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

 

 

His Eye is on the Sparrow

ginger leighToday’s Gospel (Matthew 6:24-34) reminds me of a painting I purchased from artist Ginger Leigh and her story behind the painting.

A couple of years ago I fell in love with a Ginger Leigh folk art painting of two sparrows.  Ginger graciously relayed to me the inspiration behind her sparrow art.  She told me that her mother and father are a part of her art team.  Her father puts together the wood pieces on which she paints, and her mother helps with the painting.  Working together has enriched their father-daughter relationship and made them especially close.

She went on to say that the previous year, her father suffered a heart attack.  Luckily it was mild and he fully recovered; but she told me when it first happened, she was very frightened.  While at the hospital and under a nurse’s care, Ginger heard her father explain to the nurse that God must have been watching over him.  The nurse recalled the words to the gospel song, “For His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”  Her father enjoyed hearing those words and told the nurse that when he was young, his nickname was “Sparrow”.  Ginger was very surprised.  As close as she and her father were, she had never heard of that nickname.

The words of the song struck a chord with her.  She then researched the inspiration of the song and was inspired to create her lovely sparrow art.  Ginger told me that I should read the history of the song; she said it was a wonderful story.  I did – and it is!

The song was written by Civilla Martin in 1905.  Civilla and her husband were travelingin New York and stayed at a boarding house owned by Mr. and Mrs. Doolittle.  Mrs. Doolittle had been bedridden for about twenty years and her husband was confined to a wheelchair.  Despite their obvious afflictions, the couple was happy and a delight to be around.  Civilla’s husband asked the couple for their secret. Mrs. Doolittle simply replied: “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.”  Two days later, Civilla wrote a poem inspired by Mrs. Doolittle’s words.  These words were put to music by composer Charles H. Gabriel.

“Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,

Why should my heart by lonely, and long for heaven and home,

When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I’m happy

I sing because I’m free

For His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know He watches me.”

We often forget the words of Jesus: “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 clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?”

Jesus, I Trust in You!

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

 

Highway to Hell

My husband and I like old music.  We like most of the music from the

20130927_070409seventies and sixties, whether it be rock, country, pop, blues, …

A couple of weeks ago we had the TV on and the Grammys had just started.  We do not watch the Grammys; however AC/DC started the show so we thought we’d watch a little.

It ran through my mind the moment the show started that it was so sad how satan has taken over the music industry.  Music has changed in my opinion, and not for the better.

Not long after having this thought, AC/DC begins singing “Highway to Hell” and the entire audience had glowing red devil horns on their heads.  It was an ugly confirmation to what music has become…a mockery.

It is believed by many that lucifer was a very high ranking angel in charge of the ministry of music.  I believe there is beautiful music in heaven; music that glorifies our Lord.  Here on earth, our music can either glorify God or not.  It is sad to see that so many famous and glorified music talent of today choose to glorify sex, drugs, violence…anything but God.

Think about it.  God created the angels with specific jobs in mind.  There was one angel who was given great beauty and wisdom.  This angel was to always be in God’s presence and had the great responsibility of keeping the beautiful flow of godly music throughout the heavens.  Next God creates man in His own image.  Man has an immortal soul and is made to one day share in God’s divine nature.  The angles became man’s protector, guide and servant.  Out of jealousy of man, one angel with much power headed a rebellion against the Creator.

What did God do?  Those angels were cast out of heaven.  God sent His only Son to save mankind.  Jesus was tempted by the evil one just as we are tempted.  He was promised riches and control over all of the world.  Jesus instead took up a cross and allowed Himself to be murdered rather than go against His Father.

The devil is very cunning.  He has been very patient and has gradually diluted man’s sense of right and wrong.  He used his ministry of music to begin planting seeds of revolt.  I am not sure when exactly the change began.  My first memory of seeing talent stripped of any decency was Madonna.  She chose the name Madonna in mockery of Mary.  She then had hit after hit with songs that snubbed moral teachings.  Her aim was to be the exact opposite of the true Madonna, who was humble, respectful, holy and not just “like a virgin”; she is the perpetual virgin!  “Like a virgin’s” Madonna is rich and powerful. She has a huge following; but at what price?

Not all music is influenced by the devil.  God still has good angels.  There is music today that is wholesome and good.

So ask yourself- what music are you listening too?  What are the lyrics?  What are your children and grandchildren listening to?  Does your taste in music glorify our Lord?

I am sure that when the audience at the grammys had on their devil horns and were laughing and enjoying themselves; lucifer must have been laughing and enjoying it as well.  He only wants to lead man astray. He hates us.  We are the cause of his fall from the heavens.

Jesus who allowed Himself to be tortured and killed for our sins and transgressions, must have been very sad by this mockery.  His mother was probably shedding tears again.

Play some music in your home today.  Music that is good and decent.  Music that glorifies God, not man.

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