Fireflies and Mercy

My husband and I were sitting and talking on our back patio just the other evening.  While we relaxed and enjoyed each other’s company, the sun set and darkness began to surround us.  As our eyes adjusted, the moonlight provided some soft lighting and the fireflies began their shimmering dance across our back yard.  I was quite entertained with the little bright spots of light spinning and zipping around.  My husband then arose from his rocker and stated that he would turn on an outside light.  I quickly told him, “No, we won’t be able to see the fireflies!”.  He laughed, but sat back down and we continued to visit in the darkness all the while enjoying those sparks of light.

Yesterday was Divine Mercy Sunday.  I love this Feast Day!  Devotion of Divine Mercy was personally requested by Jesus during church approved apparitions to Saint Faustina.  Sister Faustina was born in 1905 in Krakow, Poland and received many messages from Christ.  He appeared as Divine Mercy and instructed Faustina to have His image painted.  It was His request that the image be venerated and for there to be a Divine Mercy feast day the first Sunday after Easter.   Saint Faustina kept a diary of her heavenly visits and although she was poorly educated and only lived to the age of thirty-three; she was able to achieve all that was asked of her.  If you have not read her diary, I highly recommend you do.

I spent part of the afternoon, on this glorious Divine Mercy Sunday,  watching a documentary on the original painting of Divine Mercy Jesus which was supervised by Saint Faustina.  She wanted the artist to portray Jesus just as she had seen Him.  Of course no painting can capture the beauty of our Divine Lord and Saint Faustina wept at the outcome.  Jesus was not disappointed; however, and informed Sister Faustina that the painting was a reflection of His Grace.

While gazing upon this original painting of Divine Mercy, I noticed how Jesus was surrounded by darkness.  His rays of Mercy shine forth through the darkness as He extends a blessing.  I thought about the fireflies.  In the light of day, fireflies are unnoticeable.  It is only in the black of night that these fireflies shine and sparkle the most.  In the same way, in our own darkness of sin we are called to trust in Jesus and trust in His Mercy.  We can feel Jesus best when we are at our weakest.  We can offer ourselves to Jesus most fully during our most sorrowful days.  It is in our weakness and in darkness that we find His Mercy; it shines forth and washes us with His Grace.

John 8:12 “I am the light of the world”, He said, “whoever follows Me will have the light of life and will never walk in darkness.”

Remember during your darkest days that He is there for you, and His light will show you the Way.  Never be afraid of the dark, trust in Him!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

Lizards have blankets

1 lizardMy childhood was filled with imagination and fun fantasy thanks to my mom.

I remember going to bed at night and peeking out from under the covers ever so often, hoping to see the “Sand Man”.   I was told that the Sand Man came every night.  He had a bucket full of sand and would fasten the eyelids together of all little children with sand, so that they would have a good night’s sleep.  It made perfect sense to this little girl, who awoke each morning with a crusty-sand-like mixture in her eyes.  I felt this “Sand Man” was extremely aggressive and rude.  I tried and tried to stay awake long enough to get a glimpse of him, but he was too elusive!

My mom could talk to lizards.  We spent a lot of time outside in those days before computers and video games.  Occasionally we would come across a nice green lizard.  Mom would make sure we would stop in our tracks and be very quiet and still.  She would then, in a very authoritative voice, say “Lizard, Lizard, show me your blanket!”  We watched with eager anticipation, and sure enough, that lizard would pump out a great pink blanket from under its belly!  We were so amazed!  Our mother was just so magical in me and my sister’s eyes!

Of course we heard lots of stories about the tooth fairy, Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny.  The Tooth Fairy was one of my favorites. She was a little mouse fairy that flew around gathering little children’s teeth to make her mouse furniture.  I could picture a cute little mouse with wings, a tutu and wand.  But as hard as I tried, I could not imagine why anyone would want furniture made out of teeth!  How uncomfortable!

Role playing and imagination were vital to entertainment in those days.  My friend next door and I played house with our baby dolls.  I had loads of Barbie dolls.  These dolls had a camper, vehicle, and even an airplane!  Mom showed me how to take an ordinary cardboard box and using crayons, transform it into a Barbie house by drawing pictures on the wall and of course furniture! These hand-made houses were more fun than the already made vehicles.  I can remember playing “Ms. America” and answering the all important interview question.  We acted out our favorite movies like “Mary Poppins”.   Making up games was of no consequence.  Our little minds were just brimming with ideas and creativity.

According to mom, loud repeated thunder was God moving furniture.  I did not think God had furniture made from teeth.  I was sure it was gold and heavy – hence the loud thunder!  Mom talked quite a bit about God, Mary, the Saints and angels.  We knew our guardian angel was always watching over us.  We said our prayers every night, talking to God with Mom.  There was not a doubt in my mind that God knew everything I did.  If I did anything that I thought would make my parents mad;  I was also worried that God was mad.  He was a very real part of my life.

I eventually grew up and gave up the games and fantasy.  I never gave up my faith in God and my friends in Heaven.

In some way trusting in imagination leads to lessons in having faith.  Teaching a child to believe in mouse fairies and lizard blankets may seem childish and unproductive, but it is just the opposite.  A child is naturally inclined by innocence to believe.  Children look up to their parents and when a parent embraces the world of the unknown and unseen, a child is taught to have faith.  They understand  that not everything can be seen or touched or fully understood.

At a certain age, I knew there was no Sand Man lurking in the dark corners of my bedroom.  I gave up baby dolls and eventually had three real babies of my own.  I learned the real meaning of Christmas and Easter which has nothing to do with elves and baskets.  I never gave up my faith in God and my friends in Heaven.  I never gave up those evening talks with God.  Although I cannot see Him, I feel His presence and know that He is watching and guiding me and my family.

When I hear parents or teachers today complaining about a child’s imagination, I get sad.  The secular world wants to do away with imagination and fantasy play.  The secular world wants children to believe only in what can be seen and proved.  The secular world does not want to hear about babies in the womb having a soul or that people with disabilities are vital and have purpose.  The secular world does not want to hear about God or Jesus or Mary or Angels or Hell or anything of the spiritual realm.  It has an agenda that robs children of innocence and a proper childhood.

So, this summer, sit with your kids and watch Mary Poppins then act out your favorite scenes.  Take a walk outside and make your child giggle when you make a lizard show his blanket.  Look for fireflies and call them “lost fairies” looking for their home.  Then put your little one to bed and say a goodnight prayer to God together.

But you can leave out the Sand Man. He is too creepy!

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

Franny’s Poor Angel!

It is taught by the Catholic Church that we all are given a guardian angel the moment we are conceived in the womb and created by

guardian angelOur Lord.  Hebrews 1:14: “What are the angels then? They are spirits who serve God and are sent by Him to help those who are to receive salvation.”  Since it is God’s plan that we are all called to be with Him in eternity, it stands to reason that we all are given this angel as a guide throughout life.

According to the book, Get Us Out of Here, by Nicky Eltz, some of us have more than one angel.  Eltz spent quite a bit of time interviewing Marie Simms, an Austrian Mystic.  Marie claimed to have been visited by poor souls in Purgatory for much of her life. (She died in 2004)  The book is fascinating.  According to Marie all of us have at least one angel.  Doctors and Religious have two guardian angels.  These angels stay with us on earth and in Purgatory until we make it into Heaven.

When I read Marie’s testimony of Doctors having two angels; I immediately thought of my sister-in-law who is a Doctor.  I called her mom and told her that her daughter had two guardian angels.  She was not surprised and said she had known that for quite some time.  When asked to explain, she told me that when my sister-in-law was very little she told her mother that she had two angels.  She even knew their names, Meredith and David!

I too was not surprised.  I have always heard that little children often times can see and sometimes communicate with guardian angels.  In rare cases adults, such as Padre Pio, have also had the ability to communicate with an angel.

That got me wondering about my sister, Franny’s, angel.

I am ten years older than Franny, so I witnessed her grow up.  At a very young age, Franny had a very real but very imagined friend.  I would sit on my bed doing homework and listen to her have very involved conversations with this invisible girl – I cannot remember her name.  It got to the point where I asked my mother if something was wrong with Franny “in the head.”  My mother told me lots of kids have imaginary friends and she would grow out of it.  I remember thinking that my mother had to be wrong.  There was no way any “normal” child could have such lengthy discussions with an imaginary friend.

Now I wonder if that could possibly have been her angel.

Now let me tell you about Franny.  She was accident prone, a free-spirit, and definitely T-R-O-U-B-L-E!  I have always felt sorry for my parents for the stress raising Franny must have caused; but now that I think about it, her angel must need a serious vacation!

I witnessed her guardian angel in action.  She could barely walk and was standing beside the kitchen cabinet one day while my mom was fixing dinner.  I was sitting on the floor trying to get her attention.  Suddenly my mom dropped a knife.  I had a clear view of a knife barreling straight down, sharp side down, heading for my sister Franny’s head.  All of this occurred in the blink of an eye.  I clearly witnessed the knife make a sharp left turn and fall on the floor beside my sister.  I was shocked.  I knew enough about physics to know that nothing could have made the knife turn like that.  I jumped up and quickly told my mother what I had just witnessed.  My mom saw God’s Hand in everything and she just shrugged her shoulders and said, “Must have been her guardian angel.”  I thought there was no other explanation.

By the time Franny was two she had made multiple trips to the emergency room.  There was a burn from a floor furnace, stiches on the lips from a fall while climbing on a high chair…

My favorite story of all is the quarter.  At the age of seven, Franny was home from school due to having pneumonia.  I guess she was bored and decided to fling a quarter in the air and try to catch it with her mouth.  She was really good at this.  In fact she was so good that the quarter eventually went straight down into her throat!  I was in my room and could hear a huge commotion in the kitchen.  When I entered I saw my dad holding Franny upside down while hitting her back.  Franny was red and choking.  My mother – the nurse- was frantic and screaming.  My dad yelled at my mom to grab the car keys. (The hospital was only about two miles away).  My frantic mother yelled that she did not know where her keys were and ran into her room to find them.  I could see my car keys.  I grabbed them and my dad and I took off for the hospital.  My dad was driving and Franny was sitting on my lap.  Lo and behold, as soon as she was upright again, she swallowed that quarter.

We drove up to the emergency room and my dad instructed me to take my sister inside and inform the nurse that she has pneumonia and had swallowed a quarter.  I was mortified and asked him why he was not going in.  He calmly stated that he left in such a hurry, he did not put any shoes on his feet.  I brought my sister who was breathing but still sobbing, into the emergency room.  My dad left to get shoes.

I told the nurse what happened.  She began filling out paperwork.  She looked at Franny crying and asked her what was wrong.  Franny told her that her back was hurting.  The nurse said, “That is probably from the pneumonia, honey.”  Franny immediately set her straight, “No, it hurts because my dad was hitting it!”  Again, I was mortified.  The nurse just laughed.  She took Franny get an X-ray.

At that moment a mad woman came barreling in the emergency room driveway in a red station wagon.  I knew the car and I knew the woman – it was mother!  Poor thing, she had no idea if her child was alive or dead!  She walked in just in time to see Franny coming out of X-ray and then a clear picture of a shiny quarter already settled in her stomach.

That quarter stayed in Franny for six months.  When scans showed it could not be passed and was in danger of blocking her intestines, it had to be surgically removed.   My mom called it her thousand dollar quarter!

Over the years there have been many more Franny tales and adventures.  She is married now and has two beautiful children.  Of course she still makes trips to the emergency room, recently breaking her foot!

I just have to laugh and say “Franny’s Poor Angel!”

 

C’est Bon,

Love,

Sherry

 

Love and Marriage

258-MEGAN_CHASE_WEDDINGIn 2014, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary and also celebrated my parents’ 50th!

2015 started with a wedding.  Our son was married in the Catholic church in January to a beautiful woman.  It was an awesome sight to see the generations of grandparents, parents and children sharing in this beautiful and life-giving sacrament.

Weddings have changed over the years!  My parents wedding was very simple. She had a maid of honor and he had a best man.  Our wedding had a couple of more attendants, but was still simple.  There were no engagement parties, dinners, registries, wedding planners…the list goes on and on.

The focus back then was on the sacrament.

As I watched my son’s bride being escorted down the aisle in the gorgeous St. John’s Cathedral; I realized that the very heart of the wedding for our family had not changed.  The bride’s father escorted her up the center aisle towards her future husband, towards Our Lord and His altar.  It was before Our Lord that these two young people took their wedding vows.  They received the Lord’s blessing and were joined in Holy Matrimony.

My son and his wife expressed their gratitude to our Blessed Mother by presenting roses in front of her statue.  I felt love and pride for the man my son had become and accepted a rose from him knowing my job was done.  He was no longer only my son – he was now a husband.  His job is now being the spiritual head of his family and that means making sure his wife and future children leave this world prepared to enter into God’s Kingdom.

He is off to a good start.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

392-MEGAN_CHASE_WEDDING

I will follow Him

20130525_124013I think we all follow something or someone..

Dorothy followed the yellow brick road.  The magi followed the star.  Wall street junkies follow the stock market.  Some people follow blogs…the list goes on and on.

As Christians we are called to follow Christ Jesus.  It is a road that is hard and rocky.  To truly follow His ways and not the ways of man means ridicule, discrimination, and even today, death.

Today at mass, the gospel reading spoke of Jesus’ Baptism.  One may ask why Jesus, our Savior, needed to be Baptized.  The answer is He did not.  In order to fulfill the Will of God, Jesus did seek John for Baptism.  It was during this Baptism that the waters of the Jordan became sanctified and became the first “holy water”.  How could John Baptize our Lord without first being Baptized himself?  John was sanctified by Jesus when Mary visited Elizabeth.  John leapt in the womb when receiving his sanctifying grace.

Jesus’ Baptism was the beginning of His ministry.  His mission was to love and to show us how to love.  He asked that we give up our worldly influences and give ourselves to Him for our salvation.  He asked that we follow Him.

The reason to follow Him….because He loved us first.  He loved us so much that He gave all of Himself for our salvation.  With one drop of blood, Jesus’ mission for our salvation was complete.  Why did He give Himself up to torture and humiliation and total loss of blood then?  The answer is simple: He gave all of His blood because He had it to give.  He loved us that much.

Message given to Nancy Fowler in Conyers, Georgia, January 13, 1992:

Mary: “Tell my children, they have been marked with the sign of the cross.  The cross is on your forehead. (Father Jorge later added that we are marked at Baptism)  Nancy asked if the cross was of white light. “Yes, it is a cross of white light. You name your children and we name ours.”

“Dear children of America, be children of light.  Walk away from sin.  Please children, many of you are in danger of losing Heaven forever.  There is no greater suffering than the loss of God.  Prepare yourselves for eternal happiness.  Come follow my Son’s light.  Banish all darkness from your souls.  Keep the laws of God.  You cannot love God without keeping His commandments.  I bless you.  I am praying for you to come to the light.  As my Son went to the water for His Baptism, I ask you to return to the light of your Baptism.”

I am today making a commitment to follow Him.

He loves me.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

Jesus’ Angel

Luke 1:26 “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth. He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph who was  a descendant of King David. The girl’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!”.”

Before God created man, He created the heavens and all things visible and “invisible”.  The angels were in existence long before man walked the earth.  Throughout the Bible the angels are seen as messengers and protectors.  They adore, glorify and praise the Creator.  These angels play a vital role in the journey of mankind.  As Catholics, we believe people are given a guardian angel from the moment of conception.  An angel to help protect and guide us on our journey back home to our Lord.

When the Word became flesh and Jesus was conceived in the womb of His mother, Mary, I can only believe that He would have had a very special Guardian Angel.  For that matter, I believe His mother would also have had a very special Angel to guard and protect her due to her special calling in life.

We know that Mary was approached by the Archangel Gabriel with the message that she was chosen to carry the Messiah.  I would love to believe that Mary’s special Guardian Angel was the Angel Gabriel.  One of only four Archangels, Gabriel was close to our Lord and would have stayed close by the Word made flesh.

I believe that Jesus had a very special Guardian Archangel as well.  The Archangel, Michael, is known to be the leader of God’s angels.  St. Michael is normally depicted in armor, fighting off Satan and his demons.  Never has there been such a temptation of man by the devil as when Jesus and His followers were tempted.  God would never have sent His Son to this earth to be lower than the angels for a time, without the proper protector.  This protector must have been St. Michael.

I believe Jesus, in His divinity, could see the angels.  He must have had a close relationship with both His mother’s angel, Gabriel and His own, Michael.  As revealed in the painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, these angels not only watched over mother and Son, they prepared them for what was to come.

The nativity story is full of angels.  From the announcement to Mary to the announcement to the shepherds; mankind relies on these heavenly beings to steer us in the right direction and lead us to our Savior.

Luke 2:13 “Suddenly a great army of heaven’s angels appeared with the angel, singing praises to God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom He is pleased!”.”

This Christmas we thank God for the gift of His Son.  We also should thank Him for the gift of our angel and all angels who watch over us and protect us.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

 

Wrong side of the fence

MICHELANGELOI spent election day with my granddaughter and grandson.  We had errands to run in the morning, and so I thought it a good idea to have a gift for each of them at home for our return – if the two of them behaved.

It worked!  The two kids were very well-behaved and were very excited upon returning home to find a doll for the girl and a ninja turtle for the boy.  I was very proud of myself!  The kids immediately became involved with playing with their gifts and I began working on a gumbo.

It was nice to spend the day with my grandchildren.  The day was going extremely well until we took the dog, Oscar, out in the back yard.  My grandson decided to take his ninja turtle outside and began throwing the turtle around.  Our back yard is not very big.  There is a barbed wire fence at the very back of the yard separating my yard from a pasture.  Having the big field behind us gives the illusion that the yard is very big indeed.  After my grandson threw the turtle a couple of times, inching his way to the fence, I warned him to stop throwing the toy because it could end up over the fence.

Well, that was a mistake!  My grandson heard these words, looked back at me, took a big step forward and flung the toy over the fence!  He turned back towards me, and my face must have said it all!  His eyes got really big and he yelled at me to not worry;  he would go over the fence and get his toy.  I immediately yelled back at him that his toy was not on my property and he was not allowed to go over the fence.  And so the battle began.

He was not happy.  He had trouble controlling his emotions at that point.  The stomping, yelling, and crying took control over him.  I kept my cool and simply told him to get back inside.  He began jumping and yelling.  I began counting with my fingers – did not have to say another word – and he stomped right back into the house sniffling and carrying on.  I had to sit him in the hallway and told him he needed to calm down.

As soon as he quieted down, I sneaked out of the house and was able to just reach his ninja turtle.  I rescued Raphael from the neighbors and went have a sit down with my grandson.

Before I returned the toy, my grandson and I talked about LISTENING.  When I asked him what it meant to listen, he replied that one should listen to their moms, dads, grams, and pops.  I explained that he was a child and he should always listen to the grown up in charge.  I then asked him what happens when we don’t listen. He shrugged.  I told him, “BAD THINGS HAPPEN”!  He wiped his face and agreed with me.  He promised to try to listen.  He apologized and I gave him back the trouble causing “behavior gift” along with a kiss and a hug.

As children we are tasked with listening to our parents and grandparents, teachers, etc.  As adults we are tasked with listening to our Father in Heaven.  I am sure that when we don’t listen and BAD THINGS HAPPEN…God must shake His head!  Like any good parent, He must watch and say softly, “If only you had LISTENED!”.

“Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts” Hebrews 4:7

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” Psalm 119

It is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4

The world tells us it is not necessary to listen to God.  The world tells us that we make our own rules and can do what makes us happy.  But our Father knows what is best for us and knows the way to our true happiness….Will we listen or end up on the wrong side of the fence?

C’est Bon!

Love,

Sherry