Tag Archives: Kindness

Strange Events And Our Lord’s Mercy

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When my daughters started this school year, in both classrooms, were sign up sheets for various programs for family’s to help out with through the year. As I looked about my fifth graders room sheet, I had noticed no one has signed up for the 5th grade retreat, which would be taking place this Advent. I had never helped with one and figured I would, since no one else would.

Time had passed and months flew by until I was contacted about two weeks ago. Her teacher had caught me in person and mentioned that she would be emailing me the information and we needed to sit down and discuss what the theme would be along with other items that would be taking place. I waited patiently and another week came and went. No email. I asked my husband if she had emailed him and he did not receive any information either. So I sent her an email asking her what we needed to do. For some reason, the email never go through. A few days later, I received a general email from the school, in which all family’s were notified, talking about the upcoming retreat and that we needed to nail down a date. I responded back, being it was a Friday, I knew I wouldn’t hear back until at lease Sunday evening. The email bounced back. It seemed as if something didn’t want me to partake in any way shape of form in doing anything for this retreat I had signed up for, months ago, that no one wanted to do.

That following Sunday, I had entered the Parish Hall between Masses and our Pastor was there. He had called out to me from across the room, but called me by another name. I looked at him and he did it again. I said to him, no Father, I am Peggy. He said your not so & so? I said no Father. My name is Peggy, you know, Violet and Chloe’s mom? He laughed a bit and called me that other persons name again and said he wanted to talk to me about the upcoming Seventh grade retreat. I said to him, Father, that is not me. We haven’t nailed down a date yet for the retreat and I haven’t heard any news as to when it is yet. He said yes we did and I need to talk to you about it, calling me the other persons name again. Once again, I told him, I was not her and did not have a child in the seventh grade. He looked at me puzzled for a moment and with that his eyes widened and said, okay. Your Violets mom. It finally registered with him. I left and went back home, immediately checking my email to see if any news came through and nothing was there, once again.

The following morning, my husband took our girls to school and I had him inform my daughters teacher that all the emails I had sent were bounced back and I just could not get any information through to her to get this going. The day after that, on my way into school to pick up my girls, a parent told me that she was working on the retreat and was wondering if I could help them. I informed her of all the things that had taken place and would love to help along with telling her I was grateful that someone was doing something as it was like I was being sabotaged at every turn in trying to do anything for this event. It seemed as if everything I was doing, was blocked and just couldn’t get anything through. As if I wasn’t supposed to be doing this even though I had volunteered for it. She had informed me that the day for the retreat was just set for December 10th and it would only be a few hours in the morning. I was grateful for any information and thrilled that it would be taking place. Along with being very grateful to our Lord, that someone had done something to get the ball rolling. She told me she would email me some ideas, I left and went home. Guess what? No emails received. He knows what we NEED before we ask.

Last Friday, First Friday, as I attended Holy Mass with the school children, something happened. Keep in mind my health is not the greatest and I have struggled with many strange things over the years, out of the ordinary things, from needing emergency surgery for a Spontaneous Heterotopic Pregnancy to congestive heart-failure that had originally been diagnosed as seasonal allergies along with degenerative disks in my spine that once, pinched my spinal chord in my neck and made it seem as if I had a stroke. Last Friday, was no different. While at Holy Mass, just before the Consecration, it was as if someone jabbed me just under the ribs with a knife on my right side. It brought me to my knees as it took my breath away for a split second and as fast as it happened, the pain was gone. I continued to concentrate on our Lord and joined my pain with His Wounded Sacred Heart, as through the rest of Holy Mass, I was at peace with Him, although still in slight pain. As I left Mass, I was a bit perplexed as to what this could be. I had my gallbladder removed just last year and hadn’t had that type of pain since back when I still had one. I prayed. The next day, I attended Holy Mass again as it was First Saturday and I was meeting with my Carmelite Brothers and Sisters for our monthly meeting. As I sat in prayer and contemplation, the pain returned a few times, although not as strong and I knew something was up. Something was wrong and needed to be looked at. Being that it was the weekend, I would put it off until Monday to call since the pain was not so great and could be dealt with by just taking it easy. Our Lord had me completely at peace and I continued on with light chores and prayers.

Sunday came and after my family and myself attended Holy Mass, I received a phone call from another classmate of my daughter, in regards to the retreat. We spoke at length of different ideas she had designed and asked my opinion on a few other things and we agreed on all of them in regards to how the children would have a wonderful morning. It was done. I only had a few ends to tie before this coming Thursday for making Advent Calender’s themed for the Year of Mercy, for the remainder of Advent until Christmas. As I hung up the phone with her, it dawned on me, our Lord provides. He knew I was going to have health issues that would get in the way of doing as much as needed to be done for this Children and He, in His MERCY, provided for them. Although most of what took place seemed to be one way, in which it looked as if I may have dropped the ball, or someone did, it actually wasn’t. All these little inconveniences, steering me away from what I wanted to do, even though through good intention, needed to take place to ensure the children’s fifth grade retreat was able to be taken care of, by someone other than me, because I was not going to be in any shape to follow through with it. Our Lord is MERCIFUL. He knows what He is doing and He knows EVERYTHING. He knows the plans He has for us.

I had called my doctor yesterday, Monday, and gave his nurse all my symptoms. They made room and got me in today, beginning a whole series of tests. I will not have my blood work back until Friday, as they are currently looking for something wrong either with a bile duct or something with the liver or pancreas. My doctors orders are to RELAX and REST and not to do much of anything while he plots out the next course of diagnosis, be it CT Scan or MRI, after he discuses this more in detail with the Radiologist. If I get a fever or worse pain, I am to go to the ER for emergency treatment. All this, while I discuss it all, with our Lord, the true Doctor, in contemplation and prayer. That being said, it would put a HUGE damper on this Fifth Grade Retreat that WILL now take place on this Thursday, without me, if I was kept in charge of it. If I had anything seriously planned, if I had been given the entire task. It would have been compromised by an unforeseen, by me, health issue that our Lord most surely did know about. That is the mercy of our Lord as seen by a very grateful soul. Praise, glory and honor to our Lord, Jesus Christ, now and forever. Amen

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Scent of Lilies

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Just over a year ago, my husbands niece was born. They named her Lilly. Keep in mind one of the greatest sufferings I have had to bear is my husband just had not been converted back home at the same rate as I have. I will not go further with this. After Lilly was born, my sister-in-law decided to have my husband be her God Father. I had mixed feeling about this. I was concerned for Lilly as my husband was still very worldly. I pray for him continually and I love him very much. There is a reason our Lord gave us BOTH the grace to make it through the Annulment Process and enter into Marriage. See my post: Cohabitation And Holy Communion and after making it through this, I truly had started to grow to understand that I can not change anyone, and that only our Lord could.

I had been asking him for months, to please go to confession before becoming God Father. He continually put it off until this week I had asked him on Friday, as the Baptism was set for Sunday, did you go? He said no. He was too busy. Well, my patience had run out in this matter. I didn’t want to be a part of a sacrament that mean nothing to him as he was about to take a vital role in the spiritual life of another. I told him I would not be going. I went into the yard and began to plant flowers. (Impatiens of all things) I prayed and planted, becoming more upset that anyone could have such disregard for what they were taking on. Keep in mind, my husband is Greek Orthodox. I’m not that familiar with the faith but I have this drive in me from our Lord to ensure my husband gets to heaven. I love him very much. I know our Lord placed him in my life for a reason. I also, through my faith believe we are truly bound to our Lord and married WITH Him. It’s very painful to see one you love so dearly not allowing our Lord to love him. I was blinded my own IDEA that I could somehow control what was taking place in HIS spiritual life.

I dusted the dirt off and went inside. I changed and left, upset, for Adoration. As I sat in front of our Lord I asked Him what I could do? What should I do? I prayed. My cell phone rang and I left the Church to see what it was. It was a wrong number. I shut off the phone and went back in and began to pray again. I felt so horrible that I had distracted others. I apologized to our Lord for not remembering to turn off the phone. My shoulders drooped and I felt very deflated. I told our Lord I never wanted to embarrass Him. I never wanted to do anything that would be shameful to Him. I love Him very much. Sometimes I may try to hard and I never mean to hurt Him or anyone. I left, and headed back home.

As I entered the house, I was crying a bit as I was under a feeling of total defeat. I wasn’t sure where our Lord wanted me nor what He needed me to do. I wasn’t sure what any of this was about anymore but I resigned myself to the faith He knew what He was doing and I trust Him and His mercy. I have HOPE! Along with Faith & Love. As painful as they may all be at times, they truly are priceless.

My husband didn’t say a word and I entered back into the yard. I sat down and began to ponder. Defeated. I looked down at the flower bed I had just planted, and seen that someone had sprinkled seeds among the flowers I had planted. The seed being a sort of grass seed. At first I began to cry hard. All the work I had done was ruined. Then like that, BAM! The Parable of the Weeds among the Wheat.

I was at peace. I understood in that second, our Lord had answered my prayer. I was still a bit aggregated that someone had done this, but over time, I forgave and told my husband, I would be going Sunday to the Baptism. I knew, everything in God’s time, not mine.

Sunday came, I attended Holy Mass at our old Roman Catholic parish, with my daughters, and after we left for the Baptism. The Greek Orthodox Priest had told every what was needed and the Baptism commenced. As I watched, I became awe-struck, as my husband renounce Satan, all his works, and entered back into the faith himself, along with this little sweet child. I had never seen my husband pray. I had never seen him in the Light. Our Lord was bringing two in at the same time. One through renewal and the other as new. My heart began to fly. I was so overjoyed and thanked our Lord that He had shown me so much. After the Baptism my husband went to confession. I will not go into details as this is something I do not have the grace to write about. I can tell you there was an explosion of LOVE between my husband and I that only God could ignite. I continue to pray unceasingly for him and will always. I don’t know where this may lead him, but everything starts someplace. Like the second the weds and the wheat sprout, NO ONE knows which is which, BUT God, until it is unmistakable. That flame that I had carried for our Lord in faith, had been lit in my husband’s soul. Our Lord used the birth of a child to do this once again.. St. Augustine said it best: “Faith is to believe what you do not see; the reward of this faith is to see what you believe.”

This Friday is the Feast of the Assumption of our Blessed Mother. I can not help but already smell the Lilly’s left behind.

Glory to God. Praise be to God.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

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My Cross

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We all have many crosses our Lord has handed to us in this life. Not one is equal to the next nor equal to someone else’s that they must carry. They are similar in appearance but in how we carry them, comes with each of our lives and the things we encounter daily, and how we accept our Lords cross in how we carry them. We can choose to place more weight on them with a standard that our Lord Himself would never place on us, or we can simply look at the cross He carried and accept that no matter how heavy ours may be, His was and is, the only one that matters. It does not mean we place our crosses down, but rather pick them up with hope in Him that He will always be there to help us carry them with much greater ease.

In my daily walk I find myself looking to Mama Mary and the cross she was handed the day she said yes to Abba Father. That simple yes to God’s will brought not only our Lord into all our lives, but the weight of His cross added onto Mama Mary’s life. She became one again not only maternally but spiritually. They become one not only as a mother and child as she carried Him in her womb, but the entire span of His life with her, and all of us, even now. There is no doubt she was told all that would take place in the life of her Son and our Lord. Holding all this in her heart daily, until He came for her at her assumption.

The day my conversion began, started with a yes. In my heart, a yes to Abba Father and no other. With my yes to Abba Father, came a yes to ALL He wills. Good, bad, makes no difference as the outcome is always good for His will to be made manifest into our lives. I would love to sit here and say it’s almost as if” our Lord has had His watchful eye on me every step I have taken, since this all began, but, to say that is bringing doubt into the picture. Rather, I know for a fact, our Lord has had His watchful eye on me every step I have taken, since this all began as everything told to me that day my conversion began, has been taking place daily, after the fact of me being able to see it. Therefore seeing Him at work in my life at every turn, at every step. Knowing without a doubt, He is here. Not knowing exactly what I am to do with this but only to accept it as it came with my yes, to Abba Father.

I place all the same hope that Mama Mary had at the uttering of the word yes, to my end so to spend eternity with my Lord and her with all the holy Angels and Saints of our Lord Jesus Christ. With much less perfection as I am not full of grace, but am only as full as Abba Father has allowed me to be through His merciful Son. Not equating myself to her in any way, but seeing her as the perfect soul to emulate in a world of imperfection.

When we look at our Lord on the crucifix, it’s very difficult to look at our own cross and with a clear heart and mind to utter the words, mine is much greater. It’s actually laughable to even think that somehow my cross could be heavier than theirs. Therefore making my cross a simple paper crucifix that I have been called to carry. The Words of our Lord on that simple cross carry the weight and the Holy Spirit of our Lord keeps it all in check to ensure, the glory is given to Him, for the glory and honor of all I have seen, lived and encountered throughout my entire life, belongs to the most Holy and Divine Trinity.

When we undergo so many trials and suffering in this life, its meant for all of us cast our eyes upon Him on His beautiful cross and to pull closer to Him to listen to His Word. We do not belong here to stay for eternity but only belong with Him in paradise.

Today is the Triumph of the Cross. May we all simply say yes Abba Father, and do all He has asked of us. To love and serve Him in all that we do, every day we are here in exile.

September 14

The Exaltation of the Holy Cross

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“Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross,” (Phil.2:5-8). [1]

Today we honor the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and Jesus’ triumph upon it. In today’s feast, we are reminded of God’s plan of Salvation and His work to raise up humankind through the saving power of Jesus Christ. In Christ on the Cross, sin is overcome and we are offered a new life, with Christ at the center. According to a traditional account, the relics of the holy cross were discovered by St. Helena, mother of Constantine the Great, in 326 when she was on a pilgrimage in Jerusalem. The relics were captured by Persians but later returned in 628 and now reside at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. [2][3][4]

Written by Sarah Ciotti
Reviewed by Fr. Hugh Feiss, OSB, STD
[1]Revised Standard Version s.v., “Philippians, The Letter of Saint Paul to the.”
[2] Catholicpedia: The Original Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. s.v. “Archeology of the Cross and Crucifix.”
[3] Benedict XVI, Homily, September 15, 2008.
[4] John Paul II, Homily, September 14, 1988.

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