Thoughts, Musings, & Ramblings of a Catholic Housewife

Prayers, Devotions, Quotes, & Catholic Stuff

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen Quotes

I LOVE Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  I think he was given many gifts and was a wise & holy man.  Below are some quotes of his that have been speaking to my heart, especially in regards to various situations arising in my family.

“Do not pray only in an emergency, the pleas of strangers is never as effective as the plea of friends. Do not think of God only in times of distress or danger. Heaven is not a firehouse, and God does not put out all the fires. Do not make all your prayers, prayers of petition. What would a young man think of a young lady who suffered from give-me-itis, who did nothing but ask favors?”
(Wartime Prayer Book)

“It makes no difference what you believe; it’s how you act. It makes no difference whether you have any rules in football; it depends upon how you play. It makes no difference whether you believe triangles have three sides; it depends on how you draw: Can we not see if we believe wrongly, we will act wrongly?”
(Wartime Prayer Book)

“If a man takes a poison and is given an antidote, it makes no difference whether he throws the antidote out of the window or whether he just neglects it. Because the poison is operating in his system, death is certain. Scripture asks us, “How shall we escape if we neglect?” The mole once had eyes to see, but it grovelled down in the bowels of the earth, and Nature, as if seated in judgment, said, “take the talent away!” And the talent that is not used was taken away. This is the first reason we have to begin to act differently, to resist the forces of evil.”

“There are only two philosophies of life. The Christian, which says: First the fast, then the feast; and the pagan, which says: first the feast, then the headache. In either case there is pain. The Christian never ends with it even if he waits until the end of time.”
(Wartime Prayer Book)

“The human heart is not shaped like a valentine heart, perfect and regular in contour it is slightly irregular in shape as if a small piece of it were missing out of its side. The missing part may very well symbolize a piece that a spear tore out of the universal heart of humanity on the Cross, but it probably symbolizes something more. It may very well mean that when God created each human heart, he kept a small sample of it in heaven, and sent the rest of it into the world, where it would each day learn the lesson that it could never be really happy, that it could never be really wholly in love, that it could never be really whole-hearted until it rested with the Risen Christ in an eternal Easter.”
(Manifestations of Christ)

“If a man is ever to enjoy communion with Christ, so as to have the blood of God running in his veins and the spirit of God throbbing in his soul, he must die to the lower life of the flesh. He must be born again. And hence the law of Calvary is the law of every Christian: unless there is a Cross there will never be the resurrection, unless there is the defeat of Calvary there will never be the victory of Easter, unless there are the nails there will never be the glorious wounds, unless there is the garment of scorn, there will never be the robes blazing like the sun, unless there is the crown of thorns there will never be the halo of light for the law laid down at the beginning of time which shall be effective until time shall be no more, is that no one shall be crowned unless he has struggled and overcome.”
(The Moral Universe)

“How can we stop brother rising up against brother and class against class, blurring the very sky with their cross-covered Golgothas? Thy First Word on the Cross gives the answer: We must see in the body of every man who hates, a soul that was made to love. If we are too easily offended by their hate, it is because we have forgotten either the destiny of their souls or our own sins. Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. Forgive us for ever having been offended. Then we, like Thee, may find among our executioners another Longinus, who had forgotten there was love in a heart until he opened it with a lance.”
(Unjust Suffering, Justice and Charity II, 1938)

“It is not wisdom that saves; it is ignorance! There is no redemption for the fallen angels. Those great spirits headed by Lucifer, endowed with an intelligence compared with which ours is but that of a child, saw the consequences of each of their decisions just as clearly as we see that two and two make four. It is because they knew what they were doing that they were excluded from the hearing of that cry that went forth from the Cross. It is not wisdom that saves; it is ignorance! “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
(The Seven Last words)

“Knowledge and wisdom sometimes may accompany one another, though not necessarily so. The gates of wisdom open only to the knock of reverence, to the bended knee, the humble and prostrate heart. Knowledge can walk with sophistication, egotism, boastfulness, pride, self-inflation. As Cowper put it: “Knowledge is proud that has learned so much; Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.” The two, however, can become one by grace, but in order that knowledge may become wisdom, the soul must be rooted in God.”
(Knowledge and Wisdom)

“Hate comes from evil men who cannot stand the reproach of goodness because it makes demands upon them that they are unwilling to accept. The more intense the evil, the greater the fear of goodness. That is why Supreme Goodness is nailed to a cross.”

“A little boy who had been to Sunday School told his father that he learned that God the Father and Son were equal. The father said: “That is ridiculous. I am your father; you are my son. I existed a long time before you.” “No,” said the boy, “you did not begin to be a father until I began to be a son.”
He Who was eternally generated by the Father is generated in time, in the womb of a virgin Mary. The Son of God then becomes the Son of Man. As the word which I speak to you is not different because I give it breath and sound, so neither is the Word of the Son of God changed because He takes on a human nature like ours in all things except sin, “The Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.”

“The great tragedy of the world is not what people suffer, but how much they miss when they suffer. Nothing is quite as depressing as wasted pain, agony without an ultimate meaning or purpose.”
(On Being Human)

“What makes a thing bad? A pencil is a good pencil because it does what it was made to do. It writes. Is it a good can opener? It certainly is not! Suppose I use the pencil as a can opener. what happens? First of all, I do not open the can. Second, I destroy the pencil. Now if I decide to do certain things with my body which I ought not do, I do not attain the purpose for which I was created. For example, becoming an alcoholic does not make me happy. I destroy myself just as I destroyed the pencil in using it to open a can. When I disobey God, I do not make myself very happy on the inside, and I certainly destroy any peace of soul that I ought to have.”

“Tolerance is an attitude of reasoned patience toward evil … a forbearance that restrains us from showing anger or inflicting punishment. Tolerance applies only to persons … never to truth. Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.”

“The tragedy of the world is that so many are unloved. Roses always look beautiful and smell sweet, and hence they are a prize to be possessed. Sweetbriar, however, has fragrant leaves, and they are never so fragrant as when it rains. The common people of the world are like these leaves; they have something fragrant about them, particularly when the days are dark and clouded and rain falls in their lives. Anyone can love a rose; but it takes a great heart to love a leaf.”

“Where our treasure is, there is our heart also. If we lived for God, then death is a liberation. Earth and its possessions are the cage which confines us, and death is the opening of its door, enabling our soul to wing its way to its Beloved for which alone it has lived, and for which it only waited to die.”
(Seven Capital Sins)

Priesthood of the Faithful

Hubby and I are teaching the RCIA class this coming Monday and our topic is The Priesthood of the Faithful.  I’m the genius who signed us up to teach this…so I get to do most of the research and prep, which is okay by me.  I’ve become even more of a night owl since having a baby.  She can nap and I can enjoy the beverage of my choice while delving into the the amazing teachings of our Church and the thoughts of men & women far smarter & holier than I.  I thought I’d share the transcript below.  I’m planning on borrowing heavily from it for Monday.  Enjoy!

The Priesthood of the Faithful

Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

There is more than passing value in looking at the meaning and implications of the priesthood of the faithful. There is much confusion these days in some quarters about who and what is a priest; there is an overwhelming amount of what they call identity crisis in many priests. So many writers are saying that ordination makes no difference, that every Christian is equally a priest, and that priests (as they are properly called) are merely functionaries; long, learned disquisitions on this subject say priests are not really different from the faithful. Finally, most of the agitation about women’s ordination stems from confusion over who is a priest…”Oh, she can be a priestess!”

The Mass, being in the vernacular, now brings out more clearly than ever the intimate participation of the faithful in the Holy Sacrifice. The liturgy says throughout “we” and “our” and “us”, “your sacrifice and mine”. Somehow they share in the offering of the Mass. Somehow the faithful participate; they must, otherwise the language of the liturgy would be unintelligible. They participate in the priesthood. The question is, how? It is worth going into this subject because it is part of divine revelation.

We have the explanation in the first letter of Saint Peter, the first letter of the first Pope, in which he speaks on the priesthood of all Christians. My intention is first to quote what he says, and then explain briefly what the Church says he means, all the while make applications to our own personal and corporate spiritual life.

He (speaking of Christ) is the living stone, rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him; set yourselves close to him so that you too, the holy priesthood that offers the spiritual sacrifices which Jesus Christ has made acceptable to God, may be living stones making a spiritual house. As scripture says: “See how I lay in Zion a precious cornerstone that I have chosen” and “the man who rests his trust on it will not be disappointed”. That means that for you who are believers, it is precious; but for unbelievers, “the stone rejected by the builders has proved to be the keystone, a stone to stumble over, a rock to bring men down”. They stumble over it because they do not believe in the word; it was the fate in store for them.

But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a consecrated nation, a people set apart” to sing the praises of God who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were “not a people” at all and now you are the People of God; once you were “outside the mercy’ and now “you have been given mercy”.

I urge you, my dear people, while you are “visitors and pilgrims”, to keep yourselves free from the selfish passions that attack the soul. Always behave honorably among pagans so that they can see your good works for themselves and, when the day of reckoning comes, give thanks to God for the things which now make them denounce you as criminals.

As we prayerfully reflect on the inspired words of the first Vicar of Christ, we find they contain four great mysteries of Christian revelation that are like four pillars of the priesthood of the faithful. They are: vocation, community, faith, and responsibility.


The First Pillar of the Priesthood of the Faithful – Vocation

The first pillar is vocation. In the mysterious designs of Providence, not everyone has been actually called to Christianity. We are not now here referring to God’s absolute Will; but de facto, concretely and historically, less than one half the human race has even heard the name of Christ. As Saint Paul asks, how can anyone believe in Him unless they have heard of Him? Before us, there were those who had heard and we inherited their faith. In a word, our primary vocation, on which all other vocations rest, is our vocation to Christianity. Fundamentally, it was this that Christ, speaking to all of us, meant when He said, “Come follow me”.

We do not often enough think of being a Christian as not merely “a” vocation, but “the” vocation, of which all other vocations are only aspects and variety. God’s ways are not men’s ways. The fact is plain that not all have actually, existentially received this call. We have. In our own country there are millions who haven’t the vaguest notion of who Christ is!

Some years ago I happened to be traveling on a train on Christmas Day. I got into conversation with two little boys whose ages were about seven and ten. As we were talking, I found out they knew that the day was Christmas. “But,” I asked them, “what is Christmas?” Well, they told me something about Santa Claus and Christmas trees. So I further asked them, “Do you know today is Somebody’s birthday?” Both said it was not their birthday. “No, it is some great Person’s birthday-Jesus’ birthday.” They had no idea. And behind them, of course, was the ignorance of their parents.

We, unworthily, have been called. That is why Peter uses the word “chosen”. We have been called, selected; we have been preferred. Truly it cannot be because God foresaw such great heroic virtue in any of us. No Lord, depart from me a sinner! Never get the idea that having a vocation or being called is something which the one who is called merits. God calls whom He wills. But He does choose. Having been chosen, we then have an extraordinary dignity. All our consequences of being Christians follow from the fact that we have been called specially.


The Second Pillar of the Priesthood of the Faithful – Community

The second pillar is community. We are called. That is a collective, not a distributive plural. No doubt each one is called as an individual, but we are called to join an already existing community. The first believers were Mary and Joseph. That is the nucleus of Christianity in whose midst was Jesus. He couldn’t have made the collectivity or community aspect of this vocation more plain. In fact, He made sure there was the making of a community even before He was conceived; it is why Mary and Joseph got together, to make sure there would be at least two to start this thing going.

We are called to something; that something is a community. That is why Saint Peter uses words that are symbolic of community. He speaks of Christians forming a spiritual house made up of many stones; that was in the days before they made houses of wood. It takes many stones to build a house. We are a chosen race having a common ancestry in Jesus Christ. That is what a race is, people who somehow have a common heredity. We are, he said, a consecrated nation, having all been born. And that is what “nation” really means: people somehow born together, politically speaking, within a geographic space; and spiritually speaking, all born of grace. We form one nation, a nation of grace. And we are a people set apart. We are not to be, because we are not, like those who are not called; and we’d be out of our Christian minds to suppose that there is any credit to us.

Our priesthood as Christians, therefore, is that of a community. We belong together; we are members of the Body of Christ. Christianity is not solitary-that is a contradiction in terms. There are no solitary Christians, which doesn’t mean we don’t sometimes feel lonely. We have solidarity; we are not solitary. Human nature is individual, is divided, is in pieces, grace creates community.


The Third Pillar of the Priesthood of the Faithful – Faith

The third pillar of our common priesthood is of course faith. This is what, building on the grace that God gives us, makes us a Christian community. We are first and mainly a community of believers. Let me make that stronger. We are a community only insofar as we are believers. Much of the confusion in so many peoples’ minds nowadays arises from the fact that there are those who no longer believe but still claim to belong to the community. No they don’t! You either believe and you belong or if you don’t believe, you don’t belong. And it is possible to have belonged and to cease to belong.

By our faith we believe, which means we grasp what we cannot see; we accept on the word of God. He sees. We take His word; we embrace what He tells us is true. But let us never think that because we do not see with reason when we believe, we do not see. Yes we do! We see by faith. One of the most comforting phrases in Latin is “lumen fidei”, the light of faith. We have it. We can see things that people who don’t have the faith just don’t see. When we kneel down before the Holy Eucharist, reason tells us it is bread; faith tells us it is Jesus. We love other people including those who don’t love us; reason sees an enemy, while faith sees a friend. This is seeing. A person dies. Reason sees the life principle of the body leaving the body and leaving a corpse; faith sees the human spirit leaving this world, thank God, for a better one. Faith sees.

The heart of the Christian priesthood is faith. Whether it is the priesthood of the faithful, which is why they are called faithful and why they are priestly, or whether it is the priesthood of those who are ordained, the heart of the Christian priesthood is faith.

One of the great joys of this common priesthood of the faithful is to be in the company of other people who also believe. We have all had enough experience in life to know what the opposite means. This is not make believe; it’s real. The moment we enter a home or a group or a religious community and are among people who believe like we do, we relax and feel that we belong, even though we may never have met before. It is as though we have known each other all our lives. And we have, because in Jesus Christ we have long ago met before we have met in body.


The Fourth Pillar of the Priesthood of the Faithful – Responsibility

The fourth pillar is responsibility. God does not call anyone in vain. He always calls for a purpose. Every vocation implies a mission. Simply put, to have been called to be a Christian is to be called to exercise the responsibilities of a Christian. What are they? They may all be summarized in the word which we all know synonymizes priesthood: sacrifice. To have been called to be a Christian is to be called to a life of sacrifice. Sacrifice means surrender. Since the priesthood we are talking about is the priesthood of Jesus Christ, who sacrificed not things outside of Himself but Himself, it must also somehow mean the surrender of ourselves.

Our faith could not be more sublime. It could also not be more demanding. This priesthood is not something merely to reflect on; it is something to put into practice. How?


The Sacrifice of Our Selfish Passions

Saint Peter says that we must sacrifice of our selfish passions, and he identified what kind of passions we are meant to sacrifice. We are told to sacrifice our passion to spite, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and criticism. Now we know we are not to be spiteful, when we have every reason to be; or deceitful, when it would be so helpful; or hypocritical, when no one would know; or envious, when somebody has something that we obviously like; or critical, when it is too clear for words that the person is wrong-not to do these things calls for immense sacrifice.

Needless to say, what Peter specially had in mind is the kind of sacrifice on this level, which those who are Christians are called upon to practice to be members of a community. We are not spiteful unless other people are around; or deceitful unless there is somebody to deceive. Why be hypocritical if there’s nobody to impress; or envious, if we don’t see someone better or better off than ourselves; or critical, unless we are living so closely with someone else that we can watch every breath they breathe? The sacrifice of our selfish passions is our lifetime of sacrifices, and Peter tells us that this is the first and continuous exercise of our priesthood of believers.


The Sacrifice of Our Patience

Our priesthood is secondly, as Peter further tells us, the sacrifice of patience, patience in putting up with those who oppose us. In Peter’s time he had his pagans; in our times we have our pagans, and they are all around us. We are, therefore, to expect to be criticized, to be opposed, to be handicapped in so many ways by those who do not believe. This was in large measure Christ’s sacrifice. He was finally put to death by His own people who did not believe in Him and by the pagan Romans who, perhaps, could not have been expected to believe. What He endured in His way, as He told us, we are to expect to endure in our way. I don’t know where Christians got the idea that being a Christian in any day is anything but to arouse opposition. You can be the nicest person in the world. Jesus was the nicest person in the world. Look what they did to Him!

The unbelieving world will oppose us, and does oppose us just because of what we are: mothers with families; men practicing chastity; priests faithful to their commitment; religious behaving like religious. There are many that admire Sisters in religious garb; they thank God and thank Sisters for looking like Sisters. But not all. Sometimes, may God forgive them, our worst enemies and the greatest sacrifice of patience we are called upon to practice is from those who have been with us but who have left us.


The Sacrifice of Our Witness

Thirdly, Peter says that the priesthood of the faithful is to be a sacrifice of witness. TheApostle could not have been more extreme in describing who we are. He called us a royal priesthood. Conscious of our dignity, of our royalty, we are to behave accordingly by frankly, though humbly, witnessing through our practice of virtue so that the world might learn to know and love Christ from having seen us. A Christian is always on display, is always watched; a Christian is always to give witness to the great High Priest, who witnessed to His undying love for mankind by dying on the cross.

Saint Peter finally says that we exercise our priesthood of believers by our praising God, which he calls our spiritual sacrifice because it comes from within the spirit of man. You might wonder why Peter would call this praising God a sacrifice. When we talk about the sacrifice of the New Law, we mean necessarily the sacrifice of self. What does praising God mean? Very simply, it means not praising self. Concretely, we praise God in what we call our “acts of adoration”. To praise God is to adore God. The greatest temptation to which man is prone is to adore himself. If the word sounds strange, the reality is not strange at all. Adoration of God, otherwise known as praising God, means paying attention to God, acknowledging Him; it means admiring God.


The Sacrifice of Our Praising God

Praising God means paying attention to God, and we know what sacrifice that takes, because it means turning attention from self. Acknowledging God’s greatness, who He is, means sacrificing that recognition of ourselves which we so hunger for that nations have been plunged into war because of one man’s ambition to be acknowledged as great. Psychologists tell us the deepest hunger of the human spirit is to be acknowledged as something by someone else. People will die to have this hunger satisfied. Acknowledging God in adoration means we acknowledge God’s greatness by acknowledging our nothingness. That is what we were before He made us and that is what we would be except for His love, nothing! This is the hardest sacrifice of all, the sacrifices of the praise of God.

We finally praise God by our admiration of God, which means that we so often, even daily, have to turn away from the mirror of self-admiration. We know this is costly. Faith tells us that it is here that we practice our priesthood, not just once in a while, but all day and every day, participating in the priesthood of the Savior, sacrificing ourselves like Him. But in addition, since He is God as well as man, we must also sacrifice ourselves for Him.

Jesus, our great High Priest, help us to better understand what it means to share in your priesthood. Help us to live this kind of priestly life, a life of daily, total, self-sacrifice.



Copyright © 1998 Inter MirificaConference transcription from a retreat that Father Hardon gave to the Handmaids of the Precious BloodMother of Sorrows Recordings, Inc.
Handmaids of the Precious Blood
Cor Jesu Monastery
P.O. Box 90
Jemez Springs, NM 87025


Quotes on Humility

“Be gentle to all and stern with yourself.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“Humility, however deep it be, neither disquiets nor troubles nor disturbs the soul; it is accompanied by peace, joy and tranquility. Although, on realizing how wicked we are, we can see clearly that we deserve to be in hell, and are distressed by our sinfulness, and rightly think that everyone should hate us, yet, if our humility is true, this distress is accompanied by an interior peace and joy of which we should not like to be deprived. Far from disturbing or depressing the soul, it enlarges it and makes it fit to serve God better. The other kind of distress only disturbs and upsets the mind and troubles the soul, so grievous is it. I think the devil is anxious for us to believe that we are humble, and, if he can, to lead us to distrust God.” – St. Teresa of Avila

“Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”- St. Augustine

“As patience leads to peace, and study to science, so are humiliations the path that leads to humility.” – St. Bernard of Clairvaux

“The highest point of humility consists in not merely acknowledging one’s abjection, but in taking pleasure therein, not from any want of breadth or courage, but to give the more glory to God’s Divine Majesty, and to esteem one’s neighbour more highly than one’s self.” – St. Francis De Sales

“Humility makes our lives acceptable to God, meekness makes us acceptable to men.” – St. Francis De Sales

“Humility is the foundation of all the other virtues hence, in the soul in which this virtue does not exist there cannot be any other virtue except in mere appearance.” – St. Augustine

“The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it.” – St. Vincent de Paul

“We shall never learn to know ourselves except by endeavoring to know God; for, beholding His greatness, we realize our own littleness; His purity shows us our foulness; and by meditating upon His humility we find how very far we are from being humble.” – St. Teresa of Avila


St. Teresa of Avila

“There are more tears shed over answered prayers than over unanswered prayers.”

“The tree that is beside the running water is fresher and gives more fruit.”

“Our body has this defect that, the more it is provided care and comforts, the more needs and desires it finds.”

“The feeling remains that God is on the journey, too.”

“Praised be the Lord, who has redeemed me from myself.”

“Let nothing disturb thee; Let nothing dismay thee; All thing pass; God never changes Patience attains All that it strives for. He who has God finds he lacks nothing: God alone suffices.”

Litany of Humility

(L)eader: O, Jesus, meek and humble of heart.

(R)esponse: Hear Me.

From the desire of being esteemed… Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved… Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being extolled … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being honored … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being praised … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being preferred to others… Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being consulted … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being approved … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being humiliated … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being despised… Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of suffering rebukes … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being calumniated … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being forgotten … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being ridiculed … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being wronged … Deliver me, Jesus.

From the fear of being suspected … Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

That others may be esteemed more than I… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

That others may be chosen and I set aside… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

That others may be praised and I unnoticed… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

That others may be preferred to me in everything… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.  

That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should… Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.           



The Hard Way

Harold and I were talking earlier this evening – well, technically yesterday evening, since it is now after midnight and therefore a new day.  🙂  He’s been out of state all week, with the Boxcars, working on their third album.  This has been a bit of difficult week for both of us.  For him, because he’s been away and didn’t want to be.  He didn’t want to go to the boonies of eastern TN, he didn’t want to play, sing, or record.  He’s been a little stressed out and hasn’t slept well at all while he’s been down there.  What did he want?  He wanted to stay home and keep working on getting the house ready for Baby Nixon’s arrival.  He’d finally really focused on what needed to be done to prepare for Zesty and started getting some stuff done.  He didn’t want his mojo and motivation interrupted.  However, he did want his share of the royalties for this album and knew that he needed to go down and work on this investment with the rest of the band, even though he didn’t want to.  So, his best friend and band mate, Ron, picked him up Tuesday afternoon and they headed southeast.  This week has been difficult for me because I missed Harold – pure and simple.  I don’t sleep well without him.  I really needed him on Wednesday (see my Night of Trash post) for everything and I’m missing him tonight, as I sit in my mother’s living room instead of the home that I share with him, in case I go into labor.  I’d much rather have him on labor watch tonight (nothing against my mother because she does rock).  So, my sleep deprived & stressed out husband and I were talking tonight.  We were talking about if I should stay with my mother tonight & how likely it really was that I’d go into labor tonight (highly UNLIKELY).  We were talking about how things were going with the recording (really well) and what time I should expect to pick him up tomorrow.  We were talking about what all I needed to remember to get done before heading out to pick him up tomorrow and then we started talking about Christmas.  Oh how I wish that was a conversation we didn’t have to have…it’s not finished, yet, either.  I’m thankful that we aren’t fighting – we’ve gotten pretty good at being able to communicate and can usually recognize when a misunderstanding/miscommunication is escalating and a conversation is becoming a fight.  So, we truly weren’t fighting but that doesn’t make the conversation any easier.  The general gist of our conversation is that, in the midst of being in the home stretch to get ready for Baby Nixon’s arrival (stressful enough), we have to figure out what in the world we want to do for Christmas & while we want the same thing, we also want two vastly different things.  We are talking about changing up our routine and developing our own Christmas traditions (very GOOD thing) – which means changing up what we’ve been doing as a couple for nearly 6 years and what I’ve been doing my entire life (at least that I remember).  Change is hard and I don’t always handle it well.  Harold pointed out that we are likely to be embarking on a very difficult and rocky time in our marriage.  He is already crazy stressed out, he doesn’t like having to pretend & put on show for the sake of someone’s feelings (he’d much rather be totally honest and genuine about who he is & if you like him or don’t like him, at least your opinion is based on truth and not speculation/assumptions/misconceptions).  He wants to feel free to be himself (can’t blame him there) without having to constantly be on the defensive…it’s tiring when you have to be “on” all the time for someone.  So, here we go, we are getting ready to jump onto the Hard Way of marriage.

I was thinking about this and Harold’s warning after our conversation, wondering what I could do to help lessen the challenge.   How could I ease the load that Harold would be carrying?  Why did it seemed destined to be so hard?  I realized a few things.  It would be hard because it seems part of our fallen nature to seek out the hard way.  We seem to be addicted to making things more difficult than they need to be.  Case in point?  I will disagree with my husband and fight with him, just so I can say that I was right.  Really?  How screwed up is that?  I just want to be right, so I’ll disagree with him and go out of my way to try to prove him wrong, just so I can what…feel superior?  Yup.  Some wife I am.  🙁  I fall to pride and falling to pride leads me to fall to all kinds of other sinfulness.  I KNOW that Harold will never do anything to put me or our family in any kind of physical or spiritual jeopardy.  He will die before purposefully causing us harm in any way.  So, if I know that my husband, who I believe is the head of our home – the priest of our domestic church, has nothing but our absolute best interest at heart (i.e. he wants us all to get to Heaven), then why would I ever feel the need to fight him?  Why do I feel the need to try to one up him or be “better”?  I know that I don’t handle change well and that, sometimes, I’m fighting out of some basic need to feel like I have some control over change.  If I make plans, it can be a real challenge for me to let them go without a fight.  If I’m really honest, it’s not the change I find so scary – it’s the loss of control.  If I continue to be brutally honest, the I’ll admit that the only reason I’m afraid of losing control is because I don’t totally trust anybody else.  Isn’t that sad?  If I’m going to trust anyone, wouldn’t I trust my husband?!?  I mean, I am married to an extremely honest & faithful man.  A man who wants nothing more than to help his family get to Heaven and to get there himself.  A man who loves me beyond words.  I would argue that our capacity for true love is limited by our understanding of and belief in God.  If we don’t believe in Him, if we don’t know Him; then we don’t know love – true love.  We only know what we think is love – a very limited & shallow love-like emotion.  Emotion because without knowing God, then we can’t really understand that true love has nothing to do with emotion at all.  It is always, and simply, a choice.  I am married to a man with an understanding of true love.  He will never leave or abandon me.  He will always choose Heaven for me and our family over any and everything else.  Is he perfect?  No.  None of us are.  But he is good, and he wants to be holy, and he tries so hard, and he loves greatly.  He challenges me to trust God, first and always.  I am married to an amazing and passionate man, who has loved me totally, and who God has used to draw me closer to Him.  I am a blessed woman.  If this is the man that God has blessed me with, then why don’t I totally trust him?  I know that being married means death.  Death to myself & what I want & my selfish desires.  It is only in dying to ourselves that we are free to live for others.  As Harold’s wife, my vocation includes living for him.  I am not supposed to worry about myself – no need to watch my own back, if you will.  Why?  Because I’m supposed to have Harold’s back & by me totally having his back – he is freed to have mine completely (and vise versa).  What a simple and beautiful circle that is.  Ah…my head hurts.  It seems like it should be simple.  It seems like it should be easy.  It should be but it isn’t.  Why is it so hard??  I blame Adam & Eve.  (Thanks mom & dad!)

Poor Adam & Eve, always taking the wrap for our broken & fallen nature.  Now, I’m blaming them for making the easy things hard!  Well, they did.  Before the fall, life was good and it was easy.  It was absolutely natural to us to KNOW God, to love Him, and to love each other.  Gardening, dominion over the land & animals, co-ed relationships…ALL EASY.  No sin – no pride, no lust, no sloth or gluttony or wrath.  Ah, Eden. ♥  Adam and Eve fell by grasping at things that were not for them.  They grasped at equality with God by eating of the one tree they weren’t supposed to eat of.  So, they essentially gave up their (and our) stewardship of the Earth to Lucifer.  What was supposed to come easily now comes with hardship and suffering.  Essentially, sin is forgetfulness.  Adam and Eve forgot their place.  Not only did they both grasp at equality with God, but Eve grasped at the dominion that Adam was given as the first man & Adam allowed her to take what wasn’t his to give.  Eve was told that she would suffer pains in childbirth.  Childbirth was supposed to be EASY!  (A little mind boggling to me at the current season of my life – especially as I am beginning to feel more regular pressure & pain, day by day.)  Our bodies are created for this holy and unique purpose, but, we are disordered.  We are fallen.  So, it is no longer easy.  What occurred to me is this…it is not just the birth process itself that is labor.  That is not the only easy thing that is now painful.  The entire process from conception to a successful birth is HARD.  Think of how many people you know who have so much trouble even conceiving new life in their wombs.  Then think of how common miscarriages are…so common that most doctors won’t bother looking for medical causes of miscarriage (hormone imbalances, other diseases, etc) until a woman has experienced at least 2, if not 3, losses.  So, relationships should be easy – we should be able to love each other without the stain of lust, envy, anger, etc.  We should be able to totally and completely trust each other, without fears of lying & cheating.  We should be able to survive – to have plenty to eat and drink, without devastating & destroying our planet.  We shouldn’t have war, famine, disease, & death raging all over the world…but we do.  Why?  Because our first parents forgot what they were made for, they forgot who they were and they gave up their (and our) birthright to Satan.  When life was easy, in Eden, Adam and Eve were in total communion with God.  They were united with Him.  Satan doesn’t like that.  Why?  Perhaps because he is an a fallen angel.  Not just any angel, either.  He was one of, if not the best of all angels.

Angels are created spiritual beings with no physical bodies.  They live with God in Heaven and the purpose of their creation is to worship God, giving Him glory, and doing His will.  They love God beyond anything we could ever imagine.  Angels are superior to us in so many ways.  They KNOW God, easily.  We don’t.  They are far more intelligent than we are & they understand things that we could never wrap our minds around.  So, we are the infierior creations to Angels.  Inferior but still the most favored and loved of all of God’s creations.  We are His only creations that He chooses to adopt as His children.  Lucifer loves God so fiercely that he can not fathom why God would create something so lowly and limited as a human, give us a gift like free will, and love us so much that He is willing to forgive all, if we just ask.  Satan got angry & jealous & rebelled.  We know how that ends.  He and all the angels who sided with him, along with all the lukewarm ones who tried to play neutral, were cast out of Heaven – FOREVER.  He loves God so fiercely but will never be able to be with Him again.  Satan is eternally removed from God.  Misery loves company & how better than to hurt the one you love the most than by denying them of who they love the most.  Satan can’t have God, so he is going to do everything he can to prevent us from having God, too.  So, when Adam & Eve forgot who they were, when they fell for deception & grasped at equality with God – they gave up their claim, their stewardship, to Satan & he will do everything he can to make our journey to God & Heaven as difficult as possible.  We sin, we suffer, we are forgetful, and we lack the capacity to understand so much.

So, marriage, family, and relationships are REALLY hard and they can really hurt.  Harold and I are about to enter into a more difficult season of our marriage.  Why?  Because we are broken, fallen, and forgetful.  So, how can I try to love my husband and make lighten his load during this difficult season?  I can do this by remembering.  I must remember how much he loves me & our family.  I must remember that he always has my back & will never choose anything that will harm me in anyway.  I must remember that I agreed and chose Harold as my husband.  He is the head of our home & I am the heart.  I must remember my place as the heart & fight to not grasp at the dominion of the head.  I must remember that without me, doing my part as the heart & pumping blood (i.e. life) through the veins of our family, then the head will not be able to function at all.  The head and brain can not function without the heart pumping blood.  Our society recognizes this in a kind of backwards way.  We’ve all heard “Happy wife, happy life.”  Harold tells me all the time that his life depends on me & all he wants is for me to have eternal happiness.  Harold desperately needs me to remember who I am and to fight against my broken and fallen nature of grasping at things that aren’t mine to take.  He needs me to love him and trust him and submit to him.  That doesn’t mean that I am losing anything.  I am not losing control and I have nothing to fear.  In fact, by remembering who I am, by embracing my place as the heart of our home, I gain freedom.  Freedom from fear.  Freedom from forgetfulness.  Freedom to love absolutely and unconditionally.

I am asking for your prayers for my family and all families.  We will all have seasons in our lives that are more difficult that others.  Seasons that make it easier to forget who we are, seasons that tempt us to sin.  May we not only know who we are but may we also be inspired to remember who we are, especially when we are in the middle of the hard way.


{Thanks for stopping by and reading!  Please, if you feel so called, leave a comment or two.  As this is my blog, I reserve the right to refuse to publish any comments that are rude, vulgar, or distasteful (regardless of if I agree with you or not).  Trolling & nasty don’t look good on anyone.}

Spiritual Bouquet Saturday

Let’s join together in prayer to offer up a spiritual bouquet to heaven! As Christians, we must take action against evil & PRAYER IS ACTION!!! Especially when we invoke the intercession of our Blessed Mother. ♥

spiritual_bouquet_prayer_card_Please take time out today to offer up prayers (or go to Mass) for any intentions you’ve been asked to remember along with the following specific intentions…

-For the souls of all who died in CT, including the gun man
-For all parents who’ve ever buried a child
-For all those who suffer with mental illness
-For all healthcare (mental & physical) workers
-For all those who don’t know God
-For an increase in Faith, Hope, and Charity
-For the leaders of our city, state, country, & world
-For all those who have forgotten & those who have been forgotten
-For all those traveling
-That we may enter into the Christmas season, prepared to celebrate the birth of Christ
-That we may always have the courage to speak the truth in love, as inspired by the Holy Spirit
-For all the people of Israel, the Middle East, and China
-All Marriages & Families
-All Priests & Religious
-The Intentions of Our Holy Father
-All the unborn children

Prayer to the Holy Trinity

Prayer to the Holy Trinity

TrinityIconGlory be to the Father, Who by His almighty power and love created me, making me in the image and likeness of God.

 Glory be to the Son, Who by His Precious Blood delivered me from hell, and opened for me the gates of heaven. 

Glory be to the Holy Spirit, Who has sanctified me in the Sacrament of Baptism, and continues to sanctify me by the graces I receive daily from His bounty.  

Glory be to the Three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity, now and forever.  


The Blessed Trinity

Note from Rebecca: Below is the text of the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) night on the Holy Trinity that Harold and I taught in December 2012.  The majority of what is below came from a few sources – most of which are cited.  The one source that is not cited is our RCIA resource book.  We are given several handouts about whatever subject we are teaching about and it is up to us how to use these resources.  Harold and I chose to do some research of our own and to basically use various parts from the resources we were given in combination with the other sources we’d found.  We took a little bit from each and put them together in a way that made sense to us (since we were teaching). 🙂

{Thanks for stopping by and reading!  Please, if you feel so called, leave a comment or two.  As this is my blog, I reserve the right to refuse to publish any comments that are rude, vulgar, or distasteful (regardless of if I agree with you or not).  Trolling & nasty don’t look good on anyone.}

In the name of the Father, God the creator of all. The Son, God the Redeemer & fount of mercy, and the Holy Spirit, God the Sanctifier, breath of love who sustains us & gives us new life.

We started with the sign of the cross – we begin so many things with this simple but profound prayer. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. We invoke the Blessed Trinity each time we pray. You have a handout about the sign of the cross. I highly encourage you to study it. What I want to briefly touch on here is that each time you make & pray the sign of the cross, you are invoking the Blessed Trinity – expressing a belief in that mystery. I also wanted to point out the way many people position their hand when making the sign of the cross. It reminds us of two great and important mysteries of our faith – three fingers together to remind us of the Blessed Trinity – three persons in one God and two fingers together to remind us of the dual nature – the hypostatic union of Christ. He was at once totally, 100% divine and totally 100% human.

The Blessed Trinity

The one God is three divine Persons, each having the fullness of the divine nature, who live in a perfect communion of love. This is the central mystery of our faith.

So what does that mean?

A mystery, if you recall, is something that is UNKNOWABLE without direct revelation from God. The Trinity is the central mystery of our faith and life because it reveals who God is in his inmost being. (CCC 234). This mystery is not illogical, contradictory, or unreasonable, nor is it opposed to a belief in the one God. In such cases as the Blessed Trinity and the Incarnation (the “enfleshment” of the second person of the Trinity as Jesus Christ), we humans with finite minds try to understand a divine and, therefore infinite reality. Our minds are wonderful creations but are still limited. A blind person must take it on faith when we say that the light in the kitchen is on. Throughout life, we are obliged to, because of our limitations, to accept things on the testimony of reliable sources. *insert quotes on reliable sources here?* Reason alone could never conceive of the reality of three persons in one nature, nor for that matter, of one person, Jesus Christ, having two natures (divine and human). All our human capabilities, aided by God’s supernatural Revelation, do not enable us to grasp or comprehend the mysteries of the Infinite such as the Blessed Trinity. The whole of our supernatural knowledge, just because it is the very nature of SUPERnatural, is beyond us.

The existence of the Trinity is hinted at in the Old Testament of the Bible.

Gn 1:26 ” Then God said: “Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness. “

It is boldly proclaimed in the New Testament. Three events in the life of Jesus show us the Trinity: his conception, his baptism, and his Transfiguration. When the angel came to Mary to invite her to be the Mother of God, Mary understandably asked how it was possible. Gabriel replied: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.” (Lk 1:35) At Jesus’ baptism, the Heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended upon him accompanied by the voice of the Father saying : “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Mt 3:17; see also Mk 1:11; Lk 3:22) During his public ministry, shortly before he began his final journey to Jerusalem, Jesus took the apostles Peter, James, and John to a high mountain where he was transfigured before them. His appearance was transformed, his clothes beame dazzling white, and with him appeared Moses and Elijah, symbolizing the Law and the Prophets – that is the entire Old Testament. In the course of this astounding event – which, for a moment, revealed Jesus’ own divine glory – a cloud, representing the Holy Spirit, overshadowed the three apostles, and a voice once again proclaimed: “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!” (Lk 9:35)

There are other places within the New Testament where the Godhead of the Son, the Holy Spirit, and even the relationship of the Father and the Spirit are revealed. Jesus says: “I and the Father are one.” (Jn 10:30). In Acts, Peter rebukes a fellow Christian: “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit…? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4) Finally, in John we hear Jesus say : “But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness to me.” (Jn 15:26)

One of the clearest scripture verses, that supports the doctrine of the Trinity, is Mt 28:19. In Jesus’ commission to his apostles, it is plainly revealed that the three Persons belong to a single Godhead. “batizing…in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Jesus uses the singular “name”, not “names”, to show us that all three Persons are one God.

There are three Persons in God and only one nature. Simply, nature answers the question “What?” while person answers the question “Who?” According to Bishop Fulton J. Sheen “A person in the Trinity does not mean the same as a person in this world. A person in the Trinity means a relation or a relationship.” Bishop Sheen used this example to illustrate “Remember your chemistry. What is the chemical symbol for water? H2O. That is its nature. It has only ONE nature BUT is it possible to have various relationships within that one nature? Most certainly. It can be liquid, ice, or steam. Is the liquid a differnt nature from H2O? No. The ice? No. The steam? No. Somehow, the three are in one. Just as in the Sun, there is substance, light, and heat – yet only one Sun.” The actual distinctions among the three divine persons is in their relation to one another. Each of the divine persons is God, whole and entire. Although the divine persons are inseparable in what they are and do, it is possible and common to identify “works” that are proper to each. Generally, The Father, the first person of the Blessed Trinity, is refferred to as the Creator. He is an uncreated Being who created all things from nothing; he is the first cause. He is a loving Father who continually cares for his people, drawing them to himself in mercy. In his plan born of love, God created us to share his life forever. Sin, however, cut us off from God and from our destiny. Nevertheless, in his great mercy, the Father did not put an end to us or abandon us.

The Son, the second Person of the Blessed Trinity, is also called the Redeemer. In his perfect knowledge of himseld, the Father begot his one Word, the Son. The Son is not created by the Father, but begotten; he is the uncreated image of the Father. The Son is completely divine and coequal with the Father, and nothing was made without him. He became Jesus Christ, taking on a complete human nature while remaining comepletely divine. “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman.” (Gal 4:4) The Father sent forth the Son to reveal his plan, to show us how to live, and to pay the price for our sins. His sacrifice of his Passion and Death are the fullest sign of the total self-giving nature of God’s love.

The Holy Spirit, the third Person of the Blessed Trinity, can also be called the Sanctifier. In their perfect love for each other, the Father and the Son spirated the Holy Spirit. Spiration, according to, means

1) a obs: the action of breathing as a creative or life-giving function of the Deity

b (1): the act by or manner in which the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father

or from the Father & the Son  (2): the relationship subsisting by virtue of this procession

2) obs: the action of breathing as a physical function of man and animals

The Holy Spirit is not created by the Father and the Son, but proceeds from them as an uncreated divine Person – we can think of this as a divine “sigh of love”. The Holy Spirit is completely divine and coequal with the Father and the Son. He is the Spirit of God that moved over the waters at creation; he brings about a new creation in each soul through the grace of the sacraments of the Church. Once Christ, the Son, had paid the price for our sins, the Holy Spirit came to activate the new and eternal life won for us by Christ’s redemptive self-giving. “When the time for Pentacost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly, there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then, appeared to them tounges as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tougnes, as the spirit enabled them to proclaim.” (Acts 2:1-4) The Holy Spirit empowers and guides the Church to fulfill her mission to preach to Good News of salvation to the whole world and to make God’s life available to all men and women, without exception.

Pope Benedict 16th first encyclical was “Deus Caritas Est”. That means “God is Love.” So many people get so enthusiastic about that statement. “God is love.” It is unique to the Christian faith. A Muslim or a Jew would simply say “God loves.” That’s true – he loves the world. But love is more than something He does. “God IS love” – love is his being – it’s who he is! What we sometimes miss is that, by saying “God is love.”, we are expressing the Blessed Trinity. To say that “God is love”, we are saying that there is play within the one God of a lover, the beloved, and the love that they share. We say in the creed “We believe in ONE GOD” but that one God has revealed himself to be a play of lover, beloved, and loved. (Fr. Robert Barron)

The Blessed Trinity is a mystery. Every mystery of faith flows from and is connected to the mystery of the Blessed Trinity. We were created for love; we live to respond to and then grow in that love; we die to self so that we may be resurrected to enter that love forever at the end of our earthly life. We will never, in this life, be capable of fully understanding and comprehending this. It is just not possible. We experience in these matters an insufficiency, as sense of sad resignation. We feel inadequate, left out – and this is right. We have, therefore, Heaven to look forward to and work toward. Our faith, as Christ himself so often emphasized, is of central importance to our lives. It gives us the strongest, most certain assurance that the world of the supernatural is not an empty dream. Our faith convinces us that the Trinity of God the Father who made us out of love, God the Son who came among us to save us out of love, and God the Holy Spirit who infuses us with love and who sustains us in the Church will be revealed to us at the very hour Jesus opens his arms to welcome us into Heaven with the words: “Come, O blessed of my Father; inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. (Mt 25:34). This Kingdom is God’s Kingdom, the Kingdom of the Blessed Trinity – our true home. (CCC 102, 232-260).

Glory be to the Father, Who by His almighty power and love created me, making me in the image and likeness of God.  Glory be to the Son, Who by His Precious Blood delivered me from hell, and opened for me the gates of heaven. Glory be to the Holy Spirit, Who has sanctified me in the Sacrament of Baptism, and continues to sanctify me by the graces I receive daily from His bounty.  Glory be to the Three adorable Persons of the Holy Trinity, now and forever.  Amen.

Encountering Christ

JP2“[If you wish to encounter Christ] above all, create silence in your interior. Let that ardent desire to see God arise from the depth of your hearts, a desire that at times is suffocated by the noise of the world and the seduction of pleasures.”
– Pope John Paul II