In Search of Hope and Transformation

butterflyI’ve been an annoying re-blogger the past few days.  I spent three intense days on a marketing proposal I had to present Tuesday, and in good old obsessive fashion I thought of nothing else until it was complete and behind me.  Then yesterday I was in recovery mode from this and spent my time reading other people’s work and re-blogging good stuff.

Now that I’ve recovered from my marketing obsession, I have so many ideas that I want to write about. The problem is determining which one to dive into first. And then I saw a simple post over at Tired of Thinking About Drinking that inspired me to write my own similar post listing the “search terms” people use to find my blog.  This at least has gotten me going and I expect I’ll have two or three posts to follow before the day is over. I hope y’all (yes, I’m from Georgia) don’t get tired of me today!

Search terms used to find my blog:

  • mother son intimacy
  • aa logo
  • catholic and alcoholism
  • catholic alcoholic
  • adopt a cardinal
  • sobriety blogs
  • different kinds of saints
  • is aa ok for catholic
  • lectio divina
  • blog catholic alcoholism
  • 4th step prayer
  • catholic coping mechanisms
  • catholic alcohol addiction
  • prayer book for catholic addicts
  • mother teresa
  • catholic healing for alcoholic parent
  • catholic alcoholics anonymous women
  • catholics and alcohol
  • catholic and being alcoholic
  • gods will regarding alcoholism catholic
  • bruce willis alcoholic
  • mindy mccready suicide
  • 12 steps for catholic priests book
  • hope
  • mary magdalen and the egg
  • pilgrimage florida
  • catholics love alcohol
  • catholic beer
  • calix
  • heather king magnificat
  • “celebrate recovery” catholic
  • king paw jaguar
  • catholic alcohol recovery
  • catholic help with alcoholism
  • pope benedict commentary
  • catechism views on alcoholics anonymous
  • cloud of witnesses

Pretty interesting–at least to me!  So there are people out there searching for the kind of experiences I write about. Dear God, please direct my thinking and my writing so that if ever someone comes across my blog they are left with Your hope. As your dear servant Pope Emeritus Benedict said,

“To be effective the proclamation of faith must begin with a heart that believes, hopes, loves; and a heart that loves Christ also believes in the transformative power of the Holy Spirit!”

So if it be Your will, God, let me be an example of this transformative power of the Holy Spirit.

7 Quick Takes: My 7 Favorite Saints

7quicktakesHere we go again with our 7 Quick Takes Friday hosted by Jennifer Fulwiler over at Conversion Diary. We reciprocate links to her blog and then post 7 “quick-takes” on our blogs.

These are my 7 most favorite saints–who are yours?  

Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Catherine of Siena

#1 Catherine of Siena, Feast Day April 29
St Catherine of Siena was born at Siena on March 25, 1347 and died at Rome on April 29, 1380.; She was the youngest but one of a very large family. The works of St. Catherine of Siena rank among the classics of the Italian language, written in the beautiful Tuscan vernacular of the fourteenth century. She was a writer, writing over 400 letters to advocate for the Church—She was involved in politics insomuch as she wrote strongly worded letters to those in charge of the secular and the Church of the time.

“Such a soul has been stripped of her old self and has been clothed in a new self, in Christ gentle Jesus.  Then, she is open to receive and hold that grace by which she experiences God in this life.” Saint Catherine of Siena

Saint Mary Magdalene

Saint Mary Magdalene

#2 Saint Mary Magdalene, Feast Day July 22
St Mary Magdalene is the patron saint of the contemplative life, converts, glove makers, hairstylists, penitent sinners, people ridiculed for their piety, perfumeries and perfumers, pharmacists, and women.  She was, according to Luke 8:2 healed of seven demons by Jesus. She was also among the women who accompanied and supported Jesus and the twelve apostles and was present at the Crucifixion and burial (Matt. 27:56; Mark 15:40, John 19:25). From the sixth century until 1969, she has been portrayed as a prostitute; but nowhere in the New Testament is she described in any but the most positive terms. Her reputation as a prostitute originated from a misstatement in a sixth-century sermon by Pope Gregory the Great. In 1969 ,Paul VI rejected this label by separating Luke’s sinful woman, Mary of Bethany from Mary Magdalene.

According to Luke 8:2 and Mark 16:9, Jesus cleansed her of “seven demons”. Some contemporary scholars contend this concept means healing from illness.

The Easter Egg tradition concerning Mary Magdalene says that, following the death and resurrection of Jesus, she used her position to gain an invitation to a banquet given by the Roman Emperor Tiberius. When she met him, she held a plain egg in her hand and exclaimed, “Christ is risen!” The Emperor laughed, and said that Christ rising from the dead was as likely as the egg in her hand turning red while she held it. Before he finished speaking, the egg in her hand turned a bright red, and she continued proclaiming the Gospel to the entire imperial house.

#3 Saint Philip Neri, Feast Day May 26
This is one of my newly discovered favorites!  I want to write a book about him!  St Philip Neri is a wonderful saint who showed the humorous side of holiness. I  always LOL reading about this saint. Born in 1515 in Florence, he showed the impulsiveness and spontaneity of his character from the time he was a boy.  Ordained in 1551. he loved to hear confessions. Young men especially found in him the wisdom and direction they needed to grow spiritually. But Philip began to realize that these young men needed something more than absolution; they needed guidance during their daily lives.

Saint Philip Neri

Saint Philip Neri

Philip understood that it wasn’t enough to tell young people not to do something — you had to give them something to do in its place. Philip was known to be spontaneous and unpredictable, charming and humorous.

He seemed to sense the different ways to bring people to God. Humility was the most important virtue he tried to teach others and to learn himself. Some of his lessons in humility seem cruel, but they were tinged with humor like practical jokes and were related with gratitude by the people they helped. His lessons always seem to be tailored directly to what the person needed.

The greater his reputation for holiness the sillier he wanted to seem. When some people came from Poland to see the great saint, they found him listening to another priest read to him from joke books.

We often worry more about what others think that about what God thinks. Our fear of people laughing us often stops us from trying new things or serving God. Prayer through Saint Philip Neri,:

We take ourselves far too seriously most of the time. St Philip Neri please help us to add humor to our perspective — remembering always that humor is a gift from God. Amen

Saint Bernadette--I love this picture. She's so beautiful.

Saint Bernadette–I love this picture. She’s so beautiful.

#4 Saint Bernadette, Feast Day April 16
On December 8 1933, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, Pope Pius XI declared Bernadette Soubirous a saint. The choice on this date to canonise Bernadette was not coincidental since this feast represents the name that Our Lady gave herself at Lourdes when she said: “I am the Immaculate Conception.”; Our Lady appeared to Bernadette 18 times at the grotto and gave her a number of messages. She told her that she wished people to come there in procession and to do penance both for themselves and for others. She did not become a saint because she saw Our Lady and talked with her. Bernadette became a saint through her willing acceptance of sickness and suffering.

St Bernadette is th patron Saint of Children of Alcoholics. Her father had alcoholic tendencies of which she and her mother suffered much from the effects of his drinking.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Saint Teresa of Avila

#5 Saint Teresa of Avila, Feast Day October 15th
In 1970 Pope Paul VI declared St Teresa of Avila a Doctor of the Church. During his general audience held  in 2001 in the Paul VI Hall, Pope Benedict spoke admiringly of her. The Holy Father said, “Teresa of Avila had no academic education, however she always gave great weight to the teaching of theologians, men of letters and spiritual masters. St. Teresa’s most famous mystical work is the ‘Interior Castle’, in which she codifies the possible development of Christian life towards perfection.”

Referring then to the spirituality of Teresa, the Holy Father made particular mention of her interest in “the evangelical virtues as the foundation of all Christian and human life”. He also noted how she laid great emphasis on “profound harmony with the great biblical figures” and on “listening to the Word of God. Pope Benedicts also said she always highlighted the importance of prayer when he said, “She teaches readers of her works to pray, and she herself prays with them.” He said, “St. Teresa’s love for the Church was unconditional.”  So is mine J.

Saint Therese of Lisieux

Saint Therese of Lisieux

 #6 Saint Therese de Lisieux, Feast Day October 1
Therese Martin was the last of nine children born to Louis and Zelie Martin on January 2, 1873, in Alencon, France. Precocious and sensitive, Therese needed much attention. She had a spirit that wanted everything. The world came to know Therese through her autobiography, “Story of a Soul”. She described her life as a “little way of spiritual childhood.” She lived each day with an unshakable confidence in God’s love. “What matters in life,” she wrote, “is not great deeds, but great love. Therese’s spirituality is of doing the ordinary, with extraordinary love.

Pope Benedict XVI has recently urged everyone to rediscover St. Therese and her autobiography “Story of a Soul”. In his weekly general audience on April 6, 2011, the Pope dedicated his catechesis to St. Therese of Lisieux, and speaks of her autobiography as “a wonderful authentic treasure” and invited everyone to read it. For more on his thoughts about St. Therese visit this article at Catholic News Agency.

“Life is passing, Eternity draws nigh: soon shall we live the very life of God. After having drunk deep at the fount of bitterness, our thirst will be quenched at the very source of all sweetness.” Saint Therese of Lisieux

Mom and Dad on their Wedding Day, May 26, 1956 (feast day of St Philip Neri :) )

Mom and Dad on their Wedding Day, May 26, 1956 (feast day of St Philip Neri 🙂 )

My Mom, Feast Day April 24 (her birthday)
I know. I know.  My Mom has not yet been canonized by the Catholic Church, yet, but one day she will be. Having grown up in Brooklyn, one of five children, she attended Fontbonnne Hall Academy and St Johns University before my father swept her off to Oklahoma. Mother of 11 children, wife to Bill for 57 years and counting…this woman is a role model for all women living today.  In her life, she’s gracefully lived as a working mother, stay-at-home mother, a mother of young children, a mother of grown children, and a mother like saint Monica praying for her children who have strayed. Daily Mass-goer. A loving grandmother. A caretaker to her spouse as he ages.  A prayer for many, many people who have  no idea she is praying for them.  Never–and I am serious—have I heard her complain, unless of course you count, “Hurry or you’re going to miss the light!” a complaint.  This is another book I shall write one day.  I love you, Mom!

That’s it!

Who are you 7 favorite saints?

Mother Theresa’s Meditation: “I Thirst”

My Mom gave me this. It’s a meditation Mother Theresa wrote as if Jesus was speaking directly to her.  I am putting it here on my blog because I love it and will refer back to it often.  I wanted to share this with others who might like it as much as I do.  I love prayers and meditations that are written as if Jesus is talking directly to me.  That’s how my favorite My Daily Bread book is written.  So is the Cloud of the Unknowing, which I love.  Also, the Imitation of Christ.  LOVE.

***

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me.” (Rev 3:20)

mother teresaIt is true. I stand at the door of your heart, day and night. Even when you are not listening, even when you doubt it could be Me, I am there. I await even the smallest sign of your response, even the least whispered invitation that will allow Me to enter.

And I want you to know that whenever you invite Me, I do come always, without fail. Silent and unseen I come, but with infinite power and love, and bringing the many gifts of My Spirit. I come with My mercy, with My desire to forgive and heal you, and with a love for you beyond your comprehension–a love every bit as great as the love I have received from the Father (“As much as the Father has loved Me, I have loved you…” John 15:10).

I come-longing to console you and give you strength, to left you up and bind all your wounds. I bring you My light, to dispel your darkness and all your doubts. I come with My power, that I might carry you and all your burdens; with My grace, to touch your heart and transform your life; and My peace I give to still your soul.

I know you through and through. I know everything about you. The very hairs of your head I have numbered. Nothing in your life is unimportant to Me. I have followed you through the years, and I have always loved you==even in your wanderings. I know every one of your problems. I know your needs and your worries. And yes, I know all your sins. But I tell you again that I love you–not for what you have or haven’t done–I love you for you, for the beauty and dignity My Father gave you by creating you in His own image.

It is a dignity you have often forgotten, a beauty you have tarnished by sin. But I love you as you are, and I have shed My blood to win you back. If you only ask Me with faith, My grace will touch all that needs changing in your life, and I will give you the strength to free yourself from sin and its destructive power.

I know what is in your heart–I know your loneliness and all your hurts–the rejections, the judgments, the humiliations, I carried it all before you. And I carried it all for you, so you might share My strength and victory. I know especially your need for love–how you are thirsting to be loved and cherished.

But how often have you thirsted in vain, by seeking that love selfishly, striving to fill the emptiness inside with passing pleasures – with even greater emptiness of sin.

Do you thirst for love?  “Come to Me all you who thirst…” (John 7:37). I will satisfy you and fill you. Do you thirst to be cherished?  I cherish you more than you can imagine — to the point of dying on a cross for you.

I thirst for you. Yes, that is the only way to even begin to describe My love for you. I thirst to love you and to be loved by you–that is how precious you are to Me. Come to Me and I will fill your heart and heal your wounds.

I will make you a new creation, and give you peace, even in all your trials.  You must never doubt My mercy, My acceptance of you, My desire to forgive, My longing to bless you and live my life in you.

If you feel unimportant in the eyes of the world, that matters not at all.  For Me, there is no one any more important in the entire world than you.  Open to Me.  Come to Me.  Thirst for Me.  Give Me your life–and I will prove to you how important you are to My heart.

Don’t you realize that My Father already has a perfect plan to transform your life, beginning from this moment?  Trust in Me.  Ask Me every day to enter and take charge of your life, and I will.  I promise you before My father in heaven that I will work miracles in your life. Why would I do this?  Because I thirst for you.  All I ask of you is that you entrust yourself to Me completely.  I will do all the rest.

Even now I behold the place My Father has prepared for you in My Kingdom. Remember that you are a pilgrim in the life, on a journey home. Sin can never satisfy you, or bring the peace you seek. All that you have sought outside of Me has only left you more empty, so do not cling to the things of this life.

Above all, do not run from Me when you fall.  come to Me wihtout delay.  When you give Me your sins, you give Me the joy of being your Savior. There is nothing I cannot forgive and heal; so come now, and unburden your soul.

No matter how far you may wander, no matter how often you forget Me, no matter how many crosses you may bear in the life; there is on thing that I want you to always remember, one thing that will never change.

I thirst for you–just as you are.

You don’t need to change to believe in My love, for it will be your belief in My love that will change you.  You forget Me and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day–standing at the door of your heart and knocking.

Do you find this hard to believe?  Then look at the cross, look at My Heart that was pierced for you.

Have you not understood My Cross?  Then listen again to the words I spoke there–for they tell you clearly why I endured all of this for you:

“I thirst…” (John 19:28)

Yes, I thirst for you–as the rest of the psalm I was praying says of Me: “I looked for love, and I found none…” (Psalm 69:20). All your life I have been looking for your love–I have never stopped seeking to love you and be loved by you. You have tried many other things in your search for happiness; why not try opening your heart to Me, right now, more than you ever have before.

Whenever you do open the door of your heart, whenever you come close enough, you will hear Me say to you again and again, not in mere human words but in spirit, “No matter what you have done, I love you for your own sake. Come to Me with your misery and your sins, with your troubles and needs and with all your longing to be loved. I stand at the door of your heart and knock.

Open to Me, for I thirst for you.”

Blessed Mother Teresa

Acceptance

I often hear in meetings people sharing about page 417 in the Big Book as the solution to basically everything we have to face in life.  Of course, Christ is the solution to everything we face in life.  And this excerpt from the AA writers ties in with God’s teachings through Jesus.  This is what it says:

page 417, AA Big Book
And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation — some fact of my life unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.

That pretty much sums it up!  I must look at what needs to be changed in me.  And if it isn’t within me then I can change it and can only give it to God and accept the results as God’s will for  my life or others’ lives.