Monday, December 31, 2007

Vade in Pace!

The Eye of God

I took the picture as we flew out of Dublin two years ago to return to England where we visited with our daughter Laura and her family while they were in residence there for a year. This picture is a constant reminder to me of the awesomeness of our God and the peace and serenity that is His to offer us. It is with this in mind that I offer this in reflection as an extension of all the wonderful offerings I have read this day regarding Peace and the New Year granted us by our Maker.

~*~*~*~

The Romans bid each other farewell with Vade in pace!--"Go in peace!"

Since the renewal of the Liturgy we Catholics have grown accustomed to this farewell greeting, too. It is interesting to note that Our Lord's disciples would have been familiar with the Romans' use of this leave-taking message. It also clarifies Our Lord's farewell to them, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you" (John 14:27). His peace is not the same as the everyday nicety the Romans exchanged routinely.

The few thoughts [here] are meant to remind us through reading and reflection that the Lord's peace is heritage for every circumstance, no matter the happening. It's His gift along with--inseparable from--His cross. Dante caught it all: In voluntate eius pax nostra, "in His will is our Peace."

[This reflection] also warn[s] us that the theme song in hell may easily be: "I Did It My Way." The world sets before us one avenue of peace, the Lord another.

While life here is still ours, may we seek after His peace and pursue it. And then we'll know its fullness eternally.

As the Lord gives, not as the world, Vade in Pache!+
from Latin Sayings for Spiritual Growth
By Archabbot Lambert Reilly, O.S.B.


~*~*~*~


And so with the Old Year soon to be replaced by the New Year, I say, with much sincerity to all, "May His Peace be with you." And in gratitude for all who have touched my life so tenderly this year I say, "Thanks be to GOD!"


Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Holy Family


"Then he went down with them and came to
Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother
treasured all these things in her heart."
~Luke 2:51~

~*~
A few days after Christmas, we celebrate Joseph, Mary, and Jesus: the holy family. I would like my family to be holy, too, but I don't know. My family is so far from ideal; we are scattered, we are blended, and we are all such individuals.

But holiness is there: in mutual love, in moments of grace, in tenacious commitment, and in daily forgiveness.

I think that's holiness. Or at least it's a start.

~*~

Jesus, I pray for my family. May we grow in holiness
and mutual service, in imitation of your holy family.

from A Catholic Woman's Book of Days
By Amy Welborn
~*~

Thanks be to God!

It's Sunday!!!


Whew!! With all the holiday festivities, travel and being off work, I've been at a loss as to what day of the week it really is...I have had more false Sundays in the last week (days that feel like Sunday) that it's a relief to have a REAL one. Does that sound strange?

At any rate I wanted to share this with all who have not visited Esther's domain A Catholic Mom in Hawaii, http://hicatholicmom.blogspot.com/. It is the Epiphany Blessing. It has a wonderful history and even more important it is a wonderful tradition. She also has posted a lovely prayer to the Holy Family.
~*~*~*~*~
Thanks be to God!!!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Christmas Journey

This journey begins December 22, as this is the "off year" for the family gathering. So those who live close came for an early celebration. Aunt Mimi (Marianne), Wes, Annie and the Girls traveled from INDY to join Laura, Roy, Kellie and Neil for the traditional clam chowder and gift sharing. Neil asked that this year after the blessing of the gifts that we each mention what makes us thankful at Christmas. The treasure came that evening from four year old Ainsley, through Mama because she was too shy to tell us, who said she was thankful because, should she die, she would see Jesus in heaven. (It still brings tears to my eyes!). The wisdom of the "wee ones." And so it was that we began the revelry of the evening. There was much fun and surprises!!!


Early Christmas Eve we began our journey to Georgia to visit with Jimmy. Mass at St. Bridget's was glorious with the music and the beautiful colors of Christmas. I reflected at the time that Scott Hahn was right when he said that Mass is Heaven on earth! Christmas Day was quiet and restful except for the occasional trek out in the rain with Duchess, our "puppy".

On the feast of St. Stephen we were joined by David, Kelly and the boys from Charlotte. The gift of Christmas is being with family and MY gift was complete. The Keller treasury is full for another year with memories worth far more that gold and longer lasting than any gift that may soon become obsolete.

The Treasures

Ainsley, Kelly, Neil and Lindsey eating the Chowder

The annual "under the tree" picture

Group hug with Aunt Mimi and Wally-dog somewhere in the middle

Cameron and Jonathan at Uncle Jimmy's

What's that Andrew?

Ben started reading as soon as they were unwrapped.

Breakfast at Waffle House before we left for home.

Duchess, guiding the way home.
~~~~~~~

We had such a wonderful time. And just a note in passing...I finally surprised Ron with his gift after 40 years!!!!! There is a reason to persevere!

Thanks be to God!!!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Memory


As the Christmas festivities begin here at the Keller's today with the arrival of the INDY contingent, Wes, Annie and the Girls and Aunt Mimi (Marianne) I am reminded of the times I spent with the Folks (Aunt Mary, Aunt Rose, Aunt Ida and Pat). The house on Milwaukee Street was always a warm and cozy place to be any time, but especially at Christmas. The tree was decorated with such care. The nativity was placed with much reverence.

And most of all there was music and singing. We'd all gather around the piano in the living room, Pat would play and we would sing carols. My favorite secular tune of all has been for some time, Christmas in Killarney. It's a light and lively tune that always reminds of the grand times we had as family there. And so every year, though tattered and warn it comes out again and is sung again, if by no one but me.

Memories are wonderful treasures we carry with us and often share with others. Today is the day I begin to gather some new treasures. We will celebrate the Birth of our Lord early here so that Ron and I can travel to visit the rest of the Clan in Georgia on Christmas Eve.

Much to my delight I will again, this year. be able to visit with all my children and grandchildren. That is a gift greater than any under the tree. So I will be away for a few days...

This is my heartfelt wish for everyone. That God bless you with the tender love only a father can give, the support and comfort of our brother, Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate, and the courage of the Holy Spirit to accept the challenges that will visit us as we journey to our eternal celebration. God Bless you all as I wish you all a Merry, Joyous Christmas!


*******
Reflection: "What good is it if Mary gave birth to the Son of God centuries ago, if I do not also give birth to the Son of God in my time and culture?"

*******
Thanks be to GOD!!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Twelve Days of Christmas

A Gift sent to me by Marianne, my daughter, reminds me of the days when I was teaching religious education. It was one of those challenges you give the kids to see if they are really interested in learning about our Church history and Christmas is a perfect time to use this "challenge". And with each challenge came a reward. Whether this may be a true story or only a legend makes no difference, it is a beautiful way to catechise.






*There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled many people. What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won't come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas? Well, consider this...


*From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

*The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.


*Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.


*Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.


*The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.


*The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.


*The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.


*Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.


*The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.


*Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit--Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.


*The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

*The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

*The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

~~~~~~~

Now when you hear or sing this Christmas Carol you may find yourself reminded of the principles upon which the Church was founded as well as the beautiful words used to instruct us in the Faith.

~^~^~^~^~

Thanks be to God.


Thursday, December 20, 2007

Proclamation from a Saint...


Guardian Angel


"Make yourself familiar with the angels, and behold them frequently in spirit; for without being seen, they are present with you."--St. Francis de Sales

(Doctor of the Church and known as the "gentleman saint")


~~~~~~~

For His gifts and treasures, thanks be to God.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The father of John the Baptist...

From The Little Blue Book:

The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah, "Do not be
afraid, because your prayer has been heard. Your
wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall
name him John. And you will have joy and gladness,
any many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be
great in the sight of the Lord. . .He will be filled
with the Holy spirit even from his mother's womb.
~Luke 1:5-25~


*Zechariah was one of approximately 18,000 Jewish priest in Palestine at the time of Jesus. They were divided into 24 groups of 750 each. Twice a year each group came to the Temple in Jerusalem to serve for a week. Their roles during this week of service were chose by lot. Some of them, in a given week, weren't chosen to do anything.

*Each morning, four lots were cast to decide who would carry out the four tasks at the altar. Then in the afternoon, a fifth lot was cast to determine who would enter the Holy Place to offer the evening incense. This extraordinary privilege usually came only once in a lifetime.

*In Luke's account, when the afternoon lot was cast, Zechariah was chosen to enter the Holy Place and offer the evening incense. It was there that the angel appeared to him to announce the birth of John.
~~~~~~~

*The angel tells Zechariah that his prayer has been heard. In the story leading up to this point, Luke hadn't told us what Zechariah was praying for. Now we know. He had been praying for Israel, of course, as a Jewish priest would do. But he and Elizabeth, unrealistic though it may e seemed because of their advanced years, had also been praying for a child.

*Three times in Luke we hear angels say, "do not be afraid"--to Zechariah here, to Mary at the Annunciation, and to the shepherds in the field. In Luke's Gospel, Jesus will also say those same words five time during his public life.

**Anything in particular you'd really like to pray for?
**Anything going on in your life that has you scared?
**Listen.
**God is saying to you: "Do not be afraid."

~*~*~*~

For the comfort and encouragement given, thanks be to God.



Whatever you do, do it ASAP!




Ever wonder about the abbreviation A.S.A.P.? Generally we think of it in terms of even more hurry and stress in our lives. Maybe if we think of this
abbreviation in a different manner, we will begin to find a new way to deal with those rough days along the way.

*************


There's work to do, deadlines to meet;

You've got no time to

spare,

But as you hurry and scurry-

ASAP - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER



In the midst of family chaos,

"Quality time" is rare.

Do your best; let God do the rest-

ASAP - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER.




It may seem like your worries

Are more than you can bear.

Slow down and take a breather-

ASAP - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER




God knows how stressful life is;

He wants to ease our cares,

And He'll respond to all your needs

A.S.A.P. - ALWAYS SAY A PRAYER.

*******

Just had to save this message from Maggie...and this is the best place to do that!!! Wishing all a GOOD DAY!!!

~^~^~^~^~
And thanks be to God!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How long is Advent...

This is the title of an interesting section in The Little Blue Book distributed to us on the First Sunday of Advent at church. The Little Blue Book is based on the writings of Bishop Ken Untener who was inspired to create the Little Books for the people of his Diocese of Saginaw. Since his death in 2004 The Little Books have been a legacy carried on by Catherine Haven with the help of Sr. Nancy Ayotte, IHM. The book is full of wonderful reflection and instruction. This was yesterday's entry.

How long is Advent?

Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before December 25. It always has four Sundays, but the total number of days can vary. For example:
*If Christmas falls on Monday, then Advent last three weeks and a day.
*If Christmas falls on a Sunday, Advent lasts four full weeks

*******

Regardless of when Advent begins, every year the same Scripture reading are used for weekdays from December 17-24. The Gospels on those days describe the events leading up to the birth of Christ:

**December 17: The genealogy of Jesus (Matthew)
**December 18: The annunciation to Joseph (Matthew)
**December 19: The annunciation to Zechariah (Luke)
**December 20: The annunciation of Mary (Luke)
**December 21: Mary's visit to Elizabeth (Luke)
**December 22: Mary's "Magnificat" (Luke
**December 23: The birth of John the Baptist (Luke)
**December 24: The "Benedictus" of Zechariah (Luke)

~~~~~~

It's a map for the journey to Bethlehem. Isn't it great to have a "AAA Trip tick" set forth by the church for this journey? Isn't it funny that I had to have this itinerary pointed out to me? (Shaking my head!) The Church certainly knows how to give a wonderful guided tour!

~*~*~*~*~
Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Peace on Earth


Here it is the 3rd Sunday of Advent! God has blessed me in so many ways. Yesterday another birthday came and went. In gratitude, I thank God for my health, family, friends and the opportunity to live another day in His love. Today, I am still praying for peace on this HIS earth. So this I offer to you as it was offered to me and the members of St. John the Baptist Church of Newburgh.


LITANY OF NON-VIOLENCE

Provident God, aware of my own brokenness,
I ask the gift of courage to identify how and where
I am in need of conversion in order to live in
solidarity with all Earth's people.
*
Deliver me from the violence of superiority and disdain..
Grant me the desire, and the humility, to listen
with
special care to those whose experiences
and attitudes are different from my own.
*
Deliver me from the violence of greed and privilege.
Grant me the desire, and the will, to live
simply
so other may have their just share of the Earth's resources.
*
Deliver me from the silence that gives consent
to abuse, war, and evil.

Grant me the desire, and courage, to risk speaking
and acting for the common good.
*
Deliver me from the violence of irreverence,
exploitation and control.
Grant me the desire, and the strength, to act
responsibly within the cycle of
creation..
*
God of love, mercy and justice,
Acknowledging my complicity in those attitudes,
actions and words which perpetuate violence,
I beg the grace of a non-violent heart.
*
Amen
*
Sisters of Providence

St. Mary-of-the-Woods,
Terre Haute, Indiana

~~~~~~~
Because of His abundance of graces given
to me at all time, I say, "Thanks be to God!"

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tthe Littlest Angel


***
Of all the stories I cherish from my childhood, the story of the Littlest Angel is by far my favorite. My godmother, Aunt Rosemary, gave me the story on record, narrated by Loretta Young. And I had as much anticipation waiting for the time when I could listen to it as I did in anticipation of Christmas.

...On the day of the miracle, the Littlest Angel proudly placed his small box before the throne of God. The littlest Angel trembled as the box was opened. There was a butterfly with golden wings, a sky-blue egg from a bird's nest, two white stones from a river bank, and a strap from the collar of his dog. The voice of God spoke, "of all the gifts this small box pleases me most. I accept this gift in the name of the Child Jesus born this night in Bethlehem." The box began to glow. It rose until it hung over the stable where the Son of God had just been born. The box would forever be known as the "the shining star of Bethlehem.


So you see I knew there was hope for me. For as children we want to know we can please God. The validation came to me in this story. Whatever I did, no matter how plain, it would please God. How is it we forget that when we "grow" up?

>*< >*< >*<
Every breath of air and ray of light and heat,
every beautiful prospect, is, as it were,
the skirts of their garments, the weaving of
the robes of those whose faces see God.
John Henry Newman
~~~~~~~

Thanks be to God!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

New Awakening

As I awoke this morning I realized I was saying the Our Father. Not too hard to understand. A lot of people awaken saying the Our Father in the morning as a matter of course just as I did. But this morning I had a New Awakening. I was struck by the fact that THIS day I said "Thy will be done!" I can only surmise that the excerpt from Contemplation Haven, Asylum for Your Refugee Soul made a real impact on me yesterday. She shared a wonderful excerpt by Hans Urs von Balthasar called Maybe Tomorrow. Wow! It must have had more of an impression on me than I thought!!! TODAY I hear myself saying, "Thy will be done" now...not tomorrow...today! I'm really going to TRY today!!!

~~~~~~~

Thanks be to God!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton

Though my birthday is still a few days away I received the most wonderful book of reflections from my dear friend, Martha. (You might remember her from my entry on friendship in May this year). I have always love G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown Mysteries. Now, I am so delighted with this gift that I have to share today's reflection with you from the "Wisdom of G.K. Chesterton".

Levity and Levitation

Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly. This has always been the instinct of Christendom, and especially the instinct of Christian art. Remember how Fra Angelico represented all his angels, not only as birds, bu almost as butterflies. Remember how the most earnest medieval art was full of light and fluttering draperies, of quick and capering feet...In the old Christian pictures the sky over every figure is like a blue or gold parachute. Every figure seems ready to fly up and float about in the heavens. The tattered cloak of the beggar will bear him up like the rayed plumes of the angels. But the kings in their heavy gold and the proud in their robes of purple will all of their nature sink downward, for pride cannot rise to levity or levitation. Pride is the downward drag of all things into an easy solemnity. One "settles down" into a sort of selfish seriousness; but one has to rise to a gay self-forgetfulness. A man "falls" into a brown study; he reaches up at a blue sky. (ORTHODOXY)

REVIVE THE SPIRIT
For thus says the high and lofty one
who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
I dwell in the high and holy place,
and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the humble,
and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Isaiah 57:15

PRAYER
Holy God, bear us upward toward you. Make our spirits
lighter, more joyful. Teach us how to live without fretting,
without the anxieties that so often obscure our view
of you in your high and holy place, that heaven which is
our true home.

ADVENT ACTION
If you live near an art museum, plan a day trip there and spend an hour or more
in the medieval section. if not, find art books at a local library or search the internet
for images of great art. As you look at the painting, consider what Chesterton
says about the lightness, the "gay self-forgetfulness" of some of the figures. Try
to appreciate the art while also opening yourself to it as a mode for devotion.
~~~~~~~

I hope you find this to be a source of reflection you might find as useful and uplifting as I have found it to be. Gee, aren't birthdays grand!!!

~~~~~~~
Thanks be to God!!!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Cards


A co-worker several years ago told me she never sent Christmas cards because they were a waste of time and money. "No one keeps them," she said. "They just throw them away." Well, I had to agree that she might have been right about that.

But I had a wonderful teacher when it came to the "art" of Christmas cards. My dad's cousin, Pat, would SHOP every year for her Christmas cards. It was with loving tenderness and with great care she sought the card she was going to send each year. I remember going shopping with her once. I asked her what she looked for in a Christmas card and she said that it had to have a certain beauty that struck her as being really Christmas. "But why?" I asked. She told me she always wanted the card to be a real gift, not just a piece of paper that was sent in the mail. She said that with each card she addressed and signed she said a prayer for the friend or family. And at least once a year she had remembered them personally in her prayers, her gift to them. Well, that bowled that teenager over...

Ever since, I have tried to remember the lesson Pat taught me that Saturday so many years ago. When I work on the Christmas cards they are a labor of love, one in which I take a great deal of pleasure! I treasure this time with my family and friends and share that little prayer for them as Pat did. That's my Christmas card tradition and I love it.

I hope you love to send Christmas cards as I do. For this card is for All who visit here. God Bless you this Holy Season of Christmas.

*******

And Thanks Be to God!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Feast of the Immaculate Conception


It is so amazing and awe inspiring to witness again how the Spirit has moved the Church Fathers in the instruction of the People of God. I cannot tell you how the reading from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Ephesians really touch my heart and soul this morning at Mass. While proclaiming the Word I was struck by the eloquence of Saint Paul and how on this Holy Feast we are truly drawn securely into the Family of God. This reading is so appropriate and is a reminder of our connection to our Blessed Mother through her son Jesus. I am destined to be holy.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundations of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him. In love he destined us for adoption to himself through Jesus Christ, in accord with the favor of his will, for the praise of the glory of his grace that he granted us in the beloved. In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ. (Ephesians 1:3-6: 11-12)


<*?<*><*>

Thanks be to God, again!!!

Friday, December 07, 2007

I Have Always Loved Playing Tag...

This has been a pretty important week for me! I feel really special. I haven't felt so important since Marianne played basketball in high school and people would come up to me and say, "You're Marianne's mother, aren't you? SHE's a very good basketball player." It is really thrilling for me to open this blog and see a comment. I get as excited as a little kid.So to receive the Emmanuel Award and then being tagged for the MEME is quite a treat...


(Picture by Mary Engelbreit)

~~~~~~~



HERE GOES:
  1. I love to play Scrabble especially with the grand kids. My mom always said it is the best way to learn to spell, learn your vocabulary, and have fun at the same time.
  2. I can be a poor sport and poor looser (but not at Scrabble) when it comes to watching Denver Bronco football. These roots are deep.
  3. Sometimes I play solitaire. That's my remedy for avoiding poor sportsmanship when the Broncos are playing.
  4. I was scared to death of dogs as a child. Now I have two.
  5. I am dyslexic when it comes to numbers. (eg. I weighed a patient today whose weight was 232 lbs, and in the computer he weighed 323 lbs. when I got through.) Luckily I have a boss with a good sense of humor and patients who know me pretty well.
  6. I graduated from St. Mary-of-the-Woods college in 1994 with a degree in gerontology at the age of 48. (To which my husband remarked, "At your age, you will be in the forefront of your field.)
  7. When I was in college, three of my children were in college at the same time.
  8. I find the greatest joy in waking in the morning knowing that I start it with a clean slate and at the end of the day see how much chalk dust there is on the eraser. Some days are better than other.
And one for good measure...I love a good cup of hot tea.

Now my journey begins to "tag" others...hoping they have not already been tagged.

~*~*~*~
Good evening to all and Thanks Be To God!!!!!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Happy St. Nicholas Day!

St. Nicholas Church, North Walsham, England, 2005


I believe the feast of St. Nicholas has been celebrated more as my children grew up than when I was growing up. Pre-Vatican II children really did not celebrate anything during Advent. At least in my family, Advent was a somber time of preparation for the celebration of the Feast of Christmas. Aside from the Advent wreath, the decorations for Christmas and gifts under the tree were not a visible in our house until after the 15th of December. So at that time the tree didn't go up until after my birthday.

Since then St. Nicholas has been celebrated by the parochial schools and in religious education classes by the visit of THE St. Nicholas who shares his story with the children.

And so it is that I offer you on this day of celebration these TWO reflections (I couldn't decide which to choose).

"The Giver of every good and perfect gift has called up us to mimic his giving, bu grace through faith, and this is not of ourselves" (St. Nicholas). IT begins by giving ourselves over to Christ's words and the Father's will. By such trust we build a house founded on the eternal Rock who is the Lord that can withstand every threat and assault. The Rock we imitate is the "strong city" we become."
Magnificat, December , 2007

~~~~~~

The next is and offering by Amy Welborn for A Catholic Woman's Book of Days.

"But when you give alms, do not let our left hand
know what your right hand is doing, so that
your alms, may be done in secret, and your Father
who sees in secret will reward you."
~Matthew 6:3-4~

There are countless stories and legends about the deeds of St. Nicholas, a bishop of Myra, in what's now Turkey, back in the fourth century.

I suppose the most well-known is that of the dowry. A man was too poor to provide dowries for his daughters, so Bishop Nicholas found ways to get the needed funds to the family, in secret. The thing I like about the story is that Nicholas was so determined to be anonymous in his giving that for the last daughter, he supposedly dropped the bag of cash down the chimney.

It gives me something to think about. In this season of gift giving, is my heart truly centered on others or do I five in order to impress?

***
Loving God, I pray for a spirit of humble generosity
as I share the blessing you have showered on me.

~~~~~

Here is my challenge. It is easy to be reminded to give to the needy during this Holy Season as it is when we celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord. We are "joyful" givers at these time. I would ask that you consider finding a charitable organization to which you can give charitably all year, aside from the gifts you already offer to your church. Offer to send a donation to a seminary for the support of a seminarian. Give monthly to the local food pantry. Offer your services as a volunteer. Pray that the Spirit Guide you in the endeavor. Remember, we are all the Family of God! And the Family needs help All Year long.

~~~~~~
And for these opportunities to serve I say,
Thanks be To God!




Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Washing Dishes...


The other night Ron and I were privileged to help serve dinner to a group of people at church. It was a special occasion of some kind. Don't know what it was for, and that is not important. What struck me about the evening was the joy I felt being with the people who were serving as well. While helping to wash the dishes (for 50 people) I was reminded of those times I was closest to my family. Those times were when we were doing the mundane, seemingly unglamorous tasks.

Every year at this time I take a great deal of pleasure in remembering family gatherings in which the most important time for me as a "female" child was to be allowed to help clear the dishes and help wash them with the Aunt and my mother. Why? Because I could hear all those wonderful tales of other family gatherings that they could weave, I'm sure embellish, (which I have NEVER been prone to do) about their childhoods and the memories they shared of past gatherings.

I learned in serving the rewards are great...even if your hands become as prunes or the dish towel is so wet is has little value in drying. The value is in the giving and the treasure you give is the one of self.

~*~*~*~*~
For family and friends and the privilege of serving I say,
"Thanks be to God."

Monday, December 03, 2007

Emmanuel Award

Marie and Ginny at A View From the Pews have designed a new award honoring our fellow bloggers who share the true Christmas spirit. I am so honored to have been nominated for this award by Lisa at Are We There Yet, a favorite of mine because it offers such a variety of insights in this Christ filled family. To her I say thank you for the privilege of having been nominated for this award. And in the tradition of passing on the "baton", I'd like to nominate: Veritas at Prayer, Poetry and Praise. Her ability to write with tenderness and joy, and her obvious love of God has been a tremendous gift to me and has offered many reflective moments that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to pursue. Advent is a time of reflection, and she offers us just that! God Bless!

Marie and Ginny's explanation:

Emmanuel Award"God With Us"

In a consumer society it is a blessing to read blogs where the writer's main focus is God. Where they express their love for their faith so visibly and joyfully.

In a cynical world it is refreshing to see so many blogs which are generous, giving, who care about others and demonstrate what being a Christian is about, loving God and loving our neighbor.

Through their faith, lives and spirituality, they bring God to us, they in essence make God visible, 'God with us.'

This Award goes to all the faith filled blogs who make evident 'Emmanuel'- God with us, with Joy in their hearts.

Please share this Award with Christian blogs that focus on the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of our Savior.
~*~*~*~*~

And for all of you I say, "Thanks be to God!!"



Sunday, December 02, 2007

"Awaiting the Presence of Our Maker"

This reflections was written by Venerable John Henry Newman. He established the Oratory in Birmingham, England and was an eloquent preacher. It was published the this month's Magnificat.

There is another reason why God alone is happiness of our souls, to which I wish to direct attention. The contemplation of him, and nothing but it, is able fully to open and relieve the mind, to unlock, occupy, and fix our affections. We may indeed love things created with great intenseness, but such affection, when disjoined from the love of the Creator, is like a stream running in a narrow channel, impetuous, vehement, turbid. The heart runs out, as it were, only at one door; it is not an expanding of the whole man. Created natures cannot open us, or elicit the ten thousand senses which belong to us, and through which we really live. None but the presence of our Maker can enter us; for to none besides can the whole heart in all its thought and feelings be unlocked and subjected. "Behold," he says, "I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him,and him with me." "God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, and your hearts." "God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things." It is this feeling of simple and absolute confidence and communion which soothes and satisfies those to whom it is vouchsafed.

*****

I have to remind myself all the time...endlessly, that I have to be quiet so I can "hear the knock" at the door. I fear that I might miss it. But with instruction from those like Venerable John Henry Newman, I just might be awake and alert when it counts.

*****
Thanks be to God


Friday, November 30, 2007

The Christmas Pageant


My husband and I had been happily married for five years but hadn't been blessed with a baby. I decided to do some serious praying and promised God that if he would give us a child, I would be a perfect mother, love it with all my heart and raise it with His word as my guide.

God answered my prayers and blessed us with a son. The next year God blessed us with another son. The following year, He blessed us with yet another son. The year after that we were blessed with a daughter. My husband thought we'd been blessed right into poverty. We now had four children, and
the oldest
was only four years old.

I learned never to ask God
for anything unless I meant it. As a minister once told me, "If you pray for rain, make sure you carry an umbrella." I began reading a few verses of the Bible to the children each day as they lay in their cribs. I was off to a good start. God had entrusted me with four children and I didn't want to disappoint Him.

I tried to be patient the day the children smashed two dozen eggs on the kitchen floor searching for baby chicks. I tried to be understanding... when they started a hotel for homeless frogs in the spare bedroom, although it took me nearly two hours to catch all twenty-three frogs. When my daughter poured ketchup all over herself and rolled up in a blanket to see how it felt to be a hot dog, I tried to see the humor rather than the mess.

In spite of changing over twenty-five thousand diapers, never eating a hot meal and never sleeping for more than thirty minutes at a time, I still thank God daily for my children. While I couldn't keep my promise to be a perfect mother - I didn't even come close...I did keep my promise to raise them in the Word of God.

I knew I was missing the mark just a little when I told my daughter we were going to church to worship God, and she wanted to bring a bar of soap along to "wash up" Jesus, too. Something was lost in the translation when I explained that God gave us everlasting life, and my son thought it was generous of God to give us his "last wife."

My proudest moment came during the children's Christmas pageant. My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My five-year-old shepherd had practiced his line, "We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes." But he was nervous and said, "The baby was wrapped in w rinkled clothes." My four-year-old "Mary" said, "That's not 'wrinkled clothes,' silly. That's dirty, rotten clothes." A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing. I slouched a little lower in my seat when Mary dropped the doll representing Baby Jesus, and it bounced down the aisle crying, "Mama-mama." Mary grabbed the doll, wrapped it back up and held it tightly as the wise men arrived. My other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, "We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur." The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation.

"
I've never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one," laughed the pastor, wiping tears from his eyes. "For the rest of my life,I'll never hear the Christmas story with out thinking of gold, common sense and fur." "My children are my pride and my joy and my greatest blessing," I said as I dug through my purse for an aspirin.

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It is with gratitude that I thank Ron's cousin, Catherine, for sending me this in the form of an email. The author is anonymous to me at this time, but she has a wonderful way of putting into words the "Life and Times of Motherhood" in a simple yet moving manner.

I recall the time two of the boys, and I'm not sure which, and it's not important anyway, first served Mass TOGETHER. As always the Kellers were sitting in the front of the church so we have no idea how the rest of the congregation was reacting. I only know that I wanted to disappear, when neither boy could decide who was going to ring the bells at consecration. The bells were rung by BOTH as they fought for superiority. The problem was easily solved after Mass when they were instructed to decide before Mass who was to ring the bells. Our children are not only a constant source of joy, but also an endless cause for humility when our PRIDE gets in the way.

**********

Peace, Joy, and Thanks be to God!!!


SURPRISE!!!

Copthorne Hotel, December, 2005

My reflection this morning was so relevant to me and the Church's "beginning" of this Holy Season that I just had to share it. Again from A Catholic Woman's Book of Days by Amy Welborn.

"Now when these things begin to take place,
stand up and raise your heads, because
your redemption is drawing near."
-Luke 21:28-

***
When I lived in Florida, Advent and Christmas always caught me by surprise. I did, indeed, own a calendar, but there's just something about palm trees, balmy skies, and wearing shorts that conspires against that particular holiday spirit.

I don't want to be caught by surprise this year, because even though the weather here is cold, plenty of other attractions conspire to distract me. so what will I do? I'll consider the gift that the Advent season can bring me: Four weeks to contemplate what the coming of Jesus means in my life. I'll try not to sleep through it. I'll try, as Jesus tells me, to stay awake to the possibilities that the present holds.
***
Loving God, help me find the space to prepare
myself for this holy season of Advent.


~*~*~*~
And so to this I say,
"Amen and Thanks be to God!"


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

John Angotti - Habitat For Humanity Clip

While on the move this morning I saw a preview of the the concert coming to St. John's with John Angotti. It is such a Great Cause. I hope all who can will support this effort.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Path of Waiting...







"The secret of waiting
is the faith of that the seed
has been planted,
that something
has begun."

Henri J. M. Nouwen, 1995






Advent is upon us and I have been reflecting on "waiting". My birthday falls in December. So waiting for me as a child was twofold. The anticipation of my birthday and then the excitement of Christmas. And when I was twelve years old the holiday was even more exciting while waiting for the birth of my youngest brother, Phil. (I secretly hoped he would be born on my birthday.) Well, even better, he was born on the 23rd so that when we came home from the Aunts where my sister, brother and I were staying, we had our own "Baby Jesus".

Then, twelve years later I gave birth to a most precious gift. Yes, I gave birth to my oldest son David, on my birthday. Needless to say I don't remember much about that day except that I had a wonderful baby boy with whom I could share the day. Anyone who has been pregnant really understands better than anyone the excitement and anxiety that accompanies all the other changes that go on in this nine months of Waiting, the advent of that birth.

That's how I see Advent. We are in prayerful anticipation of our continued rebirth as Christians. And that rebirth is in the person of Jesus Christ our Savior and his constant presence in our lives. Being reborn daily, growing in the fullness of his Light!!! We are in constant formation. Advent is a reminder. Yes, a season in which we are called again to look inward, make those changes so difficult to make, modify behavior. We are called to LOVE again and again. And why not? He loves us again and again.

Finally, Henri J. M. Nouwen says:

Waiting. . .is not passive. It involves nurturing the moment, as a mother nurtures the child that is in her womb. Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Simeon, and Anna were present to the moment. That is why they could hear the angel. They were alert, attentive to the voice that spoke to them and said, 'Don't be afraid. Something is happening to you. Pay attention.'

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*****
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Thanks be to God!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Feast of Corpus Christi

I was reminded this morning at Mass how it is that on this Glorious Day of Celebration many are not thinking about the Kingship of the Savior. Every year in the Church's liturgical calendar this feast officially ends the year and the following Sunday we observe the beginning of the Season of Advent, that season when we anticipate the celebration of Our Lord's birth. Why is it that we do not revel in the joy of this feast? Not only have we been saved by the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we are also made co-heirs of the "kingdom" through Baptism.

St. John of the Cross writes...

The soul experiences in God as much gentleness and love as it does power and dominion and grandeur, for everything in God is one. The delight is strong; and the protection is powerful in gentleness and love, that the soul might endure the strong delight, and instead of fainting stand powerful and strong. If Ester fainted, it was because the king did not at first show himself to her favorably but as it says there, disclosed with burning eyes the furor of his heart (Est 15: 10). Yet she came to herself after he favored her, held out his scepter and touched her with it, and embraced her and told her that he was her brother and not to fear (Est 15: 11-12).

The soul no longer fears, since from henceforth the King of heaven acts in a friendly way toward it, as toward his brother and his equal. In revealing to it, in gentleness and not in furor, the might of his power and the love of his goodness, he communicates to it from his heart strength and love, going out to it from his throne, which is the soul itself, like the Bridegroom from his bridal chamber (Ps 18:6), where he was hidden and turned toward it, touching it with his scepter, and embracing it as a brother. There we find the royal garments and their fragrance, which are God's admirable virtues; there the splendor of God, which is charity; there is glittering of the precious stones of knowledge of the higher and lower substances; there the face of the Word, full of graces, which shines upon the queen, which is the soul, and clothes it in such a fashion that, transformed in these attributes of the heavenly King, it is aware of having become a queen. (Magnificat November, 2007)

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And so, I think this should also be a day of grand celebration!!! But then I have always loved a party. Just knowing and understanding that like the "good thief" we too will be one day with the King in Paradise should be reason to dance, sing and praise the Lord...Party!


*******
And in sincere gratitude I say, "Thanks be to God!!!"

Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Over the river and through the woods...


...to Grandmother's house we go." Well, this year Grandma and Grandpa are the ones who travel. Last night we were served a glorious pre-Thanksgiving dinner with Laura, Roy, Kellie and Neil. And today we are off to Indianapolis for dinner with Marianne. Tomorrow we will be joined by Wes, Annie and the Girls for supper with Eric.

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful time to reflect on all the things we have to be grateful for. And we do it in the presence of family and friends. Actually, everyday is thanksgiving day if we are saying grace at meals and thanking God for who we are and what we have either alone in prayer or in the assembly of others as we publicly give Him Praise and Thanksgiving.

So from the Keller house to yours, Happy Thanksgiving Day!!!

~*~*~*~*~*~*~
And Thanks be to God!!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My harp...

I sat down with my harp this afternoon in hopes I could spend some time in practicing in preparation for Christmas. It has been since Spring since I have "plucked" its stings and so it was in desperate need of a tuning. I fear that it has been so long that I have played ( and I use the word played loosely) that my fingers got sore after about 30 min. Needless to say there needs to be more time spent at the harp. I've only had the "Baby" for two years and I love to "play at" the harp. I am much more comfortable without an audience. I guess I am pretty insecure, I really don't like to embarrass myself when I am not prepared. My repertoire is limited too, because my harp has no levers and so I can only play songs in the key of C. Not to worry...One day when I have successfully achieved some skill at the harp I will invest in the levers. Until then I'll need to do some very diligent practicing. Christmas is a great incentive to practice...I do so love the music.
*<*>*<*>*<*>*

Thanks Be to God!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

In Concert


To Benefit Habitat for Humanity!!!

John Angotti will be here at St. John the Baptist Church December 14 to perform in concert to benefit the area's Habitat for Humanity. Habitat has been even more evident in our lives here since the tornado of November, 2005 destroyed so many homes. They have touched us with their diligence and generosity in housing those who are without homes or lost them as a result of that tornado. More important, Habitat also give us a perfect opportunity to do the work of God in participating in His beatitudes.

I would ask that you pray for the success of this concert. Better yet, if you can be here, come and give thanks, praise, and enjoy the gifts of our God in music!!! John Angotti is a dynamic performer and a zealous "worker in the vineyard".

~*******~

Thanks be to God.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Duke and Duchess of Keller

















The Duke and Duchess Of Keller



The reason for this entry was initiated by my grandson, Ben, who early this week sent me an email to tell me he liked Duke and Duchess. Some 14 years ago we got Duke. He is a timid usually quite dog unless he suspects someone is invading his domain. That means barking loudly if someone strolls past our house. And his throne is at the top the stairs where he can view his "vast" dukedom. ( you should really hear the two in concert at the arrival of guests!) Duchess is only two years old and is most energetic. These two are friends and companions, yet individually they are very different. Duke really is shy. He deliberately walks away and HIDES if he thinks he will get his picture taken. He will not look at anyone with a camera. Duchess, on the other hand, will even pose for pictures.

Duke has aways, unless he was treeing a squirrel when he was younger, been content to stay indoors. Duchess finds mole and rabbit hunting, or running laps (she can turn on a dime) preferable to the quiet life.

In either case, they fun to have around. Duchess can entertain herself by playing ball alone. It is comical and yet she does so enjoy it. Duke has not lost his knack of sitting quietly next to your chair at the kitchen table waiting for his leftover dinner treat, though he doesn't seem to find any fun in his running laps any more. It seems arthritis has become his other companion.

I guess I can see in these two friends how life changes and we can grow in who we are by what they have to teach us in their aging...Lord knows I can identify with the changes.

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Thanks be to God!


Friday, November 16, 2007

Always I Am Guided by the Spirit

Photo by Elisa Mary Pamelia, 2006

Yesterday I read in the blog Poetry, Prayer, and Praise a wonderful prayer for the souls in purgatory by St. Gertrude. To my surprise, this morning I opened my book of meditation for Pope John Paul II to find this . Today is the feast of "St. Gertrude, the Theologian of the Sacred Heart" and so if you will allow I will send this to you for reflection.

I wish you abundant heavenly favors in your commitment to preparing yourselves for the tasks awaiting you in life and accomplishment of good. . .a propitious occasion for living the Christian life intensely and opening the doors of your hearts to Christ.

I would particularly remind you of the great German mystic St. Gertrude (1256-1301). . .and she has rightly been described as 'the theologian of the Sacred Heart.' It is important indeed to know the personalities and spiritualities of our saints so as to be able to imitate them in the life of grace and testimony and to call upon them at moments of bewilderment and of temptation.

As St. Gertrude often recommended. I exhort you also to have always total trust in Jesus, or Redeemer and Friend, so as to be good. . .and worthy of esteem, making yourselves and those who love you happy.

I impart my blessing to all from my heart.

16 November 1983 from Insegnamenti di Giovanni Paolo II
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And to this I say, "Thanks be to God."





Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cleaning house...





As I cleaned out some folders today I came upon one of my favorite analogies. And so I share it with you. Perhaps you've already ready it, perhaps not. Whatever the case it never hurts to have a little "guidance" along the way.

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Thanks be to GOD!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Living the Mysteries

As I was listening to the Gospel reading at Mass this morning (Luke 20:27-38) I began to consider how the early Church Fathers would have approached the topic of the resurrection of our bodies as they taught the neophyte, the newly Baptized. When our Lord was, as Scott Hahn puts it, given the riddle of the seven brothers and childless widow Dr. Hahn says "...God's Law wasn't given to ensure the raising up of descendants to earthly fathers. The Law was given, as Jesus explains, to make us worthy to be 'children of God'--sons and daughters born of His Resurrection. "

The following is a sermon by St. Leo the Great called Pilgrims on Earth.

Introduction: St. Leo urges us to see heaven as our true home and to live here as if we were just passing through. These are the marching orders that mystagogy gives us. We are to live in the afterglow of the Ascension and in anticipation of Jesus' coming. We proclaim in every Mass: 'Christ will come again!' and He comes to us again, in every Mass!" (Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina)

And so, dearly beloved, let's rejoice with spiritual joy, and let's gladly give God the thanks He is due. Let us freely raise the eyes of our hearts to those heights where Christ is. Hearts that have heard the call to be lifted up must not be held down by earthly desires. Those who are made for things eternal must not be occupied with the things that perish. Those who have begun the way of truth must not become entangled in the snares of falsehood. The faithful must make their way through these temporal things, keeping in mind that they are pilgrims in the valley of the world; and, even though they find some attraction along the way, they must not sinfully embrace them. but bravely pass them by. . .

Let's resist this deadly evil and 'aim at charity' (see 1 Cor 14:1, CCD). . . By this path of love, Christ came down to us; by it, we too, may ascend to Him. And to Him, with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.
Living the Mysteries
by Scott Hahn and Mike Aquilina

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And so it is that we, too, must travel the road of the neophyte. For which one of us can truly say, "I have nothing more to learn. I have all the insights. I need no more instruction." It certainly is not me. And now I see that my trek "home" is just as our Lord told the Sadducees. "They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise." (Luke 20:36)

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Thanks be to God! Amen!!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Traveler is Home


Do you member my remark about the neolithic-looking meteorites? Sure you do... Well, Ron's home from his great adventure and has brought home some beautiful works of celestial art.

I guess from what he tells me these are rare finds and the joy is seeing what is on the inside not what is on the outside. And the privilege of the first to see the handiwork is also awe-inspiring.

This meteorite, though not apparent in this photo has what is called "an inclusion" or void in the middle. This is a picture he took of the outer edge of it.

***

A "slice" of another meteorite has complex geometric designs. When etched and polished I am assured it will be an even grander work of art.

And whose art might that be? I think that is easy...I only have to go back to Genesis chapter one for that answer.
All glory and praise to God who makes all things.

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Thanks be to God.