Thursday, October 02, 2014

Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels

The church has taught of the reality of our guardian angels since the beginning of Christianity.

In recent years, even our secular culture has become fascinated with these heavenly beings.

One of my favorite devotionals, In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez, (not to be confused with Conversations with God-- a book I most assuredly do not recommend) today's reading includes the following:
     We have to deal with our Guardian Angels in a familiar way, while at the same time recognizing their superior nature and grace.  Though less palpable in their presence than human friends are, their efficacy for our benefit is far greater.  Their counsel and suggestions come from God, and penetrate more deeply than any human voice.  To reiterate, their capacity for hearing and understanding us is much superior even to that of our most faithful human friend, since their attendance at our side is continuous;  they can enter more deeply into our intentions, desires and petitions than any human being, since angels can reach our imagination directly without recourse to the comprehension of words.  They are able to incite images, provoke memories, and make impressions in order to give us direction...
Fernandez also says that they "can grasp reality beyond the capacity of our human intelligence..."

The above picture by Thomas Blackshear hangs in my upstairs hallway.  I like it better than the guardian angel picture of my youth.  It includes the Scriptural quote "For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways." ( Psalm 91) Entitled "Watchers in the Night," I like that it conveys the strength and power of our guardian angels.  Very reassuring.

We know that angels can assume the appearance of human beings from Hebrew13:2 "Do not neglect to show hospitality, for by that means some have entertained angels without knowing it."

Some twenty years ago I had a number of my children together with a few of their friends in a Wendy's for lunch.  I was a little stressed and as I passed out the Kid's Meals, ketchup for the french fries, etc.  I looked up to see a lovely woman at the next table dressed in a white suit.  She was looking at me very directly.  Her demeanor was very tranquil and she was smiling.  There was no food in front of her.  I remember laughingly saying, "You're pretty brave sitting so close to us in that white suit."  Unruffled, she continued to smile and said, "Your children are very well behaved."  I thanked her and remember feeling very reassured and peaceful after that.  I never saw her leave.

It was later that day as the image of that woman kept coming back to me that I considered that she may have been an angel.  White suit, no food, never saw her leave, words conveying peace....I really don't know.  But I have acknowledged that she may have been.  And all these years later I still remember her.  Thank you, Lord, for reminding me then, and so many times since then, that you are always with me.  Thank you for the protection and care of our guardian angels.

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face was St. Therese of Lisieux's Carmelite name.  Today the Catholic Church celebrates her memorial.  She is also affectionately called The Little Flower.  The Society of the Little flower explains her nickname.
St. Therese loved nature, and often used the imagery of nature to explain how the Divine Presence is everywhere, and how everything is connected in God's loving care and arms. Therese saw herself as "the Little Flower of Jesus" because she was just like the simple wild flowers in forests and fields, unnoticed by the greater population, yet growing and giving glory to God. Therese did not see herself as a brilliant rose or an elegant lily, by simply as a small wild flower. This is how she understood herself before the Lord - simple and hidden, but blooming where God had planted her
Therese, in her self-described littleness, should be an inspiration to us all.  She is my Confirmation saint and I have a special love for her.  I love the following quotes listed in Quotable Saints by Ronda DeSola Chervin.
Here was one lady talking about my pretty hair and another, just going out the door wanting to know who that very pretty girl was...The thrill of pleasure I felt made me realize that I was full of self-love.  I am always ready to sympathize with the people who lose their souls-- after all, it's so easy, once you begin to stray along the primrose path of worldliness. 
Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest thing right and doing it all for love. 
Remember that nothing is small in the eyes of God.  Do all that you do with love.
As part of her devotion to making small sacrifices, Therese had a string of beads each of which could be pushed along to count the sacrifices and good deeds she had done that day. What a lovely idea.  At the end of the day, she could thus see how many little deeds she had done for the Lord that day.  The following link from the Society of the Little Flower has a great description, complete with pictures showing how to make sacrifice beads.

May the Little Flower pray for all of us in a special way today.  And may we all learn, though her example, to be a saint by doing little things with great love as she did.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Feast of the Archangels Michael, Raphael, and Gabriel

In 1884 Pope Leo XIII had a vision of Our Lord talking to Satan.  Satan boasted that he could destroy the church in 75-100 years if given more time and more power.  The Lord granted Satan the time and the power.  Consequently, Pope Leo XIII wrote the St. Michael prayer and instructed that it be said at the end of every Mass and it was until 1959.  I am please to say that at my parish, Christ the King in Ann Arbor, MI, we have reinstated the practice.  With the world in it's current state, what better time to bring back this powerful prayer invoking the force of St. Michael, Prince of the Heavenly Hosts, to battle for us against the horrendous evil we are now witnessing.

Here is the abbreviated form of the prayer:

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him we humbly pray.
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Hosts,
by the power of God,
cast into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

St. Michael the Archangel, Pray for us!!!!

Smart Phone Lesson-- Less is More

Such a pretty face.
Cute little phone.  Love the color.
I wrote last week that I hate my new smart phone.

Do I still hate it?  Yes, but not as much.

It's very attractive to look at.  I like that.

I'm getting better at typing messages and that is nice.

But I still have to redo a lot of typing and and I still get stuck being unable to move the cursor...I know what you're supposed to do but sometimes it doesn't work for me.

If I hadn't stopped biting my nails a few months ago I think typing would be easier.

My advice to myself about my smart phone is this:  Stop trying so hard.  The harder I try, the more I mess up.  Less attention to what I'm doing seems to be better than more.  I think, as is true with many things, the more I focus on being aware of what I'm doing, the more I block my body's ability to unconsciously adjust to what is needed.  I'm speaking primarily about typing and getting just the right pressure and just the right spot.

Maybe a life lesson here.  Less is more.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sharing Cars When Everyone is Going in Different Directions!

This is what it looks like when four people are sharing two cars.  Tomorrow is more complicated than usual and I was feeling bad that I was having trouble keeping every detail straight.

Then I wrote it all down.  Looking at it in writing made me realize that this is not a simple plan.  It actually is pretty complex.

I find that when I give myself a hard time about not being able to do this or that better, it is often a matter of personal pride.  Somehow, I think that I should be able to do things perfectly.  And I can't do ANYTHING perfectly!  Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make my heart like your heart.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I made what I thought was a delicious meal last night.  It was from the cookbook The Delicate Palate by Michelle Eppich Hood, subtitled For those with egg, grain, and dairy allergies and for others who prefer healthy, delicious food.  Michelle calls the dish Chicken Pesto Pasta with Artichokes (although the "pasta" is really spaghetti squash.)  As some of you know, I can no longer eat gluten.  And what a difference this dietary change has made in my health!

So, I was excited by the title and subtitle of this book!  Spaghetti squash with chicken, roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, mushrooms, and pesto.  What's not to like?

I'm afraid there was someone who does not like mushrooms, someone who does not like artichokes, and two generally picky eaters.  I'm talking about my children-- adult children, mind you.

Not to worry.  I'm really going to enjoy this dish as a leftover.  And my daughter and son-in-law will be around tomorrow.  They like healthy, tasty food and I know they will love it.

I want to try more recipes in this book.  Looks really good.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tawas Point Lighthouse

The Tawas Point Lighthouse was the site of another victory over anxiety for me this summer.

I have never liked heights and never felt the need to overcome this dislike.  But after my victory at The Shard in London this summer the Tawas Point Lighthouse did not look like such a challenge.

Here I am with my daughter, feeling quite confident of my newly found courage...

Then I found out there are 85 steps to the top, broken up by 3 landings.  OK.

Then I realize that the steps are metal grated steps that you can see through....all the way down the 85 steps.

I took a deep breath.  "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."  The tickets were already purchased, but these were only $2.00.  I decided I'm going up.

It wasn't as difficult as I thought.  In fact, it wasn't very hard at all.  Above is the beautiful view from the top.

And here is the light-- my proof that I made it to the top.  The guide explained to us that it's an electric light now and that park rangers come out periodically to change the bulb.  Of course, my son-in-law then quipped, "I guess then we couldn't get away with replacing it with a disco ball." LOL

I expected the descent to be harder than the ascent but it really wasn't.  God is good.  All the time.

One very interesting aspect of this lighthouse is that the public can actually stay in it as part of the Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper program.

Imagine looking out your window and getting a bird's-eye view of sandy beaches, wetlands, shorebirds, an occasional fox and fresh blue water in almost every direction. From that same window, you can watch the sunrise and the sunset, all for just $225 per week. Sound too good to be true? Here's the catch - you live like a lighthouse keeper. That beautiful scenery is partially paid for with your own elbow grease. 
Through the Tawas Point Keeper Program, regular folks apply to be a keeper for a week, usually Friday to Friday. Peggy Allen, a Department of Natural Resource and Environment (DNRE) historian at Tawas Point, coordinates the program. Allen welcomes and trains the keepers in everything from the history of the lighthouse to where to find the lawnmower. The keeper's primary responsibilities are to greet guests and tell the history of the light, but it often goes much further. Keepers quickly adapt to wearing many hats, from tour guide to gardener to window washer.
Sound like fun?  I would love to do this some summer....And then I would climb up and down multiple times, I guess.  I think I could handle it.  Because God is good.

Monday, September 22, 2014

My Template-- An Explanation

I made a really big mistake.

I started playing with template patterns on Blogger just for fun.  I didn't want to change the template created by my blogging friend Alexa.  I loved that custom template.


If I had known that was possible to do accidentally (without having clicked "submit" or "done" I would certainly have made a copy of the html of my old template.

I didn't even know I had done it until late in the day when I went to my blog and the old template was gone!!

I used to have a saved copy of the html on our family computer but that was two computers ago, I guess.  We searched the most recent old computer and couldn't find it.

So.... that is why you are seeing the template I have here.  And lost with the template is the list of "Blogs I Like" so I don't even have those anymore.  To all my blogging friends, if you leave me a comment I will be sure to add you to my new list of "Blogs I Like."

I guess the lesson here is anything can be accidentally erased.  I must remember to make copies!!!