Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Picture by Buggs Moran
The sun is so large that, if it were hollow, it could contain more that one million worlds of the size of our earth. There are stars in space so large that they could easily hold 500 million suns of the size of ours. ~Morris Mandell~

I remember when I was a child gathering with siblings and friends after dark watching the moon and stars. The stories we would tell about space travel and walking on the moon. All this before John Glenn orbited the earth and Man really did walk on the moon.

The wonder and awe of it all. It was all so big. God was wise and all powerful. He was a force to be reckoned with.

Then we grew up and we became wise and all powerful and somewhere in the grand scheme of things God took a back seat. Why is that? Funny, I remember reading a "story" about two people in a garden, who after being tempted to be greater than they were, defied the will of the God who made them and ended up "out on the street."

Tonight the wonder and awe returned. It's silly, but Duchess was laying out in the grass. As the fireflies flew around she seemed to enjoy the light show. The more I watched her the more I came to feel like that little girl who was easily awed by the light of a bug, created not by the hand of man, but by the hand of the One-Who-Created-All-Things, the truly wise and powerful One.

You know you can capture your childhood again! Just stop and smell the flowers, witness the fireflies glowing, and the dog at ease where she lay. God IS good!

Thanks be to God!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Living the Faith

Providence Cross
Picture by Jody O'Neil, SP

Since it belongs to the supernatural order, grace escapes our experience and cannot be know except by faith. We cannot therefore rely on our feelings or our works to conclude that we are justified and saved. [Council of Trent, 1547] However, according to the Lord's words, "Thus you will know them by their fruits." [Matthew 7:20]--reflection God's blessing in our life and in the lives of the saints offers us a guarantee that grace is the work in us and spurs us on to an ever greater faith and an attitude of trustful poverty.

A pleasing illustration of this attitude is found in the reply of St. Joan of Arc to a question posed as a trap by her ecclesiastical judges. 'Asked id she knew that she was in God's grace, she replied, "If am not, may it please God to put me int; if I am , May it please god to keep me there. [Acts of the Trial of St. Joan of Arc] (Catechism of the catholic Church)

This was the introduction to today's Mass in the Daily Roman Missal. A number of times in my life I have been told that because I was not born again by Protestant standards I was condemned to Hell. When I was six years old and was told this, I was devastated. By the grace of God and the love of family I was encouraged to continue faithfully on my journey.

Some 25 years later when playing cards with friends one rainy afternoon, I was again asked if I was born again. It was suggested at that time if I wanted to be saved I would have to leave the church I was attending and be baptized again in the Lord. Confident that I was where I should be in my faith life and certain that this judgment of me and my faith did not come from my Father, I could smile and say, " God bless you. "

Trials like this have had an impact on the life of everyone born into this world. Judgments and claims against our faith come from everywhere. Our Catholic Christian witness comes from the works of good we attempt to perform daily in our lives. Some days these are successful and other days they fail. Through it all the Holy Spirit is the guide, and the grace He infuses into our being is what gives us the strength to carry on. It gives us the courage to say, I am Roman Catholic. I am born again in the body and blood of my Savior, Jesus Christ, every day! With each profession of faith I renew that Baptismal Promise.

I am truly blessed to be a member of the Family of God that supports, nurtures and loves me. Joy is overwhelming at times when I am privileged to CELEBRATE the Mass with this family, joy to the point of tears!

I have learned that though it is easy for me to judge others regarding their practices, religion, or philosophies because they are not mine, it is not my place to place judgement on another. I remember how I have been judged, though not harshly, and remind myself that an act of charity is what I am called to offer not one of anger, disgust or derision. Constructive criticism not judgment is the task set forth for me. I am NOT the Judge. That is left to the God-Who-Created-All. I can only express my regret or disappointment.

As Joan of Arc was judged by jealous members of the hierarchy, she had the "grace" and spirit-filled wisdom to answer with serenity. I find that in the lives of the saints we find models of justice and truth that many cannot or will not accept, because that requires submission of all that we are to the God-Who-Created-All.

I remind myself that casting stones very often means I might end up with a stone in my own shoe that becomes a painful reminder. A reminder that I am not superior to all others, if anything in the scheme of things I am the very least!


Thanks be to God!

Friday, June 26, 2009

50th Jubilee

True Holiness does not mean a flight from the world;
rather, it lies in the effort
to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life,
in the family, at school and at work,
and in social and political involvement.

Pope John Paul II
Message to Catholic Charismatics, 1996

Tomorrow, Sister Dorothy, celebrates her 50th Jubilee as a Sister of Providence. Through the last 35 years I have been blessed by her presence in my life. She is a witness to justice, kindness, love and humility. She is a friend on the journey.

Her journey has taken her to many and different places. But one thing I have come to understand about her is that everyone is a gift of God and all have individual dignity. Each is to be respected because of who created them.

When I first met her and Sister Mary and Sister Gilchrist in Oklahoma she was a member of a missionary group who came to assist the priesst in their work in rural areas. Women of God, all, they impressed me with their holiness.

Sisters Dorothy is a wonderful listener. She is a great spiritual director. She always knows the right questions to ask so that in MY journey I might focus and reflect on what is relevant to me and my life at the present time.

I can only imagine the impact she has on the inmates at the Federal Prison in Terre Haute. In her they have a true advocate. She is concerned about them and rejoices with them in who they are and who they can become.

And so it is with great joy and love I say, "It has been a privilege to be a part of your celebration and I wish you many more years of the compassionate tenderness you offer to those who have been placed in your care."


Thanks be to God!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Cherish Memories

Spring, 2009
Newburgh, IN


How sweet it is, out in the field, at the end of the long summer afternoons! The sun is no longer raging at you; and the woods are beginning to throw long blue shadows over the stubble fields where the olden shocks are standing. The sky is cool, and you can see the pale half-moon smiling over the monastery in the distance.

And you take your rosary out of your pocket, and get in your place in the long file, and start swinging homeward along the road with your boots ringing on the asphalt and deep, deep peace in your heart! And on your lips, silently, over and over again, the name of the Queen of Heaven, the Queen also of this valley: "Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee..." And the Name of her Son for Whom all this was made in the first place, for Whom all this was planned and intended, for Whom the whole of creation was framed, to be His Kingdom. "Blessed it the fruit of Thy womb, Jesus!"

"Full of grace!" The very thought, over and over, fills our own hearts with more grace: and who know what grace overflows into the world from that valley, from those rosaries, in the evenings when the monks are swinging home from work!
Mornings with Thomas Merton
Readings and Reflections
Selected by John C. Blattner

Often when I am saying my rosary I call to mind the times, as a family, we would say the Rosary while traveling. There was music and rhythm in the words. Each of us in our own voice in harmony with the other. It truly was the music of heaven. From the smallest child to the baritone of Dad, our voices were singing the praises of God, with His and our Holy Mother.


Cherished Memories!
Thanks be to God!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Been There Done That...

[David ordered a census of Israel.]
But after David had taken the census,
his conscience began to hurt, and he said
to the Lord,"I have committed a terrible sin
in doing this! Please forgive me."
1Samuel 24:10


A favorite saying of Carlos Romulo, the great Philippine leader, was Bahala na ("Put your trust in God'). In today's Bible reading, David shows a lack of "Bahala na." The reason he took the census was to see how many men were available for military service. In the religious Hebrew, such a census reflected an insufficient trust in God. It showed a reliance on human resources for protection, rather than on God.
Mission 2000
Cycle B

I learned a long time ago that not trusting in God is far more painful than placing my trust in Him. Impatience is one of my flaws. When I want something I want it yesterday, especially if it's something important. You know like, money to cover a bill that was acquired when I GREEDILY wanted (not needed) something. Then when the time comes to pay up it REALLY HURTS.

"Please, God, help me NOW!"

And as any good parent would do, teaches the lesson by waiting.
On the other hand I can pray diligently for an answer to a prayer for years if need be or if I think it will take that long.


Wes, was diagnosed with Type I diabetes mellitis when he was 9 years old. I began praying for healing...Yes, healing. For YEARS I prayed for this!!!! I kept praying and TALKING about this to God day in and day our for years! Not listening, just talking. Finally, in a dream, I had a visitor with a voice so tender and soft, I had to listen.

"If I heal him, he will die"

It was as simple as that. Indeed Wes would die. No one would know he'd been healed. He'd still take his insulin and then with an overdose, he would die.

"Oh, ye of little faith!"

An so every time I get impatient (and I still do) or want an answer RIGHT NOW to those URGENT prayers, I stop and try to listen. He will tell me. And though I still am impatient in prayer at times, (Okay, A LOT of the time.) I am reminded that perseverance and listening is still the BEST way to pray!


Thanks be to God!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Gift of Family

We had a grand trip to David and Kelly's house here in Charlotte. The scenery was exquisite and the weather was grand. Leaving at 4:30 was really unnecessary as we arrived in plenty of time. We had a nice visit with Kelly and the boys before David got home from work.

The boys are such a treat. Each one of them made us "welcome cards." And their delightful smiles did so brighten my heart. Maddie has grown so much since October. She has the prettiest blue eyes and the most wonderful smile. God is GOOD!!!

We visited, chatted, and laughed. OHHHH! And we watched "A Hundred and One Dalmatians." I did have a grand day all round!


Thanks be to God!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It Doesn't Just Go Away

But if you do not do this, you have sinned against
the Lord; and be sure your sin will find you out.
~Numbers 32:23

The signs had been there for a few weeks but I ignored them. Or had chosen to believe that things would take care of themselves and just go away.

But one evening my son when into our utility room and alerted me, with a panicked shout, that thing hadn't gone away. He was confronting a sharp toothed, curious possum, the one responsible fro tipping over our trash. I'd hoped it would just get bored with us, but instead, it had decided to come even closer.

Sin can be like that. I really hope it will go away, or that it might not affect me. But if I persist in ignoring it, I might be surprised one day to find how it's made itself at home.
Jesus, mold me as your disciple, in great ways and in small.
Amy Welborn
A Catholic Woman's Book of Days
Amy Welborn offered another great reflection today. One I can identify with so completely because I can remember when we were confronted by the same obstacle. Not once but a number of times when we lived in Oklahoma and then in the Bicknell house. The critters just would NOT go away!

It's possible that today is the day an analogy like this is meant to enlighten and broaden my view of sin. As a people we have allowed ourselves to believe that My life is my own business. What I do with my life has nothing to do with anyone else. I have the right to pursue it in any way I see fit.

But everything I do and how I do it does affect the lives of others. In many ways it is "their business." Humanity derives its personality, growth, worth and value in the community to which it belongs. Whether that community be family, friends, work, or church makes no difference. I am not untouched by those around me and therefore they are not untouched by me.

I owe it to everyone to be the best I can be. If I sin, no matter how slightly, I have touched another. AND if I think that no one will know the affect, I had better think again, for the One-Who-Really-Counts already knows!! It's time I accepted this reality and try so much more diligently to be what He wants me to be, His special child who minds her Father! Because you know how parents are. They ALWAYS find out!

(Ron sweeping before Marianne's wedding)

There won't always be someone to sweep up after you.
One day you'll have to take responsibility
for your own mistakes (sins)!

~William Thomas McGlone~


Thanks be to God!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Servant Song

Reflecting on my role as the servant. Praying I have the courage to be deserving of this role.

In all things, I give thanks to God!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Practicing Christians

The world's greatest need
is not more Christians
but more Christians
who practice their Christianity.

This was the reflection today in Mission 2000 (B Cycle) It struck me as most true. There are many of us who claim Christianity as our own. If someone asks me if I am Christian I immediately answer, 'Yes." I was born a Christian. I was raised a Christian. And even more important, I was born and raised a Catholic Christian.

The question for me is how well do I LIVE my life as a Catholic Christian. Do I love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul, and do I love my neighbor as myself. Am I selfish or selfless as a Christian. As the song says, "They will know we are Christians by our love." Will they recognize that in me? I wonder! I can only hope so and keep trying to be a "good and faithful servant."


Thanks be to God!

Monday, June 15, 2009

When Will I Learn...

Paying bills has been a chore for me this month. For the first time in years here at the Keller Place money is tight. I have been able to pay off all our credit cards completely now for several years. Not so this month. Some I will only be able to pay 50% of. In the process I personally have expanded my greed. Now one must pay the piper.

Vacation Days are upon us. There is the trip this weekend to Charlotte to visit David, Kelly and the kids with a short jaunt to Alpharetta to see Jimmy and Kelly. And for a long time I have taken time off without pay as "a gift" for me so that we could travel. With only two weeks vacation, that doesn't leave a lot of time to travel. This year is an exception as we also have trips to MT/CO, NV and back to GA for the wedding of Jimmy and Kelly.

I am guided, AGAIN, by Matthew 6:25-34.

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 that 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? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wild flowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say 'What are we to wear?' All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom [of God] and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.

I have to cling to this!!! He has provided for us always. He will continue to provide. I must stop thinking of myself and think of others in real need. When I become greedy I no longer think of others. Because of my extravagance in buying books, clothes, and food, I have diminished my offering at church and have been unable to give to the food bank and to Nick Seib who is in seminary. I must commit myself again to giving to others and not taking sooooo much myself.

Reflecting on these words I am certain, again, that the way has been shown to me. The wisdom of the Spirit has given options that we can pursue. First, we will be cutting the trip to MT/CO short by two days so that I can be back at work and not have to take too many days without pay. That at least is a start!


Thanks be to God!!!!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Open Letter

I have struggled a long time with journaling. Have started many and never quite completed any. I do it for a few days or months and then just STOP. For two years I have blogged.

Two weeks ago when I met with Sister Dorothy for my spiritual direction, I had had to keep a journal EVERYDAY for 4 weeks. For me this was penance. I was not very religious about keeping it and it was a struggle. I also mentioned this in my prayer group. All suggested at the time that I just start a journal on-line. Validation for this came from you, Suzy and Ann.

Thank you. So I begin this new journey.


Thanks be to God!