A Birthday Wish for Pope Francis

A Birthday Wish for Pope Francis

Holy Father, I cannot imagine the weight of being the 266th successor of St. Peter!  The entire Church of more than a billion people, look to you for leadership, clarity, and nuturing.  It is an awesome responsibility.  The world is much different than in the days of St. Peter, but the instruction from our Lord Jesus Christ remains the same: “Feed my lambs..Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep…Follow Me.” John 21:15-19

I love the Church Jesus founded on His rock, St. Peter.  I was baptized Catholic as an infant, was married in the Church, and in recent years have witnessed my grandchildren receive their First Communion.  I love the sacraments and understand how precious and wonderful are the treasures of the Church.  These treasures are not money or priceless art, but the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  His living presence is among us to this day!  The Eucharist is guarded by His Church, but also worshipped and adored.  Along with His physical presence, the Church and its leadership are entrusted with keeping sacred the Words and Teachings of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is the Truth and the Way.

These are dark days.  As the world blocks out the light of Jesus, darkness prevails.  Many have fallen into this darkness, including some who were ordained into leadership roles of the Church.  Humans are weak.  Even St. Peter at the dawn of the Church denied Jesus Christ.  It was a dark time, but the Holy Spirit gave courage, wisdom and guidance.  A few men fed a handful of sheep with the Truth, which led to a world wide Church today.

Holy Father, you are a man of great humility. I see God’s mercy in all that you do and say.  As we celebrate Advent and the coming of Jesus, my birthday wish for you is that the Holy Spirit give you the courage, wisdom and guidance to bring the light back.  Please have the courage to speak the Truth and “speak the word of God with boldness.”  Acts 4:31

The flock of Jesus need to understand that sin does exist, so as to avoid the darkenss.  “If your brother sins rebuke him, and if repents, forgive him.” Luck 17:3

Being cautious of offending, has watered down the Truth of Jesus Christ.  Holy Father, be the voice of clarity and truth in this precious Church. May the Holy Spirit always inspire you and give you courage to feed His lambs, tend His sheep, feed His sheep and Follow Him.

Happy Birthday Pope Francis!

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

 

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

 

 

 

my Wounded Healer Super Hero

wounded-healer-image

 

My five-year-old grandson is star struck with super heroes.  There are many of them: Ninja turtles, Power Rangers, Spiderman, and The Incredibles are a few I’ve heard about.

That has me thinking – just what is a SUPER HERO?

Ok, I get it that these characters are the good guys who defeat the bad.  But, what are we teaching our kids about defeating the bad when it seems you have to have super human strength and be able to beat up or destroy with a wide grin on your face?

Sadly, it seems to me that more and more, the lessons of Jesus Christ are being ignored and forgotten.  Jesus is our ultimate SUPER HERO!!  He defeated the ultimate bad guy – Satan!!  Our Savior came into this world to preach Love and Forgiveness.  He was pure Good and Love and how did mankind respond?  Jesus was mocked, beaten, tortured, and murdered.  Jesus could have stopped this madness.  After all, He was God.  Instead He offered Himself up for our sins and our salvation.  His sacrifice was a lesson in Redemptive Suffering and the power of Forgiveness.  The Cross became the ultimate symbol of LOVE!

Too often people are judgmental, selfish and proud.  We look for the worst in others to make us feel better about ourselves.  We choose to be divisive and  disrespectful of all God’s children who are different than ourselves.  The world has become a harsh and unloving world.  The people who do choose to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ are mocked, beaten, tortured and murdered.  These followers are the new Super Heroes.  They are standing up for their beliefs and their God.

Our Lords’ mother has been making trips to this earth regularly during the last few centuries.  She has been warning about times like these.  She always asks for prayer and sacrifice.  She always asks that we change our hearts and follow her Son, Jesus.

This is the message given in Medjugorje today by our mother, Mary:

“Dear children, with motherly love I implore you, love one another.  May there be in your hearts, as my Son desired from the very beginning, love for the Heavenly Father and for your neighbor in the first place – above everything of this world.

My dear children, do you not recognize the signs of the times?

Do you not recognize that all of this that is around you, all that is happening, is because there is no love?

Comprehend that salvation is in true values.  Accept the might of the Heavenly Father, love Him and honor Him. Walk in the footsteps of my Son.

You, my children, my dear apostles, you are always gathering around me anew, because you are thirsty. You thirst for peace, love and happiness. Drink out of my hands. My hands are offering to you my Son, who is the spring of clear water.

He will bring your faith back to life and purify your hearts, because my Son loves pure hearts and pure hearts love my Son.  Only pure hearts are humble and have firm faith. I ask for such hearts of you, my children.

My Son told me that I am the mother of the entire world. I ask of those of you who accept me as such to help me, with your life, prayer and sacrifice, for all of my children to accept me as a mother – so that I may lead them to the spring of the clear water.

Thank you.

My dear children, as your shepherds offer you the Body of my Son with their blessed hands, always in your hearts give thanks to my Son for the Sacrifice and for the shepherds that he always gives you anew.”

He has healed us with His Wounds.

He has given us His Mother to help us follow His footsteps.

Let’s teach our kids about the Greatest Super Hero – OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

 

 

 

 

 

Hurricane Prayer

20130504_154231     Monday morning I was watching the news and in a matter of minutes heard news reports about an earthquake, forest fires, sink holes, tornadoes and a hurricane!  It was astounding to me how matter-of-fact these events seemed to me.  As a child, I would have thought the world was coming to an end had I heard of all of these events in one day!  With the world in a turmoil – Iraq, ISIS, Syria, Russia, Ukraine, Israel, Gaza,….and our own country’s troubles; it seems only natural that our Lord, through his creation of nature, would be warning us to take heed.  A news program like Monday makes me pray and beg for God’s help in what seems to be a confused and crazy world.

Living in Cajun country, I have seen my share of storms and hurricanes. My worse was hurricane Andrew in 1992.   In the 2005 we had hurricanes Katrina and Rita.  New Orleans took the brunt of Katrina. I work for a company based out of New Orleans.  Our New Orleans employees were displaced and some became homeless as a result of this devastating hurricane.  Rita hit closer to home and lower Iberia Parish had hundreds of homes flooded as the storm surge wreaked havoc on the coast.  The normally calm bayous and shady oak trees became torrents of flood waters and falling masses of destruction.  I was home for hurricane Andrew.  It is a very scary feeling to know that you are at the mercy of mother nature.

What can we do to combat these forces of nature?  Well, our community and family decided after 2005 that it was time to pray.  At all of our masses at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, we begin during hurricane season with a hurricane prayer.  At all of our family rosaries on Tuesday nights, we end our rosary with a prayer for hurricane season during the months of June through November.  Since 2005, we have not had a major hurricane hit our area.  I am not saying it is solely because of these prayers – but I am saying that it might be!

I cannot change the world.  I cannot make evil go away.  Sometimes things seem so out of control that I feel it is impossible to find a solution.  It is at these times that I have to trust in God and know that He told us prayer is powerful.  If we have the tiniest bit of faith we can move mountains.  During these times of evil and meaningless deaths, I am asking you to join me in praying fervently for God’s intervention.  Together we can weather the storms.  With God’s help we can overcome them.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry

PRAYER FOR HURRICANE SEASON

O God, Master of this passing world, hear the humble voices of Your children. The Sea of Galilee obeyed Your order and returned to its former quietude; You are still the Master of land and sea.  We live in the shadow of a danger over which we have no control. The Gulf, like a provoked and angry giant, can awake from its seeming lethargy, overstep its conventional boundaries, invade our land and spread chaos and disaster. During this hurricane season, we turn to You, O loving Father. Spare us from past tragedies whose memories are still so vivid and whose wounds seem to refuse to heal with the passing of time. O Virgin, Star of the Sea, our Beloved Mother, we ask you to plead with your Son in our behalf, so that spared from the calamities common to this area and animated with a true spirit of gratitude, we will walk in the footsteps of your Divine Son to reach the heavenly Jerusalem where a storm-less eternity awaits us. Amen.

God gave me You

weddingOn the morning of August 18, 1984, I walked into St. Peter’s Catholic Church and down the center aisle on the arm of my father, a single woman.  I walked back down that center aisle and out of that church on the arm of my new husband.  I had a new name and a new purpose in life.

That was 30 years ago today.  Three kids and two grandkids later; I continue to marvel at the gift God gave me that day!  It has taken me many years to see God’s Hand in my marriage; but I see it clearly now.

Our oldest son is preparing to marry in January.  He and his fiancée had lunch with my husband and I over the weekend.  They told us about their compatibility test as one of the marriage preparation duties.  We laughed.  I remarked that I think we would have flunked a compatibility test.  My husband was quick to add that it seemed to him that we never agreed upon anything.  It is true we are very different personalities;  but, we are different in only that we complete each other.  Where I am weak, my husband is strong; and where he is weak, I fill in.  On matters that are really important, faith and family, we have always seen eye to eye.  We each took our vows to heart before each other and before God.  Raising our children was our number one priority for most of our married life.  We have finished that job and move onto a new path in our journey together.

The journey has not been easy.  There are many storms of life.  I have learned that if a married couple humbles themselves and choose to have faith in God, they can weather these storms and become stronger because of them.  My faith and my marriage have taught me that we must be accepting of God’s plan for our lives and be truly thankful for all our Blessings.  We are all called to follow Jesus on the road to a Heavenly Jerusalem.  I am very lucky that I was asked to bring along a very special man on my journey.  We are not perfect, but we love each other and we love our Lord.  Our most important task in life is to get each other and our children to Heaven.

Thank you Lord for the gift of my spouse.  He has been a wonderful husband and father.  I look forward to the next thirty years with this special man.  We will continue to walk our path of life together, hoping to give You Glory forever. Amen.

C’est Bon

Love,

Sherry