Saturday, July 28, 2012

Hugging God

I got to hug God last night. Yes, I was dreaming, still it was wonderful. I was talking to God in my dream. I asked him could I please hug him. He said yes. I remember hugging an invisible being, while being somewhere between the clouds and the ground. I was up in the air, hugging God. He was spirit, but I was hugging something substantial. I was allowed to hold on and maintain the embrace for as long as I wanted. Which is nice, because usually when I get to the most anticipated part in a dream, skiing downhill, or playing college basketball, or even taking a bite of something delicious, I usually wake up, or something else prevents the experience. Not in this dream. I got to hug God and feel hugged back for a little while. I like that I have this memory now, even if it was a dream.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Seeking Light

My husband and I shared a moment this evening where we were both struck by the beauty of the sky.  I shared with him that one of the reasons I like to run between 8 and 9:30 in the evening is because I love the sky at this time.  I had just cooked the dinner for the family, but seemed like I might as well go for a run.

Before going, I had to take some pictures of the sky.  At first with my husband I noticed the design in the sky of the whisps of clouds.  When I went back out I was struck by seeing how the higher clouds were golden with light by the setting sun, while the lower clouds were dark gray.

I was struck by the imagery of how the clouds closer to the earth reflected not the sun, but the darkness of our world.

The challenge is to get up above the darkness, to seek the light, so that we can reflect the light of the Gospel to those around us.  The closer we are to the Son, through prayer, the Sacraments, Surrender to Holy Spirit to heal and transform us in love, the more we will reflect the light of our Lord.

Some people favor bird watching, I am a sky watcher.  I love the glory of the sky.  Especially the play of the gold on the white of the clouds.
I did go for a run tonight.  It was my longest of the year.  The sky was gorgeous.  As I was running I offered the pleasure I had seeing the beauty of the sky during my run.  I would run a bit faster when I was facing away from the sunset, so I could get more quickly to where I could see the sunset.  It was getting dark as I neared home when I was surprised to see there was still quite a bit of gold left above the horizon.  I thanked God for that too, as it seemed to be a gift since it was after 9:30 PM.

"If you offered Me your joys and your moments of recreation, I would send you few trials because it is only your union with Me that I am seeking, and as a rule you come to Me only when you are unhappy.  Then come - oh, come always."  Jesus speaking to Gabrielle Bossis in He and I

This morning I attended another monthly visit to the Planned Parenthood in Aurora, IL.  I go there almost every month with my daughter's high school Pro-life team.  In another post I reflected on seeing mothers driving and walking daughters in for abortion.  Today I saw two fathers driving their daughters in.  One of the daughters was in the passenger seat when she passed us.  She was clearly crying.  We were attempting to hand out literature as our first attempt at sidewalk counseling.  Neither of the fathers stopped to let their daughter talk to us or take any of our brochures.

The leader of our team told me after that he saw a woman come out and cry while smoking.  He said that sadly he was pretty sure she did go through with it, because she was moving slowly when she left the building.

At about 10:15 a.m. an ambulance passed us with lights and siren blaring.  It pulled right to the front of the center and then it was followed by 3 police cars.  Those praying outside the center started praying more intensely for what was probably a poor girl inside with a complication from an abortion.  Many started taking pictures too.  I was asked to take some as well, so I did.  Here is one of them:
They did not bring the woman out on the stretcher in view of our cameras.  They moved the ambulance round the back and then had her brought out.  The event made things much more tense outside the center as well.  

The one gentleman that is there every week with the graphic sign from Operation Rescue, decided he needed to clarify for the Police where he could stand.  He was threatened with arrest, but not taken in.

Later there seemed to be more critiquing of the advocates for the unborn and the mothers and fathers from their fellow advocates.  Some were yelling to others where they could stand.  Others were confronting each other saying not to yell over each other.  Only one should talk at a time. 

I also saw a woman that I think did have an abortion, follow her mother, and walked past the sidewalk counselor that was boldly going up to the property line, and trying to persuade the girls to go to the nearby woman's center instead. The woman lit up a cigarette quickly just so she could blow smoke at the counselor.  

This counselor was completely unaffected.  I think she has been doing this for a long time.  She was even trying to engage the escort from Planned Parenthood "to humble herself before God."  She said, "You are beautiful on the outside.  Why not get beautiful on the inside and stop facilitating the murder of the unborn?"

Before this all happened a woman came up to me and the two high school girls I was with.  She said, "You all are saved right?  That's why you aren't just standing around praying the rosary."  I said, "Actually the two can coexist."  I showed her my rosary ring.  "I've been praying the rosary on this, and Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior."

One driver passed us and and yelled across the street from us, "Do you have to have the aborted fetus picture.  Really?  Do we need aborted fetuses out here?"

It wasn't our sign.  This is our sign:

If I were quicker or more experienced (only have 7 months experience visiting centers), I might have crossed the street and explained to the gentleman that  we were actually in agreement with him.  He doesn't want to see any more pictures of the aborted babies, and we don't want there to be any more aborted babies.  I don't like the signs that show the truth of the outcome of an abortion.  They are effective though.  They tend to increase the anguish as Mary has recently commented, and intensify our prayer and actions to stand against this evil.  

Also the same Operation Rescue gentleman I mentioned argued with the Police, he said he was with a group that had a bunch of these signs and a woman pulled over her car, got out and brought her baby over to show them and thank them.  She said that had she not seen those signs, she would not have had her little boy.

When I was riding back on the bus I reorganized some of the brochures so they would be in good order for our next trip.  Seeing the fathers driving daughters stuck in my head, and hit a nerve when I read this in the Pro-Life Action League brochure entitled, "Abortion for victims of rape and incest?  No:  They deserve better."  I read the following:
  • Nearly all incest victims who had an abortion reported no input in the decision; instead, their parents, or the abuser made the decision for them.
These quotes from actual incest victims were included:
  • "Abortion on demand, no questions asked, makes it easier for incest and child abuse to continue.  Abortion for incest victims sounds compassionate, but in practice it is simply another violent and deceptive tool in the hand of the abuser." 
  • "After the abortion, I wanted to die.  How could I live when I had just ended the life of my child?  The negative feelings resulting from the rape were not eliminated by the abortion.  Nothing was solved, instead, the grief was now doubled."
  • "Like any woman in a crisis pregnancy, a pregnant sexual assault victim might welcome an instant answer to her problem.  But abortion is too permanent an answer to a temporary problem.  Abortion may sound compassionate--even noble--but it isn't."
Another pamphlet "Sharing the Pro-Life Message" explained that incest is only .03% of reasons for abortion.  Rape is .3%.  Protection of a mothers's life is .2%.  They don't even add up to 1% of the reasons for abortion, but they are often cited as the reasons it is important that abortion stay safe, legal, and soon, free.

Again recalling the fathers driving their daughters, I would suspect the incest number would be low, because if the abuser is driving the girl for the abortion, it is unlikely he would let her check incest as a reason, or he would otherwise intimidate her not to say anything.  And of course I have no idea why the fathers were driving their daughters.  Just when you see a teenage girl being driven by a man that appears to be her dad, and the girl is in tears, and the father is stone faced, it makes you wonder.

98% of abortions are from "personal choice":
  • 32% say not emotionally capable
  • 25% say not financially capable
  • 16% say having a child would drastically alter her life
50% of women having abortions say they were using contraception the month they got pregnant with 16.9% saying they used it properly but it failed.  You'll remember one of the arguments for free contraception is to reduce abortions.

Please join me in continuing to pray, act, and vote as advocates for the unborn, and their mothers.  Babies come to violent ends in these centers.  It does sicken me that there is nothing we can legally do to stop this. We have prayer, which is far stronger and more effective than we can imagine.  We have our presence, our words, and our signs.  We can also vote.  If anyone is unclear who to vote for in the next election, it is the one that can defeat Obama, and whichever candidate for House and Senate is approved by the Susan B. Anthony list.

2 Chronicles 7:14

14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

If you are a woman or man that regrets and suffers from having an abortion, there is hope and healing.  Please follow this link to Project Rachel.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Convince Us Lord

You wouldn't know to look at me
There's tiny scars that you can't see
It was a struggle to survive
I'm probably lucky I'm alive
- "It Only Hurts Me When I Cry" by Dwight Yoakam

I was reading in Miracle Hour, A Method of Prayer that Will Change Your Life, that the primary effect of the release of the Holy Spirit, "is a tangible experience of the love of Jesus."

How real, how perfectly human, but how magnificently divine is the love of Jesus!

You can experience true Christian joy, rooted in the unchanging love of Jesus for you personally!

What prevents me, what prevents you from internalizing the reality that God loved us right into existence? 

What prevents me, what prevents you from accepting the awesome reality that there is nothing you or I could do or not do to increase or decrease the love Jesus has for us?

His love is constant!  His mercy surpassing all of our weakness!  Even if we block his forgiveness and mercy by hardening our hearts and not forgiving or showing mercy to others, still his love for us is constant!

I have read about those who have been so wounded, so often, or so deeply, often by those that they trusted their heart to, or by one to whom they had been entrusted . . . a father, step-father, a mother, an older brother, an uncle, a husband or a wife, that they are left broken and have such a hard time accepting the immensity and beauty of Jesus loving us, and longing for us to ask to feel his embrace.

For me there has been a false piety or reverence that has interfered with the acceptance that it is Jesus's joy, his pleasure, his delight to condescend to be my friend.  I can desire his friendship, his love, desire to please him above all others, because it delights him for me to do so.  I don't have to put him on a pedestal above the tabernacle.  I can admire and adore Jesus's beauty . . . in adoring him in the Blessed Sacrament, in adoring and imagining the beauty and glory he possesses and emanates in heaven.   I can also talk with him and love him, offering everything he has given me, all that he has created, and ask his grace to know and love him as a friend.

Your greatness, Lord, humbles us.  Your surrender to the will of the Father in the incarnation, in your ministry, in your Passion and death, and in the eternal longing in your heart for us to seek you and love you and others because of our love for you, because you are in them.  This humbles us and compels us.
Sunrise 17
Come after us Lord.  Convince us of your love.

Mother Mary, Mother of God,  Mediatrix of all Grace,

Please pray for those reading this today and those that they are thinking about, that they hold in their hearts.  

Please dispense the graces that they would need to be convinced of Jesus's healing and exquisite love for them.  

Please dispense the graces that they would surrender their brokenness, their woundedness, their doubts, their sense that they cannot trust, even if they believe and love, that they can't trust in his love.

Please give them the grace to be convinced.

Ask the Holy Spirit to be given to them that they would have a tangible experience of the love of Jesus.

Please ask Mary and release for them the graces to grow in the knowledge and appreciation of the constant love of Jesus for them.  

Convince them, through the Holy Spirit, that there is nothing they can do ever to decrease or increase the love that Jesus has for each of us

The love the Father had for us when he created us to know, love, and serve him

The love the Holy Spirit has when he comes and is poured out upon us, transforming our hearts to be more like the heart of our Lord Jesus.

Be Near us O Lord!
Be near the broken, the wounded, the ones whose pain, or sins, or habitual indulgence in distractions or addictions have blinded them to the reality of your love, your power, and your peace.

Please Lord, make all things new.  Begin again with us, and please also with those you have orchestrated into our lives.

In Jesus Name, Amen

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sabbath Moments - Bike Ride

Joining Colleen at Thoughts on Grace in her Sabbath moments.  She explains:  Sabbath moments are a way of taking time to rest in God, to enjoy God in silence or in nature. The word sabbath comes from a Hebrew word meaning "cease." And that is what we need to do sometimes, cease our activity and live in the moment and breathe in God.

1. I noticed my appetite has improved lately, and subsequently noticed that I had gained a few pounds.  I am normally quite active as I use running or bike riding to let off steam more than to maintain my weight.  While bike riding I realized that besides the 100° heat maybe the reason I haven't been exercising is because my relationship with my husband has been happier lately.  Sadly what began more peaceful period between us was his getting injured a few weeks ago.  He broke his scapular and tore a muscle in his rotator cuff.  God works in mysterious ways!  He has been very sweet and appreciative and I have had no difficulty letting go of any resentment and instead helping and treating him with sincere empathy.  Who knew:  weight gain comes from lower stress and marital happiness!
2. I probably left 60 minutes later than I should have for the bike ride, so it was already a touch on the hot side.  I remembered reading in He and I that Jesus said that if she (Gabrielle Bossis) would offer more of her recreation to him then he would send her less suffering, as he does this to bring them back together.  So I offered Jesus my bike ride.  I asked the Holy Spirit to bless the shuffle mix on my iPod Nano so that the music would stir up my tenderness and love for my God, and that I would know God more and find new ways to serve him.  I offered Jesus the happiness I felt seeing a blue heron by a pond I passed today.  Gabrielle would offer him the flowers she would see.  The middle part of the bike trail is a loop that has a rather prolonged gradual incline.  I was struggling with it the first time I took the loop.  The second time I went around I asked Jesus that if it would please him, he could help me with this bike ride.  Next thing I know I have a bit of a second wind.  Then the next, next thing I know I feel a breeze, and this breeze isn't hot and steamy, as it had been earlier in the ride.  It is actually a breeze that feels about 15-20°cooler than the air temperature.  It was at that point I remembered to pray for my friend and her buddy that were doing their first 5K, maybe ever in their lives, but certainly since they had their small children.  I asked Jesus if it would please him, would he please help them with their run today too.

3. After I got home, I was extremely red faced and wet.  I drank a little, ate a little but felt extremely drained.  That brought me to Sabbath Moment #3 - a nap in a quiet house.

Did you know that when you are riding a bike and a dragon fly runs into your head it feels like a small stone was thrown at you?