Monday, February 29, 2016

Praying for our Friends, Paralytic style

... illustrating the four men lowering <b>the paralytic</b> man into the room

I have been reflecting on the story in the Gospel about Jesus Healing the Paralytic.  This is a good one, and is written in three of the four Gospels.  My Favorite version is in Mark 2:12

 Jesus Forgives and Heals a Paralyzed Man
A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbers that there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man, carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Now some teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, “Why does this fellow talk like that? He’s blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Immediately Jesus knew in his spirit that this was what they were thinking in their hearts, and he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things?Which is easier: to say to this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’?10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man,11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.”12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
A few things I would like to point out.  First; this is not a parable.  This actually happened.  Second, it was the faith of the FRIENDS that Jesus saw.  (Verse 5)  Thirdly, Jesus heals the man from his SIN first.  This is actually the bigger deal.  Then just to prove that he can, he also heals his body too.   Hello????  Is this not such a RICH lesson for all of us?!?!? 

There are so many great messages in this story.  And I have heard it preached many times in incredible ways.  But lately, I have been thinking about one aspect of this story.

Did the Paralytic WANT to be healed???

I mean, think about that for a second.  He was paralyzed.  He couldn't walk, or really even shake or nod his head.  I am guessing he couldn't talk either.  SO who knows really.  Clearly it isn't important or else that detail would have been included.  But one clear point that IS included is that Jesus saw the faith of the MEN lowering this paralyzed man down through the roof.

Talk about intercessory prayer?!?!?

SO I have been putting myself in this scripture over and over again these past few weeks.  I imagine carrying on a mat my most beloved friends and family, who may be paralyzed spiritually and emotionally.  I imagine approaching the house where I have heard Jesus is visiting, and seeing the crowds. My arms are tired, from carrying this friend on this very heavy mat, and a feeling of desperation comes over me, as I think there MUST be another way.  
As I get to the house and realize that there is NO way we can carry him in through the crowds; i want to give up.  I want to just leave my friend, and say, "Well I did the best I could."  I want to say, "I did my part, now it is up to my friend to get themselves to Jesus."    Except that he is PARALYZED.  How in the HECK is he supposed to get into that house, if he isn't carried by someone?!?!    So we have to continue to pray and listen for inspiration, and figure out another way.
AHHHHH.  Yes, the roof.
I can only imagine the homeowner, when the men start to break through the roof.  As we lower our friend, down, down to Jesus, He looks up to me and sees my face.  Why?  Why did I want to bring my friend to Jesus?  Why am I so desperate to have my friend healed?  Then Jesus sees my heart, and I can only hope he sees a sincere desire for my friend to be healed.  Not for selfish gain, or profit.  Not for any wrong reason, but out of Love.
I like to think also about how in the Gospel story these friends of the paralytic, did NOT give instructions, or advice, or their prognosis of their friend to Jesus.   They didn't try and give his medical history, or shout down what THEY think would really help him.  They just lowered him down, and let Jesus do his thing.
Lastly, once the man got up and walked away, the friends didn't start dancing on the top of the roof, claiming victory for themselves!  They didn't say to themselves, " WE DID THAT!!!  THAT WAS ALL BECAUSE OF OUR HARD WORK!"   No, this is not about them.  And if I think for a moment that Jesus healing anyone I pray for, or I bring to HIM, is about me, then I might as well get on that mat, and get healed myself.  


Lord, I thank you for ALL the healing that has taken place in my life, and the lives of those around me.  I thank you in advance for healing all the people I have brought (or dragged) to you on a mat.  I thank you for always accepting my prayers with either a "yes", "not yet", or "I have something better."   You are truly are the BEST thing EVER!!!  I love you, and thank you for loving me.


Friday, February 19, 2016

Heavenly Birthdays and other saintly things...

My Mom!!!

First of all I need to make clear that I really have no idea what I am talking about...pretty much most of the time.  But I have some ideas, that to me - sound so amazing, if any of these things are even close to accurate, I would think it was pretty cool.

My Mom passed away 8 years ago.  We celebrate her "heavenly birthday" each year on February 16th - because that was the day she left this earth and was "birthed" into the next life.  We make a cake, and even sing, and my kids all blow out the candles.  It's actually been a great way to honor my Mom's memory and to talk about her to my kids who were very young, or not even born when she died.

However, considering time does NOT exist after this world, (I know I can't comprehend that either.) I am pretty sure they don't celebrate her heavenly birthday in heaven.  Who cares, it is more for us anyway. 

However, I am beginning to wonder if February 16th were my Mom's true Feast Day as a Saint what would she do up in heaven on her feast day?  And for that matter what are ALL the other saints doing on their feast days up in heaven???  Maybe they are having a dance party with Jesus?  Or maybe they are getting together at one of the other Saint's mansions, having a party?  Or maybe they get a special seat at the banquet table that day?  Who knows???  But I am sure something happens on their feast day up there, and it is fun to think about for a second; right? 

Which brings me to this other crazy thought.  Now please don't judge me here, but a few years ago this idea came to me.  After my Mom passed, we had a LOT of masses said for her.  Some were requested by our friends and family, and my brother and sisters and I had a few said for a while too.  One time, I practically camped out at the church office to try and get the date of her "Heavenly Birthday."  It worked, I got it. Whew!

Then one day, I felt so convicted, because I feel certain that my mother IS in heaven.  I wasn't sure what the point was to continue to have Masses said for her if she was already there.  I guess I initially thought the point was to get her out of purgatory.  (I am sure there are many things wrong with that statement- we can discuss later.)  And well if she was up there praising God, and kickin it at the banquet table, then what was the point???

Then I was thinking how we as Catholics believe the Mass is truly a communion between heaven and earth.  How at the moment of transubstantiation, all the angels and saints are ACTUALLY PRESENT at the Mass.  And then I had this fantastic image - that during the mass - the one that is being said for my mother - there is sort of reserved seat off to the side.  This reserved seat is specifically for the one who the mass is being said for and is in the front of this magnanimous throng of beings.  There is where my Mother would be sitting!!!  Right there in front, waving at me during the mass as if I was a kindergartner in a school play.


WOW!!!  That would be so cool.

Still the mass is about JESUS.  And both my mother, and I and all the earthly and heavenly beings are there for ONE purpose only - To be in the presence of JESUS.  But being in the presence of Jesus with my Mother who is now in heaven was an incredibly cool thought. 

Naturally I wanted to have EVERY mass said for my Mother, just so she could have that reserved seat each time.  But honestly I know my Mother would kill me, as she was way too humble to take that seat every mass.  She would much rather allow others to share in the experience, and so I refrained from booking the entire year.  I doubt they would have let me do that anyway.

I do wonder what heaven is like, since my Mom is there.  I know it is going to be AMAZING!  That song, "Party Rockin in the House Tonight" was one of my kids' favorites a few years ago, and I thought it was a pretty good description.  I literally imagine the Saints and Angels rejoicing and praising and dancing with Jesus ALL THE TIME.  I imagine lots of joy, laughter, frolicking, feasting, singing and dancing.  In some ways I can't wait to go, but not until it is my TIME. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

Recharge Your Heart & Soul this Lent!

Doing some research looking for good Lenten Mediation videos for reconciliation at the school I work at as a Campus Minister.  This was a good one!!!  Thought many of you would like to see it too!!!

Saturday, February 13, 2016


Heading into the Desert People!

Wow, this year is moving quickly.  Anybody else agree with me??  Here we are already at Lent, and as a friend reminded me the other day:  "Lent is a time to draw away from the World, so that we can draw closer to God."    Amen.  Love that.  I am not sure who wrote that, but I feel like that sums up lent pretty well.

I have been reading a fantastic book lately called, "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster.   It is not a Catholic Book, but it talks about all these things we as Catholics grew up with; Saints, meditation, prayer, fasting, service, confession, and lots of other things.

He gives meaning behind many of these practices that we as Catholics have probably taken for granted.   By that I mean, many of us do these things without the SLIGHTEST knowledge of why.   We do them without understanding how they are supposed to help us grow closer to God.   "So you mean fasting is not supposed to be for the purpose of loosing weight?" Right, that's called dieting.

So in what ways will I draw away from the World, so that I can draw closer to God?

 I usually start big, because my odds of keeping ONE of these promises is better if I have a greater number.  I realize this is not ideal.  But, hey I am doing the best I can.

As usual I am giving up soda and alcohol.  I don't drink a lot of alcohol anyway, so that is not too difficult for me, but my Diet Coke habit always gets out of hand.  A few years ago I only gave up Soda, and I found myself substituting Alcohol.  Yeah, probably not as much of a sacrifice.  Sort of like people who go out for Lobster on Friday's during lent.  Sorry. Do I sound like I am judging?

Next I am going to be better about having personal prayer time everyday!!!  This needs some examining and revamping in my life, lent is perfect motivator to do that.  I am hoping to wake up 30 minutes before the rest of the house and spend that time focusing on the important things.  The desires for this are real, but we will see if I can keep this promise.

One new thing I am going to try, is NOT buy myself any new things during Lent.  I was just thinking how I would like a new pair of shoes, or if I have time maybe I will try and visit one of my favorite boutique consignment stores to see if there is anything good.  Then I thought, WHY????  DO I need that???  No, I have closet full of stuff, so LENT when I am purposefully trying to draw away from own selfishness and draw closer to God would be a good time to limit my selfish purchases.  Then I should probably donate that money to missions. 

Yelling less at my kids is another positive habit I adopt most Lents.  To be fair I have been working on this one all year.  I have a bad temper when the noise escalates in this house.  I really need to get myself in gear before I ruin all of these blessing!!!   One time I actually yelled at my kids for causing me to break my Lenten sacrifice of Not yelling.  That was not a good moment.

Whatever the sacrifice or the action that we try to hold to during lent, the Purpose should be again, TO DRAW ME CLOSER TO GOD.  TO cause me to desire HIM more and myself less. 

So find something.  ANYTHING.  Subscribe to any of the amazing Lent email subscriptions.  Two of my favorites are:
Mathew Kelly's at and Bishop Robert Barron's at

Alright have a HAPPY Journey into your dessert, I hope you all grow in wisdom, power, and LOVE of the amazing dude, who LOVES US ALL SO MUCH!!!!  (I'm referring to God.)