Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Learn More About "Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and Their Graces"

I will be talking about the Marian Shrines
in the U.S. on Radio Maria from
11-12 CST today.
Hope you can join us!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows

"Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment..." Acts 3

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, as well as many if not all of the Shrines we visited while working on "Visiting Mary", offer a place for reconciliation and renewal and refreshment. This Shrine, their Chapels and devotional areas were all built for us to have a place to renew our strength for the journey of life.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Our Lady of Czestochowa - Doylestown, PA

Today's Gospel passage of the Walk to Emmaus reminds me of some of the longer trips my family has made the last two years "Visiting Mary". The passage also reminds me of some of the people we met as we visited who have come from other countries and have dedicated their lives to "making known" to others Our Lady's devotions and in turn, helping to bring others to Christ.

As we arrived at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, PA after quite a long journey (from Nashville, through Virginia, Washington and Pennsylvania and then on to Maryland, Ohio and Kentucky) we met a man who spoke very little English, mostly Polish, but who wholeheartedly did not want us to miss any part of the Shrine, especially the Church. And once inside, hearing his voice over and over, "Lady, lady, the Church!" we found Christ in the lower Church, exposed in Eucharistic Adoration. Our Lady, the long road, always bringing us to the Son.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Scripture...For the First Time

Sometimes I feel like I have heard every bit of Scripture there is to hear and then, Bam! I hear something I've never heard before. Why haven't I been paying attention? Well maybe I have. I believe we hear what we need to hear when we need to hear it. I know. All of Scripture should be heard and paid attention to in it's entirety always. All I'm saying is that sometimes words or messages come into our lives at certain times for a reason. Sunday I heard this message loud and clear as if someone was holding my face in their hands and staring into my eyes.

"This man God raised on the third day and granted that he be visible, not to all the people, but to us,
the witnesses chosen by God in advance, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
He commissioned us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one appointed by God
as judge of the living and the dead." Acts 34: 41,42

Everyone sitting around me heard the same thing. Everyone around me has been eating and drinking with Him since He rose. HE CHOSE US IN ADVANCE. Wow. HE COMMISSIONED US TO PREACH AND TO TESTIFY. This passage really made me sit up and pay attention. Why now? Why am I just now hearing this when I know it has been said to me many, many times before?

Every time I am given a new project, something I really do not have time for, I ask for someone to stop me, to shake me into the reality of a husband, six kids and a business. My life is full. But HE wants more. And it's not just about me. I can read just as well as the rest, He chose US, commissioned US. And we just have to believe that HE will never give us more than we can handle and we are never alone.

Go ahead. Say yes. I hear it all quite clearly. Step out there and testify. With our lives. With our words. With all that He has given us from the beginning. In advance. In advance He chose US. Look around today. They may not all be on our team, but they can be.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Go and Do the Same

"I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do.”

The Shrine of Christ's Passion
A lot to think about today! As we think about Jesus' life and all He did for others in His short time on earth, we can only think, "What a tough act to follow." And yet, He expects us to use His life as a model for our own. He expects us to "be about our Father's business." He expects us to serve one another, to offer others a healing touch, to welcome the little ones, to lead the blind, to preach the good news, to resist temptation, to pray, to love, to break bread together, to wash feet. Jesus Christ has become man and dwells among us and has given us a model to follow. Every day, we are reminded by the Scripture readings just what it is we are to do. Tonight as we gather around the Table of the Lord, as our feet are washed, as we join in the Supper, we are reminded of what we are to pass on, in remembrance, and because we "should".

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Shrine of Christ's Passion - Spirit is Willing but the Flesh is Weak

Lenten confession, I read ahead. This morning, as I was reading the Magnificat, I read the Gospel reading for Evening Prayer. As I began to look through my pictures to the next place on our walk through the Shrine of Christ's Passion, I found myself with the Apostles, asleep in the Garden, as Jesus prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will."
Same as tonight's reading.

This pathway of field and stone and sleeping Apostles was "brought in" to give us the feel, as we walked, of the humanity of this group of men whom Jesus had chosen, their complete exhaustion of working with and for Christ. And yet, we hear Jesus say, "So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

As the pathway ends, we see Him.
Dare we approach as He speaks to His Father?
We see the humanity of Jesus, on His knees,
asking His Father to let this pass, this inevitable
suffering and yet, we see that He is more
than just a man, that He accepts His Father's will. Jesus never tires of doing the will of the One who sent Him into the world. Jesus never
tires of loving us. Jesus never tires of us.

As we walk this Shrine, as we are reminded of all that Jesus has done for us during this Season of Lent, of preparation, we too are asked to stay awake, to be ready, to go the distance.
As we get closer to Holy Week, may our small sacrifices make a difference. May we persevere in a world so weak. We really want to make it to the end with You. We want to resist the temptation to fall asleep, to drop our guard, to talk about others, to lack patience and love, to criticize, to blame others. We want to be so much more.
Jesus, help us to follow the Spirit and not the flesh. Help us to walk this path with You, to witness Your way, to do Your will. To the very end. We are weak. Strengthen us.

If you have just joined me, I am sharing some of the visits to the Shrines in the U.S. from my new book, "Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and their Graces" . Thank you.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Visiting Mary - The Beginning and a Giveaway

When my husband and I were traveling through from Nashville to Chicago for a vendor meeting for our business, we purposefully stopped at the Shrine of Christ's Passion in St. John, Indiana. The owners of the shrine had visited our store and suggested we stop if we were ever in the area. The invitation took a couple of years to accept but once accepted, made a huge impact on us.
We are so fortunate for our Catholic Faith. We have people all over the world who share the same beliefs. We have people right here in the U.S. who have built or who work where others have built beautiful places to glorify our Lord and His Mother and the saints. We have people who cannot wait for us to accept an invitation to visit and to learn and to enjoy the journey that their lives have taken and that our lives may take when we simply take the time.
As Allen and I arrived and were looking around, we came upon one of the men who had been in the store and was the owner of the Shrine. He was dressed in clothes fit to work with the landscape crew and that is exactly what he had been doing. But, he stopped his work to take the time to tell us all about the Shrine (which you can read about in Visiting Mary: Her U.S. Shrines and their Graces) and to spend time with us and to share his faith.
And so it all began. Here at the table. Here with an invitation. To sit with Christ. To join Him in the Feast. The Feast that gives life. The Feast that gathers. He breaks the Bread and He invites us to the table. To share our story. To share His life. And we took our time to respond but we did accept the invitation. And the journey began. And the journey continues. Every day. At the Table.
God is good.

Remember, I am giving away a copy of my new book each week for the month of April. All you have to do is comment on this blog or on facebook or twitter and I will randomly draw a name each week for a free book.