Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Favourite Saints

Sometimes as I go about my life, a saint catches me. This has happened many times. Our God, a God of communion and community, works so well through his faithful servants. We are never alone!

The following are saints that I consider close friends. Some helped me through a tough time. Some came into my life for only a short time, seeing me through a time of transition. Some have stalked me for years! I feel so blessed to have so many heavenly helpers!

I have separated them into phases in my life.

Mary has been there throughout every moment of my life but sometimes under different titles. So I have listed her more then once! Others are repeated as well for different times of greater influence.

Beginning in the Faith Saints (2003-2006)

St. Anne and Joachim
St. Alphonsus Liguori 
St. Michael the Archangel
Our Lady of Sorrows
St. Therese of the Lisieux
Then-Pope John Paul II

College Years (2006-2008)

St. Clare of Assisi
St. Cecilia
St. Faustina
Our Lady of Czechahova
St. Louis de Montfort
St. Therese of Liseaux 

Engagement (2008-2009)

St. Bede the Venerable
*This was one of those saints that found US. I still don't know why G-Man and I found St. Bede so attractive. He surrounded our engagement, though.*
St. John Paul II

Wedding (Sept 12th, 2009)

St. Bernard of Clairvaux
Most Holy Name of Mary
St. Joseph
St. Ann
St. Francis Xavier
St. Alphonsus Liguori

Marriage (Early Years) (2009-2011)

St. Gianna Molla
St. Gerard Majella
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
St. Louis de Montfort
Our Lady, Help of Christians

Infertility(2009+)

St. Perpetua and Felicity
St. Elizabeth (Mother of John the Baptist)
Job

Discernment (Dark) Years (2009-2012)

St. Gianna Molla
St. Theresa of Avila

Beginning of Ministry (FertilityCare)(2013-2014)

St. John Paul II
(soon to be blessed) Pope Paul VI

Theology of the Body Ministry(2013-2014)

St. John Paul II
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Our Lady of Czechahova

Saints of my Spiritual Life

St. John of the Cross
St. Theresa of Avila
St. Louis de Montfort
St. Bernard of Clairvaux

Stalker Saints (Lifelong Friends)

St. John Paul II
St. Alphonsus Liguori 
Our Lady of Perpetual Help
St. Michael the Archangel

Random Moment Saints

*These saints just show up for a day to two occasionally and then fade into the background again. They are good friends who are there when they are needed.*
St. Jane de Chantal
St. Andre Bassette
St. John Baptist de la Salle
St. John the XXIII
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
St. Francis Xavier
St. Ignatius of Loyala
St. Jose Maria Escriva

Saints that came to me through my Hubby

*I interviewed G-Man for this part. I wanted to know WHY he is attracted to these saints. His answers are in quotation marks.
St. Philip Neri "Because of his disposition and his joy'
St. Thomas More "Because he was so smart and I'm inspired by his story"
St. Benedict "Because I like his rule"
St. Francis Xavier "He is my confirmation saint. Like, St. Thomas More, I find his story encouraging and attractive."
St. Anne "Because she is the mother of Our Lady."
St. Boniface "He just seems really cool."
St. John Marie Vianney "I like his simplicity. I like the fact that I've been to where he lives; that makes it very real for me. Served mass on the altar where his body is. His story is pretty marvelous."

Special Mention

*These people are not saints but they have had a special influence in my spiritual growth.
My Nanny: Johannah
Carol Houselander
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI


What saints have found you throughout your life?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Christ and His Church... And SYTYCD

So, for those who don't know, I am a bit obsessed with So You Think You Can Dance. As my love and obsession with Theology of the Body has grown so has my love and obsession for SYTYCD! At least once an episode my whole being is touched by a routine. My heart starts to sign out prayers of longing and delight to God and I won't be able to contain this sensation within me so I 'woot,' 'sigh,' 'grunt,' and sometimes even jiggle. My digestive track will start to dance along with the routine. This is not unlike the reaction I get whenever I read the Theology of the Body.

Last night SYTYCD really kicked it off with the first routines for the top 20. I, however, don't have television and I was busy all day tonight doing the "duty of the moment" which happened to be driving 3 hours to a doctor's appointment. But as I was driving home, getting closer and closer to the moment when I could sit down and watch this show online (really, pray with this show), I was getting more and more excited.

Now, I need to say something to clarify my obsession with SYTYCD. First, I know nothing about dance! But my heart connects with the beauty! Second, just as there are wonderful moments of grace and beauty on this show, there are moments where prudence dictates that I skip over. For example, last nights music number dedicated to the "Wiggle" of a woman's tush. (Jason Derulo, I actually really liked  you as a judge, which is the only contact I have ever had with you, until you 'sang' that horrible song 'Wiggle.' There is not much good I can say about your performance AT ALL. But you were a great guest judge and you definitely allowed yourself to be touched by the shows beauty. Now if only you could create beautiful music!) This show is very much a reflection of where we are as a culture. Routines and musically numbers can be a sad reminder of that; many times focusing on fostering lust in the audience. However, all is not lost. There is incredible beauty here as well. I told G-Man tonight prior to me turning the show on that sometimes I feel like the Holy Spirit is so alive in the routines and the dancers. G-Man, in true G-Man fashion, basically said, "Well DUH!" He is so much wiser then I am! He just 'gets' things that it has taken me 10 seasons to verbalize! G-Man does not, however, watch the show with me. I do show him the routines that really touch me though. He, then, says something else profound, like "I'm glad you like it..."

Ok, onto the theme of this post.  Christ and the Church..... And SYTYCD. There were many BEAUTIFUL routines last night but one definitely stood out. This routine jumped out to me first as a reflection of Adam and Eve meeting and then as I watched and re-watched I started reflecting on Christ and his love and loyalty to His Bride, the Church. And once that thought entered my mind, it was the centre of my prayer with the dance afterwards!

Watch the routine yourself and see what you think. I was struck by how Ricky (the male dancer who I thought reflected Christ) seemed to carry, guard and come out to meet Jessica (the female dancer who, for me, reflects the Church). And Jessica has so much longing for Ricky; she is moved by his every touch, every inspiration.

Other things that I noticed:
1) At the very beginning Ricky breathes on her... ...
2) Jessica seems so OPEN to Ricky, hands open to receive anything and everything from him.
3) The beautiful harmony of the two of them together!
4) There are many moments that Ricky is so EXTENDED, it reminders me of the lengths that Christ goes to reach us, even death on a cross, stretching his arms out!
5) How strong Jessica seems BECAUSE of Ricky.
6) There is a mutual respect and submission there also. Ricky is placed at Jessica's feet many times. And then raised up because of it.
7) And don't even get me started on near the end when Jessica is resting on Ricky's back and he is walking her into the light. Just look at Jessica's face when the light reaches her. PLUS, they are making the shape of a cross! THEN She falls to the floor (death?) and He pulls her off of it, lifting her up (resurrection?)!
8) Afterward both dancers seem completely overcome by what has happened to them and they are dazzled by it!
9) The judges remarks are definitely worth listening too. Everyone seems so struck by the "other-worldliness" of the routine! This IS the body speaking about theology. And everyone is overcome by the beauty!
10) I love that the choreographer, Sonya Tayeh, just by being open to beauty, received a bit of the Holy Spirit's inspiration and we all got to witness it!

Please re-watch this because, seriously the more I watch it, the deeper my hearts prayer (or longing) cries out to God.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

At the Close of Infertility Awareness Week, 2014

* At the close of Infertility Awareness week, I would like to reflect on the daily-ness of infertility for those who live with it. Though we, as a group, may speak out more during this week to raise awareness and try to break the shaming silence, we experience the sorrows of infertility every day, every hour, every minute. *
This is not meant to be a downer or to accuse any one of "rubbing our noses" in it, simply to give a little taste of how infertility changes how you see the world and everyone in it!


The Daily-Ness of Infertility


The painful reminders:
Mother's Day Sales
Kid's Day in the Mall
A&W's Mama Burger (which is my favourite burger) and Baby Burgers
Pregnant woman parking spaces
Ad's on Facebook and other websites
(They seem to think that because I looked up sperm count and ovulation once or twice I need to see every ad that has anything to do with children)
Whenever I see anything pale pink
A School
A swing set
Baptism's and Confirmations
Alter Servers




The Good and Uplifting Reminders:
(Most Days) Bible Mentions of Infertility and/or Suffering
The Facebook group- Catholic IF-St. Gerard, Pray for us!
The daily CHOICE to follow Christ and His Church
(Realizing that if my faith was dependent on my feelings, I would worship drugs or chocolate. Infertility reminders me that my Faith is a gift primarily and is an act of the WILL)
A Cross
A Rosary
Pictures of Saints who have Suffered (which is most of them... or maybe all of them!)


Most days the Painful Reminders out number the Good and Uplifting Reminders. I should remember though that is the not the quantity but the QUALITY that matters most!





Monday, April 21, 2014

Infertility Awareness Week

Infertility Awareness Week, 2014: A Catholic Perspective Document


I was never one to hide our infertility. My family is one that shares information and I have the gift of gab so if the situation presented itself, I shared about our struggle. My hubby is more sensitive about maintaining privacy. We noticed this difference in ourselves very quickly after marriage. Just another way that we are polar opposites. I have had to scale back my sharing sometimes because of his prudent judgement. But this is not one of those times...


I am sharing a wonderful document that was prepared by a wonderful lady, Rebecca, in honour of Infertility Awareness Week, which is this week, during the Octave of Easter! I am doing this because I think that there is too much silence and assumption (and not the Marian kind) that surrounds infertility and fertility health-issues. In a culture of death and a Church of Life, a couple struggling to conceive can feel misplaced, to say the least.


The document, I think, gives a hopeful opening into the many emotional and situational issues that the couple facing infertility is living with and how their friends and family can be supportive and compassionate.


I encourage all to read this document and pass it around!
We are a Church of COMMUNION, let us not let anyone suffer alone!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Annunciation and Infertility

I was sitting in Mass today, which is a very good place to sit, and I was listening to the readings that I have heard many times before and the Gospel whacked me straight in the heart. It was a pretty personal whack so I apologize in advance if this post is hard to follow.
Here, you read the Gospel and see if anything strikes you.


LUKE 1:26-38
26 And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be.
30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.
31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus.
32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever.
33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end.
34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren:
37 Because no word shall be impossible with God.
38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.


Now, I am not a biblical scholar, at all. But I do have a blog so I am going to share with you what struck me.

Mary asks the angel HOW she will conceive. How is this possible? It seems to me that the angel gives her two answers.

The first answer is practical. How will this happen? "Well, the Holy Spirit, the breath of life, is going to breath on you and you will bear life." Ok. Good. That would almost be a complete answer, right? How is God going to work this, well, he will do what he does best and create LIFE!

The second answer is testimonial. The second answer is the one that struck me almost speechless. It is calling on a witness. And an infertile witness at that. It was the witness of this infertile couple that showed Mary how God was going to change her life and the life of the world through her. Whenever I read and heard this passage before my mind always went right to the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth and really the first meeting of Jesus and John. I thought that the angel mentioned Elizabeth to get Jesus to John. And I am sure that this is a part of it. But I was touched by the idea that the answer to Mary's question of 'How is this possible' was the witness of an infertile woman. And it was after Mary received these TWO answers that she declares "Be it done to me according to thy word."

So this passage became a challenge to me. Am I allowing God to use my infertility as a witness? As a witness to how the impossible is possible with God. Because remember Elizabeth was infertile before there was NaPro or Facebook support groups and she was infertile until PAST her fertile years. She 'aged out' in a sense. I have been dealing with infertility for 4 1/2 years. Sometimes everything seems hopeless. Elizabeth could have dealt with infertility since she was 16 and now she is, what, 50? Possibly older? She would have been living with infertility for 34+ years. How hopeless that must have seemed. But God uses the barren to give witness to the possibility of life!

Lord, use me to inspire someone else's Fiat! Let this be my fiat!

Let my Life bear witness to YOUR WORD!


________________________________________________________________________________
Updated 03/26/13
I was laying in bed last night am describing this insight to my husband who said, "Well, yay! And it is only after SEEING Elizabeth that she sings out the Magnificat!" Mary's strength to carry her son to the cross is confirmed, yet again, by the witness of the infertile woman who was faithful to God's Promises.


I also want to highlight that I don't think you ever have to have a child after infertility to be this witness. As Rebecca is fond of repeating, and it always inspires me, the spiritual presides the physical. Elizabeth had life in her heart before she had it in her womb. The physical life is a reflection of the spiritual life already present; it makes visible the invisible!


My final point was to share that at this mass I felt like God was speaking directly to me. The homily was beautiful and mystical; very Theology of the Body, about how the Incarnation is a call out to humans to become divine. (I especially liked the reflection that Father had on how Christ didn't come as an animal or a plant, but as a human and so making everything human divine!). Yesterday was also the first time I can remember a prayer for all those struggling to conceive in the prayers of the faithful!


It was beautiful to be mentioned in the prayer of the Church. So often this is one of the things that makes me bitter, not being noticed in the struggle when it seems that everything else IS!


So, anyways, just some add-on thoughts!


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I Still Believe




This is my big revelation from today,


I don't understand God.


That's it. I don't understand God and how He loves us.


Today has not been a good day. I got nothing done simply because I didn't do anything. I have been very 'down' and 'blue' and (to be honest) I've wallowed all day. I am still in my PJ's and it is 5:30pm. G-Man is going to be home from work any minute. I had a good 30 minute cry-fest around noon. I've been breaking down occasionally throughout the rest of the day.


Why?


Because I don't understand God and I am upset. I am angry and life isn't fair!


I started spotting today and I know that my period is coming/here. This is not big news. My period came, like it does every month.


Since October, I have been reconnecting my desire for children to God and HOPING in God, believing in miracles again. This has been a very difficult process but I thought that this is what God wanted. It certainly sounds good. But it is painful. Because believing in miracles means I have to believe in the impossible. And when the impossible STAYS impossible, you know who gets hurt? ME! I do!


I feel like it is cruel for God to ask me to believe that He will 'satisfy my heart' and then NOT satisfy it! It seems easier to just not believe; to close my heart up!


But I know no other way to live anymore except through Christ and BELIEF in Christ's resurrection. So, despite all of this anger and this misunderstanding, Here is my prayer! Here is my Heart's Cry!
I Still BELIEVE!