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Archive for June, 2012

Back in 1993 I started reading about Marian apparitions in Fatima and Medjugorje, and learning about Mary’s messages telling us about the changes we needed to make in our lives. She was always saying that we need to pray as much as one to three hours a day. At the time I couldn’t imagine praying for that long a time; I couldn’t imagine how to pray for more than 5 minutes per day!

I’m a logical, practical person, so I went to the local Catholic bookstore and bought a prayer book. I started reading reflections from The Word Among Us (daily mass readings), reciting several prayers in the Pieta prayerbook, and made of list of friends and family to pray for. I also prayed my first rosary with my dear sister-in-law, Theckla. The rosary used to be called the “poor man’s bible”, as most people couldn’t read until the 19th century. The 20 different mysteries of the rosary give you insight into Christ’s life; from the annunciation, when the angel appeared to Mary and asked her to be the mother of God and she replied with her famous fiat “be it done unto me according to your word”, to his passion and death, resurrection and ascension.

My first miracle I witnessed came several months later. A woman at daily mass prayed during the intercessions for a baby to come into her life. So I started praying for the “lady who wants to get pregnant”. I later became friends with this “lady”, who shared that she had been trying for years, but with no success. Lo and behold she came to me one day all excited and proclaimed that she was pregnant! I was SO excited I started jumping up and down and telling her about the novena (special prayer) that I done for her intentions! She had the baby nine months and one week after I had finished the novena.

Before that time, I really didn’t understand God’s power and His role in my life. This “miracle” was the first inkling I had that God cares tenderly and intimately about every single detail of our lives.  Matthew 6:25 “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 clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

Prayer is having a conversation with God; telling Him our needs, desires, problems, cares and concerns. But it also involves LISTENING! Listening to His plans for our lives; letting Him speak words of comfort, direction and guidance in our hearts.

One of the things I love most about my Catholic faith is that it is so tangible. During the darkest times in the last few years, I could always hold on to my rosary, even if the grief and pain were so deep, that I couldn’t pray. When my father had cancer I gave him a miraculous medal, which he held onto for dear life!

Scripture has also brought me so much comfort and healing. In times of need I remember Hebrews 4:16  “Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

Source for meditation
The Word Among Us

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Listening to God

Listening to God…God speaks to us daily, but how many of us really hear him? Think of the songs we listened to when we were younger; many times we listened to the tune, but didn’t really hear the words.  A prerequisite for listening to God is to spend quiet time with Him daily.  He speaks to us very gently, and through many different ways.

When my youngest daughter when to UGA back in 1997, we went to the orientation seminar together. I was concerned about her safety, as several years earlier, I had a friend whose daughter was murdered at the same college.  I was riding the bus shuttle back to my dorm after the last session and spoke to the bus driver ab0ut my concerns. I shared that my other daughter attended a small college in a rural area, and that I was less concerned about her safety. The bus driver assured me that in 25 years of driving the bus, he had never experienced any safety issues at UGA, but when he visited the small rural town where my other daughter’s college was located, he was held up at gunpoint! Immediately I felt the presence of God, and heard him audibly assure me “don’t you think I can take of your daughter wherever she is?” So in this instance, God spoke to me through the bus driver!

God can speak to us through music. I have Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up” on my cellphone ringtone, because every time I hear it, the words remind me of God’s promise in Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

He speaks to us when we feel a nudge to pick up the telephone and call someone, and by coincidence that person was really in a dark place and needed our words of encouragement. He speaks to us through our conscience, that little voice in our heart that tells us when we have done something wrong.

He also speaks to us through our difficulties and trials; He allows us to make mistakes and experience sickness, job loss or financial difficulties, because pain gets our attention! We may be barreling head-long in the wrong direction, until something happens to help us realize that God had a different plan for us entirely. He may be asking us to stop controlling a situation, and surrender it to Him.

Or He may be using the trial to save you from something worse. When my brother was a teenager, he ran through an overgrown yard and cut himself quite badly on an abandoned airconditioner. My parents rushed him to the emergency room, where the doctors ran an xray. It was a profound shock for my parents when the xray showed a massive bone tumor in my brother’s leg, which had almost eaten through the bone. The doctors said my brother was profoundly “lucky”; if the tumor had eaten totally through the bone, the treatment and recovery would have been much longer and more difficult. So this apparently tragic event, turned out to be a blessing in disguise!

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