Thursday, March 27, 2008

Evangelization at Home

What would happen if you died tomorrow? Would your kids have comfort in God? Would they find some peace in knowing He would care for them one way or another through their loss? Would your children know what you believed? Would they have hope?
These are hard questions - who wants to think of their own mortality, let alone the possibility of leaving their children behind at young ages? But it is our duty as parents to answer these questions - to live our lives in a way that gives our children everything they might need in our absence. They won't be children very long - let's face it, adulthood encompasses many more years than childhood. What are we doing with our children to ensure their faith is strong, that they have a secure knowledge of God's grace and mercy and love?
This might seem like a silly notion to some who will read this. "We go to church every Sunday and even on Wednesday nights!" "We say grace before every meal." "Our family prays at bedtime."... "OF COURSE, our children know of God's goodness!" But I challenge you to really delve deeply into your lives to see how you demonstrate God's grace and mercy and love to your children. How do you react in anger? Do you intimately share your heart with your children? Do you share how God has made your life better? How His Son's sacrifice has changed your own heart and the way you conduct your life?
I'm interested in hearing what you do to help your children KNOW the grace and glory and limitless love from our Father. How do you encourage their own personal relationship with Christ? And then I'll tell you why I think it's so important to have this be the central focus of your home and family.
God Bless you and Happy Easter!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Victory of Love

"These holy days reawaken a great hope in us. Christ was crucified, yet he rose again and conquered the world... Love is stronger than hate, it has triumphed and we should affiliate ourselves with this victory of love. We should therefore start again from Christ and work together with him for a world founded on peace, justice and love." -Pope Benedict XVI on the Easter Triduum.
The past month or so, I've been trying to read through a book on healing by Francis MacNutt. It's difficult to read because I need quiet in order to concentrate - and in a house with two active girls, quiet is hard to come by. But what I've read has been great. Nothing new so far, since I was already a believer in healing prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit. But I haven't gotten into the meaty chapters yet and I know this book is a classic in its subject.

Yesterday, I picked up unbound and began reading that as well. As I was reading the foreword (not-so-coincidentally written by Francis MacNutt, I might point out), it occurred to me to pray while reading these books. To pray for protection against any attack brought on by my desire for increased knowledge and faith - and ministry. So, I stopped reading and took a moment to say a prayer to Jesus to protect my heart and my mind from all evil and lead me in my quest for knowledge. And for good measure, I asked St. Michael to provide his heavenly protection against any evil spirits that might be sent to interrupt my quest.

It was funny, not funny "haha" but funny interesting, to realize after the brief time I spent with the book after that prayer how much more I got out of that time than when I was trying to get through parts of the first book before. (was that a long and ridiculous sentence or what?) I can't help but think it was the prayers. I had as many, if not more, distractions than when I've tried to get into Healing, but I couldn't stop thinking about what I'd read. Even after ten PM last night, I continued to turn it over and over in my mind.

I don't really know why I'm writing about reading these books, except to say that I wonder if God wants something more from me in this area? Are there things I need to heal in my own past that I really thought I'd moved past? Does He want me to heal those things in order that I can serve His people in a more intimate way? I do know that I felt real grace upon my head a couple weeks ago when my husband and I were a prayer team at a retreat-like day. Is this where God wants me to follow Him?

I don't know all the answers yet, but I have to say that this Lent has brought me more intimately close to the Lord than I've felt in a number of years. I want to listen to Him all the time, but I really feel like I've been hearing Him, these past few weeks especially. I think when I became a mother, I replaced some of my thirst for closeness with God with a thirst for closeness with my kids. And now that I've realized that, I can allow Christ the space in my life that He's wanted all along.

Have a blessed Triduum.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Send Me

From the beginning of my christian journey, I have been eager to share my love and faith.
When a priest from another church asked if my husband and I would get involved with their Life Teen program, we didn't hesistate to say yes. We had no idea that yes would bring such abundant blessings (and abundant headaches) to our lives.
A month later, when our own church was still trying to get a teacher for 7th grade religious education, I felt pulled to say "me! I'll help!" I had no idea that three months later, I'd start having morning sickness all day long that lasted 20 weeks.
This all happened within 4 months of my baptism, confirmation and first communion at the Easter vigil mass. There were many times those days I thought I'd lost my mind - we were both working full-time jobs, we were newlyweds.... That year, we purchased our first home, my husband switched companies, then we had our first child. It was definitely the year of "Yes!" in our home.
In spite of the craziness and busy-ness, I have really fond memories of that time - particularly in regards to my faith. I was not only teaching 7th grade, but had volunteered to help with the whole middle school youth group. I was giving myself to all these pre-teens on Wednesdays and then the high school kids at Life Teen (at another parish) each Sunday - trying to help them find the fire I'd found in Christ that past year.
Our meetings with the other ministers for Life Teen were filled with prayer and praise and worship. We were being led by a dynamic priest, who was really on fire with the Holy Spirit. Even as a new Catholic, I knew this guy was a gifted homilist and servant. And though we were pouring out ourselves each week through this incredibly personal work, we were being filled up frequently with what God promises those who do His will.
Of course, all good things come to an end (or do they?). I did not teach religious education after that year, our daughter became my first priority and since I was still working in the M-F world, the rest of my time was hers. Problems arose with leadership at the other parish and we stopped ministering through Life Teen. I still did help with the middle school youth at our parish, but when I got pregnant with our second daughter even that fell by the wayside.
I don't fault myself for taking some time away from ministry to tend to my family's young flock. I've participated in some moms' groups and studies, but the joy I get from ministering to others just can't be beat.
Since moving here just over a year ago, I've really embedded myself in our community. I've hosted play and pray dates for the homeschoolers, among other times of opening our home to the TORCH group. I helped last year with vacation bible school (and am on the committee this year), we are a sponsor couple at our parish for engaged couples, we're part of a prayer group....
It's time to step it up, though. God knew I was feeling this way and has opened an opportunity to us at our parish. At first, I felt there was no way I am ready for this kind of ministry to adults (remember, most of my experience is with kids), but my cheerleader reminded me that I can do all things through Christ. It's just sharing my faith, right?
It feels excellent to be involved again.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

In Faith


I've been blogging for nearly 4 years... it seems so odd that for so long, I've wanted to write about something and can't really figure out what that something is. This evening, it occurred to me that maybe what I'm really supposed to write about - at least for now - is my faith. I don't know exactly what that will mean for this space on the web, but I suppose for now, I will be recording reflections.

If you have any questions, please ask! No question answered in sincerity is a stupid question.

Until next time, God Bless You!