Thursday, May 12, 2016

Go To Your Room

"Go to your ROOM!" I can tell you that I heard these words as a young girl many times a week. Maybe even daily. Let's just say that I enjoyed life to the fullest. As number 6 of 8 children, maybe I felt it was my duty to give the parents a shot in the arm. You know, add a little spark. Grease the rusty wheels. But that can't be right because my brothers and sisters before me spent equal amounts of time in their rooms too. My parents were hopping from beginning to end. No rest for the weary shall we say. But they rarely complained and seemed to have a pretty good time along the way. 

In the past couple of weeks, I have done four radio interviews to promote "Talking to God" and in each the question has been asked, "In your book you suggest 'making a private chapel in your heart'. How do you go about that?" And actually, I use a quote from the 17th century Carmelite, Brother Lawrence that suggests we should “make a private chapel in our heart where we can retire from time to time to commune with Him, peacefully, humbly, lovingly; everyone is capable of these intimate conversations with God, some more, others less; he knows what we can do.”  

As I sat in the Chapel this morning and for the past several weeks, I have pondered this idea. Throughout my day, I try to have this place within myself where I can go when I feel like screaming. I try to have this place where I can retreat when I am tempted. We all can have this same place where we can go when our world is ridiculous. We have a place to go instead of jumping in on the office gossip or laughing at an improper joke. This morning as I thought about this place that everyone seems to be interested in, I pictured the many times when I was sent to my room before I got into something that I could not get out of. I thought about the time when I was sent to the library in High School before I got in-school suspension with my friends. I thought of Jesus telling me that the same elements in the Chapel where I was sitting could be in my heart where I could retreat right before I made a bad choice. I envisioned Jesus telling me, "Go to your Heart room" to contemplate my actions or reactions. 

I ran back up to our Chapel to take the above picture and I was reminded of this verse. "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart." Luke 2:19  I'd say that we're in good company as we work on "making a private chapel in (y)our heart(s)."

How about it for you? Have you ever thought about making a private Chapel in your Heart? Is it just a quiet place for prayer as mine has been in the past or is it a retreat from the ridiculous or is it a safe place to avoid sin? Is it a place where you can "retire"just as the Chapel is near the Church? Something to ponder I guess. I sure have been asked a lot.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

May Crowning

As I have said every year around this time, I love May Crowning. The girls and boys all dressed up, the flowers presented to Our Lady by the students and then the crown of roses placed upon her head, all remind me of the honor and respect and gratefulness we have toward Our Mother. She takes it all, our needs, our wants, our failures, our successes, our joys and our sorrows, and she presents them to her Son and she makes us look so much better than we really are...just like any good mom would do for their children. She deserves a visit and prayers and flowers and a crown and anything else we'd like to present to her.

One of my favorite stories about May Crowning is still the one from Sr. Mary Samuel, O.P. when she taught in Memphis. Check it out. Happy Month of May and may Our Lady bless you abundantly and fill you with her gifts of grace and peace!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Prayer


With the launch of my new book "Talking to God" I have had many questions about the book but the one that I had to think about most is "Why another book on prayer?" Why did I write another prayer book and why is it different from the stack of others on the table next to my bed? I knew as I was writing this small prayer book that I wanted something that would slip into a purse or fit in a console and still be packed with prayers for many ages and the many stages of life that women experience. With input from my mother and my daughters, this handy book includes prayers for women who stay at home or work, women who attend school, who are married or single, young or old, with children or without, to Mary and from Scripture and the Saints both traditional and original. But most of all, this little book is all about talking to God who, no matter what we do or how we feel, understands and listens and loves us through all of life's joyful and sorrowful moments.

In my morning reading of "The Way of Trust and Love"  I found it no coincidence that Fr. Philippe says, "sometimes we lose a taste for prayer. What does that trial mean? It is a call to continue praying all the same, because we don't pray just because we enjoy it or experience satisfaction, but first and foremost to please God. When we find great pleasure in it, that's fine, but when prayer is difficult, we need to keep going just the same! (And this is why Talking to God - to help us to 'keep going' when we cannot find the words or are too sick or tired to express them) That purifies our love for God, which becomes freer, more disinterested, more genuine, and not just a selfish search for ourselves."

Fr. Philippe hits the nail on the head! We need these books of prayer so that we can keep praying when we cannot find our own words. We need prayer to "purify our love for God", to please Him especially when it is most difficult to pray but also when we find joy in it.

Can I get an "Amen"?!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Simply No Coincidence

I  have many Williams in my life, both living and deceased, that I have been praying for with much intensity lately. My nephew and my son of course are always in my prayers but recently these other Williams too have been heavy in my thoughts and prayers. Included are my friend William who made rosaries for the Bookstore (his story) who just recently died, my grandfather William Theodore, my Uncle William and my husband's good friend William who suffered a terrible stroke and is struggling to recover. My dad William died in November last year and I'd like to share a little lesson he sent me.

I try to go to daily Mass in the small Chapel of our Church after I drop my daughter off for school. (If you know me, you know I need all the help I can get.) As many of us do, I have my "assigned seat" in the Chapel and pretty much get that seat each morning if I am early. About 3 weeks after my dad's death, I went to my seat and my kneeler was missing. I thought simply it was my dad telling me that I needed to do penance to at least make it up to, if not farther than, where he is in paradise. (I know he loved the idea that there are "many mansions", perhaps different levels...who really knows, but...) So each morning I'd go in and kneel on the floor as others knelt comfortably on their cushioned kneelers (believe me, these people probably do not need the penance I need). Anyway, many, many weeks later, I was given a message through the homily or through something I read or through a thought that came into my head that my dad was teaching me that sometimes we have to do what is "uncomfortable" in this life to truly do the will of God or to gain a spot in heaven. We need to talk to those who make us uncomfortable or reach out to the man on the street or to those in prison or call a family member who drives us crazy or a coworker who unnerves us or scares us. We need to go to confession and reconcile with others. We have to deal with what God gives us especially if it is out of our comfort zone. I felt good. I felt I understood the message. The next week, my kneeler was back!  Then, my niece got sick and I felt like since her name is Grace and I (slow as I am) realized while praying the rosary that I say her name as I pray Our Lady's prayer that I should share that idea. I felt the nudge to share it with my siblings and ask them to pray Hail Mary's for Grace each day until she heals. Well, I was uncomfortable for some reason to ask them to pray the Hail Mary every day. I don't know why. I guess I felt like they knew to pray for her and I didn't need to tell them. But, I'm just sayin...2 days later, I went to the Chapel and my chair was missing. I got right on my phone after Mass and group texted the family that we should pray the Hail Mary for Grace each day and all agreed that it was a good idea. Forget being uncomfortable. God wants us to ask. He wants us to be bold. And, a couple of days later, my chair was back. And please do not get me wrong, I know it's not my dad coming and moving around furniture in the Chapel, but the timing is uncanny!

So, I am sitting in a book group several weeks ago with a Dominican Sister who tells us about the graces she has received from reading some of the writings of one of their former Mother Superiors, Mother Marie William, O.P. She says she's probably a saint for all she had to struggle through for their order during her time as Superior and we should feel free to pray for her for our intentions. She had no idea when she shared that that I had Williams on my mind. The idea of praying to Mother Marie William, who I knew, for my Williams, simply gave me goosebumps. Actually, tears filled my eyes. And then.... I got on their website and found the quote below. It is simply No Coincidence. Go. Venture out of your comfort zone. Be bold. Follow Him.


Because God chose us and we were willing to make our pilgrimage along a narrow road, the travel is bound to be less comfortable and more demanding of us than of other Christian pilgrims. …Our perseverance in faith and vocation depends on the depth of our prayer life and our fidelity to our vows. So does our happiness. Whatever we do, Sisters, let us do it for one purpose—God’s greater honor and glory. Be faithful to your prayers—lead the common life, practice regular observance with freedom and love. (Mother Marie William MacGregor, May 26, 1971)