Great opportunities to please God are infrequent,

But turning little actions into great acts can happen all the time...

How My Grandmom shrunk her world is a lesson for Us All!

Posted by on Jul 19, 2016 in Previous Posts | 0 comments

How My Grandmom shrunk her world is a lesson for Us All!

Often, glaring TV “breaking news” or “horrendous morning headlines” overwhelm us.  We don’t know how to go about fixing the problems, remedying the volatile situations, or simply making a difference that will change these situations.

Then I think about how my Grandmother fixed her problems when they seemed too big to handle.  Grandma humbly “shrunk her world” and made it manageable.  She stretched paychecks when food became scarce, or clothes for school had to be bought and  mortgage payments paid.  She shrunk her world to be proactive–instead of waiting for life to happen around her.  Grandmom made it work!

One tender memory stands out.  My grandfather was extremely ill, and the doctors decided to stop all treatment.  My grandmother took over.  She decided to walk barefoot in the upcoming Saints procession through our parish streets.  Now this was no easy task, as it was June and the summer sun was just beginning to bake the streets of the procession’s route.

Yet, Grandmom choose to do what she was able to do.  Shrinking her world, she turned to faith, and her trust in God.  She reduced her sad situation to a realistic size capable of her handling.  She walked the two hour route in her barefeet,  praying her rosary, telling God of her love for Him, and asking God for His mercy for her husband.

What I admire about this story is how my Grand mom didn’t sit wringing her hands and crying “poor me.”  Instead she reached for what she knew–her confidence in God and prayed.  Now Grandpop later died, but a satisfied wife knew she gave this situation all she had. My Grandmother literally shrunk her “world” and acted.

This great life lesson still remains with me today.  Instead of asking why this is happening, our faith teaches us to ask–“Now that this is happening.  How can I manage it in the best way possible?”  And like Grandmom–with God’s help we can, and we will feel better–no matter the outcome.

This was Grandmom’s approach to life, an immigrant who never quite learned the language, but still managed her family quite well.  She simply made her life a size she was able to handle–and then lived it by acting.

Like Grandmom, we can’t let life overwhelm us, rather we have to reshape it into a “doable” size and act.  For instance, we realize that we can’t feed all the hungry in our world, but we can start with those we see around us.  We also know that we can’t shelter all the homeless, but again we can try with those who “live” near us.  Finally, we know that we can’t erase all the intolerance and bigotry in this world today, but we can remove the strands of small-mindedness that linger in our lives.

In these ways “shrinking the world” becomes a practical way of tackling the bigger picture.  In the future, remember when life’s difficulties swamp us, reach for my Grandmother’s approach–and “shrink your world”–and it will work!

 

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God is a Big Picture Guy!

Posted by on Jul 14, 2016 in Previous Posts | 0 comments

God is a Big Picture Guy!

Why doesn’t God answer my prayers” the young woman asked?  Then she continued.  “I pray all the time and nothing happens.”   And with a deep sigh, she added “I am beginning to think God doesn’t care about me at all”.

On hearing her hurt, my response was hasty, but tender. “God always cares for us.  We are never not on God’s mind!”  Pope Benedict XVI said it this way: “Every human life is under God’s protection.”  This means yours, mine and everyone else that God created.

Since God knows who we are and where we are on our journey, God either gives us what we need to get through our daily lives, or He has already provided us with what’s necessary without our even asking!

This is why every prayer is answered.  God is too loving–to put us in the canoe of life without a paddle to navigate our way.  Didn’t God make us to be with Him for all eternity?  Didn’t He send His Son Jesus to correct the error–when we made the wrong turn?

God knows where we are, what we are doing, and how we are faring. God’s nightly dream is our personal salvation, and God works constantly that this dream will come true.

Now often we don’t realize God is answering our prayers, because we are looking for an answer different from what is being offered.   Our God gazes upon us with loving and affectionate eyes, always sending us what we need and not necessarily what we want.  God knows the bigger picture and what is best even when we don’t!  God’s answer always has to do with saving those whom God loves.

Next time we feel our prayers are not being answered, stop and listen to your heart. There God is whispering the reasons–and remember God never fails us.  He only gives what will bring us closer to Him.

If today you hear his voice,” the Lord pleads “harden not your hearts.”  Why?  Because what the Lord is giving is yet another opportunity to love God more

 

Now that’s the big picture God only sees–when God looks at us!

 

 

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What does loving in the Spirit of Christ Really Mean?

Posted by on Jun 29, 2016 in Previous Posts | 1 comment

What does loving in the Spirit of Christ Really Mean?

Love bolsters marriage and holds it steady through the “richer or poorer times” and the “better or worse” moments that challenge any and all wedding journeys.  Scriptures coaxes us, whether married or single, to live in the Spirit and not by the Flesh.  When we live in the Spirit, we are simply being clear that Jesus Christ ‘ message is alive in us and our  “flesh does not have the last word”—our heart does!!

When we live our lives as Christ invites us to do, we are  “loving God, His Father “ as Jesus does, and then “loving others by serving them”– and not using them for our own pleasures.” When we love in this way, we are on the road to living in the Spirit.

Sarah and Jim were married for forty years and looking forward to retiring on the Outer Banks.  With their four children all grown and building families of their own, Sarah and Jim were ready. A month after arriving in Kitty Hawk, Sarah suffered a debilitating stroke that left her physically impaired. 

While in the hospital Sarah wondered how Jim was going to manage this unforeseen setback. When she asked him, he simply replied. “As long as we’re together, I look forward to everyday of it.” And so they did, sharing a love alive with Christ’s Spirit “for better or worse,  in sickness and in health!”

Pope Francis shares this love too, especially when he   “sees people first.” What Pope Francis sees: “ are persons beloved by God.”   St Paul in First Corinthians also shows us how to “see people first” when he writes, “ Love is patient, love is kind. Love is not jealous, love is not pompous. Love is not inflated, it is not rude, love does not seek its own interests.”  And Jesus‘ whole life and death is about God, His Father’s interests and not His own.

God in creating us, and His Son, Jesus in saving us put their lives on hold for us. This is called unconditional love.  It is not about tearing down or possessing the one we love, but allowing our love to free another to be “who they are, and to be that well as a testament to the master craftsman who created them.” (DeSales)

And this real love is the true love that flows through the hearts of married couples. It is a serving love and not a taking love. And when we love in this way, we are giving what’s best for our beloved’s soul –the very Spirit of Christ.

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