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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

Lady of the Acadians

assumption

August 15th is the Feast Day of The Assumption of the Virgin Mary.  It is a day which celebrates Mary being assumed body and soul into Heaven at the end of her life.

Based on very early church writings and on the writings of mystics, such as Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, it is believed that the apostles traveled to be with Mary at her deathbed; some of them even transported on white clouds from the towns they had been preaching.  St. Thomas was not present for Mary’s death.  Upon Thomas’ arrival, Mary’s tomb was reopened. It was found empty except for her grave cloths.  Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes Mary’s assumption in great detail.  She saw Mary’s soul lifted up to heaven in a bright light where it was met by her Son, Jesus.  Her soul then follows her Son back to her tomb where it is joined with her transfigured body.  She then ascends body and soul with her Son to the heavenly Jerusalem.

Catholics believe Mary’s assumption was a Divine Gift for her role as the Mother of God.  By her example of following God’s Will and living a life without sin, we are shown a promise of the gift that is waiting for all of us on that last day.

Our Lady of the Assumption holds a special place in my heart, since she is the patron saint of all Acadians.  August 15th is National Acadian Day and has been celebrated since 1881.  In Canada it is known as the Fete Nationale.  Businesses close on this day in parts of New Brunswick, Canada.

There was much debate in Canada over the date on which to have a National Day to recognize the Acadians.   Abbot Marcel-Francois Richard influenced the decision for August 15th with his eloquent speech: “…in fact it seems to me that a people who, for over a century of hardships and persecutions, was able to preserve its religion, language, customs, and autonomy, must have acquired enough importance to affirm its existence in a solemn way; and this could not be accomplished better than by being able to celebrate its own national holiday…It is important to stress that we are not descendants of Canada, but of France…We must choose a holiday that reminds us of our origin…Louis XIII vowed to give his empire to the Blessed Virgin and he wanted the Assumption to be the kingdom’s national holiday…he sent colonist to take over Acadia…it is true that the national devotion of the Acadians is their devotion to Mary.”  Thus, the convention chose August 15th, Feast of the Assumption, as the national holiday of the Acadians.  It was ratified by the Vatican on January 19, 1938 and Saint Pope John Paul the Great proclaimed Our Lady of the Assumption to be the patron saint of Acadians, where ever they may live.

An Acadian flag was established at the 2nd Acadian Convention in 1884 at Prince Edward Island.  It is a French Flag, tricolor – blue, white, and red. There is a gold star at the top left. The star represents the Virgin Mary, their patron saint.

A “Cajun” Acadian flag was designed at the University of Southwestern Louisiana in 1965 in honor of the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the Acadians in Louisiana.  The tricolor flag has three symbols.  The first is a gold castle on the red, which represents the Spanish kingdom who allowed the Acadians to settle in the area.  The silver fleur-de-lis on the blue, represents the French heritage. The gold star on the white represents the Virgin Mary.  The flag became the official “Cajun” flag for the Acadiana area in 1974.

Cajun people’s love for Mary is very evident as you drive around Cajun Country.  Statues of our heavenly mother are proudly displayed in front of many homes, churches and public places.  She is the new Eve, the “woman clothed in the sun”, and the new Ark of the Covenant.  We love our patron saint!

Happy Feast Day Mother Mary!

C’est Bon!

Love,

Sherry

 

Hit the Emergency Button

beach buddies

Recently my daughter and my two grandchildren took a beach vacation.  Upon returning, my daughter shared a cute story with my husband and I that I would like to share with you.

My daughter and her children frequented an arcade while on vacation.  The arcade had a virtual reality roller coaster.  It sat two people who are fully enclosed in the ride which rises, falls, and rotates around to give the extra added sensation of being on an actual roller coaster.  My grandson noticed this ride on the first day and begged his mother to let him on it.  But his mother felt that a four-year-old was just too young for the ride.

This went on the entire trip.  An arcade visit always ended up with the four-year-old begging his mom to let him ride the roller-coaster.  On the last day of the trip my daughter noticed that her son did meet the height requirement for the roller coaster.  She spoke to the attendant, who informed her that the ride had a slow, medium, and fast speed.  She was told the slow speed was appropriate for her son’s age.  So, with much trepidation, she let the four-year-old with his seven-year-old sister get on the virtual reality roller coaster.

The two kids sat in the ride.  The attendant explained to the older sister to pick the “slow” speed and advised her of the “emergency button” should there be a need to stop the ride.

The attendant closed up the ride.  My daughter watched as her no longer visible children rose up in the air in the machine.  As the ride started up, the attendant looked at my daughter, smiled and said, “She picked the fast speed!”.  Yes, my little angel of a granddaughter decided that she would give her little brother a ride he would remember!

Their mother was helpless.  She could only watch the machine rise, fall and rotate.  Her stomach felt sick and her heart was pounding.  What was happening in that thing?

Near the end of the ride, the attendant once again looked at my daughter, smiled, and said, “They pressed the emergency button!”  Finally, the ride came to an end.  It lowered and the amused attendant opened the hatch.

Once open my daughter saw her own daughter sitting, giggling and just tickled with herself!  The little brother was in tears and wanted his mommy!

I love this story.  It holds so many of life’s lessons in that one story.  Life is like a roller coaster – it has its ups and downs.  Be careful for what you wish for..

Most of all, I love the “emergency button.”  Sometimes in life we want that emergency button.  Sometimes we want to just say “stop, I need time to collect myself and my sanity!”

For me that emergency button is my Lord.  When things get too much to handle, I need to just relax, pray, and give it to the Lord.  He is my Healer, my Strength and my Sanity!

Here is a poem that sums it up by Shirley Powell

His Presence Within

God never sends sorrow without joy, Nor the sun without the rain.

He never gives us a cross too heavy that we can’t bear the pain.

He is always present within our hearts, whispering encouragement to you and me.

He lifts us up when we are down and listens to our humble pleas.

Who else would have the patience to listen to our complaints, yet hold us close to His gentle heart and love us without restraint?

There is always another river to cross and another mountain to climb.

If we but put our trust in Him, we’ll be filled with His love sublime.

His arms are always opened wide, waiting patiently to embrace troubled souls like you and me and to fill us with His grace.

When despair and sadness come our way, just always remember this…

Tomorrow or another day soon we’ll be filled with happiness and bliss.

C’est Bon!

Love,

Sherry

 

 

“Behold Your Mother”

olphMy husband and I are members of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church.  I have attended mass at this church all of my life, beginning at my baptism soon after birth.  There is a beautiful replica of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Icon in our Church.  I have always loved the icon, but never took the time to understand its meaning or significance to our church history.

It is the tradition of the Catholic Church that Our Lady of Perpetual Help is the oldest Icon of the Church.  It is believed that it was painted by St. Luke while Our Blessed Mother was still in Jerusalem.  According to legend, St. Luke showed the painting to Mary and she blessed it, saying her grace would accompany the Icon.  Many miracles have been attributed to the veneration of this Icon.

St. Luke reportedly gave the Icon to his best friend, Theophilus.  There is little reported on it until the 5th century when St. Pulcheria erected a Shrine in honor of the Icon as “Our Lady of Perpetual Help” in Constantinople.  The Icon disappears around 1453 when Constantinople became under siege.  It reappears years later on the island of Crete.

After exchanging hands a couple of times, the Icon finally found its way on March 27, 1499 to Rome.  There are still centuries of war and reconstruction.  The Icon spent many years hidden away and at one point forgotten.  But the Lord gave us His Mother and He did not want her forgotten!  The Icon was eventually discovered and restored.  It is kept today in The Church of St. Alphonsus Ligouri in Rome.

The Icon is full of symbols and messages.  There are angels on the left and the right sides of Mary and Jesus.  The left angel has the Greek initial for St. Michael the Archangel  He is holding the lance and gallop of Christ’s Passion.  On the right is the Greek initial for St. Gabriel, the Archangel.  He hold the nails and the Cross.

Mary is silent, but speaks volumes.  She is wearing a red tunic; which was worn by virgins at the time of Christ.  The dark blue mantle was worn by mothers at that time.  She is virgin, but also a mother.  Her eyes are large and turned toward us.  She seems to be pleading to us to avoid sin and love Her Son.  Mary’s left hand is supporting Christ possessively; she is His mother.  She comforts Her Son, but also everyone who calls on Her for help.

“Behold your mother.”  John 19:27

She was the mother of God.  She comforted Him and nurtured Him.  She knew of His fate; but she knew it was God’s Will.  She was full of faith and love even as He was dying on the Cross.  Her Son’s last gift to His faithful followers was His Mother.

Every part of Jesus that was human was from His mother – our mother – Mary.  She still sees Him suffer.  There are many more sins in the world today.  She is still trying to comfort and mother His followers.

Happy Mother’s Day to Mary, the Mother of God and of us all!

May mankind finally learn to follow the examples of your Holy Family.  It is not about making you and Jesus happy – You are radiant and in God’s Kingdom.  Following the ways of Jesus and His family will lead to OUR HAPPINESS!

C’est Bon,

Love Your Daughter,

Sherry

 

 

A mother’s prayer

weddingTwenty-seven years ago this day, my eldest son was born.  He came into the world on the feast day of St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus.  He was given a middle name after my father, Christopher.  He was our first son and both our parents’ first grandson.  He rose to the occasion!

He was a curious and talkative child with a kind heart and big personality.  He made friends with everyone.  I watched him grow and mature into a handsome (no, I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother), confident and faith-filled young man.  He was taught values according to our Catholic faith and he lives that faith.

He has always been a hard worker and has exceled at just about every endeavor he has put his mind to.  From the teenage band to elocution contest to football and powerlifting… he went on to graduate from college and begin a successful career.  Sounds like he has it all…but as a mother, you know when something is missing.  That something turned out to be a young lady named Megan.

A year ago my husband and I took a pilgrimage to Caritas Birmingham, Alabama.  My focus for this pilgrimage was to consecrate my family, especially my children to Mary.  Nine days prior to arriving at Caritas Birmingham, I began a novena, saying a special consecration prayer for my children.  I had not told my husband of the novena.  When we arrived on the ninth day, we visited the chapel, which had a beautiful Mary room.  There was a life size statue of Mary with a sand box in front, in which candles could be lit and placed.  I grabbed a candle to light.  My husband quickly told me that I should light three candles, one for each of our children.  After lighting the candles and placing them at the feet of Mary, my husband stated, “you just gave your children to Mary”.

I was overjoyed!  I excitedly told my husband, “That is my novena!”  I took out my prayer booklet and opened it up to the prayer I had prayed for the last eight days and we stood there together in front of our mother and said the ninth prayer together.  I instantly felt a connection and peace in my heart.  Mary would be praying and interceding for the intentions in my heart concerning my children.

About a month after our return, my son called to inform me that he had met someone special.  They became engaged last month and will marry in the Catholic church in January, 2015.

Her name, Megan, means pearl.  And like a pearl she is a rare and valuable treasure.  She is gorgeous on the inside as well as the outside.  She was raised with the same morals and values as my son and loves her Catholic faith.

Christopher means “he who holds Christ in his heart”.  My son who has Christ in his heart has made room for a precious pearl.  May God bless them during their engagement and bless their marriage.

I gave my children to Mary…and she gave me a precious daughter.

Happy Birthday son!

C’est Bon!

Love,

Mom