. God willing.

And for those of you giving up Facebook… well, you’re just crazy. Haha!

Well, Fat Tuesday is not over yet!…  and there are Rice Krispie treats to shove in my gob…

fat-tuesday-lent-meme

May God bless you this Lent!

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They Were Satisfied

feeding-4000

Just a quick pondering …. Today’s gospel reading from the Gospel of Mark had me thinking… what must it have been like to have been there with Jesus and the disciples when He multiplied the loaves and the fishes?  Sitting there with a huge hungry crowd… Did the 4,000 + people know what was happening? Or were the oblivious to the miracle? All of a sudden, after 3 hungry days, they were handed enough food to fill them up and satisfy them…. Did they wonder where it all came from?  Did some of them who were close to Jesus and the disciples see them doing something with the food? Did some see the miracle as it happened? I wonder … what did that miraculous multiplied bread and fish taste like? Bread and fish that Jesus blessed…  Was it the most delicious meal they had ever had? It says “They were satisfied.” There were left overs…. fragments filling seven baskets… so obviously  everyone was full, satisfied, smiling and content, probably one of the best picnic lunches they had ever had.

To have been there.  When I read the gospels I always think of what it would have been like to have been there with Jesus.Wouldn’t it have been amazing to have been there and received that gift? A miraculous meal created by Jesus…

… and then… I had a “duh” moment… a holy dope-slap upside the head moment. A “D’oh!” epiphany (haha)… Der, Kelly… He does give us a miraculous meal all the time… every single time a Mass is celebrated… every. single. day.  The Eucharist. Body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. Right there. For us. A gift. …But do we take this for granted?  Do we go up to receive Him with the full knowledge of His sacrifice and His unending love for us…  or do we numbly, indifferently receive Him without a second thought?

eucharist-pope-bene

So tomorrow, when you receive the Eucharist, do so reverently (maybe on the tongue instead of in your hand~ I have started doing this!)…  with the full knowledge of what it all means. This miraculous meal… the most important meal in the history of the world. The gift of Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. We should be filled with joy after receiving Him.

We should be satisfied.

eucharist-st-maria-g

 

 

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….is the Thing with Feathers

hope

Another trip around the sun…. another year older and hopefully wiser. Hopefully. Hope.

hope-4

This word that came to me as I was choosing my saint for 2017 (or was he choosing me?). I used the saint generator I use every year. Here it is… go ahead… find out who your saint is for 2017: http://saintsnamegenerator.com/ 

So the saint that was chosen for me was St Jude, the saint of desperate cases … the saint of the impossible!  

st-jude

I immediately thought to myself, oh no!  Does that mean something horrible will happen to me this year and I will need his intercessory prayer?  Aaaahhh!  NO! … But as I read up on him I found out that he is the saint of HOPE.  Oh good. Something I need; a soft, comforting word that I can wrap my mind and arms around. Great word. Hope.

I found a wonderful intercessory prayer to St. Jude about hope that I plan on reading every day of 2017:

God the Father, give me hope. Help me to know that your hope is alive in me as I offer kindness, forgiveness, and tenderness to others. I seek the calm that comes from trusting in your hope and your healing presence. I trust that your servant St. Jude walks with me in all the blessings and challenges of my life, and intercedes on behalf of my petitions. St. Jude, fill my heart with hope.  Amen.”  

Last year was the year of Mercy… this year, for me anyway, is going to be the year of Hope.

hope-anchors

Do I need hope? Sure, don’t we all?  Was 2016 a bad year? Hmmm. Yes and no. As I look back on 2016 I am not deeply troubled as some people are… it seemed the end of the year many celebrities died and many people expressed (on Facebook) that 2016 was a horrible year… um… people die every year. I am more upset that my friend died unexpectedly and also my husband’s wonderful aunt lost her battle with cancer than I am with a variety of random celebrities dying …  

2016 did not start off good…  I spent the second half of my school year (as a special ed teacher) humbled and depressed, though, of course, my students were/are always a joy, that is not what ruined the end of my school year … I will not going into it now … just know that I will be careful how I pray in the future.

So this caused me to rethink my summer job. Every summer I worked as a teacher at Camp Connect, a camp for autistic students.  So, though I loved doing that, I thought I needed a summer off because of the rotten end to my school year. Heck I’m a teacher and I have the ability to have summers off! I may as well take advantage of it!  So I did. Bad thing about it~  no extra income coming in, so that was a bit of a struggle. But I am glad I rested and gave myself a break for once. Plus I was able to go to morning Mass. What a blessing.

One other major obstacle/hard ship that happened this year was our old, corroded pipes leaking and flooding the basement for months with horrific sludge. We finally got the pipes fixed and we cleaned up the basement… but that was a real nightmare for us for several months. NIGHTMARE. O.o … Owning a home… it seems that something always needs fixing… but I am grateful for this cute little house. Our home.

Good things? Sure, lots. Went camping off season (mid-June, right after school got out) with my husband and sons at Papoose Pond in Maine. I read several novels, rode my bike, swam and sat around the campfire. Bliss.  Since I took the summer off I decided to get season passes for myself and the boys to Water Country a water park in Portsmouth, NH. We had a very sunny summer! One of the high points of the summer was my annual trip up to Gunstock in Gilford, NH for Soulfest a three day Christian rock concert. It was amazing this year. I finally got to see Skillet!  They were awesome!  The three days was a blast, always a good time! Most memorial moment during the weekend… the crazy storm/flood that happened during Saturday evening mass and ended as soon as mass ended. Wicked cool. Holy epicness. or Epic holiness?

Another bad/good thing that happened to me:  winding up in the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack in July … which in turn had me reassess my eating habits… and now I am down 15-20 lbs (though I probably gained some over Christmas). Keeping up that life style change.

One of the best things that happened this year was a successful Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for the newly formed (well…4 years) RV NH team.  We had an amazing Holy Spirit filled weekend… probably because we had an army of angels, saints and friends (church militant!) praying for us… plus I soaked the outside of the retreat center with holy water. Haha. I am so blessed to be part of this ministry and to have such beautiful women in Christ as my friends.  So thankful for them!

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Probably the most important “good thing” that happened this year was the defeat of Hillary. Yes that defeat was HUGE for me. She had to lose… because I could not live under that gloomy, oppressive liberal cloud for another 4-8 years. As I went to bed the night of the election, not knowing what the outcome would be, sick and fearing the worst, I prayed and hoped and prayed for this country. I believe a lot of people prayed and many novenas were said!  I was so overjoyed in the morning when my husband exclaimed, “He won!” that I literally wept. Thank you, Lord!  If she had won 2016 would probably have been the worst year for me. Seriously. That was an early Christmas present. January 20th cannot come soon enough. Hope and change, baby!

Resolutions?… humph. I usually don’t like to make resolutions…  but knowing that there is HOPE in my future no matter what happens I will make a few.  First one: I will read The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I had my oldest son buy it for me for Christmas; I have never read it and I believe it is an important work to have read before I leave this earth.

hope-tolkien

Resolution two: save money instead of spending it and getting horribly in debt. This is a big issue for me…

Resolution three…. Three? I better not keep adding more… I will surely fail if I have a big list. I suppose I can pray that I will become more Christ-like this year… this is something I need to do daily and not yearly.

Wait! Resolution four: blog more! I hardly blogged in 2016…

One more thing as I leave 2016 behind… there was a lot of great Christian rock that came out this year: Skillet’s new album was probably my favorite. Other favorites: Switchfoot, David Crowder, Kutless, Tenth Avenue North, Needtobreathe, Relient K, Thousand Foot Krutch, Unspoken, Decyfer Down, Newsboys, Rend Collective …  I am sure I am missing some… great year for music. So I will end this year with one of my favorite songs of the year… all about hope… but of course.

Happy New Year!  God bless.

hope_is_the_thing_with_feathers

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Holy Cheerfulness

thankful

I have been kicking myself for weeks … months really, about not blogging…  what has kept me from blogging? … huh. Ya see I think I have a good idea but then I realize it is just angry ole me wanting to vent and rail about politics and how stupid and intolerant (especially those who claim to be tolerant!) people are… Yeah that’s what I want to write about!  My anger and frustration! This whole election cycle was CRAZY… before and after! I could go OFF on a rant about it… mostly disgusted at fellow Catholics who voted for her (!!!) … AAAHHHH… (thank God she did not get in!) …but that is not what I wanted to blog about today… I want to blog about what I am thankful for this Thanksgiving season.

Recently I seem to be battling daily niggling demons….  That feeling inside me of disgust, anger, frustration… it overtakes me and I stew and fume for hours about certain situations.. whether it be other’s (idiotic!) political ideology or just daily friend/work nonsense that irritates me…  I have a hard time letting it go…  the anger boils inside me and I really want to let someone have it. 

angry-girl

I found the only way to stop this irritating feeling is by prayer… by asking God to PLEASE give me the GRACE to be at PEACE! I want to lose that feeling of anger and frustration and just be filled with His peace and love…  so I let it go. I give it to Him. I pray. Sometimes just a small prayer, or a rosary, or a Divine Mercy Chaplet… and wonderfully… within minutes (sometimes hours) the feeling of despair and hate lifts. Those demons have been taken out (St Michael to the rescue!) and I no longer have that burden of loathing upon me. I am free. It is quite miraculous because sometimes I am really angry and I am “hatin’” bad… like I never want to speak to certain people again … it is that serious. It’s like this vermicious k’nid type demon has grappled upon my back, sinking it’s claws into me, seeping its evil venomous lies into my brain, poisoning me, smirking its yellow sharp smile, snickering and giggling as I fume on and on, temperature rising, steam pouring out of my ears, steely daggers slicing out of my eyes, hatred and mockery belching out of my mouth..… Yeah… that bad. I hate that it overtakes me so easily and turns me into something horrid, despicable… 

So I pray, beg, plead, because I do not want to feel this way… I do not want this fierce anger nesting in my soul. Unhinge this beast, Lord, and fill me with your pure light!  .. and He does. He answers my prayers. I am given the grace to overcome. There is no way I could do it without Him. No way. I am not strong enough. He gives me  …Holy Cheerfulness. I came upon this phrase today~ It is interesting that I read this chapter from Thomas of Celano’s  The Remembrance of the Desire of a Soul (the Francis Trilogy) today:

“This holy man (Francis) insisted that spiritual joy was an infallible remedy against a thousand snares and tricks of the enemy. He used to say, ‘The devil is most delighted when he can steal the joy of the spirit from a servant of God. He carries dust which he tries to throw into the tiniest opening of the conscious, to dirty a clear mind and a clear life. But if a spiritual joy fills the heart, the serpent casts its poison in vain. The devils cannot harm a servant of Christ when they see him filled with holy cheerfulness…’  The saint therefore always strove to keep a joyful heart, to preserve the anointing of the spirit and the oil of gladness.”

 I want to be like St. Francis,  (thus, as a Secular Franciscan, I follow his ways) but I need God’s grace to get there… to be always joyful and full of peace.

So this Thanksgiving I am thankful for many things…. from family and friends (to the election results!) … but most of all I am thankful for God’s grace. For the gift of Holy cheerfulness.

god-of-hope

 

 

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Nursed with the Word

After reading a quote from our beloved Papa Bene yesterday I was inspired to write this poem…

flower

Plant the seed of the Word

                      into me

          nurture it

water it

                      bless it

feed it with your light, Lord

call it forth

          whisper

                               songs

                                             psalms

       soulful

                        joyful awakening

Green heads popping up

          bursting through

my pain                         my sorrow                              my weakness

flowers 2

Let it bloom huge

                                     musky flowers

                   heady with intoxicating angelic perfume  

spraying hues of truth

                   through my veins

                                            And butterflied laughter

                             out my shining eyes

butterfly

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Wake Up Dead

Heart

“The greatest gift that we can receive from God in the present world is this: To know how, to desire, and to be able to conquer self by renouncing our own will.” St. Francis of Assisi.

Careful what you pray for. Yeah. Again I prayed for something and did not expect the response… I had prayed that God would help me get in shape and lose weight. Yeah, I prayed that.  I have been struggling with some extra weight and I felt like I was getting nowhere… so I prayed about it. Please help me Lord. So what happens?  Last Thursday night I wind up in the Emergency room because I thought I was having a heart attack! Yeah really!  If that’s not a wakeup call, supernatural slap upside the head, I don’t know what is!

Now I’m not saying that God is a big meanie … no I know God is merciful and loving… hey, I admit, it’s all my fault. Sure I exercise ~ I bike 14 miles on the rail trail, lift weights and use the elliptical at Planet Fitness pretty much 5 days out of the week… but my diet…. Heh … here I was asking for help and I was not holding up my end of the bargain. I eat too much (though most of it is healthy, well, maybe not most) and I snack too much…  like a whole bag of Veggie Stix… yeah they’re made out of vegetables…  but I scoff down the  WHOLE BAG! Yeah. That. Years of eating like that.

So last Thursday I had been feeling like someone was squeezing my heart. All day.  I had felt this on and off during the week but on Thursday it was a continuous feeling of a pain in my chest. Right in my heart. I assumed it would just go away. Nope.  So at about midnight I was lying in bed with this chest pain thinking, “What if I am having a heart attack?”  I also had shortness of breath and a weird sensation/pain up my left arm. Knowing that women can have different symptoms than men I began to get nervous. I also have a heart murmur. What if I go to bed and wake up dead? O.o  Seriously.  Yup I came upon that dreaded moment… what if I die now?  What about my family, my boys, my friends, my students, my collection of short stories I never published … 50 is too young! AH!

So I woke up my husband and told him what I was experiencing … off to the hospital (props to my hubbie who stayed up 40 hours with me!) and they did the usual battery of tests, blood work, chest x-rays, stress test (running on a treadmill without a bra! Woo hoo hahahahahahha!)

Here I am all hooked up, yeah right on my tattoo of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

my heart attack

… but it all came back negative for a heart attack. It wasn’t my heart! So of course I had sent out messages for all my friends/family to pray for me… what a great feeling to know that so many were praying for me (such love!). But once it was all said and done I kind of felt like an idiot when it wasn’t a heart attack. I know that sounds weird… but when they said it was probably reflux I thought… “Huh. …really? That’s it? It really felt like a heart attack! Reflux sounds lame and embarrassing.” Yeah I know. Silly me. It was good news and I was getting all embarrassed. Duh.

So this was God telling me, “Hey, Kelly. You asked me to help. This is where you are now.  You have to eat healthy now or this pain will not go away.  You have to eat a restricted diet. You know I love you and you know you have a lot more to do. So you have to get healthy. You got this girl.  I am with you.”  Okay. Got it. I don’t like it.  But hey, I usually need a divine dope slap to get me to take things seriously. I know, I know we are not here forever so I need to take better care of myself.  

I needed help conquering self.  Daily conversion. Transformation. Yeah  I know… but I thought I could eat ice cream and potato chips while transforming… hmph.

Okay Lord, I will try harder. Thanks for  not giving up on me.

 

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