Monday, January 26, 2009

True Resolve Under Severe Testing

Oh how I love little nuggets of wisdom in the form of acronyms!  (So much easier for my mom-brain to hang on to!)

FEARFalse Evidence Appearing Real

TRUSTTrue Resolve Under Severe Testing

This from Women of Grace founder, Johnnette Benkovic's, WOG Blog:

Jesus tells us in Mark 5:36, “Fear is useless. What is needed is trust.”
...God waits to act so that He can prove to us that He is worthy of our trust, and that even our worst moment is imbued with His presence. He does not want us to fear; He wants us to trust.

Morbid fear is a paralyzing fear. It gets us in its grip and holds us fast. It is one of the great ploys of Satan. And he seeks to use it liberally.

Morbid fear incapacitates us. It saps us of our spiritual strength and resolve. It plants doubt in our hearts and takes our eyes off of Jesus Who is our liberator.

Jesus gives us the antidote to morbid fear. It is trust. Trust in Him. Trust is fear’s antidote; it is its remedy. 

I know about morbid fear. After my son, Simon, was killed in a vehicular accident, I was fearful that I could lose my daughters as well. A friend, who had also lost a child, spoke to me about my fear and told me that fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.”  He encouraged me to trust in God and to know that He was with me.

I was grateful for his counsel and I learned a lot about practicing trust in those early months of my grief. I learned that trust is True Resolve Under Severe Testing. And I learned that it is a spiritual muscle developed by faith in God and His providence especially in those moments of dire need.

True resolve under severe testing — this acronym, and the truth it conveys, may well be what is needed as we move forward into these next four years. Can we do it on our own? Definitely not. But with God — all things are possible. May we hold fast to the truth; may we preach the Word in season and out; and may we remain firm and steadfast in hope. 

Friday, January 23, 2009

Lenten Food For Thought

With Lent just around the corner, I've started thinking of some things that busy moms like me could participate in to feed the soul and help focus attention back on Jesus. Here's a few ideas I've come up with: 

1. Get involved in a Lenten study group for women, like Johnnette Benkovic's Women Of Grace study group--Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life Foundational Study (being done through local parishes.) In the San Francisco Bay Area, St. Luke Catholic Church in Foster City will be presenting this study group.

St. Luke Community Center
Starting Feb. 23rd, Mondays 7-9pm
Contact: Elizabeth

2. Participate in your local 40 Days For Life--
40 Days for Life is a focused pro-life effort that consists of: 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil outside a local abortion clinic, and community outreach in an effort to witness to the dignity of life and to end abortion in this country.
San Mateo, San Francisco, and Oakland, California are participating this year.

3. Go to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at least once a month, for at least 30 minutes...but an hour or more is even better. And go by yourself!

4. Stop by your local Church with the kids, just to say "Hi" to Jesus.

5. Pray with your husband each night before bed, even if it's only a short prayer, and share your joys and concerns with Jesus as a couple.

What are your ideas??
(Share in the comments section.)

Beginning with Christ, Not Ourselves

Such beautiful, insightful new perspective by Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P., from his audio retreat Heaven: Obstacles and Opportunities:

What does one do...if for one reason or another, marriage is not ever going to be possible? Is one destined for a life of continued frustration, and lack of sexual fulfillment?...First of all, married or unmarried, it is only Jesus Christ who can fulfill us. How He chooses to fulfill us is a matter of His design. Whether or not we attempt to follow that design is a matter of our choice. The fact that He doesn't call everyone to marriage does not mean that He doesn't call everyone to union with Himself. Notice how we answer the question by beginning with Christ, and not ourselves. The nature of the answer so depends on where we begin. If we see life as centered around our own concerns and achievements, our quest ends at the borders of our egos. If we see our life as centered around God, then our quest begins at the borders of our egos. How we think of ourselves then becomes a challenge of how we can please Him--our joy lies in knowing more and more about Him and what He wants of us. Whatever path the Lord asks us to follow, we can be sure that it will entail sacrifice because sacrifice is the language of love.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Marking the Anniversary...

Today is the 36th Anniversary of the infamous Supreme Court decision in the case of "Roe vs. Wade," which legalized abortion in the United States. Since then, in this country alone, over 1,000,000 abortions have taken place each year, which amounts to 1 in 3 babies (people) who were and are never given the opportunity to live like you and me. Even more women and men are left to suffer the loss of the child they never gave birth to.

Each year, the anniversary is marked by the Annual March for Life in Washington D.C., and since 2005 by the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco, which will take place this year on January 24th. Join the walk this Saturday, starting at 11:00am in Justin Herman Plaza on the Embarcadero!

The main purpose of these peaceful demonstrations is to witness to the truth that abortion hurts women, men, and the babies who's lives are taken in the name of "choice." The marchers in these walks are there to proclaim the truth that "abortion does violence to women and to their children, both physically and emotionally. It harms women and men; it divides families and society. Women--and all people--deserve better than abortion."

The information you need can be found below:

Post-Abortion Healing--Silent No More Awareness
Post-Abortion Retreats--Rachel's Vineyard (locations around the country)
Abortion Facts and Statistics
Roe v. Wade--The Facts of the Law, Information on Late-Term Abortion (yes, it's legal)
The Truth About Planned Parenthood
Feminists For Life--Women Deserve Better Campaign

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Back On Track

I've been away from the blogosphere for too's time to get back in the saddle!

I'm just recovering from my first holiday season as a mother. I use the word "holiday" not to escape the word "Christmas," but to encompass what I experienced to be a 3-month-long celebration.

It all started on Halloween with my daughter's first costume (she was a ladybug, by the way,) and each day thereafter was a long succession of pumpkin pies, turkeys, parties, presents, cookies, carols, Christmas lights, cards, cooking and cleaning.

Lest I sound like I am complaining, which I am not, I have to admit that this was the most joyous holiday season of my life, despite the fact that it was the most tiring.

Christmas was so joyful this year. I felt truly able to just savor each moment. I am so blessed.

Yet the challenge this year, and every year, was to keep the focus on Jesus. I am so easily distracted and when there are even more things than usual on my to-do list, I am that much more blinded to His presence in my daily life.

Still, I feel I received many spiritual "gifts" this Christmas, whether I was paying attention perfectly or not. He is a generous God, no matter my failings.

The message He gave to me? To simply work on being more "mindful" of His presence in the every-day things and people I encounter. I feel Jesus is saying to me, "If you just do this, I will take care of the rest."

This is where I want to seek my peace this year. Of course, one day at a time.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Beautiful Christmas

A beautiful Christmas has just begun. That's right--begun. Today is only the beginning of the Christmas season, so don't take down the tree and lights just yet. Keep enjoying time with family. Spend quiet time reflecting on the miracle that is the birth of Jesus--God made man for the sake of our salvation. Of all the blessings I am counting, this one tops them all.

May you be so blessed this Christmas and in the coming year.

Monday, December 22, 2008