Looking at life through the eyes of faith... and finding HOPE in a "hopeless" world!


You've given me, Lord, the gift of WORDS, allowing me to give voice to the journey... from darkness to light... from death to re-birth... from despair to HOPE!
THANK YOU... for this gift and for the journey!!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Christ IS hope!

On the recent Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary (December 8th), I had the distinct honor of attending a banquet where Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke received the "Christ Brings Hope" award  from Relevant Radio.

It was also my honor to share - for the first time ever - the story of my reconversion to Christ as witness to His power at work through Relevant Radio.

In June of this year, when Christopher Pundzak and I had arrived at the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, we bumped into a young lady who was intrigued by our pilgrimage and invited us to tour the Relevant Radio studio and headquarters there in Green Bay.  As we walked and talked, I mentioned that I had been a cop and used to listen to their radio station while on patrol.  It was then that she invited me to consider sharing my story.

Now I must confess...  I have heard God speak in my heart many times over the years since my reconversion, but have never (until now) truly responded to His call to share my story.  I can't lie...  I'd rather hoped that the young lady might forget that she'd asked.  After all, several months would pass before the night of the award banquet...  But God had other plans.

Here is what He inspired me to share...
Christ brings hope.
Yes...  He does.
Christ IS hope.
And Relevant Radio brings us CHRIST!
This morning, as I read and reflected upon today's Gospel reading (Luke 1:26-28), I was reminded that it is God who makes the first choice.  On the day I was baptized, He CHOSE me and called me by name.
I was only 17 years old when I graduated from high school.  A couple of weeks later, I "graduated from Religious Ed...  I was confirmed.  On that day, God again called me by name and gave me a mission.  Sadly, it would be many years before I would hear Him and open my heart to receive the LIVING GRACE of that sacrament.
I had not yet turned 18 when someone inflicted a very deep wound on me.  A couple of years later, the law caught up with that man.  There has been much healing, but God still allows me to carry the scars as a reminder of the HOPE that lives in me now.
As the years went on and I trained to become a law enforcement officer, I was determined to overcome the lies that man had spoken.  It's strange how I could hear him, but I still couldn't hear God.  I struggled to find healing.  I struggled to find God...  a God I thought I'd known, but now questioned.
I still went to Sunday Mass (when I wasn't working... and I worked a LOT).  I still considered myself "Catholic," though I'd only seen the inside of a confessional twice in my life.  The truth is...  I really didn't understand the faith of my childhood.  I didn't even know yet how lost I really was.
After graduating from college, I threw myself ever more deeply into the job.  But even as God allowed me to help others heal through my work, I still struggled to let Him heal me and the darkness just got deeper.
It can be difficult to put words to the questions we carry in our hearts.  Even if we find the words, we may have no one to ask.  Such was the case with me.  Years earlier, I'd made a choice to forgive someone who'd committed unspeakable crimes.  My family did not agree with my choice.  For years, I wondered how forgiveness could be wrong.  After all, isn't that what Our Lord calls us to do??
So in 2001, as I patrolled the county roads and city streets, I was haunted by questions that seemed to have no answers.  God was trying to speak to my heart, but in my pride and roundedness, I just could not hear Him.  It was around this time that a friend told me about Relevant Radio.  
How do I describe Relevant Radio and its impact on my life??
Well...  Relevant Radio helped me to HEAR Christ.
A much beloved priest of this diocese often tells the story of a "big, red barn" on the farm where he grew up.  During the day, he would play in the barn, but at night it grew dark and scary.  He was afraid to go inside.  One night, his dad took him by the hand and walked with him into the barn, so that he would know that there was nothing inside that would hurt him.
As much as I hoped he could be, my dad simply was not able to walk into the darkness of my own "big, red barn" with me.  It seemed that no one could.
As I sat with the questions in my heart and listened in my squad car on some very late nights and long days, Relevant Radio (in many ways) became that companion.
The show hosts on Relevant were unlike any I'd heard before (and, I'll admit, I'd been listening to a non-denominational radio station in the area).  The hosts on Relevant met people in the darkness.  They didn't hang up when someone expressed a view that was confused or set apart from the teachings of the Church.  Instead, they LISTENED and then - with a sort of firm gentleness - shared the wisdom of the Church in LOVE and walked WITH the caller.
I was reminded that I am NOT alone... that God really DOES love me.  It was difficult to listen at times, as my own errors in belief had also to be challenged and overcome, but God gave me the grace to KEEP LISTENING.  I found that I had a much bigger family than I'd ever known and it lessened the sting of separation from the family of my birth.  They also gave me - for the first time in my life - a COMPASS... the Catechism of the Catholic Church!
Everything began to change.
In August of 2003, by God's grace, I made my first confession in 11 YEARS...  He brought me HOME!
Praised be Jesus Christ!
So...  THANK YOU, Relevant Radio, for walking with me into the darkness.  Thank you for helping me to finally HEAR Christ.  Be encouraged in your mission.  (There are a lot more "me"s out there!)  God is working MIRACLES through you!
I was also blessed to have a moment to thank this man...


...for the gift of HOPE that he has also brought into my life.

(a story for another time)

Congratulations, Cardinal Burke, on receiving the "Christ Brings Hope" award.  May you be blessed!

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Remembering a Prayer Warrior

Seven years ago today, I wrote about the great privilege I had of praying at the bedside of one whom I will always know as my 'prayer warrior.'

Here is what I wrote:
I met her not long after I moved to the area (where I lived at the time). I was a cop then, distracted by many things, and still a number of years away from allowing the Light of Christ to begin to dispel the darkness in my soul.

This woman seemed always to be at prayer. She led the Rosary before Mass. She led us in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament every Monday evening, a Holy Hour in reparation for our sins and the sins of the whole world. It was she who taught me to, after receiving Jesus in the Eucharist, place Him in the arms of His Mother, Mary.

Whenever I would see her, this wonderful woman would smile from ear to ear, open her arms wide and say, "I need my hug," the Light of Christ shining through her eyes!

My prayer warrior has been confined to a bed for the past eight months, since she was involved in a car accident on Ash Wednesday. Surgery... Infection... Extended stays at the hospital... I think one of the first and most powerful sufferings she endured was her inability to attend any of the services held during the Triduum this year. Her suffering has continued, as she has been moved from the hospital (with only a brief stay at home) to a nursing home. Actually, this is the second nursing home...

As I stood beside her bed last Sunday evening, I knew that she was in pain. Her hip hurt her so that she could hardly sit up to eat. She has a new infection now and is recovering from pneumonia. As we talked only briefly of these sufferings, her eyes lit up as she looked at me and said, "I'm offering it all up!" I knew in an instant that she was. 

As promised, I returned to see her on Monday evening. As I sat at the foot of her bed, she led us in the prayer of the Holy Rosary and I found myself lifted out of that place. As I listened to her voice, I could see us there before the Tabernacle once again. In the Presence of God...

Please pray for my 'prayer warrior,' as she continues to pray for all of us. Especially dear to her heart are the Holy Souls in Purgatory who have no one to pray for them. I thank God for my 'prayer warrior' and all those who fight alongside her for the salvation of souls. These precious ones teach me what it really means to pick up my cross each day and follow Christ! 

Following the example of the prayer warriors in our lives, may we continue to grow in holiness and one day become the saints God is calling us to be!
As you probably guessed, my dear friend - my prayer warrior - did eventually go home to Jesus.  I have no doubt that, even now, she continues to pray...  for souls...  for you and for me.  Please continue to pray for her.  May God bless you!

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

7th Blogoversary!

For those who've known me since the beginning, do you remember this post?:

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2010

Getting ready to head west and I just remembered...  Saturday, September 11, 2010, is my first Blogoversary!  : )  I can't believe it has been a year since I published my first blog post!

In the time-honored tradition of my sisters in the blogosphere, I'd like to give something away...

a copy of the Catechism signed by Fr. J.ohn Cor.api

If anyone is interested, post a comment by the end of the day on Saturday and I'll draw a name when I return from Omaha. 

May God bless each and every one of you...  this day and always!

Praised be Jesus Christ!!
Well...  Guess what today is?!  ;)

I have been away from the blogosphere for far too long, so I'm not sure if the tradition has held.  If it has...  Awesome!  If it has not...  Maybe it's time we resurrect it.

This year, I'd like to give away a spiritual bouquet.

Instead of choosing a particular reader to send a gift to, I am committing now to pray for each and every one who reads this blog during a Eucharistic holy hour this evening.  (If you have a specific prayer request, please leave it in the comments below and I will pray for your specific intention in a special way.)

Please pray for me as I continue to discern God's will for my life and this blog.  Thank you SO much!

Praised be Jesus Christ!!

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O MY GOD

When I look into the future, I am frightened,
But why plunge into the future?
Only the present moment is precious to me,
As the future may never enter my soul at all.

It is no longer in my power,
To change, correct or add to the past;
For neither sages nor prophets could do that.
And so, what the past has embraced I must entrust
to God.

O present moment, you belong to me, whole and entire.
I desire to use you as best I can.
And although I am weak and small,
You grant me the grace of Your omnipotence.

And so, trusting in Your mercy,
I walk through life like a little child,
Offering you each day this heart
Burning with love for Your greater glory.

St. M. Faustina Kowalska

Your Cross

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God.
~St. Francis de Sales

THE CROSS OF INFERTILITY

Oh, my Jesus... I thank you with all my heart for the abundant graces you have poured out upon me. I thank you for the precious soul you have chosen to journey with me in this life. May we see one another safely into the arms of the Father for all eternity.

You have given the gifts of Life and Love that have brought us together. We are forever indebted to You. PLEASE be always at the heart of our marriage.

My Jesus, you have entrusted us with this cross of infertility. You are also the source of our strength. Lord, trusting in You, we take up this cross every day and follow You.

If it is in Your will, we ask for the gift to become co-creators with You, bringing into the world a precious soul who will love and serve You for all eternity.

Whatever You will, know that we love You and we trust in You. In all things, may Your holy will be done.

Amen.

St. Michael the Archangel...

St. Michael the Archangel...
...defend us in battle. Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, cast into Hell Satan and all of the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. AMEN.