Friday, July 31, 2009

Remember, He's Here Too

Last night I went to my parish's Adoration Chapel for my Thursday night Holy Hour for priests. I arrived at the chapel just before our 7pm Mass so it was quite crowded. The chapel is small; it holds about 8 to 10 people comfortably. More can squeeze in if you don't mind pulling up a space on the floor.
As the time for Mass approached, the chapel emptied a bit. After the Mass ended the crowds came back even more so to the point of it being uncomfortable. Now I realize I am not there for my own comfort, but what you must know is I am a woman who needs her space! At this point I was just plain old distracted. I mean between the cute old ladies whispering the Rosary (this is like nails on a blackboard to me!) and just all the shuffling around; I couldn't take another minute. That's when it hit me~the church is now empty save for those waiting in the back for confession and a few people who remained to pray awhile. I picked myself up and went into church.
Ah~sweet peace and my Lord there in the tabernacle. Once again I was a happy woman.
Don't get me wrong; I'm glad lots of people come to spend time with Jesus. I myself love praying before Him exposed in the monstrance, but sometimes I forget that prayer before Him in the tabernacle is just as efficacious.
I was amazed at the peace I felt during those last 30 minutes praying in church. I know I shouldn't have let all that was going on in the chapel distract me;what can I say besides I am a weak creature and I will work on it.
All I am trying to say here is that I need to remember our Lord does not care where we come to Him as long as we come.
Remember, He's in the tabernacle too.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Shack and Other Books I Don't Have Enough Faith To Read

The book The Shack by William P. Young has become a huge bestseller in a very short amount of time. There has also been a lot of talk about this book throughout the Catholic community~some positive, some negative.
I will be honest, I have not read the book in its entirety, only bits and pieces of it. The reason I can not bring myself to read the book cover to cover is because personally, I do not feel I have enough faith to read this book as an objective Catholic; this is also the reason I stay away from books like The DaVinci Code and Angels and Demons. This post is not to tell people what they should or should not read; I leave that to each individuals good judgment.
The main reason for this post is to direct you to Fr. Robert Barron's review of this book. He gives an honest commentary on the positive and negative aspects of this book. I like the fact that he doesn't throw the baby out with the bath water. While he does recommend the book to Catholic; he puts it this way, "It's like watermelon; there is a lot of sweet stuff, but you have to spit out some seeds along the way." I love that analogy.
Who knows, maybe one day I will be able to read books like this and just spit out the seeds. In the meantime, you can head over to Word On Fire to listen to Fr. Barron's review. Click on the WOF/TV tab on the site to view Father's videos. While you are there, you can also listen to his continuing interview series with Mike Leonard and his questions to Father about the Catholic Faith.

Fr. Barron and The Popes Encyclical

Father Robert Barron of Word On Fire gives his thoughts and opinions of Pope Benedict XVI's latest encyclical, Caritas in Veritate. He has plenty of positive things to say, but also shares a few of his concerns~especially where the Holy Father speaks about a possible type of "world government".
As always Fr. Barron gives his clear and honest commentary on the topic at hand. You can view more of Fr. Barron's videos by clicking the Word on Fire link above.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Prayer Blog

I found this over at Happy Catholic. I love this idea; Oramus is a whole site/blog dedicated to the fruitful purpose of praying. They even have a prayer for praying for strangers.
Scripture tells us to pray always and without ceasing. Check out the "News" link on the site to go to the blog portion. They say they will do occasional posting. I agree with Happy Catholic~ if all they ever do is post a reminder to pray, that would be plenty.
Prayer is one of the best things we can do for each other. It doesn't cost anything but a few minutes of our time. Besides you never know who is praying for you. Pay Oramus a visit.

While you are in prayer mode, please pray for this story I found over at CNA. Not every country is blessed to worship freely as we are (at least for right now).


Pray, hope and don't worry! ~Padre Pio

St. Martha

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary by Tintoretto

Dorothy Day said:
"If everyone were holy and handsome, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. But it was not Christ's way for himself. Ask honestly what you would do when a beggar asked at your house for food. Would you give it on an old cracked plate, thinking that was good enough? Do you think that Martha and Mary thought that the old and chipped dish was good enough for their guest? It is not a duty to help Christ -- it is a privilege." In what ways do you serve Christ others grudgingly or sparingly? How can you serve them the way Martha served Christ, putting her whole self into it?

This quote by Dorothy Day is very thought provoking. The line that struck me most was, "...It is not a duty to help Christ-- it is a privilege." When I do any type of ministry work, I can see that privilege clearly. However in the day to day, seemingly mundane activities of my life I can so easily lose sight of the fact that I am called to "help Christ" as well.
Martha did put her whole self into serving her Lord. Yes, perhaps a bit to the extreme at times~ forgetting to sit at His feet for awhile and gain "the better part"; and yes she did get a little whiny about her sister not helping her, but Jesus knew her heart and her faith and He loved her for all that she was.

My Dear Lord Jesus, I want to serve You in all areas of my life with all that I am and have. May I give You, through those You send me, the very best I have~never the chipped and broken. Through the intercession of St. Martha may I remember the privilege it is to be at and in Your service.
Amen.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

John 6:1~15

Loaves and Fishes by Bernardo Strozzi

Dear Lord Jesus,
This young boy brought you all he had for the day. You accepted his small offering and multiplied it so that there was plenty for all. May I too follow his example and bring you all that I have each day no matter how small it may seem, trusting in your love to multiply it so that there is plenty for all those I encounter. May I always remember that your grace is sufficient and that You can take the little I have and transform it. All good gifts, great and small, come from You; may I share them so that others may be fed by You as well. Amen.

Have a Blessed Sunday!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival~July 26th

To Join in Sunday Snippets head over to our hostess, RAnn's blog This That and the Other Thing for details and to read more posts by other Catholic bloggers.

This week for our Catholic Carnival I offer you first, What do I Know of Holy. This song of the same title is by a Christian group called Addison Road. The video is there along with my own reflections on what I know of holy~which is not too much!
The second post, Judge Not? is a response to a meditation/reflection I read by Abbot Joseph over at Word Incarnate. It speaks of the reality of absolute truth and our culture's concern about political correctness. Again my post is just my own response; Abbot Joseph's is the real treasure~be sure to read it. The link to Word Incarnate is in my Judge Not? post.
Enjoy the Carnival and have a Blessed Sunday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Judge Not?

Scripture tells us to judge not least we be judged (Matt.7:1). I have often felt that this passage was either poorly translated or very misunderstood. What I have come to learn is that as rational, intelligent human beings we are called to make sound judgements on any number of things in the course of daily life. What we are not to do is condemn; there is a difference. Hopefully when we are attempting to make sound judgements we are doing so according to objective truth. When we condemn another or their actions, we are accusing and tearing them down. That is a no-no.
Now I could go on because as I said this whole "let's not be judgemental" thing has bothered me for quite some time. It is just one more catch phrase in the book of Political Correctness or as I like to call it "Political Convenience".
What I am going to do is send you over to Abbot Joseph at Word Incarnate. There you can read his very intelligent post On Truth and Judging~Pt. 1. He does a far better job of explaining this calmly and rationally; me, I would probably end up on one of my soapboxes.
This topic has so much relevance for the time in which we now live. Our culture wants no part of objective truth; absolute right and wrong. We live in a "if it feels right to you then think it, say it, do it!" And well you can see where that has gotten us...
So click the link and read Abbot Joseph's excellent post and stay tuned for Part 2. I will put it in my Worth The Time box on my sidebar when he posts it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Memorial of St. Mary Magdalene

Alexander Ivanov: The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene

"...There must have emanated from this man, who was the Christ, a light, a power far above nature to free the love of a burning and passionate woman like Mary Magdalene from all obsession, pacify it, order it, and at the same time bring it to full flower."

~from a reflection by Fr. Raymond-Leopold Bruckberger, O.P.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

What Do I Know Of Holy?

What do I know of holy? That's a really good question when I go beyond the surface of it. As I have said before in other posts, God often speaks to me through music and He has done so once again.
I was driving home from work the other day and I heard a song by the Christian group, Addison Road. The song explored this question a little more deeply and it got me to thinking about my own relationship with Christ. Like any relationship, I can be guilty of taking this amazing relationship for granted. I can also at times make Jesus to be more of what my small perception of Him is or simply what I want or think He should be; as the song says. "I make You too small."

I need to remember He is so much more than I can ever imagine and I need to let Him reveal himself to me as He sees fit. Granted, this side of heaven my knowledge and perception will remain limited. All our Lord wants from me is an open heart to allow Him to be who He truly is. I need to not limit Him; I need to seek Him in everyone and everything. Jesus is the Father's love revealed. That thought alone is sometimes more than my human mind can grasp, but that's OK because all I have to do is accept it as truth and allow Jesus to reveal Himself to me in my life day by day, moment by moment. Somehow in doing this I think that when I finally do see Him face to face it may not be as if it is happening for the first time; I will behold my beloved and He will behold me.

So get comfortable and enjoy the song. I found a version with the lyrics so that you can appreciate what the song says along with the beautiful scenes of our God's creation.

What do I know of holy? Not as much as I thought...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Like Sheep Without A Shepherd

"And Jesus going out saw a great multitude: and he had compassion on them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd. And he began to teach them many things."
~ Mark 6:34



Father,
let the gift of your life continue to grow in us,
drawing us from death to faith, hope, and love.
Keep us alive in Christ Jesus.
Keep us watchful in prayer and true to his teaching
till your glory is revealed in us.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
(Alternative Opening Prayer of Mass:Sixteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time)

*Note to new readers: Read link on my sidebar:Closing Sundays, for background on my Sunday posts.

Have A Blessed Sunday!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival~July 19th

This week for our Catholic Carnival I offer two posts; one is my review for Catholic Company on the Book of Life, a narrative retelling of the New Testament.
Then in Taking Care of Eden I tell of how I managed to find a peaceful, God~filled moment after the trials and tribulations of a difficult evening of caring for a friend's garden.
I am posting this on Saturday as I don't blog on Sundays. New readers can read about that in the Closing Sundays post on my sidebar. If you are reading this on Sunday, you can go to the main page of my blog to see and hear the post that is scheduled to publish early Sunday morning.
Have a restful and blessed Sunday!
Thanks as always to our hostess, RAnn at This That and the Other Thing for running Sunday Snippets: A Catholic Carnival.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Taking Care of Eden

Every year around this time I have the pleasure of taking care of a friend's garden while he and his wife are on vacation for two weeks. While it is not a huge garden, this is no small task for after his family, this garden is his most cherished possession! So every summer as I begin this task I pray, "Please dear Lord don't let me kill anything!" And for the most part that prayer is answered.
Now, I do enjoy gardening, but the watering of this small Eden usually comes at the end of an eleven hour work day; wrestling with garden hoses, thorny bushes that need to be maneuvered around to get to those hoses(I still have the scar from the puncture wound one of these killer bushes inflicted on me last summer) and such are the last things I want to be doing.
Yesterday was one of those days I prayed for rain so that I could skip a day; God had other plans.
He also must have been a bit bored because He decided to have some fun at my expense! The nozzle for the garden hose was being extremely uncooperative. No matter how hard I tried, it refused to to work properly. After 10 minutes of wrestling with this thing, my work clothes becoming increasingly wet(yes, I forgot to bring a change of clothes), and working up a very uncomfortable sweat, I finally managed to get this ornery piece of equipment to work. Any of the neighbors within earshot would have heard me whining to our Lord about how I don't really have the time nor patience for this right now; I was tired, hungry and getting crankier by the minute!
When all was said and finally done, I was about to just storm out of there and head home. I then realized that one of the perks of taking on this not so little job is that I can also enjoy its beauty. I had my Magnificat with me and hadn't done Evening Prayer yet. I sat myself down, put myself in God's presence and proceeded with my prayer. It may have only been about 15 or 20 minutes, but God repaid me for all my trouble with those peaceful, restful moments.
Taking care of our Creator's Creation has it's ups and downs, but He also gives us great pleasure and enjoyment in it if we take the time to see it.
If you have managed to read this far, you realize that there really is no point to these musings except for that one thing; taking the time and sometimes the effort to stop and enjoy the roses and anything else that may be planted.
Taking care of this garden entails some hard work, but it also has its rewards. Unfortunately the delicious Jersey tomatoes my friend grows aren't one of them yet~too early in the season for them. Hopefully I can talk him out of a few when they are ready.
The moral of this story? Take time to smell the roses, the impatiens, the hydrangea or whatever may be growing in your or a friends little Eden.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel


Today is the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. According to Carmelite tradition, on this day in 1251, the brown scapular was given to Simon Stock by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
You can read more about this feast here. Through the intercession of Our Lady and St. Simon Stock, may all Carmelites receive special graces and blessings today.

Prayer to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Prayer of St. Simon Stock
O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine, Splendor of Heaven, holy and singular, who brought forth the Son of God, still ever remaining a Pure Virgin, assist me in this necessity. O Star of the sea, help and protect me!
Show me that Thou art my Mother.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to Thee!

Mother and Ornament of Carmel, Pray for us!
Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us!
Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!
O sweet Heart of Mary, Be our salvation!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha

Painting by Father Chauchetière between 1682-1693

Today is the feast day of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Lily of the Mohawks. She is the first Native American to be named Blessed; Popoe John Paul II beatified her in June of 1980. As a young girl, she suffered the hostility of her tribe because of her faith. She had great devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist and to Christ crucified. You can read more about this saintly young woman here.
She died at the young age of 24.

The Communion of Saints is one of the treasures of our Catholic faith; may Bl. Kateri be a model for all young people to live chastley no matter what those around them may say.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

He Began To Send Them Out~Mark 6:7~13

Sketch by: Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld

O Jesus, our Head, grant unto all members of your Mystical Body an understanding of the apostolicity of the Church, so that they may firmly resolve to participate in her apostolic mission. Make them understand that it is you who create the apostolicity of your Church...Your chosen ones tremble at the realization of their own personal powerlessness, but they courageously place all the supernatural confidence of their souls in this, your tremendous promise. Grant, O Lord, that your faithful may know the full meaning of all this.
~Archbishop Emile Maurice Guerry

Have A Blessed Sunday!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

A New Creation: My Reversion Story

I have been writing this story a dozen different ways from a dozen different starting points. After writing out my entire story long hand and letting it sit awhile, this is where I've decided to begin. This is after all a conversion story, or in my case a reversion story.

Some Background

You see, I was born into a Catholic family, but not much was done to keep me clinging to my Catholic faith. I would stray from the narrow path slowly but surely. By the time I entered college, God was a distant thought; I still believed in His existence, but prayer and Mass attendance just didn't seem to fit into my life at this point. The ways of the world seemed so much more exciting, a whole lot more fun, and they seemed to make a lot more sense.
During my Senior year in high school, I met the young man I would end up marrying 10 years later in 1991. It was during this ten year period in 1988 at the age of 24, that I would sever my ties with God completely for quite some time. May 10, 1988, the day before Mother's Day, I made the horrible decision to end my child's life through abortion. This fateful day, my baby died and in some ways so did I.
My life would continue in what I now refer to as a foggy, numbed state; I continued working as a teacher in our local public schools, and my boyfriend and I planned our wedding and married in October 1991. I remember during our engagement period going through the required Pre~Cana sessions and at times feeling that something wasn't right; maybe this marriage was a mistake, but I shrugged that off as pre~wedding jitters. Things seemed to move along somewhat smoothly. In the area of religion, I fell into everything New Age; everything from crystals to Shirley MacLaine! The New Age philosophy got me off the hook for everything. It was all about me and nothing really about God, at least not as He really is.
In hindsight I also realize that I was searching for something, or rather Someone; I just didn't know who or what it was at the time. My vision was very clouded, or as I have heard said before, "Sin makes you stupid!" That's definitely true in my case.
As far as children were concerned, well in our worldly thinking, it never seemed like the right time. Life continued along what seemed like the road to nowhere special until I got a letter...

The Roadmap Disguised As A Letter
One day in March 2002, I received a letter from a friend. I had not heard from this young man in quite some time. He had been suffering from drug addiction for a good part of his young life. As the envelope was stamped with the name of a Pennsylvania County Jail, I knew his addiction had gotten him into some trouble.
When I opened the letter, the first line read, "Karin do yourself a favor and get a copy of a Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church." My immediate reaction to that one line was to put the letter down. All I could think was, Oh no you don't! I'm not going back to all that antiquated stuff; I have finally managed to "deprogram" myself from all of that. Well my curiousity got the better of me and I continued to read the rest of his letter. My friend's proposal was that we read from these two books about an hour each day and discuss what we read in our letters. Well, I figured for the sake of our friendship, what the heck; if nothing else it will make for interesting letter writing.
And so it began, I began to read Scripture and the Catechism and my friend began to re-catechize me. It would go on like this for about a month and a half.
Then in one of my letters I told my friend that he asked good questions; he wrote back, "You don't give very good answers!" From there he proceeded to tell me that it was time for me to make a decision~either I was going to accept Christ into my life as my Lord and Savior or go back to the way I had been living.
It would be two very long weeks before I would make that decision. I was at a crossroads and I didn't know what to do next.
So I continued to read Scripture as well as the Catechism and then it happened...

The Roadblock
Over the course of this two week period, I couldn't seem to get off this fence and I didn't know why until it hit me square between the eyes; the abortion I had back in 1988 suddenly came to the forefront of my mind. Until this point, I had buried it some place very deep within me.
I remember sitting on my bed reading the chapter in the Catechism on the Fifth Commandment;
"Thou shalt not kill." Well thou did! The reality of what I had done came rushing to the surface in a flood of tears; I cried for an hour!
But what could I do now. All I could think was "God could never, would never forgive me for this!" I finally wrote back to my friend and told him that yes, I did want to take Christ back into my life, I did want to come back to his Church, but you see I did this awful thing and while I want Jesus, how or why would He want me?
My friend responded and his letters spoke of God's awesome mercy; how His love and mercy were bigger than any sin I could ever commit.

The Journey Begins
OK, so if what my friend was saying about God's love and mercy were true, then there had to be a way back to Him. I figured there is a website for everything, there had to be one for this. So I typed something about returning to the Catholic Church in my browser and got a site called OnceCatholic.com. I clicked on it and immediately saw a link for abortion. So I figured, OK let's get the lecture overwith, but I didn't get a lecture...

The Opened Window and the Burst of Fresh Air
What I found was exactly what my friend's letters had been talking about~the love and mercy of God! I found a link for Rachel's Vineyard. I clicked on this and read every single testimonial on there. This ministry brought healing to men and women who had had abortions and get this, the healing was to be found in the last place I thought to look~the Catholic Church!
In reading through everything on this site, I also began to see how Christ and His Church are one. This was something I never really understood~even with 12 years of Catholic school.
I began to see that making this retreat was the safe haven I needed to receive the healing I needed.
You have to understand, I knew that sacramental confession was in order if I wanted to return to the Church fully, but for me, walking into the nearest confessional and saying, "Bless me Father, it's been 20 years since I've been here, I killed my own child..." was not something I could bring myself to do. Fear absolutely paralyzed me in that area.
This all happened in May 2002. It would be August before I would muster up the courage to call and inquire about making the weekend. During those 3 months I continued to pray and to explain to God in every way I knew how that I was sorry for what I had done and the way I had been living.
I also told my husband that I had made the decision to return to the Church. All he said to me was that he didn't realize the abortion bothered me so much. I didn't either until this point. I told him that I was thinking about making this retreat to help me with these issues. He told me to do whatever I felt I needed to do, but showed no interest in joining me on this road. The abortion didn't seem to bother him, and as far as Church, he wanted no part of it.

The Call To The Vineyard
In early August, I found the contact information for the Rachel's Vineyard in my area. I made the call, the woman on the phone explained the retreat in great detail, and when she was done talking, I told her to sign me up for the next retreat. She expalined that the September weekend was full, but she could put me on for November. I told her that would be fine. However she did not want to leave me hanging for 3 months; she gave me the name of Dr. Theresa Burke's book, Forbidden Grief, and also said she could give me the names and numbers of several priests to talk to in the mean time. I told her that I would read the book, but I wasn't quite ready for priests yet. She said that was OK and that I could call her anytime between now and the retreat if I had any questions or concerns.
I ordered the book and I read it cover to cover. I learned a lot about what the abortion did to me physically, emotionally and spiritually. And I knew that only God Himself could get me through this.

The Waiting

During those 3 months, I continued to pray. Prayer was all I seemed to have. My friend sent me a copy of the Salvation Prayer; I knew it wasn't a substitute for confession, but I said this prayer on almost a daily basis during those days. I went back to saying the Rosary. I also noticed I had an immediate devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus; I still do. I found every prayer I could get my hands on relating to this devotion and prayed them constantly. God was at work in big and small ways during this time. There were days I wanted Jesus so badly I could taste it! But my pride, fear and shame kept me frozen. Logically I knew all I had to do was go to confession, but I just couldn't. I needed to wait for the retreat.

Meeting Jesus Face To Face
November finally arrived and the weekend for the retreat was upon me. To say I was scared to death would be an understatement. On the short drive from my house to the retreat site, all I could think was "What am I doing; what am I getting myself into?" In that instant the song "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders came on the radio. As I listened to the words of this song, I knew that while the artist did not most likely have Jesus in mind when writing the song, I heard Jesus tell me in the words of this song that everything would be OK and that I was doing the right thing.
The first thing you are asked on Friday night is, "What do you want Jesus to do for you?" I knew the answer to that immediately; I wanted Him to break through the state of complete numbness I had been in for 14 years! He heard that prayer and answered it on Saturday night.
Saturday evening of the retreat I would come face to face with Christ and meet Him as I never had before. In a meditation that leads the retreatants into a field, Jesus is there with our children. During this beautiful meditation, I didn't so much actually see Christ, but felt His amazing presence, and He was there with my baby girl waiting to reunite me with her for a time.
Jesus was now real to me and so was my child!
Later that same evening, I would make my first confession in 20 years. God and His priest were very patient with me. Over the course of those 20 years, I probably broke almost every one of the 10 Commandments, but I knew the most immediate ones to be confessed were not only the abortion, but the contraception and pre~marital sex that led to it. Beyond that I couldn't come up with much more. The Holy Spirit would work with me on that in the weeks and months following this retreat.

Home At Last
On Sunday of the retreat I would finally get to do what I had been waiting months to do~receive Jesus worthily in Holy Communion. To backtrack just for a minute and to give you an idea of the guilt and shame I had experienced, on Saturday morning there was Mass. I remember taking one of the team members aside and telling her that there was no way I could go in that chapel. She told me to sit with her and not to worry; during Communion I could either go up for a blessing or remain in my seat. I cried all through the Mass.
After that Mass on Sunday though, I knew I was home at last and that I never wanted to leave again.

The Blinders Come Off
After making Rachel's Vineyard, I began to live my faith in earnest. Not only was I attending Mass on Sunday, but I was going on a daily basis. This was not just something I simply felt like doing; I was being compelled to do this~I simply could not stay away.
In 2003 on Divine Mercy Sunday, I began making a Holy Hour every Sunday at midnight in my parish's Perpetual Adoration chapel. That was an hour they were in most in need of an adorer, so I took it. As Divine Providence would have it that Sunday midnight hour was the same hour I had on my retreat. I guess Jesus just likes having me around at midnight on a Sunday.
The more I began to live my faith, the farther apart my husband and I seemed to become. I would invite him to come to Mass with me on Sunday, but he never came. Our lives were going in two different directions. His was going from bad to worse.
In 2005, I found evidence of his infidelity along with a worsening pornography addiction. When I confronted him, he showed no sign of remorse. He said he was sorry things ended up this way, but made no offer of changing his habits. We separated that summer and a year later he filed for divorce.
My faith helped me to see things as they truly were; the blinders came off. God put good people, both lay and clergy, in my path to help me through this difficult time.

The Here and Now
Living my faith and following Christ is not always easy; He never said it would be. But He did say that He makes all things new and that with Him all things are possible. These words have become a reality in my life.
It is truly in Christ that I move and have my being. As the Song of Songs states, "I have found him whom my heart loves, and I will not let him go."
I continue to work in Rachel's Vineyard as a team member on retreats as well as a speaker for our speaker's bureau. I have been invited to give my witness to high school students, seminarians, as well as those sitting in the pews at Sunday Mass.
John Paul II said in his encyclical, The Gospel of Life, that post abortive men and women who have received God's healing would become the greatest defenders of human life. (that is a paraphrase of Paragraph 99 of that encyclical) He was right. I see my service in this ministry as a way of "paying it forward" and also giving my daughter back some of the dignity that I took from her when I ended her life.
As for my ex-husband, I pray that he finds and accepts the healing he needs desperately; I would ask your prayers for him as well.

A Few Odds and Ends
These are a few questions I am often asked:

1. What happened to your friend who wrote you that letter?
As of right now that relationship has ended. While God used him to bring me back to Him, the relationship was a co-dependent one and therefore not healthy. I wish him well and will be forever grateful to him for all he did for me. Please pray for him.

2. Does my family know about my abortion?
My sister knows, but my parents do not. This is one reason I blog under Karinann. As much as I would like to tell them, it just doesn't seem to be the right time. I continue to pray that if God wants me to tell them, He will open the door for me to do that.

3. What is the status of my marriage?
I am in the process of petitioning for annulment. God has blessed me with an excellent priest to work with through this difficult and long process.

The Great Romance
No, it's not what you may be thinking. Remember, the annulment hasn't been granted yet. No~the great love of my life is God Himself! Saint Augustine once wrote that , "To fall in love with God is the greatest of all romances; to seek Him, the greatest adventure; to find Him, the greatest human achievement." It is only because of His love, grace and mercy that I have been able to endure all that has happened. This journey of faith and healing has been one of the wildest and most beautiful adventures I have ever been on, and I continue to seek Him in everything.

A Word of Thanks
I thank God daily for all He has done and continues to do in my life; it is nothing short of miraculous. His constant love, mercy and grace never cease to amaze me.
I also thank you, my kind and patient readers for taking the time and effort to read this story which is not always easy to read. There is so much more I could add to this, but I think this will give those who read this a good idea of who I am and where I came from.
My sole purpose in writing this is that perhaps somewhere along the way it can help someone in some way.
I would ask for your prayers for my continued healing for while I have come far, I have farther yet to go.
Jesus has prepared a place for me and I long for the day when I can truly see Him face to face.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Book of Life

The Book of Life by Henri Daniel~Rops is a narrative retelling of the New Testament. This book is a translation (Donal O'Kelly) from the original French with simple sketch illustrations by Fritz Kredel. Sophia Institute Press is the publisher; this book is one of their ARKive Editions. ARKive Editions are exact photographic reproductions of books published decades or even centuries ago. The final page of the book has a detailed explanation of ARKive Editions.
As I stated at the beginning, this book is a narrative retelling of the events found in the four Gospels of the New Testament. The book does have a Nihil Obstat as well as an Imprimatur which assures the reader that all the information contained in the book is Scripturally sound.
I found this book to be a quaint read. The narrative format made me feel like I was sitting down to story time with a good storyteller. While it should by no means be used in place of actual Scripture, I would have no problem reading this book to children along with actual Scripture. There are questions and comments posed to the reader throughout the book; this gives the feeling of an on-going discussion as the story is told.
If you have young children, I would recommend this book as an entertaining and informative supplement to catechesis. Reading it as an adult, I recommend remembering the words of our Lord in coming to Him with child~like faith; read this book with the heart of a child.

This review was written as part of the Catholic book Reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Book of Life.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Coming Soon~My Unabridged Story

Since beginning this blog back in November, I have revealed little bits and pieces of myself. Several of my readers have asked if I have my entire return to the Church story anywhere. For the most part it has remained in my head. Even before anyone asked this I had thought about posting it; I know I always enjoy reading the conversion/reversion stories of others.
On one level doing this should not require much thought; either I do it or I don't, and as for the story, it speaks for itself. On another level, for me this is going a bit outside my usual comfort zone. So after some prayer and some soul searching as to "what's my motivation", I have decided to go ahead and post it all. My motivation is simple: I just think that those of you who read this blog should know who is on the other side of the keyboard. Also, if somewhere along the way any of my experience helps someone, all the better.
I finally have the whole thing written out. I will be away for the next 3 days for a conference and unable to post, so I will have it up by next weekend.
Have a blessed week~be back on Thursday or Friday!

A Book Review~Fr. Elijah

This is just one of my own book reviews, not the ones I do for Catholic Company. I just finished Michael D. O'Brien's Father Elijah. Not in a very long time have I come away from a book feeling like it was one of the best things I have ever read. If you haven't read this book, I strongly recommend putting it on your "to read" list. It is not a quick read; it comes in at just under 600 pages. It is an apocalyptic novel and very prophetic as well. The book is classifed as fiction, but it will have you wondering about that. The book was written in the late 1990's, but describes much of what seems to be going on in the world and in the Catholic Church today.
One of the things I liked best about the book is that the characters become very real; it didn't take me long to feel like I had known Fr. Elijah and company.
You can go here to the Ignatius Press website to read a full summary of the book.
Next on my list of Michael O'Brien books~ Strangers and Sojourners.
Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

A Thought To Ponder

As we bring this July 4th weekend to a close, I thought I would leave you with this quote from Samuel Adams. I actually found this in my Magnificat at the end of Evening Prayer.
Have a Happy, restful and Blessed Sunday.

"A general dissolution of the principles and manners will more surely overthrow the liberties of America than the whole force of the common enemy...While the people are virtuous they cannot be subdued; but once they lose their virtue, they will be ready to surrender their liberties to the first external or internal invader... If virtue and knowledge are diffused among the people, they will never be enslaved. This will be their great security."
~Samuel Adams, Patriot of the American Revolution

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sunday Snippets ~ A Catholic Carnival #12

This week is a bit a video version of Catholic Carnival. I hope everyone is having a happy and restful 4th.
First is This Is As Close To The Moon as I Will Ever Get. Not really a Catholic post, but this was just plain fun. I found it over at Astronomy Picture of the Day. Their link is in that post.
Next, Fr. Robert Barron shares his commentary on the new movie The Stoning of Soraya M. as well as his thoughts on Independence Day.
Speaking of Independence Day, I direct you to my Happy Birthday America post where I have written a prayer for our nation and also included a video of Lee Greenwood's Proud To Be An American.
Finally, as July is the month dedicated to The Precious Blood of Christ, look at the top of my sidebar for prayers for this devotion.
Have a Happy and Blessed Sunday!

Thanks to RAnn for hosting Sunday Snippets. Click the link to get to her site for details on how to join in and to read posts by other Catholic bloggers.

Happy Birthday, America!


Prayer For Our Nation
Heavenly Father,
We humbly offer You this prayer on the birthday of our country.
You have blessed us with wealth, power and freedoms others do not have.
As a nation we have abused our freedoms and turned our gaze from You, our Father and Provider of every good gift, to ourselves.
We have traded true freedom for license.
In doing so, the very moral, ethical and economic fabric of this country is beginning to unravel.
Father, with You and through You all things are possible.
Hear the prayers of Your faithful. Do not give us what we deserve, but in Your great mercy reverse the destruction we have begun.
Soften the hearts of our leaders~that they may work toward defending life rather than destroy it. Help them, and all of us to see that without Your gift of life, no other freedom will matter.
Have mercy on our country. Accept the prayers and sacrifices of Your faithful as reparation for the ways we, as a nation, have offended You.
Grant us the grace to work together to defend and preserve all that our Founding Fathers fought to gain for us.
May we once again become one nation under You, our Great God, and may we show you our gratitude for Your every grace and blessing.
All of this we ask in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Amen.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Fr. Robert Barron's Latest: Soraya M. And Freedom

Fr. Barron is back with commentary of the newly, but limited release of the movie, The Stoning of Soraya M.
I haven't seen the movie yet and while the subject matter is deeply disturbing, I would still like to see it. Comments welcome if anyone has seen it.
I've also added Father's commentary on Freedom for this July 4th. The two videos provide a stark contrast; the first should make us thank God for what is talked about in the second. Fr. Barron also raises some good points in his remarks on freedom about what true freedom~Biblical freedom~really means.
Go to Word on Fire for more of Fr. Barron's videos. Find the link under Catholic Links on my sidebar.
Have a Happy and Blessed 4th!



Wednesday, July 1, 2009

July 1st~The Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ

On the traditional Liturgical calendar, today is the feast of the Most Precious Blood of Christ. Blessed Pope John XXIII wrote an encyclical on promoting this devotion. It is definitely worth the time it takes to read. You can also find other prayers for this devotion by clicking the picture for the month dedicated to the Precious Blood on my sidebar.
For now, I offer you the Litany of the Most Precious Blood.

Litany of the Most Precious Blood of Jesus

V/ Lord, have mercy.
R/ Lord, have mercy.

V/ Christ, have mercy.
R/ Christ, have mercy.

V/ Lord, have mercy.
R/ Lord, have mercy.

V/ Jesus, hear us.
R/ Jesus, graciously hear us.

V/ God, the Father of Heaven,
R/ have mercy on us.

V/ God, the Son, Redeemer of the world,
R/ have mercy on us.

V/ God, the Holy Spirit,
R/ have mercy on us.

V/ Holy Trinity, One God,
R/ have mercy on us.

R/ for ff: save us.

Blood of Christ, only-begotten Son of the Eternal Father,
Blood of Christ, Incarnate Word of God,
Blood of Christ, of the New and Eternal Testament,
Blood of Christ, falling upon the earth in the Agony,
Blood of Christ, shed profusely in the Scourging,
Blood of Christ, flowing forth in the Crowning with Thorns,
Blood of Christ, poured out on the Cross,
Blood of Christ, price of our salvation,
Blood of Christ, without which there is no forgiveness.
Blood of Christ, Eucharistic drink and refreshment of souls,
Blood of Christ, stream of mercy,
Blood of Christ, victor over demons,
Blood of Christ, courage of Martyrs,
Blood of Christ, strength of Confessors,
Blood of Christ, bringing forth Virgins,
Blood of Christ, help of those in peril,
Blood of Christ, relief of the burdened,
Blood of Christ, solace in sorrow,
Blood of Christ, hope of the penitent,
Blood of Christ, consolation of the dying,
Blood of Christ, peace and tenderness of hearts,
Blood of Christ, pledge of eternal life,
Blood of Christ, freeing souls from purgatory,
Blood of Christ, most worthy of all glory and honor,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world.
R/ spare us, O Lord

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
R/ graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
R/ have mercy on us.

You have redeemed us, O Lord, in your Blood.
R/ And made us, for our God, a kingdom.

Let us pray. Almighty and eternal God, you have appointed your only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world, and willed to be appeased by his Blood. Grant we beg of you, that we may worthily adore this price of our salvation, and through its power be safeguarded from the evils of the present life, so that we may rejoice in its fruits forever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. R/ Amen.


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Closing Prayer

Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King

My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.

Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.

Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.