Monday, December 2, 2019

Simple Country Catholic: The Light of Advent

Simple Country Catholic: The Light of Advent: Isaiah 2:5 “Oh house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.” Romans 12:12 “Let us then cast off the works of darkne...

The Light of Advent

Isaiah 2:5 “Oh house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord.”

Romans 12:12 “Let us then cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

Magic and Light

Advent begins.  It is a time of anticipation, waiting for the Lord.

We begin in darkness and each week light one of the 4 candles so each week our light becomes brighter.

The darkness can be our unbelief, our lukewarmness, our sins that we habitually commit, our complacency.  Advent calls us to deeper reflection on how we are called to be a light in the world. 

It is time of reflection, soul searching.  What areas in our lives need a re-adjustment?  What shortcomings do we need to acknowledge? Are we spending time with our Lord? In order to know someone more deeply, time must be spent together and saying sorry when we have wronged them.

There truly is something ‘magical’ about this time of the year.  People who don’t believe in Christ will celebrate this season because of love, sharing, family, peace on Earth, etc.  That’s good.  People’s hearts are more open to helping others and giving.  That’s good too. 

Christmas trees with lights, houses with lights, yards with lights, candles in windows, all indicate that this time is special, set apart for light in the darkness.

I believe with my entire being, the magic that is felt is the Holy Spirit trying to enter in each of us.  The sense of peace and love is our hearts flickering with a spark of the divine waiting to fill our hearts with the flame of His love and spirit.

This advent maybe reflect on how bright the light is in your life.  Call upon the Holy Spirit to enkindle the fire of His light and love in your heart.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Fruit Trees and the Spirit

We built our home 18 years ago on 5 acres. Within the first 5 years we planted 3 pear trees, 1 apple and 1 cherry tree.  Our cherry tree has always produced fruit. It's still small, we might get enough to make one pie before the worms and birds get the rest.  We also had 3 girls in 3 years and 2 of them during those first 5 years in our home. Needless to say we were busy, the fruit trees were never pruned or taken care of properly.  We occasionally got a few apples and pears but not more than 6-8 from each tree.

But this year we had a bumper crop from our pears and apple!  I have no explanation of why or how it happened.  We don't spray our trees so they are truly 'organic'.  We did nothing to fertilize and certainly did not prune.  In fact, an unusual phenomenon happened on Halloween, it snowed. I went out and picked the rest of the pears so as not to waste them in the cold.

Bosco and a Pear Tree
This random bumper crop got me thinking of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit, in human terms, has no rhyme or reason. It doesn't make sense. Just like this years crops had no reason to be so bountiful.  The Queen lyric "anyway the wind blows" comes to mind.  The Holy Spirit seeds blow where ever it wills and plants itself in the souls that are ready for planting.  .

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My 'organic' apple tree.

Bountiful Fruit of the Spirit 

God's love is always bountiful and is ever ready for harvest.  If we prune our hearts properly, our fruit will be abundant.  What is the fruit that we bear?

  • Charity (love)
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Patience
  • Kindness
  • Goodness
  • Long-Suffering (patience under provocation, enduring quietly the attacks of others)
  • Gentleness
  • Faith
  • Modesty
  • Self-Control (Temperance) 
  • Chastity 

How can we grow this fruit?

We can ask the Holy Spirit to plant a seed in our hearts, pray that this fruit grow within you, be open to what ever promptings you believe are being asked of you.  If you mindfully and specifically ask for the Holy Spirit enter into your life, you might just find, for no rhyme or reason, that you have been transformed into a new tree that has abundant fruit to share.

Come Spirit Come!

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23
(St. Jerome used the Vulgate translation (Latin) that's why Catholics traditionally have 12.)

Do you pray specifically to the Holy Spirit to produce fruit in your life?

Friday, November 1, 2019

My Letter for Christian Unity

My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

I'm reading a book and keep going back to these passages quoted below. There are many denominations within the Christian faith. If we are to build up the Kingdom, we must understand that through our differences we have THE most important thing in common, Jesus Christ. Rather than tearing each other down with Bible verses and differences in dogma, why don't we cooperate in unity of the Holy Spirit to bring others to what the restless heart longs for, God? IMO many don't 'go to church' or become believers because they see that we, in the family of God, can't get along. "You have to come to MY church, if you go to THAT Church, you will go to hell." loving and hypocritical is that? Or we just enclose ourselves within our own church walls with the like-minded believers and don't look out the windows because that's easiest. Christianity IS hard and Jesus gives us that warning. " will be hated by all because of My name." Luke 21:17

It's very difficult to be Christian in our times, Christians are very counter-cultural and should be "Do not love the world nor the things in the world" 1 John 2:15. The world will not give you what you need. A true Christian understands that this world is just passing, yet there is a peace, love, joy, forgiveness that the heart longs for that can be obtained in the here and now. My plea and prayer is that in our little corner of the world, we do our worship on Sunday mornings separate, but the rest of the time recognize that we are all in this together. Let's treat each other in the Christian faith with respect. A wise person once told me "Everyone believes in God but they just don't know it." Many hands make light work in helping people discover this and building up Jesus' Kingdom.

"Let's get together, love one another, tolerate and support one another and see ourselves as all parts of the great whole, the great work of God, the Church of Jesus Christ. Let's not ignore our differences or be false with any truth, we don't need "Sloopy agape" but we need true love, believing in the one Lord, the one faith, the one baptism, the one God and Father of us all. Ultimately, all true evangelism is ecumenical and all true ecumenism leads to Christian unity."

"Only when Christians are one, will the world stand in awe and finding no other explanation of this unity, proclaim that Jesus is sent from God to reconcile man to God and establish a kingdom of PEACE AND LOVE AMONG MANKIND." -"A Portion of My Spirit" Rev. Michael Scanlan, TOR

If you made it this far reading, thank you and may God's blessings be abundantly poured upon you!
Come Holy Spirit!
In Christ,
Jenny Goeppner

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Simple Country Catholic: Catholics DO NOT Worship Mary, for the love of Pet...

Simple Country Catholic: Catholics DO NOT Worship Mary, for the love of Pet...: I wanted to address a myth that is still going around my neck of the woods. With the world of Google, it's pretty easy to get th...

Catholics DO NOT Worship Mary, for the love of Pete..

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I wanted to address a myth that is still going around my neck of the woods. With the world of Google, it's pretty easy to get the answer if someone was honestly trying to understand, but for mythbuster sake, I'll address this one.

Nope just nope...

Nope, Catholics don't worship Mary, only God deserves our worship. But his mom is a pretty special lady. It may look like Catholics 'worship' her with our beautiful statues, flowers, prayers, but nope still nope, she is not a Goddess.
(Mythbuster #2: we don't worship statues, that would be dumb, do you worship Abraham Lincoln? There's a pretty big statue of him in DC. Before selfies, cameras, paintings, busts and statues were made to remember people. And who doesn't appreciate great art?!)
Simply put, we ask her to pray for us. Just as I would ask someone to pray for me. We believe all our friends in heaven can still pray for us (maybe they have a little more pull since they see God face to face?). And what good son doesn't listen to his mother? Mary told the servants at the wedding of Cana "Do whatever he tells you." What a good kid.
2 Maccabees 15:14 "And Oni'as spoke saying, "This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people and the holy city, Jeremi'ah, the prophet of God." Guess what, Jeremi'ah was dead and he was still praying for his people. Many people won't find the book of Maccabees in their Bible because Martin Luther took it out in the 1500's. Guess what, Martin Luther had a devotion to Mary and prayed the rosary. Somewhere along the lines of Christian history this devotion was lost in many Christian churches. What a sad day when this stopped.
If you open yourself to this verse, and believe that those in heaven will pray for you, then you have just found yourself with a host of heavenly friends that are willing to help you out! Call upon Mary, the Angels and Saints to intercede on your behalf. If that feels weird, how about asking your grandmother who has passed away to pray for you?

Obscure Bible Verses

I'm reading the book of Sirach (another book not in the Protestant Bible).
These obscure verses jumped out to me today as I was reading and immediately I thought 'Mary':
Sirach 3: 2-4 "Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and preserves himself from them. When he prays, he is heard; and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother."
God deserves our worship, God hears our prayers, God forgives our sins but His mother said yes, was a virgin (let that sink in), was a vessel for the word made incarnate, the spouse of the holy spirit. How can we not give her any credence? She hears us, she intercedes, but only if we ask her to take our prayers to her son.
I love the saints like St. Bernadette, Children of Fatima, St. Juan Diego who had visions of Mary. Apparitions of Mary appeared to them. She is always pointing us to her son and always gives us comfort. Our Lady of Fatima tells us the serpents head has been crushed, no worries. For a list of apparitions:

That's my mom.

Why do I feel the need to justify Mary? BECAUSE SHE IS MY MOM! I need to have her back. Nobody better be disrespectin' my mother. As Christians, we talk about the Christian family. We have the Father and the Son, but where's the Mother?! She's here and has been here, she will help you.
I'll share a very personal story about my feelings for Mother Mary. I was going through a rough patch and in my prayers yelled at God "Why don't you just do something?!" (How many of us have gotten mad and demanding at the Father?!) I was red-faced but as soon as I turned to Mary to ask her to beg her son to help, I just cried. I felt a loving embrace. Like a child who runs up to his mom and wraps his arms around her waist and just cries. I felt her presence of love. I felt her say "it will be OK my child, I'll talk to him."

Still not convinced?

One chooses to believe what one wishes. Whether or not you think Catholics, Episcopalians (Anglicans), Orthodox and some Lutherans are all Mary idolatry worshipers, that is for you to believe, the truth is, it is not the truth. All I can say is, Mary is for everyone, she is NOT Catholic. I promise you, you don't have to convert to the Catholic faith to honor Mary, but open your mind and heart to the Blessed Mother and you will see your faith to her Son brought to a entirely different level.
Mary doesn't replace Jesus, she is always pointing us to her son.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is with thee, Blessed are you among women, and Blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, PRAY FOR US sinners, now and at the hour of your death. Amen.

What is stopping you from honoring Mary?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Simple Country Catholic: Winter and the Wild Goose

Simple Country Catholic: Winter and the Wild Goose: Embracing the Chill The older I get, the more I love winter. Last week, we were in a deep freeze with negative temps and wind chills. M...