Friday, March 13, 2020

Simple Country Catholic: Finding Peace in the Coronavirus

Simple Country Catholic: Finding Peace in the Coronavirus: I have found a profound peace in the midst of life's circumstances which I have no control.  There will always be a virus, war, sufferin...

Finding Peace in the Coronavirus

I have found a profound peace in the midst of life's circumstances which I have no control.  There will always be a virus, war, suffering, tragedy, illness and ugliness.   It's times like these that one should reflect on the bigger picture of life.  Times like these one should hug their loved ones a little tighter, be kinder to their neighbor, ask themselves what and who am I living for?  what am I doing with my life? how am I treating others? what's my purpose? what is missing from my life?

Suffering is good


I truly believe that good comes out of suffering.  Throughout history when there is great tragedy, humanity seems to come together. We remember we belong to each other.  Pettiness seems to disappear, the big picture emerges.  It's like we need to be reminded that we are made for love.  We need to be reminded we are all connected. We need to be reminded of the frailty of our lives.

Peace


I have found this peace because of my faith.  Believing that my soul will live on after my body dies helps me navigate this world.  Anxiety and fear dissipate.  The path that leads to a true and everlasting peace is supernatural.  There is no logical reason why I should be so content. The help I receive is only a result of looking into my soul and asking if I will allow something bigger than me to enter. 

Hope


My hope is that those who are suffering great anxiety and fear will look at their lives and contemplate what could be missing.  I have an answer.  Peace is real. Joy of life is real. There is more to life that just what is on the surface. Go deeper. Allow yourself to be vulnerable to something bigger than yourself. 

Never lose hope. A new day will dawn and we will have a peace that surpasses all understanding.

A new day


Stay calm, rejoice and pray


"Rejoice in the Lord, rejoice...Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made be known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus."  Philippians 4:4-7

St. Augustine said "our hearts are restless until they rest in thee." 

Is your heart restless? Do you have peace?

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Simple Country Catholic: Dirt, Water, and Bernadette

Simple Country Catholic: Dirt, Water, and Bernadette: February 11th is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I have a special devotion to our Lady of Lourdes because I chose Bernadette as my c...

Dirt, Water, and Bernadette


February 11th is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I have a special devotion to our Lady of Lourdes because I chose Bernadette as my confirmation name and named one of my daughters after her.

If you are Catholic, you have to believe in the crazy, supernatural.


In 1858, Our Blessed Mother appeared 14 times to St. Bernadette who was a poor and poorly educated girl. She appeared to Bernadette in a dump. The 'Grotto of Massabielle' was a place were soiled linens were burned from the hospital. Bernadette prayed with our Mother and obeyed her command when she told her to dig in the dirt. Bernadette was laughed at and left. Shortly after, a well sprung up. A woman's hand was instantly cured.

There have been more than 7000 documented healings from this water. Many scientifically studied and can provide no explanation. Many more undocumented healings have occurred physically and spiritually because of this water.

Build me a Church and Let Processions Be Made to the Grotto


Our Lady asked Bernadette to inform the priest she wanted a Church to be built on that spot. Wow! What a church that was built! I've never been to Lourdes and would love to go this side of Heaven. This beautiful Church was built on top of a dump. Let that sink in. God takes the ugly, filthy, trash of our humanity and makes it magnificent.


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Dirt and Water, Ordinary Miracles


Our Lord uses the simple things of this Earth to bring about his glory. Dirt and water are ordinary, everywhere, once again he uses the ordinary to bring about the extraordinary. The older I get the more I see the unseen, supernatural, the celestial. I love reading the lives of the mystics and contemplatives. Many people have a hard time with Christianity, Catholicism in particular. They claim it is a 'man-made' religion. Yes, it is full of men, corrupt men, sinful men, men who make terrible mistakes, men who think they have the answers. But men can't cure people with dirt and water. Men can't make lovely ladies appear in the sky. Skeptics can say it's a delusional person who sees things. How is it that for centuries and in different cultures a Lady appears to usually the most lowly of persons? In Guadalupe, in France, in Ireland, in Wisconsin, Paris, Belguim, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bloomington, IN, Argentina, Sweden, Japan, Germany, Poland, Italy, New Mexico, Spain, Domincan Republic, Lithuania, New Orleans, Georgia, etc. Sometimes this Lady leaves behind sweet scents for us to smell.

Not just appearances of Our Blessed Mother, but other supernatural occurrences like every Mass turning the bread and wine into his body and blood. I can write another blog on Eucharistic Miracles. Throughout the centuries (remember the Catholic Church has been around for 2000 years) there has been occurrences of the bread (hosts) bleeding, suspended in air, turning into flesh, spontaneous healings, etc (google eucharistic miracles for more info).

What about the miracles of the Mystics? Catholic Mystics have been known to bi-locate (be two places at once), have a gift of prophecy, levitate (fly) in the air, dream visions that come true, have dead bodies that don't corrupt, have visions of hell, I could go on and on.

The Catholic Church is smart and very skeptical. Much research is gone into declaring something supernatural. Scientific study and theological study have to be thoroughly investigated before something is officially declared a 'miracle'.


Man-Made VS God-Man Religion


So, are some religions Man-Made? Yes, and everyone declares their religion is not. What makes Catholics different? We believe in supernatural, unexplained miracles. I know others do also, but I boldly say this because I'm a convert, and I know how others mistake our 'superstitions' and call some of what we believe hokey pokey.

From my experience, if you are looking at a faith in the eyes of men, it would be made from men. But if you look at the teachings, the doctrine, and get to the core of a religion, then that is where you find it is ordained by men or by God. If you focus on the rules of the religion rather than the supernatural spiritual side, you will always find it missing because you have taken the soul out of the faith. If your faith is based on whether you like a man's sermon, whether or not the people or friendly in your Church, whether or not the priest offended you, then you have a man-made religion. Take men out of the equation, and see what is left. I see miracles. I see Truth, I see 2000 years of steadfastness-not giving to the whims of the day that men create, I see one Man and he is on the Cross, this God-Man uses every day, ordinary things to create miracles for those that have eyes to see, I see Him in the Catholic Church.

St. Bernadette, Our Lady of Lourdes, you provided avenues for us to see the supernatural. Thank you. Pray for us.

Do you believe in the supernatural?




Tuesday, January 21, 2020

In honor of Friday's March for Life (which you will probably not hear much about on the news unless Nick Sandman shows up again). The following is my rant on abortion.


Doe AND Roe


Jane Roe's (of Roe VS Wade) real name was Norma McCorvey. She was never raped, she decided not to have the abortion she was fighting for, and she eventually converted to the Catholic faith. In Doe VS Bolton, Sandra Cano (Jane Doe) was not aware she was the plaintiff, she did not have an abortion, and started a pro-life ministry called Wonderfully Made Ministry. Both women have since passed. January 22 is the anniversary of Roe VS Wade and the same day Doe VS Bolton made abortion legal.

Yesterday we celebrated Martin Luther King Day. A man who fought for injustice. His daughter, Alveda is a pro-life advocate. Slavery was an injustice, the Holocaust was an injustice, civil rights had to be fought for just so people would not be treated as 2nd class citizens. History will show that abortion was the injustice of our time.

Are we at war?


I will never, ever understand how a choice has to be made at the expense of a life. I am not an uncompassionate person. I care about the mother AND the father. There are many, many people and agencies willing to help when a women has an unplanned pregnancy. Whenever a choice has to be made and an innocent person may be killed, that's usually what commanders in armies have to factor in during war. They decide if the casualties are worth the risk.

Are we at war? Is it a war on women or a war on babies? or both? What are we fighting for? The right to choose to end a life for the sake of convenience? Do we not know how to suffer for the sake of others anymore? It's my body, you can't tell me what to do. Still, will never, ever understand that once a life is forming inside a womb, women can't understand they share their body with another person. It's not just theirs anymore. Call me a jerk but that's human biology.

I've experienced this 6 times, losing one at 11 weeks and one was unplanned. It does take great sacrifice. The power, strength and beauty of a pregnant woman's body should be celebrated. She brings forth life. How amazing is that?!

Right to choose?


Is it a right to choose? When so many women really don't get to choose. They are either coerced, manipulated, and forced into the abortion. Yes, some freely choose and have no regrets, but when we have a country with laws on our books that say its ok to end a life (kill) then the culture thinks it must be moral. It makes it easier to do an immoral action.

And what about the fathers? Yes, some are jerks and 'force' the woman to abort or abandon the mother and offer no help. But I'm guessing there are many men that don't even know about the pregnancy and are probably told you have no say, it's my body. I like to believe some men would step up but that's were women have the control. Men, fight for the unborn. You do have a say.


Cultural Civil War


Abortion is the cultural civil war of our times. We do have bloody casualties in this war. We can't deny that. It's heartbreaking because the casualties don't even get to fight.

Great article on Norma McCorvey the Jane Roe in Roe VS Wade.


Thank you for reading. I appreciate you.

My youngest of 5. Born on Jan 22, 2010. The anniversary of Roe VS Wade.
What a wonderful way to celebrate life than a birthday!


Will you pray for the unborn and the mothers?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Simple Country Catholic: God Searches for Us

Simple Country Catholic: God Searches for Us: God Searches For Us I've recently discovered a Catholic author, priest, and professor of psychology, Henri Nouwen.  I've been read...

God Searches for Us

God Searches For Us

I've recently discovered a Catholic author, priest, and professor of psychology, Henri Nouwen.  I've been reading his "The Dance of Life" book. He's got some gems of ideas.

We often talk about the 'search for God', how our souls are looking for him, trying to understand Him, longing for Him. While that is all true, I had never thought about the flip side of that, God is searching for us, longing for us.

Nouwen asks "The question is not "How am I to find God? but "How am I to let myself be found by him?" The question is not "How am I to know God?" but "How am I to let myself be known by God?" And, finally, the question is not "How am I to love God? but "How am I to let myself be loved by God?"

God searches for Adam and Eve, the lost sheep, finds the lost coin, eats with the sinners.

He is searching for US. 


In my experience, often what leads someone to the faith isn't as much reason, history, scripture, etc. but rather a longing.  That longing will never be filled unless God encounters that person. God seeks and finds them and calls them as His own. There really is no rhyme or reason on how Jesus seeks out others. It's random. There's no pattern that I see.  Some encounters take years, others happen in a flash (like Paul).  Backgrounds of people seem not to matter.

God can penetrate a harden heart.  


We still have to choose Him.  But if he encounters us, we have no choice but to embrace the encounter.  I've seen two instances of this.  A man I met once said he felt the Lord calling him specifically to my Church, he came for awhile, I haven't seen him in months (not so say he didn't encounter God and is doing something else). Another man said he had no choice but to come to my Church, he didn't want to be there, but he couldn't ignore it anymore. God encountered him and he couldn't deny it.

When God encounters us, we must listen, it may seem crazy, but God is crazy. He is crazy in love with us.

My new prayer. 


This reflection has taught me another way to pray to bring people to the faith.

Lord, search for my loved ones, those that are lost,  find them, encounter them. Amen.

My silly brain has a vision of a classroom where students are holding up their hands saying "pick me, pick me!"  I'm the teacher behind the student pointing to them and mouthing 'choose this one'.  How do we get Gods' attention so he may choose us? Hello God, I'm right here! Do you see me? This verse from Psalm may answer that question.

God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God.  Psalm 53:2

God encounters us first so we can encounter Him for eternity.

How are you allowing God to find you, to know you, to love you?
How will you answer when God calls you by name and says 'where are you'?