Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Grouchy Treasures





When you stop to count your blessings, do not forget to give God a big thank you to for all the difficult people in your life.  Those cranks that cross your path and darken your doorway are just bursting with the potential to bless you. Every person who provokes you is an opportunity, but it all depends on you.  You can respond with love and mercy or you can get angry and lash out.  Will you choose blessing or sin?
Yet, it is not natural to feel grateful for people with a knack for inflicting misery.  This is perhaps the greatest challenge of being Christian; hatred in, love out.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

That Mary Thing




“You Catholics have that Mary thing,” a non-Catholic recently commented to a friend of mine.  Yes, we sure do and it’s one of the best things going.  Our Blessed Mother has real pull with our Savior–something we can all use.
A good word put in by her proved quite effective at the wedding at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine.  I heard a priest once point out that he had been to a lot of weddings but he’d never been to one where the guests drank all the wine.  “This wasn’t even a good miracle,” he claimed.   Yet, His mother’s intervention moved Jesus to perform his first recorded miracle.”  That Mary thing is a very good thing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

No Trivial Acts





My son Luke once wrote for his high school newspaper. Last week, one of my daughters brought home the school newspaper and showed it to me. “Luke has a story in the paper,” she announced. Since Luke is soon to be twenty-six years old and works in Guatemala as the program director of the God’s Child Project, this surprised me.  

I learned that it was a letter he sent to an old English teacher who read it to her students. One of the students is the editor of the school newspaper so she ran it for the whole school to read.  It’s definitely a story to share, so I’m keeping it going.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff



While getting ready for a dance at the University of Detroit during a freshman college orientation weekend, I had a life changing experience. It was a moment of awakening that has stayed with me for over thirty years.
The roommate I was assigned for the weekend was a tall, slim girl with short black hair.  After a day of touring the campus and listening to speakers, the two of us were getting ready for the dance.  My roommate pulled out her collection of earrings. “How do these look?” she asked me showing me a couple of brightly colored button earrings.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

How I Met St. Jude


My own life did not take on a deep spiritual dimension until I was pregnant with my fourth child.  But, once I turned seriously to prayer and saw the results, I became hooked.   It began when my husband Mark lost his job.  For the first time we consciously put our lives in God’s hands.  Whenever Mark was turned down, our prayers gave us peace and certainty that it just wasn’t God’s will for us.  When a solid job offer did finally come, it was from a person who had heard about Mark from someone else.  He had not even applied!  Surely, God had taken care of everything.
We put our house up for sale, but had to move out of state for the job before it sold and we had to rent it out.  The renters trashed it and real estate agents told us it would never sell in that condition.  Being so far away, we felt helpless.  Mark was concerned that we might face foreclosure.  Around this time, I read that St. Jude was the patron saint of hopeless causes.  Surely our situation was hopeless!  Neither of us had ever prayed a novena before, but in desperation, we decided we had nothing to lose.

The Miracle of the 'Garden Angel'




Everyone has a favorite Christmas story. This one is mine. It is a true story in which a child’s faith in Christmas works a miraculous family reunion.  This is part of a collection of stories included in the book Amazing Grace for the Catholic Heart. No matter how many times I’ve read it to my kids, I cannot get through it without tearing up.
This story, like all the stories in the Amazing Grace book series, is the kind of gentle evangelization that draws even nonreligious people in. It is God’s grace at work in our lives in a way that draws us closer to him and rises above denominational lines. One thing I learned when we were compiling stories for this series is that everyone has these “God moments.” Thus I stumbled into stories standing in line, seated next to people on planes, and having random conversations with strangers. Oh, I know the Holy Spirit was at work too, but really, our lives are rich in faith stories. By sharing them, we can light the world on fire.