BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION ~ EASTER IS ON THE WAY


IT’S ALMOST EASTER! I love this time of the year. For many, it is the season of new beginnings and a very special time to fully explore, acknowledge, and embrace the very core of our soul. Personally, it is a time for a close examination of conscience and repentance. It’s kind of hard to get through, not because I see myself as a monumental sinner, but because I might possibly take advantage of the fact that my God will forgive me if I ask Him to. When I ask, is it basically just lip service? “Therein lies the rub.” Our Father is kind. He is loving. His mercy is so awesome that He worked up a solution to keep His children from ever having to live without Him. He offers total forgiveness from those wrongs with which we have hurt ourselves and others. Imagine that. Don’t you think He made it a little too easy for us? Jesus would disagree. He, after all, is the sacrificial lamb, the new covenant, the One who made it right for us. That kinda makes a person delve more deeply into the season of Lent, uncover the meaning and purpose, and then decide what to do about it. And that, in itself, opens something like a zip file full of insight into what Lent means and why we should use this season to examine our conscience with open eyes and a truthful, tender heart.
Speaking of hearts, this is also the time of year that young, fertile hearts are cultivated and encouraged in the faith. Typically, converts, first time communicants, and those requesting confirmation are welcomed into the Catholic faith at or around this time of year. It’s a beautiful thing. My prayer is for all of us who profess faith that we not take this opportunity lightly, that we honor God by seeking Him with open hearts, that we celebrate Him with all that we are. No lip service allowed, people.

Now for a shameless plug:
I’ve been making First Communion and Confirmation rosaries!

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Feel free to visit my etsy shop, ToLoveAlways
http://www.etsy.com/shop/ToLoveAlways

Please don’t forget to pray for peace.

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This Beautiful Easter Season


St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church, Bunkie Louisiana

I can’t believe it has already been 2 weeks since Our Lord’s Passion.  Where has the time gone?  And why haven’t I shared the joy of watching my husband become a member of the Catholic Church??  To answer simply:  I don’t know.  I hate to say I’ve been too busy, because that would be an affront to all that I love.  I hate to say I’ve been thoughtless, although that seems to be the norm not the unusual.  😉  So I guess it boils down to this:  I am overwhelmed with so much!  ‘So much’ of God is never ‘too much’ of God.  There is never too much!

My husband’s anointing is contagious.  I don’t know if it is because we are married, or because my spirit is sensitive to his, or what, but I’m tellin’ you, his fresh new spiritual awakening is contagious!  Don’t get me wrong, we will never be Ozzie and Harriet, but we love each other.  That in itself is an accomplishment considering I waited 20 years between husbands!  It’s kind of hard for me to get close to someone.   We dated for 5 years and now we are married for 10 years – a long-standing record for me in terms of relationships!  Getting married was terrible at first.  Not being used to thinking of anyone other than myself took a toll on me.  Add to that the fact that I married a man who had a, shall we say, type A personality?  And the A stood for anger.  Poor thing.  But somehow, he saw past my selfishness, and I, his anger, and we worked through it instead of throwing in the towel.  Marriage is hard work.  But thanks be to God, it is like everything else in life; it changes.   If you put good stuff into it, you get good stuff out of it.  If all you have is bad stuff to offer, bad stuff will happen.  True dat.

If you love God, then you know He has a bigger plan for your life than you possibly could.  If you don’t love God – yet – you will hurt yourself trying to work out all the details of your life by yourself.  I’ve hurt myself a lot over the years.  I’ve always thought I loved God, and I’m sure I did the best I could, considering my snail’s-pace-slow emotional growth.  But I have to say, there is nothing like watching God work in the life of someone you love that makes you fall in love all over again – not just with a spouse but with God Himself as well.   It’s exciting!  It’s beautiful and amazing!  It’s the truest of true love!  And my husband ain’t bad either!  (forgive me for joking about it – I’m just so in love!)

I have watched my sweetheart struggle to come to terms with the decision to become Catholic for more than a year.  It wasn’t easy for him.  He came from a church-going Protestant family, even had pastors in his ancestry.  But, he felt that God was calling him down a different path and that he would not be complete unless he followed that path.  It was the biggest decision he ever made, and not being one to sit still for long, he really struggled through the Catechism.  But guess what the first thing he said was after his confirmation?

 I’m so glad all of that is over – now, I can really begin to grow!”

Yes, my husband actually said that!  Makes a woman proud of her man, don’t ya know?

 Anyway, the candlelit Easter Vigil Mass was beautiful, more beautiful that I had ever noticed before.  We sat in the front row.  He was the only one in our parish coming into the Church that night.  We were surrounded by people we love.  Our priest let us take communion side by side, just like in a wedding.  And it was a sort of wedding for us.  We are united, not just in matrimony, but in faith as well.  God is so good!  Our God does give us the desires of our hearts.

 

Not Ozzie and Harriet!

Onward and upward. . .

Our parish had a mission this weekend.  Enter Dr. Brandt Pitre:  Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.  The mission was amazing, can I tell you?  Dr. Pitre gave four different talks.  If you have never heard of him, or you would like to know more about him, you should go to www.BrantPitre.com.  Hear me when I say this man must have God’s personal cell number on speed dial, because he is awesome!   He is probably the best speaker and giver-of-knowledge that I have ever had the privilege of hearing.  (By the way, he has a ton of cds and dvds and books)  You should check him out.  Let me give you a quote from Dr. Tim Gray:  “In Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist, Brant Pitre pairs together the Jewish Scriptures and the Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Christian practice – The Eucharist.  By taking us back to the Jewish roots of our faith, Pitre gives us a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of Christian Eucharist.”   This quote is directly from the flyer our church handed out prior to the mission.  Also this:  “Dr. Brant Pitre earned his Ph.D. inTheology from the University of Notre Dame, where he specialized in the study of Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity.  He holds an M.T.S. in biblical studies from Vanderbilt University and a B.A. in Philosophy and English Literature from L.S.U. ”  Needless to say, I thought he would speak way over my head.  As it turns out, his words were easy to listen to, understand, and actually elicited the desire to know more!

On another note,

 just to let you know where I’ve been, Mass this morning was awesome.  We went to 8:00 a.m. service and who, but the priest who is a dead ringer to my youngest son, was the celebrant.  Love that guy, Father David Basil Burns.  We especially enjoyed his homily this morning although he began by telling us that someone (Fr. Jack??) stole his notes and he would have to speak sans script.  (get it?)  It was a beautiful homily/conversion story.  Many, many thanks to him for that.  Fr. Basil is honest, forthright, easily understood, and has an enormously delightful sense of humor.  I learn a lot from this man, too.  He is very gifted and awesome to listen to.  I have been to him in the confessional and left feeling healed (Isn’t that the point?  So why don’t we feel that way after each confession?  It requires gifted participation).  He clearly has his heart on his sleeve and it is filled with love.  I don’t know if he sees it that way, but it is.  So says a person who is definitely on a Heavenly Honeymoon with the Holy Spirit!

It just keeps getting better and better. . .

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be – world without end.  Amen.

Pray for peace, ya’ll.

Springtime, Easter, and the Cycle of Life


I absolutely love springtime!  It is so beautiful here with all the flowers and trees blooming, birds making nests, butterflies and bees doing their jobs.  Pollen in the air (cough cough, sniff sniff).  Weeds taking over (get the Roundup).  Snakes coming out (get the shovel).  MOSQUITOES!!  (what? how?)

But I still love Springtime!

We barely had a winter season to prepare us for the glory of spring.  It is odd, really, that most of my tropical plants from last year are still above ground.  Usually by March, I am up to my elbows in the garden, removing this, replacing that, throwing away something else.  It hurts me to see plants die.  It’s kind of silly, I know, but what once was alive, vibrant, and there only for beauty, is now broken and without life.  It hurts for a little while, at least until Spring gets a good foothold and new life appears.   Think about it: a beautiful plant blooms, the flower dies and throws off a seed.  A new plant springs from the seed, and so on.  It’s the cycle of life.  Everything must die first to be able to bear fruit.  God planned it that way.  I’m sure He has his reasons, although I don’t profess to know what they are all the time.

Springtime heralds in the Easter season, and with good reason.  Easter is the epitome of the cycle of life.  Again, God planned it that way, don’t you think?  It is an amazing thing, that plan.  In a way, you could say that it pertains to every aspect of our lives as well.  We all have to die to certain things before we can produce the right kind of fruit.  Am I right?  We all make mistakes.  We all have our moments in the sun, so to speak, and we all become broken from time to time.  We have to start over hoping our experiences help us to bear good fruit.  Life goes on.

It is a very good thing, this cycle of life.  The birth, the death, the renewal of life.  None of us are immune to it’s cause and effect.  Every living thing goes through it.  Listen to this:

Even the Bread of Life was broken before New Life could be given.

As we count down to Easter morning, I plan to do a lot of meditating on this cycle of life thing.  I am in awe of the concept, especially how out of brokenness, comes life.  We humans are fragile.  We break all the time.  Don’t you think it is amazing that our brokenness can bring new life?  I do.  For that reason, I thank God for those times I have been, and those times I will again be, broken.  And I praise God for His divine plan and mercy that, by His death and resurrection, He has made for us a new life.

Ain’t God good?!!

What else comes with the Spring?  Baptisms, First Communion, Confirmation.  I have been busy putting together some rosaries especially for these occasions.  It has been such a joy and a pleasure!  I have had the opportunity to reconnect with the meanings of all of these special events, and now that the day is nearly at hand for my darling husband to be received into the Church, I am even more mindful of the joy of Easter.

If you see something you would like, or if you would like a custom order, please go to my shop on etsy:  www.etsy.com/shop/ToLoveAlways  or   www.etsy.com/shop/mynanaspocket

BABY BAPTISM ROSARIES:

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CONFIRMATION ROSARIES:

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TOMORROWFIRST COMMUNION ROSARIES!