Thursday, June 28, 2012

Wait For The Lord...

We've prayed, we've begged, we've pleaded, and ObamaCare stands. God has a plan, and so we just have to keep praying. This is just a part of the big picture. Don't get discouraged, and "Be not afraid". God is asking us to hang on and keep working.
Read the Psalms. God does not forsake His children, but sometimes He has to let them walk in the darkness for a while. He is with us. It's just a valley. Keep walking.
Psalm 27:

A

I
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
2When evildoers come at me
to devour my flesh,*b
These my enemies and foes
themselves stumble and fall.
3Though an army encamp against me,
my heart does not fear;
Though war be waged against me,
even then do I trust.
II
4One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the LORD’s house
all the days of my life,
To gaze on the LORD’s beauty,
to visit his temple.c
5For God will hide me in his shelter
in time of trouble,d
He will conceal me in the cover of his tent;
and set me high upon a rock.
6Even now my head is held high
above my enemies on every side!
I will offer in his tent
sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and chant praise to the LORD.

B

I
7Hear my voice, LORD, when I call;
have mercy on me and answer me.
8“Come,” says my heart, “seek his face”;*
your face, LORD, do I seek!e
9Do not hide your face from me;
do not repel your servant in anger.
You are my salvation; do not cast me off;
do not forsake me, God my savior!
10Even if my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will take me in.f
II
11LORD, show me your way;
lead me on a level path
because of my enemies.g
12Do not abandon me to the desire of my foes;
malicious and lying witnesses have risen against me.
13I believe I shall see the LORD’s goodness
in the land of the living.*h
14Wait for the LORD, take courage;
be stouthearted, wait for the LORD!
 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Psalms...The School of Prayer.

I am learning so much about this beautiful part of Scripture. God is so good!

This is from Sarah Christmyer's Blog. There is a whole class there on reading the Psalms in your daily prayer.
Go HERE to see the entire study....

The Psalms are different from much of the rest of the Bible: they are not history, not law, not prophecy, but poetry. And more than just poetry, they are prayer. The Psalms are a place of conversation with God.

The rest of the Bible addresses us from somewhere outside. But the Psalms go straight to our hearts. When we read them, they reach inside and gather up our wants and needs, our hurts and desires, our questions and our praise – and then they give voice to all those things, God’s voice, in words inspired by the Holy Spirit—and lift them to heaven.

Dei Verbum, which is the Church’s encyclical on Divine Revelation, tells us that “in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets his children with great love and speaks with them” (21). God speaks to us in His word when we read … and we answer when we pray. In a unique way, in the Psalms, we do both! It is a special place for meeting God, a place of conversation, of communion.

It is my hope that learning more about the Psalms in this class will bring us all into that place. We’re all at different places where it comes to prayer – some of us are old hands while others are coming at it new. But we all have one thing in common, we all have to (or had to) learn how to pray.

Once at the Holy Western Wall (the “Wailing Wall”) in Jerusalem, Jeff Cavins saw a Hasidic Jew wrapped in a tallit (prayer shawl) and sitting facing the wall, rocking back and forth, praying. Then he noticed that on the man’s knee, beneath the tallit, was a small boy. The man was teaching him to pray.

What was he teaching him? When I went there to pray last month, it was my first time in Jerusalem. I was focused on touching the wall and praying and finding a space in the cracks to leave my intentions. But many of the Jewish women were sitting back a bit, or standing, bobbing back and forth and praying from a small book. They were really praying, not simply presenting petitions. They had come to meet God at the closest place they could get to where the Holy of Holies once was. I found out that the books in their hands were books of Psalms, and they were praying the Psalms for the day – Tuesday, as it was.

Then I learned that Orthodox Jews pray through all 150 Psalms every month or even every week, some of them, according to a schedule—like Catholic priests and religious pray the Psalms in the Liturgy of the Hours. Many recite them from memory. That is likely what the man was doing with the boy, not praying extemporaneously. He was teaching him to pray with the Psalms.

In a similar way, you would teach a child to write by having her trace an alphabet you had written, then copy down words. We learn to pray by first reading and saying words inspired by God to meet the various situations we are in. This is how Jesus learned to pray, it is how he taught his disciples to pray, and it is how we must learn to pray as well.

Psalms: the School of Prayer
And that is the focus of this study: Psalms as the school of prayer. It’s going to be very different from the other studies we’ve done, because we won’t go systematically through the book and learn it like a story.

These ten weeks are more like an orientation. These ten sessions:
  • will give you an overview of the Psalter and its structure;
  • they’ll give you tools to read and understand the poetic language;
  • they’ll help you recognize and read the various types of Psalms;
  • and they’ll give you a feel (and practical suggestions) for how to pray them.
By the end, you’ll be equipped—and I hope you’ll have a hunger—for a lifetime of praying with the Psalms, whether at Mass or on your own; and you’ll have gained an essential resource to help you meet God, to help you turn to Him no matter what your situation is, no matter how difficult.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Doin's...

A couple of pictures...
Here are a few from Hershey Park.
The only problem with Hershey Park, is that it is VERY hard to take pictures.
Tim, Patrick and Paul on the bumper cars.

The gang heading to the Roller Coasters

Some of the kids in line for the Comet!

Craig's List desk...

Little place for work and play(ing)

Friday, June 22, 2012

We Join Our Bishops...

In the....
Fortnight for Freedom Banner  “We defend religious liberty because we are lovers of every human person, seeing in the face of every man and woman also the face of Christ, who loved us to the very end of his earthly life and who still calls on us to love and serve our neighbor with the same love he has bestowed on us.
“We do this because Archbishop John Carroll’s generation of believers and patriots bequeathed to us a precious legacy that has enabled the Church to worship in freedom, to bear witness to Christ publicly, and to do massive and amazing works of pastoral love, education, and charity in ways that are true to the faith that inspired them in the first place.”—Archbishop William Lori, Mass of Installation Homily
Resources
Archbishop William E. Lori on Religious Liberty (watch)
U.S. Bishops' Statement
Opening Mass in Baltimore (June 21)
Events in the Archdiocese of Baltimore
Daily Reflections
Prayer Card English
Prayer Card Spanish
Litany for Liberty
Small Group/Family Study
Family Guide to Faithful Citizenship
Catholic Social Teaching and Religious Freedom
Video Resources
America's Basilica - Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (watch)


Saturday, June 9, 2012

Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko: Hero For Religious Freedom

"All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing...."
This good man would not remain silent or be intimidated into inaction. 
One good man was able to witness to the love of Christ and undo the machinations of evil.

                   
 
 Twenty-six years ago, on October 19, 1984, this frail, young priest was savagely beaten and drowned by government security agents in the woods of rural Poland. The brutal death of this holy priest, carried out in the dark of night, captured the attention of the world, and his martyrdom is increasingly seen as a sacrifice leading not only to the resurrection of his own country as a free and independent nation of Christian people, but a bloody sacrifice redeeming all enslaved European peoples from the Baltic to the Urals.
To read the whole, beautiful story click here...
                   
The Servant of God, John Paul II, on learning of his death said: “May good arise from this death like the Resurrection from the Cross”.

These are the words of Blessed Jerzy:

To serve God is to seek a way to human hearts, to serve God is
to speak out about evil as a sickness which should be brought to
light so it can be cured. To serve God is to condemn evil in all its
manifestations....
Government means service. The first love of the authorities
should be for those whom they govern. And if this really were
the case, if this basic Christian truth became a part of real life , if
the authorities were moral, if Christian ethics dominated the
principles of government, how different our lives would be...
The whole activity of Jesus Christ was aimed at making people
realize that they were created for the freedom of the children of
God. God created man in His image, so he is free; indeed, man
can accept or reject his Creator...
A Christian fulfills his duties only when he is stalwart, when he
professes his principles courageously, when he is neither
ashamed of them nor renounces them because of fear or
material needs. Woe betide a society whose citizens do not live
by fortitude. It is fortitude which creates citizens, for only a
courageous man is conscious of all his rights and duties. If a
citizen lacks fortitude, he becomes a slave and causes immeasurable
harm not only to himself but to his family, his country
and the Church...
That is why fortitude is, for a Christian,
the most important duty after love.
In order to remain spiritually free men, we must live in truth.
To live in truth means to bear witness to it to the outside world
at all times and in all situations. The truth is unchangeable. It
cannot be destroyed by any decree or law...
Courageous witnessing to the truth
leads directly to freedom. A man who witnesses to the truth can
be free even though he might be in prison...
We can overcome fear only if we accept suffering
in the name of a greater value. If the truth becomes for us
a value, worthy of suffering and risk, then we shall overcome
fear - the direct reason for our enslavement.-

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Where the Devil are My (Ruby) Slippers!

This is a long story....be sure you use the restroom before reading...
It all started because we did Art Appreciation this year.
All three of the boys did a lot of reading and learning about art and artists, and John spent the last half of the school year reading about the great masters and writing a short essay about each one of them.
We needed to go on a field trip to finish up. Since I am most comfortable driving around DC, as opposed to Philly or New York, and since the museums are free, we decided to make that our destination.
We invited John's friend, Hannah, to come along and decided that we would go on First Friday, which was yesterday, in hopes that we would be able to go to mass at the Basilica first.
Well, no. The daily Masses are at 8:30 and 12:00pm so if we wanted to see the museums, we were going to have to just go to the Basilica when we got there, have a look around, and then go downtown.
That was the plan.
I wanted to take lots of pictures, especially in the upper church.
We got on the road, and I realized that my GPS wasn't working. This was not good.
I can drive anywhere as long as the lady in my phone is giving me directions from her perch in the sky.
She was AWOL and we were stuck with the driving directions, which work fine if there is no traffic, no construction and no distractions.
We got to the Basilica with no trouble, as I have been there lots of times and it's an easy drive.

The first indication that maybe things were going to be complicated was that the parking lot was packed.

The parking lot is huge, and I haven't even seen it packed like that for a March for Life Mass.
We found out that there was a graduation service going on in the upper church. So, we weren't going to be able to spend any time up there unless we waited for everyone to leave. We decided to spend our time down in the Crypt Church, which is really beautiful.
Statue of Blessed Theresa of Calcutta

I got some pictures and then we headed out to the car so that we could go downtown.
It should have been about a 15 minute trip, but without GPS I was blind, so I called Tim for help with navigation.
After we got back on track, we got downtown pretty quick, and found a parking garage. It was a bit further away than I'd have liked, but the weather was warm and it was a nice walk.
We stopped on the way so that Hannah could eat lunch.The boys had eaten in the car.
So Much Enthusiasm!
We entered the West Building of the National Gallery, which holds most of the classical art.

I started snapping pictures as soon as we got inside. Hannah and John took off to tour on their own,
and I had Brendan and Paul with me. They were really good sports. They don't care for the classical stuff as much. I love it. Here are some of my faves!
The Baptism of Jesus


Four Seasons in One Head

Charles V

Such a Beauty!

Such a Little Cutie! Love his Expression.

Girl Reading

You know who...

Could be a Cooke

I had told the older kids to meet us at the other end of the building, and then we headed through the underground tunnel to the East building, which holds the modern art. The kids like that a lot more.
We saw some amazing stuff there as well.
I figured that we should try to head out of town at around 3:00 to beat the worst of the traffic. I have driven out of DC many times, and even on Friday it is usually no more than a 2 1/2 hour trip.
Did I mention that Hannah had to be back in Bel Air no later than 5:30?
Traffic was fairly heavy getting out of town, but not bad, and after we got onto 895 it started to smooth out. Just as we came out of the tunnel, Nina called and said that there was a car fire on 95 and not to get on. We were just passing the exit onto rt 40, so I jumped over and we got off the interstate. We came up onto 40 and...oh no....
It was taillights as far as the eye could see. Traffic was moving at a consistent 20 mph. I wasn't even sure where we were for awhile there.
Two of the kids needed the bathroom and they all needed to eat, so we pulled off at a Burger King, and solved those problems.
We got back on the road and just plugged along. I was feeling worse and worse about how late Hannah was going to be.
The radio was on and we were hearing some kind of nonsense about tornado watches in the southern counties, and maybe around BWI, but heck, we were miles from there...
We were watching the skies, at that point, and it was raining like crazy.
This was around 6:00.
I called Tim, and he said that things were OK in Havre de Grace, but that it was raining and stormy.
He also told me that 95 had cleared and we could get back on, so when we got to 152, that's just what we did. Ah...Traffic was flowing, no brake lights, it seemed like we might get Hannah to her performance at least in time for it to start. John was still watching the skies and we were hearing on the radio that there was a definite tornado warning in Harford county. The lightning was picking up, and then the color of the light kind of changed to that kind of luminescent green that you see behind polarized sunglasses, only none of us were wearing sunglasses.
We were feeling extremely vulnerable on the interstate, with no shelter, and a lot of trucks and buses to share a twister with, so we got off at the next exit.
Fortunately my guardian angel took over the navigation, and I was able to get Hannah to her performance with 15 minutes to spare!!
Yes, there was a tornado touchdown a few miles from where we saw that eerie green light.
We watched the Mime performance and then we drove home in the pouring rain.
I was SO very glad to get home.
I went to bed, but every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was a line of traffic in front of me, for as far as I could see.
I did sleep and woke up in my own bed to a beautiful morning.

Maybe I found those ruby slippers after all....