Search

Bethany Hang Out

Come on over :)

Novena to the Child Mary for the feast of her Presentation in the temple Day Two

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Holy Child Mary, gentle and humble of heart, you are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you are the fairest honor of our people!” (see Judith 15:9)

Reflection:

The little Mary also models beautifully the Kingdom virtues we should cultivate, strive and pray for in the present: love, purity of heart, poverty of spirit, authenticity, and the Christian ideal of spiritual childhood; the wisdom given to the little ones that confounds that of the world. These are some of the things we see as we look into the eyes if this child and she looks into ours.

Mary was a child of God par excellence, aware of her littleness, and that all her shining gifts were God’s incomparable graces poured into her. I like to think of Luke 1:48 like this: “He has looked upon me, His handmaid in her littleness; all ages to come shall call me blessed.” She didn’t deny her gifts. As John Paul II said of her, when speaking of the Visitation, “She is amazed at her own glory,” even as she knows well her nothingness, littleness, and complete dependence on God. “The Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is His Name.”

images-3

 

Little Mary, gentle, joyful, and humble of heart, make our hearts like your own, that we may reflect the love and life and joy that comes from the freedom of the children of God. 

Imagine Mary as a little girl; innocent, kind and wise. Take her hand and ask her to pray for you.  Think about your life, and what you need the most. Place your concerns in her hands to take to the Father. Know that her heart is love, and that it is filled with tenderness, and open to the Spirit. She does not judge you, but sees you in humility, purity, and simplicity of heart. She sees who you are in God. That is what she sees. Open your heart to her.

Then pray, “Hail Mary…”

imgres

Novena to the Child Mary for the feast of her Presentation in the Temple Day One

To begin, make the sign of the cross and pray the Sh’ma, a prayer the little Mary would have grown up reciting every day with her Jewish family and community:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

Holy Child Mary, gentle and humble of heart, you are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you are the fairest honor of our people!” (see Judith 15:9)

Reflection:

When I was a kid, I loved looking at pictures of my mom from when she was little. Not only could I see hints of who she would become–those eyes, that smile…those knees…. That spunk! I could also more easily see the ways I looked like her. I could compare pictures of the two girls, little Mom, and myself, and see our similarities, or look at a picture of her a few years later than the one before and see what I might be like in the future.

In my mother’s stories of her childhood this was also true. Her heart was like my heart and so much of what had happened to her happened to me too, in one way or another, and she felt the same way about it as I did. Plus she could share her lessons and tell me how it all turned out. There was a lot of wisdom and comfort in those pictures and stories of my mom.

Every November 21, the reflective Heart of the Church presents to us in the quiet marking of a minor memorial, our own Little Mother in Christ, dancing, it is said, up the Temple steps when she was dedicated by her parents to the Lord. Even the solemn old priests had to smile as they watched her, this girl, who, unknown to them, would one day teach God His prayers.

In these days leading up to this little feast of our heavenly mother as a child being consecrated to God by her parents, let’s imagine and ponder the mystery of her girlhood.

Rose-bud-4d50ae389ffee_hires

It doesn’t matter whether this very old story of Mary happened just like this or not. It’s true, anyway. It points us to who Mary is and what she did in her life. In this ancient snap shot we can see our own baby picture of the Christian soul with a child’s pure heart free for God. Mary is our mother. Her life reflects our life and spiritual development as we grow in Christ.

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” ~ Mark 10:15

Little Mary, gentle, joyful, and humble of heart, make our hearts like your own, that we may reflect the love and life and joy that comes from the freedom of the children of God. 

Imagine Mary as a little girl; innocent, kind and wise. Take her hand and ask her to pray for you.  Think about your life, and what you need the most. Place your concerns in her hands to take to the Father. Know that her heart is love, and that it is filled with tenderness and open to the Spirit. She does not judge you, but sees you in humility, purity, and simplicity of heart. She sees who you are in God. That is what she sees. Open your heart to her.

Then pray, “Hail Mary…”

 

  • images
    Prayer Card of the Child Mary

 

Is it mean to send the rich away empty?

In her Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Mary says, “He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.” That line used to bother me. It sounds mean. I have often asked Our Lady what she meant by it exactly. I love the way she answered.

Some years ago I had a friend who was homeless. His name was, let’s say, Joe. He was eccentric, flamboyant, and charming. We were friends for years. Joe was fun to talk to.

One hot day I was on my way to my brother’s house with my two kids in the back seat: Maire, then eight years old, and Roise, only four. They were not being particularly good in the back of the car.

I got a call from Joe. I said, “Hey! How are you?” He said, “HOT! I’m very hungry and thirsty. Do you have any change so I can eat and drink?” He sounded hoarse. “Where are you?” I asked.

He was about a block away. All I had was a twenty -dollar bill for the week. I thought about it. I had paid the bills and gotten groceries for the week. But if I gave Joe the twenty, as I felt inspired to do, if we ran out of bread or milk we would have to wait until pay day for it. I was willing, I decided. I would be fine. Joe needed it more.

 

I headed his way. “Where are we going?” asked Maire. “We are going to help Jesus out today. He’s hungry,” I answered. “He smells bad!” complained Roise from her car seat. “Pretend he doesn’t,” I suggested. “Stop being so rude, Door Knob!” Maire scolded her sister. “Just offer it up!”

We pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot where Joe was waiting for us. I jumped out of the car and gave him a hug. The girls waved from the window. He waved back and asked them if they were being good today. This question they wisely declined to answer.

Joe wasn’t looking too good. I was worried he might be sick. He said he would be OK when he had something to drink. He was so happy about the twenty dollars he practically danced. He was wearing what looked like a bull -fighter’s outfit that day. A dance would have been perfect.

As we pulled away from a very happy and relieved Joe, who had been so hungry and now had the prospect of lunch and maybe even dinner, I looked around at my beaming, waving kids, and felt the smile on my own face, even though I was now broke for the week.

Then I realized that the hungry had been filled and the rich sent away empty. But both were happy! 🙂

IMG_0100-300x200

 

 

Kiss

Five years ago today
It was raining
And my mother died
In the other room.
My house
where I had been caring for her
witnessed the exit of her spirit.
 
My step dad said
her every rose
bloomed that day.
Her last words
I heard were,
    “OK!
I’ll be there in a minute,”
 
And my name.
 
I still need you, Mom.
And from now on
I will kiss every rose.
459359_3697012828365_500005473_o

“This is how,” Jesus says.

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Galatians 2:19b-20

I have been crucified with Christ, and the life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me. I still live my human life, but it is a life of faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

The Word of the Lord.

Thanks be to God.

603px-Florentinischer_Meister_um_1300_001

 

The last few years have been so traumatic for me that I have felt alienated from everything and everyone, and like I would never be myself again.

Part of my healing in this latest phase of my journey has been to investigate for myself what really happened and to face the truth around my brother’s suicide, to ask questions I had been too freaked out to ask before, to recognize and re-claim my own experience of what happened after a truly dysfunctional family response that left me confused, dismayed, and even more traumatized.

I called my truth- seeking mission “The Immaculate Heart of Mary Detective Agency.” I thought this appropriate because the sword that pierced Mary’s heart, Simeon said, was “so that the secret thoughts of many may be revealed.

Immaculate-Heart-of-Mary-large

 

I wanted to truly love my brother by understanding all of him, not just the parts that I had enjoyed so much all of my life, but all of him. I wanted to try to understand what drove him to do what he did.

I realized I didn’t have to wait around for people to quit lying to me and tell me what was going on. I could find out for myself. So I started asking questions and interviewing people who had the information I wanted, or a different perspective from my own as the sister and room mate I had been at the time.

Unexpectedly, the whole experience of the IHMDA has been empowering, though I uncovered rank injustice and malice I hadn’t known some people were even capable of.  I feel more alive than I have since all this tragedy began. I have a glimmer of an idea that I have a life and a future.

It seems to me that Mary’s heart has helped lay bare many truths, and strengthened me to deal with them.

immaculate_heart_mary__basilica_mural_

 

I am not sure what I will do next. But it seems God thinks my next step is to forgive. That message was in last Sunday’s Gospel. It seems to pop up everywhere I turn. I seem to read or see or hear something about forgiveness every day.

There is hardly anything I have not lost to some degree in the past couple of years of shock and trauma; my home, my life savings, my family, and the cohesion of my group of wonderful friends. Everything is strange now. I have even felt like I lost myself.

I am grateful for the good relationship between my daughters and me, though honestly, at times, even those sacrosanct relationships were violated and temporarily distorted by lies and manipulation.

What do I do with this horrible story? Sometimes I can hardly believe it myself.

How can I forgive the unforgivable? And how can I ever be a whole person again? How can I bear this?

I have been asking all that for a good while.

I realized, praying Morning Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours today, when I read this reading, (above)  the answer to these questions. “This is how,”Jesus says.

“You will do and experience both of these things because your life is not your own anymore. It’s better than that because I live in you and for you. From within you, I will forgive, I will live, and we will have a beautiful life together. I have loved you and given Myself up for you. You have loved Me and given yourself to Me, no matter what life has brought you. ” 

I thought about this. It is a miracle that the thing I have not lost or had to re-negotiate, so to speak, is my faith in God. Even though I have been broken inside beyond anything I thought it was possible to experience, I have an inner rock solid foundation of faith that God has not let me lose.

I have discovered that, as St. John of the Cross speaks of in his Ascent of Mount Carmel, I am “supported by faith alone,” now, in spite of how disjointed I feel psychologically and socially.

No one and nothing can take me from Christ’s hand. He is even more real to me than I am to myself. And even though my heart is broken, it does know it is safe. It does know Who it belongs to and Who lives there forever. Not even my own death will change that.

In fact, Paul also says that the spirit of Jesus in us is so real, it is that power that will raise our bodies from the dead.

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Romans 8:11 (This turned out to be in Evening Prayer tonight.)

All the lies and malice, misunderstanding, persecution, blame, rejection, trauma, loss and grief I have suffered, and that the whole world has suffered, are no match for the Truth of God who is Love, and Life.

In a way, in comparison, these terrible things are not even real.

The reality is God.

And I am glad to be only ashes and dust.

That is exactly how I have everything I will ever need in this life and in the next:

“It is not I who live, but Christ Who lives in me.”

images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dawn of salvation: Nativity of Mary

“O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor haughty my eyes… truly I have set my soul in peace, as a child has rest in its mother’s arms, even so my soul.”  see Psalm 131

The Birth of Mary (September 8) 

The dawn of our salvation has come, the first hint of blue in the dark of night, signaling the sunrise and the end of Satan’s reign over humanity. The girl who would open the door to a supernova of grace into this world, has quietly come into it without fanfare. It is a birth like any other.

The birth of a daughter was normally not considered as important as that of a son. So Mary’s birth would have been even more of a quietly celebrated event, most likely. Even though this baby girl was our future queen, in the world she was born into, she was just a girl, humble and ordinary, born in a small, Roman occupied country, into a life of hard work, few rights, and a constricted future. To the world of her day, as in the countries many girls are born into still, she would have been seen as of little value.

But in the eyes of God, she was the field in which he would one day hide our Treasure, the Pearl of Great Price himself. We should sell everything we have and buy that field that is Mary, in which we find Jesus!

maria-bambina

Lowly Child Mary, offer to Jesus my  loving devotion to you, and may I live my Christian life in your wonderful and hidden light.

Bless, humble and gracious Child Mary, all my interactions with others, that I may see each person as valuable in God’s eyes. 

Cultivate in me a deep and gentle humility.

Inspire me also to always stand for social justice, especially for girls in this world.

 

Tell her happy birthday. Sing it to her. Do something special for a little girl in your life. Bring a flower to church. Smile. It’s our mother’s birthday, and she is the “cause of our joy.”

 

images
Come, Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of the Child Mary, who became Thy well beloved spouse. 

What a catch!

today’s GOSPEL
Luke 5:1–11

While the crowd was pressing in on Jesus and listening to the word of God, he was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret. He saw two boats there alongside the lake; the fishermen had disembarked and were washing their nets. Getting into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, he asked him to put out a short distance from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. After he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” When they had done this, they caught a great number of fish and their nets were tearing. They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come to help them. They came and filled both boats so that the boats were in danger of sinking. When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at the knees of Jesus and said, “Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.” For astonishment at the catch of fish they had made seized him and all those with him, and likewise James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners of Simon. Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.” When they brought their boats to the shore, they left everything and followed him.

Just when I think it’s over, and I have tried everything, I’m tired, I am out of courage and strength, Jesus says, “Go out again.” He says, “Go to this big, deeper, scarier water. It’s going to be good.” And He astonishes me.

I have learned over and over again, that if I listen to His voice, He not only does something astounding, but then invites me places I never even knew about. He gives me hind’s feet, enables me to go onto the heights, makes it like nothing at all to leave everything and follow Him, to sell everything to buy that field where the treasure lies.

Let the dead bury their dead. Whoever has Jesus has everything, and plenty to give.

I trusted that before, and I am ready to trust it again.

Who catches lots of miracle fish and then leaves their nets and follows some crazy hippie preacher? Me, apparently. I’m a vegetarian anyway. And I love that guy.

16954_1340452755836_7074023_n

 

Novena to St.Philomena (Day 9)

God has given St.Philomena an abundance of graces that show us she is in glory in Heaven with all the martyrs who surround God’s alter in praise. Her history on Earth, as well as her history of signs, wonders and miracles, convince us of the power of her intercession. When it comes to St. Philomena, our cup overflows with grace, mercy, and the glory of God. Jesus transformed her sorrow and suffering even as she faced her greatest trials, and now she shines with glory at His side in Heaven, working with Him for our good in our own journeys and trials. 

A Reading from the Book of Revelation: 

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say:

“Now have salvation and power come,

and the kingdom of our God

and the authority of his Anointed.

For the accuser* of our brothers is cast out,

who accuses them before our God day and night.

They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb

by the word of their testimony;

love for life did not deter them from death.

Therefore, rejoice, you heavens,

and you who dwell in them.

The Word of the Lord

-Thanks be to God

images-19

St.Philomena, we face so many hardships and trials. But today, help us to praise God in the midst of them, to join Heaven in the constant ecstatic praise of the Lord. We know that praise of God defeats the enemy, that the Lord inhabits the praises of His people. May praise of the Blessed Trinity lift us up today, and fill us with confidence and joy. Like you may we lift up our heads, knowing our deliverance is at hand.

[Here mention your petitions and trials to St.Philomena, asking for her prayers and intercession.]

In  the depths of our hearts let us hear you say to us, “He can, and He will.”

Our Father…

Queen of Heaven, we love you, we bless you, we thank you for your graces and love for St.Philomena, for all your did to encourage and assist her. Be close to us when we are anxious or afraid.  Help us to remember your own beautiful glory in Heaven beside your Divine Son, after your humble life of service and love.

Immaculate-Heart-of-Mary-large

Hail Mary…

Radiant girl, courageous and free of heart, our friend and guide, protect us, lead us, for the glory of God.

Glory Be…

St. Philomena, be blessed forever, and pray for us, always.

imgres-6

“He can and He will.”

❤️⚓️🌻

For more stories and information about St. Philomena, her tomb, devotions to her, her sacramentals, visit philomena.it

 

 

Novena to St.Philomena (Day 8)

A very import part of St. Philomena’s relationship with Jesus was the vow of virginity she had made at the age of 13. When the Romans arrested Christian girls, knowing their chastity was sacred to them, their modesty and sense of purity was often a particularly targeted as punishment or a way to break them down. St. Philomena was no exception, according to private revelation about her life. She endured being stripped down and whipped in public, and the attempted unwanted attentions of the Emperor, and even being begged by her parents to give up her vow to save her life, but she stayed strong in her faith and personal commitment to Christ.

St.Philomena has been held up as “Patroness of Purity for Youth” because of her resolve in the face of torment and humiliation, and because of her consecration.

 

imgres

 

 

A Reading from the Song of Songs

The Bridegroom: A garden enclosed, my sister, my bride,

 garden enclosed, a fountain sealed!*

Your branches are a grove of pomegranates,

with fruits of choicest yield:

Henna with spikenard,

spikenard and saffron,

Sweet cane and cinnamon,

with all kinds of frankincense;

Myrrh and aloes,

with all the finest spices;

A garden fountain, a well of living water,

streams flowing from Lebanon.

Bride: Awake, north wind!

Come, south wind!

Blow upon my garden

that its perfumes may spread abroad.

 Let my love come to his garden

and eat its fruits of choicest yield.

img_1417

St. Philomena, you drew joy and strength from your intense inner relationship with Jesus, and to Him, your soul was His beautiful garden enclosed, His fountain, His place of rest. You were completely consecrated to Him. Nothing could take that away from you, and nothing could change it, and you wouldn’t have given up that inner garden for anything at all. Help us to tend the gardens of our souls that we each be a beautiful place for Jesus to be, in exactly the way our hearts we created to live.

Beloved Lord, may the scent of the perfume of our lives and our offerings of love rise up to you like incense.

Our Father…

Mary, Queen of Virgins, we dedicate and consecrate ourselves to you. We give into your hands for Jesus, everything that we have, and everything that we are. Humbly we lay our souls in the light of your purity, with St. Philomena.

immaculate_heart_mary__basilica_mural_

Hail Mary…

Radiant girl, courageous and free of heart, our friend and guide, protect us, lead us, for the glory of God.

Glory Be…

St. Philomena, be blessed and pray for us.

imgres-6

 

 

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑