Speaking the Truth
- Mother Angelica
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Here lately, I have felt this need, this urge to GET OUTSIDE! And it feels so good! I think all that Vitamin D from the sun might just be a good thing for me. It also gave me a chance to think about all that God has blessed me with. A wonderful husband, a good home, three happy and healthy children. And I stood in our garden and thanked Him. It was an awesome experience.
Anyway, my husband loves being outside (that's an understatement actually). And he has planted a garden for us the past few years. This year, it really looks wonderful. He built an electric fence to keep out the deer this year (it has also kept out the dogs!). We had one rabbit that I know of. There are so many beans, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, and ripening tomatoes! It's so exciting! And we are going to get to EAT it all!
So Sunday night I took my two oldest children out to the garden with me to see what was out there. They were excited to see all the green beans, but their "help" didn't last long. And before I knew it, the little one was coming outside too. But look at all those green bean plants! They needed weeding bad, and that's what I've been doing, but It's so awesome to look outside and see our little harvest. This is the way they used to do it! Back in the day....
Last night, I cooked up some of those green beans and we had them with dinner. Can you say DELICIOUS?! And it's almost like they tasted even better, just because I knew they came from our own land. I think the kids thought I was kind of nuts when I started moaning and groaning about how good they were. But there was just something about growing it ourselves and being able to eat our own food that just made the whole experience even sweeter.
Next on the list... HORSES!
Suddenly a violent storm came up on the sea, so that the boat was being swamped by waves; but He was asleep. Matthew 9:24
Metaphorically speaking, I can say that there have been many storms in my life! Most of them I "got through" without asking for God's help. I can't say I got through them without Him, because I was not aware of His presence then. I have been in fights with family and with friends, and that's not fun. Most of them were about pride. I can really let my pride get in the way of my relationships. "How dare you do that to me?" "How can you think that way? What I think is so much better!"
This past Sunday, Father told us that Jesus is the ultimate image of humility. He ignored snickers and ignorance of His power, and just let it "roll off His back." The key here is to not only let it roll off my back, but to let it go. I can let things roll off my back, but I hang on to them. I'm still trying to practice giving my pride to God and letting Him take care of my storms.
In the Scripture for today, Jesus was asleep in a boat with His apostles while they were battling a storm "by themselves." They were frustrated because He was sleeping, they woke Him up and He proceeded to calm the storm. Mother Angelica comments on this passage in Mother Angelica's Private and Pithy Lessons from the Scriptures:
It's amazing to me how the Lord took care of the storm first-but it always makes me think: God does answer my prayers, but I sometimes wonder if He is disappointed in me when He answers them. This is a sure case of God answering the apostles' prayers, but He was also rather disappointed in them. Because after He rebuked the wind and said, "QUIET NOW. BE CALM!" and the wind dropped, and all of that, He looked at them and said, "WHY ARE YOU SO FRIGHTENED. HOW IS IT THAT YOU HAVE NO FAITH?" (Mark 4:40). He didn't say, "How is it that you have little faith?" It's "How is it you have NO faith?"
...I think if they would have just kept bucketing and working hard to get the water out, even though it may have been a couple of coffee cans, they would have been fine. Jesus never sleeps, even when you think otherwise.
"Jesus never sleeps...." I hang on to that from Mother. Because there are those storms in our lives where we think, "Come on God! Can't you see I'm suffering here?" He sees. But it's important to remember that He doesn't create that suffering. He uses it to teach us. He uses it to help someone else. It's not our business to know what it is for, just to be able to deal with it with His help, because He never sleeps.
Genesis 19:15-29 Psalm 26:2-3, 9-12 Matthew 8:23-27
Monday, June 29, 2009
I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7
We were all playing the Wii last night as a family, as much as possible anyway. My husband was playing with our two oldest. Whoever was the "loser," the one who was already not playing would take his/her spot and play the winner. You know how that is done. I'm all for a little healthy competition, but sometimes it can be a little too much. Sometimes they can get into name-calling and considering each other a "loser."
So I was thinking about this this morning in relation to the above Scripture. In the life we are living, I suppose there are losers and winners. The losers go to Hell, and the winners go to Heaven. Right? I mean, when you speak figuratively, that's what happens. But when we meet our Lord, we are not competing with each other. When we stand before God on our Judgment Day, He does not compare us to anyone else. He is looking at each of us as individuals. How did I live my life according to Him? Did I live up to His expectations? Did I do as He commanded?
We cannot compare ourselves to each other to determine a loser and a winner when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven. We must compete with the devil and make it to the finish line with our faith in tact. We must make sure that we, as individuals, have done our best to follow the laws God has set forth.
Lord, thank you for the faith You have given me. Please stay with me as I continue to compete with the devil's temptations and follow Your will.
Acts 12:1-11 Psalms 34:2-9 2 Timothy 4:6-8, 17-18 Matthew 16:13-19
Friday, June 26, 2009
Like a fruitful vine
your wife within your home,
Like olive plants
your children around your table. Psalms 128:3
A mental image popped into my mind of a family way back when times were simpler. I'm talking way, way back. I picture the wife/mom serving dinner while her husband sits at the head of the table, and their four, maybe five, little blessings sit around the table waiting for their meal. As this image is coming together in my mind, I remembered something my daughter said to me last night. She told me that I was the best mom. I'm not really sure where that came from, but it made me happy. I gave her a hug and a kiss on her nose and I told her I couldn't do what I do without daddy. She asked me why. I told her that I wouldn't be able to be with them all the time if daddy didn't work to provide our home and our food and money to do fun things. She took that in and said, "Oh, oh yeah!"
It's true isn't it? I wouldn't be able to be fruitful without my husband. And my husband wouldn't be able to focus on his job and do a good job if I didn't do my part here at home. And our children. Well, they are the little blessings that God has given to us that complete our home.
So I go back to my mental image I had when I read this Scripture. If all the pieces of the family are playing their part, our home is a happy home.
Lord, send the Holy Spirit to always guide me in the direction you want me to go. Stay with me and help me do Your will.
Genesis 17:1, 9-10, 15-22 Psalms 128:1-5 Matthew 8:1-4
Thursday, June 25, 2009
It's that time again! I know that you guys have some small successes to report this week! Leave us a comment and let us know what they are!
Here are mine for this week:
1. We had a wonderful Father's Day cook-out and a successful, smoothe birthday party for my 2-year-old.
2. I got the kids to the park to feed the ducks. We even got to get up close to them!
3. We got their pictures taken! My son is 5 and my daughter is 2. We also did some pics of all three! They came out wonderful!
OK, your turn!
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. Matthew 7:21
I was online yesterday looking at the blogs I follow and a title caught my eye, Episcopal Priest: God Rejoices in Abortion. So of course I had to click on it and find out what in the world that was all about. I was simply appalled as I read that blog post. Rev. Nina Churchman is an Episcopalian Priest in Denver, Colorado who believes that "women shouldn't have to ask for forgiveness for aborting a child." She wrote a letter to Episcopal Life Online stating that "God, unlike what the liturgy states, also rejoices that women facing unplanned pregnancies have the freedom to carefully choose the best option- birth, adoption or abortion- for themselves and their families."
I will let you soak that one in for a minute. I don't think I have to go into detail about how wrong this is. My point in raising awareness of this is that there are many false prophets out there, and they don't have to take the form of a priest or pastor. Satan likes to disguise himself with just enough good and just enough truth, to make his lies and deceit look like the truth. Satan whispers things like, "It's OK, you don't have to go to Church today, God understands you need your sleep." He whispers, "It's OK, God will understand..., It's OK, God will understand..., It's OK God will understand...."
God will NOT understand. It is clear, here in this Scripture from today, that God expects us to follow His rules or we will not enter into His kingdom. We do not get to pick and choose what we want to follow and what we don't. That's not how this works. He is clear about how we are to live and we must be aware of people like Rev. Churchman, that whispers, "It's OK, God will understand."
Lord, answer the door when the devil comes knocking. I want to live in Your goodness and do Your Will.
Genesis 16:12, 15-16 Psalms 106:1-5 Matthew 7:21-29
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
You formed my inmost being;
You knit me in my mother's womb. Psalms 139:13
I burned my finger pretty bad while I was fixing dinner last night and I was nursing it on some ice. My daughter got up and whispered in my ear, "Offer it up to God Mommy." Oh my gosh. If I could only explain the joy I felt when I heard those words of wisdom coming from my seven-year-old's mouth. I smiled, tears welled up in my eyes, and I said, "Yes, honey, you're right. I will definitely do that." So I did.
We continued to eat and soon after I took my finger off the ice, it would start to burn again, fiercely. So my daughter says, "Mommy, offer it up to God!" I told her that I had already done it in my head. I told her I said a prayer in my mind to God. She kind of looked at me. I told her that God knows what is in our hearts and our minds. She and my son liked that and they started talking about it. It developed into a conversation about babies. I told them that God knew them before anyone and that He knows everything about them. He knew what color hair they were going to have, and He even knows how they will live their lives. He knows everything about us, and it is His plan we follow.
This passage reminded me of this. The first time I heard it was when I was going through my conversion to being pro-life. The ever-conflicting definition of when life actually begins continues on and on and on. It not only begins at conception, but actually before. God begins developing us before we're actually formed. To imagine that is just mind boggling. But it's so comforting to know that God loved me before He even formed my being. We feel like that when we're trying to conceive, don't we? We love our children even before we even know them. The anticipation of being able to carry my child in my womb, and then care for them outside of, is a blessing in and of itself. Imagine the live God must have for us. It is because of that love that I want to do His Will at every moment I can.
Lord, thank you for the love you have given me. Help me to do Your Will with the life you have blessed me with.
Isaiah 49:1-6 Psalms 139:1-3, 13-15 Acts 13:22-26 Luke 1:57-66, 80
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few. Matthew 7:14
Wow, what a wake-up call this was this morning. When I stand in Church and think of my venial sins that I committed the previous week, I know they are not as big as mortal sins, but I can't help but think that an over accumulation of my venial sins weighs heavy on my soul. Every act against the Lord affects my chances of getting into Heaven.
I then begin comparing my behavior to others who may not yell at their kids as much as me, think bad thoughts about other people, judge others, do more volunteer time than I.... I compare myself to these people and think they are better at being good than I am and will surely get to Heaven.
But I also know that we all have our own struggles with the Commandments. We all have areas of our lives that we would like to improve to better our relationship with God. So I will keep making improvements in my life to hopefully gain a spot on that narrow road to life, and avoid the easier and more accessible "broad road that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13).
Lord, please send my Guardian Angel to help guide me to a life with You.
Genesis 13:2, 5-18 Psalm 15:2-5 Matthew 7:6, 12-14
Monday, June 22, 2009
Could these sins that I consider to be small, carry the same weight as these others for other people? I think the more I know about how to behave, God expects more of me. If I know I'm not supposed to gossip, then I should sure try hard not to. If I know I'm supposed to practice patience, then I darn better be doing that! So even if I weed out the big stuff, and mess up on the small stuff, will God deny me?
Then a friend of mine sent me this link to a sermon by Saint Leonard of Port Maurice. I'm not sure of who exactly he is, but his sermon certainly woke me up. I began thinking that I just might not make it to Heaven, even though I'm trying so hard. He says that there is a very small amount of us that actually even get to purgatory, never mind Heaven itself. I thought, "Boy, if I can make it to purgatory, at least I know I have a chance of getting to Heaven!" After reading this sermon, I'm not sure I would even make it to purgatory!
But I must not let that discourage me. I'm not about to give up. I want to be among the few who make it. I want all of my family and friends to be also. I think about getting to Heaven and what it will feel like to feel Jesus' love around me and to see God in all of His glory. I can't even imagine, but it's sure sounds like something I will want to experience.
Then today, I came across this video from Mother Angelica on
How to Avoid Purgatory:
She says it's easy! I suppose when you think about it, the rules are the rules. God says do this, and don't do that. It is really easy when you think about it that way. It's the devil that makes it hard for us. He is always there whispering in our ear that, "It's OK, God will understand. God wants you to be happy, right?" It's those nudges from the devil that makes our job a little harder here on Earth. And at the end of this video, Mother says that we must go to Church and participate in the Sacraments. We must live in the present moment and do God's will, right here, right now.
Mother talks about this very thing in her book Little Book of Life Lessons and Everyday Spirituality. In her chapter, The Present Moment, she has this to say:
Your Whole Life Is Now
In the Gospel of Matthew, the Lord tells us, "Set your hearts on His kingdom first and His righteousness, and all these other things will be given you as well. So do not worry about tomorrow" (Matt 6:33-34). Now here is sentence we forget entirely: "Tomorrow will take care of itself." Why? Because tomorrow will soon be now! Have you ever noticed that there really is never a tomorrow? It's always now. Your whole life is now.
You know, people come to me and they consider their past life, and they say, "Oh, if I could just do the whole thing over again." You can. Maybe you can't change your situation-we can't always do that-and you have no way of knowing that any other situation would be better, it may be much worse.
Every moment of life is like God saying, "Look, I know you messed up the last moment, but here's a new one." Every moment you breathe, God's power envelops you and sustains you in existence. So every moment, no matter what you did in the last one, no matter if you were sinful, mean, impatient, unkind, or caustic, you have a fresh start in this new moment. Every day, every instant of your life is brand-new--you make it old by living in the past. And you make it a dream world by living in the future.
This seems so simple, but just really hard to do. But I know that God gives me plenty of opportunity to practice! It's so nice to think that God knows that I messed up, but enables me to make it right.
I figure if I follow the Commandments and all of the teachings of the Church, go to Confession often and make sure I get to Church every weekend, my soul will be in good shape! I just might stand a chance.
So what do you think? How easy do you think it is to get to Heaven? Where do you think you will end up?
May Your kindness, LORD, be upon us;
we have put our hope in You. Psalms 33:22
When I read this passage this morning, I immediately thought about our own nation, the United States of America. I think about the God-less state we are in and wonder where we will stand when our Lord comes to judge us all again. Abortion, murder, euthanasia, artificial creation of life, the prevalence of fornication, birth control, and God-less schools are just a few things that come to mind. It seems as though our hope has fallen away from God an in ourselves now.
Will God have mercy on us or destroy us the way He did with the great flood? What natural disaster will He choose for us? A massive meteor shower? Uncontrollable fires? How will we perish?
I wonder these things because I can't imagine God is pleased with the way we are living our lives at the present moment. What will happen to those of us who do not turn to God and live a God-fearing life before He comes again to judge us?
Lord, my hope is in You. Help me to follow You first and foremost in my life so that I may live with You forever.
Genesis 12:1-9 Psalm 33:12-13, 18-20, 22 Matthew 7:1-5
Friday, June 19, 2009
I had planned to keep the kids busy with chores so I could get my chores done. My dad and my grandmother are coming to visit for the baby's birthday this weekend. And we also have lots of family coming over on Sunday for a Father's Day cookout. So I felt overwhelmed with cleaning, since I have been ignoring it this week.
But instead, I sent the kids outside, and then joined them shortly after that and had a nice little break from my "responsibilities" as a housekeeper. I went outside to be mom for a little while. It was nice! I thought I would be out there thinking about all this "stuff" that I had to do, but I didn't! I actually enjoyed the time with my kiddoes.
We came inside, fed them lunch, did some light picking up, then put them to bed for their naps. I proceeded to check email, talk to a friend, then get my carpet SHAMPOOED!! That was my big goal for the day and I DID IT!! WOOHOO!! It looks SOOOOO good!
So I'm feeling satisfied even though I have a mess staring me in the face right now in my dining room and a little one sitting on my lap "begging" for attention.
So I'm getting off here for the weekend. We are going shopping for daddy for Father's Day, get to the grocery store for some quick pick-ups, come home and eat some pizza with daddy! Whew, I'm so relieved at the work I got done today!
Have a blessed weekend everyone!
With joy you draw water
at the fountain of salvation... Isaiah 12:3
The devotional for today comes from Living Faith:
Imagine the difference between those who enjoy the brightness of the sun and those who have only the scant light of a lamp. The ones who are in the sunshine have no jealousy of each other. They know there is enough light for everyone... Lamplight is limited and often insufficient. Others envy the one who has it. The best of human things are trifling and beggarly. When one has them, another must be deprived of them. Even human friendships work this way. As friendship grows stronger for one, it is weakened for others. This explains why we are jealous and angry when we have rivals.
The heart of God is filled with inexhaustible love. Because it is infinite, everyone can possess it without lessening another's possession of it. God has enough love for the entire universe without being drained. When everything has been filled to the brim with God's love there remains an infinity of love in reserve.
St. Francis de Sales
Hosea 11:1, 3-4, 8-9 Isaiah 12:2-6 Ephesians 3:8-12, 14-19 John 19:31-37
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Small Successes is something that was started at Faith and Family Live! to help us moms recognize and be proud of the little things that we do that contribute to the whole of our homes. So every Thursday, I will be posting 3 of my small successes and I hope that you will join me by leaving a comment with your successes as well!
So here goes:
1. I took care of my 2-year-old who has strep (we think) while ignoring all of my chores on Monday.
2. Got caught up on the dishes and vacuuming!
3. I spent my "free" time reading with my daughter and helping her to write her own blog post on my blog.
So those may be small successes, but they all add up to the big job we have of running our households. So what are 3 of your small successes?
In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. do now be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him. Matthew 6:7-8
I was talking to my brother a few months back about religion and God and the whole bit. He said he has wanted to learn more about our faith for a long time, but just hasn't yet. Then prayer came up. He said that he didn't pray because he didn't know how to. I used to think the same way. So I proceeded to share that with him and tell him that praying is really about having a conversation with God. It's really just about talking to Him. I don't always get down on my knees to pray. I talk to God all the time while I'm doing the dishes, reading or playing games with the kids, while I'm spending time with my family, doing the laundry... you get the point. God is always on my mind. He is always there guiding me in my thoughts and in my actions.
But here, in Matthew, we are told not to babble. Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer and it is very simple and concise. It keeps us pointed in the right direction, and doesn't go on and on and on about whatever might be going on in our lives. God knows everything. He knows what's in our hearts. So why ask Him for anything in prayer you might ask? Well, Mother Angelica puts it this way: "Don't you want somebody you love to ask for something? So often surprise gifts are not what the other person really wants. You learn that at Christmas. How many men get umpteen neckties at Christmas because you don't know what else to give them? The immediacy with which something is given (or sometimes refused) is always indicative of the love of the beloved-which means that God Who is Father wants to act like a father. He just doesn't want to pour stuff into your lap. The asking is so you can appreciate His generosity. What the Lord is saying here is don't worry about the things you need. But He still wants you to ask and He wants to fulfill your needs." (Private and Pithy Lessons from the Scriptures)
Is there something you have been wanting to ask God for? Is there something you want to talk to Him about?
2 Corinthians 11:1-11 Psalm 111:1-4, 7-8 Matthew 6:7-15
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Mary Said "Yes"
Mary said, “Yes” when God sent the Angel Gabriel to ask her to have Jesus. Mary was nervous and had many questions. But she still said, “Yes.” It’s not always easy to do God’s will.
Listen to God
Mary and Joseph took Jesus to
Looking for Jesus
Looking for Jesus
Mary and Joseph lost Jesus and they went looking for Him for three days. Then they found Jesus in the temple. Treat your body like a temple because Jesus is always in our hearts.
-by Gabby from Just Like Mary
So when the other two kids when down for their naps, she broke out the book to read it to me. We turned off the television and read three chapters. We then proceeded to write three paragraphs together about what we read. I can't believe how smart she is and how much she loves God. I'm so glad and proud I could burst. As a matter of fact, she's sitting here right now bugging me to get on the computer so she can type it out. Maybe I will let her post it to my blog when she's done with it.
I feel so blessed.
You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God... 2 Corinthians 9:11
I must admit that it is here that I really don't feel like I do enough. I wish I had more time to volunteer. Or maybe I should make more time. I have three children that I stay home with so in order to volunteer I would either need to bring them with me or find someone to watch them. Which is a possibility, both options. I want them to be involved in their community and want to do for others. It feels good to give, not only money, but to contribute your time and see the difference it makes first-hand.
In Matthew 6:2 we are told, When you give alms, do no blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. I read this and I thought about Oprah's Big Give that was on television not too long ago. Watching these people spend their time, and their money, helping other people was inspiring. And I don't think it was about tooting anyone's horn, but I think it was meant to inspire. Now granted I'm not a big Oprah fan, but I really did enjoy this show.
God sees what we do. He knows our every thought and our every intention. If we could make just a little bit of an effort to help each other, our harvest of righteousness will increase (2 Corinthians 9:10).
So how can we squeeze some time into our busy schedules to make more of a difference in others' lives?
2 Corinthians 9:6-11 Psalm 112:1-4, 9 Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you... Matthew 5:44
I'm the type of person who wants justice for all. I not only worry about myself, but also everyone that I care about. So when I see that someone else is hurting that I care about, it makes me angry. I get into this mentality of, "How could they do that to you? What in the world is wrong with them?" And it almost feels like it has happened to me. So because this person/these people, hurt someone I care about, I see them as my enemy as well. And it's easy to be angry with someone else and blame them for someone else's unhappiness, but it is certainly terribly difficult to love them and pray for them.
But I must say, in my efforts to do so, my anger has diminished. Yes I think time plays a part, but prayer also does. And if you love your enemy and are praying for them, it's pretty hard to carry anger, and possible hate, in your heart. Mother Angelica from her Private and Pithy Lessons from the Scriptures says:
In the Lord's mind there can be no difference between a person who is holy, a person who is faulty, a person who is a big sinner, or a person who is pious. There's no difference. Jesus in His love always said He hated sin- hated sin- but He loved the sinner. We seldom separate the sin from the sinner. So, if I hate your way of life, I hate you. If I despise your faults, I despise you.
Love has a way of minimizing faults. They've got these minimizing bras- what do they do? They're supposed to make something big look like something small. Well, that's what our love should do. Love minimizes the faults of others.
Isn't Mother Angelica great? She always makes so much sense, even when I don't really want her to. But it's true. If we can look past all of these faults we have deemed others to have, and love them and pray for them, those faults don't seem so big anymore and we can get past them.
Is there someone in your life whose way of life you don't particularly agree with? How can you overcome your anger or hate?
2 Corinthians 8:1-9 Psalm 146:2, 5-9 Matthew 5:43-48
I'm so grateful to have met my friends here on Blogger, so I figure I can use this blog to reach more people and make more wonderful friends. So stay tuned! I have lots of thoughts to put out there and will have a devotional every weekday!